Muddle-headed Kay (mhw) wrote,
Muddle-headed Kay
mhw

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Amber party log: session five


Five hundred of Malachi's Cossacks stare down on the party as Malachi rides down, bearing a flag of truce tied to his pole arm. Xavier approaches him on foot, having previously changed back from his dog form and put on some clothing - best not to get Mordana too excited *snicker*. They surreptitiously exchange greetings and discuss what they each remember of what happened. Xavier says that he remembers everything. Malachi says that the situation isn't what it seems, and that they have to be discreet because listeners may arrive. He has no problem with the party returning Greyswandir to Corwin, but there has to be a delay before that's done. Xavier asks why. Malachi gets pretty evasive, and says that he's bound by his word, not by the spirit.

Malachi says that he's heard that one of the party has killed some of the demons. He's met Martin, and they'd disagreed when they met. He mentions the wound above his eye that Xavier gave him, which surprises Xavier, as he doesn't remember having done that. So much for "I remember everything". Xavier asks why the Cossacks are here; Malachi replies that he has to "make it look good". He says that the Cossacks are like Steve's sailors - the best that his father could find here. Xavier asks where Malachi's father is from - Amber - and who he is. Malachi claims that he's Osric's son. Xavier is somewhat surprised to discover that Osric isn't dead.

Unfortunately the discussion is broken off by Malachi interjecting "They're coming. Negotiations have failed. Demons will arrive - we have to fight and make it look real." in a whisper, then saying loudly "We'll have to do it the hard way; you should have accepted my offer. Hand over the sword!" He tears off the flag of truce and throws it to the ground, then wheels back to his Cossacks to give orders for battle.

Xavier hurries over to the party and tries to explain that Malachi is, if not on their side, then certainly not opposed to the return of Greyswandir. It's just that they have to delay a little, and have a fight. The Cossacks may be killed at pleasure, but NOT Malachi. Martin sulkily interjects that Malachi nearly killed him, at which Joseph icily points out that if Malachi had wanted him dead, he'd be dead. Tremayne begins to object to the delay, but at that moment the Cossacks begin to sweep down the slopes...

Uther and his knights have been wandering for a long time. Now they're journeying through hot dry plains under a blazing sun towards mountains in the distance. A man is approaching them along a path. When they meet, they greet each other. The man is tall, with long dark hair and beard, plentiful but not ill-kept. Despite the length of his beard, he is not old; perhaps in his late twenties, and muscular. He wears a burgundy robe over bronze-coloured armour, and is carrying a pole arm which he uses as a walking staff.

He says, after social niceties have been observed, that he's been looking for Uther. Uther is surprised at that. The stranger asks whether Uther has heard of Avalon, and Uther says that indeed he knows of it. They philosophise briefly about the multiplicity of worlds. The stranger tells that he's heard of a battle between sorcerous kings, and of the banishment of one and his knights; he is looking for one of the sorcerers who has something that he wants. He offers Uther a bargain: if he should succeed, the stranger will be happy to transport Uther home. Uther, naturally enough, wants to know what the deal is. The stranger wishes to gain some land which, he says, brings with it useful powers. Uther agrees to help by preventing the stranger's opponent from getting hold of a certain sword.

The stranger thereupon produces a card, which he says is a gateway to a town, where Uther and his men are to wait. He has sent his son ahead to deal with a problem. Should his son, whom he describes, be unable to deal completely with the problem, Uther and his knights are to encounter the people who are carrying the sword and delay them from handing it over. He says that his name is Osric of Amber, and that the sorcerer who banished Uther and his men is his brother Corwin...

Back in the canyon, the front rank of the advancing Cossacks is seriously hampered by the detonation of Darius' explosives. The Cossacks seem to be somewhat resistant to damage, but the horses - they're just horses, and they go down beautifully, hampering the oncoming troops. Those of the party with missile weapons start bringing down their opponents. Joseph, who's guarding the sword, throws his gas rifle to Lucien who proves himself a most excellent marksman. Mordana throws her shield, which changes into a falcon, and then shifts to Chaos form. Darius wades in and starts chopping. Khan does excellently with his sabre. Xavier shifts his right hand to a rapier, and Martin acquits himself honorably with his sword. Khan starts to move leftward so that the party can spread out to provide a more effective front.

