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Geist: Balance of Shadows (Actual Play)

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  • Geist: Balance of Shadows (Actual Play)

    Balance of Shadows is set in a partially fictionalized New Haven, Connecticut. At this writing, there are almost 100 NPCs with brief personality blocks and a portrait. This will likely double over the next couple years. I combined actual research with some original places, and the PCs received a description of different locations as a group, and each PC got a packet with 11 NPCs, of which some were common to all, some common to a couple, some unique to the PC. We had about 2 months of prep for backgrounds and such, and had two meetings to discuss the Krewe, which was when the chart and mythos on the next post were developed.

    The Middle Shadows of Dark Haven Bluffs began when a still wheelchair bound Doc Thorns met Natalie Knight when she was doing a gig on the opening night of the club Murder Ballads, built on the site of apartments where a few years ago the serial killer Rory James had lived, killed and died. As Doc recovered, he and Natalie recruited Jasmine Sung and Gwen Cooper after reading about them in the papers, and Doc had a fateful run in with Alexis Merryweather at her shop. Their first mission as a Krewe was to investigate a massive, decaying house on the edge of town, Dark Haven Bluffs...there they met their final member, Simon Fishborne, living alone. They made the vast haunt, with it's impressive library, their base. They met one other Krewe in town, the Skull and Bones Society, a small Krewe operating in Yale. They have also found evidence of a Krewe that existed in town long ago, but was never replaced when it's members passed away.

    The Middle Shadows of Dark Haven Bluffs are as follows

    Doc Thorns Torn Gatekeeper, Hope/Wrath Geist: The Dog of War
    Doc Thorns served in Afghanistan and Iraq, meeting his end with a homemade bomb in Iraq. He rose as one of the Torn, but had a slow recovery. He met minor celebrity Natalie Knight who was also one of the Bound, and the two hit it off. Now much more mobile, he runs a health food store in New Haven, and patrols the street at night.

    Doc's Log is a recording of his plans and observations. He has nicknames in it for the rest of the posse...Gwen is "Ronin" Jasmine is "Rose" Natalie is "Nightshade" Simon is "Snowflake" and Alexia is "Cupcake." His journal has the most complete recaps.

    Gwendolyn "Gwen" Cooper Torn Advocate, Faith/Pride Geist: The Angel
    Gwen was a hard nosed cop who was rough on criminals until she was shot in the head by a still unknown assailant. Waking up, she had no memory of her former life, and quietly retired from the department. Gwen has since taken to having more of a calling to help the victims of crimes then hurting the perpetrators, but she remains no-nonsense in her attitude, even as a more caring person.

    Xiao-Ming "Jasmine" Sung Silent Mourner Uncompromising/Melancholy Geist: The Drowned Bride
    Jasmine Sung is a former Taiwanese Olympic Swimmer who on her honeymoon had a vision of her American husband's death while diving, which caused her to slip, break her neck hitting the diving board, and drown due to paralysis. By the time she returned, her husband had overdosed on sedatives in grief. She seeks to help others find love even as she also seeks fulfillment for herself. She teaches swimming at Albertus Magnus College.

    Jasmine's Dairy includes her thoughts on various events and how they relate to her mission. Her initial journal is a full recap, from there though it is mostly her thoughts on events significant to her.

    Natalie Knight Silent Necromancer Hope/Attention-Seeking Geist: The Laughing Lady
    Natalie Knight had worked for several years as a low rent Elvira, veejay, web personality as well as a former Suicide Girl. Even after becoming a blogger and well known Goth Icon, she still had to essentially prostitute herself for exposure, and that, the drugs and Bulimia got her into the 27 Club. After waking up She began to take control of her life, though her self destructive tenancies have not waned. She is a Charonite, maintaining connection to the Twilight Network.

    Natalie's Tweets are a combination of her postings on Twitter, her Facebooks, and her subscription only blog, as well as personal notes only to herself. She is on her Blackberry all the time so they are frequent, if meaningless without the context of Doc and Jasmine's Journals.

    Simon Fishborne Stricken Necromancer Hope/Greed Geist: The Little Prince
    Simon Fishborne is a member of the ancient Fishborne clan. A family with a long, twisted history, it's newest scion was more touched then most in the head, and anti-psychotic drugs and home remedies took their toll eventually killing him. When he awoke, his wrath was such he killed his parents, and was finally alone at peace in the house...well, till the other Bound showed up.

    Alexia Merryweather Stricken Celebrant Hope/Gluttony Geist: The Cracked Cook
    Alexia is a irrepressible, bouncy bundle of energy. A competitive chef who was poisoned by a rival, Alexia now runs a bake shop in New Haven, Sweet Surrender. She has a reputation in town and beyond for her excellent desserts. In the Krewe, she has a reputation as a font of optimism in the face of Natalie's jaded nature or Jasmine's mournful one.

    Later additions to the Krewe

    Sara Rowan Torn Advocate Prudence/Lust Geist: The Virgin Sacrifice

    Sara is a fortune-teller and medium who comes from a family of traveling entertainers. Despite her murder, she retains a positive view on life, and is a lover of beautiful men and women as well as helpful advocate for the dead. In the Krewe, Sara is as often as anyone the one to approach people who may need the Krewe’s help.

    Sara sometimes does journals written to her reletives, which play down her being a Sin-Eater and mix fact and fiction, often describing some of the more unusual events as stories she tells.

    Alice Campbell Prey Reaper Just/Relentless Geist: The Grasping Huntress

    Left to die by her lover, Alice returned with a dangerous Geist and a need to hunt and kill to set things right. Unfortunately, her Geists urgings drove her from her original Krewe and almost cost her her sanity, but she is being rehabilitiated by the Middle Shadows. Alice is a cunning hunter and tracker, stealthy and keen-eyed. She can be intense at times.

    Alice's journals often involve her arguments with her Geist.

    Krewe mythos is next, then the first few session recaps. Comments and questions welcome.
    Last edited by Baroness Nerak; 01-29-2018, 09:05 PM.

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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]

  • #2
    With the wheel, as an aside, not only do you properly have the Dualities and Light/Darkness from the Mythos, the Torn, Stricken, and Silent pairs are side by side. Both Faith Virtue Sin-Eaters are side by side, and all four Hope Virtue ones are in a row. Both Lust Vice Sin-Eaters are together, with the other vices being unique to individual Sin-Eaters. The Necromancers are side by side as well, with, again, other Archetypes being unique.)

    Also, the I Ching symbols were specifically picked for each character. DJ Gasmask, Jasmine's player, who GMs the Star Wars game and designed the Scion sheets as well as our special Geist sheets also designed the wheel.

    Creation Myth
    In the beginning there was only Darkness. A cosmos of black stillness that stretched limitlessly in all directions. Then after eons of motionless peace, an agonizing eruption of Light tore itself free from the Darkness. Further bits of Light ripped
    loose from the wounded corpus to form stars and planets then began to spread. The Chaos of movement within the Light instilled emotions in the Darkness. Hatred, Jealousy, Envy, and Wrath. Eventually the Darkness became so furious with the actions of the Light, It fashioned Servitors of pure darkness and sent them to the edge of the Light to restrain or execute any other creations which tore away from the Darkness. As many of
    these creations were captured or destroyed, they dimmed, changing from creations of Light into a shadow of themselves.

    The Light, distracted by Its own Chaos, remained oblivious to this until an entire buffer of Shadow Creations separated the Light and the Darkness. These Shadow Creations were still more Light than Darkness and grew angry that they were not allowed to truly shine as radiantly as the Light intended. They formed their own Servitors to fight back against the minions of the Darkness. A war erupted between the High Shadow and the Darkness. As the armies clashed and bodies fell, a deeper Shadow took their place. As before another buffer formed; this time of Low Shadow, or those of less Light than Darkness.
    The creatures of Low Shadow knew only the regret of not being able to do what it was they were intended to do. Though most could not fully remember what it was they were sent to do, their own death dimming or removing that knowledge. They did not come from the Darkness as the Light creations had, but neither did they embody the eternal Chaos that the Darkness loathed so fully. Yet they were unquieted by the knowledge they were supposed to accomplish something, to which end they were unable.

    Again the Darkness grew angry at the distraction. It reached out to those who were falling in battle and whispered powerful secrets to them as they were fading into the Low Shadow. If they would accept the terrible instructions of the Darkness, they could return to the High Shadow once again. To do so meant they must help silence the unrest of the Low Shadow so that the Darkness could again exist in uninterrupted peace. Many of these creatures of Shadow agreed and became something unlike either the High or Low Shadows. Through these new creatures, born neither of Light nor Darkness, the creatures of High and Low Shadow found a truce. Like the Middle Shadows, creatures of High Shadow would exist until they were pulled down into the Low Shadow. Some would be able to rest and sink deeper into the Darkness. Others would remain until they could find their own peace in the Darkness.

    The Middle Shadows would minister to these as needed. In this way, the Darkness was satisfied as all things would eventually come to rest in silence within It, while the Light was only vaguely aware that Its newest creations were born of High Shadow. Gone were the eternal creations that first tore loose from the Darkness. The Light finally turned Its attention to this development and sent new light into the High Shadow. But the power of the Darkness had already tainted all the Shadow Realms. These creations of Shadow would exist for a time then fall away while more rose up among the High Shadow as the power of the Light willed it.


    All life came from the Ultimate Darkness (the Underworld) in a sort of
    stolen power revolt by the Light. This aspect is left vague enough that if
    the character wanted/needed to inject some form of religious connotation
    to this, it's easy enough to "understand it through that lens" as it were.
    Additionally this gives an insight into how some of the levels of the
    Underworld came about. But it also leaves open ideas for guessing at
    where others developed from as not all are directly mentioned or
    discussed. The original Darkness beings could easily be the Kerberoi (or
    something even older and less familiar), while the Low Shadow creatures
    are a direct correlation to Ghosts. Obviously the Middle Shadows are
    Proto-Sin-Eaters, which suggest that the High Shadows are protohumans.
    This view also takes into account the possibility of things classified as
    "Other" so as to fully incorporate anything that could tie to "the House."


    This also gives me a sense of a possible Duty for our Krewe. If the
    Middle Shadows were tasked with helping the Low Shadows find peace,
    and the Light used its powers on the High Shadow to continue with
    creation, perhaps the Middle Shadows are actually needed to protect the
    balance between Light and Darkness (note we're not talking about Good
    and Evil, that's a different metaphor). This makes protecting Ghosts at
    certain points as much a sacred duty as helping them pass on. The same
    goes for protecting or sometimes killing the Quick.
    Looking at this more directly in relation to the Krewe mechanics, this
    would suggest that the Duty of the Krewe is to protect the Balance
    between Light and Darkness. That then leads to the Ban that the Krewe
    not tip the scales in either direction.
    The Destiny, delivered to each member of the Krewe as a vision, is
    narrated by the voices of the whole Krewe, eerily spoken in complete unison.

    In the time of peace between High and Low Shadow, there came the Others. They were creatures not of Light or of Darkness, originating in the Realms beyond. The Light recoiled away from their Taint, while the Darkness stood firm.
    Anything which came in contact with these creatures, either High or Low Shadow, risked becoming corrupted, deceived, or destroyed. High Shadows corrupted by the Others began to rot while still living and sought to infect others. Low Shadows corrupted by the Others writhed as though possessed by the essence of the Light and strove to create more like them. These tainted creatures created a blight for their masters to dwell which spanned both Realms. Whispers on the wind told of a terrible fate for any from the Shadow Realms that attempted to stand against those from Outside the Universe. Soon a gale wind howled with the voice of the Others. It told the beings of all Realms that their control was absolute. No one born of Light or Darkness could stand against them. The Others demanded servitude from the Shadows, lest they face the fate of the corrupted. With that, a wave of Blighted Shadows arose in both High and Low Shadow, attacking all in their path. It was then that the Middle Shadows revealed themselves to the Others. Born of neither Light nor Darkness and dwelling in both, the Middle Shadows stood and fought through the Blighted Shadows to the heart of the Others’ stronghold. There a terrible battle erupted. The Others could not corrupt the mind or body of the Middle Shadows as surely as their previous victims. The Middle Shadows could not command or control the Outsiders as easily as they could High or Low Shadows. Both sides suffered great losses as they struggled. Just as the Middle Shadows seemed to gain the advantage, the Outsiders sacrificed the remainder of their Blighted Shadows, tearing a hole through all the Realms into the Beyond. As they escaped, they vowed they would return for vengeance. The Middle Shadows, many broken, wounded, or dying, stood facing the retreating Outsiders as they pronounced their calamitous intent. In a single voice they responded, “We will be waiting.”

    Further, as our Aspects are closely tied and regarded within our Krewe, the following understandings exist:

    Of the Darkness

    The Little Prince
    Krewe Aspect of Authority and Simon Fishborne’s Geist
    The Krewe consults with the Little Prince through the Channel when matters of Authority are important. He gives insight into issues of using the System to our advantage or how/where best to strike an organization to gain power.

    The Laughing Lady
    Krewe Aspect of Chaos and Natalie Knight’s Geist
    The Krewe consults with the Laughing Lady through the Channel when matters of Chaos are important. She gives insight into actions that can help us cause the most Chaos or help to destabilize an organization.

    The Drowned Bride
    Krewe Aspect of Resolution and Jasmine Sung’s Geist
    The Krewe consults with the Drowned Bride through the Channel when the situation calls for an ending. She gives insight into issues of Death and steps to assist us in finding the proper Resolution.

    Of the Light

    The Cracked Cook
    Krewe Aspect of Creation and Alexia Merryweather’s Geist
    The Krewe consults with the Cracked Cook through the Channel when matters of Creation are important. It gives insight into issues of construction in any form and how to get things started.

    The Angel
    Krewe Aspect of Mercy and Gwen Cooper’s Geist
    The Krewe consults with the Angel through the Channel when matters of Mercy are important. He gives insight into issues regarding forgiveness and helps us find or grant redemption through the use of a stayed hand.

    The Dog of War
    Krewe Aspect of Conflict and Doc Thorns’ Geist
    The Krewe consults with the Dog of War through the Channel when matters of Conflict are important. He gives insight into issues regarding tactics and advices us on the proper type and use of force.

    Oh God, 96 Sessions to go...

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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]


    • #3
      OK Session I is ready. Note the nicknames Doc uses above. Also unlike most Journals Jasmine actually recaps the whole session this time. Future journals will have mostly her thoughts on specific events. There is some "I know person X, who is Y" here, as everyone got 11 NPCs, some common to all, some to a couple, some to one player, they know IC at the start. Also, there are almost 100 NPCs with portraits at this writing, which affects things too. Finally, I sadly can't transfer the nuances of PDF. Doc writes in different colors on notebook paper, and Jasmine's work is beautifully formatted. This is copypasta, but gets it to ya So now..

      Session I

      Doc's Log

      Doc's Log: 1815 Hours, Thursday, April 29, 2010

      Apparently the 30th is something called Walpurgisnacht (yes I had to look that up) which is sort of like the spiritual equivalent to a Summertime Devil's Night. So after discussing a game plan for where to patrol tomorrow night, I went to see if anything was starting early.

      Thursday Night = TV Night here in the Twilight Zone.

      I realize Snowflake needs his structured environment to remain mentally intact (whatever that means) when we have to leave the house, but I can't deal with another Bachelor marathon, they don't get into Chuck, and I make too many jokes about Supernatural.

      Thursday nights are a great time for me to do my Batman impression, as Nightshade calls it, on top of Dark Haven Bluffs. This time I called to the birds and asked them to help me look out on the town for things that weren't normal for people to do.

      Doc’s Log: 2120 Hours, Thursday, April 29, 2010

      It took about 3 hours before the birds got back to me with anything but they didn't let me down.

      Old Man Malard had visitors that he actually allowed in his house. This is the same old guy that fires a warning shot past ANYONE that comes into his yard. Even Barney the mailman. I've watched on the weekends sometimes, Barney doesn't even look up when that .45 goes off anymore. He lives just down the street a ways. That was weird enough even the birds knew something was up.

      Then they told me about several cops looking into something on Jasper where there was a lot of fighting and gun shots That was about all they could tell me about that But for birds, that's alot of information on a random event I'll take it.

      I came back down and found Ronin knitting with Cupcake, Rose, and Snowflake all randomly hanging out Nightshade had already cut out to hit the clubs I mentioned what the birds learned and Snowflake was visibly shaken that the old man let people in his house Ronin flipped on the scanner to find out what was happening over on Jasper According to the scanner, a small time gangbanger that had been MIA was beating the hell out of several other gang members when the guns came out Unlike any other night on the street, the guys that shot this Germaine Price wound up getting beat down even more after they shot the guy He then proceeded to flex his home invasion skills until the cops popped in.

      I suspected we’d just head over to Jasper but Snowflake actually spoke up and asked that we go to Old Man Malard’s first For him to specifically request something was a big deal so I knew he was really concerned What made me nervous was that I couldn’t tell what he was concerned about But I went and got my vest so Snowflake could lead the way. Even though this whole thing was his idea, Snowflake honestly looked grateful when I strapped him in I knew that I was gonna have to leave it with the kid He did need it more than me anyway So I called Nightshade and gave her the Intel and we agreed to meet at Jasper once I called to let her know we were finished getting shot at by our neighbor.

      Doc’s Log: 2150 Hours, Thursday, April 29, 2010

      I will admit here that I was nervous Cupcake slapped a lid on her cookie tray and handed it to Snowflake before shoving him out front I can’t tell you how much I hated having him on point I walked up next to him so that maybe I should shield him from…something I know it’s not unusual for people not to like being shot at, but I do have a history with this kind of thing So even though we knew it was coming and it was in fact a warning shot, I still tensed up The old man packs a .45 and he’s good with it I kept my mouth shut, mostly through gritting my teeth while Snowflake very politely inquired as to how he was It was pretty obvious that he was shaken by the fact people were entering Malard’s house and the old man seemed to appreciate that There was a really hot chick in a hoodie inside that Cupcake waved at She does seem to have a way with the ladies We left knowing that Malard seems to like Snowflake in the “good lad” sort of way. With that, I called Nightshade back so she could meet us at “the corner of crack whore and blood stain” as she put it Jasper is not what you would call country club after all.

      Doc’s Log: 2200 Hours, Thursday, April 29, 2010

      Ronin drove and we came up on the Odd Couple of Officers All the people were out of the hovel we pulled up to It was an eerie reminder of some of the “home inspections” we had to run as a unit back in The Sands The Dog of War bristled at the possibility of a good fight This oddly helped me to focus more Ronin went to talk to the cops while Rose melted into the darkness. ... No really that’s what she does, it’s creepy While Ronin extracted what little bit of information we could get from the cops (one was Ronin’s partner or something from back in the day This guy’s name badge said Norris and Ronin called him Chuck That was awesome as this guy is every badass cop you’ve ever seen in a movie, with a heart of gold), while I created a distraction by trying to get them to arm me and let me go in to help. I’m pretty sure Officer Tart had more than he could handle with this Officer Clevon Norris before I came along Nightshade arrived shortly and looked immediately uncomfortable with the lights and cops moving around That was mildly amusing but she was good and didn’t react poorly Eventually Ronin convinced the cops to head out as “no one was here.” Rose had actually found our boy hiding in Twilight upstairs…waiting When the cops left, I took my shotgun and Snowflake around back and sent the others in the front I suspected there’d be trouble so I planned to cut it off before it got started I was partly right.

      Germaine Price was the Revenant, someone called him, alright Apparently he pissed off the wrong Voodoo lady, as he had his soul bound to his body There was something different here though because he was obviously given a strict set of orders and yet he was getting into trouble anyway We determined that he was pulling on his leash just as hard as he could to find out where it was loose and where it might one day snap He led us, slowly, to Gothom Citi to meet one Genevieve Beauchamp, a local Mambo who apparently had a little more going for her than most of the minor cults in the area She was a real bitch to Ronin and this wasn’t made easier by Cupcake taking the Mambo’s side in everything while dancing around to the beat of something, but it wasn’t the music they were playing in the club So after planting a few seeds of doubt about her control over Germaine, I suggested we leave since we were otherwise getting no where The truth of the matter was that I really didn’t like the way the Mambo talked to Ronin. I knew that if I pushed very hard it would be bad and I didn’t want to hurt Nightshade’s street credit either Thus leaving this one alone was the way For now.

      Doc’s Log: 0305 Hours, Friday, April 30, 2010

      Once we were done watching Cupcake be a total white girl at Club Neon Yuppy, everyone headed back to the House. As it was approaching the Witching Hour, I took a cab into town so I could check the streets for those that needed my help Hell, no wonder Nightshade makes all the superhero jokes, I guess I do sound like a comic book. Anyway I hit the streets on the east side of town this time and realized something after a bit Given that a gangbanger got shot up and still managed to possibly kill several people barehanded, plus the coming Occult occasion, there was a reason why the streets were pretty quiet I noticed that Cupcake’s friend Chandra was still running around in her store, the World of Wicker She seemed happy enough but I didn’t understand at first what seemed so odd...other than a hot chick running a store alone at 0200 Hours When I entered, she greeted me and began very happily talking to me It was like a hyper eight year old that hadn’t seen anyone to play with in a week But then the weird kicked in This girl was cold, from a distance I mean she frosted up the glass when she walked by and I could feel a chill emanating from her body if I got very close at all I mean we all already knew she was dead, but she’s no Vampire I don’t know what makes you that cold, but she did seem to warm up the longer she talked with me Either way, that was creepy .

      Eventually I ran out of polite conversation starters and interesting comments about wicker to use with Chandra, so headed back home.

      Now I think taking Xerxes out then bed is in order Still gotta run the shop today.

      Doc’s Log: 1220 Hours, Friday, April 30, 2010

      Nightshade just came back from doing God knows how many illicit things at once She logged into her video chat little bit ago, I was hopeful when I asked if she was hung over At least then I could send over some things from the shop that would help rehydrate and dull her pain. Unfortunately when she answered, “You wish!” I kinda guessed that maybe other things were involved Biting back a lot of things I wanted to say, I told her to get some sleep Then I called Ronin while I was still seething and told her to make sure Nightshade got some rest, tonight was going to be busy and she needed to recuperate I’m figuring this is going to be a long night for all of us and the less I have to worry about going into this, the better off we’ll all be.

      Doc’s Log: 1745 Hours, Friday, April 30, 2010

      Walpurgisnacht is upon us!

      Yeah it sounded cool when I said it out loud too Anyway, Rose told us about some dude that vanished immediately after being released from jail, according to his sister That’s not a good start to the night But really, we’re gonna need to keep that in mind while we work on other stuff Tonight is all about playing the Gatekeeper Snowflake, Rose, and Ronin are all heading up to Albertus Magnus College to check in on all residents, living and deceased for starters, while me, Cupcake, and Nightshade fire up the night by turning over the Orphan Asylum I can already feel the weird in the air.

      Jasmine’s Diary

      April 29, 2010 - Afternoon

      According to Natalie, it’s the eve of Walpurgis Night. We don’t have that in Taiwan or New Zealand, so I don’t really know what it’s all about. It has some occult importance, though, so I’m trying to find out what I can. It has a lot to do with the restless dead and guarding against spirits. We’ll be going out on patrol tomorrow to make sure nothing gets out of hand in our territory. Classes end next week and exams will be held May 6th - May 12th. I’ll be testing my classes on their skills. Everyone should be able to pass except for one student, an overweight guy named Marley. He has tried hard during the semester but his swimming technique is so sloppy and uncontrolled that I don’t think he will do well on his final swimming test. I’m concerned because I know he’s taking these classes to help improve his health and to lose weight. I don’t want him to become discouraged, but I have to give him to grade he deserves.

      I’m still worried about Trinh too. She’s better now, but I need to talk to her about the old woman I saw before classes end. I mentioned that I had seen the old woman’s ghost to the Krewe, but I need to find out more before we can do anything to help Trinh. I fear the ghost is harassing Trinh, and we’ll need to stop it.

      April 29, 2010 - Evening

      It’s Simon’s TV night. He lives by a very strict schedule, when he remembers to follow it. No one really watches TV on TV night, though. I’ve been curled up on my corner of the couch translating more Keats, but I’m taking a break now to write this. Gwen is working on her knitting. Simon is looking over some old books. Natalie is out partying and Doc is on the roof of the house communing with birds to see what they can tell him about things happening in our territory. Alexia brought in some delightful raspberry tarts for us to try a few minutes ago. She’s working on some new recipes. Otherwise, things seem quiet. I suppose I’ll go and deliver some tea to Doc when I’m finished with this. I mentioned my concerns about Jean’s flirtatious behavior to Gwen. It’s still to early for me to really consider a serious relationship, and besides, I don’t really feel anything special for Jean. But I know he’ll ask me out when classes are over, and I’m very anxious about it. Gwen was very encouraging. She always is.

      April 29th - Night

      I must have spoken too soon when I said that things were quiet. Two incidents occurred shortly after I wrote earlier. Our neighbor, Mr. Malard, had some visitors. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever known him to have visitors, but according to Doc’s birds, five people had come to see him. We were a bit worried and went by to visit, just to make sure everything was okay. Everything was fine, though. Mr. Malard said the visitors were family. I’m not sure that’s true, but he certainly didn’t seem to mind them being at his house. In addition, a local gangster named Germaine Price is hiding out from the police in a house on Jasper Street. Gwen picked the event up on her police scanner, and I also think Doc’s birds told him about it. According to Gwen and Doc, Germaine was a brutal gangster who recently fell under the control of Genevieve Beauchamp, a local voodoo mambo who worships Erzuli Dantor. Doc and Gwen think Germaine was killed and is now a zombie under Genevieve’s The police are after Germaine because he had gotten into a fight with members of the Red Street Gang. He beat a couple of Red Street gangsters to death after getting shot a few times, and the bullets didn’t seem to bother him. We’re on our way to the Jasper Street now. Natalie plans to meet us there.

      April 29th - Night

      We took care of the situation with Germaine. Gwen knew the police who had the house surrounded, so she talked to them while I drew the Caul of Stillness around me and became a shadow to investigate. Germaine was alone inside, but he was in Twilight. It seemed like he was taunting the police. I told this to Gwen and she and Doc managed to convince the police that Germaine had disappeared and that they should go. Once they were gone, we coaxed Germaine out of hiding and convinced him to take us to Genevieve. Genevieve was at a club called Gotham Citi. I’d heard Natalie and Alexia talk about it before. Natalie seems like a celebrity there, and Alexia is apparently on good terms with Genevieve. I didn’t really like Gotham Citi, though. The atmosphere made me very uncomfortable. I was eager to leave as soon we were done with Genevieve. Gwen and Doc did most of the talking. Genevieve said that she had sent Germaine out to deal with the Red Street gang to protect her flock of followers. I guess she’s doing basically the same thing with her territory that we do with ours. But Germaine is rebellious and is testing the bounds of her control. It would be very bad if he broke free and went berserk. This sounds like a catastrophe waiting to happen.

      April 30th - After Midnight

      When we got home from Gotham Citi, I spoke for a bit with Simon. He suggested that it would be easier for him to keep an eye on Mr. Malard’s house with the Distant Visions ceremony if he had a mirror from the house. We are both concerned about Mr. Malard’s safety. I offered to go fetch something from the house for Simon and checked in with Gwen briefly before I left. She had some misgivings about it, but agreed that it was for the best. With the Caul of Stillness, getting into and out of Mr. Malard’s house with a mirror was not difficult. I took the time to explore the house a bit though. There were no pictures of any sort of family there, so I don’t think his visitors were really family. In fact, they might be members of a werewolf hunting team. I found, among other things, silver bullets and a silver knife. Some of the silver bullets were for a very large gun, and the knife was stuck into a photograph of a man with a very old-fashioned moustache. I shared this with the rest of the Krewe, and they are very concerned about it. If there are werewolf hunters next door, we need to figure out whether their activities are going to cause us any problems. I’m also worried about Mr. Malard’s safety. Also, Simon seemed frightened of faeries when I first brought up the knife. I thought it was odd at the time, but is that something else we should be worried about?

      April 30th - Noon

      Doc and Natalie stayed at their other residences last night. Natalie was partying again. I’m very concerned about her. She returned home a short while ago and was very sore and hung over. I helped her to her room and didn’t say anything, but I wish she would take care of herself better and give up the drugs. I’ll take her some tea Simon is playing cello outside. It’s pleasant to listen to, but I hope it’s not bothering Natalie. I don’t teach on Fridays, so I’ve been taking care of a little housework and communing with the Drowned Bride. It is easy for me to become lost in her cold embrace. I can feel the lace of her gown enfolding me like a shroud.]

      In fact, she has revealed to me more of the Shroud’s secrets. My presence can now become even more subtle than before. I wonder if it will ever become so subtle that I simply disappear forever? And would that be such a bad thing?

      April 30th - Mid-Afternoon

      I’m at Lulu’s European Cafe as usual this afternoon. Stanly was here too, of course, and we spoke briefly. But we were interrupted by another friend of his named Shatina. I think she’s a student at Albertus Magnus. She wanted to talk to Stanly about her brother, Jamie Rivers, and I couldn’t help but eavesdrop. Jamie had been in jail for a day or two for trespassing, and he disappeared on the way home after being released. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the krewe’s interests, but I’ll mention it to the others.

      April 30th - Late Afternoon

      We’re preparing to patrol our territory to make sure nothing goes wrong on Walpurgis night. We’ve made plans to visit several potential problem spots, including the cemeteries. Gwen, Simon, and I will visit Albertus Magnus college first so that Simon can use his mastery of the Boneyard to make sure no one, living or dead, is up to anything they shouldn’t be. Doc, Natalie, and Alexia will start at the Orphan Asylum. A part of me hopes all is well and quiet, but another part of me hopes we find some ghosts in need of solace and resolution. After all, I’ve been given a second chance at life so that I can help soothe the suffering of others, and if I’m not doing that, then my survival is meaningless.

      Natalie's Tweets

      Thursday April 29th

      -Tomorrow, I am gonna party like it is 1999. Only, with less drinking. Much less drinking.

      -Ok, maybe I won’t. My Krewe needs me. Well it’s OK, maybe tonight then. We gotta patrol and be sure you kids are behaving yourselves on Walpurgis Night. A death mistress’s work is never done.

      -I am on Jasmine and Gwen’s team. Someone is looking out for me. ^_^

      -It’s apparently TV night, Simon says.

      -Vlog is up! I am out. Don’t wait up.

      -Alexia is cooking! I swoon. OK, really, actually out now.

      -Murder Ballads is quieter tonight. Must be the calm before the storm.

      -Krewe needs me again tonight. Headed to meet them at the corner of crack whore and bloodstain when they are done harassing our elderly neighbor.

      -I am seriously not comfortable with all these blue lights going around me.

      -Did I mention I don’t like being in the middle of blue lights?

      -Jasmine is a ninja.

      -Riding with Doc following a zombie down the road. An invisible zombie, the deadliest kind. I am safe with Doc though; he is a badass. ^_^

      -I have decided Doc is the Latino Superman.

      -At Gotham Citi and dealing with a Voodoo chick. Doc does not like Voodoo chicks. I think Alexia does though. Gwen is doing the talking, and so far I am managing to not hear the word “Bitch” at the end of every sentence either one says. Barely.

      -Reading Stephan’s play.

      -Poor Jasmine wishes she was anywhere but here. I am not sure Simon realizes where here is.

      -You know, I don’t think putting off asking Gwen out for Beltane any longer is going to do any good. So I am going to do it. Especially after seeing her be a tough girl.

      -Well…that could have gone better.

      -It would be a terribly ironic solution to my having feelings for Jasmine and Gwen both if neither had any interest in me whatsoever. Not wanting to become a cutter, I won’t dwell on that.

      -I think I am going to get so fucked up I don’t know what my name is.

