Deliberative

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.

Mysterious Mysteries

We manage to collect Marybeth’s mom with no hassle and head back to my house. Everything is quiet, and I gather up the ashes into vases. I have to talk to their families, but not now. Not with demons and devils after us. We fortify the study to protect everyone as best we can as some of the folk with fire spells clean up the back garden.

Someone remembers a box Remy pulled out of Marybeth’s house and we take a look at it. It’s got some serious magic on it, and the inverted Dawnmother rune from Nat’s dream. Nat manages to pick the lock on the box after only one failed attempt. She’s getting really good at that. Then she opens it, and a swirling blackness comes out. A demonic voice comes out and a black beam of energy strikes her in the chest! She staggers, but stays upright. The box is full of ashes. Remy sits down to identify it all. The box itself was covered by Non-Detection. The ashes are magical and can make you disappear and have non-dectection on you, too. They also used to be people… Closing the box will reset the trap, so we get a pouch for the ashes instead.

Everyone gets busy then. I send to Elizabeth again, but she’s busy still, but says she’ll come. Marybeth starts studying her grandfather’s papers again. Gerhardt patches Nat up from the box’s damage. Klyce and Nat then pull Philip into the hall to dig into his brain, most of us follow. Klyce explains what’s going to happen, and the risk. Philip is scared, but he trusts Klyce. When Nat’s done, she says his memories are thin and don’t go back past two and a half years ago. Around tree time. There’s a smooth globe of darkness beneath that. She can’t get through, but it feels like blood and sulfur. We ask about his past, and he has memories of growing up, but they seem a little vague to me.

He goes back into the room with the families while we ponder what this means. Did he get infected during the mind worm episode? Did something hitch a ride in his brain? And what about the cultist ashes from Porter’s room. What are we Doing? Marybeth produces an image of Porter for Nat, and she says he’s the leader of the cult. He’s the one sacrificing people. Oh Dawnmother, what do we do?

We could speak with the church of the Dawnmother. Nat could try a deeper vision of the cult. We could talk to Poissant. We could contact the Magia. What? Remy? Really? Or was that Dalish? We could ask our contacts in Xingtown. We really don’t know where to go, so maybe all of the above.

Our main goal is to get the demon attacks to stop, so I ask Marybeth about the contract. She pulls her Mom out of the study to be present while she explains. The Original family contract was for 1000 souls for a lifetime of riches. But that count has been upped to 200,000 souls recently. Marybeth’s new contract is not for riches, but rather to free her family from the contract and any future contracts.

It’s too late to go back out. So, Nat settles down for a nice tea-induced nap. I update Gerald in a sending, and he offers to help. I don’t reply, I want at least him to stay safe.

When we all wake up the next morning. She tells us what she saw. The New Gnosis skyline, the petals, the Deliberative tower. Something is going to happen soon. Three outcomes produce chaos, one produces unity. Then back to the city. Torch fires lighting up everywhere. If it is not check, it will destroy everything. The stone altar, 13 black robed figures. A rapturous man on the stone. Porter stabbing him and then he dissolves into darkness. She tried to leave the room, to see where it is, but there is only blackness. Brooklyn at the refinery. A new construction of a gradiose building. A small man in simple black clothes, preacing to a crowd. The meek shall be made strong.

We have to leave the house, and I’m scared for my guests. I send to Gerald, asking him to come home and protect them. I also send to my contact who signed me up for Remy’s political faction. He lets me know there is a deliberative scheduled in two weeks. Klyce sits Phil down to tell him we have to leave, and he trusts him to protect the family. Klyce asks Elizabeth to stay, at least for now, and she relents. Gerald takes a while to get home, but I explain the danger when he does and set him up with Orrin and Philip to keep everyone safe.

We head to Brooklyn first, to the church of the Dawnmother. It doesn’t look so good. Royalist graffiti and other things on the outside. The inside is better off, but Father Carmine tells us that Father Kevin left and converted to the new church, the One God over at the Refinery. That church showed up a couple months ago. They are strange, almost cultish. The priests dress in black and preach humility and peace. They stick together and worship nearly constantly. We ask about the cult we are after, even showing him an image of Porter and the inverted symbol. But he has no knowledge of any of that.

