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Demon: Night Train Detective Agency (Actual Play)

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  • Gotta love the quirks of creating ones own cover. I really like at how involved Clytemnestra is with hers, treating them as different people rather than just a disguise, even when she is both. Maybe I should do that with my own Demon at some point...

    Ah, that makes sense. Well, Cornelius was noted as being extremely potent before. I suppose I should have figured on him being able to do something like that, particularly since he was noted to be able to jump to a new body when his current one dies. Interesting he already knows about the God-Machine, though I can't say I'm surprised at how ambitious he is towards it. Very interesting foe.


    • There was an argument last session IC where Billy Mack was saying to Elizabeth she could restrain people or use social skills, and Elizabeth was saying Naomi also could, which confused Billy Mack until he realized she was speaking of them as two different people, while he was as one, even if she no doubt knew what he meant, she kept calling them separate rather than think of them as the same, even "Out of Character" for her.

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      [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


      • Related to this, one of the interesting thing with Demon, is being people who play people who are playing people. Some people's characters are more or less them, often their first one (Gabe, Elizabeth) while others, especially later ones, are different (Naomi, Miguel). Some people only really stay in character in a scene they need to (Kilroy, Quietus) while others do so almost relentlessly (Speed Demon, Clytemnestra).

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        [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


        • It's an intriguing practice for Demons, regarding their cover and their identities. Each supernatural has its own identity crisis that they sort out in their own way, but Demon is probably the only game that allows you to take it to such a myriad and yet casual degree. It gets even more complex if a Demon takes Living The Lie, which grants them the ability to add another Virtue and Vice to new Covers, adding yet another layer to the whole identity aspect.


          • The fact that there is no clear 'this is how covers work' is interesting because of the way it allows different Unchained to form very different approaches to the subject. Clytemnestra has Living the Lie, since it really fits her approach that her covers are people. Kilroy, on the other hand, has actually asked, "Which cover should I wear?" in game. And initially the whole relationship between Vivian and Shelly was something he approached from a standpoint of wanting to write a 'better' ending to Vivian's life story (Vivian was bought at start but the background explanation is that she's a soul-pact.) Of course, Kilroy has come to realize that there is an actual attachment there and this is mildly troubling to him as it represents a vulnerability and impairs his ability to be reasonable and objective.

            I guess if one wanted to extend the demons as gamers analogy Kilroy is clearly the number-crunching wargamer who refers to his characters in the third person while Clytemnestra is very much the improvisational theater player. I mainly bring those two up since they're the extremes in the group with Quietus and Speed being in the middle.


            • I just want to chime in to say Amberghylles has an excellent summery there.

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              [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


              • We got Jack back. Let’s see what havoc they get up to.

                Session LXIII

                Speed Demon’s Monologues

                Jack had just finished up installing his baseball card sized wireless capable microcomputers into the electronics system of his and my car when we headed out to bring what we had to Miranda so he came along.

                We got there and laid everything out for Miranda, the shit we’d figured out and the shit we’d stolen. While Miranda was looking things over, Naomi wandered around the kitchen. “Is the stuff in the fridge safe, or will it give me space cancer?”

                “There is nothing Abyssal in my refrigerator, miss,” Miranda said sharply, eying the documents. She glanced up at me. “OK, here’s the tricky part. The person who laid this encryption down will know it was broken. They will not know where it was broken, or who broke it. I can dispel it - it will take about an hour to do the ritual - but they will know.”

                I shrugged. “We’ve already stolen it, so...”

                She nodded. “Just wanted to make sure you knew the repercussions.”

                True to her word, exactly an hour after she started, she had the documents in a more readable state. After reading them over, she passed them on to me. “It looks like they are giving him instructions on how to find the book. They are gathering power to perform a rite to home in on them, and will be irritated with him if they have to actually do it. There’s not a long time table.” I let the others look over them. “I can look into rituals that might help, but that kind of thing is not really my forte. I can’t just throw a spell together for it. They are rather upset about the loss of the books - it’s possible they were using them, but some of the books, particularly the ones my family left, are the kind of thing that they would usually execute someone for owning. So more likely they just wanted to contain them. Or the entire cell is corrupted. That would certainly be... interesting.”

