Into The Nest

Brack fell to the ground, blood gushing from his neck, and I ran up to Spare him from Dying. Remy starts shooting at something above my head and I duck to cover Brack’s body. Next thing I know, I’m getting stabbed, too, and there are crossbow bolts coming out of windows around us. Klyce runs up beside me and chokes out a guy that I didn’t even see, and Remy keeps shooting. Glancing up, I see a ghostly shadow leaving the body in front of me, and I scramble back, but it flees. I join the fray, Catapulting some rocks up at the men in the windows, but every time one falls, a grey shadow flees the scene. Nat manages to get a Mindspike on one before it gets too far, just as the battle ends.

Gerhardt patches me up, and then wakes Brack up. He has had enough of our dangerous life, and heads back to his shadowy one. Nat quickly searches the dead, they still look slippery, like all those years ago in the Bronx sewers. They have no identifying features, no prints, no blemishes, nothing, except a brand at the base of their neck from the Mageocracy. Assassins! What? Why? I, self-consciously, check the back of my neck, but there’s no sudden appearance of a brand there, thank the Dawnmother.

We chase after the spiked shadow demon, all the way down to Little Italy. It is about 150 feet below us, so we head back into the familiar sewers of New Gnosis. This is nowhere near the location of the Nest, but we have to check it out. When we finally get close, it appears to be a Magia hideout. No! Nonono! We do not have time for That entanglement. So, we head back up and out. Once outside, Nat does sit down to take a look inside, but only finds an old dusty room.

We head off to find a map and do some triangulation of all the abduction sites. They find a spot in Brooklyn, near some dockside warehouses, and about 200 feet downward. Okay, I can do this. I know where we’re going, I have some demon bones and the cultist’s necklace. I gather everyone around me, and close my eyes. Transportation magic hurts a heck of a lot more than I thought it would. Getting shot didn’t even hurt that much. I hold on tight to the lightning, and we make it through to the ritual room Nat has described to us several times.

There are footsteps in the hall outside, and the girls hide behind the altar, while the boys stand to meet whoever comes. Two robed figures carrying torches enter. Someone says, We just want to talk, but they start shouting instead. We’ve been found! To Arms! Bullets and spells begin flying, as they summon two bone devils to help. I manage to get a Storm Sphere off, thanks to some countering of a countr by Remy. The room fills with spells, bullets, claws, and lightning.

One of the men disappears, and Remy starts shooting down the hall. Dalish flies after the invisible man, but he gets attacked by a charging man in armor. Once the devils are down, we all move toward the hallway, and eventually take down the fake knight after Gerhardt dispells all his charms. Dalish captures his soul, while Maribeth defaces the symbols around the altar. A wall of fire erupts at the end of the hall, and Remy starts swatting at invisible things all around him.

We all retreat back to the room, while Dalish uses the captured soul to look ahead. There are six mages waiting for us in a room at the far end of the hall. Remy is trapped in a mental prison, and we have to wait a minute for him to be free. The mages do not advance during that minute, so we settle in for a ten minute Prayer of Healing to get people pumped back up a little bit. Dalish is watching them, so they send an Arcane Eye down to watch us, too. Nat puts up a Telepathic Bond so we can communicate more easily, and we make a plan. We’re going to go up to the turn in the hall. Gerhardt is going to cast his Sphere, and we’re going to use it as cover to attack the mages. Klyce will head in and take them on physically, while the rest of us stay back and lob spells.

When we’re all ready, Klyce, still in crocodile form, did I forget to mention that? He’s found a new favorite. Anyway, Klyce, carries Gerhardt and Nat down the hall, with the rest of us following behind. Dalish stays a ways back from the group because he’s keepig an eye on the room still. Before we can get there, they pop out and cast two fireballs on the whole group of us. I fall immediately.

I wake up in a different hallway, in Dalish’s arms. Unconscious girls can’t be choosers, I guess. The group is investigating a set of double doors at the far end of this hall. These doors lead into a mess hall. Remy and Nat head in to check the doors at the far end of this room, and find a kitchen, cold room, and bathroom. Doors on the right side of this room lead to an empty barracks, where we find a couple more phials of mana, as well as some magical items, which we promptly steal: A dagger, a sling, a ring, and a shield. Nat claims the dagger, I claim the sling, Klyce grabs the shield, and we put the ring away until we can identify it.

Heading through the doors on the left side of the mess hall, we find a training room, complete with straw dummies. As Nat and Dalish search around this room, four devils teleport in. Two covered in chains, and two armored females that remind me a little too much of the succcubi. The fight begins, and I pull up my Storm Sphere. One of the ladies doesn’t like this, and immediately puts me down. This time I wake up in the freezer with everyone sitting around identifying the magic items. Except mine. That’s okay though, it’s just a sling.

