2013 Session, as told by Weylin

When we woke in the forest we heard a fiddle playing in the woods. I ran, as a wolf, and learned that two men in their forties were in the process of breaking camp while an older woman played the fiddle. After returning, Calleigh and I went to talk to them. Drake gave us whistles to signal if there were problems or the other three needed to be warned.

The woman was grandmother Aina, and they were traveling to see us. She had a vision of trouble and knew the Captain. Despite assurances, and evidence that she did actually know the Captain (snicker) we remained suspicious. She gave us an origami bird in order to find her if we changed our minds.

We parted ways with them and continued to the village where Zephyr’s mail boat was expected to make port. I scouted as a wolf in the woods, helping the others avoid a mother bear. Then I flew in as an owl and found that the mail boat was in town. I let the others know and then flew back to watch as Drake came in to the village to get Zephyr. I consumed a mouse as I observed from atop a fish house in the village.

After following Drake and Zephyr back I scouted the surrounding area again, assuring we were alone. I flew in to join them all at the camp, shifting back. We argued a bit, but then spent the night. During the night, on my watch, I coughed up a little ball of mouse bones.

We threw the origami bird into the air, and followed it as it flew back to Aina. The trip took a couple of days. There were dozens of refugees there. The camp was well concealed, and ready to be moved at a moment’s notice. After discussing how the forces of Chaos might be able to locate us by our use of powers, we warned them that I had shape-shifted to scout their camp. They planned to move immediately after our departure. I kept the small origami bird believing it could be used to track down Aina in the future.

We went to Pott’s Cove on Zephyr’s recommendation, bought a boat and provisioned it before sailing onto the shadow path from the navigation log we found in our box. The trip took some time.

We were able to get deep into a primeval forest by river, then concealed the boat and proceeded on foot. I did not shape-shift, worried that the use of power might somehow alert the opposition.

In the end it didn’t matter, as we attracted the attention of their patrols anyway. We were forced to flee, continuing to follow the path out of the forest and around the slope of a mountain toward a ruined city. We reached our destination first, a point on the slope where a red-headed sorceress had cast a spell; a spell that now conveyed us to a place where a great glowing pattern was inscribed atop a rough plateau.

Her guidance was clear: it was necessary that we walk the glowing path to its center, and we were to do so as a group.

As we approached the first veil, Carrick remembered an argument over who got to read the newest Dashing Blades novel first. An argument that took place days before I knew we had it. I remembered a fight with Rico after taking some of his ink when I ran low and spilling it. I don’t think he ever noticed but after that I always made sure there was plenty of ink for both of us.

Then as we approached the second veil, Rico remembered Drake dumping a bucket of water on him while he was chopping wood and the chase that ensued. Meanwhile Zephyr remembered coming back from an early trip on the mail boat with a dress for Calleigh, a moment that was almost hopeful.

As we approached the final veil, Calleigh remembered being in the captain’s small boat on a good day with Zephyr at the wheel. Drake remembers a big bonfire on the beach with everyone there and happy but a sudden feeling of terror.

All of us saw all these memories clearly even though they were not our own. In fact we also saw other memories: a man somehow repairing the pattern, another in white armor dying in battle even as the red-haired sorceress cast her spell for us. I am sure there were others as well, but those are the ones that stuck with me.

Once we reached the center, we knew we could go from there to anywhere we desired, but we chose to stay together. We returned to our boat, still hidden where we concealed it by the River, then began to retrace our route, at least back to the open ocean.

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Excerpt from Kate McKensie’s Diary

We are quietly discouraging our children from joining the Blades. It’s different now. Less glory to be made. Does one dare say even less honor? The Blades keep the peace, but there is little action to assuage that quest for honor and glory that drove so many of us so hard. I don’t think that I’m wrong to think that the battle with Osric, no matter how it went, was the death of the Blades. Either war would have broken out, and we would have been used up in service to the Crown, or peace would make us irrelevant, and we’d become little more than a policing force. The latter is a slower death, but no less sure. The Blades as they were are not needed anymore. This peace will outlast our lives, and probably even our children’s, and maybe even our grandchildren’s lives — at least, beyond their fighting years.

When Amber has dire need again, it will be up to a future generation yet born to become her heroes. — Lisa Leutheuser

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David’s notes from 2012 session

A private yacht passed in the distance headed for McKensie, Carrick saw it and had a bad feeling and Calleigh suggested telling the Captain.

Drake was focused on his chores, and Weylin was sleeping in. But Carrick called out to everyone for a family meeting. Rico was working outside.

The kids decided to move closer by boat, going to bottle bay cove, hidden between McKensie and the lighthouse. Weylin  flew ahead to scout  and discovered a beast and sorceress attacking the village. I reported back to the others. They start back toward the lighthouse, and I returned to the village to see the Captain dead and burning. Druce was tortured and burst out with information about the lighthouse before he was also immolated.

