We begin our 2nd year with me as Storyteller and your game has advanced to February 1st, 1998.
Brennan Fitzpatrick, Warden of the White Council, together with a pack of Quileute werewolves and friends set out to help the police solves a mystery. A couple and their teenage daughter bought a nice, fully restored Collegiate Gothic-style house built in 1908. While the father of the house was away, three teenagers broke into the house and tried to recreate a 1969 murder of two nursing students. The mother and daughter managed to escape the intruders, lock themselves in the master bedroom, and call 911. When the police arrived, one teen was found in the upstairs bathroom, stabbed in the back and drowned in the tub. The other two were found in the basement. They seem to have slashed each other to death, blood and gore everywhere, bloody knives in their hands. The group posed as Psychic Investigators and arrived at the house the day after the murder to talk to the family. They were greeted at the door by the maid who most of the group saw as a very sexy, very seductive 20-something red headed woman while a smaller number of the group saw as a kindly 40 to 60-something red headed woman. As the group began its investigation, many things became apparent. The mother, Carol was pregnant and there seemed to be something psychically wrong with the mother or the baby, but no further details were learned on this. The sulky teenage daughter named Carla and the maid both seemed somehow “wrong,” but the father, John seemed very normal. They learned that the house was once again for sale as the number of deaths that have happened in the house unsettles Carol, but she does not believe in ghosts. The father, John, is building up his business in the house where he meets psychiatric clients. As a result of this and having only recently moved in, the house has no threshold. The house also sits astride a Ley line. In the basement where the two teens were found killed a dark, malevolent entity was sensed and whatever it was seemed unaware of the group. It was felt that whatever it was, if it became aware of the party things could literally go to hell and fast. It seemed there might be an open rift connecting this house to Hell itself. The group quickly left the haunted house and investigated further elsewhere.
The investigation learned that 2812 Mt St Helens Pl is an old Collegiate Gothic-style house built in 1908. It was built outside of town by Dr. Charles Montgomery for his wife Carlotta though today, the house sits in a beautiful, quiet neighborhood. It was a beautiful house and had a pair of servants to assist they lady of the house. Dr. Montgomery performed abortions in his home afterhours and treated women suffering from hysteria. Theirs was a fairy tale romance until the doctor fails to save a man’s who then murder’s the couple’s first child, Matthew. Matthew was 2 years old. Dr. Montgomery did everything in his power to save the child including turning to satanic worship and dark magic some say, but in the end, Carlotta went insane, killed the doctor, and then killed herself in 1930. A Warden of the White Council named Bradley Williams investigated the house in 1932 and then disappeared. Dr. John, a young dentist fresh out of the Army, & his wife Jennifer Salt bought the house in 1946 and then abandoned it 1957. A group of nursing students bought the house in 1960. A variety of nurses and students came and went until a pair was brutally murdered in 1969, one stabbed in the back and then drowned in an upstairs bathtub and the other stabbed and slashed repeatedly, down in the basement of the house. Constance and her late husband Paul Brower bought it in 1971. Their firstborn child, Dylan, died just at a few months of age of some birth defect. Their 3rd child Pete lived to be about 16 or 17 years old. Pete was killed by police officers who were attempting to take him into custody after a school shooting incident a year or so after his father disappeared and a week or two after the 2nd child, David, who had been born with some pretty severe birth defects died of respiratory failure when he was 8 or 9 years old. Only the 4th child, a teenage girl named Addie was still alive. Constance moved out of the house and moved in next door in 1992. She then sold the house to Chad Semel & Patrick Jordan, a gay couple who fully restored the house with valuable antiques except the kitchen, the plumbing, and the electrical system which were fully modernized and brought up to code. Patrick killed Chad in the basement of the house in 1995 and then killed himself after they hit a “rocky patch” in their relationship.
to be continued...
The group spoke with Constance Brower while one of the werewolves in wolf form encountered Addie Brower in the backyard. Addie told the wolf as it walked by “You are going to be in trouble. You had better get out of here.” Constance was not very helpful either on this first visit. Later that night Addie was hit by a pickup truck in front of the two houses. Abigail, Zara, and Samantha visited Constance the next day and gained some additional information about the house next door where the teenagers were killed and Constance’s family. Brennan and the group tracked down the hit and run driver to southwest Seattle and confronted him in dramatic fashion with a werewolf and a Faerie Fox leaping through a rear window while other werewolves, the Warden, a mortal of faith, and a White Court Vampire went in the front door when the man inside the house became belligerent and reached for a shotgun in his living room. He did not seem to be under any magical influence. He was merely a drunk driver who hit and killed a girl and did not stop to check on her as he drove off into the night to sleep off the booze in his tiny rundown trashy home. After scaring him, they convinced him to turn himself into authorities.
The next evening the group jumped over the back fence of the haunted house where they encountered the maid once again. A brief fight ensued and the maid vanished.
To be continued…
Thomas Grey, werewolf of the Quileute tribe and leader of the Council of the 18 Nations found himself alone, watching the law office of his niece’s lawyer when he was savagely psychically attacked. Blind and bleeding from the ears, Thomas managed to get away and hide in the bottom of a dumpster behind a Chinese restaurant before passing out. After a bit of work Sergie and Tufel managed to locate the battered were-wolf and took him back to an apartment Herr Nietzsche is using until his own place becomes habitable. Herr Nietzsche had the doors locked and a mortal guard posted outside while he called others he had phone numbers to in order to warn then that the “Nixie Queen” had struck again and she had Thomas’s cell phone. The group decided to converge on The Mercury @ Machinewerks where Herr Nietzsche was temporarily staying. Brennan was one of the first to arrive. Opening his “Sight” he looked around and spotted the Nixie queen peering out from around the corner of a building a short distance away. Brennan resisted her magical lures and closed down his sight. He hustled his carload inside the building and sought to gain entry to the small apartment there only to find that the wood of the door and the wood of the door frame had grown together. Tufel repeatedly hit the door, attempting to break it open, while Brennan worked to counterspell the door. Both succeeded at the same moment causing each a bit of stress, but no permanent damage was done to anyone. The door and frame fared less well and it was decided after a quick search of the apartment that it was not defensible against the likely of the “Nixie Queen.”
When the rest of those available arrived the bulk of the party, lead by the Faerie Fox Zara, went to the spot where Brennan last saw the Nixie queen. Zara sniffed around and soon picked up the Nixie’s trail. The group followed Zara down a dark alley and around a corner. Walter called out for Zara to stop, but it was too late, Zara had walked into a ward which acted very much like invisible flypaper. The rest of the party was able to pull back, but poor Zara was stuck fast in the trap. Warden Brennan, assisted by Shadrach and Walter successfully worked to free her and destroyed the ward.
While this was going on, Herr Nietzsche, his new mortal driver, the goblin Sergei, and the werewolves present climbed into Nietzsche’s Packard and quickly drove away. Castiel followed on his motorcycle a short distance back. The trap in the allyway had been meant to delay the party while the Nixie, after casting a spell to make her seem uninteresting hoped onto a moped and took off in pursuit.
