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

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  • #76
    My friends,

    I hope this letter finds you all in good stead. I apologise for not being in contact for nearly two weeks. My journey through the Hedge was quite the adventure, and an encounter left me in a comatose state until I was awakened by true love's kiss of all things! But I digress.

    After my last letter I spent next couple of days doing what research I could regarding the Hedge to get an idea of what I could face. Unfortunately apart from legends and the notes of a Silver Ladder Magister from the 1910s called Saphax (who at best sounded a bit insane at times), there wasn't much more I could find about the Hedge. But after meeting with Ashley on the Friday, she said that I should make sure that I was able to protect myself to the best of my abilities. She shared some of the encounters her and Jacob had faced there, and the it was enough that I made sure to be prepared.

    So on Saturday I met with Ashley, Jacob and Longtail at Bute Park after spending the morning ensuring that I had shielding spells to protect both my body and my soul from injury. Unfortunately my cabal wasn't able to make it, as Pisces was on holiday with her family in Cyprus for a week while Banshee was called in to the Coiling Stone for something that she wasn't allowed to discuss with me. With Longtail leading the way, we entered the Hedge. It was quite fascinating how they did it, Longtail did something to a doorway that opened a portal of some sort into a forest. There wasn't any sign of Supernal magic, but there was definitely some sort of magic involved.

    As we walked through, Ashley warned me not to be alarmed. But nevertheless I had to take a second to stare when i saw the changelings' appearances change as we stepped into this forest, I presume into their fae forms. Jacob turned into a winter warrior, seemingly carved from snow with hair of ice that sparkled in the afternoon sun, while Ashley's skin turned green with vines flowing through her skin and her red hair shifted into overlapping rose petals. The most amazing though was Longtail, who appeared as a humanoid fox and kept a constant watch for danger. Once I recovered from my surprise, we continued on our journey to the tree.

    My journey through the Hedge was an experience to say the least, it felt like walking through a Brothers Grimm story. We had to sneak past a horde of tooth-fairies that would have striped us down to mush to eat our bones, fight off a horde of wolf-like beings that Longtail called 'Briarwolves' as well as carefully make our way through something called 'ecstasy thorns' that with one scratch would make you delirious for hours without a care in the world among other things.

    Eventually though we managed to make it to the tree, alone in a clearing surrounded by a giant serpent that spoke to us. Unfortunately it wasn't in English but what seemed to be ancient Britannic. Luckily my grasp of Mind magic allowed me to talk to it, and after some persuasion it said it would be willing to let me have one of the apples if I could tell it a story that it hasn't heard before. It took a while and several attempts, but I eventually succeeded by sharing with it the story of my Awakening. It reached up and gave me one of the golden apples, and allowed us to depart.

    The journey back was less eventful, although I had the misfortune a couple of hours from our entrance of accidently disturbing a troop of mushrooms as we passed through them. The last thing I remembered then was breathing in some of the spores and blacking out. Ashley and Jacob later told me that after I fell unconscious Jacob and the other two managed to bring me back to Cardiff with little trouble apart from carrying me the whole way.

    I woke up earlier this week, with the taste of Pisces' lip-balm on my lips. It seems that the mushrooms I disturbed have a poisonous spore that caused anyone who breathed them in to fall into a deep sleep from which nothing, not even Life magic, could wake me from. According to Ashley who had kept an eye on me during my sleep, only the kiss of someone who truly loved me would wake me from the poisonous sleep. This meant that nothing could be done until Pisces came back from holiday to try (unfortunately she isn't experienced enough with Space to make a portal). Although I have to admit, it is nice to know that Pisces truly loves me as I do for her as well.

    Now that I've recovered from my sleep, I have contacted Ostanes regarding the apple and will meet with him later this week to finalise our deal. Otherwise things have seemed rather peaceful for the most part here in Cardiff although knowing my luck it won't be long until something happens.

    Morrigan, the events that have taken place in Belfast have shocked me. I've heard of the blast on the news here in Wales not long after I woke up, and it saddens me to hear of so many fellow mages killed. I will pray for them. The concept of the 'Pure Diamond' is something I have read about in my studies here in Cardiff, although it never had a large following here. I wish you luck in finding out about the resurgence of this political ideal, and warn you to tread carefully. I must also congratulate you on the Awakening of Niamh as well, a brave soul like hers would be a welcome addition to your Consilium once she had completed her apprenticeship.

    Yosef, I have considered the points that you raised in your letter with great interest. That Legion may be a member of the Guardians is a possibility with some merit. When he incapacitated the Arrow strike force, he had the opportunity to kill them but obviously chose not to. Hell, with the power he showed he could tried to kill me but decided instead to warn me to stay away. I cannot promise that our next encounter will not end in violence, but if there is another way to deal with him I will be willing to try. It is also true that both the Morrigan and I have been focusing on understanding this phenomenon of these people rather than finding any more components of this Perfected One.

    Fate seemed to have conspired to bring this components to me and the Morrigan, but if there are more out there then they need to be protected and if that is impossible then eliminated to prevent such a being from coming into existence. I shall have to look into finding more of these people.

    Many regards,

    Phoenix

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    • #77
      Phoenix and the Morrigan, may God bless you both.

      Once again, I am sorry for my long silence. After my last letter, I continued my investigation into Lead Foot and her supposed death as planned. After a few days of this, however, I realized that something was seriously wrong with my mind. It suddenly struck me that in every other case that I knew of Blaze had written not to a possible suspect but rather to another uninvolved will worker. Why had he not done so in the case of Lead Foot? Then I realized that a more immediate question was why it took me so long to recognize this obvious irregularity.

      At risk of sounding vain, I knew that something must have been amiss with my mind for me not to have perceived the oddity with Lead Foot. With this again being the case, I again visited Wise Owl, that mage in Minneapolis well versed in both Prime and Death who had helped me recover my memories. He was able to ascertain that my mind had again fallen prey to magic. This time it was my reasoning ability rather than memory that had been altered. Happily for me, Wise Owl was again able to undo what had been done to me.

      With my reason fully restored, it became evident to me that it was Eva, Rochester’s new Hierarch, who had seen to it that my mind was so compromised. Despite having my reasoning power restored, I still thought it was wise to go to Eva and demand that she explain herself. In retrospect, that was not a prudent action. Not only did she not explain herself, but she had me secretly imprisoned in one of her holdings. That is why you have not heard from me until now.

