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Actual Play - Walking in Absolute Silence

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  • #31
    We take a bit of downtime next, the characters needing some time to recover and deal with their various issues. Garrett has a great deal of resistant agg damage he needs to rest off, while Rhea needs to catch up on her schoolwork. She's bright, but not so bright that she can keep up with constant Mage shenanigans and missing classes without suffering for it. Her thesis has been languishing, and needs love and attention. She shows it to Cano - both versions. One version, for general consumption, is carefully scrubbed, a paper on the the occurrence of prime numbers in vector fields when the axiom of choice is accepted. The other version contains High Speech, and is about the occurrence of Prime numbers in vector fields and how magic symbolism is an emergent property of set theory. Obviously she can't show that to her professors without breaking their brains (which she learned by trial and error a couple years ago, when discovering Dissonance).

    Cano has her own business to attend to, and at this point Rhea is of the opinion that she doesn't want to know. Cano gets the wards and invisibility she asks for, and wanders off to go hack something or other and wander into some restricted area or other. Things go fine for a few days, but then she texts Rhea that she's going to investigate something were-wolfy. We don't hear back from her. A day passes, Rhea gets more worried, and we decide to investigate.

    Calling up Vagabond, he tells us about Sky, one of the other Mages in the city who has her finger on the pulse of everything and can probably introduce us to werewolves if need be. She'll be hosting a concert with many of the local Changelings. We show up, Rhea puts some Invisible Runes in the sky asking to speak with the Mage In Charge, and Chibinagi, Rhea and Garrett are all led into the VIP lounge to speak with Sky and her cabal. She's a very pleasant woman, easy to like and get along with (also, her legacy automatically improves everyone's Impression of her by one level). Rhea ends up spilling most of her story to Sky over the course of the evening, and in return is given the number of one of Sky's friends, a local werewolf who can probably help us figure out what happened to Cano. At the concert, Chibinagi also learns a great deal more about how to gain Glamour, something he's been starved for since we first met him.

    Rhea calls Sam, and they set up a meeting at the docks later that night, not far from where we had our last incident with the Hunter a few days before. Sam is short, nonbinary, fem, curses a lot, tattoos, covered in blood, standing next to their motorcycle and impatient with all our 'finger wiggler bullshit.' Not that different from Cano in a lot of ways, but more intimidating and less vulnerable. Rhea apparently has a type, and is definitely attracted to her. She heard Sky use they/them, and then promptly forgot it when she saw Sam had breasts. Rhea's not that great with gender stuff - she's somewhat conservative, raised with traditional Hispanic gender roles (or at least that's what she has memories of).

    Cano, it seems, disappeared into the Spirit Realm while running with the pack, and the werewolves have no interest in retrieving her. \ There's some posturing and frustration on Sam's part - apparently Cano was claiming to be wolf-blooded, and didn't mention she had Mage friends. Also, Sam can smell Rhea and Cano on each other, and there's some jealousy there. Rhea eventually calms things down by explaining that Cano is part of our 'pack', and we're going to go after her whether Sam is willing to help or not. Sam respects that, and agrees to help us get to the spirit world. They pass on the location of a portal, and tell us to meet them there tomorrow afternoon so they can guide us in.

    A drive and hike into the woods later (Rhea still hates the outdoors, and is only in an acceptable mood when we arrive thanks to Garret's Life magic), we end up at an iris. Sam gives some more details on what happened while we rest up a bit. Cano was with the werewolf pack when they were attacked by agents of the Tree of All Desire, a big bad spirit the wolves are at war with. She, in typical Cano fashion, ran towards them rather than away, and was captured. As far as the wolves are concerned, she did some dumb shit, and it's her own fault. Rhea agrees, but with a sigh also says they need to go after her anyway. Sam shrugs, says she'll get us in but won't come with, and, short ritual later, abandons us in the Spirit Realm. Garrett is the only Spirit Mage among us, having one dot. This is going to be fun.

    A lot of setup here, introducing two new characters (Sky and Sam), and getting ready for what promises to be an unpleasant trip. Tune in next time as that promise is born out. Sorry for the long delay in this next chapter, other projects have been taking up time.
    Last edited by BlueWinds; 07-26-2019, 01:36 PM.


    • #32
      I'm going to make an editorial choice here and elide a major sub-plot of the Spirit Realm arc - adding a new PC. He only joined us for a few sessions, and didn't hugely influence the direction of the story. While Morrigan's backstory and plot was interesting in its own right, this Actual Play is already a bit longer than I was expecting, and I'd like to get on with Rhea's story, because I'm excited to introduce Holo. Rhea's daughter.

      We find ourselves in an old-growth forest, light and pleasant seeming, but also... mystical, full of strange and wonderful beings that none of us really understand. We have directions, though - stick to the light, which is closer to our world. Don't wander into dark places, that's where you get lost. Don't speak with spirits. If they try to speak with you, kill them. Have I mentioned that Sam really hates spirits? The spirit realm is a terrifying place for those who have no idea how spirits work.