It was last on a Monday night and city traffic was not terrible, but never-the-less the Nixie was able to catch up to and pass Castiel without his noticing her, but the characters in the car were not so easily fooled. They prepared for a fight as a rather plain young girl on a plain ol’ moped drove up along side of them. The girl mumbled something and one hand made a funny series of motions before the girl drove on past and then turned off of the road the PCs were on. Suspicious, Herr Nietzsche ordered his drive to stop the car, but instead the driver turned toward Puget Sound and began to accelerate, mumbling something about having to get everyone to safety. With no Wizards present to break the enchantment, those in the car were forced to try to make the driver stop. Unfortunately for the party, Herr Nietzsche choose a driver who was particularly tough and it took the efforts of everyone to drag him over the back of the seat so Mischa could slip into the driver’s seat, take control of the car and guide it safely to a stop. A confused Castiel caught up to the Packard and watched for trouble while calling the rest of the party and letting them know what had happened. Carefully the group drove away, and everyone converged on Walter’s home.
That night the group discovered that Walter’s house was haunted. The group has not yet figured out who the ghost is or what it wants. That investigation continues.
The investigation into David Anderson’s death was picked back up the next day. Progress was made on the case, but still no resolution or solid suspects. That investigation continues as well.
When we begin it will be late in the morning of Wednesday, February 4th, 1998. News headlines this day includes:
- Red Cross Reports Numbers of Homeless Served in Local Soup Kitchens Continues to Drop
- Law Enforcement Still Seeking Sniper (very poor sketch of Castiel on front page)
- State Budget to Increase Spending on Law Enforcement and Education while Cutting Social Service Spending
- Damage to Local Water Treatment Plant Blamed on Kids
Thursday, February 5, 1998 (part 1)
Brennan Fitzpatrick receives a letter through proper White Council channels from Aleister Marcus, the Warden of Portland, Oregon.
To Brennan Fitzpatrick, Warden of the White Council
I hope this missive finds you well. I write to you with much concern over the region under your jurisdiction and hope that the troubles that have come to you do not spill over into mine.
I have heard rumors that some nixie tart is stirring up the Fomor in Puget Sound and that the Red Court is building an army in Seattle. In fact, one of their thralls was at an estate sale last week. I was interested in a box of books but was outbid by a Latisha Denton of your fair city. You may know of her.
I also have information that the Winter Knight is in Portland with the Winter Lord of Seattle. It won’t be long before the Summer Envoy in Portland has the same information.
Is this something I need to be concerned about? Why is the Winter Lord of Seattle stirring things up in Portland?
If you wish to investigate this manner further, I welcome you to come to Portland. Seek out a pixie by the name of Peep in the Alberta Arts District at Dungran’s Pub. He can tell you what he told me, perhaps more. A word of advice, though: be sure and know your microbrews. He has expensive tastes.
Obviously many things are afoot in the Emerald City. I am concerned about these troubles moving south. If you wish to find me, I can often be found at Powell’s bookstore, if I’m not on a mission of some sort.
Scientia potentia est,
Aleister Marcus, Warden of the White Council
Greater Portland Area
Thursday, February 5, 1998 (part 2)
This letter stirs the group to action to discover what Ithica Nye is doing in Portland and potential political repercussions his actions could have for Seattle. Walter and Brennan feel the need to investigate and, as it is a fae matter, enlist the aid of the their wyldfae companions—especially as they do not have ties to the Courts. Jean, their White Court companion also sees the political ramifications of Ithica’s involvement, and the mention of the Nixie Queen is a concern. He brings up the fact that the Nixie Queen probably wouldn’t know that they are coming and that they should maintain a low profile. The mention of the Nixie Queen also stirs Thomas’ interest in the expedition. She has been quiet in Seattle of late. Perhaps her focus has shifted south. They also enlist the aid of Corwin, a hired gun of which they have just made the acquaintance. If there is trouble, the may need the firepower.
Before leaving, Jean does some investigating of the pub in question. He discovers that Dungran’s is in the Alberta Arts District, a bit of a bohemian district in Portland that caters to both artists and hipsters—like much of the city, but even more so. The bar itself is an older establishment, with a definite hipster vibe, serving a lot of microbrewed/craft beers and the like. Lazlo does some investigating and discovers that it is actually frequented quite a bit by the Wee Folk, and even learns a bit of Peep himself. He is a wyldfae who likes to play both ends against the middle when the Winter and Summer courts are involved.
Transportation arrangements are made through Jean and Castiel; they will all go separately and make circuitous routes in case of trouble. They will swing by the Dungran’s Pub to check it out and rendezvous in a parking lot not too far from there to compare notes.
Castiel and his carload swing by in his Suburban, with Sergei veiling and unloading himself inconspicuously from the car at a stop sign and taking up a surveillance position near the bar. The Alberta Arts District is a very bohemian area with lots of street vendors and artists. They observe a fairly typical street scene and nothing really more of interest. Jean and his companions in his Mercedes drive by and observe much the same.
Brennan and Thomas, in Jean’s ‘73-model pickup, drive by and observe a gentleman positioned outside the pub smoking a cigarette who appears to be maintaining a fae illusion about his person. He’s a youngish man in a newsboy cap and scarf—at least, he appears to be.
The group (sans Sergei, who remains in position across from the pub) converges in the mall parking lot to compare notes. Brennan and Thomas tell them about the fae they saw out in front of the pub. Jean suggests that he and few of the others go into the pub to case it out. Brennan wants to go talk to Aleister to make sure he actually sent the letter and that this isn’t some kind of fae trap. Jean says they’ll wait until they hear from Brennan that it’s on the up and up before going inside. So Brennan, Tufel, Zara, and Thomas head to Powell’s to see if they can meet with Aleister.
Thursday, February 5, 1998 (part 2)
Powell’s is a huge book superstore that encompasses an entire city block and 3 stories. It is quite busy and cramped with stacks of books and lots of guests. Thomas opts to wait in the truck in lieu of interacting with the crowds. Brennan goes inside and inquires at the front desk for a frequent customer by the name of Aleister Marcus.
“Oh yes, Aleister. Such a sweet old man. I think I saw him in the café.”
They get directions to the café and head that way. There they spot a elderly gentleman in a Tom Landry-style hat reading a paperback sipping on a cup of coffee. Brennan feels a very specific supernatural vibe coming off of the man as they approach.
Brennan asks if the man is Aleister Marcus. He confirms that he is and then Brennan introduces himself. He confirms with Aleister that Aleister sent the letter and they discuss its contents. Brennan then discusses the dangers of what the Nixie Queen has actually been up to and encourages Aleister to contact them if she shows her face in Portland. Aleister thanks him for the information and they part ways. In the meantime, Tufel has ordered a pizza and consumed it heartily.
Meanwhile, back at Dungran’s Pub, Jean and the others receive word that the letter was legitimate and that the informant, Peep, fits the description that Lazlo discovered previously—he likes to sell information to both Courts.
Jean, Walter, and Castiel head inside the pub—not together, but separately, and take up separate positions, to observe and see if there is anything to see. Castiel and Walter purchase a whiskey and cigar while Jean purchases a glass of their most expensive wine (retaining the expensive bottle of wine he bought in Seattle in his coat). It is early yet and there are only a few patrons in the pub. There is not much to see.
