Mysteries and Magick in NY - Pt. I

April 25, 2016:

Something fell is happening in the homes of some devastated parents — their children are disappearing. In their place, dolls that are exact replicas, down to scars and birthmarks, are left in their place. Constantine, Lyn, and Witchdoctor head to the New York Society Library in hopes of learning more from the hidden knowledges kept in The Silent Stacks, maintained by June Moone.

The Silent Stacks, New York Society Library, New York, NY

The dusty, dimly lit Silent Stacks, unknown to most, of the New York Society Library.

Characters

NPCs: Carl, Curator of The Silent Stacks

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…


There are places where information is traded, bartered, even stolen, but there are repositories of knowledge all over the world. Anywhere mystical folk gather, there will be a place for them to exchange their knowledge. The most ancient of spirit intellectus tend to gather there as well, and after gaining enough power, they become demiurges of immense power called 'Curators', which are self-appointed custodians of the knowledge in the library. The Silent Stacks are hidden — sometimes literally in plain sight — between the rows of books in the Society Library, the oldest in New York. Magical tomes full of spells, they are not, because real power often hides itself in hidden words and passages that only the trained and 'aware' can find.

Unfortunately, the Custode of the Silent Stacks has clearly met John, because the lanky Brit and his companion, the baby Mambo, are getting nowhere fast with him.

"Carl, c'mon mate, don't be such a poncy git," John complains in exasperation, fairly collapsing against the high railing around the librarian's seat. To any mortal, it looks like John's complaining to a slender, dour old man nearing a century old with giant, bottleneck glasses and only a few wispy hairs remaining to him.

To anyone with Sight, 'Carl' is a skeletal figure easily ten feet tall, curled into a squatting pile of bones and surrounded by glowering orange fire.

"No, John, you're -banned-," Carl wheezes. In the aether, his voice is a glorious, omnipresent hum. "It's the rules."

"You make the rules!" John protests instantly.

"I know. Lovely how things work out, isn't it?" Carl says, smugly.

"Damnit, you grotty prick-" John growls at the skeletal being, fingers flexing in irritation. He bites his words, clearly fuming as he's getting nowhere fast with the entity.


"John," Lyn murmurs, reaching up and gripping against the man's arm, pulling the warlock back and behind her. Stepping up toward the keeper, the girl that is easily five feet shorter than Carl, offers the figure a soft smile. Her floofy hair is out in full force tonight, and her attire is no more lacking in class than usual. Ratty, cheap, and her boots are kept on her feet by the will of half done up laces.

Snake like eyes settle on the figure's face, before she swallows and speaks. "M'sorry f'my friend. Don' know what he did, n'really don' matter. We ain' gon' stay long, jus' need to be in n'out. We jus' lookin' f'somet'ing dat helpin' others. Please, I ain' neva been here b'fore, n'I'd like to visit wit m'mentor. He won' cause no trouble, least while I'm 'round. I promise."

She knew how John felt about promises, and in an instant, the girl is kicking her heel back against the man's shin, prompting his silence before he even starts a fuss.


Fortunately, sometimes it pays to be a newcomer in a town. It does tend to mean that one can't claim influence or fame…but it also means you haven't had time to piss someone off yet. It's that thought that crosses the mind of Alyse, the 'Witchdoctor' as she steps up behind the pair while making her way to the approach with a book tucked under her arm. The 'sight' is very clearly something she has as she cranes her head up quite a bit more then the beings 'mask' carries in height, but she doesn't speak up just yet as she remains a step or two back.

The 'baby mambo' however catches her eyes, the short woman of voodoo a voice and face she had seen before if only breifly, during a tangle with a rogue summoning of the Wild Hunt. The recognition alone is enough to have her curious on what the pair might be pursuing so intently, leading the blonde witch to step forward just a little into eavesdropping range.


June Moone is new to this library. She's new to this large, sprawling city that never sleeps, too. She'd grown comfortable in her quiet nest of ancient books back at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New Haven, Connecticut. But, Enchantress had grown bored. She did her best to give June the stability and mundanity she required to recharge from the rigors of the entirely /too/ exciting lifestyle choices that her body's co-sharer preferred. She spent long, long hours restoring eldritch tomes that were kept from prying eyes…except for hers, and she made good use of that access, absorbing all the occult knowledge she could, copying it down into her own, handmade illuminated books for her personal occult library. But, as the time went on and she felt herself unwinding, as if soaking in a hot bath after a long day…she could feel the ancient being inside her coiling up tightly, like a spring moments from exploding free. And, so, she accepted the offer from the New York Society Library, who'd been trying to get her to come work for them in restorations for months. And, not a moment too soon.

