30: The New Regime

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When It Happened (Chronicle Time): October, 2004 – October, 2005

Who Was There: Bruce (Matt), Yukio (Bob)

What It Was

New York enjoys a hard-earned year of peace and quiet, as Katsoulakis consolidates his hold over the City, and Bruce and Yukio make plans for the future.

The Full Horror

Their travels behind them, Yukio, Bruce, and Cassandra settle into New York. Bruce joins Yukio at the Seaman-Drake Arch, while Cassandra returns to her quarters in the Renaissance Casino. The damage done to the Renny during Donnelly's attack has been completely repaired, thanks to Tamara and Latrell, who now share control of the site. Their leadership has earned Katsoulakis' support, though now that the Aces have left the City, his interest in the Renny is minimal. With mystical New York under Katsoulakis' firm control, many things now compete for his attention.

During his first visit, Yukio finds the Renny as impregnable as ever, with its orgone fields and physical and magical defenses back in place. Tamara is especially pleased to show him the prototype for her orgone gun. This worries Yukio at first, but Tamara assures him she is careful to keep evidence of orgone safe from outside eyes, with the sole exception of the Reich Institute. His confidence restored, Yukio asks her if an orgone taser might be possible. Two months later, she gives him a prototype to test. Tamara's current projects are orgone bullets and a portable orgone-field generator, but she is finding them both greater challenges than she expected.

Within days of Yukio's return he receives an invitation from Katsoulakis to join him for an evening at the mansion. This becomes a semi-regular routine, happening roughly every six weeks. First there is an extravagant gourmet meal, then ouzo, cigars, and excellent conversation. Some evenings they are joined by a small number of artists and scholars, the cream of New York culture. But these guests make discreet departures early in the evening, allowing Yukio and Katsoulakis to discuss mystical matters well into the night.

Katsoulakis never pushes Yukio during these evenings. He seems to consider them relaxing, and they give Yukio a chance to learn more about New York's mystical past. In particular, Katsoulakis mentions Stuyvesant Lodge, once the City's foremost lodge whose membership included Everett Rolston and Lord Alistair Jameson. It was said Stuyvesant had a formidable egregor (meaning something like a genius loci), and all other lodges in the City once followed its lead. It was said the Lodge enjoyed an impressive number of spiritual and demonic contacts among the inner planes.

Bruce in New York

The next year is quiet for Bruce, or at least quieter than the previous years. Though shortly after his arrival, he begins to have the same dream each night:

“It begins with the odor. Reptilian, musty, nauseating. There is a room here, an open space around you, but you know directly above your head, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of feet of solid rock. It is as if you are buried alive. And you are not alone.

“It's here. The Darkness. Not simply the absence of light, but a thing in its own right. The Thing That Should Not Be. It has another Name, of course. But no human dare use that name and hope to live. Not if he hopes to live as a human at least. But those who do use it, do live a kind of life. One beyond madness and the hope one can find in it.

“And so, for now, The Thing That Should Not Be. And its favored servant, the Rending Shadow. And it is here. Now. Reaching out to you. Its tendril drawing near, curling as it comes close, to draw you to it? Or to slice you to pieces where you stand? Here it comes--.

“And then it stops. The tendril grasped and held in her hand. Lilly. No. Not Lilly.

“Her name is Miranda. But so like Lilly in some way. She stands there, holding the tendril of shadow in her hand and smiling at you. And as she does, her eyes seem to glow with an inner fire which gets brighter and brighter until you can almost feel the heat of it against your face. And then you see the tendril is beginning to smoke.

“Heat. And then the scream of something inhuman. Something that should not give voice, so that the very rocks above you rumble in protest. And now you hear the sharp impact of rocks hitting the cavern floor. And the heat. And the rocks. And Miranda's eyes--.

"And you wake to a bright morning, sunlight streaming through the windows, and the sound of a hammer. Which helps you remember that, of course, the workers are starting on the garden boxes against the north wall today."

And yet, there is no sign of the Cult of the Rending Shadow in the City, and if the dream never gets easier, it never gets worse either.

