Chapter Ten: Best Laid Plans
- In which our heroes realize the magnitude of their recent actions and embark on a very risky (and time consuming) plan with to get their lives back on track.
- 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?!
After sleeping for many hours due to exhaustion, the Motley gathers in The House to plan what to do after recent catastrophes. They decide to brainstorm with the Man in the Mirror to try and find out how to get themselves out of the hot water they are clearly in.
- Gram insists the best plan is to either A) get arrested or B) get put on trial which they can win easily. The Mirror lets them know that the last formal trial for an Imperial citizen was done for a Spring Changeling named Humphrey Peel and he was exiled as a result. The rest of the Motley vetoes the arrest idea.
- There was a group of "Circus Folk" that were banished not to long ago after an informal trial overseen by Lord Clarence Golightly.
- The idea of a Quest is brought up as it was helpful to the Motley when they first attempted to join The Empire. The Mirror tells them rules for Ordeals and Quests are contained within The Charter of the Land, would shield them from any backlash and need some form of royal approval. The Motley resolves to find out more and possibly leverage Queen Mary into giving them such a Quest.
- Oliver becomes so upset that no one is listening to his suggestions that he storms off by himself to "solve this by [himself]."
The Motley goes through the never-before used fourth exit from The House out of fear that the other exits, being known to members of The Empire (such as Mr. Black, the Spray Can Army, and Lord Vallum) are being watched. They come out in an unfamiliar and clearly disused flat that they quickly realized was owned by Prince Martin of Autumn. They also find a large number of Alice Wake's Paintings.
Perth discovers a door hidden behind a heavy wooden dresser that leads to a stone windowless basement room that is filled with hundreds of rat carcasses. Chained to one of the walls is a Vampire who is coated in a layer of dry gore.
- He claims to have been down there for a very long time (the Vampire is also under the impression it is some time in the 1880s).
- He claims that The Empire made a deal with the Vampires in the 1700s where Changelings would rule in the light and Vampires in the dark. The Vampires were screwed over by the placement of streetlights in London, an act that has prevented the Vampires from coming above ground for decades.
- He claims that the Vampires, as a group signed The Charter of the Land and agreed to follow the rules of the Empire. Because of this, the Vampire has actually seen the charter and knows some sort of secret about it. He is willing to trade this information for them "bringing him someone, alive." The Motley makes the deal, knowing that the wording will allow them to save whoever they drag down to the basement (They're not going to let the Vampire eat the person they bring down; they'll only bring the person down and then bring them back up).
Perth and Gram head outside the flat to find someone to capture only to discover that the flat is only a block away from The Eccentric Club in a very posh area of London. They wander around, trying to find someone homeless only to run smack into Joshua Wolf, who tells them he is standing guard over the Great Ormond Street Hospital a place known for owning the international rights to the character of Peter Pan. Apparently the Pan is fond of kidnapping children from the hospital, so The Brotherhood keeps a close eye on it at all times. Knowing that the Brotherood is in the area, Perth and Gram abandon their plan and return to Martin's flat.
Nellie calls Dalton Wycliffe and convinces him she's got an in to a great party and that he should come over. She convinces him to take drugs ostensibly to in order to "catch up" with the other party-goers, but in actuality she is hoping it will ease the shock of seeing the Vampire. While she is doing this Gram calls Ben Ashmore to find out exactly how deep they are in. Ben responds by inviting everyone in Trouble Ahead back to The Dorms at Imperial College where Queen Edane is throwing an "End of the World Party" in their honor.
When Dalton arrives, they take him to the basement where the Vampire nearly bites the boy's head off, but is held back by his chains. They remove Dalton, and the Vampire is compelled by the oath it swore to spill its secrets:
- The Pan is a signatory of the charter, according to the creature. He will not reveal HOW he knows that only that it is the truth.
- The Vampires were around during the Great Fire and know that the charter was created because of it. The Fire was unnatural: It was caused by Summer itself marching out of the Hedge to claim the Changelings of the First Empire for its own.
