Rising Waters: Session 1

Rising Waters, Season 2

Session 1

Opening song: Team, by Lorde

Our setting is Baltimore, Charm City. The story opens with a concert at Moe's, which also is accorded neutral ground within the city. There's a group of changelings who've formed a band, and Duff from Charm City Cakes (a former changeling himself) is sponsoring their concert (about half the band members work for him). The band's name is Tempest, and their style is something like you might get if a ren faire, the Lumineers, and a goth metal band all had a baby together. That said, it's not bad... just wildly uneven.

All the PCs got an invitation to this, as really there were very few people who were friendly to Duff who didn't. He catered it, you see. So they all show up, including Zeke's new girlfriend, who is into local music and wanted to give it a try. Uno's working front of house, in an effort to stretch his human legs a little more and get some spending money, Dylan's making sure Adia doesn't get into too much trouble, Adia's hoping the music drowns out all the ghosts who want to talk to/at her, Eldi is interested in all this weird sort of stuff that people do, Viktor's at the bar with the occasional vodka shot, and Zeke is busy being amused by his girlfriend. That's when Moe taps Uno on the shoulder and says, "hey, somebody left these for you and your friends, go take them out, will you?" He hands Uno a series of small packages, each addressed to one of the PCs, all wrapped in smooth, heavy white paper and tied with silken cord.

Noting that Viktor is included as well, Adia retrieves him from the bar, and they flirt a bit, which is surprisingly cute. They let the packages sit until after the concert, but then they go ahead and open them to reveal the following gifts:

Eldi: a bonsai cherry tree in bloom (she can sit under it!).
Dylan: a pendulum kit, with a circular base painted half blue, half gold.
Victor: A silver dagger/letter opener that looks like a sword.
Adia: A painted sugar skull.
Zeke: A cross made out of rustic bent nails.
Uno: A white marble chess knight, warm to the touch.

Dylan starts putting together his pendulum, because what else would he do with it, and trying to figure out what he got. He starts to do a bit of magic, but then Moe clears his throat and taps the sign, and Dylan nods and let it go. Even without that, though, his experimentation leads him to believe it's not a regular pendulum, but that the gold and blue indicate the faerie courts. The concert breaks up and everyone starts finding their ways home, with Eldi and Adia carpooling with Dylan since Eldi can't very well be expected to tote a tree bigger than she is back home unnoticed. Uno hangs out inside to talk to Viktor and do a bit of bonding, but Viktor is uninterested, which annoys Uno to no small degree.

As Dylan and Zeke are saying their goodnights and everyone's gathered around the cars, Mouthpiece walks up. At first he asks for money, but then his eyes roll back in his head and he grabs for the nearest person, which is Adia. His hands on his arms, he sings "England Swings":

England swings like a pendulum do
Bobbies on bicycles two by two
Westminster Abbey, the Tower of Big Ben
The rosy red cheeks of the little children. 

He then shudders and turns to Dylan, and starts gesturing intently, declaiming Shakespeare's Sonnet 116:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
He follows this performance by leaning in to give Dylan a wet, sloppy kiss on the cheek. He then shudders once more, asking for money again, like nothing had happened. Moved by pity, Dylan gives him a couple of bucks and Mouthpiece rambles off, expressing gratitude and mumbling to himself. Dylan and Zeke exchange looks, knowing this means something even if they don't know what yet.

Dylan and Adia take Eldi home, to the herb and import shop in Chinatown where she lives with a human named Mei. Mei treats Eldi like a princess, with a little house and doll clothes and seems very protective of her. She is interested in Dylan and asks about his work and whether or not he's married, and then proceeds to offer everyone tea. They ask about the cherry tree, as Dylan suspects there's magic involved in these presents, thanks to the chess piece. Mei isn't magical, but something about the scent of the cherry blossoms seems unusual to her. Eldi gives her the one's she's been weaving together for a crown and Mei adds them to some other herbs, then makes some tea that she sips. At first there's no visible effect, but then everyone realizes that Mei can see through one of Eldi's glamours, at least for a while. 

Dylan then excuses himself and takes Adia home, where he offers to ward her bedroom against spirits since she hasn't been getting any good sleep for all the voices she hears. She takes him up on it. He then goes out into her bedroom and unwraps the skull, and starts playing with it -- only to hear the voice of Josh, his dead brother, talk back to him from the skull's mouth. They have a conversation and catch up a bit, and then Dylan puts the skull into a circle of salt and power to keep it from being used, and Josh vacates the skull to let him do that safely. 

When Uno gets home, his staff alerts him to an envelope that was left, inviting him to the engagement party of the summer lady in two weeks time, in Faerie. He tries to contact his mother, who is thrilled to see him, and explains to his horror that he's the intended bridegroom, in an arrangement that was made when he was just a baby. Of course, he'll have to make the Choice and be fae in order to fulfil this contract, but she's sure he's ready. He'll also have to give up being the lady's knight, as only humans can act in that capacity. Uno's shellshocked and unhappy, but doesn't rebut his mother, who's off to pick out clothing and is in general thrilled with this turn of events. 

The next morning, everyone meets up to talk about what happened. Turns out Viktor and Dylan both dreamed of their items, with Viktor seeing himself in battle with a demon wherein the silver knife turns the tide of battle in his favor, and Dylan seeing the pendulum field as a tilting surface, moving this way and that with the flow of power. Adia shows up with Josh in the skull, and he is able to join the conversation and be heard by everyone, not just Adia. Uno tells the rest what happened to him, and suddenly it seems pretty clear that they're all supposed to do something in Faerie, and each has been given a gift to make that happen. Who gave them the gifts, though, and what are they supposed to accomplish? Should Uno get married or not, and who'll be the angriest no matter what? 

Tune in next time to find out!


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