Prelude to Relics: Home is Where the Heart Is – Journal for Alex Blackheart

           Archive Number-AB-26122016-001

Memory-Log Recorded 26 December, 2016

Subject: Alexandre Blackheart

 Personal Antiquarian of Donar Vadderung, CEO of Monoc Securities

Begin Log:

I’d been set up with a luxury apartment near the office, but after a job I preferred to go to my shop first. Blackheart Antiquities felt like home, but more than that it held the things I valued above all else: the most powerful, interesting, or hard to procure artifacts I’d managed to procure over the years were stored there. I had thought gathering these magic trinkets and relics of long dead civilizations made me stronger, made me wiser. Made me somebody.

Recent experience taught me I was woefully mistaken. But it also opened my eyes to a world of power I’d couldn’t have imagined. I saw the hands which moved me around on the chessboard like a pawn, pulling strings.

It was time for a change. Time to become one that pulled strings of my own.

My feet had carried me, almost as a reflex, down the dark Oslo street my office sat on and to the door. I always felt a moment of fear as I approached, half expecting my wards to have been torn down and my office looted. Looking around, I saw no signs of tampering – no broken windows, or doors left a jar – but that only told half the story. I reached out with my senses, probing my wards. I drew back quickly when I felt a surge of magical energy swirling towards me. Everything was as it should be.

I took out my keys and reached out with my right hand to slip them into the door. On that hand was a second, more important key –  the one that allowed me to pass safely through my wards – and my hand passed through that magical curtain, I could feel it parting for me. Quickly, I unlocked the door and passed through the threshold.

I flicked a hand, whispering an incantation. A dozen or more candles burst to life, filling the front room of Blackheart Antiquities with pale orange light. Looking around the modestly-sized room, I took a moment to linger on each of the various antique and occult items I had on display. Most of them were mundane in nature, but all still rare and expensive. They each had a story, stories I happily told prospective buyers. I never lied to my clients: I conveyed the legends, noting them as apocryphal , and never made an item into something that they were not.

Magic or not, expensive or not, each of these objects had intrinsic value to me. 

Finally, I made my way from the front to the back of my office, the candles winking out as I went by. I slid to one side a hidden panel to reveal a large door that separated the living area, and the treasures I secreted there, from the store front. In the past I would have to unlock several deadbolts to get past that door, but after the year I had I decided it was time for an upgrade. Now, the door was akin to something you’d see on a bank vault,with a series of tumbler locks and second, nastier set of wards.

I raised my right pinky to the door, and the thrum of the additional wards parted. I put the combinations into the locks, each loudly clicking into place, allowing me to pull the door open and enter. I felt the wards thrum back to life as I passed, and quickly I closed the door and shut it securely. 

I sighed, flicking my hand again to light the candles within my sanctum. I could go a full lifetime without another Christmas. Santa’s workshop wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be, and if I never saw another Outsider again, it’d be too soon.

This space had originally been the size of a standard flat in Oslo. But working for Monoc had proved very profitable with lots of perks, and I’d been easily granted permits to expand and renovate. I carved out a basement for my workshop, gutted the bathroom, and added a sturdy wood burning stove for central heating and hot water. Unlike some magical practitioners, I would not go without the comfort of hot water in a marble tub. 

The common area was small, but comfortable. There was a black leather couch, rich dark red ottoman rug on the floor, and an antique coffee table. Instead of a flat screen, which wouldn’t last into through even an episode of a typical sitcom in my presence, I had placed a large fish tank with the sole occupant of a large Oscar fish. 

Adjoined to the living area was a small office, with two thickly packed bookshelves and a small writing desk, and also a small, modern (and wizard-friendly) kitchen. Perpendicular to the couch, a quarter-wall and post demarcated the living room from the door that led down to the workshop. A hallway cut down the back, leading to the bedroom and the bathroom.

I sighed tiredly and began the meticulous ritual of removing my adornments: watch, jewelry, ritual objects, and clothes. Each were placed in their proper place, a habit I required of myself after my last ‘slip’. The flat was immaculate, like a showroom, to the point where one could hardly tell anyone lived here at all.

Naked, I fired up the wood boiler stove and fixed myself a Scotch while I waited for the water tank to heat up. I fed my fish. After several minutes, and a second Scotch, I shuffled off to the bathroom for a well-deserved soak.

Lighting additional candles, I began to fill the tub with wonderfully hot water. As I did, I caught a glance of my bruised knuckles. I was sore to the bone, felt like the world was weighing down on me, but I couldn’t help but laugh. I punched my bruised hand into my other palm: it wasn’t every day I got to lay out the boss and still have a job to go to.

Still laughing, I stepped into the steaming water and let it scald my problems away. Problems, and all the rest, could wait till tomorrow.

After all, no one became king in a day.

Written by Dennis Kellogg and edited by myself.

Prelude to Relics: Strange Roots – Journal for Kaden Nuru

    Archive Number-KN-17022017-001

Dossier Amendment, Cataloged 18, February 2017

Subject: Kaden Nuru, Nganga of the Emerald Enclave

        Constultant, Monoc Securities

Excerpt from the journal of Monoc Securities consultant Kaden Nuru, with supplemental material: one annotated map of Salvador, Brazil.

Day 9:

It appears my concerns were not unfounded. Today, while my continuing research on behalf of the Enclave, I found another instance of seemingly spontaneous ley line formation in Salvador Brazil, the consequences of which could be catastrophic. In my lessons back home, I learned it is natural for the roots of the Great Mother to grow and change.

Not like this though. It appears to be of some design I have not yet to fathomed. I must consult others in this, especially my dear friend Alexandre. but after everything we have been through over the last few years I feel he needs some time alone, our new friends and enemies take quite the toll. But we must press on.

My hope is that by keeping a journal of these discoveries I might piece this puzzle together, with my own eyes this time. What was it Nadira used to say back home? ‘You may be blind but you have a choice to not be stupid’.

Ha, I miss her insight. Despite how we left things, she was a beacon in a dark time. I wonder what she would think of Kaden Nuru being a consultant for Monoc Securities? Feels like a lifetime ago I was wandering the jungle with her. It’s places like this that reminded me of her, and of home. The heat,  the hustle and bustle, and dark fruits growing just beneath the soil.

Oh, I nearly forgot. I managed to make some acquaintances while investigating the leyline. Seemed to me that they were members of some sort of secret society, but they were unwilling to divulge more. They didn’t seem a trusting lot. Still, we learned much while looking examining an abandoned apartment building that grew and shrank at random (an after effect, I believe, of the new leylines sudden emergence).  There is still much to learn, but I must consult with the spirits first. 

But for now, I must rest. By the grace of the Great Mother I hope my sleep will be dreamless.

Written by Mathew Bryan and edited by myself.

 

Prelude to Relics: A Fresh Assignment – Journal for Annika Kjelleberg

           Archive Number-AK-04052018-001

Memory-Log Recorded 4 June, 2018

Subject: Annika Kjelleberg, Valkyrie

Personal Protection Specialist, Monoc Securities

Begin Log:

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From the Personal Correspondence of Captain Marcus J. Taylor

We have investigated the conduct of Captain Marcus J. Taylor regarding the incident involving one Daniel Taylor, first cousin of Captain Taylor. While this is clearly a source of emotional stress for the captain, we have found nothing to indicate that he is a security risk. Continued observation may be required, however this incident with a close relatively may spur Captain Taylor to a more enthusiastic investigation of REDACTED than he may have otherwise.

Continue reading “From the Personal Correspondence of Captain Marcus J. Taylor”