Frozen Iron: The Icy Shores

Rough Start
Royal

Things could probably be going more smoothly. Granted, we’ve come up a bit in the world since a few days ago, I still would have preferred a cleaner reentry into “civilized” society.

I awoke, wounded but alive, to find that plans were already in the works. The local Courts, as they call themselves, sent some gentlemen to make sure I didn’t go and get more holes put in myself. The others worked out something with them… I wasn’t really in a condition to help. I guess they’ll give us some lodging, food and protection in exchange for us doing something-or-other in the future. Seems fair enough.

The nurse, CJ, had tattoos peaking out of her scrubs. Intriguing. She looked young enough, disenchanted with the world, and, as she divulged, interested in enhanced perceptive states. I have to be honest, I was a bit overeager to secure her friendship, but all this morose crap since our return has got me looking for any escape I can find. She seemed cool, so I pressed. Probably a bit too hard, but she agreed to meet me after a shift in the park where she lights up. Lire bought us pipes, so why not?

Blah blah blah we talk with these guys from the Summer Court. They seem to like ass-kicking for ass-kicking’s sake, and that’s not really my deal, life-threatening wounds notwithstanding. I get it in the abstract – someone’s gotta pluck the weeds – but I’d prefer that someone to not be me (or Lire). Then again, dangers do seem to abound of late. The coffee sucked. We learned a bit about the Courts and Fetches and the naggingly present, narrow world of Being What We Are. One of the guys is a Knight, whatever that means in Duluth, Minnesota. So far the whole Changeling deal wasn’t piquing my interest… But then they showed us the Hedge garden, full of interesting fruit that heals wounds, fills you with magic and imparts wisdom. I guess I could get used to that. Somewhere in there we met Bob the Pug-Faced. Seemed nice enough, but wasn’t selling me on Court life with his coke-bottle glasses and stick-in-the-ass demeanor.

We holed up in a little apartment. Sam made himself a nest. Stella and Lire shared a bed, I got the other one, and Zai slept on the floor. Good on Lire, too. I was thinking maybe Stella for myself, but she’s taken a bit of a turn for the dour, and that’s really Lire’s department. There are tears in there that I think a bout of vigorous lovemaking might shake loose instead of allay. I must admit, I stayed up a bit making sure everyone was alright, and even the gargoyle is starting to grow on me. If I make my way up the ranks to Spring King or whatever, he can be my Chief Pilferer of Funds, Lire can be the Minister of Springtime Shade, Stella can be Scribe Laureate of Illicit Activities, and Zai can be the Royal Tree. Yeah, that wouldn’t be that bad.

They inform us of the locations of our fetches. Lire doesn’t have one. It hurts that I can’t help, but I know at that moment I’m the person he wants to talk to least. I leave him with Stella and hope he doesn’t do anything stupid. I bring Zai to the park to meet CJ.

Zai has a good time, at least. She plays in the trees and seems to be quite at home. I leave her to it. Imagine my surprise when I find the local dealer, parked right there in plain sight, has thorns around his eyes. Looks like the Lost are few, but their influence is wide. I suppose I’ll have to try harder if I want to carve out my own space away from them.

CJ shows up, and I’m overeager again. We smoke and talk. I show her my healed wounds and convince her to let me ensorcell her. I must not have done a great job explaining it, either, because it blows her damn mind when it happens. I show her what I look like, the dealer and his thorns, Zai in the trees, the whole deal. I guess I figured nurses see a lot of shit as it is, and she, more than most, seemed like the type who might roll with it. Whoops. I have to make a Pledge to ensorcell (so many rules), so she agrees to bring me to a concert so I can meet her friends. As far as I know, that’s still on even though she got out of there pretty quickly. It will be good to meet some new people, and maybe after some time to process, she’ll want to try again. She said she paints, so maybe she’ll find some inspiration in it.

Zai and I chat up in a tree. She makes the trees dance with her woods magic. It’s peaceful.

We get invited to a Christmas party with some other Lost, and it’s not a bad time. In particular, I meet this woman named Alice who came with a quiet fellow. He disappears to find… chicken wings? donuts? I don’t remember. She’s frosty-looking and beautiful; her Mien is a welcome break from everything else we’ve seen. She exudes competence, and she’s very direct. We flirt, Stella cautions me against pushing further, and we flirt some more. It may have been the failure with CJ, or the fact that I had to sleep alone (not blaming anyone), but I was starved for touch. The others chased down their various interests, and I spent the night in a nice apartment working at politics and playing at love. Maybe losing at one, but debt is its own kind of connection. And who am I to turn down a night of enjoyment in favor of caution? So I indulge. This side of the Courts is one I could very much enjoy, I think.

