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

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  • #46
    Dear friends,

    I hope this letter finds you all well. It has been a relatively slow week since my last letter, as the Shadowed Ones have seem to have gone to ground and so far have proven very difficult to find. I can't shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen, but I continue to keep a watchful eye.

    We have though managed to deal with the spirit that claimed to be Manannán and the rest of his 'children'. Through the use of Time magic on the prisoners my cabal and I captured, the main location of the cult in Cardiff was found on the harbour front. Although I did not accompany them, a team accompanied by two Sentinels raided the building during a ritual of theirs this past Sunday, and with the aid of several Thyrsus have bound the spirit. It is being interrogated, a task that I've been told has proven quite difficult due to its level of power and its unwillingness to co-operate. But I hope we have some success.

    Interestingly I was told of two individuals of the cult that fought with ghost-like powers and proved difficult to put down and were killed. Later their bodies were gone and there were reports of two people who had died that same evening in the area. They reminded me of a man I met once when my cabal were dragged into a murder who had similar powers and called himself a "Sin-Eater". The Sentinels continue to keep an eye out for these two, and I have sent a message to the man I know to ask that his "people" keep an eye out as well.

    We have taken note of your discoveries Morrigan, and am afraid to say that no such mark seems to exist with these Children of Manannán. I believe though that due to their goals that this cult has nothing to do with the Perfected and was actually trying to prevent its coming. As the Shadowed Ones are remaining hidden, it remains to be seen why they are trying to find Jason.

    On a more personal note, given the events that you witnessed last week Morrigan I can understand your reaction. I too have done things that weigh heavily on my soul since I have Awakened, things that despite being able to justify myself at the time and knowing doing so meant the difference between saving the people I cared about or their death. It is a difficult burden to bear, and I do not make light of your sacred duty as an Arrow to shoulder them. My words were simply meant as gesture of comfort, that was all.

    Many regards,



    • #47
      Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

      Phoenix, I apologise for my words in my last letter. It was grossly unfair of me to vent my rage in response to your words, which I know you well enough to know were a sincerely meant comfort. I have seen far too many people use far too many gods to justify any action or inaction they wished, generally in complete hypocrisy of the beliefs they claim and have a hard time believing such things genuine anymore. It doesn't help that after being able mostly forget about such things following my Awakening I have recently encountered things that stir up bad memories and remind me the Awakened are not beyond such things. I've not mentioned this previously because, frankly, I had bigger things on my mind, but the Daksha have been...... proselytising, for lack of a better word, about their beliefs with increasing fervour recently. They're not finding much traction, and most Mages seem to be pretty sick of hearing it but they're keeping at it. Unfortunately while it's pretty vile to hear it's not against the Lex Magica to speak your beliefs vigorously so unless they go completely stupid and start telling Sleepers too much we can do nothing to stop them. Why the Daksha are trying to convert people when before they've mostly acted superior and got people to come to them is as opaque as the rest of their recent motives. Bellerophon Adding to that unpleasant reminder was dealing with Sadik and his people, who practically worshiped sacrificing for the Veil as an end in of itself , and the reminiscences this prompted from Deirdre about the beliefs her extended family tried to instil in her, and it doesn't surprise me that my tolerance for such things is worn down. Still, as I said, I know your words did not come from such a place and I apologise again for letting my own demons cast them as such.

      I still feel disgusted at myself for what happened last week, even as I know in my head that there was no fault in my actions. That I was given formal recognition for Black Michael's capture at the Consilium gathering this week did not help, nor did the fact that upon returning to our Sanctum afterwards Deirdre and I discovered the Hallow in the cave had suddenly grown much stronger. I know why, there are number of underground Hallows in the area that vary in strength through a complex cycle, and ours is one of the few currently accessible, but the only Mage who successfully learnt the details of the cycle vanished with his notes before I was born and in the absence of the truth a part of me can't help but see it as a mocking reward for my actions.

      I'm afraid I've done little to further our investigation this week. The lesser cults appear to have gone to ground and I've been too busy fighting my own demons to track them down. My Master, Manannán mac Lir, has been helping, largely by training me to exhaustion, since neither of us are much for talking about our feelings. Still, it works for us and he has once again been a rock I can build myself upon, and I am forever grateful. And with what I realised in training this week I know I will be one day able to repay him in the only way he will accept. I'm always refining my sword skills but this is the first time in a while that I have directly compared myself against my Master. He's still better but the gap between us has narrowed. For the first time I can see the possibility of equalling and surpassing him as a future to grasp rather than a dream to chase. To master my sword, and myself, like that is the only repayment I can offer for what he's given me that Manannán mac Lir will ever accept.

      Not that my other Cabalmates have not been supportive, but for the most part they are old men, Warlocks who have walked the Path of Scourging for a long time, and these regrets are long behind them. They don't know what words to say to help and don't have the bond between my Master and I that allows him to help without words. I say mostly because Deirdre is certainly not old, and most definitely not a man, and she has been most vocal in her attempts to help me overcome this. She might not have Aengus' polished way with words but she speaks passionately, from a compassionate heart and it helps. Comparing the Consilium's actions favourably to the actions of her family was perhaps not the best tack to take, given that's a very low bar to clear and mainly served to remind me again how remarkable she is for coming out of that snake pit as so kind a person. Possibly realising this she has backed her verbal encouragements up with physical ones. She's always been a physically affectionate person but this week she has taken every possible opportunity to express it. In one of my blacker moments this week I made the mistake of asking how someone as good as her could bare to touch someone like me.
      I shall certainly never do that again and I think the sheer shock of it did as much to dislodge my foul mood as anything that actually got said. Additionally Deirdre has found something for me to do that I can do without regret. A number of Sleeper acquaintances of hers have been stalked by a shadow figure whose abilities and actions seem strange enough she suspects it to be supernatural. It's behaviour is becoming increasingly menacing and she has decided to investigate and stop it before anyone gets hurt. She's asked me to help, especially with the stopping, and defending Sleepers from a supernatural menace is something I feel no hesitation about the rightness of. Even if it does turn out to be mundane I have no qualms about putting the fear of me into some Sleeper creeper before they hurt someone.

      May this letter reach you with fair waves

      The Morrigan


      • #48
        Addressed to Phoenix, on paper crumbling with age
        Why can't you hear me screaming?

        The crushing earth, the biting stone

        My blood is thick with ashes, are they your Sins or mine?

        The broken glass, the shattered bone

        The Dust in my mouth, is it the words I tried to speak?

        It is not good for man to be alone

        They saw the Law writ in black stars; why this disobedience?

        It was a terrible thing I was shown

        The new Soul and the old; which is mine?

        O time unsex me! They will not head man, but Crone.

        Why does no one help me?
        Sent to Cire, by Sleeper Post






        To the Morrigan, in the usual way
        Did you know that I was Bogon?
        I don't think you did, before I just told you.
        Why didn't you ask?
        Did I not tell enough lies?
        This game isn't fun to play anymore.
        I know, lets play a new one!
        You try to find the mask, and I try to burn it.
        He won't mind, he just keeps sleeping.
        He isn't fun anymore either.


        I see!
        You wonder when I put him on.
        I didn't.
        He let me in.
        Not on purpose.
        He was just too new.
        And the Words were too old.
        Monsters hide in deep time.
        Even when its spans a single page.


        • #49
          Dear friends,

          I hope this letter finds you all in better stead than myself. It has been a... stressful week to say the least, with many things happening both in my Awakened life as well as my Sleeper life. It will be best though to keep my thoughts ordered and so will talk about them one at a time.

          Firstly, I am afraid to say that despite my efforts Jason has been kidnapped. As far as I can work out, it happened sometime around Sunday just gone and mages were involved. We had moved Jason to a recently vacated home on the outskirts of Cardiff only last week, and Owain our hired Arrow had come with him to stay. However on Sunday evening when it was my turn to check on them I rang Owain only to have no answer. After trying multiple times, I made my way over to the house only to find it empty save for Owain's mutilated body and signs of a struggle had taken place. I called the Sentinel responsible for the area to report the incident as well as my cabal, and soon they all arrived.

          The Arrow Sentinel, Hel as you could imagine was not in the best of moods especially due to a death in her Order more than everything. A member of her cabal I knew called Oracle was asked to come and see the past, and found that a powerful Shield of Chronos had been placed over the area. As I lacked the knowledge of Time to attempt to dispel it, it took her about a day and a half of ritual magic to break through the shield. But from what she could see (once I used Mind a couple of times to see for myself) a Portal opened unexpectedly in the living room and several masked individuals emerged from it. Jason panicked for a moment before he seemed to just collapse, while the individuals attacked Owain with magic. Owain fought back, and attempted to grab Jason before being overwhelmed by the attackers. He was finally finished by one who had grabbed him and after a slight struggle proceeded to tear him apart almost in two with his bare hands! Once Owain was dead, two of the attackers carried Jason through the portal while the other pulled out something that seemed to do something (perhaps cast the Shielding spell) before disappearing through the Portal. At the moment there are no real leads at the site of the attack, but at the moment Pisces is attempting to use some of Jason's belongings to build upon the sympathetic connection she has with him to track him down. She is having some difficulty though, as she says that something is trying to prevent her building upon the connection. But I have faith in her abilities and hopefully I can recover Jason. Unfortunately now the Arrows are expecting some sort of compensation for Owain's death, which I'm trying to negotiate about.

