Rites of the Spring Horn

Zia's Journal, 1-26-14
Into the Woods

Dear Journal,

I really hope this mission goes well. Summer in general might not be the best court to send our team on missions…we are going into the hedge where hobs that we KNOW are violent have been attacking and killing people. But our team has two people who can fight, Faron who is….only useful when he wants to be and multiple support people. If a horde of hobgoblins attack us, do we really stand a chance? I can help, but a lot of what I can do is just support or acquiring instant expertise…which still means talking to the blasted weapon. I suppose I could dash in, destroy their weapons and dash back out if any of our enemies seem particularly dangerous.

I think that Marcella is the person to listen to for battle-strategy. I was fairly impressed with her calm way of gathering information. I suppose that that really is something she gained from her durance. At least all of us got something out of it, right? The question in the end is if it is worth it.

Perhaps we should see if Mr. Jonty will work with us to come up with a battle strategy. Maybe we could see if we do some fake battles or something at the freehold? Not that I really want some ogre beating the crap out of me….but better a friend than a foe? And I can take the pain. That shouldn’t be a problem. Not at all.

Changelings clearly have a sense of humor with that gate into the Hedge. The Arena shouldn’t be too far, if only we could get past these two goblins! I hope their friends aren’t nearby!

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Game 9: Into Battle

Summary:
The group meets, and heads off to battle. In the van, a fairly involved discussion of strategy takes place, with Marcella taking inventory of everyone’s skills, and assigning them roles in the upcoming battle. It is decided that all party members should at all times either be or be near both a short-range fighter and someone who can navigate in the hedge. The van arrives and everyone is a bit unnerved when Faron reveals that it is his role to observe, and only interfere when absolutely necessary, and Marcella tells him that such an order is not always best followed. After that the party wastes no more time in entering the hedge, pausing only to discuss the order in which to walk, and to put up some magical protections before heading off on the well-marked path to the arena. Before they can get there, the party is accosted by goblins, and forced into battle. As most of the party, begins landing strikes, Amy falls flat on her face in front of the goblins. Fortunately Caesar is quick to the rescue.

Log:

The next day, everyone arrives in the courtyard with various degrees of composure, from the enthusiasm of Marcella and Fianna to the exhaustion of Iris and Zia.

Following up on what she’d learned from Fianna last night, Amy tells the rest, “Um… Fianna says I scared everyone, and maybe accidentally made people think I’d been in their dreams before. I haven’t. I wouldn’t do that ‘cause I haven’t asked.”

Zia, Ceasar express their appreciation of the statement, and Marcella adds that they should discuss later how best to use Amy’s ability.

A moment later, Faron shows up.

“So Faron, any chance we’re going to meet any of the other teams of newbies? I’m curious to know what they’re up to.” Marcella asks

“Possibly,” Faron responds, “At this point most of the other ‘newbies’ have moved out of the freehold and only return for specific reasons. You’re unlikely to get any team-up missions, if that’s your question. Your downtime is your best opportunity.”

Marcella nods thoughtfully, “Thanks.”

Without any more discussion, everyone gets into the van where Marcella starts a discussion of strategy. “So, tell me about goblins. What can we expect when we get to this baseball diamond? What kinds of abilities do they have?”

“The baseball diamond should be unoccupied,” Faron says, “As for goblins… they come in many different shapes and sizes. They’re more cunning than strong, and usually work in groups.”

Marcella immediately thinks of the possible risks inherent to this statement, and the appropriate counter-measures. “They may try and split us up if there are a lot of them, then. We should make sure our long-range fighters aren’t left without melee protection.”

“It can’t hurt to have a strategy.” Zia says quietly.

“No, it can’t.” Faron agrees.

“How many can we anticipate encountering?” Iris adds.

“There’s no way to know how many. That’s intel I’m hoping you get today.” Faron answers.

A short period of chaos follows this information, with several conversations happening at one, and several people involved in more than one.

Iris is worried about splitting up, but Marcella reassures her that she had been suggesting everyone have a buddy in case the unexpected happened, rather than that they split up intentionally. Marcella follows this up by asking everyone who considered themselves to have short-range skills.

At the same time as Iris is voicing her worry, Caesar is thinking of additional information it might be useful to get from Faron. “Do goblins in general follow similar mannerisms or habits?”

He then immediately switches conversational tracks to answer Marcella,“I’m about as short-ranged as it gets,”

Responding to Blue, Faron says “They’re intelligent and unpredictable. It might be easier to think of them as… Well, they’re sentient.”

Zia answers the question on proficiencies as well. "I generally throw things, but am learning close-range. “If needed I can temporarily become proficient in any tool or weapon.”

“Short range is my thing,” Fianna says confidently.

Amy frowns. “I’m still not good at fighting. I have a knife.”

“So me, Fianna, Blue, and Faron.” Marcella tallies the close range fighters, then nods at Amy. “Amy has her knife.”

“What about long range?” Marcella want to know “I know Iris has her rifles, and Zia can throw.”

“Oh, I also have some healing knowledge,” Zia adds.

“Excellent, healing is essential.” Marcella says, glad to add that their combined repertoire. “and if you are ever in a pinch for a weapon, I have extra swords with me. Oh, and if I have to use my bones, I can’t pull them out fast enough to arm everyone, but I you should be able to reuse them if they’re stuck in our enemies.”

“I can also throw, if it comes to it. It’s not my stronger skill, but I’m pretty accurate.” Fianna says, thereby placing herself on both long and short-range teams.

After finding out that Zia has a compass that might help her, Marcella breaks them into teams around Amy, Caesar and Zia, to reduce the risk of anyone getting lost in the hedge.

The conversation comes to an end as Faron brings the van to a parking spot near the diamond and turns the van off. “Before you go… I’m supposed to… monitor your responses before taking any action myself.”

More than one of the group members are a bit displeased by this pronouncement. Most of them had hoped to be able to count on Faron, now it was beginning to sound like maybe they should not.

Faron’s staring at the steering wheel, and sounds rather subdued. “It means I have to wait. The only thing I can promise you… I won’t let it get too far.”

Marcella looks at him seriously. “I don’t know exactly who those orders are coming from, but if it turns ugly out there, an order like that doesn’t do anyone much good.”

Following that pronouncement, the group disembarks, drawing their various weapons as they do so.

After issuing to the worried group some final reassurances that the goblins could be hurt in the normal ways, Faron heads to the door in the screen and opens it. “One please!” he says, and steps through.

