Whitechapel, Part III: The Plot Thickens

Ilkin
The office of Dr. Melissa Westly was part of a modern-looking one-story office building. Melissa's name and practice were on the sign. Ilkin knew the way in; he'd visited many, many times on social calls. So with Kertenkele in tow, he headed up to the entrance and let himself in.
The Storyteller
From the very first moment that Ilkin entered the building, he could tell that something was wrong. There was a faint smell in the air, a kind of rusty, unpleasant smell, tinged with just a little bit of rot.
Ilkin
Ilkin drew his gun from his jacket. "Do you smell that?" he whispered. "Of course I do," the lizard replied indignantly. Ilkin nodded and worked a spell while Kertenkele scanned the area.
Ilkin

The Storyteller
No one else was present in the office, no mind that Ilkin could sense, even as he and Kertenkele searched the room. The cause of the smell was quickly found, given that it was exactly where Ilkin had been intending to go in the first place. The file cabinets were padlocked, but one of the locks was gone. Beneath the filing cabinet a sprinkling of rust littered the ground.
The files that Ilkin had come for were gone. [Roll Intelligence+Occult]

Ilkin
"Looks like Death magic was used to destroy these files," Kertenkele said. Ilkin nodded. "Maybe I can get a glimpse of them if I rewind time, then. Let's see if I can find out who did this."
The Storyteller
It had happened barely a half hour ago. The building had been quiet and still, until what looked like the edge of a knife appeared in the air. It cut down, this knife, until a gash existed in the fabric of the world, and two pretty young hands with dark purple nailpolish pulled the rent apart.
Whim stepped out of the Twilight and moved to the filing cabinet immediately, turning the lock to dust with casual glance. She searched for the files, finding the one with the name of Richard Fairview quickly. Then she stepped back into the Twilight, and pulled the door in reality closed after her.
Ilkin
Ilkin swore creatively. "We'd better go find Catesby now," he said, "Before they destroy him, too." On the plus side, Whim didn't destroy the file, so there is something."


The Storyteller
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The Storyteller
Catesby lived near the Canada Water Underground station, in a cheap apartment on the fourth floor. Not quite the slum that Whim lived in, but a student's place. And yet he was a member of the Consilium. Catesby buzzed Ilkin inside without question, and soon Ilkin got to meet the Mage himself.
The Storyteller
Catesby's flat had a Karl Marx posted on the wall, and there was a shelf full of socialist theory tucked in amongst the occult books. Most of the furniture was second-hand, and probably older than the twenty-something Catesby. He was a tall, slim Indian man, and he bore a faint resemblance to Rakesh, a cool exterior atop a limitless well of passion. But where Rakesh layered a scholar's manner atop a berserker's rage, Catesby threw on the guise of a callow, nihilistic revolutionary, to hide the idealism which swirled inside. He knew the Mind Arcana, and so took a single look at Ilkin to tell that something was very much the matter.
"Sit down." Catesby said matter-of-factly, sweeping a half-dozen copies of the Weekly Worker from a battererd armchair and motioning Ilkin to sit. "What happened?"
Ilkin
"Not quite what I expected for a Libertine," Ilkin said wryly, then sat down and got to the point. "The Guardians have Melissa and the Fairview file."
The Storyteller
"...Well then we are most royally ****ed." Catesby said, still in that very matter-of-fact tone. "What happened? How? Why?"
Ilkin
"Melissa has been implicated in the death of Erasmus," Ilkin replied, "Framed, actually. I performed postcognition myself. Someone using her appearance came in and strangled Erasmus in his home, then left."
The Storyteller
"Imperially ****ed, even." Catesby commented. He ran a hand through his hair. "And how did they get the file...?"
Ilkin
"Whim got into her office via the Twilight and took it."
The Storyteller
"Whim...?" Catesby paused.
Ilkin
"The green-haired Guardian," Ilkin said.
The Storyteller
"****ed." Catesby repeated. "Well then that plan's gone up the creek, it looks."
"How much has Mel told you about what she was doing for us?" Catesby said, looking off into the distance. "And you're dead sure she's innocent? Could you prove it?"
Ilkin
"If I had information, I could try," Ilkin said, "She says she didn't do it, but I'd need to be filled in on what this whole plan is if I'm to prove anything. The Guardians are sure it's her and I have nothing to prove it was a doppelganger."
The Storyteller
Catesby gave Ilkin a long, level look. It was a judging look, and a probing one. Then he sighed. "It's shot to hell anyway, don't suppose it can get any worse."
The Storyteller
"Look, everyone agrees that Civitas has got to go." Catesby began. "He's a polite fascist, but he's reducing the rules of magic one proclamation at a time. And if he does eventually die, he's been grooming Seventeen to take his place."
"Mel, myself, and a few others have been trying to change that. Civitas won't live forever. Maybe not even that much longer. When he dies, the idea was to steal a march on the Guardians and get a new candidate in place." Catesby said. "That's what Mel was doing. She was negotiating with Erasmus to try and get the Mysterium's support. I was doing the same with the Arrow."
Ilkin
"And how were these negotiations going?" Ilkin asked.
The Storyteller
"With the Arrow, so-so." Catesby said, spreading his hands sheepishly. "And the Silver Ladder even less. They've been cronies of Civitas's since Thatcher was in diapers. But Melissa was making progress with Erasmus. We were going to keep this a secret, not let the Guardians find out they're getting opposition."
Ilkin
"So then what?" Ilkin said, "Do you suppose the Guardians killed Erasmus and framed Melissa?"
The Storyteller
"Have you got a better idea?" Catesby said. "It's the only thing that makes sense. If Melissa is convicted by Civitas's kangaroo court, the Mysterium are going to be a long time trusting us again."
Ilkin
Ilkin nodded. "And if they learn the Guardians killed one of their own it might make a historic moment, eh?"

The Acanthus smiled brightly. "This may work out for the Council's benefit, if we can prove it."
The Storyteller
"If we could." Catesby agreed. He shifted uneasily. "They'll be watching me now. But not, perhaps, you. Find the killer, and find proof, and we may yet be able to do something with this."
Ilkin
Ilkin chuckled a little. "We'll hope so," he said, "I'll see what I can do. Before that, what was in the Fairview file?"
The Storyteller
"Interviews, offers and counter-offers, things like that, all in code." Catesby said. "Erasmus tended to want and offer elaborate deals, and everything had to be kept secret, so we kept records in case we needed to justify ourselves later."
Ilkin
Ilkin nodded. "Fair enough," he said, "Where do you recommend I start?"
The Storyteller
"Where else? The scene of the crime." Catesby said.