Once he has settled in, Bruce begins cultivating contacts throughout the New York underworld. The City is still recovering from the upheavals of ‘Red Rain', and Bruce's talents make it easy for him to build up a personal network of fences and informants.

Bruce also improves his skill in manipulating Taint. He learns how to Shield himself, and his control of gravity gains nuance and reliability. And Yukio and Cassandra successfully learn a calming method known to the Mockers, which allows them to help Bruce cope with his more difficult episodes. There are some discussions of possibly hiring a maid and assistant for him, but as the year closes, these remain only talk.

Yukio's Studies

Yukio visits the Renaissance each week to expose himself to orgone Within the month he begins enjoying short-term benefits, but as the year goes on, he feels his strength and vitality returning to what they had been twenty years before. He makes several attempts to make contact with Jonathan during these sessions, but none of them succeed.

Yukio also spends a considerable amount of time studying the Essence Matrix recovered from Lesek Czernin's apartment. The matrix is in the shape of a brass key from the Erie Railroad, though why this should be so is not clear. Despite his effort, he makes little progress in understanding how powerful it is; how to use it; or how to create others like it.

Yukio pursues most of his research in Katsoulakis' library. The importer has granted him a rare freedom of access to the collection, and Yukio devotes himself to the study of Egyptian magic and cosmology; the works of Madame Blavatsky, and Tantric magic.

He also gathers what sources he can concerning the ancient kingdoms of the serpent people. There is no clear mention of a civil war between the green and black factions, but he does learn that there were two great serpent civilizations. The first was in the Permian period, before the dinosaurs, and the second during the Pleistocene, in the age of mammals before man. The first civilization fell into 'Torpor', which Yukio takes to be a term for 'decadance'. The second civilization was brought down by early man, and the serpent people are said to still hate humanity for this defeat. The Pnakotic Manuscripts claim that a third great serpent civilization will arise, but Yukio has only begun to understand their ancient language.

By year's end, Yukio has a list of Essence sources through the City, a resource in case of a future emergency. He also scouts for a good location to create a mystical connection to the Threshold, which he will use as a 'bolt-hole.' And he draws on his memory of Geburah to help him map out corresponding locations between the New York of Malkuth and the 'Twilight City' of the Death Realm.

Yukio also becomes increasingly skilled at creating and manipulating ectoplasm. He learns how to generate multiple tentacles of semi-solid air, and use them to grab objects and lift them. He practices using them to make an obscuring mist, and takes some basic lessons in ventriloquism. By year's end, he can create a man-shaped mass of ectoplasm. While not convincing, even in low light, he is getting better at the effect.

Building Bridges

During his visits to Katsoulakis' library, Yukio carefully observes Niko and Alexandra, but nothing suggests they are anything other than normal humans. They could be Shielding themselves, of course, but their standing as Katsoulakis' personal assistants is apparently all the protection they really need.

Yukio's frequent visits also give him a chance to see other members of Katsoulakis' staff, most notably the head chef, Angelo Scappi, who makes an appearance at every dinner to receive the lavish praise of the guests. Scappi may enjoy the attention, but these moments are brief—his employers extremely high standards keep him a busy man. But Katsoulakis does give his chef many opportunities to display his talent at expensive fetes through the City, and Scappi's reputation is very high among his fellow chefs and the critics. Scappi's specialty is Mediterranean cuisine, but as the year goes on, he experiments with more Asian dishes, and by the end, he enjoys responding to Yukio's requests with ease and excellence.

Jamal begins visiting Yukio and Bruce just like he does the Renny. He too is having a quiet year, thanks to Katsoulakis' new standing. Jamal has always been on good, if not exactly friendly, terms with the man, and Katsoulakis seems content to leave their relations unchanged.

Martin Murray keeps a very low profile, though Bruce often finds himself only two degrees of separation away from him as he builds his underworld network. Yukio takes time in Katsoulakis' library to learn how to build a 'hand of glory' in case he might need to bribe Murray some day. But when they finally meet, Murray is actually eager to do the occasional service for them.

