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Awakening by Gaslight

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5/30/05 12:45 pm - sirlyric - 29 May 2005: Leviathan

John Powers and Leah are looking off the back of the island when they notice a discoloration in the water - a large shallow patch that appears to be following the island. Leah detects a malevolent, magical aura. It seems likely to be the chaos monster, so Powers goes to get an Atlantean and then assembles everyone. Luckily, the group is not near the coast, so the citizenry is unlikely to be harmed by it. They fill in Chandra and the Atlantean about Coventon, and discuss whether it is indeed the chaos monster; perhaps it is a dragon, and shooting that would be very, very bad. Chandra considers talking to the spirits in the water, but they have likely been driven insane by the creature.

Lady Ming requests an audience with Sammael to find out how the chaos creature was bound in the first place. He arrives on the island, dressed as the Hindu deity Yama in honor of their location. He confirms that their pursuer is indeed the chaos beast, and that they will need something very powerful to send it back to the abyss it came from. The mages on the island will not be enough to do it directly. He is willing to step in if necessary, but wants to see the group handle it if they can. He explains that its power derives from the One, the same source that any mage's does. If the group can sever the connection to that source, it can be defeated. His analogy is to a bathtub - life is the smallest bubbles on top; the spirit world is the larger bubbles underneath, holding up the smaller ones; reality itself is the water. This creature existed before there was any water in the bathtub, but now it's on the surface, so it must be shoved with a big stick back down the drainpipe to the deep Umbra where it belongs.

Lady Ming briefs the rest of the group, and a quick discussion ensues on how this can be accomplished. It is unclear that help can arrive in time, so they must all work together to block its access to spheres, each one according to his abilities; the Atlanteans will be the attacking force to destroy it, and Lungshen will hold it so it won't disappear when it realizes it's being targeted. We will ritualize for a long time and then hit it all at once while dropping the shields, so it doesn't have warning.

Yaqoob, ever the Batini universalist, gets everyone together in a room and launches into a long explanation of why everyone's paradigm is fundamentally the same, so they can all work together. "Your magic seeks unity with their magic," he says, and he will knit everything together. As the ritual occurs, the Atlanteans drop the shields; the creature surfaces immediately and begins to leave the water. John Powers, Chandra, and Erik catch a glimpse of it and manage only barely to hold onto what sanity they have. It is not something meant to be seen by humans. Lungshen waves his hand at it and it stops in place, and the Atlanteans use a spiritual attack to rip it apart and disperse it far into the Umbra. But Powers and Erik notice that the creature broke into several pieces; only some of them disappeared the way they should have. Though weaker, there are now multiples of it... and it might be more cautious next time.

5/30/05 12:32 pm - sirlyric - 22 May 2005: Smoke on the Water, Fire in the Sky

The pursuing ships take to the sky after the group, and discussion gets a bit frantic. They manage to create some wind and rain to cause problems with the other ships, which still have their sails up. Everyone finishes preparation for a fight, as Yaqoob simply drops to his knees and prays, and is totally taken over by his Dream.

The ships move closer and the island's shield suddenly goes down; it seems the adversaries have been working on it for some time without anyone noticing. Fierce combat ensues, with several of the group casting support spells and a few doing the real damage. Chandra begins causing all the machinery in the enemy ships to break, quite successfully. Erik tries to set one on fire, but ships are very efficient at dealing with fires. The ship come around to broadside the island, but thanks to Chandra one is now having major trouble with its rigging. A very large fireball comes flying from one of the ships, but Yaqoob performs a few quick dance steps and it swerves to miss the island.

Miss Peabody looks for the most magical person on the closest ship and tries to tear their life pattern. John Powers aims his revolver at the cannons of the ship and fires an explosive bullet. It takes out two gunports and ignites a fire. One of the enemy mages responds by pulling out his own gun and firing at the group. Yaqoob is unable to cause it to miss, and the bullet strikes the island, but strangely doesn't seem to do anything. This time, Erik just sets the ship's captain on fire, which works much better. Leah fires a primebolt and knocks someone over, but does little else. Chandra breaks some of the enemy ships' guns. The first ship, injured and flaming from Powers's bullets, begins to fall back.

Powers shoots at another ship and is just as successful. Leah primebolts again and fizzles somewhat more effectively. Erik sets the other captain on fire. Chandra takes down the mast of the second ship, and it falls back as well.