Corwin, meanwhile, sees a beautiful woman go into the pub and follows her inside and buys her a drink, ignoring the stares of her boyfriend. The man then angrily protests and he attempts to placate him with zero positive results. The man grows more agitated, telling Corwin to back off. Corwin attempts to intimidate the man to back away himself, as the woman accepted the drink, but the man grows more belligerent. The bar patrons are all staring and the bartender comes by to ask if there’s a problem. Corwin attempts to convince the bartender that there isn’t, but the bartender isn’t having it. He tells all three of them to get out. “Shitty hipster bar anyway,” the boyfriend says as he drags his girlfriend away. Corwin follows them out, but lets them go to their car in the rear parking lot without further provocation. He then takes up a position across the street to watch the pub.
By this time, Brennan and the others have returned from Powell’s. They park around back. Zara, Lazlo, and Thomas wait in the back while Brennan goes around front to enter the pub. Lazlo checks the backdoor and finds that it is unlocked. He also finds a pipe in the wall that he could climb up to enter the rear of the pub and climb in. He finds some shadows and shrinks down to his normal size. He attempts to climb in but has some trouble scrabbling up the wall. He keeps trying.
Brennan and Tufel enter the pub and head to the bar. Brennan takes in the décor and appreciates the Old World charm. He interacts with the bartender for a bit and orders a Guinness. Tufel orders a “large beer”. The bartender seems to acknowledge Tufel especially with a friendly nod. He brings the big Changeling a large stein full of beer. Brennan takes in the pub with his senses and notices a supernatural vibe in the room but it doesn’t seem to be coming from any of the patrons. He then notices some motes of light up in the rafters. He orders a recommended microbrew from the menu and places it next to him on the bar. After a bit he notices it starting to drain on its own.
Brennan indicates to whomever is imbibing the brew that he is looking for information and he is looking for Peep. He hears a small belch and the drinker acknowledges that he is Peep and he may have some information for someone with good taste in beer. Peep arranges to meet them around back. Brennan warns him that he has friends around back, but says he’ll meet.
The others in pub notice the downed drink and the lack of a drinker and Brennan and Tufel heading back out. Meanwhile, Lazlo has climbed the wall and entered the pipe which has led into a storeroom. He decides to clean the storeroom.
Thursday, February 5, 1998 (part 4)
At the rear of the pub, Brennan meets with Peep. Zara and Thomas and Tufel watch the meeting. Brennan asks about the Winter Lord of the Seattle and Peep confirms that he saw him in Irvington, an affluent district in Portland, with the Winter Knight. He doesn’t know much more than that, but he knows someone who has more information. Brennan asks who, but Peep says he won’t like it. It’s someone named Hubbard. He can found at a place called Slabtown, a pinball joint in Northwest Portland. Brennan thanks for the information and Peep thanks him for the beer.
Afterwards, Zara wonders why they won’t like it and Brennan tells her to speak up next time.
Now the group convenes at their rendezvous point to discuss Peep’s information. They decide to head to Slabtown to talk to this Hubbard and see what information they can glean from him. They will approach cautiously, similarly to the way they handled Dungran’s Pub. As they roll out, they slow down and pick up Sergei and head to Slabtown, following Peep’s directions.
Once they get to Slabtown, they see that it is a retro-bar pinball joint frequented by young people, hipsters, gen-Xers, and people who are just fans of the games. Walter decides to sit this one out, concern over the noise of the games and the possibility of tilting all of the tables. Castiel, as he enters and begins casing the place, notices a flock of people coming toward a particularly “douchey” young man in a booth toward the rear of the establishment who is holding court, taking his due of various admirers. Others, as they enter, also take note of the “douche in the booth”. Jean seduces a young woman nearby and learns that the young man is, in fact, Hubbard, and is apparently the local pinball champion. He is apparently admired by men and women alike here at Slabtown for his prowess.
Brennan enters and quickly assesses the situation. He detects a supernatural air about the young man at the booth, but does not sense an illusion about him. He introduces himself and asks if the young man is Hubbard. The young man allows that he is, but seems wary. Brennan says he was sent by someone at Dungran’s Pub and that he might have some information that may be of use to him. Hubbard allows him to sit and the two set about negotiating for information regarding the Winter Lord of Seattle.
Hubbard does reveal that providing the information would be a benefit for him, but he would like more. He says that he would like a pocket a favor from Brennan in exchange for the information. Brennan balks at first, but agrees on the condition that the favor does not conflict with laws of the White Council, kill or hurt his friends or the people he is sworn to protect. Hubbard agrees to the conditions of the bargain.
Hubbard reveals that Ithica, the Winter Lord of Seattle, is being held prisoner by Trevidian, the Winter Envoy of Portland. He lives at an estate in Irvington. Hubbard provides an address. Apparently Hubbard has an informant in Trevidian’s household named Evangeline. It is understood that in any rescue attempt, she is to be unharmed. Ithica is held in a warded room in the attic and there are four Ogre guards employed to keep him in line. There is also a tunnel leading from the basement to the outside that may be employed to enter to the mansion. Hubbard provides information on the location of this tunnel as well.
Brennan thanks for the information and gives Hubbard one of his cards. Hubbard says he’ll be calling on him.
The group convenes once again and digests this new information. There is lot of concern about getting involved in a matter against the Winter Court as they are an Accorded faction. The political ramifications of acting against Trevidian could be staggering for Brennan, Walter, Jean, and some of the others. Tufel calls his uncle and learns that Trevidian has indeed hired some Ogres to guard a political prisoner. Zara reluctantly reveals that she owed a favor to a Winter fae who told her that someone was in trouble and to get Ithica to a certain spot—it turned out to be a trap, because Lloyd Slate was there and took Ithica. She was essentially used to snare the noble and start this business. She is not happy that she was used as a pawn. It is finally decided that instead of a rescue mission for Ithica that this will become an information gathering negotiation with Trevidian. The old ways are the best ways, as Walter believes, and they decide to send a messenger to Trevidian to set up a meeting on Accorded Neutral Ground. They discover through Aleister that in Portland that site is Edgefield, a large hotel/day spa just on the outskirts of Portland proper. The group works together to help Jean formulate a formal request for a meeting with Trevidian and Lazlo delivers the request to the mansion. They set up the meet for midnight that night as the matter is urgent.
Thursday, February 5, 1998 (part 5)
Jean and Walter meet with Trevidian at Edgefield with the others waiting close by in case things go wrong. Trevidian appears to be a young man with a predatory aspect to his manner. He comes into the meeting space, a small pub attached to the hotel, his head cocked, bird-like, taking in the space and approaches the table and takes the seat the Walter offers. Jean and Walter present their case regarding Ithica, that his imprisonment in Portland is causing unintended ripple effects and that it would be in Trevidian’s interest to send him away—especially as it is attracting the attention of Summer. Walter and Jean learn that apparently Ithica was turned over to Trevidian by Lloyd Slate with no apparent time span specified and no reason given. They persuade Trevidian to allow them to speak to Ithica that evening. Trevidian was apparently impressed by their invitation and their adherence to protocol.
Jean and Walter go to Trevidian’s mansion and ascend a service elevator to the attic where Ithica is apparently being held. Trevidian takes the to a small room where there is a chair and a cot with a sleeping man in it. He calls out to Ithica and wakes him up. Jean and Walter ask to be alone with Ithica and Trevidian acquiesces. Once Ithica rises and seats himself, Walter begins the conversation.
“You are in so much trouble!”
