21 June 1898 (continued)
And I thought the day was done at dawn and the destruction of the Great Machine – how wrong I was.
After leaving the environs of the GM, we proceeded to lodging where some of us could rest and I could continue my investigations. It turns out that Hasheem is psionically gifted and has abilities of psychokinesis and telempathy. To gather more information about his PK, I had Anna purchase several reputable but cheap brands of hard liquor. Liquor seems to be a motivator for Hasheem, so I traded his use of PK for the liquor (after carefully removing the seals and caps). I learned quite a bit about Hasheem’s yellow ability and hoped to try to merge it with magic (more on that later). Yellow is similar but distinct from orange (Brent’s alien power) and I will need to see if it is easier to merge close powers or with ones I am familiar. To follow up on that, I created a somewhat bottomless flask. Anna had a flask that was a gift from her brother (who is somehow associated with Fort 51) and I used it as a focus (along with the seals and caps from Hasheem’s liquor) to create a moderately involved artifact. If I have gauged it correctly, then a normal person would be able to get liquor from it for only a few weeks, but if advanced science and magic are related, perhaps Anna’s innate ability will allow the liquor to flow for a longer time. I love it when I am able to line up so many experiments with a small effort.
During the time when most were resting, Brent was pestering me with the need to find his associate Marcus. I told him that splitting up would be a bad idea and that Marcus had been missing for a while and a few hours probably would not harm anyone. After folks were rested, we followed the dowsing compass I made to a warehouse. Marcus was inside and after a few minutes and some subduing, we rescued Marcus. He did not have his Justicar focus and I believe that it was being used to curse Brent’s mob. We returned Marcus to his home and I prepared yet another dowsing ritual to find the medallion. I made use of all elements available and worked the ritual flawlessly, but the dowsing magic was nearly overcome by some resistance – but I prevailed. We followed the compass and quickly found that it was pointing the crater where the Great Machine once was.
The area was swarming with innocents and others, so we were not going to be able to go down into the crater unobserved. I asked Hasheem if he could raise the medallion from the crater, but Hasheem indicated that he had to see his target for PK to work. Most of us moved off to a secluded part of the estate to prepare another ritual. I decided that I would try to create a similarity bond in 3 dimensional space between Brent’s amulet and the missing medallion. Once that was create, I was hoping that Hasheem could raise Brent’s amulet and it would cause the missing medallion to also arise. Before I could finish the preparations, I heard gunfire.
The gunfire was distinctive and from Brent’s gun. We all rushed toward the sound to try to help. When all was said and done, we had two unconscious people. We rushed off with them to an abandoned part of town. When we searched their belongings we found badges that glowed the blue of advanced science with a hint of Brent’s orange interspersed. The emblem was 5 small stars grouped together with one larger star. Brent or Anna identified it as a symbol for Fort 51. Fort 51 seems to be tasked with investigation of the supernatural and is affiliated with the War Department. After questioning the agents, we made them unconscious (ether I think) and put them on a train to Chicago. I considered keeping the badges, but decided that they could probably be tracked.
We went back to the GM crater, but the area was swarming with US troops. We beat a hasty retreat and decided to take a train out of town. Before leaving town we had to fulfill a quest that Andrew had been given by a Fey noble (Lady Layla). He had to find the embodiment of hope and present it to her. Her suggestion was to apparently rip the still beating heart from someone – that was an unacceptable choice. Disappointing a Fey noble was also a bad choice since it might be considered life limiting. While waiting for the others to rest early in the day, Andrew and I theorized and decided that the Liberty Bell was an embodiment of hope and that it might serve the purpose. We went to Liberty Plaza and waited for the sun to set and summoned the Lady. The Lady appeared and suffused the entire plaza in her characteristic green glow. Andrew pointed to the Bell as what the Lady desired. The Lady made Andrew state that he was “giving” her the Bell. The Lady ascended an invisible ramp to the Bell and “consumed” it.
When the Bell was consumed, everyone (or as near as I could tell) was tinged with green and a feeling of sadness or despair descended. It seems that the Lady had found a way to affect a large number of people by taking a symbol. This is a magic on an unheard of scale. It was a truly awesome experiment, but quite troubling. I asked respectful questions of the Lady and she indicated that the Bell still existed, she just had it and found it “yummy”. I asked her about replacing the physicality of the Bell and she asked for an unrestricted favor from me. I demurred and said that I was warned by my masters to not give Faerie folk those sorts of things. She said that she could replace the Bell if I gave her information about my masters. I again demurred since that act might give her leverage. All of my studies indicate that the Fey are dependent on ley lines for their sustenance and that even then, they fade over time. Lady Layla seems to be trying to overcome this limitation by drawing on collective concepts and emotions. I will need to inform the Order of this development. We decided to beat a hasty retreat from the plaza because the Lady’s actions were quite visible and might reflect negatively upon us.
We returned the site of the Great Machine, but the place was even more crowded and had a large contingent of soldiers. Perhaps kidnapping a federal agent was a mistake.
We decided that it was time to leave town, so we made our way to the train station. Our destination was Savannah to see if we could locate information on Hasheem’s lost sister. While waiting for the train, Anna went to Western Union and was told that a message was waiting for me. I went to collect it and found a request for me to appear before the local masters to discuss my recent actions. I decided that it was not of immediate concern and that I would write a letter to the Order explaining my actions and absence. I waited in a gambling establishment run by Brent’s mob and did not see any trace of the curse. Hopefully the curse was directed by the GM and when it was destroyed, the curse was lifted. We left the city and events behind us.
It is only after reviewing the events that I noticed that it has all taken place on the Summer Solstice. The GM was destroyed at dawn and the Lady consumed the Bell at dusk. Given how much occurred, it is a good thing that it was the longest day of the year.
22 June 1898
I continued my experiments with Brent and Hasheem, but nothing interesting to report. I started to pen my letter to the Order. I am focusing on the danger to them because of the notice of Lady Layla. I am trying to convey all I observed in her ritual so they could ponder it as well. The liquor flask is still working.
25 June 1898
We have arrived in Savannah. It is a quaint town. Some of the people here and along the way also seemed to be affected by the Bell magic. After some investigation, we found where Hasheem’s sister had been abducted or run away from. We located some of her personal affects and I used them and Hasheem’s brother to construct yet another dowsing compass. I succeeded, but Hasheem’s blood did not seem useful. Could the one we are tracking not be Hasheem’s blood relative? Things to think about.
28 June 1898
We have arrived in Lubbock on our way west. It has become obvious that Hasheem’s sister is somewhere in the confederate Mexican states. There are fairly solid rumors that vampires control the area. If Hasheem’s sister has been affected by the vampires, then that perhaps explains the problem with the kinship blood affinity. I do not know if I should mention any of this to Hasheem. I will see about acquiring some holy water, silver and apple wood stakes in case we do encounter disagreeable vampires. I have heard that some people of faith can work miracles and perhaps I can see this with my own eyes. The flask is still working.