The remainder of the game was a running chase through the forests eventually leading to us getting clear of the area. I don’t have many details on this in my notes. But we did fight and defeat some opponents, so we were not just running like craven children. — David

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Drake’s Story

[with interruptions from Calleigh]

It was SO COOL… so amazing… so incredible… IT WAS THE BEST DAY, EVER…

It was not! It was dangerous and terrifying! Some of us got hurt…

Yeah, but, it was still really great! That place was all different, it is like all red, but it was the right place and there are these big worm-like creatures and Weylin can turn into a wolf and most of the unicorns are dead, but we got a horn from the centaurs… and…

Drake. Focus.

I know, I know, slow down, think about my story; does it have a beginning, a middle and an end? Is there a point to the story?

Drake. You said you wanted to tell the Captain and Mother what happened.

Okay, I’ll start at the beginning. We set sail. Zephyr had to be captain, because she thinks that she is the only one that knows anything about sailing but we all can…

Drake, Zephyr was just doing what she was supposed to.

right, that doesn’t matter. Besides, she did as good a job as anyone would have done at remembering all the weird turns of the route. The first part of the trip was easy and fast, but it wasn’t long before you could tell that there was a big storm coming in and we were too far out to get to where we had planned to anchor. So, we headed closer to shore to find shelter. The shoreline in that area, well, the shoreline for most of the trip, is not the kind of place to get blown around, especially, in the dark with a questionable bottom, rocky shoreline, little beach and lots of forest. Anyway, the short version, the storm hit, we found a good cove, we were going to set up a camp on the beach, but there was a cave. Weylin and Carrick checked it out and it seemed safe enough, no sign of animals or anything else living in there, so we moved in. Actually, it was pretty nice place, big, dry with some side passages that would be great to explore, but there wasn’t enough time.

I did my best to keep everyone together, Captain.

Rico stayed on the beach to watch the ship. HIS CHOICE! He had a tent and made a little fire. It kept raining. Then, some time in the night, a couple of wolves tried to get in the tent with him, but he used the fire to keep them at bay and started yelling. By the time, I woke up, Carrick was already in the cave mouth throwing rocks and Calleigh was swinging her sword. She smacked a wolf and it ran away. I grab my sword but I couldn’t get through and then, suddenly, there was a wolf behind me, but it was acting really strange like it wanted to get out of the cave. It wasn’t paying any attention to us and out seemed better than in; so I told everyone to duck so it could leave, but Zephyr punched it and knocked it out and that made enough room so I could get through. When I got out, Carrick had wounded one wolf and it had backed off but another one attacked and I got it and Calleigh got one and another one just ran away. So, there was only one wolf left.

But, it turned out that the wolf in the cave was really Weylin. He had TURNED into a WOLF and when Zephyr beat him up, he turned back into Weylin. It is like kinda freaky, but it is REALLY cool, too. The questions are: how does it happen and how often has it happened, before… because he is gone most mornings. He said that he didn’t know that it was happening that it was something like a dream… but now, he can change back and forth whenever he wants, but then the questions is what happens to his body when he changes, humans and canines have a lot in common, but there are significant differences, too and the reshaping of the bones, muscle mass and organs must put a
strain on the body, but maybe the organs don’t change, but then how would they fit into the body structure… and.

Drake. Focus.

OH! Yeah, I know back to the story, but anyway, I have never heard about anything like this before. And it is probably better not to say much outside of the family… What with the witch hunts and… stuff… and… Oh man, I’m sure glad that I didn’t kill that wolf.

We’re all glad Weylin wasn’t killed. And you’re right. We have to keep this a secret to protect the family.

So anyway, in the morning, Weylin was Weylin with a big headache and he dosed himself with some of his herbs and worked himself up to feeling really horrible, but he was breathing and could walk and that was to the good. And in the morning, I had a chance to examine the wolf that I killed. It was bigger than I would have expected, I wanted to take some measurements, but Rico tossed it far out into sea before I could get them. I did take the fangs so I can do some comparisons and, well, I guess, I really didn’t have the time, right then… The strange thing is that the wolves didn’t seem particularly afraid of fire and they had a rather strange attack pattern. And another strange thing about that place is that it seemed a lot like Dun Mordha, but lots of little things are different… It would be interesting to study that place when there is more time. I think, Carrick made some sketches; maybe, he will let me check them out. And maybe, I could get a wolf cub.

You are not getting a wolf cub and I’ll be talking to Carrick about those sketches. Now back to your story.

