by Lena Willis, Staff Writer
(MWSE, Brunswick GA, November 17) This summer’s wildfire and subsequent hurricane revealed a surprise in the Okefenokee Swamp. In addition to burning away heavy thickets of brush, familiarly known as hells, these natural forces have revealed a previously unknown island in the southern portion of the swamp off Billy’s Lake.
The fire burned the undergrowth and many of the trees on the various islands, but this new island appears relatively untouched despite the destruction around it. The fire burned that area of the swamp heavily. Because the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which manages the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, uses helicopters to reach islands that are otherwise inaccessible, the fact that no one has spotted this island before is mystifying. Before the fire destroyed the thickets, it would also have been inaccessible except by air.
The swamp is a source of concern for the Southeast Collegium because of the recent, intense interest in it displayed by ghouls. According to Collegium Loremaster Gerry Armitage, the most likely explanation for this island’s sudden appearance is that magic either created or previously concealed it. Magekind were unaware of its existence until mage archaeologists saw a short article about a Mundane dig on the island in the November issue of Modern Archaeology.
By that time, the Mundane dig was in progress, hampering mage investigative opportunities because of the need for secrecy. The dig has reportedly uncovered Bronze Age weaponry in the form of smelted metal, an anomaly for Native American tribes of the period. These anachronistic finds have provided an opportunity to investigate safely. Collegium Assistant Loremaster Dr. Will Davis, an archaeologist consulting for the Veritas Antiquam Foundation, has joined the dig team. Davis will examine the island as well as the relics uncovered to date.
by R. J. Moore, Managing Editor
(MWSE, Wayfarer, GA, September 20) Last Thursday, Lucinda Baldwin, a Mundane, retired music teacher, was found dead in her yard outside the town of Wayfarer. The sole witness, also a Mundane, reported seeing a man with purple eyes bending over Baldwin, who lay in her yard. The man fled when the witness’s headlights struck him, but his description, aside from the purple eyes, is consistent with his being a ghoul.
Baldwin’s residence lies approximately two miles east of the Okefenokee Swamp, recently the site of increased ghoul activity.
Dr. Stefan Harper, chief physician at the Southeastern Collegium, is consulting with Mundane authorities. Harper reports that the victim’s wounds differ from those ordinarily made by ghouls. He subsequently encountered a ghoul that had broken into a Mundane home.
“The ghoul I fought not only had glowing, purple eyes,” Harper stated, “but moved with astounding speed. It was stronger than the norm, faster, and possibly able to translocate.”
There were also two Mundane victims, the homeowner and a Mundane agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The homeowner is recoveringat Wayfarer County General Hospital. The FBI agent was treated there and released.
Harper’s department is analyzing venom samples he obtained from the victims. Meanwhile, Loremaster Gerry Armitage and his assistant, Dr. Will Davis, are conducting research into possible ghoul mutations. Anyone with information should email them via the link on the Collegium archives page.
Davis was asked why ghouls would murder an elderly Mundane, as opposed to their usual practice of kidnapping those of breeding age. “They have a twisted sense of fun. That could be reason enough,” he responded, shrugging.
Shire Reeve Deke Jones cautions anyone who sees such a creature not to approach it but to seek safety before notifying his department’s usual tip line. The tip line phone number is on the MageWire homepage as well as that of the Collegium.
by Thera Jones, Jacksonville Bureau
(MWSE, Jacksonville, FL, Sept 18) The rain Hurricane Lora dumped on south Georgia this week extinguished the Coffee Bay fire in the Okefenokee Swamp but did not eliminate the need to monitor conditions in the swamp. Although mages have confirmed the Mundane firefighters’ announcement that the fire is out, there was too little rain to keep water levels high in the current hot, dry conditions.
Firefighter Edie Lang discovered an orb in the swamp that seemed to be a product of ghoul magic. She located the orb while on a rescue mission near what is believed to be the fire’s point of origin. The southeastern Council is withholding details, but Dr. Will Davis, the Collegium’s assistant loremaster, went into the swamp to investigate with Lang and undisclosed others.
The investigators concluded that ghoul use of the orb likely started the fire. There were no campers in the area, and there was no lightning that night. Acknowledging the absence of these usual causes of wildfires, Davis added, “The ground in the area of the initial fire carries a magical residue. The energy of the swamp is easy for ghouls to tap, and the Veil between worlds is thin there. Anyone seeing ghouls in the area needs to notify the shire reeve’s office immediately and then inform me or Dr. Gerry Armitage.”
Contact information for the shire reeve’s department and the Collegium archives are on the MageWire homepage as well as the Collegium’s.