Tuesday, May 19th, 2009, 11:30 PM – The Coven of the Summer Ash – Scene One (Cuchulainn’s Lair)
- Arachne wraps a blanket around Tyrrhenus and seats him in the passenger seat of her station wagon.
- She tells him that she will need to blindfold him and he has no will to resist.
- Arachne takes time briefly to drain Mana (2) from Grandma, who feigns resistance and then smiles. She has plenty to spare.
- Getting behind the wheel, she drives northeast into North End and arrives at the familiar brownstone of her mentor Cuchulainn.
- Having called ahead, she knows to use the side grade entrance and sends Grandma ahead to scout for unwanted eyes.
- The coast is clear and Arachne leads Tyrrhenus down the steps and knocks a customary three times on the basement door.
- Eerie lights flicker inside and can be seen from the basement windows.
- Arachne is excited to enter the Stygian Demesne of her mentor.
- The door is answered by Malpheus, a two foot winged imp created by Cuchulainn and infused with a spirit, to tend his sanctum.
- Malpheus peers mischievously at Tyrrhenus and leads them to the main chamber while absently tapping his tail against the hallway wall, a nervous habit Arachne is used to.
Cuchulainn: Sarah! Please come in. Tell me more about how your friend came to be parted from his soul.
Arachne: Thanks for seeing us Evan. I’m afraid his condition is the result of his dealings with a goetic spirit of greed.
- Arachne quickly recounts the tale of the battle in the warehouse in Boston Harbour, as Wu brings some padded chairs to the three mages and they sit.
Cuchulainn: How goes the search for the rest of the vice spirits?
Arachne: Only Gluttony and Pride remain.
Cuchulainn (realizing the full implications of this): I see…
Arachne (blushing regarding Pride, presenting the soul jar): I have his soul here.
Cuchulainn: This goetic summoning can be a nasty business at times. It has its uses, but things can get quite out of hand when anything goes wrong.
Arachne: Adam was not nearly careful enough.
Cuchulainn: Adam has spent too much time in isolation. He means well, but needs more guidance in his studies.
- Arachne finds this interesting coming from Cuchulainn, an apostate mage living apart from the Consilium. Cuchulainn is a social person and quite capable of Silver Ladder style Consilium political maneuvering were this his desire. He often encourages Arachne’s political ambitions as long as she tempers them with humility from time to time. Cuchulainn seems to have the blessing of The Nemean to be out on his own and unaffiliated with any Order, probably a place he has earned through years of wise and careful decision making.
Arachne (presenting the Atlantean star): Which brings me to my next bit of sad news: Adam is missing, but he left us a gift.
- Cuchulainn examines the imbued item for a few moments with an unveiling spell of Spirit as Arachne tells him about the cabal’s investigations at the hotel in Quincy. As she relays the information regarding the nullspace and the lack of resonance Cuchulainn frowns and betrays his concern.
Cuchulainn: From what you describe it seems like magic was involved. I fear that Banishers may be responsible.
Arachne (very concerned): That would be more than troubling.
Cuchulainn: Yes. They are a mad and unpredictable lot. Malpheus, dispose of Tyrrhenus’ clothes and fetch him a clean robe.
- Malpheus strips Tyrrhenus naked and removes his blindfold, throws these in the nearby fire pit, breathes fire and incinerates them. Arachne is always amused by the imp’s supernatural abilities. Malpheus then quickly cloaks Tyrrhenus in a green robe and brings him to the area Wu has prepared for his restoration and recuperation.
- Wu has also prepared the herbal mixture Cuchulainn uses for Soul Binding.
- The ritual takes 30 minutes and Tyrrhenus’ soul is returned to him. He is unconscious and resting on a nearby cot. Cuchulainn administers a sedative to help him rest.
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 12:25 AM – The Coven of the Summer Ash – Scene Two (Cuchulainn’s Lair)
Cuchulainn: It is time. You have made good choices during these past few months Arachne. You have shown great respect for the dead and their immortal souls. You are ready to join The Coven.
Arachne (containing her beaming pride): Now? [Composure + Subterfuge → Success]
Cuchulainn: Yes. I will weave a spell to suitably invigorate us while we continue on into the morning [Improvised Life].
Arachne: Thank you. I am anxious to craft my soul and strengthen the bond between us.
Cuchulainn: Today you will embark on an Astral Journey, like the one you took when you first Awakened in the Primal Wild. The challenge for you will be to cross the Astral Threshold into your Oneiros and then spend some time there to learn more about yourself. Then you are to meet up with me in the Temenos further along your path.
Arachne: I’ve tried this before as you know, without success.
Cuchulainn: You just need to push a little harder. Find the key to crossing the Threshold. Use all of your senses and do not shy away from adversity. Our work is important Arachne. These souls we usher into Summerland may Awaken when they are reborn. The Exarchs prefer that the ghosts remain, haunting the Fallen World and reinforcing hopelessness and despair.
