Those looking to investigate the unusual circumstances surrounding the visit of the Herald of the Fecund Coin to the Consilium of the Martyr’s tree are invited to visit Bodhisattva tonight, by the Master Factotum herself. Her office at the Consilium Halls is opened to them and there doesn’t seem to be any obvious magical effect when the magi arrives. The office itself is one of the barest among the various consilium officials, there’s a cot at the back of the office with comfortable looking sheets and a fluffy pillow.
She’s wearing a grey wool vest that looks like the softest material the fallen world has to offer, a pink t-shirt underneath and a pair of loosely fitted white pants which ties in the front with fluffy ended cords. Bodhisattva is sitting at her desk, clearly unsurprised to see everyone gather at her door, she invites everyone inside with just a little wave of her finger and she looks half-asleep before anyone speaks.
“Is this where I say I’m surprised to see you all?” a thin smile touches her lips as she makes the very acanthus joke, her gaze working over everyone, lingering on Alexis for just a brief moment longer.
Pavlichenko is dressed in a ridiculously expensive suit, a cotton french cuffed dress shirt with glitzy diamond cuff links, and a smart striped tie done in a full windsor. He's impeccably groomed and is putting off airs like a Russian Oligarch on American holiday. Guardians sure can be weird sometimes. He slips in, offers Bodhisattva a smile, and slides into a chair without much more than the smile and a nod of greeting. He unbuttons his jacket as he settles in, adjusts his tie bar a touch, and then folds his hands up over his stomach. "Acanthus are never surprised by anything if they're doing it right," he points out.
Being Cleaned Up is an Experience, you know. And it's one that Fox has taken up for today. She looks fantastic, which may be in part due to Acanthus Meddling, because anyone can look fantastic when they're Presence twelve million: a rockabilly halter dress in black with little foxes chasing around the hem, cut low enough to show off the tattoo over her heart -- a WWII-style female Soviet sniper aiming across a field of the Ukranian flag. She makes it work with black leather sandals, and folds her hands around Vasha's arm, apparently content to stay silent at the moment and be escorted. There are hints of a huge back piece that's some sort of tree, visible under her hair where it cascades softly over her shoulders.
Alexis happens to be somewhere in the middle between formal and comfortable at the moment, with a nice royal blue blouse with silver accents and dark slacks paired with short heels. Her hair has the telltale signs of having been done up earlier in the day, but is down now. "I mean, isn't that true of most of us? I'm pretty sure it isn't paranoia, just a survival trait. Especially with a Scelesti running around town." She sports a slight grimace at the thought before schooling her expression back to something more pleasant.
Kotahitanga is not nearly as expensively dressed as Pavlichenko, if equally formally. She's instead wearing a light green suit, paired with a lilac blouse. Also a recently-acquired chin tattoo, which is probably an interesting contrast. "Acanthus take it to extremes, though," she counters.
"That was the joke, yes." Bodhisattva adresses Pavlichenko first then, her smile returning quickly. The Acanthus greets Little Fox, Rashida and Kotahitanga with the same fleeting smile when they all make way into her modest office. She even pulls her desk backward a little bit to give them all more space for comfort. She hears the mention of the Scelesti and a fown, just as fleeting as the smile, appears and vanishes in an instant.
"A terrible presence, for certain." a soft sigh, which rapidly turn into a repressed yawn. "You had a purpose for the visit today." it's not much of a question, but a statement of the obvious.
"We're here about the Herald from Fecund Coin that was murdered by the aforementioned Scelesti. At a motel, here in Philadelphia. The herald in question was acting as courier for an imbued item originally constructed by none other than Gaveston himself. And we are given to understand you were the initial broker of the communications which led to this exchange. We were hoping to ask you a few questions about what transpired there. No detail is too absurd or remote not to be useful at the moment." Vasha looks up from his lap to the Factotum General as he starts to speak, ending it all with a patient smile common to guardians of the veil and commissioned salespeople.
