Pix's Tavern, Ashland. The sidhe knight, Valeria of House Scathach, in search of aid on a mysterious quest, has discovered a number of other Kithain willing to help. Now she and the troll Jenner Rainwater enter the tavern...

Jenner says, "Lady Grey, please allow me to introduce myself properly."

Val removes her jacket and sits down. "Of course. And I should do so, as well."

Jenner kisses her hand and says, "I am Jenner Rainwater, Former Guardian of Princess Morwen, troll Knight of the great plains, friend and companion to Lord Albright."

Val smiles at him. "And I am Dame Valeria ni Scathach, knight in service to Prince Darian ap Fiona of the kingdom of Apples."

Jenner asks, "What is this great quest that you spoke of?"

Val frowns and answers, "I would prefer to wait until the others arrive to tell the full tale, but I seek a member of the Shadow Court that tried to murder my prince."

At this moment, the two are joined by the sluagh Eric Stone and the troll Jonathan Korth, their missing compatriots. Val nods to them and continues:

"I have come seeking a sidhe of the Shadow Court who calls himself Lusiphur. He tried to murder my Prince, and an Eshu I know told me he was in these parts. I would welcome any help in finding him. He is sharp-featured, wearing leather as black as his hair, and many knives."

Eric turns to Jenner and says, "You are of the Shadow Court, so you would probably know even more than me."

Korth says, "I believe you are mistaken, Mr. Stone; all here are Seelie. I will go back to the club and seek more information there. If you have need of me, you have only to call." He leaves.

Eric says, "Then why does Jenner bear the mark of House Ailil, of the Shadow Court?"

Val stares at the troll in amazement. "What?! But you said..." Her hand creeps toward her waist.

Jenner says quietly, "I do bear the mark, true. But I renounced them. A sluagh conspirator betrayed my princess and killed her. And I will personally destroy the Shadow Court, even if it takes me a thousand lifetimes.' He pauses. "My love died, my freehold went up in flames. I am Seelie now."

Eric nods, and says, "I understand. I would very much be interested in hearing your story."

Jenner looks to Val and says, "Don't do anything rash, Val; I'm protected by the Grey Griffin." He taps the Griffin insignia on his moon-link chain armor.

Eric says to Jenner, "I swear to you on my house name to never speak of your past to another person again."

Jenner turns to Val and says, "Val, I loved Morwen with all of my soul. I came to the court to be with her and protect her."

Val releases her sword hilt, and replies, "I am sorry. It's just that I have cause to hate the Shadow Court for what they did to my prince. Please forgive me."

"Morwen died Seelie," Jenner says softly. "I changed and Griffin witnessed my oath to her. He gave me this armor and my enchanted blade." He rests his hand on the hilt of a great claymore.

"Griffin?" asks Val. "Who is the Grey Griffin, if I may ask? "

"Griffin is the grandfather of the plains men, and it was he who found High King David in the court of Queen Mab," answers Jenner. Then he becomes solemn, revealing a tattoo of the black dragon on his left forearm. "But I'll never be able to remove the taint of the house of Ailil on my body and my soul."

Val smiles at him and says softly, "Oh, I think you've made a good start."

Eric looks at Jenner and says, "I understand. I wish that I had not brought up such sorrowful memories as this."

"In Chicago, I've stopped the Shadow Court at every turn," Jenner continues. "I've slain countless nightmares, and I've seized shadow freeholds in the name of Lord Albright."

"I am not familiar with Lord Albright," says Eric. "I am from San Francisco."

Val turns to Jenner. "For your princess, then, and my prince -- shall we confront the Court of Shadows? And will you join us as well, friend Eric?"

"Aye," Jenner vows. "And shadow will give way to sunrise. The court of winter shall wither as spring returns."

Eric smiles at Val and says, "But of course, Lady Grey. I have already told you that I will assist you in your quest."

Val draws her sword and holds it up. She clasps the blade, gesturing them both to do likewise. "Will you swear the Oath of Clasped Hands with me?"

Jenner and Eric grasp the sword.

"Blood for blood, bone for bone, life for life, until only we stride the earth," says Val. "My life is in your hands, my blood is in your veins. Hold me well and I will lend you my strength, break your bond and may we all perish. Friendship I swear to you, an oath of clasped hands and shared hearts." As she intones the oath, Jenner and Eric repeat her words, and the blood of all three mingles as it runs down the blade.

"It's done, then," says Jenner. "We are now, and ever shall be, an oathcircle."

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This web page copyright © 1998, Midori M. Hirtzel. Moved to Black Unicorn Wood December 27, 2001. Changeling: The Dreaming and all related names and terms are copyright 1997 White Wolf Game Studios; no copyright infringement is intended.