SBR 2.26: Nuance

Click for Content Warnings

Background sounds and music
Stereo audio (audio will sound different in right and left speakers/headphones)
Mentions of death and murder
Mentions of cults/high control groups
Mentions of cannibalism
Implications of emotional manipulation


One never does know, now do they? Do they? Do they? Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.


Hello, faithful listeners! It’s been quite a week. I’ve been busy trying to see how much of what I spoke about with Jay can be verified, and it seems like, well. The answer is not a lot. That’s the problem with Arcanism, isn’t it? Nobody talks to each other. There are sources for some of the information that I’ve been able to ferret out, but none of it has been particularly illuminating or even interesting, to be honest.

Ah. Never mind though. There’s still a lot of interesting stuff there. Thank you to those of you on the forums who have been summarising it all, it’s super helpful. I don’t know what I’d do without you all, honestly.

The main thing, obviously, is the context all of that gives us about the Scarcemongers. They think they’re going to end the world when they do the Redistribution by eating Maria Gillespie, is the gist of it. But what I don’t understand is how that is supposed to change anything, or what they stand to gain from it all, honestly. It’s downright confusing, to be honest. Why would they want to end the world?

The other thing, which is less important than, you know, the literal end of the world, is what it might say about Madame Marie’s own research into the Impossible Children. As Indi said, Madame Marie wasn’t an Impossible Child herself. If she was, it would have been incredibly well hidden. It seems like the Sins – and all the other Major Arcana – can feel things change in the arcane when that action comes from the Man in the Flat Cap. They can feel when other Major Arcana are made and they felt something significant shift when I was born.

I spoke to Ingra briefly about if they’d ever felt anything around the Impossible Children but they couldn’t give me a definitive answer. Indi said that maybe they had felt something but… she wasn’t definitively sure.

There is definitely something going on with Madame Marie though, and her parents having made a deal with the Man in the Flat Cap does go some way to explaining why she’d be of enough interest to him for him to send Oliver to watch over her.


It’s so weird, he’d known her all his life. It’s strange that it wasn’t until she was dead that I met him. Or, maybe not strange at all. Coincidence is a powerful feature of Arcanism.

Though I am beginning to wonder if that’s true at all, at least for me. Everything that has seemed to be coincidence has wound up somehow being related to this big plan, whatever it is. For the Man in the Flat Cap to end his time ‘on this plain’, whatever that’s supposed to mean. I suppose, maybe it’s to do with the world ending.

Maybe Maria Gillespie and the Scarcemongers… maybe the whole point of that is ‘hedging his bets’ or something? Scourge was pretty ambiguous about it all. No surprises there, of course, but. Well. It’s clear the Harbingers have something to do with it all. Whatever else, they’re instrumental in all of this, pulled threads of the Arcane to make things happen as and when they should. I mean, I presume that’s what Scarcity is doing with the Scarcemongers. Who knows, maybe Strife’s got a whole little cult out there somewhere, too. And Scourge. His job is… me. Gross. Bad. Weird. Don’t like that at all.


It’s certainly a lot to go on, isn’t it? But I’m not sure what I should do next.



What was that?

Uh, hang on, I’ll just—


SAM: Oh, Kitty! Hi, what do you—

KITTY: What you need is to speak to a real Arcanist. Uh, here.

SAM: A phone number, and an address?

KITTY: His name is Julius. He’ll speak to you.

SAM: Are you sure, because Arcanists—

KITTY: I’m sure. Call him.


KITTY: No, not with the phone, I mean. Um.

SAM: Oh.

KITTY: Yeah. Yeah, you know! Just. Yeah.

SAM: I do usually use the phone.

KITTY: Oh. Okay, you can use the phone then. But I don’t know that he’s actually able to answer.

SAM: Is he–?


SAM: Um. But he’s not one of mine?

KITTY: Aha, no. He’s not. You’ll see. Call him.

SAM: Right.



SAM: Uh. Julius? JULIUS. Speak to me!



KITTY: What are you doing?

SAM: Putting the phone down, he won’t talk.

KITTY: Come on, you’re the Heir Apparent, aren’t you!? Do it again.

SAM: Uh… okay….


SAM: Um. Julius. Julius Hughes. You will speak to me, on my authority as Heir Apparent.

JULIUS: I said ‘no’.

KITTY: Julius Hughes, speak to my brother right now or I swear to Bathsheba I will summon you here.

JULIUS: I’m not speaking to you, him, or anyone else who has ‘Enfield’ in their name.

KITTY: Oh, come on! You owe me! Remember Ibiza! Good times, yeah?

