In the room, O’Connor reclined on a chaise longue. Calling for Seamus and drinks all around, he and Wyrd both took bracers of whiskey and enjoyed long pulls from them while the rest took a seat. O’Connor then asked, “So, what are you going to do with the card?”
Raiju asked, “My biggest concern is if we shut the portal and Jacques is not in it, is that going to be a problem? Will he stay on this side?”
Wyrd chimed in, “And what is the deal with Jacques and his brother? I think that is a good starting point.”
O’Connor turned to Rune and said, “Rune, have you been giving away our secrets?”
Wyrd interjected, “No, we’ve earned this information.”
Waving for a refill, O’Connor said, “How did you come by these cards?”
Raiju responded, “Sax O’Clock.”
O’Connor nearly spat out his whiskey mid-quaff. “What? What’s a musical instrument have to do with it?”
Raiju smiled and said, “Sax O’Clock is an experimental jazz musician that found the card. I said I would look into it for him.”
O’Connor arched an eyebrow and said, “And you didn’t have to take it from his cold, dead hands?”
Raiju said, “No.”
O’Connor said, “How did you come together?”
Raiju answered simply, “Rune.”
O’Connor looked at Wyrd and said, “Jacques is from a family who went rogue.”
Raiju said, “He was talking about bringing about Shangri-la”
Wyrd asked, “What about you? What is your family, and what’s your name?”
O’Connor replied, “I don’t have much of a family. I’m not a family man. I have brothers and sisters, and we are a family in a manner of speaking. You can address my family name as O’Connor if you like. If I had my druthers, I wouldn’t be having this conversation, but you seem like an amiable lot. Something happened, however, and our worlds came crashing together, and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. We are attempting to find our way.”
Raiju said, “So those people who call themselves the Seelie Court are trying to make all of those deals with other governments and such?”
O’Connor replied, “That’s a different question.” Taking another dram of whiskey, he continued, "The Jakelle family is making deals with other entities, evil entities, but we kept catching them in dealings with these other entities. We tried them and kept finding reasons to convict them, so we banished them. They always claimed they would come back, and apparently they have. It seems like their agenda includes the eradication of us, which doesn’t fit my bill.
“It seems like it is time to introduce you to my brothers and sisters. We seem to be able to handle ourselves against the Jakelle family. What are you willing to do to be introduced to my brothers and sisters?”
Raiju said, “We don’t see a need to be introduced to your brothers and sisters.”
O’Connor smiled. “Maybe not yet.” He finished his whiskey and waved for another refill.
Wyrd asked, “So, about the doorways, they are attached to people? And we need to be careful when talking about them?”
O’Connor said, "The doorways are a manifestation of a person’s life force and the life force is a representation of one of us. The keys are also part of a person’s life force. The key has a small portion of life essence. When you use it to open your door, you are affecting the other. They know who you are and that you are affecting them (astrally). Many an amorous affair was conducted with the exchange of keys. If you use a key to close a door, you have an effect on those who you use it on. You have a choice, where you can close the door temporarily, or you can use it to close it forever, and it will lock them out of a dimension, and it also affects the keyholder.
“The reason you must be careful how you talk around a door or a key is that the other side may be listening. There are tales of how people’s words hold power and how they have had an affect on the keys and doors themselves.
“When you use a key you return the key. You are relinquishing the gift you have garnered.” Turning to Seamus, O’Connor clinked his refreshed tumbler to Seamus’s decanter and nodded.
Wyrd asked, “Do they have any other inherent powers?”
O’Connor said, “When you choose to open a doorway, you are choosing to move the keyholder’s door. That may anger certain people once the doorway has been moved. They can’t move their doorway without their key.”
Meanwhile, inside the box….
Sledge tried to force himself out of the box, and instead he forced himself through a set of doors and caught himself with his meat arms. The room looked like the foyer of city hall in Seattle. Sledge remembered this room because he met a woman there. He was called in for questioning to identify someone in Knight Errant accused of brutality. The ork woman claimed that Sledge saw the crime even though he knew he did not witness it. This event happened during the ork uprisings. Sledge sided with the orks. At the time, he wasn’t blooded with his clan. He didn’t know who to support, but he decided to support his ork kind and the person that was convicted on his word was a human, which is where his human hatred comes from.
He can see this woman across the room. She is beckoning to him like she was before when she was ready to escort him to the interrogation room. Sledge can’t quite tell if this is a dream sequence or if it is real. Sledge decided to follow the woman.
