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Chronicle Report: Keepers of the Wyck

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  • #31
    7th Session
    This one's going to be a bit shorter since a large chunk of time went to combat.

    Cast list:

    Joe Hanson: Noir Detective
    Aaron Gibson: Punk Hacker
    Helen Walter: Hermetic Spy
    Sean Heath: Templar Knight

    Both Lydia and Alfred are absent today. I'll be meeting with Alfred's player for a mini-session tomorrow, but Lydia probably won't be around until the next session.

    Notable NPCs:

    Edwin Philips: Our Marauder

    Keepers of the Wyck

    Vivian Porter: High Priestess
    Boris Mortimer: High Priest
    Camellia: Maiden
    Kael: Talisman Crafter
    Mica Rose: Techno witch
    Granny Elm: Hidden Malfean Seer

    ---CHAPTER 7: PICKING UP THE PIECES---

    Lydia ran off. Hanson was still a bit disorientated from the backlash and had no idea where she went. Helen noticed her run off, but was too far away to intervene. They look around. The ground was a mess of broken glass, rubbish, bent lights and a knocked over telephone box. They took in the scene and and considered their next steps.

    Meanwhile, Aaron's effect had ran out, and his computer screen fell blank. He was about to prepare another one to get a visual, but got distracted by a squeaking noise. He investigated, and discovered a large rat scurrying down a hold made in the back of his cupboard. "Uh oh..." He thought, "Rat problem... There goes my deposit." Her returned to his computer and managed to get a view on Hanson.

    Hanson noticed a strange sign on the side of a building. A strange looking twig with five prongs, three on the left and two on the right. Aaron took note. Helen and Sean were about to head back, when Sean noticed a group of strange creatures nearby a car, each of them trying to tear it apart. Helen walks by them, obliviously. One of them senses her, and throws a pipe right at the back of her head. Helen falls to the ground. Sean immediately readies his gun, enchanting it with the Holy Spirit. The creatures, three in total, are hostile and vile. One of them jumps on to Helen's back while another runs up to Sean. Helen manages to get up, dropping the creature to the ground, allowing her a chance to get a good look at them and properly identifying what they are.

    Gremlins, spirits of destruction, enemies of machines.

    Hanson ran up to the two and started aiming and firing his gun straight at the Gremlin terrorising Helen, while Helen tried to doge its oncoming slashing with limited success, sustaining several deep gashes on her arm. Hanson's Gremlin draws close, his gun doing limited damage. The Gremlin swipes at the gun knocking it clean out of his hands, and jumps at Sean as he jumps to reach it. Hanson quickly took a swig of his hip-flask and worked on a mind effect, putting a huge amount of mental fatigue straight into these creatures. Their actions slowed and their intensity felt laboured, but still the continued their assault. Helen's Gremlin grows more interested Hanson, and tries to make a swipe at his gun instead, making it increasingly difficult to aim. Aaron focuses his attention on the third Gremlin, one that is still damaging the car. He loads up his Force Builder app and starts increasing the amount of electrical energy within the car, eventually building up enough wattage to zap now horrendously surprised Gremlin. While the guys were shooting or zapping a Germlin each, Helen took this chance to heal herself of their slashes, and decided to fight her her own powers. She picked up a large shard of glass, got out her wand and readied her shapes, threw it at the one fighting Hanson, and added a little extra kinetic kick. The glass shard lodged itself into the Gremlin. After another zapping, the Gremlin on the car jumped away and call out to its fellows, the other two stopped for a moment, and then ran off with the first. Helen ran after them in hot pursuit.

    Not wanting to lose sight of Helen, Aaron pulled up a new window and set a Corr. effect on her. He saw her run off down the street after the Gremlins, but Helen was not able to catch up. She saw them run of, fading more and more as they ran further and further away, effectively jumping back on the other side of the gauntlet. Helen stopped and looked around. Her understanding of the spirit world was limited, and without Alfred of Lydia around to assist, she wasn't too sure what to expect of them. She was about to turn back when she heard something in the alleyway.

    She cautiously went to investigate, careful to make little noise despite the shard of glass embedded in the soles of her shoes. As she came to a corner, she slowly peered around and saw a man drawing a strange sign on the wall. Aaron had a hard time getting a clear visual on his face, and immediately assumed that this was him, this was Edwin. Helen approached the man who immediately stopped and turned to her. Aaron excitedly called Helen's blutooth headset and started talking to her.

    Edwin: Who are you?
    Helen: Uhh...
    Aaron: He's Edwin! Talk to him!
    Helen: uhm...Hello Edwin.
    Edwin: How.. How do you know my name!?
    Aaron: Just tell him it's ok, the computer man's got his back.
    Helen: It's ok, the computer man has got your back.

    The robotic way that Helen recited what Aaron told her started to play on Edwin's imagination. This person did not sound natural, so perhaps she was not. He started to imagine that she was some kind of monstrous creature disguised as a human, like Wilbur Whately from the Dunwich Horror. As he thought this, she began to transform before his very eyes, causing his retreat. "Stop him!" Aaron cried out, and Helen took out her gun and prepared to shoot, but as she got ready, she found it increasingly difficult to keep her balance. Her sight began to change, getting tinged with yellow, and her hand had suddenly become much larger. She continued to chase but her legs were not of much use.

    Aaron Concentrates on what he can see of Edwin through his screen and tried to drain his kinetic energy, slowing his run to that of a slow jog. Helen continued the chase, but just couldn't keep up, even in his slower form, however she did manage to fire a single shot at him. Helen turned a corner and came face to face with a amorphous blob with several tentacles and numerous pulsating eyes. It made a grab for her, causing her fall, she wrestled around as she heard the awful creature's cry "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!". She quickly tried to free herself and pushed herself away just in time to watch Edwin disappear around another corner. Helen got up and ran the other way, back to the scene where he made his mark, her stride improving with every step until normality resumed. The mark was the same as that seen earlier by Hanson, a strange twig with five prongs.

    Meanwhile, Hanson and Sean where considering their options. The car alarm in the distance was still going strong and it made Hanson curious. He quickly pulled up his perception filter rote on both him and Sean, and they started venturing forth towards the alarm. They reached it with little trouble, but quickly hid as two men in street camo marched towards them. The two men marched towards the car. One stopped, took out a baton and with a waving motion struck the side of the car, the sound instantly stopped. Relying heavily on the perception filter, the two of them stayed as still as they could. Hanson drew out his senses and tried to hear better what they were saying, all he managed to get was:

    Man: -reporting to Schechel Joseph Kent! Area secure and clear! ..... Affirmative!

    And they marched away.

    Hanson: Friends of yours?
    Sean: Perhaps...
    Hanson: You know a Joseph Kent?
    Sean: I might have heard of him... he's a part of the Chorus, might have seen him once or twice.

    Hanson is certain there's something Sean isn't telling him, but lets it go for now. Before they leave, however, they hear a low hum from not to far, they go to investigate. Hanson's danger sense goes haywire as they approach, and with good reason. The hum is of a strange machine, and there are technocrats in the area. They listen in on their conversation for a moment, and determine that they are probably not far from where the breach in the gauntlet was, and that this machine is designed to "fix the break in the dimensional barrier". They get the hell out of there before they can call any attention to themselves.

    They regrouped, Aaron asked Hanson to come to his place to discuss something important, Sean and Helen just went straight back to the Keepers.

    Hanson made a quick stop over by the liquor store in order to fill up his stock while Aaron started setting a few rat traps down. The two met and Aaron started discussing with Hanson all the weird stuff that kept happening around him, and that it all seemed to happen when the same guy was near them time and again. At the station, in front of his house, and now not far from where the Sturm was fought. This guy kept showing up around all these happenings, and his name was Edwin. This caught Hanson's attention immediately, and started to have a long discussion of what they thought they were dealing with.

    Edwin was a very powerful mind mage who has an intense level of arcane. Somehow he seems to be the one doing the bulk of the damage to the gauntlet, but to what end is unclear. He must be good at Correspondence too, otherwise how would he have made that big chamber Aaron found himself in back at Euston station. Then there's these Twig glyths he carves, they gathered that he must be using these glyths to teleport around.

    Aaron asked if Hanson would stay with him for a few nights, partially because Hanson returning home was too dangerous, and partially because Aaron had a feeling that he would bump into Edwin again, since he kept seeming to show up around him so often, and the next time Edwin showed up, he wanted to be ready to catch him and get some answers.

    When Sean and Helen reached the Keepers, they met with Kael who asked what happened with the others, that Vivian was due to arrive back soon and wished to speak with all of them. Helen informed Aaron of this. When they arrived Kael let them into the Node room where Mica was spinning a crystal around in her hand with a look of abject frustration.

    They asked her if she was ok, and she explained her frustration, how Kael was trying to get her to do crystal magic "the right way" and how she was having the hardest time figuring it out. The best she could manage was focusing the energy of the crystal to change its colour, and that's about it.

    Kael: You need to focus on the energy within.Mica
    Mica: This would be a lot easier if you let me use my stuff...
    Kael: Concentrate! You don't need those things.
    Mica: Yes I do!
    Kael: They are not good for you, They'll ruin the energy.
    Mica: No it doesn't! It enhances it, it's exactly what you taught me, but stronger.
    Kael: There is nothing stronger about it, you must learn to work this properly!
    Mica: Well I can't do this!

    Mica throws the stone down at the tree.

    Kael: Mica! These crystals are tools! Show them respect.
    Mica: I can't, it just doesn't work!
    Kael: Do not speak to me like this.
    Mica: Fine! I won't!

    And mica leaves.

    Kael looks at the rest of the group and starts to gather up the crystals strewn across the room.

    Hanson: So, what's the problem here?
    Kael: Mica, she's having a lot of problems with her magic.
    Hanson: She seems to do pretty well to me.
    Kael: Yes, well she has a lot of trouble here.
    Hanson: Perhaps if you let her use her machines.
    Kael: Ah, but that isn't really doing magic, is it? It doesn't work that way.
    Hanson: It works for her.
    Kael: But it's not good for her.
    Hanson: Magic is whatever we believe it to be. For you it's crystals, for her it's the machines, what's the issue?
    Kael: Magic is energy. This energy is everywhere, in the air, the heart of every living thing, and even in the core of things like these crystals. This pulsing life energy is what we manipulate, and by focusing on the innate power within these crystals, that is how we are able to manipulate the flow of life around us.
    Hanson: So what's the problem? If she can change this energy with her machines, then that's all she needs.
    Kael: Her machines are a distraction! If she only concentrated more, if she only attuned herself to the living beat, then she'd get it. But sticking with these machines, it ruins her. She used to be quite good at Crystal magic, you know, but then this hobby of hers got out of hand.

    During part of this discussion, Sean decided to take the crystal, say a brief prayer over it, and change it from orange to blue just to spite Kael. Unfortunately Kael was so caught up in this argument that he did not notice at all.

    Kael: Think of it like this. You have a field and you wish to grow your plants. First you must tend the field, plant the seed, bring the field water, and nurture the growth for the months it takes for the plant to grow, and the plant flourishes and the soil is enriched. If instead you tried to speed up the process by pouring a lot of chemicals into the soil, the plants may grow quicker, but now you've poisoned the soil!
    Hanson: I mean, if that's the analogy you're trying to use... But no. She needs to figure out her own way of doing things.
    Kael: I don't expect you to understand. The rhythm of life can be a difficult thing to feel.

    There is a strange but subtle sound, like a high pitched wale, as if something is trying to squeeze through a tight spot. Suddenly, Vivian appears within the middle of the room completely naked. She looks over at the group and asks "Where are the others?" They tell her of Alfred and Lydia's sudden disappearance while Vivian takes a robe hanging up by the tree and wears it. Camellia appears out of thin space just as Vivian had a moment before, and just as nude, followed shortly by Boris, who is covered in blood and screaming in pain as he collapses to the ground. Vivian rushes over to him while Camellia hurriedly finds a robe for herself. Vivian shouts at Camellia to hurry and fetch their tools while she tries to reduce Boris's agony. Vivian asks if any of them know how to use herbs. Helen says yes and is commanded to assist Camellia prepare their mixture. Vivian and Kael rush to gather the correct herbs while Hanson and Sean try (and fail) to stop the bleeding with mundane medical knowledge. With the mixture complete, Vivian rushes to apply it to Boris's wounds, but they don't seem to have any effect. The damage is far too aggravated.

    Granny Elm appears and walks with purpose towards the horrendously mauled Boris. She puts her hand on his chest and mutters a few words. The wounds start to seal themselves and as they do so, Granny Elm's hand begins to wither and blacken. Boris lies exhausted on the ground, but no longer bleeding. Vivian passes him a robe, helps him up to his feet and takes him through a door on the over side of the room. Camellia quickly thanks Helen for her help, and goes with Kael to pack away their supplies. Granny Elm looks up at the others.

    Granny: Allow me to introduce myself. I am Granny Elm. I know of you all, who you are and what you plan to do here. I know all of what you are. I'm sure you have many questions.
    Hanson: yes.
    Aaron: So... what happened?
    Granny: They stepped sideways and passed through the Avatar Storm.
    Aaron: ...What's that?
    Granny: The storm which rages on within the folds on the gauntlet. Only decades ago passage into the spirit world was a simple endeavour, but these days its treachery cannot be underestimated.
    Aaron: Would that have happened to us if we left the path?
    Granny: Perhaps. Though the storm is harshest on those with a higher...level of enlightenment.
    Helen: Is he going to be ok?
    Granny: Boris knew the risks when he embarked. Sometimes this is to be expected.
    Hanson: And what were they doing there anyway?
    Granny: They left to investigate the cracks in the gauntlet, just as you had done. Except they went to check on the other side.
    Aaron: Also, why were they naked?
    Granny: It is easier to step sideways when you do not bring much with you.
    Aaron: Oh right, yes... Matter patterns and all that.
    Helen: Do you know who Zandros and Malady are?
    Granny: ...This will need to be discussed properly with Vivian when she is ready.

    There is a cold silence. Broken only then Granny Elm looks back at the group.

    Granny: I expect I'll be seeing you all of you in consultation.
    Hanson: All of us?
    Granny: In turn.

    Granny Elm returns to their room while the others look at each other in confusion. Vivian enters the room and thanks the others for the help they gave.and follows, says that their meeting may have to wait until the morning, and follows Granny Elm into her room for consultation.

    Mica pokes her head around and asks what all the noise was.

    Aaron: Boris got hurt trying to come back from the spirit world.
    Mica: Oh right... Yeah... Not really done much spirit walking myself. Tried it once, wasn't really into it... By the way, I got your message. Don't know about this Zander guy, but If you're talking about Mel, I can show you something.

    Hanson, Helen, and Aaron follow Mica into her room, it's quite cramped with all four of them in there, and a lot of the space is already taken up by crystals and machine parts. Mica gets to work setting up a number of light beams, crystals, and typing something into her computer.

    Mica: So, Mel used to be one of the Keepers.
    Hanson: Used to be?
    Mica: Well, yeah. I mean she still might be, I don't really know. Vivian doesn't really like talking about it. I can show you the last thing she did before she left though.

    A minute or so later and a few Ruby, Saphire, and Opal crystals casts coloured light towards the door. Mica is showing them an even from the past. A girl leaves the long corridor and enters the antechamber. Some find her familiar, but Helen recognises her to be Malady. She looks angry and irritated.

    She shouts back at the corridor behind her.

    Malady: You Hypocrite! That's all you are!

    Vivian emerged from the hallway.

    Vivian: Come back here!

    Malady stops and looks round at her. there is a tense moment of anger. Malady spits on the ground at her feet.

    Malady: You're just like the people in my village, if not worse!

    She storms up the stairs and away. Vivian looks on but does not follow. The image starts to fade as the machine whirrs to a stop. The others look at each other for a bit.

    Aaron:I think we'd better speak to Vivian about this.
    Mica: You can try... But I don't know. She doesn't really like talking about it. Sorry I can't show you any more than this, my stuff doesn't really work in the node room.
    Aaron: I know the feeling.
    Hanson: Can I ask quickly, is it ok if I smoke in here?
    Mica: ...no.

    Hanson leaves to take a cigarette break and Aaron follows him. Hanson is a bit taken aback about how hostile people seem to be towards smokers these days.

    Meanwhile, Sean decides to sit at the node and meditate for quintessence. As he does so, he feels a strange presence try to gain entry to his mind. He considers it for a moment but feels that it is something very much unlike his godly associations. He rejects its entry, banishing any further thought of taking in the quintessence of such an ungodly area.

    While Sean was meditating, Helen returns to the node room. She is about to try and heal the damage from the Sturm's lightning and draws a spiral in anticipation, but decides against it. She was about to try meditating at the node herself, when a voice could be heard in the back of her mind. A whisper, quiet but unmistakable, someone was calling her name. She followed this whisper to a door left ajar. Helen knocked, heard nothing, then stepped inside. A candle lay by the entrance, she picked it up and look around. Inside was a dark study with a bookcase holding a vast array of books. Some occult, some herbal, some on high rituals. Thinking that perhaps the book of shadows was somewhere within, she started to search around. The voice called again. This time her attention was drawn to a single sheet of paper sticking out of the shelf. Helen took it and unfolded it. She had found a letter.

    To The High Priest.
    I can assure you that the ritual was a success. Chaos broke out when the technocracy ambushed us, and this is when we lost track of them. Luckily they had arrived after the rite was complete. Personally, I'm glad they saw exactly what we're capable of. They will remember this! I don't know what to tell you of the girl, but I suspect she was found by one of them. I don't think we need to worry about her. Children see things all the time.
    Beranabus

    Aaron returned downstairs and started helping Camellia and Kael take stock of the inventory.

    Aaron: So you grow a lot of these yourself?
    Kael: Oh yes. (showing him the back of the apothecary room) we have our own greenhouse here for a number of herbs.
    Aaron: And this is where you get everything?
    Kael: No, not everything. There are a number of herbs which we cannot grow. They require very specific environments. We go on trips to gather such ingredients as we need them every few months.
    Aaron: When was the last time you needed to go?
    Kael: Last month.
    Aaron: Ah, so you should be ok for a while then.
    Kael: With luck, providing we don't have any more emergencies.
    Aaron: What do all these herbs do?
    Kael: They can be used for a whole variety of matters. Some provide methods of healing wounds, some are for memory, some provide relief for pain, some can alter your mood, some can make you feel relaxed. She can tell you more about those (gesturing towards Camellia).

    Camellia starts to turn her away, pretending not to acknowledge Kael's reference to her.

    Aaron: Actually yeah. I wanted to ask you that. Camellia? Why do you take so many herbs to make you calm?
    Camellia: What?
    Aaron: I mean, you're always so calm, no matter what you're doing. I was wondering why. Is something wrong?
    Camellia: (turning her head away) I don't know what you're talking about...

    Camellia quickly makes an exit, her normally calm demeanour starting to falter. Vivian emerges and asks if Helen is about. Aaron realises that he hasn't seen Helen since he got back and starts looking around for her. Vivian hears something from one of the doors, and walks towards it.

    Helen heard someone approach the door. She quickly hid the letter in the clothes and returned the candle to the entrance. The door opens and Vivian's voice comes out"Boris? Is that you?" Helen stands by the candle.

    Vivian: Helen? What are you doing in Boris's Study?
    Helen: Oh, I was looking for Kael to get some herbs to help me sleep.
    Vivian: Really... Well, you shouldn't be nosing around these rooms on your own. Come on.

    Vivian takes Helen to the apothecary room and helps her pick out a few things.

    Aaron returns and sees Helen is with Vivian. Vivian leaves and the three of them walk by Granny elm's door and wonder if one of them should go inside or not. They all think that Helen, as the only Verbena present, probably should be the first to go in. Helen really doesn't want to as she's afraid that Granny Elm already knows the truth about her and what she plans to do. But can't find a good reason to avoid it, and so submits, she enters the room and has her consultation.

    Aaron and Hanson leave for the night, returning to Aaron's home as planned, while Sean stays the night in his room in the outer Chantry. While trying to sleep, Aaron is awoken by a hideous squeaking sound. Walking over to the cupboard he finds a rat caught by the tail in one of his traps. He asks Hanson for help, and gets ready to put it out of it's misery with a frying pan, except that the rat successfully gnawed through its own tail and escaped. Aaron swings the pan and misses, cracking a tile on the kitchen floor. The rat scurries away. Aaron quickly drags over a rug to cover up the crack. "Yeah, I really don't want to lose my deposit over this..."

    And that's where this session ended.

    ---NOTES---
    In case you were wondering. This Twig glyph Edwin was drawing is the Elder Sign. I decided to go with the twig version partially because that's the one Lovecraft drew, and because I thought the star and eye design would make things far too obvious. That being said, it's interesting how they've narrowed in on the mind effects, but haven't quite made the leap to Marauder just yet. It's a shame Alfred wasn't around for this, his contribution and realisation from reading Pickman's Model might have helped a lot here.
    The scene where the Verbena return from the spirit world was one I wanted to include for a while. I wanted to point out to them how nudity can make crossing the gauntlet easier, but also just how dangerous said crossing can become. As these players had never played Mage before, I thought it would be fair if they found out through the NPC's experience rather than just get horrendously hurt on their first experience.
    Funnily enough, although I expected one of the three to be hurt by the storm, I wasn't too sure who it should be. I ended up rolling everyone's arete, and Boris's just happened to be a botch.

    Tomorrow we're going to play through Alfred's solo experience with the Technocracy, and some time this week I'll be giving Helen's Granny Elm meeting, so look forward to that.
    Last edited by Saikou; 10-10-2016, 08:08 PM.


    Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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    • #32
      7.1 mini session

      Finished Alfred's mini session just yesterday. Here's how it went.

      Cast List

      Alfred: Excalibur Mage

      Notable NPCs:

      Void Engineers

      Lance Armstrong
      Captain Reginald Chen
      Corporal Dennis Ying

      ---INTERLUDE: MEET THE TECHNOCRACY---

      Alfred is standing under tear in the Gauntlet and has found himself face to face with Lance, the man in a black suit and a bowler hat. They stare at each other for a moment, neither one entirely certain how to react.

      Lance: What are you doing here?
      Alfred: Just off for a stroll.
      Lance: Around here?
      Alfred: Is that wrong?

      Corporal Dennis Ying appears holding a device, they start to take readings of him, measuring the level of paradox. After a bit of discussion, Lance scan's Alfred with his VDAS, getting a bit of rudimentary information.

      Lance: Alfred, yes?
      Alfred: ,,,yes and you?
      Lance: You work as an archivist.
      Alfred: Quite.
      Lance: You've wondered quite a way from your profession.
      Alfred: Is it wrong to go for a stroll in the neighbourhood?
      Lance: You're not too near your home either.
      Alfred: Is it wrong to take in this evening's cityscape?
      Lance: And you happen to walk right under this? (pointing at the tear)

      Alfred realises that these people are probably aware of what he is, and decides to drop the act.

      Alfred: Right, I came here to check on that.
      Lance: How did you learn about it?
      Alfred: ...an informant.
      Lance: Who is this?
      Alfred: ...
      Lance: How many of you are there then?
      Alfred: about 6 of us.
      Lance: What are their names.
      Alfred: I don't give names.
      Lance: Are you certain?
      Alfred: Yes, no names.
      Lance: Any descriptions to work with?

      Alfred stays silent, he knows how much power one can have over you if they posses your name, and is very vigilant against giving the Technocracy such power.

      Alfred: Who are you anyway?
      Lance: Oh yes, Lance Armstrong.

      Alfred notices something starting to emerge from the tear, he recognises it as a night spirit and immediately calls attention to it, preparing to fend it off. Captain Chen calls a command, and about seven or so men take aim with guns the likes of which Alfred had never seen before. They take aim at the spirit, and on the command fire all at once, driving the spirit back the other way. Alfred realises just how many of these military style, laser gun holding men there are, and starts to get a bit nervous

      Alfred: You certainly took care of that without trouble.
      Lance: It's what they do, trained professionals for the Void Engineers.
      Alfred: Void Engineers?
      Lance: Yes, a convention of the Technocracy which specifically deals with Trans-Dimensional Phenomena such as the Extra Dimensional Entities you saw just then, as well as breeches in the Dimensional Barrier.
      Alfred: right... And you're a part of them?
      Lance: Yes, part of Research and Execution.
      Alfred: Execution!? Of what exactly?
      Lance: Of procedures, mostly.
      Alfred: Oh...

      Captain Chen takes Lance aside for a moment and tells him something. Lance stands to attention, nods and returns.

      Lance: Would you be able to come with us for a moment?
      Alfred: To where?
      Lance: Just to talk a bit more.
      Alfred: And if I refuse?
      Lance: You'll have to come with us anyway.
      Alfred: ...Then I suppose I'm coming.

      Alfred walks away with Lance and a few other Engineers with guns. He sees them roll out a large machine just under the breach before he's directed into a car and driven to somewhere underground. Since Alfred is cooperating, they see no need to restrain him, though the guards keep an eye on exactly what he's doing to ensure cooperation. Alfred is eventually taken to an underground car park, lead into an elevator, through a series of corridors, and into a fairly nondescript room with a table, a set of chairs and a large mirror to one side.

      Lance is left alone with Alfred in the room.

      Lance: Sorry. this is sort of my first time dealing with Reality Deviants.
      Alfred: Excuse me?
      Lance: Oh yes, what do you call yourselves again? Sorcerers? Wizards?
      Alfred: Mages...
      Lance: Yes, that's the one! Mages. I've read a lot of reports about you though, not actually seen one in the wild as it were, So, is it true?
      Alfred: What?
      Lance: You can change things, you call it Magic don't you. Is it true?
      Alfred: Yes...
      Lance: Can you... can you show me?
      Alfred: Magic is a tool of great power, it should not be used frivolously, especially not for parlour tricks!
      Lance: Right, that's fine. I mean if you can't do it, then...

      Alfred does not rise to this. Part of him is a bit insulted by this guys lack of respect for his arts, though the high amount of paradox which still sits looming above him gives him great cause of concern.

      Lance: so you can't give us the names of the people you're with then?
      Alfred: No
      Lance: Things would go a lot easier for you if you did.
      Alfred: I don't deal in names.
      Lance: How about a description? Their eyes, face, hair?
      Alfred: No
      Lance: Are you certain about this?
      Alfred: Absolutely.

      There is a tense moment of silence.

      Lance: Right, I get it. You're trying to protect the people you're loyal to. I understand. Make's complete sense. We're not trying to harm them or you or anything like that. We just want to know more about these tears that have been cropping up. Isn't that why you were where we found you?
      Alfred: I suppose so.
      Lance: The there's a mutual goal between us. We both want to get to the bottom of these breeches. Perhaps you can act mutually and aid us in our investigation.
      Alfred: I might be able to, but you'll have to tell me what you know before I can help.
      Lance: All we know is that there's a number of breeches of the Dimensional Barrier over the course of the last few days, and they seem to share a similar electromagnetic residue.
      Alfred: A resonance?
      Lance: No, an Electromagnetic Residue, so we believe that these breeches share a cause.
      Alfred: I see...
      Lance: It started about four days ago, the same date as the blackout, and we think it's been the work of one or a group of Reality Deviants... or Mages, as you call yourselves. Since then it seems to be escalating, and if we don't find an neutralise the cause soon, the New World Order are going to get involved, and they tend to be a lot more...extreme than us.

      Alfred is starting to feel like he's in way over his head.

      Lance: If you don't mind me asking. What type of Mage are you? I've read that you guys have different school or something, right?
      Alfred: I'm a Verbena
      Lance: That's the blood one right? Ah, yes I remember reports about blood mages. Horrible really, make a huge mess that needs to be cleaned up.
      Alfred: While some of us use the energy within blood for their magic, I myself do not so there is nothing to worry about there.
      Lance: That's good. And you want to close these breaches in the barrier, right?
      Alfred: The Gauntlet? yes.
      Lance: Interesting, many reports talk about Verbena deviants wanting to close the gap between the dimensions, doing away with the Dimensional Barrier altogether. Which isn't exactly safe for the masses.
      Alfred: It wouldn't be, no...
      Lance: Anyway, we'll be in to question you later. Now, it does seem like our goals are mutual, so please try to cooperate as much as you can.

      Alfred is left alone again. He looks around and notices a small camera in the corner of the room, waves at it, and see no response. Alfred has no idea where he is or how much time has passed. He considers his options. Asking spirits for help would be a big challenge considering how thick the gauntlet tends to be in Technocratic bases, and without Correspondence, finding out exactly where he is was looking more and more impossible. He reached into his pockets and took out his wooden runes, trying to concentrate hard on Excalibur, asking him for guidance. Only a weak presence could be felt. He asked for help, to know what to do, and all he got was two words. "Judge..." "Judge...and Listen..." "Listen...."

      Alfred listened out for a moment and could hear voices from beyond the door. He shuffled closer.

      Voice 1: Can we trust him though?
      Voice 2: I don't know. Perhaps, though we'll need to learn more about what happened.
      Voice 1: We need to establish the degree of involvement!

      Alfred backs away from the door. It opens with Captain Reginald Chen and Corporal Dennis Ying. Alfred stands to attention as he marches in.

      Captain: At ease!

      Both Ying and Alfred shift positions, Alfred isn't quite sure what compelled him to do this.

