December 5 2020

Gerhardt tries trumping Clarissa. A tall, dark man answers as her assistant. He recognizes Gerhardt and puts her through. She is happy to hear from him and offers to help. He goes through to her in a forlorn, black craggy tower overlooking the abyss and having some tea. He mentions Brigid and she quickly asks, "Are you engaged??" Despite her disappointment and the answer, they continue to discuss her. Apparently Fiona has already filled her in to some degree. The conversation moves on to Bree. Clarissa asks that Gerhardt help her fit in with the family, though she applauds his suspicion of her. Clarissa decides that it would be best to just call Bree and get her involved in the discussion.

Dworkin did something to restore Bree's father, but she wants to make sure that she is restored in a better way that keeps her from losing herself. That is her current pursuit. She receives a trump call from Clarissa, who invites her to join them. She does so, and upon arrival, Clarissa offers a cake — a notably good cake. Odd. Clarissa activates a warded circle to protect them. Then she looks at Bree, "So. Is there anything you'd like to talk about?" Clarissa is genuinely being emotional, which is affecting her ability to play this game. Bree offers Gerhardt an open and honest conversation about any concerns he might have.

(Player note: Officially only Isabelle and Celeste know Bree's identity. It is implied that Fiona and Clarissa know, and possibly Oberon.)

The Queen of Summer sent an envoy to talk to Isabelle about resolving their with the encroachment. The Queen offers to send in a gardening crew to take care of Isabelle's gardens. Conditions: they will not spy, take, or anything as long as Isabelle does not reveal this arrangement to anyone. She also shares that she's been seeing attempted incursions of the Dwimmerlaik and occasionally a few get through. The fairies manage to stop most, but some still get through and hide and spy. They send the hunt after them, but sometimes in exchange for telling us about them, they could use a little assistance dealing with them. She suggests that the Winter Court would probably make a similar arrangement.

Jericho's research into the Dwimmerlaik reveals that they are a strong people with access to Umbra, and some probably Eidolon. It's like a race of Amberites that is bloodthirsty and believes they should rule all of existence. They are conquerors, not diplomats. They have the ability to make technology work, but it doesn't inherently work. Someone with Umbra could do the same.

Clarissa continues to assert the importance of keeping Bree's secret. She advises her to "ride the edge" and grow allies to help her when she decides to reveal it. She regards Gerhardt as more useful than Fiona, even though she's probably already figured it out. Fortunately, Clarissa has done something to ensure that the only person that can confirm her suspicions is Bree herself. The current situation seems to be in Bree's favor.

"Did I tell you I caught a Brand?" Clarissa asks excitedly. They discuss restoring Bree to her full self and maybe scaling down the psychopathic piece a tad. They'll have to find some time to work on the ritual. The captured fragment is extra psychopathic, so they'll need to work a little harder with him.

Clarissa talks to Gerhardt about his mission to find his true name, and she advises him that Isabelle could be useful as she is current making a deal with the Winter Court. Unfortunately, Clarissa doesn't seem to be able to directly assist any further than providing that obvious advice. She turns to Bree and suggests they look at the latest fashion down in the dungeon.

Celeste has been teaching Brigid how to bi-locate people and Natasha has been keeping watch on her. She's also working with Raspberry on tactical maneuvers.

Gerhardt decides to act on Clarissa's advice. He trumps Isabelle and comes through to join her in the trip to Winter. Natasha joins as well. The group reaches their destination and is escorted into the Queen's presence. She is happy with the resolution and offers a small boon, perhaps a curse upon someone? They make the same agreement regarding the Dwimmerlaik.

The Queen turns to Gerhardt and asks how he is doing and how his quest is progressing. He explains that he's sort of in a holding pattern while he is making decisions. She then mentions to Jericho that his friend stopped by recently and remarked that he was "fascinating". Ironically the little girl finds Queen Mab fascinating as well. Finally she returns to Isabelle and confirms that she will share the arrangement with the rest of the Amberites.

