Just a Conversation… Or Seven

I spent the entire day worrying about everyone. Everyone going off to meet with the various political factions. New Primes, Old Primes, Wanna Be Primes, and Random Politicos alike. No political parties had contacted me. No, sirree. I’m just an object to study. Only Hardin contacted me, with some new research. I will not go back. I am not going back there. He’ll have to figure it out without me. But I do want to help, I want to know what he thinks he knows. I want to fix this mana problem for all my friends. Oh man, my friends. What if Wiest kills Natty outright? You know she’s not going to give the Professor what she wants. Oh, Natty!

Eventually, it’s time for me to head down to Xingtown for dinner with Hardin. I know the place, we’ve passed it a few times, but never stopped in. I head down and he’s there waiting. Smile on his face like everything is just fine. Like there aren’t three more world-ending events on the horizon. I’m already mad at him. Not a direct transcription, but it went something like this:

Good to see you! How’ve you been?

Died at least once since you last saw me.

This puts him off his game for a moment, and I sit down. He stumbles around for a bit, and then orders us a whole bunch of random food.

It’s been too long.

You still there?

Until recently. Until I got word about the deliberative. I wanted to discusss a new possible avenue of research. You’ve been to this Fae World?

Yeah, I had to die to get there though.

Well, I was thinking. If we use you and your connection to the fae as a conduit to bleed off the magical properties.

No! It’s not like that! I won’t be a fuel source! All my friends have been there, too.

Just a conduit. You’re connected to that place, maybe more than we know. Your magic is different than theirs. We can use that.

You sound like Garion!

Even just a ten foot square where mana isn’t required.

It would be catastrophic!

We would take precautions. We just need to create the spell, and then we wouldn’t need to use you as the link anymore.

How? How would this even work? I don’t know anything about magic like that.

That’s why I need your help, I’m not sure yet, but I have ideas.

You want to talk to my friends who know more about magic, not me. I can’t help you create spells.

I’d be happy to meet with your friends!

We’re going to South America, there are clues for our search for the Black Knight there.

That’s odd, isn’t he here? Anyway. Will you talk to your friends about my research?

Yes. We’ll get back to you.

We thanked each other for dinner then and went our seperate ways.

Back at home, all of us gathered up to discuss what happened in our various conversations and it immediately went downhill. Nat said that Wiest was already threatening her family and their mine. Klyce asks if everyone stuck to the plan of not committing to anything and telling them all we were busy right now. Remy said he signed up with the Utopians to get us mana, supplies, and sanction for our mission. Klyce went OFF on him. Then Dalish admitted that he left the Utopians and signed up with the Conservatives who were looking for a replacement for Rictus. Klyce went off again. And so did a few otheres. This is ridiculous, guys!!! Dalish insists that he wants to lead them to a more liberal stance. We try to convince him they just want a figurehead. Klyce is still pissed that Remy basically put the whole group in the Utopian’s debt. Remy said he hasn’t actually accepted their assistance/supplies, yet. But Klyce says it’s too late.

I pop in to tell them about Hardin’s research and his desire to collaborate with us all. No one pays me much mind. Maribeth says we were supposed to stay unknown until we had a plan, so we don’t become useless. Remy wants to enact change by being part of the processs. Klyce is annoyed that he gave them power over us. Gerhard Says Hadreas hates all the politics, and wants to go back to magic for magic’s sake. He could be an ally. Klyce said he had a productive conversation about the mana shortage, and demons and devils. They talked not just about the other realms, but about other countries and types of magic, as well. They also discussed short term plans to protect the miners, to buy time for such external research.

Returning to the topic of Professor, soon to be Prime, Wiest, Nat says there was just no talking her down. She showed up all bluster and fury, and Nat wasn’t going to point her in a direction. She has since warned her family and Stephen about the threat. Klyce asks if there are procedures for removing a Prime, but Dalish says the only way to do it is Certimum. Klyce wants to use our political capital to introduce an impeachment process. But that’s all for later. South America is calling.

I send to Hank to ask about where they are and if the wizard can Dream to me, because Nat doesn’t want him in her head. I hear him asking Locke if he can do that before the spell cuts out. So, I send to Locke, who asks when we are planning to arrive. I send again to say tomorrow afternoon. He replies that they’re in Argentina and he’ll dream me tonight to show me where. So, a few more drinks and it is time for bed.

