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[IC] Mage:The Awakening - Anthology of Power

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  • Techpriest
    started a topic [IC] Mage:The Awakening - Anthology of Power

    [IC] Mage:The Awakening - Anthology of Power

    THE BLACK PYRAMID



    CHAPTER ONE
    WHAT WORDS WE HAVENT READ

    Tuesday, January 3rd 2017 8:24p.m.

    The new year was kicking off with the worst snowstorm since 2003. Twenty four inches of snow blanketed the world outside. Most of the commerce had closed down, transforming the ebb and bustle of the city streets into a silent wasteland. The citizens of Boston, normally overflowing with activity, had hidden themselves away from the cold. Not everyone had retreated indoors, of course. Urban children had wrapped themselves in numerous layers, determined to throw snowballs and slide between buildings on the slick white surface. Journalists and stranded tourists had their cameras out, documenting the rare intensity of the blizzard.

    And then of course, the three of you.

    A letter had arrived for Astoria just a hair over a week ago, bearing the mark of the Mysterium. Just beyond the borders of the Boston Consilium, a Mystagogue named Meristoktrix had hermited himself away to conduct research for the Order. Once, his name commanded a degree of respect among his fellows within the city. It was said he often delivered valuable Artifacts and Grimoires to the Academy, when his own research into such things fell short. Yet for years now, his reputation has been sullied by rumors of wild paranoia, and a decreased value in the items procured for the Mysterium. Among Mage's, mental instability held even more stigma than it did for Sleepers. It carried with it the question of Bedlam, and the added danger of contagion.

    The letter to Astoria bore his signature:

    ********************************************
    My esteemed colleague,

    It will no doubt surprise you to learn that we share a common thread of Sympathy. Your mentor Fell and I worked closely together for the Order many years previous. No doubt his recent disappearance has stricken you, as it has me. Most disturbingly, a parcel was recently delivered to me bearing his mark. Wrapped protectively within was a scroll, written in text which was unrecognizable. It has been obscured in a manner that has proven, at least for all my efforts, impenetrable.

    Imagine my surprise when it was brought to my attention, by those within our Order who still answer my correspondences, that you have a talent for Cryptography. Is this coincidence or the province of Fate my dear? Then again, I suppose it makes sense, in an utterly mundane fashion, that a man who spent his life unearthing secrets would pass one down to his apprentice, and that he would have prepared such an apprentice for just such a challenge.


    At Midnight on January the Third of the new year, I will deliver the text, which I shall heretofore refer to as The Cipher Scroll, to the Lower Depths Tap Room on Commonwealth Avenue. Meet me there, but be careful.

    The eyes of Sleepers are upon me.

    Your friend,
    Meristoktrix
    Last edited by Techpriest; 02-04-2015, 04:20 PM.

  • crapcarp
    replied
    At first, Phoenix thought the trio to be a bunch of smack-talking losers who had no idea what they were dealing with. But hearing Reddy's answers, he wasn't so sure now. Their situation was brought on them, and they were trying to deal with it as best they could. This isn't right, Sleepers shouldn't be dealing with this kinda stuff. That's what we're supposed to do. We have the means to deal with it.

    His heart went out to the three, even though he tried to hide for practical reasons. Deception clearly wasn't his strong suit however, as sympathy has shown through his eyes.

    "Sure, pops," he replied weakly, then cleared his throat to speak more forcefully, "So, back at the bar we saw three guys across the street. I doubt they were hanging out freezing their asses off in the cold, so do you have any idea who they were and why they were there?"

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  • Thorbes
    replied
    The drugged revelations of the man know as Reddy became increasingly disturbing with each added word. This Cortex Industries not only where in the know about the existence of magic, wich was worrying enough, they were actively hunting artifacts and worst of all using them on their own employees. The increased eficiency and deathly withdrawal created by this objects (and maybe, the entities bound to them, Bardo was not keen on that point) sounded like magically enforced slavery to the good doctor. That simply could not be allowed to continue.

    Bardo wondered how much did the responsibles at Cortex truly know about what they were unleashing. Could it be just misguided and greedy, yet otherwise normal CEOs taking advantage of forces beyond their comprehension? Bardo knew all too well the backstabing world in wich powerful and rich people lived and how they tended to grab anything that could represent and advantage over the competition without giving much thougth to the consecuences as long as those consecuences didn't apply to them. What if some workers died horribly? That would serve as deterrent and motivation for the rest of them, right? He felt how his stomach churned, he was disgusted beyond reason.

