October 24, 2019 at 5:31 pm #22085
”I agree with AM. Let’s have a better understanding of what we’re trying to sell so that we don’t get our pockets picked.
“Or do what about that Gau motherfragger? Five-Fingers. He and Jawsey are tight, aren’t they? He’d probably rip me off, but maybe not Jawsey.”October 25, 2019 at 9:44 am #22094
“I don’t care who we are selling to, as long as we all get our fair share and we won’t get in trouble for the stuff.”
Bobby repliedOctober 25, 2019 at 10:01 pm #22107BetaParticipant
Jawsey returns to the house looking exhausted, but satisfied. Once he finishes complaining about the cheap mattress he was expected to sleep on while on this job, and the resulting mess that his back is in, he eventually confirms that the mission was a success and his contacts were so happy they forgave a bit of his debt. Also that the extended astral surveillance on top of the magical strengthening exercises he’d been doing seems to have done him good, and he feels like his magic is getting stronger.
He is not super helpful on figuring out the two recovered items, however. As he explains “Until not much over a year ago, I was told that I just had very lucid and odd dreams. It took a long time anyone to realize I was astrally projecting, and could learn other magic. I’ve gone through the first season of “Mr. Majiji’s Magic for Youngsters” but that is about the extent of my actual understanding of how all this works.”
October 26, 2019 at 2:50 am #22110
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Beta.
AM says ”I like figuring out magic stuff, while I cannot enchant it myself, I was fascinated with magical items even before I awakened. I’ll figure it out, and see what we have. Gau will rip anyone off if he does not know what it is. “ To Jawsey she says ”You’ll need to know arcana to advance your talent. It is nothing urgent though. “ She shrugs and then says ”Ritual spellcasting is important too, it lets you cooperate with other mages and is a good way to study.
True to her word, AM is fascinated by the riddle and spends the next days studying and evaluating the items. The first days merely establish the bayonet as a weapon focus of strange design… but AM cannot ignore the mystical patterns on the items aura, patterns which are alien to her shamanic education. It is a weapon focus on the surface, but there is something more to it than that. Some hunger, some vitality, some horror. Perhaps some imprints of the previous owners remain within the focus. It takes some time and some matrix searches, and anonymous questions on obscure forums to determine that it likely is an athme. A vessel with the unique capability to store magical energies gained with sacrifice. In fact, she is pretty sure that it contains a trace of unused energy even now. Her next valuation is if it is usable by nonblood mages, as a weapon focus. The short answer is yes, but such a powerful focus has its own personality and that knife has some murders personality. The knife is clearly too powerful for Jawsey, and not much use for herself. In fact, few legitimate magic users would like to use such a dark artifact, perhaps if they go to Atzlan or find some Atzlan contact they could fetch a decent price for it. Such a high force magic focus is indeed very expensive, but here when blood magic is forbidden, just using the knife is a risk.
After she studies the knife her mind already understands the basic concepts of Blood magic, and the painting comes more natural for her. It is a Govi, but it is unlike her own. It is fueled by blood – or by the intense emotional meaning of blood. While its design is foreign, AM could clearly see its flaws. It is linked to the moon, and would only last for one lunar month. However, while the vessel is flawed the painting is a masterpiece of magical design. The sotred watcher should be able to look out from the painting, without any hard limit. The Govi somehow decrease the decay rate f the watcher even when activated inside it. She takes notes and carefully studies how such a feat is even possible, she finally reaches the conclusion that the ink itself gradually emits a small amount of mana that makes up for the natural decay of the watcher as long as it is in the painting. She definitely wants to try that thing out.
The thing that bothers her is that none of these things seem valuable to the point of getting knee-deep in debt. Her Govi costs a few hundred nueyn and the ritual to restore it consumes a few hundred more. It is expensive, sure but not odd jobs and black market expensive. Perhaps the painting has some other value, or perhaps its uniqueness makes it expensive? Perhaps a proper blood mage would be able to somehow do more with it?
Why were these items so valuable to Ceaser? She wasn’t a Blood mage… was she? Could she really be? A powerful weapon focus can cost as much as her deck which would explain debt but – did they just killed a Blood mage and eliminated the evidence when the Draco foundation would pay 1 million nuyen for a live Blood mage? Were they really so close to being rich? She scans Ceaser’s files for an answer to satisfy her curiosity. A second unanswered theory is that the items were so expensive because Runningbird had a blood mage connection willing to pay the full price for them. Hacking him again though would be unethical – what a waste. Ceaser getting mad for paying a fortune for mundane treasures and committing murder? It could be a story – but even in that story, great wealth evaded them.
October 26, 2019 at 5:22 am #22116
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Gilga.
