Athens

Deprogramming

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jack, Strauss, Jake, and Jamie track John to the high school gym where cheerleading practice is underway. They get John outside and Cyndi follows, there is a verbal confrontation and John agrees to accompany Strauss downtown. They take him to the morgue and show him the remains of Flynn which have been recovered and are able to get him to shake off Cyndi’s influence. When it is suggested a local eatery dosed his coffee with blood, he throws up in the sink.

Return to the diner to discuss dealing with Cyndi, with John telling them about her schedule. They ponder approaching John Beechum and decide it is their best option. They go to Abacus, who signs off on the plan, saying that if it fails that the only option left is murder. He gives John a card for the therapist. It is revealed during the conversation that Abacus and George each own a quarter of the motel.

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Losing John

Friday, November 8, 2013

John starts tailing Cyndi. Jamie has lessons with Alice, who won’t let Alexandros go. The Stepfords get more aggressive.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jack notices John is neater and is defending the Stepfords, who are trying to buy the Sweet Water. Mike’s van is trashed and he moves into a room at the motel.

Note: Eric missed this session due to illness.

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Cannibal Murder Cult

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Jamie and John wake to find a strange reptilian man dressed like a secret service agent guarding Jack’s door. He introduces himself as Jake and says that Jack isn’t in his room but hasn’t left. He also says he hasn’t eaten, so they go to get food from the diner (a bag is already ready) and are allowed into the empty room to leave it. While the pair of them are in there, Jack steps out of the closet wearing a robe and wizard hat. He’s surprised to learn about the guard on his door. They fill him in on the situation with the Stepfords and they agree to tap Wood for more info.

Wood is mussed when he arrives for lunch, having second thoughts about doing a newspaper, pondering instead pamphlets or books. Jamie convinces him to do both, the paper for current events and the other two as reference materials. Wood says that one of the carnies who stirred up so much trouble several years back had a fetch who got very powerful and was able to “infect” the people around her. Her changeling was friendly with her despite being a prominent member of the Summer Court. After she left, the fetch’s power continued to grow until the freehold put her down (after several failed attempts). Part of the difficulty was her ability to nullify changeling magic in a growing radius. When she was killed, there was a human body left and it was investigated as a murder (she was shot and severely beaten).

He can’t remember some detail and so goes to his car with John to fetch his journal, which turns out to be one of dozens packed into his car in filing boxes. Finally, he finds his notes and says that the fetch had a daughter named Cyndi with her husband, John Beechum. John looks her up on Facebook and finds a cute fifteen-year-old redhead who appears to be driven, active in all sorts of clubs, and fun despite being conservative. A perky go-getter. Jake chimes in, warning us against doing anything, and admits that the monarchs have been unable to agree on a course of action which is why nothing’s been done about it. They need to cooperate to get it done and they can’t.

John wonders if Flynn left a ghost and they decide to go see Pamela. She meets with them in her kitchen with a hairbrush she asked them to bring. She says that everyone who dies in Athens leaves behind a ghost and that things are pretty crowded here. She summons Flynn’s shade, but as soon as Jack asks him about his body, he fully manifests, screams like a banshee, and goes all poltergeist. Jake tries to drag Jack out of the room until Pamela banishes the ghost back to his body. Jack says they he learned that Flynn’s body was currently being dismembered. With much trepidation, she locates where the parts of him are on a map, and demands to know what’s going on. She says she was never told about the Stepfords. Meanwhile, Jack and Jake are arguing about whether he needs protection from ghosts, being a medium. John helps and Jack tells him to stop.

They call Strauss and give him the information and then head back to the motel to await word. John and Jamie grab a nap while Jack goes back into his closet to continue decorating. They are woken by a ruckus outside and find Jake manhandling Wood. The pig-man heard over his police scanner that body parts had been found at a house in the taboo neighborhood and arrests were being made. Jack emerges wearing a smock and elbow-length leather gloves and they all go to Jamie’s room to talk. Checking the address the police mentioned, it is not the Beechum residence. Wood says he’s going to go drive by and take a look, but Jack admonishes him, saying, “They are a cannibal murder cult and you are made of bacon.” Wood seems taken aback and leaves.

The three go to dinner at the diner and when they still haven’t heard from Strauss, John goes to Moose’s office, finding her poring over a pile of paperwork with glasses on. She relates that the family in that house was marinating parts of Tyler for some sort of party and Mark is stressed because he’s having trouble getting access to the other houses because of the lawyers and a recalcitrant judge. John makes the mistake of asking about the paperwork and ends up getting Moose’s taxes dumped on him (with the glasses, to make him smart). He returns to the diner with his pile of paperwork and fills the the others in. John and Jamie retire to his room to play Last of Us and Jack returns, yet again, to the closet.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Strauss shows up at 1am and reiterates what Moose already told them. He says that the Beechums was the first place he tried to get into. The one he was finally able to get a warrant for were a new family which had moved into the neighborhood three months ago. The addresses he was given, nineteen in all, represent every house in the neighborhood. He says he’s informed George but not Abacus. He says he’s tried to contact Abacus but hasn’t been able to get through to him. John lets slip about the situation with the Browns and Alexandros. Strauss demands to know the details, given that Elliot is one of his detectives. They grudgingly give him some and he is less than thrilled.

He notices Moose’s glasses on John’s table and asks after them. He is very thankful when John says he’s going to take care of her taxes and seems surprised to find out the motel is near foreclosure. He confirms that, as John guessed, Moose has money but it is essentially a chest full of gold doubloons she keeps in her apartment. Strauss leaves and they go to Abacus’ house, getting there around two. Conversation with Jake as they approach indicate that he’s sworn a powerful oath with Abacus to protect Jack and doesn’t need to sleep.

