Just Like Clockwork: Scene VII -- Caelan, Erin, Ilkin, Rakesh, Rose

Originally Posted by Erin
"They're nice," Erin protested in response.
"No." Robert Hammond said, rather more firmly than he had said anything else today. "They are not. They are most emphatically not."

Originally Posted by Erin
"We could try to shut down filming for the day. I could shut down the Devourer... sorry Mr. Hammond... but it was my job to fix it so you won't be in trouble for it..." she said, visibly trembling. She perked up at a stray thought, seemingly glad to have found a problem in her plan. "But there's a few scenes that don't need it. Just shutting down the Devourer won't be enough."
Originally Posted by Rose
"You know how to do... stuff... right? Can't you guys just, I dunno, whip up a snow storm or something?" To someone who had no understanding of magic, mages, or Doppler Radars this sounded easy enough and seemed to make sense.
"While theoretically possible, I'd advise against it. I could perhaps liase with a storm-spirit of sufficient might." Rakesh said from somewhere in the vicinity of Rose's elbow. He gazed balefully at the woman with the geist, disentangling himself with as much grace as could be mustered. "This would involve entirely too many sacrificial offerings and would likely aggravate half the weather-spirits in south-east Britain, however, so I'd recommend against it."

"I know I'm going to regret saying this but..." Robert said, closing his eyes and taking a breath before continuing. "But perhaps we could engineer a gas leak? They'd have to shut down the Museum then."

"I would like to think there are better options available than releasing natural gas." The half-Indian man said. "Especially since Ms. Lamothe turned off the automatic fire-alerts... though I suppose if there was a gas leak, we'd be moving from 'fire' to 'fireball' rather too rapidly for it to matter. Cheery thought, that."

Originally Posted by Erin
"Ummmm... no," Erin piped up. "I saw him on the first day of filming. He's an ugly, pockmarked man in a suit. I didn't see him any differently." She paused. "He didn't sound like a changeling at all..."
"I would dearly love to know what he is, then." Rakesh said. "Not a changeling, from the sounds of it."

"If you had something of the others', I could try to make something happen," Ilkin suggested, "But maybe the Guardians have something they can do. In any case, a storm is out of the question for us. But! Perhaps we can cause a power-failure? We managed at another...er...another place once."

4:34 AM, Tuesday, November 12th, 2003

Dawn was steadily approaching, though it was still some two and a half hours before the first rays of sunlight would cross the horizon. Coffee had been drunk, tea as well, and the conversation was winding down in absence of new information or new resolutions. Robert had taken his coffee and retreated to the couch, still slightly groggy from the sleeping pills and still saddened by the confirmation of Colin Meade's death, however expected it was. Rakesh, meanwhile, had taken to pacing the room, prowling about like a wolf at bay, lost in thought.

Then the Guardians of the Veil arrived. They were heralded by a sharp, staccato knock on the door, the sound not of knuckles but of something louder and hollower. Ben sighed, looking up from where he had just opened his second bottle of beer, and went to open the door, quieting something first. "Good... morning by now, probably."

"Indeed it is, and a very good morning to you too, my fellow man." You heard the Guardians before you saw them. You heard one of them, in any case. It was a rich, polished voice, the sort of voice that spoke of Eton, Oxford, and all the hallowed names of the British upper class. You could see Rakesh start to grit his teeth.

The Guardians of the Veil strode into the main living room of Ilkin's quasi-studio apartment. There were three of them, and they were a mismatched trio by any standards of comparison.

The first one was a grizzled, red-headed man in his forties or fifties, dressed as unobtrusively as possible. Jeans, a lumpy looking sweater, and a blue winter jacket. When he moved, there seemed to be a lump under one arm, and he looked over the room with a professional's glance, concealed under a plastic skull mask. "Ward." He had a gruff voice, with a tinge of Scottish accent, perhaps.

This was taken as a command by the second Guardian. She was young, perhaps twenty years of age, and dressed in a short skirt and a t-shirt enscribed with a nigh-illegible name, over which she had thrown a leather bomber jacket. Her hair was a bright, acid green, except for a streak of bleached white. A green domino mask of the same shade covered the top half of her face, and when she murmurred the words of some kind of incantation, you could notice a silvery tongue piercing. After a moment, she finished the spell, and nodded.

The third Guardian was a tall, elegant-looking man of about Ilkin's age, dressed in a sharp grey suit and wearing a black-and-white cloth mask over his face, brown hair combed neatly back. He was carrying a cane in one hand, which rapped against the floor as he walked, and rattled on occasion. He glanced around, then spoke.

"Good morning everyone, Chionis, Marduk. Always nice to hear from our Libertine brothers." He was the man with the educated voice from before. He grinned, causing the mask to twitch. "Nearly gave my boss a heart-attack, you should do it more often. Does wonders for promotion prospects."

The girl with the green hair giggled, which was not quite the intimidating image a Guardian was generally considered to project.

