August 22 2020

Silas wakes up to find that he has been completely looted while he was unconscious. Lowen is there, too. Both are bound and gagged with mittens on. Rinaldo comes back, looking worried. It looks like traps on Silas' belongings got him: his hand is damaged and he looks ill from poison. Rinaldo explains he doesn't want to hurt anyone, but he's protecting himself. The two talk and agree to parlay. Rinaldo releases Lowen's gag as well. He asks them to bear with him for about an hour while he goes to do something. The bonds go through their bones, so there's no good option for escape unless they part with hands and feet.

1675681-bed_head.jpgIsabelle is still being hunted by the bear and hasn't been sleeping because she sees it in her dreams. Bree, Isabelle and Natasha go to the Grove of the Unicorn to seek her help. Gerhardt researches in Erewhon, but doesn't find anything. He trumps Bleys and explains that the epic bear is chasing Isabelle. Bleys mentions a mythical destroyer-of-worlds bear named Shardik, but he didn't really think that was real. Jericho hunts the bear through shadow.

Rinaldo comes back to find Lowen feeling very bad. He says, "Ok, you're not going to remember any of this. Is there anything you want me to know?" Lowen says he should turn himself in to Benedict or Gerard, not Caine. Silas tells him to find him after this is over — they can be allies. Rinaldo puts a starfish-looking thing on their foreheads and the two fade out. They wake up later in a hospital. Lowen is hooked up to a bunch of equipment and recovering well. They have scars but don't remember anything. They trump Isabelle for a quick escape.

After seven days, they still haven't gotten in touch with the Unicorn. Isabelle answers the call from Silas and brings them through to the Grove. She catches them up on what's going on and while they're talking, the Unicorn appears to Bree. She goes to talk to it, and it recognizes her as a shard of Brand.

07049aa6a75b16bd664d29707eb814a0.jpgBree explains that the ancient-seeming bear that's chasing Isabelle. The Unicorn knows what it is: it's sort of similar to an ancient, but broken. It should have been locked away and gone. There's not an easy answer. She can't just lock it away like was done before by the Golden Child, Bashon. "You can't directly oppose it," she warns. "You really only have two choices: it has to be locked away again or it has to be fixed." Nobody tried to fix it before. (Very sad.) The Unicorn doesn't know if it can be fixed now. The best course of action is for Isabelle to approach the Golden Child about it. They must be sure not to use the Golden Child's true name, she warns.

The Unicorn suggests that they must be careful re-assembling Brand, as they might not want all parts to be brought back together. She touches Bree on the forehead, and she suddenly feels more relaxed and at peace, like she hadn't felt in ages. With a slow step backwards, the Unicorn is gone. Bree shares this information with the group there (Isabelle, Natasha, Silas, and Lowen).

Jericho is tracking the bear. Shadow storms cascade behind the massive bear as he walks. Jericho flies up and lands behind its ear. Anger, despair, resentment and dissonant music emanate from the bear. Jericho flies away to "icon" Brigid. He gives her the sit-rep. With a clearer understanding now, they land on the bear. She merges with the bear's music and begins to work on repairing it.

GM QOTD: "You're not gonna die because the dead don't suffer."

Jericho sees Brigid's eyes go black and silver flames shoot from her eyes. Her hair flies violently up around her. It's like looking into annihilation. As she hits different notes, the radiating destruction takes down shadow after shadow. Is she making any progress? It's so painful… She persists, bursting completely into silver flames. Jericho is knocked far away, and when he goes to find her, all he sees is the broken lute. There's no answer from her icon.

Gerhardt travels through shadow and ends up walking a path with the Unicorn. They discuss the bear. They go to where the bear is and find Jericho there. The bear is calmer, not destroying shadows as it leaves.

Lowen trumps Jericho and pretty much disappears as soon as he says hello.

Jericho relays everything that happened to Lowen, Gerhardt and the Unicorn. A very large raven (4 ft wingspan) lands near them. It is adorned with glowing blue lines. As it approaches them, it turns into a woman with black and purple hair and a bone whip trailing behind her. She goes to talk to Celeste. "It's none of your concern, Orev." Jericho and Lowen want to hear what she has to say, but Celeste runs her off. "She is twisted. She will not help you in the way you think she would," she warns them.

