Session notes: 10-28-05
Tyler is at Refuge base, when there's an unusual event - basically an unscheduled off-world activation. He reports with a security team as two men arrive. They introduce themselves: one of them is named Merlin, the other Martin. They're fascinated by the Trumpgate system. Merlin wants to talk shop, Martin wants more information about Tyler. Neither of them are too surprised about the strange creatures which devoured Homeworld. Merlin doesn't seem to find them all that terrifying. They all adjourn to a conference room, where Merlin is quickly distracted by Tyler's lab notes.
Ohanzee wakes up in a soft bed with frilly drapery. It's a nice room with shiny sunlight streaming in through the window. She looks out and sees a green lawn with elaborate shrubbery. There's a pond, gazebo, a hedge maze... In the room is a closet with clothing (much of it impractical and dressy) but not sized correctly for her current form. There's also an elaborate bathroom with a deep tub and many scented soaps. And a... whatcha callit. Drinking bowl.
She's currently dressed in an oversized nightgown. There's no pockets. It's quite impractical, and of an unfamiliar fabric. It's not skin. Very few of the clothes in the closet are skin.
There's a knock and the door opens. A young human-form woman walks in, balancing a tray on one arm. She's bringing breakfast, and is rather surprised when Ohnazee shifts down to human form. Ohnazee asks where she is, and is told, "At Princess Florimel's estate." There is some confusion about who she is, and if this is or isn't the "Lord's Estate."
It's all very unfamiliar. The servant doesn't know where the clothing that Ohnazee had been wearing is. She doesn't claim to be of Onata clan, but she isn't a warrior or seer. She is, however, Ohnazee's maid. There's some confusion over the definition of "drawing a bath." Breakfast is served, and despite the unfamiliarity of it all, eggs is eggs.
The maid has prepared a bath, and offers to get her something appropriate to wear. The scent is less annoying with a tub of hot water... But there are far too many soaps. The maid rolls up sleeves and pitches in to help. The bath rituals here are much more elaborate, painful, and quite frankly stinky. The clothing picked out afterwards is very elaborate and highly impractical.
Val is in Shadow, feeling kind of homesick. He has gone to a place much like his childhood home. A nomadic steppe with horseman. The local people are friendly, after a little bit of doing. The first group assume he's an enemy, of course. It doesn't seem uncommon. But eventually he does find a group that welcomes him. The impression is that Val is god-touched. And disabusing them of that notion is probably dangerous, and certainly too much bother.
Days are spent with enjoyable hunting and riding. But every night Val has a dream. An unrecognized man is talking to him... It's important, and Val should recognize him, but he doesn't. The man is bearded and black haired, and should be familiar. He wants something, urgently. With meditation, Val realizes that there's some place he wants Val to go. Someplace in Shadow. "You know the way. It's in your blood."
Val knows there's a problem when he sees the man in the firelight. It's time to move on. He says goodbye and leaves the tribe.
He begins to shadow-walk, drifting as he goes. Riding until the horse "stops working" either due to environmental, social or culinary reasons. Val finds himself passing through one set of woods after another... Different worlds, because the plant-life is different, but it's all one forest. The transitions aren't harsh, so this may be an existing path.
It's been days since any people have been seen. The trees are very large, and a lot of the paths that exist are animal trails. Fortunately, Val manages to avoid most poison ivy equivalents, which is something of a surprise. At night, Val tries to find a shelter or cave, climbing trees when no other option is available. Campfires are kept low, for safety...
Megumi and Wu-Fang are in a bar. Someone is making distainful comments, probably. It's a sort of classy bar, more like a Casablanca, but without the gambling. Megumi wants Wu-Fang to explain the appeal of bar fights. Wu-fang agrees that they're a waste of energy, but the Twins seem to enjoy them. "There are more interesting ways to burn testosterone."
Wu-Fang's assistant (?) Shen refuses to comment on that.
The whole place seems dreadfully dry to Megumi. She usually picks places like public baths, pools, etc. They're catching up on the current events. The both of them have been asked to check up on new arrival. The request is something third-hand, routed through Behata, from Lewella, from Queen Moire. The rumor has it there may be a new arrival from Chaos, who may be a member of the family. The problem is, that Intelligence hasn't revealed where or who this person is.
The fact that this person exists at all must be accepted on faith.
There's a little game of "Consider the Source," debating who would want this information to even get out. Also, if this person had been brought directly from Chaos, there would likely be a disturbance of some sort. Which would explain how someone might know such a person existed at all. Wu-fang proposes making some discreet enquires to see if anyone unusual has appeared lately. Megumi wonders who has been away from Court lately who would be expected.
Julian is out, but that's normal. Who else has been gone lately? They'd likely be busy securing 'mandated hospitatlity.' Megumi goes to her sources in the Companion's guild, asking about who's been gone, and then who's been hiring? Specifically who's been hiring people capable of dealing with strangeness?
She learnes that Princess Florimel has hired a new ladies maid, and has her employed at her estate.
Wu-Fang checks at the castle, with his contacts. Trying to find out who's been travelling and who's returned. Shen finds out from the servants that Bleys has returned briefly, then departed again to parts unknown.
The two of them finagle an invitation to Florimel's estate.
Tyler shows Merlin & Martin more of Refuge Base, and they offer to show me another way to travel. He makes arrangements with the General for his absence, and sets out. They all head to Blizzard, and from there begin to walk through the snow. Amazingly, it stops falling. Merlin demonstrates how Trump is supposed to work, using Martin's trump, which irritates him. Fairly quickly, they get to a place with three horses, all saddled and bridled and ready to ride.