JULIUS: I nearly died!

KITTY: Oh come on, don’t be so dramatic. I wouldn’t have let you die, Jules, you know that.

JULIUS: Swear on the gods, Kitty Enfield, you are unbelievable. I did die.

KITTY: Yeah, but not until later, and that wasn’t my fault.

JULIUS: I swore I’d never do business with any Enfield again after what happened with Madame Marie.

KITTY: Good thing this isn’t business, then.

JULIUS: [SARCASTICALLY] Yeah, sure, you just love to make social calls at three in the morning now? Very believable, I’m extremely convinced.

KITTY: Please, Jules. You owe me. It’s life and death, here.

JULIUS: I thought you just said that implying I was going to die was dramatic?

KITTY: It was, because I was there and I wouldn’t let that happen, would I? If I hadn’t been there, then you’d have died.

JULIUS: If you hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have been trying to call a demon in the first place. I like to keep my practice light, sporadic, mindful. Not the batshittery you and your mother like to call Arcanism.

KITTY: M’s dead.


KITTY: Man, you have been cutting yourself off, haven’t you?

JULIUS: I’m dead, Kitty Enfield?

KITTY: That doesn’t mean you can shut yourself off. Hey, maybe my brother can hook you up to the internet, you’d love it! There’s loads of neat stuff in there.

JULIUS: No thank you. I’ve never got along with technology. You know that.

KITTY: You did throw my phone into the sea.

JULIUS: It had a demon inside of it!

KITTY: I’d only got it a month before!

JULIUS: You’re impossible!

KITTY: I’m impossible!?

JULIUS: How are you even…? Look. I don’t talk to people usually. I’m not very corporeal, and to be honest, I’d like to keep it that way. Less distractions.

KITTY: You really haven’t changed.

JULIUS: Neither have you. Though, wait… that’s not true, is it, Investigator?

SAM: Um. Sorry to interrupt. Not that this isn’t all very, um. Fascinating. But Kitty, didn’t you say I needed to talk to this guy?

KITTY: Oh, yes. Sorry. Go ahead.

JULIUS: So. You’re the little one, then. The one she was afraid of.

SAM: Sam Enfield. Yeah. That’s me.

JULIUS: Is it true, what Madame Marie said about you?

SAM: What did she say? Because depending on where in the timeline we are her evaluation could be good, or terrible.

JULIUS: You were speaking Latin before English. You could tell people what to do, without asking. You draw a white door.

SAM: So you’ve not spoken to her since I was a baby, then.

JULIUS: Not for some time. Well, unless you count the day she killed me, but there wasn’t a lot of conversation involved there.

SAM: I– she what.

JULIUS: Oh, it was an accident, I think. But she was trying to do something. It was frankly unhinged. Of course, I wanted no part in it. First decree of Arcanism is to guard your intent fiercely. ‘Ask not of my wares’, you know what they say. But she had a way of roping people into things. She’d asked to compare my version of the Little Book of Big Magic—

SAM: You have a copy of the Little Book of Big Magic?

JULIUS: I have a version, not a copy. I believe mine was written by someone who had spoken with the author of the version Madame Marie had. They’re all unique, of course.

SAM: I suppose that makes sense, in that it absolutely doesn’t? But, ah, nothing does with Arcanism.

JULIUS: They’re summary texts to be discovered or inherited once the author is dead and their limits remain unfathomable.

SAM: Wait. They’re written so they don’t make sense?

JULIUS: They’re written so they don’t entirely make sense. Which is why I was furious Marie had asked to see mine. Defies the purpose wholly and thoroughly, but she disregarded everything. It’s why I went to special efforts not to speak to her, with her little groups and her– her radio show can you believe?!

SAM: Erm, yeah. Anyway. What happened when you showed up?

JULIUS: I went to give her a piece of my mind, but when I arrived at the house, the door was open, just a crack, and I could smell burning. I thought something terrible must have happened. I was about to turn back, but then I remembered she had children a-and it wasn’t their fault their mother had no sense! So I opened the door, and the next thing I knew, I was back in my study, only I was dead.

SAM: You died?! Just like that?!

JULIUS: There were marks on the floor. I don’t know. I think I got further than the front door, a little way down the hall, and then, bam. Gone.

SAM: Oh. Wow.

JULIUS: Just like that.

SAM: But you knew Kitty?

JULIUS: Before I was dead. She’s mostly had the decency to leave me alone since.

SAM: Um. Kitty told me to call you because I met someone, Jay Magnum. They know about prophecies, apparently, but Kitty said I should ask you about things instead? She thinks Jay is… ahh, unreliable.

