Fragment Eleven: Durkonos
Following quickly on the heels of the tenth fragment, Martin Rank and The Mountaineers discovered that both Aether’s mother and his best friend Constance had been brainwashed by Kemetic Solutions. Both of them, when pressed about his whereabouts, could only repeat the same answer: that Aether had gone away to a new, special school, and was doing really well. Constance no longer remembered her past interactions with the Mounties.
Days later, as the recruits were attempting to formulate a plan to assist Aether, he created a live stream on Basecamp 33’s YouTube channel, broadcasting his escape from KS. The recruits learned that the man responsible for the experimentation on Aether and the other captives was called Teddy, a man who asked Aether to use his powers to attempt to open a door to “the other side.”
It wasn’t long before the Mounties discovered a clue in Aether’s video, leading them to a number of new pages on the Kemetic Solutions website. This was the first clue to unlocking Fragment Eleven. Through the website, the Mounties learned that the Mountaineer and little girl kidnapped by Kemetic Solutions were called Climber and Portencia, and that KS’s experiments on Portencia, whose magiq enabled her to see into the past and future, had fragmented the young girl’s mind. The webpage on Portencia also featured a scrap of a child’s drawing of a house, which the Mounties assumed they would have to put back together.
It was through these webpages that the Mounties learned that Aether’s clues were leading them to Augernon, an old friend of Ascender’s from the '94 Mountaineers, who had been institutionalized in Maryland at a mental health hospital called Go-Getters. Aether reached out to the Mounties again via email, giving them the information to access a website called The Lost Athenaeum. Entering the site revealed a spell called Consolatory Teatime for Misplaced Memory. The spell required a group to partake in a shared teatime ritual, wherein each person shared a calming memory and recited certain ritualistic words. It also required one person to be present with the one whose memories were to be restored. Marty volunteered to visit Augernon at Go-Getters the following afternoon to complete the spell.
After the Mounties performed the spell over Google Hangouts, Augernon’s memory was briefly restored. During his brief period of lucidity, he spoke to Marty of an ominous force called ‘The Storm’ that would come for them, as it had for all Mountaineers in the past. He explained that Fragment 12, the final fragment of the Cosmos Key, was as far as any group had made it before being wiped out. The effects of the spell did not last long, but before Augie was completely lost again, he said, “The past is just a moment, Martin.” After this he collapsed into a seizure and Marty was forced to leave quickly, tailed by Kemetic Solutions.
Reeling from the shock, the Mounties continued their search to find that another scrap (another “fragment”) had been added to Portencia’s drawing on the KS website, containing the exact phrase used by Augernon during Martin’s visit: “The past is just a moment.” The recruits quickly reasoned that Augie had held a fragment of Portencia’s broken mind inside his own, and that it had been freed.
When Marty next checked in, it was with news that he’d received an email from a KS employee. The employee, calling themselves Whistler, claimed to have been brainwashed by Kemetic Solutions and that an accident had woken them up into a world with conflicting memories and no idea what to do. They remembered seeing KS employees performing experiments on Aether, Portencia, and Climber, and wanted help to bring KS down. Upon further questioning, they revealed that Theodore “Teddy” Fallon was a high-ranking employee of Kemetic Solutions, driving most of the operations, and that the majority of employees underwent a kind of daily brainwashing.
At the same time, Aether led the recruits to a mysterious magical object called The Last Oracular Eye, which he hadd hidden on the Basecamp 33 website. It was a scroll that would reveal information by allowing the user to choose two out of three emotional states: Hope, Illumination, and Despair. The Mountaineers chose Hope and Illumination, and at a predetermined time hidden in Aether’s clues, the Oracular Eye opened. It revealed information to the Mountaineers regarding the dangers of the upcoming Storm and their mysterious ally on the other side, The Council of the 18 Gates. Finally, the Oracular Eye revealed itself to be holding another fragment of Portencia’s mind, containing the words, “The future’s yet to pass.”
The final stage of Fragment Eleven came with Aether posting a podcast from The Low, containing clues leading the Mountaineers to find a message for Marty. Aether found an old email from Marty’s past about his struggles with Brandon Lachmann’s disappearance, hoping to encourage him to open up to the Mounties about his past, to trust them. In the end, Marty revealed that he held yet another fragment of Portencia inside his mind with the words, “but don’t fear them in the present.” And with that, the Book of Briars revealed that Durkonos, the Eleventh Fragment, had been found.