CAST OF PLAYERS:
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Jera Morrison…………….Alseyne Aulaudin……………………Sidhe Changeling
Jeremy Whitener………….Korin Alabaster………………………Were Mongoose
Kendall Nye………………Joseph McAdoo……………………..Ronin Garou
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
Pana fell into step alongside Casey as she hurried to catch up with her comrades, still puzzling over Falco’s actions. It made no sense that he would actually feel threatened by Alseyne. The Sidhe had seemed to approve of the plan to destroy the amulet anyway. And even if it did come to a fight, Alseyne would be no match for Falco.
And what in the world had made him think that Casey herself would go along with his plan? If he knew her at all he should have known she wouldn’t let herself be drawn into betraying the trust of people who had earned her respect and loyalty tonight.
She frowned. Maybe he’d known she wouldn’t go along with it; maybe his intention all along had been to go alone to find the amulet. But what use would a psionic, a proven enemy of Mardmor, have for a goblin artifact? On the other hand, if he only meant to destroy it, why couldn’t he have done that with Casey and Alseyne present?
None of it made sense.
And what if he wasn’t the only one searching for it? What if he ran into more of those thaumaturges or whatever they were called, and they took the amulet?
Nothing was ever as simple as it should be. Should she just keep her mouth shut and roll with the flow, or would she have to choose a side to be on?
A few steps above her, the Stonewolf was engaged in an in-depth discussion with himself concerning past Guardians and the nature of the Well. The rumbling “conversation” filled the stairwell, making it easy for Casey to put off saying anything herself.
After some time climbing up and pushing past debris, Pip and Yggthor muscled a door open. Daylight filtered in and the hint of a cool breeze.
“What?” Pip asked, shielding his eyes from the morning light entering the stairwell. “Did we pass her?”
“No,” Yggthor gestured. “Korin would have noticed. And certainly the dogs.”
Pip frowned. “Maybe she’s outside…?”
“I’m sorry, my foolishness delayed us from getting here faster.” The Stonewolf raised his head and sniffed, trying to catch scents from the area.
“How’d we hear her through all that?” Alseyne wondered out loud. “Think this could be a trap?”
“Or a diversion,” Casey opined, feeling rather put out by the position she’d found herself in.
That was all Yggthor needed to hear; he pushed his way out the door. Axe in hand, the steely-eyed troll checked the ruins of what used to be Sanctuary Austin.
Casey looked around, then moved up to join Alseyne. “Falco didn’t come with us,” she said quietly to the Sidhe. “I think he’s gone to fetch the amulet on his own. Let me see if I can find Percyndi.”
Alseyne frowned. “We’ll search for him once we’ve located Percyndi. But yes — if you can locate her that will save us a lot of time.”
Casey nodded, sending her perceptions out in search of the Princess and her protecters. Up and away from Mardmor’s Machine and his dungeon’s psionic dampening walls, she located Percyndi right away, only a hundred or so yards away. Across the street. She was in a dark place. And unhappy.
Elijah was with her, and the other Changelings.
“Over there,” Casey pointed. “She’s with Elijah and the others, just across the street.”
“McAdoo’s turtle ship is here,” Yggthor announced from the ruins.
“Is she still air worthy?” BranAdoo called.
“Turtle ship?” Pip asked, looking back to the Stonewolf.
BranAdoo rumbled, “Our way out, if it still flies.”
The ground vibrated beneath their feet.
:: My friends… :: Falco’s voice was heard in each of their heads. :: … There’s been an unexpected development. I recommend a rapid evacuation of the area. Sooner is preferable to later. ::
The ground rumbled again.
” I don’t have to be told twice. Let’s move it! ” McAdoo barked.
Casey sought out the mind she was most familiar with in Percyndi’s group. ** Elijah, find cover for yourself and the others if you can. **
:: Wha…? You made it, girl! ::
** Much to my own surprise, ** she grinned. ** Glad to see you did too. But it feels like this place is going to blow and I don’t know how big the boom’s going to be. **
:: We’re in the sewer across from Sanctuary. Or what’s left of it. We’ll retreat further back. ::
** The sewer? That’s great! I mean, you know, yuck, but it hopefully it’ll shelter you pretty well. Yeah, get them all back as far as they can go. ** Shifting gears, she turned her focus back down into the wreckage. ** Where are you? **
:: A few levels above where you and I parted. ::
** Did you find the amulet? **
:: I did. ::
** What’s happening to the building? **
:: Strangely enough, the amulet is self-aware. It has communicated in rather direct terms that it does not care to be destroyed. It is expressing its rather stern objection to my efforts. ::
“Shit!” Alseyne cursed as the footing shifted beneath them. “Yggthor — out the front or to this ship you mentioned? Which would be faster for us?”
“The turtle ship,” he answered without a second thought. “It is fast and close. This way!”
“Casey — you lead Alysene and Pip,” McAdoo encouraged. “YGGTHOR! Lead on and get her airborne, Casey, call us for pickup!”
Pip looked from side to side, worry clearly etched on his face. “Where’s Percyndi, dammit…!”
Yggthor dashed off, leading the retreat, the Stonewolf close behind.
The dogs all waited, looking to Casey.
** Is there any way I can help? ** Casey asked Falco.
:: Clear the area. I rather suspect this is about to turn messy. ::
Alseyne looked to Casey too. “Well, did you find her? Can you contact her and either tell her to meet us or to get away from here as quickly as possible?”
“She’s in the sewers across the street with Elijah and the others. I think they’ll probably be okay down there for now, they’re going to retreat farther back.”
