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Author Topic: Tenebrous: Case Files  (Read 19320 times)
Spawn of Ungoliant
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« on: November 19, 2013, 12:18:08 AM »

Tenebrous: Case Files

The Samhain Event

Roster

Mandrake - played by Salacious Angel
Mollusc - played by Superbright
Quadra - played by sparkletwist
Evil Eye - played by Hippopotamus Dundee
Abyzou - played by Nomadic

The Sepulchre

Soundtrack

Halloween has always been an eventful night for the Tenebrae.

Christian tradition has long held that the boundaries between worlds thins during Hallowmass and the Triduum of All Hallows, and that sometimes the spirits of the dead can cross over into the world of the living while the border is weakened.  In past times, children would go from door to door saying prayers for the dead; each household would grant them cakes which, when eaten, symbolically freed a soul from Purgatory.  Wayfarers would also guise themselves in masks to resemble the spirits of the dead, ensuring that they might pass unmolested were they to encounter some malevolent shade.  But Christianity is not unique in holding the autumn season as a time when ghosts and demons walk among the living - from the Incan Ayamarca to the Hungry Ghost Festival of China, cultures around the world have recognized the end of the harvest as a time when the unseen world obtrudes upon us.

The Tenebrae have long documented the increased incidence of preternatural happenings around the 31st of October: hauntings, manifestations, and inexplicable occurrences become even more commonplace in St. Lazarus in the days leading up to Halloween, and magickal activity is greatly amplified.  For the last week, Pareidolia’s monitoring equipment has been indicating a surge of eldritch energy in the outskirts of St. Lazarus, focused along the ley line that coincides with the Casket River.  Hel has cast the runes and confirmed that something is approaching from out of the darkness, an eager presence in the Outer Void that wants to enter the mortal plane.  After hacking into the SLPD database, Pareidolia has unearthed several police reports that seem to have been swept under the rug - a spate of missing persons cases with links to the small town of Fuath’s Hollow, a community a few hours’ drive out of the city limits, in the depths of the Casket River Valley.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, an influx of Scotch-Irish immigrants settled in the hills above St. Lazarus in the Casket River Valley, working mostly as farmers and later as coal miners (they were also rumoured to supply moonshine to the Irish mob during Prohibition).  Living mostly in the town of Fuath’s Hollow they have become a somewhat secretive people with an unsavoury reputation, often scorned as "hillbillies" by urban St. Lazarians.  As a result the backwoods of the Casket River Valley are mostly shunned by locals, though tourists have been known to go hiking or rafting in the gloomily picturesque hills.  With the closure of the coal mine and the general decline of the region, many have left the area for the city itself or other towns, leaving many of the homes in Fuath’s Hollow abandoned, with a small community of stubborn locals keeping the place from becoming a true ghost town.

he Tenebrae have assembled a team to investigate the disappearances and the unusual surge in occult activity.  After equipping yourselves in the Sepulchre one of the customized hearses operated by the Shadow Green Funeral Home, the on-site mortuary that functions as a front for the Tenebrae, will convey the team to Fuath’s Hollow.

...

You have been gathered in the Sepulchre’s briefing room.  The former crypt is an expansive Gothic chamber with a vaulted ceiling, now set with electric lights.  Carved niches along the walls that would once have contained ornate sarcophagi have been filled with monitors and other electronic equipment.  A projection screen has been pulled down at one end of the room, concealing an angelic statue.  Dominating the room is a long, wooden table, rumoured to contain splinters taken from the round table of Camelot and the table of the last supper.  Three sets of reinforced steel doors admit entry to the briefing room.  Some of your fellow Tenebrae are seated around the table, awaiting the briefing.


Quadra sits in the briefing room with her feet up, idly playing with an unfolded hypercube.

Evil Eye contemplates the ceiling while his hands methodically strip and clean a handgun.

Quadra folds up the cube, twisting it around, which causes it to appear to turn inside out in her hands.

Evil Eye quirks an eyebrow at the peculiar cube before shrugging slightly. Fellow agents will have their peculiarities, after all.

One of the steel doors hisses open and Sabbatarian limps into the room.  The grizzled old vampire-hunter - one of the senior-most Tenebrae - has been consigned mostly to administrative duty for some time due to his age, various injuries, and the vampiric virus in his system.  During an operation fifteen years ago he was captured by Bloodbag, tortured, mutilated, and then forced to drink vampiric blood, infecting him with the undead pathogen.  While he managed to escape capture he found himself Turning, but rounds of drugs and daily infusions of saline prepared with holy water prevent the metamorphosis from progressing; nonetheless he now cannot bear the touch of sunlight, developing third degree burns if exposed to significant concentrations of ultraviolet radiation.  Though white-haired, scarred, and lame the elderly man is still a formidable presence.

"Your attention, please," he says roughly, grabbing a remote and switching on the projector.  "We don’t have much time, so we’d better get straight to the facts."

"You already know the basics," Sabbatarian continues.  "You’ll be investigating the town of Fuath’s Hollow, a mostly abandoned mining village two hours outside of St. Lazarus."  He clicks the remote, cycling through images on the projector: black and white photographs of old buildings nestled in thickly wooded hills.


Image

"There have been five disappearances reported recently, all with connections to the region," the aged operative continues.  "And there may be more that the police don’t know about.  The first to go missing was Amy Thorne."  He clicks the remote, revealing a picture of a red-headed girl in her late teens or early twenties, pretty and heavily freckled, with braces on her teeth and a bow in her curly, crimson hair.  "A geology major at St. Lazarus University, she was doing field work for her program in the hills around the Casket River Valley and has been missing since July."

Another click.  This time the face is that of a middle-aged man, brown-haired and tanned.  "Next was Thomas Wade," Sabbatarian continues.  "A freelance nature photographer well known for his images of local wildlife.  He was last seen heading into the hills with his camera and other equipment.  That was in early August."

He clicks again, and this time two identical boys of perhaps fourteen are displayed, dark-haired and slightly acne-spattered.  "The Harrison twins, Peter and Nathaniel," he goes on.  "Both disappeared during a camping trip at Seonaidh Lake, which drains into the Casket River.  A thorough search was conducted for the boys, but no sign of them was discovered."

Click.  The image on the projector is of a woman of about thirty dressed in a suit, with her platinum-blond hair cut short.  "Candice Evergreen," Sabbatarian says.  "The last to disappear that we or the police know of - an investigative reporter who was staying at the Water Horse Hotel in Fuath’s Hollow, looking into the disappearances.  She went missing earlier this month, leaving all of her belongings in her hotel room."

He coughs raggedly.  "The SLPD have no active leads.  Search parties are still sweeping the area intermittently, but they’re growing more and more despondent, and there has been friction with the locals who live in the town and the surrounding valley.  As there’s little linking the different cases together apart from location the police seem to have rejected the idea of a serial killer operating in the area.  Doesn’t fit the psychological profile: serial killers usually have a particular type of victim they’re interested in.  Horripilation, for example, prefers children no older than twelve.  Now, normally we wouldn’t concern ourselves with missing persons cases of this type.  However, as Pareidolia will explain, there is reason to believe that these disappearances may be linked to preternatural forces.  As she insists on speaking from her office I’ll have to patch her through momentarily.  But are there any questions at this point?"


Quadra listens semi-attentively, flipping the hypercube around in her hands, causing it to appear to contort itself in interesting ways.

Mandrake composes notes, slowly and painstakingly.

Evil Eye frowns, running over the information and dates in his head. "Were the Harrison twins local?"

"Yes - students at a high school in Blackchurch."

 "Victims were all from here in town, then. No Fuath's Hollow locals."

"None that we've ascertained.  However, the locals are notoriously close-mouthed and xenophobic and cooperate only begrudgingly with police.  Any further questions or shall I patch Pareidolia through?"

"Sounds like they're the most obvious suspects then. No more questions."

Sabbatarian nods and hits a button on the remote.  A large screen to one side of the projector flickers on, and Pareidolia’s face appears.  Currently her hair is mauve, tied into a sideways ponytail on one side and buzzed down on the other, an arcane sigil shaved into the cropped side.  She puffs on a long, black cigarillo, exhaling greyish-purple smoke.

"Right," the chaos witch says.  "So as you all know things usually go to shit round All Hallows.  Looks like it’s going to get crazy this year too; we’ve got teams fanning out across the city, patrolling, dealing with hot spots.  But there’s been a particular concentration of weird shit coming out of the Casket Valley recently.  Check out this map."

She pivots her webcam, displaying a topographical map of St. Lazarus and surrounding regions.  The map is covered in small darts - obviously she’s been hurling them at it.  There’s a huge concentration of them around the Casket River Valley, especially clustered near Fuath’s Hollow.

"Been chucking darts blindfold for days.  Hel’s done her little pebble-tossing thing and confirmed some of my suspicions.  Now, there’s a big fucking ley line that runs right down the CRV towards the city, so some of this should be expected - but then why this pimple round Fuath’s Hollow?  So I hacked into some D.P.I. databases to see if they’ve noticed anything - ever so occasionally the feds pull their heads out of their asses long enough to take a proper look around with all their fancy expensive equipment.  Turns out I’m not the only one to catch a whiff of something."

The screen flickers, switching to a display of a satellite photograph of the Casket River Valley.  Some sort of filter has been placed over the image, as sections of the region appear to be glowing with a greenish light, brightest and most intense around Fuath's Hollow.

 "The light indicates a discharge of ectoplasmic radiation.  Whatever's going on down there it involves seepage between this world and an afterlife of some sort, but there's no hard indication as to which plane of existence is oozing through.  I've been perusing police reports and tapping phone-lines and there's been reports of a lot of fucked up stuff - weather that changes on a dime, temporal skips and loops, retrocausal incidents, sleepwalking.  There've been claims of people singing or chanting in the woods in an unidentified language.  A goat on a local farm gave birth to a litter of dogs; a car that set out north for St. Lazarus straight along the Casket Valley Highway somehow reappeared in Fuath's Hollow without turning back south.  Based on past cases, it's likely that things are coming to a head soon.  We need to intervene now."

"Thank you, Pareidolia," Sabbatarian says.  "Any further questions at this point?"


