The Midnight Men

Thea K.'s PoV - 7/29
Final Notes

We got back late last night from the fae wild. I spent a few hours up, thinking. It's almost miraculous that I ran into mother. Perhaps it's was inevitable, but likely not. I wonder if this would be "fate." I think    I ought to focus on helping her. I don't know how much I can do, but I have to try something. The trouble is, I'll have to take a temporary leave of absence from the M group. It's not ideal, but Dad & Loukas have waited long enough. We've made do, but since Mom was taken away,     happiness has not often graced our home. We're fine enough on our own, but    I still can't help but feel that Dad sees me as the reason she disappeared.    I can't blame him. Until I found out she'd been taken, I did as well.

So, I will be taking my leave. I'll be back in a few weeks to check in on things, but it'll be easier if I go quietly. It's not like I'm close to the other M fighters, so I doubt any of them will take offense to my leaving without saying goodbye. I made them a video, though, to let them know why I'm gone. I've made one for Dad & Loukas as well.

I somehow went from my computer to the lounge couch. I most likely slept walked, or teleported. [Louise carried her.] Eventually the others all showed up in the lounge, and we got to talking about plans. I informed the others of what I saw from the Remote Sensor last night, and we eventually agreed to infiltrate inconspicuously (hopefully). We'll likely deal with the details later.

After that, Louise & I went to the school to speak with my professor regarding Arthurian History. We discussed Mordrem for a bit, but Louise took me to the side to talk. I told him I wanted to fnd out more about Morgan LeFay, as we're related. I mostly wanted to know because she's family. My thoughts went from there to Mom, and then to my plan to leave. I don't know why, but I felt uneasy hiding it. He noticed that I was hiding something, and remarked upon it. I tried redirecting the source of my discomfort to the discrimination I experienced as a child. I ended up ranting instead. I feel like a fool.

We went back to the professor and asked about Morgan's lineage, hoping we could somehow trace her though that. He gave us a list of books to read through, but wasn't able to help us immediately.

At one point today, I told Kurt about my connection to Morgan. He took it, oddly. In fact, right after that he went up to the library for some time. I happened upon him when he came out, and he looked even more unsettled. He asked if I wanted to get some fresh air with him.

We went around the block, and when we were a distance from the base, he asked me about Mr. M. He went to speak of how we were all selected by him, "by chance" that one night. How he called us the cities "knights", and their obsession with Arthurian lore. He had properly conveyed his suspicions that Mr. M is either Mordred or Morgan.

I quickly suspected that we would be in range of microphones or cameras, so before I thought better of it, I teleported us away. We went to a diner, but my sudden teleportation caused Kurt great alarm. He was unsure of my loyalty, with good reason. I assured him of my loyalty to our friends, and thankfully he believed me.

Due to the sudden suspicion that is naturally thrown on me, in light of my connections, I told him of my plan to leave. We will let the others know, as well, while on our way to the Gilded Thorns.

I don't know if it's a good idea anymore for me to help mother escape. If the M's were planning to use me, then they could use Mother- and she would likely be even more dangerous. The prison of her family will likely better protect her than I ever could. Still, I need distance between me and M- I can't risk their using me.

I'm going to call a friend. After that, I'll stop by home. See Loukas one more time-    and Dad.

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Thea K.'s PoV - 7/23
Silverleaf

Kurt & I stayed up for a while longer after we took care of the attackers. We were making rounds, to ensure anyone who had been injured was properly looked after.

After we'd slept for some time, our guide lead us to the hunters in order to obtain the designs for the communication devices. It went over surprisingly easily- though, rather costly. Another time that I'm relieved to have a native with us. Without Louise, I don't know how we would have paid for it.

The ride to the city was a bit- rough. Athena seemed to have a bit of a hard time controlling the animals. Emily went to help her, but in the end it seemed they only aggravated on another. It was almost impossible to create the communication devices under such circumstances, but I decided, for my health, not to scold the drivers.

We finally arrived at the city, and went to the Dullaghan's house to stay the night. We found some food, and reviewed the plan for the party tomorrow.

As I was working to make the second communication device, Kurt came in. It seems one of the hero's in his book in someone that Emily   may have been forced to     kill. I went to check up on her, but she seemed to be really out of it. She kept repeating the same thing over & over. Kurt said the best thing to do was to leave her alone.   He's probably right.

I tried to lock the liquor cabinet, hoping that Emily wouldn't immediately run to that. She wasn't ready for that, though. Talking to people makes it much easier, but, to force someone into that before they're ready is too dangerous.