                I raised an eyebrow as I flicked through the papers. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it were that last thing. They’re all about keeping weird shit minimized, right? Or just mage shit? Cause they’ve got packs of dogs with psychic links and near human intelligence, and they are handing out superpowers to normal humans like it was goddamn candy.”

                “They work more to keep magery minimized. They are probably using magic to create better servants. It’s not necessary for reality to be mundane, for them, but rather to have it under control of the Exarchs.” She frowned. “I haven’t sensed the Abyss on Stein or Amsterdam. I haven’t used any magic on them to tell for certain, but I can sense these things somewhat.”

                Billy Mack nodded. “Stein was very intent on curbing the Abyssal taint on the Asbury Room.”

                She looked a little relieved. “That is a good point. They are not corrupted then. As fun as that might be, it would not say good things about the stability of the area.”

                Billy Mack smiled. “Can you make anything of the books or the syringe?”

                “The syringe is to enhance his power. A booster, of sorts. I imagine if you were to inject it into your DNA, you would get a version of one of his powers for a time. It is just a guess, but my guess is that it’s part of an ongoing treatment.” She glanced at the books, flipping through a little. “I’m not sure about the books. They are rare.”

                Looking over her shoulder, I caught sight of something in one of them. “Wait a second.” I picked up that one and flipped back a bit. I found an artist’s rendition, based on a second hand report of a mass ritual sacrifice that had taken place about an hour and a half south of Seattle as the regular gee drives, at Adam’s Crossing. There was some kinda fucking halo effect on the men performing the ritual, and the book described them as ‘luminous’.

                Billy Mack had been flipping through another one, one that categorized ancient sacred sites in the area. “The God Machine has been placing many sites at places sacred to She Who Watches, including the Works and Diablo Dam. In fact, they have a site at every place sacred to her. I suppose putting an Infrastructure at a site of magical importance is not unusual, it is just more circumstantial evidence that there is something to her.”

                “Maybe.” I shrugged and flipped the book around, tapping on the description. “Someone tried to use that ritual Hazard was telling us about.” I let them read the passage. “Supposedly, they opened at gate to hell, and went down into it.”

                “Interesting...” Billy Mack read carefully.

                I nodded. “Here’s my thought - you two,” I pointed at Billy Mack and Jack, “go get a motherfucker’s heart. I’ll go talk to Team Professor, let them know about Stein and get their help overcoming the time constraints that this ritual puts on us. Naomi, you can go with the boys if you want, cause you’re not coming with me to talk to anyone who is a professor.”

                “I dunno how I can help with the heart thing. Would offending someone help? I’m good at that.” Naomi smirked. “Anyway, I got shit to do.”

                “Liz might be more helpful, it’s true.” Naomi rolled her eyes. “Should give her a call anyway, she might wanna come by the school.” I stood and stretched, then went over to Miranda and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks sweetheart.”

                She smiled slightly. “Of course. This is obviously relevant to me, so...”

                Billy Mack nodded. “Yes, you should likely steer clearer of Team Tomorrow than I imagine you already do. It does shed some light on their motivations.”

                That reminded her of something, and she took my hand. “Do you know my ex-boyfriend’s name?” I shook my head. “Adrian Dawes. He is one of the higher up people in the Seers of the Throne. In case it gets mentioned. He might not still be in the area, but I think you should know.”

                I gave her grin. “I’ll keep my ears open.”

                The boys made their way over to the house Liz’s contact had told her the body was being displayed at. Liz decided to come along with me instead. They settled down for a stake out, and once the hearse arrived and loaded up its passenger, Billy Mack set off after them in pursuit. He did not bad fucking job of tailing them, even in Jack’s ‘fallen off the back of the truck’ car, and made it there unnoticed.

                The two decided to try the back door first, but before they even rounded the corner, they could hear a loud argument, with two people asking for Clem and another voice telling them to clear out, that he didn’t work here anymore. As they rounded the corner, the female of a pair of emaciated, probably-junkies flashed the pair of uniformed men, one with a pistol out and pointed at the junkies. The man without a gun blanched away from the woman's individually countable ribs and the one with a gun repeated his threat to call the cops.

