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120 years and into Miami

It is hard to describe what followed mine and Blimps return to London. During the night I dreamt that the lady Helen came to me while I slept and dragged me from my bed. But it cannot be a dream, unless I am dreaming still. I remember little that followed, but it feels like an eternity has passed. The place I was in could not be real, or at least not in the real world. It was called Arcadia, the land of the Fay. The people there were not human, though many had once been. This place changed everyone who stayed. For some, the changes were extreme and deliberate. The lady Helen had many servants, and she changed them to suit the tasks she wished them to perform. I was luckier than many, my medical skills and experiences with the brothers of the skin meant I had the job of changing others. Although this place has twisted my body, I have not been subjected to the more extreme changes the lady Helen ordered on others. Although Blimp, Julian and Fred were also brought to this place, we were separated and it was not until chance brought us back together again that we formed a plan to escape this place. Blimp now called himself Colonel Blizzard, and appeared to be made more of ice than flesh and blood. Fred was now calling himself Kyte, and seemed part bird. Julian had took the name scarecrow, and seemed less changed than the others though he seemed to have gained a liking for shadows. Finally the opportunity had arrived. Our mistress had left on business and we had an opportunity to flee. We fled from her domain into the hedge, a strange wilderness that lay between Arcadia and the real world. As we fled we were pursued by four briar wolves. I killed one before Blimp screamed at the others, freezing them in fear. Julian was badly wounded in the fight however. We fled down a path and found a hollow in which we barricaded ourselves. As we waited the owner returned, a large ogre. He did not seem bothered about our presence or the warning of the following briar wolves. His name was Gristlegrinder. As we talked a briar wolf leapt into the hollow but I killed it with a swift blow. We dined with him then he lead us to a gateway. The other two briar wolves were waiting but backed away from the ogre. We stepped through the gateway into a dark land. There was a deep rumbling noise in the distance and lights moving backwards and forwards. Other lights on poles, much like gaslights were nearby. More lights approached so excepting Blimp we hid in an area containing some swings and a slide. The lights resolved into some form of metal horseless carriage from which a voice came telling Blizzard to show his hands and identification. The voices identified themselves as police officers. We stood up when they started looking around. They were asking questions like where we were from and where we lived. They got more angry as we were unable to answer them. Blizzard then twisted their anger onto each other and they started to fight each other. One of the policemen shot the other then started threatening us. I had crept behind the horseless carriage and then climbed inside where I found a shotgun. It was secured but I summoned great strength and tore it free. I then crept behind the police officer and forced him to drop his pistol. We then handcuffed them and ran. Blizzard and Kyte took their pistols. As we fled Julian asked them what the year was. The answer was 4th January 2010, which if true would mean we had been in Arcadia for 120 years. We followed the line of lights which turned out to be a large number of the horseless carriages on a road until we found ourselves in a residential area. Kyte knocked on a door but the owner called us wierdos and slammed the door in his face. He then accosted a scantily dressed young lady walking down the road. She seemed to think we were going to rob and attack her. I don't think kyte waving a pistol at her helped. Julian 'borrowed' a dollar off her. She seemed very rich as she had many dollars. She also confirmed the date as being 4th January 2010 and that the horseless carriages were called cars. She started talking into some small device she held when she left us. We met and questioned another gentleman walking a dog. He seemed to think we must have come on something called a jet to something called an airport. He also had a small device he called a telephone, but I have no idea how it could have worked as it did not have a wire going to it. Blizzard gave him the impression we had been robbed and he invited us into his house. His name was Stan and his wife was Molly. He had many wonders in his house. He had some form of window on his wall which he called a television. It appeared to let him see other places. He showed Blizzard that he could watch cricket games through it. Stan used his window to look at something called the internet which was a vast collection of information. Blizzard asked him to look up hedges. While they were looking through the information I spotted some information on a night club called Kims. It said "If the fae have shattered your life come to Kims to see a friendly face". Stan offered to let us have some old clothes to wear. While getting changed, Kyte discovered a trick whereby if we concentrated we could make ourselves look human. Strangely Stan did not seem to notice we were anything but human. Stan drove us to Kims night club. He dropped us off outside. I saw one of the bouncers was like us. He let us in and told us to see Rollo. Inside was very noisy with strange music. We found him in a corner. He had grey skin and a strange circular mouth. He said the fae had changed him so he could burrow and eat rotting vegitation. He offered to introduce is to someone called Blue Jenny. He lead us down into the basement, then into the hedge. He explained the hedge looked like a swamp due to the presence of the everglades in the real