Marcella steps forward. “Fianna, can you bring up our rear?”

Marcella waits for Fianna’s response, then also mimics Faron’s actions and steps through

“Sure, boss-lady. Can do.” This is actually said with a remarkable lack of Fianna-sarcasm.

Marcella is quite impressed and touched by the lack of sarcasm

The rest of the group follows, leaving only Amy and FIanna.

Fianna nods her head to Amy. “All right, kiddo. You next, and then I’ll be right behind.”

After Amy goes through, Fianna strolls up to the door, and turns back to the empty field. “I guess we’re going to the games,” she says quietly and seriously. “One please!” She pushes the door and disappears.

Once inside, a sign points the group to the path through the hedge. Marcella puts up her bone armor before heading down the path. As they walk, FIanna makes sure Amy stays close, and that she knows she can get more weapons from Fianna if she needs them.

About ten minutes later the group comes to a bend in the path, and find two hobgoblins are standing there, their arms crossed over their chests, glaring at you. “Hah! Changelings who want to go to the Arena! WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT!” They brace themselves and brandish hedge daggers.

Fianna reacts immediately, sprinting towards the goblins. Halfway there, her whole body lights on fire, glowing blue, purple and white. She starts the melee off with a well thrown punch.

Marcella, Faron and Iris join the fray, Iris from a distance, with varying degrees of success.

Amy, still afraid to try her dream contracts after the violent reactions of the others to the knowledge that she has them, tries to join the fight using her knife, but slips and falls on her face in front of one of the uninjured goblins.

Caesar is quick to the rescue, running to Amy’s side and helping her up before the goblins get the chance to harm her.

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Marcella's journal - Game 8 (1/19/14)

Marcella is feeling confident, and takes charge of their group’s entry into the hall. She doesn’t want to look stupid in front of the queen though, so she waits for a signal from the usher. She’s pleased with the picture they present to the court, though as usual Iris looks very uncomfortable. When the time comes, Marcella says the pledge without hesitation. She has already made this pledge once, and Kenna seems like a strong leader from what little she has seen.

Marcella approves of this plan to give their group weapons training. Obviously weapons will never be a strength of every person on the team, but having a baseline to work from could save their lives in situations where their contracts don’t work or their other abilities are compromised. In the same way, it is important for them to be able to defend themselves if they ever lose their weapons, as well. She is glad to see this Court is already taking a more active role in training them. It’s inevitable that they will face real combat during a mission someday, and she can’t defend every member of her team by herself. She was beginning to feel like they were just being thrust into the world with no briefings or training, so the support of the freehold in this is reassuring. Faron seems competent enough, but he has not exactly been forthcoming with details, either about himself or about the freehold and mortal world more generally. She wishes their mentor was a little more mentor-like, but they will have to take what they can get.

Weaponsmaster Jonty seems friendly enough, as weapons trainers go. She realizes after seeing Amy’s face that he may be a little harsh for the less combat-oriented members of their team. Compared to some of the drill sergeants she’s had (imagined, dreamt of, remembers even though they never existed), he’s quite gentle with them. It’s a relief to work on something as pure and uncomplicated as fighting for a few days.

The rest of her team (except Fianna) don’t seem to appreciate the value of weapons training. Complaining is a good way to let off steam, she knows that, but she has to keep her tounge in check and keep reminding herself that none of them are soldiers, and that they made no vow to serve and protect (apart from the general pledge to the freehold). Military discipline can’t be expected from a bunch of civilians.

Amy’s revelation that she has the power to enter others’ dreams leaves Marcella shaken. Her dreams contain things that she doesn’t want to think about herself when she’s awake, much less let others see. And Amy may be an adult in body, but her mind most certainly acts like that of a child most of the time. She doesn’t need to see any of Marcella’s trauma in addition to her own.

The idea that Amy might have been looking into their dreams up to now also shakes some of Marcella’s core assumptions about Amy. She has been treating the girl as a confused child most of the time she’s known her, but that isn’t entirely correct. Amy has powers no child could have, paired with a sense of reality just a little more unhinged than most children. She isn’t just someone to be protected. She also needs to be watched to ensure she doesn’t harm herself or others with powers she doesn’t understand.

Hearing that Amy has not used her powers on others after all is reassuring, but Marcella still thinks it might be best to leave the Amy-wrangling mostly to Fianna from now on. Amy seems to trust her, and Marcella trusts Fianna to be practical and have common sense about when to protect Amy and when to protect others from Amy. Marcella may not be the leader of this team in name, but she is ready to take on the burden of those responsibilities if the need ever arises. She can’t afford to play favorites or let affection for Amy cloud her judgement about when Amy is a danger to the rest of them.

Speaking of which, Zia seemed to be the most upset by Amy’s revelation, so Marcella makes sure to check on her next. She doesn’t expect to be invited in, but Zia seems surprisingly willing to talk, both about Amy and about other things.

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Hulda's thoughts on game 1/19
Why do I have to fight things?

Today started with everyone getting dressed up in the nice clothes Zia had made us, and then going to the court to make our pledge to the Summer Queen. The ceremony is quick and painless. Upon leaving the courtroom however, Faron tells us to get changed and go down to the training rooms……Great. Some members of the group, Marcella and Fionna, seem really excited about this, but the rest of us not so much.

Upon arriving to the training room, we meet Weaponmaster Jority who proceeds to ask everyone for an assessment of the combat abilities. He is offensive and rude to anyone who is not highly skilled in combat. After seeing Blue get into a confrontation with him, I decide to be simple and matter of fact in my reply. “I can hide and blind people, but I have no combat training.” He disparages my hiding in general, but thinks blinding people can be useful. He then has me pick between a few basic weapons to learn. Not liking any of the options, I choose a pistol, which at least I can use from the shadows from the distance. Weaponmater Jority then asks me for everyone’s name, but calls me “Ghostie” instead. This is rude, but since I have no desire to upset the wishes of the Summer Queen, I do nothing about it. However, I am annoyed that I do not get a name. I am not the only member of the group with no weapons training.

After that disparaging assessment, I spend some time on the firing range learning how to hold my pistol…..recoil from a pistol hurts. We then met up with Faron and got details of our next mission, hunting down goblins that are interfering with people getting to an arena in the Hedge.

