In Grove Or Green

Chapter 2

New Dawning

Scene 1: Dockside

The characters made landfall from a Hedgegate that opened along the Canton waterfront. They were confronted by the Haunted Waters motley headed by Gilly, an Autumn courtier. After the initial shock of realizing that the world has moved ahead almost 90 years while they were in Arcadia, Grim, Mneme, and Evie accepted Gilly’s invitation of shelter for the night. She explains that changelings have been leaving the Hedge fairly frequently in the past few months and the Autumn Court’s research into the Hedge has occasionally allowed them to predict times and places with a higher chance of meeting new arrivals to Baltimore. Gilly also introduces the rest of the motley: Acacia Thorne, Will Starkers, and Hush-a-Beth.

Evie immediately took to the showers after arriving at the Haunted Waters house, her aquatic seeming having felt far too dry for much too long. Mneme and Grim had a subdued and awkward discussion about this strange new world before Gilly returned (with snacks!) to offer a Dawn’s Ingress pledge to the group: shelter and provisions for their first week in return for a job completed after seven days. Familiar with the concept of pledges and feeling some small confidence in this unfamiliar setting, the group all agreed. Forming a circle with the Haunted Waters in the backyard, they watched Gilly flick a few drops into the fresh-fallen snow as she recited, “By the doors of dawn, we pledge ourselves, as new days begin for all assembled here. Each of us to help the other: shelter and sustenance given by me and a task completed by you, that our hands may be prosperous until week’s end, afterward to part or to meet again.”

Allies now, the two groups of changelings retired for the night, after Mneme bummed three cigarettes from Will to meet the terms of her inner Pledge invoked while escaping the Hedge.

Scene 2: Out and About

Waking the next morning, Grim immediately went to the kitchen and quietly made himself breakfast in an attempt to not wake Mneme, who was asleep on the kitchen table due to her lack of comfort in an actual bed (or cot, in this case). Pocketing an apple for later, Grim proceeded out toward the front door where Will spotted him and offered a ride to the store for supplies. Evie wandered into the conversation and the voices woke Mneme as well, so the four changelings drove away in the Waters ’96 Ford Explorer for their first shopping experience in the 21st century.

Wal-Mart came over as a bit of a shock.

The girls were a bit put off by the relatively immodest fashions of the “future”, while Grim had a near run-in with security when he approached an Associate with his revolver and asked to buy ammunition. Will was able to fast-talk him out of an arrest and a weapons charge with a judicious excuse about “historical reenactment stage props” and hurriedly explained to the changelings about appropriate conduct in public. He also demonstrated harvesting Glamour, inciting envy and greed in a screaming toddler whose mother was distracted by a phone conversation.

Grim accepted Will’s invitation to drive home, and the group were surprised by Gilly’s gift of pay-as-you-go cell phones upon arrival. After a highly exciting instructional period with their “magic radio-phone boxes”, Gilly also introduced the basic use of a secondhand computer. Grim & Evie spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the neighborhood and harvesting a bit of Glamour from children on a playground and a local psychic & fortuneteller, respectively. Mneme, meanwhile, made friends with the Darkling Hush-a-Beth over cold chicken, beer, and silence.

Scene 3: Hollow Victory

Gilly’s knowledge of the area and her Autumn court affiliation made her a perfect resource for information about the magical elements of changeling life. After a morning trip to the George Peabody Library to find out what happened to her family and her fetch, Mneme returned to discover her friends being instructed by Gilly in the lore of Hedgegates and Hollows. With so much flux in the budding Baltimore freehold, there is a strong grassroots push for trods to be watched by a motley’s Hollow. Gilly suggested two possible locations: one was an out-of-business storefront in Highlandtown whose basement entrance frequently becomes a Hedgegate to the end of a crosstown trod to Pigtown, the other was an old crackhouse near Robert St in Bolton Hill with a gated picket fence in the backyard leading to a not-entirely-explored trod flanked by some fairly fertile goblin fruits.

Feeling more comfortable with the Highlandtown option, the group drove over alone to examine the property. Mneme used her Cuckoo Key to open the door and they began investigating the area. A second-story bathroom door was revealed as the abandoned Hollow entrance, but before the Key could be discovered, voices were heard entering the storefront. Grim failed to be stealthy enough while trying to eavesdrop and the newcomers began searching the premises, forcing Grim to hide with Mneme and Evie in the bathroom. A shouting match ensued with someone named Jerry thru the closed door before Grim opened it and tried to intimidate the massive Broadback with his Thunderbore. Apparently, Jerry was the leader of a four-man Summer-leaning motley, Godforsaken, and the argument quickly devolved into a brawl for squatting rights. Jerry was wounded at point-blank range, giving Mneme an opening to dash for the vehicle that Evie had parked up on the curb, quickly followed by her two friends.

Acting with (possibly) more bravado than sense, two of the Godforsaken jumped onto the Explorer as Mneme tried to drive away as Grim called the Haunted Waters to tell Will what was happening. Following Grim’s advice to try and shake them off, Mneme hit the brakes and sent the Airtouched tumbling down the pavement. Evie, meanwhile, shoved her opponent off the side of the vehicle into a Post Office mailbox and they pulled a quick U-turn to flee to safety. The Godforsaken, however, rear-ended the escaping changelings, forcing them off the road into a vacant lot and blocked the entrance with their pickup.

Gilly called back, telling them to keep their heads down until she arrived with backup. Mneme took cover under the steering column as Grim drew down on Jerry as the two remaining Godforsaken charged across the empty lot. Spotting a flock of seagulls, Evie tried to invoke her Pipes of the Beastcaller but was unable to reach out in time for assistance. Taking a careful shot, Grim wounded Jerry again and knocked the hulking goat-man to his knees. Seeing the odds drop, the last attacker opted to help his boss back into the truck and they sped off, pausing only to collect their injured comrades.

The Haunted Waters arrived, locked and loaded, and were surprised to find that the fight was over. Acacia threw a small fit over the damage to the Explorer’s bumper but calmed down enough to help ensure everyone was still in one piece. Gilly set her motley to check around the storefront and make sure the coast was clear while Evie finished investigating the bathroom door and was able to determine the Hollow Key: fingernail clippings were to be inserted into the keyhole before using Glamour to open the door. A small, spartan Hollow was discovered, completely bare of physical comforts and containing a old wooden box with a simple lock. While the others examined the small room, Mneme cracked open the box and found a yellowed property deed to the storefront inside. The owner’s name was blotted with water damage and a curious thumbtack held the pages together. While hanging the document outside, she pricked her thumb on the tack and the ink flowed back to read Owner: Amelia Earhart.