At the Edge of All Things

Session 6

Bleakscale, part II

Last time, the as-of-yet unnamed cabal teamed up with Jude, a member of the Mysterium, to continue the investigation into the Abyssal disease that’s been working its way through Vancouver’s homeless.  Thinking that the apostate cabal (who go by the name the Scarlet Pentagram, although that hasn’t come up so far) might have some notes to peruse, Sinon pulled some strings to get an interview with Loki and Arrowsmith.  They were being held at an erstwhile RCMP safehouse by the Guardian Sentinel Rook way out in the boonies. 

It turned out that Arrowsmith had been keeping notes, but at the behest of his cabal’s silent partner, Gerard.  Arrowsmith didn’t think his notes were important or relevant but, as you learned from Jude, they actually were.

Also we brought pizza because we are the best.
indeed!

When Gerard’s name was mentioned, Jude started urging you guys out the door, but Aurelia pressed Arrowsmith on the issue and it came out in front of everyone that Gerard is actually Minerva’s ex-husband, long thought exiled. The party is in the rural camping cabin, Jude is mortified, and Rook is very interested in the news.  Arrowsmith and Loki are kind of bemused; the implications are a bit lost on them.

Elithora: “Wow, worst taste in men.”

Aurelia facepalms. “We really need to put everyone through some basic interviewing and resistance training.”

“Is he a mage?” Blackjack sets down the pizza plate.

Sinon paces. “The description of his activities in the amusement park, reeks of an oblation of some sort.” 

“It does. But he also sounds unstable and the spouse of a mage….”

Jude sighs and sits down.  “Yes.  Quite a good one, too.  He was always a bit….erratic, but prone to startling leaps of intuition.  A genius, even.  Very much the mad professor, always forgetting to wash up or eat or what have you.  Harmless enough.  Then it took a bit of a darker turn.”

Sinon: “Alright.  Now that we’ve got this… information… out in the open.  We should probably work on finding Gerard.”

*Rook frowns.  “Yeah, I think he definitely qualifies as a ‘person of interest.’  You sure you don’t have any way to get in touch with him, kid?”  To Arrowsmith.

Arrowsmith looks thoughtful.  “We had our visits at the park, but that was…actually, wait.  I’d almost forgotten; he sent me a message in a dream once.  There was something he wanted done that day, and he showed me a particular trash can in the dream, this bin down the street from me.  He’d left a package there with instructions.”*

Jude nods.  “I taught him a bit of Astral travel and, I’m sad to say, some Goetia.  With a sympathetic connection, it’s a good way to send messages that can’t readily be traced back.”

As Rook speaks, Sinon looks at Arrowsmith  The inklings of possible plans forming…

Aurelia looks to Jude “Speaking of sympathetic connections, couldn’t we get to Mr Gerard that way? I mean, we know most of his true name. Do you know the rest?”

“Yes, it’s Christophe.  In the past, though, as his behavior became worse, it got harder to get a fix on him that way.  As if the other things in his head had other True Names.  Still, it’s not impossible, not with a little effort.”

Elithora: “Alternately, is there any specific cheese we could put on a mousetrap to get the guy’s attention?”

Sinon examines Arrowsmith for a second.  “If we can’t find him that way.  We may be able to draw him out if ‘Arrowsmith’ escapes.”

Loki stares at Sinon. “Man, what?”  Arrowsmith’s brow furrows.  “What exactly do you have in mind?”

“How tall are you?” 

Arrowsmith thinks.  “184cm.”

Sinon nods.  “If we need to draw Gerard out, I should be able to do a passable impression.”

Rook looks at Sinon.  “That’s a very Guardian plan,” she says with a warm chuckle.  “But it might not be a bad idea, either.”  She looks at the party.  “Are there any other suggestions?”

Aurelia: "I’d much rather take the simple direct method than risk something more convoluted.

Sinon snorts. “Yes, we’ve all seen your ‘simple direct methods’ here tonight.  I simply propose a plan B in case that does not work.”

Aurelia: “Jude and I can perform a ritual divination and find where he is. It will take a while, but it is direct”

Elithora breaks in. “If we know any of his particular obsessions we could try to catch his interest, but that presumes a surplus of time and his noticing.”

Loki raises his hand.  “Oh, uh….actually, he totally has one.  He told us he came back because ‘they were getting closer.’  I guess he means, like, the Pentacle or whatever.  He said you’d need his help whether you realized it or not.”

Elithora raises an eyebrow at Loki. “Closer to what?”

“Saguenay.”  Sinon mutters, mostly to himself.

Elithora glances at Sinon, then Aurelia, then back to Loki. “You don’t really think … Hm.”

