Chapter Nine: Trust No One
- In which our heroes attend a massive celebration, battle their worst fears, see the true power behind the Empire, and become pawns of a dark and terrible force.
- 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?!
Gram takes advantage of his free time between classes and whoring himself out to visit Ben Ashmore and The Modern. He learns that in order to pay for King George’s War The Empire is going to be engaging in a new round of taxation. The Modern are worried they may not be able to afford it. Gram also asks about Colin Buress, but no one in the modern seems to remember him.
Nellie meets with her HR rep and discusses her very, very, very odd behavior in a very, very, very boring way. She works on her Magnum Opus for membership in The Spinner's Guild, which is nearing completion.
The whole motley gathers together to discuss what to do about the overheard assassination threats made by Duke Mortimer and Mr. Black. They decide that no one in Summer or Winter can be trusted at the moment, so they decided to go to Queen Mary. Gram is also hoping that the Queen will give over his remaining memories of escaping Arcadia.
Perth and Oliver lead the way into The Cavern and deferentially bow before the Queen and Lord Vallum. The Queen is in the middle of a chess game with Mr. In Formation (who is shackled to the table, being forced to play). The following occurs:
- If the Queen finds Black and Mortimer's scheming interesting she’s doing her best to hide it. She says she will “handle” the situation in her own way, words that send shivers down the spines of the collected Changelings. Before they give her this information, Mr. Information attempts to stop them several times by interrupting, looking highly panicked and begging with his eyes for them not to speak.
- Information on the Anglo-Goblin War is very spotty, due to “unfortunate measures and methods” used during the war that apparently caused people to forget portions of the war “like it was some long fleeting dream.”
- Mr. Information beats the Queen in chess and she has him thrown back to Portobello Road.
Percy and Nana go hunting in the Hedge and both nearly die at the hands of a pack of briarwolves. Despite his pledge never to return, Percy is forced to run back to The House and finds it in a state of disarray. He visits the Man in the Mirror to learn that The Mirror and The House are, in fact, NOT one and the same, and they have been fighting one another for control. The Mirror claims to be one of the four legendary Magic Mirrors and be bored out of its frame having nothing but dirt and filthy walls to look at, but it has reached an accord with The House where he will stop manipulating them. Percy cleans the briarwolf in front of The Mirror, occasionally flipping blood and gore at the mirror to piss it off.
Gram goes to talk to Maggie about Colin’s death only to find she can’t remember him. As he goes to leave, she kisses him and calls him Alec. Gram attempts to snap her out of it and she promptly vomits. Gram leaves quietly.
Our heroes are invited to the Summer Victory Gala at the newly reopened Artillery Arms. The following events occur:
- Sir Beryl Whitehall and Princess Margret end up in a drinking contest with Queen Mary and Prince Edward. Beryl and Maggie manage a win after Edward vomits.
- King George reveals he is incapable of dying, no matter what the circumstances. He feels he is “Cursed” to live on where “Braver Men” pass on.
- The Brotherhood is still frustrated with the pace of the war. They are grumblings about George’s fitness for office, but not openly.
- Queen Mary knows Brandywine well, and claims to have lost her virginity in the foyer.
There is an assassination attempt against King George by someone in a Guy Fawks mask using an old Flintlock Pistol. The projectile caused a great splash of thick red liquid to pour forth from the King’s chest (revealed in a few moments to be the contents of a bottle of 1800s era cough suppressant that stopped the bullet from killing him). Percy gives chase to the would-be assassin, capturing him outside and revealing his identity as Rodger West. West begs to be killed but Gram and Percy drag him inside where he is taken away by a group of Summer and Autumnal changelings.
Everybody gets very, very, very, very drunk.
- Gram wakes up naked on the floor of Maggie’s apartment. He vomits in several discreet areas. Nellie wakes up (clothed) on Maggie’s dining room table and tries to help Gram find his cloathing. Beryl wakes up (he was in the bedroom) and says he has a vauge memory of streaking.
- Percy wakes up in a very uncomfortable position on Donna Nobel’s couch. He also makes sick a number of times.
- Zoot and Maggie return with coffee for everyone. Zoot lets everyone know that they a) Made asses of themselves last night, and b) should lay low as they crashed a (presumably stolen) car into Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.
- Gram and Beryl taunted each other into a state of undress just outside. Their cloathing is stuck in much of the gates of the neighboring houses and the gutters.
- A number of Changelings were arrested and even more may be as The Metropolitan Police Force is out looking for Imperial College students. Specifically Misters Landon, Thew, and Harving who are still wanted for questioning in connection with the death of Verona Coleman.
Nellie goes to see Gene Hunt to try and settle the messy legal issues involved with her Motley-mates. She sees Ben Ashmore and a few other member of The Modern have been arrested for drunk and disorderly. Hunt seems very distracted, but agrees to try and get the MPD to drop the charges.
