In the morning, we gather for breakfast and planning. A quiet moment being a rarity. I wonder if they know we’ll come for them now, instead of throwing themselves at us. Klyce wants to trap one, if they do come after us again. It seems like not all of them can just teleport away. They ran from Philip instead of just disappearing. So maybe, we could snag one, and make it talk. We still have those iron bands from Italy, and Gerhard has his domes. This seems like a solid plan for now, but what do we do in the meantime.
We need to go visit the bar we told the homeless painters to report to. We need to go to the Petals to check some things at the Wiest’s office. And we figured on going to Brooklyn to see where the writer was getting his stories about the abductions. It’s going to be a lot of walking today. Philomena agrees to stay behind to help Orrin and Philip guard everyone.
We start by heading down south to the Xingtown bar. A man is waiting outside for us. He says Old Brack wants to talk to us, and takes us all the way back north to the Bronx. To an empty lot. Remy pays the man, which seems odd to me, when there’s no one here. But then a man appears out of the shadows saying that we’re drawing the symbol wrong.
Remy confirms this is Brack, and introduces himself, explaining why we were drawing the Dawnmother symbols around town. He says it’s the wrong symbol, and shows us a necklace with the inverted symbol on it. He got it two days before when another homeless couple were taken from right in front of him. Old Brack, it seems, has been on the streets a long time, and helps the newly homeless get settled and find places to sleep or find food. Two nights ago, he was doing just that, and a group jumped out of the shadows, abducted this couple and then disappeared again, through a wall. In the scuffle, they ignored Brack, and one dropped his necklace. Dalish is also a bit suspicious of Brack, and to be honest so am I, but in the moment, he’s telling us what we need to know, so I don’t care. We can come back and kill him later if we have to.
Remy tells him we’re trying to stop those people, and he leads us around a corner to show us where it happened. Remy asks who the couple were, and Brack unknowingly tells him they were his parents, the Renaud’s. The boys take a look with their magical eyes. There is definitely magical residue in this alley. Dalish says it’s some form of powerful conjuration. Shadow teleporting or something, like Rictus did the other night. I head up to the wall, and leaning my hands against it, concentrating on my desire to find my brother, I get a small sense of direction. They used this to go somewhere to the Southeast, mostly South. Maybe Brooklyn? Remy and Dalish get the same thing when they put their heads together, too.
Nat looks around and says it looks like there were eight people who came here through that wall. Eight people to abduct Remy’s parents. We have to figure out where they went. We have to save our families. Maybe they didn’t go very far? We start searching for that same signature of magic in the nearby streets, heading south and east. We get out to twice my current teleport spell’s range before we give it up. They could be anywhere if they aren’t close by. It’s time to move on to other things.
We head down to the Petals, starting with the Records Office. Dalish hands over the note from General Burns and we are taken into the hall. Most of Porter’s file is redacted, and his most recent orders is an empty folder. She gives us the list of his squad, and their current orders are also missing. They’re all slightly older than Porter, and include at least one member of the Magia families. We ask if someone has accessed these files, and perhaps taken their orders, and she takes us back to look at the logs. Five months ago, someone did look at their files, but she cannot tell us who. We’re going to have to find one of these mages, maybe one of them didn’t go along with Porter’s plan.
Heading up to Wiest’s office, we find it locked up tight. Klyce decides making a new doorway is probably safer than trying to unlock it, and opens the wall. Marybeth decides to maintain an illusion while we’re inside so no one notices a big hole in the wall. The office is nicely furnished, but fairly empty. Dalish does find a crystal ball in the wall, however. He doesn’t seem to use this office much at all, except when other people ask to see him. Fortunately, this one goes back six months, instead of just one. Two and a half months ago, Pyrus met with him to discuss the war and the mana deposits out west. Three months ago, Porter and two of his squad came for a visit.
Porter charmed Wiest at the beginning of the meeting. And I do mean Charmed, as in the spell, as in Illegal magic. On A Prime! He then assigns them to Black Ops inside New Gnosis. We have to back up the recording and reposition to see what orders he writes for them. He transfers them to be under his authority only, and out of the normal military chain of command. He also wrote them open orders for all the mana and supplies they want. There is no scope or end date to any of these orders. After they leave, he seems confused by what has happened, but they already have all the paperwork they need.
