“Well, fuck, we’re going to Atlantis,” Alistair mumbled to himself. As Howard would say, this is a bad idea. However, despite the stakes Alistair found himself surprisingly at peace. Having died once already and found the experience rather rewarding he was somewhat unconcerned about his mortal fate. The thing that drove him now was genuine, if foolish concern for others, especially his ex-wife, but also Sway, Sylvia and the others. If he could play some part, however small, in keeping them alive, or launching them into the best timeline possible given the shitty possibilities… that seemed worth doing.
Thus he found himself working the hours away, before departure, relying on his ridiculous stamina to keep him going. May as well get all the wonder-working he can done while here in the sanctum. Once on Atlantis, he had a feeling, drawing on the divine light was going to be much much harder.
So, first things first. Starting projects in the order of hope, Alistair distilled and concocted a dram for each member of the cabal based on a purified, even idealized version of their fate. He clearly and distinctly set about reversing the bonds of fate between the Rogue Council and each member as though the fate-whiskey were both a scouring agent and a restorative, completely erasing even the memory of the presence of Rogue Council influence. Furthermore, if he was right, drinking the potion would have the effect of clarifying for each individual, their highest destiny – making it possible for them to choose, intentionally to live into it. He very likely would never get to distill again in this life, so he put all his artistry into it. Triple distilled, magically aged, draughts of the finest amber fate dribbled into delicate 6oz crystal vials. The bouquet wafting out was simultaneously potent and enticing, each bottle bursting with the peculiarities of the individual it was bound to. Howard’s bottle tantalizing the nose with unactualized possibility. Sway’s brimming with an effusion of new life. Sylvia’s smooth and soothing like the oldest and most expensive single malt. Joe’s dark and dangerous with a burn guaranteed to eat memories for breakfast. And so on…
In between each stage of the distilling Alistair would return to his altar where he had laid an array of bullets.
“Right boys, now listen up.” Each little bullet would shift slightly to point toward the sound of his voice. “We’ve got a hell of a situation on our hands and there’s no time to train you up proper like I did the recruits before you. To put it simply, Heaven needs some good warriors, so mighty fearless angels of death, ready and willing to take it to the enemy for God. There are a variety of awakened bastards where we’re going and they’re intent on destroying God’s good creation, and because God is benevolent, because God restrains himself from sending another flood to wipe out mankind, it’s up to us to make sure they fail. So here’s what I need you to do…” Alistair proceeds to train them in the details of ripping an avatar away from an awakened soul.
While the bullets are sleeping, absorbing their new mission in life, Alistair pulls out a handful of rosaries – one for each member of the group. In each rosary he imbues the most powerful spirit and entropy wards he can concoct, making them as subtle as he can, while sacrificing none of the strength. He prepares them and leaves them latent, ready to be activated when each bearer says aloud the Lord’s Prayer.
Finally, after the vials of fate have finished their last phase through the distilling tubes, Alistair calls for Joe and asks for his help. “Much as I hate to acknowledge it, ye had a good idea lad, with the mastema ash and all that…” He, with Joe’s help prepares a second batch of potions, this one much fouler. The ash of the mastema, poisoned mushroom, blood, entropic energy and so on – with this vile brew Alistair distills a liquid black as night and seals it in little metal flasks. “This is going to taste like shit, and feel even worse,” he warns Joe, “but it should work like a series of dams. If you imagine our fate like a branching river extending into the future, this noxious liquor should seal off each of those pathways which end prematurely in us dying from some weapon or other. Hopefully, like the mastema, this will make us almost immune to dying by violent means – for a short while.”
Alistair distributes these items to each member of the group: one vial of purified fate, one rosary of warding, one flask of immunity to weapons. He explains their usage and says a prayer over each one, that they actually, fucking, work.
Then he goes back to his room, says some prayers to Columba and climbs in bed. He reaches out habitually to check that Gae Bolga is in the drawer by his bedside. She is.
“Goodnight, girl,” he says, “The world is most likely going to end in the morning.”