Chapter Five: Games of Fortune
- In which our heroes get roped into a tournament with a prize too good to pass up.
- 1 What the Bloody Hell Just Happened?!
- 1.1 One
- 1.2 Two
- 1.3 Three
- 1.4 Four
- 1.5 Five
- 1.6 Six
- 1.7 Seven
- 1.8 Eight
- 1.9 Nine
- 1.10 Ten
- 1.11 Eleven
- 1.12 Twelve
- 1.13 Thirteen
- 1.14 Fourteen
- 1.15 Fifteen
- 1.16 Sixteen
- 1.17 Seventeen
- 1.18 Eighteen
- 1.19 Nineteen
- 1.20 Twenty-One
- 1.21 Twenty-Two
- 1.22 Twenty-Three
- 1.23 Twenty-Four
- 1.24 Twenty-Five
- 1.25 Twenty-Six
- 1.26 Twenty-Seven
- 1.27 Twenty-Eight
- 1.28 Twenty-Nine
- 1.29 Thirty
- 1.30 Thirty-One
- 1.31 Thirty-Two
- 1.32 Thirty-Three
- 1.33 Thirty-Four
- 1.34 Thirty-Five
- 1.35 Thirty-Six
- 2 The World Famous London Daily Mirror
- 3 Questions
What the Bloody Hell Just Happened?!
Our Heroes are informed of a formal event where the entirety of London will gather by the command of the Queen of Spring. It is assumed that this has something to do with the impending Spring Fling. Astrid Glass warns that they should tread carefully and reveals that while the old Spring Fling would line up with the spring equinox, an event which has already happened, Edane moved the event to line up with her birthday, which is still in the future.
As the Motley wait to be announced at The Clockwork Palace, The Duke of Letters (looking quite worse for wear) warns them that this event will be fairly dangerous and they should avoid talking at all costs. They notice Ben Ashmore and The Modern are already ahead of Trouble Ahead, as are a group they assume to be The Posh.
The Motley is split up and forced to sit with their individual courts. Oliver and Perth sit next to Mitchell Hitchcock and the Baron Amyas Crayle. Percy sits with his squad of the First Regiment, next to his squad leader Tin Annie. Nellie and Gram sit behind Ben and the other Moderns.
A woman with a spider's hindquarters skitters out to deliver an urgent message to the Baron. He somberly announces that the queen plans on announcing Games of Fortune. Mitchell responds to this by very quickly fleeing. The Baron quickly explains The Rules of the Games and remarks that the only other time in The Third Empire that Games were called resulted in over a dozen deaths. The Baron guesses that Edane wants to use the games to distract the Empire from the recent unpleasantness.
The Royals emerge from the bowels of the palace to announce that Games will be held in Edane's honor. The Man for All Seasons formally announces the Games and explains the rules in more detail, including the fact that six teams of competitors will be accepted for each court and that after a "champion" is declared for the individual seasons, the courts of opposition will face off (Autumn vs Spring and Winter vs Summer). Bidding (the first stage in the process) goes smoothly until Wes Price jumps over The Duke of Letters and bids the first edition of Frankenstein. There is panic as Queen Edane scrambles to think of a bid that could possibly override an Illuminated Text. She is saved by the appearance of Empress Victoria who gives her permission to bid one hour in the Black Treasury. This causes even greater commotion.
Our heroes argue as to which court to enter themselves under. They have an even number of Spring and Autumn members and could use their outstanding favor from Queen Mary to get a first round "bye". Eventually Spring is settled on and names are entered into accounting. Judges are also announced for the competition (seven in all): Duke Mortimer, Lord Simon Palindrome, Lady Donna Nobel, Lord Clarence Golightly, McKendry Cak, and Lord Vallum.
Our heroes head off to The Pub and learn they will be facing off in the first round against a group called The Artisans, close allies of The Modern. A drunken Winter functionary confesses that he has been following Nellie around under Imperial orders in preparation for the games.
The Motley assembles in an all-purpose room at Imperial College's student union to learn the first assignment they will have. The competition with The Artisans will be a simple game of Capture the Flag: A green flag has been posted on the front door of each Motley's home-base. Both teams flee on opposite directions. Nellie quickly assumes that her door must bear the flag since the drunk Winter courtier was following her around.
