Monday, February 1, evening
Everyone regroups at Favian Manor and gets some much-needed rest.
Tuesday, February 2
Arke looks up an apartment listing while Adrian and Emma amuse themselves with fencing in the ballroom and skeet shooting from the roof. Jack Bower calls Genevieve, tells her that her father’s funeral will be at 9:00 at Favian Church on Friday.
Blake asks Echran for something that belongs to the deceased that Echran is trying to find, to see if she is in Hell or not. Echran gives him a locket with a lock of her hair (and it looks like it was burned against him under his body armor once.) Blake promises to find out more about where her soul is.
The news reports that Crossfade led Growlback and the Red Phantom to manage the breakout, grabbing Tidelia, and Burninator blew up the Wilters museum. Journalists and police alike suspect there must have been help from the inside on this job. Legislators are working on passing laws that adjust the technology restriction so police can cope with threats like this.
Arke Goes Apartment Hunting
He finds a tiny triangular apartment in the Stacks, and rents it for cash under an assumed name. He installs a bar to keep the place secure, sets up a phone and answering machine there, and tasks Jessica with checking messages once or twice a day. Mugsy adds a dog bed and a bag chair, as Arke insists this place is not for getting comfortable. Mugsy’s sharp senses tell him things about the super that make the weedy man uncomfortable. Arke gets some business cards printed with just the number of the phone in this place.
Chat with Marcher
As Adrian and Emma shoot from the roof, Marcher approaches along the roof line. He dismisses Emma, and tells Adrian that the Ghost told Marcher to leave town (because of the danger he represents, and the blood on his hands.) Marcher agreed to go so he would not end up opposite Adrian on battle lines.
Before he goes, he tells Adrian that Onaga has risen in the East, uniting ninja clans and Setite cults to battle arcanists. Marcher warns him of Khan, Onaga’s right-hand man and a very dangerous individual. Marcher says he was proud to teach Adrian, who expresses gratitude for his training. Marcher leaves, turning into a bird and flying off.
Chat with Kryptma
Genevieve is explaining to the others in the Parlor of Relative Safety that if Jeremiah Seer is a wizard, then he is a meta, and he cannot legally hold office; they can destroy his bid to be mayor if they can prove he is a meta. Wilts can help.
Kryptma arrives, annoyed for being summoned. She was investigating to find the gate to the Tellurian, the darkest side of the Umbra, and she found it under the St. Louis arch (used for focusing.) The place was blown up, collapsed, and smashed, but through broken mirrors she saw the Yutani logo.
Genevieve explains the darkshell incident and Alice’s situation, and also about Tidelia’s corruption and subsequent rescue. Kryptma calls it “bane shifting,” when you should die but your energy keeps you alive and is corrupted. She talks about the Tide of Corruption, and the fomori.
Adrian has heard of fomori, the Arcanum crusades against them. The Arcanum believes there was a purer world once, and the fomori degraded it once into the world we have today. They want to do it again, and again, and the arcanists stand in their way; arcane magic is a throwback to the pre-fall world.
Adrian mentions his visit with Marcher; Onaga, setites, ninja, the Khan. Kryptma agrees that has been a big problem, with snakes everywhere. Onaga activated dozens of sleeper units, Setites see him as a demigod.
Onaga is a portal to a dimension of limitless power. He can infuse some power in human or quasi-human agents. He can boost powers, people like having a team and being more powerful. He was defeated before because those who serve him are not loyal to each other, and not always loyal to him. He can be bound, but he cannot be killed. As for the Khan, he is a powerful shaman, with a snake focus, an assassin for hundreds of years.
Kryptma wants to see Blake’s nevercold brass coin. She spends an essence to light it up, it is an Orcus coin, representing 150 souls. Arch demons appear on currency to show how many souls were infused into it. You normally read currency by dipping the coin in the blood of a fresh human sacrifice. It is easier to infuse here, far from Hell, so the background energy doesn’t mess up the print.
Genevieve tells Kryptma she is thinking about visiting the roc spirit for advice, Kryptma agrees that is a good idea. That’s one path to getting Tidelia free of corruption. Kryptma gives the bat skeleton (Mr. Kissynose) back to Genevieve, and heads out to continue her research into the Tellurian Gate.
They continue planning.
The butler brings Blake the phone; Smith tells him Connie Dammers has come by the house to see him, and stayed the night because of the snow. What does Blake want Smith to do? Blake heads home in a taxi, has a brief but firm chat with Connie, and asks her to go. She leaves him with a book of clippings of her articles, and a business card (she did not trust Smith to deliver it.)
She liked Blake at the War Machine party, and wanted to be closer friends. Then it got awkward. After she goes, Smith asks for instruction for dealing with guests. Blake tells him not to let people in unless Blake contacts him first. Also, Chatterly contacted Smith about some books for Blake; Blake wants Chatterly to deliver them as they come in, one batch at a time. Also, Pillars was hanging around Blake’s home during the heist; she expected him to call for help, but he did not. She left shortly after. Blake returns to Favian Manor.
The Leatherbury Estate
Adrian, Genevieve, Daniel, Arke, and Mugsy take a cab to the gate that leads to the Leatherbury Estate, pausing to buy a mirror on the way. Once in the pocket dimension, dogs run up to greet them; Adrian renamed them Phobos and Demos.
If the death and anger is cleared away, Adrian can shape the place much more easily. They meet some of the servants, they install the mirror, and they head down the back to make sure the back door opens out to Kingsport. Then they return to the mirror, ignoring the howling of the undead upstairs, and they go through.
