ChapterHouse

From the Journal of James Watie

Out With the Old, In With the New (Using the Old)

Oct. 3, 1866: How great it is to go to sleep the victor and wake up to it not being a dream! We woke up in the Roman CH, fresh and glad to be alive. AS we prepared for a busy day of sight-seeing, I noticed that the travel bag on one of the beds looked suspiciously like our buddy Kit’s duffel. As we head down to breakfast, I am proven correct; there sits our wayward brother Kit, getting an early start on breakfast.

Evidently he was in town assisting the troubleshooting team from the other House of London in their procurement of The Song Thief (the best example that, for all of their guns and boats, the white man’s most vile technology is in their books). That mission was indeed successful, but with a twist. Instead of handing the book to the Roman CH, they gave it to Sister Gertrude, the GM of the Athens CH and, as we know, the immortal goddess Athena. They then handed the book off to a rather attractive older lady, who strolled off with the most dangerous book in known history to parts unknown.

Speak of the devil! Sister Amelia strolls in, as sad as I have ever seen her, with a chained-up Sister Gerty. Sister Gerty is all smiles and seems to not be worried; she, at least, is confident in what she has done. Mr. Reynolds comes in and tells her that she is to be held until Tyson gets back from Egypt. We decide the tension is a bit much and head out to peruse the sights.

Or, as it happens, to find somewhere nice and quiet to plot. Kit mentions that they handed the book to her under orders from Tyson, but it is pretty obvious he was acting on his own here. It shows either a fundamental amount of pride in Tyson (“I know better than my ‘peers’”) or that he knows that having that book in their care is a recipe for disaster. Honestly, it is probably a good bit of both. We finish our chat and Marcus shows us around town. They have nice buildings, if you like those kind of things.

We head back to the CH and decide to talk to Sister Amelia. She was trained by Gerty and seems to be honestly distressed by events. As we chat with her, all involved realize that she has had her memories altered, probably by Gerty (and likely voluntarily). We head down to chat with Gerty, and she confirms this. She also confirms that The Song Thief has a corrupting influence in-and-of itself, and that she and Tyson were worried that having it around would be horrible for their friends, the CH organization, and the world. The person they passed it to is the only friend that they know (including herself and Tyson) who is functionally immune to the corrupting influence of this book.

We head to bed, myself secure in my faith that books are bad.

Oct. 4th: As we have nothing to do but get involved in crap, we head to the docks to meet Tyson, Mercer, and crew. As we wait, we spy another oddity waiting near us for our boat. He is tall, wiry, and obviously used to work. We head in to introduce ourselves to the friendly-looking Arabian fella (well, as friendly-looking as a man openly carrying a sword can be). His name is Feyd and he is awaiting Mercer. We chat a bit (he is very much the Sinbad-esque rogue-type on the surface, but has a core of seriousness) until our boat lands. Tyson hops out and we fill him in on what has happened, both in the Library and since. We finally figure out that he is, in fact, the Titan Prometheus and that he and Gerty planned exactly this, but it HAS to be kept secret. Specifically, Gerty is going to take the fall for it, as planned. Sad that there is so little trust in the prime CH, but I suppose it is understandable.

Gerty is tried. As she actually had the right, as the GM on site, to dispense with the book as she saw fit (the Prime House gave her other orders, but members, ESPECIALLY GMs, have the right to modify plans according to situational circumstance. They decide that they cannot imprison her or kick her out, but they can strip her of her titles (which she takes with a serene grace that is SURE to have infuriated some of the elders there) and exile her to America. Specifically, she is to go to San Francisco as a regular member of that new House. Feyd surprises them all by offering to go with her as the GM of the new House and to keep an eye on Gerty. The elders agree and the trial is done.

So, in effect, Gerty got away with the crime, got to relocate before it became obvious she was immortal, and gets to see something a personal as long-lived as her must find fascinating; something NEW. I only hope when we “mess up” this bad that we get punished so ‘effectively.’

