Charlotte Palmer enters Has Beans, not as the Magus, but as an ordinary girl. She smiles at the people behind the counter, bides her time in line, and places her order. As JC rings her up on the register, Charlotte adds only one comment out of place for a customer. “My dear, a rather serious matter has come up. May I have a word with your father?”
JC pauses before nodding and smiling. It’s Grail Knights business, and though she’s involved in that, she has other business to attend to at the moment. Questions can come later.
At her table, Charlotte pulls the tools of today’s activity out of her satchel: a notebook, an assortment of pens and pencils, a cell phone, and a scroll she bought on Etsy. While there are various “mind-mapping” tools available on the phone, Charlotte finds the scroll a more intuitive way to gather and represent her scattered thoughts.
Coffee comes, and she smiles appreciatively. Careful not to spill anything, she alternates between drinking, reading, and writing.
Presently, Lucius appears. She gestures for him to sit, and he eases himself into the seat opposite her.
“Thank you for your time, Lucius.”
“A request from the Magus is virtually a command.”
Charlotte laughs. “I wouldn’t dream of commanding you, sir.”
The seriousness of the situation returns to her, and she presents her work on the scroll for inspection. “Ghostheart, a demonologist, has somehow escaped AEGIS. He seems to have been soul-marked by a goetic demon, King Paimon, against his will. He involved a priestess of Palamedes in a journey to the underworld, and I believe used her to attract my attention.”
Lucius takes this with aplomb. Working with the supernatural has been his business for more years than Charlotte has existed, she reminds herself.
“Hmmmmm. Paimon is an unusual choice for the Ghostheart I know of. They have few motives in common, if any. If you’ll forgive me a moment of humor, it’s quite a detective story. The mysterious visitor drags their business across the detective’s path, and the sleuth is obliged by their nature to investigate.”
Charlotte samples her coffee. “Investigate and apprehend, I’m afraid. Whatever business Ghostheart is involved with, they must still be returned to AEGIS custody.”
“And what of the conjurer?”
Charlotte ponders that. “That is something you can answer for me. Is binding Ghostheart something a goetic demon might do on their own?”
Lucius shakes his head. “They are… enigmatic.”
Charlotte chuckles at that. “More than you, my dear sir?”
“Quite so. As semi-divine beings, they have an agenda, but no will. There will be a human conjurer who arranged this.”
“One with an interest in Ghostheart. I wonder what AEGIS thinks happened to them?”
Lucius smiles. “That sounds more like your line than mine. In the meantime, I shall collect what I know about Paimon, and share it with you when you’re ready.”
“Wise advice. Thank you, Lucius. And as always, your coffee is exemplary.”
Lucius departs, leaving Charlotte with her caffeine and contemplation.