Lauren Ellsworth was the assistant and magical apprentice to The Cagliostro. After his death on his January 31st performance, Lauren inherited the title of Cagliostro.
As Cagliostro’s assistant, Lauren was eager and ready to serve. As her relationship with the Cagliostro progressed, she showed that she could be fiercely loyal to those she considered friends. Lauren is very persistent, and also seems to have a reckless side, having risked the cold during Fragment Six, to unlock The Monarch Papers Volume Three’s secrets, and having nearly burnt down Morgan Library during Fragment Eight.
Lauren was born with magical potential, particularly the gift of telemancy. She had a brief incident with magic while visiting her aunt and uncle in Virginia, when she and her sister, Jen, were lost in the woods. After unintentionally mind-controlling her sister into coming to her location, Lauren accidentally “broke” her mind, sending her sister into a catatonic state. Lying about her magic abilities, Lauren told people that her sister had fallen, a story that Lauren herself seemed to believe, in time. Until the Cagliostro hired her, she seemingly had no other magic encounters of note.
Lauren was first encountered by The Mountaineers in Fragment Five, as the assistant to the Cagliostro. November 17, 2016, appeared to be one of her first days as his assistant, which the Mountaineers were able to determine by reading her first email to the Cagliostro, thanking him for the opportunity. Her primary tasks seemed to be tending to the Cagliostro’s New York City loft and receiving pieces of the Translation, as well as the Magic Practitioner’s Journal. Lauren scanned the pages of the journal, initially only finding a few that were filled with writing. Determined to unlock the secrets of the journal, Lauren discovered that more pages would sometimes appear over time. As the days passed, Lauren continued to check the journal, finding the pages as they slowly unveiled themselves. She soon realized that the pages which didn’t fade were connected to the Yule (December 21st).
The Yule approached, and Lauren continued to fixate on the journal. Staying in the loft overnight, she found no change in it, and came to the conclusion that something had happened to the journal en route to the loft, unlocking the initial pages, and eventually realized that it was related to the temperature change outside. After unsuccessfully attempting to put the journal in the freezer, Lauren wandered outside and found herself walking several blocks to The Ramble, where she buried the journal. Leaving it in the ground proved successful, and Lauren informed Cagliostro of her success.
After Lauren unlocked the journal, the Cagliostro magically transported her to Turin. It was revealed that unlocking the journal was a test of her abilities, one Lauren had passed. She became the Cagliostro’s apprentice and developed a magical bond with him. In the subsequent email, she described her skin as “electric. No longer mine… it’s shared with you, bound with yours.”
In the weeks leading up to the Cagliostro’s final performance, Lauren continued to learn and grow in her magical ability, performing tricks like conduit foretravel and spectral fog. At the same time, she grew ill with an intense fever. The Cagliostro suspected it may have been due to Lauren’s reaching out to his mind, which he described as “not such a hospitable home as of late.” During her illness, Lauren had a vision of the Cagliostro’s final dinner and his successor. The Cagliostro explained the truth of her vision, and what would happen to him after his final performance. He then proceeded to explain the details of his performance: he wanted two added guests, Martin Rank and Lauren. In response to the Cagliostro’s imminent demise, Lauren explained her history with magiq and how grateful she was to have finally met someone who understood her. She pleaded with him to find some way to disobey his captors and keep living. In response, the Cagliostro told Lauren that there was nothing to be done, but that he wished she would indulge him by helping him bring out the full power of one of his most mysterious tricks—The Translation.
As Lauren spent more time with magiq, she grew into her powers, bending blood to create wings that could fly her over the city. She told the Cagliostro that she was confident she was powerful enough to save him from his fate. Then she noted that the journal, with its talk of protecting someone from magiq, must contain the secret to protecting the Cagliostro from the people who were controlling him. She became even more determined to solve the journal’s puzzles, in the hope that it might help her save her mentor. The Cagliostro resisted this plan, however, stating that he had “lived too glorious a life to treat it as if none of it mattered,” though Lauren countered by saying that she would remember and help him relearn his magiqal skills. Lauren persisted with her search for the spell, realizing that Sullivan had hidden it in Morgan Library. She sought the book at the same time as Cole Sumner did, during Fragment Seven, with the Cagliostro guiding her through emails. She took Seven Cradle Songs from Cole, nearly setting the library on fire as she escaped, but did not realize that Cole had taken the note hidden inside the book. Without it, the book held no magiqal spells within. Realizing there was no hope, Lauren turned her thoughts towards The Translation, hoping to honor the Cagliostro’s final wishes. Lauren helped the Cagliostro realize that the Translation was not working properly, because it was not just a spell, but a song, and she was able to find the correct melody. It was hidden in the Cagliostro’s head the entire time, and Lauren’s telemancy helped her pull it out of him. In addition to the melody, Lauren saw an image of the Cagliostro and herself bound together, forever, realizing that he had a plan to free himself from those who controlled him. She affirmed that she would follow him to the six corners of the Earth, always.