When we’re ready, we head back through the training room quickly, and Remy can see some extra layers of protect ahead. We pass through them, as though through a veil, and are confronted by ten more mages in the prison wing. Porter is there, and he calls out to Maribeth, as though she was her Grandfather, saying he won’t let him win. We shout back that she’s not Grandfather, we’re here because he’s been kidnapping and murdering people, including our family members. He says that’s Grandfather’s doing, and he can explain everything, but not down here. He’s trying to stop Grandfather summoning the horrible, huge, evil thing.

Then a sword appears through his chest, and Grandfather is standing right behind him, looking like Maribeth. He thanks us for finding this place for him, he was having all sorts of trouble with that. Then a bunch of demons teleport in among us all!

New Friends?

In the morning, we gather for breakfast and planning. A quiet moment being a rarity. I wonder if they know we’ll come for them now, instead of throwing themselves at us. Klyce wants to trap one, if they do come after us again. It seems like not all of them can just teleport away. They ran from Philip instead of just disappearing. So maybe, we could snag one, and make it talk. We still have those iron bands from Italy, and Gerhard has his domes. This seems like a solid plan for now, but what do we do in the meantime.

We need to go visit the bar we told the homeless painters to report to. We need to go to the Petals to check some things at the Wiest’s office. And we figured on going to Brooklyn to see where the writer was getting his stories about the abductions. It’s going to be a lot of walking today. Philomena agrees to stay behind to help Orrin and Philip guard everyone.

We start by heading down south to the Xingtown bar. A man is waiting outside for us. He says Old Brack wants to talk to us, and takes us all the way back north to the Bronx. To an empty lot. Remy pays the man, which seems odd to me, when there’s no one here. But then a man appears out of the shadows saying that we’re drawing the symbol wrong.

Remy confirms this is Brack, and introduces himself, explaining why we were drawing the Dawnmother symbols around town. He says it’s the wrong symbol, and shows us a necklace with the inverted symbol on it. He got it two days before when another homeless couple were taken from right in front of him. Old Brack, it seems, has been on the streets a long time, and helps the newly homeless get settled and find places to sleep or find food. Two nights ago, he was doing just that, and a group jumped out of the shadows, abducted this couple and then disappeared again, through a wall. In the scuffle, they ignored Brack, and one dropped his necklace. Dalish is also a bit suspicious of Brack, and to be honest so am I, but in the moment, he’s telling us what we need to know, so I don’t care. We can come back and kill him later if we have to.

Remy tells him we’re trying to stop those people, and he leads us around a corner to show us where it happened. Remy asks who the couple were, and Brack unknowingly tells him they were his parents, the Renaud’s. The boys take a look with their magical eyes. There is definitely magical residue in this alley. Dalish says it’s some form of powerful conjuration. Shadow teleporting or something, like Rictus did the other night. I head up to the wall, and leaning my hands against it, concentrating on my desire to find my brother, I get a small sense of direction. They used this to go somewhere to the Southeast, mostly South. Maybe Brooklyn? Remy and Dalish get the same thing when they put their heads together, too.
Nat looks around and says it looks like there were eight people who came here through that wall. Eight people to abduct Remy’s parents. We have to figure out where they went. We have to save our families. Maybe they didn’t go very far? We start searching for that same signature of magic in the nearby streets, heading south and east. We get out to twice my current teleport spell’s range before we give it up. They could be anywhere if they aren’t close by. It’s time to move on to other things.

We head down to the Petals, starting with the Records Office. Dalish hands over the note from General Burns and we are taken into the hall. Most of Porter’s file is redacted, and his most recent orders is an empty folder. She gives us the list of his squad, and their current orders are also missing. They’re all slightly older than Porter, and include at least one member of the Magia families. We ask if someone has accessed these files, and perhaps taken their orders, and she takes us back to look at the logs. Five months ago, someone did look at their files, but she cannot tell us who. We’re going to have to find one of these mages, maybe one of them didn’t go along with Porter’s plan.

Heading up to Wiest’s office, we find it locked up tight. Klyce decides making a new doorway is probably safer than trying to unlock it, and opens the wall. Marybeth decides to maintain an illusion while we’re inside so no one notices a big hole in the wall. The office is nicely furnished, but fairly empty. Dalish does find a crystal ball in the wall, however. He doesn’t seem to use this office much at all, except when other people ask to see him. Fortunately, this one goes back six months, instead of just one. Two and a half months ago, Pyrus met with him to discuss the war and the mana deposits out west. Three months ago, Porter and two of his squad came for a visit.