      -You know, I am not sure there is actually a worse time to send me a picture of your penis.

      Friday, April 30th

      -Boots and girls are a combination the Goddess herself created. I have never been more sure of it then I am right now.

      -Everything hurts. But in a good way.

      -WTF! This is too early to make someone go home. >:/ The ball of light in the sky is my nemesis.

      -I am a little wobbly.

      -I am back Jasmine is a sweetheart and helped me back to my room. I am so smitten.

      -Sadly, I still am with Gwen too.

      -Jasmine said she had investigated our elderly neighbor and found a bunch of silver bullets and knives and such. Checked in with Doc, he was not happy with me, but that just means he loves me. ^_^. I think I am going to pass out.

      -I suspect Doc overestimates my consumption of pharmaceuticals vs. good ol’ stupid.

      -Gwen brought me sleepy pills, definitely passing out now.

      -Why did I dream of Cello music?

      -Vlog is up. Your goddess has returned to you.

      -Doc does not like to be shot at. I am a member of this club.

      -OK looks like Team Doc (Doc Alexia and I) is going to St. Francis Orphan Asylum, and Team Gwen (Gwen, Jasmine, Simon) is going to Albertus Magnus. Yea, I got traded, but I don’t want anything to be awkward for Gwen, and I am on Superman’s team now.

      -I don’t think asking my other crush out for Beltane is a respectful thing to do, since Gwen turned me down. I don’t know. I want to though I care about both a lot, but I am not sure Jasmine is to the dating phase yet.

      End Session I

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      • #4
        OK Session II is ready, Session III will be later this afternoon. Session IV will be...whenever Doc gets his journal done, as Session V is Sunday. No special notes here, beyond Doc Wrote a good chunk of his in pink ink which was really funny, hence the note about Natalie's pen and colors (Natalie does most of her typing on her blackberry).

        It's worth noting I took some liberties with New Haven St. Francis Orphan Asylum was torn down in the 60s in the real world, and Murder Ballads (mentioned last session) does not exist in New Haven.

        Session II

        Doc's Log

        Doc's Log: 2040 Hours, Friday, April 30, 2010

        I've cleaned up and had food so tonight should be set I'm only taking my knife with me tonight as we're gonna be breaking into a museum type place as it is Don't need to be packing the shotgun and get hit with armed robbery if we're caught I suspect that anything we run into I'll be doing better with my knife than with the gun anyway.

        Hey it's a hope, right?

        "Your observation hints at the skill you rarely express in proper hand to hand combat This night you prepare to do your duty once again to yourself, your Krewe, and to me Ready yourself as I stand ready as well."

        I don't put things quite the same way He does, but I do tend to agree with Him on this point It has been awhile since I was able to serve in my new capacity and I'm ready for a little action I'm gonna head out to the House so Nightshade can get us movin.

        Doc's Log: 2220 Hours, Friday, April 30, 2010

        Well this ain't my best night ever I mean it started out okay We got to the St. Francis Orphans Asylum without any trouble but we are not exactly cat burglers, so getting in was a little hairy Nightshade had the best chance of opening the door without me kicking it in so while she worked on that, I called the birds and asked that they make noise at the windows if anyone seemed to notice our presence Then we got out a flashlight and headed inside.

        Me and Cupcake were really just cheerleading for Nightshade in the beginning because she was the one with all the skill in what we needed to do Then she asked us to keep all the evil away while she took a nap It's always amusing to watch her zone out and then start talking like a mystic The fact that she can still text while she does it is a little weird though Anyway, she looked around with a Stigmata Boneyard so she could see any ghosts in the area Two children were listening to the floor on the next level and she heard something big stomping around on the 3rd floor But what she really got excited about was the secret lab she found We did a little searching and eventually found the door behind a cabinet Cupcake and I moved the large wooden barrier and we entered a very surreal, almost mad scientist's laboratory I figured out that a few of the books, all written in Latin, were actually written by Albertus Magnus himself And together we pieced together that this was a fairly well used and well kept alchemy lab And that was about the time the vampires showed up I was pretty sure they were vampires anyway, but I didn't press the issue given that the lead dude looked like the 30s Nosferatu and his muscle looked like a Mafia Guido, without a face ...No I mean it looked like his face had fallen off and left the skull Cupcake became my shadow while Nightshade played it cool and leaned on a table Oh I don't mean Cupcake pulled a Rose, I mean she jumped behind me and tried to stay out of sight Yeap, just like in the cartoons, peeking out from behind me and everything.

        I stopped fidgeting with my blade and let my arm go to my side I was not going to play the aggressor on these terms Plus given that the birds didn't let me know anyone was coming, I wasn't sure how many more there might be.

        Nosferatu was either a very generous vampire or he didn't really know what he was dealing with either I told him that we learned what we needed to know about the room, most importantly that it was not what we were looking for, that we were sorry to have to intruded, and that we would happily put the cabinet back over the door just like we found it He looked us over for a moment then glanced at Jason Voorhes Thankfully he moved out of the doorway and not towards us Keeping true to our word, Cupcake and I replaced the cabinet over the door as if it had never moved As a parting gift, Nosferatu let me know that there was something on the 3rd floor that we did not want to mess with I told him it was kinda our job and he said we were welcome to it, but we had been warned I glanced back to give Cupcake a reassuring look and when I turned back, the vampires were both gone Whew I stayed really calm on the outside, but I was terrified and wasn't sure if we'd all make it out of the room in one piece inside That we were allowed to leave on amicable terms was definitely a plus in my opinion

        Next we went upstairs to talk to the children, and I put my knife away They were surprised when we could see them The little boy stayed back and peeked around the corner while the little girl was very brave and talked directly to me The ghost children mostly came from the time before the orphanage closed The little boy at least died from disease and I suspect the little girl may have as well They didn't know how much time had past, but the little girl mentioned that if the monster was gone then she could go back up to her room They then told us a little more about the beast upstairs It had eaten the other four ghost children but was actually tangible as the little girl could hide in between the walls to keep away from it I asked what it looked like and she described a large shadowy form with glowing eyes and the crying faces of children floating throughout That sounds like a real charmer I promised the little girl that we would help get rid of the monster, even if I couldn't do it all tonight I'm really glad now that I threw the last bit in.

        Leaving Cupcake and Nightshade with the children, I pulled my knife and headed upstairs I could hear this think stomping around like a bull on the old flooring The children said the "scary people" did something to make it stay on the 3rd floor I can only guess at what sort of binding Nosferatu and his"boys" setup, but I climbed to the top of the stairs anyway When I got there, I could hear the pounding footsteps rushing towards me but saw nothing I called out to it, letting it know that I knew it was there and I wanted to talk That we could do this the easy way or the hard way, but it was going to be its decision The footsteps drew closer but slowed After a moment, a huge pair of glowing eyes appeared in front of me and a cloud of shadow billowed around me on all sides A gapping maw opened under me and roared, "Get Out!"

        I struggled with the sudden primal Flight urge as terror consumed my very being I had just enough control to scream so that the others knew what was happening before I unwillingly hauled ass down the stairs and out the door without stopping for anything until I reached the car Nightshade came out shortly there after looking concerned and frightened Cupcake came out last, looking completely confused and bewildered Apparently my screaming and sudden exodus did not clue her in that it was time to leave...and Nightshade didn't stick around long enough to explain it to her.

        Now we're heading down to Fort Nathan Hale Hopefully I can show a little more backbone there.

        Doc's Log: 2250 Hours, Friday, April 30, 2010

        What the fuck is up with tonight? I mean I know Nightshade told us it was like a Devil's Night but shit man.

        We got to Fort Hale pretty easily as traffic on this side of town is usually light this time of night on the weekends When I got out, I figured I’d call up the birds again to see if they’d noticed anything going on or anyone there that stood out I should have known when I didn’t sense any animals around, it was not a good thing I looked around and noticed a big, black owl with glowing golden eyes That stood out a little bit But this thing wasn’t in Twilight, just sitting in a tree looking around I approached it and tried to talk to it through my powers, but it looked down and just started talking like your average person At this range, I could see that it was made of shadow but what was really weird was that Cupcake and Nightshade could understand it too The short version was that it hadn’t seen anything but the lights around Fort Hale, but it was REALLY interested in finding some vampires; any vampires by the sounds of it And the way it talked about vampires was like how a chef talks about tomatoes Tomatoes that could be so much more after being prepared or altered or something Apparently this Strix could possess people and tried to grab the Scholar at one point, but that turned out to be rather disgusting for it I didn’t say anything but I did think that was kinda funny Anyway, I made up some reason to bring the vampires back to it later when they weren’t busy and got the hell out This was a very bad situation I’ve never seen something that knew about vampires and not have any fear for them, unless maybe they were a vampire.

        Now we’re heading down to Lighthouse Park I’m hoping that I can either not run screaming or not find something horrible to have a conversation with.

        And maybe find something other than Nightshade’s pen to write with next time.

        Doc’s Log: 2330 Hours, Friday, April 30, 2010

        This is not my first choice for a pen, but among the lavishly girly options Nightshade keeps in her car, this one was the least likely to make my eyes try to bleed out from using it.

        Anyway, this last stop proved to be the capstone of the evening After we parked, Nightshade did her Trance of the All Knowing and found a thing walking along the beach It did not look friendly but it wasn’t hurting anyone We decided we didn’t need that in our lives right then so we went to investigate the carousel that was seemingly running itself The 3 of us grabbed a ride on the hobby horses for a while until I got tired of waiting for the big reveal I got no reaction from calling out to the ghost we already knew was hiding so Nightshade went and opened his entry hatch and basically drug him out. Willie, as he eventually introduced himself to us, was just an old man that wanted to bring some joy and magic back into the world He ran the carousel at night to give people a sense of wonder Because I was making him explain everything and unintentionally debunked most of what he was going for, I thought the girls were going to cry Honestly I felt pretty bad for the old guy myself But in a moment of rare quick thought on my part, I offered to bring people here when I had time as I knew someone that I was sure had never ridden on a hobby horse and we could easily surprise him That I was referring to Snowflake was not lost on anyone, but through the ear curls even Rose was getting a little misty over the situation…so I promised to make sure the right people knew where to go and we headed out Willie is not a problem, he’s a good man I don’t think I’ll forget him anytime soon And with any luck, maybe I can take a date out to his carousel. But for now, we’re heading back to the House to compare notes with the others.

        Jasmine’s Diary

        April 30, 2010
        I did not expect to be reminded of what I have lost when I left to patrol on Walpurgis night. But I suppose I should have at least been prepared for it. Many ghosts are touched by loss or unfulfilled desire, after all.

        I met the ghost of Bonnie-Lynn while investigating the Albertus Magnus Campus with Gwen and Simon (Doc, Natalie, and Alexia were off exploring the orphan asylum, Fort Nathan Hale, and the Lighthouse Park area). Simon discovered signs of her presence, so we investigated. She was in a room whispering romantic advice to an insecure college girl named Elsie Quinn, but thanks to Gwen’s fast-talking, we were able to gain entry to the room long enough for me to invite Bonnie-Lynn to talk outside the room.
        The Drowned Bride is still agitated because of the conversation. My encounter with Bonnie-Lynn did leave me with a lot to think about. In many ways, she and I are very much alike. We were both cut off from the happiness promised by our marriages, and we both still seek true love. I feel a great deal of sympathy for her.

        Gwen does not seem to agree.

        Poor Bonnie-Lynn. Death has twisted her sense of love. She speaks of it (and of herself) in gentle terms, saying that she is “Patient like love, kind like love.” According to the Drowned Bride, those words echo 1st Corinthians
        13:4. But the possessive and suspicious way Bonnie-Lynn seems to think about love upsets me. She feels love is something that must be tested. But it’s not. Time has a way of testing the bonds of love without the need to engineer such challenges. If Bonnie-Lynn were truly patient and kind, then she would realize that.

        I do worry, though, if in time, eroded by loneliness, I won’t become like Bonnie-Lynn. But no, the Drowned Bride is not so suspicious, though she is possessive. Right now, she is unquiet, whispering words of comfort laced with complaints against Bonnie-Lynn in her muted voice. She feels her position as the authority on true love was challenged by Bonnie-Lynn, who suggested that I might benefit from her advice.

        Yes, Bonnie-Lynn was immediately drawn to me, for she could sense the loss and longing in my soul. She wanted to help me find love again, and I would welcome for her help if I thought I really needed it. But I don’t. I have faith that when I am ready, I will find true love again. The susurrus of the Bride’s voice encourages me. She is patient, like love. I suppose that in a sense, longing implies patience, after all.

        Gwen was very protective of me and her scowls kept Bonnie-Lynn from getting too close and perhaps affecting me with her numina. I was glad Gwen was there. She knew Bonnie-Lynn’s situation resonated with my own, and I think she could sense the pain the encounter caused me.

        But the sorrow I felt when dealing with Bonnie-Lynn was good. I know what she has felt since the day she died, the longing and sorrow mixed with a hope that only makes her sadness all the more bittersweet. I pity Bonnie-Lynn, and want to help her. Despite the way death has twisted her idea of love, she deserves to find happiness, and if I can make that happen in the process of resolving her anchors, I will do so.

        In the meantime, though, I feel I must keep her from leading poor Elsie Quinn astray. Elsie in love with a boy named John, but is insecure and fears he won’t love her in return. I guess I need to talk to her and help undo any damage Bonnie-Lynn’s advice has done. But I’m nervous about doing so. I’m not really good at talking to new people. You know how shy I can be.

        It’s not that I’m insecure. Not really. I’ve just always been quiet, and don’t really know how to be anything else. Not since Richard died, anyway.

        But my duty is to the living as well as the dead, so I’ll have to speak to Elsie on Monday.


        Bonnie-Lynn Baker
        Date of Death: 1889
        Cause of Death: Tuberculosis
        Haunt: Nilan Dorm, Albertus Magnus College
        Anchors: Coffin, Wedding Dress, Dorm (was once the house in which she died. Also, creates weak anchors to girls she “helps.”
        Known Numina: Phantasm, Domination, Ghost Speech, Terrify, Possession

        Bonnie-Lynn is a ghost obsessed with the idea of finding and keeping love. She died of tuberculosis while engaged to her fiancée, David, and feels unfulfilled because she was unable to marry. Resolving her anchors will likely involve burying her next to her fiancée - helping her “marry” in death. She might also be resolved if she could find another ghost as a groom. Bonnie-Lynn can be called upon by the girls living in the dorm for romantic advice. But death has warped her sense of what love is and how it should be kept, so the advice she gives is…pessimistic? She believes that love should be tested, and helps to engineer situations that will test the faithfulness of the girls’ boyfriends.

        Simon discovered her body in its coffin with the wedding dress hanging nearby, all disinterred and sealed her room on the 3rd Floor of Nilan Hall at Albertus Magnus College.

        - It is said that you can call upon Bonnie-Lynn to tell you who you will marry. Methods of doing so involve gargling water (because of her tuberculosis), which probably upsets Bonnie-Lynn.

        - Rumors says that if a girl kisses a boy on the 3rd Floor of Nilan Hall she will possess the girl so that she can experience the kiss.

        Natalie's Tweets

        Friday, April 30th

        -The Middle Shadows are blessed and ready to take on the night. That sounds so awesome.

        -On the way to St. Francis Orphan Asylum.

        -OK, I am on a team with an ex-Military and an Undead Cook. Why do I have to do the B&E?

        -Wow Boneyard is awesome. No wonder Simon seems so blissful sometimes. It’s like I am at the center of time and space.

        -I see dead people.

        -Secret passage, secret passage!

        -Lah-boor-atory always sounded better than Lab-ro-tory.

        -Man, I saw some scary looking dudes.

        -Man, I saw some scary looking kids.

        -When muscle goes a-runnin’ and a-screamin’, it is time to make tracks.

        -Well that was an abrupt exit.

        -What am I gonna have to do to get these people laid? Never heard of Beltane? What?

        -Alexia seems to have someone on her mind for it. I hope it is not Jasmine or Gwen.

        -If she sleeps with either of them I might hate her a tiny bit.

        -Fort Nathan Hale, new place to check out.

        -I can see forever.

        -Talking evil shadow owls completely ruin the romance of a place.

        -Why is Doc even talking to this thing?

        -Leaving Fort Nathan Hale. I am not happy we are leaving that alive.

        -Jasmine’s accent turns me on so much.

        -They met some ghost girl who wants to get married, and does not seem to care much whom to. Scary. I knew girls like that in high school.

        -Is whom right? I can never tell.

        -Your Queen has a new toy she likes very much, the power to command every inch of a territory. It is awesome.

        -Lighthouse Park seems to lack evil fucking owls, a plus.

        -I don’t know what that Skeleton dude is, and I am not sure I wanna find out.

        -Pup Pid; that was his name right.

        -I don’t trust magical carousels since watching Something Wicked This Way Comes.

        -I think Doc broke the old man ghost’s heart.

        -OK, he is being nice now.

        -Oh good, they are so busy talking about Vamps, owls, and chemistry they seem to have forgotten about Pup Pid. Rock.

        -We are heading back to the house. Good, I have some drinking to do. May also want to swing by the apartment and be sure it is ready for visitor(s) tomorrow night. We will see how I feel when I get back.

        End Session II

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        • #5
          OK, Session III. No particular footnotes except I placed Jasmine's footnotes after the main article, as I can't do it in a sidebar here. Session IV will be soon, whenever I get Doc's log. Session V will be up probably ~2 weeks after Session IV. Questions and Comments continue to be welcome, and will be passed along to the players as appropriate.

          Session III

          Doc's Log

          Doc's Log, 0220 Hours, Saturday, May 1, 2010

          This night just gets better and better.

          Nightshade got us back to the House before the others so we were not expecting to see a car in the driveway as we pulled in. 1940s sedan just setting out front like they owned the place. I asked Snowflake on the ear curl what the deal was. He said he thought it sounded like family, but with the way he describes his home life and the tone he said it in, I had to ask if that was a good thing or not. There was some indecision on his end on that one, so I had Nightshade "open" the door so we could check the registration on Ronin's suggestion.

          Tavia Fishborne.

          Turns out this was a long not so lost cousin of Snowflake's, but that still didn't make me feel any better. Snowflake did say she was a friendly...if a bit odd. I had a bad feeling about that. Kinda like when you know you're walking into a house that's booty trapped, but you gotta go in anyway.

          Since we didn't have Snowflake with us, I decided to ring the bell instead of just walking in and getting attacked by either the flailing bookworm side of the family or the psycho killer side. Given what I know about Snowflake, I have a healthy "respect" for both. When the door opened, I realized neither one was right exactly...or maybe both. The wide, blank eyes which locked onto mine as the door swung open were like staring into pools of nothingness. Her form was hardly feminine, given the tremendously emaciated state, though she seemed healthy enough to my eye. Tavia looked to be the love child of the Tall Man from Phantasm and Karen Carpenter, circa 1983. She stood motionless in the doorway until I finally introduced us as friends of Snowflake. I was almost surprised at how easily his real name came to me, given how even outside of these briefings I call him that. Tavia tried to counter that Snowflake was dead. I think she blinked but her expression never changed. I noticed then that there was a body bag, shovel, and crowbar just inside the door. Oh boy.

          I told Tavia that he got better, trying to lighten the mood and the conversation, only to discover that Tavia was at least somewhat more aware of the world than it appeared. She started asking if he was a Vampire, Zombie, Revanent, and I don't honestly know what else she rattled off before I tried to assure her Snowflake was alive and well and even on his way back home. This seemed to please her greatly, but did nothing for her blocking the doorway. After some length of uncomfortable silence, I asked if we could come in. Tavia seemed shocked that this had not yet occurred to her, but she moved aside so we could enter. I felt a little like Bella Legosi having to ask to be invited in, but it all worked out.

          We tried to make small talk and kill time until the others got back. Cupcake mixed some drinks to try and keep things mellow and we kept trying to talk to Tavia. It didn’t take long to figure out that she was WAY more crazy than Snowflake. I mean don’t get me wrong, I still can’t call him normal or anything like that, but in comparison to Cousin Tavia, he’s a “Bulwark of Mental Stability TM.” Anyway, I think that horse has been beaten to death, gotten back up, and got beat down again, so I’ll move on. Eventually, Ronin got back with Rose and Snowflake. We all figured that the weird would blow over a little bit when Tavia could finally see Snowflake was alive and well. But no, it just got weirder by an order of magnitude. Yeah I know, Zombie Horse, work with me here. You know when I said before that Cupcake became my shadow just like in the cartoons? Well when Tavia laid eyes on Snowflake, you could almost see the little bubbling heart balloons surrounding her head. Yeap. In his defense, Snowflake looked to be more mortified of the idea than I did. That was somehow comforting to me.

          After all the “pleasantries” of formal introductions were endured, Tavia showed us the other reason she came*. There were several covered paintings in the hallway and sitting room. After she “accidentally” uncovered a very life like, but situationally creepy, painting of Snowflake, she found the two that she was worried about. These paintings were somehow special and both were at least coincidentally connected to several murders and at least one strange disappearance. When she uncovered the first, I couldn’t help but stare at the triple orbed, crimson eye and the palatable darkness of the creature’s form. I remember hearing Tavia casually mention that the gallery curator and one of the critics for these works were horribly killed on the same night. Then a security guard claimed the entity in the painting vanished. After watching the closed circuit recordings, the guard burned the tapes before shooting himself. That got me to look away from the damnedable image. She called it the Hanger in the Void. The implications of that made my skin crawl, my stomach turn, and the Dog of War restless. The other image didn’t seem all that special to me, but Rose and Nightshade looked like they were being drawn to it a bit. It was a woman in a swamp beckoning the subject in the foreground to her. She was standing on the water while the subject is in a small boat. The weird thing was that when I wasn’t looking directly at the picture and thought about it, it was like the woman was some kind of bug in my mind. Tavia said that picture was the odd disappearance. Someone else that was really interested in that one disappeared after staring at the painting. Later, fillings for teeth and some blood were found underneath the picture. That one she called Lady in the Marsh.

          Tavia wanted to use the Library to understand what’s going on. That might be the most sensible thing I’ve heard her say yet. But because she is family, Snowflake can’t just toss her out. Because she’s crazy (Zombie Horse), we can’t let her have a go with Snowflake. So we went to prepare one of the family bedrooms over in the “other” part of the House. That way we don't have to worry about her sneaking in to rob Snowflake of his virtue. That is so gross. They are first cousins after all. Anyway while we were playing house servants, Ronin and Rose filled me in on the bizarre happenings of their night since I didn’t really get to keep in contact while they were out on the Green. Apparently they found Noriko hiding (badly) in the trees watching them and a group of drunk college guys. Ronin did her psychic soul reading thing and realized that this girl and Old Man Malard are of the same ilk. And by the conversation they had, that ilk is werewolf. FUCK! She at least considers me a friend and therefore took the rest of the Krewe on my good name. They asked her about the “mustachioed” dude in the picture at Malard’s. Not only did she know who it was, but she told us not to deal with him unless we were ready for a lot of pain and bring shit tons of silver! That’s my paraphrasing, but still. The werewolf didn’t give us permission, but gave INSTRUCTIONS. Kill on sight does come to mind. So Malard and likely the whole bunch at his house are werewolves and I was right about Noriko being some kind of scary badass. At least we know they are on our side. Though now I have a small arsenal of silver to look into. Silver-plated brass knuckles, a silver rolling pin for Cupcake, a silver dagger for Nightshade (she’ll probably enjoy that for the occulty vibe anyway), and at least a box if not a case of silver bullets. Doubt I can find silver shotgun slugs and I ain’t about to start making those things at home if we have werewolves that know who we are. I’ll just stick with looking for the very illegal spiked knuckles…in silver. No one will suspect a thing from that. Right?

          Snowflake and Tavia met us as we were finishing up the room. Everyone bid her a good night and at least pretended we were going to bed. I went back to my room to update the War Room Battle Map while the others scattered in their own separate ways. The map is kind of my thing so I take my time and make sure that it's perfect. When it was done, I thought about what I should do next. There are alot of things about this town that I don't know and I feel like to be a good strategist, I should know about it. I also think I should know more about the Occult world. I mean even Tavia seems to have a better grip on that stuff than I do. So I went down to the kitchen, noting that Snowflake wasn't in his room, and grabbed a pot of coffee and some cups. Then I headed down to the Library. Snowflake was already down there of course.

          It was already late, almost late enough for me to go to bed, but Snowflake looked perplexed. I knocked on the door and asked if he wanted some company. Because I'm around him a fair amount and he is a little odd (Zombie Horse), I sometimes forget how much better he is than when we found him. We talked about things to just give him someone that would listen and not run screaming and to let me say some things I felt I needed to get off my chest. He showed me the old family bible (?) where he and Tavia were already slated to be married. I noted that it was a woman's handwriting and nowhere close to recent. He confirmed that his Mom had done that and made the line beneath it for their children. I closed the book so we would both stop staring at that page in silence. So Tavia got it honest, but they broke the mold when they made Snowflake. He wanted nothing to do with his cousin in the monarch tradition, and was just as concerned about her paintings as I was. He didn't chastise me for wanting to burn those two special ones like Rose and Ronin did, but he did think he could find a way to satisfy Tavia's desire to display them while keeping the public (and us I hope) safe. I let him keep the coffee and left him to his thoughts after we got somethings out in the open. I felt better about how things would play out, but I understood Snowflake needed more time to process everything that's been thrown in his lap. Besides, it's not too early for sleep now.

          * The original reason being she intended to dig Snowflake up (still thinking he was dead) and either bring him back at least semi-permanently or bring part of him back so she could continue the family line. I can’t make this shit up.

          Doc's Log, 1000 Hours, Saturday, May 1, 2010

          So I've been doing Yoga since getting most of the use of my legs back while I was still in the hospital. Rose has been talking to me about meditation in addition to the Yoga and occasional swimming. I figured what the Hell this morning. I went through the Yoga routine in the TV room before anyone else was up, and then settled in for some proper inner reflection. Having the soul of another inside you is a good incentive for trying to remain at peace with your inner self...or the inner not you in our case. It took me awhile but I eventually reached a point where there was only calm. It was a good way to focus. I think I might try to do that more often. Anyway after that, I started smelling breakfast and coffee. I also saw Snowflake shuffling downstairs, still carrying the same pot of coffee I left him last night. That can’t be good.

          After we were all up and around, Snowflake mentioned going to the hardware store to pick up a few things in the event we had to knock down a wall. That boy comes up with some odd decisions, but eventually we figured out he was talking about getting into Bonnie Lynn’s room back in Nilan Hall at AMC. Tavia said something about going in once, but she was surrounded by all these tools to kill people and eventually had to leave after they started dripping with blood. Right, I’m definitely going to protect Snowflake if nothing else.

          Doc’s Log, 1130 Hours, Saturday, May 1, 2010

          Snowflake did not have any episodes in the hardware store like Tavia did and I was very relieved. We picked up a sledgehammer, a skill saw, a drop cord, a crowbar (which I said we should just use the one Tavia brought, but Snowflake didn’t think that would be proper), and safety masks. For a little guy, Snowflake is stronger than I thought. He grabbed the biggest sledgehammer they had in the shop and didn’t seem to have any real trouble with it, until we started walking around. Must be from carrying all those books around down in the Library. Then we came back with our new goodies and checked in on the rest of the Krewe.

          Today was really a relaxer for most of us. I don't have any appointments for the shop so I was just going to hang around. Rose had a lunch date with one of the girls Bonnie Lynn is putting the mind whammy on to try and talk some sense into her. Elsie I think is her name. Rose had asked Nightshade to come along and keep Bonnie Lynn out of the conversation. Ronin went out running for a long time this morning but apparently she's checked in with Rose already so she’ll still be out. Cupcake and Snowflake are going to be encouraging to Rose and help out if needed. I'm going so that Nightshade isn't some spaced out goth chick sitting alone waiting for the random hung over college dude to start hitting on her. It's funny to watch her shut'em down, but she's gonna be busy holding the perimeter so I'll be guarding her position.

          Doc’s Log, 1300 Hours, Saturday, May 1, 2010

          Holy shit. I have got to learn not to speak when Nightshade is blowing smoke at me. While we were guarding lunch, she started talking trash about who and what were we all doing for Beltane (the pagan renewal holiday which is of course tonight)? She started babbling something about getting me several women since I didn’t have any plans. So without really stopping to think about it, I just told her (in front of the whole Krewe) I was taking her out to dinner tonight. Way to be smooth Romeo…and no, I’m not proud of this lapse of sanity. Sure I know how I feel about Nightshade, but this was not how I wanted our first date to come off. Not subtle or suave, but more like a dare. How old am I, anyway. Damn. At least she said yes. Reluctantly. She even stopped me to ask if I was serious when we got back to the House.
          Nightshade needs someone that will always be there for her and I know I could be that person, but she has to be willing to both let me in and learn how to love herself. I think once she can love herself the drugs will fix themselves because then she’ll be willing to stop for her own sake. So why the hell am I acting like a squeaky-voiced kid about this? God, man up Doc!
          Oh yeah, Rose talked to the college girl too. She didn’t know what to think. I don’t think anyone was surprised.
          Okay, now think…how to make this work. I’ll have a cab here and waiting at 7 so she doesn’t have to drive the dude with no car. The reservations are set for the Greek restaurant …why am I still writing this? I have to get all this shit together.

          Doc’s Log, 2215 Hours, Saturday, May 1, 2010

          Well that could have been worse, but I doubt it was possible to be more surreal. I wore the red silk shirt because I know she really likes the Horsemen symbolism. The food was good but the company was much better. We were both pretty nervous. That helped actually. When we both got text messages asking if we wanted to go bowling, I thought Nightshade was going to turn her face inside out she was so confused. Apparently asking a pseudo-pagan to go bowling on Beltane is blasphemous or something. But she was a good sport about it. I took her back home so she could get ready for whatever debauchery she had planned for the night. I kissed her on the forehead and asked her to be careful before I left to join the others at the bowling alley.

          I needed a diversion to keep my mind off of the possible consequences of actually showing how I felt about Nightshade. And losing horribly at bowling to Rose was apparently a great way to do just that. Not sure I needed to do it three different times, but what the hell.
          I need to look into the various people I know of that deal in specialty weapons, display pieces, and reenactments so I can try to get the good stuff for the silvered items. I also need to think about maybe getting Rose to teach me how she uses that Shroud power of hers. I think it might come in handy.

          Jasmine's Diary

          May 1, 2010, Morning

          We have a visitor. Or rather a new tenant in the mansion, I suppose.

          She arrived last night, and we met her upon returning home. Her name is Tavia Fishborne, and she’s a cousin of Simon’s. She’s very odd and seems to have little understanding of social mores. And she seems to have some supernatural powers, perhaps a form of hedge magic. But not all of her supernatural gifts are voluntary. She’s a painter and her paintings seem to have a dangerous power of their own. Several people have ended up dead or missing in their presence, and one that I saw, an image of a woman in a swamp, was strangely compelling. I feel that if I let myself, I might be drawn into the picture for real.

          Doc was spooked by the paintings and kept encouraging us to burn them. But I argued that we couldn’t just destroy the poor girl’s work. The paintings might be dangerous, but they are still her artwork and she has the right to decide whether or not they should be destroyed. And besides, even if she is a bit strange (not unlike Simon, really), she seems to be a sweet girl. She didn’t seem to know how to handle me, though, because I’m a “foreigner.”

          She is a bit obsessed which is sort of a problem. She was raised with the understanding that she’d be wed to Simon and so she’s completely infatuated with him. I guess you could say that her family conditioned her to love Simon.
          The situation makes me uncomfortable. Tavia’s infatuated with Simon, yes, but for one thing they are cousins. And infatuation isn’t love. They haven’t even seen each other in years. Even if she was willing to raise him from the dead to be with him, I can’t really support her courtship of Simon. And poor Simon seems overwhelmed by the whole thing, and certainly not in love with Tavia. The unfortunate thing is that marriages apparently happen between Fishborne cousins all the time, and according to Simon and Doc, the whole process is entirely planned out by the family.

