Supernal Diaspora [Mage: The Awakening]

Robinson – Shadows of the Past

I remember. Not everything, but I’m getting bits and pieces. I was fighting something while I was gone. There were abyssal spirits. A lot of them. It started to come back to me on the ship. We’d just managed to avoid the storm when some looney construct attempted to scuttle the ship. Venture fixed the ship and we tied up the construct. But when North tried to fix it, something went wrong. I didn’t know how I knew, but I could feel the abyssal spirit entering our reality. I knew it was coming. By the time I got there the damage was done, North had created a twisted double of herself, and when I saw it, something snapped.

I could see me fighting myself, over and over across bizarre, alien landscapes. Then I saw myself fighting another doppleganger. It tried to ply its will, but I purged all energy from the place and it was left gesturing feebly at me, unable to pull up the mana required for its spell. Then I burned it alive. I can almost remember how it feels to do that, to create a dead zone. I’m scared to try, but I know I can do it. I’ve seen myself do it before, as impossible as that seems.

If you had told me yesterday that meeting Odin would be a sidenote in any story, I would have laughed at you. He warned me about the future. There’s a storm coming, and apparently it’s going to be much harder on us, or me at least, than others. He wasn’t specific, but I’ll take what warning he’s willing to give. He may have saved our lives, to be fair. Without the forewarning the waxmen may have taken us unawares, and who knows what that storm would have done to us.

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Robinson - Madness of the Mind
Robinson's "First" Trip to the Astral Sea

I’ve never been to the astral sea before, and I can’t say that this trip has really sold me on the location. Rolling into the bar we end up in a den of liars, thieves and rabble rousers. And that’s not even the worst of it. I’d always known that “just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should,” but I don’t think I ever really undertsood until I saw what Stark did to that construct. I’m not familiar enough with the Astral Sea to understand, but is what he did really any different from binding a spirit? They may not be like us, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect them. I mean the lesser ones are more like animals, but there’s still a limit.

Regardless, what he did to Rosie helped us on our way to meet a spirit called Beetle. Of course then everything exploded when Rosie’s people saw us with her. Go figure, they treated her just like a minor member of their court. People keep telling me they’re different, but apart from hiding their nature, the lesser ones seem pretty similar.

The fight went pretty well. Stark got pretty beat up, but maybe he’ll act a little less rashly in the future. No one else got hurt too badly, and I remembered something about the Vi that let him restore a measure of himself. How did I know that? I’ve never been here. I’ve barely even read about the place. Did I make a deal with someone here once? And if so, for what?

No time for speculation, the important thing is that we got what we came for. WE know where the cult of the Red Word is, Carter sacrificed a story from his past and Beetle gave us what we were after. I didn’t have time to talk to the Freeport Privateers, but I did get something useful about my father out of Beetle. And now I can’t remember my multiplication tables…

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How to Build a Better Life by Stealing from the Collection Plate...
Robinson commits grand larceny

Our investigation of the church turned up something big. We figured there were banishers working out of it, but now we’ve got names, faces, and some idea of what they’re capable of, and who took a shot at the priest.

Turns out there’s a veteran, from back in my day, who takes a very militant approach to mages. He and the father had a… falling out a couple years ago. The man’s name is Weapon, and Venture says he’s the one who shot the priest.

Unfortunately our visit to the priest’s hospital bed was cut short when Max lost it and started blabbering incoherently. From what Max told us and what the priest said, I think it’s probably a safe bet that he knows at least one of us is a mage. That will make things interesting if we go back to the church.

Mind you, I don’t see a big reason for us to go back just yet. Maybe we can negotiate a cease fire with the people there. The two who came after us at the Emerald Scroll were incredibly eager for violence, but maybe their failure will convince the rest of the group that a gentler touch may be a wiser course of action. However, we’ve relieved them of several magical items they kept in their basement. I felt bad about stealing the Momento Mori, but I just couldn’t feel good leaving it in their hands with the threat of violence still in the air.

I’m a little more conflicted about the items Max purloined, but I don’t really have a leg to stand on there. And to be honest, if they’ve got someone who can speak to the spirits, they’ll be better off if he stops taking the lazy way out. You can’t keep your people safe by forbidding the spirits from a single building. You need to know who’s in your neighborhood, deal with the reasonable ones, and make sure the malevolent ones understand that they’re not welcome.

