Chapter Twelve: The Saber Arch
- In which a romantic tiff between Princess Margret and Sir Beryl Whitehall may lead to the utter destruction of The Empire and The Charter of the Land.
- 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 return to The House so Percy Harving can recuperate. They talk about Wes' Patron, the presumed big bad behind the movements of the Invaders, the Summer Dissidents, and the girl Gram left behind, coming up with A list of suspects. Most important, they decide that for some reason the Patron ISN'T trying to kill them.
That night, Gram, Percy, and Perth all sleep in the hollow and experience a series of strange dreams. . . .
-- Perth has a dream he'd rather not talk about, in which he was Queen Edane and had intimate relations with a member of the Empire.
-- Percy uses his dream-based powers to alter his dream, set on a council estate with what appears to be an abusive parent. After the dream attempts to cut him off, Percy forces his way deeper into it, learning that this dream has been poisoned by one of the True Fae. He encounters a grey cat on the stairwell, which turns gigantic, purple, and terrifying after Percy attempts to change him. The Cat unceremoniously throws Percy out of his "realm" and leaves Percy somewhat unnerved. He soon discovers that his dog, Nana, was injured by the cat attempting to save his master.
Nellie and Gram decide to sun in an outdoor space to reap some glamour from lusty onlookers. Professor Palindrome shows up and lets them both know they received an incomplete in his class. When pressed for details about the wedding, he remarks that it will be a "joining" of two great families. When pressed he remembers that when they were much younger Princess Margret and Sir Beryl Whitehall were part of the same Motley -- the Heirs to the Empire. The other two members were Lord Eddie Blacktop and the still-unnamed Prince of Winter.
The Motley attends a Pre-Wedding luncheon with members of The Wedding Party and notable luminaries of the Spring and Summer courts. The following events occur at the dinner itself:
- Gram is seated next to Lady Gloriana, who spends much of her time attempting to seem proper, yet flirt girlishly with Gram.
- Percy is seated next to Dame Lucy Sprig, a mentally damaged young woman who lost her fiancee in King George's War. She loudly screams the rules of proper ettiqute and everyone seems to just let her slide by given her fragile state.
- Nellie is seated by Sir Alden Thorne, Captain of the Household Cavalry and good friend to Sir Beryl. He reveals that Empress Victoria is Sir Beryl's Guardian, and he was for a time Heir Apparent of Spring before he fell madly in love with Maggie. When Beryl became a Summer courtier and Prince Simon stepped aside, it made room for Edane to become Queen.
- On the other side of Gram is Diana Darkloved, the "token" Autumnal bridesmaid.
- After switching places during desert, Gram is confronted by Mr. Black who warns that this wedding could be the ruin of the Empire -- by uniting the two largest courts, city without the seasons may be created before long, just one large mess. He calls it a "Seeliee Court."
- Queen Edane later remarks similarly to Percy, saying that in the days of the First Empire, there was only one court, The Court of Albion, also known as the Court of the Dawn. This marriage may recreate that lost court, giving Victoria unprecedented powers. She (Edane) seems pretty happy about the whole thing.
After dinner . . .
. . . Nellie follows The Posh into the bar, and tries to pump them for more information on these "families," learning that decades ago, their were a great many Changeling children in the empire, leading to the Warding system and the creation of quasi-feudal "Houses." With The Brotherhood doing such a bang-up job of protecting the children, these families have had no opportunity to grow.
. . . Percy talks with his girlfriend Lady Donna Noble, who is distraught as she has had premonitions of death tomorrow.
. . . Gram is cornered by Mr. Black who implies he knows about Gram's previous assignations with Maggie and that he needs to do something about the wedding. He states that King George is engeineering a return to the old court of Albion, cutting out the Winter and Autumn courts. Gram counters that Mr. Black needs to do something about the nearly 3,000 Invaders that are wandering the Hedge. He tells Mr. Black about Prince William and Mr. Black goes a shade of red, demanding to know where they were. When Gram tells him about the abandoned circus, Black seems to panic and ask if "They've come back". As he rushes off to deal with the Invader situation, Gram tells him that Rodger West is trying to overthrow the King of Summer and has regained the ablity to talk dispite not having a tongue. Mr. Black hastily responds that this is a common trait for The Punished to have.
Gram is attacked by Princess Margret and supernaturally seduced. She confesses to him that she's going to have Beryl killed. If he survives the attack she has a "back-up plan" that is far, far worse. Gram calls the others in a panic and lets them know what is going on. He also tells them he shagged Maggie again.
The Stag and the Doe begin. Both events are guarded by the Sun Banishers, who refuse to let weaponry into either event.
- The Stag is being held at The Cavern by Prince Edward. In order to protect Gram against severe intoxication, Percy decides to consume his drinks for him, not realizing they were made of Goblin Whiskey, a highly potent intoxicant. Percy becomes so inebriated that he accidentally does grievous harm to himself, literally knocking himself unconscious. Mrs. Blank does a sexy striptease disguised as many members of the courts (including Queen Mary, Princess Margret Nellie Whistle, Zoot, and most disturbingly, Empress Victoria). Beryl tells Gram that if he promised to be "good to her" he would willingly step aside and let Gram be with Maggie, as she seems to hate it when he kills people she likes. Beryl apparently has no knowledge that Gram and Maggie have slept together, but knows Maggie hates him. He also confesses that now that the Marriage rituals have begun, to not get married may invalidate The Charter of the Land. Beryl gets the bright idea to try and raid the Doe so he can see Maggie.
