After escaping from the Laboratory it was Simon the Albatross who thought of holding up in the place that became his and Sam the Mouse’s home for years, the library.
Simon loved to read. Sam thought the idea was brilliant and was eager to spend time exploring knowledge so he could further his schemes and ambitions. Simon however just simply loved to read and did it with a joy and passion even Sam did not possess. He would read fiction, history and biographies endlessly.
The New Albion main library was enormous, gothic and easy for a mouse and albatross to find a home in where they could spend nights and lazy days.
Simon would perch on the roof at sunrise and sundown every day. He would watch the people go by and the librarians come and leave work each day. He became attached to one librarian in particular, a young woman named Agatha who, despite her mousiness, had an aura of both interest and kindness about her. During her less busy times she would often browse the the occult section of the library and it seemed she possessed quite an interest in dark magic and curses, which seemed at odds with her demeanor.
Simon caught all that went on in and about the library and so it was only natural that he would be the first to identify when two new residents decided to adopt the library as a home.
Simon would watch two ragged teenage girls enter the library about and hour or two before closing time and not leave until the following morning an hour or two after opening hours. Simon quickly tracked down where they were staying, deep in the subterranean section of the stacks. They made themselves a little camp and repositioned the stacks to hide themselves and their few belongings. It became apparent quickly that one of the girls was not well. The other would leave during the day to find food. Some days she was successful and some days she wasn’t.
As the sick girl grew sicker and sicker, Simon made the call to involve Agatha. He flew down and initiated contact with her. At first she thought he was adorable and charming for a bird, and giggled at his attention as he danced about in front of her and cawed in response her questions. Soon though she began to realize he possessed some intelligence beyond normal and was trying to tell her something. When he arranged sticks in front of her that spelled “CAN U HELP” the fun ended and she was actually a bit freaked out, but she still agreed to come with him.
He led her to the girls. They were terrified and the healthy one was defensive and clearly able to be dangerous. But her sister was truly sick and she had certainly recognized that help was in fact needed. The girls were terrified of moving and so Agatha begged them to stay and ran home to get her tea and herbs.
Agatha was not at all a black witch and her interest in the subject will become apparent in just a bit. She was very well versed in other aspects of Craftwork and excelled at medicinal herbs and teas. It took 3 days, but early each morning and throughout the evening she would tend to the sisters and the sick one soon became well again.
After healing, they stayed on at the library and Agatha brought them food each morning and evening. The girls would climb like monkeys all about the subterranean stack and soon found alternative entrances and exits to the outside world and even New Albion underground. They all but adopted Simon. He introduced them to Sam who was absolutely against any contact with humans, but who soon begrudgingly took to them.
Then one day their father came. He was not alone. He was a nasty, thuggish looking ruffian and had three others with him. They had been trying to track the girls down and it had finally dawned on them that girls who loved to read might take to the library, a place it was surprising he even knew existed and which he had certainly never stepped foot in in his entire ignorant life.
Simon, Agatha and Sam already knew the girls’ story. It was not pretty. Their father was very into alpha male dominance, considered them his property and when they had reached their flowering age had taken the liberties he felt due to him. The girls had born it as best they could, but when he made arrangement to share them with his thuggish associates they finally broke and fled. This was why they were hiding out in the library.
The thugs began their search of the library and Simon first warned the girls, then flew to get Agatha. Agatha lived in a perpetually foggy area by the docks and she came running. The girls had clambered to get to their hiding place but in doing so had made some noise which had convinced their father and his cronies they or someone at least was in the otherwise deserted looking old library. The cowered in terror and Sam kept them company trying to keep them calm and thinking rationally.
Agatha arrived right as the thugs found the girls. The father was about to grab them and beat them bloody, the sisters were about to fight to the death if necessary, and Sam cursed himself for not planning ahead meticulously, a mistake he would never repeat ever again, when mousy little Agatha stormed through the stacks and demanded the brutes turn around and leave immediately or suffer dire consequences.
The sight of little, thin, black haired, thick glasses wearing Agatha threatening them with her little fists all bunched up was utterly hysterical to the men and actually stopped what would have been a moment of explosive violence. They had a good, roaring laugh and were all quite happy at the prospect of getting to be alpha males over another unexpected little treat who come to look at her and think of it, might make for a good time after they beat her into submission a bit first.
Agatha of course was no fool. She was well aware of what was about to go down. This is why she sighed. She was not surprised for a second it was going to come to this. So she sighed, shook her head and removed her glasses.
The fog creeped in.
As said before, Agatha was not involved in black magic in any way. In fact her interest in it was all about undoing a curse, a rather torrid bit of business involving her father which we shall get into in more detail tomorrow. However, in the interests of keeping it simple for the moment, the curse involved a perpetual fog that wandered around the city and the 3 entities that dwelled in it. These three entities could not live outside the fog, they were cursed to wander about in the fog for a long, long, long time. They were no longer quite human. Exactly what they were is much too much trouble to try to work out here and now, so we’ll go with shadowy wraithlike and leave it at that.
One detail that should be mentioned however is that they were fiercely, fiercely loyal to and protective of Agatha. And they were very dark. Bad dark. The product of very bad black magic. Really, at that time in the city’s history, it is not an exagerration to say that if there was one person in New Albion you did not want to fuck with, it was Agatha.
We know that you, dear reader, are surely a gentle soul and do not need to or wish to lower yourself to hearing the sorted, awful descriptions of the screaming, howling, and crying the father and group of thugs underwent. We know you are far too kind and generous to want to sully yourself with sick and disgusting details of what happened to those bastards. We applaud you and your better nature. For those of you unpossessing of such a better nature, we will not stoop to such a level of debasement, and really, you should be ashamed of yourself for wanting to revel others’ misery, but if it’s any concillation, there was indeed a great deal of misery, a LOT of screaming and weeping and the details are, we assure you, VERY sick and very disgusting. And would involve an abnormal amount of talk about entrails.
And this is how the Gang of Four met and bonded, along with their fifth conspirator who has historically remained otherwise unknown. The Four eventually became the most famous cat burglar in New Albion and even eventually heads of the Mafia many years later. However one of the first ways they honed their skills was trying to help Agatha out with a rather nasty curse her family was involved in due to a trading company dispute two decades earlier.