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IC [Mage the Awakening] After the 2003 Hoax

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  • IC [Mage the Awakening] After the 2003 Hoax

    Friday April 4th, 2003
    Paris, Texas

    Cire knew that he should return to Mankato as soon as possible. His sudden departure had left his colleagues and students alike bewildered. Now that he had discovered that the crisis that had brought him and a good numbers of his fellow will workers to Texas was merely a hoax, he knew that it behooved him to return to his mundane life as a history professor as quickly as possible. Even so, good manners required that he honor the request made of him before he departed. So it was that he sat in a cafe speaking with Tuesday, a fellow Mysterium member.

    After some small and scholarly talk, Cire asked, "How may I help you, Miss Tuesday?"

    "I am hoping you will join me on a quest to find the six missing pieces of the Chess Set of Fortune," replied Tuesday. "In that way, the great boon might be sought. You know what that could mean."

    Naturally, Cire knew about the missing pieces and the Chess Set of Fortune. "Even if you find the missing pieces, I believe that the set itself would still be in the hands of the Seers of the Throne. This being the case, it might be best to leave the pieces lost, least our enemies be able to complete the set and the play the game. The great boon would be no less desired by them than us."

    "When we have the pieces, I have a plan to obtain the set," replied Tuesday. "Trust me. The Seers will not be a problem when the time comes."

    Cire shock his head sadly. "Miss Tuesday, you seem gripped by hubris. I urge you to return to the path of wisdom."

    Tuesday tried to get Cire to reconsider, but he remained fast in his refusal. After Cire left the cafe, Tuesday sighed. She hoped that the others that she wanted to recruit would be easier to persuade to join her. So much was at stake, and she could let no one stand in her way.

    "No more noes," Tuesday vowed to herself. "Everyone else plays." .
    Last edited by Cire; 01-11-2014, 02:06 AM. Reason: Typoes

  • #2
    The same cafe, two hours later:

    "Six pieces. That's all" Tuesday gestured at the table, as though indicating them, small and ripe for the taking. "Certainly a fellow member of the Mysterium can see that this would be so simple."

    "I'm not convinced--"

    "Of course you are." Tuesday said. "If you weren't interested, you'd have left. Perhaps you'd already be riding a horse back to your tumbleweed-laden office."

    Winchester glared darkly, but Tuesday merely laughed, teasingly, before looking deep into the Mastigos' eyes. "We need you." She said. "Simple or not, yes, this will be a tremendous undertaking, and every one of us we can gather will do more than just make a difference."

    The younger mage leaned back in his seat. "I've already come out here on one wild goose chase." He said with a frown. "How do I know this won't be more of the same?"

    "You don't." Said Tuesday, sipping her tea. "But you're a good Mystagogue. You want it to be true, and you want to see it for yourself."

    The Warlock crossed his arms, looking to the right, then to the left.

    A few minutes later, Tuesday checked one name off her list--the first, she hoped, of many.


    • #3
      Smoke, transfixed by light.

      The first rays of the morning sun spear in through the curtains, through the open window, and meet the lazy, exquisite coils rising from the woman's half-finished Gauloise, illuminating shifting geometries of shade and captured sunlight.

      This moment. Sitting on the edge of her hotel bed. Nude - unencumbered by the regalia of office, just this once. Smoking - and watching the dawning of a new day. It's perfect. She closes her eyes, sits there for a while, caught in the sunlight too, before stubbing the cigarette out in a pocket ashtray before it can set off the hotel fire alarm.

      Behind her, a three-eyed androgynous mutant is sprawled across the bed, sheets pulled up around zirself for modesty's sake as ze watches the young mixed-race woman watching the sun. Horses - stable - gate - flown, Doolittle thinks - but she'll humour Ammavaru's gesture, and not make a big deal out of it. She doesn't even turn around.

      'Pars-tu? La détenu, c'est un canular, il semble. Je suppose que tu vas retourner à Mumbai bientôt; tu vas me manquer, mais tu te souviendras notre accord … l'Atheneum de la Mysterium de Mumbai?'

