Edge City

Active Blood

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Exiting the Mausoleum

Kinslton was let out of Tarasuko’s cage by the Ghost, who thanked him. However, he wasn’t sure how to let Kinslton out and protect the secret of his lair. He decided to put a bag on his head and take him out in the jet, then he took the bag off, they flew some fun maneuvers, and the Ghost opened his canopy so he was sucked out over the city. He turned into a bird and flew home, still unsure of where the Mausoleum might be.

Flaming Motel Horror Show

Adrian and Burr watched over the motel, and the only activity was a scruffy man leaving some hours before dawn, walking into a field and dropping into the earth. Otherwise, the sun came up fine, and only some mastiffs covered in dry blood and viscera stood guard.

Adrian checked the place out using magical stealth, finding a horror show of death and carelessness and filth. He effortlessly executed the mastiffs at close range with magic, and he and Burr used cloth and gas salvaged from the parking lot to burn down the motel with the vampires inside, staying to make sure all four were dead and the place was thoroughly burned.

The evidence that Adrian found before torching the place was an abused and filthy spiral notebook full of scribbled rune shapes, doodles, and the name “Zakoth.”

Nalla’s New Sword

Previously they were notified that Dougles Singleton was found beheaded at a rest stop 30 miles out of town. Lydia felt determined to do something about Nalla, checking in with Fr. Abrams to find that Nalla (who he considered somewhat arrogant) was back at her home in the stacks.

Lydia visited her there, and again heard from Nalla that her plan was to use cars, guns, and if need be her tits to foil would-be attackers until she could get away and hide behind police or holy ground. Lydia persuaded her to at least come train with her machete a little. She checked with Genevieve for permission to use the ninja ballroom to train.

After some exchanges where Nalla won a little and Lydia won some more, Lydia had a heart to heart to explain how protecting longevity through doing better with swords was important. She underscored her point when she gave the katana she inherited from the immortal to Nalla, who was flabbergasted by such a fine gift, and somewhat shamed into trying to do better.

Day in the Life

Genevieve was at work with the Recon Teams and she saw the new armor rolling out for agents who work side by side with GAT bots; matte black plastic with a skull face and retractable wrist blades, pretty sweet stuff. She got a call from her butler that a monkey wanted to talk to her.

She went home to talk to the monkey, who dragged a dry erase board in and wrote on it to converse. The monkey was mind controlled by Shrimpshell, who wanted to talk to Genevieve to see if they were going to have a problem. (It was annoying that Genevieve was tearing through her cypher defenses to identify her. Shrimpshell was a meta capable of mind control, so she was using the monkey as a sock puppet.)

In exchange for keeping the secrets Geneveive learned about her, Shrimpshell offered information that the Christmas hit on the Luddite was sponsored by Weyland Incorporated. They parted somewhat neutral.

New Houseguest

Kinslton found Lucille on the porch; Alpha Wolf told her where he lived, and she came to visit. Her place burned down and she needed a place to crash for one night. She was in awe of his place, and his butler, and his fresh and real Miracle Whip, and later she played the piano while Burr was napping (she claimed to have been a piano tuner once.)

He gave her some rules. Stay out of the basement, stay out of the attic, and no playing the piano if anyone else (except Carruthers) is home.

That Symbol

The one in the gross notebook was an effort to pin down the shifting visual glyph like what the GAT bot pictures found, that Kinslton brought to Adrian. Using her puzzle skill and looking at the 25 pictures, Burr narrowed it down to 6 of the runes that this one might be; the ones in the picture would not be accurate either, after all.

Meanwhile, Kinslton and Genevieve did some research and found out that Zakoth was in one of the European witch hammer books of monsters, an old threat (probably a vampire) in Western Europe 300 years ago. (After the research, Lucille jumped Kinslton on the sturdy library table while Burr was elsewhere.)

Genevieve and Adrian took the Zakoth information to the Veil and looked it up in reference to the Enigmist, an arcanist who worked with the Ghost.

They found that the Enigmist once partnered for a couple years with Spiderjewel, a Shadow. She had the Oathbound, a network of agents. The Ghost did not trust her, so the Enigmist was the go-between and he vouched for her. He created the symbols that the GAT bots found, for the Spiderjewel and her agents.

In 1968 the city defenders encountered the Luminarians, agents of Zakoth the Subterranean. The Luminarians had a reliquary with some “active blood” of Zakoth’s, they were part of a larger effort to conduct a ritual or something. The Enigmist and Spiderjewel thwarted the Luminarians (most of whom were not vampires) and took the reliquary, hiding it away behind one of the sigils.

Genevieve pursued it further, seeing that the next year there was a falling out between the Enigmist and the Spiderjewel, and the shadow died somehow; the scanned in typed pages were not always cross-referenced very well, and she decided not to keep after it.

Genevieve checked the camera feed for what the Ghost was up to and saw him ambush a ninja, rip off its head covering and then its face skin, and jam some kind of spike into one of its robotic eyes to download information to the Veil.

Then they researched Weyland Inc. The CEO is Dr. Lance, a physicist. Their tagline was “Cleaner, Safer, Brighter.” The company was into alternative energy and cutting-edge battery technology, with solar farms and kite farms and wave farms all harvesting energy, and a deep sea facility powered by waves. They bought the Yutani “energy harmonics” division for 7 billion, including an underground facility in St. Louis that in fact does extend under the St. Louis Arch.

About that point, a cute woman dressed only in a man’s dress shirt wandered sleepily in, and was startled to not find the Ghost; she retreated fast back into the Mausoleum. Genevieve and Adrian used her shaman powers to leave as well.

Social Times with Indigo

Kinslton went with Lydia to meet Indigo, who was playing sad music to casino losers in Besquelle. They went to the Oyster Bar and he played music while they enjoyed the scene. At one point Kinslton told him Kennedov was upset with Indigo focusing on one food source, but Indigo shrugged that off and continued to do his own thing. Later, Indigo and Lydia teleported out, and Kinslton went home.

As Indigo was feeding from Lydia in the privacy of his loft, he murmured “Tchulza” and explained it meant “Chosen” in another language.

Back at the Brownstone

Alpha Wolf dropped by just to get loaded up on stories of inappropriate things Lucille did in the brownstone, which he found hilarious, and rushed back to the Leaky Gasket to retell. Burr told him what had been going on, from the Miracle Whip to the piano and some of the silly things Lucille was up to. As she headed off to nap she spotted Lucille lurking in earshot.

