Thursday 30 November 2017

A Den of Vipers

Previous Session: A Conspiracy of Ravens

Finndo's summons reaches them all. The court is gathered for several purposes, most officially for Gerard to be confirmed as Admiral. The assembled Amberites engage in a mixture of cautious sounding out and petty infighting.

Some rumours involve Julian's status - he's been missing since the war; and whether Random's suicide was in fact that.
The conspirators exchange some few words about their activities since they last met; that Bleys will hardly play second fiddle to anyone, and so his bid for power could be genuine; and that with Osric's famous shape-shifting ability, he could be anyone they meet.

Devon passes along his Trump card to Llewella as they discussed. This is an event she is let out for. So it's probably much less suspicious than a repeat visit. Devon's mentor, Lady Beatrice, was dubious about the wisdom of this course of action, but thought the risk could be worth the payoff.

Thomas speaks to the diminutive Fiona. He expresses some surprise that she backed Finndo over her closest siblings. But she holds that stability is a good cause, and deals with his probing with a straight bat.

Rowan carouses with Gerard, who's out on the balcony nursing a bottle of wine. He's sanguine about his promotion (or the recognition of the job he's already doing). Gerard would be happy if things go back to normal, but doesn't think it likely; Bleys owes him a full purse on a horse race, so he imagines he would be happy if his brother returned.


Gerard, trusty and strong,
but not the brightest
They're called back into the hall for King Finndo's official announcement regarding Gerard. While the applause is till going, an unknown man steps up to Finndo's side and whispers in his ear. The King's countenance darkens and when he nods, the man (dressed in the livery of a household guard) leaves via the north-west corridor.

When attention moves elsewhere, Stavros follows the guard who spoke to King Finndo. Eventually reaching a dust filled room where there is no other exit. Sheet-covered furniture shows that the room was a drawing room when it was in regular use but there's no sign of where the guard went.

But very quickly he takes on a more serious tone, announcing that forces of Chaos are marching on Amber and that he is mustering an army to intercept to defend the realm.

He is mobilizing other assets but requires volunteers to scout out the route of the Chaos forces. Eye turn to the group, who are known to include people who performed this role for Random during the war against Finndo. They are happy to volunteer, and when he asks for them to make their oaths of fealty they comply (although it's obvious that some are less enthusiastic than others).


After court, Devon packs a picnic; they're going to explore the north-west tower, where rumour has it that Osric bases his operations out of. They walk through the abandoned corridors and rooms, initially as if they are on a jaunt, but later as they go deeper, more cautiously. They find a great hall on the first floor of the main tower, and it's obviously in use. Ash from a recent fire lies in the fireplace, and there are signs of food stains on the high table.

Under a rug behind the table is a heavy trapdoor, and relying on Rowan's strength they open it up. A stench of stale air and dead things wafts up. They leave Rowan behind, both to lift up the door when they need to get out, but to defend their line of retreat if trouble breaks out.

They light up some torches and descend into the dungeon.

After a long and winding corridor (with a few dead ends) they reach a wide section with nine cells adjoining, four on each side with barred doors and one larger one at the end with a full iron-reinforced wooden door.

In the last cell on the right is a huddled figure wrapped in a blanket. The remains of a terrible meal are in a bucket. Stavros steps up to the door and reaches out, calling softly, and as soon as he touches the blanket, an arm (more like a centipede's body) unfurls and slams into the bar with surprising force. He disrupts it and then the human form reveals itself. A sickly young woman, reminding them of a starving mouse, stands before them. When pushed, she identifies herself as an uppity two-bit princess who Finndo captured and they free her after a moment's discussion.

Next Session: Storms and Ill Winds

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