      That I am free to write you now I owe to my cat Chad While I was warded against visiting others in through Astral Space, Chad somehow still managed to visit me in his feline dreams It seems Eva’s ward had not reckoned on cats! Incredibly it seems that my beloved cat somehow worked out that I was trapped, and visited the dreams of my friend Kermit. Chad then tried to led Kermit to me through Astral Space. However, Kermit was blocked from accessing my dreams. I am told by Kermit that this happened over several nights. Luckily he eventually realized that something had happened to me.

      It took Kermit a good deal of time and the help of a number of other mages, but he managed to find and rescue me from Eva. Now Eva is the one who is a prisoner. I hope that we can learn in short order what it is that drove Eva to her shocking actions; perhaps this will lead to uncovering what became of Blaze. In the meantime, I will get caught up on all of your letters and what has happened during my imprisonment. I should add that it seems that a Russian calling himself Yosef has started to write me.

      In any event, I continue to wish each of you good luck with your assorted challenges. Barring some new outrage or setback, you will both hear from me soon. I will also write this Yosef in the near future, after I have time to properly read and understand what he has sent me.

      Sincerely,

      Cire
      Last edited by Cire; 08-07-2015, 11:20 AM. Reason: format

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      • #78
        Glad tidings to all who read this letter,
        It's been a quiet week here in Belfast. After everything that's happened I don't trust it. There have been no signs of the Daksha at all, not even a single Tulpa, and for that many Mad to silent like that can only mean that one hell of another shoe is going to drop. The investigation into the Pure Diamond fraction has frankly gone too well - we have identified far more Mages than could have been involved the attack on the Wanderers than could possibly have actually been there and evidence implying a truly ridiculous portion of Belfast's Mages might be members, much of it various degrees of obviously faked. And much of the signs of faking obviously faked. And many of those signs obviously fake and so on and so forth. Aífe and Ogham both bent their considerable mental skills to the task of analysing the evidence and the consensus was that 90%+ of what was has been found so far is utterly useless as evidence because of the amount that may have been planted. Thankfully members of the Free Council found enough of this contradictory morass that the Assembly is willing to wait for more substantial proof before demanding action. They're not happy about it but they know acting on information this murky would just be stupid. Various methods are being employed to try and get more reliable information, one of which is to try and track the Pure Diamond movement in Belfast from 1967 to now. It won't be an easy job, given that that was when all evidence suggested the Pure Diamond was wiped out here but with the starting point my Cabals meeting with Leannán Sídhe this week has provided it may prove doable.

        The delayed meeting with Leannán Sídhe became quite a major event in the end. Originally it would have just been Ogham, then Deirdre and I requested to join him and ultimately it was decided that the whole of the Tuatha Dé Dannan would go and these days that's a lot of important Mages in the Consilium. I suspect had it not been such an influential and famously previously uninvolved in Consilium politics group that came to see her Leannán Sídhe would have been much less helpful. She and her mentor were treated very badly indeed by the Council under Medb's predecessor and after Medb came to power she and Balor apparently visited solely to rub it in and make Leannán Sídhe's humiliation worse. We have some strong suspicions as to why Balor wanted her out of the way but why it happened originally is unclear. Why Medb would feel the need to come and gloat at her is even more unclear, such a thing would be wildly out of character for her. Leannán Sídhe had various demands for her assistance and to take up the position of Archivist and Achtland's Provost. Given how reasonable most of them were it's a bit sad how shocked she was to have them agreed to and she wasn't too serious about the unreasonable ones. One of the demands was that the Consilium find her an Apprentice to pass her Legacy on to, and she was definitely expecting a fight on that one. She wasn't expecting Aengus to turn to Deirdre and ask if she still wanted to join the Singers in Silence, and the look on her face was priceless. Deirdre's not quite magically developed enough to join a Legacy yet but if she continues to improve as she has been it won't be long. We haven't turned up anything from the records Leannán Sídhe has yet but for once it is merely a matter of volume rather than completion, so by next week I expect we will have learnt a great deal.

        Other than that the most interesting things this week have been four letters (not yours, not that your letters aren't interesting.) One good, if heralding extra work, one that foretells a tremendous pain in the arse, one I'm honestly not sure what it will lead to and one that's just odd, in its timing and its content. The good one is pretty mundane , just a reminder that I am due to start my degree course at Queen's this September. It's an arrangement I'd honestly forgotten had been made and given she slightly slapdash nature of my previous education it will probably be something of a challenge but I must admit I'm looking forward to it, though if things are still this frantic in a couple of months I may find myself changing my mind. Or learning to co-locate in self-defence. The odd letter was to inform me that the investigation into my mother's death was being re-opened. It's not a total surprise given that the original investigation basically concluded that her death was a murder but they couldn't prove who or how. The weirdness comes from it happening now it's been almost two years, what could have spurned them to re-open it now? Nuada is going to reach out to his contacts in London to inquire but currently we're all baffled. The letter we're not sure about was actually several, informing the relevant parties of a wandering Mage's intention to visit Belfast. Which would not draw much comment were the Mage in question not the Master of my Master, an Adamant Sage of considerable skill and influence. The reasons for his visit were not stated and there are number of them, ranging from very good to very bad but we'll have to wait for him to arrive to find out. The letter that promises to be a pain will require a little context. You may recall that some time back I fought a Mage known as Conchobar in the Duel Arcane over whether Deirdre was obliged to honour a betrothal contract with him made by their families when both were Proximi. I beat him quite soundly and he accepted things with as much grace as can be expected from a man whose bloodline is cursed by the Exarchs with self-destructive obsession who was pursuing a woman whose bloodline is cursed by the Exarchs to be self-destructively obsessed over (the pairing remains one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard, though the Pure Diamond has knocked it off the top spot). The elders of both houses, and a number of their allies, were less willing to accept things and Deirdre received a number of letters requesting or demanding she reconsider, which she dealt with far more politely than I would have. At least until they started making threats, which prompted her to start suggesting they perform various inventive acts with an increasing variety of farm animals. They started bothering Aengus at this point, which was again met with diplomacy until they tried threats, after which they got told to do everything Deirdre had suggested but include some cacti and an angry honey badger. They stopped for a bit after that but have this week sent a letter announcing that their representatives will be coming to Belfast next week to discuss the matter. Diplomacy apparently means our reply can't be for my Master and I to throw them right back out of Belfast's territory at sword point, so at the very least we're going to have a massive headache to deal with next week.

