20: The Faerie Rave

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When It Happened (Chronicle Time): June 7-June 22, 2003

Who Was There: George Phillapoussis (Storn), Mark Donovin (Eric), Nemura Kentaro (Chris), Alan Wingate (Matt)

What It Was

The Renaissance Casino is finally complete thanks to the unexpected return of Jonathan, who integrates the orgone engine-and himself-into the heart of the building. But this has an equally surprising side-effect: the return of the Faerie to New York after 350 years, an event that turns personal when the Faerie Queen falls for Kaori.


The Renaissance renovation is finally complete. The last nail gets hammered on May 10, 2003, and the construction crew moves to McKendrick & Sloane's other site, a new office complex just down the street. The Renaissance Renovation Fund keeps Mark as head of security, provided his guards watch both sites.

There's a splashy opening ceremony for the Renaissance on June 5 that includes Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congressman Charles Rangel, the Rev. Al Sharpton, several of New York's glitterati, and even Bill Clinton. Taylor McKendrick and Erik Sloane take all the credit, failing to mention Jonathan even once. Malik Zulu Shabazz shows up with some New Black Panthers, but nothing happens, thanks to Bobby Seale, several Old School Panthers, Jamal Rashid, and most of the 32nd precinct.

Meanwhile, Seema Mukharji, former head of research for the Reich Institute in Houghton, is making a shaky recovery. Cassandra and Tamara set up a room for her in the Renny, and she spends her days monitoring the shut down of her labs and their transfer to Ann Arbor. Ken Inada says the campers are recovering all right, but he could not prevent several FEMA employees from seeing the bodies at the test site and the ranger station.

George's occult studies continue, and he's built a small shrine in his apartment: an electric, "phases-of-the-moon" globe for Hecate; a plastic replica of the Samothrace carving for Nike; and a little Parthenon, made of building blocks, for Athene. George is not about to worship these goddesses blindly, but he addresses them with respect and says he is willing to be their agent if they can work out what Katsoulakis might call "a mutual, beneficial arrangement."

The Full Horror

Summer has come to New York, and the weather has been glorious. Central Park is lush, and flowers and tomato plants spill out of every window box.

The Renaissance looks incredible, perhaps the best it has ever looked. The press coverage has died down, but people in the neighborhood stop by a lot, and talk about how the Renny might really become a center for the community. The neighbors are already protective of the place.

The morning of June 6 is sunny outside, yet George's living room is cloaked in shadow. Mark stops by to take him to the garage to pick up his cab, Lucy, but both men stop to stare at George's globe. It now looks like an actual full moon, hovering above the table. When they blink, the globe returns to normal, and it's then that George remembers June 6 is a festival day for Hecate.

The Prodigal

Early the next day, Mark arrives at the Renaissance to relieve Hakim, on watch the previous night, but Hakim isn't there. Mark immediately searches the building, and upstairs finds the women's apartments standing open. There's no sign of struggle, but their beds are cool, and Cassandra's Birkenstocks and Tamara's incredibly pink slippers are still by their doors. When Mark checks the surveillance cameras, he sees the women and Hakim walking down to the basement at about 4:15am.

Grabbing a gun and body armor, Mark goes downstairs and can immediately feel a change in the air. He also sees a hallway in the east wall that he is certain wasn't there before, and wasn't in the blueprints. When he checks the "special" storage room, the serpents' uranur-driven scientific instruments (brought back from Wardenclyffe) have been hurled against the far wall, almost crushed into the plaster. But even worse: the orgone engine is gone.

Mark stops there and calls George and Ken on his cellphone. Once together, they head down the hallway. Only a few steps in, the three men feel dizzy, and George slumps to the ground. Ken stays with him, while Mark goes on. Mark has a vision of a distant land; lightning fangs sinking into his arm; showers of gold and blue electricity; a mist-shrouded mountain covered by purple flowers; and a loch filled with deep, dark-green water.

The vision ends leaving Mark back to the hallway, but his senses are going crazy. The light flickers and shifts to a deep, hot, blood red. The floor heaves beneath his feet, and when Mark puts out a hand to steady himself, the wall is so slick he falls down. The floor is warm and wet, and when he tries to get up, his hands are sticky. The air throbs and the walls pulse with energy. Finally Mark gets to the end of the hall and looks through the open archway at the end.