Another fireball flies, and Yaqoob manages to deflect it away from the party in the nick of time. Miss Peabody turns the last ship's cannonballs into gelatin. Powers fires again with explosive success, and Erik amplifies the gunpowder explosion of the ship's shots; the combination tears a gigantic hole in the side of the ship. The last ship falters and the immediate danger appears to be over.

Lady Ming magically examines the bullet embedded in the island, which is not the average bullet - it has torn a gateway to the Umbra and a bunch of malignant-looking spirits have just stepped through. Leah, Lady Ming, and Chandra work together to close the rift. To deal with the spirits, Leah asks the island's defense systems to encase them in crystal. It very quickly grows a crystalline cage around them. One tries to break out, but the bars are imbued with Prime. The ships, for their part, are actually falling from the sky at a fairly rapid rate. The enemy mages manage to slow it before it hits the ground, so they don't all die. The Atlanteans get the shield back up and insist indignantly that they have made some improvements.

---

"Are we going to have a dogfight?"
"With an island?!... Island's on your six! Island's on your six!" - Lyric, Jon

"Are they losing their will to live yet?" - Leah

"Try not to cast any magical effects on your way through the parking lot!!" - Jeramy

"Apparently I can't hit anything, but I can throw an octopus." - Sabrina

"You're dreaming, you don't have to make sense." - Lyric

"Why does an astral construct have Running?" - Ze

"Do they look like they're electrofable?" - Shannon

5/30/05 12:13 pm - sirlyric - 15 May 2005: A Byzantine Excursion

The island takes two weeks to travel to Turkey. Along the way, the group enjoys various pursuits to pass the time. Lady Ming goes over troop movements, supplies, and equipment levels to help organize the revolution. Leah spends her time in horticulture and caring for (and talking to) the island's animals and mythical creatures. Chandra learns Atlantean and researches other forms of magic in the library. Elizabeth researches magic and the political history and social history of Atlantis. John Powers, Yaqoob, and Erik spend time flipping coins and working on their understanding of Entropy. Powers also practices marksmanship and partakes of his drug habit. (Elizabeth has a very stern talk with him about it, so he agrees to teetotal for the remainder of the voyage.) Erik practices his violin and composes, and has the Hermetic captain teach him how to better fight with a knife. Yaqoob dances fourteen hours a day. Chandra and Erik finally get a chance to meet one another, and have a talk about their paradigms.

When the island gets within reach of land, the group sets out on crystal ships to get to land early. When they arrive at the Ottoman Empire, there is a gentleman in local attire waiting for them on the docks. Yaqoob greets him in Arabic and says that he has completed his mission and collected the group, though he lost two along the way. Now they are his to do with as he wishes. The group, however, doesn't understand his Arabic. The man then speaks to the group in French, the language of diplomacy, and invites them to speak to some of the local diplomats.

The group moves to the palace, where they are expected. Each one is introduced by name (though most have not introduced themselves previously!), Leah as the ambassador from Atlantis. They meet directly with the emperor, who appears to be a straightforward and quirky fellow. She says they are interested in visiting and establishing diplomatic and trade relations, and is received warmly. While Atlantis does not have a lot of raw material exports, she says, they have much else to offer. After the audience, Leah meets with the Ottoman economic advisers and they hash out the basics of a treaty.

Yaqoob reveals that the man that met them is an old teacher of his in the magical arts. When asked about the local mage organization, he explains that the Ahl-i-Batin maintain a web of control that covers every Muslim-cultured area. Yaqoob introduces Lady Ming to some local mages. Erik wanders some of the streets and meets some street musicians, and plays for some of the populace. Lungshen heads off on his own, saying he'll be back.

That night there is a state dinner, with all the standard political subtexts. Afterward, the group retires to more private quarters, a heavily warded room with all mages in attendance. Discussion ensues about the differences between the east and west. Finally one of them informs the group that they are being chased by English ships, ones that may well have been retrofitted with much more advanced technology than anyone was expecting. Erik suggests that this may well be a splinter group created by the merger as they had feared, meaning that members would have had access to the arms-race technology. They are indeed affiliated with the East India Trading Company. This presents a problem.

The Ottoman mages suggest that the group might not leave the island here long for fear the pursuers may catch up and be able to do some serious damage this time. Plans ensue for moving the island to China. They suggest going to the south of China, where they have contacts and unrest is not so prevalent. There is also the possibility of Thailand. They offer their assistance if necessary.

