Explosions & Confusion

Before any of the dinner guests have time even for exclamations, chaos and confusion erupts as the first explosion sends the ship reeling. Sounds fade into temporary deafness while shards of wood and leaves rain down from the piloting house above them.

Those in the room are only shaken as most of the blast is absorbed by the hardened shell surrounding the Countess' quarters, but then a second blast sends the ship reeling to the other side. That explosion, at the water line near the bow, sends the Rhercyn into convulsions. Wooden beams and floors ripple and sway even as the third explosive begins its build up right under the Countess herself.

Both Chaos Lords immediately realize whoever stole the crystals was also a skilled sorcerer or Logrus Master able to link them to the Black Reef beneath them to create a massive and sudden energy dump. Yet they also feel a flicker of Pattern energy twined within the crystal under the Countess' platform. The energies of the Black Road come crashing back in response, and Anira shrieks as the Pattern energy surrounds her.

There were so many things battling for his attention, but the hint of Pattern energy twisted into the spell is a clue to the puzzle Kendall had hopes to solve. For those first heartbeats, all other considerations recede into the background as he reaches outward with his mind to release a quick cantrip and capture the identity of the spellcaster who had left a bit of Pattern here as breadcrumb trail. The match is one Kendall knows well, having met the man once in Thelbane with his brother: Brand, Prince of Amber!

A hand touches him before he can take further action. "I can save us—" was all Margot says as she scrambles to her feet. "But you may need to save me. And if you cannot…I have no regrets…"

She closes her eyes. The plan, not well thought out, was simple: get the bomb away from the boat as quickly as possible, drop it into the water and return unharmed. But, Margot knew nothing of the crystal, how long she had, or whether her interference would speed up the detonation. The last time Margot accidentally touched the Pattern, she did more harm than good. None of that mattered now, though; all she could think of was her Lady had vanished, and her new family - Kendall and Brisbane - were in danger.

As Margot readies to possibly give up her life, a shape appears next to her. Dara! Bloody and burned, one of the few in Hendrake that could move about the Black Road with such skill, yet there is no doubt to the price she had paid. The flesh about her right leg is blackened, a slice in her gut and a bolt in her shoulder both oozed smoldering blood.

But nothing of this matters as she shoves her Mistress upon the floor with a little too much pleasure upon her features. Margot lands with a thud, completely without grace, her shoulders smacking the edge of the table. Her pristine flesh bloodied by the hand of her Lady in Waiting, she could only watch in stunned silence as Dara took cruel pleasure in handling her and then destroyed the crystal.

The Chaos Lady's way is simple and direct as she brings the flat of her sword down on the charging crystal that Margot's will had freed from the platform. The impact shatters the crystal and each shard begins detonating in mini explosion that turn them all into twinkling dust motes.

"Now that's a dinner worthly of a House of Chaos," Brisbane says with a hint of humor.

"What happened? You're harmed…." Margot tries to stand. "You need care."

Kendall reaches down to give Margot a hand up, and then looks at Anira. The Countess clearly got the worst of it. Her body already strained from her stay in Amber, this little dinner entertainment had pushed it beyond. Her flesh bubbles and ripples and all three Chaosians can see the beginning signs of form rage and all its unpleasantries. Under the care of healers, it might last only a few Turnings. Out here in the uncivilized lands? Perhaps the rest of the trip.

"He got away, the little coward," Dara growls, taking this moment to yank the bolt from her shoulder with a grunt. Dropping the bolt to the floor, she watches the gore at its head go up in flames. "Give me a few breaths first, and I'll find the rest," she adds, now pressing hard on her gut wound to start the healing.

Kendall sizes up the Countess' position with a quick look, then turns to Margot. "You should leave." He looks at Dara. "Take her somewhere safe off the ship."

"What about you? What's going on? Kendall! I can leave the room, but why do I have to leave the ship?" He was scaring her, it was evident in her eyes; more than the bombs, more than anything she had experienced yet, the prospect of leaving the ship without him terrified her.

"The little dear won't leave without you," Dara says with disapproval, wincing as nerves and muscles reconnect.

He purses his lips at both answers. "The ship is damaged and is taking on water," he explains to Margot. "And Countess Anira is… in difficulty. It seems wise for us to use other means to continue our journey."

He looks over to include Brisbane when he makes that assertion, since it was his superior who had arranged for their transport on the Rhercyn.

Brisbane raises his brow, a silent question to his nephew that speaks to future needs and goals. But then he looks at Dara and frowns, no doubt thinking her no better than a vicious hound — useful, but always dangerous.

Which makes it even more surprising to suddenly see the old man pull out a knife and plunge it deep into Dara's still healing gut wound. The former Hendrake maiden collapses to her knees in agony, and he twists the knife about in her abdomen as he says something to her in a whisper.

Margot stands frozen, shocked, the blood draining from her face. Her plump lips part, but nothing would come out. Her eyes flicker between the three Chaosians, unable to focus on any one person as she tries to make sense of what she had just witnessed. She doesn't even notice the restraining hand Kendall places on her arm to prevent her from moving to help the Hendrake.

After a full breath, Brisbane yanks the knife out and wipes the blood upon her dress before the pretty flames play about the gore. He pays no heed to the burning hatred in Dara's eyes.

"Forgive my forwardness, Margot," he says. "But your servant needed a lesson about her duties, which as eldest seemed best dealt by me. Now, where were we?"

"The crystals. The Countess. Leaving the ship." Margot's words came out somewhere between a statement and a question, soft and breathy.

Kendall nods, folding his arms by habit. "I had thought to have some of our party leave the ship, but perhaps it would be prudent first to assess the damage. It may be that remaining on board is no less… risky than other plans."

Brisbane turns to Margot. "With your permission, may I use your servant?" He gestures to indicate Anira.

"To assist with the Countess? Of course…" Margot nods slowly. Her voice felt like it came from far away.

"You may come with me, if you like," Kendall says to Margot.

"Thank you," she says, still frightened but resolute. She couldn't help it; her eyes continue to scan the room, flittering from Dara to the Countess to Brisbane and back to Kendall. She waits for him to take her away from this nightmare.

Brisbane looks at the convulsing Countess. "So what shall we do after we take care of that?"

Kendall takes Margot's hand and leads her out of the cabin. "I will be in contact," he tells his uncle.

As the pair leave, they overhear Brisbane saying, "Lady Dara, I believe that wine over there has the proper type of toxin we can use…"

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Savior: Reviving the Rhercyn

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