Friday, April 16, 2011
Adrian was having a nice lunch with Emma, getting ready to go to Kingsport to scout out a good place in Hilltown for her to spend the summer as a bohemian artist. She stepped away for a moment, and a demon, Mr. Charon, slipped up to the table. He shared the Baltimore Truth of 1796 with Adrian, scribbled on a page from a hymn book.
On his deathbed the One will be abandoned / Nodens will not come / The Green Flame will ascend / through all gates
Charon slipped away before Emma returned, and Adrian knew it was time to involve others in whatever might be going down in Kingsport.
Meanwhile Genevieve had restless dreams of running through Kingsport’s neighborhoods and time periods, accidentally spreading green flame everywhere she touched, until there was a single unifying green flame; she was surrounded by fog, and there were faces, and she woke in a state of terror.
They gathered together Lydia (who had stopped by Indigo’s place to collect his guitar for her own), Kinslton, and Burr. Time to go to Kingsport. They sent Emma and her things and Ellis with Mugsy by yacht, and they took the much shorter route through the Leatherbury Estate, emerging in the Kingsport Historical Society attic.
Barbeque With the Chief
They met with Chief Crane, who seemed a little sad. His wife Linda and children left him, so he was living alone; still, he was glad to see them and have a cookout. Apparently the weird things he had to deal with in Kingsport were eventually too much for his wife.
The only thing he was currently aware of was the disappearance of some vagrants; they were the canaries in the coal mine, indicating something larger might be amiss.
They checked on his Tchulza grubs, and were all startled to find the grubs very active in their glass jars. Another sign all was not well.
The energy of the small town was off, and it was unsettled with a miasma of Tchulzan energies. They decided to go check it out, noting that the center of the disturbance was a knot of energy at the peak of Kingsport Head, surrounding the Strange High House.
As they headed through town, Adrian spotted Jorge Malinta, a strangely canny musician with the Brotherhood of the Road. Malinta observed that he was here to mark this momentous occasion, where a Great Seal may be sundered. He already composed a song as he prepared to bear witness.
Rather than performing the song himself, he nodded to a woman across the street who was performing for money. Adrian was sure to buy her CD. It was Stella Wilde, performing “Songs of the Sea, Volume IV.” The lyrics to the Eulogy for Bain:
An old man by a seashore at the end of day
Gazes the horizon with seawinds in his face
Tempest-tossed island, seasons all the same
Anchorage unpainted and a ship without a name
Sea without a shore for the banished one unheard
He lightens the beacon, light at the end of world
Showing the way, lighting hope in their hearts
The ones on their travels homeward from afar
This is for long-forgotten light at the end of the world
Horizon’s crying the tears he left behind long ago
The albatross is flying, making him daydream
The time before he became – one of the world’s unseen
Princess in the tower, children in the fields
Life gave him it all: an island of the universe
Now his love`s a memory, a ghost in the fog
He sets the sails one last time saying farewell to the world
Anchor to the water, seabed far below
Grass still in his feet and a smile beneath his brow
They hurried on, to the base of the Kingsport Head, and up the slope.
There was a massive defensive energy construct centered on the Strange High House, but as they hiked up they found human sacrifices at the center of mythos rituals tainted with demonic energy that drove the defenses back, ever imploding towards the house itself. They sensed danger around them as they moved ever higher in the punishing hike. They found more sacrifices, each fresher than the last. Within the barrier itself, they felt a weakening heartbeat.
They discovered there were disguised nightgaunts, just out of phase with prime, to discourage fliers (like Kinslton as he scouted.) He retreated, and they caught up near the edge of the defensive area to find a shoggoth chewing on it, draining its power, pushing it inward.
Genevieve managed to use her shaman powers and the Bauble to breach the defense briefly, enough to get in. They crept up to the High House and in through the back, and there they found Bain on his deathbed, brandishing a pistol at them.
He was terrified of Lydia, until he realized she was not with the cult of Tchulza, and did not know his sin. He mumbled something about how she was the Lady in the Tower.
He explained about the Nexus of Dreams outside his door (which was currently barred) and how it would burn a unidim (uni-dimensional, not multi-dimensional) creature to ash in an instant. However, it needs a catalyst to help it open or close, to regulate its dream energies and dimensional airlock.
Would Lydia shoulder the burden of regulating the Nexus until Nodens returned to bind or free her? She would have to put her will against the cultists connected by the Green Flame, each conducting an active ritual to take control of the Nexus and open it to Tchulza.
She agreed to take on that burden.
Defending the Nexus
Each point of the anchored Great Seal was hosting a ritual to take control of the time and space where it was anchored, to rip it loose and let the Tchulzan energies roar into the Nexus, reshaping the past and the future. Lydia could not stand against them all; they had to be disrupted.
Burr joined Kinslton in flying out of the defenses, to find the one nearest the High House. It was in a cave, stairs up to open space. Kinslton moved into the Periphery and through the stone to an otherdimensional space where a Crawling One led witches in the ritual, with byakhee guards. Kinslton broke through the byakhee easily enough, and could only defeat the Crawling One (a wizard made of grave worms) by chowing down unpleasantly. It was not all bad that Burr was stuck outside the cave.
Adrian and Genevieve and Anna went out too, finding the dimensionally hidden ritual around the boarding house and sorting it out as Kinslton and Burr went after another one.
With three down, Lydia threw open the doors, exposing herself to the Nexus of Dreams, and hurled her consciousness and body into the portal. She felt the ruthless ritual energy of Tchulza, but since she had the Cairn connection tying her into the ley lines of Prime, and since she was gifted in regulating the energies of the Green Flame, she could take their power and hurl it harmlessly through the Nexus instead of shattering it with a blow as they intended. The energy gusted away from Prime, and she stood in the breach, bearing the weight of regulating the Nexus.
William Bain quietly died.
Questioning a surviving witch, they discovered that Carl Sanford was behind organizing this assault on Prime. Kinslton remembered his original mission to hunt the rogue mythos wizard down and put a stop to him, so he decided to follow this fresh lead to Europe. He put in a call to the Brotherhood to send someone else to the brownstone while he was gone, to assist the vigilantes of the city in his absence.
Lydia discovered that while she could meditate and even dimensionally travel, she was drawn inexorably back to wake up in the Strange High House. She was rooted to the Nexus in ways she could only begin to understand.
The Great Seal was sundered, but the damage it had once contained had been healed through reaching into those rituals in the past and draining them of the Tchulza energy they once held, venting it off-plane so it had never been able to pose a threat to the dimensional walls (which were still thinner, but not dangerously so any longer.) With Lydia regulating the Dream Nexus, Kingsport posed no greater threat than other places of power around the world.
The others could return to their lives, but Lydia resolved to wait until Nodens, God of Dreams, revisited his Nexus and set a course for the rest of her life…