Mage: The Awakening: The Cycle of Spectra Illuminos

The Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Prison of Comfort 1:2

Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Prison of Comfort 1:2

I gotta say, when I started writing for the PC intros, I had no idea how slow they would start out. I figured the introductions would just be a hop, skip, and jump to a normal group experience. I didn’t realize how much effort it took to get Alonzo up and going until I started to understand what it would take to get him and the other two PCs together as a group. This small session of Prison of Comfort is a bridge to another PC, a Scion of the Primal Wilds. A little more intrigue and spooky subject matter were introduced, and I think the player really got into the role by the end. This was our first experience with using the system rules for magic; there’s a lot of information to sort through, but the possibilities are definitely endless.

The atmosphere of the beach reception is just the thing that Alonzo needs. The music is loud and moving, the drinks are welcome and never-ending, and the people, even though unknown to him, are warm and friendly. A half an hour after the bride and groom leave the party, they return in proper beach attire, followed by a ruckus of applause and hoots, poking fun at the couple. Toasts are made from the best man and maid of honor, and the cutting and feeding of cake begins a night of festivities involving dancing, singing, cigar smoking, drinking, and dining.

“We need another drink,” Alonzo suggests.

Snow White glances around the area to flag down a server, when Alonzo points to the open bar several yards away.

“How ‘bout something a little stronger?” he asks.

“Shots!” Snow White jumps, rubbing her hands together with the thought of downing a glass of smooth Mexican tequila.

At the open bar, Alonzo and Snow White see a man and a woman sitting at the opposite end, staring intently into each other’s eyes with obvious sexual tension. They both seem to be having a grand time, enthralled with each other’s company. After several moments of slight touching and quick whispers into each other’s ears, the woman stands, heading urgently to a small guest house.

Snow White giggles as the bartender slides two shot glasses of tequila toward her and Alonzo.

“Looks like a potty break,” she whispers.

“When you gotta go, you gotta go,” Alonzo agrees.

“Wait,” Snow White stops. “Aren’t we gonna do this with salt and lemon?”

Alonzo smiles, cheeks warm from the effect of previous champagne indulgence.

“Don’t be a pussy!”

Snow White smiles and taps her shot glass to Alonzo’s; they shoot the intoxicating liquid, slamming the glasses down onto the bar top with an indication to “fill ‘er up” to the bartender. The young server smiles and obliges.

Alonzo and Snow White shoot one more round, and then edge close to the small bar’s overhang, watching the festivities. The man at the bar, who was left alone by the potty-dancing young woman, draws their attention as he scans the crowd before pulling a miniature plastic bag containing some kind of white, powdery substance from his pants pocket. He takes one more look around the area before tossing a pinch of the powder into the woman’s glass of champagne. Within seconds, the woman reappears from the guest house, skipping her way to her spot next to the attractive man.

“Esther, did you just see that?”

“Hell yes, I did,” she exclaims in a tight whisper. “I think you should go over there and beat his ass!”

“I was thinking you could do something, you know, with magic,” Alonzo suggests.

“The idea was to blend in when we got here.”

“We have to do something before she takes a drink!”

Snow White stares intently to the champagne flute. In an instant, the hairs on the back of Alonzo’s neck rise, signifying the spark of new magic. Just as quickly as the feeling comes, it leaves, and Snow White dusts her hands off for a “job-well-done”.

“Taken care of!” she says proudly.

As the young woman reaches for her glass, the neck of it shatters in her hands, spilling champagne all over her and the man.

“I’m really sorry about this,” the young woman says as she stands. “I better go change.”

Alonzo and Snow White watch as the man is left alone to his own devices.

“We need to stop him. I’ll be damned if we let him do this to anyone else,” Alonzo presses.

“What?” Snow White asks. “Do we just go up to him and ask him to give us his roofies?”

“What if he did it to you?”

Snow White grins. “I’d kick his ass before it got that far.”

They both walk to the man nonchalantly, sitting next to him on either side.

“What’s up?” he asks, taking notice of their arrival.

“You look like a fun guy,” Alonzo comments, smiling.

“Uh, thanks.”

Snow White scoots closer to him. “Did you get something on your pants?”

“You could say that,” the man replies.

“This guy’s really hot, Esther,” Alonzo examines, inching closer to the man as well.

The man looks to Alonzo, brow furrowed. “Not interested.”

“Well you know what interests me?” Snow White asks facetiously. “Men who go to prison for rape.”

The man stares at her in surprise. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Alonzo reaches his hand out and touches the pocket the man had earlier retrieved the date-rape drug from.

“What the hell are you doin’ man?” the man stands, abhorred. “Don’t touch me.”

“Looks like you still have some of that powder left in your pocket,” Alonzo reprises. “I’m sure your lady friend and this entire reception would love to understand your pick-up methods.”

“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t act dumb, douche,” Snow White orders, prodding her forefinger into the man’s chest. “Drop the drugs or we drop you!”

The man reaches into his pants pocket and retrieves the small plastic bag of white powder, dropping it to the sandy ground. He hurriedly tosses a few dollar bills in the bartender’s direction and walks away from the bar, and the reception.

Satisfied, the two friends smile to one another and rejoin the festivities. More dancing and drinking ensue, leading through an hour of much needed stress relief. Alonzo and Snow White begin to salsa, when an alarming scream sounds from wedding cake table. The bride has her hand up to her ear, scanning the ground with a ferocious and worried gaze. People are beginning to group around her in response.

“This one is full of drama,” Alonzo comments.

“It’s the blonde hair,” Snow White laughs. “Should we see what the problem is?”

Alonzo shrugs and the two walk to the cake table. When approached, the bride laments that she has lost one of her great-grandmother’s diamond earrings.

“It just fell out! My mom let me wear them for something borrowed. She and daddy will kill me if they know I lost it.”

Alonzo looks to Snow White, expecting her to take the initiative to help this saddened bride. Snow White is smiling, her bosom shaking as she tries to hold in her laughter. Alonzo elbows her and nods in the bride’s direction.

“Ow,” she seethes, indignantly.

He pushes her forward and she smiles, coming face to face with the bride.

“Let’s all split up and see if we can find it!”

Alonzo feels the hairs stand up on his arms as Snow White steps forward, peering to the ground with a squint.

Snow White successfully casts Detect Substance.

Within a few moments, she reaches into the sand and pulls up a small object, blowing grainy particles from it. Snow White hands the earring to the bride, who in turn bobs up and down with unrelenting glee.

“Oh my God, thank you, thank you! You just saved my life!”

A few moments pass by within the congratulating crowd when the bride leans closer to Snow White and Alonzo.

“What were your names again?” the bride asks with sideways smile. “Are you here for Robert?”

“Um,” Snow White begins with a blank expression.

In an instant, she pulls Alonzo by the arm, away from the party and into the street, running like mischievous underage teenagers from a beer bust.

Alonzo and Snow White run with plowing excitement, bumping into passersby with a playful jog, nearly laughing aloud as they did when they were children in these streets. So many things seem familiar, but in the last ten years, things have definitely changed. Tourists walk through the streets, some arm in arm entranced with the romantic atmosphere that Cartagena has to offer. Locals seem pleased with the throngs of international visitors strolling through the area. Shops, stores, and galleries are opened much later that they used to be, and more bars and pubs have been opened to service the entertainment needs of all.

When they feel like they have run far enough to get away from the reception, Alonzo and Snow White slow down to a lover’s pace. Snow White presses her arm through his, and they stroll in the pleasure of each other’s company.

Most of the walk is made in silence. Alonzo imagines that Snow White understands his need for a little bit of peace after all that has happened in the last several weeks. Soon, they are nearing the edges of the residential areas. Shops still line the narrow avenues of the area, but not nearly as densely as within the central portion of the tourist area. The area they are now walking serves to those with greater explorative insight, those kinds of people steeled against the fears of drug war history and violence. The sounds and smells give the place an authentic variation to the Americanized tourist attractions several blocks back, and they can’t help but talk to the native residents in the local language, the language Alonzo learned from his mother’s side of the family. This country is after-all, one of two places his mother had grown into a woman, the place where his mother and father met one another, the place where he was conceived.

Alonzo and Snow White both obtain successes on a Perception check.

The duo walks nearly another mile when they pass by the mouth of a narrow alleyway. There, a tiny black cat gazes up with a hungry meow. Alonzo isn’t surprised when Snow White leans down with a cooing sound, rubbing the kitten’s chin. Though an animal lover, he was never too keen on the idea of owning a cat; dogs were the only kind of pet he considered having, and that was good enough for his parents as well. As Snow White throws a barrage of loving attention to the small feline, Alonzo takes in the surroundings.

The alley is clean for the most part except for a couple of trash cans and a dumpster that run parallel with the right side of it. The walls are a combination of brick and stucco, and odd mixture for the age and this part of the city. A single amber security light shines down from on high in the corner of the alley, and he notices that this the alley extends further off to the left, another connecting alley, perhaps to the other side of the block. A single power line extends from rooftop to rooftop, the only apparent means for an electrical flow to this residential quarter.

The kitten rolls on its back, waiting again for the attentive touch of its human admirer, when Snow White slowly rises with an odd expression on her face. She is staring intently at her hand, tilting her head with that look of intense consideration.

“What’s wrong?” Alonzo inquires with a smile.

As soon as the words leave his lips, Snow White replies with “I’m not sure.”

In an instant, Alonzo’s unseen senses pick up the blossoming of magic, and after a few moments of silence and a gasp, Snow White turns to him with a gaze of horror.

She once again casts Discern Substance. At this point, the tracks Prologue and Main Title from the original Nightmare on Elm Street are played.

“Lonz, it’s blood, human blood.”

Snow White picks up the kitten by the scruff of the neck. Wet areas of fur are found on the underside of the animal. The blood is still wet, and the kitten begins licking its chops as it cleans the leftover, crimson moisture from the corners of its mouth.

Alonzo gains successes on a Perception check.

While Snow White curses to herself, wiping away what amount of blood smeared her fingers and hands, Alonzo suddenly feels panic grip at the muscles of his chest and throat. There, beyond a couple of full, loose, trash bags is a set of dirty bare feet. The security light in the corner of the alleyway illuminates the human shape, and it is only then that he notices the residential area is quite and that no one other than he and Snow White are out in the street.

“Ohmigod,” Snow White gasps. “What’re we gonna do?”

“We need to make sure that person is okay!”

Alonzo takes Snow White by the hand and leads her to the body.

The only word that describes this scene is “horrific”. Lying amongst a pile of trash, a young girls’ naked body is sprawled out, positioned in a way unnatural for death; the poor battered girl looks posed in the style of the Lord Jesus crucified. The girl can’t be but eight or nine years old, her skin tone and hair color indicative of a native resident. Specific areas of her body seep with blood, reminiscent of stigmata seen in cases of the supernatural.

Alonzo once again feel the vibrations of magic, as Snow White leans down to examine the scene.

“Shit,” she whispers, her breath and form shaky, her footing unbalanced. She gags once. “Who the hell could do something…?”

Snow White trails off as she continues to gaze at the body.

Alonzo rolls another successful Perception.

An odd, muffled sound brings his attention away from the dreadful sight. Alonzo turns around, gazing back in the direction of the connecting alleyway. Shadows deepen away from the luminosity of the security light. The center of the alleyway is pitch-black, while illuminated at a dead end with another amber security bulb. The stench of spoiled meat permeates the air and a strong scent of urine a feces is enough to make him gag as well. At the end of this alley near the dead-end wall, something on the ground seems to be moving.

“I think you should see this!” Alonzo yells back.

“One minute,” Snow White pleads. “I’m getting close to figuring out how this girl died!”

Alonzo creeps forward into the alley, the comments from Snow White drown out by the mysterious object’s hypnotic sound. He cautiously edge closer to the unknown, images of a dead body, fears of a lurking murderer, and the safety of his oldest friend lost to the sight of what is up ahead.

As he comes out of shadow into the soft glow of the security light, he sees five, hefty wooden tops spinning in unison. The tops are exquisitely made, painted blue with a lacquered finish with a bright orange stripe painted in the center of each. All five are on the mark, uninterrupted in their constant revolving. Seconds pass by and nothing about their rotation changes; speed and position remain precise, and Alonzo begins to doubt the reality of the situation. Soon, the smell of Cuban cigar smoke assaults his olfactory sense, and vivid memories of his grandfather spring to mind. He gazes around the area; there is no indication of cigar smoke in the vicinity.

As Alonzo reaches down, he is pulled back into focus by Snow White’s grip to his shoulder.

“Lonz, this little girl was murdered, we need to call the pol…what is that?” she asks, peering down to the tops. “Those look like, wait, no- Lonz, are those your tops?”

“They look just like the ones my granddad gave me years ago.”

Snow White shakes her head.

“You lost those.”

Alonzo nods. “I can’t believe this.”

“How many was in the group your grandpa gave you?”

Alonzo’s breathe catches in his lungs.

“Five,” he eases out on a whispered voice.

Snow White draws closer to the constantly spinning toys. She squints, scrutinizing them.

“Lonz, we need to get outta here,” she urges. “The resonance and magic sustaining them is the same I found on that dead little girl back there!”

In an instant, Snow White steps forward to Alonzo, focusing on his form as she folds magical frequencies into his eyes and around his body. Alonzo gasps in awe as he begins to see things with more clarity. He nearly stumbles from the overpowering stress it brings to his cognitive ability. He can see magic; he can see that he is surrounded by some kind of protective nimbus.

Snow White casts two consecutive rotes, bestowing Aura of Gloom (Grim Sight) and Afterlife Aegis (Entropic Guard) on Alonzo.

“Better late than never,” she offers.

The sound of footfalls brings their attention away from the small toys. Within the shadows of the alley is the outline of someone, waiting and watching. Snow White looks to Alonzo in silence, and the sound of the spinning tops becomes frightening in their constant motion. The person in the shadows takes one step closer, keeping to the shroud to remain unseen.

“This is no place for little children,” a man speaks in the native Spanish dialect. His voice is musky and smoke scarred, deep and uninviting. He takes one threatening step closer.

“Bitch, you best be steppin’ back before I cut your ass!” Snow White presses in English.

Alonzo feels new magic sparking to life. Whether from Snow White or the shadowed man, he can’t tell.

The dark man harrumphs, amused by Snow White’s intensity.

The man speaks again in Spanish. “Fighting little girls please me the most. Cuts are deeper, screams are playful, blood is clean.”

Snow White looks to Alonzo, the same look she always threw his way in the face of trouble. The Illuminae was always the level-headed one in situations leading to conflict.

“This fucker’s crazy Lonz,” she whispers, “He’s Awakened, and his resonance is all over that little girl. We need to get the hell outta here.”

