Saturday, August 15th
Driving down the quiet road in the dark a flash of movement is seen just off the road. Before anyone can react the van is hit so hard the side of the Van collapses in and it flips over on its side and noisily slides to a stop. The gnarled voice of Gruffs echo out from the shadowy forest. “We have come for the boy. Give him to us, wizards, and there will be no trouble”. Xhuuya hits her head soundly against the window as it breaks and is knocked out cold. Ian uses leverage (and his very large muscles) to flip the van back onto its wheels again. Chester beckons out a challenge to the Gruffs, one of which responds calling him, “The Summer Squire”. When the wizards begin raising shields and preparing for a conflict the Gruff open fire with their automatic rifles.
Kyle runs up to a Gruff and nearly brains it with his staff. This makes most of the other Gruffs a little nervous and they concentrate fire on him. He winds up getting shot but the wound is through and through, no major internal injury. Chester transforms into a mountain lion and chases the Gruff who dishonored him down after blasting him with a pure ray of Summer magic. He rips off the Gruff’s head which rolls down the hillside to the road.
A pitched battle it was with everyone weary at the end. They find the boy, Sunan, riddled with bullet holes as he lay over the top of Xhuuya protecting her from the hail of bullets that the Gruffs threw at the van. Chester knows the Gruff were sent by Ballor, one of the heavy hitters in the Summer Court. To what purpose remains unclear.
They drive the rest of the way in their beaten up Van (the roof caved in from a giant mountain lion, on steroids, leaping from it) to the Stanislaus National Forest. They arrive in the small ghost town and take Sunan into the house. They open a small door under the stairs and see a field of golden wheat with kites circling in the skies above. Upon them stepping through the kites change from their frolicking amble to a diving charge toward the players. They leave Sunan there and close the door. When they open it again Sunan is gone.
Exhausted they all return to the Oswald building to fall asleep. Harrigan calls Chester and praises him for a job well done.
There is a purple light. Now it is blue. It whirls and sends pictures of horses galloping around the room. There are toys here in this playroom but the air is cold and still. “This little piggy went to the market,” comes the silky voice followed by a ripping noise. An amputated arm flies through the air and lands on the floor with a thump. “This little piggy stayed home.” <rip> <thump> “This little piggy had a roast beef sandwich.” <rip> <thump> “This little piggy had none.” <rip> <thump> As we pull back just a little the playroom goes farther back into shadow than we thought possible. Like a room in a dream that is bigger on the inside than on the outside. “We are going to have lots of fun, you and I, my little one!” the woman’s voice speaks again, honey and Summer and the smell of grass and tree bark ladled upon her words overpowered by a maddening stench of lilac. Sunan sits there on the floor in front of the beautiful and completely mad woman who glows with a beauty that has driven more than one man insane with jealousy. “We will play all sorts of games! Won’t that be fun? Now what is my name, little one?” He hesitates momentarily and she reaches for him. Only if you watched him very closely could you see him flinch away in the expectation of pain. “Ruprinia” he says quietly, without emotion. “I am so glad you are learning!” she laughs, her smile lighting up the room like a star.
<rip> <thump>… <rip> <thump>… <rip> <thump> …