Okay, anyway, what happened next is, we broke camp and set sail with no rain and everything seemed to begoing great. And when we should have arrived; it seemed like the right place, except that the long stretch of white cliffs weren’t white; they were blood red and the forest seemed a little darker, creepier, but that could have been the weird color. Thinking it might be the wrong place, Zephyr took us back out and we tried again. The second try got us back to the same place and the anchorage was just where it should be, except the sand was red, too; red clear through. Darn, I wish I had a sample.

But, luckily, the stairs were still there and the climb was pretty easy, but the forest was even more creepy once we were up top. We were going to trace whatever the vultures were circling in the distance; but then, Weylin turned into a wolf again and THIS TIME it was because he WANTED to do it. IT IS SO COOL!!! He can’t talk or anything as a wolf and the change seemed to hurt him a lot, but that was mostly because he was still sore from getting smacked the night before. We had talked about him changing into a wolf and herding a unicorn toward us or smelling one out, so when he started sniffing the air, we followed him.

We didn’t find a unicorn, but we did find a centaur. IT WAS A REAL CENTAUR! He was hurt really bad, lots of blood, but he was alive. I started first aid to stop the bleeding. He had a lot of bites from a large pointed jaw that were really bad on his arm and flank and he had been burned, too. Unfortunately, Weylin was still a wolf and it took him a while to change back to Weylin and his headache was worse when he did, but he took over. Then, he and Calleigh fixed the centaur’s broken arm.

Finally, the centaur kinda woke up and could talk. He told us his name, but
centaurs have names you can’t pronounce. And he said that he had been attacked by a worm and he told us that most the unicorns had been killed by the worms and the worms had been around for fifteen or thirty years. But that can’t be because I was there not that long ago and there were plenty of unicorns so he must have had the timing wrong. But anyway, with so few unicorns and killer worms around, our job was going to be a lot harder. But, the first thing we needed to do was to get some help for the centaur. He had a kind of hunting horn and said that two long blasts would bring help and Rico sure has the lung power to make the sound carry. Shit!


I mean, wow, he even knocked a vulture out of the sky.

You’re making that up.

Did not, but anyway, while we were waiting to see if anyone would come to help the centaur, we set up a defensive perimeter in case the horn attracted something dangerous and it was a good thing that we did cause afterabout 15 minutes the ground began to shake and it wasn’t hoof beats. It turned out to be this huge, long, sinuous, red centipede like creature coming down on us like a gale force wind so I nocked an arrow waiting for it to get close enough to go for an eye cause I wanted to shoot through the eye into the brain and I hit the eye and it turned a bit but it didn’t stop coming and then Zephyr got it in the leg with an arrow and Rico buried his axe in it but still it just
kept coming and when Rico didn’t let go the axe handle just snapped in two and then everyone was on it taking whatever shot was open and it lost a lot of bits and a few legs but it just kept going and Zephyr and Rico got up on top and Weylin threw pepper at it and that could be a good range weapon if I can invent an effective delivery system but the pepper turned out not to be the best idea because while the worm was hurt by pepper in the face it responded by breathing fire all over Weylin and it still didn’t stop and it was heading for the centaur so I tried to divert it by sticking my sword into its throat and pulling it off target but I must have hit a leverage point because I stopped it… Well, the head stopped but the body cracked around like a whip end and it rolled… you now that was really kinda strange there is no way, that with my mass and height, I should have been able to stop something with that mass traveling at that velocity especially when it basically went through Rico’s attack and he beats the snot out of me all the time… it must have a pretty unique physiology I was think more reptilian but maybe it might not be nearly as dense as I thought maybe its bones are hollow like a bird or it has some weak points or, maybe, because it was dying and mostly dead it just couldn’t add power to its forward motion or…

Focus, Drake.

Okay, I know stick to the story, but when we go back and kill the rest of them, I’m going to take time to dissect one and find out how it is put together.

We are NOT going back to kill the rest of them.

Yes, we are. We need to. But anyway, it was a REALLY AWESOME battle… except… the worm rolled over the centaur and he died. I would have liked to save him. I really wanted to save him.

I know you did. We did our best.

And so, mostly, we were alright except for Weylin who was all burned up, but Calleigh applied a bunch of burn salve and when she was almost done five centaurs arrived ready for battle. Fortunately, they were willing to talk and Carrick explained that we had tried to save their friend from the worm. There wasn’t a need for a lot of explanation; the battle scene pretty much said it all. And when they offered a boon for our efforts, we told them about our mission and when we mention plague they knew we needed the horn of a unicorn and we asked if they could help us locate a unicorn. They did some talking in a language that I didn’t understand, but you could tell that they were talking about us and then one of them pulled a unicorn horn out of his bag and gave it to us and when we asked, they said that the worms have been around about 15 years and after the one we killed there were four left and we said that we would be back to kill them.

