[Hit and Run]
Some time past what was once Avalon, the Umbral Stalker sailed upon a naval battle between Amber and her allies versus a large force of pirates. The ships captain could not be bothered with combat, so instead of taking up arms, she just ran the colors of Bethany the Black, and readied the super-gun on her ship. All of the vessels from both sides scattered out of the way like kids playing street hockey yielding to a Buick. Apparently, it is maritime law in Amber to get out of Bethany’s way. In any case, it’s a good idea. Captain Jameson thought about taking advantage of the confusion, but all it earned him was a vengeful strike from the mega-cannon. As the Umbral Stalker pressed on toward Amber, Jameson was left sinking with several of Amber’s ships moving to rescue the pirates or, finish the job.
[Pick Up the Pieces]
When Crystal had come to, she was no longer behind the wheel of the DMC-12, her enigmatic companion was. He was behind the wheel and cruising down a well maintained costal highway. After a stilted silence, Crystal took a breath but she was interrupted before she could even begin.
Reese handed her a PC tablet from out of the Jing. “You’ll want to read over this, all the important information is in side.”
Crystal shot a suspicious glance at the driver and started to glance over the material. Meanwhile, Reese made a call on the center consol’s screen. After two rings a young women of Asian descent appeared on screen.
“Look what the cat dragged back. Hello Aunt Crystal.”
“Who’s that?” asked a curious Crystal.
“Your niece, my daughter, Tomo” said Reese as he punctuated the commentary with a rev matched downshift. “What have I missed, sweetheart?”
“Arden is taking a beating, things look fine here.”
“Who’s in Arden?”
“Where are we, where’s Arden?” asked Crystal.
“It’s in the file.”
Tomo continued, “Doc Oc, The Destroyer of Worlds (Emerson), and Amon.”
“No big names from Chaos?”
“Good, there’s time. We’re approaching access W7, can you have a train waiting?”
“Already there. See you in twenty.” The screen when back to the GPS map.
The car approaches a road gate in front of a security door built into the mountain side. Beyond it there was a train full of empty flatbed cars and the pair drove onto the closest one and the train slowly pulled away from the empty station. After a few dozen meters, the tunnel opened up to a massive underground cave.
“Look up the file named ‘The Pattern’. It’s what you saw in Marek’s sword and you’ll be seeing it very soon. There’s nothing to worry about, you’ll do fine. Though, if you don’t take it seriously, it will kill you.”
After a lot of answered questions and some debate they arrived in the Pattern Room, level EEE. In the bottom, Tomo and Hala were waiting. Hala managed to trick Crystal into psychic contact (she always falls into traps). After rifling through her mind like a rolodex, she clears out some of the clutter and with a smile she brings Crystal to her senses. Sensibly, Crystal reaches for Hala’s neck but is thwarted with Hala sneaking forward a grenade. Only Crystal flinches, reconsiders, and considers the Pattern properly.
Crystal walks the Earth Pattern and then after a large dinner, Rhys informers her of the state of current events. She’s still confused, but commits to memory everything that he tells her on faith that it will all make perfect sense in the morning after they go to Amber.
In the morning, they take to Amber, and go straight to the Pattern. Rhys brings an iced cooler of craft beers for Torg and the guard. Before she assays it, Rhys hands her a shoulder bag with her equipment and some other supplies. Crystal walks it to its center. Before she disappears, she thanks Rhys. Rhys feels a powerful force step off of the Black road. A grin forms across his face as he disappears back to Earth. Rescuing Crystal was a good way to kill time until this moment. A class five shadowstorm was coming, and he had the perfect project ready to weather out the storm.
[Hydra and Hendrake in the House]
The skies over Arden darken and the draconic cavalry of House Hendrake descend. House Hydra returns with genuine nights and chaos born sorcerers. Octavius casually makes a retrograde maneuver with the troops and personally engages the dragon cavalry. The gauntlet is auto casting pattern explosions. The logrus users are trying to prematurely set them off to stem the danger. Enonia starts to strip logrus off the enemy and makes Octavius more effective. The Amberites hold the line, for now.