      The Daksha is still a little groggy, and takes a while to respond. They were both drinking quite a lot last night, even if it was all terrible Californian stuff, and it's not like they got a lot of sleep, either. Zir senses gradually reassemble themselves, like ants rebuilding a nest that someone's trodden on.

      '… oui, bien sûr, bien sûr. Mais … parles-tu anglais, s'il te plait; je ne voudrais pas jeter un sort chaque temps tu ouvre ta jolie bouche. Pas tôt ce matin.'


      The look she throws over her shoulder is a near-perfect facsimile of her Consilium-face - all ethereal gravitas and regal command, broken only by a slight twist of a smile.

      'Please accept my most gracious apologies, Curator Ammavaru of the Mysterium. I shall now commence to speak in a language you can understand, even if it does tax my linguistic skills greatly, for such sacrifices befit the noble Téarch who must serve her subjects as much as ruling them.'

      Ammavaru giggles, swatting at her with the barest touch of psychokinetic energy, but Doolittle has already raised her fate armour, and prances out of the way. Zir blast goes wide, knocking a wine glass off the table, which shatters on the floor - promoting yet another fit of giggles, and an unconvincing scowl from the Acanthus.

      'Right. I am going to use the shower, and get ready for a long day of mage-wrangling - you are going to pick that up. If you need to leave to catch your plane, and we don't meet each other - well, it's been nice meeting you. I hope you'll remember our agreement; I'm sure the Toulouse-Mumbai exchange will be extraordinarily beneficial to both our parties.' A kiss on the forehead seals the deal, and the one night stand.

      As it happens, Ammavaru is long gone by the time Doolittle emerges, in full regalia. She has oblated, fortified her wards and Sight, and done her make-up; a striking gold-leaf number that highlights her eye-sockets and hair-line in micron-thick precious metals. For her, it's fairly restrained, and it goes well with the informal robe of office she dons next - a long flowing tortoiseshell number in bronze, amber, and orange, woven with near-invisible subliminal symbols of Théarch authority and majesty. Next comes … well, let's face it, the sword is a little out of place, even with in the colour-matched runic scabbard she buckles onto her hip. A little mind magic and some choice words of High Speech disguise it as a folded parasol - still a little eccentric, but much less likely to get her stopped in the street. With her suitcase packed, and handed over to one of the local trustworthy Proximi, she does one last dutiful sweep round the room, searching for hairs, personal effects, anything that could tie her sympathetically to the room. Nothing; she's been trained well.

      As she leaves, she takes one look at her reflection in the mirror, and grins. The woman smiling back at her is a terror. Her look is just normal enough to stay the right side of sleeper respectability - hell, Yanks probably think all upper-class Europeans look like this, it's not like her ensemble is going to begin crumbling to Disbelief. But there's no denying that she's literally radiant, mantling a pale shadow of the glory of Atlantis lost, and Atlantis yet to come, and serving well in her role as a herald of the Silver Ladder. It's with some reluctance that she veils the most magnificent parts of her makeup with her attainment - not concealing it, just … dulling it to sleeper eyes, and making it less noticeable - and then she's out of the door, checked out, and let loose on the streets of Paris.

      She hails a cab - an empty one just happened to be waiting outside the hotel - and enjoys an exceedingly pleasant journey across town - managing to hit green lights all the way - until she reaches her first appointment of the day. Checking her planner, she sees that it's … a Mystagogue … Tuesday (interesting Shadow name) … wanting to talk about … some sort of artefact? It's worth following up on - even if all she gets out of it is a read of local Awakened politics in the wake of the hoax.

      Tipping precisely ten percent of her fare, she climbs out of the taxi, performing a well-drilled threat assessment and casting quick, calculating looks up and down the street. Satisfied there's no Seer hitsquad barrelling down on her, she heads on into the diner - no, the café. They call this place a café! How quaint.

      The two she's looking for are obvious. Under her Sight, both are swathed in nearly invisible threads of Fate, and even as they talk - arguing something over, doubting one another, pressuring one another to come round to their point of view - their threads divide and multiply. Some of them seem somehow to lead away from the pair, from the palms of their hands, like puppeteer's strings - others, like puppet strings, coil around their heads, necks, wrists, hanging slack to some invisible immensity that's always out of sight above her. She blinks the vision away, inured to it, and not particularly surprised that the ones who would call her here would be enmeshed in fate, and pulls out a chair next to them, letting the veil over her presence drop.

