Section: 17 July 2019 Up Main page Section: 14 August 2019 

31 July 2019

This was a decent apartment building, a few decades old, and with a doorman who seemed more than ornamental – and who kept the door locked for people he didn’t recognise.
The elevator was not only automatic but driven by key, and we came up to a lobby area that had something of the commercial reception about it – complete with no-nonsense receptionist. Miss St George asked whether “he” was in, and the answer was affirmative but “busy – he’s flirting with Miss Thornton”. The place seemed set up for trouble, but not to give the appearance of it. The receptionist, Amelia, looked us over while we were waiting, and did a decent job of guessing what we were.
Miss Thornton emerged, and greeted us with some surprise as she was leaving. “I could have got you up here…” Shortly thereafter, we were ushered through some well-made wooden double doors into a very large room, containing an open-plan office (with huge desk) and living area. Behind the desk was a very large man – some sort of fey but not one of the usual types.
Miss Yvette introduced us; Miss St George explained that we were interested in finding out what had happened to the Helios, and he smiled. Miss Yvette attempted to bargain, which was clearly a mis-step, so I offered the information about just how it had been removed as an earnest of our good intentions. We adjourned to the living area, where a number of beautiful items were on display in cabinets – some of them magical, some not. He pointed me to one of the cabinet doors, which had a concealed lock on which I started to work. Behind it was, indeed, a highly magical item; behind a glass and metal panel that looked magically toughened, was the elaborate jewelled globe that appeared to be the prize.
He implied that it had been a gift, and if the giver asked for something he really shouldn’t… did we know how something like this had been made? By the slaying of a magically powerful creature. And his kind did not breed often, and when they did it was very much wanted. Someone missed that item, very much. And perhaps the sprite was not aware of that…
Mac asked whether there was any history with Herself and this object – it might be enough to soothe the feelings of someone she’d offended, even enough not to oppose her return from exile. But in any case, with the thing not available…
We discussed the possibilities, and thought that asking for protection from Him, “the dragon”, was probably the best bet. Miss Yvette felt she had to talk to Stonefall first.
Max spoke to the dragon, and suggested that, being unable to save ourselves, we might offer our services; he was glad that we’d reached that conclusion for ourselves. We agreed to come back the next day for the formalities.
As we came out, Miss Thornton had returned, and joined us on the way out. Spending the night on Max’s boat seemed like the best bet. Mac drove us to pick up blankets and such like; Miss Thornton accepted a lift to near her office. It turned that she wasn’t in his service, but a frequent hireling. She was careful how she spoke of the dragon, but seemed in general to be cautiously in his favour. Contracting to Stonefall would have benefits, Miss Yvette perhaps being his only vassal, but drawbacks for the same reason.
We dropped her off at a bar, and we went on to pick up our various impedimenta. On the way back to the boat, I spotted the first shadow being not a shadow; Mac pulled out to get room for manoeuvre; when the first one ran out at us, he hit it with the car, though it proved to be a large black cat. The next dark form was a black dog, entirely natural as far as we could see. We got into Coketown, and found more animals, seemingly herded into our path. They followed us, apparently quite terrified. At an intersection, Mac spun the car and used the lights and the horn to try to panic and scatter them; some of them moved, some froze. We didn’t get a good look at what was behind them.
We carried on, and the animals with us scattered as we met a shadow hound in the road in front of us. That one took a solid hit from the car, and another from backing over it.
Moving on we came to another group of animals, probably with one hound among them. Mac used the lights to make some of them scatter, but others jumped at the car (and mostly went under the wheels). A sharp thump almost threw us off course, but that wasn’t enough to stop the next hound from going under the wheels.
Onto a straight section, and Mac took an evasive line – which got us out of the way of a silvery spear aimed at a front tyre. We got past some caltrops too, and closed in on the boat. We needed to cross some open ground, and Mac used the headlights to provide some distraction while Max and I headed across to the boat. He threw some of the caltrops into the water, which produced no reaction; then a spear missed him and went into the river, which brought on outraged howls. We started to crank the engine.
One of the car’s tyres got harpooned and punctured. Miss Yvette and Terry took some shots to keep the enemy off their backs. Mac secured the car, and they moved out to the boat.
We got out into the channel, away from easy spear-throwing range. There were splashing noises from the bank, and it looked as though more mundane animals were being sent after us; I pulled in the fenders.
There was a hound waiting on the final bridge, maybe the leader, maybe not – but it didn’t make a leap for us.
We went out into the sound and settled down to wait out the night. Terry summoned his ethereal friends, who were very impressed by our still being not dead.
On balance, they didn’t seem to mind the servants of dragons, but there was a big disparity in both sizes and concerns. Sometimes Elise would poke him, and he wouldn’t respond, which really annoyed her.
 Section: 17 July 2019 Up Main page Section: 14 August 2019