Enchantress, freed in a place bustling with so many people, feeds off of the cacophony of life forces that clash and bang together on a daily and nightly basis in New York. And, during the day, June works with Carl, in the Silent Stacks, as a restorer. She's had many wonderful conversations with him, especially after he learned that she was the eponymous Moone, well-known in the occult scholar circles. So, it comes to pass that she is nearby when Carl is refusing Constantine's requests. And, she overhears the desperation in the voice, masked but there. Well, Enchantress certainly does and makes sure to get June's attention in the right direction…by yanking her physical body in the gathered people's direction. She trips over her feet initially, clutching a precious book to her chest, and she lifts her brows as she looks upon the people. "Oh!" June says breathlessly, her freckled cheeks blushing softly as she reaches up to pat her messy bun of honey-blonde hair. "I'm sorry to intrude, Carl, but I've completed the last repairs on the Luscerne Grammerie, and I know you wanted it as soon as I was done," she says rather quickly, her words tumbling out in a rush. She smiles uncertainly and offers over the book she had so recently been clutching tightly to her person. Her pale hazel eyes skip past Carl to the three people waiting, curious. Then, they're back on Carl.


John suppresses a yelp of pain as he gets kicked in the leg, but it buys Lyn long enough to make a pact with Carl. John promptly slaps his face in disbelief, but it's done, and Carl's aura flickers at the promise from the girl. "Promise? A bound word? Very well, I'll not stop you over a bound word," the demiurge says, bowing to Lyn. "Take in mind you have full measure for any action or damage he incurs while here under your word."

"Bloody hell, Lyn," John grates, but he's getting moved along promptly enough at that point, and Carl waves over Alyse and June.

"Ladies, welcome. June, thank you. Would you please take the young mambo and her … well, the assbucket, would you take them to the old stacks with you?" Carl asks, making books move along the endless Dewey Decimal system as he processes them. "And young lady, what can we do for you today?" he asks Alyse, focusing on the diminutive blonde.


Lyn smirks at the yelp, dimples forming against her rounded cheeks. "Shut y'mouth," she mutters back to the warlock before giving a grin, and thanks, to Carl. Stepping forward, she greets June with an upnod, but the sight of the blonde catches her attention. Quirking a brow, she studies the witch in silence. "Hey," she offers then, wagging a finger in her direction. "I 'member you fr'm de mall wit dat Red fella. Guess it figure y'be in a place like dis."

Since she was promised to her word, the petite figure hugs an arm around John's own, moving with him when he moves. Slitted pupils gaze up at the Brit, and her finger moves from Alyse to John, this time pointing, well, pointedly. "Y'be good while we here. Don' know what dey do to ya if y'ain't, but I tell ya dat what I do be worse."


The good thing about the Magical entities? They didn't change much with the times. Unlike technology, culture and all the other things Alyse had to adjust to, 'Carl' isn't all that odd to her. Sparing a curious glance to June, then back to the semi-familier pair. Lyn gets a nod and a smile, Witchdoctor shrugging her shoulders. "Small world, even for us."

Then she's called forwards and the Witch steps up to the skeletal figure that is Carl, bowing her head a little. "I was seeking some information about a book I…retrieved. It's literiture was a little…shall we say inflamatory? Just opening the pages seemed to invite chaos from other places. I thought perhaps it might have crossed your radar."

Even if there were wards and spells to keep the casual ear from understanding, talking vague is a habbit of a former life and plenty of Paranoia in the shadows. Shrugging her shoulders, she continues with another question of a little more urgency. Seems she believes in opening by -asking- for the information she seeks. "There's been a disappearence of certain precious things that might have been unwillingly swapped for dolls. I wonder if someone as great and knowledgeable as yourself might share the knowledge I'm sure you have on such a thing."

Fae, even the Hybrids, always seem to know to butter people up.


June nods an affirmative to Carl's request, handing over the exceedingly old book to him and moving toward Lyn, Constantine, and Alyse. She smiles lightly, as though she's not comfortable with social interactions, and says in an airy, young-sounding voice, "Hi, there. How can I help you? The old stacks are numerous and the subjects are many. If you can give me an idea of what it is you're seeking, I can be of better assistance." If it's surprising to see a young girl with snake-like eyes, it doesn't show — perhaps a keener, studied glance, but nothing more and certainly nothing that would cause social discomfort. She begins leading the small group in the direction of the darkened, roped off section of the library — which is actually protected by an INSANE number of ridiculously complex combinations of runes, wards, and spells, all woven tightly together, to keep the books inside its protection safe from any manner of unwelcomed attention. June, being an employee, has access and is capable of allowing safe entrance to those vetted individuals.

