As Darrek opens the front door and steps into the house preceding Henry, Emily comes charging at him, screaming and brandishing a butcher knife. Darrek manages to dodge out of the way of her wild attacks. Henry is overcome by a brutal psychic assault, collapses onto the floor, and starts to scream. His mind is utterly trapped in a horrible vision where he is forced to watch helplessly (again) as his parents are murdered before his eyes by Sam. He futilely attempts to use his magics against Sam in the vision, to no avail.
Meanwhile, Darrek attempts to influence Emily’s emotions to get control of her, but his spell does not work. He is suddenly wracked with excruciating pain. Emily then also begins to scream, and it occurs to him that she is being controlled by something or someone and is not acting of her own free will. Darrek manages to overcome the pain, grabs ahold of Emily, and with a Herculean effort manages to dispel the Lyssicus he can sense around and in her. His wife snaps out of her insanity and begins to sob hysterically, falling into his arms and begging him through her tears, “Help me!” Henry, likewise, also snaps out of the traumatic nightmare vision he was trapped inside of when the Lyssicus dissipates. Emily drops the knife, and Darreks quickly kicks it across the floor away from her.
Then, Emily suddenly goes completely catatonic, with Darrek fighting not to go into shock himself. Henry pulls his cell phone out of his pocket, calls 911, and gives their address, reporting that there is a psychiatric crisis and asking for EMS to come to the house.
The paramedics arrive a few minutes later and after a brief assessment, inform Darrek of their recommendation to transport Emily to Western Psychiatric for an evaluation as she remains unresponsive. He nods wordlessly, and prepares to follow the ambulance in his car. Before he leaves he asks Henry if he’d like to stay the night with someone else so he’s not alone. Henry shakes his head and insists, “I’ll be fine here, really. Go.”
As Darrek pulls out of the driveway to follow the ambulance, Henry immediately makes his way over to the liquor cabinet and helps himself to an extra large serving of Darrek’s favorite scotch, leaving the bottle out and obviously less full than it was previously.
Darrek goes to the emergency room at Western Psychiatric to wait with Emily for her to be assessed. The attending psychiatrist recommends that she be admitted for observation, and the process of her admission takes several more hours. As her husband, Darrek is asked to sign all of the consents for her treatment, as Emily remains catatonic. He finally leaves once she is taken to her unit, changed into a hospital gown, and put into bed. By this time, it is the middle of the night.
Arriving home, Darrek sees Henry is stretched out on the living room couch in his pajamas watching television. Darrek goes to fix himself a scotch and sees that the bottle is out and considerably lighter, but says nothing. He joins Henry on the couch, reaches over and pulls him into a hug, and asks him if he is alright. As Henry is telling him about the vision he had and asking if they should contact “Emily’s people” (the Cabal of Psyche) to warn them, Darrek’s cell phone rings.
It is Dr. Armedt. He sounds panicked, and asks Darrek if he is alright. Darrek informs him that he just got home from signing Emily into WPIC, and explains what happened. Armedt sighs and says, “I’m so relieved that you’re alright, but sorry to hear that things are even worse than we thought. I spoke with Daniel a little while ago and he is also safe.” He then tells Darrek that the Cabal of Psyche leveled an all-out attack on the Rosicrucian chapter house in the Masonic Temple. Shocked, Darrek asks if anyone was hurt and Armedt responds, “Yes. It was…very bad, and there was damage done by both sides.” Armedt says that it is imperative that Darrek continues to lay low, “Now more than ever.”
Neither Darrek nor Henry are able to sleep for the rest of the night, and pass the time watching late night television and cuddling with Omar, who joins them on the couch.
In the morning, Anita calls Matthew at the Hive and asks him if the police have been there yet. She sounds shaken and informs him that Carrie attacked Kay last night and is currently in custody. Kay is in the hospital in critical condition. Matthew calls Henry and tells him and Darrek to come in.
After showering and getting dressed, Henry asks to use Darrek and Emily’s espresso machine and makes himself and Darrek two shots-in-the-dark while Darrek quickly fixes them some blueberry pancakes for breakfast. The two then leave for the Hive Arcana. When they arrive, visibly exhausted, Henry informs Matthew, Yun-Xun, and Hilda about what happened with Emily the previous night, as well as the attack on the Rosicrucians by the Cabal of Psyche.
