At the Edge of All Things

Skyboxes and scissors.

Skyboxes and Scissors.

The gavel bangs once. “Welcome to the eighth meeting of the one hundred and twenty-second year of the Consilium of the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. Perhaps now more than ever, we seek the guidance of the Oracles in the light of their Watchtowers.” Rattenbury’s face is somber.
“Some of you have already heard the news. Others have heard distorted hearsay and rumor. Allow me to clarify. The Awakened of Seattle are dead. It happened just over a week ago, apparently in a single instant. Pentacle and Seer, one and all, aside from those lucky enough to be outside the city.”

There are scattered gasps and some nods.

“Seers too,” mutters Goldman. “That’s new.”

Blackjack has taken a seat, adjusting his tux as he sits.

Sinon leans back in his seat—the word of the Seers’ coincident demise does not appear to phase him.

“Thanks to the energetic action of our newest cabal,” he gestures toward the Searchers, “Seattle’s Athenaeum was secured and its contents are being exhaustively cataloged. Our enemies made a play for it, but were repelled.”

Blackjack is impassive, has his game face on.

Aurelia smiles graciously and nods her head.

Elithora is inwardly pleased at the Cabal getting credit.

“The nature of the disaster remains a mystery. Seattle’s vicinity is flooded with Prime static. All we know with any certainty is that if this were a spell, it would have to be the most powerful sort of Imperial working. Were the mages of Seattle victims of some power struggle between Archmasters? Could this happen again?
“Unfortunately, answers are thin on the ground at present. But we are investigating, and coordinating our efforts with the Pentacles of Portland and San Francisco. We know many of you have access to unorthodox sources of information. Any intelligence you could provide could potentially be the key to our mutual survival.
“If you’ll allow me a personal interlude, it seems to me that this time of crisis demands unity now more than ever. This Consilium has seen much acrimony and division…too much. But whatever our differences, our survival depends on finding ways to work around them.” He looks around the room almost pleadingly. “Thank you.”

Minerva and Khatsalano nod with what seems like approval. Janis looks thoughtful, and Sacerdote’s face is impassive. He seems to be staring at something beyond the walls of the room.

Rattenbury sips some water and clears his throat. “Now, our agenda for tonight…” He puts on a pair of gold-rimmed reading glasses and scans a sheet of paper. “Ahh, yes.” A smile spreads across his face. “We have an invitation to extend.” His voice returns to an “official” timbre. “Blackjack of the Searchers, please step forward.”

(Blackjack) Rising slowly and walking forward, standing in front of the council. Hands behind his back. Not quite at attention but stiffer than at ease.

Goldman grins openly.

Eli brightens up and turns to watch Blackjack.

Rattenbury looks to his right. Khatsalano straightens and looks Blackjack up and down. “I’m not one to stand on ceremony,” he says finally, “but there aren’t many ceremonies I appreciate as much as this one. Blackjack, Banner Warden of The Searchers, you are called to defend your Consilium against foes within and without as a Sentinel.”
“Are you prepared to face down the foes of the Pentacle wherever they may be found? Are you prepared to put aside personal advancement, to hazard life and sanity, and to act with speed and clarity for the greater good of all Awakened?” He nods toward BJ.

(Blackjack) “I accept this duty.” Looking to each of the Councilors then lowering his head.

Khatsalano stands and gestures. One by one, Carson, Lefors, Donatella, Horatius, Friday, and Rook file forward and take up position in front of the Councilors’ table. A space is left empty near the center, in front of Khatsalano. “Come, then, Sentinel Blackjack, and join the fold.”
He gestures toward the empty space.

Blackjack steps into the space left open, lining up with the others. His face still impassive.

“The Sentinels of Vancouver,” Khatsalano says. “Their watch shall never cease.” He sits down. “Thank you, everyone. You can resume your places.”

Eli can’t resist applauding and hops slightly in her seat.

Blackjack rejoins his cabal, sitting and adjusting his cufflinks for a moment, giving Eli a slight smile.

Goldman joins in applauding.

Aurelia claps.

There is some other applause as well, after a moment.

Sinon leans over and quietly says, “Congratulations, again.”

Speaking quietly. “Thank you.”

