[The Battle Arrives]
When the first of Chaos’ Hordes arrives, Enonia is the only Amberite present to command Amber’s forces. The Armies of Amber total 500,000 men and are boosted by 500 Kashvan sorcerers and their 1,000-man guard. Defenses are drawn on the Field of Camlann, a site that has hosted numerous battles in the past. The archers have no problem laying to waste the first couple of waves. By the fifth wave, Enonia unleashes her Nightmare Child. So far, the forces of Amber have suffered only a few casualties.
Meanwhile, out in Shadow, Octavius places a casual trump call to Amon, who answers, and the pair teleport to the Castle Gate of Amber. Upon assessing the condition of Amon, Octavius casts a spell of healing onto Amon which also starts to make his skin burn. Octavius casually takes off for the front lines and Amon hobbles for the castle infirmary. Along the way in, Amon Trumps Emerson, who appears. Once in the infirmary, they opt out of Octavius’ healing magic, which stops the burning sensation (funny coming from Octavius…).
Octavius arrives casually at the front lines, casting spells, and Enonia hands over the reins of command to him. The fight drags on into the night as monsters get bigger and bigger, and actual troops, red eyed denizens of not-so-nice shadows, keep rolling in. By the end of the day, Amber’s forces have suffered 1000 casualties.
After a day and a half of fighting…the first deamons arrive. The first truly horrible one is a 40’ segmented beast with faces that are vaguely anthriod and it is covered in talons and scythes. As it lumbers across the field of battle, it belches forth swarms of burning flies. Enonia tries to bind it only to discover that it’s five-in-one and designed to thwart attempts ad binding. It’s one of Cranmore’s pet projects. Enonia sunders it to a pocket shadow and hucks it deep into shadow. The daemon is long gone but the hucking made the Black Road stronger.
With Amon re-assembled, Emerson goes to help out holding the front lines. There he consumes and transforms into a digging creature that deploys a “hose” to reach way out to the sea to divert water into the newly dug moat. Amon goes to meet up with the Ardenites with pattern weapons courtesy of Octavius.
After three days, the first ranks of House Hydra reach Arden. The road is in full form.
[The Barimen Identity]
Crystal leaves her house armed to the teeth in a fortified matte-black classic Charger. Right now, her only lead is Dr. Carlson, so she’s going to head back and nab him during his commute home. Using the power of the internet, she’s able to e-stalk him. When the moment is right, she clips him in traffic, spinning out his beige Japanese sedan. Feigning helpfulness, she helps him out of his car. Once his guard is down, she breaks his cell phone and throws him in her trunk.
Later at a favorite deserted gravel pit of hers, she interrogates him. The threat of torture is enough to get him to start spilling his beans. He tells her that he was under threat from a government agent to keep her under sedation. He only has a phone number and a description: tall, dark hair, sinister glasses, and he wore white gloves. After two solid hours of berating, she cuts him loose with a veiled threat about the Doctor’s children. She hits the highway.
Aiden interrogates the (re-animated) head of one of the slain logrus users while Circe and Kored see to their wounds. The head tells them that they were guarding her in the ruins to the east. The ruins turn out to being a crashed space hulk. The damage looks as if it were dropped down from orbit.
The three enter the ship and start working toward a brig or someplace where they’d keep a little girl. In the ship, and a possible reason for its crash, they find a hole burned into the wall via acid. Then and there, Circe looks up and sees a metallic spider thing up there and it shrieks at her. She shoots it, spraying acidic goo everywhere. The goo builds more out of the bulkheads after a short time. They bolt. Aiden increases their probability in finding the girl. They run past a tight door only to find a barricaded passage. Beyond it, they find a hovel and the bed is still warm. Before much more gets said. Kored has a gun put to his head and a hand with nails on his throat.
He got nabbed from out of the shadows by a girl in rags. She demands to know who everyone is. Aiden introduces himself, and his companions. There is some uncomfortable discussion as to who Circe is at that given moment. After a bit of convincing, they all shadow walk to Circe’s boat. Once they arrive at Circe’s boat, the girl stops. Circe talks her onto the boat by telling her that she’s not in the kidnapping business, she’s in the killing people business.
Once they finally get her aboard, Aiden tired to make psychic contact and tries to touch her, and she spikes his head off the deck and she bounds across the ship and pulls out a knife. Aiden says he’s trying to get questions about ‘survival’ and that Circe needs to take her to the Grove of the Unicorn. Circe says that she’s been there and it was pretty interesting. Aiden adds that it will be more interesting this time. Kored goes to the stern castle to raise the colors of house Pander. Clarissa climbs up into the rigging and Aiden heads down below…meditating.