Painting

At one point in there Adrian went home and visited his wife, who was in her underwear painting something abstract; Adrian saw in it the Hyades cluster with one star prominent, and the pattern like high-speed travel through the Umbra. Nice work, dear, and he was off to play with his friends.

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To Catch a Ninja

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

At work with the Recon Teams, Genevieve finds out about Silas Monty, an agent who was picked up in the wee hours wandering the streets out of his head with paranoia and hallucinations. Kinslton and Genevieve track him back to an Irish bar, where they find he was with a pale woman in the bathroom before he went out of his head and left. A barfly soaks them for a little more money to find out that the woman was questioning him about symbols, and Monty gave up Kinslton’s name. They get a picture of her. Apparently if she looks a victim in the eye she can provoke madness.

She stole a car that was left in a theater parking lot near Feducci’s, and Adrian joins them. Lydia comes for lunch too. They find that Lipless, an information broker, told her that the local wizard that Kinslton might consult for magical things would be Adrian.

Cross referencing some rust found in the bar and some cargo containers in the junkyard by Feducci’s and the nearby abandoned car, they found some cargo containers and located some boobytraps and escape tunnels where the vampire was lairing.

While it was day, they breached the container and Lydia used her powers to immobilize the vampire, and they told her to leave town. Then they left, with Adrian and Burr watching over the site.

After sundown, the vampire left, and they followed her to a motel dozens of miles out of town, off the beaten track, where a vampire pack had killed everyone and taken the place over. Upset that the vampire scout Frostvein had not succeeded in her mission, the leader of the vampires shot her in the head with a shotgun and went inside; she unsteadily followed. Burr and Adrian resolved to keep an eye on the situation.

Ninja Trap

The Ghost contacted Lydia and asked her to take charge of a mission to capture Tarasuko, a dangerous zen archer ninja. He had her location, and wanted Lydia to pull in whatever help she wanted so they could get her. Lydia invited Burninator, who figured he had time but had somewhere to be afterwards, as well as Genevieve, Anna, and Kinslton.

Turns out Tarasuko was a high-end car salesperson with Murad Motors, with other ninja also in sales with her. As she left work, they ambushed her; Wraith opened a gate to the stun grenade trap in the Mausoleum, and Kinslton rushed her into it in his giant bird attack form. Tarasuko shrugged off the stun grenades that fried Tarasuko. Job well done.

Vigil

Afterwards, Burninator, Wraith, Genevieve, and Anna went to the Halloway Yacht Club where Tidelia was deep underwater holding vigil on the two year anniversary of the Regatta Massacre where she killed dozens of people.

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Hearts and Blood

Monday, February 14

Kinslton rose early and went to the Leaky Gasket, where he found Lucille, hung over sleeping on a pool table. He took her to brunch at a greasy spoon, where she gave him a diamond tie pin as a present, and recopied the Templar manifesto and oath onto a back sheet from the phone book so he would have it for reference. They agreed to rendezvous later at the Leaky Gasket to go have sex on the roof of the Edgarton Museum of Natural History. Kinslton headed off to work.

Genevieve was also at work in Precinct 13, monitoring the gat bot lines at the protest in Fortress Square (protesting gat bots. Some protesters put paper hearts on gat bot chests. They had a tailgaiting lunch, too.)

At Lydia’s bookstore, they had Valentine themed coffee, poetry books, and so on for the last-minute shopper, so it was a pretty busy day.

Adrian went with his wife Emma all over town, buying antiques and trying out odd restaurants and seeing an avante-guarde play about the engine of modern progress. The most excitement was when some ninja attacked an armored car, but Burninator was on the scene to thwart them. Afterwards, he had a pleasant evening at home.

After work, Genevieve was met by Graves, with disguises. They had a carnal encounter in their traditional elevator in Fortress Square, and were escorted out by security and warned they’d be sued if they did that again. They failed to quake in fear at the idea.

Lydia left work and followed a trail of roses to a romantic rooftop dinner followed by snuggling with Indigo, and sharing blood.

Fetch

Burr worked out and caught up on her reading. Just another day. Then Mr. Fetch visited, and chatted with her a bit, and waited for Kinslton to get home. When he did, Fetch pointed out Kennedov was interested in how Indigo was doing, and would like an update for lunch tomorrow; Kinslton agreed, and tried to figure out how to find the elusive vampire he was supposed to be friends with and keeping tabs on.

He took Lucille to a number of Besquelle nightclubs, and they indulged themselves in various semi-private places. He decided he wasn’t going to find Indigo that way, so he reluctantly sent an Inspecter text to Lyida and Genevieve.

When Genevieve got out of her bath, she telepathically located Lydia and let Kinslton know. He left Lucille and flew to that rooftop, not to spy but to check in when the party was over. Of course Lydia teleported them out of there directly, unaware of his presence, so he gave up and flew home.

In the predawn hour, everyone got a text that the Gray Ghost wanted to meet them the following midnight in the Justice Dome.

Lunch with Kennedov

The next day Kinslton flew to Kennedov’s island, and updated the elderly vampire. Kennedov was concerned that Indigo was fixating on one source of exotic blood, and asked Kinslton to make sure that under no circumstances Lydia drank Indigo’s blood. Kinslton agreed. Also, if any other vampires showed up, Kennedov wanted to know about it. No other vampires, Kinslton reported. Then he had a chicken dinner and flew back to the mainland.

The Ghost’s Plan

After a long day, they met the Ghost at midnight in the Justice Dome. The Ghost was different; taller, masculine, different voice. He divied them up into three strike forces to take out a ship in international waters. Sabotage it, and have the Recon Teams handy to rescue those who jumped out or were arrested.

They headed out on Swashbuckler’s ship, except Tidelia took Adrian and Burninator underwater with dolphins. Once at the site, the longboat approached the container ship, and was spotted. Burninator and Adrian shot holes in the front hull, while Tidelia wrecked the engines, the Gray Ghost disarmed the inevitable self-destruct mechanism, and Genevieve led the group that boarded to get as much intel as possible. Wraith (Lydia) teleported them over, and they fought with ninja as Genevieve got below decks and saw an argument over whether or not to wake up the cargo, in massive coffin-like bins all down the belowdecks storage.

Four of the creatures were woken, and they were awful alien predator things. Genevieve navigated the Japanese language issues as she grabbed as much data into a laptop as she could, and Ana picked up as much physical evidence as possible, while Burr provided security. Genevieve used her bauble to illuminate one of the monsters; it was horrible, and they were killing the ninja.

Shadow Creeper insisted they blow it up, she faced one of these in South Settler. They all agreed, the Ghost triggered the self-destruct countdown, and everyone fled the boat one way or another as it went down and blew up. Adrian and Burninator faced a couple swimming monsters, and Adrian blew one up as Tidelia sent sharks after the other one.

