Rai ran five of her spawn through the Star Pattern. Baldrick, Floss, Melchy, Raleigh and Darling all made it and went off to brag to their siblings.

She had a talk with Random about him moving to the Cloak as well as acquiring the power. He agreed to marry Morganthe as part of the deal. She talked with Draco about The Fortress and House Kakatal. She told him how to find Agate creatures. Unfortunately the technique involved the Cloak. He bought up his idea of depopulating the Agateverse by pulling out mass quantities of harmless creatures.

She Trumped to Jesse in the Courts.



Nic and Oriana took a nice vacation. Sun, sand, ultralights, scuba diving. Oriana told him she was pregnant and 99% sure it was his. Mandor might have done something though... She didn't want to go to Leone for a scan as really high tech shadows tended to damage her complexion. Niccolo contemplated fatherhood. Upon their return to Tella, Nic noticed that his Trumps were harder to use. He informed Random, whose Trumps were also messed up. Draco's, too. He told Delwin about it. Random didn't know of any central nexus of Trump power and was pretty sure there wasn't one. Nic made inquiries and learned that Sand was probably the family's best shadowwalker. She couldn't get a bead on a point source for Trump either.



The Lunar Castle was nearly finished and only two more workers had vanished. The Isle bunker was also nearly complete. The Cloak Road Castle was coming along well.

Draco wanted someone to dominate some Goatmen via Trump to find out if they were behind the problems with the power. Dorothea directed him to Parsifal who passed him on to Oriana. She agreed to try and Parsifal to back her up. They made the attempt from Tella with Niccolo present. It worked, and Oriana really did need the help to -- barely -- dominate the Goatman chosen for his thuggish looks. The Goatmen were enraged. They were convinced that Ambre was responsible for messing up their Trumpish powers and were getting ready to attack Ambre. Draco Trumped Delwin. Nic Trumped Benedict. Nic insisted on trying to send a message to the Goatmen. Draco, Nic and Parsifal were recalled to Ambre for the attack. The Goatmen managed to bring in an Abyss Worm which did more than a little urban renewal. It proved to be immune to dragonfire but died eventually. Only one prisoner was taken intact. He was mindraped. The Goatmen hated Ambre with the burning hatred of a thousand suns. Negotiation was not an option, at least not without killing 3/4 of them first. Nic and others took the prisoner apart a bit. The antimorph drug worked fine on them and Amberite blood made them combust. Cloned Amberite blood did not. Nic supplied two barrels of antimorph.



Rai and Jesse discussed The Fortress and Draco's ideas. They decided to check it out. Jesse recruited Syric with visions of shiny things and she and he took the direct route in while Rai waited prudently shadows away. They didn't come back for quite some time. Rai cautiously checked around and found evidence of a battle. Jesse's Logrus sword was there. Syric's mace was not. She felt eyes upon her and someone using Cloak in the area. She left fast via Cloak. Once a safe distance away she Trumped Bleys and told him his daughter was missing. Bleys arranged for Circe to retrieve Jesse's sword. Some time later Jesse, battered, beaten and alone, found Rai. Raichleach made contact for a 'mind rub'. BLACKOUT

Rai came to in a room with three white walls and three transparent ones. Other, identical rooms stretched off to either side. Caine was on a slab in an adjacent room. Five Dracos patrolled the hall. Syric, Jesse and four Chaosian types were in other rooms. Pattern, Logrus and Cloak didn't work. Rai eventually got Caine's attention by pounding on the wall between them. They talked by shifting blood into letters. Caine said he'd tried every shapeshifting trick he knew without success. He suspected their environment was some kind of illusion. Rai sat down and went into a meditative trance. Using what she knew of Loki's work -- she assumed Loki was the master of The Fortress -- she managed to translocate herself into Caine's cell. She taught him the technique and they spread it to the other prisoners. All gathered in one room to plot. Syric blamed Rai. The Chaosians turned out to be two Kakatals and two Sawalls. Rai told them about Mandor's demise and they seemed to be pleased. Rai thought a mass Psychic effort might get them out, but it would have to be full-out. Jesse and one Sawall agreed readily, but Syric refused and Caine refused to meld with Syric. The partial group melded and made an attempt -- nada. (Rai learned of Caine's efforts to bedevil Syric and lots of Sawall info.) The Kakatals joined in on the next attempt. It failed. (Info on the Abyss, odd Real Demons.)



