Tes and I chat about meeting Morgane

Consider this reminiscence a follow-up to Arthur’s last post, in which he introduced my old roommate Tes and our friend Morgane.

9:10 PM me: I was looking through the journal I kept at that time.
short4tesla:I remember your journal!
9:11 PM me: My first impression of you is rather amusing now.
short4tesla: *grin* You probably thought I came on pretty strong
9:12 PM me: That’s a nice way of putting it.
short4tesla: I didn’t know if you were scared of me or if you were just quiet.
9:13 PM me: It may have been a little of both at first.
short4tesla: Ha!
me: I suppose things really got interesting with the trip to Innsmouth.
9:14 PM short4tesla: FIRST trip
me: Of course. You were looking for a good place to climb.
9:15 PM short4tesla: And found the cave with the weird writing on the wall. When you said “I’ve seen this before” it was like something out of a movie.
9:16 PM me: Yes. Sort of like your idea to wait around past dark to see if anyone would come back.
9:17 PM short4tesla: Hey, it’s not every day you make it to Innsmouth when there’s going to be a full moon. That’s what you thought one of the drawings meant.
9:18 PM me: I couldn’t argue with your logic then and I can’t now. Somehow we were able to occupy our time in Innsmouth until nightfall.
9:19 PM short4tesla: We were lucky in a lot of ways that night.
me: True. And so was Morgane.
9:20 PM short4tesla: Right. We saw those guys in robes with the weird hopping walk dragging her into the cave.
9:21 PM me: And you leapt from our hiding place and demanded that they let her go, since it was obvious they would take demands from 5-foot tall female college student they’d never seen before.
9:22 PM short4tesla: 5 foot 1 and I totally knew what I was doing.
me: Apparently Morgane knew what she was doing too, since she was able to take out one of the people holding her.
9:23 PM short4tesla: And once they saw that we weren’t afraid to swing heavy sticks at their heads, they took off. Wait – you got one of them with a crotch shot, didn’t you?
9:24 PM me: It took a few swings to get my aim right. Anyway, they didn’t put up much of a fight.
9:25 PM short4tesla: So, we ask Morgane if she’s all right and she’s all panicked and says she needs to get to the beach for her skin.
9:26 PM me: Later, of course, we learned what she meant, but it was quite baffling at the time.
9:27 PM short4tesla: So we follow her to the beach and she finds her seal hide or whatever, and then we see something coming from the water.
9:28 PM me: Two or three somethings. For months afterward I wished the moon hadn’t been so bright. I still don’t like thinking about them.
short4tesla: Let’s just use Morgane’s phrase: froggy folk.
9:29 PM me: Associating them with something mundane helps. But even though I was repulsed and scared I was also fascinated, maybe even jubilant.
They were proof that this obscure branch of folklore I was studying was astonishingly real.
9:31 PM short4tesla: That must be why you seemed so dazed when we were trying to tell you we needed to get the hell out of there.
9:32 PM me: Probably. But got the hell out of there we did.
short4tesla: And yet all three of us were crazy enough to go back.
9:33 PM me: Which is, of course, a story for another time.

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Mysterious visitors

While I do not regret urging caution with respect to Leticia, after reading the previous post I am more inclined to view her motives favorably. And of course I was quite pleased that she would try to get more information about the subjects I study. I had an unexpected opportunity to thank her when she arrived at the Bookmark two nights ago, wearing a white sweater decorated with the image of an evergreen forest.

She accepted my thanks, though she seemed somewhat preoccupied. “It’s funny you should bring that up,” she said. “Those guys I mentioned? They want to talk to you.” This I was not as pleased with. Even if Leticia and her cohorts weren’t actual vampires – and I had little reason to believe they were – the prospect of a meeting with elder (self-professed) nosferatu about knowledge that some would call forbidden made me uneasy.

“Well,” I responded, “That would depend on the time and place.”

“Um…yeah,” said Leticia. “That would be here and now.”

The door opened and a pair of tall gentlemen entered, dressed in black ulsters. Arthur used the word “refined” to describe Leticia’s features and refinement was certainly the impression I got from her comrades. They appeared slightly older than Leticia, with solemn expressions. One had a neatly trimmed beard and near his right eye there was a small vertical scar, which didn’t seem like it would be a characteristic of a being who could be harmed only by a handful of materials. The other was clean-shaven, with dark wavy hair and a narrow but sensuous mouth. I looked at him and found myself staring into a pair of smoldering dark eyes.

