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
“I almost forgot the amulet — it’s still in there somewhere!” Casey exclaimed. “I need to find it before someone else does!”
Alseyne nodded slowly. “Yes. We don’t want that thing just lying around, though I’m not sure how we can find it amongst all of this. But, no offense meant, Casey — I don’t think you should hold onto it yourself.”
Casey frowned, then shrugged. “Falco can carry it, then.”
Falco nodded. “Why don’t Casey and I seek out the amulet while the rest of you head up top?”
“Frankly, I think it’s too dangerous for anyone here other than maybe Korin to hold onto for any length of time,” Alseyne commented. “We don’t know what it does but I’m very afraid it could potentially negatively affect anyone with either telepathic skills or kithain heritage. Korin is the only one of us present that doesn’t fall into one of those two categories so therefore should be the least likely to be able to be affected by it.”
Casey mulled that over. “Korin may not be able to communicate with it, but that doesn’t mean weres can’t be affected by bad Fae juju. Look what happened to McAdoo.”
“We should take it back to Graford,” Pip shared. Catching Falco’s questioning eye he clarified, “To our Duke. He has people that can study it, contain it.”
“Aye,” The General agreed.
Falco shook his head. “It should be destroyed as should this entire facility. Mardmor’s artifacts can only cause more trouble.”
Pip disagreed. “But we could learn…”
“We could be corrupted,” Falco interrupted.
“Pip love, I have to agree with him on this,” Alseyne nodded towards Falco. “It’s happened in the past where it was thought that something could be learned from the artifacts left behind by one of us gone bad and those items ended up corrupting those who tried to study them. It’s simply too dangerous.”
“I agree with him. ” The Stonewolf nodded toward Falco. “For what my decisions are worth lately.”
Alseyne looked at Falco. “I don’t know if it is a good idea to destroy it here, though — too unstable on the one hand and could open up doors best left closed if it’s destroyed in Mardmor’s stronghold. I think we should find it and take it to a neutral location to destroy it.”
“Do we even know how to destroy it?” Casey wondered aloud. “Seems like throwing it into the Fae version of the Fires Of Mordor would likely just make it stronger. Crushing it might work … or it might release the contained sentience to do even more harm, like the Elementals. How does one destroy a talisman of goblin power?”
“I was hoping that hitting it with a rock might work,” Falco mused.
“Or a hammer…” BranAdoo added.
“Works spectacularly with the Elemental stones,” Casey pointed out. “But then you still have the actual thingamabob to deal with, just not contained anymore.”
McAdoo’s laugh was dry. “I’d use the Well.. I know a perfect place for it.”
Casey turned. “What kind of place?”
“A world wasted and cruel, where Gia has been devastated. Or to a world of water. These I have gone to. I can even imagine a world of horrors from a nightmare. But I agree with Falco there. ” He leaned against a support to stretch his leg out. “Destroy it.”
Alseyne shrugged. “So we follow both plans — take it to Graford to find out the best way to destroy it and then we go and destroy it.”
Casey looked dubious. “Graford is your Duke? So he’s fairly high up in the Austin hierarchy, right? I’m not sure we should give a seductively evil artifact of power to someone who’s in a position to misuse it on such a grand scale. Isn’t there some vault we can toss it into while we research it ourselves?”
Falco looked to Casey. :: It doesn’t leave here with them. ::
Casey tended to concur with the wisdom of that. ** Understood. **
Alseyne shook her head. “You misunderstand, Casey. Our Duke, who is named Vargyys Thorntree, is located in Graford, Texas. He is the head of the entire region — all of Texas, parts of Oklahoma and Arizona and so forth. And I didn’t mean to give it to him specifically — I know he would never want the thing. I just meant consult with experts at his freehold to determine the best way to dispose of this amulet.”
“I don’t–” Casey broke off, then laughed in sudden realization. “You know what? This is silly. Falco and I just blew up a 300-foot-high goblin construct, I’m sure we can manage to melt down one little goblin-powered amulet.”
“Agreed,” Falco nodded.
Alseyne shook her head again. “Sorry, Casey but I saw how that amulet was affecting you and I just don’t trust you to be around that amulet without some supervision, and another telekinetic isn’t exactly what I consider a safe supervisor. No offense intended, Mr. Falco. Let’s find Percyndi and then we’ll all help find you the amulet and destroy it before we leave.”
Casey looked baffled. “How the amulet was affecting me? What’s that mean? It gave me some useful info, that’s all.”
“You were acting differently after you put it on, even once you removed it. I don’t know if it was the amulet that caused you to behave differently or not but I don’t want to take any chances.”
Casey pondered that. Was it true, had the goblin stone exerted some kind of influence that she wasn’t aware of?
She thought back. She’d been conversing with the sentience, and when she snapped out of it she was wearing the amulet with no memory of putting it on. And then…
…And then she’d nearly sucked the life out of four of her comrades.
