Shattered

Adventures in the Hedge!
Wait, *what* did I just trade away?

More details later! Until then…

August 25th, 2009

The motley spoke with Grace and told her about the creatures. She put together a hunt for them, but told the group to get some rest.

The next day, the news reported that a lot of dogs, cats, and one homeless man were killed in the neighborhood of the cat, apparently savaged by some sort of wild animal, perhaps a cougar.

Grace told them they cornered one of the monsters, but it got away. Every time they hit it, a smoke-like-substance came off of it and it got smaller. The Courts were going to keep watch on the crack all day, and get a group together that night in case the monsters came back. They weren’t putting glamour in to the crack that night, but perhaps in the future. Nothing happened all day or that night.

The next day, the motley decided to go the Goblin Market and try to find some sort of cage or trap that could hold the monster(s). They got directions and borrowed a token from Emily, then headed in to the Hedge. Once inside, they discovered some strange, creepy dolls in dresses made of snowflakes were twisted in to the hedge – hundreds of them. Charlotte, Sour Gherkin, and Amaryllis all took one. They made it to the Goblin Market, traded for the cage, then traded memories for information on things they were looking for.

Sour Gherkin – traded ? for info on El Gallo – told to look in Chicago first. The hobgoblin had a very hard time finding this info out.

Charlotte – traded memory of her favorite food for info on the Wizened boy – told he was under the name Sam Quince.

Surat – traded ? for info on Robert Bobson, a missing member of the Freehold, former leader of the Troubleshooters – told that he was near the Frozen Palace.

They got back, and had dinner with Jonas, which had been scheduled for a while. He was trying to convince them to join the Autumn Court, essentially, but only Charlotte joined. They told him about the dolls, and he said he’d look in to it. He also told them more about the Freehold, including that there used to be another freehold, ruled strongly by a Winter King, but the whole Freehold disappeared in the 1920’s. Frozen Palace was supposedly the Winter King’s Hollow.

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Well, That Didn't Go Very Well
A night of awkward

August 24th, 2009

More details later! But for now…

The evening started with the most awkward dinner ever, at Emily’s place. The motley learned a bit more about the Freehold, managed to imply Emily was sleeping with her adopted daughter, and told her flat out it was awkward. Fun times!

Next, they gathered three dogs to take to the crack, and Amaryllis also found a huge black dog that was a bit strange and more intelligent than the others. They went to the crack and three small evil things came out, about the size of a cat. They were vicious, and the group managed to wound two of them, but were forced to retreat after. One of the dogs was killed, the rest either went with the group or ran away. The creepy little things whispered “You’ll never get away” and “Come back”, which makes the motley think they’re connected to the Keepers somehow.

They got patched up at a doctor’s private house (Emily sent them there) and Johnny and Amaryllis had a huge fight in the kitchen. They both stormed out. Amaryllis slept the night at Topaz’s place, and sent an apology bottle of alcohol to Johnny the next day.

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Bear Rescue!
And some other stuff happened, too.

August 23rd, 2009

The motley continued where they left off, deciding whether or not to help the trio of misplaced people. After a brief discussion where at least some of them insisted on it, the suggestion was raised to speak with Dusk, since he’s known to have occult books in his shop.

When they got there, Lucas was the only one in, and after speaking to them (fairly poorly, admittedly), he let them in to the back room to look at Dusk’s collection. Surat spoke a bit with him, indicating that he’d be interested in possibly working at the store – Lucas said he had to talk to Dusk about that.

After a lot of boring research that took forever, Dusk finally showed up at the store again. They asked him if he had any ideas, and he thought that perhaps a witch had done it. When asked if he had any connections, he admitted to knowing and dealing with a witch who may possibly help them – if they were willing to give him something in exchange.

They decided to meet with the witch, a man by the name of Richard Mayner. They didn’t want to bring a lot of people, though, so only Surat and Amarillis would go.

Meanwhile, Charlotte was getting more and more upset about the loss of her precious teddy bear. Being back in the mortal world and not having it felt unbearable, and she wanted it back. Though originally she was planning on going alone or possibly with Johnny, Sour Gherkin convinced her to let him try to get it.

Finally, Charlotte and Johnny were going to meet up with Emily and speak with her. They were hoping she’d have any ideas, especially when it came to identifying a magical item. She spoke with them, and Johnny let her know where his Hollow was – and hearing that Grace had shown up at his Hollow surprised her. She told them what she knew about identifying Tokens – that you could sometimes see something off about the mask and see a bit of the mien through it. She showed them a lantern token she had that went from dingy and grey to bright, shiny, and lit with a dozen small balls of light.

She also invited them all over for dinner the following night, and offered to teach Johnny and Charlotte how to cook.

