This is a transcript of my first meeting with Junior Special Agent Thascius Questionmark, as recorded by the surveillance & recording system in my lab. I’m including it in the ThingTown Abyss file in the interest of full documentation of the details of this increasingly interesting case. - Concordia Bly, Junior Special Agent THAS: Pardon me… are you Junior Special Agent Concordia Bly? CORDY: Agent Questionmark? THAS: Yes, uh -- yes, it’s me. Glad we’re able to speak in, uh, in person? CORDY: Yeah, thanks for coming. You work undercover out in the city, right? THAS: Yeah, correct, mostly keeping an eye on, you know, magic. Magic stuff. Small, small-time magic. But with an eye out for, you know, anything that could be bigger than it seems at first? Which is why I wanted to talk in person, because, well. Wow. CORDY: So this really IS something big? THAS: Well, that’s the thing. I mean, well… where to start. Where to start. I mean, so those ley lines you found? CORDY: Are they ley lines, though? That’s part of what I was wondering. I’ve measured ley lines with these same instruments before, and there’s something different about what I’m reading here. I mean, the city’s got some seriously weird ley lines, too, but I think these are something else. Something maybe… man-made? THAS: Yeah that’s what I’m saying, something… else.. I mean, there’s some ley lines in the mix, but these other lines are hidden parallel with them, or inside them, or disguised to look like ley lines? But here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. Hoo boy. CORDY: Uh-huh? THAS: Okay. Okay, start at the beginning. Sorry. Okay. So here’s the thing. Bound spirits all over town, right? Like you said. So that’s normal enough. Any city with wizards and local spirits, they’re gonna get bound, some of them. So maybe there’s more in Tal Sharnis than is maybe usual, fine though, lots of people using magic in one Tal Sharnis or the other for hundreds of years before the Merger, and lots since, no surprise there. But here’s the thing. Here’s the thing though. Some folks? Crazy ideas. Some folks have crazy ideas about all this. CORDY: What kind of crazy ideas? Because honestly, what my instruments are picking up here seems a little more… intentional? Organized? Than what you’re describing. THAS: Yeah that’s the thing. So some folks say that it’s all one thing, like a conspiracy, by the Rakshasa some of them say. Or, haha, some say the Reality Patrol. So these folks though, normally I’d say… well, let’s just say they’re not reliable. Not the most reliable analysis, these folks. CORDY: What kind of “folks” are we talking about, here? THAS: Wingnuts. CORDY: Like the ones who are into weird conspiracy theories? Standing on street corners yelling about how the government is using mind control satellites? THAS: Yeah exactly. Alley wizards. Drug witches. People writing up manifestos and posting them in cafes. Different theories, new ones come around now and then, but I always assumed, you know, nonsense, given where these ideas are coming from? But those patterns. Hoo boy. Sorry. It’s… CORDY: Patterns? So you’re seeing it, too - this web of binding spells really does look like something planned and organized, right? THAS: Oh yes. Yeah, that’s the thing. I mean, ley lines form their own natural sort of patterns, sure…. But no. This is not that. CORDY: So who IS behind it? Because it’s obviously not the Reality Patrol. When I reported this to Garza and Perkins they totally hadn’t heard anything about it before. What was the other one you mentioned? Rakshasa? Is that a plausible theory? THAS: Nah. Not Rakshasa. This is sorcery, not Rakshasa. ‘Cause… well, the file you sent me, those pictures? I’ve seen some of the patterns in the aetheric plane, sure, but never so clearly, not like this. And yeah. Sorcery all right. And…. CORDY: And? It’s gotta be someone with some major power, right? I mean, this is all over the city. What does it even take, to pull off this kind of massive sorcery in a city like this, with this big Reality Patrol presence and all these other sorcerers around, and not even have anyone notice it until now? And what the heck is it all even FOR, anyway? What are they up to? THAS: Major. Major power. And yeah, “someone.” Or some group… hoo. Wow. CORDY: What? What are you seeing here, Agent Questionmark? THAS: It’s all one thing. This whole pattern, it’s one project. City-wide. Like a giant sigil or bindrune. Or, many sigils stitched together. Gigantic. City-wide. I mean, I’ve never seen this whole design before, but parts of it, lots and lots of parts from lots of different spells. Glyphs and stuff. Interconnected. And what it’s for? Yeah, no, no idea. No idea. CORDY: Wow. Okay. So this must have taken a seriously long time to build, huh? Especially doing it without being detected. Ooh, I think I can find a way to measure how old the different binding spells are! Then we can get a sense of how long our mystery “someone” has been putting all this together! THAS: Yeah, I think it’s been going on for a looong time. Like, a long time. CORDY: Okay, so I’ve got a friend back on Leonis Base in the Department of Occult Research who I can send the readings to, also. See if she can figure out what this whole thing is for. And something else I want to know - whatever this giant mega-sigil is, is it COMPLETE? Or is it still a work in progress? And another thing… what happens if we mess it up? Because all this started with Garza ordering me to find a way to permanently close the ThingTown Abyss… and I’m pretty sure that whenever I do close the ThingTown Abyss, the energy discharge is going to totally obliterate the part of the binding spell that’s inside the ThingTown Dome. THAS: Oh definitely not complete. No way. But if you break part of it, yeah, whoever’s been making it will be pissed? I mean, normally I wouldn’t worry, right? Because what wingnut hedge wizard is going to be able to, you know, who cares? But this isn’t that. Whoever this is. I mean if it’s a group, it’s… I don’t even know what. Let’s just say they have their shit together. And if it’s not a group, well, I don’t even really want to think about that, to be honest. What are they, a god? Like, who could do this? Sheesh. CORDY: We need to find out. And maybe messing up their giant work-in-progress will help flush them out. I mean, they’d have to DO something, right? THAS: Oof. CORDY: Hey, we’re the Reality Patrol! Who’s gonna deal with this, if not us? THAS: I’m just saying, I’m out there… out in the street, I mean, I dunno. I mean, research, sure, I’m happy to do research. But, you know, flush them out? Oof. CORDY: Oh, yeah, you do the research. Ear to the ground. I definitely want to keep consulting with you, ‘cause this has been a huge help. But yeah, don’t blow your cover. Like you said, you’re out there in the street. Leave the flushing-’em-out part to me. Hey, I came here because I was sick of just doing research in the lab and never getting to go out in the field. THAS: Okay good, okay. See here’s the thing though, whoever this is, what if they detect who’s been detecting them? That’s the thing. I really don’t want to get, you know, that sort of attention…. CORDY: Oh, yeah, I totally get that. So you stay safe. Send me anything you find out. But yeah, stay safe. But I’m not worried. I’ve got guards around me when I’m out working in the city… and when I’m not out in the city, I’m back here at HQ, which I’m pretty sure is the most sorcery-proof place in this whole reality. THAS: Yeah, I think for the most part I’m probably going to want to give you any information I dig up, probably give it to you here in person. Oof. Still kinda spooked. This is big. I mean, I’ve lived in this town my whole life. CORDY: Oh, yeah, that’s right, you’re like one of the only agents here who’s actually FROM here. You and Agent Sojac. And she doesn’t talk much. Got time to grab some lunch with me and tell me more about this city? Because I’m still just trying to wrap my brain around this place. THAS: That whole time, this… this thing… all around me, covering the city? It’s like finding out that, I dunno, like there’s a giant monster living under… wait, lunch?
And so our two intrepid Junior Special Agents meet at last.
Hmm… actually, “intrepid” might not be the best word for Thas.
Our intrepid Junior Special Agent meets her considerably-less-intrepid colleague at last?
See you next Wednesday,