                Seeing as security appeared to be goddamn distracted at the moment, they slipped back around to the front. The place was still open and an older man was sitting at the front desk. He looked at them expectantly when they came in. Jack flashed his badge of indeterminate authority. “Was there a man named Clem who used to work here?”

                “Everything about him was forward along to the police, and none of his things are here anymore. I’m not certain how I can help you.” The old man frowned.

                “I just need to take a look around,” Jack reassured him.

                He nodded slowly. “As you say. I can’t really leave here, in case we have... visitors.” He looked over down the corridor that was in the direction of the back door. “Could you arrest them, please?”

                “I’ll take care of it after I’m done here,” Jack promised.

                “Thank you.” The old man frowned. “Actually, I need to use the facilities. If someone comes in, can you tell them to wait?” Jack nodded. “Thank you.” He stood creakily up and wandered off in the direction of the restrooms.

                Jack and Billy Mack made their way down the hall to the rooms. Everything was clearly fucking marked, so it was easy for them to find the room Lu’s body was in. An orderly was wandering around more focused on the end of the hallway where the security guards were still arguing with the junkies. They managed to time things so they slipped into Lu’s room while he was looking the other way.

                Billy Mack got through it easy, butting the poor gee’s heart out quickly, and neatly enough that it would take someone paying attention to notice anything different. As soon as he’d plopped it down into one of the organ donation cooler things, they heard a gunshot and commotion outside. Billy Mack took an extra moment to conceal the incision so that even if you paid attention, it would be hard to notice while Jack got rid of any evidence he’d been there, at least.

                When they headed out into the hallway, the tables had turned on the security guards. The emaciated man now had the pistol and was firing wildly. One of the guards was on the ground, and the woman was on top of him, zip tying his hands. The other has his hands up and his face to the wall. The orderly was frantically looking through the desk in the office up front, looking for something.

                Jack looked at Billy Mack after they ducked back into the room. “Go on and walk out. I’ll be right behind you.”

                Billy Mack frowned. “This is really none of our concern. We should both just walk away. There’s nothing to be gained from getting involved and it only increases the likelihood of someone remembering we were ever here. We can always call 911 and anonymously report the gunshot after we are out.”

                Jack tweaked reality to try and stop the fight. Unfortunately, since the junkies already had the upper hand, while he dropped the gun, they also got away scot fucking free with the guard in the zip tie. The orderly and the other guard ran after them, yelling at them to bring him back and not to eat him. It was plenty distracting to let them slip out though.

                Once they got to the car and stashed the heart in the trunk, Jack turned to Billy Mack. “We gotta follow them. That’s not OK. Just cause you’re a Vulcan does not mean I don’t have a conscience.”

                Billy Mack sighed heavily. “Very well. We can rescue the orderly if that’s what you wish. The main part was making sure that we were not still in the building when the police arrived.”

                Naomi swapped into Liz as I gave Dr. Hazard and Dr. Carpenter a call. As it turns out, they were both free in about half an hour, and when I asked for a discreet place to meet, Dr. Hazard suggested the history department’s faculty lounge. Once he gave me directions to it, we headed on over.

                It was a fucking swanky place, compared to some of the lounges I’d seen wandering around campus. I checked for hidden things as soon as I got there, finding a secret passage and a couple of hidden desserts. I turned to Dr. Hazard and jerked my head towards the bookcase. “So, that’s isn’t a potential security issue?”

                “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The mage had a goddamn decent poker face, I’ll give him that.

                “Nah, I don’t think so.” Dr. Carpenter shrugged, answering about the same time. “You’re talking about the secret passageway?” I nodded, Dr Hazard gave him a dirty look.

                I raised an eyebrow at Hazard. “Yeah, the one I obviously already knew was there? Yeah, I was talking about that one.” He continued with his dirty looks. I raised my hands. “As long as it’s not a security risk, I don’t care.”

                Hazard sighed. “It’s Dr. Hargrove’s. There are some arrangements. We don’t go in there, and he doesn’t take students in there for any reason. Also, he funded this nice room. Well, it and the whole building.”