      'Madame, monsieur of the Mysterium - am I interrupting something? Would you be Tuesday - and you, m'sieur? I am Doolittle, Claviger, answering your request on behalf of the Téarchy du Languedoc. I was present to provide my assistance to the gathering of the Awakened here, and would be glad to lend what support I can to you. Your initial missive was ... may I say ...'

      Her English is crisp and precise, with an unmistakeable French accent. She rolls her last few words in her mouth, as if tasting them, while toying distractedly with the menu.

      'Cryptic? Oui, c'est le mot. You talked of an artefact, of the potential involvement of the servants of the Lie in this matter. I hope you understand if I do not commit to anything without a little more information? I assure you that, information relevant to the security of the Pentacle excluded, anything you say will be held in confidence.'

      OOC: Doolittle's spellcasting routine is nearly as complex as her makeup. Roughly written up - each week, she casts a combined Mask of Normality (Tome of the Mysteries, p143) and Loyal Possession (Free Council p107) on Durandal and its scabbard, and each morning, she spends a couple of hours ritual casting a combined fate armour •••••/mind shield ••, and usually has sybil's sight cast normally. On top of this, when in front of sleepers, she usually uses her Sisterhood of the Blessed attainment to gain incognito presence. These multilayered protections are common when she's in unknown territory - she has quicker-cast version when she hasn't got the luxury of time to get out of bed (dropping the mind shield usually, or casting it as a separate spell).


      • #4
        After giving Doolittle a chance to order, Tuesday said, "I plan for us to complete the Chess Set of Fortune. Then I intend to play a game with it and earn a great boon. No doubt you are asking yourself why you should help me do this. You, no doubt, have affairs of your own to concern you. Even so, you should do as I say. The reason is simple: I know of a plot to take your.... parasol away from you. If you help me, I will help you. I will promise you this: my aid is something no one should dismiss out of hand."

        As she waited for for Doolittle to answer, Tuesday hoped that Oberon and Lar would be easier to handle. She needed the two of them. Lar had insights into Spirit that would be badly needed in the quest for ahead. As for Oberon, Tuesday suspected that his Changeling girlfriend would be the key to locating one of the missing chess pieces.


        • #5
          Doolittle orders hot chocolate, and looks levelly at Tuesday while she sips at it.

          'I ... see. Right, I see. I imagine that this is the sort of plot that sees the sword of Roland mysteriously turning up in the local Mysterium lorehouse, is it not? A plot that will be suspended for as long as I help you - specifically you, personally?'

          She stretches luxuriously.

          'Please. You needn't feel the need to threaten me over this. The Silver Ladder exists to provide assistance to the Awakened community - you requested our support, and providing it, free of tit-for-tat obligations, is my affair. That you'd seek further leverage over me to secure it further is a little blunt, certainly understandable, but ultimately unnecessary.

          'I am concerned more with details of what it is that we are looking for. Chess is a fairly recent invention, is it not? Certainly more recent than the Fall - so we're not necessarily looking for an Atlantean artefact. But if not that - what is it?

          'And - I hope you'll pardon my inqusitiveness, but what is the 'great boon' that you seek to win from this game? Is it likely to conflict with existing structures and institutions in Awakened society? To benefit and edify you in particular, or your order, or your cabal, or consilium… ?'

          OOC: Scrutinising the resonance of her spells as she talks, if she has any active spells up. Doolittle is particularly interested in the following:
          - What Arcana they come from
          - Her rough power/gnosis (Mage, p127-128)
          - Her skill at the arcana being used

          Dice pool 5 for examining spells - do you want to handle the rolling, or shall I, or shall we free-form it?
          Last edited by Winnersh 3; 01-10-2014, 06:10 AM.


