Edge City

Preemptive Strike

Burr and Kinslton did some more sightseeing in Milan for a day or two, and the others returned on Saturday, November 13. The game started the next day.

Headlines In Their Absence

Jan Harrelson was elected mayor in a landslide on November 4, for lack of a clear contender to stand against him. He continues to support anti-technology, pro-traditional stance for Edgarton.

On November 11, Commissioner Felton announced that the remaining Wilters assets and Precinct 13 would be assigned to Victor Hawthorne, also known as Reconstruction Agent (and also known as Hammerhand.) They would become Reconstruction Teams, or Recon Teams, tasked with countering meta threats to Edgarton. The program had the support of Mayor Harrelson and Senator Havilander, and got its funding from City Defense Force funds.

Also, the Weller Twins, Jim and Tanya, stepped forward. Jim is 16, Tanya 14, and they are mutants who want to serve the public without secret identities; they are wards of the state represented by Hawthorne.

The police quit their long-standing talks with the city negotiating for better gear, pay, and manpower, because they were angry that City Defense Force funds were paying for the Recon Teams instead of supporting the cops. They announced a walk-out, going on strike on November 15.

Blissful Returns

Genevieve was happily reunited with Graves, Adrian was happily reunited with Emma, and Lydia was happily reunited with Indigo.

The next day, Genevieve reviewed the civic situation with some dismay. Lydia caught Amy up with the story of their travels, and they went shoe shopping. Adrian went jogging with Emma, who mainly started jogging because it annoyed her bodyguard Ellis. Then he got a call from Mugsy.

House Call

Dr. Yancell responded to Adrian’s call and met with him in a coffee shop. Adrian told him about the Oracle of Orcus, and Yancell was relieved to hear the arch demon was divested in the Upper House, where it probably can’t find its way back to Prime. If 5 arch demons are ever on Prime at once, many seals burst, and he knew of 2 not counting the Oracle.

Yancell told Adrian he was in town for two reasons. One is that divinations and auguries indicated Edge City was at a tipping point, and the Lords of Air would use twins to push it over the edge if they could. He wasn’t sure what that meant, but felt he needed to share it.

He also told Adrian that Alecia Harker, the Left Hand of God, a monster slayer, was in town. She had a run-in with a demon worshiping cult in Houston that went catastrophically wrong, and she retreated here to recover, but her morale was at the breaking point. Yancell hoped maybe Adrian was uniquely positioned to talk to her and maybe prevent her from snapping, because if she got unhinged that could be a bigger problem. Adrian agreed.

Specters

Unsurprisingly, the Ghost called a meeting of the Specters. They met in the Justice Dome shortly after dark. Alpha Wolf, Shadow Creeper, Burninator, Tidelia, Swashbuckler, and the Reconstruction Agent himself attended, along with the Ghost. Genevieve, Anna, Adrian, and Lydia also attended.

Alpha Wolf was irritable and alpha, snapping at everyone, probing for weakness and asserting himself. He didn’t get anywhere with it, though he did challenge Victor, who did not take him seriously at all. The Ghost called the meeting to order and asked that they be vigilant as she knew they would be, and also be gentle as the hospitals were likely to be overwhelmed by business with the police on strike.

The Ghost would back up and monitor for larger patterns of organized forces taking advantage of the chaos. Swashbuckler’s crew and Alpha Wolf’s templar would try to keep the order in Torpedo Bay, Burninator and Tidelia would focus on smash-and-grab robberies Downtown and in wealthy areas, Shadow Creeper would protect Settler as best she could, and so on.

Victor pointed out there was a protest at Precinct 13 right now that could turn into a riot, so he was restless to return. First, Genevieve offered to hire on with the Recon Teams, and he enthusiastically agreed to have her on (and Anna too.)

The Left Hand of God

Adrian and Lydia teleported to Feduccis, where Adrian leaned hard on his Brotherhood contacts to find Harker fast. Fortunately Carmina the Topcard was in, an eerie good divination specialist who could allow her dead uncle’s ghost to ride her and find out all sorts of things. She located Harker, going by the alias Mina Stoker, in the Palmetto motel at the edge of Peckstel.

Adrian and Lydia got there quickly, and checked with the clerk to get the room number. Adrian approached alone, with Lydia hiding out as backup. Harker was home, and paranoid, agreeing to talk to Adrian while he held a bomb (in case the conversation didn’t go well.)

He told her what they’d been doing deflecting Hastur, and she got interested in his story, so she took the bomb and they had a beer in the stinky poorly warded motel room. She wanted to hear about shuttering the Brass Embassy, so he took the time and recounted the tale to her. By the end of it, she was again seeing how all of heaven and hell are in those who hunt the monsters, and feeling less isolated. She saw him as the Weapon of Destiny, and herself as the Left Hand of God. She asked if he would accept a tattoo marking him as chosen of God, and he agreed. She pulled out her kit and put the tattoo on his forearm, and he felt a shift in his fate.

It seemed the crisis was past, and she was more stable, so they headed to Precinct 13, Lydia’s teleportation crossing the distance in a flash.

Protest

Anna drove up to the Precinct 13 site and they saw 500-600 protesters, many of them top dog cops and their supporters. Lost of press, lots of worried citizens. The gates were guarded by human agents, but gatbots were stationed in a perimeter watching the crowd, and the twins were ready to jump into action if needed.

Victor met with Anna and Genevieve, delighted to offer them condensed paperwork to join up, and he asked for their advice. They went to the command center, and saw how all the gatbot video feeds and building security feeds could be accessed. The gatbots were recording evidence of misbehavior in the crowd, so if they did want to arrest someone, they would have admissible evidence of criminal behavior.

Genevieve insisted Victor call the twins in, suggesting they were provoking the crowd. Victor agreed. As soon as the twins came to the control room, the boy leaped at Genevieve with a deadly punch. She dodged, and the twins were restrained, but Jim released a mass of black smoke; he was possessed by a Lord of Air, and he said it jumped him earlier in the evening and was planning to get one in his sister too, and trigger a massacre in the protest turned riot.

Loyalties

The protest was broken up by fog and driving November rain and wind. The Precinct picked up quantum energies, and Genevieve got a ping from Burninator that he and Tidelia were on a nearby rooftop, and she was manipulating the weather to defuse the situation. (Burninator also revealed once again his massive crush on Tidelia, but swore everyone to secrecy.)

Adrian and Lydia joined Burninator and Tidelia. Inside, Genevieve appealed to Victor, insisting he was being manipulated and was headed for disaster. They relocated to a bug-free room, and Anna found and removed some of the bugs as Genevieve tried to persuade Hammerhand that Felton was going to use him to change the city’s culture, and that the city needs police or it will fall under the control of Seertech altogether.

Victor struggled with that, as he liked and trusted Felton (who then conveniently showed up.) Victor had many preparations to do for the strike the next day. Genevieve insisted the city needed the cops on duty, and Felton gave her ten boxes of papers with all the studies, proposals, meeting minutes, and correspondence around the issue to see if she could find a way to get the funding. He seemed pleased to have Genevieve on board with Victor.

Regroup

They headed back to Favian Manor. Genevieve had a few stiff drinks and surveyed the mass of material Felton gave her. Adrian and Genevieve also gave Lydia a few stories by the way of history to contextualize the situation.

Tomorrow, the cops go on strike…

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The Yellow King

Kryptma arrived, and they strategized about how to reach the Upper House on the Plateau of Leng. They would have to pass through a swarm of nightgaunts, who could be safely repelled by a Distillate of Consciousness so no dream space gave them leave to approach. The easiest way to do this would be to go to The Market, where Kryptma happened to be a seller, so she had a way in. She warned them how strange the place could be.

