- The Matrix Tappers leave the 100 Tass (large 5 lbs smooth granite rocks) in Arachne’s garden on Saturday afternoon and then notify the cabal by phone.
- Okazo has re-established a Potency 10 Ward around Hathorne Manor, at the cost of another laptop.
- Arachne has informed them that The Bulwark of Shadow is to be inducted into the consilium at the meeting on Sunday June 21st. There will be a 15 Mana tithe for each of them, and Arachne has been warned by Khumeia that there are grumblings from some mages regarding their acquisition of The Abedju Cipher.
- Tuesday morning, Arachne meets with Vanessa at a cafe near Cambridge and then goes grocery shopping.
- Kronate buys a VRod in the Bay area and then enjoys a felafel from a street vendor in Roxbury.
- Okazo is working at his Sleeper day job, mainly in The Fens area.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 11:30 AM – Finals Week (Harvard University Campus)
- Otsuchi is meeting Naomi for lunch at a pub on the Harvard campus. She teaches anthropology, mainly to first and second year students. Students are in exams and she is between groups of students right now.
- Naomi seems depressed and on edge.
Naomi: How have you been Eli?
Otsuchi: Doing ok. I’ve been exercising a lot, which has been good for me. Still looking for something to do now that I have so much spare time.
Naomi: I haven’t really been motivated to do much of anything lately.
- The two enjoy their lunches while making more small talk.
Naomi (during the course of conversation): Did you hear about the break in last week? That was a little bit more excitement than usual around here.
Otsuchi: No. Where was that?
Naomi: Dr. Vassal was robbed. I guess you could call him a colleague of mine. His office was broken into.
Otsuchi: Really? What does he teach?
Naomi: Mythology. Greek, Norse, that sort of thing…
Otsuchi: Why would anyone break in?
Naomi: Something was stolen, but I haven’t heard much beyond that.
Otsuchi: What’s everyones thinking on it?
Naomi: Well, it’s made everyone think twice about leaving anything valuable lying around. Dr. Vassal is a bit of a strange guy. He likes to collect unusual and exotic antiquities from what I’ve heard. He’s a scholar of ancient Greek culture and our paths have crossed in anthropology circles now and again. The theft was probably just some students playing a prank or something.
Naomi: Though, I don’t feel comfortable about any increase in crime on campus. As a woman walking around here at night I have enough to worry about without adding thieves into the mix.
Otsuchi: I’d like to talk to this professor.
Naomi (smiling, feeling protected): What’s got you so interested?
Otsuchi: Maybe I can do something to help. It might make you feel more comfortable. Besides, I used to guard antiquities in Iraq, it might be interesting.
Naomi: Ok. I can introduce you.
Otsuchi: And if there’s anyone skulking around at night I can pound them into the pavement for you.
- She laughs, a little more half-heartedly than usual.
- Otsuchi secretly casts an improvised Life Knowing spell to determine the state of Naomi’s health. Physically she seems fine.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 12:25 PM – Finals Week (Harvard University Campus – Social Science Building)
- Upon entering, they head down the right corridor to Dr. Vassal’s office. They knock and he tells them to enter. Dr. Charles Vassal is an olive skinned man in his late 50s.
Dr. Vassal: Hey Naomi. How ya doing?
Naomi: Ok. I’d like you to meet a friend of mine. His travels brought him more to the Middle East than to the Balkans like you, but he also has an interest in antiquities. Charles, I’d like you to meet Eli.
Eli: Hi Charles. I hear someone ripped you off.
Charles Vassal: Yeah. I can’t believe it.
Eli: Any idea what they took?
Charles: Yes. They stole a mask from me. It’s the only thing missing, which is strange since it’s not the most valuable thing in here.
Charles (as Otsuchi considers things): So, Naomi says that you’re interested in Middle Eastern antiquities?
Eli: Well I picked up a little knowledge along the way while I was part of a unit charged with recovering antiquities in Iraq.
Charles: Oh, so you’re a member of the armed forces then.
Eli (smiling): That’s right. The muscle end of the recovery effort.
Charles: Well things like that mask don’t end up on my desk unless someone goes to retrieve it.
Eli: Can you give me a little history on the mask?
Charles: I found it in Greece nearly 30 years ago. It’s nothing particularly noteworthy, just a leather mask, a representation of Hecate the Greek goddess of the crossroads.
Eli: Have the police come up with anything?
Charles: Not yet.
Eli: What was the approximate value?
Charles: Not more than a couple grand.
- Kronate calls Otsuchi, who excuses himself into the hallway to take the call.
Kronate: Yo. What’s up? We should get together. We’ve got that meeting with the consilium coming up and we should probably talk about it before we go.
Otsuchi: I think you’ve got the right idea, but I’m talking to a friend’s professor colleague about a stolen antiquity. My friend’s worried about the increase in crime on campus.
