Thursday, January 20, 2011
Jones, Kevin, and Leah continue to discuss matters regarding the night’s ritual. Kevin still thinks it could open a rip to some Otherspace, while Leah thinks it needs to be done, as their other leads haven’t quite panned out. Jones finally mediates and notes that if Leah seems bent on doing it, all they can do is prepare.
So they do. Kevin and Leah talk symbolism for the ritual as Leah lists the things she was considering. After some discussion, the basic elements appear to be the following:
- Representing Leah is the bonfire itself, the last sticks of her favorite incense (which she will abstain from purchasing for a while as a sacrifice), her favorite CD of New Age chants to play during the ritual, her favorite photographs of herself and her father, and a flower taken from the arrangement on her mother’s grave at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
- Representing her father, she has a crown, a partially-consumed bottle of his favorite Scotch, a bottle of his favorite cologne, family photos in which Jasper is present and Leah is absent. She’ll also get Bex to film, representing his pull in the film industry.
- For the community that binds them, she plans on using the assembled crowd, as well as a nice globe, a compass, copies of Variety and other industry publications with reviews of Jasper’s films, and a compass rose drawn into the sand around the fire.
Although most of the items are already in their possession, there are still a couple of preparations to be made. Leah goes to her mother’s grave to gather a flower for use in the ritual. Kevin calls Otis to see if he can scrounge up some of the Venice Beach Drum Circle crew. Jones calls Detective Willett to check about permits and such; she says a permit might be nice, but they’ll probably be fine without one. Should she come around to keep an eye on the proceedings? Jones doesn’t know what might happen, so she says she’ll try to arrange it. She asks if he can bring the parcel she lent him, and he agrees.
When Leah returns from the cemetery, Kevin has made a taco from fish and other odds and ends to give Leah luck in her ritual endeavor. One of her hairs might be in it, although she doesn’t know it; he asks her to bleed into it, and says it will assist her ritual. Although it’s more substantial food than her usual fare, she takes it and eats it.
Leah earlier discussed her plans with her family. Although Melker can’t make it, Pam is enthusiastic and Leah manages to guilt BJ into coming. Bex and Lorenzo already made plans to come; Bex will be filming, as per Leah’s request.
With everything gathered, Jones, Kevin, and Leah head over to Venice Beach around 7 PM, with the main ritual starting at 9 PM. They get set up, as does Otis and Felicia with the drum circle. Jones parks at a nearby parking lot, hanging out with Detective Willett and watching the proceedings. He gives her the lunch box with the badge and gun, and she asks when he works tomorrow, indicating that she has good news for him. He should expect a phone call around midday tomorrow. During small talk, she doesn’t quite know what to make of his talk about his love life, but lets it slide.
As 9 PM approaches and people start arriving, Jones recognizes two people from the American Café. One is a journalist he has encountered before; the other is a photographer with a rather nice camera. They don’t cause any trouble, instead apparently being here as observers.
At 9 PM, Leah thanks the crowd for gathering and begins. Bex similarly begins filming. BJ, Leah, Pam, and Kevin are around the circle. Leah lights the bonfire, placing the globe, crown, and the flower from her mother’s grave at the center. She uses the compass to help her inscribe the compass rose into the sand around the fire, and lights her incense sticks to be placed around the circle. While the New Age music plays, Leah invokes some words, beseeching the Universe, powers, deities, or whatever entities in which the assembled masses might believe, for the answers to find out what happened to Jasper Fitzroy. She asks the people who responded to her invitation to focus their energies toward finding Jasper as they are Hollywood, just as he is Hollywood. As she chants, she — as well as BJ, Pam, and Kevin — tosses the other objects into the fire: the photographs, Jasper’s cologne and scotch, and the reviews of his films torn out of magazines. Leah notices that Pam, and despite himself, BJ, both get somewhat emotional during the ritual.
Leah then continues chanting and playing music as the fire continues and the crowd continues to lend their spirit to the ritual. Playing to the crowd, Leah continues this routine for some time.
During the ritual, Jones notices a woman in the crowd quietly watching him. Tired of all this surreptitious stuff, he later approaches her, asking about her business with him. She claims none, although he notes that her tone is clearly hiding something. He says he’s going to end this conversation if she doesn’t come out with whatever he wants; she says nothing further, and so Jones returns to his car. She glances over his way a few more times, then disappears into the crowd.
Jones leaves before his shift at LAX, and Willett says she can make sure the crowd disperses safely. He makes sure to let Leah know before he goes. Detective Willett apparently makes a call to increase the police presence, and they start getting the crowd to disperse just before midnight. BJ and Pam indicate they’ll see Leah tomorrow at her meeting at E!, and Bex and Lorenzo similarly take their leave. With that, Kevin and Leah depart and return to their respective homes.