The Market

She put a live crab in each of their mouths, and put a crab mask on her face, then they moved through the reflection of water and became the crab, emerging in The Market. She collected her crabs back, and threw away a lucky penny to summon a goblin guide to help them shop. They wended through The Market seeing many rare and wonderful things, then headed down the stairs to the Undermarket, seeing truths about them light up as symbols on the walls. At the bottom, they met the armored centipede centaur guards in heavy armor, who greeted the Oracle of Orcus as a powerful person, and acknowledged the others. A scent urchin gave them nose drops so they could smell whatever they liked instead of the hoary stench of the Undermarked. Then they went to a bridge across a pond, with a tower on an island in the center. By now Kinslton was manifesting physical signs of his formidable demon passenger, and he talked with the Oracle, shifting the manifestations to more of a bird-like appearance instead of something insectile.

They were served by a satyr there who gave them what they were after, in crystal form. The Chalice Bearer apparently had an account that had been accruing interest, so they could pay for it. They got special dispensation to leave through a gate in the pond instead of official channels, and once again used the crab ritual. Kryptma stopped them during the journey and pulled off all the parasites and other hitchhikers from The Market, then they returned, emerging on Prime from the fountain in the lobby of the hotel.

The Tower of Amepal

Back in their room, they said their goodbyes as seemed best for each. Genevieve telepathically contacted her husband, Adrian wrote letters to Mugsy and Emma, and told Snowfall they’d try to figure out her freedom if he returned. She gave him a feather he could burn once, to invoke their connection and bolster his magic. Lydia wrote letters to Amy and Indigo, Kinslton left some instructions for his butler, and Burr polished her boots.

Now ready for whatever may come, they followed Kryptma through the bathroom mirror onto the back of a majestic sky flap flap, a manta ray that could fly through the Umbra. They flew through many strange scenes, and they approached a screaming void of night. Kryptma embedded the crystal of Distillate of Consciousness in Adrian’s chest, and he shone to push back the night and the nightgaunts as they flew through that gulf. Then they reached a strange place full of monoliths, perhaps to the Sky Gods, where they leaked life essence just being in the place. They goaded the flap flap up to the highest tower, and dismounted, releasing the flap flap to go elsewhere.

From there, Genevieve unleashed the illumination in her bauble, and it lit up the fins at the top of the tower and released a brilliant light as it made her an eye far enough from the bustle of linear life that she could see forward and backward in time as never before. She resisted visions, staying focused on the moment, and a shantak flew up to investigate.

She made telepathic contact with it at great cost to her sanity, and it seemed to agree to take them to the Plateau of Leng. They climbed aboard, finding it generated its own gravity, and it lazily drifted away from the Tower of Amepal, through the dimensional barrier, and eventually on to the Plateau of Leng. It flew through the stars, which gathered all around them. Then the featureless gray expanse lay below, endless.

The Upper House

They approached the Upper House, which had pylons allowing it to connect to other dimensions, as in rituals to summon one dimension to touch another. They fell from the shantak, out of its gravity, and a combination of their powers got them to the ground safely. They saw the dust cloud of an approaching group, and quickly headed into the Upper House.

Inside it was designed with geomorph-like blocks of space that could shift and flicker around. A person could be lost inside forever, going from one kind of rooms to another; there were endless staircases, gardens, baths, banquet halls, and so on. They used their Umbra savvy to navigate a fairly direct path to the top, finding an open plaza under the burning constellation of the Hyades and Aldeberan burning red. There were two posts and a lectern, a setup to create a gate and dial in its location.

They felt the psychic pressure of the King in Yellow descending towards this place, and how it forced all the Upper House into alignment, providing a straight path to the entrance. Ralph Quarrie finally caught up with them. He was relaxed, in his white suit, smoking a cigarette, very excited about the coming entrance. He was the Stranger, the White Acolyte from the West. He would guide Hastur to earth.

That could not be allowed. Adrian burst him with a magical attack.

As the spray of Quarrie’s remains rained down, the King in Yellow appeared on the other side and asked them who would guide him to earth. Inside Kinslton, the Oracle of Orcus insisted that the King in Yellow was the angel he hunted, in one of his forms! He wanted to attack, and Kinslton refused, so the Oracle reformed Quarrie’s body, leaped out of Kinslton, and into Quarrie, rounding on the King to do battle.

Fearing that such a grudge match would destroy them all (whether it destroyed the Oracle or the King) Adrian used his fate to slay the infernal and once again burst Quarrie, this time depriving an arch-demon of a vessel in the process. The King generated a Yellow Sign, and for the first time they saw it as a hyperdimensional coordinate that was like a virus, putting a crack in every consciousness it met, where enough of them could be a sizable breach in an otherwise secure dimensional wall. The Yellow Sign gusted the arch demon to disperse without a host, at least for the moment. Again, the King asked for a guide.

Genevieve knew that could not happen. She shifted her bauble to a sword, and thrust it into the reflection of the Yellow King, relying on her fate to banish the entity. As the blade touched the King, the pylons outside that were charged and primed to allow dimensions to touch were deactivated, and the projection of the Yellow King was whisked back to the Hyades, far from earth.

Return to Prime

Kryptma used the gate in the Upper House to take the group back to Prime. They had been gone four days, but Olivia knew that Adrian was likely still alive until the he used the feather on the assault on possessed Quarrie, when the connection severed and she feared them truly dead. Before they had time to act on that change in plans, the adventurers returned.

Kinslton was now without the Arch Demon Oracle of Orcus, but some of the spawn the Oracle left behind whispered that they could be Legion, and serve him still as symbiotic allies; he found that pleasing. Lydia also found that the incredible sensory expansions she experienced through the whole weird ordeal climaxing in the presence of the Yellow King intensified her mutation, so new powers would soon be hers.

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A Day in Milan

On Friday, November 4, they took a flight from New York to Milan, arriving at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. They met Taylor Hawkins, who was happy to meet their plane on the back tarmac and let them go straight from the plane to the panel van, bypassing customs.

She took them to their rooms at the historic hotel. Colombo’s shipping office hours suggested they opened at 10, so the investigators had a few hours to pass before going there to meet him. Unused to air travel, Burr and Kinslton needed a nap. Adrian went to the hotel coffee shop to catch up with Taylor and swap stories. Lydia studied her phrasebook, and Genevieve used Google Translate to research what she could on Guiseppe Colombo.

Giuseppe Colombo was an eccentric but gifted scholar. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1972, but defrocked in 1980 for heretical writings. He was a professor at the Catholic university in Milan for 20 years, publishing in history or anthropology. He dropped out of sight in 2000.

Shipping

With the time passed, they headed out to the shipping office. Taylor parked the van in a side street, and they headed up the creaky stairs to the poorly marked office. Colombo and Villiers were discussing something in the smelly and old office, and were wary of strangers. Colombo was increasingly rude towards them until he abruptly pivoted his wheelchair and let himself out.

They presented themselves as seekers of Hastur lore who were friends with Roby, and demonstrated they had an idea what the cult was about and what its goals were. Villiers was interested in talking further, and not dissuaded by his companion’s rudeness. He invited them to his nearby loft studio.

The Studio

They saw his art, and the huge window he had for seeing the night sky while painting for a certain critical night of the year. He had planned to be done with painting upon moving to Italy, but he shrugged that the stars were right and he couldn’t resist. His paintings grew more abstract, they saw, as though his deterioration and nearness to death was rendering his grasp of symbol more tenuous and his raw feeling and emotion more unbearable. The paintings especially spoke to Lydia and Burr.

This studio is where the Brotherhood met, before Quarrie, Anzalone, Schippone, and Delnegro headed off on the Great Pilgrimage to be present for the Second Coming. Villiers had to excuse himself for a few minutes to deal with his health issues, and the investigators had a freer hand to look around.

Kinslton saw the byakhee whistle and pocketed it, and Genevieve telepathically told the others she sensed a byakhee in the periphery waiting. Adrian took a quick look over the mass of notes sprawled on the table, but didn’t get much from that. Then Villiers was back, and increasingly suspicious.

