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The Twin Goblets of Arratus - an epistolary Mage game set in 2009

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  • The Twin Goblets of Arratus - an epistolary Mage game set in 2009

    Greetings and thank you all in advance for your time.

    As I know each of you must have affairs of your own calling for your attention, I will get straight to the point. My shadow name is Blaze and I have honor of the serving the Consilium of Rochester, Minnesota as its Sentinel. As such, it is my task to see to the military and martial tasks of this Consilium. It is the pursuit of this task that causes me to write.

    While the Consilium I serve is not large, the presence of the world famous Mayo Clinic in our city brings visitors from to our city from all over the world. Some of these visitors are will workers. Indeed, it happens that a will worker from each of your cities happened to have paid a recent visit to Rochester. Each of them happened to have been here last thursday, and therein lays the issue about which I write. On that fateful thursday, Astella, our hierarch, was murdered by a person or persons unknown. Astella suffered a violent death. Her body was ripped almost in half. Furthermore, her treasured artifacts - the Twin Goblets of Arratus - were taken from her sanctum.

    I know little more about this crime than what I have already wrote. All efforts to use Time, Fate, and other such things to discern what actually happened have all thus far all failed. We are still trying to work out why this might be. As might be imagined, I am trying all that I can to consider who out of our local population of will workers might have slain Astella. The task is daunting, but not beyond me.

    Where I need help from each of you is to investigate the will worker from your city that was in Rochester at the time of the murder. To each of you, I have sent the name of that individual. I urge each of you to carry out your investigation as secretly as possible. There is a fair chance at least one of you will be courting great danger. Please write back to me via this secure network anything that you might discover about your target. Again, be careful. I want to solve this mystery, not guide you into harm.

    Lastly, I promise that I will find a way to reward each you for doing this for me and my city. I again ask you to keep this investigation confidential, except from each other. I hope to hear from each of you soon.

    Sincerely,

    Blaze, Sentinel of the Rochester Consilium

    (1)
    Last edited by Cire; 02-04-2015, 12:17 AM. Reason: typoes

  • #2
    Phoenix,

    Greetings from across the pond, Brit. I guess the Sentinel from Minnesota wants us to share our intel, so here I am sending you this letter. The Guardians always taught us never to leave a trail. I hate putting anything on paper, it can always be used against you, but I suppose it's better than sending it into the aetherial void that is the internet, or exposing myself to a Sympathetic conduit.

    Alright look, here's what I've found out so far. You never know what details will be important to an investigation, so strap on your reading glasses.


    According to the Rochester Sentinel, the suspect's Shadow Name was Costigan. Naturally I began following up on the lead with the local Guardians, but unfortunately for me no one heard of the guy. I'm sure Blaze will be reading this letter later. Don't worry Minnesota, I had enough “no questions asked” coming my way that I didn't have to give away any details. Didn't matter anyway, no such luck. Not even the Herald knew anything about this name. I was starting to think maybe Blaze's intel was bad. After all it's not exactly uncommon for traveling Mages to use multiple aliases.

    At this point there was only one option left to me, and I didn't exactly like it. It was time to go looking into the Outlier Cabals. The ones that weren't officially members of the Consilium but weren't on the “Kill these bitches on sight” list either. Of course, some of them might make that list if we had time to investigate them all. As you know, New York is a cultural and commercial hub, so it has a disproportionately large Awakened presence. Those assholes in Boston like to think they're the center of the whole freakin Universe, but the Big Apple has Magic coming out of its holes.

    Look Blaze, I know you told me to keep it confidential, but I wasn't about to go stirring up a hornets nest without backup. So I brought the rest of The Daedalus Continuum with me. We're a tight knit group, and the Guardians know how to keep a secret. Besides, Talos knew what was what among the Outliers. Turns out there was a secret market in the subway tunnels around the Forest Hills Station. It's amazing what a little Magic can keep secret, even from the New York Consilium. This was a seriously seedy place, even for me. Alot of Mad, those that had been exiled by the Ruling Council, and Mages hiding out until the effects of Bedlam or Branding wore off.

    A little bit of digging unearthed a new lead: White Sands. Turned out to be a Halfway House in Montauk, so we headed there to find out what we could. I asked around among the homeless and recovering drug addicts for a “Mister Costigan”. Sounded close enough to a last name. As it happened there was an old drunk who was a regular here, practically lived in the place full time from what we gathered. When we asked him about Costigan he got all shifty, but also talkative. It was like he wanted to spill his guts, but was afraid to. I tried to read the old guys aura, but something about that place distracted me from forming the Imago.

    I had Talos stand at the door and put all my will into the next spell. Forget auras, I wanted the details. So I reached into the old dudes mind for memories of Costigan.

    That's when we hit paydirt.

    Now here's something I probably should have mentioned. The Tremere are Big in New York. Note the capital freakin letter. Outside of Spain, New York has one of the biggest, most well organized sect of Tremere Liches worldwide. And that's exactly what we were dealing with. Believe it or not, this old guy was Costigan's son! The man's name was Jarred Bannister, and Costigan was his father Randal. I saw his visits in my mind, with Randal looking decades younger then his eighty something son.

    Obviously Daedalus contacted the New York Sentinels, but Costigan is a low man on the Tremere totem pole, and they have bigger fish to fry. Guess its up to us, imagine that. As I write this, we're setting up an ambush for the Lich, but I wanted you to have all the information in case...

    I was going to say in case we die...but that would be one of the better options, wouldn't it.

    Cobalt
    Last edited by Techpriest; 02-04-2015, 10:05 AM.

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    • #3
      Greetings to the both of you,

      I thank you Blaze for bring this matter to my attention. It is a grave loss for any consilium to lose its hierarch, especially in such a gruesome manner. In the spirit of co-operation, I am happy to aid your investigation in any way I can. And I will pray for your success Cobalt in your attempt to apprehend the Lich Costigan. Facing the Tremere is a hallowing experience and I hope you succeed.

      I must admit my own investigation has not brought me into any danger at the moment, although with Blaze's warning I'm making sure that I keep a Shielding spell up at all times just in case. The suspect's Shadow Name I was given was Morgana, a name that was somewhat familiar to me but I couldn't for the life of me remember why. So I contacted my fellow Therarch and Herald, a student at the university called Casanova, if he could check the cabal lists for the name. Don't worry Blaze, I understand your reason for secrecy and told him it was simply for a personal matter. He contacted me a few hours later and told me that he had found her in the lists. I know now that she is an Acanthus (which is not too surprising in Cardiff), a member of the Mysterium and a curator at the Coiling Stone.

      I do not know if either of you have heard of the Coiling Stone, but in the UK it is a well-known Athenaeum of the Mysterium that as far as I know has existed in Cardiff for over a thousand years if not longer. This presents a problem in terms of my investigation - as non-mystagogues are confined to a reading room near the entrance and are not allowed into the archives themselves, it will be difficult for me to just walk in and ask questions especially regarding one of the curators.

      So before I attempt to walk straight in, I attempted another avenue of investigation. Firstly I spoke to my cabal-mate Banshee, a low-level mystagogue of the Mysterium, about her. Before you say Blaze, I kept the reason why I wanted to know and just asked her if she knew Morgana at all as her name came up as a possible teacher for me, something that Banshee would understand me asking as I have been considering teachers to approach regarding the Fate Arcana for a while.

      It seems that she has met the woman, and speaks highly of her reputation as a researcher in the Athenaeum. However with some innocent probing it seems that Morgana has been going away a lot these the last few months, and the gossip among the lower ranks of the Mysterium is that she's been travelling to America in particular. She has recently returned from her trip and seems in great spirits about something, but she is unsure what.

      This would have been unfortunate for me if I was seriously considering her as a teacher, but seems to me somewhat suspicious that she has been visiting America so often considering her post at the Athenaeum. I understand Blaze that you must be busy with your own investigation, but is it possible for you to find out whether Morgana has visited Rochester at any other time apart from last Thursday? If it helps at all, I believe it would be at least once or twice a month for the past four months, staying for a couple of days each time.

      Unfortunately my investigation has not brought up much more at the moment. I continue to ask around discretely, but respecting Blaze's desire for secrecy is proving to be a slight hindrance. I feel that my fellow Therarchs here in Cardiff will be helpful to the investigation should I ask them fully, although I leave that to you Blaze as it is your investigation and feel it is your decision. Otherwise I shall see about using some favours I have gained with other members of the Consilium who I can trust to be discrete, and in the meantime arrange permission to visit the Coiling Stone to see if there is anything I can uncover there.

