Metaworld Chronicles



Chapter 376 - Gwen Song Observation Diary Part I


A note from Wutosama



Morrigan, Ravenport's Keeper of the Kingdom's secrets, watched the world through avian eyes. Within the Raven's Loft, below the Shard, her murders plotted far and wide.

In the beginning, the ravens at the Tower of London were actual ravens—intelligent Corvids bred to deliver messages in the age before Message spells. When Morrigan took over the loft, her immediate desire was to rid the Tower of its ravens and replace them with her crows. Considering the Ravens' symbolic importance, however, she chose to subsume the ravens, for unlike her wild and often unruly crows, these were quasi-magical Corvids purpose-bred to be resourceful, resilient, and immensely adaptable to arcanistry.

Over time, after a century or so, Morrigan had interbred the normally warring species to create a new breed both amiable to her possession and adaptable to the Tower's ancient sorcery. These new hybrids had proven such a success that Mages had even taken to studying their particular physiology for Polymorphic purposes, resulting in some rather unsavoury rumours of Ravens knocking on doors, demanding entry.

The Duke of Norfolk, arguably the busiest man this side of the Thames, had been missed of late by his equals in the House of Lords. It was an absence that his peers understood to be the imposition of power, for if one wanted to carry weight in parliament, one also had to shoulder the burden.

As the Lord Marshall of the Kingdom, the nation's problems were his problems.
In the colonies, old mutinies were spiralling out of control within the Niger Delta.
Across the Suez and the Senai, ancient grudges flared, as they wont to do every decade.
In the United States, men with insatiable appetites for industry eyed the untapped resources of the Elemental Sea.
Elsewhere, almost two years past Sydney's tragedy, the ghost of Spectre was once again haunting the Mageocracy's peace.
At home, there was the sustained popularity of the Labour Party as the people grew tired of the Tories and their ties to the warmongering blue-bloods.
These and a myriad of problems were why Mycroft Ravenport had all but given up going home to his estate and had taken up semi-permanent residence in the Westminster Building.

As well, against the mounting stacks of reports requiring his attention, yet another duty added to his rising hypertension— the unshakable feeling that the Devourer of Shenyang would pull a fast one.

Presently, Morrigan had two murders alternating their observation of Gwen Song, adding endless entries to the file entitled the "G.Song Field Observation Journal". It was an impressive undertaking, even for a Sprite fed on data, for each of the entries possessed ties to associated files, records, memos and reports gathered by the Mageocracy's Fifth Cabal and Sixth Cabal.

24th of February 2005
Cambridge, Peterhouse.
The subject fed the duck called Dede again. The creature has wiles to influence the Void Sorceress. Mayhap the Devourer is attracted to Drakes? See Memo DD-3221.32.121.

Saturday 26th of February 2005
London, Isle of Dogs.
The subject has met with Dominic Lorenzo, Sixth Cabal Agent WCD.FZ42302 and two NoMs who are known to the Ministry. Internal files indicate the individuals are Victor Verne of Villers-Cotterêts, a French Novelist, and Iris Robertson of Dublin, runner-up in the Toby-Booker Prize a year prior. Initial findings indicate that the topic of interest appears to be Mockingbirds. Mockingbirds, from the Family Passeriformes and the Genus Mimidae, are an invasive quasi-magical species with known ability to mimic speech to the degree that their vocalisation is almost indistinguishable from humans. See Bestiary Link P224.M22.358.33.

Ravenport paused to ponder the report.


For a man steeped in secrets and veiled truths, Ravenport sometimes found Kilroy's Apprentice puzzling beyond good sense. Take this Mockingbird, for example. Logic would dictate that the Void Sorceress had concluded experimentation with the duck, and was now moving onto more useful avians to modify. If so, more than a member of the Mimidae, wouldn't a hyper-intelligent member of the Corvid family be a better candidate?

Say Gwen Song succeeded in breeding an exceptionally intelligent Mockingbird. What then? Who would she imitate? Who could she fool with something as primitive as animal mimicry?

Mycroft did not have answers, and so could only await the passage of time to see what eggs the insidious scion of Kilroy was hoping to lay.