Genevieve lured him into talking more about the Great Pilgrimage. Villiers explained that Christianity was really a distortion of Hastur, or an avatar of Hastur, walking the earth. He pointed out the ways the story cycle could be distorted to combine gnosticism and the Christian narrative as a mask for Hastur’s unwavering truth. More the purview of the scholars, Quarrie and Anzalone.

The four have gone to meet the Living God, Chaugnar Faungn, so he can open the way from Drakmar (in Nepal) to the Plateau of Leng. Hastur will step from the stars to the Upper House in Leng, and from there be guided to earth. The Tsotsowa people, also known as the Tcho Tcho, wait on the threshold and tend their god, for theWhite Acolyte will come from the West to set him free.

The Angel

They discovered about all they wanted to know from Villiers. Kinslton bluntly told him they were going to take his mythos books (he had a three volume set of The Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan and the Biography of Cheleg. Villiers yelled in Latin for his defender to come out, and a byakhee breached the periphery and attacked them.

Adrian’s first mystical strike at it fizzled, unexpectedly, but his second dashed across it brutally. Kinslton unleashed the Dread Curse against Villiers, destroying him messily. Burr used her witchblade to repeatedly stab the byakhee, and Genevieve drew her blade from the orb and beheaded the thing while Lydia held it with telekinesis.

Lydia stuffed the corpse in the water closet to get rid of the smell for the moment, and the investigators spent more time perusing the records. All the preparation to get up to Drakmar, in the Mustang kingdom in Nepal, was laid out. A guide, a helicopter ride, all of it. They left October 25.

Taking the 4 mythos books and a sheaf of the most critical papers, they left the loft and returned to the hotel.

Drakmar History

They spent some time with their stolen books. They read the tale of how the Tcho Tchos slew Balmo, a demon ogress, in Drakmar, and how the red cliffs were painted with her blood and chorten, monuments or shrines were erected to pin down her heart and liver and such. And so the Tcho Tcho nomads established their only permanent habitation.

They brought with them their Living God, Chaugnar Faugn, immobile on a rock pedestal. The valley was shunned and feared by the locals.

Until a troubled king of Mustang, Amepal, approached the Tcho Tcho and their leader Rigdzinbum. Amepal offered them prisoners of war and criminals to sacrifice to their god, in exchange for help against his enemies. Sure enough, his enemies died or went insane, and he became a very powerful king.

His son, Agon Sangpo, hated the Tcho Tcho. He lured Rigdzinbum and his advisers in to a meeting and killed them. Then he took the army to the cliffs of Drakmar and killed all he could find. Of course, some got away, and over the following years his nearest and dearest went insane or died, until it was his turn. The greatly reduced Tcho Tcho hid and tended their god and waited for the White Acolyte who would come from the West to set him free.

The Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan were apparently written by a spy who infiltrated an Asian order of Azatothian mythos hunters who eradicated cults and sought to protect the world. The spy escaped and shared as much of their accumulated secret lore as he could before his death quickly caught up to him. Subsequent scholars and such have glossed the text. The English translation is in three books.

They found much of the foundations of what the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign used for their interpretation of events, and also found that one source of information on Drakmar and Leng was a “Cup Carrier” or something like that; the original symbol in the text is repeated in case others have a better translation.

Reaching Drakmar

They quickly dismissed the idea of traveling to Drakmar in Nepal. There must be another way to reach the Plateau of Leng, as shamen or mythos wizards. Time for research! They asked Taylor to see if she could get them access to a mythos library; dubious, she agreed to check with her contacts. That process could take time to unfold.

Kinslton checked in with the Brotherhood of the Road, exercising his clout and burning a favor. They texted him coordinates where Hanzo’s Rolling Library would be. Luckily it was in Milan today. They headed to the coordinates, a public park at the edge of the city with a nice walking path.

Hanzo’s Rolling Library

They met an eccentric man concealed from those not looking for him. He was robust, wearing a flat brimmed hat with pom poms hanging from it, and a vest, bracers, a red sash, a black vest, and flip flops. He offered them a ride in a double-wide rickshaw. Genevieve and Kinslton agreed and climbed in; he rocked it back and then down again, and they were gone.

They tumbled into an otherdimensional space stuffed with books and curated by a somewhat androgynous vampire. They asked how to get to the Plateau of Leng, and she observed it was an airlock dimension through Prime’s defenses, when the stars were right, and therefore tough to crack. There was a way in from Prime, but they didn’t want to use that. So, the two easiest ways in—go to the Deep Umbra and come in from the top, or get a shantak and ride it through the defenses, as shantak fly in and out of there all the time.

Since Genevieve was a Sorceress of Llyr, her bauble could be used to get a shantak’s attention on the Tower of Amepal. The vampire gave her a piece of parchment, human skin, with the umbral trailsign of how to get there.

For payment for her services, Kinslton agreed to give her some blood. She made a big deal out of enjoying all its complexities and subtleties and flavors. Then they returned, sitting on the couch and catapulting back into the rickshaw.

Meanwhile, the doorman had chatted freely with Adrian (and given him an ice cream cone from in his vest, impossibly.) Several of the doorman’s clothing items were magical, won in fights, because he was a street fighter. He was also not Hanzo; the vampire inside was Hanzo, he was the doorman. He offered to fight Burr, his hat against her bracelet, but she demurred. The doorman also mentioned the Green Flame, he sensed it about Adrian; for or against? Adrian was against. The doorman talked about a ninja clan that used the green flame in fights.

The scholars returned, the doorman rolled the library away, and they returned to the hotel.

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A Day In Kingsport

After loading up the truck, they get permission from Chief Crane to leave it parked in the police parking lot while they figure out what to do next. Then they head back to the yacht for a good night’s sleep. They all got thoroughly clean while Roby cried with longing for Carcosa.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Burr had a nightmare about a town in Colorado, stalking some danger, moving through bedsheets on a clothesline and realizing they were flapping but there was no wind, and pivoting to face an empty cowl. She woke up early, sweating from the intensity.

Lydia had a dream of being in a space surrounded by portals to places she’d jumped, putting on a white robe to stave off the chill. She realized her tiny room was a spec in a much larger space, and she was a seed that could grow to be mighty and huge like a tree. She held a rippling mirror in her hand, and looking into it, realized it was a pallid mask—she could be the Messenger. She woke late, languid and confined in her body.

Kinslton was protected from nightmares by the cooing and petting of dozens of new demons. Apparently the Oracle is an arch demon and arch demons shed new demons as a matter of course; is he building up a reserve of new demons in his psychic reserve? When he woke, he admitted this was going on to the group before seeking alcohol to not care so much.

Burr, Genevieve, and Anna went to the truck and shifted the parts they wanted to keep and what they were willing to give away. Later in the day, Burr’s allies came and took the hex boxes and many of the cursed items, and Anna drove the truck to Edgarton, to unload the material into Kinslton’s library.

Online research revealed Malcolm Quarrie in Milan, he was in online photos with Thomas Villiers, a painter from Kingsport. The pictures range from early 2008 to 2009, connected to "Il Fratelli del Signo Giallo (The Brothers of the Yellow Sign.) In May 2009 Quarrie and Villiers relocate to Milan with an offshoot cell hosted by Guiseppe Colombo in his shipping offices. They are a somewhat secretive theosophical society, so there’s not much about them online (though their page notes they have an annual performance of a mystery play, outsiders not invited.) Adrian had to read the Italian to help Genevieve investigate.

Also, in looking at Quarrie property records, they discovered he has an estranged wife named Hillary and a 4 year old daughter named Sarah. They live in England, 30 miles south of Gloucester, in Lower Clotton, at a place called Nug’s Farm.

Thomas Villiers was a microfamous painter in Kingsport, with art shows every few years. His active periods were between October and December. He had weird paintings, most of it not online. His fans were avid, his detractors rabid. He was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2006, and left Kingsport in 2008. The Henshaw Gallery had some of his work available for potential purchasers to view, but not out on display.

Adrian reached Camelbert in a private call, asking him to track down Yancell for him; he wanted to consult with the demonologist about the situation with Kinslton (though he didn’t name names.) He also set up a flight for them to Milan, leaving from New York next day.