One by one, the Sentinels step forward and shake BJ’s hand. “Welcome to the life, dude,” Lefors says. “You ever want to roll with Carson and me, just say the word.” For his part, Carson just smiles slightly and nods. Horatius offers a sober bow, and Friday pauses, looks around for a moment, shrugs, and gives BJ a giant hug.

Blackjack returns their handshake, and bow, and breaks his game face long enough to smile as he hugs Friday back.

Goldman doesn’t hoot or holler but she wants to.

The Sentinels return to their places, some in the crowd, a couple keeping watch by the doors, and Rattenbury taps the gavel once.

Aurelia gives BJ a big thumbs up.

Blackjack discretely returns the thumbs up to Aur.

“Next on the docket: we have new arrivals to the Consilium.” The audience is utterly silent at this. There are a couple of scattered coughs.

Rattenbury frowns. “They are our fellows, and they will add their strength to ours in this time of uncertainty. First up is Goldman, lately of the Seattle Consilium. Step forward.”

Goldman stands up and strides swiftly to stand before the council.

“Introduce yourself, Goldman.” Rattenbury gestures to the crowd.

Goldman laughs. “Seems like you’ve already taken care of that.” Turns to the crowd. “My name is indeed Goldman. I was out of town when the disaster struck Seattle, and I was the one who brought news of the event to Seattle. The Searchers graciously offered to take me in, and of course I’ve accepted.”
She pauses for a moment, looking uncertain.

Aurelia claps again. She’s managed to hit the bar early.

Aurelia gets a few chuckles.

Goldman smiles, then adds, “I’m new to the city, and I’m not clear on what divides you all, who’s right or who’s wrong. But I hope that your Hierarch’s comment was a genuine olive branch, and I hope you can all agree on an /equitable/ compromise that lasts until we’ve dealt with this latest threat to us all.” (successful social roll is made)

The audience nods and there are scattered murmurs of approval. Rattenbury beams. “A wise and sober message for us all. Thank you, Goldman. Our next newcomer is also a survivor of the Seattle Consilium. Annis, step forward.”

Blackjack looks over at Sinon and raises an eyebrow.

An attractive, young-looking woman in loose-fitting clothes with long silver hair steps up to the table. She appears to have stepped directly off a commune. She nods at Rattenbury and turns to face the crowd, shrugging some hair out of her way.

Sinon tilts his head ever-so-slightly at this news.

“Tell us about yourself, madam,” Rattenbury says.

“Thank you all for welcoming those of us from Seattle in our time of need,” she says. Her voice is thicker, more mature than you’d expect. “Though in all honesty I plan to make my sanctum somewhere more…remote than downtown Vancouver. This may be the only Consilium I attend for some time. I appreciate your welcome, and ask nothing except for my privacy.”

“You have registered with our Scribe as a Solitary?” Rattenbury asks.

“Yes,” she says. “Of course, anything I can do to help the Council…” she smiles.

Rattenbury nods. “We will bear that in mind. Our last arrival is someone many of you know already. Pitch, step forward.”

From the back of the room, the Tass broker shuffles up to the Council table.

He is dressed, for him, somewhat upmarket, in clean jeans, brown boots, and a thin sweater. His hair is an artful mess and his face sports four days of stubble.

Elithora raises her eyebrows almost imperceptibly and watches Pitch.

“Hey, everyone,” Pitch says, looking mainly at his feet. “Uh, as you know, stuff’s gotten a bit… too real lately and I’m looking to, like, settle down and chill for a while. And, uh, I’m happy to help with anything I can.”

“Pitch’s contacts up and down the coast might be invaluable at a time like this,” Janis says. “I hope we can all try and help him feel at home here.”

Goldman leans over toward Elithora. “Who’s this guy?” she whispers.
Elithora murmurs as quietly as she can, “A shady dealer. Useful but untrustworthy.”

After a long pause, Rattenbury looks at Pitch. “…and are you registering with a cabal, son?”

Pitch shrugs. “I dunno. I’m talking to people.”

Rattenbury twitches. “… very well.” He looks at his agenda. “Lastly, a statement. This Council is aware of the … concerns that have been raised by certain members of the community regarding the disposition of the young Apostates from earlier in the summer.”

The room grows utterly still.

Blackjack reaches into his pocket, and touches his cellphone, using a bit of forces magic to send Aur a text. “He does do understatement so well.”