          Secondly, and perhaps the strangest thing this week was the surprising letter I had received this Monday just gone seemly from Ariadnos, who we have not heard from for quite some time since his original plans to visit Belfast several months ago. The letter I received though was not like his, and instead came on paper so old that I 'had to resort to using Forces magic to keep the paper from crumbling to my touch. I have included a photo of the paper and the words written upon it with this letter, as I don't know if you have received the same or something different. But I must admit I am concerned for the fate of our companion in this mystery, given the words written. With other things happening this week, I have not had the time to research it properly. But it does not seem to be in any code that I have ever come across, and I fear the worst has happened.

          With these events deciding to happen at the same week as my university examinations, I have felt the stress of things building up more than I would have done. It has been a temptation given everything that has happened to rely on magic to get me through, whether it is using Mind magic to grant me the knowledge I need or increase my intelligence, ask a friend to look into the future at the questions so I know what answers to learn, or any of the dozens methods that are available to us as mages. But I do not believe that magic should be the answer for everything, despite the beliefs of some mages I have met. So I have taken the exams using nothing but my own knowledge and skills, and after my last exam tomorrow will be done. I pray I have done well.

          The Morrigan, thank you for your apology but it was not necessary. Just as you have gotten to know me, I like have gotten to know you and understand where your emotions came from and there is no need to apologise. I personally agree with you that many a hideous thing has been done in the name of God and other gods that runs counter to the tenants that they should hold faithful. All I can try though is to not follow that same path but to try and be a good man, and hope that despite some of my actions will be judged fairly in the future. I am glad to hear that Deirdre and your mentor have been supportive, and hope this new investigation proves fruitful for you. Given Jason's disappearance, I advise keeping a closer eye on Deirdre just in case.

          Ariadnos, if you read this then I pray you are well. Anything you can send regarding the contents of the letter I received will be appreciated, as it has left me unsettled and concerned deeply for you.

          Cire, I hope your investigation into Blaze's disappearance is going well and that we hear from you soon.

          Many regards,


          • #50
            Glad tidings to all who read this letter,
            Phoenix, I am sorry to hear of Jason's abduction and of Owain's death. I wish you luck in finding Jason and if my Cabal and I can be of any help please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you for your concern to Deirdre. I shall remain on my guard but Deirdre and I find each other's company no hardship and we are not apart often. The sanctum the two of us share is not as well defended as the Tower of Light but there's enough to buy a warning. Two Mages on their guard is a far different proposition than one Mage off his. Additionally they would have to be swift indeed to carry out such a raid before our Cabalmates could come to our aid. Even my grasp of Mind is sufficient to alert my Master with a thought and with his Attainments he scarcely needs more than that to arrive and the others would not be far behind him.

            It sounds as though Owain fought well but one Mage on many is rarely a fight that ends well for the one. I must say I am not impressed by the local Arrow expecting compensation for his death. You had retained a Banner Wardens services to guard someone! To be willing to risk your life to protect your charge is the point! Given that one of the groups that protection was from included some of the Bound amongst their number they cannot possibly have believed there was no risk to the request before now. If they felt the danger was so great that further payment than had already been given was needed then they should have said so when the arrangements were being made. For one of our number to die doing his duty and his fellows to demand compensation is a disgrace! If they are upset about Owain's death then they should take it out of the hides of his killers, not the one he was serving! If they've forgotten how engage such a conflict then please, direct them to Belfast and we will remind them! I'm sure we've an apprentice or two eager to demonstrate their grasp of the basics!

            I also received a rather worrying letter apparently from Ariadnos this Monday. It arrived via the usual method and is unremarkable save its contents. I have included a copy with this missive. It appears to be some sort of possessing entity and claims to be / have been Bogon. I almost overlooked the name but saw it by chance when looking over Ariadnos' other letters for hints. Bogon was the alias supposedly used by Ngalyod when he visited Rochester at the time of the events that began all this. The implications are disturbing, given what we have encountered so far in this investigation and the sorts of things Ariadnos in particular had run into. I share your concern for him, and if we do not hear from him soon I will take steps to ascertain his fate, one way or the other.

            My activities this week have gone very well indeed. We have yet to stop the entity responsible permanently but we have thwarted its attacks and the noose is closing around it. I doubt the attacker will prove to connected to our joint investigation but I can look back at this week and know I have done an unquestioned good in protecting those who cannot protect themselves..

            We met Deirdre's friends at the bar of the Queen's Student Union and were surprised to find The Dagda already there. He has a longstanding association with the University and there is apparently a tradition amongst student groups that he may be summoned to help with difficult problems with a glass of fine Irish Whiskey. I'm frankly surprised it requires fine whiskey, the Arrow uses his homebrew for initiations and it has been known to stun passing birds. In any case they were worried enough to seek his support in getting the stalker investigated. In part I suspect it may have been because they felt they might need the weight of his backing to get the administration to take notice. The students being threatened were all part of the University GLBT group and attitudes, are not as they should be for people of our inclination in some institutions. We got a clear demonstration of this not long after the meeting started when a preacher of some description showed up to harangue the assembled for our 'sins'. He presumably meant to give the usual debauchery, degeneracy and damnation spiel but The Dagda shouted him down quite effectively. The Dagda at full bellow can be heard some distance away and however they might usually be inclined to side the University's security were far more afraid of his wrath than the priest's and they ejected him from the campus in short order.

            Once that was over with the discussion of the incidents got underway. There had been a great number of them over the past few months. They began with people feeling like they were being watched and seeing a shadowy figure at a distance. The figure started appearing closer and closer obviously staring at the victims and also doing things like crossing distances without appearing to move, disappearing in an instant when the victim glanced away or tried to shine a light on it, and always appearing in dark patches of shadows even in full daylight. This would have been bad enough but about two weeks before it escalated. The victims found threats carved or burned into things near their residences and when they saw the stalker it was accompanied by hunched figures and foul smells and stains would linger in the place where they saw it for several days. The threats were pretty standard 'Repent your wickedness before God sinner!' but that's more than they should have to put up with even without the supernatural elements. As bad as all that is the reason for the meeting was worse. Apparently three couples had been attacked over three nights, all near the University campus. They had all received a number of deep gashes, some from knives and some from an unidentified weapon. All had survived but the attacks had escalated and the most recent victims were hospitalised. The proper authorities were being typically slow to respond given the identities of the victims and the lack of media attention on the matter or influence being brought to bear on them.

            People where unsurprisingly distressed to learn of the scale of the incidents and of the recent attacks but The Dagda again got things under control. He gave his word to see to it that the attacks were investigated and the attackers dealt with. To that end he contacted a friend to get some officers over to the SU to take some initial statements right away. The friend was Nuada and the officers were Guardians who are probably not officially on the force but I'm sure the local constabulary won't kick up a fuss when Nuada has them told what they're investigating. It was quite late by the time things finished so given the timing of the attacks The Dagda also arranged for security for the students on the way back, in the form of three buses and a pair of burly Libertine Minutemen called Fionn and Benandonner. They each took a bus and I the third and I must admit to being flattered that I was rated as equal protection to the two of them as they are serious hard men. We all saw glimpses of the stalker but I suspect it is unwilling or unable to act in front of large numbers of witnesses as it waited until I was seeing the last of my charges to their door before trying anything. I suspect it may well have been frustrated because it tried to rush past me to get at them before they entered. I didn't let it and a short but intense knife fight ensued before my charges got inside and I shut their door between them and it. It retreated after that which makes me suspect it has some sort of ban regarding homes or thresholds. Some bad luck with burnt out lights meant the area was quite dark and I am fairly sure the creature made it darker so I didn't get a good look at it but I am confident it wasn't human. Humans, as a rule, do not manage to get through my guard, mage armour and leathers in a single blow through brute strength. The burning eyes, reek if brimstone and the fingers blending into metal knives are also fairly suggestive. The creature was accompanied by at least two others that clawed and bit at me. They kept low to the ground but were human sized and made sounds that were a disturbing blend of human and animal. My defences mostly held them off while I contended with their master but a few hits got through and when The Dagda inspected them while healing me he was pretty confident they were left by something not dissimilar to human teeth and nails. The creature itself managed a couple of nasty cuts but nothing The Dagda couldn't put right in a few moments once we met up. It took longer to inspect the wounds for details of what caused them than it did to heal them.