                I pulled the folder out that we had put the documents in and handed it over, along with the basic synopsis of what we’d figured out, leaving Miranda completely out of it. Dr. Hazard gave me a strange look when I pointed out the Seer’s symbol, and flipped through the papers himself. “Well, it does mean they want the books and don’t have them. I’m not going to ask how you know all this.” Carpenter chuckled. Man, I need to play poker against that werewolf. Hazard looked at him. “Did you tell her about the Seers of the Throne?”

                “I dunno what the Seers of the Throne are.” He shrugged. “Though they sure do sound like your problem.”

                “Yes, but, they are after the books, so they are our problem.”

                Carpenter’s grin got sharp. “Can I deal with them?”

                The mage sighed. “They are mages...”

                “So I gotta sneak up on ‘em.”

                “They also have packs of nearly human intelligence dogs that appear to be able to fucking telepathically communicate,” I threw out there. His grin grew wider.

                Dr. Hazard sighed. “Let’s not murder them immediately.”

                Carpenter shrugged. “They’re your enemies boss.”

                “I’m not your boss, don’t ever call me that again.”

                “Whatever you say, boss.” He chuckled again.

                Hazard shook his head and turned to us. “Do you have any theories as to where the books are? It seems like they must be magically hidden.”

                I nodded. “In the books Stein had sent to himself, there was mention of a ritual that sounded like the one you mentioned to me, in a town called Adam’s Crossing. We were thinking of checking that shit out.”

                “Ah, yes.” He looked thoughtful. “It was attempted there. We don’t know exactly what happened, just that it was bad. There is what he calls a Wound there,” he pointed at Carpenter, “a very negative place where the spirit world is damaged. It’s not as bad as it was, since people don’t really live there anymore - it’s mostly overgrown, not a whole lot of people. Some criminals holed up along the outskirts mostly. It could be keyed to the ritual itself somehow, certainly worth checking out.”

                “A Wound would be able to make it difficult for magical perception to find it,” Carpenter pointed out. “It’s complicated - think of it as kinda like a magical black hole. It lets magical energy in, but not out so well. I would go armed, to check it out. Or with me. I’ll be free Saturday or Sunday.”

                I nodded. “We do have that whole ticking clock thing, since I’d rather not fight the fucking Seers for it. At least not on unfamiliar territory. But tomorrow is probably good enough.”

                Hazard frowned. “And when we get it? What then? If we make a big enough show of returning them to the school, do you think they’d try to take it then?”

                “I say we return it to the school and set a trap for them. Or set a trap in the Wound.” Carpenter looked excited.

                “Whichever, but I think we need to have the upper hand by finding it first. Would there be anyway to counter whatever ritual they’re preparing if we had the damn things?” I looked to Hazard. “Maybe put it on a different plane of existence?”

                He thought for a moment. “I could try a counterspell, but they work well in groups which is hard to counter. I’ll look into hiding it, if we find it.” He gave me a look. “Who are you representing again?” I smiled. “But you are representing a party involved with the books.”

                I nodded and Carpenter backed me up. “Yep.”

                “But you’re not going to tell me who it is?” He looked at Carpenter now.

                “No, boss.”

                Dr. Hazard sighed fucking deeply. “Have I told you that I hate you?”

                “Yes, boss.”

                The mage shook his head. “Alright, well, whenever you think you can go down there, it does sound like a good plan.”

                “I’d rather not go by myself, but I’d be happy to go with you, with your patron or with you and your patron, just let me know.” Carpenter had a more serious look on his face than when he was needling Hazard.

                I nodded. “I’ll talk to my associates and let you know.”

                Hazard frowned. “I don’t like feeling like I’m the one that doesn’t know what’s going on.”

                “Does it bug ya? Other way around now, huh?” Carpenter grinned.

                “I bet it’s a bitch.” I shrugged and got back to topic. “Still and all, we do now know how Stein knows everything that’s going on - he’s backed by a powerful group of mages. I did have another question. What do you know about the Eye of Humatuwati?”

