Steed's Tale - "Esprit de Corps"
- Chapter 03
Journal of Prince "Major" Jonathan Steed of Amber:
Based on a Scenario by Rain Donaldson
Written by: R. Cal Westray, Jr. in 1996.
Steed's history was written in 1994.
"Extraordinary crimes against the people and the state,
need to be avenged by agents extraordinary..."
Episode A3-3 - Never, Never Say Die
In which Steed is a team player
... and then goes solo.
Out of the darkness, I find myself returning to, where? I am in the middle of a city. It looks familiar, it is one of the Golden Circle Treaty cities. It is quite busy, with a bustle of activity. It shouldn't take too long to arrange transport back to Amber, there is no rush to get back via Trumps. I look around, what have we here? A pub, the 'Bond Street Pub'! What luck! I step toward the pub and I lose my balance. I am incredibly weak for some reason. I recover and lean against a nearby post, this must look scandalous.
What is the problem here? I bring up the Pattern, spreading the awareness throughout my body, a sort of self diagnostics. I detect a systematic poison spreading through my body, originating from an injury on my leg. Bloody hell! I had all but forgotten about the sting from the Dalek. The fight with Ponsonby has apparently caused the poison to spread rapidly. It seems to be a neurotoxin. Bad show, Steed, old boy. You don't have much time, you need to get to the infirmary. Now!
I drop the Pattern and withdraw a Trump of Ge`rard from my jacket, I am starting to black out. I force my will upon the Trump. Come on Ge`rard. I know you are busy, but you are the only one I trust at this moment. Not much time left. Time...time...time...I am drifting. Wait, I think I made contact. "Ge`rard?" I have the feeling of being pulled through before passing out. I experience a kaleidoscope of visions and dreams, where am I?
:No, the Doctor. I was examining this Trump thing. Is it a communications device?:
"Yes, communications and teleportation, but that is not important now. Doctor, I need to get to the infirmary, now. That bloody Dalek sting is a poisonous neurotoxin. I didn't realize it until now. I thought that I just blacked out. Do you know what kind of poison is in the Dalek sting?"
:It could have mutated into anything. I could probably do something with a blood sample.:
"Can you pull me through?"
:How? I can't see you. It is all dark.:
"You have to reach through and take my hand, then pull me through."
He reaches through and gets pulled in instead.
I seem to be dreaming and the Doctor is now in my dreams. I find myself in my Winchester estate, near the stables and I face the Doctor. Strangely enough, I feel as though I am still in a Trump contact. "Doctor, How did we get here? We seem to be on Shadow Earth, but that is not possible. I can only assume that I am unconscious and somehow you got pulled into my subconscious mind through the Trump contact. You did say that the contact looked dark."
"I believe you are right."
I am not sure. "This may be an effect of the Dalek poison. I don't know what to expect from the toxins."
"Wait a minute. It may be far fetched, but this Dalek poison; why don't we try to combat it from the inside of your body?"
"That sounds reasonable, Doctor. Where do we begin?"
"This environment is part of your imagination or subconscious. We need to create a suitable anti-toxin to fight the Dalek toxins." He looks distracted. "I am in a Trump contact with Suehprom." The Doctor responds to Suehprom. "I seem to have been sucked into the Trump and I am now part of his hallucinations. You are welcome to join us if you like." Our environment is shifting. A multicolored pastel scenery is resolving itself into a field. The Doctor answers again. "We don't seem to exist in the physical world at present." To me he says. "Steed, I am in contact with Suehprom. He wants to know where your body is."
I touch the Doctor's shoulder and join the contact.
:Steed, this Trump is broken. It reached the Doctor instead. What is going on there?:
"In the arena, I was stung by a Dalek. The fight with Ponsonby accelerated the spreading of the poison. I passed out trying to contact Ge`rard and the Doctor reached me instead. I wanted him to pull me through, instead I pulled him into my subconscious. My body is in front of a pub called the 'Bond Street Pub' in a Golden Treaty city. Ge`rard and Random would know where it is or how to find it."
:I will try to locate your body and take it to the infirmary.: Suehprom breaks contact.
The Doctor and I are left to solve this problem.
"We are going to be fighting these viruses. It's best if you try not to imagine what form they will take."
