Aviario: The Archivists

01. The Book of Bayencourt

In which the party doubles in size ...

The episode begins with Hali’id Mustafa arriving in the country and going to visit one of his contacts, a man named Edward. He climbs the stairs to Edward’s apartment, only to find that when he opens the door, it nearly comes off its hinges. The apartment has been thoroughly ransacked. Checking for hidden panels, Hali’id finds a secret office space behind the place Edward was pretending to use as his desk, and appropriates the man’s laptop. Searching the rest of the apartment, he finds it in equal disarray … and discovers Edward’s body in the bedroom, with a bullet between his eyes. Cue opening credits, and the decided lack of a definitive theme song – an issue for later.

Shandra and Nick are, once again, called to Janus’ office, where they are introduced to Howard Ainsworth, a magical researcher and professor, who will be assisting them henceforth. Janus informs the three that they were called by Ryan Phillips, the individual who sent over the box of items in the last episode. He has sold the family property that the box came from, and now the new owner would appreciate it if they could come and clear the rest of the family’s old possessions out of the barn on the property. He gives them use of a moving truck, as well as boxes, dollies, and other needed equipment, and sends them on their way.

At the Baldwin farm, they are greeted by the current owner, Steven Connolly, who is clearly new money, and could care less about the ancient barn, which Ryan’s aunt had used as a sort of thrift store before she passed away and left him the property. He means to tear it down and build a new house, which gets both Howard and Nick’s hackles up, but they agree to clear the barn. As soon as they begin to try and clear away some of the stuff, however, the crates it is stored in start to topple down on them. After a few attempts at this, it becomes apparent that there’s some sort of protective charm on the building that must be dispelled before they can move anything from the barn. Howard locates a horseshoe, nailed crookedly to a beam, and asks one of the others to go and get a prybar from the truck. When Nick leaves the barn, he is tackled by an unexpected and anonymous thug. Shandra, going out to investigate, is accosted by the second. Grabbing a pitchfork, Howard moves into the fray, and together the three manage to render their attackers unconscious. Meanwhile, while they are dealing with that, Hali’id moves in to try and take the horseshoe himself, having been in the back of the barn, listening in.

While Howard moves to disable the thugs’ cars – unaware that one belongs to Hali’id – Shandra and Nick search the unconscious men and find two drop phones and a crude drawing of The Crest of Bayencourt. They head back inside to look for it, and Shandra spots it a split second before Hali’id. Both start climbing ladders up into the loft beams, and a scramble ensues to get to it first. Howard throws a knife and catches Hali’id in the shoulder, and Shandra uses her Backdraft to keep him at bay while Nick climbs up into the loft, putting himself between the stranger and his partner. Shandra makes her way to the plaque and dislodges it – and the entire barn starts to come down around them. She throws the plaque out the window onto the lawn, and all four of them manage to escape out into the yard before the barn completely folds in on itself.

Hali’id pulls his gun on Howard, and they have a terse standoff for possession of the plaque, during which Howard learns that the thugs were not with him – and have regained consciousness and taken off on foot, not wanting to have to deal with all of this nonsense anymore. Shandra and Nick discover that one corner of the barn is still strangely intact and untouched, and head off to investigate while the other two continue their conversation. The intact corner of the barn turns out to be a horse stall that was converted into an office for the thrift shop, and Shandra searches the desk to find a copy of an Antique Dealers’ Price Guide from 1994. Inside are two sticky notes: one bearing a name and a phone number (Alex: 555-7108), one with the words “humor of the mind” written in an old, somehow familiar cursive, and one simply emblazoned with the number 2. Meanwhile, Howard calls Janus, informs him of the situation with Hali’id, and is told to simply keep an eye on him and get what they were sent for. Howard tells Hali’id that he needs to stay on the trunk of his car while he checks on the other two, and they reach an agreement. While Howard goes into the remaining corner of the barn, Hali’id surreptitiously buries the plaque in the front yard, disabling the ward on the remaining section of the barn.

Howard notes that there are four horseshoes on the posts marking the corners of the stall – the protection spell that kept it from being destroyed when the rest of the barn went down. He arrives just as Shandra opens the second drawer of the desk and finds a codex – and the researcher lets out a slightly disturbing squeal of delight. Sooner or later, the three locate and open a trap door in the floor – but it is empty, and there are finger marks in the dirt from whoever took what had once been within. Howard rummages through the rubble, finds a tin box, and scoops up some of the dirt to take back along with the codex, and their clues. They leave Hali’id, who calls his own contact and is told to follow them back to wherever they came from.

Upon deciphering the Codex, the team learns that the missing item is The Book of Bayencourt … and that it was stolen from the family that created it by voodoo legend Dr. John, whose current descendant lives in New Orleans. Janus pulls rank and forces Ral O’Dailigh to loan the fledgling team his ancient white van, which breaks down en route during a rousing game of 20 Questions.

20Questions.png

A man on a motorcycle pulls up behind them and asks if they need assistance … and is strangely interested in where they’re headed. They leave him behind and make a pit stop in Georgia, where Caroline lives and keeps a auto repair shop. Amid much blushing and stammering on Nick’s part, they manage to get the van up and running, and finish the drive down to The Big Easy.

Sally Bowen, the descendant in question, lets Howard and Shandra into her house on the pretense that they are a professor and his assistant, working on a dissertation about Dr. John. They are not there very long, however, before the thugs from the barn show up again, very serious about retrieving the Book. They attempt to hold Howard and Shandra hostage inside the house, and one of them threatens to molest Shandra, but Hali’id and Nick rescue them. Hali’id kills one of the thugs in the process, but Nick keeps him from killing the other, who is simply knocked unconscious. Sally tells them the whereabouts of the book: a small voodoo shop in the French Quarter run by a man named Meyroux.

Once they reach the store, their goal is in sight … until the formerly unconscious thug catches up with them. He raises his gun to threaten them … and is promptly shot in the back of the head. When his body falls, the Motorcycle Guy from their trip south is standing in the doorway ….

Quotes:

  • “I appreciate not getting shot.” “I appreciate not getting stabbed.” – Howard and Hali’id
  • “Homina is for Persian, Hootcha is for Arabic.” – Niki
  • “I don’t know what that means.” – Hali’id, repeatedly
  • “I don’t think there’s that much juice in a banana.” – Nick, re: Fruit Slice
  • “It’s like your Google Maps, but it doesn’t MOVE when you POKE IT.” – Howard, explaining a paper atlas to Shandra
  • “The code for ‘come in guns blazing’ is ‘fiddlesticks’.” “What does that mean?” “I … don’t know.” – Howard and Hali’id
  • “Oh, fiddlesticks.” – Howard, less than a minute later

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