Perth and Percy head to Nellie's apartment to secure the flag while Nellie, Oliver and Gram head out to find The Artisan's home base. Gram calls Ben Ashmore and gets him to divulge that the Artisans live together in an illegal loft just outside the theater district on the West End. Perth and Percy find the flag pinned to Nellie's front door and while they cannot remove the flag, they figure they can remove the door. Perth stands guard over Nellie's doorless apartment while Percy opens a portal into the hedge in Nellie's shower.
Percy returns to The House only to learn that the Artisans are trying to get inside using some form of Paint-based magicks. Percy contacts campus security and lets them know someone is defacing the utility closet that contains the entrance to The House. Gram, Nellie and Oliver go hunting for the Artisan's lair. They find a spray painted mural that has apparent otherworldly properties. Checking the building inside, they find the flag they are seeking. They rush to get it back to Imperial.
The Judges give the victory to Trouble Ahead and our heroes go out to party at [[The Pub. It seems a large number of changelings are doing the same and the back room has a huge bracket chart showing the victors for the various rounds. They also learn that wholesale betting is going on with The Jade Warren handling the largest and most profitable action.
Nellie, Gram, and Perth head off to the Jade Warren to place some large bets on themselves. They see Lord Henry Blackmund in the entrance trying to get in to place a bet, but the guards refuse him. He makes a cryptic comment to Gram about knowing what's going on and that he'll be talking to them all again soon.
The next day arrives and the second round starts. Trouble Ahead will face off against The Temple of the Pound over the desires of five students at Imperial College that have been chosen at Random. Each group as 48 hours to satisfy the desires of their targets. Whomever can satisfy more targets in a more fantastic manner wins. The targets given to Trouble Ahead are below:
- Alan Lawford
- A junior bioscience major, the group discovers he is severely stressed due to being constantly ranked second compared to Henry Althorp, the #1 ranked student in the university.
- Gram tricks Henry into going out to For Get for the night (using fancy verbal footwork to claim it'll be the location of his "prestigious award" from the school).
- Dalton Wycliffe
- A gay English major, Dalton seemed to want Professor Palindrome's approval, but in reality he just wants Professor Palindrome.
- Gram and Nellie stage a reading of one of Dalton's sub-par poems that impresses Palindrome. It embarrasses Dalton.
- Dalton hangs out with Nellie who "hags" for him. He agrees to come out to For Get at the same time as Henry.
- Susan Marshall
- A sophomore Finance major, Susan's greatest desire was to lose her virginity in a suitably romantic manner.
- Gram satisfies that desire. Very nicely.
- Verona Coleman
- A student at Culford College studying mathematics in Professor Stevenson's class, she just wants to be able to stop taking the class and have some teenage fun. She's highly depressed.
- Oliver learns that the school's guidance councilor (Ms. Bellford) is a main source of stress in her life, as is this course she is taking.
- Gram calls her parents and tells them she was engaged in all sorts of inappropriate activities. They sound like they are going to remove her from the class.
- Percy goes to threaten Ms. Bellford only to find that its actually Princess Anne of Winter. She appears to be feeding on the misery she inflicts on the students.
- Dolly Butler
- An affable if chunky young lady in Percy's dance class, Dolly just wants to make a good impression on her fiance's family.
- Nellie goes to work on a dress for her and Percy teaches her his blue-blooded manners. Percy gets an invite to the family's party the next night so he can help her.
At For Get Gram meets Henry who invited his younger sister and older brother to the event. Gram gives Henry a vial of amber liquid that Zoot calls "Menagerie" in an effort to cause a mental breakdown, hopefully leading to an arrest.
Dalton shows up and has a few drinks with Nellie before seeing Professor Palindrome enter the bar and have a conversation with Gram. He starts to seethe with envy and drinks heavily. Nellie calls a friend from work to try and hook Dalton up. Dalton gives Nellie his phone so he doesn’t drunk dial. Professor Palindrome demands Gram put on a good show.
Henry’s siblings arrive and he starts seeing manifestations of the Wyrd, including the true form of his brother David Althorp. He has a world-class freak out and is dragged out of the bar by Perth, who hands him over to the police. Professor Palindrome is so impressed he buys Gram a drink.
