Castaldo – Escape!

“Hunt” by Anastasiia Platoshyna

Right. These last weeks have been…. interesting. Not a while lot of motivation to write up this session. But in the end translating my scribbled notes into this was a nice experience. I am really enjoying this game.

====Session 5====

Lilith crept up to the gently snoring Hook. She lifted the fallen star away from his chest, but it was secured by a fine metal chain. She couldn’t see any clasp, and the chain looked fragile. She took a fire grip and pulled! The chain snapped, and Hooks eyes opened to stare straight at Lilith!
“What! A Lost Boy!”
“It isn’t what it looks like. I hate Pan, I want to leave!”
“In my very own cabin! Never!” Hook’s good hand reached for his sword. Lilith jumped away from the bed, but stumbled as Hook drove his rapier into her leg. The pain made her drop the fallen star. All eyes in the room followed the bouncing stone as it went under the bed. Lilith took the momentary lapse to dive for the window. It shattered. Hook stood at the window, pointing his sword at the swimming child
“Curse you all!”

Meanwhile Nihal felt strange. In the dark place she found herself in, there was a familiar feeling – her bound spirits. She could just sense them floating nearby, impatient. She called to one, the spirit of death and hunger. “Put me back! I need to act! My friends are in danger.”
The spirit considered, and waves of emotion came at Nihal. Humour. The darkness faded and she found herself staring up at the back of Hook. When she tried to sit up she heard a clicking sound. Looking at her hands she nearly screamed – they were still bones! She was still a skeleton! Nevertheless, she carefully reached for her sword, silently stood up and took position behind the fuming Hook.
And cut his head off.
“Betrayed! By one of my own! Wait. How are you walking? Who are you?” The head ranted on the floor.
Nihal bent down and threw the still screaming head out the window. She then gathered up the still silent bones of Autumn, pulled the fallen star over the stump of Hook’s neck, and went for the row boat pulled up beside the ship.

Back on shore Lilith was surprised by the walking skeleton, but Nihal told her story and the pair began to examine the fallen star. It was pulsing with power. A steady heartbeat of magical energy, and an emotion? Nihal vaguely felt relief. She turned her attention to the deep wound in Lilith’s leg. Nihal took the opalescent stone and pressed it to the wound, then tried to concentrate her thoughts as she did when using magic. She wanted to close the wound, or at least make it smaller….
To her shock, Lilith felt the wound growing smaller, and then the world growing larger. She felt energised once more, but the world had double in size, for her.
“Well, it sort of works, but the Fallen Star doesn’t quite understand.” Nihal shrugged. They would work it out later.

“We need to get this back to Queen Mab before nightfall.” The child and skeleton considered their options. It was a long and difficult walk, and they were carrying Autumn and her gear as well. It would take forever, and Hook was sure to chase them as soon as he could. She considered the spirit that had already helped her, it often took the form of a wolf. She took the star and channeled it’s power as a lure and treat for the spirit, and called for the Wolf to help.
The surge of power was frightening, but Wolf came. It was huge, a monster that towered above them – but it, she, came forward and licked them – cleaned their fur and nosed them forward. Nihal and Lilith found themselves transformed into wolves! With help from Wolf-Spirit they picked up the packs and ran into the forest.

The three great wolves flowed through the forest, eating up the distance with their tireless pace. They could smell the mines as they passed – dust, sweat, rock, and blood. But no time to investigate. When they approached the great river and bridges they smelt something new – violence. Metal, blood, fear. On the bridge a battle was taking place between a handful of Lost Boys and a giant spider! But there was no time. The wolves howled and roared as they charged onto the bridge. The Lost Boys fled in fear, while the spider hung back, watching them with a cluster of emotionless eyes.

As the sun reached it’s high point, the trio of wolves sat on the garden-hill watching the empty gateway. Wolf-Spirit thanked them for the run through the forest, and wished them well before returning to the spirit-plains. Nihal considered their own state and went to the Fallen Star again. Placing a paw on the shining surface, she carefully considered her wishes. She wanted to wash away the previous magic. Remove the transformation and let nature reassert itself. The feeling of power was more gentle than before, but insistent. Nihal was returned to a fully human form, no bones showing! Lilith found herself a human child again, but her leg showed a red scar of a recently healed wound. A happy surprise was seeing Autumn sitting up, looking around in surprise. The sisters quickly removed all trace of pirate-gear and cast it away. Then dressed themselves in their own gear.

But Nihal was nervous. The Fallen Star was smaller, worn. There was a scattering of fine dust on her hands and spread across the grass. Each time they forced the magic, it wore down the star. Already it was small enough to fit in her palm. How big had it been originally?

The spent the afternoon snacking on their rations and considering how they would get back Aunt Mayda. They were unsure if Mab could be trusted. Nihal even considered trying to use magic to make a fake Fallen Star and try giving that to Mab. Some of the time was also spent playing and feeding the baby dragonling that Nihal had collected earlier. They decided to name it “Aragon”

At dusk the chimes rang again, and the gateway to Fariyland opened. The trio were met by an entourage of Fairy-Knights who escorted them a short way to a grand pavilion where Queen Mab was waiting. After exchanging chilly pleasantries, Mab asked for the Star. Feeling like there were no other option, Nihal handed it over. The Queen took the star, looked sadly at it’s depleted state, then called gently “You are home again, come back to us.”
The stone shimmered, and transformed into a sickly elfin lady. Dressed in rags and with bones neary visible through pale skin, she bowed to the queen and thanked the sisters and Lilith for returning her to the realms of Fairy.

The trio were shocked by the transformation, and Nihal felt a stab of relief that she had not tried to return a fake. But the relief was short lived as Mab waved her hand and cast the mortals out of her realm, returning them to Neverland.
Then they heard the crying. A swaddled baby lay in the grass at their feet. Aunt Mayda was hungry.
====End Session====

I am really starting to feel that the game benefits from rules that are only a “light touch”. I do not feel that a game like this could exist in a system with much more restrictive systems (or at least, I’ve never had a story like this from more crunchy systems). Yes, there is no “balance” to the magic (or really much of a system), but it feels like the most “fairytale magic” experience i’ve had in a RPG.

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