Sour Gherkin decided to stop by the area the body switch originally happened. He found one very strange thing – a long crack in the pavement that looked ‘off’ to his eyes and, when he touched it, made his fingers tingle and go a bit numb. The crack ran from where they’re pretty sure Cynthia was standing all the way under the bus stop bench Bea was to the road where James was driving. Sour Gherkin took a picture of it with his camera phone – but the crack didn’t show up on the picture.

Perturbed, he headed off to Charlotte’s relatives’ place, where he snuck in around 8 PM. He had a note from Charlotte for the security code and where her bedroom was, as well as what her bear looked like. He quietly made his way up to the house, and using his strong climbing skills, made his way up the bedroom, where he found the bear sitting in a small chair at a tea party, with no one in sight. He opened the unlatched window, grabbed the bear, and snuck back out. No one seemed to see him, and while he waited for the bus, he got to disturb a man waiting with him.

Surat and Amarillis’ meeting seemed to go well. Richard Mayner was waiting for them at A Cult Tea. He seemed pretty cold, but agreed to listen to them. He didn’t think a normal witch could switch bodies like that, but he might be able to help get them back – if the switched people didn’t mind losing a little blood and the worry of their souls being ‘unhooked’ from their bodies. He gave the two changelings a bit of background about spirits – he said some of them were like traditional ghosts, and some were nature-oriented, and some were more like metaphors given life.

In return for his help (and willingness to speak with the switched people), Surat made a small pledge with him. As soon as he spoke a word (he choose chrysanthemum), his next action would succeed. He has seven days to use this pledge. So that Richard would think the pledge cost Surat more than it actually did, Surat cut himself across his hand.

The motley met up again at The Classic, where Topaz cooed over Surat’s hand and they made plans to get together after her shift. The group shared their individual information and talked over what they could do. In the end, decided to gather three dogs (as Amarillis can talk to them) and see if they could recreate the body switch the following night.

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Freaky... Tuesday?
Huh, didn't see *that* coming...

August 23rd, 2009

The members of the motley have settled down in to their jobs and new lives a bit. They all meet often at Classic, talking with each other and being flirted with by Topaz.

While there, Charlotte overheard a strange conversation – one businessman was worried about one of his coworkers, the man who’s shared his office for two years. Apparently this man, James, came back from lunch and didn’t remember the man’s name or recognize his own girlfriend, Jane.

This sounded fishy enough that Charlotte told the group and Topaz. They quickly had the thought that this sounded like a possible fetch. Topaz suggested that they look in to it – possible fetches are often a good thing for a new motley to investigate.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of ways to figure out if someone’s a fetch. They may possibly look strange, or not bleed like a normal human, or possibly not have correct emotional reactions. If the person ends up being a possible (or certain) fetch, the Freehold will watch them for a while and the motley’s job will be done.

But first they needed the man’s name. First, Charlotte got the business card of one of the men at the table and found they worked for Eagle Ltd., a software company. Sour Gherkin managed to lift the concerned man’s phone while Topaz distracted them. He left some olives and a note reading ‘phone’ and ‘ring ring’ in its place.

Looking through the phone, they found James’ cell phone number. They then gave the cell phone to the bartender to eventually give back to the guy, though Sour Gherkin renamed all his contacts first.

From there, they went up to Charlotte’s apartment above the bar and researched the company. They found a company personal page, and found several James. Then they found the name of the man with a phone, and found any James who worked with him – there was only one, James Finlay. They managed to get James’ address and headed to his apartment.

After a bit of looking around, Johnny and Surat buzzed his apartment and pretended to be police officers. Going up to his apartment, they told him that a woman named Jane (they didn’t know her last name, but neither apparently did James) had been in a car accident and killed, and he was her first point of contact. James seemed to not know who they were talking about at first, and seemed pretty upset and scared.

Charlotte used a contract on him to find out his greatest fear – currently, it was that the cops knew his secret and were going to bring him to jail, in which case he’d never get back to normal.

The ‘police’ convinced him to let them into his apartment, where he made a phone call from his bedroom. Spying a phone in the kitchen, Johnny picked up the phone and listened in.

James called a number and asked to speak to Cynthia, and was told it was too late to do so. However, after some talking on the other end, the mysterious, young-sounding Cynthia got on. Their conversation was short – James asking what to do about cops in his apartment, and telling her that they said that Jane was dead. Cynthia gasped at that, and then said, ‘Just stay calm – we’ll tell James tomorrow.’ James seemed to accept that – despite her using his own name – and came back out to talk to the ‘police’.

Wondering if maybe this was a regular, mundane kidnapping or something, the group decided to ask for advice from Topaz. She in turn directed them to Grace, the current ruler. They were asked to meet at The Center.