On the bright side, I’m fairly certain that Agdos will be interested in what we found.

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I pray some guy my soul to keep
Robinson witnesses Athaneus "borrow" a soul

Oh boy. This whole investigation went straight to pot and awful quick. It started simply enough. The priest was creepy, the congregation harbored a number of mages, and they don’t like spirits. No surprises there.
But right when we’re about to regroup and check it out, some psycho starts firing one of these modern rifles right into the church. I don’t know what it is first, but as soon as Athaneus dives behind a car I catch on pretty quick. Before I really know what’s happening, he and Sprout have both gone dashing into the church and I’ve lost track of Venture. Not wanting to be the only guy sitting out there with a gun toting lunatic about, I go dashing for the window. I’m up and through the window just fine, but when I land a large piece of glass slides out from under my foot and sends me falling straight back and slamming my head onto the shards of glass left in the window.
The next few seconds are pretty scattered. The next thing I really remember is my flesh knitting and no longer feeling the blood flowing from the back of my head. When I look over I see Sprout and Athaneus are crouched over the church’s priest and Athaneus is screwing the cap onto a water bottle. Remembering what The Streets said about the building, I start unweaving the spirit ward over this place. Maybe the local spirit mage can learn a little about tolerance.
Sprout called an ambulance for the priest. That’s about when I realized what I’d seen. Athaneus was tearing out the priest’s soul and sticking it into the water bottle. Given the gaping hole in the priest’s chest I’m going to guess that Athaneus had the best of intentions, but it’s still not the kind of sight you just shrug off. Regardless, Athaneus says the priest will live so long as we get his soul out of the water bottle and back into him. But before that we’ve got a few questions.

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Questions
Robinson's response to the temporal verge

Questions. Always more questions. I’d hoped that my work with Chain would tell me something about what happened to my parents. Where mom went, why nobody remembers dad. Still no leads on mom, but this time verge might just be the question that leads me to dad.

Chain says that this area is like a Verge, but for time. If that’s true, could the scepter have carried me through into a new world? And if so, what happened to my father? I still exist, I still vanished, so he must have met mom. If he didn’t find the scepter, how did I ever get ahold of it? None of this makes sense. If I play my cards right I might be able to talk to Chain about this. Everyone I’ve mentioned it to before got that distressed look in their eyes, the one you reserve for crazy people. But with all of his talk of timelines, he just might believe.

Then we have this cult. How did they find the house? The occultation wards were supposed to be fully active until a few years ago. Most of them were sleepers, and the wards at least still keep them out. And what was that scroll they took? Agdos said that all of the Mysterium’s treasures were removed when my mother neglected her duties. Was it one of hers? I was told she took everything of any real power with her when she left, why would she leave that? Did she not know about it? If it wasn’t hers would it be dad’s? Agdos still doesn’t like to talk about her mother, but I’m worried that she may be important to all this. She was here when I got pulled away, maybe she saw what happened.

Questions, so many damned questions.

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Return to Normalcy

A Return to Normalcy

It’s been weird since I got back. Stumbling through the gauntlet into my parent’s basement was something akin to a childhood nightmare, returning to an empty, dilapidated house with all semblance of home erased. I’d like to pretend I didn’t call for them, but I think a part of me always expected that they’d be there, waiting. That first day back was the second loneliest day I can remember. It was almost a relief to find myself looking down the blade of Ferrum’s sword. He was surprisingly polite for a man who was essentially taking me downtown.
The weeks I spent under observation in the Academy weren’t all bad. The Brotherhood were incredibly tight lipped at first, and all of our conversations felt staged. But honestly, after so long on my own it was just nice to talk to a human again. Then the last day came and I met my cousin. My first impression was that Agdos looked so much like her mother. Mind you, I can’t picture her in mind, but I know that she looked a lot like Agdos. She explained that I was being released but should be on my best behavior. It was underwhelming at first. I’d finally found some measure of family, and she didn’t seem to want to bother with me.
That first night after they released me was the loneliest night. So the next day when the Guardian started poking around, I offered him a room. Yeah, I know he was technically here to spy on me. Still, it was nice to have the company. And I’ve got nothing to hide. I think.
All things considered, it’s really not surprising that I’d offer the place up like this. I guess they’re the closest I’ve got to friends now. Everyone I knew grew up, moved on, or died. But they’re not bad. We’re all odd to some extent. Anomalies. Freaks. Not only are we not walking the traditional Paths, most of us walk roads entirely unknown. I don’t mind though, I’ve had stranger company over the years. And having so many people around the house reminds me of that one summer before the scepter, when my aunt came to live with us. The whole thing is a little hazy, but this just feels right. Things are getting better. Agdos is even coming over for dinner tonight. She’s got something she says I need to see. Something called “Star Wars" …