During the talk with Faron, Amy asks to have a thread from everyone’s night clothes, I assume for a Catch. People…..do not react well to learning that Amy can reach into or look into their dreams. She runs out, and after the end of the briefing with Faron, Marcella and I go to check on her. She is upset, but Fianna seems to have mostly explained why people were upset. After getting confirmation about the Contract she wanted to use, I went and got her a thread from my night clothes. It sounds like a useful Contract, and I don’t see why there was so much fuss. Yes dreams can be dark or scary or whatever, but Amy is not going into the dreams to purposely invade someone’s privacy. Its a tool….. I am going to support Amy with this, and hope to have more time to talk to her about Contacts and magic.

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Game 8: Summer Wars

Summary

The group is prompted to make their pledge to the Summer Queen, and then afterwards are told that they are to report to the freehold’s training grounds, as the Queen has ruled that no one will be going out on a mission without the ability to defend themselves. At the training grounds, the group meet Weaponsmaster Jonty, who assigns them weapons and a training regimen. Once they are deemed fit for duty, Faron brings word of a new mission: changelings have been ambushed on the way to a popular dueling arena in the Hedge. The culprit is a band of goblins, and they have been assigned with eliminating the threat. In the meantime, Amy revealed that she had the ability to manipulate dreams, a fact that did not sit well with several members of the group. The group is now preparing to leave for their mission.

Log

You are all gathered before the doors to the court. An usher of sorts stands at the door. He wears a badge depicting a rising sun over crossed spears. He turns to your group and speaks very formally to you: “In a moment, you shall enter the court of the Summer Queen. Make your pledge to the court, and exit quickly. There are many others who need to do the same today, and the Court must be about it’s beginning of season business as well.” He seems efficient and somewhat stuffy about the whole thing.

Iris is still feeling very uncomfortable, the dress, the pledge… she just wants to be somewhere else.

Marcella waits patiently for their signal.

The doors open just then, and the usher steps forward. “M’lady, may I present Vogelfrei.” He waves you into the court and towards the dais at the front.

Marcella strides confidently forward and stops at an appropriate distance to bow. She waits for the whole group to join her before saying anything

Iris just tries to stick with the group, and prevent herself from falling over or trying to vanish.

Hulda enters the room, stopping behind and to one side of Marcella

Amy steps forward, this time looking for some indication of where to stop, like the lawn from before. When she sees the others stopping, she stops beside them. She curtsies clumsily.

Fianna walks forward…slowly, as not to trip on her dress.

Zia walks forward elegantly, pleased with the figure that Vogelfrei cuts in the court.

The usher follows you to where you have stopped. “Now, if you please,” he says “pledge the following: ‘I—and then say your name, or whatever appellation you are going by—as one pledged to the Freehold of Heimdallszunft, do give my pledge to the season of summer and its ruler.’ You may then leave.”

Marcella recites the pledge using only her first name, without hesitation.

Fianna recites the pledge.

Iris is a bundle of nerves. Again. Her fingers are shaking, knees wobbly and all too aware that these pledges are binding. Another promise she would have to keep without even knowing what might be asked of her. She needs a new name too. But she can’t let everyone down now. She’s already feeling like much more of a burden than an asset, so she swallows hard and tries to force the words out as quickly as possible

Amy says the pledge without hesitation. She’d already made this pledge; what harm was there in renewing it for a new queen?

Zia recites the pledge, quietly and carefully, her eyes on the summer queen’s the whole time, praying the woman was worthy of the pledge.

Hulda says the pledge calmly.

Once you are all finished, the summer queen smiles and thanks you for your pledge. The usher then…ushers you out of the court and bids you good day. Faron is standing outside the court hall, apparently waiting for you.

Iris uses the opportunity to brace herself against a column and keep her knees from giving way to nerves.

“If you’re done, go to your rooms and change into something more comfortable. I will meet you all in the training yards in 15 minutes.”

“Training yards?” Fianna grins.

Iris breathes a sigh of relief, tries to run off, and falls up the first flight of stairs she can find, but manages to make it up into her room mostly unharmed.

“Training for what?” Amy asks.

“Summer,” Faron replies to Amy.

“For Summer? Come on now, Summer is time for going to the beach and relaxing!” Zia informs him.

“Excellent!” Marcella says, and hurries off to her room to change.

Amy doesn’t know why you’d have to train for a season. She knows she’s forgotten a lot but… when Zia speaks up, Amy nods, not agreeing with the sentiment so much as the confusion.

Hulda nods at Faron and heads upstairs to change. She is a little apprehensive about training….it is not her strength

Fianna dashes off as well.

Marcella packs up all 3 swords in her new bag and tries to get to the training area as fast as possible … Even though this was certainly not a race.

“It may have been a time for relaxing before. Now it is a time of action,” he says to Zia.

“I am an artist. I am not a fighter. I have no intention of killing people again.” she informs him.

Fianna’s everyday clothes are already perfectly suitable to training, so picking what to wear is easy—though she does struggle with getting out of the dress. She also takes her time to wrap her hands, then runs off to the training yards.

Iris peels herself out of the dress as quickly as she can and sits on her bed for a full 10 minutes, before finally slipping into the blackest outfit she can find, grabs Samuel’s Zorn and takes a bit more time getting downstairs.

“Wait,” Amy says, “We’re fighting?”

Marcella spends her time waiting stretching and doing some warm-ups

“You are learning to defend yourselves. What you do or don’t do with those skills is up to you.”

“I can already defend myself. I am an artist who uses many sharp and heavy tools. Hmmph.” Zia strides off.

Realizing that they were not, in fact, training in a season, which had made little sense, Amy goes to her room to change, and then heads to the training yards.

“I’m not good at fighting. I guess I’m adecent shot, but I keep falling over my own feet.”

Zia changes carefully into her simplest clothes, but they are still rather lovely. She walks to the training yards, having no intentions of rushing to such a horrible activity.

At the training yards, you meet Faron, who is waiting a bit impatiently, but…happier than usual.

Hulda looks around slightly nervously.

Iris, looking a bit worse for wear, but decidedly more comfortable, is clutching her rifle. She is wearing all black and has even found a spiky bracelet.

Caesar steps out with the rest of them after some period of time wherein he changed into simpler clothing consisting of a white tee shirt and denim jeans. He is unarmed.

Zia gets there last, wearing essentially a finely made and embroidered yoga-esque outfit.

Amy is wearing a simple summer dress in bright yellow, and flip-flops.

The training ‘yards’ are actually a series of rooms, taking up an entire basement level of the freehold’s complex. Each room is kitted out with top of the line equipment. There is a free weights room, one for cardio and aerobics, boxing and kickboxing equipment, a shooting range with targets and challenges for all skill levels and different types of firearms, exercise mats, and all sorts of other athletic paraphernalia. There is even a somewhat terrifying rack of melee weaponry on one wall.