Approaching the Apocalypse… Again

In the morning, we all round up to check on Remy and discuss. He’s awake, but moving slow. He says he did gain knowledge of his past lives, including golemancy and how to give Alock a body. Folk go off about constructs for a short bit before getting back on track. He says he lost the memories of his first two lives and how they won the war against the fae. Then we digressed into a discussio of the breaking and the war and how they were related, but we don’t have any answers, so we bounce back. Remy thinks he can also give the Etherion voice a body, but that’s a whole other can of worms that needs Rictus’ input. Remy also says that our connection to the gods is what kept us from dying, not just that one time we went to the fae world.

Nat then tells us that she Dreamed last night. She says the positive outcome of the deliberative is fading fast. The other three options are all pretty bad. She saw the room of the deliberative, with the Prime Evoker and Conjurer’s chairs cracked, and Prime Rictus’ chair completely broken, and all the mages were frozen in mid-discussion. But then there were three options. One the chamber emptied and all the chairs broken. One with half the room destroyed. And the last with only one, larger Prime seat remaining. Worried about Rictus’ broken chair, Dalish sends to him, but he says he’s fine and will see us before the Deliberative.

Remy mentions wanting to scribe some spells into his book, including Ressurection. Maribeth says he should just let her go if she dies. We all disagree, vigorously. She thinks she’s going to Hell no matter what, but we try to convince her she’s not anymore. The contract is gone. But she believes she’s done too much bad in her life. I don’t know what that has to do with it, but she’s pretty convinced. We tell her too bad, we’re saving her no matter whether she wants it or not.

Now, what about the Black Knight? And the Red Knight? Aranea? The Church? What about using the Renaud ring to locate Daniel. Remy wants to go look at the secret room in his house. So, we head over there, and on the way, show him all the things we took from it already. We don’t find anything new, but we do learn that the house has been sold to the Prime Illusionist.

We have to find Hector and/or Daniel. Nat starts scrying. Starting with Hector, who we’re sure is dead. She sees the ruins of the Royal Palace. A hallway in front of a shadowed window. There is no sound in the hall. Then Nat scries on Daniel, but it fails to resolve. So, we decide to head to the palace up in the Bronx. We find the spot, it’s all rubble and ashes in an old receiving room. The boys find transmutation magic. Possible disintegration, and the ashes are Hector. Well, there we go then.

Nat takes a look at the pattern of the weave to look back at what this place was. She says it was glorious and beautiful. She looks around and finds something behind the throne. We move some rubble out of the way for her, and find a tunnel entrance. Nat finds the catch to open the door, it’s pushing a few stones in the right order. Heading downstairs, we find the color starting to drain, and it seems to look strange to our magic boys’ eyes. Anti-magic? We go back up, leave Dalish behind after his toe falls off. We light some torches and head back down.

Everything is black and grey as we head down into a bedroom chamber. There’s a stone archway at one end with a door. No. The Door. Oh Dawnmother! Oh Green Witch! The DOOR! I want to. Oh man! I want to touch it.

Remy moves forward. Remy wasn’t in the fae world. No! Remy Stop! It’s the Door, Remy. It’s dangerous. He just wants to look. But touching it. What if one of us opens it accidentally. We can’t do this now. We have to survive the Deliberative first. We can only have one apocalypse at a time. I really want to touch it, too. Look with your eyes, Remy, not your hands. We have to leave. We have to leave now and come back later. We have to.

So, we go back upstairs and seal the door again, and tell Dalish what we found. Then we head home. It’s weird that my house is home for almost everyone in the group now. It’s a closer family than I ever had. Remy works on scribing spells and how to build bodies. Gerhardt goes back to refining Mana. Nat pays a visit to Poissant. She prepares tea to dream about the door. We both really want to open it and keep our promise and get Alock back home before Remy puts him in some unnatural body. But we can’t, not until after Friday.

I decide to check in on all our friends. Xin Yue does not reply. Cirena says she’s doing alright, she made a deal about the Beast for her safety, but it’s still after us. Hank says we can come down to South America any time we want to. When I try to message my mom, all I get is weird island music. Stephen says everything is fine, but he was busy. I tell Gerald about the odd response from Mom, he says he’ll look into it.