[Meanwhile in Arden…]
…Amon is keeping deamons off the battlefield by intercepting them in Arden with the Ardenites. This goes well, until he faces off against an eight-legged bearcat. The chain comes out for the first time today. The battle rages back and forth. Then it grabs the chain, pulls him in, grabs with the front, and rakes with the back. The monkey occupies the four other legs. Eventually, they break off each other with all parties very wounded. Amon pursues, trumps Hala at random. She gives him a pink grenade (no pin) and he hucks it, and mames the gracklefox. He’s getting very dizzy at this point. The beast goes for a killing blow, but Jonas comes in riding a dragon and steals the kill. Amon bites out its eye and he passes out.
The Umbral Stalker arrives in Amber. Circe and Aiden take Young Clarissa through the city and Circe leads them all to the Grove of the Unicorn. As they’re looking around, Clarissa screams, Circe looks at her, and she stabs Circe with a poisoned knife. From the edge of the grove, a nobleman in fine dress comes out. It is Duke Mandore.
“I couldn’t have planed it better myself.” He says.
“Interesting” remarks Aiden.
“Well, well, well, I went to all that trouble to kidnap her and I assumed that it would be Amon or someone else, but to get you here right here that’s better than I could have imagined!” At the precipice of laughter he walks over to Circe laying on the ground, bleeding to death. “You’re dying, baring a miracle. It’s nothing personal; you’re just a means to an end to bring a balance to the equation.”
It was then that the unicorn appears. Mandore looks first at it, and then to Aiden. Aiden draws a sword.
Mandore commands: “don’t kill it, mame it. Cut of the horn. When it goes to heal her, because you won’t let your own granddaughter, will you? Aiden, you’re here for this purpose. This is why i brought you out of the Abyss.”
The unicorn walks over to Circe.
“I’m not worth that much.” protests Circe; blood running out of her mouth.
The unicorn nuzzles against her.
“Dara, finish it.” Commands Mandore.
Clarissa grabs Aiden’s ankle and dominates him. Circe tries to intervene but the Unicorn protects her. The swing comes out and the horn clatters to the ground.
Mandore grabs it. The blade (Manifest Destiny) and it disappears. The poison lifts.
“Dara release him.” Commands Mandore, and she does.
The unicorn turns, nuzzles Clarissa and limps into the woods.
“I’ll be going now, you both have a war to win, good luck!” Cackles Mandore as he moves to exit.
“Sensei, you forgot something. Your poison knife” says Aiden as he thrusts it into Mandore
The blow is blocked by logrus defense.
Mandore smiles. “Keep it.” With that, he calmly leaves.
[Riders on the Storm]
Enonia feels what Rhys felt four sections in the log ago. She knows that it is Suhuy that has arrived. He enters and calls to Enonia. Rhys feels the call too, specifically to him as well. He doesn’t trust it and answers the call with Pattern Defense. Suhuy is on the field dressed as a high priest of Chaos.
Enonia is there to greet him. “So you would make you stake in this? You know I can’t let you pass.”
“I would have it no other way. It almost saddens me that you’re a child of Oberon.”
“You need to come to grips with your fear of us. The student will surpass you; first you, then the King, then Mandore, then the bastard who raised me.”
“We can fight this forever, Enonia.”
“It’s nothing personal, but it has to be to face what’s coming.”
“The Doom, The Broken One, The Forgotten Child. Maybe you’re strong enough if it is you that is to face her.” Suhuy pauses, looks at the field of battle surrounding them. “Shall we?”
The field of Camlin shatters into a thousand planes as the two unleash upon each other, no holds bar. A massive shadowstorm starts in the field and grows.
[The Prodigal Son Returns]
Hexian wakes up. He is very weak. He has a tan and hurts in a lot of places. He can’t remember anything after kicking Caius into the Abyss. As he’s waking, a servant girl comes in.
“Oh you’re awake, I’ll tell the master.”
“Stop. Who is master? Tell me or ill kill you.”
“Um…I’m across the room…please don’t kill me..?”
“It’s supposed to be a surprise.” She bolts before he bothers to ask.
After a fashion, Oberon walks in.
“Oh…I can’t kill you…”
“No you can’t, but I do suppose I owe you an explanation.”