Marcella is examining the rack of melee weapons with interest

Iris picks up a bastard sword

Fianna is taking jabs at a speed bag.

Caesar looks around curiously. He wasn’t trained to fight like everyone else; he wasn’t exactly sure where to start.

Hulda looks around but does nothing else, she has no clue what she should do.

Amy stands there awkwardly, then edges closer to Caesar and Hulda.

In the entry room a tall, wide man is waiting as well. The first thing you notice is the red/brown wool cap on his head. His skin is coarse, pocked, and vaguely yellow. He is sitting in the room, just watching each of you pick stuff up. He smiles broadly and you see that he has impressively sharp teeth.

Iris slowly looks up. She wonders what kind of thing he is.

Caesar watches the man. If it seems like he’s the one in charge of this training facility, he’ll go over to him.

Marcella keeps an eye on the man, but otherwise moves normally through her warm-ups and inspections of the weapons

He is just sitting there, watching you all very carefully, clearly comfortable in the space.
Iris shrugs and goes on inspecting the other weapons. She isn’t really comfortable with melee things though.

“Queen Kenna will not allow you out on missions until all of you have proven that you all can at least hold a weapon properly. The weaponsmaster and I will be assessing your skills and abilities, until you can prove to us that you can defend yourselves in combat somehow,” Faron says.

Fianna has switched to a large punching bag and has a slightly manic grin on her face.

Hulda goes paler at that statement.

“How will you be assessing us? I haven’t so much as touched a weapon in my life,” Caesar returns. He was ready to get whatever tests or whatnot he had in mind over with.

“Does shooting things count?”

Zia raises her eyebrows.

Amy nods in agreement with Caesar. “I’ve held some, but I don’t know how to use them. I was just doing what I was supposed to.”

Marcella waits to see what the answer to Blue’s question is.

The man in the corner stands and you realize that he truly very large. “We will be assessing you by statements such as that and what you actually are able to show us. Now, I want everyone to line up here. Now.” he says.

“Fair enough,” Caesar complies.

Fianna ceases murdering the innocent punching bag and lines up.

Zia carefully stands all the way at the end of the line.

Hulda hesitantly lines up looking uncomfortable.

Iris is getting a bit uncomfortable again, but she grabs Samuel’s Zorn and lines up as instructed.

Amy gets in line, not trying for any particular place.

Marcella grabs Ivory Promise and stands in line.

The weaponsmaster stands in front of all you, Faron at his side. “Now, I hear that this group has several members who can fight and some who…can’t. The Summer Queen, in her wisdom, refuses to allow such new blood as yourself to pass through her season without the ability to defeat an enemy. I am Weaponsmaster Jonty…which is not funny, I promise, and I will be kicking your asses into shape. Those of you who are already skilled be will encouraged to expand your skills and cover your weaknesses. Those who…lack skills, will gain appropriate ones.”

Caesar doesn’t speak.

Marcella looks with a little concern at Zia, Amy, and a few others, but doesn’t speak.

“I should probably figure out a melee weapon…” Iris says.

Amy thinks the man is scary, and shies back.

Iris isn’t that easily intimidated.

“Given the rifle you carry so comfortably, probably.” he replies.

He walks to one end of the line, and asks Zia, “Honest assessment of your combat abilities. Now.” he says, towering over her.

Zia looks up at him, thinks for a moment, “For the record, I make things, not break people. I am highly skilled with using knives and other sharp objects for crafting purposes. I am perfectly capable of throwing knives. I also have the trusty tool which under duress will make any weapon of reasonable size I want. I also possess the appropriate magic to gain instant, if temporary expertise with any object. I can also divine the weaknesses in any object I have a minute or two with. Also. I. don’t. kill. people.” she replies defiantly.

“Throwing knives require a rather steady stream of weapons. You will train with a knife, as well as bolster your throwing abilities. Perhaps add some improvised weapons for you. Also. You. Will. Kill. Something. Deal.” He informed her.

He turns to Amy, who is next in line. “Honest assessment of your combat abilities. Go.”

Meanwhile, Zia is glowering at him.

Amy’s eyes widen. “I have a knife I found if I need one.” She holds out her thorn/knife.
She thinks about her recent lessons in dream craft. “And-and I’m good at fighting in dreams.”

She tries to think of something else that might please the scary man, but comes up blank.

“A weapon is a good start. Unfortunately, I will not teach you to fight in dreams, but I am sure there are others who would do so. You will begin by learning how to use the weapon you possess properly,” he informs her.

He moves onto Caesar “Honest assessment of your combat abilities.”

Caesar glares at him. “I can become invisible right before your eyes; I can make you say things you never thought would leave your mind. I can ruin you without a weapon.”

“Woah.”

Hulda looks interested.

Marcella chuckles.

He raises his eyebrows. “Nevertheless, I could kill you before you had a chance to do any of those things, terrifying as they may be little darkling. You will also need something more…broadly applicable on occasion. Do you have preferences on what kind of material weapon or shall I pick for you?”

“Doesn’t matter too much to me, go ahead and choose.”

“Very well” He turns and grabs a small axe off the wall, chuckling a little and hands it to you. “Now don’t cut yourself on it!”

Caesar takes it from him and looks at the axe for a bit.

He smiles widely, his sharp teeth glinting." Now, rifle-lady of the needing a melee weapon, honest assessment of your combat abiliities."

Iris shrugs. “I think I’m a decent shot and I like to keep anything trying to kill me as far away from me as possible. I’m not very fast or strong or agile or graceful, but I’m not terribly fragile.”

“How good are you with the rifle?” he asks.

“I used to go to junior nationals, I may have gotten a bit worse, in Arcadia, but I’ve been training again.”

“Yes, I have seen you on the range. You are fairly good. As you noted, you need a melee weapon. Something for when the beasties rush you and are too close for the rifle. Pick a melee weapon” he says, grinning that sharp grin again.

Iris is undecided. she gives both the sword and the rapier a few swings. the katana looks like there might be a bit more .technique involved

Looking back at Samuel’s Zorn, she decides that the rapier might be better, because she takes a bit less time to swing it and it appears to be better for stabbing, not to mention that it somehow seems to suit her. She feels like a musketeer.

“Excellent. You will train in the rapier.”

He stands in front of Fianna,“You should know the drill by now.”

