I don’t know what happened in the fight with the monsters holding the children. One moment I was preparing a chain lightning, and the next, all thought was gone from my head, and I felt awful. Then we were back in the hotel in Buenos Aires with Hank standing over me and the children behind me. We won, I guess, Nat was holding the full mirror, but was being very cagy about using it. Hank and friends said they didn’t want to use the mirror, and had been very worried because we were gone for a month.
A month!!!!! Swearing, I cast sending to my brother, and only manage to calm down enough to ask if he’s okay and what’s going on. He replies that he’s safe, but we shouldn’t come home, things are really bad. Ugh! I take a few breaths and send again but he says he can’t really explain it, and just thinks we should stay away. In consultation with Nat, we decide to Dream to him, so I send one more time and tell him to be asleep by 11. I send to Nat’s dad, but he doesn’t have any information about what happened. They are safe though.
Some of the others go shopping and out to dinner and such things, but I just sit and wait for the night. I know he’s just trying to protect me, but he cant be serious about us not coming back if things are really that bad. Who else is going to fix it? The adults???
The time comes, and Nat puts me under. Gerald is waiting, alone, in his very clean room. I thank him for that and praise his control of his dreams. Then he tells me. The church has risen up in full revolt against the wizards. The populace has risen up in full revolt as well. Everything is chaos. The church is killing mages on sight and offering the populace conversion or death. Oh, and they have airships. Gerald hasn’t left the house in two weeks. More of the Primes were killed, but he doesn’t know which ones. He hasn’t been to the school even. He and Crystal have camoflaged the house to look like it is already burned down. The populace is attacking all the rich houses and people. Okay, well that settles it, we’re coming back in the morning. We’re going to fix this.
I report in at breakfast, and after a bit of babble, and Nat preparing to shield my entire house, we head back and throw up a veil to keep scying eyes at bay. We have a lot of work to do, but first we need information. Maribeth and Remy head off to see the Chief. Gerhardt, Philomena, and Klyce head off to secure their families. Dalish, Nat, and I head to the school.
Not wanting to run into trouble on the streets, we head through the sewers. That’s where we discover the walls have flesh growing on them. It’s not terribly reactive, but Dalish is sure that it is Garion’s flesh. After hearing an airship’s pronouncement of their One True God and sacrament of Flesh, we start to wonder if they are infused with Garion’s power. He wanted to become a god, maybe he did in that explosion, and his flesh is empowering the church.
At the school, the defenses stand, but the gate stands open and unguarded. We head in, carefully, while Nat sends her arcane eye ahead of us. She says the faculty area of the main building is shielded. The auditorium has exploded, and there’s someting weird in the lab building, and one lone servire in the hall of records. Dalish leads us all to Rictus’ lab, through the ruined auditorium. It looks like it had been set for a certimum when it blew. I wonder if it was Wiest. Nat also says there’s movement in the woods.
Down in the lab, everything has been cleared out. Nothing remains, and Dalish really starts to worry about his phalactery. Nat takes a deep look around, and finds a hidden compartment with a Staff of Power. Well, that’s pretty cool, wonder who missed that. Rictus, or someone else?
We head up to the research building, and Nat and Dalish eventually work out that there are hidden doorways to other spaces in many of the labs. So, Dalish sends to James and he agrees to come out. The Faculty have kept all the students outside this world to keep them safe. They’ve started up a machine to supply their mana needs for this. James says he’s willing to help, if we can put a reasonable plan together, but the teachers have mostly kept them in the dark.
We head back to the main building to see who is hanging out in the offices. Naturally, we find Prime Alleria. She is able to tell us that Prime Trask and the Abjuration one, I can’t keep their name in my head, are both killed. Probably the Black Knight. The city is in chaos, but she says we’re on the right paths to fix it. She, as usual, doesn’t offer much more than that, but says we should go back and look at the auditorium’s explosion. When we ask about the forest, she says it’s the groundskeeper and the servires, but she doesn’t know where their loyalties lie.
Nat takes us back there, to see what happened, and even includes us in her spell this time. Rictus is there, on the stage by the certimum bowl, but then he retreats to the balcony to wait. The Black Knight comes marching down the center aisle a time later. Rictus calls out to him, taunting that he shouldn’t have listened to the others, he should have killed him on the same day he killed the king he betrayed and his brother. The knight calls back that the king is not dead, and Rictus knows this. Rictus descends from his position in a creepy dark display and they begin to fight furiously. It is a fairly even match, but just as Rictus is starting to get the upper hand, the doorway explodes and Wiest strides in. Aranea is suddenly there, whispering in her ear that she must not let Rictus take her prize.
She charges forward and joins the fray, now Rictus is on his heels, but he manages to banish her and gets the upper hand in the fight again. The Black Knight looks done for. Until Aranea appears again, whispering in Rictus’ ear, that his son yet lives. We’re all stunned by this, and Rictus is so distracted that he drops his guard, and the Knight cuts his head clean off. Aranea and the Black Knight retreat from the auditorium before Wiest returns from her banishment. But when she does, there is such an explosion of rage that we are not entirely sure she lives.
