Chapter Fourteen: Sacrifices
- In which our heroes are given 24 hours to save The Empire or surrender their last bits of humanity in unholy sacrifice. Along the way, they free ancient evils to walk among us, learn the hidden identity of one of their greatest foes and make many dark deals.
- 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?!
Our heroes are shaken and stirred by what they have read in Prince Martin's Diary. They still hear sounds of horror and violence outside, and dig through the presents wildly to try and find something to assist in the battle. The gifts they find include:
- Matching silver swords from The Round Table
- 1,000 pounds in small bills from The Royal Family of Spring
- Passion Fruit (mistaken for Amaranth by Gram Thew) from The Lovers
- A Palantir from the Third Regiment
- Very old cloaks from Queen Mary and The Conclave of the Wyrd
- A check for 5,000 pounds from The Old Guard
The Winter Courts Gifts start slowly disappearing as they search.
After the sounds of battle raging around them stop, our heroes make one last attempt at escaping the vault, finally tumbling out into the main ballroom. They discover that the palace interior has shifted violently, with rooms and hallways no longer existing where they once were. After some exploration, they find that the battle has literally stopped still, with every fighter frozen perfectly in place. Trying to rouse any of them (such as Sir Beryl Whitehall) puts our heroes in the same stasis.
Our heroes go scrambling for cover as they see an unearthly glow approaching. Empress Victoria enters the room, floating above the floor being dragged by feral versions of Prince Edward and Joshua Wolff. She explains, in an ethereal dream-like state, that she has stopped time to avoid the fall of the Empire. She can keep it going for 24 hours before. If the members of Trouble Ahead can't bring enough reinforcements to save the Empire from its Invaders in the next 24 hours, she will need a "sacrifice" to continue the effect. Without reinforcements or a mundy to sacrifice, the Empire will be destroyed.
Our heroes run back to the house, to discover that it has grown by at least one story. In the basement of the house, they find that the dirt floor has receded, revealing the bodies of The Deep End, buried in front of The Mirror. The Mirror is questioned as to HOW the bodies got there, and it respond that they died because of the Mirrors actions. Perth and Percy stack the bodies in some of the old-fashioned bathtubs and leave them to dissolve in some lye.
Gram Thew, Perth McMannus, and Nellie Whistle head to Hole to try and lure the members of The Royal Family of Spring into returning to the battle. They are appalled to see most of the Spring Court high as kites, reaping glamour from heavily intoxicated mortals and generally apathetic to the plight of the Imperials still trapped in the Clockwork Palace. Queen Edane and Prince John are particularly disinterested in helping, saying that if the Empire is doomed, they'll find a way to survive as before: among the mundys, not in the Hedge. After an impassioned quoting of The Charter of the Land, McKendry Cak (the only sober person in the room) agrees to try and get some spring courtiers to the place tomorrow morning, but he can't guarantee anything.
On the way out, Gram Thew saves his former lover Susan Marshall from being molested by Ben Ashmore while she is heavily intoxicated. When the other members of Trouble Ahead realize that the same is about to happen to several other mundys in the bar, they quickly leave as to avoid a fight.
Percy Harving heads to The Hide-Out to recruit the Summer Dissidents only to find the place deserted. The only item left in the hollow is a small toy model of the Queen Anne's Revenge, pointing the way to The Water's Edge.
Perth, Gram, and Nellie head down to The Cavern to try and recruit the members of the Autumn Court that either A) fled the Palace or B) weren't invited to the wedding in the first place. They find the Court split into three factions:
- The Agressives: Led by Baron Amyas Crayle, this group wants to charge the palace and save the Empire "for King and Country"
- The Ostriches: Led by Mitchell Hitchcock, the Ostriches think that the best course of action is to do nothing whatsoever.
- The Wait-and-Seers: Led by Dr. Elspith Glaistig, this faction wants to know who else is "riding to the rescue", and why. According to Glastig, King George has already gotten too big for his britches and may just need to be . . . removed.
Eventually, with support from Gram, Perth, and Nellie, the Agressives seem to win the argument. They head out to try and locate the Winter Court.
Using his steed, Percy finds The Water's Edge, a strange water-bound freehold in the Deep Hedge filled with trapped, tied together ships (though he gets pretty confused about the way back). Percy finds the Dissidents here, among the original inhabitants of the freehold, working for Rodger West, whom they call "the Tongueless King." West revels in his messianic role as the "Truly Crowned King of Summer". West says he will save the Empire IF he is allowed to execute King George and Queen Mary. He also hints that his followers have a plan to free the ships from this part of the Hedge by burning it, a widely acknowledged bad idea. Percy also sees John Appleseed trying to lure West over to the Invaders. Percy and West share a drink in a "screw it, why not?" kind of way. Percy realizes too late, but the drink is drugged.
Perth, Gram, and Nellie go to Dr. John Seward's offices, the only location controlled by the Winter Court that they actually have an address for. Gram charms the receptionist into telling him that Dr. Seward is lunching, like always, at the John Snow Pub.
When they arrive at the pub the see that the Sun Banishers are guarding a back room. They talk their way past, only to find most of the Winter Court present, wearing masks in an attempt to conceal their identities. The Court is NOT receptive to the attempts to rouse them to action, though Mr. Black agrees to help in return for the knowledge of exactly how he lost his name (a fact he's not 100% clear on these days). He gives them a short list of groups that may have the power to help: The Family Quay, The Ashwood Abbey and The Jade Warren.
Our heroes track the Family Quay to the abandoned British Museum Station of the London underground. They see many things that can't be unseen (Nellie faints). They parlay with the monstrous Lord Vander Quay through his spawn -- Carlton Quay, Kara Quay, and Quentin Quay. The Quay want to be able to go above ground on the weekends, which Gram agrees to (via Mr. Cole who is being kept by the Quay as a slave and advisor after they sacked Underlondon). The Quay then drug Perth and Gram to send him off to Wes' Patron.