We head over to the One God church to look around. They are still laying the foundation. We listen to the preacher for a bit. He’s talking about forgiveness and treating others how you wish to be treated. Being saved if one dedicates oneself. The sky turns dark then. He warns against the Old Gods. He says they cannot be trusted and were forgotten for a reason. He says they strike him down, but have not power here. And lightning does strike then, but not harm him. I am heavily tempted to bring my own lightning down from that storm, just to prove him wrong, but I resist. He’s innocent so far.

The crowd disperses after his miracle and there is talk of a sacrement meeting on Sunday. We wander over to the foundations, looking for a way into the lower levels where the giant worm head should still be secured. But it’s been covered over. It looks like they intend to put a way down, but they aren’t ready for that yet. We head back over to see if we can talk to him, but he’s surrounded by followers. He breaks from them and comes to us. Remy asks him about the One God. He introduces himself as Arch Deacon Lewis Woods. I’m not really listening to his answers, but he says he was visited by this God. Not in a vision or anything, but more of a feeling. Four month ago. Since no one was using the building and the mages had cleared out, he decided to build it up for his God. He doesn’t mind the worm in the basement, it seems trapped enough. Then there’s a rambling on about the old gods falling to reason and logic and then his One God came to replace those. The One God is eternal. Then he catches my attention again, saying that Mages are not welcome in his church. The Old Gods are responsible for magic, and therefore mages are an abomination before his God. I try to argue a bit, but he says magic was a test, and mages failed to resist the temptation. We try to ask about the cult bringing chaos, but he doesn’t know anything about that, and doesn’t care.

Frustrated with Brooklyn, we head out to the Petals to check on the Deliberative in case the something happening isn’t going to wait the two weeks for the meeting. Once in the Tower of Justice, we head up to the top, to the Deliberative chambers. When we arrive, we are not alone. There is an older man with a military air, and a younger, pale woman dressed in leathers. Remy approaches and introduces himself. The man introduces them in return. Other Pendleton and Satiel. Remy claims we’re just out looking around. They say they’ve come because of the recent news about the meeting to come. They are discussing the coming Prime nominations. Many say Diedre, Wiest’s daughter, should take his place as Prime Evoker. He, himself, is more on the Conjuration side, not wanting to be put up for Evoker.

She’s become unstable since her father’s death and is on a rampage to hunt down those responsible. Remy asks if there’s been any actual evidence that the Black Knight is responsible. Hard to get in Atheria’s case, his mansion collapsed with him inside it. But Jor was found beheaded, and the knight was seen in the area. Wiest was stabbed through the heart with a large sword, so it seems plausible. He’s afraid that she won’t be able to focus enough to be a Prime.

He wants Satiel to put herself forward, but he doesn’t stay to chat with us. She’s unalligned and previously apprenticed to Rictus. Remy asks about the mage-slayer, but she’s never heard of him. Nat asks about being able to speak with those who died. She’s a little cagey, but then offers to trade spells with us. We offer her Dawn and Sunbeam, and she includes the ink and paper we need to scribe Speak with Dead in on the deal. While Nat copies the spell, she tells us that Diedre is enraged and lose any sense of proportionality or control. We tell her we’ve been tasked with investigating the Black Knight as well, and she suggests we go look at the scene in Wiest’s mansion.

Once she’s gone, we have another arguement about contacting the Black Knight. We decide to first check out the mansion and then go talk to Poissant. The mansion, it turns out, is here in the petals, flown here by Wiest himself.

Gods, Assassination, and Riots

Nat says she wants to go to the temple, so Dalish and I take her to speak to Fathers Carmine and Kevin. She asks to speak to the Dawnmother, so we have our prayers. Nat is disappointed when she doesn’t receive an answer. I could have told her that, so I mention that the only time we’ve spoken directly was that once, outside time. She says she needs to talk to Her, and the other gods as well. She thinks her vision of the six points of light are the gods, and they are the only solution to the current mess.

A few days later, word comes that Prime Jor was assassinated. The council is blaming the Black Knight. Jor had been hunting them, and they caught him instead. Other rumors said that another Prime did him in. Jor had no party to protect him. There is to be a deliberative to elect his replacement. There are three main candidates for his seat. A Utopian, a Conservative, and a member of Klyce’s party, the PPP.

