- In which our heroes deal with a dangerous man, see the First Regiment march to the beat of another drummer, and take part in King George's War to bloody and disturbing effect.
- 1 What the bloody hell just happened?!
- 2 The World Famous London Daily Mirror
- 3 Questions . . . Questions that Need Some Form Of Written Response
What the bloody hell just happened?!
At the Ashwood Abbey our heroes mingle with the discontented Summer fighters. Culled primarily from the First regiment (including Tin Annie), the various forces are preparing to "take the fight to" the Blackstreeters at Blackstreet Manor. The Baron Blackmund is supporting this assault, providing transportation and logistical support for the attack (such as the actual location of Blackstreet Manor). Blackmund scoffs at the attempts by Gram and Percy to stop them, offering to make them a bet: Even if the dissidents get to Blackstreet they will not touch a single rebel.
Nellie asks some well-considered and carefully phrased questions about the War Plan, learning that under the auspices of The Charter of the Land the Empire cannot directly attack Blackstreet Manor yet. She also learns that the Summer Court suspects that, for the first time, some group is leading these rebels in coordinated attacks -- potentially an American source. Nellie leaves the club and heads home to catch up on some work.
The dissidents begin to move into a frothing, angry frenzy that even Percy starts to feel. It appears that the Second Regiment is guarding the outside of the building, ensuring that no one goes into or out of the area. The dissident forces engage the Second Regiment officers and Gene Hunt. Percy spots someone across the street that is "out of place"; Gram recognizes the disguised figure as his on-again off-again lover Princess Margaret. Percy gives chase, attempting to discover if she was the source of the sudden outburst of fury from the Summer dissidents.
Gram uses his unnatural and inhuman charisma to calm the fighters, even stopping Gene Hunt from his rampage. Rodger West puts up a slightly longer fight, assaulting Percy, but in the end Gram gets everyone to realize they are just hitting other Summer courtiers and they calm down significantly. Gram calls Queen Edane to get transportation for all of them out of the area (they are getting some strange looks from the locals) the Queen agrees to help, but only for a favor to be redeemed later. Gram feels he has no choice but to accept.
Maggie beats the snot out of Percy, who is forced to limp back to Gram as several paneled vans show up to collect the still frustrated and angry, but much more chagrined, Summer Discontents. McKendry Cak supervises and gives Gram an address, letting him know that the Queen of Spring will want him their the next day at noon. The Creature comes to the gates of Blackstreet Manor and tells Gram and Percy that he can no longer “control” his American contingent, and that they should “get their house in order before The Meeting.”
When Gram, Percy and the Summer Discontents arrive at the Eccentric Club they find that LFB has the street blocked off to deal with a fire inside the club. Gram and Percy go to investigate, finding Reg "Moneypenny" Priceock, the club's Mundy Desk Attendant, and Toliver Burberry, the club's business manager, outside talking about the tragic loss of the clubs secret membership files. Since the Eccentric Club has voted several times to not update to an electronic system ("too common") this means almost all the records of club memberships, including contacts, are lost. Everyone is told to scatter.
Gram heads to the address the next day to discover it is the queen’s multimillion pound apartment in the heart of the city. Because she is no longer monarch she no longer has access to the Black Treasury and thus, having never held a job in her life, has no means to pay for herself. She is strong-arming people into helping her move. About halfway through, Constance George and Simon Palindrome stop by, set up comfortable looking chairs in the lobby and have a small celebratory picnic with champagne (a regular celebration they have whenever Edane is forced to move out of whatever high-priced location she is living in that season).
Members of the motley meet up at the Clockwork Palace to see that King George is planning a massive offensive against the Vampires. He calls for a war council meeting, where he lays out his plans to eliminate not just the “foreign horde” but march his armies across the globe and (potentially) into Arcadia itself.
Percy overhears Duke Mortimer and Mr. Black talking to someone about the need to “remove” King George from his throne before “The Meeting”. It seems very urgent to them that he go as quickly as possible and be replace by someone more “pliant”.
While leaving the Clockwork Palace, Percy notices that one of the Changelings entering the stronghold doesn’t smell right. He attacks him and discovers he is strapped to a very old looking steampunk-style suicide vest, layered with sticks of red TNT. The King is alerted and orders a search of the surrounding hedge. Nellie and Doctor O’Doyle take the would-be terrorist (revealed to be some sort of Hobgoblin) into the palace to examine him. The Doctor asks Nellie to hand him a syringe from his bag which he apparently uses to poison the goblin.
Gram locates a large group of American Privateers in the Hedge, and runs to alert the authorities. He also finds a document labeled War Plan Red in the underbrush and gives it over to Sir Rowland Widdershins, leader of the Third Regiment.
Percy, The Brotherhood, and the Household Cavelry take on the Privateers in the Hedge. It is a gloriously bloody battle that results in the first major victory for the forces of the Empire. Afterward the bodies of 7 fighters are laid out in the lobby, including that of Colin Buress, a death that our heroes find very, very, very suspicious considering he has no "battle" wounds.
Percy and Gram head into The Hedge and walk to Knockturn Alley so they can meet with the mysterious Mr. Shaitana. When they get to the market, they discover that Shaitana owns a “nightspot” in the “abandoned area.” Horrifyingly enough, there appears to be an area of Knockturn Alley even worse off then the rest of it, filled with abandoned buildings and what can only be assumed as the Goblin equivalents of junkies. At the end of this dank area, a neon sign declares itself “Shaitana’s”.