            With clear evidence of a supernatural entity involved and a Mage of The Dagda's stature involved it was not hard to get enough people out on the streets to watch for the attacker and protect its targets. It helps that they listened to the warnings they were given and are doing their best to avoid being out late in anything other than large groups. Actually we may have been slightly to effective at protecting its potential victims as the creatures kept appearing and retreating, obviously wanting to attack but warned off by our watch. Which is nice but doesn't help with identifying it and stopping it permanently. Deirdre came up with a possible solution to this - since its victims are being kept out of its reach why not create fake victims that fit the profile of its targets and have them be obvious in its hunting grounds. She managed to convince me before bringing the idea up that since she and I fit the profile other than not being a couple we should volunteer to fake being a couple and try to attract its attention. She's always so willing to give of herself for others. It's something I admire her for, especially knowing how she was raised.

            It was agreed by those involved that Deirdre's plan was worth trying with little arguing and quite a few knowing smirks I'm not sure of the cause of. (I have even less idea what all the winking from The Dagda was about.) A guard rotation was set up to ensure we could protect as many of the students as possible while still having sufficient backup available at a moment's notice if we managed to provoke an attack and Deirdre and I have spent the past several nights wandering the attackers territory acting the part. It's yet to act and probably suspects a trap but even a cursory bit of mind magic is enough to feel its anger and frustration mounting and I doubt it will be able to resist the urge to attack much longer. To help in provoking it Deirdre has suggested we increase the frequency, blatancy and degree of our displays of affection which seems to be working. I have to admit it's the second most enjoyable way I've ever been a distraction but it does make it rather hard to remain fully on guard for the creatures and I wish Deirdre did not feel she had to do things like this. I know at least one of the Guardians is familiar enough with this kind of work that she and I could have played the parts without an innocent like Deirdre having to do things no one should have to do of necessity. Still, I respect her dedication if I regret it and am confident we will snare the entity soon.

            May this letter reach you with fair waves

            The Morrigan


            • #51
              My friends,

              I hope this letter finds you all well. After last week, I have finally had an opportunity to relax somewhat thanks to the end of my examinations. Now I can allow myself to focus more on my work as one of the Awakened. For starters, I have always been interested in learning more about Fate and have asked Oracle whether she will teach me. She has gratefully accepted, and I begin my lessons next week.

              The issue of Owain's death has been sorted out now thankfully. I share your thoughts Morrigan regarding the behaviour of the Arrows in this, as although I did not intend Owain's death there was always the possibility that it could happen given the nature of the foes facing us. Owain understood this when I approached him, and although I did not get to know him as well as I would have liked I respected his beliefs. Not long after sending my last letter I visited the training school that Gwalchmai, the Adamant Sage of the order, runs and presented my complaint to him directly. You could imagine my surprise when he said that he did not know anything about this! After re-reading the letter a second time, he called a member of the Arrow I didn't recognise over to us and asked if he recognised the handwriting, which he did as belonging to a recent inductee to the order currently undergoing his trials going by the Shadow name of Kay.

              Kay then was summoned and ordered to explain himself. It was easy to tell that Kay did not want to speak, but you would need to be either a very brave or very foolish person to argue against Gwalchmai and so he admitted the truth. It seemed that he overheard Hel reporting to Gwalchmai and foolishly decided that he will try and take advantage of the situation to gain a bit extra for himself. To dishonour Owain's death in such a way was disgusting, and understandably Gwalchmai was furious. On the spot Kay was kicked out of the Arrows, and his dishonourable conduct will be known to the other orders. His mentor who vouched for his character has been shamed due to his poor judgment, and I have accepted an apology for what happened and have been promised help in the future should I need it. Looking back as I write this letter, it amazes me how such a small thing could cause a problem such as this.

              Apart from this, little has happened this week I am afraid. Pisces continues to try and find Jason through sympathetic connections, but has found it difficult and believes a Ward has been placed around his location. We continue to search through other methods, including the use of spirits and ghosts thanks to Banshee's knowledge of these Arcana. I personally have a plan to trap one of the Shadowed Ones that continue to keep watch over my Sanctum, but I am still deciding the best course of action to take. I have also attempted to try and decipher more of Ariadnos' message but it still makes little sense to me. Bogon, the Law written in black stars (the Abyss?), I will need to think harder on this and would appreciate any help.

              Morrigan, I am glad to hear that your investigation into this entity stalking Deirdre's friends is going well and that you survived your encounter. If there is anything my cabal and I can do to help from here, we will be happy to help. With the burning eyes and smell of brimstone, my initial reaction is to say that it is a demon of some sort. If so, then be careful.

              There is also something else Morrigan. I might be overstepping the mark and if so I hope you will forgive me for my transgression. But I believe that you are overlooking something important regarding Deirdre and more importantly her feelings towards you. In other words, that Deirdre is obviously attracted to you. Before you discard this out of hand, please take a moment to consider her actions with this in mind. For example, that her idea of baiting the entity might be to give her the excuse to spend a few nights as part of a couple with you. Perhaps you should consider that she does not feel that she has to act affectionate towards you, but rather that she wants to. If you don't believe me, it does not seem like I am the only one who can see it judging from the reactions from The Dagda and others in your last letter.

              I only bring this up Morrigan as I have come to consider you not just a colleague but a friend as well and felt you should know. If I have overstepped the mark, then I apologise.

              Many regards,
              Last edited by warrior angel; 06-02-2015, 08:12 PM. Reason: Formatting


              • #52
                Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                Our trap was successful and the beast and all its minions are vanquished! The one responsible has been caught and will soon find that in this case the gears of justice will grind very fine and not particularly slowly. There were more than a few complications, including what was either the world's best or worst timed attempted kidnapping, but it all worked out in the end.

                In addition to the plan to lure the creature into an ambush Ogham and The Dagda lead a group in researching it. Their timing could have been better but they ultimately turned up a wealth of information. The entity's name is apparently 'The Righteous Beast of the Wrathful Judgment of the Decadent Sinners of Smitten Sodom', which I shall shorten to Sodom because otherwise this letter will end up far too long/ The creatures accompanying it are its hounds. You are technically correct in calling it a Demon Phoenix, though it is a denizen of the Lower Depths rather than Pandemonium. The process for calling it is exceedingly unpleasant, all the more so for the fact it can be performed by a single Sleeper if they are depraved and hateful enough. It's weaknesses were quite complex and the procedure for making it's banishment more than temporary was downright byzantine but fortuitous circumstances let us pull it off. Have to set things up mid-fight was a fairly hair-raising complication but luckily the Mages waiting in ambush that night where old hands at such things.

                Sodom's appearance shifts slightly each time it is summoned, based on the beliefs of humans in the area, but the general themes are static. Here it took the form of an thin Irishman of about 50 wearing a priests cassock. Its face was heavily scared and its eyes glowed red, and each of its fingers was a fusion of flesh and metal ending in a sharp blade. The hounds took the form of naked humans of both genders, beaten, scared and twisted until they were barely recognisable. Sodom likes to present itself as a punisher of homosexuality, or sexual deviancy in general, sent by God and claims the hounds are the souls of people who commit those sins, punished and penitent. This is all complete nonsense of course, Sodom actually part of a class of Demons that feeds off a combination of the desire of people to punish an 'other' for making them uncomfortable in being different and the fear of the targeted group of being hurt for their differences. The hounds are lesser Demons of the same type attaching themselves to its legend for a chance to feed more easily.

                It took a few more nights to goad Sodom to attack but on Monday night, possibly due to the influence of the half moon, it finally attacked. The whole thing got messy enough it was a good thing it was after midnight and we were in a fairly remote park or some Sleepers would definitely have noticed. It attempted to catch us unaware but its powers of concealment were no match for powers of the Awakened to sense it and I would probably have been able to cripple it before it landed from its leap where it not for a very strange chance. Literally while Sodom was in mid-jump a Portal opened and several masked Mages appeared from it. The apparent leader started to make some kind of threat but got cut off by having a demon land on him, Sodom's hounds charged out of the shadows, our backup Teleported in and things got confusing.

