Shadows in the Fog

Judith Dies at the End

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

The day begins very much like any other. The sun is shining and burning away the morning fog to reveal the golden gate bridge. The clouds present are raining some and the sun glitters through it. A woman, Leslie Wilkins, uncomfortably enters Xhuuya’s store. She wanders around some before Xhuuya approaches her. Leslie panics slightly, becoming very emotional, and moves to leave before being invited back inside. Xhuuya brews some tea for the troubled woman who says she was referred by Dala, an Indian woman that Xhuuya helped out about 8 months ago. Leslie brings a photo of her daughter, Judith, and tells Xhuuya that Judith has become involved with a new age group called The New Day Ministry. Leslie all but begs that Xhuuya look into it as she feels that “something is wrong”. Kakupakal (“Kyle”) is teaching students upstairs in the observatory and has a cold tremor wash over him.

Xhuuya brings the photo and the story upstairs to the roof. She passes through the panic room that Chester has built in case he transforms inappropriately. Chester (“Ches”) and Ian are on the roof of the building surrounded by an ocean of broken light bulbs. Ches is planning to upgrade the light bulbs in his building and they are experimenting with how susceptible they are to hexing. Kyle comes up to join everyone, having dismissed his class until the evening. When Xhuuya shows the picture of Leslie’s daughter, Judith, Kyle has a vision wash over him from the future.

“You see Judith, kneeling in a magical circle, her hand is bleeding and she is crying hysterically. A growing light enshrouds her, blinding and terrifying. A deep booming voice echoes through your head, ‘They who call my name shall their death be had.’ What follows is a brutal and short lived image of horrific murder.”

We add the Aspect Judith Dies at the End.

The group decides to head down to the New Day Ministry to take a look around. They take the Coach, a beat up VW van with a small magic circle in the back for working magic. Ian and Kyle attempt a simple scry spell to peek into the Ministry building but they are pushed back by a threshold that seems stronger than it should be. Entering into the front of the building they are greeted by a receptionist who happily invites them in. The New Day Ministry appears to be a mashup of many religions with a heavy influence taken from Buddhism.

The Reverend Nathaniel Sky Camilo-Perez comes down to meet them and welcomes them to his Ministry. He seems to know of the reputations surrounding the players and appears thrilled that they have chosen to come here. Asking for the full tour, Reverend Sky takes them around the building. Ian sneaks into the restroom and locks the door (breaking it!). He gets the components together for a simple tracking spell (a ring of salt on the edge of the sink with a magnet wrapped in bubble wrap, nicely done, by the way!). He detects Judith within the building. While touring with them, Reverend Sky deftly plucks information from them. He is a charming man, no doubt. Kyle decides to use the Sight on him and sees a horrific person wrapped inside this calm, welcoming exterior. He sees the wriggling of souls in his rib cage, trapped and trying to be free. Ches sees one of the Reverend’s aspects, A Deep Dark Hole. Closing the sight, he reels slightly but has no other effect.

Upstairs there is a recreation area for adherents to the faith. It is a sunny space filled with bookshelves and tables. Judith Wilkins is seated at one of them with a group of women around her. They have books open but appear to be talking. They all have contented smiles upon their faces. Ian uses the sight in here and sees a magical rune scribed upon the wall obscured under the paint.

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Judith Dies at the End pt. 2

Judith Dies at the End pt.2

August 12th, 2015 (Continued)

The group is investigating New Day Ministry, a cult operated under the extremely talented and charismatic Reverend Nathaniel Sky. One of his peers, Satish Narayana, comes out to introduce himself to the group. He also seems aware of their reputation around town. Contrary to Reverend Sky, Satish appears to be a sorcerer. He welcomes the group and says that what they have seen so far is more for the acolytes and probably seems very elementary. He offers to show Kyle his personal library where he keeps his more prized tomes. The books are kept in hermetically sealed shelves, protected from air and water and also a very impressive display of wealth.

Xhuuya is at the table with Judith Wilkins, Stephanie Bennett, and Rita Hill. As Xhuuya is looking around at the girls, Rita holds up a piece of paper with “HELP ME” written on the corner.

