Xavid (kihou) wrote,

All this for a decoy?

After a daring foray back into the Nevernever and a face-off with a sword-wielding mad scientist, our companions were back home for some well-earned rest.

Rebecca has a nightmare based on her new memories of her mother's death, only with Kate's face substituted for her mother's.

In the morning, Lewis tries to call Zajak's office, but the call can't be completed due to technical difficulties. Rebecca social-engineers her way into getting his home number. Lewis leaves a message saying that he'll return the items in exchange for compensation.

The warden dealing with the Harvard Square incident, Mek, needs Lewis to lead them back to where Gregory ended up. "We might be persuaded to… overlook your cavalier attitude if you cooperate." He gives Lewis a chance to prepare. "We haven't been able to get in contact with this… Madon, so we don't know what to expect, but our top priority is rescuing the prisoners." The rest of the group comes along, as does Jilli.

Redcrosse wants to go with the cavalry and find May's Tear. Unfortunately, he just promised not to, so tries to convince Mike to do it for him.

Lewis leaves the Frog of Safe Return with Auntie Arwen, a contact of his who supplies spell components to minor practitioners, just in case.

The party, including Saskia, and Jilli accompany a team from the While Council consisting of Mek and 3 other White Council wizards back to the museum in the Nevernever.

Madon meets the group with a gigantic dragon made of ice. Madon offers to the White Council to declare the museum neutral ground while negotiations are ongoing. "I declare this building to be under truce, with neither the Winter Court nor the White Council to harm the other during negotiations. Does the White Council accept?" Mek: "The White Council and the mortals accompanying them." Madon: "Very well." Mek turns and looks at the wizards behind him, as if asking for objections. "The White Council accepts." Madon: "Excellent." He bows, the dragon vanishes in a flash of blue light, and Rebecca and Saskia vanish. (Rebecca notices that Tom the cat comes with them.)

Madon: "I'm just keeping them somewhere safe so they don't interfere with the negotiations, since they were not a party to them. It would be a shame if something were to happen to them. It's very dangerous around here."

(An observant Lewis recalls that Madon called Rebecca a mortal before, when dealing with their return. When Lewis calls him on this, he claims to have gotten new information.)

His reaction to the party's objections is mainly "Ah, you mortals, always fun to hang around." He's slightly less amused when reminded about how he's lost his lance, though.

Mek and another wizard and Madon and another fae go into an office and negotiate boringly. The remainder are still standing around in front of the still-open portal.

Lewis, looking at the portal through the Crystal Ball: it's based on "Connection" and "Bending", not Worldwalking; connected to "Ghostly Flowers at your Feet". Casting this spell causes Lewis to take some minor backlash, and he starts suffering from an Overpowering Scent of Flowers.

Rebecca, Saskia, and Tom the cat are in the dungeons of an ice fortress to the east, in a different room from but near the assorted prisoners from the gallery opening, featuring Dr. Howe and Tyler Winklevoss.

A drunk fae named Danyen (though no one ever learns this) is supposed to be guarding the prisoners, but is doing the stereotypical drunk sucking at it.

Rebecca picks the ice lock to the cell and goes to let Dr. Howe out of his cell. Dr. Howe is in thorn manacles.

Rebecca: "Be quiet, we're trying to rescue you." Dr. Howe: "I'm down with that."

They try to figure out how to get out of here, since the thorn manacles don't let Dr. Howe use magic.
Rebecca: "I don't know how to use my magic without being upset."
Dr. Howe: "Do you want me to insult your parents?"
Rebecca: "I'm an orphan."
Howe: "So?"

They also free the other assorted prisoners, who include a disarmed Santiago Iglesias (Knight of St. James, asked Lewis about Templar artifacts before), Geordie (a fiddler), Joe (likes fire), Anna (likes rivers), Amos (likes buildings), Crystal (likes crystals), James Keith (the jeweler from before), and Tyler Winklevoss, who is in a cell by himself without his satchel.

Meanwhile, Lewis casts a "pass through snow" ritual on Mike and himself that should last for a few hours, taking advantage of Mike's understanding of the Daoist principle of "effortless effort".

They manage to avoid a patrolling winter wargs on their way to the fortress. Two more winter wargs guard the entrance to the two-story ice fortress.

Lewis enchants a penny whistle to be 17 octaves higher than middle. Mike takes it, gets the wolves to chase him, and just manages to make it back to the edge of the truce zone before they catch him.

Lewis, meanwhile, makes a rendezvous with the escaped prisoners. Santiago helps fend off some attacking snowy owls with Danven's vodka bottle while Lewis truest to worldwalk. Danven wakes up and tries to use magic to stop Lewis, but his aim is impaired and he is ineffective. Lewis opens a gateway to a snow-covered beach. Tyler vanishes at some point and does not worldwalk with the rest.

They end up on a small island near Newfoundland. They get the manacles off Dr. Howe and he sends a message to the White Council. They make wards and a campfire.

Meanwhile, Mike's bored at the museum. Kate shows up with a message from Garlon for Mek.

Zajak shows up, rather annoyed, at some point, but doesn't really have anything much to do about it.

They get back from Newfoundland, taking boats sent by the White Council to civilization. Mike and Zajak get back to Boston when some wizards go for burgers; Jilli stays behind. Negotiations seem to be at an impasse.

Lewis gives a copy of the Abscondomatic plans to Saskia's technomancer friends to replicate. Zero failure modes in a bunch of enthusiastic geeks distributing such a thing, after all.

Zajak spills the beans as to what his deal was with May's Tear in exchange for his stuff. He was bribed by Weeks to put it in the exhibition with a card labeling it Spring's Majesty, but he doesn't have any evidence that that's what it really is. Lewis tells Redcrosse that it's probably a fake. He wonders what Weeks's plan was. "Is it just a decoy? Does he have the real majesty? Was it a trap with Weeks helping Madon all along?" They theorize about why the portal is stable, how it's powered, how the abscondomatic does stuff. "Oh, maybe this was a trap to help Garlon steal the lance."

With a significant milestone, we return for a bit to ordinary life, ignoring the big Wintery hole still in the middle of Harvard Square.
Tags: thin ice
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