                It's likely our masked assailants were the same people who abducted Jason but unfortunately they had some kind of contingency to teleport themselves out when they realised they were overmatched. It even took the corpses of the fallen and by the time we had dealt with Sodom all the sympathetic links between them and anything they left behind had been completely severed. The more we look at their actions the less sense we can make of them. They were obviously familiar enough with mine and Deirdre's capabilities to have prepared for us yet they don't seem to have factored in the possibility of our Cabal backing us up in the case of an attack, which is odd as their own abilities and personalities are hardly unknown. Picking the moment they did to act is also very odd - five minutes sooner or later would have given them a much better chance of successes and you'd think a group of Awakened would have been able to discern that. Their fighting style was not particularly informative - they used few spells and the combat skills were better than average but not distinctive or truly polished. The leader had superhuman strength, which was probably the effect of an Attainment and some of the others may have had a lesser degree of the same ability. None of their Nimbuses were familiar and we are fairly sure none were Daksha. Their plan seemed to be dependent on counterspelling and weight of numbers. Fortunately bladed weapons are not generally subjected to being dispelled and while twelve on two would be a telling advantage twelve on six is a different matter. Especially when our back up that night consisted of Scáthach, Manannán mac Lir and Aífe, aka the three best non-magical combatants in Belfast, as well as Nuada, who's never met a fair fight he likes. Plus the Demons attacking all parties of course. They engaged for less than 90 seconds before retreating and at least three were killed in that time and more of them were badly if not fatally wounded. It's probably safe to assume they have sufficient skill at Life that any not killed outright will recover.

                Once the masked Mages retreated we were able to deal with Sodom and its hounds with little difficulty. There were far more hounds than the two it was usually visibly accompanied by but they were nether skilled nor sturdy and soon only Sodom was left. We were able to prevent it from retreating and were about to finish it when a mental communication from the research group interrupted. "Hold on, it won't die when you kill it' is held to be pretty high up the list of 'phrases you don't want to hear mid-battle' with only "keep it busy for a bit so we can find out how", the phrase which came soon after, beating it. One of the weaknesses they identified quickly was that once Sodom started to attack if someone performed a homosexual act in its sight it could not retreat until it had sufficiently punished them. Which is how I ended up duelling a Demon in a moonlit park while periodically making out with a beautiful woman. For over an hour and a half. While the research group provided a ridiculous amount of information over the telepathic link. My suggestion that someone else get involved was met with the rejoinder that rank hath its privileges and that they would definitely be working hard once they banishment ritual was known. Which they were sure would be very soon now. Preparing the ritual ultimately required a fair amount of Teleportation and probably a couple of Fairy Glades so they probably did work quite hard in the end. It was a little tricky to get everything in position mid-battle but ultimately the ritual was a success and Sodom (and its hounds) are now banished from the Fallen World as long as (translated) the linage of the banishing pair (me and Deirdre) endures.

                While I was engaged with Sodom Nuada managed to trace its point of entry into this world and we went there immediately after we had completed the banishment. It was the crypt of a small church where someone had performed some decidedly profane acts. The priest there was the same one who tried to denounce the meeting at the SU and it wasn't hard to connect him to the summoning. Apparently his hatred if what he saw as deviance was sufficient to attract Sodom's attention and such that he didn't balk at the acts required to call it forth. Nuada is going to arrange for him to be arrested as the party responsible for the attacks and given the things he left in the crypt it's not going to involve much work on the Guardians part.

                Phoenix, I am glad to hear that the demands you received where not from the Arrow and glad that the one responsible was punished. Those who believe that the Service means being nothing but mercenaries are the worst of the Arrow. I wish you luck in your studies and your investigations and am sorry our encounter with your attackers did not yield anything that can help find Jason. On the matter of Deirdre I am aware she finds me attractive and has done for sometime but the idea that someone as pure and wonderful as her can find anything of true worth in someone like me is laughable and as Deirdre moves beyond her past and the distorted perception of me our first meeting gave I know she will stop trying to convince herself otherwise. To be blunt Deirdre's family where extremely controlling in their desire to make her into nothing more than a perfect bride and while they died in an accident immediately before her Awakening Deacon Érimón was not much less controlling, although probably not for the same reasons. I am in all likelihood the first woman she has met who she knows is also attracted to other women, and certainly the first she had any freedom to pursue a relationship with. Our first meeting, where I saved her from the Abyss Hounds pursuing her and the events that followed gave her a skewed view of my character. I'm nowhere near is good or admirable as she thinks I am and I doubt I will ever be able to do enough to make up for what I've done, even if I live to be as old as The Dagda. I'll admit I found Deirdre's attention flattering and did not do anything beyond some vague protests of my lack of worth to dissuade her early on but now, when her options are much expanded and she knows what my past before Awakening was like there's no reason for her to desire a relationship with me. The Dagda may well think otherwise but his most successful relationship was with a millennia-old Mummy, ended in an argument that sank a small island and this was apparently amiable by the standard of his break-ups so his judgment in the matter is not the most reliable. In any case Aengus finally has enough time for us to search Deirdre's Oneiros and I've no doubt that trip will also confirm she doesn't want a relationship with someone like me.

                May this letter reach you with fair waves

                The Morrigan


                • #53
                  Greetings all! May God anyone who might read these words.

                  At the beginning of last month, it is my understanding that I wrote to each of you that I had learned that Blaze had disappeared. Concerned, I decided to search for him. It is also my understanding that I promised to write back with any results that I had discovered. I offer my apologies now for having failed to do so. This is an urgent matter, and warranted my prompt response.

                  Yet for all it is an urgent matter, I do not remember having discovered that was Blaze was missing, nor any actions I might have taken in response to this discovery. Even if I were not blessed with a good memory, I doubt I or anyone else could simply forget such a grave matter. There can be no doubt that the Mind arcana is at play. Even know I do not remember any of this.

                  Yet I have known something is wrong. For example, one of my friends mentioned having taken care of my Chad when I had left time, while another friend had mentioned impersonating me to conceal my absence from my teaching job Alas, it seemed I had not shared with either of them where I had gone. However, it seems that I was gone for a good part of April. This means that not only have my memories been stolen in some fashion, but I am also encumbered with highly detailed false memories.

                  Only inexplicable comments from my friends and the odd letters I have found in my home have helped me gather that anything was amiss. I should also report that these letters had been hidden. While I cannot be sure, I suspect that I am the one who hid these letters, no doubt via some Mind programing. Luckily, my cat Chad discovered them while exploring our house and drew my attention toward them.

                  Needless to say, I will try to discover not only what happened to me, but also continue my quest to find Blaze. I think that there is another matter that I should report. In late May, I received the following my conventional mail:







                  It seems certain to me that is related to the matters that we are investigating, but I have no idea in what way yet. Again, I am sorry I failed all of you. Rest assured, I will do my level best not to let it happen again.


                  Last edited by Cire; 06-10-2015, 05:52 PM. Reason: Formatting


                  • #54
                    My friends,

                    May this letter find you all well. I've had my first introduction into the matters of Fate this week, and it has opened my eyes to the world. Oracle decided to have my first lesson outside the National Assembly building. For those of you who don't know, the National Assembly is Wales' government, although the process of devolution to form its own separate government from Westminster is going slowly. Upon meeting me outside and explaining to me the basic principles of Fate, Oracle cast a spell called 'Interconnections'. Seeing the web of connections emerging from the National Assembly into the sky and spreading off in all directions to touch the fates of everyone in Wales was an amazing thing to experience. I look forward to learning more of Fate over the coming few weeks.

                    Cire I am glad to hear from you after such an long absence. It is worrying to hear that your memories of the past few weeks have disappeared, quite troubling considering your investigation into Blaze's disappearance and his suspicions regarding Seers. As some advice, I would recommend finding someone who is an Adept of Prime or a Master of Death among your consilium and ask them to attempt an dispel on you to eliminate any Mind magic blocking your memories. If that does not work, then the list of possible suspects that could permanently change memories are quite wide. I know among the Awakened there is the Bearers of the Eternal Word legacy who are capable of doing it, as well as other supernaturals such as vampires with their powers of mind domination (a problem we often encounter here in Cardiff). I hope your attempts to find your memories succeed.

                    As for the letter you received in May, it seems similar to letters that both myself and the Morrigan received from Ariadnos around the same time. I included a photo of the letter I received in my letter to you, as I believe the Morrigan did as well. I personally remain at a loss about the possible meanings of the letters, although I have encountered other times that Ariadnos has used similar phases in his correspondence. For example, during his Astral journey into the forgotten city when he encountered Ngalyod, the entity of Ngalyod referred to the writing of our names on the Watchtowers as being 'entered into the Law'. Just as the letter I received emphasised the word 'Law' in the line 'Law writ in black stars; why this disobedience'. I continue to try and interpret it, but with Ariadnos I feel at a loss.

                    I congratulate you Morrigan on your banishment of the demon terrorising the campus. From your letter it sounds like quite the difficult opponent, if not in its fighting capabilities but in the difficultly of its banishment. It saddens me to hear about the summoner being a priest, and can only think that he put his hatred before his duty to God. Personally though I do not believe in the Church's stance against homosexuality. After all, if God made us all in His image then surely He planned for people being attracted to those of the same sex and loves them equally to those just as much as those who are heterosexual. Obviously that is not something shared by the mainstream members of the faith, but if God only loves some of us how can He be said to love all of us his children?