Kinslton found the events of the previous night deeply distressing, so he got drunk and watched tv, eventually sharing drink with the miserable Roby so they were both drunk. Kinslton failed to order things from infomercials, but told his troubles to unsympathetic operators.

Lydia took Adrian and Geneveive to North Island by teleportation. Genevieve deactivated the space trap, and Lyida telekinetically restrained Evans/Edwards as the four of them went through the mirror and to a pocket dimension where monsters hunted each other. Genevieve tossed Edwards in, and they returned to Prime. Lydia teleported them all back to the yacht, where they collected Roby, and returned him to the island. No supernatural force should now be agitating for his release, so the medication should keep him calm and safe now. They worked things out with the doctor and teleported out.

Burr, Genevieve, and a rapidly sobered Kinslton went to the Henshaw Gallery to meet with Margarita and see Villiers’ art. Kinslton was enamored of a full suit made of CDs, buying the art and wearing the suit instead of leaving it on the mannequin as intended; that kept him busy with all the shiny for the rest of the visit.

Burr and Genevieve went into a private viewing area (Villiers didn’t want lots of people seeing his art) and saw the abstract style; a figure in yellow robes that looked like a keyhole, an abstract of comber waves that could be tattered fabric, and a hollowed out roulette wheel turned into a puzzle. Burr solved it by orienting on a constellation, and building the pattern right, and she saw the Yellow Sign and was affected by it. She bought the wheel, titled “Pointing To the Sign.”

Returning to the yacht, they showed the wheel and its puzzle to Lydia. Burr helped put it together again, and Lydia saw a symbol for how teleportation and acting in space-time worked. Both Burr and Lydia felt a strange feeling, the Yellow Sign creating an emotional response that did not yet have a human name for it. Lydia fenced with Adrian until the feeling was bearable again.

The crew decided to go to Milan and find out more from Quarrie about his plans for Hastur. They arranged for Anna to catch up, and the yacht took them to New York for a midday flight on November 4, off to Milan. Genevieve released Mr. Kissynose to ask Kryptma to come in for a consult.

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Touched the Earth

RESEARCH

As they sailed towards Boston, they pulled out computers and did some research. Turns out on New Year’s Eve of 2007, right at midnight there were a dozen deaths in town; the very young and the very old. Subsequent research found it was not a cancer cluster or anything, so since deaths did not continue, the anomaly only warranted a brief mention.

Hollister was a county, and also a town. The deaths were in town, surrounded by farms, dairy and otherwise.

Researching the Roby case, the murder was October 14 2008. Those working the case were Detective Sergeant Lorimer and Detective Stephens. There were two victims, the father Herbert and his daughter Georgina. The father was killed with a puncture, and exsanguinated, though almost none of his blood was on the scene. Half Georgina’s rib cage was missing, her blood was everywhere, but it appeared to be a different murder weapon. Both required massive strength. A door was shattered off its hinges on an upstairs balcony, and another in the doorway to the study where the two victims were found. Alexander Roby was the only one home, and he claimed he did it.

However, as there was no murder weapon and he lacked the strength necessary, and he was out of his mind, the legal apparatus got him a plea bargain for two years evaluation to see if he was competent to stand trial, and swept the whole thing under the rug. Seems rubber stamps would be enough to keep it under the rug, so why the pressure to complete the evaluation and potentially get Roby moved to another facility?

HOLLISTER

They rented a van, piling Anna in to drive, with Genevieve, Adrian, Snowfall, Kinsleton, Lydia, Burr, and Roby inside. Genevieve used her interrogation skills to try and engage Roby, who was in heightening levels of discomfort, edging into pain, as he could feel the real world and it was not Carcosa. The medication was wearing off.

She did get a garbled reference to “Jennings” and when they asked at a gas station there was a Jennings farm nearby.

As an expert in mythos issues, Kinslton knew that they’d need some kind of focusing device, and for something of this magnitude, something big (like the stone heads of Easter Island for R’lyeh.) Maybe a gazebo, or plinths, or something. So when he did an aerial recon and saw nine granite standing stones knocked down and half hidden under twisted bushes on a big dead spot of ground, he knew they had their focus. He flew down and directed them by back road. They reached the site, reading off the plinths; each one had a phrase that was part of a ritual, that the caster could activate once the plinth was loaded with energy and properly positioned. This could serve as a dimensional beacon, a focus to coalesce another world in this one. If it was standing up and powered and then released at just the right time.

What were they trying to do? What went wrong? The Great Old Ones have many personas and faces. Hastur was different in some ways from his avatar the King in Yellow; the King belongs in Carcosa, but Hastur does not. Still, for just a moment, Hastur touched down on earth, claiming a toll of souls and sending madness and writhing mutation through the summoners, some of whom survived (like Edwards.)

And these crazy assholes were going to try AGAIN.

Roby crouched, eyes twitching around the sky, mumbling snatches of a ritual to summon a byakhee; he was NOT happy to be gagged. They realized one was drifting in the Mists of R’lyeh high above, standing guard, bound to the site.

The incoming baying of farm dogs persuaded them to leave before Genevieve could look back in time, to see what made this place desolate, its ground spongy, death and weirdness radiating from the permanent scar in the Veil. They retreated to the van, and from there figured they had all Hollister had to offer them; back to Boston.

By this time Genevieve was getting numerous calls from Dr. Brewer, which she did not answer.

THE POLICE INVESTIGATION

They did some more research and phone calling from the van on the way back to Boston. Once there, they tracked down Detective Lorimer, because their background on him indicated he came from Kingsport and considered Chief Crane a mentor. When they got back to the station, he didn’t want to talk to them, so they name-dropped Crane, he made a call, then let them in and showed them the evidence from the Roby murder two years ago.

New pieces included a tape of Roby’s confession, with a transcript. He was obviously not in his right mind entirely. Also a carved whistle maybe eight inches long, fancifully fashioned after the shapes of a byakhee.

They also discovered that Grahame, Alexander Roby’s brother, inherited most of the estate. He would inherit more if Alexander was permanently out of the way. Still, the police concluded that his distaste for scandal far outweighed his greed in this matter.

THE ROBY HOUSE

They talked to Lowell, the butler at the Roby house. Lowell indicated that Grahame did not want to meet with them and found the whole matter profoundly distasteful, but Lowell was to show them the crime scene to satisfy their curiosity or whatever. He also indicated that Dr. Brewer had called several times asking him to tell them to call him, if he heard from them.

Genevieve finally called Dr. Brewer, told him they were doing unconventional things and needed time. He nervously agreed to grant it, understanding that the situation was unusual. She pushed back to ask why this was coming back up in the legal system; he noticed that was odd too, that was one reason he invited her to consult. As far as he could tell, Judge Tercell, who would be overseeing the trial, was not particularly motivated. The Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Claire Blanche WAS motivated. In checking to find out more about her, all Dr. Brewer found was that she was being pushed by a shadowy lawyer, Emery Silvers.

Genevieve peered back through time and witnessed the brutal byakhee attack that slew the two victims in the room.

They also talked to Lowell about Alexander’s state; he had deteriorated mentally in the fall of 2007, to the point where his fiancee broke off her engagement. At that point Grahame hired a private investigator who followed him for three weeks getting more information on his friends, then suddenly fired the investigator; Lowell doesn’t know why. Lowell did offer them a flash drive with the detective’s reports.

The investigators wanted a copy of Alexander’s book of poetry, but Lowell was not willing to part with it. They could look at it, but not take it with them. It was a jumbled mess, talking about how this was the first two acts and the third, that may or may not be written, was of walking in Caracosa. That we would think we were the first, but we would not be, and would have to learn that for ourselves. All manner of nonsense, about making the Yellow Sign with a fist in the air, plain enough to Bespeak the End of Day, some sort of prognosticatory ritual. The dreams were in German, the commentary and instruction in English. The whole book was under 100 pages.

