(This is accessible in the Sanctum security records after the fact if anyone looks)
…wakes up feeling like crap. Too long connected to the Dreaming without any real sleep. But this are progressing –
And something is clearly wrong.
He comes out of Scott’s room and looks around, immediately trying to make sense of the scene. Bird-corpses, black feathers, blood, the smell of balefire and the acrid smoke of strained electronics.
“Oh, hey Sam. What happened, man?”
Sam looks worried, his flat features scrunching up on his surface. “I dunno. There was…well, here.”
Jason watches as things unfold on the video feed, complete with sound and multiple viewing angles.
“Yeah.” A halo of faeries buzz around Sam’s head.
“So they went to Isaac’s. Ok. I can’t believe I slept through this.” Despite himself, he yawns again. The ring’s healing took a lot out of him before Sway was there to help. He paces over to the burn-mark on the wall. The demon’s exit-wound in the Sanctum.
Carefully, ever so carefully, he opens a window to where this hole went. Quick, quiet, scrubbed like he learned. Tougher to do but a little safer.
He only watches for a moment. “Wow. He doesn’t look happy at all.”
He turns back to Sam, who still looks worried. “Yeah?”
“Are the faeries going to come here, like you were saying?”
“Well, it looks like some of them will at least. They’re looking for Arcadia, and, well, I think you might be the best bet in town.”
Sam thinks for a moment. “What’s Arcadia like?”
“No one knows. Its like the Fae themselves, but not diluted like they are here. Pure, and, I dunno, wilder. More dangerous. Its said that the Path of Thorns leads there, and that its where all the Fae came from, long long ago.”
“When the Fae go…what’ll happen to me?”
Jason nods. “I’ll be honest. We’re just guessing right now. I think you can help us open a path there if anything in this world can. Its just a hunch.” He smiles. “Maybe a little more than a hunch. But they’ll go through the door we open, that you’ll help open, and that’ll be that. If it works.”
“I like it here, but I wish…sometimes…I wish I could go. Somewhere.”
Jason looks at Sam’s flat face for a while, thoughtfully. “Maybe you can.” He brings over a chair and puts it in front of Sam’s looming form, careful not to step on faerie-flowers. “You don’t sleep, do you?” Sam shakes his huge head with a soft, deep grinding sound. “Well, I’m going to tell you a bedtime story, and we’ll see if you can sleep, and…dream.”
So Jason does. As he speaks, Sam listens intently, but something in the words is a pressure on his consciousness, a soft pressing down of his conscious cognition, deeper, deeper, until something switches off, and another thing switches on. The lights in the sanctum dim slightly and all of the computer monitors are filled with the same screensaver, colored tubes bending around each other aimlessly, until they form, through some fractal logic, a hydraulic difference engine.