The Pendragon Ladies (Episode 2, Cont.)

(read Part 1 here!)

Cerdwwr arrives at Terrwyn’s pavilion. "I thought you could use an escort," he tells her. She thinks about it for a moment, then shrugs.

"Why not?"

He walks her to King Lot’s pavilion. There, she sits down to dinner with Cerddwr and her body double Liam, in front of King Lot and his wife, Morgawse. The woman’s dark beauty is haunting.

"My wife wants to speak with you," Lot says. Terrwyn looks at the woman. A deep darkness in her eyes.

"I want your knight," Morgawse tells her.

Terrwyn doesn’t know what to say.

"I saw him on the field today," she says. "And he impressed me greatly. I will pay well for him. Enough for you to buy five more knights." She looks at Terrwyn’s body double and smiles. As bright and wicked as the moon. "I want him."

Terrwyn shakes her head. "I’m afraid I can’t do that," she says. "He’s been with me for quite a long time and I…"

"I want him," Morgawse says again. "I will have him."

Terrwyn tries to think of a way to politely decline again. Turning down the Queen of Orkney has all kinds of dangerous implications.

Then, Liam speaks up. "I’m in love with Lady Terrwyn," he says. "I cannot leave her."

Morgawse looks at both of them. Then, she smiles. "I shall not pursue my request further, then," she says.

After dinner–a cold, quiet affair–on their way back to the pavilion, Terrwyn thanks the young man. "You did not have to say that," she says.

Cerddwr smiles, "Ah but it would have been so convincing if there was not a seed of truth in your words. Isn’t that true?"

Terrwyn looks at Liam and sees the slightest hint of a blush.

* * *

On the hill behind the tournament, Anwyn stands with Uther. Uther/Cornwall. Uther/Cornwall/Jacob Collins.

"I’m Uther," he says again. "How fascinating."

"Yes," Anwyn tells him. "And it’s time for you to go and sleep with Igraine." Her voice rushes over the words.

He looks back at her. "I don’t think so," he says. "If I do that, I will no longer be the King of All Britain."

Now Anwyn’s heart feels the pangs of fear. "You have to," she says. "If you don’t, this new world doesn’t like you breaking the rules. It will find out and it will punish you."

"How exciting," he says, his smile shining in the moonlight.

She takes a step back. "The world died," she says. "This is the new world. And you have to do what you’re supposed to do."

He takes a step forward. "The world died. Hm." He puts his hand on his chin. "Sounds like a reason to celebrate." His eyes then glow in the darkness. Anwyn recognizes that glow from the old world. Deep beneath the seeming of Uther and Cornwall, Lilith recognizes the eyes of Jacob Collins.

"COME HERE," he tells her. And she steps forward.

"Now, TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES," he says.

Anwyn and Lilith struggle to resist, but her hands begin working. Her mind races. In that world, she thinks, I could not resist him. But in this world, I am an Enchantress of Britain.

"I am an Enchantress of Britain," she says, her hands stopping. "Apprentice to Merlin. Your powers cannot affect me."

Uther/Cornwall/Collins frowns. "Very well," he says. "We will do this the old fashioned way."

Anwyn looks around for help. She’s alone up here on the hill. Not even within shouting distance of the tournament.

So, she runs.

She doesn’t get five steps before he’s pulled her down to the wet grass. She feels a pain in her knee as it smashes into the ground. She screams for help, knowing there is no one to hear. She feels his hands pulling at her clothes.

And then she hears a thump. And his body’s weight falls against her. She pushes him off and looks up.

And she sees Sebastian’s face looking down.

"My Lady," he says. "Are you injured?"

She stands up with his help, kicking the man lying on the ground as she does. "Yes. I’m okay."

Sebastian looks at her.

"I’m fine," she says.

"Who is this villain?" Sebastian asks, turning the body over. He sees the face and takes a step back.

"Jesu’s wounds!" he says. "It is the Duke of Cornwall!"

"Uh," Anwyn sputters. "Uh. No, it’s… I mean, yes it… I mean, we should get him back to his tent."

"I never believed Cornwall could be such a lout!" Sebastian says.

Anwyn tries to think of something to say. "He was drunk," she says. "No harm, no foul, right?"

Sebastian looks confused. "Drunk, my lady?"

"Yes," she says. She recovers her wits and remembers why she was up here to begin with. "He was drunk. And we should get him back to his tent. Right away."

"As a pagan knight, I am bound to serve your will," Sebastian says. "I serve the faith." He lifts the unconscious body and carries it back to the tournament.

Anwyn watches him leave. Then, when he’s out of sight, she runs back to her tent, her hands covering her tears.

* * *

On the way back to her pavilion, Cerddwr and Terrwyn speak.

"I do not trust Uther," she says.

Cerddwr nods. "Nor, do I."

"What do you do in London?" she asks.

"I assist the monks there," he tells her. "In the library."

She turns her head. "Library?" she asks. "I thought there weren’t any books in Britain?"

He frowns. His brow curls. "No, there are many. In London… many…" his voice trails off. "Many… books…"

Then, his eyes light up. "Misty! You have to stop them! They’re going to kill Cornwall!"

And his eyes dim. "I’ve been in London all my life. I’ve heard some say I’m nothing more than a scholar-knight. A city knight." He smiles. "But I am a man of arms, just as the others. The monks need protection, too."

Terrwyn stops walking. "Cerddwr," she says. "Take my hand."

He hesitates. "My Lady, I would not be so bold to presume…"

She shakes her head. "No. I don’t mean that. Take off your glove and take my hand."

He touches the hand with the ring. "I do not know where this came from," he says. "And Merlin will not tell me."

"Trust me," she says.

He takes off his glove. He puts his hand in hers. The rings touch.

His eyes take a different light. "Misty," he says. "Uther plans on killing Cornwall tonight. He’s arranging a secret meeting on the west side of the river. He has a small army there. He’s going to kill Cornwall. If we don’t stop it, there’s going to be war."

Then, his eyes change again. "I was glad to escort you and hope to do so again," he says. He bows. "Have a pleasant evening."

Terrwyn watches him leave. Then, she turns to Liam. "Get the men together. We’re going across the river."

* * *

On top of the hill, surrounded by stones, Brangaine waits for Sebastian. When he arrives, she leaps on him. He winces.

"I was in the tourney today, my love," he says. "Be gentle."

"You’ve never asked me to be gentle before," she tells him.

"Aye," he says. "But I was injured today and that injury was aggravated by carrying the Duke of Cornwall back to his tent."

She looks at him. "Why did you need to carry my uncle back to his tent?"

He hesitates. "I was sworn to secrecy by an Enchantress."

"Which one?"

"Anwyn," he tells her.

"She and I are friends. You know that. Tell me."

Sebastian tells her the story. The attack. Clubbing him on the back of the head. The terrified Enchantress. Carrying Cornwall back to his pavilion.

"That doesn’t sound like my uncle," she says.

"It was. I saw it with my own eyes."

Brangaine throws away a dangerous thought and kisses him.

* * *

Later, lying under the moon, lying in his arms, that dangerous thought comes back.

"We should speak to my cousin Tristan."(1)

Together, they get dressed and seek out her cousin. When they find him, he is playing the harp. He smiles when he sees them. "What can I do for my favorite cousin?" he asks.

"Tristam, we need to see the Duke of Cornwall," she tells him. "I do not have the authority to ask, but you do."

"Very well," he says. "I trust it is important."

They nod. He escorts them to the pavilion.

But the guard refuses them entry.

"No," he says. "The Duke of Cornwall is with his wife and they cannot be disturbed."

Tristan turns to them. "Sorry," he says. "That’s one thing I can’t interrupt."

"I understand," Brangaine says. They walk away from the tent.

* * *
Across the river, Terrwyn and her archers approach a small, makeshift camp. There, they find fires and bodies. Among the bodies are the Duke of Cornwall and Meliodas, his chief lieutenant (and Tristan’s father).

Terrwyn orders the bodies be collected and brought back to the tournament. Then, she climbs on her fastest horse and rides.

