True in Some Sense

Bright Light City; Chapter 2

Monday, July 5, 2010, about 2:00 PM

Gidget, Lilith, and Paul decide to hit some of the casinos — after watching Paul play poker and do reasonably well, Gidget decides to try and does all right for herself. Lilith just watches.

After a bit of wandering, Gidget and Paul decide to return to the hotel to plan their next move, and Lilith decides to go wandering around the Strip. They bid her farewell, and return to the hotel.

Finally, after some discussion of things with Paul, Gidget feels confident with going to Montevista to see Juanita Doe, and so decides to go visit. Paul will stay in the car in the event of any trouble.

Upon arriving at Montevista Hospital, Gidget goes to the reception desk and introduces herself as Ginger Fries, considering that people apparently recall her name. She claims to be working for a blog, and she would like to see Juanita Doe. At the name “Juanita Doe,” the receptionist’s demeanor changes and she nonchalantly just sends Gidget to see her. After speaking to a few orderlies, she is allowed to see Juanita.

Upon entering, she is greeted by a small, old, Hispanic woman, just as described in the things she read. Over the course of the conversation, Gidget doesn’t get much out of Juanita’s cryptic ramblings, but learns that Juanita remembers nothing before 1952. She speaks mysteriously of an entity known as the Inevitable and Subtle Light which may own or may even be the Subtle Lantern — this thing apparently takes people away for unknown purposes. After producing a deck of playing cards, Juanita then lays out ten, apparently as a sort of reading. Prompted by the reading, Juanita asks Gidget for paper and a pen and writes the following poem:

Go round & round a twisty road until you find the mountain

The cave was dug and lit by the dragon and blood flows from a fountain

The lantern screams murder at the breaking of the dawn

Only shattered by the maddening tunes of Huitzilopochtli’s Song

Juanita explains to Gidget that she will need that poem with the new book she acquired that will tell her where the Lantern is, though the paper will likely be destroyed in the process. After some more discussion and asking for clarification, which Juanita cannot really provide, Gidget thanks her and takes her leave.

After getting into Paul’s car, they sit for a moment as Gidget tells Paul about her unnerving experience in the institution. Then, they decide to return to the hotel so Gidget can research some things.

First, Gidget decides to look up her father — specifically, what happened to change the reception he received over his robotics research. Strangely enough, there didn’t seem to be any particular even that did the trick; just sometime in the late eighties or early nineties, scientific opinion turned, his experiments were declared hoaxes, and he was discredited. When she looks up herself, Gidget finds very little — certainly not enough to warrant the reaction she received from Gillian Palmer. This is a story only really considered by conspiracy theorists and the lunatic fringe anymore.

After these things, Gidget starts looking for references to Huitzilopochtli’s Song. Paul contacts Lilith for help, and goes to get her. Once she arrives, they decide that “Huitzilopochtli’s Song” may refer to the hymns that Gidget found, the fact that Huitzilopochtli was a hummingbird, or may be entirely metaphorical. After a few more questions, Lilith asks what this is all about, prompting Gidget to explain the trip through San Francisco and the quest for the Lantern. Lilith says that the bargain to find the Subtle Lantern in return for an identity may have been a fae contract, making Mr. Long one of the people taken by the True Fae. The fact that his group seems to oppose slavery — as indicated by raiding the brothel in San Francisco — would further imply this. The group then decides that it might be a good idea to determine why Mr. Long wants the Lantern — does he want to destroy it, hide it, or use it to make himself more powerful? As such, Gidget says she will call him once she knows a little more about the Subtle Lantern. As she has one major thing remaining, the group decides to perform the ritual in Secret Wisdom of the Rose Cross, which provides an alchemy elixir for map dowsing.

After going around town to gather components, the group goes to Jenny Handspun’s trailer to enact the ritual. After Paul fumbles with it for a time, Lilith builds the fire for the kettle. Paul mixes the ingredients and manufactures the elixir. Gidget drinks the stuff, and feeling a bit lightheaded, holds a crystal pendulum over the maps that they purchased. After ensuring that it is in the United States, they narrow its location down to Wolframbed, WY, in the Rocky Mountains.

The ritual finished, Gidget thanks everyone for their assistance, and Lilith bids everyone good night, as she plans on staying with Jenny for the evening. Gidget and Paul then return to the hotel so that Gidget can perform some more research.

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