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Lot #5

Despite what generally ends up being the main 'stories' about Africa, Africa was not all primitive tribes and what-not. From the middle of the 17th century up until 1887, a lot of Central Africa was dominated by the Kingdom of Lunda, better known as the 'Lunda Empire': a politically powerful, militarily sophisticated state, with ruling councils, a confederated body, and a semi-bureaucratic form of taxation. Much like many empires, it got its position by steam-rolling just about everyone in the area who objected. In addition to getting tribute of money and so on from the subject peoples, there were some Lunda who were also scholars, and one of the things they did was to try and incorporate the older, magical traditions of some of the more isolated, northern tribes. At a guess, the mask and drum would be from the Chokwe, who were one of the subject groups, and had a very long tradition in that area.

Lot #15

Actually contemporaneous with Lot 5. It's a pamphlet that is apparently describing the activities of a 'Moorish Cult' that was in residence in Novgorod, or at least so squinting at the text would seem to indicate. This was before Peter the Great, so there's a fair bit of xenophobia and suspicion of the 'stranger' in here, though it's interesting that the pamphlet refers to Moors, who lived over in Spain and North Africa, and not to Turks, who are the Muslim peoples most familiar to Russians.

Research




Address #1 The Smithsonian Institution (George Walker)
(3 Successes) -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smithsonian_Institution
(9 Successes) -- The Smithsonian looks to be dispatching George Walker, a 40-year old Washington lawyer. Walker cares nothing about the occult, but has a sizeable line of credit with which to pick up interesting historical artifacts. He's likely to be keeping his employer under his hat, however, given that the knowledge that the Smithsonian is bidding is likely to send the prices straight up.

Address #3 The Moscow Mansion (Nicolas Tychevski)
(3 Successes) -- This mansion belongs to Nicholas Tychevski, a Russian hotelier and multi-millionaire. Tychevski is a flashy, very nouveau-riche kind of man in his late 40s, and owns a good bit of property in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Novosibirsk.
(6 Successes) -- The reason Tychevski happens to be so wealthy is because he managed to get his foot in the door early by snapping up government buildings when they went up for sale at the fall of the USSR. Prior to this he was a petty criminal and black marketeer. There's rumors that he has connections to the Russian Mafiya and to the old KGB and present FSB.
(12 Successes) -- Sasha finds out something that does not make him at all happy. Prior to his big break, Tychevski used to be a minor-league drug-runner for the Organizatsiya in Moscow. The man whom he was working for? And who 'loaned' the money Tychevski used to make it big? Oleg Chernenko. Erin's just found another one of Wormwood's proteges.

Address #5 The Paris Apartment (Michel de Borsavin)
(4 Successes) -- This apartment belongs to Michel de Borsavin, a 39-year old illustrator and graphics designer who spends time in Paris and Salon-de-Provence. Borsavin is divorced at the present and moderately successful at his work.
(8 Successes) -- Borsavin sits on the board of the Musee Nostradamus, a small museum in Salon-de-Provence where the famed writer once lived. The Musee has one of the most extensive collections of Nostradamus material in the world, and are either looking to expand that collection, or to see what sort of prices are being commanded should some pieces need to be discreetly sold.
(10 Successes) -- Borsavin is also something of an amateur occultist, and heads a small circle of French spiritualists in the south of France. They conduct seances and attempt to speak with the dead.

Address #6 The Whitehall Address (Sir Martin Murray)
(3 Successes) -- Sir Martin Murray is a 52-year old career diplomat, and has worked extensively in Ireland. He's a man of modest wealth, and lives in London with his wife of twenty-nine years.
(9 Successes) -- Sir Martin is, apparently, a bit more interesting a person than he looks. He's a former lieutenant of the 14th Intelligence Company, which was an anti-IRA counterterrorist unit in the British Army. He's still doing some kind of work for the British Gov't, but Rakesh can't actually find any references to what it is. He just draws a senior civil servant's salary (the title is for being a high ranking bureaucrat, apparently. It's not hereditary).
(15 Successes) -- Othello has heard of rumors via the Goblin Market grapevine of Lost being attacked by covert commando teams, or being investigated by a 'special' segment of Scotland Yard. The idea that there's some faction of the British Government that would like to keep tabs on the supernatural runs deep.