Malachi approaches, still mounted, but has his horse shot from under him by Lucien, causing him to fall head-first. Xavier moves forward to engage him. Joseph has been a little confused by the brief explanation that Xavier was able to give before battle started; he understands that it's got to look good, that Malachi hasn't to be killed, but he's not really understood about the delay. Tremayne, being Corwin's sworn man, just wants to get on with delivering the sword and since apparently Malachi isn't cooperating fully, he's a bad guy and can be killed with impunity. Joseph's plan is to hamstring Malachi, so bringing him down, take him prisoner, then get the heck out of there to Corwin, all the criteria having been satisfied. Xavier's busily yelling "My fight!"... ah, alas for poor communications and haste, Joseph winks to Xavier to indicate that he quite understands, that the plan proceeds, and that his 'attack' on Malachi is not to kill. Xavier unfortunately interprets that as Joseph indicating that he will kill Malachi, so he shakes his head vehemently, which Joseph then interprets as "No, this IS for real!". There is much confused jumping and falling over dead Cossacks in the melée.

Joseph's hypothesis certainly seems to be borne out by the behaviour of Tremayne, who seems to be attempting to get in position to really hurt Malachi, so Joseph sticks to his original plan of bringing Malachi down, then Xavier can deal with him as he thinks best, so he lunges with Greyswandir to sever Malachi's left Achilles tendon. Oops, missed, but he does take a chunk out of Malachi's leg. Malachi seemingly isn't at all pleased, yells, falls down and thumps the ground with his gauntleted hand. This causes a pretty hefty earthquake, and just about everyone falls over. Worse, the earthquake has opened a deep chasm in the ground, filled with magma, crossing the canyon and blocking progress in the direction in which the party had been heading. Malachi slowly stands up - and Lucien shoots him in the ribs. Xavier, realising that things have gone much further than far enough, yells at the party to run, which everyone - except Khan, who's buried under a heap of Cossacks, and Tremayne, who obviously really wants to hurt Malachi - begins to do. Tremayne grabs Malachi's legs and squeezes and twists. There's a really nasty crunching sound, and Malachi howls in pain - and then brings down his pole arm straight through Tremayne's back. Tremayne reaches behind himself to pull out the weapon, but as he grabs it he gets hit by a psychic attack. He loses his senses and his motor control for a short time, but bravely struggles to regain them. Malachi, though in obvious great pain, mouths "Demons coming!" to Xavier, then Trumps out.

Joseph has been pelting for the crevasse, decapitating Cossacks as he goes, and waits by the crevasse for the rest of the party to join him, with Tremayne being carried by Xavier. Xavier warns them that the demons are arriving, and, true to his word, they do. Unfortunately Khan hasn't been able to rejoin them, but they conclude that as he's a competent fighter and has Trump sketches of several of the party, he can rejoin them at leisure. Joseph starts to Shadow-walk, first shifting (thanks to a suggestion by Tremayne) the battle to one between the Cossacks and the demons, then shrinking the chasm to a quite jumpable ditch. The party, still without Khan, press on through Shadow towards Corwin. Xavier and Joseph discuss what went wrong with communications during the battle.

The party finds itself walking down a dusty track towards a small town. The local tech level appears to be just post Industrial Revolution; Joseph notes that the mill seems to have quite unnecessary and presumably inefficient gearing. People decide that what they really need now is a good meal and time to recover themselves after the battle. They find an inn, which has several people already eating and drinking, including a group of knights in one corner. Fortunately Joseph has had the foresight to produce a handful of gold nuggets, which seem to be acceptable as currency here, and duck and red wine is ordered for all except Caine, who just gets a duck, since a wine-drinking hound is probably a bit weird around here. The party is already having to pretend that Caine's speech is a trick of ventriloquism by Joseph, due to an unfortunate comment as they were entering the inn.

As they are eating, one of the knights approaches them and enters into conversation. He claims that they are the Knights of the Round Table. Fortunately several people come from shadows where the legend exists, so the conversation can carry on reasonably. Their leader, who says his name is Uther Pendragon, has overheard the mention of Corwin's name, and enquires about the party's interest in him. Discussion results, and it becomes clear that Uther also wishes to delay the sword reaching Corwin. Tremayne gets rather irritated by the procession of people who seem to wish to prevent him accomplishing his mission, and calls Uther out of the inn for single combat.

They're just about to commence fighting when a woman appears and expostulates with them...
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