Sunday 27th of February 2005
London, Isle of Dogs.
Iris Robertson received an apartment from the subject in Millwall for the duration of Project "Mockingbird." Initial observations suggest the NoM composer is working on a propaganda piece. For surveillance notes and projections, see Data Crystal DB.2331.424.121.9.

Morrigan's crows had managed to gain access to the NoM's apartment through knocking on the window and scaring the woman witless.
Once Ravenport processed the pictures in his mind, he sat back to think, puzzled by Gwen Song's enterprise.
In the crows' captured vision, he saw an apartment overspilling with notes. From his reading of the loose annotations, the NoM was trying to piece together a picture of injustice. The story was set in Australia, and it involved a family of Mages with two children, with the father characterised as a Tower Arbiter in the hard-wrought period just past the Beast Tide. Ravenport knew the period well. Folks were famished, Demi-humans ran rampant, and most resources were portioned for the magic-wielding citizens. Yet, within the story, it was an NoM chambermaid who taught the prodigious young sorceress "Allie" her life lessons, with the Radiant brother "James" as her ally and protector. The general complication, Ravenport discerned, was about a kind-hearted NoM accused of seducing a female Evoker suffering from war fatigue. When said NoM was put to trial for a crime he did not commit; the kids helplessly watched an innocent man perish, learning a harsh lesson of the real world. There was no dialogue as of yet, nor much of the text composed, only a skeleton.

Ravenport pursed his lips. He was beginning to see that the story was about Kilroy, Alesia and Gunther, though as to the validity of the fictive biography, not even Morrigan could verify.

But the characterisation of this "Finch" fellow was undoubtedly Kilroy.
Was this then a re-writing of history? Mayhap an attempt to shift Kilroy's past to twist public opinion? More than anyone, Ravenport understood just how many secrets Henry Kilroy possessed. After all, his father was the one who had introduced him to Kilroy.

Once more, all he could do for the moment was wait.

A few days later, another report landed on his desk.

Tuesday 1st of March 2005
Cambridge, King's College Training Field, Outer Court
The subject has been invited by members of King's College to tour the grounds, accompanied by Instructor Maxwell Brown and Richard Huang. Several male pupils soon expressed interest in the subject, exhibiting a desire to mate. The Void Mage Jean-Paul Bekker, student and ward of Meister Engela Bekker of London Imperial, was used to deter interest. One of the subject's amorous admirers then challenged Magus Bekker to a duel, after which, in the subjects' words, the Void Magus "wiped the floor" with his challenger. Magus Bekker has expressed interest in the subject's genetic potential.

Ravenport smiled.
Stag-duels were an honoured sport among the young nobility. He too was an able contender in his youth, and it was through such duels that he had met his first wife. Much like Bekker, Ravenport had also entertained the potential of introducing his children to the Void Sorceress. His eldest, however, was married and with children of his own. His second, Richmond, was seven years Gwen's senior. Edmund was dead, murdered by the sorceress' means, and as for Charlene, he doubted the prideful lass would want to associate with a peer responsible for her brother's death.

Sighing, Ravenport moved on with his work.

Wednesday 9th of March 2005
Cambridge, Emmanuel College
The duck has received another dose of Essence. It is now nothing short of monstrous. See Memo DD-3221.32.122.

Ravenport sighed again. Why was Morrigan so obsessed with the duck? He would have to warn the Sprite. Such a fixation was unhealthy and unprofessional.

Monday 14th of March 2005
London. Outer region.
The subject has left London city, travelling two hours via Southend-on-sea to Battle. The rationale for leaving Cambridge appears to involve secondary observation target, the Draconic Vessel Elvia Lindholm. On route, subject encountered a roving band of Redcaps native to High Weald looting vineyards at Chapel Down. Following a brief engagement, all hostilities were extinguished. The subject was awarded a dozen cases of reserve Cabernet Sauvignon by the surviving owner, who recognised her. It would appear the sorceress is not against imbibing alcoholic beverages mid-flight. A penalty notice has been logged.

Monday 14th of March 2005
Battle Abbey, Battle
The subject has arrived at Battle Abbey and joined Elvia Lindholm, shepherded by Rectrix Theodora St. Claire of the Somerset Rothwells. The Rectrix has displayed displeasure at this one's duty. The murder was withdrawn as a result.