While I was still working, some of the others went to scout the area of the party. When they came back, Kurt was able to inform me of the layout of the area. I believe we shall actually be prepared for this.

Kurt, Emily & Athena went to the party, while Inestine & I stayed back for an opportune time to infiltrate the vault.

Right before Inestine & I teleported to the vault, I saw someone. She looked     very much     like my mother. It was    unsettling, to say the least. She had a strange contraption around her neck. It almost looked like a collar of some sort. It matters not.

Inestine was successfully able to retirieve the helm. People constantly amaze me. Inestine is actually quite intelligent! It seems that due to his lack of verbal communication, he is severely crippled, when it comes to communication. I had thought him to be dumb in the mind, as well as the tongue. But then, I also had similar troubles when learning English. It's quite hard to properly convey things in a second language. I can only imagine how much harder it would be to communicate in a different median. After all, circumstances called for me to communicate solely depending upon scent, I do not believe I would be capable of succeeding. (I actually did try to find a way before. I have yet to succeed.)

So, I accidentally teleported into the party   next to the woman who looked like my mother. Unfortunately, due to my dropping in on the party without my invitation, I was apprehended by the guards. Athena attempted to have me released, but to no avail. The skeletal guards seem almost mechanical, simply carrying out orders.

The woman    was in fact my mother. We got to talk. [Somewhere between hours 3-4 in the livestream.] Unfortunately, due to our time constraints, our time together was short.

I managed to reconvene with the others, and from the Dullaghans apartment we made our way to the portal. It was connected to a club in Pumpkin Hill, with very loud music. From there, I grabbed a hoagie, and teleported back to the base.

Once I was back, I tuned into the bug that was planted on the member of the Guilded Thorns. Alexis Cheng, and another woman were there. They were discussing pro-human vs. anti-inhuman issues. Alexis doesn't seem to fully agree with the Guilded Thorns' anti-inhuman views. It sounded like she was hoping to sway their opinion in that.

I was able to hear the address of where Cheng was going to be patrolling tonight. I also saw what apartment they were staying in, just before the visual cut out. I'll tell the others of this, upon their return.

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Thea K.'s PoV - 7/04
Into the Wylde

Authors note:
Heya :) In case anyones caught onto the discrepancy between the way Eidothea speaks, and how she writes, there's actually a reason for that. Thea's writing in her native language, Atlantean. As she's always worked around intellectuals, she's used to a more careful way of speaking. She writes as she'd normally speak in her own tongue.

In contrast, when speaking English she is much more casual. This is mostly due to her learning it in order to fit in with humans of her own age, and spending several years refining her manner of speech with her human peers. As a result, her English leans on the casual side, while her Atlantean still portrays a tad more of her intellectual side. (Sort of, I'm trying to make her sound about as intelligent as other Atlanteans would view her. Smart, but still a ways away from a P.h.D.)       Enjoy! :)

 

Well, I'm writing this from an    unexpected place. It seems we- we being Louise, Athena & I- are in another Space, of sorts. Perhaps I should write form the beginning.

I had teleported with Kurt after our fight at the hospital. He & I spent a little time there, when we got a text from Louise. It was completely garbled, but Kurt was able to figure out that Louise & Emily were at a school. It seems Louise had attempted to text in midst flight. Once he'd landed, he let us know which school it was they were at. I teleported with Kurt, picked up Athena, and took us all over there, in time to find our allies in mid fight.

What they were fighting, was a gigantic hound of some sort, with several heads. We fought for a short time with the creature, when it started picking up our allies     with it's mouth. It even managed to catch Athena for a while. I will admit, when I saw her unable to escape,      I was quite perturbed. Thankfully, I was able to teleport over, grab both Athena & Emily, and teleport them to safety.

A few seconds later, the beast was downed. We carefully approached it, realizing that it was still alive. Athena & Louise argued for a bit over what we ought to do with the beast, but Athena quickly got fed up, and thrust a sword in each of it's heads. The creature began to be transported away through a portal of some form. It seemed to be comprised of the same magic that I use to teleport. Louise moved to enter through it, and I jumped after him. <s>For a moment, I was scared. It reminded me </s>    Athena ran in after us, and soon we were all traveling through the portal. 

 

There were many strange images that flashed before our- or at least my own- eyes. A vast amount of creatures, dark, with many eyes. They reminded me of some of the beings in the depths of the sea, yet most were somehow more      disturbing.