      We also have directions to the place where Cano and the werewolves were attacked, to the place where she was taken. It's a huge tree, near the center of the forest - such things have meaning, here in the spirit realm, and going towards the 'center of the forest' is clear enough instruction that we find our way there. We have some trouble communicating with the spirit-tree, Darkened Dreams, but with some respectful words, manage to convince it not to try and drink our blood, since we're planning on wandering off to cause trouble to its rival. Cano, you see, was taken by servants of Lustful Dreaming, a far more powerful spirit than Darkened Dreams.

      Rhea has, in the course of her studies, begun to develop Space magic, in order to better understand and counter Mathias' influence over her. This means that she can also use it to track down Cano, once we find a few drops of her blood on one of the spirit trees. As reluctant to invoke paradox as always, Rhea sits down for a ritual to locate and scry on her errant lover. As Rhea works on that, the other PCs amuse themselves as they're wont to do. Garrett talks with a grasshopper spirit, which tries to burrow into his flesh and possess him. He's a big Mage though, and can take care of himself, destroying the little bugger for its temerity. Chibinagi has a conversation with Void.

      Remember Void, the fox-trickster spirit that Shard, Chibinagi's predecessor, had trouble with a while back? Way back at the beginning, when we were in Japan dealing with the High Priestess? He never left us. Shard made a promise with him, see, to provide a new body for Lightning Justice. Lightning was his partner, who Shard had killed, and he has her spirit, ready to possess a new body just as soon as Shard - now Chibinagi - provides one. This has been a recurring element of the game that I forgot to mention, Shard / Chibinagi attempting to acquire an empty body to complete this bargain and be released from Void's presence inside his mind. Void is powerful, capricious, and has been tormenting our changeling as long as he's existed, and he's finally run out of patience. Now, he says. He wants a body for Lightning Justice now, or he's going to tear apart Chibinagi's sanity, already fragile at the best of times.

      Fortunately, Garrett is a Master of Life, and has him covered. The exact terms of the bargain were that Void wanted a body as close to Justice's original as possible - female, teen, Japanese, attractive. Since Garrett is crafting a body from scratch though, no reason not to give Void exactly what he wants, and so he also makes her a fox-girl, to go with the fact that both Void and Lightning Justice are (were) Kitsune, and gives her all sorts of cute and cool powers. With an empty body - no mind, no soul - in front of them, Void does... something, none of us are entirely clear what, and claims that he's imprinted Lightning Justice on her. She still doesn't have a mind of her own, but she'll develop one. She still doesn't have a soul of her own, but she'll develop one. For now though, she's basically just a human-shaped animal. They congratulate themselves on fulfilling the bargain, safely relinquish the spell, and are ready to move on.

      Rhea's been a bit busy with her ritual, and when she completes it, is a little bit horrified by what her cabal has been up to. They just made a person. They made a person with no thought for her future or plans to take care of her and teach her until she can fend for herself. She insists that this young woman is now everyone's problem - they can't just leave her here in the middle of the spirit world, naked and confused. Rhea gives the girl a jacket and reshapes it into a proper set of clothing with Matter. She gives the girl a granola bar, then has to open it for her and show that it's edible. She glares at everyone else standing around hapless and amused. She names the girl Holo, because she looks like Holo (yes, this Holo) and needs a name. She's coming with us.

      Scrying on Cano reveals that she's trapped in some sort of dream, a mixture of pleasurable and horrifying. About what we expected, after hearing about Lustful Dreaming. Rhea's not a good enough Space mage to try pulling her through, but she can point the way towards her, and so we set off. We have some run-ins with various spirits along the way - Garrett is nearly killed by a group of trolls, when he decides that allowing them to 'forge away the weakness of his flesh' is a good idea. Rhea's leg is infected by a spiritual creeping black tar malady of some sort, and is reduced to limping. A giant crab-thing attacks us, and learns why messing with a Master of Prime and Forces is not a good idea.

      Holo is a very bright girl, but without any knowledge at all. Rhea does her best to take care of her, and grows more attached. Fortunately Holo has plenty of physical skill - she's strong, fast, can climb trees, run away and even fight back ferociously if cornered with the best of them. The biggest trick is making sure she doesn't just wander off when things get boring. She and Rhea begin to bond.

      Rhea begins to think of her as 'daughter'


      • #33
        Was Lightning Justice a full spirit or just a being halfway between them and humans ? I don't remember if werewolves or spirits have souls. Growing a soul is a Promethean's dream, so I am amazed she does not need a...... transfusion.
        Last edited by KaiserAfini; 08-09-2019, 09:11 PM.

        New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

        The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists


        • #34
          Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
          Was Lightning Justice a full spirit or just a being halfway between them and humans ? I don't remember if werewolves or spirits have souls. Growing a soul is a Promethean's dream, so I am amazed she does not need a...... transfusion.
          A bit unclear. She definitely had a physical body, and some magical powers that weren't Awakened magic, but none of us really investigated exactly what they were, so my guess is Kitsune are something vaguely spirit-like and also human-ish. The current cabal lacked Mind, Spirit and Death, the three things that could have given us more insight into the process - we just know that Void did *something* to Holo, which he claimed infused Lightning Justice into the blank body. We learn a little bit more about that later, but I'll save the spoiler

          We also don't 100% know what the end result would have been, even in retrospect - Holo ends up... um... altered... before we had a chance to find out how Life Making + whatever Void did would have interacted if left to run their course. Maybe she didn't actually have a soul at this point!