In the course of the conversation it is revealed that Ithica was taken by Lloyd Slate, but Slate was most likely sent to kill him. Slate, for some reason of his own, did not, and sent him here until he could figure out what to do with him. He “needed time to think”. Ithica believes that he apparently was bothersome to those on high for his predilection for protecting the weak instead of exhibiting cruelty. Walter demanded some reason for them to negotiate his release, some bit of information, some political reason for his release—because otherwise, there was no reason for the White Council or the White Court to get involved in this matter. It was too volatile. Ithica tried to appeal to their sense of compassion, but Walter said that wasn’t enough for this. Ithica revealed that he believed that Slate was involved with the Nixie Queen because of something that he had overheard with another Fae, but it wasn’t enough to placate the wizard. He just didn’t have enough information. He also revealed that he saw a troubling flyer nearby that may be of interest. It highlighted the interest of vampires and lycanthropes. Walter was unmoved. Ithica insisted that Trevidian probably knew more of this than he let on. Walter said that they were out of time and that they would be meeting with their “host”….
(to be continued)
After interviewing Ithica Nye in the warded room upstairs, Trevidian, the Winter Envoy of Portland, takes Walter and Jean to the library of his mansion. After the three settle in, they discuss the interview with Ithica and the possibility of Jean and Walter taking him back to Portland. They persuade Trevidian that holding Ithica is more trouble than what its worth for Portland and offer to take him to Seattle under conditions set by Trevidian. Trevidian sets the condition that Ithica is to keep a low profile in Seattle, and not have any contact with the Summer or Winter Courts. Walter and Jean say that they will have to talk to Ithica again and see if he will agree to it.
Jean and Walter are once again taken to the warded attic chamber where Ithica is being held. There they explain the situation to Ithica, who is concerned with his vow to protect the fae of Seattle. He is eventually convinced that he can still fulfill his vow, even while maintaining a low profile and allowing Thomas to claim the title of protector. Ithica says that he will agree to it with the provision that he gets his blade returned to him.
Trevidian comes in and reiterates that Ithica is not to be seen or heard by the Summer or Winter Courts. Ithica so swears. Jean and Walter escort a veiled Ithica out of the house, where they eventually meet up with the others, who are waiting near the secret entrance to the mansion. They all make arrangements to return to Seattle.
All, except for Cereal Killer. After the others leave, he watches the mansion for a time to see if anyone enters or leaves. No one does. He then takes on his crow form and approaches the house. He looks in one of the windows and spots some shiny crystal decanters and glasses on a tray. He also spots a fireplace. He takes to the air and flies down into the house through the fireplace in the dining room. He then flies through the house to get a sense of its layout and to find an office. Unfortunately, the door to the office is locked. He makes his way to the kitchen, transforms back into his human form, and begins rummaging in a junk drawer for some kind of tool with which to open the lock on the office. He then hears footsteps coming his way.
Cereal ducks into a nearby storage closet and shuts the door. He listens as someone enters the kitchen, rummages through the refrigerator, and then leaves. Cereal returns to the kitchen to find the tool that he's looking for. Finding something useful, he then returns to the office door and starts to work on it--CLICK. The door opens into what looks like a bedroom that has been converted into a small office. There is a computer on the desk. Cereal smiles and goes to work.
Cereal manages to get through a layer of security on the computer and then places a worm on the machine to download all of the files on the machine to a dump IP address that he can access later. Once the program runs its course, he makes his way back to the fireplace and flies away.
Everyone, including Cereal, makes it back to Seattle without incident.
Walter and the remainder of the party staying at his home are surprised by a rapping at his door. Whomever it is not only has seen the house, but made the approach. A visitor is unexpected, to say the least.
Walter calls out, "Who is there?"
"I am Trevidian, Envoy of Winter Court for Portland. Do you remember me?" The voice is haughty and clearly agitated.
Walter opens the door to reveal the fey dignitary standing on his stoop. "Do you remember me?" he repeats.
Walter says, "Yes, of course," and invites Trevidian inside. The Winter Envoy steps inside, takes in the gathered guests, and says. "I ask if you remember me, because I believe that your memory may be faulty. You certainly do not remember the meaning of hospitality."
Walter and Brennan are bewildered and ask the Envoy what he is talking about.
"The night, the very night, that I guested you in my home, I had considerable assets taken from me. Do not try to say it is a coincidence."
After a brief discussion, it is revealed that Trevidian has had some $750,000 taken from him through a transfer of computer records. And it happened the very night that the party visited him. Walter, Brennan, and a couple others present ask a few careful questions and Cereal Killer, who was there that night with them, comes to Thomas’s mind.
Trevidian issues the following ultimatum: Return his assets in 48 hours or he will be forced to ally himself with a certain enemy of theirs.
Thomas reveals that the person who probably did this is under his protection as leader of the Eighteen Tribes. Walter offers to deliver Cereal Killer to him, which the fey Envoy considers, but, in the end, all Trevidian seems to be interested in at this point is the return of his assets. After reiterating his ultimatum, he takes his leave.
Thomas calls Cereal Killer and arranges a meeting. Cereal Killer arrives at the meeting in a 1978 AMC Gremlin he recently purchased. Thomas asks about the theft of funds from the Winter Court Envoy. Cereal Killer, confesses that he did it and that he has spent some of the money already. Thinking quickly, Cereal Killer is able come up with all $750,000 in just a few hours. No one really seems to want to know where the extra money came from.
With the situation with Portland’s Winter Court Envoy seemingly settled, the group next decided to go and to reconnoiter the area where the Nixie Queen was supposed to be. Taking different vehicles, the group met at Leather’s Fuelstop in Portland Oregon. Some quick research found that Trillium Lake was an hour and a half away to the southeast near Mount Hood. A small group moved off ahead to scout the route. They were very careful with their scouting and then afterwards they met with the rest of the group down the road a ways. Together they made their way in the darkness up highway 26 to the road to the lake. Charlee McGee notice the first ward they encountered, one meant to act as a “dinner bell” alerting the Nixie Queen and her guards that were-creatures and / or vampires were approaching. The group went around it and carefully scouted the rest of the road.
It took them all night, but they reached the picnic grounds and noticed a stake in the middle of the closed grounds with a piece of paper stuck to it. Cereal Killer volunteered to fly in, read it, and fly back. The sign said “stay right here, we’ll be with you in a moment.” The group decided not to stick around. They found a way to some high ground that had plenty of cover. Part way to the spot they had selected, one of the party noted two very large men looking around the picnic grounds before turning around and heading back toward the area the group suspect the Nixie Queen to be encamped. Watching as best they could in the dim morning light, members of the group began observing the area while the rest slept.
Around 1:30pm, everyone was awake and ready to move in on the encampment they could see through the trees. An advanced force was sent ahead to get as close as they could without raising an alarm. While still 200ft out, a ward was encountered. One of the werewolves ran back to bring in the Wizards and all was well until one of the Wizards slipped and sent some rocks tumbling on the mountain above, causing the “campers” to look in the direction of one of the party members who was moving to within 50ft of the encampment. The fight then began.
It had been a slow day - I'd driven to work today, it felt good to get my old truck out and running once in a while.
My affectionately named Mac was a truck I'd driven for about 8 years all around the country. I'd even passed through Seattle a couple of times, in the early ninety's. Back then, it had been fairly calm, and not no-one drew up a fuss about a wizard passin' through.