There are a couple of lights on but nobody is answers the door. Jake calls and leaves a message and Abacus immediately calls him back and says to have John break in and he’ll be right down. John phases through the front door to let them in, disturbing Jake. With a detour to the kitchen, where John acquires pie and a glass of milk, they end up in the library where they are shortly joined by a hastily showered and dressed Autumn monarch. They explain everything that’s happened and tell him that they think they need to kill Cyndi. He says they would need someone who can fight even without their powers and Jack brings up Thomas, but Abacus says that he may actually be a longbowman from medieval England and never leaves the Hedge, thinking he’s in a dream.

Abacus calls George, who says he’s coming over. While they wait, Jack asks why everyone who dies here leaves a ghost behind. Abacus says it has only been that way for a few years (he doesn’t know precisely how long because Pamela is vague) but the dead are unable to move on like they should be doing. A squeal of tires marks the arrival of the Summer King and Caleb. The monarch is displeased to see the motley and tries to claim that all of the trouble of late has been their fault. It turns out he didn’t know about Cyndi and is livid that Abacus kept this from him. He challenges everyone present to convince him not to just start burning down houses in the neighborhood. John and Jack posit that the people there are just pawns of the fetch-child, innocent victims who will return to normal when she’s dead. George says he’ll handle killing the teenager (Jack is eager to take part) but needs intelligence. John offers to follow her and he accepts. They return home to the motel.

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The Stepford Situation

Saturday, November 2, 2013

John calls Abacus, who says he was hoping John would know where Alexandros is, and is surly at him. When Abacus says he hasn’t called Tyler yet, John hangs up on him and does so himself. Tyler is pissed and has John swear an oath that he won’t let them (Abacus and his motley mates) kill him before agreeing to meet them at the hospital where Alexandros’ personal effects are and tells him to bring a mirror. Jamie gets a hand mirror. On arrival, Abacus seems very unhappy to see Tyler and Alexandros’ “brother” gives him a wide berth in order to enter the room. John goes with him and Jamie and Jack stay in the hall, where the three of them discuss Tyler and whether or not he is a fetch. Abacus says Tyler has been trying to get Alexandros out of the Autumn Court and away from him and that their last encounter got physical.

Tyler collects Alexandros’ bloody clothes and eschews the hand mirror to use the larger one in the bathroom. He calls up a vision of Alexandros in his hospital scrubs sitting on a bed in a very nice room with a pile of clothes and a towel, talking to someone they can’t see because of the angle. The view looks familiar to John but he can’t place it. He calls in the others, but none of them recognize it. John tries to take a picture of the image with his cell phone, but just gets lens flare, and he asks Jamie to use her special camera. While discussing where it might be, John hits on the idea that it may be Mordecai’s house and that the Browns may have grabbed him to get leverage on Abacus. The Autumn King goes into the other room to make a phone call. John and Jamie get the mirror off the wall and move it just in time to see Elliot on his cell phone as they hear Abacus yelling at him from the other room. Elliot leaves the room and Alexandros falls asleep on the bed.

Jamie and Jack go to join Abacus as he yells obscenities into his phone. He’s hung up on and tells them Elliot wouldn’t admit that Alexandros was there or really say much of anything. Jack promises to go talk to him. Meanwhile, Tyler starts meditating and, after a spell, says that Alexandros is being coy and has been like this before when he’s been in jail. He leaves the bathroom and edges past Abacus (who looks like he might come after him) and runs down the hall with John in pursuit. John sees him to his car and kens him, sensing that he is, indeed, supernatural but unable to tell what he is. Jamie and Jack catch up with him at the car and they proceed to the Brown mansion, finding the gate unlocked and Elliot waiting for them on the porch. He is elusive but says he won’t let them in to talk to Alexandros. Jamie makes an incest comment about him and Alice and he says that he was “given” the name Brown but isn’t related to Alice and reiterates that he isn’t her familiar “in the sense that we mean”. He finally tells them that Alexandros didn’t feel safe at the hospital and Alice sent Elliot to bring him here.

John tries to get Elliot to swear that he won’t let the Browns hurt Alexandros, then just that they won’t kill him, but he says he is unable. John lays out how their obligations to Abacus (as their monarch) and Alexandros (as a member of their court) could lead to a lot of deaths if somebody doesn’t back down. Jack suggests that Alice, thinking that gay men are weak, could be convinced that Alexandros could be persuaded to get the knives for them, and so they should get the manacles off of him and let him go, ostensibly as a gesture of good will to curry Abacus’ favor. Elliot seems flustered by this suggestion and they leave. Jamie says they should tell Abacus and Jack volunteers, asking to be dropped off at his house.

Jamie and John head back to Sweet Water to have dinner at the diner but are forced to park several blocks away and walk through the street fair. As they near a booth for St. Gregory’s chuch (the sponsor of the fair), a trio of creepy-normal looking women turns as one to look at them after being alerted of their presence by a creepy-normal little girl. Behind them is Jamie’s fetch, which recognizes her. John turns them around and hurries away with Moose joining them, oblivious of the danger (she waves at the fetch). The wives all get on their cell phones. John spots two creepy clean-cut boys tailing them and steers everyone to his car, grabbing Mike (who has there getting ice cream). Three creepy-normal men (with pipes) are within sight of the car but don’t get closer after spotting Moose. As they drive off, Jamie texts Jack to warn him away.