None too soon, we landed. The ground felt unstable beneath me, and everything around me had the same feeling the images from the portal gave off. I've been here- in this land- before, when I'd first acquired my powers.

When we landed Athena bolted after the hound (which, was at good health again, as it was is it's home plain). I ran after them both, and realized that the hound was heading toward a castle. However, Louise somehow pulled us back toward himself, and advised us to proceed with caution. He said that if we went into the castle, we very well may not make it back out. He later mentioned that this world is his home, which explains his familiarity with the customs, and dangers of this land.

Speaking of Louise, his natural form is quite a bit different from what I'd expected. He seemed like a giant bird- an owl, specifically- covered in sleek black feathers, with a white face, but on four legs, instead of two. He introduced himself under many titles, but the one I recall best is "The Face of the Moon." An odd title, but appropriate, somehow.

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His voice became deeper, too. I don't think it was so much because of his transformation, as a shift in his attitude. He sounded more serious. <s>Perhaps even afr </s>

Louise managed to gain us an audience with the lord of the castle, and we were shown to a waiting room. The technology in this world is quite remarkable. The doors we passed through seemed average height, yet despite the substantial size of Louise's natural form, he was able to pass through them with no problem. Later, I approached him in order to have a quiet word with him, and as I got closer it seemed as though we were the same size.

It seems the magics of this world- er, plain- are much more advanced than I could have imagined. I do wonder how such spells are triggered. Perhaps they have installed circuits throughout their housing, to hold certain spells. But, that still doesn't explain how it activates. I suppose I ought to hold off on my speculations, though, until I've actually spectated a bit more.

We'd waited for a few minutes, and were fetched by a rather   disturbing servant. The woman we'd heard of, who murdered her own child, quite obviously dead, yet somehow alive still on this plain.       Perhaps this is where the humans go after their deaths?

She led us into a chamber where the ruler of the castle was seated. An intimidating fellow, who for some reason holds his head in his hand, rather than placing it back on his neck. Or at least, where his neck ought to be. Perhaps it some sort of custom in this world. A sign of ones might, or prestige. The hound lay, tired, at the lords feet.

The lord greeted us, Athena as a woman of Tali, and I as a halfling. How he knew that, I still do not know. It is strange, as well, that he should even refer to me that way. The people pf Atlantis have stopped referring to those such as I as halflings for several generations now. But then, when he thinks I do not hear, Grandfather still calls me a halfling. Perhaps this is where Atlanteans go after death as well, and as far as this lord was aware, halfling is still an acceptable term.

After Louise answered, he cautiously advanced with questioning the lord, in order to find out why he'd sent his pet to attack innocents on earth. The lord (the Collector of the Dead) as was one of his many titles, said his pet was only to collect certain humans- as a part of an agreement. He seemed a little put out upon hearing that others had been involved in its feastings.

When asked what agreement he was speaking of, he replied that several centuries ago one Ichabod Crane had struck a deal with the him for a continuation of Cranes own life. Every 70 years, 7 of Cranes descendants would become forfeit, a sort of tribute to the Collector of Souls.

I believe the way it works, is that the hound would be released into the earth, and consume the descendants. In so doing, their soul would be transferred to this castle, where they would then serve the Collector. Perhaps the remaining life force that had been within them would then be transferred to Crane. But then, it wouldn't always calculate 7 lives to 70 years, so I suppose not.

Regardless, such an agreement… it's disgusting. Only the lowest filth among those living could make such an agreement for his own selfish ambitions. Who could do such a thing? Moreover, who would even want continuous life?      A fool, I suppose.

Louise asked the Collector of Souls if anything can be done to terminate Crane's contract. He said that if we were to bring him a relic he fancies, he would be willing to end the agreement in exchange for it. Louise agreed to attempt recovering the item, though I'm not yet sure when he means to do so.

Once the meeting was over, the Collector offered us rooms for the night. I'm a little nervous about not leaving for home right away, but at the same time, it's already late. We've already had several encounters tonight, and I think it's high time we take a proper rest. Especially Louise & Athena. They've been out all night, and Athena <s>was almost </s> took quite a beating.

I suppose I could use the rest as well, though. This day has been quite unsettling.

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Thea K.'s PoV - 6/25

We are attempting to carry out our plan today. I was unsuccessful at planting a device in their server room that would've helped me to hack into their system (in order to fabricate a story of how Barry arrived in the hospital). In the end, Louise made a call to a friend of his to help us out.

Louise was waiting in the hospital room for whoever should appear, and I was with Emily in the waiting room, in case something went awry. Emily got up after a little while, but a few seconds after she left the power went out. Our enemy was present, and they started moving to attack.

