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

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  • #31
    My friends,

    Firstly my apologies for the lateness of my letter. Unlike some of my fellow mages here in Cardiff, I still attempt to have a life outside of Awakened matters and had some assignments that needed to be done after neglecting them with my trip to London these past two weeks. I have also been formally recognised by the consilium as a Disciple of Mind, which is an achievement I am proud of, and shall hopefully help my investigation.

    Sadly though there is not really anything new I can share with you regarding the investigation for the moment. I have kept in touch with Colt, the Sentinel that escorted me during my stay at London, regarding the results of their investigation and they have not found anything new to add to what I know. The only clue I have at the moment is this 'Chrishan Martin' that lives in Canberra, but will wait for Ariadnos' reply.

    I have investigated a bit into what might have caused the Seers captured in London's minds to go as they did when asked about this mysterious Legion. After consulting some of the local users of Mind, it seems that the Seers were killed by a powerful spell of Unravelling, powerful enough to do so much damage to their minds as to kill them instantly. But I am still unsure as to how it was cast. Perhaps as a trigger using Fate to strike should they speak of this Legion, or maybe they were scried upon and killed (although I did not have that familiar sense of magic being used at the time). It is still uncertain though.

    As for local news, the Grand Divination took place on the equinox without any problems. It seems that Cardiff Consilium despite the bad beginning to the year with the death of Morgana will have a fair year up to the Winter Solstice, where the divination warned of a coming darkness.. The more experienced users of Time and Fate are looking into what may happen, so I shall see what happens. As to a more personal divination, I asked a friend called Tarot if he could look into my future. He said that I will have a visitor coming in two weeks regarding the next step I must take in this investigation, and to be heedful of the "ones who watch over us." whoever they might be. That is why I am not a big fan of prophecies, so cryptic at times.

    In the meantime, I hope you all stay safe. Regarding the point you raise Blaze regarding the possibility of Seer infiltration, I agree with the Morrigan - if the Seers have infiltrated to that degree, then they would be more open about it. My advice though is to keep your suspicions in mind, but do not let them dominate your thinking into seeing shadows where there are none. After all, there are other legacies that both the Pentacle and the Seers have in common. I will see what I can discover on the Cryxard Masquerade with my cabalmates, and see what we can find if it helps.

    As for yourself Morrigan, I hope you enjoy the peace while it lasts. It seems obvious that big things are happening, and we have become part of it. Perhaps as you might say, it is the break before the storm so be aware.

    Be careful all of you.

    Phoenix

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    • #32
      To My Fellow Passengers on the River of Time,

      I am beginning to believe that archaeomancy is not worth the hat, no matter how stylish. While I had meant to humor them, the group the Dagda put me in contact with contained many specialists willing to give the recovered memories a second look. While their collection of sanity preserving magic is disturbing in its implications, they did have an interesting suggestion. Certain ancients, and their imitators, built in the Astral directly, using sympathy and Prime to draw strange things out of it into the Fallen. Though I did not want to, I was eventually convinced to attempt another astral journey.

      I am glad I did, for what we found was nothing short of… no, there are no Fallen words. As briefly as possible, it was a vast library city in the image of a god. Or perhaps a god shaped into the image of a city. Everywhere was writing, like and unlike that in the physical ruin, and the caretakers… For all that the material guardian had been terrible, these were magnificent. Well formed, graceful, and shaped from an awful goldenness. It was as though all the vitality of Life had been poured into the thought forms.

      I should mention that I was not alone. My master and a psychonaut had accompanied me. Both expressed surprise at how substantial the city was. Their art had told them that this place should be a shadow, barely able to sustain us from all who subscribed to it directly. This apparently implied we were somewhere old and deep and primal. However, given that writing is fairly recent as such things go… Perhaps history is not what it has been made out to be.

      We encountered Ngalyod again, on the forehead of the god. He was getting his hair cut, and reading omens in the pattern of fallen pieces. My mentor at first attempted to take him into custody while I tried to get explanations about our last meeting. Both of us were interrupted by the psychonaut who attempted to destroy the spirit, remnant, or whatever Ngalyod is now. She said nothing in the course of his assault, and Ngalyod did not resist. However, one of the caretakers spoke a hideous word, and we saw the speech burned into the body of the god around him, and the attacker was gone. Ngalyod did not appear upset, but said this as he appeared to die.

      “You have forgotten your first love. Go back to it. Your name was not scratched into a foundation, like drivel on a bathroom stall. It entered into the Law, and by the Law is your Will become Word on the body of the world. Read what you have written, that is where you shall find the answer you did not wish to the question you did not ask.”

      As a final oddity, the body of the Moros was gone when we returned. It had apparently vanished while we were in the Astral. Since she appeared to know something of what was going on, I will by traveling to Belfast to investigate her.

      To The Morrigan, the Moros, whose name none of us can seem to remember was among the group of Archeomancers who visited. As such, there is a certain degree of scrutiny that will likely fall on you because of this incident, for which I am sorry. To help alleviate it, and to continue my investigation, I will be traveling to Belfast. I pray this will not be too great an inconvenience.

      In Trust,
      Ariadnos

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      • #33
        Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

        The moon-cycle of Mag Mell’s price is over and Deidre and I are finally back to normal. Things got exciting quickly enough after that that we suspect the effects of the price were protecting Deidre from detection somehow. Over the course of the five days since the new moon in Deidre’s defence I have; accepted a duel, been forced to out ride a Werewolf biker gang, chased a cryptid with delusions of being King Kong across the city on foot, given a particularly stupid Seer a rather shorter hair cut than he would have liked, been briefly transported to Bora Bora, driven off a remarkable variety of cultists and punched Conand in the face. Twice. I haven’t had this much fun on the job since two years before I Awoke.