But since I've been here, living in Seattle, I've keeping myself un-involved. It was a old Irish Gypsy tradition - don't put your foot down if you can keep movin' - those who run live another day. I'd had far more than enough of adventure and fear in my life thank you, more than enough since I'd been twelve. Granted, when I was driving, I'd had to defend myself a couple of times. I kindly reminded those things that I was a Wizard of the White Council. When they didn't care, I tended to make things explode. Cause you know, 'Wizard.
Today I work in a quaint little book shop - it caters to he magic folk here in town, called Denton's Lore Store. An old fashioned bell on the door, rings when you walk in.
I sat at the front counter, pouring myself into a good novella. I was usually in the back, restoring books and the like, keeping an eye out for particularly bad ones to "lose", which was a rare occurrence recently. The building was lit by several lanterns and candles, and some windows above the door helped a bit.
I threw that oaf out of the front door and he started running, looking white as a sheet. I leaned out of the door waiving my staff about to and fro, and screamed out, after him "You'd best be poundin' cobble you racist bastard! Or I'll give ya 'nother one where that came from to go with those brown pants o' yours!"
I turned and looked out the door, and a small group of gentleman was standing there as they looked at me, and then the departing oaf, and then back to me. I said, "We here at Denton's Lore Store reserve the right to refuse service to customers, but you're all welcome to come in if you'd like."
The small group funneled into the store, and started looking over the books, and I put on some music with the old victrolla on the desk. Disco began to play gently in the background.
One of them, a young man, who seemed to be packing a gun under his coat, walked over to me and asked, "I've asked about something on demonology by Dr. Helwig or for Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard. Have you gotten anything in yet?"
I reached under the desk there, and read through the orders on a clip board. Written plainly were both entries, with no checkmark beside them, "Sorry lad," I said, "Taint come in just yet."
"Well, can you at least change the song - disco is pretty bad," he complained. He seemed more aware now at least.
I said, "Sure, just got in a new vinyl, actually." I slipped out my classic disco, and put on another one. Backstreet's Back started to ring out across the store and everyone groaned, and apparently, that knocked something loose in the young man's head.
"Hey, you're a wizard right? I saw your staff out there," he said, looking quickly at his watch.
"I am," I said, slowly, "Why do ya be askin'?"
"We need to get somewhere, fast, and we need to go over the Ways to do it," he explained. He drew two guns, and checked they were loaded.
"Woah, lad," I said, "I don't get involved in these politics and rumblins. I keep out of these ways, and you keep to yours, find another way out there."
He looked directly at me, "A Nixie Queen is out there, and I know for a fact, a Warden is out there, fighting, and maybe dying. Are you going to let a Warden down?"
I gulped. A Warden. I'd met a couple in my travels, but I'd never met Seattle's Warden. Hadn't even asked after him. Thoughts dwell on my past a moment, many memories that were far too clear and sharp began to stab at my heart strings. The pain of those memories still haunted me, and the sins of my father, that bastard.
But then I thought about the six months I'd been here, since I'd set roots. The people I'd met, the suburban neighborhood I lived in, the random fun I got to have with the tourists. I loved looking out at the sea, and watching the fisherman down at the docks, reminding me of Ireland's shores.
I thought for a moment, as the group gathered around me, "Okay, I'll help you," I said, with more finality that I meant to.
I pulled out a fiberglass ring from an hold collapsible hamper and drew a circle on the floor. I locked up the shop door and flipped the sign to "Out to Lunch"
I snapped the circle complete with a whisper of will, and focused. With staff in hand, I opened a door to the Never Never within the circle. I broke the barrier, and everyone funneled in.
We traipsed through the Way out of Denton's, a bit darker than I'd like, some sort of weeds and forest, shadows moving against when the wind blew, and I asked, "So, where are we going?" and closed the portal.
We fell out of the portal a little faster than I'd have liked - something had been hunting us while we were in there.
When I finally got my bearings, I saw something terrifying. Around me, there were sword swinging Fey, and wolves biting, and people attacking, most of them had guns. One unlucky fella was being attacked by an Elf-Dog.
I looked outward, getting my bearings, and saw a 10-foot, eight-hundred pound ogre swinging a massive brass sword down at a man in a grey cloak. I'd be damned if his own sword wasn't going "snicker-snack" as he fought the beast. I quickly reached into my pocket.
I'm an avid reader - books were a good escape for my mind. I'd read everything from romance novels to physics journals - no TV meant that there was nothing better than a book. So when I pulled out a brass ring, that read around the side One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them. One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them. I'd spent nearly a month carving the phrase into the ring in Tolkien elvish. Smart bloke, that author.
I felt the whisper of power inside the ring, and when I put it on, I became invisible, veiled. I took a few steps to the left, but a little spirit fox ran up - another fey, and it bit after me, nipping at my ankles. I called out, "Few marbles shy of a deck that one!" I was so surprised - veils are kind of a specialty of mine, and she'd seen right through it.
I hate dealin' with Fey. I growled at myself.
And to my surprise, another Ogre, this one fresh, ran out to meet the lot of us. The group continued to help the Warden - somehow, they avoided the new one as he kept swinging at him, and attacked the Warden's ogre in kind. I reached up as the ring's power faded, and threw up an illusion - not complex, barely any details to speak of, but that wasn't the point. I summoned the power for the familiar spell, and snapped, "doiléir", and the nearly opaque black wall appeared just below the ogre's chin. Some ogres were immune to direct magic, but my specialties were more of the indirect variety.
I studied the warden a moment, getting my bearings. He was hurt, and definitely fighting hard. The Ogre was almost slain - he needed just a bit more. I took off like a shot as he continued to slice and dice him. I heard gunshots wizzing by, and I reached out, holding the spell in my mind.
"For Ireland!" I said, out of some sort of habit, and cast a mirror image veil over the warden. A perfect copy of him stepped to the left, leaving him completely invisible to the massive creature.
I heard something growling in anger as fabric ripped. As I turned around, I saw the elf-dog gnawing on someone human, probably our side. I held up my staff and whispered power through it, drawing forth the light of the sun.
Deep inside, I reached and grabbed a handle, and threw open a gate there.
"Solas!" I screamed, giving the magic form. A dime sized beam of light shot from the top of my oak staff and burned a hole clean through the back leg of the elf-dog. I heard a sharp yelp, and it cut and run away. Lasers did a lot of damage to whatever they hit, but the wound would be cartarized - I could only hope I didn't screw myself out of contract with a Fey at some point with that.
I jumped a bit as something truly heavy fell down next to me, the dead ogre felled by the wizard at my side. Without missing a beat, he turned and called out a word of power, and lightning zapped three sylphs heading our way.
This was a mad-house. What had I gotten myself involved in?
I looked carefully for a moment at the Ogre still standing. He was tattooed, the markings likely making him immune to mortal magics. In frustration I looked around for another target, but I didn't find one, and threw my hand into my pocket out of habit.
Then I felt them - antique nails for book binding. If I prick him once, than I can make an illusion of the entire field covered with them! I thought.
