Sesus set about creating a manse at the volcano while the rest of us returned to the mainland to investigate the Grass Spiders further. I directed the agency’s resources to find what they could. VDS interrogated Krishna again, to see what else he knew.
The Grass Spiders, apparently, are organized into discrete cells, so one group cannot compromise the rest of the organization. They dead-drop messages by carving them into mortals’ fates. These messages are coded, but Krishna gave us the key to the cipher.
The Grass Spiders are basically a rogue element of the old Directorate, making money through black market arms and intelligence.They maintain contacts with current UES and other intelligence services, and their main focus is gathering information about the primordial war, with the idea they’d use their artifacts to either make lots of money or conquer the world. They’re fully-trained spies and elite intelligence operatives who went rogue for more money. They have unofficial bases throughout the East, but distinguishing Grass Spiders, TUSC, and other intelligence is nigh-impossible.
Worryingly, the Spiders have spies everywhere. We were concerned with the possibility there may be spies in our own organizations. Gil decided genocide was the answer. He tried to trick some of my employees to an “island getaway”, but I stopped that. He went off to train, and VDS conducted some interviews to determine the loyalty of my employees.
Once Sesus returned from his work, he summoned a demon to talk our way into the Lotus Dome in Heaven, to gain access to the Rolls of Glorious Divinity, so we could determine which mortals were used to pass messages by the Spiders. Of course, the Rolls had not been updated in 300 years. We found the god in charge unconscious and drunk. We woke him up, and he was mortified about how much undone work he had. We bribed him to find the information we needed, and left, though VDS stayed behind to hide and watch him.
Two days later, he found it, hid it in a jade scroll case, and started leaving. VDS, hiding outside of Fate, stole the scroll case, planted a bug on the god, and followed him to the post office. The god wrote a letter and was about to send it out for delivery when VDS stepped back into Fate to stop him. The letter was addressed to Kish’ta of the Black Forest. VDS intimidated the god, who was looking for a bribe to keep the info secret. During the conversation, VDS planted a tracer in the letter.
Afterwards, we consulted the pattern spiders. Kish’ta is a Sidereal Chosen of Secrets of unknown location, believed to be rogue. We went to the Forbidding Manse of Ivy (run by Chejop Kejak) to find more about her. VDS, as another Chosen of Secrets, was the only one allowed to enter. He talked to Chejop Kejak and was able to get Kish’ta’s training records and physical description.
The tracer showed up in Nechara, so we went there, to a lumber warehouse belonging to the Eastern Logging Company at the edge of a river. VDS scouted as we secured the area. He went in, and found what appeared to be an automaton typing nonsense at a computer. We purposefully triggered the obvious trap to make the Grass Spiders think we had died in the resulting giant explosion.