        So, my week in no particular order. A spectacular bit of driving if I do say so myself but sadly lacking in how’s or why’s. We’re not even sure if they we actually after Deidre, since they didn’t bother to explain, just rocked up and attempted violence. It’s possible if either of us understood the spirit tongue they would have been more eloquent but I doubt it. We’ll see if they show up again but unless Werewolves are particularly strong swimmers at least one of the ones who went off the cliffs won’t be back. Deidre hit him with a rather impressive curse and he bounced. Several times (Cross item off bucket list: Skim Werewolf across sea like a stone). The cryptid was similarly uninformative but definitely after Deidre – it abducted her from a nightclub and ran me a hell of a race before it went up a church steeple and I could corner it. Even using Time to accelerate myself for bursts I only managed to keep up because Deidre was twisting the threads of Fate in my favour. The cryptid itself was some sort of strange lizard-ape hybrid and I have no idea how it got into the club given that it was at least 12 feet tall. Thankfully it was a much better runner than a fighter and the church had some impressively spiky ornamental railings.

        The cultists have all been sleepers so far and despite the fact I’ve so far run off 25 individuals from at least 13 groups they’ve all been remarkably similar in their behaviour. They’d show up, look creepy, attempt to get inappropriately close to Deidre, start babbling about her being ‘pure’ and ‘chosen’ and then run away when it penetrated that I wasn’t going to let them past me and was prepared to be violent if needs be. Even backed up by an emotional urging it took long enough for some of them to grasp it that I’d worry I’d lost my touch over the last month had one of them not remained oblivious to my Master doing the same thing for over three minutes. Between their strange obliviousness and the pattern of similar behaviour in dissimilar individuals I suspect the cultists may be being influenced by some outside force, though I have no idea of its nature.

        As best we can determine the Seer was just a random idiot and not connected to ongoing events in any way. He had taken note of my Cabalmates rising importance in the Consilium and decided to take Deidre hostage to blackmail them so he could control the Consilium behind the scenes, gain power both mundane and magical, and usurp his superiors etc. etc. Thankfully he was too busy monologuing at us to take precautions against anything going wrong with his plan – such as me giving him a swift haircut of about six inches off the top.

        We have no idea how Deidre and I got transported to Bora Bora – no recognisable magical traces were found at the location we vanished from. We also have no idea why it happened as there were no signs before it happened and no one attempted anything while we were there. That may be because my studies of Space paid off and I was able to portal us back to An Túr Geal in relatively short order, so we mostly got a few hours in the sun out of it. I hope to be able to take the formal tests to be recognized as a Disciple of Space sometime next week.

        Rounding things out with the Consilium issues, Conand and the duel. Conand has been lurking around Deidre and me all week. He’s not said anything to indicate his reasons for doing so, just lurked creepily, and has mostly refrained from doing anything that would justify action – from me or the Consilium. The punches were from when he came sufficiently close to my cave to justify me removing him by force, which is unfortunately not enough to justify his arrest, though if he keeps doing it the it will be, and wont that be an excellent time to ask him some pointed questions about New York and Litchs. My upcoming duel will make more senesce with a little context. A number of the Silver Dynasties have houses around Belfast, which produce a number of Proximi and the occasional exceptional mage quite reliably. Deidre is descended from one of these lines, as is Conchobar, the Thearch who was in hiding with Elatha, and it transpires they were betrothed as children and now that Deidre’s 21st birthday is approaching Conchobar feels that it’s time to start arranging to follow through on that. Deidre objects to that idea, for a number of reasons, and the argument that followed was long and vigorous. To cut a long story short Conchobar challenged Deidre to the Duel Arcane to force her to honour the marriage agreement. He was unpleasantly surprised when I accepted the challenge in her place, but I am clearly obliged by my Oath to step in to protect Deidre’s right to choose her own fate. Suffice to say he was not happy to find himself facing a battle-tested Arrow rather than Deidre, who is lovely but not experienced with combat. I’ll give him credit for courage, if nothing else, he stuck to his challenge, even when he saw my elder Cabalmates arguing over which of them got to be my Second. Given that Aengus, the head of his Order, was the eventual winner his intelligence may be somewhat suspect, especially as his Second will be Elatha. The detail are not finalised yet but the duel will most likely be next week, during the Consilium meeting to elect the next Hierarch.

        Ariadnos, you are welcome to visit Belfast at anytime, though I fear you may find few answers here. None of the Mages who accompanied The Dagda to see you live in Belfast and none of the Free Councils Moros are missing. Additional the only recent Mage from Belfast who could fit with the details of the one who accompanied you has been dead since November. Her Shadow Name was Psychonaut, oddly enough, and she apparently had some very weird theories about the mind, ghosts, the Astral and the Underworld. She was killed by something from the depths of the Underworld, and thoroughly so. As I said however, feel free to come. The Free Council still has her research in their Lorehouse and we will endeavor to confirm her body is still in its grave. Also it will be nice to have a face to put to your name and part of me hopes you will be here to see my duel. On the subject of your investigations I have little to offer on the mysteries of the Astral but I strongly suspect that the Ngalyod entities last words to you were about when a Mage signs their name to a Watchtower, which is a significant subject indeed.

        May this letter reach you with fair waves,

        The Morrigan

        Comment


        • #34
          My friends,

          First of all, my apologies for not writing to you all last week. I was suddenly called upon in my role as a Factotum due to a dispute, and although thankfully the decision went in my client's favour it left me with little time to continue this investigation alongside my other work. I have read your letters with interest, and continue to be amazed by the experiences we have as Awakened individuals in this world.

          I wish you the best of luck Morrigan with your Disciple tests this week and with the duel that you will be fighting. A shame that I will not be able to watch but I look forward to hearing the result from you afterwards. Despite being a Silver Ladder myself, I disagree with the beliefs held by some of my fellows regarding certain practices such as arranged marriages. I hope you teach this fellow the error of his ways.

          Ariadnos, I also hope your investigation goes well in Belfast with regards to this mage who disappeared after you returned from your Astral Journey. Although I have little experience with the astral realms, I have never heard of someone's body disappearing after being vanquished from the inner realms. Apart from offering the thought that she may have teleported before you awakened, I am of little help. I am interested if you have had the time to look into the address I sent you a few weeks ago before you travel to Belfast though.