John drives them to Verdant. At Mike’s suggestion, John and he go to call George, leaving Moose to order huge neon drinks for herself and Jamie. George initially just tells them that they are fucked but John presses. He shows up with Caleb and Strauss. John has beers waiting for George and Strauss and a glass of merlot for an appreciative Caleb (who takes it and walks off). Strauss and Moose are awkward and Geroge directs them all to a concealed door leading to a “back room” Hollow. He explains the M.O. of the Stepford People, that once they get his scent they’ll contact the people he knows to try and find him and tell them he’s a monster, but won’t hurt them. They only go after the monsters. He says they’ve killed five so far this year, killed two last year, and that the year before (when they first appeared) was a bloodbath. Strauss says that they attack people in isolated areas and all that is left is a lot of blood. The bodies are never found. George suggests shooting first and Strauss urges them not to shoot anybody.

Jamie tells them about her fetch and George is upset to find out she’s a nun, saying he can’t kill a nun or Caleb (who is religious) would never forgive him. He expresses his irritation that he’s religious despite the church thinking homosexuality is wrong and yells at John for being religious, as well, mocking his religious perspective on his captivity. He also accuses him of being closeted. The whole time, Moose has been glaring at Strauss. As everyone is leaving, she tackles him onto the couch and start kissing him. John hesitates but Strauss gives him a thumbs up. Jamie and John agree to avoid Sweet Water until the street fair is over. After some brainstorming, she calls her Spring Court friend Leonard, who agrees to put her up. John goes over to Connie’s apartment.

November 3-4, 2013

Jamie and John lay low. Jack returns home with a strengthened Mask and gets a look at the Stepford People but is not identified.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jamie and John return home. That night, Flynn Sullivan is brutally murdered in the Sweet Water parking lot. Mike witnesses the whole thing. He says that a large amount of Stepford People came out of nowhere with knives, slit his throat, bled him out, and took the body with them.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Summer Court patrol is stationed at the gate of Sweet Water. John and Mike set up cameras on the parking lot and both entrances.

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Sweet Dreams

Saturday, November 2, 2013

John dreams about failing to save Alexandros. It is dismal and rainy as he and Jamie have breakfast. Jamie says she thinks she might have been gone longer than she previously thought. They head to Abacus’ house and Mrs. Potts tells them that the king isn’t there and that Jack is sleeping and will be seen by Sands later. They go to the hospital and find Alexandros in Intensive Care, with Abacus and Elliot in the waiting room. They say that the doctors were able to get the manacles off of his ankles but the ones on his wrists are proving supernaturally resistant, which bothers Elliot as iron is supposed to be anti-magic. Elliot agrees to ask Alice about it and asks Abacus to reconsider. The Autumn King states that once he figures out how to keep Celeste from body-swapping, we are going to kill her.

Jamie tells Abacus about her dreams and he gives her a key to the safe in the Autumn Court sanctum and tells her to fetch a soul and use it to buy a dream interpretation from Serena. On the way out, John grabs a paper and reads about the gunfight at the family estate of the Grays, notes two dead (neither Julie) and a police investigation ongoing. Nobody is at the sanctum. The safe contains five mason jars, all glowing different colors and seeming like they are communicating. The knife box is in there with several other boxes. They take one of the soul and go to Madame Serena, who again takes them back to her kitchen.

Serena doesn’t believe that Jamie’s Keeper is close, instead saying that the dreams are being sent by the Drake to lure her back because she is needed for something. She says that the three of them are linked and they should ask Jack about his dreams and not let him get lost in them. John and Gavin are entangled and also linked to the rest of the motley. The knives and their fate, she says, change the potential futures considerably and they may be the source of the interference in Jack’s dreams. She also says they are an extension of somebody, part of them, and are also redeemable. She agrees that destroying them may be very bad.

They bring Abacus coffee at the hospital and fill him in on what they’ve learned. Elliot told him that Alice needs to do some research to get the manacles off. He sends them to check up on Jack. On arrival at Abacus’ house, Sands is arguing with George via text messages. Jack is awake and looking better due to a weird purple potion. They tell him what Serena said and he doesn’t think that he’s the one the knives are an extension of and says his dreams are weird because of the soul collecting. George storms up and flings the door open with Sands behind him. They argue about whether Jack needs more healing, with the injured party trying to punch him in the face when he pokes his dressed wound. He finally defers to Sands.

George suggests breaking Alexandros’ hands to get the manacles off but agrees it is a poor option when it is pointed how bad it would be if it didn’t work (since he can’t be healed until they are off). They take Jack back to the motel to change and find the streets blocked off for a street fair. They call Elliot and he tells them to come to his house in an hour. They have lunch at the diner and the waitress drops a paper bag full of food with “11” written on it in front of Jack. He takes it to Emily‘s room and Jamie goes looking for him when he’s gone too long, finding him admiring a painting of himself.

On the ride over to Elliot’s, John tells Jack about Serena’s thoughts on Gavin. Elliot is waiting for them on the porch, asks about the octopus and says his leg is fine. They return the kevlar vests. He confirms that he can see them as they are and takes them out back to the guest house. Alice is an ancient woman and the house is decorated in granny decor. She’s incredibly rude, dismissive of the two males and only really talks to Jamie. She says she knows who the knives are an extension of but says that whose half a soul they are is a family secret and she won’t tell. She refers to Abacus as “the faggot king” and says that men are weak and she’ll only teach Jamie. She does confirm that Celeste is in between bodies again. John uses kenning and determines that Alice is some sort of magic worker and that Elliot is also supernatural but not the same.