A speedboat tried to escape, and Hammerhand was on it, but someone on the boat threw a starfish on his face and knocked him out; Kinslton had to rescue him. They used GAT bots with flotation devices as scanning nodes, and found all the ninja in the waters, recovering them.

Once the Recon Teams got back to land, they processed the ninja; the half that were wanted by INTERPOL were shipped off, a few of the others had local warrants, and the rest were temporarily held for terrorism, until the recovered intelligence could be interpreted to suggest what they might be guilty of attempting to do with their endless freezer cases, a monster army.

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Afternoon Revelry

Saturday, February 12

Warehouse Warming Party

Burr got back from her mission with the Order in Chicago that involved driving for the group that was hitting vampires. She rendezvoused with the Templar in the Leaky Gasket and got caught up on current events, and she got in on the pre-party-party where Alpha Wolf got his people a little lubricated with alcohol so they could be cool and relaxed and on good behavior at the party. Then she rode along as they headed to a 1:00 p.m. party in a warehouse in Torpedo Bay.

Turns out Genevieve’s investigative group purchased this industrial-zoned abandoned warehouse for the cost of back taxes, while it was still a notch above condemned. It was built to house fabrics, bought and refitted to handle a variety of storage needs, then sold to a group that used it for shipping containers, then abandoned when they went out of business. Now it would be the shell for a training company (because of zoning issues) targeting the Chauncey clan as a social space.

The Chauncies and Templar showed up, bringing amps and such as well as an old black and white film projector and a damn good popcorn maker and a gas generator so all that would work. They found standing water in the basement to fight in, and a stretch of blighted concrete where they could race for vehicle titles. (Burr did quite well racing, but declined to continue as the stakes ramped up.)

Genevieve and Lydia brought a massive 24 foot sub using Gate, as well as other party favors, and all that food was devoured.

The Game

Eventually the atmosphere was too rowdy for Lydia, and when she took a break on the roof she noticed someone sitting in a rental car a couple blocks away watching them.

Lydia told Genevieve, who psychically coordinated the effort to sneak up for a better look. She ninja crept towards the car and saw the man inside, and saw he had binoculars and what looked like a remote detonator. When Lydia teleported into the alley for backup, the man scrambled out of his car, and she felt a disorienting rush from him.

Genevieve shot him in the wrist so he couldn’t use the detonator, and they questioned him. Turns out he was an immortal named Nicholas Sykes (most recent name, anyway) and he had a hostage. The remote was to notify his assistant to do something to the hostage, and he had it to keep his real target, Douglas Singleton, another immortal, civil. (Sykes did not want to fight Singleton.)

Singleton killed someone Sykes cared about, and Sykes was out for revenge, but first he wanted to talk to Singleton. Sykes heard that Singleton would be nearby to go after a young immortal, Nalla, so Sykes was staking this party out looking for his enemy.

Genevieve healed up his wrist, and Adrian used his enhanced senses to find where Singleton was on the roof of the Regent hotel (also abandoned) two blocks away, watching the party with a sniper rifle.

Genevieve jumped into Singleton’s creepy murderous head and told him to get out of town. He agreed, wary of crossing the meta community. Kinslton, in crow form, watched him pack up his rifle and leave in one of his pre-arranged escape vehicles, following him until Singleton made a call from a diner in Uptown where he said that he was unable to take out the target and now he wasn’t sure how he would get Heath back. Kinslton followed him past the northern border, where Singleton picked up some cases of tech he couldn’t bring into Edge City, all the way to his motel in Dencentrael.

Then Genevieve told Sykes there would be no confrontation, and the immortal left. Concerned about what this could mean for Nalla, they took the drunk immortal to Favian Church and explained the situation to Fr. Abrams, who would protect her.

Lydia, feeling the nudge of displeasure from the echo of the immortal she once absorbed when she found out Nalla didn’t think much of the need to learn sword play, resolved to try and help her. Amy warned her against getting emotionally involved for the wrong reasons, and asked her about what she was doing to further her long-term goals, hinting that Amy had goals of her own that she didn’t share. After that odd pep talk, Amy headed off home.

Genevieve updated the Ghost on the evening’s events via text, and Adrian also noted he wanted to talk to the Ghost, so Genevieve included that in her update.

Smacking Ninja

Meanwhile the party fell apart as darkness approached, and Kinslton rode forth with Alpha Wolf to mess with the “Rising Dragon” ninja crime wave of heroin and machine guns. First Alpha Wolf cruised by a couple drug hangouts, identifying that each had a supervising ninja playing it cool. Then they attacked a couple locations, throwing motorcycles at ninja or beating on them to chase them off.

The evening climaxed when they hit a counting room full of drugs and money, which Alpha Wolf knew he wasn’t allowed to take; so he set it all on fire, and they discovered there were some munitions stored there too as they retreated from the fireball that turned the location into a crater.

Back to the Leaky Gasket for drinking and bragging, and eventually off home.

Late Night with Adrian

Before sunrise, the Ghost slipped through the defenses and met with Adrian. He showed her the city map he had laid out downstairs in the basement, with all the arcanist glyphs marked, and she agreed that was interesting. The Enigmist once worked with an order and his apprentices to try and set up a more formalized protection of the city, but it… didn’t work out. She authorized him to check on it in the Veil if he wanted.

Then she had a frank discussion with him, tossing a blessed coin that singed his hand. She was concerned that he had the touch of Hell, because it was always corrupting in the end. And she was concerned about Kinslton. And Lydia. She asked Adrian to think it over and get back to her on whether or not this corruption could be shed, or whether or not they even wanted to; she was far more trusting and open than some of her predecessors, but frankly she was feeling worried at the amount of corruption in her inner circle. He explained why he needed his, and agreed to think it over, and she left.

Sunday, February 13

Kinslton told Burr about what he learned following Singleton, then he got on with his day.

Meanwhile, Lydia got lunch supplies and joined Nalla and Abrams at Favian Church after mass. Nalla explained she planned to shoot enemy immortals and run, or kill them while they were down; her immortal blade was a machete. Still, she grudgingly agreed to train with Lydia.

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Dewpetal's Demise

Thursday, February 10, 2011.

Dueling the Moon

In the wee hours of the night, Lydia found Indigo in the crow’s nest over one of the casinos, playing a duel between his guitar and the shining of the moon. Apparently a vampire named Frostvein was in town, and if you look into her eyes you get some crazy ideas; he knew it wasn’t sane for him to play against the moon, but he was compelled all the same. So they refrained from swapping blood or anything that night, to make sure Lydia wasn’t compromised by strange ideas in turn.

