Mana of Mayhem
Matters of Note
September 11, 2013
A quick tour of the school grounds might yield some information on the dormitories.
There is an “Unseelie” dormitory across the campus plaza, directly opposite our own dormitory. Instead of a pizzeria, an ice cream shop is located on the bottom floor of that dorm. The personnel of both establishments are not strange, per se, but… let us say only that I now think the names of these dormitories are perhaps fitting. I do not plan to make an issue of it either way; in the first place I am not entirely certain of my suspicions even now, and in the second place even if I am correct, it is bad form to let on that an incognito has been seen through. Further inspection, interestingly enough, has revealed that all residential buildings seem to be heavily warded against any form of scrying—there are arcane patterns woven into the edgework of the bricks; while the ritual I undertook prior to departure is still effective for the time, it is reassuring to know that my room is also safe. Classroom buildings, however, do not—perhaps this would interfere with schoolwork? There are a number of other lesser dormitories, but Seelie and Unseelie are the main ones.
It would be wise to update my personal information; I hardly want letters on my progress going back home!
Done. My address is now a post office box in Ravensglass. How convenient! I have also asked that the ‘von’ particle be omitted from my name on class records.
Public records should have some information on the faculty.
All visible faculty are capable of passing for human; one in four possess slight oddities that hint at possible non-human heritage, though. I find this rather gratifying—who better to learn the arcane arts from than those who live their lives steeped in it?
Yuki Terumi, Head Nurse, has both a medical doctorate and a doctorate of biological sciences. Terumi is not particularly socially inclined, and a significant portion of the student body seems to view her with dread. She keeps an aquarium with a blanket octopus.
Leon Thomas Plott, Residence Advisor in charge of Seelie Dormitory and physics instructor. Plott has doctorates in computer sciences, physics, and electrical engineering; he also has a suit of ‘powered armor’, possibly self-designed? Known hobbies include Warhammer, which he is reported extremely good at. Family history indicates English descent—at one point, a farmer by the name of ‘Plot’ staged a coup on the British throne. Every fourth generation seems to produce at least one highly intelligent but socially inept offspring. One of the Plotts may have been the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s “Modern Prometheus”? Plott is probably the most transparent of the faculty here, in terms of ease of information gathering.
Robert Grey is the ethics instructor; he sports a doctorate in psychology and has been disturbingly prescient in class. It is an ongoing debate as to whether or not he is a telepath; naturally such a thing is difficult to disprove, but neither has anyone been able to conclusively prove it. He is apparently a fan of television shows called “Unsolved Mysteries” and “The X-Files”, judging by the sounds of his personal phone (“ringtones” is the proper word, I believe?) The rumor mill hints at a relationship between him and Nurse Terumi.
Relm Arrowny, art instructor, was previously a native of Alaska of all places, and has a doctorate on Teaching Theory, along with a Bachelor’s Degree in liberal arts. She is highly talented with both art and illusion, and may have her own version of my duplication ability—she was spotted leading four counterattacks at once during the first dimensional incursion. The rumor mill suggests that she is also head of campus security, which, based upon said performance, is not entirely implausible. She has a strong dislike of theatre for unstated reasons, as well as a phobia of octopi. The rumor mills also suggests that Relm did most of the unsigned artwork hanging about the campus, and there are also rumors about her having precognitive flashes while painting; unfortunately, her abstract style makes it difficult to glean anything useful. The rumor mill also suggests that Nurse Terumi fears her; while somewhat doubtful, it would explain the pet octopus.
“Sir Percival De*Masque”, theatre instructor; insistent about the ‘sir’ and the ‘*’ being included when his full name is written, which thankfully we do not often do. His default style of dress, lack of background credentials, and prodigious imitation abilities hint that he might be some form of Asian shapechanger—a tanuki or a kitsune, possibly.
Alia Chavez, administrator of the school computer networks; this is admittedly something rather outside my bailiwick. Chavez is noted for having difficulty with non-electronic means of communication… hm. Fiora has made mention of a D. Crypt on numerous occasions, and Plott has also made mention of this mysterious figure at least once; it seems rather likely that the two are one and the same.
