Jaime Tyler lives the life of a hunting cat, for her master, known as The Drake, a giant with huge hunting animals. After meeting with other faerie lords and ladies, he goes on a rampage across the faerie lands, with his creatures, taking prisoners and leaving destruction in his wake. John Noir gets captured and put into a golden cage. He attempts to use his powers to escape the cage, but they do not work. Each other being put in the cage with him ends up being eaten by him, and so eventually the only person he does not end up killing is Jack O’ Dreams, who is able to share the prison with the incubus without being harmed. Something about him simply does not register as food, perhaps. One night, the size of The Drake’s army becomes untenable, and they revolt, with everyone escaping in all directions. Jaime Tyler, still a giant hunting Serval, batted their cage around with a paw until the door breaks, and they all make a run for it. They spend a long time running for their lives; as everything in the Hedge wishes to kill them, and The Drake eventually gets his army back together, and goes searching for his missing cat. Along the way, her size starts to diminish, especially every time she comes into contact with the thorns. One night the group makes a motley oath to help them survive, and the magic from it makes them swift.
One evening a hunter names Jared and his girlfriend Bertie capture them, and put them in a walking cage. Once again, John’s ability to get through bars does not work, and he can feel the magic holding them in place. It becomes apparent that Jared and Bertie intend to sell them at Market. Along the trek, Jack becomes friendly with Bertie, while John is instantly disliked by her. After asking for clothing over and over (he was found naked, and just never given any clothes) John scares her by attempting to siphon her life force away, screaming ‘KISS ME’, and reaching for her. Jared, angrily comes out, and hits him with what looks like a huge electrified tuning fork, which knocks him out. During the next few days, Jared gets angrier and angrier at John, beginning to believe that he is trying to seduce his girlfriend, and knocks him out another time, along with Jaime, who gets in the way. Jaime tries to get out by offering to hunt for ‘master’, and after some conversation with Jack about her former faerie lord, Jared takes her out of the cage, wearing a collar, and looks her over. When he finds a brand on her paw, he freaks out, puts her back in the cage, and looks scared. She shows her paw to Jack, who sees a swirly design branded there. Jack finally asks Bertie who they should try to get sold to once they get to the market. She doesn’t answer him right away, but that evening she sneaks up to their cage and gives Jack a ring. It appears to be a class ring on a chain, with a giant glass gem in the center of it. It is made of heavy gold. On one side is what looks like a Caduceus ,but with a moving, venomous snake. On the other side is a book with a pentagram on it.
Eventually they get to a yellow brick road. Travelling on it makes their teeth jar unpleasantly.Along this road, the hedge turns from brambles and thorns to thorny vines with an occasional book hanging from them like fruit. After more travel, the books become more prevalent, until there are walls made of books, with thorny vines growing around them and through them. Here they get stopped by Moose, Thomas the Green, and Wagner, who are on patrol around the outside of the hedge. Moose wants to kill Jared and free everyone inside the cage, but Jared reminds her that they are headed to Market, and that it would be in really bad form for her to waylay them here. Reluctantly, they stand aside as the three within the cage cry out for help. Thomas spots the ring around Jack’s neck, and points it out to Moose. They talk to each other as the walking cage goes by.
Soon, they get waylaid again by animate barbie dolls, who swarm over the cage, and hang off the sides. They all carry spears, and the melted heads of other dolls are worn on their belts. Their leader, a Raggedy Ann doll, holds them off and negotiates with Jared. Jared, seething with jealousy and hating John with a firey passion, offers to sell him to them for safe passage. John, in response, touches a doll hanging off the side of the cage, and kills it, as Jack tries to stop him. The response is immediate and violent, as they attempt to kill everyone. John kills barbies in droves as they swarm over the cage. He gets kind of frightening.. the more he kills, the more healthy and happy he looks, gaining color in his skin and hair, and more solidity. Jared eventually picks up the Raggedy Ann doll and holds the barbies off using her as a hostage.