          • #6
            "To be frank, if I get what I want, little will change in the grand design of things." As Tuesday said this,Doolittle took in that the woman sitting with her had remarkable power and had cleverly and skillfully cloaked herself protectively in Fate. Tuesday continued, "I seek only to recover a lost lover. Of course, others might to gain a great boon of their own after I make my own effort. That might be another reason for you to aid me. As to the age of the game of chess, it has no bearing on the artifact that I seek. You know as well as I that history and Time itself have no meaning to the creatures that call the supernal realm of Arcadia their home."

            As Doolittle pondered this, elsewhere in Paris, a trio of Seers of the Throne spilit up and went their seperate ways. The small pylon had three targets: Winchester, Oberon, and Lar. Each of the three knew that the price of failure would be terrible indeed.

            OOC: I think we should handle things free form. I have little doubt that anything any of you might come up will be at least as good as anything I could devise. We just need to make sure we don't contradict each other, but magic is odd. Anything might happen. As to the Seers, I leave it each player of a hunted character to devise the Seer that will vex him. Good luck!


            • #7
              'So - when we talk of the Set, we talk of things Arcadian, supernal, otherworldly, not bound to time save for that they are of Time - and not a relic of the Awakened City.'

              She's a little disappointed, but masked it quickly. It would be unreasonable to expect every thread of fate to lead to some shred of the past. Connecting with something torn from the world of the Watchtowers isn't nothing - no, of course not - but by it's very nature, it's something that was always there. The Chess Set must always have existed - it could have been retrieved from Arcadia yesterday, a year ago, a century hence, and all it needed was some blasted archmage to go and retrieve it. There's nothing human to it, save to the meaning that humans have imposed upon it. Still - power is power, and can be traded for power. She supposes that she'll take part.

              'Very well - I'll help you. I'll help you recover the set at least - but I am queasy about using it. Just as you do not need to tell me about the nature of the Abode of Thorns, I do not need to tell you that the Fae and their crafts are seldom like vending machines - simple artefacts where you push the button, and retrieve your heart's desire, the great boon, the Auctoritas Arcanum, or whatever.

              'It's a land of story, and even if has a game of wits at the end - against who, do you know? Please do not tell me you hope to play a game against one of the Gentry - the process of acquiring it is likely to be difficult, and fraught with danger. Using it will be no less easy - and just think of all of those who sought uncanny powers or means to free their loved ones. Orphée, Inanna, and countless others thought to do as you did - it is almost a mythic constant in the fallen world - I'll help, but I urge caution.'

              She leans forward, suddenly eager, suddenly a willing co-conspirator with whom information can be shared.

              'So - you have leads, I presume?'

              OOC: Sure - fine by me!


              • #8
                A black marcades pulled to a stop outside the café shop. Moments later a dark haired American emerged from the car dressed in a finely tailored black suite. His eyes where hidden behind lightless sunglasses and his weathered face bore little trace of expression.

                He could sense the trace of magic here, almost taste it on the wind itself. It was subtle, as if trying to hide itself form him, and yet its fragrance was all to clear to him. He had only taken a single step forward when his cell phone rang.

                “Yes?” His tone was blank, he raised his left wrist, checking the time on his watch.

                “That’s right, quarter past two, just like you said,” He paused for a moment, “There’s two of them, not three,” He paused for a moment longer and let out some sort of heh, “Are you sure? … yes yes of course your sure. Fine.”

                Without any further words he ended the call, returning his phone to his pocket. Reaching further into his jacket his hand lightly brushed across the surface of his holstered gun. He waited a moment longer then withdraw his hand, straightening up he smothered his jacket off and walked into the café shop and over to Tuesday.

                Not waiting to be invited into the conversation, he pulled out a chair, and sat down, crossing his left leg so the ankle rested on his right knee. He waited, seemingly politely, for the two women to finish talking, but his cold, stone walled presence seemed to stifle the conversation.


                • #9
                  Kohled and gilded eyes flick up to the door as something - something big - brushes against the gossamer tangle of fate woven into the room. Doolittle is flawlessly trained for practically all kinds of formal and informal occasions, but then again, her draw, cut, thrust and parry are all also fairly ingrained. One hand reaches for Durandal and she turns, etiquette and combat readiness warring for primacy in her head and bearing - only to see a great ghoul of a man, a veritable Man in Black who positively glides towards the group's table. The suit, the glasses, the bulge that implies an ostentatiously concealed weapon - not sleeper authorities or law enforcement, she suspects, but certainly aping them - a very austere member of the Ladder? A Guardian? A Seer? Sizing him up, she decides against the latter - the servants of the Exarchs wouldn't be so obvious about it.