[Back to the Future]
It took a long time, even with the Jewel of Judgment, but he had finally found her. Looking at her psyche through the Lens was like looking at her through a kaleidoscope. She was on a shadow of Earth. The shadow was on the other side of Avalon, but it wasn’t all that different. The biggest difference was that things here made sense using action movie logic instead of real-world-boring. This will be fun thought Rhys. He handed over the keys to Tomo and put himself in a Delorian DMC 12 with the time travel options and a refined V-10 instead of the committee built PVR engine that the real thing came with.
Crystal thunders into Houston’s downtown. It is past midnight, and the highway are next to vacant. Before long, she notices that she’s being tailed. It becomes so blatant that the driver is going out of his or her way to make it obvious. It’s a distinctive car as well, lots of sharp angles, silver color. The other driver switches on his dome light right when she’s looking back. It’s man who matches Dr. Carlson’s description. He waves a gloved hand while sporting a very sinister smile.
Spooked, Crystal takes the chase into the city and up to the top of a parking deck. She spins around the car exposing the passenger side and hops out, taking cover behind the front wheels. When her tail turns around the corner at the opposite end he parks the car and slowly opens the gull-wing door and gets out.
Not hesitating, Crystal empties a pair of machine pistols into the enigmatic man who slowly approaches her. None of the bullets so much as scratch him. The second volley of fire involves bigger bullets and more of them with a grenade on top.
After the smoke clears, there’s no sign of the man.
Crystal spins to the right to see her target casually leaning on the C pillar.
“Who are you?! What did you want from me?!”
Crystal back steps to in front of the car with an uzi pointed toward the man.
“Who am i? I’m Dr. Barringer. A better question is who are you? What’s your name? Where were you born? What’s your mother’s name? Who is your father?”
“You can’t tell me, can you?”
“Shut up! You did this to me! “YOU PUT SOMETHING IN MY HEAD!”
“There’s nothing in your head. I’ll tell you who you are. Your name is Crystal Barimen. I am your brother, and who ever did this you, wanted you out of the picture. You’re like me; very hard to kill, and this was the simplest way to keep you under control. Tonight, that ends.”
“How do I know that I can trust you? What if this is another trap.”
“You can’t, and you won’t. However, you’re also out of leads. If you want to figure this out, shut up and get in the car.” Dr. Barringer nods to his car.
“Who the [expletive] is in there?” She asks as a tattooed hand waves out the window.
Seeing an opportunity, Crystal drops a flash bomb and splits.
“Your timing is fantastic, Marek! Could you have appeared ten minutes ago, or ten minutes from now? I almost had her convinced.”
“Crystal. Her mind got scrambled by some kind of Logrus shenanigans.”
“Really? Did you ask Enonia about that?”
“She was dodgier than normal, so she knows more about it than she can or wants to reveal; the usual. What’s up with you?”
“I need to know where the other things are.”
“The things that you were looking for about the other thing you can’t talk about?”
“Those are the ones.”
“I don’t know off the top of my head. The trump users in the family have come up with one that I know of, but Hala might have one. She finds things that she shouldn’t all of the time.”
“Hmmm…I’ll keep that in mind.”
“So…how are things going?”
“Meh…somewhere between so-so and not well.”
“Anything specific that I should know about?”
“Well, I wouldn’t want to be here soon.”
Crystal comes walking out of the shadows with a gun aimed at the two.
“Just who are you people, and what the heck where you going on about just now?”
“We’re your family.” Said Marek with a ridiculous grin on his face. “Do you mind pointing that thing at him? I’m not all that bullet-proof.”
Marek slowly steps out of the car with his hands up. “Can I show you something?” He asks.
Crystal nods. “Slowly.”
Marek slowly draws his sword which has the Pattern forged into its blade. Once Crystal sees it, she is transfixed by it.
“I should know what that is, shouldn’t I?” She asks with out looking away.
“If you’d come along, I’ll explain it all. You can even drive.” Says Rhys as he tosses Crystal the keys.
“It’s probably time for you two to go anyhow.”
“Alright…but I’m putting this gun away.”
“Have it your way, just get in.”
Rhys takes Marek’s seat and punches the date on True Earth into the dash. Crystal gets in and looks over all of the electronics in the car. She notices the facsimile of the Pattern in the flux capacitor. Marek had already disappeared into the Jing.
“Which way do I drive?”
“It doesn’t matter; just floor it.”
“Where are we going?”
“To the future. To some truth.”
Crystal floors it right towards the edge of the roof and the instant before they would hit the edge barrier, there’s a flash of light and they’re gone.