                Hazard looked taken aback. “It can enhance magic. I haven’t ever studied it myself. Were I to have a chance to, I could tell you more. I presume since you are asking you have reason to believe it exists?” I nodded. “There are many rumors about it. Until I look at it myself, I don’t know which are true.” He closed his eyes. “Lawrence, stop smiling at me.”

                “It was found recently, and with some awfully goddamn coincidental timing. The books and necklace were not found by the same person, but the necklace was found shortly after the books were taken.” I kept from chuckling at Carpenter’s grin just barely.

                “Interesting. The school might want them back then,” Hazard mused. “I have theories about the school, that are complicated, but to sum up, I believe it has an awake and aware spirit about it. At least, something seems to subtly manipulate things towards the best interests of the school. There might be someone or something else behind it. The odd coincidences that seem to happen in the school’s favor is the primary thing I am studying here. Supernatural and even supernal things seem to happen here with a surprising regularity. They happen all over Seattle as whole, but the school is the epicenter.”

                I nodded. “I might have more questions about the necklace later, but for now it appears to be providing some level of protection for the person who found it, and we wanna to keep it that way.”

                Hazard made a considering noise. “You might want the necklace or the person to come with you to Adam’s Crossing. It might reveal the books.”

                “That is a good point.” I looked thoughtful. “We’ll take that under advisement.” I looked to Dr. Carpenter. “And I’ll be in touch about tomorrow.” I nodded to both of them. “Thanks again.”

                Back out at the car, as we were driving back to the office, I asked Liz, “So, I think taking the necklace is a good idea. Taking Angela herself, not so much. Have any ideas to keep her safe without it? It might be the spirit of the college, or whatever fucking hoobajoob he was talking about, keeping her safe at this point, but it might be tied to the necklace somehow.”

                “I don’t know much about Wounds, but if it can infect her, it will. She’s a psychic and very open. So, yeah, not taking her.” She thought for a moment. “I could put her in the pagan house and make sure Cassandra and the others were there, ready to call the cops if someone tries to push their way in.”

                I nodded. “Seems reasonable. Make sure they’re still willing to call the cops if it’s a cute vampire chick though. Though we probably won’t be going at night, so that won’t be as big a deal.”

                She chuckled. “True. I’m cuter than her anyway, so I can make sure they keep her out.”

                “That’s fair.” I smiled. “It’s your call, in the end, just let us know if there’s something we can set up to help.”

                “Part of the problem is that my best choice to protect her would be Robin, and I don’t want her making the connection between Naomi and Liz. If she knows they’re both spider gods... she might start putting things together.” She frowned.

                I parked near the office and we started walking in. “So what do you think about inviting Carpenter along?” I waited until we were past the Salvation Army bell ringer and into the office before I continued. “It would mean restricting our power use, but I think he could be fucking helpful.”

                “A ten foot shag carpet of death does sound useful. Especially with this whole Wound thing,” Liz agreed. “I think we’d be shooting ourselves in the foot otherwise. If we do need to jerk him around about our powers, we’ll need to do it carefully - from what we just observed, playing the mystery card is just going to get him to try and fuck with us. I don’t believe that was his usual behavior. Naomi’s never seen him act like that, and of all the professors with weird nicknames, he’s the one most OK with being called Dr. Talbot.”

                Liz sent the boys a text. ‘All’s good, how’s things on your end?’

                Billy Mack responded after a moment. ‘Heart acquired, doing charity work.’

                She read that to me and I winced. “I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know what he means by charity work.”

                “I think it means ‘anything good for anyone ever for any reason.’ Jack probably made him do it.” Liz crinkled her nose.

                “I dunno, I think he calls the shit Vivian gets up to with Casey charity work, the poor fuck.” I refilled my flask with the office bottle then took a swig myself.

                They had followed the junkie cannibals’ truck to a shitty part of town, not far away from the Bowling Alley of Sex when they’d gotten Liz’s text. It was a different shopping center that the beat up pickup truck pulled into, swinging around to the back alley entrances. They parked a short distance away and Billy Mack immediately switched on Clairvoyance to follow the unconscious security guard as they two scrawny fucks carried her in through a door under the fire escape, past a single unarmed Asian teenager who appeared to be sitting on guard. She was better fed than anyone else in the place.