    On the other hand, maybe Cortex was nothing but a bunch of dupes themselves, pawns in a game they didn't manage to even glimpse. An experiment. The dehumanization of the workers certainly had the signature of the Seers all over it, though the Abysal conection didn't seem to make sense. Maybe a rogue faction? Left-handed Scelesti Seers? The mere thought made him shiver.

    -"Please, continue, son"- he encouraged Phoenix. He felt sudenly dirty and disgusted at himself.

    These people were not the enemy. They were just victims.
    Last edited by Thorbes; 04-15-2015, 06:11 AM.

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  • Techpriest
    replied
    Massachusetts General Hospital
    Reddy was still clearly being affected by the drugs, but his words began to string together more cohesively. "Cortex started collecting artifacts. Started to see how things really were. Some of the artifacts had...thoughts. They got into our heads, started pushing us to work harder, sleep less, push ourselves past our limits. It was working, so the higher ups seemed content to let it happen. But the whispers in our heads started becoming shouts, then visions. They haunted our every waking moment. A lot of us quit...then died right after. We're trying to make it stop."

    The Nest
    Meristoktrix sighed. "I'm affraid I'm no cypher expert my dear. That's why I contacted you. It is curious that Fell prepared this document to be sent to me in the event of his disappearance. That means he knew it was a possibility. And since he sent the scroll to me, instead of you, that suggests he wanted us working together. Perhaps he simply wanted you to have another crotchety old Mystagogue in your corner. Although an association with me might do more harm to your aspirations than good I'm afraid."

    Leave a comment:


  • crapcarp
    replied
    Phoenix recalled the emotions "Reddy" felt back at the Lower Depths as he rambled about the Abyssal. So that's why he knew, and why he was afraid before. I wonder...

    "So did this 'Cortex Industries' set that..." Phoenix trailed off, searching for a more polite word, "...entity, of the paintings on you to make sure you'd retrieve the scroll?"

    Leave a comment:


  • Thorbes
    replied
    Bardo kept himself busy, taking blood samples from each of the thugs and then labeling them with the names that figured in their IDs. He should confirm if they were indeed their real ones and not asumed identities. He also took a quick picture from each of the patients with his cell phone's camera, hoping that that would be enough for someone actually versed in the Mysteries of Space to track and find those three if it ever became neccesary.

    Bardo procured his notebook from inside Dr. Bate's coat and took note of the rather rambling answers of the man known as Reddy. When he mentioned the creature in the painting his heart skiped a beat. He certainly didn't expect that those people had actually notice the thing, less so that they were working for it under death threats. He felt almost sorry for them.

    He made a quick nod to Phoenix to continue with the interrogation, he would take care of noting down anything of importance.

    Leave a comment:


  • NoiseConspiracy
    replied
    "Trouble is where it starts, not ends." Astoria looked up from the scrolls after what seemed like an eternity. She looked over her scribbled notes, frowning at her own poor recreation of the scripting that she'd made while looking away. "It's that paranoia that kept him alive, as far as we know. There's a reason that the saying isn't 'Fortune Favors the Prudent.'"

    She scoffed at her own bad joke, standing up and putting on a kettle of hot water, leaning against the counter as she looked back at the desk. "This scroll, it's...jumbled? Is that the word you'd use? Backwards, somehow...or just not whole. Bits missing in the text, in whatever formed it. Strange stuff." She looked towards Meristoktrix, raising an eyebrow. "I'm guessing you had a look at it at some point. What did you make of it?"

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  • Techpriest
    replied
    Massachusetts General Hospital
    Talat Reddy tried in vein to resist the effects of the drug, but you can't fight biology, especially when combined with a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of intimidation. After all, the convenient combination of a blown circuit and suddenly damaged shoes, then the sudden appearance of their adversary as a Doctor in the hospital to which they'd been sent...well that would have been disconcerting even without the mind affecting substance. Even so, Reddy would have had a much better chance to maintain the same level of composure he had showed at the Lower Depths without the pharmaceutical coursing through his veins.