Fianna smirks. “Honest, right? Well, I was a cage fighter for three years”—she holds up her wrapped hands—“and now I can light my fists on fire as an added bonus. Oh, and my hair is full of knives.” She tugs a star out of her hair and hurls it at a target on the wall, where it thunks solidly into the center.

Weaponsmaster Jonty tilts his head, the cap on his heads seems to get a little wet looking. “Congratulations, you can hit a target once. Color me unimpressed. I am pleased with your abundance of natural weapons. If possible, please pair yourself with the crafty one and provide her with throwing stars in battle, at least until she can fight with a knife rather than chuck it. Now, you can brawl and throw things. You have choices. You can improve either of those skills or learn a new one.”

Further down the line, Zia mutters, “Absolutely not.”

Fianna’s very, very pale skin becomes noticeably flushed. “I think I’ll stick with what I know, THANKS.”

“Pick one then.” he replies

“Might as well be hand-to-hand. The last time I fought like that regularly I was fifteen.”

“Excellent. My speciality.” He grins.

Fianna grins back.

He stands in front of Hulda. “Darkling, assessment”

“I can blind people and I can hide. However, I have very little strength and no combat training”

“Blinding is good…strategic hiding is good….hiding overall, not good. We can fix that. Strength training for sure. Pick a small fast weapon.” Amy frowns. She is liking this man less and less as he insults each of her teammates.

Hulda looks at both the knife and the pistol before hesitantly picking up the pistol.

“Very good. A little ghostie can stay far from her enemies and still hurt them.” he says.

Then he turns to Marcella, “And you, Ivory Monarch?”

“I’m good with a sword, and I can hold my own in a fistfight,” Marcella reports crisply. “I can also use my own bones as weapons or armor.”

Hulda wants to look insulted, but she knows that he’s pretty accurate in his assessment
Iris smiles at Hulda.

She knows how to use pistols, but she is still better with rifles.

“Oh Changelings, they come in so many varieties! Your own bones huh? That’s gotta hurt , but more power to you. Perhaps you should work on brawling if that is the weaker of the two.” He suggests

“Sounds good to me,” agrees Marcella.

Fianna gives Marcella a thumbs up and a grin.

Marcella grins back.

“Excellent, then you are all ready. Please break into groups based on your weapons. Oh…and names… You, little ghosty, what is everyone’s name?” he says.

Hulda stops looking at her pistol worryingly and introduces everyone in the order they talked to him.

“Thanks Ghosty. Now then Amy, Zia and Caesar, train with knives w/Faron here. Iris, please go three rooms down from here, tell Thatcher that he is to train you in the rapier. Ghosty, go to the shooting range and tell Malia that she is to teach you how to hold the thing. Fianna and Marcella, you’re with me.” he orders.
Caesar nods and goes.

“I have some extra tape if you want me to show you how to wrap your hands,” Fianna offers Marcella.

Iris, takes the rapier and with a last look at the others, she takes Samuel’s Zorn as well and heads off

Hulda heads over to the shooting range, still looking uncomfortable

“Thanks, that would be great,” Marcella says

Amy walks over to Faron, relieved to be away from the jerk who kept being mean to her team. The only reason she didn’t say anything is because some of them looked so happy about it. That confused her.

Zia flounces over to Faron, trying to look literally as harmless as can be. She grabs a knife that feels right and waits.

Fianna grabs a roll of tape from her pocket and begins to instruct Marcella on the fine art of ‘making sure your fists don’t shatter.’

Iris tries to enter the room she is instructed to go to as quietly as possible.

It is the evening of the next day and all of you are in the cool-down area adjacent to the locker room.

“I don’t think I like summer very much, anymore.” Amy says.

Iris has a new set of bruises, and grumbling about her lack of grace. She isn’t unhappy per se, but her muscles hurt.

Hulda keeps shaking out her arms and wrists, she has been having a hard time with the recoil of the pistol.

“I suppose this is a worthwhile endeveour, but I’d much rather be crafting…” Zia grumbles.

“I kinda like poking things with swords, but I still don’t like tha idea of anything getting that close to me. I’d rather just shoot it,” Iris says.

“They’re just a bit tougher than Spring,” Caesar mentions, relaxing on his bench. He was a bit sore, but the training wasn’t too bad. Naturally, he’d rather not be using such a barbaric weapon, if any at all, but that couldn’t be helped.

“But they’re so mean.”

Fianna stretches and flops back on a couch happily. “Mmm…it feels nice to be getting back into peak condition again.”

“I agree, Fianna, it’s nice to be getting back into the swing of things.” Marcella is stretching, and looks bruised but happy

“I understand their concerns, but I do have several of you who are clearly capable of defending us,” Zia says.

Iris pokes at her bruises. She doesn’t feel like talking much. She’d like to go back to the shooting range, see whether she can get a bit better still.

“But what if you ever get separated from us, or we’re incapacitated for some reason? I think it’s smart they take these kinds of precautions.”

“I do have a variety of thing I can use in emergencies, Marcella. I am not defenseless.” Zia insists

Caesar nods in agreement to Marcella’s point.

Faron enters. “You’re close enough. You have a mission tomorrow morning.”

“Sending out a completely green team into unknown situations is dangerous. What if those foxes had been hostile?”

“Another?” Caesar asks Faron, no tone of surprise in his voice.

“What’s happened?”

Amy groans. “They weren’t! I knew they weren’t. I TOLD you. You didn’t listen.”

Iris looks up. “A mission?”

Aside to Amy, Marcella says, “I know the foxes weren’t, but the next thing we come up against might not be so friendly. There’s no guarantee we’ll only meet peaceful creatures.”

“Ooh, for what pray tell,” Fianna says.

“Goblins in the Hedge are making travel difficult for less combat-oriented changelings. You’re to investigate and handle them.”

Iris swallows. That didn’t sound good.

Hulda blanches.

Marcella smiles, then looks in concern at her less-combat-oriented teammates. “You think they’re ready?”

“I’d like to think so.”

Amy sighs and addresses the room at large. “Could I have a thread from your pjs, please?”

“What.”

“…” “Your pillowcase would be ok too.” “…”

“What? Why?”

“I would prefer not to share that which is mine….” Zia says.

“Again, I say…’what’”

“Is this for a contract, Amy?”

“We’re not sending you out into the Hedge proper. A very specific trod to a specific location.”

“What will you use it for?”

Caesar turns his attention back to Faron for a moment. “Where to and when would we go?”

Marcella turns to Faron. “What’s the difference?”

