Amber Zombie & Twitch

The library is run by an Ancient or two… or three. Bree is talking with someone about gaining easier access to the library for the cost of part of her soul (without traps). Silas wasn’t able to get a cure for the “Resplendent Immolation” in the medical shadow, so he may come back to the Library. On the main floor, Silas and Jericho seek the head librarian to find a cure. He seems to think the other librarian did not actually go to get a cure — he was quarantined because he was a risk to the books, of course. “Sir, you represent an imminent threat. You need to leave right now the way you came!” The virus is a byproduct of the library’s existence, not a defense mechanism for it.

Lowen offers a way to remove the soul from Jericho’s body and let him be dead for about 5 minutes. The staff rush them into a room to try this out.

A mysterious woman with owls all about sits atop the bookshelves as Bree wanders over. They strike up a conversation about potentially reviving the body of Cabana Brand. Bree explains that the group is here to learn about _, which she is not interested in. The woman and her owls coalesce into one large owl and it swoops away without disturbing a thing.

Lowen takes blood samples for posterity and kills his friends. Neither of them resists him removing their souls, so he attempts this relatively new trick. The souls, however, are not as happy about this as their owners. They resist and make the task a bit difficult. After the requisite “time out”, they are returned to their bodies. Silas and Jericho can’t see anything, smell anything, hear anything, and they’re not quite sure who they are. Ok, they do know who they are and eventually they are able to actually use their bodies again. Bree rejoins the group to find them no longer ill but looking to be recovering from something.

Silas trumps Bleys to make sure he doesn’t implement the contingency plan. Bleys warns him not to come to Amber because there’s a zombie plague. It seems to have started at the Grove of the Unicorn. Amberites are sick, but none of the family has turned or anything. His ship is docked in the harbor with orders not to leave. They are successfully defending the area against incursions for now.

Silas trumps Isabelle to warn her about the situation in Amber and ask if she has any idea what might be causing this. She did help restore the grove, but nothing that would really cause this. Isabelle agrees to pull Silas, Jericho and Lowen through to the Music Hall. She intends to go to the Botanical Hall to check with the plants on the situation in the Grove.

Jericho trumps Eric, who says he’s not in Amber and he didn’t cause the problem. It sounds like the problem is similar to a problem he heard of before. When he was young he explored really far out in shadow past Chaos. He found a place where people were sick and infected and he caught it. The sick people were kinda like zombies but were smart enough to keep doing their routines and they were hard to kill, anyway. He never tried to find the place again, but his old travel journals might shed some light on where the place was. Jericho agrees to go get the journal from Eric’s room in Amber.

Gerhardt is researching the outbreak. It seems that when someone catches this, there are several days of variable symptoms before neural valve collapse. About 9% of people die and 1% become zombies. The death rate is increasing, though, due to a lack of resources. Gerhardt decides to focus on studying the infected with Eidolon.

He finds that there is a significant magical component. It is retiring and affecting how systems work, including the soul. This definitely smacks of the Sorcerer Kings. No one is ever free of the infection even if they survive. They are “marked”. It is highly infectious and most of the family has it now. They are affected differently — they are sicker for longer and are not effective now.

Jericho is unable to reach Benedict through trump. He gets an odd psychic impression and then it drops. He tries again and does connect, but he’s yelling something in an unknown language. He reaches through the trump and tries to pull Jericho through. It looked like Benedict was in his room in Castle Amber. Jericho explains what happened to Silas, and overhearing this, Bree, Brigid and Isabelle scatter.

Gerhardt talks to Lowen about helping with the plague. He goes to a huge tent full of sick and dead people. He’s able to detect that this plague doesn’t kill but instead rewires neurological processes to focus on the most violent urges. Interestingly, Gerhardt still has not been infected. His head of Biological Investigations wants to know if he should enact a sterilization because there has been a breach in the lab.

Lowen extracts the disease/plague from a patient and realizes he’ll be pulling out their entire nervous system and invested portions of their soul. So that person died.

Silas and Jericho trump to the tower on top of Serpent Isle. Silas takes some of the vampire repelling flowers, then hanglides to survey Amber, and Jericho flies into the window to Eric’s room in Castle Amber.

Bree used an emergency “bug out” trump to go to a pleasant, out of the way place. She uses a trump to scry on Maeve. She appears to be alone at a cottage sipping tea. The place doesn’t look familiar, but it’s probably around Amber given the look of it. Bree switches to Brand and trumps Maeve, warning her of the situation in Amber.

