"Ah, so you think you and the others are having a hard time?" Andrea smiles, nodding as if confident she could dispel such delusions. "Let me tell you about what we've been doing over here!"
"That will take some doing," Chiana says back, waiting.
"Alright," Andrea nods. "Well, it started when Cuthbert first started to brief us on the Quest we were to help him with...."
Cuthbert explains to those Champions who will be accompanying him what the Rules and Agents have told him about his quest. "Apparently somebody very high up in the hierarchy of the Angels allowed himself to get rather carried away. Someone called Stacy, from a city called New York..."
At that a look of surprise comes over the faces of several of the Champions, for they know of at least one analogue (they presume) of this Stacy. They don't interrupt, though, and Cuthbert continues: "Someone called Stacy, from a city called New York, died. [7386 - option 5] Instead of the regular procedure taking place when someone dies - the Rules and Agents wouldn't tell me what that was - for some reason this Angel decided to restore her to life, without her memory, in the body of a woman called Princess Rebecca, who was living in a country called Daria in some analogue Terra or other. I asked what had happened to the rightful owner of that body, but either they wouldn't tell me or they didn't know. All they would say was that it wasn't possible to undo what had been done. That means that this Stacy can't be returned to her native reality and her memory won't be restored to her."
"In that case, what is the quest that we've agreed to help you with?" Astra 9 asks him.
"Princess Rebecca is married to a Prince Samuel, who is apparently a very nasty piece of work. His brother Eric, the King, has disappeared, so that Samuel is ruling Daria as regent. He also is interfering in the affairs of the neighbouring kingdom of Zendara. Rebecca's uncle is Hengist, king of Zendara. Hengist has been putting down an uprising by a group of women calling themselves the New Amazons, who have been trying to get women in Zendara more rights. There was a fair-sized battle between Hengist's army and the rebels. Almost all the rebels were killed and Hengist's own daughter, who was leading them, was amongst the fatalities. Samuel is also very anti the New Amazon cause. The other main player is Prince Aaron, son of Hengist, who is believed to be sympathetic to the New Amazons."
"You still haven't told us just what our quest is," Jarlath objects. "This Stacy/Rebecca may perhaps be in danger from Prince Samuel if he's as nasty as you say, but it's not normal practice for the Celestrials to intervene on behalf of individuals. And even if further war and bloodshed is likely in the region, they wouldn't normally do anything to prevent it. Their guidelines are strict."
"Cuthbert continued to explain what the quest is," Andrea said, remembering. "Now, it is true about the Celestrials not normally intervening on behalf of individuals (either by proxy or in person). However, this case is far from normal. An entire reality was at stake here, with the outcome of one person deciding it's fate. If Rebecca should die within the month time frame of this Challenge between Offices, then the inhabitants (including Rebecca) shall all be swept into Game 3, subject to whatever whim an Author has. Since death isn't permanent there, Rebecca would also be subject to this as well."
She frowns in obvious distaste (and then some) before continuing.
"See, the Demons had felt slighted over Rebecca having been sent back without them getting a crack at her being judged," the demifox female mage explains. "So much so they set up this Challenge. The Angels and Demons agreed to use another set of Celestrials as a third party, the Rules and Agents, to broker this thing where we Champions are to try to keep Rebecca safe. Being what we must be facing, it seemed fair enough for all party members....in as far as they could agree."
"Right off it looked simple enough...." Andrea pauses, and laughs a little at that. "However, such challenges are about her then and still now that we should have known better."
She goes on to explain that the most challenging thing out there right now was something called Chaos Energy, a radiation of sorts that had caused strange things to happen to people or around people from Game 3.
Indeed such a thing had prevented a smooth rescue of Rebecca from Samuel in the first place.
Originally the plan had been to intercept Rebecca (who'd been riding a horse) during a fox hunt, bespell the horse (bringing it under mage control) and causing it to run away from the rest of Samuel's hunting party, and to the Champions. From there (after calming Rebecca a bit), they would run off and hide in the hills until time expired, avoiding whatever hunting/search parties Samuel sent out.