While walking them out, Elliot apologizes and doesn’t know why she was so rude. Jamie says she thinks Alice was trying to get to him. John asks if he is Alice’s family and he replies “not in the sense that you mean”. They head to Clarie‘s, wondering if they should bring vegan donuts and exploring the depths of John’s culinary skills. There is a student soiree in progress at the Griffith house. Most of the attendees are normal. They find Claire watching kids play Rock Band and she takes them upstairs to her room, shooing people out. She says the nightmares one has after collecting a soul depend on the strength of the soul. Older souls tend to be stronger than younger ones. They can last as long as a month. John tells her about Gavin and she isn’t sure bottling him is a good idea. Jack asks her to remind Pamela about warding his room. They hang out for a bit and get Glamour by playing Rock Band (and John steals some life force to heal his remaining wound).

When they return to the motel, John gets a text from Abacus saying that Alexandros disappeared after they moved him out of the ICU to a private room.

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Going Waco

Friday, November 1, 2013

The motley eats dinner and swears an oath to liberate Alexandros in the next twenty-four hours. Elliot returns at dusk with more kevlar, a shotgun, and a heavy pistol. John calls Tyler to get a better bead and he contacts Alexandros’ dreams, which are fractured and weird, and gets a cave near water, which Elliot recognizes. They come up with a plan. Jamie collects her cats and they go. They pull over halfway up the road to the compound, pulling the car off the road, and head out on foot, with the cats going up the other side. On getting near the fence, Elliot and the cats hit bear traps. John saves Jack from stepping on one. They get Elliot free and wrap his wound and he insists on continuing with them.

They climb the sheer rock wall in order to bypass the fence. Elliot says he’ll find a car while John sneaks up on the cave mouth and peers in, seeing two guards and a door. He uses creeping dread to unsettle the guards and then he and Jack use mask of superiority to order them to investigate the fence where the cats are tripping alarms. Jamie notices Julie in the center of the compound looking wary but she hasn’t seen them yet. John picks the lock on the door and finds Alexandros manacled to the floor with iron, bruised and broken. He uses a crowbar to pry up the iron circle and uses the key to unlock him from the floor but is unable to get the manacles off. Meanwhile, the guards return to the cave. Jack shoots one and Jamie hurls herself at the other. John carries Alexandros out just as Jamie gets shot and he drops his mask to scare the guards. Jack stabs the guy he shot but the other shoots John while fleeing.

John hears a car and George shouting as they exit the cave, and a mist rolls in while a female voice calls out to them by name, asking them to reveal themselves. John leads them towards where he heard the car. They stumble on two guys. The one with a fire ax pisses himself on seeing John and he badly wounds Jack when he runs up to them. The other guy urges him to retreat, eventually pulling him away physically. When they emerge from the mist, they find a Hummer with Wagner driving and Elliot inside and George with a sword facing down Julie and a bunch of her guys. She’s glaring at Elliot. Julie tries to touch Jack and then block his way and tells John that its a good look for him. They manage to get into the Hummer and start driving off. Elliot shoots Julie in the head as they are leaving, shattering the back window (to George’s irritation).

George yells at the motley, saying Abacus sent him. When they arrive at the Autumn King’s house, he is on the porch looking angry and takes Alexandros from John. His living room has been set up for triage and Sands gets to work on Jack (sticking an octopus to his chest) while George, John, and Jamie discuss how to get the manacles off of Alexandros, who can’t benefit from Sands’ help until the iron’s off of him. Sands works on Elliot next. They explain to a shell-shocked Abacus why they didn’t tell him and learn that Tyler called him, worried they’d be shot. Elliot suspects there is a schism among the Grays (Rebecca vs Julie/Celeste). When Abacus leaves, George tries to recruit them into the Summer Court and asks if Abacus is fucking Jack. John asks him why folks get horny when Spring’s in charge, but he doesn’t know. Jack finds the question ridiculous. After Abacus returns, Sands tells him that Alexandros needs to go to a hospital. He concurs and says he’ll take him. Jack gives him his knife and asks him to dispose of it in the Hedge, then retires to “his” room. George drives Jamie and John home. John goes to sleep with his gun on the nightstand.

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Absent Stalker

October 23-30, 2013

John works on Elliot’s car, spends time with his father watching the World Series (the Red Sox win), and hangs out with Connie at the Verdant and her place. On Friday, October 25th, he goes rock climbing in Great Barrington with Peter. Jamie and Jack insist on going which Peter is polite about but clearly wishes they weren’t there. Peter saves John from a fall while bouldering.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Autumn Court throws its big Halloween bash. Jack goes as a wolf in a business suit, Jamie goes as a Bowie cat, and John wears Day of the Dead makeup.

Friday, November 1, 2013

John hears Jack and Jamie leave at 3am on “court business”. They are given a jar by Abacus and are sent to the site of a car accident, where Jack collects the soul of the young girl who died, which he delivers to his liege. At breakfast, Jamie sends John (who is still in makeup) to shower after the waitress comments that he’ll get zits. Once he’s cleaned up, they go to visit Madame Serena, who lives in a big house with a purple door on a double lot. A neon sign with an eye and the word “Psychic” hangs out front. She lets us in and takes us to her kitchen.

Jack asks about the “Cuban” slave reseller and she says his name is Nicholas, that he likes fine and unique things, and is either “a Gentry coming down or one of us going up”. He has a place between here and Faerie and has a few creatures who find him runaways to use as currency to trade for what he wants. He also asks about the next market, which she says will be on Christmas Eve but that the location isn’t yet set. She reveals that she knew both Celeste and Alice and that they’ve been rivals since they were young and is aware that the former killed Young. She says Alice is past her time and hasn’t aged as well as Celeste, who maintains her youth by switching bodies with family members. She isn’t sure they actually managed to kill her and is unable to see a clear answer, they speculate that Julia was her next vessel. Nobody knows how she achieves the body swap and says it usually takes her a few years to “find herself” again after she does it. She also notes that Rebecca was Celeste’s teenage apprentice.