Aurelia tenses up.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the spirit of … solidarity demonstrated by some of our initiates, but we cannot allow our lawful decisions to be held hostage to threats and ultimatums made in darkened bars by a minority of the community. At a time when the threat of sudden attack and death hangs over us all, we can scarcely afford the luxury of disagreement.”

Elithora listens impassively.

Goldman’s mostly successful in masking her irritation.

“The Exarchs’ unity of purpose is written into the very fabric of the logos. If we cannot respond in kind, our cause is already lost.” He pauses. “The Chair of the Iron Gauntlet wishes it known that this statement was voted on over her objections.”
He folds the paper and replaces it in his pocket.

Blackjack tenses just a bit, but does not express it.

Aurelia smiles slightly.

“Is there any other business?” he says at last.

Sinon seems to be somewhat amused at the last.

The room explodes into murmuring. Everyone seems to be gossiping at once.

Aurelia checks her text.

Goldman tries to figure out who’s talking to whom… whether people are just gossiping or whether any serious discussion is taking place.

Eli adjusts her posture from one impassive pose to another impassive pose and watches the Council.

Rattenbury looks out over the sea of eager, worried, or angry faces and sighs. “… Very well.” He bangs the gavel somewhat listlessly. “This moon’s session is adjourned.”

Aurelia stands. “That’s it then?”

“Apparently so,” Goldman answers. “What a disaster.” She shakes her head.

(Blackjack) “No, now is when the real games are played. Excuse me for a moment.” Standing and rising, trying to catch Minerva’s eye.

Janis immediately stands up and a segment of the room quiets. “I know this… statement was disappointing to many of you. It was to me as well. But we have nine days left to make the Council see reason. Speak to your Order heads. Ask questions. Please.”

Goldman watches Janis intently.

“No further discussion on the matter? I thought we were going to revisit the issue. Especially considering what happened with Seattle I think we need everyone on board. Unity? Yes?” Aurelia is addressing the Council directly, with no thought for protocol.

“Not unexpected.” Sinon stands. Whether he is talking about the council or Aurelia is unclear.

“I don’t imagine what you think you can say that we haven’t heard a dozen times before,” Sacerdote shoots back. “If you’ll excuse me, my Order have /duties/ to attend to.” He gets up, gesturing to Jones and Harpocrates.

Eli leans back very slightly in her seat at this.

A crowd is forming around Janis again, and Minerva navigates around it, heels clicking as she strides straight for the champagne flutes.

(Blackjack) Moving towards Minerva, his hand in his jacket.

“Excuses. Always excuses and more excuses. Well, that’s what your lot is good for, anyhow.” Aurelia seems perturbed that everyone seems to be ignoring her.

Elithora rises and starts to walk after Minerva. She pauses after a few steps and walks to Aurelia instead.

Rattenbury taps the gavel once. “Goldman? I’d like a moment, when you’ve time.”
Goldman stands. “Now’s fine,” she replies in a neutral tone.
“Excellent,” the old man says. He points at a smoking exit. “Uh, shall we?”
Goldman starts weaving through the crowd toward the indicated exit.
Rattenbury leads Goldman outside and shuts the exit behind them. He takes a deep, long, trembling breath as he looks out over the mostly-empty stadium parking lot and the lights of the city beyond. “It’s a beautiful evening,” he says at last.
Goldman looks at him in silence for a moment. “You find it so?” she asks.
He nods. “We can’t let what happens in there color how we see….” he gestures. “all this. We call it the Lie, but what do we have to compare to those towers out there?”
Goldman’s puzzled. “What does this world have to compare to the Supernal? Well… not much, right? We’d all love to ascend. I’m sorry, perhaps I’m not following?”
Rattenbury shakes his head. “No, I mean…this world. The one Sleepers have built for themselves. It makes ours seem a bit tawdry by comparison. They build new things while we chase after lost glories. They rise to new heights on mounds of their own dead while we each and all fancy ourselves irreplaceably precious.”
He sighs. “Forgive an old man’s foul mood. What’s on your mind? You spoke well tonight.”

