This briefing has been prepared for the benefit of those agents of the Sable Intelligence Service  (and others) who were on the Outside on 11th April SY 159, and were not involved in the events of that day. I’ve drafted it for you, because I am one of only five people*, that I’m aware of, who remember what happened in both the timeline before the Lighthouse, and the one that resulted from it. Plus, technically, I’m the one you work for as agents of the Maze, so I believe it is my responsibility to give you this information.

If you are reading this document, then you can consider yourselves seconded to my personal staff.

Robert de Lacy, King of Sable

Background

In SY 151, a group of agents of the Sable Intelligence Service (“the Maze”), were despatched to the Veil Seven world of Verrien, the location of Broken Pattern Grey Three (“BPG3”), to investigate reports of storms and other instabilities in that area of Shadow. The agents gained access to Verrien, where they discovered that a blood ritual involving a Reich agent named Aster von Schultz and the owner of the castle in which BPG3 was located, the self-styled King Philip of Verrien, aka Philip le Bel, had severely damaged BPG3. Due to Philip le Bel’s nature, to whit that he was a vampire, the ritual had unexpected consequences. As the agents at the time described it, BPG3 “rose again three days later”, and that was the cause of the storms. During the mission, Le Bel was killed, von Schultz was captured, and BPG3 was restored to its previous form. Once that was completed, Sable assigned a unit of White Guard personnel, under the command of Major Barry Thorndike and Captain Peter Williams, to garrison Chateau le Bel, thereby securing BPG3 as a Sable asset.

Overnight on 10/11th April SY 159, a disturbing report was received by Lt General Simon Blake, Commander of the White Guard, and General Lord John Graham, Head of the Maze, from Thorndike and Williams. They had found a further anomaly with BPG3, and sightings of a “ghost” lighthouse were also mentioned. A team of agents was despatched the following morning, including one of those who had been on the original mission, to investigate this second anomaly. Williams told them that he had learned from the locals that there used to be a lighthouse on an islet three miles offshore, but apparently it had been destroyed in a “conflagration of blood and fire” about sixty years previously. The locals also claimed that it returned to haunt the seas near Chateau le Bel every ten years or so. The agents quickly ascertained that there was some kind of arcane link between the BPG3 anomaly, and the mysterious lighthouse.

The agents sailed out to where the lighthouse had been spotted, and found the islet, complete with the ruins of the structure that had been destroyed sixty years before. On further investigation, they discovered that both the ruins of “now” and the lighthouse of “then” were occupying the same location, out of phase with each other, but it was possible to move between them at a single point. On entering the lighthouse of “then”, they discovered the body of a woman in the light room. She appeared freshly dead, and was lying beside what appeared to be a partially-formed Trump gate. The investigative mage with the group replayed events and discovered that she had been chased into the room by Philip le Bel, and had been trying to manifest the gate to escape when he beheaded her.

Further investigations discovered that at some point, either during the events they were seeing or perhaps before, a portion of BPG3 had somehow been relocated to the basement of the lighthouse of “then”. The agents deduced that the anomaly reported by Thorndike and Williams in SY 159 was probably caused by the fact that the repair of SY 151 had not encompassed the fragment of BPG3 that was not “in phase” at the time. One of the agents – my brother Michael has got into the habit of refering to this individual as the Messenger, so let’s go with that – was assigned to try to deal with the Gate upstairs, while the rest addressed the problem of whether there was anything they could do about returning the fragment in the past to BPG3 in the present.

So far, so good.

And then it all went to Hell in a handbasket.

Preamble to the Briefing

Due to a combination of circumstances, during the attempts to close the Trump gate, contact was made by the Messenger with a certain individual outside the Lighthouse. Unfortunately, the individual contacted was of the world of “then”, i.e. sixty years in the past for that agent, rather than in the their “now”, when their relationship with that individual was rather different. As a result, the Messenger was captured by a senior member of Reich High Command, along with sixty years of future knowledge. Realising what had happened, and the disastrous possible implications, the rest of the Maze group reached out to General Graham, albeit in his incarnation sixty years in their past. Quickly coming to the conclusion that he had been presented with a problem that he wasn’t even remotely qualified to deal with, he contacted me.