Bobby joined AM in her quest to determine what those things do. He knew his limits, but he actually had received quite a bit of training with the NAN forces. The longer he focuses the more he feels the call of his spirit guardian. Especially the blood rituals of the bayonette stir something in him. The great Hunger… He always knew on some instinctual level that there was a good chance he could slip into that kind of magic as well. And the power here was so tempting.
Still, he also knew how destructive and addictive blood magic was – at least in theory.
“Get that bloody knife away from me and sell it at the soonest opportunity. Nothing good can come from it.”October 27, 2019 at 5:12 pm #22124
”I can handle it,” Mato offers of the bayonet. ”While you were partying, I studied the blade.”
Mato picks up the bayonet to see if he goes crazy. He flips it around and tests its balance, then taps the blade to feel its edge. It has a spear-point blade with a half sharpened secondary edge, useful for fighting or as a utility tool.
”So, could I, like, shank a spirit with this? No? Pity.”
If Mato goes crazy when he picks it up, it feels pretty normal. Maybe the bayonet is screaming at him right now, but finds no purchase given Mato’s Essence that’s roughly equivalent to the algae that live on a rock in the middle of a lake. So either the bayonet doesn’t make him crazy or he’s already crazy to begin with, one or the other. He can keep it in his smuggling compartment so that Bobby doesn’t tiptoe through headquarters at night, slitting everyone’s throat with it.
”I doubt Caesar was a blood mage. If she was, it seems like she would have taken the opportunity to do Runningbird and Reynolds much differently than she did. I’m guessing these were just souvenirs from her travels in Aztlan, or artifacts she was smuggling to make a quick nuyen.
”We also heard that Caesar was seen at The Funhouse, right? I can’t imagine Urubia tolerating a blood mage. Her politics align with Hestaby’s, who was the torchbearer for Dunkelzahn’s message of peace and harmony with humans, and the Big D specifically called out the dangers of blood magic in his Last Will and Testament. So I doubt that Urubia would have overlooked blood magic if it was in her midst.”
October 27, 2019 at 6:41 pm #22126
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Tecumseh.
”About Ceaser, I know very little of Blood mages… I’ve only seen them in trids. So I would not presume that all blood mages are abusive serial killers. Moreso, such magic is higly illegal and there is a large bounty so if I was one, I would not make it obvious, but I agree it is unlikely that she was such a mage. “ She watches Mato playing with the blade and adds ”Oh, you won’t go crazy for using this blade, but the association with Blood magic may drive away customers, so don’t be seen with it.”
AM says with confidence, ”It takes training and experience, to become sensitive enough to feel emotional residue on objects. Even when I feel it, it feels more of a whisper or a faint echo. A feeling that I can easily miss if I am not paying attention. It is nothing that threatens my sanity. Forming a mystical link with the athme is dangerous, but only in a slippery slope kind of manner. Powerful weapon foci often develop some personality, and they change their users over time. This athme has likely developed some problematic personality traits that we do not want affecting us. On the other side, it is more powerful than any focus in Gau’s shop. few talismongers are skilled enough to create such focuses. “October 28, 2019 at 3:40 pm #22134
“I know a bit about them. There was a course on advanced field craft for adepts on how to engage them. Don’t let them cut you or they use your blood against you. There are also cannibalistic rites that are really powerful and also seriously bad for your soul.
So let’s just sell this stuff quickly, it make me twichy.”
Bobby repliedOctober 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm #22137
AM says ”We may want to keep the painting though, the watcher inside can provide us some discreet magical security. The watcher inside this painting may secure our home, or provide us with instant warning if someone gets in. Cameras can be hacked, but nobody expects the man in the painting to assense them. “October 30, 2019 at 1:51 am #22156
Mato is somewhat affronted that his 21-hour-a-day security isn’t sufficient, but then he decides that he rather likes the idea of having someone (or something) to keep watch with.
”I agree with AM. It’s unusual, which means its unexpected, which means that it gives us an advantage. It’s not, uh, evil is it?”October 30, 2019 at 2:11 am #22158
“Fine, whatever. I’d prefer selling it for cash, but I can see the use too. Just get rid of the knife.”
Bobby replied.October 30, 2019 at 2:28 pm #22163
AM sighs ”Yes, I need to visit Gau anyhow. I feel like my magical vocabulary does not fit my current occupation” She looks at Jawsey and says ”You better join me so we get a good price.”October 30, 2019 at 5:44 pm #22181BetaParticipant
2:00 pm, @ home base:
Jawsey is happy to see the Athame move away “I too feel like having it around is a temptation. Surely there will come a time when the power it represents would be too much of a temptation. We’ll need to spin it carefully to Gau, though.”
* * * * * * * *
4:50 pm, @ Five Fingered Gau’s new store front
Jawsey: “Gau, great to see you back in business.”
