Mage: Dark Materials

S01E01 - Sins of the Fathers

For years, the Hermetic Masters of Witwick College have feared the day Artemis Grimm would graduate. Not only does the boy suffer from an inauspicious Christian name, but by all accounts possesses the reincarnated Avatar of Erastus Faulkbourne. Faulkbourne was a known terrible diabolist and heretic during the late Mythic Age, who was burned at the stake by the Inquisition before any Magi could seize him and deal with him appropriately. For centuries it was believed that Faulkbourne’s evil was gone, but now this unfortunate child Grimmk has been burdened with it.
Disturbingly, the boy displays ominous signs, such as an affinity with Entropy and the decay of the material world. Drastic measures were considered until one of the junior professors, Jackson Blakeney, a scholarly academic of no particular magickal merit, spoke up on Grimm’s behalf, believing there to be the potential for great good in the boy, despite his dark burden.

Nicaragua, 2005
Jackson Blakeney, academic, historian, cryptoanthropologist and college professor at the Witwick College of Hermetic Magick, uses college resources to fund questionable expeditions to prove unlikely and speculative theories regarding lost High Civilizations spanning the globe, under guise of “field trips” with his students. During one such excursion, he and his students Artie Grimm, Jennifer Lockheart, Will Warrington and Tim Grangers come across a hitherto undiscovered pair of pyramids deep in the jungle. Blakeney determines that they have located proof of an unknown civilization, which he dubs El Maz, after local folkloric legends of an ancient master race, upon which he bases his research into this area. While exploring the pyramids they are set upon by a strange mummy, and it takes the group’s combined efforts to destroy it, bringing the temple vault down upon it. Only a hand survives, which Blakeney brings back to New York. He is particularly struck by Grimm’ desperate efforts to save his companions. He knowns then that there is good in the boy.

Grudgingly, the Masters allowed Blakeney to take the boy as his apprentice, after having made it perfectly clear that Blakeney would be held accountable for any of the boy’s transgressions. Thus, upon his graduation day, begins Grimm’ apprenticeship with Jackson Blakeney.

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S01E02 - Autumn in New York

Jackon Blakeney, his apprentice Artemis Grimm and his old school-friend Justin Blackstone, all Hermetic mages, attend the funeral of the Cabal of Many Thoughts at the Chantry grounds at Lyndhurst Manor, Westchester, New York. All the cabal members perished in a fatal accident whilst analysing a mystical artifact. Blackstone meets an old acquaintance, the rock star Ebeltoft Starfall, son of one of the cabal members and a Cultist of Ecstasy.

The group is approached by Chantry leader Joseph Strange, who asks them to form a new cabal to replace the Cabal of Many Thoughts. After having considered it, they all agree, and regroup at the Chantry’s New York City headquarters 416 East 82nd Street on Manhattan, where Blakeney keeps lodgings. The newly-formed Cabal ponders on what their sacrifice to the Chantry can be, when Grimm off-handedly suggests the mysterious Nicaraguan mummy he and Blakeney discovered in Nicaragua.

Starfall has his man make arrangements, and soon the four of them are at LaGuardia Airport waiting for Starfall’s chartered jet to be ready for boarding.

Whilst waiting in the VIP-longue, Blakeney notices a man running for his life carrying a case, and two others shooting at him on the tarmac. The trio crash through the security glass and into the VIP-area, and a crazed fight ensues, resulting in first the death of one of the pursuers, and then the running man – after some unbelievable martial arts moves – at the hands of the second pursuer. It is now clear to the Cabal that the pursuers are some sort of supernatural creatures dressed in fine suits, and Blakeney shoots the one still standing of them with no result. Blackstone therefore destroys it with a powerful fireball.
Grimm has recovered the case, but soon falls into a magical slumber. Blakeney quickly discovers that he is being targeted by a malicious spell, and manages to counter the effect, but is unable to wake Grimm. They therefore carry him to the plane, where they are surprised to be met by two government agents who without a doubt must be Technocrats. Luckily, a famous rock star and his pet wizard PI is not something the Techocracy want to touch, and they quickly leave.

In Nicaragua, the Cabal book into a hotel, and Blakeney opens the case, revealing a frenzied Phurba-dagger. It is only through Force-magic that he manages to hold it down long enough for Blackstone to encase it again, but not before Blakeney has suffered a nasty but innocuous bite!

They make the necessary arrangements, and travel into the jungle in a pair of powerful 4WD.

