The Chioces of Gods and Men

We stare in shock as the bombs fall over the Bronx and the mobs rush across the East River. Wiest appears in the sky, raining her fire that is not fire down upon them. Clouds of luminous gas billows out from the dead. Klyce’s shout for us to DO Something! breaks our spell, and Gerhard takes most of us to Police Plaza. I rise immediately into the sky, bringing up a Storm of Vengeance upon the third line of faithful crossing the river. Gerhard and Maribeth join Wiest above the first and second waves. Dalish starts rallying the troops and giving orders below, sending Remy to the north with an army at his heels to take on the fourth wave. Behind us, Nat and Klyce take care of the airship, sending it into the bay before Klyce turns into Dragon and brings Nat in on red wings to join the fight at the river.

My storm keeps raging, far longer than it should, as I remember what it felt like those years ago in the Wrathbone mine, to Be the Green Witch. When it falters, I take control of the winds, to keep Dalish and Police Plaza safe while he commands the troops. Maribeth turns most of the river into a rocky mirage, slowing the troops, but not stopping them as Gerhard runs out of fire, and Wiest abandons the field of battle. Dalish and I head for the riverbed where he raises thousands of the dead and turns them back on the faithful.

Nat says we have to get to the church, we have to get to the source, so we stop fighting in the river and fly across to Brooklyn. Gathering above the temple, mana is redistributed and we take a breath, but not a break. We cannot wait, people are dying in the streets. Golden gas is coming up from the sewers. Only half of Pendleton’s men made it out of the Bronx.

Gerhard teleports us down to the workroom we all remembered so well from the time bubble. Nat could not see in there, but it was not protected against teleport. We land safely, and see that it has been used as some sort of ritual room. An altar in an alcove to the side, and all the benches and lockers gone. Everything s coated in a sickly pink flesh.

Klyce goes to the iron doors, back in his demon form now, to rip them open. Shadows in the corner ripple, and the Black and Red knights step out, with Aranea. The king has decided the city is worth saving. As we walk, Aranea fixes the weakness Nat’s last wish has caused her, allowing her to again wield her new sword. Klyce tells the Black Knight that he will fix his arm if we all survive, but the knight just shrugs. The tunnel is dark, but the brightness ahead grows quickly as we descend into the chamber with the severed head of the giant worm, still trapped in its bubble.

The flesh here covers every inch of floor, wall, ceiling, and machinery. It is also beginning to cover the time bubble in the center of the pit. There are body parts here, too, but far too many. Arms, legs, eyes, mouths, floating in the fleshy goo. The flight I have gifted everyone is still working, so only the knights dare step in it. The Archdeacon Wood is here, and dares ask if we have reconsidered.

No more than you, Archdeacon, it’s time to end this.

Wood rises up into the air, but Gerhard counters whatever it was he wanted to do. I cast out a chain lightning, but it does not reach him. Remy’s bullets, however, do. Aranea tries a different magic, but it is stopped as well. The Black Knight heads for the pit and the Red Knight rockets up to the machinery to begin burning away the flesh. Dalish calls up an illusory dragon to burn the flesh from the time bubble, and Maribeth follows suit. Nat tries to curse Wood, but it just falls away. Klyce begins chanting to his sword about being vengeance, and this many being most worthy of it and flies right up to Wood and throws him to the ground. Wood begins laughing joyously, that Klyce is giving in to his power here, at the source of his god, but we don’t have time to do anything else. Remy shouts for us all to do the same.

Nat, calling upon his godly power, manages to pull a few spells off of Wood, and I call up some holy lightning. The others begin pulling harder on their power to burn the flesh, and Klyce stays on Wood, dragging him down to the ground again and again, as he calls upon the flesh of the room to punish us all. I see pain in the faces of my friends, and some mana escapes from Nat is a blue puff, but they seem mostly alright, and I didn’t feel a thing.

Remy attempts to wish our that this room work like a machine, draining our divinity back into us. The room warps and the machinery changes and we are suddenly all connected in that agonizing way that only a mana machine can do. Wood is exstatic> “Exactly as you foresaw! Yes!” Klyce grabs him and they disappear down into the pit. The Red Knight ditches the fight and the Black Knight is nowhere to be seen. At Remy’s urging, we all try to take back our power while continuing to burn the flesh as we can. Aranea casts spells to assist us, but the fight is hard, for even unthinking, Garion’s will is strong.

