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Faolan 3: Walking in Darkness

  • Insane Hiker
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4 years 5 months ago #13224 by Insane Hiker
Insane Hiker replied the topic: Faolan 3: Walking in Darkness
Part 7

Doyle Medical Complex
9:18 AM

"So you finally figured it out," Morrigan said with a cocky grin, "It certainly took you long enough, what finally tipped you off?"

"The howl heard round the world, something frightening enough that scared the Frost Giants into retreating- that and the fact that he could eat deities." I explained with a deadpan expression. "That was probably why the Aesir were so afraid of him; he was the only thing that could end them."

"Him or Surtr," Morrigan stated with an interesting look in her eye. "and did this lead to any other revelations?"

"You mean that Dame Höllenfeuer is Hel and that Mister Domino is Loki," I whispered sure that the ancient general had something to take care of bugs. "Yeah, that was easy, however you said that Loki was the assassin of your of the trinity that you and Greyback were a part of- and that you didn't know his identity; would you care to explain that?"

"Mister Domino, Loki's current identity needs a host to operate in the world since his real body remains confined deep in the roots of Yggdrasil; that double-faced helmet that he wears is a conduit that lets him take a host. Why anyone would put it on is beyond me- well except to try and cheat him out of his power, which would be a fool's errand." Morrigan began to weave a bit more of the past, because I assume now that I was ready for it. "One of those former hosts in the form of a spirit escaped when Loki sent the bundle of shifting abilities to you as a child, in preparation for when you moved into your new body. This spirit tried to seize those powers and your body, Charcharoth was sent in order to retrieve the thief and in swallowing him swallowed the shifter abilities that were to be yours as well."

"However when Carcharoth tried to leave, even unmanifested your avatar abilities kept his consciousness from doing so; he wanted to force your body to manifest before it was ready and take it back to Mister Domino to get his father to separate him from you. Naturally Greyback and I refused to allow this happen; it was far too soon and the time that Greyback foresaw when the life essence needed for the resurrection spell was to come within your reach was still far off, forcing a manifestation at that age had far too great a risk of costing you your life. Therefore, Greyback and I held Carcharoth at bay until the time was right, except that we lost track of time and thus fate took its own course. I know that you resent what happened however, there is one who will play a vital role in future; he had need of your body to survive. Now we understood that it would be fundamentally wrong to deprive you of your life and abilities. This is why the gifts of abilities that Loki and I gave to you to go with your new body and life, Greyback was supposed to give you an impenetrable mind however because of Plagiat that can never happen."

"As a matter of recourse Loki gave you the mask that you now have in your possession, while I gave you your cloak and knew where Greyback had your Reticule so it too was given to you." Morrigan continued, "I know that these are far from worth what you have lost however they are enough to balance the scales; a life offered for life taken, power gained for power lost, and three gifts for years of suffering. The loss of Greyback's powers is one of the many reasons I have been training you, and will continue doing so until you have a firm handle on your abilities; that and I honestly enjoy helping to train others to reach their potential, it reminds me of the days that I trained Ninianne and my goddaughter Morgan so long ago. It must seem unfair to you however this is how things balance out for the faerie, of whom you are now just as much as you are an awakened human."

"It still sucks big time," I grumbled at everything that had happened.

"Life is seldom fair child," Morrigan stated as if she spoke from experience. "Still the threat from Winter is not yet over."

"What?" I asked clearly confused, "What about the rule of three? They have attacked campus three times, once by stealth, once by a war on two fronts and once by treat of total destruction. They shouldn't be able to attack again, so how could they be a threat?"

"That is only if Queen Mab herself was behind these assaults," Morrigan explained the devil in the details. "It's unlikely that she would be this foolish though, it was a probably a lesser noble of Winter trying to curry her favor to become the third in line to the Throne of Winter. Still the Whateley Academy should be out of trouble with Winter until the Autumnal Equinox; however everything is only half-dealt with, her court still has spies at Whateley and until they are caught they will be ready to start again the moment of the Vernal Equinox."

"So you want me to fight your battles for you again is that if?" I asked trying to stand defiant in the face of someone that could cream me in battle or in magic.

"No, I didn't want you to fight my battles in the first place; you did that on your own. What I want is your help corralling these spies and presenting them to Ms. Carson." Morrigan explained, "If we do this then not only is Whateley free of any problems with the Winter Court until Autumn begins, and if we find out that Queen Mab was behind this then Whateley as well as the Queen Aunghadhail and Nikki Reiley are free of danger from the Winter Court. Besides I have a few ideas of where they might be, I just need you to help capture them."

"Why would that be?" I asked fearing the answer to come.

"Simple," Morrigan stated as she began to walk away, "You can touch cold iron without being burned."

Knowing that no good could come of this I followed Morrigan into the fray for what I hoped to be one last time; of course, I doubted that things would ever be that simple. "By the way, what was that mystic potion that you used on Balor yesterday?" I asked out of curiosity, in case I ever need to use it.

"Actually that was an oversized water balloon full of capsacin extract." Taking note of my look of disbelief Morrigan explained, "Child you have to realize by now that most magic comes from just using mundan items properly. Then again I still have much to teach you, after all the one who now possesses your birth form isn't the only one who's important to the future. When you are ready to learn I shall tell you more of your own destiny."

Our Lady of Graceful Charity Orphanage
Dallas, Texas
10:15 AM CST

Sonia was in her element, she and her old friends had been smuggled back stateside after a brief sabbatical to recover in the countryside of Sicily, after a nightmarish experience with the Mutant Commission Office. Their rescuer turned out to be an old super-villain named Madam Eventide, who was using her contacts to arrange for she and her friends to attend some special school in New England for mutants and paranormals in the spring. They understood that they were to be safe there and their parents would come to visit soon after they had arrived. Right now though their group was staying at a loft apartment owned by a colleague of hers known as Erzabet Scratch, they could stay and provided for as long as they helped at the orphanage that she provided funds to, and promised to they kept the association secret.