Nic recruited some insectoid-centaur chaosside denizens capable of magical shadow movement for distributing bioweapons to The Fortress' shadow. He scouted around and marked seven entry points, made Trump sketches of them. In Leone, he ordered the larger scale production of the manaphage bacteria. He also had the genengeers work up antimorph producing symbionts for the Green Fungus, and insects resistant to them. He started storing blood, as much as he could reasonably part with, for weapons. A jar (with anticoagulant) was stored in a Trump Closet.



Draco checked with Lora about having an Agatecreature-detector made. She and Llewella had already made some -- canary-fish creatures. They gave him one. He took it to Bradenberg. Soon Bleys Trumped him and came through to get the lowdown on The Fortress. Bleys told Draco about Jesse and Syric being incarcerated. Draco brought up the Agateverse depletion plan and mentioned that Caine had tried to infiltrate the place. Bleys worried that Caine might be in control of it. They Trumped through to Deirdre and briefed her. She told them that Syric, Jesse and Raichleach were all there at Cloak. Fakes. Dee sent Rai a report that some Agate creatures had escaped. Faux Rai said let 'em go. They invited Rai to inspect Draco's castle on her border and mentioned a gift. All three came to see, along with ten Roachlings. The canaryfish went nuts and was sent away. They lured Faux Jesse off and Dee killed her. Then they pulled out their own Fake Jesse to lure Faux Rai and Faux Syric to their dooms. Four of the Roachlings escaped the ambush. Poor Dee was hit with two half strength Blood Curses. They started pulling out Harmless Bunny Agate creatures. More and more and more and more and more.....



A faceless man walked in and studied Rai. Blackout. They woke up in separate cells again. Again they congregated and this time they could agree to a mass psych attack. They all learned EVERYTHING about each other. And found themselves in VR harnesses much like those Syric and Jesse had been imprisoned in previously. Some of the same techs were in the room. The shapeshifters slipped out of their bonds. Caine disappeared. Jesse ran interference for the group. They ran into more serious opposition and one Chaosian melded into a wall. Rai made the Beast With Half a Brain with Jesse and found that neither of them could copy the trick. They had to fight. They lost.



Osric offered Fitz the fealty deal. Delwin would stay king of Ambre. Random, Nic, Ambrose and Parsifal had accepted so far. Delwin and Sand were 'thinking about it'. Fitz took a raincheck. He heard rumors that Rai, Caine, Jesse and Syric were missing, possibly captured. Delwin suggested Fitz contact Bleys to learn more. He tracked Bleys down at the Cloak (accompanied by his fingerman bodyguard) and saw the aftermath of the slaughter. Draco explained. Fake Jesse introduced Fitz to Jesse-Logic. He saw the herd of bunnies and was checked for fauxness by Draco's canaryfish. Plans were discussed. They Trumped Nic in for his poison supplies and Corwin for more muscle. After filling him in he told them that he had large supplies of antimorph-laced Green Fungus ready to use, plus a lot of manaphage. He popped back to Leone to have a bunch of less-than-lethal Green Fungus run up (on hand from failed batches) and a lot of Viridifungicide Dip -- it was good enough to stop the weak stuff. Everyone involved drew one Agate Creature. Corwin made a more biddable Octavian, Bleys a Circe, Draco a young Random, Nic an enhanced staff sorcerer, Fitz a Fiona.

