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I hiked out to the caern earlier this week, planning to camp out for a few days while continuing to meditate and get a feel for the caern's spiritual energies. (It is really and truly fascinating.) Nieve was there, as was Alicia. Nieve, it turns out, had gone into the umbra, ended up in the Digital Web, and thought only a couple weeks had passed--but instead it'd been nearly two years. Again, this seems to support my theory that the garou, as hybrids of the realm and the umbra, are occasionally prone to temporal disassociation when they enter more remote parts of the umbra.

After Nieve left, Alicia asked me my thoughts about the old man in Ghost's dreams, clearly trying to get me to slip up and inadvertently admit I was Brings-the-Pack. I played dumb. She said to drop the act and that she'd "had a long talk with Benedict." (Son of a bitch! My own apprentice ratted me out and didn't have the courtesy to let me know!) She claimed to be an ally, she wanted me to help keep training Benedict, that me withholding information from her hurt her in being able to do her job, and that she would not tell Thane because she followed a totem of Honor. And then she left--right after she dumped a bucket of water on the fire and put it out.

Fuck.

Naturally I waited for about 30 minutes, then I headed back to Edgewood. No way was I sleeping out in the woods by the caern after that. Then I took the car to load up on some groceries and back to my cabin. Defenses up. Entropy and Time to determine if there'd be garou visitors anytime soon. No. I crashed: exhausted physically and psychologically. 

The next day I phoned up Benedict, told him what had happened, and that Alicia had told me that Benedict had had a long talk with her and that'd led to her coming to approach me. He said he'd never told her who I was. In the discussion that followed, he asked about if I'd come to him in a dream a while earlier--except in a bar instead of the usual Tatooine desert landscape. He'd had a dream where he was in a bar and had a compulsion of sorts to find me, and it'd been fruitless, but Benedict seemed to think it was a highly unusual dream--enough to be noteworthy in its oddness. I invited him over. We had a talk, I showed him my sanctum, and then--with his permission--I explored his dreams. I confirmed that someone appeared to have mindraped him for information through a dream. There's really only one suspect. He was livid. Claimed Alicia tends to view him as her property--a tool to be used. He was afraid it might happen again in the future and wanted help defending against it. Damn. Mindraped by your own sister. That's horrible.

Pitying Benedict and, well, I'm also his mentor, I offered to put him up for a night or two--as the cabin offered shielding against scrying those with hostile intent--while I worked on a defensive charm. (He referred to me as "master." That was profoundly uncomfortable. I'll discuss that with him later.) We stayed up, together, as I worked on the charm and he watched. It took longer than I'd hoped, and I had to continue the next day--finishing up the morning thereafter. That ought to protect him for a month, but that's a short term solution. He wants to learn Mind magick so he can detect and protect himself from such invasions in the future. Some Spirit magick might be sufficient with the garou, though. And we focused on that instead as we'd made some efforts beforehand--and the charm I made him integrates both Mind and Spirit defenses. 

I tried to wrap things up with Benedict on a positive note. I used some Spirit magick to, over the course of several hours, gradually thin the gauntlet within a hula-hoop-sized hole within my cabin until it was all but transparent, allowing him to see the opposite side. I'd called for Kargamis, my little chimera spirit friend, to hang out on the other side and accept my weekly offering of quintessence. (I guess I need to hang a pork chop around my neck for spirits to like me, but hey, it works.) I encouraged Benedict to feel the spirit world just beyond that thin membrane of gauntlet separating the two. And then I would slowly allow the gauntlet to thicken, then thin, and thicken, and thin... hoping that this might prompt him to find a means of sensing what lies beyond. I kept it up for many hours, until I was exhausted, and had to quit. Lots of sleep ensued after once again using a Time/Entropy effect to determine if there was an invasion likely to occur: My sources say no. Thank you, magic 8-ball. 

I sent a heads-up to everyone who knows about me so they wouldn't be caught flat-footed in case Alicia contacted them, but I left off information about Benedict (I'm protecting his identity like he tries to protect mine) and that Alicia had mindraped him to learn about me. I just said that Alicia figured it out.

I later, while out looking at a boat for sale (I hate that I sold my houseboat to Mr. Lee), ran into Slug. We got to talking about relationships. Things feel stalled between Emma and me. Not bad per se, but stalled due to us both being so preoccupied with things that need attention. Slug, on the other hand, is cheating on his wife with someone local that he's been friends with and worked with for a long time--but not a garou. He asked me for advice on what to do. I can bend gravity, fire, and even radiation to my will, but I feel woefully inadequate giving relationship advice. I told him that, hey, lust sometimes happens and makes people do stupid things. If that's the case and Slug wants to be with his wife, don't do it anymore. But that's not the case. It's happening more and more. I advised Slug that he needed to go talk to his wife, because it sounded like he was wanting to end their strained, long-distance relationship--and maybe she wanted to do the same. But he can't ethically--IMO--sit on the fence.

Good lord, Slug. I don't have the energy to solve everyone's problems.

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Nick "Nicodemus" Dalton

July 2017

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