The Prodigal Daughter
The group is assembled in the Dafni by Renette Villefort who advises the collective group that they have been instructed by the Pythia to return to Paris, France to track down the next of the Zodiac Medallions, this time the Leo Zodia.
The down side of the mission was that they were told that they needed to stay at the Aegis House. This is the original headquarters of the first incarnation of the Aegis Society. The same incarnation that was believed destroyed by an unknown entity or entities. Only Renette was believed to have survived the collapse of the original group.
How this would tie into the search for the Zodia, was unclear, but the group really couldn’t see any alternative other than to undertake the mission as the Pythia ordered.
The Aegis House
The group arrived at the Aegis House, a large Victorian house constructed from sandstone blocks quarried in Egypt. The house was surrounded by an immaculate lawn and a cold wrought-iron fence. It was apparent early on that the building was protected by some powerful wards. Renette advised that she had, in fact, been told by the Venatori that the building’s wards were fully intact.
Almost immediately upon arrival, Renette seemed to be frightened by the prospect of entering the premises. Due to her hesitation, Nadya and John decided to wait outside the fence barrier, while Aeric accompanied Renette as far as the front porch of the house.
The remainder of the group entered the building, where they immediately discovered a crumpled suit laying on the floor in the foyer surrounded by salts and calcium that seemed to be the remains of the prior members of the Aegis Society.
The team decided to stick together, moving upstairs to the attic to begin their search. They discovered that there was a circular ward surrounding the landing at the top of the spiral stairs. Here Eve asked Renette to invite her into the house, which Renette did. Immediately, Eve was able to pass through the wards there and continue her search. As they moved through the upper floors of the house, they discovered several doors, some of which were equipped with 5-pin slide locks, and others with 11-pin slide locks. it was surmised that these locks were fundamentally binary position combination locks that allowed the door to open to different locations, like dialing in an address specific to the destination.
The team did not explore any of these multi-pin doors, but they did discovered, a total of nine of the collapsed bodies, some suggested that whatever event took place happened quickly and with little or no warning. They were able to search many of the rooms in the house, while Nadya continued to explore the complexities of the Wards on the House.
Everything was fairly safe until members of the investigative team entered the Armory. At that pint the house became angry…
The Aegis Guardian
The front door slammed closed, knocking Renette to the ground. Simultaneously there appeared a Mummy-like figure in the upper hallway. This was the Aegis House Guardian, whose purpose was to protect the house from unwanted intruders. As Renette struggled to overcome crushing fear, the Guardian attacked the investigative group.
It began with using a scouring sand blast against Yao. The team managed to retreat down to the lower level of the house, where they were met by a second guardian barring their way.
Nadya alerted John that the Wards were active on the house and he headed for the front door to assist. Aeric also sprang into action. He activated his tattoos delivering a powerful blow to the front door of the house which rebounded him across the yard and into the fence.
From the first floor Aphrodite attempted to shatter one of the ground floor windows, which translated the power of her strike into a powerful burst of force that tore in a straight line out of the house and ripped through the grounds ending at the fence, providing another clue to the preparations on the house.
John reached Renette on the porch, as the guardian unleashed another scouring sand blast against Yao, a swarm of flesh-eating scarabs against Scrooge and a swarm of flies against Aphrodite. Eve began yelling at Renette to invite the other members of the group into the house, once she realized she was not being targeted by the guardian.
John assisted Renette in recovering her resolve enough to issue her invitations. With no unwanted intruders to defend against the house guardian disappeared without a trace.
The Clues in the House
With Renette’s guidance, the group made their way to the office, where Edwin Silva kept the day-to-day records of the group. They uncovered a journal that detailed the daily happenings within the last couple of days before the disappearance of the members. Oddly enough they could not locate any of the investigation records for the group. It was generally believed that the investigation in progress or just before the disappearance would shed some light on their disappearance.
An Unusual Invitation
It was about this time that an individual delivered a number of admission tickets to the Cirque Céleste Mystérieux, which was taking place in Paris, adjacent to the railway tracks in the industrial portion of the city. The courier indicated that the tickets had been prepaid and that they were to be delivered at this specific time. Renette commented that it was perhaps the work of the Pythia, but it could be something more nefarious.
Continued Investigation of the House
The group moved to the kitchen, where they undertook a search looking for any thing related to the last entry in the journal concerning an unscheduled meeting between the members of the Aegis Society and Akronas, a senior member of the Venatori.
In this room, Eve discovered the word RUN scrawled in lipstick on the underside of the kitchen table, in the position that Renette usually occupied. It was around this time, that as Renette was recounting some of the details of he last day at the house that Eve realized that Renette’s Pendant was more than just a normal tracking aid. When she asked Renette to remove it, it was confirmed that the pendant was somehow also creating the sense of fear that Renette had been experiencing upon their arrival.
In addition to this, Aphrodite made a leap of deduction and asked Renette what her favorite treat was in the house. Renette indicated that she preferred Turkish Delights. Aphrodite found it odd that the treat should be placed on an upper shelf in the pantry, beyond Renette’s easy reach. She removed the box, revealing an enveloped card that had been hidden beneath the box of the sticky confection.
Opening the card, she noted it’s message, Renette, Don’t eat the Turkish Delights! Investigating the box closer, they found a bank box key, marked No. 1401 hidden beneath the treats. It was a key clearly belonging to the Banque De France in Paris. This opened the possibility of an additional line of investigation.
The 5-pin Doors
While the team worked to explore the lower floor and discuss the possibilities that may have befallen the previous inhabitants, Nadya, George and Eva went upstairs to the two 5-pin doors that they had located earlier. The trio then began to experiment with the combinations to see exactly what they did.
The first door, which Renette had told them led to the Laboratory, was the first door to be tested. Nadya took point on this door, with Eve acting as an anchor. They tied Nadya to a rope acquired from John while George stood nearby in case additional assistance was needed.
The team entered two combinations on this door.
01001 opened into an apparent bath house some place where they spoke Turkish. Nadya did not venture through the door.
10110 opened into the closet of an upper floor apartment located in a city that had both English and French being spoken, as well as being hot and humid. Both Nadya and George went into this apartment and they were able to identify the location as New Orleans, LA, USA.
The second door was next.
11111 Opened into some sort of European catacomb. No one ventured beyond the door.
10110 Opened into a cave in an unknown location. No one ventured beyond the door.
00000 Opened into some sort of cathedral ruins, these would have been somewhere in Europe. No one ventured beyond the door.
After determining that the doors did not lead to the same locations when the same combinations were entered, the group headed back down stairs.
The Buffet Table
As they were gathered in the kitchen still trying to work out this new information, Eve posited a theory that the other members of the Aegis Society were not dead after all, and that they may have used one of the doors to escape.
She also mentions John’s unusual desire to search the buffet table in the formal din ing room which struck Aphrodite as bizarre. The group headed to the formal dining room to search the buffet, where George felt the desire to also search it.
After moving it, and removing the drawers to search for any hidden panels or compartments, George located a document that he was immediately able to identify. It was a map of sorts showing the various destinations and their combinations to the multi-pinned doors upstairs.
The group returned the buffet table back to normal, and then identified the document as the source of the compulsion to search the area.
The Banque de France
The group decided to move to the Bank to continue their investigation, specifically to gain access to the bank vault number 1401, to which Renette had the key. To accomplish this, they summoned some cabs, as the group could not all fit into a single vehicle.
In the lead cab was Renette, George, Eva, and Aeric. In the second cab was Scrooge and Aphrodite. And the third Cab contained Yao and Nadya.
