Knatz was a member of the '94 Mountaineers.
Knatz was a school counselor from Chicago, trained in psychological techniques. She was born into magiq, having the gift of ancestral memories, which she eventually passed on to her daughter, Alison, when she was born. Knatz was deeply skeptical of the magiqal world and the actions of the Mountaineers after the Storm arrived but was determined to continue for the sake of her daughter.
Knatz was mentioned by the 1998 version of Augernon in Fragment Thirteen after she went down to help Ascender with a Mountaineer from Missouri, who was one of the last members of the forum to post before it was shut down. Missouri (which was the name the girl had taken), woke up from a dead sleep and said she wanted to show them the truth. They got in the car and Missouri told them where to go, driving some distance into the woods. She took them to two more Mountaineers that had gone missing the same night as Missouri. Missouri said Ascender didn’t find her, but that she found him, so she could bring him here. All three of the kids attacked and Knatz fled before realizing that Ascender hadn’t followed her. She took a tire iron out of the trunk and went back in the woods. The kids had trapped him. When he threw one off, another would jump back on him. Missouri had brought a knife, and she cut a slice of skin off Ascender’s forearm. The weather changed, the sky turned black in an instant, and a thunderstorm came out of nowhere, moving through the woods like a wall. Knatz could barely hear herself think over the sound of the wind. The recruits, scared of the Storm, ran off, and Knatz was able to carry Ascender to the car. When they arrived at the car, part of the Storm reached out to grab Ascender, who howled in pain. Knatz realized that the “thunder” she’d heard was thousands of voices. The two were barely able to escape. Ascender was knocked out and bleeding, so Knatz took him to a hospital a couple of hours to the north. He woke up about ten hours later. He could hear the same whispering in his head that Missouri did, but after a few hours, it went away. The Storm had taken a part of him when it had touched him. Ascender bolted the moment he woke up, stating that he wanted to rally the Mountaineers to fight back.
In Fragment Fourteen, the Mountaineers gained access to Knatz’s blog, which Saberlane had encouraged her to put online. The Mountaineers realized that they were not able to contact her directly like they were with Augernon, but they were able to influence her dreams. Knatz was conflicted after the Storm came for the Mountaineers, saying that she only wished to see magiq. But she was afraid and unsure of what to do, terrified of losing her daughter. Knatz ultimately decided to keep pursuing the Book of Briars, hoping for a better future for her daughter. The Mountaineers were able to trigger one of Knatz’s memories about a former Mountaineer, Nib, who had received a locked briefcase early on in the complications. The briefcase had mostly been forgotten, as no one could figure out how to open it, and there were many artifacts in play, but Knatz had an urge to check on it, so she traveled to South Carolina, meeting up with Saberlane. Saberlane assisted Knatz in asking around for Nib and, once they found his house on Lake Blalock, Saberlane found him in the cellar. Nib’s mind was wiped from the Storm, and the only thing he could mention regarding the briefcase was that it was “with Faris.” Knatz was able to figure out that it was thrown over the edge of the lake near his boat, which was named Faris. With the briefcase acquired, Saberlane and Knatz drove down to Atlanta together, and Saberlane then flew back to Jacksonville.
Knatz was able to get the briefcase open with the help of the modern-day Mounties, who planted the two combinations in her mind using the Fletcher Dawson website. Inside the briefcase was wood and metal parts: a bunch of little bits and pieces, like metal tines, a brass plate with holes in it, and flat wooden pieces and trim. Not knowing how to assemble it, Knatz asked Saberlane to come up to Chicago to help her, noting that his father used to build things, and praying that he might also have some carpentry skills. Saberlane was able to assemble the box, allowing Knatz to put on the lid, but the box slammed shut and refused to open. Suddenly, the color of the box began to shift and words appeared on it, mentioning an unowl’s rhyme. Knatz went through several of the unrhymes, which she solved with the help of Saberlane and the modern-day Mounties. As Knatz solved more puzzles, she realized that the strange dreams she was having were from someone trying to communicate with her, and when she told this to Saberlane, he came to believe that the dreams were from the Mountaineers in 2017. Knatz called the modern Mountaineers the “nightmare buddies,” since they only ever appeared through dreams. Knatz was able to successfully open the box with a song the Mounties sang to her, gaining the word Obscuriotempus.
When Augernon returned, he asked to see Knatz, and so she and Saberlane parted ways. Not wanting him to worry, Knatz sent Saberlane to New York with the box, to see if taking it to the Ramble would cause any changes in it. The results were unsuccessful, but Augernon was able to formulate a last-ditch effort to save the remaining Mountaineers. Knatz and Augernon met at a bar and spoke over drinks about what his plan was. He had visited his grandfather and learned a bastard hex that could cause them to forget everything they knew about magiq. Augernon believed that this would shield them from the Storm, so he rallied all the Mountaineers to come together and perform the spell. Augernon parted ways with Knatz, giving her a coin that his grandfather stole from the SS, saying that it would protect the Mountaineers until they were able to perform the spell. Knatz asked Augernon why he approached her and not someone else. He said it was because he knew the friendship they formed in the past year really stretched back decades, to their grandparents before them. He always valued her candor and trust, and he wanted to finally meet and have a drink—to see each other face to face and honor the bond they built before it was all washed away. Saberlane and the other remaining Mountaineers chose to forget, to save themselves from the horrors of the Storm, and Augernon sacrificed himself to the Storm so that the others would be safe. It wiped him away completely, but allowed the Mountaineers to walk away without remembering anything, thereby tricking the Storm.
Knatz struggled with herself, trying to decide if she wanted to be involved with the bastard hex. She couldn’t be a mindless, passionless drone, and miss the opportunity of showing her daughter the truth about the world. At the last moment, she gave Saberlane the coin and ran. From then on, Knatz taught Alison from afar, realizing that she was extremely gifted in magiq. When the new Mountaineers rallied to unlock the Book, she helped them from the shadows, helping to get the Devoted off their backs, and also sending them spells through The Lost Athenaeum. Knatz briefly appeared under the name Benefactor, assisting Martin Rank in finding and interviewing Theodore Fallon. She also helped the Mountaineers organize for The Day of Change. On the actual Day of Change, Knatz came clean that she was Benefactor and wished the Mountaineers luck, saying she hoped she could see her daughter’s face again.
While the Mountaineers faced the Storm, Knatz dealt with the Monarchs together with Ascender. The pair had used the chaos as an opportunity to lead a mutiny against the more conservative forces of the old houses. They won, but the result was that Monarch’s Mountain was in shambles.
The Search for Magiq
Through the shards of Ascender’s memory revealed during the Peering Arts spell, the Mountaineers learned more of Knatz’s work at Monarch’s Manor. Ascender’s memories recount Knatz attempting to call the Collector for help and arranging a meeting with them, only for it to be a trap set by the Silver. Knatz and her crew were ambushed, and she was the only one to return to the Manor alive. The failed encounter alerted her and Ascender to the presence of a mole within their own ranks.