                  She nods politely to him, then returns to her conversation with Tuesday. She continues to catch glimpses of the man looming in her peripheral vision, though, and is a little distracted. He so clearly did want to be noticed, and so, she obliges him.

                  'M'sieur - my apologies for monopolising Tuesday's time, we were simply discussing the affair that brought us here, and did not mean to exclude you. I am Doolittle, Claviger, representing the Téarchy in this endeavour; if I may, this woman is Tuesday, of the Mysterium. And you would be ...'

                  'Madame Tuesday; I realise that I risk forcing you to recount telling your tale and briefing us each individually, repeating yourself over and over again!'

                  A small, careful, curtsey to the newcomer, and a disarming guilty smile and hand covering her mouth for Tuesday. Both gestures are surprisingly genuine; though the voice of Geneviève, the uncouth and cynical pre-Awakening sleeper remains below the surface, providing her running commentary on the ridiculousness and pretension of it all, the voice of Doolittle is all charm, tact, and poise, trying her best to put the others at their ease. Her manner might - just might - go down better in an old-world Awakened Salon than (burgh) Paris, Texas, though.

                  'I am a graceless guest; would you prefer me to quiet myself, or restrict myself to polite niceties and frivolities, until you can explain the matter to all of us together?'


                  • #10
                    The man sat quietly his hand resting softly against his chin. He noticed Doolittle nod in his direction and ever so slightly nodded in return, the gesture was subtle, with little wasted energy, but he suspected someone like Doolittle would notice it none the less. He took the initial conversation excluding him as an opportunity to study the two woman, so much could be gleamed from peoples reactions. For instance he noted the way Doolittle continued to check him out, that he had her attention was of little surprise, his presence was deliberately imposing, but her tact was calm measured, precise. She maintained an air of polite curtsey's, while gracefully analyzing a potential threat. She was not without talent. In comparison Tuesday continued prattling on about her plans, seemingly excited simply to have a new attendee.

                    "The names Scar." He was polite, almost sounding friendly, but his answer was abrupt. He understood the question was leading, and that Doolittle was expecting more detail from him, but he had no intention of giving such, not yet at least.

                    "I'm already aware of the mystery womans agenda. Needless to say, I have backers, shell we call them 'investers', interested in the success of this venture.", he leaned back in his chair as one of the wait staff approached, ordering one of the more extravagant coffees.


                    • #11
                      Tuesday looked over to Scar with a slight smile. "As you know, Scar, I would welcome most backers." Tuesday turns her attention back to Doolittle. "As to leads, I have a few. For example, I have reason to believe that one of the pieces - a white knight - is in Napier, New Zealand. It was - like many artifacts - taken to New Zealand to keep it from falling into the hands of the Nazis before the second world war. My thought is that Napier be our first stop. At this time, I fear that my other leads are more vague."

                      Tuesday had, of course, failed to make clear who would be the opponent that she would face when she had completed the set.

                      OOC: Welcome MysticJackal! Thank you for joining
                      Last edited by Cire; 01-10-2014, 11:59 PM. Reason: Lost line of text


                      • #12
                        Scar. What a guy, to choose that as his Shadow name.

                        'C'est juste - I understand that it might be necessary to protect the identities of those whom you serve, and can refer to them as 'investors' for the time being. But - just as a gesture of trust, a demonstration of commitment to our common cause - could you at least provide a little more information as to which way they are inclined?

                        'Judging by everything Madame Tuesday has suggested, it seems that the set is something that a wide range of 'backers' might be interested in, and - my very great apologies - I do not know you from Adam. Could you at least offer us the assurance that you are not here on behalf of the Ministries, or the Scelesti, or so on?

                        Once he's delivered some form of answer, she turns back to Tuesday, nodding at her words.

                        'A location is good, even if it is sixty years old information. Do you have any idea about how you might locate the Knight in Napier? Who relocated the artefacts - can they still reliably be said to be in the possession of their original keeper?'