Gau: “Pfffaa, I never stop business! I’m a small business, I can’t afford to take weeks off. Hussle, hussle, hussle, just to keep food on our table. And setting up this new location at the same time. More cost, more time! I don’t even have time to go home and eat that food. What are you here for, no more deals for you!”
Jawsey: “We aren’t here to buy today, but to give you a chance to buy something rare from us.”
Gau: “Buy from you? You need to clean your ears. I just told you I have no money! Lost stock from the attack, cost of setting up a new store! If it is exceptional and you are desperate maybe I could find a couple of hundred nuyen for you, but no more!”
Jawsey: “It might be best to look at this in private …”
* * * * * * * *
5:17 pm, in Gau’s now closed store front
Gau: “ …. and besides that being illegal and immoral, I won’t have it around my wife and I, it will give us evil dreams! But I’m a generous man, you give me 500 nuyen and I’ll dispose of it for you.”
Jawsey: “You must be tired, not to see the potential here. Look again in the astral at how tight that aura is. I always thought that a skilled talismonger would be able to gather valuable materials out of a strong focus, I just never imagined a situation where one would want to destroy a powerful focus. Of course, maybe you have contacts at the Dunkelzhan Foundation or wherever who would simply pay you out of hand for turning this thing in. Obviously the bayonet itself is old, but the question I don’t have the skills to answer is how old is the enchantment of the focus? There could be something interesting there too …”
* * * * * * * *
5:49 pm, in Gau’s now closed store front
Gau: “My final offer, you bandit; 1000nY now, another 1000nY in two weeks. You are are a terrible man, to take advantage of me in a situation like this!”
Jawsey: “It is you who will make out like a bandit, that isn’t even a fraction of its value! But we’ll accept that deal. Let us shake on it.”October 31, 2019 at 1:00 pm #22187
Mato leans against a wall, keeping an eye on the proceedings. First, he wants to make sure that the bayonet doesn’t possess Gau to murder Jawsey. Second, he wants to study the back-and-forth negotiations, the give and the take.
Mato’s first thought is to wonder, ”If Gau and Jawsey are friends or at least friendly – and Gau treats Jawsey this way, how does Gau treat everyone else?” But then he makes allowances for the specter of the athame, whose mere presence seems to make these finger-wiggling types anxious. So then he studies the push and the pull, the gentle verbal resistance, how to deflect complaints and side-step objections. AM is good at this. Jawsey is great at this. Mato wants to learn how to do it himself.
Jawsey: “You must be tired, not to see the potential here. Look again…”
Mato: Ah, yes! Clever. An opportunity for Gau to save face. A retreat to make the opponent lose balance, then a step forward to press the advantage. Like verbal judo.
Mato, in many ways, is weak. He grew up a sickly child, with pitiful, atrophied limbs. Pathetic both for an ork and a Sioux male, and society let him know it. But in addition to being physically weak, he’s dumb and he’s ugly too. It’s an unholy trinity that put Mato at the bottom of the barrel and kept him there.
Jawsey: “Maybe you have contacts at the Dunkelzhan Foundation… I don’t have the skills to answer…”
Mato: Subtle compliments. Ingratiation, the implication of Gau’s superiority. Appealing to Gau’s ego, to make him more inclined to act…
His escape route was having rich parents. Specifically, rich parents who died and left him enough money to spend his way out of being physically weak. That problem is resolved, leaving him just dumb and ugly now. And not just ugly, but socially inept too. Mato can’t do anything about being ugly right now – at least, not until he gets out of debt and can save up some money for a little plastic surgery – but he can do something about being inept. For all of his weaknesses, Mato does have some strengths: he’s patient and he’s a good observer. He can learn if he sets his mind to things, as so he sets his mind to watching Jawsey and learning. And not just the words, but the body language too, Jawsey’s bearing and way of carrying himself, his tonal inflections and his hand gestures. Mato has a long way to go to stop being so stiff and awkward.
Jawsey: “But we’ll accept that deal. Let us shake on it.”
Mato steps away from the wall, the proceedings having peaceably concluded with a distinct lack of murder. He makes sure to record the agreement so that Gau can’t reneg on it later, then turns his attention to the security situation out on the street.October 31, 2019 at 2:40 pm #22193
AM feels disappointed for the peanuts that they’ll receive from the Athame. When the business is conducted, she browses the scrolls and formula that Gau has looking for interesting spells. She finds some interesting examples, but she is not entirely happy with the formulation, she’ll think about it.October 31, 2019 at 7:03 pm #22198
Bobby whispered to AM: “Don’t worry about it. We didn’t have to spend any resources beyond a six pack and a bit of our time to get this. For all that it’s a nice enough payout – and we no longer have to worry that the thing will bond with one of us. That should let us sleep all a bit better.”
Bobby had to admit that he had it easier to talk like that – his debt was getting almost manageable while he knew that AM was a long way off from keeping her knees whole on a permanent basis.
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