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Geist: Balance of Shadows (Actual Play)

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  • Desiree is as much a liability as a client. The cocky detective seems almost determined to throw things into chaos. But is this her plan?

    Session CCII

    Sara’s Letters

    Sasha -

    Our researching has gone apace, and boy did it bear fruit. A lot of what we have is speculation, but its well founded speculation, and we’ve tried to cover all our bases rather than assume any one guess is correct. No matter what it is, it seems likely that Desiree at least will have some interesting truths to work through.

    The film reels were what we looked into first. Two of them were tours of the house, newly purchased at set up at the time, while she expounded upon the strength and purity of her soul, and how those two stellar qualities of hers would be the reason why she would succeed in controlling the forbidden magics where others had failed. To be fair, it seemed to have worked, at least somewhat - she herself was not tainted when her tainted family members sacrificed her to their dark patron.

    The third was, well, disturbing. It started off cheerful enough, with a coven of witches celebrating the legalization of witchcraft in the state (putting its time period of mid fifties). This is clearly what all the books about the history of the town were being used to cross reference - there were plenty of clues as to where they were at, and plenty of impressive looking books of magic to make one want to know. The last scene, however, was of one of the women, staring into the distance beyond the lens of the fallen camera, missing half her skull. After a moment, the only thing on the film was the sound of her murmuring to herself in a childlike sing-song about playing hide and seek, as the blood she was drooling covered the lens.

    The O’Rourke family had clearly done some research before getting killed and had three locations marked as the book location. They had actually found one of the locations in the film, but determined that it wasn’t the same as the library. These days, the three locations were a downtown box church called “Voice of the Divine Congress of God”, a run down Laundromat, and a store that has changed hands and names at least three times since I got here. Natalie looked into all three later. The church used to be a different church in the 90s, until the monsignor of the congregation told them to fight to the death. Not all did, but some apparently were all for it. The Laundromat was also incredibly suspicious. Its current owner, to all appearances, doesn’t exist, and back in the 80s, a former Laundromat in that location shut down after employees a body that had been chopped to pieces and each piece put into a different washer. The rapidly changing storefront seems to just be a money-laundering scheme.

    That is all a side note for the moment. We will definitely look into it - apparently the coven is a somewhat notorious one, though no one knows what happened to them. Common knowledge was just that they disappeared. The film reel we have is a legend, one that people have killed to get their hands on, or so Janos told us. He was incredibly helpful - when we do find it, he’s probably getting at least a copy of some of what we find.

    See, he also had notes on the O’Rourke family, left by his mentor. He didn’t know much of what they were about, so we repaid him somewhat by filling him in on most of what we knew. He did know who killed them, a Christian-esque group calling themselves Vision of the Light, who claimed angels told them who to kill. It fit their MO to a T. They were a dead end though, as they got wiped out to a man in a police shoot out in the 80s. Janos was able to help out with our owl friend too, as a skinchanger with a great hatred of Teresa O’Rourke still lived in the area. As it turns out, we had a mutual acquaintance, so it was off to a visit to Crowley after discussing things with our archivist friend.

    Before we get to that though, I’ve almost forgotten an important link of our chain of deduction. Luke had gotten in touch with his dad, who had refused to answer a “perfectly innocent” question. Something about the question, or how he had evaded it, led Luke to think that Desiree’s mother hadn’t died, but rather left, upset by something to do with Desiree’s birth. That got me thinking about the film reel - Teresa had made a significant point about how “this face” would be coming to get anyone who messed with her or her family, no matter what happened to her. With those two combined, it seems incredibly likely that either Desiree is Teresa reincarnated, or being possessed by her. The dreams she had last night, about searching the house for something she never found, dreams she was unable to use her skills at lucid dreaming to wake herself up from, seemed further evidence.