Of course what was the harm in that, it was an orphanage that was run like a boarding school rather than some Victorian nightmare from out of Oliver Twist, the kids had fun were taught by people that liked to do so and were treated like human beings. The nondenominational children's service provided by a local volunteer youth minister was done for the day and they were all outside enjoying the oddly mild weather that North Texas seemed to have in the Winter.

Over by the playground a bunch of boys were playing keep away with Rex who had climbed inside the jungle gym, and as he and his double grabbed at their dangling limbs. Her friend Richard was in the middle of the playground with a few boys and the odd girl using him as a second jungle gym, while Max was teaching some kids katas. Richard's sister Sophia was under a tree reading books to a group that wanted to listen to her, while Candace was nearby helping another group learn how to climb trees. Arnold was inside right now fixing a bunch of old toys that had been donated to the orphanage in less than ideal condition so that the kids could play with them for real, poor Meradee meanwhile was still inside sorting herself those MCO monsters did a real number on her.

"Miz Sonya," a little girl who had recently lost her front-baby teeth called out to her. "Can you kieey ca nou?" Smiling Sonia drew up another blob of water from the pail in front of her and began to get to work shaping it.

Whateley Academy - Kane Hall
11:54 AM EST

Frank Delarose stood outside the detainment room with Randa van Dusen (Conjure), Adam Lambert (Greasy) and Randi Bridges (Faolan) waiting inside, next to him were Charlie Lodgeman and Morrigan Redstag with a crow on her shoulder who sat patiently as they awaited the arrival of the final two members of their group. A few minutes later Headmistress Elizabeth Carson arrived obviously fresh from church services. Ms Hartford who had yet to have the pleasure of a 'chat' with Morrigan after suffering from Badb's prank a week earlier had deigned to decline attending this meeting in favor of meeting with their guests.

"Chief Delarose," Miss Carson glared at the head of security, "This had better be important given that you had us not only come up here on a Sunday morning but are also detaining three students."

"Would an end to our troubles with the Winter Court possibly for good be enough," Morrigan nodded to the chief.

"Mr. Lambert would please step forward," Cheif Delarose ordered over the intercom, which prompted Greasy to stand up and step forward. "Miss van Dusen, please stand up and step forward," to Delarose's order Conjure did the same and lined up next to Greasy. "Ms Bridges, please stand up and step forward." Delarose repeated his order again this time giving a sideways nod.

'Randi it's show time, I heard Jane whisper in my mind. I stood up, walked forward, and touched Greasy and Conjure each on the neck with the two horse nails that I had concealed in my hands. The two 'students' shrieked as their skin where the nails touched them charred and they both shrank into ugly green-skinned creatures that looked like a cross between Speilberg's gremlins and the goulies.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of Whateley," Morrigan said with a flourish. "May I introduce you to the favored spies of the Winter Court and noted thieves, spriggans."

I sprung back and snapped out my cold iron baton, as the two unseelie faeries recovered from the sudden pain of their burns. The two imposters took one look at my weapon and bolted for the door, only to receive another nasty shock.

"Ever since our problems with the Crystal Wavers, Hekate's 'sponsor' and the Tong of the Black Madonna I've been working on some sturdier wards for around campus." Charlie Lodgeman explained with a smug grin, "I'm far from done however had I have is more than enough for a couple of small fry like these two."

"And where are the real Adam Lambert and Randa van Dusen?" Ms Carson stared at Morrigan with a critical eye.

"Mr. Lambert is with his roommate working in his workplace down in the tunnels on a roving stealth camera bug, likely to spy on the showers in the Venus Inc locker-room since Ms. Walcutt found and destroyed their old ones; Nadia is watching them like a hawk from the ceiling." Morrigan explained to avoid the wrath of the mama bear of Whateley. "And Ms van Dusen is at the Library with Badb reviewing a tome that I generously provided her with in exchange for her cooperation, The North American Codex of Benevolent Spirits and Creatures by M. V. Redstag a guide to the summoning and proper etiquette of dealing with a number of relatively benign supernatural and preternatural beings. She is there with Badb who is there to answer her questions and keep an eye on her; they are up to the section on Rado Loa at the moment."

"So these are why so many people have been seeing Greasy sneaking around solo for the last months and why some people had seen Conjure sneaking around without Spellbinder (before the Alphas rushed her)," Ms Hartford observed the ugly creatures. "I have to say the impressions were rather good."

"Spriggan's only talents are mimicry and appearing to grow to a large size by swelling up," Morrigan stated as she grabbed the intercom, "Although they are really all bluff in the fighting department. They used to make brisk business-snatching babies for Winter Court nobles to keep as pets or consorts; however, the invention of changeling baubles really put them out of that business. Still their mimicry abilities make them ideal for work as spies; they've been looking for a real opportunity to exploit places in the mortal sphere, such as Whateley for a long time."

"While Fey did make a tempting target it was those high profile fights with The Necromancer, as well as her friendship with the Handmaiden of the Tao, which made her too tempting of a target to simply ignore. The original plan was likely a snatch and grab during a Voodoo Wolf attack, the Fomorii involved Sgaothaich was likely after Fey and Bladedancer. He probably agreed to drag the two of them off during the fighting turn over Fey to his patron in the Winter Court and then sell Bladedancer and her sword off later to the highest bidder on the Dark Market. Am I right you two?"

The spriggans looked back nervously to see me tapping the baton against my hand with a sadistic and toothy grin on my face. Soon enough one of them began to talk, "Alright we admit it," the spriggan that had been impersonating Conjure stated. "I'm Greetch and this is Bruel we were sent here to spy on Whateley after Samhein by our patron Lady Agatha Blackpond of the Winter Court. She had heard rumors of a powerful Sidhe here wielding ancient power so we had been observing and also noted the presence of the Tao's wetworks agent as well."

"We were supposed to observe and wait for an opportunity," Bruel continued where his partner left off. "However we had heard from our brethren elsewhere that the Phantom Queen was about and headed to the area so we needed to act soon; however the actions of the human dark weavers in the area forced back our strategy. We wound up having to poach Abominations from the Rocky Mountains to use for the distraction, but by the time we could implement it the Phantom Queen was here."