* * *

Brangaine and Sebastian find Anwyn sobbing. When they ask her what’s wrong, she looks at Sebastian. She tells Brangaine everything.

"He tried to use vampire powers on me," she says.

Sebastian looks confused. "Vampire powers?"

Brangaine holds Sebastian’s hand. "Do you remember when you were a wolf?" she asks.

"I was a wolf?"

"Yes. And you protected us in Dinkytown. Do you remember that? The vampires? We were changelings. And you and Barnabas were in that bar together…"

Anwyn touches Brangaine’s hand. "If you do this, the world will notice," she says.

Brangaine ignores her. "Do you remember, Sebastian? Remember the Rubik’s Cube?"

A light shines in Sebastian’s eyes. He looks at the girls. Then, he frowns.

"You and Barnabas are married?" he asks.

She nods. "Yes, but that isn’t important right now. The Prince is here. And he’s Uther."

"But you and Barnabas are married?" he asks again. Then, he puts his head in his hands. "This is very complicated."

That’s when Terrwyn walks in. She looks at them and says, "The Duke of Cornwall is dead. Uther murdered him."

All of them look up. Sebastian asks, "Does she remember?"

The girls nod, "Yes."

"That’s impossible," Brangaine says. "Uther is the Duke of Cornwall."

"It was a secret meeting on the other side of the river. They’re all dead. All of Cornwall’s best men. It was an ambush."

"Who’s left?" Anwyn asks.

Terrwyn thinks for a moment. Then, she remembers a small detail.

"Leodegrance," she says. "He’s talking with Walk–Cerddwr now." She doesn’t waste any time. She’s out of the tent, running for Leodegrance’s pavilion.

When the guards try to stop her, Terrwyn throws them aside. She rushes in and sees Leodegrance talking with Cerddwr.

"The Duke of Cornwall is dead," she says. "And you are in grave danger."

Leodegrance stands. "That’s not possible. The truce…"

"It’s as dead as he is," Terrwyn says. "We have to get out of here."

* * *

Outside the pavilion, Merlin touches Anwyn on the shoulder. She nearly jumps.

"What did you do?" she asks him.

"I did nothing," he says.

"What did you make me do?" she asks.

"You made your own choices," he tells her.

She pauses. "What did I do?"

He smiles. "You put the future in motion." Then, he steps away, vanishing into the night.

____

(1) A note for Arthur scholars: I have taken the liberty of making Tristan a nephew to the Duke of Cornwall. While this may be confusing to purists, it allows me to put Tristan into the story and it, even though it is chronologically incorrect, it is fitting in many ways. Trust me; everything will sort itself out.

The Flux: Pendragon Ladies (Episode 2)

One moment, they were Changelings living in a vampire-infested Twin Cities area, and the next, they find themselves in 5th Century Britain bumping shoulders with Uther, Igraine, Leodegrance and Merlin.

They’ve undergone something called “the Flux.” The entire world changed and nobody noticed. Everyone entered the new world with complete lives and memories. What’s more, some of the folks they knew back in the Twin Cities have shown up in Britain as well. Changed just slightly—some more than others—but still familiar. Familiar strangers.

Our cast of characters includes:

  •   as Brangaine, a Cornish lady married to a Christian knight having an affair with a Pagan knight;
  •   as Anwyn, an Enchantress of Britain and apprentice under the Great Enchanter, Merlin;
  •   as Terrwyn, the Cambrian lady who disguises herself as a man to participate in tournaments; and
  •   as Ysbail, the Norman lady with merchant contacts in both Britain and the continent.

All of us missed  this session. She’s at home with her beautiful new baby. We know we’ll be seeing her again, but until then, we miss her much. And, Emily, there’s always an empty seat at our table for you.

Also, for further context, be sure to check up on what the boys have been doing!

* * *

… the next morning.

Anwyn stands very still in the corner of the pavilion while Uther screams.

"I must have her!"

His voice echoes through the small place and rings in Anwyn’s ears. She watches as Merlin speaks.

"You will wreck everything I have worked for. Britain is united! At last! And you would throw all of it away for what lies between her thighs!"

Uther’s eyes grow dark. His voice drops to a growl. "You’re the wizard," he says. "The next words you speak to me will be how I will bed that woman without breaking the truce." And then, Uther leaves.

Merlin looks at Anwyn. "Well then," he says. "I thought that went well."

"What are we going to do?" she asks.

Merlin ponders for a moment. Then, he says, "You are skilled in glamours, are you not, dear?"

Anwyn nods. "I am."

"Good. Meet me tonight at the standing stones just outside the tournament." He begins to leave, but then pauses. "And wear a disguise."

* * *
 

Brangaine serves her wounded husband breakfast. "Here you are, Barnabas," she says. "Is there anything else I can do?"

"Stay with me," he says. "All day. Your company is salve enough for my wounds."

Brangaine thinks about her lover, Sebastian. He is jousting later today in the tournament. She missed his joust yesterday. She does not want to miss it again. She looks down at the eyes of her husband and sees his unquestioning devotion to her. She tells him a story.

A story about four girls living in a small kingdom. They were surrounded by darkness all around. A darkness filled with monsters. One of the girls had to go into the faerie lands to rescue a friend in danger…

Barnabas listens to her. His smile is warm.

* * *

Across the tournament, Terrwyn sits on a horse, dressed in black armor. She waits the command. The flag drops and she lowers her lance. Her aim is true and it slams into her opponent’s chest, throwing him from his steed. He slams into the ground hard and under her armor, Terrwyn winces just a little. "Such a useless sport," she thinks to herself.

She brings her horse back to her squire and he leads them both to the black knight’s pavilion. She changes into her usual garb and retires to her own pavilion just a few feet away.

A servant tells her that a messenger from King Lot is there to see her. He wishes to have dinner with her and her knight. Both of them. Terrwyn sighs. "Very well. Tell him I will be there." Then, she turns to one of her men. "Time for you to be my cousin again," she says. Her man bows his head.

"Of course, my lady."

* * *
Anwyn finds Brangaine in her tent. "Merlin wants me to do something," she says. "I’m not sure I should do it. I mean, I don’t know." She asks, "Have you seen Walker? I have to find Walker."

"What does he want you to do?" Brangaine asks.

Just then, a man steps into the pavilion. Anwyn sees him and her eyes open wide.

"Hello cousin," he tells Brangaine. He carries a harp. Anwyn’s knees shake.

Brangaine turns to Anwyn. "Anwyn, this is my cousin, Tristan."

"H-how do you do?" she says, curtsying.

He bows to her, then looks back at Brangaine. "I brought my harp," he says. "I hope to ease your husband’s pain."

Brangaine smiles. "You’re so thoughtful," she says. "He’s right in there."

Tristan enters the room and sits. He greets Barnabas and then begins to sing. His fingers play across the harp strings. Anwyn sits. The enchantress, enchanted.

With her husband distracted, Brangaine leaves the pavilion and starts off for the jousting arena.
 

* * *
Terrwyn goes looking for Merlin. She wants this ring off her finger. As far as she’s concerned, that "old world" is just a nightmare. The sooner she can forget it the better. And the first step to putting it in her past is getting rid of this damned "lady fate" ring.

She meets up with Cerddwr, the knight she went to dinner with when Uther and Cornwall signed their peace treaty.

"My Lady," he says, bowing. "I come to ask a favor."

She eyes him with suspicion. A part of the past. That "Walker" detective with the Lord Strange ring. But he does not seem to remember who he was. Only who he is now. "What can I do for you?" she asks.

"I seek an audience with Leodegrance," he says. "It is in regards to the peace treaty signed last evening."

She nearly spits when she hears him say it. "Peace with Uther," she says. "That day will never come."

"I agree," he says. That surprises her.

"Are you not a knight from London?" she asks. "One of Uther’s vassals?"

He nods. "I am. And I do not trust this treaty. Merlin may have arranged it, but there is no way Uther will keep it."

Terrwyn decides she likes this knight, despite his connection with the old world. "I will arrange that meeting," she says.

And just then, his eyes change. Panic fills his face. He grabs her wrist.