          As for myself, it seems that Fate continues to try and keep me involved. As you may remember, I mentioned that it was the Grand Divination a couple of weeks ago and I had my personal future looked at. Well, I finally ran into the mysterious visitor that Tarot prophesied. By that I mean he literally ran into me while I was walking back from Tesco. He was scared, asked me for help as there were people after him. I looked behind him and saw another man come around the corner. He took a second to look at us before shouting "I found the Chosen, he's here" and quickly others started coming. There were too many for me to face, and deciding that until I got somewhere less public that discretion was the better part of valour I grabbed the man and ran, telling him to follow me.

          Thankfully I seemed to know the streets of Cardiff better than these pursuers, and managed to lose them. I was interested in knowing who this person was and why was he being chased, especially after I remembered Morrigan's words about cults chasing Deirdre as she was 'chosen' that I invited the guy for a drink at a nearby pub to find out more information. Taking advantage of my new level of knowledge when it comes to Mind magic as well as using Prime magic, several spells and some talking later I found out a fair bit about this fellow.

          After using some emotional urging to calm him down combined with a couple of other spells to read his thoughts and increase my way with people, I have a better idea of him. His name is Jason and comes from the nearby town of Newport, and the past couple of months has had some strange things happening to him - nightmares and dreams that have come true; having people coming up to him acting strangely towards him and calling him "the lamb" or 'the vessel'. That group was the first time it has been anymore more than that, and it seemed to me like they were likely trying to either kidnap him or kill him. I'm glad that I was there in time.

          Reading his surface thoughts I could tell that he was being quite honest with me, which wasn't too surprising between all of the spells. The curious thing I found though under Supernal vision that he was a Sleepwalker, although I didn't want to ask him about what supernatural thing caused him to stir from the Lie as I haven't revealed to him that I was one of the Awakened.

          While I'm writing this letter, I have allowed Jason to sleep on the couch of my Sanctum although I am making sure to keep an eye on him. Given what you said Morrigan during your visit to Mag Mell about how Deirdre and other individuals are components of The Perfected, as well as the behaviours of these cults after Deirdre if there is a chance that this Jason may be one of these components. Is there anything in particular with regards to Deirdre that I can look out for, such as a Destiny of some sort or a particular mark in the soul? If you could let me know, that would be helpful.

          If he is involved, the question would be to decide what to do with him. Maybe it would be time to call in a favour with one of the Arrows and have a Banner Warden keep an eye on him. I will see what happens.

          Be careful all of you,

          Phoenix

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          • #35
            Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

            My friends, let me regale you with the tale of my glorious Duel! ... Is what I would like to be able to write. Unfortunately Conchobar's dueling skills were not up to managing a glorious duel, so what we got was closer to a public flogging rather than an actual fight, especially as he lacked the sense to admit he had lost until he actually passed out from his wounds. I had some hope it would be a good duel when the first exchange passed without either of us scoring a meaningful blow but it was not to be. Conchobar failed to get a single blow through my defences the entire duel and by the end I was worried that I’d have kill him, or at least seriously injure him, to get him to concede. Between my experience in combat and the fact the Duel Arcane favours a specialist, like myself, of a generalist, like Conchobar, there was never much doubt as to the outcome but this was just sad. Had the fight been more even I could have commended Conchobar for fighting with all his strength, but this was nothing but stupidity. Given that this was happening as an interlude between the voting for Hierarch and the announcement of the victor the whole Consilium was watching, which won’t do much for Conchobar’s reputation in the long term.

            Conchobar’s drive to force Deirdre to marry him was (and I suspect still is) so great I wondered if he was another agent seeking her to create The Perfected but it turns out the reason is less… tidy than that. Apparently the curse on Proximi of Conchobar’s linage is that they are prone to become obsessed with things to the point they go to insane lengths to obtain them, and Conchobar has retained this since Awakening. Given that the curse on Deirdre's house is they are exceptional in some way that drives other want to posses/control them I do have to wonder why anyone thought arranging a marriage between the two houses was a good idea. I was not surprised to learn that the curse had manifested in Deirdre as her appearance, she’s quite possibly the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, but I was surprised to learn that she also retains it, given that I’ve not felt any desire to posses her in all the time I’ve known her. According to my Cabalmates the feelings the curse inspires are easy to shrug off, especially if you know the source or a simply a good enough person to to want to control another on that level, but they are in no way subtle or easily mistaken for something else. My apparent immunity is interesting but at this point we don’t even have enough information to speculate. The curse does add a new wrinkle to the various groups going after Deirdre, since they may not all be after her for The Perfected, but I have no intention of letting any of them touch her any way, so I suspect it doesn't matter much.

            The election of the Hierarch went smoothly, and it was quite close, but in the end Aengus was chosen, I suspect because The Dagda convinced the entire Free Council to vote for him, probably to ensure that The Dagda wasn’t the one chosen. It will be quite a change for Aengus, going from roaming if respected Lictor to Hierarch in less than four months but I believe he’ll do an excellent job and he is probably the person who can be best trusted to enforce the law fairly and impartially, so I’m not surprised he got in. He’s insisting that the Ladder goes through the their full procedure to select his replacement as Councillor but the smart money is on Brigid, though who she’ll select as her Provost is rather open at this point.
            I passed the tests and have officially been recognised as a Disciple of Space but other than that and the day of the Concilium things have been fairly quiet, possibly because Deirdre avoided going out in public but that’s not practical in the long run. No one at the Consilium reacted oddly to her, barring Conchobar and Conand, so at least she seems to be safe around most Mages. It does make Conand’s behaviour stand out more - none of the other Daksha have done anything similar and Conchobar has a curse pushing his behaviour, so what’s driving Conand’s obsession?

            Phoenix, I’m afraid I can offer little help on what to look for to determine if Jason is one of the components. Deirdre has a very strong Destiny but you have to squint to see it as related to The Perfected. Between that Destiny, her Proximi linage and curse and the fact she’s Awakened it’s apparently hard to tell if there is anything subtle in her Soul, Aura or Fate to indicate the connection with this whole business. There’s obviously something that at least some of the parties involved can recognise but currently we have no idea what. If it weren't for the various groups expressing an interest in her and the information we received from The Bard of the Red Branch and The Morrigan of Mag Mell we would have no reason to think that Deirdre was involved in this investigation in any way. I hope Adrianos is able to come to visit, as I wonder if the Sight his Legacy grants him will reveal something we’ve missed. If your examination of Jason turns up anything that looks unusual let me know and I’ll try and get someone to find out if it matches to anything about Deirdre.