"This meant that your employer had to step up her strategy." Morrigan interjected, "So you handed that coven the spell necessary to bind my current host in place, then free the Morrigna from their bonds, and to add fuel to the fire your mistress convinced Queen Mab to send a battalion of Jöten to draw away those who could stop them. Failing there must have cost her dearly because sending Balor here reeked of desperation; not only was this Winter's last chance to take direct action at all for this half of the year, failure after convincing the Queen to commit her Frost Giants to this plan would be disastrous."

"Just how disastrous are we talking about," Ms Carson asked out of curiousity.

"A second failure, especially when the Queen was convinced to commit her own forces to this, means a loss of privileges and status." Morrigan further elaborated, "The third failure means not only a loss of title but also that whoever punishes the former Lady Agatha Blackpond to the satisfaction of Queen Mab herself gains the favor of the Winter Queen and the privilege of attempting her failed task after the Autumnal Equinox. This is especially important now that they have likely uncovered the truth about Fey's future, she's a threat to the Throne of Winter itself as well as that of Summer, whoever succeeds at taking her out before Fey fully awakens to her power will probably be named third in line for their court's throne. These two were just sticking around until they heard from their new boss, being active and undetected spies in a prime location would have made their status shoot up to their new employer."

"All of this for just to become third in line to the throne?" Chief Delarose asked with a raised eyebrow, "Why not next or second in line?"

Morrigan turned off the microphone before speaking but told Jane through her link to Badb to keep me in the loop on this. "Next in line is the Winter Lady Maedve, Queen Mab's daughter, the position of second in line is reserved for the first born daughter of the Lady Maedve who is not allowed to bear a child until she is crowned Queen of the Winter Court. Of course given the history of the Courts of Winter and Summer Queen Mab and Queen Titania should be approaching the twilight of their respective reigns, in less than half a century they will have to rein in their power if they want to survive." Morrigan began to explain the truth behind the Thrones of Winter and Summer. "Before that happens Queen Mab and Queen Titania must abdicate their thrones to their daughter's Lady Maedve and Lady Areala, if they don't the grip that they maintain on the seasonal mana of Earth will weaken, and should that happen the power that they exert to make their kingdoms in the Faerie their dominions will wane in turn."

"So what you are saying is that Nikki Reilly," Chief Delarose's eyes opened wide at the realization. "Fey of Team Kimba is that much of a threat to these people."

"Fey is the reincarnation of the ancient Sidhe Queen Aunghadheil, in her last full life she reigned as the Paramount Queen of the Nine Sidhe Queens in the Western Court, this means that she is the true heir to a throne long vacant. During that age long past I was the general to Queen Venraniel, in the time since I have united those of Faerie who do not swear allegiance to Summer or Winter, as the Phantom Queen of the Wild Court. I counted myself as a regent until such a time as an true heir to the Nine Queens has appeared- this Queen is Fey." Morrgain went at in with a fervor before turning to Headmistress Carson, "Ms Carson, Lady Astarte, I know that we discussed this subject last night. However with the permission of both yourself (and later that of Fey) I would like to be allowed to tutor her in the ins and outs of politics amongst her people so that when the time comes she will be ready?"

"Morrigan you have my permission to ask this of Ms Reilly, after her Winter Classes are over." Ms Carson said as she stared down Morrigan, "However I expect both you and your husband Dagda to serve as teachers here at Whateley as you asked earlier even if Ms Reilly declines, as well as help defend the Academy against threats from these courts that you say will threaten Whateley while she is a student here."

"Elizabeth, if I may call you that, I fully intend to do so should you allow us to teach." Morrigan said with a smile, "Now given that this is your school what do you want us to do with these two spies?"

In Front of Shuster Hall
4:00 PM

The time had come and the Members of the Grand Hall had returned to the Whateley Academy sans Galatea, Shuffle and The Hangman who were already on their way back to their respective posts incognito via airplane (or in The Hangman's case inside of a reinforced crate). All the perspective members of the Grand Hall that were present were waiting outside their limousine, Inferna was diligently waiting to speak with Fey and Generator about the truth of their Christmas misadventure. Meanwhile Mister Domino was waiting on the meetings Headmistress Carson had promised to give him with Stygian, Carmilla and Don Sebastiano in exchange for their groups' assistance yesterday in fighting the Jöten. In lieu of Headmistress Carson, Deputy-Headmistress Hartford and Circe were there to greet their guests.

"Mister Domino you will be escorted on you appointments today by Circe and myself here you may take one bodyguard with you for the purposes of your visits," Ms Hartford stated to the seated warlock of the Obsidian Circle before turning to the Director of the Kansas City Chapter of the Grand Hall of Sinister Wisdom. "Inferna if you will please join us in the conference room, of course you may bring a bodyguard as well."

Sure enough, Perses followed Inferna and Ms Hartford into Shuster Hall, Carcharoth started to stare at Circe with the look of a dastardly deed brewing in his mind- this ended when Mister Domino hit him on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. "We are guests and you are not to act except in defending yourself or me, now behave or I use The Whistle."

Carcharoth visibly cringed at that phrase before backing down and muttering under his breath, "You never let me have any fun."

"Now Circe you've certainly done, well for yourself, I trust that you got bored with your old hobby." Mister Domino began to chat with the enigmatic mystic arts department teacher as if he knew her from long ago. "Honestly your poor mother is rather worried about you, you never write and it's not like she is hard to get in touch with."

"You can stop right there you double-faced, silver-tongued ice weasel." Circe stared at the man in the grinning black helmet, "I am supposed to escort you to where you will be meeting each student, I am not required to make small talk with you."

"Touchy- touchy," Mister Domino backed off waving his hand in a mockery of a warding gesture. "Still you can tell her yourself, she will be escorting the students that she saved from the Mutant Commission Office here personally, along with your new half-sister."

That last little tidbit certainly got Circe's attention, "What did you say?"