Ian and Chester begin to plan a distraction to empty the building out. They set up an exploding potion on top of the door and used a magical breeze to knock it over causing a fire in the New Day Ministry building. Richard, one of the men in the offices, is rather rude to Chester but quiets significantly when he realizes he is being watched by Reverend Sky.

Satish, distracted, heads out of the office into the hallway to figure out what is going on (no sprinklers spray in his office, an obvious nod to his magical prowess). Kyle uses the opportunity to rifle through the desk and finds a note, “Prep the Honeycomb for J.W.” Kyle assumes that the note refers to Judith Wilkins. Satish returns quickly saying that a fire has broken out and that Kyle must leave the building immediately. Kyle uses the moment to rifle the file cabinets and finds a personal file on Judith Wilkins that includes photographs taken without her knowledge as she is walking up the street. Creepy.

Xhuuya gathers up the girls at the table and invites them back to her store and they agree readily, having already expressed interest in the shop to her. Outside the Ministry it is chaotic and everyone, including Judith, Stephanie and Rita hop in the old VW van and head back to the shop. Once there, Xhuuya brews some tea and they begin talking to the girls about the ministry. Rita drops a teacup when the Honeycomb is mentioned and clams up. Kyle pipes up at this point about the religious practices of the New Day Ministry and volunteers some firsthand knowledge of human sacrifice (a compel on Spectacle Over Subtlety) that results in all three of the young ladies thinking that Kyle is strange and kind of freaky. They excuse themselves, citing studying as the reason, and adjourn to a coffee shop up the street. Rita promises to return at around 10pm without her friends, likely to speak more freely than she could right then.

Ian begins a thaumaturgy spell to keep an eye on Stephanie Bennett as they sit at the coffee shop. He picks up a snippet of conversation between the young ladies about the Honeycomb. Rita refers to it like a place that she heard Satish speaking about. Ian follows Stephanie back to her apartment building where she lives with both Judith and Rita. Ian’s spell fizzles as she crosses the threshold into her apartment.
Xhuuya follows Satish around for the afternoon. He meets with a young man, an acolyte of the Ministry, named Simon Dunn. He confirms that he has set up a meeting with Judith that evening. Strangely, he also confirms that he won’ t have to be there to meet Judith.

Chester and Kyle spend the day poring over maps and trying to locate the Honeycomb but have very little luck. Kyle decides to pay Stephanie a visit and buzzes her room under the pretense that he is there to apologize for his previous behavior. A further creeped out Stephanie says she’ll be “right down”. Kyle retreats across the street to watch as the cops arrive. Then more cops arrive.

Ian and Xhuuya return to the shop. Ian begins to fashion an antenna that will let everyone stay in contact. Chester goes up to Rita’s room disguised as a cat and finds it to be a crime scene. There is blood on the wall and signs of a struggle but Rita isn’t there. After driving the police inspector crazy by running across the crime scene a few times Chester makes off with Rita’s hair brush. He hands it off to Ian who immediately begins using it to cast a spell to locate her.

Xhuuya speaks to the police outside her shop who are looking for Kyle. She mentions that he works at the observatory and they promptly take off after mentioning that Kyle is being sought out for questioning concerning the abduction of Rita Hill. She heads back to the apartment to keep an eye out for anyone leaving. After a long and eventful day she drifts off to sleep for just a moment and fails to see Judith leave her apartment and walk up the street purposefully…

Next time…Thursday, August 13th.

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Judith Dies at the End pt. 3

Kyle’s tracking spell pulls everyone back to SOMA to an abandoned warehouse. As the players approach they see a shadow fleeing across the top of the building. Xhuuya, fast as a blink, turns into a raven and flies up and grabs the man before he can get below. She takes him back to the van and, realizing that he is significantly outgunned, offers up lots of information. There is a ritual happening inside the warehouse. There are about nine members of the New Day Ministry with Satish. Chester and Xhuuya decide do head down the stairs from the roof while Ian sets up a distraction using a bay door on the front of the building. Ian and Xhuuya dispatch a large quantity of Gargle Demons on the way down to the warehouse proper. Ian calls upon Summer to blast them into smithereens along with a good portion of the building.

