The Mages are in their still undefined and undescribed sanctum.
Jon-Anthony is still unconscious from the previous session.
The characters are still concerned by the Donnal case they’ve been asked to investigate, and by the unprovoked attack they suffered last session.
The last session ended with an opportunity to spend XP, so there’s a brief activity montage as the characters pump iron, read books, shave etc.
Jon-Anthony begins to regain consciousness, and is offered a cup of tea. He slips back into unconsciousness briefly, so Donar, Hopper and Winston discuss tea consent.
“He’s unconscious, so we can’t make him drink the tea…”
“But we don’t want to waste the tea, and he indicated that he would like some tea before falling unconscious again…”
“No. Just no.”
After Jon-Anthony is reliably conscious again, and has drunk his tea of his own free will, everyone else berates him for randomly summoning a ghost. This leads to discussion of the haunted storm lantern that Jon-Anthony bought in the first session, and how they suspect that it could have been a lure used by witch hunters. After some debate, the Mages decide that they have no immediate plans to blow the lantern up, and instead put it to one side.
Winston receives a call from Barnaby Woodhouse, a retired professor of History and Ancient Languages at York University. Barnaby introduces himself as an ‘old friend’ of Millicent Bulstrode, the Consilium Provost overseeing Donnal’s investigation. He asks if he can meet the Mages in two days, at a local pub, and they agree.
At this stage I expected the players to montage their XP expenditure. Instead they opted to revisit the scene of the crime and see if they can detect any more tell tale magical resonance.
They travel back to the now empty racecourse and attempt to sense the magical resonance of the area. Through recapping their existing knowledge, reading the fading magical resonance of the site, and through calling Tall Les, they confirm the following:
- They think that Lucy was possessed or urged by a Goetic Evocation – a spirit created and commanded by a Hubristic Mage. The spirit is shaped by the Mage’s driving Vice, and appears as a platonic ideal of that Vice and the Mage that summoned it
- They agree that a Mastigos Mage is the most likely to summon a Goetic Demon, given the Arcanum involved. A Thyrsus is least likely, as they would struggle to master the Mind magics required. However, it is possible it could be any sufficiently skilled Mage
- They recall that Amanda Peacock, a member of the Golden Trinity cabal, and Consilium Counsellor, is a Mastigos
- Tall Les can’t think of any reason why anyone would want to frame him or Donnal. “I mean, ok, there was that one time I compelled a flock of earth element birds to crap on her car…” “Was the car expensive?” “I think it was in a Bond film once…”
- There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing towards different actors, but no actual evidence
- They agree that they have a solid argument that Donnal did not commit the crime, but one only presentable within magical circles. As far as Sleeper society and law is concerned, Donnal is guilty as sin.
After further discussion, they agree to head to the arranged meeting with Barnaby Woodhouse.
They meet Woodhouse on The Swan and Talbot, a pub in the middle of Wetherby. Woodhouse is a round faced man in his late 60s, wearing a Tweed suit and sporting a hearing aid and an ornate, antique walking stick. The stick instantly pings as magical on their Unseen Sense.
Woodhouse lays out his problem: his partner of 20 years, Lionel Davidson, recently passed. Lionel was a genius, a research historian like Woodhouse, but he was into something. Something big, fundamental… revolutionary. He recorded all of his work in five volumes The Truth of Reality; Stripping Away the Great Lie, and it’s these volumes that Woodhouse is interested in.
However, Lionel’s apprentice has taken these volumes, plus a number of other magical items and books, and is refusing to return them. Woodhouse shares the Last Will and Testament and probate documents showing that he is the beneficiary of Lionel’s estate, as well as letters from the Consilium stating that they support his claim.
The Mages, in conversation with Barnaby, uncover a couple of incongruities in his story. Barnaby and Lionel were together for 20 years, but Barnaby has never met Lionel’s apprentice. The restaurants that Barnaby suggested as a meeting place all closed years ago. The Will he presented was dated over 10 years ago…
They challenge him, and Barnaby’s mood visibly changes. He appears smaller, and saddened. He expresses his love for Lionel, and his regret at words that were said and will now never be taken back. He leaves what details he has regarding Lionel’s apprentice, and again requests their assistance.
“He’s called ‘Chord Upperhill’.”
“It’s a common word in the English language…”
“No, wait. It’s pronounced ‘Ch’ord’. Here, I’ll write it down.”
Barnaby offers to ‘grease the wheels of the political machine in your favour’ in return for assistance. He also states that he is only interested in the volumes, anything else they find, they can keep. He may be able to help them out in return, in the future.
The Mages have agreed to help Barnaby Woodhouse regain some assets from the estate of Lionel Davidson, in addition to their other concerns. They have yet to make contact with Ch’ord Upperhill.
Session title: Eels – Last Stop: This Town