Once the lead cab arrived at the Bank, Renette led the way into the building, taking George and Aeric along to play the role of Bimbo, while Eva paused at the steps to the building to deter any interruptions from outside.
Renette was led into the bank account office, where she immediately demanded full accounting of her assets. The banker was hesitant and somewhat unable to do so. As a result Renette demanded the presence of the bank Director. While the banker went to fetch the bank director, Renette began trashing the office. Pulling documents out of drawers, knocking over items, having George throw chairs out the windows of the office into the lobby.
It was about this time that Scrooge and Aphrodite arrived at the bank. They entered the bank under the pretense of exchanging some currency for Francs and opening an account for credit against Scrooge’s assets in Greece. In reality it was to act as support for Renette’s team in case there was an incident that they required assistance for.
When the bank director and two accountants returned, and were unable to provide a reasonable answer concerning Renette’s assets, She demanded that the account manager be fired. He was immediately fired.
She then demanded that the three men strip to their knickers, since she obviously owned the money with which they bought their fancy suits. The three men complied without much argument. She ordered one of the men to give George his expensive Cartier wrist watch. As a result George now had a new expensive watch.
She then had Aeric brush-paint, in India Ink, the words, I am a thief and I liar. on their chests, and the words, I am a banker at the Banque de France on their back. She then ordered the Director to walk across the street to the Chocolatier and bring her some fine chocolates. He left immediately to carry out his assignment.
She then ordered the two accountants to have the entirety of her monies in the bank loaded into sacks and carried to the private bank vaults, where the safety deposit boxes were located, immediately for her own personal accounting, and then once orders had been given they were to return to her.
At around this time, the director returned to the bank with some chocolates, which Renette seemed to disapprove of. She had George taste one, Then complained that they were not dark chocolates. She then commanded the Director back across the street to acquire better chocolates.
At around this time, Nadya and Yao arrived, purposefully later- to distance themselves from the rest of the group. Nadya noted the mostly naked man with some interest. Even going so far as to offer to let Yao have a turn with him for 100 Francs.
Nadya and Yao remained outside.
When the accountants arrived, and Renette could see that the money was well on its way to the vault as requested, she then ordered the two men to each choose a different corner of the street and to hail a taxi for her. They were expressly told that they had to turn away the first two taxis that stopped. Making it impossible for them to end this public humiliation quickly.
Meanwhile, George, Renette and Aeric entered the private vaults room and closed the door. This allowed the trio to look at the box 1401, without witnesses, especially since everyone was currently entranced with the humiliations being heaped upon those at the center of Renette’s wrath.
The trio decided that Renette should be the one to open the box, which she did with ease. Inside, the lock box was much deeper, requiring George to anchor Renette as she virtually climbed into the opening to reach the wooden box.
The box bore the universal symbol of Alchemy, which George immediately recognized. Inside was a strange metallic Lozenge. George had no idea what the lozenge was, but realized it was significant. it was also likely that it was placed here by Maximilian Stole, the Alchemist associated with the prior Aegis Society.
George secured the box and Lozenge, and Renette ordered that they take " one of her bags of money " to pay for any expenses. The group then left the bank.
After Scrooge’s accounts had been set up, Aphrodite and Scrooge also left. This left only Yao and Nadya at the bank.
Earlier, at the house, Nadya had been warned that the group was under observation. She had dispatched Jango to watch those that were observing them. Now at the Bank, Jango alerted Nadya that the individual that had been following them was present. As such, she dispatched the bird to assist them in tracking the individual.
Yao and Nadya followed the bird to a nearby residence, where they gained entry. They discovered three members of the Abontiq cult, which follows the African God Babaluaye.
Two of the cultists executed themselves, while the third fled. He ended up killing himself also, by stepping in front of a horse drawn ice wagon. This left the duo with additional questions.
Nadya, decapitated one of the cultists and stuffed the head into a pillow. She and Yao then headed back to the Aegis House.
Interrogating the Dead
Nadya and Yao went into the back yard of the house, where Nadya created a Voodoo circle and Piton Mateaux. She then placed the head inside and using the correct appeasement for the Nacion of Ghede. She then summoned a messenger loa, with a request to speak to the dead soul that once inhabited the head.
Her request was granted, which forced the deceased spirit back into his decapitated head. Nadya was then able to interrogate the spirit. It was at this time that they discovered a few interesting details:
- Onkwani is responsible for the formation and direction of the Abontiq.
- The groups’ goal is to assassinate an emissary of the Ashanti King at the Paris Opera House in 2 days time.
- They group was supposed to observe Yao when they discovered his presence in Paris. They were not supposed to attack him.
This opened up a new threat to the group.
The Unwanted Visitor
While Nadya and Yao were in the back yard, interrogating the deceased head, there was a knock at the door of the house. Eva answered the door and was met by an older man and dour looking woman. This man turned out to be Akronas and his unnamed body guard.
He was allowed into the house, where he was led to the kitchen, where Renette was awaiting his arrival.
After he was seated, he began t o admonish Renette, only to have the conversation turn against him. He was forced to admit that he had created the illusion of the dead bodies in the house, as well as being responsible for their “disappearances” He would not comment on their actual fate, but did warn Renette and the others that they were treading on dangerous ground.
The conversation came away as more of a threat and warning, rather than a reunion of old colleagues.
After he left, the group began to consider the possibility that he was also behind the plot surrounding Renette’s Pendant, and discussed the possibility that Cyprus Archer was taking his orders from Akronas.
Nadya and Yao returned to the kitchen to share their discovery, when there was a second knock upon the House’s door. This was Cyprus, who claimed that he had received a message from his wife, Amelia, and had been told that the group required assistance.
Cyprus was shown into the kitchen, where the group interrogated him on his involvement with Akronas, the creation/presentation of the pendant to Renette, and where his loyalties lay. He denied knowing about the mind magic on the pendant, as well as confirming that he would not kill Renette if he was ordered to do so without a very good reason. He also was angry at being manipulated by Akronas and threatened to confront the man immediately.
The group talked Cyprus from this action for the time being, but warned that if Amelia had thought that Aphrodite had sent the message for help, that they should warn her that another party was involved that was capable of imitating Aphrodite’s identity while sending telepathic messages. He was also mentioned the existence of objects called the Flamel Tombstone and Flamel Lozenges, which he knew had been hidden in the bank. He had also mentioned that Renette had willingly undergone a spell to cause her to forget some of the details related to these two objects. Cyprus was also able to tell the group that he understood the Lozenges to have something to do with the creation of the fabled Aqua Vitae.
Cyprus agreed that it was important to warn his wife, and left immediately to locate her to warn her in person of the danger.
Meanwhile, the team determined that they needed to visit the circus as soon as possible, realizing that they most likely were now dealing with more than one unrelated issue. It seemed that there were three threads of fate all intertwined in Paris, the first was related to the Leo Zodia, the second to the fate of the original Aegis Society, and the third related to the presence of Onkwani and his Abontiq cult in Paris.
The Jewish Quarter
Prior to heading for the circus Nadya argued for the need to collect information about them prior to heading that direction. To do so, she suggested that some of the group make their way to the Jewish Quarter, known for it’s high concentration of immigrants, including those of African Descent, Romany, and Jews.
She recruited Yao and George to also attend, providing each with advise to carry a “…a little something to be pick pocketed…” The three took a hired taxi to the edge of the Jewish quarter, continuing into the district on foot. Along the way, Nadya bartered for some colorful cloth, as Yao kept an eye open for any of his countrymen.
After a while, Nadya spotted a few gypsies working a bare-knuckle boxing racket.