                    From your description Morrigan, the masked mages seem to be the same people that attacked Owain and kidnapped Jason, or at the very least belong to the same group. At a guess I would say that they were not expecting you to be accompanied by the other members of your cabal, seeing as you have mentioned before that you and Deirdre have been spending more time together than with the others. It also suggests that they have been observing you for a number of weeks in order to be knowledgeable in your capabilities. It makes me wonder if there is some astronomical event or occurrence that is causing these masked people to make their move and attempt to kidnap the components of the Perfected? I will have to look into this further. In the meantime, although I have said before continue to keep an eye on Deirdre in case they attempt another attack.

                    Apart from my lessons into Fate magic this week, my cabal and I have continued to search for Jason here in Cardiff to no avail. The sympathetic connection we have to him Pisces tries to strengthen only for them to be cut, which has made it difficult to find Jason through these means. We did have a hit though using ghosts, as the ghost of the Old Lady that haunts the centre of Cardiff came back to us. From what I've been told of shades, they are typically lacking in a full personality. But Banshee tells me that the Old Lady is quite atypical of this and her information is quite reliable. The place the ghost told us he was held was a flat in the centre of Cardiff, guarded by three people that typically seemed masked at all times.

                    After contacting Hel about organising a strike team my cabal and I made our way to the flat in question. We were reluctant to use magic to scry the flat in case we alerted them, so we waited outside until Hel and the strike force arrived. I used Forces magic to deactivate the electrical lock on the front door of the building and allowed the others to get into position before they broke the door down and made their way in. Following after them I saw that the flat was empty, with obviously something alerting them to our arrival. Quickly though Pisces attempted to follow the sympathetic connection and was able to locate the area before her window was cut and the connection severed. They seemed to still be in Cardiff in the east, but whether they are still there

                    Although we did not get Jason back there is some consolation. One of the strike team was an Acanthus experienced enough to be able to look back in time as they failed to cast a Shield of Chronos. A peculiar spell, rather than the traditional Postcognition he seemed to simply look back almost as if he was rewinding a video before allowing it to play. It seems that they were alerted through some means that suggested telepathy before creating a portal and leaving barely a couple of minutes before we arrived. He also reported that one of the masked men removed his mask and saw it was a Daksha in their hermaphrodite form, although he did not recognise her. More importantly perhaps, they were visited by a man shrouded in darkness who they called Master. The Acanthus was unable to get a name, but he spoke with a slight Irish accent and teleported there and back.

                    Otherwise there is little else to report to you all. The Shadowed Ones have seemed to vanish this week, as I have not seen any more spying on me. So my plan to capture one will not work out. Oracle has promised to attempt a prophecy to see if that will help with finding Jason, otherwise I will continue to follow the little leads I have at the moment.

                    On a more personal note Morrigan, the story you told of the Dagda's relationship and fantastic breakup made me crack with laughter. If that is one of his more amiable break-ups I can only imagine how some of the others went. Thank you for not minding me prying into your relationship with Deirdre as others have, but for what is worth we have all done things we are not proud of during the course of our lives. I won't pry into your personal life and ask what you feel you've done that is so bad that a lifetime of duty and good will be able to make up for what you've done. But consider that if Deirdre knows about your pre-Awakened life and what you've done, yet still wants to be with you than that is something to consider. My mother before her passing used to tell me "You like someone for their virtues, and love them for their sins." Perhaps these words will give you something to think about Morrigan regarding Deirdre. In any case I wish you luck in your search in Deirdre's Oneiros, and hope you find what you are looking for.

                    Many regards,
                    Last edited by warrior angel; 06-12-2015, 06:13 AM. Reason: Changed some words


                    • #55
                      Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                      It has been an informative week, at least on a personal level. Unfortunately what we found in Deirdre's Oneiros raised more questions than answers for our investigation. They are questions I doubt will ever be answered and when explain what we found I'm sure you'll see why. We undertook our Astral journey in the Demesne with An Túr Geal and with Aengus overseeing things it was a straightforward matter to find a realm with in Deirdre's Oneiros that is most likely of the same nature as the one Phoenix discovered within Jason's Oneiros. Aengus has extensive experience with the Astral and is certain that the realm we found was an artificial construct grafted to Deirdre's Oneiros. How or by what is unclear and the state of the realm made it impossible to investigate, if such information can even be investigated. When we arrived we found ourselves on a path leading towards a cave. All about the path was mist and briar and the path itself was woven from thistle and all was silver in the moonlight and ethereal music filled the air. Within the cave may once have been a shrine of the type but thorns of silver overgrew and pierced whatever once stood there and nothing recognisable remained. There were a few points where things were written on the walls, but they had been carved over in silver and were unreadable. At the back of the cave there was a great void that was both cavern and ocean and fog, a faint light shining from the distance shore. That distant light called to us all and we called back and just for a moment the mists rolled back and we beheld a shining silver tower in a far green country. We left the realm after that, knowing we'd find nothing else there.

                      It was an intense experience, even by the standards of the Astral and even now it's hard to describe in mundane terms. My uncharacteristic poetic outburst above is about as plain as I've been able to manage. Our best theory for the state of that realm is that when Deirdre awoke the power of Arcadia overran whatever existed there before. Asides from the obvious symbols relating to the Path of Thistle this is supported by the fact the messages where obscured by Deirdre's name as she signed it to the Watchtower. What all of this means in relation to the Perfected is unclear - Deirdre still has the makings designating her one of the Perfected's victim-components despite this, but it does lend credence to the idea that Deirdre being Awakened interferes somehow with this artificial destiny. On the we have absolutely no idea if this means anything front the music we heard was 'Don't Fear the Reaper' which could be important but might not be - apparently almost everywhere in Deirdre's Oneiros has a musical accompaniment.

                      I expected we would leave after that but Deirdre said she had some things she wished to show me and Aengus was very happy to help. It was hard to believe that what I saw was really Deirdre's true feeling for me, but I knew Aengus would not have assisted in self-delusion. That even knowing what she does about me she could still feel that way is something I can still scarcely believe days later and at the time I will freely admit I couldn't handle it. I insisted on showing Deirdre the darkest parts of my own Oneiros, sure that would finally convince her she was better off not risking her heart in the hands of a stained soul like mine. I was, as it turns out, entirely mistaken in this belief and I must admit I'm glad of it. Additionally, Aengus decided that this was an opportune time to address my issues more directly than he had previously. A master Diabolist's method of directly addressing psychological matters is direct indeed, though not for the faint of heart. I know myself well enough to know I probably needed that level of push to make me truly face myself and I must admit, for the first time in a long time I have hope.

                      Cire, your letter is highly concerning, not only for the alteration of your memories but the fact someone went to such effort to remove them. In addition the Phoenix's suggestions there exist various spells of the Mind Arcanum which can detect the alteration of memories. If you yourself are not a Disciple of Mind I suggest asking an Adept of the Arcanum you can trust to identify which memories were altered and if possible check regularly to see if your memories are altered further. Given the evidence that someone with great skill at mental manipulation is involved in this case I am going to step up my own studies of the Mind Arcanum considerably.

                      Phoenix, I am sorry your quarry escaped you again but I congratulate you on remaining on their tail despite everything they try. The presence of Daksha with an Irish master is suggestive but if this master teleported it is highly unlikely to be Balor as Balor is only a Disciple of Space, and that after great effort - he has never had an aptitude for that sort of magic. Bellerophon Certainly neither he nor Cethlenn were the super strong individual who lead the group which attacked me and Deirdre, we would have recognised their Auras and in any case can account for their locations at the time. BellerophonBellerophon The Daksha here are still under observation so it seems unlikely one or more of them could be slipping off to guard Jason for any length of time but I will check what they've been doing regardless. BellerophonBellerophonBellerophon Especially since its just occurred to me that I haven't heard anything about what they've been up to for over a month and even if they're not involved with the mystery attackers they still pose a threat to Deirdre. BellerophonBellerophonBellerophonBellerophon
                      [The following paragraph is included in Phoenix's letter only]
                      Part of what Aengus has convinced me to do is share details of the events that I regret so much with someone new and get their opinion on things. If you don't mind I'd like to write to you about them. I'm afraid it will not be pleasant reading and please do not feel obliged to say yes.

                      May this letter reach you with fair waves

                      The Morrigan


                      • #56
                        Phoenix and the Morrigan , may God bless you both.

                        Taking the kind advice I received from you both, I visited a mage in Minneapolis well versed in both Prime and Death. With some effort, he was able to restore my memory. I now recall that I discovered that Blaze had left Rochester after he after he had drawn down the wrath of Rochester’s new Hierarch. It seems he wanted assurances that she was not a Seer of the Throne. In any event, from Rochester, I learned that Blaze had ventured to New York, hoping to discover what had become of Cobolt. With my friend Kermit filling in for me at my job, I too went to New York. After several days investigating, I fear I learned nothing of what might have happened to her. I did learn, though, that Blaze had no more luck than I did uncovering what became of Cobolt.

