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[IC] Storm's Eve [Wraith: the Great War]

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  • [IC] Storm's Eve [Wraith: the Great War]

    June 30, 1916
    9:42 PM

    Paris, the City of Lights…

    At least for the Quick anyway. For the Restless Dead it wasn’t quite so…bright.

    It’s been a week since you’ve been assigned here from Stygia, but you had been here before a few times briefly when you had been alive and once again once you had died and been reaped before moving onto Stygia and into the Grim Legion. Now you were back, patrolling the city—the city’s necropolis alongside a circle of your fellow Grim Legionaries and circles from the other Legions.

    With the sheer number of dead pouring in from the Western Front many older, more experienced wraiths have been sent out among the lines to reap the recently deceased, leaving their duties to younger wraiths such as yourself. Perhaps in other necropoli this wouldn’t be a big deal but this was Paris, a city of revolution, war and bloodshed over the last few centuries, becoming a hotbed of rabblerousing bands of Renegades and fanatical Heretic cults. It didn’t help that longer the war in the Skinlands dragged on the more…tense, on edge everyone seemed to be getting. Your own Shadow had been becoming increasingly active, its whispers growing louder and it seemed that it wasn’t just you. In the past week your alone circle had dealt with nearly a dozen wraiths going through Catharsis.

    The leader of your circle was Adam, a Canadian sergeant who fell during the first gas attacks at Ypres. Despite having a sickly look to him, a rasping voice and suffering from an occasional hacking cough that sounded like he was drowning, the man was a rock, calm and unshakable if reserved.

    Then there was Susan, a British woman killed by Zeppelin bombing. She wasn’t a soldier and probably would have been more comfortable working as a bureaucrat rather than a soldier but she had volunteered for this. Why, she hadn’t said and you didn’t feel like prying into it. Plus she wasn’t exactly a pleasant person, loud, opinionated and boisterous. Despite that and her lack of combat experience from life she was fairly skilled at Castigation.

    Rounding out the circle was a pair of Germans, Karl and Fredrick. Like the rest of you they were more lives claimed by the ever-hungry maw of this war. Susan hated them, frequently calling them Jerry at best, Hun at worst. Adam was indifferent to their enemies in life as he seemed to be with most things. But if nothing else they were much livelier than Adam and Susan, reminding you of the comrades you left behind and about the closest thing you had to friends in your newly formed circle.

    The irony of that wasn’t lost on you either.

    “You see that?” Karl suddenly asked, pulling you from your musings as he slung the rifle from his shoulder.

    Without a second thought your hand reached for the sheath sword at your waist and drew it. Unlike Karl and Adam with their relic rifles you, Susan and Fredrick only had a soulsteel blades to defend yourselves. Not exactly a comforting notion but then unlike in the Skinlands guns and bullets were a much rarer commodity.

    Tonight’s schedule had you patrol the edge of the region around Notre Dame, the largest Heretic lair in the entire city and a dangerous place for a Hierarchy wraith like yourself. From what you had heard they usually didn’t venture this far out or cause too much problems. Usually. But these weren’t exactly the best of times. The war was dragging on and on and things in the Underworld seemed about as grim, dour and miserable as life at the front had been. Maybe because of all the men killed in the war pouring into the Underworld, bring its horrors and miseries with them. Back in Stygia people had been talking about the missing Emperor, Charon, and increasing tensions between the Legions. From what you had heard here in Paris those rumors had spread, stoking up Heretic and Renegade alike. There had been a few toss ups between some of the troublemakers and the authorities. You certainly weren’t keen on getting involved in one yourself.

    But the tense moment passed and there was nothing, the street was empty. Well at least no wraiths anyways. A few of the Quick were milling around, though not many given the hour and the war.

    “Jumping at shadows Jerry?” Susan spat.

    “I saw something,” Karl shot back.

    “Where is it then?”

    The German ghost opened his mouth but hesitated, glancing around at you and the others. You hadn’t seen anything and it didn’t look like others had either. Probably just nerves. Lord knows you were all on edge out here.

    “Move out,” Adam barked, shouldering his rifle.

    Without another word the rest of you holstered your weapons and resumed your patrol. Whether in the Skinlands or the Shadowlands, there was a beauty to the city even if now it was a mishmash of old and new or that its shadows were longer and darker. There had been plenty of inspiration for your writings, if only paper wasn't as valuable as gold...

    “So how far have you gotten in your story Tommy?” Fredrick asked as you marched through the streets.

    Susan let out a groan. “Not that trash again.”

    “It’s not that bad,” Fredrick replied. “Besides it will pass the time.”

    Shadow: While it has been getting louder and nosier over the last few days at the moment your Shadow is quiet.

    Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

  • #2
    "About to pen the second draft." Thomas says. "Still a working progress I'm afraid. Rome wasn't built in a day." He keeps his eyes peeled on the buildings and the alleys. " I know your not a fan of my works Susan, but we all need to calm our minds. Things seem to be a little bit too quiet. Don't you agree Sargent?" He keeps a close hand to his blade. It's a bit suspect when it's a quiet night, another when even your own Shadow is quiet. Thomas starts to get an uneasy feeling, like those times of silence before the shells start firing, the only difference is he isn't with his howitzer.

    Onyx Path Kickstarters I back.
    W20, MtC, CB20, DtD, MtAs20, BotW20, Wraith 20th.


    • #3

      Adam glanced back over his shoulder at you, his mouth opening to say something only for a scream to cut him off.

      It was another spook, an old priest from the looks of it, running towards your group from behind, howling like a banshee from Hell itself. His eyes were black pits, his mouth stretched impossibly wide, weeping cuts marring his corpus and frantically waving a cross. You had seen this enough to recognize this, it was a wraith driven into Catharsis.

      “Shit!” Karl cursed, frantically raising his rifle at the approaching wraith.

      “No! Don’t!” Adam shouted, a hand reaching out for the German.

      But he was too late as Karl fired off a shot, striking the maddened ghost’s throat. The old man froze mid-run for a second before falling forward, still howling as he faded away. His wailing cry was the last to disappearing leaving a deathly silence.

      The ex-sergeant let out a curse before striking Karl. “Fool! Damned fool!” he spat, pulling the rifle from his hands. “Did you see that man’s clothes?!”

      Despite being shorter than Karl and sickly-looking, the sergeant seemed to tower over the man. It wasn’t hard to see why the man had been an NCO in life. The young German just seemed small, like a naughty child being disciplined. “He was a priest, a priest this close to Notre Dame. Do you have any idea what that means?”

      “He could be a Heretic,” Karl quietly admitted.

      “Yes and you just sent him into a Harrowing. What do you think will happen if another one happened to have seen it? Or if he manages to come back from it and tells the others that a Legion wraith nearly destroyed him?”

      “But his Shadow was controlling him,” Karl defended.

      “What could he do with a cross besides giving you a whack to the head?” Adam shot back. "We only throw them into Harrowings if we have no choice! Not because we get scared!"

      Karl was at a loss for words, shrinking even further from the sergeant’s furious gaze. As harsh as he was, Adam was pretty justified at his anger. Despite only being here a short time it had been pretty clear that the Necropolis of Paris was a powder keg between the Hierarchy, the Heretic cults and the various Renegade bands, waiting for that spark to set it all off. God only knew when that spark would come but it would be a mess.

      Hopefully this wasn’t it.

      Adam turned away from Karl, thrusting the rifle into your hands. “Our patrol is over,” he announced. “We’re heading back to the Citadel.”

      Without another word your unit started moving again, cutting through an alleyway between two buildings. The alleys were narrow and more than a little creepy but at least they’d get you away from Heretic territory faster.

      As your unit moved you couldn’t help but glance over at Karl. He was nervously chewing his bottom lip, his head down and only half looking at where he was going. Undoubtedly his Shadow was tormenting him right now. Perhaps wouldn’t hurt to see if Susan could take a look at him.

      “What an inept clod,” your Shadow whispered in his smug, superior tone. “We would not have made such embarrassing mistake. Anyone with half a mind could see that. A shame they hadn’t given you the rifle instead. At least now they’ve done something smart by giving it to you. Of course shirking your duties is not only cowardly but will only bring trouble from your superiors.”

      Speak of the devil…

      “Bad enough he couldn’t control the Hun but abandoning his duty? You’ve seen what happens to such men. Are you willing to suffer for their failings? And why should you? You’ve done nothing wrong. You’ve been doing your duty. Yet because of their failures you are all going to be punished for it.”

      [The relic rifle is a Gewehr 98, a German bolt action rifle with a five bullet cartridge. Obviously one bullet has been used.]

      Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.


      • #4
        Thomas slings the rifle over his shoulder as he continues on with the patrol returning to the Citadel. Anyone can make mistakes. Most are still young and haven't been on the frontlines long enough to see some of the horrors. Thomas says to his Shadow mentally. Punishment will be place on Karl. If it falls on the unit then so be it. I have no problem with sharing the burden, I am still a soldier. He keeps an eye up towards the rooftops, expecting a rain that might be there or not, be it small arms, Arcanoi, or shelling. "Sargent, is it wise to be cutting through here close to Heretic territory?" He whispers to the Sargent. "There might be a rainstorm." Whispering some more. Granted, the alley is a bit creepy, something one would suspect anywhere at any Necropoli, but since the rooftops are considered a height advantage; and normally, at least when he was alive, he was the one raining steel and lead down on enemy soldiers. He nudges Karl to get his attention. He signals Karl to keep an eye on the rooftops. It would make things easier having more eyes on the sky than just his alone.

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