They retreated, realizing by the end that Lowell found the whole affair distasteful and tragic, but was actually interested in helping them as best he could—probably more than his master would like.

TUCK’S INVESTIGATION

Reviewing his files, they found Tuck identified three main confederates that gathered at a residence in Downtown Kingsport, sometimes staying all night. It was Bacon’s residence.

  • Lawrence Bacon. Middle class, about 55, 6 ft., graying hair, beard, heavy build, antiquities dealer.
  • Malcolm Quarrie. 35, upper middle class, 5’10, black hair, clean shaven, slim build, scientist. Worked at Miskatonic U, respectable anthropology teacher, not married.
  • Edwards. About 40, upper middle class, 5’8, brown hair, neat beard and mustache, average build, profession unknown, short term lodgings in artist colony. Visited the library.

Alexander Roby himself stayed in temporary lodgings and only went out to visit the library or Bacon’s residence.

Appended at the end was a reference to the report Tuck gave Grahame in person that led to his firing. No information was included.

TO KINGSPORT FOR BACON

They gathered on the yacht. As they headed to Kingsport, they checked on Emery Silvers, the rogue lawyer pushing on this case. He did not have much online or physical presence, he was a handsome dignified lawyer without partners or employees. He did note he was a member of the Silver Twilight Lodge. He was based out of Boston.

Research into Quarrie indicated he surrendered his position at Miskatonic U around the time of the Hollister incident, and he was abroad; a former student’s Facebook indicated he got a postcard from Milan, Italy.

They were met in Kingsport at the dock by Chief Crane, and after a brief commiseration, he handed them over to Officer Steve, who would drive them around. They asked where they could find Bacon’s shop; it wasn’t listed, only those who knew about it could find it, but Steve was a good cop who knew his beat, and he knew where the shop was. By now it was after dark, but they wanted to visit anyway.

Officer Steve parked several blocks away out of sight, and they approached on foot. They found a locked door, with a knob lock and two deadbolts. Genevieve strolled through those, and they opened the door to find a mesh cage; Bacon could stand in this protected space and hand things out through the door slot. If invaders came in, they were trapped in the cage with him. Shivering a bit, Genevieve disabled the alarm and lock and opened the cage, so they could enter the stinky dark shop.

They found shelves stuffed with occult books. Downstairs, they found a big iron safe, as well as shelves packed with naughty items, some with spirits bound to them. There was a gaping hole in the wall behind a stove, and carved in the stone floor in front of it a ward against ghouls, powerful Mythos warding.

Genevieve cracked the safe by touch, and found a starkly alarming cache of books, and a bell with a stand.

Meanwhile on the top floor someone was moving around, then playing accordion for a while. Eventually the mysterious figure stopped, and muttered as he took an umbrella with his coat, and went out. Lydia teleported herself and Kinslton outside, so they didn’t have to go through all the locks, and Kinslton pursued in raven form.

The man was careful in doubling back and running errands, watching for pursuit. Then he headed to the artist colony of Southside, the back streets. He towered over a bum, and began to cast a spell, tearing the life force out of the victim.

Kinslton knew he had to interfere, so he dropped out of the sky and attacked. The wizard was knocked down, but hit Kinslton with a Dread Curse, killing him outright—

INTERLUDE WITH THE ORACLE

In a dark swarming place, Kinslton hung alone in empty space as the arch-demon approached and explained open space was premium in Hell. The Oracle decided to save him instead of just taking the body, because the Oracle wanted continuing help from Kinslton’s friends, and this arrangement wasn’t so bad. So, he healed the aggravated wound, and returned Kinslton control of his body.

Kinslton dropped to the pavement outside Bacon’s store, slathered with blood and ichor, vomiting out wriggling bits of flesh. Apparently when the wizard was killed, he turned into some formless monster, and the Oracle used Kinslton’s body to kill him (even though it took a while to do it right.) This may be the worst way to eat Bacon.

CLEANING OUT THE BACON HOUSE

Alarmed by his condition but relieved he was basically alright, Lydia got the two of them back in the building, where he told his story. They continued their search upstairs, finding a mass of hex boxes (boxes designed to trap cursed items so they can’t function) filling a bookshelf upstairs.

Burr called her people, who could take the hex boxes and any other dangerous items—just not right away.

So, Genevieve rented a box truck, which they filled with the library items they wanted and the magical items and dangerous books and hex boxes, then drove and unloaded onto the yacht.

Roby, in hand but insane. Edwards, trapped in a space time trap for one more day. Bacon, killed and eaten. Quarry, still at large. Other members: unknown. This cult may be tiny, but it was punching way above its weight. And all is not yet revealed.

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Masquerade

Between October 10 and October 31

Genevieve. She worked extensively with Jane Roftweilderant to get set up for the masquerade ball in Favian Manor on Halloween, her birthday. The event would benefit the “Lives Reconstructed” charity run by Victor Hawthorn, known as Hammerhand and the Reconstruction Agent. It was a halfway house to reintegrate convicts and subsistence workers into society, based around the Gateway factory in Torpedo Bay. Roftweilderant suggested an avante guarde play with a masquerade theme that would be a perfect fit, but Genevieve demurred, feeling a string quartet would be sufficient.

Kinslton. With Chatterly gone, he needed a new source for books. He approached Lady Underwood, who put him in touch with Dr. Ben Wiley, an anthropology teacher at the University. Kinslten met with him, and got the process started for getting more occult books, focusing on what you’d need to know to hunt an angel. He also contacted Shadow Creeper and asked her to go to the Favian Manor masquerade with him. She turned him down, but then later contacted him and agreed to go. Carruthers, the butler, helped Kinslton think through dinner, a limo, and flowers for his date.

Burr. She checked with Kinslton to see how he’d feel about a roomate; he had plenty of space, so she moved out of Favian Church and into his brownstone mansion. She got to meet Alpha Wolf, the three of them went on a couple thug bashing expeditions over time. She decided to go to the masquerade ball, and got an expensive musketeer costume complete with the fancy hat.

Adrian. After screening a lot of candidates to be Emma’s new bodyguard, replacing Grimm, he settled on Sam Gables, a Chauncy werewolf back from the war. In the sandbox, he disabled explosives and went down into spider holes. He carries a sawed off shotgun as a long pistol, and is just looking for a quiet job to support his family. Emma started picking on him immediately. Adrian dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, Emma as Christine, for the masquerade ball.

Lydia. She continued working at the bookstore and training with Amy, who lured her out past her normal moral fences in stealing from organized crime on a lark. Her training also continued. For the masquerade ball, she dressed all in white, with makeup, as a ghostly spirit. Her floating strange hair added to the ethereal feel of her costume.

AT THE BALL

It was a dark and stormy night, but the mass of valet parking attendants, caterers, and extra security smoothed out the logistical challenges. Anna Burke was in charge of security overall, and Geneveive arrived in her costume as the Masque of Red Death. Her husband, Graves, wore a suit and a rubber Richard Nixon mask, growling that he was not a crook. (He spent about half an hour mingling, then left to write it all down; too many secrets to just remember.)

Indigo, vampire bohemian, arrived with a few dates. He sat in playing his Spanish guitar with the string quartet, and they were happy to have him. He also played independently, gathering a swooning following. Burr introduced herself, as did Lydia. Lydia was so captivated by the strange vampire’s allure that she shared a cab with him back to the city, and ended up going to his lair with him for a languid day of passion after the masquerade.

Kinslton saw “Victoria” (as Shadow Creeper wanted him to call her) without costume, just using her shadow powers to make clothes and makeup. He realized she was younger than he thought, about 16, and that cooled his ardor somewhat. They had a pleasant evening of conversation, where he found out Indigo talked to her about him and changed her mind so she was willing to come out with him tonight.

Alpha Wolf came, stapling together a “Death” costume with black sheets, and carrying a scythe he got in some thrift store. He was sort of disruptive, so after a short time, Anna offered him the opportunity to go watch television downstairs with a full fridge of beer. Eventually Kinslton and Shadow Creeper also went down and joined him, and after a while they headed out to scare vandals and keep Halloween night safer.