I grabbed the few in my pocket and ran straight at the beast as it swung its massive sword down. I aimed for his ass and tried to give him an enema. Just one problem I hadn't accounted for - Ogre skin is tough. He may have looked fairly blobbish, but that butt was pure muscle, and when I hit it, I sprained my wrist a little.
"Yer arse just broke my hand you sorry son cank!" I spat out in anger, "Best slap her next for makin' you so ugly!"
My momentary lapse of judgment passed and I remembered where I was. I looked up, and that ogre brought down his fist on my noggin, and the ground started spinning.
Next thing I knew, the ogres were both dead, and I finally got an explanation for this whole mess.
While I was looking through this wreckage, I found a sword that reminded me of a katana, obviously powerful, stuck right through that nixie queen's portal. I wrapped my jacket around it, and with some effort, removed it. After some trouble I managed to carry one of the massive Ogre sized bronze swords and the katana toward the vehicles arriving to take us home. I was stopped before I could reach them however by Brennan, Warden of the White Council of Wizards. Behind him were friendly Fae and were-creatures with concerned looks on their faces.
“Allen, lad” he said in a gentle Irish brogue, “I must have a word with you.” He looked around and with a glance silently compelled the others to step away and once they were relatively alone, he continued. “Allen, my boy, the Fae are concerned about you taking the sword of Ithica, a Sidhe Lord of the Winter Court of the Fairies. This could become a serious diplomatic incident between the Winter Court and the White Council if it is not handled carefully…”
While the two wizards talked, the others loaded up vehicles for the long trip back to Seattle. The air was growing cooler as night approached and the clouds rolling in looked to be heavy with snow. Getting out of the mountains before the storm hit drove everyone onward.
Allen and Brennan finished their talk and together they approached the others. Allen tossed the Katana point first into the ground before him. Together they discussed what was to be done with the sword with the Fae present and it was agreed that Tufel, an Ogre changeling friendly to the Winter Court would attempt to track down Ithica’s family and vowed to return the sword to them. The Fae then asked about White Council Wizards being armed with Bane. Brennan assured the crowd that Allen carrying Cold Forged Iron nails was not a provocation toward any Fae and it would likely not happen again. “The White Council of Wizards is not preparing for a war against the Fae” he assured everyone present.
Satisfied, Tufel carefully grabbed the sword, the group loaded up and drove away as the first flakes of snow began to fall.
Back in Seattle, after a good night’s rest, the group engaged in several unrelated tasks for a day and a half, including finding a place to plant acorns from damaged oak trees that were home to a trio of Dyrads before the Nixie Queen destroyed them.
Thomas Grey learned of a teenage girl of one of the tribes he represented who was taken by the Nixie Queen and heard a plea from her mother for the girl’s return.
The group gathered together to discuss what their next step would be against Aqualla, the self-proclaimed “Nixie Queen.” Many of the wounded were notably absent including Brennan Fitzpatrick, Warden of the White Council of Wizards. Eventually, a plan was made to find a way into the Nixie Queen’s home in the Never-never and end this fight once and for all time, a task that those in the know shuttered to contemplate. The group also dealt with the after-effects of a Sylph with razor sharp wings who was given a can of Jolt cola by the were-raven Cereal Killer.
Before things could go much further, members of the group, through their police contacts learned that the Police were moving on a warehouse where people were disappearing. Instead of moving in however, the police formed a perimeter and the group, posing as an FBI counter terrorism unit, conducted a quick recon of the area and found the last mobile drug lab of the Red Court vampires parked among other trailers outside the warehouse. Further recon found evidence of explosives in some of the trailers and of a number of live bodies within the insulted trailer containing the suspected mobile drug lab. The group began to set up to assault the drug lab when Jack, a crazy homeless guy in the know appeared in the middle of the scene, somehow pulled off a Weird Al Yankovich version of Rambo, stepped up to the trailer, and called out, demanding that everyone in the trailer come out with their hands up and surrender, or else!
The group had suspected the situation was a Red Court ambush and Jack, our beloved homeless guy, triggered the ambush prematurely by appearing out of nowhere, dressed like a Weird Al Yankovick style Rambo demanding the Vampires come and surrender.
Everyone waited with baited breath to see what would happen to poor Jack in the poorly lit lot behind a large warehouse, a few minutes before midnight.
Bam-Bam! Two near simultaneous explosions went off where an earlier recon had detected explosives. Jack, within the blast of both omni-directional claymore-like devices, leapt straight up into the air in an elegant White Crane style kung fu leap, landing gracefully and unhurt, fearlessly he attacked the Esclovos de Sangre (feral Red Court vampires) who hoped to take advantage of the confusion in the ambush zone. It was not the Party who was confused or even in the ambush zone however. The party quickly rushed in and began tearing apart the Red Court with the timely aid of Shiro, Knight of the Cross.
Corwin, up on the roof of the warehouse began shooting at the vampires below before he himself was surrounded by four of them, the shooting soon ended and a search later found no evidence of Corwin.
Allen, who decided to run around the building had his own close encounter with 2 of them and through a fierce struggle managed to dispatch them in a tough fight that left Allen battered and exhausted, but alive.
In the midst of the slashing and shooting and spell slinging in the main battle Jack had a pleasant encounter with Red Court noble Mark Matthews who offered to leave Seattle in exchange for an unspecified gift. Jack agreed to let him go, hoping the noble would not notice his missing cufflink Jack lifted off of him.
The fight ended soon after that and the party, who had entered the area disguised as FBI agents, spent the wee hours of Friday, February 13th, explaining to the police what happened while the clean up crew of the Venatori Umbrorum insured that the police would see only want they needed to see.
The group followed up earlier leads and reconnoitered the Seattle Aquarium and located a large mirror in the giant tank where two Orcas were kept prior to being released into the wild. The mirror was exactly astride a lay line which passes through the aquarium, convincing the group that this was their target. Herr Nietzsche aka Anton Skavis aka Till Lindemann talked to and charmed one of the handlers while Jorain Robinson of the Washington State Patrol, Detective Kat Lang of the Seattle PD, and Parthenope, a Wild Fae Siren disguised as an FBI agent, talked to management and security about a reported credible threat to the facility from the Animal Liberation Front. While this went on, Brennan, the local warden of the White Council of Wizards scouted the area and confirmed that the mirror was indeed the mirror they we looking for. In doing so Brennan accidentally hexing a few cameras, causing the security office who was receiving a briefing about a threat to the facility some concern..
Once the Intel was gathered and the scene was set, the party withdrew and got their gear together with a raid into the Never-never. Anton Skavis purchased a couple of large fresh fish and a kilo of Bennies in order to drug the Orcas and keep them out of the action while the party accessed Aqualla’s lair via the mirror.
Magically veiled, the group entered the Aquarium complex that night, avoiding alarms and guards as they went. The secretly fed the fish to the pair of Orca’s and then withdrew for a few moments waiting for the drugs to take effect. After a few moments the Orca’s became agitated and drew the attention of a security guard who quickly called for assistance. Knowing their time was short, Parthenope, under her own personal veil ran off and opened a fire escape door on the far side of the facility sounding an alarm and distracting security away from the rest of the group who entered the pool and began first a ritual to peer through the mirror into the Never-never, and then completed a second ritual to open the portal just as the police began arriving in force and Parthenope returned to the group. Together, the group silently entered Aqualla’s Demesne.
