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.