Loki shrugs.  “He said everyone here’s been lookin’ for some like lost kingdom and they were getting closer to finding it.  I mean, I don’t really care about that shit, so I wasn’t paying that much attention.  I kinda tuned out a lot around him.”

Elithora just squints helplessly at this statement, apparently lacking any proper reply.

Jude nods.  “Saguenay was his and Minerva’s dream.  It’s what brought them together – long nights in the Athenaeum, lingering glances over bits of scrimshaw, all of that.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he held onto that passion, but I am.”

Blackjack rubs his temples. “Loki, are there other any other potentially critical bits of info you haven’t shared with us?” A waspish tone in his voice barely concealing his desire to strangle the kid. “Loki, take a moment. Think about him hard and see if anything else comes to mind. It may be critical.”

Loki looks aggrieved.  “Man, even I know I wasn’t the brains of the outfit.  Gerard showed me a couplea rotes but he never trusted me with anything serious.”

Aurelia: “Even I’ve heard of Saguenay. Interesting, but how do we use it?”

Arrowsmith looks at Elithora.  “You may not need to, if your spell finds him.  But he’s curious about what the Mysterium knows and it could help you from a negotiating standpoint.”

“This Atlantean stuff is a fractured set of metaphors everyone desperately wants to take literally. But if he buys that we have insights and fresh leads, which Minerva’s little research bees seem to believe … the bottom line is we need to cast the line and pull him in one way or another.” Elithora pauses and thinks. “Minerva. Her name alone might be the worm on the hook.”

Blackjack bites off the tart reply, taking a breath. “Would it be? Did they part well?”

“Man, if you’d met the guy…if he’s gotten his dick wet in the last ten years, he don’t look it,” Loki says.  Rook stifles a snort.

Elithora considers Loki’s words and waves a hand airily. “If they did part well, he wants to see her again first and prove how clever he is second. If they didn’t, it’s contrariwise. It’s always the same after a breakup with these types.”

Arrowsmith coughs.  “I think what Loki is trying to say is that yes, I think Gerard is very interested in Minerva.  He mentioned her enough.”

“So he is the obessive crazy type.” Blackjack replies, taking a drink of his beer.

Elithora: “Obsessive crazy type. A mage, you mean?”

Sinon has been lost in contemplation for the last few moments. “Jude.  Before Gerard left, which arcana was he skilled at?”

“He was a Mastigos, like me.  A Master of mind, adept of space, and he had attained disciple in spirit and was learning more about death.  If it could help him speak to things from the dead or other dimensions, he wanted it.”

Aurelia goes for a second slice of cheese

*"Which is, of course," Jude continues, “how all the rumors started.”

Rook nods.  “Yeah, I’ve never heard of the guy before tonight and that’s what I’d be looking out for in a Sclestus.”*

“Master of Mind.  Unfortunate.”  Sinon checks one plan off his list.

Aurelia: “It certainly makes the direct method riskier. But still not impossible. Jude?”

He stands up.  “Well.  Why not?  Everyone get comfortable, this might take a little while.”

Sinon rubs his chin, thinking: (“We can’t give Gerard Minerva.  Master of mind means we can’t fool him with a fake.  We also can’t give him fake documents.  No good choices here.”)

Eithora muses half to herself, “One of these days, the Mysterium will send me to find someone with a really overactive twitter account …”

Blackjack aughs. “Come on, it beats a departmental meeting.”

Elithora raises her eyebrows and sips her slowly-warming beer. He has a point!

Sinon sits down, cracks open another beer and takes a looong swig.  “So.  Supposing we do locate him, how should we actually deal with Gerard?”

Blackjack: “We can call in re-enforcements. But I think trying to talk to him is out.”

Sinon: “I agree.  We can’t hand actual information on Saguenay to a scelestus.  He’d likely be able to identify a fake.  That does not leave many nice options.”

“No. It does not.” The Arrow shrugs—he isn’t thrilled at the prospect of killing him but doesn’t see a lot of options.

Aurelia and Jude clear the center of the cabin.  Jude produces a small brass hand mirror and spends a few minutes carefully cleaning and polishing it while Aurelia draws a circle on the ground using a Sharpie from Rook’s briefcase.  Jude sits in the circle and stares into the mirror for forty minutes, occasionally muttering a few syllables in the High Speech.

Jude begins to sweat a bit in the not very warm at all cabin, then suddenly blinks and sets down the mirror.  “There…there we go.  I have him.  He’s on the water around Richmond. Either a boat or a small island.”

Elithora touches a finger to the tip of her nose and leans forward, thinking.

Jude starts to stand, then wobbles, and Rook puts an arm around him, helping him up.  “If we get there, I can find him exactly.”

Sinon stands up.  He looks over at Jude and awkwardly states, “Thanks.”