Suddenly, one of the mages starts yelling in Arabic. When Erik asks Yaqoob quickly what happened, he gets a terse response: "A ward fell." Indeed, one of the wards on the door of the room has just fallen; lifesigh reveals one man on the other side. Suddenly, the door blows open, and Lungshen is standing behind it in formal court clothing, looking dramatic. The group begins to put their weapons away to disarm the situation, but the other mages have already relaxed - they have met Lungshen before. "Next time you make them vanish off the maps, let me know first," Lungshen says testily - he had been coming to rescue the group when all of his magic couldn't locate them.

Lungshen says he's well acquainted with these gentlemen, having met them both here and in China previously. He has been off gathering information. The group informs him of the pursuers. He says he has made some arrangements in China as well as for protection along the way. It would be best to leave in the morning, so they will need to arrange the emperor's tour tonight and secure his permission to fly across the country. They approach the emperor and explain. He says he would like to see the island in the daylight; it would be preferable to see it the next day and have Lungshen bring him back.

Yaqoob goes to the mosque and prays all night, meditating on the web and learning what's been going on since he left the area. This mixed with his dream gives him a lot of information. In the morning he joins the detachment who will be with the emperor. The emperor comes to the island for his tour. He is very much entranced with the phoenixes. He asks some questions on how the island works, but the group is not so willing to say. When it's time to leave, Lungshen dramatically picks him up on a chariot of clouds and takes him back to the palace.

The island heads to China, and a discussion ensues about how to deal with the pursuers if they do catch up. Some are in favor of simply crushing them; others feel they ought to be merciful as best as possible. The best solution seems to be to start with fireworks as a warning shot to spell out a message to the pursuers. The important constraint here is the shield - it cannot be lowered or the pursuers could touch the group with their spells. Others of the group also work on taking the wind out of their sails, improving the shield, and powering up the weapons system of the island, which turns out to take two days to warm up.

---

"Besides, she has Bard's Tongue. She doesn't have Bard's Arm." - Lyric

"[on his drug habit] Eventually, it will destroy you."
"... I use a very dilute solution." - Elizabeth, John Powers

"Well, first a few simple questions. Do you consider yourself a warlike nation?"
"Um. No."
"Then I think we can be friends." - Ottoman Emperor, Leah

"Why does my turkey have flippers?" - Jon

"My rod of derailment cannot be resisted!" - Ze

"Uncle Sammael wants YOU!" - Lyric

5/30/05 11:57 am - sirlyric - 8 May 2005: Leaving London

The following day, Sir Basil sends around a note asking the group to meet at his house. He informs them that Parliament has, laughably, decided to attempt to annex the island. This will not technically be possible but will cause an international incident and damage relations irreparably. Politically this is being led by a group of suspected puppets of the East India Trading Company, who are interested in using the island as a mobile base for trade. Lady Ming raises the possibility that they might be wishing to sabotage the British Navy by sending it into a hopeless conflict, but the economic motivation is far more likely.

Basil recommends that the island be moved sooner than expected. They are considering making this happen without the Queen's involvement, likely in a matter of days. Basil will approach the Queen and argue that the Navy will be overextended, but the group must buy him some time and move the island within two days. It would be best to move it over land so the Navy could not pursue. Miss Peabody suggests perhaps storing it in the Umbra, but that would certainly draw undue attention and make it very difficult to defend without more powerful aid. Leah also ought to leave immediately as she may be in danger. Yaqoob will accompany her.

When she arrives at the island, Sister Mary Catherine is not far behind. They have a long conversation where the sister advises Leah not to be hesitant, but leaves final decisions up to her. Meanwhile, Erik drops by the chapterhouse and asks for a way to contact them remotely. They give him a journal; if he writes in it, they will be able to read it and will reply within a day, also by journal. Yaqoob passes word to his comrades in the Mediterranean that the group will be through the area. Miss Peabody settles her affairs and also contacts Chandra. Lady Ming thanks the Tiger General for his hospitality and makes a goodbye in case she were to decide to stay in China. John Powers contacts the Hermetics to procure some exploding bullets, then leaves a note for Moriarty, telling him not to get into too much trouble while he's gone and that they will continue their little game later. When he is ready to leave, he notices a note in his suitcase. It reads: Have a nice trip. - M

Leah leads a discussion on where to move the island; China is still the most popular choice. The island will stay mostly over water, but use land occasionally to make sure they are not followed, and will stay in the air for speed. Once a decision is made, the island rises slowly from the water and begins to move.