Approaching the doorman she inquired about the circus and was surprised to learn that the performing troupe was not affiliated with any of the Romany groups, which was unusual. Additionally she was warned that the circus seemed to be quite proficient at apprehending and punishing would-be pickpockets when they attempted to infiltrate the circus.
She and the others were invited inside for a few moments to watch the bout, but more accurately to provide the gypsies to pick pocket George and Yao. There she met someone that she identified as Death.
The individual warned her that she and the others with her were not supposed to be there and that they should leave the building, as there was a terrible fire coming. Nadya collected George and Yao in time to escape into the street, moments before a terrible fire broke out in the boxing arena. There was mayhem as individuals struggled to escape the flames.
Nadya prevented her companions from intervening, by acknowledging that some things are fated and irrevocable.
After leaving the scene of the fire, Yao suggested that the group continue deeper into the Jewish quarter to seek out some of the various African immigrants that were said to live in this area of the city. After a short while they finally came to the portion of town inhabited by African immigrants. Yao made contact with a local merchant, trading for some food stuffs and some information.
During this exchange, Yao learned that there were members of the Abontiq recruiting in the community square nightly, appealing to some of the disillusioned youth. He was taken to a local tribal leader named, Kwanda, a Massai elder respected in the community.
The group was escorted to meet with Kwanda, where Yao was well-received by the elder. A conversation about the Abontiq was had, detailing some of the groups recruiting methods in the community. In addition Yao discovered the current location, although not the identity of the Emissary sent by the Ashanti King to the french government in Paris. He was advised that the Emissary was staying at the imperial Hotel in central Paris.
This meeting gave Yao some critical information, and further linked his cousin Onkwani to the developing plot and cult.
After the meeting the trio began to walk back to the Aegis house but were intercepted along their route by a carriage carrying Anara, whom the group had met in passing earlier. She offered the trio a ride, which they accepted, although Nadya and Yao rode on the outside of the carriage.
George conducted a short conversation with Anara and was given the combination to the Alchemy lab, as a show of good faith. in the context of the conversation was the usual warning about trusting Renette, as well as an offer to be allies should they need help.
Meanwhile, back at the Aegis house, Renette, Eve, John, and Aphrodite decided that it was time to search the basement level of the building. The moved into the area and discovered a locked door, which seemed to contain several smaller closet-like areas and a fountain.
John opened the lock with the use of his pistol, and the group were surprised to find a prisoner secured in one of the alcoves. The bound prisoner, shackled to a special anchor and placed inside a powerful warding circle turned out to be none other than Akronas.
After some interrogation, it was determined that the prisoner was the real Akronas, while the individual they had met prior was an imposter. It was believed that much like the theory that Renette would lose possession of the house if she had not stayed overnight within the span of a year and a day, Akronas, likewise would have been permanently trapped by a similar mechanism.
Upon her return to the house, Nadya was summoned to assist in affecting Akronas’ release. She added additional wards to the existing circle, to allow Akronas to pass through the wards and not suffer any terrible side effects caused by the passage of time. She also added a small fail safe to the ward requiring Akronas to return to the warded area within 24-hours of his release. Once the wards were effectively neutralized, George picked the locks of the shackles holding Akronas in place and the elder Venatori and patron of the Aegis Society was freed.
An Interesting Development
With the discovery of Akronas imprisoned in the basement of the house, the potential for danger from the Venatori only increased. Finding themselves in need of additional information, Renette suggested that they inquire with the The Twins, a pair of shrunken heads, that she kept in a box in her chest of drawers upstairs.
Akronas retired to the “Green Room” to recover, and the remainder of the team went to consult the twins.
In their consultation they uncovered that there were several people involved in the impersonation of Akronas, although it was not clear whether there was a single impersonator with support, or several people taking turns impersonating Akronas. Additionally a short list of those considered trustworthy was uncovered. Among them a Venatori in Rome and Geric Rowan, believed to be in Paris.
It was explained by Renette that Geric was a favorite spy for Sari Punjarharabi the “Queen” of the White Court in Paris. Renette explained that he was a natural Mimeomorph, a type of thaumaturge that is capable of mimicking the powers of several different supernatural creatures, allowing him to act as a perfect spy. He is an agent of the Venatori.
Upon learning of this, it was suggested that he be contacted for assistance, since Aphrodite still possessed the Whisperstone he had given her earlier. Renette agreed and it was decided that Aphrodite and Eve would make contact with Geric in a public place nearby.
The Alchemy Lab
Aeric had already managed to decipher the combination to the Alchemy lab, confirming the combination the same as that Anara had provided to George. George entered the lab and made several doses of Troll Dust giving them to Nadya for use as she needed.
As agreed, Eva and Aphrodite headed to the nearby Bistro where they ordered lunch and Aphrodite summoned Geric. He arrived shortly afterwards and was brought up to speed on the events, especially the impostor for Akronas. This sparked his interest and he left the pair with the impression he would be digging into things more closely. The duo returned to the Aegis House.
A Bizarre Encounter
On the way back to the Aegis house, the duo once again noted the presence of an old woman walking a seemingly exhausted dog. Aphrodite decided to confront the woman, which resulted in a bizarre conversation and the belief that the woman was most likely an Outsider, of some sort.
When the pair left her and returned to the house, they shared the details of their encounter with Nadya, who went back across the street and “saved” the dog from the woman. The dog was taken to the “Green Room” where it seemed to recover. Shortly afterwards, however, it exploded into a messy ichor like spray. The old woman across the street was once again seen walking a new “dog.” Still watching for the “Anomaly”. It was believed that she was not necessarily there for the group and was cautiously dismissed as an immediate threat.
After this event, the group decided that they would visit the Cirque Céleste Mystérieux, the following day, as they felt it unwise to not have Renette stay the night in the house.
With the knowledge that they would be at some point headed to the Paris Opera, to interrupt the plot to kill the Ashanti Emissary, the group decided that they all required proper attire for the event. As such, the individual members of the group went shopping for attire, and visited salons and spas in preparation of the event.
Afterwards the group reconvened back at the aegis house where they discovered that Aeric had managed to decode the combination to the Esoteric Library. They weren’t able to take advantage of that immediately as they had all decided it best to visit the Circus during the mid-day performance in order to better take stock of the event.
Just prior to leaving Akronas consumed one of the Wandelbolus that George had created the night prior to allow him to accompany the group to the circus without raised suspicion. The group called a pair of taxis and headed towards the industrial train-yards in the city, adjacent to which the circus was arrayed.
The group arrived at the site of the circus around 10:00 am. They were able to gain entry into the midway, where there were a small number of side shows and games of skill and chance to be seen. They were able to take in the strength sideshow performed by the Brothers Symphonique and participated in an actual seance of Aphrodite’s Grandfather Eustice, under the supervision of the very real medium Alexander Watson, who was most assuredly a real Ectomancer.
After winning a few cupie dolls and a marionette for scrooge, the group headed towards the Big Top Tent. There they were allowed to occupy the box seats for which they had been scheduled to occupy the day before, but had not used. They were assigned a box serving boy and the group settled into the box for the show, wary of the potential that they may be under observation.
Welcome to the Circus
The circus began with incredible fanfare, and was introduced by the Ringmaster Rudolfo Vizinni. The show progressed through a number of exceptional acts, including Chitock’s Exhibition of Performing Dogs, Mime Mayhem, Patrice’s Ponies, the full Menagerie, Les Pitres Clowns, The dancing of Ms. Jane Nesbitt, The Acrobatics and feats of strength of the Brothers Symphonique, The hauntingly frightening Watson’s Ghostly Illusions, The knife throwing skills of the Rose Widow, and for the finale, the Lion Tamer, Karloff the Lion King.
