Welcome to my little tale of Madness, Horror and Forgotten Dreams.
This is a story set in the Changeling the Dreaming universe, and deals with a motley of Changeling weathering the greatest storm to rock the fair realm of Concordia since it’s inception.
- “Magic Eddie” – Keith Edwards
A Grimalkin Grump, recently having returned from forgetting himself, trying to
remember the mighty sorcerer he once was.
- Lady Alice
A Nocker Knight, having lost quite a few parts of herself in service to the Seelie cause. A veteran of the Accordance War, Alice have quite the few secrets hidden away from the world. And one of those have given her additional responsibilities, in the form of a inexperienced teenager Sidhe Squire.
- Squire Aidan ap Leanhaun
The spoiled scion of a House he’s ill-fitted for, Aidan makes a living as a pianist, yet the shadow of his father looms over him.
- Baron Duke Wesselton ap Eiluned
Once a simple squire, this pooka grew up in the Courts of the Willows, serving a knight of unbridled ambition. However, fortune fell into Duke’s lap as a quest was solved not by Sidhe sword but by Pooka wits. Now, he’s a landless noble, and the rest of the Gentry sees him as a oddity at best and a threat to society at worst.
November Sixth, Two-thousand and Seventeen.
Winter has begun, and the city is covered in blankets of white.
Wilmington, North Carolina, is a city of many facets. And the Kithain who make their home here are no exception.
Our tale begins with our heroes each wandering the Autumn World, seeking that precious Glamour to keep away the death of Dreams.
We opens on the nimble fingers of Squire Aidan, sitting in a coffeeshop and displaying his talents to a throng of mortals, huddling with their hot beverages, warding away the cold of winter. Their minds are open, and as local writers tap away at their laptops and artists begin to scribble down ideas, Aidan savors the slivers of dreams that they allow to glide to him, keeping his fire burning.
In small bar, just down the street, a small man chats up yet another lost soul.
Duke just allows the man to pour his heart out, getting him to vocalize what it is he truly wants out of life, just allowing his new friend to listen to himself, and thus pushing him onwards in life. As one walks away with a purpose regained, another approaches the small Pooka, seeking to thank him for having gotten her to return to her art.
And the flickers of inspiration spinning in her eyes is enough for Duke to stave away the grey mists that threatens him every day.
In a nursing home, off the old colonial district, a black cat walks the hallways.
He cuddles up to those inhabitants with not long for this world, listening to confessions from a long life lived. He hears the secrets, the dreams that were fulfilled long ago, and as the patients’ minds are slipping away into the haze of forgetfulness, Eddie finds that their longing tales of their youth are as delicious as ever.
After all, they feel fresh if the mind believes them to be like yesterday. He laps those dreams up, as it were a bowl of cream placed out for the cats.
In a store filled with smartphones and tablets, a single repair-woman sits behind a desk, tenderly prodding old, damaged phones back to life. Every time a youngster gets back her phone, filled with the dreams and romances of youth, Alice can taste the flecks of glamour in there.
She likes this work. There are few things as delicious as a teenager’s fleeting paramour notes to give her that small thing to keep her going through the day.
As the night falls, as does the snow.
Tonight is one of the nights where the commoners of Wilmington are supposed to assemble in one of the local freeholds.
Notes borne on chimerical wing have arrived to all of the city’s Kithain, telling them to
assemble at the old railway museum, where the Brass Rail Freehold is located.
The freehold itself is a series of railway cars, each far larger than they appear on the outside, dressed to resemble salon cars in the style of the 19th Century. Here, one can find sleeping carts, dining cars and even a ballroom for the great occasions, and in the engine, a balefire is burning.
One by one, they arrive.
At first, Baron Duke arrive, but finds himself stalled by a snow-shoveling troll, named Percy. In spite of the delightful conversation, Duke awaits the path to be cleared, and then, Lady Alice and her Squire Aidan arrives.
Alice is not pleased with her squire’s cross mood, and have tried to teach him a lesson in patience for the better part of a week.
When they all have exchanged pleasantries, Baron Duke only knowing Alice by reputation, they are greeted by the Freehold’s steward, an older boggan gentleman dressed in clothes best suited for the 1800’s. This is Master Gil, who is serving Baron Ned ap Dougal, who invites them inside, and quickly orders the bartender, a Sluagh named Saul, to pour them some mulled wine.
Aidan, eagerly pouring down some mulled wine, is trying to get his Knight to tell him what comes next in his education. Alice, unwilling to rush into anything with this squire, tells him that fetching a glass of whiskey might be a suitable quest.
He sulks, but at the bar, he strikes up conversation with the pooka Baron.
Outside, the commoners have begun to assemble, and Eddie arrives just in time to see the notorious motley known as the Carolers bicker a bit with Percy the Troll and Steward Gil. Their leader, a redcap known as Bloody Bart, is standing and making a fuzz about nobs and nobility, but as soon as the mysterious Grimalkin arrives, the Carolers quickly shift their attention.
A few words are exchanged, as Bart is convinced that the warlock cat once cursed a their court to only smell dung for a year and a day.
Eddie, eager to get inside, offers to regale the rowdy motley with a tale or two. As soon as they’re inside. In the warmth.
Of course, Redcaps and their friends never arrive in a place with suitable decorum.