Percy goes to deliver the Palantir to The Man for All Seasons. The Man is decidedly confused, as Percy has already delivered the Palantir in question to him, not three hours ago. Percy leaves shaken (by both the information and the image of The Man for All Seasons skittering along the walls of his extra-tall office).
Percy and Gram go to see Queen Mary about the Palantir, to find her and Lord Vallum violently torturing Rodger West. She doesn’t have information for them, investing a great deal of her time in making Rodger suffer. She has already removed his tongue and is starting to work on his other “soft tissue.”
The whole Motley decides to support Gram by attending his first night working at Hole. They have a reasonably good time while Percy and Perth try and get jobs working at Hole as well (as a bartender and bouncer respectively). Nellie gets a message from Crumple asking for help, so she heads out with Percy.
Nellie and Percy discover that Portobello Road is under attack by the still-mysterious Americans who seem to be in league with notorious traitor Lord John Slatterly. Slatterly is interrogating Mr. Information from a perch on top a spectral steed. He asks for the location of the Axis Mundi and for information on the plight of the American freeholds.
Percy decides to attack Lord John, only to fall through the intangable horse and (accidentally) slash Lord John’s rear end. A standoff takes place between Nellie and the Americans’ commander John Appleseed. The Americans have functioning flintlock rifles trained on Percy, and Nellie has her scissors to Lord John’s neck. They agree to an exchange, do so, and leave. Mr. Information agrees to tell our heroes what they want about the rest of the world (Sydney in specific) if they steal him a token of great power called the “Otherworld Box” from the Black Treasury. Mr. Information says “someone” will be coming after the box soon, and he’d rather have it in his possession then let that “someone” get his or her hands on it.
The Battle of the War Rooms takes place.
- The entire Empire, from Spring to Winter will be fighting (in some regard) in this battle under the direction of King George. They will be marching into the Deep Hedge to the last known lair of the Family Quay to exterminate the vampires.
- When the forces of the Empire (nearly 200 strong) arrive, they are split up to search the massive abandoned portions of Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms disused since WWII.
- It’s a trap! (sorry) . The blast walls of the war rooms split the area into smaller segments, separating large groups of fighters. Our heroes are left with a good portion of the First Regiment and The Modern who have been drafted by the King.
- Percy opens a door to the Hedge to discover that the Americans performing some sort of disturbing ritual l with a Magic circle. The Americans appear to summon The Pan, terrifying everyone around. The Pan rushes the door, and Percy holds the door closed with the help of several Ogres.
- The group starts to panic as they are trapped in this space. Gram attempts to get the blast doors open and Nellie starts ushering Spring courtiers into the small offices around the area, and from there into the air ducts.
- Gram manages to open a blast door only to unleash Mab who is being carried on a litter. He attempts to run but is caught by a slimy grey tenticle.
- Nellie attempts to flee into the air ducts only to start violently hallucinating that she’s back in Arcadia. She starts destroying her surroundings in order to break free again.
- Percy flings his door open and runs past Mab. Mab and the Pan enter into battle, covering the area in an inky blackness that cannot be penetrated. Gram is dropped and runs with Percy and the rest of the survivors.
- Percy and Gram run smack dab into an Arcadian known as The Zookeeper who attempts to take everyone as “specimens” back to Arcadia. The combined fighters defeat The Zookeeper and manage to flee only to run into the psychotic messianic lion Arcadian, Aslan.
- Nellie and Ben Ashmore escape the grounds through the Hedge to see dozens of bizarre Hedge beasts, goblins, and Arcadian creatures moving towards the area. Mr. Black is helping a group of Summer fighters hold them off while others flee back towards the base. Nellie and Ben slip past and head toward The Clockwork Palace.
- Aslan is killed, to his shock, in a single blow. Other Arcadians are seen, each experiencing horrible pain. A view of Mab vomiting violently is seen as the Pan looks on laughing. Not taking anything for granted, Percy and Gram run on only to move smack dab into a group of mouthless men wearing “Howie” lab coats and wielding bizarre steampunk-style “freeze rays”. They are . . . frozen and black out.
Nellie and Ben come back to the Palace to see a bizarre sight: The Mouthless men are moving frozen Imperials into the ballroom of the palace, including the King and the bodies of several men killed in the fighting. Duke Mortimer, Dr. Glastig, and Sir Beryl Whitehall are organizing the bodies. Beryl seems to find something wrong with what they are doing, but Glastig and Mortimer assure him this is how things have always been done and that a “fresh delivery” should arrive some time in next few weeks. Mortimer calls for everyone to move into their places and a white smoke covers the room that unfreezes everyone.
Chaos breaks out in the ballroom as the wounded are suddenly made aware of that fact. King George begins screaming for everyone to re-form ranks so that everyone can attack again. Beryl makes borderline treasonous statements arguing that the battle was poorly-planned and foolhardy. Nellie tries to tell everyone what she’s seen, but Ben refuses to back her (he seems terrified) and The Man for All Seasons announces that he is of the opinion that she and her Motley-mates are going insane (based on his experience that morning with Percy).
