The group fights and defeats the Hob Chief and his men. After binding their wounds, they return to the Court and report to the Queen. She is pleased with the results of their mission and progress as a team, and rewards the group for their efforts. She also tells them to choose a leader, to start thinking about finding jobs and places to live, and to consider whether they wish to become a true motley. Weaponsmaster Jonty decides to take them out drinking.
The hobs are poised to attack. Marcella is at the front, Amy and Fianna are to her right and bit back, Faron and Caesar are behind Marcella, Zia and Iris are behind them to the center, and Hulda is behind them. There are two spear-holders behind the group, between them and the door. Two hobs armed with daggers are in front of them with the Chief, and unseen, two archers are on the balcony above. One of them shoots an arrow at the group.
The arrow barely misses Amy. The Hob Chief smiles and says, “We won’t let you leave here alive! All you changelings, you’re the same! The Man in the Hedge is right, nothing can change. But we can do this, we can kill you all!” As he cackles angrily at them, his wife takes a deep breath and calmly leads her children out of the room. The kids look back at the group. One sticks out his tongue, the other is crying quietly.
Fianna shifts automatically into fighting mode. She uses a contract, and her effective strength rises dramatically. She moves forward.
Amy frowns angrily. Kill them all? Nu-uh. Not happening. She looks at her options, before choosing Hulda as the most likely one to have what she wants, and reaches into her dreams. Amy summons a thick fog that blankets the room to obscure the group from the archers. The fog seems to be flecked with little red lights and is a bit dizzying to look at.
Zia takes a step towards Amy and Caesar, facing the two spear-wielding enemies. She then takes out the trusty tool and begins to mutter at it. Zia and the trusty tool make a laser gun, the handle of the tool being the handle of the gun.
Red Dagger stabs Marcella in the torso. Blue Dagger makes a successful attack on Fianna. Purple Spear smiles widely and stabs Hulda in the side. Orange Spear stabs Faron.
The Chief smiles widely at the success of his men. “Kill them! Kill them all! Take back the Hedge! Spare the Hedge from their controlling poisonous influence! The Hedge must be liberated!”
Hulda concentrates and uses a contract to blind the purple spearman. He doesn’t drop the weapon but he is CONFUSED.
Red Archer aims for Marcella, and instead shoots Red Dagger. Red Dagger squawks and is confused.
Marcella unsheathes her sword and concentrates, spending glamor to generate bone armor using her kith ability.
Iris draws her weapon and gets ready to dodge if needed.
Out of nowhere, an arrow flies through the smoke and plunges into Amy’s thigh.
Fianna throws a punch at Blue Dagger and hits really hard, doing lethal damage.
Amy uses the same contract as before, and five colorful balls appear on the ground near her. She grins darkly, and gingerly gathers them up. She throws one as hard as she can at the Hob Chief. The ball hits him in the knee and breaks open. The acid does aggravated damage.
Zia holds the laser pistol in her hands and brings it up. The pistol swerves in her hands to target the nearest person, Blue. “Hey, that’s our friend!” The Trusty Tool cackles. “OOOOOhkay! this baby can auto target! Woohoooooooo,” and the pistol swerves towards Purple Spear.
Red Dagger attacks Marcella again, only to have his dagger bounce off her bone armor. He looks at it, puzzled. Blue Dagger makes another stab at Fianna and misses. Orange Spear stabs at Faron for one point of damage and manages a shallow hit.
Meanwhile, Purple Spear is turning his spear back and forth, then he valiantly attacks Hulda once again. Purple Spear pushes past his fear and successfully jabs in the right direction, hitting Hulda hard despite his temporary blindness.
Meanwhile the Hob Chief is in a lot of pain and he is angry! Screaming invectives, he leaps down from his chair, crumples a bit as he hits the ground, and moves to attack Amy.
Faron deals a critical hit to Orange Spear. Hulda painfully moves away from the hob trying to kill her. She eats another eyeball, and attempts to blind the Hob Chief, but fails.