Eli touches Aurelia’s shoulder. Her voice is muted: “Hey.”
Aurelia turns suddenly then seems to collapse, the anger in her face dissipating. “… hey.”
Eli hesitates a moment and squeezes Aurie’s arm in support. Her face is locked halfway between poise and her real self. “We … We can figure something out. We can talk to Minerva.”
Eli starts to say something else and stops, hand on Aurie’s arm.
(Aurelia) “Sacerdote’s the problem. He has Rattenbury on strings. Minerva will come around.”
Aurelia looks into Eli’s eyes a moment. “I’m… I’m sorry. You okay?”
Eli nods, looks down at her own hand as if surprised, and lets go. “No, I mean, yes. I was going to ask you that, I think. We … I guess I don’t know what the best maneuver is here. Yet.”
Eli stiffens her posture and locks her face back into an expression molded from blown glass.
Aurelia shrugs and pats Eli on the shoulder. “I just go by instinct. Works sometimes.” She smiles.
Eli dips her chin in a single nod of agreement while watching the crowd. She watches the movement and posture of the crowd as a whole moreso than the members.
Aurelia smiles at Eli. “I’m going to get another drink. Want anything?”
(Elithora) “Yes. Get me whatever you’re having, please.”
“Gotcha!” Aurelia heads off to the bar, watching Janis and looking for that newcomer, Annis, keeping an eye on who is going where and with whom.

Annis, true to what she said, seems to have vanished into thin air. Nobody has seen her since the presentation.

  • She turns toward Blackjack. “Good evening,” she says, her voice tinged with somewhat bitter irony as she slugs back a gulp of the bubbly.*
    Blackjack takes out an invitation like he gave to Janis. “I am having a small gathering Wensday. I would like it if you could attend.”
    *Minerva takes the card, frowning at first. “Oh, mon frere, I don’t think … there is so much to do …” She taps it against her chin thoughtfully for a moment. “Actually, non. It may be the last moment of normalcy I find for a while. I will be there. And thank you very much.”
    (Blackjack) “Excellent. I suspect you will find it most entertaining.” Now looking for Khatsalano.

Khatsalano is headed for the stairs. He’s fishing the keys to his Ford out of his pocket as he goes.
(Blackjack) “If I can have but a moment of your time Khatsalano.”
Khatsalano beckons with his finger. “Walk and talk. Three hour round trip, I didn’t get my workout today.” He bounds down the stairs two at a time. “I’ve got your dingus in the car.”
Blackjack nods to him, walking with him, not speaking for now.
“What’s on your mind, son?”
(Blackjack) “The Mystogues are going to find the lost city. When they do, the Seers will attack. Many of us will die. The question is if there will be enough of us to hold.” In the same way others might say a meaningless pleasantry.
He grunts. “It’s shapin’ up that way. Of course, might be that naked fella has his own plans for the city. Or Minnie’s ex.” It takes a second to realize he means Minerva
“Of course he does. Finding a mage with hubris is like finding a whore in a whorehouse.” A dismissive snort. “But that does not explain why Arrows are being kept away from the order.”
“Kept away? What d’you mean?”
“I have done what I can with Memoranda’s training. But there is only so much one can teach in a locked room. I can teach her logistics, planning, tactics, but there comes a time when you have to train outside the classroom.”
Khatsalano sighs. “I get it, Blackjack. But three months is three months and the girl isn’t gonna make the difference between life or death here. I know she’s your friend, but I don’t get the luxury o’ thinking that way.”
“It is not about friendship. It is not even about my oath. War is coming if we want it to or not. And we need all of our assets in play. That means more then just Memo. It means having the Minutemen available to be seconded. It means something that can at least fake a united front.” There is some passion in his voice.
“You ain’t wrong. But Sacerdote – well, this is one of those things he just don’t want to budge on. And if he don’t want to, Rattenbury don’t want to.”
You two have arrived at his truck, an old Ford. “Lemme get you the thing.” He leans into the cab and pulls out the metal box.
“I understand. And Janis is not going to budge either. Between the two of us, perhaps we can give them an out where they feel they got their way and face is saved.”
Blackjack nods to him, taking the key from his pocket and looking around.
“Well, don’t leave us in suspense,” Khatsalano says.
Blackjack takes the box and prepares two spells. A variation on a pair of shielding spells, not so much intended to keep magic out but keep it in. And vent it into the ground and the air. Then opening the box.
Inside the box is….a pair of scissors?
And a note.
(Blackjack) Bringing up prime sight and examining the note and sisscors before reading the note. Because who ever left this for him knows who he is but not well enough to understand the playing card symbolism, so being careful.
Picking up the scissors, noting to examine them later after reading the note aloud. “I will examine these further. Hopefully gain some understanding of them.” Slipping them into the jacket pocket. Thanking his tailor and the suggestion that inside jacket pockets are absurdly useful even if the scissors do ruin the hang of the jacket a bit. “I will be talking with Janis this week. If I can find a way for her to budge and still feel like she has saved face, then I will let you know.”
Khatsalano nods. “Good luck. I’ve got to head back up to Squamish. There’s some work up there needs doin’.” He climbs into the Ford and starts the engine.
“Have a good night.” Turns to go back inside and to the meeting.