          I hate to say it, but it does explain a few things.

          Even the Bride seems displeased with the match, which depresses me since I’d much rather help two people’s love grow than come between them. But it is better to weed out a false love before it takes root and chokes out the real thing than to let it flourish only to wither and die.

          May 1, 2010, Noon

          I am terrible at talking to people. To strangers, anyway. I have no idea how to do it, not really.

          I felt that talking to Elsie about Bonnie-Lynn would be good, and I wanted to do it sooner rather than later, so after swimming laps at the Albertus Magnus pool as usual this morning, I stopped by her dorm room to talk to her. I almost didn’t, but once I’d resolved to talk to her I decided to go ahead and get it over with. So I swallowed my shyness and just did it.

          I was a bit unsettled by the fact that Bonnie-Lynn was still there. For some reason I had assumed she wouldn’t be. So my attempt to ask Elsie to meet me at Lulu’s Café for a private conversation turned out all wrong, and I’m amazed that she didn’t just think I was crazy and slam her door in my face. I knew it would be like that, but it had to be done. Elsie agreed to meet me, and that’s what matters.

          May 1, 2010, Afternoon

          I decided not to repeat the same mistakes I made during my ealier chat with Elsie, so I invited the others to help me. Gwen was busy doing research on Bonnie in the library, but Simon and Alexia were happy to help me talk to Elsie (even Simon is better with people than I am…though I understand them far better than he does). I also wanted to keep Bonnie-Lynn out of the conversation, so after talking about it with Natalie and Simon, we decided Natalie would set up a ward around the café to keep Bonnie out. Doc joined us too, if only to keep an eye on things and to keep Natalie company.

          I tried my best to convince Elsie that Bonnie was not a good person to listen to, but she’s very confused right now, and since Bonnie’s advice has helped her out a bit so far, she didn’t know who to believe. I was hoping my sincerity would persuade her, but I don’t think it came across. I’m glad Alexia and Simon were there to help me. I just wish I could help Elsie understand my views on love. If she could see things as I do, she would know that Bonnie-Lynn’s advice isn’t good for her, and maybe she’d have more confidence. But I don’t really know how to help her understand.

          And all of this talk of love and romance is dredging up memories of love lost for both me and the Bride. I can feel sorrow beginning to take hold of me, but I have to make sure the others, and Elsie, are okay before I let myself grieve.

          Bonnie-Lynn was very unhappy with me. She threatened me and demanded I stop interfering with Elsie. I had truly hoped to befriend Bonnie-Lynn and resolve her existence peacefully. After all, I sympathize with her so much. But in this case, the heart of a living girl is more precious than the obsessions of a ghost, and if I have to sacrifice Bonnie’s friendship for Elsie sake, I’m willing to do so if that’s what it takes.

          The Drowned Bride has just whispered another thought to me, though. She suggests that we might be able to make a deal with Bonnie. If she truly wants to be reunited with her groom, then she might be willing to make a deal. By promising to reunite her with her dead fiancée, perhaps we can convince her to leave Elsie alone. Even if it doesn’t work, it’s worth it to try the peaceful solution first.

          I wish I could be reunited with my groom.

          May 1, 2010, Late Afternoon

          I’ve just finished a nice, long cry. I couldn’t help it anymore. After everything with Bonnie-Lynn and then Doc and Natalie, I just started to miss Richard so much that I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I retreated to my room and had a small breakdown.

          I know the Bride wants me to explore new relationships and find someone else to love, but I can’t. Not yet. At times like this I don’t know how I’ve gone on without him for so long. I want to be with him again so much. And even with all I’ve been through since I lost him, maybe even because of it, I still can’t believe he’s gone.

          No, that’s not true. I know he’s gone. And I’m resigned to it. But at times like this, knowing it, even understanding it, doesn’t make it any easier.

          The Bride is alwasy there for me, though. I’ve become accustomed to the comforting sensation of her wedding veils enveloping me as comforts me with her cold embrace. Yes, it is cold comfort, I suppose, but until I find true love again, cold comfort is the only comfort I’ll have.

          May 1, 2010, Early Evening

          I’m a bit more composed now. Simon came by to ask me if Tavia could join us when we went out for a Singles Night. I had to dry my eyes quickly, and Simon seemed embarassed, but I didn’t mind him seeing me that way. I’m glad he thought to include Tavia. We all need to get to know her better.

          I feel that I should also mention that Doc asked Natalie out. She had been encouraging us to find dates for Beltaine, but she was still caught off-guard by Doc’s request. I wasn’t surprised, though. Doc is deeply and sincerely attracted to Natalie, and the love he feels for her is, I think, the kind of love I should encourage. He knew Natalie would only be humoring him if she agreed, but it didn’t matter. He was able to make her feel special and loved by someone who isn’t just out to use and abuse her, and that’s what she needs. If she could open her eyes and see what she really needs instead of the illusion of love and attachment that she seeks, she might be able to love Doc back. But she needs to love herself first.

          I encouraged Doc not to give up on Natalie. I think he could be her salvation. I don’t know if a true love will ever blossom between them, but even if it doesn’t, Doc’s feelings for Natalie may be the thing that helps her heal. I believe that Doc can heal others, especially Natalie, emotionally and even spiritually just as he heals his other patients physically.

          Alexia also seems to have her eye on someone: Chandra from the World of Wicker. I did not know that Alexia was a lesbian. I don’t know if Chandra is interested in women, either. But I encouraged Alexia to cook for Chandra in order to impress her. Cooking is Alexia’s passion, and I think Chandra will respond to that. One of the things I always loved so much about Richard was his passion for the things that interested him, like the success of the athletes he trained.

          The potential and hope I see for Doc and Natalie or for Alexia stood in stark contrast to the the sense of desolation I feel in Richard’s absence, which is one reason I had my crying fit earlier. I try not to dwell on such things. I’ve dealt with my grief and moved on, after all, but as long the empty spot that was left when Richard died remains within my soul, I’ll never completely overcome my sorrow.

          May 1, 2010, Late

          Single Friends Night was fun. I love hanging out with Gwen. She’s so easy to get along with, and she’s so good at looking out for me even while she gives me my space. We went bowling after dinner. I knew how bowling worked (there are plenty of bowling lanes in Taipei), but I’d never actually been. It turns out I was pretty good at it. I had a lot of fun, and it was a great pick-me-up after all the disappointments and loneliness I’d been feeling all day.

          We should do Single Friends Night again before too long.


          Bonnie-Lynn Baker

          Gwen spent a lot of the day doing research on Bonnie-Lynn, and she dug up some good information:

          - The house she died in (currently Nilan Hall) belonged to a family line of bakers, and when the last of them died, the house was sold to Albertus Magnus.
          - Bonnie-Lynn’s fiancée was named David Jennings. We’ve located his grave.

          - In 1893, Bonnie-Lynn’s remains were disinterred and stolen by a “hooligan” named Patrick Anderson, a member of the Skull and Bones society. Patrick Anderson later became state senator and was shot by his wife because of his black mistress.

          - We believe that after being stolen by Anderson,
          Bonnie’s remains were never actually returned to her grave (as is commonly believed) but were instead sealed in her room in the house, where they are today. If so, then the family who owned the house must have known something about it since it happened long before Albertus Magnus acquired the house. It seems like they were engineering her lingering presence as a ghost. We should look into the family that owned the house in more detail.

          American Idioms

          Gwen tends to use a lot of idoms. Sometimes she says something and I have very little idea what she means, so I ask her about it. I’ve decided
          to write down odd phrases and idioms I hear (like those from Gwen). I’d like to increase my fluency of English. Maybe this will help.

          “Three million buckets of crazy”
          - This means that someone is very, very crazy. I think Gwen used this in reference to Tavia, or maybe Bonnie-Lynn. I suppose it would apply to either of them.

          Natalie's Tweets

          Saturday, May 1st

          -Home again, home again jiggity-jigg

          -Uh, oh, someone is here.

          -Oh. My. God. The night before Beltane and a scary sexy girl is here. Please, goddess, let her be at least bi.

          -Hmmm…She may be Simonsexual. I am a pinch jealous.

          -Yea her ignoring me is kinda pissing me off and turning me on at the same time.

          -Awesome painter. This panting with the swamp lady is…stirring.

          -I am one hundred types of turned on and none of the girls seem interested. Fuck this.

          -All right, going from the saddle to the horse, feeling much better for now.

          -oh hell, they need me downstairs wat timing

          -apparently simon does not want to lseep with her ok

          -i don’t eren know what they arte talking about now

          -what the hell saying

          -i carrid

          -It’s Beltane. Your Mistress will be being very very naughty tonight.

          -Patched things up with Gwen I think. Feeling better about that.

          -Jasmine needs my help. That whole Bonnie Lynn thing.

          -Oh hell. Doc asked me out. This makes me wish I did not get cold sweats and want to go fetal at the thought of sleeping with a guy. A lot of people are going to pay for taking advantage of me.

          -I hope he does not take my lesbianism as a personal failing of his. It ain’t.

          -Jasmine is trying to help this poor kid. It’s taking everything I have to keep this Bonnie Lynn out…she is no pushover.

          -I feel terrible about Doc.

          -Meeting over, thank god. Bonnie Lynn hammering at the sides there was not good.

          -The others are having a singles night. Good plan.

          -Going on radio silence for my date with Doc. I can’t give him what he wants, but I can give him my complete attention.

          -That was awkward, but nice. Whoever settles down with Doc will be a lucky girl.

          -They are…going bowling? On Beltane? Even I have not had sex in a bowling ally. Note to self, have sex in a bowling ally.

          -Vlog is up! And I am off! Whee! Happy Beltane! Curl up next to a bonfire with someone special or, failing that, someone pretty.

          -At Gotham Citi. It’s Saturday Night, and you can really tell.

          -I think sleeping with this voodoo chick Genevieve is an incredibly bad idea. But she has incredibly great legs and an incredibly great backside.

          -On the other hand, Karen really seems to want my attention. I am not sure if going off with her would be adventurous enough for my mood though.

          -Decisions, decisions…

          End Session III

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          • #6
            Session IV is ready to go. Note it will be...a bit longer before Session V. It is tomorrow but I expect the journals will be up in about 2 weeks. Any questions or comments welcome, and will be passed to players as appropriate. Oh, there were no horse like Outsiders...Natalie is just crazy.

            Session IV

            Doc's Log

            Doc's Log: 0920 Hours, Sunday, May 2, 2010

            Under normal circumstances, I could not have conceivably slept as early as I did last night. But given the nervous stress and the physical part of bowling, I was wiped out.

            Rose and I ended up downstairs in the TV room around 7 this morning to do Yoga. She brought alot of stuff down with her she said would help us meditate. The music and the beads really seemed to do something because I hit that calm spot in nothing flat. Then we both got cleaned up and found breakfast waiting with Cupcake working madly on this massive sugar coma waiting to happen. The smell of food and sounds of life got the others up and around. Nightshade spent the night at home so no one looked for her to be around yet.

            Tavia actually came up to me, wide blank eyes staring directly into mine, and asked if I could help her with something in the Library. She learned that I was "in the War" and because of my time in "Mesopotamia," she wanted to reference my knowledge. I wasn't expecting that but she seemed to want to interact and she definitely seemed sincere, so I followed her. She had researched the subject of her painting that seemed to resonant with me and found something unusual. There was mention of a Void Mirror from so far back that the Babylonians were translating from Sumerian. I have since learned that that was pre-Biblical times. Anyway, the thing that was summoned from the mirror had a name in Sumerian. All this was in Latin. When she translated everything over to English, and I'm pretty sure she did all the right translations, the name worked out to mean “ The Hanger in the Void." Yes, that's the exact name she gave to the painting. No I don't think that's a coincidence...but what's a little more odd is that I don't think she did it knowingly. We realized that the oval around the edges looked like a very stylized mirror. At first I thought she simply added that little artistic flare to help focus attention, but after helping her research we both realized that was not the case. The more Tavia talked to me, crazy though she is (Zombie Horse), the more I realized this was something she was enduring and not pleased with. And more freakish yet, she said it all started when Snowflake died. I tried to remind her that he was fine but she knew he had really died. She said she felt it when he passed and that's when the visions started. She told me an awful lot about their family and how things worked according to their rules and social mores. That made my brain quiver a few times, but what was worse was when she told me that before she finished the 7th painting (yes she said she felt there would be 7 total), she wanted to have had a child so that she could kill herself, as the creatures in the paintings would try to come into the world. Tavia wanted nothing to do with that. I was very patient with her and she with me as we had the mutual understanding that we are from different places and something normal for one isn't for the other. I knew she really wanted help and to be helpful so I didn't let my previous annoyance get in the way. I didn't agree with her on alot of what she said, but I listened this time. And I realized that if you ignored the bizarre customs, the supernatural elements, and the freakish personality, Tavia was following the same "plan" as most other women her age that wanted a family. Get the attention of the SO of her dreams (sadly that's Snowflake in this case), settle down, have a child, and continue the family line (that's a little more Fishborne specific, but older families often do that). So given she wasn't out to doom the world and her main goal was really just to fall in love and have a baby, I couldn't find it in me to be as unfeeling as I was before. It wasn't nearly so cut and dried anymore and that complicated things alot. But at least we knew she was on our side.

            That didn't seem to slow Rose down any though. When I came back upstairs and informed the others what I’d learned, all her solutions seemed headed in the same direction…kill Tavia and be finished. That is pretty damn scary when the super sweet one is gung ho for the premeditated. The more …well there is no reasonable or rational option, so the less murder intensive option is to attempt to summon and bind these bastards then destroy them before they can get loose on the world. I mean that is our purpose as a Krewe right? Destroy the Outsiders and protect the World from them. I don’t remember anything about killing 70 lbs crazy girls (Zombie Horse) in their sleep as being our thing. I mean sure I thought that was an option before, but like I said, that was before I knew that Tavia wasn’t all for this happening. Being an unwilling slave to darker powers should not be a death sentence. And I think it’s up to us to answer her cry for help. I mean isn’t she trying to save the world by sacrificing herself? Anyway, I think Rose probably got a little more wound up after Snowflake and eventually Nightshade (who I had to call and wake up around lunch-ish) started getting the gleam in their eyes about binding the things and using them as weapons. Okay Nightshade was calling them some kind of pony, but still. That’s not such a great idea, but when Snowflake was focusing a little more we had determined a way to make life harder for these two beasties in the paintings, then draw them out, bind them, and then jack’em up. If we destroy them outside the paintings, they are destroyed and the paintings are just paintings then. But based on Tavia and Snowflake’s studies, we’ve got less than two weeks (11 days) before the next new moon. That’s when they get a chance to slip out into the world.

            Doc’s Log: 1120 Hours, Sunday, May 2, 2010

            I talked to Snowflake about the old “Blood Brothers” concept. Apparently (horrifically) the Fishborne’s call the codified ritual for this Adoption. Yes they have a ritual that involves the blood of several Fishbornes (I assume it has to be willingly given), carving a symbol on my chest, me drinking all the mixed blood, and then I’d be considered Snowflake’s son. This came up because something about these Outsiders is keyed to Snowflake and Tavia’s family line. They have a better chance to handle and control the monsters. The thought was that if there was another that could help, it might make things easier. The downside is that mixing their blood with mine in this ritual might just make me go completely insane. So now I have a rather Dune-esque situation. Do I drink the weird magic that could make my eyes glow blue or might just effectively kill me. I asked the Dog of War what he thought but all I got was screams and howls.

            The concept of tainting your being with the insanity and corruption of this line is disturbing. At present, we have no way of knowing what ill effects may come from this abominable action.

            Well see that I understand. I’m not entirely sold on this option, but at least we know it’s an option. Snowflake and I will look into more before anything is decided. I think the concept of having a son, who is older than he is by the way, is a little disturbing to him.

            The point is made here. That his son would be older is disturbing, not that he receives a son based on a depraved blood ritual. I believe you refer to this situation as Zombie Horse.

            And on that note, I don’t know whether to laugh or be terrified. Moving on.

            Rose gave Snowflake and I pause again, but this time it was slightly more in keeping with her normal thought patterns. We were discussing the bad that could come from a union between Snowflake and Tavia. Rose, in her usually conservative manner, was attempting to convey to Snowflake that having a child with Tavia could doom the planet. However her phrasing was that having a relationship was a bad idea. Now we all knew this, but then came the side comment from Cupcake as she continued to work on her sugar coma gift that they didn’t need a relationship to breed. I bit back the laughter at the comment and even Snowflake had a twinkling of amusement in his eye. However Rose’s features fell dark and she silently stood and moved into the kitchen where everything became very quiet. Like mortuary quiet. Then she came back looking more normal and sat down. It was terrifying. Snowflake and I were both concerned for Cupcake and possibly our own safety at that moment. I tried to pass everything off with a joke and asked if Cupcake needed any medical help. Oddly Rose seemed mildly insulted that I should suggest such a thing. That chick is creepy when she gets inna bad mood. But after that Snowflake had to get ready.

            It’s Sunday and that’s Church day for him. Poor kid. He won’t tell me about Church when he was little (which I think I’m happy about), but he always gets very well dressed on Sunday afternoons and goes out to his parents’ graves for about an hour. It’s very solemn and there’s a sad reverence that he rarely has for anything related to his family. As a Krewe, we always let him be without any distractions.

            I don’t care how crazy his family is or was, they should be damn proud of the son they raised.

            Doc’s Log: 1335 Hours, Sunday, May 2, 2010

            Eventually things got a little less weird and we all came into the kitchen to hear about Cupcake’s customer that might be haunted. Apparently this girl is having some serious Poltergeist issues. Ronin jumped online and dug up all sorts of weirdness and a bunch of teenage random bullshit on Clarissa Walhtstone. Apparently not long ago, lots of weird things started happening around the girl like books flying across the room and whatnot. This screamed vengeful ghost or one that’s trying to protect her from something. We got all these ideas that she had an ancestor ghost and/or abusive parents, etc. etc.

            But finally Ronin and Rose decided to go undercover as Pastry Delivery girls to find out the real story. Cupcake made up some goodies and gave them the keys to a delivery truck. They got some uniforms from the shop and made up some Frequent Customer award type thing for an excuse to be there. When they got back, we were in for a real story.

            Apparently, Clarissa had a couple of minor Anger spirits hanging around in Twilight but they could not have caused the Wii to be embedded in the big screen or made the mirror fly across the room of her friend’s house and crash down onto her. Nope that was all her. That’s right, Clarissa didn’t tell it all, she didn’t even know that she was telekinetic. We got us a Psychic. Just hope she’s too young to have seen Drew Barrymore in Firestarter. I know Drew is inspiring so that could get bad quick. Anyway, Clarissa’s parents are trying to send her to California for college but she wants to go to AMC. They have also contacted some paranormal investigators already. Damn, money’s nice. But seriously, I think that as a Krewe we should contact them and her. We’ve all had some paranormal experience before we came back so we really do know what it’s like. And we might be able to keep watch on her and help her and her parents. Last thing we need is for some Psychic chick going around and killing people in a break-up fueled hazy. Hmmm, note to self…DO NOT let Clarissa live in Nalin Hall. Clarissa + Bonnie Lynn = FUBAR.

            I think that’s all I got for now. I’m gonna go study more in the Library and see what I can learn in general and about the area specifically. Then I might go work out. Who knows?

            Jasmine’s Diary

            May 2, 2010, Noon

            I discovered that Doc has begun meditating in the mornings too. I invited him to meditate together this morning. I guess I hoped I might be able to help him find peace and tranquility. He seemed appreciative, and even commented on how much easier it was to center himself. I’m accustomed to meditating by myself, but I think I’ll try to encourage Doc to meditate together for awhile at least. It will probably do us both good.

            May 2, 2010, Early Afternoon
            I am very unhappy. Perhaps a bit frustrated. Doc talked for a long while with Tavia this morning, and then with the krewe (except Natalie, who was still out recovering from last night). We discussed the problems that Tavia presents. We even spent some time doing research to gain a better understanding of the danger Tavia and her paintings represent.
            To summarize, Tavia was bred to serve as a gateway for beings from the Abyss—the Outsiders, which our krewe is destined to oppose—through her paintings. The paintings so far seem to represent various vices. We believe the Hanger in the Void represents Wrath and the Lady in the Marsh represents Lust (though I don’t know why I would be so drawn to it if that’s really the case). Each painting is a conduit for an Abyssal creature that draws strength from that vice. The creatures are currently bound to the painting, but on the new moon they might be able to free themselves for a short time, which has probably happened one or twice in the past, if Tavia’s stories about the paintings are true. If the paintings are destroyed, the Outsiders might also escape and rampage for as long as they wish.

            Tavia was bred to produce the paintings so that the Fishborne family could bind and command the creatures they represent. This is as much a surprise to Simon as to the rest of us. Or maybe not. He seemed to accept it rather easily once it was revealed.
            The problem is that the compulsion to paint the pictures and summon the Outsiders was supposed to be voluntary, triggered intentionally by Tavia and her husband once they were wed and ready to bind the creatures. The shock of Simon’s death, it seems, caused things to go awry, and now Tavia is involuntarily compelled to paint the pictures.

            There doesn’t seem to be any good way to deal with the situation. Tavia cannot simply be made to stop painting the images, becuase the need to do so possesses her beyond all reason. We have discussed hypnotizing her or otherwise creating some sort of mental block to help her fight the compulsion, but I don’t know if that will work.

            If it does not, then Tavia will continue painting these pictures, and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it short of killing her. Allowing her to continue painting the images means allowing more Abyssal creatures to find channels into this world, and that idea horrifies me. Are we not tasked with defeating these creatures? With keeping them out of the world? That is one of our krewe’s mandates, and I cannot simply deny it.

            Yet some of the others, Doc, Simon, and Natalie in particular, have toyed with the idea of letting Tavia paint the images and then summoning and binding the Outsiders, which would give them access to our world but would allow us to control that access and thus keep them from doing any harm. I do not approve of that idea. It is dangerous and ill-advised, and will, I fear, only lead to ruin.

            But even if we do not take that course, the creatures might still free themselves periodically. We can do all we can to prevent that from happening thanks to Simon’s understanding of the creatures and the rituals necessary to entrap them, but it is still a risk.

            I simply cannot abide the thought of allowing more of the Outsiders to find ways into our world, yet each of the vice-tainted paintings Tavia paints creates just such a gateway. And this talk of summoning and binding the creatures frightens me. I think it is unwise to resort to such tricks. The only thing in favor of such a plan is that it might give us a greater chance of destroying them, assuming we can find out how to do so, but as I’ve already said, I fear the risk too great.
            And I am disturbed by the gleam of excitement I saw in Simon and Natalie’s eyes (when she finally joined us) when we spoke of binding the Outsiders.

            I spoke to Gwen about these things privately, and she seemed to share my reservations. Unfortunately, the only clear solution I see for preventing more of these Outsiders from gaining a foothold into our world is to stop Tavia from painting, but I don’t know if that’s even possible short of her death. We all hope to avoid that if at all possible, but if it becomes necessary to take such dire steps, will the krewe be able to do so? I know that I will, even though it’s the last thing I want.

            As a side note, we learned that something about the nature of Fishborne inbreeding has made Tavia unable to conceive “normal” children with anyone but another Fishborne—quite the opposite of how these things normally work. It’s entirely possible that Simon is her only hope for a child relatively free of deformity and madness. Even so, I strongly disapprove of a union between the two of them. Perhaps my values are simply too traditional, but I find the idea of cousins becoming intimate in such a way very unpleasant.

            I was forced to briefly lecture Alexia on this issue. While we were discussing it, I commented to Simon that he needs to stay out of a relationship with Tavia. From the kitchen, Alexia replied that they didn’t need to be in a relationship to breed. I couldn’t believe my ears! I was apalled. And it must have shown on my face, for Doc and Simon both got very quiet as I stood and walked very calmly and coldly to the kitchen, where I told Alexia in no uncertain terms that she was to be helpful in this situation, not unhelpful. Doc and Simon still seemed a little intimidated when I returned. I didn’t mean to frighten them with my demeanor, but if it helped get my point across, I suppose I can’t complain. Still, I hope they didn’t think I’d ever do anything to hurt Alexia.

            May 2, 2010, Afternoon

            Given the maze of unpleasant options presented to us by our discussion earlier this morning, I was almost relieved to have something else to focus on when Alexia mentioned that a customer of hers might be haunted. Her customer, a teenage girl named Clarissa Walthstone, is from a very wealthy family, but has been suffering under what appears to be something like poltergeist activity: objects and people being thrown about, usually in response to things happening to Clarissa.

            Gwen did some research on Clarissa via the internet and discovered that among other things her family was planning to send her to California or somewhere else far away, to college. It sounded like they actually wanted to get rid of her, probably because of the weird paranormal things happened around her. She also learned that Clarissa and her best friend had a big argument and were angry with one another, and that some of the paranormal activity had violently targeted the friend, who now calls Clarissa a “witch.”

            Gwen and I decided to check the situation out on Alexia’s behalf, so we drove out to Clarissa’s neighborhood and I slipped silently into her house as a shadow. In one room, a Wii had been thrown into a huge TV screen, destroying both, and I discovered a few letters regarding some paranormal investigators whom Clarissa’s parents had contacted.

            Clarissa was alone in her room, typing out her frustrations on her computer. The drink next to her was vibrating for no discernible reason, but I saw no sign of any ghostly presence. I possessed the Bride to peer more deeply into Twilight and saw a minor anger spirit lurking about, but it was too weak to be the cause of Clarissa’s problems.

            Gwen and I are currently of the opinion that Clarissa has developed psychokinetic powers that are manifesting involuntarily in response to her emotions. We intend to work with Alexia in the next day or so to investigate the situation further. When we shared the information with Doc, Simon, and Natalie, Doc and Simon suggested that we might even approach the family as paranormal investigators ourselves. It wouldn’t be far from the truth, after all.

            I hope we can help the poor girl. I know what’s like to have an uncontrollable psychic ability, and how much it can damage one’s relations with others. When I used to foresee deaths, it caused me a lot of trouble. It’s probably even the reason Richard’s dead and gone now. I don’t want Clarissa to suffer the same sort of tragedy because of her ability.

            May 2, 2010, Evening

            After investigating Clarissa, Gwen and I relaxed by the mansion’s pool for a bit. Gwen was reading a romance novel, which she seemed to find more laughable than anything else. I spent the time translating more Keats.

            Chandra called me, though, to ask about American dating. In retrospect, it’s kind of odd that she would call me, another foreigner, for such advice. On the other hand, I can identify with her position more easily, and I’m one of the only friends she has who was involved in a very successful relationship with an American, so I guess it does make a lot of sense.

            I gave her what advice I could. It was all stuff that I learned during my four years of dating Richard. I hope it helps. I was caught off-guard a bit by how easily she seemed to approach the idea of intimacy with Alexia. Gwen tried not to laugh at me, but I could tell she was amused when I turned bright red. I honestly have no idea what advice to give Chandra regarding intimacy in a relationship with another woman, but I did my best. Gwen says I did fine. I hope Chandra doesn’t feel like she has to become intimate any time soon, though. I think it’s best to take these things slow and find out whether or not you really, truly love someone before becoming deeply intimate with them.

            I don’t really understand Alexia and Chandra’s relationship, and I’m not even sure I approve of a same-sex relationship, but I do wish them luck. If I can help them find true happiness with each other, then I will.


            Bonnie-Lynn Baker

            We met with the Skull & Bones krewe, specifically with Anders and Sonia, to ask whether they could find out anything about Patrick Anderson, the mortal Skull & Bones Society member who stole Bonnie-Lynn’s remains.
            Unfortunately, they couldn’t help us out much. We did fidn out more about Bonnie-Lynn’s fiancee, David Jennings. He married another woman, Constance, a little over one year after Bonnie’s death.

            I can’t help but think that what he felt for Bonnie must not have been true love if he married another so sooner after losing her. It has been just over a year since Richard died, and I can’t even think about marrying anyone else. Not yet. But maybe David had more time to prepare himself for Bonnie’s inevitable death, given the nature of her illness and the slowness of her demise.

            Also of note: we discovered that the baker’s family who owned the house in which Bonnie-Lynn died eventually dwindled down to a single bachelor, and that no women lived there for a long while after Bonnie-Lynn died.

            American Culture & Idioms

            "Jean Grey"

            Gwen compared Clarissa to someone named Jean Grey. I asked about who that was, and she is apparently a famous comic book character with psychokinetic abilities, not unlike Clarissa.

            “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy"

            - Gwen claims that this is a “must read” book. It’s some sort of comical science fiction. I’m not generally a fan of comedy or of science fiction, so I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it. I think it has to do with American pop culture, so maybe once I’ve read it, I’ll catch a lot of references that usually go over my head.
            In exchange for me reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Gwen has agreed to read some Keats. I hope she enjoys it, though I don’t know if it matches her temperament.

            Natalie’s Tweets

            Sunday, May 2nd

            -I am about to be a very bad girl, doing very bad things.

            -Nothing like a thorough and complete corruption of the innocent to put a nice nightcap on things. I could really stand to do this every night, but I doubt my body would hold up.

            -Your Queen is getting breakfast in bed, as she deserves. Or is this lunch?

            -OK, Karen is going home from her “friends house” and I am headed back to Chez Satanique. Gotta see what Superman has cooking that he called me in the morning for.

            -AM is when you go to bed. PM is when you wake up. Remember this, faithful ones.

            -OMG I want Doomponies! Horribly Evil Ponies of the Damned! Your Mistress must have this! She demands it! Exclamation Point!

            -Oh apparently Doomponies are bad, and Superman does not want me to play with them. Neither does Jasmine…what is up with this?

            -Jasmine’s voice could put me in a happy trance.

            -Looks like Alexis is hooking up with Chandra. The sheer amount of Saccharin and Caffeine in that relationship could lead to global meltdown of jellybeans and rainbows.

            -Reading reading.

            -Vlog is up! Your Mistress is in a very good mood.

            -Karen called me to tell me she was madly in love with me…again. I had to be all Han Solo.

            -Ah Simon, you are a good lad.

            -Simon and I are on the same wavelength. This means we are right. Nods #Doomponies

            -Time to go hang out with some more of my sorts of folks, including my ex.

            -My ex has not forgotten how to turn me on. At all.

            -And with that tragic misstep, she will not be fooling around with me tonight.

            -We did not learn what we needed to know, but some useful info. And maintained good relations.

            -Thinking about #Doomponies.

            -Given I am absolutely NOT sleeping with Sonia tonight (just as well, I just came back from an awesome night anyway), deciding what I want to do. Let’s see what the others are up to…

            End Session IV

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            • #7
              New session is up, big 24 hours before the next one starts. Simon does not really appear in these notes as his player was unable to attend due to getting married IRL, which is always a good reason to miss a game. He will be back at tomorrow's session.

              Also, Natalie's spending time in the Cemetery, and being buried alive, was due to her working on attuning to the Grave-Dirt Key. I have a system for getting keys which does not raise the cost but does require some time be spent attuning. I know I put it up for discussion somewhere.

              As usual question, comments, and messages welcome.

              Session V

              Doc's Log

              Doc’s Log: 2335 Hours, Sunday, May 2, 2010

              Somehow I forgot about the dinner appointment in my last entry. Once Nightshade was up and around, we setup a 7:00 dinner meeting with the Skull and Bones Society.

              Anders and Sonia met us at a café near Yale since Nightshade and Moiré have their little thing. Anders had his own bit of information digging to do first off. Apparently one of the local blood banks got knocked over recently and there doesn’t seem to be any leads. I’m guessing the ol’ S&Bs know that I keep some rather deceased company at times given that they waited to ask in person. But that’s an argument for a different dinner. I said I’d call around and check about it. I need to tell Truman about the Strix anyway.