- The Family Quay are "not real Vampires," they "stole" the title from real Vampires. They are collaborators with the Empire and thus deserve to die.
- It used to be fed by The Quiet Girl, but she stopped coming some time ago, forcing it to summon rats to feed itself. Her "friends" were disgusting. It promises to let our heroes live if they unchain it.
The Motley discusses killing the Vampire, but they decide not to on the off chance that it really was a signatory of the charter. They decide to simply relock the basement and keep it down there. As they leave the Vampire screams that "The Family Tzimisce will have their revenge!"
The Motley heads off to the dorm to go to the End of the World party. They text Oliver to meet them, not realizing Oliver is no longer in possession of his cell phone. . . .
Our heroes arrive at Porter Hall to find the place packed to the gills with horny, drunken, and high teenagers and other uni students. They find Ben making out with a set of girls, neither of whom is Astrid Glass. He refers them to a dorm room near the back where they find Queen Edane, the Royal Family of Spring, and, surprisingly, The POSH lounging about, drinking martinis and smoking hookah. They are all pretty drunk and in high sprits despite the recent loss of funds.
- The Empire is largely screwed thanks to the loss of Prittering Price Fisher Finance. Particularly bad hit were the Empress, The Old Guard, and members of The Court of Winter. The POSH have been told they may have to go out and earn a living now that their patrons seem to be in a bit of a financial bind. They have no intention of doing so.
- When asked about Quests and Ordeals, Lord John Clayton remarks that they are the descendants of Trials by Ordeal, and thus covered under the concept of Judicium Dei, that the proceedings are sanctioned and covered by God Almighty -- you pass the Quest, you are innocent in the eyes of God Himself.
- They seem to not believe Gram's "I was possessed" story, but suggest the Autumn Court might.
- Edane would be happy to sponsor a Quest for the Motley, purely for how much it would bother Constance George.
- Percy is called over by a group of First Regiment soldiers who try and enlist him to help them break Rodger West out of the custody of Queen Mary. They're going to do it the next day at noon. Upon hearing this, Percy suddenly becomes enamored with Grams "lets get arrested" plan.
Everyone seeks somebody to love. Nellie runs off with a young man named William Joyce who takes her back to his flat across campus. Gram calls Susan Marshall, who is in her dorm room two floors down and he goes to meet her. Percy canoodles with Lady Donna Noble in a corner. Perth finds a willing anonymous lady-friend and wanders down to her dorm room as well.
Gram and Percy meet up an hour or so later and hatch a plan to get arrested. They find that its not going to be terribly difficult as Inspector Mayne has the exits blocked off and is telling party goers to disburse over a tannoy. After some drunken jackassery that included anti-English slurs courtesy of Gram, Mayne and his men arrest the boys. He takes them down to the holding cells in New Scotland Yard.
Gram and Percy have a grand old time being a pain in Mayne's arse until they get to the holding cells and discover that Gene Hunt is being held in the cells as well. Panic rightly starts to set in as they are placed in cells at least three doors away from each other and their hands are left bound. They are left alone for a while and Hunt remarks that, whatever they did, they pulled him in for conspiracy and corruption related to it.
Inspector Mayne comes into the cell blocks with a large number of MPD officers escorting The Rt Hon. Princeton Landon MP, Oliver's father and the Shadow Home Secretary. He is accompanied by an American FBI agent whom Gram and Percy recognize as John Appleseed. Appleseed has apparently spoken with both Mayne and Landon convincing them that Gram, Percy and Hunt are human-trafficking demon worshipers. Oliver was apparently hit by a bus shortly after storming out of the student union and was brought into hospital where they took fingerprints. Oliver is in a coma at Bedlam with Mrs. Landon, who is watching over her son "returned from the dead." Landon gives the MPD unlimited authority to stop these kidnapping demonic cultists under Directive 24c of the Terrorism Act.