KITTY: Jay’s the one outside of Leeds. With the cork boards.

JULIUS: Wow, really? They’re still going? I’m surprised they’ve managed, given their areas of focus. That kind of thing tends to make people angry. I mean, look at me, look at your mother. Both of us meddled in these things, however reluctantly, and we’re both dead!

SAM: What are ‘these things’, exactly?

JULIUS: Where it all comes from. The point of origin. I can’t tell you what, exactly, Madame Marie was looking into. As much as she broke down boundaries and called other arcanist ‘friend’, she was as close-guarded with her real intentions as the rest of us. For me, though, the fascination was with prophecy. Honestly, I’m not sure why I admitted that.

KITTY: Mm. You’ll get used to it.

JULIUS: So this is why Madame Marie was afraid of her own child? He speaks and will be heard, indeed.

SAM: Yeah, uh, right. You need to tell me about what Madame Marie was asking you about.

JULIUS: She was interested in the general mechanics of prophecy, but prophecy isn’t exactly a narrow field. It’s vast and full of cliffs and valleys. The more you understand, the more clear it is how little you understand— Here I go again, speaking freely, like it’s my own volition. You are curious, aren’t you?

SAM: Yeah, yeah, arcanism, you love it when you don’t know things, I get it.

JULIUS: Prophecy is a prime field of Arcanism for its eddies and flow. They’re fascinating things. To what extent they self-fulfil is unclear until they have been fulfilled. What is destiny, if not what choices we make for our selves?

SAM: So… they’re not real?

JULIUS: That’s not what I said. You think that because a prophecy is self-fulfilling that makes it unreal? That’s like saying a house isn’t real if you built it yourself. It’s still a house. Likewise, if a prophecy comes true because you have heard it and make it so, the prophecy still comes true. The real contention is in the intent, specifically in whose intent is driving the fulfilment. Is it that of the one self-fulfilling, or is it the forces of the Arcane beyond?

When the world is seen through a seeing glass, we can observe the fine connections between things. We can’t understand them, but we can observe. Some threads lead on to places unseeable, into the future. This is true for everyone. For those who have prophecies about them, some threads are stronger, and we can, if we know where to look, spy beyond the corner and glimpse the outline of what is to come. This too is what tarot can offer us in some circumstances. Though it would be a mistake to think of tarot as prophecy; it is a method for interpreting those feeble threads which link us to our own futures. It does not create ties in those arcane threads by itself.

SAM: But prophecies do?

JULIUS: That is a matter of contention. Does a prophecy simply make that thread into the future more clear? Or does it create the thread? There is dispute.

SAM: There’s always dispute, and because you’re an arcanist, you only know half the argument.

JULIUS: Untrue! We have the breadth of all other research to explore. Prophecy is a fascination for witches, too, not just arcanists. It is only amongst ourselves we sequester what we’ve learned.

SAM: Doesn’t that get annoying, though? Like. What happens if you—-

JULIUS: It is, like all matters of prophecy, a matter of free will.

SAM: Uh. Right. Madame Marie. She heard a prophecy about having a child who’d be able to best the One Who Walks Here and There.

JULIUS: I think Marie had come to tell me something, when I saw her last, before she killed me, which I’m sure she did. But she never got around to it.

SAM: Why?

JULIUS: We argued.

SAM: About what?


SAM: Me? Why?

JULIUS: If you move in circles concerned with arcane, you eventually learn about the Impossible Children.

SAM: And you thought that’s what I was?

JULIUS: No. But Marie was concerned.

SAM: Concerned?

JULIUS: If having a child that stops ageing around seven or eight isn’t bad enough, if you don’t contain them…

SAM: What? What happens if you don’t contain them?

JULIUS: They’re… wrong, somehow. There’s something off in the configuration. It is as though they die, but don’t die. They stay living, trapped there—

SAM: Suspended at the moment of death, like a Major Arcana?

JULIUS: Yes, in a way, but–

SAM: But the Major Arcana belonging to the One who Walks Here and There are suspended on the basis of deals they make themselves, and the Impossible Children aren’t.

JULIUS: No. They’re suspended by someone else’s.

SAM: What?

JULIUS: Well, you know that Major Arcana deals aren’t the only one the One Who Walks brokers. These children are the result of another kind of deal. I believe she was taking logs—

SAM: She was! I have them!