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Sticking Around

I know I could have ignored the exhaustion if I wanted to, heck, I could ignore it if I just let go of this world we came back to. Just let go of this mortal world and slip away from its rules and order, back to where I was.. back to what I was. It was my brother who brought me back. Reminded me of everything. Between the reassurance and bravado I felt fear and terrible promise. He’d nearly been killed by that thing and if then…

It’s early in the morning according to the clocks, whatever authority they have here in a hospital waiting room lit up like mid-summer’s night at the north pole. Stella must have moved because I’m momentarily awake – she and Zai are talking about something with some other guys.. I don’t know. Seeing my brother stable and already hitting on his nurse brought me back again. I will sleep – it’s what the humans do.

I still feel tired when we’re kicked out at the ass crack of dawn. That’s good – I’d be worried right now if I felt fine and ready to go. Right outside, waiting for us are an elk and a Yeti – knights, well, one of them at least. There’s apparently some terminology to learn. They’re sorry that we got into that mess with the pirates and that Royal was nearly killed. Stella and Zai may have made some kind of pact with them for our security. But first things first – food, and coffee, which I apparently have a strong desire for now. Mother usually gave me coffee scorched and acrid, and every so often, perfect, so I’d know exactly what I didn’t deserve. Coffee’s an acquired taste, though, and the dive diner we went to got it just right for me – acidic, notes of ash, served just hot enough to make you sip it and burn your tongue.

They’re both courtiers of Summer. All about protection and fighting. Apparently the Freehold is aware of us and was trying to protect us at a distance, and the near-abduction of Zai and near-death of Royal wounded their pride. We talk. Joining the Freehold and becoming part of the scene here is an option, but for now they want control over our contact with other changelings. I’m not keen on the oversight, but their desire to not have us dragged off back to Arcadia appeals. We get room & board, plus security until the new year in exchange for some favor within our abilities. New Year’s Day is ‘auspicious’ – if we want to join, that’ll be the day. We’ve got some time to mull it over and meet the nice ‘people’ we’re allowed to meet.

The Summer guys wanted to make sure we knew to deal with our ‘fetches’ – those things that took our place in this world. They’re mostly of the opinion that we need to dispatch ours as soon as we can, but not everyone seems to feel that way. Sam seems seriously worried about his fetch, which apparently may be leading some sort of an army now. We wake up to find cards with the current locations of our fetches on them – well, most of us do. Royal gets one but I don’t. I guess I should be happy to not have a lethal copy of myself running around. I should be glad that Royal’s fetch doesn’t have a brother to back him up, but I’m not. It feels like a parting shot from Mother and it cuts deeper than anything has in a long, long time. I don’t deserve a fetch. I’m not worth one. It’s her way of punishing me, of reinforcing how unworthy I am, and driving a wedge between me and her lover.

Right then and there I should have told Royal how I felt, but I didn’t – her snare had me and I pulled away. He went off to meet the nurse he was interested in and I.. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I wanted to go confront it – find out for sure that there was really only one, and then, I don’t know, kill it. Or have it kill me. Or go back There altogether and give up on returning to this world. I was so fucking angry. Right where she wanted me.

Stella was there though, and she listened. I have so little room for anyone but my brother, but she was there too and listened to me vent my rage. She helped me come back from the edge. Whatever we do with the fetch we’ll do it together, and I will stand by my brother as he stands by me.

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Plans

By Lire Freemont

We are not alone. That’s not really surprising, but good to know all the same. There’s at least one significant group of things like us in the area built around courts, and apparently at least one mob of indeps keen on abducting recently returned clueless kids like us. The twitchy, paranoid gargoyle is convinced we’re in terrible danger and he’s probably right, but whatever. As far as me & Royal are concerned, danger or not, there’s a hell of a lot of opportunity too.

I think we’re on the right track now, well most of us. Royal got hugely fucked up trying to save one of our would-be captors from some Things in the Hedge. We got him to a hospital though, and he’s got this smirk that shines through all the drugs and says he knows how much of a crazy bad-ass stunt he pulled. I’m not sure how we’ll get him out when they finally start asking about who he is and how he’s going to pay, but we’ll think of something.