“I suppose it had to be done, Sinon.”  Jude settles into a chair and cracks another beer, one of the nice ones. Aurelia helps keep him steady as he sits.

Rook looks at the group.  “You guys have a plan?  I can’t go anywhere till my relief shows up to look after these two.”

Elithora: “We don’t want to wait. Hell. I don’t suppose we’re taking them with us?”

Blackjack: “He is a mind mage. It may be for the best to leave them behind.”

Sinon: “No, we don’t want to linger.  He may move.  I think they should stay.” gesturing to the apostates.

Aurelia: “We need to keep the goal in mind. We are trying to cure this disease. Gerard has information on it we need.”

Sinon: “Yes.  And how do you propose we get it from him? Because, I don’t think a browbeating in a room full of strangers will work as well on a mad scelestus as it did on our friend here.”

Aurelia: “Hell if I know. But we won’t get it sitting around here.”

Arrowsmith shakes his head.  “Have you considered just asking him?  I’ve met the man.  He wants to help.”

Blackjack: “For certain values of help. Was he the one who told you we were Seers?”

“…Well, yes.”

Aurelia: “To be fair the seers came after us.”

Sinon, doubtful. “We can attempt it, at least.  I doubt his help will come without cost.”

Aurelia: “Nothing is free, Sinon.”

(“Yes, but who pays and how much?”)

Blackjack holds his tongue. Doesn’t have high hopes for this.

Elithora: “So are we going to drive out there and try a mental smash and grab or …”

Sinon: “It looks like we’ll have to improvise.” 

Elithora shrugs and twirls her keys on her finger. “Improvising it is. We have some time to plan on the drive over.”

Jude finishes his beer, color returning to his cheeks.  He stands up and claps his hands.  “Well, then!  Shall we be off?”

Sinon nods and looks over at Blackjack.  “I assume you arrived prepared in case things go sideways?”

“Yes, but not enough to go around. I have a shotgun in the trunk and a pistol on me.” Shrugs with a twinge of apology.

“I brought enough supplies for myself.”  He looks over at the Mystagogues.

“Hey, we’re already committed to improvising.”

“I’m not qualified to fire one anyhow so don’t worry. I’ll concentrate on keeping him out of our heads.”

Had been referring to a piece for Sinon but gives him a look that conveys no guns for the Mystagogues may be the best policy.

Sinon processes Blackjack’s look and nods in agreement.

The drive is uneventful; it’s now well past midnight so the group makea good time for the bulk of it. As the cabal approaches Richmond, a fairly classy suburb, Jude begins giving terse directions as he concentrates on his spell.  “Left here.  Right.  Two blocks, then left.” They begin skirting the western edge of the island counterclockwise as subdivisions blur past on one side.  Suddenly, Jude’s brow furrows.  “There!  Right out there!”  He points seaward, to the right, to a yellow light shining about a half mile off the coast.

It’s another two minutes before they find a place where you can pull over; a small public dock, roped off for the night but illuminated by harsh sodium lights.

Aurelia begins casting mental shields on everyone “Alright, time for some mind-barriers…”

A plane rumbles overhead, seemingly close enough to touch.  Vancouver International Airport is not too far to the north.

Sinon begins chanting in High Speech.  He rolls up his sleeve and pulls a copper-plated pneumatic injector from inside his jack.  As his chanting ends he injects himself with a strange blue-colored liquid. Casting Honing the Form

Elithora casts a Minor divination — just looking for whatever image/s are most prominent burbling down the time stream this moment.

Elithora’s divination suggests the possibility of transactions with danger as a possible consequence of that.

Blackjack brings up Magic shield and transforms his aura to look like a sleeper to another mage. And one last spell, making his shotgun invisible. Now he looks harmless. Could pass as a Canadian even.

Jude looks ahead intently.  “It’s definitely a boat.  He’s moving slightly.  How do we get over there?”

“Fuck me. We’re sailing to this guy?” Elithora is looking around. Wouldn’t know the first thing about actually manipulating a boat. we can’t pay off some sleeper to putt putt us across the water.

There’s a handful of small craft around the dock.  “I /could/ perhaps open a portal….” Jude says thoughtfully.

Elithora: “We bamf in he knows magic is on the table but we have momentum on our side. How hard are we going in on him?”

Aurelia shakes her head. “I’m against any bamfing. We don’t know what he’d do if startled like that.”

Sinon: “I agree.  We should avoid such vulgar castings unless there is no other choice.”

Blacjack: “Then we borrow a boat.”

Jude shrugs.  “Have it your way, then.  I warn everyone that I’m absolutely rubbish on water and am” – he rubs his belly, frowning – “liable to throw up anywhere at anytime and for any reason.”

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MrAnthropy

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