I told you. We are NOT going back to kill them.

Then, after the centaurs left, we tested the horn on Weylin and he began to heal up and all this gunky stuff came bubbling up to the surface of his skin and he looked really gross, and pretty awesome, but he could walk so we started back and Rico stayed close by to help if he needed it and Zephyr argued and argued and argued that he needed another dose, but Carrick didn’t bother to argue, he just took care of the problem and jabbed him when Weylin wasn’t looking, and then, he felt much better and looked better and, now, he is fine. Then, we used the horn to make sure that none of us were carrying the sickness and I guess that is for the good except that it healed up the nice gash I had and there isn’t even a scar.

Good! You don’t need any scars.

But, it is good that I did get a chance to collect some samples from the worm so I can try some experiments and see what I can learn about it.

Drake, please tell me you aren’t really going to experiment with worm parts.

Okay, I won’t tell you. And then, after we got back here and used the horn to heal you, everybody went into town to heal everyone there. First, they went to the apothecary and now, he and Weylin are healing up the rest of the town.

We didn’t want anyone to know we were involved or where we got the unicorn horn. So we decided to have Mr. Pyderi take credit. That way, no one should ask questions. I thought we would all be safer that way.

Then everybody, except Weylin came back to do some clean up and while everyone was in town, I stayed here to checked on the light. It is all cleaned and refilled and ready to go.

And that what happened and I’m REALLY glad that you and mom are better And,
Captain, Mom, we DO need to go back and kill off the worms or the next time we need a unicorn horn there won’t be any unicorns left.

Captain, I’m very sorry I let you down by letting everyone get into danger and letting them get hurt. I’m glad you and Mother are okay now. I will try to be more responsible in the future.

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Dun Mordha / Anglesey — Two kingdoms, one Shadow, the world where our PCs have grown up. The larger, more sophisticated Anglesey is still occupied by Sunker forces, but Dun Mordha merely has an imperial governor located in Heart’s Ease and Sunker ships blockading its local Shadow routes. Tech is early 19th century, magic exists but is relatively low-powered, gunpowder works.

Sunkers — The Shadow that allied itself with forces from Beyond, now ruler over much of what was formerly the Golden Circle.

Galazon — A European high fantasy Shadow, whose capitol is occupied by Sunkers. One of the secret Shadow paths Captain Ryan has taught the children leads to the where Galazon’s Great Forest meets the ocean, quite far away from the civilized parts of that world. Tech is medieval, magic is common, gunpowder does not work.

Four Sisters — A topical island kingdom Captain Ryan speaks fondly of. Its current status is unknown. Low but beautiful and elaborate tech (think palaces carved of coral), low magic, gunpowder does not work.

More to come…

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Zephyr Byrd Ryan

Zephyr loves the sea, sailing and exploration. She thrills at racing her one and two-man sailboats, and she has been known to take daring risks. Still, she is serious and careful when working the mail boats with Old Iain Loughlin. By choice, Zeph grew up in a man’s world, following adults around. She used to be the quiet little blond girl with the big eyes, who would sit unnoticed in the back of a room listening and watching adult conversations. Now, she is coltish and probably too sexy for her age, though somewhat protected both by her adoptive father’s reputation and her own right hook.

She loves the Ryans, and though she grew up aware of being an orphan of the old Amber, she does not have any feeling of displacement. She is undeniably a teenager, however, and she longs for many things yet undefined in her own mind—but hinted at in those books her cousin Calleigh dismisses as silly romances. In fact, Zephyr wouldn’t mind a silly romance or two, she thinks, though she’s having trouble figuring out how she’d have that while pushing herself in her studies and her work.

Zephyr spends way too much of her time listening to Captain Loughlin’s war stories, which may or may not be completely made up. He claims to have survived one of the great naval battles of Amber! She studies any old books she can about sea wisdom, the ways of leading men, and captaining ships—all kinds of ships; giant naval fleet ships, someday! Or as part of an expeditionary navy as a scout … or or or!

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Dun Mordha’s Shadow

Dun Mordha’s technology is, roughly speaking, Napoleonic. Gunpowder works, and if someone wanted, all the technology to build, say, the HMS Surprise is found here. In practice, the old navy’s designs were a bit different, because if called to aid Amber they might need to operate in Shadows where gunpowder does not work. (At the moment, this point is a bit moot, as the entire navy is believed lost in the war.)

As another example, button accordions and concertinas — relatively high tech for traditional instruments — are reasonably common.

Magic does work in Dun Mordha, but it’s mostly what would be considered hedge magic — useful modest little spells, simple things like making a light or helping preserve the fish on the flake.

Fishing has become quite noticeably worse since the war, by the war. There is some evidence there are now some very strange things swimming in Dun Mordha’s seas.

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