                The place was a dump, exposed piping everywhere and starving people scattered around, about three of them - none of them armed. They all seemed impressed by the gee’s new pistol. The two we saw at the morgue deposited him in one cage among many, lined up along what looked like a medical lab that definitely wouldn’t pass any kind of code. Thankfully, the other cages were empty at least.

                After consulting for a little bit, they decided to have Jack unlock the door and Billy Mack walk in openly, but immediately jump into possessing the cannibal’s guard. While he held the door open, Jack would stealth in and be around for backup. Unfortunately, things went wrong as soon as they got to that first step. Well, second step. Jack was able to unlock the door no goddamn problem.

                Billy Mack’s attempt at Possession failed. The girl immediately faded back into the shadows and as the boys stepped forward to pursue, they found themselves in a wide fucking open freezing cave. To top it off, when they turned around, the door was no longer there. The wind was loud and howling with flurries of snow. Jack’s stomach growled.

                “Jack, we should leave.”

                Jack continued to glare around into the dark, his night vision eyes glowing softly. “I’m not sure what a wendigo is, precisely, but I don’t like it.”

                Billy Mack’s brow knit, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to pass up on an educational moment. “It’s a Native American spirit of cannibalism. The hunger of winter. The thing you become if you resort to cannibalism in the dead of winter worse than death.”

                “That’s what they keep screaming on the wind.”

                “Oh.” Billy Mack shivered. “I wasn’t listening to the wind. We should leave. I really don’t feel the life of one human is worth this.” Jack kept looking around. “Rip the Gates, Jack. Now!”

                Jack gave him a dirty look and opened a gate to the Underworld. “That was bullshit.” He started walking through the Underworld in the vague maybe direction of the car, hoping to get just far enough to be out of the building if they used the gate again.

                It didn’t take long for them to feel safe and they hopped through and hoofed it to the car.

                Shortly after we got to the office, Cecilia came back to let us know a Gabe wanted to talk to us. I had her send him into my office. Liz leaned against the doorway after he got there.

                He nodded genteelly. He cut a fucking intimidating figure - a big guy in a heavy black trenchcoat. Heavy dreads curtained his face and, as seemed to be his way, his eyes were hidden by mirrored shades. “Good afternoon. You wanted to speak to me?”

                “Yeah. We’re having a little bit of a problem, and we’re hoping we can work it out in a way that will work out for the best for both of us.” I leaned back in my seat. “We’ve got a client who is being stalked by Cornelius-slash-Ernesto-I think we’ve got another name for him...”

                “Yeah, I know Ernesto. He’s generally known as Cornelius by his prey.” Gabe cocked his head at me.

                I grinned. “That would be our problem. See, we’ve been hired his ‘prey’ and are not particularly fucking inclined to let this hunt of his play out.”

                He made a considering noise. “Ernesto’s a hard man to put the screws on. His prey is the First Nations girl, right?” I nodded. “Hrm. She’s plenty powerful, which is probably what makes her so tempting. I could probably put her under protection - make a deal with you, so that she would be under the protection of our fraternal organization, so that he would have to more outrightly defy us to continue to hunt her. It would be, to some degree, win-win. However, it will make him very angry with us so... perhaps you could do us a small favor.”

                “What kind of favor are we talking about?” I raised an eyebrow and walked a coin across the back of my fingers.

                “Have you run afoul of Ms. Kim yet?” I nodded. “There goes that idea. I’m not going to expose you to Ms. Kim then, she has the ability to watch over people who she’s seen recently.”

                I sighed. “Yeah, we spent a month in Europe last time we ran into her.”

                He nodded approvingly. “Probably wise. You’ve met Michael White then?”

                “We’ve had a conversation.”

                “You know that he’s bad news?” He raised an eyebrow.

                “Sure as hell do.” I snorted.

                He grinned slightly. “Good. That saves us a whole conversation.” He paused. “Is there something else you’d like to be called or is Gabe sufficient?”

                I grinned back. “Gabe’s good.”