“The SEWERS?” Alseyne was startled. “Damn! Tell them they need to get Percyndi out of the sewers as quickly as possible. There’s a vampire named Ovid down there that has a taste for Sidhe blood and I don’t know where his lair is located but it’s not far! Tell Elijah to be VERY careful and to get them out into daylight soon — Ovid has a grudge against me — I burned him pretty badly and he might take it out on them.”
Casey passed that along to Elijah. ** Alseyne says there’s a vampire called Ovid down there somewhere with a grudge against her and a taste for Sidhe blood. She says to be careful and to get Percyndi out of the sewers as soon as you can. **
:: I’ll keep an eye out. ::
Alseyne looked like she had her doubts about trusting the vampire. “Damn…Pip, I think we need to go join them, just in case. We’ve got to get them safely out of here and who knows how many others.”
The satyr nodded. “Agreed. Casey, where are they? Can you point us in their direction?”
“And tell them not to wait for us but to start moving back,” Alseyne added. “We’ll catch up.”
** Elijah, how did you get down there? **
:: There’s a storm drain just across the street. ::
Casey stepped out the door into the shattered corridor and scanned the street. The morning sunlight felt almost obscenely good on her skin. She soaked it in, all the more appreciative for knowing it was only a brief taste.
It took a moment, but she found it. About three hundred yards away through a field of debris. ** I see it. Alseyne and Pip are going to be joining you down there, but don’t wait around for them. Get as far from this area as you can, they’ll catch up. **
Tremors rocked the ruins. Dust kicked up and timbers above groaned.
“They got into the sewers through that storm drain,” she pointed it out to Pip and Alseyne. “I can set you down beside it.”
Alseyne followed Casey out and checked the debris field. “We’re not going to make it through that debris on foot, wherever it is we need to go. We need flight or hopscotch.” She looked at Casey then back at Pip, “Hopscotch would be easier for you and me and Casey can fly over to where we need to go, I’d think, or do we want to give her power enough to carry us over as well?”
“I can fly you down there,” Casey clarified. “I won’t be going with you.” Nodding toward the shuddering door she added, “He’s alone in there. I might be able to help him get out in one piece.”
Alseyne frowned. “If this whole thing collapses you’ll both die, you know. There’s not anything we’ll be able to do to help you. Well…unless you can put together a small air pocket and give us a mental yell — some of us can do teleports and with a mental guide they could get to you and get you two out. But it’s still pretty risky.”
“I owe him my life a dozen times over, one way and another; I can’t just leave him to die down there. Anyway, together we’re stronger than either one of us alone. If nothing else I bet we could generate a pretty solid shield around ourselves.” She adjusted her balance as the rubble shifted ominously underfoot. “So you two can hopscotch down on your own, then? I should get going….”
Alseyne nodded “Very well. Stay in mental touch Casey, and yell if you need help.
“Okay. You too.” She made another quick sweep into the sewers to determine in which direction Elijah and the Fae were moving away from Sanctuary. “They’re headed that way,” she indicated the route to Alseyne and Pip. While she was at it she checked for any other sentient minds down there in the same general area, but found none. “I’m not sensing anyone but them down there right now, at least not nearby.”
“If you two get out safely, meet us back at our hotel afterwards — we’re at the Pendleton.”
That got a wry smile. “If I get out safely I’m going to go home, grab a shower and something to eat, and then sleep for about ten hours. We can get together and compare notes later; I’ll give you a holler when I’m feeling human again.”
“Oh — and can you please tell Yggthor to get that ship out of here? Tell him to call us at the hotel once he gets it landed.”
“Will do.” Casey looked from Alseyne to Pip. “I’m glad I met you guys, it was an honor working with you. See you later.”
Alseyne turned and took Casey’s hand deliberately: a demonstration of trust. Casey was surprised, then inordinately touched, by the simple gesture.
“Thank you for all your help tonight, Casey. We’d never have been able to save so many…nor to stop Mardmor…without you. Good luck finding Falco and call us if you need us. If not, be sure and give us a call at the Pendleton later on.”
“I will.” A faint smile softened the strain in her face. “Thanks for helping me stay alive while I was figuring out how to make myself useful.”
Alseyne cocked her head sideways, still holding Casey’s hand. “Do you need a power boost before you go?”
“Thank you,” Casey said with great sincerity and appreciation, “but no. Yggthor topped me off right before we found you and Pip.” She smiled at the two of them. “Be safe. Take care of each other.”
Pip smiled. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Alseyne wore a predator’s smile. Casey was put in mind of a lioness by the feel coming from the Sidhe. “We will. You can count on that.” Through the handfasted link came a brief flash of Alseyne’s memory, seeing Pip’s body at her feet and the sheer determination that such a thing would never happen again so long as Alseyne drew breath.
Casey nodded, her smile lingering, but she was feeling the need to get moving. ** Pana, take the rest of the dogs and get away from here as fast as you can. Tell Alastair I think Mardmor’s probably still alive; I suspect that this was just Round One. Make sure the People understand the danger. **
:: It will be done… But… Ma’am… Casey, can I come with you? ::
Casey’s reluctance was evident: she didn’t want to be responsible for another death tonight. But she knew that if she were in Pana’s place she’d hate like hell to be ordered away. ** It’s up to you. ** She could feel the Malamute’s excitement and happiness at that. ** You’ll have to keep up though, I can’t wait for you. **
…and crushing disappointment. :: I’d slow you down. Go. And come back. :: With that, Pana turned and drew the other dogs with her.