      May luck be with both of you in your endeavours,

      Phoenix

      Comment


      • #4
        Greetings to you all,

        To begin with, Blaze, I am aware that I am not the one to which this letter was sent but unless you have some skill in the Arcanum of Death you will find his ability to write back rather sharply reduced. My Cabal and I recovered the letter from the remains of the Consilium offices and as local events demand the attention of my Cabalmates it has been left to me to investigate this for you. Before I give you the information I have found so far let me give you a quick update on the situation here, as the context may be important.

        There has been a long running dispute between the Libertines and the Ladder here in Belfast that came to a head last month and was settled with some finality last week. The Libs and the Ladder both lost fairly badly in the end, with victory going to either the Banishers or a madman depending on how you count. Happily my Cabalmates were able to make sure the Scelesti scored a fatal lack of points in the ruck and are currently leading the heavy mob of the Arrow and Guardians to give the Banishers a very pointed lesson on the dangers of magic. This leaves the madman, a Daksha known as Balor, the head of the Mysterium in the area, and unfortunately the new Hierarch of the Belfast.

        That last may prove significant as the Mage you want investigating, Conand, is Balor’s Cabalmate, subordinate in the Mysterium and, as of quite recently, a member of the Daksha under her. Balor is well known locally for being very restrictive about who can join its legacy and until recently Conand was felt to be nowhere near to being allowed entry.

        I have not yet been able to investigate directly (see above, re Banishers being hunted in the streets) but I have been sheltering a number of Mages of the Mysterium in my Sanctum, and nothing gossips as much as a mystagogue hiding under the Arrow’s skirts. None of the Mages that have been under my protection are close to Balor (which is probably why they’ve been told to spend a couple of days in my cave) but a number of them have rotated through and they’ve all wanted to debate (gossip) with each other about what the Thing Who Would be Hierarch is up to. I’ve heard a massive amount about what Balor and his cronies are up to, below are the bits that seem relevant.
        • Sometime between last Wednesday and last Saturday something happened that Balor was very happy about, surpassed only when he became Hierarch on Monday.
        • Conand did some task for Balor last week that moved him massively up in her favour. No one knows where Conand was for this task or how long he was away but a rough estimate of the time give enough time for him to have been portaled to Rochester, spent part of Wed and most of Thur there, then been portaled back. He was definitely in Belfast on Fri
        • No one can account for any of the members of the Daksha for most of Thur and most of them were only briefly seen on Wed and Fri.
        • There is apparently an event of some significance and great portents for the Daksha upcoming. This could be significant or it could be because the day ends in y. Apparently Balor’s Daksha are known in the Mysterium for having lots of portentous events.
        Two questions from me to finish the letter.
        Blaze, can you confirm the dates and time Conand was in Rochester for and what purpose he gave for visiting?
        For everyone, are the Daksha in your area going on about any upcoming portentous days/events?

        Regards

        The Morrigan.

        PS. Yes Blaze, my Cabalmates all know about this, they all read your letter before telling me to look into it. They are largely indifferent to the matter and as they are all Mastigos of considerable skill and long experience I can assure you that however secretive you wish this to be they are probably more so about going to the bathroom, and they have agreed to keep the investigation confidential.

        Comment


        • #5
          Greetings.
          It seems only just to begin with thanking all those who have thus far aided me in my investigations. I have not heard from some of you. I hope this is because your own affairs have prevented you from helping me out with my city’s problems. Sadly, as a letter I received from Belfast makes all too clear, some may have not written because they are no longer with us. It seems my home is not the only place marred by damage.

          Since my last letter, it has occurred to me that I should have provided my information on both Astella and the Twin Goblets of Arratus. I will start with Astella. As might be expected, she belonged to the Silver Ladder. What might be surprising, she was on the path of Moros. This is odd because it is the Thyrsus path that dominates my city. In this city so shaped by the Mayo Clinic, sleepers and will workers alike are preoccupied with life.
          Not only was Astella on a strange path, but she had an odd Awakening as well. I know all Awakenings are special, but hers was rather odd. While an American, Astella Awakened while visiting an old Jewish cemetery in Prague during a trip to Europe. From what I understand, one of the oldest tombstones in this cemetery has a face carved on it with the word Cryxard below it. Sometimes, if the conditions are right, when a person who is by his or herself whispers to this face, it whispers back. Some of those who hear the face, called the Dread Mask of Cryxard, Awaken, but most die. Astella was one of the lucky few who Awakened.

          I have no idea if any of this explains what happened to her, but I am sharing it in case it does. As to the Twin Goblets of Arratus, I knew little about them. I figured that it might be useful to my investigation to know more about them. As I am investigating every member of the Mysterium in my own city, I went to Mankato, a city about an hour away from Rochester by car. There I met with Cire. Cire is a member of the Mysterium. While Cire is friends with several members of the Mysterium in my own city, I trust him completely. After swearing Cire to secrecy, I asked him about the Twin Goblets of Arratus.

          According to Cire, the Twin Goblets of Arratus allows two will workers drinking from them at the same time to fuse into a single composite being. The duration of this merger is dependent on how perfectly in synch the two drinkers are when they use the goblets. Arratus, who gave the goblet its name, was such a composite being, created from two will workers - one from Spain, one from France - during the Dark Ages. Cire explained that the last use of the goblets that he was aware of was during the Civil War. A will worker who had been drafted to fight for the South used the goblets along with his lover to escape military service. I forget these peoples’ names. Cire added that he was unsure of how they had come into Astella’s possession.

          Cobolt, I will not second guess your decision. No doubt you will need the help of the Daedalus Continuum if you are dealing with liches. While I am most grateful for your help, please be careful. I have no desire to see you or anyone else die on my behalf. I very much hope I will hear from you soon to learn that your ambush went the way that you desired.

          Phoenix, I have looked into if your Morgana has visited Rochester at other time than the fateful Thursday. So far, it seems she has at least a couple of times. Interestingly, it seems that she met with Astella alone in her sanctum at least one of those times. Sadly, I have not yet been able to ascertain the exact nature of this meeting. Another time, it seems she was with somebody by the Shadow Name of Zeal. It seems this Zeal may have been from London, but I cannot be sure. I will certainly let you know if I discover anything more. Also I respectfully leave it to you to decide about your fellow Therarchs.

          Morrigan, thank you for taking over for the lost soul that I asked to help me. It sounds like your city might be more troubled than mine! As to Conrad, it does seem like he was here from Wednesday to part of Thursday. The reasons he gave for visiting was consulting with local members of the Mysterium. I have not yet discovered the subject of this consultation. Also the Daksha are another matter to which I must ignorance. However, I plan to see what I can learn.

          In closing, I wish you all the best of luck!


          Sincerly,

          Blaze, Sentinel of the Rochester Consilium
          (2)
          Last edited by Cire; 08-19-2015, 11:47 AM. Reason: format

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          • #6
            To Whomever Cares,

            I'm still alive.

            Then again, maybe Cobalt's dead, and this is Costigan writing to learn all about his enemies.

            It's not, just FYI.

            When Costigan arrived at White Sands, I decided a direct confrontation wasn't in the best interests of the investigation. After all, I had no idea what kind of Arcana Mastery or defenses the Lich had at his disposal. If I tried to reach into his mind right there it could have seriously backfired on me. Even if he didn't have any Psychic defenses in place at the moment, it could tip my hand and cause him to prepare for any future attempts. Instead I decided I'd go old school and follow him; see if he would lead me to more information. Unfortunately my night blue corvette wasn't exactly inconspicuous enough for an old fashioned tail. I made a mental note to have some of my Sleeper associates provide me with a...lets say “loaner”. For now I laid a Finder Spell on his license plate. That way the only possible way he could know I was tailing him was if he concentrated his senses there.

            I was able to follow him from several blocks away, sensing the movement of his car through the city. It lead us into East Village, where my sympathetic connection with the car suddenly died. Clearly it had passed into protective Wards. Fortunately for me, I knew exactly where the connection ended. A couple of blocks away I got out of my car and proceeded on foot.

            Tracking down the car's last position lead me to the entrance gate of New York Marble Cemetery. Well, this was clearly the Lich's Sanctum. Goosebumps flowed across my body as I got near to whatever Magics lay on the place, in addition to the Spacial Wards. This was a very old cemetery, and I really didn't want to see what kind of Shades lingered here, yet I had to know. I opened my senses, and as I suspected the place was teeming with the unliving. Far more than should have been there, even for a cemetery. I'm only an Initiate of Death, and maybe I should have stopped there and contacted the Sentinels. But they had already ignored my warning once, so I wanted to make sure I had something substantial this time. I told Talos to wait in the car, keeping the engine running in case we needed to make a swift exit. I checked the ammo in my Glock, then headed into the graveyard.