Soon they approach the pyramids at El Maz, the remnants of a hitherto undiscovered civilization found by Blakeney and his students, but to their surprise an archaeological dig seems to be in progress…

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S01E03 - Curse of the Mummy

The Cabal arrives at El Maz and discoveres there is an archaeological dig in progress. Ebeltoft insists his way in by starpower, and the others follow suit. Blakeney talks to the man in charge, and senses something awry, but fails to pinpoint it.

Through powerful, time-consuming communal magicks the group manages to empty the caved-in pyramid to gain access to the mummy, only to find no mummy, but recent corpses. Blakeney suddenly realises that the man they met was the mummy itself, and that they must stop it at all cost.

They charge into the camp, and an epic battle ensues, where Ebeltoft Starfall is completely lost in a trance of composition, creating his magnus opus, while Grimm saves the day by using the phurba dagger to kill the mummy.

Battered, bruised and shaken, the cabal leaves the site of destruction before authorities arrive.

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S01E04 - A Night at the Museum

Having been asked last second to hold a speech for the Museum of Natural History after the original speaker has dropped out, Jackson Blakeney delves into the subject matter, to find out it is about ancient civilizations of Java, a subject he is well acquainted, albeit from a more fringe perspective. Arriving at the museum, he looks over the exhibition he is giving the talk on, and discovers that several pieces are missing. He is told they are still below, and he goes to investigate. Something is awry: a 7-foot statue is listed as having arrived, but is nowhere to be found. In addition, the original speaker, the archaeologist who has discovered the items, is missing, which is why Blakeney has been called in to replace him as speaker. Blakeney senses that there is a magickal disturbance, and decides to contact Blackstone for support, something he does via “magickal mirror”.

Blackstone arrives with Starfall, and they soon encounter a terrified research assistant, and the homicidal statue trying to kill him, and subsequently them. Starfall discovers that it is, in fact, a mental projection: there is no statue, and by overcoming their fears they dispell it. They have the authorities take care of the research assistant, and Blakeney goes on to hold his speech, while Starfall meets a groupie who he takes into a closet for some special fan-time. Unbeknownst to him, the room is under surveillance, and an indiscreet employee at the museum soon has the rock star’s own indiscretion sold for a pretty penny and posted on the Internet.

Soon, the same Technocrats from the airport show up, and the three hotfoot it out to avoid detection. Two encounters is no coincident!

They end up at a hip club, where Blakeney is surprised to be approached by his literary agent, Oliver Mortenson. Mortenson informs him that there is to be a release party at the publisher’s offices for some up and coming whipper-snapper or other. Blakeney off-handedly mumbles an agreement to show up, not wanting to let slip to his Cabal-mates that he is, in fact, Walter Falkin.

When Mortenson has left, Blackstone meets a girl who suffers from amnesia. With Blakeney and Starfall’s assistance he discovers that she has been glamoured by a vampire – a condition identical to a client of his. More pieces fall in place for Blackstone’s case, as Blakeney ponders the exhibition from the museum, and draws parallells between the strange and unusual Javan imagery, and the artifacts and symbolisms he found in Nicaragua. Could there be more patterns here than anyone has ever discovered?

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S01E05 - The Descent

Jackson Blakeney attends a function at his publisher’s, celebrating the launch of horror writer Stuart McQueen’s latest “opus”. Blakeney has a hard time committing to the party, as he is contemplating the implications of the proof he has found that supports his theories of a prehistoric, pan-pacific High Civilization. He decides to do some research at the Chantry libraries, and travels there.
While researching the symbology from the museum and the pyramid in Nicaragua he comes across Ebeltoft Starfall who is looking into his mother’s personal book collection. Joseph Strange suggests that they should travel to Witwick and search the libraries there.
En route they run into Justin Blackstone, and upon arriving in the library they encounter Grimm and chancellor Cochen, with a distraught Phillip Dartmoor. Dartmoor claims Grimm has let loose a monster to kill him, and that the monster, which he describes, has run off in the direction of the washing cellars. Grimm is devastated, as that was where he last saw his friend Jennifer Lockheart!
They all rush to the cellars, where they find signs of a struggle, and even a collapsed wall. They follow the devastations, and in the courtyard below encounter a giant sloth!
They backtrack into the cellars, and in the hidden halls beyond the collapsed wall, they find a kind of shrine. Grimm has a mystical experience, and is visited by a long-dead Euthanatoi who bestows upon him the right to use his effects, a knife, a gunbelt and a harmonica. Cochen explains that he is a legendary figure, and that Grimm must have a compatible resonance with the ancient Master.