I hear the word virus and an amoebae form takes shape.
"We need a suitable weapon." The Doctor offers.
I pull from memory, the carnivorous horses from a Shadow I visited before. The horses attack the virus, but are getting sick. It is not enough.
"Let's try something inanimate."
Someone appears, the Doctor speaks. "Ace! You wouldn't happen to have any Nitrol- 9, would you?"
"Doctor, you know that you told me never to carry that. Here it is." She hands it to the Doctor.
He asks me to remove the horses. Throwing the Nitrol-9 at the virus. "Boom!"
The Doctor pauses. "Trump contact. Suehprom wants to talk to you."
I touch the Doctor's shoulder.
:Steed, something just happened that has shaken your body up quite a bit, just now.:
Doctor offers. "Maybe we shouldn't use explosives, Steed."
Suehprom asks. :What is your situation?:
I speculate, apparently Suehprom found my body and has it in a safe place. "I can only assume that my body is deteriorating from the poison."
Suehprom offers. :Will you permit me to do something?:
:Try to produce an army of white blood cells and suitable anti-bodies.: He breaks contact with us.
The Doctor suggests. "Actually, you can create an army of Doctors to take care of the poison and gardeners to set the landscape right."
An army of Doctors appear in medical attire, fighting an army of Daleks. The poison has changed forms to be more like its source. The Doctors resemble the Doctors in various incarnations. The battle is forming from association.
The Doctors are armed with umbrellas, yo-yos, and sonic screwdrivers. He comments absently. "Well, that's me all over."
I groan at the pun but I increase the number of Doctors and notice a slight decrease in the number of Daleks. I hope this means we are succeeding.
He offers. "I normally don't like guns, but we could use more firepower."
A familiar voice appears. "If it is firepower you want, you have called the right man."
"Brigadier!" The Doctor and I exclaim simultaneously.
"My boys are here to set things right. This looks like a job for U.N.I.T." An army of soldiers join the Doctors in the battle. The Brigadier moves to direct the men on the assault.
Things get increasingly strange. My subconscious brings up images of my Shadow Earth companions. An army of Peels, Keels, Gales, Kings, Purdeys, and Gambits join the fray. The Doctor looks at me about my companions, he seems to like my taste in partners. I smile and shrug.
The Daleks are decreasing in ranks.
"In one of you case files, you noted some companions. Were there any fighters that might be of help?"
Soon we were are joined by a horde of the Doctor's companions.
The Doctor motions that he has another Trump contact. "Suehprom suggests that I leave soon, before you fully recover. That seems to be a good idea. I believe you have a large enough army and the Daleks are losing." To Suehprom he continues. "Can you pull me through?" The Doctor disappears through the rainbow shimmer of the Trump contact.
I concentrate on keeping the army busy. The landscape is littered and bloody. I concentrate some attention upon making the fallen vanish. It is best to keep the landscape cleaned up. Our army has the Daleks outnumbered a hundred to one.
I hope the Doctor and Suehprom are doing all right. The battle is reaching a conclusion, the Daleks are eliminated. Excellent! I wave farewell to my gathered army. The landscape shifts to a lush pasture and a nearby grove. I feel as though I am returned to health. I close my eyes and click my heels.
I open my eyes and look up at the smiling face of Uncle Ge`rard. He is shaking his head. Probably dismayed at my recovery. I am too, that was the strangest dream I have experienced, tinged with enough reality to realize how seriously ill I had been.
I look around and I see the Doctor and Suehprom coming out of the TARDIS. A young lady in black leather and body suit is following. How odd, she is wearing a collar.
Ge`rard is turning around. "Get that thing out of here! This is an infirmary, not a parking lot!" The Doctor looked startled. Ge`rard has that effect on people.
"Oh! I came to help. How is he?"
"Strange, he seems to be doing all right. He was brought in here experiencing all the effects of some sort of poison. I gave Steed an anti-venom. He seems to be making a remarkable recovery."
"Thanks, gentlemen!" I feel stronger. I bring up the Pattern in my mind and do another self-diagnosis. There is no trace of the poison. Wonderful! I drop the Pattern. If I feel well enough to get to my feet, I will be ready to go. I make a terrible patient when I am conscious, I would rather be gone before Ge`rard gets tired of having me around. I sit up. So far, so good. I try to stand. Still steady. Excellent! I take a few steps, I feel fine.