Serena notes that what they’ve unearthed has everything riled up (spirits, ghosts, sprites, the Hedge) and large sections of the Hedge have “gone funky”. She wants us to put them back where we found them. Jack asks about the nearest doors to the tainted parts of the Hedge. When asked about the monarchs, she says that Abacus has had the longest reign at ten years, that George seized power three years ago, she took over a year and a half ago when the previous monarch was outed as a Keeper pretending to be half the court (most of whom were online), and Lila has only been Queen for a year, which is normal for the Spring Court’s high turnover rate. Jack notes that Pierre functionally runs the Spring Court (and he’s currently out of town) and Serena agrees that Lila is generally doped up. She tells us a little of the founding of the town, that an old spell was cast that required a human sacrifice and “the sacrifice of a whole family” but it was ended and now the town is vulnerable.

They return home. John calls Wood, who sounds tired, and asks if he’s ever going to get paying work. Wood asks him to look into why everyone gets horny when the Spring Court takes over and asks him to see if Alexandros is in jail and to bail him out if he is so he can go back to being Abacus’ errand boy (which Wood is currently covering). After confirming he isn’t in police custody, John drives around to Alexandros’ usual haunts but is unable to locate him. Calling hospitals and shelters also turns up nothing. He calls the station back and gets a friend to give him the contact information for the guy who usually bails him out, his “brother” Tyler Henricksen, who is the same guy who owned the car John saw driving Alexandros away from Abacus’ the other day. Tyler says he hasn’t seen him and asks if John’s "in the know’ and if he’s sleeping with him, then says he’ll meet him in person. John gets into his car when he arrives and sees that he looks exactly like Alexandros’ mask. He has me call Abacus, who hasn’t seen Alexandros and assumed he was avoiding him in some sort of snit. Tyler kicks John out of his car and says he’ll find him.

John calls Elliot, the last person he knows who saw Alexandros, but he’s not able to help. He does say that Alice has agreed to teach Jack about warding and is surprised that he’s interested, too. He finds Jack in the diner and passes along the offer and tells him that Alexandros is missing. They ponder if Henricksen is his fetch. Jamie joins them, glaring at Jack. Jack suggests asking Christina if he’s been seen in the Hedge and John realizes he’s seen her at the gym when Jack mentions she works for Peter. She is called and says she hasn’t seen him but will tell George so they can start looking. She also mentions off-hand that Moose and Strauss are married but her currently separated. Call Elliot and ask him where the Grays might keep someone and he says to wait by the phone and hangs up.

Tyler shows up with his hood pulled up, looking nervous, and says he’s narrowed Alexandros’ location down to a collection of summer cottages up past the artist colony. He shows them on Google Maps and then quickly leaves. Text Elliot and he calls back asking how sure the information is (can he take it to a judge), tell him it isn’t usable since it came from “woo-woo”. He shows up a half an hour later in a bullet-proof vest and civvies. He identifies the cottages as the Gray compound, their main home but notes Rebecca doesn’t live there. They decide to send a slow message to Abacus through Mike so he can’t stop them, in case he is bound to by some agreement with either family. Opt not to involve the Summer Court to try and do it by stealth after dark.

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The Mystery of Abacus

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dawn is rainy and gray. John has breakfast and goes to bed but can’t get to sleep and meets the other two in the diner. He calls Strauss, who says he’s coming over in half an hour to talk to use. They retire to John’s room and a colorful discussion ensues. He’s unthrilled with Abacus having the knives and grills them about him. He reveals that the king had a normal girlfriend, a teacher named Nora, who suddenly left town. When they are done, John walks him to the car and tells him everything the others left out.

When he returns, Jack talks about finding a Summer Court escort to look for Bertie and ask her about the ring she gave him. John hits on the idea of going to the hospital to see if there is a Gray there and finds a burly guy named Robert in the waiting room for the ICU (where Nicholas is). John tells him they don’t have the knives but Robert doesn’t believe him, so he gives him Abacus’ number. He goes to make a call and, when he returns, says he isn’t who they should be talking to. He gets John’s number and tells him to leave but John shows no inclination to do so, so he punches him in the face. John drains life force from him and so he hits him again. The hospital staff ask them to leave.

Outside the hospital, John is called by Rebecca Gray, who chides him for starting a fight. John blows up at her and she hands up. He calls Strauss, who isn’t interested in the woman or the fight and chides him for provoking them. John hangs up on him and goes to hang out with his father. Later that afternoon, he gets a call from Jack saying that a Robert is there and wants to talk to him. He drives back to Sweet Water and Robert apologizes for hitting him and says they will leave his family alone. John and Jack are unable to get anything solid enough for a pledge out of him. After he leaves, Jack says that Christine, a Summer Court knife fighter, is taking him out into the Hedge tonight. Emily stumbles out her door, looking stoned, and Jack goes to see to her while John goes to take a nap.

Jack knocks on John and Jamie’s doors at 8pm and says Christine is ready to go. She is dressed in armor made of license plates and road signs. They are joined by Wagner, Thomas, and Moose and proceed to the gymnasium on campus where they enter the Hedge through a locker door. They fight and bring down a hedge beast before catching wind of Bertie and Jared and corner them with a pair of scared-looking girls (one tragic, one reptilian). Christine says he can go if he lets the girls go and answers Jack’s questions.