Kinslton Joins the Recon Teams

While Genevieve and Anna put in their time in Precinct 13, monitoring and investigating, Kinslton decided to join the Recon Teams too. He strolled up to the front gate, and since he wanted to bypass the HR phase, he claimed to be a meta and used magic to slice something in half. The front desk called Victor, who was delighted to rush Kinslton through the process and give him a significant position.

As Kinslton got his new office and his intern Jen, he also gained access to some mysteries since he offered his arcane knowledge and lore as his primary qualification. Victor gave him a file of strange symbols, glyphs maybe, that had been found when teams combed through gat bot video streams. There were about 30 or so. Kinslton recognized they were some variation on arcanist symbols, and decided to show them to Adrian later.

Kinslton also got in on an afternoon session where Dr. Williams would be stress-testing Tanya Weller, the teenage mutant, by hitting her forcefully with things and seeing what her quantum barrier could withstand. Genevieve and Anna were also there for the testing, ready to call it off. After what seemed like a maybe reckless level of abuse, the testing was over for the day, and she got to go have ice cream with her brother. During the whole process, the doctor got to thinking what she might use as a callsign; prompted to ask her, they found she was thinking about “Solar Flare.”

Visiting the Glen

Kryptma suggested it would be helpful for her to collect some spirits from the Glen for her fight with Dewpetal. Kryptma and Genevieve recruited Lydia to help get to the Glen, a cairn space that had its moonbridge closed and sealed off. The three of them went to the filled-in pool that used to be the access point, and Lydia teleported them into the Umbra from there. They navigated to a back cave, and Kryptma led the way to climb up through a crack into the Glen the back way.

They met a massive powerful spirit, Mother Wolf, and her mostly grown pups. Kryptma went off on her own, and Genevieve played with the young wolves, leaving Lydia to talk to Mother Wolf.

Mother Wolf nipped Lydia’s Beast out, and it was personified in this place, running around wilting the greenery. Then Mother Wolf asked Lydia to go down into a pool; when she did, all the warpstone taint was pulled out of her, and she could barely get free of the pool. Now she was insubstantial, hardly real, without those two sources of corruption and power. Mother Wolf told her to go to the graveyard and bring back what she found on the altar.

Lydia climbed the rocky path to the graveyard, and saw a skull on an altar. She picked it up, and it melded with her, making her real. It was the skull of the first mortal whose imagination served as the foundation for the energies of the cairn, choosing its form as the Glen. As soon as she absorbed that bone, the whole Glen began to shift.

Lydia climbed back down into the pool, and all the corruption and power flowed back into her. One of the wolves managed to catch the little Beast and toss it back into her, so she had all the power she brought, plus the strange skull in her. Kryptma seemed self-satisfied.

Now that Lydia had been in this place, she could return with her dimensional teleportation, so the visitors returned to Prime, not sure they’d ever see Mother Wolf or the young wolves again now that the cairn’s shape was already shifting to match its new subject’s subconscious.

Raiding the Water Treatment Plant

During the day, Adrian contacted Lady Catherine and asked about moon bridge experts, and she referred him to Dr. Alex Timber, a moon bridge specialist rejected by the academic community for things like painting a conference room in woad and running around nude yelling gibberish while painting participants. Adrian thought that sounded like a solid lead.

Later, Adrian rendezvoused at Favian Manor for the night raid. There he met Kinslton, who shared with him the pictures of the arcanist symbols. Adrian saw that they were a dialect, maybe from an order of Arcanists, and their meaning might shift depending on who viewed them as they could be keyed to individuals or objects. Very interesting!

After supper, Kinslton led Genevieve, Anna, Lydia, Kryptma, Morris, and Adrian through the labyrinthine spaces under Torpedo Bay towards a water treatment plant. They eventually arrived, and Dewpetal re-corporated herself, rising above the filthy water. Kryptma fought her, and a gelatinous worm monster crawled out of the tank, so Adrian and Lydia wiped it out. Another shaman showed up to interfere, and Morris countered it; the shaman was put down only to reveal empty clothes. Once Dewpetal was proper kicked in and destroyed, they turned their attention to the warpstone.

A fist-sized chunk of warpstone was set in the wall, surrounded by markings. It was trying to corrupt this place, which was already filthy with bane energies; why the effort? The warpstone corruption ritual pointed to the ceiling, and they investigated to find that the chamber was older than the modern-ish construction, and on the roof of the cave was a symbol carved into the stone, so deep you could put your hand into the carving. The symbol matched the last mysterious moon bridge coordinate!

They took the 3 point chunk of warpstone when they left, and Kinslton put it in a lead box in his brownstone mansion.

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Nobody Likes a Roachsplosion

February 9, 2011

Kinslton figured out his demonic half-raven stalker form, and went to the Leaky Gasket to celebrate with the Templar. He found Alpha Wolf in a foul mood, grudgingly telling a version of the story of what happened in the confrontation with Steve Thunder. Kinslton also healed up Lucille, who was battered by GAT bots; she wants to go on a date with him now.

The Tower

Meanwhile, across town, Genevieve was working with Eudora and the investigative team to watch the government auction of Torpedo Bay properties for the cost of back taxes. Then Adrian visited, inviting her to go with him to the Midway. They went not just for the wintery carnival atmosphere, but to go into a dingy basement where there was an enduring chalk gate to Marcher’s Tower.

Together they entered the tower, noting the big throne festooned with antlers, all the chests and boxes and knick knacks. They found a vampire, withered and stuffed in a grandfather clock built into the back of the throne. They found a snake-head cane with ruby eyes and a snakeskin wrap. They found a box of gems that glittered, tempting to Arcanist magic, probably granting power to objects once they were set in place and activated.

Genevieve found four shamanistic power stabilizing columns, and traced them to realize if you dragged the bearskin rug out of the way and sat in the throne you could use Essence to waken the portal in the floor, which showed a central location and four supporting cairns. It was a nexus, where five cairn spaces connected via moonbridge!

The central symbol was for the Glade, where Mother Wolf presides, that used to connect to the pool by the cabin behind Old Man Marcher’s place. Another symbol matched an ancient carving spotted in the basement of Kennedov’s mansion on the island. Another could connect to the Favians—could it be related to the manor? (Later, Morris identified one as matching the cairn space the Pennywise mansion was built to protect.) Only one remained a mystery.