There, they explained what they heard. Grace said that the Troubleshooters, the primary go-to motley, were currently out of town. If the player motley wanted to investigate further, they could, but she couldn’t take it off their hands yet. She offered back up if needed in the form of her or Obsidian.

The player characters then split off to sleep – the majority of people to Charlotte’s apartment, only 15 minutes away from James’, but Amarillis went home and Sour Gherkin never left from outside James’ place. Topaz actually joined the group at Charlotte’s, and while they were alone, she and Johnny had a strange conversation where he managed to imply he’d be interested in sleeping with her some time in the future, but not now. Slightly surprised, Topaz currently backed off – though heavily implied she’d be thrilled to sleep with Surat.

After Sour Gherkin got Johnny to relieve him at about 4AM, nothing much happened until 7:30 AM, when there was movement in James’ apartment. A bit later, his car pulled out of his garage – but he was driving very poorly, obviously unused to a stick shift. The group followed him in two cars.

He eventually pulled up and parked on a street near downtown North Haven, not far from the University. Surat and Amarillis went to feed birds near the car, while Johnny, Charlotte, and a sleepy Sour Gherkin pulled a bit farther ahead and parked.

After about 5 minutes, a petite teenager walked up to his car, wearing a bookbag, and got in. When Surat gave James bad luck, the car stalled out in the middle of the street, and Amarillis went forward to ‘help’. She pretended to know James and Jane, and asked a few questions – both people seemed nervous and uncomfortable, and the girl was fairly forward. They soon took off, the girl driving, with Johnny following.

They stopped in front of a house in the slightly less nice area of town. The lawn was a bit shaggy and there were a couple of kids bikes in the front yard. The two of them entered the house with no hesitation. Johnny and Charlotte crept close to the house to see if they could get in or at least eavesdrop, while Amarillis went to talk to the neighbor’s dog and Sour Gherkin called Grace for possible backup.

Johnny eased the unlocked front door open enough to hear a third voice joining the two they already knew – an older woman’s voice, sounding upset and panicked about Jane’s ‘death’, wanting to know more details. Meanwhile, Amarillis found out that the house had been lived in for a while, and no one really knew had moved in, though there were visitors. There weren’t, however, any burglars or the like going in. Unfortunately, by asking about burglars, the dog she was speaking to started barking loudly.

Johnny tried to scramble back away from the front door as he heard footsteps heading towards it, but couldn’t get away. The teenager demanded to know what he was doing there, James standing a little bit behind – and then he recognized the ‘police officer’ from last night. Johnny went on the offensive, accusing James of not actually being James, which ‘James’ lied poorly about and claimed he was. The girl eventually invited Johnny (and Surat, who’d moved up at that point) into the house, where they saw a third person, this one a middle-aged woman who looked like she was about to start crying. She demanded to know if Jane was all right – at which point, they asked if _she _was James.

And then the three of them introduced themselves, and the truth came out. The girl gave her name as Bea – and then said her body was Cynthia’s, who was currently in James’ body, who was in Bea’s. They’d been in the same general area two days before, around noon, and then suddenly they were in each others bodies. And they didn’t know what to do, and they were scared. During this entire conversation, Surat had a way to tell whether or not they were lying, and they were telling the truth the entire time.

At this point, the others slowly joined in the conversation. Amarillis told them she’d do what she could to help, and mentioned that they had connections that might help. Charlotte called Grace, who told them that since it didn’t seem connected to the True Fae or Arcadia, she didn’t want to bring the Freehold in to it, so they could help if they wanted – but without official support. The group argued a bit about whether or not to help, then took their leave of the body switched group to argue some more.

In the end, they decided they’d do something to help. Johnny wanted to talk to Emily about Goblin Markets, because Sour Gherkin thought that might be a good place to find some way to switch them back. There’s no set plan yet, though, and things may change.

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Midsummer
Wow, that's a lot of NPCs

August 5, 2009

The motley was invited to give their oaths to the Freehold at the Midsummer celebration. It was really more of a ‘Give your oaths or get out of town’ sort of thing, but politely worded.

Emily and Trinket picked the motley up and took them to the campgrounds, passing through an incredibly strong ‘go away’ ward when they got close. Despite the rainy and cloudy day outside the wards, inside was bright, sunny, and a bit hot.

Once there, Emily abandoned them to the mercies of the large group of other NPCs, who descended on them in droves.

First off was Grace, making sure they were still swearing to the Freehold and inviting them to join in any of the competitions going on.

Next was Topaz, flirting with everyone in sight. She mainly wanted to speak to Charlotte about the job in the bar – Topaz is a waitress/bartender there.