Kronate: You’re a good man Otsuchi. I’m glad to see that you’re always fighting the good fight.
Otsuchi: Do you want to drop by?
Kronate: Sure, where you at?
Otsuchi: Come to the Harvard campus, Social Science building.
Kronate: Sure thing.
- Kronate gets on his newly purchased Vrod and heads north towards the Harvard campus.
- Arachne finishes reviewing the new candidates for her group with Vanessa. They both approve of the new people and then part ways.
- Otsuchi re-enters Dr. Vassal’s office.
Charles: So what’s got you so interested in my troubles?
Eli: Two things: I don’t like any increase in crime on campus with Naomi here, and in particular I’m not happy with people who steal antiquities.
Charles: I suppose you encountered quite a bit of looting in your day back in Iraq. Shame about that…
- Otsuchi looks around for anything that might be familiar to him. He sees a couple things he recognizes from the Byzantine Empire, but nothing truly Middle-Eastern in his estimation.
Eli (playfully): Hopefully nothing HERE was taken illegally.
Charles (smiling): I can assure you that everything here was procured with the utmost respect for the law.
- Arachne goes shopping for some small grocery items.
- Otsuchi casts Supernal Vision on the sly, scrutinizes Dr. Vassal and determines him to be a Sleeper. He notices that the area where the mask was resting is suffused with Supernal energies. Nothing else stands out.
- Naomi asks him to walk her to her next class of examinees and they bid Dr. Vassal farewell and head out.
- He drops her off at another building and they exchange hugs. She just enters the building as Kronate pulls up on his motorcycle.
- Otsuchi breathes a small sigh of relief that Naomi managed to miss the cabal’s hound dog. He hopes to make Naomi his own one day.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 1:10 PM – Finals Week (Harvard University Campus)
- Otsuchi eyes Kronate’s VRod. What is he up to now?
- He fills Kronate in on the details about his conversation with Dr. Vassal.
- There is quite a hustle and bustle going on about campus. Students are in the middle of intersession exams. Periods of dead quiet are punctuated by brief mad rushes by students hurrying to their next exams. Currently the outside campus is practically deserted.
Otsuchi: So, this has turned into something a little more interesting than it seemed at first.
Kronate: Can you show me where Dr. Vassal’s office is? If I can get in there I can probably figure out what happened….
Otsuchi: Sounds good, but Dr. Vassal is still in there I think.
- Arachne can’t remember if there are any apples back at the manor so she calls Kronate.
- He tells her they need some and begins to fill her in on what’s going on at Harvard.
- Arachne is aghast that they are milling about Harvard, known Seer territory.
Arachne: I hope you’re being careful. Harvard isn’t the safest place for Pentacle mages.
Kronate: What? It’s just a buncha snot-nosed white collar button-down kids sent here by their fat mommas. What’s the big deal?
Arachne (scolding): Be careful. It’s a hot bed of Seer activity.
Kronate: Say what? You shittin’ me?
Arachne (disgusted): I am not shit-ting you.
- Kronate reassures her and finishes telling her about the mask. She recognizes Hecate, the Greek goddess of the crossroads, often identified as the goddess of magic and/or evil. [Occult + Intelligence → Success]. This piques her interest a little.
- They all decide to rendezvous back at the sanctum before coming back to Vassal’s office to investigate at night.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 2:30 PM – Finals Week (Hathorne Manor)
- Arachne is preparing dinner. When Okazo arrives home she takes some time to explain what Chain Parris told her about the upcoming consilium meeting.
- It’s customary for members to show up in attire appropriate to their Legacy. It is practically expected to dress unusually and express pride in being one of the Awakened.
- They briefly go over the Rites they’ve agreed to recognize again and Otsuchi announces his intention to take the title of Banner Warden for The Bulwark of Shadow. Everyone feels this is appropriate.
- Arachne mentions that the Scribe of the consilium will be paying them a visit later in the week to learn more about each of them so that the information can be properly entered into the Lex Magica on Sunday.
- They eat dinner and get ready to travel back to Harvard.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 9:30 PM – Finals Week (Harvard University Campus)
- The cabal arrive on the outskirts of the campus.
- Otsuchi casts Transform Aura on the cabal to make each of them appear as Sleepers.
- They are wearing inconspicuous clothing, dressed as students. They intend to come off as students that just finished their last exams. Arachne casts Mask of a Thousand faces to make herself appear 15 years younger.
- Otsuchi suggests that everyone call their mentors and let them know what they are planning. Arachne, Kronate, and Otsuchi do so. Okazo is still searching for a Threnodist and has no mentor as of yet.
- Okazo casts Mage Sight – Forces [1 Mana] to keep track of the cameras on campus.
- They casually make their way to the entrance of the Social Sciences building. The entrance is lit and there is a camera pointed at the doorway.