The Doctor takes out a hypodermic. "I want to test your blood." He takes a sample with my blessing. He heads for the TARDIS with Suehprom. I observe the young lady talking to Ge`rard. I catch the name Kat. Very good, she is a shape shifter.
The Doctor comes back out to tell me what I already knew. There was no trace of poison in the blood stream.
I sit again for awhile to rest a bit longer.
Ge`rard insists that the Doctor gets the TARDIS out of his infirmary. They enter the TARDIS. We hear the whine and roar of the engine and they vanish.
Ge`rard comments. "The poison was somehow neutralized. There was some sort of Trump effect before you regained consciousness."
"Ge`rard, I had a dream that I was in Trump contact with the Doctor and pulled him in with me. We created an army to combat the Daleks. We won and the Doctor left."
The Doctor returns with Suehprom and Kat.
"Doctor! I was just telling Ge`rard that I had the strangest dream."
"Oh! No dream; a shared hallucination."
"Oh dear, a rather nasty one at that." Well at least the poison is gone. "Thank you, Doctor, Uncle Ge`rard, and Suehprom. I feel fit enough to make room for other patients."
The Doctor motions. "Good. Steed, we need to talk."
"Lead on, MacDuff."
Suehprom asks to join us. The Doctor agrees. We head for the hall.
I hear from the hall. "Son, I would like to speak with you." Flora calls out.
"Yes, mother." I look at the Doctor and shrug. I follow her down the hall.
"You seem to be better after your ordeal. Good. I heard that you had a Spikard and you gave it to Fiona."
"Yes. It seemed like a good idea at the time."
"Next time, I would appreciate it if you gave it to me instead."
"I will keep that in mind. I just know that I didn't want it."
"I understand. What do you know about your companion, Suehprom?"
This has taken a strange turn. "Very little. I was helping him to identify his heritage in town. It seems that he is Chaosian and Amberite. My guess would be that he is of Lord Suehy's line, but I am not sure of his Amber line. He is a shape shifter. Fairly trustworthy as Amberites go and a good horseman with excellent tastes in horses. He enjoys the food, drink, and atmosphere of Amber. He is also very pleasant and curious. I feel amenable about answering most of his questions. He may need a friend if he intends on walking the Pattern. Suehprom, the Doctor, Morganth, and myself have formed a pretty fair team and work well together so far. Anything else?" Mother was getting bored. I like to give her an information overload occasionally. She tends to get bored and ignores most of what I tell her.
"It is best if he doesn't know who his Amber parent are yet. If I am correct, it won't be safe for him if others find out." Before I can ask. "I am not completely certain. No, I can't share it yet. If you don't know, others won't find out. Time is running out, things are happening in Shadow. Be careful, I will contact you later." She hugs me and rushes off.
I walk back to my companions. I see the king's personal guards in front of the infirmary. Random must be there. Probably checking in on Corwin and Luke. We just missed him as I was talking to mother.
The Doctor and Suehprom are coming to join me. Coming out of the infirmary is Random, appearing in front of them. "There you are Steed, just the man I've been waiting to see. Let's talk."
My companions freeze and look off in irritation. I shrug. They follow behind Random, who doesn't seem to mind.
We walk down the hall. He wants to know about Scout and the Chaosians. I let him know that they left and Scout decided to join them for awhile.
"That may not have been a good idea."
"We can probably track him down."
"Good. He may not be safe with them. I suspect that he is one of ours and he may be in danger with them, if they find out."
"Unfortunately, we don't have any Trumps of him."
The Doctor offers. "I can help there."
"Good. Get on it and brief me later." Random leaves and the guards follow closely behind.
Suehprom sighs. "Before anyone else shows up, tell us what Flora said."
"She wanted the next Spikard that I find. As if I see so many of them. She was also curious about you. She has some suspicions about your Amber parent. She wouldn't share her guess with me, but felt that you would be in danger if the information was released. Random suspects Scout is an Amberite as well and in danger." I turn to the Doctor. "If you can get a Trump of Scout we better hurry. You can fill me in as we head to wherever we need to go."