Amy never answers Marcella’s question, as she becomes distracted by Faron’s new information. “But if the goblins are in the hedge, why are we going somewhere else?”

“Amy, what do you want my pjs for?” Zia asks, very determined to be answered.

Amy starts to giggle. “Not all of your pjs, Zia. They wouldn’t fit me. And you’d have to sleep naked.”

“Sleeping naked is far from the end of the world. What do you want a thread of them for?” she asked.

“There’s a trod that leads to the Hedge Dueling Arena. The goblins are interfering on the way. The difference is safety, and knowing for certain where you are.”

“So I can make things from your dreams. I was hoping if everyone gave me a thread, maybe you could make me a bracelet.”

“I can keep a general idea of where we are. I’m good with that.”

“I’d rather not”. Iris makes a mental note to lock her room very thoroughly.

He looks at Marcella. “That’s part of why I’m going with you.”

“Wait, there’s a what? An arena?” Fianna is now focused on the mission briefing, and looking a little…off.

Zia answers Amy, “I will need to think on it. Dreams are…meant to be private. I will happily make you a bracelet of whatever you acquire.”

Oh." Amy looks disappointed. “Ok; I just wanted to help.” She brightens, “It’s ok. I have lots of glamour, so I can help anyway.”

“Would this mean you could see our dreams?” Marcella asks Amy.

“That is important.”

“No. I can already do that.”

Iris makes a mental note to do research and make absolutely sure that is not going to happen.

“Amy, some things are meant to be private.” Marcella looks upset.

“Amy, what would having this let you do?”

“Exactly. If I EVER find a shred of anyone else in my dreams I will make sure they’e going to regret it.”

“Stay the hell out of my dreams, Amy. If you don’t need to go into my dreams to use pieces of them I’ll think about it, but my dreams are my own outside of Arcadia. I’ll see you all tomorow for the mission.” Zia leaves the room.

Amy looks at Marcella and Iris tearfully. “But it’s what I’m good at. How can I help if no one will let me do what I can do?” She flees the room.

“Uh…so about that mission…”

“Yeah. I’ll see you tomorrow. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go see if I can make the kid feel better.” Fianna leaves.

Amy runs back to her own room, top speed.

Iris scoffs. “She deserved that. What the hell is she thinking?”

Marcella turns back to Faron. “Sorry about that. Are there other details we need to know?”

“She’s trying to be helpful…..”

“Then she’d better find some other way to try.”

Fianna follows Amy back to her room, and knocks on the door. “Amy, can I come in?”

“Be quiet, both of you,” Marcella snaps at Iris and Hulda.

Zia goes back to her room, strips off her clothes and lies on the bed. She closes her eyes and tries to fight off the memories of the dreams Brigid had changed, played in like Zia’s mind—no, not Zia’s mind, because she wasn’t Zia then—like it was a sandbox, made her do things, want things, be things she never wanted to be.

Amy opens the door, crying.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Amy nods and moves out of the doorway, into the room.

“What did I do wrong?”

“I didn’t steal the threads. I asked.”

Fianna runs a hand through her hair. This is not her forte, but she will try. “You did. You asked. And that’s good. But, I think the way you told people that you could do that upset them a little bit. Dreams and memories are not…particularly friendly places for most of us, I think. God knows mine aren’t. And I think…being so freshly freed from Arcadia…that loss of control is scary to people.” Fianna squirms. She hopes she is doing this right.

Amy looks confused. “I know. I don’t like dreams either. That’s why I learned about them. So they can’t hurt me so much anymore. I wasn’t going to do anything weird to anyone’s dreams or anything. I just thought if we needed something I could get it really easily.”

“The Arena is one of the sites for the Summer Games this year. It’s mostly sponsored by Aachen’s Summer Court, but changelings and hedge creatures from all over Germany can and do come to watch or participate. But multiple hedge creatures and two changelings have been killed or seriously injured trying to make their way to the Arena.”

“How big are these summer games? How many hedge creatures and changelings are we talking?” “You will almost certainly need what you have learned.”

“That’s…admirable. You know more about the dream abilities than the rest of us, that’s for sure. Conquering a weakness by learning about it is a good thing. But the rest of the group hasn’t been able to conquer it. They still have all those fears, and none of the things that you have learned about that make you able to deal with them is available to them. So when you asked, and then told them that you could do so, it scared them. No one likes to be scared.”

“And how do they know it’s goblins?”

“How many direct paths are there to the Court?”

“But I didn’t DO anything. Do they all hate me just because I can?” And I’m not the only one! Blue can do it too!"

“That attend the games? Many. Those that survived the attacks said they were attacked by goblins. There are no direct paths to the Court iteslf. The trod is an old baseball diamond further out.”

Iris grumbles. “Maybe I can summon the dead ones and ask.”

“I don’t think they hate you at all. I think they got scared and their fear overrode their emotions. Are they angry? Yes, some of them are. But not hate. I’ve seen hate. That wasn’t it. I think the POTENTIAL that you could do something scared them.” She paused. “I didn’t know he could. That’s probably why he hasn’t said anything. You were very direct and open with people about this ability of yours, and it’s something that people are uncomfortable about. I wager that everyone’s got at least one ability like that. Shall I tell you mine?” She winks conspiratorily. “I can make people think I’m someone I’m not. And I could totally abuse that. But I won’t. And I won’t bring it up unless I need to. But people know your ability. Which is fine, really it is—you just need to convince people you mean no harm.”

“So it’s not in the hedge itself, but it’s only accessible through the hedge?”

“How do people generally access it, then?”

“I wouldn’t hurt anybody with it. I wasn’t going to do anything unless they said it was ok. And I like yours. It sounds like it could make you very safe. But why is being direct bad? Wouldn’t it be worse if they found out and I hadn’t told them? If I was trying to do something sneaky, I wouldn’t have said anything.”

“Ah, I see. What time shall we meet to go to this arena, then?”

“8 AM.”

“I’ll tell the others. Where are we meeting in the morning?”

Hulda winces slightly at the timing.

“The courtyard will be fine. We have to drive to the trod anyway.”

“Sounds good. Thank you, Faron.” Marcella hesitates, then turns to Hulda and Iris. “Sorry for snapping at you. I’m going to go check on Amy and Fianna.”