As she arrives at home, Leah receives a phone call from Mabel. She indicates she has information of relevance to her, but warns her that two members of Tyrannicide are with her and assisted her in this information gathering. Leah reluctantly says that’s fine. Mabel asks if the other members of her cabal are available, as this may similarly interest them, and Leah explains that Jones is at work, but Kevin might still be up. Mabel recommends she call him, and she’ll see them momentarily.
Kevin, being right up the street from Mabel, says he’ll be right over. He’ll meet Leah when she arrives.
Kevin arrives first, and upon being introduced to Amadeus and Sara, surmises they’re the people who broke Leah’s phone. They explain that Crispus and Capri can be rather zealous when it comes to such things, which is why they came instead. The Tyrannicide cabal has been independently researching the King of Scales and Jasper Fitzroy’s disappearance, and they think they have some information, particularly if Leah and her friends can fill in the blanks.
Once Leah arrives — deciding to leave her phone and most of her personal effects in the car this time — they get down to cases, with a brief interruption for Mabel to ask why she is so nicely dressed. Amadeus and Sara explain that, after their previous encounter, they went through the thought exercise of why the King of Scales would want to get rid of Fitzroy, and how he would go about it. The reasonable answer is that Jasper Fitzroy was sitting on territory that the King of Scales could not access while another True King ruled it. Since it appears they didn’t kill Fitzroy, they had to somehow convince him to vacate his territory. Amadeus then asks if Leah has found herself being monitored, and she recalls several days ago when she called the police on a suspicious work van. After the police responded, two men in suits climbed into the front of the vehicle and drove away. This bears out what they found — the testimony of some guys from central casting, indicating that they were paid to dress in dark suits and sit around in vans in the vicinity of Fitzroy’s holdings. They assumed it was part of some film or candid camera stunt, but it must have been some ploy to convince Fitzroy he was under surveillance in the hopes of getting him to leave. They produce copies of the contracts for these actors, signed by Iggy Williams, and they ask Leah if she knows this person.
Further conversation allows them to put together the pieces they have and potentially determine the chain of events. It seems likely that Iggy was colluding with the King of Scales, as each side could get something they want. The King of Scales gets to poach the Hollywood Hills from Fitzroy if he willingly leaves his territory. Iggy, being an Annihilomancer by description and based on Clark’s surmisation, gets magickal power from casting off the detritus of his life or convincing others to do the same. The pinnacle of Annihilomancy is walking out of your life with nothing; if he convinced Jasper to leave town with nothing, and he did the same, that means he walked into some other town with some serious major mojo. Leah asks what purpose that can serve, and Mabel says she doesn’t quite know, but major magicks are the pinnacle of the Art. They can rewrite the past and cause other widespread symbolic effects. No doubt Iggy had some plan in mind for his symbolic potency.
On top of that, there used to be a contingent of Annihilomancers in Los Angeles in the early nineties. They fought with the Irascimancers before leaving town and causing a ruckus in San Francisco. It’s possible that Iggy was one of these old L.A. Annihilomancers, in which case the King of Scales may have known him from before. Without a picture or a truly accurate description, Mabel can’t do much to determine if she’s encountered him before.
The other key is January 6. Given that it coincides with Misrule and the swapping of king to fool, they ask if Pam might be an unconscious avatar of The Fool. Leah doesn’t know, but it’s possible.
Leah asks if she can keep the documents, and Amadeus says she can. He further asks if they’re cool, and Leah says they are. Amadeus offers his number in case she needs anything further, but she says she left her phone in the car; he asks for her number and sends her a text so she has his. With that, Amadeus and Sara take their leave, with Kevin and Leah doing the same shortly thereafter.
When Jones gets off work, he finds he has two messages: one from Mabel indicating Kevin and Leah are meeting with her about important things, so if he somehow receives this he’s welcome to come over, and a somber message from Leah indicating she learned some stuff. He heads to bed and will deal with it in the morning.
The next morning, Kevin goes to work as normal. Leah gets ready for her meeting in the afternoon, but is interrupted by a phone call from Jones in the late morning. Leah explains what they learned last night, and indicates she’d like to find her father. And at some point, probably track down Iggy to kick his ass.
When he’s off the phone, Jones starts looking into travel arrangements for Algiers, and how to best transport a firearm. His research is interrupted by a phone call from the police station; they have apparently completed their investigation, and his firearm is being released from evidence. He rushes over to the station to retrieve it. Detective Willett sends him a text message later in the day to confirm he retrieved his firearm.
With that errand complete, Jones contemplates asking out Jane later that evening.