Red Archer takes a shot at Marcella. The arrow bounces off Marcella’s crown and hits the hob attacking her. He yelps, looks over his shoulder and yells “STOP SHOOTING ME, SHOOT THEM, YOU DUNCE!”
Marcella lunges at Red Dagger with her sword. She can feel the sword humming, almost purring as she uses it, but it has no other effect on her attack. He looks pretty banged up now.
Another arrow streaks through the fog and hits Amy right below the first arrow. Amy half dead.
Marcella shouts to Iris, “You’re the only one who can reach the archers, Iris!”
Iris aims carefully for Yellow Archer’s bow and fires. Although they cannot see it through the fog very well, the bow shatters. Shards of wood fly everywhere and into Yellow Archer. He screams and falls below the railing of the balcony. They cannot see him.
Iris says, “One less archer?”
“Nice shot!” Marcella calls out.
Fianna activates her fire contract along her fists, and throws another punch at Blue Dagger. He goes down, on fire. She turns and moves back towards Purple Spear.
Amy skips back away from the Chief, and chucks another ball at him. The Hob Chief screams as his shoulder gets hit with acid for more aggravated damage.
Zia clucks and turns towards Red Archer. The laser gun locks onto him and with a whoop from the trusty tool, she fires. Red Archer crumples to the ground. His blood drips from the balcony. Zia is visibly upset.
Red Dagger moves to attack Marcella, and this time manages to avoid her armor. He gives a little whoop of happiness. Marcella looks angry. Orange Spear attempts to stab Faron and fails miserably. Purple Spear, unaware that Fianna is right next to him and that Hulda has moved, stabs where Hulda used to be. He, obviously, fails. He then goes to his knees and throws his spear to the ground.
The Hob Chief takes a deep breath and pushes past some of his anger at Amy and attacks Marcella since she is closer. With a great roar and a bit of stumble, he swings his sword at Marcella, getting a glancing blow on her arm.
Faron attacks again. He moves towards Hulda as soon as Orange Spear hits the ground.
Hulda consumes another eyeball and again attempts to blind the Hob Chief. The Hob Chief doesn’t drop his sword but with his free hand he scrabbles at his eyes. “You traitorous Fae slaves!”
Seeing that the Hob Chief is distracted, Marcella decides to try and knock out Red Dagger. “You attacked us first!” Marcella yells back at the Chief as she attacks. She hits him. Red Dagger grimaces, but is still standing.
Yellow Archer, unseen, finds the extra weapons stored on the balcony.
Iris aims her rifle carefully, and the Chief’s sword hand explodes into a shower of blood. The sword falls to the ground, and he screams and grabs at his injury with his other hand.
Fianna attacks Purple Spear with the fire surrounding her hands. Purple Spear goes down, and Fianna moves to the Chief.
Amy flinches at the bloody sight on the balcony, and her focus falters. She drops her arm (still holding one of the balls) to her side. “I don’t want to fight anymore. Can we stop fighting now?”
Iris says, “I don’t like fighting either, but at least all of us are conscious.”
Marcella says, “You have to keep defending yourself, Amy! They aren’t going to stop just because you ask them to, it’s too late for that!” She sounds almost panicked, out of proportion to what Amy said.
Zia turns, locks onto the Hob Chief, fires, and hits him in the gut.
Red Dagger, emboldened by his success at hitting Marcella last time, takes another stab at her, only for his knife to bounce off once again. He sighs, dejected.
Purple Dagger is still kneeling, moaning quietly, “Please don’t hurt me…none of those burny things either.”
The Hob Chief, clutching his lack of hand, screams, “What are you waiting for! Kill them! Kill them before they kill your children and your wives and expect you to thank them for it!” Then he attacks Marcella with his bare hand, managing to smash her hard enough that she takes a bruising blow to the arm.
Faron shoves a round pink berry a little larger than the size of a cherry at Hulda. “Eat this while you’re at it.” He moves towards Red Dagger. He attacks and Red Dagger goes down, still disappointed by how little he was able to hurt Marcella.