Matthew immediately calls Anita to inform her of this, and she says, “Jesus Christ. This feels just like the Covenant War all over again.” Darrek looks very forlorn and is silent until Matthew comments that Emily being at Western Psychiatric is probably the best place for her right now given the outbreak of insanity and violence by psychics across the city. He remarks sarcastically that he has little confidence of her safety there given recent events, and he is anxious to get her out of that place and home as soon as possible.
Henry and the rest of the group depart to the hospital to check on the girl he found in the alleyway yesterday, as well as inquire about Kay’s condition. The girl is in serious but stable condition. She has little memory about the attack. Kay remains in critical condition, and no visitors are being permitted in her room, which has an armed policeman stationed there.
After stopping at the hospital, the group then decides to follow up on the Dr. Turner lead. During their walk from the hospital, Henry calls Randall Fowler’s brokerage office downtown. He attempts to request an appointment specifically with Fowler, and is informed by the office manager that he is not taking any new clients at this time. He agrees to meet with one of the other brokers regarding his inheritance, and makes an appointment for the next day.
Arriving at the University of Pittsburgh, Darrek, who clearly knows his way around campus, leads them straight to the professor’s office. Darrek introduces himself and the rest of the group to Dr. Turner, who appears to be grading papers when they stop by to see him. Darrek explains who they are and why they are there, and he readily offers to assist them in any way he can. He confirms that there is no way that Gavin could have jumped off of the roof and hit the ground where his body was found. Dr. Turner states that he and his wife assisted the police with their initial investigation and found a 6” impression in the earth, which would have required that Mr. Gavin fell from a height where his body hit terminal velocity before reaching the ground. He also says that his wife, a medical doctor and also a professor for the University of Pittsburgh, examined Gavin’s body and found evidence of physical trauma far too severe for a four story fall. He mentions that his wife saw claw marks on the body, but said when they mentioned it to the police, they were silenced.
Darrek thanks him for his time and leaves his business card in case he or his wife remembers anything else. Dr. Turner glances at it and says, “Oh! You’re a professor at Duquense! It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance!” and inquires what department he works in and if Darrek is tenured. Darrek explains that he’s currently going through the process. Dr. Turner comments that it has been awhile since he himself went through that, but that if he can be of any assistance to Darrek, he’d be glad to help. Darrek thanks him.
The group heads back to the Hive Arcana. When they arrive, Dana informs them that the police stopped by while they were out to ask about Carrie and Kay. Matthew calls Anita to follow up on the Papa Screech lead and see if she has heard of him (she has not). Darrek calls Klaus and gets his voicemail, and leaves a message requesting that he contact him when he is able. Some time late he gets a text message from the man which says, “All is well. Investigating something.”
Seeing that Jamie has arrived at work, Darrek asks to speak in private with her. The two go into the theater, and he informs her that Emily is in Western Psychiatric and briefs her about the events of the previous evening. Jamie is horrified and asks if anyone was hurt. Darrek asks her to assist him in keeping a close eye on Emily while she is there, explaining that he’s in the middle of working a case and is unable to devote the level of attention to her care that he’d like. She assures him that she will visit her, and also that things within the Wicce seem to be stable, other than a few “very disturbing” dreams. She promises to keep him updated.
Darrek suggests that the group come up with a game plan regarding their other leads. They decide to go and talk to Dennis Bouchard at his home, and discuss using Matthew’s antique and very special sword as bait to gain an audience with him. Bouchard lives in Fox Chapel in a large and lavish property that resembles one of the homes in the Garden District of New Orleans. Surrounding the property there is an eight-foot-high wall covered with ivy vines, and a thick rod iron gate at the front entrance. They are able to get through the gate by mentioning the sword, and as they approach the house, they see that there is a placard with the Yellow Sign tacked on the front door. A butler meets them at the door and leads them into a lavish parlor. Almost everything contained within is antique, from the furniture, to the decanter and glasses sitting on an end table. Bouchard enters, and Matthew displays his sword, explaining that he is in search of the scabbard that accompanies it (and which is currently hidden underneath his long duster). Bouchard is intrigued and agrees to use his connections to assist Matthew for a 20% finder’s fee. Matthew agrees and shakes the man’s hand. The group can sense that Bouchard is not Gifted, and while he is well connected, has little actual knowledge or understanding about the antiques that he possesses.