Quadra chimes in. "Yes, why wasn't I notified of this earlier? I could've performed an actual quad-dimensional regression analysis on the data, instead of... throwing darts..."

Pareidolia smirks.  "You were a little busy with one of your little projects.  Anyway, I didn't realize the extent of this until recently, when I managed to hack into the DPI mainframe."

Quadra shrugs and goes back to half-attentively listening.

Mandrake signs: Are there humans who have ventured forth but not been lost?  Into the hills.

"Police and search parties have combed the area without being lost, but they've all been in large groups," Sabbatarian says to Mandrake.

"Unidentified language, Pareidolia?” Mollusc says.

 "Unfortunately I don't have a transcript or recording," the chaos witch says.  "Just garbled reports.  Nothing to base a linguistic analysis on."

Mollusc frowns. Probably.

Evil Eye looks thoughtful. "Has Hel had any insight to offer into the kind of thanatic bleed we're dealing with?"

Pareidolia rolls her eyes.  "Nothing substantive.  She'd need to actually be present to pick anything up, and she's out with some other agents investigating an unrelated incident in Razortown."

Quadra tosses the cube down onto the table, where it appears to get stuck -in- the table for a moment, before shrinking slightly and landing normally. "So it seems like we'll just have to see for ourselves."

Mandrake signs: one must dirty one's hands.

"That's the idea," Pareidolia says.  "But I'll be linked with you remotely, so I can analyze anything you come up against."

Quadra rolls her eyes. "Yeah, thanks, I'm sure that'll come in handy," she says insincerely. She is about to leave, and then remembers something; she quickly grabs the cube and unfolds it again. She's been warned about leaving polychora lying around.

Sabbatarian nods.  "Alright.  Equip yourselves in the Arsenal and then head out.  If you have any other questions, communicate them to Pareidolia.  Your objective is to investigate this inter-planar bleed and, if possible, find the missing individuals and return them to safety."

The elevator leading to the arsenal is through the door Sabbatarian came through.


Quadra heads down to the arsenal. Hopefully down a pole.

Mollusc lifts itself from its seat with a few beats of its membranous wings, its toe-fingers barely brushing the ground as it glides into the elevator.

The elevator is modern and gleaming, in stark contrast with the decrepit stone that makes up most of the Sepulchre.  There are thirteen levels to the Tenebrae headquarters, represented by thirteen buttons on the control panel:

FUNERAL HOME
GARAGE
ADMINISTRATION
PERSONAL QUARTERS
ARSENAL
INFIRMARY
MORGUE
LABORATORY
ARCHIVE
TRAINING
STORAGE
CONTAINMENT
UTILITY/SANITATION

You're currently on the Administration level; the equipment room can be found in the Arsenal, two floors below.


Mollusc hits the ARSENAL button with a quick lash from its tongue.

 Evil Eye nods respectfully to Sabbatarian and heads for the elevator.

Quadra hits door close rapidly as Evil Eye approaches.

Mandrake becomes a short, plump, dowdy young woman in out-of-fashion designer knock-off.

Evil Eye hurries through.

Quadra looks innocent.

Everyone is in the elevator.  It rumbles and descends two floors, opening into the arsenal corridor.  The main arsenal is through a door at the end of the passage.

The Tenebrae armoury and arsenal is extensive and eclectic.  The long chamber has one wall is devoted entirely to firearms, from pistols (Gen4 Glock 19s and 22s, Walther P99s, a wide variety of Berrata, Colt Anacondas and a few vintage Pythons, and a variety of other semi-automatics and revolvers) to shotguns (principally Remington 870s and Benneli M4s) to submachine guns (primarily MP5s and Uzis).  A wide variety of ammunition is available, including special rounds: hollow-point, armour-piercing, incendiary/dragon's breath, breaching, silver, cold iron, blessed, and UV cartridges, plus fragmentation, smoke, and gas grenades.

A second wall is partially dedicated to body armour - predominantly custom-made ballistic vests - along with melee and throwing weapons: principally combat knives and batons, but also a diverse array of swords (ranging from medieval  broadswords to two-handed claymores to Japanese katanas and odachi), maces, morning-stars, halberds, shuriken, battleaxes, bolas, flails, and quarterstaves.  

The far wall contains more esoteric devices, including a collection of apotropaic talismans, crucifixes, phylacteries, saints' symbols, scapulars, charmstones, hamsas, pentagram and hexagram amulets, voodoo gris-gris, and dream-catchers, as well as wooden stakes, holy water, blessed wafers, ceremonial candles, bone fetishes, Bibles, Qurans, and other sacred texts.  Arched Gothic doorways lead to adjoining chambers where communications gear, uniforms, first aid gear, and other miscellaneous equipment is stored.

A warded steel door leads to the Secure Section of the arsenal where eldritch arms and armour and other artefacts are kept under lock and key, from the Coward's Blade of Arthurian legend to a symbiotic caul and neuroweapon wielded by the Eld to a copy of the original Book of Thoth.  Such objects can only be brought out of the Secure Section in times of extreme crisis.

There are also night vision goggles and flashlights available.  Mollusc, there's an amulet here that will provide you with a stable glamer, as well.


Mollusc looks to its teammates. "Input, associates?"

Mandrake walks over to the talisman and grabs a tiny fistful.

Quadra slips on a vest and grabs two 9mm pistols with a decent selection of ammo, as well as a standard-issue multi-tool and communications equipment.  She makes sure Mathematica Mobile Edition is installed on it. Never know when you might have to do some 4d calculus!

The cellphone comes equipped with a large array of software as well as some special occult apps Pareidolia has installed, including one that converts the phone into a kind of sensor for eldritch radiation of the sort she was discussing.

Evil Eye starts stocking up on ammunition; some silver, some blessed, some dragon's breath, but mostly cold iron. Towns founded by Celts usually mean bastard faeries, after all.

Mollusc grabs a carrying harness specially designed for its six-limbed physiology and a pair of matte black Berettas 92Fs; it can't decide between the Benelli M4 and the Uzi, however.  Eventually it grabs the Benelli and slides it into the sheathe on the back of its ballistic covering, stuffs half a dozen frag grenades into their pockets, checks that its Berettas have been properly waterproofed, and then slips on the glamer amulet.

Evil Eye also grabs a ballistics vest, a semi-automatic pistol and a cold iron knife, then hesitates and grabs a handful of frag grenades just in case. He also grabs some communication gear.

Mandrake after a few moments' thought, picks up an MP5. Pauses. Signs: just in case.

Mollusc ends up looking a lot like a pale, big-eyed Tilda Swinton.

Quadra will be OK with not being the only one not carrying around enough grenades to blow them all to pieces.

Mandrake sort of... smooshes the weapon through its torso with a sound like someone fisting petroleum jelly.

Heading back into the elevator, you ride it up to the garage level.  The elevator opens into a gloomy underground garage where a dozen large, black hearses are parked.  A tall, spindly man with white hair, dressed all in black with a top-hat slouching on his head, leans against one of the hearses, smoking a cigarette - Ankou, one of the Tenebrae drivers.  A pagan psychopomp responsible for conveying the dead to their final resting places, the Christianization of his homeland put Ankou out of a job.  The ghoulish figure (currently indistinguishable from a normal human, albeit somewhat gaunter and paler, with curiously pale eyes and just a whiff of necrosis about him) joined the Tenebrae some centuries ago, first serving as a waggon driver, then as a hansom driver, and later as a car driver.

"Good evening," the ex-reaper says, tipping his hat.  His voice is rasping, with a slight French accent.  He opens the door for you.


Mollusc makes sure to sit well back from the AC: it's gotten the impression that it's not pleasant to be downwind from.

The inside of the hearse is spacious, with upholstered seats surrounding a very large central coffin.  The coffin, currently closed, is a special containment unit: anyone sealed inside is held in stasis, paralysed and unconscious.  The Tenebrae use the device to transport dangerous creatures back to the Sepulchre.  Elaborate wards culled from dozens of occult traditions cover the coffin's surface, ensuring that anything placed inside cannot break out.  In an emergency situation, a severely wounded agent can also be placed inside the coffin in a state of suspended animation until they can receive medical attention at the Sepulchre's infirmary.

Evil Eye greets Ankou and settles down into a seat.

Quadra plops into a seat.

Mandrake sits next to Mollusc. Kinda likes the smell. It's like... home.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 04:34:00 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2013, 12:33:32 AM »

Road Block

Soundtrack

Once you're all inside the hearse pulls out of the underground garage and into the streets of St. Lazarus.  Some of the people on the street are already costumed, but the city seems quiet, slightly subdued, as if awaiting something.  After a few minutes your vehicle pulls onto the Casket River Highway, heading south towards Fuath's Hollow.  After passing the suburbs the view out the window shifts to a landscape of dark trees, some shedding their autumnal, blood-red  leaves, and the occasional farmhouse or church.  Eventually all sign of civilization save the road itself disappears as the grey sky above darkens and the hearse plunges into thick fog.

Quadra looks out the window and strikes up a conversation with Mollusc about weird math stuff. She's not usually one for spending a long time planning!

 Mollusc glances at Evil Eye, being the other agent with the most combat experience. "Tactical input?"

"So, the way I see it, if you expand the curve out to four dimensions, you can take the derivative, and since the surface area is the derivative of the volume, that means the hypersurface should be..."

Pareidolia's face appears on a small monitor in one corner of the hearse's main compartment.  "Any ideas who might be behind this?"  Her familiar, Toby II, can be seen snuffling in the background.

Mollusc responds with even more esoteric-sounding alien nonsense, but still looking at Evil Eye like it expects a response. It does that sometimes.

Evil Eye shrugs. "Not enough information yet to be sure. Don't split up, cover each other's backs, don't trust the locals."

Quadra is apparently satisfied, looking down and poking some numbers into the math app.

Evil Eye frowns. "I suspect Celtic - so if it looks fey, cold iron first and ask questions later."

"Red Cap is still at large," Pareidolia says in reponse to Evil Eye.  "But this doesn't seem like his MO."

Quadra loads one pistol with cold iron and the other with regular rounds.

 "Pure conjecture,” Mollusc says.  “But human death cults are typically predisposed to rupturing the membranes of their own dimension."