After a brief and highly unsuccessful escape effort is made by Gram and Percy, Duke Mortimer comes to retrieve them. He openly tells them that he has considered letting them rot but has been overruled on the issue. He wishes he had listened to David back when he had the chance. He arranges for their release immediately.
Nellie gets a call from the Baron Crayle telling her of the boy's arrest. She tells her HR Representative that her brother was hit by a bus, and he gives her permission to leave for the day. She gets to NSY in time to check the boys out. Mr. Burberry, the financial secretary of The Eccentric Club is there as well, as Sir Roderick Bassett has agreed to pay their bail. They are apparently wanted, post-haste, to speak with "the leadership" of the club.
The members of Trouble Ahead are ushered into the club where they see the elite of the Empire standing in the lobby. They are ushered into the club's Hedge-bound equivalent and are faced with Empress Victoria in all her majestic splendor. Sitting on her right are an embarrassed-looking King George and a frightened-looking Queen Edane. To her left are a nervous-looking Queen Mary and an utterly nonplussed Princess Anne (sitting in for her "father" King Albert Balmoral). The Empress asks calm and pleasant-sounding questions of the collected group enquiring about recent events from the operation of King George's War to the recent events at PPF. She seems sympathetic, but every time she addresses anyone they flinch a bit. She even gets Lord Clarence Golightly to speak quickly. In the end she passes judgment. She grants Trouble Ahead a Quest: She wants them to kill The Pan and bring her his remains as proof. If they do this they will be judged innocent and she will use her powers to heal Oliver. After Percy speaks up a bit, she says she admires his forwardness and orders Sir Beryl Whitehall to assist them in preparing for the Quest. On the way out Lord Vallum gives Queen Mary news that causes her to toss him across the room in fury (presumably the "freeing" of Rodger West).
Our heroes start planning for what seems to be an impossible task by going to the Man in the Mirror and asking for everything it knows about The Pan. The following is revealed:
- The Pan was first sighted in the early 1800s, well before the Illuminated Text about him.
- The Brotherhood has been fighting The Pan for decades after being founded by Michael and John Darling, both Summer Court Changelings. Wendy DID exist, but never made it out of the Never-Lands.
- Likewise Hook existed, and was a Militia member, formerly belonging to the Water's Edge freehold. He was banished from London and decided to convince a large number of Brotherhood members to march to Arcadia and attempt to kill The Pan. It failed miserably. Supposedly Hook is now just a puppet of the Pan, a human sized marionette used to play his games.
- In honor of the Darling brothers, Hook called himself "James Darling". The Mirror is unsure if Sir Roger Darling adopted the same practice.
- It is mentioned that former Emperor Alexander did nearly the same thing (marched into Arcadia), but while Hook did something illegal and frowned upon, Alexander went alone and single handedly as his "retirement."
- The Pan, like most Arcadians, cannot be ascribed a logical method of thought or consistency of moods. To give an example, the Mirror mentions the story of two different Changelings running from The Pan, the first of which survived by grabbing a light-post and claiming it was "home" (as if they were playing tag). He had to be pried off of the post after four hours because he was too afraid to let go. The next time someone tried that trick, The Pan insisted that "the other light-post" was home and butchered the young woman while screaming, "YOU'RE IT! YOU'RE IT! YOU'RE IT! YOU'RE IT!"
After talking to the Mirror, Nellie went to check the library to see if it had any books that might help only to discover that the books were once again out of order, this time spelling "HESSTILLLYING"
Together Percy, Perth, Nellie, and Gram hatch a plan:
- Nellie will craft armor for each member, possibly by using the clothing and armaments of the old members of The Deep End, particularly the full-body armor once owned by Alec.
- They will need to acquire as much Cold Iron as possible, possibly from the Summer Court. Hopefully Nellie can craft it into something useful.
- A visit to The Brotherhood is called for, as they have the most practical experience dealing with The Pan.
- They want the lamppost that was used against The Pan all those years ago and is currently with the Empress. Percy is elected to go ask for it.
