What Next, Again?
To Do List:
- Question MacEachern (aka Marcel Green). Check.
- Question Laura and Amelie, Green’s servants. Check – nothing useful.
- Kill MacEachern in a clandestine manner so that his body will be nearly impossible to recover. The Plane Of Elemental Water is a good place. Maybe feed him to one of the giant sea creatures. Check.
6:00am – Forest Northeast of Bastion
I’m asleep but restless. In my dream, I’m a child walking a tightrope silently, afraid to breat
As I wake myself, Edmund materializes beside me. We are in the woods, near Bastion. Early morning. My horse is untied and is pawing the ground nervously at the sudden apparition beside me. The wizard looks me deeply in the eyes and I have no doubt he has read the truths, falsehoods, and faint hopes within them.he, more afraid of the beatings I will receive if I fall. My dream-tightrope suddenly shifts sideways. I’m falling, sure to hurt myself, sure that a heavy blow from a club will follow. Edmund’s voice cuts in breaking the illusion. To his question, I respond: Yes, I’m ready to rejoin you. Please bring me back.
We exchange a few brief words of greeting. He pauses momentarily, then leans forward. “Lots has happened. But first, what happened with the Guild?” I sigh and shake my head. My effort to end the manhunt by visiting my training school within the House of Gentle Repose has been a failure. I was not able to even approach the Masters, warned off by a message from my childhood friend and fellow assassin, Sander. There is no going back, no making amends. I will be a hunted man till the end of my days.
Edmund relates the adventures of the last three days: the Elium and harrowing adventure thereto, Jon’s discovery of his lost parents, MacEachern’s disguised return in their company and his bizarre time-bending plot, and his subsequent abduction and death at the hands of our compatriots whilst in the Douglas house. (NEED TO HAVE A BIT OF DETAIL: HOW WAS MAC KILLED? ANYTHING TO ADD ON THE COMMOTION OF THE DEPARTURE FROM GRANITE?)
In short (other than repaying the debt to the Elium) it has been a glorious cock-up. Our effort to ‘move on’ has run exactly counter to the instructions we received at the Douglas house only a month earlier. If truly there was a truce with the Guild or a part of it, blades will likely be out for us again.
6:15am – Douglas House, Sweetwater
I’m disoriented but can hear women’s voices shouting for help. Jon is moving quickly away from us towards the door of the Douglas home. “Laura and Amelie escaped”, he says in answer to Edmund’s question. He and Abby exchange quick glances with me but there is no time for discussion. We run out of the house, following the shouts of MacEachern’s servants. Once they are in eyeshot in the expansive yard of the Douglas estate, Edmund dominates the two ladies, and silences them.
And with that, we are back in the familiar living room of the Douglas house, back debating the right course to take. (I learn later that Amy is sleeping quietly upstairs, exhausted from the battles and loss of her beloved biter).
A heated discussion follows, as we try to resolve how the women got free (a bit light on the sleeping draught, Jon?) and whether MacEachern’s death last night – as Marcel Green – will reawaken the Guild’s manhunt (assuming it had been called off). We elect to question the women further.
The questioning reveals that neither Laura nor Amelie realized that Marcel Green had any other name. We learn that Laura had been researching something called the Temple of Kahlunda, and a ritual for time travel linked to it. The temple itself was reputedly situated somewhere deep in Olduvai, lost in the jungle and forgotten to all but a few. Apparently turning back time to before our entrance on the scene was MacEachern’s best hope for relaunching his bid for control of Atlin.
Geraldine and Herb have joined us in the living room. In light of our renewed predicament, our discussion turns swiftly to next steps. We elect to search McEachern’s house in Granite for leads that might help clarify our path. But first, Jon needs to ensure that his parents understand that they may no longer be safe in Granite.
Geraldine leaves to invite Jon’s parents, Pete and Sofia Safin, for breakfast. Some moments later they emerge, bleary-eyed and on edge due to their shock from the night before. I can tell quickly that they were not pleased at their handling by Geraldine, in spite of her calming presence. Bleary and overwrought, they accuse the Douglases and ourselves of various crimes.
Jon interjects, clarifying the risk to their lives from returning to Granite given the commotion of their departure and kidnapping of MacEachern and his servants. He also stresses the danger that MacEachern would have posed to them had he not been removed. They continue to show disbelief.
We talk through how best for them to return to Granite. Perhaps unhelpfully, I urge that they disappear for a long vacation with MacEachern’s stash of gold. Pete protests loudly, shocked that this second life he had worked so hard to build is potentially ruined. I’m not much help with this, since to me it is simple choice: hide, fight or be killed.
Edmund prevails, suggesting that we simply teleport to Granite to quietly investigate the situation, as well as to search MacEachern’s house. Further discussion confirms that Edmund shall make us invisible to visit the MacEachern house, whilst Sofia and Pete weigh whether to leave or to stay in Granite. We quickly gather our gear and eat some food.
8:15am – Granite
We are in the Safin basement, with Jon’s parents. It is a walkout basement of simple yet comfortable design, perhaps 30 feet square with double doors opening out. Lighting is shadowy thanks to the heavy curtains drawn across the windows, and the lamps, whose wicks show they burnt out some time the night before.
Jon scans the room professionally and confirms that no one has been in the basement since the day previous. Edmund turns us invisible and we leave the Safins, Sofia suppressing her shock long enough to quietly open and close the back door behind our invisible feet.
The Safin house is in a row of similar well-to-do homes, looking across the bay towards Drummond’s Point. Stairs lead down to the dock, perpendicular to this row. MacEachern’s house is two doors down from the Saphin home. We walk quietly towards MacEachern’s last known residence, with anticipation. At last, some answers…
We look around the house. There is a large crowd of people milling about in the front dooryard. The Granite townsfolk are discussing the events of the night before. Loud screams, reports one voice. “Good Mr. Green and his servants vanished in the middle of the night!” another exclaims. One worthy explains portentously that he knocked on the Safin door to get them to safety, and received no answer. “No one could have slept through all that din, my banging on their door, the screaming.”
Edmund alerts us each with a touch and we move back to the Safins. A double knock and pause at their door, and Sophia once again quickly allows us in. As Edmund dismisses the invisibility spell, quick discussion ensues between us. Jon’s parents gather a change of clothes each, and we teleport back to Sweetwater.
9:00am Sweetwater, Douglas House
Our group discussion is tense. Some of us believe that Jon’s parents should simply disappear. Others believe that they can pretend to have left town for a short vacation the night before. Jon supports this approach, as do his parents. After a quick discussion and farewell, Edmund and Vinnik depart with the Safins, intending to leave them in Drummond’s Point.
We have not resolved our next step. Should we – or a subset of our team – still search MacEachern’s house? Perhaps. Or is it time to seek out Colonel Smuts or Isos Warod? One thing is clear: we will have to be watching our backs again at all times. Vacation is over.