It was very tempting, Casey suddenly realized, to blame that on the amulet. It would pretty much exonerate her: make her one of the victims rather than the perpetrator of that misdeed.
She didn’t think it was that easy, though. The desire to increase her psionic strength had caused her to do a lot of things over the years that she wouldn’t normally have done. It was why she’d come to Austin in the first place, and why she’d chosen bartending of all things: to give herself a broader range of minds to familiarize herself with. It was why she’d recently let an obviously dangerous near-stranger into her truck in a deserted parking lot at 3am: he’d promised to train her, teach her more than she could learn on her own. The drive to improve her skills had always been one of her strongest motivators — and, she knew now, her most susceptible weakness.
She’d been tired and weak and in agony before the link — and then suddenly she’d been strong and free of pain and in possession of more power than she’d ever felt before. It had quite simply gone to her head, and she hadn’t wanted to let go of it.
“I don’t think it was the amulet,” she mumbled self-consciously. “You’re talking about what happened when we linked up, right? I think that was just … me overdosing on power. I understand the danger of that now.”
Alseyne raised an arched eyebrow. “You went power-mad when we linked?
“In a nutshell,” Casey shrugged uncomfortably.
“That would explain things. But I still prefer to err on the side of caution. Sometimes we do things without realizing we’ve been influenced.”
Casey gave Alseyne a long, steady look. She’d willingly followed the Sidhe’s very capable leadership all night, because this was Alseyne’s mission and Casey herself was only tagging along to help where she could.
Now, though … now she was standing amidst the literal ruin of Mardmor’s ambitions, covered in her own blood and the blood of uncounted enemies, hungrier than she’d ever been her life before and counting the seconds until she could strip off this horrible leather clothing and scrub herself clean again in a hot shower. And more tagging along tonight held absolutely no appeal for her at all, especially since she wasn’t really needed for the presumably uncomplicated task of collecting the ex-captives. In a gently respectful voice she said, “I wish you the best of luck in finding Percyndi and the others, Alseyne. I’m going to go find and destroy me an amulet. If you feel the need to come along, fine. Either way, that’s where I’m headed now.”
BranAdoo snorted. “If we can get out of here and back to the surface, our airship might still be flyable. It’d be smart to evac fast before reinforcements arrive.” He shrugged “I’ve not been smart the last few minutes though.”
“There you go,” Casey nodded to Alseyne. “You can get Percyndi and the rest out of here in McAdoo’s airship thingy. It sounds like the quickest way to get them all home.”
“If it still flies … there was a bit of crashing when we landed on the Sanctuary roof,” the Stonewolf added, trying to look up the stairway.
“Fine,” Alseyne shrugged. “Yggthor, Mac and Pip can go get Percyndi and the others and check on the condition of the airship. I’ll stay and help you and Falco look for the amulet.”
“Works for me.” Casey sent her perceptions out into the wreckage, to confirm that the amulet was still where she had last sensed it.
A keening wail shrieked from above.
“Percyndi!” Pip exclaimed and darted back to the stairwell. “Follow me!”
Alseyne drew her weapon and rushed after him. Yggthor and Korin fell in behind her as a number of the dogs raced by them on the stairs.
With a silent groan Casey bolted after the satyr. A regular Penelope Pitstop, that Fae child. Maybe Elijah got hungry. Casey could hardly blame him; she was about ready to start biting throats herself.
Drawing her weapon as she ran, she wondered idly if Redcaps were edible.
:: Don’t be in such a hurry… let them take the lead. :: Falco’s voice was calm. :: You and I can fetch the amulet, while they chase the “scream” to the surface. ::
Casey slowed to a stop, her eyes following the others as they charged up the stairs. ** What did you do? **
:: I made them think they heard this Percyndi scream. Her “cries” will lead them to the surface to safety. Sorry, but I lack patience for Alseyne’s dithering. :: He watched the last of them maneuver the stairs. :: Shall we? ::
She turned to face him, frowning. ** When they get up there and Percyndi’s fine they’re going to know they were tricked. And they’ll know why. And if I’m not up there with them they’ll think I was in on it. Is there some reason she couldn’t have just come with us? **
:: She would have challenged our effort to destroy it. And it must be destroyed. I can understand your concern about your credibility. I will manage the amulet on my own. ::
**I don’t think she would have. I’m beginning to understand why you live such a solitary life, though. People don’t like being manipulated.**
:: You are correct. But they like being dead less. Allowing the amulet to leave in her — or any of the fae’s — keeping is an unacceptable risk. Your work here would be for naught. ::
** She couldn’t have taken it from the two of us, even if she’d tried to. There was no need for the deception. ** Feeling a weary sense of déjà vu, Casey turned and followed the others without a backward glance.