Nat, using her sword as a focus, manages to pull the Dawnmother’s essence out, but Gerhard falls to the ground. Aranea continues to help and heal, but we struggle. Wood reappears at the top just as Dalish reabsorbs the Stoneman’s essence. Nat stabs the flesh one more time, and the flesh goes limp all around us and her soul-eating sword shatters. Wood tries to call up his own wish, but we counter him. Remy floats down to Gerhard and pulls his soul back into him with his own Wish. I toss lightning down at Wood, and Maribeth sends in a mental attack. Klyce stabs him through the heart and incinerates every inch of his body.

As Klyce turns to us, still seething with rage, Remy calls out to him to stay his vengeance. It is clear that it takes a great force of will, but he releases his power and lands among us. The Black Knight reappears, standing directly behind Klyce and sheathes his sword. Remy passes out from the strain of the fight. I send up to Pendleton that the Garion flesh is dead and the Archdeacon is down. He replies that the mist is gone, and the cultists have come to their senses. Dalish commands his zombie horde to stop fighting. The Black Knight bids us rest and then meet him and the King at The Door. I shout Deal! before anyone else can answer, and he and Aranea disappear into the shadows again.

Dalish offers the rest of us help getting our essences back later, but for now it is time to rest. We head back, Nat taking it slow, to heal anyone she can along the way. Dalish has his zombies round up the dead. Klyce tells Philomena the whole story. I simply collapse into bed and sleep, exhausted by the day’s events, but excited to meet the Prince.

In the morning, we gather for breakfast, sitting by Maribeth and both our brothers come home. I scold mine for having left, and he takes it with a smile at his lady. Porter and Julian look haggard, but well enough. Then the sendings start coming in from every corner, with reports and request for information and orders. Klyce wants everyone to get the bodies taken care of, search and rescue to be mobilized, and fresh water brought into the city in as large of quantities as can be mustered. They all need things to do while we finish cleaning up our own mess.

When everyone has eaten, stowed their magical gear, and replied to their sendings, I teleport us up to the throne room of the old palace. The door behind the throne stands open, and while magic is still suppressed beyond it, the feeling is a familiar one by now, and Dalish is able to descend with us this time. The world goes black and white as we climb, and down in the chamber, the King, the Black Knight, and Aranea are waiting. Dalish asks why Rictus’ son is not with them, and the Black Knight says that this does not concern him. The king apologizes for not trusting us and asks if we have any questions.

Dalish asks how he knew about the door. It’s an old family legend, he tells us. His family are descendants of the Green Witch herself, and their blood is needed to open the way. His great grandfather found it was here when he came to this continent, and built their home above and around it. Dalish asks if he knows what it holds. Yes, he and the Clever Prince shared the last seventeen years in the void together. The Prince helped him keep his sanity in nothingness, and he intends to open the door and free him.

Klyce asks if he knows what will happen then. Freedom. Maribeth asks what that means, and if it will do the things we hoped to fix. The king is not sure, but he knows none of that can be done until it is opened. Dalish asks what he intends to do after, and he says that will be in our hands. We all agree the mageocracy was a failure. He is willing to take back leadership if that is the will of the people, but mostly, he just wants to spend time with his son. That is his priority after missing the last seventeen years with him. Remy offers to take him south, but he does not wish to rule them either.

Klyce asks if we are all in agreement. If anyone objects to opening the door. Nat, Maribeth, Dalish and I immediately agree. Remy is his usual annoying pendantic self. Gerhard is reluctant, but will not vote against it. Klyce agrees and we are unanimous. Then six other voices ring out WE OBJECT, and six luminous figures descend into the cave. The Black Knight and the King freeze in time, as the Gods appear before us.

We all stare for a moment as the Gods look down upon us. They look tired, angry, sad, but determined. Remy, always Remy, breaks the silence by asking why. The Eternal Mind answers for them all, he talked more than Remy, but it went something like: Because it will make things so much worse. You have seen suffering and you think that anything must be better than this. That is how we felt, and the end of this road will take you right back to the beginning and the Clever Prince shall walk as a god, and set his vengeance against this plane of existence. And oh he went on and on and on… Something about our mana being the bones of the fae and havoc and chaos.

When he ran out of steam, Dalish asked why they left these bones, the mana, in the earth in the first place, when the separated the worlds.

The Stoneman answered that the bones belong in the earth, and is not for us to remove them. The fae realm was of the earth. Everything continues, they merely fractured it.