The man steps another foot forward, the sharp tip of his boot gleaming in the amber light from above. Black, snake-skin riding boots, a razor sharp blade fitted to the tip.

“Do my gifts please you?” the man asks in English, a gleeful smile etched across his face.

He gestures to the spinning tops.

He licks his lips over, unnerving Alonzo and Snow White. They can see the lower half of his face from the light. The hood he wears conceals everything else.

“Lonz,” Snow White starts, “I’m gonna throw everything I got into this guy then open a portal. When I say run, move your ass!”

Alonzo gets ready for anything, the sight and sound of the revolving tops diminishing his resolve. He feels and sees magic light up the alleyway, but whatever Snow White had tried to do was countered by the man in shadows.

“Shit,” she utters, biting her lower lip.

She begins to back up, urging Alonzo back as well.

The shrouded man steps forward into the light, his haunting smile unbalanced with the way he opens his arms waiting for an embrace. He takes in a deep breath through his nostril.

“AHHHHHHHH!” he breathes out. “I can smell your juices flowing like river water.”

Alonzo begins to look in all directions for something to throw at the man when his perceptions begin to skew. All of his five senses begin to dull, and the strength in his legs falters as upper-body weight drives him to his knees. He hears Snow White screaming through the thick screen interfering within his senses, and the man in the shadows steps takes as step forward in surprise. Soon darkness overtakes Alonzo, and when he comes to seconds later, a clean crisp breeze flushes his senses to life, and the bright sunlight from overhead energizes his body.

Alonzo stands, finding himself at the top of the watchtower in Spectra Illuminos, the diamond valleys, hills, and mountains exuding a calming effect from the panic he felt just a moment ago. As her takes a step forward, he feels and hears a resounding burst come from the beacon of fire beneath the diamond lens. From the sky, the column of light pulsing to the center-right tower bursts with a flare of new energy, as if two streams of light are now intertwining with the connection of the tower. From what he can remember from Cairo’s lessons, this spire is the conduit for the Ruling Arcana of the Primal Wilds; a Thyrsus has lit the beacon at the Watchtower of the Stone Book.

Alonzo hears a raging scream call from the fires of the beacon, reminiscent of the same scream coming from him when the golden fires stripped him of the Lie holding him fast asleep. He walks forward to the well of bright, golden flame, the vision of a man gazing back to him. The man is tall and fit, with a head of thick, dark, graying hair. When he sees Alonzo his screams come to a halt, as if realizing the truth of his position within the world.

“Scion of the Primal Wilds, light the path of Life and Spirit. The Path of Ecstasy is bound no longer.”

The voice is Alonzo’s, subconscious words released from the tips of his lips.

As the man within the flames speaks, he reaches out his hand in the Illuminae’s direction.

“Walker of Realms, the beacon is lit. We are now as one in the Power of Life and Spirit.”

Alonzo reaches his hands out to the fire, knowing it will not scorch. When the tips of his fingers touch the other man’s, he feels the power of Life and Spirit that once eluded him. Alonzo has never experienced in the Fallen World what he is feeling right now. The exhilaration, the exuberance, the authority that the Realms Unseen has to offer- there are no words to describe it.

Just as he had in the alleyway with Snow White and the man in shadows, Alonzo’s senses dull and he blacks out. When he opens his eyes, he is standing at the dead-end of the alleyway, the light of midday sun nearly blinding him. As he tries to gain his bearings, he sees that the tops, Snow White, and the foreboding man are gone.

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Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Prison of Comfort 1:1

Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Prison of Comfort 1:1

Weeks have passed since Alonzo’s voyage to Spectra and there’s nothing more he’d rather do than go back in time to stop all this from happening- the pain, the strife, the death of his mother and father; it seems all for naught. For all the importance that Dionysus, Persephone, and Cairo placed on removing him from San Antonio, everything has come to a standstill. He hasn’t seen or heard from his aunt or uncle in five days and even Cairo has been away for an even longer stint. As a matter of fact, he has no clue where he is. When he had asked, a usual answer of “it’s better that you don’t know” was given.

Alonzo has been placed in a moderately furnished, fourth-floor apartment, located in some kind of quiet, family-centric neighborhood. There is only one window to gaze from, and that limited amount of viewing space only peers about a block and a half in either direction. Giant maple and oak trees line both sides of the street, rustling in the heavy breeze blown in from the summer season. Brick-faced buildings line the streets as well, residential structures indicating the amount of wealth built into this area. Well-dressed yuppie men and women stroll in the mornings and evenings, and what he has gathered, everyone owns some kind of beautiful dog to match the alluring atmosphere. Every now and again, he hears the sound of a train and feels the slight vibration of the railing it travels on. Most days are sunny and clear, but a few thunderstorms have blown in over the last two weeks, causing hail damage to vehicles and windows outside. It’s all reminiscent of trips he has taken to Chicago in the past.

Claustrophobic and anxious, Alonzo wishes for nothing more than to open the window to take in a deep breath of fresh air, but even that is too much to ask for. The window and all doors have been magically sealed; no one can enter and no one can exit. That was the first of several rules given to him by his lackluster leadership. The second rule was no cell phone; that was instantly taken away from at the start. Next was no internet; tracking him would be easier by someone hacking into email accounts and a Facebook profile. Last, no alerting anyone his presence, which has been a constant reminder of this comfortable prison he is not allowed to leave. Alonzo would wave to passersby just to spite the others’ wishes, but he’s sure no one can see or hear him from the window.

During the first couple of days, Dionysus and Persephone would appear every few hours to check on Alonzo, ripping apart the invisible space within the apartment, stepping through a portal from another location. Cairo would come with them every other trip for the first week, providing old tomes and texts of passages containing information on the Cycle of Spectra Illuminos. He even spent several days instructing him on the history of magic, the Supernal Realms, the Abyss, and the Invisible Realms. He has also learned to hone his unseen sense, feeling the flows of magic from the barriers to the doors and windows, as well as the vibrations felt from the Portal spells cast by Dionysus and Persephone. There are times when new magic awaken within the confines of the apartment. Alonzo brought this up the last time he saw Dionysus; the man admitted that he and Persephone regularly scry him to ascertain he is well.

But Alonzo wonders what the hell there is to really complain about. He has all the amenities he could ask for: a spare bedroom set up as a gym, a jet tub and steam shower in the master bathroom, a king-size bed, a closet with innumerable amounts of clothing in his size, cable television, an Xbox 360, aesthetically pleasing wall art and table sculptures, a refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets full of fresh food, and a Bose stereo system with everything needed to hook up his IPod. All that’s missing is some companionship. Hell, they wouldn’t even allow him to keep Oscar for fear that he would be made while taking the dog outside to do his business.

“Fuck this,” Alonzo whispers through clenched teeth, slamming his hands down onto the window sill.

At that moment, the vibration of active magic erupts somewhere in the apartment, aside from what’s already in place. Alonzo spins around, waiting for another portal to open up.

When the fabric of space rips apart, Persephone steps through the portal, followed by a familiar face that instantly brightens the young Illuminae’s disposition.

“Lonz!” Esther screams, running to him with open arms.

“What? Oh my God! I can’t believe this! What are you doing here?” Alonzo inquires, wrapping his strong arms around the girl in a bear hug.

Esther is a pretty, mousy, energetic girl with sprite blown dark brown hair. Her skin is smooth and fair, wrapped in a loose, navy blue blouse and tight stone-washed jeans. Her amber eyes make her unique among the masses and she wears a single piece of jewelry- a thin gold necklace ending with a teardrop sapphire.

“Well, Dionysus and Persephone asked if I wanted to chill with you for a couple of days. I haven’t seen ya in almost eight months, so I figured ‘what the hell’.”

Persephone interrupts, stepping further into the center of the living room. She is wearing dark blue jeans and a green V-neck sweater. Her makeup is light and she wears silver hoops which complement the sparkle of her jade eyes. Her hair is a little wind-blown but still pristinely curled with bounce and great sheen. The dark rings under her eyes give away the probable long nights she has spent awake, but she still smiles with the warmest of appearances.

“Mirand, er, Persephone,” Alonzo begins, putting a hand on his aunt’s shoulder, “I don’t know how much longer I can hold up in here. I’m starting to go crazy!”

Persephone offers him a delicate smile. “Everything is nearly done to move you to a better location. I just came by to let you know and pick up the tomes that Cairo had left behind.”

“Where have you been? I haven’t seen you, Roman, or Cairo for days!”

“Dionysus will be by in a few days to take you out of here,” Persephone apologizes. “I’m so sorry we’ve been away for so long. A lot has happened since San Antonio. The house finally sold, almost everything but heirlooms was auctioned off at the estate sale. Accounts were liquidated and placed into other accounts and we have been working to create you a new Sleeper identity. “

Alonzo appears deeply scarred by this news. He knew things were going to change, he just didn’t realize his whole life would be sold out from under him.

Persephone hands him a box. Inside are all the items he received from the medical examiner’s office, as well as all of the things in his parents vault, including the 9mm automatic. He also finds his mother’s gold pendant with an ivory face carving of Mother Mary and the Baby Jesus; it was something she never took off.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” Alonzo asks with one raised eyebrow, holding out the weapon.

Persephone sighs.

“I know, I know,” she exclaims, “but you need to protect yourself in case something was to happen. We think we have a lot of people off your trail, but in the meantime, it never hurts to be prepared. Until the other Scions awaken, you’re stuck with no magic to protect you.”

Alonzo shakes his head and sits down on the couch.

“Where does all this leave Cairo?”

“Cairo has been taking care of some personal business before coming to train you for an extended stay. With the club and the vineyards, he needs to make sure all is in order before leaving. He said something about having Charlie manage his personal interests, but he wasn’t sure she would jump on the opportunity.

Alonzo watches carefully as Persephone purses her lips.

“What’s wrong? What aren’t you telling me?”

Persephone shakes her head.

“I’m not too sure I can trust a vampire with our secrets. Even if he is one of the Illuminae, I just have never been able to trust their kind. I try to stay away from him and let Dionysus deal with all that.”

“You can say that again,” Esther mutters from her perch atop a kitchen bar stool.

Alonzo smiles; Persephone doesn’t react to the comment.

“So will I be able to bring Oscar along when we leave? Is he okay?”

“Oscar is just fine,” Persephone admits with a smile. “He’s finally taken a liking to me after all this time. He still sits by the front door and whines. He misses you.”

“You know,” Esther interrupts, “I don’t know why you want to leave this place so bad. Looks like you got it made with all these fabulous amenities. I mean, come on, do you really need a separate fridge for wine and for beer? ”

Alonzo stares at Esther, annoyed. Her cheeks redden.

“Just a suggestion.”

“What else’s been going on?” Alonzo asks, redirecting attention to his aunt.

Persephone pauses for a moment in consideration. After about ten seconds of silence, she looks up to Alonzo with a frown.

“We’ve done some more investigation into your parents’ murder,” she admits.

Alonzo takes in a deep, bracing breath.

“It’s definitely another Awakened,” she continues, “and definitely someone with more than enough ability to go unknown to our insights. We could go to some other masters proficient in Unveiling or even seek out archmages to help, but that would just leave more trails to follow. We’re trying to do this our own.”

“Great,” Alonzo sighs. “Still no answers.”

Persephone shakes her head.

“The resonance was like nothing I have ever seen or felt. Whoever it was had been traipsing through your parent’s mansion at one time. Veiling magic was used, probably a strong invisibility spell. This person didn’t want to be seen.”

“I was just gonna say something about that,” Alonzo exclaims.

“What?” Esther asks, leaning against the kitchen island.

“When I got back to the house after Dionysus called me about mom and dad’s accident, something weird happened. It felt like someone was watching me, even following me around. Oscar freaked out a couple of times too.”

“We’ll look a little deeper into this while the mansion is still empty,” Persephone promises. “While we do, you stay put. If someone really is lurking around, they will keep an eye open for all of us. If they are powerful enough, they could essentially follow our portals to this place.”

Alonzo nods, his mind stuck on the death of his parents.

“Sure thing,” Esther agrees.

“Listen,” Persephone directs, “I need to take these books and head over to the sanctum. Snow White offered to keep you company for a few days and to show you some more uses for magic.”
Alonzo raises an eyebrow, smiling.

“You’ve gotta be kidding?”

Esther shrugs.

“Yep. Couldn’t live that down,” she says, referring her high school nickname. “Besides, the other two girls in my cabal took on fairytale princess names too. Rapunzel I can see with all that hair. I think Gretel took her name because she was bored. You should hear the snickers when the Consilium meets. “

Persephone giggles softly, gathering a group of tomes from atop the coffee table.

“I’ll be back tomorrow night to see how things are going,” she reassures, kissing Alonzo on the forehead.

She reaches up to one of her silver hoops, gently rubbing its smooth surface. She begins speaking the phonetics of High Speech, and for a moment, the air around her ripples and she quickly walks forward.

“See you soon,” she says, disappearing into nothingness.

As Persephone disappears, Snow White walks to the beer refrigerator and takes out a bottle of Shock Top, opening the cap with the following slight hiss. Good ol’ Esther, she never found it difficult to make herself at home. She tosses Alonzo a bottle and takes a swig, smiling.

“It’s really good to see you, Lonz.”

“It’s good to see you too.”

“About the funeral,” Snow White begins, “I’m sorry we had to leave so soon. We knew Dionysus and Persephone had their eyes on you, and we figured you would awaken but we just weren’t sure when. Besides, me and Phil had some issues to resolve back at our sanctum. You just never know what some crazy-ass spirits will try to do while you’re away.”

“You knew this was going to happen all this time?”

Snow White shakes her head.

“No always. When Patton and I awoke, we figured you’d follow since your parents were mages too, or at least a Sleep Walker.”

“What? Patton?” Alonzo asks, confused.

“Phillip,” Snow White explains. “We awoke on the same day but at different Watchtowers. I’m a Moros, Phillip’s an Obrimos- yeah surprise huh? Always the guy fighting the good fight. Took the shadow name Patton after that general; you knew what he was like with American history.”

Alonzo shakes his head.

Snow White gives an unsure smile.

“Patton, the general; the guy with the tanks?”

Alonzo shakes his head again.

“It’s a good thing you are going into law and not American history,” Snow White jests. “How the hell did you make it through school?”

Alonso snickers, opening his Shock Top. He takes a drink.

“Let just say I wasn’t surprised by my brother’s shadow name,” she admits. “I was getting’ tired of listening to his lectures on historical figures and who he should be named after. It was annoying and was pissing me off.”

The two of them share a short bout of laughter before Snow White continues.