            They were watching me. So many ghostly eyes boring a hole into me that it was all I could do to continue on. Yet they made no aggressive moves, which I began to realize made perfect sense. This was a public place after all, right in the middle of East Village. It wouldn't be logical to have the Spectres attack people just for entering. Knowing that, however, wasn't enough to kill my nerves. There were just so damned many of them.

            After taking a look around I came across the marble tablets that gave the place its name, vaults embedded into the stone wall. Many Ghosts had gathered here, as if being called. They were scratching at the wall, ectoplasmic blood marking the stones in streaks of red. They seemed desperate to enter these vaults. I couldn't bring myself to approach as long as I could see these tormented shades, so I abandoned the spell and moved toward the wall. Placing my hands on the stone, I felt around for anything unusual. I wasn't surprised not to find anything. Acting on a hunch, helped along by my desire to get the hell out of there, I walked back to the car. After a quick explaination to Talos, I lay back in my seat, pulling out the chunk of meteor I used as a focus for Mind Spells. Nevertheless, as I projected my consciousness outside of my body, I felt the familiar feeling of sickness that filled me when the Abyss came through into the Fallen World. I gritted my teeth, and pain lanced through my head. The pain wouldn't be nearly so bad as the guilt. I'm a Guardian after all.

            Now that my mind was free of the confines of my body, I drifted through the cemetery and returned to the stone wall...then I moved beyond it, passing through the marble tablets and into the very structure of the wall. For a moment, I thought perhaps my hunch had been wrong, and I had invoked a Paradox for nothing. Then, the stones parted away, and I found my consciousness within a hidden chamber. Tortches adorned the walls in this circular room, and several rows had been built into the walls, upon which numerous black clay urns sat. On the far wall, an enormous mural was depicted. A sea of writhing corpses, arms raised high, and standing upon them all were four clearly undead sorcerers. They stood with an unmistakable air of authority and power.

            At the center of this room, there was an older looking man, white haired with a thin beard. He was kneeling before the mural and chanting an unfamiliar language. As I observed him, suddenly his eyes flew open, and he turned to stare directly at my presence. I knew I had to leave or risk exposure, but I was desperate for information, so I threw myself at his mind. Instantly I felt the mental barrier he had erected around his thoughts, but I was able to worm my way in just enough for a flash of memory.

            This Tremere, Voridis, had ordered Costigan to acquire the Twin Goblets of Arratus. The mural depicted something they referred to as “The Council of Eternity”, and the Goblets were important for...

            fecting of sou...eal creatio...ich lor...

            His mental defenses fragmented my telepathic connection, and expelled me before I could get any more than that. Also, apparently I had pissed him off. He sent a psychic burst through my mind just as I snapped back to my own body. Even as my consciousness returned and my body convulsed from the attack, I knew I had been lucky. This guy had raw power, and if I had taken the full force of his attack, he could have seriously injured me.

            I told Talos to get us the hell out of there. I knew they'd be coming for us. For the moment we're laying low at the Sanctum. Seems like they want to get their hands on those Goblets pretty badly, and from the looks of your letters, they're not the only ones.

            Stay safe out there,
            Cobalt
            Last edited by Techpriest; 02-09-2015, 05:08 PM.

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            • #7
              Greetings to you all,

              Firstly, I am relieved to hear Cobalt that you managed to escape from the Liches in one piece and with valuable information as well. Although the information you gained regarding this 'Council of Eternity' and that they desire the Goblets of Arratus is startling, they seem to not be the only ones after the Goblets (although I will come to that later).


              Morrigan, I have vaguely heard of the conflict between the Silver Ladder and the Libertines in Belfast and am sorry for your consilium's turn of events. If you would mind, my caucus would appreciate any news of our fellow thearchs. To answer your question regarding the Daksha, despite my personal distaste for them and their beliefs I have heard mutterings. Our resident Daksha, a Libertine called Janus, and his apprentice Thomas has according to a friend been for the past couple of weeks talking about "The Time Without End" and something about "What Was Once One Will Once Again Become Two". Take it for what it's worth, as with the disproportionate number of Thyrsus and Acanthus here compared to the other paths, portents feature regularly here.

              And thank you Blaze for taking the time out of your investigation to find out that information for me. Unfortunately, my discrete questioning up to this point has not turned up anything more revealing. After receiving your letter, I took my cabal into my confidence regarding what had happened and they are happy to help despite having some reservations regarding acting against a fellow mystagogue. Pisces is looking into any material that Morgana has researched for me, as well as ask around about her activities, while Banshee arranged an appointment for me to visit the Coiling Stone. I have also added an item to the list at the next caucus being held next week, but have taken the step to speak to my former sponsor and mentor Baron who has promised to make some enquiries for me regarding Morgana before the caucus.

              The following day I had my appointment at the Athenaeum. On the way Pisces met me to take me through, and told me that she looked into the archives for the material that Morgana has been looking into and has arranged for me to look a particular book that she has read called The Sigurd Chronicles, supposedly written by a mage in England who possessed the Goblets of Arratus around the time of the Second Crusade. Unfortunately the first chronicle I read did not seem to mention anything about the Goblets, but I will continue to read them when I can manage the time.

              What happened next though was a bit of luck for me. As I thanked the proximus who was waiting with me and rejoined Pisces to leave the Athenaeum, a man and woman walked past us talking quietly in an angry tone to one another. Pisces nudged me, and whispered that was Morgana. Using a Forces spell, I was able to boost the volume for myself to catch the end of the conversation. It seems that the man was indeed the individual Zeal, although he is not a member of our Consilium, and they mentioned the Goblets. Unfortunately they left the range of my spell and I could not hear any more.

              So it seems Blaze that there are at least several people after the Goblets, although I have not been able to find out yet why Morgana and this mysterious Zeal are looking for it. I will continue to read more of the Sigurd Chronicles to see if I can find out more about them, as well as continue my investigation into both of them. Hopefully by the next time we speak, I shall have some more information.

              May luck be with you all,

              Phoenix.

              Comment


              • #8
                [The first paragraph of this letter is written on a quarter sheet of paper in a somewhat less careful hand than usual. The other pages look to have been chewed on slightly.]

                Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                Firstly, I apologise if this any of the pages of this letter come to you slightly damaged, a Leprechaun tried to eat some of them and I didn’t have time or paper to write new copies. We have finished with doing onto the Banishers as they would do onto us so it is now thought safe for the Mages of the city to resume their normal routines, which means my cave is no longer full of cowering mystagogues with too much time on their hands, for which I am very grateful. Bloody Leprechauns.


                Phoenix, I’m afraid there is little news I can offer you of the fate of your fellows, and almost none of it good. The surviving members if the Silver Ladder have either fled or gone deeply into hiding, and have little or no contact with the rest of us since the attack on the Consilium offices, so we lack even a rough estimate of their numbers. We have recovered bodies and confirmed three deaths but there are almost certain to be more. The confirmed deaths are; Deacon Érimón, who was killed by a Scelestus but died bravely and bought his apprentice time to flee and warn the Consilium, Hierarch Medb, killed in the Banisher attack on the Consilium offices and Councillor Eochaid, killed at the same time. If it is any consolation they fought well and at least two Banishers were killed and many of the others injured badly in the attack, despite having the advantage of both surprise and most likely numbers. The only survivors I can confirm are Érimón’s apprentice, Deirdre, and my Cabalmate, Lictor Aengus. Of the remaining members of the caucus nothing can be confirmed either way, though Claviger Amergin vanished before the attacks and it has been long enough that we have little hope of finding him alive.

                Cobalt, most of the information you got from Voridis doesn’t mean anything to me but I suspect that part of it may be ‘Perfecting of souls’. If it is then combined with the power of the goblets and a certain part of Daksha beliefs there are some interesting implications. Once they advance beyond a certain point in the legacy Daksha become hermaphrodites. They believe that this shows they are a perfect blend of male and female, and so signifies their superior evolution, greater enlightenment and perfected souls. I personally think that most of this is just the standard ‘We wonderful Daksha, you primitive monkeys’ nonsense that Balor and her students spout at the drop of a hat but perhaps there is a glimmer of truth there regarding souls? Also depending on the limitations of the goblets I can think of a number of unpleasant ways they might be of interest to an unscrupulous Daksha. Given that Balor wouldn’t recognize scruples if it got punched in the face by them the idea that he may have or be looking to have them is worrying to say the least.

                As far as my investigations go I can confirm that Conand was not present when Astella was murdered, and in fact was back in Belfast at the time. Unfortunately he was back because Balor had used a powerful artefact to switch places with him so the investigation is not advanced much by ruling Conand out.

