Session 57: "Do you ever get drunk with Orrin?"

	Melanie Trumps Brand and tells him that she's consented to the
marriage.  As if there was ever any doubt in Brand's mind.  He'll be
there, but not apparent.  Guess she's stuck asking Archi to fill in as her
liege-lord, then.  She asks Kaedric what the vows will involve.  Mainly
fidelity and honesty, at least about who truly sired any children that
result.  She needs two people to stand up with her.  Not, Sky, though. 
Why?  Well, she and Claudio, well, it would be bad.  She figures she'll
start with the hardest invitation, then, and asks if he's told Archi about
the wedding.  Seeing as how he tells Archi everything...  Not everything. 
Did he tell Archi about the pregnancy?  Um, well, yes.  And how did this
come about?  Archi was thanking him for the help with the absinthe, and
Kaedric mentioned that Melanie was going to be pissed that she couldn't
wear a corset.  Melanie is quite pissed with him for revealing this to
Archi before he told her.  Kaedric departs hastily.

	Melanie Trumps Archi and forces her way through.  She wants to
talk in person, so Archi tells her to recite a poem as she comes through. 
She does so, using one of Shakespeare's sonnets.  She informs Archi of her
upcoming wedding, and asks him to fill in for Brand as her liege-lord.  He
bows and accepts.  She fills him in on the specifics of the ceremony. 
Archi is uneasy about facing the Serpent, since he still has fragments of
the Jewel in his chest.  Melanie figures she's in as bad a position,
having an attunement to an eye that hasn't been stolen, yet.  But facing
the Serpent is mostly a ceremonial thing, and it's unlikely that the
Serpent will even show up.  Really.  After the Serpent visits, or doesn't,
they make offerings to dead relatives.  Archi jokes about tossing Random
in as his offering, which actually gets a laugh out of Melanie.  She
explains that only the bride and groom make offerings, and then leaves
while reciting another sonnet, delivered with a somewhat mocking flourish.

	Archi shoos off Fey, and lies to Laughter about the damage it did
to the flowers.  He conjures some bulbs to make it up to her.  Not
sufficient.  What then?  Well, the bed is rather empty...  Subtle, isn't
she?  Archi is happy to oblige.

	Benedict returns to Avalon with Caitlin and goes off to think. 
Caitlin seeks out Cephus, the guy who's in charge of Avalon when
Benedict's gone.  She asks him a bit about Benedict, then has him
introduce her to some of the men to spar with.  They are put off at first,
since women there don't fight, but once she starts kicking their butts,
they're OK with fighting her.  She meets with Benedict in the morning, and
says she wants to return to Chaos.  She plans to do some exploring of
Shadow, not having done much of it, so far.  After she's done seconding
Merlin, of course.

	Caitlin returns to Chaos and does some sight-seeing.  Merlin finds
her and says he needs to talk to her about her grandmother.  They go
someplace private.  Merlin tells her that Cymnea's interest in the
tournament is not exactly beneficial.  It's fortunate that Caitlin washed
out, and Merlin's thinking of throwing his next fight.  Caitlin is
confused.  Merlin explains that every seven years Cymnea has to pay a
Teind to Hell.  Basically, she takes the winner and sacrifices them to the
demons of the underworld.  Which event she chooses, he's not certain, but
she'll probably pay attention to those who defeat her Halybard quartet. 
He learned this from Mandor, so he's pretty sure it's accurate.  She's not
likely to go after the Crown Prince, so Archi's safe, but Claudio should
be warned.

	Claudio passes the night with Orrin.  No, not in that sense.  They
get drunk together.  Claudio bewails the fact that he can't kill Orrin. 
Why?  Sylvie was working for him.  Actually, Sylvie is a he.  Ouch.  He
isn't Ulysses', either.  God knows who his parents are.  Orrin blames most
of his behavior on early brainwashing, having been raised to hate them
all.  Much drunken conversation ensues, with topics ranging from how cute
Caitlin is when she blushes, to what artificial insemination is.  Orrin
says he's not a good enough shapeshifter to bear Claudio's child.  Er. 
Boy, they sure are drunk.  Claudio wants Orrin to show him technology in
Shadow.  Sure, why not.  Can Caitlin come?  Er, no, that wouldn't be wise.

	Caitlin finds Claudio, who's still hung over the next morning. 
She's distressed that he's drinking ale, and therefore loosing his honor. 
But, since he's predisposed for that right now, he might want to consider
throwing his fight, and here's why.  She explains the whole Cymnea thing. 
This doesn't seem to phase Claudio.  Claudio mentions that he and a friend
are going off into Shadow, so she asks to come along.  Sure, whatever. 
Merlin is concerned that Claudio won't be ready in time for his fight
tomorrow.  Claudio doesn't think it will be a problem.