They returned to Prime, and headed to Tolliver Road, where they went to the book store and chatted with Lydia. Adrian put in an order for books that could tell him more about moon bridges, a shamanistic phenomenon that deals with connecting cairns and otherdimensional spaces, and connecting those spaces with each other in turn.

Roachsplosion

Genevieve and Anna were called away on Recon Team business, going to Dr. Ellisario’s home. She died in her house clothes, watching television, ruptured from the inside by an impossibly dense press of roaches that now slithered all through the house. Disgusted, Victor let Genevieve look over the scene and find out what she could.

She determined that the intruder was either known to the victim or very sneaky, not alarming the victim. The roaches were from a certain area under Torpedo Bay, altered somewhat by chemicals to be recognizably distinct. Genevieve looked back in time to see Dewpetal regrow her face to talk with her out of synch, as though they had met before. Dewpetal promised to kill her. Then she escaped by falling apart into a pile of roaches that swarmed elsewhere.

Genevieve watched the one-sided conversation of the apparently time-sensitive bane shamen on the security camera footage. She inspected the corpse and pulled out some infant vertebrae that were loaded with power so eventually the body would rise, undead; Genevieve pocketed that bit of evidence. She figured she had what she needed, so she left the Recon Team to clean up their former head scientist of meta studies, and she went to rejoin her friends.

A Nice Supper

Meanwhile Kinslton had joined Adrian and Lydia at the bookstore, and he got their version of events with Steve Thunder. They all went out to eat at the high-end revolving restaurant overlooking Fortress Square, having a lovely time with witty conversation.

Pillars of the Community

Kinslton wanted to contact Pillars to see if she could help him tune his senses to track bane spirits. He had her number on a card, and while it sounded like he was interrupting something intimate, she was happy to meet him by the arcology in Torpedo Bay.

She gave him a lingering grindy kiss, where she rubbed some of her taste buds off in his mouth. In exchange for giving him a “taste for bane” she got the infant vertebrata full of bane energies from Genevieve. Now Kinslton could track Dewpetal by taste/scent.

Genevieve and Anna joined them there, and after eating, everyone headed to the Parlor of Relative Safety, where they called in Morris and Kryptma.

The Parlor of Relative Safety

Kryptma had apparently been sleeping, but even in her grouchy state she helped pinpoint where Dewpetal might be resting; a water treatment station under Torpedo Bay, where she was likely going into the bane-friendly waters to help keep her body together.

Lydia felt an odd pull to emotionally hurt Morris, and resisted it. She told him that Kryptma was interested in him, and he didn’t believe her, since he sees Kryptma as being confrontational and unpleasant.

With two shamen willing to go along and help out, they got their affairs in order so they could assault the water treatment plant under Torpedo Bay the next day, and put a stop to Dewpetal once and for all.

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This Town Ain't Big Enough

Downtime, from January 1, 2011, to Monday, February 7, 2011.

Genevieve

She dug into Shrimpshell hard, and found out that it was someone who was thought to be dead. Through various Interpol and other means, she started looking where no one else had, after running across some vague references murmured by a telepath. She discovered that Lanette Rider was likely the force behind Shrimpshell. She was supposed to have died by sniper bullet in South America in 2005. Digging into her history further, Genevieve discovered Rider’s powers developed as young as 8, when she was able to do a psychic blast affecting multiple targets. Scientists demanded she kill a frog with her brain, and she killed the scientists instead. That began a long history of liking animals better than humans. Her powers developed to psychic intrusion and possession, at least, before she faked her death in 2005. Is she a new player in the League of Progress?

Genevieve also tried and failed to use her money and contacts, and her husband’s money and contacts, to start “Walk It Off,” a gym compound for Chauncies. Too much bureaucracy. Even the Chaise Corporation couldn’t help.

Lydia

Wraith continued working with the police, bolstering her relationships there as a vigilante. She also continued drinking Indigo’s blood, and now feels that they are impossibly close friends. This supernatural bolstering toughened her body, also.

Lydia tried fencing with Emma, Adrian’s wife, and defeated her handily. That led to some social awkwardness, as Emma remains very proud of her achievements as a fencer on the amateur circuit.

Adrian

He worked with Five Stones as a local guide, able to protect (and defend himself from) various “interesting” visitors. He also spent more time with his friends, playing catch with Mugsy (it was Mugsy’s idea, and it is not in any way like playing fetch.) He also used his new appearance altering abilities to assume a different face, so he could take Olivia out in public and be seen with her without risking Adrian’s reputation.

Burr

Loup de Loup was very excited to get tickets to the Grindbox concert. In exchange for tickets and going to the show with him, he recommended Burr to one of the best drivers on the East Coast, “Grasshopper.” Grasshopper drives trucks and big vehicles, and she taught Burr the finer points of how to open and close city access points with heavy steel.

She also met with Ironface, who helped her build endurance using his gyrobike by a wall of tvs.

Grindbox Concert

Burr went to the Leaky Gasket before the concert to hang out with the Templar. There she found that Alpha Wolf and the Templar were going to attack Steve Thunder, the lead singer of Grindbox, by stealing his tour bus then assaulting him while attention was elsewhere. Turns out Steve Thunder is a powerful werewolf who was forbidden from coming to the city when the Chauncies were powerful enough to enforce their will.

Victor invited Genevieve (and therefore Anna) to the Grindbox concert, because he was curious about it.

The opening act was Audial Assault, with a Fallout post-apocalyptic vibe. As they all enjoyed the Grindbox show, with Darla Smiles on drums and Casey Lorbok on guitar, they discovered that the highlight of the show were the times when Steve Thunder would scream, and a supernatural intimidation and fear would suffuse the audience.

After the concert, there was some modest rioting, and in the confusion Lucille (the most belligerent Templar) stole the tour bus and was immediately apprehended by GAT bots. Burr warned Genevieve about what was going to go down, so Genevieve contacted Lydia, who picked up Adrian and Mugsy to come help out.

Meanwhile, Alpha Wolf drove a VW Bug into Thunder, who tossed it out of the way. Mugsy turned into a giant mastiff and kept Alpha Wolf busy as the rest of the group confronted Thunder, who shrunk back down to human size and tried to charm them with his plan to stay in the city and found a recording studio, Stormkloud, and start his new project, Ragetemple.

The group presented a united front with no room for ambiguity and told him to get out of town and never come back. He reluctantly withdrew (and did not press charges against Lucille.)

Kingsport

Early the next morning Adrian got two things; an exotic fruit and cheese basket from Graves, who apparently approved of the poor treatment of another werewolf, and a telegram from W. Exmoor inviting him to a meeting in the Kingsport historical society at 2 p.m. Adrian contacted Lydia to see if she would be willing to transport him.