"Right, I expect I need to do introduction. I am Seventeen, and I am the leader of this hapless crew. To my right, the damsel with the seizure-inducing hair is Whim, and the gruff gentleman is Cuchulain." The elegant gentleman, Seventeen, paused here. "Now... the message I got was a tad garbled, but I distinctly recall someone mentioning Oleg Wormwood, and I would dearly love to know what that fellow is doing in London."

Ilkin usually was a little wary of letting other Mages into his sanctum. He had a Hallow, a guardian spirit, and pretty good security. But once other Mages knew that, it potentially made him a target.

Fortunately, he and Ben were formidable in their own right. Their guardian was potent. Their fame made it difficult for sympathetic magic to take hold. So they were a little better off than most.

Ilkin also didn't like the Guardians much. The reporter was a responsible enough fellow when it came to magic. He usually knew when enough was enough, when it was better to call in the police. If he didn't, the Guardians may not be in his foyer right now. Still, the Council and the Guardians didn't get along well and their presence always made Ilkin edgy. Even though these Guardians seemed friendly enough.

"You know of him?" Ilkin asked, surprised enough to forget introductions. "Er, sorry. These are Rakesh, Caelan, Rose, Mr. Hammond, and..." He paused to remember. "Ms. Lamothe. Please come in. Would you care for tea? Beer? Something else? We have plenty of both."

The Acanthus Libertine got everyone settled and then got down to business.

"The Schafer Movement," he said, "I believe that's what nearly caused your boss to keel over." Ilkin sat down with a beer in hand and smiled briefly. Kertenkele curled up on his shoulder.

"Wormwood's minions are using a clockwork Schafer brain that conjures some kind of mechano-ghost," he explained, "The ghost uses powerful Awakened Mind spells to induce hallucinations and then it kills its victims. We know of what, two? Three people it's killed?" He glanced around for confirmation. "Wormwood's minions are Russian mafia but I don't think they're Awakened or supernatural. Nothing about them set off my senses."

"Also, for some reason changeling Privateers are hunting Wormwood," Ilkin rubbed his chin. "I have no bloody clue what the Gentry would want with Wormwood. Can you tell us more about him? He is showing up at the film site tomorrow to, ah, see how everything is going."

Ilkin paused again. "I rather like Gary," he said, "I'd hate to see him hurt or killed. His movie would be good if not for Wormwood and the mafia. So if there's anything you could do to help, I'd appreciate it."

Cae did an awkward dance between the window and the Guardians. Morning made her antsy, but because it was winter she had a few hours yet. Still, it worried her; she wouldn't make it back in time, she thought.

And these Guardians, well, Cae was surprised by. She expected suits (not just the one) and possibly gloves. Like MIB, or the blokes in Firefly. Yeah. Magic...gun-toting...Mr. Smiths. She had not expected Tonks, for Chrissake. Though Tonks was magic. I guess that makes sense?

But the masks? Really?

She watched the space right above and around the girl as she tittered. Seriously, tittered.

Dice Roll: 8d10s8e10
d10 Results: 3, 4, 9, 4, 8, 5, 7, 2 (Total Successes = 2)
Aura Perception -Whim's Composure

So much for the Magical Detective Agency's snow day plan. But that was how it always went, either with or without magic or whatnot involved, whenever you wanted a snow day, you never got one.

Rose watched as the trio entered her eyebrows raising as high as they could. "They missed it by two weeks." she whispered before thinking as she and her geist regarded them. The first was easy enough, "He must have been Jack Skelington for Halloween."
The next was momentarily blinding as a flash of green assaulted everyone's senses. "No idea..." she told GeGe once she got a clear look at the girl. "What the **** are you doing!" she wispered urgently, fighting against the smirk tugging at the corners of her mouth as her geist mimed picking his nose with his card fingers, a very awkwardly amusing mental image. Rose blinked very quickly a few times to see what he was trying to do.

In all truthfulness it was like charades, he pointed at her, then did a little wiggle feeling himself up and making the silliest smoochies face and then pretended to pick his nose "An exotic dancer by the name of Booger...?" they had become very good at this game over the past two or three years and GeGe grinned as moronically as possible his joy overflowing into her.

Some people were born stupid, some became stupid, but Rose was pretty sure she was among the few elite who inherited stupid due to a ghost. "Dumb ass..."

For the grand finale came a dramatically dashing figure with a cloth mask and cane. While he might have been impressive to some or even mildly interesting Rose couldn't stop herself from rolling her eyes. What a let down, after Booger they had expected something much more, well, MORE. Like an elephant mask, complete with psychedelic black light glowing eyes. She shrugged giving up on this game of 'Who the hell did these people dress up as for Halloween and why are they still dressed up like them' "No idea, a left over from some Shakespeare play?" Luckily for her the man started to speak drawing attention away from the stupidity that was happening in her brain.

"Good morning everyone, Chionis, Marduk."

Rose's face scrunched up "Who the hell is that?" she muttered to GeGe feeling like she had missed something or someone. Her geist was again to busy taking in the sights to answer. "Honestly, at this rate I'd be better trading you in for a dog..."