The exceptional nature of these shows were extremely bizarre, as most circuses at the time perhaps had one or even two exceptional shows, while the others were merely average. But the Circus performance was nearly 3-hours of incredible feats, tricks, acts or skills each exceptional and flawless in their own right.
To have managed to collect so many exceptional performers in one tent was beyond imagination, yet the Cirque Celeste Mysterieux had somehow managed to do just that.
Having already witnessed the very real power possessed by the medium during the seance, the group was left to wonder whether the other performers were also somehow Thaumaturges or talented in some supernatural means. To add to this, the Ringmaster seemed to “soak-up” the applause of the crowd in a manner somewhat reminiscent of a White Court Vampire feeding. While the group was uncertain whether this was the actual case, it was very suspicious.
After the show ended, Eve managed to ask the serving boy for the box about their tickets, indicating that the group had received their tickets from an unknown benefactor, and wishing to repay the charity in some fashion. The boy suggested that they visit the ticketing office, where the tickets were issued to see if they could advise on the identity of the groups benefactor.
The group set off to the ticketing office, which was located in a carnies wagon, guarded by a pair of men. When the group made their inquiry known, one of the guards looked at the tickets and realized that they were tickets reserved for the circus for special guests, or employees to use. they suggested to the group that they speak with the Ringmaster, as he would have to approve the distribution of all such tickets and therefore may recall who had ordered them.
The group was directed to the private train car owned by the Ringmaster. Aphrodite and Eve were invited inside and made their plea to know the identity of their patron. The ringmaster was happy to oblige them, looking in a ledger to see when the tickets had been ordered.
He advised the duo that the tickets had been bought through an employee of the circus at the cost of 1,000 British Pounds each, a sizable chunk of money. He also advised that they had been purchased in Bucharest, Romania.
When Aphrodite asked if it were possible for the pair to speak with the employee, they were advised that the employee had been killed in a terrible accident the day after the tickets had been purchased. This made it impossible to speak with the employee and unfortunately the Ringmaster did not know who had paid the employee for the tickets.
This timeline meant that the tickets for the group to come to the circus in Paris, had been purchased three months before they had even known they were going to Paris. In fact, the group had been in London, England at the time that the tickets had been purchased. This made the group a little uncomfortable, as it meant that someone with the ability to either see or predict the future had to be involved in the purchasing of the tickets.
Headed back to the Aegis House
On the way back to the Aegis House, Eva collected one of the expensive posters for the circus that had been posted along the street. The group discussed some of the implications of their discovery, including theorizing that the Akronas impostor could be involved, if they had managed to intercept or acquire Akronas’ powers of Precognition directly. This could have been a result of the ward that had imprisoned him, the possession of some of his body, or bodily fluids, or some other as of yet undiscovered means. The Pythia was ruled out as the originator of the tickets, because it seemed more likely that she would have told the group to just attend the circus while they were in town.
This left the group with a serious deficiency in knowing truly who was involved were against them and whether them attending the circus was in some way connected to the Leo Zodia.
An Unpleasant Reunion
Upon their return to the house, The group encountered an individual who appeared to be a transient sitting near the steps to the gate of the Aegis House. Approaching cautiously, Eva was surprised to see the individual was none other than Adam, the same individual that was in effect responsible for Eva’s current state.
This did not sit well with Eva, and reasonably so. He told her that he had need of her assistance, and offered her information on the Blackened Denarii that was behind the attacks upon herself and other Prometheans. When Eve told Adam that it was Sanja, he denied it, stating that he was only the tool and not the mastermind.
Intrigued, although distrusting, Eva agreed to go down the street to the same Bistro where they had met with Geric. Yao and Aphrodite went as well, in case there was trouble.
Upon arriving at the Bistro, Aphrodite bought the group lunch and she and Yao sat at a separate but nearby table.
At the Table alone with Adam, Eva expressed her lack of trust in Adam, who retorted with the fact that she should be thankful that he reanimated her, because her death woulod have been a terrible loss to the world. Adam then told Eva that one of her “Sisters” (another Promethean) had been ripped apart by Sanja in Amsterdam.
He then made his request. He provided Eva with a photograph of a dead man, currently chilled on ice at the Paris Morgue. His name was Etienne Decontes. He asked Eva to steal the man’s body from the morgue, preferably before midnight to avoid permanent damage, and convey it to a warehouse nearby so he could be reanimated.
Adam told her that there was a storm coming and he needed her assistance because he could not be in two places at once and needed to finish setting up the lab for the operation. Eva reluctantly agreed.
Adam paid Aphrodite 2 golden Spanish doubloons for her generosity and gave Eva a bag of the same coins for all her expenses.
Adam then parted ways, presumably to continue work on the laboratory.
The trio then returned to the house.
The group now had access to the library and George found a reference to the Flamel Lozenge and the Flamel Tombstone. He also uncovered some information on the mysterious Aqua Vitae.
The group decided to have some early dinner, do a little research in the now available library and return to the Circus under the cover of darkness.
The Morgue Trip
Eva and Nadya headed to the Paris Morgue to complete the agreed upon task asked of Eva by Adam. In exchange he promised to provide additional information concerning the Denarii behind the attacks on Eva and the Other Prometheans.
The pair made their way to the Morgue, where they made their way inside. After a frustrating conversation with a rather corrupt and dim-witted clerk, they were finally allowed into the back, where a Priest was waiting to provide comfort for those grieving. Nadya, having managed to play the role of the inconsolable sister, kept the priest busy, while Eva located an ambulance driver willing to transport the body to the warehouse indicated by Adam.
Once the arrangements were made, the pair rode with two ambulance drivers to their destination. There, they delivered the body to Adam, who poisoned the pair of Ambulance drivers with poison-spiked whiskey. After the two had died, he then revealed to Eva that it was a Blackened Denarii named Naamah who was behind the attacks, directing Sanja / Sonnellion in their attacks against Promethean women. As the pair were rivals, it was believed that the gambit was a test to determine the worthiness of the vessel. If Sanja was defeated a rival would be out of Naamah’s way, and a worthy vessel for her found. This led to a discussion on whether or not Prometheans possessed souls. And if that would make them more susceptible to possession by a Denarii as a result.
The duo bid Adam farewell, and returned to the Aegis House.
Return to the Circus
The team decided to split their forces and have Renette, Yao, John and Akronas remain at the Aegis House in case of any unexpected developments. This group would be the Calvary for those headed to the circus should they not return by midnight, and also a defense for the house in case of a potential assault against the building.
The remainder of the group consisting of Aphrodite, George, Scrooge, Aeric, Eva and Nadya would further investigate the circus.
Upon their arrival, the group decided to review some of the more fringe locations offered by the circus. These were hinted at by the ticket clerk as something more scintillating, and perhaps somewhat naughty. They visited Pelham’s Steam Machine and eventually made their way towards a large tent that emanated the sounds of ecstasy.
The Orgy Tent
The large circular tent at the end of the trail was a large venue for a massive orgy. With nearly one-thousand individuals participating the magical energy being generated was intense and exceptionally powerful. At the center of the tent was a circular dais, surrounded by pristine white curtains. It was believed that some extremely powerful creature was within.
Aeric, George and Scrooge were asked to remain outside, away from the tent. With the express instruct ions that if things were to go bad, only Aeric should enter in an attempt to retrieve the women. Initially, only Eva and Aphrodite entered the tent and began to make their way towards the centerpiece.