Ravenport pondered the significance of the Rectrix's reaction. The Order of the Bath, as with most of the Ordo under the control of the Crown, served their unique creeds and purposes independent from the government. In ancient times, the Ordos' principal purpose was the recovery of Faith Relics. With the onset of Modernity, the power of the Ordos waned, becoming elite Military units under the Crown's express command.

The Rectrix belonged to no Faction and seldom cared for politics. It was, therefore, wisest to leave the abbey well alone.

Monday 21st of March 2005
London, Isle of Dogs
Magister Eric Walken has summoned subject to attend. Observation indicates that the security forces on the Isle of Dogs have captured a group of looters who previously damaged the equipment belonging to the METRO Printing Press. The men had been in hiding and were discovered when locals reported engine components in one of the men's homes. Magister Walken sent Mr Tu, now working under the Isle of Dogs, to retrieve the NoMs, John Green, Nathan Green, and Julia Deng of Millwall. The subject has asked the men to return the looted parts of the press without fear of penalty and has offered them atonement in exchange for service. Scotland Yard reports no such record of the theft. PD.343.767.32.5.

Ravenport processed the timeline of events in his head, then frowned. That Gwen had asked the men to return the looted parts of the press in exchange for service was disregarding due process and highly unorthodox. Likewise, that the NoMs on the Isle of Dogs reported to the Dwarves at the press rather than offices from Scotland Yard, inferred Gwen to have obtained significant trust in the local populace.

Either way, it was something to mull.

Thursday 24th of March 2005
Cambridge, Peterhouse.
The Subject's Abjuration has reached the fourth tier of expertise.
The Subject's Transmutation has reached the fifth tier of expertise.
The subject's Enchantment has reached the third tier of expertise.
The subject's multi-modal talent has reached the fifth tier of expertise.

Thursday 31th of March 2005
Cambridge, Emmanuel College
Magister Roslyn-Marie Wen and Magister Maxwell Brown submitted spectrometric data for Void Enervation. Without complication, the subject has successfully recreated the Necromancy fifth-tier sorcery "Enervation" in its Void variant. The lodgement was as follows:

Enervating Orb
Casting Time: 180 Major 63 Minor
Range: Medium
Components: Verbal, Somatic
Duration: Channelled
This variant of Void Enervation is derived from "Enervation", with credit for the original conversion going to Magister Henry Kilroy. This variant is the brain-child of Magister Maxwell Brown, Roslyn-Marie Wen and Magus Gwen Song. Through focusing on manifesting Void Mana, an orb is created at the designated location which radiates an aura of Void. Within its Affinity-based area of effect, affected targets become suppressed, paralysed, and drained, suffering both material and immaterial damage. A portion of the spell's damage, both in terms of vitality and mana, will be redistributed through the converted Necromantic Glyphs into life-force. Current drawbacks include casting complications, stationary manifestation, incompatibility with most Spellshaping, and high initial cost in vitality. The original spells' Negative Drain has been minimised for the Tower's consideration. Initial tests carried out on Magical Creatures have demonstrated the viability of Void-Necromancy. Enervating Orb has been designated as a Class II Restricted Access spell.

Ravenport tapped the table.

"Morrigan, get me all the spectrometric data."

The Sprite obliged, reappearing moments later with a thick stack of scrolls.

Void-Necromancy! The Duke of Norfolk allowed the words to roll back and forth on his tongue. To a significant degree, the Mageocracy had always known that Soble dabbled. Their lenience had always depended on the fact that a firm hand had held the leash— until the bitch grew crazed. To this day, no one knew what had gone down in Hungary. As an architect of the Tower System, Kilroy possessed a level of privacy like no other. Even now, the locals believed the killing spree was the work of a risen vampire Countess called Elizabeth Báthory.

If the girl would take a similar path, would there be a similar outcome? But the girl was a Vessel as well, and a Lightning Mage. She did not need to hide her power either. If anything, Ravenport mused, the girl had become a celebrity.

It was a move he applauded, consequently enabling Ollie Edward's prodigious ability to muster certifications and councils approvals. Be it family, fame or fortune, all three required investments, and like the roots of the Elves' World Tree— that which provides shelter and safety also binds and constraints.