Well, that was a lot. Nat says it happened just the night before. More swearing ensues as we were In Town last night and could have helped. A son? Rictus had a son? I wonder if his loss sent him down his dark path. What now? Dalish roots around in the ashes and finds part of his skull. It’s not enough for Nat to talk to, but it’s enough to bring him back. NO, Dalish, we aren’t doing that right now. We need to talk to the others.
We head out to the forest, sending ahead to the groundskeeper that we want to talk. He is not in a talkative mood and simply insists that he protects the school grounds, that’s it. So, we head back home to meet with everyone and discuss what we’ve learned.
We win for worst news of the three groups, filling everyone in on all the horrible flesh and death news. Klyce has started a people’s army, organizing the dissparate groups of the Manhatten rebels. His sister has a line in with the Magia to get more organized, and more weapons. The police are holding the southern tip of Manhatten, and Remy hands us all credentials to have free passage down there. They’re willig to help, but they can’t do much against magic and chaos. Dalish is quite insistent that we go to the Petals. His conservative party is very upset with his disappearance, and he really wants to find his phylactery. Klyce wants to meet with the Magia and get everyone on Manhatten pointed in the same direction. So, after we have some lunch, we all head off again.
Maribeth goes with Klyce and the rest of us teleport down to Battery Park to make our way across to the Petals. We’re pretty certain teleporting in won’t work, so we commandeer a small ship to sail across. Between Nat’s seamanship, Dalish’s telekinesis ring, and my control of the wind, we make it about halfway across before an airship spots us.
Bombs begin falling and two small craft fly out and start shooting. We start shooting back, crashing the two small planes quickly, but barely scratching the airship. It sends out ten small craft and starts flying away, but the boys start sending up crushing black holes at it, and I start up with some chain lightening. Nat keeps the planes from shooting us after the first volley, and we manage to take them all down again. The big ship manages to escape, but we’re pretty sure it won’t be flying over the city for a few days at least.
Our ship is badly damaged, but we’re still able to limp the rest of the way to the Petals. Dalish’s party members are there, waiting for us, and escort us to the Tower of Justice for a meeting with their party leaders. Dalish asks for a private meeting first, where he tells them of Rictus’ death the night before, and his son. They are just as surprised as we were. We also talk about the need to stop fighting the populace and unite to take on the Church. They seem in agreement with this, so we head upstairs to convince the rest.
It’s just three people, leaders of their own conservative factions. And one of them immediately declares that he must be the leader if there is to be any unity. Remy says that the leader needs to be on the front lines, and says Dalish should be that leader. Dalish puts in that he just wants to be the Wartime General to lead the forces against the Church. They say that the concern right now is mana, and that must be resolved before all else. That the Petals will run out of mana in four days, and so nothing else can be decided without a solution to their disrupted supply lines. One of the groups wants to turn the machines back on, just four machines and they’d be fine. Another one of the leaders says that they’ve worked out a demon machine if we don’t like the fae machines, but all of this sounds horrible. Dalish, or maybe Remy, I wasn’t really paying attention, suggested relocating the majority of mages out to near one of the refineries so they have all the mana they need, while the rest stay to fight. Using the Petals as a trap for the Church’s airships. If the fighters all pull back here, and we can convince the Church that we’ve run out of mana, perhaps they’ll attack and we can put a massive dent in their airforce. Then, when weakened, can counter attack into Brooklyn and take them down.
There is a lot of arguing about leadership and mana and I just don’t care. Eventually, we bring them back around to where we started, that Dalish should be appointment Wartime General to lead the forces against the Church. The non-fighting mages will pull back south of Jersey City, and the fighting mages will lay in wait here for the Church to swoop in when the defenses fall. They agree that if we can get the people to stop attacking them, they’ll focus just on the priests. They agree to get their factions on board with all of this, but say we have to go talk to everyone else, too.
So, I message Prime Pyrus and he agrees to meet with us in his office. We head down, and into a sauna. He is there in a towel and we explain our plan. He is quickly on board and agrees to a deliberative in the morning to bring our plan to fruition. He says with the Utopians and Conservatives, it shouldn’t be hard to bring everyone else in line. Well, thank the gods we don’t have to go talk to any more politicians. We step outside while he reconfigures his office so we can teleport out of the Petals, and says to message him in the morning so he can do it again to allow us back in. I send a message to Klyce to let him know we’re on our way home. He replies that he has to destroy a bridge, but then he’ll be home.
We get home, and true to his word, Klyce and Maribeth show up shortly after. We report what we’ve managed to accomplish. Klyce says he has organized a meeting this evening to organize Manhatten, and has destroyed the Brooklyn Bridge, to keep the Priests’ ground forces at bay. He wants to pull Manhatten forces together to push the Church out of the Bronx as well, and secure this side of things. There is quite a lot of work to do in the morning, but first we have to convince everyone to join us, and the Church is probably going to show up at a meetig so large. Well, I wish we hadn’t fought an airship already today, but it is what it is. Let’s go.