      Chen: We hear you've decided to cooperate. Very good! We will be collecting your official statement. Be sure to answer as detailed as you can. We wouldn't want to be unmutual now, would we?
      Alfred: Um... no.
      Chen: Very good. Remember, we're putting a lot of trust in you by doing this, so we expect a similar level of trust from you. It wouldn't be good to learn that our trust was misplaced.

      Captain Chen leaves and Alfred sits and silently panics. Escape is almost out of the question, he reasons, if the rest of the base is as well armed as the group he saw earlier. Plus, they know his name, where he works, and where he lives... He decided his best option was to stay put, cooperate as much as possible without compromising anyone's safety, and hopefully find a way out later down the line. After waiting for who knows how long, Alfred began getting suspicious of the mirror. He started a small chant in order to focus his mind on the rhythms around him. It was difficult, but he could feel a number of human like life patterns from beyond the glass. He stood in front of the glass defiantly and spoke.

      Alfred: Well!? I know you're there! Just come and talk to me!

      Nothing happened. Alfred stood for a while, and then sat back down for another length of unknown time.

      Suddenly, the door opened, and Corporal Ying enters, sits down at the table and speaks

      Ying: Alfred?
      Alfred: Yes?
      Ying: Corporal Denis Ying, I shall be asking you some questions.
      Alfred: ok.
      Ying: First of all, were you the only one in the area.
      Alfred: No, there were five others
      Ying: and who are these five?
      Alfred: I already told Lance, I don't give names.
      Ying: Who are these five.
      Alfred: No, I'm not giving names.
      Ying: Will you give a description of these people?
      Alfred: No.
      Ying: Any information at all.
      Alfred: As I told Lance, I cannot.

      Corporal Ying starts writings this down on a clipboard before asking him something else.

      Ying: Can you explain what were you doing in the Extra Dimensional Warzone?

      Alfred starts to chuckle at the terminology used, but Ying's stern expression encourages him to stifle it.

      Alfred: I was there to investigate the the breach in the gauntlet.
      Ying: Describe what happened.

      Alfred explains some of the details of the Sturm fight, and that he fought with four others before looking for the tare and arriving in front of Lance.

      Ying: How did you know about the breach?
      Alfred: An informant.
      Ying: Were you around when the breach was caused?
      Alfred: No.
      Ying: Where were you on the night of the blackout?
      Alfred: I had arrived at Euston station.
      Ying: Were the other five with you?
      Alfred: Yes...
      Ying: What were you doing there?

      Alfred explains what took place at the blackout, describing the H'ruggling and the Pattern Spider that they pushed back through the gauntlet, though omitting to mention the larger spider that they ran from.

      Ying: Were you involved at any point in the cause of the breach?
      Alfred: What? No.
      Ying: Not at all.
      Alfred: I wasn't.
      Ying: And the breech reported today?
      Alfred: No!
      Ying: And what of the others.
      Alfred: There are others? I thought there were just the two.
      Ying: The actual number seems closer to four of five.
      Alfred: What?

      Corporal Ying makes a note of Alfred's surprise.

      Ying: Two were found at Euston station as part of the same event, and one you already know about, I'm sure.
      Alfred: Where were the others?
      Ying: I'm not at liberty to discuss this information
      Alfred: If you told me, I might be able to draw up a patter between them.
      Ying: I cannot disclose this information. Going back to the station, what can you tell me about this.

      Corporal Ying shows Alfred a picture of Lydia's runes drawn in chalk on Euston station floor.

      Alfred: Those are mine. I wrote them to fend of the H'ruggling.
      Ying: Can you state what they mean?
      Alfred: Speak, Understand, Listen, Converse
      Ying: And you wrote these.
      Alfred: Yes.
      Ying: Have you ever been to Holloway Police station?
      Alfred: No
      Ying: Not at all?
      Alfred: Never.
      Ying: Then can you please explain these.

      Corporal Ying shows Alfred a picture of Lydia's runes drawn in the dust on the floor of the police station, they look identical to those drawn at Euston. Alfred looks at this and realises things have gone horribly wrong.

      Ying: Are these yours?
      Alfred: No. These are not. They were traced by one of the people I was with.
      Ying: Were you with them in Euston?
      Alfed: Yes
      Ying: And these where their markings?
      Alfred: Yes, I must have mistaken them before.
      Ying: Do you know a person named Morwenna?
      Alfred: Morwenna? Do you mean Morganna, like Morgana Le Fay?
      Ying: No, Morwenna.
      Alfred: No, I don't.
      Ying: She was the name given of a recent escapee from the police. Electronic records of her were corrupted but the police had a written description of her.

      Corporal Ying gives the description of Lydia, Alfred uses the rhythmic description as a subtle focus to try and peer into Ying's surface thoughts. All he can see is how impatient Ying is getting, how he would just like Alfred to hurry up so he can get back to some real work, and a little annoyance that his commanders always seem to stick him with questioning people. He had to snap out of the reading fairly quickly so Ying wouldn't cotton on to what he just did.

      Ying starts to question Alfred a bit further about Morwenna, detailing the reason for her arrest, and the activity at the Heat. Alfred admits that he was at the protest with her, but claims he went straight home after the protest was broken up. The Corporal seems convinced with his story and makes a note. Ying then starts questioning him about Hanson. Alfred attempts to feign ignorance, but seems fair to unconvincing, his familiarity with the name being a dead give away. Eventually Ying manages to pressure him into admiting that he was one of the group of 6 he met on the train, and that he knew him as a detective.

      Ying: Are you aware that this man attacked one of our personnel?
      Alfred: As I understand it, he was being shot at.
      Ying: He was attempting to infiltrate our investigation as a member of the New World Order.
      Alfred: oh...
      Ying: What do you think this man was doing at the station.
      Alfred: I think we was just trying to figure out what happened the night before.
      Ying: Do you trust him?
      Alfred: I do.
      Ying: Are you sure your trust isn't misplaced?
      Alfred: I don't think so at all.
      Ying: Is there any chance this Joe Hanson could be behind these breeches?
      Alfred: It's very unlikely.

      More note taking. Alfred is wondering just how much trouble Hanson has got himself into.

      Ying: Does the word "Esther" mean anything to you?
      Alfred: Esther? No, can't say that it does.


      Corporal Ying asks if there are any amendments he wishes to make to his statement and goes through it with him, finishes writing a few extra comments, gets up and leaves Alfred alone in the room. Alfred quickly casts a Mind block on himself, preventing any attempts at mental infiltration.

      Time passes, and a women enters with a glass of water and asking if he has had anything to eat yet. He requests something organic and the woman leaves. Alfred drinks the water and begins to wonder if something was put in it. More time passes and Alfred begins to hear noise coming over from the Mirror. He subtly listens close.

      Voice 1: -can't say how truthful he's being. Though he does seem genuinely ignorant about the Esther Files.
      Voice 2: Well, if NWO get their way, they'll be requesting he goes in for reconditioning.
      Voice 1: Not particularly ideal... They're never as useful after that.
      Voice 2: Either way, the guys up there are getting a bit fired up over the lack of progress. There's talks about reinstating the Pogrom if we don't start getting answers.

      Alfred had no idea what Reconditioning meant or what the Pogrom was, but he felt very strongly that he didn't want to find out. Alfred, conscious of the camera carefully took out his phone and started deleting every message he had on there, every mention of Hanson, even mention of Lydia, everything. He quickly conjured a brief Mind effect in order to memorise a few of the numbers in his phone, and then deleted those as well. He didn't want these people having an easy time reaching the people he knew.

      Lance entered the room and talked to Alfred for a while.

      Lance: How you faring up, I see they brought you water.
      Alfred: ...
      Lance: I know, the Technocracy has this big scary monolith type image about it. But it's ok. As long as you coopoerate, things will go well for you. Remember, we're on the same side here. We want the same thing. To protect people.
      Alfred: Yes...
      Lance: Now, if there's anything at all you'd like to tell me, anything at all, just let us know.
      Alfred: How should I contact you?
      Lance: We'll hear you.
      Alfred: But-
      Lance: We'll hear you.
      Alfred: right...
      Lance: Oh, and before I forget, here.

      Lance hands him an egg and cress sandwich before walking out. Alfred considers enchanting the cress with Life to aid him in some way, but figured eating the sandwich would probably be more useful. Another long wait was ahead of him. Again he thought about escape, but the odds just seemed far to bad for him to try.

      After a time, the door opens, and Captain Chen, Corporal Ying and Lance enter.

      Chen: We understand that you will be aiding us in the investigation. Very good. Remember, we are taking a very big risk with you, so we very much hope you wont let us down. We shall be setting up a room for you at once.
      Alfred: So I won't be going to work tomorrow then.
      Chen: Not to worry, we'll be able to assure that you do not miss a day of pay during your absence.

      This comes as little consolation to Alfred.

      Lance: Is there anything you'd prefer to have in your room?
      Alfred: A change of clothes would do well, other than that, a desk, a bed.
      Lance: Not a problem.

      Captain Chen starts making a phone call detailing some of the things Alfred listed off.

      Alfred: Oh, and a potted plant, if you don't mind.

      A moment later, and Alfred was taken into a corridor, Corporal Ying standing behind him with gun in hand. They walked for a while and Alfred noticed that they had not passed a single window. Either that or it was so dark outside that any frosted windows were no longer obvious. They arrived at the room, it was small and plain with an en suite bathroom, with a bed, a desk, a bookshelf, and a potted plant sitting on top of it.

      Alfred was ushered in and left there, with only Lance lingering for a moment.

      Lance: Before I go, just one thing. Don't try and escape.
      Alfred: You think I'm going to escape?
      Lance: You're a Reality Deviant! Of course you are. I've read numerous reports about you people and that's the common thread. I'm just trying to advise you against it. This is a really nice room, and if you're caught then things may be much less nice for you afterwards. It's probably not worth it. Anyway, I'll see you in the morning.
      Alfred: I like my eggs sunnyside up.
      Lance: We'll see what we can do. Oh, and here.

      Lance hands Alfred a card with a number on it, nothing else, just a number.

      Lance: In case you need to get in touch with me again.

      Alfred looks around his new cell. A glance at the bookshelf shows a number of scientific books. One book in particular captures his attention, titled "The Technocracy and You!". Figuring he isn't going anywhere, he might as well read up a bit on the enemy. It seems to mostly be about explaining in very vague yet friendly terms what the Technocracies goals are, and how the Void Engineers are a key part of this. It talks about how their job is to protect the masses and indeed all of humanity from the dangers lurking in the extra-dimensions. As he reads, Alfred feels a subtle pull at him, but is able to shrug it off. He tries to look up what the pogrom refers, but is unable to find much except that it was how Mages were treated during the last few decades when the Ascension War was in full swing.

      Before retiring to bed, Alfred noticed a dedication on the front. "Dedicated to all those who have perished at the hands of the Dimensional Anomaly. May their voices never cease."

      Alfred wondered for a moment what the Dimensional Anomaly might have been, but decides its a topic best suited to another day.

      ---NOTES---
      It's a very good thing they didn't know that Alfred was affiliated with Hanson before he started cooperating so much, otherwise they would have been a lot less kind to him. As it stands, their opinion of him is neutral with a dash of not bad. One of the things that Alfred and his player are not aware of is that the people behind the mirror have been doing all kinds of checks on the things that he's been saying, both in terms of fact checking, but also in terms of measuring facial movement and intonation to determine whether or not he's said something truthful. For now, however, they won't hold his lies against him since they pretty much expect Reality Deviants to lie a lot when they first make contact.

      If you were wondering, the book Alfred starts reading at the end was written by various NWO Collegia historians and it's layered with subtle psychology mind effects to make you feel sympathetic to the Technocractic cause as well as start harbouring feelings of loyalty towards them. However, Alfred's mind block managed to prevent against much of this, though he doesn't know that. The more he reads this book, the more positive an image he will get of the Technocratic Union. I am playing with the idea that the water was spiked with nanomachines which will track his location for the duration of a week, but I'm not sure if I want to give the Technocrats too much information all at once. Besides, Alfred's player is already getting really paranoid as it is.
      I really enjoy the Technocracy. They are one of my favourite aspects of Mage.


      Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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      • #33
        ===STORYTELLER RECAP===
        Things are about to get a bit complicated. Sean's player is no longer able to do weekend sessions and Helen's player can't do anything but weekends. This isn't the first time people have been unable to go to sessions and I'd just run a quick solo bit for them. But this is a bit different. Two players now have mutually conflicting schedules. This is not a great situation. It just so happens that Aaron and Alfred's characters are also unable to do this weekend too, so they'll be playing this Tuesday with Sean's character.

        Splitting the party like this may become the default setting for this game so long as conflicting schedules persist. It's not ideal, but at the same time it should be serviceable. It will mean one heck of a bookkeeping nightmare for me though...

        So I thought I'd do a quick recap of things, partially to keep track of my notes, and partially so all the details up to now are in gathered, even the ones I might have forgotten to underline in the above summaries.

        ---TIME---
        So far, in game time has spanned a total of 4 days. Here are the major events of each day.

        Day 1
        Everyone met on a train
        The Blackout happened and Edwin imagines Rats in the Walls
        Party fought against spirits while Edwin escaped
        Party rescued Camellia from Patter Spider
        Party arrived at the Keeper's Chantry

        Day 2
        Party split
        - Helen, Sean, Hanson, Aaron: Met some of the Keepers and went to Euston station
        ** Fight with Hector (Cyborg Biomod Void Engineer)
        ** Edwin imagines R'lyeh and Escapes
        - Alfred, Lydia: Met with Granny Elm and had their cards read.

        Day 3
        Party Rejoins
        Everyone goes to the Heath
        Alfred, Hanson: Infiltrate Protest and try to prevent unrest
        Lydia, Helen: Invade construction site and cause damage
        Aaron, Sean: Arrive at the Heath's Node and hear Zandros and Malady
        - Lydia is separated, goes to jail
        The Rest of the Party return to the Heath at night.
        Meet with Zandros and Malady at Heath Node
        Help distribute seeds of corruption around the heath's ponds.

        Day 4
        Everyone does their own thing.
        - Lydia: Escapes from jail, annoys a spirit who then steals her necklace
        - Aaron: Wonders into Edwin's Imagined "Pickman's Model" scene in bar, Edwin escapes.
        - Alfred: Goes to work and researches Lovecraft
        - Hanson: Escapes NWO Watchers
        - Helen: Goes to school
        - Sean: Goes to the Barracks
        Party Rejoins
        Everyone fights the Sturm
        Lydia is separated
        - ((NOT YET PLAYED))
        Alfred is separated
        - Taken to a Void Engineer Technocractic Base
        Hanson, Helen, Sean, Aaron: Fight gremlins.
        - Helen, Aaron: Meet Edwin, encounter Elder Sign, Try to chase and are stopped by a Shoggoth Edwin escapes.
        - Hanson, Sean: See the Knights in the area, see the Void Engineers in the area.
        Group arrive at Keepers and witness botched Avatar Storm crossing.
        Granny Elm arrives and tells them she expects to meet each of them for consultation.
        Helen goes first.

        Where everyone is at the start of Day 5

        Aaron: At home (Shorditch).
        Hanson: At Arron's home (Shorditch).
        Helen: At the Keeper's (Churchill Gardens)
        Sean: At the Keeper's (Churchill Gardens)
        Alfred: Void Engineer's Base
        Lydia: ((NOT YET PLAYED))
        .

        ---CHARACTER STUFF---

        Here's a list of each character's important things that has happened.

        HELEN - HERMETIC SPY
        - Successfully tricked people into thinking she is a Verbena witch and can report on the activities of the Keepers
        - Noticed Boris, the High Priest of the Keepers, and how his scar looks very similar to the one on the hooded man who may have killed her parents.
        - Found a letter signed Baranabus addressed to "The High Priest" which references the ritual which led to her parents disappearance, and may even refer to her escape from the hooded man.

        ALFRED - EXCALIBUR MAGE
        - Is being initiated into the Keepers
        - Is having a lot of trouble making his Avatar Excalibur consider him worthy.

        HANSON - NOIR DETECTIVE
        - Searching for Edwin, has yet to even stand face to face with him
        - Curious about Jason and has an informant digging up information about him
        - On the run from the Technocracy for fire blasting on of Void Engineers
        - Pursued by a Euthanatos mage (Violet Duboir).

        AARON - PUNK HACKER
        - Caused the blackout, allowing his mentor and his group to carry out their mission in taking down The Feed.
        - Found a broken laptop which seemed important, plans to fix it.
        - Keeps bumping into Edwin, and is having a really bad time with it.

        SEAN - TEMPLAR KNIGHT
        - Is looking for a stolen book. a new print edition of the Theophanies.
        - Thinks that the Keepers may have this book and is keeping an eye on them.
        - Has orders to watch the Keeper's activities in case they are involved with the tears in the gauntlet.

        LYDIA - MOON WITCH
        - Is being initiated into the Keepers
        - Wishes to understand the cause and link between all the strange events that have been happening.
        - Has lot her silver tree necklace, the key which allows her to enter the Keeper's Chantry.


        ---PLOT STUFF---

        Here's a quick run down of the main plot events

        ***THE EVENTS***

        TEARS IN THE GAUNTLET
        - Caused by Edwin and his delusions. Three groups have been seen to be investigating them. The Keepers, the Knights, and the Void Engineers.

        EDWIN PHILLIPS
        - The Lovecraft bound Marauder who only a few people are aware of:
        Void Engineers: They are not aware of him, but once they are they will search for him specifically.
        Malfeans: They want to find him and use him in a ritual, but fit his delusions too well and so cannot approach him without changing.
        Keepers: They don't know about him at all yet.
        Knights: They don't know about him at all yet.

        THE MALFEANS
        - Zandros and Malady are trying to spread corruption across London. They successfully got the PCs to plant their seeds in the Heath, and are going to do whatever they can to extend the influence of the Wyrm.
        - Malady used to be a member of the Keepers, though in what capacity is not yet known. She seems to have a violent dislike towards the keepers themselves.

        HAMPSTEAD HEATH
        - A powerful node and an important sight of magic for the Keepers. Thought to be the resting place of Queen Boadicea. Though distracted, the Keepers wish to preserve this beacon of primordial magic.
        - The Technocracy are trying to neutralise this area. They've been trying to do so for years but have always met with strong public outcry, a lack of funds, or a need to allocate resources on more pressing matters. It's not until recently that their attempts at neutralisation have started to take shape.
        - As stated above, the Malfeans want to corrupt this space, lending a powerful source of magic to their cause.

        ***MYSTERIES***

        JASON
        - Most likely a Syndicate guy, linked with Ford & Dent Construction, but we still don't know too much about him.

        THE ESTHER FILES
        - Something the Void Engineers seem to be interested in. It's not yet known what the other conventions know about these files.

        THE FOX
        - Seriously, this fox is really important!

        There. Done.
        Writing all that out was actually really helpful for me. Sometimes laying it all out is just what you need to get it all straight in one's head.

        This week there are going quite a number of sessions:

        Saturday
        - Solo session for Helen (Granny Elm Tarot Reading)
        - Solo Session for Lydia (What happened to her after the Sturm fight)
        Sunday
        - Group Session for Hanson, Lydia, Helen (Probably something Heath related)
        Tuesday
        - Group Session for Alfred, Chris, Sean (Probably something Void Engineer related)

        Wow that's a lot of session.
        Why do I do this to myself...

        Let me know if I've missed anything, or if you have any questions about what's going on in the story up to this point.

        Also, thank you to all the people who like these posts. It's a great boost of confidence to know that there are people out there who like reading these write-ups.
        Last edited by Saikou; 10-19-2016, 09:36 AM.


        Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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        • #34
          7.2 Mini Session

          Here's the Solo Helen bit. It's pretty short, but pretty good.
          Just like the last one, this one makes heavy reference to the Mage Tarot Cards, and this one especially takes advantage of the specific images upon the cards themselves. I recommend finding the pictures yourself and watching along to get the full impact.

          ---INTERLUDE: THE WITCHES CARDS 2: HIDDEN SKULLS---

          Helen entered the room, and hesitated. She was afraid that Granny Elm would see right into her mind and learn about her true reason for joining the Keepers, that she would be found out as a Hermetic Spy. She took out her mirror and tried to focus the shapes around her mind and create a sturdy block to mental intrusion. The integrity of her mission depended on remaining undiscovered.

          Granny Elm greeted her and asked that she sit down, never once looking directly at her. Helen had a plan, she would say as little as possible, letting Granny Elm do most of the talking. She would keep as much as she possibly could to herself, nodding her head where appropriate.

          GE: How have you been finding the Keepers here?
          Helen: Oh, they're fine.
          GE: Everyone treating you well?
          Helen: Yes...
          GE: Good.
          Helen: No problems?
          GE: Well... Sometimes I wonder what I should be doing...

          Granny elm took out her cards and laid them on the table. Briefly explained that she was to go through Helen's fate, and help her make more sense about things in her life and what direction her path may require her to take.

          [1] [2] [3] [4]

          .....[9][10][5]

          .....[8] [7] [6]

          1: The self. It is PAGE OF QUESTING (Wands)
          GE: A young woman, a fledgling mage who looks over a empty horizon. She stands over a field of bones, looking off into the distance. Perhaps these bones hint at a feeling of loss, something which has built a foundation to work from.

          2: What you were. NINE OF DYNAMISM (Swords)
          GE: This card demonstrates despair. woman sits with an array of knives and swords suspended above her. Below her are pair of skulls, perhaps a hint of the source of her grieving. It could mean that at one point you yourself were in this position. Left to deal with a heavy loss, with the knives above you the pain of grief and anger against that which took from you, perhaps even against yourself.

          3: How you developed. TWO OF QUESTING (Wands)
          GE: Power, and the seizing thereof. Perhaps this is you as you grew into your role as a mage, taking the despair you felt earlier and turning into strength. This card has many other nuances to it. It can refer to the sphere of Force and the power it can generate, though it may also refer to the Hermetic Order.

          4: Your avatar's will. It is JUSTICE
          GE: In the most literal sense, this card could mean your avatar quests for Justice. However, it could also mean a more personal quest, perhaps justice against those who did you wrong, or maybe even a general quest for understanding, to have the truth come out.

          Noticing Helen's silence, Granny Elm tried to engage her in the cards more, asking her direct questions. This lowered Helen's guard a little bit as time went on.

          5: Your Future. It is TWO OF DYNAMISM (Swords)
          GE: Hmm... Tell me, what do you see when you look at her?
          Helen: She's holding two swords, and is she trying to cut the lamp?
          GE: Perhaps, though take a closer look. She is blind.
          Helen: Oh
          GE: She sits upon a precarious seat. This card speaks of balance. But she holds these two blades and one false move will cut the string plunging her into darkness and untold dangers. Perhaps this shows your precarious future, that you may be in a position of balance that must either be maintained, or wilfully lost. Hmm, again we see two skulls at the bast of her chair. Perhaps this loss which defined you still affects you to this day.

          6: What you desire. It is TEN OF DYNAMISM (Swords)
          Helen: Oh no! It's horrible!
          GE: It is Ruin. Perhaps not your own, but of another. Perhaps against the forces that took from you, be they a single man or greater power. This card may indicate not simply a desire to understand, but to return the loss in kind. Perhaps you seek to take revenge against that which has damaged you.
          Helen: He looks so in pain,
          GE: Ruin can be painful. Though if it is your desire, then it is better acknowledged than hidden away.
          Helen: I don't know...
          GE: There is nothing wrong at all about wishing ill upon those who have caused you suffering.

          Helen went quiet at this.

          7: What can help you. It is LUNA REVERSED
          GE: Luna usually deals in secrets, but when reversed her intentions can become more devious. One meaning is deception. Keeping a layer of deciet around you can be useful for you. Perhaps you already take advantage of deception to keep you safe.
          Helen: There is someone in my group, Lydia, does this card talk about her?
          GE: Lydia...
          Helen: Do you know her?
          GE: Yes, I've spoken with her. And while she does have an affinity with Luna, the meanings of these cards are not fixed, the context and position reflect and reveal different aspects. Besides, when a card is in the reversed position, it acquires a completely different nuance. Almost like it was a different card entirely.

          8: What you dread. It is EIGHT OF DYNAMISM (Swords).
          GE: What do you see?
          Helen: Wow, it looks so scary! Are they tied up?
          GE: Tied up, bound. One reading is that you dread to be restrained, though another meaning for this card is indecision. Perhaps you dread being tied up by your own thoughts, trapped in an attempt to reach a balance, and thus unable to act
          Helen: Why are there so many weapons on the ground?
          GE: Dynamism is associated with the Sword, which in turn symbolises internal thought and reasoning. It is interesting how every card up to this point has contained a weapon of a kind. The swords above despair, the stave this lady wields, the katana held in justice, right down to the two sowrds standing quietly under Luna. This may well indicate how conflict is etched into your fate, and is unavoidable. While you may not want to engage in direct conflict, you may not have a choice.

          9: What can harm you. It is KING OF QUESTING REVERSED (Coins)
          GE: The King can represent a ruler. This is a powerful mage who has achieved a form of mastery. But in the reversed form it shows their worst features. Tyranny, hubris, cruelty. This card may refer to a specific person who may cause you harm.
          Helen: There's a skull on this card...
          GE: There is... Interesting... Not unlike the skulls present in your cards, in your past, present, and future. But notice, while in these cards the skulls are always beneath you, forming the foundation of your resilience, giving you determination. His skull stands suspended above his head, as though it lies ahead of him, as though he had planning around it. It could be that, just as the skulls in your cards represent a great loss taken from you, this man's demonstrate a great loss caused. It could be that this man caused your loss, caused the very thing that shaped you into who you are today.

          10: The Unexpected. It is FIVE OF PRIMORDIALISM (Cups)
          GE: Again, tell me what you see.
          Helen: Uhh... I don't know, spilt wine on the floor.
          GE: This figure, are they human?
          Helen: Maybe? Yes.
          GE: But not entirely, see how their form grows monstrous? This is a being in transformation, turning into something other than human.
          Helen: What? Will this happen to me?
          GE: The Unexpected card does not claim what will be, what has happened, or even what is currently happening. It only shows what is.
          Helen: But why is it happening?
          GE: We cannot know as the cards to not give reason. But try this. Think back, can you recall a moment of transformation? Were a human was turned into something other?

          Helen thought back and recalled two events. Four days ago at Euston station, the train driver who was turned into a rat. And earlier in the day, when her very body started to twist and change as she chased Edwin down. She asked Granny Elm what kind of things can cause such a change.

          GE: To my knowledge, only very potent Life effects can cause such a dramatic change...

          Helen thanked Granny Elm, who kindly reminded her that she was always welcome for further consultation.

          Helen returned to her room, she did a quick look at her Life shapes, frightened that the presence of her earlier transformation still lingered. To her relief she found herself clean of alteration. She thought about the cards. Though she dare not say this in front of Granny Elm, she felt positive that the King of Questing referred to Boris and whatever involvement he had with the death of her parents. But something troubled her. He was the King of Questing, while she herself was the Page. What did this indicate? Was there some kind of connection between them? Was there a time when Boris too was a Page in similar circumstances? Had he suffered Loss as she had done?

          The questions whirled around in her head as she tried to calm her feelings, getting ready to sleep for the night.

          ---NOTES---
          Helen's character was really apprehensive about having Helen consult with Granny Elm. She was convinced that her Order of Hermes connection would become known and she'd be thrown out of the coven. And I did notice her squirm a little when she heard her reference the Order on card 3. Nevertheless, once the cards got underway, and she saw just how much of it related to her backstory, she started to take them really seriously. This is exactly what Granny Elm would want.

          There are two intentions with this reading. In one instance, just like the other two, she wishes to gain Helen's trust. Make her feel as though she understands her secrets and can offer her real guidance when she needs it. The second is an incitement to hatred. She knows a lot more about Helen's past and her suspicions towards Boris than she chooses to let on, and she's decided to feed these feelings, letting her resentment and anger towards him grow ever greater. By allowing her to feel justified for her anger, and verified in aiming it towards Boris, Granny Elm has potentially planted the seeds of revenge in her mind. The perfect distraction when she needs it. Or even better, it may turn Helen into the monster every human being is capable of falling to.

          What happens to Helen will depend very much on how her player chooses to play her. And make no mistake, attacking Boris will have very severe consequences in ways not immediately apparent.

          Tomorrow I'll post the write up of Lydia's little adventure.


          Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

          Comment


          • #35
            7.3 Mini Session

            And here's Lydia's mini session. Detailing all that happened this evening from the perspective of everyone's favourite Moon Witch.

            ---INTERLUDE: LYDIA THE MONSTER---

            Lydia ran. Hanson's effect had blown up in his face and he now could see or hear Lydia no matter how much she tried to shake his attention. She wasn't safe here, so she left him and everyone else and ran. She turned a corner, desperate to get away from anything that might be trying to take her, and ran headlong into a man, the two of them falling to the ground.

            She got up slowly, the man looked erratic and scared. Thinking him a sleeper she decided to aproach him with caution.