“Anyway, we always knew that we could possibly awaken someday; mom and dad were mages, and were pretty open about it with us. I can’t believe they weren’t hung for tossin’ the Mysteries around like every-day knowledge. They all had this hippy idea of living a quiet life in the burbs. I think once we moved to San Antonio from Columbia, my parents and your parents were just waiting out the days until we all awakened- just one big happy family. I think they were secretly hoping that you and me would get together to keep the lines strong, but with this whole Spectra thing, it was just wishful thinking. I think the homosexuality thing may have been a hurdle too.”

She winks at Alonzo.

“I miss Max and Maria like crazy. Maria was a Moros too and really helped me out when I first awakened. She even introduced me to my mentor, Stefon. I know Max was a tough guy, but that man could always make me laugh.”

Snow White stops, thinking.

“What’s on your mind?” Alonzo asks.

“Just thinking of the past. How much we’ve all gone through.”

“Why didn’t you reach out to me when after you awakened?”

Snow White takes in a deep breath.

“That was a bitch,” she recalls, “it really was. But there was some much going on and Patton and I needed to be trained. That didn’t leave a lot of time for anyone else.”

Alonzo nods, considering her words. He then looks up to her.

“What about Clayton and Tom?”

“They’re both Sleepers,” Snow White explains, “just casualties in the natural law of magic.”

“Even so, it was good to see them at the funeral.”

“Clayton’s situation is awfully peculiar,” Snow White begins, changing the subject. “This girl he’s with is a real surprise. I think his parents must really have a problem with gay people. That whole Mormonism belief system doesn’t really keep open arms in that aspect. I think he’s just trying to please them. The girl is pretty and nice enough, but I’m just afraid Clay may be biting off more than he can chew. I honestly always thought he had a thing for you.”

“I had such a crush on Clayton.”

Snow White smiles.

“I know.”

“How did you know?” Alonzo asks, shocked.

“Everyone knew. Patton knew.”

“Phillip knew I was gay?”

Snow White nods.

“Of course he did! He’s the one that caught you with Tom, remember?”

“Oh,” Alonzo utters, backing down with reddened cheeks.

“You know, I’m not really certain why I called Tom for the funeral.”

“He told me you had called,” Alonzo tells her. “How in the hell did you find him?”

“Through my Dreaming ability. It’s usually on key about things; I haven’t really seen the outcome of his place in all this. As soon as I woke up, I scried him a little bit to see where he was. My sympathetic connection with him was still pretty clear and I was able to see some familiar places in Seattle. It just took a little more searching and I found his number.”

“Do you think there is anything we could do for him?” Alonzo asks.
Snow White frowns, understanding the reference. She takes a pull off of her beer.

“You mean about his HIV?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s possible,” Snow White admits, “but I have no ability in the use of Life threads. It would take a person versed in that and Ruling to fix him up. I think Persephone is a Disciple of Life, you may want to ask her opinion.”

“What did you mean that your sympathetic connection to Tom was pretty clear? I thought you two weren’t that close in school?”

“Well, do you remember that boy girl party we had in the eighth grade?”

“Yeah, sure,” Alonzo answers with an accusing gaze.

“Remember the truth or dare game we were playing?”

Alonzo laughs out loud.

“Let just say when Claire dared us to go into that closet together, we didn’t just sit there and talk about you.”

“You guys had sex???”

“Oh God, no, Lonz,” Snow White blurts. “But we did make out a little. At that time, Tom was trying to get into the pants of everything.”

“After the funeral, I said some things to him I shouldn’t have,” Alonzo confesses. “He’s really trying to change for the better. I just hope we can help him.”
Snow White leads Alonzo into the living room and they both take a seat on the leather sofa.

“That may not be possible,” she says.

“What do you mean?”

“A lot of mages cut ties to their Sleeper lives after an Awakening,” Snow White educates.

“Well I’m not gonna cut the ties of my life,” Alonzo insists. “I’ll be friends with whomever I want.”

Snow White smirks.

“And there are some mages who try to live a dual life. But the life of a Willworker can be dangerous for them, and for you.”

Alonzo takes a swig from his bottle.

“I can see what you mean,” he says.

The two sit in an uncomfortable silence for several moments when Alonzo leads the discussion elsewhere.

“What do you think about Cairo?”

“I’ve never really talked to the guy. He speaks in a weird “old-country” kinda way, but the man is hot. I’ve never met any vampires before. Not really what I expected.”

“He’s not really my type,” Alonzo expresses, “but you’re right. It’s not really his looks, but the way he looks at me and talks to me, like I’m the only person in the room. He even kissed me while I was in the hospital.”

Snow White smiles slyly.

“From what I gathered, you two have a lot in common.”

“What do you think about all this Spectra Illuminos stuff?”

“A lot of all that I’m not too sure about,” she tells him. “Your mom and dad were really quiet about it all; they even kept it from my mom and dad.”

“Really? Our parents were all best friends.”

“I know, right. What little I do know is that you aren’t like other Awakened; something about the lone watchtower in a centralized realm. Dionysus and Persephone gave me a little information on the gist of it, but not enough to get overly involved. They’re worried Seers or Banishers may get wind of what’s going on and try to hunt you down. That’s why they are doing all this. Everyone back home thinks you died that night after your parents’ funeral. For six months Patton and I scried for you.”

Alonzo sits up straight in surprise, admiring his friend.

“You guys really did that?”

“And you weren’t anywhere to be found. Persephone came to me after you popped up. They needed someone they could trust. I was told not to tell Patton though. He took up with the Guardians a while back. They may not see your situation as the best to keeping the Mysteries hidden. I’ve lied to him for weeks. He doesn’t even know I’m here, or that you are even alive. It’s killing me; I haven’t been able to talk to anyone about this. I’m glad they finally let me see you.”

“Don’t you think we should tell him?” Alonzo asks.

“I’m with your aunt and uncle on this one. Patton really changed after he awakened. He dropped a lot of things from his life, even his family. When the bitch joined the Guardians, he went far right wing. Just another thing that pisses everyone off.”

“That doesn’t sound anything like Phillip,” Alonzo defends. “We were just so close it’s hard to believe.”

“He’s always been that way, Lonz. He was just too good to you for you to notice. But God, you wouldn’t believe the hoopla he caused because of his decision to go Guardian. I can remember mom and dad’s reaction. Mom wouldn’t talk to him for a month and dad cried; I’ve never seen daddy cry before. The selfish bitch said he was tired of doing what others expected him to do, that he had his own ideas, blah, blah, blah. That’s the way he’s always been; just pisses everyone off. Never liked being Columbian, never liked being a twin. I’m surprised he even likes himself the selfish prick.”

“Then what about you? Which order do you think is better than these Guardians?”

“Mom and Dad were Silver Ladder, and you know how I am about ‘following in the footsteps’. This was another reason why Persephone and Dionysus came to me. The Silver Ladder is the faction that would be most open to the idea of Spectra. If this new watchtower increases the chances for awakening, you gotta believe that the Ladder will be the first to back the Illuminae.”

Another bout of silence passes between them, longer this time. When she can no longer take it, Snow White stands up and pulls Alonzo into the open space of the living room, smiling to quell his uneasy feeling.

“So,” she begins, “Dionysus asked me if I would show you some aspects of magic, like mage sight and protective spells, just to get a taste of that they are like. I hear you can’t work magic yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have spells cast on you.”

“I just wish I could do something. I hate this sitting around.”

“You’d be surprised what a little Mage Sight and shielding can do,” Snow White insists. “Did Dionysus or Persephone show you any of this?”

Alonzo shakes his head.

“Mage Sight is probably the hardest thing I had to get past in the beginning. All the perception you gain can be way overwhelming. You can see auras, resonance, energy, invisible light, life, death- just about anything with killer scrutiny.”

“Can’t you do anything big?” Alonzo presses. “Like cast spells to fly or read people’s minds?”

“I can create portals like Persephone can.”

Alonzo’s eyes light up.

“Why don’t we get outta here for a little while?”

Snow White shakes her head like she hears him wrong.

“What? No, Lonz! You heard what Persephone said. And if some freak is out there hunting you down, you’ll be safer here. And what do we do if they come back and we’re not, like, here.”

“Come on, Esther, please? I don’t think I can take another hour of this. I’ve been stuck in this apartment for weeks with no one to really talk to. I haven’t been able to think of anything but my parents and this whole Spectra Illuminos bullshit.”

“No, don’t be giving me those puppy eyes, Alonzo!” Snow White begs. “God, why do you always pull this when you don’t get your own way? Fine, I’ll do it.”

Snow White gains a balanced stance within the living room. She looks back to Alonzo one last time before beginning the spell.

“You’re gonna love this!”

Alonzo smiles as Snow White reaches for her the sapphire within her necklace. She rolls it through her fingers, whispering the High Speech syllables to the rote. Her hand mudras mimic tearing some kind of object in two, and when she finishes, a space opens into the area of the living room.

Stepping through the portal, Alonzo’s senses are heavily assaulted by a clean, crisp breeze, a taste of sea salt on the air. The sound of crashing waves eases the stress built from the last several days in the prison-like apartment, and the clear night sky dazzles with a twinkling of innumerable stars and bright reflections of planets. Even though a number of years have passed since he has treaded the sandy beaches of Cartagena, nothing about Playa Blanca Beach has changed.

Alonzo and Snow White have arrived at a quiet and reserved area, but in the distance, grass huts illuminated with strung golden lights and flickering torches indulge the fancy for socializing and dancing. Salsa music piques his interest and dozens and dozens of people mingle from afar, unaware they are under his longing scrutiny. This reminds him of the nights his family would entertain what the beaches had to offer. His mother’s father was from Columbia, and visits to the country were common in his younger years. He can almost smell the scent of his grandfather’s cigar smoke floating on the air, the recall so clear of the memory.
Snow White steps to his side with a smile, gripping his shoulder encouragingly.

“Whaddya think?”

He smiles gleefully.

“I can’t think of anything better!”

“It just felt like the right place to go. Not many people know of our connection to this place. Tracing us to this location will be a bit more difficult than say San Antonio. By the time we were born, our parents had already Awaken. Keeping things on the down-low was common practice for them.”

“I really needed something like this,” Alonzo realizes. “This just brings back so many memories.”

Snow White points to a large rock jutting from the ocean waters reflecting the moon light.

“Remember that? The time we swam out there and got stuck when the tide came in? Everyone thought we were gonna drown. Guess we didn’t.”

Alonzo shakes his head with a smile.

“I remember everything!” he yells, jumping up in dance.

Alonzo picks up Snow White and spins her around. After several moments of running, dancing, and singing, the two sit down in the sand. Alonzo, out of breath, nods to the party in the distance.

“What’s going on?”

“I’m not sure what’s going on tonight,” Snow White says, squinting to see. “I haven’t been here in years, not since before we moved to the States. I just picked this spot because it would be hidden from Sleepers. Looks like a wedding reception. See that chick in the wedding dress? She’s gotta be from the Mid-West or something. No one from here would even think of wearing that huge thing in this humidity. Wanna crash?”

Alonzo laughs at the quip.

“I’m serious!” she laughs, punching his softly in this shoulder.

“Uh, sure,” he answers. “Why not?”

Alonzo and Snow White walk into the throng of party-goers. The assumption was correct; this is a wedding reception and the bride and groom look none too happy for being in the heat of this spectacular night. Both are moist with perspiration and even the wedding cake seems to be leaning from the humidity. Snow White leads him to an empty table, springing for a glass of champagne offered by a serving man in the proper attire for a formal occasion on the beach. The man smiles, relinquishing the fluted glass to the high-spirited young woman.
The serving man offers Alonzo a glass as well.

“Si,” Alonzo agrees, taking a glass.

The man leaves your table and continues on to others within the crowd.

“This reminds me of my parent’s ten-year anniversary,” Snow White reminisces. “Remember that? Phillip puking was the highlight of that night. We told him not to sneak so much of that wine.”

“I think it was more than just wine,” Alonzo laughs.

“That tequila didn’t improve the situation!”

A half an hour passes by when the groom and bride are bid to exit to make a wardrobe change, smiles of gratitude plastered on the faces of the couple. A spark of mischief lights in Snow White’s eyes.

“Let’s dance, Lonz! Whaddya say?”

Alonzo smiles, leading Snow White by the hand to a dance area on the beach.

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Legacy: The Walker of Realms

Walker of Realms



Do you ever dream you are free-falling, the breath taken from your lungs with a caress of weightlessness, that there is no way to stop the impending doom you are coming upon? This is how a Walker of the Realm feels in the early stages of this Legacy. Many onlookers covet the advantages this power holds, but to the only Illuminae within the world, it can sometimes be the most nightmarish and disadvantageous of abilities. The Supernal Realms hold sway over the Realm Walker; until gaining the power to traverse the Realms at will, the mage is in fear constantly of being whisked away into Spectra Illuminos when the realm so desires his or her presence.

Each time a Scion of the Realms awakens within Arcadia, Pandemonium, Stygia, the Aether, and the Primal Wild, an echo rings through the sympathetic link to the Kingdom of Magnified Arcana, beckoning the Prismatic Avatar to direct the flow of Ruling Arcana into the Diamond Lens for cleansing and dispersion. One minute, the Realm Walker can be playing a hand of Poker, the next he or she could be overlooking the crystalline landscape of Spectra. Time has no binding within Spectra Illuminos as well. Five minutes within the realm could be five seconds or five months of passing within the Fallen World. Until the Illuminae masters his or her control over the sympathetic link to the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens, he or she is as the mercy of Spectra.

The Walker of Realms is an avatar of supernal power in its most clean and concentrated form. There are no common or inferior arcana to the one who walks the Path of Clarity and Concentration; all Arcana are of Ruling nature. This may seem like a powerhouse of an individual, but the Walker is limited by his or her counterparts within the Realms, the Scions of the Realms. The Walker of Realms can only gain access to the varying spheres once the doors connecting the Realms to Spectra Illuminos are consciously open by a Scion. If something were to ever happen to a Scion of the Realm, like the loss of the soul or an untimely death, the door will close unless the soul is retrieved or until another Scion from the next Cycle of Spectra Illuminos opens the door again; in the latter notion, the Walker of Realms would be dead as well. Anything that would cut sympathetic ties from the Scion to his or her realm also severs the link that the Walker of Realms has. This Legacy has a bipolar aspect in regard to its Illuminae.


Parent Path:

Illuminae from the Kingdom of Magnified Arcana, the Diamond Realm, Spectra Illuminos, the Beacon of Supernal Brilliance, the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens


Order:

Any. It is known from ancient tomes and scrolls that the first Walker of Realms was of the Silver Ladder, the second of the Adamantine Arrow, and the third was an apostate.