                As I believe I have mentioned previously Balor’s Cabal and Legacy were conspicuous in their absence during the worst days of the trouble here and given that there have been certain hints of someone engineering at least part of that trouble for their own benefit there is naturally a certain amount of suspicion aimed at them. Because of this the decision was made by those of us who look to the Consilium’s security to discreetly investigate their actions over the past month. Most of the investigations are still ongoing and I’m afraid I can’t share most of what has been discovered at this time but I can inform you of Conand’s movements as they relate to this investigation. As Conand is the weakest link in Balor’s fraction we were able to investigate him reasonably directly, i.e. my Cabalmate Ogham asked him outright. This may seem exceedingly rash but as Ogham is both a Hierophant and a member of a certain legacy it is expected that he ask questions about the studies of junior members of the order and that those questions will include things the junior had no idea he knew about. In any case Ogham invited himself in for tea at Conand’s house and the two spent a short time discussing various things until Ogham asked a certain question whereupon Conand screamed, jumped through a first floor window and fled in terror down the back passage. Whereupon he ran into me and discovered something else to be afraid of. The question by the way was “How was Rochester?”

                While we waited for him to wake up we took him back to my Cabalmates tower, which contains a divination room indented for tracing things across the world, amongst other things. There I was able to perform a complex Knowing of Time and Space to trace his location backwards. This revealed that he had arrived abruptly in Belfast from Rochester in the early hours of Thursday morning and that he arrived in Rochester on Wednesday evening, having flown from Chicago, having flown there from New York, having flown there from London, having flown there from Edinburgh, having flown there from Belfast. He spent at least 2h 17m in each location on that list but the detail the spell provided was not sufficient to determine if he remained within the airports for that time. New York was his longest stop at 13h 45m but that could have been simply due to needing to sleep. All told it took him 43h 37m to travel from Belfast to Rochester. Cobalt I hesitate to ask after your encounter with that Lich but would you be able to find out what Conand while he was in New York?

                The results of this divination were somewhat of a surprise to us, revealing as they did that Conand had left Belfast well before we thought he had. We are fairly sure now that one of the other Daksha was impersonating Conand to hide the fact that he had left though why remains unclear. We suspect the plane journey was necessary because Balor’s allies lack the skill with Space to have portaled him to Rochester directly but are unsure why he took such a roundabout route. As we were pondering how he got back so quickly if that was the case Ogham remembered that the Mysterium here has in its possession a pair of arm bands which allow their wearers to exchange location, instantly and in a way that is not detectible as magic. They have a number of unpleasant side effects, which a check revealed Conand was suffering from, including a mingling of the resonance of the users. The resonance mixed with Conand’s was of course Balor’s, and Balor has sufficient skill at Life and Prime to both suppress the side effects and impersonate Conand near flawlessly. How and when Balor returned is unknown but he should be capable of creating a portal Belfast as he has the needed knowledge of Space, if only just, and has lived in the city for decades.

                Phoenix, thank you for the information on what your local Daksha are saying, since as Libertines it is highly unlikely that Balor or any of her students would share information with them. Balor holds Views about the Free Council, such that I may mention the existence of a Daksha who is a Libertine to it if I ever need to provoke him into a frothing fit. The phrases they used are unfamiliar but I shall add them to the list of things to ask Conand about when he wakes up. (I may have hit him slightly too hard, but The Dagda says he’ll be fine and the unconsciousness is mostly a product of overusing his new attainment to go without sleep.)

                May this letter reach you with fair waves,

                The Morrigan
                Last edited by Cod of Justice; 02-12-2015, 08:30 PM. Reason: Typo

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                • #9
                  This page sat a long time empty, waiting for the proper words to fill it. As they are elusive, the improper sort must serve in their place.

                  Ngalyod, who Blaze knew as Bogan, is and was a Libertine of significant influence and respect. Though much of his work may never be known and what has been uncovered is under investigation; he did a great deal of good for the world. Hidden refuges for endangered species woven from space and life, shepherding storms and droughts to mitigate the effects of climate change, binding spirits to dying languages and cultures to save them from total destruction; these are merely what we know about. Ngalyod is not dead. He is beyond our power to question.

                  The Free Council is even now engaged in mapping and study of the native song lines of Australia, uncovering the marks of Awakened magic, inexplicable artifacts, and signs of things stranger and older than body. When results of different surveys appeared to show the lines were moving, a feat requiring relocating significant terrain features, sometimes tens or hundreds of kilometers, I was asked to investigate. When I finally untangled the knot that had been made of them signs pointed to Ngalyod and an unremarkable location in the middle of the outback.

                  Once we arrived at the sight Ngalyod was conspicuous by his absence. The verge he had produced defied comparison, indeed it should have torn the tapestry apart. The subtle interweaving of the magic of the lines, spellwork placed over the nexus, and manipulation of resonance held the thing nearly stable. Nearly, but not totally; the place was already deteriorating when we arrived. I can confirm from the comingled resonance of Ngalyod and Rochester that he is the one Blaze inquired after. The name he gave, Bogan, was a false one meant as a joke the yanks wouldn’t understand.

                  My companions left at once to begin preparing for when the whole thing came apart while I scrutinized the work itself. With time fast running out I risked getting close. In that I erred greatly.

                  As light is broken by a prism so was I broken. Ten-thousand lives and ten-thousand lifetimes unfurled. Past and future frayed and respun a thousand, thousand times. Ngalyod was there, in so much as there was a place, and I learned much. Indeed I learned everything, more than once. Unfortunately what of me learned those things is gone. In the madness of infinity something in me reached between the myriad of selves and pulled us back into a single mind. That cohesion let me pass through the Well (for that is what Ngalyod called it) and into the chamber beyond. I did so just as it came undone.

                  What remained was disquieting. A silver chalice, imbued with only simple spells of mind and space, had been the focus that shaped the thing, transforming the chaos of the verge into the many-faceted structure of the Well. More disturbing was the writing. All in high speech, it was not the work of command but of sympathy. The Well was not an original work, but a lesser reconstruction of something yet vaster and more terrible. I believe Ngalyod was using it for some sort of experiment or as a source of information before he was caught up in it.

                  With the restoration of the song lines, and the removal of the chalice for safe keeping and study, Ngalyod’s being is now scattered across the continent, bound up in disconnected land and magic. What his existence is like I cannot speculate and the concilium has forbidden, in no uncertain terms, anything of the sort.

                  Having read your letters, especially concerning the function of the Twin Goblets and this ‘Council of Eternity’ I suspect the following: The origin of the Well caused something to be separated into multiple beings. This may have been intentional, accidental, or imposed by another. Whatever that thing is, it desires to return to wholeness. The mages under investigation are involved, either attempting to help or hinder this process. Though I cannot give any evidence, I think the divisions were not equal, in the sense that the nature of the component beings may be very different as might their power. A ghost and a soulless mortal could just as easily be the pieces of a god as two lesser spirits.

                  Even so, I may be deeply mistaken about what is going on. The only sure feelings I have about this whole affair is that I do not know most of what is going on and that my survival was neither unconditional nor my own doing.

                  Yours, in gratitude and trust,
                  Ariadnos

                  p.s. expect another letter soon with what I have learned examining Ngalyod's effects.
                  Last edited by Exthalion; 02-13-2015, 02:51 AM.

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                  • #10
                    My fellow investigators,

                    I have a lot of knowledge to drop, so watch your feet.

                    With the description of a previously unknown Tremere stronghold at Marble Cemetery, The Daedalus Continuum was finally able to convince the New York Sentinels to get involved. With such a large order of Liches in New York, we've always had a significant contingent of Sentinels, which consists of the vast majority of the Adamantine Arrow's membership within the city. So much so in fact that the Arrow and the Sentinels are referred to interchangeably by the local Consilium. The High Warden is a local position representing leadership of the Sentinels, and that position is held by an Obrimos named Metallus. One of the positive qualities of the New York Consilium are the strong ties and inter-order cooperation between the Adamantine Arrow and the Guardians of the Veil. Based on my testimony, Metallus arranged a joint operation to raid the Tremere Sanctum.

                    It was a bloody affair. The Liches are frustratingly adept at poaching any emerging Necromancers from the Pentacle's grasp. This left us with shockingly inadequate tools for dealing with the many ghosts and undead minions defending the Sanctum. Two Sentinels lost their lives, and several other Mages were seriously injured, including Viridian, Daedalus' Shaman. She's currently being tended to by her mentor, and she'll recover over time. Viridis managed to escape through a portal, and all sympathetic threads that I might have used to trace him were expertly severed. However, we have captured Costigan, and he's being held in a Dead Zone cell used by the Sentinels for dangerous prisoners.

