Shadows in the Fog

Pandora's Empty Box pt. 1

Xhuuya's spirit is out and it is up to no good.

Saturday, August 22nd

It is a clear, sunny day in San Francisco. Kyle, Ian and Chester are all busy doing maintenance work around the building taking turns to check in on how Xhuuya is doing. Despite Chester using Summer magic to help her heal she has remained in a slumber and unresponsive for a week now since their battle with the Gruff. She wakes suddenly from vivid, deep dreams of her grandfather and of that fateful night they pulled the anger spirit from the old man.

All seems well, momentarily. Then she realizes. The spirit is gone. The pressure in her chest that she has borne for nearly 20 years has vanished. Short-lived relief turns rapidly into fear as she realizes that it is out there in the city.

Judith, who has been tending Xhuuya’s store for the week she has been unconscious, comes into the room and is very excited to see her awake! She mentions that there is a man downstairs (“only kind of cute”) who was looking for her. She says that he seems very anxious and nervous.

Heading downstairs the group is introduced to Philip Hanson, a freelance public relations manager who has recently started his own business. He awkwardly begins by saying that he had “heard” that the players were people that could help him and that he felt he didn’t have anywhere else to turn. He rolls up his sleeves and on his arms there are bruises as if someone grabbed him very roughly. He says it was his grandmother, Melinda. The real wrinkle, he says, is that she died last February. In May she returned to Philip in his apartment and he was overjoyed to strike up a whole new relationship with his grandma. He said that she was much more open about talking about her life since she had already left it. He asked her about his family and her marriage with his grandfather, Wilson, whom the Great War had robbed of his ability to express his emotions.

But that all changed about five days ago, Philip continues. His grandmother started becoming more and more upset culminating in her yanking him out of bed and dragging him across the floor. Philip loves her very much but is convinced that something is very wrong. He is utterly relieved when the players decide to take his story seriously and not throw him out into the street. They decide to check out his apartment but first they stop off for a quick bite to eat. Xhuuya is, after all, very hungry after being fed applesauce all week!

They go up the street to the Cruz Control Deli. Run by an energetic lady named Christina Cruz (she prefer’s “Tina”), the players are given free lunch in return for the help that Xhuuya gave to Tina and her boyfriend who was possessed at the time. Tina and her boyfriend, Javier, are still together and working through the trauma that sprang from him being possessed. When Javier comes around the corner with plates in hand he drops them when he sees Xhuuya. The memory of the trauma is still fresh for him. Kyle eats two hot fudge sundaes. He is extremely pleased with the sweetness of the chocolate in these modern times.

He lives on the 6th floor of an apartment building in the Russian Hill district. Prior to entering the apartment Philip turns all the electronics off. Entering the area, they find a broken line of salt around Philip’s bed. He explains that he is a big fan of the Supernatural show and that salt seemed to work well against spirits there so he decided to give it a try. It didn’t work very well for him, unfortunately. The ring was broken when grandma yanked him out of bed. He describes her as a shimmering blue spirit. Recently, however, he says that she seems nervous and anxious and had tremors before she exploded in rage, as if keeping the anger inside was almost more effort than she could bear. Xhuuya remembers the old man that held the anger spirit. He looked exactly the same.

Ian opens up his sight and looks around. Philip has a locket from his grandmother (it has a picture of his grandfather in it) that she wore always. He has several pieces of her furniture in his apartment. Ian is bathed in an overwhelming string of images of Melinda’s life and marriage. The excitement of bringing home their first piece of NEW furniture. Her crying alone in the bedroom after Wilson came home from overseas. The love she felt when he tried to cook her cupcakes (he never cooked anything!). It was a marriage, certainly, no more or less horrible than any other marriage. Wilson was a good (albeit always too quiet for Melinda) husband who cared for her in his own way.

The group decides to summon the spirit of Melinda into a ward. Concerned that Melinda may be possessed by the Anger Spirit, they begin preparations to contain it should it arrive. Left with not enough time to construct a ward heavy enough to contain it indefinitely they do their best with what they have. Xhuuya has a bentwood box that she constructed when she was experimenting with ways to get the spirit out of her. They summon Miranda into the circle with them while keeping Philip in his bedroom in the circle of salt which they show him how to activate with a drop of his blood. Xhuuya, immensely fearsome when she chooses to be, demands the ghost be trapped in the circle. And it is. After a brief scuffle with the enraged spirit of Miranda Xhuuya imprisons her in a coil of spirit cobras and places a pearl around her neck. The pearl allows Xhuuya to track where the influence on Miranda’s spirit is coming from. A brief flash of vision comes to her as she flies over San Francisco and dives beneath Chinatown. The Victorian Underground.

With Miranda’s anger so overwhelming, Xhuuya ends her afterlife in an explosion of ectoplasm. A knowing Philip cries out from the bedroom in anguish. He will never seen his grandma again. This he knows.

Then the fire alarm goes off and the sprinklers being to spray.

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mosswood17

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