After a bit of a scuffle, I thought it best to teleport to the hospitals generators. It was a simple fix, in the end. I'm sure they thought they were being clever, but it's seems that our adversaries are not actually that useful when it comes to technological matters.

We're going to have a meeting soon to report on how things went for everyone.

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Thea K.'s PoV - 6/18

I spent my night designing and creating a sort of tracking device. I'm unfamiliar with the way the Image-bearers use their devices, but the way I've designed mine will make it so that I can see as though I were in the same room as my device.

When I woke up, the others had returned from their search. I still wasn't fully awake to understand what they were saying, but I'll pretend that I did. When I woke up, Kurt was calling me on my cell, saying that Barry was in great need of medical attention. I teleported over, and after some time was able to stabilize him. Evidence showed that there was a foreign substance introduced into his blood stream- a hallucinogen most typically used during interrogations. 

As Louise had interrogated him, I was afraid he had injected Barry without informing me. Upon my inquiries, he confirmed this to be true. I understand why he did it, and the benefits from it, but as we're trying to keep him healthy, he still should have told me. I asked him to keep me informed of his actions when they have bearing on the rest of us. If we're going to work together, then we need to do just that- work together. 

It seems he may have listened, too. He told me later that he was thinking of putting Barry out on the streets again. After some discussion, we agreed to transfer him to a hospital, have Kurt stay in the hospital as a guard, and plant the tracking device on his companion if & when he comes to visit.

I hope all goes well.

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Character Prologue: Athena
Chapter I: A Gifted Child

Thena opened her eyes and frantically turned to the timepiece that hung on the wall. It was very early still, but her mind was far too staggered by what was to occur on this day that she could have scarcely closed her eyes for another moment. On this day, she would stand before the Queen of the Order of Swords to undergo her final examination. Should the Royals deem her worthy, she would begin her training to become the successor of the Queen. As she had heard her mother say many times to her father, the neighbors, the grocer, and anyone else who would listen, this honor hadn't been offered to one so young, ten years, in millennia.  

She walked to the window and peered out at the sky. The stars shone brightly as they always did. When she was younger, Thena enjoyed pressing her ear to the floor and listening for the whirring and clanking of the enormous mechanisms that worked below. She learned in classes that Talia was so close to the sun that life was only sustainable on the dark side of the planet, and thus civilization was sustained by the mechanical wonder beneath them all. Its function was to move all life away from the sun's searing rays, and into the cool of perpetual night. It wasn't unlike the timepiece that hung on her very wall. It was a comforting sound to her.

A knock at her bedroom door interrupted Thena's thoughts. It opened but a crack, and her mother's voice softly filled the air.

"I wanted to make sure you were awake," Thena's mother whispered "Your father wanted us to have breakfast together before we saw you off."

"I'll be out momentarily." Thena spoke at normal volume, startling her mother slightly. With a nod and a warm smile, her mother left the doorway, clicking it shut as she left.

Thena pulled on her robes before descending the spiral staircase into the dining room where her father had already prepared a lavish meal for the family. Her father was a stern and stalwart sort of man, owed to his many years serving in the Talic Air & Spaceforce, but he always enjoyed cooking for his girls when he was able to be home. That is, when her mother was home as well. Thena's mother was a Magitechnition, a vital and precise position in Talic society, as a small miscalculation could spell hours to days of lockdown and possible casualties to swaths of the countryside closest to the ever-encroaching sun.

As she entered the room, her father stood and saluted with a knowing smirk.

"Father, please. Nothing is certain yet. You know this," Thena remarked while trying desperately to hide the smile creeping across her face. He raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. He then reached for the chair next to him, suspiciously located at the head of the table, pulled it out, and gestured for Thena to sit. She stuck her nose in the air, feigning pompousness, and sat as her father pushed in her chair. At that moment, her mother's crimson head bobbed in from the study and sat herself down across from her husband.

"They can't seem to make due without me," she puffed. "I may have to go in today anyway." Thena's father frowned and furrowed his eyebrows as if to say, "Not today," or "You work too hard."

"Don't worry. We can at least have a nice meal before Thena goes off to impress the Royals and become the youngest Queen in millennia."