world. He lead us to an English manor house in a clearing where Jenny lived. She looked somewhat similar to Blizzard. Jenny told us of the four courts. She belonged to the winter court. The most powerful court was the summer court ruled by grandfather thunder. He killed the ruler of the spring court and banished the ruler of the autumn court, making Miami eternal summer. She then offered us a meal. As we ate another changeling arrived. He had a shimmer of heat coming from his body. His name was John StElmo and came from the summer court. He said his court were fighters. Jenny seemed to think that was bad and we would be better hiding from the fae. We waited outside while he talked business with Jenny. John had two ogre guards outside which we talked to. As we talked three alligator creatures attacked from the swamp. They attacked Blizzard and the ogres, though why they thought Blizzards frozen body would be appetizing I can't imagine. I drew my knife and attacked the alligator which was after Blizzard. We killed it as Scarecrow ran back to the manor house to get John. I then jumped on a second alligator and killed it. Blizzard shot the 3rd. Both ogres were severely injured but I stabilized their wounds. As the ogres were too wounded to work, Blizzard and myself offered to be Johns bodyguards until they recovered. He invited us to join the Summer court and offered us somewhere to stay. Scarecrow and Kyte were offered membership of the winter court by Jenny, but they declined, and were directed to a shelter for the homeless where they could spend the night. John took us to a tall building he called a freedom tower. Apparently it was disused and had been taken over by the summer court. We were allocated a room where we could sleep. During the night I had a dream that I was operating on someone while being urged on by a figure standing behind me. It felt like it was more a memory than a dream. In the morning one of the ogres we had saved came and said they owed us a debt of gratitude for saving their lives. They were called Matthew and Mark. It felt like they were not just thanking us, but really putting themselves in our debt. We were then lead up some stairs to where we could have breakfast. During breakfast John invited us to join his motley, which he explained was a group of changelings which worked together. We declined for now as we wanted to meet back with the other two. John then took us to see grandfather thunder. He told us the top of the building was a hollow and we must follow him carefully as it was warded. The route involved taking 3 right turns at specific points. The inside of the hollow looked like a courtroom. Grandfather thunder sat in the centre on a burning throne. He invited us to join the court and said we should return at midday to swear allegiance. He also told us we could harvest glamour at night from the lights in downtown Miami. John took us back to Kims to meet with the others. They were not there, so we went on to the homeless shelter where we found them. There was also another changeling inside who called himself charming. He was going to take Kyte and Scarecrow to see Sister Abigail. We offered to give them a lift in Johns car. The driver gave Scarecrow a pair of glasses. He called them sunglasses, but they did not emit any light. In fact the lenses were very dark. I do not see how he was even able to see through them. At Abigails house the door was answered by a mortal. We were lead inside where there was about 50 middle aged women, five of whom were changelings. Hey were very annoying and kept clapping at everything Abigail said. We were introduced to Abigail. She belonged to the spring court. She ran the safe harbour society who helped homeless mortals and newly arrived changelings. She told us a story. A long time ago there were three rulers, grandfather thunder, Tom Hood and Rose Thorn. Rose ruled the spring court and Tom the autumn. They questioned thunders right to rule and paid the price. Tom was killed and replaced by Queen Nama, and Rose was banished into the everglades and replaced by her daughter Maria. The winter court never held power and was ruled by Jeremiah Sleet. She offered Kyte and Scarecrow the chance to pledge allegiance to her. Scarecrow did not seem to interested. Kyte wanted to speak to Maria before making a decision. When we left John was waiting. He had got us all watches and small devices he called cellfons. The watches were strange as they were designed to be worn on the wrist rather than in a gentlemans pocket. The cellfons were even stranger. If you typed a long number into one, another would make a strange noise, and if you pressed a button it would let you talk between them. Much like a telephone but without wires. John said it could work anywhere in the world but ours would only work in America. John told me 'my number', but when I typed it in it did not work. Then he explained other people had to type the number into their cellfon to talk to me. I tried typing in Blizzards number and could then hear his voice from my cellfon. Scarecrow read the instructions that came with the cellfons and found how to make them remember numbers so we did not have to. We got back to the freedom tower just in time for the Summer court convening at midday. Blizzard and myself were sworn to allegiance with the summer court. Then an ogre who was a courtier of the red badge society spoke. He was looking for recruits in his cause against the fae. The red badge society was another summer court based outside Miami. The Autumn queen was also present, and Scarecrow arranged to meet her the following day. John asked us to look into the disappearance of some changelings and mortals from outside town. John then took us to the armoury where he gave us guns. I got one called a desert eagle which seemed big and powerful. During the night I had more strange dreams about an operating theatre. In the morning John told us