Broad Oak 1102
We all meet up by Stretton ritual circle, where Alexander gives a short briefing on the reasons we’re actually going to Broad Oak (I had suggested it was a good idea that we didn’t just wander in). In combination with R’Annt he also gives an account of the battle that appears to have taken place a day earlier at Kingsfield. It’s reported that 777 people were killed (sneaking concern about even more Grolloch demons but surely they would have needed the bodies??) and that Mark and several Grolloch demons had performed a ritual in the Kingsfield circle, which when completed knocked everyone around it to the ground and broke the circle. As I recall the theory runs that the ritual was powered by the dead, and so when they reached 777 dead, the ritual power was completed. R’Annt also reports having seen a book lying by the circle – the identity wasn’t established because when he touched it, it crumbled away.
Finn gives summary of the things that could be expected from the Story Fae – guidelines to follow – these include placing iron in the doorway of the tent provided by the Story Fae. I feel ‘reasonably’ confident that everyone knowing these things was worth the favour I now owe him.
We then transport through to Broad Oak in various groups. I get a lurking suspicion that it’s not going to be my weekend when I get stuck in the circle, due to Story Fae erected wards. Someone casts a counterspell and I zoom out into Broad Oak – can practically see the big signs over peoples heads going “I bet that’s not Kia” “Why couldn’t Kia get out of the circle”. Starts to seem fairly certain that I am going to have to have several boring discussions about Aklamon before the day is out.
The first few groups had found several dead bodies – of both story fae and humans. Upon questioning the pattern of one of the humans, it mentioned the words ‘silver’ ‘sharp’ and ‘mirror’. Nerves not really helped by the presence of two mirrors facing each other within the main tent. However the Story Fae assure us that the mirrors are bound and thus un-usable – it seems to be decided to leave them unless something else actually came through them (don’t want to start fights and arguments with Story Fae unless we have to). Later events make me think that the creatures which killed those people were the mirror golems.
During that first evening we were attacked by Caliban and creatures termed mirror golems – presumably another Sycorax creation. A foray moved into the woods and discovered a minute mirror the size of a coin – which was promptly shattered. The Caliban were heard singing – the same song they sang at us for hours the first time we ventured into Trell. I get a strange reaction to the song – half relief that we might finally be getting close to the original Caliban, half irritation and stress at the memories of those few nights in Trell. Those who were unable to get out of the ritual circle were also unable to get in and out of the woods without the use of counterspells.
Jenniver and Trevellyan Wychwood appeared – Jenniver, once we could reach her, was dead. She had attacked Trevellyan – something he was completely bewildered by – and been killed by the Fury (thing designed to stop them killing each other). Another person reportedly appeared with them (a man in brown apparently) who ran off – presumably to report back to ‘whomever’. Despite a group setting out to look for him, this man wasn’t found. From later conversations, I’m beginning to wonder whether this man was one of the ‘Farsaillers’ or ‘Wychwood opposition force’. Trevellyan took Jenniver’s body back through the ritual circle with him, saying that he had to call the rest of the family together. From what I understand, Jenniver will have been replaced by now – there remain 7 Wychwoods.
During the night, as I sat in the command tent chatting to various people, we heard a man outside begin to shout, demanding to talk to the person in charge. That was about all I heard as I was promptly struck with a fatal wound to the head. From what I am told, Lady Katerina was hit with a decay to her chest at the same time. The man shouting turned out to be the man (we think) who took it upon himself to hold the land and the dream separate many years ago. A hero – although it seems he is cracking under the strain perhaps. From what I’m told, he reached out, pushed Alexander several times and screamed that he would bind him. When I was eventually healed (according to Sol he healed the fatal wound only to find me asleep), I ran to see Alexander and discovered that he was now bound to Albion – he had been put to sleep as he was in great pain. Various others appeared dead for at least ten minutes – including Julian Charenten and I believe Dargon – but fortunately they were not so. I have no idea why I was fatalled to the head but would like to find out.
On Saturday a wave of disease swept across the camp. I check Alexander and find a faint trace of taint within him – not a possession, rather most likely an indicator of the taint upon Albion at this time. Sol tries curing the disease within Alexander and it goes away…only to seep straight back into him. The brief second of its removal gives Alexander no relief, and so the attempts are stopped.