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Celeste explains that long ago 3/4 of the ancients were hurt so badly they broke. They were trying to change reality and failed miserably. She thinks she can fix the bear now, but doing so will hurt her badly. She's willing to do it, though, because they were friends. It will still be best to stay away from him because he's a grump anyway and doesn't like strangers. While she's doing this, he may become somewhat aware of her and try to attack. She asks for help to protect her during this time.

Lowen's getting badgered by Badger. They leave to go see the Queen.

Isabelle trumps Jericho to find out what's going on. Celeste speaks through the trump and tells Isabelle and Bree that they're needed to find out what happened to Brigid. In the background Celeste touches Gerhardt with her horn and settles his mind. He feels split in two almost, with the mad scientist left sitting in the corner of his mind scribbling.

Here's the plan: Gerhardt slows down the pattern so the bear can't move as quickly. Natasha stabs the bear's head to open his mind. Bree and Isabelle enter. Jericho and Silas hold back the blood bears. Silas summons a merry band of misfits from the undershadow to assist.

The bear was probably aware of what happened to Brigid, so Bree is to look for that memory. Isabelle is anchoring Bree so she doesn't get lost.

Gerhardt slices his hand and slams it into the ground. He becomes one with the ground. "He must know what he's doing," thinks Silas.

Bree finds the memory of Brigid and the spoiler is revealed to her. After finding this, she looks deeper into the bear's thoughts. He's come across many creatures that are behaving strangely, contrary to their natural selves. He has trouble convincing others that this is happening. The strange creatures are building cities with silver spires? They are living more fully in the world than just in nature. Bree recognizes that they are becoming fairy-like. They've had a few wars against "world-breakers" over the eons.

Isabelle is doing her job and anchoring. No more, no less. Bree becomes aware of a song… a natural and connected song of which the bear and she are both a part. An order to all things becomes clear to her as she loses track of time. It becomes very difficult for Isabelle to hang on, but she does manage it. Bree continues to dig, seeing and living through the destruction that broke the ancients. It ripped Celeste in half and caused massive carnage. A far away voice pleads with Bree, "You MUST leave!"

Celeste begs Isabelle to reel in Bree. She struggles to do so, but she manages to do it just before Celeste intervenes. Natasha removes her sword and the wound heals. The blood bears seem confused and they dissolve back into blood.

The Unicorn has a funny look on her face. She goes limp and slides off the back of it. Jericho chases after her. As he grabs her, she says, "Isabelle and Brie must save Gerhardt." Silas releases his minions and opens a trump to his ship in preparation. Jericho trumps Dworkin and shows him the limp Unicorn. Jericho and Natasha carry her through the trump. Dworkin is exasperated with them. Their whole group. Ugh.

Bree and Isabelle try to trump Gerhardt. He's exhausted, though, and doesn't have the energy left to answer. They push as hard as they can.

Bree stays with the bear. "Hello," it says. "What are you?" She explains that she's a descendant of the Unicorn and she'd like to talk with him. Alas, he is grumpy and walks away. "None of this makes sense. Where is the world? Why am I walking through clouds?" He tries to remember the device that destroyed everything. More angrily he demands, "Why are you here? What do you want to know? YOU WERE IN MY HEAD!" He is very offended as he remembers. He knows she went much further than she was supposed to.

She offers to make it up to him. "Can you show me the way back to the world?" Bree agrees to tell Celeste that he wants to talk to her. He doesn't like this broken shadow. He asks if the Golden Child is still around. (Uh oh…) He asks about a few others, and she doesn't know. She offers that the Serpent is still around, and he seems disappointed.

Bree trumps Natasha, who is outside Dworkin's cave. She passes along the message that the bear wants to talk to Celeste when she's ready. Natasha asks if she learned how to get Brigid back because Dworkin said it's very important to get her back.

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