So we had our first session of Fair Wind Rising (FWR) a few weeks back. You’ve met Estel Johnson, my character, and the rest of the crew already. Since Estel is fundamentally a storyteller, I think these pieces will mostly be her telling them as a story. 🙂 Of course, I as a player may have some insights too occasionally, so these pieces will probably remind you of the ones for “Behind the Curtain,” which I never did finish did I?
Fair warning, this got really long, but i couldn’t help it. So much fun stuff happened and I couldn’t figure out which part(s) to cut. So I didn’t cut anything.
Our story began mid-afternoon on Saturday, April 30th, 2016. Simon was on shift at the Timeless Tales Tearoom. The rest of us were hanging out at a nearby table. The monotony of the unremarkable day was broken when Roxanne, one of Simon’s Paly High classmates, came into 3T looking haggard and pursued. She handed Simon some really important letter on black paper, sealed with real sealing wax with a dragon imprint, asked us to give it to her friend Frank, then scampered off to the bathroom. Before any of us could really start to speculate on the letter, Chloe, and two of her cronies came in.
Now, I don’t go to Paly, but even I know that Chloe is Bad News, capital “B”, capital “N.” She wanted to know where Roxanne went. As is only appropriate when faced with such a situation, Simon claimed he hadn’t seen Roxanne all day. Chloe wasn’t amused, but the rest of us sure where. Eventually, Chloe deduced that Roxanne was probably hiding in the bathroom. She demanded the key, which led to the world’s slowest latte™ since the restrooms are only for customers. OMG, funniest thing ever. Eventually Chloe had enough and stormed off. Then something weird happened. She yelled at Roxanne, and for some reason, Roxanne cooperated. It was really creepy when Roxanne left with Chloe.
Before we could get properly caught up in “what the hell was that about,” Frank arrived by way of the bathroom. Don’t ask – I don’t know. We gave him his letter, and it turned out that the dork needed a ride somewhere to deliver the letter. Well, we were all dying to know what was in the letter, so off we went. With the other 4 plus Frank in Sybil’s mail truck. I, of course, would not be caught dead in that thing (although, as a note to the other PCs, Estel works very hard to make sure it looks like she’s not trying, and she doesn’t care and that “cool” doesn’t matter to her). I took my motorcycle.
Anyway, Frank sent us up to the very top of the 17, where he makes a bizarre hand-off of the letter. After a failed attempt to confront him about being a spy or a drug dealer, I drove him to the hospital, because he was bleeding. Not that he went into the hospital, but you know, whatever. In hopes of getting answers, we called up Roxanne and dragged her down to 3T, but she was distracted and listless and didn’t even remember the letter.
[Mild spoilers for current players in the following paragraph; highlight to read.] That night, I went home and had the most remarkable dream. I was up on skyline ridge, looking out toward the bay. Beside me was a woman I both knew and didn’t know. She felt like a traveler, a loyal friend, and… a warrior. And she looked and dressed like an older version of me. We looked out over the bay together, and talked about how beautiful the bay was. She said there had been a war she fought in, and that now the path of an epic journey was opening up at my feet too. Then she said that no journey should be undertaken without proper supplies. She gave me her bow – a beautiful longbow of a pale, almost silver wood, engraved with feathers, and a compass. The compass is a strange little thing, with two arrows, neither of which point north. Before I could ask about it, the dream was gone and I was shivering in the pre-dawn light on top of the Dish.
The next morning, Sybil, Trisha, Simon, Steris and I found ourselves on top of the Dish at Stanford in the pre-dawn light. Everything felt different somehow. I suddenly had pointy ears, and blue bird wings! What the hell? (Turns out I had chrysalized as an Eshu). Looking out over the bay area, I felt as much as saw, both the wondrous, exotic new world we had entered, and an indescribable, distressing weight on my very soul. The sunrise was the most beautiful I’d ever seen, and I’ve seen some beautiful sunrises on the playa. And yet, not even that could wash away the cold dread and sense of impending doom that emanated from a dark tower that blotted the eastern skyline on Mt. Hamilton.
Eventually, we decided we probably ought not to be found up here in our pajamas. We all walked to our various homes (how we got here may forever remain a mystery). Later that morning we met up at 3T. Since we didn’t really have anyone else to ask, we tried Roxanne again, but to no avail. Except that now we could tell that something was wrong with her. It was like something was sleeping inside her. Something that should be awake. So then we called Frank. And when he arrived, we learned why his code name is “butterfly”. He’s a butterfly! He has butterfly wings! How cool is that? Anyway, turns out he’s a pathological liar, but at least he’s a good natured one (He’s a pooka). After a very long run-around, we got him to take us to meet “Tinker Bell”
Belle is a knocker who hates being called “Tinker Bell” and works on cars. Unlike the Butterfly, Belle was willing to provide some useful information (which includes a masterfully handled, massive exposition dump by the GM that Estel was only half listening to – I promise that I as a player was listening). Starting with the current state of affairs and that creepy black tower. Belle explained that it was built by the Shadow Court, and is the dwelling place of the current ruler of the Duchy of Golden Gate, Duchess Genevieve ni Ailil. And, most importantly, there is a barrier around the Duchy that prevents people from leaving! (as an Eshu, this is like the worst news ever to Estel) Luckily, Belle and the Butterfly are part of an underground resistance movement. Unfortunately they don’t actually have a plan for getting rid of it.
In other news, today is April 1st, which means it is Beltaine, and there is a party at the freehold of Palo Alto, hosted by Baroness Siobhan ni Dougal, one of the only Seelie Barons remaining in the entire Duchy. And since it would be quite rude not to present ourselves to the Baronness, I guess we’re going to Beltaine!
What an awesome first session! ^.^ This is the first time I’ve had this particular GM run a game longer than a one shot for me, and I have to say I love it. The literally “once upon a time” beginning made me so happy, and it just got better from there. I’m a sucker for scene setting and sensory immersion, and this GM caters beautifully to it.
Hopefully at some point we’ll run out of excessive exposition scenes, and next time I’ll have a little more time to polish the post (you’ll notice this one was later than usual posting) and I’ll manage to tell a more compelling version of our story.