Shuster Hall
4:17 PM

Colleen didn't have to wait long to hear of the details on this Hekate's operation in her city after a little bit of waiting which had given, her the opportunity to reread Fey and Generator's files showed that their team held a rather impressive record for rookies. This Team Kimba appeared to excel at pulling their fat out of the fire and surviving adversity, they even emerging victoriously from three separate encounters with The Necromancer and his Children of the Night. Although that last one appeared to be a bit of a pyrian victory since his group succeeded in a theft from the Boston Heritage Society and included the escape of Mimeo.

Eventually Ms. Hartford saw the two students in, a stunning teenage red-headed elf in armor who was obviously Fey and what looked like a ten or eleven-year-old Asian girl in a cyber-harness likely Generator. Taking a moment to regain her composure as the two sat down Colleen proceeded to introduce herself, "Hello I presume that you two are Fey and Generator the students involved in the December 28th Incident at the Syndicate Hardsite. My name is Inferna, I am the Director of the Grand Hall of Sinister Wisdom's Kansas City chapter house, and you see it is my responsibility to oversee all supernatural activity of the underworld within the western half of Missouri."

"In short if I do not approve of a mystic operation done within my territory it is not allowed to happen, and those who try to do so without my permission are to be brought to task for their transgressions."

"So you mean that you allowed Hekate to kidnap Fey to try to enslave her mind, and sacrifice me in order to do so?" Jade shouted in horror.

"No Jade," Nikki stated evenly. "I think that the reason that Inferna is here is that Hekate did this without receiving permission from her to do so in her territory, she likely wants details on exactly what happened to determine how severely to pursue and deal with Hekate when they find her."

"That and she had the nerve to tell the Syndicate to send the bill for her operation to my office." Inferna clenched her fists in anger at that little detail. "Do you have any idea how humiliating that is, some whelp of a practitioner who is not even out of school not only conducts an operation of this level in my own backyard behind my back, but expects me to pay for it. She has caused me a loss of respect among many of my subordinates, my fellow directors in the Midwest Branch, shamed me in the eyes of Erzabet Scratch and likely shamed her in the eyes of the Obsidian Circle. I wish to find balance and closure to this affair to avoid something like this happening again; there is also the matter that as victims of her in this affair I owe you compensation for this happening in the first place."

"You mean that you're going to pay us hush money for what happened to us?" Jade asked feeling a little weird about making a deal with someone that was a higher up in the Grand Hall, especially after all their fights with The Necromancer in Boston. "I'm not sure I'd be comfortable accepting dirty money."

"I mean compensation in terms of services that you could not be held legally liable for," Inferna elaborated trying to put them at ease. "Now tell me what happened at the Syndicate Hardsite."

Kirby Hall
4:24 PM

Mister Domino waited patiently as Carmilla; the daughter of Gothmog entered the room, and sat down on the chair opposite of him on the table, which had been brought into the classroom for the purposes of the meeting. The youngest of the Great Ones, not yet old enough for the extra O, studied the warlock and even with her perceptions as a creature of the Cycle found him a bit of an enigma.

"So Carmilla or would you prefer Kellith," the warlock of the Obsidian Circle began, "I am Mister Domino, I come before you today on behalf of the Obsidian Circle. I apologize if you might have a hard time getting a read on me; however not all of your family are that hospitable to those of my order, and so we guard ourselves appropriately."

"I assume that you at least know who and what you are dealing with," Sara stated not showing the least bit of emotion at the trickster's antics. "Remember we are best left alone."

"It would be best if your lot would leave alone the places that you have invaded," Mister Domino stated with an intensity that was almost uncharacteristic of him. "However despite being one of the Great Ones and as is the case with your father Gothmog, we have no reason to hold enmity against you for being what you are; that is why should you swear three times that nothing we say leaves this room, we would have a proposition for you."

"Alright what we exchange between the two of us shall not be revealed by me in any fashion," Carmilla stated, "Of this I so swear, of this I so swear, of this I so swear. Now because of the gift that I was given I am bound by this oath to my existence, now what is so important?"

Smiling Mister Domino produced a wooden box and slid it across the table to Sara, "Open this," Mister Domino said, "However do not remove what is inside."

Obeying the instruction Carmilla opened the box and to her shock found her namesake and mother Sara Waite inside shrunken and encased in a greenish crystal. This was impossible, her real mother had died of cancer and when she tried to resurrect her, before her rebirth as the larval GOO Kellith, the result was as a metamorphosed female Deep One. Yet within her sight she could sense it even through the Elder Sign Seal set against the head of the crystal now that she was aware of it, this was her mother body and soul, still the question remained. "How did you do this?"

"What died almost five years ago was not your mother Carmilla," Mister Domino stated. "We of the Circle knew of your inevitable birth and were prepared, seven years ago before her cancer would begin to manifest, we took your mother and sealed her like this as we replaced her with an homunculus. Given that we had constructed it from samples we had taken, as well as a constructed soul that we had grown from pieces shed by your mother over the course of her life, and her memories that we directly copied from her you never noticed the difference- in essence it was her.

"However our copy was unable to keep up with the stresses that occur when any of Innsmouth Descent begins to metamorphose into Deep Ones and so this heritage instead manifested as a highly aggressive cancer, as the copy did not have your mother's real soul when you tried to resurrect her all you got was a soulless deep one." Mister Domino further elaborated, "Of course this would have been similar to your mother's fate as well had we not done what we did, and it still might be if she is freed to early."

"What do you want?" Carmilla stared at Mister Domino with visible hostility, that warned if she did not like what she heard she would obliterate him.

"As you know there are three ways that the dead dreamer may return from his slumber in the sunken city of R'lyeh. Those ways are in his own body when the stars are in alignment and he is reawakened by his cult, in the womb of Mother Hydra when she is impregnated by his high priest Father Dagon at the proper time, and in the womb of his dark daughter via parthenogenesis." Mister Domino began to explain, "We already have plans in place to end the existences of Dagon and Hydra, plans that will bear fruit in the near future. As for the dead dreamer's daughter she is easy enough to deal with even by mortal means; unfortunately her father earned the ire of a being far beyond him who has designs for her fate that I would not wish upon my most hated enemy. However dealing with the dead dreamer itself is beyond our capacities..."