"Successor in training. I won't be Queen yet. IF I'm accepted that is." Thena's mother waved her hand as if to swat away her daughter's pessimism. Her father interrupted. "Let's not worry about that now. I want to remember this morning fondly." He was right. It was possible that, if accepted, her training would begin immediately, and this would be the last home cooked meal shared for a long time. Training for Queenship was intensive and time-consuming, and would require her to study at the Order Headquarters, which was located at the capital, hours away by train. Her father held out his hands. Thena clasped her father's hand on her right and her mother's on her left. They bowed their heads in reverent silence for what would be the final time.

The morning passed quickly to Thena's dismay. Her parents had walked her to the train station, given a tearful goodbye and sent her off. Everything seemed to be happening so suddenly. It was mere weeks ago that her instructors had asked her for permission to send her transcripts out to the Royals for examination. She always knew she was smart, and she was particularly gifted in the art of Blade Bending which was what she would be tested on today. The train began to slow as it came upon Order Station. Thena gathered her things and made her way off the platform and towards the lobby. She barely remembered signing in at the front desk and being led towards the lift in the Black Quadrant. She was being sent directly to the Queen's quarters.

Suddenly she stood at the entrance. The attendant who had been leading her gave Thena a reassuring gesture and left her staring at the large, stone doors. She took a deep breath, and pressed in the small, square button on the right side of the doorway. A voice suddenly rang out from the speakers on the walls.

"You're expected. Please enter." It was a deep voice. Thena thought it strange but reached for the handles of the doors, which sprang to life at her touch, sliding away from each other to create the opening to a large, wide room. She entered and began to cross it. At the far end was a large throne, currently facing the far wall which was composed entirely of a large, tinted windowpane. It was likely that it appeared as a flat wall from the other side. "Please don't be alarmed." The same deep voice came from the throne. Thena stopped a good few feet away before the throne turned to reveal an armored figure. His face was covered by a jagged helm with spires that stood at least a foot over his head. He pushed aside his cloak and stood. He was certainly imposing, standing close to nine feet tall, not including the helm.

"The Queen is… indisposed. I will be evaluating your ability." Suddenly realizing who she was confronted with, Thena bowed deeply.

"Th-thank you for considering me for this position." Acting as if he hadn't heard her, the King began to speak again. "Put your things down and join me in the arena." The King strode toward a doorway to the right which opened automatically at his approach, and closed after him. Thena placed her bags at her sides on the floor and turned slowly toward the door to the arena. She exhaled sharply. She must have been holding her breath since she spoke. She could feel her heart pounding within her chest. Was it nerves? She wasn't this nervous before she realized the King would be testing her instead of the Queen. What happened? Something seemed very wrong, but she had no time to ponder these things now. She strode toward the door; it opened just as it had for the king, and she entered the arena.

It was ungodly bright. Thena raised her hand to block the light from the ceiling. It was an artificial sky; they were designed to mimic a pleasantly warm afternoon if the sun weren't so lethal. They had indoor parks and gardens in some cities that used the same magitechnology. As her eyes adjusted she could see the King standing on the far side of the field with his hands behind his back.

"Take up your weapons." His voice echoed across the room. On either side of him stood ornate racks with equally ornate swords; seven on each rack. The blades themselves were blindingly white, with detailed carvings of vines with heart-shaped leaves twisting down the length of the fullers. At the top of each of the fullers, a face stared out with pupil-less eyes; they were almost mask-like in appearance, like porcelain dolls, and the ebony cross guards were forged into the foreheads of the faces. The terminals curved slightly toward the blades with small rolls at the ends, and they also had similar engravings to the fullers. Then, a pommel of set, polished white crystal crowned each weapon. Thena suspected they must have been enchanted in some way, as they gleamed with an otherworldly sheen.

"You will use these." She kept her composure but couldn't stop her eyes from widening slightly.

"You must bid them come." Thena hesitated for a moment. Surely he did not mean to spar with real weapons? As if to answer, the King stepped backward a few paces until he was flush with the far wall.

"Bid them come." She did not want to be told again. Thena took her stance and extended her hands, reaching for the right half with her mind. The King's voice suddenly interrupted her.

"You must take up all, or none at all." Thena was confused. What sort of trial only had one combatant? Nonetheless, she reached for the other half as well. She had managed to consistently control up to twelve blades during bending classes, so what was just two more? The blades were easy for her mind to find, strangely easier than the training blades at the academy. They lifted off the racks and fluidly drifted toward her. Thena surprised herself. They felt natural to her, like they belonged to her. As they flew closer they began to rotate around her, lifting her feet off the ground. It was amazing, but Thena wasn't doing this. She shot a pleading look to the King, but he remained motionless where he stood. The swords spun faster and faster, closer and closer until she couldn't bear to watch any longer. Thena shut her eyes tightly and waited for the swords to cut her to ribbons.