On January 31st, the Cagliostro gave his final performance in the Rosicrucian Temple in Grand Central Station. With Lauren’s help, he successfully performed the full Translation, and the Cagliostro revealed that it was not a portal to the undead, but a sacrificial altar for a god. He sacrificed himself on the spire, with Lauren close to him, transferring his powers as Cagliostro to her. After Lauren inherited the power, she fell back and was picked up by Martin Rank, who carried her out of the chaos of the building. She turned to snow in his arms and blew away, disappearing from the scene.
Before his death, the Cagliostro arranged for an email to be sent, telling Lauren he had always known the true purpose of the Translation. He had awaited his true successor for centuries, knowing that she would free him from his shackles. He left her with these final words of warning: “No one is your master now. Not me. Not them. They will either cower or come to claim you. But what you do with the power you have now is up to you.” In addition, he comforted her by saying “Don’t grieve me, my dear Lauren. Perhaps I have traveled beyond the lying veil, to the source of all this power. Or perhaps I am atoms scattered in the dark. Either way, I am free.”
In Fragment Nine, Lauren briefly communicated with recruits to share a note that she found in Seven Cradle Songs. Adding a button that said “I believe this is for you,” to the Cagliostro website, she posted the scanned pages.
I recently found an envelope in the book I borrowed from the library. I believe it’s meant for you, The Mountaineers. Since I have no use for it, and I now know your intentions, I believe you should have the envelope and its contents.
These passages were written on the envelope: Thirteen volumes, the foundation of our universe until a revolution changed our position. At the whim of the master clock, Shepherd Gate shows all time. And in the courtyard the Astronomer Royal observes from here. Because of the tenth there now are eight. When Xena fell, discord rose in her place. What sees what we cannot? A giant, a Titan, a dragon, and all great light combined? Three ancient stones mark the midwinter’s sunset, their faces toward Corra Bheinn and the mountain of the sound. Borne from Ida to serve the wine, who waits in the celestial court between the whale and the eagle?
And these pages were inside.
I hope you find what you’re looking for, and have as few regrets as possible. Yours Faithfully, LE
In Phase Four, Martin Rank discovered that Lauren was alive and well, fulfilling the duties of her new position as The Cagliostro, in the House of Blackweather.
During Fragment Fifteen, on the Day of Change, Martin Rank gathered as many allies as possible to help the Mountaineers destroy the Churning Storm. Lauren joined the Basecamp 33 Forum, under the name “FKALauren,” and told recruits that she would keep an eye on the events because Martin claimed she owed him after saving her life. Lauren relayed events to the Mountaineers as they happened. When Deirdre Green struck down the Storm, she told Mountaineers that “in the old times, a witness would be allowed to name someone whose actions they know will live on in stories,” and suggested that Deirdre was worthy of such a designation. After several recruits agreed, she named Deirdre “Deirdre of the Isles. The Mountain’s Will. And Stormslayer.” After the events of the day, she congratulated the Mountaineers and sent her condolences for Martin, who she believed had been swept away by the Storm.
The Search for Magiq
When the Mountaineers discovered they were being obscured by an unknown “leaden veil,” they attempted reaching out to both Lauren and Marty to see if they, as previous members of the forum, would be able to see them. When they received no response, they decided to try and send a Neithercourier with a message to Lauren, in an attempt to circumvent the veil. The attempt failed, and the Neithercouriers returned badly singed, as if they had encountered a kind of magimystic electric fence.
The Mountaineers were more successful in communicating with Marty, who relayed a dream he had where he and Lauren had been in the Cagliostro’s loft, searching for objects of power hidden in the walls, only to find the giant clock from Grand Central Station. Taking it as a sign, he visited Grand Central and spoke with an emissary speaking on Lauren’s behalf, where he learned that Lauren had withdrawn from the world while allowing her newfound Cagliostro’s powers to develop and strengthen, where she had remained until she sensed the Mountaineers’ attempts to breach her defenses.
The attempt was enough to get her attention long enough for her to see that the Mountaineers were being hidden by “a wall in the world,” and to instruct them to find the door determining who was being allowed to enter by “shin[ing] a light bright enough to find the cracks in the wall.” These instructions were what inspired the Mountaineers to cast the Cataclysm spell, which led to the discovery that the Guide to Magiq was what was acting as the determiner.
The Book of Briars
In March of 2020, an update from Eaves explained that Martin had been traveling around New York City on Lauren’s behalf, planting magimystic “objects of personal and noted power” near ancient stone columns around the city to “create temporary leylines between the column material’s points of origin and their final forms.” This was in an attempt to discover how the rules of magic had changed with the beginning of the new age. According to Martin, these experiments helped her to determine that “many or most of the rules of magic are being rewritten or possibly being realigned with their once ‘true rules,’” now that the Book of Briars has been opened.