As they talk, Darrek moves behind Bouchard and uses, “Affect the Psyche,” on him. Bouchard suddenly becomes very chatty, and mentions Fowler and Papa Screech, whom he calls a “bokor.” Henry’s eyes go wide. Darrek asks if Screech would be willing to talk to him and possibly guest speak for his comparative religions course, explaining that he works in the Religious Studies department at Duquesne. Bouchard says that he can call Fowler, and if he is agreeable to seeing them they can approach him directly with this question, as he works with Papa Screech as a spiritual guide of sorts. Finally, Darrek mentions the Yellow Sign on the door and asks about it, commenting that he’s been seeing that symbol all over town recently. Bouchard explains that Papa Screech told them about it, saying that it is a, “good luck symbol,” and briefly discusses his connection to the upcoming Halloween parade as one of the financiers and chairman of the Krewe. He promises to call Matthew when he gets the go ahead from Fowler for them to speak with him.
Leaving Bouchard’s, Darrek suggests that they take a break and get some lunch. Matthew directs him to drive to the North Side of the city and treats the group to lunch at Nicky’s Thai Kitchen. During their lunch, Bouchard calls Matthew as promised and says that Fowler has agreed to see them, and gives him the address (which the group already has thanks to Gavin’s files). After finishing their meal they get back into Darrek’s Rav and drive to Peters Township where Fowler lives. His property is not as lavish as Bouchard’s, and the grounds have clearly been neglected for a few months. Fowler answers the door himself, looking very tired. He invites them in and offers them something to drink. The group can sense Lyssicus energy inside of the house. Darrek asks Fowler if he can use his restroom and excuses himself to investigate. He follows the feeling of the Lyssicus energy, which splits and trails both upstairs and into a room conveniently directly across the hall from the bathroom. Deciding that going upstairs by himself would be too risky, Darrek attempts to investigate the room the trail leads to on the first floor. The door is locked. He goes into Fowler’s bathroom, washes his hands, and returns to the parlor.
While Darrek is “in the bathroom” Matthew explains why the group wanted to speak with Fowler. Fowler confirms that Papa Screech is his spiritual guide but explains that it is very unlikely that he would be willing to guest speak for Darrek’s class, or even speak to the group at all. When asked how he found Screech, Fowler responds, “I didn’t. He found me.” Darrek returns as Fowler is talking about his dead wife and daughter, and how Screech has helped him to know that they are in a better place. Darrek gives Henry a hard look, who also excuses himself to use the bathroom, and once out of the room texts Darrek to get further instruction. Darrek texts him back and directs him to pick the lock on the door of the room across from the bathroom. He offers Fowler his condolences on his loss, and mentions the loss of Henry’s parents and how difficult this has been for him.
Henry picks the lock on the door and investigates the room. Entering, he sees a multitude of lines and symbols inscribed on the wall, senses an intense concentration of Lyssicus energy, and feels deathly ill and extremely weak. He has an intuition that the symbols and lines make up a Gateway of some kind, takes a picture of it with his cell phone which he sends to Darrek and then deletes from his phone. He then leaves the room and relocks the door. Coming back into the parlor, both Fowler and Darrek notice immediately that he looks absolutely awful. Fowler thanks the group for visiting him and asks them about their plans for Friday evening, explaining that he is hosting a masquerade ball at his home after the Halloween parade and inviting them all to attend. After thanking him for his time and assistance, the group departs and Darrek drives everyone back to the Hive Arcana.
Matthew goes to have his date with “Rebecca.” He finds her extremely charming and intriguing, and they share a wonderful evening together. She is very excited about the upcoming production of her mystery play, though she can’t exactly articulate the reason for this, other than mentioning that she knows she will be playing one of the two lead roles, and is hopeful that if the show is successful that this could be a major breakthrough for her career.