But the pain never came. She felt her feet meet the grass and expected to fall unceremoniously to the ground, but something soft caught her and brushed the hair out of her face. Thena blinked a few times trying to comprehend what she was looking at. Peering down at her was a man no older than half a century; he had medium length, slightly disheveled hair and some slight stubble on his chin. The familiar voice told her that this was the King.

"Your name?" The word he used in Talic implied that he wanted her full name, her legacy name. In Talic culture, each Tali had a personal name and a legacy name. Legacy names contained all personal names of prior generations, males taking the names of their father, and females taking the names of their mother.

"Th-thenaSevnaMidaKariDemiPolaShanaRenbiGemmaThalaUmaBettiFujinEdnaPharaZolaOzriAmaSemiJemmaPauli-CelaYokaPeah." The King smiled.

"Athena." Traditionally, personal names of common folk consisted of two syllables. A third would be added if royal status was bestowed. Her eyes widened.

"Welcome to The Order, your majesty."

The King helped Athena to her feet, staying kneeling so that he was at eye level with her. "But what about the trial? And the Queen?" The King's face turned serious. "The Queen has passed." Tali were a sturdy and long-lived race. The oldest Tali on record was close to 500 years old, but the average lifespan was closer to 400 years. It was difficult to gauge when any given Tali was close to death since after reaching full maturity, a Tali wouldn't slow down as many other races did. They could be fully functional one day, and dead the next, barring any life-threatening illness, which were scarce due to the hardiness of the Tali. It was likely that the Queen selected her for testing, knowing she was getting on in years only to die suddenly in the days leading up to the trial. "The Orders saw no reason to delay your coming because of this tragedy; it was all the more important you come. And The Swords of the Queen accepted you readily." Athena furrowed her brow. "What would have happened had they not accepted me?" The King laughed at this notion. "They would have been far too heavy for your mind to even lift. They are powerful and warded artifacts after all. I thank the stars you were accepted. The world needs her Queen of Swords. That is…" he turned serious again, "…if you think you are up to the task?" Athena stared into his eyes and looked down at her palms. She had always been a protector as long as she could remember; she could never stand to see injustice unhindered. She clenched her fists. This was her chance to do something important. To be a protector of many. She looked back into the dark eyes of the King. "I am." The King smirked and raised an eyebrow at her. "Good." He stood. "These will be your quarters. The entire floor is yours. Do take time to familiarize yourself with it. If you need assistance, you may call on me. The seat in the main entrance has a com unit in the arm. I should be listed." He made his way to the main room and Athena followed. He strode toward the exit. "Do make sure you get some rest. Your training will begin in the morning." Athena nodded as he disappeared behind the door.

That was it. She was Queen just as her mother said she would be. The youngest Queen in millennia. She shook her head, trying not to fall into homesickness, crossed the room and sat down on the throne. A panel on the right arm lit up with the Magitech logo for a moment before populating a list of names with titles. She scrolled through until she found the listing for The King of Swords. "Aristair." She said it out loud. It was pleasing to her ears. She remembered falling safely into his arms. "Aristair." She thought of his face. He was much more handsome than she expected.

She stopped herself and exhaled sharply. "Highly inappropriate." She puffed, hitting her temples with her palms. Highly inappropriate indeed.

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Thea K.'s PoV - 6/11
Session IV

Well, I managed to stabilize the drunk last night. It seems Athena actually attacked him. Well, I think we're planning on interrogating him, but I don't know what the others plan to do with him afterward…

The drunk's compatriots called us using his cell, and threatened us, trying to convince us to surrender their man to them. I believe the callers name was Edwardo. I managed to locate the cafe where the call was coming from, and teleported there with Emily. We managed to get a good look at our adversaries, which I managed to convert to sketches later.

When we got back, Kurt let us know that our enemies will soon be upon us, and Louise informed us that they are capable of moving without any trace of detection. Kurt & I moved to the Surveillance Room to keep an eye on things, but in the end no one came.

I decided to work on researching how to make a few extra gadgets (mostly a tracking device, and something to help us communicate better with Inestine).  While I was doing my research, I was interrupted by Louise calling over the coms, requesting medical assistance. Once I got there, he claimed that Barry tried to escape, and thus opened his wounds. He also said that Barry's mind is almost completely gone, thanks to all the substances he's abused over the years. I can't help but wonder if part of his mind-loss is to be attributed to Louise's interrogation.

