Gerry didn’t want breakfast. Or coffee. The guys tried to trick me into getting punched in the face. Those guys, seriously. Always a riot. Anyway, borrowed some horses, rode out. We’re
going to try and find out where this army came from. Sent the horses back and traded up to some new ones we found on the way, the usual deal. I’d prefer a car, but I’m guessing that won’t fly where we’re going. [Note to self: Flying cars. Investigate].
Did the schlepping horses through the trees thing for a bit. Tracked down that sorceror guy (Conroy? Comrade? Conrad?) we left behind just before the Big Fiasco. He was no longer being followed around by a metal ostrich. He’d made himself a fire-breathing metal horse instead. Seriously. A fiery metal horse. Now I owe Jules an apology about that dig about overcompensating.
Explained he could not take that with us as we’d bring the giant army that almost killed us down on our heads. Didn’t go down well. Explained in smaller words. Still no dice. Considered shooting him in the face but Brand wold probably get upset as he’s one of his creations, or something. Maybe he’s art. Had to compromise and let him ride on ahead. Far, far ahead. Deniably far ahead.
Followed shadow path (which was weird – didn’t travel for long but went way past any of the normal skies). Did not pass through enemy camp as expected (which was weird, but convenient enough, so probably a horrible trap). Found small city on a plain. Sorceror-guy was (and I just want to record, for the record, that I bothered to sober up for this suicide mission) riding around the city on his fire breathing horse terrifying the locals while disguised (with magic, I assume) as the four horsemen of the unicorn-damned apocalypse. Tried to make the best of it and pretended to panic like the locals, signalled him to move off and keep attention off us. He grinned clippity-clanged straight over to us.
Straight over. With everyone who wasn’t screaming and panicking looking right at him.
I think I made a noise adequately transcribed as “Hnnnnrrrggnnngh”.
I get no respect. None of my brothers or sisters have to put up with this shit. Decided not to get into it while within sight of possibly the enemy stronghold and just rode off into shadow: Better than dying in a hail of arrows followed by a cavalry charge.
Could not shake the sorceror for a while, eventually Z-man and Phil decided to go back to the city with him. Figured that was a shame, they seem like nice guys. Even if Z-man can’t drive drunk at all.
Decided to scout out shadow nearby with Aron while the city calmed down. Called in to Deirdre with situation. She took it well, all things considered.
Spent the day checking out the local shadow approaches. Someone had twisted up all the local shadows, impossible to walk in by accident, difficult to do it on purpose, but found a way round. Got a call from Zed saying the city was locked down. Asked him to keep checking it out and call back in another 6ish hours.
Called back by Zed. Phil wanted to know if they should stay at the gate or go investigate the local trading post which wasn’t locked down. Was having a bad day so told him to Prince it up a notch and just take charge of the situation over there. They discovered it was the encampment we’d originally been expecting to find. Which put it on the wrong side of the city, which meant our enemy could just up and change shadow paths at will.
Not good, but good to know.
Eventually got into the city through the sewers. Z called in and said they’d made it too.
Genuinely surprised, as last I heard Captain Firehorse wanted to ride in and declare himself God-King of the place, so had assumed they’d all die horribly on the nearest altar.
Told them to play it cool and get eyes on the leader of this place (Chaan – Zed and Phil found that out, same name we got from the guy we interrogated before the Big Fiasco) and/or whoever’s puppetting him. Said we’d do the same.
Called in to update Deirdre, got same orders back.
Place turned out to be kind of a dump, city wise. Just a glorified fort with the Obvious Tower of Trapped Trappiness in the middle. Time passed. I don’t know magic and Aron said neither did he. Couldn’t get to the tower, so waited and watched. Saw Phil go by once. Got a report from Zed saying Captain Firehorse said he thing was totally magically sealed up and impregnable. Sadly, as no other experts available, had to accept his assessment. Phil said they’re getting supplies from outside, no way the city could have been self supporting.
Called in, woke up Bleys, he had a quick look and said support would be there in the morning, and call just before dawn. Napped.
Morning: Gated in Bleys and La Grande Fromage Magique herself. Got a call from Zed, told him to hang fire for 5 minutes and call back. Fi informed me we only had 3, so we might as well go Now!, cracked the wards and blinked out with Bleys.
Decided thinking wasn’t going to help at this point and charged in, with rest of gang bravely following far enough back to see if I died. Fired through jet-black doorway and then dived through, plan was stab first and ask later. Doorway turned out to be a portal with Osric (boo!) on the other side. He’d just been shot in the shoulder (woo!) probably by some incredibly dashing, brave and skillful Prince of Amber. He seemed upset.
Tried shoot again but no dice in whatever shadow I’d just popped to. Ran for it back through the portal. Tried to stop Aron heading in as I dived out, but couldn’t.
Rest of group (well, Zed and Phil: no sign of the Man Who Would Be God-King) still bravely guarding the empty square outside against an attack from the rear. Gave general order for disorderly reteat to Zed, grabbed Phil since I didn’t know if he had cards yet, started blinking out. Zed blinked out first. No sign of Aron. Decided I’d been brave enough for one day, had the info we came for, blinked out.
Bleys went back for Aron once briefed. Amazingly, Aron still alive. Having thought about this since, assume Osric put some kind of horrible delayed effect curse in him, although he says not. Clearly also been mindwiped.
Went to debriefing. Turns out it’s not just the Oz the wizard. It’s also his strategically shaved ape Finn. Kind of what we thought, would have been nice to be wrong.
Got a medal off Deirdre! Ok, it’s not an official medal till Dad or Ben says so, but I’m counting it: I shot Oz and mostly got away. If Corwin did that he’d write a damned ballad about it. Oh, wait, he did write a ballad about it. Brand tricked me into humming it in front of Eric once and I ended up hanging from a flagpole all night. Good times.
PS: Stop reading my diary, you nosy creep.