Let’s Be Coppers

After a short rest, we head back to the cistern, to start back at the beginning. There’s a man at the top, furiously turning a spigot. He finishes and ducks into a tunnel, slamming the grate behind him. Water and sewage begins to pour from all the tunnels down on top of us, and the water begins to rise.

I get Maribeth and Dalish to grab ahold of me, and I levitate up to the place where he disappeared. While they start working on the spigot and the grate, I levitate Gerhardt and Remy up to join us. Klyce climbs up the ladder on his own. Dalish puts oil on the stubborn spigot, and Klyce tries to turn it, but it worried it will just break off. Turning to the grate, Klyce tries to rip it open with his alter self claws to no avail. Remy downs a strength potion and manages to finally pry the grate open as the water reaches us.

We rush into this tunnel, and so does the sewage, and slide down to a grate over another cistern, but we are safe for the moment. Safe enough to start arguing over who that man was, and why he is trying to kill us. We decide that he was probably the one killing those people and leaving them for the redcaps, but we’re far too late to track him.

Heading topside, Remy, Gerhardt and Dalish go to the inn the police will send reports to. Klyce, Maribeth, and I go back to school. The sewage has made us all ill, so we head straight to Raltus. There, we find that he has given Nat some paper and pens. She has been drawing furiously in her unnatural sleep. Mostly black pages, but some images: A white mask, a sandy scene with a cowskull and horse, a well-dressed man turning a spigot by a tunnel, a bejeweled goblet, three beautiful white women feasting upon a man lost in pleasurable agony. That seems awfully creepy and prophetic. Raltus gives us all some medicine and we head to wash up and bed.

We’re all pretty rough in the morning, so the boys come back to school to check on us. We tell them to leave us alone for the day, so Remy spends time going over the police reports. Maribeth and I feel better in the evening, but Klyce doesn’t feel better until the next day. Dalish gets called to help Rictus, and tells us he’s been playing with the life-filled bits of Malden’s exploded body. Oh dear gods, No!

We talk about the different police reports, and Nat’s drawings. We make about five different plans, but decide that we should first go to the station and ask for any news from the police. They tell us that there were two more sites the night before. One was just a patch of blood when they got there, the other had body parts. We decide to go check out the latter.

There is some faint magic where the bodyparts lay, and when we look around more thoroughly, some magic up on a nearby roof. Remy says it’s illusion magic. Dalish finds some green fabric on a nearby sewer grate. When we go check out the other site, it is much the same. Figuring this is a more immediate threat, we head back to the station to await the next body pile report.

We are put up in their break room. Remy goes out and gets us lunch while Dalish goes back to the school to leave a note for Rictus that he won’t be down to the lab that evening. Maribeth and I look over the case notes, and when I look at the map, I notice that the locations of the bodies draw out a fertility symbol. We extrapolate from there, four locations that might be next. Then we have a big arguement about what to do with this information.

In the end, we decide to go out and scout these locations before dusk. We go for a brisk walk around the district. Checking traffic paterns, sewer access, ambush points, and any other details that might help us not die tonight.

That evening, a young street boy is brought to the breakroom to speak with us. He says a nice carriage pulled up near him. When he went to offer them directions, a man went into an alley with a big sack and then came back out and left quickly. When this boy got there, there was a big mess of bodies in the alley. Remy asks about the man and the carriage. The man wore a white shirt and dark coach. The carriage was black and really nice, with brown horses.

It’s a trap, we know it is, but we have to go. As we get close, my stomach starts to growl with hunger, just like last time. This is super creepy. The sewer grate in the street is wide open and there’s movement in the alley. Klyce closes the sewer grate with a loud clang. The redcaps all turn to look at us, and I immediately grab the air and slow them down. In all the ruckus of the fight, several of them get back into the sewer, and Remy and Dalish follow. There are explosions and fire erupts from below.

I begin to levitate up in case the ground starts to fall. Glancing around up here, something looks off about the building across the alley. I push off the building I’m next to and pass right through an illusion. I see one black and one red armored knight, staring back at me.