                    The Sanctum itself was a trove of Necromantic artifacts, and it'll take the Mysterium months to even put a dent in identifying everything, especially with so few Moros of our own. Yet the most significant find, at least as it concerns our investigation into the events at Rochester, is a single book. A volume of 'The Sigurd Chronicles'. Needless to say, this sent my mind whirring with possibilities. Up until now, I was beginning to think that Costigan's presence in Rochester was unrelated to the murder of it's Hierarch, and that perhaps Blaze's letter was simply Fate directing me towards the Tremere's stronghold. Well, it may still be Fate, but if so it's directing me towards something bigger.

                    Before the main text of this volume of 'The Sigurd Chronicles', is a song entitled “The Dirge Undying”. In this story, Sigurd is able to use the song to follow an ancient Ley Line to a hidden Verge, a valley where he encounters a powerful Marquess, a Spirit named Ageth Kur, The Fear of Death. Ageth Kur tries to tempt Sigur with immortality, but Sigur's Wisdom was great, and he understood the importance of the Cycle of Incarnation.

                    Once the Sentinels had dismantled the Sanctum's Wards, I handed this tome to our Acanthus Talos, and he allowed me to see through his Mind while he gazed into the past, guided by Fate to the moment when the sympathetic threads of the book and the Sanctum converged. As usual, I'm revisiting my own memories as I wright this, to ensure that I get every detail down perfectly.

                    Voridis and Costigan had stood in the chamber, joined by another Mage I had never seen before. His skin was strangely smooth for a man, and he wore a hood over his head. He brought the book to Voridis, whose attitude toward the other man seemed to be a mixture of disgust and appeasement. While Costigan's was far more of the former. “I don't fucking believe it. You actually came through Conand.”


                    We both stand to benefit from mutual cooperation Lich. Your unlife is an affront to our people, but our arrangement is in the greater service of the Perfection of the Soul. Now, if our business is concluded, I have been traveling long, and even the Daksha must sleep eventually.”

                    As Conand walked away, Voridis spoke.“Your...people...should get down off their high horse Daksha. Don't ever forget who does the hard, bloody work you're monks have been unwilling, or unable to do.”

                    Conand stopped in his tracks, and without turning around removed his hood. A large, bloodshot eye opened on the back of his head, and gazed menacingly at the Necromancers. “The agreement stands. Once the Tremere have accomplish their Perfecting, they will relinquish ownership of the Goblets to the Daksha. Then, may we never cross paths again.”

                    Conand threw his hood back on and left. Voridis and Costigan stood in silence for a while, a silence broken when Costigan said “Fucking Daksha. We can do this without them.”

                    Doubtful. It would take significantly longer at least. We need their knowledge to insure that every Mage is properly chosen, and that each soul is properly prepared for the convergence. The Lich Lords won't be created from inferior stock Costigan. The souls that sit on the Council of Eternity must be pristine.”

                    From there on it was a lot of bullshit about how the Tremere are natural choices to lead Mages into some golden age, because their lifespans give them a greater historical perspective on the world. You know, usual “I am the greatest” rhetoric. Needless to say, there seems to be a lot of pieces on the chessboard. I mean it looks like we're dealing with some kind of worldwide conspiracy. I never thought I'd use those words to describe something that began in Minnesota, but there you have it folks.

                    Morrigan, I hope you're able to get more out of Conand on what the Daksha might be getting out of this arrangement, and what happened between his time in New York and his return to Belfast.

                    Phoneix, I'll be very interested to learn whether your copy of 'The Sigurd Chronicles' is a separate volume, or perhaps the complete collection. Maybe there will be more about this Ageth Kur, and the Ley Line leading to his valley.


                    Ariadnos, maybe you can tell us more about these Song Lines, and if there is any potential connection with the Ley Lines mentioned in the book.

                    Until then, I'll keep my eyes and ears on the Arrow's interrogations, and find out about the artifacts collected by the Mystagogues.

                    Peace out,
                    Cobalt
                    Last edited by Techpriest; 02-16-2015, 08:55 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Greetings to you all,

                      Judging from everybody's letters so far, this conspiracy we have stumbled upon seems to be very far-reaching with many players on the board! I have some more news and some troubles that will be affecting me shortly. But I will explain later.

                      Firstly I thank you Morrigan on behalf of myself and my caucus for taking the time to find out about our colleagues. Our Claviger Britannia was particularly distressed upon hearing of Deacon Érimón's death as they were friends since they had apprenticed under the same master, but is grateful to hear of his apprentice's safety and will attempt to contact her shortly. If any more news arises, it will be appreciated Morrigan.

                      As a personal note, I cannot help but wonder about the coincidence that two Hierarchs, both of which are fellow members of the Silver Ladder, have been killed within a short period of time. As a saying I have heard once, there are no such thing as leprechauns and coincidences in our world. Although from your experiences with leprechauns maybe it is possible as well to have coincidences.

                      Also to answer your question Cobalt regarding the The Sigurd Chronicles, from my readings the collection the Mysterium have in the Coiling Stone it was originally the complete collection. But it is now incomplete, as one of the volumes was stolen during the Second World War and the thief unidentified. From what I have read so far, it appears Cobalt that you have the missing volume, as the other volumes refer back to this meeting with this Ageth Kur. I will provide you with more details about Sigurd and what I have read regarding Ageth Kur.

                      It seems that Sigurd was born and spent part of his life in Germany before he seemed to Awaken as a Thyrsus. A healer by trade fascinated by the body, and later how magic can be used to heal, he practiced his new gifts before travelling to Berlin I presume to find fellow Mages. He learnt about Atlantis and our society, before joining the Mysterium. It seems then that as he developed his abilities he became interested in the soul and desired to learn more about the metaphysics of the soul (something which I am told is still unclear, according to my cabalmate Banshee who shares a similar interest) and so decided to travel.

                      To cut a long story short, he travelled around Europe and further seeking knowledge. Judging from the volume after the one you obtained, this valley he called The Valley of Fearful Sleep and appears to be somewhere in Finland from what I can tell. It is mentioned in small detail in other places about his experience with Ageth Kur, until later in his life where he fell in love with a woman called Isabella. They were together for a number of years before she was taken and her soul stolen by a mage, which according to the description appears to be a Tremere, who he killed in retaliation it seems for the first time.

                      Sigurd tried everything he could to heal her, but could do nothing to help her himself. So it appears he returned to Ageth Kur for its aid. In return for performing a deed for it, of which he does not go into much detail, it granted him the Goblets of Arratus. I do not understand the specifics, but as well as the properties we know of them, somehow he was able to use the goblets to share his own soul with his wife for short periods of time, allowing her to withstand the effects of losing your soul.

                      Quite how a spirit came into possession of Artifacts like this, I am not sure and it seems he did not find out himself. The magic itself seems far outside my limited understanding, but Banshee has a theory that as the goblets blends together two beings into one composite being , this must mean that everything is blended - body, mind and soul. So either Sigurd found a way to use one property of them to share this, or created a composite being of him and his wife to share their soul that way?

                      As for my investigation into Morgana, it has run into.... complications. After my chance encounter with her and Zeal in the Athenaeum, I met with my fellow thearchs at the caucus. Here in Cardiff there are only seven members of the Silver Ladder apart from myself, which makes things less formal and requires us to make ourselves useful to the members of the Consilium and have a wide reach despite our numbers. After discussing the situation, they have offered their assistance with finding more information.

                      It took a couple of days, but I gained some information. Morgana has been visiting London on a regular basis, apparently in regards to some research she is doing.It is still uncertain what her research is about, but she is being secretive about it for the most part. With regards to Zeal though, I have been unsuccessful with gaining anything more about him apart from that he has been staying in Cardiff for the past week as a guest of the Stone Masons, the Mysterium cabal that run the Coiling Stone and the one that Morgana belongs to.

                      There has been a complication though, which I accept as my own fault for asking around about her. Yesterday I had a knock on the door of my sanctum and was shocked to find Morgana at the door accompanied with Casanova and one of the Sentinels behind her. She looked at me with disdain and demanded that I stop going around asking questions about her and her private business. I shook my head and simply said I couldn't, and with that she challenged me to the Duel Arcane and I have accepted. Our seconds are currently arranging the duel for next week.

                      I feel confident about my chances, and have made it a condition of the duel that should I win that she will have to answer my questions truthfully. As part of the Code Duello here in Cardiff, each party of the duel agrees to have a geas placed upon them to fulfil the conditions they've agreed to should they lose. So this may be a prime opportunity for my investigation. I shall let you all know how it goes.