In the middle of the warehouse a magical circle had been inscribed into the concrete. Judith was in the circle with a gate opening, disgorging a large, shining black demonic creature entering our world. Kyle runs in first, charging in quickly. He is followed quickly by Chester and Xhuuya. A pitched battle occurs with Kyle’s staff finally striking the killing blow. The creature, still shrouded in mystery, was seen to be bound in some way with a mystical tether that traveled back through the gate. Chester is wounded but is protected by the power of the Summer Court. When the demonic creature falls Satish completes his spell and appears to vanish.

With sirens approaching the group decides to tie up the rest of the cultists and let the Wardens and the Police take care of them. Heads will likely roll. The sun rises on Thursday, August 13th. It’s a New Day.

Epilogue

Damage Control

“This is Bryan Gantz, ABC7 News reporting live from the New Day Ministry building that, earlier today, was evacuated by what authorities are calling an ‘unknown explosive device’. Interestingly, this morning members of the New Day Ministry were arrested by police apparently in the midst of some sort of ritual that involved human sacrifice. Standing with me is Reverend Nathaniel Sky, the leader of the New Day Ministry. Reverend Sky, your thoughts?”

“Thank you, Bryan. I wanted to take this opportunity to give my heartfelt apology to all those who were affected by this tragedy. I am shocked that such people were operating under the roof of our fair church and will work with law enforcement to ensure that there are no others here. Above all is the safety of our members. Blessings upon you all.”

“Thank you very much for your time, Reverend Sky. Our hearts go out to you during this time of crisis!”

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Benthic Horizons pt.1

Thursday August 13th

We open in the early morning of Thursday as the group makes a hasty retreat from the warehouse where the New Day Cultists were summoning something terrible. They realize they had forgotten the spellcaster on the roof they had tied up in their van prior to storming the warehouse. The man’s name was Francis Delroy (goes by just Delroy). He begs the players to not turn him in to the Wardens. Xhuuya makes the case that they should listen and perhaps give him a chance. While not extremely close and trusted by Satish, Delroy knew that the group was being used somehow to kill the giant demon creature that was going to kill Judith. He says that it was guarding something and that, with the demon out of the way, Satish plundered it somehow with magic. He knows that Satish and Nathaniel Sky have safehouses spread around the city but doesn’t know where they would be. Grudgingly, the players decide to release Francis Delroy but take samples of his hair and his nails first (a very unsubtle threat if he decides to turn on them). While talking by a payphone the phone rings and the mysterious voice is Lyle Harrigan, Chester’s “handler” on behalf of the Summer Court. He instructs Chester to retrieve an item that is being exchanged at Bay 7 Friday night. He tells Chester the Red Court will likely not appreciate him taking it from them.

On the ride back to the Oswald building Judith comforts Rita and tells her that they were given drugs and that the things she thinks she saw were hallucinations. She does her best to spare Rita the horror of realizing that the things she saw were actually real. Judith is in not quite so lucky of a place. She saw things. She knows things. Before heading to bed she asks the players to help. She wants to fight the bad things and keep what happened to her from happening to someone else.

Everyone goes to bed and wakes up in the early afternoon. Kyle turns himself in and, with the corroborating testimony of Rita and Judith is soon cleared of any charges. Rita decides to head home to the East Coast so they drop her off at the airport. Chester uses the power of the Summer Court to heal his bone back as good as new. The power is intoxicating but he knows there will be a cost…

Closing in on evening now, as the sun goes down everyone decides to go take a look at the San Francisco Port to get a Lay of the Land. Kyle decides to start a distraction at the front gates and does so successfully. A large group of dockworkers gather around him as he acts crazy (or crazier!). The upside is that Ian manages to climb the fence without incident and enters the docs with the help of a veil. He uses his sight on several things but gets little more than a headache. He hexes out the lights in the trailer that serves as an office and enters, getting the drop on the man behind the desk there. He questions him about boats coming in tomorrow but no boat called the Benthic Horizon is scheduled to dock at any time tomorrow. It appears that the boat is docking completely off the books. They also don’t see any obvious signs of the Red Court.

