402

402: Control (Episode two)

April 21

The PCs, after failing their mission, rest for the night and reconvene with Holmes at room 402. Cacudeus and Tessa are there with him, and they have a chat. The cabal learns that the man that Sid’s gang let loose, Faust, is a very powerful mage with a mean streak. He is an adept of Mind and Life magic; a combination that he uses to inflict major damage through fear. The PCs also learn that he was the man behind the 4th street massacre, an event that cost many people their lives, as well as created a major tear in the veil.

The mastery in Faust’s magic is not something someone simply learns on their own; the PCs also discern that Faust was at one point Cacudeus’ understudy. He was a virtuoso in life magic, but he was more interested in matters of the mind. Cacudeus couldn’t keep his apprentice under control, and he left, seeking more power under a different teacher. Soon enough he re-emerged, and caused an untold amount of havoc on a faithful day at 4th street.

The other major piece of information that is given to the PCs is the identity of the substance that made them lose their powers; a forbidden substance called Atlantite. Said to be extracted from the stones Atlantis was built on, the substance is completely harmless to sleepers, but when it is unleashed anywhere near magi, they completely lose their powers for a time related to the exposure to the substance. Because the PCs were only subjected to a dart full of the stuff, they only lost their powers for a few hours; however a if a mage can be imprisoned in a cell with a large concentration of purified Atlantite in the air, his or her powers can be suppressed indefinitely. The substance is only used for this purpose. All other use of Atlantite is forbidden, and anyone caught with it is persecuted to the full extent of magic law.

After getting this chunk of information, Holmes lets the cabal know that the Veil aren’t very pleased with them. Thus, he has signed the PCs up to be go-fers at the Guardians of the Veil HQ until they find Faust. The cabal emits a collective sigh and agrees.

April 22

After arriving on time for their duty at the Veil HQ, they again find no distinction between the other buildings around and this one. They head inside, and after dealing with the secretary, are let into the main operations room. This is where the manhunt’s home operations are happening, and it shows; people are running all over the place carrying stacks of paperwork, there are researchers on computers running 24/7 searches, and there are magi all around attempting to locate Faust. The PCs are assigned to help a cyber-scryer named Antigone; a somewhat rude young woman who takes her work very seriously. She makes use of Wiki’s computer talents to help her, sends Justicar on a coffee run and tells Mingan and Quantum that she has no use for them.

After a good hour of Mingan talking to spirits, Justicar going for all sorts of things, Quantum playing her DS, and the team of Wiki and Antigone scrying through the internet, they still don’t come up with anything; Faust’s got some sort of protection preventing the scryers from finding him. To add to the confusion, no one knows his real name, making the work that much harder. Soon enough, Antigone notices someone has entered a GotV warehouse across town. This holds little significance, as people come and go through those places all the time, but Antigone is getting annoyed at the cabal, so she sends them to check it out.

At the warehouse, everything seems to be okay, until Wiki notices an open hatch in the floor, with a ladder leading down into a long stretch of hallway. Justicar also picks up on a very strong mind presence here; these two factors make the cabal believe that it’s time to let people know what’s going on here. Mingan tries to contact Antigone, but she doesn’t pick up. He then tries to contact Holmes, when Quantum suddenly falls to the ground.

What Quantum sees
Quantum looks down the hatch to get a better look down there as Mingan walks off to call Holmes. She takes a good look around, and pops back up to the top, where she sees the gang that has been attacking them as of late. They have the other members of the cabal held with guns to their heads. Their leader Sid then appears, taunting her, and sticks a gun in Mingan’s face. He starts counting down, and Quantum is powerless to stop him.

Back in the real world, Quantum has collapsed. Justicar and Wiki immediately run to her and try to help her; she is apparently paralyzed with fear, but stable. While the PCs attempt to figure out what’s going on, Justicar collapses.

What Justicar sees
Justicar notices Quantum’s condition is getting worse by the minute. She starts coughing up blood and turning pale very quickly. Wiki tells Justicar to help her, but he’s powerless to stop whatever it is that’s causing this to happen to Quantum. Mingan runs up behind them and tries to heal her, but his magic isn’t working. It appears that all they can do is sit back and watch her die, all the while being unable to do anything about it.

After Justicar falls to the ground, Mingan runs to his two downed cabalmates. Wiki and Mingan work to try and figure out what the can do to help their friends, but Mingan’s life magic is unable to help with this magical affliction. Suddenly, Mingan jumps to his feet and stands straight up. He appears to be incredibly terrified.

What Mingan sees
While attempting to aid Quantum and Justicar, Mingan and Wiki are attacked by the gang that freed Faust. Wiki is grabbed and held by one of the mob, and Mingan is surrounded, with their guns pointed at him. Suddenly Faust walks out of the crowd of gang members and smiles at Mingan. “You’re quite a powerful shaman for your age… You’ll make a good slave.” Faust then points at him and Mingan stands straight up, powerless to control himself. He knows what is happening, but Mingan’s mind seems to be trapped inside himself. He screams but his mouth never opens, except to answer “Yes, master.”

What Wiki sees
Wiki, after seeing all of her friends paralyzed in fear, attempts to dispel the affliction. However, her attempts are interrupted by a loud noise emitting from the hatch. She prepares for a fight, but is shocked and terrified as a giant arachnid breaks through the floor around the hatch, sending crates of supplies flying all over the room. Wiki turns and runs, powerless against this monster. However, it seems that the warehouse is bigger than she remembers..

In reality, all the PCs are completely incapacitated by visions of their worst fears. They live in these nightmares for what seems like an eternity; eventually, through force of willpower, Mingan opens his eyes in the real world. He sees members of the gang walking out of the warehouse carrying large tanks.. and he sees Faust, walking over them. Faust notices Mingan’s eyes opening and quickly closes them with a flick of his wrist.

After a lifetime in these nightmares, Quantum awakens. She knows that they have only been out for two hours, but in that nightmare, it seemed like years. Soon Justicar awakens, followed by Mingan and Wiki. Not long after, Holmes arrives. He makes sure everyone is alright, and comes to a conclusion; enough is enough. Holmes tells the cabal that they’re going to find Faust, even if their teacher has to intervene.

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