              Next up, we were finally able to ask people in the know about this Patrick Anderson, who was responsible for the disinterment of Bonnie Lynn back in 1893. Grave robbery was far from his only crime by the sounds of it. Sonia dug in pretty deep when she wasn’t flirting with Nightshade in some rather amusing ways. There was one brief misstep however as she mentioned something almost as a joke that I knew immediately was a bad move. At first, I thought it was just a dangerously close hint at Nightshade’s real name, but then the atmosphere changed between them and the flirting ended abruptly. Poor Anders was just kinda there for the ride at that point. Anyway, this Anderson was a real
              upstanding chap, siring at least eight (8) bastard children with local black women and having it covered up. This jackass got elected to the Senate before his wife finally got his attention with a sharp, pointy object; likely due to another unwanted and unacceptable child. But there was nothing about Bonnie Lynn in the reading. And Sonia even admitted that it was nothing in a weird way. These were the super secret mortal records so nothing should have been missing. She was going to hit the hard copies to find out what was going on and get back to us. We thanked them and finished up dinner without more drama.

              Nightshade pulled me to the side as we were leaving and confided in me about her real identity. Given how she likes to call me Superman, I felt confident that I could keep her true name a secret. But holy shit I know her name! Ahem. Anyway, so we headed back home.

              Once we got back, Ronin wondered down to the Library and I followed to try and be helpful. She had mentioned looking more into the Strix and I had to admit that seemed like a fairly smart thing to do. It’s still weird to go look something up in this library, but it was the best shot we had. At first we didn’t find anything except for old Native tales of Owl spirits coming to carry souls away or steal them, the stories were a little conflicting. Then we stumbled on a reference to witches but that lead died before Salem. Finally we found an almost hidden mention of a vampiric myth. Following that same line of clues, we learned that this was an ancient vampire story about some kind of soul stealing boogyman from the first nights. But by that time, we’d spent roughly 3 hours in the Library so we called it good for the time being.

              When we came back upstairs, I called Truman to scout some information while Ronin got ice cream together for me, her, and Rose. I tried to be at least a little vague about things just in case any of Truman’s people could hear me. Didn’t need any pissed off vampire vigilantism going on right now. They were clueless about the blood bank hit, though Truman nailed me with why I would want to ask him that. I knew it wasn’t their style but I wanted to make sure everything was okay. They haven’t forgotten the Skull and Bones Society for the ass kicking they received but at least currently they aren’t going out looking for more trouble. I also told Truman that there was something really nasty they needed to stay away from over in Fort Nathan Hale. I didn’t lie when I told him it wasn’t something I knew enough about but that I knew it was dangerous.

              Meanwhile…back in Cupcake’s room… Apparently Nightshade, Cupcake, and Rose were all doing the sisters thing where several women go crazy at each other trying to make sure one of them has the perfect outfit for a date. I assume that’s what happened. I’ve seen it on TV. Not to sound too much like Bubbahotep, but what the hell do I know? I’m just a guy with fire and shrapnel scars all over me. Anyway, Rose left a little flustered from that encounter so ice cream was apparently a necessity.

              After all that, it’s time for me to hit the streets.

              Doc’s Log: 0250 Hours, Monday, May 3, 2010

              So I’ve heard people talk about herding cats before but I’d never actually seen a herd of cats until tonight. I was walking through the streets when I noticed a lot of movement in the alley. I moved in a little ways and found like 20 cats obviously attempting to work together to find something. I decided I needed to talk to them so I pulled out the Primeval Marionette and pretty quickly had a cat to talk to. It seems the mythical King of Cats is real since he put a hit out on a tall, dark-skinned human that stayed in this area and wore a lot of gold. If they found this guy, they were supposed to teach him a lesson. The cat seemed pretty uninterested in the whole thing once he figured out I wasn’t carrying food. I left him to his work and hid where I could watch. I stayed for probably an hour but by then most of the cats had wandered off and no target appeared. After that I just headed back home.

              Xerxes needs to go out, but after that, I’m going to bed.

              Doc’s Log: 1420 Hours, Monday, May 3, 2010

              After my meditation, I opened up the store and started making the calls for our bullet proof vests and checking into some of the silver stuff. Looks like I’ll get the vests in on Wednesday. Once I was satisfied for the moment with that (and I wasn’t helping customers or stocking shelves), I started thinking about the Clarissa situation. Me unprepared never ever goes well so I considered all the knowledge of the assembled group. Cupcake was not going since a) Clarissa knows her as the pastry shop owner and b) she has a big date with Chandra. It occurred to me that since we were all vaguely special before we died and we all know a little something about the real world of the supernatural, we were more than qualified to talk to these people openly. But more importantly, we could talk to Clarissa openly as well. Then I started thinking about all the different possibilities so that I would have some idea of what direction to take should the parents ask questions, get defensive, etc. etc. etc. I wanted Nightshade and Rose there to show very different lifestyles and I was just hoping that neither Ronin nor Nightshade got upset enough to do or say anything rash. Snowflake is normally our talker, but Monday is Study Day, so he’s usually out of pocket and honestly, we needed the more socially normal people with us for this first visit.

              Xerxes doesn’t want much to do with me today. He must still smell all the cats on me from last night. Oh well, hopefully he’ll get over it.

              Doc’s Log: 2035 Hours, Monday, May 2, 2010

              Wow that went way better than I expected. We showed up unannounced at the Walthstone residence a little before 7. I wore slacks and a tie and the others were dressed at roughly the same level of professional, within the realm of their norm. Not knowing how Clarissa might react, I threw up my Phantasmal Shroud. I don’t think the Krewe was expecting to see me suddenly look like a real Marionette, poofy shirt, strings and all. Mr. Walthstone answered the door with a look of confusion on his face. I introduced myself and my associates and let him know that we were referred to him by one of the investigators Rose had seen letters from when she was reconning the house. Given how terrified we estimated them to be, we were still allowed in with very little resistance. I
              guess maybe things were worse than we thought if they were this desperate. We spoke with both John and Nancy for a while trying to be as honest and comforting as possible as they were obviously at wits end. Nancy is somewhere on the far side of moderately Christian and I was proud of Nightshade for not flippin out and going off on the overbearing, super conservative twit for more than one comment. Ronin and Rose stepped up and filled what might have otherwise been some unhelpful silence after certain unnecessary questions and I did most of the talking… which was weird, but I didn’t have to lie so it wasn’t too hard. We realized that Nancy wanted Clarissa to stay nearby for college unlike John (likely so she could lecture her on how terrible she was for having an impure thought about a boy…but I could just be projecting. Probably not). We supported Nancy’s idea on the grounds that they were still her family and she would definitely need those that loved her nearby. I tried to note that this would be a process and that they would need to learn and understand each other. Every child, teenager or older, will have to do that with their parents as part of the maturing/growing up process. But I suspect that will be harder for Clarissa even if she didn’t have a gift.

              After we convinced John and Nancy that a) they weren’t crazy, b) we weren’t the spawn of Satan, and c) their daughter wasn’t either, we asked to talk to Clarissa herself. John went to get her and Nancy looked nervous. But not half as freaked out as Clarissa did when she came downstairs and found a room full of people she didn’t know waiting for her. To make this a little shorter, we tried to break it to Clarissa as gently as possible that she was the cause of all the weird stuff happening. She had at least tried to make herself believe it was “the witch,” but I could tell she didn’t completely believe that anymore than we did. I think we got the message through to all present that we were offering
              ourselves as people they could talk to and that we wanted to help Clarissa get control of her powers. Making Nancy understand that these were not demonic plots at work will probably take more time and effort and may cause Nightshade to take up some form of martial arts to cope with the frustration. When we left, they knew how to call or email us if anything came up or there was trouble.

              We left before Nightshade imploded and headed back to the House so the Walthstones could get back to their lives.

              Doc’s Log: 0315 Hours, Tuesday, May 4, 2010

              I headed out to hit the streets a little before midnight tonight and just started heading up around North Haven. It was fairly quite tonight all over. Eventually I found Crawley on a park bench. He, as always, seemed aware of what was happening even moreso than I am. He basically offered to help me get the silver plated knuckles for a finder’s fee. That was kind of out of the blue and extremely helpful given how difficult it was to find anything on my own in that direction.

              Now it’s time for sleep.

              Doc’s Log: 1115 Hours, Tuesday, May 4, 2010

              It took a little longer than usual for the meditation to take me to the calm place this morning. I had to open the shop late because of it. I don’t think I missed anybody, but that’s just a little annoying. Anyway, I think I’m going to try to get Ronin to help me with more Strix research tonight. We’ll see.

              Jasmine’s Diary 5

              May 2, 2010, Night

              Alexia is very excited about her date with Chandra tomorrow, almost as excited as Chandra was when we spoke earlier in the evening. She asked for my help in deciding what to wear on the date. She also asked for Natalie’s advice, which might not have been the best idea. Natalie and I have very different views on what is and isn’t appropriate to wear on a date, especially a first date.

              Natalie seems to think that the objective of a date is to seduce the other
              person. I cautioned Alexia not to rush into anything. She and Chandra don’t need to become intimate until they’ve had a chance to get to know each other and really fall in love. Fortunately, Alexia was willing to listen to my advice, and while she accepted some of Natalie’s more reasonable suggestions, I think she will be attired both appropriately and attractively on her date.

              Alexia did seem to enjoy the way Natalie and I argued over how she should dress. She seemed to think that my conservative approach was adorable. I’ll take that as I believe it was meant: as a sign of appreciation for my concern. For the past half hour, after preparing for bed, I’ve been listening to music and standing out on my balcony, enjoying the melancholy atmosphere of the night air and the moonlit view of the cemetery. It always makes me feel a kind of sweet sorrow that is at once painful and pleasant. Perhaps it is unhealthy, but it lets me cling to my memories.

              I couldn’t help but notice Natalie out, prowling around the cemetery in the moonlight. What was she up to?

              May 3, 2010, Noon

              I am absolutely terrible at talking to people. First Elsie, and now Trinh. I just don’t know what to say when I want to talk to them about something serious! Even though I’m shy, I don’t have any trouble initiating a serious conversation. But I never know quite what to expect about how the other person will respond, and then I don’t know how I should respond, and I end up just saying whatever pops into my head.

              It’s so frustrating. I feel like I can’t help these people just because I don’t know how to approach them. I thought it would be easier to talk to Trinh since she’s been my swimming student all semester. I spoke to her after class, and asked if something was bothering her. I mentioned how she has seemed agitated and anxious lately. She said she was just having boy troubles, but since I’ve seen the elderly woman’s ghost, I knew there must be more to it than that. I tried to get her to open up to me, but I didn’t really know what to say, so she excused herself to go. Then I just blurted out, “Does it have to do with the elderly woman I’ve seen hanging around you?”

              I hoped that it would shock her into staying and confiding in me. But as usual it just frightened her. She turned pale and left quickly. I was (and am) very upset. I thought I could help Trinh, but I might have sabotaged my best chance to do so.

              I swam laps afterward to try and comfort myself. Jean was also still swimming and found me when I left the pool. He asked if everything was okay. He really is kind and sweet, but I couldn’t really tell him what was wrong, so I just made the excuse that I had a lot on my mind.

              May 3, 2010, Early Afternoon

              I thought about going to drown my troubles in a cup of mocha latte at Lulu’s, but I went home instead. Gwen was there, and she could tell I was upset about something. I told her what had happened with Trinh, and she did her best to comfort me. Gwen is so nice. And unlike me, she’s actually good at talking to people, unless she doesn’t like them (like Bonnie-Lynn). She tried to convince me that I was doing the right thing and that I had helped Elsie, but I don’t know if I agree. Then again, Richard always said I could be a little stubborn about some things.

              My talk with Gwen helped put things in perspective for me, though. In the course of our conversation, I realized that talking about ghostly things with most people isn’t really any different than talking about the deaths I used to foresee. It never helped then, and only frightened people.

              May 3, 2010, Evening

              We visited Clarissa’s family undercover as paranormal investigators. I’m pleased to report that they seemed willing to accept our aid, and somewhat relieved when we explained the nature of Clarissa’s gift. Doc did a marvelous job of talking to them, with Gwen backing him up. I filled in a few technical details, mostly what I knew from my occult experience. Natalie spent most of the meeting biting her tongue. She didn’t approve of the family’s conservative Christian stance.

              We tried to convince the family that Clarissa should remain close to home when she goes off to college so that we can continue to help her. She wants to go to Albertus Magnus, which would be good. Clarissa doesn’t quite know what to make of her gift. She seemed a but incredulous that she was the one causing all the paranormal activity. But maybe knowing about it will help her exercise more control.

              I should offer to go and help teach her meditational relaxation techniques to help her conquer her anger and gain better control over her gifts. But I’m afraid I wouldn’t be very good at teaching her. And I don’t think her family would approve of or tolerate my Buddhist methods.

              May 3, 2010, Night

              I learned today that Gwen is working on getting a license as a private investigator. She’ll be perfect for the job! I wonder if there is anything I can do to help her out. I am very good at sneaking around, after all, and usually less busy than many of my krewe-mates.

              May 4, 2010, Morning

              Alexia’s date with Chandra went well. I wanted to know how it went, so I waited up for her to get home. If she hadn’t come home, I would have been disappointed. Gwen also waited with me.

              Alexia seems smitten. She and Chandra had a very good time at dinner, and then they went to the apartment at Alexia’s bakery and watched some movies. Chandra called this morning to talk about it and she is very excited. She really enjoyed all the kissing, which they apparently did quite a lot during the movie. I don’t blame them. I love kissing. I remember how wonderful it felt to kiss Richard, and how easy it was for us to start and how hard it was to stop. Even so, I hope that Alexia isn’t moving too fast for Chandra. Poor Chandra seems quite smitten, which is good in one way, but could end up hurting her if Alexia isn’t as serious about the relationship as she is. I think Alexia is serious about it, though, so perhaps I am worrying for nothing.

              In any event, I am happy for them. In fact, knowing how well things seem to be going for them really brightened my spirits today. I needed a pick-me-up, especially after yesterday’s disappointments.

              May 4, 2010, Afternoon

              I did something foolhardy this afternoon. It’s not like me to act so rashly. I think I let my resolve to help Trinh outweigh my better judgment. But some good did come of it. I know much more about Trinh’s situation now, and I accidentally uncovered signs of other mysterious (though quite possibly harmless) goings-on. Since I failed to talk successfully to Trinh, I thought maybe I could corner and talk to her ghost directly. I don’t know why, but I’m much more comfortable talking to the dead. It just comes more naturally to me.

              So after my classes, I drove to Trinh’s apartment and “staked it out,” waiting for her to emerge to see if I could catch a glimpse of her ghost. It sounds very foolish when I put it that way. I’ll be glad when Gwen becomes a licensed P.I. Then it wouldn’t be so strange for her to do such things.

              Anyway, Trinh eventually emerged with her elderly ghost closely shadowing her. She looked agitated, and drove to some college apartments and was allowed inside. I followed, cloaking myself in the shroud of Stillness to move unseen. I was surprised to see that the man who admitted her into the apartment was one of the three guys we saw on Walpurgis Night in the New Haven Green cemetery, a college guy called Pilot Light, who has a shaved head and drinks a lot. He invited Trinh into the apartment, where she spoke briefly to a pretty girl named Maria. She asked about her boyfriend, Don, and Maria said that she hadn’t seen Don in awhile and suggested that he might already have gone home for the summer.

              Also in the apartment were the two other college students I saw in New Haven Green with Pilot Light on Walpurgis Night They were both dressed a bit more sharply than Pilot Light, but still seemed rather quirky. Maria referred to one of them as “R.L.” and, while Trinh settled into a large chair to wait futilely for Don, Maria told “R.L. and his friend to “go see if they could find anything.” I don’t think they were referring to Don, but rather to something unrelated to Trinh’s problems.

              I did find it...amusing?...when R.L.’s friend teased him about the gaffe he made speaking to me on campus when I ran into them a second time. I think it was when I was going to speak to Elsie. I don’t think I mentioned it my diary because I was more concerned with Elsie’s problems. But being reminded of it makes me feel a little better. I’m not the only one who gets tripped up when talking to others.

              Maria definitely seemed to be in charge - more so than normal for a group of college friends. There was something strange going on, and I’m curious what it is, but my first priority is to help Trinh. And while she was waiting, Pilot Light was a bit flirtatious with her. In response, the elderly ghost, who was present the whole time, used a numina on him that gave him a terrible cough and caused him to withdraw into another room.

              I couldn’t get an opportunity to speak to the ghost without revealing myself to Trinh. But as I left the apartment, I caught Maria saying, “She’s gone, Don. You can come out now.” It seems Don is trying to avoid Trinh, no doubt because of the elderly ghost. I think I understand better now why Trinh has been upset lately. And I think she knows about the ghost, otherwise she wouldn’t have reacted so strongly when I mentioned it. But how much does she know?

              I should consult Gwen or Doc on the best way to continue investigating this.


              American Culture & Idioms


              - Gwen mentioned someone named Xavier when we were discussing what to do about Clarissa. We are apparently taking on “Xavier’s” role in helping Clarissa. Xavier refers to a character from comic books who takes people with special abilities under his wing and teaches them to use them effectively, much like we must do with Clarissa.

              - "Jean Grey" (see previous entry) was one of the people he helped.

              - Gwen must have read a lot of comic books before she lost her memory. Maybe I should buy some for her. I don’t really know what she likes, though.

              Trinh’s Elderly Ghost

              This ghost seems to be haunting Trinh. She has demonstrated mastery of numina that can cause minor discomfort or illness in the living, such as a brief cough. I suspect that the ghost is one of Trinh’s family members, and that she is trying to protect Trinh from what she considers to be unworthy lovers. I am not certain, but she seems to have driven a wedge between Trinh and her boyfriend, Don, who is apparently frightened enough to hide from Trinh. I intend to confirm these suspicions and if possible speak to the ghost directly. Unfortunately, her only known anchor is Trinh. Trinh has been unwilling to discuss the ghost and I have yet to see the ghost outside of Trinh’s presence.

              Natalie's Tweets

              Sunday, May 2nd

              -Alexia wants help picking out dating outfits. My specialty. ^_^

              -Alexia is not too bold, but is bold enough I guess. I don’t think Jasmine wants her to have fun.

              -Someone needs to teach Jasmine that sexuality is beautiful. She is being a hard nut to crack, though.

              -I think Alexia falls somewhere between my calls for Freedom and Jasmine’s calls for propriety.

              -Enough with cloths, I am going to lounge around a cemetery, because that’s just who I am.

              -Enough with cloths? Am I crazy? Is this pod Natalie? You’ll have to turn in later to find out, true believers!

              -They had an ice cream party without me! : _ _(

              -Jasmine got me ice cream, how sweet!

              Monday, May 3rd

              -It’s a good day to get buried alive. But then, aren’t they all?

              -Got coffin, got shovel, need Krewemate.

              -Jasmine and Gwen are having a heart to heart, but a certain owlish housemate is free.

              -Having Tavia bury me is dangerous. I am totally into this.

              -Looks like Jasmine and Gwen are going to tag along after all. Part of me is disappointed, but more of me is relieved.

              -Tavia called me a pervert!

              -Tavia, like Jasmine, is wrapped up in the puritanical idea of sex our culture shoves down our throats. They are way too sexy to allow boring old men to decide what is and is not an appropriate way to express their love of their bodies and the bodies of others.

              -Maybe I need to teach them!

              -Down I go!

              -This is being typed from inside a coffin buried in a cemetery. Another typical day for Your Mistress.

              -I want company in here.

              -I am out. I am relieved…yet I kind of want to go back.

              -Vlog is up!

              -Sonia wants to take me to dinner to make up for last night. I am in no mood to deal with that, fortunately me Krewe needs me to help corrupt…er…teach a teenage gal.

              -Just met this family and I am already pissed off at them.

              -So could this girl’s dad possibly be any more white, uptight, and intolerant? A touch of casual misogyny on the side?

              -That would be a yes! We have a winner! And it’s the mom!

              -Asking if we are good churchgoers? The fuck? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

              -No lady, I worship Satan and sacrifice virgins.

              -They owe me for keeping my mouth shut here.

              -Maybe we should take this girl away from these people before they can poison her mind any further.

              -I am kinda not in a very good mood now. I think I will sulk for a bit.

              Tuesday, May 4th

              -Gwen and Jasmine are waiting up for Alexia. How cute! I will join them.

              -Jasmine seems a little…worried. I wonder if she is afraid the date went too bad or too good.

              -Alexia is here and in one piece, everyone is going to bed. I have Chez Satanique to myself.

              -Or I would, if Sonia were not showing up. What the fuck, Sonia?

              -Ah flowers. I guess they are a peace offering.

              -Doc called in to check on me. He seemed almost surprised I was not drunk.

              -Sleepy time.

              -I am seriously going to have to work out with Simon how…protective of Tavia he is. Because I am increasingly intrigued by her.

              -I am not sure I am as smitten with her as Gwen or Jasmine, but we sure get along better. When she is not calling me a pervert. But then she is apparently still a virgin so probably pretty skewed in terms of such things.

              -I think being shot down by Gwen may have been a partially good thing. I am feeling better about the whole thing. Maybe.

              -Vlog is up. Let’s see what kind of trouble I can get in today…

              End Session V

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              • #8
                It's still about a week before we get the 3 journals for next session, but to fill in the time for our readers I figured I would post some of the character backgrounds. Gwen, Doc, Jasmine and Natalie have backgrounds, and I am gonna put one up during the "off week" for journals the next four times.

                This is Gwen Cooper, the Torn Advocate's Background. I figured I'd do her first so folks could see things from her perspective since we don't get journals from her. Next time will probably be Doc's.

                April 15 1982

                I have a baby brother! James William Cooper, he's kinda ugly right now. But Daddy says that'll change. Mommy calls him Jamie, but I wanna call him Huckelberry like on Strawberry Shortcake but Daddy says no. Mommy and Daddy gave me this diary to practise my writing. Miss Katie at school says I'm smart but my handwriting is atrohious. Don't know what it means but i guess its pretty bad. Daddy says I gotta be a big girl and help Mommy with Jamie. I'm his big sister so its my responsbilitee to look out for him. I'm gonna be the best big sister ever!

                November 10, 1986

                Momma's in the hospital again. She gets these headaches that make it where Jamie and I have to go play at the park instead of staying home so she can have some peace and quiet. Jamie's loud so I know what she means but still. I want to stay home but someone has to watch Jamie. Daddy's been working the night shift, but he's taking some time off from work to look after us while Momma's gone. I don't like it when she's not home, it's like the whole house misses her, not just us.

                I scared Roberta yesterday, but I didn't mean to. We walked by Mister Cramer's house and I saw him in his garden. I waved and said hello but Roberta looked at me like I was crazy. She couldn't see him. She told me he died in October, but that can't be right can it? I mean, he was there, pulling weeds and fussing over the flowers. She didn't see him and didn't like me talking about it. She didn't stay at the park very long. She didn't talk to me today at school, but when Jake asked me about Mr. Cramer I lied and said I didn't see anything. Not so sure I like Roberta anymore.

                November 12, 1986

                Momma's dead.

                March 23, 1987

                Daddy's getting married. He's been seeing Linda since January and she adores Jamie. I'm not sure she likes me all that much, but Daddy says she loves all of us. We'll see. Daddy thinks we need a mother. I don't know what he means though. We had a mother. She left us when something in her brain broke. Daddy called it an anyerism. Anyway, he's marrying Linda on April Fool's Day. When I laughed he didn't like it. I thought he was joking, but I was wrong. Linda's not so bad, but she's not Momma. No one can take her place right? Nothing will ever make me forget her.

                May 19, 1992

                Oh my god! Mrs. Palmer appointed me Assistant Editor of the Yearbook! Me! A sophomore! Clearly I rock, and she's smart enough to see it but wow! Linda took me shopping to celebrate. I have a race on Saturday so we picked up some new running shoes and a dress for the end of the year party. I didn't have the heart to tell her I wanted to wear jeans and a vest. She's all into the step-mother daughter bonding thing, so whatever. I'll wear the dress and take clothes to change into once I get to Maxine's or something.

                I know yearbook staff isn't as important as if I'd gotten assistant editor of the paper, but still, I'm happy! This'll look great on my scholarship applications too. NYU here I come!

                Oh yeah. Jamie made the football team. Dad's thrilled. I think if he could get away with it Dad would've bought Jamie a car. Maybe I can talk him into a computer?

                February 4, 1996

                I didn't really understand when Momma died. I knew she was gone and I wouldn't see her again on Earth. It was easier to believe in the pearly gates back then. Now I don't know what to believe. My father died last night. I found him this morning when I came home to borrow the washing machine. The house was a mess, the back door opened too easily - the lock broken see? I called 911 as soon as I saw that mess in the kitchen, the blood smear on the wall. Dispatch told me to leave the house and not disturb the crime scene but I didn't listen. I couldn't just leave, I thought he might be hurt somewhere in the house. I did my best not to touch anything. But I had to find him. I traced the scene and felt my blood run cold. It was like watching a movie in my head. Here's where Dad threw his attacker into the bookshelves. Dad crashed into the banister there. They stopped in the dining room trading punches back and forth. Their blood mixed in the carpet. One of the candlesticks Jamie and I bought for Dad & Linda's anniversary laid next to Dad's body. His skull was bashed in by a present from us. I managed to get to the bathroom before puking, but it was a close call.

                Officer Tart was the one who found me still hovered over the john. I screamed when he touched my shoulder. I think I hit him. Hope he doesn't press charges. He told me after taking my statement that Dad had been getting some pretty intense harassment lately. His support of the city council's curfew was pretty vocal. Considering Jamie'd been picked up by the black & whites at least three times for vandalism I could see why he cared but would someone really kill him over that?

                I have to meet Linda at the airport. Her & Jamie's trip to Scottsdale was cut short, but I'm glad they weren't home when this happened. It's going to be hard enough living through the aftermath. I'm going to find who killed my father and then that bastard is going to pay.

                May 25, 1998

                I graduated from college today. I should be happier about it, but at this point it doesn't seem that special. Linda and Jamie came to the ceremony but after one really awkward meal afterwards they went home and I'm alone. Jake invited me to a party but I declined. Not really in a partying mood. The good news is, with graduation out of the way I'll be able to go into the August session of the police academy. Chief O'Rourke said I'd have a job as soon as I graduated so I'll make an appointment to see him first thing Monday.

                I never expected to follow in Dad's footsteps. I wanted to be a reporter, but Dad's murder changed that didn't it? Suddenly nothing was more important than finding his killer, and I did it didn't I? Sure I got my first concussion but I bet it won't be the last. Carlson's behind bars thanks to me, it feels good to know that I helped close that case. Earned me some respect among the uniforms too. Still, doesn't bring Dad back so it's kind of a hollow victory. Best I'm going to get though so I'll take it.

                December 17, 2003

                I made Detective today. I can't help but think Dad would be proud of me, but the fact that my last arrest before the promotion was Jamie would not make him happy. My brother's been busted six times in the last six years, mostly misdemeanor drunk and disorderliness, but this last one was felony assault. The fact I was one of the officers on the scene just made it worse. The black eye he gave me before Chuck cuffed him doesn't help matters. I'm not pressing charges, he's got enough to deal with but I don't think he'll appreciate it. He has no understanding of what the real world is like. Linda's coddled him and given him everything she could since Dad's death and it's done nothing to help, just seems to make him angrier.

                I don't know what else I can do to help my brother other than get him off the streets and hope a trip to jail actually rehabilitates him, but unfortunately I know that stats. Prison doesn't rehabilitate, just removes the problems for a little while. I never wanted my baby brother to be one of the problems, but he's done this to himself and nothing me or Linda ever did made a difference.

                June 18, 2004

                How strange is it that a date is a big enough deal to make note of in my journal? I was working a case with Locke, a detective out of Bridgeport investigating a series of murders that looked like they were linked to his drug trafficking case. We got a break, warrant then collared our suspects after a fire fight that left the adrenaline pumping.

                Locke asked me to join him for a beer after we finished the paperwork and a beer turned into dinner which turned into breakfast the next morning. Random hook ups aren't surprising, it's just something that happens now and then when the itch gets to be too strong, but this is something different. He went back to Bridgeport this morning and by 2 I had flowers on my desk. He's coming back this weekend for an actual date. It's been so long since I actually dated someone I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. It would probably be a good idea to start thinking of him by his first name, but I've gotten used to him as Locke. Changing that to David...well that's going to take some time I think.

                September 15, 2004

                GO STEELERS! David surprised me and whisked me away this weekend to Pittsburgh for the opening game for the Steelers.
                The new quarterback Roethlisberger shows some real promise. I think it started David to see just how big a fan I really was, but he got into the game just as much as I did. and even better we won! He thought I would be disappointed we weren't going to some fancy romantic spa, but I quickly dispelled that notion. Especially for our first weekend get away this was simply perfect.

                November 27, 2005

                It was good while it lasted but it's no surprise David and I broke up last night. I can't say I'm not upset, but I'm trying to be positive. The job's just more important to me. I'd like to think we parted as friends, but that's probably going to take some time. In the mean time I have a case to solve and a murderer to put behind bars.

                March 9, 2006

                Chuck broke our latest homicide case wide open. And it's going to shake up the force quite a bit. Chief O'Rourke is stepping down due to his involvement. He's a good man, it's a shame his prejudices put blinders on him that caused more deaths. Luckily Chuck followed his instincts and the killer Rory James is dead. They've already selected a new Chief. He's coming from outside the force, grapevine says he's from Hartford. Part of me wishes they'd gone with someone from within the force, but I can see where politically it's a good thing to bring in someone completely removed from New Haven all together. Hope I work as well with him as I did Chief O'Rourke.

                July 29, 2007

                My captain had words with me today and sent me home. He says I was leaning too hard on a witness. He says I'm skating the legal line when it comes to questioning suspects and if I'm not careful I'm going to let criminals walk due to technicalities. He's a stickler for the paper work and can't seem to understand that I KNOW who's guilty and who isn't. I don't go after the ones that truly are innocent. I know when I come across our killers. Every one on the force knows it. But Captain Raines is new and hasn't learned the lay of the land. He'll figure it out soon enough though. I have the highest closure rating in the department for a reason. He'll figure it out soon enough.

                January 1, 2009

                Gwendolyn Cooper died last night. She was walking down the street after following a lead on her latest case. The case got her killed. They made it look like a robbery, but it was the guilty she pursued that killed her. They shot her in the chest. She was dead not long after she hit the ground. I approached her and offered her the chance to live again. To correct the error of her ways and see the good she could do for the victims of the brigands in her city. I helped her find her faith and the understanding that forgiveness is more important than justice. She will follow the path of God and through her perhaps we shall both find salvation.

                February 10, 2009

                I'm different now than I once was. I've read through my journals and I feel nothing. No spark of recognition to tell me why these events were important to me. I feel no pain at the loss of my parents, no anger towards my brother. They're strangers to me. It's like The Angel promised, I've been given a second chance and I can not waste it.

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                • #9
                  Journals up, few notes:

                  1) Yes, it's a bit late. Sorry. One player had technical difficulties with their journal. This is actually for the game two weeks ago, not yesterday. Note Doc's Background will be going up in ~ a week. Yesterdays session will be going up sooner then this one did.

                  2) The session happened on Mother's Day, so Doc and Gwen's players had to miss due to other plans. As a result, the activities in Doc's Log are not referenced elsewhere and they do not really appear in Jasmine or Natalie's accounts, as he wrote it to cover Doc's activities. Also, it is shorter then usual.

