Insurgence

The scene opens with us not sure where we can go to duck the Task Force Valkyrie operatives after us. Paimon decides to call the Silver Ladder for help. As soon as he introduces himself, however, the phone picks up and he’s asked to come to the safe house immediately, because some shit is going down. Angelique tries to convince the driver they’re talking about an upcoming Battle of the Bands, but he’s mostly irritated that Angelique is trying to distract him from the game on the radio. 

After about an hour of driving, we arrive at a sprawling estate and a wrought-iron gate at the entrance. There’s a magnetic lock, but it seems to be disabled. Crossing the threshold, the time changes to night and the gate bangs shut behind us. Juve casts a quick spell to learn, it’s always 10 pm here. Andromeda picks up that there’s some strange use of Primal force here. 

Angelique, a little impatient, decides to press on ahead. Paimon strikes the door knocker after they both notice the elaborate wards on the building. There’s no answer, so Paimon opens the door. The runes seem to accept him. They do not accept Angelique, who slams her face against an unseen wall of force. Paimon steps through without any issues, and then turns around to invite us all into the safe house. 

Another acolyte emerges, someone Paimon recognizes, comes to bring him deeper into the house. Something seems to have gone wrong with Vincent’s ascension. It appears someone has killed him. Pretty messily. Some of the mages understand what’s going on; this tableau has been taken directly from the Magician card of the Tarot deck. No one saw how he was killed, and he appears to have been murdered in a locked room. 

Paimon tries to approach Annette, one of his superiors within the order, to discuss what’s been going on. Annette, however, is rather distracted by Angelique, and the two women end up flirting at the bar as Annette fixes Angelique a drink. Andromeda makes eyes at another mage, Pietro, which frustrates Paimon who’s trying to figure out what happened to his former colleague. 

Andromeda tries to flirt with Pietro, but she trips him up and sends him crashing into Juve. It’s a little embrassing for Pietro, who avoids trying to flirt with anyone. Not that the energy is good for flirting once Paimon, Juve, Andromeda, and Pietro walk into the room with the murder victim. Juve lights up a cigar and casts another spell to determine how exactly he died, and what the final moments of his life were like. 

Juve witnesses a very messy sacrifice, including that the entity was able not only to control how Vince bled out, but also trapped his spirit as it left his body. He can also see that Vince was trying to mark the floor somehow. Moving the chalice, Juve discovers the mark was an X and a V. Paimon knows the 15th Tarot card is the Devil. “Hail Satan,” comments Chimaera. Paimon wonders – these rituals usually involve passion plays, in which one person plays the Devil and another person an angel; and it’s usually the same person. Was Vince accusing the Devil’s actor?

As Juve thinks out loud about this, Pietro gasps at the suggestion the killer could be in this building. Either he or Annette stand the most to gain by Vincent dying, and Annette and Roxanne usually play the devil. Annette the most commonly plays the Devil, though they do trade off a bit. 

Jumping back in time a few minutes. Angelique and Annette are flirting at the bar before Annette gets called back to the kitchen. Angelique takes the time to cold read the other mages in this room. There’s definitely something goin on between Roxanne and Bill. They’re definitely a thing, but trying to hide it from everyone here. Randolph just looks confused and isn’t sure what he’s doing here or why, while Carter tries to ingratiate herself with everyone. Angelique fixes Randolph a drink, and plies him for information until Annette comes back. He doesn’t know much, and Angelique tries to take pity on him by slipping him some information about the chantry’s social dynamics. He sort of gets it, and does reveal Vince was kind of an asshole boss, to everyone except Randolph and Paimon. 

Annette returns, and starts leading Angelique away from the main group when someone screams, “Oh my god they’re dead! They’re both dead!” 

Cut to: everyone in the kitchen. Andromeda takes the time to cast a ward, and we see that Roxanne and Bill have been strung up like the Lovers card, their bodies fused together. Examining the scene, Juve sees the entity moving impossibly fast. It’s not slowing down time, but rather speeding itself up. Meanwhile, Chimaera communes with the house. The house doesn’t seem to care much about the deaths, but does reveal it knows who’s been killing them. It can’t reveal who, however, because of magic. It can give a hint, though. “The death guy missed part of the message. It was smeared.” 

Juve takes offense to this, and threatens the house. The house responds by throwing a picture at him. Paimon says it’s time to pool our resources, and asks everyone to touch him. Through Chimaera, we learn there’s another dead body somewhere in this house. In the library. 

It’s Pietro, impaled on the horns of an elk and representing the Tarot card Strength. Pooling our telepathic minds, we realize that the XV wasn’t the Devil, it was the Tower. And there’s a tower on the premises. 

Juve responds by grabbling Randolph and bullying him into confessing. All he succeeds, however, is in making Randolph cry. Angelique thinks at the group, “He’s not competent enough to pull this off, but don’t tell him I said that.” 

Our suspects are Carter, Aimory, and Aiden. Evaluating them: Aiden seems ambitious and focused on the new offices they might occupy. Aimory is terrified. And Carter seems fascinated by Juve. In a Biblical way. And, there’s another person in this house. Andromeda’s attention is drawn to the Prime anomaly she sensed earlier, but almost immediately it leaves. 

Carter points out that the cook is missing. Like mages would prepare their own meals. 

The chase is on! A dark figure in robes which give the appearance of floating is running towards the tower. Angelique throws a hex on them, knocking them down the stairs. But the sky above the tower is tearing. A fifteen foot tall rip forms in the sky, revealing red, deep space. And drained soul stones. Angelique lunges at them for a tackle. 

She laughs and says, “It doesn’t matter now. It’s too late.” Angelique sees solid blue eyes and blue energy around this woman. “I’ve already opened the gate for him. So many gates are opening. You can’t stop them all.” Around then is when she explodes, showering Angelique with blood. 

Some of the mages recognized what our quarry muttered before she died. Paimon urges us to look at the gate to figure out what it’s made of. We all begin gazing into the Abyss. The gate begins to tear open, wider and wider. 

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