Nickname:

Prismatic Avatar, Realm Walker, Walker


Appearance:

Two words express the appearance of a Realm Walker: refined and lustrous (in a manner of speaking for the latter of the two). An odd sense of gained knowledge exudes from a Realm Walker, whether they are purposely forthcoming in this appearance or not. A glint of intelligence sparks within the eyes of one with a sympathetic connection to the Diamond Realm, and people sometimes feel at ease in the Realm Walker’s presence. No matter what condition the Prismatic Avatar is in whether healthy, ill, vibrant, exhausted, clean, or soiled, he or she still displays an appearance of clarity and concentration.


Background:

Only an Awakened whose journey lit the Beacon at the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens can forge his or her soul with the strengths of this Legacy. It is unknown whether others could awaken to the Diamond Realm while one Realm Walker is already privy to the Path of Clarity and Concentration. Written works and tomes speak little of the happenings with the Illuminae and Spectra Illuminos, and all pertinent knowledge died with those who ushered in the prior Cycles. Rumors have it that the last Prismatic Avatar somehow found a way to gain everlasting life and that his soul stones hold the key to learning the basics to this Legacy, but that is only a rumor.


Organization:

No hierarchy exists within the Legacy of the Walker of Realms. Only one Realm Walker has been known to be within existence at a time. The journey of a Walker is lonely, for no other Awaked will truly understand what happens within Spectra Illuminos or what it is like to travel to the Supernal Realms in physical form, rather than astral form. Exceptions do exist to this rule however, which will be further explained within the explanation of Attainments.


Suggested Oblations:

Oblations for a Walker of Realms coincide with the ideas of clarity and concentration. Star Gazing, chores of cleaning, glassblowing, precious gem cutting, scanning with a microscope, teaching others to understand difficult theories, counseling others in mental health, and polishing precious metals and gems have aspects that lead to clearer and cleaner observation. These are just a few of many.


Concepts:

No concept truly exists for a Realm Walker, for only four have been identified throughout history. It is known that all were born within the same time of an annual cycle (same day of birth) and that each had a pentagonal birthmark on some part of their body, signifying their place in the center of the five Supernal Realms. It is through this center that Spectra Illuminos cleans and concentrates the 10 Arcana, allowing a stronger push through the Abyss.


Attainments:

A Walker of Realms gains attainments through the increase of Gnosis, just as other mages do. This is much to the advantage of the mage within this Legacy as others have deeper requirement. Unless the Illuminae has possession of a soul stone that could essentially teach the attainments, a mage must do so on his or her own. In the case of soul stones, a mage can progress just like any other mage in a Legacy with a tutor (Gnosis 3, 5, and 7). If this is not the case, a mage must mold his or her soul alone, mastering attainments at Gnosis 4, 6, and 8.



1st: Prismatic Savant

Prerequisites: Gnosis 4 (or 3 with a soul stone from a previous Walker of Realms)

Awakening from Spectra Illuminos leaves a mage nearly defenseless once returned to the Fallen World; the Arcana are not readily available for a Walker to learn and use as sword or shield in dire times. This may seem limiting at first, but an Illuminae still has a great deal of ability in understanding the mysteries and the properties of each arcana. In game terms, at character creation, an Illuminae can essentially buy the Gnosis needed to obtain this Legacy since the Arcana are not available at first. House rules on purchasing during character creation for an Illuminae are explained in the Path description, which will come later. Once the doors of sympathy are opened within Arcadia, Pandemonium, Stygia, the Aether, and the Primal Wild in conjunction with Spectra, the Walker of Realms is fully aware of the power now available to command.

A Prismatic Avatar grasps the fundamentals of the mysteries much easier than other mages. With this ability, the mage can master any Arcana if he or she so desires. Though having a teacher of the Mysteries is very beneficial, the Illuminae can learn on his or her own the workings of the Arcanum. The Awakened world is a sea of possibilities once the Scions of the Realms and the Walker of Realms come together. The following are rules for experience point expenditures for a Walker of Realms, indicating why this attainment is referred to as a Prismatic Savant.

Ruling Arcana@: New dots x 5

Rote: 1 point per dot@@

Gnosis: New dots x 7

Wisdom: New dots x 2

@For an Illuminae, no Arcana are considered Common or Inferior; all are Ruling. The mage must have access to the Arcana through the assistance of a Scion of the Realms though. For instance, if a Thyrsus Scion opens his or her door into Spectra Illuminos, the Walker of Realms will only have access to Life and Spirit but nothing else. Other Scions must open their own corresponding doors for a Walker to obtain access to their Ruling Arcana.

@@Rotes are rated by the highest Arcanum dot used, so a Forces 3 rote would cost 3 experience points to learn for an Illuminae. Learning rotes may be easier for a Walker of Realms, but he or she must still be taught or create them on his or her own in the same way other mages do.


2nd: Embodiment of Spectra

Prerequisites: Gnosis 6 (or 5 with a soul stone from a previous Walker of the Realms)

If ever the Walker of Realms is left wanting for mystic strength because Scions have lost souls or perished, the Kingdom of Magnified Arcana provides its avatar basic mystical properties of insight and protection to live another day.

Once this attainment is molded, a mage can invoke the Embodiment of Spectra at will. As an instant action, the mage is provided a version of mage sight and mage armor from the echoes of Resonance from Arcadia, Pandemonium, Stygia, the Aether, and the Primal Wild, even if the Ruling Arcana are severed from Spectra Illuminos. This Prismatic Sight and Prismatic Armor mimic the effects of the other types of Mage Sight and Armor. Only one affect can be sustained at a time. These effects last one hour after invoking the attainment. If the mage wishes to change the functionality of the sight or armor, he or she must release the effects as an instant action and then reactivate it in another aspect. This Attainment can be used as often as the mage wishes.

Prismatic Sight functions the same as other Mage Sight effects. For example, an Illuminae can view the world with “Dark Matter” or “Grim Sight”, but only with one effect in place at a time.

Prismatic Armor provides the same protection per the law of the Arcana used, but the strength does not depend on the dots in the Arcana but the dots in Gnosis for the mage. For every 2 dots a mage has in Gnosis, a +1 bonus is added to the corresponding effect. For example, an Illuminae may wish to use Entropic Guard as his practice of Shielding, with his Gnosis governing the potency of the protection. Walking into a bar with the potential for a fight to erupt, the mage can drop the Entropic Guard and erect and Unseen Shield instead.


3nd: Walking the Realm

Prerequisites: Gnosis 8 (or 7 with a soul stone from a previous Walker of the Realms)

With this attainment, an Illuminae has the ability to control the ebbs and flows that Spectra Illuminos holds over him or her. No longer is the mage subject to the needs of the Path of Clarity and Concentration, he or she can now walk freely within the Realm of Spectra.

Once per session, a PC may be able to activate this attainment as an instant action. His person, clothing, items, and any other material items (but not living, sentient beings) he is touching physically disappear and reappear within the Realm of Spectra Illuminos at the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens. With this amount of control, the Illuminae’s time within Spectra flows as it does in the Fallen World. The effects last one scene or one hour, whichever comes to a close first. The PC will then reappear in the spot he or she disappeared from with a replenished pool of mana soaked up from the Supernal Realm. Be wary though; this kind of travel exhausts the sympathetic link between the mage and Spectra. Abilities like this strain the probability of travel from the Fallen World, through the Abyss, into Spectra, and then back again. For the next 24 hours, the Illuminae cannot take advantage of this attainment. He or she is also struck with a mystical backlash, weakening the link between the Illuminae and other Realms. When casting any kind of spell within that 24 hour period after, the player must spend one mana to activate the spell (rote or improvised) and does so at a -1 dice pool penalty.

Optional Arcana: Space 4

With the use of Space 4, the Illuminae can designate where he or she appears when leaving Spectra for the Fallen World, just as long as the mage has a sympathetic connection with the place he or she wishes to return.


4th Attainment:

Possibility does exist to mold a fourth attainment as a Walker of Realms. Theory points to the Walker traversing to the Supernal Realms at any time he or she wants, taking living beings into Spectra Illuminos, and for longer periods of time. This attainment could also steel the Illuminae’s sympathetic connection to the Supernal World, negating the backlash effect that occurs once the Realm Walker returns to the Fallen World. There is even theory suggesting that this attainment could allow the Prismatic Avatar paths into Arcadia, Pandemonium, Stygia, the Aether, and the Primal Wild.

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The Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Introductions: 1.3: Alonzo’s Conclusion
The Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Introductions: 1.3: Alonzo’s Conclusion



When I began writing the introduction for Alonzo, I had asked Mundy what he wanted to see within it. He wanted surprises; he also wanted romance and couple of carrots leading to possible love interests. Tom could be a possibility; another NPC character could prove to be another which will be expressed at the end of the conclusion.

As Alonzo opens his eyes from the reverie of the Diamond Realm, he finds that he is in a soft bed. Cords extend from his body into monitors that are tracking blood pressure and oxygen levels, and he suddenly feels an ache running through his body, making him cringe. Though blurred as his vision is, he can make out two forms standing near the door to the room he is in.

“Are we cloaked?” Uncle Roman

“Yes,” Aunt Miranda says in response. “We need to take him away from here as soon as we can. Seers will know what happened and will be seeking him.

“I can’t believe this,” Uncle Roman continues, “Clavian was right all this time. I just thought he was having visions of grandeur.”

“Divina believed him too. The date of birth, the birthmark, it is all coming together,” Aunt Miranda comments. “They died making sure he wouldn’t be found.”

“When he wakes up he will know. There’s no stopping the Cycle of Spectra Illuminos. If we want any chance to rebuild what was lost in the Fall, he will need our help to find the others.”

“Miranda? Roman? What’s going on? Where am I?” Alonzo asks, sitting up in bed.

Aunt Miranda jogs to Alonzo’s side, placing a delicate touch to his forehead, smiling warmly.

“You’ve been in the ICU for three days now. Oh lord, we were so worried about you.” – Aunt Miranda

Uncle Roman closes the door to the room.

“I’m sorry we have to rush this, kid, but there is much to tell you and little time.” – Uncle Roman

“What happened to me? How did I get here?” – Alonzo

Miranda looks to Roman with concern. Uncle Roman steps up to the bedside and grips Alonzo’s hand.

“The last time you were seen was at that club, Lucifer. Witnesses say you rode off on your bike after a tussle in an alley. You disappeared and have been missing for six months. You were found lying in an intersection and were rushed to the hospital after a woman almost ran you over.” – Uncle Roman

“Six months?” – Alonzo

“It’s safe to say I think we will be fine here for the night. Tomorrow we need to get you out of here and into a safe place. A lot of people are going to be looking for you and you will need a place to hone the Mysteries.” – Aunt Miranda

“But six months? How could I have been gone that long? It feels like I just left the club a few hours ago.” – Alonzo

“What do you remember after you left the club?” – Uncle Roman

Alonzo explains what happened. At first he is reluctant to divulge the things he experienced in his dream in the Diamond Realm, but Roman and Miranda do not seem surprised at what he says and even appear thoughtful to the hardships he experienced.

“So you’re trying to tell me that everything I experienced wasn’t a dream?” – Alonzo

“That’s what we’re saying.” – Aunt Miranda.

Alonzo presents question after question without waiting for an answer from his aunt and uncle. He is confounded by what he is realizing, but deep within he knows something that he did not know before, an aspect of the world that was once hidden from him now made known. He feels that he has finally woken from the clutches of a blinding slumber. He feels grateful yet frightened to step out into this new world. When he stops rambling, Roman and Miranda answer his questions to the best of their ability, starting at the beginning with Alonzo’s parents.

“The Petrovsky bloodline is a constant in magic. If a child born into the family does not awaken, then he or she will more than likely become a Sleep-Walker.” – Uncle Roman

Roman and Miranda begin to detail the history of the Awakened society form its origin to present status. Alonzo stares and listens in silence, especially at the thought of Atlantis. The notion that Exarchs are controlling the world and that a small group of Oracles are at battle with them is almost too fanciful to believe.

“Divina, your mother, was the first from her family to awaken. Even though a mage, your mother made it a point to remain faithful to her sleeper family. A lot of your mom and dad’s arguments revolved around keeping ties to outside family. You mother thought it would be good for you whereas your father figured it would just prove disastrous for your future, a weakness that could be exploited.” – Roman

“Your parents actually led a very happy life together before prophecy began to interfere.” – Miranda

“You mean me?” – Alonzo

“Your father and mother suspected what you were at birth by the birthmark on your back.” – Miranda

Alonzo has a weak pentagonal birth mark in the center of his back. Since his time in Spectra Illuminos, it has become darker and refined, less of a blotchy mark and more in tune with his sympathetic connection to the Supernal Realm.

“Your father took it one step further, cloaking you from the Awakened world and by creating a life within the Sleepers. Even your fallen name has been hidden and only a few know of it, not even you are aware of your real name. With his cover of law, he traveled to several continents in search of lore based on the Cycle of Spectra Illuminos. Your parents died protecting your secret.” – Roman

“They died that night because of me?” – Alonzo, forlorn.

“We know of another cause of Divina and Clavian’s death. It was caused by magic, but has been so heavily guarded that we cannot discern who did it. We think that Seers or Banishers may have been the cause; some people are not happy about the Realm of Spectra Illuminos’ Watchtower being active. It means changes are coming and faster than can be handled.”- Miranda

Alonzo has a breakdown moment, sobbing for the real cause of his parents’ demise. He just can’t fathom that all of this is happening, wishing everything would go back the way it was. After wiping away tears and controlling the sobs, Alonzo looks to his uncle and aunt.

“I know what Spectra Illuminos is; I was there. But what is the talk of this Cycle?” – Alonzo

“The Cycle of Spectra was prophesied after the Fall of Atlantis, Three cycles have already happened and have failed. If the Cycle were to be complete, more awakenings would happen, paradoxes and disbelief would weaken, and the walls surrounding the Abyss would strengthen. It is even surmised that the realms’ major arcana would be easier to access by mages.” – Roman.

Miranda continues.

“Five more people will now awaken to the corresponding realms, scions to the Oracles in the Supernal Realm. They will have greater capability over their ruling arcana. Once together, they can complete a ritual that will lend to the ascension and final key of the Realm Walker, or the one of the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens. Once he ascends, the Oracles will have another warrior in their ranks in the war against the Exarchs.”

“That’s me isn’t it?” – Alonzo

“You are the Realm Walker, yes. That explains why you were gone for so long. Normal Awakenings happen astrally or through Mystery Plays. You happened to Awaken through physical form. You sensed and experienced things unknown to other mages.” – Miranda.