                  3) Yes, I am of course aware of the meme origin of the name of a certain AMC employee who appears in Jasmine's Diary. That character is, within the world, equally aware. It is an assumed name, his idea of a joke. If you don't know what I am talking about, Google it at your peril.

                  Session VI

                  Doc’s Log

                  Doc's Log: 1820 Hours, Tuesday, May 4, 2010

                  The rest of the Krewe are going scouting for other Haunts. That sounds like a pretty good plan to me. The stuff we're starting to find makes me think I'm gonna have to start putting people back together again soon. And that is really going to take alot out of me. Rose is already noticing how much of a strain it is to really work with Plasm. Ultimately if we can find and hold more Haunts, we'll be much stronger for it.

                  I said the rest of the Krewe because Ronin and I are still planning to do more research on the Strix tonight. Neither of us were really satisfied with what we found out and we're pretty sure we're close to a breakthrough. I hope we're right. I'm ordering Chinese so we have something to keep us going and because it's something normal to stop us from getting too deep in a book. That is not a good idea in that Library.

                  Doc's Log: 2115 Hours, Tuesday, May 4 2010

                  This is not good. I mean it is but it isn't. Ronin and I found what we were looking for. That's the good news. The bad news is that we found what we were looking for and it's very very bad. Apparently there is a reason the legend of the Strix goes back a long way. These damn things are at least as old as the first vampires. I don't know what a date for that would be but that doesn't matter. Far older than anything or anyone I know, living, deceased, or undead.

                  According to the rest of our research (which took about 2.5 hours and man did we ransack the Library to do it), the Strix can possess corpses and vampires. This would explain why the one I met was so grossed out by possessing The Scholar. That also means that whatever The Scholar really is, probably isn't a good and wholesome thing either. After some really serious digging in books that we normally wouldn't want to touch, much less open, we found some rumors that the Strix wiped out an entire clan of vampires. None of the references to time or place made any sense, so I have to assume it was before most places we know of now existed. But based on those rumors, the Strix possessed specific members of this vampire clan and either caused or led the clan to destruction. The details are a little unclear which way it went, but no matter what, it was done on purpose.

                  The best we could piece together was that the Strix have some serious issue with vampires dating back to the very creation of the undead. Issues in the "possess and walk out into sunlight" kinda way. I still don't know what these things are though. And at this point, that really bothers me.

                  It's also starting to concern me that I haven't found a decent supplier for the silver bullets. Ronin and Nightshade are going to need something to fight with, when we have to deal with one of the werewolves.

                  I gotta remember to order from The Mighty Chun more often. They even brought the good kind of chopsticks. Egg rolls weren’t greasy either. That place is great.

                  Doc’s Log: 0230 Hours, Wednesday, May 5, 2010

                  I so did not expect that. Ronin and I talked about working on more Keys once we were finished in the Library. She knew that I knew how to unlock Primeval so she asked me for ways she could learn about it.
                  Now I know what I did to learn about the connection you need for that Key, but I wasn’t really expecting Ronin to be so quick to jump at the chance to run naked through the woods. I thought she was kidding at first but when she asked if I was scared of seeing a grown woman nekkid, I figured what the Hell.

                  She’s the one with the car so I gave her directions out to the south end of St. Lawrence Cemetery. Then I told her to turn the hazards on and pop the hood. Ronin got undressed while I made it look like her Liberty had broken down. I also tried not to stare as she threw her clothes in the Jeep and walked up next to me. Concentrating on the task at hand and not the view, I told her to head due south, through the last rows of the graves and about 25 paces into the woods. Once she got there, I told her to forget about logic and reason. The only thing she needed to think about was instinctual behaviors. If she was scared, run. If she needed to pee, pee. If she felt threatened, do whatever her first reaction was. Just make sure to keep out of sight of anything really manmade. At night the fog from Horseshoe Lagoon, the trees, and the darkness pretty much made that less of an issue for her to worry about.

                  I watched her go out into the woods. From experience, I knew she’d need some of the foot rub I sell in the shop after this. I made a mental note to bring her some tomorrow…once she was out of sight and I could think about things a little easier. I turned the hazard lights off not long after she hit the woods to keep from distracting her. I strained to hear any signs of a problem just in case. But Ronin seemed to handle herself very well, not that I really expected any less from her. We stayed out there for several hours before I finally whistled loud enough I was sure Ronin could hear it. A few minutes later, I saw a pale shape moving out of the brush. As she got closer, I could see she had several cuts and scrapes up and down her body. Nothing that would actually hurt her, just stuff that’s really uncomfortable.

                  She didn’t speak when she got close so I just kept leaning against the Jeep and watched to make sure everything really was okay. As she got dressed again, she glanced over briefly but didn’t say anything. I lowered the hood and we got in the car and headed back to the House. Ronin thanked me for making sure she was okay then headed inside…probably for a shower. I just nodded and then went out for my patrol. Fortunately it was pretty quiet, so I pulled it in a little early tonight. Don’t want to open the store late again today.

                  Jasmine’s Diary

                  May 4, 2010, Late Night

                  It has been a long night. I’m curled up on my customary end of the couch, watching a spot of TV before I go to bed. We just finished “family game night,” which is Simon’s scheduled activity for Tuesday evenings. It seems I still have my skill at mahjong; I won two of our three games. Alexia won the first, though. She’s pretty good.

                  She’s also good at gardening, which I often help her with, as I did this afternoon. Alexia seems to have a lot of different hobbies, all of which are in some way creative. Her geist’s creative role in our krewe’s ethos certainly shines through.

                  This is the first chance I’ve had to journal. We’ve been busy tonight. Doc and Gwen got lost in their research and disappeared in the library, leaving the rest of us wondering what to do. Even Natalie was around to keep us company. I like it when Natalie is around. She and I disagree on many things, but she’s part of the krewe, which makes her like family. And besides, when she’s with us, she’s not out debasing herself with drugs and

                  Simon, Natalie, and Alexia and I decided to use the time wisely in order to begin investigating and cataloging the haunts within our territory. They are both a responsibility and resource for us, and we’ve gone far too long without taking account of them.

                  I suggested that we start by exploring the buildings of Albertus Magnus College, some of which are known haunts. The campus is our territory, and I feel personally responsible for it since it’s where I work.

                  The main buildings on campus that we needed to investigate were Nilan Hall (Bonnie-Lynn’s haunt), Sansbury Hall, McAuliff Hall, and Rose Hall. The first three are residential halls, but the last, Rose Hall, is the main campus library, and that’s where we began our investigation.

                  We crept into the basement not long before the library’s closing time. Simon entered a trance so that he could examine the place with the Boneyard. Natalie, Alexia, and I had a look around the archives.

                  During our looking, Simon noticed what appeared to be an exceptionally large fly. According to Simon, though, it’s true appearance was shrouded in some sort of illusion or mask. In reality, the fly had a human face and hands, and was obviously watching us. Simon eventually spoke to it, and it spoke back. From what we could piece together, it was some sort of faerie creature. I don’t know a great deal about such things, but I am interested. I became even more interested when it told us that it was asked by its master to keep an eye on people in the library and make sure nothing bad happened to them. Its master apparently knew that I was supernatural and wasn’t worried about my safety, though, was both shocking and interesting to me.

                  I’m pretty sure the fly’s master in Richard Mongler. He’s always trying to make sure things stay safe on the campus, and if he is some sort of faerie creature, then it would explain how weird and childish he can be. He’s a nice guy, but he still intimidates me. Still, I should try to talk to him tomorrow, maybe before I leave campus after my classes.

                  Also, we found that Rose Hall is a haunt. Simon sensed that the boiler room was the gathering place for its plasm. Alexia picked the lock so that we could enter, and I felt a sort of tranquility, almost like sleep, when I entered. To our death-touched eyes, the plasm drifted serenely around the floor like a cold mist. I had been expending a lot of my own to activate my Shroud and my Caul lately, so the others agreed that I could soak up the plasm if I wanted. I used the principles of tai chi to draw the plasm into my spirit.

                  Alexia was curious about that, and asked what I was doing. So I tried to explain to her that plasm was a lot like chi, and that I had discovered that just as chi could be manipulated with techniques like tai chi, so could plasm. She cheerfully responded, “So, plasm is the chi of death?” I hadn’t consciously thought of it that way, but she’s right. That’s exactly how I’ve been treating it.

                  After I had absorbed the plasm, but before leaving the boiler room, I put a mark on the boiler and above the door, a mark I decided would make a good sign for our krewe. It’s the I Ching hexagram meaning “Darkening of the Light,” and to me it implies hidden or unfulfilled potential. It also seemed appropriate to us as the Middle Shadows krewe, for we bridge light and dark. Natalie, Alexia, and Simon seemed to approve, so I guess that’s now the Middle Shadows’ official identifying symbol. It’s easy to draw with chalk or paint too, so it’s convenient to use. Simon drew it on the outside of our box of chalk for future reference in case anyone else needs to mark something.

                  Rumors of Rose Hall claim that sometimes the elevator opens onto a floor that is clearly not a part of the library. There haven’t been any reports of people going missing on this mysterious floor, but most people, I think, are wise enough not to get off the elevator into a spooky, otherworldly space. I think Simon was the first to observe that the elevator might be an Avernian Gate. So before we left, we decided to see if we couldn’t activate the gate and get a sense of what lay beyond.

                  Normally, I would be the one to open the gate, but since I’ve expended a bit much of my “death chi” lately, Simon, being the gentleman that he is, offered to open the gate for us. The elevator doors then opened on a catacomb-like series of passages lined with alcoves stuffed with scrolls and bones. Simon quickly determined that the place was a library full of writings from all areas of local history, even native pictograms. But we could make no sense of how it was organized, and there were no ghosts around to help us. In fact, the only landmark in the area was a lecture hall full of skeletal students learning Kant from a whip-weilding professor. Natalie’s Boneyard also warned us of a Howling Dead that was roaming the passages. It was a mass of screaming, mindless ghosts, and its presence might explain how empty the underworld library was. We left before it could catch up with us; none of us wants to face something like that. I took a moment to draw our krewe mark above the door out, though.

                  We emerged from the Avernian Gate in time to leave the library just before closing, and then moved on to Sansbury Hall, which we knew to be a dangerous haunt. Bad things sometimes happen to men there, and the malicious ghosts of Adolphe and Alonia Decastro have a history of exhibiting their worst behavior when men and women are alone together in the dorm.

                  To be honest, I don’t even want to write about what we found there. It was horrifying, and even thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. The Decastros, when they were alive, practiced such a sick, twisted mockery of love that it isn’t even recognizable as such. When we crept upstairs, Natalie heard them talking to each other in filthy, degrading language as they tried to indulge their vices. I’m glad I couldn’t hear them.

                  We discovered one room, behind a door marked like any other dorm room, filled with blood-stained mattresses and tools of torture and sex. Simon spied the room with Boneyard, and his descriptions of it made me ill, but it was not the worst place in that dorm. At least people hadn’t been routinely killed there. Unfortunately, the room still sees some use, which horrifies me. I fear for the poor girls in Sansbury Hall. We need to deal with Decastros sooner rather than later. And I don’t think that imprisoning them in one of their anchors is too severe a punishment.

                  In the basement, there was a hidden room that had once been used for occult rituals and still held a lot of power. But the worst evidence of the Decastros’ crimes was in another secret basement room. Even though it had not been used or even opened in many years, the room still held several skeletal corpses, one still tied to the blood-soaked bed. And many, many deaths had occurred there. Several torture tools were in the room, at least one of which is, I suspect, an anchor for the Decastros. But we left them untouched. And we didn’t take any of the plasm that gathered in the haunt either. It felt so impure and tainted that the thought of absorbing it made me nauseous.

                  We left that place as soon as we learned what we could about the haunt. Fortunately, the rest of the campus was much more pleasant, but the uncomfortable feeling left by Sansbury hall still clung to me all night.

                  McAuliff hall proved not to be a haunt at all. However, Simon, who again examined it with the Boneyard, reported that John and Elsie were enjoying a romantic moment in one room. I would be happy for them except that Bonnie-Lynn was also there, possessing Elsie and, I fear, pushing her into things she might not be ready for. Just a few days ago, Elsie was very insecure about her relationship with John. I don’t think it’s good for her to become intimate with him yet. Natalie would disagree with me, but I think they need to build more confidence in their relationship and feelings for each other before they become intimate. Simon also noticed R.L. and his friend arguing with another college guy in the dorm. I’m not sure what they were arguing about, though.

                  Finally, we took advantage of Bonnie-Lynn’s absence from Nilan Hall (since we knew she was with Elsie in McAuliff) to inspect the Nilan haunt. I don’t guess there’s really anything new to report that we didn’t already know, except that the haunt’s plasm seemed to collect in the basement machine room. As before, the others encouraged me to take it, so I did.

                  We left for home then, and had family game night. After our game, we talked a bit and I confessed my frustration over being unable to help Trinh. I was really just trying to vent about it, but I guess I ended up asking for advice. Despite her faults, Natalie is good with people, and she gave me some good advice on how to approach Trinh again: 1) be up front about my knowledge of ghosts, 2) express my concern for her and the idea that I don’t want her to go away for the summer and not be able to help her, 3) pretend ignorance about how much I already know after following her yesterday, and 4) make her feel like she’s in control of the situation, and that she’s the one who can decide when and how much to ask for help. I don’t know if I can pull all of that off, but it really, truly helps.

                  Now I’m about to go to bed. I don’t think I’ll be able to get to sleep easily tonight. With the Decastros, Bonnie-Lynn, and Trinh’s problem weighing on my mind, I’m a bit restless.


                  To do list:

                  - Make sure Natalie puts the word out about our Krewe’s Identifying symbol on the Twilight Network.

                  Simon’s Weekly Schedule:
                  - Monday is for Studying
                  - Tuesday is Family Game Night
                  - Wednesday is for Working
                  - Thursday is TV Night
                  - Friday is for Practice
                  - Saturday is Social Night
                  -Sunday is for Church

                  Darkening of the Light:

                  This is the hexagram I chose for the krewe’s mark. It implies brilliance injured or hidden, and I’ve always associated it with both hidden talent and unfulfilled potential, which has personal meaning for me given the tragic way my marriage to Richard ended. Also, according to our krewe mythos, we were once beings of high shadow, or light, but our deaths darkened that light, making us into middle shadows, which is the name of our krewe.

                  American Culture & Idioms

                  The Fly

                  - The Fly is a movie (two movies, I think, but Alexia, Natalie, and Simon aren’t as good at explaining things as Gwen is, especially not when all three are trying to do so at once). Someone in the movie performs a science experiment and ends up turning into a fly with a human head and hands. Or something like that. The fly in the basement of Rose Hall, which I suspect to be connected to Richard Mongler, looked like the fly-man from the movie.

                  Adolphe and Alonia Decastro

                  Date of Death: Unknown

                  Cause of Death: Unknown

                  Haunt: Sansbury Hall, Albertus Magnus College

                  Anchors: Unknown (Ritual Dagger?)

                  Known Numina: Possession. They certainly
                  master many more.

                  Adolphe and Alonia are the ghosts of Sansbury Hall. They had a twisted, abusive relationship built on sex, pain, and degradation when they were alive, and that relationship continues in death. When given the opportunity, they are known to possess men and women so that they can act out their perverse desires through sex and torture.

                  Both are horribly evil. A hidden basement room in Sansbury Hall still contains the skeletal corpses of their last few victims, who were tortured and probably raped to death. There are many echoes of death in that room; they must have killed dozens of people there. The haunt’s plasm also pools in this room.

                  Another room in the basement contains ritual implements and an occult circle. It is a place of ritual power, but feels tainted by the Decastros and their bloody history. We will need to remove the Decastros from Sansbury Hall as soon as we are able. I suspect that we will imprison them in a fetter; they deserve punishment for the evils they’ve committed, and simply laying them to rest and helping them pass on would be too gentle a “punishment” for them.

                  Natalie’s Tweets

                  Tuesday May 4th

                  -I am gonna kill me some Russians, specifically those who stole my picture for a “dating service”

                  -Go forth my hackers, and destroy!

                  -Oooh, Krewe business. Time for us to investigate some haunts.

                  -In the Fishborne Family Car. I am slightly terrified.

                  -First stop: haunted elevator, Rose Hall.

                  -Simon is having a conversation with a magical fly. Clearly I need more gin.

                  -I have not had any discussions with magical talking insects since I did acid years ago.

                  -One haunt and Avernian Gate found. Apparently lecturing about Kant and cracking a bullwhip can be brought together. Interesting.

                  -Second stop, Sansbury Hall.

                  -OK, Simon has seen some seriously fucked up stuff. I am kinda glad I did not use my Boneyard.

                  -Between this and the talking fly, maybe Simon is keeping the good drugs for himself.

                  -Nope…it wasn’t drugs.

                  -Ugh, these people give us kinksters a bad name. And only back up what those Walthstone bastards say.

                  -Seriously they need to stop.

                  -This place is like a slaughterhouse…well it was.

                  -I can’t think of the last time I was this not in the mood for sex with anyone ever.

                  -Out thank the goddess. I hope to never go back, but I am sure it won’t turn out that way. Still haunt found, at least.

                  -McAuliffe Hall. Please don’t be this fucked up.

                  -Yay nothing I have to drink to forget. Well, no ghosts either, cept a visiting Bonnie Lynn. Of course, no haunt either.

                  -I hate it when things get under my skin. It makes me feel weak. I hate feeling weak.

                  -Hitting Nilan Hall since Bonnie Lynn is not there atm. While the cat’s away the mice will play and all that.


                  -No, she did not show up. I just like saying meow. Meow.

                  -Nilan Hall had a haunt as well. For those keeping track at home that is three discovered; Rose, Sansbury, and Nilan Hall.

                  -Tonight is game night, apparently. Game night means time for Mah-Jongg, apparently.

                  -Alexis won first then Jasmine dominated. I need to spend less time checking her out and more time playing the game. I think Tavia was distracting Simon too.

                  -Jasmine needs help talking to this Trinh girl without scaring her off. I figured she should just seduce her…I think Jasmine could seduce near anyone if she tried. Jasmine was not impressed.

                  - I’ve given Jasmine some advice she is considering.

                  -I should write a book! <3 8-= <3

                  -The kids are going to bed, I think I am going to go out and rock out a bit before bed. Vlog is up, have fun my children!

                  End Session VI

                  TRANSCRIBERS NOTE: 90 Sessions left to go. Woo. I am keeping a lot of notes in (sorry it's late, etc) as when transcribing over 100 posts, I have enough on my plate without removing them. Sorry. But still enjoy.

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                  • #10
                    As promised here is Doc Thorns, Torn Gatekeeper's background. Look for Jasmine's in two weeks. At the end of this week (hopefully around Friday) we will have the next session recap. I should note...some of this some folks may find a little hard to read...Doc spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq.

                    United States of America
                    Navy Personnel File
                    Summary Page
                    Name: Torrenz, Edward X.,
                    Rank: Master Chief Hospital Corpsman (Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist)
                    [HMCM (FMF)]
                    Serial #: 3-1221-90912-812
                    Gender: Male
                    Age: 30
                    DOB: 12/07/1980
                    Status: Discharged (Honorable: Medical)


                    MCMAP Green Belt (Instructor Qualified)
                    – Awarded April 9, 2001

                    Combat Action Ribbon
                    – For engaging enemy forces to provide cover fire for medical evacuation, a breach of the Geneva Convention; Kabul, Afghanistan
                    – Awarded March 15, 2002

                    Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist
                    – Approved by Lieutenant Arthur B. Feldspar, 2nd Battalion, Forward Security Forces, Mosul, Iraq
                    – Awarded September 8, 2004

                    Purple Heart
                    – For sustaining grievous injury during routine transport mission; Improvised Explosive Device detonated under vehicle, allowing for ambush of enemy forces;
                    – Awarded March 22, 2007

                    Medal of Honor
                    – For conspicuously distinguishing himself by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.
                    o Specifically for successfully staging a rescue mission of captured USMC personnel from enemy encampment while wounded, without additional equipment, communications, secondary support, or proper medical treatment
                    – Awarded March 22, 2007

                    Training Received:
                    1999 – 2000 Naval Hospital Corps School, Great Lakes, Illinois
                    2000 – 2001 Field Medical Training Battalion, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
                    2001 Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

                    Active Duty Assignments:

                    Dates Theatres Served Tours Completed

                    2001 Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan 1
                    2002 Operation Anaconda, Afghanistan 1
                    2003 – 2007 Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq 3 Complete; 1 Partial

                    How many glorious battles have I borne witness to in these lands? Not even I can account for them all. I have traveled the Sands of the East for lifetimes, seeking only those who were worthy of a warrior’s soul. Few gained my notice, but fewer still met my expectations. My Chosen often felt I expected too much or demanded unreasonable acts, but they could not know what would need to be done.

                    When the Americans came to this land they now call Iraq, I was here. They brought with them the means to remove the dictator that ruled the land. There would be Justice at long last! But I knew the fighting would be long and unlike anything these Western soldiers could know. But I was surprised. There were men who understood War and the way of the Warrior. They had fought in a far away land in a time almost forgotten by the Mortals of today. These men knew when to protect and when to attack. These men knew of trust and betrayal. They knew what it meant to fight while they were otherwise forgotten. And yet still they fought on, until today when they reached a place to find the possibility of Redemption. Of these Mortals, I did approve.

                    Others came that once again proved War can never be allowed to simply be a noble conflict. The Mortals from the Army of Black Waters tainted the battles and the lives of this land. They were not Soldiers of Honor but Soldiers of Fortune. Of these Mortals, I did not approve.

                    For years, I watched as the Westerners bled and died for their cause. And still I did not sense the one I sought. Men and now women, another surprise for me, fought to the end for the lives of people that were not always looking to be saved. Finally there came a man that would suit my needs. All I would need to do was simply wait until he met his Fate.

                    * * *

                    Those were the days. Back when we just wanted to make sure everyone came back home in one piece and tried to look like a badass while we worried ourselves sick.

                    I still remember Lejeune. Almost as hot in the summer as it was in Iraq. Just as many green, Gung Ho Jarheads running around with something to prove too. I signed up with the Navy because I wanted to be a doctor and I knew damn well a poor Latino kid was not going to get any real scholarships. So I kept in shape and left home for Illinois the week after I graduated high school. Wow, I’m all over the place. Sorry, I’ll try to keep it a little more on track.

                    Hospital Corps School was a whirlwind, but it was real and it was hard. They didn’t want anyone half ass going around trying to save the lives of wounded soldiers. I figured when I got out, whenever that was, that I’d just go and take whatever tests I needed to and open a practice somewhere. The Navy would pay for my training and the Marines would provide the hands-on experience. College would be paid for and I’d be set. That was my grand plan. But like they say, “No great plan survives contact with the enemy.”

                    While I was in Camp Lejeune, a quaint title for a major component of the United States War Machine, I decided to join the new martial arts program the Jarheads were testing out. It was a great way to keep in shape that didn’t involve me running with an 80 pound pack on, and I enjoyed it. I made Green Belt Instructor before they shipped us out for Afghanistan.

                    Operation Enduring Freedom was not what any of us expected. After 9/11, we were all Jonesin’ for some payback but what we found in Afghanistan was little better than what Russia left. 95% of the population was living miles below the poverty line. Fear was king, and it wielded the twin blades of misinformation and hatred. Opium bankrolled the insurgency. And worst of all, the native inhabitants didn’t seem to care about any of that. They just wanted us to get the hell out.

                    The Taliban were use to guerrilla fighting and planting improvised explosives. I mean they’ve been doing it since we trained them back in the ‘70s. However, they either held the local people in an overt protection racket or were allowed to do whatever they liked because the local authorities didn’t like the US. This put us at a huge disadvantage. I was immediately put on Hearts and Minds detail. I didn’t mind that and learning Arabic from native speakers gave me something I couldn’t have found back home. But we had a long row to hoe. The Afghanis still remembered the rumble of Soviet tanks and though we weren’t driving T-34s, it didn’t matter. A village that was bombed to pebbles little more than a decade before had no love for more of the same bullshit. The USSR came in ’79 to “help uphold their Friendship treaty.” In 2001, the Red Devils of Eastern Communism were replaced by the Infidels of the West. In the compounds and barracks, nothing special was going on. But everything close to those mountains was a one way ticket to Hell.

                    I was there when the gunmen hit our base south of Kabul. The bastards just appeared out of the desert and opened fire on us. Three men were turned to ground beef in front of me before we knew what was happening. Return fire tore through the cries of the wounded and I went to work. We had shit for cover and nobody knew where the hell they were coming from, so I was basically running blind to get to the bodies that were still moving or screaming. I ordered a med-evac for the five I managed to pull behind the dumpster. It might have been 2 minutes or 6 hours before the radio confirmed a pick up for our location. It didn’t matter. I lost count of the shots that hit around us after 60, and based on the ricochet patterns, they were everywhere. When the meat wagon slid around the corner, I thought we were all good. Then the heavy gunner bought it just as we started to move. I was carrying the M-60 from one of the men I was half dragging with me to the truck. When the 3 round burst shattered asphalt into my calf, I had had enough. I spun around while the other medics loaded the wounded and I drew my own god damn line in the sand. When I finished the barrel of that weapon was sizzling, brass lay all around me and the firing from that part of the mountains had stopped. I didn’t notice any of that for a minute or two.

                    The driver said he was afraid to touch me because I was still pulling the trigger like I was firing. I never mentioned the asphalt to anyone, just found some tweezers and dug it out…with some help from Jack Daniels. After that I tried to keep my head down. The last thing I needed was for some CO or another to think I was showing off and have him bustin’ my ass for nothing. I did pretty well until we got new orders.

                    Two years in Afghanistan will change things about you that you never really knew could be different; especially when we went into Operation Anaconda. Because I had already proven “Courage under Fire,” I was tapped to join the 101st, Black Ops, and the dozen or so Afghani units we could really trust to go in and crush any opposition we could find in the Zormat District of the Paktia Province. Translation: Taliban hotbed and training ground south east of Kabul. I still have nightmares of that damn valley. Shahi-Kot Valley. March ’02.

                    I was part of TF Hammer in what was to be the offensive to open up the Valley and take an al Qaeda stronghold in the mountains. The mission went to hell about the time we started. The trucks went in without lights because, well we didn’t exactly RSVP. This was great until we got away from the base camp. The rocks and what passes for roads out there in the hills started flipping out trucks and throwing guys all over the place. The brass finally said Fuck it and we got the order for lights. So much for surprise attack. But it was better than me having to keep treating men for concussions and joint dislocation before we ever reached the hot zone. We were a wash as far as I could tell at that point, but we kept at it because the freedom of a whole region was at stake. Then the 3rd SpecFor split off to set up Observation Point Alpha. Chief Harriman pulled his column exactly as planned as best we could tell and then I heard the Spectre move in.

                    My blood ran cold as the screams of our guys came over the comms that they were taking heavy aerial fire. One of our own gunships wiped out that column, killing Chief Harriman and further complicating the mission before we started. When the air raid actually came, they were only in for about 3 minutes before they pulled out and left. I found out later that they got a knock off order, but Hobbs, a pilot I knew, said he thinks now that the order was meant for Grim-31 (the AC-130H that was blowing the Hell out of Harriman). The Navy has a word SNAFU, which means “Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.” We all said it, but until that moment, I’d never realized why you would have such a designation.

                    We stalled there after the Afghanis draw serious small arms and mortar fire. High Command called for a regroup and we realized that they knew we were coming even before all the bullshit. TF Hammer, or what was left of it, merged with TF Anvil. What happened next militarily, I don’t know. I was one of 3 Corpsmen and we were ass deep in mortar wounds and bullet holes. In the next 26 hours, we dealt with 28 US and at least 60 Afghanis. The mortar wounds were the worst and we lost several Afghanis because of them. They flew in more Corpsmen after that so Miller, Bergman, and me all crashed in the same tent. We must have slept for a good 6 hours before the next wave of bodies hit. We jumped out of the tent, still covered in gore. It must have looked like a Zombie movie. I didn’t think after the cluster fuck with TF Hammer that it could get any worse, but then Takur Ghar happened.
                    The Battle of Takur Ghar was as bad as any Viet Nam scenario I’ve ever heard. I don’t know exactly what happened because of all the communications fuck ups, but during the debriefing the German KSK units got into an argument with some of our Commanders about not killing a shepherd that stumbled onto their position. What little bit I do know is that when it was all said and done: we were in that Pit of Hell for about two weeks, had 2 Chinook choppers shot down, killed several of our own men (oddly we never got official reports on those numbers, imagine), lost 8 in combat and official records state either 72 or 82 wounded. They obviously weren’t counting all the Afghanis or the Column that the Spectre chewed through. I’m also not sure they counted the two men that went missing in the middle of hot LZs (yeah they were separate) that were left, then came back for, and still never found. And General Franks actually called this “… an unqualified and complete success.” Such bullshit. BUT I found out later that we 3 Corpsmen got a lot of attention dealing with all those wounded at once. And this time it was the good kind of attention.

                    Iraq was a totally different animal. I could speak the language by then, but that didn’t mean anything. My skin tone actually helped me a little bit (for once), but that was about the only thing I had going for me. In Afghanistan, the people hated what they thought we were, in Iraq they hated anything they thought we might be. I don’t have the stomach or the time to go through all the details of Iraq, so I’ll hit a few things that stand out.

                    About a year after we moved into Iraq, I’d had to take up arms on multiple occasions. One of those times was to neutralize an imminent threat to leadership convoy. We didn’t know who was in it, so we figured neither would anyone else. Least that’s what the plan was. Unfortunately that didn’t work so well and wouldn’t you know it was my block that the shit went down. You would think a string of armored Hummers led by a fucking tank would keep these fuckers away, but no. Just as the tank turned the corner of our block, a grenade bounced under one of the Hummers. I remember jumping up to scramble that way about the time the blast went off. The Hummer blew on its side and I had to dodge rock and fire while I’m falling. Once I could move without fear of falling debris, the first thing I hear was a thumping coming from the Hummer. I’m not great at Morse code, but after two sets, I realized it was SOS. I managed to pry the back door open from its mangled frame to find Lt. “Hellspark” Feldspar pinned between a bench seat, a 90 lbs. munitions case, and an unconscious soldier. I was worried about neck and back injuries until the hale of gunfire rattled everything around us.

                    I really hate it when people shoot at me. Especially when I’m trying to keep someone else alive at the time. I drew my sidearm and dropped the two firing down from the adjacent roof. I thought that was going to be it til the big guns rolled in, but they apparently ran into other troubles on the way because we started taking heavy fire from anti-vehicle guns. That meant the Hummer didn’t mean shit anymore. The first volley left the unconscious soldier permanently so. I grabbed his M-16 in one hand and pulled the Lt. into a fireman carry on the other shoulder before running into the building next to us. It was some kind of curio shop, but I didn’t notice if they had a Mogwai box or not, since the wall started exploding above me as the AV rounds tore through the shoddy building like water and mud. I wasn’t sure me and the Lt. were getting out of that shop but just then, one of the gunners walked past the storefront window. I leveled him with the machine gun then dove on top of my injured patient. Bullets flew through the still shattering window from a second gunman that came so close to the mark, one flew through the sleeve of my BDUs. I could hear the rest of the unit returning fire now that they could see through the flying debris. I wasn’t really sure what my chances were if I tried to play dead and the crumbling wall beside me didn’t leave me any time for a plan. The AV guns were tearing my boys up down the street and I had an insurgent in the building with us. I heard the footsteps in the rubble and the call to stand, but I didn’t move...hell I might have stopped breathing. I had my hand on the Lt.’s sidearm and when the Taliban slung my shoulder around I unloaded the clip into him at point blank range. Hellspark was less than pleased and I realize he’d taken a round in the leg. The firefight was still pretty hot until I heard a sound I previously only rolled my eyes about.