The Vengeance cut in then, saying that the Fae wrought horrors upon the earth. He wants to open the door and end the Prince, and the fae, forever!

There is some back and forth then. Remy calling out that vengeance is this god, and not the Prince, he wouldn’t seek vengeance. And The Vengeance calling him a monster. Then Klyce stepping in and saying that Vengeance is just as bad, or worse. That he just wants to destroy everything. The Green Witch enters the fray, with the tale of the frog and the scorpion. The Clever Prince is a scorpion, she says, he can do nothing but strike, poison, and destroy.

Dalish calls out what they have done, that it was wrong, and has wrought destruction in return. Klyce suggests that the fae follow their own rules, and perhaps we could make a deal with the Prince. Remy says the war needed stopping in their time, and they did their best, but men always find new ways to make war, and that the damage they have caused will only quicken our decay as we fight over the mana.

The Stoneman says that removing the mana would rupture the earth. The Tempest says they should have take it all away. The Eternal Mind does not agree, and is concerned that the Tempest does. The Vengeance says that the bones of our enemies belong in the ground. Remy asked if magic existed before the breaking. The Eternal Mind said of course it did, that’s where their power came from, and the fae made it possible. Dalish explains what locking the fae away has caused and the machines that have brought the fae back into our world. The Dawnmother says that the fae cannot be trusted but they must also not be destroyed.

I jump in at this point, having barely recovered from their appearance, but I am frustrated and angry. Your essences coming back into the world have caused this chaos, the deaths of thousands. We have to fix what you have done before more of the world is destroyed. Nat agrees with me, their mistakes caused this, let us open the door and we will deal with the consequences. The Vengeance is eager for this. Klyce steps in, You all failed. You had your chance and you missed. Be done with all of this? Aren’t you lonely and tired? Let it all go. Just let it go, you are only echoes of what you used to be. It is Our World now. You don’t live here, you quit. We’re still here, it’s our decision now.

The Stoneman shows us what had happened in their time. The chaos and destruction caused by the Prince and the fae. When it is over, Dalish nearly laughs. So, he is as big an ass as those we have already fought. The Stoneman relents that he is what he is. The Vengeance puts in another bid to kill him. Maribeth insists that the only way forward is releasing him and restoring the balance. That they had no right to destroy the fae world as they have done.

The Stoneman looks at us all thoughtfully, glancing at Klyce. In your tirade, one thing moved me. I am lonely. We exist from the power we took, born of the earth. It did not stop without us. I have one last wish, to slumber, to return to the earth. He then lays a hand on Dalish, and the last vestiges of his power flowed out and into him. The Stoneman was gone, and the Green Witch wailed in pain.

The Tempest looks at Gerhard. I would almost agree, but you seem to not be having any more fun than me these years. Nat steps in to defend our quiet friend, saying he has his fun in his lab, with his alchemical works.

Klyce steps forward. I doubt this was in your plan, but what is your endgame here? I step up with him, looking at the Green Witch. Your descendent is here, ready to open that door as is his familial duty. Ready to give his blood. It is time. Klyce picks up the line. The world has moved on. Let this be the end of it. You have stuck around long enough. It is over and if you cannot change then there are only scorpions here.

The Tempest, still frowning at Gerhard. I don’t think you are wrong. And gives his last bit of power to Gerhard.

Then Klyce turns to Vengeance. How about you just leave? I want no part of you. The Vengeance replies, You are too week to carry my mantle. Klyce scoffs, That’s some toxic B.S. You never look at your own self. Only everyone else’s sins. How many lives are on your hands? And they fight, and Klyce defeats him handily, but when he takes his essence in, it changes. Even his sword becomes a shining light.

The Dawnmother has been watching quiestly and steps forward, looking hard at me. I set my descendents to watch this door. It is true, that I am tired. If it is truly time, and this is to be the fate of the world. I must not stand in its way. If it is time, then it is time. And she places a hand on Nat’s head and gives herself over.

The Green Witch looks at me, clearly upset that all her friends are leaving her one by one. Even more upset that we are freeing her erstwhile lover. I would look upon his face one last time. And pass along the memories, and the pain, and the joy. Then she melds into me, but I can still feel here, looking out of my eyes. The Eternal Mind looks at us. He wanted to be the last one. He doesn’t even like his chosen. He says Maribeth never even figured out how to use the library properly. He goes on for a little while, and tells her to enjoy watcing everyone around her be stupid. Then he sighs, almost happily. At least now, I don’t know what’s next.