Though unfamiliar with these people, June is definitely on high alert with Enchantress whispering in her ear: MAGICKMAGICKMAGICKPEOPLEConstantinessdjsdfisjdfsoifjsMAGICKMAGICKSssssss. June grits her teeth with the effort of not shivering at the alarms going off inside her body and mind, and clears her throat, "Ah, yes. Regarding the, ah, dolls. That's a common theme in many different branches of…esoterica. If you can give me more information, as I said, I can narrow down the possibilities," she says, reaching a lone desk at the center of the stacks. The table is round and has in-set lamps at equal intervals around the center of it, providing ample light for reading. There are notes at the center chair, and a book that's opened, where someone — perhaps June — has been researching. "Please, have a seat. I'd offer refreshments, except that's strictly forbidden in this area."


John starts to follow Lyn, scowling and muttering fell insults in tongues no longer spoken by living memory, but comes up sharp at Alyse's inquiry. "Wait— dolls?" He grips Lyn's forearm, stopping her, and peering with a disturbing intensity at the blonde sorceress.

Carl looks a bit alarmed, too, sitting full upright and flickering odd colors. "I want no trouble brought into my stacks—" he starts to say, but John cuts him off with an authoritative wave of one hand. "Shut up a minute, Carl," he commands, still staring at Alyse.

"What do you know about the dolls?" he demands of the sorceress, stepping closer to her with narrowed eyes. He pulls Lyn and June along with him, trying to get a better read on the woman. "Lyn and me, we only found out about it yesterday. How'd you find out on it, eh?"


"Ey, stop pullin' me 'round." Lyn fusses with a grumble. Her expression is instantly apologetic to Carl once John starts acting like himself. The comment about dolls does have her attention now, more so than before. Her gaze flits from the book, to Alyse, repeating the process a few times. With a nod that sends her curls waving lazily, she comments, "De spirits dey talk t'me 'bout dat. I guess it be good t'not be openin' dat book in dis place. We lookin' int' de matter, too. Maybe we work t'gether on it?" Unlike John, the mambo-in-training was a bit kinder when speaking of matters regarding the mystical arts. She then turns her gaze toward June. "Guess we be startin' wit folklores dealin' with lost babes, n'dolls. Least on our part."

"Whatever cause it left an…impression. I felt it and went to investigate, found one of those dolls and some very distressed parents," Alyse answers slowly, looking Constantine up and down. She'd answered the slightly discheviled brit, but she didn't exactly know him from a bar of soap right now. Turning her eyes to June and then Lyn she nods her head while crossing her arms over her chest, keeping the book she'd been carrying resting against her. "I know. The net is a little too broad at the moment, that was why I was asking for hope of narrowing it down. A lot of 'stories' about things that take children.


June's bright, hazel eyes rest on Lyn as she speaks in her lilting accent, answering the question. She considers for a moment, her finger pressed to her chin in thought, before nodding. "Well, my first thought would be the Fair Folk. They, according to the legends, would steal babies and replace them with changelings of their own…Though, I'm not sure that dolls would strictly fit the description. But, language is often a tricky thing, and translations can be very poorly done — especially where certain languages don't have words to suit a meaning," she replies, chewing at her bottom lip. "Sit here. I'll be back in a moment," she says in a checked-out voice, her mind already flitting among the shelves before she's even turned toward them. As she heads off, she's mumbling to herself about other possibilities to investigate.

After some time has passed, June reappears pushing a long, wheeled cart that has some books resting atop it. They're all very old, some not even actually bound by leather — simply tied together with leather straps. As she pulls up to a stop at the table, she lifts a book — Caedewr Hrrghin Faer Tolt. "This one deals specifically with the Fair Folk and has the best accounts of child stealing," she says, setting it carefully on the desk and giving white cotton gloves to each person at the table. "Please, put these on before handling the book, and be very careful turning the pages. It's written in Goidelc — or, Old Irish, sometimes called Old Gaelic. Do any of you know it?" she asks. Before getting an answer, she lifts another book — Der Doppfelgangen und Strechen. "This one is in High German, and is about doppelgangers and the strife they caused parents in the Germanic countries of old," she says, placing it down. "I thought this could be an option, as well, since the doppelgangers weren't always…alive." She takes a seat and looks at the people gathered, her eyes wide. Her heart is pounding. Children missing… Dolls in their place. Horrible!


John doesn't sit well. He fidgets and then reaches for his cigarettes literally ten seconds after June bustles off. Carl starts to gasp in horror. "No smoking in my library!" he scolds John.