                    It’s been rightly said that an AK-47 assault rifle makes a distinctive sound when fired at you. I quickly learned that an M82 Light Fifty makes an even more memorable sound when returning fire at your enemies. Johnny “Rambo” Mason, was rear guard for my unit. He was rear guard because he was slow as shit and he carried the big guns. My best guess is that Rambo found a way on top of one of the buildings and then found
                    his targets. For all the shit we gave him about being slow, he was a decorated marksman and each time I heard that metal thunderclap crash, I heard one less insurgent firing point. I tied off the Lt.’s leg with my belt and told him what I was about to do. Before he had time to really think about it, I threw him back on my shoulder, screamed for cover fire, and hauled ass to get back behind another Hummer. Just as I got to the vehicle I took a round in the arm. It hurt like hell but as we crashed down behind the transport, I realized it was an in and out. No big deal except for the bleeding. About that time I noticed new blood on the Lt. That’s when I realized Hellspark took the same bullet in the arm, and it wasn’t going anywhere for him. He hadn’t said a word even after I dropped the both of us on the asphalt. I got my field extraction kit together and he looked at me as if he were amazed.

                    “Soldier what the hell are you doing?”
                    “ You have my bullet Sir. I’m going to get it back. Now hold still.”

                    After that little stunt, and the end of the firefight, I was sent for by Lt. Feldspar. I figured I was in seriously deep shit for well, honestly I didn’t know but I was paranoid as hell the whole way to the command center. When I got there, Feldspar, my immediate CO, and the highest ranking Corpsman on site were all in attendance and they were all stone faced. I knew I was screwed.

                    The Lieutenant spoke first and I was smart enough to just stand at attention and look straight ahead. My heart just kept sinking as he began listing off the time and details of our ambush and subsequent extraction from the hot zone. When he finished, he looked at the others and nodded. My CO stepped forward and the senior Corpsman stood
                    before me. When my CO said I was being sponsored for immediate authorization to Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist designation, I thought was going to pass out. I must have broke rank as Lt. Hellspark smiled and saluted me. “ You’ve earned it sailor. Now, go take whatever tests Senior Chief Marshal has so I can hang this pin on you.”

                    I was pretty big shit for a little while as all the Marines called me Sir or Doc after that. We started gaining ground in and around Baghdad and stayed on with the Marines I’d been assigned to back in Afghanistan. Each new city we moved into was worse than the last. I didn’t get to go out on patrols very often because so many people were wounded or killed everyday. Eventually I had to rotate on an armored patrol routine. This didn’t bother me any, but I felt like I could be more useful back at base. Little did I know what was coming for me next.

                    The IED went off in the middle of nothing but wind and sand dunes. The transports weren’t armored on the bottom thanks to some Washington bullshit so the vehicle was ripped in half. The driver, navigator, and main gunner were shredded along with the cabin. JJ, Rocky, and Tommy were torn up but still alive. I know because I saw all of them while trying to make the pain in my torso go away. When I looked down all I remember seeing was blood and fire. Then everything went black. I heard a noise in the darkness...almost like an animal growling. But somehow I started to make out words. The low rumbling voice offered me a chance to finish my mission, to set things right. To live again! When I agreed the dog-faced man stepped out of the darkness and into me.

                    I opened my eyes and immediately recognized the electric sensation of pain. The growl in my mind told me to ignore it and complete my mission of Justice. Tommy had a bayonet through his chest and Rocky had a bullet wound on his forehead. JJ was nowhere around. I found tracks in the sand where they drug a body. I staggered to my feet, grabbed Tommy’s M60 and stumbled off after these sorry bastards. I knew I was burnt and it hurt to move but the rage inside and the dog man’s voice kept me going. I wasted three guys outside a cave before they realized I was coming over the dune. Then the dog-man spoke again. I let him guide me and I seemed to flow into a new form; His form...massive and strong. I picked up the M60 and stormed the cave to get JJ. I killed anyone that wasn’t Private Jeremiah Jonavan until I found him. He was shot up and had a pulse but not breathing. I immediately started CPR in my mysterious new form. I immediately had some kind of jarring feedback in my head like a sonic boom. There was a split seconding mental argument about saving a life that left the dog-faced man rather pissed at me. But I got JJ breathing again, activated his distress beacon, and drug him away from the sound of footsteps. The dogfaced man faded away and I sat up in my ravaged body. When the military found us, I had carried JJ back out of the cave just before throwing three grenades into the entrance. I remember seeing Marines coming just before I blacked out again.

                    * * *

                    This will be pretty random and a little disjointed but I’m trying to write this in a hurry. We’re due for another issue anytime but I really want to get this written and I need to take the dog out.

                    I met Natalie first. She was the hottie on TV. I mean I could watch TV or I could watch the guy in the bed across from me rock back and forth mumbling about something coming along and sucking the brains clean out of a pig. That guy was weird. But it was weirder that I knew he wasn’t going to die for another 20 years. Anyway, I went to the opening of Murder Ballads in a wheelchair to meet Natalie. I figured I’d at least get a sympathy autograph, but when I saw she was like me, that changed everything. She really helped give me something more to fight for and she was nicer to me than I can ever deserve.

                    We met Gwen and Jasmine next. Jasmine died of some weird circumstances and Natalie made sure to seek her out. I was out of the wheelchair by the time her husband’s funeral came around so I got my Dress Blues pressed and went to pay my respects. We all found Gwen slinking around at the back of the service. She had seen the news about Jasmine too and needed to know if she was like us. Natalie really kept us together but we all knew we needed each other. Gwen’s birthday was coming up (least I think so, she’s a little unsure of things like that still), Natalie had had another break up, and Jasmine was always so sad, that I went looking for a cake shop. When I finally found one, I walked up on Alexia...another one of us. I knew that had to be Fate. With five of us, we decided that we could probably investigate some of the bigger ghostly events going on, so we headed out to Dark Haven Bluffs after several reports of missing persons and rumors of hauntings out there. That was the mother load. We found Simon, who might be more shell-shocked than I am, and “ The House.” That became our base of operations as Simon realized we were a good thing to keep around. Eventually we decided that we should go on and form a Krewe. As close as I felt to everyone, this made me very happy as I was the most comfortable with unit tactics.

                    I can’t begin to really explain what happened to all of us when we formed the Krewe, but I can say that we all found our true purpose in life.

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                    • #11
                      Session VII is here. As a side note, because the Players were made aware. Mr. Mongler (not his real name) is in fact a Ogre Gristlegrinder/Troll of the Autumn Court and a member of the Scarecrow Ministry. That may cause his actions to make more sense. His choice of name...never.

                      Gwen's player had to miss again. Bleh. But now without further ado

                      Session VII

                      Doc's Log

                      Doc's Log: 1145 Hours, Wednesday, May 5, 2010

                      Yet another meditation flop. I think I'm getting worse with this as I go. Opened the shop late again. I don't know if I'm losing business but the fact that I'm running late all the time is pissing me off.

                      A few of my regulars came by today but it was pretty slow until this guy with an expensive suit and some kind of Island accent came in. He talked so fast it was almost like trying to have a conversation with my cousin in Tijuana. Jerome was apparently an...associate (?) of one Mr. Bertrum Crawley. Crawley said to give him a couple days to see what he could do. Two days later I have an arms dealer in my shop. The old man is good.

                      Jerome took my requests for the silver dagger, the three spiked silver knuckles, a case of silver .45 rounds, a case of silver 9mm rounds, and an industrial-grade aluminum rolling pin without any issue, though he did look a little weird about the rolling pin. He showed me a diamond-tipped bullet that he and/or his people put together. I knew immediately it could be a Charm because of the Death energy washing off of it in waves. I bought that off of him and he bought the combination of herbal compounds he'd need to give him a little buzz. I call that fair and proper, but damn that bullet was expensive. Hope Rose can do something nice with it.

                      Doc's Log: 1845 Hours, Wednesday, May 5, 2010

                      We met up for dinner tonight and figure out what to do next. Ronin was still out, I think getting more stuff together for her PI gig. Rose talked to her Haunted Viet student again, this time without inducing trauma. So we're going to look into that. Sounds like the Grandma Ghost has it out for all white people, but none worse than Trin's Dad. Apparently Grandma considered the union of Trin's parents to be nothing more than rape, and even though Dad willingly gave her a place to live (his own home) and put up with her constantly, Grandma hated him forever. He might have been in the Shit over there as he is military. I remember how the Afghanis looked at us when we first came over. The Great White Devils. Infidels. Corrupters. The Tribal people were the worst as they still remembered the Russians...and Russians ain't nice when they make war. I talked to a few of our older guys that had the 1000 Yard Stare before we ever got on the plane. They were in Nam. They said the people over there hated us too. I know that's not always the case, but it definitely feels that way when every glance you get screams "DIE!"

                      Anyway, since I was in the Sand, I got volunteered to try and talk with Dad. Seems he can't really take anything seriously. I know the type. It's kinda hard for me to explain to the others. For guys like that, it's either laugh everything off or drown it in heroin. But that doesn't mean he can't understand or handle the truth. Just means that no one has put it to him in the proper terms yet. Looking like I get to be the Drill Sergeant.

                      Also related to Rose and her seemingly endless list of strange folks, she apparently decided to confront the guy at AMC that Snowflake tagged as a Fairy. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but based on Snowflake's previous reactions to something being "Fae," they must be damn powerful. I mean his name is Richard Mongler. It's obviously made up, but why choose that? Anyway, so Mr. Mongler made some deal with Rose to help her protect the campus. Now she can see Fae for what they really are and given that Richard is apparently a T-Rex, this is a big deal. He’s officially on our side now, so this HAS to be a good thing, right?

                      Meantime, Nightshade and Snowflake are heading to Murder Ballads tonight to check on the rumored Haunt there. It being Cinco de Mayo, I know Nightshade will be plastered before she leaves. That means that I have to go so I can keep track of her while she keeps track of Snowflake. Yeah sounds like trouble waiting to happen all the way around to me too. But we'll see.

                      Doc's Log: 1220 Hours, Thursday, May 6, 2010

                      Well that was an interesting night.

                      We went to Murder Ballads last night and it was a pretty crazy party going on. We got some strange looks because Nightshade wore her Latex Habit and combat boots. Yeah.

                      Before very much got started for us, a raver come up to me from the dance floor and asked...well more like pulled me up and told me to come dance with her. I thought we were going to work the place for a Haunt but Nightshade waved me on. Her pet Gothette had already gotten herself sent under the table. I hope she was just playing with Nightshade's feet. Dierdre Tate, Junior Park Ranger for Sleeping Giant State Park, as she eventually introduced herself to me, assumed Nightshade was just some dyke and was confused that I was worried about what she thought. I didn't have the time or the mind set to argue and Dierdre was really hot. Eventually one of her friends came up and the "suggestion" to go up into the catwalk was made. I checked with my spaced out companions, and found out that there was "Something (TM)" in the basement, but we didn't know what and didn't have what we needed with us just then. I was thusly driven up the cat walk. I can't really complain about Dierdre's savage kisses. It'd been awhile...a long while...and she was easily maneuverable. There were others in the cat walk with us, all basically doing the same thing. I was trying to concentrate until she bit my tongue and I stopped trying to hold back at that point. Thinking back on it, I've probably made use of the Primeval Key too much lately to try and remain "civilized" without having some kind of release. After a quick check in with Nightshade and Snowflake, who looked decidedly more drunk than I'm use to, I was loaded into a van with the other nightly choices and we left.

                      The van stopped outside of Gothom Citi and this dude that looked like a bald headed Yeti got in with some guy dressed like Abraham Lincoln in tow. There wasn't alot of talking as everyone was fairly preoccupied with the person they came with. We drove out to a fairly nice place right down from the park and all entered the building in one large pack.

                      We woke up this morning about 9ish. The Yeti actually drew the shortest straw and had to drive us back. We all unloaded back at Murder Ballads and the Yeti made sure we all had the number for one of the cab companies nearby. His companion for the night was carrying his costume, fake beard and all. But what stuck out to me, other than the obvious fact that we had all just been used for a huge one night stand, was one of the three women that came home with the vaguely Arabic guy. Her and a set of twins all went to bed with him, but when we got out this morning, she had a strange bit mark on her inner forearm. The medic in me took over and once the Yeti left I tried to talk to her about it. She didn't seem really thrilled to be noticed like that, but I was concerned about her arm. I offered to get some supplies from the shop but she declined. Imagine. I'm hoping she takes my offer to come to the shop later today. No human mouth could make that mark. Thus I'm back to worrying about Werewolves again. This time after I've met one group for sure and may have just bedded with another.

                      To make matters worse, I left Nightshade drunk at the club to go hookup with some random chick. That is not how I had planned to prove I was better or different from the other guys she’s dealt with before. And I might not feel so guilty but I called the House and she answered. Yeap she was already awake and aware. She apparently covered for me last night to keep Rose from going all Mother Hen from Hell on me like she apparently planned to on Cupcake (who also didn’t come in last night). So she pretty much encouraged me to go screw around, then covered and seemed happy for me when I got back. I feel like such scum and at the same time this proves that she is worth every shred of worry I deal with
                      for her.

                      I’ve got a lot of work to do to get myself back into battle ready shape. Starting tomorrow I’m going back into training mode. Full SOCOM regiment. Stretching begins tonight. Nothing less will suffice at this point. I will become prepared for whatever my Krewe needs me for.

                      Jasmine’s Diary

                      May 5, 2010, Early Afternoon

                      Today is turning out to be a much better day than Monday or Tuesday. My classes had their final exams today. Most of my students passed easily. A few struggled, but I knew they would. I’ve been watching them all semester, and I know who hasn’t learned the proper techniques. The department chair thinks I may be a bit strict, but swimming is something I take very seriously. I don’t want my students to think that poor technique is acceptable.

                      Jean Akim, however, is an amazing swimmer! He has the talent and potential to become a professional, and he knows it. He seems to take swimming very seriously. I often see him swimming laps at the pool even outside of class. I took the time after his exam to encourage him, and he asked if I would be willing to act as his coach over the summer. He wants to continue his training, and I think he’s looking for an excuse to stay on campus instead of heading home (overseas) for the summer. I eagerly agreed. I know that Jean has romantic interest in me, but this is different. If he really wants to cultivate his talent, then I feel I should help him. After all, I remember how important my swimming coaches were to me. And I must admit, there is something thrilling about helping a gifted student excel. I’ll also be able to push Jean harder than I’m able to in class. There’s only so much I can do in class since I have to work with a mixture of students with different levels of skill.

                      Jean and I are meeting later this afternoon to discuss the arrangements. He’s willing to pay me for my coaching too, which will be good for me.

                      I also managed to speak to Trinh. I feared she might avoid me, so I scheduled her exam last. She seemed wary, but she she was willing to talk. I followed all the advice Natalie gave me. I was up front about knowing about the ghost, but I pretended I didn’t know anything else about her family or friends. I think once Trinh accepted that I understood ghosts and hauntings, she was a little more willing to open up to me.

                      She believes the ghost is the ghost of her grandmother, a woman named Vong Nghiem. She seemed confused when I asked why Vong would be haunting her because the ghost is apparently more of a problem for her father, Alan. Her father was a soldier and met her mother in Vietnam. But her grandmother despised white people, and probably all foreigners. She hated Trinh’s father and made sure he knew it until the day she died, even though he was kind enough to invite her into his family’s home and take care of her when they left Vietnam. He didn’t do anything to deserve the kind of antipathy Vong had for him. I feel very sorry for him, but Trinh says he always tried to laugh it off and pretend that it didn’t bother him, even if it really did.

                      Since Vong died, her ghost has done little things to threaten Alan, like causing accidents or health problems. Trinh has figured out what has been going on, but she doesn’t seem to realize that the ghost is causing problems for her too. I still think her troubles with Don probably have a lot to do with the ghost.

                      Trinh agreed to let me and my friends help her once I explained that I had experience dealing with hauntings, which I chalked up to my traditional Buddhist background. I’ll bring it up during dinner tonight to see if the others are willing to help. I should probably deal with Vong directly since she doesn’t like non-Asians, but Doc and Gwen can relate to Alan fairly well, given his military background, so I’m hoping they’ll be willing to talk to him.
                      May 5, 2010, Mid-Afternoon

                      I’ve just finished talking to Richard Mongler. It was difficult for me, once I was in his office, to bring up the subject I wanted to discuss. But fortunately he figured out very quickly that I was hedging around the suspicion that he is some sort of fae, and basically came out and told me that yes, he is a fae-touched being. I guess since he knows that I’m not completely normal either, he didn’t really have a problem telling me. We shared a little information. He’s trying to protect the people on campus from wandering into dangerous places. When I told him that we are know a lot about ghosts and it’s our business to deal with haunts, he was almost grateful, and offered to help us if we needed it.

                      Before I left, he made a promise with me. He said that for one month, he’d grant me an edge in my investigations and would enchant me so that I could see fae-touched things for what they really are, if in exchange I would promise to do whatever was within my power to help protect the Albertus Magnus students from danger. As soon as I agreed to the promise, Richard’s entire appearance changed! He grew even bigger (and he already dwarfed me), and he started to look something like a human crossed with a reptile. His mouth was huge and filled with rows of razor sharp teeth, and it seemed like dry, brown leaves drifted around him. I was more than a little shocked, but I guess that’s what he really looks like. Once I realized he wasn’t going to eat me, I could still recognize Richard’s big smile and beady eyes.

                      It’s good to know we have a fae ally. I wonder how many more fae things I’ll see now that I’ve been enchanted?

                      Oh, and I did ask him about the fly we saw, which is what prompted my visit in the first place. As Simon guessed, it’s also a fae creature. Richard named it “Scooter” and it has served him ever since he rescued it from a spiderweb.

                      I should also note that when I arrived at Richard’s office, he was speaking to “Barry,” the student R.L. and friend were talking to last night. Barry apparently did something wrong or was framed for doing something wrong. I wonder if it has anything to do with R.L. and his friend? I feel like I’m skirting around the edges of something important.

                      May 5, 2010, Evening

                      The others (except for Alexia) have all gone out to one of Natalie’s clubs, Murder Ballads. we suspect it is a haunt, so they decided to investigate and, if possible, mark it as part of our territory. I don’t like clubs like that, though, so I decided to stay home. I needed some alone time anyway. I wish I had someone to talk to in Chinese. I miss using my native language.

                      Alexia went out with Chandra again. I hope they have a good time.

                      Over dinner we discussed business. I told the others about Richard and Trinh. Doc showed up with something interesting, though. It was a bullet made of diamond. We could all sense the death energy it held; a lot of people had been killed by or for the bullet. So I wasn’t surprised when Doc asked me to make it into a charm.

                      After dinner, Natalie and I went out into the graveyard to perform the dedication ceremony on the charm. The bullet felt bloody to me, so I dedicated it to the key of Stigmata. Several of the others have that key, so we should get a lot of use out of it. Doc seemed to like the bloodied look the bullet acquired after the ceremony.

                      May 5, 2010, Night

                      Tavia came to sit with me in the TV room while I was reading. Since we were the only two in the house, I wasn’t surprised until she told me that she knew I didn’t approve of her relationship with Simon. What followed was an uncomfortable conversation. She feels that she has a right to love Simon, but I argued that her love was engineered by her family, and that doesn’t make it right to become involved with a close cousin. Our discussion took several turns, but both of us were adamant in our opinions. She even said that if I got in their way, I would become the villain in their love story! I think she understands that love is important to me, because she was certainly trying to use that to change my mind. But I fear she is confusing love with obsession. I hope that her obsession does not end up hurting Simon.

                      Feeling vaguely threatened by Tavia, I chose to return to my room.

                      May 6, 2010, Very Late (or Very Early)

                      Natalie and Simon returned from Murder ballads. Doc wasn’t with them, but Natalie said he’d decided to go on patrol and would be staying at his other place.
                      They also said they weren’t able to do anything about the haunt because there was some sort of dog-like beast prowling around in the basement, invisible. They felt it was something best dealt with by the entire Krewe.

                      Alexia still isn’t home. I’m going to bed shortly, but I’m disappointed in her. She needs to take things slowly with Chandra. If they’re already in bed together on their second date, I’ll be very disappointed. Alexia should know better. I’m worried that she’s forming a physical connection with Chandra without a good, well-rounded relationship as a foundation. And I’m afraid that will end up hurting them both in the end.

                      May 6, 2010, Morning

                      Alexia didn’t come home last night, so I called her this morning. My fears were true. She slept with Chandra last night. I couldn’t just let that go, so we chatted about it. I think she felt contrite, but I’m not sure. In any event, she seemed to agree that she needed to broaden the foundation of her relationship with Chandra and work to make it more than just physical. We agreed to get together and come up with a list of things she and Chandra might be able to go out and do to have fun and to get to know each other better. It’ll be good for both of them, but especially Chandra, who doesn’t get out much.
                      I tried to be encouraging, but I was still pretty disappointed with Alexia after our talks about taking things more slowly. Alexia just isn’t a very patient person. I may have come across as a bit icy, but if I did, then maybe it will encourage Alexia to think more about what she’s doing.

                      Since Alexia wasn’t here this morning, I cooked homemade blueberry waffles for everyone. They were delicious.


                      American Culture & Idioms

                      "The Crow"

                      -The Crow is a movie that the others, especially Natalie seem to enjoy. It came up over dinner. They say that the hero is basically a sin-eater like us. It sounds intriguing, but I’m not sure it will be the kind of movie I’ll enjoy. Natalie owns a copy, so we decided to to watch it tomorrow evening (which is Simon’s TV night).

                      Adolphe and Alonia Decastro

                      Richard Mongler warns me that these two ghosts are very manipulative and that Alonia is by far the worse of the two. He warns that she will attempt to play on our sympathies and side with us against Adolphe, but if she does, it’s only a ploy. We will have to be careful when we face them.

                      Date Ideas for Alexia & Chandra:
                      - Art gallery
                      - Clubbing
                      - Café (Lulu’s is good)
                      - Romantic walk through graveyard
                      - Visit parks
                      - See sites (interesting local architecture)
                      - Picnic (Alexia loves to cook)
                      - Cook a meal together
                      - Concert (what music does Chandra like?)

                      Natalie's Tweets

                      Wednesday May 5th

                      -Morning. Well, afternoon. I’m up.

                      -Still got a quality Alexia breakfast. Pancakes. Straight to my thighs.

                      -Vlog is up.

                      -It is Cinco de Mayo. Your Mistress has a date with some liqueur. And probably eventually the floor.

                      -I love this creepy old house. <3

                      -What the hell is Simon doing?

                      -Dinner with the “Family.”

                      -Jasmine has a friend named Dick Mongler. I don’t think that is his real name. He has a magic fly named Scooter. Also weird.

                      -Jasmine had more success with this Vietnamese gal. I really need to meet her she sounds cute. Doc talked to an arms dealer. Normal for him I suppose.

                      -A bullet made of diamond. Talk about overkill. Would it not be too heavy to fire?

                      -Your Mistress knows nothing about Ballistics.

                      -Your Mistress is assisting Jasmine in a ritual involving anointing with blood. Enjoy my vital spark, Jasmine…

                      -Cinco de Mayo time. Murder Ballads. Doc is chaperoning me, I am chaperoning Simon. It is awesome. Alexia has a date with her Hindu Hottie.

                      -Simon is so totally over 21. Ask anyone (who is me).

                      -You know you would almost think this group had never seen a woman in a latex habit and combat boots. Weird.

                      -Can it be Murder Balladz tiem now pleeze? =^_^=

                      -Chatting with Karen.

                      -Oh tomorrow is going to be very good. Your Mistress has …plans.

                      -Go Simon Go! Explore the mysteries of the universe while I attend to this gloom cookie in my lap.

                      -Doc is dancing with a kinda raver looking chick. Good for him.

                      -Doc is being dragged to the catwalks by a kinda raver looking chick. Better for him.

                      -Don’t worry, your mistress is being…well taken care of.

                      -Hmmmm…looks like Simon found a monster downstairs.

                      -What the hell is a monster doing at my Murder Ballads? If I were not drunk being fussed over by a Goth teeny bopper I would so do something about this!

                      -Doc is going to score. Rock on!

                      -Not your Mistress, though. She is going to let this one simmer and cook till tomorrow.

                      Thursday, May 6th

                      -Jasmine waited up to be sure we behaved. Grand.

                      -Alexia never came home. Go Alexia!

                      -Natalie is going to sleep. Go Natalie!

                      -Good Afternoon. Your Mistress is attending to her hangover remedy.

                      -Heard from Doc, he is good. Jasmine is fussing at Alexia so assumedly she is as well.

                      -Tonight is going to be…fun.

                      -OK Internet. Your Mistress demands entertainment.

                      End Session VII

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                      • #12
                        Sung Xiao Ming
                        a.k.a. Jasmine Sung
                        A Silent Mourner
                        Virtue: Faith Vice: Lust
                        Bound to the Drowned Bride, Xiao Ming (known to her American and Kiwi friends as Jasmine), is a tragic bride who lost her groom and now searches for a new soulmate even as she does all in her power to help restless spirits fulfill their own desires. She does not want anyone, even the dead, to suffer the tragedy of loss and unfulfilled desire as she has, and hopes that her second chance at life granted by the Drowned Bride will also give her a second chance at true love.

                        Newspaper Article:
                        “Newlywed Groom Commits Suicide After Believing Bride Dead”

                        Police report that on Sunday night, Richard Forrest, a local area athletic trainer, committed suicide following an accident which placed his newlywed wife, Jasmine, in a short-term coma. Forrest is known for his expertise in sports medicine and his participation in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics as a medic and trainer for the American swimming and diving teams.

                        Forrest and his bride were enjoying their honeymoon at a relative’s mansion when Jasmine, a recently retired swimmer for the Taiwanese Olympic team, slipped on the diving board of the mansion’s pool and hit her head. She was knocked unconscious and fell into the pool. Forrest, who was dozing pool side, awoke to find his wife apparently drowned in the pool.

                        Emergency medical personnel initially diagnosed Jasmine with a broken neck, which had caused paralysis and led to her drowning. However, the initial diagnosis was later proven to be erroneous when Jasmine miraculously emerged from what doctors now believe was a very deep, short-term coma induced by oxygen deprivation. Forrest, believing his wife was dead, committed suicide the night of her accident and was discovered dead of an overdose of sedatives when hospital authorities came to inform him of his wife’s survival.

                        From the records of Dr. James Maury, Psy.D.
                        Transcript of first therapy session with Jasmine Forrest (Jasmine Sung).

                        Mrs. Forrest is a striking individual, rather attractive yet touched by an overwhelming sense of melancholy that makes her a pale shadow of what she could be. She immediately struck me as a kind and gentle person, but appears to have difficulty forming close relationships with others, largely due to habitual reticence and introversion. Our preliminary discussions led me to believe that Mrs. Forrest’s psychological issues ran much deeper than her grief over her husband’s suicide. I suspect signs of latent schizophrenia.

                        Dr. Maury: Please tell me about your childhood.

                        Jasmine Forrest: But…my problems aren’t from childhood. I’m here for grief counseling.

                        Dr: Your childhood might reveal things you can use to help you deal with your grief. You were raised in Taiwan, yes?

                        JF: Yes, I’m Taiwanese. My father is from Taipei and my mother was from New Zealand.

                        Dr: Please, continue. Tell me everything you think is significant about your past, up to your husband’s death.

                        JF: My parents were good, loving parents. My mother traveled back and forth between Taiwan and New Zealand a lot. She worked for a big corporation that had a lot of manufacturing operations in Taipei, and after she married my father. She was transferred to Taipei full-time. But she still had to travel to New Zealand a lot. I ended up going back and forth quite a bit. I don’t really consider New Zealand my home, though.

                        Dr: You preferred Taiwan?

                        JF: It was where I was raised, mostly, so it was more like home. I like New Zealand, though. More than America.

                        Dr: Do you think that being so far from home is contributing to your grief? It is often easier to deal with such things when you are in a familiar place, surrounded by friends and family. Have you considered returning to Taiwan?

                        JF: No. I mean, yes, but…I didn’t part with my father on good terms. Most of my Taiwanese family disapproved of me marrying an American.

                        Dr: Even though your father married a woman from New Zealand?

                        JF: America and New Zealand are completely different, as far as they’re concerned. They weren’t happy when my father married mum, but at least he didn’t marry an American. that’s what they thought, anyway.

                        Dr: And your father agreed?

                        JF: Yes. But…it wasn’t just that he didn’t want me marrying an American. Actually, he didn’t mind Richard. But my mother died a few years ago, and he felt like he’d be losing me too if I moved so far away.

                        Dr: Did you argue about it?

                        JF: Yes. We were both very angry when we parted., and both of us said things we regret.

                        Dr: Have you reconciled since?

                        JF: …Yes. But now he wants me to move back to Taiwan. My family there, though…they’re still very superstitious and think I’m a bad omen. They have since I was a child… and Richard’s death hasn’t helped.
                        …Anyway, I’m supposed to be here, in America. There’s a reason I didn’t die in my…my accident, and it’s here. I guess I could accomplish similar things in Taiwan but…the only people I know who really understand what I’m going through are here.

                        Dr: Oh? Can you explain?

                        JF: Not really.

                        Dr: Try. I can’t help you if you won’t try to express yourself to me.
                        JF: I know. But I can’t really explain. I just…I got a second chance at life, and even though I know my husband is gone, I know I have to make the most of what I’ve been given. I’m sorry.

                        Dr: It’s okay. Take your time. Let’s get back to your childhood.

                        JF: Okay. …

                        Dr: What was your family life like?

                        JF: Good, I guess. We were a close family. My father and mother loved one another. They were a good example for me. I always dreamed that one day I’d find a love like they shared…and I did, for a while… The only problem was when my mother had to go to back to New Zealand for a few weeks at a time. My father and I always missed her, but we didn’t resent her absences. My father might have felt…inadequate because she made more money than he did, though.

                        Dr: I see. Did you ever suffer discrimination because of your mixed ethnicity?

                        JF: Yes. I was picked on a lot in school. I still had friends, and it got better the older I got. But I guess it made me insecure. That’s probably why I’m so shy now. I was also a bit of an outcast in my neighborhood because I could sometimes sense when people were going to die.

                        Dr: You could sense when people were going to die?

                        JF: …Yes. Some people are still pretty superstitious in Taiwan, so they didn’t want anything to do with me. But most people don’t really believe in such things. My family did, though. That’s why they thought I was a bad omen.

                        Dr: Do you mean to say that you could actually know when people were going to die?

                        JF: Yes. Sometimes. Not everyone, just every now and then. I’d have a nightmare about someone dying and then they’d die. It was always very scary. At first, when I was old enough to understand what was happening, I tried to warn people, but that just made them frightened of me, and then I became afraid that my warnings might actually cause their deaths instead of preventing them, so I stopped and tried to ignore it.

                        Dr: Did the problem go away then? Did you stop dreaming of people’s deaths?

                        JF: No. But I realized there wasn’t anything I could do about it. They were going to die anyway. I couldn’t stop it…

                        Dr: And what did your parents think about your “visions”?

                        JF: My mother thought I needed therapy, but my father was very religious, and he always told me that it was a gift. A scary gift, and an unpleasant one, but a gift anyway. He said that being entrusted with it was a part of my dharma. I still believe that, now more than ever. Mum and Dad argued about it quite a bit when I was young, but when I stopped talking about it, Mum must have decided that I’d gotten over it.

                        Dr: I see. I’m going to ask you a question that might be painful. Okay?

                        JF: Okay.

                        Dr: Did you sense that your husband was going to die?

                        JF: …Yes. I did. I wasn’t even dreaming. It just hit me suddenly. I knew he would die later that night…and I was so shocked that I missed my step and slipped on the diving board. I…I guess my premonition caused my accident.

                        Dr: Do you feel guilty about that? Do you think you could have stopped his death somehow?