JULIUS: Some children who are made this way, through deals with the One, are not Impossible Children. Some of them grow and age fine. The price is paid in other ways, as it was for Marie’s parents. I know only what little was shared with me by Marie’s grandmother on my visits to her shop, but she suspected her daughter, Marie’s mother, was trying to broker a deal before Marie was born. And then, after Marie was born, both her mother and father died. Instantaneously. They were ruled as having spontaneous heart attacks but there was no evidence of this. When Marie’s grandmother brought her home as a baby, having just lost her daughter and son-in-law, she found, on each of their beds—

SAM: A rose, which disappeared almost as soon as she laid eyes on it. So that’s why M’s grandmother was investigating the children, too.

JULIUS: You’ve seen one of the Blood Roses?

SAM: Yeah. Only mine puts itself back together again.

JULIUS: Yours!? You can’t mean you have one in your possession?

SAM: Yeah. I do. Whole house fell on top of it but it still doesn’t wither, not unless you touch it. Then it turns to ash. But if you leave it for a bit it reconstitutes itself like nothing happened. H– hang on. Did you call it a ‘Blood Rose’?

JULIUS: Yes. That’s where the One Who Walks Here and There gets his other name. Each is a new flower in his crown. Blood Roses.

SAM: But. Rhytidia Delphus said it was a Black Bacarra.

JULIUS: The Black Baccara was bred to resemble them by a hedge witch who worked closely with Jaques Meilland, one of the most skilled rose hybridisers in history. But the roses left by the Blood Rose King merely resemble them. Their stems are pastier, their thorns incorrect.

SAM: Rhytidia said that, too. But. Oliver. He. He said it was Black Baccara.

JULIUS: You can’t mean the florist, Oliver Boleyn?

SAM: Yes.

JULIUS: Rumour has it that the One Who Walks Here and There has Oliver Boleyn’s rose in his crown, too. That would explain some things.

SAM: He lied to me.

JULIUS: I’m sorry.

SAM: I need to go.


KITTY: Sam, wait– Think about this for a minute–




SAM: [SOFTLY] Oliver. Come here.


OLIVER: Are you finished? I still have some–

SAM: You lied to me.


SAM: You lied to me about the Blood Rose!


SAM: You told me it was a Black Baccara.

OLIVER: I believed it had to be, despite it’s incorrect characteristics! Blood Roses do not linger. I didn’t know what it was for certain until I touched it and when that happened, I could not tell you because it is taboo.

SAM: What’s taboo? The roses? Other people speak of them just fine.

OLIVER: But I cannot speak of them to you.

SAM: What?

OLIVER: I cannot speak of Blood Roses to you.

SAM: It’s just me?! How many of them are like this, the taboos?

OLIVER: I don’t know.

SAM: You must have an idea, come on!

OLIVER: I don’t know.

SAM: Oliver…

OLIVER: If you took my deal I could tell you.

SAM: What.

OLIVER: If you take my deal, the taboo would break, and I could tell you everything I know.

SAM: I don’t want that!

OLIVER: But it’s the only way!

SAM: Then there is no way!


SAM: Don’t! Just. Don’t.

OLIVER: I– I vowed I would never love again.

SAM: What?

OLIVER: I know Scourge told you what happened when my deal was struck but he didn’t tell you that part. He didn’t say I promised I would never love again. I thought, if I did that. I could stop it. The plan. Everything that’s happening. But I can’t. Because I knew as soon as I saw you. I knew right away that–


SAM: You knew what.

OLIVER: I can’t say. It’s taboo.

SAM: Nothing is inevitable.

OLIVER: It’s too late for this, Sam. I already love you.

SAM: Never say it’s too late. We can stop– whatever it is that you think is going to happen. I won’t let it happen.

OLIVER: You understand so little. I want to help. Let me help.

SAM: No! Not like that. No. I won’t do it. I won’t.

OLIVER: You don’t have to do this alone.

SAM: I’m not alone. You’re right here.

OLIVER: [STRAINED] Yes. But you don’t understand what he can do.

SAM: Stop. You’re hurting yourself. Don’t!

OLIVER: I have to try.

SAM: No, you don’t. Not if it’s like that! Just be here because you choose to be. Can you do that?


SAM: That’s… all I need. Just be here.

OLIVER: Have I ever told you you’re ridiculous?

SAM: Yes, you’ve mentioned it.

OLIVER: I can’t believe you, sometimes.

SAM: I’m sorry.

OLIVER: No, it– it’s a good thing. You’re a good thing.

SAM: So are you. You want to be here, don’t you?


SAM: You want to be here with me, I’m not making you?

OLIVER: No, you’re not.

SAM: I– I want to– I need you. I need to sign off the show.

OLIVER: Yes, do that.

SAM: Uhuh, yes, well, goodnight–