                “I’ll tell you what. Lemme talk to a friend about what we might could have you do. You can refuse, of course, no binding agreements now, but if you agree, we’ll put the First Nations girl, what was her name?” I smiled. “We’ll put the First Nations girl under the protection of the Brotherhood. I have the clout to do this. I’ll be in touch within 24 hours. I don’t intend to keep you waiting, this is not some bullshit power play.” I nodded my understanding. “I would prefer a meeting in person than over the phone, I am happy to come here.”

                “Sounds great. Just let us know when to be here, since it is a day off, and we’ll be around.” I smiled and stood to take the hand he offered.

                “Here is a card with a number where you can get in touch with me.” The card was blank except for the number. “That card’s number cannot be read by anyone not of the kind, by the way. I will be in touch within 24 hours, no bullshit. Or at least, if there is bullshit, I will be protesting it most vigorously.

                I raised an eyebrow, flipping the card over a few times. “I appreciate the lack of bullshit and approve of the trick. Pretty fucking convenient.”

                “I’ve found human sorcery makes my cover have a few more options that otherwise, and if people don’t understand the limits of that human sorcery, then it just provides a few more options still.” He nodded to me and Liz. “Right handy. Talk to you two later.”

                As he left, Liz shot a look in his direction. “Well, isn’t he Mr. Badass?” I chuckled and she continued, “Well it looks we can prevent this without any bloodshed. Question is, do we want to?”

                “Probably would be better for the world if we did, but I’m not inclined to take another Demon’s big pieces off the table if I can help it.” I shrugged.

                “He’s not one of the Fools, unless they’re pulling one over on you,” Liz pointed out. She started texting the group text for the agency. ‘Not an emergency but need a conference on the Cornelius thing - have spoken with the other Gabe.’

                Naomi responded with, ‘Call him black Gabe, you racist.’

                Liz responded. ‘The other Gabe.’

                ‘Delivering the package. Other issues to go along with,’ was Jack’s reply.

                The boys, in the meantime, had pulled into another strip mall and found The Road to Hell, right where Billy Mack expected. As Jack responded to the group text, Billy Mack picked up the organ donation container and made a beeline for the creepy fucking shop. Jack quickly caught back up.

                “Hello!” Mr. Ox greeted them brightly. “It looks as if you have been successful.”

                “I have,” Billy Mack nodded and handed him the cooler.

                “Wonderful.” He accepted it gravely. “And you have stumbled upon even more interesting stories in the course of this one. Sequels, perhaps. You’ve met Kai.”

                Jack frowned. “Kai?”

                Billy Mack raised an eyebrow. “Is that the name of the young lady guarding the cannibal cult?”


                “So that was her cave we wandered into?” Billy Mack continued.

                “Yes...” Mr. Ox raised an eyebrow of his own. “I can smell her on you. She sends many people to hell.”

                Billy Mack nodded. “I imagine. We ran across her people at the funeral home.”

                “Interesting. Well...” He reached down under the counter and came back up with a small urn. “This should be able to capture any of his ilk. It has been wonderful sharing stories with you. I believe your quarry will find a very interesting twist to his own story, were you to use this. But then, I can’t tell you the ending to your story. But trust me, in it very interesting.”

                “I’m sure it is. I would hate to be disappointing.” Billy Mack returned the creepy fucker’s smile “I suppose we should be on our way.”

                Mr. Ox waved as they left. “Have a good day” followed them eerily out the door.

                Cecilia greeting the boys as they got back gave me warning enough to wander up to my door and greet them. “So who wants to go first?”

                Liz raised an eyebrow. “In my experience the men always go first, so, by all means.” She waved Billy Mack on.

                I rolled my eyes at her. “I said go, not come.”

                “Oh, just make my subtle joke vulgar then.” She sat down fucking daintily.

                Billy Mack sat down a small urn of traditional Chinese pottery. “We successfully recovered Lu’s heart, and this will apparently trap the soul of Ernesto or any other body thief that attempts to jump bodies in its presence.”

                I nodded. “Good, cause we might not need to kill Ernesto. Gabe offered to put Nikka under the Brotherhood’s protection, and he figures that Ernesto’s not gonna go against them directly. We’ll have to do a favor for them, and he’s gonna get back to us about it.”

                “Excellent.” Billy Mack smiled.