In a clamor of shouts and obscenities, Bart and his friends, Ennis the Clurichaun along with two satyresses named Laila and Taylor, enters the salon, hollering for beer, which Saul serves with a whispered admonition not to spill again.
Of course, Bart chews down on the entire beer can, not spilling a drop, grinning all the way to his seat.
At this point, the court is assembled, and Baron Ned ap Dougal, a afro-american Nocker, takes the central stage, and addresses the assembled Kithain, reading a script from the palm of his hand.
And despite his lack of oratory skills, his message manages to quell the rowdy mood of the entire court of bickering Kithain.
Three weeks ago, there was a gruesome murder in the streets of Wilmington.
Two weeks ago, three young people were found, butchered and displayed on pikes.
Last week, nine people from across the entire city disappeared, and ended the same wicked way.
Tonight, there is a chance we might see 27 murders occur. What is worse, he have learned the murderers are nothing short of Thallain.
On that note, Baron Ned gives the stage to a dour-looking Sidhe, dressed as if he was attending a funeral. This one, is known as Sebastian Sorrow ap Beaumayn, Huntsmaster of the Willows, and the one who have tried to rid the world of those Thallain, although his hunting party was ambushed a few nights ago, resulting in his men being wounded heavily, requiring him to ask for the Changelings of Wilmington to pick up the hunt for these abominations before they kill again.
At first, there is only silence to meet the plead.
And then, Duke jumps onto the bar, proudly proclaiming that he will aide to the best of his abilites. Of course, being a short Pooka with little experience in hunting, is well-suited for such endeavours, but his fervor does result in Bloody Bart leaping to his feet and adding the Carolers to this cause, breaking a bottle to show his dedication.
Suddenly, Duke twists and says:
“As spoken within those shards
So is it bound to thine hearts”
binding the Carolers to the task, luckly only adding to the joy of the motley, who begins performing a crude rendition of Silent Night with anything their can acquire from the table, while they start a battleplan.
Aidan, eager to see if his Knight would join in the hunt, tries to inquire, only to be met with a question of what *he* thought they should do. After a bit of back and forth, Aidan walks away frustrated, unaware that the Lady Alice was trying to discern if he had decisiveness.
The grumbling squire walks to the saloon-style piano, and sits down to vent his frustrations through the tones of Beethoven.
At the bar, Duke seeks Eddie’s advice, who offers to pry the Omens from the strands of Fate. Thus Eddie plucks three brown hairs from the Weasel Pooka, placing them a in a scrap of paper that was once used for a calender.
From the paper, he plucks five black hairs. Unable to clearly interpret the meaning, Eddie gives a few vague riddles, but concludes that it will be a dangerous venture. But, he also sees a coffee strain in the shape of a black claw.
The two mull a bit over these omens.
At the piano, Aidan finds his angry rendition of Requiem interupted by the two Satyrs from the Carolers. They ask him to play something they can sing along with, and a bit oblivious to the smirks on their lips, Aidan begins playing “Don’t Stop Believing” as Taylor and Laila croons to him from atop the piano. Halfway through the song, Aidan feels something change.
He decides that no matter his Knight’s slowpokeness, HE should do something about this, and go find those damned creatures! Anything is better than just to sit around.
With the words “Screw waiting around for them to find us! Let’s find THEM” he darts up and heads out the door, pulling his coat up in mid-motion, leaving a pair of very confused Satyrs in his wake.
Noting the departure, Eddie and Duke are a bit bewildered, but when Taylor and Laila tells Bloody Bart of what the Sidhe Squire said, the redcap’s hooting laughter tells them what is up.
Aidan had left. And Bloody Bart realized he was the perfect bait. It wasn’t intentional, as he had asked the girls to lighten up the moody pianist’s day a bit, but he isn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Off they go in a hurry. Duke, realizing this little gambit might get a Squire killed, sighs, and darts after the Carolers in the shape of a weasel. Eddie finishes his drink, and follows suit in his Cat shape.
A few minutes after, Lady Alice finishes her drink, and follows, grasping her blade closely. “Nothing but trouble, that boy…”
Aidan’s energic stride has now gotten him quite off the beaten course, and as he walked through the middle of the darkest park in Wilmington, and here it dawns on him that this might not have been the wisest of ideas.
At that point, Aidan notices the yellow eyes glaring at him from the cover of the bushes. And crawling atop of a statue in the middle of a fountain, a wicked looking ferretman gazes down at him, licking his lips.
“It’s not often we get to start our night with a Sidhe snack“, he almost hisses. These creatures, nightmarish versions of Pooka, are called Beasties. And there are five of them surrounding Aidan.
Aidan tries to back away, but bumps into something big. The largest Changeling he has ever seen. Standing almost 2.10 meters, is a muscle-bound, ratfaced Beastie, smiling as he licks his incisor.
“Hey pretty boy? How about a kissss?”
Aidan frezzes. He know he’s doomed.
And then, a sound pierces the night.
“AAALLL AAAABOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRDD!!” and the tones of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train hammers out across the snow as Bloody Bart and the Carolers, chimerical blades in hand, charges into the fray.
– fin of Episode 1 –
I awarded by players with 2 XP, 1 additional XP for giving me a bit of inisight on the session as a whole, both as players and characters.
Also, they assigned a MVP XP.
MVP: Baron Duke Wesselton ap Eiluned
– For one-upping the Message of Nightmare-fueled doom!
A pretty good start, all in all.