"And destroying the greatest of the star spawn, just happens to be what I am destined to do," Sara ended Mister Domino's sentence for him. "So when the time comes in between myself, the Obsidian Circle and a certain mysterious entity, the dead dreamer will be ended. Just what is this entity?"

"It has no true name to call its own, although it is known by countless aliases and it has had avatars that have fallen into reality from time to time even on this world." Mister Domino said with a flourish, "It could best be described as the Sorrowful Unnamed, it is unknown whether it is even an Outer Being or one of the Supreme Elders, regardless the dead dreamer's high priest has drawn this beings ire."

"If it angered this Sorrowful Unnamed, why is the dark daughter even still around?" Sara asked out of sheer curiosity, after all this was something that was actually unknown to her.

"The Sorrowful Unnamed is nothing if not patient, it has been waiting in a prison in the furthest region of the Dreamlands for Existence to provide it with a true name and welcome it into creation since before The Word." Mister Domino continued, "What are a few thousand years to a being who could call rocks impatient, besides I have been in contact with it through a third party, The Obsidian Circle has agreed to help it plan for its attack on the the Star Stalker's priest since doing so will help us achieve several of our goals as in the process. In addition, one of those goals will help your mother be liberated from the curse of her bloodline, you see soon a being will be revealed, the granddaughter of the Sorrowful Unnamed. We need you to give that child what is underneath the liner on the top of the box, when she has it the path to the ritual of cleansing will begin, and when it ends there will be no new deep ones."

"That would be some feat," Sara stated before she observed, "Although by cleansed they still would be something other than human."

"You are correct of course, although they will never transform into mindless animalistic deep ones who would devour their own young on sight; instead they will become what preceded the deep ones before Dagon's Curse was cast." Mister Domino proclaimed, "To that end you see the ring and tuning fork to each side of your mother's crystal. When the gemstone in the ring starts glowing that means that the cleansing ritual is underway, when this happens strike the stone with the tuning fork, this will free your mother from the crystal and she will also be freed from the fate of becoming a deep one."

"And how do you know that when the time comes that I will destroy him." Sara stated with a dark tone, "What happens to my mother if I refuse to do so?"

"The same thing that will happen to everyone else should he rise from the depths once again." Mister Domino stated as he left the room.

Carcharoth joined Mister Domino once he walked out the door leaving Sara alone in the room and traveled down the hallway to the room with his next appointment, where for a fresh change Mister Domino was the late one. "I apologize for the delay young Stygian," he said as he sat down. "Or should I call you Hades?"

"So you know about us- big whoop," Stygian groaned at Mister Domino who like the last room wove a veil of silence to block any attempts at listening in and even deadened the room to past echo spells. "Why should that matter I was the person nobody liked in that life and remain so in this one."

"Your wife did not seem to share that sentiment once she really got to know you, I also doubt that your daughter felt that way either." Mister Domino objected and sprinkled in, "Even Hecate seems to remember you fondly."

"You leave Persephone and Macaria out of this," Stygian snapped with a little fire in his voice before he noticed something off. "Wait what did you mean by seems to remember? You sound like you know her."

"I want you to swear on the Styx itself and the slumber of Great Mother Gaea that nothing we say in here will leave this room," Mister Domino insisted of the reincarnated Greek god of the Underworld. "Then, and only then, will I tell you this and so much more."

Michael Weatherson caught his breath centered himself and prepared for any news that he heard, no matter what he swore that nothing would shock him, after all, he had looked up this Mister Domino before the meeting and he seemed like a powerful and long-lived warlock. This made him dangerous even to a reborn god- especially to a reborn god. "Alright I swear by the River Styx and the slumber of Great Mother Gaea that nothing said between us leaves this room, now speak what you will of sorcerer called Mister Domino."

"Well Hades, since we are on a real name basis for now you can call me Loki." Mister Domino tossed out nonchalantly noting the shock in the eyes of the reincarnated Olympian, "And my bodyguard outside that door is actually Fenrir my dear son."

Michael was stunned he was alone in the room with the Norse God of Mischief and Fire, and outside laid his son, a god-eating monster, part of him wanted to deny it but the spirits said that this was the truth. Well then Horse-mother," Stygian said eliciting an actual wince from Loki at the unpleasant memory of not only getting mounted by the stallion Svaðilfari but giving birth to the eight-legged horse Slepnir. "You were saying something about Hecate, the real Hecate and not that witch pretender that was exiled from here."

Regaining his composure over having one of the more embarrassing moments in his very long life brought up, Mister Domino continued. "I sit with Hecate, the lady of the crossroads, on a council of other such beings that were cast to the fringes we call ourselves the Obsidian Circle. Now as Hecate was always at the crossroads on the fringes of civilization she was not confined to Olympus like the others of your family. Dionysus not withstanding since he sold the rest of you out and brought Cerberus as a bargaining chip to earn him a title in the domain of Morningstar, these days Hecate goes under the name Madam Eventide."

"So the reason that you called me here is to tell me that the mutual friend that my beloved Persephone and I shared is an acquaintance of yours," Stygian droned unimpressed. "While I would like the opportunity to speak with her again, it feels meaningless without Persephone to share in the conversations."

"That is easily arranged," Mister Domino said with a true flourish. "You see Hecate arranged to be reborn in a mortal form a few years back, and in preparation one of our number Baron Impié climbed Olympus and brought back the souls that languished there, many of the deities that were there we have let be reborn: Heracles, Hebe, Hestia, Demeter and of course your dear, sweet, beloved Persephone."

This shocked Michael so much that he couldn't muster the words to speak, his beloved Persephone was not only free but reborn as well. How old was she? Where was she reborn? What was the name of her reincarnation? No matter what Michael had to know, for the first time in forever he dared to have hope, he felt truly alive.

"I can see that you are eager; however this information comes with a catch." Mister Domino seemed to smile even wider as he knew the former lord of Tartarus would do anything, agree to anything, all in order to have his wife back by his side. Mister Domino almost fell bad about taking advantage of the boy like that- for a fleeting moment, still he couldn't ask for too much otherwise the ladies back at the clubhouse would make Slepnir's birth seem like a fond memory.