Friday August 14th
Another night of rest ushers in Friday morning wrapped in fog that slowly burns off as the sun rises higher in the sky. Preparations begin in earnest to prepare for the evening’s activities.

Aspects Produced:

  • Lay of the Land (for the SF Port)
  • Waxing Crescent Moon
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Benthic Horizons pt. 2

Friday, August 14th
After preparing for the evening’s “festivities” at the Port, Xhuuya and Chester fly over the Port and are surprised to find that they don’t see any Red Court Vampires. It appears to be a normal night at the docks although there are some extra bodies moving around. They do spot two people who appear to be plain-clothes police officers (later identified as Inspectors Daniel Haigon and Fran Bonnard) waiting patiently on the docks. The dock workers begin breaking out hoses as if to clean off the pier, or fight a fire.

Not wanting to boost whatever it is they are stealing at the Port, our group decides to storm the Benthic Horizon instead. Ian shorts out the control panel for the starboard engines with a large shower of sparks. Surprisingly, no screams or exclamations are made from the crew at the bridge. Chester swoops down across the window and sees the Captain’s eyes are pure white. Ian, pulling on his encyclopedic knowledge of magic, determines that the crew members are likely under some sort of mental compulsion.

They head down into the bowels of the ship and retrieve the “item” from a shipping container there. The container is cracked open and inside is a young Thai boy. Despite the long journey there is no evidence of any bodily functions. He has a single comic book with him written in Japanese. He smacks his lips. Our group smuggles him off the ship (the crew of the Benthic Horizon seem utterly unaware of them. They decide to take a blood sample from the little boy who then opened his arm up on the edge of a metal table. Watching to see what happened, the boy bled for several minutes and then healed up almost instantaneously. “He thinks we want more blood,” Ian observed. The group take their rented boat back to Richmond where they load him on the VW Bus and start driving inland to the drop-off point in the Stanislaus National Forest.

Kyle has a flash of the Oswald building weeping blood and the people inside screaming. Checking in at the building they get hold of Judith Wilkins (she is hanging out in the building now) and she finds a note on the front door with a phone number on it. Calling that number an ominous voice (obviously the voice is being modified mechanically) orders Chester to come back to the Oswald building or the Red Court will slaughter everyone in the building. Chester calls Lyle Harrigan, his “handler” and demands that he come pick the kid up at the Oswald building. Harrigan scoffs at this. Kyle takes the boy into a convenient store (he smacks his lips together every time they pass one) and the boy gathers an armful of grape soda which he mechanically chugs on the way back.

Arriving back at the Oswald building the Red Court orders them to room 607, Dala’s room. She was the small Indian lady that put Judith’s mother in touch with Oswald, Ian, Kyle and Xhuuya. A Red Court Vampire is sitting on the sofa in front of a large, complicated bomb. The vampire reports that it is set to go off if the electronics panel shorts out (someone uses magic). The vampire says that it is here to negotiate the exchange of Dala (and a large portion of lives of people in the Oswald building) for the “item” that they took from the Red Court. Irritated, Chester summons up a great amount of Summer power and blows the vampire and the bomb out the side of the building before it explodes. Approaching the edge of the opening and looking down the “bomb” appears to be a decoy and the vampire is already on his feet and running up the street toward the coffee place up the street where Judith is holed up. Chester jumps through the window and chases the vampire through a panicked crowd, narrowly missing hurting anyone and putting the vampire through the wall into the bathroom. Xhuuya flies by and, with razor sharp talons, opens up the vampire’s belly causing blood to spurt all over the bathroom. The vampire begs for mercy and gives the players information. He doesn’t know what the boy is or does but knows that Marika, the head of the Red Court in San Francisco, is at odds with the White Court who have gathered the remnants of the Black Court up as muscle in this conflict. Chester tells the vampire that he is never to come back to the Oswald building again. The vampire gets out of there promptly.

Saturday, August 15th, early

Meanwhile, Ian and Kyle have hit the road with the boy in the van, heading east to the Stanislaus National Forest where Harrigan told them to drop the “item” at a small cabin. The drive is largely uneventful until a Gruff appears out of nowhere and violently slams into the side of the VW bus tipping it over into darkness…

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Benthic Horizons pt. 3
A pitched battle and a command fulfilled.

