8 hours ago
30 April, 1939 ???
Capt. Alastair Hawkesworth
HMAS Richard Lemon Lander
My Dearest Alastair,
My companions and I are preparing to depart the City of Brass, currently home to the monarchs of the Summer Court of Faerie, and I have some brief time to write to you before I complete my negotiations with King Oberon and we continue on our mission to reclaim my throne.
As you will recall from my last letter, I had not been feeling quite myself, but I am, thankfully, feeling better now. I awoke to this improved state almost as from a dream, to find myself and my compatriots in a temple populated by several (destroyed) mechanical polar bears, and two prisoners, a witch, and a gnome, whom we had defeated.
No sooner had I returned to my senses, then the temple began to shake violently; it seemed
that we were experiencing an earthquake. We rushed to escape the temple for the relative
safety of the surrounding desert, but falling debris trapped myself and Jude, with our newest companion, Miria, a gnome, just beyond. Our gnomish prisoner, unfortunately, was less lucky, as he was crushed by the debris and killed.
I asked Jude if he had any magical means to free us; but he did not, and so I settled on what appeared to me to the only course of action, using my weapon to blast the debris away and clear our path. Jude began performing a ritual to, he said, help stabilize the ceiling so that it would not collapse when I used my weapon. I shouted out to Miria to take cover, and fired, blowing open a gap in the debris through which we could climb. Miria was there to meet us when we emerged, and the three of us made it to the surface, where we were greeted by the sight of giant tentacles thrashing about and attacking our fellows.
The tentacles belonged to a truly massive sand Kraken (perhaps that is not the true name of the beast, but it is an appropriate one nonetheless). Marcus leapt into battle against it, and, remarkably, managed to leap onto a tentacle and run up it, straight to one of the creature’s eyes, which he stabbed. The eye (which was at least fifteen feet across) exploded in a shower of putrescent fluids and bodily tissues, and Marcus was thrown to the ground. General Pickton, for his part, flew into the air to distract the creature’s tentacles, which he very bravely did until one of them hit him and smashed him to the ground.
While Miria and also Elspeth took the opportunity to try and gain some distance from the creature using flying carpets we had found in the now ruined temple, and Jude endeavored to cast a ritual that would put the creature to sleep, and Lord Tybalt tried, unsuccessfully, to control the mind of the creature, I took careful aim with my weapon, and, with much fear, turned it to the highest setting (roughly translated, “Kill and Destroy Everything Completely”) and fired.
Somewhat to my surprise, the weapon worked perfectly, and caused a great, grievous, burning injury to the creature. Jude used his magic to augment the fire that continued to consume the beast, and it soon died.
Meanwhile, Elspeth had encountered some difficulty getting her carpet to fly correctly, and Miria had quite the opposite problem; we later learned that she used her magic to “supercharge” the carpet, and it shot straight up into the sky at a dizzying rate of speed, such that she had great difficulty controlling it.
It was only the fact that the carpet had a limited range – 25 miles – that kept her from flying indefinitely; but she did manage to gain control and eventually rejoined us. I was able to get another carpet working with no difficulty.
All reunited, though somewhat the worse for wear (I performed first aid on General Pickton; thankfully, his injuries were superficial and the principles of human first aid sufficed to aid him), we set off towards our destination, the City of Brass. It was two miserable days, filled with oppressive heat, thirst and general wretchedness. I must admit, Alastair, that I shall never understand the fascination that you British have for the deserts and other desolate places of the world!
Nevertheless, we finally, despite much difficulty and unpleasantness, arrived at the City of Brass. We were all of us in an unhappy state, and our worst personal traits seemed to come to the fore. Despite this, we gained entrance by the simple expedient of paying the “toll” demanded of us at the gates with a large chest of gold that we had taken from the temple.
We made our way to the palace, and Lord Tybalt, using his special talents, coerced our way in to see the King and Queen, Oberon and Titania. Our entire group, save for Miria, who had wandered off in search of, as she told us later, something “real”, was greeted by the royal court
I spoke directly with the King, and after some moments of tension, went off in private with him to negotiate (taking only General Pickton, as a precaution against any advances the King might make upon me!). Elspeth was entranced by a handsome Duke of the summer court and was led away by him; Marcus and Lord Tybalt followed, and that matter ended with the Duke, a gentleman named Everwind, nearly being killed by Marcus. Thankfully, as he did survive, a diplomatic incident was avoided.
Jude was taken off alone by Queen Titania, and although he was able to spurn her advances, he did exchange with her a memory, which she removed from him (taking more than he had agreed) in return for a magical weapon, a copper-steel sword.
Miria, we later learned, did find her “real” activity – a workshop, in which various weapons were being readied for use against the attacks of Chairman Miaow, who has been conducting raids against the other courts.
Meanwhile, I negotiated with King Oberon. He knew what I wanted (aid against Miaow), and repeatedly asked what I could offer him in return. I repeatedly replied that removing Miaow, and ending his harmful effect on Faerie (his use of firearms and other technology giving him an advantage that the Faerie courts cannot defend against), would be payment enough.
He tried to convince me to marry one of his vassals, as a way of inserting himself into the succession of the Autumn throne, but I would have none of it; as you know well, my affections are spoken for, and no Faerie glamour will turn them aside.
In the end, though, we came to an agreement. I (and my companions; I expect Miria especially will be of assistance in this) will assist Oberon’s forces in countering Miaow’s technological attacks. All territory taken by Miaow from the Summer court will be returned. And there will be an exchange of hostages; Colonel Rasmussen, who has been severely affected by the heat and atmosphere of the Summer court, will remain in the City of Brass, and a hostage who is of equal value to Oberon as the Colonel is to us, shall go with us as we continue on our mission.
It only remains to finalize our agreement, and we shall be on our way. Perhaps when I next write you, Alastair, I shall be once again upon my rightful throne.
Until then, I remain your most devoted and grateful friend,
Genevieve Chantal Therese de Lisieux Lamballe