Percy goes to find his mentor, Joshua Wolff. After failing to find him, he hears from Tin Annie that the losing side in each round of the games has gone missing. A recently-victorious Sir Beryl Whitehall tells Percy he has no idea what Annie is talking about. Percy decides to go looking for answers from The Old Guard, assuming they know what is going on.
After Nellie’s friend shows up to talk to Dalton, she and Gram have a conversation with the Duke of Letters where he waxes rhetorical about the glory days (the Sixties). Gram attempts to get Palindrome’s opinion about Dalton’s sexuality by talking about Prince John’s practice of taking clients of both persuasions. The Duke becomes someone agitated and remarks that Prince John will never make it to become king. When Gram becomes confused (John is Heir Apparent), Palindrome remarks that being heir and taking the throne are not the same thing. After Gram brags about his seduction of Susan, the Duke smirks and excuses himself to make a phone call.
Percy arrives at The Club to find The POSH and The Modern facing off in a game of Beer Pong. After Mrs. George is informed that her niece, Susan Marshall, was deflowered by Gram, she orders the Posh to win (which they do, by changing the game to Gin Martini Pong). Percy decides that since most of the Modern are either puking or passed out, he’ll watch over them to make sure they don’t go missing.
The next day Percy wakes to find the Modern are missing. He walks out of the club bar to find the Old Guard dining, and proceeds to purposefully make an ass out of himself. Simon Palindrome makes a fairly open threat about his future and Percy runs off to prepare for the wedding.
Gram, Nellie, and Percy all head to the wedding at Hill’s Crown, a massive estate in the Hempstead Heath section of London, and learn that the wedding is between Trevor Fitz-Greyson, a young banker, and Cynthia Blackmund, daughter of Ashwood Abbey chairman, Lord Henry Blackmund. They meet Dolly’s finance, Peter George-Blakely.
Gram uses his contract of fleeting Spring to convince Dolly’s future in-laws that they really, really want her as a family member. The result is slightly unnerving. Gram and Nellie attempt to make an escape only to be blocked by the American security detail of Lord Henry.
Oliver attempts to get back to the Rabbit Hole only to bump into The Duke of Exeter. Just as the Duke is starting to recognize Oliver (he calls him out as a member of the Landon family) Oliver manages to make a quick escape.
Percy and Oliver escape through doors to the Hedge while Mrs. George (a wedding guest) uses her power to force the guards to let the motley go.
At the scoring round it is revealed that the judges are giving high points to Trouble Ahead on every target but one: Verona Coleman has apparently killed herself. Luckily, this will not effect the outcome, as every target of The Temple of the Pound suddenly came down with a horrible illness.
The judges announce the next round’s contest between Trouble Ahead and The Posh will be a scavenger hunt and that only Queen Edane, McKendry Cak, and Lady Donna Noble will be judging the round. It will start the next day at noon.
The scavenger hunt begins with contestants scrambling to get rare objects and strange pictures taken. Nellie and Gram attempt to get the queen to cheat in Trouble Ahead's favor only to learn that the queen thought she already did. Someone altered the scavenger hunt list, and because of the magics involved in the games, she cannot change the list now.
The Scavenger Hunt rages on with the following important moments:
- It appears that Sir Roderick Bassett has not slept since the dream swaps took place. His mental state is deteriorating quickly.
- Gram meets the empress. She plays along and wants him to tell her ward that she thinks the games are "nice".
- At Knockturn Alley Nellie, Percy, and Gram negotiate with the Clockwork Saleswoman and open an account at Gringotts.
- For some reason many members of the empire know the exact number of Changelings in the Empire. (It's 311.)
- It appears that The Conclave of the Wyrd guards the locations of the Jack the Ripper murders, since they apparently have all turned into rabbit holes. In addition, it is possible Saucy Jack was a member of the Autumn court.
- Beryl wins his foot-race by killing the other competitors. This causes Princess Margaret to break down into tears and sleep with Gram again (while crying). She calls Gram a name other then "Gram" mid-coitus. It appears that competitors in the games cannot be punished for actions taken while in the games.
- A drawer in Professor Palindrome's desk is somehow not a drawer, but a solid block of wood.
- Crumple delivers up the total net worth of William Cavendesh-Scott-Betnick, and a very strange document written in Chinese and Gaelic.
- The former Duke of Paths, Austin Derleth, drowned (despite having gills) outside a pub in the east end.
