Happy New Year to you, my love. Some of today’s events may bring me closer to getting the answers I have sought since that tragic night I lost you and Jack. I asked my Cabal to help me with a ritual to follow the shadow names of three British mages. I was pleasantly surprised when each member of the Cabal – even the ones I don’t see very often – offered their assistance. I wish everyone could have stuck around for the rest of the day, but I’m so grateful they put time aside for me.
We performed the ritual in our Sanctum – a specific place of power to assist spell control – in the basement of Threadstone Manor. Everyone contributed in their own way, by lending their expertise before the ritual and power during the ritual. We prepared a scrying circle and included Arthurian iconography in its drawing. Like any ritual you have ever seen on TV – or at church – there were several white candles. Three of the carvings that stand out in my memory: a sword, a tower, and a lake (Merlin’s symbol). We wrote the three shadow names in calligraphy on separate pieces of paper, wrapping each with silver and golden thread onto a stone. Nearby we had a map as well as a board of letters and numbers (Ouija board) in case a spirit tried to communicate.
The ritual was long – over 3 hours – and in the course of that time a few things happened. At one point Freya warned she felt shadow approaching, and that one soul left the ritual entirely while another was angry. The third spoke through her power and eventually all the stones slid off the map entirely. Fortunately, a piece of paper ripped off “Ambrosus” and landed on RI, and then the candle with the sword carving rolled over to the same spot. Later a rush of power shot through the room when we eventually saw William the Knight praying in their small chapel in their home on Power street. And then it was over. I had my next lead; I needed to speak with William.
After such a lengthy ritual we each took time to ourselves and went our separate ways. Jack and I went for a run on the beach and a quick swim in hopes the water would help me think, speak, and act clearly when I spoke to William later that morning. But first I caught up with Adianni, Freya, and Adovkat to discuss our trip back to Crowhollow. We solidified a plan travel to Crowhollow through our allies, the changelings. I would meet the 3 of them at the home following my visit at Power Street.
Freya asked, “Why is all of this so important to you?” I told her the truth but left out one or two bits of information. I want to know if I’m Merlin’s heir because the possibility has caused me to lose loved ones. It has formed a rift between my parents and I. It set me on a path post-Awakening that – for a time – was self-destructive. She nodded along and said she was only curious, not judgmental. I told them all it’s very possible there are still people after me.
I called the hunters at their house number before I left and asked to speak with William. He was aware there was some type of supernatural presence earlier in the day (during our ritual) and was not surprised to hear from me. I asked to speak with him in person and he said he was available any time.
“I’ll tell all of you what I learned when I come back, as long as it isn’t too personal. I’m not trying to hide it all,” I said to the others before I left. I noticed Freya’s familiar – a ghost inhabiting a snake’s skeleton – started moving strangely, causing Freya to leave the room as I was leaving the manor for Power Street in Providence.
During my drive I received a text from Freya that “Pips” had a vision. It’s the name she gave her familiar apparently. And while I did not understand the vision – and was told not to share it with the hunters – it did sound like it could be applicable to me:
“Old knights/nights linger on in darker days,
Hunting light that leads the way.
Walk too long in the sun,
And you too/two shall find yourself a hunted one.”
Lucas opened the door and greeted me. He directed me to their chapel, on the third floor and in the same room where I saw him in the vision. As I neared the doorway I felt unwelcoming power emanating from it, which was similar to but not as strong as the coffee shop. I asked to speak in a different room given the power inside, so we went into a small sitting room where I controlled the sound to keep curious ears unaware.
Once we were alone, I told him why the ritual was done as well as its purpose. I also clarified why he felt death magic; the shadow names were of dead mages. When I told him the ritual pointed me in his direction, he said he had “witches” in his family history so it was not surprising. He said his family is allegedly descended from King Arthur. He did not know of anyone I could contact directly, but confirmed some of the research I had already done. Things like Mordred being related to Arthur, Merlin being Arthur’s son, and the like. He said he would need my real name to better learn my origin, which I did share (reluctantly).
I asked him if he needed anything besides my name and he hesitated, so I called him out. “Is there something that would make this more efficient?” He told me to punch him, which surprised me. And he surprised me again when he wouldn’t say why. “As a man or as a mage?” He said to merely punch him, so I released some of my magic to not gravely injure him. I hit him hard enough to leave a heavy bruise and in response he drew his sword from his back faster than I could have imagined. He was directing it at my chest, but it stopped despite him putting his full force into the swing. William explained the sword would not harm me, despite being an aggressor, which meant I was related to him in some way. His sword is an artifact of the Knighthood of Saint George. Apparently Saint George was the first witch-hunter in the Knighthood, and that his brother was a necromancer. William warned that the largest threat in the state was my possession, for he could not stop me even if he wanted to. I told him several times – in no small words – the Threads of Fate and the Providence Consilium would put me down if necessary. He did not accept that as a solution or even a comfort. I did not press any further.