Saturday 2nd of April 2005
London, Isle of Dogs
Professor Victor Verne, Chair of Contemporary Literature at Sorbonne, CR.221.903.22.0 has returned to London with a manuscript for the subject.

Currently, Ravenport sat in his private study, listening alarmedly to his Sprite ranting about a book.

"The first of however many volumes," she declared with pride. "Is magnificent! It starts at sea..."

Ravenport had anticipated espionage.
At the very least, he was expecting Necromancy or an equally forbidden tier of sorcery to be smuggled into London by the NoM professor.

Instead, the man wrote a book on Gwen's orders.

"The subject says that this story was initially told to her by Kilroy." Morrigan's excitement was making Ravenport's scalp crawl.

According to his Sprite, what the Void Sorceress had commissioned was the tale of a Mage living in Napoleonic France with the name of Francois Picaud. The manuscript related that Francois was a talented young sorcerer who found success in the navy. Following the imprisonment of Bonaparte, he returned to Paris to marry his childhood friend and fiancée, the extraordinarily beautiful Mercedes. However, on their wedding night, Royalist Mages burst into the banquet and dragged Francois away, accusing him of spying on the French Crown for the English and plotting the Emperor's return.

Horrified by the accusation, Francois fought with all his might until he was subdued by the Royalist and taken to an island prison, the infamous Château d'If. There, he met the imprisoned Court Sorcerer of Napoleon, the Hvítálfar Elementalist Gaeardir, who was his cellmate. Over the next seventeen years, Gaeardir, who knew he would die, taught Francois everything he knew, including the location of Napoleon's hidden treasure, which he had planned to use in the event of a counter-revolution against the First Restoration.

"And then! Francois, using his new command over Arcanistry, escaped the Island! He dug up Napoleon's SECRET treasure at a place called the Isle of Monte Cristo..."

Morrigan's cheeks were flushed, painting her lips a ruby red.

With a feeling of ill omen, Ravenport listened to the story of a man driven by rage, now unfathomably rich, returning to a now peaceful and restored Paris. There, Francois disguised himself as an Englishman with Elven Glamours and visited his old home. There, he discovered that the night he lost Mercédès was no misunderstanding, but a plot orchestrated by three men he knew. The first was his fellow sailor in the French Navy, Douglas, a man who made his living selling magical contraband, and who was exposed and expelled by Francois. The next was his best friend and fellow sorcerer, Ferdinand, from whom he won Mercedes. The final member of the trio of plotters was Prosecutor Gerald, who had used the opportunity to gain a promotion.

Now, seventeen years later, all three men were prominent figures under the restored Monarchy. The scamp Douglas was now the wealthiest man in Paris. Gerald had become Chief Prosecutor of the High Court and Ferdinand a Count thanks to his military achievements. What's more, Mercedes, who Ferdinand had taken on Francois' wedding night, had borne the Count an heir in a son— Alberto de Morcerf.

"And so... Francois, burning with desire for revenge, emerging from the balefire of hate and vengeance as the Count of Monte Cristo, hell-bent on tearing apart the happiness of every man who was responsible for his imprisonment! First, Francois arrived at Venice, where the children of his targets, Alberto, Frank and Vivian, were enjoying the Masque Festival—"

"... and then?" Ravenport swallowed. A man in his position very much enjoyed a good revenge story. Also, if the story rang true, he would have to consult with his French counterparts. A treasure left by Napoleon? Such a trove was rarely without a companion. No Emperor would ever place their eggs in a single basket.

"... that's it." Morrigan licked her lips. "That's all he wrote."

Ravenport could see the madness in his Sprite's eyes. Had he given her too much blood of late? She was becoming very emotional, and very human— both qualities he did not desire in an assistant.

What frankly puzzled Ravenport, however, was why this particular tale exist. Unlike the Mockingbird, what was the purpose of this?

Tuesday 5th of April 2005
London, Isle of Dogs
The subject has met with Jean Paul's master, the honourable Meister Engela Bekker, formerly of Pretoria. Unfortunately, Meister Bekker has prevented all meaningful observation.

Monday 11th of April 2005.
Cambridge, Emmanuel College.
Magister Brown and Wen have succeeded in formulating the spell originally dubbed Death March. See the annotation below.