        Phoenix, thank you again for your words and congratulations, both on your successful expedition (which sounds like it was fascinating) and on what you have with Pisces. I'm still not much good with sappy stuff so just assume I've said something profound about the power of love here.

        Cire, it's good to hear from you again. It seems that many Mages have had awful luck pursuing this investigation and you seem to have gotten the worst of any of those who have survived it. I can't imagine what would drive your captor to such lengths to conceal it. I hope you have better luck if you choose to continue investigating, but would not blame you in the slightest if you reconsidered you involvement.

        Yosef, on the subject of looking for other potential parts if the Perfected, four things have precluded me from doing so. Firstly and most importantly my Duty is to protect Deirdre, no one else, and while it could be argued that protecting the other targets could help with that I cannot do so without diverting attention from Deirdre's safety, which is unacceptable. Secondly, the only quick way to find them appears to be through Fate magic, in which I have no skill, which feeds into the third point, which is that given the year Belfast has had so far the Consilium lacks the resources to do so. Finally given the distinctive behaviour of the Perfected's cultists towards the components and the number of them we had in Belfast in the spring I am fairly confident there are no others with in the Consilium's territory, which is my practical search radius even searching were currently possible. On the subject of Legion being a Guardian I hope not. Partly because it would be another unpleasant complication in as situation full of them, but mostly because the mention of the name Legion in conjunction with the Guardians of the Veil makes Nuada twitch and express desperate hope that it's not the case. I have no idea why but, to be blunt, that, that is bloody terrifying to see and were I the praying sort I'd pray not to have to deal with whatever can get that reaction out of him.

        May this letter reach you with fair waves

        The Morrigan

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        • #79
          My friends,

          I hope this letter finds you all in good stead. My apologies for the lateness of my letter, I've been kept busy with my duties as a factorum of the consilium and been spending my free time digging through old archives. My advice, if you don't enjoy going through decades of case law and council decisions then don't become one.

          Even I'm finding this case annoying though, simply due to the lack of precedence and order that some of the archives are. Basically a Guardian as part of his duties wiped the memory of a man who despite being a Sleepwalker has no clue about our world. Yet the man's brother who has hired me says that according to an old Consilium law he wasn't allowed to due to his Sleepwalker status. I'll have to bring up getting some of our Proximi to put the cases into some sort of computer database or something, something easier than looking through decades of decisions without any decent index to speak of.

          Apart from that, not much has happened here in Cardiff since I last wrote to you. I've spoken to Ostanes and as part of my payment have started receiving lessons in the use of Life magic. Given the risk of danger we face, having some ability to heal others rather than relying on using mana would be very useful. There has been a public announcement as well regarding the theft from the Coiling Stone a couple of weeks ago, that an artefact know as the Rod of Odin had been stolen and for anyone to step forward with information regarding its theft. Speaking to Banshee gave me more details - that the crime scene has no trace of the thief and attempts to use postcogition fail. It reminds me of the scene with both Morgana and Astella in Rochester. It seems as well that this Rod's power is to track Supernal artefacts using some sort of sympathy.

          Cire, God must indeed be watching over you. A fortuitous chance that your cat was able to find you and bring your rescuers. It is strange for Eva to have acted in such a way, and is definitely worth investigating if there's a chance it can lead to finding out about Blaze's fate.

          Morrigan, it sounds like quite the interesting meeting with Leannán Sídhe and for what it's worth I hope Deidre is successful when she has developed enough to join a legacy. I have not heard much of the Singers of Silence, despite having a member of them here in Cardiff, but no doubt they should consider themselves blessed to have Deirdre among their number. Thank you as well for your kind words as well with regards to Pisces and myself. I'll imagine that your comment regarding the power of love was profound indeed!

          Yosef, taking your words regarding using fate to find these people I have spoken to my teacher of Fate magic Oracle who has been willing for some tass to search for me. If there is another component in the area undiscovered, I am confident she will find it.

          Be careful all of you,

          Phoenix



          Comment


          • #80
            Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

            Not much to report from Belfast this week. The Daksha remain worryingly absent and attempting to trace the Mad when they're in hiding is a difficult task at the best of times. I'm not sure if there's been any point this year when the state of Belfast could be described as the best of times. Tensions are running high between the Cabals of the city and it's only by dint of tremendous effort that relations within and between the Orders are any better. We're still trying to track down the other members of the Pure Diamond fraction but the sheer volume of evidence and levels upon levels of bluffs make it very slow going. Trying to find traces of the Pure Diamond in the historical record has not gone much better. We've managed to confirm that there were no obvious signs of their continued presence since the 1960's, even looked at in hindsight, but that just means we need to look for subtler clues, which is a daunting task indeed. The extent of what we've confirmed so far is that Balor at the very least had sympathies to the Pure Diamond's ideals and probably encouraged that sort of thinking among the Daksha. Frankly that's about as surprising as discovering the Pope's a Catholic. If we could prove a definite link between Balor and the Pure Diamond of the 60's it may prove useful, so we're investigating Grendel and Buarainech to see if anything turns up. Given the way records of the two appear to have vanished I'm not hopeful, but if such information remains anywhere it remains in Leannán Sídhe's archives. Having said all that we can't prove any connections between Balor and the known members of the Pure Diamond beyond the expected, so Balor's involvement may prove to be a red herring.