“I still don’t get how I was gone for so long.” – Alonzo

“Time works differently within the Supernal Realm, that’s for sure. More than that, you were touched by your realm through body and soul. I assume the loss of all of your body hair is because of what you experienced on Spectra Illuminos?” – Roman

Alonzo gazes into a mirror on the wall. Uncle Roman is right. The hair in his head, his eyebrows, facial stubble, chest hair, and other areas were left bare from the flames of the watchtower’s beacon. Alonzo goes on to tell his aunt and uncle what happened to him in the Diamond Realm. They listen intently as he finishes his detailed story. Once finished, a long, drawn-out pause creeps between the three of them until Alonzo breaks the silence.

“How am I going to be able to handle all of this? You guys obviously had teachers to help you learn. If what you are saying is true, then there is no one else like me in the entire world.” – Alonzo

“True, to some degree you are alone.” – Aunt Miranda

“There is one person still alive from the last Cycle of Spectra. He was a mage of the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens who separated his soul into several pieces to hide who he was. He will be the one to help guide you and your cabal once it is started. He may not be able to perform magic now, but he still knows what to do.” – Roman

“So what about everyone else? Esther, Phillip, Clayton? What happened when they found out I went missing? Did Tom contact you? What happened to Oscar?”- Alonzo

“Tom is a sleeper and you will probably not see him again unless you make it a point. Same with Clayton. Phil and Esther have already awaken to their paths; that’s why you have seen so little of them as you have this last year. Their family and ours have been connected for generations in the ways of magic. Oscar is fine; he’s still at the house.” – Roman.

Though intrigued by everything he is hearing, Alonzo stifles a yawn.

“Listen, you need to get your rest. We’ll be back in the morning to take you home with us. We have much to discuss about the future. Don’t worry though; we have you shielded so no one will be able to find you with magic.”

“But there are still more questions I have, Roman.”

Uncle Roman smiles.

“Another thing to remember. You can call us by our given names when we are alone, but try to remember to use our Shadow Names when you can. I am Dionysus and Miranda is known as Persephone.” – Roman.

“What do I have to go by?” – Alonzo

“Your Shadow name will come to you with time. It’s up to you to choose it if you want. But for now, get some rest. We will see you in the morning.” – Persephone

They both kiss Alonzo on the forehead and take leave of the room.

A couple of hours pass by and Alonzo hasn’t been able to sleep since Dionysus and Persephone left. Midnight comes and goes, and with the arrival of 2 am, he sees the moon shining brightly through the window. Beyond, the stars twinkle in the clear night sky, a reminder of the beauty seen within Spectra Illuminos. Alonzo stands to gain a better look limps to the window to take in the scenery, soaking up the atmosphere with a sigh.



Mundy makes and succeeds on a Perception check.


Standing in between two trees within a park area of the hospital campus is Cairo looking up to Alonzo’s window. His expression seems thoughtful, almost as if asking to have him up. Alonzo nods to him and waves. Within moments, Cairo is standing at the door to the room with a concerned smile.

“You’ve turned up most unexpectedly, but I had a feeling you would return.” – Cairo

“I almost forgot about what happened outside of the club. So much has happened.” – Alonzo

“I suppose you are still expecting an explanation on what happened that night.” – Cairo

“I don’t think there’s anything you could say that would surprise me. I figure vampires to be the least of my problems now.”

“You’d be shocked to learn that more than just vampires roam the night.” – Cairo

“Like what, werewolves?” – Alonzo, almost laughing.

“Werewolves, fairy-folk, demons, ghosts- just about anything you can pull from a fairy tale probably has some factual pretense to it.” – Cairo

Alonzo’s smile turns to a frown.

“Sounds fun.” – Alonzo

Alonzo sits down into his bed while Cairo walks to the window and peers out to the light of the moon.

“You aren’t what I expected a vampire to be like.” – Alonzo

“Were you expecting luminous skin and bright hazel eyes? We are more in tune with the Anne Rice version on vampires. I particularly liked the story of Lestat. I always wanted to be something of that nature, but never had the heart to consider humanity the way he did. The Vampire Diaries are pretty close as well.”



Cairo’s previous statement was a small jest at the evolution of vampires from monster into love interests. I personally like the Vampire Diaries and Ann Rice’s version of vampires.


Silence blankets the room. The time for small talk is over.

“You have learned the reasons surrounding your parent’s accident I assume?”- Cairo

“Yes.” – Alonzo

“What other questions do you have?” – Cairo

“Who are you really? Why were you working with my parents?” – Alonzo

“My real name is Acacius Vitalis. Your father came to me about two years ago, explaining what he had learned of the Cycle of Spectra Illuminos in an old tome. I told him I would give him anything he wanted if he would retrieve something for me. This stone.”

Cairo holds out a translucent quartz stone.

“The night he and your mother died, he had given me the stone. I gave him my diary from the time of the Third Cycle. We had also agreed to meet regularly to, well watch you and guide you once you awakened. As for the diary, someone wanted it; it wasn’t found anywhere on your father or mother’s person at the crash site, or even in the vehicle. We even looked into Twilight and the Shadow Realm to no avail. When scried, we realized it is being cloaked with very powerful magic. Someone is working either against us or with us, but until we know who stole the diary, we are in the dark.”

“Why would a vampire know about the Cycle of Spectra?” – Alonzo

“My Shadow name is Cairo, at least when I was alive. I was once a mage before I was turned, a Walker of the Realms, the same as you.” – Cairo
This surprises Alonzo. Questions start to flood his mind. Cairo must be the person that Persephone and Dionysus were talking about, the one that would help him learn his Path.

“When was the Third Cycle?” – Alonzo

“Well, I am very old to many standards. I was born in Ancient Greece when man still prayed to Mount Olympus. I was born before the Christ. Give or take a few hundred years, I’m over 2000 years old. I found myself at the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens as a late teenager, the son a poor farmer and wine maker.” – Cairo

“So you knew exactly what would happen to me when I found Spectra?” – Alonzo

“In a manner of speaking, yes, but I was just assuming. Other mages from other Paths
experience Awakenings in varying ways. I did not have a mentor who could teach me the intricacies of working the Path of Clarity and Concentration, so I was not for certain our experiences would be similar.” – Cairo

“You never had support through all of that?” – Alonzo

“That is the reason why I assumed what you might have experienced within Spectra; I did not know if the Path of Clarity and Concentration was the same for the four of us. Did my advice find substance for you?” – Cairo

“The four of us” is in reference to the Realm Walkers, including Alonzo.

“Yes.” – Alonzo

“That is good to know. Many Awaken speculate the notion of a lone watchtower with the Supernal Realms. Those speculations are correct. You are the bringer of the Fourth Cycle of Spectra Illuminos. I was the third Awakened to light the Beacon at the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens. As you can see, my cycle and the two before were doomed.” – Cairo

“What happened?” – Alonzo

“My Cycle of Spectra was nearly complete. The Scions of the Realms and I found one another and had what we needed for the spell of Ascension. We were headstrong and thought we could push the limits of our abilities to access Ascension before we were ready. Things went horribly wrong and we were decimated. It was not an outsider who interrupted the spell and destroyed our cabal, it was someone from within. Our Obrimos mage, and I still do not know why, led dozens of other mages, Awakened, not Seers or Banishers, into our Demesne for an attack. I was the only one to escape, and when I could no longer run, I found friends within the night who were willing to turn me into what I am now.” – Cairo, somewhat saddened by the retelling of event.

“The stone your father found for me is one of my soul stones from that period. The soul stones are something I plan on using to prove a previous theory. I had always planned on being turned if things had gone wrong. With the soul stones, I may be able to regain humanity once again. Life as a vampire has given me many gifts, but I long for the mortal hold to live out a life to a true death. I want to find happiness, and even love again. I have found two stones so far; I am trying to locate the other four.” – Cairo

“So why are you willing to go through all of this again?” – Alonzo

“I was just a boy and a fool at the apex of my Cycle. I had high hopes and hubris, and my child-like trust was taken advantage of by other Awakened. For the sake of the Awakened society, the Lie needs to be countered. The battle must be taken to the Exarchs and the beacon at the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens must remain illuminated for that to happen. Magic for a Realm Walker is not as simple as it is for other mages in some ways. Our access to magic is solely achieved through the doorways opened from within the five other Realms. A Realm Walker can make certainly greater strides within the facets of Gnosis and Arcana, but this cannot be achieved until the Scions of the Realms awaken and allow you access to their own Watchtowers. Each Arcanum within the Supernal Realms is a Ruling Arcana to the Diamond Realm. Spectra Illuminos opens a conduit to each of the corresponding Realms and concentrates the power of each Ruling Arcana from that said Realm. The Realm Walker cannot take his or her role into Ascension without the help of the Scions. The Scions make the Realm Walker an avatar of magic in its most concentrated and clean form. A Realm Walker can achieve magics within the Fallen World that mages everywhere only dream about. You could possibly master each branch of the Arcanum. Like I said, you are the boon and bane to the Awakened world. Many will feel the need to help you, others will be scared of your ability and try to stop you, and others will covet your power for their own.” – Cairo

Alonzo takes all this information in with stride. He is scared and confused. Never has he felt such weight placed on his shoulders.

“What do I have to do?” – Alonzo

“Magic is not readily available to you. You have only tasted the lure of the power you can learn, but you must first sculpt your soul to handle it. Realm Walker is more than just an idea or title; it is more akin to what the Awakened call Legacies. Your legacy will allow you greater access to the Supernal Arcana. With enough training and practice you could also walk the Realms at will. I was unable to achieve this mastery in my time, but with help you may. That is another reason for the soul stones. They will allow you access to my memories of the Legacy and allow you to learn from them. You can gain only the basic understandings of being a Realm Walker through just the two of the soul stones I have though. The rest you will have to learn on your own, or help locate the missing four as to serve for greater insight. Unfortunately, I never achieved what I should have within the Legacy. My help will only keep you afloat for so long before you have to pave your own path.” – Cairo

“This is an awful lot to take in.” – Alonzo

“Fear not, for you have more support at your side than your three predecessors did. The Fourth Cycle must succeed, for each time a cycle fails, the Realm of the Diamond Lens is once again shrouded, giving the Exarchs and the Abyss more power over the Fallen World. The Oracles were no fools. They have provided the Awakened a means to a possible end. Willworkers must find the passion to fight for that end.” – Cairo

“I’m not sure I am the right person for the job.” – Alonzo

“I think you will do fine. You have already proven that you have the drive and ingenuity to seek out lies and to do what is right. I think Maria and Maximillian would be proud of you for what you did for them.” – Cairo

“Thanks.” – Alonzo

“For now I must be going. Tomorrow will bring a new life for you. You are the panacea for the Awakened world but also a bane of change. You will find many proponents for the cause once you are presented to the world of the Awakened, but you will also be a target.” – Cairo

Cairo steps to Alonzo’s side and caresses the human’s face with his hand, a gaze of compassion and sincere interest from his eyes.

“I plan on keeping the promise I made to your parents for as long as it takes. I will protect you in any way I can as long as it is in my power. I know all too well what your struggles will be.” – Cairo

Cairo reaches down and kisses Alonzo on the mouth- not a small peck, something more.

“For now, sleep, I will see you tomorrow.” – Cairo



There seems to be a lot revealed in just this one introduction. There are still more twists and turns to what the Cycle of Spectra Illuminos is and does. More antagonists will present themselves as well as people who wish to aid the Realm Walker and Scions. I read recently from the Tome of Mysteries the relationship between the Awakened and the Kindred (vampires). With Cairo, I was seeking a way for someone from a previous Cycle to give insight for the PCs in their quest. A mage who had separated his entire soul into stones who then became a vampire is an idea that could essentially create a greater bind between Mage and Vampire.

An ancient vampire in this capacity may be a bit unbalanced, but Cairo will not be as prominent outside of the introduction; he has his own life to live as well and is still searching for the rest of his soul stones. And why the kiss? More will be entertained on why Cairo has feeling for Alonzo. Most of the players wanted a little cross-over between systems as well. I know the romance between a vampire and human is overdone in television and the big screen, but I try to give the players what they want.

I am currently waiting on two other players to submit their character information so I can begin the stories for the Scions of the Realms. Once the PCs meet and create their own cabal, I may throw them into a pre-generated adventure from Mage: the Awakening to help learn the rules. There are a couple of other people who expressed interest in the game as well. I just need to send out more feelers to get some answers. Let me know what you think so far. I love constructive criticism and feedback.

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The Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Introductions: 1.2

The Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Introductions: 1.2

During the funeral scene, the song I Will Find You from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack is played.

Over the next few days, proceedings for the funeral begin. Family and friends console Alonzo in his grief. His Uncle Roman and Aunt Miranda arrive the day after his investigation at the medical examiner’s office. His best friends from school, Esther and her twin brother Phillip, and an old crush Clayton, take the time to stand with him during the burial. Surprisingly, an old friend from junior high is also present at the funeral, Tom.

At the wake, the mood has lightened, and smiling faces bring Alonzo out of his sadness. Esther and Phillip spend a good deal of time with him, catching him up on Esther’s medical school path and Phillips training as a swimmer for the Olympics. Clayton catches up with him as well, introducing Alonzo to his pretty, blonde fiancé named Jessica. This wreaks more havoc on Alonzo’s feelings, but the death of his parents has dulled any kind of further loss he could be feeling.

By the time 10 pm rolls around, many of the guests have left; Aunt Miranda and Uncle Roman have also left to take visitors to the airport. Ether and Phillip leave with their parents and Clayton leaves to take his fiancé home. Tom stays behind.

“Can we talk- in private?” – Tom

The two exit to the privacy of the study where they had once kissed.

During the conversation with Tom, the song Find Love by NLX is played.

“I’m sorry about your parents, Lonz. I made my way here when I heard what had happened.” – Tom

“How did you hear about it?” – Alonzo

“I got a phone call from Esther a couple of days ago. She told me when the funeral would be. I didn’t even think she had my number.” – Tom

“I’m glad you made it all the way here. It is good seeing you after all these years. What ever happened to you? You just seemed to fall off the map.” – Alonzo

Tom says that he moved to Seattle during his sophomore year of high school when his dad transferred to Fort Lewis. Since then, he has been working through his two years of college as a waiter for Texas Roadhouse. He says it’s not bad; the tips are good and he helps renovate bathrooms on the weekends.

For the chronicle, I also provide visuals of NPCs. Tom looks like Matt Muenster from the television show Bath Crashers; this pertains to the small joke on renovating bathrooms on weekends. I allowed Mundy to pick many of the faces attached to the NPC personas. For instance, Maximillian looks like Fred Ward in his early 50s.

“Listen Lonz, there’s a lot I need to talk to you about. I really need to apologize for what happened between us in junior high. If Phillip hadn’t of been there to stop us, I know you would have ended up hurt.” – Tom

Tom is referring to the intimate encounter that he and Alonzo nearly had during the 8th grade. If Phillip had not of stopped them, they would have pursued a sexual encounter. Tom was known as the proverbial male slut in school, and he understands that Alonzo would have walked away emotionally hurt; Tom’s needs were completely self-satisfying. At that time, he cared only about sex and not what the other person would have felt.