Before I left, he asked me if I knew anything about the Pedestrian Bridge in Providence. I gave him a quick summary of what I knew (though not of our visit). Apparently someone tried to walk the bridge and was chased off by the individuals on the bridge. I shrugged it off as a wandering college student and he did not have anything else to say.
So I left and headed for the changelings way-point. When I got there, an older man I did not recognize was out on the porch as some children played in the yard. He was immediately skeptical, but eventually I learned it was Starfrost’s attendant. After a quick phone conversation with Chant I was inside waiting for the others to arrive. It didn’t take long and soon after we were on our way through the door back into Crowhollow.
Last night I went back to the bridge and went into Crowhollow alone looking for more of the Spiral. It eventually led me to the Drood Family mansion, run by Don Wyclef. I spoke with the guards there briefly but they didn’t know what Spiral was or were playing dumb. Especially alone, I was not willing to jump through social hoops. My companions are better at that anyway. I told Freya, Adianni, and Advokat the whole story when they asked me if we had a specific goal for our visit. They were surprised and a little taken aback by the move. I told them it could help me in my quest to bring Forces and Life together, but I don’t think they understand how important it is to me.
But this visit was more of a social adventure. Unlike the first time into the market with Freya and Nabu, I did everything I could to NOT be a downer. I realized that if I want my cabal mates to trust me and ask for my help and my protection, they need to know I still respect their ability to make their own choices. If they don’t trust me, they won’t ask for help, and that simply will not do.
We made stops at a few different shops:
- A bookstore I noticed in the past that Adianni was interested in visiting. We saw stone tablets bound by iron bands that were about military battles in Arcadia (a.k.a. Fey). Another book had gemstones on the cover and was a book that specialized in summoning – all types. Adianni bought the summoning book, but not the tablets.
- The jeweler Freya visited during our first visit at the Goblin Market. Freya bought the necklace she first saw months ago.
- A tailor that specialized in men’s clothing, where I sought enchanted clothing. I had measurements taken for a 3-piece suit that could protect me from dangerous supernatural phenomenon, but I did not buy anything. I’m waiting to hear back about the price or a barter for services. I need to make sure I don’t fall to mind control. The others made it very obvious how bad I am at sales situations.
- A store that specialized in strange and dangerous items, briefly enchanted to perform strange functions once or twice. A pair of brown rubber gloves that allowed you to literally hold light. A coffin that builds a copy of you, where your soul would go if you were ever killed. An orb of black stones that would explode in black tendrils. Fireproofing spray. A jar with an ear that allows you to eavesdrop on the place you drop it.
We learned a bit about Crow coin – the currency of choice in Crowhollow:
- Made when an individual reaches an agreement with a vendor for a trade of goods.
- Manufactured from an individual’s essence, but the type and scale is unpredictable.
- Its only advertised purpose is to be currency, but we all suspect it can be used in other ways that are not discussed.
- When Adianni bought something through a Crow coin agreement, she said it felt like her body ran a marathon. Advokat was able to heal her almost instantly.
Something else that stood out was Freya’s method of payment for her jewelry. When we stopped by to see her and Jack, she was performing a ritual of some kind. Apparently she created a soul jar for the jeweler and that was her payment. I did not press for too much information, but the implications do concern me. I need to find the right way to speak with her on it without sounding like a lecturing parent. I just want to understand.
So overall a pretty “normal” trip to a market on a giant tree in another realm of existence. But before we left we did go to the Drood Family manor. After some social maneuvering on the part of my Cabal, we met with an assistant named Edward McCreary. He said the Don did not wish to keep anything dangerous on the premises, and that it was brought in by a member of the estate at the market. I did not press for more information, but did he mean a member of HIS estate, or THE Estate? Good news though – he gave us a satchel with several vials of the Spiral. And Edward said any information we shared with them would be considered a favor to the Don. I want to make sure we discuss all of this with the Last Messiah before we get ahead of ourselves. It’s possible we already have, but I don’t want to wait in a lab forever. We need to do something. I need to know the Truth of this. It might help me find a way back to you.