Episode Two, Part Two
At The Tattered Cover, Garth drinks his Vitamin Water. Reggie lectures him about sugar and bacteria and artifical color and flavor. Before going home, Reggie asks Quarrel about some way to neturalize a cursed object. There isn’t really one. She asks Quarrel if there’s a way to discover if this is cursed. It doesn’t have any markings or auras, but he can’t tell for sure. Reggie plans to go to Walmart and buy a lockbox and put the rabbit’s foot in it and lock it in the back of her car. The next day she wants to see her grandmother, maybe.
Day Three, morning. Tattered Cover. Quarrel tells Slater about the true nature of the universe. Harg, Slater, and Garth hang out in the back office while Reggie peruses the stacks for more information about cursed objects. Reggie and Harg hear a commotion. Really tiny, sort of clawed things start crawling all over Reggie’s car, which is parked outside. A lot of them. Swarming. More importantly, a rocky gentlemen is right outside the door.
Quarrel, behind the counter, looks very shocked, and Reggie yells and drops the books she’s holding. Harg leaves the back office to see what’s going on. Reggies runs to the back of the store to duck and cover. Slater and Harg shoot at the thing made of rock, and Garth prepares himself for battle. Alan moves behind the counter with Quarrel and fires a pistol, then crouches. Reggie knows it’s an earth elemental, but doesn’t know anything useful to tell her companions. Bullets seems to be working, though.
Quarrel, watching out the window, calls, “They’ve got the trunk open!” and Garth sees the gremlin-things flying away with the lockbox. They disappear down the street. Slater distracts the earth elemental with gun tricks. Garth sees that the gremlins are already a hundred feet away and moving fast. Harg bull rushes the monster and defeats it. Garth and Alan run after the small creatures. Garth catches up and tries to scare them at Alan’s suggestion. “Boogedy Boo!” Reggie runs to her car to follow, and Slater has the keys to Alan’s car so he can follow, too.
Some of the creatures attack Garth, wounding him, and the rest vanish down a sewer grate. Harg gets in the car with Reggie. Garth kills one of the creatures with his sword, leaving eight on the street. Alan strategizes about how to get down into the sewer. Reggie drives down the street, hits three creatures and kills them. Harg kills another with his door as he exits the car. Slater careens down the street in the Hummer. There are no more gremlins at street level. Garth tries to open a grate with his hands, but is ineffective. Reggie sees the bodies, knows that the creatures are jinxes, which the legends of gremlins are based on. They hate humans and humans’ machines and can be loosely controlled by someone or something.
Slater gets a crowbar from the Hummer to work on the grate. Alan considers just driving away, points out that they won’t be able to catch up and should get away from the area where civilians would have heard shots fired and people fighting on the street. So they disperse and meet later at IHOP.
Garth checks his messages and sees that the Remington sisters called back. Half an hour later Quarrel calls everyone and tells them that there’s no investigation—he dealt with the bodies, and his store is soundproofed and all the guns were fired inside, so it’s okay. Garth calls the Remingtons again and gets hold of Pam, who is apparently in the middle of a fight or something. He tells them about the people dying and jinxes and stuff. Pam says they were hunting jinxes when they shot the rabbits. (In a cemetery on a new moon.) They were in Ivins, Utah.
Garth relays the information. Harg wants to punch him in the face. “Why?” asks Garth. “Because you called them when I wanted to call them.” “Well, I got the phone number.” “You might have gotten the phone number, but you weren’t the right one to get the phone number. So. Punch in the face.”
Ivins, Utah is a couple of hours away. “We could just drive out there and see what’s going on,” says Garth. “Why?” asks Harg. “Because the rabbit’s feet is the only lead we have.” “Utah is nice,” says Slater. “Why are you even here?” asks Harg. “Day off.”
“So there were five rabbits wandering around a cemetery on the new moon together,” says Reggie. “That’s weird. MAYBE THEY WERE SHAPESHIFTED WITCHES.” “We’re gonna feel stupid when we get there and there’s a lettuce garden on the other side of the fence,” says Alan. “ONLY LEAD WE HAVE,” says Garth.
Slater, Reggie, and Garth are up for a trip, but Garth wants other people to be up for it so he doesn’t have to ride in Reggie’s car. Reggie finds the address and pictures of the cemetery on google. Alan and Harg come, but there’s some argument about who drives in what. On the way, Pam calls Garth back and tries to be a little more helpful. She says that once they killed a bunch of jinxes in Utah, they left for a much worse case in Connecticut, so they might have missed something. The jinxes seemed to be protecting something, which is unusual. They attacked anyone who went down a certain road that only had a house that was empty as far as people knew. “Anything that can summon is not something you want to mess with.” “Anything who can what?” “Summon. Anyone who can summon anything, jinxes or anything, is really dangerous.” The jinxes were protecting something near 450 North. Reggie asks if they think the rabbits might have been shapshifted witches. Pam thinks it’s possible.
Garth asks Pam if the sisters have ever fought a dragon. No, but they probably exist. Pam tells him that the clawed feet marks were from the jinxes and they’re probably safe in Vegas. Garth still thinks his dragon casino idea is a good one.