Wyrd asked, “What’s the deal with Arawn? I know it is a title, the biggest and longest one, and they are tied to the frivolous games. What is the significance?”
O’Connor stretched then said, “Do you happen to have the phrase?”
Wyrd said, “‘Long is the day and long is the night, and long is the waiting of Arawn’.”
O’Connor leans forward and rests his chin on his hands. He said, "I have heard that phrase, but if I could give you an answer, then I would be much more prestigous than I am. It is indeed a title, a title nested in a shadowy history. The Arawn are a tale. Lady Brane Deigh, if you can get her ear on the matter, you are better than I.
“So you’ve heard of the courts but know nothing of them. That makes sense.” O’Connor laughs and sips some more whiskey.
Wyrd said, “They are stealing doors and hurting people. They don’t have much compassion.”
O’Connor said, "I would agree with all of that. With my profession, I have the privilege of being invited to court occasionally. The lady is the cornonated duly elected lead of the Seelie (Summer) Court. Now the Arawn was the title that was given to a superbly just and righteous leader of the Seelie Court. Many tales of the Arawn started the Frivolous Battles as a way of staving off greater evils. If there is an Arawn, perhaps he lies in waiting, perhaps we are awaiting their return.
“Then again there are those close to my brothers and sisters that argue that we already have are own Arawn, but we call them something different.”
Raiju said, “What do you call them?”
O’Connor replied, “I won’t share that just yet. Should you be identified that you are on our side, perhaps I will share it with you.”
Meanwhile, inside the box….
Sledge followed the ork woman down the hall, and he recognized the hall, but the walls are painted in blood. The security camera in the hall stared dead ahead, and the lens is illuminated with a purple light that flashes, casting the image a skull off and on in purple light on the wall.
As Sledge moved, he entered a very familiar area from his past. Upon entering the area, he saw see the ork woman enter a room. Through the cracked doorway, he could see people inside. In the room was a person standing in full uniform. This person is standing there, not manacled or anything, being accused of a heinous crime. However, here Sledge also saw this other person bloody, battered, and tied to a chair. As he approached the room, he heard another sickening thud as he heard the woman lay into this dude in the chair again.
Sledge entered the room and checked on the person in the chair. As he entered, he saw the man in the chair begging through the bruises and blood, and the ork woman just kept screaming at him “It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault!” and wailing on him. Sledge moved to stop the woman.
On the opposite side of the room, Sledge saw two ther women in the room: one in a red hood and one that is older that looks similar to the younger one, possibly siblings. Sledge asked them who they were.
Apparently, Floyd had a connection with Sledge through the box and could feel the box getting hot.
Raiju said, “Seems like we’re both interested in these cards. Why are people after them?”
O’Connor replied, “Quite the question. The power makes them so valuable. They have a variety of uses, not all of which have been discovered.”
Raiju asked, “How do you use them?”
O’Connor said, “That is also a bit of a puzzlement. Folks like myself use them not in the same way that you do. You use them by powering them through strange rituals and summonings and such. We use them as they were built. They have strange effects when they get into mortal hands. We do not use them often.”
Wyrd said, “What was the original intention?”
O’Connor said, “Well, time for another.. fairy tale. Long ago, when the fey were young and naught else where in existence. The creatures that were there sought power, a whole bushel of it. They sought to overthrow the Fair Folk, for whatever reason, jealously, power-hungry. These creatures, the Fair Folk knew they could not be allowed to continue their pursuits, so the fey bound the creatures into the darkness, casting them there and keeping them there. They created a lock so complex that no creature in existence could predict the combination. Yet the dark creatures adapted to the darkness. Nay, they liked the darkness. They found fear there. As their story spread, they found fear, of what they could do, of what they might do, and the cracks began. Some weak folk found they were attracted to that power, so the weak folk were contacted by the dark creatures to find the cards. It was said a whole set was needed to break the lock. However, the cards needed to be used in the correct order and combination to break the lock. No one has found all the cards or the combination.”
Raiju said, “What about the Joker card?”
O’Connor said, “The cards, they have names I dare not speak them. Authorities claim that the Seelie found the first one. You see they claim that there are factions protecting each card, claiming to be responsible for these cards and others like them. But they found the card and said they destroyed it. However, terrible things happened, terrible things awoke, and terrible things attacked. No one knows how that story ended. I will see if I can find more information if it is important to you?”
Wyrd said, “Is that like what happened to Rune?”