Saturday, August 15th

Driving down the quiet road in the dark a flash of movement is seen just off the road. Before anyone can react the van is hit so hard the side of the Van collapses in and it flips over on its side and noisily slides to a stop. The gnarled voice of Gruffs echo out from the shadowy forest. “We have come for the boy. Give him to us, wizards, and there will be no trouble”. Xhuuya hits her head soundly against the window as it breaks and is knocked out cold. Ian uses leverage (and his very large muscles) to flip the van back onto its wheels again. Chester beckons out a challenge to the Gruffs, one of which responds calling him, “The Summer Squire”. When the wizards begin raising shields and preparing for a conflict the Gruff open fire with their automatic rifles.

Kyle runs up to a Gruff and nearly brains it with his staff. This makes most of the other Gruffs a little nervous and they concentrate fire on him. He winds up getting shot but the wound is through and through, no major internal injury. Chester transforms into a mountain lion and chases the Gruff who dishonored him down after blasting him with a pure ray of Summer magic. He rips off the Gruff’s head which rolls down the hillside to the road.

A pitched battle it was with everyone weary at the end. They find the boy, Sunan, riddled with bullet holes as he lay over the top of Xhuuya protecting her from the hail of bullets that the Gruffs threw at the van. Chester knows the Gruff were sent by Ballor, one of the heavy hitters in the Summer Court. To what purpose remains unclear.

They drive the rest of the way in their beaten up Van (the roof caved in from a giant mountain lion, on steroids, leaping from it) to the Stanislaus National Forest. They arrive in the small ghost town and take Sunan into the house. They open a small door under the stairs and see a field of golden wheat with kites circling in the skies above. Upon them stepping through the kites change from their frolicking amble to a diving charge toward the players. They leave Sunan there and close the door. When they open it again Sunan is gone.

Exhausted they all return to the Oswald building to fall asleep. Harrigan calls Chester and praises him for a job well done.

Epilogue:
There is a purple light. Now it is blue. It whirls and sends pictures of horses galloping around the room. There are toys here in this playroom but the air is cold and still. “This little piggy went to the market,” comes the silky voice followed by a ripping noise. An amputated arm flies through the air and lands on the floor with a thump. “This little piggy stayed home.” <rip> <thump> “This little piggy had a roast beef sandwich.” <rip> <thump> “This little piggy had none.” <rip> <thump> As we pull back just a little the playroom goes farther back into shadow than we thought possible. Like a room in a dream that is bigger on the inside than on the outside. “We are going to have lots of fun, you and I, my little one!” the woman’s voice speaks again, honey and Summer and the smell of grass and tree bark ladled upon her words overpowered by a maddening stench of lilac. Sunan sits there on the floor in front of the beautiful and completely mad woman who glows with a beauty that has driven more than one man insane with jealousy. “We will play all sorts of games! Won’t that be fun? Now what is my name, little one?” He hesitates momentarily and she reaches for him. Only if you watched him very closely could you see him flinch away in the expectation of pain. “Ruprinia” he says quietly, without emotion. “I am so glad you are learning!” she laughs, her smile lighting up the room like a star.

<rip> <thump>… <rip> <thump>… <rip> <thump> …

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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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Pandora's Empty Box Pt. 2

Pandora’s Empty Box pt. 2

Saturday, August 22nd

With the alarm sounding the emergency sprinklers begin to spray. Outside the apartment door comes a loud thud as a building pressure of angry residents begin to beat down the door. The creaking of the fire escape outside and a smashing of the window in the bedroom shows more of the people coming in through the window. The floor inside the door collapses to the floor below. The door is pushed down over the gap trapping Chester below who quickly scampers up in the shape of a gorilla. Plowing through the humanity pressing against the door, the group pauses to place a protective spell over an older woman who has fallen to the floor clutching her chest.

Rushing down to the ground there are ambulances and police cars with lights flashing. Inspector Matt Calhoun confronts the group as they come out, accusing them of causing the disturbance. He hints about the demon guarding the gate and the group says that they dispatched it as it was going to kill a girl. This makes Calhoun bright and cheery as he tells them that the White Council will be convened to look into the slaying of The Guardian. Calhoun says that the White Council will be arriving in a week.