Our heroes enter Shaitana’s and discover an atmosphere that is a cross between a hooka bar and a lower-than-working-class pub, where the assembled horde gets high off of stolen blue memories. Working the coat check is Colin Buress, who everyone is pretty sure died a short while ago. He explains the following:
- He made a deal with Shaitana a long time ago for memories and the deal he made didn’t end with death. He is now a being of pure memory, helping Shaitana mange his large collection
- Shaitana is very powerful and isn’t exactly a Goblin, he’s from somewhere . . . else. He also appears to worship the old Egyptian gods.
- Colin was once an admirer of Princess Margaret, and despised her three other suitors (Alec Brink, Sir Beryl Whitehall, and Prince Edward) as a consequence. He admits it was just a schoolboy crush, but he still felt protective of her.
Our heroes meet with Mr. Shaitana and he imparts the following information:
- Mr. Shaitana has the power to walk through the worlds of dreams and through the brambles of the Hedge, collecting memories and thoughts as he goes. He was “given” this power by an outside source.
- Mr. Shaitana is mideastern in origins, and hints he may have been a human once, but ceased to be classified as such a long long time ago.
- He made a deal with Queen Mary when she first came to power where she can take whatever memories he collects from the dreamscape and Hedge. In return, she doesn’t kill him.
- He “needs” membership in the Eccentric Club and expects it very soon, or he’ll withdraw his “kindness” in helping Percy escape from the realm of dreams.
- The Empire booby-trapped the airports to prevent people from going overseas. The traps have gained more power as the years have gone on and the Empire can no longer control them. Mr. Shaitana can.
- Most important . . . Mr. Shaitana doesn’t have any of Gram’s memories; those memories are held by Queen Mary.
Gram barges into The Cavern to see Queen Mary. The Queen and Gram make a deal- he cannot speak ill of her for a year and a day, and in return she will give him back the memories Mr. Shaitana culled from the thorns. She warns him he’s not going to like them. Gram is horrified to learn that his lost love, the woman for whom he still pines and searches, was abandoned in Arcadia by him as he ran in sheer panic to escape from Mab. Guilt washes over him and the revelation of his own cowardice causes him to rethink many aspects of his life. He vows to leave his profession as a prostitute (which he realizes was a profession born out of guilt and needing anyway). He uses some connections to get an “audition” to work as a promoter for Hole a bar/club similar to the now closed Forget.
Our heroes return to The House for rest and relaxation. Gram decides to try and find some books in the library but can't so he asks the Mirror where they would be located. The Mirror becomes very agitated that the books are not in alphabetical order and tries to convince our heroes to stop looking at them. After some investigation, they notice the book titles spell out a phrase if you take the first letter from the book title, a phrase that repeats along all the books: “Don’t trust the mirror.” Alarmed by the possibilities, our heroes quickly and quietly leave the house.
The World Famous London Daily Mirror
For other articles see- London Daily Mirror
Genie Brawls Beyond His Walls As Approval Falls
Everyone’s favorite DCI is at it again as sources tell us Gene Hunt and his thuggish City of London Police beat on a group of young protestors in the Pekham region of south London, well outside of his jurisdiction in the square mile. These blurry camera-phone photos taken by locals seem to show the notorious scarred skull-cracker wailing on a group of hoodies for no better reason then a spot of fun. Could his latest indiscretion have anything to do with recent pressure from the city to clean up his act in the wake of the Eccentric Club fire? Rumour has it that the Metropolitan police have added his name to the investigation of the recent rash of deaths at Culford College. Could our Genie be running out of time to save himself from political rebuke and early retirement? Lets hope so. (MORE SCANDAL ON PAGE 12)
Questions . . . Questions that Need Some Form Of Written Response
For other questions see- The Master Question List
- Why was Blackmund supporting the Summer Discontents? How does he have all this inside information about The Empire?
- Why is Maggie trying to get the Empire deeper into this war? What's her game?
- What is Queen Edane going to do for cash now that she's flat broke? What does she do every year when this happens?
- What the heck is going on at Shaitana's? Why were the Ashwood Abbey members in the Hedge? Is there another secret entrance to Shaitana's that lets Mundies in?
- What kind of alliance are the american privateers involved in? Goblins? Vampires? Gentry? Its getting a little odd. . . .
- Who were Black and Mortimer talking to about killing George? How would they get rid of him? Who would they try and replace him with? Why would they even want to do that to begin with?
- What the @$#% is going on with The House and The Mirror???
|The Book of Spring: Chapter One: Black Masks and Coronation Cake • Chapter Two: The Illuminated Texts • Chapter Three: The Good Fight • Chapter Four: A Little Drop of Poison • Chapter Five: Games of Fortune • Chapter Six: For Everything|
|The Book of Summer: Chapter Seven: War Aeterna • Chapter Eight: War Plan Red • Chapter Nine: Trust No One • Chapter Ten: Best Laid Plans • Chapter Eleven: The Quest • Chapter Twelve: The Saber Arch • Chapter Thirteen: The Diary of Prince Martin • Chapter Fourteen: Sacrifices • Chapter Fifteen: There Is A Season|
|The Book of Autumn: Chapter Sixteen: Black Holes and Revelations • Chapter Seventeen: The Last Magic Mirror • Chapter Eighteen: The Final Terrible Fate of Elizabeth Chandler • Chapter Nineteen: Treason, Sedition, Heresy • Chapter Twenty: Iron Sacrifice of Body, Will and Soul • Chapter Twenty-One: Time For Every Purpose|
|The Book of Winter: Chapter Twenty-Two: Pax Hiems • Chapter Twenty-Three: The Diary of Mrs. Thistle Sept-Dec 1888 • Chapter Twenty-Four: Choices|