The Year of Frozen Iron

Chapter 2

In Which the Weaves are Intertwined

Prologue: Once upon a time, in a land far to the North and bordered by nigh-endless amounts of deep, black water, a storm was brewing. The proper oblations had been made, the ancient script given new breath, and the Word called out over the waters of life and dream. Both stirred to her call and churned forth many secrets not seen for many an age, secrets of life, death, and that which transcends both. Secrets of corruption and salvation, both of which now plague the dreams of Man and Lost alike.

The 4 heroes are now well established in their fields. The Princess has established her court and drives it to her own ends. The Clockwork Man continues his endless motions, hoping that the last iteration will bring him to his sister. The Acrobat fights for his brethren and for himself, eager to shed the shame of his failure. And the Child is reunited with her family and lends Hope and Innocence to the increasingly embittered world.

But will the Princess’s glowing smile be enough to turn back the darkness? Will the Clockwork Man be able to keep going after joy turns to tragedy? Will the Acrobat continue to emerge victorious when the blood on his blade is his own? And will the Child be able to retain her innocence in the tumult to come?

The Four will be joined by a Fifth, and only by depending on one another will they be able to save themselves. Dreams are deep, Water is dark, and Nightmare walks slowly through the courtyard…

Session 1: A 5th has fought his way from the Hedge, his fists bruised and bloodied from constant fights. He has been reunited with one of his loves, but something still calls to him out of the darkness. For now the drink and fights will carry his ills away, but soon he will answer the call, either out of loneliness or desperation. He has quickly connected himself to the Clockwork Man, and by extension the rest of our heroes. In the woods outside of town the Princess has started to lose some of her dearest friends, victims of some kind of bizarre plot. Her investigative charms have led her to the Library and the mysterious man known as ‘Milton.’ The Child has brought hope to the Clockwork Man, for his sister will soon be found! The Acrobat, however, has finally met his match in his dark reflection. Can he stop the intruder before he strikes again?

The Acrobat has also taken up the cause of the razor-handed Twicetaken, soothing his dreams in an effort to make his days more palatable. His services will soon be needed for many more, as Nightmare has only made the first step in his promenade.

Session 2: The Princess found her librarian and questioned him about all things magical. Milton was coy at first, but quickly opened up to the lady’s charms. He showed her all manner of books that could guide her on a quest for magical power, but was interrupted by the woman Penny, who was a bitch. She stole Milton away to talk of other things, while the Princes walked away with her books. She enlisted the Autumn court’s assistance in determining what was happening to her little friends, and they vowed to help her learn some of the ways of thaumaturgy to do so.

The Clockwork Man received joyous news from the court of Winter: his sister had been found! Quickly he and the Child who had delivered the message raced off to see her and ascertain her fate; they found her, however, in a position most unkind. The Lords of Dream had penetrated the asylum’s walls and grew a garden amongst the minds of the mad. Jack, enraged by this treatment of his sister, called on his allies to help free her. The Shadow and the Acrobat raced to answer his call and a daring break in was staged. Thanks to the Child’s scouting the troupe managed to flow into the building undetected and make their way to the Sister’s cell. Along the way they were assailed by mad chorusing on all sides, and a faintly glowing light accompanied by the sound of horses’ hooves.

As soon as they had liberated the Sister from her cell the Master of the asylum began his hunt for them. Desperate flight through the darkened Hedge turned into a bitter struggle as the Keeper’s mad dogs rushed at the poor Lost, savagely attacking them. Fortunately Summer’s newest warrior and the tenebreous Vernal Knight stood fast and slaughtered their enemies, giving the rest of the troupe time to escape. The two warriors were almost lost as well as the Fae Lord charged them, escaping the Hedge only moments before he was upon them.

Meanwhile, the Drunk was despondent. His bar was closed and little drink did he have to pass the time. He ran into an old friend from the home of his youth, but was turned away by the foul, black and orange cat posing under the name Mr. Bojangles. He seduced a recent divorcee, and was attacked by the cat once again! Vowing vengeance and giving it the Evil Eye, the Drunk had little course of action but to watch it depart. Later, after his performance with the Lords of Iron was a success, one of the members of the crowd suddenly attempted to shoot him. Failing in this, the assailant was quickly captured and determined to be under the influence of the Fae. Finally, in a final battle, the Lords of Iron joined forces with the Drunk to take down the mad cat fae, Black Tom, and bury his broken corpse in the Hedge.

Session 3: The Princess followed up her investigations by attending the Harvest Ball that the Autumn Court was hosting. She managed to get a bit of information about the wider supernatural community, as well as some more pertinent information about her quest from the pink-coiffed would-be-Minister Julia Swoop. Minister of what, we’re not exactly sure… and to some it might be better that way. It seems that Milton was interested in summoning something or someone, and that the research would be best helped by obtaining Milton’s research notes on the subject. Whether by hook or by crook, it matters not; the fate of the Freehold (or perhaps just that of the squirrels that reside in it) is at stake. There is also the question of the woman Penny, who gave off a very supernatural air about her. What and who is she? The Princess is determined to know. Even if it means talking to a man whose heart has long since stopped beating with blood, kindness, or remorse… She also began building a relationship with the Twicetaken, finding valuable information about Edward’s past with the former Vernal Sovereign.

The Clockwork Man ran into even more difficulties with his sister. Her dreams have been tormented for far too long for much sanity to remain. The prognosis is grim: her dreams have been poisoned, and for too long. Only a miracle could save her from the predations of the Fae or the headsman’s axe… now all that Jack has to do is find one.

The Twicetaken, the Acrobat and the Drunk were sent on a quest by Jack to harvest more goblin fruits. A simple sounding task, but those are often the most dangerous. Along the way the group heard the sound of someone choking, and raced to find a young fae woman being strangled by a vine. Cutting her down, but breaking her arm in the process, the band warily accepted her into their company. She led them past a carnivorous plant and to some bloodfruit, but from there their troubles seemed to multiply. First briarwolves charged past the group, then a Fae Lord and his hunt made their way along. Seeing as it was Paul’s and Ozzy’s former Master, the group was shaken and had to move quietly through a tight and dangerous section of the Hedge. Thorns tried to pierce the group and grow inside them, then mud tried to pull them down. Finally, sabotage almost threatened to bring the woods crashing down on the poor travelers, but the elf’s sharp ears heard the sound of the saw before too late. The fae woman revealed herself to be one of the noppera-bo, mischievious hobs that take others forms to lead the Lost into danger and terror.

At the end of their excursion, the group went to see Richard Eye only to find him in a black mood from his examinations of the Sister. The Drunk asked for aid in his quest to beat his opponents to bloody pulps, and Sir Eye agreed, on one condition: find the Fetch that murdered his wife.

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