    Now, back to Crowley. A strange old bird he is, but usually willing to help out. He was in a giving and knowledgeable mood today, consulting the stars to know that Desiree is actually Teresa reincarnated, not possessed. He did reassure us that if she were to regain knowledge of herself as Teresa, it wouldn’t erase who Desiree is now. With any luck, that might temper her desire to meddle with the darkest magics. If that is the case, one big problem we’ll have to overcome is everyone that hates Teresa, starting with the skinchanger. Crowley did promise to put in a good word for us there.

    Second might be to deal with Desiree’s family. See, after Luke got shut down, Desiree decided to go for answers directly, and in person. Her Dad greeted her with a gunshot, yelling that he wouldn’t tell her where her mom was. She, being the even tempered entirely sane woman that she is, shot back immediately, calmly and rationally making sure to not use her service piece. He called the police, and she booked it home, taking immediate measures to spoof her phone’s location, and driving like a bat out of hell for a club here in town, so she could sneak in the back and leave in plain sight out the front.

    This somewhat ruined our plans. Alexia had talked to Tavia about the ritual symbols we’d found on what we assumed was the being’s prison (that sort of thing is something of a family hobby). Specifically, she asked about symbols that had changed from the ones we saw on the film reel, when the house was first set up, and the ones we saw in person. Now, in the film Teresa had explained that what was in the ‘prison’ was a vessel, not the being itself, and Tavia was able to tell us that the change in symbols described the change in vessels. The non-white male that was in there in the film had been replaced by a woman (without a specified race). Our assumption was that Teresa’s body was in there. Tavia also explained that the vessel would like be animate and malevolent, and that should we burn and bury it, that particular method of drawing in evil energies would no longer be effective.

    Now, given that, we figured that it would be a very bad thing to have Desiree come in contact with her grandmother’s body. Since she didn’t want us going to the house without her, we had to be tricky. She was going to be out visiting her father for the night, and Natalie scored Luke a visit to a sweet party that came along with crash space for the night. So we thought we were scotch free. Since she was racing back, and we didn’t have any tasks to distract her with, that was a bit of an issue. Thankfully, she had her alibi to create. Unfortunately, it turned out that the police weren’t actually looking for her, so she wasn’t making an alibi for very long.

    By the point she realized that, however, we were already at the house. Poor Alexia doesn’t do well with lying, and its even worse over a crappy cell phone connection, especially when you are lying about whether or not you are at a place known to have crappy cell reception. Natalie was able to spin Alexia’s hurried story about watching a horror movie into something at least vaguely reasonable, at least once we got back into a good area for reception. First though, we had to put an end to the very unpleasant corpse that had Desiree’s eyes. Her very, very identifiable eyes. Thankfully, for many reasons, not the least our safety and the believability of our story, it didn’t take very long until it stopped swiping at us, and it was the work of a moment to cleanse the area as we had been told.

    So, part one, cleanse the house itself, is likely accomplished. Part two, make sure Desiree/Teresa does not pursue the same monstrous path as she did once. Part three, make sure no one kills her before she’s made any such decision. And for bonus points, find the coven’s library! Always good to have a plan.


    End Session CCII

    Sara covered most of it fairly well, even if in her usual doublespeak, lets see

    Janos is the Hunter (in the Vigil sense) who trades in artifacts and such, and has high occult knowledge (and the Japanese vampire bodyguard who was sweet on Doc, remember?) Crowley was the apparent gentleman of the road who knows way too much and is some sort of Immortal…he has not appeared in this drama for awhile. (And no, he is still absolutely not THAT Crowley)

    We had a funny moment when, planning to open the coffin, it came up that Desiree is a police detective, and if we want to cover our visit and battle we will need to be careful, so they talked about covering the floor with plastic before we open it, which lead Alexia’s adorable player to chirp happily up with “We can make a murder room!” but then she always seems to have the best lines.

    During the combat Emily still kept repeating Amos 5:24 during the fight. So she is still a little crazy.

    What will happen the next day, we will see next time. Sara’s player will have to miss but game should happen. Comments and Questions welcome.

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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]