- The Doe is being held in the still burned-out shell of Forget, which has been set up to accommodate several professional male strippers, including Prince John. Nellie talks to Maggie who is still determined to not marry Beryl, and nothing Nellie says seems to change her mind. Nellie finds Gloriana and endeavors to make her less attached to Gram, learning that it was Beryl who first turned Gloriana on to Gram in the first place, suggesting that he would make a fine husband and help unite the courts of Winter and Spring.
While walking to Forget from The Cavern, Beryl is shot by Princeton Landon, his former employer. While Beryl's life is saved by Lord Atherton Wing, the bachelor party scatters, leaving Landon bleeding on the curb. Gram and Prince Edward drag Beryl to Forget. Percy runs to Lady Donna's apartment where they proceed to eat fried food and have copious amounts of sex.
At Forget, Gram makes one last ditch effort to manipulate Maggie's emotions only to have it backfire in a most dramatic way when Maggie declares openly how much she despises Beryl. Gram also manages to hurt the feelings of Lady Gloriana, sending her running off in tears. Queen Edane seems shaken to see her foster brother so badly wounded stating that she "never meant it to go this far." When Edane demands to know what is going on, Nellie confesses most of the story to her (leaving out Gram's own sexual conquests). Edane agrees to help our heroes change Maggie's mind for good, saying she knows what to do.
Maggie takes Gram and Nellie to Knockturn Alley, and marches into the The Clockwork Shop demanding "another one." The Clockwork Merchant produces a large box with six specially created grooves in it, three of which contain red, glowing clockwork hearts. When Queen Edane tells the Merchant that the intended"recipient" is Maggie, the Merchant closes the box and tells her that "You can only use [the hearts] on a recipient ONCE." Pressed by Nellie and Gram, Queen Edane admits to using one of the hearts on Beryl "a long time ago", and that in order to make the hearts work you need to give up something you love. She can't remember what she loved that she gave up to use it all those years ago.
Edane goes marching off to visit Shaitana, over the objections of Gram. Edane runs smack into Lord Henry Blackmund and rather than make small talk, she kicks him in the groin. When Shaitana refuses to negotiate with Edane, the Queen insists that Gram and Nellie work with Shaitana to find an appropriate solution. Shaitana can't make Maggie love Beryl, but he can make her a "sleepwalker" until after the ceremony is over. In return all he wants is for Nellie and Gram to open a door at precisely the right moment for him. They feel they have no choice but to agree. When they go out, Edane says that Shaitana will not deal with her because of something her mother did.
The wedding goes off nearly as planned, with guests delivering large numbers of gifts to The Clockwork Palace for the wedding and Maggie drifting through the activities with a happy, vacant smile. After the ceremony ends, Empress Victoria, The Man for All Seasons, and the "Happy Couple" remain behind to re-sign the charter. Gram and Nellie are drawn into the bowels of the Palace where they open a set of solid metal doors out into the Deep Hedge, where the assembled hordes of the Invaders wait with Wes Price. Nellie and Gram run to try and warn everyone to get out of the building.
Beryl and Maggie pass through the Saber Arch, the final step of the marriage ritual that makes all the couples'
actions "perfect" for the next three days. As soon as Maggie passes through, she snaps out of the daze that Gram and Nellie conspired to put her in. She bolts as the Invaders march into the main hall behind her, and Beryl chases after. Nellie goes running after them to try and get them to join the fight against the Invaders. Percy, Perth, and Gram all join the fight against the hundreds of invaders slowly pouring into the lobby, but realize the fight is not going well. Gram manages to take hold of Excalibur, King George's sword, after the king goes feral and begins to slaughter invaders with his bare hands.
Maggie, Beryl, and Nellie race up to The Grand Balcony where Maggie confesses she told the Invaders how to find the Clockwork Palace after Beryl failed to die in the assassination attempt. After she spitefully tells Beryl she'd rather "see the world burn" then marry him, Beryl backhands her, sending her flying off the parapet and apparently killing her in the landing several stories below. Beryl goes catatonic for a few moments, until, through a combined effort of convincing words and magical backing, Nellie gets him to take his rage out on the forces attacking the Palace.
Gram is nearly killed by the invaders, but is dragged into a safe room where the wedding gifts are being held. Nellie manages to stabilize Gram, but she can't fully heal him. While looking through the gifts for something useful, Percy finds a gift from The Deep End. When he opens it, he finds it is Prince Martin's personal diary. When he opens it to read the first page, everything goes dark.
1 December 1996
Simon Stone is awoken in his room by Prince Martin, to let him know that breakfast is ready. . . .
The World Famous London Daily Mirror
For other articles see- London Daily Mirror
Missing MP Found in Critical Condition
Princeton Landon, Member of Parliament for Brentwood & Ongar and cabinet Under-Secretary of State who went missing was found Saturday night by emergency response crews in Central London and hospitalized in critical condition.
Mr. Landon was located at the corner of New Oxford st and Bury place at about 10:25 P.M., Inspector Percival Mayne said. He was in full arrest when he was found. Officials performed CPR and rushed to nearby University College Hospital.
The MP was reported missing by his staff when he did not return to work following a luncheon fundraiser at Chelsea Arsenal FC. The staff called authorities Friday after they found his car parked in the lot at Arsenal FC, a full three hours after the event ended.
Witnesses on scene say that MP Landon was attacked by some sort of dog and may have fired a shot at the animal. Mr. Landon is not registered to own a handgun.
Questions . . . Questions that Need Some Form Of Written Response
For other questions see- The Master Question List
- Why did the dream-swap restart? Why did it only last one night?
- Is Shaitana working with the Invaders? Why? How?
- Just how much did Queen Edane engineer the fall of her "rivals" for the throne of Spring?
- Who altered Maggie's emotions with the Clockwork Heart?
|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|