            May this letter reach you with fair waves,

            The Morrigan

            Comment


            • #36
              My friends,

              I hope this letter still finds all of you well. Firstly congratulations Morrigan on both your recognition as a Disciple of Space as well as winning your duel against Conchobar, despite it not meeting up to your desire for a glorious battle. I hope though that you taught him some humility, a virtue that I wish more of us Awakened kept in their hearts.

              You are right that it was a terrible choice for whoever felt that the union was a good idea, as it seems obvious to me that Deirdre's curse would have inflamed one of Conchobar's lineage to a level of obsession that would have pushed him to resort to methods that are most... unsavory. I will bring this up among the Silver Ladder during the Day of Silver of the next Convocation. Hopefully better care will be taken with these sort of arrangements in the future, despite my personal dislike for them.

              Unfortunately I have had little I have been able to do this week. Jason continues to stay with me for the moment, although with my cabalmates Pisces and Banshee returning from their Easter holidays we have had several opportunities to scrutinize Jason using every arcana in our possession. I understand what you mean Morrigan by the Destiny, as Jason has one as well that pertains to The Perfected according to Pisces. It seems though that it is slowly coming to its conclusion, although not for a while longer.

              As for the matter of his soul, according to Banshee who has a good understanding of the mysteries of the soul, his soul seems different compared to a normal Sleepwalker. She finds it hard to explain but her best description is that it seems more pure, more natural than a normal Soul. The way I understand it, a typical Soul is like tap-water and Jason's is more like pure spring water - the same thing, yet a superior quality. For what it's worth, it might be something to examine with Deirdre.

              I am currently making arrangements for this weekend to undertake a journey into the Astral Realms to examine Jason's Oneiros and see if there is anything there I might be able to discover. I must admit, I am a bit apprehensive due to this being the second time I have ever taken such a trip. But I will be okay, after all what is the worst that can happen?

              If Adrianos you arrive in Belfast sometime this week and have an opportunity to examine Deirdre using the Sight your legacy gives you, I would like to hear the results. Otherwise I hope you have a safe trip from Australia. And I hope things are well with you Blaze, as we have not heard from you for quite some time. I continue to look into finding anything about the Cryxard Masquerade, but I have been too busy recently to find much I'm afraid.

              Many regards,

              Phoenix

              Comment


              • #37
                Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                I cannot say my week has been quiet, but neither can I say anything significant has happened. I have spent the week chasing a continual stream of cultists away from Deirdre, and while it has required little effort, the sheer numbers are tiring. At the moment it seems Deirdre can't spend five minutes in public without attacking three or more followers. Generally the barest touch of emotional urging is enough to break their resolve but I must have run off over a hundred individuals from at least twenty five groups and they are growing bolder and more numerous by the day. Very few of them are local as well, and the Guardians are running themselves ragged keeping track of who they are, where they've come from and what they want (besides Deirdre). I fear they will eventually force me to take more damaging action than a brief feeling of fear and I do not luck forward to that, especially as they have thus far all been Sleepers, with no real understanding of the power they believe they are serving, or even what that power is.

                Aengus is settling in well as Hierarch and while it is early days yet it looks like he and Brigid will manage the balancing act needed to ensure the Ladder Councillor does not look like nothing but the Hierarch's puppet which has not always been the case when Belfast has a Thearch Hierarch. The general opinion last year was that Eochaid couldn't speak while Medb drank a glass of water, and it did not help relations between the Ladder and the Libertines. Or any of the other orders to be honest. Things in the Consilium are finally beginning to stabilise after the attacks and hopefully we will have settled into whatever the new normal is within a few weeks. Assuming we aren't overrun by hordes of cultists or Balor's mysterious plans don't drive the Daksha to do something stupid (Well, stupider than usual in the case of Conand, who is still keeping right up against the line between irritating behaviour and actionable behaviour with regards to Deirdre). The Daksha are most certainly Up To Something, even with Balor on house arrest. We know it, even if we still can't come up with a sensible answer on what it is they're trying to do. What's more they know we know and they know we know they know we know, but they persist anyway. It's rather worrying how little logic there is in the Daksha's actions, either they want something so badly any sacrifice is worth it or at the very least their leaders are mad. Possibly both.

                Phoenix, it was hard work but we think we have managed to detect the same sort of difference in Deirdre's Soul that Banshee found in Jason. Between the fact Deirdre's Awakened Soul is naturally more brilliant and distinct than the Soul of a sleeper and the lack of Mages who have studied the Soul in detail remaining in Belfast it was a very difficult task and we are fairly certain that unless these cultists all have an immense capability to detect and examine Souls there is no way they are finding Deirdre by her Soul. How they keep finding her remains a mystery, and any ideas you have are welcome.

                May this letter reach you with fair waves,

                The Morrigan

                Comment


                • #38
                  My friends,

                  I hope this letter finds you all well. My apologies for the lateness of my letter, I have had an eventful week with regards to my Astral travels as well as some information, which I will be sharing with you all shortly.

                  Firstly though, thank you Morrigan for taking the time to examine Deirdre's Soul, and am glad that there may be a clue to this. I understand the difficulties in finding someone with such specialist knowledge of the Soul, especially given the views of many who fear that those who show such interest may be Left-Handed. Banshee herself has faced problems in the past because of her interest, including a Guardian almost trying to execute her before I defeated him in a Duel.