Emma was still shunned among the elites, and flouncing her disregard of their opinion. After the masquerade was over, she took Adrian home, called him her angel of music, and had a very romantic evening.

Genevieve met with Dr. Brewer, who wanted her consultation on a patient to see if he was ready to stand trial. She agreed to use her telepathic powers to help out, much to his relief. He gave her his contact information on North Island Sanitorium.

Genevieve also tracked some of the notables in attendance. She chatted with Carver Bertinelli, a rising star in the Bertinelli crime family as it gathered its strength. She saw Granger and Morris Pennywise (dressed as young Indiana Jones and his father.) Also the Adler twins, dressed as Sherlock and Watson. Apparently Ariel Chase showed up for about 20 minutes, to make a donation.

Hammerhand made a speech about the charity and the importance of its work (complete with powerpoint) and by the end of the evening where they raised $2.5 million, he thanked them, and flew away with the money to the applause of the room.

The event was a rousing success.

ALEXANDER ROBY

Genevieve contacted Adrian, Kinslton, Burr, and Lydia to see if they wanted to go to the Sanitarium with her. They all agreed, piling on Adrian’s yacht (along with Mugsy, Anna, and Snowfall) and headed out, arriving at the island about 4 p.m.

Orderly Johnson met them and ushered them in to wait in the library and the study, with promise of supper at 6. He waited with them in case they needed anything, as he fiddled with his cell phone. Dr. Brewer took Genevieve upstairs to meet the patient.

Some time after they left, another nurse was talking heatedly to Johnson, upset that these people were here; he was told to go away, and he did, but he gave them the stink-eye first.

The patient, Alexander Roby, was kept in conditions where he could not write anything down, or have shoelaces or a belt; minimally responsive because of the medication, Dr. Brewer was curious to know what kind of condition he’d be if he came out of the medication, because he seemed in great pain before. Was he really lucid in there? If they could find out without putting him through agony, that would be best.

Genevieve talked to him, getting disjointed answers irrelevant to her questions. Roby asked after Delia, and when she wasn’t there, he told her not to come. He said it was inconvenient, being locked up, because he wanted to finish his work. Is this the year? Is this this one in five thousand?

He nattered on some insights about truth, and how it melts falsehood, and everything changes, and the world becomes responsive. He asked if they had seen the pallid mask, or been down by the lake to see the beauty and feel the rightness. He said the King in Yellow has called himself the White Acolyte. “I don’t think he can stay away. The King will not offer him what he hopes—to divert the King’s attention away from our Earth, back upon the dream city, he must think of Cassilda’s song.” Then he sang a weirdly tuned ditty.

He focused on them. “Have you seen the Yellow Sign?” Brewer observed that he had tried pictures of a “yield” road sign or a railroad crossing sign, both yellow, to no avail.

Roby said something about Edwards wanting to work with him, pencils and margins, what Edwards and he were doing harms no one. But Quarrie… he’s dangerous. Are you with Quarrie? Where is he now? Has he brought the King in Yellow? Is he among us?

That concluded the questioning, where Roby sat staring vaguely at the ceiling, as though he could see through it and the cloud cover to a certain constellation.

ALEXANDER ROBY, AGAIN

Genevieve decided to go into the disturbed man’s mind, so she would take Adrian and Kinslton with her as experts. (When Kinslton left, the Oracle would get to use his body, but he promised to behave.) They stepped into Roby’s mind, but fell through countless endless space, ending up ghostlike and half-present in a strange place with two suns. There they found Roby’s ghost-like mind.

Now much more lucid, he was surprised to see them. He told them this was Carcosa, a place that only existed in the brief moments between when a city became Carcosa, and when it was irrevocably altered by the ascendance of the King in Yellow. He breathed that a whole lifetime could be lived in those moments and be no less rich.

He talked about how Carcosa was responsive to thought and will, changing you as you change it, responsive in a way his native reality is not but in a way that he now cannot live without.

He discovered Carcosa through dreaming, but when he met with Bacon, Edwards, and Quarrie, they confirmed for him that it was a real place and he threw in with them to find it and bring it to earth so he could live here forever. Then something about a previous attempt, and it went wrong; he got anxious as they heard footsteps nearby, drawing closer. If they find you, they force you to go home. He blurred through the setting, pulling them along. But then he didn’t trust them, for they did not wear masks. He blurred away, and rather than catching him, they bounced back across the vastness of the void, ending an interstellar trip by crash landing in their bodies.

Genevieve promised Dr. Brewer to work with him on the book about this case, and to document her steps and processes. When Kinslton got back to his body, the Oracle was desperate to know where he’d been, and insisted on seeing Roby in person. They accomodated, and the Oracle whispered to Kinslton that Roby was the one true fit, the only human vessel that could contain Haniel’s energy and provide him with a host on earth that would not burn through. Kinslton told the others (but not Brewer.)

They had pleasant conversation through supper.

NURSE EVANS

As the after-dinner chat moved to the library, Adrian decided to check on his suspicion. Someone named Edwards was working with Roby, directly enough to smuggle him pencils to try and finish his spell to summon Carcosa. And there was a nurse that wasn’t happy to see them. He used magical stealth and slipped out of the room, wandering the building until he found Evans’ room in the basement. He listened at the door, very carefully, and heard “Evans” grunting frustrated and enraged phrases, along with what sounded like the slitting and plunging of a knife in flesh.

Concerned, Adrian withdrew to rejoin the others. He collected Genevieve, Kinslton, and Anna, and they stealthed downstairs while Lydia and Burr kept Dr. Brewer entertained by looking over the library books.

The intruders interrupted “Nurse Evans” in the shower with a butcher knife, his wounds already healed almost entirely. They confronted him, and he leaped at them with a knife, slashing uselessly at Kinslton before Adrian pinned him in place with magical force. Genevieve interrogated him, finding out he was indeed Evans, as Kinslton loaded up a Dread Curse. Evans resisted interrogation until the Dread Curse of Azathoth crushed into him, that the Incident with Roby took place in Hollister, MA. He needed Roby to finish the spell to bring Carcosa to earth.

By this point they transitioned to Anna pinning him in place, and Kinslton worked with Genevieve to create a space trap on the bathroom door; if he tried to escape the bathroom, he would be lost. They set it to expire in three days. Then they hurled their prisoner into the bathroom, and retreated upstairs.

They said goodbye, insisting that Dr. Brewer not allow any of his staff in to Evans’ room, or go there himself, for three days. They headed back to the yacht; Kinslton flew ahead and got Mugsy to drive it up to the pier. Everyone got aboard, then after a conversation, they decided it was too risky to leave Roby and Edwards on the same island. Lydia took Adrian along in case of trouble, and they teleported to Roby’s room, snatched him, and retreated to the yacht, sailing towards Boston to find more answers.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Against the Necromancer

Sunday, October 10

After celebrating their victory, they went their separate ways. The next day, Genevieve called in Jane Roftweilderant to begin planning a charity ball for Halloween, a Gothic masquerade. She decided to throw the ball on Halloween for her birthday, and donate the proceeds to Hammerhand’s charity.

Afterwards, she took Anna Burke and went to find the Shell Clan. She caught up to Blake in the sewers, and chatted about life and times. Also told them about the darkshell in the arcology; Blake was relieved, as wiping it out could displace movie night, and Master had picked Sleepless in Seattle. Again.

As Kinslton was having his breakfast volcano of scrambled eggs and sriracha sauce, Carruthers escorted Mr. Fetch in to see him on Baron Kennedov’s behalf. He just wanted to remind him to fit Indigo into his busy schedule. A friendly chat, and he was on his way. After breakfast Kinslton headed to Favian Manor.

Burr had a quiet morning of gun maintenance at Favian church. Lydia continued meditating to heal.