Once inside, Thomas, were-wolf of the Quileute tribe and Zara, the wild Fae Fairy Fox began sniffing around and picked up Aqualla’s scent. Together, they tracked it up one of 4 side passages. After a time, Zara noticed that while Aqualla used this passage frequently, the last time she was in this passage she was headed back to the mirror the group had just travelled through. After some discussion the group decided that she was not within the Demesne.
The group continued ahead anyway and discovered Aqualla’s throne room which was protected by a magical trap and a quartet of Troll guards. Zara and Thomas also noted that the room contained a presence they could smell, but could not see. A sneeze from Zara alerted the guards of the throne room and the party withdrew, thankful the Trolls did not follow. Instead, the Trolls sounded a horn and as the party returned to the “mirror room” they were met by a group of Shellycobbs with a group of Gruff’s approaching from behind them. The group began to engage the Shellycobbs, only to find their tough, crab-like shells made them difficult to hurt. Despite this, Brannan, with the help of others manage to slay one.
Meanwhile Shadrack and Anton talked about how odd it was to find Gruffs and Trolls in the same complex. Thinking quickly, Anton called out to the Gruffs and struck a truce. The group would help the Gruffs kill 4 Trolls up in the Throne room an in exchange combat with the Gruffs and Shellycobbs would stop until they could talk more.
The party and the Gruffs made short work of the Trolls and then the Gruffs return to their quarters to talk among themselves while the group continued to investigate the throne room. The smell noted earlier still existed, but nothing was seen, so the group began to explore. They quickly found the kidnapped vampires and were-creatures, but found them hopelessly bound to the will of Aqualla. The group left them behind and returned to the throne room, but before they could explore further, they saw Zara, who had moved off away from the group seem to exactly repeat a split second of time. Shadrack and Brennan both realized that Aqualla must have just returned to the Demesne and in a flash of movement Thomas, Zara, and Anton rushed down to the “mirror room” and caught Aqualla off guard. Thomas hit Aqualla with supernatural speed and took her to the ground and with Zara’s aid kept her from regaining her senses while Anton blasted Aqualla’s mirror with a shotgun preventing Aqualla’s easy escape. The rest of the group followed and Brennan opened up Aqualla’s side with his warden’s sword. Tufel kept the Gruffs out of the fight who had decided that they were honor bound to fight for Aqualla until the bitter end. Other members of the group dealt with the Shellycobbs. Aqualla nearly took out Thomas with a simple touch before Brennan removed her head with a second sword stroke. The fight ended soon after Aqualla was slain.
Exploration of Aqualla’s lair continued. A beautiful grotto was discovered with an underwater tunnel leading to parts unknown. Parthenope, the Siren swam into the tunnel a short distance and encountered a Troll who drug her struggling form yet deeper into the cave. Others in the party rushed into the cave to find and help her. The tunnel opened into a cave where two trolls where attempting to rip Parthenope into bite sized chunks. The party quickly took the trolls down, but not before Jorain, the werebear, got mauled by a troll.
The wizards in group got back together and began a ritual to figure out where they were while others questioned a (person?) they had encountered and between the two, discovered that they were a very, very long way from the mortal world and in a place sheltered from magic, making a ritual to transport back home highly unlikely to work.
The party discovered yet more tunnels and explored a couple, discovering another grotto, but not yet discovering a way out of the Nixie queen’s lair.
The party continued it’s search of the Nixie Queen’s lair, freeing most of the prisoners they found, but leaving one, a wizard from late 17th century Ipswitch Massachusetts named John Daniels. This wizard was left behind after it was learned that he was part of a cult who worshipped a Great Old One named Volgna-Gath and was a practitioner of black magic.
The party also discovered a secret underwater cave where something that identified itself as Volgna-Gath communicated with the creature discovered in Aqualla’s lair named “Tyler.” Tyler told the party to run away and never return. The party did so along with the prisoners Tyler had released to them.
The party climbed out of Aqualla’s lair though what might be described as a back door after defeating a horrible tentacled monster. Once out of the immense grotto, they found themselves in dark murky woods with a path leading toward a stone wall with a wooden gate. Identifying the gate as the threshold to the Nixie Queen’s lair, Castile emptied his gun of Cold Forged Iron bullets into the ground inside of the threshold and then the party and the prisoners stepped through.
Upon stepping out of Aqualla’s Demesne the group found themselves in the peaceful town of Lakeview, where the sky is deep blood red, the bay has crystal clear black water, and the local deputy is always willing to greet new visitors with four open arms and a handful of doughnuts. While there were several encounters with ‘locals’, there weren’t any significant events aside from the group learning what the local ‘currency’ is, where to shop for alcohol, and that one should not stand still in the middle of the street.
Some other ‘facts’ that the group discovered (in no particular order):
* Don’t mess with the grass!
* The local “Dollar” is called the Tryx, and has a rough equivalent to a single nightmare.
* Rocks bleed.
* A yard crew that takes care of a lawn is a serious job.
* Travel time is a bit weird here. To keep it short, the best time to leave for the Fae Borderlands is either today or in 8 days. To leave anytime in between poses serious risks with time and space.
* Speaking of time, Tuful found out what a Spacio-Temporal Anomaly can do.
* Grass can scream.
* A Püüt is another currency that is roughly equivalent to a single traumatic experience.
* “Womping Willows” exist.
* A picket fence is a picket fence is a picket fence.
* A Megapüüt is an even larger denomination of currency that will actually remove the memory of the traumatic experience from the payer.
* Don’t judge a building by its door.
* Not all magic works like it should out here.
* It is really far to Seattle. According to everyone, it is roughly 45 Duron. For comparison, you can get to Atlantis, Asgard, Mordor, and Olympus faster than you can get to Seattle.
It was a dark and stormy night. A gang of outlaws sat around a campfire… Oh wait, wrong synopsis.
Let’s try again. It was a red and clear evening. A group of travelers sat in a hotel…. Not quite the same. <Sigh>
We started the evening in the Lobby of the Hilton-Califorina in LakeView. Prior to the party retiring to their respective rooms, Vince picked up a copy of the local “newspaper”, The LakeView Times. From the “newspaper” (aka, an imp) not much was uncovered aside from the fact that the Rights Management in the Never-Never (or, at least, in LakeView) is rather strict.
Upon awaking, the party found a flyer attached to each one of their doors advertising that a local cult group would be performing a Virgin Sacrifice later that evening. After deciding to abstain from any sacrifices (or maybe determining that there were no virgins present, not sure…) the party went to the hotel lounge and had breakfast. During breakfast, a slight “Pop” was heard in the air and, suddenly, a particular fairy dragon appeared driving poor Thomas through his chair to the floor. It was also discovered that at the same time everyone in LakeView received a copious dusting of fairy dust (strangely enough, Orchie was rather dull looking, especially for a fairy dragon). When asked about what happened, she was not exactly sure other then she thinks that she accidently “wifted” while traveling within a “wift” created by Momma Dragon and as everyone knows, “wifting” within a “wift” makes things to “womp!” (i.e. not good and sideways but all at once. Kind of like ice cream falling on the sidewalk, it is cool and sticky but never where you want it.).