- Queen Mary still owes them a favor and they decide to ask for whatever "worked to specifications" in The Cavern when Gram killed Maeve. Perth and Gram will go to ask for that.
- Nellie will try and retrieve some of the tapestries she made in Arcadia that described The Other Wars to see if any battle resulted in The Pan’s demise.
- They need to go back and talk to Mr. Information about the Otherworld Box and force him to keep his end of the deal they struck
- Likewise they need to settle accounts with Shaitana before this goes down.
- Finally, and most controversially, they agree to reach out to the American Invaders and see exactly how they summoned The Pan and all the other Arcadians. If that dosn't work, they plan on asking Dr. Steven Chandler as he is fairly (also some information on why he had the key to the Attic of The House.
Over the course of the next few days our heroes lie low and slowly put this preparatory plan into action:
- Armor: Sir Beryl agrees to find Alec's old armor, though he doesn't seem pleased about it.
- Cold Iron: Sir Beryl says the Summer Court has no real supply of Cold Iron, but if they find some Weaponsmith can use it to make it into something useable.
- Brotherhood: Percy visits his brothers in the Brotherhood to find them celebrating the return of Rodger West, whose attitude is now one of pure revolutionary furor. His fluent speech without a tongue is now somewhat disturbing.
- Lamppost: The Man for All Seasons says he has no idea what they are talking about. The Empress' bedroom has no such lamppost in it. This convinces the Motley that the Mirror really is lying to them again.
- Queen Mary: Cannot give them "what worked" because The Pan is "unique" among The Gentry. She agrees to give them her entire supply of Cold Iron instead. A supply that is being held by the Winter Court for her. She says "seeing where it is may be more of a help then actually getting it." She also informs Percy that she doesn't have any memories from any member of The Brotherhood.
- Nellie is taken by Mr. Black to an underground location controlled by The Court of Winter. She is shocked that in this space she can't see the Changeling seemings of those around her. Mr. Black and Lady Alexandra Severen retreve a large volume of Cold Iron from what appear to be safety deposit boxes.
- The Cold Iron provided by Queen Mary is taken to Weaponsmith who sets to work transforming it into a number of weapons for them to use.
- Nellie’s Tapestries: Nellie calls Astrid Glass to ask about her Arcadian tapestries, only for Astrid to discover the tapestries were sold very recently to Wes Price. This information disturbs Astrid (as she has no idea where he got the money from).
- Mr. Information: Tells them he thinks the Invaders would help, and that they are invading because the rest of the world has been over run by other Supernaturals. The rest of the Empire has been abandoned as the Empire has pulled back forces, money, and supernatural supplies to protect London proper.
- Shaitana: Seems furious that his deal with Percy has not worked out as he seems to be physically incapable of entering The Eccentric Club.
- Dr. Chandler: Is shocked to see Gram and Percy in his offices and when informed of the situation highly advises against using some form of summoning spell (he is in fact shocked and horrified any Changeling could perform such a spell, as Changelings lack souls and thus cannot become true Willworkers). He explains that the other Willworkers were all killed by the Empire. He deliberately stops himself from throwing a piece of paper away in there presence, implying he is aware of Crumple's existence.
Nellie, who previously attempted to contact Crumple, receives a message asking her to come meet him. She takes Gram and Percy with her for protection and heads into The Hedge. It turns out the message was an ambush from the Invaders whom have kidnapped Crumple and are offering a one hour truce to our heroes in return for them coming to witness conditions at their camp. The Motley reluctantly accepts.
At the camp, our heroes see some fairly deplorable living conditions as well as the clearly superior numbers of the Invaders. The Motley is shocked to see children wandering among the collected assembly, as they have not seen Changeling children in the Empire, despite many children being taken by The Gentry. The General in charge offers to make an alliance with the Motley in the name of Prince William, the prince imperial, ward of the former Empress Anne and “rightful heir to the throne.” When it is asked how the invaders are getting food and other supplies, it is revealed that the newly moneyed Wes Price is supporting the invaders financially in the name of his new “Patron.”