            Lydia: Hello, are you ok?
            Man: Did you see that?
            Lydia: ...see what?
            Man: The creatures! Those hideous creatures!
            Lydia: ...no, is everything ok?
            Man: How could you not see them! They're everywhere. Everywhere I go...
            Lydia: I'm sure everything's ok.
            Man: Are you one of them...?
            Lydia: Uh... no, I'm human.
            Man: You are! I can see it!
            Lydia: Ok...I'm going to go now.

            Lydia is about to move, but her legs don't seem to be working anymore. She looks down at her hands and they're starting to change in form. Her arms blend in to her flesh, and new eyes start growing out of every space around her.

            Man: You! You monstrous thing! Get away!

            The Man starts to furiously scrawl a symbol on the ground, the seven pronged stick Lydia just could not recognise.

            Lydia: You're a mage! I thought you might have been a sleeper.

            At least, that's what Lydia tries to say, but all that exits her mouth, her now numerous mouths, is only "Tekeli-li!"

            Man: Get away from me! You foul being! You horrible Shoggoth!

            The man runs, and Lydia has no idea how to move in her new form. She sits there for a while, trying to figure things out. She could now see a whole load of directions at once, and where she once had appendages, long tentacle like limbs flayed in all directions. Any concept of time was quickly becoming lost as she struggled to deal with the sudden influx of extra senses.

            She heard footsteps run towards her, the man ran back in her direction, followed in pursuit by a woman, Helen, who ran straight into her. But Helen looked strange, as though her legs were no longer human. Helen fell but got up quickly, trying and failing to shoot at this man. She looked at Lydia in fear and disgust and quickly retreated from her. Lydia again tried to call out to her, and could only utter the single noise "Tekeli-li!"

            Lydia stayed in her place for a long time, she eventually figured out how she could move herself through sheer force of stamina, and slowly began to squelch away. It wasn't long before another set of footsteps came from behind her, her numerous eyes alerting her to the approaches almost immediately.

            Another man, this time in street camo and holding a gun. "A demon" He shouted. Lydia tried again to speak, but that cursed sound, "Tekeli-li!" was all she could utter.

            Camo: I will smite thee demon!

            The man shot at Lydia, though her form easily absorbed the shot. Cursing, the man pulled out a cross and said a prayer, enchanting his gun in the way she saw one of her own group do countless times before.

            Camo: I shall cleanse this earth from your presence!

            Another shot, this time it hit, causing a severe loss of whatever Lydia was now made up off. Lydia tried to crawl away. but was having trouble getting out of his line of fire. Another shot and things became dire. She was heavily wounded. Lydia thought about her options. Her new form made doing magic very difficult. She could not coordinate her limbs well enough to make runes, and her inability to speak made chanting impossible. The only hope she had was to get a clear view at Luna and pray to her. She had to get out of this ally. Again she ran while her attacker shot and missed. Lydia continued her desperate dash to leave and managed her way out of the alley and in sight of her sacred moon. She looked up at Luna, and asked in a solemn plea for help, to understand what's going on, and how to counteract it.
            The man with the gun stood out in the darkness of the alley, and shot. Then he stood. there, just stood and looked out. Lydia could not make out what had just happened, but could see the man standing in the shadows slowly turn around and shamble back into the dark. A trail of blood leaking behind him. Not too far, Lydia could make out in the darkness a figure holding a rusted knife.

            Lydia: Who's out here?

            Lydia was surprised to hear her own voice once more.

            Malady: You can talk!?
            Lydia: Uh... yes.

            Lydia's body started to return to form, the tentacles shrinking down to her usual limbs, the eyes and mouths shrinking away.

            Malady: What are you?
            Lydia: I'm just a mage. What happened to that man?
            Malady: Took care of him for you.
            Lydia: Did you shoot him?
            Malady: Shot himself...

            Malady had an eerie grin on her face as she spoke.

            Lydia: Entropy magic... One of the more underrated spheres.
            Malady: Sure. So what were you doing? What made you look so...
            Lydia: I don't know. I just transformed, and the next minute someone was shooting at me.
            Malady: So you didn't look like that on purpose then.
            Lydia: No.
            Malady: Oh well...
            Lydia: Sorry, who are you?
            Malady: Just call me Malady

            Lydia was unsure whether to trust this person. She noticed the tree like necklace around her neck, but could not make out its colour in the darkness. She cast a quick entropy effect to tell whether she was trustworthy or not, and only got a murky response. There was something off about her that she couldn't quite make out...

            Lydia: I'm Lydia.
            Malady: Lydia...Hmm... Where were you before you changed?
            Lydia: I was at Hampstead Heath.
            Malady: What do you know about the Heath?
            Lydia: Only that it is the resting place of Boudicca after her defeat to the Romans.
            Malady: Oh, so you buy into that then.
            Lydia: Not especially.
            Malady: Hang on... Do you speak with spirits?
            Lydia: I have.
            Malady: Then perhaps you recognise this?

            Malady pulls out another tree necklace, shining silver in the moonlight.

            Malady: Found a stormcrow with it.
            Lydia: That's mine!
            Malady: Oh right? You one of the Keepers then?
            Lydia: Joining them, yes. And you too?
            Malady: Yeah, or used to be, either way... Lydia... Tell me, your group. Does it have this computer brat in there? Spends all his time on that machine, swears a lot?
            Lydia: Aaron?
            Malady: Yeah. I've met your group! They were at the Heath the other day.
            Lydia: Where did you learn my name?
            Malady: People keep all kinds of things in their memories don't they.
            Lydia: You read their mind?
            Malady: Oh, not me.
            Lydia: So you work for someone who reads minds?
            Malady: Work for, work with, work over, not much of a difference in the end... Anyway, you want this back then?
            Lydia: Yes.
            Malady: The way I see it, you already owe me a favour for saving you from the guy, so you'll be owing me at least two for this as well.
            Malady: What do you want?
            Lydia: Well, you know the Technocracy right? They've been trying to fix up the Heath for a while, undo all the protecting we've been doing. We don't want that, so that's something that needs to be stopped.
            Lydia: Oh that's fine, I was probably going to do that anyway.
            Malady: Oh were you? Not much of a favour then.
            Lydia: So it's only a favour if I wasn't going to do it in the first place?

            Lydia argued this for a while and did a good job of explaining her case. Malady was not very pleased.

            Malady: ...I don't like being wrong...
            Lydia: Oh, I'm sure an Entropy mage like yourself is very rarely wrong.
            Malady: Exactly... So yeah, I'll tell you when a good favour comes along.

            Malady throws the necklace to Lydia.

            Lydia: How will you contact me?
            Malady: How do you normally get contacted?
            Lydia: Could you send a spirit with a message maybe?
            Malady: Easy!
            Lydia: Only, please don't send a Stormcrow, they get on my nerves.
            Malady: Thing about Stormcrows is you got to show them who's boss. They respond well to a bit of domineering. Let them know you're in charge and they'll do whatever you want.

            Malady walks of into the shadows. Lydia doesn't know quite what to make of this encounter, though as Malady returned her necklace she seems worthy of her trust. She made her way back home to the Keepers, on the way she noticed a group of men in camo gear and hid as they walked down the street she just left.

            Just before Lydia arrived at home, she called out to Luna for guidance. A solitary Lune appeared.

            Lune: Child of Luna...
            Lydia: What do you know of this girl? Is she trustworthy? Also, why were these people trying to shoot me? Who are they?
            Lune: We know not of them...
            Lydia: Who? The girl?
            Lune: We know not of them...

            Lydia was getting nowhere with this, so instead tried to look inside the Lune for a vision of information. She saw a scene, men with camo on just like her attacker. But one of them had a face she recognised, Sean, the man she knew as "Sam". They were standing and talking in a room she had never seen. The moment was filled with detail but very short.

            The Lune disappeared. Lydia thought for a moment as she prepared for sleep. There's something "Sam" wasn't telling them...

            ---NOTES---
            Well, it's happened everyone. Our first PC Lovecraftian transformation. It was only a matter of time. When I mentioned the Shoggoth in the previous session, I honestly didn't plan on it turning out to be Lydia, but as I was planning her solo bit, it became all too convenient. Lydia's player has very little experience with Lovecraft's work, so she didn't recognise what a Shoggoth was, what the Elder Sign was, or even what Tekeli-li refers to. I didn't expect her to, but it's out there. Perhaps if she mentions it to one of the other players, they'll get a better idea on what's going on, or at the very least research it.
            Until this encounter, Lydia had never actually met Malady. What's interesting is she gets a chance to form her own opinion on her without the other player's experiences shaping her opinion.

            Anyway, we just finished a full session with half the characters today. So I'll probably write that up some time before Tuesday.


            Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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            • #36
              8th Session (1st half)

              This is the first time I've done a split session like this. I can't remember if I stated this before, but I sort of made this plot with the intention that people were going to have mutually incompatible schedules. So there are multiple things that can be done all at once and everyone gets to feel like they were involved with something.
              The only problem would be communication. Each group will learn things that will help them figure out a bunch of things, but without being in the same room as one another it might be difficult for them to properly discuss all this.
              Oh well, we'll figure that one out as we go.

              Today's Cast List

              Joe Hanson: Noir Detective
              Lydia: Moon Witch
              Helen Walter: Hermetic Spy

              Notable NPCs:

              Keepers:
              Vivian Porter: High Priestess
              Boris Mortimer: High Priest
              Camellia: Coven Maiden
              Mica Rose: Techno Witch

              Jason: Business guy

              ---CHAPTER 8a: I'M NOT HERE---

              Hanson woke up and started preparing his coffee. The cramped space of Aaron's apartment was not unlike his own office. Aaron was fast asleep and trying to wake him didn't cause any kind of stir. As Hanson stood by the window and had his first smoke of the day, he allowed himself to slip into a little dream. He hadn't many leads, but he did have a name, a name that kept coming up time and again. "Jason"... Who was this guy and how did he tie into everything? He thought about it for a while, mulling the details around in his mind. Something was coming through to him, numbers, a name, no, an address. It may only be his intuition, but Hanson felt this address had some sort of significance.

              His phone rang, it was his contact Alex, the librarian with a good head for name checking. Turns out he had found a few "Jason's" which had connections with Ford & Dent Construction. The first was a Jason Smead, a construction worker employed on site, and a Jason Stavero, someone in upper management who had at least 6 other companies under his name. Hanson considered Stavero to be the Jason he was looking for, thanked Alex, and put his phone away. While stuffing the phone back into his pockets, a card slipped out and fell to the floor. It was the number Sarah Phillips had given him less than a week earlier. Perhaps it's time he gave her a call...

              Helen woke up. Alfred had been missing since last night, and she hadn't seen Lydia for a while. She went to look around the Chantry but couldn't find many people around, so she knocked at the door downstairs and waited until Lydia turned up suddenly.

              Lydia: Hello Helen
              Helen: Lydia!? Where have you been?
              Lydia: Nowhere much, I got thrown in jail, then mugged by a spirit, and turned into a creature.
              Helen: A creature!?
              Lydia: Yeah, a strange blob with lots of eyes and tentacles. How was your evening?
              Helen: Was this last night?
              Lydia: It was, and you were there too. I tried calling out to you, but it was a bit hard since I could only say "Tekeli-li"

              Helen stood in aghast, realising the creature she ran into while chasing Edwin was none other than Lydia! They spoke more of the details and confirmed this was in fact the case.

              Helen: Oh my god! I'm sorry! I looked at you as if you were some horrible monster!
              Lydia: Well, I kinda was. So don't worry. I even got shot at by someone.
              Helen: Oh no! It wasn't me was it?
              Lydia: No, it was someone else. Who were you shooting at?

              They continued talking, Helen talking about Edwin, the Elder Sign twig symbols he drew, which Lydia recognised. Lydia also described the appearance of the camo clad assailant.

              [ST NOTE: Hanson may not have been in this conversation, but Hanson's player was, and he started freaking out quite spectacularly when he heard Lydia had met Edwin. At this point, almost every single player had encountered Edwin in some way, except the very person who's job it was to actually find him. His reaction to this was a sight to behold]

              Helen concluded that this Edwin must have been an incredibly powerful mage, and could be the one responsible for everything that's been happening.

              Lydia: So you think he was the one who transformed me?
              Helen: Yes, when I met with Granny Elm, one of her cards warned that transformation like this might happen.
              Lydia: I don't know, if he's as powerful as you say he is, then why did he seem so scared when he saw me change. Either he was pretending to be scared or he wasn't the one doing the magic...

              Hanson calls Sarah

              Hanson: Hello? Miss Phillips? This is Joe Hanson.
              Sarah: Detective? Is everything all right? Did you find Edwin?
              Hanson: I have a few leads. I'd like to ask you, if there anything about Edwin you think we should discuss?
              Sarah: Uhmm... perhaps.
              Hanson: Would it be easier in person?

              Helen quickly calls Hanson, telling him about what happened to Lydia and asking that they all meet at the keepers. Lydia and Helen then make their way down to the inner Chantry, with Vivian opening the door for them, in order to meditate at the node. As Lydia does this, she can feel a strange spiritual presence emanating form the tree and trying to enter her mind. She allows it for a while, but once she feels this thing start to probe around in her memories, she rejects it and forces it out, where it becomes quiet.

              While Lydia and Vivian meditate, Helen tries to find the door to Boris's study and listens in to the other side. She has a feeling that there may be more information on what happened to her parents in there, but wasn't certain where Boris might be... Before she has a chance to open the door, Lydia catches her and Helen has to pretend that nothing strange was happening.

              Sarah is sitting on a park bench, waiting. Hanson quickly puts up his deception filter with a swig of his flask and walks up to her.

              Hanson: Miss Philips?

              Sarah jumps as he appears, seemingly out of nowhere. After she recovers, they start talking.

              Hanson: Is there anything you can tell me about Edwin? Anything, unusual?
              Sarah: Well... It's difficult to say. He's the only family I know. You will find him, won't you?
              Hanson: Of course, Miss Phillips, I'm a professional. But to find him I need you to tell me anything you can that could help. Are you aware of the tears in the gauntlet?
              Sarah: ...yes...not again.
              Hanson: Again?
              Sarah: This is just like Birmingham.
              Hanson: What happened?
              Sarah: Edwin's always been a bit... out there. Like he's had trouble keeping his mind in this world.
              Hanson: As thought he's floating into another wrold?
              Sarah: I don't know how to explain... It was when we...awakened as they call it. It was... It was.. (getting a bit distressed)
              Hanson: It's ok Miss Phillips. Awakening is a big thing. Learning how fragile the world is can take a toll.
              Sarah: After it happened, Edwin got lost, other mages, tradition mages they called themselves, they tried to help.
              Hanson: Any idea which tradition?
              Sarah: I don't know... All I know is when... when he... when they brought him back... they said he was too dangerous, that he was better off...better off...
              Hanson: These mages, does the word Euthanatos mean anything to you?
              Sarah: No... I don't know. They called me an orphan... Which I guess is true now...
              Hanson: There's no shame being an Orphan, some mages might call me an Orphan you know.
              Sarah: What does it mean?
              Hanson: It's a word for Mages outside of a Tradition.
              Sarah: We ran, we've been running ever since. Getting away from those who think that Edwin needs to... to die.
              Hanson: Miss Phillips, I assure you, we'll find him.

              Hanson starts feeling strange. A number of words appear in his mind and the urge to speak them becomes intolerable. Try as he might he cannot stop himself, and the words come out.

              "Their leader will be lost, flung across space when he enters his Garden of Madness. A horror will emerge that will ruin all in its path. Only to be stopped when sense is returned."

              Hanson stares, mortified by the expression of surprise and content on Sarah's face.

              Hanson: I'm so sorry. I couldn't help myself. I didn't mean to-
              Sarah: What did you say about madness!?
              Hanson: Miss Phillips, please, it wasn't-
              Sarah: You're just like the rest of them!
              Hanson: Miss Phillips. Please, hear me out. Miss Phillips! Sarah!

              Sarah leaves in disgust as Hanson calls after her. She's gone, and Hanson sits distraught, eventually getting up to go to Churchill Gardens.

              Once everyone arrived, they talked amongst themselves, bringing everyone up to date on what they knew. Lydia started telling the others about the strange girl she met, the one who saves her from the gunman. Malady. This made both Helen and Hanson on high alert, and convinced them that they needed to find out more about her. They made their way through the Node room and found Vivian mentoring Camellia on how to meditate.
              They recalled what Mica told them, that Vivian did not like talking about Malady, or "Mel" as she called her, and perhaps Boris was a better person to try first. Boris was found in the room Vivian helped him to after his Gauntlet cross. An infirmary of sorts. They approached him as he lay in the bed recovering.

              Lydia: Boris?
              Boris: Ah yes, hello Lydia. It's been a while, have you been well?
              Lydia: In a way. Have you recovered?
              Boris: More or less, I should be quite well soon. How have you fared with the Heath? Has it been protected?
              Helen: I think so.
              Hanson: We made a start. Actually, that's something we need to talk to you about.
              Boris: Yes, be alert. Even if you spoil their machines, Technocrats will not stop so simply. Keep an eye out for what they might be planning.
              Hanson: Well, while we were there, we met up with two other mages who claimed to be from the Heath, They called themselves Malady and Zandros.
              Boris: I see...
              Hanson: They seemed to be on our side, and we helped them in a ritual to plant briar seeds around the Heath.
              Boris: ...Good.
              Lydia: I met with Malady and it sounded like she wasn't a Keeper, but she had a necklace.
              Boris: Never mind about that. As long as the Heath is protected and the Technocrats are stopped, then that is all that matters.
              Hanson: But who are these people?
              Boris: It does not matter!

              There's a brief silence.

              Boris: ...Sorry. I'm still recovering. Perhaps now is not the best time.
              Lydia: It's ok. Are you still in pain?
              Boris: Not physically, though the pain my Avatar feels is still quite strong... Perhaps I should be left to rest. Make sure the Technocrats don't undo your attempts to keep it.
              Lydia: We will.

              The group leave, they suspect that Boris isn't telling them everything and consider talking to Vivian, though do not wish to interrupt her lesson. Lydia is still a bit suspicious of why Helen was looking around the door to Boris's study.

              Lydia: Why does everyone seem to have an ulterior motive around here!? Why can't we just all talk and figure things out together!?

              Hanson tells them about what he knows of Jason Stavero, and mentions the address he found, asking if they'd be prepared to assist him in giving the place a look over to see what there is to find.

              They head towards the building. a rented office space in Wandworth. The Company they were looking for was called Vogon Industraies and held their offices on the 7th floor. Helen quickly put a life effect on herself and extended it to the others in an effort to prevent any form of transformation in case Edwin showed up again. Hanson prepared his Perception filter, making them particularly easy to ignore. Lydia took out a notepad and started writing out runes, trying to get a feel of the place and intuit a way to get up there without being seen. She led the group round the back of the building to a shut door. A second later and a man opened it, coming out to take a cigarette break. They entered the opening door and Lydia determined the best route was to climb the stair well up to the 5th floor and then walk across to get an elevator the rest of the way.
              As they reached the 5th floor, other people started walking down the stairs, though their exit into the 5th floor office gave them no need for attention. They walked through the office and noticed a lot of deserted chairs. On the opposite end of the space a large number of people were gathered around with a cake, a small birthday celebration was taking place allowing the mages to walk by without a problem to the elevators.

              Once inside the elevators, Helen and Lydia began to question what it was they were trying to do.

              Lydia: So... what are we trying to do again?
              Helen: We're going to check on this Jason person.
              Lydia: Right, and who is he?
              Helen: He's someone who seems connected to a lot of the things that have been happening.
              Lydia: And where did you hear that?
              Helen: Hanson told me.
              Lydia: And you don't who he is?
              Helen: I don't know.
              Lydia: So we're basically just working off of Hanson's intuition then?
              Helen: Yes.
              Lydia: Oh god...

              Hanson only smiled at this, he trusted his senses enough and didn't feel any need to justify them to Lydia.

              When they arrived, they were met with a short walk to a receptionist desk for Vogon Industries. The receptionist herself seemed fairly disinterested. Lydia noticed a camera on the wall and immediately pointed it out.

              Lydia: I see a camera.
              Hanson: A camera? Everyone, get back.

              They all took a step back.

              Hanson: I don't think my perception filter works on cameras, they don't have minds. Did is see us?
              Lydia: What?
              Hanson: Did the camera see us?
              Lydia: I don't know. How does a camera see anyway?
              Hanson: What are you talking about?
              Lydia: Camera's don't have eyes, so how can they see anything?
              Hanson: There'll be a person behind that camera somewhere who can see out of it.
              Lydia: ok...
              Hanson: So do you think that person on the other end saw us or not?
              Lydia: I don't know! I can't see them!

              Helen notices someone walking towards them and alerts the others, they take a step back and let them walk through without notice. Lydia and Hanson resume their argument.

              Hanson: Where even is this camera!
              Lydia: It's up there.
              Hanson: Is it pointed at us?
              Lydia: Uh... no
              Hanson: Right, so it didn't see us then!
              Lydia: Maybe
              Hanson: That's it!

              Hanson takes a look around the corner and sees the camera pointing towards the corridor behind the receptionist.

              Hanson: Ok, so it hasn't seen us. We're going to have to think up a way in without being seen.

              They think about this for a moment, though Lydia and Hanson are not exactly very cooperative with one another. However, their extended presence in the corridor as well as their constant arguing eventually draws the attention of the receptionist, their presence long outdoing the benefits of Hanson's perception filter.

              Receptionist: Hello? Is there anything I can help you with?
              Hanson: (shit!)
              Lydia: Yes, we were looking for the birthday party?
              Receptionist: Birthday party?
              Lydia: Yes, we heard there was a birthday party on this floor.
              Receptionist: Are you sure? Who's it for.

              Lydia quickly Entropies herself a guess at a good name.

              While this is happening, Hanson is freaking the hell out. (As is Hanson's player, this has been a freak out heavy session for him). He decides there's only one thing for it. He'll have to implant a thought into her head one that says "I'm not here".

              We discussed it, and came to the conclusion that this would be a Vulgar effect with witnesses because, from the point of view of the Receptionist, she'd suddenly be talking to people who she didn't believe were there anymore, and that's just weird. So, this all modifiers taken into account, the difficulty for this should be a 6.

              The first roll comes, and but a single success. Hanson built the effect.
              The second roll comes, and this time it's nothing. The difficulty increases to 7
              Hanson is getting desperate now. He does not want to be seen, he tries again.
              The third roll comes, and it's rolled a 4, 6, 1.
              A botch.

              10 points of paradox incurred, bringing his total to a resounding 17.

              Something went wrong, the effect was collapsing all around him, the powers of chaos too much for him to keep control. Hanson did everything he could to contain the energy of the maelstrom, staving off the backlash at least for now. The energy surges through his skin as he tries to keep it together.

              Receptionist: Is he ok?
              Hanson: Yes - I'm fine - .
              Helen: We are looking for Jason Stavero
              Receptionist: Jason? Do you have an appointment.
              Hanson: Not really... is he in?
              Receptionist: I'm afraid he's not at the moment. What is it about?
              Hanson: Oh, it's nothing, we were just checking-
              Lydia: About that birthday party.
              Receptionist: Right... well if you'd like me to make you an appointment.
              Hanson: No that's fine, let's just go.

              Hanson quite hurriedly makes his way to the elevator, and tells everyone he needs to get as far away from people as he can, now! As they pass the ground floor towards the front door of the building, a man in a suit walks by, with a person at the front desk saying "Welcome back Mr Stavero", Hanson curses his luck but heads out anyway. Helen lingers behind for a while, standing by the elevator as he waits for it.

              Hanson runs into the alleyway and awaits what's coming to him. He suffer's the biggest headache of his life, with flashing bands of light whipping across his eyes. The world goes quiet and very distant.

              6 points backlash.

              Hanson looks around. He finds himself in a white and empty space. He can't see or hear anything and has a hard time understanding where he is. Lydia looks at Hanson who stands in bewilderment in the London alleyway, not amount of calling his name seems to get his attention. Lydia tries to pinch him. Hanson feels the pain, but can't figure out whether or not it hurt. Lydia tries to grab him and lead him away. Hanson only feels something is trying to grab him and pull him, something he cannot see, and starts to panic!

              Jason Stavero stands awaiting the elevator, he looks down at Helen and notices her lack of business suit. They do not interact, when the door opens, Jason steps in and looks at Helen, and asks "Are you coming up?" Helen declines and the door shuts. Helen quickly leaves to help with Hanson.

              Hanson can see little else but white all around him. He has no idea where he is, all he knows is that he "isn't there" wherever there happens to be.

              A policeman on patrol notices the flailing Hanson and the restraining Lydia.

              Police: Is there a problem here?
              Lydia: Oh no, it's just my friend here... He's epileptic you see. Having a fit.
              Police: Does he need any help?
              Lydia: It should be ok. I can help him.
              Police: It looks like it's more than a fit...

              The officer picks up a phone and starts calling someone about help with a mental patient.

              Hanson starts to see shapes amongst the White Void. Figures, people he knows. People he doesn't. The alleyway comes into view, then Lydia's face. But it's strange, everything feels so far and distant, as though he were watching everything on television. Even his own body didn't feel like it was his anymore, but rather that we was controlling it like a puppet.

              Helen appears as the policeman was making his call.

              Helen: It's ok! We can help him. He's just feeling a bit under the weather!
              Police: You know these people?
              Helen: Yes. This is his Doctor, and we are helping him.
              Police: You're doctor...
              Helen: Yes, we can take him to her hospital now.

              Hanson starts to come round a bit, he remembers Lydia, and even remembers who he is and that he has a body, but still feels as though he's watching television. He explains to the policeman that he's ok, and that he just needs to lie down somewhere and the officer leaves.

              They take Hanson to a pub where he gets a few glasses of Scotch. After the third glass or so, he feels back to how he was. The Paradox effect little more than a bad dream.

              The three of them return to the Keepers. Mica lets them down stairs and they discuss what should be done next. Camellia is still meditating at the Node, but neither Vivian nor Boris are anywhere to be found. Helen goes looking for Vivian while Hanson speaks with Camellia. She looks up at Hanson with her now characteristic unnaturally calm face.

              Camellia: Hello?
              Hanson: Oh, sorry, didn't mean to disturb your meditation.
              Camellia: It's ok. I've just been sitting here and thinking anyway.
              Hanson: Do you know where Boris is?
              Camellia: Out, he left a while. He seemed ok.
              Hanson: Hmm...

              Before leaving, Hanson asked Camellia what sort of tea she usually makes, Camellia perked up a bit and started talking about the herbs that go into it. When Hanson asks if she could brew him some, she went to the apothecary room and gathered up the necessary ingredients before taking Hanson upstairs.

              Lydia found Vivian upstairs in one of the communal spaces of the outer Chantry, not far from the kitchen Hanson and Camellia were heading to. Vivian was reading a large and heavy looking tome.

              Lydia: Vivian?
              Vivian: Yes?
              Lydia: I need to ask you something.
              Vivian: What do you need?
              Lydia: I met at Mage last night who seemed to be a member of the keepers. Except she didn't. She called herself Malady.

              Vivian's expression changed from pensive thought to that of disgust and concern.

              Lydia: Should I trust her?
              Vivian: No.
              Lydia: Who is she?
              Vivian: She isn't someone you should worry about. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to return to my reading.
              Lydia: Is she a member of the Keepers?
              Vivian: No. Not anymore.
              Lydia: She still has a necklace though, she could enter at any time.
              Vivian: It would have been made inactive.
              Lydia: She gave me back my necklace when I lost it.
              Vivian: You lost your necklace!?
              Lydia: A Stormcrow took it...

              Vivian just stared at her aghast,

              Lydia: I think I should go...
              Vivian: Quite!

              Lydia lingers a bit, and then tries to ask one more time.

              Lydia: She asked us to help with the Heath, It seems like our goals match, but when she threw my necklace back, she only did it in exchange for a favour. I'm not sure what to think about her...
              Vivian: ...Thankyou for letting me know. I will consider things for the moment. But Melanie made her choice when she left, and is now no concern of ours.
              Lydia: She's a concern of mine is I'm indebted to her...
              Vivian: We will not be talking about this any further tonight.

              Lydia, unsure how to pursue the issue further leaves through the kitchen where she sees both Hanson and Camellia looking very calm and relaxed with a cup of herbal tea. The Tea itself, as Hanson found out, has a rather potent mind effect which seems to neutralise any and all negative feelings. This is the best Hanson has felt in a long time. Camellia offers Lydia a cup and brews her one as though she agreed. Lydia drinks it and starts to worry much less about what might or might not be happening. For the three of them, everything is peaceful and relaxing, and nothing really matters nearly as much as they thought it did. It was a very good night.

              Helen, now alone in the node room, investigates the door to Boris's study. She can hear nothing on the other side, but when she tries to open it, it is locked. Helen had no idea what kind of lock this was, and had very little experience forcing locks to open. Almost giving up, she went upstairs and was attracted to the noise of kettles boiling. She found Camellia sitting with a cup of tea. An idea in mind, she decided to talk to Camellia.

              Helen: Hello!
              Camellia: Hi, would you like some tea?
              Helen: That's ok. I was wondering, who lives around here?
              Camellia: Over here? Just us. Not everyone stays overnight though. Most people go home.
              Helen: Who stays?
              Camellia: Sometimes I do. Though Vivian is almost always here. We all have rooms on the ground floor though, and we keep the higher floors available in case we have guests.
              Helen: Does one of you keep guard over keys?
              Camellia: I don't know... I don't we have anyone who specifically looks after keys around here... Vivian would probably keep a few around though.
              Helen: And Vivian is also on the ground floor?
              Camellia: Yeah, she should be.