"Good point crab-girl.  No shortage of crazies in St. Lazarus and surrounds.  Could just be the locals.  Still, most of them have traditionally been Bible-thumpers.  If they've gone cultist then something must've happened to mix things up."

Evil Eye smirks at Pareidolia. "Locals whose ancestors came from where, exactly? I'm sticking with Celtic-derived."

She wrinkles her nose.  "Your D.P.I. instincts tell you that?"

Quadra giggles a little as the people she doesn't like are arguing with each other.

Evil Eye bares my teeth in a shit-eating grin. "That's classified."

"There is also the possibility that the intruding afterlife is from outside the human timeframe,” Mollusc points out.

That does not sound promising Mandrake signs, readying its voice-modulator.

Quadra perks up at the mention of timeframe!

"Yeah.  There's all sorts of temporal weirdness going on down there.  Careful not to rupture spacetime guys."  She sticks out her tongue.  "Anyway I'll be monitoring your progress but I have to feed the pig or he's going to chew through my cables again."

The monitor cuts to black.

Some time later, the hearse pulls down an ill-maintained asphalt road, a rusty sign to one side reading "FUATH'S HOLLOW: POP. 64."  The car bumps down a twisting, uneven road, eventually cresting a small hill that looks out over the town below: a scattered handful of yellow lights glimmering out of the fog, the dark husks of abandoned buildings outnumbering the inhabited structures at least four to one.  The car continues round a sharp bend in the road, descending back into the depths of the forest, and then screeches to a sudden halt.  The smell of scorched rubber fills the air.  The window to the driver's compartment hisses down.

"Hit a bit of a snag," Ankou says.  "Road's blocked."


Quadra scratches her head. "Blocked with what?"

"See for yourself," Ankou says, rolling down the windows.  Outside, the hearse's headlights illuminate two large trees blocking the road completely.  The foliage to either side is all but impenetrable; fog drifts between the close-set trees, swathing everything in greyish-green gloom.

"We're not far from the Hollow," Ankou notes.  "You could make it the rest of the way on foot.  I stay with the car, yes?"


"I do not think this is coincidence," Mandrake says, its voice a flat, computerized tone.

Quadra gets out. "Well who puts a tree in the middle of a road," she muses.

Ankou grins grimly and lights a cigarette.

Evil Eye palms his knife and rests the other hand near his handgun. Better safe than sorry. He nods, "Far too inconvenient to be mere chance."

Mollusc slithers out behind her. "I will attempt a higher vantage point."

Evil Eye follows them out of the car. "Care for company?"

Quadra tilts her head, surveying the situation from her own odd little vantage point.

Mollusc stretches out its wings, its glamer shuddering and warping slightly as it ascends to the top of the treeline to see if there's a break in the fog.

Mollusc, the fog is so thick it's hard to see far, but you can make out the glimmer of the town not far away.  However, you do glimpse something moving in the underbrush not far from your location - it's moving away from you, into the depths of the forest.  Hard to tell what kind of creature it was but it was too big to be human.  Wildlife perhaps?

Mollusc immediately descends back to the ground. "Eye, target, moving in the underbrush."

Quadra frowns a bit. The fog seems to extend ana and kata just as much as it does up, down, and sideways. So much for that.

Evil Eye looks at Mollusc questioningly. "Do you think it's worth pursuing?"

Mollusc makes the guttural buzzing sound it does when its mulling a decision over. "Wound it."

Quadra doesn't like not being able to see anything. "So... I'll tell you what we shouldn't do. Just stand around out here."

Evil Eye nods and quickly scales a tree. He scans the forest for the shape Mollusc mentioned - if we can see it, he'll take a shot.

You easily scale the tree and catch a brief glimpse of some sort of equine creature loping off into the mist.

Quadra meanwhile wanders around inspecting the trees.

Your shot whines off the bark of a nearby tree.  You hear whatever it was hiss loudly, then clomp off into the trees, seemingly ignoring the underbrush, moving through the foliage with ease.

Quadra, you inspect the trees.  They were clearly felled by an axe.  This was a very deliberate blockage.


Quadra jumps at the sound. "Hey! What's got you so trigger happy!"

Evil Eye climbs down from the tree and shakes his head. "Missed - fog too dense."

"We should not stay here now," Mandrake says.

Quadra points this out. "I always say there's no such thing as coincidence and yeah."

Mollusc agrees. "Onto the settlement then."

You make your way past the felled trees and downhill towards the town.  Fuath's Hollow has a bleak, despondent quality relieved only by the grins of the turnip lanterns that hang in the windows or leer from the porches of the few inhabited buildings that remain in the town.  Most of the houses and shops here have long been abandoned, evidenced by the ivy and moss reclaiming their wood and brick façades, and the rot mottling their walls and roofs.  Many of these derelict structures have been boarded up.  Apart from a small number of houses the only buildings that seem to still be in use are the Water Horse Hotel down by the river, a small church on a hill overlooking the town, and a grocery on the main street.  There doesn't seem to be anyone around - the streets are eerily quiet.  It's getting on towards evening and will be night soon.

Quadra shakes her head. "Not a good place for trick or treating apparently."

"Not for treats," Mandrake suggests. "Tricks, perhaps."

Mollusc, this looks like one of the traditional Celtic turnip lanterns of Samhain, used to ward off evil spirits.  Their leering faces were carved to resemble those of goblins and faeries, so that the creatures prowling during Samhain - when the boundary between the mortal world and the Otherworld grows thin - would pass by without molesting those protected by the lanterns.

"Your suspicious prove correct. Archaic Celtic apotropaics."  Mollusc directs this statement towards Evil Eye, mostly.

"I suggest we take a couple with us - no such thing as too much protection,” Evil Eye says.

Quadra opens up the corkscrew on her utility knife and pokes one of them lightly.

Evil Eye matches deed to word, grabbing a lantern and stuffing it in his backpack.

The lantern seems mundane, Quadra.  It sways slightly. Still, they may have hidden abilities.

Mollusc grabs one for itself, closely examining it for any irregularities.

Mandrake asks Mollusc, "Shall it preserve function if immersed within my substance?"

Evil Eye keeps a watchful eye out for any people, or anything out of place.

Mandrake hollows itself out and put the lantern inside of itself, taking care to leave space around it.

Occasional holes will have to be created to let oxygen in.

Quadra frowns. "That's... just wrong." She shrugs a little to herself. She spears a smaller lantern on the corkscrew and uses it like a handle.

"Where should we investigate first, the Water Horse Hotel...or the church?"  Mollusc obviously prefers the former.

Evil Eye keeps his backpack open to allow oxygen in to the lantern inside. "I think the Hotel is a better chance of finding an actual person to talk to."
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 10:23:17 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2013, 06:06:49 PM »

The Water Horse Hotel

Soundtrack

Somewhere off in the hills you hear a distant howling - a long, mournful wail, both bestial and hideously human, agonized and animalistic all at once...

Quadra raises an eyebrow. "Well that's always nice."

Evil Eye glances around.  "That didn't sound like any animal I know of..."

Mollusc chitters.  "Should we investigate, or proceed to the hotel?"

Quadra goes into the hotel. Staying around and getting wailed at is not her idea of a good time.

Mollusc follows.

Evil Eye shrugs.  "I'm going to do a quick sweep of the perimeter; I'll catch up.  Won't wander far - I'll radio if I run into trouble."

The Water Horse Hotel is somewhat worse for wear; a converted watermill, the old brick building is beginning to crumble, the Casket River lapping at its foundations.  The door to the hotel is open and there's a light on inside, as well as a small pickup truck parked to one side of the place.

Quadra gives a dismissive wave of her hand. Really, not having him around makes this whole thing go better already.

Your communicators chirp and Pareidolia's voice is audible: "I'm picking up a surge in eldritch puissance down there.  I'm sending you guys some backup.  Prepare for manifestation."

Quadra retorts, "Hey! Thanks for the vote of confidence!"

"Some healthy paranoia never hurt anyone."

Mandrake yanks submachine gun out of its torso.

A crack appears in the air behind them, the universe seemingly tearing in two for a split second before a familiar figure is thrown bodily through the opening to land roughly on the ground.  Abyzou sits there for a second in shock, a bowl of disgusting slop in one hand and a fork in the other.  She's in her child-form, with scraggly black pigtails and a pinafore dress.  Her eyes glimmer redly.  Abyzou blinks and looks around

"...for fuck's sake.  What now?"

Quadra raises an eyebrow. "My sentiments exactly."

"Apologies for the disturbance," Mandrake's computerized voice says.  "You are required"

"Thanks for the warning." Abyzou stands up discarding the slop and brushing off her dress.

Abyzou shrug.  "So... lead on I guess, what's it to be? Another night of being forced to brown nose for your skanky secret club I suppose."

Quadra shrugs and peers around the hotel in four dimensions.

Quadra, the Hotel's outline shivers and shakes under your hyper-dimensional gaze.  There are no glamers or illusions currently affecting it.  You can see shadowy echoes of people entering and leaving the hotel in the past and future, but nothing noteworthy.

Quadra tilts her head a bit, going and looking under the truck.

The truck seems fully operable, if a little rusty.  Nothing is concealed beneath it.  It has been parked here awhile.

Abyzou meanwhile is idly picking at her ear, dislodging a red glowing lump she flicks it into a clump of grass which withers and scorches at its touch.

Quadra shrugs. "Well this is boring."

Mandrake occupies into the most conspicuous and exposed position (looking utterly inhuman and being resistant to firearms, mollusc always maneuvers to draw attention to itself)

"Thank you captain obvious." Abyzou spits on the smouldering grass, eliciting a sizzle.

Mollusc stretches its glamered limbs.  "Shall we proceed?"

"Yes," Mandrake says.

Quadra goes into the hotel.

Mandrake follows, MP5 raised.

Inside the hotel is a cramped, gloomy reception area with a desk, a bell, and a guest book.  A rickety stair leads up to the rooms on the second floor while a doorway opens into a dark parlor chamber.  There's another door behind the reception desk marked OFFICE.  The walls are hung with pictures of kelpies, water-spirits somewhere between horses and women; they are depicted in various states of metamorphosis, some of them web-footed women with the heads of horses, others human from the waist up and equine from the waist down; all exhibit piscine features as well, scales and gills and fish-like eyes.