It begins with a moment of silence. We are then asked to give our report on the situation with the Xingese. Klein confirms everything we have said, and accepts responsibility for his inaction. Hellicon, the conservative candidate speaks up, grandstanding on the “Xingese issue” and their operatives on our soil. Klyce mouths off to her about the kidnapping, and she says they should have gone through proper channels to get her back. Klyce objects on the grounds of torture and lack of oversight on the experiment in the first place. Remy throws in, and I even speak up to mention it was just one family, not the nation. She then wants to know what family, so they can be directly targeted for retribution. Klyce turns it around, that we should be more concerned with operatives here, rather than halfway around the world. A vote is taken to form another investigative body to find foreign operatives and retaliate for the murders.

UGH! Adults are so stupid!

The candidates all speak then, about why they should each be Prime. I barely listen. I hate all of this.

News spreads and riots begin. Remy goes to find out why and gets many stories. People are mad they have no voice in choosing the next Prime, or mad about the weirdos from the Bubble, or mad about the mana restrictions. The riots get worse. We ponder sending a message to the Black Knight, fairly sure he’s being set up. We send him a message, asking to meet at the church, to find the truth. He replies that he will kill us all and everyone we love if we contact him again. Well, that could have gone better.

Maribeth and Remy go into the office, but they come home again fairly soon. Seems we’ve been tasked with ending the riots before Rictus and his men go in and kill everyone. They are giving us four days to calm over 30,000 people. We hope it’s fae, or else we’ve got a lot of persuading to do. Maribeth and Gerhardt go see if James will help us with the calming. Remy talks to Aranea about what fae could do this, and if she could help us find them. Nat, Klyce, and I go for walkabout, to talk to the people and sniff out any fae.

Nat uses her magic to skim surface thoughts in a park with a large crowd. She gets a few pings of strong singular emotions. Digging deeper, she says there is compression and constraint, too much in one skull, and then an image of a fat green worm. Five people turn as one and shout that we three are mages, and everyone turns on us. I cast fly on Nat and myself and confirm their suspicions by pulling us both up in the air. Klyce gets big and tries to go grab one of the five. Nat tries to put people around him asleep so he can get through, but the mob just tramples right over them. Klyce tries to help, but in doing so, loses the one he was after. He turns to mist and flies up to join us and we make our escape.

Back at camp, Aranea says it’s a Yerak, and that they must be destroyed. They have a hive mind, but no one controlling it. She is able to see a bruised aura around the infected. We go talk to the Major in charge of containment. We tell him that we know the problem and we need three days. We explain that something is influencing them, and we need to root it out. He says we have two, if it’s an infection, he will erect barriers, but we need to wipe it out, or he will.

We go to the briefing of the troops, and scan them to see if any have been infected. Thankfully, not, though Nat is concerned that she cannot sense the Major’s mind. He tells them of the quarentine, and to prepare for heavier action should we fail. Nat explains the mobs in the park, and how they turned on us. Maribeth talks to the mages about what they may need to do.

We gather up, leaving James behind, as his calming spell isn’t actually what is needed here. We head in, carefully avoiding the crowds, back down the path we tread so many times in the bubble. Down into the bowels of the infirmary. The bubbled head of the beast is still there, but the Sheriff’s bubble is not. Just a headless corpse. Aranea confirms it is a Yerak. They mature, the brain and head burst open and then they go and make a new tree to reproduce and spread. There is no tree, here, though, where could it be?

Alchemy, Religion, and Murder

It got quiet after we became heroes of the city. Well, magically speaking, at least. We had time to go back to our studies for a little while. Dalish finished up our paperwork and we could breathe new air every morning. It was refreshing to not explode every hour. That was such a strange experience. And meeting a Goddess? Not that Remy believes it, not yet, anyway. I am learning more each week, going to Sunday services, and watching the sun rise and set each day. It’s peaceful and nice.

The magocracy can’t get enough of us, though. All these political mages come banging at our door. Join our party, no ours, we’ll give you access to power, to spells, we can fix the world, we can fix everything. UGH! I’m just thirteen, and I could care less about all their agendas, or their power, or their stupid spell books that I can’t use. No way I’m going to be a figurehead. Not for my family, not for them.

I did get to work on my alchemy lessons a little. With Gerhardt’s help, I figured out how to make a healing potion! I’m so excited, but they do take a while to make, but at least we can still get supplies at the school, when we have time to go back there. Dalish still has to be there, working with Rictus. Oh man, I’m so glad I can’t do that type of magic!