We walk off. I learn that Sweeney is apparently OK. The Sweeney I killed was a shape shifter posing as him. The Doctor explains to us. "Sweeney gave me a primitive computer access card. It seems to have stored information on a secret project. I read it in the TARDIS. Are you familiar with biomechanics?"
I guess. "Like cybernetics?" I pause remembering the Cybernauts. My partners and I were nearly killed several times by those remote controlled soulless automatons. Fortunately for us, they weren't capable of independent thought or things would have ended differently.
"Yes, like cybernetics. There is apparently a rather sophisticated high-tech system. The blueprints were on the data file. The title on the blueprints was 'Project Creed'. I think we have a bit of a problem."
"Scout may be in grave danger, then." I agree.
"I'll be right back." The Doctor leaves and soon returns with a Trump card.
We discuss theories about Project Creed, there is little information so far. "We may need to combine our effort in the Trump call if they are too far away." I suggest. Kat comes to join us.
"Doctor, is it possible that Creed is the subject of this project and not be aware of it?" I inquire.
"He did indicate that he had no memory of anything except his adopted parents. What disturbs me is who controls the project."
"Possibly his entourage controls him." I suggest.
"There are too many variables." He shrugs.
We join together concentrating on the Trump of Scout. We get through. We experience waves of incredible pain, through the contact. Together, we block the pain and help Scout control the pain.
"Scout, this is Steed, Suehprom, the Doctor, and Kat. We have reason to believe that you may be in danger with the Chaosians. Do you need medical attention?"
He agrees and we pull him through. He is in pretty bad shape. his left leg is cut badly and he his holding up a black bladed sword. The stench of Logrus permeates the sword. The Doctor offers to deal with the sword. I offer to carry Scout to the infirmary. The Doctor takes the sword and heads to the TARDIS. When the Doctor bumps the sword into the wall of the castle, it cuts through cleanly. That is a dangerous sword. That also tells me that the Doctor needs some training with a blade. He may hurt himself with it. I pick up Scout and rush him to the infirmary.
We get there and I place him on the table that I just left. Ge`rard looks at me and rolls his eyes, as if to ask 'what's next?' He cuts away the clothing and inspects the injury.
I get a Trump call. Responding, it is Random. :Steed, A gentleman names Sweeney is here. I thought that you had killed him earlier.:
"I thought that I had killed him as well. The Doctor mentioned it a short time ago. He seems to think that some shape shifter was posing as Sweeney and it was the shape shifter that I killed. Where was he last seen?"
:He is downstairs in Castle Amber, in the Great Hall.:
"I will check on it."
:Good. What did you learn about Scout?:
"He was injured and we brought him through and took him to the infirmary. His leg is badly injured. He brought a black sword with him that is empowered by the Logrus. Quite a nasty blade."
:That doesn't sound good. Where is it now?:
"The Doctor is dealing with it the sword. It should be safely put away. I will report back later when I know more."
:Right.: We break contact.
I observe Ge`rard and Scout. Scout's condition seems to be improving. It has been a long evening for Ge`rard, he is doing miraculous work with all the cases he has dealt with tonight. Corwin and Luke seem to be improving as well.
The Doctor let me know that Morganth had disappeared since our departure in the arena. He would like to try to reach him. He somehow has a Trump of him. The Doctor is full of surprises. I suspect that the Doctor is quickly becoming an accomplished Trump artist. We leave for Suehprom's room, where we can find some place quiet. He initiates contact with little luck. Suehprom and I join him. He must be in a distant Shadow or a blocked one. Kat decides to join us in the contact. That is working. We reach Morganth.
I begin. "Morganth, are you all right?"
:Yes, I am with Blazer.:
I remember the reverse Blazer from the arena. "Do you both wish to come to Castle Amber?"
:I will get back with you. Give me a minute.: We break contact.
While Morganth and Blazer are discussing their decision, I had a bad feeling about our joint contact. Kat's psyche was a bit overwhelming. I focused my total concentration on the Trump contact. I was not going to make it easy for her to sift through my mind. I suspect, that it did little good. I somehow got the same impression from the others in our brief contact. I am sure I heard a mental laugh. I am sure that Kat had forced her way through our memories. Which ones, I am not sure.
