The Price of Safety
Our protagonists meet for the first time while searching for a known criminal – Martin Schultz. Each member of the party is a mortal who has infiltrated a meeting of the city’s Changings. Schultz has abducted local child Joey Duncan and sold him to the changlings who plan to break the child’s mind as part of a ritual to safeguard the city from the True Fae. An agent of the Fae kidnaps (re-kidnaps?) the child and tries to escape into the Hedge to prevent the ritual. Team Party joins up with Schultz and a changling named Clark.
Team Party + Shultz + Clark plunge into the Hedge hot on the trail of the kidnapper and missing child. They overcome a few inquisitive bird-men and leap over a giant fissure while somehow staying on the trail. Eventually the find the kidnapper (a changling who resembles a fly, Cancer John) but learn he’s lost the little kid somewhere in the brambles. Our heroes set Cancer John free and continue on looking for little Joey Duncan.
Our champions bravely bushwhack a path through the bristling brambles and eventually come upon a small house filled with strange assorted items from the mortal world. Inside is the mad manikin Doll. Doll has taken Joey as his friend and won’t let the PCs take him, at least not on all him. Our protagonists decide that negotiations for the child have broken down and shoot Doll’s stupid plastic face full of lead. They rescue the terrified kid and with Clark’s help make their way back to Midtown.
Once the party and child have returned to Midtown there is a short debate as to the fate of the child. They have seen first hand the bizarre and dangerous world of the Hedge, but is traumatizing this child (more than what’s already happened) worth protecting the city for a year? They don’t know, and don’t really make much of an argument either way, so the ritual continues. At the last minute Cancer John’s Arcadian master appears – a gentlemanly old chap dressed like a victorian age doctor. He’s come to stop the ritual and starts carving up the local changlings. The party rallies the Lost and manages to beat back the Knifed Man, but not before he’s pledge vengeance on the party for their involvement!
The ritual is completed. Joey Duncan’s mind is shattered into a nightmarish goo. The city is safe once more.