Back to the Oswald building, the group decide to summon Jacob Lynch Corkoran III, leader of the Victorian Underground. He tells the group that there has been an upsurge of violence amongst the ghosts but he does not know why. Jacob, like so many ghosts, is a rather self-centered sort who has taken to reading the science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick, a writer who explores what it means to be human. He extends to the players an invitation to visit the Underground. He says that there are three entrances to the Underground located in Chinatown. One is in the Crimson Tea Room, another in the Thang Hung Market, the last is in a Starbucks.

The group then visits a good friend of Ian’s, Dr. George Whitner. They speak with Whitner about their predicament. Whitner shares a drink with them and pledges his support on the White Council, paltry though it is.

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Pandora's Empty Box pt. 3

Pandora’s Empty Box pt 3.

Saturday August 22nd

Returning home late the group finds emergency vehicles outside the Oswald building. The emergency paramedics are placing people into the backs of ambulances. Calhoun is, predictably, there. There were several families, some children included, that were “attacked” by rodents. Upon examining the attack sites, Ian uses his Sight to rapidly determine that the Red Court is behind it. There are several holes in the wall where the rodents ripped through the walls to attack. The exterminator says that, even working in New York, he had never seen anything like it. Conrad Drake, the front deskman, reports that there have been a great number of residents calling. Pest problems.

The group rapidly turns to Kiernan, the Red Court Vampire the group spared in the coffee shop up the street. He meets the group on top of the Oswald building. They do NOT invite him inside. They task him with delivering a potion of Rat Summoning on the premises of the New Day Ministry. Kiernan does so easily, consuming two young cultists in the process.

Sunday August 23rd

In the early morning Chester calls out into the Nevernever to Ballor, the Blue Bull of the Summer Court. His meeting is presaged by a pair of Gruff that ensure Chester’s intentions are to speak. Ballor arrives. Chester asks for his help in dealing with the Red Court. Ballor declines, citing that if he helped the blossoming Summer Knight that the others would smell his weakness. He declines the offer and heads back to the Nevernever after dining on Chester’s breakfast. Judith comes running up to the roof and tells them that they are on the news. They head downstairs and find that Reverend Sky has begun talking to the news media about the players, calling them “slumlords”. The players spend all the rest of Sunday defending their name against slander.

Vicki talks with Ian about her concerns about what will happen if Chester “goes over” to the Fae. She thinks that he should prepare in case it happens. Ian begins crafting a spell.

Monday August 24th

The players get in the exterminator to kill the rest of the rats and make a good faith effort to make things right.

Toward evening the group heads down to the Victorian Underground. They are met by a woman, Sonja Hudson (a hippy). Her boyfriend is Forest who tends the generator. Sonja takes them to the Warren, a beautiful underground cavern decorated with lights where the ghosts of the Underground gather. “It brings them all together” says Sonja. They speak with a merchant ghost who tells them that there have been brownouts the last week or so and that during these times ghosts tend to go crazy. The players head down to the generator room and speak with Forest. He is a student learning to be an electrical engineer and complains that the last week the generator has been very temperamental.

Looking at the generator, there appears to be a great spell cast upon it to sneak into the Warren under cover of dark and infect the ghosts with anger. Ian casts a spell and tracks the source of the spell across town. They enter the upscale neighborhood of Pacific Heights and find themselves looking upon a mansion as the sun drops toward the horizon bathing everything in long shadow.

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Pandora's Empty Box pt. 4

Monday August 24th, continued

Night drops on 315 Plum Lane, a large Victorian mansion that appears to hold the person who put the spell on the Victorian Underground’s generator. A quick thaumaturgy spell to look inside the house fails. There is a threshold and a significant ward placed upon the building that blocks Kyle from peeking inside. Ian musters up a great gout of electrical energy and sends it crashing down the wires into the house. It also fizzles as it hits the ward but does manage to blow out all the lights on the street. Kyle, Ian and Chester all pause to consider their options.