                        This Mystagogue is being extraordinarily cagey about her information regarding the artefact, and Doolittle's curiosity - and suspicions - are piqued. At the back of her mind, Geneviève begins planning what she'll need to make her own enquiries regarding the set - drawing up a shopping list of sacraments, ritual locations, and the necessary Atlantean phrases to draw down the supernal, and get the answers she wants, while Doolittle continues to make police chatter.

                        'Again, I bore on with many questions, objections, and try to ferret out information on these matters; I continue to assume the role of the tedious Téarch more concerned with itineraries and introduction to local Consilia to grasp the bigger picture. But this is my world; I would help with it where I can.'


                        • #13
                          Making a dismissive motion with his hand, Oberon dismisses the quantum scrying window that his powers over Fate and Time had urged him to create.

                          "So, the Chess Set of Fortune, eh? Owned by Seers, too, and the pieces by the Gentry; we'll have to fix that." He looks over at his girlfriend, his fingers stroking the flowers of her Mantle adorning her hair. "Maybe the trip down here wasn't a waste after all."

                          She snorts. "I don't imagine they'll let them go without a fight, though. The Seers probably have their stuff warded to stop you from just swiping it with Space, too."

                          He nods. "Yeah, they're usually meticulous about that sort of shit. The Gentry might not have, though, and we can't say for sure until we try! Come on." With that, he stands up and takes her hand, pulling along as he rips open the space-time continuum, forcing a macro-scale quantum entanglement. In layman's terms, he opened a portal to the cafe.

                          "Hello, folks! I happened to hear about this Chess Set of Fortune you were seeking! Can I take a look at one of the pieces, thanks? I can reinforce the sympathetic link it holds to the others, and then use that link to swipe them if they're not warded properly. Pity I haven't got Matter, because that'd probably let me swipe them even if they are!" He shrugs, then adds, "Even if I can't swipe them, at the very least I can scry them to figure out where they are, and drop a locator spell on them to help us find them."


                          • #14
                            Doolittle jumps half out of her skin as space severs itself behind her with a thundercrack audible to her unseen senses, if not her aural ones, and a young man and woman just saunter out of empty air. For the second time today - and, with the way things seem to be shaping up, not the last time - she is tempted to draw her sword and begin running through the mysterious Awakened who seem to be flooding the place. Portals. Fucking portals. Forget the integrity of the Veil and Paradox - which reminds her, she ought to take a quick look around, see how many Sleepers just witnessed their entrance - the ability to simply waltz on into anywhere one pleased was extremely frustrating. She takes a deep breath, calming herself, dons a prim smile, and turns round, getting up from her chair to greet the two interlopers.

                            Another brief curtsey, a perfectly polite social gesture that both satisfies her sense of politesse and allows her to scrutinise the pair under her Sight. The young man is predictably bound with puppet strings from head to foot, some leading from him and some leading to him; but that's predictable for any of the Awakened with any half-way convincing engagement in the narrative threads of the world. The young woman, next to him, though - she - she -

                            Doolittle averts her sight, feeling a blood vessel burst in the corner of her right eye. She was no student of Prime, couldn't read the woman's aura, her nature, but she could have sworn that she was normal - an ordinary human, or maybe a Sleepwalker. But the sense of fate around her was … palpable. Overwhelming.

                            'You arrive at an extremely auspicious moment, m'sieur, madame. That sounds like an extremely wise plan, and I am sure we all value the presence of someone so Adept in Space. My one concern would be that whoever has the other pieces might sense the scrying attempt, or the impact of your working against their wards, alerting themselves to the fact that they're under attack. Would you - either of you - be able to circumvent this issue? Oh - and how rude of me - I did not catch your name?'

                            She smiles sweetly.


                            • #15
                              "He calls himself Oberon," supplied Tuesday. "I am thrilled that he has come, and has done the kindness to bring his lovely girlfriend along. As to your request, Oberon, I have no piece of the chess set to offer you. However, it might help you to know that your girlfriend has a connection to one of the pieces."

                              OoC: Forgive the shortness of this post, but I must return to work.