O’Connor replied, “There was a theory that Rune found another one of the cards. We created a theory, a plan, an attempt to take care of the cards. We have seen what the Jakelle family can do, and every time another card is released into the world, another member of the Jakelle family is brought into the world. I’m not sure about the cards, or if I want them destroyed.”
Floyd asked, “What is the connection between ley lines, mana lines, song lines?”
O’Connor explained, “Song lines, dragon lines, ley lines, that is a big topic for one such as you. Think of mana like strands of Gaia’s hair. She has all this hair, and they do different things, and each other does different things. For eaxmple song lines are more like rivers designed for travel, used from getting from place to place. Banished long ago due to their ability to carry large beings or large groups of astral forms. You have seen them come back, breaking their bonds. Some say they were used to bind the dark ones. Now you have dragons, and entities have come back because these lines have come back. Smaller song lines are still around. They fluctuate and move, and when they move, mana is dishevelled, drunk, and strange things/illusions happen as song lines change. Ley lines are different. They used to connect the fey dimensions to your world. During the blood wars, the lines were severed in order to protect your dimension from the frivolous battles. Perhaps because they have subsided, they have come back. Our world has come back to your world, come crashing into it even.”
(Note: Their world crashing is separate from the Awakening.)
O’Connor said, “I’m still trying to establish my network of contacts and informants on your side, which is where we might have future business.”
Wyrd said, “What is your ultimate goal? What do the O’Connors want?”
O’Connor laughed. “It is never as simple as that! Me brothers and sister, we have long watched the games the Seelie Court plays. We have seen their uses. However, we’d like to see our own lady take the throne.”
Wyrd said, “Are you part of the Unseelie Court?”
O’Connor said, “I have long fought that classification. And I am part of the Seelie Court. If there were an Unseelie Court, I would be against it, of course.”
O’Connor goes on to tell us that the factions, by and large, support the current lady and her rule.
Floyd asked, “What about the dragon lines?”
O’Connor said, “The dragon lines, those are different. Those are the chains that continue to flood your existence with the mana that it needs. That mana comes from somewhere, but I’m not sure where. There are other worlds where mana is exhausted. Whatever sucked the mana from those worlds is likely to be a great drain, perhaps a great portal, between here and there. I do not know.”
Floyd said, “What happened to the ley line at the Great Wall?”
O’Connor said, “I don’t know, but I would be interested in knowing as I could sell that information for a pretty penny.”
Floyd pulled out the puzzle box and showed it to O’Connor, then said, “Tell me about this box and why all the ley lines connecting it.”
O’Connor said, “It contains quite a bit of mana.”
Raiju said, "We found it at the Fun House with the Jakelle."
O’Connor said, “It seems as if it contains an essence of some sort that feeds off of the ley lines that are connected to it. They remind me of the tale of the combination lock. Not so easily broken.”
Raiju said, “Back to the tale of the combo lock. If one of the cards are destroyed, what would that do?”
O’Connor said, “I’m sure I don’t know. But if you happen to know, talk to your old boy O’Connor.” He finished with a nod to Raiju.
Raiju said, “I think I destroyed one.” She pulled out shredded Four of Batons and waved it in front of O’Connor. “It came out of nowhere, a small replica of something I found in Egypt. It is a mana battery. I put the mana battery on top of the card and channeled mana into it and it exploded. When we came to the card was shredded.”
O’Connor said, “Mind if I have one of those to research it?”
Raiju gave O’Connor a mana battery. For the first time O’Connor seems not at ease.
O’Connor said, “To my knowledges, the cards can be destroyed easily. Physical representations of an artwork on paper. The Joker cards are different. You can’t destory them just by ripping it up.”
Raiju asked, “But if we use a mana battery?”
O’Connor said thoughtfully, “I don’t know. I don’t know if that would work. If there is an explanation… I don’t know.”
Meanwhile, inside the box….
Sledge asked Floyd what he should do. Floyd gave his best mental interpretation of a shrug and said, “I don’t know what you do in this kind of situation. This is your story, so you may just have to let it play out.”
Sledge tried to figure out what all of the people are doing here. The ork woman turned to Seldge and said, “Tell ’em! Tell ’em brother! Tell ’em he did it! Tell ’em he killed my children!”
Sledge said, if somewhat robotically, “Yes, he did that.”
Sledge had no weapons but still had his card and the pen foci. Sledge asked, “What is going on?”
The other ladies in red speak in unison: “This is where my father was killed. This is where my father was taken from me. This is where I began my path. This is where I lost my future.”