After a few days, Remy gets over himself enough to ask me for a conversation. He sorta apologizes, but says he still isn’t sure about the Dawnmother’s intentions, or the real cause of the old war. He wants me to try and teach him the fae language, and go with him back to the forest to see if the fae will talk to him. He wants to know what they think about the old war. And he doesn’t want me to tell the others. Not yet. I tell him that we can’t go walking into the forest alone, what if we get killed? We have to tell them we’re going at least. I’m also not so sure about teaching him the language, I don’t even know how I know it, but I’ll give it a go when we have time. After that conversation, though, he fell deep into his magical studies, working on that wierd blade of his.

Klyce wanted to go back to school and find another spell or two. Everyone babbles on about flying, polymorph, fire shield, or hallucinatory terrain as we go. Once there, we decide to take a closer look at the courtyard between the buildings. Maribeth notices that there are different species of grass in certain spots, so I lift her up to get a better look.

She says the grasses form runes all across the courtyard. She copies them down and then highlights them with little sparkling lights so the boys can see. Klyce climbs up the main hall to take a look, and notices they’re from the transformation school and seem to have something to do with acceleration. So, he climbs down and walks them in order and a spell called Plant Growth appeared for him to write down.

Once they all get it down, they continue to look around. The sidewalks seem oddly uniform, but they can’t get anything from them. There’s a big tree in the corner, and when they start investigating, they find abjuration, necormancy, and a very odd geometric design to the limbs. Eventually, Dalish casts Identify, and discovers it is the Keystone for the school’s protective magics.

Walking around the area, they notice the benches have equations, or parts of equations, that seem similar to the tree’s design. They walk out the patterns and find a glyph on the theatre’s wall. It seems to be a glyph of warding against unauthorized folk. We try to find other ones around the other buildings, but this seems to be the only one that matches the pattern. Frustrated, we pack it in for the day.

A couple weeks later, Remy calls us all together to have a party. Gerhardt finished his potion of longevity, and Remy is back down another ten years. He looks like Maribeth’s age, now, and we go out to celebrate in the Petals. It was a lovely evening, and we all got to relax and talk about nonsense.

The next morning, however, things got back to our normal. The floating pool up at the 30-something floor was bright crimson in the dawn light.

Maribeth tells the doorman, who notifies a constable. We volunteer, as official investigators, to go take a look while he waits for them. Once he recognizes us, he gives us a key and Maribeth and Remy head up while I go fetch everyone else. By the time we all get up there, Maribeth is going through the dead man’s mail and Remy is studying the body with a knife in its back. Dalish uses magic to turn the corpse over, but there are no other wounds. The knife has weird magic, an octagonal handguard, intricate wrappings, and a small tag attached to the pommel. Dalish tries to understand the writing on it, but it’s some sort of code.

Maribeth says that, according to his mail, the dead man is a researcher, and someone he worked with was very concerned about what they were researching. Saying they had gone too far, and it was affecting lives. He was planning on coming forward and hoped Artemious would, too. That one was signed Killcannon. She said there was also a butcher receipt for beef, pig, pig’s blood, and organ meat. Way more than a man living alone would need.

Just as Remy is suggesting that maybe this isn’t our concern, Inspector Poissant arrives, and suggests we take point. The writing on the tag is Chinese, and they live in the south end of Brooklyn. The butcher shop is also down there. We suggest that he takes over the scene, as his people are much better at crime scene investigation, and we would head off on the leads. He agrees and we head to work.

When we ask at reception for Killcannon, the receptionist says he’s not on record there, and neither is Artemious Finch. There are two other Finch men here, though: Daniel in Records, and Uriah in the Hall of War. She directs us to those departments and we head up. Maribeth, Dalish, and Klyce head for the Hall of Records and Remy, Gerhardt, and I head to the War Department.

A Deal With a Goddess

Round Ten.

Waking in the dirt again. After we get past Cross, Remy heads off to talk to Carmine. The rest of us head towards the bank to try and find the foreman. We find a promising looking apartment building, but the name plates are all corroded. Dalish manages to Mend them enough for us to see the names. But we don’t actually know her name. So, with Klyce in the lead, we begin searching room by room, until, on the fourth floor, we see a doorway blocked by a bubble. I head down to catch Remy on his way to the bank, and bring him upstairs, because he has the spear that can pop the bubble.

When we get back up, he spears it, and we start to hear a beeping. In through the door, we see another smaller bubble with a robed figure holding a book and a wand. Also, a rather large bomb. Klyce rushes in, grabbing the bomb, and diving out the window. BOOM!

Round Eleven.