My Brother’s Keeper

The night is troubled with awful dreams. Not the vague terror of her childhood just a few years ago. She doesn’t dream of the beating heart or the green. She doesn’t run for her life or feel the earth breaking.

She dreams of her once despised brother. The ‘real mage’ of the family. The ‘proper son’ who always did the right thing. Who had apologized and asked forgiveness. Who had pleaded to help, even though she knew he couldn’t. Who she had left with Orrin to watch over him. Who was gone now. Taken.

He was with them now. Not dead. He couldn’t be dead. Not after everything. Not with everyone else already gone. Taken. Not dead.

But that made the nightmares worse. She Did remember the pain, even if she teased Remy about it. Remembered the searing pain inside when that thing held her in the fountain. But she was used to pain. Gerald was not.

She dreamed of him being tortured as she had been. She dreamed of him being ripped open. She dreamed of him being bled while they laughed at his screams. She dreamed of many more horrible things.

And every time she woke in a cold sweat, reaching out for him. She concentrated on finding him. On going to him. On finding the magics that would take her to her brother so she could save him. She prayed to the Dawnmother for guidance.

On her watch at the end of the night, she pulled one of the bones out of the bag of bits Marybeth had gathered. She cleaned it up, and held it, concentrating on where it came from. On the nest the creature had spoken of. On how to get there. She could already go short distances. They had traveled between the fae and here. Surely there was a way. They were no mere mortal men. They were Gods, as Remy loved to point out. And even he had a fae in his head.

When the group was ready to go, she would take them. They would find her brother and no more of her family would die.

New Spells and Old Dangers

Once I get everyone feeling a little better, Marybeth and Nat search the house. There are no hiding people left, but three spellbooks are recovered. Dalish raises a zombie to help with watches and for fun, I guess. It’s gross, but he says it’s stronger than a skeleton. Ew!

We decide to sleep, but Dalish on first watch, gets curious and opens one of the spellbooks. It Explodes! Dalish! Be more Careful! He promises not to open anymore, and we all get back to resting, a little more singed than before.

The next morning, with their spells all memorized again, they investigate and dispell the other two books, so they can get at the spells inside. After, Nat and Dalish go looking to see if there might be one more book because one of the spells cast in the fight isn’t in the two we have. Klyce is fuming that it might have been in the exploded spellbook.

They eventually call down to the group that they’ve found a tiny chest. It’s a spelled chest, I guess, with a big chest inside. But nobody knows the spell, and anyway, it has to be the one who cast it who opens it or it’ll go away, too. Dalish hopes he zombified the right corpse and calls it over. It lays a hand on the tiny chest and suddenly there’s a big chest. I guess the zombie’s okay.

There’s a whole bunch of papers and letters and things in this box, as well as this zombie’s spellbook. They make sure to dispell the trap before opening it, and do find the polymorph spell that Klyce has been seeking. Dalish and Remy say the papers will be very important for the Colonel to read.

Nat, Marybeth and I go check the outbuildings, but they’re just supplies and gunpowder for the canons. Marybeth finds tracks of the missing wizard leading out to a teleportation circle in the woods, but we don’t know that spell either to know where he went. Probably the big city we’re headed for though.

Deciding we’ve completed our mission as best we can, we head on to meet up with the army. When we arrive, Lt Durance hasn’t made it back yet, so Marybeth and Dalish report to the Colonel. When they come back, they tell us that the Colonel was very interested in the swamp witch and sends men out to investigate, despite protests it will get them killed.

When the Lt. gets back, he says he wants Nat to go study with her and convince her to be come a citizen, and that he’ll try to stop the Colonel’s men from rash action. He also says our next orders will be to head south when the Lt gets back, and check on another old plantation. Every team sent so far has not returned. So, teamed up with the Lt’s team, we head out.

Nat wants to check on her new mind palace spell. When she tries her brother, nothing happens. So, she sents up a palace between herself, Klyce, and Philomena. When they come out, she says it has a lot of delay and isn’t very good. So, now we know distance plays a part in it.

Nat is curious if her brother is in the place where we are going, and wants to see if she’s collected any of the right mushrooms to dream properly. She casts augury over them, one a day until she finds one that seems better than the rest. Unfortunately, it does not put her to sleep at All. She goes out of her mind, and I have to levitate her to keep her wandering around the camp like this. She wants to explore though, so she pulls us all into a terrible dream of a mind palace where we sink into the floor and have really messed up dreams.