They arrive in Ivins and go to the cemetery. Their searches don’t really turn anything up. Garth doesn’t find any rabbit burrows or tracks, which is perhaps an indication that the rabbits here earlier were unnatural.
They have the address for the apparently abandoned house on 450 North. But they choose to go to the town hall in Ivins to do research on the address and any supernatural activity in the area. There was an increase in accidents on 450 North. People reported seeing strange things. The house is listed in the classified of every week’s newspaper for sale by owner, going back at least this year. Garth asks the town clerk who owns the house. Slater gathers information. Escobar Salvine own the house. Slater learns that everyone knew about the accidents and the kind of crazy women who came, but people stopped having accidents, so that was good, but the crazy women weren’t actually with the DoT like they claimed. Slater tries to call Escobar Salvine, but the number is disconnected. Garth thinks he is dead. They decide to go to the house.
There are no particular signs of anyone being there. No one answers the knock. Reggie wants to unlock the door, but Harg just shoots it. “That was unnecessarily violent,” Reggie complains. “But it worked.” “But unnecessarily!” The place is empty and dusty. Reggie sees footprints leading upstairs and to the kitchen. Harg goes upstairs and the other go to the kitchen.
Harg finds signs of someone living here, as well as sigils and smelly herbs and scrolls and various magical things. In the kitchen, the others find stairs to the basement. Garth was smart and brought a flashlight that he can hook to his shirt. They find a camp-style kitchen. There are also smelly herbs and vials and such. Reggie recognizes it as a magic user’s workroom, possibly more than one. Garth sees different piles and different handwriting styles. Reggie sees signs of potion making. There is a gun rack with no guns. Lots of notes on the paperwork, some of them spell notes. On top are notes which seems to pertain to some large ritual. Looks like someone is trying to alter a ritual that already existed for seven, now trying to remake it for two. Note: ALY, steps of ritual, CEL. Again, listed things, then five names written in margins, Maia, Electra, Taygete, Asterope, Merope. Checkmarks over all of those except for Electra. Reggie thinks that they are trying to raise the dead witches.
The ritual doesn’t look necromantic to Reggie, though. It’s something that needs seven living people to do. She supposes that the two left are trying to raise the others to complete the ritual. “Or maybe they just need the essences for the magic,” says Garth. “NOW YOU’RE THINKING!” Reggie exults, happy that Garth seems to be done denying the weirdness. “I’ve read my fair share of fantasy novels.”
Another distinct ritual is set off to one side, same symbols as are written on the margins of the large one. Seems to have something to do with shapeshifting. They ransack the house and take it all out to the Hummer. Reggie’s gonna need space for her magical work room. She doesn’t feel bad at all about stealing from these people, who have killed four people in Las Vegas, caused lots of accidents, and probably done plenty of other nefarious things.
Reggie also finds notations about the phases of the moon. Slater wants to warn Escobar Salvine about all this that’s been going on, but Reggie thinks it might have been a cover name used by the witches, or he could be dead the way Garth thought all along. They google him, but can’t find another phone number. There’s a physical address in Salt Lake City. No one has lived in the house for fifty years, so no one in town knows Salvine. Garth suggests snail mail.
Back to Vegas. A bunch of the scrolls are various summoning rituals. Tending toward certain types of creatures, then you pick the one you want. A lot for creatures good for grunt work, fighting and defending, elementals. None of them hugely powerful. One ritual very specificly for directing things that have been summoned. With Quarrel’s help, they find that the big ritual is for a sort of power sharing thing, since transformation is very difficult unless you have a natural ability. Someone did some excellent design work—Quarrel is impressed. Another someone was attempting to modify it for two people, but it’s more for a one-shot deal. The original was continuous, to renew connections already made. Two person one also meant for channeling power from something else.
Garth concludes that they’re trying to channel energy from the rabbit’s feet, and now they have all five of them and our heroes will have to find and stop them. Quarrel agrees with that conclusion. Symbols for luck bones in there, kind of doubling. The witches need something else, some other kind of bone. “Like a dragon bone,” Garth says darkly.
The original ritual maker was excellent, and the one doing the modifications is not as good. Quarrel can tell that much. Quarrel and Garth have another conversation about the difference fictional magic and the stuff that actually works in this world. They probably have a summoner to deal with, and another one with their own skill.
Slater, “What’s the best way to track witches?” Quarrel says they might resonate with their stuff if they’re within a couple of miles. Quarrel tries to sense them, but doesn’t find anything. They’ll probably come after our heroes, though, since they have all their stuff. They also find a couple of healing potions among the stuff. Garth takes one, Slater another. Another is a disillusionment spell. Doesn’t make someone invisible, but lets them blend into the background. A powder, Reggie takes it.
The rest of the items are also Reggie’s to use in her new pursuit of magic. Harg offers his office for Reggie to set up her new magical stuff. It’s a satisfyiing solution—she’d been thinking she might have to move back in with her parents, since her apartment isn’t big enough and there’s no room to set it up at The Tattered Cover.
Now if only they could figure out what to do about the witches.