Jacob approached them then, to give them the spiel about all the Courts in general, but Spring Court in specific. He hit on Charlotte until he learned she was only five years old, at which point he was a bit weirded out and left.

In the meantime, Surat walked over and spoke to Dusk, getting an invite to his bookstore to browse the more protected books. He also got some information about the sixth person swearing to the Freehold this event – a man named Mark Greene, who was actually taken by some sort of pouka, not one of the main two Keepers.

Jonas wandered up then, with Averna helping him keep on track. Even more vague and distracted than usual, he spoke to them a bit about the Autumn Court, likely leaving a poor impression.

Bored, Johnny walked away and ended up in a brawling competition. He possibly upset his opponent when he didn’t bother finish the handshake before headbutting him and eventually knocking him down and nearly out.

At this point, Lady Sonja spoke to him, then each of the others, sounding them out about joining Winter Court. Surat in particular took some interest in the Lady, though not in the court itself. Surprisingly, Sour Gherkin got on quite well with Lady Sonja.

Charlotte got on quite well with Nameless, the cutest dog in the world.

Finally, it was time to swear to the Freehold. After speaking the pledge, they were officially members of the North Haven Freehold.

A bit after that, Charlotte participated in an irregular weapons competition against a girl named Casey, who used a war fan as her weapon. Charlotte handily beat her.

The motley mingled a bit more, eating some of the abundant food, then left. They had no issues with the wards on the way out, as they’re now members of the Freehold.

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In the Hedge

June 18th, 2009

Waking up in the Hedge with only vague memories of what the hell just happened, the five changelings introduced themselves.

Impatient to get moving, Johnny started walking down the path, with Sour Gerkhin following close behind. Charlotte and Surat trailed a bit farther back.

After walking for a little while and getting to know their new friends better, the group heard shrieking noises from up ahead. Johnny sneaked forward, while Sour Gerkhin climbed a tree to get a better look.

Johnny saw two huge glass spiders attacking someone or something in a tree, while Sour Gerkhin could see that there was a small hobgoblin shaking and scared on the branches.

Johnny raced forward to attack the spiders, figuring they were dangerous enough that they were a threat, and Charlotte and Surat joined in. Meanwhile, Sour Gerkhin worked on convincing the goblin to leap in to his tree, which the goblin eventually did.

Badly wounding one of the spiders enough that one of its legs broke off, the first spider ran quickly into the Hedge. The second spider stayed and fought, but was swiftly dispatched by the group on the ground, with Charlotte getting in the last swing.

Sour Gerkhin and the goblin slowly climbed down the tree, and the goblin introduced himself as Thinnose. He was looking for a rare goblin fruit – he pulled out a rose that smelled like rotting meat at this – and he had been set on by the spiders. After a bit more conversation, it came out that he’d actually killed a baby glass spider right before he was attacked.

Thinnose agreed to do the motley a favor in return for saving them. He didn’t know how to get to the human world, but thought he knew someone who did.

Thinnose led them to a forest clearing that had one huge tree in the center, and convinced an ugly dryad to come out. The dryad agreed to a pledge to show the motley the way out if they’d take his sapling offspring to someplace the sapling could grow.

The motley agreed, and Thinnose thought the place he got the goblin fruit and met the spiders might be best. He agreed to lead them there, now firmly believing they were all friends.

Thinnose refused to go in the clearing itself, but pointed the way to Johnny, who said he’d go alone. He sneaked forward and could see a large house-like structure in the center of the clearing, with the wounded glass spider from before sitting in front of the door. He continued to sneak to hopefully avoid detection, and put the sapling in to the ground. However, before he could get back, another spider, this one smaller, approached.

The spider seemed curious about the sapling, and in trying to touch it, knocked it over. Johnny carefully eased forward, and when the spider didn’t respond, helped the sapling right itself. The spider, curious, touched Johnny with its leg, but didn’t attack him, and eventually wandered off.

The motley returned to the dryad, who told the trees to point the way. Thinnose left them at a well-traveled road, giving Sour Gerkhin a small piece of bone and fur to remember him by.

The motley followed the road and the trees to a gate, which they opened and stepped through. It was only after entering that they realized that they were in a library, and they weren’t alone.

The girl in there with them eventually introduced herself as Trinket, and left to call someone. During this time, Johnny learned how much time had passed since he was taken, and Charlotte learned how little it had been since she had been taken.

Shortly, Emily appeared to greet them and explain things a bit. A little while later Grace blew in, spoke to them briefly, and left again, leaving their orientation to Emily.

Emily set them up with some clothes and cots to sleep in at The Center, and explained more to them the next day. She also made them the offer that the could join the Freehold, if they were willing to do something in return for the Freehold’s protection. They’d be asked for their decision at Midsummer.

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