            All of this has been vastly and unnecessarily complicated by the esteemed representatives of the interests of the Silver Dynasties. I've struggled for some time to accurately describe them and their actions without any swearing or long strings of insults, then given up on achieving it, so I shall do my best to restrain myself to minimal levels of both. A more pompous, self-absorbed bunch of arrogant tossers with entitlement complexes I have never had the displeasure of meeting, and given the sort of places I (mis)spent my youth that's saying something. The (un)diplomatic party consists of more Mages than the Silver Ladder in Belfast currently has members, a host of Proximi and a veritable regiment of Sleepwalker retainers. And has this vast show of Awakened power and influence offered any help to the Consilium in this time of trouble? Have they heck as like. They've taken over the most expensive suites of several hotels and practically set up housekeeping there. Originally the Mages did not emerge at all, sending their servants out with various presumptuous demands. Their initial attempts to get Aengus to come and supplicate himself before them where met with the rejoinder that he was Hierarch, this was his city, and he was bloody busy, so if they insisted on speaking to him they could damn well come to him. A similar demand based on position within the Silver Ladder was dismissed with roughly equal amounts of contempt for their attempts to invoke authority they don't actually have and they finally deigned (After nearly five days of posturing) to come out and present their 'requests'. Deirdre's presence was required, which effectively meant mine was as well. The whole process was unbearably tedious - they used far more words than necessary to present whatever their point was and Aengus was apparently required to be similarly verbose in rebutting or refusing them. The first time they made a given demand/argument any way. By the later repetitions he got quite blunt, which was quite amusing. They'd make some long, flowery speech citing all manner of obscure and questionable precedents for the umpteenth time on a topic and Aengus would wait about a second after they'd finished before saying some variation of "Addressed, denied, next." Aengus put up with it for far longer than I could have managed, but eventually he told them to stop wasting his time and that if their next topic was a revisit of an earlier one he'd have them ejected from Belfast by force for interfering in the Consilium's defence in a time of strife. That shut them up right quick and they've currently retreated back to their over appointed suites to plot. They're going to be the headache that keeps on giving, but hopefully they'll be too busy fuming to bother us for the next week or so.

            Phoenix, I share your pain of ill organised archives and unending legal minutia (What did the 1372 ruling of the Hierarch of Stockholm on the Tass value of luminous herring have to do with anything? And why did this take two hours to address?). My Cabal and our allies will keep watch for any sign of the Rod of Odin being used near or moved through Belfast, though i must admit in the present circumstance I'm pretty sure a competent thief could fence the Dragon King's Throne at high noon in one of the cathedrals and it'd be even odds if we'd even find out about it after the fact, never mind before. Deirdre sends her thanks for your well wishes and we both wish you the best of luck in your studies of Life.

            May this letter reach you with fair waves

            The Morrigan

            Comment


            • #81
              Phoenix, Yosef, and the Morrigan, first let me introduce myself. I am Savvy. I am a member of the Mysterium and the Rochester consilium. More importantly, I am a friend to Cire. I am writing on his behalf to explain why he has stopped writing. I apologize for not having written before now, but I had to take certain steps to ensure my safety first. I hope that you all can understand that.

              As might be expected, Eva’s actions in regard to Cire caused a great uproar in my consilium. It was my hope that answers could be quickly extracted from Eva by whatever means about why she imprisoned my friend Cire and perhaps on exactly what happened to Blaze, our absent Sentinel. Sadly, my hopes proved premature. Shortly after Cire’s last letter, leading members of my consilium decided that Cire should himself be detained along with Eva.

              I know this is outrageous. I and some of Cire’s other friends, along with Big Ben, Mankato’s Hierarch, strongly objected. Even so, at the end of the day, my friend was once again a prisoner. The reason I and the others were given given for Cire being held was that they did not why Eva had imprisoned him. Given recent events, leading members of the consilium felt that they simply could not be too careful. They say Eva may have had a good reason for what she had done, and they dare not risk letting Cire be free until they know more.

              I trust that it goes without saying that I am very upset by all this. If I learn anything new about this situation, I will write again as soon as possible, assuming Cire cannot write you himself.

              At your service,

              Savvy
              Last edited by Cire; 08-19-2015, 12:34 PM. Reason: format

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              • #82
                Greetings.

                The last two weeks were a hell. The police didn't stop at arresting members of my organization. They also have “questioned” (beaten and interrogated) some of businessmen who are protected by me. Including five mages, two of them arrested and currently beyond our reach.

                All of this can actually be a coincidence: business life of mages is naturally stranger than most, so they were chosen for more scrutiny. Two arrested Free Councillors are members of one cabal and are known for their paranoia, so it's possible that they did something unwise during their interrogation. As I said, all of this can be result of a coincidence or even of a competence of police. But I think that Fate magic is at work. It's very subtle, but me and my teacher Temurah are sure it's there.

                If you paid attention to Russian news two days ago, you may have seen “Leader of crime syndicate arrested in Novosibirsk”. That's me. Well, almost. Thanks to collective efforts of local Guardians the one who was arrested looks like me and thinks that he is me. Not ideal solution, but the plan was to get rid of the dupe before Sleepers notice any difference. But before we made our move it became apparent that while police investigation in my (real) direction almost stopped, the КСИ discovered our fraud almost instantly.

                It seems that I was mistaken about КСИ (The Committee for Special Research) in my previous letter. I contacted Guardians of St. Petersburg and they've given me a lot of information. The КСИ was organized in 50s and was divided into many divisions, each tasked with focused on a different supernatural phenomenon. Most of those divisions were unsuccessful, one of them was infiltrated from top to bottom by Arrows, but it seems that at least another one of divisions, Division Nine, was not only successful at occult research, but also managed to become a force to be reckoned with. Information about them is hard to find even using our methods, but it seems that they possess some supernatural tricks and won't stop at blowing up a house or two if it suits their goals.

                Fate spells show that the danger of my situation haven't lessened. Maybe the reason is that the source of it is КСИ, not the police, but I begin to wonder that maybe it's something else entirely. The components are in danger too. Denis and Catherine were forced to change their locations almost as often as me. Last month was hard for them and I don't doubt that they blame it on me. Only Rynteu seemed to like traveling. He was a really wise mage in life and talking with him is one of the few things I enjoyed in past weeks. Maybe he perceives me as his apprentice of sort. He even became jealous and silent when I started to spend more time with Temurah lately.

                Cire. I don't know whether you'll receive my letter, but what the hell were you thinking about? You knew that Eve is quite possibly your enemy and that she is likely more proficient in magic than you. And still you walked right into her hands. ALONE. And you had not tell us or anyone else where you are going. Trust my words, if you won't become more careful, you won't live long.

                I have more to say, but right now I really need to sleep. Have luck.

                Yosef.

                Comment


                • #83
                  My friends,

                  My apologies for not writing to you all for a while, not only has it been a busy week for me with the goings-on at the Consilium but some personal matters have kept me occupied - It has now been two years since the death of my family and so I spent some days at my old home-town visiting their graves. But please do not be concerned, I am alright now.