                        JF: No. Yes, I do feel guilty, but not just because I couldn’t stop his death. I keep thinking, “What if I hadn’t slipped?” But…I already told you, the deaths I see can’t be stopped.

                        Dr: Then why do you feel guilty?

                        JF: Because he moved on to the afterlife to be with me, but I came back. I abandoned him.

                        Dr: By “came back,” I take it you mean when you were resuscitated from your coma? You can’t blame yourself for that. You had no control over the accident or your miraculous recovery.

                        JF: But I did. I wanted to come back so badly. I didn’t want to leave him. I didn’t want all of the years of happiness that awaited us to be cut short by death, not when I’d found the one thing I’d always wanted more than anything else. Not when I’d found true love. So I…fought for my life. And came back. But I was too late.

                        Dr: There is nothing wrong with wanting to live. You’ve been given a second chance, and that’s good. The tragedy that took your husband is not your fault. As much as you might miss him and mourn his loss, blaming yourself is only going to prevent you from conquering your grief.

                        JF: I’m sorry, doctor. I don’t know if this is really helping. Coming may have been a mistake. I’m sorry to have taken your time…

                        From the records of Dr. James Maury, Psy.D.
                        Transcript of second therapy session with Jasmine Forrest (Jasmine Sung).
                        Despite the abrupt way she ended our first interview, Mrs. Forrest returned for a second session. I am troubled by her claims that she could “sense people’s deaths” and fear she is subject to some form of delusion. I would like to address these beliefs of hers, but fear doing so might interrupt any progress we are making toward dealing with her grief.

                        Dr: I’m glad you’re back, Jasmine. Let’s talk more about your early youth. How was your adolescence?

                        JF: Good.

                        Dr: Is that all? Does anything stand out to you about your teenage years?

                        JF: That’s when I first became interested in swimming professionally. I always loved swimming and was very good at it. I began to train seriously in junior high school.

                        Dr: Anything else? Family life, boyfriends, hobbies?

                        JF: My family life was fine. Since I was grown, Mum could afford to spend more time in New Zealand, so she was away a bit more. When we had breaks from school between terms, I sometimes went to spend a few weeks with family in New Zealand if Mum was there. I dated a few times, but I was too shy and too busy for any real relationships. Even so, I wanted to fall in love. I had all these romantic ideals and really wanted my dreams of finding true love to come true. And they did…when I met Richard. But that wasn’t until the 2004 Olympics.

                        Dr: And was swimming your only hobby?

                        JF: …No. Not exactly. I was pretty athletic, and also trained in Taekwondo. And I was into the occult. I knew there was a lot more to the world than what most people are aware of, thanks to the gifts I possessed, and I explored that a lot.

                        Dr: Can you tell me more about that?

                        JF: Well, a lot of girls in Asia go through an occult phase and play around with things like Ouija boards or old folklore curses to get back at their rivals over petty grudges and things like that. But I didn’t want to hurt anyone or anything. Well, maybe sometimes, when other girls picked on me for being half-New Zealander, but mostly I just wanted to understand more about my gift

                        JF: I know you don’t believe in the supernatural, doctor, and that you think I’m crazy. That’s why I left last time. I’m not here for you to help me resolve mental issues that I don’t have. I know the supernatural exists. I just…I just want to be able to move on. I know my husband has passed on, and I want to let him go, take advantage of my second chance at life and maybe, someday find true love again if that’s possible.

                        Dr: Do you think it’s possible?

                        JF: I don’t know. I want to believe it. I think I do believe it, but how can I believe that when the memory of Richard is still so fresh? I feel like I’ve lost my one chance at true happiness. And yet, another…part of me whispers that it isn’t so. That I should take advantage of the second chance at life I’ve been given and not give up on my hopes and dreams.

                        Dr: It sounds to me like you should listen to that part of you.

                        JF: But she’s selfish. The only reason she urges me to hold onto those hopes is because she needs them as much as I do.

                        Dr: Is that so bad? Wanting to live and hope and love again isn’t selfish.

                        JF: But if I do, it will be like letting go of Richard forever. I don’t think I can bear to do that.

                        Dr: You have to let go of him sometime. But letting go doesn’t mean forgetting. Let him pass on peacefully, and still cherish your memories of him. I’ve noticed you wear a locket. It looks like a real antique. Did he give that to you?

                        JF: No. It’s…from…someone else.

                        Dr: What’s inside it?

                        JF: I can’t say.

                        Dr: Why not?

                        JF: I don’t really understand it yet.

                        Dr: Well, it means something to you, doesn’t it?
                        JF: Yes.

                        Dr: And what does it mean?

                        JF: I’m not sure. But it reminds me that I’m not the only one suffering…even if I feel like there is no longer any hope for me.

                        Dr: Selflessness is good. It’ll help you overcome your grief, but you should try not to focus on losing hope. You still have a lot to look forward to. And besides, someone has to cherish the memories of what you and Richard shared. Only you can do that now.

                        JF: Yes, I know that. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

                        Dr: Well, these things take time.

                        JF: I know. I can deal with the suffering of grief. Like I said, there are others suffering more than I am, who weren’t granted a second chance at life. I just want to understand why helping them meant my husband had to die.

                        Dr: Who are you helping?

                        JF: I…can’t explain.

                        Dr: Well, can you try?

                        JF: People who pass away sometimes have lingering needs that bind them to this world. They’re suffering, and it’s my dharma to help them pass on.

                        Dr: I see.

                        JF: You don’t have to believe me. I don’t expect you to. But I know that I couldn’t fulfill this part of my dharma if I was still living happily with my husband. I’ve only started to understand that. It doesn’t make my loss any easier to accept…

                        But at least it gives it meaning.

                        From the records of Dr. James Maury, Psy.D.
                        Transcript of third therapy session with Jasmine Forrest (Jasmine Sung).

                        Mrs. Forrest seems unwilling to address her beliefs in the supernatural, at least in a psychological sense. I’m also concerned by comments she’s made about “another part” of her. My suspicion of some form of schizophrenia requires more attention. However, I believe we’re making progress on dealing with her grief over the loss of her husband. She seems to have a very clear perspective on life and death. I’m getting the feeling that she’s trying to come to terms with more than just her husband’s death. Yet despite her quiet reticence and unwillingness to disclose what I believe are the deepest parts of her psyche, I’ve come to realize that she is very strong-willed. She’s not struggling with grief because she’s too weak to overcome it. She’s struggling to find a way to reconcile sorrow with hope, both of which, I fear, she sees as integral parts of who she now is. It’s a fascinating dichotomy that certainly deserves more investigation.

                        Dr: You seem to be doing better, Jasmine. How do you feel?

                        JF: I’m still always sad, but I’m beginning to feel better. The other part of me keeps telling me that there’s a lot to hope for, and that I’ll find true love again. She wants it more than anything. I don’t know if I believe it, and I can’t help but feel that I’m betraying Richard by hoping that I haven’t lost my one and only chance at finding a soulmate.

                        Dr: Well, those sorts of doubts are natural, but you’ll have to come to terms with them eventually. I know this may be difficult for you, but I’d actually like to talk about Richard this time. What was he like?

                        JF: It’s okay. I can talk about him now.

                        He was kind and gentle. He always wanted to help people. He liked to see other people succeed at whatever they wanted to do. He could really push you to do your best or to work harder, even if you didn’t think you had it in you. I think he had a better idea of others’ limitations than they did, but he also had a better idea of others’ potential.

                        He could be so romantic and loving. He understood the importance of the little things, the details that make something really special. I’ve never met anyone like him. I don’t know if I ever will again.
                        He had his flaws, of course. Sometimes he worked too hard. And sometimes he got too involved in the success of the people he was working with and pushed himself and them too hard. He had a difficult time relaxing. But he almost never got angry, not really, and when he did he got over it pretty quickly. He was a bit helpless when it came to day to day things like cooking or remembering to pay the bills on time, though.

                        Dr: And how did you meet?

                        JF: We met at the 2004 Athens Olympics. I was swimming for the Chinese Taipei team, and he was working as a medic and trainer for the American diving team. It wasn’t love at first sight. Well, for him it was, but not for me. We talked and before the games were over, he’d asked me out. Our first date was at a nice restaurant atop the Hotel Intercontinental in Athens. It had a wonderful view of the Acropolis. By the end of that first date, I think we both knew we had something special.

                        After that, we kept in touch and saw each other whenever we happened to be traveling to the same places. I didn’t know it at the time, but he’d sometimes rearrange his schedule just so he’d be at the same place I was so that we could see each other.

                        Dr: When were you engaged?

                        JF: He proposed to me in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics. That was my last major swimming event. Even if I hadn’t been ready to retire from the Taiwanese swimming team, I would have said yes; I loved him more than anything else in my life, even swimming. We were married the following March in Taipei. It was a Western-style wedding. It was so beautiful. I’ll never forget it.

                        Then we flew to America. Richard was from Connecticut, and even though I hated the cold, we’d agreed to live there. But we spent our honeymoon at a small mansion in California. It was a summer home owned by one of Richard’s wealthy relatives, and they let us have it all to ourselves for a week.

                        And that’s where I fell and broke my neck and drowned, and where Richard killed himself.

                        Dr: Broke your neck and drowned? You mean where you were knocked unconscious and fell into a coma?

                        JF: Yes…yes. When I felt myself dying, deprived of air, water filling my lungs, all I could think about was how I was going to lose Richard. How he was going to die, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was terrified of all that would be denied to me if I actually passed away, and I became unbearably lonely. In that moment, it felt like everything that had ever meant anything to me was being stolen away, leaving me empty.

                        Dr: Was that what made you fight for your life?

                        JF: Yes. I didn’t want to lose Richard. I didn’t want to lose my true love. And I thought that maybe I could stop him from dying. But in the end, I couldn’t…

                        Dr: Yet you suggested before that you felt there was a purpose in this tragedy?

                        JF: Yes.

                        Dr: That’s good. It doesn’t make things better, but it can help you to understand what happened and mourn in a positive manner.

                        JF: I know that now. I didn’t at first.

                        Dr: Well, that’s an important first step.

                        JF: But I haven’t been whole since the accident. Richard completed me. Even the other part of me agrees that I’m only shadow of myself now. I’ve always been a bit of a shadow. You know, shy and retiring. The quiet one who is easy to ignore. Richard was my other half, and now I feel like a shadow again. When I was with Richard, I didn’t like the cold. Now I don’t mind it. It blows through me and reminds me that I’m alive, and that I’m filled with sorrow, but that I have a reason to go on.

                        Dr: A purpose is good. I’m concerned about your feelings of being a shadow, though. It’s not uncommon for married couples to feel that they complete each other, but you’ll need to reassert some independence if you wish to deal with your grief.

                        JF: Being a shadow isn’t the same as being dependent on Richard’s memory, Doctor. It’s simply what I am. I know you don’t understand, but some people, like me, aren’t like others. And even though I still don’t want to part with Richard—not yet, maybe never—I know that I won’t be whole until I find true love again. I don’t know if it’s even possible, and in the mean time I’ll help those I can so that they don’t have to suffer the same endless desire I do. But even if I must keep searching until the day I die, I must try and complete myself again.

                        Thank you for your help doctor. I know you probably think I’m crazy and that you didn’t help me at all, but if nothing else, expressing myself has helped me reconcile and understand the two parts of who I am now. I don’t think I’ll ever stop mourning, but that’s okay as long as I can help those restless spirits who deserve peace.

                        Jasmine left after our third session. She had become more and more communicative as our sessions proceeded, so I encouraged her to come back, convinced that she needed far more counseling to deal with her unique issues, but she refused. I still regret that I was unable to explore her possible schizophrenia, and worry that her condition may worsen of she does not receive help. She is completely uninterested in pursuing further treatment, however. I did receive a letter from her a few months later, which provided me (and her) with some closure.

                        Dear Doctor Maury,

                        Thank you again for your help. I know you think I’m crazy, and perhaps I am, a little, but please trust me when I say that I simply see much more of the world than most people do. It is not insanity that guides me, but insight. I have come to terms with the changes I faced because of my near-death experience, and am stronger for them, I think. You probably think you can still help me. But you can’t. All that psychology you studied can’t help you understand who I am. But that’s okay, because the people I mentioned who understand what I’ve been through are my family now. They’ve experienced the same things I have, and together, we have a purpose.

                        It’s the same purpose we spoke so briefly about, helping others who are suffering from the unresolved ties that bind them to the lives they’ve left behind. That’s enough for me now, at least until I find true love again. I’m still mourning for Richard. I always will be. But I’ve been able to let him go. I’ve changed back to my maiden name, Sung. And I no longer wear my wedding ring, though I’ve placed Richard’s ring on the chain with my locket.

                        You were once curious about my locket, and asked what it contained. I couldn’t tell you then, because even I didn’t understand the significance of it. But I can tell you now. It contains a picture of a man, but the picture is badly faded and water-damaged, so much so that it is now indistinct. It could be a picture of Richard. It could be a picture of a man the other part of me loved and lost. Or it could be a picture of the man I’m destined to fall in love with when, or if, I find another soulmate. So you see, Doctor Maury, the locket is a symbol of all my hopes and sorrows.

                        I won’t say that I’m happy now, but I am content. Be well, Doctor. Should you die before I do, know that I’ll make sure your spirit passes on peacefully.


                        Jasmine Sung

                        My Dearest Thomas, how I miss you so! Every night I fall asleep thinking about our betrothal and the gallant way you proposed. I'm sure I will never forget the way you looked at me with such adoring eyes as you presented my engagement ring and told me that my father, despite my worst fears, had given you permission to marry me! It is a cruel twist of fate that his price for our marriage was to send you to America to see to his businesses there. I half think he parted us prior to our marriage to make me fall out of love with you, but I assure you, Thomas, my affection for you remains as deep and true as ever. I only live for the day when I may sail across the wide ocean waters to join you in America so that we may be wed and live out the rest of our years in a bliss that can only be borne of true love.

                        Dear Thomas, the locket you sent is beautiful! The craftsman who fashioned it is skillful indeed. You must convey my appreciation for his art. And you must accept a bit of flattery for your good taste. The tiny portrait of you locked inside is a priceless treasure to me, and the locket has not left my neck since I received it, for as long as I wear it, you are not far from my heart. Even so, how can I bear the weeks and months of our separation? I have begged my father to let me sail to America, and will be leaving within the week. Within less than two months we shall be wed! I am positively giddy with anticipation, and I know this news will bring you enough joy to endure the hours until we are happily reunited.

                        Dear Diary,
                        The voyage across the Atlantic has been gentle and kind, as these things go. Of course, my thoughts of Thomas help to buoy my spirits. My father, who accompanies me on the voyage, is now quite eager for me to wed. Thomas' hard work on father's behalf has proven my love's worth. I cannot count the number of times each day that I open the locket he gave me and gaze fondly upon his radiant face. How I long to see it in person and plant tender kisses on his sweet lips. The captain informs me we are halfway to Boston. It will not be much longer before I am reunited with my dearest, yet every minute feels like a year.

                        Dear Diary,
                        A storm has overtaken the ship. The waves toss us about so violently that I can barely write. I pray that the storm ends soon, for I fear for my life if it does not. How can the seas rage so against me when I fly only into the arms of my beloved? Even now I clutch his locket and find some small comfort, knowing that our love will see me through even this nightmarish tempest.

                        Dearest Thomas, I fear I will not be able to join you. Cruel fate has torn us apart before we could even wed, and now I sleep at the bottom of the sea. The storm overcame my ship and the black depths dragged me into their cold, dark embrace. But do not fear, my love, for though I am cradled in the arms of the brackish deep, my heart still belongs to you. In time, perhaps my spirit can find you, if only to look into your eyes one last time before I pass on beyond the jaws of death. And if I cannot find you, then I fear there will be no rest for me. Deprived of happiness, must I wander as a drowned shade until I find your love once more? If such is my fate, then I will do whatever I must to fulfill my heart's desire. My sodden lungs and rotting flesh cannot stop me, and if the fish have eaten my eyes, well, isn't it said that love is blind? Death cannot conquer true love.

                        10 Questions
                        1. The first member of the Krewe that Jasmine met was Natalie, who flew to California to see if she really was a Sin-Eater after reading about the bizarrely tragic circumstances of her husband’s suicide on the Twilight Network. Natalie found Jasmine practically hysterical with grief since this was immediately after Richard’s death, but probably helped Jasmine come to terms with becoming Bound. Roughly one week later, Jasmine met Doc and Gwen when they showed up for Richard’s funeral in Connecticut, Doc to pay his respects and meet Jasmine, and Gwen to see if Jasmine was, in fact, a Sin-Eater like herself. Natalie also attended, and once the other attendees had departed and Jasmine had managed to collect herself (it was a very difficult funeral), the four of them started to talk about what they were, and the core of what would become the Krewe was formed.

                        Jasmine was later introduced to Alexia by Doc, who was the one who found her by chance when visiting her confectioners shop. The final member of the Krewe, Simon, became associated with the others after they discovered him while investigating his mansion, which they believed abandoned.

                        2. Jasmine’s second-story room is spacious enough, but seems even more light and airy thanks to the large windows that let in the cold light from outside. A few Taiwanese decorations grace the walls. The drapes and linens are almost monochrome, all in shades of gray with a hint of blue. Jasmine rarely makes her bed, but everything else is well-dusted, clean, and tidy. Even so, the room gives the impression that all of its colors have been desaturated, overcome by gray.

                        A mantle above the small fireplace is laden with the trophies and medals she won as a professional swimmer, with framed photos and newspaper articles as a backdrop. Among the trophies sits a framed photo of Jasmine and Richard together in New Zealand, both smiling and happy. There is a large shelf full of books, some in Chinese and others in English, including a large selection of romantic poetry. A worn volume of Shakespeare’s plays with Romeo and Juliet marked and apparently well-read (especially the ending) rests on the night stand, the desk, or a shelf, implying that she rereads it often. One drawer of her vanity is filled with keepsakes of her late husband, including his love-letters.

                        Her computer is a mid-range laptop, good for little more than using Office and the Internet. She has an metallic silver iPod Touch, and when she isn’t listening to music on it, it’s tucked away on her night stand. A stack of decorative notebooks (mostly black and white with floral designs) sits on the table near her computer, and most are filled with Jasmine’s Chinese writing (her ongoing efforts to translate the works of John Keats into Chinese).

                        Finally, a look in Jasmine’s closet shows that she dresses rather conservatively (the most exciting things she has are an assortment of Chinese-style tops), but three things stand out: a classy (if slinky) wine-colored evening dress, an attractive black cheongsam, and her wedding dress (sealed in a plastic garment bag).

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                        • #13
                          Here we have session VIII. True Believers will note this was the first battle that the Middle Shadows have been in, and there was something of a learning curve given their opponents. This might be a good time to note I used a few of the hacks for Werewolf from Armory Reloaded. Anyway, I've never seen this team fight, and for some players it was their first combat with the new WoD system. None of us are veterans. Still, it went well. It was intense and not just "OK, we are fighting now" which is what I wanted. This is, after all, horror and combat really should be scary.


                          Oh yes, it was pointed out to me I had a less new version of Jasmine's background; Her training was Tai Chi, not Tae Kwon Do. I found out too late to change it. So there you go.

                          Session VIII

                          Doc’s Log

                          Doc's Log: 1525 Hours, Thursday, May 6, 2010

                          Jerome came back in and looked more nervous than he did the first time he came around. We waited until everyone was out of the shop before any conversation started. I was actually a little worried that there had been a problem or something. I was right, but not about what I thought.

                          It seems Jerome St. John, while an arms dealer, is really not a bad guy. He stays clear of any known drug dealers, terrorists, or other things like that. Unfortunately, it sounded to me like the "local boy" got in over his head really quickly. Some dude calling himself the Silver Leopard had contracted with Jerome to get very high caliber munitions. This should have been a pretty big profit but Jerome didn't pay attention to the subtle clues of a setup. Silver Leopard (swear this sounds like a drag queen to me) never spoke directly with Jerome, using a person on the phone that never gave a name for himself. They were very hands off until earlier today when Jerome had all the munitions in, at a fair expense to himself. Then they started making up all these rules about how at this meet he needed to bring up to, but not more than 3 other people, no one was to directly address the Silver
                          Leopard, and a bunch of other shit. And if any of these rules were broken, they'd start shooting. I assume if these rules were presented up front, Jerome would have broken off the deal before it ever got started. But as they waited until he was already in possession of the goods, he needed to make the sale...hoping to at least break even on things he couldn't just get rid of easily. And given we were talking about ammo for vehicle mounted weapons, I didn't like the idea of these people having them anyway.

                          So Jerome came to me to ask for help. I might have thought this was weird, but Crawley put us in touch with each other, which means we both can be trusted. And while running guns, especially military hardware isn't high on my list of "Illegal Shit That's Okay," I got the feeling this was a one off thing for him. And I'm pretty sure after this, there won't be another one. But the kicker here was that Jerome told me that if I could help him and everything went smooth, he'd knock 20% off our bill. Okay, he got my attention with that one. Then he said that if things went bad, and I helped keep things from going really wrong (I'm sure he means him getting killed), then he would take as much as 90% off. Yes, getting cheaper stuff was nice, but that meant something more important. Jerome was scared. Like money isn't important anymore, kinda scared. That on top of what he'd already told me was enough for me to realize Jerome wasn't walking out of this meeting alive. That is unless we intervened. I told him to gimme a couple hours and I'd have an answer for him.

                          Once he left the shop, I called Ronin. I knew she would be the hardest sell on this particular assignment. When she answered, I asked how much like a cop she was feeling today. Figured I should really just jump right in. That went well. Apparently she had a doughnut and coffee next to her computer right at that moment and felt like I was talking trash about her diet...or something. Anyway, I filled her in and she was not happy. She agreed to go in with me, which is good since she's had combat training, even if she doesn't remember it. But she was also adamant that when the deal went down and we got Jerome out of harm's way, these people were done. Now I had already decided these were not good people and planned to make sure they were dead before we left, but I wasn't really expecting Ronin to string the Gallow's Pole. With her on board, I called the House looking for Rose. She would likely have the biggest issue with the criminal element of the plan. When she answered the phone I tried to very gently explain the situation so as not to make Jerome sound too dirty. Surprisingly, she felt like getting involved was the best idea and immediately volunteered to be a spy and invisible assailant if necessary. Shit that was easy.

                          I talked to Snowflake and Nightshade in turn, and worked out some very initial ideas for each of their involvements. Then I called around until I could find Cupcake. We really didn't know what her girlfriend's deal was or if she had any cool powers, so Rose suggested I see if she could help. Cupcake didn't know about that for sure yet either, but she did explain to me what she should do in a fight. Holy shit this girl is a walking weapon. So she's our third. Now I just need to talk to Jerome again.

                          Doc's Log: 1945 Hours, Thursday, May 6, 2010

                          Jerome came back in around 4ish and I told him for the sake of him knowing only what he needs to, yes we would help. I think that struck him as weird but he didn't balk at the help. The deal is supposed to happen at the Marriot at 2am in a suite on the 8th floor.

                          We just finished with dinner. I got the armor in today so 3 of us will be wearing vests tonight. The plan for now is to go in early, let Snowflake and Nightshade properly scout the place, let Rose get into position, then have me, Ronin, and Cupcake accompany Jerome. Once the deal is finished, Ronin and I (and possibly others) will go and “retrieve” the munitions. That’s all assuming things don’t go oh so wrong like I expect them to…like 2 seconds in. But for now, it’s TV night, so we’re going to watch the Crow. I still can’t believe Nightshade talked Rose into watching that. I’m sure this will go well. Oh well, it can’t rain all the time, right?

                          Doc's Log: 2145 Hours, Thursday, May 6, 2010

                          Well that was an experience. I’m not sure Rose has ever intentionally seen anything that violent. I’m not sure Nightshade has ever sat through the whole movie without pouncing someone. Simon seemed to study the film as if taking notes and Cupcake just happily sat through it. I have to admit it was a little harder sitting through the film this time than when I first saw it. I guess watching a movie about my own peculiar condition is more jarring since I’ve died and come back with a vengeance…so to speak. I started remembering a lot of the pain and anger that hit me back in the Sand when I woke up. Seeing my entire unit laying in evaporating pools of their own blood or burned to a husk. The images were coming faster and faster as Rose gave her review of the movie so I was kinda glad when we all broke to get ready. Sometimes I remember when I don’t want to, but this was a little different. It was like seeing Brandon Lee stomp around as the newly dead Revenant thing, just focused my thoughts on how I ended up this way. Laser focused.

                          We’ll be leaving in about an hour.

                          Doc’s Log: 0350 Hours, Friday, May 7, 2010

                          I said 2 seconds right? Yeah bullshit! This was blown from the word go. Let me try to get my head in one place so I can write this down. I’m so pissed and scared and damn it I fucking hate not having a clue what we’re dealing with.

                          Combat nerves. I do not need combat nerves in civilian areas. Damn it!

                          I think I’m good for the moment.

                          Okay so we headed to the Marriot about 0100 Hours to get Snowflake setup with a room on the next floor and he went to work. The meet was actually a suite with multiple adjourning rooms, so this was easily an ambush waiting to happen, but that was nothing. When Snowflake looked into the room all four “people” were already there. We had put our plan together thinking that we were dealing with come sick and twisted killers, or just crazy militia men. Well I did anyway. But when Snowflake said a manifested Murder Spirit and the mustachioed Xavier that Noriko warned us about, another unarmed guy, and a dude with some kind of elephant gun, I knew immediately we had nothing in our favor. One known werewolf, another possible, a Murder Spirit, and a rifleman all waiting to meet us at 0200 Hours. This deal was cocked so hard it would moan if it could. The problem was that it was getting closer to time for the meet and now we knew we couldn’t let Jerome go in, and we damn sure couldn’t let these assholes have the munitions. Lots of intelligent if panicked ideas flew around, but I looked at Snowflake and decided. Change of plans. Call Malard. Yeah it was a long shot and I might be totally off, but somebody had to call in the big guns and if Old Man Malard was the head of the local werewolves then that was as big of a gun as we had. Snowflake woke him up and he said he could be there just after 0200. That meant we needed a distraction and a way to keep Murder Inc from leaving or hurting anyone in the mean time. Oh Malard also said to run through running water to help keep these Ivory Claws from tracking us. I went to Jerome and told him to call up to their room so they knew he was coming, then get the hell out. And make sure to run through some water before he got wherever he was going. He looked at me like I was crazy. Fair, given the situation. But he eventually did what I told him. My first goal of keeping him alive was set. There was going to be no deal tonight and no sacrifices to Mr. Knife Fingers on my watch.

                          Snowflake reminded us that he pretty much controlled the whole building so we had him set off the fire alarm on their floor. This would get most of the innocents out of the hotel and make it a little easier if we needed to keep the werewolves here. That part worked pretty damn well. I mean Snowflake said they looked a little suspicious at the alarm, but they weren’t moving. Then all of a sudden Xavier and the other unarmed dude looked surprised, changed somehow, Snowflake wasn’t real specific, and ran out in the hall. Things got weird then. The rifleman backed himself against the wall while the other two started fighting with …something? Nightshade laid a hand on Snowflake’s shoulder and told him to drop his Boneyard. There was an unmistakable tone in her voice that said to obey and not ask questions. She sat down next to him then and entered her own state. She lifted an eyebrow and told us that Germaine Price, the Revenant, was fighting with the two werewolves in the hallway. I suggested we all prepare for battle as best we could and then donned my Primeval Shroud. I had a feeling that I would need it.

                          Germaine’s guerilla attack bought us enough time for Malard to get there. He did manage to find some help. Zed and Malard met Cupcake and Snowflake in the lobby and we moved to meet on the 8th floor. Ronin and Rose came with me while Nightshade stayed back, gun drawn in the stairwell. We all stayed in contact through the ear curls.

                          Once we jumped into the fight, things got hairy. Pun intended. Malard opened up on Xavier with his elephant gun and the world changed. The Ivory Claws changed into huge wolves and all hell broke loose. Just like any other live combat I’ve ever been in, I can’t do a play by play but the big things stand out. Rose ninjaed the riflemen and then the floor ate him. Xavier the wolf threw some kind of Werewolf Whammy that was causing some pretty horrible pain. Ronin said later that it felt like the pain of when she died. Cupcake grew a bunch of arms (yeah that’s what I said), and jumped on the wolf formerly known as Xavier to hold him down. That worked pretty damn well until the other werewolf, we’ll call him Mutley, took offense to us beating on his boss. Mutley started really wailing on Cupcake since she couldn’t defend herself. There was a lot things that happened I don’t entirely understand because I’m not a werewolf, but people got hurt, then healed, then got hurt and healed and then like went crazy. Mutley found the floor to be a cold and unforgiving mistress while Malard and Zed both got hurt too. Cupcake really took the worse beating. When Xavierwolf looked like he was about to go down something major happened and he turned into a full on wolfman form the Howling. He threw Cupcake off like she was wedding confetti, took a swipe at me, then crashed through a bunch of walls to get away. Oh he hit me, but with all the protections I was wearing by then, it was really just a scratch. And I was lucky. Cupcake was less so.

                          The floor spit the rifleman back out after Xavier fled and Rose stopped me from killing him outright. It had been several years since I’d had to watch someone close to me get carved into hamburger, my kill instinct and my decision that these people needed to die were pretty much in control. Instead they eventually reached my logical side by putting his hand on the fire alarm for prints, hog tying him so he couldn’t get away, calling the police and then Nightshade planted something illicit on his person before we left. I did field dressing on everyone that was wounded then stabilized Cupcake. She’d lost a lot of blood and more meat than I was at all okay with. Gently I scooped her up and let the others know that we were leaving. I had to get back to the House as I was going to need all the help I could get in putting her back together.

                          Once back in the Ceremony Room, I laid Cupcake on the…altar(?) and got all the stuff I could find that would help me heal her. Water, alcohol, her Deathmask, clean bandages, anything. It all really helped. I mean sure I was as covered in her blood when I was done as she was, but when I collapsed next to her on the floor, she was healed.

                          And I’m exhausted. The Combat High is gone, the Medic Fortitude has subsided, I’d have no Plasm left to do anything with except they made me take it from Cupcake’s Deathmask and whatever was left here in the House. Now I’m going to take a shower and crash. Haven’t been this covered in blood since TF Hammer.

                          Jasmine’s Diary

                          May 6, 2010, Late Night

                          Tonight was very stressful. I’ve never placed myself in such danger before. I’m actually amazed at how calmly I handled everything. I guess my meditations have had a far-reaching effect on my mind. And it’s also easier now to face death knowing that I’ve already died once.

                          Doc called the house in the middle of the afternoon. I answered the phone and spoke to him first before letting him speak to Simon and Natalie (since classes are over, I have about a week and a half off before the summer semester begins). Doc was concerned because a friend (or maybe he was a business associate?) was in danger. The man’s name was Jérome St. John. He’s the weapons dealer who is supplying our silver weapons. Unfortunately, he had gotten in over his head, and as Doc explained it, he was supposed to attend a deal to sell some weapons or ammunition to some very nasty customers, and feared (rightly so) that they planned to kill him.

                          I don’t know anything about guns or ammunition, so I’m not really certain what was so special about the bullets Jérome was selling to his customers, but Doc made it sound like it would be bad for it to fall into the wrong hands. I don’t really approve of black market weapons dealing, but Doc seems to trust Jérome and I certainly don’t want guns or ammunition finding their way into the hands of people who would misuse them.