Kiyoihi Leiko is the shrine maiden and caretaker for the on-campus Shinto shrine; she was apparently the chosen successor of the previous caretaker, and is well-informed when it comes to a variety of myths. She possesses some form of augmented sight that allows her to see through the Moonlit Gown, and has shown herself able to use ofuda. She is also rumored to practice daily with a naginata. Also former guardian of a western gate to Gensokyo on-campus, thus explaining a bit about the heavy theological presence on campus; she destroyed said gate before evacuating the campus during the Filth incursion, though we had to clean up some of the Filth horrors that slipped through.
Father Edward Leafson presides over the on-campus outpost of the Catholic Church; his flock comprises about ten percent of the students and staff. He is a native to the American Midwest and is known to be a proficient boxer, sporting a pair of “golden gloves”, and keeps in practice. He was assigned to Disseptum Fractio in 1995, and has remained here since. From the information I have been able to gather, he is a liberal in terms of stance; while he does not approve of everything that occurs on campus, he seems to focus on the good as much as possible.
Rabbi David Hayes, dubbed Goliath, presides over the on-campus synagogue. By all accounts he lives up to his name in terms of stature, though thankfully not in terms of temperament. Apparently takes tea on Wednesdays along with Father Edward and Leiko at the Shinto shrine, frequently debating theology.
Nurse Terumi mentioned possible interference on our RA’s return trip; I would do well to find out what sort of interference, and therefore what sort of enemies this school might have.
Apparently Terumi was referring more to travel delays than outright assassinations or hindrance; given the state of customs in this country, understandable. The school’s public face appears to make some of the more unpleasant types of shenanigans difficult to engage in. Intriguing.
Classmates may be willing to talk about themselves.
Miyako Summerfield, identified by Marisa as “red-skinned protean trickster”. Attended University of Nevada; awakened her powers upon coming into contact with an urn that contained the essence of her ancestor, an oni called “the Deceiver”. Skilled at shape-changing, capable of summoning, extremely resilient; apparently only those with arcane talent can see her true appearance. A quarter-oni? Brash, has a gift for uttering things nearly caustic enough to make heads explode—usually unintentionally—and seems to respond terribly to manipulation of any sort.
Fiora Niles, “the modern magus”. Has a cat familiar; spoke of being in New York prior to receiving her invitation here. Skilled with technology and time magic, incredibly resistant to poison judging by the toxic sludge she pretends is coffee. Orphaned, strikes me as a survivor. ‘Coffee’ reinforces this impression. Has a wide range of arcane talents—teleportation and translation among them (technology-based), as is healing (time-based? I should inquire about this, might be able to learn something). Also Marisa’s cousin; they get along well enough, although there are some very ugly things in her past that the Kotomine family is almost certainly responsible for.
-Nichole Marble- Alyssa Bale, “the eyes that see the now”. Made mention of magic running in her family—a lie. The Marbles are a family of some magic, the Bales are most assuredly not. I believe her to be a blue mage, with possession of significantly augmented sensory abilities; they appear innate, allowing her to bypass even anti-magic fields. Gifted copier of magics, look into obfuscation.
Amanda Halsey, complete unknown. Abilities seem centered around invoking words. Avoids stress when possible, and seems to find social situations stressful. Not used to assassination attempts, either, furthering my impression of her as fairly cloistered. Currently in a coma, with no sign of waking up, after potential Filth exposure in brass cage; what did Mann do to her and the others? This is troubling…
Marisa Kotomine, shadowy seer, fellow heiress of the magocracy, potential exposure risk. Her family is gifted with some form of foresight, as I recall, but like the Sepperins they lost their true magic long ago.
What I do not know is whether or not they, also like the Sepperins, have regained it. They have. She doesn’t talk much about what she sees, though. She also exhibits an aptitude for shadow magic of various sorts, though seems to struggle somewhat with using those powers. Can fly, as well.