As they progressed their bodies were wracked by ecstatic pulses and they fought to remain on-task. Nearly reaching the dais, their willpower finally failed them and they joined into the events in the tent. Nadya, wishing to help entered the tent, struggling towards the center. Realizing it was too difficult, she withdrew from the tent and summoned Aeric.
After a brief explanation of the situation, She proposed to siphon off all the sexual power being generated and disperse it. Aeric pointed out the difficulties and risks associated with doing so, and instead suggested that she use him as a repository for the energy, since his tattoos were designed to handle things exactly of this nature.
Nadya agreed and using her ritual siphoned all the sexual energy from the ritual and deposited into Aeric, whose tattoos immediately expanded to turn every portion of his body ink black. This was immediately followed by a horrible shriek from the curtained dais, as the spell broke, releasing the participants back to their own self-control.
Eva and Aphrodite quickly made their way out of the tent, beating any chance of possible stampede and rejoined the group. Aeric elected to return to the Aegis House where he would seek assistance from Renette and Akronas to purge the energy he was containing.
Meanwhile, George, Aphrodite and Eva decided to take advantage of the baths for which they were given a pair of tokens , and headed towards the far side of the circus. Scrooge and Nadya remained behind, as people vacated the tent.
Death of a Marionette
Scrooge animated the marionette he had won earlier that day and ordered it to enter the tent and pull back the curtains surrounding the dais. No sign of it’s occupant had been seen yet, and Nadya was persistent to know what was behind it. The moment that the marionette touched the curtain it turned to ask, destroyed instantly.
Immediately thereafter the curtains began writhing, broke free from their mountings and flew, undulating through the air towards Scrooge and Nadya. The duo had unwittingly activated a magical defense from a specific sex magic ritual known as a Sibylline Barrier. The massive Orgy was actually a Sibylline Rite that had been underway.
As the barrier charged towards them, the duo retreated, leaving the scene of the Rite behind them.
On the Way to the Baths
On the way to the baths, members of the group noticed the Ringmaster Rudolfo Vizinni in the middle of a disagreement with an unseen individual. They were unable to identify the individual but noted the occurrence in case it was relevant.
After arriving at the baths, Aphrodite purchased an additional bath for Nadya, who she knew would eventually join them here. She and Eva went inside and were joined later by Nadya, when she and Scrooge arrived at the baths a short while later.
Sneak this Way
After their bath, the group decided to make their way to the train car occupied by the Ringmaster in the hopes of finding some information that could shed some light on their investigation. George and Aphrodite would act as an amorous couple outside the car, acting as lookouts, while Nadya, Scrooge and Eva would gain entry into the carriage.
With everyone in place, Nadya picked the lock on the carriage and the group gained entry. They were surprised to find that they were not alone in the carriage, when Eva discovered an unknown woman sitting in a high back chair waiting for the Ringmaster. She introduced herself as Sari and stated that she and the Ringmaster had made an agreement that he had broken. She was not interested in stopping or reporting the group for searching the car, and so they continued with their investigation.
Besides the normal trappings of an office, Nadya located a locked wooden box with a crucifix carved into the lid. She opened it and spotted a Blackened Denarii coin, and immediately closed the box and re-locked it- the coin was later authenticated by Renette. They also uncovered a wooden box containing 8 vials numbered in succession 1 through 8. The vials contained a light blue effervescent liquid- this would later be identified by George as a completed does of Aqua Vitae. The last thing of interest was a photograph of a man. On the back of the photo the words, “Julian 1879” were handwritten. Eva memorized the image so she would be able to reproduce it if needed.
It was around this time, that Scrooge, while investigating a bust of William Shakespeare, was startled by the bust suddenly opening its eyes. In a panic, Scrooge ran screaming from the train carriage. George, concerned for his Uncle gave chase, abandoning Aphrodite, who shouted obscenities at him as he retreated in order to maintain the ruse.
Meanwhile Nadya and Eva retreated from the train car in a more stealthy manner. Aphrodite realizing that some of the men from the nearby ticketing office was en-route towards her, headed away from the others to draw them off. She was intercepted and after a short conversation was escorted towards the main gates. She sent a Telepathic message to Eva letting her know to meet at the gate.
Eva and Nadya headed that way. They were joined shortly thereafter by Scrooge and George, who together had decided to head towards the gate in case they needed to meet back up with the team. With the group reassembled, they departed the circus and headed back towards the Aegis House.
The Post-Circus Briefing
The group had new questions after their pilfering of the Ringmasters, train car. The women in the group took precautions considering the nature of the ritual they had interrupted and afterwards, Eva retired to the porch for some “soul-searching” and Aphrodite retired to the green room.
An Indistinct Visitation
While Eva was sitting on the porch she noticed the strange woman across the street was gone. She then noticed that some birds were flying backwards. A short moment later and indistinct man appeared. He told her that" …he had little time, because the communication was using a lot of power. She needed to look under his bed post in his room."
Eva rushed upstairs, grabbing Scrooge on the way. They went to Edwin’s room. The person Eva suspected had “visited” her, and immediately began to search. There, under a loose floorboard they found a page torn from Edwin’s Journal. Eva read the Aegis Journal Entry, and immediately realized what they needed to look for.
She assembled the rest of the group together, and she and Aphrodite searched the pantry for a possible Memory Jar. After a few moments, Renette realized that she knew where the memory jar was located and led the team into Edwin’s Office. There she pointed out that Edwin always used Black ink in everything he wrote, but that she had noticed a peculiar bottle of brown ink on the desk.
With some encouragement, Akronas wafted some of the ink and was immediately assailed by some of his missing memories.
The Proposed Timeline
Inundated with these incomplete memories, rapidly returning to him Akronas suggested a timeline of events that led them to the current situation.
With the discovery that Antonia Seville, a member of the Venatori Elder Council was involved and had ordered members of the Aegis Society to steal an Alchemical book from a descendant of Nicolas Flamel named Julian Flamel, things began to fall into place.
Akronas remembered assisting the Society members, Edwin Silva, Augustine Growler, Joseph Ableman, Barry Simple, and Irdouin Ibn Salari to put into place the Mnemos and procured the services of Cyprus Archer to perform it and place the potentially dangerous memories into the Memory Jar.
He believes that when the team undertook the mission and lost the book, as detailed in the journal entry, that they then decided to take Julian hostage. They returned to the Society House, where Seville ordered Julian detained in the Alchemy lab to work on the Elixir of Immortality and the Philosopher’s Stone, two mystical items said to have been created by his father.
It is believed that when Julian was discovered missing, presumably by the Ringmaster of the Cirque Celeste Mysterieux,Rudolfo Vizinni, who was his business partner and likely friend, that he reported the incident to his father Nicolas Flamel.
Flamel then arranged to kidnap Akronas, and become the Akronas Imposter. He attempted to recover his son under that guise, but the members of the house retreated through a Telluric Gateway, taking Julian along. The impostor imprisoned the original Akronas in the basement of the Aegis House. and determined his next course of action. However, both the imposter and Seville lost access to the house, when the other members could not return to the house.
Flamel then worked his way into the Venatori council as Akronas, while Seville turned her attention to seizing the house by keeping Renette away, in an effort to gain possession of the house. Aware of Akronas, being an impostor, it is supposed that Seville manipulated him into supporting her agenda in the council while requiring him to gather the items together to create the items needed, he would turn those over in exchange for his son, but was unaware that Seville was not in possession of Julian.
It was believed that Nicolas Flamel summoned the Circus to Paris to help him in the final exchange for his son.