A Fallen Comrade

Adrian agreed that Snowfall could take the day off and get some spa treatment. He headed to Feducci’s to start recruitment of some more bodyguard muscle. While he was there, Alpha Wolf burst into the restaurant and told him Shadow Creeper had been badly hurt, and he had rescued her, but they needed a healer.

They went to the Stacks, to one of Alpha Wolf’s safehouse apartments, and Adrian saw Shadow Creeper in terrible shape and barely hanging on, unconscious. He went to the pay phone and called Favian Manor; Genevieve was out, but Lydia was in, as was Kinslton. They came immediately, and Kinslton used mythos magic to heal Shadow Creeper from the shadow of death to the picture of health.

He engaged in some awkward flirting that was somewhat distressing to Shadow Creeper, and somehow got into a macho contest with Alpha Wolf that immediately led to arm wrestling, where Kinslton’s scrawny arm crushed Alpha Wolf’s beefy arm in nothing flat. Now Kinslton and Alpha Wolf were bro buddies, somehow.

Assault on Acme Theater

Shadow Creeper had regained her composure and made clothes out of shadow, and she told them a necromancer named Thriftycycle was building an undead army in South Settler. The locals interred their dead in an unfinished sewer system, so there were an incredible number of corpses for the necromancer to pervert and raise. She tried to sneak past his zombies and take him out directly, but ghosts were a problem; she was spotted, then swarmed, and barely got away.

They returned to Favian Manor to load up, picking up Burr, Genevieve and Anna, and Amy. Amy donned her battle costume for its first adventure. The nine rode forth in two cars and a motorcycle; Alpha Wolf put on an eyepatch and Kinslton rode on his shoulder in raven form, and Alpha Wolf yelled incoherently something about being Odin.

Shadow Creeper guided them in past barricades and deceptions to get into South Settler, and they stealthily approached a theater built 80 years ago that spent most of its life abandoned. They made the approach, and were spotted by ghosts; they discovered Lydia’s sword has some effect on the incorporeal, if incomplete.

The Shambling Thing

The back wall of the theater ruptured and a 7 meter monster made of corpses lumbered out to attack them. Lydia held it in place as the others attacked it with magic, claws, blades, the Viper cannon, and whatever else was handy. It changed form, but was held in place by telekinesis. Alpha Wolf lost himself in the attack, and Kinslton found digging through dead meat with his demon claws was like a memory of better times; the arch-demon might have been bleeding into his consciousness some.

Shadow Creeper went for the flanking move, and Genevieve followed, so Anna did too. The rest of the gang put the massive shape-shifting undead thing down. It was held together by a kilometer of barbed wire where the barbs were necromatic glyphs; some sophisticated stuff. Hundreds of zombies lurched forth, and met gunfire and blades.

Thriftycycle the Necromancer

A hole burst open in the roof, and the necromancer flew up. He wore a meat suit made of muscles, with enchanted knuckle-dusters made of skulls, wings, bile sacs, and other innovations. The wings were flayed human skin, and it soared up as he taunted them.

Lydia hurled Kinslton at Thriftycycle with telekinesis, and the demon corax scrabbled brutally at the startled necromancer. Shadow Creeper joined the assault. After Kinslton delivered a Dread Curse right to the necromancer’s face, shadow powers slid him out of the suit; Kinslton brought it down as Shadow Creeper put the necromancer in her shadows to be dealt with later.

Mop Up

Lydia’s telekinesis helped mound a pyre. To keep it from creating a bane site or something equally awful, they called in Burninator to weave in quantum energies and burn the necromancy clean. He did so with enthusiasm, also burning the inside of the operating theater. Burr found and disabled a number of occult signs, and Adrian found the necromatic staff that was fed to the fire.

Victory!

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Dirigible Diving

They gathered in the concrete control room under the derelict arcology in Torpedo Bay. Mugsy was feeling much better, and contacted Tidelia with underwater speakers, so she would guard the boat and he could go along and help. Kryptma roused Lydia and warned her to seek help if she got scales, but wings were okay; wait, what? Burr and Genevieve traveled from Feducci’s to the arcology by borrowed car.

Genevieve picked up a lone darkshell nesting in the arcology, but they figured they would leave it alone and it would leave them alone.

The Pitch

While they were strategizing their next moves and getting in some meditation, Mugsy heard a hyper frequency (only dogs could hear it) morse code “Genevieve” and a number. She mirrorstepped to the Mausoleum to look up the number, she recognized it as a frequency for the transponders for the dirigibles.

While at the Mausoleum she met the IAGO assassin unit formerly known as Daniel Burke, now known as Anna Burke, who seemed acclimatized to the new body and witchblade symbiote. Genevieve found that all the dirigibles were in lockdown, at maximum height to stay out of the way of emergency responders unless they needed to dock for some reason. The dirigible in question belonged to a wealthy family that was currently out of the city on vacation. She also checked the origin point of the frequency, and found a closed down radio station in Foscoe Gardens.

They returned to the control room under the arcology. Lydia got a psychic picture of the location of the radio station from Genevieve, and she teleported there with Mugsy. Mugsy quickly picked up the scent of Echran and Graves, but still broke in to turn the signal off.

Ready to Soar

Meanwhile Genevieve contacted the Ghost, who was looking into something riling the Chauncies; when she was told about the frequency, and that it was off, she agreed to help them reach the dirigible if they went to the Mausoleum in 20 minutes.

Genevieve contacted Amy, who was worried about them, and had Lydia teleport to pick her up and return to the control room. Meanwhile Kinslton flew in bird form to scout the dirigible.

Because moving everyone would be difficult, Lydia teleported to the rooftops of Fortress Square with Burr to be onsite as backup if needed.

Kinslton flew up to the dirigible and saw the two wizards and their four lackies and some kid of dimensional shielding around the cabin. He flipped off the wizard, who spotted him with an enchanted monocle, and dove. The wizard fired a couple near misses after him before he reached cover in Fortress Square.

Amy got to fly the Ghost Jet, with Genevieve in the back seat managing psychic tac net and holding on to Snowfall, the poor owl going up in a jet. Others put on glide packs and held on to the wings behind miniature windscreens, so the Ghost, Anna, and Adrian could deploy from there.

Dirigible Assault

The Ghost Plane came in high, releasing the glide pack assault. Ana busted in and engaged two of the tough guys in hand to hand, Adrian shielded the boarders from magical attack and squared off with the Monocle (they weren’t sure what the leader’s name was.) Druanna bolted through the window and used her magic to fly, and Kinslton pursued her in raven form as the Ghost blew a stun explosive through the front windscreen, knocking two guys out.

The wizards had four schoolgirls on board, and dropped them unconscious through the floor. Lydia teleported up and down, using telekinesis to gather them close and teleportation to get them safely to the rooftops. The girls all had uniforms from the same charter school, so they’d be easy to place with their families.

Kinslton shifted to human form so he could use magic, and Druanna shot him unsuccessfully with magic; as he pounced, she went invisible, but he caught her anyway, nailing her with the Dread Curse of Azatoth before clawing her chest to ribbons.

Anna took a beating from the two tough guy wizards, then sent organic steel cables piercing through their bodies, inviting their surrender.

Adrian staggered Monocle with a magical battering, and the Ghost popped in from behind with a stunner to put him unconscious.

They rapidly looked through the dirigible cabin, scoring a couple laptops, a scroll case with Adrian’s wand, a crystal ball in a portable case, and Monocole’s wearables. As Anna stayed to guide the dirigible down and turn the four henchmen over to the authorities (she interrogated them and satisfied herself that as far as they knew there were no others from their organization in town) everyone else climbed aboard the Ghost Plane and flew back to the Mausoleum.

Epilogue

They returned to Favian Manor after Amy got a full speed victory lap with the Ghost Plane and Burr agreed to turn the two captive wizards over to her order. Graves didn’t like investigating for free, so he whisked Genevieve off so she could reward him for his efforts.