                      Cobalt, I hope the information on Sigurd and Ageth Kur is of some help. My apologies for the mass of information, but as I may be under geas next week I felt it best to let you all know.

                      May God be with you all,

                      Phoenix

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                      • #12
                        Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                        Cobalt, congratulations on forcing the Tremere to flee, hopefully losing that stronghold will at least slow them a bit. I’m afraid the current political situation here precludes us being able to question Conand directly as arresting one of Balor’s students for consorting with Litchs on the word of a foreign Guardian would be at best inconclusive and at worst destabilizing. However as we know that a member of Balor’s Cabal removed a volume of The Sigurd Chronicles from the Atheneum here if we can prove it showed up in the hands of Tremere in New York days later then it would change things massively. To that end your copy of this letter should come with a scroll from Ogham, which apparently contains the super secret squirrel codes to allow a mystagogue to confirm the books identity and requests that they do so with haste under Ogham’s authority as a most senior member of the super secret squirrel book club.

                        Phoenix, I commend you for your bravery in standing to fight in the face of Morgana’s threats. Whatever one may say about the Ladder’s luck of late it is clear no one may impugn the courage of those thearchs who stand by their convictions. I mention above that the volume of The Sigurd Chronicles may have come from the Atheneum in Belfast. Would it surprise you to learn that it was donated by a Mage who came here at the conclusion of WWII? The Mage in question was known as Grendel and they were a Daksha and Balor’s master. Grendel was German, and according to The Dagda was known to have responded, when asked about the war “I did nothing, I was visiting my old Granny in Poland, can a man not visit his Grandmother for six years in peace?”

                        Ariadnos, thank you for sharing your findings with us. Some of the information I have received, which I shall relay later in this letter, makes me think that your theories about what is happening may be correct. If they are I fear the consequences may be drastic indeed. Please keep us informed if Ngalyod's research reveals any more of what’s going on.

                        I sent my last letter while waiting for Conand to awaken so we could question him about recent events, or at least Ogham could while I stood there and looked ominous. Ogham’s questioning was masterful and he was able to get find out what Conand knew about a number of things without giving him reason to believe he was suspected of anything specific. Unfortunately this was well before Cobalt’s last letter reached us so Ogham couldn’t finish with some really killer questions. Equally unfortunately it was Ogham who learned as this, I just saw various twitches, and Ogham is currently having an attack of the cryptics and wants to confirm some details before he shares what he learned.

                        There was one thing revealed during the questioning that even I couldn’t miss however. As Aengus is currently the only member of the Silver Ladder whose location is known he has become responsible for Deirdre, the apprentice thearch I mentioned last letter, and she is currently staying in An Túr Geal, my Cabal’s shared sanctum and where we were questioning Conand. Deirdre came into the room at one point and while Conand initially showed no reaction to her when she moved behind him, and into the sight of his third eye, he went into some kind rapturous fit, which went on for several minutes. Deirdre is a stunningly beautiful young woman, but not that beautiful. Additionally given the fact it only happened when his third eye saw her and the fact Conand did not remember the fit or suffer it again I suspect something is up. Most of what he said during the fit was nonsense but I made out a number of mentions of “a Piece of the One” as well as “The Eternal Perfect” and “unsundering”. Whatever about Deirdre caused that response is not detectable by any normal method; she was understandably freaked out and between my Cabalmates and Sage Scáthach, who was ah ... ‘Consulting’ with Nuada at the time, there was at least one master of every Arcanum save Forces present to examine her while we were calming her down. She has a heavy destiny, but nothing about it matches to the current events, and though both her destiny and life so far are shrouded by heavy sorrow this is not news to her or us. She took her shadow name from Ireland’s greatest tragic heroine for very good reasons.

                        Conand currently believes that he passed out due to a combination of exhaustion and Numina effects from an infestation of fear and paranoia spirits in his house. Which is true if you ignore the part where I hit him hard over the head with a (sheathed) fear causing sword. As we didn’t have any grounds at this point to actually arrest him we had to let him go, though not before his house was thoroughly searched while Aengus was exorcising the spirits. The search didn’t turn up anything useful but it did allow The Dagda to send him off with two lectures ringing in his ears; “Life magic is no substitute for looking after your health properly young fellow” and “Mind you pay more attention to your spiritual health young man, you had a nasty infection there which Lictor Aengus very kindly sorted out for you despite how worried he is about his fellow thearchs, mind you’re properly thankful to him now lad.”

                        Shortly after we sent Conand on his way a certain entity who has been an ally of the Diamond Orders in Ireland since long before Belfast was founded arrived at An Túr Geal, wishing to speak with us. I shall not give his name but he is known as “An Bard an Craobh Rua” and for him to come to speak with Mages, even the residents of this ancient tower, instead of Mages seeking him out, is a rare event indeed. The true nature and aims of the Bard are unknown to even the wisest in the Consilium but his deal is known to all. If a Mage looks for him with a desire for knowledge and virtuous intentions they will soon find him wherever they are in Ireland, and in exchange for a task he will provide them with the knowledge they need, if not always what they thought they wanted. Unless the knowledge is truly earthshaking the Bard’s tasks are not hard to accomplish, they never result in direct harm to anyone, and always result in more good than ill in the long run. Sometimes the tasks and their results can be almost as informative as what the Bard actually tells someone. In Belfast it is a tradition to seek out the Bard as the last thing one does in their apprenticeship and many Mages take or change their shadow names based on what he tells them.

                        Although the Bard approached us in this case the exchange was in the same nature as always. He requested that Deirdre and I visit several clubs in the city over five nights, following certain rules, and in return he would provide us with information. The rules were: He would provide us with clothes to wear each night and we would wear them and nothing more or less; He would provide us with money each night and we would spend that and no other; We would spend all the money he provided before leaving the we were club each night; We would not leave the club we were in each night until it closed; and we would arrive at each club together and each with no-one but each other.

                        Given that the Bard had approached us to propose this and the fact he basically wanted me and Deirdre to go on an all expenses paid clubbing spree in exchange it would have been intensely foolish not to accept. My only concern was the clothing, as the last time I had deal with him he also provided clothing and it was ... undignified to say the least. Thankfully though it involved me wearing skirts and dresses for the first time since that deal it was in no way embarrassing or undignified. The question of why an ancient inhuman entity has such knowledge of modern Gothic fashion will probably go forever unanswered but I’m told I carried the various outfits off rather well. It’s hard to tell as Deirdre suits such styles even better and I would probably have needed to show up naked to attract anywhere near as much attention as she did.

                        I mentioned that the Bard’s tasks are often informative and such was the case here. Firstly, not all of the attention Deirdre attracted was simple lust. Each night there were at least a few individuals, mostly sleepers but some not human at all, who wanted her for other reasons. Many of them came off as distinctly cultish, and seemed to want her as things such as “a fragment”, “a component of perfection” and “the pure vessel”. As they were worrying her I kept close to Deirdre and that was enough to ward them and the more boorish normal admirers off. The Bard had also been kind enough to ensure I could have Fearclaw to hand in each outfit without attracting notice so the few who tried to push it away from the masses soon decided against it. Excepting the one Vampire who didn’t understand why being a vampire didn’t allow him to take whatever he wanted from a beautiful woman. He got a very pointed lesson about no still meaning no and unfortunately died again of heartbreak from having his illusions about his undead condition shattered.

                        The meetings that revealed second thing we learnt probably helped in keeping the crazies away. Some of them might have fancied their chances against two Mages but almost every member of the Free Council and a number of mystagogues showed up over the course of the five nights. The reason for this was that Balor had apparently won the Free Councils backing to become Hierarch by approaching the Assembly in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and convincing them that there was a conspiracy between the Arrow and the Guardians to install the Epopt as Hierarch, letting the Guardians take over, crackdown on the Free Council, make the Lex Magica harsher and generally bring doom and jackboots to the Consilium. He also told a similar story to several mystagogues to explain why she couldn’t tell them who the Mysterium or Silver Ladder councilors were yet. Both groups were becoming suspicious of this and wanted to try and get more information. They approached us because my Cabal is apparently in the middle of the plot and for some reason they think I’m bad lying. (I have absolutely no idea how I gave them that impression.). The fact I was apparently spending several nights getting cheerfully drunk helped I think. Anyway I assured them it was nonsense and they seemed to accept that, especially when I pointed out that yes, the Adamant Sage and the Epopt spent a lot of time together, often accompanied by the Aífe, the second in command of the Arrow, and my Master, Manannán mac Lir, and it was hardly likely to be a Guardian plot with three members of the Arrow there was it? Especially in such shadowy locations as small cafes and scenic restaurants. I was sure it was complete nonsense as soon as I heard it but the next morning (Feb 15th) gave me the opportunity to confirm it as Scáthach and Nuada had been conspiring so vigorously and so long last night that Deirdre preferred to make the additional journey to reach my cave rather than return to the tower. From the expression on Nuada’s face when I told him it is safe to assume that the existence of this conspiracy is news to the Epopt, which would be a bit much even for the Guardians of the Veil, and I’ve not seen Scáthach laugh like that since a flock of pigeons shat on Balor’s turban while he was being officially announced as Hierarch (Ogham denies all responsibility.).