“That happened a long time ago, Tom. I’ve never felt any anger about how things turned out.” – Alonzo.

“I guess I’ve just been on a mission lately to apologize to those I have wronged in life.” – Tom

During this admission of guilt from Tom, Mundy rolls a Perception check and finds a business card under his father’s desk. After reading it, he pockets it.

At this point, Tom reaches out and hugs Alonzo in an iron grip. They look to each other and kiss. A pause then passes between them and they gather their senses.

“Where did that come from?” – Alonzo

“That was a bad idea. I should probably go.” – Tom

Tom walks to the front door, even at the insistence from Alonzo to stay. Tom continues to say it is a bad idea.

“Why can’t you stay tonight? It will be good for us to catch up and get to know each other again.” -Alonzo

“Lonz, I’m HIV positive. I found out a year ago and since then I have been trying to come to terms with myself and how I have treated people. I can’t stay here tonight. If I did it would just put me back into the cycle of hurting people again. I can’t keep hurting the people I care about.” – Tom

Tom pauses for a moment then continues.

“You’re the only person I’ve ever really loved, Lonz.” – Tom

“How can you say something like that and just leave?” – Alonzo

“I need to figure me out before I can take this any further. Maybe after I work through this, we can reconnect- get to know each other again. Too much has happened since I left. I would be a disappointment to you.”

Conversation is a tennis match as Alonzo tries to talk Tom into staying. Tom finally stops the conversation and says he needs to get back to his hotel; his flight leaves at 5 am back to Seattle. Alonzo finally gives up his argument, realizing he can’t convince Tom. Tom gets into his car and waves as he drives off.

Alone, Alonzo checks his watch; it’s nearing 1100 pm. He then pulls the business card from his pocket. It’s a card to a new gay club, Lucifer, which opened on Main Street. On the back of the card is a handwritten message that reads: “Ask for Cairo.” This is another strange piece of information. Maximillian was strongly homophobic, and to have a business card to a new gay club was completely uncharacteristic of the man.

Mundy wanted to play a gay PC for this game. Alonzo is a closeted homosexual. He has never come out to his parents because he is afraid of how they would have reacted. Only a few people really know the truth- Clayton, Phillip, Tom, Esther. Much of what happens in Lucifer is toned down in the recount to make it family-oriented, lol.

Alonzo calls the number for the club. A woman answers, loud music playing in the background.

“Club Lucifer.” – The Woman

She has a thick English accent.

“Hello, I’d like to talk to the manager.”

“Seriously? Listen, we’re at the start of Saturday night and people are pushing in. If you need to talk to the manager, call back during non-peak hours.” – The Woman

“Please, I really need to speak to someone.” – Alonzo

“If you really need to talk, get your ass down here and get a drink. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of friends willing to talk to you.”

The woman hangs up on her end. Alonzo changes his clothes and takes his motorcycle into town.

Alonzo arrives at a parking for Lucifer on Main Street, two blocks from the doors to the club. Loud music is heard from the inside and a poster on the outside of the club indicates that tonight is an 80s mixer. He takes in the scene: a large, muscular man with a shaved head bars the door while a line extending a block back waits to gain entrance. Alonzo notices that the doorman is allowing certain people to enter; some people hand the man a hand full of bills, while others he allows entrance based solely on attractive looks. Alonzo tries to get the doorman’s attention by walking by, but the man does not notice him.

Mundy failed at a Presence + Persuasion roll to get the man’s attention. I attributed this to his (doorman’s) lusting after other people in the line.

Instead of waiting at the end of the line, Alonzo walks up to doorman. The rugged bouncer looks to him with a gaze on interest.

“What can I do for you? – Doorman

“I’m here to see Cairo.” – Alonzo

“What did you say?” – Doorman.

He seems surprised to hear the name.

“Cairo. I’m here to see Cairo.” – Alonzo

The man nods a pulls out a cellphone and steps away so he cannot be overheard. After a few moments he returns. He smiles at Alonzo with apparent interest.

“Head inside and ask for Charlie at the bar.”

Following is a list of songs that were played during the club scene. Easy Lover by Phil Collins, Turn Me on by David Guetta and Nicki Minaj, Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart, Marry the Night by Lady Gaga, Give Me Everything by Ne-Yo And Pitbull, Dancing in the Sheets by Shalamar, and Night of Your Life by David Guetta and Jennifer Hudson. Some of these tracks were picked with the idea of presenting symobolism of Alonzo soon transformation into a mage within the World of Darkness. Marry the Night was one of these.

Alonzo heads inside, finding the bar with ease. The song Easy Lover is being played. The dance floor is large with neon and strobe lights flashing to and fro. Every now and again, smoke and glitter burst from hidden batches in the ceiling, inciting the crowd into a dancing frenzy. At the bar is a rail-thin young woman with jet-black spikey hair, several facial piercings, and just as many tattoos. She is wearing a pink too-too over her panties and sleeveless shirt. She looks to Alonzo as he walks up.

This character’s visual was taken from Rooney Mara’s depiction of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

“What’s your pleasure”- Bartender

The girl has a thick English accent. The same Alonzo had spoken to over the phone when he had called earlier.

“The doorman had me come in here to ask for Charlie. I’m here to see Cairo.”

The girl nods, mixing a rum and Coke. She hands it to Alonzo and continues working without another word.

“Are you Charlie? What about Cairo?”

“The boss already knows you’re here. Why don’tcha take a lil’ tour, do a lil’ dance. I’ve got shit to do.”

Alonzo nods and shoots his entire drink. He turns and looks around the club. The dance floor is blazing now and people are bumping and grinding. He watches for a few moments when he notices the gaze of a handsome, blonde gentleman locked on him.

For a little bit of trivia, I began playing the song Give It Up by Evelyn “Champagne” King. This was a ploy to see if Mundy could get the reference from the movie Fright Night. I played this scene out just like the club scene in the movie. Mundy never noticed. Bummer. I’m not surprised though, the movie was the only instance I ever remember this song being played. I’m not sure if he ever saw the original Fright Night either. Chris Sarandon was an awesome bad-guy.

The blonde man zig-zags his way through the dancing throng, meeting Alonzo in the middle of the floor.

“Name’s Damian. Dance with me.”

Alonzo allows himself to move closer to Damian, their bodies moving together with the sound of the music.

“Closer.” – Damian

Alonzo rubs his body closer to the other man. The song, the lights, the people, and the alcohol seem to hypnotize Alonzo into acting out his sexuality like he never has before.

“You want this.” Damian

Not a question.

They kiss.

At this point I had Mundy roll a contested roll versus Damian’s vampiric discipline of Dominate. Mundy gained no success on his Resolve. Tough luck, but I was hoping this would happen to propel the story.

“Now, relax your neck.”- Damian

Alonzo does so, completely enthralled with Damian.

As Damian reaches his hand to Alonzo’s neck, another hand intercepts it in a steel grasp. An attractive, brown-haired man with striking blue eyes nudges Damian back several steps.

“You know the rules of my domain, Damian. In fact, I thought I requested that you not return.” -Brown-Haired Man.

Funny how the visual personas of Damian and Cairo were selected. Cairo is visualized through J.C. Chasez and Damian is visualized through Nick Carter. But in context with what is happening, Alonzo has no real clue what is going on. Mundy even had a hard time understanding what was happening, even with the whole neck thing and Damian. He’ll soon find out though.

“It’s already been a month, Cairo! You know your club is the sickest on main! What, you give out free passes to the clans you want and leave me hanging?” – Damian

“Your exit was indefinite. Your games are not welcome here.” Cairo

Instantly, the bartender appears at Damian’s side and locks his arm in a grip.

Cairo continues, his gaze locked sharply on Damian.

“Charlie, please assist our guest in finding the door. You have trespassed and broken tenants within my domain, Damian.” Cairo

Cairo pauses for a moment, looking to Alonzo. He then shoots an angry gaze back at Damian.

“Your mother will hear of your misdeeds. If I see you lurking around here again, you will see why I hold the social power I possess.” – Cairo

Charlie urges Damian from the dance floor, pushing the man like he is a mere feather-weight. Alonzo is shocked at the physical prowess that the bartender exhibits.

Cairo looks to Alonzo with a considerate smile.

“I apologize for any confusion. It’s just rare that anyone ever asks of my nickname. Please come to my office so we can talk.”

Alonzo agrees and the two walk off to a flight of stairs leading to a corner office on the second floor. The office overlooks the dance floor. Cairo offers Alonzo a chair at the front of his desk and then sits himself. He pulls a photo from underneath a calendar mat and hands it to Alonzo.

“The last person to ask for the name Cairo was this man.” – Cairo

The photo is a surveillance still of Maximillian Petrovsky.

“This is a picture of my father.” – Alonzo

“So you are Maximillian’s son?”- Cairo

“Yes. My name is Alonzo.”

“I see the resemblance. You look just like him, but you have your mother’s eyes.” – Cairo

“Please, if there’s anything you can tell me about your meeting with him, I would really like to know.” – Alonzo

“Max was working with me on a special case. Our meeting did not end well; I did not have the information he needed at the time and he left, well, unhappy.” – Cairo.

“What do you mean ‘a special case’?”- Alonzo

“Aside from my esteemed ventures in the nightclub business, I have others. Your father was working on an international theft case with my winery in Greece. He needed documentation of imports and exports and I unfortunately did not have them at the time. He can be an impatient man at times.” – Cairo

“How do you two know each other?”- Alonzo

Cairo looks to Alonzo with a spark of interest, considering something.

“What path are you following in study?” – Cairo

“What do you mean?” – Alonzo

“Your path- the focus of you studies.”

Cairo is fishing for specific information about Alonzo. His question is in reference to the Path of a mage. More will come on how he knows such things.

“Uh, law. Just the same as my father, I guess.” – Alonzo

Cairo nods with a small frown.

“Your father and I work within the same business circles. We have mutual friends across the globe.” – Cairo

“When did he come to see you?” – Alonzo

“Just a few nights ago- Thursday, early morning around midnight or so.” – Cairo

“My parents died that same night. Probably after leaving this place.” – Alonzo

Cairo seems physically distraught. He straightens his posture within the chair and brings his hands together.

“I sincerely regret hearing this news; I very sorry for your loss.”

Actually, Cairo knows full well what has happened to Alonzo’s parents. He is not an antagonist by any means, but he knows a lot more than he is letting on. More about Cairo will be realized later.

A knock at the door brings the discussion to a close. Charlie pokes her head inside.

“There’s an issue that needs tendin’ on the floor. It’s urgent.” – Charlie

Charlie takes leave; Ciaro stands.

“When Charlie has to come up here to get me, I know something needs my attention. I do apologize for the interruption, but please, accept my condolences on your mother and father; if you are in need of anything, please don’t hesitate to call.” – Cairo

Cairo hands Alonzo another business card, this time with a personal name and contact number. Cairo’s real name is Acacius Vitalis.

“Thanks for seeing me. This has really helped me to understand what happened that night.” – Alonzo

“You are welcome. Now, I must excuse myself.” – Cairo

Cairo follows Alonzo out of the office and down to the dance floor where a heated argument between a man and woman has broken out. Alonzo takes his exit and leaves the way he came, getting an alluring smile and nod from the doorman.

Mundy never asked or realized it, but the name of the doorman was Jaime. Just a bit of off-the-wall knowledge. Jaime has been visualized with the aspect of actor Dominic Purcell- Prison Break, Blade 3.

As he walks away from club Lucifer, Alonzo hears someone calling out his last name.

“Petrovsky- hey, Petrovsky!”

Alonzo sees a dark-haired man standing in line to get into the club. He realizes it is officer Valenzuela from the impound yard where he had investigated his family’s Escalade. Alonzo scoffs, remembering the wedding band the man was wearing that day; tonight it seems to be missing. Alonzo isn’t sure why the man is there, whether some undercover sting-op or case of infidelity. He decides not to go down that road to save face and to hold steadfast to his beliefs.

Alonzo continues onward, ignoring the calling coming from officer Valenzuela. He turns his head back toward the club as he gets closer to the parking lot. When he turns to face forward, he bumps into a group of four men. He staggers backward into the mouth of an alley but keeps his footing.

Mundy had rolled successes on a Dexterity + Athletics check to stay standing.

The four men, drunk with staggered footing and slurred speech, begin to put pressure on Alonzo, throwing out slang names for homosexuals. One of the men, a greasy guy coined by his friends as Rodney, grabs his own genitals.

“You want some of this, freak?” Rodney

Alonzo, angered by the verbal attacks, goes in for a punch on Rodney.

At this point I wanted to introduce combat into the game just to gain a little experience with it. It was all melee combat and the rules proved to flow well. Rodney and his pals were at a disadvantage because of intoxication, giving Mundy a slight edge in the encounter.

A fight ensues with jabs and kicks from both Rodney and Alonzo. Alonzo takes a blow to the face, but avoids any further beating. Rodney takes a barrage of three punches and a kick to the gut.

Both men are so focused in the fight that they do not realize the other three men have fallen to the ground unconscious. They both failed Perception rolls to see a blurred form speed in, taking down one drunk man for each consecutive turn.

Alonzo punches Rodney once more in the face, making the man stagger. Rodney pulls a 9mm from his jacket pocket, pointing it at Alonzo.

“Die you fa…” – Rodney

Before Rodney gets off his last word and gunshot, a dark blur slides in behind him. Rodney gasps for air, dropping his gun as someone, or something, has taken him by the shoulders, its face snuggly attached to the apex of his left shoulder and neck. Blood begins to flow in two streams through Rodney’s collar and down his shirt. Rodney suddenly falls to the ground, leaving the dark visage of a man. When the blackened eyes and bloody fangs fall to the aspect of humanity, the man standing before Alonzo is Cairo.

I have Mundy roll a dice pool equal to his Wisdom score to see if he loses his nerve. Mundy rolled two successes and remained stable.

“What is going on?” – Alonzo

“I will explain all truths in due time. You have just witnessed one part of the world, a darker world. For now you need to leave and let me take care of this mess.” – Alonzo

“What’s gonna happen to them?” – Alonzo

“Do not worry for them. They are still alive and will stay that way as long as I am here.” – Cairo

“Did my parents know what you are???” – Alonzo

“We do not have the time to speak of this matter. Only know that I bore no malice to your mother or father. It was my best intention to aide them in their plight. Your father provided me a very valuable favor. I owe him much for what he has done for me and I will repay that favor for as long as it takes."