              Helen says goodnight to Camellia, who was surprisingly easy to get information out of. She looks around at the rooms on the ground floor of the Council Housing that makes up the outer Chantry. Most of the doors were locked, but one of them was on latch, and opened without any problems. Helen turned the light on, hoped it was Vivian's, and started looking around for anything that resembled a key. It took her nearly half an hour before she found it. A small collection of keys in a drawer.

              Helen heard footsteps. Keeping herself calm, she quickly rushed to the doorway and turned the light off. The steps were getting closer, and Helen quickly looked for a place to hide, diving straight under the bed. Just as she had herself all hid the door opened and the lights turned on. She could see a pair of feet walking across the room. Helen stayed absolutely still, not even daring to to magic in case it was sensed. The person walked around, opened the door to the en suite and stepped inside. Helen could hear the sound of the shower turn on. She got ready to run to the door and escape, but the bathroom door opened yet again. She could see the feet walk around, and then heard the sound of falling clothes. Helen almost held her breath as she waited. A minute passed and once again the bathroom door opened, the sound of the shower growing suddenly loud and then muffled. This was it, Helen had to leave now. She slowly pulled herself out from under the bed and cautiously yet urgently crept to the door, opening it and closing it behind her. She then ran as fast as she could to her room upstairs, charging inside.

              Helen looked at the key in her hand and smiled. She had done it! Perhaps she'll have a chance to get some real answers the next day.

              ---NOTES---
              This was the most unprepared I'd ever been for a Mage session since I started running games. The conversation with Sarah, Vivian, and Boris I was more or less expecting, but everything regarding the Wandsworth Tower I made up on the fly, just as well Hanson's botch prevented them going any further up the tower. Oh well, the other players seemed to have enjoyed themselves, I hope.
              Today also marks our first Rule Dispute of the session! Lydia was doing a Subterfuge check against Helen for suspecting Helen of being up to no good when she was caught trying to get into the study. She botched the roll, so I told her that whatever Helen told her, she believed and didn't feel the need to question it. This did not sit well with Lydia's player, who didn't consider what her character believes to be something the Storyteller should have any control over, and that it was the Player's job to decide that.
              An argument lasted for only a few minutes, and in the end I decided to ignore the botch and just treat it like a normal failure, saying that whatever Helen said to cover her tracks doesn't alert Lydia that anything was wrong. It was a really minor point, but it interested me just how much it meant to Lydia's player. Especially because it wasn't the botch that upset her, but the implications it had on her control over her character.
              Lydia's player has the least amount of experience with role playing games out of the group. So it's interesting to see her get so attached to what governs the beliefs of her character. I think it's a positive sign really.
              By the way, in case you couldn't tell, Jason has suddenly become important. I can't wait to find out how...

              Tomorrow we'll see what Sean, Aaron, and Alfred have gotten up to while all of this happened. My guess is something to do with the Technocracy.


              Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

              Comment


              • #37
                Vogon Industries is the best name for a construction company.

                Getting players to roleplay botches can be quite hard. I tend to think it's one of those skills you only learn from watching other players do it.


                Comment


                • #38
                  8th Session (2nd half)

                  All the events of this session are supposed to be happening concurrently with the events of the previous session.
                  Also, this is it, the session where every player present gets to have some Paradox Backlash. Oh joy.

                  Today's Cast List

                  Alfred Camlann: Excalibur Mage
                  Sean Heath aka "Sam": Templar Knight
                  Aaron Gibson: Punk Hacker

                  Notable NPCs include:

                  Technocrats:

                  Lance Armstrong: A&E Scientist
                  Corporal Dennis Ying: NSC Soldier
                  Dr. Emily Turner: On Site Progenitor.
                  Mr. Steed: NWO Agent
                  Jason Stavero: Syndicate Financier

                  Keepers:

                  Kael: Talisman Crafter
                  Vivian Porter: High Priestess
                  Camellia: Coven Maiden
                  Mica Rose: Technowitch


                  ---CHAPTER 8b: PUTTING PIECES TOGETHER---

                  Sean returns to the Chapter House and is immediately met with Preceptor Joseph Kent.

                  Joseph: Heath! Where have you been?
                  Sean: I've been on mission, as stated.
                  Joseph: Are you aware of what has been happening? The increase in daemonic activity?
                  Sean: Yes.
                  Joseph: The most recent event was yesterday, where a number of men encountered conflict with these daemons. One of our men was critically wounded by one. Reports state he shot himself, but he believes he was coerced in some malevolent way. Most bizarre is he reported seeing the daemon he was shooting at transform into a human form before he lost sight of it.
                  Sean: That is very odd...
                  Joseph: In addition, we were able to spot a number of Technocrats in the area, we suspect they were trying to close the gauntlet. I hate to say it, but it seems our goals may align on this one occasion. However, we did spot a man being coerced into staying with them.
                  Joseph: Who was it?
                  Sean: We couldn't identify the individual, but we were able to secure a visual.

                  Joseph Kent shows Sean a photograph of Alfred walking into the car of the Void Engineers.

                  Sean: I'll see what I can find out...
                  Joseph: Keep aware, and report anything untoward.
                  Sean: Understood.
                  Joseph: May the Lord Preserve Us.
                  Sean: May the Lord Preserve Us.

                  Sean went through the records of the previous week, trying to collate any information he could about what might be behind these gauntlet tears. After sifting through a lot of irrelevant documents, he found a map of all known tears since the Blackout event. There were a total of five tears recorded, two by Euston Station, one on the Underground near Angel, One by Highbury Fields, and the fifth not far from Tuffnel Park, the site of the Sturm and Gremlin battles. Sean kept looking, trying to see if he could find anything else about the Technocracy's activities or anything to do with Hampstead Heath. Most reports, however, only confirmed what Preceptor Kent had told him, that any Technocratic activity only occurred after the fact, and seemed to be more about investigation, but it was noted that the Technocrats would return to an area near Greenwich consistently. The only thing about the Heath he could find was a notice stating that members of the Celestial Chorus were planing on making their way to the Heath to protect it themselves. Sean made a copy of this map and took it with him. Heading towards Aaron's house.

                  Alfred woke up. He still had no idea what time it was and the lighting didn't seem to help. Seeing little alternative, he decided to read the "Technocracy and You" book again, and in the process learned more about the "Dimensional Anomaly" otherwise known as the Avatar Storm, and the profound and harrowing affects it seemed to have to all men and women across the Union. Alfred recognised a human vulnerability in these words. The loss the people within the Technocracy felt was as real to him as the many losses his Grandfather talked about when the Ascension War was still in full swing.

                  The door opened, and Lance appeared.

                  Lance: Did you have a good rest?
                  Alfred: As good as can be expected...
                  Lance: Very good. Well, we've come to the decision that you may be of some use to us. So for the time being you'll be my responsibility.
                  Alfred: I suppose that means I won't be going home.
                  Lance: For the time being, not just yet.
                  Alfred: I see...
                  Lance: We can discuss this further in a more suitable location.
                  Alfred: Should I bring my clothes?
                  Lance: They will be collected for you, don't worry.

                  Lance takes Alfred through a twist of corridors, a hub of activity on all sides. Lance asks if he can make a quick detour to check on someone, and Alfred follows him into what seems like a medical wing. A man lies on a bed with bandages around his face.

                  Lance: How are you doing Hector?
                  Hector: Better...
                  Lance: Keep going, you'll be better soon.
                  Alfred: By any chance, is this man here for burns?
                  Lance: Yes.
                  Alfred: Right... I may know what happened... Do you mind if I try to heal him?
                  Lance: Are you a doctor?
                  Alfred: I'm a Mage.
                  Lance: ok? and?
                  Alfred: I'm a Verbena, this is kinda my thing.
                  Lance: How exactly are you going to heal him?
                  Alfred: I have herbs, I can make a salve. He'll be fine if I just apply it.
                  Turner: That won't be necessary!

                  Behind him is a woman in a white coat.

                  Lance: Oh yes, let me introduce you. This is Dr. Turner. She's the resident doctor here.
                  Turner: And you are?
                  Alfred: Alfred Camlann. Pleased to make your acquaintance.
                  Turner: Quite, and what are you proposing to do?
                  Alfred: I was only suggesting that I could prepare a remedy for this man to aid in his recovery.
                  Turner: Verbena?
                  Alfred: Yes.
                  Turner: Then I'd appreciate it if you left my patients alone. We do not need any of your superstitious hokum contaminating their bodies or polluting their minds.
                  Alfred: Well... if we're going to talk about pollution, perhaps you should consider what you guys are doing to our parks! But I digress, Lance, shall we be off?

                  Lance quickly pulls these two apart before it escalates. Taking Alfred into a quiet room where they can discuss things properly. He explains to Alfred the situation. That they have very limited information about what might be causing the breaches, but are certain that it is definitely the work of a Reality Deviant rather than some external phenomena. He then explains to Alfred that they hold three different categorisations for Reality Deviants. Traditionalists, Marauders, and Nephandi.

                  [ST NOTE: I was starting to get a bit concerned that my players may have forgotten that Tradition Mages are not the only kinds of Awakened magic users out there. They are new to the system, and might not have remembered reading that part of the book for months, and considering that the story I've made hinges heavily on the players realising that there's a marauder around, this would be a very big problem. I thought this gentle reminder would be a good way to reintroduce these concepts while being subtle enough to not outright tell them what's going on.]

                  Alfred states that he's just as uncertain about what could be causing the tears. Lance tells him that all they know is that a similar event occurred in Birmingham, but the source was not identified. The accounts varied dramatically with a number of sources denouncing their claims as the product of stress and trauma. The event stopped as suddenly as it started.

                  The door opens, and in walks a very imposing figure. He wears a tidy three piece suit and bowler hat, and has a stern expression which is at once cold, calculating, and very difficult to read.

                  Steed: Mr Armstrong?
                  Lance: (almost jumping) Mr Steed! Hello!
                  Steed: How have your investigations been progressing?
                  Lance: Very well sir.
                  Steed: Have you identified the source of the breeches?
                  Lance: ...not as such.
                  Steed: Pity. We put you in charge of this investigation with high expectations.
                  Lance: Yes... I'm aware.
                  Lance: If you were to under perform, we would have not choice but to take back control of operations. Is this understood?
                  Lance: I assure you, that won't be necessary.
                  Steed: Then see to it that progress is made.

                  Mr. Steed looks at Alfred.

                  Steed: And who are you?

                  Alfred: Alfred Camlann. Please to meat you.
                  Steed: ...charmed. Well Mr Armstrong, we wish you well. Be seeing you.

                  As Mr Steed leaves. Alfred can't quite get over how intimidating that mans demeanour seemed. Even Lance seemed to be just as panic stricken as he felt.

                  Alfred: Friend of yours?
                  ​Lance: Not exactly. They put me in charge of finding out what was going on, get a better clue of what's causing all the tears in the barrier.
                  Alfred: Isn't Captain Chen the one in charge?
                  Lance: Captain Chen is in charge of the Neutralisation Specialist Corps, and I'm working with them to make sure any threats are contained. But actually finding out what's causing them, that's me. And that man you saw, he's watching me...
                  Alfred: New World Order?
                  Lance: Yes... and they're only too eager to remind me how long this investigation is taking... Have you had anything to eat yet?

                  Lance leads Alfred towards the Mess hall on the floor below, and they eat while Lance explains what he needs from Alfred, for him to give any information they have about who is causing the breaches as well as any information he can find about stopping them. At the conclusion of this he would be free to resume his normal life.

                  Aaron wakes up. It's been an uncomfortable night of squeaking. Hanson is nowhere to be found, but an open window, the smell of smoke, and a cigarette butt lying are all there waiting for him as a parting gift of sorts. He looks over at the cupboard, no traps were set off and the whole at the back was wide open. A bit annoyed, Aaron took some Steel Brillo and stuffed it into the hole for the time being. He decided to focus his attention on his damaged computer, fixing it up in a matter of hours. Sean arrives and informs him that Alfred may be held captive by the Technocracy.

                  Aaron: Well...he's not coming to my home anymore. Glad he doesn't know where it is...

                  They think about what to do for a while. One idea that springs to mind is for Sean to act as a Void Engineer military type while Aaron coaches him from behind, until they find Alfred and take him away. The only major problem being that Sean know next to nothing about how Void Engineers behave, and Aaron had absolutely no luck explaining it to him (1 Charisma, no Expression, botch). So that plan was almost dead on arrival. Aaron then considered hacking into the technocratic database to see a floor plan of the place. Before doing so he tried to put a Corr. effect on his machine, making it more difficult for anyone to spy on his activities or get his location just by spotting him. And botches it.

                  3 points backlash and Aaron and suddenly Aaron's computer is gone. Arron puts head in his hands with an expression that shouted "I just got that fixed..." However, Sean noticed the computer didn't travel far, it had only fallen through the desk.

                  Arron got back to work on his hacking. He knew it would take a while and asked if Sean could help him with a problem he was having. There was a crushed floor tile and a huge hole in his cupboard, and he'd appreciate if the Matter mage would help him patch it up. Sean looks at the hole and thinks, ultimately considering this to be an act of charity, and agrees. Sean holds his hand out to the hole, makes a quick prayer, and manages to fuse the Steel Brillo into the hole, making a smooth surface.

                  7 points Backlash. He tries to move his hand away from the cupboard, but his sleeve is stuck to the door. Not only that, but he shoes are also stuck to the floor. He tries to slip them off, but this socks are also stuck to his shoes. He reaches around for a knife, opens the door and finds a rat. A bit perplexed, he grabs the knife, shuts the drawer and proceeds to cut off his socks, making some progress. He slips off his jacket and just leaves it hanging, attached to Arron's cupboard. He asks Aaron for a pair of shoes.

                  Aaron goes back to hacking, and manages to find a few High Resolution images of floor plans of a Void Engineer owned base in Greenwich, just underneath an Observatory. He had to be hasty, however, as an Admin was looking around and had most likely noticed Aaron's actions. He did all he could to disguise his IP while the thing was downloading, and then exited the network leaving as little trace as he could. The floor plans he found revealed a huge space underneath Greenwich which had three sub-levels. Uncertain what to do next, Arron contacted his mentor Rubrix, offered up the maps to him as part of his intel database, and Rubrix suggested going over there and scoping the place out.

                  Sitting on a bench in Greenwich park. Arron started scrying beneath the ground, using the map as guidance. Aaron searched and found Alfred signing documents. He showed the computer screen to Sean, who recognised the documents to be a deceleration of temporary allyship. This did not promise well. Arron took a quick look around before leaving, and happened across a conversation between two men in the mess hall. They were gossiping about a few of the over convention's activities regarding the Heath, and that Progenitors were apparently being assigned to speed up recovery of vehicles and help drain the ponds.

                  Alfred was in an elevator with Corporal Ying, all of his items returned to him, who would escort him home. He explained to Alfred that Lance would be his first point of contact if he had any information, and while they'll be keeping an eye on him, they wouldn't be limiting his freedoms. "We're not the New World Order". Stepping out of the observatory, Alfred notices Sean and Aaron, and walks the other way. Seeing the escort, Sean and Aaron get the heck out of there. In passing, they over hear a man in a suit talking on a phone.

                  "That's not good enough!.... Well get those ponds drained.... get it done tomorrow!.... no.... What do you mean delays!? We've been waiting on Hampstead Heath for years already... Well you tell them that Jason Stavero said it's happening tomorrow!"
                  Aaron pays close attention to this guy's face, making a mental note of Jason Stavero.

                  Corporal Ying left Alfred alone at his home. Alfred waited until he was certain no one was watching him, then went outside, making as unusual a route as he could to avoid being tailed. We got himself to a payphone and called Arron.

                  Aaron: Hello...?
                  Alfred: Hey! I though we could talk about our research project!
                  Aaron: Uh... non comprende...
                  Alfred: Oh, you joker you! So, shall I meet you at your place.
                  Aaron: No!
                  Alfred: Ok, that's fine, I'll just head back to the office where we can discuss the project further.
                  Aaron: Sorry, wrong number. Bye!

                  Aaron was absolutely determined not to give the Technocracy any chance of finding his address. Thinking they better warn the Keepers about the Progenitors planned assault on the Heath, Aaron and Sean headed towards Churchill Gardens..

                  Alfred thought for a moment, the absolute last thing he wanted to do was attract the Technocracy's attention to the Keepers, and he couldn't quite tell whether or not he was being watched. Walking directly to them was going to be a mistake, but perhaps if he took the Pathways of the Wyck, the ones Camellia showed him, he'd be able to give anyone watching the slip. He ventured forth, making as indirect a route as he could, arriving at Regents Park. He recalled the island Camellia took them to, threw his stuff across, and swam to it. Standing roughly where they were before he started to feel out the rhythm of the primordial, looking for entryway to the Old Road. He snapped into the penumbra, and his paradox started to bubble.

                  6 points backlash, but nothing seems to happen. He walks along the road and in only 30 or so minutes arrives at the other end. Alfred jumps out and stands there. He suddenly gets a view of the top of his head, and when he tries to move his arms it doesn't seem to work. A moment of dread passes over Alfred as he realises that his physical self and his incorporeal self are out of sync. For the next 10 minutes he tries to move his body with sheer force of will, and makes very slow progress to the Keepers.

                  Aaron and Sean are lead in to the Inner Chantry by Kael. In the node room, Vivian is training Camellia in meditation. Aaron overhears a bit of their conversation. "It's not enough just to be relaxed, you also have to keep focused. Meditation is about focusing your thoughts into something singular and not letting your mind wander-" She stops, seeing Aaron stand behind her.

                  Vivian: Is everything ok?
                  Aaron: Maybe, we have to talk

                  Aaron proceeds to tell her about the Hampstead Heath and the potential Progenitor arrival.

                  Vivian: Progenitors?
                  Aaron: They're like doctors.
                  Vivian: What would doctors want with the Heath?
                  Aaron: They also specialise in other Life patterns, they mean to drain the ponds...
                  Vivian; ...is there nothing these people won't destroy...

                  Aaron advises that she and others investigate the Heath tomorrow and prepare in some way to defend the space. She thanks him and heads upstairs, telling Camellia to keep practising. Vivian has a lot to consider.

                  Alfred manages to get to the door and has just about willed his hand to take out the necklace to open the way before exhaustion sets in, his body loses balance and he is left effectively paralysed on the floor. He tries to do a mind effect, calling out for help. As Aaron and Sean leave, they hear his message . "Help! I've lost control of my body and now I've collapsed by the door!" They come to him and help him to his feet and close the door behind him. As they walk Alfred slowly regains control of his body, his spiritual and physical selves finally in sync once again.

                  Alfred tells them they have important things to discuss, but needs to do so covertly. He invites them down into the node room where Camellia is still pretending to meditate. Alfred sits by the tree and starts to prepare a complicated Mind effect, his goal is to create a "Mind Palace" in which he and the others may discuss things of importance. His Mind Palace takes the form of a grand and rustic building fit for a celt. A roaring fireplace over a grand heath large enough for a cauldron. He neglects to tell anyone what he's doing, and while Aaron accepts the image, Sean dismisses the attempt to enter his mind. Alfred isn't all that worried as he wasn't sure how much he could trust "Sam" anyway.

                  Alfred and Aaron start a long conversation about what's going on. Alfred starts by talking about the Technocrats he was with.

                  Alfred: They call themselves the Void Engineers
                  Aaron: Ok, as technocrats go they're actually not that bad.
                  Alfred: They're investigating the tears in the gauntlet. And they tell me New World Order are taking over if they don't make any progress.
                  Aaron: That's significantly worse!
                  Alfred: They also said something about reinstating the Pogrom.
                  Aaron: Ok! Right, that's bad. Really bad. As in every mage in London is in danger bad. Do you know what the pogrom is?
                  Alfred: Only that it's something that happened during the Ascension War
                  Aaron: It's the systematic rounding up of mages and killing off of all the ones they can't convert.
                  Alfred: ohh...
                  Aaron: Yeah, very bad! This is much bigger than us, we have to tell Vivian about this.
                  Alfred: As long as the Void Engineers are on assignment, this may not be something we have to worry about.
                  Aaron: You may have to dripfeed them information.
                  Alfred: I know, but I need to be careful what I tell them, can't reveal too much.

                  Alfred: By the way, something I've been meaning to ask you.
                  Aaron: What's that?
                  Alfred: On the train just before the Blackout. You said something strange, you said "Did I do that?" What was that about?
                  Aaron: Alfred, there are certain things which it's just better not to ask.
                  Alfred: But-
                  Aaron: No. Sometimes the less you know, the safer you are, and this sort of stuff is definitely on a need-to-know basis. And you don't need to know.

                  Aaron: Anyway, something I need to tell you. Have you ever encountered a guy called Edwin?
                  Alfred: I don't think so.
                  Aaron: Well, I have. Many times. And every time I am near him, weird stuff keeps happening. The guy must be a potent mind mage. I saw him at Euston station the day of the blackout.
                  Alfred: There was another thing I over heard them say, that they had seen 5 breaches in the Gauntlet
                  Aaron: 5 times? Hold on. I saw him three different times, and then again when Helen found him... Edwin's been near every breach.
                  Alfred: That's only 4 times.
                  Aaron: Hmm... Maybe we missed one... But I think Edwin is the key here.
                  Alfred: I did some research, and that scene you described to me, the one where you ended up in the 1920s, it seemed eerie similar to a H.P. Lovecraft story called Pickman's Model. Somehow, you were transported into the realm of this story, Either one of two things are happening. Either Edwin is somehow transporting you into these fictional worlds. Or you accidentally stumbled upon a portal into the book Jasper Forde style. My guess would be the former as more likely.
                  Aaron: That's weird.
                  Alfred: Also, the Technocrats told me that this sort of thing happened before.
                  Aaron: Before? Where?
                  Alfred: In Birmingham, and that when people were questioned, they seemed to descend into madness...
                  Aaron: Madness... Tell me, have you seen the picture I drew?

                  As Aaron thinks of the picture, it appears in Alfred's Mind Palace right in front of him, looking a lot more detailed and terrifying than the thing he originally drew.

                  Alfred: What is it?
                  Aaron: As first I thought it was something that was chasing Alfred, something he was trying to escape. I saw it too. But now I'm not so sure.
                  Alfred: It looks sort of like the monsters described in Pickman's Model.
                  Aaron: But it's all about Edwin here... Ok... I think I got something. Edwin might be Reformatting.
                  Alfred: Reformatting?
                  Aaron: As in, he might be in Quiet, or if not that then has gone full blown Marauder. Hanson was looking for this guy right?
                  Alfred: Is he?
                  Aaron: I think he said something about being on a case, missing person's.
                  Alfred: Perhaps he better ask his client about this guy... Maybe even head out to Birmingham to check things out.
                  Aaron: Maybe, though I'll tell you one thing. We just blew this case wide open!

                  Alfred imagines up some mead for them to drink in celebration.

                  [ST NOTE: Of all the people to not be in this conversation. I find it quite funny that everyone else seems to be solving Hanson's case for him. Anyway, so yes. they finally got it. Almost. I was a bit confused how Alfred's player concluded that everything they saw was in some way connected to Pickman's Model specifically. But then that book had both Rats and Monster's mentioned... Oh well, it's assumptions like these which can lead to problems down the line, and I'm all too happy to "correct" their ideas.
                  By the way, this was a very long conversation, and they actually talked about a few more things than this, such as talking about Jason, a bit more about Hanson, and a few things about the Progenitors, but a lot of the specific wording escaped me at the time of writing this up so I chose to leave spaces instead.]

                  While this was happening. Sean decided to investigate the node with his Prime sense and realised just how powerful it is. Something that might be of interest to the Templars... As both Alfred and Aaron seemed quite involved in whatever it was they were up to, he decided this was as good a time as any to go and have his visit with Granny Elm.

                  Alfred's Mind Palace illusion dissipated and Aaron hurriedly got home. Alfred tried to talk to Camellia who was exactly where she was when they started.

                  Alfred: Is it working?
                  Camellia: Hmm?
                  Alfred: Your meditation.
                  Camellia: Sometimes... Though usually I just sit here until Vivian think's it's been long enough. It's very nice here.
                  Alfred: I have something to tell Vivian, is she about?
                  Camellia: She left to research something I think. But I can pass over a message.
                  Alfred: Ok...there's no easy way to say this, but I've been contacted by the Technocracy, and I have reason to believe they plan on reinstating the pogrom.
                  Camellia: Oh... That doesn't sound good.

                  Camellia has her familiar unnatural sense of calm about her as Alfred explains to her that it may be dangerous for Alfred to walk around outside and doesn't wish to lead them directly to the Chantry. Camellia, however, points out that Alfred could use the Pathways of the Wyck to get about, and that there are two distinct paths leading from Hampstead heath. One into Wimbledon Common, and one towards Greenwich. Alfred thanks her and lets her go back to her sitting by the node.

                  Before leaving, he quickly speaks with Mica and explains the above to her aswell.

                  Mica: Oh.... Wow...
                  Alfred: Yeah, and above that, I think they might have bugged my phone. Could you take a look at it?
                  Mica: I guess so.

                  Mica puts it in a glass case and puts a lid encrusted with various games as well as a large piece of quartz and analyses it on her computer.

                  Mica: I can't see anything on here other than phone. Though who knows what kind of stuff Technocrats could do.
                  Alfred: Is there any way you could, I don't know, block any stray signals?

                  Mica thinks about it for a moment.

                  Mica: Yes. Grab me an apple.

                  Alfred quickly goes to the node room and plucks an apple from the tree. The tree shudders.

                  Alfred: Sorry...

                  He gives the apple to Mica who takes it and cuts in it a hole. She takes a palm sized lump of Sodalite and sticks it inside. She takes a number of gem tipped lasers and types a few things on her computer, and in the course of about 40 minutes, the apple shrinks into the stone. She then takes the stone places it within the phone somewhere. Matter magicing the phone a bit to make it fit.
                  She has essentially created a Charm which will help filter unwanted energy frequencies being emitted from the phone, essentially cancelling out any bugs there may be for as long as there are charges left on the stone. The phone has a strange "Dynamic Alive" resonance about it which will make it behave somewhat oddly. But Alfred doesn't know that yet.

                  Alfred: Thank you.
                  Mica: It's alright, nice to be appreciated for a change.
                  Alfred: I'm sure the others appreciate you.
                  Mica: I don't know... it's not likely.
                  Alfred: The Verbena tree has many different branches.
                  Mica: I just wish I wasn't the bad apple...

                  As Alfred moves to his room, he hears Vivian shouting "You lost it!?" as well as the sounds of Lydia, Helen, and Hanson having tea with Camellia.

                  Aaron returned home and explained, saw Rubrix was online, and spoke.

                  Aaron: Hey Rubrix?
                  Rubrix: What?
                  Aaron: We've got an problem.
                  Rubrix: When don't we have problems?
                  Aaron: True. Well this is a big one. You know all those gauntlet tears all over London?
                  Rubrix: Vaguely...
                  Aaron: Well is the Void Engineers don't figure out what it is, then NWO are going to, and there are apparently talks of reinstating the pogrom.
                  Rubrix: shit.
                  Aaron: Exactly. Also, you remember "my friend" who was trapped with them? There's a chance they might be keeping an eye on him.
                  Rubrix: Ok, first priority would be to get this friend of yours in the clear. We can help with that. You remember when we attacked the Feed during the blackout? We left a couple of remote programs in the system. If you can find us the directory where his info is, we can delete it from their system.
                  Aaron: Right, also do you know anything about an Edwin Philips?
                  Rubrix: No. Who is he?
                  Aaron: He seems to be a powerful mage who we think might be a marauder.
                  Rubrix: Ah. Careful. Those guys are dangerous. Just going near them can be problematic.
                  Aaron: I'll keep that in mind.

                  The power goes out. Aaron looks around suddenly in the dark.

                  Aaron: Edwin?

                  Aaron takes his phone out and adjusts his sight to night vision. He makes his way over to the fuse box and finds that one of the wires has been chewed through.

                  Aaron: Oh... I'm going to kill those rats!

                  After a bit of rudimentary electrical work, he fixed the circuit and restores power, and then goes on a rat hunt. This culminates in a mad dash to grab the thing, getting bitten, and the thing running off. Another rat is found under the sink, along with another hole. This problem doesn't seem to be getting better. Aaron briefly considers calling the landlord about this, but then remembers Sean's shoes are still stuck to the floor, and his jacket is still attached to the cupboard, and figured that would be far too difficult to explain away. Aaron decides to just retire for the night, and hopes the squeaking won't keep him up this time.

                  ---NOTES---
                  I kinda expected the players to try and rescue Alfred from the Technocrats, but the players didn't want to have any attempt at it. They saw what happened to Hanson when he tried it, and they weren't about to do the same. The downside was that all the planning I put into what might happen during that rescue attempt was basically lost. Oh well, it happens. The downside though was that things went a bit slowly until after Alfred got released.
                  I've also been conscious about how little Sean was doing today. Well, he's got a Granny Elm visit due, so I'll be able to give him a huge amount of attention there. Hopefully it might give his character a bit more direction as well.
                  Last edited by Saikou; 10-20-2016, 10:01 AM.