	Melanie Trumps to Caitlin, who is exploring Chaos city.  She
invites Caitlin to be her escort.  Caitlin agrees, and they go shopping
for a dress for Caitlin.  Corsets are discussed, as is Caitlin's method of
dealing with Orrin.  Melanie approves of the latter, although she
personally would have killed him.

	Kaedric rouses Claudio, sobers him up with shapeshifting, and goes
shopping with him for the wedding.  They go to Ivory to get their blue
armor.  Claudio wants Kaedric to invite Orrin to the wedding.  Kaedric
says it will be over his dead body.  Orrin did kill him, after all. 
Definitely not.  Claudio is welcome to try and clear it with Melanie, if
he wants to push the issue.  Er...  Kaedric wants to go to the public
baths, but Claudio balks.  Bad memories.  Kaedric persuades him to go to
the Lantern Gardens, instead.  Claudio is fine with this, until the naked
floor show starts.  Then he Trumps Melanie and lets her know what her
fiance is doing.  Melanie seems unconcerned.  Claudio really wants to
leave, though, so Melanie pulls him through, and he drags Kaedric with
him.  Kaedric mumbles something about 100 years without any.  Melanie
reminds him that the dry spell is his own fault.  Kaedric takes off, with
Claudio trailing along after him.

	Archi and Laughter spend their day off with their kids.  Laughter
and Beatrice wage war over the porridge, and Beatrice actually looks like
she might not have won, at the end.  After a while, Laughter expresses an
interest in fencing, so Archi gives her a lesson.  She loses gracefully. 
They take a walk with the kids in the afternoon.

	Melanie Trumps Laughter and asks her to be her escort for her
wedding.  What wedding?  Guess Archi didn't tell her.  Nope.  Laughter
agrees to be an escort, but isn't keen on the idea of wearing a dress, and
asks what the men are wearing.  Armor.  Can the women?  Melanie doesn't
have any objections.  Laughter hands the kids to Archi and comes through. 
Melanie Trumps Kaedric, to see if he objects to the idea, since that will
just make it better.  He isn't real happy about it, which pleases Melanie
to no end.  She takes Laughter and Caitlin to Ivory to get fitted for
their armor, and checks her messages.  There is one stating that Cormallon
has checked out her references, and they were impeccable, so she is
invited to join the house.  She accepts, with much flowery Ivoran
language, then returns to the others.  Caitlin threatens to smack one of
the na'telleth's who's measuring her when he feels her up.  This doesn't
seem to phase him, but he doesn't feel her up again, either.  Laughter
suggests getting dinner in the Lantern Gardens, and Melanie has no
objections.  Caitlin is rather surprised by the floor show, and a bit
disconcerted.  After Caitlin has been tormented long enough, Laughter goes
back to Foil, while the other two return to Chaos.

	Merlin Trumps Caitlin, who's busy destroying more crockery.  He
goes through, and she explains about her adventures in Ivory.  He tells
her that he and Claudio are inviting her to go with them to a party. 
Sure.  They arrive, and find that it's kind of like a frat party, in that
it's mostly young Chaosites.  Merlin introduces Caitlin to some of his
friends, and spends most of the evening making more political moves than
dance ones.  Claudio is approached by someone who compliments him on his
form.  He gets a drink, then listens to some conversation.  A popular
topic is who will be the next Crown Prince.  Kaedric is among the
possibilities.  Claudio asks why.  Well, he's a Guardian of the Logrus,
with no real filial ties, for one thing.  Caitlin gets a drink.  Orrin
walks up to Claudio, who pours him a drink as well.  Caitlin sees them
together, walks over to Claudio, asks to have a word with him, then storms
off.  Once he foolishly follows her, she slams him up against the wall,
and asks what he's doing.  Well, first, don't do that to him.  Second,
Dworkin told Ulysses not to kill Orrin and be his friend.  Oh, BTW, he's
the one going into Shadow with them.  Uh, no.  She'll find her own way,
thanks.  Just keep Orrin out of her way.  She stalks off.

	Laughter returns to Foil and learns that Beatrice has said her
first word: "die."  Alaric is saying "mama," though.  She tells Archi of
her afternoon.  Archi tells her of the role he'll be playing in the
wedding, and apologizes for not telling her earlier.  It just slipped her
mind.  Honest.  He fills her in on all the cute things she missed while
she was running off to Chaos.  She complains that he's not telling her
stuff.  Like she's one to talk.  Archi asks Beauty if she taught Beatrice
any words.  Nooo....