Hearing the Chief’s answer, Amy throws another ball at him. The Hob Chief goes down, still sputtering invective.
Hulda eats the berry Faron gave her. It is a Blushberry, and she heals a little of her damage.
Marcella moves over to Purple Spear and tries to knock him out with the flat of her blade. She brandishes her blade about his head, but doesn’t hit him.
Yellow Archer pokes his head above the balcony, quickly surveys the scene and ducks back down. They hear a door open and close.
Iris steps closer to the Chief, keeping her gun ready.
Marcella says, “There may be other fighters between us and the exit, so be on your guard and keep an eye on the doors.”
“Is everyone going to be alright? Every one of us?” Iris is looking at the Chief now. The only enemy still moving is Purple Spear begging. Everyone else is unconscious and bleeding profusely.
Marcella looks at Amy and Hulda to see how they’re holding up. They’re both still standing, if a lot worse for the wear. “Let’s bind their wounds, I don’t think it will help relations between the changelings and the hobs for any of them to die here. Even if they started it,” Marcella suggests.
“Yeah. I’d rather not set off a war,” Iris agrees.
Amy is standing still in place, staring at the Chief, different emotions flitting across her face. Zia sits down abruptly and takes a moment just to breathe. Marcella keeps a lookout on the exits as Faron starts binding the hobs’ wounds. After a few moments, Zia gets up, pulls some medical supplies out of her bag and heads towards Hulda. Fianna turns off her fire.
Faron starts to make his way through the hobs. He’s rather pointedly saving the Chief for last.
After a minute, Marcella moves closer to Amy. “I’m sorry for yelling at you,” she says quietly. “Are you okay?”
“So what do we do now? And what do we do about him?” Iris points to the Chief.
The remainder of Amy’s balls disappear into thin air. “Oh.” She looks at Marcella. “I’m ok. You yelled at me?”
Marcella gives her a small lopsided smile. "I told you you had to keep fighting when you said you didn’t want to. That … was wrong of me. You shouldn’t ever have to fight if you don’t want to. I’m sorry for getting us into this fight.”
Zia then walks over to Amy. “Sorry to interrupt this conversation, but Amy has two arrows sticking out of her thigh? Could I take care of that?”
Marcella moves back. “Yes, by all means.” She looks slightly embarrassed.
Amy sits down and holds out her leg for Zia. To Marcella, she says, “Oh, that’s ok. I was talking to the Chief. I wanted to know if it was ok for us to stop, but I guess it wasn’t.”
Marcella looks melancholy, but doesn’t say anything else.
After a few minutes and some swearing, Zia removes the arrows from Amy’s leg and heals some of her damage. Amy seems pretty stoic about the whole thing. Mostly she keeps glancing over at the Chief.
Fianna walks up. “Y’know…not to be a downer or anything, but maybe we should beat feet before more of these guys show up.”
Marcella looks around for a way to get up to the balcony, but there are no obvious access points in this room. “Yes, we should get out of here as soon as possible. I’d like to make sure the guy up on the balcony is okay, but … if we go poking around to find a way up there, we may run into more trouble.”
Faron finishes making sure Red Dagger won’t bleed out and moves on to Orange Spear.
After she is done with Amy, Zia says, “Okay, who else needs medical attention? We still need to get through the Hedge…”
Marcella shrugs in response to Zia. “I’ll be fine.” She has one wound on her arm that looks like the cracks one might see in old ivory. The cracks are the purple and red colors of a ripe bruise. Marcella also has a few stab wounds, but those are less visible due to clothing. She doesn’t look much better off than Amy was.
“I don’t think anyone even tried to attack me,” Iris says.
Fianna has a laceration on her ribs, but that’s the only wound on her.
Zia looks Marcella up and down. “Sit down. Let me see that wound right now. Don’t you want to be able to help everyone if we get attacked in the Hedge?”
Marcella opens her mouth to protest, but thinks about what Zia said and sits.