"To see Persephone again..." Stygian trembled with his being in turmoil, his head desperately trying to reason with him and remind him with whom he was making this deal. All the while, his heart was going crazy at the thought of being reunited with his beloved and living in the living world rather than the gloom of the Underworld, in the end his heart won the day. "anything, name your price Loki."

"It is not too much," Mister Domino said while leaning back in his chair. "You see Madam Eventide, Hecate, will be escorting a group of students here for the coming Spring Semester. When Zeus sees who is among them he will try to rally your group to take them out, I want you to side with Athena's faction from here on to isolate Zeus, Hera, Ares and Aphrodite. In the end it would be for your benefit for amongst the group is your beloved Persephone, who in his crusading zeal Zeus would crush as surely as the others, and I know that you would not want that to happen would you?"

"Of course not," Stygian blurted out now shaken out of his melancholy, still the question remained, whose appearance would piss Imperius off enough to do something like that- wait. "Let me guess Titans, Chronos is with the group isn't he?"

"No, your father remains comatose in the Cavern of Nyx." Mister Domino waved off his concerns, "The group consists of your dear Persephone, Typhon, Echidna and all of their children except for the Crommyonian Sow and your faithful pet Cerberus. Of course out of this entire group of new students only Typhon and Echidna have their memories, so look on the bright-side if you spark up a romance with your beloved Persephone again this time you will not have to kidnap her and trick her into eating pomegranate seeds in the Underworld."

This to Stygian was a chance beyond his wildest dreams, a chance for a relationship with Persephone untainted by its beginnings would be like a dream come true, but still Typhon the bastard child of Gaea not only free but here as well, was the price of happiness too high. "I warn you that I will try to stay the hands of my nephews, baring Ares because nothing can reason with wrath, but we will defend ourselves if necessary."

"I would not demand the unreasonable of you Hades, Typhon himself seems willing to bury the hatchet with most of your family as he has no grudge against any of you personally, well except for the not so happy couple and mister congeniality." Mister Domino stated continuing his song and dance, "However take this as a fair warning; should you choose to go back on your word then Persephone's memories return."

"I will take that risk this chance however slim it might be," Stygian proclaimed determined to find his one source of happiness once again and reclaim it or die trying.

"Wonderful, I knew that you would see reason." Mister Domino said before he stood up. "The name of her reincarnation is Flora Sera; she is from the Isle of Sicily and along with the rest of the group is staying in the safety of the watchful eye of one of my other associates, Erzabet Scratch she will likely enroll as a Sophomore, oh and in this incarnation she is Hecate's niece and Echidna's cousin."

"What about the other deities that you mentioned?" Stygian asked now that he had been stirred from the stupor of his long depression, "Where are they?"

"Now- now- now Hades," Mister Domino's chided the former lord of the Underworld as he went to began to leave the room. "That would be telling, heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-ha-ha-ha!"

Stygian could just stare at the mask of tragedy weep tears of blood as it pleaded silently as he walked out the door.

Shuster Hall
5:13 PM

"So if I understand the situation correctly this Hecate tried to use an enslavement spell, one requiring a human sacrifice, in to enslave you as well as renew the same enslavement spell that was used earlier on two other students." Inferna reiterated the story the two students told her (that was edited to conceal Jade's real powers). "This backfired when Generator's poltergeist sister Shroud got loose possessing Hecate's anthem, then downed a few Syndicate henchmen and rescued Fey and these now freed students Skybolt and Cavalier. Those same students, who are now receiving psychological treatment in ARC for a solid year of mental and sexual abuse, drove this Hecate off who activated the self-destruct to try and kill you all to bury any evidence."

"Pretty much that's how it went Ms. Inferna," Jade said with a saccharine tone and sugary smile. "Of course Fey here put some sort of curse on her and the slimeball agent that helped her."

"It is called the curse of three." Fey stated and was about to explain it however there was no need.

"Ooh- the old karmatic wammy," Inferna said obviously impressed at Fey's choice. "Ancient, highly-effective, and completely without mystic consequence to the caster since the target's own prior actions determine the outcome. I remember reading of some crazed warlock that tried it out on a rival, only the man was such a saint that it rewarded him three-fold instead of injured him, it was hilarious. Still since this Hecate is still alive, and as she is under the curse of three when she has committed at least one case of murder (possibly infanticide), she is likely in a heavily warded area trying to dispel your curse before it activates. I believe we can help pop this bubble of protection, this Hecate has earned the enmity of some very powerful people with her actions and I am afraid that she must be made an example, still because of your curse all we really have to do is dispel her protection and we have several ways making that happen."

"This is going to be messy isn't it?" Jade asked a little squeamish at the possibilities.

"Possibly, there is also the matter of paying for the damages to you two." Inferna hummed to herself. "So Fey I understand that you actually are from Kansas City proper, where the Chapter House under my supervision is located, this is for you."

Fey grabbed the object that Inferna slid over to her, a silver pendent. "This will let you guide you and only you to the entrance to the Kansas City Chapter of the Grand Hall of Sinister Wisdom, while inside you shall be my personal guest." Infena began to explain her gift. "None may attack or harm you inside the Chapter House and none can follow you when you leave. Once inside you shall be allowed to access our library, market (cash or trade only) and laboratories (when they are not in use). This pendent is also enchanted to return to me when you graduate or withdraw from the Whately Academy."

"Generator from what I gather you suffer from a stuck BIT, one that has you locked into your current age, while I have no idea how to fix such a problem for we have operatives who suffer from such a problem." Inferna shook her head at the child's misfortune. "Still there are a few small things that I can do to help, inside this folder you will find special email addresses for those agents, sometimes having someone who has the same problem as you to talk to can be a big help. Also there are instructions for the construction and manufacture of a glamour charm, something to help you appear to be your real age; many of those agents find them useful in their normal lives."

"What you do with these gifts is up to you, you don't even need to do anything with them, still I thank you for this information I can assure you that we will see to it that this Hecate get's everything that is coming to her." Inferna then gathered her notes and got up to leave, "A bit of friendly advice before I leave, enjoy your youth while you can and try not to make too many enemies during it but as many friends and allies as you can, for once you leave these halls you are considered adults. When that happens those with far more scruples than The Necromancer and his like will consider you fair targets, remember for all his wealth and connections, and even his threat rating Charles Darrow is still small fry compared to what operates bellow the radar of the MCO and Interpol."