Oct. 5th: We learn why Feyd was here. Specifically, he is a ritual spellcaster of no small reknown, and Mercer wanted him to help pop our evil altar. As we prepare, we wheedle the fact that he is (or was) the Egyptian god Anubis back-in-the-day, and was in on the whole thing. Mercer is also in the know, but seems to be just a very, VERY accomplished adventurer. We head to Caprica, a relatively sparsely populated island in the Med to work over the altar.

Feyd says that he, as an ex-judge of souls, may be able to commune with the spirits in the altar and solve our spiritual backlash/explosion. He is going to do this first, try it his way, but stands a good chance of being trapped there himself. If so, he wants us to destroy the altar, along with himself and all the spirits therein. We agree, he dives into the altar, and we IMMEDIATELY (and unanimously) say, “Bugger that” to his sacrificial posture. If we start the ritual, we can help protect him, AND get in a fight. And, as we have shown, that temptation is far, far too sweet to turn down!

We ritual up and near immediately get attacked by the figures on the altar. It is a holding action, we see Feyd, as an official judge of souls, offer to judge the spirits within and send them to their afterlives. Being FAR preferable to their current housing, they agree and are sent on. The two gods (I suppose that they are Central American analogs of people like Feyd, Gerty, and Tyson) banter back-and-forth a bit, but ultimately decide to work for Feyd for 100 years in exchange for being released. Terms thus accepted, they all pop out of the altar and it de-powers, becoming just a regular old ancient artifact, sans magic. Feyd and Mercer head out, with Feyd now the GM of a brand new CH with FOUR total immortals in residence. SHEESH!

You know, before we head out, we DO have this perfectly functional decoy, and a reasonable idea that SOME baddy will try to make a play on it… IT IS MOUSETRAP TIME, CHILDREN!

Oct. 6th: We wait until night, the accepted time to do this kind of thing. A lone ghoul wanders into our clearing. He ‘speaks,’ and outs his controller as one Mortimer Stanhope (one of the names on our ‘List’). Mortimer offers the standard, “if you give me that altar, I’ll give you whatever you want.” Well, since I want his scalp, Aldo wants justice served, Marcus wants to punish the wicked, and Sergei wants to ice-lance something, negotiations come to a sudden and frosty halt.

Ghouls come pouring into the clearing. They seem to be the dead fishermen and villagers of Caprica, and freshly killed. Randolph and Mortimer killed them, probably last night, and animated them all for this. And while I feel sorrow that our bringing this altar here led to their deaths, it pales in comparison to my rage at their doing this to these innocents.

We get to work. Brutal, efficient work. Honestly, with the odds as they were, this is some of our finest work. We fight as a unit today, every angle covered and never allowing ourselves to lose our initiative. We shred through the ghouls and chase to the shore, where Randolph and Mortimer have a rowboat already underway. With rowers and what looks like a young, terrified local girl.

Oh crap. Innocent child. Marcus. This is about to get really, really interesting.

Marcus dives into the water, swimming for the rowboat. No chance of catching it, unless someone stops the rowers. Aldo, Sergei, and I handle that with ice, bullets, and arrows. And Mortimer and Randolph, in what must be the least Britishly-dignified moment ever, dive into the water and swim for their lives. (Of note: were they that scared, or did they know that they have no real close-up magic to use against our range and Marcus’s soon-to-be melee?) As making sure the child is safe is Marcus’s primary goal, they make it to their waiting boat and beat a hasty retreat.

The young girl is in mild shock. Her name is Rosie, and she is the sole survivor of her small village and witness to what happened to all of her friends and family. She was taken because she has a ‘pierced veil,’ the ability to see all of the weird that goes on in the world we operate in. Who knows what horrors those two MARKED-FOR-DEATH FANCY-PANTS COWARDLY DEAD-MEN-WALKING were going to do to her. I shudder at the thought. We head back to Rome. The Athens house offer to accept Rosie, as they are the resident experts in helping women find their way in this world.

We get some sleep, say goodbye to the people of Rome (and Kit, who has some kind of “officer training” to finish), and hop a train for home.

I simply cannot stress this enough: Mortimer and Randolph had better run and hide. It will be all I can do to prevent my friends from immediately trying to hunt them down before we finish getting our own House in order. And, to be honest, it is all I can do not to join the hunt.

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