The arch opens on a small room, where Cassandra, Tamara, Seema, and Hakim stand at four points of a circle. Hakim is in his guard clothes, and the women in their nightshirts. They're standing with heads back, eyes closed, mouths open, bathed in sweat as a hot red light washes over them. In the middle of their circle is a dais. On it is the orgone engine, glowing gold and red, and sitting cross-legged behind it, his hands open wide on its top, eyes shut, is Jonathan.

Mark tries to wake up Jonathan, but his hand is warded off by a field of golden electricity. Fortunately the other four wake up right away. Cassandra is bemused, though dizzy, but Seema and Hakim are so embarrassed they quickly head back to their rooms. Tamara is wobbly for a moment, but then jumps Mark, throwing her arms and legs around him. Mark hates to do it, but he gently pushes her back. Now also embarrassed, she retreats to her room.

Every attempt to wake up Jonathan fails. When they check the rest of the Renny, the Aces can now feel an orgone field permeating the entire building. Above the basement it's only slightly less than what they felt above the Reich Institute in Ann Arbor.

Party Girl

For the past month, Ken's sister, Kaori, has been clubbing with a new group. Kaori goes out on the night of June 18th, and doesn't return. At first Ken's not worried, but she's still not back on the morning of June 20th. Ken calls around and discovers that none of her friends have been seen since the 18th. Sgt. Michael Webster, Mark's contact at the 32nd precinct, tells him four other students went missing on June 14th, and that the case has been picked up by Alan Wingate, the detective who has been investigating Ken.

The Aces meet with Alan, who tells them six of the seven students now missing lived on the same dorm floor. Alan has thoroughly searched the dorm and found nothing. He also explains that the case came to him because it's strange. Officially he's Homicide, but ever since the attack on Ken's apartment, he's become known around the NYPD as their own Fox Mulder, willing to take the weird ones. But now he's stuck with a case with no leads.

So Alan agrees to work with the Aces. They decide to check out the clubs that night. George calls a friend and gets himself an impromptu bartender / magic trick gig at the Limelight. The men circulate, and Ken manages to find Jhena Thomas and Jessica Murphy, two friends of Kaori's, who say they haven't seen her. Jessica seems to have a crush on Ken and gives him her number.

Meanwhile, George is at the bar, making drinks and asking questions, when he reaches down to the liquor cabinet for grenadine and sees a weird little man staring at him from behind the bottle. In a flash it's gone, but George immediately calls the others over to tell them about "the little gnome behind the Grenadine."

O'Malley's Amuck

Nothing else pans out that night, so the group assembles at O'Malley's the next morning. They're just sitting down when there's a tremendous crash from the kitchen, and George the owner roars, "MICHAEL!! GODDAMMIT!!" Then Michael the waiter yells, "I TOLD YOU, I CAN'T HELP IT!!" Then another tremendous crash. Suddenly Michael appears, his back pressed back up against the door to the kitchen, as if he's holding it back. Noticing everyone looking at him, he straightens up and comes over to the table, looking nonchalant, while a storm of crashes, shattering plates, breaking glass, and George's wails and roars comes from the back.

The Aces ask what's going on, but Michael tries to wave it off, saying, "Kitchen's a little off today." He starts taking their orders when George bursts through the kitchen door with a gigantic butcher's knife in his hand, and glares wild-eyed at Michael. Then he notices everyone looking at him. He straightens himself, nods to everyone and goes back into the kitchen. As the door swings shut, he roars, "Carlos! Pick that shit up or it's gonna be my boot in your punk ass!!" "But I didn't-." "PICK IT UP!!"

Michael heads back to the kitchen, and as the door swings shut, everything goes quiet except for a little sound like a tiny voice going "me, me, me, me, me." Then the most GIGANTIC crash yet, and George roaring, "Aw, God DAMN it!!" The Aces are about to get up when Michael comes out with their drinks and insists everything's just fine.

Their orders seem ok, so the men start eating and drinking, but before long they start feeling strange. George starts telling everyone, "My name is George" and asking if they want to see a trick. Alan starts talking in a tiny, high-pitched voice, and Ken can only speak in nouns. George notices the playing cards he left in the bar as a protective Ward are glowing brightly.

The men barge into the kitchen and are amazed to see George, the owner, hopping up-and-down-so furious he can't even speak-in front of a one-foot-tall copy of himself. In fact, there seem to be a dozen little guys around the room, all of them in the middle of doing something rowdy. Carlos, the busboy, is struggling with two of them to keep a tall stack of plates from crashing to the ground. Sergei the cook is brandishing a big knife at another one as it bends over to moon him.