Address #8 The Mayfair Address (Maggie Jameson)
(4 Successes) -- This is the private home of Margaret "Maggie" Jameson, a socialite and daughter of a liquor magnate. Maggie is beautiful, jaded, and rather wealthy.
(8 Successes) -- Maggie is apparently presently feuding with her family, who fear that she's fallen in with an 'evil crowd'. In particular, Jameson has been hanging out with the wholly unsuitable Californian Brian Corwin, a New Age guru in his late 40s who teaches Celestial Body Qigong, a kind of Taoist yoga/martial art. Maggie Jameson has proven to be an able pupil, and there's currently a legal battle going on between Jameson and her parents as they try to have her remanded to their care and away from a man they deem a 'cult leader'.
(15 Successes) -- The Jamesons may be onto something, since a casual conversation with Othello reveals that he's familiar with Corwin, better known as an Awakened Mage named Cinnabar Toad, a former member of the Guardians of the Veil. It's unclear whether Maggie has informed her guru about the auction, or whether she's hoping to present him a surprise.

Address #9 The P.O. Box in Yerevan, Armenia (the Skoptsi)
(3 Successes) -- The P.O. Box is rented by an elderly Russian nurse named Magdalena Protakoptsov, who has a small practice in Yerevan.
(12 Successes) -- It turns out that Erin has met Ms. Protakoptsov. She's "Magda", one of the Skoptsi assassins Erin encountered Siberia. Sergei was not happy when he found this out.

Address #10 The Manor in Hungary (Lesek Huszár)
(4 Successes) -- This decrepit old place belongs to a very old Magyar noble family, Czernins. They were a military family back in the Habsburg Empire, and still have a fair amount of land, even if they're broke and have been selling off bits and pieces of it ever since.
(8 Successes) -- The Czernins are dispatching the family lawyer, a young man named Lesek Huszár, as their agent to purchase certain lots. Huszár has very strict instructions about what to buy and how much to spend.
(12 Successes) -- Though they're interested in certain other lots for camouflage, the Czernins want to secure Lot #13 at all costs, since one of their ancestors was apparently involved in certain 'indiscretions' with Il Sangue Fratelli de Sante Belhor. If they actually secure Lot #13 and get it back to Hungary, the Czernins will probably toss them all into the nearest fire.

Address #11 The New York Villa (Robert van der Suydam)
(3 Successes) -- This house belongs to the New York branch of the Suydam family. The Suydams are an old Dutch family, with branches in Amsterdam and upstate New York (they split back in the 18th century, but have kept in contact). Specifically, it belongs to Robert van der Suydam, an investment banker on Wall Street.
(9 Successes) -- The van der Suydam clan is big enough, old enough, and rich enough that they have some skeletons in their closet. Jan van der Suydam (see Lot #8), of the Amsterdam branch of the family, was an occultist and considered something of a crackpot. Robert is a distant relative of Jan van der Suydam (something like a fifth cousin or so), but shares many of his relatives interests, both in the occult and in the Far East. He speaks and reads fluent Japanese and Mandarin, to begin with.

Address #13 The Ski Lodge in Sweden (Darnel Kolson)
(3 Successes) -- The lodge belongs to the Kolsons, a family of Swedish industrialists. Specifically, to their son Darnel Kolson, a recent graduate from the Uppsala University , an educational establishment that has a tradition going back to the 15th century.
(6 Successes) -- Darnel is apparently very interested in alchemy (also greyhound racing), and has bought several original alchemical texts on the open market. He's a dilettante, albeit a wealthy one, though there's a limit to how much his family is willing to spend on his hobbies.