                  Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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                  • #39
                    Small details I forgot to include in the previous post.

                    Before speaking with Mica, Alfred tried to meditate at the node. He felt a presence around him as he did, and let it access to his thoughts and memories. In an instant he felt a wave of flashes and images. In an ancient time, a small tree grows. The world is old and alien, time starts to go faster and faster as the tree grows. The scenery around the tree changes through the seasons in a consistent fashion until civilisation starts to grow around it, first as simple settlements, but eventually they grow into great sprawling streets, and suddenly darkness, as the tree is built over and around. The tree's spirit is strong and old and Alfred can feel it.

                    Alfred: Hello?
                    Tree: Who speaks with me?
                    Alfred: I am Alfred Camlann.
                    Tree: There is another name...
                    Alfred: I am Utred Pendragon
                    Tree: Ah, Pendragon... The ancient kingdom... so brief...
                    Alfred: And what might your name be?
                    Tree: It is.....
                    Alfred: Lost in time?
                    Tree: ...Lost in time
                    Alfred: You have certainly endured much.
                    Tree: I have been around from the start, and know much...
                    Alfred: Do you know of Avalon?
                    Tree: ...I do...
                    Alfred: Do you know where I can find Avalon?
                    Tree: Avalon lies beneath....hidden waters....

                    The image leaves him and Alfred is back in the node room of the keepers. He feels as though his feet had grown roots into the ground, and every breath contains the very essence of life.

                    While talking with Mica, Alfred had this exchange and learned this small nugget of information.

                    Alfred: So about Melanie, did she have any close friends?
                    Mica: Mel? I don't know... When she left, that was the last I saw her.
                    Alfred: So no one you know called Zandros?
                    Mica: No idea who that is. But no one tells me much of what's going on.
                    Alfred: I see...
                    Mica: When Mel left, Camellia was made the new Maiden, even though I'd been here longer...
                    Alfred: Wait, so Melanie was the Coven Maiden?
                    Mica: Yeah, and when she left, Vivian chose Camellia. I worry about her though, she isn't very good at facing her emotions.

                    Alfred: By the way, who have I yet to meet in the Keepers?
                    Mica: Let's see, you've met Granny Elm right?
                    Alfred: yes.
                    Mica: Gwyn, Kael, Me obviously, Vivian and Boris, and Camellia... that's it!
                    Alfred: Does that mean I've finished my initiation?
                    Mica: We haven't had a sacrificial ritual yet.
                    Alfred: Oh right... forgot about those. What else do I need to do?
                    Mica: Meditate at our node.
                    Alfred: Oh I've done that. It even spoke to me.
                    Mica: Wow! You must have a very old soul.
                    Alfred: uh... yeah...
                    Mica: You also have to walk into the spirit wylds of the umbra.
                    Alfred: Didn't I do that already with the Pathways?
                    Mica: (mica laughs a little) No.. The pathways are just the penumbra. When you walk through the Spirit Wylds, you'll know.
                    Alfred: How is it?
                    Mica: It's unlike anything you've ever known. Doesn't really suit me though. Spirit has never really been my thing.
                    Alfred: And after that?
                    Mica: I think that's about it. Though we'll have to wait for Gwyn to return before we can properly initiate you as a keeper.


                    Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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                    • #40
                      9th Session (1st half)

                      Turns out more people could do the Tuesday session than the Sunday one, so in a bizarre turn of events, the designated "main" session has only two out of six people...

                      Cast List:
                      Helen Walter: Hermetic Spy
                      Joe Hanson: Noir Detective

                      Notable NPC:

                      Edwin Phillips: our Marauder.

                      ---CHAPTER 9a: HELP---

                      The sky was a pitch black and all about her were trees. She walked cautiously through the woodland, a cold breeze blowing through the night air. In the distance, she heard the all too familiar scream of agony and cry for help. She let their voice guide he and soon could see a faint orange glow. Pushing through the clearing, she saw great flames crackling and a woman tied to a pole. She screamed out in pain as the fire whipped at her mercilessly. She stopped and stared as the woman screamed in agony. "Helen" she called "Help!". Helen wanted to move, wanted desperately to do something, but her body stood frozen in terror. A misty black cloak appeared from the shadows, and the shine of the knife caught her eye as it rose. Just as the cloak drew close Helen ran back into the woods. As she ran away the glow got brighter and brighter, and her mother's voice louder and louder. You could have saved her Helen. Why didn't you save her? WHY DIDN'T YOU HELP HER!!

                      Helen awoke in a cold sweat. It was 5 in the morning and she knew what this meant. Another night lost. She tried to rest anyway on the bed, but her heart pounded to fast to relax. She knew it was all in vain, and another hour or so later, gave up and accepted that today had begun. She felt something under her bracelet, something papery. She pulled it out and saw a note from her mentor. She recalled that, as well as sending her report, she also asked her if she knew anything about Boris, and if he had anything to do with her parent's disappearance. She read the note.

                      Helen
                      We've received your report, and Gustav bani Quaesitor is pleased with your progress. He's going to send you an official request for information which will detail the kind of thing they are looking for from you.
                      I cannot comment on this "Boris" person you describe, but please try to keep it out of your head. If house Quaesitor think that a personal matter is clouding your judgement, they may refuse to use your report as evidence. This could seriously harm your chances of reaching the 4th degree.
                      You've done well so far, now keep going.
                      Eve

                      Hanson was in his room not too far away, always awake at this time and preparing his morning coffee and his first cigarette of the day. There was only one thing on his mind. Edwin. He'd been working on this case for the best part of a week now and he still wasn't any closer to finding the guy. But he knew he was close, others had seen him. Aaron, Helen, even Lydia had some kind of encounter with the guy, and always when weird stuff is happening. He looked out the window at the slowly waking London, and lost himself within a dream. An address appeared in his mind, somewhere in South Hampstead... Perhaps this was where Edwin was heading next. It was just a hunch, but right now hunches were all he had.

                      Helen walked towards the inner Chantry door. She wanted to take this chance to get in and have a proper search around Boris's study, but could not get past this door. It was too early, not a single keeper would be awake, and without them around to open the door for her, she was stuck. She noticed Hanson appear behind her.

                      Hanson: You up too?
                      Helen: Yeah... couldn't sleep.
                      Hanson: I'm going out to find Edwin. I could do with someone that's met him before. Want to come along?
                      Helen: ...ok.

                      They got on the tube and headed off. Helen was exhausted but tried not to let it show. The train was delayed for a while with no reason given. Not long after it started up, Helen's bracelet started getting very hot. At the same time, Hanson's danger sense peaked. It was only for a moment, but it was unmistakable. They talked about it as they changed train lines, confirming their sensation as well as their lack of understanding, and continued along the way until they arrived at a station near Hampstead South.

                      As they exited the station, something felt very strange. The sky was darker than they thought it would be, the sky a foreboding red, and the unmistakable smell of fish filled the air. They also noticed some strange metallic birds nearby, moving as if they were alive. Helen immediately recognised them as "Scab Birds" but knew very little else about them, other than the fact that they were spirits. Hanson pulled out his phone and tried to figure out where he was, but his GPS was not recognising them. Even more curiously the digits of the clock on his phone were going haywire, constantly switching between 9 am and 9 pm, occasionally turning into an 8, while the minute digits flashed through various random numbers. Hanson thought about it for a moment, and considered that they had might have ended up in some strange spirit realm. Hanson tried to call Aaron but was only able to leave a message.

                      "Hey Aaron, this eh.. may not be relevant by the time you get this but, basically we're not in Kansas anymore. Not sure where we are, but we got of the train at what should have been South Hampstead, and we're now...somewhere...GPS can't find us. There're some weird metal birds looking around. Kinda steel at the talons, brass at the beak. You know, that kind of thing. If you can do any kind of, you know, location magic to try and help us, I'm pretty sure this is the same sort of thing that happened to you in "Boston". So, if you can help us, that would be great. See ya buddy, bye."

                      Helen spots a strange humanoid figure, shambling along the dirty road. Hanson had put up a fairly high power perception filter earlier in the day, and as long as Helen was close, she too would feel it's effects. They walked up to the figure feeling hidden, but as they got closer, the figures strange features started to become apparent. The shape of their skull seemed to narrow to a point, their eyes bulged as though too big for their sockets, and their skin was a strange colour, a dull inhuman grey. Hanson called out to the being, and after attracting it's attention, tried to engage it in conversation.

                      Hanson: Hello? Sir

                      As the creature turned, they got a better look at its grotesque features. Its lips were swollen and miscoloured, and it didn't seem to have any ears. When he spoke, it was with a gruff croak of a voice, difficult to comprehend.

                      Guy: EH?
                      Hanson: We were wondering where we are...
                      Guy: Outsiders...
                      Hanson: Uh... yes. Could you tell us where we are?
                      Guy: HM
                      Hanson: Or at least tell us where we could go to leave.
                      Guy: Try the hotel...

                      The figure shambled on at this, deaf to anything Hanson said thereafter. Helen and Hanson continued walked in the rough direction they were pointed in, seeing the extent of the dilapidation. Buildings were boarded up, and a lot of businesses seemed permanently closed, while the smell of stagnant fish was getting ever stronger in the still and windless air. They eventually arrived at a large town square seeing many shambling beings of similar disfigurement along the way. Ahead of them was a building with a plaque reading "The Esoteric Order of Dagon"

                      Not far from the square was the hotel called "The Gilman House". For a moment, they wondered if perhaps Edwin was in there. Edwin was always around when weird stuff like this was happening, and it wouldn't be the first time he pulled people into strange otherworldy places. Helen sneaked close to the window and tried to peer inside, though found it was too dark. However, she did here two people talking, one of whom she recognised vaguely as being Edwin.

                      Voice: Just for the night?
                      Edwin: Yes
                      Voice: ok then, just up the stairs.
                      Edwin: ...thank you.

                      Helen beckoned Hanson over. Edwin was close, and all they had to do was follow him. They entered the hotel and spoke with a normal looking man at the desk.

                      Man: Hello?
                      Hanson: Uh... yes, we'd like to meet a friend. Edwin his name is.
                      Man: Edwin... Let me see... (checking through a book) Ah yes, Edwin, he's staying here tonight.
                      Hanson: Would we be able to go and meet him?
                      Man: Perhaps, are you taking a room?
                      Hanson: I don't think so.
                      Man: Well, you've missed the last bus, and it is getting late.

                      He was right, the sky was growing dark at an alarming rate.

                      Hanson: How much?
                      Man: about $3.

                      Hanson pulls out his wallet, but not sure how far British currency would take him, he pulls out a wad of cash and asks

                      Hanson: Would this work for you.
                      Man: Very good, here is your room.

                      To Hanson's astonishment, he had just pulled out a wad of dollar bills. He had no idea where they came from, or what happened to his actual money, but he knew this was started to freak him out. He thanked the man and went up the stairs with Helen. Helen was eager to insist they have separate rooms. The rooms themselves were of fairly ill repair. Not unlivable but only barely comfortable. The walls, floor, and ceiling were all made of wood, and each room seemed to have three doors. One leading out to the corridor, and two on either side which joined on to the adjacent rooms, each with some kind of lock on either side.

                      Helen wished to combat her tiredness with a spell of mental alertness. Taking out her mirror to rearrange her shapes. She also started to get nervous and, remembering back to Granny Elms prediction of transformation, prepared a spell to strengthen her own Life pattern against such changes. Hanson, on the other hand, wanted to listen out for Edwin. With a combinations of drink and scribbling in his notepad, Hanson prepared an effect to listen out closely to specific kinds of noise. (Mind 1, Forces 2, Entropy 1. It would gather all sound of importance towards him, and allow him to filter out the noise, allowing him to hear with clarity only what he was looking for.

                      Hanson heard a door open, Helen agreed to stay behind and wait in case Edwin returned or was still in the hotel while Hanson left to follow him. Hanson crept behind the guy, his features difficult to describe as all adjectives seemed to disappear from the mind as soon as you looked away. Aaron did say that Edwin had a high Arcane about him after all. Hanson pursued him with great caution as we walked along the streets, the stench of fish ever palpable. Only a handful of street lamps were on, leaving great portions of darkness along the way. Edwin stopped in front of a grocery store, it's up kept appearance standing in stark contrast to the decayed buildings around it. Edwin just stood there, looking through the window as though waiting for someone. Hanson thought this was the perfect time to try and reach out to him.

                      Hanson: Edwin?
                      Edwin: !
                      Hanson: Your sister is looking for you.
                      Edwin: What... What do you want!?
                      Hanson: I'm an investigator, I was hired by your sister to find you and take you back to her.

                      At least, that's what Hanson wanted to say. As he spoke, however, a strange lump formed in the back of his mouth, and his throat began to feel incredibly dry. All he was able to say was a loud croaking sound.

                      Edwin: What do you want from me!? I mean you know harm!
                      Hanson: GRAAAW

                      Edwin started to run back in the direction of the hotel. Hanson tried to follow but his body began to feel very heavy and cumbersome. He looked down at his hands and saw that their colour had drained, leaving a sickly grey. Hanson chased on regardless, not wishing to lose sight of Edwin for a moment. Helen waited, the sky was getting very dark now, the sun long since set. She looked out the window at the dark sky against what looked like the sea, a distant reef just visible under the moonlight. She looked down and saw someone running towards the hotel pursued by a great shambling creature. She hid behind the door and listened out for the footsteps climbing the stairs. She slowly tried to peek out, but only managed to glimpse a closing door. She left to examine it and came face to face with a hideous creature with horrible grey skin, bulging eyes, great limbs and no neck. The creature spoke in a great roar of gargled noise and Helen went to scream, but the thing brought a pair of shades over his eyes and the words "Helen! It's me! Hanson" floated through her mind.

                      Helen stopped for a moment and noticed the clothes the thing wore did indeed resemble Hanson's, if somewhat misshapen. Hanson established a mental link between them so they may communicate without need of words. Helen was certain now that Hanson's body had been transformed just as Lydia and herself had been before. The two of them looked down the corridor and walked up to the door they though Edwin was at. Hanson knocked, and could hear the sound of panicked movement. It sounded as though he had run to unlock a door and run into an adjacent room, locking the door behind him. Hanson and Helen ran to the next door but the door was barricaded just before they had a chance to open it, and again he ran to the next room. Helen ran ahead to one of the open doors a few rooms down hoping to head him off. Hanson went to the next room, lugging his heavy and uneasy form around. Hanson stopped, he could hear the sound of a window open. He called to Helen mentally to follow him as the two of them ran down and around the building, just in time to watch Edwin jump from the window onto the adjacent roof.

                      The two of them ran into the building of a warehouse and found him sat there, furiously drawing the familiar Twig Elder sign. Hanson tried to approach him, but his horrendous form only spurred on more fear. Edwin leaped onto a box and tried to jump out of another window. Hanson rushed out and quickly took chase. Helen noticed a single page fall from the book he carried. She picked it up but was unable to read it. All she could see was a string of words such as: C'ilyaa Grah'n Gof-nn hupadgh f'fhalma Shuggoth fi'ganiih Yog-sothoth Kadishtu Nilgh'ri. Helen tried to to catch up with Hanson, but was stunned to notice her skin was changing colour, though she had not yet started to change shape. Suddenly, a crowd of misshapen people emerged around her, some wearing strange jewellery around their heads. They spoke in gurgles and chants. Helen pretended to be amongst them and walked along as they wielded their torches.

                      Edwin ran towards a field of tall grass, tripped and turned to face Hanson head on. "Get Back!" he called to him. Hanson wanted desperately to communicate with him. Edwin was starting to look in the book he was reading, and looked as though we was getting ready to cast a spell of his own. Hanson was quick to react. He tried to form a mental link with Edwin, but has having a lot of trouble.

                      By this point, the number of coincidental effects that had been flung around trying to keep them hidden and, protected, and in communications was starting to add up. This and Hanson had already four effects active on himself (Danger sense, Perception filter, Sound filtering, and Mental Link with Helen when close to her) making it very difficult for him to cast quickly. He was only able to bring out a single word into Edwin's mind.

                      "Please!"

                      Edwin stopped, and watched, confused yet cautious at what just happened. Hanson backed away slightly, put his hands in front of him, and crouched down to his knees in an attempt to show he meant no harm. While Edwin seemed relatively calm, Hanson thought now was the best time to try and establish a more substantial link with him, and even dispelled a few of his own effects to make things easier. Whatever happened now, clear communication was the key here.

                      Hanson rolled a botch. The energies of paradox swirled around him with great energy. It was all Hanson could do to try and hold everything together, a backlash now would ruin everything! For the moment, Hanson managed to continue on with 14 points of Paradox.

                      Helen was walking with the crowd, her hands had begun to web and the smell of fish was getting very strong. But the more she walked, the more she could understand what the other creatures were saying. "Get the Outsiders" they called "Take them too the Reef" amongst chants of "Ia Dagon! Ia Hyrda!". Helen looked around and saw them pass a sign. "Innsmouth" it said. Helen looked at the torches, and considered trying to distract the crowed with some kind of fire magic. But became too worried of the paradox that may cause and chose instead to sneak disguised as one of them. Hanson noticed the crowd growing nearer, the light of their torches hard to mistake against the dark night around them. He turned to look at them, then looked back and Edwin was gone.

                      Helen saw Hanson and tried to run to him as the two of them tried to escape this crowd of hostile beasts. They ran towards the train station, which stood broken and decayed, as though it had not been used for decades, they ran behind a corner and sat, waiting in the darkness. The glow of the torches growing fainter and fainter. Helen tried to get up to check if they had gone, but Hanson pulled her back, thinking to her that if they were noticed, they'd have nowhere left to run to. So they waited on.

                      Helen pulled out her phone to try and read the page again, and was surprised to find her hands looked normal again. Hanson too seemed to have returned. The page, however, was unrecognisable. No longer filled with a string of indecipherable consonants, but plain simple English. Before she had a chance to read it, however, another light shown into them. Helen got up to check and saw a man with a Transport for London uniform on.

                      TFL: What are you doing back here?
                      Hanson: ...that's a very good question. Where are we?

                      At least, this is what Hanson wanted to say, but Paradox finally came into force, 9 points back lashing at once, and the only word he could say was "Help".

                      Hanson: Help!
                      Helen: Hanson? What's wrong.
                      Hasnon: Help help help help.
                      Helen: Huh?
                      Hanson: ....help.

                      Hanson pulled out his notepad and tried to write down what he wanted to say, but everything he wrote just ended up as the world "help".

                      The TFL guy grabbed the two of them, saying we was taking them to the office. They walked out of what turned out to be a maintenance hatch, and along the underground platform they had come from. They tried to escape but the man's grip held strong. Helen took out her mirror and first tried to give him a sense of urgency, but this only maid him feel more determined to bring them to security. Helen then tried to give him the feeling that he had to go to the toilet. This was a much stronger effect and caused the guy to stand there almost in pain. He took a walkie talkie out and tried to call for assistance, and this is when the two of them ran for it. The TFL man unable to give chase due to the intensity of the feeling he had.

                      They arrived back at ground level and looked around. The sky was bright if cloudy. Helen saw that time had returned to normal, it now being roughly 3:30 pm. And the Scab birds where still in the area... oh... This made Hanson a bit concerned, however any attempt to speak just resulted in yet more "Help". It was as though he felt that every word he wanted to say sounded like the word "Help". what was worse was that everything Helen started to say back to him also sounded like "Help".

                      Hanson quickly looked at his notebook, trying to find the address he wrote this morning, but every word looked like "help". He eventually created a mental link with Helen, and they communicated in concepts and ideas instead of words. Through this, Helen was able to find the right address and the two of them headed in that direction, thinking perhaps Edwin had something to do with the place. Helen taking the role of Hanson's eyes and ears.

                      The address turned out to be a hotel. They entered and spoke with the man at the desk.

                      Man: Ah, welcome back.
                      Helen: Back?
                      Man: Why yes, you only just took a room a while ago.
                      Helen: I see... Do you have someone called Edwin staying here?
                      Man: Your friend, yes? As I said before, he was staying for the night. Would you like me to call his room?
                      Helen: Yes please.
                      Man: ........ There doesn't seem to be any answer.
                      Helen: That's ok, we'll just take our keys.
                      Man: Here you are.
                      Helen: Thank you
                      Hanson: Help Help.

                      Hanson was having a very hard time, in the lift, every button was the help button. Every floor was Help. and every door was number Help. Helen had to lead him to the correct rooms. Hanson just lay down on the bed and resigned himself to waiting out the Paradox effect, feeling unable to do anything in his current state. He thought to Helen that he planned to stay here and stake out the place, in case Edwin tried to return. Helen waited for a while, but after about thirty minutes remembered the note Eve had sent her, and left to go back to the Student Accommodation in case there was a letter for her. Hanson lay down, every now and again trying to speak to see is he had normalised. "Hello?" He'd try and say, "Help?" He'd hear from his mouth.

                      Helen arrived to a huge mess of beer cans, overflowing garbage, and a sink filled with dishes. She had been away a week and didn't miss it at all. She sifted through the letters that lay in a pile and found a strange blank one with a red wax seal. She unsealed the letter, opened it, and red its contents.

                      This message may only be viewed by: Aileen Davina Freya, bani Jerbiton apprentice of Olivia Georgiana Raphanel, bani Jerbiton.
                      News of your successful infiltration within the Verbena coven, who calls themselves the “Keepers of the Wyck”, has been received. We consider this to be a good start, and your report is a useful account of the members present. The coven’s practices have been mostly a mystery for as long as we have been aware of them, so anything that can shed light on their intentions, goals, and reason for secrecy is of interest.
                      We require to be informed of any untoward activity within the coven, and whether their practice threatens the protocols as put forth by the Council of Nine. In particular, you must report if the group are in regular communications with infernal spirits or proclaimed Enemies of Ascension, such as the Nephandi. It is of great imperative that the Order is informed so appropriate action can be taken.
                      If you were not already informed, the Nephandi are mages who have turned away from ascension and have instead dedicated their lives and their magick towards global descent. What sets them apart from the Traditions is the orientation of their Avatar. As part of their rites, they go through a process by which they have their Avatars inverted, and as far as our records have shown, this process is irreversible once complete.
                      A mage who willingly has their Avatar inverted is known as a Barabbus. If a Barabbus is killed then their Avatar will escape their body and reincarnate within the body of another following a period of time. This new-born will forever be marked with an inverted avatar, and will grow up to become predisposed towards descent. Such Mages are known as Widderslainte and as far as we are aware, no recorded Widderslainte has ever been able to resist the call of their inverted Avatar.
                      The Barabbi are traitors to Ascension, and must be contained where found and dealt with accordingly. Due to the danger of creating a Widderslainte, their deaths must be avoided in favour of performing the Gilgul rite, by which the Avatar is torn from the mage and permanently destroyed. Those who are born as Widderslainte are unfortunately doomed to this fate by order of the Council of Nine as there is yet to be a known way to restore the Avatar.
                      Understand that to accuse a Mage of being of being a Nephandus is a serious case indeed, and such statements must be supported with sufficient evidence. Only a unanimous verdict will result in the Gilgul rite as the process is irreversible, results in the immediate loss of any and all ability to perform Awakened Magick, and is considered by many who have suffered it as a fate worse than death. False accusations made with intent are punishable by Censure, Servitude, and in extreme cases, Branding and Ostracism.
                      While your Mentor still has responsibility over your education, all further reports pertaining to the Keepers of the Wyck are to be addressed to House Quaesitor, and the London Tribunal.
                      Gustav Richter Kratochvil, bani Quaesitor

                      Helen put the letter in her pocket and got ready to return. The Tube journey back to the hotel had another delay followed by a rise in danger felt by her bracelet's heat in between two of the stations. A spike of heat she didn't feel mere tens of minutes before...

                      [ST NOTE: This letter was made for a few reasons. First is that I needed a way to describe the Nephandi to the players without outright telling them about it. I couldn't rely on them to read the book or search online for this sort of stuff on their own. Most of these characters were new to the World of Darkness, and so would be very unfamiliar with the concept of an Inverted Avatar and what this means for the mages who possess it. So far the only player that I've been able to talk about Nephandi with in-game was Alfred. Hopefully with both Alfred and Helen clued up, there will be chance for the two of them to talk to the others in character and get them on board with what they may need to look out.
                      Failing that, I'll have to find ways of informing the others through other means].

                      Hanson sat on the bed, it had been at least an hour and a half. "Hello?" he tried again. "Helop?" he spoke... Well, that's progress at least. Hanson decided to take a quick look into Edwin's room near the end of the hallway. He stepped up to the door and listened. Someone was on the other side, moving around. He could hear a door close and the rustling of sheets.
                      Hanson knocked on the door.

                      Hanson: Hello? Is someone help there?

                      The door opened, and a maid came out

                      Maid: Yes?
                      Hanson: Oh sorry... I though helpone else were here.
                      Maid: Just cleaning.
                      Hanson: No of course, helpry to interhelp you.
                      Maid: Just cleaning...

                      Hanson left. What he that was Edwin turned out just to be the Help. Hanson decided we really needed a drink and went out to get the stuff he needed to make Gin and Tonic back in the hotel (because the stuff at the bar was really expensive).

                      By the time Helen got back, Hanson had more or less returned to his normal, slightly inebriated self. He could read words and hear people speak. He offered Helen a drink who promptly refused. The two of them looked at the page Helen had found. It seemed to be some kind of religious text talking about "The One". While Hanson wasn't particularly in the know about this kind of stuff, Helen was able to identify it as the sort of thing you'd find in the Book of the Ages, usually held by the Celestial Chorus.

                      Hanson took out his phone and tried to call Aaron, and again ended up leaving a message.

                      "Hey Aaron, we're back now so, no need for...help in regards to where we are or anything. We're, just so you know, we're staying in a hotel in South Hampstead. Edwin was staying here, we think he's left now but we're staking it out just to make sure... Oh yeah, the place we were at was called eh... There was a sign there called "Innsmouth" and we saw the "Esoteric Order of Dagon". There was a house for them there, in fact... tell you what... (Hanson quickly googles the name "Innsmouth" into his phone). ....God Dammit! So apparently Innsmouth is uh... from a Lovecraft book... So that's um... God Damn I have no idea what happened... Anyway, yea, we ran into Edwin, turned into monsters, we're back now, we're staking out the hotel... See you soon I guess... Bye."

                      They waited for several hours more. Helen doing work on trying to learn and understand Gaelic. As the sun started to go. Helen left to go back to the Keepers, she had a few questions for Granny Elm to answer, while Hanson just sat and waited in case any sign of Edwin came at all.

                      ---NOTES---
                      Having the players turn into Innsmouth residents while chasing Edwin was one of the first ideas I had when I thought up this story, and it felt really good to finally be able to put it into the game proper. For those of you unfamiliar with "The Shadow over Innsmouth". That is where the majority of the imagery for this part comes from, right down to the "Locking Connected Hotel Doors and Escape Through the Window" chase sequence.
                      This is the first time so far that Edwin transformed an entire area, so his Quiet must be getting quite severe. I might make it lighten up a little bit in subsequent encounters.

                      Hanson's rolls never cease to entertain... He has gotten the most botches, and as a result the most paradox, out of any player so far. It's really funny, though it does fit his "down and out" type Noir detective. Not even the universe can cut him a break. It does highlight how much the domino effect can change coincidental magic into an impossible feat, to the point where it's actually safer to do Vulger effects. I think this is a good thing because my Player's still seem a bit Vulger Shy at the moment.

                      Speaking of which, Helen lies at the complete opposite side of the spectrum to Hanson. The unofficial title I've got for Helen's player is "The mundane Queen" as she spends all of the experience on Abilities and Attributes, and chooses to opt for mundane means of accomplishing things rather than magical. Nothing wrong with that but it does mean she isn't giving herself much of a chance to experiment with the spheres, sort of a big deal for a Mage game. She was so close to using vulgar magic today, but chickened out at the last minute. I've told her that I'll give her an extra Experience point is she uses Vulgar magic in a useful way next session, just to make it more appealing to her.
                      Her reluctance to use magic does fit in with a young Order of Hermes Apprentice though. Technically competent though prone to freezing on the battlefield due to a lack of experience.
                      Last edited by Saikou; 10-26-2016, 05:41 PM.


                      Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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                      • #41
                        ---9th Session (2nd Half)---

                        This session comes in (at least) two parts. The first details Sean's meeting with Granny Elm, while the next deals with what happened in the session proper.

                        ---INTERLUDE: CARDS OF THE KNIGHT---

                        Sean entered the room and was immediately met with Granny Elm. He felt a strange resonance of loss as she greeted him, nether looking directly at his face.

                        GE: I believe you prefer to be called "Sam". Do you not?
                        Sean: ...Yes.
                        GE: Then that is how we shall call you today. I believe you called yourself a member of the Celestial Chorus
                        Sean: ...I did.
                        GE: And how have you been finding out coven?
                        Sean: It has... it has been an experience.
                        GE: I hope it has not been to overwhelming for you.
                        Sean: Well, It certainly is an adjustment.
                        GE: Tell me, "Sam", what do you think of fate?
                        Sean: It's not for me to question.
                        GE: Perhaps, though fate is not something which is immutable. It is all a matter of potential. Knowing what one's fate has in store for them gives one the tools required to take a certain level of control. This is the gift I provide, it is up to you whether you take it or not.