"This is rather suggestive," Mandrake observes.

Quadra looks at the pictures, scratching her chin. "Pretty fishy, if you ask me."

"This is humour."

Mollusc makes a strange sound that might be its version of a chuckle, or a cluck of derision.

Mandrake examines the front desk.

There's a guest book and a bell.

Quadra rolls her eyes and rings the bell.

Abyzou pulls out a marker and casually starts adding anatomy to the nearest kelpie.

Mandrake hastily stows its MP5.

There's a sound in the office and you hear someone grumbling within.  A moment later the door opens and a hulking man in shabby brown clothes exits the office, eyeing you angrily.  He has a sallow, sickly complexion and has some sort of rash on his neck, which he itches with one long-nailed hand.  He exudes a sour smell reminiscent of rotten meat.

"We're closed," he growls.  "Not accepting guests this time of year."


Quadra tilts her head, examining the office through the crack in the door.

Your preternatural gaze peers around the office door.  The office mostly contains records and supplies for the hotel, as well as some rusty old farming implements - a scythe, a sickle, and a pair of shears.  The lattermost appears stained with something dark, possibly blood.

Quadra bites her lip lightly. "Are you, uh, feeling all right?"

He frowns, scratching more insistently.  "Why don't you mind your own business, city-girl?"

Abyzou proudly steps back from her artwork, a humorously large phallus now adorns the forehead of a kelpie, drooping precariously towards the ground and leaking something unmentionable, but which makes Abyzou chuckle when as she touches it up

Mandrake gives its best approximation of an "affronted" expression.

The man glances up at Abyzou.  "What're you doing?  Get out of here!"  He appears extremely impatient.

Abyzou's voice when it comes out sounds the very picture of an innocent little girl "Who me?"

Quadra starts to answer. "Yeah, we're just, uh..." she then glances over at Abyzou. "Yeah, never mind."

He turns to look at Quadra, then Mollusc.  "Is this your kid or something?  I'm not going to ask nicely again.  The hotel is closed.  This is private property and you are trespassing."

Mandrake signs (without audio) – We need to inquire about that woman.

The burly man squints at Mandrake.  "What's she doing?"

Quadra ignores the man and starts upstairs.

Mandrake moves between Quadra and the innkeep in anticipation of his protest.

The man twitches.  His scratching gets ever more intense.  "Last warning bitch.  Get out of here or you will regret it, I can promise you."  He grunts, moving towards the stairs.

Mandrake, you're in position to stop him if you want.


Abyzou puts away her marker.  "I take it all back, this looks like it could be interesting."

Mandrake stops him.

Mandrake, you interpose yourself between the innkeeper and Quadra.  The man ploughs into you, and a horrible carrion stench wafts over you.  His flesh is peculiarly spongy beneath his clothing.  You are thrown against the wall, where your amorphous body slightly pancakes before reforming, unharmed.

Quadra sighs. "Look, just let us look around a minute, then nobody has to regret anything, and... and... that is not right."

The man makes a curiously choking sound, and something rustles under his clothing.  Suddenly the rash on his neck begins to writhe and fester, tendrils of some greyish-green fungus bursting through his flesh and seething across his neck and shoulders.  Mushrooms and puffballs rapidly emerge from his skin as his clothing tears, revealing a mass of fungal matter enveloping his body.

"We meet again, Tenebrae," the shambolic thing snarls as fungi continue to proliferate, sprouting in greater and greater profusion till the man has been all but consumed.


Soundtrack

Oh goody,"Abyzou says.  "Less polite bullshit, more fucking the shit out of everything that moves."

Mandrake's left hand is knives.  He moves towards the being.

Graveolent's fungal body reshapes itself to avoid you!

Quadra scrambles up the stairs, trying to get to a vantage point. While she's up here, she surveys the situation in four dimensions and quickly analyzes an approach.

"Breathe deep!"  Graveolent quivers, and a cloud of putrid spores bursts from its body!

Mollusc stumbles back, coughing raggedly.

Quadra breathes in the air that was here half a second before the spores got here.

"Eat me, shit for brains!" Abby claps here hands together and a scorching ray of fire traces a line between her and the shambling horror, attempting to light it on fire.

The creature bursts into flame!  Graveolent flickers and burns, filling the air with the reek of burning flesh and fungus.  It withers rapidly, stumbling backwards, and one of its limbs collapses into ash.  Fire licks at the hotel walls.

Mollusc coughs, lungs still filled with spores.

Quadra frowns. "Not setting the building on fire would've been better."

"You and I have a totally different idea of better," Abyzou quips.

Mandrake recoils in horror from the flames.

Mandrake, you can feel your body starting to melt and boil from the heat, even at this distance.

Mandrake flees upstairs.

You enter a corridor lined with numbered doors.

Quadra follows upstairs. She's looking for Candice's room! She peers 'around' the shut doors to see if she can determine anything.

The hotel rooms all look more or less identical, but your vision discerns that one of them has a still-unmade bed.  Looks like housekeeping is lax at the Water Horse.  It's Room 202.

Quadra runs for room 202!

By all appearances this is an ordinary hotel room, albeit a somewhat run-down and spartan one, with an uncomfortable-looking bed, a scratched chest of drawers, a bedside table with a lamp, a scuffed leather armchair, and an attached bathroom.  It's a bit askew, as if someone used it recently.

Downstairs, Graveolentlurches around, burning limbs flailing, spreading more flames.  It stumbles towards Abyzou, arms wide in a fiery embrace!


"Ok bitch come to auntie Abby..." Abby charges the creature, dodging the swipe. As she swings around her fingers elongate into black metallic claws which stab at the monstrosity.  There is a tearing sound followed by an unnatural shriek as the claws enter the fungoid's body before ripping out the backside, scattering charred bits across the floor.

The creature's burning remains are strewn everywhere.  Fire continues to spread.  Mollusc, recovering its wits, looks around for an extinguisher in vain.

Meanwhile Mandrake and Quadra are in Room 202.  From downstairs you hear Abyzou speaking.  "Fuck yea, who's awesome... I am."


Quadra searches the room for any personal effects or other, well, anything of significance. Especially if it's interesting.

There seems to be little here, but after a few moments of four-dimensional searching you discover a journalist's notepad under the bed, concealed by the linens.

Mandrake draws its MP5 and stands sentry at the door. Scans the hallway.

Figuring that the Tenebrae would probably give her shit if she melted one of their favorite agents, Abby decides to quench the flames downstairs.

You manifest your powers and douse the flames with blood.  A few embers - remnants of Graveolent - sputter and glow on the floor.  A few spores float in the air, mingling with the ashes.

Weighing the entertainment value of going upstairs to investigate vs writing horribly obscene stuff in blood all over the charred inn floor Abby quickly chooses the latter.

Quadra reaches 'through' the bed and grabs the notepad from underneath.

You've got the notepad.  It looks like there are several days of notes, presumably penned by Candice:

Arrived at Fuath's Hollow.  Hotel room impossibly shitty.  No television, no wireless, no fridge.  Nowhere to even plug in my gd cellphone.  Forced to take notes by hand.  Wretched.

Town is near-deserted.  Few locals seem suspicious, unfriendly.  Something off about them.  Feels a bit like I've wandered into Deliverance.  Asked around, showed pictures of Amy Thorne, Thomas Wade, Peter and Nathaniel Harrison.  Received only dark looks.  No leads as of yet.  Will continue tomorrow.  Story seems like a dead end.  Still, could do a piece on this weird little town.  It's creepy but kind of picturesque, like somewhere time forgot.  Only modern technology is a few trucks and the odd electric light.  Mostly locals seem to prefer candles.

Passed restless night.  Do not like the hotel owner, Harry McGraw.  Leers at me whenever I come downstairs.  Probably keeps his mother's preserved corpse in one of these rooms.  I could swear I heard him singing or chanting or some shit during the night.  Noticed strange lights up in the hills - looked like fires.

Continued investigation of the town.  Checked out the old Seehan residence, where that psycho kid went off on his parents a few years back.  Not much to see now - place is boarded up.  I broke in pretty easily but there was nothing interesting inside, just rats and dust.  Folks have moved out of this town even since then.

Checked out the church, where the Seehan kid left the bodies of his parents.  Could he be responsible for the disappearances?  Doesn't seem likely but he's still at large, disappeared after killing that minister in Crowswood.  The pastor at the church is pretty creepy but maybe not as bad as the innkeeper.  Didn't know much about the disappearances but says he's praying for the missing persons.  I asked a bit about the fires I saw and he says that there's people live outside of town.  Could be the "McGraw Clan," he says - relatives of the psycho who runs this shithole I'm staying at.  Seems they have a big farmhouse or something up in the hills not too far from the old coal mine.

Maybe I'll go snooping tomorrow…


Quadra shows it to Mandrake, too. "Well, as lovely as this hotel is, I'm sure a big rustic farmhouse in the hills would be even more lovely."

Mollusc wanders into Room 202. "Find something?"

"A diary. And a lead."  Mandrake passes the diary along

Mollusc scans it quickly. "Foul-mouthed creature, isn't she?  Should this farm be our next stop?"

Quadra nods. Then she makes her way back downstairs, wrinkling her nose at the sight in the lobby. "That's... fantastic. Just fantastic."

Abyzou is half covered in blood, a smile adorns her which would be at home on the face of a kid at Christmas morning.  "You like it? It's a little piece I call 'fuck your fungal shit asslord'."

Mandrake goes down into the office.

The office was slightly scorched in the brief fire, but most of the records are untouched.  A sickle, sycthe, and a pair of shears, blood-stained, can be found here.

Mandrake examines the records. Are they legit?

They do look legitimate, although it quickly becomes evident that the hotel has not been doing well.  The number of visitors diminishes year by year.  Candice was the most recent visitor, the first in several months.

Mandrake glances back at infested innkeep's remains. Considers the frailty of Man.

Quadra is about to head out the door but she notices nobody is following her yet. She looks around the lobby again, bored.

Mandrake leaves.

Quadra leaves too!