                        From New York, Blaze headed to Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast. His goal was to discover the fate of Seventh Switch, one of the people who he had written that had never written him back. Knowing nothing of Space and having limited resources, I had a difficult time following after Blaze to Abidjan. However, due to the kindness of several of my New York peers, I was able to reach it. To put it mildly, Abidjan was like no other city that I have ever visited. I learned a lot from the experience.

                        However, keeping to the topic at hand, I managed to discover what Blaze had already learned before me: Seventh Switch was dead. It appears that he ran afoul of the city’s powerful drug trade. It seems that they have a new, especially dangerous drug in the works. It turns out that it had been the threat of this drug that had led Seventh Switch to visit Rochester in the first place. My looking into this matter almost led me to suffer the same fate as Seventh Switch. However, I managed to escape. I was even lucky enough to destroy their prototype batch of their new drug as I fled for my life. No doubt another batch will be made, but I know inflicting monetary damages was one of the few ways those of the ilk of my would-be killers can be harmed.

                        While alive, I had no idea no idea where Blaze went from Abidjan. I suspect he may have gone to investigate another mage who had failed to answer his letters. However, another possibility occurred to me. From what I understood, Blaze took a liking to a member of the Cryxard Masquerade. For this reason, I made my way from Abidjan to Prague. This proved to be my mistake.

                        Not long after I reached Prague, I foolishly felt the need to investigate the mystery of the Dread Mask of Cryxard for myself. With great care, I slipped past the Guardians of the Veil standing watch and presented myself to the old tombstone with the carved face. After a long minute, the eyes opened. With only great effort did I cling to my sanity. We communicated. We may have spoke, or it may have been telepathic. I cannot say. This was our exchange:

                        Dread Mask of Cryxard: Why did you disturb me? What was of such moment that you had defile my slumber eternal?

                        Me: I must confess that nothing of any more importance than my own thirst for knowledge and my presence in Prague brought me here.

                        Dread Mask of Cryxard: Your thirst of knowledge is a reason good enough for me. However, I decline to teach you more than you know already.

                        Me: May I ask why not?

                        Dread Mask of Cryxard: You worship as you did while before you Awakened; from you, I would never receive my just due.

                        Me: I do have the same God as I did before Awakening. If my worship is what you think is your due, you are right your reckoning of me.

                        Dread Mask of Cryxard: I am

                        I am was the last thing that the Dread Mask of Cryxard said to me. I knew from the way that it said - thought ? - “I am” that it was mocking everything in which I place my faith. Before I could respond, I collapsed. I understand now that it was the Dread Mask of Cryxard that had taken my memories and nearly undid me with its awesome presence. I can also remember now that it was the Guardians of the Veil of Prague who ultimately returned me to Mankato. They also used their own Mind magic, hoping to prevent me from retracing the path that led me to become their problem.

                        With my memories restored, I think my first thought was correct. Blaze is searching for those that he had written to about Astella’s murder but who did not send any reply. With this being the case, I will need to work out who he wrote to in the first place. With that information, I should be able to find him, if he is still in a condition to be found.

                        I wish each of you good luck with your challenges. I will do all that I can not only for Blaze, but each of you. I am in your debt.


                        Last edited by Cire; 07-09-2015, 12:30 AM. Reason: typoes


                        • #57
                          My friends,

                          I hope this letter finds you all well. I'm glad to hear Cire that you have managed to recover your memories again, and that you managed to stop some dangerous product from being made in Abidjan. From what Blaze has told us in the past of the Dread Mask of Cryxard, you were extremely fortunate to come away with your life. God must have been watching over you against this strange entity. I shall pray for your success in finding Blaze, and please continue to let us know what you find during your investigation.

                          With regards to my investigation, tracking Jason through conventional means still doesn't seem to be working. Although your last letter Morrigan has given me a possible way to find Jason, although a flimsy one. Although sympathetic connections in the real world continue to be a problem, I wonder about the possibility of using the Astral Realms to once more find my way to Jason's Oneiros and in there be able to find some clue of his current location. I will have to arrange visiting a demense, yet more Tass I'll have to spend. Ah well, it is there to be used after all.

                          I also asked Oracle, the mage who is teaching me Fate magic, to try and divine his location. She found it difficult for some reason, and all she could say for the moment is that Jason is still somewhere in Cardiff and will be for the immediate future. If this astral journey doesn't work, I could always get a map of the city and rely on Fate to show me the way.

                          I have also been busy with a personal issue involving one of my friends from university. Last year he proposed to his girlfriend of two years and the wedding is for next month. On Saturday he came to my flat worried, and after getting him a drink to calm down told me he was in a great deal of trouble. It seems that he couldn't get all the money he needed to give his fiancée her dream wedding, and told me that to get the money he went to a loan shark. This loan shark is now 'encouraging' my friend to pay all the money back before either him or his fiancée (who doesn't know anything about this) gets hurt. I personally couldn't believe he had done such a stupid thing, and I told him that he should have come to me if he needed to borrow money. After he almost made me change my mind to help after coming close to insulting my family's death (in his defence he was scared and apologised afterwards) A member of the Silver Ladder here in Cardiff called Shylock had some criminal connections, so after getting his number from my mentor Baron I asked him about this loan shark called Phillip Baker.

                          It seemed that this Phillip was just a front man for someone a bit more dangerous, the day-time worker for a vampire called Delmi Williams. This might have proved a problem due to the relatively stable peace the Consilium have with the vampire society here in Cardiff, but I was determined to make sure my friend was safe. I got this Delmi's address from my friend, and he promised that if I pay off his debt that he will pay me back instead. So after asking the Arrow if someone would accompany me in return for some tass, I went over to Delmi's place that night. It was a bit of a dive, a backroom in a local pub called Y Ddraig Coch (welsh for The Red Dragon) and I had to be somewhat persuasive to meet him. It took some talking, as well as some veiled threats and an obvious one which made me use a lighter I carry to cause the flame to roar out to cowl them. But he agreed to pass the debt over to me and leave my friend alone. So it worked out alright, and no one got killed or burnt. I've told my friend it's been sorted without telling him everything, and told him if anyone approaches him about it again to let me know.

                          I admit, part of me wonders what has changed since I Awakened that my friend would think I could help him with this. Before I would have talked to him, perhaps told him to go to the police or something. But now I have no problem with walking into a building with ghouls and a vampire or two in order to take over a debt for myself, even threatening to burn the building down when they tried threatening me. It is a loss of innocence or perhaps naivety I sometimes miss, but only sometimes.

                          Morrigan, your discovery regarding the artificial construct in Deirdre's Oneiros is quite interesting and I have passed along your thoughts to Pisces who has some interest in the Astral realms herself. Your theory of an Awakening somehow disrupting the destiny of one of the components of the Perfected sounds likely given what you discovered, although despite being artificial this destiny is certainly powerful for it to survive the soul being changed as it Awakened. I wonder if there could be a way if it is already disrupted to such a degree for it to be disrupted completely, at least with Deirdre. Something to certainly consider.

                          It's a shame to hear that it couldn't possibly be Balor or Cethlenn who was the mysterious master of the group that took Jason, although that would have made things simpler in this complicated case. Ah well, I will hopefully find out this mysterious individual in the future.

                          [The following paragraphs is only included in The Morrigan's letter]
                          After your journey into Deirdre's Oneiros, I'm glad to hear that you know the truth now about her feelings. The next step now with her is to decide how you feel about the situation and whether it would be worth giving things a go at some point. About your request, I'm happy for you to write to me about the events that obviously weigh heavily on you and to give you my opinion. I was asked to do something similar with my former therapist, and found it helped a great deal.

                          I also wanted to bring up something that I noticed recently in your letter and made me look back a bit. Since about a month ago, your letters seem to have the word
                          "Bellerophon" written randomly somewhere, sometimes as a random word in a sentence and other times repeated over and over again. It started as the one time, but in your more recently letters has been appearing more and more. It is in your handwriting, so I presume you are writing it. But the way it's been put into your letters, I don't know if you are aware of it. If you are unsure of what I mean, ask Deirdre if she can see it as well.

                          Many regards,


                          • #58
                            Glad tidings to all who read this letter,
                            Have I mentioned recently that some members of the Mysterium really need a keeper when dealing with anything more practical than elaborate essays and more dangerous than a particularly heavy book? Because some of them really do. Even worse they tend to be so condescending normally but the second something goes wrong they can't cower behind you fast enough. You visit the Athenaeum at the invitation of a Hierophant to search for some references regarding an unusual thing you encountered in the Astral and it's all looking down their noses at you for being an illiterate brute because you chose to hone body and mind in the real world rather than disappearing up your own arse in a cloud of philosophy and impossible to provable theories. Or sneering implications that pretty little girls should run along and do their makeup and leave the hard work of thinking to the menfolk. The second something goes wrong of course they're all screaming and crying and begging for help.