They get down the road, and eventually let the doll go. Jared knocks John out again with the electrified fork, just in a moment of rage. Soon, they encounter more people heading to market, and go over a spot in the road that looks like an earthquake hit the area, and made the road a bit disjointed, the bricks all dislodged from each other. When they pass this, they suddenly feel weight on them, and a feeling of solidity coming over their bodies, a memory of past obligation lodging obsessively in their heads, and at the same time a sense of energy so revitalizing that it wakes John from his stupor.
They come to a door in the hedge. It is a clear glass door that says “Key Bank”. You can see an ATM through the glass. Each person going to the market stops at this door and gives a knock, then goes through. No matter how big their cart, or wagon, or personage is, it fits through the door. Jared does the same, and they come into a bank. It looks like an old style bank made of marble and class, but that has been modernized a bit. In the bank, is The Market. In the center of the market is a huge tree. Jared passes by this (it proves to be a bar selling oddly colored beer), and goes to the slave area. Jack convinces him that they are likely to get him a higher price if they are clothed (John is wearing dirty pants that Jared threw him in a moment of exasperation), and fed. Jared puts them in a pen, and gets them clothing and food.
King Abacus shows up with Thomas the Green and Alexandros. Abacus talks to Jack, demanding to see the ring. He is a little rough with him, pulling his necklace towards him. He asks where Jack obtained the ring, and Jack tells him he can’t really remember. Abacus looks frustrated, and Jack tells him that everyone comes as a package deal. Abacus stalks off and pays the man keeping the slaves with a glowing ball.. and Jack can feel the soul within it (it makes John hungry to look at). Abacus gets the key to their collars, and tells them to follow him. He is brusque and angry. Alexandros follows behind with them. Jaime turns back into a woman, and then she has no clothing. Jack gives her his frock coat, and John gives her some pants. Abacus, irritably tells Alexandros to deal with getting them clothing, and leaves the market entirely. He does so, dressing John in leather pants and boots, obviously doing it because he enjoys looking at him in the skin tight pants.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Alexandros leads them into the real world, which is just jarring and too strange for them. The sunlight annoys and irritates John. Alexandros, broke, walks them to the Sweet Water Inn, and installs them in a room. There, he gives them some sketchy basics about their condition, and tells him kind of half a story about fetches, which puts John into a panic. He calls his dad, and discovers that the fetch is at his house which makes him very very unhappy. Alexandros becomes belligerent, and gives his phone number to them, telling them that they will get a visit from Abacus soon, and leaves.
Moose comes by with some money, some clothing, and some brownies. She makes them welcome, and Jack is wary about accepting presents, but she cheerfully refuses to be repaid for it. The group talks about their situations until Abacus comes by. He is obviously burning to know about the ring, and the conversation between he and Jack gets slightly heated. Abacus tells them that he wants their fealty for a year in exchange for their freedom; he has the key to their collars with him. He readily admits that he is taking advantage of them, and knows that he is being unfair and horrible, but does not apologize for it. They can swear fealty to him, or go back to the market. Eventually they do so, with John getting a promise from Abacus to try to help him get back his life. Abacus gives them all their Autumn Court symbols, which will allow them into the court’s Hollow. He talks to them a bit about their situation, and the town, and pleads with John to wait and be patient in regards to his fetch. He says that there have been a few incredibly powerful fetches in the past few years, and one of them was so powerful that she scarred the ‘human landscape’. He indicates that this fetch took many people to put down, and the toll was devastating. There is a section of town that they should not go into, lest they be recognized by the humans there and murdered. He gives them a ride to the Hollow, and shows them how to get into The Library. He gives them some money, and they go on their way.
The group leaves, and outside The Library, talks about ignoring Abacus, and going to kill the fetch. They walk back to the Sweet Water, and eat in the diner there. After dinner, they receive fortunes. John:Fool for Love, Jack: Let the dead bury the dead, Jaime: curiosity killed the cat.
After dinner, the group mingles with the lingering crowd, and meets Mike, who brings them to his van, and gets them cellphones, and the number of Ichabod Young, who can get them weapons. John gets his own room at the inn so that he can have some space. They plan to ambush and remove John’s fetch at the earliest opportunity.