That afternoon as they teleported to Kingsport, they closed in on the meeting location. Lydia had a strange moment of dislocation and starvation as something in her wanted to absorb the essence of a peculiar woman in the crowd who appeared momentarily uncomfortable. Lydia saw her drop something, and caught up to return it to her, learning that the woman’s name was Cassie Wilts, and she was an artist. (Of COURSE she was an artist.)

They met with Marcher, who released Adrian from his apprenticeship, declaring him an official Weapon of Destiny and giving him the Brindalyn plate armor as a gift. And he has his tattoo from the Left Hand of God, which was apparently part of this, and he got a point of Fate.

Marcher also told him that Olivia would die in his defense, someday, whether Adrian frees her or not.

Marcher also claimed to have met Lydia before, but she has no memory of that.

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Days Gone By

The days between December 27 and December 31, 2010

Lydia, the WRAITH

Lydia continued her vigilante activities in South Midtown, encountering a gang called the “Jacknives” led by “Jack the Knife.” They were driven out of Torpedo Bay and looking to set up shop in Midtown with petty extortion, muggings, and general thuggery.

Lydia consulted with Burninator to see if he knew of trustworthy cops in Midtown so she could begin to build a relationship with the authorities. Burninator recommended Patrick Donnelly. (He also reported that Tarasuko is still with the Dusk Clan and instrumental in the “Rise of the Dragon” nonsense going on in Torpedo Bay. A shadow demon is being used to evict rivals, and Tarasuko is passing messages on magically suborned hummingbirds.)

Lydia got Donnelly’s badge number from Genevieve, and later contacted him, putting the suspect he was pursuing up on a lamppost while they had a chat. Donnelly was very willing to partner with her to take on crime, and after he dropped off his suspect at the station he took her downstairs and showed her the old interrogation rooms they didn’t use anymore. They agreed that if she dropped someone in an interrogation room, she could call in to the front desk with a coded message for him, and he would know to go book the suspect.

James, the TALON

Meanwhile, Kinslton continued roaring around with Alpha Wolf and the Templar. Their territory was turbulent as displaced gangs fought for a narrower strip of territory. Alpha Wolf was strangely insistent on pointing out that his victims lived; Kinslton wasn’t sure why until he was visited at home by the Ghost, who had a heart to heart with him warning him about getting too complacent about the choice to kill. Kinslton defended his decision, pointing out the wanton destruction coming out of SANTA. The Ghost didn’t really answer those points, and instead left Kinslton to his thoughts. She did note that Alpha Wolf stubbornly declared to her that if Kinslton was kicked out, he would go too.

Genevieve

Genevieve dug into the records to try and track where those meta bounty hunters came from. She used the Veil and her INTERPOL contacts to discover that they must have come in on a container ship from Benton. Cross referencing and sifting impossibly huge masses of illegally obtained data, she traced how the various metas probably traveled to Benton, and she connected those arrangements with a tiny offshore tech company called Shripshell.

Shrimpshell seemed a heavily defended company that offered security tech services to multinational corporations. Many investigations headed by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies failed to penetrate it; the tiny company could swagger as it forced agents to retire, arranged accidents for the persistent, and otherwise manipulated laws to crush efforts to get a look into it.

Genevieve followed up with the Ghost, who confirmed that the company came down to one person, a person with unknown identity, who was a broker for metas. Sufficiently connected metas could use Shrimpshell as a matchmaker, connecting their talent with high-end mercenary work.

The Ghost also informed Genevieve that her prior concerns that Anna had tracking hardware or contingency programming were laid to rest now that the chassis was so violently different, and the positronic network had been transformed through use to a different configuration altogether. Anna was now considered a person, and was allowed to visit the Mausoleum without the precautions they used to take.

Meanwhile Anna looked into the known IAGO units and the scientists that had the capability to work on them, compiling dossiers.

Adrian, MISTER MYSTERY

Adrian’s energies were pretty fully absorbed in channeling the Brotherhood of the Road’s enthusiasm in relatively harmless directions during the holiday season.

Burr, VALKYRIE JONES

She was called back by her Order to help out with a smash-and-grab monster kidnapping case in Iowa over the holidays. A vampire, Jerome of Ames, a major player in human trafficking for feeding populations.

New Year’s Eve Party, 2010

They gathered at Favian Manor, though there was some temptation to work that night. Thousands gathered in Fortress Square, under the protective eye of the Reconstruction Agent, piles of security, Burninator, and Tidelia. (Tidelia telepathically contacted Genevieve to share the moment as she stood with Burninator in the wreckage of the Wilters museum overlooking the festivities with beverages; she felt things would soon change forever.) There were televised speeches from the Mayor, Commissioner Felton, and others.

Genevieve invited Alpha Wolf and the Templar. They had a grand time, drinking and playing around on the ninja training course in the ballroom with limited success. A bright new member, Lucille, helped Alpha Wolf express disdain without taking responsibility. (Flipping the bird? Okay. Mooning? Too far, Lucille.) Kinslton and Alpha Wolf even tried brosmashing champagne flutes on their faces.

Lydia brought Indigo, which discomfited Morris, as he was hoping to get to know Lydia better and realized Indigo was a pretty tough romantic rival. This annoyed Kryptma, who was sort of crushing on Morris, but she pretended nothing was wrong.

Indigo took Lydia up to the corner net in the ballroom and for the first time let her drink his blood; it was a strange experience for her. He said he was ready to share his life with her, and he would want to share his blood again.

Meanwhile, Genevieve showed up the Templar by running the obstacle course better than they could. Also, Graves and Echran dropped by, and Graves coolly regarded the werewolves, irritating and unsettling them as he established his dominance and was ever so slightly possessive of Genevieve, before sauntering out and leaving them to their party.

A policeman stopped by, a beat cop from Foscoe Gardens who was a member of the far-flung Chauncy clan, named Guy Berman. He told Genevieve there was a darkshell loose in Foscoe Gardens, probably released or antagonized by underground construction, and there were disappearances. He gave her a map and hoped she could help, then excused himself and left.

The Ball Drop

The ball dropped in Fortress Square, but dropped too soon and blew up halfway down. This didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd.

Some time later, the Recon Agent (Victor) showed up in poor shape. He pulled the Inspectors aside (except for Anna, who babysat the Templar.) In the sky above Fortress Square, there was a hooded figure, who hit him with a mountain and avalanche, then lightning. He wasn’t quite sure how to describe how he fought these forces, or what they were like. The figure bragged the ball would kill everyone, so he raced down and detonated it prematurely.