"Misty!" he says. "You have to help me! It’s gone wrong! I can’t stop…" His eyes change again. His voice softens. "Excellent," he says. "I look forward to meeting him."

Cerddwr leaves her then. And she stands watching him.

 

* * *
 
At the joust, Sebastian wins again. Brangaine does not cheer. But she smiles from the stands and he sees her as he makes his victory circle. She watches him whisper something to a page and the page vanishes.

Making her way back to her pavilion, the page finds her. "My lord wishes to tell you to meet him at the standing stones just outside the tournament."

"When?" she asks.

"Tonight."

She undoes a ribbon from her hair. "Give this to him," she says.

The page nods and rushes off.

When she comes back to the pavilion, her husband is asleep. A servant tells her that her cousin wished her well and hoped to see her again. She remembers Sebastian’s smile and she sighs. Then, she hears her husband stirring in his bed. No, he still sleeps. She sits down at his bedside and touches his brow.
 

* * *
Later, Terrwyn speaks with Leodegrance. He and her father were old friends. His shaved head and short beard are something she remembers well. When he speaks, she knows why men follow him.

"This knight… what was his name?"

"Cerddwr," she says. "From London."

"A scholar-knight, then," he says. She nods. "Why did he not go to Cornwall himself?"

"He knows I have a relationship with you," she says. "Perhaps he hopes to convince you so you can convince Cornwall?"

Leodegrance nods, his hand on his chin. "That makes sense." He walks about the room in silence. Then, he turns to her. "Tell your scholar-knight that I will meet him. Tonight, after dinner."

She nods and bows (she never curtsies). "Yes, sir," she says. Just as she leaves, Leodegrance tells her, "I hear you are meeting with King Lot this evening?"

She nods. "Yes, I am."

"Be careful with him," he tells her. "He is a cunning man. His wife, also. They would not have invited you if they did not have… plans."

She leaves the pavilion and makes her way back to her own.

* * *

Nightfall…

Anwyn waits at the standing stones. In the distance, she sees the fires and pavilions of the tournament. She’s wearing a mask made of twigs and leaves. Merlin arrives. "I see," he says, looking at her disguise. "Well done."

"What do you want me to do?" she asks.

"Uther will be here soon," he tells her. "I want you to use your glamour to give him the semblance of the Duke of Cornwall."

"Why?"

"That way, he can satisfy his lust and we can maintain our truce."

Anwyn nods. "Okay," she says. She sees Merlin’s confusion. "I mean, ‘very well’."

Merlin nods. "I will not be here. I have other things to attend to." Then, he looks down the hill. "Here comes Uther now." Anwyn looks and sees him walking up the hill. She turns to ask Merlin a question, but he’s gone.

"Where is Merlin?" Uther asks.

"Merlin sent me," Anwyn says. "Just stand there. I will take care of everything."

In the middle of the standing stones, drawing power from the earth, she begins the ritual. Her words fill her body with power. Power that she’s felt before and never felt before. And Uther begins to change. Transform. His cruel, hard face softens. His steel gray eyes change to blue. His jaw, his cheeks, his hair. All of it is different. Anwyn finishes the ritual and her body is drained. A heavy sleep fills her brain. She never knew such a simple act could be so exhausting.

And then, Uther says, "Lilith?"

Anwyn’s eyes snap open. "What did you call me?"

"Where am I?" Uther/Cornwall asks. "What am I doing here?"

Anwyn begins to panic. She looks at him, but the glamour is so complete, she cannot recognize him. Not the way she recognized Kiera or Misty or Melanie.

Uther/Cornwall looks at his hands. He touches his face. "I’m Uther," he says. "Uther Pendragon."

Anwyn guesses. "Fix?" she asks.

Uther/Cornwall’s eyes shine. "No," he says. And she recognizes the voice.

"Collins," she says. "You’re Jacob Collins."

Uther/Cornwall nods. "Yes. I am."
 

END OF PART 1

Changeling to Pendragon (The Flux: Episode 1) (Cont.)

When we last saw the Glamour Girls… well, something odd happened. The whole world changed. One moment, they were Changelings living in the Twin Cities area and the next… they were somewhere in the 5th Century bumping shoulders with characters straight from Arthur’s Britain.

They’ve undergone something called “the Flux.” The entire world changed and nobody noticed. Everyone entered the new world with complete lives and memories. Only three of the Girls remembered the past world and retained their memories. Misty did not. As far as she knows, the whole world has always been 5th Century Britain. And the Girls can’t find a way to change that.

Confused? Not as confused as the Girls are.

What’s more, some of the folks they knew back in the Twin Cities have shown up in Britain as well. Changed just slightly—some more than others—but still familiar. Familiar strangers.

Our cast of characters includes:

  •   as Brangaine, a Cornish lady married to a Christian knight having an affair with a Pagan knight;
  •   as Anwyn, an Enchantress of Britain and apprentice under the Great Enchanter, Merlin;
  •   as Terrwyn, the Cambrian lady who disguises herself as a man to participate in tournaments; and
  •   as Ysbail, the Norman lady with merchant contacts in both Britain and the continent.
  • And, tonight, a special guest.   as Sir Gwillym.
* * *

Barnabas begins his joust. Unfortunately, it does not go well. Not only is he thrown from his horse, but he is horribly injured as well. The Ladies rush down to check on him. Brangaine helps her husband back to his feet and moves him back to their pavilion. However, that means she misses her lover, Sebastian, in his joust immediately afterward.

(In Pendragon terms, she had to make a Loyalty/Love check. Awesome.)

Elsewhere, Terrwyn meets up with a strange man in rags and feathers. His robe jingles as he walks, the baubles making him sound like a junk band. He is paper thin and carries a long staff. At the end of the staff is an intricately carved dragon.

"Who is this?" the man asks. He looks over Terrwyn with his crystal blue eye and his blood red eye.

"Merlin?" she asks.

"The very same!" he says, bowing slightly. "And who are you?"

Terrwyn lies. "Terryn," she says.

Merlin smiles. Then, he sees the ring on her finger. "And what is this?"

Terrwyn shakes her head. "I’ve never seen that before. How did that get there?"

Merlin laughs. "Fate," he says. Then, he wanders away. He wanders away into Anwyn.

"I hear you have been looking for me," Merlin tells her.

Anwyn nods. "Yes," she says. She checks for a "Lord Strange" ring on his fingers. He has none. "Damn, it isn’t him," she mutters to herself.

"And exactly who am I not?" Merlin asks.

"Oh, nothing," Anwyn says.

"I need you to do something for me," Merlin tells her. "I need you to go to the Duke of Cornwall’s pavilion and convince him to accept Uther’s invitation to dinner this evening.

"All right," Anwyn says. The hesitation in her voice makes Merlin frown.

"Do whatever you need to do to convince him," Merlin says. Then, he looks at her with his burning red eye. "Anything. You understand?"

She nods. "I understand."

* * *

After Barnabas is put down to rest, after his wounds are healed, Brangaine sneaks off to Sebastian’s tent. He’s there, waiting for her.

"You weren’t at the joust," he says.

"I had to tend to Barnabas," she tells him. "He’s a good man. A good husband."

"You are lucky," Sebastian says, removing his armor. "Many arrangements such as your marriage end sadly."

"He’s a good man," she says again. "He cares for me. But ours was only a political marriage."

"He still does not know you have a lover?" Sebastian asks.

She shakes her head. "No," she says. "It is best that way."

He steps toward her. "I have a present for you." He lifts a veil from a cage. Inside the cage is a white raven. "I trapped it while hunting."

She smiles. "It’s beautiful."

"That is why I got it for you," he says. He touches her face. "You are so beautiful."

He kisses her. And they don’t stop there.

* * *

In Cornwall’s pavilion, Anwyn sees the Duke for the first time. He’s a handsome man. A strong man. He speaks with a voice that makes you want to follow him.

"The invitation did not come from Uther," Cornwall says. 

Anwyn shakes her head. "No. Merlin would like you to attend."

"I am sure he does," Cornwall says. 

Just then, another woman enters the room. All the fires burn brighter. Anwyn looks at her and sees her perfect hair, her perfect eyes, her perfect skin. Deep inside, Lilith thinks, She looks Photoshopped.