Meanwhile, working on the belief that the Society members may have entered either the Shard Universe or the Mirror Universe, Eva, placed a photo of Edwin facing a mirror in an attempt to draw him towards his reflection in the hopes of making contact with him. George located a note in the same floorboard hole, which read"
“Trinite del Falcone 17-44 Ch6 Mthw 7:13”
The Biblical reference reads:
…13“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat”
George and Aphrodite both concluded that the Ch6 most likely referred to a combination of one of the 5-pin Telluric gateways. George argued that it was most likely 00110 , but Aphrodite thought it would be more likely 01111. each had a strong argument for their reasoning. As neither of these combinations had been deciphered on either door yet, Aeric agreed to decipher both combinations on each door by morning.
The following morning the group gathered in the dining room, where they discussed their situation and the various enemies they seemed to have in Paris. Among these was the White Court, The Circus, The Impostor Akronas (Nicolas Flamel), and Antonia Seville of the Venatori Council. The group recognized that each of these groups had a legitimate reason for considering them enemies, but also knew that they needed to mitigate their opponents if they were going to be somewhat successful in their endeavors.
To these ends, the group decided that the group most likely to allow reconciliation of any sort was the circus. To those ends, Aphrodite, Nadya and Yao agreed to visit the circus in an effort to see what they could do to facilitate a peace, or at least a cease-fire with the group. Of course, the fact that they had broken into the Ringmaster’s carriage and stolen a few things didn’t make this effort any easier.
The trio arrived at 10:00 in the morning and headed towards the main entry gates of the circus. Along the path they were accosted by a pair of circus enforcers, who threatened to just kill the trio outright. Nadya declared a Parlay, and the two bruisers were forced to escort the trio into the circus grounds.
They arrived at the Lion cages, where presumably, they could be dealt with quickly if needed, to await the arrival of the Ringmaster. He arrived accompanied by Rose Widow, the knife-thrower, and threats were made.
However, it soon became clear that the members of the circus were not allies of Nicolas Flamel as had been originally thought. Instead, it came to light that since Julian Flamel had last visited the circus before his disappearance, Nicolas had assumed the circus complicit in his disappearance. Nicolas had kidnapped the Ringmaster’s son and using him as leverage, order the circus to bring Julian back.
For the last year, the circus has been scouring major cities in Europe attempting to locate the missing Julian Flamel, unaware that the younger Alchemist was safe within the confines of the Aegis House.
To make matters worse, the circus had been “summoned” to Paris by Flamel , Sr. against their will, possibly to assist in a potential exchange where the Junior Flamel was returned.
An agreement was struck that as long as the stolen Blackened Denarius Coin, the vials of Aqua Vitae and the Ringmaster’s son was returned, the Ring master would hand over the Leo Zodiac Medallion which was in the possession of one of the members of his troupe. In exchange, the Ring master would arrange a meeting with Nicolas Flamel to take place at Trinity Church at 5:00 in the afternoon.
Satisfied with this arrangement, a blood oath was exchanged and the trio returned to the Aegis House.
Meanwhile Eva remained sitting in front of the mirror downstairs in the house in the hopes of attracting one of the prior Aegis House members, which the group still believed were within the Mirror Realm. Eventually she made contact with an indistinct figure in the mirror that identified itself as “Irdouin”. It provided her with the combination used on the 11-Pin Door the group was believed to have escaped through, 10000000000. A further meeting was set for 1 hour later, to communicate with or extract those trapped inside.
After everyone had returned to the house, the group was briefed on the both developments and the team created a communications chain from the mirror on the first floor and the door on the second.
At the appointed time, Nadya opened the door, using the combination 00000000001 , which she thought was correct because of the reversed nature of the Mirror Realm. In fact, a being was waiting, and Edwin steeped through. he explained that time was odd there and said he had to go get the others. He then laid his pocket watch chain across the opening and re-entered the Mirror realm.
It was at this time, that at the Mirror Below, the shadowy Irdouin figure reappeared and advised Eva, that the door was not them. This message was rapidly conveyed to the door team, Yao and Nadya, and the pocket watch was kicked into the Realm and the door slammed shut.
Nadya, then using the correct combination, reopened the door and the Original Aegis Society and Julian Flamel returned to the Prime World.
Memories, Get your Memories Here.
The expanded group regrouped in the dining room, where discussions quickly turned to the events that had taken place in their absence. To aid in this, the Original members were convinced to try the Memory Jar, which filled in many of the gaps in the story. It also allowed them to regain trust in Akronas, once they had been advised that there was an impostor Akronas, assumed by Nicolas Flamel.
It was also, at this time, that it was revealed that Julian had not been kidnapped, but had instead been rescued. The book had been destroyed because Julian had initially feared that the group were agent’s of his Father’s. The same father that had slaughtered and dismembered his mother, and had attempted repeatedly to kill Julian unsuccessfully.
Julian was the offspring of two immortals, and as such should not be possible. In addition, it became apparent that Julian while not immune from injury, seemed to be immune to death of all sorts. Julian explained that his father had removed organs, burned him alive, suffocated him, strangled him, stabbed him, crushed him, bludgeoned him, drown him and amputated his limbs, all in an attempt to understand how he could apply his son’s abilities for himself.
Julian had been hiding in a private chamber transcribing some of his fathers manuscripts he had stolen. Knowing that his father would eventually find him and torture him again, he was determined to undo his immortal state. It was at this location that the Aegis Society found him. Once it became known that they were not his father’s agents, he willingly joined the group sharing some of his extensive knowledge. However, When his father eventually tracked him down to the Aegis House, they had escaped into the Telluric Gateway.
George discovered a new recipe in the manuscripts of the Lab called the White Lotus Powder. After following up in the Library to identify some of the ingredients, he created a does of the powder and tested it showing that it worked as intended. This added an interesting new tool to his growing arsenal of preparations.
Corrupting the Priesthood
Nadya, Aphrodite and Eva traveled to the Trinity Church where Aphrodite managed to lure a young priest into aside room where she seduced him using her Seducio Phallus which she used to collect some semen and blood to power a new batch of Transmorphic Drops to assume the exact identity of one of the priest attending the Church.
This brought the attention of an individual that identified himself as Michael, the Archangel. Who warned Aphrodite against continuing to do such things in the church. Nadya’s attempts to acquire a cassock failed, but Eva was able to acquire one by promising to take her associates from the church in exchange. Michael agreed, and brought Eva the Cassock.
Aphrodite allowed it to be known to the Archangel that they would be back at 5:00 pm. Perhaps this was an attempt to have a mitigating power present during the meeting between the group and Nicolas Flamel.
Preparation for the Fateful Meeting
The group returned to the Aegis House where they broke off to undertake some preparations to aid in the upcoming meeting. George and Maximilian Stole went to work creating the Transmorphic Drops. While Nadya began creating a pair of ritualized tracking focus to aid in tracking Flamel to his hideout. These would take the form of a Penny and an Matzo Wafer. These would hopefully be used to track Flamel’s movements after the initial meeting.
The group, now ready for their meeting with Nicolas Flamel, the group decided to approach the church in two distinct groups. The first to arrive was Nadya, after using one of the Transmorphic Drops created by George to mimic the disgraced Priest Father Davis and wearing the “stolen” Cossack from prior.
