CONTEXT/RATIONALE: This should have been a big Sunday session, but we all got wrapped up in playing A Touch Of Evil (futile, as it turned out: the Scarecrow won) so we only ended up with a couple of hours to roleplay. After recap, everyone decided to investigate the shadow wolf attacks rather than start the next Troll Trial in the Dreaming. So this is a research’n’roleplay session, with a bit of detective-work, some forensic spellcasting and a whole bunch of dice-free interaction in and around King Lot’s freehold.
Sir Gawaine listens while his friends explain the story of the shadow wolf attacking Enid the Silent and Thora. Dodinel the Savage produces the eagle claw still matted with shadow stuff and Fergus Ironsides investigates what it means. Gremayre tells him of an ancient treasure, the Book of Shadow, that lets a sorcerer summon and control the demonic alter-ego of anyone writing their true name in it. A stunning success with the Omen cantrip reveals that the book is nearby, given as a double-edged gift and used recently, once out of sexual spite and once out of irresistible curiosity. Gawaine only needs to hear ‘sexual spite’ to conclude that his mother Queen Morgause has a hand in this. The wounded eagle Velgr confirms that its erstwhile mistress had become Lot’s lover.
Gawaine goes to Queen Morgause’s chambers, but asks Fergus to scry him with Tattletale and uses hexes on his behalf if Morgause tries to bewitch him. Gawaine is kept waiting by Morgause’s valet Jafar, but Fergus uses Tattletale to scry within the chambers. King Lot is there, destroying furniture in a rage over Morgause killing his new lover. Morgause accepts his ranting in silence, but controls him by undressing him and performing oral sex. Fergus hastily explores the rest of the chamber, ignoring the troll’s ecstatic roars. He identifies the Book of Shadow in Morgause’s library, the Llyfawr Nudd on a lectern and a sinister black cauldron simmering away.
Later, Morgause emerges to speak with Gawaine and the two engage in a verbal duel. Gawaine accuses her of spying on his entourage but she retorts that his ‘spidery shaman’ (Fergus) has been spying on her, which is true. Gawaine is more direct, accusing her of conducting an attack on his squire. Morgause accuses him of keeping secrets and says she didn’t intend any harm, just to reveal what’s so important about a girl so many people have sworn oaths to protect. Gawaine downplays this, so Morgause changes tactics, blaming her sister Morgan La Fey for manipulating her. Gawaine tells her that the shadow book holds the nightmare of an angry werewolf (true) and Morgan gave her sister the book because the werewolf will be coming to take his name back and exact revenge (an exaggeration). Morgause becomes tearful and apologetic. She offers to hand the shadow book over to Gawaine as proof of good faith. In return she asks only to meet with Thora and see for herself what’s so special about the girl. Gawaine tries to postpone such a meeting and exact an oath from Morgause but she presses her advantage. Gawaine calculates that he cannot afford to be beset by the shadow wolf during the upcoming Second Troll Trial so he agrees to a meeting that morning and hurries off to brief Thora first.
Thora has been studying the Ettinthrone and asks Dodinel to use his Redcap powers to try to eat the Jotunaxe out of the throne. Dodinel is pessimistic but tries anyway, gnawing at a stone finger, only for the rock fist to clench tighter, threatening to snap the axe in half. When Gawaine arrives, he finds them covering up what they have done like naughty schoolchildren.
Gawaine arranges to take tea with Morgause and Thora in one of the sunlit upper caverns. Morgause arrives looking like a hip rock-chick older sister and immediately bonds with Thora. Only Gawaine’s stern warnings stop the girl from falling entirely for Morgause’s charade. When the queen’s Omen cantrip goes off, Fergus is on hand to try to hex it; however Morgause has a hanging spell waiting to hex him. Morgause’s cantrip succeeds, but not quite as well as she would have hoped. Before she leaves, she thanks them all (pointedly, in the cases of Dodinel and Fergus) and gifts Thora some Dross in the form of a vintage ‘smiley face’ badge.
So how much does Morgause know? She knows Thora has a great destiny, that several Fae have taken oaths to protect her, that Gawaine is protective of her to the point of paranoia; she now has a riddling Omen about Thora’s future. She’s very close.
Gawaine now has the Book of Shadow and arranges for it to be safely delivered to the Torchlight Detective Agency, to be returned to the werewolf Shaft.