Jericho learns that the Dwimmerlaik are able to "infect" the fay with their spirit. In fact, they've captured one of the possessed fairies. It looks like a glittering column of ice with a creature trapped inside that is half smoke, half goblin. Gerhardt inspects the creature and sees that there is something subtly wrong with it. Isabelle, shivering slightly, receives a wool shawl from the Queen. It smells of cinnamon and chocolate.

Gerhardt is ready to work on the creature, so Queen Mab dissolves the ice and commands the creature to STOP. He focuses hard on the essence of it, finding that one spot where he might be able to hold onto and cut away the rest of it. This will take a while since the integration is so intricate, and it will certainly hurt it to some degree. It looks like there may be some death locks set on it, so faster may actually be better than slower.

Bree goes down to the dungeon and sees the other Brand fragment. It is quite a pill. She and "Assbrand" talk a while. He relentlessly insults her. He doesn't know Maeve is back, but even learning that he's still irate at just about everything, not the least of which being Bree. Their mother was supposedly the first one that Oberon tossed aside, and he’s definitely got an axe to grind about that, too. Still, he’s moderately impressed at her ability to stand up to his impudence.

Queen Mab draws another circle outside of what Gerhardt has done. She can “encourage” him to speak. They inquire about how to replicate what the Dwimmerlaik has done and also about vulnerabilities. Apparently this spirit takeover was done in many areas as a spy operation. It is an advanced technique that only a few (maybe 3) can do. Despite much resistance, it explains that it takes tremendous power to push out your psychic self and project it into someone else. Your host body remains vulnerable. With substantial distance, the spirit could possibly be severed from the body, but it hasn’t been tested. Unfortunately it seems close enough to still be connected to the Dwimmerlaik city. It seems that the other Dwimmerlaik don’t really trust this ability (or each other), so they must go through a procedure to authenticate themselves upon return to their bodies.

Gerhardt demonstrates how strong the Dwimmerlaik is, and Jericho resists for a moment but then starts to succumb until Gerhardt lets up.

Isabelle finds that the creature wants to serve up Jericho on a platter for interrogation by his people. He would be completely indefensible and doesn’t think he could fool them. It doesn’t seem like it would be a fruitful endeavor as the Dwimmerlaik with this ability are segregated from the rest of society. Not much intel would be gained. Jericho does learn that the religious leaders are more feared than the military ones. Queen Mab finds Jericho quite appealing. She thinks they could reach a very satisfying arrangement… violent and satisfying.

Bree looks in on Isabelle and Gerhardt through trump and sees them with Queen Mab, who looks up and blows a kiss. Bree decides to wait until they are unoccupied. Jericho takes the creature, with Mab’s permission, to a Black Ops site that specializes in psyops.

Gerhardt summons one of his horses to head back to Erewhon. He receives a trump from Brand. They discuss scrying on the past of the splitting device and getting Isabelle to help. After the machine is prepped for analysis, they reach out to Isabelle. She agrees to help, and together they find that Oberon and Brand were on the machine not too far apart in time. When they were on it, it seems the pattern was definitely involved.

When Oberon was on it, there was some ritual involved with blood and visualization of the pattern. In another time, Osric was talking to the Golden Child to get help in the construction of the machine. They make some kind of arrangement about it. Later Osric activates it and creates the duplicates of Brand. They all look the same, but they act differently. He uses them to do his bidding. Dworkin breaks in later and creates Oberons.

Now that Brand sees this, he has a memory of it and knows which one he is. These are not fragments, he realizes. These are copies attuned to the original, who was captive and unconscious during the process. It seems that a stone used in the process contains the blueprint, so to speak, and it is the missing ingredient to restore a copy to its “true self”. Somewhere there is a stone for Brand, probably in Osric’s possession.

These events occurred around a year before the Patternfall War. Therefore it is possible that the original Brand did die at Patternfall and Bree is not actually a fragment but instead a copy.

Jericho is working on how to fight the Dwimmerlaik.

Isabelle is working on finding new nature-based tricks.

Gerhardt is studying the splitting device. He remembers faintly that his mother took a stone to the device to study it, but she didn’t make any copies. He needs to talk to her about that.

Bree works on finding her source stone after having an existential crisis.

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