We have given Morganth a few minutes and we are going to try again. Something I am not looking forward to. I would if I knew more about her, but I don't. She traveled with Creed and that makes her motives suspect. I will focus on the Trump contact again. Hopefully, she is done with her probing.
We join for the contact. Morganth is joined by another powerful mind.
I begin. "Morganth, who is your injured friend?"
:This is Blazer.: Both are powerful minds.
"I can barely see the resemblance to the negative Blazer. He must have been badly injured."
They decide to come through and take Blazer to the infirmary. He is badly burned with a host of other injuries. He is fading in and out of consciousness. We get him there and Ge`rard begins treatment. He looks like he is reaching the end of his patience with all this activity.
I suggest. "Morganth, it looks as though Blazer is going to be out of action for some time. You may want to brief him about Amber and assure him that we will do everything we can to help him."
"When I get the chance, I will get in mental contact with him and do that."
I continue. "We were on our way to the Great Hall to see what Sweeney wants."
We reach the Great Hall to meet up with Sweeney. Still all in beige. He tells us that he found himself in a hallway full of mirrors with strange visions and wound up in an arena where he faced Suehprom. He saw the figures in black robes and assumes that they were a male and female. He wasn't disturbed to find out that his double was killed and wanted to inspect the remains.
The Doctor didn't think there was any harm in that. We went back to the infirmary. He inspected the remains and told us what we already figured. It was indeed a shape shifter, not his body.
Sweeney remembered me from the arena with the fencer. He didn't seem disturbed that I killed his doppleganger. I recall that Suehprom and Sweeney were trying to charge the pair in black robes in the arena. This Sweeney seemed to be a likable fellow, unlike his double.
Morganth had been in mental contact with Blazer and tried to put his mind at ease. He needs a great deal of time to heal. Hopefully, Morganth can use similar healing spells that he used on Creed.
We are all together in the infirmary: the Doctor, Suehprom, Sweeney, Morganth, Kat, and myself. The injured are: Corwin, Luke, Scout, and Blazer. Ge`rard and others are taking care of the injured. It is quite crowded here.
The Doctor is getting a sample of Sweeney's blood for some testing. He cut himself to give the Doctor a blood sample, the blood oozes up into the tube. The skin tissues knitted itself back together. So, Sweeney is a shape shifter as well.
Kat seems to be in mental contact with Blazer and Morganth is concerned about what she is doing. The Doctor, Suehprom, and Sweeney head for the TARDIS. I am staying here where I can check up on Corwin, Luke, and Scout. Corwin and Luke are now conscious and looking around the infirmary. Kat gets their attention and introduces herself to them. Corwin seems attracted to her.
Morganth gets Kat's attention again and argues with her about her methods of mind control over Blazer, to keep him in bed. Corwin and Luke seem to be doing better.
The others return to the infirmary and there is more discussion of Project Creed. However, no one understands the full implications yet. I wonder what Creed has in mind except taking the throne of Chaos. Hopefully, that is the extent of his goals. If they extend beyond that, we could be in another Shadowfall War. For that reason, I would prefer Merlin on the throne. I suspect that Fiona and Mandor may have some plans, but it is anyone's guess if it entails a joint ruler ship, or just striving for joint power. Mandor may find that his hands will be full with Aunt Fiona.
Ge`rard has placed a full cast on Scout's leg. Scout seems anxious to get around. I have been curious about what happened to Scout while he was with Creed. Supposedly, they were escorted through Forest Arden by Julian. They encountered some pilgrims of the First Unicorn Church, who turned out to be a trap and distraction for someone with black armor and that black sword of Chaos. Scout tried to fight defensively by kicking at his hand to disarm the man in black. That got his attention and his sword. Scout had the black sword and the man in black had a black dagger. Scout cut into the leg of the man in black, but was caught under a tree; felled by the black dagger. The dagger and the sword seemed to be able to cut through anything. Scout thinks that Creed got the man in black with a dagger. Creed was injured as well.
I explain to Scout that Random thought that he was of Amber blood and that he was in danger in Chaos. That is why we pulled him through with a Trump. Scout wonders why Random thought that, but Random gave me no indication why. The file on Project Creed was mentioned.