After about 10 minutes and some fairly discreet fumbling to get to all the wounds, Marcella is mostly healed. The group has spent about 25 minutes in the hall after the battle. Marcella looks antsy to get out of there.
Faron heals Orange Spear as well, then moves on to Blue Dagger.
Amy goes to the door, opens it a crack, and peeks out. The hall they entered through is empty.
“Want to take the Chief with us?” Iris asks.
The side door opens and the Chief’s wife steps out. “You will leave us to deal with our wounded. Go now before I have no choice but to have the rest of the men attack you.” The children aren’t visible.
Faron stops on his way over to Blue Dagger. He nods quietly.
Marcella stands and looks at her. “Your husband attacked us first, madam. We never meant you any harm.” She turns and gestures to the rest of the group. “Let’s go.”
Hulda stands up ready to leave, and Iris nods. Marcella keeps her sword out on the way to the exit. Iris reloads her rifle. Fianna leaves, but sticks to the back of the group just in case. Zia makes her way out with the group.
“My husband was defending his people against your threat. When the hobs are treated fairly and not killed at your whim, his cause and the cause of the Man of the Hedge will be completed.” She spits in your direction.
“As you might have noticed, we haven’t killed anyone,” Iris says.
“You have lamed my husband for life. The blood of my people is everywhere. Who knows if they will live. Begone, now,” says the wife.
Iris shrugs and turns. Amy grabs Fianna’s hand, clearly upset. Fianna throws her arm over Amy’s shoulder in a comforting gesture as they walk out.
When they arrive back at the courtyard of the freehold, Marcella looks around at the group. “Well, we certainly have more information to give the Queen since the report we wrote yesterday. I guess we should check in and see if we should write another one?”
Iris is feeling uncomfortable, but she gets out of the van and stands close to the group. Amy stands quietly in the back of the group. Fianna is standing by Amy. “Yay, reports,” she mutters.
“I’m concerned about the ‘Man of the Hedge’ they were talking about. I would like to go research that,” Hulda says.
“Yes, that concerned me too,” Marcella agrees.
“Most definitely. But we might need support in this, or at least to figure out where the Court stands,” Iris says.
Amy shudders, “Do you think it’s a Fae?”
Zia looks at her outfit, still impeccable. “Perhaps we should change quickly and then meet with the Queen if we can?”
“Not the frou-frou outfits….” FIanna moans
Marcella looks down at her own torn and bloody clothes. “Sure, we should probably make ourselves presentable.”
“I can do without changing,” Iris says.
“Yes, the frou-frou outfits! We must make an impression!” Zia insists.
“I think we should at least all put on something with no blood,” Marcella suggests. “Meet back here in ten minutes?”
“I guess.” Iris does need to find something less bloody. Everyone else agrees. Marcella checks in with a guard about getting an audience before going up to her room. She heads there for a quick wash-up and changes into the outfit Zia made her.
Amy washes up and then put on the ‘frou frou’ outfit.
Fianna finds that she actually got her one utilitarian outfit bloody and now she has no choice but to wear Zia’s outfit.
Hulda changes into her bright summer outfit, wincing slightly.
Iris does luckily find that her ‘dress’ is at least a dress no more. She very much appreciates the trousers and coat, although her high collared blouse is still suspect.
Zia changes into a lovely summer gown.
After some self-maintenance Faron changes into the Court outfit the group first met him in and heads back to the courtyard.
When everyone comes back down, a guards asks them all to enter the Court Hall via a side door. Everyone goes in.
The Queen is currently receiving a visitor from a court from another city. They are discussing the needs of Dresden’s changelings during the Summer Games. After about 10 minutes, the Queen thanks the visitor and invites him to take dinner with her. He leaves and the group is called by the herald.
Marcella steps forward at the head of the group. Faron also steps forward, though he keeps some distance between himself and Marcella. Hulda follows, but stays in the back of the group. Fianna will go to stand up near Marcella. Iris is once more feeling too shy to talk.
The Queen says, “Vogelfrei, I hear your mission ended with a bit of blood? What do you have for me?”