"Bite me, you overgrown Halloween decoration," he grouses at the demiurge, flaring a cigarette to life and exhaling smoke skywards.

He eyes Lyn and Alyse as they start comparing notes, but he does roll his eyes eloquently. "Didn't I tell you something about not volunteering information?" he asks the mambo, crossly.

"I'd just as soon get ahead of it, whatever it is," he tells Alyse as June bustles off. "The magic you work with stolen children tends to not be on the bright and cuddly side."

He turns back to the cart when it rattles back, already down to the stub on his cigarette, and makes it disappear up his sleeve. He starts to light a new one, eyeing the books. "Is that the Bryndwyn translation?" he asks, uptilting his chin at the book on top of the pile. "Petruvius bungled his up something terrible, it was like reading some bloody Yank's idea of what proper Irish should sound like."


"Fuck sake, John." Lyn mutters, cursing under her breath before reaching up and snagging the smoke away. "Have s'm manners." She scolds, pressing the lit fag against her flesh and glaring at John in hopes that, for once, he would feel the sting. The smoke is now out and the doll pockets the rest. She then waves the box of cancer sticks infront of John and slips them away as well. Sometimes, it was a horrible game of a pick-pocket living with another pick-pocket. "Sometimes, de more we got workin' on somet'ing de better."

Looking back to Alyse, she offers a nod of her head, still eyeing the book before roaming toward June and her selection of theories and their materials. "Guess dat de hard part, den. Needle in a haystack hidin' under more hay. We all take a tome n'start readin'." Heading toward the card, she slips on some gloves before touching anything. She even tosses a pair against John's chest. "Wear'm. Ah guess it be too much askin' f'somet'ing in English for French? Don' really know not'ing else." She then snaps, the sound muffled into nothing due to the cloth that covers her fingers. "I c'n always ask de spirits 'gain, too. See if dey got more t'offer."


Theories are good, they're a place to start, but the mention of the Fae folk makes the blonde Witch frown a little deeper. That subtle shift of her weight and body-language notable in the moment before she blinks at Lyn's little display with the cigarette. That's a trick to file away in her head, not that she thinks she can replicate it…

"If it's the 'Fair folk' as you said, then this is something more then just the standard kidnapping," Alyse says slowly, looking down at the books and folding her hands. "I can't use the dolls to see where this thing will strike next, but I can at least recognize the 'feel' of it when and if it strikes again." Back to Lyn now and she shrugs her shoulders before leaning forwards. She's not touching the book, but she is certainly looking.


The smell of smoke, alone, is enough to make June's eyes bug out. When she sees Constantine about to light up, again, she blurts out in a pleading voice, "P-pl-please, DON'T." She covers her mouth, as though horrified she spoke so stridently. A brief pause and she says in a tumble of words, "I'm-sorry-it's-just-that-these-books-are-so-delicate-and-one-of-a-kind-and-please-reconsider-smoking-inside-this-area." Her brows knitted upwards in concern and even real fear for these books, June's sweet face is quite stirring. Besides, if June becomes too distressed, Enchantress may well pop out to 'take care' of her /for/ her. She'd rather not have that, especially at work. How embarrassing.

"It…ah.. It's actually the original. Written by Caoimhe. No other name than that," she replies, her mouth pronouncing the name 'coyee-vah.' Shaking her head at Lyn, June's eyes are sympathetic, "Sadly, not for these two books. There are, of course, translations in those languages, but what you read from them would be very watered down and full of inaccuracies. But, by all means, /do/ ask the spirits!" Her face takes on a bright, keen expression of anticipation. "At any rate, there are some books here in archaic French, Gallic… And, you may be able to read those?" she adds, motioning to one of the loose-sheaf books, tied with a leather thong. "There're books in Latin, and Old English," she continues, pulling other books out. "Oh, and this one is in English, of a sort, but it's a personal diary of a village wise woman — her handwriting is terrible and her spelling is even worse, but I'm sure you can make out the gist of what she's saying. That said, I'm quite fluent in many of these languages, and I'm happy to offer my assistance, should you require it."


"Hey!" John scowls protest at Lyn, and produces a flask and takes a defiant sip. And he -doesn't- share.

He dismisses June's complaints with a mere glance. But, the cigarette's gone, so— there it is.

"So -that's- where it ended up," John grunts, pulling the book towards him with just a bit less reverence than June would probably prefer. At least he's got gloves on. He starts going through the pages, setting the book up on a tilted bookstand so the heavy tome is at easy reading level. "I'll start here. Someone take those other ones. We've got plenty of work to do until we figure out what on earth is going on here," John mutters, leaning back into the chair and folding his arms across his chest as he glares at the ancient tome…


[To be continued…]

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