Fragment Fifteen: Gnascorius
After the discovery of Fragment Fourteen, the Mountaineers concluded their communications with past Mountaineer Knatz, while using latitude and longitude coordinates provided by the 1994 Book of Briars to locate the Ramble Cave in Central Park. While awaiting contact from Cole and Deirdre, Marty made his presence known once again on the forum. He explained that he had been sent one month forward in time in the aftermath of the Kemetic Solutions break-in, that he had been pursued by the Storm until Cole and Deirdre created a welcome distraction, and that he was headed to California to retrieve the information Aether had retrieved from the Kemetic Solutions servers.
Upon traveling to the Ramble Cave, Cole was reunited with the Chronocompass after its separation from the latest volume of The Monarch Papers. As happened in the previous Fragment, the compass led Cole to a series of landmarks in Central Park. Cole recorded the landmarks for the Mountaineers, who used the directions in order to unlock the compass on the Fletcher Dawson website.
This time, upon clicking the correct sequence of letters on the compass image, the site showed what appeared to be the home page of the 1994 Mountaineers’ internet chat room. The Mountaineers monitored the site for several hours and noticed that a single user would sometimes appear briefly online, before disappearing again. The user was revealed to be Ascender, who posted a call to action on the forums, saying anyone who was able to read his message was not alone. Through Ascender, the Mountaineers learned that Augernon had sacrificed himself for the sake of the remaining Mountaineers. The bastard hex had worked, the Mounties had forgotten about magiq, and Augie had shielded them from any ill will from the Storm by using an additional spell. The Storm left, thinking it had done its job, and Augie’s mind had been shattered as a result.
Ascender continued to run from the Storm. He had discovered The Lantern of Low Hollow within a past fragment and learned its significance through a book given to him by an individual calling themselves Benefactor. The spell was able to keep him one step ahead of the Storm by allowing him to peer into its thoughts. Using the same spell, Ascender unintentionally tapped into the modern-day Basecamp forum and realized that the Mountaineers with whom he was communicating were not who they said they were. The Mountaineers admitted that they were from the future, and trying to bring the past Book of Briars from the past into the present. The Mountaineers also realized that The Lost Athenaeum had been updated to include the second half of the Lantern of Low Hollow spell.
While the Mountaineers communicated with Ascender, Marty received a text message from the same Benefactor that had been assisting Ascender. They warned him that he didn’t have time to sort through the Kemetic Solutions documents, because the Council’s protection of the Mountaineers was fading. If he didn’t hurry, they would soon be pursued by the Storm. Benefactor told him to visit Teddy Fallon in Boston, as he would know more about the Storm. Marty took a quick flight and was told by Benefactor to act like he was R.K. Adler, a renowned doctor specializing in cognitive therapy. Marty soon learned that Teddy had also had his mind wiped from the Storm, so he performed the Consolatory Teatime for Misplaced Memory spell on him. From his interview with Teddy, Marty learned that the Silver had taken an interest in Teddy’s son Nate, who had the power to exchange an object or person in time with another object in another time. Nate, known as Wanderer, was consumed by the Storm. The Silver used Nate’s power by telling him stories of the objects they wanted. Teddy said he didn’t know how to stop the Storm, beyond commanding it to destroy itself.
Benefactor arrived on the forums to tell the Mountaineers that, based on the timeline, they didn’t have much time before the Book of Briars disappeared. They needed to get the Lantern of Low Hollow from Ascender. Ascender agreed to help them, and also performed the bastard hex on himself so that he would never give up their plan to the Storm, even if he was captured.
In order to get the Book back, the Mountaineers were required to build a spell of epic proportions. They created Operation Aorthora and Operation Gladitor as offensive and defensive measures against the Storm. Calling the Corners was used to charge the spell and gather as much magimystic energy as possible. They utilized the Sound of the Storm with a modified Lantern spell to hear the storm. With Telling the Tallest Tale, they crafted a children’s tale to instruct Nate on bringing the Book of Briars to the present.
On The Day of Change, the Mounties put their plan into action with the help of Cole, Marty, and Deirdre. Several friends from the Mountaineers’ past popped in to assist or wish them well. Lauren Ellsworth returned to watch the events unfold and relay them to the recruits on the forums. After a major struggle, Deirdre saved the day, exchanging The Little Red House for the Book of Briars and striking down the Storm with the help of magimystic weapons and armor crafted from the tale of The Myth of Elainnor. Lauren named Deirdre ‘Stormslayer,’ in honor of her victory, and the name led to a new page on the Book of Briars website. The Stormslayer page contained the name of the fifteenth fragment, Gnascorius.