They are in a dark tangled wood, talking to a guardian spirit shaped like a cat, named Declaude. The spirit tells them this border realm is wrapped around that one, they give the spirit essence and it marks a safe path out. They follow the path to an obelisk, and step through it to the Umbra. Everyone but Arke steps out into a barber shop mirror, strolls out, and rejoins the car to drive back to Favian Manor.
Arke follows his nose to a substation of the Warren, a pocket dimension with a clocktower/watermill. A three-eyed troll named Bartholemew guards it. Arke checks in with him, reporting to the Warren, and he also picks up $2,000 and a sack of life spirits. He promises to check in. Bartholemew warns him about the Banewave, the infected energy of the land around the nuclear explosion.
Arke follows the trail back to the obelisk, down the road, into the Leatherbury Estate. He releases about 30 life spirits onto the lawn there, to help start cleansing the place.
They regroup for a late lunch, then Adrian and Genevieve meditate. Adrian realizes no one is likely planning a funeral for Hans. They speculate on how long it will take Onaga’s war to reach Edge City.
Genevieve psychically contacts Lena Wilts, they set up a meet for 7:00 at an unspecified location. Daniel plans to go along, and Genevieve tells Graves just in case.
The Brass Embassy
Arke wants to go to the Brass Embassy. Blake and Mugsy agree to go along. They head to Sanctuary, the cathedral turned into a nightclub; a debtor lets them in, and they go to the bouncer in the back, who lets them in to the long silent hallway into the embassy.
A polite debtor offers condolences on Jessica’s death; Arke replies she’s still alive, the debtor apologizes. Time can get confused down here.
They hear singing, a debtor escorts them to a balcony overlooking the glowing dance floor. They are preparing for a gala, to welcome the embassy’s new defender (though they do not yet know who it will be.) The debtor tears out a molar with a glyph of Hell that Blake can use as an invitation; it will make him aware when the time is right. Blake apparently has many friends he does not recognize, which is awkward.
Clark joins them. Arke says he wants to be friends, Clark marks his wrist with a colorless sign that will allow him entry at the door in Sanctuary. Blake wants to check the Pool, and Clark turns them over to Selene, a succubus.
She takes them to the Pool, with a powerful spirit sealing off access between Prime and Hell. She is dressed in screams, with stiletto bone heels.
Blake puts his face in the Membrane of the Pool and asks for Carly Willis; another face rises, that came looking for her here. She is not here, her soul is in the music box. Blake withdraws. Selene asks if he found what he was looking for; she shows him her nudity, and he likes that; she suggests she’ll look him up if she gets a day pass. Arke is sickened, as he can see through her shapes and see the demon below. She has fantastic wings, tail, and horns. She painlessly bites out some of Blake’s flesh and replaces it with her own; they can feel touches on their flesh on the other person, for some long-term foreplay.
Arke and Blake offer each other backup if either wants to go to the Embassy, but not alone. Blake’s slow heart is sped up by the encounter, for a while. When they return to Favian Manor, they still bear the scent of the Brass Embassy—they will need to figure out how best to clean that off after visiting, in future.
Blake reports to Echran, giving him the locket back. Echran reflects that the soul Blake saw was Uncle Seamus, which does not surprise Echran; the bodyguard leaves, rude and abrupt. Graves shows up to see why Echran asked for time off, Genevieve tells him, and he goes upstairs to ponder.
At 6:45, Genevieve gets the call to meet Wilts and one other in the basement of the Wailing Pig. Genevieve contacts the Ghost telepathically and tells her about the meeting, so they have backup if they need it.
Genevieve, Daniel, Adrian, Snowfall (his owl), Blake, Arke, and Mugsy go to the Wailing Pig in North Gantry. They see the backup teams of Wilters, and Genevieve sets up up on a psychic tac net. They go in, and a Russian instructs them to go to the basement. It is reserved just for them, one bare bulb over a table for eight. Alex Felton and Lena Wilts wait.
Genevieve tells Wilts that the Seers are wizard metas, and wants them to investigate. Felton suggests that Genevieve and her people are better suited to investigate this and bring evidence to the Wilters; the Seers will not tolerate invasion of privacy to the point of finding what kind of readings reveal their meta powers. Felton tells them about Training Matrices, interactive computer programs the Seers maybe used to train (he heard a rumor.) They would be kept somewhere safe, Treadwell knew where.
Felton also advises them to move quickly, as there may be upcoming omnibus legislation with some unobtrusive loopholes built into it that would let Jeremiah Seer legally be mayor. Genevieve is confident the cultural backlash in the city would prevent him, were his status known.
Wilters funding is on the line after this public humiliation of stealing Tidelia. So she’s motivated to help out, as Seers have abandoned her now that her phase of the project seems to be done, in their master plan. She still believes in the work, and is willing to reshape some things working with Genevieve. If everything works out.
Wilts also takes the opportunity to probe Arke and Blake for more on their backgrounds, but they stonewall her. Eventually Wilts asks Genevieve to use a pre-determined dead drop method for contact, she and Felton leave. (Felton wants Wilts to call him “Commissioner” and Genevieve to call him “Alex.”)
They eat a prodigious amount of barbeque, funded by Adrian, then they go to Favian Manor.
Genevieve explains some details on Skyfall, Montana, and its connection to the Seers. That was Treadwell’s last words to her, the most important chink in the League of Progress’s armor. that is likely where they must look; a site where Seertech built a reclamation facility and lab to analyze a fallen meteor.
Meanwhile, Emma got out of her bath and found a house with no bodyguards, and it freaked her out a bit. She asks Adrian to be her bodyguard and go on a trip to an island or somewhere safe. He agrees, working with Five Stones to set something up, and they go.