Robin Kaitlyn Quinn, "Siren with Acoustic Backup”. Seems to exhibit sound based powers, including something called ‘synesthesia’, which involves being able to see voices as colors. She says my voice is ‘red’, Miyako ‘pale yellow’, Amanda ‘green’, Fiora ‘deep blue’, Marisa ‘purple’, Nichole ‘white’. She called Father’s voice ‘deep indigo’. Now “Lady of Steel and Fire” after a ritual gone rather badly wrong—which, I will add, was NOT MY FAULT. Thankfully she survived mostly unharmed, although she lost her synesthesia and sound magics; instead she now specializes in invocation of arcane weapons, which is admittedly a very practical set of abilities, although I mourn the loss of her synesthesia.
Hotaru Reisan, schoolgirl from another dimension, admitted as a provisional student as of September 23 and assigned to room with us, in part due to Fiora’s universal translation. I am reasonably certain that she is not a dimension traveling body-snatcher, thankfully; she is, however, heavily protected by powerful regeneration enchantments, in addition to boasting not inconsiderable combat abilities. She also has some rather powerful enemies, in the three who were formerly her closest friends—an emotional wound that is still metaphorically bleeding profusely. Was, at least—her enemies have been neutralized and… er… rehabilitated?—and her emotional wounds are presumably healing, though she categorically refused to return home when given the opportunity, even going so far as to appoint Shina Bellemon her successor. She’s… adopted us? I’m not complaining.
Justica von Sepperin. My aunt; a not insignificant portion of my magic is derived from her (very fragmentary) notes. She was believed dead for a century, but as it turns out she was languishing in a brass cage. She doesn’t seem to be a Filth carrier, though she awoke screaming. I’m not used to having an aunt. It is very strange, although I think I rather like it. How exactly did those fragments of her work show up on the Internet, of all places?
September 12, 2013
I wonder why Fiora wanted those landlines installed?
She has concerns about ‘adequate bandwidth’, and wants to be certain that each room has a full allotment; I won’t pretend to understand how that works. More importantly, her teleportation abilities apparently work via electrical networks, and land lines supply their own power. She wants lots of backdoors available; sensible. Further investigation revealed that teleportation wards prevent anything from coming into a room that doesn’t have a keycard for that room, so the landline should not constitute a particular security threat. This demonstrates a reassuring level of competence on the part of the school’s staff (or planners), at least.
Perhaps I could see what I can learn of the Marble family.
Frustratingly low-key. Based in the southern United States, very little information available and what there is is rather sporadic. Then again, magi don’t like attention where I’m from, either.
I should try to reach some understanding with Marisa.
I think I have accomplished that. Perhaps Marisa and I shall be friends; isn’t that strange?
September 14, 2013
The invaders bypassed the dimensional alarm wards, but it seems the dormitory teleportation wards held; given Marisa’s foresight, it seems they would have moved into the dorms if unopposed, but they didn’t teleport directly in, as Fiora seemed to be (justifiably) concerned about. Investigate the differences between the two.
The most significant observable difference was the ward type, detection wards versus denial wards. My initial thought was some sort of highly effective stealth warding, then—a Concealment, or perhaps an Obscuration. The real explanation appears far worse. They did not teleport, they used some sort of multi-dimensional folding—my research was insufficient to the task of making any real sense out of it beyond the concept that such might be possible. Essentially, they made a part of their dimension exist right here and then stepped across into ours. The truly disturbing thing is that they did this on a worldwide scale, ostensibly in perfect synchronization… and, even more disturbing, they did not use the same means to exit. My mind treats me to a vision of a legion of these things, all together, working industriously on… something. Something that bodes nothing good for us, and for all the rest of the carbon-based life on this planet.
Prepare for next time. A potential enemy has tipped his hand; while I do not think that they have shown anything close to the full breadth of their capabilities, something of their mode of operation can be discerned from what they have shown. Do not overspecialize, but consider at least some level of tactical adaptation to their known strengths and weaknesses.