- Arachne casts Sculpt Shadows to place a small dark area over the lens of the camera.
- No one outside is paying any attention to them as Kronate walks up and successfully picks the lock on the door over the course of 3 turns. The cabal quickly make their way inside and Arachne drops her shadow sculpting spell.
- Kronate notices the tripped alarm light on the numeric keypad next to the door.
- He uses his Attainment to view the history of this location and sees the last person enter the code. He enters it to stop the alarm.
- All the motion sensors are now disabled as well.
- They turn right toward Dr. Vassal’s office and Okazo notes that there are no cameras in this hallway.
- They reach the office and Okazo doesn’t notice any contacts on the door frame that would suggest an alarm.
- Grandma enters the office to verify that no one is there and informs Arachne with hand motions.
- Kronate quickly picks the simple door lock and everyone enters the room.
- Okazo sees the resonance signature of the shelf where the Mask of Hecate once rested.
- He casts Multi-tasking to split his consciousness. He casts Angle Vision and opens the door a crack so that he can monitor any activity in the hallway. The other half of his mind interacts normally with his cabalmates.
- Kronate casts Supernval Vision and then uses the Abedju Cipher for the first time and activates its Ghost, Spirit, and Mind sight before casting his perceptions back through time to the theft of the mask.
- He sees a man with a ski mask unlock the door with a key and slip into the office. He takes the mask and puts it into a backpack. He leaves without so much as a glance at the other antiquities in the room.
- Kronate scrutinizes the man with Supernal Vision and his aura reveals that he is a mage. Kronate notes the resonance for later identification. When the man opens his backpack, Kronate looks in to see a textbook on Human Anatomy.
- Kronate returns his perceptions to the present.
- Okazo notices a security guard meandering down the hallway. He pulls the door closed and locks it and quietly alerts the group.
- Otsuchi casts an improvised Forces spell to dampen sounds within the office to 1/4 their usual volume.
- The security guard continues down the hallway unaware of them.
- Everyone waits a couple of minutes and then carefully head back outside the building.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 10:40 PM – Finals Week (Harvard University Campus)
- They continue to walk through campus and notice a line to get into a campus pub.
- Kronate suggests that they head home to decide their next course of action, but Okazo says it might be nice to get a drink while they’re out. Kronate relents and they get in line. Arachne and Otsuchi seem fine with the decision.
- Upon entering the pub Otsuchi notices a mage’s aura with Supernal Vision. The handsome fashionably dressed blond-haired man is talking to an attractive female Sleeper. They are both in their early 20s and seated at a table. Otsuchi informs Kronate.
- Kronate scrutinizes the mage with his own Supernal Vision and notes the similarity in resonance between this mage and the thief that stole the mask. “Fate has shined on us, yo!”
- Arachne finds a table two or three tables away from the thief. She doesn’t detect the resonance of the mask with Grim Sight.
- Okazo brings beer to the table and they gather around to decide what they want to do. Arachne questions why they should get involved, especially with possible Seer … entanglements. Otsuchi expresses that the mask belonged to a friend of a friend and he would like to see it returned to its rightful owner.
- The thief and the woman leave the pub and the cabal follows at a distance.
- Their targets enter the Medical Dormitory at the western edge of the main campus.
- The cabal stops briefly to discuss what they want to do. There are concerns about getting into another mage’s business. Otsuchi is worried about starting a conflict with Seers that they might have a hard time finishing. Okazo would like to get the mask. Arachne is interested in pursuing things as long as they don’t attract too much attention. They decide to find out more from the thief, before fully committing to any particular course of action.
- Otsuchi suggests that the thief is likely a med student living in the dorm.
- He and Kronate enter the dormitory. The outside doors are unlocked, but there is a young attendant at the desk screening entrants.
Receptionist: What’s up man? Who are you? I’ve never seen you before…
- Kronate fumbles for words.
Receptionist (agitated): C’mon, speak up or I’m calling campus security.
Kronate (angry): This asshole jumped out of my cab without paying the fair. You call campus security or I’ll be calling the cops!
Receptionist: I didn’t see anyone run in here.
Kronate: He hopped out without paying me. As far as I’m concerned he’s a thief and I’m gonna call the cops. I’m sure you’ve seen him.
- Kronate describes the thief to the receptionist.
Receptionist: That doesn’t sound like something Clint would do.
- Kronate is staring him down [Intimidation + Staring Specialization + Presence]
Receptionist: Calm down man, I don’t feel like spending the rest of the night talking to cops. I’ll buzz him and let you talk to him.
- He buzzes one of the dorm rooms.
Receptionist (on phone): Hey Clint, there’s a cabbie down here that says you stiffed him on a fare. What’s that all about?
Receptionist (to Kronate): Umm… he hung up.