Oh dear…

Studies and Redcaps

Unsure what to do with ourselves, we decide to stick to schedule as much as we can. Heading out to exercise before breakfast, we discover that Klyce has upped the difficulty with some weird ladder-jumping contraption. I stand ready with featherfall spells as the rest of them try it out.

At breakfast, we are approached by Professor Cambrank, who wishes to speak with us after we are done. Heading over, we discover that he is also going away, to help in the war. However, he has prepared materials for those of us left behind, to continue our studies. Well, their studies, pointless for me. He also lets us know that Werther, Weest, and Occusio are leaving, too. It really doesn’t look like we’ll have a school much longer at this rate.

Dalish and I go see Werther about alchemy homework before he leaves, but he has nothing prepared. He suggests we look over our book and ask Gerhardt for help. He does promise we can have access to materials for healing and resistance potions, but nothing more dangerous. Remy and Maribeth go see their other professors, too, but it seems only Cambrank thought of the students.

We all decide on a study and exercis routine to keep us going. Remy suggests I study Cambrank’s materials, too, for my “different point of view,” but it seems pointless. None of these diagrams make any sense to me. McAllen is still hanging around. He’s organizing the Sanctum league still, and helps us run a few practice games.

Things toddle along for a couple weeks, until Philomena gets tired of us all. She insists we can’t just sit around, even though that’s exactly what we decided we were going to do. She says we have to Do Something about all the fae that Remy released. Her family was nearly ruined by one, and she doesn’t want that to happen to other families. Jerrick has been hunting the ones in the forest, but what if they went further?

Dalish goes back to the papers and pennydreadfuls, looking for hints of chaos in the city. He finds a story about a deranged cannible cult in th northern slums. That seems relevant, so we head out. The slums are full of Royalist propaganda and thugs, and sufficiently lacking in regular police. Until we reach an alley where there is a small cluster of them.

Remy sends in his little lizard to spy and hears them talking about people being chewed up and the mages not helping. We quickly decide on a scam – Remy will pretend to be a professor to offer assistance. They’re surprised, but somewhat grateful for the help and follow his instructions fairly quickly.

There is a pile of body parts here. Chewed body parts. With both large and small teeth. It’s disgusting, and everyone gets super worried about why they’re here, and where the other scenes were. What if it’s symbolic, what are they trying to do? And on and on and on. Maribeth finds tracks leading from the street to the bodies and more tracks leading away, in two directions. Booted tracks and tiny tracks.

Pembrooke tells us that thre have been five body piles this week and a few the week before. Remy sends for the reports on all the bodies and tells them which inn nearby to deliver them to. I have to remind everyone that we have tracks to follow several times before I can get them moving. So worried about symbols, they forget there is action to be taken.

The small tracks lead us to a sewer grate, and we head down carefully. Well, some of us go carefully, others just jump into the muck. Dalish finds scratches going to the right, so we head that way. After not too long a time, I start hearing whispers and my belly starts growling. The sewer is disgusting, but I’m suddenly starving.

I let the group know that we’re going the right way, but don’t explain too much. We eventually get to an open space up and down, someone called it a spillway. There are tunnels above and below, and everyone else can hear the whispers now, too. The ladder looks pretty unsteady, but we all manage to make it down to the bottom. The voices are coming from a tunnel down here.

We creep forward as quietly as we can. There’s a break in the tunnel and, looking in, we see a campfire with four small men, all wearing red caps. I look around at everyone, seeing if they’re ready, and then cast my new slowing spell into the center of that room. It actually works pretty well! The fight that ensues is pretty bloody. These little red-capped men are vicious!

As with most of our battles with the fae, they do not attack me. But they do cut down my friends, so, when I’m not keeping up the slowing winds, I smash a couple with Nat’s staff. When one falls under my blow, I don’t feel hungry anyore, and in fact, feel stronger. This does Not feel good at all, as my mind flashes back to the old hag’s words: your power is because of Murder!