As you're on your way out you hear something from upstairs - a voice.  It sounds like Quadra: "Well, as lovely as this hotel is, I'm sure a big rustic farmhouse in the hills would be even more lovely."

Quadra raises an eyebrow. She's not used to hearing four-dimensional echoes of her own voice.

Mandrake looks quizzically at Quadra. "Should we be concerned"?

The town's grocery store and the church still show lights.  Elsewhere the town is dark.  Another howl rips through the darkening twilight - tortured, half-bestial, half-human, filled with pain and sorrow and dreadful longing.  It came from somewhere up in the hills that glower over Fuath's Hollow.

Abyzou casually wanders over to the group, covered in blood from the bottom half of her dress down.

Quadra motions with her finger for them to hold on a second, and cautiously goes back up the stairs.

Quadra, retracing your steps, you find no sign of anything unusual, although for one moment you thought you glimpsed a figure entering Room 202 - a figure that looked very much like you.  When you arrive in the room, there's no sign of your "double," if she ever existed.

Mandrake signs it suits you to Abyzou.

Your communication equipment crackle with Pareidolia's voice.  "Everything OK up there?  I'm receiving some... strange readings."

Quadra looks slightly into the past just after she sees the 'double,' to see if she can see it 'again.'

Your vision is a bit foggy.  You don't see your double – just yourself, coming up in search of her.  Whatever it was, it wasn't an illusion or glamer.  But why is your vision so... hazy?

Gradually it clarifies itself again.  Something strange is going on here.


Quadra replies, "I'm not sure. Things seem... nondeterministic." For Quadra, that's practically a dirty word!

"Sounds like a party."

Quadra frowns. "Yes, well, some of us prefer order and consistency."

Mandrake waits at the hotel entrance. Looking dumpy and unassuming.

Abyzou starts getting bored, never a good thing.

Quadra shrugs a little and looks around again, to see if her vision is still hazy.

"Are you well?" Mandrake asks Quadra.

Your vision has cleared again.  Strange.

Quadra walks out of the room, and then back in.

Nothing new occurs.  Whatever was happening, it seems to have stopped.

Quadra replies. "I'm fine. I think. This is intriguing."  She frowns slightly. "Or was."  Quadra sighs a bit and goes back downstairs, where she tells the others what happened upstairs and what she saw. And the part about how it's now gone.

"We need a satellite map," Mandrake informs Parediolia.

"Say pretty please?" Pareidolia says tauntingly.

"Pretty please"

"Coming right up toots."  Your phone chirps as a satellite image appears.  Scrutinizing it, you can see what might be a farmhouse, just off the Old Mine Road.  There's also a cabin a bit further to the northwest.

Overhearing this Abby shouts over to mandrake: "Tell her to pretty please go suck her own asshole."

Quadra can't resist a little giggle.

"Abby says you can pretty please go suck your own asshole."

"Tell that punk-ass demoness to watch her mouth or I'll give her a one-way ticket back home."  Pareidolia chuckles, clearly more amused than anything.

Quadra studies the map. "Old Mine Road? That's seriously the name of it? Well let's just turn off on Bumfuck Cabin Boulevard and we're good."

"I do not see bum fuck cabin boulevard. Is my map defective?"

Quadra rolls her eyes and heads outside, looking for Old Mine Road.

Your comm link buzzes as Pareidolia feeds a song into your ears: Audio File.  Pareidolia's cackling is audible in the background, along with Toby II's squeals.

Old Mine Road is easy enough to find - a dirt road that winds out of town and up into the hills, skirting the old church.


Quadra rolls her eyes again. "Yeah, you're a barrel of fun aren't you."

Mandrake heads off.
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2013, 06:49:39 PM »

Echo

Soundtrack

As you're heading in the direction of Old Mine Road, everything suddenly shimmers strangely - the sky, the trees, the derelict buildings.  The town blurs.  A rush of sounds surrounds you, a cacophony of murmurs, snatches of conversation, the clip-clop of horse’s hooves, the giggling of children.  Abruptly Fuath’s Hollow snaps back into focus, but now it is not night but mid-day.  The buildings around you are no longer covered in ivy and lichens, but in good repair, with fresh paint - although there are markedly fewer of them.  The church-bells are ringing and there are suddenly people around you, walking towards the church on the hill.  They are garbed in rather archaic-looking clothing.  A horse-drawn carriage rattles by towards the hills, bearing bales of hay.  The Water Horse Hotel seems to have turned back into a functional watermill.

Abyzou follows after them, grabbing the radio from Mandrake she begins singing words back into the radio in tune with the music about all the ways she's going to violate Pareidolia and her pig.

The music on the communicator has abruptly cut out, turning to static.

Quadra, based on what you've seen, you think what you’re experiencing is some kind of temporal fluctuation - time is slightly unstuck here due to the recent surge of eldritch energy, and as a result the past is bleeding into the present.  If you’re correct you’re not actually time travelling, per se - what you’re experiencing is more like a shadow or an echo projected forwards through time.  You can interact with it as if it were real, but you’re not actually affecting the past.


Abyzou smiles a fang toothed grin and tosses the radio back to Mandrake.

Quadra scratches her head. "Well, that... certainly makes things a good bit less creepy. Albeit rather mysterious."

Mandrake keeps heading toward the farmhouse.

Mandrake suddenly vanishes as he heads up Old Mine Road.  Mandrake, you take a step and emerge back into the night, in the present.

Your companions are present, but flickering strangely, as if they're not quite all there - like a TV with bad reception.  Your comm crackles.  "Tell that punk-ass demoness to watch her mouth or I'll - wait, what just happened?  There was some sort of blip on my instruments there for a second."


"They seem to be in the past."

Quadra examines this scene carefully, in four dimensions. Then she takes a step in the same direction Mandrake went.

Quadra, your four-dimensional vision indicates that Mandrake stepped outside of the echo, over some kind of temporal boundary, emerging back into the present.

Somewhat confused Abby stops and examines the air where her "companions" vanished.

You can no longer see your companions, but a villager gives you a horrified look, noting your blood-stained dress.  Those church-bells are giving you a terrible headache.

Mollusc shivers.  "I'm following them," she says.

Quadra, the haziness fills your vision as you breach the boundary of the echo, then you step out back into the night, beside Mandrake.

Quadra scratches her head. "Intriguing." She extends her hand backwards into the echo.

Your hand becomes translucent as it passes into the echo, wavering strangely.

Abyzou smiles at the villager, as she does so the villager's vision for a second flashes to an image of a hellish landscape covered in screaming people, their bodies scorched beyond recognition as they agonizingly crawl across the burning ground.

The villager recoils in horror.  Evidently your thoughtography functions on temporal echoes!

Abyzou giggles manically, then looks around her.  "Great, now where the hell did those guys go..."

Mollusc emerges beside you, Mandrake.

Quadra looks up at the church, then steps back into the echo.

The church transforms as you pass over the boundary, becoming better-repaired, the paint fresher.  The bells have stopped tolling.

Abyzou turns around suddenly when she sees Quadra reappear.  "What the hells was that?

The air shimmers again.  It looks like the echo is going to dissipate soon.

Quadra steps back into the echo, looking over at a nearby signpost. She licks her lips, peeking outside of the echo again, and then back in. "A very interesting phenomenon."

"I do not understand any of this," Mandrake comments to Mollusc.

"I believe the Otherworldly intrusion is disrupting the normal flow of space/time," Mollusc says. "Casting echoes into past and future.  Shadows on the cave wall."

"Plato. Philosophers and sorcerers. To hell with them both."

Quadra quickly motions to the signpost. "Abby, go... do what you do best, would you?"

Abyzou raises an eyebrow and shrugs before trudging off to the sign.  She sits down by the sign, not sure at all what Quadra is talking about... in her boredom she takes out her marker and turns around to start scribbling random pictures of stick people murdering each other on the sign post

Quadra steps back into the present while Abby defaces the signpost.

The signpost is not being affected by Abby's graffiti.  It seems that altering echoes in the past does not subsequently change those echoes' futures.

Quadra shrugs a bit to herself. "Interesting..." she muses.

Mandrake cares nothing for the demon and is content to leave her to her to her devices. Continues toward the farmhouse.

The echo abruptly shimmers and collapses.  Abyzou, you are returned to the present, day suddenly become night once more.

Abyzou blinks.  "What the fuck happened to the sun?"

Quadra is about to attempt another experiment but... apparently not.

Mandrake, you climb into the cold, mist-shrouded hills above Fuath’s Hollow.  Dark trees loom oppressively to either side, and in the darkness you can barely see the rough dirt road winding up from the town into the depths of the wood.

Quadra sighs. "The most interesting thing we've found so far seems to have vanished." She follows Mandrake.

Abyzou puts her marker away and heads after Mandrake; as she passes Quadra she pinches her buttocks.

Quadra reaches back and twists Abyzou's finger slightly into its own future.

Abyzou watches her own finger vanish. "Hey put it back, what the fuck. I was only joking."

Quadra smirks and twists it back. "Me too."

Abyzou pouts a bit, she continues off towards Mandrake.  "Stuck up slut," she mumbles.

Mandrake, leading the group, you notice something up ahead - a set of what looks like animal tracks crossing the rough path. The paw-prints are of some exceptionally large beast.  Claw-marks on nearby trees and gaps in the tracks suggest the creature sometimes leapt from trunk to trunk.  The tracks lead off into the woods, to the northwest.

"There are tracks. I do not think it is a natural creature."

Quadra catches up and examines the tracks.  She breathes a little sigh of relief. "I, for one, am just glad we're not headed the same way this thing is."

"What, you scared of the big bad wolf?" Abyzou asks.

"We have humans to find," Mandrake says. "We do not need to go chasing monsters."

Quadra prefers mathematical mysteries to ... whatever this is.

As you scrutinize the tracks you hear the thump and whirr of a helicopter overhead, approaching rapidly.  Out of the darkness and mist you catch a glimpse of flickering lights as the chopper descends, heading north.

"Whoa, incoming," Pareidolia says over your comm link.  Not sure who's flying that thing.  There's some sort of ward on it."


Quadra responds. "Yes, we just saw it. Your foresight is as acute as ever." She rolls her eyes.

"We shall meet them soon enough."