Yukio and Cassandra visit Mannahatta several times to see Kaori and the Queen, and the Faerie always greet them with enthusiasm. Cassandra's tie to Brigit gives her special status, and Yukio's role as indulgent grandparent and mentor to Kaori is a big hit. But when Yukio asks Kaori if she would consider returning to the mortal world, she says she has no wish to leave Mannahatta, though she does agree to make the occasional visit to the Arch.

The Marble Arch

The Seaman-Drake Arch has been under construction ever since Yukio departed for Greece the previous summer. The adjoining buildings are now gone, and a surrounding wall is complete by the spring. Yukio has the location officially renamed 'The Marble Arch,' and reviews the floor plans for defenses against physical and magical attack. While he is in the midst of that, a package arrives bearing a return address of "S-G." Within in it are documents about the Arch from the nineteenth-century which will allow Yukio to tap its mystical lines of force and, perhaps, some day make it an actual place of power.

With Tamara's permission, Yukio also studies Jonathan's blueprints for the Renaissance Casino and with her help, is able to incorporate some of Thomas Cartwright's most basic principles into the redesign of the Arch. While the results are limited, orgone levels at the Arch do rise sooner than they might have.

As the last snow melts, construction begins in earnest on a carriage house, which will become Bruce's home. With Bruce's support, the plans include a secret restraint room for his bad times.

Ground is also broken for the much larger Youth Hostel, which includes quarters for the staff and for a small number of students who will study poetry with Yukio, very much in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin. Yukio hopes this will keep him engaged with young people, and that visiting artists will keep a high Essence flowing on the grounds. He also has little doubt that some of his students will have problems only Yukio and Bruce can solve.

Letters soon go out to his contacts at Columbia and in Japan, calling for students to apply. He also holds a series of public poetry lectures and readings in the City, and embarks on tour to support his new book of poetry, "falling leaves," which collects his recent work about 9/11. He follows this with a new work, a radical free form verse manuscript tentatively entitled "reflections on the New World," which evolves into 165 commentaries on Walt Whitman's "I Sing the Body Electric." It's a busy year.

A talented Zen gardener and landscaper named Ishida arrives in early spring and immediately begins to prepare the grounds for the spring thaw. By the first buds of spring, everyone, even Bruce, can feel the positive effects of his art. Ishida also agrees to help Michel and Yukio to create a permanent mystical and invisible Ward around the Arch and its grounds, though it will be some time before they are ready to take on such an ambitious project.

At Yukio's request, the Queen of Mannahatta appoints two of her courtiers, Pwyll and Oisin (the same two who faced the Aces years before) to join the Marble Arch as guards and attendants. Ishida welcomes them, and with their help, begins adding Faerie plants through the grounds of the enclave. The Queen, in turn, is pleased to have two of her own residing in one of the City's most important new mystical locations. By autumn, the Marble Arch has one of the strongest presences of Faerie in the Five Boroughs.

Cassandra still spends most of her time at the Renaissance (Tamara is, after all, her closest pal), but she gladly accepts a room at the hostel and attends all of Bruce and Yukio's private gatherings. She and Yukio also meet now-and-then for elegant dinners long conversations about the mystical arts and many other things. Cassandra also enjoys Ishida's company, and marvels at the man's talent for cultivating all living things.

Michel's skill at Shielding has grown significantly while Yukio has been away, and he gratefully accepts Yukio's offer to teach him Warding. Michel is now a talented medium, and can exercise his Gift with skill and safety. He keeps his room at the Renny, but Michel is soon spending more time at his new quarters in the hostel.

Ishida is the most important new member of Bruce and Yukio's inner circle. Even the Faerie hold his landscaping in high regard, and though he can be gruff, this does not fool them for a moment. Ishida develops a particular attachment to Cassandra. Though she has only a basic understanding of Zen principles, her instincts are adept at harmonizing with them, something that does not escape his notice.

By the time the Marble Arch's first year in New York draws to a close, all seems calm and ordered. But neither Bruce nor Yukio would probably be surprised to learn that their idyllic interlude is soon to end.

Previous Recap | Next Recap | Updated 3/19/12, by the Croupier