Sympathetic Life-Link
Casting Time: 243 Major
Range: Close
Components: Verbal, Somatic, Ingredient
Duration: Channelled
A spell derived from the rites utilised by Greenskin Totemcraft commonly seen in the wake of a Greenskin Beast Tide. For the original invocation, see appendix 4b. A significant complication in the application of this spell is the need to attain Essence sympathy between its users. For Demi-humans and Magical Creatures with Cores, components possessing Essence, such as heart blood, can be consumed by the caster to grant sympathetic resonance. As Human Mages lack the means of materialising Essence, unorthodox methods such as Essence Tap in appendix 1a will replicate the effects. Post "Master" and "Thrall" Essence-Exchange, the spell activates. The parallel conduit established between caster and the follower creates a "Vital Bridge" which allows for the transfer of Positive or Negative Mana between them. With consent, the caster may receive both Negative and Positive Energy from the Thrall. However, the Thrall may only receive vital energy at the caster's discretion.

"... Further testing will take place on the 18th of April," Ravenport read out loud. He understood why the Tower had allowed such an abusable spell to pass muster. If Gwen Song could indeed share her vitality with a fellow Void Mage, then enough training without fear of sudden extinction could mean eventual control over one's craft. It was an innovative proposal, one that he very much looked forward to seeing in practice.

Thursday 14th of April 2005
London, Isle of Dogs
The subject has returned to Battle to visit Magus Elvia Lindholm. Outside the Cloister, the subject managed to consume three times the same volume of food as the Knight-Initiate. If this unnatural gluttony continues, it may be cause for concern. Additional investigation was not possible due to interference by the Rectrix.

Monday 18th of April 2005.
Cambridge. Peterhouse.
The Subject, Gracie Hillbrook, Magister Brown and Magister Wen have succeeded in manifesting Sympathetic Life-Link. However, shortly after, Gracie Hillbrookwas hospitalised for treatment. A report from Magister Brown can be found at RP.550.31.1.

Thursday 21st of April 2005
London, Isle of Dogs
The subject has gathered a large group of NoMs from the surrounding dockside to offer them "gainful employment". The details of the position appear to involve the propagation of the publication known as "METRO". A total of three hundred and forty-one NoMs have subscribed to " an opportunity you cannot afford to miss." It would appear their new duty involves handing out newspapers at particular places along the Metropolitan railway line. Each NoM has been armed with two hundred copies of this "London Metro", with multiple individuals standing guard near the exits of the underground from Queen's Park to Liverpool, down to Westminster and West Brompton.

As soon as Ravenport saw the memo, he left the office for a brisk walk.

As the Sprite had suggested, the damned things were suddenly everywhere; be it abandoned on park benches, littered on the sandstone floors of the pier, or flying through the air whenever a particularly robust wind blew.

Quickly, he approached the Westminster tube station. Sure enough, he spotted two NoMs standing outside, bowing and scraping.

"Free paper, Sir!"

"Free paper, Ma'am, no charge."

"Please take a gander, milord, its free."

To Ravenport's horror, people took it.

One of the NoMs caught him staring.

"Milord! Free paper, Sir?"

Ravenport took the paper without looking the man in the eye.

"You look awful-familiar, Milord," the NoM grinned at him with pearly teeth. At the very least, the girl had the sense to pick the clean and better-dressed workers for the posher stations. "You the Prime Minister?"

"That's Magister Blaire." Ravenport shook his head, then quickly retreated to the privacy of Parliament Square Garden.

Now that he could take a "good gander", Ravenport felt his jowls twitch.

"THE PRICE OF PROGRESS," read the headline, prefaced with an image of the Void Sorceress in a pale teal dress that Ravenport recognised as an Elven treasure. The sorceress stood in what looked like Peterhouse, near the formal Hall, with her hand resting on an ornate brass lion. The girl was beautiful, Ravenport had to admit, and could see why so few refuted the paper. For the working folk, there was nothing quite so titillating as a pretty sorceress promising to devour the Mageocracy's enemies.

