Heralded Into Darkness

Conversations
Tayri and Daneam

Phone conversation between Tayri and Danaem, unrecorded, the two have been talking for some time already
T: Alright, somewhat weird and serious question.
D: Oh Christ…
T: Don’t give me that, I need a warlock perspective.
D: Which usually means somebody let you down a—
T: That’s not what that mea—
D: That’s exactly what that means. Its the same across the board with you Theurgists. Everyone’s on a pedestal until they act like real people, then suddenly you’re hurt and confused. The worst among you don’t even wait and just start throwing around forces. Then its boo-hoo. Emotionally distressed, didn’t know what I was doing, blah blah blah.
T: But—
D: No, you’re not like that. But the last time we had one of these conversations you tricked me into forging the cabal, so pardon me for my wariness.
T: Never a fool twice, Danny. Anyways, back to my question, if you were given the keys to the Lie, the ability to contribute directly to throwing open the gates of magic, what would you do with them?
D: Depends, what’s the price of using these keys?
T: Daneam! That isn’t funny.
D: I’m serious Tayri. What’s the price?
T: …
D: I thought so. I’d lock it up.
T: What?!
D: Did I stutter? You wanna make some Ladder argument about the needs of the many, you go right ahead and pontificate. But what happened when it came your time to pay the piper? You shut down. No one should be responsible for that choice without training. And last I checked, you weren’t a soldier and neither was I.
T: … [The crackling of Tayri’s displeasure is almost audible.]
D: No seriously, Tayri. The Order can only train you for so much, and for all that the order is combative, they are not exclusively soldiers, they can’t be. You can get combat training and be a capable tactician and combatant, but still not be prepared to handle the responsibility of someone else’s life. So the Warlock and admittedly, Guardian perspective? I’d lock that shit away.
T: This is… This is not what I expected.
D: You are not, and never were, a member of the Silver Ladder, Tayri. You need to not forget that.
T: You don’t know the details, Danny. This was Service.
D: For you. For someone else, it was death.
click

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Folly and Dangers
Tayri's Journal, Emergency cypher

I think I asked to call them. I was in the middle of a cardiac arrest, but I think I called them. Bastion is going to murder me. And legitimately I should’ve told the Inheritors I had an Awakening scar but it never seemed… relevant? I’m lying to myself. I didn’t want them to know because I was too busy being strong. The bulwark of the cabal. God being a Doorwarden is hard. Which is why I’m not… crap. This whole multiple cabal/divided loyalty thing is terribly hard. I wonder what they’ll say… I should add if they even come but… I know they will. Bastion if no one else, he’ll probably drag Bantay since we don’t have a cabal Thyrsus, or pull some strings for a loan. Danaem too, if they’re on right now (they were off when I left but, it’s so hard to keep track of those two). Menstra will only come if she has to. Not that I blame her.
I miss them. But I think the time is fast approaching when I have to let them go… well shit.

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Faust's Journal 2
Greater Understanding, Greater Mystery

Events since last full entry

-The lunch that never was.

Tayri and I had business with the Cabal known as the librarians. We met Charles Sharpe and Sebastian Lott for lunch. I traded my grimoire for another but then ideology got involved. Tayri got upset and rightfully so at the persistence of Sharpe’s search for knowledge over the wisdom of letting it be. The knowledge in question was our involvement with the city as inheritors. We split from them after that Charlotte bailed us out by working some time magic so that the meeting never happened.
She then set up a meeting with a Mr. K of Wolfe and Johnson law firm. He had a soul, I didn’t believe it was his for a second. We made some deals with him to get around the Librarians, we also learned first tongue through a similar deal.

-Sister
I found a lead to my sister, I asked Wunch and said that he knows a Meredith that occasionally deals with Adam.

-The gate to somewhere not the underworld.
Tayri and I had some business to do and after purchasing some tin from the Masons of Sheol we went to the Avernian Gate, but something had changed. What was supposed to be a relatively new guardian had become much stronger. The gate itself now showed up as an anchor for it.
On closer examination the ghost’s soul marked it as an Ochemata, a servant of unseen masters. This was worrisome as he seemed quite put out with my previous actions, but with how the gate was veiled how was I to know.
We returned to the estate to think on our discovery, toting the package we received from the courier. Once home we asked Victor about the gate and he said it wasn’t really an Avernian gate but a gate to an unseen master’s realm.

-Eins, Zwei
As we were processing earlier matters, Dr. Ein suddenly entered the estate. With Jeeves and Ein sharing info we learned that Ein was in fact made in the estate as a guardian. That was the first surprise, the second was his demonstration of our dear mayor able to be in two places at once. At that she decided to come over. (At this point I must comment on the surprising amount of people able to not only know about our estate, but to enter in to it on their own as well.)
The second surprise lead to the revelation that Angelina is the interface for the machine. She explained quite a bit more about the city, like how there were many problems in the infrastructure. On a good note the tomes we retrieved from the Librarians were part of the missing memory module of the city. With this information we are better able to plot how we go about fixing the city.