One thing is abundantly clear – we need to stick together, or we all get fucked one by one. The group of ‘pirates’ we ran into was bad enough. Stupid confidence game. They pretend they’re our friends and get us drinking and then snatch Zai when our guard’s down. Whoever’s in these courts are likely to pretend to be our friends as well and will probably try to play a longer game. They won’t just try getting us drunk and dragging us through a bathroom mirror, though.

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Hungover
By Zai Symon

I’m never doing that again. My head hurts and the lights in here are too bright and my mouth feels like cotton and tastes like bitter acid. Gross. Why do so many people look like they’re having fun when they drink beer? This is awful. And what’s worse, I can hardly remember last night.

I remember a dude that looked like a boat and Stella shushing me when I talked loudly about the Bagman. And I remember the sound of a mirror breaking and a wolf howling and waking up in a huge bush and running as fast as I could. I think someone knocked me out. Or, no, maybe I passed out. I know I was unconscious at some point.

But as awful as all this is, they all came in to save me. They could have just left me, but they came. Even Sam. I don’t know how I’m going to repay them. I don’t have any skills, and I barely understand what I am as a Changeling. I’m so dependent on them for everything: money, knowledge, company, safety. And Gwendolyn is more a nuisance than anything else. You can’t exactly take a badger out on a leash. I wonder could I learn a spell or something that would make her look different to humans like we all look different to humans.

I need to figure things out and I need to start learning on my own. But how? I’m pretty sure the reason everyone had to come rescue me was because some other Changelings we met turned out to be bad guys. How do we know who to trust? I wonder is there a library for us somewhere. Stella knows a lot from her books, so maybe I could learn from there. So that’s what I’ll do; I’ll search out a library with stuff on Changelings so I can start pulling my weight. I know how to get Glamor now, though maybe next time I’ll try being nice instead of being evil. Stella disapproved of the way I drank in that kid’s greed. I should have tried to help instead. That’s the new outlook: help wherever you can and learn stuff in order to become independent.

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Samantha
by Royal Freemont

Everything freezes.

She’s standing there, panicked, pointing the gun at me. The narrow briar-lined path we’re on stretches behind her, down to the water’s edge. A boat is waiting, but between us and the boat is a massive wolf, a lean nightmare with hardened hide and dripping jaws.

She hasn’t seen it yet, hasn’t heard it crash through the brush and onto the path. She thinks her friends have waited for her. “Back off, asshole,” she says with a smirk, feet trying to find the path behind her.

I pause to look her over. I have time, after all. Hair like the spray of sea crashing on rocks. Blue-green eyes. Curves beneath practical clothing. Tall. She looks damn good holding that gun. Tattoos lace her face, adding to the storybook surreality of her presence that drew me in at the bar. Who did this to you? What do you fear so much that you would hurt others like you?

“You’re already dead, Sam.”

“Fuck you,” she flings back, but her confidence wavers. She looks behind her and sees the creature, still frozen in time. Its eyes are trained on her.

My friends are behind me now. Not enough bullets to shoot all of us, I wager. I extend my hand to her, slowly. “It’ll be okay. Come with us. I won’t hurt you. Hell, if it helps, I’ll even Pledge on it.”

She slowly lowers the gun, eyeing me up and down. She’s made this choice before, between death and surrender. She steps towards me, cautiously, and takes my hand. Time gradually returns, and we run together.

I awaken. The stitches have come loose somewhere, and I’m bleeding through the bandages that cover my right side. It’s 3 AM. The hospital is quiet save for the occasional padding by of a heavyset nurse in scrubs. Lire is asleep in his chair by my bed, strangely comfortable on its minimalist cushioning. He carried me here, I assume. Thank you, brother.

Sam is dead. Sam is dead and Ken is dead and I’m alive. Did I kill them? I let Ken take up the rear alone, let him get dashed against the corridor wall as I ran. I delayed Sam, couldn’t communicate through the panic and the wrestling for the gun, then dropped her when the wolf caught up to me and tore open my side. Not fast enough, not strong enough.