Of course upon her arrival, she was forced to convince the Rector of the Cathedral to allow her, as Father Davis, to remain in place. Her disguise worked, and the rector, although reluctant to allow it, finally acquiesced to him returning to work the afternoon mass. This, of course, was part of the plan and Nadya was now in a position to be disguised inside the church, prior to Nicolas planned arrival.
in the second group, Eva, Aphrodite, Scrooge and Akronas, disguised by another Transmorphic Drop into a woman, all arrived and took up a position near the entry of the church. Shortly after their arrival they were approached by a man, presumably Flamel, who did not engage in much conversation but insisted that they hold the conversation outside.
Initially, this impulse to allow Flamel to set the terms of the meeting were resisted, but eventually the need to meet with him won out and the group made their way outside to meet with him on the steps.
As they spoke with him, it became very apparent that they could not possibly be speaking to the real Flamel. As they had no idea what he looked like, they had no way to determine who they may have been speaking to. As such, the group realized that the meeting appeared to be an attempt to draw out the group. It was about this same moment, that a young boy arrived bearing a message. It read:
“Arc de Triomphe, 11 pm tonight, bring him. N. Flamel”
Determined not to become potential targets, the outside group agreed to notify Nadya, before departing.
Akronas, somewhat comically, reentered the church and tried to pass the information to Nadya, without too much notice, although he was in the middle of the Mass. this of course, proved impossible and Akronas withdrew somewhat awkwardly.
The group then decided to head to the circus to notify the Ring Master of the new developments. meanwhile, bound temporarily to complete the Mass, and still desirous of attempting to isolate Flamel if he had arrived, Nadya was unable to leave with the others but was determined to be present as the parishioners left the Cathedral.
As the parishioners left the building, Nadya, still under the guise of Father Davis, greeted the people as they left the church. An older man and woman approached her and reached out to shake her hand. Almost immediately, Nadya’s arm began to solidify into stone, as the effect began to move up her arm, she realized it was Nicolas Flamel who was holder her hand.
Thinking quickly, Nadya patted him on the back as she drew as much attention to the exchange as possible. This pat resulted in the destruction of the Matzah Wafer that she had prepared prior for tracking purposes. She then palmed the penny into one of Flamel’s jacket pocket, again placing a tracking spell into place.
The added attention caused Nicolas to stop his transformation of Nadya’s arm into stone. He released his grip, and departed.
Paris Opera House Recon
While some of the group headed to the church to meet with Flamel, George, Yvette Defranc and Yao headed to the Paris Opera House to follow up on the information concerning the planned assassination of the Ashanti Emissary by members of the Abontiq cult.
As such, they gained access to the building, and after a rough start and some threatening of the Opera Management into acquiring the tickets needed and a tour of the building. This bought Yao some much needed time to investigate the area.
Yao located several details that lead him to believe that an explosive had been created. He found nearly four full barrels of gunpowder, a mixing bowl, some pine pith, and some linseed stain. This information was useful, but Yao was unable to locate the explosive, even after searching a number of the private booths at the opera. Eventually, no longer finding any useful information, the group at the opera house departed to return to the Aegis House.
Aphrodite, Eva and Akronas made their way to the Circus, where they were immediately escorted to the Ring Master. Upon their arrival, they advised Vizzini of the latest developments. In addition, Aphrodite was careful to make Rudolpho aware that there was a possibility that Nicolas Flamel was inhuman enough, after his long life, to have neglected the basic needs of the Ringmaster’s son. With as much information made available as possible, the group then departed to head back to the Aegis House.
Return to the House
Nadya was the last to return, as she had to wait until the Mass service was completed before she could consider departing the Chapel. On the way back, she reverted back to her original form, all except for her arm. She departed the taxi and attempted to enter the premises, but was unable to bring the arm across the fence line.
She called for Renette to invite “Father Davis” into the house, this allowed Nadya access.
The group discussed at length their options to correct the issue. In the end the best choice was to have Nadya use the Green Room. They took her into the room and the moss encompassed her, with the exception of the stone arm. The arm fell off shortly thereafter and Nadya emerged with her normal arm portion missing.
Determined to attempt to correct the issue, but somewhat dismayed at the Green Room’s apparent inability to heal her injury Nadya and Eva came up with the idea of asking Adam for assistance.
Return to Adam
The two women traveled to Adam, where they made their case apparent. Desirous of replacing Nadya’s Arm with a feminine one, but finding that Adam had no available materials, resulted in Adam acquiring a woman off the street, killing her and amputating her arm to use as a replacement.
With Eva’s assistance, Adam reattached Nadya’s arm and they grafted it back into place. With Nadya’s arm restored, the duo returned to Aegis House.
The group made their way to the opera that evening, knowing that they faced an uncertain task of preventing an assassination. They split up, to cover more ground. Nadya spotted one of the individuals bearing the Abontiq tattoo. She followed them into the offices where she came face to face with the the individual behind the attempt, Onkwani. John, Aeric and Akronas went to the Arc d"triumph
A discussion followed, but through mutual determination the duo agreed to be enemies. Before she could react, however, Onkwani used some mysterious powder to cause Nadya to lose consciousness. The group remained undiscovered.
The Ashanti delegation arrived and were shown to their box, to await the arrival of the French Delegation. When they finally arrived, George, Aphrodite and Eva were able to join their group for a while, as they attempted to get close enough to acquire the Flamel Ring which they knew was in his possession.
They departed their company to allow the Ambassador to meet with the Emissary. George, Aphrodite, Eva and Yao all headed towards the booth, with Yao gaining access to the adjacent booth. Scrooge took up a position in the stairwell and Eva blocked the opposite Hall.
However, when George and Aphrodite decided that it was a good idea to join the delegation in an attempt to search the booth for the bomb, after realizing that the bomb may be inside a chair leg, Yao jumped into the Ambassador’s booth from the adjacent booth.
This created an immediate increase in tension as Nagaro immediately thought that Yao was in league with Onkwani and that they were planning on killing him. Some quick talk alleviated those concerns, but that was the moment that Onkwani sprung his trap.
In the Lobby of the building, his men all revealed themselves, drawing pistols and creating a commotion. The Royal Ashanti guards sprang into action. Scrooge looked into the lobby and spotted Onkawani attempting to leave the building with Nadya in tow. He activated his paper crane and established a trace upon it. He then sent it to hide in Nadya’s clothing.
It was around this time that Yao arrived in the Lobby, and began to fight with the cultists. He stuck Onkwani with a stand-up ashtray as he attempted to leave the premises, but not before the man tossed two explosive grenades into the lobby. The resulting explosion killed several innocents, injured others and set the building on fire. Nadya was left behind in the confusion and recovered by the group shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile as the action exploded around them, Eva, The Ambassador and Aphrodite made their way out the back door, where they were able to make their way to a waiting cab. They gave the driver instructions to take the ambassador to his home, located near the Arc de Triomphe.
Meanwhile Yao managed to get the Emissary and two of his bodyguards out of the building. Despite the immediate availability of the Emissary’s carriage, Yao suspected a trap and summoned a cab off the street. They them proceeded to the Hotel Imperial, where they were staying. The Emissary and his men retired to their room.
As Yao was leaving, he was suddenly surprised by an explosive detonation behind him. The Emissary’s had been killed.
The White Court
Meanwhile, the group with the French Ambassador were escorted by the cab driver to an illicit gaming hall. The group followed the driver inside, uncertain why they were not upset with this development. They were ushered into the presence of Sari, the Queen of the Paris White Court. They were given an opportunity to explain themselves and an agreement was made. In addition, the potential difficulties with the White Court were resolved. It was around this time that Aphrodite acquired the Flamel Ring and gave it to George for safe-keeping and study.