Time resumes, as the King cuts open his hand and anoints the door. Color creeps back into the room, and the door becomes living wood. He turns back to us. It is done, it is upon you to open the door and deal with the consequences. I will see my friend, and then go.

We all step forward, our minds made up, and open the door. Music pours forth as the Clever Price struts free into the chamber, a slow, sweet jazzy number, full of joy and promise. It’s been a long time, friends. Not for us. It’s good to see you again, he says, looking almost through my eyes. I answer for us both, that I’m not sure I can say the same. What would you have of me? Dalish explains what has happened and that we would like him to fix it.

He thinks it was all a great trick, and then that we would need to bring back his father. Klyce says no, that he is the King now, and it is time for him to grow up. He asks for his powers back, that we took from him. We agree, but Remy insists that the games must stop. Klyce says his distructive ways led to this. And Dalish threatens to separate the worlds permanently if he cannot control himself. Alock begins speaking through Remy to explain the damage to the Fea Realm, and the Prince waves a hand, pulling him out and giving him back his own body. The Prince enjoys his games and is sad we don’t want him to play. Klyce points out that it’s a bigger challenge to play games that don’t kill people. The Prince seems to be catching on, that games are more fun if people can keep playing and if they want to play them. He agrees to our deal.

I ask the Green Witch if she is ready to return to him, to watch over him, and she is, returning to be with him forever. The others all give up their godly essences, though Nat is most reluctant. That feels good again. We have made him whole again, and perhaps our influences on his essence will give him something to think on. He promises to make things as they were, and to have fun games. He will see us all again. Remy asks what of the mana, and he says it will just be dirt now. He is late to a party, so he takes Aranea and Alock and disappears back to his world. Remy tries to eradicate the machines with a wish, but they are irrelevant now. The King takes his leave with Sir Hector, and we warn them to be wary of Wiest, for she may still be on the warpath for her father’s death.

There is much to do, and we head out of the old palace to begin the work. To guide, explore, and discover this new world we are creating.

I must find my parents, and then, I must go back to the Fae. There is so much to learn there, and someone has to keep an eye on The Prince.

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.

Fallout and Conversations

We head out of there after a few quick conversations, and back to Johnny’s to have a drink and discussion about what just happened. Nat tosses up another telepathic bond so we don’t freak out the locals and we dig in. That was so strange!

Clearly it had been planned. Without consulting Rictus, of course. What do they want with us? Are we just bigger pawns now? Our freedom puts us in their debt, and strips us away from Rictus and his protection. For whatever that was still worth. Remy tells us that he looked at the magics, and Rictus is truly entwined with the geas. Woven into his very being, he says, and it’s going to drive him mad. Klyce is worried about all the machinations of the various Primes. Alleria, too, she used to be tight with Rictus, but now… Did she see his fall and step away? She sees even more than Nat does.

What are we going to do now? Start up our own independent investigatory squad? It’s about all we know. Go to South America? Open the door? Oh man, I really want to open the door. And what about Klyce and Philomena’s wedding, they’ve been engaged for years now. Personally, I’m not interested in South America and getting re-arrested for Treason by going there and consorting with Royalists.

Klyce wants to work on his committee to reinvest in the city. What about the Black Knight? Klyce wants to drop it. What about the door? Klyce thinks we should leave well enough alone. Marybeth wants to research safe mining. Remy says he has projects to do with golems. Klyce is concerned about worse results. What if Remy creates a way to make cheap golem armies and the wars get worse? I sugest the door again, as a way to get mana back into the world. But again with the worry about the chaos it will bring. Someone suggests a mana pipeline to the fae world, but that’s not really how mana works there. I want to talk to the Prince. Maybe I can send to him if I try hard enough. Maribeth asks about the Beast from Italy. So, we explain the monster who was set after us while we were there. A couple of the guys want to capture it for study if it shows up again.

The conversation shifts into demons and devils for a few minutes, but I’m preoccupied with the Prince and don’t catch most of it. Then someone asks who intends to return to school next year, and just about all of us are interested. So much yet to learn. What about working for political change? Yes, we have the right to do so as mages, and we have a responsibility as humans. Then it somehow devolves into family names and wedding decorations again. Maribeth is feeling nearly festive with her devil contract gone. We head out home for the night, still discussing wedding things. Klyce takes Philomena home, Dalish heads to meet with Rictus, and Nat heads off to meet with Alleria.