Mandrake keeps on walking.

Quadra takes a moment to assess the situation in four dimensions before she proceeds.

Quadra, you perceive something up ahead, round a bend in the road - looks like a person, and they're injured badly.

Quadra stops. "Hold on a second." She motions to follow her and rounds the bend.

As you turn a corner, you hear a gasp of pain.  A man staggers along the road, heading in the same direction you are.   His clothes are stiff with blood, and he is missing one of his arms up to the elbow.  You don’t recognize him, but judging from his clothes and slightly inbred look he might be a local.  He stumbles, collapsing in the road, moaning, and tries feebly to rise to his feet.

Abyzou starts to whistle dueling banjoes as she heads after Quadra.

Quadra winces a bit. "What happened to you?"

The man is losing blood from wounds on his leg and sides, although his arm has been bandaged, suggesting an older wound.  He groans, blood flecking his lips.

"The beast comes!" he croaks weakly.  "It was right behind me!"


"Which way were you facing?" Mandrake asks.

The man looks at you in bewilderment.  "Heading... heading to the farm... the Harvest... the Green Man will restore me!"

"Who is the green man?" Mandrake asks in the same flat, computerized monotone.

Quadra studies his wounds for a second, then attempts to rip off a piece of his shirt and make a bandage.

"I bet Jethro here worships the jolly green giant." Abyzou hums another line from dueling banjos.

"The Green Man and the Horned God will reign over all.  Our altars will run red!"  He gurgles, clearly delirious.

You managed to patch the man up, Quadra.  He's still semi-conscious, but in less imminent danger of dying.


"Okay so he worships the jolly green giant and a horny dude... can we get moving? I'm bored."

"We should let him die," Mandrake suggests.

Quadra shakes her head, wondering if it was even worth bothering.  She shrugs. "There isn't really anything else we can do anyway... keep moving?

"Yes."

Quadra continues back along their previous heading, accompanied by Mollusc.

You continue heading up the road, which becomes progressively more winding.

Mandrake waits a bit, then removes the man's bandage. Then smothers him.

Abyzou watches the whole slow process with glee. "Damn Manny, didn't take you for that type... makes me all hot and bothered to watch it."

Mandrake follows after Quadra.

Abyzou heads off after Quadra as well.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 12:48:26 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2013, 01:12:21 AM »

The Farm

Soundtrack

Following the map, you at last arrive at your destination, taking a rough track off Old Mine Road.  The dilapidated McGraw farmhouse is a rickety two-storey building covered in vines and moss.  The farmhouse and its yard are ringed by a fence pieced together from rotting wooden planks, chainlink, and corrugated metal, topped with razorwire.  A large iron gate, chained shut, padlocked, and topped by a horse's skull, blocks entry to the front yard.  A large barn looms out behind the farmhouse.  There are many footprints in the mud around the gate.

Quadra looks at the farmhouse, shaking her head again. "Yeah, you wanted to know where Bumfuck Cabin Boulevard was? You're looking at it."

"Awesome, now bend over," Abyzou quips.

Quadra rolls her eyes. "You first." She walks over to the padlock, trying to pull it 'through' the loop of metal it's on.

You tug at the padlock, but it snags.  This chainlink is fiddly.

Abyzou casually walks up to the gate and attempts to rip off the padlock.

The fence is much sturdier than it looks.  The lock holds.

"Who the hell made this thing...?" Abby flushes red at her inability to rip off a simple padlock.

"Where's Evil Eye when we need him?" Mollusc asks. "He could pick this thing in a second…"

Quadra is meticulously trying to wind the padlock through the loops of chainlink. One, then the other, she's almost got it! Then Abby shows up and starts yanking on it and ruins her concentration.

Quadra frowns. "Excuse me." She steps back in front and continues her work.

Mandrake figures a little competition never hurt nobody. He just watches.

The lock slips through the chainlink and comes off in your hand.  The gate swings open.

Quadra hands it to Abyzou with a little smirk.

Abyzou throws up her hands in disgust and trumps through, as she walks past the open gate she punches it hard enough to leave an indent.

The rusted-out skeletons of several vehicles - a pickup truck, two cars, and a motorcycle - moulder in the front yard, vegetation slowly colonizing the vacant, wheel-less hulks.  A rough dirt path winds through the unweeded yard to the main bulk of the farmhouse, a divergent path leading towards the moss-ridden barn.  An outhouse is distantly visible behind the house.

Quadra glances around, under the vehicles, and such. Looking in four dimensions, of course, for anything suspicious, possible ambushes, or whatever.

Quadra, peering in four dimensions reveals a very large dog slumbering in one of the cars.  Huge and black-furred, the slits of its unsettling reddish eyes are just visible.  Its midnight-coloured fur is mangy, its teeth long and yellow.  Chains encircle its neck, fastening it to the steering wheel.  The creature looks horribly emaciated, its patches of bare skin deathly pale and sometimes mottled with disease; its tail is strangely coiled, like a corkscrew.

Mandrake waits a bit. When Quadra doesn't announce anything he proceeds through the yard.

Mandrake, a low, ominous growl is audible as something steps from the back seat of one of the rusted cars.  Chains rattling, the unwholesome beast within bounds forwards, spittle flying from its jaws!

Quadra starts to quietly speak. "You might want to watch out for..." Then the dog jumps out. "... yeah, that."

Abyzou uses her thoughtography.  In the dog's mind suddenly mandrake transforms from the figure of a dumpy woman into a towering slavering creature, a many tentacled horror twenty feet tall dribbling ichor and babbling madness.

The dog whimpers and takes several steps backwards, momentarily cowed by the horror of your vision.

Quadra runs past Mandrake and the momentarily-cowed dog, grabbing its chain, attempting to tie a 4d knot in it to severely limit the creature's reach.

The tangled, impossible knot is tied.  The creature turns towards you as it is jerked backwards yet further.  It whines in pain.

Mandrake strides forward with his knifehands to rend it to ribbons.  It lunges each jagged hand into the creature's flank, hoists it above its head, yawns his (her) mouth beyond all proportion and parts limbs like a magician. The dog... sprays this way and that like newspaper and confetti.

Quadra wipes off her glasses and throws up a little in her mouth. "Classy."

The hound was badly rotten from within.  Maggots and putrid entrails are strewn everywhere.

Abyzou wipes a single drop off ichor off her cheek "That... was fucking AWESOME." Abyzou walks up and slaps Mandrake on the back.  "Holy shit, you're not half bad, Manny."

Putrid entrails adorn mandrake like some psychopomp's regalia. All for a good cause Mandrake signs wetly, flicking giblets with every gesture.

The farmhouse is severely dilapidated, and some of its windows have been boarded up.  Wind-chimes made from bones clatter gently above the wooden door.  The house might once have been white, but time and weather have yellowed and peeled the paint.  A side-entrance leads down into the cellar.  Off to one side lies the barn.  Its door is slightly ajar; the roof looks rotten, infested with blackish-green moss and riddled with holes, some of which appear to be curiously smoke-stained. A dark smear leads into the barn, and a hand-print crusted in dried blood marks one door.  You can see a flicker of candle-light within.

Abyzou walks off laughing, leaving Mandrake to contemplate the realization that he just did something that made Abyzou happy.

Quadra gingerly plucks a few squirming maggots off the front of the front of her shirt and drops them on the ground, looking entirely unamused.

"My apologies." Mandrake says.

Mollusc investigates the remains of the hound.  "This was no ordinary dog," it says.  "This was a Cù-Sìth, an Otherworldly hound that has strayed into this world, or else been summoned.  Sometimes said to be the shades of unbaptised children.  Its bay is said to resemble the wail of a dying infant..."

You peer inside the barn, Quadra.  The scene inside is gruesome.  The building has been converted into a grotesque shrine dedicated to a macabre idol formed from the charred bones of humans and animals lashed together with ropes and chains and assembled into a profane amalgam, human in body but with a stag's head and hooves.  Rancid candles flicker around the slab of stone set at the idol's cloven feet, upon which is sprawled a thoroughly charred corpse.

Quadra shrugs. "Just a reminder why I adore field work."

"What's not to love... fresh air... screaming mortals... and all you can eat buffets everywhere the eye can see." Abyzou bites into a maggot from the dog she picked up. "Want some?" she asks with a full mouth, proffering it to Quadra.

Quadra wrinkles her nose at the barn, ignoring Abyzou. "You'll love what's in the barn, then. It's some sort of a shrine to... something."

"Awesome." Abyzou heads over to the barn and throws the doors wide.

The body on the altar is burned beyond recognition.

Mandrake is not going ANYWHERE NEAR spirits and bodiless entities of any kind.

"Well it's insides certainly looked like a few dying infants I've seen... Oooh, now this is artwork here..." Abby steps inside.

"Hey Abby," Pareidolia says into your earpiece.  "Why do you get 100 dead babies into a bucket?"

"How?"

"You put them in a blender.  How do you get them out again?"

"...How?"

"Doritos!"

"Eww that's disgusting... Who eats Doritos?"

"Ha!  You made me snort my beer!"  Pariedolia chuckles.  "I mean, what are you talking about, of course I'm not drinking!"

Abyzou starts nosing around the inside of the barn.

"100 babies would not fit in a bucket," Mandrake points out.

"Depends what setting you use on the blender Manny..."

Quadra shakes her head and continues her look around. She peers 'through' the door of the cellar, in particular.

Quadra, the cellar is too dark to see in.  You get a sense of a large storage room with barrels and several doors.

Abyzou, there's not much of interest in the barn besides the corpse - although you do turn up a camera, scratched but intact.

Abyzou grabs the camera, feeling unusually nice she walks outside and calls to Quadra: "Hey, found something she holds up the camera."

Quadra is examining the cellar door, which is... not particularly fruitful. "Oh?" she asks, cautiously stepping back toward the barn.

Abyzou hands the camera to Quadra.

Quadra pushes the button on the camera, attempting to view the stored images.

Fully worn out on being helpful Abby heads back into the barn to desecrate the shrine.