No, I refuse to collapse like that. There is no room for fear, Samantha, no room for self-doubt. I won’t fall prey to this singular fear of Them that drives this mad world we’ve come back to. I won’t hurt and betray people out of fear, just to be the strongest rat scrabbling for his life amongst rats. When the Privateers or the Others or the next damned creature out of Hell comes to find me, they will find I’ve forgotten all about them. They will have to politely knock and be invited into my world, where their fear and hate buy them nothing. And you won’t be a Privateer there, Sam. You’ll greet visitors with a carefree smile, ask them their names and whether the traffic was bad on the way over.

… but all in due time. For now, I think I will dream another morphine dream, and rescue you from the path once more.

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Escape
By Zai Symon

I’m out. I’m not sure how long I was in that horrible place, but Gwendolyn did her spell like she said she would and now I’m out. No more glass cases. I wonder what will happen to the others. Probably more of the same.

When Gwendolyn knocked like we had agreed, I ducked low and followed her to a hole in the wall. I made myself small and then, all of a sudden, I was tumbling down in the dark and I landed in the wet. I tried to talk to Gwendolyn, but something broke when we left that place, and she doesn’t seem to talk anymore. She stays by my side, but we can no longer speak to one another. I also didn’t want to make too much noise, because I clearly wasn’t alone. There were moving glowing lines and shuffling and splashing. I huddled in my corner and tried not to make too much noise, but it was so cold. So cold.

Then, I saw the bush and remembered those berries. I had seen the Monster eat them and burp fire. I knew they would make me warm. I started toward them, keeping close to the wall, but there was water everywhere, and I couldn’t help but make noise. Gwendolyn’s splashing made me cringe, but no one seemed to notice us. As I approached the bush, I heard someone groaning and pulling on the door, making an awful lot of racket. The few people over by where I fell in didn’t seem too concerned with him, but I stayed wary. When I was almost to the bush, the rest spotted me. And then one of them turned into a human torch.

I froze. There were these two huge men, and this great ugly bull thing, and a beautiful woman with gold eyes wearing a man’s jacket. I stayed away from the man on fire and spent my time by the woman, Stella, which also meant staying near her minotaur, Ken, who was actually nicer than he first appeared. Stella gave me a berry and I felt warmer despite my lack of clothing. We went into another room and some creatures came (I think they’re called hobs) and offered us a deal to get out. The men did most of the dealing (they seem to have a talent for convincing people), but we were all included, even the bat thing, who seemed less eager to follow the rest of us and kept randomly disappearing.

We wandered the ship, looking for artifacts in various rooms. I kept close to Ken and Stella, holding Gwendolyn, because the men scare me and the bat thing keeps disappearing. Stella kept things in her pockets for me. We found this horrible old man who talked about the bag man while the men interrogated him (I think the fiery one burned him). I couldn’t see him, because I stayed behind Ken, but his voice was creaky and frightening enough. The men shut him into the room and he screamed horribly and we all ran away from there. I stayed with the man not on fire because Stella and Ken stayed with him. All of a sudden, there was a voice blasting through the ship and music playing and we were running. Ken sacrificed himself to save us from the watery bag man when the music stopped. I didn’t see, but I think Stella did. I don’t think she’s okay. We couldn’t stop, though.

I grabbed Gwendolyn and ran as fast as I could. The bat thing and I climbed a ladder and watched, helpless, as monsters came creeping out of the doors in the hallway and snatching the other people. The men seemed to do okay: the one started shouting orders and the other kept burning things. I wanted to help, from a distance, but I couldn’t figure out how. At least we all got out safely thanks to the hobs, who took us to a boat.

We were all exhausted, and I think Stella was in shock. The fiery one asked me to sit by him and he wasn’t on fire anymore and there wasn’t much room in the boat and he had just basically saved our lives anyway, so I did. I guess he’s okay when he isn’t on fire. His name is Royal and the other one is Lire. They’re twins. I curled up with Gwendolyn and tried to sleep.

Then we were back and in the woods, where I thought I could finally help. But Lire seemed to know where he was going, and I had no idea of anywhere else to go, so I followed everyone. We went to the twins’ house and Sam—the bat thing—told us about Fetches. Going home is not going to be easy. Maybe I just won’t go back. Maybe I’ll go somewhere on my own. But not yet. I found an empty house and Stella and I found some clothes and bags. Then the twins took us to a bar.

Stella wanted me to help her seduce some men, but I kept thinking of the Monster and that place and I couldn’t do it. I feel like I failed her. But Sam got us some money by stealing someone’s wallet and the twins went off somewhere and now we’re waiting for them at a hotel. I’m afraid to sleep, but I’m exhausted. What if I can’t wake up? What if this escape was all a dream and I have to perform again when I wake up? Or, even worse, what if this IS real? What will I do now?