    "Cortex Industries..." Reddy spoke through a drug induced haze, his words slurred and disjointed "We were sent...for the scroll...but not just about orders...have to protect my team...the thing in the paintings...can't quit...die if you quit...have to keep pushing...have to get...free..."

    The Nest
    The letters and sentences of the Scroll twist and writhe, forming an unidentifiable and inconsistent pattern. The letters seem somehow incomplete, as if more were needed to make full sense of them. Meristoktrix remained mostly silent as you worked, busying himself with various pointless distractions. After a time though, he continued the previous conversation as if not a second had passed since it began.

    "I see Fell passed on his dangerous curiosity to his prized student. It may not be the safest trait, but it certainly is highly valuable for a young Mystagogue. He would indeed be proud my dear. I suppose it's best to stop whatever it is these Sleepers are doing before it causes even greater trouble down the line."
    Last edited by Techpriest; 03-14-2015, 05:49 PM.

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  • crapcarp
    replied
    As they entered the room, Phoenix plopped onto a seat sitting across from all three of them. He had the smuggest smile all over his face as he shifted gazes between the three. "How's the nose, Reddy?" he mockingly chuckled in between Bardo's words. He complimented Bardo's veiled threat with a hearty crackin' of his knuckles. "Thank you, pops," he replied, all too eager to get started.

    "So Reddy, Hogan, and Fox," he looked at them as he stated their names, "If those are your real names, that is, which we'll find out of course. But first, what I wanna know is: Are you after the briefcase yourselves, or are you just a bunch of grunts following orders? Also, who was your little back-up outside?"

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  • Thorbes
    replied
    -Ah, we were just talking about you, son.- Doctor Bates shoock the young man's hand efusively. -I think both of you remember each other from yesterday's fateful night, but I'll make some formal introductions anyway: Stacey, this is Garrick Royce; Garrick, this is Stacey Collins.

    After the introductions and some polite greetings were exchanged, Bates excused himself and Garrick from Ms. Collins and left for the patients' room. Bates had made sure they were treated as potentially dangerous and so they were restrained on their beds. His initial idea was to keep them into separate rooms, but the peak in activity due to the last night's accidents made it unadvisable. If there were going to be any witnesses of what they were about to do, they'd better be the other thugs.

    -Good Morning! Please, do not get up.- Dr. Bates entered the room greeting the "patients" with a wide smile while they tried in vain to escape the restrains. -Well, it seems everything is in order, you will be leaving these facilities in no time. -he fliped through the chart pages, nodding at some points. -Just a few questions before you go, if you don't mind.-he said, pulling a syringue and bottle of liquid from his doctor's bag.

    Giving his "patients" the back, he performed the secret mudras unseen over the bottle of distilled water. The liquid soon changed on a molecular level under the transmutative influence of Bardo's will. He filled the syringe from the bottle thrice, each time administering it through the intravenous dropper the three of them still had injected.

    -Good, I think we are all ready, right?- He smiled. -Please, if you are so kind, my friend here has some question for you gentlemen. I advise you to be thorough and truthfull in your answers, otherwise I cannot guarantee you wont be leaving this room just to be taken to the morgue. Thank you. -he added without changing his cheerful demeanor.

    -You can proceed, son.- The doctor said to Phoenix.
    Last edited by Thorbes; 02-27-2015, 08:24 AM.

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  • NoiseConspiracy
    replied
    The Nest

    Astoria took off her glasses and set them on the table, slowly rubbing her temples. She had tried to work on the scroll immediately after taking it back to the Nest, but the cold combined with yesterday's attack had made her restless and running on something less than a full night's sleep. Even now, after a mostly restless night in her bed, she was feeling the ghost of exhaustion hanging around and continuing to torment her.

    "You know that if Fell were still around he'd still be at it. Would you say the same to him?" She muttered with fingers against her eyelids, soft spots dancing in her eyes while she did so. "Don't answer that. He wouldn't have listened anyways. He didn't listen to me when I said the same thing."

    Shaking her head, she blinked back the exhaustion and looked back at the scroll, taking her pen and continuing to take notes as she did so. "Either way, if we hadn't been attacked, you can rest assured I wouldn't be pushing. Someone else wants this. They may know what it is, and I don't. You don't need to guess how much that gets under my skin."