Ebeltoft and Blackstone follow the tracks, and encounter a band of Neanderthal-looking humanoids, who has the unconcious Jennifer. The two both initiate Magickal effects without any consideration, and succeed in driving off the creatures, who leap through a portal with the still-unconscious Jennifer! Grimm screams obscenities at the two fools, and charges after them through the portal. Blakeney looks to Cochen, who understands, and tells him to go. “But hurry,” he calls, “I do not know how long I can hold the portal!”

The cabal all rush through – - and the first thing they see is a twelve-foot butterfly gilding above them.

They’re not in New York anymore…

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S01E06 - The Lost World

The Cabal emerge into a lost world, a world where dinosaurs and cavemen live side by side. With no time to lose, Blakeney throws his perception aloft, gaining a great bird’s eye view of the territory, blind-drawing it into the sand, before burning it into the back of Ebeltoft Starfall’s shirt. He then uses the club belonging to one of the cavemen to create a scrying pool, allowing them all to see through the eyes of the individual who carried the club, and then creates a path into the map of the best route to the cavemen. He then challenges his apprentice Artemis Grimm to take charge of the hunt. They track the cavemen across the landscape, dodging monstrous dinosaurs and other dangerous creatures. Finally, they reach the lair of the cavemen. Grimm, feeling he’s constantly and deliberately being tested by his Master, comes up with a plan to rescue his friend from her captors, by using the party’s magical abilities. , and Artemis creeps in to rescue Jennifer. Starfall and Blackstone provide a distraction while Blakeney hangs back, electing to observe the actions of his apprentice rather than interfere The plan doesn’t go exactly as he planned it, but it generates enough distraction for Grimm to free his friend, and they race back to the portal, the cavemen hot on their trail. There is not much time to rest, and although they are tired and on the run, Artemis finds some comfort in having saved his friend, to her obvious appreciation. Hope keeps rising as they reach the site of the portal, and their way home to safety. but Just as they come into the clearing where the way back to Witwick is located, they see the portal shimmer – - and close…

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S01E07 - Primer

The portal closes, and the Cabal is left gaping. Blakeney shouts out, “Noooo!” The all of a sudden Verity Walker walks out from the undergrowth. “There you are! I have been searching for you for ages!” She has been sent by Cochen to ensure their return should the portal close, and has been given a portal compass to locate another portal in that event. It turns out that there are several portals in this unstable world, for some unknown reason.
The group faces several tribulations before they locate the portal ten feet off a huge cliff. As they ponder how to reach it, a pterodactyl attacks from the sky!
Grimm and Blakeney fire at the pterodactyl, as Starfall launches himself from the cliff and into the portal. The wounded raptor drops unconsciously through the portal, and the rest of the group follow.

It is dark and dusty, but in the little light Blackstone sees attacking cavemen! He launches a mighty firestorm as Blakeney, who has realized that they are inside the National History Museum, shouts out for him to stop. The fire launches the sprinklers, and then, out of the shadows, comes a team of highly armed soldiers! Someone shouts, “Terrorists! Fire!” before a rain of bullets flies through the air, severely wounding Blackstone, who launches another unholy firestorm, ripping flesh from the metal bones of HIT-marks! He falls unconscious, and as Starfall and Grimm retaliate, Blakeney runs to Blackstone’s side. He fishes out Blackstone’s Paradox Bomb just as a HIT-mark is about to activate some nefarious device in its arm. Blakeney jams the bomb into the opening arm and kicks the robot in the groin (for good measure). The Paradox Bomb goes off in a multitude of rainbows, and only a pair of smoking legs are left standing. That’s when the agents in charge enter the scene, and incarcerate everyone. The lead agent has a pock-marked face and bright, blue eyes. He examines the fallen Blackstone, and shoots him in the head to Blakeneys screams of protests.

The Cabal and their friends are brought to some sort of high-tech facility and tortured for two days. Then they are unexpectedly saved by one of the Technocrats! He helps them erase the records of their incarceration, and as they are leaving they are confronted by “Blue Eyes” and his second in command, Miss Parker. Blue Eyes is about to shoot the renegade, when Miss Parker shoots him in the head, allowing their getaway.

They leave via two unmarked cars, and regroup at a diner.

Blackstone is dead, but it turns out that they have emerged from the Lost World earlier than when they went in. In this timeline, Blackstone has yet to make his sacrifice. Verity gets in touch with the Chantry with the desperate attempt to get a message to Blackstone so that he is prepared for the firefight. Nothing seems to happen, there appears to be no effect in tampering with Time.