“There’s a difference between being outright sneaky and just avoiding telling someone something you know will upset them. And being direct is not bad in and of itself—just sometimes it’s not the best approach. Look at me, how many times have I stuck my foot in my mouth?” She gives Amy a wry, self-mocking grin. “I know you didn’t mean any harm by it. I’m used to direct speech. It’s my favorite way of speaking. But it might have sounded a bit too demanding to the others…and your declaration that you could see into people’s dreams made it sound a bit like you had done so before. I think you just need to reassure them that their privacy hasn’t been violated, and that it won’t be.”

Assuming Faron is done, Marcella will head to Amy’s room.

“Apology accepted. Sorry for not focusing on the mission. I would like to check in with Amy as well. "

Iris shrugs and runs to the library.

“I trust you to inform all the ones who left.” Faron leaves.

Hulda heads to Amy’s room.

“Oh. I didn’t mean they had to give me anything. It’s just for the catch. And if they don’t want me using their dreams they should just say so. I didn’t think it would be a big deal because I’m just grabbing stuff out. It’s not like I’m watching them or anything.
I just thought it was silly that everyone was so worried I’d be able to see into their dreams if they helped, but I could always do that, and I haven’t.” Amy looks a bit calmer. “I’m glad they don’t hate me, but I still don’t know how I can help the team much. If I don’t use those contracts, there’s nothing I can do that someone else can’t do better. I’m no use at all.”

“That’s not true at all! Think about how useful you were the last time we were in the field—we wouldn’t have found half the clues we did without your ability to talk to things. And you were able to talk to those foxes as well. You were real helpful. I think that if you just tell everyone what you told me about how you intend to use your abilities everything will be fine.”

There is a knock at the door.

Amy pales a bit. “Um… I’d better get that.” She answers the door.

Hulda and Marcella are standing there. “Hi Amy, I wanted to stop by and see if you are ok. Oh and to ask a little more about your contract….if your comfortable talking about it.”

Marcella nods in agreement.

After a few hours Iris goes straight to bed. She is certain she has upset the others, but currently she doesn’t care. She needs to protect herself first. She is going to try lucid dreaming

“Ok. Come in.” Amy looks around her room. “I only have one chair…” She sits on the bed.

Hulda will sit on the floor. “Here’s fine.”

Caesar just keeps relaxing in the room, alone now. The silence is pretty nice.

Marcella will stand. “No worries. Amy, do you understand why people were upset earlier?”

“Fianna said it was because they were scared.” She frowns, “And that… maybe I shouldn’t tell people when I can do things like that?” She looks unsure about this part.

Marcella is a little impressed that Fianna picked up the underlying cause and was able to explain it to Amy. “That’s part of it, yes. When you were telling us about your ability, it sounded like you had been using it on us already.” She hesitates. “Have you used your ability on anyone, Amy?”

“Of course not!” She thinks about it. “Well, I did on that nice man in the infirmary, but only because he said it was okay.”

Marcella relaxes. “Okay, that’s good. It wasn’t clear that you hadn’t been using your ability on us from how you said it before. I think that is a large part of what made people upset. Now, as Hulda said, could you tell us more about what you could do with the threads?”

“Yeah!” Amy perks up. “It’s really neat. I can reach into someone’s dreams, even once they’re awake I can reach into ones they’ve had, and pull out an object. Or a scene. I can make it be in the real world. I don’t need the thread for that, but it means I don’t have to spend glamor and I thought if I had a thread form everyone, there would be a whole bunch of things I could pull out at any time!” She deflates a bit, “But if people don’t want me to, I won’t. With or without the thread.”

“How do you know what you can pull from someone’s dream? Do you need to look into their dream for that somehow?”

“Well, I could do it better if I peeked first, but I don’t have to.”

Marcella nods slowly. “Well, if you promise not go look in my dreams without my permission, I am okay with giving you a thread from my nightclothes. I don’t think everyone understood that you don’t need to look in our dreams to use this ability. If you explain that to them, they may agree to give you threads as well.”

Hulda nods. “If having a thread will make things easier for you and help the rest of us with our missions, then I will give you a thread. I’ll be right back.”

“Thank you. I will explain it.” She looks around the room. “Thank you guys.”

Hulda goes to her room to get a thread, and then returns and hands Amy a slender black thread.

Fianna ruffles Amy’s hair. “I’ll give you one too, kiddo. Think you’re okay now?”

“Uh-huh.”

Marcella goes to get a thread for Amy as well. Once she has given Amy the thread, she will also tell Amy and Fianna when and where they are meeting in the morning. She will then go knock on Zia’s door.

Zia comes to the door, without bothering to put on any clothes. “Can I help you, Marcella?”

Amy twists the two threads together and wraps them around her wrist.

“We are meeting tomorrow morning at 8 in the courtyard. And … Let me know if you’d like to talk.”

“I’ll be there. I’m not really sure what we would need to talk about. If Amy can explain how she’ll borrow from my dreams and it doesn’t involve invading them, then I’m find helping her. Otherwise, she can fuck off,” Zia says, in a tired voice. “It sounds like she can, but feel free to ask her for any details you want tomorrow.” Marcella hesitates, then gives her a nod and leaves.

The next morning you all find yourselves in the courtyard bright and early. There is a van ready to take you to the entrance of the trod.

“Are you all ready?”

Fianna is ready to go. She does glance at Amy to see if she’s okay.

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Faron (1/12/14)

Felix rarely comes to these seasonal transitions anymore. ‘Seen all of them plenty of times, kid. Besides, the constant re-pledging gets old after awhile. No need to rush.’

I can understand that, but being Courtless (at least currently, and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t always the case, but it’s one of those things we Do Not Talk About), he doesn’t feel what it’s like to have your season welcome you back. You want to pledge yourself again.

The changing of the Courts is always an invigorating experience, but there’s nothing like having your season ascendant. I often wonder what members of the other Courts experience when their season first arrives. For me and Summer, it’s a surge of clarity and purpose. You don’t… forget, necessarily. You always remember the goal: oppose the True Fae. Kill them, harm them, thwart them. The reason just gets muddled, sometimes, distant. But then you remember, a warming rush of pure, righteous anger, not tainted by fear or pain or sorrow. And then knowing that you’re among brothers and sisters who all feel that same heat and purpose…

Queen Eostre is sitting on the throne and speaking now, ceding rule of Heimdahlzunft to the Summer Queen. She isn’t bad, as Court monarchs go. She puts on a good show as “the nice monarch,” but I have had more than enough of flowers. Queen Kenna’s voice rolls through the room like thunder, and Emil and I both tense in anticipation.

“This is more like it,” Emil whispers conspiratorially, and I grin in response.