Returning to the Aegis House
With little time remaining, the Society members regrouped to prepare for their final meeting with Flamel. They recovered their strength, healed their injuries and prepared themselves. Aphrodite sent messages to Geric Rowan via the Whisperstone. And also sent a physical message to Antonia Seville, in an attempt to draw them together at the final confrontation with Nicolas Flamel.
Prior to departing the house, Nadya performed a tracking ritual using the map and some dust to track the two items she had prepared and placed on Flamel. This revealed his movements throughout the day, specifically isolating an apartment building, a dock on the river and Notre Dame Cathedral. These locations were marked on the map and Aphrodite carried the map to have it available for the Ring master should it be needed.
With three of their members, Aeric, John and Akronas already at the site, the remaining members headed towards the Arc de Triomphe. Upon arriving the group were a little dismayed to take in the geometry of the area. In essence the Arc was placed within a pair of circles, which never bode well for dealing with a Thaumaturge. In addition the Arc itself was also a natural thaumaturgical portal which could also be dangerous.
The group departed from the taxi and sent the driver away before entering the roundabout that formed the two circles. They were met by Aeric, who indicated he had seen no sign of Flamel.
Yao hid himself along the edge of the inner retaining wall to provide him with a possible ambush opportunity, while the others just prepared for the encounter they all knew was coming.
Flamel’s arrival was preceded by the erection of a magical barrier that enclosed the roundabout and the Arc in it’s entirety. The barrier walls rose to a height of 30-feet before becoming a dome overhead. This barrier would serve as a means to prevent any escape for the group, and would prevent any unwanted visitors from entering the fray once it began, or so the thought went.
The immediate impact was that John Tidewater, who had taken up a position in a nearby clock-tower, lost any visual of the area, and this rendered his rifle ineffectual. Despite this, John remained firmly focused on the barrier prepared to take a shot in case the barrier suddenly fell and his target presented.
Meanwhile, inside, Flamel arrived. In the center of the Arc, a swirling blue-white portal appeared, through which Flamel arrived on the scene. He had with him a young boy, who was presumably the Ringmaster’s son.
Words were exchanged, and Flamel insisited that his son, Julian Flamel be returned to him immediately. Aphrodite managed to force Flamel to almost agree to an equal exchange, but when Nicolas Flamel did not release the boy, The exchange of prisoners stalled. Nicolas become irate and decided that he could just take his son by force.
He revealed thirteen Simulacra, boosting his perceived threat. As they spread out, the group instinctively understood that the chances of a violent encounter had raised significantly. In addition, he quickly opened a rift using the Arc as a natural containment portal. This rift immediately turned malevolent taking on a vile color.
Nicolas seemed, at that moment to lose his temper, kicking the boy forcefully across the circle towards the group, turning him instantly to stone, which shattered on impact. This immediately caused the entire group to spring into action.
Yao sprung from his hiding place, and using his boat-hook blade heft one of the Simulacra to death. At around the same time, a second simulacra was destroyed in a follow up attack. It was at this moment that a dark thrumming energy shot from the portal striking Flamel and then splitting to intersect each of the Simulacra. This energy was a raw manifestation of Hu which immediately restored the two destroyed Simulacra.
Aphrodite discovered that Nicolas had a barrier in front of him, which prevented her from hitting him with a pair of curry powder covered candies, meant to blind him. With the battle moving into full swing, the group realized that they were in for a seriously difficult fight.
Akronas appeared atop the arch and channeled the Hu away from Nicolas and into a new portal in the top of the dome. Then Nicolas’ true nature appeared. From the two portals, a thick writhing mass of tentacles appeared, both attacking the group and offering some protection to Nicolas.
For the first few moments of the battle it seemed that things were going to be difficult for the team. However Watson, appeared in the form of an astral projection, passing into the area through the ground. After a brief look around, he departed abruptly.
Meanwhile Nadya created a circle around herself, isolating herself from the Barrier prepared by Nicolas, granting her a level of protection and normalcy as things unwound around her. It was from here, that Nadya plucked the strands of fate, enhancing her allies and working to undermine Flamel’s power.
It was around this time, that the Aspect of Leo arrived along with a pride of lions pierced the Barrier and entered the fray. As they fought towards Flamel, the Aspect sometimes was destroyed, but reformed, taking over one of the lions that accompanied it, placing the Aspect directly back into the battle.
At each turn, Flamel continued to transform the aspect to stone, or harm or attack the group. As the group and aspects retaliated though, Nicolas seemed to “Die”, but in each case, one of the simulacra collapsed into dust and their life-force energy restore Nicolas to full strength. Yao was forced to withdraw for fear that Nicolas would turn him to stone with a touch, and also being badly injured in the fighting.
Eva used her abilities to slowly restore her allies stamina and used massive arcing bolts of electricity into Flamel and his tentacles. George and Scrooge added their strengths to the battle. Scrooge was set alight by Akronas, and then subsequently turned to stone by Nicolas. However, Scrooge animated his stone body and continued to fight side-by-side with Akronas against Nicolas.
Aphrodite was able to collect pieces of the boy that was shattered, and also landed a few well-thrown knives into the mix, keeping the pressure up.
It was around this time, that members of the circus arrived. A door on wheels rolled in through the barrier, which apparently was only designed to hold back people. Following the note on the door, “Ouvrier moi” or “Open Me” George opened a portal that allowed the Mime, Ringmaster, Rose Widow and Watson to gain entry into the fray.
Watson rose spirits to wrestle with the tentacles and the Simulacra, The Ringmaster also waded into that fight, with Rose helping to protect him as he moved. Aeric managed to destroy the tentacles, although expending a great deal of power.
The Mime slid the door into position, and suddenly the circus train burst through the open door slamming into Nicolas and destroying another of the Simulacra The final Aspect was able to grab Nicolas in his jaws, piercing his body and destroying the last of his simulacra, but it pinned him in place as it solidified into stone.
To add insult to this, Nadya, during the most harrowing portion of the battle, drew a great deal of her own blood and created a summoning, meant to illuminate Nicolas’ Outsider nature and summon aid from potent powers opposed to them. To further agitate the situation, Nadya then ripped a tear into the fabric between realms revealing a frozen world beyond. She then tossed Flamel’s Ring which contained a Philosophers Stone through the opening, but not before adding two wards to the ring and stone. These Runes warded the ring against anything non-human from touching it, and from the spirit within the ring from escaping, insuring Nicolas was permanently trapped within.
As Nicolas had already attempted to close the rift Nadya had created, she then allowed it to close, trapping the ring elsewhere.
Now, trapped within the jaws of a petrified Aspect of Leo, Aphrodite forced Nicolas to agree to restore Scrooge to his original form and then do the same for the boy.
Nicolas agreed and Scrooge animated the Aspect to release him, reached to restored Scrooge to flesh when fate intervened. It was at this very moment that the barrier dropped and John, who had been waiting patiently for his shot took it. His bullet destroyed Nicolas’ skull, killing his body instantly. His hand brushed against Scrooge as he fell restoring him, but his body now dead could not restore the boy. Nicolas, with his body dead, still remained imprisoned in his ring, now banished to another location.
It was now, that Aphrodite shone. She produced the map that was given to her by Nadya and spoke with the Ringmaster, detailing the locations that had been identified prior. She agreed to bring the Denarii Coin and the Aqua Vitae back to the circus, and that as soon as the Ringmaster returned, they would make the exchange and be given the Leo Zodiac Medallion.
The exchange was made, when the Ringmaster returned with his son, who had, oddly enough been well taken care of in the company of a couple living in the apartment complex. The exchange was performed and the group was given the Medallion drawing the situation to a close.