---

"Perhaps it would be worthwhile to simply drive the island around in little circles, with the Navy following behind."
"And perhaps a person would be playing the violin, going, do do do do do do do... do do do do do do do do... do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do..."
"I could certainly fulfill that role if I were so inclined."
"It just seems like good sneaking music to me for some reason." - Erik, John Powers

"Is there anything more I can do, diplomatically?"
"Given that it's your country they are invading, I do not imagine there is much you could accomplish." - Leah, Basil

"Need subvocs! ... Instead, we have small children." - Lyric

"So if you did want to stop by the Ottoman Empire..."
"... you'll have a place to crash."
"Don't say that!"
"I don't have Bard's Tongue!" - Yaqoob, Lyric, everyone, Lyric

"So, it would be less alarming if people saw a small flying island in the sky?" - Erik

"I was just going to retire to my room."
"You're going to be high. All. The way. There." - John Powers, Erik

5/30/05 11:47 am - sirlyric - 5 May 2005: Tag

Mr. Powers receives a note from Moriarty. He sees a distinguishing watermark, which he tracks to a warehouse in a secluded part of London. Winters follows him as he goes to meet with them. Their paper is lower quality than that which was sent to him, but bears the same mark. They only sell the higher-quality paper to one customer - it's a stationery store in Piccadilly Square. Mr. Powers goes there. They say there's little demand for that paper - if he can come back later, they'll be able to tell him more about who buys it.

Everyone meets for lunch, and Powers fills everyone in. Yaqoob is there, unexpectedly, so everyone is introduced and catches up. Powers believes that he is being taunted. By talking to the letter's spirit, the group learns the singularly unhelpful fact that it was written in a public place with generic ink.

When Mr. Powers receives a list from the shop of those who have bought the paper of interest, there is no one on the list who hasn't been doing business with the shop for years, all minor nobles or gentry. Scotland Yard has no record of recent breakins at those addresses where the paper could have been stolen, but depending on Moriarty's power it's entirely possible a theft could have gone unnoticed. But clearly Moriarty was sending Powers a clue, so there must be something.

Erik, Elizabeth, and Powers go to do research at the various houses, but none of them say they've had any breakins, even unreported. The group then spends a long time wondering about what Moriarty is up to, how he might be disguising himself, and how to continue the investigation. Over the night, Yaqoob takes the letter back to his home and investigates. It was written on a desk at a bank across from Powers's building the night before it arrived at his place.

At lunch the next day, there are seven of the group there (Yaqoob, Leah, Chandra, Powers, Elizabeth, Lady Ming, and Erik) but, surprisingly, eight seats are set at the table. As fate would appoint, a gentleman in a suit shows up, identifying himself as one of the fae. He knows they are looking for Moriarty, and offers to help, but in return asks that they they return something of his - the faerystone. After some quick discussion, the group turns him down - after all, a trail has already been laid for them, and the faerystone is almost certainly more important. In the end, the group decides to contact Jack Quince, who will likely have some knowledge of Powers's nemesis.

"What're you going to do with him when you find him?" Quince asks.
"He will be brought to justice," Powers replies.
"You know that Scotland Yard's been looking for this guy for, like, ever."
"He's like us. Scotland Yard is not what we had in mind."
"I still think it's a bad idea. He's probably a little bit more like us than we are."

Quince says there is a large organization involved, working out of one of the addresses on the list, but it's filled with hard men, and that the group may wish to avoid a conflict at this time. Instead, the group finds a runner, wards him, and sends him to that address with a simple note:

Tag. You're it.

---

"There are no nuns in bikinis, OK?" - Sabrina
"I'm eating with demons? Why am I eating with demons?" - Lady Ming

5/30/05 10:46 am - sirlyric - 17 April 2005: Bloody Politics

The group goes to check in on the island; with the Verbena's help enough is beginning to grow that it is close to self-sufficient. Leah fills them in on the arms-race worries, and Lady Ming approaches the Atlantean councilmembers about taking the island to Asia, since it has not been there yet. There are political issues involved, as the Ching government is viewed as a puppet government, but a scholarly visit might be appropriate. They also ought to visit Thailand, the only really independent government there.

Sir Basil comes to John Powers with news that the Tradition-Order meetings went well, but with concerns about the East India Trading Company. They want to secure trade relations with the island, but of course the island doesn't want to have anything to do with them. He requests that Powers bring everyone to the palace this afternoon to meet with Her Majesty on the issue.