                  Things have become quite heated here in Cardiff over the past week, as yet another break-in took place during the weekend. This time it was at the Free Council's lorehouse, where several items of significant value were stolen. Unlike the theft at the Coiling Stone however, it seems that evidence has pointed to several members of the Mysterium and Guardians being involved. Whatever the evidence is, it's enough that the Free Council have come out and accused both orders directly of stealing from them, and it has escalated from there. I've been asked along with three others from the Silver Ladder and the Arrows to investigate.

                  I'm sorry if things are a bit vague, but truthfully getting information from any of the Orders has been difficult to say the least. The Free Council won't tell us anything, not even what has been stolen apart from some vague ideas, and is saying that the Mysterium should just apologise and return the items. The Mysterium are saying it wasn't them and they won't do anything without an apology, while the Guardians are keeping quiet as per usual. Hel, one of those investigating, has suggested simply putting all the Orders involved into a room and just let them fight it out until only one is left. And to be honest, given my own feelings lately given this happening around the anniversary of my family's death I would love to do it. But the Ladder is slowly putting pressure on the other Orders, and hopefully we should get them talking like somewhat civilised folk rather than acting like children. Thankfully while the Ladder is somewhat small, we do have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies.

                  Otherwise things have been pretty quiet. I continue to see Jason when I get a chance, as the Guardians have kept him pretty well hidden. Something recently has seemed off about him though, nothing I can point out but it is definitely there.

                  Savvy, I'm sorry to hear that Cire has been incarcerated for no good reason. For him to be locked up for no better reason than "there must have been a reason" despite having evidence that the hierarch has been acting out of turn. I hope he is released promptly, and I would be happy to represent him should he need someone.

                  Morrigan, hearing how warm a welcome Belfast has given to the Silver Dynasties has made me laugh despite everything this week. Some members of the Ladder really do give us a bad name, and I assure you we are not all pompous asses! Thank you, and Deirdre as well, for sending your regards.

                  Yosef, unfortunately the Russian news is not something I typically watch. But I am glad to hear that you have not been arrested and gained some respite from the investigations plaguing you. This КСИ seems like an annoyance that should be watched carefully, especially this Division 9. Be careful.

                  Many regards,

                  Phoenix

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    To the receipents of these letters,

                    I don't know any of you, and I'm guessing you do not know me. I'm not sure if this is the proper protocol or whatever, but I send these under possibly urgent circumstances? Honestly I'm not really too sure exactly what is going on, but here is what I do know.

                    Yesterday, a man washed up on the shores of Harpswell, Maine, a town that is watched over by my cabal for the Consilium of Ellsworth. The town, situated on a small island off the mainland of Maine, is known to be a focal point for the strange and the occult, so the Consilium likes to make sure it knows what is going on over here. Anyway, that's mostly unimportant. What is important was that the man was a mage, and was pretty messed up. We took him to the local hospital, where he is currently recovering. We managed to speak with him during some of his conscious moments to try to learn what had happened to him, although we have had little luck there. He has told us that his shadow name is Blaze, and he claims to be from the Consilium of Rochester, Minnesota. Apparently he has been looking for me, to deliver a warning. He said that someone wanted to use, I hope I got this right, an artifact called the Twin Goblets of Arratus on me specifically. He didn't say who it was, and from what I can tell using mind magic he doesn't know. Either he never found out or, I suppose, someone could have possibly removed that memory. Unfortunately I'm not skilled enough to tell if the mental trauma he has now is simply the result of a near death experience or if his mind was messed up magically.

                    As for the why of it, he has also been a bit vague on the why this is, although he mumbled something about "the bloodline of Blackwell." That is my mother's last name, but I never got to know her very well. A quick internet search reveals that the Blackwells were a prominent family in the New England area, becoming wealthy in the early 1900s, and having a presence all across the east coast of the US, besides Maine, the name popped up in cities all over the east coast of the US, for instance New York, Boston, Breach and New Haven as examples. They even apparently had a house built here on Solomon Island. No idea currently on how this connects with the goblets. Actually, my cabal and I don't even know what these goblets are supposed to do for that matter.

                    I drifted a bit there. Blaze also told me to contact all of you, hence the letters. Maybe you can confirm what Blaze is saying, maybe not. Regardless, two of the cabal is heading to the Ellsworth Consilium tomorrow so they can figure out what to do with Blaze here. My cabalmates, at my asking, are currently not telling the Consilium about what Blaze said, at least not until we know more about the situation. Our cabal's Arrow intends to watch over Blaze for the time being until we hear back from the Consilium. I guess maybe the last two of us might head up to the abandoned Blackwell house and check it out, maybe there will be more clues there. Certainly can't hurt anyway.

                    Hopefully trusting this Blaze guy wasn't a mistake, sending these letters out,

                    Silverlock

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                    • #85
                      Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                      We've finally had a break in our investigation of the Pure Diamond. It's in the historical records rather than the current events, so it's not immediately useful, but it has vastly narrowed down where to look. It actually hinges on a historical investigation, conducted in 1964. I mentioned sometime ago that Buarainech was killed by the Dagda in a duel after betraying the other members of their legacy, but what I didn't mention (or know) at the time was that he apparently used an Artefact to force that lethal duel rather than be questioned about his co-conspirators. The Consilium was never able to satisfactorily prove which other Mages we involved, but they did establish a number of very strong possibilities, many of whom were later directly involved in the Pure Diamond's attempted coup. Those Mages were killed in the attempt or executed afterwards, but a few of them took no direct actions against the Consilium and we not proven to be involved and so remained in the city. This was nearly two generations ago and none of those Mages remain to be questioned, but we have hope that tracing Apprentices and patronage might allow us to discover how the Pure Diamond ideology was passed down. We're looking particularly hard at those Mages who were long term allies of Balor, since it seems certain the Daksha here where one of the refuges of the Pure Diamond. Speaking of, the Daksha remain worryingly absent, with no sign of them or their Tulpa. A silence this long can only mean they have found some way to slake their mad obsessions, but how or where is unknown. I suspect the results will be unpleasant when we discover them.