                            "Oh brave and wise lady Arrow, please save us from the rampaging Atavism we have called up. We were sure we could master it despite the fact we are so weak and helpless as to be in danger of being mugged by passing kittens and the fact the closest we get to nature is when birds shit on us. It may be a manifest Supernal embodiment of primal life but it takes the form of a beast. We were sure that the wisdom of man alone would be enough to overcome it. (It really wasn't. Also given they did this in the first place their claim to possess any form of wisdom is highly suspect.) Also despite the fact we lack an Initiates understanding of Mind between us we didn't think to tell anyone who knows that Arcanum before calling forth a being of the Primal Wild or alert any of our superiors so you are the only Mastigos in the building and the only one here with any skill at battle. Also we have a moral objection to phones so we have no way to call for help. We have sent a runner though.(Translation: One of us managed to escape the building and might be fleeing in the direction of help.)"

                            For reasons known only to themselves a small group of low ranking members of the Mysterium decided to summon an Atavism in one of the Athenaeum's ritual chambers at the same time Deirdre and I were there and it promptly got lose. I'm fairly sure they only survived because it wanted to be able to take its time hunting them. To make matters worse the Atavism in question was of a kind known as Echidna, the Mother of Monsters, so hunting involved spawning a number of dangerous beast to hunt with her. Fighting through hordes of monstrous creatures in order to drive the creature that birthed them back into a summoning circle before it got out and started eating Sleepers or imploded into a portal to the Abyss was not how I planned to spend my afternoon. Luckily Deirdre and I were able to drive the entity back to the ritual chamber in time and it departed before the Abyss could claim it, (un)fortunately before the witless Mystagogues suffered anything worse than a little chewed. Given the response of the more senior members of their Order to this debacle I suspect they are wishing the monsters got them - it would have been over quicker. On the plus side I have pretty definitive proof of my ability to cast Fraying Spells using the Mind Arcanum, so I will hopeful be confirmed as a Disciple of Mind soon. Also Ogham is insisting on compensating me and Deirdre extravagantly for our efforts. I generally feel that members of the Arrow should need no compensation for their duties but this mess was rather beyond the bounds of duty even by my standards. Also I'm pretty sure part of the reason is so Ogham and Achtland can take the cost out of the malefactors hides, and who am I to spoil their fun. Unfortunately the need to refurbish the Athenaeum has prevented us from making any real progress on researching what we found in Deirdre's Oneiros.

                            Cire, congratulations on your discoveries and victories. It doesn't surprise me to learn that Blaze was apparently following up on the Mages he had not heard back from but if you are going to continue to trace him in that I urge you to be careful. It seems a great number of Mages of come to grief in the course of this investigation and it sounds like you already came far too close to being one of them. I must admit the more I hear about that mask the less I like it. It seems far too dangerous and intelligent to be as accessible as it is.

                            Phoenix, checking the with the watch on the Daksha has revealed enough gaps that one or more of them could well be involved in guarding Jason part of the time. There's currently no good reason for the gaps, the Daksha are of course taking basic precautions against observation but it generally takes more than that to put one over the Guardians. The only one we can definitely rule out being involved directly is Balor, since he is still under house arrest and can therefore be monitored a great deal more obtrusively than the others. While Cethlenn was not involved in the attempt to kidnap Deirdre it is still technically possible he was the shadowy master who visited the guards. If she was however then either there is an unknown Mage involved who is a Master of Space or Cethlenn as gone from an Initiate of Space to an Adept without anyone noticing, both of which are worrying possibilities. Of course if it's not Cethlenn then we have an unknown Mage of malicious intent who is it least a multiple degree Adept running around which isn't much better.

                            On the subject of changing since Awakening a feel that is only natural. To Awaken is the greatest change a human can go through and we are none of us who we were before we Awoke. Additionally, to know, to be absolutely certain, that you have the power to stand against your foes changes someone as well. To use that to stand between the defenceless and the predations of monsters they can't even grasp exist it a most noble thing.

                            [The following paragraphs are included only in Phoenix's letter]
                            On the matter of the word 'Bellerophon', I have looked back over the originals of my letters and it appears there as well. It is obviously something I have written unconsciously and not been able to see until it is pointed out to me. It is almost certainly an effect of the Spells I user to assist in writing these letters but I'm not sure what's causing it. It always seems to appear near references to the Daksha, and combined with a few other things, like the inexplicable difficulty in tracking them and some of the phenomena people have mentioned in passing I have a horrible suspicion about what might be happening. I will investigate and if my suspicions are correct I will explain further next week. If I'm wrong in my suspicions a number of people, yourself included, won't be happy with me giving you the details unnecessarily. If I'm right though..... If you don't hear from someone in Belfast next week then ask someone you trust in the Local Arrow about the Bellerophon Group and tell whoever they direct you to about the context.

                            On the matter of my past. This is difficult to write so to begin with I shall be brief and blunt. At age 16 a man I was looking for direction and a man I trusted convinced me I was suited to working for the British Government in...let's call it a deniable capacity. I desperately wanted to do the right thing and they convinced me they knew what it was. So for four years I lied, stole, seduced, killed and betrayed in the name of a greater good I didn't truly understand. Then my mother died and Pandemonium showed me what I'd let myself become. If the Mage who found me was less honourable than Nuada I'm not sure what I would have become. Nothing good I suspect. He and my Master put me back together and helped me learn to judge what the right thing to do was myself again but I did a lot of damage in those four years and with how I let myself be used I have no idea how much of it was at least vaguely deserved. Nowhere near enough of it I suspect.

                            May this letter reach you with fair waves

                            The Morrigan


                            • #59
                              My friends,

                              I hope this letter finds you all well. My apologies for being late with my letter this week, but it has been an eventful week for me. Not only have I been accepted as an Initiate of Fate, but I also have some good news and bad news to share with you all. The good news is that I have tracked down Jason and taken him back from his kidnappers, although that was a challenge in itself as we discovered. Unfortunately I met someone who is interested in the components of the Perfected, someone powerful whose name I have heard before

                              As I mentioned in my last letter, I had a couple of options to try and find Jason although it felt like grasping at straws at this point. I managed to get access to a Demense and with Pisces' help I eventually managed to navigate my way to Jason's Oneiros again despite it taking a few hours. However despite spending literally hours searching through his Oneiros we were unable to find anything and had no choice but to leave the Astral Realms.

                              With that avenue gone we had one last choice, although despite my lessons I still feel uncomfortable leaving it up to chance. I asked Oracle if there was a way to cast a spell that could at leave give us some idea on some possible locations for us to search for Jason. After considering it she said there was something she could do, and within the hour started a ritual casting. I have to admit it reminded me of a slower version of something from the TV show Charmed my sister used to love so much, as Oracle spent several hours with a pendent swinging over a map of Cardiff and the surrounding area, although the incense burning was different. Eventually it dropped down in a street near Cardiff Bay, and with no other options I went to investigate.

                              A couple of Mind spells later to keep myself looking as inconspicuous as possible and eventually an invisibility spell, I scouted the location, a large house surrounded by a garden, and it definitely seemed that a group of people were there. I wasn't sure if anyone spotted me from the house, but I wasn't attacked although I could sense there was a general sense of unease in the air surrounding the house. It was almost like an emotional urging, but focused around an area instead of at an individual. But with no other options I contacted Hel and after explaining the situation she said to stay there and they would come to me.

                              Thirty minutes later a van arrived with a number of Arrows who looked ready for action. I'm guessing after the business with Owain the Arrows have decided to not only take things quite serious but also to take revenge on the mages who killed him. Gwalchmai himself was leading the strike force, an honour I thought considering the reputation of his in Cardiff for his fighting expertise until I realise that they didn't want to take any risks. He came over and asked if I wanted to join them on the attack, and after considering it for a moment said yes.

                              This would be the first time I have ever seen an Arrow force plan for the target, but I was impressed by their professionalism and that many possibilities were taken into consideration. The plan eventually was that a Ward would be cast over the house to prevent anyone escaping, as well as several other spells to prevent the Sleepers paying attention (Fairy Glade is an amazing spell I must admit) while the team make their way in through the main entrance. My job was to stay several members behind and attack anyone that wasn't Jason or the team. I almost put my pattern under strain to make sure that Shielding spells were active, that I had some night vision and that I casted Gain Skill to allow me some skill with the pistol that they gave me. That night, the team attacked.