Henry settles in to hang out with Yun-Xun and Hilda at the Hive.
Darrek heads to WPIC to visit his wife. She is awake and out of the fugue state. Seeing him, the memories of what happened between them the previous evening come rushing back and she is wracked with guilt and starts to cry. Darrek attempts to comfort her, explaining that it appears that all of the psychics in the Cabal were affected in similar ways, and assuring her that he bears no grudge against her, as she was clearly not acting of her own accord.
Suddenly, a massive wave of Lyssicus washes over everything and everyone. At the Hive Arcana, Henry collapses and upon waking, realizes that he has lost his Protector abilities.
On their date, Matthew and Rebecca watch as violence breaks out between other patrons at the restaurant where they are having dinner.
At WPIC, the other patients go nuts and begin to riot. Emily runs into the corner of her room and begins rocking back and forth and muttering repeatedly, ‘Get it out of me! Get it out of me!” Darrek gets down on the floor with her, wraps his arms around her and pulls her into a passionate kiss which seems to calm (or at least distract) her. He tells her that he loves her and promises to do everything in his power to put an end to what is happening so that she can come home and they can be a family again, with Henry and Omar. He tells her he needs her to be strong, fight, and not give in to despair and madness. Suddenly, his phone goes off, and the two share a much needed laugh at the ridiculously appropriate message of his ringtone from the Powers That Be (‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy,’ by Bobby McFerrin).
After saying goodnight to his wife and promising to come back to see her again as soon as he can, as Darrek is leaving he hears a man ranting in an alien but vaguely familiar language, which after a few moments he realizes is Prime, the language of angelic beings. Checking to find the source of the ranting, he sees the strange tattooed man that he previously spotted in the ethereal mansion at the ruins of Mayview State Hospital and again when he visited Sam at WPIC a few weeks ago. Seeing that all of the staff are occupied trying to manage other patients, he pulls out his cell phone and hits record. He then receives a text message from Henry about losing his Protector abilities and runs back to the Hive Arcana. After he arrives, Darrek sends Anita a message to update her on what they were able to learn about Papa Screech being a bokor, and most likely involved with the Cult of Hastur. She responds that she is currently occupied with a minor crisis at the Twilight Order but will put out feelers with her contacts as soon as she is able.
Henry comments that he is certain that the wave of Lyssicus that washed over everything earlier is connected to the Gateway he saw at Fowler’s and asks Darrek if there’s any way that they can reverse-engineer the spell to determine where it leads. Darrek explains that it is a long shot, but agrees that it can’t hurt to try, commenting that while he himself does not know the Gateway invocation, his partner, Daniel, does. Henry asks Darrek if he can assist with the research, saying, “Please. I need to do something besides sit here feeling weak and powerless.” Darrek agrees, and as the two stand up to head into Anita’s library, they are startled by a booming voice from outside bellowing, “BRING ME THE PROTECTOR!”
TO BE CONTINUED…(AGAIN!)
“She’s just levitating. It’s not that impressive.”-Robert
“There’s something weird going on.”-Matthew
“Just one thing?”-Henry
Re: Emily being hospitalized at WPIC
“It’s probably the best place for her right now.”-Matthew
“Yeah…you know, the place where two people recently got kidnapped by some unknown metaphysical powerhouse, complete with blood all over the walls and doors ripped off of their hinges. I’m feeling just great about her being there. Really.”-Darrek
Re: Discussion about Matthew burglarizing Fowler’s house
“I have no problem with that plan…I just want to confirm that is indeed the plan.”-Henry
Re: Darrek and Henry’s tiny bladders
“Apparently I should have asked my friends if they had to tinkle before they left the restaurant.”-Matthew
“Sorry, mate. My foster son and I completely gorged ourselves on Thai iced tea at lunch today. Have you ever had it? That stuff is so bloody fantastic.”-Darrek
“Yeah, I have, and it really is.”-Fowler
Re: Henry’s worsening illness
“Hen? Are you alright?”-Darrek
“My goodness, he does not look well.”-Fowler
“I told him not to order a 7.”-Matthew
Re: Henry losing his Protector abilities
“And that’s why you got those three drama points last week!”-Mike