The article itself contained an interview with Gwen, written by Dominic Lorenzo, Chief Editor of the METRO. It detailed her operations on the Isle of Anglesey with a riveting account of the personal cost of practising Void sorcery from self-harm to ailments, to historical examples of temporary insanity caused by its Negative Drain. The picture it painted, Ravenport twisted his lips as Morrigan's crows cawed overhead, reading over his shoulder, was one sympathetic to the additional images of the pretty, pale-skinned sorceress looking a picture of pity in her shoulder-less dress. Lorenzo's tone made him curious, for it contained a distinct air of nationalistic martyrdom.

Was the agent helping the girl in the genuine sense? Ravenport wondered. Or was the agent trying to cement the girl to London, as had been instructed?

Other articles in the second and third pages covered news of the week, surmised by the editorial team of the Metro to be easily ingested. The headliner for the "News in Brief" section was one Ravenport loathed.

"Blaire Polled to Win in May," it said— as if he needed another reminder of the ill-will the Militants had injected into the voting public.

It was followed by other eye-catching titles such as "Blame Game Continues in Westminster", "Duke of Norfolk says Application of Force Necessary and Proportionate in Niger Delta", and "Beast Tide Break over Sfax after Earthquake", "Coastal City Besieged" and a Global News segment with images from Friday with "Merfolk Swarms Mississippi after largest Hurricane in Decade — Are Elementals to Blame?".

Past the news were articles surmising the latest in Magitech, followed by an opinion column on said politics and sorcerous developments. With a special section dedicated to the applications of Void Magic by Magister Maxwell Brown of Cambridge.

In the middle segment of the METRO, Ravenport found the source of the paper's income. There were hundreds of boxes, currently empty, under tags such as Employment, Magitech, Education, For Sale, with marked fonts in black and red stating "PUT YOUR AD HERE" and "SELL YOUR ITEM HERE" and "TRADE YOUR GOODS HERE" and "OFFER YOUR SERVICES HERE", together with contact details.

Quickly, he flipped to the back section.

Ravenport's brows furrowed. There were strange headlines the likeness of which he had never seen on any paper, be it the Herald Sun, the Guardian, or the Telegraph.

"Employment for NoMs on the Rise!"
"Mage jailed after Unprovoked assault on NoM Family."
"Heads and Tales— How this Liverpool Father found his purpose."
"The best pubs this side of West Side."
"Non-Magical Mother of Four gives up Secret to raising Four Mages."
"Horror at Mansfield, NoM Employee mauled by escaped Magical Pet."

There were even recipes! For NoMs!
"Pot Pie for Under Five Quid."
"Spring Salads you can harvest from your local garden!"

The more he read, the more puzzled he became.

NoMs? Ravenport cocked his head like a bird's. A newspaper for NoMs? He had an inkling after all these weeks observing the girl, but still, the excess effort exerted for the Mageocracy's arguably second-class citizens puzzled him. Was this information warfare? Was the girl plotting a mutiny? Was this Communism?

He turned the page.

"CAW! CAW! CAW!" The crows watching him from the tree began to flock and dance.

"The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas, Chapter One," read the tagline.

The first instalment had only four chapters.

"Caw!" Morrigan's crows began to crow blue murder. "Caw! Caw!" Her crows murdered the cheap paper, beating their wings in a frenzy.

Ravenport flung the paper away from him, only to have the pages torn to shreds by the enraged crows. "CAW! CAW! CAW!"

Wednesday 27st of April 2005
Cambridge, Emmanuel College
The duck has received YET ANOTHER dose of Essence. Petition for the duck to join the murder. See Memo DD-3221.32.125.


A note from Wutosama

Chapter Ref ::   

Volume 1 Amazon (US) the book is in all markets as well.
Volume 2 Amazon (US) the book is in all markets as well.
V1 Google Play, iBook, Kobo, Nook and Playster Link
V2 Google Play, iBook, Kobo, Nook and Playster Link

Paper back in near future


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Thank you Wandysama & Boneless Chicken et al for all the vote pics! 



Weird schedule next 2 Chapters. 
Taking baby on first holiday to the mountains 
and I'll be marking 100 - 150 exams :D 

How's the spoiler Post Chappy Section?
Great, keep it like that
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Naw, I like the old super colourful spam
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About the author


Bio: I write on the phone and edit at home. Times are tough!

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