The shamen in the group immediately recognized the bane stink all over him; thousands of bane spirits attacked him and wilted in his quantum furnace, but they would have made a mess of the crowds below. (They had been bound to the individual firecrackers in long strings wound around the inside of the massive ball for the drop.)

Morris won a bet with Kryptma by pulling all the bane taint off of Victor in a masterful action, and condensing it so it could be thrown out the window to dissolve elsewhere. They knew who the culprit had to be; Dewpetal, a shaman involved in the banewar to the south who fell and was assumed killed.

Instead, it was more likely that the bane spirits that were trapped by the barrier stuffed themselves into her, and tore loose of the containment to come here, bringing the Horn of Spots and preparing mass disruption. She escaped, and could be trouble again, if she survived channeling that much energy. It was difficult to guess what her mental condition might be, or how viable her ongoing survival would be with that level of bane invasion.

Victor was pleased to explain that Dr. Chen Ellisario got some strange energy readings that she could cross reference with those from the Horn of Spots incident, so maybe they could start detecting and disrupting this new kind of energy. Victor took his leave.

The shamen in the group didn’t like the idea of the Recon Teams getting science involved in shamen issues. Something might have to be done about that.

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The Tusk of Spots

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Adrian returned from Paris, where he had been negotiating a peace between the Arcanum wizards represented by Krydon and a vampiric consortium led by Velour. With the arcanists seriously depleted by their slaughter at Onaga’s hands, the vampires took over the Parisian core, and the wizards were negotiating access from the river to a row of townhouses in the city core. Adrian could serve as a mediator because both factions had hostile relations with the Brotherhood of the Road, and they counted on Adrian to be neutral.

After some relaxing on the yacht welcoming Adrian home, everyone went their separate ways.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Recon Teams faced a threat in a four block area in Torpedo Bay where there were 8 incidents that involved suspected meta assault on citizens. There was GAT bot footage of a couple of them, indicating extra limbs and maybe glowing eyes and the ability to scramble up buildings or make prodigious leaps.

Genevieve collected Anna, Adrian, Kinslton, Burr, and Lydia to investigate that evening. She got a tac net with the four local GAT vans, and also made psychic connection between the investigative team.

Testing the Waters

Kinslton flew recon, his demon sight allowing him to see a filmy green energy breathing up from the sewers. He perched to watch a person who had a chip of green glowing in him, a well dressed man chain smoking and watching a GAT bot who was ignoring him. The rest of the team closed in on the man. Genevieve questioned him and got some nonsense about how “they” would gather victims or something, and she determined he didn’t like the GAT bots, and there was a lair of some sort below. She called in a request to have that GAT bot removed, and it left. The man dropped to his belly and slid down a storm drain.

They heard of another incident in the area, a shootout. They arrived to see the GAT bots firing on a man in a suit who was shooting back with pistols. He was blasted to pieces then a Mr. Trashy was used by two of the GAT bots to hammer him down. Genevieve checked him out, finding he was licensed as a bodyguard and had permits for his pistols, but he was also infected just like the other man, and he had a weird mouth-like mutation in his chest.

Expanding the Posse

Seeing it was a shaman issue, she psychically contacted Morris Pennywise, and had Lydia pick him up. She also contacted Blake, of the Shell Clan, to help them navigate the sewers. It was time go after the infection. After twenty minutes or so, Blake showed up. In the meantime, Morris bound snowflake purity spirits into objects for the investigators, so they could not be infected by the energy they sought.

He also recognized the energy as coming from a powerful bane artifact, the Tusk of Spots. Somehow it had been freed from the radioactive wasteland to the south, and come into the city. Those who touched it could be infected, so if it was traveling around there could be a number of gestating fomori bane hybrids.

Underground

Blake led them through the sewers, and they closed in on where the lair was suspected to be, using the abandoned subway tunnels. They came to a roundabout where they saw 7 of the proto-fomori building a display center for the Tusk of Spots.

Lydia managed to pluck a fomori off the wall and bring it over with telekinesis, but it started rapidly shapeshifting and she dropped it, into a moat. The others charged, and while Kinslton intercepted them and let them attack him, Lydia grabbed another.

Morris managed to force the infection to personify, and he used its energy to trace to the source of the infection. Then he tore out the infection with Genevieve’s help, and bound it to a stone instead of a person. The victim was killed by the forcible removal of the bane spirit, but Genevieve managed to save him from death.

Genevieve connected Lydia and Morris’s minds so Lydia could take Morris to the source of the contagion with a teleport. They arrived, confronting a recently infected homeless man. Morris got the Tusk of Spots and disabled it, breaking the connection so the other proto fomori were disrupted and lost their source of energy. They were handily subdued by the investigators, and Blake retrieved the one that fell into the moat.

After

Lydia opened a gate, and the investigators took the victims out to the streets to receive medical care and be processed by the Recon teams. Morris bound the Tusk of Spots so it would not infect anyone else, and he seemed to take a shine to Lydia (who was not particularly interested in the teenager’s advances.)

The investigators returned to their homes, jobs well done.

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Christmas Party

During a 5 week down time ending on December 22, various things happened.

Kinslton spent time hanging out with Alpha Wolf and Shadow Creeper. He also leveraged his Brotherhood of the Road contacts to train in city knowledge with Sideways Neil, a night-time taxi driver who was into dosing him with psychedelic drugs. He also trained in stealth with Ladder Mike, another Brotherhood contact, who specialized in theft from high rises usually using a window washing rig as the entry point. They played stalking games in abandoned buildings to increase Kinslton’s understanding of how to be stealthy.

Adrian spent time with the Tutor, studying transmogrification. He also spent significant time with Five Stones, and undertook a mission for them to Paris to oversee some diplomacy using his reputation and power to keep things civil. And he tended his other commitments.

Genevieve spent time with the police, and the Recon teams, and Morris. The rest of the time, she studied Dyrnwyn, the bauble, in the light of the Spellbook of Llyr. She discovered she could use the light to raise or lower the Gauntlet by a step. She also discovered the Tower of Llyr, a pocket dimension in the Deep Umbra she could only access through the light of Dyrnwyn. She could return to where she left, or to a designated location. She entered the tower through a hallway, and chose a door with a crane on it, so her tower takes the form of an ancient crumbling dojo and the Tower’s Heart looks like a stone table, and the servants there appear to be monks. Genevieve also trained in subterfuge with the Gray Ghost.

Lydia spent most of her free time away from the bookstore training hard in Dormancy, becoming an expert in five short weeks.