The camera reveals a series of nature shots of the forest, many of them at the shores of a lake, some round a rope-bridge spanning a river canyon.  Most of them are wildlife shots of local fauna -birds, salamanders, squirrels, and other animals.  There's also a blurry shot of something across a lake: bipedal, hairy, and ominous looking.  This is no hoax, no guy in a suit - even blurred you recognize the distinctive form of a Wendigo.

Quadra raises an eyebrow and calls Mollusc and Mandrake over. She lets Abby do... whatever she's doing.  She continues advancing through the pictures, her curiosity piqued.

Mollusc eyes the photo.  "Could that be... Doctor Blackwood?  Voracious?"

Mandrake approaches.  "He didn't learn his lesson the first time."

Quadra keeps flipping through the pictures, if there are any more.

The final pictures are all along Old Mine Road, at twilight.  They're all wildlife shots.

Quadra puts the camera into her equipment pouch.  She takes another look around, looking for any sign of that helicopter they saw earlier, but finds none.

Mandrake is going to thwack the cellar door.

Quadra keeps an eye out while Mandrake does that.

Soundtrack

The door splinters open, revealing the cellar within.  It reeks of blood, urine, and mildew.  Barrels of mead are stacked here, but the area is used as a general storage room for tools, lumber, and other goods as well.  There's a door along one wall and a stairway leading up to a trapdoor along another.

Quadra fans in front of her nose. "Wonderful. All of the wonderful smells, that's especially what I love about field work."

From the barn you hear a loud giggle followed by a series of knocks Abby comes walking out of the barn, carrying a blood drenched upside down cross upon which she has somehow fastened the "idol.”  As she plants the cross in the ground you notice she's given the idol a pair of saggy breasts via the help of a couple sacks.  Abyzou dusts off her hands and stands back to admire her work.

Quadra gets a good look at the layout in there, and walks around to the front door of the farmhouse, trying to mentally project where the trapdoor would come out.

Using your enhanced sight you peer into the foyer of the house.  The room is cramped and filthy.  To the right there's an open doorway - if there was a door it's been removed from its hinges - which leads into a grubby parlor room.  A rickety stair leads up to the next floor, while an open door to the left leads into the kitchen.  Straight ahead there's another door, this one closed.  There's no immediate sign of anyone being home, but the place has definitely lived in - there are muddy footprints all over the floorboards and ragged, threadbare carpet.

Quadra cautiously makes her way to the kitchen.

The trapdoor would come out inside and to the left.  A quick peek through the boarded-up windows reveals what looks like a kitchen.

Mandrake draws and raises the MP5. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." It heads toward the trapdoor and slams against it.

The trapdoor bursts open.  The kitchen of the farmhouse is a putrescent mess, smelling strongly of carrion.  Blood-stained knives, cleavers, and other implements are strewn over the wooden countertop, and the sink is full of mouldering dishes.  Congealed stew is evident in a pot on the stove.  The floor is strewn with scraps and bones.  Many of the cups and cutlery littering the table and evident in the cabinets look like they might have been fashioned from bone as well.  Not far from the trapdoor sits a small bowl of what looks like milk mixed with blood.

Quadra, you enter the farmhouse and head for the kitchen.  As you pass through the foyer you notice an ugly cat watching you from the stairs, grey-furred and scabrous-looking.  Its eyes glimmer in the dark.  It stares at you for a moment, then turns and pads back up the stairs.


Mollusc follows through the front door.

Abyzou shrugs and follows after them; nothing better to do now.

Quadra shakes her head and meets Mandrake in the kitchen. "Up or down?" she asks.  She peeks into the stew pot, and promptly pulls back, shaking her head. "This kitchen reminds me of the first and last time we let Abyzou cook."

Hard to tell what kind of meat was stewing there.  There's nothing to indicate that it isn't human...

Abyzou takes a taste of the local cooking.

Tastes like rancid pork.  Inconclusive.

Abyzou gives a so-so gesture 'meh, I've had better.'

Mandrake begins to search the house.

Quadra follows Mandrake. Starting with this floor?

The dwindling embers of a fire flicker in the hearth of this small, messy parlor, which is furnished with ratty-looking chairs upholstered with stained, sallow leather.  A matted wolf-skin rug lies on the floor.  There are dozens of photographs on the walls here, all of the black-and-white, some sepia-tone.  They are all family shots, generations of the same family over the space of many years; their faces are uniformly dour, and some look quite severely inbred.  The other door downstairs is locked; you could attempt to force it or proceed upstairs.  Unlike the other doors here, this one looks sturdy.

Quadra pokes her finger 'inside' the lock and tries to get the door open.

The lock clicks and the door opens.  The owners of this farmhouse are clearly hunters and taxidermy enthusiasts, as this room attests.  The walls of the room are covered in stuffed animal heads - wolves, stags, goats, bulls, bears, and horses.  Entire stuffed animal corpses are evident here as well, some of them perversely spliced mockeries - a ferret with the head of an owl, a wildcat with the legs of a pig, a bat-winged rabbit.  Dozens of pelts, antlers, and bones also decorate the walls.  A large work-table in the middle of the room is arrayed with tools for gutting and skinning animals.  Unlike the rest of the farmhouse these are well-maintained and neatly arranged.

Quadra peers inside. "Well that's just... that." She can't resist making sure the perverse splicing is actually only that.

The stuffed animals seem mundane.

Abyzou steals the bat winged rabbit for unknown purposes later.

Quadra follows Mandrake up the stairs. She peers through the doors, as before.

The upstairs hall has three doors, one of them locked.  The other two are ajar. Two of the rooms are bedrooms; the locked room seems to be a gun-room.

Abyzou heads straight for the gun room door.  Reaching it she flicks the lock with her hand, liquefying the lock mechanism and transforming it into semi-coagulate blood.  Abyzou tugs the door open

Inside, the room is lined with gun racks.  Most of them are empty, but some house old shotguns, rifles, and revolvers.  Most of the firearms look to be at least one hundred years old, although a few are a bit more modern.  Boxes of shotgun shells and bullets are stacked in a corner.

Mandrake puts a sawn off in his tummy, and a box of shells.

Abyzou has apparently gotten her hands on an old AR-15 and has managed to find the appropriate loaded magazines to go with it.

Quadra, the cat has returned, staring at you…

Quadra examines the bedrooms, and presumably finds little. Then she turns, eyeing the cat. "What?" she finally asks.

The cat cocks its head.  Then it begins to make a coughing sound, like it's going to regurgitate a hairball.  Its mouth gapes wide, and something pushes itself out of its fanged maw - a grotesque, long-nailed hand, followed by a meaty forearm and the rest of an arm.  The cat's maw opens impossibly wider as the thing within is vomited forth, extruded from within the cat, pulling itself forth: a thick-set Goblin form with glimmering yellow eyes and pointed ears, its skin raw-looking and glistening.  The cat's empty fur lies on the floor, discarded like a piece of clothing.  The thing hisses evilly and hops up into a corner of the room, maneuvering on all fours.

Quadra cringes when the thing emerges. But whatever, we've got a ton of guns. She didn't grab any extras, but she's got her own! She slings them around and opens up!  Unfortunately, most of the bullets hit the disgusting empty carcass of the cat, causing blood and fur to fly everywhere. Oh well.
Logged


Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 05:27:41 PM »

Glaistig

Soundtrack

Evil Eye, you've been retracing your companions' steps and tracked them to the farm after getting separated.  You're outside the farm, whose front gate has been opened, and you can hear gunfire from inside.

Meanwhile, the Lubber-Fiend leaps at Quadra from the corner of the room, claws bared!


Quadra appears in two places at once for a split second, and then is gone for another split second. Then she's back where she was, looking quite proud of herself.

Mandrake rushes into the room, casting around for the enemy.  Seeing the creature the homunculus splits into two and charges forwards, knives at the ready!  Mandrake stabs the creature through the stomach, but the wound closes rapidly.  The Unseelie horror gibbers unintelligibly.

Mollusc swoops through the doorway and lunges at the creature, unleashing it's signature barrage of blows.  Mollusc seizes the creature's extremities and yanks it in six different directions, rending it limb from limb with a grotesque squelch.

 Abyzou finally enters the room just in time to watch the thing explode into bits. "Aww fuck, I missed the fun."

Quadra is standing close enough to get a fresh spray of gore. Just when the one from before was drying, too.

Evil Eye sneaks into the hallway of the house before overhearing Abyzou's complaint and relaxing - things inside can't be that bad.

This creature was a Lubber Fiend, a type of Hob - a household spirit drawn to this world with offerings of blood and milk.  The creature often assumes the guise of a cat or dog, and can turn itself invisible and control objects with its mind.  Cold iron burns its flesh, as with other fey creatures.

Evil Eye, the house has three levels - the ground floor, bedroom floor, and basement.  A quick glance through the doors on the ground floor indicate a parlor, kitchen, and trophy room.  There's a splintered trapdoor in the kitchen leading down to the cellar.


Evil Eye quickly takes a glance into the cellar before heading upstairs.

Quadra gingerly picks up a small bit of entrails, and, upon making an inspection, determines this information. "A Lubber Fiend," she muses. "Well, a dead one. That's not quite as interesting."

Abyzou snatches the entrails from Quadra and gives it a taste.

Mollusc wipes some of the Unseelie gore dispassionately from it's face. "Unlikely to have infiltrated this reality of its own accord. Summoned, I expect."

Evil Eye continues to search for the others on the bedroom floor.

 "Shit, that's pretty good."  Abyzou starts collecting bits of splattered Lubber.

Tastes a bit like a cat, Abyzou - well, a cat that had died and been left out in the sun for a week.  So, yeah, pretty good!

Evil Eye, you discover your fellow Tenebrae in one of the two bedrooms.  They're standing over the mangled remains of some unusual creature, vaguely humanoid.  Abyzou is picking up bits and pieces; Mandrake has just reformed itself into a single being.


Quadra rolls her eyes a bit and takes another look around the upstairs just to make sure nothing was missed. "As much fun as this isn't, I think we still have one room left."

Evil Eye takes stock of the scene to check if anyone's been hurt. "What's the mangled buffet?"

"Something called a Lubber-Fiend," Mandrake says in answer to Evil Eye, staring dispassionately at the remains.  "It reminds me of the sort of thing my creator once dealt with."