The ork woman started screaming at Sledge, “What are you doing? Don’t you care about your race? You’re not an ork. You’ll never be blooded! You are nothing!”
Sledge asked Floyd, “Dude, what should I do? She’s screaming at me. It’s like she is threatening me.”
Floyd replied, “Well, you could defend yourself. If she does attack you, you should.”
Sledge decided to attack the ork lady with the pen foci. She yelled back at him, “What are you doing? You will be abandoned, you will be bloodless, just like humans!”
The old lady in red started to fade and Sledge was left with the girl. Then he started to hear a low chuckling. Sledge thought he recognized Jacques’ voice. It was! Jacques started to meld from the wall, letting out a low, more sinister chuckle.
Jacques said, “Once you were judged unworthy! Ha-HA! You gave up the life of another. You denied the future of a child through your own wickedness! You have shown it to me! You have shown the box everything! Now you have changed. Do you regret what you did? You are so weak!”
Sledge moved to defend the girl. “Would you defy who you are and who you want to be?” said Jacques. Sledge pointed the pen at Jacques.
Everything goes dark. Sledge finds himself thrown up against a wall, somewhere. All is dark and then at once blinding bright.
Everyone around the room, Floyd, Raiju, and so on, all see the box vibrating very fast and spinning. A jet of mana appeared and launched Sledge against the wall!
O’Connor shouted, “What the fuck is all this about?!”
Wyrd blinked, then said, “That is our ork friend. Hold your positions.”
Sledge looked himself over. He was back as normal: guns, chromed arms, etc. Sledge looked around, disoriented, then noticed the whiskey decanter clutched in Seamus’s hands and asked for a drink.
O’Connor guffawed and said, “Motherfucker erupts into my room and demands a drink! I like him! Get him a drink!”
For a brief moment the lights dimmed and everyone was fairly certain we hear the cackling of Jacques, and when the lights come back up, the box was gone. Floyd said, “Damn it. This box led Jacques right to this place. I’ll bet he heard our entire conversation.”
Raiju explained O’Connor and the current situation to Sledge. After consuming a full tumbler of whiskey, he appeared to steady himself a bit. He the said, “What about my tarot card?”
O’Connor exclaimed, “What is going on?! The ork has the cards!”
Raiju said, “Jacques gave most of us the cards.”
O’Connor continued, exasperated, “So now he’s handing out the cards like feckin’ pamphlets! Why is he doing that? That is an answer you owe me.”
Raiju explained how we got the cards from Jacques and how Jacques asked for our help, telling us how the cards might help us find his brother.
O’Connor let out a low whistle and said, “Sounds like you are playing your own dangerous game. Your own mortal laws talk about ignorance of the situation is no excuse.”
Wyrd said, “Yes, but this is a whole different game, a fey game, not a mortal one. We are willing to trust you and Rune. What is it you want us to do to meet your friends?”
Raiju interjected, “How would it benefit us to meet your friends?”
O’Connor replied, “I’m fairly confident that you are going to need some help and will need to meet my friends.”
Sledge made the off-handed comment, “I like how we are more cautious with the leprechaun than we were with the demon.”
O’Connor set down this tumbler and Seamus refilled it. O’Connor then said, “So, we were to be discussin’ a sort of trade. What I would propose is that you find out more about why Jacques is passing out cards like business cards. In return for information about what might be important, I could introduce you to my brothers and sisters.”
Raiju pressed, “And why is that helpful to us?”
O’Connor said, “We will make sure that will you need us, we will be there. And if you are playing these frivolous battles, you will need representation at court. If you want to go to court, you will need someone to introduce you. Many things happen at court, and it is an amusing affair, and it is all properly planned. And those that do not properly plan….”
Wyrd said, “So I asked for help seeing the astral, and Rune gave me this pen. This pen has a spirit that has attached to me. Can you tell me anything about the spirit?”
O’Connor smiled. “I can tell you she is a right looker.”
Wyrd said, “She and I have been able to talk a bit through mirrors.”
O’Connor nodded and said, “I don’t quite understand. She is attached to you, but how do you not know who she is.”
Wyrd said, “Does this have anything to do with the witch who was killed when I was with Rune in Louisiana and the witch that was there was killed.”
Rune said, “Mon ami, that is a story for perhaps another time. I can see the lady you speak of. That is not the woman you and I both know. Perhaps we can save her; I have tried to contact her several times. I have seen the lady around your neck, and perhaps she has something to do with why I cannot bring her spirit back. I don’t think O’Connor will know anything about this.”