"Igraine, my wife," Cornwall says. 

Igraine looks at Anwyn. "Has Merlin sent another of his whores?"

Anwyn stands still, completely shocked.

"My wife," Cornwall begins. She interrupts him.

"Send her away. We want nothing to do with that wizard." Then, she leaves. The room grows a little darker.

Anwyn tries to smile. "Merlin says the meeting is most important. He hopes you will attend."

Cornwall nods. "I will see what I can do."

* * *

Later that night, Cerddwr escorts Terrwyn to Uther’s party. When he sees her, he is startled. "You are more beautiful than your cousin said," he tells her. She doesn’t know what to say to that.

"Have you hear the rumor of ladies dressing up as men to compete in the tournament?" he asks.
She stumbles a step. "I have," she says.

"If a woman were to do such a thing, she must come up with a clever disguise," he tells her. "Most women just tuck their hair up under a cap and wear trousers and call themselves ‘a cousin’ or some other nonsense."

Terrwyn shakes her head. "Shameful," she says.

"If she were caught," he tells her, "it could ruin her reputation."

Terrwyn looks up at Cerddwr. Her eyes narrow.

"Unless she was discovered by a man who was sympathetic to her cause. And could help her better hide her identity next time."

Her eyes lessen their glare. 

"Look," he says. "We are here." And the two of them enter Uther’s pavilion.

* * *

 

All the Ladies are present. Brangaine arrives with her husband. Anwyn arrives with Merlin. Ysbail arrives with Sir Gwillym. And Terrwyn arrives with Sir Cerddwr.

At the meal, Uther shows himself for the first time. The man is built like a fort. His head is shaved, his beard is short. He wears dull clothes and his eyes are keen. He looks like he was pulled from a forge by a blacksmith.

He sits on one end of the table. Cornwall sits on the other. The Ladies notice that Cornwall has not brought his wife with him.

"I am glad you accepted my invitation, Cornwall," Uther says. He looks at the other guests. "I am glad because I want to offer you a chance at peace."

Cornwall smiles. "For years, you have tried invading my lands, Uther. What makes you think I will trust you this time?"

Uther looks at Merlin. Merlin nods. "I offer you all the lands to the west of the river," he says. "No Logres man will cross that river without your permission."

Cornwall laughs. "And what sacrifice must I make to accept such a peace?"

"Call me King," Uther says. "And we shall have peace."

Cornwall looks across the table at Uther. A long moment of silence between them.

Then, Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall says, "Very well. I accept your peace."

Uther says, "Then say it."

Cornwall nods. "Uther," he says. "The Pendragon."

A tense silence breaks in the room. Everyone realizes they have not been breathing.

And just then, sitting between two powerful men–one on the east side of the river and one on the west side of the river–Terrwyn’s memories rush back into her head. Misty. Bess. Lady Fate. Her mother’s murder. Her abduction in Arcadia. Walker. The coffin. Mister Finger. 

All of it.

She catches her breath. Cerddwr touches her hand with his gloved hand. "Are you ill, my Lady?" he asks.

She shakes her head. A single tear rolls down her cheek. She doesn’t know what to say.

Uther shouts, "Let us feast to peace!"

The other guests shout as well. The men remove their gloves.

Cerddwr takes off his. And Terrwyn sees, on his left hand, the ring of Lord Strange.

 

Changeling to Pendragon (The Flux: Episode 1)

When we last saw the Glamour Girls… well, something odd happened. The whole world changed. One moment, they were Changelings living in the Twin Cities area and the next… they were somewhere in the 5th Century bumping shoulders with characters straight from Arthur’s Britain.

They’ve undergone something called “the Flux.” The entire world changed and nobody noticed. Everyone entered the new world with complete lives and memories. Only three of the Girls remembered the past world and retained their memories. Misty did not. As far as she knows, the whole world has always been 5th Century Britain. And the Girls can’t find a way to change that.

Confused? Not as confused as the Girls are.

What’s more, some of the folks they knew back in the Twin Cities have shown up in Britain as well. Changed just slightly—some more than others—but still familiar. Familiar strangers.

Our cast of characters includes:

  •   as Brangaine, a Cornish lady married to a Christian knight having an affair with a Pagan knight;
  •   as Anwyn, an Enchantress of Britain and apprentice under the Great Enchanter, Merlin;
  •   as Terrwyn, the Cambrian lady who disguises herself as a man to participate in tournaments; and
  •   as Ysbail, the Norman lady with merchant contacts in both Britain and the continent.
  • And, tonight, a special guest.   as Sir Gwillym.
* * *

Still a little shaken from the Flux, Brangaine (Kiera) and Anwyn (Lilith) talk about the changes they’ve seen. Many familiar faces in new roles.

“Have you seen Walker?” Anwyn asks.

Brangaine shakes her head. “I haven’t,” she says. “I don’t even know where he might be.”

Brangaine looks at her husband’s crest on his shield. A tower and boar. Barnabas. In the old world, he was a father figure. Now, in this world, he’s her husband. A kind, gentle man who adores her.

“Barnabas is your husband,” Anwyn says. “Is that weird?”

“It depends on which brain I think with,” Brangaine says.

Anwyn sighs. Then, she asks, “Have you seen Merlin?”

Brangaine thinks about that question. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Merlin.”

“I have,” Anwyn says. “I’m his apprentice.” She frowns. “Part of me is remembering that I’ve never seen Merlin ever do any magic.”

“Isn’t he supposed to be the greatest magician in the world?” Brangaine asks.

Anwyn nods. “But I’ve never seen him do any magic. He always has one of his apprentices do it.”

Just then, Ysbail (Melanie) rushes into the room. “OMG!” she shouts. “Guys, I met Mister Finger!”

The blood rushes from the Ladies’ faces. Anwyn asks, “Where?”

“She’s a lady!” Ysbail says. “I mean, he’s a lady. From France.” Ysbail thinks for a moment. “She was really sweet.”

Anwyn’s eyes almost pop from her head. “No!” she says. “He’s not sweet! He’s a monster! And he wasn’t supposed to Flux into the new world!”

Sir Barnabas of Cornwall enters the tent. He needs to duck when he enters. “Is there a problem, my wife?” he asks. “I heard shouting.”

Brangaine shakes her head. “No, sweetie. Everything is okay.”

Barnabas looks at her, confused. “Oh-kay?”

Anwyn steps up. “Everything is fine. Just fine.” Barnabas nods and leaves the room. Anwyn turns to Brangaine. “We have to stop saying that word,” she says.

* * *

Meanwhile, on the other side of the tournament, Terrwyn is dressed in trousers. She tucks her red hair under a cap, dons clothes too big for her and brings her bow to the archery tournament.

Of course, she wins. The crowd cheers. The other men—“other men”—scowl. The champion from last year’s tournament gives her the prize: a white bow carved from the wood of a sacred tree.

Terrwyn bows as she takes the prize. The man holds on to the bow for an extra moment, looking at her with piercing eyes.

“Your name, sir?” he asks.

Terrwyn says, “Terryn.”

He nods, still holding on to the bow. “Who is your liege?” he asks.

Terrwyn says, “The Lady Terrwyn. From the Cambrian Isles.”

The man nods again. He smiles. “Tell your Lady I would like to have dinner with her tonight.”

Terrwyn frowns at him. “Your name?” she asks.

“Cerddwr,” he says. “Of London.”

He releases the bow. She steps back. “I will let her know,” he says. “But she is very busy.”

“I want to tell her a secret,” he says. Smiling.

Terrwyn backs away, her prize in her hands.

* * *

The other Ladies go to watch the jousts. Brangaine wants to watch two knights in particular: her husband Barnabas and her secret lover, Sir Sebastian.

But before either of them joust, a young knight named Gwillym sits on a horse, waiting for his opponent to be ready.

Gwillym looks around him. Just a moment ago, his name was Will. He was sitting in a bar, talking to a bartender. Detective Walker told him to wait there. And now, just as Walker leaves the bar, Gwillym is here, on a horse, with a lance in his hand.