From there, the group gets to a forest, which may perhaps be 'the back way in'. Either way, it avoids the "Kentucky Fried Lizard Partes" kiosk, but Merlin & Martin argue about weather or not it's the best way through.
Val overhears an argument in the forest, and rides out to see what's going on. He finds Tyler, Merlin and Martin.
It's tough to tell how tall Tyler is with him on the horse. He's fine featured, with close cropped sandy brown hair. His clothing is almost stereotypically professorial. Tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, vest, trousers, shirt and tie and a pair of rugged, practical boots. The only really jarring departure from normal is the military-grade machete at his side.
Val is tall. Very tall, even on the horse. His extremely long, pale red hair is braided with lots of beads and trinkets in it. He's wearing a tunic, blousy pants and high boots. Very colorful. There's a bow on the back of the horse, but not in hand. Oddly, he's wearing a pair of spectacles.
He introduces himself as "Valerian." He claims to be a traveler, bound where his feet lead him. Martin sizes him up and says, "You're not from this forest, are you? Truly, where are you bound?"
Valerian confesses that he's not sure where he's going. He's just following his whim. Merlin and Tyler start to get technical about what Trump is and how it works. Martin asks Valerian about how familiar he is with the forest and what might or might not be edible.
Val notices that the world is changing, and he's not the one doing it. He realizes that Martin is the one doing it. Perhaps it is a skill that can be learned though, if you're from the right family. Val names his clan, but Martin asks how certain he is that he is, in fact, from this clan.
Val's father died before he was born, so there is some room for doubt.
The maid manages to get Ohnazee dressed, and leads her out on a tour of the house. Music room, library, the ballroom, the wing of guest bedrooms. All of the furnishings are scaled for Spirit Form. The dining room and kitches and all make sense, but the idea of a Ball Room is confusing. She demonstrates the bell pull, and explains that she can be summoned by pulling the cord.
In the gardens, a rather impressive looking woman approaches from the opposite direction. The maid immediately drops back and curtseys. Ohnazee senses that she's alpha, so does the same. The woman is beautiful, blond and blue-eyed, with an air of authority. "Oh please! You don't need to curtsey to me! Not to your Aunt! Come walk with me..."
Technically, she's not an Aunt, she's a great-Aunt, which just makes her feel old. She tells Ohnazee that her father didn't come from the village, sits her down in a comfy alcove in the garden. "It's simple though, you're with your family now. We'll help you get settled in."
"But did I pass my test?"
"It's irrelevant now. You're where you belong. You're in Amber now."
This is not where the Lord's Palace is, but the woman does not seem to be concerned about that, "I'm here to teach you to be a proper lady. Calling spirits and all that is a different skill set. Quite irrelevant. You can do that in your spare time."
"What is Amber?" "It's the center of all things. Everything else that exists is a reflection of Amber."
"Okay... So... This is my next phase in training. And I'm to learn to be a lady? Which I assume means, I keep the Spirit form?"
"That would be preferable. Most people in Amber only have one form."
"Are they warrior class then?"
"The classes and clans as you know them don't hold people here. You can't tell just by looking at people. Well... Perhaps one can, but I don't think you can. Yet."
"So what happens when I become a Lady?"
"Then we introduce you to the rest of the family. They'll be quite happy to meet you."
Fortunately, she can get a pen and some paper so that she can continue her Soulbook. This is perfectly acceptable, since many ladies keep journals. So long as she doesn't mind others reading what's in it. Not that her maid would read it, but one never knows. The maid has a name, but so far no one has asked it.
A new person arrives and announces that there are visitors for Princess Florimel. Her nephew, Wu-Fang and the priestess Megumi. Flora decides they are probably safe enough for Ohnazee to meet.
She hugs Wu-Fang hello, and exchanges bows with Megumi. Wu-Fang's servant Shen remains quietly in the background.
Ohnazee is fairly tall, about six foot. She has long silvery-grey hair with white tips, pale, but with a healthy outdoor tan. Here eyes are wolf-like, very golden, with flecks.
Megumi is about 5'6", slightly large eyes in a round face, sort of like Christina Ricci. Extremely pale with a green undertone. Dark green hair to mid-back. She's wearing wide-legged pants in dark red and a white top. She doesn't seem to exude any sort of alpha-aura, but seems quietly amused.
Wu-Fang is Asian, sharp featured and square jawed. He stands roughly 5'9", possibly shorter. He's wearing black silk pants & white silk shirt, along with a red sash. He has a fairly commanding attitude.
Introductions are made. Ohnazee is somewhat baffled by the mannerisms and instructions given, but she adapts fairly quickly.
They discuss the nature of the great test, the preparation and the training. She was chosen as a "katori" at age ten, to help shepard the "Egashu" and the "Elanta". Megumi comments that this sounds much like her position as a "Priestess."
Megumi and Wu-Fang explain that they were visiting to ask Flora's advice on planning a sucessful welcome-home soiree for another princess named Helice whose musical tastes are, perhaps, not the most easily appreciated by others.
Wu-Fang is introduced as a nephew, but also a non-Amber native. Flora asks Megumi's assistance in training Ohnazee, and sends for her things when she agrees.
Wu-Fang manages to keep the thread of his questioning, and tries to find out more about "The Test" that Ohnazee has mentioned a couple times. She explains about the pit, about the way the rules keep changing and the source at the center of it all, which touches you and changes you deeply. All of this takes place in the realm of the spirits.