Inferna then left the room having given Fey and Generator something else to chew over during their confinement to campus.

Outside Doyle Medical Center
5:27 PM

Carcharoth was waiting impatiently outside in the snow, evidently since he wouldn't let the lady at the desk confiscate his weapons, he had to wait inside while his dad offered this putz Don Sebastiano the possible 'honor' at being chosen to be the 'successor' of Mister Domino. A fancy way of saying that the kid likely had more greed and pride than he did real brains. Likely he was just another arrogant snot-nosed brat from some armpit of the world who was taken his manifestation to mean that he was special, even his name reeked of arrogance and so far all that arrogance gifted him with an extended stay in the medical ward after his first attempt to play puppet-master blew up in his face.

Still this kid was a prospect, dad knew when he would likely 'die' and need to find a new host so he tracked down a few potentials, and picked from them. Sadly no one ever passed the final test, endure dad's suffering for one day and the powers and title of Mister Domino will be released unto them, but over the course of nearly two-thousand years no one ever succeeded. Well Allister Crowley appeared to do this in 1899; however, they found out that he had used cultivated copy of his own soul as a shield. Of course, this made his body forfeit like so many others still he caused trouble later when he hitched a ride on the bundle of forged shifter powers that dad sent to Baron Astio's current body, from what he heard Greyback recently fed that sack of puss to an Amit so good riddance to bad rubish.

Carcharoth leaned back against the wall of Doyle bored further outside of his skull ignoring as another kid exited the Medical Building. "Hey that's my sword!"

Carcharoth was woken from his stupor as the kid attacked him without provocation knocking him off his feet. He smiled as he said with malice in his voice. "Goody that makes this self defense, and that goody two-shoes Shuffle isn't here to tell me no or stop."

Counterpoint the student in question had just been released from Doyle after satisfying the school that his kidneys were fully healed after that b!tch stabbed them, and right outside he saw this stranger who had his sword. No not that mortal made pig-sticker that he had been using, his favorite blade that he forced asked his ugly brother Hephaestus make for him nicely by blocking the road to his forge with the Chimera. The blade that bitch who stuck him reminded him that Octavian lost in the Black Forest and made its way to Attila, his favorite sword was in the hands of this mortal. Counterpoint mixed the powers of Aries and Brick and used them to rush this shit with the intention of taking his sword back and killing him- what a shame things didn't go as planned.

When Counterpoint charged the pile of dead-meat-to-be, said 'victim' grew into a giant wall of black and used his own momentum to choke-slam him into the ground before pinning him with its foot. When the world stopped spinning Counterpoint looked up to find a wolfen beast similar to the one that he fought yesterday, only twice the size, male and a hell of a lot scarier. "Well-well-well, a war god, I can remember the last time I went up against a war god; it didn't turn out well for either of us." The beast spoke with a rumbling voice as its eyes seemed to flare an angry red with every syllable. "Still I was young and naive then, I won't ever make those mistakes again, learning experiences tend to do that. Come to think of it is this not a school, I would think they would teach students to research their opponent before they decide to attack them, what you just did now could have earned you a Darwin Award."

Carcharoth smiled wickedly as his attacked struggled in vain to get out from under his foot clawing vainly with his hands as he struggled to break the anklebones, the beasts voice rumbled again. "I think that I shall give you something to remember this mistake by and don't worry the only thing permanent will be the memory." The sadistic monster smiled as he leaned down to grab onto Counterpoint's arms. "Now stay still, I don't want to tear anything off."

The screaming was heard everywhere on campus, this drew the eyes of Security who phoned the Headmistress who happened to still be in Kane Hall, she literally flew over to Doyle. What Elizabeth Carson saw shocked her, Carcharoth was calmly leaning against the wall of the building as Counterpoint tried to writhe in agony on the ground, his arms and legs pulled out of their sockets but still attached. "You were told explicitly not to attack any students!"

"This was self-defense," Carcharoth waved off the accusation in a oh-hum manner. "I was waiting out here for the boss to get done with his final meeting when this ankle-bitter attacked me claiming I stole this blade that I found in Germany a long time ago. He tried to bum rush me using speed and exemplar abilities and was thrown for a loop when a tossed and pinned him. Since he seemed determined to keep fighting I decided to teach him a lesson about picking a fight with a stranger, just pop his limbs back into socket give him some moo juice and the brat should be fine- if a little smarter."

"Well Carcharoth I believe that we are done here," Mister Domino stated as he walked out of Doyle, "Hello Miss Carson, I see that my bodyguard has been giving out lessons in helplessness, I know that it seems brutal," The Obsidian Circle Warlock stated as he leaned down three feet away from Counterpoint's face before stating. "However there is nothing that helps overcome egotistical invincibility then realizing that a lethal opponent had you completely at his mercy, to make you see how those weaker than you feel, why the experience can even be enlightening. Come along my sword, our business is done here and I would hate to overstay our welcome."

The two walked off towards their limo in front of Shuster and found all six members of their group inside, staring at the member of their group that they did not announce on their earlier visit Mister Domino asked, "Well Reverent is the array ready to do its job?"

"Yes Mister Domino," the Reverent that had been working underground since yesterday said as the Rot in the driver's seat (in the body of a rather attractive vegetative female coma patient) started the limo and drove them back to Berlin Airport. "The ten devices that I was provided with have been arranged within and around campus to your specifications, and the trigger was shipped to Mother's spy with her order's first thing Monday in a care package. It should arrive sometime this week, and she will be ready should they be needed."

"Excellent, then all we have to do is wait for the pieces to fall into place."

Dunn Hall
6:05 PM

I was sitting down at my usual table with the other new students however I was barely even tasting my dinner later than normal today because of a special presentation, Ms Carson had told me that I was to have the honor of presenting the newest acquisition to the Homer gallery which would be projected to the assembled students, mainly since I knew this story by heart. Oh, course why shouldn't I my maternal grandfather Philip Casey was there, grandpa Phil had joined the Fort Worth police force after he had come back from Korea.