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Out and Gone
By Stella Nox, her Astrophel's no more

The chiming grew; it was so loud it drowned my pulse’s roaring and my ragged breath. So long we’d waited; Browning wrote it well: “This grew.” It grew, and now we had to run, and quickly, quickly, out, away.

Wait, wait: no more iambs. No more sonnets. I couldn’t write one if I tried.
 /   /   /   /   / -  / / / – / – / / /

I had my box of sonnets. I had the ones that bled, and I pushed them into the box, bad bleeding on good, and I felt the snot that comes with terrified tears running from my nose. I must have looked like Ken. I wonder if Ken was always afraid, or if bulls were always afraid, or if being a bull made one chronically snot-nosed and that’s all there was to it.

He grabbed me, and we both ran, snot-nosed and frightened. I still could hardly bear his touch, but for all that it made my chest tighten because I knew it meant I was failing—failing worse than ever before—I also trusted the touch. It was always failure. This time was no different, really. Ken’s touch always meant the same thing.

The void was so familiar, but I thought it was only for my Astrophel and me, and I thought it was where one got lost. I wasn’t wrong, I suppose, save that after we broke through what felt like glass and I came out bruised and bleeding (I felt like my failures, still clutched tight in my arms), there were others. Glowing bushes. A pretty wood creature like a dryad (how Sidney would have loved her) with a badger. A silent gargoyle. Two beautiful, fiery boys. Royal, one of the boys, tried to bandage me. With Ken there, I could hardly find the examination and treatment invasive. That’s how things could be. With a little assistance from me, the bandaging would do. Berries were eaten for warmth. The gargoyle left and returned—left again? We gathered ourselves, gathered materials for torches (everything was wet and cold and oily, and I shivered in my gown until Royal gave me his coat), and then Royal lit himself and we proceeded out. I walked with Ken. Zai, the pretty wood thing, stayed with us. Lire, the other beautiful boy, followed.

Hobgoblins. I tried to stay attentive, but I hurt. The boys tried to fool our way past the ugly things, but instead we were forced to make a Pledge: collect things from the ship—the underwater Edmund Fitzgerald, sunk under icy water and being picked over by these scavengers—and collect more things in a few weeks (what is a week, again?), and we would be granted a better chance of getting out. Out of where? The Hedge. Of course it was the Hedge. I felt strung between places. The creaking of the ship was not the chiming I was used to.

We moved toward the Captain’s Cabin, scrambling up ladders in an upside-down ship, walking on ceilings. In a room, we found a creature named Edward. He had been a man once, but he was nothing more than a sack of skin and bones, shapeless as an ugly shirt. The Bagman, he said, had hung him there. Rats, he (almost) said, had eaten their way through his skin. In his fear, he tried to attack us, but between Ken and Royal, he had to stop. He was disgusting, worse than the snot on Ken’s bull nose or the staleness of his breath. Royal and the gargoyle left to hunt things, and something spoke over the . . . the PA? There was music. There was a threat. We locked Edward back in his room and found what things we could as quickly as we could.

Before, when things went quiet, my Astrophel had come. Now, when things went quiet, the Bagman came. Of course, without any sense of decorum or taste, he restarted his music. A soundtrack for himself. Then we ran. Ken knew there weren’t enough objects for all of us. He gave his to Royal. My torturer and savior. I hated him then. I hated him more when, as we ran and ran and the great slobbering face of the Bagman appeared, chasing us, Ken ran at him and died screaming and bellowing.

I felt as frozen as the water. Where had my fear gone? I couldn’t place it. I was warm inside and covered by a fine jacket. I had my poetry. I had my so-called baubles that were my tickets out of this groaning, wet hell of a place, so opposite to what my head and belly insisted were home. Lire had to drag me along, finally, and together the gargoyle, Zai, Lire, Royal and I either ran or fought our way past the skin-creatures, rats, and water the Bagman called up. I took more injuries. I don’t remember when or how.

We climbed and ran. We got out. We made it to a boat with the hobgoblins. I think I sat; I do not remember talking to anyone. Eventually we landed, and I am afraid I did little to help as we entered the forest and began to follow its paths. One of the boys led us. Zai and I stayed close to one another, and I tried not to miss Ken’s wet cow smell. I mostly succeeded.