“Good evening,” said the bearded gentleman. The other greeted me by name. They both had slight accents that I had difficulty placing, though the way the second one said “Miss Sherrinford” was quite delightful. “I hope you will forgive our sudden appearance,” said the first gentleman. He introduced himself as Bertrand and his companion as Aubrey. Apparently part of the vampiric code is to dispense with last names.

“It is rare to encounter one with your…specialized knowledge,” continued Bertrand, “and I was most enthusiastic for a meeting. If you would feel more comfortable accompanied by your sorceress friend, I would welcome her presence.” I responded that I would like Miriam by my side, and went to the back of the store to speak with her.

“Vampires?” she said when I told her about the situation. “You know, I was debating whether I should have protected the store against them.” She explained that she has placed various charms at the entrance of the bookstore to prevent malicious non-human entities from entering. “I know I shouldn’t just assume all vampires are evil, but still… Anyway, I’ll join you. I know some ways to keep them in line if they misbehave.” She reached into a desk drawer wand withdrew a ring with a large purple stone, which she placed on one of her fingers.

The five of us sat at the coffee area in the back, Bertrand, Aubrey and I at one table and Leticia and Miriam at another. What followed was one of the most fascinating conversations I’ve ever had. They shared some astonishing information with me, and surprisingly enough I appeared to have some information they lacked. I won’t share the details here, for a number of reasons, but it was certainly time well spent and gave me a number of new ideas for research.

When our guests departed, Leticia purchased a copy of Dewey and Aubrey gave me a card with a number to call in case I had another encounter with the strange forces we were discussing or their avatars. I’ll certainly contact him if that happens. Or perhaps I may request his assistance with an investigation of another sort. I am, after all, a seeker of… specialized knowledge.

Goodbye, Brand – part 1

First of all, Arthur’s fine. In no time he’ll be back to sharing his wit and offering subtle observations about women he finds attractive.

Mr. Spindle had a much more thorough conception of Brand’s plan than you would probably expect from Arthur’s report. While the vial and dagger Arthur received were genuine, it was also unlikely that he would have a chance to use them. Mr. Spindle’s assumption was that Brand would take the action he ultimately did take: manipulate Arthur into going to a place where Brand would be powerful enough to transfer his spirit.

In a way I suppose we were misleading Arthur, but given the connection between he and Brand, I believe you’ll see the necessity.

To the real plan then, which Mr. Spindle shared with me while Arthur’s senses were distracted. The process required to prepare the dagger was complex, true. But not so complex that Mr. Spindle couldn’t create two of them. He knew where Brand would likely take Arthur; if you read the post about the dream you can probably guess too. And he even knew approximately when to expect Brand to commence his operation.

I was prepared to wield the dagger. And as I found out the next day when she brought it to the bookstore along with another vial of the Armitage formula, so was Ingrid. Mr. Spindle had told her about the situation and she was enthusiastic about the opportunity to combat an… “incorporeal asshat” was the phrase she used, I believe. Perhaps you’re surprised that she would so readily accept such a premise. I was somewhat surprised too but then she shared some her experiences out in the country and, well, her crossbow bolts aren’t tipped with silver simply for decoration, let me just say that.

Ingrid and I kept watch at the amphitheater in shifts, beginning Friday night. During our confidential interview on Monday night Mr. Spindle had given me a tracking device, developed by Ingrid’s husband, to attach to Arthur’s car, to give us advance warning when he arrived at the site.

And so it was that within half an hour of posting that rather chilling midnight entry, Arthur arrived with me at the ready, waiting in the woods that bordered the amphitheater. He walked slowly to the edge of the stage and stopped there, which is what cued me to proceed. I ran to where he was and, opening the vial, threw the contents in front of Arthur, in what I perceived to be empty space.

The space did not remain empty. I saw a dark apparition similar to what Arthur described in his dream: a human figure wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a cloak. I intentionally avoided looking directly at it so I don’t know if its face was visible. Looking at Arthur, I saw him blink and look about him confusedly, indicating that I had temporarily interrupted the hold Brand had over him. I grasped Arthur’s right hand, put the hilt of the dagger into it, and closed his fingers around it. Which is the point at which he informs me he would like to continue the narrative.

One final thing before I close. Based on the thorough if idiosyncratic eye for detail I’ve observed in Arthur’s posts, it’s possible he may refer to seeing shapes behind the amphitheater that seemed barely within the range of human vision. This is likely an optical illusion likely brought on by the unique stress of the situation he found himself in, so please don’t ask him to try to remember more details.