We run straight for the apartment, while Remy heads off after Carmine. We have a plan, to try to get the bomb further out the window with magic, if the code from the mine door doesn’t work on it. While we’re doing that, we’re also going to pop the lady’s bubble, so she can help us, now that we found her.

Once Remy makes it back with Carmine, we try it.

Pop. Code. I levitate the bomb. Klyce runs and jumps with it. Remy pops the lady’s bubble. She has time to say… oh… no… BOOM!

The lady in our whitespace vision was missing an arm…

Round Twelve.

Klyce insists that the bomb didn’t kill him, but what does that matter, really, we’re back in the dirt.

Remy says that it didn’t kill him either, and he was able to pour a healing potion down the lady’s throat, and she told him to find her journal before the reset.

Okay, new plan. Maybe the journal is in the vault. Carmine is pretty certain that something in there will fix all of this, so how do we get inside? The manager appears to be the only way in, so Remy will mask up like the sheriff, saying he needs access, and Maribeth will look like Cross. Klyce and I will go try and ask Cass about the big bomb. Dalish and Gerhardt are going to ask around for the foreman’s name, because the name plate says J. Isaacs, but we’re pretty sure that’s the sheriff. We split up and run.

Klyce and I go sit at the tree to wait for Cass, but it turns out she doesn’t know that foreman’s name, they just referred to her by title. Sad to say, Klyce did way better at talking to Cass than I did, I really don’t like dying a dozen times in a day, it makes me cranky.

We all meet back up at the bank, where Remy and Maribeth have managed to get the foreman’s journal from the vault. The journal has the bomb’s code in it, and we discuss going up immediately to turn it off, or heading to the church, now that Carmine will go with us. The church wins out, and Carmine insists we all come along.

The brothers, man and skeleton, pray together and the church rebuilds itself. Dalish says it’s strange magic that does it, not quite like the fae, but not like ours, either. The brothers then pray to the Dawnmother for her light, her guidance, and her help in the path forward. At this, a shimmery haze fills the altar area, and Maribeth rushes into it. What else to do but follow, so we all go into the light.

It seems like the white space between explosions. There is a woman here, made all of light, and I am nearly overwhelmed with the power coming from her. She greets us as mortals, and insists she would not normally meddle, but there is a great trouble, and causality is all out of order.

Dalish asks how we can fix things, and she says it is within her power, but there is a price. She requires worship in return for her help. Remy is having none of this, he doesn’t know who or what she is, but he is not interested in worshipping some strange being of power who is only just now stepping in to help stop only one of the horrors we have lived through. Dalish asks if the worm is the wandering vengance, but she says no, it is our ancient enemy. She assents, it is the fae, and the war has been going on for ages, but will answer no more questions about it.

Klyce, ever reasonable, asks what it is she is willing to do. She says she will remove impediments before us, but we must give her both the spear, and the hourglass that the foreman has used for the time bubbles. Klyce says we have already removed most of the impediments, and we have a plan, and we have the bomb’s code. He asks if she’ll fix this area of town, put it back the way it was, put the people back. She says she will fix the threads of time, reintegrate this part of the city with the whole, but the changes to the people cannot be undone. The foreman, who has died many times, and put all of herself into the protection of this area, will not survive.

This throws Remy into another fit, arguing that she has been instrumental, just like us, in keeping things whole, in saving all these people. The Dawnmother says there is a higher order, and she is only allowed to do so much. Maribeth suggests she only has control over certain aspects of the world, and the Dawnmother agrees.

I cut in, and ask what sort of worship she requires. She asks only that we show appreciation for the sunrise and sunset. Remy refuses. Dalish agrees, asserting that we might as well acknowledge the gods, since she’s right here in front of us. Remy and Dalish argue for a bit, over her intentions, our ability to solve the problem without her, and the possibility that she’s just like Garian, only she succeeded.

Klyce eventually cuts in, asking her if we all have to agree to worship her, or just some of us. She says not all of us. Dalish, Maribeth, and I agree to worship her. I was already going to talk to the priests about her, ever curious about my powers. The dreams mention “her coming, shining as the sun,” so I was already on my path. Klyce agrees to the plan, if not the worship, and Remy simply abstains. The Dawnmother agrees, and reminds us that the hourglass and spear will be collected when we are done.

Outside the mists, the explosion completes.

Round Thirteen.