Bertie tells Jack that Abacus had a ring like the one she gave him and the one who she got it from (whose name was Saul) was sold to a guy in a white Cuban-style suit and fedora who buys a lot of their slaves. She thinks he is a reseller. Saul looked like Abacus and beat Jared at chess. She’s seen a couple others like them (and has their rings) and they all seem scared of women. She thinks his durance was like an English boarding school and says he was stranger than he seemed and wouldn’t settle down. Jamie, meanwhile, stokes Jared’s ego to get him to relax (which makes Bertie sad). When Jack is done, Christina punches Jared in the face and tells him to fuck off. They return to the world and are given a cold ride home in Christina’s jeep.

Jamie says she is interested in finding an Isaac, who supposedly can hook her up with Hedge-grown weed. John suggests asking Silas. They walk down to the junkyard and find students hanging out watching Eroll Flynn movies and a guy playing guitar. Silas gives her Isaac’s number and he comes down to hook her up. John picks up a coed named Connie and takes her back to his car, where they have mind-blowing sex.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jamie and John show up to breakfast at the diner looking incredibly well-rested. Elliot, on the other hand, arrives in civvies looking tired and sits down next to Jack. He asks them to convince Abacus to give the knives to Alice, saying that they met and it went poorly. Jamie tells him that Abacus touched them. The detective suggests Rebecca is smarter and calmer than Celeste was (which is both better and worse) and is younger than most of the family. Jack tentatively agrees to talk to Abacus. John asks him about the healing and Elliot says it is “personal” and is about to give him a hint but changes his mind. When he leaves, he runs into Alexandros, who makes advances that Elliot doesn’t seem to notice. Elliot gives him money and they leave together and the group suspects they were having different conversations and are amused.

They go to see Abacus at his office on campus but he refuses to give the knives up. He’s met with both Alice and Rebecca and notes that the latter is one of his students. He says he’s been experimenting with the knives in the Hedge but agrees to stop when Jamie suggests that something of the Others might have gotten trapped in them when they were created. He also agrees to separate them for real this time. Jamie gives him the pictures she took of them with her special camera.

John calls Elliot and leaves a message for him to call, that they are planning to go to Mordecai’s house. Jamie calls Wood, tells him about the camera’s special properties and asks him for Mordecai’s address. He says the press is nearly ready to go. They find the mansion on the lake near the edge of town behind a vine-covered Gothic iron gate. John picks the lock and senses something magic there but nothing happens. Jamie takes a picture of it before they enter. Elliot calls John and asks what they are doing, then invites them to join him and appears from behind a tree. Jack explains they came to look at the wards and he offers to show them them the safe. The house is gorgeous and there is a pale blue ’57 Chevy Bel Air in the driveway. John notices the same motif from the front gate in the brick mosaic on the front porch.

Elliot opens the door with an ancient-looking key and they are led inside to a den with a portrait of an intense guy. He removes it to reveal the safe behind. Jamie photographs the engraved sigils on the interior. John half-jokingly wonders if there is an introductory course in warding and Elliot says he’ll ask Alice about it. He is sobered by the speculation about an Other being in the knives and is panicked to hear about the Autumn King’s experiments. On the way out, John offers to restore his car after he admits it doesn’t run well. He accepts and drives the car to the junkyard and asks John to give him a ride back to his car. On the way, he says he’s worried about John’s safety and tries to convince him to pressure Abacus. John says he has no leverage and an awkward conversation ensues about Jack’s leverage on the king. After dropping him off, John goes to his dad’s to watch the first game of the World Series (the Red Sox win).

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Saving Frodo

Monday, October 21, 2013

John and Jamie follow Jack into the hedge and the three of them (after some diplomacy to get Jack to agree) search for the nearest exit. Jamie senses something and notes that the knives seem to be having a dark effect on the Hdge. When they reach the trod, they see a vaguely female shaped figure coaxing them down the path. They ignore her and find the gate. John sucker punches Jack who pulls his knives and backs through the gate into the bank bathroom, startling Jay (a Summer Court security guard). Jay tries to get them to follow him out but Jack opens another gate and John shoots him in the leg to keep him from going through and he loses consciousness. John points the gun at Jay but is unable to keep him from calling King George, so he calls Abacus. The Autumn King tells us to go with the Summer Court.

Jamie picks up the knives without touching them and wraps them in John’s coat and they are loaded into an SUV driven by the gorilla, Wagner. They are taken to an apartment complex. Wagner carries a now conscious Jack (who is peeved about being shot) and turns them over to Caleb, who tells them that Abacus and Sands are on their way and tries to get Jack and John to make up. He produces an iron-lined leather box for the knives and is persuaded to allow Jack’s handcuffs to be removed (John picks the lock so as not to risk breaking his wrists). George enters and angrily asks them about the fight in the Waffle Haus. He’s also pissed off that we opened another door to the hedge.

Abacus and Sands arrive. George takes his counterpart aside while Sands patches up Jack, taking him to the bathroom to remove the bullet. Abacus returns alone and asks why they didn’t ask him for help. He says the police are looking for Jack (surname unknown) but that Brown and Strauss are not being forthcoming. Julie is the only one claiming Jack attacked first, everyone else saw Celeste put her gun to Jack’s head. Abacus says he’s taking the knives and Jamie warns him not to take them into the Hedge. He says the Grays are clannish and competitors for arcane artifacts while the Browns are adept with magic but little is known about them. He scoffs at John’s Nephilim theory. Jack suggests the knives be separated and offers his safe. Abacus speaks with George before driving them home.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Autumn King comes them into the Sweet Water. Elliot emerges from Zane’s room and asks Abacus for the knives after John introduces him as “Dr. Freeman, my boss”. They go to talk after Elliot says there is nobody in our rooms. Jack sends Jamie to eavesdrop while he goes to fetch Moose to move the safe. The detective threatens Abacus, who is non-plussed and says he wants to talk to Alice, and leaves. The Autumn King opens the box and begins fiddling with the knives but Jamie interrupts to tell him that it is a bad idea. He dismisses her and leaves.