Nellie wakes up to find herself on a cot in a small utility room in a large warehouse. A little exploring lets her find another room containing a television-style set of a 1950s black-and-white home containing Mrs. Folo. She also discovers Wes Price has been dragged back here after being injured in the The Battle of the Ballroom. Nellie finds the others tied together and wakes them.
Shortly after being freed by Nellie, the group is captured by Gram's Girl who is flanked by two oddly-shaped Blackmasks. They drag our heroes out into the main storage area to come face to face with The Duke of Exeter and the Fetch Empire.
The Duke explains that he was warned (by a Palantir given to him as a gift) that his "counterpart" would be returning shortly and that he needed to defend himself. He started looking for other Fetches that were in danger of being murdered by their counterparts and formed them into an organization to oppose The Empire. He was avoiding killing Percy Harving for fear that it would harm him as well, but with his recent discovery of David Althorp he feels he can safely eliminate his opposition and continue existing.
A fight breaks out where the "Blackmasks" are clearly revealed to be fetches in costumes. During the fight Nemesis (as Gram's former love is apparently called) is knocked unconscious and dragged along with our heroes into the Hedge. Gram and Perth bring her into Oliver's old room and tie her up to prevent her from escaping (or murdering any of them).
With time running down, Our heroes go to recruit The Jade Warren. Governor Feng agrees to help, if he is given a formal title by the Empire. With a promise that they will name him "Lord Feng" and give him control over the small area of Soho called Chinatown, he consents to send his best men.
Our heroes head to Hill's Crown to speak with Lord Henry Blackmund. Blackmund and his associates agree to give our heroes the firepower they need to win the war (including a classic crank-powered machine gun and a large amount of nitroglycerin, both proven to work in the Hedge) if they restart the fights that the Abbey has come to enjoy. To prove they are on the up-and-up, Blackmund insists they replicate the first fight he saw them in -- the fight against the Nihil. Gram, Perth and Percy all go in, while Nellie stays out in order to try and heal them when the fight is over.
During the fight Gram breaks two ribs and fractures two more, Percy breaks an arm and both legs, Perth breaks his nose and dislocates his shoulder. All are near death when the Nihil finally goes down. Gram and Percy need serious hospitalization immediately or they will die. With some first aid, Gram can go witness the final battle, but Percy is immediately put into a medically induced coma to try and allow him to heal.
The group gathers at Guildhall to renter the battle with about 45 minutes to spare. The following troops have actually arrived.
- Several Spring courtiers, including McKendry Cak and Ben Ashmore (But not Queen Edane or The Royal Family of Spring.)
- A core of Autumn courtiers led by Baron Amyas Crayle and Mitchell Hitchcock (But not Dr. Glastig and her followers)
- Mr. Black and Duke Mortimer
- Several members of The Family Quay (adorned with sunglasses)
- A few legbreakers from The Jade Warren
- A van from The Ashwood Abbey containing the promised weapons
When Gram mentions the death of the Pan offhandedly to Mr. Black, Black suddenly flies into a rage, demanding to see the head of the Pan. When he wheels Gram inside and sees the head, his rage turns on Duke Mortimer. Black drags Mortimer into the present vault screaming, "You lied to me!"
Nellie and Zoot plant vials of nitroglycerin among the Invaders rushing into the palace as Perth sets the machine gun up to aim into the crowd. When the Empress unsticks time, huge explosions rock the palace, and the remaining Invaders are slaughtered by the Family Quay and the Jade Warren.
The Empress becomes very upset when informed of the deals Trouble Ahead made with the Quay, the Abbey, and the Warren but says she will find a way to "deal with it" as preservation of the Empire was her first concern. George cryptically says he'll deal with it, as Summer is not over yet. . . .
The World Famous London Daily Mirror
For other articles see- London Daily Mirror
Duke and Duchess of Exeter Attend Charity Dinner
On 23th August 2010, The Women's Actuarial Accounting Society hosted a dinner in aid of the Child Bereavement Charity, raising over £675,000. The Duke and Duchess of Exeter were guests of honor.
“As Patron of the Child Bereavement Charity, it is with great pleasure and pride that I welcome you here tonight, in this first year of our partnership with The Women's Actuarial Accounting Society,” said the Duke in his speech at the event. "This evening is all about quiet pride. Pride in what both organisations have achieved individually; pride at what you are achieving as partners together.
“I find it enormously rewarding and gratifying to observe how two organisations which mean so much to me are working so superbly with one another. Despite setbacks, our plans continue to move forward and will bear great fruit in the future.
WAAS Recording Secretary Bethany Andrews-Millner was on hand as well to assist with the fundraising effort, as well as announce that she would be working closely with the Duke and Duchess on the creation of a new charitable trust designed to target Children who had been "taken but returned."
MORE CHARITY ON PAGE 9.
Questions . . . Questions that Need Some Form Of Written Response
For other questions see- The Master Question List
- Why did the Third Regiment give Beryl and Maggie a Palantir? Where did they get it?
- What were those very old cloaks?
- What did Empress Victoria do? How powerful is she exactly?
- Does Rodger West actually have the power to free the Queen Anne's revenge and make himself king? Why has his personality shifted so violently?
- Can the vampires actually wander around the city now? What will they do with their new found freedom?
- Who warned the Duke about Percy's return? Was it The Dark Lord?
- Are the blackmasks real? or are they easily abused myths as the Duke suggests?
- Why did Mr. Black freak out when Gram told him The Pan was dead? Why did he assault Duke Mortimer afterwards? What did Mortimer lie to Black about?
|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|