We get past Cross and head for the foreman, discussing our plans as we run. Maybe the foreman can help with the reactor. That worm is huge, but surely the bomb will kill it. Dalish and Remy have quite the conversation about gods and evil and Rictus. Klyce and I discuss the plan, my magic, and I even tell him what my dreams have said.

We get to the apartment. Remy pops the bubble, and quickly enters the code from the journal to disarm the bomb. Then he pops the foreman’s bubble. She says thank you, it is up to us now, and disintigrates in his arms. Remy grabs the hourglass and it begins speaking to us all. Klyce grabs the bomb, and we begin heading down to the mine.

It says that it is Time given physical form. It says June did a great job holding things together, and is sure we can fix this whole mess. It says that having all of us together changes the math of the situation. It says we an fix all sorts of things. Some of the others go a bit blank, like they’re seeing things that aren’t there, or maybe that used to be there. We start asking it questions, but it doesn’t really know what the big worm is, and it can’t see forward in time to know if our plan will work. It can, however, pause time, which it does for a moment. Remy asks about the war from his extra memories, but the hourglass says that’s too far back to tell us anything. Remy asks about the Dawnmother, but the hourglass can’t see her because we were out of time when we talked to her. The hourglass isn’t alive, but more of an intelligent item, it seems to like that label.

We start to fill it in on our plan to explode the worm with the big bomb. We tell the hourglass that we will then have to give it up to the Dawnmother. We talk about the bubbles and the one holding the worm in. It says that June didn’t create a very good bubble around it because it was done in a hurry. We ask about creating a bubble just around its head, like we through the bomb in, then bubble it so that it cuts it’s head off, and blows it up at the same time. It says this is doable.

Remy asks about going back to save June. It says that it would take him out of time. Remy asks about going back to our first cycle, and saving her there. The hourglass says she was already dead many times over by then. Remy talks about various plans, saying he does’t want to give the hourglass over to the Dawnmother. The hourglass agrees with him, not being interested in being pulled out of time again. The hourglass tries to tempt Klyce, but he wants no part in more strange magic. Remy says he’s going to try and absorb the hourglass somehow, to keep it from the goddess. He thinks she has bad intentions. He asks it if it could lock itself away in time, and while it could, it finds that even more boring. It thinks it could meld with Remy, but it also thinks he might just fall into pieces. They go back and forth a bit, but at least it seems Remy accepts June’s sacrifice.

We head down to the bottom of the mine and prepare. Maribeth sends me a message, saying she plans to put Remy to sleep, and do I side with her. I tell her that I will not attack him, but neither will I let him hurt her in return. Klyce tosses the bomb out over the worm, Remy pops the bubble, and the hourglass seals a new bubble around its head. We feel everything click into place. We hear and feel the rumble of the rest of the body falling deep into the earth. The head floats in the air, a contained explosion inside a bubble.

The Dawnmother appears before us, and says it is time. Remy insists that he did not agree to this plan, to giving her the powerful items. She asks him, Will you make oathbreakers of your friends? His answer to her trails off, as he drops the spear, and starts trying to shove the hourglass into his chest. Dalish rushes forward and touches Remy with cold magic. Maribeth puts Remy to sleep. Dalish hands over the items to the Dawnmother who thanks him and hopes to not see us again. She tells us to proceed out to the edge of the bubble, and she will prepare us an exit. Then she will reknit the area back into time.

Klyce lifts Remy’s body, and we head out. When we leave the bubble, the cannon’s report is still echoing. Nat and the artificer ask if it worked, and we say yes. Turning back, we watch through the hazy bubble as the area clears, and years pass. We watch them build statues of us, with June standing above us all. In five minutes time, the bubble falls. There is a huge wave of cheering from the people inside. They all know what we did to save them, and the rush over to thank us.

Klyce asks the artificer to get someone over here. Maribeth goes to speak to the artist about her grandmother. Cass comes over to Klyce, saying she’s going to turn her life around and join the police force. We wait for Prime Hadrius to arrive, and stop Dalish from causing a panic over the worms. Klyce tells Hadrius that these people need to be given proper legal status, that their current state is not their fault. Maribeth, Dalish, and I go back to the church. Kevin has been given back a proper body, thankfully. The welcome us to come and worship, and talk to us for a while about the Dawnmother.

Back at work the next day, we debrief as a group, and tell them everything that happened. The story, naturally, gets out to the press, and it isn’t long before political parties start approaching us each to join them. I repeatedly remind anyone approaching me that I’m 12, which is much to young to get into politics.