He seemed odd at first, but I hadn't thought too much on Louise's peculiarities. As time goes on, though, I get the idea that he has a much darker side to him than he lets on. I have nothing to support this, but I can't shake the idea.

Louise called a meeting for all of us, afterward. He told us that the Gilded Thorns (the group the drunk's from), seem looking for the sword of a King Arthur. Barry said that it's currently located in New Orleans, and that they're also looking for Rob- our Minotaur friend- in order to fix the sword once they've obtained it.

I fear that Rob is in danger. I wish to try to convince him, again, to come with us to the base. I don't know that he will. I fear greatly that the Gilded Thorns may reach him first.

I went to ask Miss Edwards about the "Sword of King Arthur." It seemed she was quite familiar with the topic, and asked about the Gilded Thorns. She also seemed somewhat offset when I mentioned the other two swords that they have already obtained. She even arranged a call with Mr. M. He told us that there are in fact several swords of King Arthur, the first of which was shattered & has been reformed into several different swords. He gave us more information, however, Louise seemed… reluctant to share all of the information he received from <s>the drun </s> Barry.

 

I don't think any of us trust "M." He keeps many secrets, which leads us to find him untrustworthy. Still, I don't think our keeping secrets from him will help anything. I'm afraid things may be going in a downward spiral, like what Athena was telling me of before. How when there's really nothing harmless going on, there's no reason to keep secrets. Mr. M. might only be withholding information because he isn't sure yet whether or not he can trust us… I'm not quite sure how to handle all this.

Some of the others are going to see Rob, and try to help him. While they do that, I'm gong to try to work on my technology.

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A Circle in the Round
or The Smell of False Flowers



What did the woman say that her name was? Mrs. Something…
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They say that I was born in nightmare. They say an awful lot of things, but not everything that they say was inspired by rumor. Not every rumor was started by a tale that I spun a long time ago about Rourzvogr, Drake of the Everstorm which rages in the Southlit Sea. In this tale, the great lizard suffers from a dream in which his lover, the moon goddess, is devoured night after night by a great black beast which stretches from the land to the sky and steals her face for its own. Funny that I should wear such a whimsical mask of lies then too…
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She's gotten most of the blood out of everything by the time that I arrive. Hopkins is a miracle worker, has worked them for me more than once, whether working them off of the shelf and out of a bottle, or at the end of a fire-wreathed fist. She's good people. I would feel guilty for the state of the bar, if I had actually had anything to do with it this time. As it is, I let myself in to push a broom, but as I say, there is little left to clean. Emily is just putting the structure back together, setting the chairs in place. That's when the woman arrives… Suit, pants, cards, nine yards and then some. She smells funny, and sounds… too perfect. There is the heat of the mask pressing against me underneath my coat, begging to see her for itself. I don't expect her to be curt and then whirl out on us like the east wind coursing through the place. Not a flattering comparison given the uncouth attitude of that particular wind, but I'm not in the mood for flattery. I'm in the mood to find out why someone knows about my business, and I'm not figuring around the P.I. end of things. She didn't have to be told that I have magical items littered about my person. Does she know what sort of detritus floats about behind the mask, I wonder…

Prey worthy of the hunt.

I haven't called for a hunt in years.
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The place she called us to is dingy enough. Oh, sure, it is pristine on the outside, an eggshell. It's the same color they used to paint tombs in another age. A house to hold memories and little more, memories of dolls with cut strings. It's not the sort of place in which I wish to roost, that is for sure. The last five times that same thought has crossed my mind, I've ended up living in the given residence in under a month. I don't like that line of thought at all. I'll wait for someone who looks jittery to show up to her party. I can only assume that Emily and I are not her only guests.
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There's a lot to take in… a floating monogram offering to pay us, the goliath Kroll wandering about the place, the young girl claiming to be armed with some kind of beam weaponry, and yet I'm most interested in the chair that has been laid out for me. I am not so audacious as to believe that anyone planned for it to be there. That would narcissism. No. I'm laying that blame squarely in the hands of whatever fate is unwinding the strings into this lavish tapestry. Those old biddies are always getting their giggles out of fiddling patterns that no mortal, immortal, or demi-plane-shifting elder thing can piece apart… Which is reminding me of the last time I saw and elder thing piece something apart and I feel a bit queasy. Even so… I've already taken the job. It pays pretty well, and there's this really nice chair. 

