As April winds down everyone receives invitations to David and Betty’s wedding. Amid the arranging of transportation to Louisville Ky, Gideon gets a visit from Bernie. Now that he is married Bernie recognizes his desire to lay down the sword. Bernie tells him that it is OK he understands and that if he wants to lay down the sword and retire.
Through the month of April Vic has been have been visiting a new lady named Dee. He has spent lots of time with her and has gotten close to her. Just before leaving for the wedding, they are wrapping up one of their liaison at a hotel in town they kiss, and as they embrace Dee whispers in his ear, ‘See, I told you I would have you, and now I do.’ She kisses him leaves, he hears a motorcycle starting and looks out the window and recognizes her as Asmodeus, the demon of lust that tried to seduce him when they went to Hell to rescue Penelope.
As the Cavaliers meet at Beaumont’s bakery to discuss travel plans, they come up with three ways they can get to Louisville – a 10 hour drive, about a four hour flight, or travel through the Nevernever for about 2 1/2 to three hours. All the Cavaliers decide to drive except David who is coming later. Betty and her family are already there in Louisville at David’s family home, but he needs to finish up some things at the university before he can leave so he’ll be coming through the Nevernever later – probably getting there about the same time as they do.
Following David’s directions, they drive through Louisville and north of town for about 10 minutes as they leave town it turns into suburbs and then country and rural areas outside of town. The directions lead them to what looks like a forest in the distance in the hills north of the city. As they approach the forest they come through a small little village, probably about 3 -4 blocks in any direction. The instructions tell them to drive through the village to the other side towards the forest. As they do so outside of the village they come to a gatehouse on the road.
There standing in the middle of the gatehouse arch is a tall is a hulking figure. Probably close to 7 feet tall and broad shoulders. This individual dressed in a Butler’s uniform and looks intimidating. He stops the group ask to see their invitations and invokes The Guest Rights of Hospitality under the Unseelie Accords before they enter. After being invited in the Cavaliers proceed down the small country road past the gatehouse. It is lush forests and streams going through the property right up to the road. It is green, lush, and beautiful. The road is only big enough for one car and it winds through this forested landscape for about four miles. As they drive, they swear that they can see little motes of light fliting through the forest trees, it looks like these might be fairies of some sort. As the relaxing and enjoyable drive comes to an end, they see David’s ancestral home.
As they pull up to the house next to the garage which used to be the stables and carriage house of the house there met again by Wellington, who somehow has traveled from the gatehouse to here faster than they have. He introduces them to David’s family saying he must get back to the gatehouse, he has just received word that David and a group has just been picked up where they came through the Nevernever. David’s grandfather, Owsley, introduces them to David’s Mother and sister Evangeline and Vivian. He explains that they can choose to stay here at the mansion or arrangements have been made for some bed and breakfast cottages in the village outside the gates of the estate, if they would like to have some privacy. The Cavalier’s decided to stay and are put up on the third floor, and Evangeline takes them to their rooms.
As she does so, she explains that the Browns have lived here since 1895 when David’s great-grandfather build the estate. She gives them a short tour of the house and explains that they are free to relax until 6:30 this evening, when a small family style welcome dinner will be promptly served in the Banquet Hall. She also explains that they are free to enjoy the grounds and amenities while here.
Indeed, David and the Bourbon Street Irregulars arrive at house shortly after the Cavaliers settle into their rooms. They have a very traumatized and shellshocked young man with them who is carrying a large rucksack with supplies and other essentials for an expedition of some sort. David reports that he is a wizard apprentice named Sean McAvoy and they found him and his teacher, Lucius Von Trappe traveling at the waypoint near The Safehouse, ran by James and Catlin Pauley. They were trying to escape giant crystal spiders chasing them and sadly Lucius perished. The party didn’t feel like they could leave him alone and stranded in the Nevernever so they bought him with them. Immediately Evangeline takes him under her wing and promises they will get it all sorted out as she takes him off to find a room and get cleaned up. Sean who cannot believe that his mentor is dead, and he is now alone with no teacher. He wonders how he will pass the wizarding trials and become a full Wizard of the White Council. Beaumont makes it a point to visit with him and offers him a place to stay with his family in New Orleans. Because Beaumont is nice to him and listens, he offers him his Lucius’s monocle, a powerful magic item.