Once everyone gets back for the evening, Dalish and Nat report in. Dalish hands us dossiers that Rictus had of each one of us. He says that the Primes have all this information. They are going to start approaching us, and if we don’t do what they want, they are going to start using this information to force us to cooperate. Rictus thinks we should get out of town. Nat says she got the same impression from Alleria. Klyce, in his usual fashion, thinks Wiest won’t be a problem, she’s a hammer and too forthright to cause much trouble. I’m not so sure. Remy then suggests that we all have the right to say no if she declares Certimum, but someone else points out that this just means we have to give into her demands.

I look over my folder, and it has my brother and my parents, but isn’t up to date on his new girlfriend. Maribeth says her brother is listed as AWOL Most of the dossiers are pretty accurate about our families and their current whereabouts, except my parents. So, it’s just as bad as we thought when we took Remy’s Dad and Maribeth’s mom to stay with the Rathbones, but not really any worse.

Dalish also mentions that there was a bum found in the sewers of the Bronx, rambling about goden light and the one god. He had Garion-goo inside him, and kept regenerating. When Dalish told Rictus about Nat’s vision, Rictus disintegrated the remaining Garion-goo, but it’s probably already too late. Well, that’s a thing we’re going to have to deal with at some point. Did Garion actually become a god of some sort???

Nat brings us back around to our immediate future. Are we going to skip town? And take our families with us? Others argue that we can’t just go, we’re part of this city now, we have to stay and take care of it. If we leave, they’ll just hunt us down. Remy notes that Dalish, as a lich, is now an eternal threat to the rest of them. Klyce gets tired of our bickering, says he’s not leaving, and goes to bed. We continue on for a while. Remy says we have to stay, the city won’t be safe without us. I wonder if it’s us that is the threat, really. Dalish says we have to take care of South America. Nat says we’re targets because we’re politically inexperienced. It goes round and round for awhile until we all go, exhausted, to bed.

I need answers, so I do some sendings before bed. I send to Hank, asking how things are going and if they can come North instead of us coming South. He says they need our help down there. I send again, asking why. He says they are looking for a black mirror to help find people, including Remy’s Uncle, and they can’t get away to come to us. In the morning, I fill everyone in on what Hank said.

This brings even Klyce on board with going down to South America. We have enough people with teleport that we can get there and back without too much trouble. Though getting down there the first time will be the hard part. Nat can get us to the Carribean, but then we’ll have to make our way down to wherever Hank and the others are. Klyce says that we tell anyone who asks the truth. We need to make mana and gather supplies, so we can’t leave for a few days. We’re going to get offers and orders, but we tell them, we have to do this thing first. We are finishing our task for Rictus, and it’s taking us to South America.

Then the invitations start rolling in. Remy is invited to lunch with Pyrus. Dalish is invited to dinner with some of his party members. Maribeth is invited to dinner by three different Utopians. Gerhart receives an invite from Prime Hadreas to dinner in his tower. Klyce and Philomena are invited to dinner with Othar Pendleton. Nat is invited to lunch at a cafe with Weist. And I… I am invited to dinner by the mage from my “research assignment.” I don’t want to go, but he says they’ve got a new idea. I’m curious and also very afraid of what that new idea might be. I just want to open the door and unleash chaos we can deal with instead of all this politicking.


Nat tries to help Remy Dream to his uncle, but finds no target. The next morning, she heads off to school to talk to Professor Wiest. I ask her to take someone with her, but she went alone. Remy heads off at the same time, to talk to Prime Pyrus. Maribeth heads into her Library for another research session, too. When Nat gets back, she reports that Wiest is off her rocker. She thinks we’ll be under her control soon, and pressed Nat for details on our investigation. Remy returned around the same time, and he said Pyrus wants us out from Rictus’ control and free to be full members of mage society. Rictus’ power is gone with his clones. Nat, Klyce, and I spend the rest of our time before the big meeting working with the soup kitchen down in Brooklyn.

Day of, we arrive early to check out the building. Nat convinces Dalish to not share the demon summoning spell, but to demonstrate it instead. She heads off to get blood of a dead man, while the rest of us check out security. We find nothing dangerous, nor any recording orbs. The top levels of the tower are guarded with all kinds of spells to keep non-mages out and to reinforce the building itself. We get ready and plan out who is going to talk at the meeting.

