Tokyo and Shrewsdale, The Passion of the Satoshi, Part 4
I did not expect it to be so simple, abdicating the office of Death. I do not know who will succeed me. Mortality is… pleasing, in its way, though it has inconveniences I had not ever fully understood.
I no longer enjoy watermelon sandwich cookies.
I would be lying if I said I was not nervous. My former employer is not one to handle fools idly, and I still am uncertain if my resignation counts as the act of a fool. I am grateful to Adhara for her advocacy on my behalf. Had she not intervened, I am uncertain I could have successfully argued my case. Mother of Stars spoke with her at some length, and in some detail, whilst I found myself reduced to incoherent gibbering. It was… embarrassing.
But in the end, she released me from my immortality and the endless task I once endured. I owe Adhara greatly for this kindness.
Returned to the mortal plane, I discussed with Adhara and her companions the ramifications of my actions. They were quick to note that, having resigned my commission, I was no longer bound by the Old Rules. I explained to them the nature of the Evening Star, though I am uncertain what utility they may gain from the knowledge.
The travails of a mortal life, however, do not halt for the comings and goings of mere Incarna. Two separate but troubling threats manifested in a very short time. The first was a curiosity: it seems Adhara has a sibling, and during a routine outing to find a turtle for Dax, this sibling discovered and interfered with Adhara’s well-concealed home. While this was never an entirely impossible outcome, that she was able to locate it is troubling. I suggested the laying of wards to protect the dimensional pocket, and suggested further that Luciola would prove best for the task, however, a more pressing concern came to light, and the project was put on hold.
It seems Victoria‘s parents got their hands on her brother, Bo Shrewsbury. The effort to draw her back home was unsubtle but effective. Regardless of whether or not it was a trap, and the evidence strongly pointed to ’trap’ from the very beginning, Victoria could not simply leave her brother to suffer and possibly die on her account. The others agreed. Knowing as I did the certainty of four deaths (though whose deaths, I could not say) approaching in her family’s West Virginia estate, I was reticent, but ultimately requested to accompany them.
The Shrewsbury Estate, on the outskirts of Shrewsdale, had an air of elegance to it, if one could ignore the overt and exclusionary religious iconography. One wonders how it is that premillennial dispensationalist cults continue to operate so effectively, even with the turn of the millennium come and gone, and no end of the world in sight? Despite the exterior refinement, the estate was well fortified: Victoria warned us of the dangers that lay within, and Alloy noted the presence of a substantial, reinforced bunker complex beneath the grounds.
Our insertion plan was simple: with a mix of timing and complete disregard for civil law, we first disrupted Clendenin’s power grid, then deactivated the Shrewsbury’s backup generator. With the cover of darkness and Alloy’s exceptional talent for navigating troublesome circumstances, we made our way into the compound, and infiltrated the bunker. Here, we found the Shrewsbury family – including, it seemed, one Bo Shrewsbury – in the midst of a curious and one might say laughably stereotypical occult ritual.
It is most unfortunate that the stereotypes of villainous occultism so frequently parallel the reality. Their ritual proved all too real, and all too capable of opening holes to the eponymous “Dark Place”. While I have little understanding of this dimension, it is inextricably linked to Victoria’s shadow-puppets, and her parents seemed quite interested in her participation.
Naturally, she refused. We disrupted their ritual, and walked out of the bunker with Bo in tow. They offered no resistance, only a strangely certain promise that Victoria would return. It is of no consequence: Alloy saw to it that the doors were closed, and could not easily be opened. While the four Shrewsburys now trapped within are no doubt resourceful, it seems entirely possible that the four deaths I knew of in this place were those.
Though what they did to Bo… I am uncertain it can be fixed. His body is an empty vessel, alive, but without conscience or spirit.
Our exit proved less smooth than our entry, however, as the Shrewsbury complex is quite well-guarded, and luck was not on our side. We had to fight our way out. Considering my companions have faced the likes of Xuan Wu and lived to see another day, however, I concede I had little doubt of our victory.
Adhara, please stop reading my personal journals.