                      Things are currently fairly quiet within Belfast. Tense and watchful but quiet. The Arrow and the Guardians have become mostly stable internally and are managing to co-operate in watching for threats to our weakened Consilium. The Free Council remain decidedly wary about further attacks from the Pure Diamond but are at least no longer openly suspicious of all members of the Diamond Orders. Leannán Sídhe is settling in well as Archivist and her aid seems to have finally allowed Ogham and Achtland to bring the Mysterium's rebellious juniors into line. The representatives from the Silver Dynasties have been quiet asides from a few angry mutterings and the remaining members of the Ladder seem united in rejecting their aims, so hopefully they will realise their lack of options and leave without bothering us further. My Masters Master, the Sage known as Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi will arrive next week. We're still not sure of his reasons, and while we're pretty sure he doesn't intend to cause harm or bring problems, I can't help but brace myself. His coming could herald a mighty wave indeed.

                      Savvy, it worries me greatly to hear what has befallen Cire. If you and your allies cannot secure his swift release I would advise you to insist, as forcefully as necessary, that he is either transferred to different custody or one of your allies is able to observe him at all times. Using the claim that someone would not have been illegally detained without a good reason as a reason to detain them rarely presages good things for the detainee. And any governance involving such claims is of dubious legitimacy in any case.

                      Yosef, I'm afraid I have little to offer you besides good wishes. When it comes to being targeted by covert wings of covert groups with vastly greater resources and connections the dives I was given pretty much boiled down to 'Don't be' and 'Leave the country' neither of which help here. If I could guaranty Belfast's stability I would offer to shelter Denis and Catherine temporarily, but I can feel the storm about to break - I don't know how or why but I'm certain things here are going to get very messy indeed in the next few weeks.

                      Phoenix, I'm sorry to hear of Cardiff's troubles. I may just be projecting based on the signs of long manipulation in Belfast's current unrest but the events you're facing do look like someone fermenting conflict for their own ends, aided by the usual inter-order tensions and secrecy.

                      Silverlock, it's good to hear from you, and very good to learn what's become of poor Blaze. I must admit that I had feared him dead or worse. The whole of it is a long story, with a number of twists, and shows evidence of having a number of skilled manipulators trying to steer events, possibly in multiple directions. You will forgive me, I hope, if I don't share the full details with you at this time, but I can answer your question about the Goblets now. The Twin Goblets of Arratus are supposedly a pair of goblets that allow two Mages who drink from them at the same time to temporarily merge into a single being, presumably in mind, body and soul. There is a certain amount of circumstantial evidence that the Goblets' capacity for merging beings may go beyond this, or at the very least there appear to be a number of Mages who believe the Artifacts powers do. Why you or your bloodline would be specifically targeted by someone seeking to use the Goblets I couldn't tell you at this point.

                      May this letter reach you with fair waves

                      The Morrigan

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        My friends,

                        I hope this letter finds you all in good stead. This week things continue to be tense among the orders here in Cardiff, although with enough pressure we have brought everyone together to at least talk, which is the first step along the path to resolution. At least that was the plan.

                        Instead the Guardians have decided to not take part in any talks, giving us the arbiters the official comment that they haven't stolen anything and that we should just let things lie. Meanwhile the Mysterium threaten to shut off access to the Coiling Stone to everyone outside the order unless things are sorted (which means having them exonerated) with some of their members getting it into their heads that the Free Council was to blame for the Rod of Odin being stolen despite no evidence suggesting this. At least the Free Council have been more helpful once they calmed down, realising that helping us would hopefully get their stolen property back more quickly. They allowed us access to their lorehouse where the items were stolen, as well as a list of the stolen items.

                        I won't bore you with some of the items missing, but a couple of artifacts proved to be quite interesting. In particular, the Ring of Gomorrah (known for preventing possessing entities talking to you) and a grimoire teaching several advanced spells of Prime. These items in particular stood out to me because I've never heard of an artifact with such an ability as the ring before, while the grimoire is supposed to be contained within the Coiling Stone. No doubt one of the Free Council decided to 'appropriate' it for the lorehouse while visiting the Coiling Stone one time.

                        Investigating the lorehouse itself was an interesting experience. It was the first time I've seen a shipping container used for such a purpose anyway. Under Prime sight the container was laden with numerous spells of misdirection and concealment preventing people from noticing it, as well as a very strong Ward preventing teleportation. Inside the container is what was described to me as a pocket realm, with the inside being much larger than the outside would suggest. We spent the next couple of hours barraging the crime scene with a variety of spells, as well as question the spirit of knowledge that inhabits/guards the lorehouse and use more mundane investigatory methods. We managed to discover the following:

                        1. That evidence suggests that there were in fact two robberies occurring within a short period of one another.
                        2. Each theft relied on different methods. The first was able to teleport in and overcome both the ward and access the pocket realm for the item. The second knew the correct password but was more sloppy.
                        3. While the first thief we couldn't see as they used a method similar to what I've seen before with Morgana to hide their tracks, we managed to see the other thieves easily enough once we broke down their Shield of Chronos. Now that we can identify the thieves, we have to wait until we speak to the ranking members of the three orders to see who can identify them.

                        Morrigan, I'm glad to hear that your investigation is going well into the Pure Diamond and that things have remained settled for a least a short period with you. With what our investigation here has seemed to be unveiling, it does sound like someone is stirring things here in Cardiff and causing us to fight against one another. But if your instincts are correct (and I believe they are rarely wrong when it comes to trouble), then be prepared for the coming storm.

                        Silverlock, I likewise share the Morrigan's sentiments regarding Blaze. He has been missing for some time and I pray he will make a swift recovery. Please send him my regards when he wakes. A lot of things have been happening to us as a result of Blaze contacting us regarding the Goblets and the people who wish to possess them. If my suspicions are correct from what you said in your letter, it is important that you keep your wits about you Silverlock. These interested parties seem to be looking for others who are linked to the Goblets and what they could do.

                        Many regards,
                        Phoenix

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          To Phoenix, Morrigan and others,

                          Thank you for your replies. I am sorry that my reply was delayed, but I admit that from what you revealed of what is going on, I debated on contacting you again. The situation, or what I know of it, seems far beyond my capabilities, or even my cabal. We are neonates, it's the reason we were sent to this small town island in the first place. However, we decided that ignoring this potential problem is rather unlikely to be a good course of action, and Reka is excited at the idea of a "mystery to solve." If only I could have a similar level of enthusiasm, but I admit I am curious.