Draco used dragons to deliver the bio weapons. Nic rustled up some nasty insect-centaur troops, Bleys used his own troops. They bombed with fungus-antimorph. The dragons hit the air intakes on the Castle with that and the manaphage. They charged right in. Corwin enjoyed killing faux Caines, some of Bleys' troops turned on him -- agents of Caine. The Fortress started to crumble as its magical supports vanished. Bleys prevented any Editing. The real Caine showed up and led them to the labs and the bubble of high tech that held them. Slaughter. Prisoners released. They learned that Loki, twisted and broken but still alive, ran The Fortress. The Gate was guarded by Dracos an Rolands and Syrics. They lost. Niccolo started resignedly pulling out bunnies with his Pattern sword in hand. Back a ways, Rai and Jesse combined forces and sent a Logrus tendril into the Gate. It pulled out a soccer-ball sized faceted crystal sphere -- the control for the Hall of Mirrors -- and Nic cut the tendril.

Rai and Jesse: 'Hey!'

Nic: 'What is this?'

Rai: 'Mine.'

-repeat several times-

Nic: 'What, you left it in there?'

Rai: 'I won it.'

Nic, incredulously: 'From Loki. Right. It's the only good piece of treasure here and you were rescued.'

Meanwhile, Bleys killed his Faux Circe with a look of satisfaction. 'I always wanted to do that.' He volunteered to take care of the thing but was too tired and insufficiently interested to fight Nic for it.

Rai claimed she wanted to have Fiona examine the thing.

Nic Trumped Osric, who said it was Dworkin's, then reluctantly revealed it to be the control for the Hall of Mirrors. Nic passed it to him. Jesse followed it through to Osric. Osric invited everyone to swear fealty and study the crystal. Nic went to him. Osric took them to the Primal.

Fitzcairn returned to Ambre and briefed Delwin on current events. Delwin felt that Osric had a reasonable claim and, more importantly, was too powerful to challenge. Fitz decided he needed to talk to Fiona. Delwin made it a Crown mission. Fitz started the Pattern walking sequence.

Much later he arrived in the Primal Castle. It seemed to be deserted save for a LOT of power use. He sent out a subtle seeker spell to find Fiona.



Karlos Kakatal told Draco that Loki had sent out hundreds of faux Amberites on various missions. A couple of Dracos were on their way to Bradenberg, more were going to assassinate Roland. Draco intercepted all of them and had them killed. He killed the two fake Niccolos trying to get into Tella as well.



Nic wasn't too impressed by the Crystal Orb though he admitted it would have been a lifesaver against Mandor. Then Osric gave them the bad news. Fiona's Agate parasite had overwhelmed Dworkin, taken over the Primal Palace and was there draining Dworkin's life and reshaping the cosmos via the completed Bell -- the newly completed and much improved version of the Torc. Fi Plus evidently wanted Trump gone. Osric had been unable to penetrate her/its defenses and he didn't think much of anyone else would survive the attempt. He set up the Crystal Orb and used it to observe Fiona Plus. Dworkin looked bad. Fi Plus seemed to be in a trance, surrounded by a field of energy and little lightnings coming off the huge Bell. Osric said he'd calculated they would need the entire family in a balls-out Psychic mass attack to -- barely -- overpower Fi Plus. He also calculated that half the family would join its side. Hence his recruiting drive. Nic, thinking of Octavian's ward, asked if Real non Patterners could live at the Primal. Osric thought that Broken Pattern initiates might be able to survive there. Nic took his leave and Trumped to the Isle, then to the Castle. He Trumped Octavian. Octavian was all for supporting Osric, having been told by the Unicorn and Dworkin that Osric was the True King.



Fitz took a good look at his Mom and the dying Dworkin and quietly left. He found Osric and was told the story and given another chance to join up.



Rai visited with her kids (once she found where they were hiding), heard a garbled version of the recent thinning of their ranks by Bleys, Deirdre and Draco, her own death and Syric's. She explained about the fakes. She advised them to make good deals with their Daddy.