Kesa shows up in the infirmary from her travels in Shadow. She tries to get caught up with the events that have occurred.
Scout feels up to hobbling down to the TARDIS with the Doctor to read the Creed file. Scout apparently has seen Creed in action the most and may piece together some of the clues of the project file. I tell Scout that there may be clues for Random's suspicions in the file. We may all be in danger as a result of this project. Kesa follows the Doctor to the TARDIS as well.
I stay in the infirmary to help wherever needed. My help is honestly not needed, but my experience with wartime field medicine makes me a fair assistant. I also keep up with various techniques that are used in the infirmary. This is valuable knowledge, especially if someone is injured far from medical help.
Kat, Morganth, and Suehprom stay as well. Blazer is getting restless and would like to know what is going on. I introduce myself and try to explain what has been happening in Amber. Also, I try to explain to him about Amber; the standard explanations. I explain, since Blazer seemed badly injured; we thought that he could get good care here. Yes, it was I who carried him here when he passed out. To be fair, Kat put him to sleep.
I introduce Blazer to the others who are still in the infirmary. I feel like the Amber tour guide and social director. I then explain the range of injuries that he seems to have. I express my thoughts about what Kat seems to have done to his mind. I heard Kat tell Morganth that she used mind control to force a paralysis to keep him from moving around and injuring himself further. Morganth felt that it wasn't necessary, Blazer needs to decide for himself. He currently feels no pain but there is possible danger from an extended paralysis. I let them sort it out for themselves.
Luke calls out about a Trump contact. He tells us. "We need to get to Kashfa now! My wife's head has been cut off."
I call out. "Coral? Let's go then." I turn to the guard giving limited instructions. The others may be of help. I stay to bring the others. Luke, Corwin, Ge`rard, Kat, Morganth, and Suehprom disappear through a Trump contact.
I remain with Blazer in the infirmary with some guards and medics, until the others arrive, I would have preferred to go. I am the only one they have a Trump of to reach me to bring us there or to bring them back. I would follow Luke into hell to protect Coral; failing that, to avenge her. I will be in Kashfa soon. The others arrive from the TARDIS, I quickly explain the situation. The Doctor and Scout leave to retrieve the Chaosian sword.
I get a Trump contact from Kat. I have her pull me through. I see the dead bodies of Dog and Mage. There are broken balloons and dead insects, what was left of Swarm. Blood everywhere. There is a path of blood leading from the scene of the carnage, and the headless body of Coral. Ge`rard recovers the body and disappears through a Trump portal.
I get another Trump contact. It is Kesa. Corwin and Luke join the contact. We see Creed, he has Smiling Jenny by the hand and the head of Coral in the other. Corwin, Luke, and myself want pulled through now.
We are enraged. Luke is ready to slaughter anyone in his way, with Werewindle. :Send me through!:
We step through. We see Jenny concentrating on an object of some nature. They disappear.
I receive another Trump contact. It is the Doctor and the others, ready to come through. I start pulling people through. I am extra careful with Scout and the Chaosian sword.
Kat is trying to get through to Creed.. Corwin and Luke hold on to her to keep her as she is trying to disappear through the Trump portal. She relents.
Corwin stares at her levelly. Take us to the one who killed Coral. Now!"
She hesitates. She tries to reach Creed with a Trump contact, but not very hard.
Corwin suggests. "Force it! Now!" Greyswandir is getting closer to Kat.
The contact is made. People are joining the contact to force it. She tries to block it once more. Corwin slashes into her abdomen with Greyswandir. She passes out. "Now!" We get through, and we go through quickly.
First Corwin, Luke, Scout, Morganth, and Suehprom go through. Once again, I serve an a Trump anchor to get them back. I hate being out of the action. Just once, I would like to work solo again. I am beginning to miss being an independent agent.
Soon, I get another Trump contact. It is Suehprom and I get pulled through. Finally, I see Creed fighting with Corwin, Scout, and Suehprom. Luke is gone and Creed is maneuvering toward Werewindle, for some reason it is on the ground near Creed.
I use my brolly and hold Creed away as I try to maneuver toward Werewindle myself. I have my bowler at the ready.