Now I like to think of myself as one of the best arcane operators in the Sable universe, but this “wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey” stuff was beyond me at that point. I’m not proud of it, and I’ve since taken steps to rectify that lack of knowledge, but sadly the horse had already bolted with respect to the Lighthouse. Somewhat confused, I contacted the agents still on site and without going into all the facts in detail, the upshot of what I learned was: a) that the Reich was now in the possession of a high-value intelligence asset which needed to be recovered at all costs; and b) someone needed to fix Verrien, the sooner the better, and here was a Trump I could use to get back in contact with them, as they weren’t sure which other ones would actually work.

I broke the contact, and considered options. I knew that I was about the only one who might be able to fix problem a), which seemed the more pressing of the two, given who the messenger had contacted; and I quickly decided that my son Will was probably the best person I could reach in a hurry to fix problem b). I called Will, gave him the Trump, and he headed for Verrien, while I contacted my brother.

Rupert wasn’t particularly surprised to see me, but while our conversation was…how shall I put it…awkward, the final result was that he transferred the Messenger into my custody, while making it absolutely clear that he was retaining a copy of the information obtained for insurance. I had no doubt that he had taken it by force, and I was relieved when the Messenger agreed to provide the same information to me, on a voluntary basis, or things would have have ended up even worse. Asymmetric warfare would not begin to cover it.

Once we both had the information, I was relatively optimistic that it would be possible to mitigate the damage. After all, in the early days of Sable, my brother and I came to an agreement that we should try to keep things civilised between us, for the good of the Sable universe. As you probably know, – because I’m sure Grey will have made his position on the matter quite clear to you –  this meant meeting regularly to compare notes and remind each other why it was better for us to discuss problems, rather than charge in bullheaded and upset the balance. It also included an agreement not to hurt each others’ families (not that he had one at that point, of course, which was probably a flaw in my thinking). As a result, I was relatively confident that for the good of the Sable universe, if I tried to explain to him logically why this information was too dangerous to act upon, he would understand and the status quo would be maintained.

More fool me. Because in sending Will to the Lighthouse to deal with the detached portion of BPG3, I made the first change, and I set in motion the chain of events that ultimately leads to the need for this briefing. For that, I apologise to you all.

First, when Will came back to Sable, a few hours later, he was badly injured after a meeting with Philip le Bel: a meeting that le Bel hadn’t survived. As a result, the vampire had died fifty years earlier than he should have done. Incidentally, that was also the point at which I realised that the repair to BPG3 should have been done in the future, not my present. Horse. Stable door. More apologies owed to you.

Second, as Sod’s Law would have it, Rupert contacted me to discuss the problem at almost the same time that I learned Will was hurt and needed my help, so I blew him off. Because of that, I inadvertently gave him twelve hours to make everything worse. When I finally got back to him, Rupert and Joachim Peiper, Head of the Waffen-SS, had already conquered Verrien for the Reich.

And third, when I tried to explain to my brother why this was a very bad idea, things did not go well. Let’s just say, knives and bullets were involved, and leave it at that. Add in the fact that insult was added to injury in Rupert’s mind mere days later, when brother Michael decided to poke the same bear, and the RFSS and I didn’t talk for more than six years, with the inevitable consquences for trying to maintain the original timeline.

In fact, about the only bright side of the whole sorry saga of those few days, was that I found myself speaking with Kaiser Wilhelm more, as I spoke with Rupert less, which I believe accelerated the establishing of a peace between Sable and the Reich. In that respect, the initial Armistice between us was signed in SY125 (rather than SY154) and the full Peace Treaty came into force in SY129 (rather than SY158).

So, with that in mind, please read the attached documents to familiarise yourself with the differences you’re likely to encounter once you return Inside, starting with Changes to the Inside, Murray and Sanguine.

Postscript

*In case you’re interested, the other four are: Michael de Lacy; Rupert Delatz; Roland, Pater Deorum of Aurellis; and Rallissa, Aurellian Goddess of the Years.