When the group went to leave, they encountered the sheriff and the deputy standing guard at the door. After a bit of a discussion they discovered that LakeView is more active at “night” then during the “day”. Also, that is probably is not very safe for a “day-walker” during the evening. After a little convincing, the sheriff did allow the party to leave but directed them to a lesser used road that would lead them out of town faster. During this time, it was also discovered that Herr Nietzsche was no longer with the group. Tufel reported that Nietzsche had decided to make his own way back.
The party’s departure out of town was fairly uneventful, passing only a couple of Black Court vampires, a few parties of Ghouls, and one very friendly Banth. Once on the road, the party quickly encountered a split in the road with a 16 foot Spoon in middle. After much discussion, they choose the way less traveled.
After some traveling, the party came to a clearing with a rock bridge over a small brook. When inspected, it was discovered that the brook was incredibly deep and contained creatures such as Kraken or worse. When attempting to cross the bridge, a large Rock Troll came out and demanded to know the reason for the party’s rude behavior. After some negotiations (and not a little tea), Cecil (the troll) not only allowed them to pass but also offered to act as a guide to the city of Cinlu.
Cecil led the party down The Road of Shadows, which he termed as a ‘shortcut’ to Cinlu. However, it is very dangerous, especially if one steps off the path. With a little thought and a little trial and error, the party discovered that the path is magically stabilized, holding time and space roughly constant. Off the path however, it is a complete roll of the dice as to what might happen.
On The Road of Shadows the party came to a clearing that is often used by merchants to do business. Several party members either traded or attempted to trade with the spice merchant. Notable spices acquired were varying quantities of Silverbane, Melange (Spice of Arrakis), and powdered alcohol. After leaving the merchant, the party encountered a rather vivid ‘shadow’ of Charles Martin leading what appeared to be a party of refugees. Just before the party reached Charles, Charles’ group was attacked from something from off to the side of the trail. A fierce but quick battle ensued that resulted in a couple of dead creatures and a few children taken. Several of the refugees have to be restrained to keep from going after the children. Upon reaching the party of refugees, Charles looks at the group and nods out of courtesy as he passes.
Traveling on, the party came to another split in the road, this one with a 16 foot tall fork. Somebody asked Cecil about the fork and he mentioned that both it and the spoon earlier belong to his Paw-Paw.
Shortly after the fork in the road, the party was ambushed by what was determined to be Xorn. The Xorn carried off Castiel and Ivan. The attempt was made to take Shadrac but quick thinking by Thomas and Cecil foiled the attempt and killed the Xorn. Tufel and B
We continue our story with Zara, Smokey, Shadrack, Thomas, and others still on the Road of Shadows. Vince maintained his tracking spell as long as he could. However, after about an hour or so, his focus (Brennen) disappeared. He was not sure if this was due to Brennen going out of range or dying. During this time Castile apparently got bored with not being able to communicate with the group and wandered off back the way the party had come. Once Vince lost the focus on the tracking spell it was determined, with not a little prodding from Cecil, to continue on their way to Cinlu. Shortly, the party came upon a break in the road. After a little studying, it was determined that something had ripped the road apart and installed a doorway / threshold. Cecil continued almost without hesitation. The party, while concerned, passed on through with little to no effects.
Meanwhile, back at the burrow:
Brennen and Tufel start into the burrow in order to rescue Ivan. After several twists and turns Brennen discovers that the trail that they had been following dead-ended into a dirt wall. Doing a quick test it was determined that the dirt wall was at least several feet thick. About this time Tufel heard something behind him and discovered an older bigger Xorn coming up to attack. Tufel in a burst of inspiration (or a fit of pure insanity we are not sure) attempted to talk with the Xorn to diffuse the situation. It worked! Not only did he stop the Xorn from attacking but he also convinced him to help. The Xorn, it was discovered, had 4 sons that were known for attacking travelers on The Road. Daddy Xorn promptly opened the dirt wall (it was around 10 to 12 feet thick) and proceeded to spend the next several minutes chastising his 2 sons (read: butt-chewing of a life time). He then brought an unconscious Ivan out to Brennen and Tufel and asked if they had seen either of his to remaining sons. Brennen responded that he had not. After Brennen had thanked the Xorn for his hospitality he turned to go back up the tunnel but was stopped by the Xorn. Daddy Xorn asked where they were headed and when told Cinlu he suggested a more direct route through an old tomb. Brennen and Tufel agreed and were lead down a long tunnel.
On the Road Again:
On the other side of the doorway, the path opened up to a brighter less gloomy version of the forest. The path continued on through the forest. As the party walked through the forest, they quickly realized that the forest was turning more and more rocky. Soon the party realized that the rocks were forming a large maze. The party went deeper and deeper into the maze, the rock walls growing higher and higher. Along the way, they encounter a variety of creatures, many hostile, but few mess with Cecil the Rock Troll and the party was able to defend itself without too much trouble.
Back in the burrow:
At the end of the tunnel was a brick wall that the Xorn showed Brennen and Tufel through. As soon as they passed into the room, the Xorn closed the wall behind them. Brennen and Tufel (carrying Ivan) followed the tracks in the dust through the tomb. Generally everything was quiet and peaceful, sort of like a tomb should be. However, this all changed upon discovering that the tracks that they were following passed through a door that was locked. Tufel decided to break down the door. He succeeded but with quite a racket. After a few twists and turns later Brennen and Tufel walked into a preparation/ceremony room. At this point a stone golem caught up with them and chased them into the actual tomb. While Tufel worked to open to tomb, Brennen stood his ground against the golem. This proved to be rather hazardous for Brennen but it did buy Tufel enough time to open the tomb and discover the tunnel out. Both Brennen and Tufel escaped (with Ivan in tow) down a slippery shoot / slide. The slide came out at the bottom of what was discovered to be a sacrificial pit. After a minute of thinking, Brennen was able to cast a spell to propel all three up to the top of the pit and out the door. Upon opening the door, Brennen and Tufel interrupt a ritual sacrifice in process, they quickly decide not to stick around and run out the door, only to discover that they are now front and center of daily worship for around 2 or 3 thousand individuals. Again, they wisely decide not to stick around and push through the crowd (with more than a little help from Tufel). Upon opening the door they step out into the magnificent city of Cinlu.
Twas a dark and stormy night as we continued our adventure in the Never-never. Several more creatures were encountered and the twists and turns of the maze were negotiated until the party reached the outer gates to Cinlu. The party fought the guards and defeated them, but failed to gain entrance through the locked gates. As more guards began to arrive the party retreated and rethought their plan to go and visit Cinlu. Instead, the party decided to just focus their efforts on getting home as rapidly as possible
Meanwhile, in Cinlu, Brennan, Warden of the White Council of Wizards and Tufel an Ogre changeling ran through dark alleys until they found a dark corner in which to sleep. Brennan laid down while Tufel stood guard, but Tufel’s nerves were shot and the odd and bizarre noises and sites of this vile and unholy place caused him to wake Brennan moments later and want to move on. Reluctantly, they did, but unable to speak the language, they quickly ran into trouble. A kindly woman, perhaps beautiful to her own people, guided the pair away from a confrontation and into a back room of her spooky bar and grill. She had a humanoid body with an octopus-like head. Her seductive four tentacles around her lamprey-like mouth caressed the purplish-blue skin of her upper torso as she spoke to them. She gave them food and drink before leaving them locked in her store room, presumably to go and smooth things over with the local law enforcement.