Walker is on his second marriage
Tychevski is single but frequently seen with one girlfriend or another.
Borsavin is divorced and presently unattached.
Sir Martin is happily married and has been for nearly thirty years now.
Maggie is single but is entangled somehow with Brian Corwin/Cinnabar Toad, even though Corwin is about twenty years older than her.
Skoptsi are the Skopsti.
Lesek Huszar is very recently married.
Robert van der Suydam is married, though according to Sasha, widely thought to be sleeping with the maid...
Kolson is unmarried at present but has a long-term girlfriend.

The way this auction will work:
Each lot will have associated with it a box or an urn or something, and you write down your bid on a special card and dump it into the box. At the end of the bidding phase, the staff collects these cards, and whoever bids the highest gets the Lot. You can bid in any order, and bid any amount, but you don't know how much anyone else has bid, and unless you've got a good eye, you don't even know who's bid. After the auction is over, the winners are announced.

Cinnabar Toad:

(As a note, this is the sort of thing that Whim herself will need to go spend a day or two to find out)

Cinnabar Toad is... a person of interest to the Guardians of the Veil. Basically, Cinnabar Toad was in charge of running GotV Labyrinths over in Los Angeles for a while. Unfortunately, he became a little bit too fond of using the "Trigger the Lizard Brain" spell combined with some pretty solid mind magic, and was basically discovered shuffling off Sleepers from the Labyrinth cults into his own little private cult, and having them worship him like a god. The LA GotV was not amused, and had him stripped of his rank and banished. Since that time, he's sort of wandered around, and he's apparently a distinctly nasty mage despite looking like an aging hippy. The London Consilium keeps an eye on him when he passes through London, but he's been careful to keep his nose clean whenever he's in their jurisdiction. He mostly spends his time out towards Plymouth, where Mages don't have nearly as much influence as a group. Cornwall, Devonshire, West-central Britain, those areas.

He's a Thyrsus, a rather good one. Life and mind mage, though not good enough at mind to perform telepathic control. Fairly good at Prime as well.

Lot #13
tick tock tick, the demons on the candlestick

First off, this is most definitely some kind of connection to a Black Mass or other such less than pleasant ritual occurrence.
Those candlesticks are just as important as La Couronne de Rois, most likely. More specifically. I don't recognize the specific spirits inside the candlesticks, but I've got a hunch that they're demons, probably some kind of servitor-entities, like those hellhounds. Unlike the hellhounds, these aren't manifested (obviously), which would hint that they're somehow fettered to the candlesticks. Just what they do, I don't know, but it stands to reason that lighting the candlesticks at the right time would act as a signal or somehow wake up the sleeping demons. Lastly... while I don't know just what these sleeping demons do, I do notice that the candlesticks are decorated with a kind of wavy, ivy pattern, lots of sharp edges. Thorns. This is unlikely to be a coincidence.

Rachel: You get a very brief image of a forest somewhere, in England you think. Rachel and a small group of other people (dressed as for fox-hunting, with very big guns) camping out by some standing stones. They were hunting werewolves, or trapping them would be more accurate (the standing stones were important somehow, in a very big way)

And one of the werewolves, rather than obligingly charging across the clearing to the stones and getting shot with a few dozen silver shotgun shells, materialized right in the middle of the hunting party, slipping out between two standing stones, and basically ripped most of the hunters apart, including Rachel's father.

Mechanics


Strewwelpeter contains descriptions of three rather esoteric hobgoblins, complete with "how to summon, how to negotiate with, how to avoid, and how to kill". Rawhead & Bloody Bones is a huge brawler of a hobgoblin. The Forest's Children are half-human, half-rabbit imp-like things. And the Toad under the Bridge is kind of an information broker.

The Forest's Children don't do much individually. In groups? They catch people and make hats and gloves out of them. Yes, they do they wear human feet for good luck. Occasionally they kidnap baby humans and keep them as pets. They're generally amiable to hobgoblins or True Fae, utterly psychopathic towards humans, and very unfavorable but sort of tolerant of changelings or fetches, or other such supernaturals. Beware of bunnies, then.





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