he had a mission for us to do before investigating the disappearances outside town. He gave us a newspaper that had colour pictures in it. It had a story about a disease which was infecting children. John said the police would stop us if they saw us carrying guns, so I went back to the armoury and swapped the desert eagle for a smaller pistol that I could conceal. John then drove us back to the homeless shelter to pick up Kyte and Scarecrow. Scarecrow wanted to go to the university to meet the autumn queen. John took the rest of us on a flying train called a metro to something called a mall where he said we would be able to buy things. A mall turned out to be a building containing many shops. There was music playing but I could not see the band. Blizzard found a shop where he could buy a holster for his pistol, and Kyte bought some clothes. I bought some French art magazines from a shop that had a great selection, though they only on the highest shelves in the shop. We then met back up with Scarecrow, who had pledged allegiance with the autumn court. John dropped us off outside the mercy hospital. A Dr Guevara had been mentioned in the paper so we arranged an appointment with him for 3:30pm. He would charge $100 for the consultation. Kyte started talking to kids in the reception while the rest of us went to a cafe for coffee. Kyte found a kid who had flu symptoms. The kid said he had bad dreams about a monster. He also said he had a new puppy but their old dog had disappeared. Blizzard then went to examine the child and sensed some supernatural corruption surrounding the child. We cancelled the appointment with Dr Guevara, then we started walking to the address the childs parent had given Kyte. When they had finished at the hospital we met them at their house. We went to examine the puppy. Something in the garden rushed into the bushes, but it did not look like a dog. We followed it and found a gateway into the hedge. We jumped through the gate after it. The gate closed behind us. Kyte ran off after it. We finally caught up with him when he stopped to talk to a tree. As we approached we saw that there was actually a hole in the tree with a small figure inside. The inside of the tree was laid out as a shop. The figure said the creature we were following was called a Bunyip and they did not like horseshoes. Not surprisingly he had one for sale, but Kyte had nothing to swap for it. We then continued chasing the Bunyip. The trail finally stopped at a pond. Scarecrow said he thought a Bunyip was an Australian water spirit. Kyte did not want to follow it into the pond so we returned to the shop. It was called the niche. Scarecrow agreed with the shopkeeper to look after his shop for 10 minutes in exchange for a fishing rod and horseshoe. When they shook on it they transformed places, and the shopkeeper ran off. Kyte and Blizzard started chasing him. I negotiated the purchase of a cold forged iron dagger for a dollar from Scarecrow, but then found myself in the shop and unable to leave. Blizzard and Kyte came back with the shopkeeper. They had shot him in the leg. He said Bunyips have a poisonous bite, can swim underwater and can steal life force from young children. Blimp threatened the shopkeeper until he agreed to shake my hand and reappeared in the tree. We then returned to the pond where Scarecrow started fishing, using the horseshoe for bait. I summoned sunlight to reveal anything that might be hiding in the area. The pool glowed and an oval shape appeared in the centre through which we could see the mortal realm. I also heard someone approaching down the path. The figure looked like a hobgoblin and claimed to be a tinker. He was selling stuff but we declined. We then swam into the pond and through the gate. We found ourselves inside a large wet stinking tunnel. There were tracks in the slime which we followed. We then heard voices and hid. At least Scarecrow and myself did. The two people saw Blizzard and Kyte. They men asked what they were dewing in the sewers. Blizzard asked if they had seen his dog. They said they had and pointed him in the direction. When the two men left we all followed their directions. We came to the end of the tunnel and found a manhole cover which was ajar. We were able to follow its footprints. It lead into a garden. When we went looking one of the neighbours started shouting about trespassing and calling the cops. Blizzard redirected his anger onto another neighbour. Kyte and myself knocked at the back door. A little old lady answered and let us in. She was deaf and did not know about a puppy. She only had cats. She went to make tea. I let Blizzard and Scarecrow in the front door. The cats were not normal and were clearly creatures of fay. The Bunyip tracks lead upstairs. We found it in the bath. I drew my dagger and killed it. I then wrapped it in a towel and passed it out he front door to Blizzard before going back into the front room. Scarecrow thought the cats were similar to Bakeneko, which were Japanese spirits which could communicate with each other using telepathy. Bakeneko also preyed on kids. Blizzard made some cellfon calls to John, and he said to check the womans shadow. It looked odd, and apparently that meant she could be a hag. When confronted she admitted knowing we were changelings. She had been harvesting glamour from children using her cats. She had found the Bunyip in the hedge and had befriended it. She agreed to leave, but then said she was lying and called us cowards. We all drew weapons and a fight ensued. She transformed into a hideous old woman. We kept hurting her but she was able to heal herself. Kyte threw meths around and then set fire to her house. Blizzard drained her anger then made a pledge with her that she would leave Miami and we would not pursue her. We then left into the hedge to avoid the police who had probably been summoned due to the gunfire.

Last updated: February 27, 2014