When Nat returns, she tells us about some punk kid mag who murdered a non-mage. She was told there’s not much recourse to punish mages for hurting non-mages. Dalish and Nat suggest finding and having a conversation, or more, with him, but we have no way to do that. Klyce wants to work politically to fix this mess.

So, we move on to the Deliberative and the demon summoning. I ask Nat if she’ll have control of the demon she plans to summong, and she’s not entirely sure. She and Dalish consult about lesser and greater demons and circles and things. It’s all very confusing, but apparently a big one is easier than bunch of smaller ones. They decide to only keep it around a quick moment of shock factor.

As mages begin to arrive, Nat tosses up a telepathic bond, and we spread out. The room is full up by quarter til, except for the Primes. They arrive one by one. Rictus first, then Prime Enchanter Trask, then Prime Transmuter, then Alleria. Primes Pyrus and Hadreas appear on their thrones in projected forms. Rictus calls the meeting to order. Then they go over general orders of business: delegating funding, authorizations, supplies, and writes of survey. Then there are three addenda to the penal code.

The first is: Grand Theft Mana/Mana Smuggling/Non-Mage Possession with a penalty of four years in the mines. Klyce weighs in about making it a large amount of mana, but I lost the thread, and I’m not sure if they actually listened. It passed, though.

The second is: Felonious assault of a mage by a non-mage. Remy steps forward to discuss the civil unrest and how this could make it worse if it is not fair punishment. He suggests to do otherwise would make us slavers as bad as we claim they were. There is pushback, so Remy suggests they specify assault types so that a simple shove doesn’t equate to murder. This all causes them to decide that lesser assault would get 6 months, medium gets five years, and high levels of assault get ten. We object, but it passes handily.

The third was on seditious speech and rioting earning six months in the mines. This leads to a very heated debate on free speech, slavery, and making matters worse. Remy and Dalish try to make them see reason. That this kind of stringent control will cause open revolt, and makes us no better than the people over in Europe enslaving mages. We should be better than those we overthrew. Nat even steps in to remind them that non-mages are useful members of our society with ideas and worth, and that we need to foster mutual respect. Dalish reminds them that even the shortest sentence in th mines can be a death sentence. They try to say that 10% of the miners become immune and live indefinitely once they absorb enough mana. That isn’t a human, Remy retorts, but a husk. Then it turns into a debate on mana needs and resources and how to safely mine it. Undead being seen as not any better, and technology so far, not viable. It’s the same arguments as we have. The vote comes to a near tie, and the Primes table this addendum until the next Deliberative.

Next, Rictus calls Dalish forward to give his report on the other worlds. Nat and Klyce step forward with him, so Nat can summon a Balgura. She has it introduce it self. I think it said it’s name was Chup? I don’t know, because then she made it go away again without any trouble. Dalish then goes on about the Abyss and the Hells, and all the boring stuff he learned while he was down there with Maribeth. Then he talks about the fae a little bit, empasizing that they are sentient magical beings. The mages have a lot of questions, mostly about how to get there, and how to make deals or summon the devils. But Dalish manages to settle them to ask more afterwards.

Then the Machines are brought up. They’d been mentioned a few times already, but now the discussion is to be had. The Utopians spead of the human cost to the mines, when we have the solution of unending mana with the machines. They need to be kept away from population centers and made safer, but they think it’s high time to make them and make them bigger. Remy steps forward to speak, and tells them the truth about the machines, sort of. He lets them know how they work, by summoning those magical, sentient creatures from the fae world, and mass murdering them for their magic. It is genocide, he tells them (not that the mages shy from that, just look out west). He then side steps a little, and says that the fae themselves caused the explosions out of anger at what we were doing with the machines, and that using them again will bring war. There are a few more questions about the difference between demons and fae, and a committee is formed to research the viability of making a demon version of The Machine. Dalish also points out that even if they use the Machines, it is not an infinite supply, like the Utopian speaker said. Before thought goes too far down that road, the Primes table this discussion, too.

Klyce then asks if he can speak and is granted leave. He brins up the One God Church, and the possible revolt against mages being fermented there. He says that punishing them will only create martyrs to their cause. He calls out that all wealth has been flowing to the petals and the city is is being drained. He warns of an open revolt, and the cost of victory. Instead, he recommends a committee to invest in and beautify the city. To offer entreprenuial loans and create businesses. Prevention, not punishment. He even offers to lead the committee, and after a little pushback, it passes on a provisional basis.