We decide that we have to get those orders rescinded. Surely, with Wiest dead, Rictus or someone can countermand the order? Maybe even tell us if they show up looking for supplies? This seems like a good first step in stopping at least one of our problems.
Nat skims through the rest of the orb. Five months ago, Rictus met with Wiest. Wiest was asking pointed questions about us and our service. Rictus tells him flat out that we belong to him and are under his control. Wiest then says that situations can change and that some mages want us used differently. Rictus insists that as long as he is Prime, nothing will happen to us. Well, isn’t this charming. Thank the Dawnmother for that geas.
Next, we headed to Prime Atherion’s office. He died around the same time, though his body was not retrievable inside his collapsed Magnificent Mansion. His door is also locked up, so Klyce opens a wall again. Only, this time, there is literally nothing in the office. Someone realizes, he probably has an extra-dimensional office, and we’ll have to go through the door. So, Nat picks the lock and we all rush inside before someone notices. Then things got weird.
A voice asks for a Password, and when no one can give one, we appear in a steel cube of a room, about thirty feet to a side. Surrounded by flying snakes. It’s a bit terrifying, but one quick Storm Sphere and all but one of them collapse to the ground. Nat quickly zaps the last snake out of the air. Then the voice comes again.
You have reached the office of Prime Atherion. What business do you have?
Or something like that, I think there were more words, but the storm was still up for a few seconds, and I didn’t really hear.
We tell the voice that Atherion is dead and we’re trying to investigate.
Access is restricted to Prime Atherion and those he gave access to.
We explain again that he is dead. We ask if Prime Rictus had permission, but the voice says no. Then we have to have a conversation about what dead means. It went something like this…
What does that mean?
He isn’t alive. Or at least he isn’t on this plane anymore.
But where is he?
Collapsed inside his mansion.
Do you know how to get him out?
Can we go into his office to look for information?
Prime Atherion isn’t?
Who are you?
Then we introduced ourselves… but it didn’t get better for a while…
And you Are. But he isn’t? But I am?
And this went back and forth for awhile, until the voice explained that he is a “Life Model Decoy” of Prime Atherion, with all his knowledge, up to the point of his creation. Then the voice decided that it Was Atherion now. Because it’s existance was based on Atherion. This is when Klyce got impatient, declared the voice to be Atherion, and asked its permission to enter the office.
You want to visit My Office?
Yes, there is likely information about… a dead body that we need.
I give myself and all of you permission to access My Office.
Then a door appeared in one of the walls, and we all head through, into a Magnificent Mansion about two or three times the size of the one we all had shared those years before. There’s an Infinity Pool, a Zen Garden, and all sorts of other random frivolity. The unseen servants in this mansion, however, are all shaped like the other Primes, in the most ridiculous way possible. Atherion voice now starts insisting that it wants a body, and Remy patiently tries to help.
I lead the way to find his office among all of the silliness, and we find it. Throne and all. Who was this guy? The documents are mostly boring. Shipping manifests, mana information. Incarceration and death rates for the mines. Information on new deposits out west. Discussion of teleportation or rail systems to get mana back east. We also find his spellbook, which peaks a lot of interest, especially as it has the spell to make these mansions. We decide to confiscate it as evidence for now, and turn it in when we are done. Klyce and Remy both wander off to look for more interesting things. Dalish checks for recording orbs here, but unsurprisingly, doesn’t find any. Eventually, Remy comes to tell us he found a spell component room, and we all head there to “borrow” supplies.
Atherion voice tells us that no one besides Atherion` ever came here, and no one else had gotten into the trap room like we did. We ask where Atherion` had his mansion, but Atherion voice says he carried them with him wherever he went. Them? He had eight mansions on his person at all times. Well, that’s a lot. We have to get out of here and get moving, we have found some good resources, but no information on the matters at hand. It doesn’t want us to leave, but Remy convinces him that we have to go outside for a bit, if only to get what we need to come back and make him a body. He tells us the password to get back in is Alleria.
Once we’re outside, Remy lets us know that there was also a Machine inside, though he disabled it. We head to Rictus’ office, but he isn’t there. I send to him, instead, to say Porter mind-controlled Wiest for unlimited supplies and free reign in the city. Rictus says he’ll meet with us this evening. Nat leaves a not for Alleria, asking “Are they yours?” And we head to Brooklyn to do more investigation.