At 6:30 they make their way to the Banquet Hall and a ‘small family style welcome dinner’ is served in a Banquet Hall that can seat 70 people. A local band, The Soggy Bottom Boys, entertains the guests while they eat. They include their rendition of “A Man of Constant Sorrow”, much to the delight of the guests. At the dinner and activities of the following days the Cavaliers see many familiar faces they know, such as: Wizard McCoy representing the Senior Council and Captain Luccio from the Wardens of the White Council, The Leananshide of the Winter Court, and The Summer Lady Lily. Also represented are the minor courts of New Orleans – The Patriarch and his daughters (including Eve) of the Swamp Court, as well as Absinthe and Lillet, the Queen and Lady of the Cortege Gras.
They also see the Bourbon Street Irregulars – including Hilda – and meet the rest of David’s family. His grandfather, mother, and sister are there, along with his ‘Uncle Jasper’, ‘Cousin’ Karen, ‘Aunts’ Hilda and Zelda, and several ‘pure mortal’ members of his family.
However, they also see several other individuals they do not recognize but are introduced to; including a petite dark haired lady who introduces herself as Julie Singleton, a representative of the Venatori Unumbrum, and sniper, a short stocky man – not more than 5 feet tall with shaggy long hair and thick beard who is introduced as Bokk of Svartalfheim and brother of Etri, they also meet Angelica an member of the Shadowhunters, the last is an taciturn, older distinguished man who keeps to himself and is known only as Mac. The guys feel a great deal of power emanating from him and get the hint of a sea breeze smell when around him.
At dinner all the guests are given itineraries for the remaining days of the celebration. Friday is pretty much free for them, with only a rehearsal and dinner Friday evening with the wedding planned for Saturday at noon. The Brown family has set up several activities over the next few days for their guests to participate in; for example, the family has arranged a tour of the Old Forrester Distillery, they can visit Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby Museum, take a day trip out to the Falls of the Ohio, or go horseback riding and hiking through the 8000 acres of the estate. There is also a bocci ball and croquet courts set up on the green, as well as a spa day for those who would like to have a spa treatment before the wedding.
The Cavaliers decide they would like to go to would be the Distillery Tour and Churchill Downs with the Kentucky Derby Museum. The distillery tour is very intriguing and enjoyable. When they go to Churchill Downs there is a minor horse race going on and Vic decides to bet on it. He uses the magic of his Court to make sure his horses win, and he comes away with substantial winnings. During the rest of Friday, they enjoy the grounds of Samaire, but several times they see Eve walking the grounds innocuously, but they do not trust her – so they follow her and find some coral shards near the tributary to the Ohio River that runs through the estate. They realize that there should not be coral this far inland. They hold on to some samples and report their findings David’s Grandfather about their finding and he tasks Wellington to investigate it.
The rehearsal and the dinner took place outside on the Esplanade in front of the house. There were event tents and other service areas for the help set up to be able to serve the dinner and refreshments. Toward the evening, guests start arriving -all the ones that they had seen the last few days. The rehearsal goes fine, and the dinner begins with an appetizer and the first course is enjoyable. Everyone seems like they are having good time visiting and getting to know each other.
After the main course is served Eve, the Patriarch’s daughter stands up and asks all the Accorded Nations in attendance what the were-guild would be for someone who killed members of their house they are all astonished with the question and the patriarch tries to question his daughter, but she continues with accusations about the Cavaliers slaying her followers and her Lieutenant, the troll Remus. The Lananshide speaks as a representative of the Unseelie Court, as she is representing Mab – who wrote the Accords – saying that it is the right of the offended Nation to demand recompense for the losses that is suffered at the hands of another Nation. All the rest of the Accorded Nation representatives agree that she does have a claim.
She demands a were-guild from them instead of combat under the Code Duello. The Cavaliers try to maneuver their way out of it but realize that there is no spirit of the law when it comes to the Accords. They did kill her people so there needs to be some sort of recompense under the Accords. They ask what she wants for a payment, to which she responds that she wants three apples, two steeds with a chariot, and a cooking spit. Eve then asks if they agree to these terms. The Cavaliers want more details before they agree, to which she informs them that the golden apples from the Hesperides, the steeds and chariot belong to King Dobar of Sikilia, and the cooking spit is one of the spits of the fairy women of the island of Finchory.