They get to know their saviour, defecting Progenitor Alan Brigham. Brigham explains that he is fed up with the Technocracy’s policies, and has come to realize that what he is performing isn’t super-science – it is actual Magick. He can no longer stand by and allow the hunt for “Reality Deviants”, who have as much a right to this world as anyone.

The diminished Cabal toast Blackstone’s memory and bid farewell to their new ally.

Meanwhile, Blackstone wakes to excruciating pain…

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S01E08 - Into the Mouth of Madness, pt. I

Two weeks later, Ebeltoft has his album launch. The Cabal have all showed up, and so has Alan Brigham, the Technocracy defector who became their mysterious saviour a few weeks earlier. Ebeltoft crowns the event by announcing that he retires from music, to become a private investigator. This prompts a female fan to disrobe and attempt to plunge to her death.

Starfall later visits her in the hospital, but the fan claims to have no recollection of the event. Starfall is very disturbed.

Meanwhile, Blakeney has paid a rare visit to his publishers’ to present his new novel – literary mashup Hansel & Grendel. He is somewhat disturbed to learn that a former employee associated with Blakeney’s “rival” Stewart McQueen has attempted to set fire to himself and the McQueen-section in a prominent book store. A sincerity in Paxton’s voice on camera footage from before the incident leads Blakeney to believe he speaks the truth when he warns of a hidden evil in McQueen’s books. At least, Paxton certainly believes he speaks the truth. Blakeney and Grimm examine the five published books of McQueen’s planned series of six, and both experience traumatic mental sensations connected with the books. A closer inspection reveals a set of clues in the cover illustrations (by the author), which points to the town Theodosia in the Ozark country of Missouri. Intrigued and alarmed, the pair decide to investigate. They contact Ebeltoft Starfall, who agrees to help, as does Brigham. To find out more, Entropy-talent Grimm creates an elaborate Magickal effect with Blakeney’s guidance, and simply walks right into the precinct jail where Paxton is being held. He discovers that Paxton believes that the books are meant to open the way from some horror, but he is unwilling, or unable, to explain exactly what.

Ebeltoft performs his own investigations, and discovers that the books opens the readers’ minds to some nefarious purpose, enough proof that the cabal all agree that they should investigate, especially since Blakeney and Grimm are potentially affected. They book tickets, and travel to Missouri to get some answers.

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S01E09 - The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Two weeks earlier. Blakeney gives Grimm a specific trial to unravel the mysteries of Prime, and thus be able to see the Pattern more clearly. He sets a task – locating and identifying Tass within the study chambers – and Grimm sets forth with determination. While meticulously searching the chambers, Grimm recalls a series of tests of varying degree of intricacy set down by Blakeney in the High Umbra years ago. By allowing him to visualise theory Blakeney taught Grimm to better understand the interconnectedness of all things and how to channel his talent for Entropy into probability manipulation rather than destructiveness. Figuring out the parallels in his experiences, Grimm is able to open his Third Eye and locates the Tass – in a lost sock.

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S01E10 - Into the Mouth of Madness, pt. II

The Cabal arrives in Missouri, and immediately begins research. Starfall enlists Brigham to attempt to gain an understanding of the Resonance in the Pattern, by sending a low-frequency audio pulse from a local radio tower. He identifies two distinct discords, one from the lake area, and one from the mountainous region known as the Devil’s Backbone. Meanwhile, Blakeney uses his contacts to find out that McQueen has a lake house nearby. With Grimm’s aid, he manages to find it, not far away across the lake. They rent a boat, and set across the lake. They arrive at McQueen’s lake house, and he is there, writing away at his latest book – - the end of his Great Design. Blakeney manages to make him divulge as much as possible, and it becomes clear that he must be stopped. Grimm grows increasingly nervous with what he sees as goading a madman, and contacts Starfall and Brigham. McQueen’s drug dealer shows up, very nervous, delivering McQueen his “medicine”. Brigham and Starfall arrive just as the dealer is leaving, and he is spooked, firing several shots after the two mages, who manage to duck away, and hurry to the house after the shooter is gone. After a final confrontation, McQueen gives Blakeney the script, telling him to deliver it to be published. Blakeney misunderstands initially, but Brigham catches the drift, and makes sure the Cabal comes into possession of the dangerous document. As they are leaving, the local sheriff appears, investigating the reported shootings, and the cabal manages to seemingly inadvertently finger McQueen as being in possession. The madman out of the picture, they turn towards what is perhaps the greatest horror before them: whatever is trying to break into this world from below the Devil’s Backbone…

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