Marcella bows. “I’m afraid so, Your Majesty. Have you heard any news from the Arena, or are we first to bring you word of what truly happened between Geth the Giant and Whisper John during their final battle?”
“I have heard accounts. Please share yours,” she replies.
Marcella nods, and summarizes everything they found out in the Arena – the overheard conversation about the sealed die, the confession of the hob Erratus, her claim that Armin Leadenfingers was the one who bribed her. “Once Erratus was dispatched to the care of the heads of the Arena, we thought we should inform the Hob Chief that Geth’s death had indeed been the result of foul play, and the Court was taking steps to pass justice. Unfortunately, upon hearing that it was a hob who switched the die, he flew into a rage, accused us of lying, and had his underlings attack us. Fortunately, we held them off. We don’t believe any of the hobs were killed in the fight, but we couldn’t stay to check.” Marcella hesitates slightly, then adds, “The Hob Chief claimed he was fulfilling the wish of the Man in the Hedge by killing changelings.”
“I am pleased with your initiative and thoroughness as your team pursued your mission. Armin Leadenfingers will be questioned as to his actions and appropriate actions will be taken. The Arena must be entirely trustworthy as we head into the Summer Games. Another team will check on the hobs and ensure that further attacks do not occur, either to them or on their part,” the Queen replies seriously.
Marcella bows her head at the compliment. “Thank you, Your Majesty.”
“As your reward for completing this mission, each of you may choose one item of weaponry or armor from those presented to you by Weaponsmaster Jonty. Please report to him after this meeting to decide on your reward.”
“You are very kind, Your Majesty, thank you. If there is anything further we can do to assist with the matters of the Arena or the hobs, please let us know.”
“Of course.” The Queen stands. “I am pleased with the progress of Vogelfrei. You have a long way to go, but all of you are on the path to become useful and self-supporting members of freehold. As a result, you are ready to take the next steps of becoming a motley and a proper fighting band. By your next mission you must choose a leader. This leader will be first among equals, not a king or queen or superior officer, except in battle, when one director is far more useful than seven. Secondly, you must begin to speak to each other about being in a motley. If by the end of summer you feel that you cannot form that bond with each other, we will need to discuss if your group must be split. Finally, it almost time to become independent of the freehold. Go forth, look for a way to support yourselves and a place to live, together or separate as you please. This Court cannot support you forever.”
Marcella bows again. “As you wish.”
Zia makes a nice curtsey.
The Queen sits and they are dismissed. Iris bows carefully and leaves with the others.
Marcella lets out a breath once they are out of the room. “Well, that actually went pretty well.”
“It did, actually. Now, let us go get the weapon bit over with…” Zia replies
“Yeah, let’s go see Jonty,” Marcella agrees. As they walk, Marcella asks, “Faron, what are these Summer Games?”
“Games played every summer at the Arena, take about 3-4 weeks total, though most of the most anticipated contests are towards the end.”
“Huh. Who competes in them?” Marcella asks, as Iris says, “What kind of contests?”
“Mostly physical competitions, though there are some exceptions. Combat, races, sports, although there are exceptions. Any fae from the country can compete. Hobs and other creatures from the Hedge can apply as well.”
“Good to know,” Marcella says.
“Well I know what to stay away from,” Iris says.
They all reach the training yards and Jonty turns from sharpening a sword. “So, I hear you all had a fight. Anyone freeze up?”
Faron’s mouth quirks in what might be a pleased smirk. It’s gone in a second.
Marcella smiles. "No, everyone did quite well. We need to work on our formations and teamwork with those contracts, but all things considered, they did well.”
“Less clouds means better aim from me…” Iris mutters.
Jonty raises an eyebrow. “Very well then, I need have no reservations about these gifts. We can all go drinking tonight!”
“Sound good, I haven’t had anything in ages,” Iris says.
Jonty brings out a chest. “Here are your options; remember, just one apiece.” (See the separate google doc for a listing of the rewards.)