Goldman stands in silence for a moment. “I’m sorry, what? I don’t understand a word you’re saying.”
(Goldman) “I’m as tied to the sleeper world as anyone. I don’t see their world in opposition to ours. They’re a vision for what we could do with our talents if we could get over ourselves. But what does that have to do with what happened tonight?”
“With all due respect, what possessed you to make that statement? Is there something I’m missing? It seems like you would have made less trouble with the dissidents had you just said nothing. Emphasize the importance of reacting to Seattle and all that.”
“Nobody becomes deacon without more political sense than you’ve shown so far, so what am I missing?”
Goldman takes a deep breath, realizing she’s gone a bit further than she intended.
“You seem to misapprehend. That wasn’t my statement. It was the Council’s. The language was voted on by a majority. Reading it was simply my duty as Hierarch.” He frowns. “As for why – Vancouver is a big city. There are a lot of people here of suspect loyalty or unknown provenance. The Awakened need reminding that they live by laws.”
Goldman leans over the railing, looking out at the city lights. “I’m sorry. It’s just so frustrating. It feels as if we’re always our own worst enemies. Like you said, Sleepers seem more competent sometimes.”
“I knew there was something I was missing, but… do you think this reminder’s going to stick? If I’m not being too forward, what are your personal thoughts? Since Seattle, I’ve felt like I’m running around frantically accomplishing nothing. What actually matters? What makes a difference?”
Rattenbury heaves a sigh. "I wonder the same things. This position is a hamster wheel, Goldman. I’d have given it up years ago if I could have. But without one of our order as Hierarch, we won’t have much of a voice in Council politics by size alone – and our ability to maintain the balance will be curtailed. We’ve got a tiger by the tail. I just don’t know how to let it go.”
Goldman stands in silence for a while.
Rattenbury produces a pipe from the folds of his robe. “I really ought to quit.” He lights it. "As your Deacon, I still need to formally welcome you to the Order. We’re small here but – you seem promising, Goldman. You seem committed to something besides ambition for its own sake.
“So what do you want to tackle? If you think you have a way to accomplish what you want, and I can support you…I might.” He shrugs.
Goldman turns to Rattenbury. “I just want a home. To be safe from whatever Seattle was. I was so focused on a cabal… now that I have one, I’m not sure /what/ I want. To see some sanity in the Council, I guess? I don’t know. If I figure it out, I’ll let you know.”
She starts to return to the main skybox, then turns back toward the Hierarch. “Oh, and thanks. For the welcome.”
Rattenbury smiles wistfully and hands Goldman a card. “Call sometime.”