Grandpa Phil was one of the officers that had responded to the alarm at the Amon Carter, when he arrived the Dallas Defenders were already on the scene and he was working crowd control. Of course that crowd and him had almost become a traffic fatality when The Hangman threw a busload of kids at them, thank goodness Ironhorse caught it and saved the lives of those kids and the my grandfather. This event was extra significant since the teacher on that bus who he met while escorting those kids to safety was my maternal grandmother Gertrude.

I checked my watch and now was the time, the maintenance guys had finished setting up the microphone and holo-projector next to the wooden podium they had brought in, "Wish me luck," I said as I prepared to get up. "Now you'll find out what I've been doing all week."

"Students of the our esteemed Academy," Headmistress Carson spoke from the podium, "It does me great pleasure to announce that a piece that was slated to be installed in our Homer Gallery from the earliest days of Whateley's reopening has taken its rightful place at last. As many of you have seen the Gallery at least once since your admission it would be ungainly to escort all students here there just to see one new piece, so we have arranged for this presentation here to our fully assembled student body. However since there is a student present that knows this item's story far better than I; she should be the one to tell it, Ms. Randi Bridges."

I circumnavigated the cafeteria, all the while wanting to throw up, and came up to the podium. "Thank you for this honor Headmistress," I said shaking Ms. Carson's hand, yet wished that someone else that could do this.

"My fellow students I present to you the final armored suit of Ironhorse," the holo-projector next to me whirred to life as it projected the giant armored suit with the torn open chest piece. "Iron Horse, who may not be familiar to many of you, was one of the founding five members of the former Superhero Team known as the Dallas Defenders back during the late Fifties, however he had never wanted to be a superhero. Iron Horse was originally Stanley Hepler a pyro-energizer/regenerator with a perhaps a spec of gadgeteer who lived long before the founding of Whateley Academy in its present incarnation, despite his abilities he just wanted a quiet life, he went to Texas A&M after serving in World War II and graduated with a mechanical engineering degree. Still when he was on the job in 1956 he began to show the first signs of every mutants worst nightmare, he was going through Burnout."

The mere mention of the dreaded life-changing and often-fatal mutant condition caused whispers among my fellow students. "According to the medical literature today he suffered Type-4 Burnout, his formerly normal body suffered a rare increase in power later in life and his body could not keep up, he was literally beginning to burn from the inside out as the water in his body evaporated. Fortunately, one of his co-workers had the bright idea of putting him inside the boiler of an old steam locomotive in a nearby scrap yard; they adjusted the pressure until his body's regeneration began to keep up with the heat. Eventually with Stanely's input his co-workers, many of whom were old friends of his, designed a suit that could best be described as a working steampunk mech based on the train with Stanely as both the pilot and the power source- this was the origin of Iron Horse."

"Still Stanley was reluctant to get involved in the early men of mystery nature of super-heroics in the early days. Still the need began to emerge when organized crime began to start using mutant muscle, and the first of the Cold War Era mad scientists began to emerge; so eventually Ironhorse came onto the scene first as a solo-hero and then teaming up with the likes of Sure-shot, Puma, Armordillo and Coyote to form the Dallas Defenders. He was a key member of their group and served as their engineer and mechanic, he even took on a sidekick Tin Star who was one of Whateley's first students."

"Still all things have to come to an end, one cold winter Erzabet Scratch, a local mystic villain who is still around and very active, was attempting to steal some ancient manuscripts from the Amon Carter Museum. The Dallas Defenders arrived on the scene and tried to stop her; however over the course of the fight Scratch had been knocked unconscious and her chief muscle an undead behemoth known as The Hangman broke free of her control and started to go on a rampage. By then the rest of Scratch's gang had retreated with their unconscious boss, and the Defenders were doing their best to stop the murderous beast."

"Eventually after catching a bus load of children that The Hangman had thrown at a nearby crowd of gawkers and photographers, Iron Horse tried to destroy the monster only to have his armor torn open. This did not stop Stanely who was determined to end the beast, and began, even as the heat of his flames was consuming his body, to go at The Hangman Human Torch style. Eventually Ironhorse's teammate Puma got a hold of The Hangman's noose, the source of the beast's life and the only thing that can stop it, and Armordillo used it to put strangle on undead nightmare ending his rampage that day."

"This victory came too late for Stanely though," I said bowing my head at the sad finale, "with his armor torn open and too exhausted from fighting on that cold day Stanley Hepler self-cremated into a pile of ashes. Soon after the death of his mentor Tin Star was admitted to the newly opened Whateley Academy, this is Tin Star's contribution to the school until it was stolen mid transport. As students it is our duty to learn from those who came before us; survival, sacrifice, determination, take whatever lesson you would like to from the tale of Iron Horse and the life of Stanley Hepler."

More than a few students clapped as I stepped away from the podium; however, it was hardly a giant round of applause, to be perfectly honest I felt exhausted. I made my way back to our table, Jane and most of my new friends congratulated me for my speech. Buck however was still eye-balling the projection of Iron Horse's armor, I guess as someone who styled himself as a retro-hero he couldn't help but be amazed at seeing an actual steampunk mech suit at was used in real life. Radu was thankfully silent, while I could hardly wait for Monday, now that the invasions of Winter were over I was looking forward to a little peace and quiet.

The End

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4 years 5 months ago #13225 by Insane Hiker
Insane Hiker replied the topic: Faolan 3: Walking in Darkness
Part 7 Notes

Spriggins -
A low cast Winter Court (formerly unaligned) faerie known for their small ugly appearance and nasty, cowardly nature. Spriggans are quite adept at shape shifting and even appear to be able to swell up the size of a giant, this is a bluff however as they lack the strength of one. As they bred in large numbers in the past, they often switched their kids for human babies to sell them to Winter and Summer Court Nobles, however the invention of Changeling Baubles in the late 1200s put them out of business and ever since they have switched to serving as spies to nobles of the Winter Court.

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