Vasha adds, "In fact, I have correspondence for you. Recovered from the scene of the murder." He produces the courier's letter for Bodhisattva. Opened and read already, of course. "Forgive the intrusion," he says of the opened letter, "had to be done. You understand."
Fox finds herself a chair next to Vasha and sits in it rather primly. It's a weird look for someone who so frequently just flings herself around the place. She stays quiet for the moment, watching Bodhisattva with wide gold-green eyes.
"Less than ideal circumstances abound right now. We could use your knowledge to help turn that around." Alexis adds to Vasha's statement.
Having picked a spot to hold up the wall, Rīpeka also just watches Bodhisattva quietly, waiting for her response to Vasha's having opened her mail.
"For Gaveston, not by." A little smile, more lasting than the previous ones. "Which is why I was interested in it. I heard about it during a visit in the Astral Realm." The Acanthus reaches out for the letter and swiftly reads it. Her expression shift from her generally neutral, calm self to one of sadness for just a split moment before it's gone again. She sets the letter face-down on her desk.
"I understand, it led you to ask questions and follow leads." Another sigh, deeper this time.
"What was it constructed to do?" Rīpeka asks, not reacting to the tear that rolled down Bodhisattva's cheek.
"For Gaveston," Vasha mentally corrects his brain notebook, "which is even more interesting, isn't it? The vainglorious make stuff for themselves all the time. Who makes stuff for the vainglorious?" Who indeed. Vasha glances aside to Ripeka and nods his head once, "And who was Pegasus to you? And to Liberty? And how do you and Liberty know one another, come to that?"
It may be unsettling, being under the silently-watchful eyes of a woman who is -- for many intents and purposes -- a predatory wild animal. Fox isn't moving. She just watches the Acanthus who isn't Vasha with uncanny silence and patience.
"Not to defend those whom history has rendered clearly without defense, but there was a time when even Gaveston came to realize his hubris. It could have been made after that point, but before his eventual death?"
TheUserWin (Floretta/Spicy/Kay)Today at 8:38 PM
"I'm not sure, I wanted to acquire it to confirm whatever the Mysterium's theories were, since they didn't have their hands on it either. Master Hearth has some note on that too, I believe." Bodhisattva replies to Kotahi with a little nod. "Pegasus was to be my apprentice for the clavicularius and other magical matters." a pause.
"Pegasus was an over-eager puppy of a man that got on rather poorly with a lot of the more serious, strict and stern people found in the Fecund Coin. He was Liberty's apprentice and she wanted him away from her." a shrug. "I know of Liberty because the person with the authority to acquire the rod was the councilor she serves under as Provost. And contacting provosts is how you get Councilors to do things in other consilium."
"That I think is something you may find more answer with what the Mysterium made available for this investigation." She replies to Alexis.
"So this was largely a bit of mutual back-scratching that went south. And caught Pegasus in the middle." Vasha doesn't sound as though he really believes that, though the fact everyone can tell might be by design. "Okay. We'll go with that for now."
"How did you learn of the Horn in the first place? Is it well represented in the literature? Part of the censorium? The council archives? If it was in Fecund Coin's possession, was it in their official custody or recently discovered there? I'd like to know how our scelestus learned of its existence. And, frankly, how they knew it was being moved and where to find it. The fact that they did know all of that suggests someone among our own number may be compromised, and that our communications certainly are."
"Not soon enough," Rīpeka mutters in response to Alexis, before glancing at Vasha. "And if nobody amongst the mages of Philadelphia is comprised, is it one of Fecund Coin's members that leaked the information?"
The Thyrsus stays quiet, absently rubbing her fingertips together. Fox is apparently watching Bodhisattva now and nothing else, as if she's fixed on the smallest details.
Alexis appears to be deep in thought for the moment.
"Gaveston's Roar is something I discovered while searching for something in the astral, trying to recover some memories and lost dreams that might give us some insight. A goetic presence mentioned it to me." She expand on her previous answer there. "The Rod isn't well documented, but I had to have it withdrawn from the private vault of a Mystagogue over there."