Then come the elections. Prime Evoker is first, and Hadreas gives a speech on the late Prime Wiest. Then Profesor Diedre Wiest steps forward: You all know who I am, I put forward my name and if anyone cares to challenge, I will Certimum you and burn you to ash! So, she’s going to win, as no one dared step forward after that. Hadreas then moves on to speak of the late Etherion. We still need to talk to Rictus about the voice. Two people step forward for the Prime Conjuration seat: Othar Pendleton and Satiel, Rictus’ old apprentice. They give short speeches. He is a long standing supporter of the mageocracy, believes his abilities are without peer and could bring stability. She says that her new voice is needed to move forward instead of stagnating with the old ways. Voting will occur in one month, at a more simple meeting, instead of a full deliberative.

Prime Pyrus then stands to bring forward another topic of discussion. He asks our entire group to come forward. He tells the assemblage that we are all serving a harsh punishment for a secret crime, for a term of no less than two years. He finds this highly unusual, and in light of our service to the mageocracy, he finds our continued forced service to be unacceptable. He tells the crowd that we were so sentenced for our rescue of Philomena and her family, while ruffling a few Italian feathers. He suggests that our distinguished military service should be taken into account, and that we should be resolved of our crime. And he would like it seen done tonight. Discussion erupts at this pronouncement, and goes on for twenty minutes.

Three options come out of this discussion. One – Rictus suggest we stay in the military in perpetuity. Two – see us all released as full adults with full rights and responsibilities. Three – release us from punishment and return us to school and childhood status. Nat tells us that this is the decision that causes the effects she has seen. We are allowed to give our opinion, so we have a quick discussion. We decide that we’d like to be adults, but we’ll go back to school if necessary, but we’re tired of the military service. Klyce tries to volunteer to continue the punishment all on himself, but we’re not going to let him take it all by himself.

Klyce and Remy step forward to speak for us. Klyce starts: We have tried to serve this nation, and have avoided apocolypses on several occassions. We will continue to serve the nation. My actions were my responsibility, my friends were merely helping. The one I love was in danger. We have these power and I could not stand idly by. Think on your own loved ones. Remy picks up the ball: We have formed tight bonds akin to family. We would live with any of these options. The idea of school is a fantasy after the life we have lived. We have gotten used to being adults and citizens. But we would appreciate not being in forced service. Some may choose to continue it, but others have dreams and goals. Allow us to pursue these goals, free of this punishment.

As the vote proceeds, Nat closes her eyes and concentrates. Rictus becomes increasingly upset, and tries to call a veto when option two wins. He calls the Primes together in private conference, for a low, heated discussion. Pyrus announces that the motion passes, but we are to be allowed to also return to finish our education the following year, should we choose to. Then the Deliberative is called to a close.


I teleport up to Bangoria with Nat, Maribeth and her mom, and Remy and his dad. I bring us to edge of town so we can have a nice walk up to the castle. Give everyone a few minutes to settle into the new area, especially the ones who’ve never been here. Nat sends for her parents and we go small receiving hall to wait. Her parents greet us warmly, if slightly confused by our sudden return. Nat explains our presence, and our need for sanctuary for our friends’ parents and they are happy to oblidge. I’m sure the townsfolk will be all the talk about Remy’s dad coming to visit, but I don’t remind Nat. Mr. Rathbone is excited to take Mr. Renaud hunting the next morning. Natty gives everyone a tour of the castle, and I’m reminded of when it was Vlad’s castle instead. I still wonder if my boon was used up by all the things we stole before he took it back home.

When the tour is done, we sit down to a nice dinner with the whole family. There is pleasant chat, and I remind Nat to ask about Mana. Mr Rathbone says it should be alright, but we’ll have to ask Great Grandfather to make sure we don’t take too much. Remy stays with his dad as Nat, Maribeth, and I go down to talk to the old skull. A lot of the zombies now were prisoners we fought last time we were here. He says the mine is back to full production and we’re welcome to take what we want, but no more than 500 kilograms of the stuff. We do some quick math and decide that 200 kilograms should be enough. Remy and I will have to flip for who transports the mana and who transports the group in the morning.

So, we head up to bed, sharing a room with Maribeth’s mom for one last night. After a nice breakfast, sans the older men, we make our goodbyes. Remy agrees to transport the mana, and I take the group home in time for breakfast at my house to just be finishing. Everyone is gathered up to discuss what comes next We have a lot to do over the next week or so.