Porter charmed Wiest at the beginning of the meeting. And I do mean Charmed, as in the spell, as in Illegal magic. On A Prime! He then assigns them to Black Ops inside New Gnosis. We have to back up the recording and reposition to see what orders he writes for them. He transfers them to be under his authority only, and out of the normal military chain of command. He also wrote them open orders for all the mana and supplies they want. There is no scope or end date to any of these orders. After they leave, he seems confused by what has happened, but they already have all the paperwork they need.

We decide that we have to get those orders rescinded. Surely, with Wiest dead, Rictus or someone can countermand the order? Maybe even tell us if they show up looking for supplies? This seems like a good first step in stopping at least one of our problems.

Nat skims through the rest of the orb. Five months ago, Rictus met with Wiest. Wiest was asking pointed questions about us and our service. Rictus tells him flat out that we belong to him and are under his control. Wiest then says that situations can change and that some mages want us used differently. Rictus insists that as long as he is Prime, nothing will happen to us. Well, isn’t this charming. Thank the Dawnmother for that geas.

Next, we headed to Prime Atherion’s office. He died around the same time, though his body was not retrievable inside his collapsed Magnificent Mansion. His door is also locked up, so Klyce opens a wall again. Only, this time, there is literally nothing in the office. Someone realizes, he probably has an extra-dimensional office, and we’ll have to go through the door. So, Nat picks the lock and we all rush inside before someone notices. Then things got weird.

A voice asks for a Password, and when no one can give one, we appear in a steel cube of a room, about thirty feet to a side. Surrounded by flying snakes. It’s a bit terrifying, but one quick Storm Sphere and all but one of them collapse to the ground. Nat quickly zaps the last snake out of the air. Then the voice comes again.

You have reached the office of Prime Atherion. What business do you have?

Or something like that, I think there were more words, but the storm was still up for a few seconds, and I didn’t really hear.

We tell the voice that Atherion is dead and we’re trying to investigate.

Access is restricted to Prime Atherion and those he gave access to.

We explain again that he is dead. We ask if Prime Rictus had permission, but the voice says no. Then we have to have a conversation about what dead means. It went something like this…

He’s dead.

What does that mean?

He isn’t alive. Or at least he isn’t on this plane anymore.

He… isn’t?

He isn’t.

But where is he?

Collapsed inside his mansion.


Do you know how to get him out?


Can we go into his office to look for information?

Prime Atherion isn’t?


Who are you?

Then we introduced ourselves… but it didn’t get better for a while…

And you Are. But he isn’t? But I am?

And this went back and forth for awhile, until the voice explained that he is a “Life Model Decoy” of Prime Atherion, with all his knowledge, up to the point of his creation. Then the voice decided that it Was Atherion now. Because it’s existance was based on Atherion. This is when Klyce got impatient, declared the voice to be Atherion, and asked its permission to enter the office.

You want to visit My Office?

Yes, there is likely information about… a dead body that we need.

I give myself and all of you permission to access My Office.

Then a door appeared in one of the walls, and we all head through, into a Magnificent Mansion about two or three times the size of the one we all had shared those years before. There’s an Infinity Pool, a Zen Garden, and all sorts of other random frivolity. The unseen servants in this mansion, however, are all shaped like the other Primes, in the most ridiculous way possible. Atherion voice now starts insisting that it wants a body, and Remy patiently tries to help.

I lead the way to find his office among all of the silliness, and we find it. Throne and all. Who was this guy? The documents are mostly boring. Shipping manifests, mana information. Incarceration and death rates for the mines. Information on new deposits out west. Discussion of teleportation or rail systems to get mana back east. We also find his spellbook, which peaks a lot of interest, especially as it has the spell to make these mansions. We decide to confiscate it as evidence for now, and turn it in when we are done. Klyce and Remy both wander off to look for more interesting things. Dalish checks for recording orbs here, but unsurprisingly, doesn’t find any. Eventually, Remy comes to tell us he found a spell component room, and we all head there to “borrow” supplies.

Atherion voice tells us that no one besides Atherion` ever came here, and no one else had gotten into the trap room like we did. We ask where Atherion` had his mansion, but Atherion voice says he carried them with him wherever he went. Them?  He had eight mansions on his person at all times. Well, that’s a lot. We have to get out of here and get moving, we have found some good resources, but no information on the matters at hand. It doesn’t want us to leave, but Remy convinces him that we have to go outside for a bit, if only to get what we need to come back and make him a body. He tells us the password to get back in is Alleria.

Once we’re outside, Remy lets us know that there was also a Machine inside, though he disabled it. We head to Rictus’ office, but he isn’t there. I send to him, instead, to say Porter mind-controlled Wiest for unlimited supplies and free reign in the city. Rictus says he’ll meet with us this evening. Nat leaves a not for Alleria, asking “Are they yours?” And we head to Brooklyn to do more investigation.