A soft sigh follows. "I don't know how the Scelestus learned of it, but it might have been in New York, the number of people who were aware of it were minimal in the Martyr's tree there was me and then there was Gardener who I told when I noticed Pegasus wasn't coming on time."
"So this was in a private collection, not well documented in contemporary sources, unknown here in the Martyr's Tree," Vasha nodding over to Kotahi to denote that was her intuition before it was his conclusion. "Which pushes all of this back to Fecund Coin. And likely back to the Mystagogue who once owned it." Vasha glances aside at Alexis with a broad grin, "I believe that's your cue. Your caucuses don't return my calls."
"I've no idea why." Alexis does her best to look innocent, and manages it for once mostly thanks to Vasha's enhancement. "It sounds like a lot of the clues we need are going to be found in the Athenaum records, if they're to be found easily at least."
"Something for you to look into, then," Rīpeka glances at Alexis. "Possibly with Fox's help, if they'll let her in to do so."
"I turned in my library card. I don't expect them to honor it," Fox offers mildly without looking away from Bodhisattva, as though there's some sort of something there that she's seen that fascinates her. "Are you well? Only you seem a little distracted and you seem not to like that very much."
Bodhisattva looks over to Fox for a brief moment and nods. "Being interrogated in the aftermath of a tragic event is never a pleasant experience, but I understand the necessity of it. My focus waxes and wanes at the whims of fate and it's a ship I sailed many times before." then there's an unspoken thanks toward Little Fox.
"I know that Cambyse left some work she found that relate to Gaveston and magical items surrounding the man, I don't know for sure if everything is there." A look toward Alexis. "Something for you to prod about later, I imagine."
"Could be worse for you. We could be interrogating Pegasus about you." Vasha smiles at the sort of joke only a Russian could make and intend it as humor. "I have asked the questions that I had, and have new questions for others. And new places to stick my nose. For my part, at least, I have no further need of your time, Bodhisattva."
"Inevitably. I wonder if we can appropriate some of the Seer's work to make some sort of filing and library AI to help keep track of it all at some point..." Alexis seems to wander off into Mysteriumville for a few moments.
Rīpeka nods to Vasha, before glancing back at Alexis, one eyebrow ticking up slightly. "Honestly, the amount of reverse-engineering we'd have to do would likely make it easier to start from scratch."
A small smile from Fox over to the non-Vasha Acanthus; her expression is sympathetic, and she says nothing more at the moment.
"If you have further questions, I'll be here all night. Just, knock on the door before coming in so I can pretend I wasn't sleeping." Bodhisattva yawns, stands up into a stretch of her arms and legs. "Well, you could be asking question to Pegasus, I suppose, if you had someone with Death to call his ghost."
TheUserWin (Floretta/Spicy/Kay)Today at 9:43 PM
Cambyses herself isn't present when the group makes it to room she has prepared for them, there are books piled up everywhere, two different pile of CDs, an old computer who can actually ready them, there is magic woven into the computer. Big plastic crate are piled on the other side of the room. A small letter is opened there for them to read.
"Those are the work that fate has deemed useful to you in this endeavor, I've curated two books from the list because they contained redundant information regarding the material that compose the rod (Orichalcum) and the general design. I'm putting forth some resource at work for this as we speak."
Alexis "Rashida" BartramToday at 9:49 PM
"And now the fun part." Alexis rolls her neck and stretches, "Does anyone have a preference for what chunk they want to work on?"
"Not the motherly type, is she," Vasha observes dryly when they arrive to lots of busy work, a note, and some sandwiches with the crusts trimmed off. Minus the sandwiches. He reads the note over, twitches his shoulders in a moment of mirthless laughter, and sits himself down in front of one of the piles of media. Looking through it idly, trying to see what all is there. "I don't even know what I'm looking at yet." No doubt in the figurative sense.
"There's Matter and Prime on this," Fox offers quietly, and then she crouches down next to the computer and starts staring at it without really explaining what she's doing. That's very helpful, Fox.
