Amara investigated a dirigible crash site on Caradoc. She found evidence suggestive of some sort of artillery attack, originating somewhere within a 3mile by 3mile zone, which included a section of coastline.
Kate spoke with Flora about Amara, and Random’s interest in Telluria. Flora wasn’t able to shed any light on the Emperor’s interest in the Shadow, which is quite remote from the Empire, but did confirm his trust in the emissary. Kate also mentioned her dissatisfaction with Kayleb’s preoccupation with personal matters during the early stage of the dirigible yard disaster… the phrase “whoring while the dirigibles burn” was used.
Tyber, in the castle infirmary dealing with his wounds from the masked figure’s Pattern blade, encountered a mysterious cloaked figure. The figure seemed confused as to its own identity, or even objective existence separate from Tyber, but claimed to have attempted to help in the fight, and mentioned a secret passage to the firearms armory. Tyber confirmed the existence of the passage, and had a conversation with Flora about the visitation and passage. Flora advised caution, and suggested maybe speaking with Bleys.
Saif met with the Pendragon Onslow to discuss the damaged Ways, and evidence suggesting his involvement in the dirigible yard attack. Onlsow seemed genuinely ignorant of the attack, and could think of no unusual overtures made to him regarding the Empire.
The Seneschal passed on some details on disruptions to other Ways throughout the Empire. They are widespread, and do not immediately suggest a pattern of targeting specific provinces. Response has been somewhat casual, various family members contributing to repairs as available, particularly Bleys. The dirigible attacks have followed a similar (lack of) pattern.
Saif set out to repair a damaged Way in Cassia, one of the larger affected provinces. It had been conquered by Bleys, in IY35. While in the stables preparing to depart, several mysterious persons clad in trench coats and fedoras apprehended him. They spoke with an odd speech impediment, and attempted to abduct him. Trump access was blocked, and they used darts to attempt to subdue him (though they seemed willing to do more lasting harm as well). He was drugged and knocked out attempting to escape, but the abduction was prevented. The assailants vanished without being apprehended.
Amara analyzed the scene of the abduction attempt, and recorded the signature of the toxin on the darts, and the footprints of the abductors (who apparently wore manufactured dress shoes). There were no signs indicating how they arrived or departed. Several guards and a stable hand were found knocked out. There was no trace evident to Pattern-sight of what blocked Trump, or how the assailants escaped.
Amara received a request from an Archbishop Marcus (no relation?) of The Church of the Unicorn for a meeting. She elected to defer until after the trip to Cassia to repair the Way. First, an older dirigible attack site was examined, which showed evidence of similar artillery attack, indicating a launch area that included a river.
While Saif was repairing the Way, a rabbit-suited masked man confronted them. He was joined by a second figure, a small female in a purple and gold mask. She addressed him as “Brilliant May” and he addressed her as “November.” They claimed to represent the Children of the New Year. “November” shunted Amara away through some Pattern-based power, stranding her in a featureless white room-sized space that her technology assessed as being the boundaries of the universe. Tyber was trumped in to help. “May” employed levitation sorcery to neutralize Saif. “November” blocked subsequent use of Trump. With no way to counter “November’s” abilities, they agreed to abandon that Way. Moving on to another, they were eventually able to repair it.
Kayleb found himself facing difficulties using Trump powers, which seemed to be based in his own inhibitions. He attributed this to failing to meet the terms of his agreement to provide The Guisel with a lock of Flora’s hair. He consulted with Saif on the feasibility of using Trump gates to supplement damaged Ways, concluding that it would probably be prohibitive, given the personal power required to maintain gates. He also recalled something about 12 masks (details?)
Flora agreed that “November” was likely Fiona in disguise: small, arrogant female skilled in Pattern. Flora suggested that her assistants could be Fiona’s children, explaining their Pattern abilities. Flora also warned Kate about the cloaked figure possibly influencing Tyber.
Saif reported on the repair efforts to the Seneschal, Flora, and Caine. Caine had a personal request for him to investigate the waterfront offices of a merchant named Murdoch Craven. Saif’s sources indicate that Craven is known to be a supporter of the Empire, a noble landholder with mercantile interests on the side. He has no holdings in Caradoc particularly, and his waterfront office for his shipping interest is not his primary focus.
Amara had a meeting with the Archbishop Marcus, a scholarly older fellow. Marcus claimed to have an issue best examined by an outsider: a message from a Bishop Manchester in Caradoc, that something possibly treasonous was going on there, possibly military mobilization in the castle. Amara agreed to look into it.
Kayleb manipulated some servants to retrieve some of Flora’s hair from a hairbrush in her chamber. He confirmed that the hair had the type of connection to Flora required for the Trump-related magic he had been investigating. He offered the hair to the portrait from which The Guisel appeared to him, and the hair disappeared. He found that his self-interference in his Trump powers was relieved.
Kate had a dream of a stealthy assassin stalking through the Cathedral of Amber, and slaughtering Pontifex Alexander on the altar. After the murder, the assassin seemed to change behavior as if becoming a different person, removed their mask, revealing Flora. Awaking alarmed, Kate travelled to the Cathedral and learned that the Pontifex had in fact just been murdered in the manner she dreamed. The crime scene appeared to have been cleaned by someone knowledgeable in forensics. She was able to find some bits of black wool consistent with the assassin’s garb from her dream. There was a faint unusual scent in the bedroom. The church staff were shaken by the murder, especially the overtones of a dark rite, but reassured that Kate was taking the matter seriously.
Kate planned a trip to Shadow Earth to analyze the evidence. First she discussed the dream and murder with Flora, who was dismissive of the dream’s significance, and asked to be kept in the loop about the evidence.
Amara travelled to Caradoc to speak with Bishop Manchester, but was informed that the Bishop had died that night in his sleep. Her scan of the body indicated a toxin present which could have induced cardiac arrest. After bringing Kate (with Saif and Tyber) in to help investigate, they decided to take the body to Earth for further examination at Mass. General.
Kate commandeered an autopsy theater at the hospital, and sent samples off for analysis. The results, indicating non-(Earth)human origin, triggered some alarm. The tests did confirm the presence of a toxin that could trigger cardiac arrest.
Kayleb received some guidance (source? Missing from notes!) that he should go to Earth as well, eventually arriving at the same hospital at a highly coincidental juncture.
Kate’s autopsy was interrupted by an explosion at the hospital, which cut power in the operating theater. Persons claiming to be security attempted to apprehend those in the theater, but Kate determined they were impostors. Kayleb Trumped them (with the Bishop’s body) to the hospital entrance. Complications ensued with genuine security personnel. They escaped via Trump to the Tir-Na Nog’th stair.
A stream of matter emerged from the Bishop’s body, transforming into a fancy fellow in a mask, who emitted a faint trace of Logrus. Before the masked person could remonstrate, Tyber attacked him. The masked shapeshifter became insubstantial and fled.
[edited for spelling of Guisel]