Brigid trumps Finnegan and asks if he’s heard from Amber, which he hasn’t. She explains the situation. She trumps Fiona, who sounds off and the connection is rather psychedelic. Fiona seems to have lost some of her mental faculties, but she made it clear that Brigid should not go there. Brigid wonders if the Sorcerer Kings might be saying this through her.

Isabelle goes to the Botanical Hall and talks to the plants. They’ve witnessed the plague affecting everyone at the Grove, but they don’t know what it is. It’s clearly magical and the best way to kill the victims is with a shot to the head or heart; that is to do it thoroughly.

In the medical hall, a patient in quarantine catches fire. Sadly, it was the librarian who supposedly went out for the cure. Natasha uses her medical knowledge to decipher the texts and determine what treatments might be possible. So far she’s figured out how to lessen the death rate and help symptoms, in theory. Still, none of that is a cure.

Silas continues to survey the land from the air. Most of the city is quiet save a few wanderers. There is no fighting in the harbor and a few ships appear to have been scorched, but nothing is actively happening.

Jericho latches onto the side of the window and tries to work it open. Guards on top of the castle noticed him flying in and they are coming to see what he is doing. Silas tries to distract them with entertaining fireworks. They are momentarily disorganized. Jericho gets the latch open, turns into his normal form and checks for the journal. He also finds an old brass key inside the hiding space. He jumps out the window and shapeshifts, flying back to Silas’ ship.

Brigid gets an Icon of Bastiano from her father who says she shouldn’t be the one to contact him. She trumps Jericho and shares potentially good news saying that there might be someone with a possible cure. She gives him the icon and other information on trials they might conduct to treat the plague.

Lowen joins Silas and Jericho on the ship and informs them they may not be infected yet. Silas takes the icon and calls Bastiano. They greet each other very cheerfully. Bastiano offers the cure he used before in one of his worlds in exchange simply for their good will. He agrees to drop off a shipment and all the staff involved have been treated. The death rate should drop from 10% to 1% and eliminate the production of the violent neurological impairment. Silas extends an invitation for Bastiano to come to Amber with his 5000 medical professionals.

Gerhardt receives the treatment and analyzes it himself. Silas, Jericho, and Caine all receive the treatment as well.

In the Multidimensional Zoo, Isabelle finds a warning that to go between habitats is through them now. Tall plated herbivores with flat faces with long trunks. She collects genetic samples, as it would of course be stealing to take any of the creatures.

Oberon asks to see Jericho after reading Gerhardt’s and Lowen’s reports. He wants to hear all the options available to stop the Sorcerer Kings. Jericho mentions that someone should be watching Bastiano.

Natasha keeps Brigid company to ensure her safety and keep her out of trouble.

Silas grabs samples of the different doses and goes to walk the pattern. It is extremely taxing, but he succeeds. Changing into his stealthy ninja suit, he asks the Pattern to take him to where the treatments are made. He ends up on the stairs, but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere in particular. How puzzling.

Bree trumps Isabelle and comes through the contact to the zoo. They enjoy squeezing all the animals and talking about any nice Brand bodies that might be around. Isabelle thinks they’re all rather nice, but Cabana Brand would be the easiest body to access. They plan to go to Erewhon and talk to Isabelle’s mom, Cersei, once they’re done at the zoo.

Gerhardt trumps Lowen. They find that the treatment degrades rather quickly, but they’re not very surprised. It’s a pretty common sneaky move. With the help of Llewelyn and Fiona, they learn that the virus travels through even subtle psychic contact. It was clearly tailored to take out Amberites. If it could have been made without the 10% getting sick or dying, it would have been the perfect weapon to control the population!

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way to cure the infected. Their psyche has been replaced. It may come back, but it will not be their fault — all if it will be destroyed immediately. This was released prematurely, and the final one could have been released with no side effects and brutal outcomes for Amber. Lowen and Gerhardt will develop a tracking method to detect future viruses.

Silas finds his way to an open doorway on the Stairs that leads to an Ascendancy world (definitely not related to the Space Game, absolutely not related, nope). He finds accommodations and settles in. Everything is Disneyfied… the place is pristine and the people are wonderful and helpful. In fact he’s welcomed to register as a visitor or even become a citizen.

Bree and Isabelle go back to Erewhon to talk with Cersei about Cabana Brand.

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