Subsubsection: 13 August 2014 (to England; Babbage is missing; Rotherhite and Basher Gallios) Up Subsection: The Possibility Chalice Subsubsection: 8 October 2014 (into the lair) 

27 August 2014 (dealing with Basher, north to Amethyst’s lair)

The first order of business is to get out of Rotherhithe; the police are duly suspicious, but holding out passes gets the group through. After quite a bit more walking, they finally reach somewhere that a taxi’s prepared to stop for them, and end up at a hotel off Russell Square; application of sufficient cash is enough to get them rooms, the limited food options that are available (whaleburger is on special today), and access to the bar and its remarkably well-stocked cellar, which makes Diamond happy.
After only a short rest, the group takes a taxi to the half-completed Canada Square tower at Canary Wharf. The core and stairs are in place but the outer cladding didn’t get added before the invasion; it’s now used informally by squatters. Most of them are now asleep, or warily watching; nobody interferes with the obviously well-armed group.
Ten floors up, David’s old Resistance friend Robert is waiting. He’s pleasantly sarcastic, and they chat for a little while. He trusts David to be able to repay the money, but even so he’d like a small favour as “interest”. Apparently there’s something strange going on at the Channel Tunnel dig site, and investigating that would certainly count as a favour. He grits his teeth, resigns himself to using local technology, and makes a mobile phone call; a few minutes later another Resistance fighter arrives with a slim briefcase that proves to be full of cash (Stephen verifies this, in part for his own enjoyment).
The group heads back to their hotel and gets some delayed rest, heading out again around lunchtime the next day. They get back to Rotherhithe and the Gutted Perch, where the barman is surprised to hear they want to talk to Basher again: he’s not usually about this early. He’s persuaded to pass the word, though, and Basher turns up (with a different pair of goons) about half an hour later.
He checks the money, and is happy to keep his end of the deal: he was hired by a mysterious cloaked figure, who obviously thought he was being anonymous, but Basher can recognise a well-known dark wizard when he sees one: he’s pretty sure it was the one who calls himself Amethyst, who lives on the North Yorkshire Moors.
In any case, Basher was hired to take some of his men with talismans to burn through Babbage’s magical defences and pick him up, as well as a golden cup that they’d find with him. Basher describes it; it seems consistent with the images found in the Thai temple, and he mentions that it was studded with strange blue-and-red gems. He tried to pry one off, but didn’t have any luck.
Babbage argued a bit, so they had to knock him out, but he was handed over to Amethyst still breathing.
The group asks about talismans, and Basher’s a bit reluctant, but he’ll hand some over for £500 each. That seems a bit steep, so they decline.
Then it’s off by stagecoach to Aylesbury, to see if Tolwyn is still in the area (she isn’t). They decide not to divert to Oxford to seek assistance there since it’ll produce extra delay, but do send Tolwyn a letter telling her what they’ve found out and what they plan to do next. They proceed to York; this takes several days. During the overnight stops, Thorfin sings, and asks about Amethyst: as they get further north, he shifts from a rumour to a well-defined problem, and The coach doesn’t run closer to the spot, and the team reluctantly buys horses (it’s too risky an area for the hire of horses). Thorfin’s capable enough, and Diamond does all right, but Stephen resigns himself to the horse carrying his baggage while he proceeds on foot, and David just looks unhappy on the back of his mule.
It’s a bit more than a day across the moors to the area where Amethyst’s thought to have his tower, and the scrubby grass gets more blighted and patchy as the group gets closer. Their camp is undisturbed during the night (if anything it’s too quiet) and in the early afternoon they spy what must be Amethyst’s compound in the distance. There’s a very Core-Earth-looking mesh and barbed-wire fence round the perimeter, though the decorative gates are new; four low buildings are inside, there’s a large courtyard area between them, and in the middle of it a tall white tower. Guards can be seen standing around the perimeter; most of them are human, but there are three bulkier figures by the main gate that could well be trolls.
Stephen spots through binoculars a rusted sign on the fence: “MOD Property, Keep Out”.
 Subsubsection: 13 August 2014 (to England; Babbage is missing; Rotherhite and Basher Gallios) Up Subsection: The Possibility Chalice Subsubsection: 8 October 2014 (into the lair)