Household bleach neutralizes their transport medium, converting it to motor oil. Interesting. Motor oil burns. Also interesting.
Investigate player statistics in the “Warhammer” game; whose theories are closer to correct, mine or Miyako’s?
Initial analysis would suggest mine. Statistics on the campus Warhammer league are available at the student union; it appears that we were watching a championship game. All three of Plott’s opponents in that match had loss ratios of lower than 20%. Plott’s career statistics are quite impressive: his career loss rate, for a career spanning over a decade, is hovering below 4%, with an average of 1 unit lost per game. For 2013 his loss rate is around 1%, with an average of 3 units lost per game—apparently this year has fielded some impressive talents, although he must have played more than a few perfect games to make up for his loss in the game we observed. Later discussion with Plott yielded that the Warhammer games were run in such a conspicuous manner to serve as deterrent based on strength (although I had to qualify strategic excellence as a form of strength before he would accept that answer). Maybe there are some aspects of this world that are not so different from home, after all. Perhaps I should also investigate the mechanics of Warhammer a bit? I doubt I would be ready to try my hand anytime soon, but it might be an interesting diversion.
Given current circumstances, the campus Warhammer league is likely suspending, or at least significantly downscaling, activities. A pity.
I need to improve my quarters. The inherent defenses and layout are adequate, but my current active defenses are largely observational. This is acceptable only in the short-term; I have resources available, there is no excuse not to put them to use.
I have spoken with Fiora—she has some interesting ideas on a communal base. I have offered to aid in security design—if nothing else, I know how Father arranged some of the defenses of Castle Sepperin, and I could likely provide some improvements of my own. Hm… perhaps I could also take advantage of what Fiora is building and build on some personal quarters? I should study a bit more on this; cribbing off of Fiora’s notes may help.
We’ve all moved into Fiora’s “Whitespace”, an extradimensional space she has forged based upon the foundation of (the now demolished) Seelie Dorm; fortunately Whitespace seems to have been solidly constructed enough to withstand the destruction of its physical foundation, although I do have some mild concerns along those lines. Still, it seems stable enough… and it makes for a most interesting environment, much similar to a Wonderland all our own. The potential applications of Fiora’s methods are intriguing…
An ice-user in an outpost of Summer? How odd. This might be difficult to check into with the appropriate amount of subtlety, but some investigation might be merited.
He’s a student, they were hiring. Simple enough.
September 21, 2013
Some of the things in Hotaru’s world seem to have at least some parallel in ours—she was familiar with the Gregorian calendar and the “Anno Domini” designation, for example. This Bellemon clan seems vaguely familiar; might they also have some parallel?
There was, in fact, a Bellemon who lived over a century ago, and was, for a time, a significant force in the magocracy. His objective was to unite the magocracy into a single body; the means by which he attempted to do this was to attempt to create a ‘clan of all magi, unfettered by bloodline’—a foundation upon which a kingdom without borders would stand… with, of course, Bellemon wearing the crown.
Predictably, this turned into a grand festival of triple-crosses, backstabbings, and assassinations, in one of the greatest periods of instability in the history of the magocracy since Byzantium. This would continue for decades, a sort of shadow civil war between a nebulous quagmire of factions and alliances, with the followers of Bellemon in the center of it all. The last known proponent of Bellemon’s ideology was assassinated in the year 1914—the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand.
The secret history of the magocracy had been mirrored by politics in the world at large up to this point; rulers forming alliances of nations in response to the tidal pull of alliances among the aristocrats—the magi, most often, or those who followed the magi. It was with the murder of Franz Ferdinand that the conflict brewing in the shadows became overt; it was called World War I, and later, World War II. Despite the fact that magi of the world took an almost uniformly neutral position, the World Wars devastated them. The first World War devastated the magocracy, doing enormous financial and personal damage to a number of clans; fortunes and lives were lost, bloodlines shattered. The second World War had a lesser effect on the magocracy—most had already gotten out of the way at that point—but inflicted heavy damage on the magicians of the Orient, as the Empire of Japan viewed their magis’ refusal to aid in the war as treason, and therefore worthy of execution.
The more Hotaru speaks of her world, though, the more I am convinced that even this outcome was better than the alternative.
September 22, 2013
The Guardians of Hotaru’s world have made a move on our own. Find out more about them!
The Guardians—four of the strongest young magi in Hotaru’s world, tasked with the preservation of the ‘Peace’ that the Marbles and Halseys enforced upon the world… by any means necessary, up to and including annihilation of offending parties. My alternate self is one of them…
As mentioned, there are four of them.
Shina: Ice-aligned, student at the Academy of the Evening Star, located in Russia—near Chernobyl, I think? Hm. Shina tended to be the ‘brute’ of the group, wielded a sword.
Noriko: Fire-aligned, student of the Academy of the Southern Star, located in Brazil. In contrast to Shina, she was apparently an infiltration specialist, and fought with a combination of a chakram and unarmed strikes. I have no clue how one fights with a chakram.
Nami: Light-aligned, student of the Academy of the Morning Star, located in California—a location very close to Ravensglass, at that. Wields light, and can manifest a spear of it to fight with. Seems to be something of a sniper, utilizing snares to bind so she can finish her helpless targets with a single explosive blast… of the three other Guardians, she is the only one whose greatest strength Hotaru does not know. I fear I do, however, and that itself raises all sorts of thoughts I do not like to consider. Worse, she is considered an accomplished actress… this one means trouble.
I find myself curious as to the circumstances behind this ‘Shina Karma’. Hotaru says that she is more similar to the Shina she once knew than the ‘Shina Bellemon’ we met was; I might do well to learn a bit more about her, and how she came to be.
Another concern—Shina Karma apparently ripped herself free of Shina Bellemon to attempt to shake off the worst of Bellemon’s psychomancy. She has diverged drastically from Shina Bellemon once freed of that vile magic. I am glad for her, but… if she can diverge so drastically, what of my own doppelganger at home?
She has, somewhat, although not along lines I had anticipated. She seems to have more of Ein in her than I thought; that is not a bad thing in these circumstances.
Our dormitory has been attacked, and though most of us dodged the bullet, Amanda was not so lucky. How did avatars of that Filth get into our dormitory? Who cleaned up after them? Why did they bother, when the trace evidence itself clearly indicated what had transpired… or perhaps I should be asking what they truly sought to conceal?
The Headmaster had administrative access, and had apparently been working towards a giant Filth incursion for over a century. He has since been terminated with extreme prejudice.
September 24, 2013
How did Justica wind up in that cage?
In her own words, she was attempting to defuse a situation involving a group of Bellemon’s followers attempting to drop a meteor on New York in 1913; she apparently succeeded, but a miniature version of that abomination we encountered beneath the school got the drop on her and stuffed her in that cage. One of her duplicates escaped, only to die later—‘exhaustion’ indeed.
September 26, 2013
The Geneva Incident is sure to have caused some havoc among the magocracy. How can I exploit this?
The Matous appear to have beaten me to the punch; they’re blaming us for both the Geneva Incident and the earlier widespread Filth incursion. Their argument, I reluctantly concede, has a grain of logic to it—Father is, as they say, one of the eldest and most fearsome shadow magi alive today. Fortunately matters have conspired to give us an effective means to shut them—and anyone else—up, leaving us firmly “a-head”. Tee hee.
What is the significance of the caverns that may exist beneath Castle Sepperin? Does Father know about them?
Yes, he does. They were apparently a Cold War-era bunker. Nami had unsealed a secret passage from my room leading to them, and she—and her cohorts—appeared to be using them as a clubhouse to send secret messages back home, among other things. There was also a Filth creature down there. Why was there a Filth creature down there?
October 30, 2013
Hourglass was a group founded by House Kotomine for… experimentation, the details of which shall not be discussed here. House Kotomine shut them down, though… so who is pulling their strings, reaping their results, and paying their bills now?