Gram and Percy, furious and hard-headed, decide to run off and perform the robbery that Mr. Information wanted them to, while everyone is distracted. They follow Mr. Information’s instructions and find that the Black Treasury is a hollow hidden inside the infamous Tower of London. They are nearly assaulted by the mortal Tower Guard before being saved by Baron Amyas Crayle who imparts the following knowledge to them:
- He is one of the 11 Who Know the secrets of the Empire. They are a secret society run by the Membership Committee, whom he asserts are the actual power in the Empire, covertly controlling the reigns of their respective kings and queens.
- He (and his mentor before him) believes that someone needs to act as an “independent auditor” to the actions of the Membership Committee. To this end, he has been shielding the motley from the mental manipulations of the Membership Committee. He seems somewhat detached but oddly devoted to this concept, which puts both Gram and Percy off.
- The mouthless men are members of the Sun Banishers. They do work for Duke Mortimer, but they have no idea what the grander scheme is.
- The 11 have no idea who or what the Blackmasks are. They still argue about thier existence at all.
- Likewise the 11 don't know who The Punished are, or why they were punished.
- He can give them access to the Black Treasury but cannot allow them to remember where the exact entrance is. While in there, they can take what they wish but they mustn’t take too much, lest they get caught. He knows the box they are looking for and tells them that it is among the personal effects of the deposed King of Autumn, Henry.
Gram and Percy enter the vast main room of the Black Treasury and take the Otherworldly Box. Percy’s eye is drawn to a shiny silver axe on the shelf above it (The Separating Axe according to its tied-on tab). On there way out, they see a shelf of Palantiri, including their own. They find that this Palantir was once owned by “The Dark Lord”. They both attempt to use the Palantir, after which Gram becomes consumed with a sense of purpose and says he has a plan.
Gram takes the Axe from Percy and they head to Prittering Price Fisher Finance. Gram walks into the main trading floor and hits the box with the Axe, freeing some kind of electronic entity that proceeds to fry every computer in the building and even shut down the power grid of the city for a few minutes. Internet, lights, and phone service in London stops for a short time. Percy becomes confused and attacks Gram. Gram, briefly in control of himself, mentions that he’s going to Portobello Road next and then flees. Percy calls the rest of the motley and warns them of Gram’s sudden insanity.
Gram arrives at Portobello Road and starts swinging the Axe at Mr. Information. Percy, Nellie, and Oliver arrive on-scene and attempt to stop him. Gram suddenly comes to as if waking from a dream and breaks the Axe over his knee. He claims to have been under some form of possession, which they attribute to the Palantir and the “Dark Lord”. Mr. Information flees, leaving our heroes in the rubble of Portobello Road.
Nellie, seeing for the first time the destruction wroth by Lord John Slatterly and the Americans, goes to seek out Crumple, who first alerted her to the trouble brewing in the market to find his hut in shambles. He has a long and elaborate “death scene” after which whispers to her that the “Ja’mais vu” are coming and “dies” (in reality he is just unconscious, but he tends to be overdramatic about these things). The motley retreats to The House to recover and plan their next move. . . .
The World Famous London Daily Mirror
For other articles see- London Daily Mirror
Drunken Crash Goes Unpunished
Late last night, while the hardworking citizens of London were snuggled up in their beds, a vicious gang of drunken hooligans was using our cherished monuments for wickets. The Mirror has received exclusive accesses to police records showing a group of Uni students from Imperial College got a little big for their britches last night and stole some of Dad’s old whiskey, going for a joyride in what is assumed to be a stolen car. These unfortunate undergraduates then proceeded to drive donuts around Nelson’s Column, before crashing into its base! The punishment for this reckless behavior? A slap on the wrist from authorities who were ordered by some higher-ups to hush-a-bye the whole incident. I promise you, Gentle Readers, that this abridgement of justice will not stand and this paper will do all they can to get to the bottom of this latest abuse of power.
(MORE SCANDAL ON PAGE 2)
Questions... Questions that Need Some Form Of Written Response
For other questions see- The Master Question List
- Why are people forgetting Colin Buress? Are they actually forgetting him or are you making a mountain out of a molehill?
- What “unfortunate measures and methods” have made most imperials forget the details of The Anglo-Goblin War?
- What's the deal with The House and the Man in the Mirror? Can the Man still be trusted?
- Is Maggie losing it? She seems a little unhinged lately.
- Why can't King George die? Is he actually cursed?
- Why did Rodger West shoot the King? Was he acting alone or under orders?
- Where are the Americans getting all of those guns?! We want guns too!
- What. The. Hell. Happened. At. The. War. Rooms?! How did all those Strangers end up invading the war rooms at once. What happened to them? Were they being controlled by the Americans???
- What IS the secret that the "11 Who Know" know?
- Who is the Dark Lord? What was his plan for Gram? Why did he want P2F2 destroyed and Mr. Information murdered?
- Who or What are the Ja'Mais Vu?
|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|