Alexandros, who was lurking nearby, wanders over while they are all discussing witch countermeasures. He insists on checking Jack’s room before he goes in, then argues about whether or not he is a “Dracula”. He spends the night in front of Jack’s door in a lawn chair after Jamie goes to bed. John changes and calls a cab to go and retrieve his car. He buys dish soap on the way back and spends the night washing blood out of his clothes.

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The Least Bad Plan

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jamie puts Celeste’s card into the drawer full of salt and feels a “ripple”. She tells the others and they decide to burn it, as originally planned. When they do, they sense something happened, though nothing apparently does. Jamie checks on Alexandros, just to make sure he’s alright, and he is.

John calls the detective bureau and asks to be put through to Elliott. When he’s connected, he says he heard Brown was looking for him. Brown is coy, but when John threatens to hang up they arrange a meeting at Jack’s apartment. Alexandros is waiting in John’s back seat so Jack rides with Jamie and they take separate routes, just to fuck with him. Elliot continues to be coy, until John forces the issue, and Elliot finally asks what they’ve done with Abigail. They tell him the whole story about Abigail and assure him that she’s at rest. When asked about the journals, he says it was a cousin of the same name who purchased Mordecai’s journals and wants them to turn the knives over to him so he can have them destroyed. He can’t, however, offer any assurances that Celeste won’t make good her promise if they do. John asks why the Brown family did not simply break into Mordecai’s house to retrieve the things the family wanted, and Elliot responds “Lawyers”, calling them a “Plague upon this earth.” John seems incredulous that lawyers would stop them from retrieving the evil killing knives, and he replies that Mordecai knew well how to ward his home, and that without the proper key, getting it was perilous at best, thus the Lawyers. He indicates that the fractious Brown family were fighting over the estate.

When his pleas for the return of the knife go no-place, but it seems that Jack might give ground with more information, Elliott says he’s at an impasse and needs to make a call. Jamie eavesdrops on him while he’s in the bathroom and hears him speaking in an unknown language that is so beautiful she is left weeping. When he returns, he says “Alice has given me parameters” and starts answering questions about the families. He confirms Jack’s assertion that Celeste is a “wicked sorceress” and says she is older than she looks, that she was even alive when Dixon was killing. He said his family was tricked into making the knives and wants to atone for it. He notes that the Grays are tightly bound (there are about fifteen of them in the immediate vicinity) but that his family is larger but not united in purpose. He admits they will try and get the knives if we don’t hand them over.

John brings up his recording of Celeste admitting to torturing and killing Young, but says that it won’t stand up in court; in part because of the subject matter (magic knives, ghosts) and in part because Jack and Jamie’s identities won’t hold up to scrutiny. Elliott presses for details but John will only say that Jack is a cypher with no identity and that Jamie has another version of herself running around ten years older and a nun. John then suggests that Brown steal them. That will focus Celeste’s wrath on them, where it is anyway. Elliott says he doesn’t have enough for a warrant and can’t steal them, saying, “It would compromise me”, he would need Jack’s permission to take them as a ruse to fool Celeste and Jack won’t agree to it, unhappy with either proposal. Frustrated, Elliott goes to make another call. This time Jack eavesdrops on him and the effect is similar to how it was on Jamie, except more intense, though he manages to be stoic about it. John wonders if he is nephilim and Jamie says they thinks they are Romany.

John suggests an anonymous tip and the detective admits that would be enough to get a warrant. John asks if he is nephilim, he stutters and ignores the question, then playfully mentions that they are giants and asks if he looks like a giant. Jack asks him what language he spoke and he chides him for listening in and leaves. When he’s gone, Jack says he wants to kill Celeste and tries to talk John into it. They are interrupted when Elliott returns and asks if money would help to sway us. Jack says “no” and Elliott says he’ll tell Celeste he is going to take them by force to try and get her off their back, and leaves again. When the group goes to their cars, they are just in time to see Alexandros being man-handled, kicking, into the back of Elliott’s car, both looking roughed up. Jamie accuses Elliot of having something against him like the other cops, and Elliot looks baffled, but refuses to answer what he’s done to be arrested, and gets in the car. Alexandros clearly says something remarkably filthy to Elliot inside the car, causing him to stiffen and grip the wheel angrily as he drives off. They get in their cars and head back to the Sweet Water.

Jamie goes to talk to her friend Leonard about getting a cat, or finding some way to make her Beast magic easier. Jack goes to talk to Emily and then looks for Moose. While they are occupied, John goes to talk to Strauss, who gets his lieutenant to call Brown back (he’s on his way to meet Celeste). Strauss suggests they come with the warrant and seize the knives while they are giving them to Celeste and tells John to call him when the meet is set, with the details. John asks Strauss not to tell Jack they talked about it, saying he’s under the influence of the knives. John gets back to the Sweet Water with Chinese and they all discuss how to proceed in Jamie’s room (which is meticulously clean). Jack says he’s amenable to losing the knives and didn’t say as much in front of Elliott because he felt that he needed to believe he was taking them by force for it to work. They discuss and reject a number of possible locations and scenarios before John suggests the plan of having Brown show up while the exchange is being made, hoping that she’ll try and take the knives by force, giving Jack his opening to kill her in self-defense. Jack notes that he tried to discover Elliott’s fears and found that he has none, so he thinks he is a Keeper and doesn’t want him to get the knives.