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Thea K.'s PoV
Session III

I went with Athena & Inestine to the sewers today. We were instructed to look into a recent Minotaur sighting, down there. Thanks to Inestine we were able to locate him, due to his sense of smell. At first he was angry, as he thought me to be a human. I feared for my safety, so I revealed myself as an Atlantean. This calmed the Minotaur down, and we were able to carry out a conversation.

His name is Rob, and by my understanding, he was birthed in a breeding lab. While there, the humans severely mistreated him, and forced him to repair their weapons. He said that some of them brought in "really old swords," one of whom "smelled nasty… like drink." It sounds a lot like  our drunken friend from the other night. The others went to try to bring him in tonight (or, at least, get information). I wonder how things are going on their end.

We advised Rob to move a few streets down, in hopes that he'll continue to avoid contact with humans. With the man who sighted him the other night on the streets, it's most likely that he'll tell others about Rob. I get the impression that if anyone were to try to hunt down "the beast in the sewers", things would not go well for them. We tried to convince him that not all humans are really all that bad (and that he should probably stop stealing from them) but he didn't buy it. In the end, he'll be remaining in the sewers.

On our way back, I asked Athena & Inestine to refrain from telling the others of my heritage. I & my father had promised the elders not to let people on the surface know that we're Atlantean. I had thought it was simply due to our not knowing how the humans would react to us. We were first sent to the surface to learn of their technology, and learn what we could from them. We were told that if the humans knew our heritage, they wouldn't trust us, and would hoard their knowledge.

Athena questioned the need to hide who we are. She was very skeptical of the motivations behind the actions. She said that where there are secrets, there are most often hidden designs- designs that could incur harm to many people. I never even thought to question the motives of my own people before. We've never purposed to harm others, but what if our elders want revenge for the war? It was centuries ago, but it is still a possibility. My father & I were even sent to spy on their technological intellect. Though they are far behind our own people, even that knowledge could give our people a great advantage <s>if we were to</s>  in the event of conflict.

I'm not sure what to think anymore. I want to believe that my people are simply scared of humans still. After my conversation with Athena, though, I can't trust their motivations so blindly. She is right, after all. Those whose motives are pure have no reason to keep secrets. After all, there have been many other Atlanteans allowed to the surface without needing to hide

Louise has returned with the drunk. He is injured, and must be attended to. I will continue this later. -Thea K.

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The Sewers
Athena Spade

I was sent to the sewers to deal with whatever was found down there, a large animal-man. They call it a "Minotaur." The gray creature and The young girl, Thea were sent as well. Thea knows the language it speaks. I suspect they don't trust me.

We found the thing easily enough; It didn't seem like he was even trying to hide judging by the mess he left. Vegetables and broken crates were strewn everywhere and several pipes were broken. I didn't think we had anything to fear from him, but it flew into a rage at the sight of Thea. He assumed her to be human and let his own bias get the best of him. Thankfully Thea chose this time to reveal herself as NOT human and he calmed. I find it interesting that this girl finds me untrustworthy and yet is the one keeping secrets. If I've learned one thing over the years it is that secrets do not keep and have a tendency to cause suffering to any with the misfortune of crossing their paths. I wonder what the others hide? What pain will they cause?

It seems our resident terrorist group is in the business of genetic engineering. One more sin to add to their judgment. The Minotaur, dubbed "Rob," was apparently born from a pod and "forced to fix swords." He was enslaved and suffered mistreatment at the hands of the humans involved. But they misjudged his strength and he escaped to the sewers. I assured him through Thea that no harm would come to him by humans while I was guarding him. I won't allow these murderers, thieves, and now slavers to cause any more harm to him. They will die by my hand, and no one will stop me.

He gave me a vegetable.

Thea is indeed keeping secrets. Apparently, her people are using her to watch the humans and get intelligence on them. I advised her to find out just what they are using her for, but it may not end well. More secrets. More pain. And our employer will have much to answer for. He keeps many secrets, one being the group we replaced. Who were they? And what happened to them? 

The others hadn't returned. We were down there for a while and I assumed they got caught up. I was right. They were fighting the terrorist again. I say "They." Louise was there, but another was there as well. He had an ephemeral, almost spiritual form.  They had subdued him, so I did the only logical thing: I killed him, or so I thought. The ghostly man approached me and stopped me. He told me I should "value life." How many lives were taken by this monster? Where is their value? Do they get justice? or does the monster's value supersede theirs? He knows nothing of the value of life. The lives of many.  When I approached the body, Louise appeared and stole the body away. He said, "Not yet." I can't catch him. He's too fast. I walked back by myself. I can't let this world suffer a similar fate to mine. I just can't.

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