Section: 14 August 2019 Up Main page

28 August 2019

With a bit of work, Lucio was persuaded to the ground of the group; the front door opened as we approached. Nobody was comfortable here. A somewhat insectile servant reluctantly made himself visible, and Max explained that we wished to speak to the lady of the house; we were sent to the small drawing room, while Lucio was taken off to see Herself.
This was the bird room (all dead and displayed, some magical, many completely unknown to us). There used to be a few more sprites, according to Ari, but they’d gone out of fashion.
After some time, Lucio came in looking shell-shocked and with fresh scratches, and we were ushered out. Apparently She was in quite a good mood…
We were taken upstairs, though an assortment of magical items, of very different types and traditions – clashing, in fact, but an impressive display of raw power. We came into a reception room, definitely in the style of a throne room with Herself in a large chair on a dais at one end; she seemed happy.
Max’s pitch was that we knew where the Helios was and how to get there, but our chances of getting in and out with it were small. (Someone beside the throne roused, and was restrained.) We’d followed Federwell’s trail and found the bag, then traded it to a svartelf (at this point she stood up and started inspecting us minutely) for an introduction to someone with more information. And thus we’d met the dragon… It was in his office, in a cabinet, which I’d been able to open, but he’d been entirely confident that we could not take it.
She reached into the shadows behind the throne and pulled out another insectile form, bigger and more muscular, and perhaps female. “Flenseflay, is he speaking the truth?” Max was inspected minutely and pronounced truthful.
Max continued: that the entrance was cunningly designed to allow alarms to be raised followed by slow progress… so it could be done only by someone with a great deal more power than we had.
“Hans”, the butler, was sent for “eyes”. Meanwhile Elise spoke closely with Max about what he might expect, and the alternatives. Flenseflay was paying attention to the rest of now, particularly to Yvette, while Elise looked at all our obvious qualifications.
Hans returned with a handful of pixies, still mostly intact, and Elise asked them: where is the beast? With some reluctance, they replied: in his palace, dining with the troll. One sprite later, she decided that we would go now, and we should wait downstairs.
Lucio and Ari were waiting for us, and they were both surprised to see us all alive. Hans emerged and commanded them to “drive the Lady”. Mac made sure Ari would leave a bit of room between the cars, in case the Hunt returned… and we drove back into the city.
Once we’d crossed the bridge we started to see shadows of hounds again. We pulled round to the side of the office and Elise looked expectantly at us. Max suggested that she claim she’d come to see the dragon; Elise transformed herself into a rather more innocent (though frankly disturbing) appearance. She smiled at Yvette; Yvette smiled back, which was probably an error; she took Yvette’s arm, and started pulling at her life force as Max led off. Max spoke to the doorman, who didn’t raise an eyebrow, but did admit us to the lobby. Amelia ended up speaking to Max, and after some shaded conversation we were admitted to the lift. Max, Yvette, Elise and I took the first lift up; Elise’s glamour was starting to slip a bit, possibly as she was getting close to losing her temper.
Amelia was waiting for us, not looking happy, and holding what turned out to be a concealed shotgun. Max shifted to one side; Elise’s glamour was peeling off in clumps, but she lunged at Amelia; the gun went off; Elise slammed Amelia against the wall and started to choke her. Max gave Amelia the nod, and she played unconscious, not that this stopped Elise from continuing to strangle her until I moved forward towards the office and started working on the door.
Elise reacquired Yvette, and moved into the office. I went to the cabinet and opened it. Elise moved to the inner box, punched it (twice to smash it), and took the thing itself (and even we non-magical types started to feel uncomfortably warm). Mac was holding the lift (and got Amelia into it) while the rest of us retreated, Yvette staying to watch and the Kid waiting for her.
The drapery in the room was starting to catch fire. It wasn’t clear what was happening to Elise; it was too bright even for Yvette’s magical senses. We all got into the lift and descended.
In the lobby, the doorman and Miss St George were trying to get to the lift, facing off against Ari and Lucio. When she saw us, she motioned us all out.
Out on the street there were dogs, waiting; one of them winked at Mac. There were also riders, and Mac raced to his car, the rest of us hard on his heels. We piled into the various cars.
Three riders were advancing, causing panic among the bystanders as they got themselves off the street. Mac set up to countercharge the riders, catching one of them with the wing followed by Miss St George’s spear and an effective gunshot from Terry. Meanwhile Ari was trying to get his car started, Yvette getting Lucio back into something like shape and handing him the gun case from under the back seat.
Mac reversed, pulling the javelin out of the horse as Miss St George held onto it. The Kid got out to retrieve the dropped lance. Once Ari got his car moving, he tried to copy Mac’s move, but with less style; he did at least mangle the right-side horse, but the rider was able to jump free – to be shot by Yvette and Lucio. The driver tried to spear Ari, and I held onto the weapon to help keep him in a predictable position for more shooting.
The sky over the office building was looking distinctly yellow and red; and more dogs were starting to appear. Mac got ready to tackle the last rider – looking as if he’d go for another joust, but instead slewing the car sideways to give the shooters a good angle… but the horse leaped at the car, jumping off the roof and down on the other side. Max managed to get a couple of shots off as the mount wheeled back towards the car.
Hounds started to boil out of the shadows. Ari got his car disengaged from the mount and parked car it had run into. Mac chased down the last rider, varying his speed, the mount crouching and trying to evade. The rider had slumped in the saddle and dropped his lance.
As Ari got his car in behind Mac’s, he managed to crush a few of the hounds, at the cost of damaging his car further. Mac set up another few shots at the hounds, and Miss St George speared one with a javelin. That left one hound and one mount; Mac took another pass to get back to where a spear had been dropped, allowing more shots into the last unconscious rider.
By this time the last hound was going for Mac’s car, and Ari started to pull away from the scene. Max and Terry gunned down the last hound, and Miss St George speared the mount.
As we got away, we saw the office building very much in flames, firefighters looking confused, and Mr Andros in conference with a fire chief. We pulled up; the police started to arrive; it became clear that we were superfluous, and we departed.