                  But I digress, and after speaking to Banshee more on the subject of this 'purity' of the Soul she has a possible theory on why Deirdre and Jason are being chased. From the information that you gained from visiting Mag Mell, it seems that these more pure souls will be the pieces that fix together to create The Perfected while the other souls that this being will obtain will be more of a combination of power source and catalyst for the transformation. As for what draws these cults to Deirdre and Jason, it is her belief that although they may not be able to perceive the Soul in the same way that we can as Awakened, that perhaps they are drawn to something else - a resonance perhaps that these particular Souls give off that subconsciously draws people that seek them, or it could be a matter of Fate that arranges things? Some possible ideas anyway

                  Speaking of Souls, as I mentioned in my last letter I decided to enter the Astral Realms in order to find anything on the nature of Jason's Soul. So after negotiating the use of a demesne and for my body to be cared for, I visited the demesne this week and mediated until I started the journey. If you don't mind, I will keep the particular details of journeying through my Soul to myself as the details are deeply personal to me.

                  Eventually I made my way into Jason's Oneiros, and upon entering could not help but notice something was different compared to normal. But I was not sure what, a difference in the air so to speak like being out in fresh air after being indoors for so long. I wished I had brought Pisces along, as she was more knowledgeable in Astral travelling than myself, but this was my investigation and I could only negotiate for me to use the demesne. So after making some scene transitions I decided to work my way to the concept of destiny, given that both Jason and Deirdre have this mysterious Destiny about them.

                  I was surprised to find myself outside of a cave during a clear night, with the wind howling around me. It did not seem like anything else that I had experienced of Jason's memories so far, but I could tell that I was still in his Oneiros and had not gone further into the Temenos. It seemed likely that this cave had some answers, so I used a spell to gain some light and ventured in. Inside after walking for a few minutes I came across an unexpected scene, with what looked like a shrine of some sorts having been carved into the stone. Human skulls looked back at me with candles burning inside of them, while what looked like dried blood stained the alter. A single scroll hung down in shadow, but stranger yet I had the sense I was not alone. As I stepped closer to the shrine, a shadowed figure stepped out from the darkness and seemed to look at me with such intensity despite me being unable to make out any details that I felt unable to move. I checked my mental shields, but there was nothing attacking them.

                  After a few moments the pressure abated and a single limb (I want to say arm, but the movement reminded me more of a tentacle) waved me towards the shrine. I kept an eye on the shadowed figure as I walked towards the shrine, until it faded back into the shadows. Picking up the scroll, the words at first did not make much sense, but after casting a Mind spell to read any language I could read the words on it. It was written in poise and metaphor so some of it is down to interpretation. But it seems that Jason's Destiny, which has somehow been imprinted into his very Soul, was not something natural to him but was somehow given to him by the spirit Ageth Kur mentioned in the Sigurd Chronicles as one of the parts of The Perfected. It also suggests that fate will work to bring the parts together, as well as those who will use them to make The Perfected.

                  So this raises more questions to my mind - what exactly has this spirit Ageth Kur got to do with The Perfected and these people like Deirdre and Jason? How does it have this power to do this, or has other hands gotten involved? More questions with no immediate answers. But if it is true that the other Souls that form the components that The Perfected will be drawn together, then we may encounter others in the future. So keep an eye out.

                  Many regards,

                  Phoenix
                  Last edited by warrior angel; 04-28-2015, 07:40 PM. Reason: Accidently kept saying Diana instead of Deirdre!

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                    It's been a long and not terribly productive week for me. The number of cults and cultists perusing Deirdre has continued to grow and now stands at 249 individuals in 31 groups, with between 3 and 15 members in each group. Those rather specific numbers come from a cunning plan on the part of the Guardians assigned to monitor the influx of cultists, which boiled down to Deidre travelling around Belfast all day for several days to draw them out. I of course objected to the idea of using Deirdre as bait but she insisted on going through with it, having been convinced that it was both a good idea and her duty to the Consilium, so I had no choice but to go along with it. I'm sure it was just a coincidence she came to this decision after a Bearer of the Eternal Voice had a quiet word with her in a corner while I was distracted by the attack of spirit ridden shrubbery (Don't ask). Sadık, the Whisper in question, and I had a very polite conversation where it was agreed that once was coincidence and twice was me gelding him with Fearclaw, just so we all know where we stand.

                    To be fair to them the plan might have been risky but it appears to have paid off. In addition to identifying all the cultists currently in the city we have gained some valuable information about the behaviour of the cultists.
                    1. When they can't sense Deirdre they behave normally, or at least like normal members of a cult with the beliefs they have. They also tend to stick together or at least keep in regular contact and do not generally have jobs or involve themselves in Sleeper society.
                    2. Once they sense Deirdre they start trying to approach her. This seems to override whatever they were doing when they sensed her and they will keep perusing until she either leaves their range or something drives them off. They will also contact other members of their cult to join them if they are not present. They are fairly single-minded in attempting to reach Deirdre though not to the point of blindly endangering themselves or attracting mass Sleeper attention.
                    3. If they manage to get within about three meters of Deirdre their behaviour changes radically. This is when the creepy babbling and attempts at inappropriate touching begin and they appear to remain in this state for some time even if Deirdre gets more than three meters away from them again. Oddly none of them have actually attempted to capture her, even if they out number us considerably. Our current theory is that whatever allows them to sense Deirdre allows them to sense enough of the power of our Awakened souls to warn them off.
                    Stage two appears to be solely caused by coming within a certain distance of her, regardless of buildings etc., and the range appears to vary between individuals. The cause of the sudden change of behaviour in stage three is unclear. They are not being possessed or influenced by a spirit but the changes in their auras look very similar. Also we have observed a very strange phenomena where the cultists in stage three appear to temporarily become Sleepwalkers, which is both curious and worrying.

                    It is currently being debated what our next move should be. We need more information on the cultists but there is disagreement on how to get it, continue to observe them day to day or capture one or more to examine in controlled conditions. I'm honestly torn on what to do, the first option places Deirdre at more risk but the ethics of the second are troubling. Abducting Sleepers to study them, even Sleepers under a supernatural influence, is something that could well lead to some very unwise places.

                    Phoenix thank you very much for passing on Banshee's theories. From our observations of the cultists behaviour it seems unlikely to be a Fated affect but the possibility of some kind of resonance seems highly plausible. What you discovered in Jason's Oneiros is also interesting. Aengus is fairly knowable about the Astral Realms, especially the Oneiros, I will try and arrange a with him for us to investigate Deirdre's Oneiros.