After they are all down, someone sets up a rope trick for us all to rest.

Swimming, Books, and a Party

The investigators question us, but things come round to normal. Families are safe and school is about learning again. Everyone is sure that the Lake holds important spells for them, and thus begins our next adventure.

Some of the boys haven’t really learned to swim before, so Maribeth tries to teach them in the shallows while Klyce heads out to the middle, I sit on the Dock, and Remy stays clear of the water. After Nat lowering me down from that window so softly, I’ve been working on ways to lift people up with the air, too, so I keep an eye on the new swimmers, in case they need pulled out. Remy notice something magical triggering when Dalish goes under and starts flailing, but a desire to live keeps him from investigating too thoroughly.

Watching the center of the lake for Klyce after he says he’s going to do a Rope Trick below the waves is a little nerve-wracking, but he eventually comes to the surface and says he found something. Unsure what it is, he invites everyone out to take a look. Maribeth goes out to the center to keep an eye on them, but doesn’t dive down. Remy and I stay dockside, the water freaks him out, and I know I won’t be any help.

It takes a while before they all pop back up again, and most of them are bleeding, but the spell they learned is apparently really cool. Cool enough that Klyce convinces Remy to go swimming, and Maribeth goes down, as well. I guess it’s called Alter Self, which wasn’t what they were after, but is probably better. The boys then ponder trying to drown again, to see what happens. Klyce thinks it’s ridiculous and not worth the risk. Eventually, they decide not to test the school’s protective magics.

Next, we head to the Library because Nat and I want to look up information on dreams. Mine haven’t gone away, despite everyone elses disappearing after the big fight. The rest of the group go looking for spells, as usual. Maribeth climbs a little too high and knocks over an entire bookshelf, which starts a chain reaction. Between Nat and myself, we manage to stop the tumbling. We’ve never been so glad there isn’t a Librarian in there. The books on dreams are just as dry as every history book we’ve found here, so there’s no hep there.

Remy and Gerhardt find words on a shelf, and thus ensues a very strange scavenger hunt between shelves, the card catalog, and weird old books. I think at one point they squeezed an orange over a book, and then threw dirt on it. Eventually, they ended up with eight books all together and when they opened it they found the spell for Nystul’s Magic Aura. Seems a rather boring spell to me, for all the trouble it was, but Dalish thinks it could be rather useful, or at least fun.

That night, we all get fancy invitations on our doors to Philomena’s Birthday Party on Saturday. She even left fancy clothes for Nat and Klyce. Klyce was Not happy about that, and threw them into the hallway. Given our station, and our families, everyone but Klyce decides we have to go, and work on what gifts to bring her.

With Nat’s family being so far away, I ask if Nat wants to get ready at my house and ride with me to the party. This does not please my parents, but when do I ever? Nat doesn’t wear what Philomena provided, but a suit brought from home. Philomena’s estate is HUGE! And Oliver is here! Oh, he’s so Cool. I couldn’t possibly Talk to him! He’s talking to all the cool upperclassmen.

We hang out like we usually do. Maribeth asks about getting a job at Klyce’s bakery. She’s very worried about her mother. Klyce gives her a very hard lesson in wealth and the lack thereof. Poor Maribeth, I’m sure it’ll all be fine. Even if her brother is a jerk. We wander around the house a bit, enjoying games, fingerfoods, and drinks until Philomena finally shows up.

She welcomes everyone very politely while her parents look on, as only indulgent parents can. Philomena invites us to go riding, and even though I’m in a fancy dress, I have to go. It’s been so long, what with the servires being so creepy. Dalish and Gerhardt come with me, though, so I don’t have to be alone with her. It’s quite a lovely ride, such grounds her family has!

When we get back, everything has gone crazy again! Nat runs out to us yelling about a dead body in the conservatory. Philomena is so angry at him, like he’s the one who did it. We all head inside to see what is going on. Philomena at our heels, until she grabs Klyce and drags him angrily away. I have no idea what that is about, but then the police arrive, declaring that they will take care of everything. Thank goodness.