A Chaos event caused Rebecca (horse and all) to be teleported away to the sight where the New Amazon's last fatal battle had occured RIGHT as the Champions were about to scoop her up and cut and run! It not only did that, the event, but also resurrected some of the departed women warriors as well! It was only a mere shadow of it's former self, the fighters left of the New Amazons (with Illura back with them). Only a mere shadow at something like one tenth of what it had been, and with a lot injured to boot! Very confusing to those back from the dead, let us just say, since they had no memory of this battlefield they'd found themselves in.
They met up with Rebecca, thinking that she'd come to join up with them, only to have to go chase her down after one of the mage's spells had reached out and caused the horse that Rebecca was still on (and magically glued to, BTW) to gallop at full speed to a spot designated as a pickup point. The Champions all flew out there and intercepted Rebecca, with New Amazons still in hot pursuit (trying to rescue her), only to have add confusion with Prince Aaron showing up, set on rescuing Rebecca himself as well!!
"Even more confusing and frightening when you realize that Aaron, by his clock, had only come across that field of death and destruction where almost ALL the New Amazons were dead....including his sister, Illura!"
"Oh frell," Chiana whispers, imagining how shocking that must have been for the man.
Andrea, translation spell not able to translate what that word meant....but decided not to bother, considering that she had a pretty good idea it was not a term for....hrmph...."polite" company. See, she'd heard both Betty and Ragan, over the years, use that and other alien terms that seemed to somehow come from one of their many favorite scifi TV shows and/or books, and.....
"We managed to calm things down," Andrea says, glossing over the difficulties with those simple words. "Managed to even win them over to our side. Aaron in particular got....swung to our side, rather permanently when he fell for Joan. Seems we picked up a new Champion....."
"Hmm," Chian chuckled a little bit, remembering her own induction as well when she fell for Sigin. "As for the others, Astra and Cuthbert were instrumental for that, you see...." Andrea continued.
Those two particular Champions were the more politically astute members of this Quest. Cuthbert had been able to convince the New Amazons and Aaron of the danger facing this world by coaching it in....religious terms, making the Champions look like something similar to a religious order on a holy mission. Indeed, one could even say that was true, in a sense. If you think of the Rules and Agents belonging to a Higher Power....
Well, you get the idea. A few more Chaos events seemed to bear witness to what Cuthbert said, anyway. Things like where the New Amazons found themselves changed overnight into stronger, swifter (i.e. Amazonian) versions of themselves, with Illura seen as their destined Queen....eventually. Illura, anyway, seems to have gotten religion of a sorts and now has something of a "Joan of Arch" complex. Even helped sway a potential ally (a Baron Montefort) into siding with the new Amazons when a Chaos Event decided then and there to strike, not only switching the species (from human to centaur) but GENDER as well!
Now, the newly transformed females probably would be said to be wise to switch sides to strongly support the New Amazons. However, the thing here is that....there is a glow to their eyes that is very much like a religious conversion.
Once small, the New Amazons have grown into a large force again, under a banner of equality for all genders (and now species)....
"....and the New Amazons also see just why Rebecca should be kept alive and well," Andrea nods. "So we have a lot of muscle to back us Champions up. Were even able to not only managed that miracle, but also meet and....sway the forces of Samuel (who'd mounted a expedition into neighboring Zendara) to our side as well...."
Seems that Samuel hadn't been sitting idle whilst his wife had gone missing. He'd gone and had his flunkies poison Hengist, who was now on his deathbed by this time. With that and the resurgence of what he called "the New Amazon menance" (who now held his wife "hostage"), he and a force of soldiers were going in to "rescue" Rebecca as well as re- establish order within the neighboring kingdom. All in kindness, of course. Least he could do.....
Though really he wanted to add to his kingdom as well, really. That's when a demoness named Jasmine showed up, riding upon the wake of yet ANOTHER Chaos event.....
2/23/2003 1:59:18 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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