Mine was feeling connected to the entire world, which seems nice, but the world was Hatching! Remy apparently dreamed he was being killed over and over, because, when he woke up, he came storming into the tent, screaming his head off and shoving Nat around. I very nearly attacked Remy myself, but he stopped touching her and just screamed a bit more before leaving.

Nat had a vision of the swamp we’re headed for, filled with blood and other gross things, but also the feeling of her brother definitely being there. So, she and Dalish go see the Lt. He is interested in her brother’s power, and wants to see whether he will join with us in our cause. Or, if he needs to be destroyed.

Oh boy…

The Kids are Not Alright

On the way back to the house, I ask Nat if maybe Professor Alleria can help me. I don’t do what Nat does, I can’t use divination, why did I have dreams about that horror show? Nat says she probably already knows I want to talk to her, so if she has answers, she’ll probably find me. So, when I go to her office and find a note, I’m not surprised. I am a little surprised by what it says. “Nothing I can do for you, dear.” Man, she’s just like all the rest of them. Everyone thinks I’m weird and impossible.

Where should they go looking for spells next? Nat wants to go to the catacombs, like we haven’t seen enough dead bodies lately. Remy wants to go to the Kitchens. Dead people or servires… I think I’m with Nat on this one. But no one else is, so we troop down to the Kitchens. Remy has to do some fast talking, and they want him to own them a favor. Ugh! Never! Even Remy is put off by that. Instead, he offers them Barry for a week. Barry seems not to care, and they agree. Everyone else goes in, but I stay by the door, keeping an eye out for any adults coming by.

They futz around for awhile, poking the fireplace and then a big door. Eventually, Remy comes over to me in a huff, insisting I come inside. The others have stopped responding and he needs to go into the cold room, but doesn’t trust the servires to keep the door open. Fine! I go hold the door, keeping my eyes on the creepy little chefs. They’re in there for a while, so I start sending Messages in. They’re fine, but they still don’t come out for a while. They do come out eventually, with something called False Life. Seems creepy to me.

I head back to the door, but now I watch them instead of the hallway. They peer down a trap door for a bit. I think Remy even sends his little lizard guy down. But they decide, whatever is down there, is not worth exploring, and the fireplace seems like a better idea. They whisper for a while, and when I toss in a message, they ask me to stay at the door and slam it shut once they all get out.

Remy grabs some fire out of the fireplace, like a little blob of it and takes off running. Everyone follows him. The servires start screaming immediately to put it back. Nat casts a fog cloud to blind them, and once Gerhardt gets out, I slam the door shut in the face of something I don’t Ever want to see. It sounded like a Huge Servire. Once we get outside, Remy is all smiles, writing down a new spell, but everyone else just looks tired.

My green dreams are gone that night, but the ground now has a heartbeat in my otherwise normal dreams. Why? Why? Why???

Remy tells us he overheard Malden and Garian arguing over dangerous experiments and something called Project Ambrosia. Malden threatens to kill him if things don’t stop happening. When Malden left, Garian called him foolish and said he had infinity in front of him!

Maribeth tells us of terrible dreams she’s still having of her grandfather. He says war is coming. She says the fire talks to her too, of Blood. He says her friends will leave her and she will know the time has come.

We all get a fieldtrip right before Fall Break. Professor Lerin takes us out to the Petals to show us all the work being done to build fully magically automated buildings. It’s beautiful and amazing! There’s a new Sanctum Pitch that can hold fifty thousand people! He says we can come out to a game once it’s finished. The professional league will play here, and our whole team can come watch.

Then it happens again. There’s a flash of blue on a screaming woman ahead of us. I try to push her up into the air, away from all the people, but I’m too slow, and everything explodes! Lerin saved us, he saved us all. He saved our whole class, but not himself. Gerhardt tried to save him, too, but it was too late. That explosion was just too much.

They escort us back to school. We relate the story to the professors who meet us at the gate. Lerin’s funeral is very small, but we all go. To remember him.

The headlines are terrible. War and Terrorism.

Nat tells us that his family has invited us all to Spring Break at their house. It’ll be nice to get away for a while. But Nat says it’s not normal, says something must be wrong. Well, nothing is right anymore. How bad could it be? What if they’re just being nice? We’re all going to go with Nat, even if we have to tell Klyce’s mother about the invitation to get him to go.