                              I won't bore you with the unnecessary details, but suffice to say we caught the mages unexpectedly and at first they weren't able to escape through Space magic leaving them with no choice but to defend themselves. Things were going well at first, with several of the kidnappers taken down and Jason was carried out as he seemed unaware of his surroundings. But then something happened, my sense of magic went into overdrive for a second before I felt something sweep over me, a sense of despair along with the screams of people in agony that I recognised as someone's nimbus. A cloaked figure appeared, which suggested the Ward must have been knocked down, and unleashed a spell of some sort that left many of the Arrow holding their heads in agony. Luckily for me a Mind-Shield prevented me from experiencing the worst of it, but even with it in place I felt pain. The figure opened a portal to allow the surviving members to leave, and before he? followed I heard a man's voice in my head despite the shield I had in place. He warned me to stay out of things otherwise next time I will be destroyed body mind and soul. When I asked for a name, I was told "I am Legion, for I am many" before he left through the portal.

                              I encountered the name Legion months ago when I visited London when chasing after a man called Zeal, who you may remember killed Morrigan the mage who visited Rochester and started this investigation for me. Two mages who were responsible for Zeal's death turned out to be servants of Legion, who during the interrogation had their minds destroyed through some means. I have never witnessed such power from someone, and to take out an Arrow team by himself has I admit left me nervous about the power of our foes if he is to be counted among them. But I'll leave my fears for the moment, and hope to be able to speak to Jason once he recovers from his ordeal. He is under deep protection by the Guardians, and I doubt he will ever get to see his old life again from what I have gathered. I will see what new information I can discover and report next week.

                              Thank you Morrigan for what you said about the changes we as mages experience because of our Awakenings. When you have access to such power, it shows you what sort of person you are. Compare yourself Morrigan, someone who uses their power in order to defend the helpless, and someone like this 'Legion' who seems to be seeking more power despite having so much already. I try to do good with my powers, to follow the path of Wisdom as much as I can despite the prevalent views of my fellows in the Silver Ladder, and given my experiences in life I'm not surprised that I can be overprotective of my friends. It is something to consider, the ethics of the Awakened.

                              I must admit, after reading your letter and bursting out in laughter about what happened at the Athenaeum I had to share it with my cabal, both of them being Mystagogues. Although they saw the funny side, they couldn't believe the amount of rules these members of your Mysterium had broken when they decided to summon an Atavism without the proper safeguards in place. It was lucky that you and Deirdre were there to save them, despite their behaviour towards you. As for the issue with the Daksha, I find it unlikely that Cethlenn could have achieved such a high level of mastery over Space without anyone noticing. Hopefully more investigation and talking to Jason may give me some more information.

                              [The following three paragraphs are only included in The Morrigan's letter]
                              Thank you Morrigan for being willing to share your past with me, I can't imagine that it was easy. As you wanted my opinion on things, this is what I thought. I can't blame you for the actions you took while working for the Government, as to some degree many of those same things I have been forced to do since I Awakened. Lying is now almost as natural as breathing for me when it comes to my Sleeper friends for me to protect them from danger, and among other things I have tortured and killed one of the Mad in order to save my cabalmate from death, pictured the Imago required for the spell to kill him and felt my spell flow through me as I ended his life.

                              To me, what is important is not what our actions were but why we did them. Although I know don't share the same personal beliefs, I believe that although I have sinned that God is the loving father that he is and I hope that He will judge me favourably because by doing these things I protect the people I care about from harm. That you've come to realise that you had done these things for the wrong reasons, and that you are attempting to find some redemption is an admirable thing. But I hope that you don't punish yourself needlessly Morrigan, as everyone is entitled to some happiness in our lives otherwise what is the point of living?

                              I hope to hear from you soon regarding this investigation into this mysterious phenomena whatever it is. It seems that whatever this 'Bellerophon Group' is, you should be careful about. Please be careful

                              I wish you all luck with your investigations, and pray for your success.

                              Last edited by warrior angel; 07-01-2015, 06:40 PM. Reason: A sentence didn't make sense


                              • #60
                                Glad tidings to all who read this letter,

                                My investigations here in Belfast have yielded disturbing results indeed. Based on what has been discovered so far, over the course of the last three to four months, at least half of the Daksha in Belfast have almost certainly fallen to join the ranks of the Mad, and I suspect that number will climb as we investigate further. There is absolutely no question that Cethlenn is Mad, nor that Conand is, and very little chance that Cichol and Tethra are not. Elatha's condition is unclear but I strongly suspect they are also Mad. We can find no sign of Bres and no one has seen Ethniu in the flesh for at least a month, though they have been encountered indirectly. Only Balor appears unscathed and that seems unlikely indeed.

                                I shall go into more detail shortly but first I want to make sure we are all on the same page regarding this. A Mad mage is not merely on whose sanity has been worn by what they have seen and done, but one who has broken, in Mind and in Soul. A Mad mage is unlike any other, and the signs of the condition are easily mistaken for a number of other things, in some cases simultaneously. As far as I am aware the condition was first recognised as a distinct threat at the 1945 grand caucus of the Arrow. The Bellerophon Group was founded in response, to asses and understand the true nature of the threat. The members proper are all Adamant Sages, which should make clear the seriousness with which the Arrow views the threat. The group looks at both current and historical events and works with both the Guardians and the Mystagogues to investigate, in addition to their own subordinates. While the Bellerophon group and the Mad are not kept secret, the knowledge is not released wildly, mostly to reduce the potential for panic or hysteria. I have had the honour of assisting Scáthach in her research on possible historical examples in the past and once the scale of what is happening here in Belfast became apparent she allowed (indeed insisted) that I share knowledge of the Mad in these letters.

                                I won't bore us all with a recitation of the exact causes and nature of the Mad condition but the following are the important points.
                                • No matter how it appears they are not sane beings and cannot be related to as such, especially in the long term.
                                • They tend to be obsessed with a specific behaviour or action.
                                • They display terrifying magical skill in areas that relate to their obsession
                                • They are ferocious combatantswith no hesitation about maiming or killing.
                                • Something about the nature of the Mad conceals them, making them harder to find and making it harder to connect things together, effecting Sleepers more dramatically. In extreme cases their very existence is forgotten after a while be Sleepers who encounter them.
                                • The Mad generate constructs known as 'Tulpa' around them which relate to the Ten Arcanum.
                                • The Mad may lose the ability to cast spells of one or more Arcanum as a result of their condition.

                                Tulpa are the reflections of the Supernal through the shattered Souls of the Mad and come in an effectively infinite variety of forms of varying strength. The lesser kinds can be mistaken for coincidences. Some of the strongest of the greater kinds have been mistaken for Ochema. It is hard to overstate how great a threat one of the Mad could pose if their insane whims drive them to it, especially if they where a powerful Mage before the fell. If the situation with the Daksha in Belfast is as bad as we fear the conflict that will result will be devastating.

                                It is not clear at what point the Daksha in Belfast began to go Mad, and the nature of the condition makes it frustratingly hard to determine a beginning, as well as recognise it once it's happened. This makes it hard to say with confidence what has happened but here is what we know. Conand is unquestionably Mad. His behaviour has been becoming steadily more irrational since his trip to Rochester and once we finally found him his behaviour and physical condition made clear he was insane. That, combined with the difficulty in locating him made us fairly strongly believe he was one of the Mad, and the detection of his nimbus in the area of some inexplicable events made us sure. His current state is so pitiable I suspect death will be a mercy but he lives for the moment while we try to learn more about what happened to him and how the other Daksha factor in. As far as Cichol and Tethra are concerned their actions over the past two month have bare numerous signs of Madness, though we have yet to see any sign of Tulpa connected to them, so it is not technically proven yet. I don't think anyone expects to be proven wrong however - there are just too many other signs about the two of them. Of Cethlenn we had no signs initially but one night Deirdre and I were assaulted by a numinous entity wielding fire and lightning as swords. I could not mistake the Resonance forming the blades that cross with mine and deeper investigation revealed Cethlenn has not been observed using Forces magic in over three months. We are still investigating the other Daksha and I will keep you informed. I will be shocked if Balor is not also Mad and if he isn't I worry indeed what forces he has dealt with to have all this result.

                                Phoenix, thank you for you kind words and congratulations on rescuing Jason. It sounds like it was a wonderfully executed raid before Legion intervened, and since it appears that his actions did not result in any deaths then getting more information about him is a valuable victory in of itself. From your description of his nimbus he is almost certainly a Mastigos. He is undoubtedly powerful, and skilled at Mind and Space, but from your description of his actions he is merely a powerful Mage, rather than an impossibly powerful one. Given his apparent tendency to preparing for contingencies it would not surprise me if the attack he unleashed against you and the Arrows was one he had prepared to use in the case of such an attack. Which is still worrying as it implies he is both powerful and intelligent but less so than the idea that he can simply cast an attack spell of that magnitude at will.

                                May this letter reach you with fair waves

                                The Morrigan