All the memories of his new life spill into his brain. Ahead of him, his opponent signals he is ready. Behind him, his squire slaps the horse’s behind. Gwillym’s horse rushes forward. And Gwillym does all he can to hold on.

The lances crash. Gwillym’s lance strikes the other knight solid, nearly knocking him from his horse. His opponent’s lance strikes Gwillym hard. He falls, but catches himself at the last moment, his foot caught in the stirrup. Then, as the horse continues his ride, Gwillym falls to the ground.

Dazed, he looks up at the sun. His opponent rides to him.

“Sir knight,” his opponent says. “You joust very well. I cannot accept this as a clean victory. I insist we make another pass.”

Gwillym’s head is in a fog. “Another pass? Yes. Of course,” he says.

“I must know your name,” his opponent says. Gwillym tells him. He asks the same in return.

“Uriens,” the knight says. He drops his lance down, offering it to the fallen knight. Gwillym takes the lance and lifts himself up.

The knights have another pass.

This time, Gwillym’s lance shatters and slams a large piece of wood in his shoulder. He falls. His opponent is also knocked from his horse. The two knights lay still for a moment. Then, Uriens pushes himself up and sees to his wounded opponent.

“Sir,” he says. “I do believe another pass would not benefit either of us.”

Gwillym, in pain, nods. “I yield,” he says.

Uriens shakes his head. “We were both unhorsed,” he says. “Come, let me take you to my pavilion so my healers can treat your wound.”

Gwillym nods and accepts his aid. As he does, he looks out to the audience. He sees the Ladies. He sees Anwyn. He sees Brangaine.

And then he sees Ysbail. Will sees Melanie.

Ysbail rushes out to the field. Her friends follow her. She looks to Anwyn. “Can you cure his wound?” Anwyn says that she can. Ysbail holds his hand. And then, his helmet comes off.

A deep, ugly scar cuts across his face from the back of his scalp. One eye is milk white. His mouth is curled into a scowl. Ysbail’s eyes flutter with surprise.

“Come,” Uriens says. “I will have your wounds cured.”

Gwillym goes with Uriens. The Ladies stay to watch Barnabas joust.

END OF PART 1

Changeling, Episode 20

As the Prince drives away, the Girls start discussing what to do. They have a contract with the Prince of Minneapolis and now they’re starting to think about having a contract with the Prince of St. Paul.

“He’s always been fair with us,” Lilith says.

“But a contract binds all vampires,” Misty says.

The Girls think about that for a while. But, it’s late. Time for bed.

Misty turns to Lilith. “Do you want to look at the mansion?”

Melanie asks, “The crime scene mansion?”

“I think the lady who owned it was my mom,” Misty says.

“Then I’m going with you,” Lilith says. Melanie agrees.

Kiera tells the others she’s going to sleep. After they leave, she asks a few birds where the limousine went. “To the scary building,” they tell her. So, she heads off to the Cathedral.

She climbs up to one of the higher windows and picks the lock. When she enters, she feels an overwhelming sense of dread. Like a cat pounced on her.

She looks around the upper rooms. She pockets a few items. Then, when she comes out to the corridor, Jacob Collins is there. Waiting for her.

* * *

Meanwhile, across town, the other Girls drive up to Elaine Tennyson’s home. There’s a gate and a long driveway that leads up to the house. The Girls break the lock on the gate and drive up to the house.

“There’s a garage,” Melanie says. “If your mom had a big house, maybe she has a bunch of cool cars, too.”

The Girls break into the garage. Inside, they find eight cars and a motorcycle. A Jaguar. A Mercedes. A…

“Hold it right there!”

They all turn and see a tall man with an M16 machine gun. They raise their hands. The man recognizes Misty. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I didn’t recognize you.”

Misty smiles. “It’s okay.”

“Did you forget your code again?” he asks.

She nods. “Yeah. Sorry.”

He asks for a new code and reprograms the security system. “There you go,” he says. “Don’t forget it this time, okay?”

“Okay.”

The Girls head up to the house. They use the new code to get into the door. Misty checks out the library.

* * *

Kiera looks at the Prince. “I was checking out your church,” she says.

“I just signed a contract with you,” he says. “And you break into my home and steal my possessions.”

Kiera shrugs. “The contract doesn’t say anything about stealing.”

The Prince… smiles. “Yes. I suppose you’re right.” Then he asks, “Would you like to come downstairs into the Cathedral proper?”

Kiera tilts her head. “Sure,” she says.

They walk downstairs. In the Cathedral, she says many figures in red robes. “I’m afraid you disrupted a ritual,” the Prince tells her.

“Can I watch?” she asks.

“I’m afraid it is rather a private ritual.”

“Oh,” Kiera says. “One of those.”

“We could make you a part of it,” he says.

She shakes her head. “No,” she tells him. “I’d better go.”

“Very well,” he says. “Come back any time.” He pauses. “Oh, and please leave the things you stole.”

Kiera empties her pockets, smiles and leaves the front door.

* * *

Misty is looking for anything that will trigger a memory. She walks into the woman’s bedroom and smells perfume. Nothing. She looks at pictures and dresses in the closet. Nothing.

Lilith is in the library. She looks at this book and that. Then, she sees a woman opening a secret panel. The woman disappears.

“Misty!” Lilith screams.

Misty and Melanie rush downstairs. Lilith points at the secret passage. “Yeah,” Misty says. “I know about that.”

“But a ghost was here,” she says. “She opened the door.”

Misty opens the secret passage. Only Lilith sees the woman standing at the end of the small chamber pointing at the wall. She tells the other Girls. They close the door. A black light turns on, showing them a symbol that Lilith and Misty have seen before.

“The Tree of Life,” Misty says.

“Why would she point that out to us?” Lilith asks. “I don’t understand.”

* * *

Kiera returns to the coffee shop. Jack is there drinking coffee with someone Kiera has never seen before.

“Hi,” the woman says. “My name is Mathilda.”

Kiera sees Mathilda’s Seeming. “You’re a changeling,” she says.

Mathilda nods. “I’ve been living in St. Paul for ten years. I never knew you were here.” She nods at Jack. “Until I met him.”

“I brought her here,” he says.

Kiera nods. “Good. We need more of us. Too many vampires.” She looks around. “Have you seen Barnabas or Sebastian?” she asks.

Jack nods. “They went out to get a drink.” He smiles. “Male bondin’ or some foolishness like that.” He points at the bar. “They left ya a note.”

Kiera looks at the note. She calls a bird. “Go find Barnabas,” she says. The bird flies away.

* * *

Back at the house, the Girls are looking at the rune on the wall.

Misty says, “I want you guys to bring up Bess. Maybe she remembers some of this.”

The other Girls don’t think that’s a good idea, but Misty insists.

Lilith says, “Rumplestiltskin.”

Misty’s face darkens with confusion. “Where—where am I?”

And that’s when something in Lilith’s pocket clicks… clicks… clicks…

Bells and thunder. A hundred thousand churches and a hundred thousand lightning strikes.

“Oh no,” she says. “Oh no!”

The other Girls look at her. “What?”

“Can’t you hear it?” she asks. She can barely hear her own voice though the clamour.

“Hear what?” Bess asks. “Where am I?”

“Rumplestiltskin,” Lilith says, shouting over the sound in her ears.

“Why are you shouting?” Melanie asks.

Lilith looks at Bess. Nothing’s happened.

“Rumplestiltskin!” she shouts again.

“Why are you saying that?” Bess asks.

Melanie and Lilith look at each other. Lilith grabs Bess. “We have to get out of here.”

Lilith starts dragging Bess out of the house. Melanie runs after them. “Where are we going?” she asks.

“We have to get Kiera,” she says. “And Walker.” She looks at the watch. “And we don’t have any time.”

Her phone buzzes. It’s Walker.

“Where are you?” he asks.

“At the Tennyson house,” she says. “Where are you?”

“Nowhere near there,” he says. “It’s started.”

“I know!” She can’t hear anything anymore. She just shouts through the noise. “Where can we meet?”

She hears “cathedral” on the other end of the line. She shouts into the phone, “We’ll meet you there!”