                        The afternoon after our final night out the Bard arrived at An Túr Geal again to fulfill his end of the bargain. I shan’t relate all of what he told us as much was deeply personal, especially some of what he told Deirdre. The Bard’s language when he is sharing information can be indirect at times but even that can be important so I shall tell you both what he said and what we believe it means;

                        “The stolen treasure lies beyond the ninth wave and shall not cross it in truth with the Lord of the Terrible Gaze lives”

                        This is pretty simple in context. The Goblets are not in Ireland and though it may appear that they come here they won’t until after Balor’s death.

                        “The worst sin is the sin within. Five rings of sinners fight for one crown, though each thinks they seek it alone.”

                        This probably means that there are five fractions involved, all with their own goals that ultimately lead to the same end. We’re not sure what the first sentence of that quote means but we know it’s connected.

                        “The Giant of Blight eclipsed the Healer’s star. Bloody hands stain all rewards. A stolen treasure becomes naught but trash. Hollow words make a Hollow throne. Be all his sins remembered the Baleful Eye shall not live to fall to Shining Lugh.”

                        Pretty sure this is about Balor. It says he won’t get the treasure he seeks and that he took his throne falsely, which we’re fairly sure of. We think the first part implies that he was the one who killed Astella but its vague enough we’re not sure. The last sentence is pretty clear that he’ll die sooner than he would have done if his crimes are known.

                        “Queen of Sorrows, though many will claim thy future is their own remember always that Destiny is decided by those with courage in their convictions and bold strength to walk the path. Tomorrow belongs to the young and the ghosts of seasons gone have passed away, no matter how their cries echo. Should thou choose to seek the truth in thine own heart then stand proudly with the Phantom Queen besides thee and the People of Danu behind thee.”

                        This was said to Deidre, suddenly archaic grammar and all. I am including it without comment as she wants unbiased second opinions of it.

                        We were surprised when after he had given us this information the Bard said he had a further gift for us. Apparently since he sought us out the balance of the exchange is different and he must also provide something physical in addition to knowledge. He then produced (from a far too small bag) a pair of beautifully carved wardrobes, which contained all the outfits we had worn over the course of the task, plus room for many more besides. Apparently anything placed inside will be remade into clothing that fits the owner over the course of three nights. The clothing created will have no other magic to it, though it will be detected as magical, and we are advised not to wear a given item for more than 22 hours in 66. Also clothes that are outside of it for three moonrises in a lunar week will revert to their original form. He placed several items inside to act as demonstrations and anything apparently really means anything as they included a large pile of leaves and a selection of old pots. We convinced him the rabbits weren’t necessary.

                        He said one last thing as he left.

                        “If you two together would learn more, then seek the plains of Mag Mell and the Enchantresses who there dwell.”

                        Given the apparent importance of this valley and spirit of the fear of death in the history of the Goblets I suspect that Mag Mell, which is very much the opposite, could be an informative place to visit indeed. With an invitation it won’t be hard to find it but the invitation is for the both of us and the trip will have its consequences. I won’t force Deirdre to go if she decides against it.

                        May this letter reach you with fair waves,

                        The Morrigan

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                        • #13
                          To my companions in uncertainty,

                          Circumstances have again required me to do a great deal of traveling across the continent. I am tempted to, most uncharitably, quip that Ngalyod seemed enamored of Space. However, I have uncovered information and objects which do much to make me feel uncharitable toward him.

                          To begin with the questions asked of me:

                          Cobalt,
                          Song lines take their names from the songs which describe each individual lines. These songs are language agnostic, and longer lines often pass through regions where many languages are spoken, and encode information about terrain, water, and shelter in their musical pattern. A curious feature is that some are agnostic to direction as well, and may be "sung" backward for a return journey. The lines range in length from dozens to hundreds of miles.

                          The Morrigan,
                          Ngalyod's effects do appear to bear on what you have found. I will address these directly in the body of this letter.

                          *****

                          Ngalyod maintained several sanctums, some of them especially exotic. Besides places of folded space, there are also caves with no physical entrance, and at least one sculpted from dreams that moved across the world as waking and dreaming followed the night. We have concluded that he had help, and perhaps a great deal of it, in preparing all these places. Some appear to have been abandon for years. The one most recently visited was also the most useful for the current situation.

                          It was located on several non-existent floor of a very posh office building and contained a great deal of conspicuous luxury. That trend appears to have been on the increase in his newer refuges. While nothing besides the size and magic marked the place out as unusual, there was a seemingly mundane artifact which proved to be anything but. It was a damaged clay cylinder covered with writing and marked with ten seals. Ten iron seals. An associate of mine, and engineer in Sleep, noted its resemblance to certain pieces of modern abstract art. Following his hunch I kindled a spark of celestial fire within it and initially noticed nothing. It was only by sheerest chance that the same associated released a measure of mana to scrutinize resonance. I had already done so earlier and was about to rib her for it when we noticed that the pattern it twisted in was English lettering rather than patterns of high speech.

                          It took a great deal of time to find a source of mana sufficient to fully investigate the object. I regret that I was forced to deceive my own mentor to gain the use of his Hallow for this purpose. Even so the results were fascinating, and disquieting. The text in its entirety was a record of conversations between a mage and a powerful spirit. The spirit appeared to be unwilling to participate but was compelled to nonetheless. I could not deduce the identity of either.

                          Over the course of about a dozen interviews, the transitions between them are unmarked, the spirit discussed a philosophy involving "Creating the sacred with the destruction of the profane" and the inverse. Apparently in an attempt to delay elaborating, the spirit also revealed practical means of engaging in this practice. I can confirm that these techniques are effective, though not to my pleasure. In testing them I left a mark on my soul that has taken my mortal sight. The immersion in my Mage Sight, and the clarity the process imparted, has mostly made up for the loss. I believe this to be a legacy Ngalyod had initiated himself into, and that later, and more radical, steps explain the absence of his body. If he had replaced his flesh with sculpted tass and phantasm it would have been more susceptible to scattering by the verge.

                          Regardless, the interlocutor eventually got what they were looking for. It appears that to attain divinity it is not sufficient to possess the soul of a god. A body, the "throne of the soul" must be suitable as well. The soul of a god is unlike the soul of a living creature, but a thing of eternal principle and unchanging being. It is something Supernal, such as a name writ on the cornerstones of heaven.

                          Despite wishing to investigate this further, the potential Seer connection could not be ignored. Ngalyod was known to have negotiated with several Seers with high profile activities in Sleeper society and government. He did so at the behest of the Consilium, and never alone. However, comparing some of his projects with government and industrial activity shows a very strong correlation. It appears as though, frustrated with the somewhat limited resources of the Pentacle, he sought out the Seers for help. If he had defected or not may never be known.

                          If he had changed his coat, he apparently did not toe the party line very well. Not long after my own departure the wards we had placed over Ngalyod's sanctum were triggered. Careful scrying revealed a team of unknown mages and confirmed Seers, several of whom were members of the legacy I now found myself in. What was most surprising was their conversation, they didn't appear to know he was dead or what he had been doing before his demise. It appears he stole the cylinder from his erstwhile allies. They also mentioned the Goblets of Arratus by name.

                          We were able to track down and "interview" one of the team members, though not before he had scoured much information from his own mind. I confess I cannot fathom what would inspire such loyalty from anyone. The suspect was a young mage, only recently Awakened, who had been found by the Seers. I confess that I do not know much about Seer politics, but his faction did not appear to be one in high favor within the broader structure.

                          That is all I have been unable to uncover so far. I hope that this information has been useful to you all.

                          If anyone uncovers information regarding this legacy or the Seers I would appreciate if you could inform me. From what I can tell the legacy itself is fairly new but is based on something older.

                          Yours in trust,
                          Ariadnos

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                          • #14
                            Greetings.

                            I apologize that it has been so long since I have written as each of you labor on behalf of my city. It would be an understatement to write that I have been stunned by what you have uncovered. It seems that far more be going on than I ever might of imagined. Obviously, there might be far more at stake than solving a murder.