We have Creed surrounded but he seems to be holding out well. I throw the bowler at the sword to knock it back and away.
As Creed reaches for Werewindle, Corwin slashes at his leg with Greyswandir. Creed still manages to grab at Werewindle and bring it up around to block Corwin's blade.
The bowler hits his wrist. He switches the blade to the other hand. He throws another blade at me. I dive and roll under the blade. It misses, I notice there was little force behind the throw. I get back into position as Corwin gets more cuts in. I tap my forehead and the bowler returns.
Creed backs into a more defensible position with Werewindle. He is also moving toward me, thinking I am the best target. I keep him at bay with my brolly. I try to keep him going for me, so that others can get their shots in.
Scout gets an opening and slices with the black Chaosian sword. Creed tries to block the swing. It slices cleanly through the wrist and deeply into the injured leg of Creed.
I try to subdue him by throwing the bowler for a glancing head shot. It connects to the back of his head.
For some reason, Corwin disappears. Scout, Suehprom, and myself face Creed. He lowers his blade and surrenders. He probably suspects that with Corwin gone, we won't try to kill him, and just take him prisoner. Suehprom takes Werewindle.
I withdraw a Trump of Ge`rard. He brings us all through back to the infirmary. Soon, Creed is strapped to a table again to be attended to. He doesn't seem to be in a hurry to go anywhere again. I don't know why I am not more inspired to see to the demise of Creed. I guess that I want to get to the bottom of this and he may have the answer to a lot of questions. If Coral dies, Luke will return to finish Creed.
Questions surface. What happened to Jenny? Why was Coral attacked? Was it for the Jewel of Judgment? Where is it now? I am concerned because all of reality is in danger if the Jewel is in the wrong hands. I have a bad feeling about its whereabouts.
Corwin's disappearance prior to Creed's surrender was a bit curious. I don't think it was his idea. He planned to kill Creed, a bit at a time. I've seen that look before. Hardened determination to punish someone and prolong it, slowly and painfully. As much as I felt the same way, I had to hold back. Why? And where did Corwin go?
Did anyone else disappear as well? In the infirmary there is: Ge`rard, Blazer, and Creed; they will be here awhile. With me are: Suehprom, Scout, and Morganth. On the absent list are: Kat, Kesa, Luke, Corwin, and the Doctor. There was someone else, Sweeney. Where has he been? He went through to Kashfa, but I haven't seen him since.
I imagine that Luke is somewhere in Shadow to help Coral. Of the Chaosians, only Jenny is alive, but where?
My mind returns to the Jewel of Judgment. Since my conversation with the Unicorn, my internal alarms have been nagging me. Possibly, it is my extended awareness with the Unicorn that fills me with such foreboding.
As for the absent members, I will have to play a waiting game. Several have Trumps of me, but I have no Trumps of the others. Well, I have Corwin's, but he can take care of himself.
Suehprom suggests that we try to reach the Doctor by Trump. He tries, with no luck. Instead of using Trump, he suggests a full psyche contact instead, no luck either. Morganth attempts to use a spell of summoning; a Doctor summoning spell. Somehow, he seems to be reaching other versions of the Doctor instead.
They move in unison. Simultaneously, they say. "To the TARDIS! We have to save the Doctor." The Doctors head for the TARDIS, Morganth follows.
Suehprom suggests we initiate a joint contact with Kat. I am not keen on the idea, but our options seem limited. We seem to be able to barely reach her. We get an image of Corwin, fighting off a horde of men with Greyswandir. Kat seems to be desperate to reach us as well. The contact is tenuous at best. With everyone working together, this is the best we can get.
We need an object of power to strengthen the contact. Suehprom had Werewindle, but doesn't seem to be carrying it now. The Spikard would serve as well. They understand what is needed.
I break off contact. It is not my doing, I seem to have been pulled out of it.
I feel the familiar contact of my mentor. I hear within my head, :The Jewel of Judgment is heading for Chaos, you must bring it back!:
"Yes, the Jewel! I am coming." It is all they hear me say.
I am surrounded by a golden light. I become a golden silhouette and I fade from the Infirmary. I hope I am not too late.
I have heard it said, 'be careful what you wish for'; I guess I am on a solo mission again.