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Friv
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13. In Which A Bunch Of Names Get Borrowed

22 Mar 2007, 21:14

The return to Hazelburn was quick; Alakazar shifted the waypoints in order to ensure that a short walk was sufficient to reach the borders of Creation, and the distance from there to the valley was, as always, little.

As they entered the grand palace, gradually spreading out as the years wore on – although it still fit, improbably, on the top of the hill – Alakazar nodded to his two new guests. “The castle has many servants, but only a tiny handful are actually aware. Aside from them, there are the Knights, and my fellow vassals.”

“Knights?” Gwydion raised an eyebrow, and Alakazar grinned.

“Something new. You see, my dear wife and I have spent over a hundred years doing war against those in the Wyld who would consume Creation whole, and our results have, quite frankly, been poor.”

“But you are Silver’s Hand!” Gwydion couldn’t keep the confusion from his voice. “You drove one of the Unshaped back into pure chaos!”

“Yes, but there’s not enough of me, and whenever I leave the castle, it becomes vunerable. Hence my Knights – the Branch of the Crimson Dragon. They’re all humans, you see, who have been dream-eaten in the past. I repaired the damage to their souls, and offered them positions defending Creation from those who had harmed them.”

“And they accept?” The doubt in Gwydion’s voice was clear. “And they are able to fight raksha?”

“Well… yes. I can heal a certain amount of soul-damage, but the lure of the Wyld remains. And they can fight raksha because I’ve given them all Graces to do it with. No one is as strong as even a commoner, but when twenty-five people define a story at once, it leaves an impression.”

“I see.” Gwydion fell silent, pondering the concept of mortals shaping the dreams of the raksha, and trying to decide whether he approved. Before he could shape another question, chaos intruded.

“Lord Alakazar, you really must do something about Varich!” The raksha woman who spoke swept down the hallway, an annoyed-look noble trailing in her wake. Her hair was as pure-spun red silk, and she was wearing a perfectly shaped armoured of silver and crimson that somehow managed to completely conceal her form, while simultaneously suggesting that there was a very great deal to reveal. Momentarily ignoring the others, she raised her hands in annoyance. “All he ever does is mope around the freehold about how much his life is in ruins. I swear, I don’t even know why he…” She trailed off, finally noticing Gwydion and Millia. “Why, hello, there.”

The man behind her shook his head. “Honestly, Fiona. Pay attention to your surroundings.” He bowed elaborately to the newcomers, his black cape sweeping out behind him to form a perfect backdrop to his own elegance. “I am Lord Ailil, the Shadowed Wyrm. Welcome to my lord Alakazar’s freehold.”

Alakazar chuckled, and turned to Fiona, who was sizing up Gwydion speculatively. “May I introduce Gwydion of the Grey Spear, who has sworn his services to my cause. And Twice-Breathing Millia, who is a perfect little hero.” He paused. “I will try to have a talk with Varich, but you and I both know that it will do little good. After all, his heartbreak is why he joined us.”

“That was five years ago.” But Fiona sounded less annoyed than before. “So… Gwydion the Grey, was it? Come, let me show you around.” She took the startled warrior by one arm, leading him away.

For a moment, Ailil just stared after the two of them. Then, muttering “That’s my girl” under his breath, he started to follow, pausing just long enough to bow again to Millia and lean over to kiss Serafin’s hand. Then, his cape sweeping out behind him, he moved to catch up to his companions.

Millia looked up at Serafin in confusion, and the Lunar laughed. “Ailil has been trying to pursue Fiona since he arrived here forty years ago. She’s happy to dally with him, but she much prefers making him jealous. And, in all honesty, I think he likes being jealous.” She shifted her attention. “Would you agree, Eil?”

The shadows rippled, and a woman drifted out of them, her long black hair cascading over her features and obscuring them to a pale shadow. She nodded to Serafin. “My brother can be… possessive. The challenge of both having and not having catches his interest.” She paused, and sighed heavily. “And I think that Lady Fiona will be much interested in using Gwydion to that end.” Without another word, she drifted off down a different hallway. Millia watched her go, open-mouthed, and Serafin chuckled.

“That’s Eiluned, the last of our court at the moment. She came here with her brother, for reasons she has never bothered to explain.” Serafin shrugged. “Honey, you’d better go make sure Gwydion gets a proper introduction. Also, he hasn’t taken the Silver Oaths yet, so you’ll want to do that.”

“Ah, yes.” Alakazar bowed. “Find a room for young Millia, could you?” He smiled, and strolled off after Fiona, Gwydion, and Ailil. Serafin turned back to Millia, who was starting to look distinctly bewildered.

“Don’t worry about it, kiddo. As the saying goes, everyone’s a little crazy here.”

“You aren’t.” Millia’s words were matter-of-fact.

“Less crazy, maybe.” Millia winked. “But being around the fae means you have to see things their way. Fiona and Ailil are actually happier with an eternal almost-feud than they would be happily married. Alakazar is a bit of an exception that way.”

“Oh.” Millia pondered this. “Serafin, what’s a silver oath?”

“The Silver Oaths are the two oaths that anyone who wants to be in Alakazar’s Court has to take. First, to never consume the souls of mortals, and secondly, to defend Creation from those who would destroy it.” Serafin smiled. “The oaths gives them power, and helps to define their nature. It’s kept our court from spiralling into chaos so far.” She held out a hand. “Come on, let’s get you a room.”
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

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Dinosaur
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22 Mar 2007, 21:25

Ah, Changeling. Yet another game that I never really got to play, the only thing besides Werewolf and Wraith in the oWoD that I could.
 
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Friv
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22 Mar 2007, 22:11

*grins* Changeling was my first RPG to both play and run, and I played it fairly exclusively for about six years, so it shaped a lot of my preconceptions.


Also, I have twenty-five Changeling books sitting on my shelf. *whistles innocently*

When the time came to build a raksha court, I just couldn't resist pulling in the House leaders. ;)
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".
 
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22 Mar 2007, 22:54

I liked second edition Changeling myself. It worked so much better. My one real problem with it was the same one I had with the entire oWoD and to an extent the same one I have with Marvel comics. Namely, that I never got enough of all the books to really be able to understand the entire metaplot. I was ok for most things, but it always irritated me when the authors would make some reference to an event like everyone knew about it and I had no idea what they were talking about. That is one of the reasons I like exalted better, it has no metaplot. (And I found out about it early enough so that I own all the books.)

...huh. Sorry for the rant. Anyway, back to Changeling. I enjoyed the game although I haven't played it in a number of years. I've gotten to where I prefer Knockers, but that might be partially because I have been banned by my friends from ever playing a Pooka again.
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Deaths Pale Mistress
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22 Mar 2007, 22:58

Sadly, I never got to play Changeling, Wraith or Demon...they were so awesome though.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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