Everyone stops dead to stare at the newcomers until the bent-over goblin blasts a fart right in Sergei's face. The place goes nuclear, and as plates start flying, the guys hear a goblin next to them say, "Hey look. Aces!", before he leaps right into the last stack of unshattered glassware.

The Aces have no idea what all this is about, and with Kaori missing, they decide to beat a fast retreat.

Goblin Gotham

But when the Aces reach the street, the Aces find Manhattan in an uproar. Hoards of goblins are everywhere, and Essence levels are fluctuating wildly across the island.

When the Aces reach George's cab, Lucy, they find its resident spirit, Jim Oleson, locked in a tug-o-war with several goblins for the cab's right rearview mirror. Suddenly, Lucy's right front fender whips out and sends the goblins hurtling across the street, cackling madly.

A fluffy cloud now hangs over the middle of the City, blocking out the sun over Central Park, which has gone all neon. The leaves of every tree glow electric blue, the trunks hot pink. The Reservoir and pools shimmer an emerald green, while the lawns sparkle in ever-shifting colors.

Tourists are running and screaming in a total blind panic, but New Yorkers themselves seem to be dealing pretty well with the chaos. The usual response is a shrug, and "Just another fuckin' thing."

The Aces have barely reached Central Park when they hear the Wall Street bull is storming up Broadway. They manage to intercept the beast just as it bursts into Columbus Circle, scattering people in all directions. Two goblins are riding on its back, roaring with laughter. Grabbing a bright red drop cloth from the cab, Ken plays toreador, spreading his "cape" right in front of the statue of Columbus. The bull charges, and with a move Ken dubs the "Bronze Cross Toro Detonation", the bull slams right into the pillar and shudders to a halt. The goblins go flying, splat into the side of the Time Warner building, and then stagger off.

Will of Arcadia

Things go quiet for a moment. The Aces jump in the van and start back for the Renaissance, but as they drive up Central Park West, they see a young man stumbling through the park. He looks confused and a little scared. He's about 22, quite handsome, and dressed in ill-fitting clothes with mismatched colors. To mundane eyes he seems like a homeless person, but to the Aces, he's blazing bright with Essence.

The Aces stop and ask if he needs help. The young man says his name is Will, but he seems to be having a hard time speaking in English. Then he says he was born on June 7th, less than two weeks ago. When Ken asks about Kaori, Will says he was sent to tell them that she is happy and that they shouldn't worry about her. Not surprisingly, the Aces find that less than satisfying.

Cassandra meditates with Will, and learns from him that the Faerie once thrived on the island of Mannahatta. Then the Dutch came, but thanks to a treaty worked out by Peter Minuit, the early colony lived in harmony with the Faerie. Unfortunately, to the colony's corporate owners back in Amsterdam, peaceful harmony just meant drunken laziness, and the East India Company sent Peter Stuyvesant to put things in order.

Stuyvesant was a company man and staunch Christian, and he didn't hesitate to break the treaty and launch a scorched-earth policy against the Faerie. He might have driven them entirely off the island, but the Faerie made a stronghold in what would later be Inwood Hill Park. There they dwelled for 350 years, and the park gained a reputation for strangeness and mystery. Now, at last the barrier between Arcadia and the mundane world has slipped. When Cassandra asks how that happened, Will replies it was due to "Jonathan Goldspark."


Twilight is coming on, and because it's the Solstice, Ken is able to meet with Brigit in dream. Once again Ken passes through the Cavern of Flame to his own place in Tir-Na-Nog, and Brigit channels through Cassandra to meet with him. Brigit says she knows about the Faeries' return.

She also knows what the Aces must do to win Kaori back. As always with the Faerie, everything depends on observing the rules of Faerie society. The Faerie worship no god or goddess (they may not even understand the idea of 'worship'). Instead, their society is built on laws which, though often strange to mortals, the Faerie take very seriously.

"Do not call them 'the Faerie.' Be very courteous and respectful. Be gracious if they give you a gift, no matter how trifling. And do not *ever* try to deceive them."

"You must convince the Court that, by keeping Kaori with them, they have taken "property" that does not belong to them: Kaori's right to her own destiny. That argument will give the Faerie pause, and make them take you seriously. Then you must win a contest to prove your case."