                    May this letter reach you with fair waves,

                    The Morrigan

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                    • #40
                      My friends,

                      I hope that you are all well, especially yourselves Blaze and Adrianos as I have not heard from either of you for quite some time. Given the nature of our foes I pray that you are still alright and are quiet simply due to your investigations keeping you busy.

                      I am glad to hear that the experiment with the cultists went well Morrigan, and have found your discoveries useful with regards to Jason. In my opinion, if your choices are between the two options you have presented then I would suggest the first one. Although as you say it may bring possible harm to Deirdre, if the cultists continue with their pattern of behaviour then it would be no more risk than with Stage one of your experiment. As well, as you have said the ethical considerations of performing experiments on Sleepers without their consent is a major concern. But let me know of your decision and the results of the experiment.

                      And I will make sure to pass along your regards to Banshee, as I am sure she will appreciate her specialised knowledge being of some use compared to the prosecution that she sometimes experiences here. I believe it is due to the history of Cardiff, where I was told there were serious problems involving the Tremere back in the nineties and since then the Consilium are not appreciative of those who delve too deeply into the soul. I know she means well, and is continuing despite these prejudices. So she will be glad to hear she helped.

                      I hope to hear more about Aengus' theories regarding what I found in Jason's Oneiros. From speaking to Pisces, that is not a typical scene to appear in the Oneiros although she is stuck as to what it could mean. If you find anything of importance in Deirdre's Oneiros, then please let me know.

                      Otherwise I do not have much to say this week. After receiving your letter and comparing it to these cultists' reaction around Jason, they do follow the same pattern but for some reason the effect seems less powerful around him then it does with Deirdre. For example, the range before the cultists start to try and approach him seems to be within a few meters at best. Although when he has stepped outside it doesn't take too long until he is approached. Whether they can sense the general area he is in but nothing specific or is just large enough to be able to spread their numbers throughout Cardiff I am unsure. Personally I hope for the first, as if it is the second then it suggests a very large cult indeed.

                      From what I have gathered as well there are only a couple of cults that have arrived in the area over the past few weeks, as well as one local one. I am looking into it, and have contacted the Guardians as well as the Arrows and some of my Therarchs who watch over the Cryptology. In the meantime, while the cultists have not always been aggressive (although they have sometimes been more violent than inappropriate touching) I wondering whether to try and arrange for an Arrow to watch over Jason for the meantime until a better solution is made.

                      Many regards,

                      Phoenix
                      Last edited by warrior angel; 05-01-2015, 06:25 PM. Reason: Got member name and character name mixed up lol

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                      • #41
                        Greetings all! May God anyone who might read these words.

                        My shadow name is Cire, and I believe that Blaze mentioned me a letter. While I make my home in Mankato, I visit Rochester fairly often. During one these visits in the first days of April, I learned that Blaze had disappeared. Concerned, I decided to search for him. As a part of that effort, I reached out to Phoenix, but that was weeks ago now. Since then, my efforts have not yielded no fruit. However, I thought proper - and long over due - to inform all that may be receiving these letters that I have not given up my search. I regret that I am not liberty to write more at this time, but vow that you will hear fro me soon.

                        I pray for success. Not only for myself, but for each of you.

                        Sincerely,

                        Cire

                        (16)
                        Last edited by Cire; 05-01-2015, 11:26 AM.

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                        • #42
                          My friends,

                          It saddens me to hear that we may have lost yet another member of this investigation, and pray for your success Cire in discovering what has happened to Blaze. Given his suspicions in his last letter to us, I hope he is safe and has simply been out of touch.

                          There is little to report since my last letter I'm afraid. After speaking to Flora, who is charge of the largest Cryptology group in Cardiff, as well as one of the Guardians called Zion who apparently was authorised to share with my some details regarding their labyrinths. It does seem that more cults have started to migrate towards Cardiff, with several of them starting to draw members from one of the cults that the Guardians' run. I believe there is an attempt by the Guardians to infiltrate these cults, so hopefully some more information may be forthcoming in the future.

                          I know now that the two main cults that seem to be in Cardiff are called The Shadowed Ones, and the Children of Manannán. The Children seem to be spending most of the time around Cardiff Bay, fitting I guess considering who Manannán is, and seem to be the most aggressive of the cults. While the Shadowed Ones seem to be simply observing more than anything. I have often found people waiting outside the building I live in looking around or at the building as if searching for something. To try and prevent discovery, I have worked with Pisces to Ban my flat from intruders apart from us which has given us some respite.

                          I have had to also arrange some sort of accommodation for Jason, as I was starting to feel the pressure of having a stranger in my flat for so long. With some persuasion, which involved quite the amount of tass, I have arranged for a Banner Warden to watch over him in the meantime. It's taken some mental effort as well to keep him compliant, as he has talked about talking to the police and trying to avoid answering his questions is difficult. I may reveal the truth about us to him, as he must have experienced something to be a Sleepwalker and would make protecting him easier. But even Sleepwalkers can find it difficult having their eyes opened to the larger world, and I am not sure about him enough to know what would happen.

                          Morrigan, have you had any reports of the cults that are after Deirdre fighting with one another? I ask as there have been several episodes of this happening in the past week in Cardiff. Only two days ago we had a story on the local news which involved two large of groups fighting near where we had Jason. Thankfully the police broke it up and we moved Jason to another location, but if there is conflict between the cults there may be something to use to our advantage.

                          Many regards,

                          Phoenix

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                          • #43
                            Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                            Apologies for not writing last week, it's been a very strenuous couple of weeks and I lacked the time and energy to put pen to paper before now. Belfast is experiencing a strange rise in items, plants and animals being possessed by spirits and every spare member of the Arrow and Guardians, plus the more civic-minded members of other Orders, have been running madly about the city to deal with them before they eat any Sleepers. Thankfully they've all been minor spirits and generally small things being possessed so they've not been hard to deal with, just ridiculously numerous. It seems to be quieting down on that front now, and there are enough people who know much more about the Shadow than me in the Consilium that I'm not needed in the investigation into why it happened. I'm rather glad of that, as this investigation is quite enough to deal with.

