We rejoin our heroes in the town of Albany, where they found themselves coming to terms with the new landscape of the colonial world. They were now welcome in Albany as heroes, and trusted advisors to its new Council of Elders. Their house remained their possession, and now also they had possession of their own kingdom bordering on the French and Indian territories, which they now needed to find a way to administer. The war had reached a stalemate to their South and for the time being, as Spring passed into the sultry heat of Summer, the three conflicting peoples of the new world paused to consider their next steps, to bury their dead and to honour or shame those who had brought the world to its current pass.

And so it was that the characters found themselves facing a ferocious delegation, consisting of 2 farmers and a fisherman from the town of Rouse’s Point, the furthest point from Albany in their new kingdom. These men, shuffling nervously before the great men and women before them, had travelled far from their home to present the  characters with a document swearing their fealty in poorly-spelt English, and also to present them with a list of requests. These worthies wished to discuss matters of taxation, defense and native land rights, which weighty matters were soon dealt with by Lord Merton, using his usual even-handedness. Their first subjects departed, satisfied…

After this the characters took the opportunity to meet Miss Cora Munro, her silent and distant younger Sister Alice, and of course Alice’s husband Magua. Alice spoke little and seemed little interested in anything except her husband. She presented in the manner of an English lady, in skirt and bustles with a parasol, but the faraway look in her eye, the braided hair, and the tattood lines on her arms and chest made it clear that she was no longer in accord with the formalities of British society. Magua attended her dressed in his inimical style, imitating an English gentleman. He wore torn breeches, a red English soldier’s jacket looted from an unfortunate casualty (and still stained with that poor soul’s lifesblood), his tomahawk festooned with the torn remnants of a British flag, and his chest bared to show tattoos, rippling muscle and a wide variety of scars. He had indeed made every effort to oblige the fashion and customs of the colonial gentry…

What better place to hunt Eagles?

What better place to hunt Eagles?

The Munros, Magua and the characters took a picnic at dusk on the hill overlooking Albany. They had hoped to see fireflies, since it was the season; but the smoke and poison of war had driven the fragile insects away, and the only such lights they could see were the distant fires and explosions of the siege of New York. At this picnic Miss Munro presented the characters with a detailed contract outlining her claim to prospect the hills of their new kingdom for rare herbs, and they agreed to consider her request if she would consider acting as their regent. She, of course, agreed to this and as a token of her good faith invited the  characters into the hills North of Ticonderoga, there to indulge in a spot of Eagle Hunting. Somewhat dubious as to the nature of this activity, the characters agreed. So it was that they found themselves, several days later, sitting on a remote bluff deep in the hills of their new kingdom. Before them to the Northwest lay a splendid view of hills and plains, falling away to the distant glint of the St. Lawrence River. They sat, with four of Magua’s braves, around a fire over which Cora had boiled some water. As the braves began drumming, Magua threw a herb on the fire and  a strange smoke began to envelope the clifftop, where as if by magic the wind had  stopped blowing. Cora poured herbs into the water and stirred, and an acrid and disgusting smell covered them. Then Cora asked which of them would proceed with the hunt first, and Merton, ever willing to sample a new drug, of course raised his hand first. Cora offered him a small shot of the boiled water and then, as Merton drank it down, Magua leapt forward in one of his customary unexpected changes of mood. Towering ominously over Merton, he drew from his beltan Eagle’s feather and cast it into Merton’s hand. Merton, suddenly struck numb by the liquid, fell backwards clutching the arrow; and as he did so he heard and saw an Eagle, circling far overhead. In moments his senses had exploded outward and, in a rush of wind, sun and sky he found himself in possession of the Eagle, looking through its eyes, feeling the wind in its feathers, even sensing its feelings. He circled high in the sky for a long, silent, wind-stroked time before his host’s questing eyes found the rabbit they sought; and then, still fully aware of all around him, he was siezed by the Eagle’s lust for blood as it plummeted earthwards to its quarry…

… only to be hauled from his reverie by Magua, who snatched the feather from his hand and thus dragged him, groggy and confused, back to the leaden grip of Earth. It would be unwise, Magua warned him, to be in the Eagle when it catches its prey. There is always the ominous threat of not returning, or of being changed.

In turn each of the characters was offered their flight, in an Eagle, a Falcon, or finally a swift. So they experienced their kingdom from the air, and looking down saw its beauty, or felt its ferocity. As Magua and his braves cleaned their camp, Cora told them that the herb used for this effect was grown in their kingdom and could no doubt be used on other beasts provided a part of the beast was available to them. She had merely to find it – and who knew what other uses it might have?

So convinced of her claim’s usefulness, the characters returned to Albany. However, when they reached their house they discovered their Butler missing, and the house silent and dark. Immediately suspicious, they went looking for him, prepared for battle. Outside the butler’s chambers they were attacked by a mysterious assassin-creature, a wiry beast of some 8′ in height, demon-possessed, with remade arms composed of demon-flesh, brass and bone. From one arm snaked a chain of brass links and wicked bone-and-brass spiked balls, and from the other protruded a sinister set of blades. The beast could turn invisible and struck with stealth, attempting to dismember Brian the woodsman. Eventually they subdued it, and searched it for signs of its provenance. It was clearly a sophisticated mixture of infernal and Remade technology, its chain powered by clockwork and its body enhanced with a strange white, bone-like substance mixed with bronze. There was no other clue to its origins but for a symbol on one of the brass strakes of its weapon arm, consisting of a Fleur-de-lys with the letters SPM engraved underneath.

Once again, do the characters find themselves embroiled with the French?