Knowledge revealed
These are the remarkable things I Have learned,

-There are a total of 8 Grandma Chos
- Mr. K was a demon or “Unchained”
- The werewolf tale of Father wolf and the creation of the gauntlet
- Ein’s soul is a miss matched patchwork
- What we thought of as Tin was actually the byproduct of the City and not exactly Tin

Angelina
Is the Interface
Has no “soul”
Death life and Matter flow like blood
Not truly living or Dead, Matter fills the in-between
Similar to parts of the city
Contsructed through Making
( Note to self it was explained that Angelina has a body in the estate, finding it may be prudent)

The City’s troubles
Broken Parts include: Interface, Firewall, Memory ( currently missing 36%), Ports (located in Docks), and power which has been limited to a single dwindling power supply out of 5 total.

If power, the ports, and the memory is restored the city can initiate a reboot.

Even with my limited computer knowledge I know fixing the power first will be important.

Victor
A master of Life and Death, Victor conducted an experiment within the manor to find the threshold where life becomes death . This experiment seem to leave him in his current state. I find myself drawn to his research, I will observed what becomes of him, I do wonder if he left any notes laying around.

-From the Journal of Doctor Faust.

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Daily Life 3 – Markus Hale
On dating

-Excerpts from the journal of Dr. Markus Hale

XX/XX/2008
I have been called by my grandparents to meet with yet another young woman. While both beautiful and kind this latest woman was not my intellectual equal. I am not so crass to say that she is dumb, for she truly isn’t, but rather her interests do not lie in academics. We would be ill matched and so I declined the unwanted match yet again, to the great disproval of my grandparents.

XX/XX/2009
Truly my grandparents cannot grasp my desires. Earlier they introduced me to a woman nearly two decades older than me. That was not so bad but definitely not my taste. The next girl, for truly she wasn’t yet 18 was not as acceptable. I saw fear in her eyes as the dinner went on. Then there was the young man. We went for drinks and commiserated over overbearing family, neither of us was gay.
Though she is not here I can still hear my sister laughing at me.

XX/XX/2016
I met yet another woman my grandparents have desired me to meet. I have become quite impressed in their ability to set all of these meetings up from their estate in Maine. What was strange about this “date”’ was that my mother got involved and asked me to go. For her I shall go meet this Evangeline Astor with an open mind.

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Faust’s Study Guide
My intended course of growth.

-a quick entry as trying to understand time has mixed me up.

I feel myself coming closer to a breakthrough in my understanding of Death so I will continue towards becoming an adept.

Following the previous combat with a gangrel I have decided to next focus on becoming a better arrow, I would prefer to be more than a damage soak. If it were not for some timely healing I would be a slashed up corpse, death armor or not.

I must remember to temper my actions with wisdom, I really don’t want another beach incident.

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Daily Life 2 – Markus Hale
School, memory, and death

XX/XX/2006
This is the first journal entry I have had a chance to write in quite some time. As I work towards my medical doctorate both my classes, my future residency and my thesis have kept me busy. This last week I believe I have only slept maybe twelve hours in total. To add to my burdens, I have been informed “read as TOLD” that I have business tutors waiting for me when I finish. My grandparents on both sides have been increasing the pressure to take over the shipping company. I need to sleep so I will end it here.

XX/XX/2004
Mother collapsed again, this time it was my sister. My mother gets caught up in memories of my sister or father and spirals into herself.

XX/XX/2013
My paternal grandparents passed away in their sleep last night. My maternal grandparents want us to move back to the east but we have made a home in Birkhoff and I am moving up in the hospital.

-Excerpts from the journal of Dr. Markus Hale

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On Machines
Birkhoff's Eccentricity

Written in Tayri’s journal under her usual cipher:
Operating under the assumption that Jeeves is not lying in that Birkhoff is a Shadow name for the machine hiding from reality (aka: Atlantis) then a few pertinent questions present themselves:
If the machine-Birkhoff is the alien reality, then are the invading choirs really alien?
If we are so cloaked from the Lie as to hide a whole city, how do we know we are not simply another part of the Lie? Or rather, when the circumstance of observation is ubiquitous, how do you determine that it is what you are observing? (In layman’s terms: how does one see air? Where in this case “air” represents the Truth of the Birkhoff-machine.)
Sadly I have no answers, or experimental set-ups ready to tackle these sorts of questions. I do have several leads: the crystals recovered from the “un-birth” of the Bound, the spirit war; but until I can establish a firm framework of experimentation, I shall have to remain skeptical…
Hypothesis: Birkhoff, being the Alien Machine, is the pathogen, and the invading choirs are reality’s immune system attempting to choke out the Essence of the city and reclaim it.
And how would we prove that? What experiment could we operate that would then show us which side of the proverbial fence is the “natural” reality, and how would said experiment overcome the challenge of our own personal perceptions as Magi (or more importantly, as Inheritors)?
Ethical Concern: The “immune-response” cells are… quite negative. If they did overrun the city, would that be in service to the greater good? If you have to fight them anyways, does this matter? The question must be asked, but the answer is invariably yes. I must understand the enemy and their purpose and goals so that we might better fight them. Adam’s idea of natural channels between the Gardens is a useful one, but impractical. Better to aim against their own networks of Essence and communication, disrupting them until more information can be discovered.