“Plight? What? What the hell are you talking about?” – Alonzo

“There is no time to talk of these things, Alonzo. Leave. Now. Allow me to clean up this mess. I will contact you as soon as I am free.” – Cairo

Alonzo leaves at Cairo’s request. He runs to the parking lot to fetch his motocycle and puts on his helmet. Before he kick starts the bike, he feels a gentle hand caress his forearm, startling him. It’s Cairo. The man’s face is serene and considerate, a strange mix in opposition to the monstrous visage Alonzo had seen earlier.

“There is one more thing.” – Cairo

Alonzo stays silent, peering at the vampire through his visor.

“If what your mother and father have told me is true, a very special enlightenment awaits you. Keep your eyes and your mind open, and wade when you cannot walk. When the time comes for you to shed light on a forgotten path, confront your demons head-on. There is no other way.” – Cairo

“What does all that mean? What does any of this have to do with me or my parents?” – Alonzo

“Though it may be impossible, please trust me. Go home; speak with your uncle and aunt. I will contact you once this alley situation has been rectified.” – Cairo

Much of what happened next within the session was a lot of narrative. I will try to put in as much as I can to explain what Alonzo experienced. During this period, I take full advantage of the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, focusing on tracks Disc Wars and Recognizer while the PC is exploring. Other tracks will be expressed later.

Alonzo takes no time to argue, squealing his tires as he leaves the parking lot. He comes to a stoplight further down on Main Street; no traffic or pedestrians are around. He removes his helmet and takes in a deep breath of night air. He closes his eyes, trying to make sense of everything that has happened. When he opens his eyes, it is to nothing but complete blackness. Panicked, Alonzo begins to look in all directions in fear of becoming blind. All is black around him. No streetlights, no buildings or trees, just him and the sound of his motorcycle humming.

Alonzo begins to realize that there is no wind as there was moments ago, and a stagnant stale scent permeates the air. Though he can still see himself and the motorcycle, it is at a shaded level, like how a person can see characters in movies walking around in the dark; environments are in a very dim twilight; the same is applied to Alonzo’s current whereabouts.

“Hello!” Alonzo

No one answers.

The ground beneath him is smooth, as dark and black as the thick veil everywhere else. For some odd reason, he feels a ball in the pit of his stomach churning, like the moment of longing after meeting a new lover or the excitement felt while sky diving. The feeling in his gut is urging him forward, pushing him to explore the darkness. He puts on his helmet, balances his bike, and rides forward.

Alonzo travels for what feels like eternity before he begins to hear an odd sound in the distance. The further he goes, the louder this sound becomes until it becomes recognizable as the sound of flowing water. Every inch he takes ushers in a cacophony of sound that pierces the lonely blackness in which he has been subject to; it is a welcome sound.

Alonzo comes to the source of the flowing water sound as the path he has been traveling quickly drops off four feet before reaching the steady flow of some kind of liquid. All is dark and black, just as everything else in this pitch black hell. It looks like a river, but Alonzo cannot see far enough to tell how wide it is or how far it goes in either direction. The stagnant smell he has been subject to is coming from this water source. Its foul odor is nauseating.

I have Mundy roll a Composure + Resilience check to see if he avoids vomiting. He succeeds on the roll.

Alonzo tries to test both directions, coming to no end either way. Stuck, he stares down into the river of black fluid, thinking of what to do.

Mundy rolls Intelligence + Wits (An Idea roll; the original Call of Cthulu game had some great mechanics) and succeeds. He remembers what Cairo had told him earlier- to wade when you cannot walk.

With no other way to go, Alonzo sets the kickstand to the motorcycle then steels his nerves for what he is about to do.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me.” – Alonzo

He still can’t beleive he is going to do this.

Alonzo climbs into the thick liquid of the black river, wading and swimming as the levels of depth rise and fall.The swim across the stank body of water is long, but far from treacherous; Alonzo guesses it was two miles to reach the other side that opens into another bout of darkness. As he steps out of the water and onto dry land, he realizes that what water should be clinging to his clothing, skin, and hair falls from his body in a large puddle to the smooth black ground. Ahead of him and on both sides lies a black shrouded landscape, one he has grown accustom to seeing. Without his motorcycle though, he suddenly feels “alone”.

Alonzo continues onward through the dark abyss, wondering when it will end. With no sound, color, or smell since the swim in the putrid river, he feels as if he is walking blind. Alonzo is not for certain how long he has been in this place; at times it feels like minutes and other times days. Aside from cracks and crevices within the smooth, cold, ground beneath his feet, nothing changes. What he does notice throughout this never-ending journey is that the darkness isn’t truly black or shadowed, but solid matter which seems to lack depth and color. Even the ground he can imagine in different colors and hues, it’s almost like something sucked the life out of this place or is keeping sunlight from bathing it. He can’t understand why he has come to this conclusion, but the longer he walks within this place, the closer a connection he feels to it. More notable is the fact that the farther Alonzo walks in this direction, the more the ball in the pit of his gut toils and tumbles.

More time passes, and Alonzo begins to feel fatigue wear on his muscles and joints. He takes a seat along the path. Who would care anyway, it’s not like he has seen anyone else along this messed up nightmare, and he has been awake for who knows how long. Alonzo sighs with a gaze locked to the ground, wishing there was a stick or pebble to kick around when he hears a strange unsettling noise in the distance- a sound loud enough to echo throughout the dark realm. The distinct constant noise, like a screeching cry of metal against metal, comes from the direction he was walking in. Within the span of about 30 seconds, the screeching metal sound is silenced with a loud “BOOM” noise. All then goes silent as it was before.

The farther Alonzo walks in this direction, he begins to realize that the black shroud is easing from the surroundings. He can see greater lengths in the distance, black mountains rising on all sides. There is still no depth or color to the area, but at last there is something! As he brings his gaze forward again from the reverie, a gargantuan tower looms ahead, a dark spire of eerie proportions. Alonzo’s mind and fear insists to turn and walk away, but the churning ball in the pit of his stomach beckons him toward it.

Alonzo walks forward with apprehension, and begins to see more defining aspects of the great tower. Though one solid structure, a central tower rises above five other surrounding towers. Each side tower comes to a sharp peak; the central tower ends with a flat surface. Above that surface, something large and circular floats within midair. Alonzo blinks and shakes his head, thinking he has lost his mind, transferred to some Lord of the rings dream; the more he struggles to wake, the more he realizes that he truly is.

As Alonzo finally approaches the tower, he sees giant chains shooting from the upper sides of the opening in the tower, attached to a drawbridge that makes a path over some kind of moat. Whatever is in this moat smells just as foul as the river, if not more potent. He begins to run toward the tower, hope rising in the well of his stomach. He has finally found something!

Notions that Alonzo has finally reached some kind of habitable area are squashed when he sees a dark form walking from inside of the tower and out onto the drawbridge. Whatever or whoever this being is has no visible depth or color, just like the surrounding landscape. The shrouded being is about Alonzo’s height, with the same structure as a human, walking with a forward and unwelcoming posture. Unlike him, its steps do not make a sound when connecting with the ground. When about 20 yards away, the beings stops, it’s chest rising and falling like it is breathing with an adrenaline force, yet there is no sound as the breath escapes from it.

“Hello?” – Alonzo, meekly.

As Alonzo speaks, two red pinpoints of light flare and dissipate where eyes should be on the shrouded being. It raises one arm and then the next, rushing toward him with malicious intent.

Mundy rolls a higher initiative than the Black Aspect, giving him the upper hand. What follows is a long session of combat, especially since it is only the two of them. Successes on melee attacks were few and far between, but it kinda reminded me of a Kung Fu fight between Neo and Agent Smith. For this battle I played the track Rinzler from the Tron: Legacy score as the Black Aspect’s theme song.

A battle is met with hand and fist. Where a single punch lands, a kick follows in a flurry of blows met between the two. The more Alonzo tries to push offensively, he finds himself defending just as much, and vice versa in regard to the Black Aspect. In between blows, Alonzo is frightened with realization that the Black Aspect looks like him, exactly like him.

The thing really does look like him. The Black Aspect is truly an aspect of Alonzo’s Sleeper life. It has all of his attrbutes, skills, defense, and health. It is the concentrated form of Alonzo’s ignornance of the Supernal Realm and of all of his lifelong sins made material and demoic. He is literally fighting himself.

Alonzo throws a thrust kick into the Black Aspect’s gut, and a demonic growl erupts from an unseen mouth. With the contact of the blow, images flash through Alonzo’s mind’s eye. Every sin he ever committed strikes at his heart, flooding him with emotions and feelings of pain, lust, sadness, and ego.

The Black aspect takes a step back, eyes blazing again with red heat. It throws everything it has into Alonzo. Alonzo dodges two punches and a roundhouse kick. As he ducks to avoid another punch, the Black Aspect knees him in the gut, sending him into a backwards stagger. The thing rushes toward Alonzo in a rage, screaming a scream only heard in the realms of hell. Alonzo waits for the beast, and leaps into a jump-spinning, back kick, connecting with the Black Aspect’s chest.

The Black Aspect flies backward several feet. As it falls to the ground, Alonzo feels a small jab of pain in his chest, and then a comforting release like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. He watches as thing begins to crumble and wither away, leaving in its wake a small sphere of golden-yellow flame. The ball of fire rises from the dark husk and hovers just a foot away from Alonzo within reach.

Alonzo watches the ball of flame intently, trying to distinguish any hostility. When he tries to reach for the flame, it flutters away from his hand playfully. Alonzo realizes that it doesn’t shed any heat. When he tries to walk away from the little ball of flame, it follows, staying just out of reach. He finally gives up with a sigh, and begins walking into the looming tower. As he passes the ash pile of the Black Aspect, a heavy wind erupts from behind and blows the black dust into the air and away. The wind was fresh, the first natural occurrence within this dark world.

As Alonzo walks across the drawbridge and through the entrance to the tower, he feels diminished from the sheer size of the enormous spire. All is black and bleak within the tower as it is without, and the churning ball within his gut is wildly urging him forward, nearly causing his abdomen to cramp. He scoffs, thinking the outside of the tower was dark; the inside is completely black. By the light of the small hovering flame, he sees smooth walls on all sides rising above and around a spiraling staircase in the center of the tower. Suddenly, the small flame bobs forth from behind him and begins to ascend the staircase. It stops at the initial curve, seemingly waiting for him to follow.

Ascending the staircase, Alonzo sees that the walls within the tower are as smooth as the ground outside and just as black. The farther he climbs, his eyes begin to focus on the innards of the tower. Five points within the lowest level bow outward, apparently congruent with the towers surrounding the main tower. Whoever constructed this place certainly had something specific in mind; nothing made on Earth could compare to the architecture of it.

Looking down to the ground floor of the tower, Alonzo begins to piece these odds and ends of information together. The five points seen below could most certainly be in the shape of a five-pointed star in an upright position in conjunction with the layout of the drawbridge. What this means, however, is unknown to him.

Traversing these stairs seems to Alonzo like taking the long walk to get to the top of the Empire State building. He isn’t certain how many steps he has climbed; he stopped counting at 400. The bobbing flame stops every now and again to allow him to keep pace, almost motivating him to proceed further. There is no real reason to quit since he has nowhere to go.

Sweat clings to open areas of Alonzo’s skin and saturates enclosed areas of his clothing. With the lack of any cross breeze, he feels hot and claustrophobic. When Alonzo no longer wishes to ascend, feeling like there is no end to this tower, he arrives to a landing, which leads to an open arch. All is shrouded in a black veil beyond what is observed per the light of the levitating ball of flame

As Alonzo step out onto the top of the tower, the illumination from the small ball of flame increases, shedding a radiant light around the area. Nothing exists on the top of this tower except for something that looks like a large well in the center with five conduits running to it. In the center of this well is a waist high pedestal. He walks closer to it but stops suddenly.

Alonzo looks up as something catches his eye. Floating 100 feet in the air above the large well is a thin, round, black disc, which measures equally to the radius of the well; there’s no telling what the hell is keeping it suspended in midair. He also notices that the conduits running to or from the well are aligned in conjunction with the five spires surrounding the main tower.

As Alonzo tries to walk forward, the ball of flame stops, and flares a burst of material light that throws a circular barrier between him and the well. He takes another step and the ball of flame flares again. When he tries to move away from the flame, it stays in place, but does not emit the shield of light that it did before.

Alonzo digs his feet into the surface of the tower, grinding his teeth in frustration. What else is there to do? He traveled all this way, swam through a cruddy river, fought a black shadow that looks like him, entertained a somewhat intelligent ball of fire, and climbed so many damned steps that he wanted to scream.

Suddenly, the realization hits him. The ball of flame- it isn’t moving and it’s not following him when he turns to walk away. He steps toward the ball of golden fire, extending his arm.

When Alonzo reaches out, the tips of his fingers skim across the licks of flame. Every second he holds his hand out to the fire, the warmer the ball of flame gets, filling him with the kind of hope that is devoid in this dark realm. When he removes his hand from the flames, he realizes the ball of flame is no longer there. The fire that once led Alonzo to the top of this tower now envelopes his hand, flames flickering and dancing around his wrist and around his fingers. Nothing blocks his path to the well and the floating disc.

Alonzo walks forward and steps over the two foot wall of the well, realizing that he isn’t standing in a well at all. No clue points to what it is he is standing in, only that the pedestal in the middle of it is just as black as everything else in this nightmare. As he approaches the pedestal, he sees that the top is flat, with the mold of a human hand centered within. The base of whatever he is in is made of the same solid, smooth, cold substance that the rest of this place is made from. He holds his hand out in measurement of the hand mold on the pedestal. The size of the hand mold fits his hand perfectly. It is also a mold of the same hand that is enveloped with the warm golden flame.

Alonzo reaches his flame drenched hand out and fits it snuggly into the hand mold on the pedestal. It’s almost like this mold was meant just for his hand. When he applies a little pressure on the surface, the flame from his hand bursts and lights his entire body on fire. Hotter and hotter the temperature of the fire increases, and in his mind’s eye he envisions flesh and muscle being stripped from his bones, turning to ash. Alonzo tries to scream, but when he opens his mouth, nothing escapes. He tries to pull his hand from the pedestal but to no avail, and as quickly as this all began, the pedestal rumbles and lowers slowly into the floor. A large flame now thrives within the well, surrounding Alonzo within an embrace of warmth and knowledge.

Alonzo walks from the fire, stepping out of the well feeling somewhat reenergized and new, like all the sins he committed, all the ignorance that he was under, have melted away.

“The Beacon of the Watchtower of the Diamond Lens has been lit,” he hears someone speak, frighteningly surprised that the words flowed from his own mouth.