                            As far as this investigation goes Deirdre and I managed to convince Sadık and the other Guardians involved that kidnapping and experimenting on Sleeper cultists was not the right way forward but all the spirit problems stopped us from making any progress with the slower method in the last week of April. On May Day the largest cult made the debate moot by launching a focused attempt to abduct Deirdre. Fortunately their tactics weren't very good and the kept forgetting them in favour of blind grabbing when they actually got close to her. Somehow we were able to subdue them all without killing anyone, though without healing magic some probably wouldn't have made it. Currently all sixteen cult members are in custody until the Consilium can decide what to do with them, which is a bit of a strain on our resources. Unfortunately the discovery of the identity cults leader necessitates it. He's known as Black Michael and he was once a Sleepwalker retainer of the Mysterium in Belfast. The exact details of his history are classified but he left the employment of the Mysterium in a violently emphatic manner and has since dealt with all manner of unpleasant entities in search of power and/or enlightenment. The need to find out what he has told and done to his followers vastly complicates dealing with the cult and more experienced members of the Consilium are currently handling them. We'll revisit the question of performing direct tests on cult members once we're sure they won't burst into a shower of Abyssal grisliness.

                            As an aside between the fight with Black Michael's cult and the various sprit incidents she's helped with I'm very proud of how well Deirdre as learnt to handle herself as a combatant, especially given that her family did their best to raise her to be physically helpless and Deacon Érimón did not see this as an important thing to correct in her training.

                            Cire, thank you for your letter. I wish you the best of luck in uncovering what has happened to Blaze and am sorry I have nothing to offer you to help but a warning to be careful - this matter appears to be highly dangerous to investigate and a great number of mages have already disappeared doing so.

                            Phoenix, thank you for keeping us informed. We have seen no sign of the cultists in Belfast fighting each other, though most of the cults are small enough we could easily miss minor clashes between them. Generally speaking they seem unaware of each other's existence. The difference in behaviour between the cults after Deirdre and the cults after Jason is interesting. My first thought is that it Deirdre being awakened that causes the difference, but with only two examples it's hard to tell. Regarding telling him my feeling is that he deserves to know the truth depth of danger he's in and as a Sleepwalker he can be shown enough to understand when it is explained to him.

                            May this letter reach you with fair waves,

                            The Morrigan

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                            • #44
                              My friends,

                              I hope this letter finds you all well. Thank you Morrigan for both your information regarding the behaviour of the cults facing you, as well as your advice regarding Jason. After speaking to the others in my cabal, I decided to tell him the truth as it is only fair that given the danger he is in that he should not be blinded by my reluctance.

                              As you could imagine, Jason was smart enough to guess that something was happening for everything to occur - people following and trying to grab him in the streets, being kept hidden by members of some sort of society. At first he was quite sceptical of the existence of magic, but after conjuring a light out of nothing and making a coffee table turn invisible to the naked eye he was convinced. After freaking out for half an hour (I have to admit, I was tempted to manipulate his emotions just to get it over and done with quicker), he finally calmed down enough that although he was in a state of shock he was able to process what I was telling him regarding the cults chasing after him and why he was 'special'. He remains slightly overwhelmed, but is more willing to help us.

                              We also suffered an attack by the Children of Manannán this past Tuesday, as they finally discovered where Jason was being kept either through luck or investigation. I received a call from Banshee saying that cars were pulling up outside the building where we had Jason kept, and raced to the location on my bike. On arrival I saw flashes in the window and at least three cars outside with two people watching the door. Luckily I was able to stun one of the guards at the door long enough to incapacitate the other using Mind magic to improve my fighting ability. The other was knocked unconscious as well, and I moved into the building. When I came across the other Banshee was trying to hold someone back with Jason while Owain the Arrow was fighting off three others. Between the four of us we beat the cultists and have now got some prisoners that I have had the chance to interrogate.

                              Between emotional urging, increasing my natural charisma and some intimidation from myself and a couple of other Mages who have overseen the interrogation, I have found out some about the Children of Manannán. It seems that the cult consists of roughly 42 men and women of various ages, who have it in their head to sacrifice souls to the Otherworld through drowning them to ensure that Manannán gets their souls. When I asked about Jason, the answer I got was that they were actually trying to save "The Child of the Soul" from these Shadowed Ones. Apparently they were told by Manannán himself, which makes me wonder based on the description whether it was some sort of spirit.

                              With the information that has been gathered, the Consilium is starting to put together a group to deal with the Children of Manannán with as little violence as possible as well as hopefully deal with whatever Manannán is. In the meantime, it means dealing with the Shadowed Ones which I plan to try and capture a member one. Although they have proven to be surprisingly tricky to capture.

                              In any case, I hope the investigation continues to go well with you both. I know this investigation is trying on us all, but if it helps then remember that God only gives you as much as He knows you can bear.

                              Many regards,

                              Phoenix

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                              • #45
                                Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                                It's been a busy week, and not a terribly pleasant one. Our interrogation and examination of Black Michael's cultists has produced a lot of information, none of it pleasant and little of it of use to sane people. Dealing with them after we'd gotten what we could from them wasn't exactly a walk in the park either.

                                The ordinary cultist were quite eager to talk, especially since the Whispers talked to them first. Unfortunately while they knew a terrifying amount about various means for Sleepers to contact some terrible entities ,all they knew of the Perfected was that it was a being that would exist in the future and if they helped that future come quicker they would be rewarded when the Perfected created the new world. The world the described was horrible and they rewards they described were worse and yet they desired both and called the Perfected a god for being able to bring them about. I can't understand how someone could think like that and I truly have no wish to. The only useful thing we learned was that Black Michael apparently gave them all the ability to find those the Perfected wished offering to hasten its coming. I won't put the specifics of what they meant by offering in this letter, they were far too foul, but Deirdre was the first offering they had encountered.