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The First day as a Full mage
Faust errs and the burden increases

Notable Events

I erred today, in my eagerness to prepare for trouble after that incident with the gangrel I did not take into account the obviousness of shadow armor. I was able to contain the paradox and I did witness my spell unravel but I could not contain the disappointment in myself for not taking all factors into account.

There are many mysteries within Birkhoff, and we have stumbled across yet another. I could not sense it but Reticent detected an absent space about 200 meters out to sea, and Taklishim notice a distortion of time in the same area.

Today was also the Fall casual meeting of the mages of Birkhoff. Apparently casual meant swimwear, a fact that wasn’t made known to us. Tayri formally released Reticent and I as full mages, granting us gifts and in my case a task. I was tasked as an arrow to watch over the Proximi family, the Murdocks. The entire thing would have been ostentatious in any other setting, but the casual behavior and swimwear made for a less droll occasion. I imagine the formal meeting will be more reminiscent of my childhood dinner parties.

During the party we inheritors were suddenly spirited to the shadow. We met a man who informed us of a great many things that have greatly shifted our understanding of the world, especially Birkhoff. We discussed this information later with Jeeves. To simplify it, there are mythos surrounding Birkhoff, which isn’t really a city but a machine designed by ancient mages to anchor the supernal realms and the fallen world together.

Mysteries revealed

The grimoire revealed a new page, a pentacle with the reams, Arcanum and towers presented.
-Later discovered to be the “True Atlantean Pentacle” according to Jeeves.
An unknown rune was in the circle. The same rune could be found below in the room connecting to the verges.

There were two death stains on the beach;
The first was months old, and after scrutiny I concluded that it must have been caused by a water spirit and may have been connected to the string of “drownings” months earlier.
The second was only weeks old and after scrutiny I could only conclude that the murderer was the Scelesti mage we had the Iron Dragon of Dreams devour.

We discovered that a rune that had confused us earlier, one that seemed to possess traits of a few runes, was the mutable runic name of Birkhoff, changing each time the city moved and changed names.

-From the Journal of Doctor Faust

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Daily Life 1
Of Wealth, Pressure and Sisters

XX/XX/2016

Mother called again, it has been twenty years since that day. I still believe she lives.

-From the Journal of Doctor Markus Hale

XX/XX/2016

I met mother for lunch today, she pushed for me to meet with Evangeline again. She seems all too eager for grandchildren and is not pleased with my marriage to my work. This only adds to the pressure from my grandparents. They wish for me to join their ranks in the rich elite. I see no use in material wealth, it is not as if we keep it past our all too short lives. I have only kept Meredith’s share of the company because it is hers to deal with when I find her.

-From the Journal of Doctor Markus Hale

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Seventh Session (Joel)
My (un)life gets darker

Unfortunately the rest of the night was not so pleasant, as if any night in Birkhoff has ever been pleasant.Merihem went and got the other student and brought them to Emma’s, then we got ready for court. When we arrived we found a table that had Natalia and another kindred staked to it, along with seats that were meant for us. We then found that Natalie had been consorting with the Carthians, and was caught with the Carthian on the table beside her. We were seated and the interrogated, a ghostly clamouring admitting to our truthful statements frequently rang out around us. We were found innocent and knowledgeable of our former coterie member’s crimes. Merihem was then “offered” Natalia, he diablerized her and suddenly seemed like he lost a bit of himself. John was then offered the Carthian, and he diablerized her. I then received Natalia’s belongings, including her considerable wealth, and her unused blood orb.

They then brought in a coffin, inside was a kindred in torpor. Eldred then woke her from her torpor. Introductions went all around. Hyacinth as we discovered her name was, was then put into the care of our coterie. We retired to my room where we ordered clothes for Hyacinth, I began to gather influence in servants by tipping generously. We began splitting Jonah’s belongings, he wouldn’t need them anymore.

When I entered my room I noticed a locked briefcase on my bed. I was suspicious so I examined it closely, and used my knife to manipulate it. I got the scent of formaldehyde and taxidermy. Inside was my dead mother’s face. I was shocked for quite a while, then I noticed a note that said that the author thought they recognized me. I was quite upset and angered at this move by the Dread Scientists, so instead of gifting the orb to Hyacinth like I had planned I instead absorbed myself. That is when I noticed the face moving, and then the others started coming to my room trying to figure out what was taking me so long. We decided to call Sciduhr as he would know more about what was going on. When he arrived, we quickly noticed that he had been watching far, FAR too much TV. He then told us that more than my mother’s face was there, that my mother was still alive, and then placed her face on John who then took the form of my mother.

The rest became more and more of a blur, there was some discussion, apparently my mother was a mage, and the dread scientists wanted to experiment on mages. Then some other things happened and my mother ended up possessing a dog. Then a talking Cat name Wunch showed up and made things even more confusing. We decided to put off any further decision until the next night as we were all exhausted in more ways than one, so we retired for the day.

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