	Melanie does more wedding stuff, then chats with Sylvester. 
Apparently, they are twins.  He left Tianen when he was 15, wandered
around for a while, then joined House Vertix.  She invites him to the

	Wedding invitations are delivered to the various rooms at 3 p.m. 
Kaedric arrives in Foil at 5 p.m. and asks to speak to Laughter.  Archi
says by all means.  They go into another room, and chanting is heard. 
They emerge looking somewhat flushed, and Kaedric has something in his
hand.  Laughter asks him to stay for dinner.  No, he's not sure if
Melanie's expecting him, so why risk pissing her off?  He leaves.  Archi
inquires as to what that was all about.  Well, Kaedric helped her make
their wedding rings, so she was just returning the favor.  And that's it? 
Yes.  She seems amused by his jealousy.  The discussion moves on to
Laughter clones and branding her so he can tell the original article. 
Trust me, you don't want to know the details.

	Morning in Chaos.  Claudio is facing Salim Joachim in the joust,
followed by Oliver Helgram vs. Roland Sawall, also in jousting.  Ulysses
faces someone in wrestling.  The GM hadn't decided who, since Dann wasn't
going to be there.  Laughter faces Olwen Rheged in force sorcery, followed
by Despil Sawall vs. Matilde Helgram, a Hellmaid.  Melanie faces Phocas
Atherton in illusion sorcery, followed by Olwen Rheged vs. Ishmael
Wickling.  Archi vs. Carter Helgram in the one-sword, followed by Gaston
Hendrake vs.  Augustus Joachim.  Gaston is the heir to House Hendrake. 
You know, the one Archi killed in the previous time-line?  It's Corliss
Wickling vs. Diane Hendrake in the two- sword, then Garrett Helgram vs.
Jurt Sawall.  Ulysses will also be competing in the Shadow race, with the
results unknown until next session, when Dann returns.

	Merlin loses his three-sword competition, but loses it honorably. 
Corliss wins the knives competition.  Despite what the last log said,
Corliss was never in the archery competition.  It's a GM retcon, since no
one can compete in more than two events.  Sky doesn't show up for the
archery competition, leaving a note for Archi explaining that she's
withdrawn.  Archi volunteers to fill in for her.

	Claudio senses his location spell on Sky going off when she
leaves.  Unfortunately, he's already mounted at this point and ready to
begin his competition.  Salim makes a direct hit on Claudio's shield on
the first pass, but doesn't unhorse him.  Claudio aims for the guy's head
on the second pass, and knocks him out cold.  Game over, man.  Roland ably
wins his competition, which means he will face Claudio in the final event.

	Claudio Trumps Sky.  She doesn't take it.  He Trumps to Amber and
asks Fiona to put him in touch with Sky.  She tries, then realizes that
Sky has gone to Corwin's universe, with Bleys' assistance.  Claudio
arranges an audience with Random, and explains how he's failed in his
duty.  Random figures Sky's as safe in Corwin's universe as anywhere, and
doesn't seem concerned.

	Kaedric wins his shapeshifting contest.  Since he's an NPC, that's
all the detail we get.

	Laughter gives Archi a kiss before beginning her competition.  Bet
the treeing spell won't work this time.  She casts a defensive material
spell, which protects her from the fireball cast by Olwen.  More fireballs
are then volleyed back and forth, until Laughter gets him with a lightning
bolt that was bundled in with her fireball spell.  They watch Despil
defeat Matilda, taking her out with a spell that gives her third degree
sunburn, after about 30 minutes of spellcasting.

	Melanie faces Phocas, who actually has managed to incorporate
emotions into his illusions, and eventually defeats her.  Which works out
well, since she was planning to lose, anyway.  Olwen defeats Ishmael in
the second contest.

	Claudio asks Caitlin to put him in touch with Benedict.  She does
this thing.  Claudio asks Benedict to show him a couple of tricks to use
in the Joust.  Benedict gives him a few pointers, and asks how Claudio
thinks Caitlin is adapting to this new mode of life.  Well, she's having
difficulty not holding grudges...

	Archi takes Laughter out for a nice, quiet dinner.