She hands the phone to Melanie. “Call the coffee shop. Have Kiera bring all the changelings to the cathedral!”

Lilith sees Melanie’s lips ask, “Why?”

Lilith looks at Bess. Her terrified tears roll down her cheeks. She holds on to Bess’s hand and says to Melaine…

“Because the world is about to die.”

* * *

Across town, Kiera’s birds find Sebastian and Barnabas. Kiera steps into the bar. The two men sit in a corner, drinking beers.

“Beer is good,” Sebastian says.

Barnabas laughs. “But not as good as coffee.”

Kiera steps up to the booth. “What are you two doing here?”

“Bonding!” Sebastian says with a smile.

Kiera shrugs. “Both Walker and Lilith called me. They said we have to get to the Cathedral right away.”

Barnabas shakes his head. “Why?”

“I don’t know,” she says. “Something about the end of the world.”

Barnabas and Sebastian laugh. “Sit down,” Sebastian says. “Sit here next to me.”

Kiera does. He puts his arm around her. “Stay a while. You don’t need to go anywhere.”

Kiera feels the Wolf’s arm around her. He’s large and strong and warm. Like a nest. She smiles.

* * *

At the Cathedral, the other Girls begin hearing the sound. Bells and thunder.

“What is that?” Melanie asks.

Lilith doesn’t hear her. She looks around. Where are they?

Another car pulls up. Walker jumps out. “We’ve got seconds left!” he says. He reaches out. “Hold hands!”

Before she takes anybody by the hand, Melanie takes out a pen and starts writing things on her arm.

“What’s that?” Walker asks.

“Phone numbers,” she says. “I don’t want to forget them.”

Walker looks at Misty. “Misty, are you okay?”

“Who is Misty?” Bess asks.

Walker’s eyes fill up with tears and understanding. He reaches out with his hand. Their rings touch.

And at that moment, Bess and Misty see each other. They know each other. They are each other.

The clamor around them thrashes their bodies. It rips at their grip, trying to tear them apart. And just when the sound is too much…

… standing in a tent. The smell of grass and recent rain. There are voices outside.

The Girls look at each other. Lilith, Melanie and Bess/Misty. But they aren’t.

Lilith asks, “Where did Walker go?”

Bess/Misty cocks her head. “Who?”

Lilith looks down at herself. Her body is smaller. She wears a dress made of cotton and wool. Her skin is lighter. Pale. She… she…

“My name is Anwyn,” she says.

“Why am I here?” Bess/Misty asks.

The three Girls are still holding hands. Anwyn/Lilith’s head is full of memories. Memories of learning in the woods. Memories of blessing the water. Memories of…

“I’m blessing you,” Anwyn/Lilith says. “For luck in the joust.”

Bess/Misty nods. She wears black armor. She carries a sword. She wears no heraldry on her armor. That way, the men will not know she’s a woman.

“I’m blessing you,” Anwyn says again. “Lady Terrwyn.”

Lady Terrwyn nods. “Are you finished?” she asks.

“I am,” Anwyn says.

Terrwyn salutes her. “Thank you,” she says. And Anwyn sees that Terrwyn still wears Lady Fate’s ring.

When Terrwyn leaves the tent, Anwyn looks at Melanie. “Melanie?” she asks.

Melanie nods. “What happened?”

Lilith tells her. “The world ended. It became something else.”

Melanie asks, “Who is Ysbail? Why do I know everything about her?”

“You are Ysbail,” Lilith says. “Ysbail of Leon.” She gestures at herself. “And I’m Anwyn.”

Melanie looks at Lilith. “You’re a witch?”

Lilith shakes her head. “No. I’m an Enchantress. I’m a pagan priestess.”

Melanie looks confused. “I’m confused,” she says.

Lilith sits her down. “The world ended,” she says. “And was born again. A new world. And we’re these people in this new world.”

“We have their memories and everything?”

Lilith nods. “Yes. We are them. They’re us.”

“When did this happen?”

“Apparently, it happens all the time.”

Melanie points out the doorway of the tent. “What happened to Misty?”

Lilith shakes her head. “She doesn’t remember the old world. All she remembers is this one.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing,” Melanie says.

Just then, Lilith stands up. “Oh my gosh!” she says. “We forgot all about Kiera!”

* * *

“You don’t look well, my wife,” Barnabas says.

Kiera looks at Barnabas with wide eyes. “Did you say ‘wife?’”

“Was I supposed to say something else?”

In a tent elsewhere, Sir Barnabas and his wife, the Lady Brangaine sit with their lunch.

“Wait a second,” Kiera says. “This is weird.”

“You are not well,” Barnabas says. “Let me fetch an apothecary.”

Kiera shakes her head. “No, no. I’m okay.”

Barnabas looks confused. “Okay, my wife? What manner of foreign tongue is that?”

Kiera’s temper starts to boil. “I’m all right. I’m…” she pauses. “I’m… Lady Bragaine.”

“You aren’t well,” Barnabas says. “I will fetch an apothecary.”

Kiera tries to protest, but he sits her down in the bed and leaves the tent.

A few moments later, he returns. With the Enchantress Anwyn.

“She says she is well, but I think she is ill,” Barnabas tells Anwyn.

Anwyn nods. “Leave me alone with your wife for a moment,” she says. Barnabas nods and leaves.

“What’s going on?” Kiera asks. “What happened?”

Slowly, Anwyn explains the story again.

Kiera/Bragaine nods. “Okay. Then who am I? Kiera or Bragaine?”

Anwyn smiles a shaky smile. “Both,” she says.

“Where’s everyone else?” Bragaine asks.

“Melanie’s with me. Misty doesn’t remember the old world. She only remembers who she is here.”

“Where’s Walker?”

Anwyn shakes her head. “I don’t know.”

* * *

In her black armor, Lady Terrwyn sits upon her horse. Lance in hand, she looks down the field at the knight who faces her.

The herald announces the next joust for today. “Here,” he says, pointing at the knight on the other side, “is a young knight! His first joust! The fair and strong son of Sir Ector. Sir Kay!”

The crowd cheers a little.

The herald points at Lady Terrwyn. “And here stands ready to joust is his opponent! The unknown… black knight!”

The crowd cheers a little.

The two riders salute each other. They kick their horses and rush forward.

When the lances crash, Sir Kay is downed but the black knight remains in the saddle.

“The winner! The unknown… black knight!”

The crowd cheers a little more. Under her helmet, Lady Terrwyn breathes a little easier.

* * *

Ysbail of Leon returns to her tent at the tournament. Her eyes show more than a little confusion.

“Madame,” her servant says. “A Lady here to see you. From France. She says she has business with you.”

Ysbail enters the tent. A slight, slender woman sits. Her face is sharp and beautiful. Her skin is pale and smooth. She stands and courtseys.

“I am sorry,” Ysbail says. “But I do not know you.”

The Lady bows her head. “It is true,” she says. Her accent is thick and difficult to manage.

“I speak French,” Ysbail says.

“Merci,” the Lady says. She continues in her native tongue. “Your family has had dealings with my husband. But, he has been killed and I have taken up the duties of the household.”

“I am sorry to hear it,” Ysbail says. Then, Ysbail remembers that she’s Melanie. A changeling from the Twin Cities. She doesn’t know any French.

“Stay focused,” she says to herself. And Ysbail’s memories converge in her mind, eclipsing Melanie’s. She speaks French again. “What was your husband’s name?”

“Bouyant of Champaigne,” she says.

Ysbail remembers the man. Tall, handsome. Strong. “A shame,” she says. “An honest shame to lose a husband so young.”

The Lady nods. “I hope our families can continue our trade,” she says.

Ysbail smiles. “I’m sure we can.”

The Lady stands. “I must leave,” she says. “I have others to notify of my husband’s passing.”

“What was your name?” Ysbail asks.

The Lady pauses at the door. “Auriculaire,” she says. She blushes. “A nickname my father gave me when I was young. I’m afraid it has remained with me all these years.”

Ysbail smiles and pours herself some wine. It is only after a few moments that the cup slips from her fingers and smashes to the ground.