“I am Summer Queen Kenna of the Ever-Burning Fire, of the Midnight Lightning. I declare this court to be in SUMMER and dedicate this season to fighting the enemies within our hearts that we may be stronger than iron and destroy those who come against us.”

The hall ignites, warm and bright and welcome. I barely notice as the flowers bloom into fruits and greenery. Because now I’m angry, close to vibrating with the force of it. What right do the True Fae have to torture and toy with us?! And if they think they can come to claim more mortals, or reclaim any of us, we will make them pay for it.

This is the easiest time to think of Her, when anger is the only emotion I have space for in my heart. When I can rage against the Keeper who abducted a teenage boy and forced Herself upon him. The Keeper who endangered and let perish innocent lives for Her amusement. The Keeper who put the weight of those lives on a teenage boy, and did not care if he succeeded or failed. The Keeper who made a teenage boy an unwitting murderer.

It is easiest to think of Her now, when there’s almost no energy left to be furious with the boy. The boy who let himself be taken and surrendered to Her. The boy who failed to save many innocent lives. The boy whose failure was too appealing to Her. The boy who was a murderer.

Emil lays a hand on my shoulder, gives it a gentle squeeze. “Ready to pledge again?” He definitely is. Emil hasn’t been this excited for… Oh. Far too long. If the Queen doesn’t have any missions for him, I’ll ask around and see what I can find. Amalthea can spare him for a while. And it will annoy Faline, which upgrades it from being a good idea to being a pretty fantastic one.

“I’m ready,” I reply. Everything’s better in summer.

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Marcella's Journal - Game 7 (1/12/14)

As Byron leads them all to the hall, Marcella is filled with a sense of anticipation and excitement. She never thought she’d find a place that could reclaim for her the wonder of magic after experiencing the torture of Arcadia, but now that she was back, she could see that this freehold (and presumably freeholds all over the world) did just that. For that, if nothing else (and there were many other things), she was grateful.

From the little she knows about the court of Summer, Marcella can see why their leader is the woman who joins Eostre at the front of the hall. From the way she stands and the few words she says during the ceremony, Marcella can feel a great deal of strength and yes, anger, in her. A season of fighting against injustice is definitely something she can get behind, she thinks.

The transition between spring and summer is a sight of pure wonder, the kind of thing she dreamt of when she was a child reading fairy stories and hoping against hope they might be true. Fierce joy fills her to see this now. This is the kind of magic she wants in her dreams.


The next morning, she is surprised during her morning warm-ups to have Zia knock on her door. When the other woman hands her a gorgeous silky red gown, Marcella doesn’t know what to say. She can’t remember the last time someone gave her a gift like this. The freehold has gifted her many things since her escape, but doing so is part of its function, and not personal. This is a kindness Zia has no obligation to provide, and she feels herself unexpectedly tearing up. To hide it, she gives Zia a hug and thanks her profusely.

Dressing in the beautiful gown Zia gave her, Marcella feels confident and ready to go swear her pledge to the Summer Queen.

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Amy's Journal 11-12-14

Last night was fun. I was woken up really late to see the changing of the seasons ceremony. It was so beautiful, and the new queen is beautiful too. Fianna was noisy, and so was Zia, and I got kind of mad because they were making it had to hear what was going on. It’s usualy funny when those two fight but it looked like a very serious ceremony, and they shouldn’t be disruptive. I was nice and quiet though. I told them to be quiet too, and they did.

The queen said something about making the True Fae pay, and I don’t know how I feel about it. I just want to stay away from them, and make sure they can never catch me again. To be honest, I’m not even sure that I’m angry at the True Fae. How can I be angry at something so inhuman? It’s not like it makes what happened better, but it’s like being angry at a flood. I can be angry about the things it caused, and I am, but being angry at the thing itself seems pointless. And I don’t want to try to make them pay, because then I’d have to go near them again.

I do hate them, though. That isn’t the same thing. I hate them more than anything else ever.

The thing about fighting the enemies in ourselves though… I like that. If I defeat the enemies in myself, maybe I can keep the Fae away forever. I’ll learn to not be scared, and then I can learn how they do what they do, and then I can stop them from ever doing it to me again.

Zia came the next morning and gave me a pretty outfit for oath swearing. I like it, although it’s a bit too poofy to be perfect. She brought me clothes for my friend, too , but I didn’t know how to put them on. Boys can take of their shirts, I think, so I changed his, but I didn’t know what to do about his pants. I put the new ones over the old ones so Zia wouldn’t be sad. Hopefully she won’t notice.

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Hulda's thoughts on game 1/12
Summer Arrives

After a long day researching in the library, I was settling into sleep when there was a knock on the door. Byron was there and told me that I needed to get up and hurry. Apparently, the season was going to change at 4am, and we needed to be there to see it. Groggily, I joined the group and walked to the throne room. There, in a pretty ceremony, the Spring Queen relinquished the throne to the Summer Queen. The room changed from the pretty flowers of spring to a summer theme. After an introductory statement from the Summer Queen, we all went back to bed.

The next morning Zia came by really excited. She had a bright summer colored dress over her arm. Turns out….the dress was for me to wear for our pledge to the Summer Queen. It was really thoughtful of her to make a new dress……but………it really was not my style. I will wear it for the pledge, but probably never again after that.

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Zia's Journal, 1-12-14
The Turning of Season and Pretty Clothes

Dear Journal,

It was truly amazing to see the court turn from one season to another! it is hard to truly believe that we are in the real world again if such magic exists within the courts. Back in Arcadia, Brighid would be able to do this ease, especially with changelings such as myself to help set it up. Simply watching it, it is not that impressive, just when I think about where I actually am…how do the courts do it? Do such displays of power put us in danger from the True Fae?

Much of Vogelfrei seemed far too pleased with the concept for revenge. I will have my revenge against Brighid, trust me, I will. But revenge is best served cold and the Summer Queen is entirely too warm for me. Unsurprisingly, most of the group were pleased. I know our durance is fresh in our minds, but I worry that with all the odd hints we keep finding everywhere, Summer’s enthusiasm for violence is not what we need.

I can take pleasure in the gorgeous outfits I prepared for everyone! I coordinated with Greta and Karin to get them all done on time. The Hedgespun clothes should help their standing in the court. I added a bit for fun to each of them and they will slowly respond to their needs. All of their outfits are safe to fight in, as it is summer.

At the door to the court, Faron met us. He is not a gentleman, but I have to give him we are perhaps not his favorite charges.

That’s it for now dear Journal. Next time: Pledging another buggering time!

Zia

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