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The Clandestine Gun

A significant artefact for Unknown Armies

In the 1880s Howell Ferguson was a renowned arms manufacturer catering to an audience with special ideas about their personal safety precautions. He custom-built whatever shooting device his well-to-do customers wished to have. He was also a skilled Mechanomancer.

One day he traded a formidable weapon for a secret: a magical ritual called The Unwritten Word that could make a person or a unique item disappear from all kinds of record and stay that way. The ritual came in handy, as Ferguson was just facing a trial; he was charged with being an accomplice of murder. Apparently one of his devices had been used to kill some very influential person.

Ferguson cast the ritual on himself with the help of a trusted friend and disappeared from public record. People still remembered him but no written records of his name or person remained for long. Word of mouth still gave him an occasional customer. All but forgotten he died in 1923.

One of his creations survives to this day. It is a revolver which holds 7 caliber .29 bullets. This caliber was a specialty of Ferguson's, handcrafted and never again seen or built after his death - with the exception of such cases when this particular weapon was used. The revolver is made of perpetually well-polished steel with wooden inlays on the grip. Its nose is rather short.

Ferguson used the Ritual of the Unwritten Word again to make the gun impossible to record and thus to trace. In effect all records made of the gun, be they written statements, photographs, films, whatever, are either misplaced or destroyed soon after they are made. This includes records of the .29 caliber. This has the effect that its relatively safe to use the gun for criminal purposes as all investigations under these circumstances become rather difficult. While individual investigators may know about the gun (memory is the only kind of recording device that is not affected by the ritual) the official channels usually require reports, written statements etc.

This is not the only magick Ferguson put into the gun. The gun has a knack of turning up in the hands of very desperate persons. They find it in the gutter, acquire it cheap from pawn shops or chance upon secret caches where the gun waits for them. It is always loaded with seven bullets with golden casing when it is found.

Usually the finder eventually uses the gun. The gun then soon disappears again; at the latest when the last shot is fired. It can also be lost or given away by mundane means, but it doesn't reload in such instances. It always disappears when someone creates .29 caliber bullets for it; it won't let itself be loaded with any ammunition apart from that which appears in its chambers by magick after the gun has been lost and before it is found again.

The gun has become something of an urban legend in the Occult Underground. It even has something of a cult following: somehow the knowledge has seeped into the Occult Underground that a Clandestine Gun is out there which cannot be traced and which appears in the hands of desperate people. Some golden bullet cases and some bullets of the .29 caliber have been retrieved which are revered as talismans by the followers of the Clandestine Gun. The followers are usually desperate (or perceive themselves as such) and try to obtain the gun; but actually the hope of getting the gun is in the way of fulfilment of that wish for as long as there is that hope they are not truly desperate.

But those in the know find another way to use the magick of the Clandestine Gun for their purposes. They hex their enemies by writing a description of the Clandestine Gun on a piece of paper and hide it among the personal effects of their enemies. Often something untoward happens to the person who has such a note: they are run down by a train, catch fire or meet some other violent and very messy end. Naturally the closer the note is to the body of the victim the more probable such a result is. There is no guarantee that the note will be destroyed in a violent fashion, it's just as possible that the victim simply loses it or it gets wet and unreadable. But you can always try again...

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