Chapter 1: In the Conservatory
When we left our heroes last time, they had just come through the magic mirror into Vinyagarond. There, a little listening and ESP showed them the place was a-bustle with preparations and the arrival of biker dwarves, and then Tom showed up on the telepathy net, surprised but pleased to see them.
Tom invites them to come join him and Daewen in the Orangery and, while they make their way through the house, gives and takes bits of updating. Tom, for instance, is disconcerted to hear they sold fractal metals to the Blenari at Martshayla Port, under the impression they were the futuristic equivalent of gold instead of the futuristic equivalent of uranium. The others are just as nonplused at being told "Dragons may be slaughtering demigods on a lost planet. We should investigate."
They are met midway by the Marginalian guide Three, now named "Angel." He escorts them the rest of the way while Tom continues the updates:
Shortly after the rest of the party left for the Terraform Reach, a woman named Braeta walked in out of the woods and approached the ranch (as they saw on the ranch sensor logs). Tom cautiously approached her and discovered that she thought he and the rest of the Crosstime/New Blood group were members of her people, and that she came seeking help. (See the "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..." logs for details.)
Her people are the nephilim, the descendants of the "sons of God and daughters of men" mentioned in Genesis, known otherwise as demigods. She herself, it turns out, is a daughter of Zeus and a former girlfriend of Thor. There is a remnant of the nephilim that survived the Flood, the Titanomachy, Ragnarok, and other vicissitudes. When the interstellar period began, they and some humans set out to found a colony for themselves. They went in three ships, the Clotho, the Lachesis, and the Atropos, and, continuing that theme, named their colony "Destine." It lies well away from the traveled spacelanes, beyond the Veil Nebula.
By this time, the group has reached the Orangery, under Vinyagarond's geodesic dome, and Tom has introduced them to Braeta, who is conferring with Daewen. Braeta is about seven feet tall and powerfully built; Dafnord is much smitten with her Acro-style beauty.
Her basic problem is that she recently visited Destine herself and found the place deserted. All was abandoned, Marie-Celeste fashion, and there were signs of violence in the center of the main city. She thinks dragons were involved because she found a helmet and a dagger both bearing the sigil of the Great Dragons -- a stylized serpent with nine heads, its tail wrapped around a triangle (stylized mountain?), surmounted by a sort of halo.
We ask how she found us, and she recounts a lot of careful, mundane detective work, aided by old news reports, financial records, and rumors in Ipsylvania.
And why the bustle and such, here? Daewen explains we are about to have the second council on the founding of Lanthil, with Lord Alvirin attending, along with Nightingale and Silverhand from the Dreamtime, and many other fay worthies. (We missed the first council, though Tom darkly hints we may catch it later...)
Having Braeta show up with her problem is a nuisance, but since it involves dragons, and therefore possibly Lilim and Lamiae and such, Daewen is inclined to regard Braeta's timing more as a portent or omen, and would like use to go investigate this whole Destine situation and report back to her before this second council.
This reminds Tom of time-travel again, and he nervously asks if Daewen has met all the members of the party, except, of course, Gannar. Well, no, the cat and Markel are new to her. Oops...
And what's that behind Markel? Oh, that? Just his, Ah, dragon... Markel cheerfully explains that it's usually the size of a large horse, not a dog, and inflates it. Braeta is understandably startled and those sitting nearest her suddenly feel their neck hair tingle. (She's the daughter of Zeus, remember.) Tom hastily assures her that this dragon is just an animal. And fairly tame. She relaxes and the local voltage declines.
While we're putting cards on the table, Katrina mentions that she recently learned she may have some degree of draconian blood, or at least family connection. Tom then explains about the relatively peaceful coexistence of dragons and humans in the world of the Seelie Court and the First Compact. Braeta wishes things were so on her own timeline.
Tom asks Braeta if there are many draconian races, the way there are many fay races. Yes, there are draconian beasts, and lesser dragons that are (or were) dinosaur-nephils, and some of these developed from animals into people, perhaps with help from the Great Dragons, the Nagas, the race described in Races of Earth. And it may be that this uplifting of dinosaurs was done by the Dragon now known as Lilith, or by her infernal allies the Lords of Pestilence (fallen Eretsarin). Braeta remarks that all sides in this business indulge in a lot of propaganda, which makes it hard to sort out facts.
After we have updated each other as best we can in brief -- ("There was only one murder on our trip, Tom," Kate "reassures" him. "And we didn't do it. We just helped at the execution." "Oh, good...") -- Daewen turns to practicalities. She offers us the run of the house armory, which features weapons of all vintages from the 24th century back, and sometimes sideways.
We pick up four heavy-duty psilencers and a magical compass that does its best to point to Vinyagarond, along with assorted gunnery and a "far-seer" crystal.
We then take our leave and the party, with Braeta, moves back through the magic mirror to the ranch on Helene. Braeta and Tom have been gone two days. The rest have been gone for the few hours they have experienced and so remain in synch. Our goal is to report back to Daewen in two weeks, Daewen's time.
While chatting and planning with us, Braeta helps prepare a massive meal in the kitchen, and then eats a proportionally massive part of it. Nephilim take a lot of fuel. Dafnord, stars still in his eye, shows her the gym. She tries out some of the stuff and shows she is in Dafnord's league, strength-wise, divine blood being an easy match for genetic engineering.
Still equipping, Tom makes sure Braeta and Markel both have heavy-duty, level 3 psi-openers, so they can both be in open psi if they feel they need to. (Markel's is for the dragon, so it can fly and flame.) He rings up Eldacur Technologies and has them start work on some additional steerable gun platforms for Gannar. We also want a heavy-duty psilencer that will cover the whole of the Baron Munch. We decide Braeta can just un-rent her ship.
Our next move will be to hop in the Baron Munch and head for Destine.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.