As time has marched on, the Motley gets an invitation to an event known as The Bacchanal, which usually served as the most elaborate and decadent party that Spring holds, celebrating the end of Spring and the start of Summer. Despite the early onset of Summer the Court of Spring has decided to hold it anyway on the day that would normally mark the end of Spring’s reign. Nellie has finally completed her Magnum Opus and Astrid wants to present it to the Empire at the event, so the Motley decides to go.
The Bacchanal is held at a small stage just of the Imperial College campus. It is less than elaborate and less than decadent. A cash bar (complete with mundy bartender and waitress) is present and the members of The Posh are playing instruments in return for free booze (“singing for our supper, if you will”). The whole affair is very tense as the Court could not afford a “real party” due to the recent loss of Prittering Price Fisher Finance. The Old Guard in particular seems very cross. Nellie’s work is very popular and she is told by Lady Donna and Baron Crayle that she’s a shoe-in for membership in The Spinner’s Guild. Lady Severen and Princess Anne arrive with the youngest of King Albert Balmoral's children, Gloriana.
Things loosen up as the party goes on until a feeling of anger washes over the room and the guests start to come into conflict with each other. While our heroes are able to recognize the feeling and shake it off, the other party-goers devolve into a riotous mob. Three Blackmasks appear suddenly and grab the young mundy waitress, dragging her out of the building. Our heroes attempt to stop them, but are distracted by Queen Mary and King George attacking each other in a truly spectacular and violent way. They are able to prevent George from killing anyone, but the Blackmasks do escape. Shortly after the Blackmasks leave, the assembled hordes of the Empire calm down and begin to disperse. . . .
The World Famous London Daily Mirror
For other articles see- London Daily Mirror
London Internet Shuts Down: Gov Sez City Boys to Blame
A great wail was let out by the citizens of London early this morning as Internet access in the Square Mile went down for over a half hour. Shortly before 9AM (GMT) every Internet server in the city suddenly sized up and refused to operate, reported several Mirror sources. Some reports even stated that computers went ablaze and sparked violently as the surge disrupted service, particularly in Paternoster Square where the London Stock Exchange came to a sudden stop, halting all high-level economic interaction in the city.
This decidedly unwanted disruption was apparently the fault of a single financial firm: Prittering Price Fisher Finance, a mid-level finance house that has expansive dealings with the likes of Goldman Sachs and RBS. Government sources tell us that PPF somehow managed to unleash a viral plague upon the London markets, forcing them to shut down all internet traffic in order to contain the digital plague.
No need to wait for just deserts though, those same sources tell us that PPF has lost nearly all their electronic records and will need one to three months to “find” the financial reports and account information for thousands of the London upper class, including the wealthy George Family and Sir Garnet Wolsey. With a colossal cock-up like that on the record, we can’t imagine seeing PPF as a player for too much longer. . . .
(MORE COMEUPPANCE ON PAGE 17)
Questions... Questions that Need Some Form Of Written Response
For other questions see- The Master Question List
- Why did Trouble Ahead have that Captive Vampire locked in the basement? How did they get him down there?
- How is The Pan a signatory to The Charter? What about the vampires? Was the captive lying?
- Why is Martin's flat still locked up? How far in advance did he pay his rent that no one has disturbed it in the last decade?
- Who was that shadowy figure in Alice's paintings found in Martin's flat? The Quiet Girl?
- What's going to happen now that Princeton Landon and Inspector Mayne are aware of The Empire? What will they do?
- What makes The Pan so unique? How in the hell are you going to kill him?
- What is the Mirror lying about still?
- Did the Empire help create The Creature? What exactly was going in in Sir Roger Darling's memories?
- Who is Wes Price's Patron? Is that how Wes has landed on his feet again? Where are they getting the money from?
- What are the Blackmasks doing, exactly? And why is that the one question no one seems to know the answer to?
|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|