Burr transported the two wizards to a nearby town, moving them into an ambulance and going to a hospital where the Order of Hunters had a transport helicopter on the roof. The mission leader asked her if she wanted to stay in Edge City and network (they have a lot of prey go to ground there) or if she wanted to return. She decided to stay in Edge City for a while.

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Wizards Gone Wild

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In the previous weeks, Kinslton had help from the Pocketers to finish the containment circle inlaid in his basement floor. He had a cozy lair down there. The archdemon Oracle possessing him also started training him in demonic combat, capturing pigeons then releasing them into a room and attacking them boldly.

Kinslton also found out that the Oracle was looking for the archangel Haniel, who was into oneness and integration and the radiance that releases. No idea where to start looking, though.

Lydia kept up her duties running the bookstore for Lady Underwood, and also trained to become more situationally aware with Amy. She also spent a lot of time in meditation, finding the immortal sword in her shadow and learning how to summon it and how to put it away, binding it to her life force.

It was the night before the Golden Hedgehog croquet tournament. The gang wanted Lydia to come along, and arranged for her to go with the Edler twins. Graves was going with Genevieve, because Daniel was not available to go. Emma was going with Adrian. While they were working out their fashions, Mugsy called up Kinslton and arranged for them to have a barbecue on the yacht during the event.

Meanwhile, a mysterious woman named Burr arrived in Edgarton with a case. She headed to Favian Church, where Fr. Abrams offered her awkward hospitality and contacted the Gray Ghost, who contacted Genevieve and the others. The Ghost asked Genevieve to bring Burr by secret paths to the Mausoleum. Genevieve and Adrian went to the church and took Burr through the mirror, emerging from the mirror to find the Ghost waiting for them.

Reconstituting Daniel

The Ghost’s research indicated Daniel could not be simply transplanted. The Ghost got a new body, and called in a favor with the Order of Hunters to get a witchblade. (The Ghost had talked this through with Daniel, who was willing to take on a female persona.) They watched the first steps as the witchblade woke after its transport, extracted Daniel’s brain, and inserted it into the body; the witchblade would act as a supplementary nervous system, and it also set to work reshaping the metal body.

Since the process would take some time, they went their separate ways. The Ghost headed to the University to nip a heroin ring in the bud (she had admissible evidence all rounded up, and planned to get the criminals to connect to it for delivery to the cops.) They headed back to the church and dropped Burr off, then went back to their party preparations.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It was a rainy morning, but Kinslton and Mugsy enjoyed their cookout anyway. Mugsy took the yacht out so Kinslton could be the figurehead on the ship in the majestic rush of wind.

The Golden Hedgehog

The Golden Hedgehog was a brunch this year, and had billowing tents over the whole property so croquet could continue with no water splashes. Cain and Abel Edler were very friendly and welcoming to their exotic companion, Lydia.

Then Emma brought Adrian a drink and told him to drink it all up in one go. It was not Emma, but a disguised wizard with a knock-out potion; Adrian almost resisted, but was captured. Lydia saw the event from too far away to engage, but rushed over and met Emma arriving. Alarmed, the women sought out Genevieve, who detected that a man had been where Lydia saw the illusion of Emma, and left a clutch prop behind. They followed the direction of the tracks a bit, out the back of the tent city, and saw several vehicles pulling away. Genevieve’s senses picked out the one that was cloaked in illusion, and Lydia confidently hoisted it off the ground with her telekinesis to prevent its escape.

A wizard fired an arcane blast from inside the captured vehicle, coring Lydia. If she did not have mutant toughness and regeneration, she would have died on impact. The target vehicle roared off, police and rubberneckers rushed to see what was going on, and Genevieve sent someone to go get her portable mirror from the car. She rolled Lydia into it, and found a safe room under the morgue downtown to keep Lydia in stasis so she would not die. Genevieve sent Mr. Kissynose to go get Kryptma to help put Lydia back together.

Spooked, Emma and Ellis headed to Feducci’s restaurant to sit tight and stay safe until the situation was somewhat resolved.

A Deadly Press Conference

Meanwhile, there was a press conference going on in Fortress Square, over budgeting issues for law enforcement or something equally dry. Both Burr and the barbecue on the yacht were watching.

When Lena Wilts started speaking, Mr. Mystery leaped down onto the stage, shouted something about resisting tyranny on behalf of the Gray Ghost, and blew her head off with an arcane bolt. The attacker leered at the crowd from behind an arcane shield as bullets flew, then escaped dramatically.

Kinslton turned to a bird and flew back to the city, heading for Fortress Square.

When Genevieve telepathically linked with the Gray Ghost’s mind, she found the Ghost was dressing and leaving the Golden Hedgehog to deal with this assassination in Fortress Square. They swapped information; Adrian kidnapped, Wilts killed by “Mr. Mystery,” Lydia mortally wounded.

Genevieve managed to scream into Adrian’s drugged sleep enough to wake him; he had a bloody jacket with him, his wand was missing, he was in different clothes, in a corner penthouse of a Fortress Square hotel. A SWAT team was pummeling down the hallway towards him. He managed to meld out through the wall to the long drop outside the window, and go invisible, and begin floating down as he got his wits about him.

Genevieve mirror stepped to Downtown, and the three of them met in a basement, quickly joined by Kryptma. Genevieve sent Kryptma to help Lydia survive. The rest headed to Feducci’s to secure Emma’s safety.

Countering Threats

They mirror stepped to Feducci’s, where the mirror room was a place for jugglers to hang out for no reason in particular. They found Emma and Elllis (the bodyguard) downstairs treated to a fine lunch in a room full of aquariums. After lunch, they took Emma and Ellis to the gate leading to the Leatherbury Estate, where she should be safe. Then they headed to Adrian’s mansion, to pick up his owl, magical armor, and staff.

Things got confused. There were reports of the Gray Ghost in a gunbattle with the Gray Ghost on rooftops downtown. Genevieve contacted the Ghost, who was escaping after the other Ghost (who had supernatural powers) bugged out of the fight, but the Ghost figured she could escape through the sewers. She also asked that Genevieve contact Burninator and steer him away; the city was getting locked down, and he couldn’t help. (Genevieve contacted him, steered him away with expected reluctance on his part, and kept tabs on the Ghost until she was safe.)

Talking with Burr, they found out she was in town to disable and capture a wizard of the Eternal Order of Shadow known as Malik West. Adrian recognized that as more of an alias or title than a name, probably the wizard in charge of operations in America. That could well be the impetus behind this clumsy attack on Adrian’s identity.

Adrian got a call from his sister, Druanna Ericson. She called from the yacht, she had Mugsy under her control. She lamented with him how goofy the wizard in charge of the operation was, and told him the overall point was to chase him out of the city.

Kryptma brought a dragon egg to where Lydia was hallucinating between life and death. Kryptma put the egg in the hole in Lydia’s chest, and broke it, sacrificing the dragon’s immortality to rebuild Lydia’s mutant form, healing over half the damage the mystic bolt did.

Rescuing Mugsy

Adrian and Kinslton went to the yacht to pick up Mugsy and make sure he was okay. Mugsy was eager to go hide where Emma was. Snowfall’s doubt and native suspicion provoked a closer look, and Adrian saw that the image of Mugsy was a disguise. Adrian went invisible to see how the wizard would react; the fake Mugsy didn’t break character, but also lacked the super senses Musgy had.

Meanwhile Kinslton mounted the gangplank, determined in brief conversation Mugsy was a bad guy in disguise, and dropped the Dread Curse. The badly hurt wizard staggered to the deck and went over, disappearing into the water.

Adrian and Kinslton went downstairs to find Mugsy bound by spiders the size of a head clamping around his torso like a corset. Adrian made him incorporeal to slip him out, and the spiders attacked Kinslton, climbing all over him. Adrian helped by shooting, and they crushed the spiders.

The rogue wizards in town had a lot to answer for, and the city’s defenders were good and steamed about all these attacks. Time to hunt them down.

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Spoiling Schemes

https://fictivefantasies.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/edge-city-spoiling-schemes/

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