Burr spent time with the Templar and working for the Order. The Templar let her train with Loup de Loup, a famous getaway driver for the Chauncies. He was old and stiff, but still a vicious driver, and he taught her a lot about precision driving. She also trained with Master Dosk, a retired monster hunter with the Order. He taught her further melee combat techniques.

They also learned that Luddite is a new smuggler with the Underground, selling Lights-out-ers bullets that fry any circuitry they hit. Shadow Creeper captured GAT bots and sells them to Luddite, who takes the credit and sells LO rounds to Skiff at $100 a round. The Bounders have been sniping GAT bots in South Settler, frustrating Seertech, who have petitioned to use drones to hunt for the snipers. So far the city has not issued a permit.

Frustrated by the mounting expense of the war on GAT bots and the city’s financial obligations involved in the lost equipment, a police captain issued a $500,000 bounty on Luddite—a rare measure, but one that may become more common. The Gray Ghost will neither help or hinder efforts to stop Luddite. The Ghost does know bounty hunters will make the effort, and that could cause trouble.

The Bertinelli Crime Family has a bounty out for GAT bots, and the best mech hunters are called “cyberhunters” and given special gear. The Bertinellis also repurposed an industrial park in Foscoe Bay and call it the “Crush School” and there they have hands-on training for how to use cars, water, electricity, and construction equipment to stop GAT bots.

Davis Markham has started a movement called PACON, People Against Cybernetic Organism Normalization. Detractors call them the “vibrators.” Markham’s parents were influential proponents of conserving Edge City culture, but they died in the Regatta Massacre. The group is working on legislation to revoke robotics legalization, working within the system. Their points include noting the threat automation of jobs poses to automobile and garment industries, threatening the economic core of the city.

The Dusk Clan is apparently behind the new criminal outfit, the Rising Dragon. The Recon Teams have prioritized infiltrating their leadership and taking out the leaders. The outfit operates in eastern Torpedo Bay and has some friction with the Bertinellis.

*

Wednesday, December 22, 2010. Kinslton and Burr hosted a Christmas party at the brownstone. Indigo came, playing the music for the event. Most of the Inspectors came—all but Swashbuckler (who sent Treasure Chest) and the Ghost. Even Victor dropped by to gift the party with a bottle of wine before returning to his duties.

Alpha Wolf invented the “bro-smashing” of crushing empties against Kinslton’s face while Kinslton did the same to him—their bonding activity. Also, Kinslton’s meta containment dungeon of fun was named the “fungeon.” By the end of the night, they strapped the 7 foot decorated tree to Alpha Wolf’s motorcycle, and he drove it to a halfway house where released convicts can live with their kids, and set it up in their lobby.

Lydia left the party with Indigo, they had a cozy platform over an opera stage to have some quiet time away from it all.

Genevieve and Anna took Mugsy home to enjoy his giant beef stick and wheel of cheese from his boss Adrian. Then they headed to Favian Manor to call it a night.

Kinslton, Burr, and Shadow Creeper decided to check in with Luddite the next evening to see if any bounty hunters showed up.

The next day, Kinslton prepared for the outing by buying Shadow Creeper a horrifically tacky Christmas sweater. When he gave it to her, she tried to say something nice, then absorbed it into her shadows.

Baron’s Pier

Genevieve and Lydia were not interested in this errand, so it was just Burr, Kinslton, and Shadow Creeper closing in on Baron’s Pier the following night. As Kinslton watched over the proceedings, Shadow Creeper took Burr and went into the basement of an abandoned hotel, where she met with an Englishman who bought the GAT bots and laid in credit for Skiff to buy more LO rounds later. Shadow Creeper melted away, and Burr walked out, perching on her bike in a side lot.

Kinslton spotted a strange mini-blimp with sensors, and he took it out with his demon raven claws. Shortly after, a cherry-red armored stretch limo showed up, as did a massive 8 billion dollar war machine power armor suit tricked out to look like a 8 meter tall Santa.

The mech used a mini gun and flamer to lay waste to the hotel’s protections, and three people from the limo strode in to collect Luddite. Meanwhile, Kinslton tangled with Santa, able to resist the minigun and flamer, but desperate once grabbed by the implacable grip. Kinslton fought Santa to a standstill while also trying to protect Burr and stop the limo using a variety of spells. As a last resort, he used the Dread Curse and slew the pilot of the armor.

Meanwhile, as the limo tried to escape and Kinslton tried to stop it, Burr got involved and drove her motorcycle to intercept. Santa gunned her down, injuring her and trashing her bike, but she survived. A mutant got out of the limo and swelled up to 4 meters or so tall, with white fur, basically the Bumble. Kinslton’s shrivelling spell dried it off pretty good but didn’t do any lasting damage.

Burr forced the driver to go by ramming the witchblade through the back of the driver’s seat, and the Bumble chased as Kinslton fought Santa. Eventually the driver fired a gun through the back of the seat, missing Burr, and she stabbed him again, provoking him to stagger off while he still could. The Bumble tore a door off the limo and grabbed her out; badly hurt, she managed to escape and run away, healing up with impossible speed.

They put out a distress call, answered by Lydia (who needed a few minutes to suit up and teleport out there) and Burninator (who would drive as fast as he could, but was some minutes out.) Fortunately, with Santa burst and Kinslton squaring off against the Bumble, Kinslton and the Bumble had a heartfelt conversation about the ennui of it all, and Kinslton let the Bumble slope off into the city.

Lydia arrived, teleporting up to see where the villains might have gone. They apparently left out the back. Burr investigated the limo quickly, finding a short wave radio. They all went into the hotel, finding lots of corpses; they looted some bandoliers of explosives, and saw that the LO rounds had been taken. Kinslton also found Shadow Creeper, who retreated after Mz. Claws impaled her with one hit. Kinslton healed her up. Kinslton herded most of the weapons together and blew them up. Burr and Kinslton each took a Piranha assault rifle.

Burninator arrived, and went with them to pursue the bounty hunters.

They went to the mall, where the retreating bounty hunters took Luddite (his body was not among the fallen.) Kinslton had an exchange with one of the bounty hunters. They followed the trail and found that the bounty hunters escaped, but their prey, the Luddite, had gotten away from them. He was injured, but hiding behind a Mr. Trashy. Kinslton did not heal him up; they took no action regarding him at all, and instead retreated from the battleground.

Shadow Creeper put a big shadow over the power armor to hide it until the Ghost could pick it up, so Burr made her a care package from the less damaged snacks in the limo. Then they called it a night.

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