"Hm. I think I need to rework one of the Mind effects I cast earlier. One moment." Alexis pulls out her prefered focus and dismisses the old effect with a flick of her hand, taking a few seconds to lay out the spellwork with High Speech.
Rīpeka glances at Alexis. "Do you want to use the desktop while I use my laptop to go through the discs?"
While other people do other things, Fox just stares at the computer. Intently. Like it owes her money. Or like she's about to pounce through the snow onto it and eat it.
"I'll take a crack at the computer once Fox is done staring it into submission. I think I'm probably best for that."
After a brief bit of consultation with the book in his hand and the piles around them, Vasha asides back to Alexis, "I can work on the paper books with whoever else enjoys flipping pages. You're better with computers anyway." Vasha shrugs aside at Kotahi before resting his hand on his pistol and gesturing vaguely in the air at the books. His nimbus flares briefly, as he briefly plays out about seventeen different actions he might have otherwise taken just now. It all resolves again in as normal with Vasha starting to flip open books seemingly at random, scan the pages, and smack post-its onto the pages.
She reaches out to pet the machine, a slow smile spreading across Fox's face as if she's petting a sleeping puppy; her skirt puddles around her, the printed foxes dragging along the floor. "Someone's put Wonderful Machine on this -- I'm guessing it's Cambyses because that's the Nimbus splashed all over it. Lots of durability enhancements. I don't know much about Prime so someone else may want to stare at it."
TheUserWin (Floretta/Spicy/Kay)Today at 10:36 PM
The computer work doesn't take particularly long, going over the CDs is simple enough, Magical items are listed in their various incarnation, alongside some drawings or pictures of them if they were interacted with in recent times. The Pile of CD is gone through in about an hour and this is what Rashida and Kotahitanga manage to get from the data they recover from.
A few pictures from a journal display on the page with a clear, handdrawing of the rod and a rather comprehensive method for how it was all assembled, likely a record from its creator. But the words are almost entire legible. It also shows a written commission from Gaveston for the crafter to make the rod, it sounds rather all like an official command.
An old picture of the rod is then displayed, which matches what Vasha already saw in the time-review he did.
A black and white picture of a rod made of gold, with a life-like lion and a crown atop its head caught with a mouth open stance in what appears to be a fierce manner.
There is a note added, likely by whoever classified those image, that indicate a few of the books that Vasha already pointed out for a clearer review of what the rod is capable of, that this is meant to be an addendum to the books and not the main source
Fox rolls up to her feet and pads over to look over Vasha's shoulder, leaning comfortably against him as if this is the most normal thing in the world for people to be doing. "Awww, look, he's yawning," the Thyrsus offers, gently pat pat the picture of the lion's nose with one forefinger. "Himb a sleepy lion." And then she squints at it further. "This was ... crafted from life. It's too good. Whoever made this wasn't ... hearing descriptions of lions, they'd seen one. With their own personal face eyes."
At the end of that hour's time, thanks to the intercession of Fate, Vasha has a stack of cleanly arranged reference books, all clearly marked with post it notes, sorted by age. So that worked out pretty well, all things considered. "I am not much of a researcher, but I am an excellent administrator." He gestures to the prepared media with a smile, "I defer to the experts. All references to the rod, arranged by age, and clearly marked out for quick reference. If we each were to pick a topic and do some reading we could circle back when we're all done and compare notes and decide where to go from there. That is, if you want to be quick about it. We can always come back for more detailed analysis later, too."
Rīpeka glances at Fox. "So likely crafted by someone who'd either been to Africa, or at least seen a lion in the shitty excuse for zoos they had back then? I can't imagine Gaveston trusting an African-American to make something like this for him."
"That certianly seems like a good way to be about it. I think we've picked just about all of the information out of the computers we're going to get."