    Leave a comment:


  • crapcarp
    replied
    It was fortunate that one of Phoenix's neighbors was nice enough to lend a shovel, since he didn't have time to get one yesterday. It was also fortunate that many blizzard-related incidents had reduced the attendence of his classes enough that he could take the day off. So he took the opportunity to get a shovel of his own before heading over to the hospital. With both shovel and bo staff in the backseat, he donned the magnetic gloves as he strolled in.

    "Hey pops!" he greeted with a shot up hand as he approached the two.

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  • Thorbes
    replied
    Bates looked through the chart pages before answering -I would like to know too, Stacey. Look, I and a couple of people that are helping me out with my private research went for a quick drink after a whole evening of hard work, before going to our respective homes. We ended up in this Lower Depths place where we found by chance with an acquaintance of one of my assistants, a very clever and resourceful woman with very useful ties to academia, so we decided to sit all together.

    Thing is, after a while there, these three men enter the place and start to eye the briefcase of my asistant's acquaintance. I supose they thought it will have money in it or something. Well, they get to our table and started to get rude and aggressive and everything went to hell from there. My other assistant is a young and strong man we have mostly to act as security, and I'm quite glad he was with us that night, it might be me up there otherwise. -he gestures towards the patients rooms.

    Bates made his best effort not to look worried.

    -Forget that last thing, it might be the stress talking. Don't say anything to Gloria, I don't want her to worry, she has enough on her plate as it is. By the way, did you check if their IDs were real? These kind of people tend to use false documents. Nobody wants to press charges, but better safe that sorry, don't you agree?
    Last edited by Thorbes; 02-25-2015, 09:11 PM.

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  • Techpriest
    replied
    Massachusetts General Hospital - Wednesday, January 4th 11: 22 a.m.
    The sun is out, the skies are blue, and although it's still quite cold it's at least warmer than it was yesterday. As you expected, Mass General is even busier than usual with all the blizzard related incidents. Stacy Collins greeted Dr. Bates in the overcrowded lobby, handing him a chart while scarfing down a pop tart before the start of her shift. "Hey Doc." Now that there were no injured to tend to, Stacy's entire manner changed, dropping the hyper professionalism in favor of a familiar and friendly attitude toward Bardo. "The nurses told me the guys from the bar will be fine. In fact, they'd probably already be out of here if things weren't so busy. Plus we had to wait for that sedative you gave them to wear off. So what exactly happened anyway?"

    The Nest
    Meristoktrix sat on the couch, sipping hot chocolate while watching Astoria go to work on the Cipher Scroll. "My dear, I hope all this business will be worth it. Fighting Sleepers in bars is a young Mage's game. You could have gotten yourself killed Astoria! I admire your commitment to the Mysterium's goals, but surely it's not worth your life." Nevertheless, he looked at the scroll like it was made of solid diamond.

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  • Techpriest
    replied
    Andre stops mid dial to give Astoria a thoughtful, analytical gaze. He takes her number, and looks over Bardo's credentials with the phone still in his hand, then grunts and hangs up. "This had better not come back to bite me in the ass." After he watched Bardo investigating the state of the electrical outlet, he said "We're all lucky we didn't get deep fried right along with them." During the course of his search, the Moros would indeed discover a set of small radio devices.

    When the ambulances arrived on the scene, a process that took significantly longer than it otherwise would have given the road conditions and many other accidents caused by the blizzard, the three minds around the corner walked away, soon leaving the range of Phoenix's senses. A group of EMTs came through the door, lead by a dark haired woman named Stacy Collins. She was the best friend of Bardo's wife. The constant professional, she fired off a series of well rehearsed questions at the Necromancer as she began to examine them. Meanwhile Meristo was standing before the painting, gazing into it as if looking at the infinity of the night sky. A distant, thoughtful expression wore on his aging face, and he held his glasses in his hand, biting down on the tip of one of the temples. He seemed completely oblivious, or at least completely unconcerned about the activity of the medical personnel. With a blink and a start, he came out of his dream like considerations and turned around, seeming genuinely surprised to see the three unconscious men being tended to. He put his hands on Bardo's and Phoenix's shoulders, pulling them closer together, "Remind me never to steal a piece of paper from the two of you, yeah?"

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