                          First, I do have an update about your friend Blaze. The Ellsworth Consilium had him moved to Ellsworth proper, where he is stable and recovering in a hospital there. From what Hazel-Witch told us they are planning to contact the Rochester Consilium to inform them of Blaze and his current situation.

                          While this was all going on, Eureka and I did look into the Blackwell Mansion outside of town. The history of the place is, well, long and filled with tragedy and suspicious circumstances. While originally built in 1896 by the Blackwell family, it had a succession of owners since, and every single one has died while owning the place save one way back in the early 1900s. So it came as little surprise to us when the place was haunted.

                          Unfortunately the ghost was not related to the Blackwell family, but rather was part of a family that bought the house in 1930s. The husband ended up going crazy and killing his wife and three children before committing suicide. So we spent time running away from a crazy ghost for a good part of the day since neither of us are particularly adept in the death arcana. His ghost kept saying that "I saved my family from evil." Well, that and he mentioned a secret library hidden in the house, but we looked all over and couldn't find any library. I'll note that Reka thought that something was off about the house itself, and she's pretty perceptive. I didn't notice anything and we ended up leaving empty handed.

                          And now for the other reason I sent this, a reason I don't generally like to talk about. I had a dream, and yah I know that sounds stupid, but don't stop reading. My dreams have been, odd, since I was kid. After awakening, sometimes my dreams would reveal, insight I guess. My mentor says that it's not an unheard of talent among the awakened, so hopefully you believe me. Anyway, I had one of these dreams. I was on the shore and it was nighttime. The moon was in the sky and it was broken, and the stars, they were gone. There were two people with me, a man in white and a woman in black. They were telling me that an end of days was coming, as was a dawning of a new age. That a choice was coming, to choose to become a god or to lose everything. The two disagreed then, with the man saying that the voices corrupt, and the woman saying that they reveal the truth. Then I woke up.

                          I'm not sure what that all means exactly, but I know something is going to happen in the coming days, something huge. I just thought I should warn you, in case it's involved in all this.

                          Good luck
                          Silverlock
                          Last edited by Shadowedeyes; 09-11-2015, 12:15 AM.

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                          • #88
                            Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                            So, it's going to be a good news bad news letter. Staring with why I haven't written in a while. I mentioned last letter that we were bracing for the arrival of the Adamant Sage Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi and were rather concerned about his reasons for coming to Belfast. The good news is twofold; firstly he's here as a member of the Bellerophon group to assist in the investigation and resolution of our Mad Daksha problem due to the unusual scale of the outbreak. Secondly he's here as the one who brought my Master into the Brotherhood of the Demon Wind to congratulate me on joining and express his approval, which is a pretty big thing. A lot of the more traditional members of the Legacy would consider me unsuitable to join, for a variety of reasons, but his word carries a lot of weight and it may well help in the future. Unfortunately there are two pieces of bad news to go with the good. The first it that Grandmaster Murakumo is also here because senses tumultuous events looming in Belfast, ones that could either result in great hope or great ruin. Which is pretty concerning on a large scale, but I must admit I haven't really paid more attention to it, largely due to the second bit of bad news. Which is that the Grandmaster apparently shows his approval by granting you the benefit of new and inventive extremes of training. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful and learning a hell of a lot, but he's been pushing me to my physical. mental and Magical limits for much of the past fortnight and it's seriously exhausting, especially combined with my other responsibilities.

                            Speaking of, there's good news on the Pure Diamond front, we've made some significant breakthroughs in identifying members. The bad news is I can't share any details at the moment. I have got a bit of general advice for you all however. Whoever it was that said "the past is prologue" was very right. Just something to bear in mind.

                            As far as the Daksha goes the bad news is we still have no idea where they are, though I suppose we can take some comfort in the fact they aren't causing any large-scale harm to Sleepers. The good news on that front is that we've finally been able to track down Grendel's grave and confirm that they are in fact dead and buried. Well, they were buried. Leannán Sídhe has their bones for the moment and is currently researching in preparation for some traditional necromancy. Which actually involves as much Time as Death, but it will doubtless be highly informative.

                            Finally, matters with the representatives of the Silver Dynasties are moving forwards again. They have finally found an argument which has both legal merit and relevance, if in somewhat stretched fashion. It boils down to Conchobar not actually having the legal standing to make the fulfilment or breaking of the betrothal a matter of contention in a duel, and therefore the result of the duel is irrelevant. This is apparently very technically correct, or at least enough so that arguing the point would be more trouble than it's worth. Deirdre has agreed, largely out of a desire to get things over with, to abide by the results of a second duel on the matter. Which should, strictly speaking, have led to me beating Conchobar senseless again, but there's been a lot of arguing over who the duel should actually be between. Deirdre's right as the challenged in this sort of dispute to have a champion if desired is absolutely ironclad, part of both Lex Magica and Code Duello throughout Ireland since time immemorial, but that hasn't stopped the representatives from trying to argue against it. Probably because they're trying to set things up so that the challenger is a much stronger and more experienced Mage than Deirdre in order to stack the odds. but know that no matter how unfair they make the matchup against her Deirdre has Mages willing to champion her who would flip the whole thing around. Hopefully this whole business will be resolved soon.

                            Phoenix, I'm glad to hear that you're making progress in investigating at least some of the robberies. I have no idea what the Mysterium are hoping to accomplish with their statements, asides from looking like the kid who threatens to take his ball and go home whenever things don't go his way. the response for the Guardians of the Veil seems vaguely suspicious, but that's not unusual. Are Cardiff's Guardians prone to denying everything as a default response?

                            Silverlock, thank you for keeping us in the loop regarding Blaze. I would advise that whoever contacts Rochester be cautious. The circumstances surrounding Blaze's disappearance were highly suspect and there may well be those within the Consilium who would prefer not to see him resurface. As to the investigation, have courage and do what you can. You may find it's more than you expect and even small waves help crumble away the cliff. And don't be worried about the dream thing. I'm currently training with a man who could literally kick me into next week if he so chose. At some point in the not-too-distant future my girlfriend is going to assist in summoning and questioning a Nazi ghost as part of an investigation into what's effectively a terrorist group founded over the correct interpretation of the legacy of a city that was destroyed so hard it no longer existed. What I'm saying is, we're Mages. The bar for too weird to believe is really high. Dreams which provide useful information isn't even a blip.