Jack calls to check on Nicholas’ status and finds out he’s in the ICU but is still alive. Then he calls Celeste to arrange the exchange. She suggests Der Waffle Haus again and they agree on 9pm. John goes to the pay phone and make his call to Brown to give him the tip. Elliot clearly knows it is John, and tries to play along badly, John hanging up on him halfway through speaking. He also calls Strauss to give him the time and place. He gets a message from Brown to be careful and to tell him that Alexandros has been released. Jack goes off and Jamie finds him having sex with Emily (with the door open). John finds Alexandros and is trying to warn him that something’s going down and Alexandros says he’ll have to call Abacus. Jamie comes in, drags him to John’s room, steals his phone and ties him to a chair, as he is both protesting and being deliberately lewd. Then she goes to take a picture of the knives with the special camera and, while she’s gone, Alexandros starts playfully shouting for help. John unties Alexandros, ignoring his suggestive remarks, fueled by Jamie’s protests that instead of releasing him, John should gag him. He gives him a banana (which only makes Alexandros worse), and sends him on his way. John settles down for leftover Chinese food and a nap while Jack, Jamie, and Alexandros have dinner at the diner.

They arrive at Der Waffle Haus on time with Alexandros asleep in the back of John’s car. Celeste shows up not much later with a twenty-ish woman they haven’t seen before (later introduced as Julie) carrying a large box. Jack asks her for Mordecai’s story as part of the deal. She says he was a pervert who liked to peep in windows, and saw the thing with Abigail and left when suspicion fell on him. He traveled the world killing supernatural things and collecting trophies and filling journals with what he learned before returning home and leading part of his family to kill Dixon and steal the knives. His faction of the Browns then proceeded to fight with the Grays. She says they were owned by the Grays for some time before being “christened” by Dixon, which gave them their purpose: killing for pleasure (as opposed to justice or some nobler cause). She says Alice is a very old woman with knowledge she shouldn’t have who tries to make the world a better place for “other folk”, gesturing to the waitress. She says Alice is bound by guidelines which make it possible to elude her and warns that she has a talent for “binding”, that we might end up in her service for a long time if we cross her. When asked what the Browns are, she says they are witches, though noting that they aren’t all actually witches, but that they all have jobs (witch, soldier, sage, etc).

Finally, she and Julie stand and say they are going to the ladies room. She wants Jack to agree to the deal before they go and put the box with the knives inside the one Julie was carrying and he starts in on a long, complicated oath before she interrupts him halfway through. Her shorter version says if she is given the knives, she won’t kill us, our families, or our “legitimate” romantic interests. In response, Jack grabs the knives from where he was concealing them and stabs her, though her tough leather jacket protects her from injury. She quick-draws a gun and puts it to Jack’s head but Jamie successfully grabs the gun, and John pepper sprays Celeste. She drops the gun and takes a few steps back from the table, painfully rubbing at her eyes, and saying she’ll forget this happened if they stop now, but Jack attacks again and manages to draw blood, bringing with it a surge of Glamour for Jack as the knife drains life from the woman. When she quick-draws a knife and lunges for him, John gets in the way and is gutted, then grabs her and starts draining her life. She says that if Jack kills her, we will lose him. Jack stabs her and she falls unconscious in John’s arms. As the knife takes her down, Jack feels a different surge of power, returning his resolve, and removing any temptation to surrender the knives or let his quarry live. He knows, without really being bothered by it, that he cannot put them down now of his own volition. Jamie grapples with Jack for the knives but he reveals he made an oath to kill her and will die if he doesn’t, so she releases him.

Jack puts the knives away just as Elliott bursts in with his gun drawn. Seeing nobody armed, he kneels beside Celeste and tries to stop her bleeding while Jack tries to convince him to let her die. Jamie steals one of Jack’s knives and he lunges for it, drawing the other. John yells for Jamie to take the knife back to the apartment and put it in the iron safe, to cut off its power. She tries to leave but Elliott grabs her (proving to be very strong) and takes the knife. Jack comes over and kicks Celeste; Elliott, enraged, takes a swipe at him after losing a struggle to resist the impulse. Jack tries again to stab her, but John throws himself over her and gets badly hurt, losing consciousness. Elliott manages to drop his knife and goes back to trying to save Celeste. Jack picks up the knife and watches quietly but when it looks like he’ll be successful, he stabs her one last time, killing her. The realization that he has just murdered someone travels through the bond formed when John’s fetch was killed, and only Jack’s calm certainty that he has done the right thing buoys the other two out of their guilt.

Elliott advances on him, pleading with him to turn over the knives. Jack tries to distract him by noting that John’s bleeding to death, but Elliott says he’ll go to Heaven and continues imploring him. Jack says that John is a demon, and Elliott says that John is delusional, begging him to listen to reason. Jack opens a door to the hedge and steps through it, slamming to door in Elliott’s face. During all of this, Jamie has retrieves the first aid kit from the trunk of John’s car (and noted that Alexandros seems unconscious rather than asleep) and has been frantically trying to save him. Elliott kneels over John and kisses him, healing his injuries instantly. He then orders him, while frantically shaking him, to follow Jack and get the knives back or Jack will lose his soul. He says it would be a very bad idea for him to go into that door, even if he were able to reopen it.

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