Five pinpoints of bright, white, light appear in sky above. A resounding boom erupts in the heavens, and those pinpoints of light plummet toward the tower, solid beams of hot illumination. Each beam of light strikes the tip of the corresponding tower surrounding the main watchtower. Alonzo feels the floor at his feet vibrating, and in moments, the conduits running to the well pulse with the bright, white light. Within the well, the siphoned energy of the light concentrates, pooling within the base and rising to the brim. Instantly, another boom erupts, and the concentrated light within the well shoots into the sky, striking the black, circular disc above the tower.

As this energy pulsates against the disc, the black veil covering it begins to burn away, revealing a disc made of solid, polished, transparent diamond. Alonzo watches as the diamond disc focuses the condensed light, and another boom sounds as the energy flows from the lens in its most purified form. The giant, iridescent beam of light flies into the black sky, and as if by magic, the black shroud covering the area begins to melt and burn away, just as it did on the diamond lens. The sky blazes with a distinct yellow sun, throwing light into the horizon.

As the last bit of darkness is destroyed, Alonzo realizes that everything in this place, the mountains, the land, and even the tower is made completely of diamond. The tower, now in its pure, majestic form, glows with the energized light flowing through it. For some reason, Alonzo knows that doors have been unlocked in other places, beckoning other people like him to open them.

A warm winds blows from the west, refreshing the area with a clean scent of spring. The giant river crossing the land in the distance reflects the sunlight with its crystal clear, blue waters. Alonzo notices that below him, the moat surrounding the tower houses this clean water as well and that an enormous diamond draw bridge extends to allow entrance. With all that is strange to him in this realm, Alonzo feels oddly at home. He closes his eyes and entertains a peaceful thought as the warm wind blows against his face and through his hair.

View
The Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Introductions: 1.1
The Cycle of Spectra Illuminos: Introductions: 1.1

This is a recount of the introductory sessions with Armando’s (Mundy’s) character Alonzo Petrovsky for Mage: the Awakening roleplaying game. This introduction took two sessions to complete (about 4 hours) and is the initial hook to an epic, character-driven story. To make things more memorable for the player, I asked him to provide specific music tracks he wanted to apply to his PC (Player Character). I will provide a listing of those tracks with tracks of my own selection in the retelling of this adventure; this was an attempt to provide imagery for the PC relating to his change into the World of Darkness and to give the player a greater connection to the PC.

Alonzo checks his cellphone; it’s a number he doesn’t recognize. Its vibrating pulls his attention away from his last final before the beginning of summer break from the University of Texas. He lets the call go to voice mail with no resulting message. The phone rings again moments later, and through annoyance, he tosses the LG flip phone into his backpack for the remainder of the day.

Once he returns to his dorm room that night, Alonzo flops onto his bed, imagining what the weekend will be like with his family and friends. Alonzo has invited his three best friends, Esther and Phillip (twins), as well as Clayton (an object of Alonzo’s affection) for a weekend by the pool. It will be a much needed break before he starts his internship with the district attorney’s office in San Antonio at the end of May.

Alonzo stands up as his phone buzzes again from within his backpack; he reaches for it.

“Hello?” – Alonzo

It’s the same number as before; it had called at least 20 times since the first.

“Alonzo, is that you?”

It is the voice of his uncle Roman Petrovsky, his father’s older and only brother. Uncle Roman is a balding man in his early 50s, with patches of gray at the temples and sideburns. He has a slender swimmer’s build with a high fashion sense. He normally sports a mustache.

“Yeah.” – Alonzo

“Are you sitting down?” – Uncle Roman

“No.”

“Well you may want to.”

Uncle Roman begins relaying what had happened the night before. At 0330 that morning, Alonzo’s parents, Maximillian and Maria Petrovsky, died in a car crash off the Arsenal Street Bridge while returning home from a firm party. There were no witnesses, but an oncoming car found them overturned below the bridge on the river sidewalk about a half hour after the crash.

Alonzo begins to panic, disbelieving what he is hearing as the truth. He even adheres to the idea that this is some kind of joke, a small initiation into the world of law. What he learns is that the police think alcohol was involved with the accident, that the bodies of his parents are being held by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office, and that the family Escalade has been taken to the impound year. Uncle Roman tells Alonzo that he is trying his best to catch a flight to Texas and should be there tomorrow night at the latest. Alonzo hangs up with Uncle Roman, finding an unheard voicemail on his phone. It’s the medical examiner’s office; they need Alonzo to come by to identify the bodies before release into the custody of funeral services.


From this point forward, and throughout parts of Mundy’s investigation, I play the whole soundtrack of X-Files- I Want to Believe


Alonzo drives to his family home, a small mansion located in the countryside south of San Antonio. In travel, he tries calling Esther and Phillip with no answer. He can’t understand why his friends are not answering his calls. For the last year, he has heard less from Esther, Phillip, and Clayton than he normally hears from his father; the four of them were inseparable throughout grade school to high school. It’s unlike any of them to be so distant.

Once at the house, Alonzo is greeted within the foyer by his dog Oscar, an aged yellow Labrador retriever. As he passes the dining room, he sees a marquee in bright colorful letters that reads, “Congratulations!” Traipsing through the house, he realizes that the entire place has been prepped for guests, as all guest rooms are supplied with towels, washcloths, and soap. In his room he finds a rack; hanging from it are nearly a dozen, new Armani suits. He finds a note beside a pile of ties that reads: “Just a little something to help during the internship- Love, Mom and Dad.”

Further searching leads him to his parents’ bedroom. Atop his mother’s dresser is an elaborate arrangement of purple orchids dressed with baby’s breath. A note within the flowers reads: “I’m sorry about earlier this morning. I can’t wait to see you tonight. I hope you like the dress – Maximillian.”



Mundy rolls enough success through an extended Bypass Security check.


He checks the safe behind a family portrait in the room, guessing the electronic password as his mother’s birthday; his father has several passwords and changes the security codes once a week. Inside are titles to properties, college diplomas, birth certificates, a stack of 20,000 USD, his mother’s diamond necklace, his father’s gold signet ring with an emerald inlay, his grandfather’s round ocular lens, and a 9mm automatic. He leaves everything as is, satisfied nothing has been tampered with.

Alonzo continues to search through the house, shock urging him to find signs that his parents are still alive.


With a success on a Perception check, Alonzo notices the following.


Every now and again, he thinks he hears footsteps throughout the house and that maybe someone is watching him. Oscar seems to pick up on this, whining and growling every so often; the dog even refuses to walk into the garage when Alonzo searches there. Alonzo comes to a dead end with a search of his father’s study. Maximillian’s computer is password protected and Alonzo cannot figure out the password. Frustrated, he takes his motorcycle out of storage from the garage and takes off into town to examine the Escalade at the impound yard.


During Alonzo’s motorcycle treks, I play the song Son of Flynn from the movie soundtrack of the Tron: Legacy


Arriving at the impound yard at 3625 Growdon Rd., Alonzo comes upon a disgruntled police office manning the front counter. Alonzo notices a white gold wedding band on the man’s left hand.


A Perception check points out the presence of the wedding band to Alonzo. This knowledge will come into play later.


The man looks to be in his mid-30s, with dark wavy hair. The name plate on his uniform reads: “Valenzuela.” Alonzo can’t figure out the man’s rank, assuming him to be a beat cop probably stuck in this place as punishment.

“What can I help you with?” – Officer Valenzuela

“Um, my parents were in a crash last night and I was told that the vehicle ended up here.” – Alonzo.

The officer looks perturbed.

“Okay.” – Office Valenzuela

Not a question.

“Um- I was wondering if I could see the vehicle.” – Alonzo

“Listen, buddy, I’m just here to watch the desk and direct questions. The guy you need to talk to is out on a run and probably won’t be back for a couple of hours.”



A success is rolled for Persuasion.

“My parents died in that crash and I really want to get this taken care of tonight. Are you sure there isn’t anything you can do?”

“Ah, you must be here for the Petrovsky vehicle. Yeah- I was one of the officers on site at the collision.” – Officer Valenzuela

“Can you tell me what happened?” – Alonzo

“Sure, follow me.”

Officer Valenzuela opens the gates to the impound yard and walks Alonzo to the wrecked Escalade. During the walk, the officer reiterates what Uncle Roman had told him earlier. He waits and watches while Alonzo searches the vehicle.


The following points were discovered through several successes on an extended Investigation roll


The Escalade is nearly destroyed and all that can be opened is the driver’s side door. For an hour, Alonzo examines the vehicle. Right away he notices that the windshield is nearly gone; all that remains is an open mouth of sharp glass. Blood is smeared on the steering column and the dashboard on the passenger side and both airbags have been deployed.

Underneath the front seat, Alonzo pulls out a silver flask. It’s the same he gifted his father five years ago for the man’s birthday. He shakes it; only a few drops of liquid are left. Curious, he opens the lid and inhales, the strong scent of peppermint schnapps wafting from the lip. Odd, his father drank nothing but cognac.

Further investigation leads Alonzo to the inside roof and the upholstery. Sporadic scorch marks are seen, even along the dashboard. More confusing is that some points of the glass from the windshield are melted. The teeth from the broken windshield are also pointing in an obvious outward fashion, like his mother and father had kicked and pushed it from the inside.

Baffled at what is found, Alonzo leaves the impound yard and heads to the crash site off the Arsenal Street Bridge. Arriving, he finds the path the Escalade took off the bridge. The black tread marks on the street displays the signs for loss of control. Street crews have already begun starting the repairs on the bridge; a tree-removal crew has begun working on the tree at the base of the river sidewalk below where the crash came to a halt.

Seeing the Escalade and the crash site, Alonzo begins to realize that his parents are really gone. Through a mix of emotions, he dials the number to the medical examiner’s office, receiving a voice message entailing the office’s normal hours. He calls the police station, seeking information on how to get in touch with the coroner. Through argument and understanding, the police officer on the other line says he will page the coroner to get in contact with Alonzo. Minutes later his phone rings, and a woman name Wanda instructs him to meet her at the office so she can let him in.

Alonzo rides to the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office on 7337 Louis Pasteur Drive. There, a voluptuous African American woman (Wanda) allows him entrance into the building, consoling him for his loss. An elevator trip to the ground level of building opens to the morgue where two men are standing in the middle of a discussion. When the two men see Wanda and Alonzo arrive, they conclude their business. The younger of the two men with a badge that reads “T. Holguin CMI” nods with a kind smile to Alonzo, and continues with Wanda to the elevators where they begin discussing weekend plans. The older of the men steps forward, introducing himself as Dr. Maynard Frost. The man is short and squat, with a balding head; his demeanor is a solemn grandfatherly type. His thick southern draw adds to his persona.

“I understand you are here for the Petrovsky case.”- Dr. Frost

“Yes, I just need to get this over with. I really just need to see them to prove this is really happening.”

Dr. Frost pulls the bodies from their cooling units, allowing Alonzo to identify them. His mother and father appear peacefully asleep, like they could wake up any moment. If not for the dull coloring of their faces and lips, he would suggest they died without pain. With further sinking emotion, Alonzo fights back tears as Dr. Frost hands him the paperwork needed to release the bodies to funeral services.

“Do you know what your parents had planned for funeral arrangements?” Dr. Frost.

Alonzo nods, expressing his parents had requested services performed by Hillcrest Funeral Services by Jack Bernal. Dr. Frost then hands him a manila envelope containing his father’s white gold Rolex watch, his father’s gold wedding band, his mother’s diamond earrings, as well as her diamond and sapphire tennis bracelet. He then places the bodies back into refrigeration.

Suddenly, a phone rings from another room outside of the morgue. Dr. Frost excuses himself and lets Alonzo know he is more than welcome to stay around to ask questions once he finishes the phone call. He leaves the young man alone within the morgue.

Alonzo finds the medical files on his parents and reviews them; simultaneously watching for Dr. Frost’s return; he can hear the doctor’s muffled voice in the background. His father’s file notes that the man died from a myocardial infarction. Faxes from previous medical records show information on lab results, cholesterol checks, and even his resent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. His mother’s file notes that she died from the impact of the crash. A cranial bleed and crushed chest cavity led to death. Faxes of medical history appear in chart. Pap smears, blood work, and breast checks all appear normal.


Mundy rolls an Idea (Intelligence + Wits) to point to variations in what he saw on the bodies compared to the medical records.


Once again, Alonzo is perplexed by what he sees. He listens for Dr. Frost, making certain the man is still involved with the phone call. Satisfied, he pulls his mother and father’s body out from their units and pulls the zippers back to examine the bodies more closely. No bruising is seen on the faces or necks of his parents. His father’s form is intact; no incisions are present that would point to any investigation of a heart attack. His mother’s condition is just as frighteningly opposite of her final diagnosis; no physical evidence exists of a crushed chest cavity or cranial injury.

Alonzo quickly places the bodies back into their refrigeration units moments before Dr. Frost returns. Before Alonzo can inquire about his investigation, Dr. Frost rushes to pick up his coat and keys and tells him that he has been called out to a homicide scene and has to leave.

“If you have any more questions, please give me a call or stop by the office when you wish. I really need to get going and I deeply apologize. I am truly sorry for your loss. Feel free to stick around if you need to say your goodbyes. Just let yourself out when you are finished. I’ll make sure to get ahold of Hillcrest tomorrow morning.”- Dr. Frost.

Dr. Frost runs out of the morgue and Alonzo is alone. He rides the elevator to the first floor, stopping before leaving. He hears and sees no one. Looking at the office listings on a wall, he finds the number for Dr. Frost’s office and rides the elevator to the 3rd floor.


At this point, the tracks Prologue and Main Title from the original Nightmare on Elm Street are played through the investigation of the office. I wanted to make it a little creepy for Mundy during the search.


Once at the office, he checks to see if it is locked; it’s not. He walks into the room and begins searching for anything he can find on his parents’ case. He searches the file cabinet, trash can, desk drawers, and even tries to hack through the password protected computer to no avail.


Successes were made on Investigation rolls, but nothing was available to find. Rolling for Hacking into the computer resulted in no successes, allowing enough time to pass for the following to happen.


He looks for diplomas indicating Dr. Frost’s education, which is hung on the wall along other diplomas and certificates.

As Alonzo tries the computer again, he hears footsteps coming from outside in the hallway. He quickly hides underneath the desk, noticing that he left the door open a crack when sneaking in. A shadowed set of legs appears that the door, walking into the room halfway before pausing. After several moments, the person leaves, locking the door. Alonzo, realizing the building would obviously have security measures in places, leaves Dr. Frosts office.

Across the hall, he sees the door to “Terance Holguin, CMI”. Still unsatisfied with his investigation, he checks the door; it’s locked. He tries to shimmy the lock with a credit card and it breaks in half. Frustrated, he takes the elevator back down and leaves the building.

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