                            My own investigation has not gone very well. As I wrote in my last letter, Astella had been Awakened in Prague by the Dread Mask of Cryxard. It seems that some of those Awakened by the help of the mask created their own legacy: the Cryxard Masquerade. This legacy tries to encourage sleepers to visit the tombstone, in that they might too also Awaken. However, the Guardians of the Veil try to guard the grave night and day, lest any Sleeper see it. This makes the Cryxard Masquerade enemies of the Guardians of the Veil in Prague.

                            This was all explained to me by Moonlight, a lovely member of the Cryxard who had come to Rochester all the way from Poland. She then revealed to me that Astella had been of the Cryxard Masquerade, using her position to direct whoever she could to Prague. She also revealed to me that Astella had acquired the hope of one day becoming “one” with the Dread Mask of Cryxard. It seems that Astella had reasoned if it could speak, it could drink. All of this led Moonlight to think that Guardian of the Veil in Prague had killed Astella and stolen the Goblets of Arratus.

                            After making this case, Moonlight talked me into going back to Prague with her to investigate the Guardians of the Veil there for myself. While I had no record of a will worker from Prague being in Rochester on the day of Astella’s murder, I know the Guardians of the Veil can hide their tracks well indeed. However, after more than a week in Prague, I managed only to anger most of the Prague Consillium with my investigation.

                            It was then that things got worse and worse. I was captured by a pylon of Seers. They informed me that I was on the wrong track, that the Guardians of the Veil had nothing at all to do with Astella’s death. They said that the Seers of the Throne wanted to see this matter resolved no less than I did, and that I should return to Rochester with all due haste. To that end, they released me. I have no trust in anything told me by a Seer of the Throne, and I am confused by the whole incident. Ariadnos, I regret to say I cannot say if the Seers who abducted me were the same type of Seers you are asking about. I fear my memories may have been compromised.

                            Reading your letters upon my return has deepened both my concern and confusion. Just what is going on?

                            Sincerely,

                            Blaze, Sentinel of the Rochester Consilium

                            (4)
                            Last edited by Cire; 02-22-2015, 02:51 AM. Reason: Formatting

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                            • #15
                              Yo peeps,

                              I write this by the bedside of my cabalmate Viridian, who is recovering well, and who I've been caring for from her personal Sanctum.

                              As a Lich, Costigan enjoys no political protections or rights under the Lex Magica in New York. Needless to say, the Sentinels have made this a very bad time for the Necromancer. Even by Guardian standards, I must admit I've found their methods too extreme. I mentioned before how the Guardians and the Arrow are on fairly good terms here. That may have been something of an oversimplification. Due to the constant state of conflict with the Tremere, the Adamantine Arrow holds the lion's share of political power in the local Consilium. Since keeping this secret war wrapped tightly within the Veil requires the Guardians' masterful touch, our Order does quite well in the Consilium also. This facilitates inter-order cooperation, but also plenty of hostilities as well. Think of us like the Navy and the Marines (The Guardians are totes the Navy). We need each other, which means we're always in each others way.

                              The whole thing reminds me of the old Russian saying my grandmother used to say. Don't draw your bow till your arrow's fixed.

                              Mostly, Costigan's testimony either confirmed or brought into focus what I was already able to surmise based on his postcog conversation with Voridis and Conand. The Tremere want the Twin Goblets of Arratus as a means of creating perfect souls. The first step is to create perfect souls for high level Liches to consume, then join these Tremere together through the merging process, until only the Lich Lords remain. They represent the ultimate Undead Sorcerers. These Lich Lords will sit on this foretold Council of Eternity, and usher in a Necromantic golden age.

                              With nothing else to go on locally, I decided to focus my investigation back to the Sigurd Chronicles. The Mysterium was able to affirm the identity of the volume using the formulae Morrigan provided. In particular, I was very keen to learn more about this “Valley of the Fearful Sleep”. With the interrogation into Costigan requiring my presence in New York, and my unwillingness to leave Viridian's bedside, I turned to an investigative technique with the potential to yield even greater results: An Astral Journey. My intention was to unlock any secrets that might have been imparted to the Valley's own soul.

                              At the foot of Viridian's bed I established a meditation space, using a combination of incenses to facilitate spiritual introspection. Which is the pretentious way of saying that the scents were relaxing. But I'm a Mage right, so I have to say it all fancy. Once again I've used the power of Mind to provide plenty of detail.

                              I always start off with a pretty straightforward visualization. Just me riding down the highway on my motorcycle. There are no other cars, and mountains can be seen in the distance. The road is winding, and the sky covered with grey clouds. I know most people associate cloudy days with dreariness, but for me they're spiritual. After a while I was joined on the road by a gang of bikers. Their faces were those of people from my mortal life. My husband, and his friends. At first they seemed to be riding along with me, but soon they began to tighten their formation, closing in on me, attempting to block my way and run me off the road. With a quick jerk, I wove my bike through an opening between them, feeling the Mana leave my Pattern.

                              The road began to turn, and turn, and turn until it wound back in on itself. Suddenly I was driving through an oddly large door into the lobby of a casino. The floor manager asked to see my ID, and I handed her my Artifact, a piece of cobalt from Pandemonium. She handed it back to me with a nod, and allowed me to drive on into the casino. Immediately I was surrounded by scantily clad waitresses trying to tempt me into playing the many games. They pulled me into a hotel room, at which point the casino became a brothel. Or else there was a brothel within the casino. It was difficult to tell, you know how the Astral can be. The matron of the brothel was none other than my Daimon. Lets just say I'd been there many times before.

                              Okay, too much personal information about me. I'll skip ahead...

                              After indulging in the...distractions...I found my way back onto the road. In the distance, the Temenos appeared to me as a combination of New York and Las Vegas, but I continued on. The paved road gave way first to gravel, then dirt. Finally I stopped at the crossroads, two paths diverging at my sides, while the path before me bends and twists until it is ripped apart and lost to a great black hole, drawing crimson red comets into its mass. For a while I gazed into the darkness, until I came to my senses and turned off onto a new path.

                              The dirt gave way to grass, then thicker vegetation. I felt my identity dissolving, so I armored myself with a skin of cobalt, the Amnion holding in my sense of self, and threw a little Magic into my Astral Bike, if nothing more than for a sense of comfort in this alien landscape. I searched a buttload of realms in the World Soul before I finally was able to find my way to the soul realm of the Valley of the Fearful Sleep, returning over the course of several nights. Finally, after a few harrowing encounters with Animal Masters and the indomidable souls of Finnish mountains, I found my way to the Valley.

                              The jagged mountains surrounding the Astral Valley were like a mouth of razor sharp teeth. I felt like Boba Fett, having just been knocked into the Sarlaac pit. For those of you who never leave your Sanctums, that's a Star Wars reference. The grass in the valley was black, and the land always seemed to be descending, no matter the direction I faced. After some time I realized a shadow beneath my motorcycle, following me. It was a great bat-like creature without flesh on the upper segment of its skull, feathered wings and a long tail. It stalked me from the sky, and I reached out to it with my mind, and it was all I could do to hold on to my Amnion. Its alien mind threatened to overwhelm my human reasoning. After I recovered, I was able to use this mental link to open a very turbulent line of communication. Enough to reason that it wanted me to follow it. So it lead me to a circle of stones, with two intersecting lines forming an even armed cross. At the center was a statue...a golem. The creature rested its feet on the golem's shoulders, and seemed to speak through the unmoving statue's mouth.

                              It claimed to be Ageth Kur. Even now I couldn't tell you if it was truly the entity, or if it was some sort of Astral Echo. Regardless, it seemed strangely eager to answer my questions, as if doing so would benefit it in some way. It spoke to me of Isabella, whom initiated Sigur into the tradition of the Iatromantoi, the ancient Healer Prophets. The Liches were their mortal enemies, the enemies of all souls, and that it was the highest mandate of the Iatromantis to prevent the formation of the Council of Eternity. It was in this conflict that Isabella lost her soul, and for which Sigur sought out Ageth Kur and the Twin Goblets of Arratus. It was Sigur's hope to find the Lich that had taken Isabaella's soul, and rejoin her to it without creating a composite being.

                              Then the golem's mouth opened, and out of it came a scroll of parchment covered in unintelligible runes. “Use the Scytale.” I was told. At that moment the entire Cosmos seemed to rip out from under me, and I felt like I was being carried into a vortex. I came back to my physical senses to find Viridian standing over me with concern.

                              I have included the runes I was shown in this letter. There is more to tell, but the Astral Journey has left me exhausted. Excuse me while I pass out.

                              Cobalt
                              Last edited by Techpriest; 02-25-2015, 08:52 PM.

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