Subsubsection: Sunday, 29 June 1930 Up Subsection: 12 April 2017 (multiple Marias and an occult library)

Monday, 30 June 1930

The group turns up early at the Aubrey house in Belgravia, equipped to clean. Several of the neighbours’ servants greet them as they climb the back steps, which makes for good cover for Bessie picking the lock. The group splits up to search.
Audrey’s the first to find something amiss: in what seems to be a spare bedroom, the rug on the floor covers a complex symbol burned into the floorboards (perhaps with a hot iron, which would have taken a fair while; it’s probably been there for a few years) and taking up the majority of the floor space. There’s a bed on the rug covering one side of it, but it looks as though the bed hasn’t been there for long. The symbol is clearly related to magical summoning and binding, though it’s not a direct match for anything Audrey’s come across.
In the study, shelves of thoroughly boring books conceal some of rather more interest: some printed volumes that appear to cover accounts of magical practice, and ten hand-written volumes… in Latin, of course, but they appear to be journals of experimentation. There’s also a small box of tools for ritual magic, including a box holding a copper-bladed knife and many compartments with small amounts of herbs, powders, and so on.
Audrey takes a look at the journals, which indicate a fading of magical power for the ten years or so that the writer (assumed to be St John) has been keeping them: in the early days he was able to get some small effects to work (good-luck charms, which broke in a way that indicates they’d done some good), but he’s had no success at all since. He’s rarely discouraged, though, and seems sure that there’s something he’s missing, some way of tapping the power that he’s sure is still out there. There are references to “the Masters”, but whether these are Blavatsky-ish Ascended Masters or something different is not clear.
Gertrude and Millie have spotted traces of shine in the plasterwork, rising out of the earth and passing up the house to the spare bedroom with the symbol in it; there’s nothing to speak of now, but clearly an awful lot has flowed through here. Millie checks the servants’ rooms for any lists that might indicate where St John has gone, but without success.
The group takes the books and paraphernalia, and does actually spend some time cleaning the house before leaving in the afternoon.
They go on patrol again in the evening (leaving Audrey with the books), and Millie and Lin Tan find themselves surrounded by identical copies of the knifeman. Lin Tan throws the improvised smelling-salts bomb, to no effect; as they close in, she dodges an attack (not being entirely sure that it’s necessary, though it seems like a good idea) then plunges a lit match into the closest knifeman’s chest. They all flare up. A few streets away, Bessie and Gertrude see Marias again; they manage to repeat the effect from the previous night, though this Maria tries to avoid the flame.
Audrey has been digging into the accounts of magic, and spots something that both they and the diaries omit: while there are magical procedures for detecting magic, and they seem quite complex, there’s no suggestion that people might be able simply to see it.
The team plans: