John and Martin have relocated to one of Daisy's safe houses in Scotland and are laying low after the events in the Panopticon. They have been there for a few weeks when Basira manages to send them some statements, as sustenance for John. Martin leaves to give him some privacy as he starts to read.
The statement appears to be from a Hazel Rutter, regarding a fire in her childhood home, but the opening is a fake-out. The statement is actually from Jonah Magnus and having started it, John is now unable to stop reading.
It is the statement of Jonah Magnus, regarding Jonathan Sims, The Archivist.
Magnus bares his ambitions. He will condemn the world to an eternity of suffering in order to gain immortality and power, and he feels nothing but satisfaction in that choice.
He describes the events that set him on this path. He learned about the Entities from Robert Smirke, alongside Lukas, Scott and other unnamed scholars. As he saw his fellow students fall to their influence, he feared that one of them might complete a ritual. Though he initially sought to simply prevent this, Magnus eventually concluded that the only way to guarantee that he would never fall victim to someone else's ritual was to complete his own ritual first.
He convinced Smirke to build Millbank Prison as a temple to all of the entities, and made his own modifications to the panopticon. The dread of the prisoners seeped into the panopticon, and years later Magnus attempted The Watcher's Crown. It failed, killing all the inmates, but granted him semi-omniscience. Wanting to keep the site under his control, he moved The Magnus Institute to its current location above the tunnels.
Magnus prolonged his life through body hopping as he spent years preventing other rituals while trying to figure out what went wrong with his own. Things changed when Gertrude Robinson became the Archivist. She was different from the other archivists, not interested in collecting statements but singlemindedly dedicated to preventing rituals. By now Magnus suspected that no ritual had succeeded because of some underlying problem with the actual ritual, rather than outside interference, and Gertrude had the same suspicion.
She made no effort to stop The People's Church of the Divine Host and their efforts to complete The Extinguished Sun in order to see if the ritual would collapse on its own. It did, and Magnus realized the problem with the rituals: The entities could never be truly separated from each other. They overlapped far too much and even those that seemed to exist in direct opposition needed the contrast of each other to define themselves, ie, a world with only the Buried would make as much sense as a world where the only direction was down.
With this knowledge he devised a new ritual, one that would summon all 14 Fears simultaneously. At the heart of this was the Archivist, someone who could serve as a living record of fear. To complete the ritual, Magnus needed them to be marked by all 14 Fears, in both mind and body. The former could be easily accomplished by feeding them the appropriate statements but the latter would take considerably more planning.
Magnus saw John as an excellent candidate for the position as he was already marked by The Web when he joined The Institute. At first he simply observed him and waited for The Institute to be attacked, wanting to test John's mettle in a life-or-death situation. When Jane Prentiss attacked, Magnus waited to activate the fire suppression system until the worms had burrowed into John to ensure that he was marked by The Corruption.
Magnus had not anticipated the arrival of Jurgen Leitner, and, as he could have revealed too much to John, Magnus killed him. This also served as an excuse to send John out into the world, where he could be marked by further entities.
Magnus requested Daisy was assigned to Leitner's murder, knowing that she was connected to The Hunt. Additionally, he sent John statements that would lead him to other avatars, and John was marked by The Desolation and The Vast through interactions with Jude Perry and Michael Crew. Though Magnus didn't send Melanie to her encounter with The Slaughter, he took advantage of the situation and bound her to the institute, knowing John would be a good target for her anger, resulting in his being marked by The Slaughter during Melanie's surgery.
The Unknowing served to test John's power, and also resulted in him being marked by The End when he was left near-dead in a coma. Magnus had planned to go into hiding after The Unknowing, as he worried John's growing power would allow him to prematurely figure out the plan if they met face-to-face. Going to jail was an unexpected but acceptable deviation as it ultimately served the same purpose.
Only four marks remained: The Dark, The Flesh, The Buried, and The Lonely. Magnus pushed Jared Hopworth to attack the Institute, but was annoyed when it happened prior to John's release from the hospital. In the end, John went to confront him voluntarily, and came out of it marked by The Flesh. Once The Coffin turned up, Magnus got Basira out of town so John would enter it and become marked by The Buried. Knowing the Dark Star was sitting around, Magnus manipulated John and Basira, sending them to Ny-Ålesund to find it, resulting in John being marked by The Dark.
Finally came The Lonely. Peter Lukas knew Magnus' plan and was unwilling to help until Magnus made him a bet about Martin. Thus John's foray into the Lonely provided the final mark.
John is now ready, he is marked, and with The Eye's power within him it is time for the world to be remade. Magnus forces John to read the incantation, summoning all the Fears.
The ritual is complete.
A frantic Martin wakes John with a slap. He is terrified and warns John not to go outside. Everything is wrong. John knows that what's happening outside is happening everywhere, the whole world is afraid because of what he did. John tells Martin to look at the sky.
It's looking back.
- The official description of this episode is simply "Vigilo, Audio, Supervenio", which roughly translates to "I watch. I listen. I surpass."
- The Magnus Institute's motto is "Vigilo. Opperior. Audio.", "I watch. I wait. I listen."
- In MAG 0.3, when John steps away from the tape recorder, a voice can be heard chanting "Vigilo. Audio. Opperior."