When they arrive, they realize that Samuel Ophid is representing the East India Trading Company on this issue, and that they will be going before the House of Lords in private session; the prince consort will be there, though the Queen will not. Basil will make sure that Ophid is not using magic to influence the proceedings.

The group puts their strategy together; they don't want the Company to have independent trade relations with the island, first because of their worldwide abuses, and moreover because that continues to elevate their status as a quasigovernmental organization, which legitimizes their large navy and holds over ports (and governments). Lady Ming and Chandra are both object lessons of the evils of the Trading Company, Ming because of the Ching dynasty and Chandra due to her Indian background, where the British were forced to invade to remove the Company from power after the populace revolted.

Samuel Ophid speaks first, explaining that the East India Trading Company does more trade than anyone, and has a better infrastructure, so it's in everyone's best interest. John Powers, always perceptive, notices he's not actually trying very hard. Ophid doesn't actually expect to win - his purpose is to get in front of House of Lords and pontificate, and to please the Trading Company.

Afterward it is Leah's turn. She mentions how Atlantis has opened trade relations with England, but doesn't want to have one exclusive agreement; her argument comes down to the fact that Atlantis is not interested to begin with, so it would be best if the House of Lords stepped in to stop it rather than having it become an international incident when Atlantis refuses to sign.

In the end, the House of Lords decides in favor of Leah's point of view. In discussion with Basil afterward, the group considers if the whole thing might have been a ruse in order to meet them. It is no big deal that he knows who they are, though - they aren't that hard to find, so the group probably gained more than it lost.

When Lady Ming gets home, the Tiger Captain is waiting for her outside. She tells him about the assassination attempt and repeats a phrase that the assassin was chanting, asking if he knows what it means. He's heard it before - in dialect, he was invoking an ancestor. This is implicitly understood to mean he was indeed Wu Lung.

When the group walks in their front doors, they all end up in the familiar parlor-that-is-not-in-their-house. Sammael is there, and explains that Ophid was not surprised not to get everything he asked for. The East India Trading Company wants to consolidate positions all over Asia, and are seeking greater latitude from the Crown. Because they couldn't have it with Atlantis, they were given it with Asia. This strengthens Lady Ming's resolve to get to Asia soon so that she can help in the coming battle, and Sammael agrees - Atlantis would be ill-advised to remain in the area for much longer, because he expects that either the British Navy, the French Navy, or the Spanish Navy will become interested, and rumor has it that the House of Lords is actually considering annexing the island. They would fail, of course, but it would create an international incident. Leah inquires pointedly as to why he's so interested, but he won't say, only that it's such a potential issue, he needs to be involved. He also refuses to explain further about his connection with Ophid, and the group departs.

---

"When the tea house burned down..."
"Conflagrated! She would have said conflagrated!"
"I insist on saying burned down, because that's what happened." - Basil, Leah

"Shut up about the devil in front of Sir Basil... *nudge nudge*" - Jon

"[about Ophid] I can't really say, because I don't know him from Adam."
"Or even the snake, as it were." - Chandra, Erik

5/30/05 10:23 am - sirlyric - 10 April 2005: Building a Coalition

The next day, Sir Basil appears at Elizabeth's clinic, saying he needs help with a problem, which may soon become their problem. It seems experience with the Atlantean ships has led to something of an arms race among various Tradition factions; he would like to get people to work together so as to avoid any major conflicts. The Hermetics are a particular problem.

Elizabeth contacts Sister Mary Catherine, who has it put on the Tradition Council agenda immediately. The group meets to discuss before the Council meeting, and they invite Chandra and Lungshen as well, briefing them on the history of their dealings with Atlantis and the Council, then talk strategy. Afterward, Chandra discusses with her mother's spirit the disturbing new things she's learned about other mages doing magic differently and their frustrating factionalism.

At the Council Meeting, Basil himself speaks, explaining that both the Traditions and the Order of Reason are attempting to remanufacture technologies of Atlantis. He is concerned it will become an arms race and he wants to secure the safety of both London and mage society. As discussion ensues, it becomes clear that though Basil feels the division between the Order and the Traditions is a "consequence of history," the old partisan rancor is rising again. The Council looks at how peace can be maintained, and the Euthanatos chair suggests a bold move - a wholesale merger between the groups. Yes, there would be some likely violent splinter groups formed of young hotheads, but they will eventually die as the smart ones see the writing on the wall and begin to work politically. He suggests the group be the Traditions' envoys to the Order. Of course this can only be a local merger, as the London Council cannot speak for Horizon, but it would solve the problem.