Arachne: I see the rightness of our work.
Cuchulainn: One day you will have to allow your Grandmother to pass on as well. It is as much your unwillingness to let go as hers that keeps her here with you, but there is still some time yet for you to get accustomed to the idea [smiling]. To continue on the path of our Legacy you will need a greater mastery of Life to extend your lifespan. You Awakened late in life, but I was reluctant to push you towards longevity before seeing how well you could contain your Pride. Be careful that you remain true and do not let arrogance overtake you.
- Arachne understands the logic of Cuchulainn’s words, but thinks him overly worried about her potential failings. She feels she can contain her Vice and stay on the right path.
Cuchulainn: Let us begin. When you reach the Temenos you will find it hard to reach me, but there are short cuts in the Temenos. Once there, recite the following: Will Summerland be void and white full of light, or dark as the darkest night. Will I stay or make another flight to earth. Will I really want to rebirth? Can I stand another round on this land? I believe it is so.
Cuchulainn: Do this and you will join me in the Realm of the Horned God in the Temenos.
Cuchulainn: Arachne, I can’t tell you what your Daimon will show you when you explore your Oneiros, only that it is important to your growth and development. Good luck.
- Wu has prepared the special incense, put out the plush meditation mats, and ensured no extraneous noise [+3 to meditation].
- Arachne and Cuchulainn sit next to one another and exchange a warm glance before beginning their meditations.
- After 30 minutes, nerves get the best of Arachne and she is still barely in meditation [ 8 dice → 1 success].
- Continuing on she achieves a waking meditation and arrives in a grassy meadow with a downward sloping dirt path leading westward into the mid-afternoon Sun [3 successes].
- She finds many natural obstacles and divets in her bumpy and uneven path [0 successes].
- After two hours she is now deep in a waking dream. The path is smooth and still westward as the sun moves closer to the horizon [4 successes].
- Arachne at last arrives at a ravine. The chasm is 15 feet wide and she can see the continuing path on the other side. There is a large oak tree next to her. The tree is huge and full of life. Arachne knows that she could use Death to erode the base of the tree and use it to cross to the other side. She has been here before and has never felt comfortable doing that.
- She concentrates harder and opens herself more in the Astral to take in as much of the scenery as possible and in that moment she notices an acorn in the shadow of the great oak.
- She plants the acorn and breathes life into it [1 Mana] and it begins to grow at an accelerated pace. In a few days time it should grow into a mature oak tree.
- Arachne casts an improvised Death spell on the base of the older oak tree, gives it a solid push and watches as it topples over to the other side of the ravine. Satisfied that the cycle of Life and Death has been given proper respect, she continues on into her Oneiros.
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 03:25 AM – The Coven of the Summer Ash – Scene Three (Arachne’s Oneiros)
- Still travelling west, Arachne arrives at a gully at the base of a cliff. A waterfall is pouring over the cliff into a stream emptying into a pond teaming with life. Woodland animals, such as rabbits, deer, and squirrels can be seen all around the gully. Perfectly cut logs are flowing down the stream into the pond and into a shallow area with a bank on either side. Angry storm clouds fill the horizon, moving quickly towards her.
- A young woman is gathering logs from the bank on the right and building a newly constructed narrow tower. An older woman is frustrated and tired and unable to get any of the incoming logs to finish the animal shelter she is well on her way to finishing on the left bank.
Arachne (to the young woman): What are you building?
Young woman: I am building the tallest tower in the land so that I might keep watch over my ememies and strike them down when they are weak.
Arachne: Who are your enemies?
Young woman (throwing the next log onto the tower): I have many. Some from the distant past and some that have yet to reveal themselves.
Arachne (to the old woman): What are you building?
Old woman: I am constructing a shelter for the animals so that they can survive the coming storm, but I cannot seem to get any logs (looking at the young woman in frustration).
Arachne: That seems worthwhile. Let me help you.
- Arachne attempts some improvised Life magic, but can’t seem to form a useful Imago for the spell.
- The young woman snickers and shakes her head, mocking her attempts to help the old woman.
- Arachne realizes that she can’t do what she wants alone and calls for help. She casts Control Base Life and causes all the insects in a four-yard radius to distract the younger woman while she and the older woman gather logs to finish the shelter [two attempts before succeeding, both with Willpower].
- The old woman is beaming and the young woman is angry and frustrated and Arachne gives her a satisfied look.
- The storm has arrived and Arachne and old woman usher the nearby animals inside the now completed shelter. The young woman cowers in her unfinished tower. The storm rages overhead and lighting strikes the tower and destroys it.
- Arachne offers shelter to the young woman, but she howls in frustration and disintegrates.