Eli watches Aurie for a moment and glides to Minerva as whatever conversation she was having seems to be evaporating.
She gives a small curtsy. “Councilor. Business afoot as always, I see. Perhaps I could impose on your time this week nonetheless. There are … several issues of interest.”
Minerva smiles, her cheeks flushing with the champagne. “Elithora. You look radiant as ever. What do you need, darling?”
(Elithora) “Flattery will get you everywhere, Councilor. A quieter nook to talk might be better for matters of discretion. Dinner at thirteen?”
“I already have a table booked,” Elithora says to someone whose rank precludes needing to make reservations at Mysterium restaurants, but sounding perhaps a tiny bit like an up-and-comer.
Aurelia has two flutes of champagne and is heading back to Eli, still keeping an eye on what Janis is up to.
“Oh, Minerva!” Aurelia offers her a flute. “Champagne? I should have gotten more.”
Minerva gratefully accepts the new flute. “Oui, dinner. I never have time to enjoy my food these days,” she says wistfully. “It will have to be a working dinner, but…very well.”
Aurelia offers the other to Eli.
Eli clinks with Minerva, sips, and offers it back to Aurelia to share between them. “I hear the new menu was just unveiled last week. And we really ought to talk. Strategy and tactics both. And I’ve had some time to muse on my Arche.”
She pauses, her composure blurring slightly. “A lot to talk about, I suppose.” She catches herself and continues smoothly. “And wine is the best medicine in social times like these. Besides, the stars may be aligning for our little faction.”
Aurelia takes a sip herself.
Eli explains to Aurie, “Dinner at thirteen this week. I’ll send you both the reservation time.”
“Oh, thanks for inviting me. Should I bring a guest?”
Eli raises an eyebrow in interest. “Of course, if you wish.”
Aurelia smiles confusedly. “Oh… okay.”
Eli notices a group of Mysterium scholars approaching who are known to be of Theoricus rank at least, and curtsies respectfully as she steps back to make room for them to speak to Minerva. “Councilor. Scholars.”
Aurelia steps away with Eli. “I suppose I have to find a guest now huh…”
Eli steals their champagne flute from Aurie and takes a sip. “Oh! And here I was just about to ask who your guest was. You had me all curious!”
Aurie grins. “I was just trying to figure out what sort of dinner this was.”
Eli takes another sip and offers the flute back. “Well, a little bit of a dinner to show off the fact that I actually got a table at thirteen. Mostly a dinner to tell Minerva everything I am thinking lately. She’s in our corner with Sangeunay but … there’s the cabal and there’s … all of this. And … philosophical questions.”
Eli rotates the flute in circles angling up and down while considering Aurie with the look of a cat who is still other than an extremely flicky tail.
(Elithora) “And the Free Council … are quite topical with all of this. I want your input there. There’s been a lot to digest lately. My Arche was … intense. I haven’t really talked to you about it.”
“We can talk about your Arche at home, yeah?”
Eli studies Aurie thoughtfully. “Lots of things for me to chew on all once lately. I guess I am finally digesting everything.”
Aurelia pats Eli on the shoulder. “I’m going to consult with my councilor.”
Eli nods absently to Aurelia. “Yeah.”
Aurelia gives Eli a quick hug. “Okay, later hon.”

Sinon moves to follow the Guardians, despite his lack of invitation.
As Sacerdote walks toward a private box, other Guardians gradually accrete around him. He turns, noticing Sinon and acknowledging him with a wordless nod. *
Sinon returns the Epopt’s nod. He waits for a minute or two to listen to any ongoing conversation.
*Sacerdote is speaking to Jones and Harpocrates. “Are your people in place?”

Jones nods. “InDEED.”
Sacerdote places a hand on Harpocrates’ shoulder. “I know you have your reservations, old friend, and I respect them. But I hope to be able to put your doubts to ease…soon.” He looks over them at Sinon. “Sinon. I want to hear what you think about what’s going on.”
“Seattle? The Apostates? The Seers?” Sinon pauses for a bit. “There is no lack of goings on to discuss.”
“Any of them. All of them. Secrets are for…” he waves a hand. “…everyone else. Among ourselves, I require honesty.”
“Very well.” Sinon looks at each of the three in turn. “Seattle, whatever its cause, was a tragic disaster, but also presents new information to us and opportunities to possibly address the other two issues.”
“Regarding the Seers. I investigated the death of a Dr. Constance Hobbs in Seattle and recovered a drive containing the personal files of Mnemosyne of the Praetorian Guard.”
“The files contained private communications she had with Milady. Included in this is confirmation of their knowledge of the ‘Elder Brother’ of Saguenay and their awareness of his search for the ‘book’ prior to the disaster.”
“Further, we may be reaching a point where avoidance will not be a sufficient policy. I believe this information, should we use it properly, could allow us the chance to throw them into disarray for a change—assuming Milady’s prognostications are not perfect.”
“Regarding the apostates. If I had my way and we had more resources, I would have placed them on probation and had them secretly observed. Operate with subtle hand and let the Free Council believe they are getting what they want if it means that we can still protect the Veil. The message of Unity may have been an opportunity to revisit that, but it is past.”
“The question is what do we do about the Council’s threat? In situations such as these, my preference is to make the options I cannot accept either unavailable or even less acceptable for my opponent, and leave the only remaining possibility for them the one I desire. It is how I kept my cabal from getting involved in the Free Council’s politics at their little rave.”
Jones, Sacerdote and Harpocrates all regard Sinon with level gazes. Harpocrates seems to nod with approval. Jones’s head inclines slightly toward the Epopt, then back to Sinon. Sacerdote smiles. "Jones has always spoken highly of your professionalism, Sinon. And you’ve demonstrated it time and again. You’re correct in every particular.
“I understand, Epopt. In the interest of honesty, that brings up one other item: Saguenay. I am sure you are aware of the assistance that my cabal provided to Minerva. I’ll not apologize for aiding in the search.” A look forms on Sinon’s face that is not that dissimilar from Sacerdote’s fervor.
Sacerdote meets Sinon’s gaze. “No, I understand. Cabal comes first. And while that project is….ill-advised, the more of us to cushion the impact when it inevitably falls apart, the better.”
Sinon nods to each of the three in turn. “Thank you. I should rejoin my cabal.” He leaves to return to the main skybox.