Auriculaire.

“little finger.”

Changeling, Episode 19

(Unfortunately, LJ is still posting all of my pictures at odd angles. My apologies.)

The Girls step sideways back into the Real World and see the sun just setting on the horizon. For a moment they panic—Walker is with them. He hides beneath a shadow… but nothing happens. He cautiously extends his hand into the dim sunlight… but nothing happens.

“Strange,” he says.

The Girls and Walker head back to the coffee shop.

When they arrive, Sebastian is there waiting for them. “There’s been an accident,” he says. He shows them Adam, up above the coffee shop. “He’s been shot,” he says. “The bullet almost hit his heart. Nearly killed him. The only thing that saved him was Jack’s whiskey.”

The Girls leave Adam alone and walk back downstairs to the coffee shop. That’s when the phone rings.

“Tapped Grounds,” Kiera says. “Whuddya drink?”

“Is this Kiera?” a woman’s voice asks.

“Yeah. So what?” she says.

“One moment please.” There’s a pause on the other end of the phone.

Then, a man’s voice. “Hello. Kiera, I presume?”

“This is getting kinda creepy,” Kiera says.

“This is Jacob Collins. I’m the new Prince of Minneapolis. And I’d like to visit Dinkytown this evening to arrange for a new contract between my city and your people.”

The Girls pause for a long moment. Kiera says, “You gonna show up by yourself?”

“No,” Collins says. “I’ll be bringing along my associate, Ms. Lethe. But that’s all.”

Kiera talks quietly with the other Girls. They agree.

“You can show up,” Kiera says. “But if you bring anybody else, you’ll be seeing sunlight.”

“I understand,” the gentleman on the other side of the phone tells her. “Ten o’clock, then. I’ll be there.”

The Girls spend the next couple of hours preparing. Walker says, “I can be invisible when he arrives. Stay out of sight. If there’s any trouble,” he touches his revolver, “I can help.” He stands behind Misty. "If he lies to you, I can tell," he says. "If he lies to you, I’ll tap you on the shoulder." Misty nods.

Misty sits in the back of the coffee shop away from the other girls, near Walker.

When ten o’clock rolls around, they see a limousine pull up outside the coffee shop. A woman who looks like she belongs in the cast of Ally McBeal steps out and opens the back door. Jacob Collins lifts himself from the back of the limousine and walks to the coffee house door.

His coat looks Victorian, although made from modern materials and tools. He walks with a cane. He has a slight moustache and goatee. And a glimmer in his eye. He smiles when he reaches the doorway. “May I come in?” he asks.

Misty asks, “If we don’t invite you, do you have to stand outside?”

He shakes his head. “Oh, dear no. But I am a stickler for formalities.”

The Girls invite him inside. He steps across the threshold with his companion just behind him. “This is Ms Lethe,” he says. “My only attendant this evening.”

He sits down and says, “I see there’s some coffee. I’d very much like some. And those biscuits look wonderful.”

“You can drink?” Misty asks.

“And eat?” Melanie asks.

“Of course I can,” he tells them. “A little trick I learned not too long ago. It makes my presence among mortals a little less uncomfortable.”

"Did you build the Cathedral?" Lilith asks.

"Indeed, I did."

Lilith watches him closely when she asks, "Are you a Magician?"

Collins looks startled. "A what?"

"And Alice. She was your… assistant?"

"I’m afraid I have no idea what you are talking about."

Walker taps on Misty’s shoulder.

He smiles and points at each of the Girls. “Melanie,” he says. “Kiera. Lilith.” And then at the back of the room. “And Misty. Am I right?”

The Girls all nod. He laughs.

“Very good. I’m glad my information was correct. Now, I understand that your previous contract with Minneapolis was unacceptable.”

The Girls nod again.

“Excellent. Well, I am open to suggestions. Please. Tell me what would be acceptable.”

The Girls talk about it. Kiera says, “The previous contract was fine. Except for that clause about us giving up one of our own every Halloween.”

“I agree,” Collins says. “Terrible. Absolutely terrible.”

“So, we want a non-aggression clause. If a vampire attacks a changeling or if a changeling attacks a vampire, the contract burns.”

Collins shakes his head. “That isn’t a severe enough punishment,” he says. “’The Contract burns.’ And what does that accomplish? It only means we have to sign another one.”

The Girls listen to what he says.

“I assume your contracts are magical of some kind?”

The Girls nod.

“Very well. Make it this. A non-aggression treaty. But if one side attacks the other, the individual who sparked the violence becomes… helpless. Is that possible?”

The Girls look at each other. They talk a little while.

“Yes,” Misty says. “We can do that.”

“Very good,” Collins tells them. “Write up that contract. I will sign it.”

The Girls spend a moment writing up the contract. They hand it to Collins. He looks it over. He nods. “Very well,” he says. “This seems perfectly acceptable to me.” He raises his pen and is ready to drop it. But then, he hesitates. “Oh. I’m sorry. I forgot one small thing.”

“Of course,” Misty says.

“I cannot sign this contract unless I am allowed to return to my city with the individual who is responsible for the many deaths of my people. I’m afraid the Council will not allow it.”

“Aren’t you Prince?” Melanie asks. “Aren’t you in charge?”

He shakes his head. “I am Prince,” he says. “But a newly restored Prince. My power is not yet consolidated. The Council will strip me of my title if I do not return with what they demand. And then, you girls will have to deal with a new Prince.” He pauses. “One who may not be so agreeable as I.”

Misty waits for Walker’s tap. It doesn’t come.

“We’re not giving up Adam,” Kiera says.

“As you wish,” he tells her. “But if you do not give him to me, I shall be forced to try taking him myself. Against your will. And I am certain no-one in the room wants that.”

The Girls stiffen.

“Give him to me. I will sign the contract. You will get everything you want. Just give me the one who is responsible for murdering my people.”

The Girls talk about it. They agree. “We’re not giving you Adam,” Kiera says. “We can’t do that. But… can we give you someone else instead?”

The Prince shakes his head. “I’m afraid not. You see, there are members of the Council who will know if they are being tricked. It must be someone who has murdered Minneapolis vampires.”

“We can give them Smith,” Melanie says. The other Girls glare at her.

“Who is Smith?” the Prince asks.

“He’s a mortal living in St. Paul. He kills a lot of vampires,” Melanie says.

“What are you doing?” Lilith asks Melanie.

“He doesn’t mean anything to us,” Melanie says. “He kills people. He likes guns. He’s scary.”

“He’s not family,” Kiera says.

Misty doesn’t say anything.

“If he’s responsible for vampire murders, he is an acceptable substitute.” The Prince sips his coffee and eats a danish. “Can you bring him here?”

Misty nods. “I have his phone number.”

“Then do it. I will take care of him when he arrives.”

“He’s very dangerous,” Melanie says.

The Prince nods. “I will take care of him.”

The Girls call Smith. They tell him there’s a vampire they want him to kill. He says he can be there in forty minutes.

The longest forty minutes of their lives.

When Smith arrives, the Prince has already spilled blood on the table in front of him. The wound in his hand is open, but not bleeding. Smith opens the door. The Prince raises his hand and all of Smith’s blood rushes out of his body into the Prince’s hand. He clenches his fist and Smith falls to the ground.

“Excellent,” the Prince says. He looks at the Girls. “It was a pleasure doing business with you.”

Then, Ms Lethe lifts Smith’s unmoving (but still living) body with one hand and throws him into the limousine’s trunk. The Prince gets back into the limousine and Ms Lethe shuts the door behind her.

And the Girls watch the limo pull away.

Changeling, Episode 18 (Part 2)

When the Girls return from the warehouse, they have another problem to sort out. Actually, two problems. One of them is Walker. The other is Lilith’s eye.

“I want my eye back,” she says. “Can we find something in the Goblin Market that can find my eye?”

Kiera nods. “I’m sure we can.”

“And Walker,” Misty says. “Something that can cure Walker.”

Kiera looks concerned. “I’m not as sure about that.”

The Girls head off to where the Market has moved: behind an old woman’s house in her back yard garden. Kiera looks at Walker. “Ever been to the Goblin Market before?” He shakes his head. She smiles. “Get ready!”