At an Order of Reason meeting at the university later that week, Leah and Elizabeth make impassioned speeches in favor of the idea. The Order responds gracefully and holds an educated debate; then the meeting is adjourned and the group follows their leadership to the smoky back room where the real decisions are made. Basil drops his foppish veneer and in a grave tone recommends they seriously consider the proposal. They agree to take it under advisement.

---

"Speaking of bull testes..." - Jeramy
"When drunken pandas attack..." - Jon
"And then after a while they start to believe that other people should be on fire because they don't agree with you..." - Lungshen

5/30/05 10:10 am - sirlyric - 3 April 2005: Cleaning Up Afterward

The group immediately jumps into action convincing the passersby that the fight was all an act - "Ladies and gentlemen!" they begin, and proceed to tell the crowd all about how their street theatre troupe will be performing out by the Crystal Palace that very evening. Lady Ming makes sure to take the scepter with her, and they retire to her abode with their prisoners, sending notes to the rest of the group, only some of whom are available.

The assembled group includes Lady Ming, Miss Peabody, Erik, and Leah, and they discuss the enemy's goals and what might happen if such an attempt were to succeed - would there be anyone to pick up after Lady Ming? When it comes time to interrogate the prisoners, Erik suggests John Powers might do well (though he is unavailable at the moment), but Miss Lei responds quietly that he's much too polite. She goes to work on them herself in the other room.

When she returns, she informs Lady Ming that there appears to be a factional war within the Wu Lung; some of them do not support her rule, and the conflict is coming to a head. This was an attempt to capture Lady Ming and kill her friends. Then Miss Lei goes to find a cart to deal with the bodies.

5/15/05 04:26 pm - beguine - 20 March 2005: The Moon Announces Evil

The following is received by the Captain of the Wu Lung outpost in LondonCollapse )

5/15/05 03:23 pm - sirlyric - 13 March 2005: A Distinguished Visitor

Atlantis finally arrives, and settles in the English Channel. Her Majesty's Royal Navy deploys to protect it from any looters, mainly to prevent them from bashing into the force shield and destroying their boats. The Queen summons the group to her presence, so they present themselves, Leah dressed in Atlantean-style clothing. She desires to see the island the next day, so the group arranges the logistics with the Queen's people. The next step is to make sure there is at least an illusion of flora, fauna, and a population, so the group calls an emergency meeting of the Tradition Council to recruit helpers; Sir Basil also gets involved, as he will easily be able to finesse the interaction and will, in return, temporarily have the ear of the Queen. John Powers and Erik approach Powers's Euthanatos mentor, who is able to arrange things so that the Council members will coincidentally all be free at the right time for the meeting, which occurs at a local restaurant.

At the meeting, the group is reassured to find that generating flora and fauna will be easy; the Verbena will handle it, and it will actually make quite a nice sanctuary for some of their mythical animals, unicorns and whatnot. Basil suggests they pick up the queen in an elegant Atlantean-style boat. Lungshen will handle the Mind work so that the queen and her retinue will see population. If she were to choose to interview anyone, a convenient Entropy rote will ensure that it is an Atlantean who will be otherwise invisibly following the group. The meeting also puts to rest some of the ethical questions Erik raises about casting Mind magic on Her Majesty the Queen.

The operation proceeds. The group meets at a row of houses owned entirely by the Hermetics, which turn out to have a large warehouse in the back with three armed airships docked. Using a few tricks to get out of the city without being seen by the populace, they head to the island and begin their work.

The next morning arrives, and so does the Queen, wearing traveling clothes and accompanied by Prince Albert and several courtiers. The island is looking impressively lively, and she is joined by a small honor guard of Atlanteans. The tour proceeds as planned; Prince Albert is especially enthralled by the unicorns and small dragons he is introduced to. Late that afternoon, there is a small state dinner; the cuisine consists largely of exotic-looking (but very palatable) seafood dishes as examples of Atlantean cuisine, though they have actually just been invented from whole cloth by some creative Hermetics. Discussion moves to the subject of treaties between Britain and Atlantis.

---

"Oh yes. Population. Very important." - Erik

"Just lie back, close your eyes, and think of China." - Elizabeth Peabody

"This island is protected by Viper. Please step away from the island." - Jon
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