Aurelia looks around. “Where the heck has Janis gotten to?”
Janis has finished speaking to her crowd, and has retired to a corner with Impresario.
(Aurelia heads over to Janis.)
Janis and Impresario turn to Aurelia as she approaches. “Aurelia!” she says. “Good to see you.” Impresario smiles. “Ladies, if you’ll excuse me for a moment…”
Aurelia smiles and bows slightly. “Councilor. May I?” She gestures to the chair.
Janis smiles. “Be my guest. What’s on your mind?”
“Right now? Politics. Hopefully you can help cure me of that affliction though. I know I’m new here but I’m sick of Minister Cao Cao treating the Council like his little labyrinth.”
Janis frowns. “If you came here to not think about politics, you chose…poorly,” she says in a mock rumble. “It’s all I live and breathe these days. We’re on the cusp of something important….! And he just pushes and pushes and pushes. But the people have spoken and he knows it.”
Aurelia shrugs. “I guess Cao Cao is holding him in too high regard then. Dong Zhuo I suppose.”
“I hope I don’t have to spell out what happened to him.” Aurelia gives Janis a knowing look
Janis blinks at Aurelia. “I hate to disappoint you but…I mainly know those names from Dynasty Warriors.” She smiles abashedly.
Aurelia facepalms. “Girl, we have to get you reading the classics! I have some good translations, I’ll send them over.”
Janis sticks her tongue out. “Now you sound like him.”
“Well he’s not wrong about that! That’s like just knowing Shakespeare from Leonardo DiCaprio movies.”
Aurelia giggles.
Impresario taps his watch urgently. Janis frowns. “Ugh. Hey, my zookeeper tells me it’s time to go. If you’re serious about those books, why don’t you bring them by Ankh later?”
“I will! Don’t think I won’t be there with bells on. You throwing a party?”

Goldman tries to seem lost in thought as she leaves the smoking area.
Sinon walks up to Goldman and notices Aurelia talking to Janis in the distance. “I hope I don’t end up listening to another ‘why hasn’t she called?’ conversation,” he mutters.
Goldman turns and smiles. “Not sure I follow, but sounds rough. How are things?”
“All-in-all this consillium went somewhat better than the last. How was your conversation with the Hierarch?”
“Topic for another venue, perhaps? I can’t imagine what the last consilium must have been like,” responds Goldman, still smiling.
Sinon nods. “There was a great deal less shouting this time.”

(Blackjack) Looking for Eli if she is around. Moving towards Eli, trying to catch her eye.
Eli turns from watching Aurelia and notices him. She strides to Blackjack.
(Blackjack) Reaching into his pocket, taking out the scissors. “I need a small favor from you. I need to know who the previous owner of this was.” Offering the scissors to her.
Eli cups them in her hand with a puzzled look. “Let me see what I can do. Huh.”
She rotates the scissors in her hands a few times and wanders out of the skybox out into the general seating area down a little ways below.
She eases herself into the second seat from the aisle and stares at the scissors for a long moment. From the skybox her lips can be seen moving slightly.
Eli feels a strong sense of resistance as she probes the object’s immediate past, but kind of brute-forces her way through the fog at last. She sees the scissors being carefully wrapped up and boxed by Gerard.

And we’ll leave it there for tonight!

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MrAnthropy

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