                        Sean is quiet. He feels marginally uncomfortable being so cut off from his usual environment, but does not wish to say anything that may cause animosity.
                        Granny Elm begins to spread her cards.

                        [1] [2] [3] [4]

                        .....[9][10][5]

                        .....[8] [7] [6]

                        1: The self. It is KNIGHT OF QUESTING (Wands)
                        GE: A mighty force, a gallant hero, and one who uses their skills to further some kind of goal. They have a clear direction and a assured in their quest to complete it.

                        2: What you were. THE FOOL REVERSED
                        GE: The fool is usually a character of possibility and limitless potential. Though when reversed, its meaning can refer more to listlessness and aimlessness. It indicates that in the past you were one with little in the way of direction. Leaping around in the air, only going where ones feat takes them, directionless and void of real purpose.

                        3: How you developed. THE SUN
                        GE: A card of truth, but also of positive enforcement. It perhaps indicates some Utopian ideal that you aspire to. Though the Sun also represents vulnerability and innocence. This image may be the thing that gave you the direction you lacked in the past, something to quest for. Perhaps to protect or to achieve.

                        4: Your avatar's will. JUDGEMENT
                        GE: I'm sure you are well accustomed to the concept of judgement. It seems your avatar seeks for you to play a role in its deciding arm, but whether this is to make the judgement, enact the verdict, or both is yet to be seen.
                        I notice that the theme of the sun follows you in these readings so far. It lies behind you in the past, lighting your way but beyond your notice. While in these cards it stands tall and prominent at the centre of all events, something that gives you guidance, the quest that turns you from Fool to Knight.

                        5: Your Future. It is FIVE OF PRIMORDIALISM (Cups)
                        GE: A curious card isn't it. The central figure seems quite monstrous, though I do not think this is to be taken literally. The figure stands on a desolate scene, spilled cups of wine at his feet, a ruined city in the background. The five of primordialism has the meaning of disillusionment. Perhaps the future holds a certain dissatisfaction with what you've been given. The grand metropolis seen in each card up until this point begins to fade, even the sun starts to set, that one shining force that has been ever present in your life.
                        This may mean that something of great importance to you has lost the sheen it once had, and now the hair is moved from your eyes as you start to question it properly. Perhaps that which you looked upon with innocence before has started to lose it's spark

                        6: What you desire. It is STRENGTH
                        GE: The very essence of power and virtue. The sun is gone, leaving a steadily darkening sky, a dark time of uncertainty perhaps brought about by this uncertainty. In such a time as this, Strength is something you desire above all else. While this strength may be physical, the card also refers to mental fortitude and the ability to strive onward even when reduced to their core. This will feel important for you. What what you relied upon for direction is starting to lose its appeal and some form of resilience is needed in order to keep you quest. How do you consider this?
                        Sean: Well... Certainly a thought...

                        Sean simply sits, he is sceptical about a lot of what Granny Elm is telling, keeping his guard up at all times. Granny Elm notices this, and decides give him something to satisfy his suspicions, and thus allow him to become more accepting of the other aspects of the reading.

                        7: What can help you. THREE OF QUESTING (Wands)
                        GE: Interesting... In the previous cards the Sun was an ever present symbol, but now we have the moon. The biblical imagery suggested by Judgement contrasted by this much older and more spiritual image of magic. This card is usually associated with companionship of a sort, a coming together or different individuals or groups. While this man may perform a branch of magic that may at first seem alien to you, there is a chance that such different forms can be to your aid. Perhaps in this moment of darkness, allying yourself with those outside of your normal group could be what you need to attain your strength.

                        8: What you dread. THE HIEROPHANT REVERSED
                        GE: Very interesting... The Heirophant is a card showing an advisory figure, one of great wisdom and reverence. But when reversed, it depicts one who abuses their position for personal gain. Perhaps a figure in your life, or even a central dogma which has long outlived its purpose. This may represent a specific person of respect and that you dread the thought that something you hold in such esteem may be in some way corruptible. It may also refer to a grander scheme of questioning the hierarchy you are placed in, one that does not match the ideals that lead you there in the first place. Perhaps this lies at the heart of you disillusionment from the naivety you used to grow. Maybe this is the task that requires clear judgement.

                        9: What can harm you. It is THE LOVERS
                        GE: A card with many facets. What do you see?

                        A burning bush... The Sun... A man and a woman, and an angelic figure...
                        GE: And a snake... The Lovers is a card of many facets, at the heart of which is choice. While it can refer to love in and of itself, it may refer instead to the idea of commitment, devotion, and respect. As you point out, We see here again the sun has returned, along with these many biblical images, but this time it's rays are blocked by this angelic figure. This could symbolise a blind devotion of sorts to this idealistic image you possess, one which may cloud your judgement of the deeper corruption, one which may prevent you seeking the aid in unexpected places and thus forfeit the very strength you seek. Alternatively, it could represent a lack of desire to question the flawed authority you answer to, authorities which may not shine with the virtues you ascribe to, and thus deny yourself the sun itself.

                        Sean grins slightly, thinking he has seen through a finely veiled attempt at conversion. Though beyond that, aspects of what she had told him were beginning to form a pattern. He wasn't sure what he was looking at, but when he looked back on his life and the questions ahead of him, he could not deny that what she had said had at least a small amount of merit.

                        10: The Unexpected. It is THE KNIGHT OF DYNAMISM
                        GE: A strange one this... What do you see?
                        A dragon destroying a city, with no sight of the sun...
                        It shows a being of great destruction. A monster of sorts. Perhaps it refers to a great source of destruction, and as they too are a knight this force may be equal to you... This could be a person, a group, or simply an event. A large scale point of destruction stands present. One thing of interest to note is how the majority of your cards seem to be of the Major Arcana. This may mean that a great event is ahead of you, one which will challenge you and deeply alter your current view of the world. Whether this is the making or the avoiding of this destruction, however, is yet to be seen.

                        Sean: Well, it certainly was an amusing pastime. But you did not just ask to see me in order to play cards, I assume.
                        GE: The cards provide one with a better understanding of the path ahead of them. I merely wish to show my servitude to you.
                        Sean: I see... Not sure I buy into this though.
                        GE: All I do is provide for you the options, it is up to you how you regard them. You are always free to consult with me in future, if you wish.

                        Sean thinks for a moment. considering the cards she had just shown him. Perhaps there is a chance that she can be of service to him after all...

                        Sean: Well, as you seem to know a lot about myself, having laid your...cards on the table, I suppose it's only right that I lay mine on the table for you. I am here for an investigation of sorts. The Chorus has lost a precious artefact, and I have been asked to find it. Is there a chance you would know if anyone from your group is involved with this?

                        Granny Elm shuffles the cards in her hand, and starts dealing out three ahead of him.

                        SEVEN OF DYNAMISM. The talisman you seek, held in the hands of this tragic character. One who is too far over the pit to turn back, but knows to continue is foolhardy.
                        PAGE OF QUESTING REVERSED: He is associated with this, a poor unfortunate who is searching just as you are. But while you have one sun, she has at least three to contend with, her path is confusing indeed.
                        TWO OF QUESTING REVERSE: A use of force, a grand deceleration of power. The artefact you seek may be utilised for things outside of its intended purpose...

                        Sean: So that would be a "no" then, your coven isn't involved with this artefact.
                        GE: The cards do not deal in absolutes, though if you are asking me specifically, I can tell you I know not of any involvement of us with your quest.
                        Sean: I see, and what of the rest of my group? What can you tell me of them?
                        GE: The people you have been travelling with...

                        Granny Elm draws out five more cards and lays them down.

                        NINE OF PRIMORDIALISM
                        A tragic figure, she sits beneath an ever mounting number of daggers and knives, all of which may fall onto them at a moments notice. She lives in turmoil with the deaths of those she cared about sitting at her feet.

                        EIGHT OF PRIMORDIALISM
                        Someone who is bound, possibly by their own indecision, their tools lie before them but they are unable to wield them. There is a great feeling of desire to break against their own bonds, but they lack the courage to do so.

                        WHEEL OF FORTUNE REVERSE
                        Someone for whom misfortune is not unfamiliar. Their lives have been a constant tirade of misstep after misstep as they stumble through life, attempting to better their lot.

                        QUEEN OF PRIMORDIALISM
                        A powerful force of will who wishes to attain control of their outlook, and person of great imagination and self-reflection, in constant review of their own subjective thoughts.

                        PAGE OF DYNAMISM REVERSED
                        A powerful force of change, though not a tempered one. While their potential is great and terrifying, their lack of experience and coordination threatens to undermine them.


                        Sean: Well.... this certainly is a lot to consider... I thank you.

                        GE: You are always welcome to return for another consolation if you feel the need for it.

                        Sean leaves and returns to his room in the upstairs.

                        ---NOTES---
                        With the exception of the Seven of Dynamism, all the cards taken for Sean's request were completely at random from the deck. I'm surprised by how well they managed to line up with things, but I'm not sure it's something I'll be making a habit off. Leaving this sort of thing up to chance can very easily force me to reveal things that shouldn't yet be known.
                        Granny Elm is wary of Sean. She has been watching everyone from the chantry through time and space, and is well aware of who he is and what may happen if his order suspect a nephandi is within reach. She chose to tread lightly here, providing a reading which pandered to his sense of monotheism but just couldn't miss the chance of inserting a little potential doubt.
                        The problem with giving doubt to the faithful is well known. So instead of try to make him doubt his beliefs in "The One", she instead elected to direct his strong faith against those in the Chorus, and those who manage the Chapter House.
                        Faith can be a very powerful tool is used correctly.


                        Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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                        • #42
                          So this is there the second half of the 9th session proper begins.

                          Cast List
                          Lydia: Moon Witch
                          Alfred Camlann: Excalibur Mage
                          Aaron Gibson: Punk Hacker
                          Sean Heath: Templar Knight

                          Notable NPC's Include:

                          Keeper:
                          Kael: Talisman Crafter

                          Templar Knight:
                          Joseph Kent: Preceptor

                          Introducing some Choristers:
                          Jenifer Cromwell: Monist
                          Stephan Bates: Septarian
                          Joan Frank: Septarian


                          ---CHAPTER 9b: AN UNEASY ALLIANCE---

                          Alfred woke up. He had to get to work but first he needed to talk to Lydia and warn him both about the Technocracy's potential tracer on him, as well as the Progenitors attempt to come to the Heath. He quickly checked his phone for any messages. His phone was slow to react, as though it was a bit tired, like it had just woken up like he. Curious though it was, he put his phone aside and chose not to muse over it too long. Lydia was only just waking up herself moments before Alfred knocked on the door to speak with her.

                          Lydia: Hello?
                          Alfred: It's Alfred, we need to talk.
                          Lydia: What's going on?
                          Alfred: It's not safe to be around me anymore.

                          Alfred told Lydia about what happened in the Void Engineer base. How he was captured after the Sturm fight, and that they may be keeping an eye on him.

                          Lydia: You told them about us!?
                          Alfred: No, I didn't. They don't know your names.
                          Lydia: But you still told them about us. About Hanson, about what we did at Euston.
                          Alfred: I only told them what I had to. They still don't know about the Heath.
                          Lydia: What do you think they're going to do to us?
                          Alfred: They only seemed to be interested in fixing the holes in the Gauntlet.
                          Lydia: And you trusted them!?
                          Alfred: Of course I didn't trust them.
                          Lydia: You trusted them enough to tell them everything though, didn't you?
                          Alfred: It wasn't a choice I made lightly! And they didn't know who you were, they called you Morwenna
                          Lydia: They have Hanson's name though. And Hanson gave my name to the police when he was looking for me! I can't believe you'd help them!
                          Alfred: Lydia
                          Lydia: And you're here! You probably lead them right to our door!
                          Alfred: I tried to take an alternate route, I used the pathways of the Wyck.
                          Lydia: You traitor!
                          Alfred: Listen to me. You need to go to the Heath. While there I overheard that Progenitors were coming to "fix" the things we did to it.
                          Lydia: I'm not sure if I can trust you anymore.
                          Alfred: ...Whether you trust me or not is up to you. I'm just telling you what I know. You need to go to the Heath, warn the spirits. You can't be seen with me... I have to go to work. Please, go warn the spirits.

                          Alfred leaves Lydia who looks on with anger for several minutes. She gets up and leaves towards the lower chantry, hoping to meditate at the node downstairs, but found no one to open the door. Still fuming, she walked outside in search for the node in the garden not far from her, the one they first arrived to on the night of the blackout. She meditated in front of it and drew up the Tidy energy it held, calming her down significantly. An hour later and she ventured back towards the lower chantry, where Kael was there to let her inside.
                          Lydia hadn't spoken with Kael formally up until now, having only briefly met Mica yesterday. After some introductions she told him about what had happened with Alfred.

                          Kael: Yes... I did hear this had happened...
                          Lydia: I'm not sure if I can trust him anymore.
                          Kael: The Technocrats are certainly worth your concern. But it can be dangerous to let them think you're hiding something from them.
                          Lydia: So you think what he did was ok?
                          Kael: Having spoken with Alfred, I don't think he's one to betray secrets to the enemy. We should certainly be cautious about speaking freely when near him, but I don't think he's done anything to earn distrust just yet.

                          Lydia seemed encouraged by this. She left to go and warn the Spirits as Alfred had suggested... but then realised she had no idea which spirits to warn about what in particular. Alfred hadn't really explained his plan very well... She had to find him. She took out a pad of paper and started scribbling down some runes, asking for guidance to walk to wherever he may be.

                          Sean woke up and his first priority was to buy some new clothes. His shoes were still stuck to the floor of Aaron's apartment, as was his jacket to the cupboard. His next port of call was back at the Chapter house near Stratford. When he arrived through the gates, he noticed the Chapter House leader, Preceptor Joseph Kent, speaking with another man who he recognised as Mathew Davenport, the Preceptor in charge other London based Chapter House. While there were only five or so Chapter houses in all the UK, the templars held London as a historically significant site of power. These two men seemed to be discussing something, but Sean couldn't quite make out what. He decided to leave them to it. Sean went to the records and started searching through them again, seeing if there was anything else he could learn.
                          He noted down the exact day and time of the 5 known breaches, trying to find some sort of pattern.
                          1&2: Same day in and out of the Station
                          3: 24 hours late, Underground
                          4: 24 hours late, in Highbury
                          5: 24 hours after, near Hampstead
                          48 hours since...
                          There seemed to be a circular pattern to these tears. So perhaps, he reasoned, he'd be able to get ahead of the next one...

                          Kent: Heath!

                          Preceptor Kent had stopped Sean just as he was about to leave.

                          Sean: Sir!
                          Kent: I've been informing Preceptor Davenport about what we know regarding the tears in the gauntlet. On your missions, have you learned of anything that may be pertinent to this?
                          Sean: Not as of yet sir.
                          Kent: So you are not aware of any activity done by these pagans that may cause these tears?
                          Sean: No sir, I have not seen anything from them.
                          Kent: I've come to understand you've been spending quite a bit of time at Hampstead Heath.
                          Sean: Yes sir, I have.
                          Kent: There is a very powerful node there. No doubt you are aware of it. A number of Choristers will be making their way there to defend it. Be alert.
                          Sean: Yes sirt. Thank you.

                          Aaron got up to the smell of fresh rat turds. Today was the day he was getting rid of this rodent! None of his traps were sprung, and no where could he see it, but he knew it was still around somewhere... He got to his computer and did a quick scan for any less than Human minds. It was a very quick scan and though he couldn't pinpoint exactly where, he could sense the Rat was definitely still in the room...
                          He got to work. pulling out his coding software and began furiously typing for over two and a half hours straight. His goal was to create a ban around his apartment, refusing entry to anything with less than human intelligence. Hardening the space around every threshold, every hole, and every crack.
                          Exhausted and sick of looking at lines of code for the time being, Aaron went back to bed and slept.

                          It was lunch time.
                          Alfred was taking his break at a local sandwich shop. He had put a mind charm around himself in order to avoid being noticed, one that made him the background character in other peoples narratives. He still felt guilty from the conversation he had with Lydia, and had tried to focus his mind on other things. All morning at work he had been trying to find out what "hidden waters" might have referred to, and with it perhaps some hope of finding Avalon itself. But no luck, not a single lead was unearthed, he ate his sandwich and looked out the window in contemplation, staring at the busy streets, the passing people, Lydia entering the shop.
                          Alfred froze...

                          Alfred: What are you doing here!?
                          Lydia: Your instructions weren't very specific.
                          Alfred: What if they're watching!?
                          Lydia: What? We're just two people at a sandwich shop.

                          Alfred took a moment to compose himself. put his wooden runes in hand and started preparing his Mind Palace. If they were going to talk, it was going to be in the absolute privacy of his mind. Lydia was introduced to the rustic hut, the great hearth with a dull fire within, beside it, a sword sits in a stone. A great table in the centre of the room sits Alfred and Lydia.

                          Lydia: Nice place...
                          Alfred: thanks... I know we're not exactly on the best terms right now...
                          Lydia: It's ok Alfred. It's hard to know what the right thing to do is. You did what you had to to stay safe... I forgive you...

                          The room lightens up as Alfred hears this.

                          Lydia: So what exactly did you want me to do?
                          Alfred: The Progenitors are coming to the Heath either today, tonight, or tomorrow. They seek to drain the ponds, and with it the spirits that depend on them.
                          Lydia: Which spirits are these?
                          Alfred: Water nymphs, they are bound to the water they inhabit.
                          Lydia: So if the ponds are drained...
                          Alfred: The spirits will be lost, and with it the energy that keeps the node.
                          Lydia: So why can't you go speak to these spirts?
                          Alfred: I can't be seen anywhere near the Heath! The Technocracy might be watching me.
                          Lydia: Oh, but it's ok if I get seen!
                          Alfred: Well...

                          The word "Coward" appears across Alfred's mind.
                          Alfred: You keep out of this!
                          A chicken comes by, jumping through the window and flapping about on the floor.

                          Lydia: What's going on?
                          Alfred: Nothing...

                          Alfred gets up and tries to grasp the sword, but it always seems just out of reach. For a moment he makes a slight bit of contact.

                          Excalibur: Do you think yourself worthy?

                          Alfred wishes he did, but in his heart he knows he is not, the sword stays still, hard stuck in place.

                          Lydia: Is that your avatar?
                          Alfred: It's fine.
                          Lydia: Hey! Do you really think this is helping him? Constantly demeaning him and undermining him? How do you expect to teach someone if that's the only way you talk to them?

                          There is no response.

                          Alfred: Thank you...
                          Lydia: Anyway, so what's the plan?
                          Alfred: You go to the Heath and try to warn the spirits. When work finishes I'll try to join you. Camellia told me that the node on the Heath connects to one in Wimbledon and Greenwich. We can use those to get around without being seen by the technocrats. Don't go to Greenwich though, that's where they have a base.
                          Lydia: Ok.

                          Alfred opens the door of the two of the walk out. As they do this, the view of the sandwich shop stands ahead of them, a short walk towards this and both of them are back in their respective heads, seeing through their own eyes once more.

                          Lydia: Hang on, I'm going to do something first.

                          Lydia gets up and goes to the bathroom. She chants a song of transformation and alters her appearance slightly, causing her hair to grow longer and change from red to blond, she also puts a mark upon her face.

                          Aaron gets up and notices two messages on his phone. Both of them are from Hanson talking about strange metallic birds, Edwin, and a strange town called Innsmouth which turns out to be a Lovecraft story. The only thing Aaron can assume is this Edwin guy must be a Lovecraft fanatic. Aaron sets it aside, he's got work to do!
                          He turns on his computer and gets to work hacking into Void Engineer records. He needs to find the directory that holds Alfred's details, he can then pass on the information to his Mentor who knows how to wipe it without causing suspicion. The searching is long, tough, and time consuming, who could have known so many people are named Alfred!? To make things worse, a number of the databases are hidden behind security codes. Hacking that would be far too risky, he'd have to find a way to mimic clearance.
                          An admin comes online. Aaron keeps very still, not wanting to alert them to his activities. After what seems like an eternity, the admin goes idle and Aaron resumes his search. Finally, he finds the name: Camlann, Alfred, Potential ally. Aaron makes a note of the directory and is about to log out, but first tries to set up a back door to get in quicker.
                          The Admin, however, never actually left, and notices his activity immediately, kicking him off the server before he has a chance to get out quietly. "Good thing I masked my IP".

                          Aaron sends the directory over to Rubrix. He's about to try and spy on what the others are doing, when the broken bent computer catches his eye, the one he took from the Train earlier in the week. The thing is horribly warped, and it's doubtful the screen will ever work again, but perhaps the hard drive is salvageable. Opening it up proves to be a real challenge, the bend has it caught in an inconvenient angle. Aaron wrenched and tugged at it, only managing to ply it open in the end. The motherboard was beyond repair, a massive crack forming down the middle. Several cards seemed to have been partially disconnected, and the CPU itself looked in very bad shape. The hard drive, however, seemed untouched. Amazed by the luck of this, Aaron excitedly worked at extracting it, put it into his hub, and started rooting through its files.

                          He found a great number of photographs, none of which were of much interest to him. What was of interest was an heavily encrypted set of files. He put his decryption software to it and let it run for an hour. In the mean time, he heard a squeak coming from the cupboard under the sink. He slowly opened the door and saw a tailless rat pushing against an empty space, trying desperately to get through. Seizing his chance, Aaron leaped at it, but the rat quickly scurried away. Running a quick mind scan on his phone, he saw the creature's mind was under the bed. Wasting no time, Aaron brought every trap he had around the perimeter.

                          Aaron: Try escaping now!
                          Rat: *Squeak*
                          Aaron: Yeah! That's what I thought!

                          The decryption software had done its stuff. The files were fairly nonsensical, mostly a bunch of seemingly random numbers. The only thing he could make out was the word Esther.
                          How curious.

                          Lydia had arrived at the Heath and noticed there were a lot of new plants growing beside the pond. After wondering around for a bit, she realised she had no idea where the node was, or even where the spirits were that Alfred wanted her to warn. She was really starting to reconsider Alfred as a competent strategist. After a bit of fruitless wondering, she starts to scribble in her book again, hoping to feel out the right way to the node, letting Entropy be her guide. Wondering through woodland, she eventually found it, a great wild clearing of primal energy. She froze. Three figures in long robes stood in the centre, all of them seemed to be conversing strongly. She couldn't hear what they were saying, and so tried to sneak closer to them behind the trees around them.

                          She did a quiet chant to try and speak to a spirit, a Rat spirit came to her.

                          Rat: You need something?
                          Lydia: Could you find Alfred, tell him I need him to get to the Node as soon as possible.
                          Rat: You like rats?
                          Lydia: What?
                          Rat: You be nice to rats? Keep rats safe?
                          Lydia: Yes, sure.
                          Rat: Ok...
                          Lydia gives the Rat a small bit of food. the rat eats it without delay.
                          Rat: Be kind to rats.

                          And the Rat leaves.

                          Alfred returned back to work, and while searching through the archives in vain for anything resembling "hidden waters" an idea struck him. If Queen Boudicca is supposed to be berried beneath the Heath, then perhaps he might be able to summon her spirit. But this might only work if he had something which belonged to her... But of course! The museum's bound to have something! He began searching through all the indexes for anything that would have fit the time period and location and was not currently on display. For hours he looked until he came upon an iron age bracelet which was due for restoration next week. This was his best chance.
                          He dropped by the security office and put a quick suggestion in the guards mind. "now is a good time for a quick break!". The guard left and Alfred rushed to the case with the bracelet inside. He careful managed to take it without damaging it or tripping any security alarms, though he came very close.

                          While waiting for a train, Alfred feels something land on his arm. Sensing a spirit, he tried to talk to you.

                          Rat: Hey, you Alfred?
                          Alfred: Who's this?
                          Rat: Message for you. Get to the Heath as fast a possible.
                          Alfred: Did Lydia send you?
                          Rat: That's your message.
                          Alfred: Thank you.
                          Rat: Be kind to rats.

                          The rat Jumped of his should and disappeared. Alfred made his was to Wimbledon. From there, he'd get to the Heath

                          When he arrived at Wimbledon, he walked towards the common as it seemed the most likely place for a node to be. Though not dark, the light was certainly starting to go and Alfred wasn't confident he'd find anything in the dark, not least because he wasn't even sure what he was looking for. He called out to the spirits and found a Night Spirit before him.

                          Alfred: Spirits?
                          Spirit: Secrets....
                          Alfred: I need to find an entry point to the spirit world.
                          Spirit: What secrets have you?
                          Alfred: Avalon lies beneath Hidden Waters. Now can you help me?
                          Spirit: What do you seek?
                          Alfred: I seek entry way into the spirit world, do you know of a passage?
                          Spirit: Yes...
                          Alfred: Can you take me there?
                          Spirit: First, reveal a secret of yours.
                          Alfred: ....My true name is Utred Pendragon.
                          Spirit: Pendragon....
                          Alfred: There, I have told you two secrets already, please lead me.

                          The Night Spirit cast a shadow across the ground which Alfred tread upon going deep into the woodlands. Unbeknown to him, Aaron had been watching from his computer. Although he could not see or hear the spirit, he certainly heard Alfred speak to it, including the statement of his True Name. Aaron kept a note of he for future antagonism.
                          As Alfred continued, the ground started to get less solid, and a strange rancid smell began to flow. The spirit stopped, in front of them was a circular hole in the ground, a well of sorts made of stone, with a putrid black ooze within it.

                          Spirit: The gateway...
                          Alfred: I thank you spirit.

                          Alfred walked up to the spirit and searched for the entryway for the pathways. Aaron watched Alfred as we circled the black circle, and then disappeared without warning stepping towards it. Bewildered, Aaron tried to scry on him again, but couldn't find him. He decided instead to spy on Hanson. He was lying in a hotel room with a Gin and Tonic, the bottles still on the table, half finished. "This is your idea of a stakeout?" He said to himself.

                          Sean had been searching south of Camden, not far from London Zoo for a great deal of time now. But not once on his patrols had he come across a portal or any sign of demonic activity. Having met with failure, he decided to go up to the Heath. When there, he too noticed the new plants that had sprouted up by the ponds, but unlike Lydia, he was able to determine their nature. Briars, harsh and thick, they seemed to snaked their way around almost all the ponds. He continued up the way to the Node and saw three figures in what he recognised as Choristor robes.

                          Sean: Hello?
                          Stephan: Who are you?
                          Sean: I'm... Sam
                          Stephan: Are you looking for someone?
                          Sean: Give me a second.

                          Sean took out his crucifix and made a quick request for insight. He could see these people had awakened avatars.

                          Sean: Sorry about that, just had to be sure I knew who I was dealing with. You are Choristers, right?
                          Jenifer: Yes, we are. And you?
                          Sean: Yes, I am.
                          Joan: Which faction are you?
                          Sean: Sorry?
                          Joan: Which faction?
                          Stephan: I should know you if you're with the Choir...
                          Sean: I'm...

                          Sean was not willing to reveal himself as a Templar, he was well aware of the polarising opinions the Choir had of his group. He tried to think up a convincing lie.

                          Sean: I'm of.... the latter day saints?

                          Suffice to say, it wasn't too convincing.

                          Stephan: I see... Sam, was it? And what brought you here?
                          Sean: I... heard there might be Choristers over here.
                          Joan: Oh, so you're hear to help us then.
                          Sean: What are you trying to do?
                          Joan: We're going to drain the node.

                          Lydia had been listening to this, having kept hidden all this time. She needed to get Sean's attention without alerting anyone else. She picked up a rock, drew a few runes asking for good fortune in her throw, and managed to his Sean right on the head.
                          Sean jolted forwards, then turned around.

                          Joan: Is everything ok?
                          Sean: Something just.. (He looked behind him and saw Lydia peering out from behind her tree)
                          Joan: Did you see something?
                          Stephan: Someone's spying on us.

                          Lydia was about to run behind a bush, but Something happened. Joan had started singing and Lydia found herself unable to move. She was then violently pulled out of her hiding place and crashed to the ground beneath them. surrounded by the three.

                          Lydia: Uh....hello.
                          Stephan: Who are you?
                          Joan: Perhaps she is one of the pagans, trying to stop us!
                          Jennifer: Do you know this woman?
                          Sean: Yes... She's an associate of mine.
                          Joan: Is she? Oh, then perhaps you can aid us too.
                          Lydia: Did you say you were going to drain the node?
                          Jennifer: Yes.
                          Lydia: Then you're right, I am going to stop you.
                          Stephan: Pagans! What do you even know about this node?
                          Lydia: I know that it's a scared place that will suffer if you take away its energy.
                          Stephan: The Technocracy have been trying to harvest this node, we much protect it.
                          Lydia: I agree. How will draining it do that?
                          Joan: Once drained, the node will be of no interest to them.
                          Lydia: How does draining the Heath save the node?
                          Joan: The celestial power within is not tied to the place, we can transport it with this (She holds out a golden cross)
                          Lydia: You're going to put it in that!?
                          Jenifer: Just so we can preserve its power, keeping it away from where it could be exploited.
                          Lydia: At the expense of the spirits who need it!
                          Jenifer: That's another point. There have been many holes in the gauntlet, we fear that demonic spirits are trying to break through.
                          Joan: So by draining this node, we close a potential gateway for them.
                          Lydia: They're spirits though!
                          Stephan: They are demons, being of destruction! We have to protect the sleepers.
                          Lydia: Yes, we do, but not all spirits are demons. There are many different spirits, as many as there are humans. If you tried talking to them, you'd see that.
                          Stephan: There is no use talking with a demon, they will only try to trick you. Better we drain the node and strengthen the gauntlet rather than run the risk.