- The remains of the Harrod's Goblin Market are vast and are guarded by a steam-powered golem that informs Gram and Perth that they are committing treason against the Empire by being there. The Goblins had at least two Palantirs, addictive little relics of dread Arcadia that can seemingly answer any question you ask.
- The Summer court has had lots and lots of kings and queens over the years. Any king or queen of Summer that didn't die in battle is labeled as "Cowardly".
- An unknown being known as Mr. Shaitana can walk through unseen spaces, including the dark dreamworld that permeates London Heathrow. Percy now owes him a favor.
- There is a mortal Willworker known as Dr. Steven Chandler who worked at Bedlam for many years and for some reason was holding on to a key for the motley.
The key from Dr. Chandler opens the attic of The House revealing paintings of The Deep End, presumably the motley that lived in the house before Trouble Ahead. The members of the Deep End have appearances and even scents that are so similar to the members of Trouble Ahead that it becomes frightening. After discovering clothing belonging to The Deep End, they also discover that they are all the same sizes as their new-found doubles.
At a party held by The Posh to celebrate the games, our heroes confront Mr. Black about the Deep End and the similarities they have noticed. Mr. Black dismisses the occurrence as coincidence and advises them not to bring The Deep End up, as they were all killed some time ago and had deep ties to other members of the Empire for better or worse. Gram discovers that the individual in The Deep End who he most closely resembles was engaged to Princess Margaret until Beryl killed him in a duel and that the motley enjoyed deep Hedge exploration.
The Motley confronts Mrs. George about changing the scavenger hunt list to lead them to discover the Deep End, but she appears to have known nothing about most of the changes (she admitted to authoring a few changes to assist the Posh). When they confront Professor Palindrome, he mistakenly assumes they are talking about a young Changeling they discovered this morning who bears a striking resemblance to David Picket-Frost.
It is announced that Trouble Ahead defeated The Posh by a score of 28-20 to become the official champions of Spring. They black out and wake up over 24 hours later having been beaten in the next round by The Conclave of the Wyrd. The Conclave claims our heroes' memories as a trophy, saying that no one can be allowed to learn their secrets. The judges make it clear that our heroes learned personal information about several members of the Conclave.
Trouble Ahead narrowly avoids being voted back into the games by the other defeated motleys. They bear witness to The Household Cavalry's victory over The Sun Banishers as Beryl somehow uses a Palantir to burn one of the Banishers from the inside out.
The World Famous London Daily Mirror
For other articles see- London Daily Mirror
Student Suicide Scandal as Sleepy Suburb Snores
As Culford College grappled with its fifth suicide this school year, a school spokesperson deflected criticism of the school’s official response to the death of a 17-year-old student.
Lower-Sixth former Verona Coleman leapt to her death from the clock tower of the prestigious secondary school late last week. In informing the school community of her death, Anne Belford, Dean for Student Outreach, wrote, “The young woman was a credit to our community but, regrettably, drifted away from the Culford way of doing things. We will be doubling the mandatory guidance time for all students so they can share the deep sadness they no doubt feel after this tragic event.”
A good start no doubt, but given the rash of recent suicides, we at the Mirror were shocked to learn that no official investigation has been launched into the wave of deaths that started last September when a Year 10 student threw himself in front of the 4:50 train from Paddington station. College solicitor, Sir Mortimer Armstrong, stated that an internal investigation was ongoing under his supervision, but declined to give any further information..
(MORE INVESTIGATIVENESS ON PAGE 3)
For other questions see- The Master Question List
- Why did the Queen call the games to begin with? What was her end-game?
- What did Wes Price hope to gain from offering the Text as a prize?
- Who banged Dalton in Professor Palindrome's office?
- Why did the Queen change the date of the Spring Fling?
- What went on in the "Palace" of Harrod's?
- Why was Professor Palindrome so sure that Prince John would never become King?
- How did Lord Henry Blackmund know exactly what was going on in the empire? Why did the Jade Warren shut him out of betting on it?
- Who were The Deep End really? Are the members of Trouble Ahead simply Deep Enders reborn? Why didn't anyone bring up the uncanny resemblance?
- Why did Dr. Steven Chandler have the key to The House's Attic?
- Was Mitchell Hitchcock correct when he said the house was named Brandywine? Is the fact that the house is named significant?
|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|