We spent the first part of the week dividing our energies into teams in preparation for the Day of Change.
Deirdre was very ill after returning from the vault, and worried everyone, especially Cole, to death.
Ascender wasn’t faring much better. After leaving the forum open for several hours over the weekend (scaring us all) and then disappearing, he finally replied to tell us that he had nearly been caught by the Storm. Using the Lantern spell, he was able to hear voices within the Storm, of people who had been taken. He was running out of time, and intended to use the bastard memory spell, in the hopes of saving himself. He gave us the first part of The Lantern.
Then, our connection on Dawson’s site went down.
While we were (not panicking) preparing for the Big Day, Cole went back to Neithernor in the hopes of retrieving The Little Red House, and was unable to unlock it. Deirdre’s illness was not improving. Marty and Cole made plans to go together and buy us time to cast our spells on The Storm, by opening a door to Neithernor.
We had planned to help cobble together some healing magiqs for Deirdre, but while we were involved, she disappeared, leaving a note behind meant for her that instructed her to wait in Neithernor at the warren. Cole was locked out of the warren, and we were left wondering what happened.
The note left for Deirdre was from a someone going by the name of Mr. Wideawake. Mr. Wideawake, someone particularly important to us as Mountaineers. To Monarch’s Mountain. The Collector. During their meeting he revealed the source of Deirdre’s illness, what is known about how Neithernor came to be and magiq was erased, and the kicker… it turns out that Monarch’s Mountain still exists. And they were preparing to go to war with the Silver if we failed.
The rest of the conversation was enough to make heads spin, but one of the more relevant bits of information he passed along was that although we’re technically on the same side, some members of MM were not okay with our game plan of attempting to trade The Little Red House for the Book of Briars, because they wanted to use it for study.
By the end of this conversation, Deirdre (and us, really) were not the biggest fan of The Woolies, as we’ve dubbed them. (Sorry, MM, but you dropped the ball.) The Monarchs, Deirdre suspected, were going to use the information from her blog to take The Little Red House. So she went back to stop them.
As the time ticked down, things got interesting.
Some happier news, came to us on Game-day. Our mysterious Benefactor, who has been helping us directly and indirectly for some time, is Knatz. She didn’t go through with the memory spell, and she’s been in hiding, helping Climber and the Mountaineers, for years.
Oh, and Ascender came back. And Lauren. People who’ve been MIA and people we worried for showed up in the zero hour to give us what they had to give.
Our spells cast, and energies prepared, we made our move. When the moment came, things did not go as planned. Our spells were not strong enough, the pendant and scarf were not an acceptable trade for the Book. And Marty…. disappeared. We feared the worst, and thinking the trade had been made or that he’d been taken, we kept going. Cole was injured…
And then Deirdre returned with The Little Red House. She cast a spell with it and it disintegrated. We moved to shut down the Storm with the final part of the spell.
And The Silver destroyed our connection to the Storm by killing the soul of Nate inside it.
But Deirdre was amazing, Mounties. She donned the armor, the shield, sword, and helm of Elainnor and ran into the Eye. And she defeated it. She raised Gladitor and destroyed the Storm.
Deirdre of the Isles. The Mountain’s Will. Stormslayer. That’s what Lauren has named her, as witness to her courage.
Taking stock of everything in the aftermath of the fight, the Book was back. Not functional yet (we assumed some time-travel sickness, perhaps), but it was back right where it belonged, and whole. Cole and Deirdre went to the hospital to be treated for their injuries.
Marty was safe. Cole had protected him from himself (and the sacrifice we all feared he’d make) by pushing him into Neithernor.
We had done it. We had won. Sick and injured, but everyone was alive and accounted-for.
With two Fragments still yet to solve and a Book left to open, but… Deirdre of the Isles defeated the Storm, with the Mountaineers and a host of familiar faces riding shotgun.