The Party takes Stephen back to Marcus’ safe house, the Marriott on Canal St.
As they arrive, Gabe receives a call on his cell phone.
“The fuck you say? They can’t close you down. I’m on my way.” He takes off to his favorite strip club.
Marcus meets the Party and assesses the situation. He has them drive to Arte Indie to perform some quick “medical” procedures on Stephen.
They make their way and actually manage to stabilize Stephen though he’s still in a coma.
Li and Charles decide to ditch the stolen Volvo so they drive it out to the Mississippi and roll it into the river.
Meanwhile, at Arte Indie, Marcus calls in some favors to get the Party some transportation while Loballo guards the establishment.
Li and Charles arrive back at Arte Indie just as a black SUV and a taxi pull up in front of the club.
The driver of the SUV gets out and piles into the taxi, they drive away – Marcus and Loballo lift up the unconscious Stephan and lay him down in the back of the SUV.
The Party then proceeds to Marcus’ former safe house, the Magnolia Mansion.
The mages arrive and pile out of the SUV, they then swiftly drag Stephen’s body into the darkened Mansion proceeding to Marcus’ suite.
Once there, Charles finds and wheels in a roll-away bed and Li deposits the comatose Stephen on top of it.
Everyone is tired so Li and Charles head back to Charles’ safe house to rest and recover – Marcus makes some final calls before heading to bed while Loballo stays up and attempts to catch a midnight snack.
His magic backfires and he burns his finger, leaving a scorch mark on the suite’s balcony’s guardrail.
The next morning, Marcus sends Loballo out to catch up with Li and Charles.
As he leaves a taxi pulls up and a doctor gets out making his way to Marcus’ suite.
Phil Filter enters and performs some medically necessary procedures on Stephen.
He finishes and tells Marcus that Stephen should be conscious in about 2 days.
Marcus thanks him and shows him out.
He then performs some mind magic (rolling his cocaine pouch back and forth) to project himself into the Astral Umbra.
He locates the doorway into Stephen’s dreamscape.
He enters into a languid Serengeti that features even more animals than is usual for an ecosystem, all of them are placid.
He spots a cave on a hill and begins to trek towards it.
As he draws closer even more and more animals surround him, though they are not aggressive, Marcus finds his field of vision inundated by a plethora of animals.
They part slightly, revealing only the cave entrance to him as he proceeds.
As Marcus descends he takes note of the abundance of Marauder symbols.
When he reaches the bottom he finds a nude Stephen curled up staring into a luminous fire.
Any attempt at conversation is futile.
Marcus begins to leave, but accidentally let’s his eyes rest on Stephen’s fire too long.
There is a – ( “EUREKA” ).
Marcus shakes off the feeling and makes his way back to the dreamscape gateway.
Marcus returns to himself and makes his way downstairs for breakfast.
Meanwhile, at the Frenchman Hotel, Loballo arrives in time to see Li and Charles covertly loading firearms into the Party’s SUV.
As greetings are exchanged Charles offers Li and Loballo some breakfast, but Loballo passes as he spies a large open sewer entrance.
He drops down into the sewers to feed on the rats.
Charles and Li and both taken back.
When everyone’s been quote unquote filled, the three mages head back to the Magnolia Mansion to hook up with Marcus.
Marcus and Charles talk at the front desk, Charles shamelessly flirting with Serena the whole time, while Loballo and Li head to the suite for some showers.
Loballo shows Li where he scorched his finger.
Suddenly, a bird descends from a nearby tree, lands atop the scorch mark, and gets uncomfortably close to the two men.
It oddly stares at both of them and both feel put-off by its gaze.
Marcus enters to retrieve some business cards and the two mages describe to him what happened.
Marcus feels that the bird was not a regular animal and decides to move everyone to the most secure place in the French Quarter – the Marianna Repository, currently stationed at Xavier University.
Marcus calls up Charles and tells him to distract Serena, while the three of them load Stephen into their SUV.
Charles quickly improvises and decides some Mind magic coupled with card tricks should be a good enough distraction for Serena.
As Charles does his “thing” Marcus, Loballo, and Li hustle Stephen’s body out of the Magnolia Mansion and throw him in the back of the SUV.
Charles says goodbye to Serena and the Party heads for Xavier University.
Once there, Loballo and Li carry Stephen’s body towards the repository’s location, while Charles and Marcus procure the key from Dwight Wates.
Everyone settles in for the night and Marcus begins re-researching Marauders, while Loballo and Li scan the library. Charles goes and gives the key back to Wates and as he walks back to the repository a cat begins to follow him.
He pays it very little mind and enters the repository, but seconds later the same cat is on a bookshelf looking down at the mages.
Charles shoots it.
It shatters into dozens of electrical pieces and components, which lose their electric current and fade out.
Marcus begins looking up machine cats and finds a brief article, but before everyone can read it the far wall of the repository displays a large glowing Marauder symbol.
The symbol swirls and spirals just like the bricks did for the kid Charles and Marcus faced.
Eventually, a cave opening appears like the one Marcus entered and a bird flies out.
A sweet voice bubbles and echoes out of the cave, “…a little birdie told us you have out leader.”
Charles shoots the bird and it shatters just like the cat, “I just fucked up your little birdie.”
A pair of twins, a young woman, and young man come out of the cave’s light… the French Quarter Marauder cell and the Arte Productions Cabal engage each other.
The woman attempts to fire a Prime blast at Charles, but Loballo grows his fists and knocks her out of the way.
The young man pops knife and tries to cut Charles, unfortunately the naive Marauder is unaware of Charles’ childhood on the streets of New York – Charles kills the youngster quickly and mercifully taking his switchblade as a trophy.
One of the twins tries to punch Li, but he easily manages to counter, though it distracts him just long enough to allow the other twin to race past to where Marcus is holding the unconscious Stephen at gunpoint.
The other twin communes with his leader via Mind magic and Stephen awakens.
A quick flick of his eyes and Marcus’ gun falls apart.
While the scene behind Charles, Li, and Loballo escalates the young girl attempts to open the Penumbra and bring forth a Minion.
Loballo notices this and brings both of his fists down on her, breaking her jaw and knocking her unconscious.
Li notices what the other twin is trying to do, so he back flips and cartwheels away from the first twin and aligns himself next to the other. He then slams his staff into the twin’s neck shoving it into a 45 degree angle.
Stephen feels three of his disciples depart – he channels his Quiet and his eyes glow gold.
He Steps Sideways into the Penumbra sinking into a golden trench and vanishing.
The other twin follows his leader’s stride and vanishes as well.
The cave opening forms back into bricks and the repository’s wall returns as if it was always there.
Charles isn’t finished though. He trains his gun on the unconscious woman and directs Loballo to heal her just enough so that she’s conscious and lucid.
Loballo does so, and the woman’s eyes open to the hard end of a 9mm.
She isn’t phased and attempts to Step Sideways.
Charles fires, and he’s quick enough to kill her mid spell.
The Spirit magic rebounds and Paradox takes hold.
The young Marauder-ess is threshed apart, mutilated – her Life and Spirit energies fleeing from one another.
Her entrails, sinew, guts, and blood divide like a playhouse curtain and a wave of human meat circles out.
Li and Marcus are shocked at the sight and Charles steps back to prevent blood from getting on his shoes.
The three men begin hustling back to Wates’ office to explain the situation and begin damage control.