They step through…

… and they are in the Market.

They look around for a while but they cannot find the contract maker.

“I got something for you!” their little goblin friend says. “I got magic watch!”

Lilith shows him her watch. “Already have one of those.”

“Hmmm…” he says. “How ‘bout magic rock?”

Kiera shows him her magic rock. “Already have one of those.”

“Hmmm…” he says. “Whatchoo need?”

“We need to know where the contract maker is,” Kiera says.

“Oh! I know! I know! But, you have to give me something.”

They ask him what he wants.

“Go witchoo when you leave!” the goblin says.

The Girls look at each other. They nod. “All right,” they say.

He laughs and jumps and claps his hands. “Yes! I show you contract guy! He sick!”

They follow him to a back part of the Market. Far in the corner, under a shadow, his caravan sits. Locked. They knock on the door. He answers feebly, “Go away.”

The Girls chat with him through the door. They make promises. He lets them inside. They ask why he hasn’t gotten a cure for his sickness. “The Remedy Lady,” he says, “doesn’t like me.”

The Girls make him an offer. They’ll get his remedy if he gives them the contracts they want. He agrees.

At the Remedy Lady’s caravan, the Girls show her antique jewelry from Misty’s house they brought with them. “From the hand of Lady Fate,” the Remedy Lady says, “This is payment enough.” She takes the jewelry and gives them the remedy they need.

Returning to the Contract caravan, they dip the remedy into his mouth. He thanks them and asks what kind of Contract they need.

“Something to find my lost eye,” Lilith says. The contract man nods. “I have something for that.” He points at a cabinet. “That one. No, not that one. The one behind it.” Lilith has the contract in her hand.

Misty says, “Something to cure Lord Strange.”

“That,” the contract man says, “is a little more difficult.” He points to a secret panel in his floor. They lift it and find a box of contracts that seem to be written on an oily black parchment.

“I will not lie to you,” he says. “These are extremely dangerous. Using them could cause… unintended consequences.” He pauses. “Dire consequences.”

The Girls look at the contracts, afraid to break the seal. They put them back in the black box. “We know where they are,” Misty says. “If we need them.”

Walker nods. “Probably for the best.”

The Girls leave the Contract Man and meet up with the Fortune Teller. She bows to Lord Strange and Lady Fate. She offers Walker a gift: a solution he can drink to “suppress your baser desires,” she tells him.

On the way out, they find the Book Buyer. Misty shows Walker the multi-volume set on Lord Strange, Lady Fate and Lord Action. She reads a little from the last volume.

Edward kissed her then. She held his hair in his hands and kissed him hard…

Misty closes the book. Walker says, “Edward was my father’s name.”

Misty puts the book back.

They step sideways then. Out of the Goblin Market and back into the world…

Changeling, Episode 18 (Part 1)

(Because of Blood & Honor, I haven’t had time to keep up with the Glamour Girls entries. This is from three weeks ago. My notes and memory are scant and there are bound to be things I overlooked. My apologies. The next update—from last night’s game—will be later today.)

The Girls sit in Dinkytown thinking about what they need to do. Prioritizing their goals.

The Changeling Killer is the primary goal. They have to stop him first. That detective they met, Ben Schullson, told them that he needed a list of fetches. They get him that list. They also realize they need to examine the latest body. “Wouldn’t the police have found anything?” they ask Walker.

He shakes his head. “No. Some things, they just can’t see.”

They head off to the Morgue. Once there, Walker examines the body. He finds a small piece of paper wrapped in plastic shoved down the fetch’s throat. They open the paper. It reads:

fly little bird
fly away home
your house is on fire
your children all alone

“That’s a nursery rhyme,” Misty says.

Kiera looks at the list of fetches and finds hers. Ann Bradstreet. They have an address. They drive off. But when they arrive, there are police around the house. The Girls are too late. Ben Schullson is already there. They ask him about details. “The girl is missing,” he says. “Kidnapped from the house.”

Kiera calls birds from around the house and starts asking questions. “Where did she go?” she asks. The birds tell her, “Big hoova!” Kiera explains that’s bird talk for “truck.” She asks the birds to help her find the truck. They squawk and fly out. Lilith tries to get a sense of what happened. She closes her eyes and sees a white van. The birds return with news: the big hoova is not far away. They drive off toward an industrial complex not far away from the Mississippi River.

Just outside one of the abandoned buildings is a white van. Misty turns invisible and moves closer. The van is empty. She moves toward the building.

“Wait a minute,” Ben tells the other Girls. “We can’t go in there.” The Girls ask him why. He says, “I don’t have any legal reason to go in there. I have no search warrant. I have no witnesses identifying the van. If I go in there, any shred of evidence we get will be thrown out. The guy will walk.”

The Girls think about this. Melanie calls 911 on her celphone. “Hello?” she says. “I was jogging by this building on my normal morning jog and I saw a guy lifting a girl out of the back of a white van. Yes, I have the address. No, I would like to keep this anonymous.” Then, she hangs up the phone. “How’s that for a lead?” she asks.

Moments later, a call comes over Ben’s radio asking for a car to investigate the address. Ben pulls his gun from its holster. “Good enough for government work,” he says.

Meanwhile, invisible Misty has made her way into the building. She sees a girl who looks like the Barbie version of Kiera—blonde hair, sweater, painted on jeans—strapped to a table. She hears another sound further in the building. She waits. Kieara climbs up to the top of the building where the windows shine light down on the scene. Ben, Walker, Melanie and Lilith are at the door. The cops kick it in. Everyone rushes into the building.

The guns make the man with the knives stop in his tracks. The Girls all recognize him.

It’s Elliot. Melanie’s friendly campus doctor who helped them not too long ago.

The cops handcuff him. The Girls ask him questions. “Why did you to this to us?”

He shakes his head. “I didn’t do this to you. I did it to your fetches.”

“Where are the hearts?” they ask.

“I ate them,” he says. “So I could become like you.”

“You’re guilty of murder,” Walker says. But Elliot shakes his head.

“I’m not,” he says. “Those things I ‘killed?’ They’re not real. They’re fetches. They’re dolls. Magic dolls. I haven’t killed anyone. All I did was dismantle a bunch of dolls.”

He looks at the Girls. “Did any of you actually give a single shit about your fetches?” The Girls don’t answer. “Of course you don’t. You don’t care about them. You hate them. They represent everything you lost. Why do you care if someone does anything to them?”

The Girls think about that. He isn’t entirely wrong. Until they started dying, the Girls didn’t even think about their fetches.

Elliot looks at the cops. “You can’t convict me of murder. I haven’t killed anyone. None of them were real. They’re clever faerie illusions. Glamours.” He points at the Girls. “The real ones are right there. I only dismantled facsimiles.”

Then, Elliot smiles. “Send me to court and I’ll have my lawyer tear apart Dinkytown. He’ll find all of you. He’ll ruin everything you’ve built there. You’ll lose everything. He’ll serve each of you. You’ll have to testify in court. And all of my victims will stand in the box and testify that they’re alive.”

Kiera snarls, “You want to be one of us? You want to be a faerie?” She grabs him. “Fine,” she says. “Let’s put him there.”

“Where?” Ben asks.

“Let’s put him in faerie. If that’s where he wants to go. Let’s give him what he wants.”

Ben says, “I need a body. I need something to hand over to the system.” He thinks for a moment. Then, he takes out his gun and shoots Elliot in the leg. Elliot screams. He looks at the Girls. “Take him to the River.” He looks at Elliot. “You tried to escape. I shot you. You jumped into the River. They’ll look for your body but they’ll never find it. And the murders will stop.”

The Girls nod and drag Elliot to the River’s edge. They find a soft spot in the Hedge. Kiera drags him through. He screams for help. They slug him.

On the Other Side, Kiera contacts a bird. “Tell Baba Yaga I left something for her,” she says. The bird nods and flies off. She looks at Elliot and his wounded leg.

“Run,” she says. “Baba Yaga is coming for you.”

Then, she slips out of Arcadia and back into the real world…

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