And now Fox snatches one of the books off of the pile and, snickering, shows a picture to Vasha, pointing to one of the pictures that he marked with a post-it note. "This artist was a troll. This is like when Lux puts dick jokes in their graffiti that you can only see if you know what you're looking at. Like when you look at the statue of Daniel in the eyes instead of from from below and realize that he looks really scared in the eyes and also his junk is like, all bunched up and tiny because he's scared of Goliath." She starts her delighted little gekkering laugh, then. "Oh, I think that it was made by someone who had definitely seen a lion in person, so probably was from Africa or had been there in some fashion, and it was for sure made, I think, by someone who did not like Gaveston very much. This lion is not fierce, he's yawning, and also, look at the crown! It's off-center, it's goofy, and it's too little, so it doesn't fit him right, and it's sort of falling off to the side. It's as close to putting a dunce cap on this lion as you can get while it's still a crown. It makes this lion look like... like the Prince John lion from the Robin Hood cartoon, except his crown is too small instead of too big!"
Looking through the whole of the books, passing them around and pointing out left and right. There are several mention of the rod and an 'incident' surrounding it but none of the book actually mention surrounding the rods. It's noted quite clearly that Gaveston never used the rod in an official manner and that he may not have had liked the result of his commissioned work. The conclusion that seems to looms around here is that there may have been some 'historical rewriting' about that particular event.
What they gather about the rod, however, is a little disconcerting, given what kind of hands the item is in. The rod is listed as having a potentia reserve in a few of the book and the size seems to be rather fixed at 5 drams.
The rod's material was enhanced too, to make it a deadly blunt weapon, though that did not seem to be mentioned in what they've seen of the commission work.
Lastly, the item was imbued with a master-level spell, one that allows the creation of a Hallow. (Create Truth). The effect is described in the book as being a rather important one that shouldn't be left in inexperienced hands.
One final details: It's never been discovered what method to use the item's power is. As normally, every imbued item has some kind of activation methods, this one apparently hasn't been discovered yet and can only (thus far) be activated via the Initiate level of prime.
They all put their head together then, seeing all of the piece together and it paints a piece of a few different pictures. Even if one of those picture is one they probably did not suspect even existed.
There's a mage out there, in the past, that got erased from the records in some fashion after crafting a Masterful troll piece for Gaveston. It's probably a feature that there isn't an activation method for the magic item.
More grimly, the Scelestus mage has their hands on the ability to make a Hallow, which they may not have had before. That alone seems to hint at a Motive, given their modus Operandi: They're looking for Potentia, a lot of it. To what purpose? That is unknown yet, but it can't be good.
Crouching on the floor and looking at the picture which she holds between her hands thoughtfully, Fox just... frowns. What exactly she's frowning about isn't immediately said. She's just squatting and frowning in her pretty dress. The Slav Squat is apparently a Firebirds thing, who knows.
All the cool slavs do it. Squat. Even in expensive suits. But the work has to come to an end at some point, and having cast his two wooden nickels into the pot of study, he finally straightens out and tosses his book down on the table. He rubs his hands over his face and mumbles numerous very naughty words in Ukrainian.
Rīpeka glances at Vasha. "I've no idea what you just said, but I can probably echo the sentiment," she says. Because bleak humour isn't exclusive to Slavs. "Do we know if the leylines have altered recently?" Gets asked of the room in general.
"...ok, that sounds like something obscene, but I can't tell more than that with my diplomat's Russian." Alexis grimaces, "I'm pretty sure any of the local cadres that have a hallow would have noticed if the leylines got mangled like this thing will probably do."
"Yes, that's true," Fox agrees, though whether she's agreeing with Alexis or Vasha or both is up for debate. She frowns at the picture. "I am upset about the erasure, too." And then she stands up, still holding the paper, and plunks it down on the pile of books
"Very obscene. Yes." Vasha's hands drop from his face onto his lap and he commences to slouch, "How much you want to bet this stupid rod of his was cause for the lex magica entry about creating new hallows. But you're right. Monitoring the ley lines for changes will help flush this one out. If it's used at all locally, in any case. There's a lot of ground between us and New York, however." Vasha rolls up to his feet pops his neck with a toss of his head from side to side. "I need a smoke." Apparently that's enough research for him for one day.