                          Jérome was allowed to bring three people with him as guards, and had asked Doc to find some friends to protect him in exchange for a discount on the cost of the weapons he’s getting for us. That’s why Doc was calling. I could tell that he planned to do what he could for Jérome. And I didn’t feel that it was right to leave someone relatively innocent like Jérome to be murdered when I could do something about it, so I agreed to help out.
                          Everyone else agreed to help too, though I don’t think Gwen was happy about it. She didn’t like the idea of helping a criminal, and I can’t blame her. But it seemed obvious that helping Jérome was the lesser of two evils, so she grudgingly accepted. I was surprised that Alexia volunteered so readily. Simon and Natalie could do their part from a safe distance by keeping an eye on things with the Boneyard. But Doc wanted Alexia right in the thick of things, and I was worried about that. I didn’t really think she was up to combat like Doc or Gwen.

                          Fortunately, I was wrong. Alexia is a very capable fighter, especially when she cloaks herself in phantasm!

                          We went to the Marriott (where Jérome was to meet his contacts) about an hour before the meeting to have a look around. We got Simon a room nearby (but on a different floor) so that he could zone out and tune in with Boneyard. What he reported surprised us all.

                          We had been expecting a group of mortal thugs, people who were dangerous but unprepared for the supernatural powers at our disposal. Instead, the person waiting to buy the ammunition from Jerome was Xavier, the moustachioed man whose picture I had seen in Mr. Malard’s house. We knew that he was supposed to be remakrably dangerous. And he was accompanied by two other men (one armed with a rifle) and a hungry-looking murder spirit.
                          The presence of the murder spirit confirmed our suspicions that Xavier intended to kill Jérome. So we couldn’t let Jérome go in there only to be butchered. On the other hand, none of us felt that we were ready to face one or more powerful werewolves. I don’t really know anything about werewolves, but I know enough to be wary of them.

                          We told Jérome to leave and find somewhere to hide. He was confused and little suspicious, but he did as we asked. Then we discussed our options. Doc didn’t want to let the werewolves go. I wasn’t so sure confronting them was a good idea, but I held my tongue and waited to see what the others decided to do. In the end, Simon called Mr. Malard and informed him of what was going on. Mr. Malard gathered who he could and came to help out as quickly as possible, but almost didn’t make it in time.

                          Oh, Mr. Malard is a werewolf. I think the others suspected as much anyway, though I personally thought he was just a werewolf hunter. His “family” who we met briefly the other day must also be werewolves.

                          We were surprised when Genevieve’s revenant, Germaine, showed up and began fighting the werewolves. It triggered violence much sooner than we expected, but it also helped to buy us time for Mr. Malard and his friend Zed (a younger man who is also a werewolf) to show up. I was completely mystified at Germaine’s arrival. It didn’t seem like an accident, but it also seemed like an amazing coincidence. Later, though, Natalie suggested that Jérome must be a member of Genevieve’s voudoun flock, and that she might have sent Germaine to protect him.

                          When Mr. Malard arrived, we moved in to assist Germaine and attacked the werewolves. By this time, Germaine was fleeing. The werewolves still looked human, but that didn’t mean they weren’t dangerous. The fight was definitely the most ferocious experience I’ve ever had. Doc unleashed the Dog of War to meet the werewolves on even terms. Gwen kept firing shots at them, but they seemed to heal at a remarkable rate. Mr. Malard had brought his elephant gun and probbaly did the most damage to Xavier, and his friend, Zed, attacked the other werewolf.

                          Simon and I focused on the man with the rifle. He wasn’t a werewolf, but he proved himself dangerous when he shot Alexia and hurt her badly. With a couple of smooth tai chi maneuvers, I had him on the floor. He didn’t even know what hit him since I remained invisible the whole time. Simon finished him off by using the Boneyard to tear up part of the floor and beat him unconscious.

                          While the fight raged, Xavier used some sort of magic to inflict wounds on people with only his gaze. In an attempt to immobilize him and make him easier for others to attack, Alexia grew several extra arms using the Phantasmal Caul and moved in to pin Xavier’s arms, trapping him. Unfortunately, Xavier’s other werewolf friend didn’t like that, and attacked Alexia with everything he had trying to get her to let go. Everyone else was focusing on doing as much harm as possible to Xavier, but I could see that Alexia was going to die if I didn’t do something. She was bolstering her flesh with plasm, but even that wasn’t going to be enough to save her. So I shrugged off the Caul and Shroud of Silence and allowed the Bride’s Tear-Stained Caul to envelop me, hoping that in conjunction with my tai chi training it would give me the strength to immobilize Alexia’s attacker before he could finish her off.

                          It didn’t really come to that, though. I guess Xavier sensed that he was losing the fight, because he suddenly went berserk and transformed into a half-man, half-wolf. He tore himself free of Alexia’s grasp and fled. Mr. Malard gave him a parting shot and then he and Zed gave chase. Xavier’s werewolf friend also transformed and went berserk, but by that point Doc was on him and finished him off.

                          At about the same time, I felt something try to take possession of me and realized that the murder spirit must still be lurking about. I possessed the Drowned Bride so that I could see and subdue the spirit, but it fled in fright. As it left, though, it gave me a parting blow, a terrible slash across the neck intended to slit my throat. My defenses were weakened since I’d had to abandon the Shroud, and it left a deep gash that bled terribly until Doc patched it up. But it could have been much, much worse.

                          We didn’t stick around after the fight. Alexia was terribly hurt, so Doc stabilized her as best he could and then took her back to the house. Meanwhile, I offered to remain with Gwen to help her cover up evidence of our presence and to make sure that the man with the rifle was cuffed and ready for the police to find him when they arrived. I’m worried, though, about Doc. He was ready to just kill the guy out of hand, even though he was already unconscious and no longer a threat to us. I guess I was just shocked by how bloodthirsty it seemed. Doc’s always seemed rather...gentle in the past, I guess. Maybe the Dog of War was in control.

                          Now I’m trying to put it all behind me and rest. The gash on my neck hurts badly and is making it hard for me to sleep. Normally, Doc would have used a ceremony to heal it, but he used every bit of plasm he could muster to heal Alexia, and I’m grateful that he did. She needed healing far more than I do, and I’m content to suffer through my injury as long as the others are okay.


                          American Culture & Idioms

                          "The Crow"

                          -We watched The Crow on TV night before going out to help Doc’s friend Jerome. I can see similarities between Bruce Lee’s son in the movie and sin-eaters, but I didn’t care for the movie. It was far too violent and sordid for my tastes. I liked the romantic subplot, though. Obviously the “lost love” thing struck a chord with me.

                          The Ivory Claws:
                          According to Mr. Malard, Xavier belongs to a werewolf tribe known as the Ivory Claws. The Ivory Claws are concerned with purity and draw their members from aristocratic blood. They also believe that life is pain and only death can end that pain. They don’t like people who deal with the dead, since that conflicts with their “end of pain” philosophy. So they aren’t likely to get along with us.

                          The Ivory Claws like New Haven because of the aristocratic family lines and “old blood” that lives there. But Mr. Malard’s werewolf tribe was part of a group of tribes that drove out the Ivory Claws and has held the New Haven territory for a long time. The Ivory Claws have not forgiven them and are trying to reclaim what they believe is theirs.

                          Since the Ivory Claws are probably going to be philosophically opposed to the existence of sin-eaters, I fear they will be our enemies.

                          Natalie’s Tweets

                          Thursday May 6th

                          -Goddess you’re weird, 4chan.

                          -yum naughty nuns. ~_^

                          -The nuns back home were not naughty. At all.

                          -Doc’s talking to Jasmine. Don’t fess up man! You don’t have to!

                          -I suddenly get the sinking feeling I won’t be sleeping with a teenager tonight.

                          -Karen is only going to be a teenager for like 4 more months damnit.

                          -OK holy crap an arms deal???

                          -Your Mistress is becoming involved in international politics. Indirectly. ^_^

                          -OK so premarital sex is bad to Jasmine, but engaging in illegal arms smuggling is A-OK.

                          -Looks like tomorrow is help hot Vietnamese gal with her dad and dead grandma. Tonight is hot screaming death night.

                          -Er, TV night as Simon says.

                          -Everyone else is gearing up.

                          -Tonight will be the first night your Mistress has watched The Crow without making love afterwards/during in several years.

                          -I wish Gwen would slip over here and start making out with me. I really really do.

                          -Damnit Gwen kiss me!

                          -I don’t think Jasmine likes this movie. This lowers my make out interest in her by 35%.

                          -Well, till she starts talking anyway.

                          Friday May 7th

                          -Off we go to the hotel.

                          -This Jerome guy is something else.

                          -So this arms deal involves an evil mustachioed werewolf and a “murder spirit.” The last time I ran into a “murder spirit” I got my throat slit by a Bound associate of mine.

                          -OK looks like we are not fighting the evil werewolves.

                          -Or maybe we are. Simon called out the heavy hitters: Our elderly neighbor.

                          -Does anyone know what an “Ivory Claws” Werewolf is? One who plays the piano?

                          -So begins the death. First violence since Vegas.

                          -Alexia looks like she danced with a shark and lost. Jasmine and Doc got beat up a bit too.

                          -I CAN HAS ZOMBIE <3 <3 <3


                          -Back home. Jasmine is playing with a Rolex and Doc is using the power of death to heal people.

                          -Mustachioed Lycanthrope got away. Still the good guys won. Me? I am calling a certain lady. I have some nervous energy to get rid of…

                          End Session VIII

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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]


                          • #14
                            Time for one more character background, this one for Natalie Knight, Silent Necromancer. Her (short) backstory and answers to questions put to the group.

                            How far back to get to where I am now...I am chosen by the Black Horseman. My death was a long time in coming.

                            I have been a sex object. Not one most people can touch, but as a Suicide Girl (having appeared in "Shake Your Blood" in fact; I was the girl performing the homosexual act with the black hair) and a model, it was my job to make men want to fuck me, and women want to be me so they did not have to accept that they wanted to fuck me so Jesus would not stop loving them. To have men who did not know the first thing about me say they were my perfect match. To be lusted after and not loved, because love implies familiarity. I’ve never been good at anything else.

                            Made my mark in the blogosphere (Gothic music and fashion, yes we are still around, thanks) and introducing awful movies, a modern Elvira. As much as I talk shit about it...its not so bad. Sure you get the guys who think because they have 500 pictures of me they get to grope me. Or break into my hotel room. Or send me pictures of their cock. But there are nice people too. Still, I felt like a thing. I had a lot of fun, but I did not expect to be long on the olde mudball. If I could go out like Jayne Mansfield so much the better.

                            It's easier to be an object with drugs. Was then, is now. Unfortunately, a cornucopia of drugs to make Hunter Thompson proud combined with not eating is not good for you, but that’s the idea. Because when you make your living off your looks, its best to have a nest egg for when the youth forget about you the day after you turn 30. Not me though, never planned to live that long. I'd have gone out like Kurt Cobain if I were not chicken shit, but a combination of drugs and not eating for days and throwing up half of what I did eat did wonders to help me not make 30. I did not do it on purpose completely, but I did recall thinking "I am dying before 30. Cool" when I realized I was not really breathing anymore.

                            Of course, I told you I am chicken shit right? When The Laughing Lady talked to me, I chickened out. Sure, I wanted to live. A hollow life is better then no life at all right? It set a record, of course, two actually; first time I rose from the dead, first time someone told me they would make me a star without then telling me to fuck them.

                            The Laughing Lady wants her chance in Hollywood. She failed once, and damn if she is not gonna try to make me a star. And sure, I am working on that. But it seems so...petty...compared to what’s out there. But I have to balance what she wants and what I want. And sometimes what I want is to make zombies do the thriller dance. Like now, for instance.

                            That’s the story. Pleasant, isn't it? Just remember all those stories about the fresh faced young star walking into Hollywood are just that pleasant. Marilyn Monroe once said that Hollywood was where they pay you $1000 for a kiss and 50 cents for your soul. She had a good point.

                            I always thought things would get better after I died, and I was right.

                            1) How did you meet? Who from the Krewe did you encounter first? Any ideas? I was thinking that we may have run into Simon last, when the group went to investigate the spooky haunted castle and found there. It's just an idea though. Natalie pulls enough public stuff it would be easy to see her speaking at a concert or club or something, realize she is among the Bound, and talk to her. What do you think?

                            From the Sound of it, it appears Natalie will be seeking out Doc to start, then Jasmine, finding Simon last.

                            2) What does your PC's room at the estate have in it? what does it look like how is it decorated?

                            Natalie’s room has incense going anytime she is present, and sometimes the slight smell of cloves. Her closet and two chests of drawers are full of clothes, as well as usually a chair or two…and she has an apartment in town with a lot of clothes as well. In addition to furniture to hold clothes she has a vanity for jewelry and cosmetics she maintains ritual tools such as a was and a sickle, which lay crossed on her black alter. In addition to these, she also has a lot of CDs lying around and a top of the line player hooked up to her computer so she can also play MP3s on it. Many recent CDs have “promotional-not for resale” stamped on them. She also maintains a desktop with webcam in her room from which her bed is always visible on, as well as the laptop and flash drives she always carries with her. There is never, ever drug paraphernalia laying around the room she is not actively using; in the case of a bust, she is not taking the Krewe with her.

                            3) What kind of music does your PC like? What are five groups or orchestras or whatever they go for? Note that game or not if you say Blue October I will still mock you.

                            Natalie likes most sorts of music. She generally dislikes country and folk. Beyond that she has a pretty wide range. She enjoys Velvet Underground, Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, The Damned, The Cramps, Concrete Blonde, nine inch nails, Fallout Boy, Garbage, Bauhaus, Birthday Massacre, Poe, and Swans, if that gives an idea.

                            4) What's your PCs romantic goals? Good time? Looking for Mr. or Miss Right? Looking for Mr. AND Miss Right? Hoping to hook up with a Krewe-mate or see that as inviting trouble to happen?

                            Natalie’s romantic goals are to get laid often. She considers herself a lesbian at the moment, but it won’t last. Likely it will end when she wakes up beside a guy or two. Given there is a delicate and beautiful woman in the Krewe and a strong, tough yet caring one, she definitely has romantic interests within the Krewe. Mostly her romantic life is a string of one-night stands, but as she progresses and comes to love herself she may come to really love another as well. She tends to take her conquests to her apartment however, not the estate.

                            5) What kind of car does your PC drive? Do mind your resources.

                            Refurbished Black 1980 Cadillac El Dorado, 1980 being her birthyear. While the latter detail tends to be omitted publicly, she is well known to drive it by her fans.

                            6) What is your favorite food? Maybe favorite style of food?

                            Italian, because that’s what all my PCs like.

                            7) What does your character do in their downtime? Can you be found in the foyer reading? Dancing through the estate listening to headphones? Painting velvet Aztec warriors battling jaguars with a thunderstorm coming up behind them? Making tinfoil hats for everyone?

                            Natalie spends much downtime on the web and listening to CDs. She spends hours on the computer every day, something no doubt strange and alien to us. She uses this time to scour the Twilight Network as well as post webcasts or podcasts every few days, pictures of herself, and album reviews regularly. Given the decaying nature of the house, she elects to broadcast from there to “keep the mood.”

                            8) What is your PCs favorite color? Do they wear it often?

                            Natalie dresses monochromatically like Jasmine, but almost completely in Black. She will say she dresses in the nature of her patron, The Black Horseman, but in fact there is photo evidence she dressed the same way in 1999 she does now, much less since her death. Shockingly, Black is her favorite color.

                            9) Who do you see your PC getting along best with? Least well? Do the players of those PCs agree?

                            Hard to say. The more conservative a PC is, the more she is likely to grate on them and the cuter they are, the more she will like them.

                            10) OK, your PC has been given a second chance, and extended lease on life. How do they plan to take advantage of it? how has death changed them?

                            A superficial conversation probably gives the idea Natalie is in it for comfort. Indeed, Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll are major parts of her life. She spends quite a bit of time in the arms of drugs, one faceless beauty or another, and listening to music. But that is not what drives her now. She has always been powerless, her lack of real musical or acting talent making her a hanger on whose looks and encyclopedic knowledge of music she was able to parlay into a modest amount of fame. But now she remembers all the times she spent on her knees, or in old men’s beds, to get where she was, and she recalls snorting heroin to forget how hungry she is because she lacked needles or food. Never again; the powers of death yawn wide, and Natalie intends to master them and become the Mistress of the Dead she always really wanted to be.

                            11) What decorations or jewelry does your PC wear?

                            Most jewelry involves Scales (indicative of her being Silent), both Scorpio symbols, Labryses, and Ankhs (because she likes them and is a poser). She has few items with gems in them, and many of the gems she does have are glass or artificial. Her jewelry is almost completely silver, including earrings, naval rings, and necklaces or chokers. She has a tattoo of a scale on the small of her back, a small black classic Scorpio scorpion on her left hip, and the Chinese number “4” on her upper right leg. She is never without black lipstick and eye shadow, and frequently applies foundation to her face though she can be seen without that…sometimes.

                            12) Where were you from?

                            Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. Natalie has not been back in 10 years, and does not intend to return. She does not talk about it, beyond the fact that she left to go to college, then “slipped the leash and fled to California”

                            13) Weapon of Choice?

                            Zombies, or enslaved Ghosts. She has a pistol she actually purchased to shoot herself in the head with on her 30th birthday that she can use in desperate cases. In rituals, she uses a silver scale, a was, and a sickle much of the time.


                            Height: 5’4

                            Weight: 130 lbs

                            Eyes: Blue (left) Green (Right); Sometimes Gold (from Contacts)

                            Hair: dyed Black

                            DOB: October 27, 1980

                            RIP: January 1, 2008

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                            • #15
                              New session, few notes: Doc's player and his wife had to miss as they have stuff going on right now. No Doc's Log this time. Second, Bear in mind when Jasmine discusses Werewolves they got the short version, and there was some interpretation on her part as to what Malard meant by a few of his statements. My running of Werewolves does not really vary from WTF. Finally, a subplot not breached here was Simon's using Boneyard to investigate Chandra's shop. The bathtub in a room, the restaurant style ice machine, and the shafts he noticed leading to a skylight suggest strongly she may be a Penanggalan. Alexia has...chosen to ignore this for now.

                              Also, this was the first time I granted an equipment bonus to a PC to resist being talked into seeing Rocky Horror because they had just been shown The Crow. Life is strange.

                              Session IX

                              Jasmine’s Diary

                              May 7, 2010, Morning

                              Mr. Malard visited this morning after breakfast. Natalie and Gwen were out and Doc slept most of the day, probably because he had exhausted his plasm healing Alexia. But Simon, Alexia, and I had a long conversation with our neighbor about last night’s battle.

                              Mr. Malard told us a lot about werewolf society. I can’t remember it all, but I’ll try to record the main points:

                              - Werewolves call themselves Uratha.

                              - Werewolves generally belong to one of two competing philosophies: The Forsaken (which are what Mr. Malard and Zed are) try to safeguard the world against spirits and try to work with civilization. The Pure (which are what Xavier and the Ivory Claws are) think civilization is too powerful and that spirits need to take a more active role in the world. Unlike the Forsaken, they don’t always work to keep spirits out.

                              - Mr. Malard belongs to a tribe called the Hunters in Darkness. Zed belongs to the Iron Masters. Tribes are sort of like major groupings of werewolves, but I’m not sure whether blood or philosophy has a bigger impact on an individual’s tribe. I suppose you could compare tribes to our Thresholds. In addition, werewolves of different tribes might gather together in packs, which are similar to our krewes. I think Zed and the other “family” we saw at Mr. Malard’s house a week or so ago are Mr. Malard’s pack, but I’m not sure.

                              - The Ivory Claws once dominated this area because they believe purity of blood is important, and they liked the pure-blooded, aristocratic families of New Haven. They also like the money and advantages it gives them. Mr. Malard was part of an alliance of werewolf packs that drove the Ivory Claws out. Now Xavier wants to reclaim the territory.

                              - Werewolves seem very motivated by territory issues.

                              - Mr. Malard was a commander in the battles that drove out the Ivory Claws and is very, very old (older even than he seems). He is fated to die in battle, which grants him a lot of status among his kind.

                              -Currently, there are two werewolf packs in or around New Haven, not including the Ivory Claws. Malard’s pack’s territory is the Long Wharf area. It overlaps with our krewe’s territory a bit, but since we tend to handle different kinds of problems, that’s not going to be an issue. The other pack is led by someone named Ildefonso Decastro (from a tribe called the Blood Talons), and its territory is the Sleeping Giant State Park. Ildefonso is related to the Sansbury Hall Decastros, but Malard didn’t seem to think he shared their evil streak. New Haven proper is unclaimed and serves as a sort of “fence” between the two territories, keeping things peaceful between the packs.

                              - Werewolf bites do not turn people into werewolves like the legends say, but someone who is bitten can be more easily tracked. Werewolves sometimes bite people who are close to their first “change” (when they first become a werewolf), so that they can be watched and aided.

                              Of course, Mr. Malard was curious about us too. He didn’t really know anything about sin-eaters, but Simon did a great job explaining it to him. He was glad to know we could deal with ghosts, since werewolves normally deal only with spirits. We agreed to help his pack out if they had trouble with ghosts, and he agreed to help us if we ran into spirits that we couldn’t deal with on our own.

                              May 7, 2010, Early Afternoon

                              Alexia probably has more energy and curiosity than is good for her. She decided today that she simply had to know what manner of supernatural creature Chandra is. I confess that I’m curious about that as well, but I suggested that Alexia should trust Chandra to reveal her secrets when she’s ready to do so. After all, Alexia hasn’t revealed that she is a sin-eater, so she should be patient and wait until the time is right for the two of them to share such personal information.
                              But she wasn’t willing to wait, and her curiosity was infectious, so Simon, Alexia, and I went to the Rose Hall library at Albertus Magnus to do some research (Simon claimed the mansion’s library would probably contain little of use).
                              We did not learn much, and we know so little about Chandra’s condition that myths and legends weren’t much help. There were a few strange types of undead creatures from Asia, but none that seemed to fit what we know.

                              Still, Alexia wanted to stop by and see Chandra on our way home, so we did so. It was nice to talk with Chandra a bit. She’s even more happy and excited than before.

                              I had to apologize to Alexia, though. I have been under the impression that she was pushing their relationship along at a pace that might have been unfair to Chandra. But now I realize that Chandra is the one who has been moving the relationship forward at its breakneck pace. She’s already considering marriage! I don’t know if that’s even allowed here.

                              I should probably try and talk to her about slowing things down, but what would I say? She’s so vivacious and energetic that it’s hard to get her to stop and listen to me, at least when I’m advising caution and temperance.

                              May 7, 2010, Late Afternoon

                              Friday is Simon’s day for practice. After our battle last night, I wanted to brush up on my taichi, so I suggested that Simon, Alexia and I do a bit of training together. It went well.

                              Also, I learned that Simon does not know how to swim! I was shocked. We made plans to begin teaching him on Monday. I’m also scheduled to begin Jean’s summer training on Monday, but I can easily make time for Simon too.

                              May 7, 2010, Night

                              We went to visit Trinh’s family and see what we could do to help with the ghost of her grandmother. It was incredibly touching. In fact, it’s the first ghost I’ve really resolved since becoming a sin-eater, and helping Vong’s ghost pass on was a remarkably fulfilling experience for me. There was so much about it that struck a chord with me: the difficulties of being half-Asian and having to deal with the superstitious enmity of one’s relatives; the amazing devotion of Trinh’s father, Alan, in the face of her grandmother’s racist hatred…

                              Gwen was out working on things for her private investigator business, and Doc had business to attend to elsewhere. I was a bit disappointed that they weren’t there to help one of my students, but Natalie, Alexia, Simon and I were more than capable of taking care of this haunting.

                              Trinh’s family was anxious. Once we arrived and got to work, Alexia and Simon talked with Alan and Trinh’s mother Nell, helping them to understand what was going on and keeping them calm while I addressed Vong’s ghost. I was upset when Natalie starting chatting with Trinh. She was obviously flirting with her, and I didn’t like that. I feel protective of Trinh, and I fear Natalie’s trying to take advantage of her. I know that’s not necessarily the case, but even if it isn’t, we were there for business, and I was unhappy that Natalie didn’t seem to be taking it seriously. Fortunately, she proved herself later.

                              As we expected, Vong was hostile, but her ghostly tricks had little effect on us. I tried to engage her in conversation. We needed to help her come to peace with Trinh’s father and let go of the racist hatred that was keeping her tied to the world.

                              She was very evasive, and I got the feeling that she was frightened to let go of her bitterness and hate. In the end Natalie had to force her into submission with the Stigmata Marionette to get her to listen to me. But eventually my words got through to her. Even though she had good reasons to hate Americans, I helped her realize what I think she’s really known for a long time. Alan isn’t like the men who raped her daughter. He’s been patient, loving and devoted for years. He stoically bore Vong’s hatred and treated her with affection and respect despite how poorly she treated him because he loves Nell, truly and deeply. He is dedicated to his family, and Vong’s prejudices could never change that.

                              I’m not good at talking to people, but I think that my ability to see how much Alan loves his family allowed me to help Vong see it as well. And when she finally let go of her hatred and let herself realize how lucky her daughter is to have a man like Alan, she was finally able to move on, knowing that her family is in good hands.

                              Nell was distraught. She had been able to see the ghost since Vong died, so she hadn’t really dealt with her mother’s death yet. For her, it was almost like Vong had never really died until then. But I’m not worried about Nell. Alan and Trinh are there to help her get through it.

                              The whole experience was incredibly uplifting, but as with everything in my life, it was bittersweet. Seeing the love and devotion Alan has for his family reminded me of what I lost when Richard died, and it left me feeling sad and very, very lonely. When we returned to the mansion, I excused myself to spend some time alone in my room. I’ve had a good cry, and getting these words down on the page has helped. But I’m still feeling even lonelier than usual tonight.

                              I hope there’s an Alan out there for me somewhere.

                              May 7, 2010, Late Night

                              My loneliness made me restless, and Simon, Natalie, and Alexia were out for the evening, so I went down to watch a movie. Tavia joined me. She didn’t throw any accusations my way this time. She just went on about her habit of staring. Once she was finished, we both enjoyed a bowl of ice cream and she stayed to watch the movie with me. It was nice.

                              American Culture & Idioms

                              "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"

                              Natalie went to host some sort of party event celebrating a film called The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Simon went with her. I was curious, so I asked about it. It sounded very, very strange. No one would tell me much about the movie, but the event involved watching the movie in costume, heckling the film, dancing, and probably a lot of drinking. Alexia and Simon suggested very strongly that I wouldn’t like it, but weren’t very specific as to why. Natalie tried really hard to coerce me into going, telling me it would be a new and interesting experience. Her insistence put me on guard.

                              Natalie ended up leaving for the event in a gaudy outfit covered with sequins. I think she said she was dressed as a character named Columbia (?). She looked like she was going to perform in a circus or a cabaret.

                              Anyway, my curiosity got the best of me, so I looked The Rocky Horror Picture Show up online.

                              I’m glad I didn’t let Natalie talk me into going.

                              Dark Haven Bluffs

                              Our krewe’s home haunt, Dark Haven Bluffs, has lots of interesting features. I’ve come to love the place in the months since I moved in. Currently, only Simon, Tavia and I live here full-time. Everyone else has another residence. Gwen and Alexia usually stay at the mansion, though.

                              I should probably record some of the stranger features of the mansion as they come up.

                              Today, Simon and Tavia had to deal with the portrait of “Grandmama Marcia” in the main hall. It was crying. This happens sometimes, but putting baby pictures up where Grandmama Marcia can see them calms the painting and makes it stop. I’ll have to remember that.

                              Vong Ngheim
                              Date of Death: 2008
                              Cause of Death: Sickness, probably due to age
                              Haunt: Trinh’s family
                              Anchors: Hand-made Blanket crafted by Vong when she was alive; Nell (her daughter)
                              Known Numina: Possession, Malediction, Telekinesis

                              - Vong was the ghost of an old Vietnamese woman who haunted the family of my student, Trinh, causing accidents and poor health to plague Trinh’s father and probably Trinh’s boyfriend.

                              - Vong was bound to her family out of racist hatred toward her son-in-law, Alan, despite his patient devotion to her and her daughter. When we were able to help her see beyond her prejudices and understand how much he cared for his family, she was able to pass on.

                              -For some reason, Vong’s daughter, Nell, could see the ghost. Her family was unaware of this.

                              Tavia’s Brother?

                              Tavia mentioned her brother during the movie. He is dead, having perished in some sort of accident. Tavia was not forthcoming with details, but I didn’t really pry. Still, I got the feeling there was something sinister about it.

                              I should ask Simon what he knows.

                              Natalie’s Tweets

                              Friday May 7th

                              -Your Mistress is…content. Also, languid.

                              -Tonight at Bar at Midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show, hosted by me, Natalie Knight. Be there early for pre-show hijinx.

                              -This is a good day, a very good day.

                              -My Krewe needs me. Well, decadence can only take you so far.

                              -Jasmine needs to do Rocky Horror. Maybe it will loosen her up a little bit help her learn to have fun.

                              -Simon at least is going. Unfortunately I thought Alexia was going to take Chandra, but no.

                              -You know, I am getting the idea Alexia does not want Jasmine to go. Weird.

                              -Ok, time to see if we can help this Trinh chick. I am the ghost wrangler for if we need a firm hand. Simon, Alexia, and Jasmine are going as well.

                              -Oh my, oh my my my. Today is a very, very good day.

                              -Jasmine is giving me the look. Does she expect me to think Trinh is pretty?

                              -I like Alan, her dad. He seems like a good guy. Her mom Nell I am not sure of.

                              -And the guest of honor arrives.

                              -She is trying all this Ring shit. Jasmine is unmoved.

                              -I have a certain email address. Rock. Goddess bless texting.

                              -Uh oh, splitting up. I mean, we will cover more ground, but Shaggy is gonna get eaten by something.

                              -I’m not Shaggy am I? I want to be Velma, but I think I am Daphne.

                              -I love Trinh’s eyes.

                              -Oh crap!

                              -Well, that sucked, and was beautiful, and good, and almost went really shitty…

                              -Nell got possessed by Vong the ghost, but jerked her out and made her prostrate herself before me, as is natural and good…

                              -Jasmine talked to the ghost, Alexia covered Trinh. I kept the ghost from moving while Simon kept an eye on the scene ready to Boneyard…

                              -Jasmine (with our help) convinced the ghost to move on and acknowledge she trusted Alan to take care of Nell and Trinh. It was…pretty.

                              -We have made friends today. And helped a family. And I have an email address for someone out of college for the summer and with some free time. ^_^

                              -Who says good deeds don’t pay?

                              -Your Mistress is putting on her outfit for The Rocky Horror Picture Show tonight at Bar at Midnight!

                              -Oh damn why did I get it in this size. I don’t puke off weight anymore.

                              -FUCKFUCKFUCK ow. I think I may have broke it.

                              -I can’t feel my legs. I can dance like that right?

                              -I don’t know why I ever decided Columbia would be the best look for me. I guess the others can’t say I only wear black now.

                              -Looks like Simon and I are ready to go. Simon is in his “wedding attire.” Big bow tie and all.

                              -I got the most awesome look from Jasmine just now. I think the fact that she then saw Simon made it EVEN BETTER.

                              -Jasmine still does not want to go. Shocking I know. Her loss. I try to help her have fun.

                              -Quite a few here tonight.

                              -Come to Bar for a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hosted by me, Natalie Knight. We brought the screen you bring the costume! ^_^

                              -Opener went well. Ah the adoration of my fans.

                              -I LOVE YOU ALL! EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE AUDIENCE TONIGHT! ^_^ ~kisses~

                              Saturday, May 8th

                              -Almost time for me to go on. I hope I fall down at the RIGHT point this time. ~_~

                              -Oh rock ass, this went well.

                              -Goodnight everyone! Thanks to all who attended tonight. I will be seeing you soon!

                              -Goddess bless rock and roll!

                              -Riding back with Karen. After a hard nights work I have sinning to do.

                              End Session IX

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