The Cost of Magic

Pictures of You

Everyone gathers in the main conference hall for announcements. Lantanis introduces the keynote speaker, Anan Mikolo.

Anan says,

Thank you, Lantanis. I am honored to be invited to speak at this marvelous convention. For many years, I have spoken of the need for unity among all mages in facing all of that which is coming. It was only in moments of unity that we were able to save our world from ineffable threats. However, we mages continue to be separated, not only along ancient political lines, but also by mundane lines drawn in the sand by mortals. We are, though we might forget at times, human. As humans, alone we are weak. Together, we are strong.

There will always be threats, but one has loomed highest. The Exarchs who tore Atlantis from us so many millennia ago. For a long time the Guardians of the Veil have believed that there would one day come a mage who would be strong enough to lead us all. What is not well-known outside of certain circles is that this mage is here. Among us today. He is called the hieromagus. Whether you believe it or not, the prophecy is coming true. A great time of strife is coming. The time for unity is now.

The truth, my friends, is that I am the hieromagus. I have seen what is coming. And I urge you all to stand with me as our future unfolds. One powerful archmage from the great city of New Orleans has opened the way to Atlantis. All that is left is to breach the gates and bring down the false gods. But we can only this as one body. One soul. Thank you.

Theo immediately pegs him as a liar, since he’s currently sitting next to the actual heiromagus. Anan leaves the stage and Lantanis explains that all questions will be answered during Anan’s panel.

When approached by Loom, Lantanis explains that he had no idea Anan would say that. He doesn’t know anything about it.

The group gathers to listen to Anan answer questions at his panel. He says he knows the heiromagus because the Oracle of the Arcadian Watchtower appeared to him during his awakening and she told him so.

For many reasons, Theo is certain Anan is a big fat liar. In fact, worse than that, Theo thinks Anan is working with the Exarchs. He says as much, handwriting and holding up a sign that says “Xarc”.

When pressed to talk more about his awakening and where he is getting his information, there is a sudden flash of light and Anan drops to the ground.

The room is cleared out and the group tries to attend to Anan. Using Second Chance technology brought by Adrean, they find that there is a missing piece out of his brain. Jakob and Adrean have seen how the part that is missing is affected in people who have been mind-controlled for an extended period of time.

Theo wants to see the rocks Jakob showed him and Loom earlier because he thinks they are about the same size as the missing brain chunk. He also wants to know how many there are. Jakob refuses to share anymore information about the rocks. Theo theorizes that it has something to do with Exarchs. That it happened because Anan was being asked for information they didn’t want to get out.

Then, Ekko gets brought in. Like Anan, Ekko has a destiny, but Skye swears he’s just a really good guy. There’s really no way he could be involved in anything to do with the Exarchs.

Then Liz gets brought in. The same thing has happened to her. She also has a destiny. But, obviously a heirarch would have that.

Theo and Jakob get into a pretty heated argument about the stones. Both Ekko and Liz are both missing those pieces of their brains, just like Anan. Theo wants the stones, Jakob doesn’t want to give them.

In addition to that, everyone wants to know how Theo knows Anan isn’t the heirarch and why he thinks Anan is linked to the Exarchs. Theo explains that those aren’t his secrets to tell. But the stress of keeping them and trying to get people to work together gets to him. He steps outside for a cigarette.

And he doesn’t come back. He goes to the bathroom to get high. While in there, he encounters Naltherion, a young mage with a camera that he desperately wants to keep hidden.

With the help of the rest of the group, they manage to find out that the camera is how they are putting out the mages. It sort of takes a part of the soul. They also find out there’s a hit list.

They promise to protect Naltherion, though Theo might be lying about that. He tells them who he knows that’s on the list and where to drop the camera for the next person to get it.

They make a plan to play along with Anan’s plan and make a fake camera. The next girl picks it up and goes to take a picture of, they think, Gabe. But, at the last second, Loom thinks she’s going after Theo. So, Theo acts like he was hit with it. I’m not sure what happened here, but that was wrong and she ditches the camera and leaves, knowing something is up.

But just to make sure, Theo hides out in their safe room. While he’s “out of the game”, the other characters do other stuff that I didn’t witness.

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