Elsewhere, the small Fae known only as Prick Johnson speaks with his good friend Zhina who is trying to convince him to help her out with her newest scheme. Prick is distracted from her words as he sees ghosts passing by the entrance of the alleyway in numbers that he has never seen before. They appear to be following a scorch mark on the street and sidewalk. Zhina thanks him very much for helping and flits off leaving Prick to wonder what he agreed to. He follows the mark to its ending point at Plum lane and sees the Summer Knight with a few other people he suspects are practitioners too. He lands around the corner and puts a glamour on to look like a police officer.

Just as Chester, Ian and Kyle are talking about getting out of there before the cops come they are startled by a police officer who rather strangely recommends that they leave before the “Ghost People” gang gets there. They speak with this strange police officer for a short time until they start seeing ghosts flicker in and out of the streetlights that are flickering on and off. Ghosts of small children, ghosts of enraged men mingle with other things unseen.

Up the street a family loads their child into a minivan stealing furtive glances over the the motley assortment of people who are out of place standing in front of a VW bug that does not belong. The wife slams the side door and the husband walks around the hood to get in on the driver’s side. The entire minivan suddenly lurches into the air and is flung toward the players as though an invisible giant were playing with a toy. Kyle raises a water shield to help catch it and Ian readies his magic to slow the van down without hurting the child strapped to the seat inside. Out of nowhere a Persian Rug truck comes speeding into the scene and the minivan collides with it. Ian, braced for the impact, slows the minivan down without any help at all.

As the husband and wife run past Ian to their child Ian mentions that they should really learn how to use their parking brake. Below him a portal to the Nevernever opens suddenly. Chester turns to a mountain lion form and leaps out from the trap. Ian manages to get out of the way as well but the husband does not. Ian reaches out for him and catches him with his enormous trunk of an arm. The slight chill in the air turns to a frigid cold. Prick jets into the minivan perched on top of the Persian Rug truck and slices through the seatbelt keeping the child inside. He gets him out just in time before the minivan gets picked up again and is smashed down on everyone below. Ian uses his shield ring to protect himself and the husband. Kyle does the same with another enchanted item. The minivan smashes down into pieces, leaking gas everywhere. Prick puts a glamour over the wife and husband and gets them to safety. The rug truck is picked up now and smashes down on Ian who gets pushed down into the ground igniting the gasoline from the minivan but is otherwise unhurt. Another portal opens underneath him and the cold in the air seeps into his heart with a paralyzing chill. Through a monumental effort Ian keeps himself from falling into the Nevernever (it looks like a giant sized library, likely the demesne of a ghost) turning blue with cold in the process. The ghosts clear a path and show a huge spirit that appears to be one of the strongest poltergeists any of the group has ever seen.

With the mountain lion already in the VW bug it is thought that a hasty retreat would be the best strategy. They all jump into the Van and make a (semi) fast getaway. The hills of San Francisco help!

The group heads north to the Marina to meet with Matsumoto, Warden and Commander of the SFPD. He has brought them there to tell them a few things. First off, Calhoun is gunning for them and has been talking to Reverend Sky. Reverend Sky has filed a restraining order on the players and has also told Calhoun that the players were involved in the plan to kill the Guardian and raid the Oubliette (the place where the White Council put all the things it didn’t want found). Matsumoto cautions the players that if anything happens to Reverend Sky that it is very likely to come back on them. He tells them that Marika, the leader of the Red Court, is a smart vampire from Eastern Europe and is very old. He says that if she poked the players with the rats that she is ready for them to poke back. He has also heard tell that there is discord within the Red Court. Marika is very careful and there are some younger vampires who have different ideas about how to run things.

Matsumoto also mentions a domestic violence incident that resulted in a murder suicide of a couple up in Pacific Heights. It was a couple, the Lemberts. He suspected something supernatural as there was some ectoplasm discovered at the scene.

Finally, after hesitating somewhat, Matsumoto mentions that there is something out on Alcatraz that could help them if they run out of time. He says to only use it if it is absolutely necessary. He apologizes for being on the outs with the White Council but promises to start looking into Reverend Sky’s operation to see if he can poke some holes in it for the players. He wishes them well and says it’s going to be a hell of a week.

Indeed it will be!

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