                “Whoever Gabe and the Brotherhood are, they are already hostile to Michael White. He asked us if we were aware of Ms. Kim,” Liz informed them.

                “Then definitely people we want to cultivate a friendly relationship with.” His smile got wider.

                Liz nodded. “And they’re not the Fools, unless they are fucking with us.”

                Billy Mack looked thoughtful. “It’s not really their style. They’re more...”

                “Straightforward?” Jack offered.

                “Flashy,” Billy Mack continued. “Also, we apparently ran afoul of a wendigo. Named Kai.”

                Jack broke in. “Who has a cannibal cult.”

                Liz made a face. “Why would you want a cannibal cult?”

                “Because cannibalism is what the wendigo are known for, I suppose.” Billy Mack shrugged. “They used to have a contact at the funeral home.”

                “Oh that’s grand.” Liz threw her hands up.

                I chuckled darkly. “I mean, if you’re going to eat human flesh, I gotta give fucking props for eating pre-killed people. But, back to the wendigo thing - you mean she’s some sort of Changeling?”

                Billy Mack shook his head. “A Beast, like Heather. We were pulled into her lair, a cold, dark, maze-like cave where, I believe, we were both struck with an unnatural hunger for red meat.”

                “Speaking of hunger, I could use some Aether,” Jack pointed out.

                “Lucky for you, we got a nice setup downstairs.” I grinned at him. “No cannibalism required.” I didn’t look at Liz.

                Billy Mack continued. “Speaking of luck, Jack was able to open a gate to the Underworld to let us escape from the lair.

                Liz nodded. “Nice to be able to play the ‘your game is bullshit’ card. We had some good luck with the professors. Hazard seemed to think the Adam’s Crossing might be where the books are. It’s a Wound, and that can hide things, magically speaking, apparently.” She frowned. “The last time we heard something described as a Wound, it was the Works, which as we know, is a bad place.”

                “That would create interference,” Billy Mack nodded thoughtfully.

                “Carpenter offered to go with us, and seems to know a lot about Wounds and such. I think we should, even if it does mean being careful about our powers.” I twisted in my seat around a little.

                Liz nodded quickly. “I’m all for shag carpets of death to charge those machine gun nests.”

                Billy Mack looked considering. “I agree.” Jack nodded as well.

                “Alright, I’ll let him know we’re going tomorrow, if that works - we do need to move quick.” They both nodded again.

                “As long as it’s not early,” Liz sighed, “I need my beauty sleep.”

                I raised an eyebrow. “Eleven?”


                “Right.” I ran my fingers through my hair. “The other thing from that conversation was that Dr. Hazard thinks there’s some sort of something looking after the college, and might have something to do with the necklace.”

                “He says the college is the epicenter of the weird shit going on in the city,” Liz pointed out. “I don’t like the word epicenter for anywhere that I’m standing. Anyway, he suggested taking the necklace to Adam’s Crossing, so I’ll ask Angela for it. So long as the necklace itself doesn’t interfere...”

                I chuckled. “Just make sure to mention what we’re doing in its... earshot? If it’s really wanting those books found, then it oughta play along, right?”

                She nodded. “Unless it mind controls her, I can get her to give it over.” She shook her head. “The only thing I don’t like about the school having some sort of hidden consciousness is that there was an Abyssal incursion near its heart, and that's bad for anyone. If it’s a group of people engineering these coincidences, they’re probably fine, but if it’s some sort of spirit or entity that is the college... that could be bad. Maybe Miranda ought to look into it. Though, if it’s a group of people, Miranda’s probably at least somewhat part of it.”

                “It could bear looking into,” Billy Mack agreed, “but not as urgent as the books.”

                End Session LXIII

                Kai is a Beast, of course. The PCs got yanked into her Lair. Good times.

                Some things are hopefully starting to make sense. Meeting Gabe was meant to be a big deal. Of course, there is the matter of the books before we go further.

                One thing that did not come across as strongly in Gabe’s journal was discussion as to what the force was behind the school. Shadow players? A Spirit? Mages? Something else? It’s a mystery. So many competing forces, yet something guided them to work in tandem.

                Regardless, Comments and Questions welcome

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