Ahab was pretty damn irritated with Bart, though I honestly don't
know why I was next in line to lead the Dara-hunting party. Ariana didn't
seem to have anything to do -- especially since she ended up joining the
party. Apparently against Ahab's orders, as I found out when I made my
report to the King.
Foster insisted on coming along with me. I'm not really sure what
he thinks he could do to protect me on such a campaign as this, short of
jumping in front of any speeding cross-bow bolts -- if he could get near
me in time.
So, Foster and I set forth to join Bart's little crew. Mother
knew where they were, and she delivered them unto us. I took command as
best I could. The castle guards were probably relieved to see me. I
hope. The Hellmaids were mostly amused. Ah, such a comfortable place it
is, to be between the fighting competency of a Hellmaid and a castle
guard. Lyss, as usual, seemed to like me, and Bart, as usual, was sullen.
I remembered again that there's a little version of me -- a sprite, or
something, with my hair and face and body -- in his belt. I don't like
There were also two Logrus masters accompanying us. We were not
Bleys came through. I refuse to discuss that. Anyways, he set
about deprogramming Foster, who put up a struggle, and that's when Lyss
broke away. Bleys left in pursuit of her, and after that ruckus was over,
Bart pointed out that a mass of Chaos was trundling our way. The Logrus
Masters set up a defense, and we were soon being flung about a small
bubble of Logrus amidst the Primal Chaos. I felt a Trump contact tingle,
and before I could even really tell it was Ariana, I was telling her to
pull us through. And we went through -- me, Foster, Bart, two Logrus
Masters, six Hellmaids, six castle guards. Ariana's expression was comic
-- rather like someone chosen from the audience to assist the magician,
and ends up pulling out the string of handkerchiefs that is nine feet
Ariana was with Usires, and they were hunting down his ax. Being
rather partial to an edged weapon myself, I agreed to join the hunt until
Lyss came back. The entire group seemed willing to go as well, and so we
went. When Lyss did come back, we found that the path to Usires' ax and
the path to Dara marched together.
Great. It's always best to know when you're heading for a trap.
I felt a spell come over me. It was a talking bones contact, and
what's more, it was from Looks Twice. "You still need an archer?" he
asked. Of course I did. "His name is Dead Oaks," he said, and told me to
stand by to receive an incoming from the Disc. When the winds began to
spiral up to 60 miles an hour around me, everyone kindly backed off. I
prepared to dodge the oncoming centaur, and did an effective enough job --
no kicks to the head. And there stood Dead Oaks, jet black, some fraction
man, some fraction horse. I don't honestly know if it's half and half.
I didn't want to send him right to Rath, and with no advanced
warning, so he came along, until we paused outside of Dara's Shadow, and
began to formulate a plan.
Bart was going in first, alone and disguised. He's proven himself
to be a more creative sorcerer than I, so when he said no one would see
him, I believed it. We would keep in contact via the Talking Bones, and
when he located Dara, Lyss would shut down the Shadow, and we'd go in and
take her. If this was the real Dara and not a Logrus-clone, she'd be able
to escape through the use of Pattern -- but we didn't think it was the
Bart went in, and found a ruckus immediately. Namely, one
mother-in-law, belonging to me, accompanying a man with nipple rings, who
were fleeing from Ivan-who-might-be-Gerard-and-was-wielding-an-ax. Ah.
Bart teleported Tamaryn away, and tried to do something with her
companion, but failed. That's when he fled for the water, I told Lyss to
lock down the Shadow, and we headed in.
Dead Oaks was a little excited, and pulled me up onto his back to
head towards the docks and Ivan's ship. Great. I was on point because of
the centaur's enthusiasm. It didn't seem like a bad idea, until we hit
the downhill street of cobblestones, and then it was centaur sliding on
his ass all the way down to the waterfront. He leapt over the pilings to
keep from breaking his legs, and I tried to get the heck out of my chain
mail before we hit, but that was fruitless. I clung to the centaur for
dear life, so I wouldn't sink like a stone in my armor. With Ariana's
help, we scrambled out. And I resolved to get that centaur shoed.
Once out of the water, I saw this:
- no Bart
- Hellmaids flying in formation to Ivan and Dara's fleeing ships
- Usires with ax
- that guy with nipple-rings
- no available boats to give pursuit in
I stayed on the centaur, and we Hellrode for Lyss and the Logrus
masters. Did I mention that I'd uncovered the fact that one of the Logrus
masters was my Chaos-father number two, Lord Suhuy? I grabbed up Lyss,
and told Lord Suhuy that Dara was getting away. He took off.
I think I'll be very sad if I just lost my mother's husband.
When we got back to the docks, Usires and the nipple-ring man were
manning the shore guns. One of the ships returned fire. Another ship had
exploded completely. Someone had found a small sailboat, and we began to
pursue Lyss' trace of Dara -- who was fleeing via Pattern.
The real Dara. Oh...
Lyss lost the trace eventually, and we turned back to pursue Ivan.
Foster Trumped Tamaryn in, and eventually we boarded a ship and began to
lay waste to its crew. Ultimately, Bleys got a hold of "Ivan" -- and Ivan
was indeed Gerard.
And Jesus of the nipple-rings was Felix.
Then I Trumped the King.
Ahab took it all pretty well, actually. At least, he wasn't mad
at me for anything I did, and seemed to file away everyone's doings for
future punishment or accolades. While he didn't seem upset with us for
losing Dara, he was definitely unhappy with certain of my relatives. He
didn't seem any more irritated with Bartholomew than when we started.
While I'm never against killing someone who deserves it, I'm rather glad
Bart didn't fuck up under my command.
That's the short version, of course. But I learned some valuable
lessons today, and not all of them of the "centaurs don't like boats" and
"centaurs need shoes" variety.
One thing I learned above all else -- it's a lot harder being in
command of your cousins than army grunts.
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