Thursday 22 March 2018

Cat and Mouse

Previous Session: Storms and Ill Winds

With a long family tradition of treachery, Stavros reveals himself slowly as Devon and Rowan approach the central command tent, escorted by a squad of Myrmidons (the giant armoured ants that comprise most of the assembled army).

Corwin is within, and greets them cautiously. He knows who they are, and that they fought on Random's side in the recent war against Finndo. But that doesn't do much for them with him, he wants to know what they can do for him now.

If they think they can expect anything from him for free, they can forget it. His policy when it comes to the enemies of his enemy? Take a number and get in line!

Stavros suggests that they could help get him and the army closer to Amber without drawing the attention of Osric and Finndo by bringing it through his own personal shadow - however the logistics of moving a quarter of a million beasts across an island chain are beyond Corwin at such short notice. They're only 17 steps away from Amber itself, so they'll have to do it the old-fashioned way.

They discuss it amongst themselves, they lost the opportunity to return to King Finndo's good graces when they left Dara leave, but they want to make a difference in this. They can surely thwart their original mission, which was to scout out the advancing army 'of Chaos' which Osric will be leading now that they've defected.

They compare notes on the routes Corwin is planning in order to come up with their best chance of clearing the route, but the mathematical possibilities of the number of shadows to cover to intercept Osric are dizzying.

Corwin, arrogant and relentless.
Lost a previous succession war against
his brother Eric. 
Rowan and Devon consider alternate ideas; they could act as bait, or send a signal back to Amber to say that they've captured Dara and are returning with her. Perhaps by calling Gerard, who might not consider that it's only a ploy. After all, if Dara's escape was in order to meet up with the Chaos army and they used her to find the location of it, that would be in keeping with their mission...

They move a few shadows over, and Stavros calls Gerard. He's annoyed and feeling betrayed. He views Dara as a threat to Amber, and suggests that they cut her head off. Wondering if that's an order from Finndo, he denied it - Finndo wants her back alive, but killing her would be for the good of Amber.

His sense betrayal turns to anger - how could he side with an agent of Chaos against his family!

Devon senses something in the brush, and motions to Stavros, who shuts down the Trump contact.

Two hunters are approaching them and they hunker down, Devon pulls off to one side to get an angle on one of them, it's the man he killed back in Amber (twice now!) and his arrow flies true and into the hunter's knee, pinning him to the ground. Devon will take his time on this one.

Rowan goes after the other hunter and smashes into him in a fierce, but short, fight.

Stavros feels a knife against his throat, and a third (previously unseen) man is behind him. There's an intake of breath, but before the offer (or maybe quip) can be made, Stavros called on his defensive luck and lashes backwards and out of the stronger man's grip. The other flees, and Stavros gives chase.

He keeps up with the figure, but is constantly just out of the range of any attack. Eventually he catches up, but only when he's in the middle of an encamped army. A dozen angry red pandas slowly look up for the fires and charge him!

Mynah, Rowan's companion bird, has been tracking the pair, and settles on a tree to keep watch on the army, trusting that Stavros can escape by himself.

Stavros ends up in a dry river bed, and hell-rides from there, careening down the steep banks and ends up in a densely overgrown ravine in a rain forest that leads back to a tropical beach. Here at least he's safe...

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