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Toobuluar Waves

You know, sometimes you just have to watch the classics. The works that put the greats on the map. Like walking down Wall Street. You just stand there in the middle of it all and breathe deep. Reminds you why you’re alive! Now, if you’re a demon on a budget, like yours truly, you watch CNN. It’s not nearly so immersive, but you gotta admit, Ol’ Pigriddle rode Cramer’s soul right to the big leagues!
Hell, I coulda done that if they’d given me half a chance. Instead I’m sitting here on this second rate couch, watching a third rate TV, overseeing what was supposed to be a fourth rate account. I got no idea why nobody wanted this one. Kid signed on the dotted line, didn’t even ask any questions. When I went back to get my stuff not a damned one of them would look me in the eye. Annoying as hell that, like I was off to my own execution or something.
Buncha pussies, all of ‘em. Hell, this didn’t even take anything fancy. Your standard 7 year term, property and anchor provided for services rendered, rent to be paid monthly. After I move in and send for the interns, kid just walks in, looks me straight in the eye and asks how he gets the house back. Obviously been screwed before. I’d have to guess he’s not too bright, or he’d stop making deals with the things what screw him.
Cramer’s going into his usual near epileptic fit over this stock or that stock, and you can feel the mortals just eat it up. “Hey, Stumpnozzle, pass that popcorn over here.”
My top intern is on the job. I may be pimping sweet lady greed, but there’s nothing wrong with a touch of gluttony now and then. And all that butter. Just like I love it.
”Alumeh…”
“What was that Stumpie?”
“I didn’t say anything boss.”
I take a quick look around. All the other guys are cheering Cramer on like a bunch of soulflints at some kind of sporting event. This right here? That’s the Infernal Dream that is. You get yourself a good old fashioned mortal to do your selling for you. Folks are usually a little hesitant to deal with us directly. I don’t know, something about the horrible visage and sulfury smell I guess. But you get a good old fashioned WASP up there slinging out that wonderful siren’s song, “MONEY MONEY MONEY!” You just sit back and collect your 10% off the drooling masses.
“Mortis…”
“DAMNIT! Stop whispering while I’m watching TV. Next one to do it spends the night in the yard.”
The boys all stare at me blankly. It’s times like this I wish I were as good at catching liars as I was at lying. That’s when it starts. There’s just a quick jolt. I’d think it was an earthquake, but the trees out the window don’t even budge. When the voice starts up again I know I’m in deep shit.
“Suspende vivre ejus…”
Oh crap. Somebody’s doing something to my meal ticket. I don’t speak good supernal, but I’m fairly certain this ain’t good. Just to nail the point home the room rocks again and a book case of shitty self help books crashes to the floor.
“Ad commandus!”
And just like that all hell opens up. Literally. The damned summoning circle I burned into the floor gets traced in flame as the wood drops out into infinity and I’m left staring straight into the Inferno. If you’ve never been I’ll save you the trip. It sucks. And not just figuratively. The damned thing gets a firm grip on my leg and pulls as my fingernails leave deep claw marks in the upholstery.
The boys are running and screaming like it’s the end of the world. I reach out and kick off of Stumpnozzle for a little momentum to a better handhold and watch him go falling forlornly down into the whole and devil knows where. The hole wants me, but just maybe I can stuff it full of interns…
My grip slips and I know, I’m going back. There’s nothing to do about it now, but I can still get one jab back at that kid. Whoever did this thing put a trigger in there for a command. We’ll just have to see about that you bastard, try talking with a mouth full of gold!
I focus my mind and find him standing right over the kid. I mutter to myself and reach out for his contract nulling tongue, but just like that, he shrugs it off as I go flying off the couch and slam down onto the edge of the circle. One last bit of spite gets me scratching into the floor. It ain’t much, just a couple symbols really, but it’ll have to do. Ol’ Man Screwtape ain’t going to like this…

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