For about an hour, as the sun set behind the mound, various ideas for where to go next were brought up and discarded. Eventually Uffe rolled a six sided die, which decided that they would return to Warsaw for the evening.
The entire Warsaw court was in the Great Hall discussing the sudden return of the hedge to normal, save one. Ruth was nowhere to be seen. The character’s told their story to boughts of applause from the gathered changelings before the place returned to its normal demeanor. The character’s mingled to chat and Vivienne focused on Doc. He answered her questions cheerfully enough before he downed his ‘special’ and passed out.
The party learned that the member of the Warsaw court who is best with computers is the Amoeba… its day job involves them somehow. They also learned that Ruth was tied down in one of the back rooms. The power that she uses to see into the future and the past takes a toll on her sanity and turns her into a raving lunatic for a random amount of time after she uses it
Doc told Vivienne that the boughs are a place, a thing, an entity, and nothing they offered her would be worth the price she paid, or her clarity. With a bit more prompting he told her the story of Kealor.
A few hundred years ago Kealor’s people lived in this area. After her escape from Arcadia this is where she returned, only to find that her people had been forcibly moved to Kansas. Following their trail she learned that all of those she loved best had died along the trail or shortly after arriving. She went to the boughs in a fury, wanting only vengeance against those responsible. She emerged from the boughs a monster, and rampaged across the countryside slaughtering those she blamed and anyone else who happened to get to close to her path. Eventually the Summer Court put together an army strong enough to take her down. All of those she had sworn vengeance against were dead, as was Kealor herself, and countless innocents.
Doc assured Vivienne that bargaining with the boughs was always like that. You get what you ask for, but in a twisted way, and for a price you would not have paid had the results of your bargain been explained in advance.
Uffe learned that Danny could produce just about any dish upon request and speculated about the types of magic which would allow such a thing.
Adam learned that as a reward for fixing the hedge Danny would preserve their goblin fruits free off charge.
General questions were asked about the ‘friendliness’ of the various courts. This is not a question they had ever considered before in depth, but they did their best to give a coherent answer.
Because of the transfer of power between the seasons each king and queen has an effect on the tone of their court, but does not really set that tone. The seneschal, as the right hand to whom ever is in power, is really the one who creates the unique culture of each city, regardless of the season.
The seneschal of Fort Wayne is the prime example of this. Alfred has been seneschal there for so long that no one really knows when he took power, he’s just always been there. As a chatelaine he has a fixation on propriety and formality that has permeated the courts there in a way found unpleasant by most of those in Warsaw. (Remember that the court in Warsaw is made up of Changeling misfits who wanted nothing to do with other people’s rules and politics. Everyone here finds Alfred stifling. You can guess that having someone stable who enforces sensible rules that never change would appeal to many Changelings.)
The seneschal of South Bend is a young windwing who goes by Zack. He has only been in charge there for a short while, none of your informants are exactly certain when his predecessor died, but round about a year ago, probably. None of the Changelings from Warsaw have lived in South Bend that recently, but those who have been there to visit agree that he runs things in a fairly laid back, easy going sort of way.
The general consensus is that South Bend is the ‘friendlier’ of the two cities.
The party slept in Warsaw that night. I handed out write-ups of their dreams/ memories from Arcadia and the next morning they chose to go to Fort Wayne.
The hollow which houses the kings and queens of Fort Wayne is both larger than the one in Warsaw and very different from it. The Great Hall has something of a jazz club feel and look to it. Fort Wayne reminds people more of a stately old world hotel. Rich colors and gilded carvings decorate the pristine walls. A lackey lead the group of you down a plushly carpeted hallway to Alfred’s office. There you consumed tea and compliments while making small talk. Alfred told you about the most recent ascension of a King or Queen in Fort Wayne. Charles defeated Michael for the honor in a grand tournament after the last summer King Lost an eye in a battle and decided that he was no longer fit to lead his court of warriors. He was asked about South Bend but only responded that he does not keep track of the goings on in South Bend as Fort Wayne is more than enough to keep him busy. Absolutely no one believed this, and they should have, because he really is a good liar. I should have made them roll, but it would have been pointless
From Alfred’s room they were lead to a suite. An entry way let in to a single common room attached to four luxurious bedrooms, each with it’s own attached bath. In each bedroom a formal garment was waiting, perfectly sized to fit one of the party members. The primary color tones are black and white, but some had bits of silver and glitter. Each of you can add a set of formal wear to your sheets if you want.
The Ball was grand, you were feasted, applauded and flirted with. You received potions, a set of hedge weave armor, and a boon each, though no one has yet told me what they are going to request. Everyone who came to the session got a medal. Hank had to stand to the side and watch his friends get awards like Chewbacca.