We manage to collect Marybeth’s mom with no hassle and head back to my house. Everything is quiet, and I gather up the ashes into vases. I have to talk to their families, but not now. Not with demons and devils after us. We fortify the study to protect everyone as best we can as some of the folk with fire spells clean up the back garden.
Someone remembers a box Remy pulled out of Marybeth’s house and we take a look at it. It’s got some serious magic on it, and the inverted Dawnmother rune from Nat’s dream. Nat manages to pick the lock on the box after only one failed attempt. She’s getting really good at that. Then she opens it, and a swirling blackness comes out. A demonic voice comes out and a black beam of energy strikes her in the chest! She staggers, but stays upright. The box is full of ashes. Remy sits down to identify it all. The box itself was covered by Non-Detection. The ashes are magical and can make you disappear and have non-dectection on you, too. They also used to be people… Closing the box will reset the trap, so we get a pouch for the ashes instead.
Everyone gets busy then. I send to Elizabeth again, but she’s busy still, but says she’ll come. Marybeth starts studying her grandfather’s papers again. Gerhardt patches Nat up from the box’s damage. Klyce and Nat then pull Philip into the hall to dig into his brain, most of us follow. Klyce explains what’s going to happen, and the risk. Philip is scared, but he trusts Klyce. When Nat’s done, she says his memories are thin and don’t go back past two and a half years ago. Around tree time. There’s a smooth globe of darkness beneath that. She can’t get through, but it feels like blood and sulfur. We ask about his past, and he has memories of growing up, but they seem a little vague to me.
He goes back into the room with the families while we ponder what this means. Did he get infected during the mind worm episode? Did something hitch a ride in his brain? And what about the cultist ashes from Porter’s room. What are we Doing? Marybeth produces an image of Porter for Nat, and she says he’s the leader of the cult. He’s the one sacrificing people. Oh Dawnmother, what do we do?
We could speak with the church of the Dawnmother. Nat could try a deeper vision of the cult. We could talk to Poissant. We could contact the Magia. What? Remy? Really? Or was that Dalish? We could ask our contacts in Xingtown. We really don’t know where to go, so maybe all of the above.
Our main goal is to get the demon attacks to stop, so I ask Marybeth about the contract. She pulls her Mom out of the study to be present while she explains. The Original family contract was for 1000 souls for a lifetime of riches. But that count has been upped to 200,000 souls recently. Marybeth’s new contract is not for riches, but rather to free her family from the contract and any future contracts.
It’s too late to go back out. So, Nat settles down for a nice tea-induced nap. I update Gerald in a sending, and he offers to help. I don’t reply, I want at least him to stay safe.
When we all wake up the next morning. She tells us what she saw. The New Gnosis skyline, the petals, the Deliberative tower. Something is going to happen soon. Three outcomes produce chaos, one produces unity. Then back to the city. Torch fires lighting up everywhere. If it is not check, it will destroy everything. The stone altar, 13 black robed figures. A rapturous man on the stone. Porter stabbing him and then he dissolves into darkness. She tried to leave the room, to see where it is, but there is only blackness. Brooklyn at the refinery. A new construction of a gradiose building. A small man in simple black clothes, preacing to a crowd. The meek shall be made strong.
We have to leave the house, and I’m scared for my guests. I send to Gerald, asking him to come home and protect them. I also send to my contact who signed me up for Remy’s political faction. He lets me know there is a deliberative scheduled in two weeks. Klyce sits Phil down to tell him we have to leave, and he trusts him to protect the family. Klyce asks Elizabeth to stay, at least for now, and she relents. Gerald takes a while to get home, but I explain the danger when he does and set him up with Orrin and Philip to keep everyone safe.
We head to Brooklyn first, to the church of the Dawnmother. It doesn’t look so good. Royalist graffiti and other things on the outside. The inside is better off, but Father Carmine tells us that Father Kevin left and converted to the new church, the One God over at the Refinery. That church showed up a couple months ago. They are strange, almost cultish. The priests dress in black and preach humility and peace. They stick together and worship nearly constantly. We ask about the cult we are after, even showing him an image of Porter and the inverted symbol. But he has no knowledge of any of that.
We head over to the One God church to look around. They are still laying the foundation. We listen to the preacher for a bit. He’s talking about forgiveness and treating others how you wish to be treated. Being saved if one dedicates oneself. The sky turns dark then. He warns against the Old Gods. He says they cannot be trusted and were forgotten for a reason. He says they strike him down, but have not power here. And lightning does strike then, but not harm him. I am heavily tempted to bring my own lightning down from that storm, just to prove him wrong, but I resist. He’s innocent so far.
The crowd disperses after his miracle and there is talk of a sacrement meeting on Sunday. We wander over to the foundations, looking for a way into the lower levels where the giant worm head should still be secured. But it’s been covered over. It looks like they intend to put a way down, but they aren’t ready for that yet. We head back over to see if we can talk to him, but he’s surrounded by followers. He breaks from them and comes to us. Remy asks him about the One God. He introduces himself as Arch Deacon Lewis Woods. I’m not really listening to his answers, but he says he was visited by this God. Not in a vision or anything, but more of a feeling. Four month ago. Since no one was using the building and the mages had cleared out, he decided to build it up for his God. He doesn’t mind the worm in the basement, it seems trapped enough. Then there’s a rambling on about the old gods falling to reason and logic and then his One God came to replace those. The One God is eternal. Then he catches my attention again, saying that Mages are not welcome in his church. The Old Gods are responsible for magic, and therefore mages are an abomination before his God. I try to argue a bit, but he says magic was a test, and mages failed to resist the temptation. We try to ask about the cult bringing chaos, but he doesn’t know anything about that, and doesn’t care.
Frustrated with Brooklyn, we head out to the Petals to check on the Deliberative in case the something happening isn’t going to wait the two weeks for the meeting. Once in the Tower of Justice, we head up to the top, to the Deliberative chambers. When we arrive, we are not alone. There is an older man with a military air, and a younger, pale woman dressed in leathers. Remy approaches and introduces himself. The man introduces them in return. Other Pendleton and Satiel. Remy claims we’re just out looking around. They say they’ve come because of the recent news about the meeting to come. They are discussing the coming Prime nominations. Many say Diedre, Wiest’s daughter, should take his place as Prime Evoker. He, himself, is more on the Conjuration side, not wanting to be put up for Evoker.
She’s become unstable since her father’s death and is on a rampage to hunt down those responsible. Remy asks if there’s been any actual evidence that the Black Knight is responsible. Hard to get in Atheria’s case, his mansion collapsed with him inside it. But Jor was found beheaded, and the knight was seen in the area. Wiest was stabbed through the heart with a large sword, so it seems plausible. He’s afraid that she won’t be able to focus enough to be a Prime.
He wants Satiel to put herself forward, but he doesn’t stay to chat with us. She’s unalligned and previously apprenticed to Rictus. Remy asks about the mage-slayer, but she’s never heard of him. Nat asks about being able to speak with those who died. She’s a little cagey, but then offers to trade spells with us. We offer her Dawn and Sunbeam, and she includes the ink and paper we need to scribe Speak with Dead in on the deal. While Nat copies the spell, she tells us that Diedre is enraged and lose any sense of proportionality or control. We tell her we’ve been tasked with investigating the Black Knight as well, and she suggests we go look at the scene in Wiest’s mansion.
Once she’s gone, we have another arguement about contacting the Black Knight. We decide to first check out the mansion and then go talk to Poissant. The mansion, it turns out, is here in the petals, flown here by Wiest himself.