Meetings and Mistakes

We head to Brooklyn, to meet the publisher of the penny dreadfuls that alerted us to the kidnappings of homeless throughout the city. There is a sign above a door in a narrow alley that simply reads: The Eager Eye. Remy offers to let me take lead on this one, so I knock. Repeatedly. And there is no answer. We head inside anyway, to find a dusty reception room with dead plants. A couple people say they can hear soft noises from deeper in, so we head down the hall to the next room.

The printing room is dark with tiny windows. The machine nearly fills the space with whirring and printing and paper, but even I can hear the muffled sounds of distress. So, we press in further and find a man buried under a fallen stack of papers. We dig him out and he introduces himself eagerly, thinking we are fans. Archibald Warren is a middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair and bright blue eyes.

I tell him we’re here because of his stories. They caught our interest, and we just had to come speak with him. He immediately grabs one up and signs it for me, very excited to meet us. Dalish pipes up helpfully, asking if we could perhaps get a preview of the next issue. He says that a ginger goes missing in Xingtown, but doesn’t give a lot of details. Obsessed with creating a narrative and using literary devices to get at the truth. Not to mention protecting his source. I try to press for more information, but he then takes off on a new story about a man raised on a deserted island.

I’m at a loss, he is not interested in spoiling the story. Remy then steps up to bat, asking how he writes the stories, physically. Archie says he uses a typewriter, and Remy begs to see his name typed by him. He makes us swear to keep his secrets, and we do. He takes off and we follow him back through the machinery, and Remy whispers that he has a magic item in his pocket as we follow.

Up a rickety old ladder to a tiny attic apartment that can barely fit us all. Marybeth asks him about the stories he wrote a few years ago, and he fondly remembers the Magia stories. Some heat come down on him, though, and he had to stop, but Truth has a voice of its own. Remy asks about his inspiration, and Archie says he is inspired on the streets, and with a passion for the pursuit of truth. He offers to use Remy’s name in his next story, and make him a hunter who comes to the island. Then he sits down and starts typing it up.

Remy starts motioning towards the pocket, so I message Nat to try and get the item so he can look at it with his magic eye. Only I don’t say that, I just ask her to get it. Nat then plays at her blindness, stumbling a bit, and pulls the object out, passing it off to me. I slip it into my pocket until I can figure out how to get it to Remy. Then someone, might have been Nat, I was too distracted at this point, asks again if he can give us more information about the abductions. So we can stop them happening.

This sets something off in his head. He realizes then, that we are detectives, and not fans. He is upset by this revelation, even as Remy tries to assure him that some of us, especially Dalish, have enjoyed his work very much. That his work has indeed saved lives by our reading them. Marybeth throws in about how his search for Truth has helped guide us. He insists again, that he cannot tell us more without revealing his sources. Remy mentions that his parents are among those who were taken, and we want to rescue them.

This pulls Archie out of the abstract, and he apologizes. He gets his information from the homeless on the streets and in kitches or shelters. Marybeth pushes for more, and he mentions that he has a tool that helps him find the truth. The object in my pocket, I realize, and try to pull them out, as though I found them dropped on the floor. Only, I trip, and fumble the glasses and they fall. Shattering on the floor.

I stare, stomach in my toes, heart clenched tight. The others are talking in an uproar. All I can hear is my father yelling at me for being clumsy. Archie is sobbing. I blink and stand up, mumbling apologies that don’t matter. I can’t stop staring at the floor. Archie is explaining that they let him see inside things, into people’s minds, and into the past. Dalish must have identified them because Klyce is asking about someone named Percival, and Archie says it was an old friend of his who willed him the glasses when he died. Dalish offers to figure out how to repair them after we stop the attacks and save New Gnosis.

Then we’re outside and Klyce is yelling. He’s right. Marybeth is chiding him for yelling. I can’t look at either of them. Klyce is right, it was all my fault. I ruined another life with my carelessness. Eventually everyone stops yelling and we head to the church of the One God.

I just follow Marybeth around as we search for the dark magic. When we head inside, the construction works are not happy to see us. Klyce stands toe to toe with them, by they do not want us messing with the stones to get below. We eventually decide on Arcane Eye from Nat, but that only gets us to what used to be the locker room, the door down is too solid and tight. So, we head off little ways and discuss next options.

I can Dimension Door myself and one other down, but then we’d be split up. Splitting up is bad. Nat offers to just look into the room instead with clairvoyance. Giving this a try gets strange results. She isn’t looking into the refinery, she’s looking into what looks like the Arch Deacon’s apartment. He notices her looking and waves away her spell. I wonder aloud if he’s the Red Knight, but get shot down. Apparently lots of people who aren’t official mages can do that.

It’s getting late, so we head home for our meeting with Rictus. Not knowing what else to do with myself, I make everyone dinner. I spent a lot of time with the cook, much to my mother’s chagrin, so it is at least a passable meal. I set a plate for Rictus, but he doesn’t show up for another couple hours after we’re all done. Out of Dalish’s shadow, because no one uses the door, apparently.

Dalish explains what we know and about Porter manipulating Wiest. Rictus asks for proof of such a big accusation, so Nat hands over the orb from the office. After he inspects it, he asks if there are more, and people just go ahead and tell him about the three from the mansion. He asks for one of those, as well, and Nat obliges. He agrees to cut off Porter’s supplies, but I wonder if it’s much too later for that. Remy draws the line between that to the cult activity and the demons.

Then brings up the conversation Wiest had with the Black Knight, and his sword. Rictus insists the royal knights are all dead. Remy explains more about their familiarity and how the Red Knight nullified his spell and how the Black Knight moved without being seen. Rictus asks if they are connected to the cult, and Remy spins a few threads together. Nat urges Rictus to have a care for himself if the knights are hunting those who were there at the death of the King, and warns of resentment fermenting in the populace, and the new deacon’s power to nullify magic, too. Rictus, however, is not worried about the common folk, only about a possible mage being behind it. Dalish asks for his advice, and he suggests simple triangulation from different abduction sites. He then leaves as abruptly as he arrived.

Nat wants to have some Tea dreams, so I make sure we’re all rooming together and the door is locked. Dalish gets us up early to go to the Hall of Records, but Nat refuses to rouse. Until an hour later, when she wakes in a panic.

It’s happening! Tonight!

She says Gerald and Marybeth will be the final sacrifices, she still can’t see where, but there were loads of demons there. I send to Brack to ask if there have been more abductions and ask for his necklace. He says there were two more last night and we should meet him in the same place. Remy tells us that he was able to send to his father, who wasn’t killed when he was taken. Wait? you could get through? Maybe we could scry? It would only be a dark room. We have to go!

We head up to the empty lot in the Bronx, and Brack leads us back down to the east side of Manhattan above Xingtown. There’s a small homeless camp in a back ally, and the shelters are torn up. He says he wasn’t here, but witnesses said the same thing. People came out of a wall, grabbed two specific people and then went back through. Dalish and Remy focus on finding the direction, while I ask Brack if I can borrow his necklace. He agrees. Nat asks about any anti-mage sentiment in the streets, but Brack says it’s just kids painting up walls. She asks about the church, and he says they seem pretty decent folk. They have a good soup kitchen and are getting a lot of new members.

After Dalish finds the direction the shadow teleport went, we ask if Brack knows of any other recent sites. He takes us all the way over to Queens for the next one. This one is in a park, near a retaining wall they used to teleport through. I pull a direction off this one to the south west. Now we just need a map to figure out where we’re going. He offers to keep helping us even as we offer to help him after this is all over.

Then a thin, red line appears across his through and he falls to the ground! NO!!!