"Nearly gave my boss a heart-attack, you should do it more often. Does wonders for promotion prospects."
The girl with green hair giggled.

"Bitch..." Rose squinted, slightly on edge. After dieing once herself, she didn't take quite kindly to people making jokes about death or someone laughing about it... that and she was secretly miffed to begin with that this young chicken wing of a girl had come in wearing a skirt almost as short as Rose's own tiny bottoms.

"Right, I expect I need to do introductions. I am Seventeen, and I am the leader of this hapless crew. To my right, the damsel with the seizure-inducing hair is-"
"Eighteen." Rose muttered as the black and white faced man said Whim.
"and the gruff gentleman is-"

"Nineteen." Rose again muttered. She wasn't good with names to begin with and wasn't about to start now.

More talk of Wormwood ensued as Rose found her perch again on the arm rest of the couch, crossing her legs as high up as possible so as not to be out shown by Little Miss Neon Head.

This was probably all very serious but right now Rose only had two main concerns: 1) How were these people going to take responsibility for keeping her safe from the mafia, (by now she had totally forgotten it was her own fault she was mixed up in this) and 2) How long was GeGe going to stay interested, the little spine wiggler seemed permanently amused which didn't bode well.

"You have gotten yourselves into a right mess, haven't you?" Seventeen said, sitting down on a couch and crossing his legs. The Guardian mage rubbed his forehead through the cloth mask. "Well, we'll try to get your friend Gary out of this alive and sane, no promises mind, but we'll consider it a goal to work towards. Along with getting us out of this alive and sane, that's also a goal to work towards."

"Might be too late on the sane part." Whim murmurred, accepting the beer from Ilkin, and failing to find any more unoccupied couches, sitting down on the floor. She had a light, musical voice. The grizzled man just leaned against the wall and listened.

"Right then. To answer at least a few of your questions, I confess to having no idea why fey would be interested in Wormwood." Seventeen said. He did not sound like a man who enjoyed being confused. "That's a new quirk to matters. But the Guardians do know about the man himself."

"His name, we think, is Oleg Chernenko. Wormwood is a trade name. He's an arms-trafficker with major links to the Russian and Ukrainian Organizatsiya, though he branches out into people-smuggling and drug-trafficking." Seventeen said, withdrawing a printed sheet of paper from his jacket and passing it around. "What the FBI does not know is that Wormwood is also heavily involved in acquiring and trading Awakened artifacts. You can see why the Guardians aren't exactly thrilled with that."

"He isn't human." Whim added quietly. "Or not just human, any more."

"So they say. Wormwood has a bit of a reputation in the criminal underworld for being bulletproof." Seventeen said. "Rumors, perhaps. Wormwood also has a reputation as a significant self-publicist. What's certain is that he's very rich, quite knowledgeable about the occult, and never has any trouble getting well-armed lackeys."

"And now he has the Schafer Movement... which is plenty peculiar in and of itself, since last I checked it was locked away under key in Geneva." The well-dressed Mage continued, then looked at Ilkin and Ben speculatively. "What do you know of dear Hippolyte Schäfer? She's a not-insignificant reason for why Libertines and Guardians do not get along."

Cae stared at the grizzled image of Wormwood. "So then what the hell is he?"

Something about his leathery face almost reminded her of a lizard. And, to her, it was a lot more relevant than bickering mages.

Dice Roll: 1d10s8e10
d10 Results: 6 (Total Successes = 0)
Occult+Int -4 penalty

She rubber her forehead. "At least...can the Guardians do something about keeping the human employees safe?" The pale young vampire questioningly eyed the motley crew of 'mage police.' They did care about humans, didn't they?

Ilkin looked at the want-ad and then looked up. "Has anyone been able to reach him sympathetically?" he asked, "We have a name and a photograph."

Ben looked at Ilkin, at the Guardians, then back at Ilkin. He shrugged. The rugby player knew enough about Awakened magic to know the basics and to cast it. His lifestyle as a professional athlete left little time to research it, so most of what Ben knew was from personal experimentation or from talking to Ilkin. He knew enough to know what was good and what was bad, at least.

"Schafer was a watchmaker's daughter," Ilkin said, "She died almost 200 years ago now. She was part of the Nameless groups and your Order has been trying to keep her works under wraps ever since. Until tonight I knew nothing about what her creations did, exactly. But now I can see why the Guardians want them removed."

"Comrade Bones?" Erin wondered aloud, turning the Wanted poster this way and that. The man sure had a lot of nicknames. Erin resolved to think up some for herself, though building things didn't lend itself as well to sinister mantles. Maybe if she had her own crime ring...

"I think he's using the movie to do... something," Erin said, hoping no one asked what, because she didn't know. "He's certainly tied up a lot of budget into it... and security, and cameras, and murder."

A rare moment of lucidity caused Erin to consider that Clockwork Ghosts, while awesome, were a terribly inefficient way of removing witnesses. "Um... what does the Shafer Movement do?" she asked. "Aside from summon a ghost? Why does the Clockwork lady remove people's brains?"


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