                                The various examinations that had been purposed were performed on the cultists as part of the battery of tests needed upon their bodies minds and souls to ensure that the entities Black Michael head lead them in dealing with hadn't been able to change them in ways that would make them a danger to those around them. Only a few of them needed to be executed. The tests involved Deirdre getting closer to some of than either of us were really happy about, but Scáthach, the most knowledgeable in the Consilium about the Soul by dint of being the most experienced Moros left, was the one overseeing those tests and swore she would ensure Deirdre's safety. If she had not I think we would have retreated to An Túr Geal and barred the doors. The members of the Mysterium involved seemed utterly incapable of considering consequences and Sadik and his cronies are a little too eager to see things sacrificed for the greater good and a little too swift in using a Whispers Attainments to encourage this.

                                In any case while test regarding distance and such merely confirmed what we had already observed. They become slightly distressed if in stage three for sometime without being able try and make contact but nothing beyond that. Possibilities involving the results of days of stage three closeness or of prolonged direct skin contact were suggested but those tests were pointedly vetoed. However, we did make some valuable discoveries regarding the effects of Magic on the Perfected's influence.
                                • Sufficiently potent Shielding spells of Mind and Spirit cast on the Perfected's cultists can diminish the degree of personality change at stage three and a combined one cast with sufficient skill may stop it completely.
                                Unfortunately no one with the ability to cast such a spell was available to test the theory, all the Consilium's Masters of Spirit have spent most of the week in the Shadow investigating the possession issue, and I think Aengus is the only one who's also a master of Mind anyway.
                                • A Shielding spell of Prime cast on a cultist increases how long they have to be in the appropriate range Deirdre before they move to the next stage noticeably.
                                • A Shielding spell of Death cast on a cultist will stop them from noticing Deirdre entirely - even if they see her they appear not to consider her worth paying attention to. Something degrades the spells very quickly when Deirdre is nearby however.
                                You'll note that all these are spells cast upon the cultists. Spells on Deirdre or the location had their normal effects in stopping or discouraging the cultists from going somewhere but the only behavioural effect was that if they were still in stage one and some magic prevented them from reaching Deirdre completely they wouldn't go to stage two. Scáthach has some ideas about a combined Death/Prime that might stop the cultists from sensing Deirdre if cast on her but she hasn't gotten it working yet and if she has a hard time with it I doubt there'll be many Mages capable of casting it.

                                We also think we have identified how the cultists are influenced and able to sense Deirdre. They all have a mark on their souls that appears to resonate and grow larger as they get nearer to Deirdre and whatever changes their behaviour seems to leak into their souls from the mark. I don't know what will happen to the surviving cult members. There are good reasons for a number of possible approaches and I'm not sure which is best, but I think and fear that the safety of the Sleepers around people who know and believe what the cultists do. The Guardians will handle them for the moment and ultimately see to their final disposition. I have given my view on the matter and can't quite bring myself to ask Nuada to tell me what the decision is once it gets made.

                                Black Michael's interrogation was highly restricted and Deirdre and I were not involved. What was involved and what was said apparently made all the other cultists interrogations look like seaside picnics in the sun, so I haven't enquired too deeply beyond confirming that something inducted him into the Perfected's service and that his description was not detailed enough to identify that entity. Nuada was a bit smug about some of what they learned though. Black Michael was apparently specifically in the service of the Daksha while working for the Mysterium and he provided information about their involvement in certain events that is quite damning, especially for the dearly deposed Balor. Bellerophon

                                The test we performed an Black Michael once we had finally wrung all we could from him was......beyond horrible. The principal, using Death magic to alter the soul to remove the mark of the Perfected's influence was not unwise, and a route we would be foolish to ignore. And it was better to try it on Black Michael than someone who hadn't gone in to it with their eyes wide open. It proved much harder than anticipated and while Scáthach managed it in the end the effects of doing so on his soul......... It's possible that on someone who had not damaged their soul as badly as he had the process would cause less damage but I cannot in good conscience suggest trying it. It shock Scáthach as well, and I think, I hope she would not have gone as far in the attempt as she did if she didn't know that she would be involved in delivering Black Michael's ultimate fate soon after and it would truly make whatever she did moot. That fate was utterly, comprehensively, horribly final. He had survived things that should have been fatal in the past and some of the powers he'd dealt with meant he could still be a grave danger in death, so, by unanimous order of the Consilium Council , he was executed at dawn on Friday the 15th of May in the 253rd year of the Belfast Consilium. The execution was carried out by ten Masters of the Consilium by means of ten simultaneous Unmaking spells. By necessity he was still alive when it started and to minimise the danger it was done slowly to ensure all the Arcana were destroyed in synchronisation. The actions of Mages of Belfast made the man who became Black Michael and the actions of Mages of Belfast Unmade him.

                                I know the Council had no other responsible option and I know I should be proud that all of them took responsibility and cast one of the spells themselves rather than washing their hands of the consequences of their ruling, and I know I should be proud the Mages they asked to assist were willing to shoulder the duty of necessity to ensure the cities safety but it was still a horrible thing to watch my senior Cabalmates have to do. I addition I feel guilty. Guilty because even though I know that he would have died the same way whoever caught him and whenever he was caught, I was the one that caught Black Michael and while he was a dangerous, horrible man who had earned his death a hundred times over it is still my responsibility that he died now, as much as any of the Mages that performed his execution. I feel guilty as well because I learnt so much from his fate. Seeing what happened to his soul after to Perfected's mark was removed, and seeing every part of his very existence reduced to nothingness made many things clear to me. I came away from the execution with much greater understanding of the world and the power my Awakened soul has over it. To know that I have increased my own enlightenment by seeing such things makes me wonder very much about myself. I wish Deirdre hadn't insisted our Sanctum cave needed mirrors rather than just the reflecting pool. I don't like what I see of myself right now.

                                Phoenix, congratulations on capturing those cultists and getting information from them so painlessly, but do not speak to me of God. I am an Adamantine Arrow, one of the Dragons Talons! To bear the heaviest of weights for the sake of others is my willing choice and my proud duty! Gods have no place in it and if they abide a world where the things I have seen venerated this week so flourish they do not deserve one!

                                May the nine waves shatter your enemies,

                                The Morrigan

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