                          Lydia started to scribble runes in the ground, asking someone, anyone for help. She felt something around her, as though a shadow had passed overhead. A Moonshadow had come to protect her as dusk had settled in.

                          At this point, Alfred bursts through the Node.

                          Alfred: ...hello?
                          Stephan: Who are you?
                          Alfred: Lydia? Are you ok?
                          Jenifer: Another one of your associates?
                          Sean: Yes...
                          Joan: What are you doing associated with pagans anyway?
                          Lydia: They want to drain the node!
                          Alfred: Ah, well I'm sorry, but we can't let that happen.
                          Stephan: What is wrong with you? We're trying to save this energy.
                          Alfred: If you wish to save it, then it should be left where it lies.
                          Stephan: It'll flow back in time!
                          Lydia: Then why take it in the first place!?

                          The Argument continues like this for a while. During which, Jenifer took Sean aside to ask him somehting.
                          Jenifer: What do you know of these people?
                          Sean: They care about this node a great deal.
                          Jenifer: Are they dangerous?
                          Sean: Not especially, no.

                          Stephan: Pagans! You care more about this patch of grass than you do your fellow man!
                          Lydia: These spirits are important to life here. You can't just dismiss them.
                          Stephan: Enough! Let's just settle this the old fashioned way!

                          Jenifer: That will not be necessary. We both wish to keep this power away from the Technocrats. Perhaps we can put aside these problems and work together for this.
                          Joan: They're pagans! Why would they work with us?
                          Lydia: If we both want the same thing, why can't we?

                          There was a bit more discussion, Sean helped ease tensions a bit by assuring they meant well. Names were exchanged and Lydia stopped being surrounded.

                          Lydia: Jenifer? That's a Cornish name, isn't it?
                          Jenifer: Quite.
                          Lydia: What are you doing with the Choir?
                          Jenifer: Well the Chorus has those of many different paths, and all are welcome. You too would be accepted if you were to devote yourself to The One.

                          Joan and Stephan make chortle at the idea of Lydia becoming a member of the Choir.
                          Joan: Don't waste your time Jennifer. You know how they how. They'd sit in huts built in mud while we in our homes in cleanliness.
                          Lydia: So you're boasting yoru wealth now, are you?
                          Joan: Boasting!? Not at all! Dare you be so judgemental!
                          Lydia: Judgemental? You've been the one judging us.
                          Joan: And you are one to live without sin?
                          Lydia: Of course not, but that isn't the point.

                          Alfred: This isn't getting us anywhere. The Progenitors will be here either tonight or tomorrow, we have to prepare properly. I need to speak with the spirits and warn them.
                          Jenifer: You speak with spirits? So do I, though I must as admit, the spirits I speak with are more angelic in nature.
                          Lydia: You speak to angels?
                          Jenifer: If they allow me to, yes. Anyway, we should act soon. If the Progenitors are on their way as you say they are, we cannot waste any more time arguing. Stephan, stay with Lydia and look out here. I'll go with Alfred to speak with these spirits.

                          Jenifer and Alfred leave the node.

                          Lydia: So, you're named Joan right? Didn't someone by that name get burned at the stake?

                          Joan was so caught of guard by this, she just stood their in anger.

                          Lydia tried to climb a tree in order to get a better vantage point.
                          Lydia: Does any of you have knowledge in Forces? I could do with a lift.
                          Joan: Gladly...

                          Lydia was thrown up about 30 or so feet into the air, she landed with a thud into the tree.

                          Jenifer was walking with Alfred, being lead towards the pond.

                          Jenifer: I must apologise for my associates. They are Septarians you see, very conservative, and not at all accepting of things outside of their understanding.
                          Alfred: And yourself?
                          Jenifer: Monist. We see any and all paths to The One as equally valid.

                          They talk for a while, with Jenifer explaining to Alfred a little more about angels and the Astral Realm. Informing him about how "Everything that was ever thought can be found there" and that Astral Projection can be a much more useful tool than pure spiritual Sojourn. Alfred makes a note of this, it sounds a very useful place to visit.

                          Alfred arrives at the pond, the only one not obscured by briar plants. He gets ready to speak with the spirits, taking of his shoes and stepping in the water.

                          Crow: Allo!
                          Alfred: A strom crow!?
                          Crow: Yeah, What you wanting?
                          Alfred: I was trying to speak with the spirits of the pond.
                          Crow: You got me now!
                          Alfred: Well, no offence, but I need to speak with the water nymphs.
                          Crow: Suit yourself.

                          Alfred tried again, this time peering into the Umbra so he could see who he was talking to. Something was wrong, however. The ground was not the luminous green we had seen before, it was tinged with purple, and the water was thick and turbid. Though Jenifer could not see what he saw, he made his feelings known. He called desperately out to the Water spirits. A lone figure emerged.

                          Alfred: I have to warn you!
                          Water: Your warning... It was... no use....
                          Alfred: What?
                          Water: The wyrm, the wyrm pushes...
                          Alfred: What's happened!?
                          Water: The wyrm does not stop... till all is gone.

                          The spirit sunk into the water, Alfred called out, but no response was heard.

                          Alfred: We're too late... How though? We stopped the Tehcnocrats, how did the water get this bad? There must be a clogged drain or something....

                          Lydia sat in her tree.
                          Stephan looked over Sean.

                          Stephan: Sam, you said your name was?
                          Sean: Yes.
                          Stephan: I'm sure I know you from somewhere...
                          Sean: It's possible.
                          Stephan: Ah yes! I know, you're a knight! Aren't you!
                          Sean: ...I am.
                          Stephan: I thought so! See, I know almost everyone in the Chorus. So what are you doing with these pagans?
                          Sean: I've been investigating them.
                          Stephan: Say no more, keeping an eye on them yes? I understand. Good idea.

                          Lydia began to sing "An Irish Blessing". Having been brought up Catholic before she awakened, Lydia was quite familiar with many cultural and historic facets of Christianity. She thought she'd take this opportunity to confuse them a bit.

                          It worked, Stephan looked up at her thinking. "What in the world kind of pagan is she?"
                          Lydia took this chance to call out for Luna's help, the Lunes appeared and she asked one to send a message to her Uncle, himself an Anchorite of the Chorus. The lunes floated off as the moon was blocked by cloud. Lydia remained in the tree.

                          Aaron received a note from Rubrix. "Done" it said. He passed a text over to Alfred to let him know that Technocracy was probably of his tail now. He then looked down at his bed, the Rat was still there.

                          Aaron: Hey... Truce?
                          Rat: *Squeak*
                          Aaron: ...I'm taking that as a yes.

                          Aaron put the traps away and looks under the bed at the cowering rodent.

                          Aaron: Here you go. (places a small plate of cheese under the bed) This whole fight was silly anyway...
                          Rat: *Squeak*

                          Sean was invited into Kenwood House, a building on Hampstead Heath which the Choristors used from time to time. He was welcomed to stay there for the night, ready to confront the progenitors at a moments warning.

                          Alfred returned home. As he stepped inside, he noticed a letter had arrived from Cornwall. He opened it, it was written in Gaelic with certain nouns written in Runes.

                          Dear Alfred
                          Though your letters are infrequent, it gives me great pleasure to hear that you are well. It has been a trying few months with Technocratic Reductionism sprouting right on our doorstep. They call themselves “Historians”, but if they wanted to know anything about History, they’d listen to our wisdom and realise how little they understood. Every moment brings a new battle to protect our lands from their insurgence. But at least they do not harm our village. Besides, to learn that you have finally met with other Verbena after all these years brings me no end of relief. Let me know of their names if you have them, perhaps I can trace their lineage for you and determine their roots.
                          I am pleased to hear that you have met with the *Keepers of the Wyck*. While I haven’t met all their members personally, the ones I have met with have strong blood within them and have a good reputation amongst the spirits of Nature. *Gwynn* is an accomplished spiritwalker who used to make frequent pilgrimage to the fabled *Seasonal Realm* within the depths of the umbra. When the Storm first raged, travel to this realm became much too hazardous to do routinely, but perhaps, if the storm subsides, there may be chance yet to return and reclaim this once bountiful land.
                          I am also well acquainted with their High Priest *Boris* whom I once took as my apprentice many years ago. This was back when I still walked with *The Glastonbury Circle*. Though a fairly hot-headed student, he grew into a respectful mage, and I couldn’t be more content with you being under his guidance. Last I heard from him, he had an apprentice of his own. *Alex* I think his name was.
                          Your experience with the Spirits is very encouraging to read. Though I would advise you stay away from *Pattern Spiders*, these spirits are not of nature, but of machines, and will consider you their enemy. To speak with the beings of Nature is something to be applauded however. Listen to what they have to teach and pay always your respect and do not promise a spirit that which you cannot provide. It is only through the spirits and through blood that the *Our Family Quest* can continue. I know you think these dusty records held in the Technocrat’s City will provide you the key. But I still say your trust in these records is misplaced. Think about who wrote them. Think about their intentions. The Technocrats have no interest in preserving ancient texts, but rather relegating them to mere stories of fiction. They dismiss anything that does not fit their own decided views. These records will be no different. It’s been how many years since you left home? And what have you learned in this time? Are you really any closer to finding *Our Great and Noble King*?
                          I must admit that the names *Sean Heath, Zandros, and Melody* do not hold much significance to me. I believe you are right to be wary of members of the Chorus. Some are more tolerant than others, though if he is dressed as you say then it is likely he is one of the Chorister’s “Guardian Orders”. Though my experience is limited, I know they are not as open to discussion as their theological counterparts. The Guardian Orders are difficult to predict, but if he is helping you in protecting a Glen, then perhaps he has earned at least a sliver or trust. Do stay alert though.
                          As the autumn air approaches, so too does the time of harvest, and while we understand if you are engaged elsewhere, you are always welcome to return back to your roots.
                          Never forget that.
                          Beranabus

                          ---NOTES---
                          In case you couldn't tell, everything in the above letter with between the *asterisks* were written in Runes. Literally, I downloaded a new font and everything.
                          In case you forgot (or I neglected to mention it) the rat Aaron has been having trouble with is one who is loyal to the Nosferatu Vampire who Aaron has as an Enemy. Once the ban is lifted and the rat can run back to the sewers, it will most likely inform the Nos of all the things that went on. And more importantly, an address. This will most likely be used to obtain his IP, and thus start terrorising him a little more virtually.
                          I was half expecting there to be a Mage fight this session. But Sean managed to help curtail thing before they got out of hand. (He said a lot more than I wrote down here, but I'm having a hard time remembering all the details). This has to be the most peaceful group of players I've seen in a Mage game...

                          Also, It's finally happened. One of may players has been saving up experience since the start, and they've finally hit 32 and they're cashing it all in for that sweet sweet point of Arete.
                          This means I'm going to have to think up a Seeking for them... Oh joy.
                          The Character in question is Aaron. He's not going to get his Arete before Seeking, and that's not happening until I have a good idea of what it'll be about.
                          If you've noticed any character flaws or particular lessons that Aaron could require a Seeking to learn from, by all means write about it. Anything that can help me figure out this guys seeking would be appreciated.
                          Last edited by Saikou; 10-27-2016, 05:54 PM.


                          Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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                          • #43
                            Man I wish you did a podcast of this game or others that you run, your knowledge of this system is staggering not to mention the awesome plot!

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                            • #44
                              10th Session (1st half)

                              Another Helen and Hanson Adventures today. Our most cautious player teamed up with our most reckless. Oh the high jinks that shall ensue!

                              Cast List
                              Helen Walter: Hermetic Spy
                              Joe Hanson: Noir Detective

                              Notable NPCs

                              Violet Dubois: Euthanatos Assassin

                              --- CHAPTER 10a: BLOOD ON THE FLOOR---

                              Hanson sat in his hotel room. The bottle of gin lay empty on the counter as he listened out for the slightest hint that Edwin had returned. While waiting, Hanson had found himself "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" on his phone, and was reading it through, with particular interest in the 4th chapter, a series of events which unfolded with eerie similarity to what had happened to them. They may not be in that putrid harbour town anymore, but something fishy was definitely going on, he decided to go check on Helen.
                              Helen was still in her room finishing up her studying. She felt like she made quite a bit of headway and thought she'd check in on Hanson. The two of them met in the hallway when they both heard a strange sound coming from what they knew to be Edwin's room.

                              Hanson and Helen started whispering to each other.

                              Helen: I think there's something in there.
                              Hanson: I hear it too.
                              Helen: Should we check it out?
                              Hanson: Stay behind me.

                              Hanson was slightly inebriated, but able to keep on his feet. He listened out with this Precise Noise-filtering Hearing effect up and running. He was certain someone, or something, was behind that door. Hanson quickly whipped out his notebook and started writing a quick message. "We are friends of Sarah, we just want to help". He slid the paper under the door, and as he did so, the noises on the other side stopped. Hanson and Helen looked at one another, and cautiously opened the door, which curiously wasn't locked. It was dark inside, Hanson put on his shades and focused the chaos around him away, providing a form of night vision. He couldn't see anyone, only the bedroom inside. Helen followed and turned the light on with a click. A flurry of movement shifted out of the corner of their eyes, but what and to where was not possible to determine. Hanson looked down and picked up his note. There was a huge slash right through it.

                              The pair of them looked around the room. It seemed as though it had been cleaned recently, but it wasn't tidy. The furniture seemed out of place somehow, as though it had been shifted slightly. The bed was made but disturbed, and certain objects like tissue boxes had fallen to the floor. "Edwin?" He called out. "Are you in here?" No response.
                              Hanson checked searched to see if he could find that all too familiar twig symbol, and sure enough he saw it on the wall, faded as though someone had tried to wash it away. He recalled the cleaner had been in earlier. Hanson listened out, there was something moving in the bathroom. A void rang out in Hanson's mind "This is all her fault! You should get rid of her!" Hanson realised this wasn't his mind and managed to eject, but he was on high alert. Something had just tried to play with this mind.

                              The bathroom stood with the door slightly ajar. Helen opened it slightly more, but the darkness revealed no more. Hanson tried the lights, but they didn't work. Helen took out her phone and Hanson followed suit, they peered inside. The bathroom was a decent size, with a bath on the opposite end and a fully drawn show curtain. "Figures" Hanson muttered. He took the lead into the bathroom. He could definitely hear something as he cautiously walked inside. Helen stood behind him at the threshold. A void spoke in Helen's mind "He's the one who leads you into danger! Kill him and rid yourself of his folly!" Helen too is able to shrug this off and quickly builds up a mind effect to protect herself from future effects, Hanson doing the same.

                              They shown their torches ahead as Hanson made his way to the bath and listened out. He couldn't hear anything behind the curtain, "Kill her" another voice spoke "She means you harm!". Again this is easily shrugged off, but he couldn't deny it was an external influence of sorts, and it came from over the doorway. He shone the light above and saw a fowl creature. Great claws for arms and hooves for feet, it stared down at him in anger and frustration. Hanson got out his lighter and the thing jumped down, closing the door and pushing Helen out. Hanson was alone in the bathroom with whatever this thing was.

                              A fight ensued. Hanson stood face to face with this thing blocking his only retreat. Helen tried to push against the door but this creature pushed her back. Helen was about to try again when she noticed another one standing before her, claws out stretched. The creature charged at Hanson ripping straight into his flesh and badly wounding him in the process, but he managed to fend it off with several blasts of his lighter. Again it tried its corruption attempts but Hanson grew wise to that and simply torched it before it had a chance to speak. The thing burnt up in the flames and disappeared from view.
                              Helen was staring head on at this beast, it looked ready to charge at her so she quickly brought out her wand and drew shapes in the air, encouraging the electricity in the lights around her to come and form a protective barrier. It was a quick flash but it did the trick, the creature jumped straight into the shield and electrocuted themselves. Angry, the being tried again, this time slashing a great gouge into Helen's arm and chest, wounding her greatly.
                              Hanson opened the door and managed to barge it of her, the two of them stood there and tried to assist each other in pushing the flame's energy into the creature. Feeling out matched, the thing started looking for a method of retreat. Helen saw this and quickly made a reverse momentum barrier against it, forcing to bounce back as it jumped, with no where else to run it focused on Hanson as a target. Helen was able to identify this thing as a spirit, and spurned by this Hanson tried a new tactic. He focused on his inebriation and tried to force some kind of emotion blast onto the creature, a feeling of sadness. But the creature seemed to take strength from this emotion, and charged at Hanson claws outstretched.

                              Then it stopped mid jump. suspended in the air, a large knife piercing through it. The thing slowly dissolved away and Hanson looked on at Violet Dubois, appearing in full view.

                              Hanson: Thanks...
                              Violet: You do get yourself into these situations quite often, don't you...
                              Hanson: You've been spying on me again?
                              Violet: I've been painting again.
                              Hanson: ...I have no idea what that means...
                              Violet: So, detective, are you going to explain what you're doing here?
                              Hanson: On a case, missing persons. Tell me, you ever heard of Innsmouth?
                              Violet: I've read stories.
                              Hanson: Well, you ever been there?
                              Violet: Excuse me?
                              Hanson: Never mind. Anyway, we tracked him down to to here, and then fought those things, whatever they were.
                              Violet: Kalus's, nasty creatures, though they don't usually appear this side of the curtain... Strange. Perhaps there is a rift here too...

                              Helen: You... you saved us.
                              Violet: Yes, I suppose so. And you are?
                              Hanson: This is Helen. Helen, this is Violet Dubois
                              Violet: A colleague of yours?
                              Hanson: More of an associate.
                              Violet: I see... (To Helen) If you're near him, you should be careful. He can danger on legs at times.

                              Hanson chuckles at this.

                              Helen: Did he do something to you?
                              Violet: He murdered my colleague.
                              Helen: *gasp*
                              Hanson: He had already murdered a bunch of people before hand! I was just saving myself, and other people.
                              Violet: Had you not intervened, we would have dealt with it properly.
                              Hanson: Look, I see someone kill a bunch of people, I'm going to stop them.
                              Violet: Do you know what happens to those denied the Good Death?
                              Hanson: What?
                              Violet: They stay trapped, unable to move on in a harsh and painful landscape. Forever held by what binds them to this world. The great wheel stops turning for them, their chance at a new life closed off. I've seen it myself, it is an existence of eternal torture and emotional turmoil. It isn't something that you'd wish upon anyone.

                              Hanson seems unperturbed by this description, as far as he's concerned Violet is somewhat of a hypocrite with a penchant for rationalisation.

                              Violet: So, this person you're searching for. Are they often around places where the gauntlet seems to warp?
                              Hanson: You mean weird stuff like this? Maybe. I know someone who met him and ended up in Boston, know anything about that?
                              Violet: I can't say that I do... Is that a chance this guy is causing these rifts?
                              Hanson: I think there's a link, certainly. Can't be sure if he's causing them though.
                              Violet: Can I get a name at least?
                              Hanson: ...Edwin.
                              Violet: Edwin... I'll be keeping a look out for them. (To Helen) It was nice meeting you. I'd be careful if you're staying around him though. He's not the sort you can rely upon. Watch yourself.

                              Violet takes her knife, cuts a hole through space, and vanishes. Hanson takes this moment to explain to Helen a bit more about his Awakening, that he used to be a cop in America, and was on a case searching for a serial killer. The search lead him to London and turned out to be a mad Euthanatos mage. He shot him dead and that's how he came to meet Violet, she didn't take too kindly to this and she's been tracking him ever since.

                              Helen gets to work trying to heal herself. She's been doing quite a bit of Vulgar magic recently, and just got herself to 10 points of paradox, so she's a bit unwilling to get more. She puts a quick charm on Hanson to make him numb to the pain by applying herbs to his wounds. The damage is still there, but he'll be able to walk and act normally. As for herself, she goes to the bathroom and wraps a towel around herself, gets out some herbs and applies them, transforming her Lethal damage into Bashing damage which should heal up before the new day comes. Nice and coincidental. Hanson look around the room. It is covered in their blood. Hanson gets a bit panicky at this. Anything that can trace them to this place is going to make things look bad for him, and with the Technocracy still on his tail, DNA evidence is the last thing he wants to give them. He convinces Helen to try and help remove it, and the only way she knows how is with a Vulgar Life effect to literally move all the blood away.

                              Helen: It'll be vulgar! I'm already so full of paradox!
                              Hanson: We need to do this Helen, we can't leave the room like this.
                              Helen: ... Fine, but I'm going to explode. You're taking care of me when I explode, ok?
                              Hanson: Ok.

                              Helen draws up her shapes and adds a few squiggly lines of movement. The blood lifts from the carpet, still wet, and starts to move itself towards the bathroom, slithering like a snake made of blood. It wrapped itself up the sink and down into the drain. Helen held her breath and waited for the inevitable backlash.
                              4 points backlashed.
                              Helen botched her Stamina roll and received three points of Bashing.
                              Helen fell unconscious to the floor, large bruises forming around her body.

                              [ST NOTE: This was the mildest backlash we've had so far, but it's done the greatest amount of burn. Here's the thing though, because Helen's player wanted to avoid doing Vulgar magic, she didn't heal herself fully. Had she healed herself properly then this bashing damage wouldn't be that big a deal. It just goes to show that if you're going to go vulgar, you better not do it half-heartedly.]

                              Hanson tried to rouse Helen, but she was completely incapacitated. As he tried moving her, he noticed a pool of blood growing underneath her, though couldn't find any signs of bleeding. This was not good. In a panic he did the only thing he could think of to do, he called Aaron and left a message.

                              "Aaron! Ok, uh. Damn. Was kinda hoping you'd pick up here. Uhm... If you get this any time soon, if you could come to South Hampstead and help us or, you know, spy on us in any way that would be a great help. Helen's collapsed, she collapsed, she's covered in blood. We were attacked, we're fine now except, you know, collapsed...covered in blood... It's just me trying to get her to safety. Just trying to find someone who can help me with, you know, blood, and trying to get an unconscious woman covered in bruises outside of a hotel room without, you know, being stopped by the police... Cool, anyway speak to you soon. Take care, bye."

                              Hanson then called Mica and left a similar, though less panicked style of message. He surveyed the room. The blood stains on the floor were the least of his worries now, he needed to get out quickly and without being noticed. He took a big long swig of his hipflask and concentrated hard on trying to increase the strength of his perception filter to vulgar lengths. He then poked his head out the door and heard someone walking behind him. Danger sense buzzing. A man in a shirt and tie was talking to someone next door, another customer of the hotel who was complaining about the noise in the other room. Hanson looked around for some kind of fire route and found a fire exit map showing an escape at the end of the corridor, this was their best chance he thought. Hanson picked Helen up and tried to support her but putting one of her arms over his neck. She started stirring a little bit.

                              Helen: Uhh?
                              Hanson: It's ok Helen, we're getting you out of here.
                              Helen: out...

                              Hanson started to pull Helen towards the door. As he did, he noticed the pool of blood trailed behind her, following her like a snake of sorts. At least they won't have to worry about leaving any blood behind. He opened the door and stepped, his Mind effect keeping the Hotel Staff from noticing him. He made his way towards the fire exit and as he walked his danger sense spiked. He looked behind him, the hotel staff was looking down at this moving trail of blood. Hanson had to act fast and quickly put a thought in his mind, a suggestion that something else was of greater importance to him. This did the trick and the hotel staff promptly ignored the blood trail and drew his attention to something else. Once Hanson reached the fire exit, he checked around him again. There was a camera facing right at him. He took down his shades and focused on the energy it held, trying to short it out, though gave it barely any time as the Hotel Staff may be coming at any moment. Hanson switched on a fire alarm. Doors started opening all around him with disgruntled guests piling out. In the chaos, Hanson rushed out the escape and down the stairs, the trailing blood slipping through the grated steps.

                              Hanson suddenly had a thought, he needs to call Sarah. He picked up his phone and called her.

                              Hanson: Hey, Sarah. Sorry about how we left things last time, but we need to meet. I met Edwin.
                              Sarah: You found him?
                              Hanson: Sort of. Look, we need to meet. Is there a good place nearby?

                              They agree to meet in a park not too far away. Hanson gets his phone out and sets up an Uber to pick him up. The strength of Hanson's perception filter was so great that it took a long time before the driver realised he was there, and even then he didn't notice until after Hanson stepped into the car.

                              Hanson: Hi
                              Driver: JESUS!!! What the heck? I didn't even hear the door open!
                              Hanson: Yeah, I have that effect on people.

                              He starts to detail exactly where he wants to go, the driver looks behind and notices the barely conscious Helen being forced into the back seat.

                              Driver: Is... Is she ok?
                              Hanson: Oh yeah! She's fine, just had a little too much fun tonight. We're taking her home.
                              Driver: You sure? She doesn't look so good to me.
                              Hanson: It's fine, we're taking her to a friend of ours, she's a nurse.

                              Helen manages to come too slightly, and looks around confused.

                              Hanson: Hey Helen, it's going to be ok, we're just going to meet with someone.
                              Driver: Do you know this person ma'am?
                              Helen: Uhh... He's... friend.
                              Hanson: There, see?

                              The driver reluctantly sets off, driving for about an hour before they get to a nondescript.

                              Hanson: Here's good.
                              Driver: Here?
                              Hanson: Yeah, my friends house is not far.
                              Driver: I don't think you're friends in any shape to walk.
                              Hanson: It's fine, I'll keep her safe.

                              Hanson's danger sense was beginning to rise, he could sense this guy was getting more and more concerned about what was happening. He tried to implant an emotion of general acceptance in his mind, the idea that "This is fine!". It seemed to work, the driver's face changed expression, he stopped questioning, and let Hanson leave without a problem, driving off into the night.

                              Hanson lay Helen on a bench, she was completely out of it, but he noticed she wasn't still. She was making faces of pain and anguish, as though she was watching a painful sight. every now and again saying "no... No...! I can't...!"

                              Sarah arrived, and after a lot of time trying to direct her towards him while his perception filter was up, they managed to speak.

                              Sarah: Who's she?
                              Hanson: Friend of ours.
                              Sarah: Is she ok?
                              Hanson: Paradox backlash, I'm sure you know how it is.
                              Sarah: I see... So you said you found him?
                              Hanson: Sort of.

                              Hanson explains their encounter they had in Innsmouth.

                              Hanson: Tell me, if your brother a Lovecraft fan by any chance?
                              Sarah: He is... but how is that relevant?
                              Hanson: It seems that reality warps around him, is that something you were aware of?
                              Sarah: ...oh no... Not again.
                              Hanson: Ms. Phillips?
                              Sarah: Something happened years ago, Edwin got lost somewhere in, they said the spirit world. I managed to find some mages who could find him and bring him back, but he was never the same since. It was as though in his head he never returned, he was still out there surrounded by these things...
                              Hanson: The last time we spoke, there was something I said that upset. I'm sorry about that, it's some prophetic thing I can't control. Anyway, do you remember what I said?
                              Sarah: Parts of it.
                              Hanson: The leader will be flung across space... Was Edwin a leader of something at all?
                              Sarah: No, not that I know of.
                              Hanson: Hmm... You upset by the part about madness...
                              Sarah: yes...
                              Hanson: Why was that?
                              Sarah: It was something said when they brought him back. They said he was beyond hope, that his mind was...was lost. That he was a danger to anyone near him and it was better for everyone if they... they... If they killed him!

                              Sarah started to lose her composure as she explained, Hanson leaned in to reassure her.

                              Hanson: It's ok Ms. Phillips, we're going to find him. Now, is there anything you know that might be able to reassure him? Calm him down?
                              Sarah: I don't know...

                              Hanson offers her a cigarette and the two of them smoke for a short while. Helen regained consciousness just long enough to reprimand Hanson about his smoking habit.

                              Hanson: When I saw Edwin, he was carrying a book, do you know anything about that?
                              Sarah: Uhm.... Well, the first time we got separated, that was in Birmingham, he had a book. It was just an ordinary phone book when I looked at it, but he called it something else, called it a Necronomicon or something.
                              Hanson: What about this? (Hanson goes into Helen's bag and roots around, for the page they found and shows it to her) Does it look familiar?
                              Sarah: No...
                              Hanson: I see... Right... Thank you Ms Phillips.
                              Sarah: I'll let you know if I can think of anything he might respond to.
                              Hanson: Please do Ms. Phillips.

                              Sarah left. Hanson called another Uber, and with a similar amount of difficulty, got Helen and herself back to the Keeper's Chantry. Mica finally returned Hanson's call, and the two of them helped Helen up to her room where Hanson watched over her through the night.

                              As Helen slept, she started imagining she was in the woods again, the calling out of her mothers voice impossible to escape.

                              "No!" she spoke as she slept" "I can't help you! I can't!"

                              Hanson stood over her, watching with concern.