Raiju said, “Who are the mambo spirits?”
Rune said, “They understand the spirits and keep the spirits alive.”
Floyd asked O’Connor, “Do you know the Emperor Hak-Ju?”
O’Connor laughed. “HA! How do you know the Emperor?” Sipping some more whiskey, he continued, “he is a shrewd master, and he is very well connected. You would do well to trust him. I have represented him at court. Often he has his own concerns. If he has taken an interest in you, it means you have impressed someone.”
Sledge asked, “Is the Discipline card good?”
O’Connor said, “It is a difficult question to answer. Sure it has power, and sure you can tap it, but you would have to figure out the right way. It could be a phrase, a word, or a combination with another card.”
Raiju said, “If you are interested, Sledge, I have been doing some research about other groups that are seeking the cards.” Sledge nodded and motioned to Seamus for another finger of whiskey.
Raiju turned back to O’Connor and said, “Is someone who is not magically awakened able to use the cards?”
As she turned to ask O’Connor that question, a woman appeared behind O’Connor and he became very, very still. Behind the woman was a glowing doorway that was open. The woman stood with a gun up to the back of O’Connor’s head. She said, “Right, O’Connor, why don’t you explain what you know about that. And why don’t you tell me where the bastard is.” While talking she pulled a second gun and pointed it at Rune. She spat at Rune, “I bet your lap dog stole it for ye.”
Raiju, slightly put off by the interruption, calmly said, “Excuse me, but who are you?”
The woman replied, “I’m the person who will save your ass.”
Raiju said, “Pardon?”
The woman said, “I’m here to keep you from falling in with this dangerous lot.”
Raiju said, “What are you looking for?”
The woman yelled, “The bastard!”
Raiju laughed and said, “They’re all bastards! Which bastard are you talking about?”
The woman looked at Rune as said, “If you ever want anything to do with me again, you find the bastard and bring him to me.” Then she disappeared back through the portal she came through, and it immediately closed behind her.
Raiju said, “What the fuck just happened?!” Looking at Rune, she said, “Who was that?”
Rune replied, “No idea.”
Raiju said, “Is that another of your ex-girlfriends.”
Rune said, “I’ve never seen her in my life.”
O’Connor waved his half-full tumbler in the general direction of the woman’s now-disappeared portal and said, “Don’t pay her no mind!”
Wyrd said, “What did she mean by the hanged man?”
O’Connor said, “She is part of the bastard faction. They protect the bastard card. The bastards have been missing one of their cards.”
Raiju said, “Why do they think we have it?”
O’Connor said, "My brothers and sisters, we protect the hanged man cards. They blame us for their lost card. We will see how that plays out in court.
"Of course, who am I to say that she actually arrived here. Even though there are witnesses here, she would come up with tons of witnesses to the contrary. That woman is known as Cherry Bomb. She is one of the more active members of the bastard faction. She is not a fan of court and isn’t often there."
We all feel like Rune might actually know this lady at least a little bit, but decide not to press the issue.
Raiju said, “Is there a place I can store this Joker card?”
O’Connor took a pull of whiskey and said, “I would not bring that into me brothers and sisters, not on your life or mine.”
Raiju said, “Why was it surprising to you that he gave me the card?”
O’Connor said, “The card causes carnage. They corrupt. They expose terrible things, greed, that the races hold inside, and bring them out. So, for instance, when Rune and I worked wiith the other one, it would turn normal people into animals, full of hatred and envy. Full block wars would break out! The card is like a magnet for astral signatures. Spirits, too, would go crazy.”
Raiju nodded. She then asked, "Are we on the LEX VIP list?"
O’Connor smiled wryly and said, “Oh, yes, you’re on the list. For now, you’re on it. Continued presence on the list may warrant additional work.”
Wyrd said, “Could I get a friend added to the list? He just wants to party in the club and wouldn’t be here for business? I owe him a favor and this is his desire.”
O’Connor continued to smile and said, “Sure, I’ll put him on the list. You owe him a favor, but now you owe me a favor.”
With that, O’Connor finished the remainder of the whiskey in his tumbler. He looked around and said, “With the whiskey gone, we, too, must be gone, for I… am too far gone as it is. You think on my offer and return when you have information for ye O’Connor, yes? Yes.” Patting Seamus on the back, he and his entourage walked back to the elevator. We all followed, and he took us back to the LEX. Floyd, Raiju, and Sledge took their leave, while Wyrd stayed behind to enjoy the club a bit more before taking off.
(GM note: +1 karma for this session.)