I wake up for half a second in Klyce’s arms, but a sharp stab in my back brings the darkness again. The next thing I know, a potion is being poured down my throat and we’re surrounded by dead ninjas. Maribeth is flickering in and out of reality, and the girl from the recorded images is standing nearby. We can also hear the sound of rushing water. I curl up in a ball, no more water, no more sharks, but Klyce shakes me and grabs my arm as the water rushes in. Half-blind in the rushing water and darkness, we do the only reasonable thing, and allow blind Nat to lead us out.
Once we get out in the bay and then back to shore. The girl’s brother arrives and the others thank him for helping in the fight. There’s a quick discussion about what will happen to Alice and Klein for their crimes, and he agrees to let us keep them. Xin Yue then surprises us all by saying she wants to stay here. She wants to help me with my magic. Ichi says he has to return home, and we promise to keep her safe. He is reluctant, but allows her to stay, and disappears off into the night.
We all head home, and Remy explains what happened with him and Ichi and Alice and Maribeth. He says they told Xin Yue all about me. We tell him that the invisible servants are the ones that messed up our house, so he calls Barry over. Barry tells us there is no way to override the guest protocols, and anyone we let in has the right to order the servants around. A problem for another time.
Klyce calls a group meeting and says we have some things to dicuss.
1) We have to take Alice to the authorities. We have to explain all about the ninjas and the kidnapping and the dominating, but somehow, we have to keep Xin Yue out of it. We have to emphasize that her experiments were a failure, so they don’t try again. And we have to tell them that the girl went home.
2) Hardin Klein? Dalish is all up in arms over being dominated by him, and he was responsible for the group that tortured Xin Yue. We talk Dalish down, he was in a bad place, and he didn’t actually make Dalish do anything he wasn’t already doing (tell the truth), and he didn’t actually know what the others were doing in the basement. He needs to take responsibility, but we don’t want to get him exeuted.
3) Xin Yue can stay with us. She says she’ll eventually find a place in Xingtown, but will stay at our apartment for now.
4) Then we talk about the killing. Klyce is Pissed at Dalish for killing people with his magic when Klyce had them under control. Remy and Dalish insist that they will kill people who are trying to kill them. Klyce asserts that people trying to kill him are not a threat to the rest of us, and not really a threat to him. We have to be better than they are.
Remy agrees that we won’t kill people if we have a choice. Dalish says he needs different spells, because most of his are lethal. He also insists that going this route will get at least one of us killed. We all agree not to kill anyone unless absolutely necessary.
Remy then brings up the fae. Klyce isn’t so worried about the monsters, likens them to beasts. We also wonder if we’re actually killing them, or just sending them back where they came from. More investigation is needed.
5) What about the spellbooks we have found? With no one alive to claim them, we decide to keep them.
6) The flask. Oh, man. This one was a crazy arguement. Klyce did not believe we should keep it, it’s too powerful and dangerous. Remy wants to keep it and use it to trap monsters attacking us, but says it can only hold one being. He’s not sure how Alice put multiple inside. I wonder what good a flask full of monster is, once you put a monster in, you can’t use the flask anymore unless you let the monster out again. Then you still have to deal with the monster. Klyce says our bosses may ask for the flask and it’ll be out of our hands anyway. Maribeth is adamently against using it to trap anyone, ever. Remy doesn’t trust the other mages with its power. Klyce puts our options to a vote.
We vote that we will give it if requested.
We vote to give it to them even if they don’t ask for it. Remy still doesn’t agree, and it feels like the Dawnmother all over again.
We agree that we will take a day and study the flask first, to see if there is any way to un-make it, so that no one gets it.
Then we go to bed. After a day of trying, we are not closer to destroying it, so we prepare our report for the next morning.
In the morning, we ask Xin Yue about the flask and she says it is evil and older than her people. They symbols on it older than their language. We gather up Alice and Klein and head to the hall of Justice. Along the way, Remy suggests giving the flask to Aleria. This seems a good compromise. At reception, we ask after her, but are told she’s generally not in her office here. Nat asks if she left a note, but there is nothing.
We go find Brock, who directs us to Rictus’ office. It’s pretty awful, starting with creepy armor and not ending with a bone and skull desk, and an organ playing softly in the corner. We turn in our report and present Alice and Klein. Rictus reads our report and then glides over to Alice. He pulls her spirit out of her body to ask if we are telling the truth, and she says yes. He drops her to the ground. Then he asks Klein his roll in all of this. He explains his unwitting part and is also dropped to the floor.
He asks if there is anything else, and when we say no, he tells us to archive the evidence. Maribeth asks to speak to him and everything goes dark. When the cloying darkness receeds, they are standing together. He says he has decided Alice should be executed for her crimes. Maribeth immediately calls forth a pillar of flame to consume her body and her life, while the rest of us stare, slack-jawed. He dismisses us and we hurry away. The boys have a quick go about Maribeth fullfilling a lawful execution, but my mind is buzzing too loud to listen.
We head to the archive with our evidence, and manage to arcane lock and veil the magic aura of the flask before turning it in. Hopefully it will just be filled away and never used again. Nat, Maribeth, and I head to the Dawnmother’s temple for some fresh air, and cleansing of spirit after all that horribleness.
We get some time off after that. I spend a good deal of it working with Xin Yue. She teaches me some of her language, and about her magic. She pulls her power from the earth, without raping it of mana like our wizards. (Her words.) She says she can teach me, but it will come at a price. Her price is that she can only eat meat. I agree, and learn that my price will be never cutting hair from my body. I’ll have to be careful around the crazy fireballs, I guess, but this new way gives me an extra bit of a boost to my magic.
Remy snags me one day to go try and talk to the fae in the woods at school. I get met by servires who say the woods is closed. I try to insist that I have governmental authority, but they insist it doesn’t matter. The woods are closed, they say, and offer to get the quartermaster. I agree, and when two go off to do that, I Dust Devil the remainder and take off at a dead run into the woods after Remy, who had snuck by their notice.
We get all the way to the pool where we met the tree-lady before, but the tree is a stump, and there is a creeping rot in the woods. Remy says there was magic here – necromatic and transmutive, but he can’t pin it down. I push on to the hut of the old woman, but it is also gone. I try to meditate on my connection to these creatures, but nothing. Remy asks if he should use the conjure spell, and I agree.
A beautiful woman carved from wood appears before us. I greet her and she bows her head to me. She sees Remy and begins to dance, though there is no music. I encourage Remy to join her, if he wants to make friends. It takes him a minute, but he gets the hang of the dance on his second try. He asks if she can understand him, and she reponds in English.
I like you, Remy. You get me out of here? It is bad here.
He stumbles a bit, and I encourage her that we’re there to help. He tells her that she needs to look a bit less conspicuous, and she transforms into a staff.
On our way out, the quartermaster meets us at the forest edge and declares us banned from the school grounds. Ugh! Like I want to go to that school! But we’ll have to go back eventually, maybe Dalish can talk to Rictus for us. Once we pass the gates, we can feel our way locked behind us. The lady transforms back into herself. Remy says she needs to look more like us, like me, so she transforms into a naked woman. He blushes to brightly! I convince her to create clothes as well, and we had home. Remy is nervous, but I tell him I’ll back him.
We introduce her around to the group. She recognizes what blinded Nat. Remy explains why he summoned her, and that she might be able to give us answers. He asks what she needs and she eyes him up and down. He seems confused. Has he forgotten James already? I explain to her that he’s a bit slow on the uptake, but she can teach him. She drags him off to his room and we don’t see much of him for a long while.