                            May this letter reach you with fair waves

                            The Morrigan

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              My friends,

                              I hope this letter finds you all in good stead. I've found that things have been getting more busy for me, what with university starting up again soon and as well I've spent some time with my Sleeper friends as I haven't really seen them for months. But the situation has calmed down somewhat here in Cardiff.

                              Anyway, as you all may recall myself and my fellow arbiters investigated the Free Council lorehouse last week regarding several items that were stolen from there. After hours of investigation and questioning, we were able to discover that there were in fact two thefts that took place within a short period of one another. The two thefts were different enough that it is obvious that there were two sets of thieves. Thankfully while we haven't been able to discover more on the first one, the second turned out to be a lot more straightforward as we identified the thieves.

                              Earlier this week we presented our findings to the Council and to the heads of the Free Council and Mysterium, and the Heirophant gave us the identity of the thieves (relunctantly I may add). It turned out that there was no grand conspiracy to shake the foundations of the Consilium (thank God), but simply the actions of a group of low-ranking Mysterium members in the end. The thieves were brought in to speak to us, and realising they were in trouble quickly confessed. It seemed that several of the younger members of the Mysterium decided that after the Coiling Stone was broken into that they believed that the Free Council were responsible and wanted a bit of payback. Getting the passwords was simply a case of getting it from a cabalmate of one of them, and then they tried to cover their tracks before they left.

                              For their actions we have ruled with consent from the Councilors to fine them a sum of tass each to be given to the Free Council, as well as to return all the items stolen and a public apology to be made at the next Consilium caucus. A bit light to some, but I'm sure the Heirophant will be punishing them as well although whether it was for their actions or for simply being caught I'm not sure. The items were given back, apart from the items I mentioned in my last letter. As the grimoire was made public, the Free Council were forced to give it back with some apologies to the Coiling Stone. As for the Ring of Gomorrah, the thieves have swore that they hadn't stolen it. So it means that our mysterious thief has taken it, although why would someone want such an item I'm not sure.

                              Silverlock, like the Morrigan I can't say that you having dreams of the future is that strange. My teacher in Fate magic Oracle has a similar gift although it expresses itself through tarot readings rather than through dreams. As for myself, despite only being Awakened for a couple of years I have seen many things that are stranger than dreams. For example I've met people who were captured by fairies and changed through their ordeals in fairieland, and recently went through a realm only accessible to fairies to find a golden apple. I know this might seem like a lot for you to handle, but you don't stand alone as you have your cabal as well as us for what that's worth.

                              With Blaze, I also agree that it is best to be careful with contacting Rochester. One of Blaze's friends Cire has faced a lot of trouble from the Heirarch there when it came to finding Blaze, including being mentally manipulated and imprisoned against his will. So warn whoever contacts Rochester to be careful, I recommand they speak to a member of the Mysterium there called Savvy.

                              Morrigan, I suspected the Guardians having more to say about the thefts than they would care to admit. Unfortunately though, I haven't had much contact with the higher-ups of the Order and only speak to my contacts within the Order when it comes to speaking to Jason. Speaking of Jason, he has started to suffer from nightmares when he's been sleeping. He talks of being in darkness with voices all around him, and thrashes in his sleep. Has anything happened to Deirdre like this recently?

                              Anyway, I'm glad that things have gone well (so to speak) with Murakumo although I'm disappointed in my fellows in the Silver Dynasties and their attempts to cause trouble with this issue of Deirdre and Conchobar. Always a few bad apples to give the rest of us a bad name.

                              Likewise Yosef, has Dennis or Catherine exhibited anything like this recently? Otherwise I hope your efforts against this Committee for Special Research has been successful.

                              Many regards,

                              Phoenix

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Hey all,

                                So, updates I guess. First thing, this letter is coming to you from Ellsworth. My cabal and I are currently up there because of Consilium gatherings, mostly unremarkable for all you folks, but Morrigan's last letter noted something that seems, well, highly suspicious or highly coincidental that is tied to one of the reasons for the gatherings. You see, an Awakened recently arrived in Ellsworth, and following our Consilium's procedure, has to make introductions and answer questions for the Consilium, so as to avoid unnecessary conflicts of course.

                                The Awakened in question, who goes by the shadow name Veles, has claimed he has come to Ellsworth for an indeterminate time for research purposes. I noticed my mentor, Magaidh, muttering under her breath about "a disgraceful mistake of a legacy." Apparently, Veles is a member of the Daksha legacy, which showing up now considering Morrigan mentioned a problem with Mad Daksha, seems very convenient considering the timing. I will say that Veles seems to have a fine grasp on his mental faculties, if not his ego.

                                On a different subject, while I did tell my mentor of your concerns regarding Blaze, to be honest I don't have a lot of pull in the Consilium. The good news on the other hand, Eureka mentioned that her mentor let hints drop to her that he would be involved in any actions with Rochester, which is bad news for anyone trying to pull a fast one over there. Mr Scarlet, as I understand, is the most powerful member of the Guardians in Ellsworth with ease, possibly the strongest Awakened in the Consilium entirely, and is grudgingly respected by Guardians along the entire eastern seaboard. Not too sure why on the grudgingly part, but despite his oddly laidback manner I think Blaze is in good hands.

                                Not much else to mention, except that something a bit strange was happening back on Solomon Island before we left for the Consilium stuff. A large number of ravens have been congregating on the island, which we were able to confirm with mage sight was the result of some subtle influence on the birds. The influence mostly seems to just attract the birds and keeps them from leaving, they otherwise seem to act as ordinary animals. Figuring out more is currently on our list of thing's to do upon our return. At the moment it seems unlikely to be connected to all your problems in any way, but in case it comes up again in a later letter you'll know when it started.

                                Phoenix, I don't know too much about all these people you've brought up, but I can say I'm quite intimately acquainted with nightmares. Unlikely to be connected in any way since I've been suffering from nightmares and night terrors since I've been quite young. Have you determined if it's of supernatural origin, or could it simply be a result of a stress related disorder?

                                Also, I'll thank both you and Morrigan on being understanding about the dream thing. Magaidh has said similar things. I might have issues involving dream related stuff from when I was younger. Actually, it seems pretty likely.

                                Anyway, good luck until next time,
                                Silverlock

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