I was asked to look at Robert Falcon by his wife and discern if he was possessed. Doing so produced one of those funny feeling results – basically the same as one of the non-tainted Strong Ones – a psionic possession. Shortly after doing this, whilst watching the archery competition I get psionically magebolted in the head, scaring those around me quite badly I imagine. I was picked up, but a few minutes later, fall over again, bleeding from the head…mid way through telling Reyner that if it happened again, I was going inside. The second time those trying to heal me were struck mute in the first few attempts. Eventually however they found a fey who managed to finish his healing vocals. After half an hour or so of me being shooed away from Robert Falcon (1-being magebolted is never good, 2- it was really really muddy) Alexander called me over to the Falcon tent, where they had paralysed Robert. I get the feeling I’m the resident sacrifice as paralysing the possessee isn’t going to stop the thing inside it doing bad things. I approached him, to discern if he was still possessed, and a black form came out of him and fled through the side of the tent. Unsure whether that was some sort of attempt to get away from a justifiably miffed me. As Matt Luhan has noted, in that form they are vulnerable to silver. It teleports to the transport circle and then transports away.
Still not entirely sure what I ever did to the Strong Ones for them to be making a concerted effort to blow me up!
A girl was brought to camp having been rescued from the life of slavery that her father had sold her into!! Yet another cause for concern at the state of Albion…
In the evening I get presented with the opportunity to expand my experience of mind healing as Chi’ was busy killing things out in the fields. The first sign that this is probably going to be an interesting experience is when I realise that her head contains several rows of inexpertly done stitches… Sensation inside her mind is most odd – lots of areas of ‘potential’ memory and thought which I zoom down really fast; also lots of areas where the memories are separated and shut away from her. I spend ten minutes painstakingly patching her memories back together. Unfortunately as the memories from about ten days previously are not entirely pleasant, I get hit with a combination of her memory and her screaming in my ear at the same time. She comes from Londinium, and named the inn where she was meant to meet her master. The name entirely escapes me, for which I apologise, but she is being cared for at Brighthelmstane healing house at the moment if anyone wishes to go and speak to her. One of the librarians (out of Stadler and Waldorf, he’s the one with more hair…) turned up late that evening and told me he’d chopped her head open (this was NOT my idea, I sent her there for rest and recuperation!) and found blue crystals inside it. Apparently he did then fix her back up…I can’t help but worry about the effects on her mental state!
A lady called Brisane arrived in camp (either Friday or Saturday, I can’t remember), and after a lot of debating it was eventually decided to help her awaken her son. It occurs to me that perhaps he counts as the ‘longest of the sleepers’ as mentioned in the Grimoire. We are currently awaiting his arrival at Selby ritual circle…
A creature called the Genganger (something Katerina has had several encounters with) arrives and tells us we are going to Trell with it to defeat Sycorax – either that night or in the morning. In an attempt to be slightly more capable and spelled-up, Sunday is chosen.
Several people are given tokens (freely given) by the Story Fae which will protect them against mirror magics.
Torvell recites a story that she was told by the Story Fae about the Captain and the Bosun. It seems to give us the clues that we need to finally destroy the Bosun – another thing left over from our first time in Trell…it seems as though the time to defeat Sycorax is upon us.
The Story Fae head off into the surroundings woods to deal with the remnants of Caliban and mirrors therein.
Alexander begins to give a speech/explanation of the days plans, but collapses half way through. I can tell he wants to go to Trell and kill Sycorax but in his condition he would probably end up dead. Alastair Crowlee is put in charge instead, and we split up into various groups – I make sure Alastair knows that if I keel over, it probably means something astoundingly bad is near.
The Genganger appears, and it is decided that we go through the faery circles again into Trell. Even through the nerves, I can’t help but find the sight of the healers guild dancing and bouncing around a tree vastly amusing. Dancing done, we all find ourselves in Trell. Excellent communications start up, and various Caliban are picked off. I start to get a sense that something nasty is ‘that way’ – notice with some interest that the Genganger has also headed straight in that direction. Glycell appoints herself on temporary ‘Kia-watch’ (thank you!) and relays the fact that there’s something nasty quite close. We walk a little further, step into a field at which point…at which point it is realised that this is where the fight will take place because:
1 – there’s lots and lots of Caliban and mirror golems and Grolloch demons
2 – I fall over nearly unconscious
I suppose the short version of the fight is that everyone fought very well, Amryel strode out to shatter Sycorax’s mirrors, Sycorax’s glamour fell away from her, and she was eventually battered into the floor by all Harts present. When she died, as with Mad Bill, a wave of corrupting energy was released.
Glycell and I took a brief moment to dance around Trell in a pleased fashion. The Genganger thanked us all for our aide and then vanished.
All returned to Broad Oak, bar Chi’, Corrigan and myself. We spent the next week in Trell – and it is in a poor state indeed. I think it will require a lot of help to get the tribes within it through this winter.
This report is by no means a full account of what happened whilst we were at Broad Oak, merely a recounting of the things that I was involved in – hence a lot of ‘I’.