	A hole opens beneath Caitlin's feet as she makes her way back to
her quarters, and she falls into it.  She lands in a dark place, so she
uses a power word to light some hay on fire.  She is in a 5' x 5' room,
with a 20' ceiling.  There are no apparent doors or windows.  She Trumps
Benedict and has him pull her through.  At which point she realizes that
this is not the real Benedict, since they are not in Avalon.  They appear
to be near the Rim of Chaos, far out from Thelbane.  "Benedict" smiles at
her and begins shifting.  Caitlin backs away and places her hands on her
weapons.  "Benedict" identifies herself as Caitlin's grandmother.  Caitlin
uses the power word Pain on her, then kicks her and holds a sword at her
throat.  The woman introduces herself as Jen.  And Jen is her grandmother
through which parent?  Her father, but that doesn't mean they can't be
friends.  Right.  Caitlin uses Pain again to give her time to back away a
bit, and tells Jen to explain herself.  Jen doesn't see the point, and
begins working with the Logrus.  Caitlin brings up Pattern.  Jen says
that's much better.  She figures that Caitlin's gotten too old to
assassinate, so they'll just have to fight it out.  They can't seem to
agree on terms, though, so that brings them back to assassination, again. 
Cymnea takes a step or two back, and throws a knife, which Caitlin
parries.  Cymnea begins growing claws and getting massive in size.  Once
she's done assuming her demon form, she attacks Caitlin.  Caitlin evades
and runs.  She shapeshifts wings and flies out over the Abyss.  Cymnea
lands on Caitlin and sinks her claws into her flesh.  Caitlin hacks at
Cymnea with her Pattern blades.  Cymnea screams and fire gouts from her
wounds.  Caitlin goes ginsu on her ass.  Cymnea loses her grip and falls
flailing into the Abyss.  Caitlin dives at her and skewers her.  She
continues to fall screaming.  Caitlin follows and beheads her.  Scratch
one bitch.

	When Caitlin returns to the surface, Orrin is standing there.  He
tells her that wasn't really Cymnea, just one of her minions.  Cymnea's
marked Caitlin now.  He offers his help in killing her.  Caitlin doesn't
particularly trust him.  He claims she'll die without his help.  She
thinks he thinks he's more important than he is.  He looks hurt.  She says
her father will help her.  Orrin thinks he'll stay out of it.  She has
friends...  Yes, but only he knows what Cymnea is up to.  Will he tell
her?  Only if she accepts his aid.  Well, since Claudio likes him, she
won't kill him.  Now.  This doesn't make him her friend, however.  This
doesn't surprise him.  She accepts his offer, then.  He tells her that
Cymnea's only sending assassins after her, right now.  Caitlin figures
she'll have to kill Cymnea to end it all.  True.  Caitlin can confront her
openly, hoping her skills are enough.  Or she can play the assassination
game.  It has to be her, though, since she has to show the head to the
demons.  Why should she care?  Well, the last time Cymnea died, the
underworld was thrown into turmoil, which created the opportunity for the
six houses to depart, which left the power vacuum for Wickling to take
advantage of.  Orrin figures that to turn the tide, one thing that needs
to happen is that Cymnea must be succeeded by a strong head of house and
the demon underworld.  Caitlin still doesn't trust him.  He's sorry that
she regards him that way.  She's taken his scalp, Archi took his hand,
can't she forgive him as he's forgiven them?  Well, she hasn't killed him,
yet.  She wants someone else to assist them, though.  They settle on
Merlin, since Claudio is too much like her, and Kaedric will be rather
busy.  Caitlin points out that she needs to be back in time for a friend's
wedding.  Orrin thinks they may be done by then.  He's heard the story of
the blue armor.  They Trump back to Chaos and go in search of Merlin.

	Archi finds a message for Laughter and himself from Mandor,
inviting them to dinner tomorrow.  Archi sends word that they accept.

	Melanie teases Kaedric about how Sylvie pulled the wool over his
eyes in the previous time-line.  It turns out that the information network
was all her idea, of course.  Melanie is impressed by Sylvester's
cleverness, and wonders what it would have been like to grow up together. 
They discuss more wedding stuff.  She asks how often the Serpent actually
shows up at weddings.  Not often.  The Serpent did appear for him once in
the previous time-line.  He had been making offerings to his ancestors
seeking guidance.  What did it say?  Well, he'll tell her after the
wedding, if it says something different this time.


"Do you ever get drunk with Orrin?" -- Claudio to Caitlin

"If that many people knew, then more of them would know." -- Caitlin to

"You may have me there, but I don't think you do." -- Kaedric to Claudio

"What would you think if I started flirting with other pretty women?" -- Archi
"I haven't been flirting with women." -- Laughter

"You do get the opportunity to watch your future competitor win or lose. 
Well, I guess it would be win." -- GM to Claudio

"You are in a dark place.  You can't tell where it is, because it's dark."
-- GM to Caitlin

"I'd prefer you didn't send assassins after me, since I'd just have to
kill them." -- Caitlin to Cymnea

"I follow and behead (Cymnea).  That should pretty much kill her." --
Caitlin to GM

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