“You can’t save everyone and not everyone can be saved.” I have heard those words from every master under whom I have studied. It is wise advice for one Sleeper to give another Sleeper. For an Awakened? I do not know. Tonight showed the true power of Mages working together; it is both impressive and terrifying. The Threads of Fate, officially recognized, infiltrated the “doctor’s” laboratory and rescued Greg. Can we help everyone? Maybe. Should we? I do not know.
When I learned every member of our cabal was available, I requested we head to Fort Adams in force. It had been weeks since our last visit and Greg still needed saving. The plan was to meet at the Athenaeum, which was my mistake since it was closing at the time I specified to meet, so we met at Chuck’s nearby.
Everyone was present but Zapffe, who was just running late. Freya opened the conversation with some research she was able to do since she arrived at the Athenaeum early. The main takeaways: vampire, shapeshifter, magic-user, bullets do little, fire does a lot, and things like crosses only work in true faith. Everything burns, except for maybe an Obrimos like me. Her research only increased my confidence. Freya’s contributions magically have not been very noticeable, but her mind is a special kind of magic. Following that conversation I asked everyone to share their abilities, weapons, and tactics. With so many of us together, my initial goal was to ensure we were safe from each other. My greater goal was to learn our offensive synergies. That part of the conversation proved to be very useful later in the evening.
When we reached the parking lot down from the Redoubt, Wanderer blew my mind with the declaration that he had come from several minutes in the future to warn us of an alarm we triggered. He also mentioned wanting to limit the amount of information he shared with us; I think all of us understood why without any follow-up. Watch any movie or show involving time travel and you know it’s risky to meddle in the past. But since Wanderer mentioned taking us back in time the last time we were in the Fort, I was not completely caught off guard. And I think I trust him to make the right decision on what to share.
With magic from Advokat to hide us from spirits, and magic from Voland to hide us from everyone else, Wanderer seemed more comfortable with our intrusion. The Last Messiah and I shared our magic with those who would fight by mundane means, like Freya with her gun, Voland with his sword, or Glasyia with her knives. Wanderer used magic on me that made me faster than I have ever been – fast enough to keep pace with cars on the Audubon. Nabu imbued us with favors from Fate as he has done in the past. And with that, we were ready to proceed.
Nabu used the same type of tracking magic he has used in the past, to track Greg, which put him up front where Jack and I joined him. It didn’t take long for us to find blood marks on a piece of rock, which Wanderer confirmed(by looking into the past) was evidence Alyssa turned into a pool of blood to transport herself below. Zapffe, in response, destroyed the stone so we could pass through and continue following Nabu’s spell down some stairs into a nightmare.
I hesitate to describe this to you, Queeny, but I need to talk to someone about it, someone besides Jack. Voland used his magic, combined with my own, to see down and around corners and in the dark so he prepared us for it as best he could. I had to keep myself from vomiting the whole time. There was blood, sinew, bones, organs, all sorts of gore fashioned throughout the space; there were even blood fountains. I patrolled the area, as patiently as I could, while the others studied the room. Freya and Wanderer discussed Time and Death magic made the “decorations” possible. The same with the next room, where there was a dining room table Alyssa where Alyssa would sit and extract people’s blood through their skin while they were in a trance. Wanderer looked back in time to see it; I did not envy him. Jack and I continued on with the others and found a weird apparatus made of bones and tissue, covered with dirt. Freya said it was common for vampire sto sleep in dirt from their native lands, so Zapffe and I destroyed it by transforming it into gas and then lighting it on fire.
Our next challenge was an iron wall with no discernible way to move it, so after some discussion Zapffe shrank it so we could pass through, behind which there was another iron barrier. This one was an actual door with bars at the top, like in a prison, so we could look through and see creatures on the other side. Freya confirmed they still had souls, but Queeny, they looked more like dogs than humans. This vampire woman has twisted more lives than we might ever know, but I intend to make her pay.
But my priority was Greg, which I made clear several times. I needed to talk to these creatures to know which was him, but when the spirits/guards showed up we had to focus on the situation at hand. Nabu sent the spirits to rest, like he did back a few months ago, but one of them stuck around and inhabited the body of one of the large creatures. It opened the iron door as Zapffe opened fire with his rifle. Guns are messy, loud weapons that people come to rely on. My lightning made short work of several in a matter of moments, and I can do so without making a sound. Reading that back makes me feel uneasy…
Nabu imbued Jack with power to track Greg. Keep in mind we were still more or less invisible to any creatures because of Voland’s mind magic. Freya followed Jack and I to a shy creature with bone wings. “This is the one,” Jack proclaimed, so I started a conversation with Greg. He was not as coherent as he had been before, obviously changed by the transformation to his body and soul. I asked Voland to inspect his mind in hopes we could still save him, but Voland said he didn’t think there was enough there to save him.
But then Dr. Lesandro emerged so I shouted to “Take them all out!” Zapffe reversed gravity down the hallway, as he warned us he would, so I made Jack and I fly in it. All the creatures stumbled down the hallway, including Alyssa, who went inert after smacking into the creatures she made. Greg remained still and silent the whole time, so we were able to keep him alive.
While several of us destroyed the “decorations”, Voland inspect Alyssa’s mind to learn it was not actually her, but a man she turned into a vampire and shifted into a duplicate of herself. She must have known we were coming, which is not too surprising.
I’m a little disappointed we did not destroy the vampire causing the problems, but again, my main priority was Greg. His ability to hold back from conflict let me know there was still some hope, so I turned us invisible and flew him to the Armory. He is in the care of Silentium and the Council now, but I make sure to visit to check on him and read him stories like you used to do for Jack and I. I really miss those days.