"But Ken, you must be prepared. The joys of Arcadia are hard to deny. The Faerie do not beguile humans-no matter what ignorant folklore may say-but Kaori will probably not wish to return." She smiles. "But I have faith that you can win her back."

Brigit wishes they could stay, but she says Ken, Jennie, and Cassandra should leave to help Kaori. She has just enough influence in the mundane world to allow them to wake up refreshed only moments after they went to sleep.

Et in Arcadia Ego

The Aces cross West 215th Street, taking the Isham entrance into Inwood Park. Past the benches and tennis courts, they reach Tablet Rock, where Minuit made his treaty with the Faerie, just as the spectral form of a tulip tree appears, a ghost of the tree that once stood at that very spot.

Ken suddenly realizes Jennie is standing right beside him, "solid" for the first time in decades and looking very confused. After a moment to take in the strangeness, the group enters the deep wood of oak and hickory, passing rocks left by the last ice age ten thousand years before. With only the sound of twigs crunching underfoot, they come to an archway formed by two hickory trees. The air within the arch seems to shimmer.

The group steps through the arch into a dark forest where an attractive, red-haired co-ed is rocking back-and-forth on her heels, obviously waiting for them. Ken knows her: Terri McIntyre, one of Kaori's friends. Terri smiles and holds up a little jar, glowing in her hand like a lightning bug. She unscrews the top and scoops out the twinkling gel inside, and uses it to paint symbols on their faces (a moon for Cassandra, the card suit for each Ace, and a shamrock for Alan). Will, of course, doesn't need one. Terri then tells them to blink, and when they do they are stunned by a blast and roar of light and sound all around them.

Neon flashes dazzle their eyes and a deep throbbing base percusses through their bodies. When their eyes adjust, they see dozens of people of every shape and color dancing, singing, laughing, flirting around them. The floor is jet-black, polished to a sheen by wax and sweat, and filled with swirls and flashes of light. There must be two hundred people, most of them dancing, their bodies glowing with fluorescent body paint, hair dyes and Essence.

The stars shine overhead, and the moon is brighter than they've ever seen it, bathing everyone in a glowing silver setting all their colors ablaze. The steady breeze is cool enough for dancers but warm enough to make a perfect summer night. The music is indescribable, perfect for dancing but unlike anything they've heard before.

Sure enough, the students are there, lolling on a small hill just north of the dancers. At top, sitting beneath an open-air tent on a lush bed of pillows and silks, is an astoundingly beautiful Faerie woman, at once seeming in her late thirties and at the same time, ageless: the Queen of Mannahatta. Beside her, clad in stunning silks of red and gold, lies Kaori. The two women are talking and laughing as they sip from crystal glasses that seem filled with blue flames.

Kaori tells the Aces she wants to stay, and she truly doesn't seem to be magically charmed. The Queen insists she loves Kaori and doesn't want to see her grow old and die as a mortal. Surely she should stay with her in Arcadia. But the Aces insist. George makes their case, respectful but firm. The Queen is saddened, but she agrees to a contest to judge who is right.

Ken will need a champion, and Mark agrees to stand beside him. The Queen's champions, two buff Faeries named Pwyll and Oisin, strip off their shirts and make a big show for the crowd. Mark is spoiling for a good fight, but what they get is a jousting match with breadsticks for weapons. Their steeds are white-and-purple Faerie ponies with silver manes, just like the kind crayoned by little girls. They look adorable. Mark is less than pleased.

The jousting part goes quick, with all four combatants soon thrown to the ground. Then the Aces discover Faerie "rules" are freer than advertised when the champions go for some groin kicks. Every time they score a good hit on an Ace, Pwyll and Oisin take a bow to the crowd.

That's a bad mistake when fighting Aces, and Ken and Mark start schooling the champions with their breadsticks. A few Ranger hand-to-hand combat maneuvers, a "Roaring Phoenix Key Evisceration" and a "Drunken Mantis Cranial Hammer" are all it takes.

The Queen sighs. Kaori and her friends are crestfallen. But the Aces have made their case. The Queen praises them for their courtesy and grants them safe passage back to their world. The group returns a minute after midnight, and by the time the Aces are back in Harlem, they can see New York has (mostly) returned to normal.

The night comes to an end, but there is the rumble of thunder far out on the horizon....

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