- Okazo suggests to Arachne that they should go check on Kronate and Otsuchi and they enter the dormitory.
- He casts Imposter – Police Officer.
Okazo (to Receptionist): What’s going on in here? Are these guys giving you trouble?
Receptionist (pointing to Kronate): This guy’s complaining about one of the students here. Says he stole a cab fare…
Okazo: Why don’t you give me his name and number and I’ll get to the bottom of this?
Receptionist: No problem officer.
- The receptionist writes the name and room number onto a piece of paper and slides it to Okazo.
Okazo (pointing to Arachne): This woman is just here to see her son, so let her through.
Okazo (to Kronate and Otsuchi): You two, come with me.
- Okazo casts Emotional Urging on the receptionist to engender feelings of resignation and succeeds.
- Okazo leads everyone to the elevator. The doors close.
Okazo: The mage is Clint Zellner. He’s on the 4th floor.
Otsuchi: Your taxi driver impression was pretty convincing Kronate.
Kronate: Well it got us started anyway.
- Kronate expresses concerns about confronting a Seer in his own crib, but everyone decides to press forward.
- They contemplate various courses of action before deciding to confront Clint.
- They arrive outside Clint Zellner’s room.
- Okazo casts Sense Minds and detects two minds. Arachne sends Grandma inside.
Woman: Why do you think this whole taxi thing came up?
Clint: Don’t worry about it baby. Just a crank call.
- Clint is making the moves on the woman.
- Grandma relays what she saw to Arachne.
- Okazo knocks on the door. Clint is now topless and gets up to answer the door.
Clint (irritated): Holy shit. No one will leave us alone! Who is it?
- Clint opens the door.
Clint (surveying the cabal): What do you guys want? What the fuck’s going on?
Okazo: Me and my friends have a few questions for you. It’s probably best if you ask the girl to leave.
Clint: What, are you fucking crazy?
- Clint goes to shut the door, but Okazo and Otsuchi have already started to enter the room.
- They continue moving forward as Clint nervously backs up.
Woman (covering her own topless state with a pillow): What’s going on Clint?
Clint (nervously): What do you guys want?
Kronate: Like the man said, it’s time for the girl to go.
Clint (to woman): Don’t worry about me. Just go. I’ll call you later.
Woman: Who are these weird people?
- Okazo wants to be able to trace her later and snaps a photo of her with his iPhone camera as she’s quickly putting her top on.
Woman (to Okazo): You fucking perv!
- She storms out of the dorm room.
Clint: So umm… do you guys want something to drink.
Kronate: What do you got?
Clint: Beer, beer, and more beer.
Kronate: Just my thing.
- Clint retreats to the small kitchen area and gets a six pack that he passes around. Okazo, Otsuchi, and Kronate have a beer.
- Otsuchi sits next to Clint on the couch. Friendly, but intimidating.
Clint (in hushed tones): So are you guys… you know… one of us?
Kronate: Yep. I’m sorry you stole the mask from the wrong guy.
Clint (with realization): The mask? Oh man…
Kronate: Yeah. Just hand it back and this will all be over.
Clint: I don’t even have that thing anymore.
Kronate: Alright. Where can we get it back?
Clint: Just who are you guys? I’m not telling you my business.
- Okazo uses High Speech and casts a spell to read his surface thoughts. The name “Dr. Imes” is present in Clint’s mind when Kronate asks him about the mask’s whereabouts.
Okazo: Where is Dr. Imes right now?
Kronate: Have another beer. It makes things easier.
Clint: You guys are going to get me into a lot of shit. Dr. Imes is going to kill me.
Okazo: None of this has to come back to you. Tell us more.
Clint: Fine, but you can’t tell him I told you anything or I’m gonna be in big shit.
Clint: Dr. Imes is my Gross Anatomy teacher. He’s a mage like us. I left the mask on his desk yesterday after class kinda hoping he’d know what to do with it.
Clint: What are you guys gonna do? Are you going after Imes?
Kronate: You better keep your mouth shut about this.
Clint: I don’t like it. You guys have me over a barrel. There’s not much I can do about it. Please guys, don’t get me in any shit.
Kronate: I hear you.
- Okazo gets up and grabs a surprised Clint by the throat and puts a gun to his head and warns him to keep quite while uncloaking his Nimbus for effect. Bright blue light surrounds him and the high pitched whirl of fans can be heard.
- Clint pisses his pants.
- Okazo lets him go and he collapses back down onto the couch.
- The cabal turn and leave.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 11:55 PM – Finals Week (Harvard University Campus)
- They look up Dr. Benjamin Imes on the Internet and find out that he lives in a posh neighbourhood not far from campus.
- The cabal make their way there on foot. It is a large old house on a highly wooded street. It’s a three story roughly square house with a detached two car garage and double driveway.
… to be continued …