Then we were in the world, and I’m afraid I turned . . . off. Royal (at least) had been replaced by a fetch. The gargoyle spoke; his name is Sam. We found an empty house, broke in, and took clothes and food once Zai dealt with the family dog. I found some decent things to wear and stored my own clothes away in one of the bags we found. Zai and I doled out bread. Part of me couldn’t believe I was doing this: breaking and entering? Stealing mundane items? Addressing practical needs? There were no unseen servants. There was no perfect warmth and golden glow. There was no demigod to sing my words back at me. That part I was supposed to be grateful for. How I managed to be so complacent about robbing a family of basic supplies after escaping a sunken ship in the Hedge I don’t know.

We were home in Duluth. At least I had that. I could remember streets and what was where; the maps of the town flickered to the front of my mind when we called on the information. The boys dragged us to a bar where they had some success with some young women while Zai and I had none with some of the men. Sam did steal a wallet. He will be useful. I am contemplating the usefulness of a thievish gargoyle as we walk unfriendly streets with bodies not our own. This is mad.

The boys left with the women after diffusing a fight. Zai and I did not go with them. Sam got us money. We will meet at a hotel. A hotel. Will I be able to sleep without Ken at the door? Will I sleep at all? I don’t know.

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Sam's First Day
I made it!

I made it! I’m out! It got bad for a minute there, I was falling back down toward…

But then I was out! I found the bush of shiny berries, I found the door, and I was gone. There were a bunch of others there, making their little noises and standing around wasting time. When they blundered through the door after me with their big shiny “look at me” torch, they damn near got us all killed. They were just lucky those hobs didn’t feel like eating us.

The hobs made us search the place and find useful things. I found a hat just sitting around, and a mirror on a wall. Then the hat went away, but I found it again. Then it went away again, but I found it another time. I put it on the pretty one for safekeeping, and it stopped going away.

The nasty thing tried to stop me, and I had to keep going back to get my people. They kept trying to wander off, like they didn’t know where we were supposed to be going. All that talking, and they couldn’t figure out the simplest things. I found the hobs, I lost my people. I got my people back, and then they fell down again. Some people just don’t have any respect for what I’m trying to do.

Then we sat in the boat and they babbled and babbled. Then the angry one told us he knew the way out, but he went all the wrong way. I only followed him because he wouldn’t go the right way, and I just got these people, I don’t want to lose them yet.

Then they tried to get themselves killed again. Stupid people don’t even know what a Fetch is. Being all surprised when they see one. They made me TALK to them about why we had to run. No respect, just no respect at all.

Then I found my clothes, and my food, and my pretty crayons. They tried to hide from me behind a door, but I wouldn’t let them go. I know better than to let my things get away from me. Then the angry one and the narcissistic one made us go into a bar. I’m glad they did, because I found my wallet there! It was in some stranger’s pocket. I don’t know how it got there, or why he got so angry after I took it back, but now I have some of my money again. That’s important in this world, I remember.

Now some of my people went away. I just have the pretty one and the quiet one now. But they say the other two will be coming back to us, I just have to find us all a place to sleep. I think I remember sleeping. I think I used to like it…

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My Return
by Royal Freemont

My dream (nightmare?) has ended. Lire and I are free, although our return to the “real” world was less glorious than I had hoped…

I freed Lire and we tried to make our way to the Hedge. Unfortunately, the way turned out to be a cold tunnel into darkness and frigid water. I’m not sure what the turnaround on escapees is, but we quickly found ourselves accompanied by two women (I think), a badger and a Minotaur. A grey bat-person-thing crashed into me at first, as well. It took awhile to sort out that it had intelligence greater than a dog’s, but I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself.

Stella, the golden-eyed creature in charge of Ken the Minotaur, was injured at first, and I did my very best to patch her up with bandages Mother had used on Lire. I regret that my first glimpse underneath her clothes was conducted in such a clinical fashion, for her wound was placed in an area better encountered after sweet words and wine. I was… A bit lacking in the patching up, perhaps due to such wandering thoughts, but no matter. I gave her my jacket at least, as she was temptingly underdressed for the cold. Ken, I should note, seemed like an upstanding gentleman, and gave me cause to reconsider my attitude towards the many Minotaur guards I may have looked down upon in my time enthralled. Lire found us some wonderful warming berries that staved off hypothermia, and it was at this point that the little wooden girl, Zai, came forward with her badger. She was a fearful creature, but pleasant and cooperative. We quickly realized that the berries were the only source of light in the room, and consuming them meant we were without illumination. I remedied that rather artfully, I think, with a dash of rolling flame over my arm – an action which deeply upset and frightened Zai, and with good cause. Being made of wood has its disadvantages around me.