Beaumont and Vic respond by pointing out that this is too much of a were-guild for a troll and some subordinates. There is an argument until they decide to approach her father – the Patriarch and the actual leader of their Court. Eve starts saying that if they do not accept the were-guild then it will be trial by combat. Her father steps in and puts his daughter in her place by reminding her that he is the Patriarch, and he will make the decision for the court not her. She gets mad storms out. He apologizes and acknowledges that there is a price that needs to be paid. He will think on this as they finish their main course and by the end of dinner he has come to his conclusion. He says that asking for three items were overreaching, but he wants the three apples as an appropriate were-guild for the loss the Swamp Court has suffered, and he wants them by dawn. It was about 9 pm the guys do not know how they’re going to get to the Isle of Hesperides, let alone where it’s at.
The Leananshide approaches the Cavaliers with some advice, however Beaumont and the others are not keen on accepting favors from her for fear of becoming in debt to her and the Winter Court. She offers it freely given with no expectation of payment she tells them that she knows a way to get there and back again faster than even traveling through the Nevernever. They are intrigued and she tells him they need to find the old man in the sea and ask to borrow his boat. They wonder who it could be and then remember the mysterious Mac, who smelled like the ocean breeze in radiated power beyond a normal emissary. They find him at the dinner party and approach him saying that it has been suggested they ask him for use of his boat.
He toys with him for a minute saying, ‘What makes you think I have a boat?’ The Cavaliers explain that they suspect him having much more power than he puts on and that the Leananshide has told them to look for a certain Triskelion-shaped design worn by the Old Man in the Sea. He replies that he does not recognize it. But as he reaches for his drink the arm of his suit coat slides up and they see his shirt has cufflinks with the same symbol on them. The group says that they think they are talking to the right person and they really need his help. They ask who he is, and he finally responds, ‘I am Manannan Mac Lir of the Tuatha de Danann.
He agrees to let them use his boat, on one condition – he introduces them to his foster granddaughter, which Beaumont says he can do because he knows that Greer has recently discovered she is Lugh’s daughter. He points them to the tributary river on the property and shows them his boat. He explains that all they need to do is say where they want to go, and it will take them there in record time.
The Cavaliers push off and begin their journey. The do make it in record time – it feels like only a few minutes have passed. The boat slows to a stop on the beach of an idyllic island with a grove of apple trees interlaced with mounds of earth running through them. They see no signs of guards of any kind so Luther says, ‘This is going to be easy.’ He jumps out of the boat and crosses the beach. As soon as he steps off the beach and into the orchards, the mounds of earth erupt into a giant multi headed dragon of some sort – reminiscent of a chimera. The dragon bites Luther severely wounding him. The rest of the Cavaliers come to his aid. As they engage in the battle, they soon discover that it has a weakness to lead, so they shoot the thing full of holes with their guns killing it.
As the Cavaliers vanquish the dragon, four griffins attack from the sky with a screech. They hurry and grab apples, eventually grabbling five. Even injured Luther grabbed three and Vic managed to get two low hanging ones. Beaumont released fire in the sky as a shield to hold off the griffins as they escape back to the boat. When the return to Samaire it is 11:30 pm. The approached the Patriarch saying they have that which he required of them. He accepts the wergild fulfilled and Eve absolutely loses it. She is furious and livid with her father after being put in place put in her place. She goes absolutely nuts talking about having her revenge and that they will not be able to stop her she is going to see them brought down low and ruin bought upon all those that they hold dear. At the end of her tirade she shouts, ‘I curse you Cavaliers for what you’ve done, that you might crawl up on the ground for the rest of your days! Enter now and take your revenge!’ At which point she disappears.
Nothing seems to happen to the Cavaliers, and they think that they dodged a bullet until they start to speak and all they do is ribbit like a frog at which point they start transforming into frogs. The last thing they see as they transform is portals opening up in the forest surrounding the estate, and shouts of alarm being raised. The wards are being attacked and portals are opening inside the grounds of the estate. Owsley gives commands to defend the guests. He slams his walking stick on the ground and shouts, ‘Defendere Praedium!’ When he says those words all the statues, bas reliefs, and everything else decorating the property – including the gargoyles comes to life and begins attacking the host of Fomor that are pouring through the portals opened on the property. He then turns to the house and shouts, ‘Siquidem domum!’ and a shield springs up around the hose protecting it from attack as well.
And then their vision reduces to that of frogs as they are scooped up by loved ones and taken to safety.
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion in the Bourbon Street Irregular adventure, We’re Gonna Get Married’.