                              "I will make him pay!!"

                              ---NOTES---
                              Originally, I was going to have them fight 3 Kalaus spirits, but after it seemed really obvious that they could easily kill them in two shots, I quickly revised the plan. That's trouble with putting Werewolf enemies in Mage, even the weak ones are deadly.
                              I've been rather conscious of the duel narrative that's going on. Having the party split like this is certainly making things complicated to that end. What's annoying is that so many of the players that have encountered Edwin are in the other group, and there's never been a time where they've actually sat down and properly talked about what this Marauder has been up to.

                              The other session is probably going to feature some Verbena Vs Progenitor action. So that should be interesting.
                              The session after that will come just before a break of sorts, I'll be away for the week following, so if I can get everyone in one place for that one, I might be able to do something nice to round it off for the moment.

                              Oh yeah, and Hanson's player also managed to accumulate 32 Experience points. Shame he'll have to wait until I'm good and ready to do a seeking for him.


                              Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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                              • #45
                                10th Session (2nd part)

                                While Hanson and Helen were having their little midnight mishap, the other group had a night time adventure of their own.
                                This is how it went.

                                Just a heads up, things get a little dark.

                                Cast List

                                Aaron Gibson: Punk Hacker
                                Lydia: Moon Witch
                                Alfred Camlann: Excalibur Mage
                                Sean Heath: Templar Knight

                                Notable NPCs:

                                Keepers:
                                Vivian Porter: High Priestess
                                Camellia: Coven Maiden

                                Choristers:
                                Joan Frank: Septarian
                                Stephan Bates: Septarian

                                and introducing a few Progenitors

                                Dr Andrea Nickleson and her Team:
                                Dr Rachel Zormpa
                                Dr Hasan Answar
                                Dr Deborah Keene

                                ---CHAPTER 10b: THE BRIAR---

                                Lydia is still in a tree. Stephan sits below, he is still curious about Lydia.

                                Stephan: So... Where did you learn that song?
                                Lydia: I was brought up in Ireland, Catholicism was everywhere.
                                Stephan: You were raised Catholic then?
                                Lydia: Sort of, everyone on my island was a bit magical, though I don't think they knew it.
                                Stephan: So what happened? How did you leave the faith?
                                Lydia: I left my village and ended up spending time with an old woman, and then with my aunt. They were Verbena and taught me how to speak with the moon.
                                Stephan: Pity.
                                Lydia: Now if you excuse me, I need to ask the spirits to send a message to my Chorister Uncle.

                                Stephan had no idea what to make of her and Lydia delighted in his confusion. She toyed with the idea of coming on to him just to watch him squirm a bit, though a good opportunity never arose. They agreed to take 4 hour shifts each. She started chanting a little in order to shape the tree around her, providing a much more comfortable vantage point and a nice pillow of leaves.

                                It was 3 am during Lydia's shift when she saw something. Near the ponds a number of people had arrived, standing in front of the briars. She tried to call down to Stephan, asleep on the ground. After enchanting the tree to lower her gently, Lydia woke Stephan and told him about what she saw.

                                Stephan: Do you think it's them?
                                Lydia: I don't know, I think I should go check.
                                Stephan: It might be risky.
                                Lydia: Well, you can go if you like, or we can both go.
                                Stephan: One of us should stay behind and guard the node. Besides, I can watch you from afar.
                                Lydia: Ok then.

                                Stephan prepared a short prayer of vision and was able to watch Lydia from within his mind. Lydia made her way down to the ponds, treading as carefully as she could. Though the moon was waxing and provided enough light to see by, she could only make about three or four figures standing and talking, about what she could now say.
                                As quietly as she could, she chanted to Luna for help, and cast her voice out into the spirit world for any kind of assistance. Three Rat spirits looked up at her.

                                Rat: You want something?
                                Lydia: Yes.
                                Rat: You like Rats?
                                Lydia: Yes, I do.
                                Rat: She likes Rats!
                                Rat: Ok, she she do for Rats then?
                                Lydia: Well, I could give you something.
                                Rat: You got a home?
                                Rat: Yeah, we stay at your home.
                                Lydia: No... I don't.
                                Rat: Oh.
                                Lydia: Wait, you could stay at Holloway Police Station! It's a lovely place with lots of food and friendly Cockroach spirits.
                                Rat: Cockroach!?
                                Rat: Oh, no. Don't like Cockroach.
                                Lydia: Hmm. How about that tree? I could make a good home of that.

                                The Rats take a look at the tree Lydia pointed at, inspect it, and return.

                                Rat: No, we don't like. We'll just go.
                                Lydia: Wait! Ok, I promise I'll find somewhere for you to stay, I just need you to deliver a message.

                                A good Leadership role later and she managed to get the Rats on board with this idea. She asked them to go to Alfred and the Keepers, and to tell them that the Progenitors are here, and that she needs them to come for Hampstead Heath at once. The Rats left in moments. Lydia slowly made her way back to the node to speak to Stephan.

                                Alfred was in bed, he hadn't been asleep long when he was awoken by a sudden pressure on his chest. He couldn't see anything, but could feel its spiritual presence. He snapped on his spirit sense and came nose to nose with two Rat spirits.

                                Alfred: Ah!
                                Rat: Message for you.

                                Alfred slowly tries to get up as the Rats relay the message.

                                Alfred: I see... Thank you.
                                Rat: You know where "Keepers" live?
                                Alfred: Churchill Gardens.
                                Rat: Ok.

                                One of the rats scurries off, while the other remains on Alfred's bed.

                                Rat: Can we stay here?
                                Alfred: Uh... Ok, just until I get back.
                                Rat: Good. Can we eat your soup?

                                Alfred looks at the pot he left on the stove.

                                Alfred: Ok...
                                Rat: Already did.

                                Alfred decided to give Aaron a call, his phone seemed just as sleepy as he was. Aaron had only recently gone to be himself, and did not exactly appreciate being disturbed.

                                Aaron: ...whaa..?
                                Alfred: Aaron, it's Alfred, Progenitors are-
                                Aaron: Do you know how late it is...?
                                Alfred: Yes. Lydia just sent me a message, the progenitors are at the Heath now.
                                Aaron:...Kay...

                                Aaron checked under his bed, the Rat was still there, and the plate of cheese was empty. He kept his "lower mind" ban up for the moment. He got over to his computer and started focusing in on Sean and Aaron's number, though had trouble reaching Sean. When he threw his simcard away all that time ago, he never actually got around to telling anyone his new number. Aaron noticed Hanson's message, first the text telling him everything was fine and they weren't in trouble, then the voicemail about how Helen was covered in Blood.

                                Aaron: Wow, the Hanson show really picked up after I stopped looking...

                                He checked the time of the to messages, they were about two hours apart, with the text about three hours old. They were probably fine. He sent a quick reply: "Believe in yourself more."

                                Sean was in Kenwood House, the site of a Chorister Chantry on Hampstead Heath. Joan woke him up and told him the Progenitors had arrived and it was best the left now. Sean didn't have much time to suit up, and noticed he was starting to run low on ammunition. He knew this Chantry was not a military outpost, but more of a gathering place for the more theological of the Chorus. He would have to make do with what he had.

                                Alfred arrived at Hampstead Heath and saw four people in work clothes standing by the briar. He could make out three women and one man. They had strange tools and seemed surprised by the briars. He could barely make out what they were saying.

                                Nickleson: This wasn't in the report.
                                Keene: Must be a new development, very strange.
                                Answar: We won't be able to get to the pond with these in the way.
                                Nickleson: we'll have to search the perimeter for an opening.

                                They continued discussing as Alfred tried to sneak off. A well times Sneeze on the progenitors part aided greatly.

                                Alfred, Sean, and Joan arrived at the node, and the five of them began discussing their options. Aaron listened in and occasionally texted a few comments.They know that they're trying to get to the ponds but are getting slowed down by the briars. However, Sean recalls that he threw his seeds into the pond, and son one of them lies without protection. This is likely where the Progenitors will go. Aaron hears this and tries to key in the coordinates of the pond in questions, making a new scry point to keep an eye on it.
                                It's decided that Joan and Alfred will go back down to where they first saw them, while Sean and Lydia will go to the exposed pond. Sean enchants his gun in preparation. He's not taking any chances.

                                Sean and Lydia are sneaking down to the path where briars didn't grow. Well, Sean is sneaking, Lydia is having a very hard time staying quiet, she steps on every branch and stumbles on every leaf. Sean tried to direct her path, but it did little to help. They arrive by the lake, walking into Aaron's field of view. He can also see two Progenitors walking in their direction. Aaron prepares his programs in case he needs to act. Sean stopped and listened out, Lydia tried to keep up but slipped and fell into the pond. She thrashed around for a bit but managed to drag herself out. However, the noise alerted the scientists to their direction. Sean ran to the nearby bush and dove behind it, Lydia made to do the same, but was stopped by the scientists.

                                Lydia: hello...
                                Anwar: What are you doing here?
                                Lydia: Why don't you tell me?
                                Keene: Did you jump in the pond?
                                Lydia: Yeah... I was going to go skinny dipping, but I forgot to take my clothes off, so I got back out.
                                Anwar: ok... Well, we have work to do here, so you'll have to make way.
                                Lydia: Oh, really? What are you doing?
                                Anwar: Just checking the ponds.
                                Lydia: Ok, any idea when you'll be finished?
                                Anwar: We should be done before the end of the week.
                                Lydia: I'll just come back at the end of the week then.

                                Lydia walks away, then turns back and tries to look pas the gauntlet. She recalls Alfred telling her about spirits in the water, and wondered what they could say to her.
                                Through the gaze of the Videre Spiritum, she is able to see the water turn turbid, murkey, and the soil around a sickly purple. Helen called out for the spirit and only a weak voice met her.

                                Lydia: Hello?
                                No response
                                Lydia: Spirits? Are you there?
                                Water: The Wyrm...
                                Lydia: Hello?
                                Water: It's push is too strong...
                                Lydia: We can hel you
                                Water: Help... too weak...

                                The spirits sinks down into the rechid water.

                                While this is happening, Dr Keene is setting up some equipment, Aaron gets ready to overcharge its electrical output and short it out.

                                Keene: Dr Anwar, look at this.
                                Anwar: What?
                                Keene: There's something very strange with these water levels.

                                The machine starts to smoke.

                                Keene: What's happening?
                                Anwar: That was a brand new machine...
                                Keene: Hold one.

                                She pulls out something else and measure the air.

                                Keene: Looks like there's been fluctuation in the prime energies...
                                Anwar: Deviants... Of course.

                                Dr Anwar looks around and finds Lydia crouching by the pond, she looks up at them as they stand over her.

                                Lydia: ...hello.
                                Anwar: What are you still doing here?
                                Lydia: I'm just looking at the lake.
                                Anwar: We know what you are, what did you do to our devices?
                                Lydia: I didn't do anything.
                                Anwar Get up, we're taking you with us.
                                Lydia: ...No!

                                Dr Anwar pulls out what looks like a gun and now everyone is on alert.

                                Sean takes aim at the man's leg and shoots. He hits. Dr Anwar quickly hits the side of his leg, hitting a pressure sensitive needle which injects a nerve desensitising agent through him, giving him a temporary numbness to all pain. None of this is seen by the others.

                                Lydia prepares an entropy spell, furiously scribbling runes down trying to make the it much harder for Anwar to hit anything. They exchange shots again, Sean manages to avoid a lot of the hits. Aaron, in the mean time, works on affecting the kinetics of the gun, forcing it to jam. Dr Anwar holds his gun out and talks.

                                Dr Anwar: Stop shooting. Now.

                                It falls on death ears. Sean continues to fire shot after shot with Dr Anwar returning fire. Most of his shots miss, however, due to the combined efforts of Lydia and Aaron. Dr Keene, throws a med-strip onto Dr Anwar, healing him up, Sean makes to shoot at her but she dives out of the way. Getting up, she starts to fire her gun at Sean, hitting him with what is essentially a stun gun bullet. Sean keeps firing but can't help notice no matter how much he hits, it doesn't seem to phase the guy. Dr Keene pulls down her sleeve and talks into her wrist, asking for help. Lydia steps up and causes the tree behind them to move, swiping across and hitting both Sean and Dr Anwar. While Sean keeps his balance, Dr Anwar falls to the ground. Dr Keene takes a shot at Lydia, hitting her with the similar stuns.
                                Dr Anwar gets up and points his gun at Sean, Dr Keene at Lydia, Sean at Dr Kene, and Lydia stares menacingly at both of them.
                                They stop, each one with a trigger on the other.

                                Alfred and Joan get as close as they dare to the two Progenitors by the briar. Alfred puts up his Background Character effect on the two of them, allowing them to be ignored for the time being. They watch as they examine the plants and prepare equipment. Alfred tries to read the surface thoughts of what he presumes to be the one in command. "The nitrate levels of the soil here are far outside normal range..." Not particularly helpful. Then they start talking.

                                Zormpa: Dr Nickleson, take a look a this.
                                Nickleson: Hmm... These plants seem to be parasitic in nature...

                                "Parasitic?" thought Alfred. "What did Melanie/Malady, have them plant!?

                                Nickleson: We'll have to have them removed before we can start treating the ponds.

                                Joan: I don't remember those plants being here before.
                                Alfred: No. They're new. An attempt at keeping them away from the ponds.

                                Alfred looks up and notices a Dr Nickleson has received a phone call. She picks up her phone and responds.

                                Nickleson: Hello?... Deviants?... Right. (puts the phone away) Dr. Zormpa?
                                Zormpa: Yes?
                                Nickleson: The others have encountered some Reality Deviants, You stay here and get to work on the plants.

                                Dr Nickleson starts to walk away, Alfred needs to act fast. He pulls out a sample of the briar and holds it in his hand, squeezing it and letting the blood run down his arm, channelling several points of Wild and Alive quintessence. He focused all his attention on the plants and started running through ancient poetry in his head, reciting specific key phrases. The Briar suddenly came to life, ensnaring the now separated doctors, the thorny plants holding each back, pulling their arms behind them and the legs to the ground. They weren't going anywhere.

                                Joan: What now?
                                Alfred: ...I'm not sure.
                                Joan: Well, we have to deal with them, don't we.
                                Alfred: I don't want to... well.
                                Joan: They're Progenitors! These are the people you play god! Make unholy abominations out of divine creation. We will have to deal with them!
                                Alfred: How?
                                Joan: The old fashioned ways are best.
                                Alfred: I see... Then I'll go for this one (pointing at Dr Zomrpa.

                                Joan walks to the Progenitor's team leader, while Alfred marches slowly towards the completely immobilised Dr Zormpa.

                                Dr Zormpa looks very confused and somewhat scared by her current situation.

                                Alfred: Leave the Heath alone!
                                Zormpa: What? Who are you? Did you do this!?
                                Alfred: I'll do much more if you don't leave our Node.
                                Zormpa: ....you're a Verbena aren't you. What the heck! We're trying to fix these ponds you know!
                                Alfred: By draining them!?
                                Zormpa: Yes! How else do we find the problem?
                                Alfred: And kill the spirits in the process. I can't let you do this.

                                Alfred causes the Briar to tighten, he notices the thorns digging into her wrists and a line of blood starting to form down her sleeve. His soft heart almost causing him to stop.

                                Zormpa: What is wrong with you people!
                                Alfred: I have to deal with you now...
                                Zormpa: We're trying to fix things!!

                                Alfred speaks his rhymes and forced the briar to contort further, it presses around her neck so that she may pass out. In doing so the thorns dig deeper and blood starts forming around every part that was held. As she hung there choking and bloody, Alfred's head filled with flashes of thought. His grandfather had always told him that the only good Progenitor was a dead progenitor. He knew what Excalibur would prefer, the direct route to victory. He knew many mages that wouldn't think twice at ending it quickly. He feels the pressure of the thorns in his hand squeezing just a little harder, only stopped by how frantic she looked as she twitched and contorted, further deepening her cuts. Alfred had to look away while she struggled and panicked unable to scream, the thick stems sharply pressing close her neck.. Seconds pass, and then silence. Alfred lessens the grip of the thorns, unable to look at what he did.

                                [ST NOTE: This was the most shocking part of the night. Everyone was staring at Alfred's character in disbelief and slight terror. Even Aflred's player was taken aback by just how brutal the effect turned out to be. He was certain that Joan had meant for him to kill her, and was going to do just that by snapping her neck, but the horror of taking a life felt far too real for everyone in the room, especially Alfred's character, so he adjusted it to choking her, accumulating Bashing until incapacitated. It was still brutal beyond all belief though.]

                                Guns are pointed and tensions are high, for the longest time no one says a word. Dr Keene takes a good look at everyone, she has a sense recorder and is making absolutely certain she captures every detail.

                                Anwar: Who are you all?
                                Lydia: The people you're shooting at!
                                Keene: You were shooting at us!
                                Sean: Lower your weapon!
                                Anwar: You lower yours
                                Sean: Lower your weapon!!

                                Dr Anwar slowly lowers the gun, Dr Keene follows suit, as does Sean.

                                Anwar: Well? Who are you people?
                                Lydia: Tell us who you are first.
                                Anwar: We're Preservationists!
                                Lydia: Preservationists? What are you doing with guns?
                                Keene: We need them just in case we run into people like you.
                                Lydia: We haven't done anything to you!
                                Sean: Well, you did hit them with a tree.
                                Lydia: Yeah, afterwards.
                                Sean: What are you trying to do here?
                                Anwar: we're trying to restore the ponds.
                                Lydia: By draining them!?
                                Keene: We'll put the water back afterwards.
                                Lydia: And what about the spirits?
                                Anwar: ...what?
                                Lydia: Where are the water spirits going to go when the water's gone?
                                Anwar: What are you talking about?
                                Lydia: This is a natural place you're affecting.
                                Keene: Natural!? These are man made ponds!
                                Lydia: No they aren't.
                                Sean: Actually... they are.
                                Lydia: Oh... There are still spirits here!

                                The progenitors give up talking to Lydia and focus on Sean.

                                Sean: We are not going to let you harm these ponds, this location is greatly important to many of us.
                                Keene: We're trying to help them!
                                Lydia: Then let us help!
                                Anwar: How can you help? Do you have a degree in Environmental Engineering?
                                Lydia: No...
                                Anwar: So what can you do?
                                Lydia: I can talk to the spirits!
                                Anwar: Oh not this again!
                                Keene: We have backup coming, so it's best if you two leave now.
                                Sean: Well, it seems your backup has been delayed, so perhaps we should both turn and leave peacefully. We are not going to stop defending this place.

                                A moment of silence, and then the Progenitors turn and head back.

                                Sean breathed a sigh of relief when they were out of earshot. He looked at his clip, he had only two bullets left. It's a good thing that didn't go on for too much longer.

                                Luna's rays had been sweeling up inside Lydia, she had been holding off paradox by sheer force of will for a while. Finally a great buzz of light flashed cross her eyes. When her senses returned she had noticed her hands were beginning to change colour, a soft brown with strange bark-like markings. One the tips of each of her fingers, a number of leaves began to sprout.

                                Lydia: Cool... I've got tree fingers!!

                                Alfred found Joan speaking angrily to a still entangled and very much still alive Dr. Nickleson. Alfred pulled Joan aside to speak with her.

                                Alfred: What are you doing!?
                                Joan: Trying to get answers out of him.
                                Alfred: I thought you said you're dealing with him the old fashioned way!
                                Joan: Yes! Torture! Scare them and hurt them into talking.

                                Alfred stood there in shock and the realisation of his misunderstanding. The guilt began to mount on him. He did his best to brush it aside and turned hi attention towards Dr. Nickleson, who was heavily scratched.

                                Alfred: Who are you?
                                Nickleson: Who are you? What have you done to my team!?
                                Alfred: I'll ask the questions here! Tell me who you are.
                                Nickleson: We are Preservationists of the Progenitors.
                                Alfred: And what are you trying to do.
                                Nickleson: You've seen the ponds! There's something wrong with them. We wish to fix that.
                                Alfred: By draining them, destroying the spirits the make their home in them.
                                Nickleson: Verbena, yes?
                                Alfred: What of it?
                                Nickleson: You people... Even when we're doing something you want, there's not pleasing you.
                                Alfred: Don't you dare try to tell me we I want.
                                Nickleson: We're trying to get an alternative source of energy!
                                Alfred: Energy...
                                Nickleson: Yes, reduce fossil fuels. Become more green. Besides, there's something polluting the water.
                                Alfred: Yes, I dare say it's probably all that concrete you people had been dumping in it.
                                Nickleson: Whatever it is, we're working to fix it.

                                The wind starts to pick up

                                Joan: The Chorus does not approve of your methods, to disrupt a holy sight of divine power, and we will do are utmost to defend it from the likes of you.
                                Nickleson: So what, you're going to kill me then?
                                Joan: If that is what it takes.
                                Nickleson: There will be more of us you know. We will return especially to take care of dangerous threats.

                                The wind is getting very harsh now.

                                Nickleson: What are you doing?
                                Alfred: I'm not doing anything.

                                Alfred feels something spiritual in the wind. Whatever's happening, it's powerful. A click, Alfred turns just in time to see two figures, one of whom has a gun pointed at his neck.

                                Keene: Release him.

                                Alfred dispels the effect, and the briar returns, freeing Dr. Nickleson. Dr Anwar runs off while Dr Kenne keeps his gun pointed.

                                Aaron has been watching all of this and is just shocked. As far as he could tell, he saw Alfred try to kill someone and then leave them for dead. The wind picking up takes more of his attention however, he notices a thunderstorm is brewing above them. A quick Force check confirmed the building energies. He quickly programmed a Lighting barrier around Alfred, keeping him from being harmed.

                                Anwar: Dr Nickleson! It's Rachel! I've stabilised her, but she's been badly harmed and lost a lot of blood!
                                Nickleson: (at Alfred) Did you do this!?
                                Anwar: We have to get her back to the lab now!

                                The wind is roaring, the sky is filled with a great dark clouds. A bolt of lighting strikes down right in front of Alfred. The progenitors see this and leave him behind, running off, as does Joan. Alfred makes his way back to the node where Lydia, and Sean are. Stephan is nowhere to be seen. And standing in the centre of the field is Vivian.

                                Vivian: (at Lydia) I got your rat...
                                Lydia: oh good.
                                Vivian: I notice you haven't lost your necklace this time.
                                Lydia: No...
                                Vivian: Good.
                                Alfred: Thank you... I was in a difficult spot.
                                Vivian: I only did what I needed to do. I'm just glad we did not lose the glen for now.
                                Alfred: There was... something I did...
                                Vivian: Yes?
                                Alfred: one of the progenitors... I might have harmed her quite severely.
                                Vivian: ...It can't be helped. Given have the chance, a Progenitor would no sooner look at you than turn you into some perverse and monstrous creature. Dealing with them is dangerous. Sometimes harming them cannot be helped.

                                They all returned to the chantry, Vivian leading them through the pathways of the Wyck for secrecy.

                                Aaron's effect ends and he's left looking at a black window. He shuts the window off and his attention is drawn to the number of files he pulled form the hard drive, especially that heavily encrypted one labeled: Esther. He glanced at the clock and saw it was almost 5am. "I'll look at that tomorrow..."

                                Camellia is the only other person in the chantry, she greets them as they enter, though somewhat tiredly so.

                                Lydia: Hey Camellia! Look at my tree hands!
                                Camellia: Oh, paradox right? I once had my ears grow leaves like that.
                                Lydia: What was that like?
                                Camellia: Like I could hear the air.

                                Camellia seemed strange in the way that she spoke. The incredibly calm persona they had all grown used to was gone, and in its place was a somewhat empty and almost pained expression.

                                Lydia: Are you ok Camellia?
                                Camellia: I'm fine... It's just, it's a bit early for me is all...

                                Camellia heads to the kitchen and starts getting her tea ready,

                                Sean goes straight to bed, he tries to clean as much of his gear as possible, but fatigue quickly sets in and decides he'll continue in the morning.

                                Alfred enters the kitchen and catches Camellia sitting as she waits for her tea to brew, she is on the verge of tears and quite obviously struggling to hold on to her composure. With a sense of controlled desperation, she drank the tea and quickly slipped back into that familiar carefree smile.

                                Alfred: Camellia?
                                Camellia: Oh. Hello Alfred.
                                Alfred: Is everything alright?
                                Camellia: Oh yes. I'm quite ok now that I've had my tea.
                                Alfred: I see...

                                Lydia: Vivian? Is Camellia ok?
                                Vivian:....She's fine. We must all get some rest, we have a lot to discuss tomorrow.

                                Alfred is still rattled by the experience, the things he did. Camellia brews him some of her tea to help calm him. She then lets him down into the node room, where Alfred sits, takes out his runes and concentrates on meeting with Excalibur. Soon the hilt can be felt in his hand as he enters a trance.

                                Excalibur: Utred.
                                Alfred: Excalibur... What are your thoughts on what happened tonight?
                                Excalibur: ....Better.
                                Alfred: I almost killed someone.
                                Excalibur: To defend your kind.
                                Alfred: Would it not have been better to solve it peacefully?
                                Excalibur: It is noble to want a peaceful solution, but not at the expense of one's own.
                                Alfred: I see... Well, soon we'll be asking for assistance of the ancient Queen.

                                Alfred thinks about the bracelet he has, he believes it to have belonged to Queen Boudicca and intends to contact her spirit form with it in order to gain her assistance.

                                Alfred: Excalibur, what do you know of the Queen?
                                Excalibur: Long before my time...
                                Alfred: Of course... Well, hopefully she can lend a hand in combat. Will you be at my side in the fight ahead?
                                Excalibur: If you fight, I will be at your side.
                                Alfred: will you sing?
                                Excalibur: Only for those worthy...
                                Alfred: I see...
                                Excalibur: You have improved... but do not become complacent, Utred.
                                Alfred: No... no, of course...

                                Alfred lets the image fade and puts the runes away. Deciding now was the time to go to sleep. It was 5am. He was certainly not going to be in for work tomorrow.

                                Lydia tries to rest, but her hands are keeping her awake.The leaves kept catching on to everything and felt like each finger had a set of incredibly uncomfortable hangnails. She got up and went back downstairs to a vaguely smiling Camellia.

                                Lydia: Camellia, you said you had leaf ears right? How do you sleep with these things on?
                                Camellia: They'll probably go away after a while, until then, do you want some tea?

                                While Camellia was brewing her a cup, Lydia thought back to how distraught she was a moment earlier. She wanted to do an Entropy check on her to see if she could discern the reason, but didn't want to alert her to what she was doing. Lydia decided to pretend to spill a bag of sugar, and while apologising and making a show of cleaning it up drew her runes within it.
                                After several seconds of writing, Lydia got a flash of insight. She saw a hospital. The lifeless glow of the lights, the almost too clean corridors, The smell of the disinfectant. And it was gone.

                                Lydia: Thank's for the tea.
                                Camellia: It's ok.
                                Lydia: And sorry about making a mess just then.
                                Camellia: That's fine. It can be difficult to write runes with leaf fingers.

                                Camellia leaves. Lydia, now very relaxed, returns to her bed and rests without problem.

                                Alfred retires to bed too, slowly falling into a deep sleep.

                                The sky is read, the ground is dark and bloodstained, all around him sits broken weapons and the contorted bodies of the dead and dying. Ahead of him stands the man he knows only too well. They stare at one another for what feels like an eternity. They both draw their swords and prepare. This is the moment they both dreaded. They charged at each other and with one clean swing, they both hit one-another. He feels the searing pain of the blade in his flesh. The desire toe scream almost overwhelms him but it's stopped by the look on his face. For the first time he'd ever known, he could see fear in his eyes. That face branded itself into his memory, those lost eyes, those questioning lips. lost of confidence. All as the pain of the sword grew greater and greater.

                                Alfred awoke. It was 7 am. His heart was racing and sweat had formed around his eyes. He was not going to get a good nights sleep tonight.

                                ---NOTES---
                                Ten sessions in and so far, literally no one has died. I think that's the reason that one scene with Alfred and the briar was so shocking for everyone. If this game had been conducted like good old 2nd edition Kill All Technocrats style, then I don't think anyone would have been all that fussed. I prefer things this way. If death is scarce, it remains as something "other", something which is both horrific and terrifying. If death is normalised then it's little more than a means to an end.
                                It's really difficult for me to describe accurately the atmosphere in the room while Alfred's player fumbled through the event trying to think up what his character was going to do. Their eyes were wide with disbelief, it was unlike anything I've seen from a roleplay group before. We all sat there and waited for him to make his decision. I'm not sure even he knew exactly what he wanted out of this.
                                I think part of the reason was what I said before about death being scarce and thus more impactful. But I think a large amount of it is down to the character themselves. Alfred has never been one for fights, and would either try to talk things out or simply escape given the chance. To see him with complete power over someone for a change and with the tools at his disposal to do whatever he needed (or wanted), all that gentility was lost, and what remained was an almost desperate viciousness.
                                I think it scared everyone, at least a little bit. As much as a game like this can scare anyone. The thought that once you have total power and total control, you no longer feel the need to be courteous to those who threaten you. You no longer feel the need to be civilised. I dare say he might have gone through with it had the rest of the room not been there to judge him.

                                It's quite possible, however, that I'm reading way too much into this.


                                Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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