Work on the Soup Kitchen/anti-mage rhetoric. Transmuting mana. Figuring out what we’re going to say at the deliberative. Coordinating with our various political parties. Scribing Spells. Checking out the One God church. And I have to speak to the families of my dead household staff.

We have to get the mages to see that the anti-mage sentiment is only going to get worse if they don’t reinvest back into the city instead of hording wealth in the petals. Places like the One God Church are only going to get bigger and worse.

Who is up for the Prime seats? Anyone beside the two people we met and our professor? Do we even know anything about any of them?

Nat ponders contacting another plane to ask questions. But she doesn’t even know who will answer, and that just seems super dangerous right now.

Maribeth suggests we head into her library and do some research.

Maybe I should check in with our friends around the world and see if everyone is still safe: Italy, Asia, and South America.

So much to do, where to start?

Everyone decides to take a day. They are just going to sit and scribe their new spells. I take this chance to grab Gerald to go deliver ashes, and money, to the families of the deceased. Crystal tries to go with us “to help,” but I insist she stay out of it since her people caused this problem in the first place.

Back together again the next day, we go over what we know about the Deliberative coming up. The Prime candidates. Professor Wiest is hot tempered and seems to be the likely successor to her father. Satiel was an apprentice of Rictus, and a powerful evoker. Neither one of them has officially declared for the post. There are no clear candidates for the Prime Conjurer, but Pendleton of the Conservative party is well regarded,. Namira is another possibiity, she was also an apprentice of Rictus, and I’m not super happy with where that is all going. The Deliberative itself is likely to cover budgetary concerns, Dalish’s report on the planes, the elections, and new laws to increase prisoners for the mines here and out west.

We have to figure out a better way to mine. We test Crystal, but she has no adverse effects to being exposed to mana. So, demons, maybe, but that’s resource and blood sacrifice intensive. Undead like Nat’s mine are just too hard to control in that quantity for most people. Constructs don’t survive the mana, either.

Then Remy runs off on a tangent about mana allergies, and why people didn’t have this problem in the before times. And it goes all overy the place, including Philomena poppig in to suggest that mana wasn’t a physical resource before the realms were split. Klyce got over his allergy by learning to convert the mana, basically a self-taught mage. There’s a lot of arguing and sniping for a while and Klyce says he isn’t going to let them take me or him into a research facility again. Philomena tries to settle everything down by suggesting Remy get Dalish and Gerhardt to help him research solutions. Dalish pipes up about fixing it by unbreaking the world, and then the door comes up and the arguments start again. Until someone remembers the library.

Maribeth reminds us all that we have to give a story to get the information we seek. She also reminds us that information about the breaking is behind the tentacle monsters, and they were not happy to see them last time. I try to get everyone to agree on a question before we go, but it seems like Remy has his own ideas, as usual. There’s a bit more sniping, until Maribeth opens the doorway.

We all write in our books and think of our questions. I write abou the lives of the household staff that have finally been fully laid to rest, and ask about the day the King fell. Most of us head off together, but Remy goes the opposite way. We eventually enter a tower full of histories and biographies, and up to a floor where we split into two groups. Klyce finds pulp novels from ten years ago about the two knights. The rest of us are drawn to a set of history books. The first is the History of the Royal Family. There is a claim here that they are descendants of the Green Witch herself. The second is The Life of King Barran. He had no heir, no wife, and was an only child. It gives detail on the politics of the time of the overthrow. Royal control over the mana supply was a large factor. He sent far fewer people to the mies, so there was always a shortage. There isn’t much on the coup itself, though it does mention Rictus killing him, and all the royal guard, including Captain Hector Renaud. Well, Remy has some questions to answer! Nat finds a page with invisible ink that simply says: King Barran Lives.

We spend a few hours looking around this tower for more information. Dalish finds a log book of the royal guards, it shows the visitor log for that morning. Declan Wiest signed in. He cannot find a listing for a squire of Hector, but the timing is off. According to the Pulps, the Red Knight would have been and infant at the time of the coup. Nat looks for the Greeen Witch’s genalogy, but finds only that the two old country noble lines died off centuries ago. Klyce posits that the Red Knight was a son of a mage, stolen and trained. I’m not so sure he had to be stolen, he could just be the Black Knight’s son. We wonder if Porter’s spell can help us find the King, or if it really is Hector, if Remy’s blood can lead us to the Black Knight.