- In that moment Arachne recognizes both the old and young women as Astral representations of herself.
Old Arachne: Thank you for everything. Continue on your path. Build things broad and large for many, rather than small and narrow for few.
- The scene shifts and Arachne finds herself almost in the Temenos, the westward sun nearing the horizon. Interesting diversions tempt her off the path into her Oneiros on both her right and left, but she decides that she has had enough soul searching for now and steps forward into the Temenos and recites the passage Cuchulainn had her memorize.
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 04:45 AM – The Coven of the Summer Ash – Scene Four (Temenos)
- She travels like the wind and arrives at the Realm of the Horned God in the Temenos. This realm is the representation of what the collective unconscious souls of Wicca throughout the Fallen World and the Coven of the Summer Ash believe the Realm of the Horned God might resemble in Stygia.
- Cuchulainn and a half-dozen other members of the Coven from around the world are gathered around the Vortex of Souls in the middle of a large garden. The slow-moving vortex eminates from underground and symbolizes the passage of souls from the Fallen World to Summerland in the Supernal Realm of Stygia.
- Cuchulainn points to the Horned God, watching over the proceedings calmly at a distance, and comments that the Horned God has evolved again slightly as he always does when a new member joins The Coven, reflecting that member’s unique perspective.
- Residents of the Temenos tend the garden and serve food and wine to the guests. The Coven believe these residents are the dream projections of unfreed souls. They serve The Coven until their ghosts’ issues are resolved in the Fallen World so that their souls can pass on to Summerland in Stygia.
- Cuchulainn leads The Coven in prayer to welcome Arachne:
Will Summerland be void and white full of light, or dark as the darkest night.
Will I stay or make another flight to earth. Will I really want to rebirth?
Can I stand another round on this land? I believe it is so.
I can do my job on earth and do it well.
It will not be all fun and joy, but it will be to fulfill my soul with what I need as I continue my cycle in and out of Summerland.
Summerland echoes to me very distant, very faint.
Summerland becons me to fulfill my destiny so I may return.
This time who will I be? Maiden, mother, cron? Will I sit upon a throne, or a pauper will I be?
I just hope I remember love and perfect trust.
May I harm none and learn the lesson I have been sent to learn, and do my job without strife.
May I live a purpose filled peaceful life.
Let me not be prejudice or judgemental, but clever as the elementals.
Summerland will be waiting for me to reflect, rejoice, rest, and recycle.
Always I look forward to Summerland.
- Cuchulainn then asks Arachne to lead The Coven of the Summer Ash in reciting the Rede of the Wiccae:
Bide the Wiccan laws ye must in perfect love an perfect trust.
Live an let live – fairly take an fairly give.
Cast the Circle thrice about to keep all evil spirits out.
To bind the spell every time, let the spell be spake in rhyme.
Soft of eye an light of touch – speak little, listen much.
Deosil go by the waxing Moon – sing an dance the Wiccan rune.
Widdershins go when the Moon doth wane, an the Werewolf howls by the dread Wolfsbane.
When the Lady’s Moon is new, kiss the hand to her times two.
When the Moon rides at her peak, then your heart’s desire seek.
Heed the Northwind’s mighty gale – lock the door and drop the sail.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast
When the West wind blows o’er thee, departed spirits restless be.
Nine woods in the Cauldron go – burn them quick an burn them slow.
Elder be ye Lady’s tree – burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
When the Wheel begins to turn – let the Beltane fires burn.
When the Wheel has turned a Yule, light the Log an let Pan rule.
Heed ye flower, bush an tree – by the Lady blessed be.
Where the rippling waters go, cast a stone an truth ye’ll know.
When ye have need. hearken not to other’s greed.
With the fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet an merry part – bright the cheeks an warm the heart.
Mind the Threefold Law ye should – three times bad an three times good.
When misfortune is enow, wear the blue star on thy brow.
True in love ever be unless thy lover’s false to thee.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill – an it harm none, do what ye will.
Cuchulainn: Arachne. We of The Coven of the Summer Ash accept you with open hearts and perfect trust. May you guide many souls to Summerland.
Arachne: I am honored to be among you. I will shepherd the lost and usher them to rebirth and renewal.
The Coven (in unison): Welcome Arachne of Boston, keeper of Hathorne Manor, child of persecution and harbinger of justice!
- The Coven spends most of the next two hours celebrating with food, wine, and song.
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 06:35 AM – The Coven of the Summer Ash – Scene Five (Cuchulainn’s Lair)
- Cuchulainn and Arachne rise out of the Realm of the Horned God in the Temenos and awake with renewed purpose.
- They share a warm and friendly embrace.
- Arachne wakes Tyrrhenus and drives him back to his sports car. He thanks her sincerely for her help.
- Arachne heads back to Hathorne Manor, still supernally invigorated for the rest of the day.