We proceeded onward, and met two scavenging gentlethings with harpoon guns. After an initial attempt on the part of my brother to trick them, we were outed as escapees and conscripted via Pledge into some seemingly mundane service. For the price of a few bits of memorabilia, they would escort us to safety. Only then were we informed that we were in the capsized Edmund Fitzgerald, deep underwater, and we would be traveling downward towards its Captain’s cabin to loot pieces with the ship’s moniker on them. It’s a far cry from hunting the Great Golden Boar alongside Mother and a host of Faerie courtiers, but that’s leaving the nest for you.

None of us were particularly dressed for the occasion, either. Lire and I had our Faerie finest on, Stella was wearing a dress, the bat-thing was naked, and Zai was mostly naked. Clad such, we cracked a rusted door and climbed together on a circuitous route towards the cabin. We were interrupted halfway when we entered one of the crew quarters. A man, or what was once a man, hanging by his back from a hook and with sagging flesh, hailed us. He appeared to be in a great deal of pain, so I took him down and asked him some questions. Someone called “the bagman” put him there, but recovering this information was difficult as the man was highly irrational. He lashed out at me in fear, but I still had quite a bit of flame on me. He was burned and recoiled. It seemed my efforts to help him would not meet with much success, and I wondered where the bat had gotten to, so I left Lire and the others to deal with the flabby skinned-creature. It is nice to be a twin again, I must say. It’s good to have someone you can rely on.

So I followed the bat thing, strange entity that it was, and found it wrestling with a door. I gained us entry to the cabin, and we found our first set of items. The creature was a pain to deal with, concerned more with taking the hat I’d found than anything. I considered throttling the bastard, but he was marginally helpful and as much a part of our escaping group as I was. Besides, one doesn’t do such things in polite company, and if I am to build my own life away from Mother, I ought to be a model leader. We rejoined the group, and I allowed the bat thing to give my hat to Stella. We are all in this together, after all.

At this point, this Bag Man chose to awaken and scare us with creepy music. We beat a hasty retreat, memorabilia in hand, with Ken bringing up the rear. I armed him with some metal torches, but I did not expect them to make a difference. Indeed, they did not. He was lifted and crushed by the Bag Man, who was apparently a being bonded with the water – a useful trick given the preponderance of the stuff.

Poor Ken. But there was no time to mourn. We ran. I brought up the rear and lit the reinvigorated (and disgusting) crew aflame as they came to delay us. I think I made an impressive show of it, if I do say so myself. Wreathed in flame and bashing my way through monsters, I cannot help but imagine I looked quite the hero. Unlike Ken, I wasn’t willing to die there, so my heroics were cut short in favor of a longer lifespan. Lire and Sam (I find it appropriate to call him by his name at this point, as it was the first time he was not just a pain in the ass) assisted everyone in getting out, and we left with the two hobgoblins we were beholden to.

Out in the cold night, we traversed the water for hours in freezing rain. I offered comfort to Zai, which she accepted, although she quickly became more interested in her badger. I had hoped Lire would talk to Stella, as my influence was likely not what she needed at the moment, but I think everyone was trapped in their own heads. On the subject, I do not know what terrible things happened to the others. If experiences are like mine and my brother’s, I can only imagine theirs are as unfathomable to me as Lire’s is. Poor Ken. Poor Stella.

We found ourselves by our old house, returned to the world once again. Lire investigated through the window, at which point Sam gave us a very brief lesson on Fetches. I guess returning home wouldn’t be simple. No, not simple at all. But when I left I was just a boy. I return a powerful, beautiful thing, and I expect to live quite differently because of it.

We robbed a house. We visited a bar where Sam stole a wallet and I taunted its former owner. Apparently Glamour, the stuff that I must have been swimming in with Mother, is not so easy to come by here, but it is oh so good… I will need to figure out a steady way to acquire it. The Freemonts seduced some women with stunning teamwork and talent (I led, of course). As the night proceded in a warm, dim haze, I could not help but feel relieved. Lire and I can make it here. We could even thrive. From small beginnings grow big things.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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