Abyzou finishes gathering her snack and idly pops a bit into her mouth as she wanders off to explore the house and cause trouble.  She has a big rifle on her back that looks like it's straight out of a Vietnam film.

You enter the other bedroom, Quadra.  A shabby four-poster bed with tattered curtains sits in the middle of this large chamber, which also contains a chest of drawers and a bedside table.

Mollusc floats behind Quadra, still dripping dark blood as its wings beat quietly.

Quadra gives the room her usual inspection, peering under the bed, looking behind things without moving them, and whatnot.

Evil Eye grimaces at Mandrake's explanation, loading his pistol with cold-iron bullets. "Fae then, I take it?"

Quadra, your search turns up two objects of note: a small diary, hand-written and bound in leather, and a map of the area, outdated but serviceable.  The map is focused on the nearby coal mine and surrounds.

Abyzou has wandered off towards the cellar, as she walks she draws profane phrases on the wall

Quadra raises an eyebrow, examining them, starting with the map.

The map shows three entrances to the mine - the main adit, the central shaft, and a horse adit to the west.  To reach the latter you'd need to leave Old Mine Road and take the Waggon Trail.  This must've been where horse-drawn carriages carted coal from the mine down to Fuath's Hollow.  The map also indicates the location of outbuildings, most of them on Owlet Hill, where the central shaft can be found.  These structures include an office, supply shed, winding tower, and miners' barracks.  Old Mine Road terminates at Owlet Hill.

Quadra smirks slightly. "They weren't exactly creative about naming the streets around here, weren't they?" She passes the map to Mollusc and then flips through the diary.

13th Meitheamh

Lord Cromlech says we must give him more sacrifices though we already gave him young Jeb & Betty at Beltane, both who were touched in the head & so not fit for work.  We can spare none of our own and so we must find others he says, to please the Horned God Crom Cruach, otherwise he will give us to the Green Man who walks in the forest and has already taken poor Jacob.  There are always fool city-folk come down into the valley this time of year, so we will set traps for them, lure them to us and then keep them down in the cellar till Samhain comes.

27th Meitheamh

I am learning more from great Lord Cromlech, learning to channel the Horned God's powers, for we have long kept the Old Ways and shall be rewarded for our faith.  I have bound to me a hound from the Otherworld & a Lubber Fiend also to be my servant.  Once Samhain comes and the Harvest is reaped Lord Cromlech will make me a Hierophant in his service & all this land will be mine & its people will bow before me.  The changes are painful as my eye is swelling & reddening & is greatly bloodshot & my belly aches from eating such quantities of flesh & yet I know that in the end it will be worth it.

7th Iúil

Captured a girl up messing around in the woods knowing gods-know-what.  These damned fool city-people treat the valley no different from a park & have no respect for the power of Wood and Hill.  She screamed but we gagged her & took her down to the cellar to stew for a spell.  Lord Cromlech says we must Mark her flesh like we did to Jeb & Betty.

11th Iúil

Summoned to me a Glaistig spirit in a woman's shape to please me but the thing was too powerful & broke my hold.  We bound her up with chains of cold iron so as she could not struggle but when Matthew tried to take her the bitch tore out his throat.  We ate of his body as Lord Cromlech has taught us but he is wroth and took Henrietta to give to the Green Man.  The changes continue, the pain sometimes too great to bear.

24th Iúil

The girl we took has been Marked.  The Marks have festered but I will keep the girl alive with the power of the Horned God.

18th Lúnasa

There is something in the woods, some Beast thing that moves too fast to see and leaps from tree to tree.  It leaves great prints & little spoor but we cannot track the thing for it moves to the trees & then leaves behind no prints.  It maimed poor Jessie & ran off but has done no other harm, just watching & following us at times.  I have asked Lord Cromlech what the Beast is but he says it is not of the Otherworld but of this world, some filthy redskin animal thing with a great hunger.  We will try to trap it if we can & kill it.

29th Meán Fómhair

We have captured another city-man, this one with a camera and a bit of spirit in him.  He stuck a penknife in my eye & stabbed and stabbing but I felt no pain and plucked it out and let it fall.  For his insolence Lord Cromlech says we may burn him now to help strengthen the crops for the coming Harvest & lend power to the Green Man.  I have learned the power of the Droch Shùil & to bring forth a swarm of hornets from my belly.  Lord Cromlech has called up a Nuckelavee to keep the hills safe and ward against the Beast.

4th Deireadh Fómhair

Harry down by the Water Horse in the Hollow says that some woman has come here asking questions.  He says she has talked to the Christian priest & is coming up to the farm.  We will be waiting for her & will take her captive too to keep with the other girl & if the city police come we will take them too.  The fools do not know the woods as well as we do & will be easily led astray.  If the Beast does not eat them then we will.

31st Deireadh Fómhair

Samhain is nigh & the sacrifices are prepared!  We will take them now up to Owlet Hill where Lord Cromlech says the Otherworld will come through.  We have been burning animals for days & the crop is ready.  We have blocked the road to the Hollow in case any meddling city-folk try to come up to the valley.

All praise Crom Cruach!


Evil Eye clears his throat and asks Quadra: "Anything interesting?"

Quadra gives him a dismissive hand gesture and continues to read.

Mollusc examines the map itself, looking for any unusual symbology, though it would much rather be perusing the diary...

Mollusc, there aren't any unusual symbols on the map, though there are a few lines and circled areas, particularly around the mine.

Quadra closes the diary. "As if it wasn't enough of a villain convention, I think Cromlech is here."

Evil Eye sighs. "This day just keeps getting better and better. I spotted some tracks around town that looked to belong to some kind of therianthrope."

Quadra nods, handing the diary to Mollusc as well. "Here, have a look."

Mollusc wrinkles was amounts to its nose, pointing out the circled areas to its comrades. "The druid cult is likely congregating at the mine. That is where we should strike."

Evil Eye looks where its indicating and nods. "Makes sense."

Mollusc takes the diary in its second pair of hands, quickly thumbing through it as well, seeing if anything catches its eye.

Quadra takes the map back and looks at it as well.

Abyzou giving in to boredom tries to open the cellar door.

Heading down to the cellar, Abyzou, you enter the unsearched chamber below.  This room has a mouldy leather chair at its center with restraints attached, a bare light-bulb flickering overhead; on a table nearby is a selection of what looks like tattoo equipment, including a range of inks and needles.  The stone walls here are engraved with intricate Celtic knotwork, giving the place the feel of some pagan temple.  Two heavy wooden doors set with stout wooden bars and secured with padlocks are evident at the far side of the room.  Heaped in the corner are some soiled clothes and a mud-stained video camera.

Abyzou idly snatches the camera, then peers through the bars curiously.

Abyzou, peering through the bars of the first cell you see an empty chamber; there are several sets of shackles on the walls where prisoners might be secured.  The floor is stained with blood and filth.

The second, however, has an inmate.  Through the bars you can see a square cell in which a strange creature is imprisoned, straining against the chains that shackle her to the wall: a horned woman with greyish-green skin, golden hair, and the legs of a goat.  The iron chains restraining the creature to the cell-wall seem to be burning her flesh, filling the air with the smell of sizzling skin.


Abyzou tries to open the cell

It's locked.  You can attempt to force it if you wish.

Abyzou smashes open the door, and it falls inwards.

The creature within hisses angrily.

Abyzou walks into the cell. “'Sup whore.”

The creature fixed you with unsettling hircine eyes, Abyzou.  You feel yourself becoming enthralled by the creature's gaze.  Hey!  You're the one whose supposed to mess with people's heads!

"Free me from these chains, demon," the being commands.  You feel compelled to obey.

Abyzou shrugs and walks up to the creature, turning her right hand into a devilish set of shears she attempts to cut through the chains.

You shear through the chains and they clatter away.  The creature looms over you.  "I require mortal blood.  I must replenish myself."

Abyzou shrugs.  "good luck with that..."

"Who are you demon?  Another of the humans' pets?"

"I ain't nobody's pet you stuck up bitch." Abby shimmers and slithers as her body shifts from that of a prepubescent girl to a tall woman with black tendrils for hair.

"I smell blood..." the fey declares, and staggers from the cell, heading towards the cellar...

"You're probably just on the rag."

"Quiet, impudent Hellspawn," the fey creature snarls, stalking towards the stairs.

Abyzou shrugs and heads into the cell looking for something more interesting than a snooty fey.

Mollusc looks up from the journal, gesturing between Evil Eye and Quadra. "Since Eye has the cold iron rounds, he should provide us overwatch. Quadra, I judge you would make an efficient spotter.  I will take Mandrake and..."  Mollusc looks around the room, bemusedly asking. "Where is the demonling?"

"I think she went downstairs," Mandrake says in its computerized voice.

Quadra heads back out into the hall. "Sounds good to me. I mean, as good as, hey, let's go to a creepy abandoned mine probably crawling with cultists could possibly sound."

Mollusc follows her out into the hall. "Hopefully Abyzou is not making too much mischief for herself..."

Quadra shrugs. "Are you sure we can't just leave her here?"

There's a trail of blood where Abyzou went, trailing Lubber Fiend pieces.

Mollusc rolls its eyes. "At least it provided us a trail..."

Quadra starts down the stairs at the same time. Hey, this will be interesting!  Quadra is cautious! She invokes her precognition.

A creature looms out of the darkness, Quadra - goat-legged, horned, and golden-skinned.  Spotting you, the fey bares her fangs and stomps, preparing to charge up the stairs towards you!

Quadra braces herself for the charge, trying to grab it as it passes.

 Mollusc tries to take the punch out of Glaistig's charge, lashing at it with its tongue.

You lash across the creature's cheek as it barrels up the stairs towards Quadra!

Abyzou comes crashing up the stairs, a vision of terror and hate in her demonic form. "NOBODY TELL ME WHAT TO DO!"

Quadra, you grab the creature as it approaches you.  The creature tries to wrench free and stumbles backwards towards Abyzou, hissing angrily.

Abyzou slams into the creature, her jaw suddenly unhinges displaying a fang filled maw dripping with blood and disease.  Abyzou attempts to EAT the thing.  Her head rears up in a gutteral scream before descending onto the creature, before it is engulfed there is a brief flicker of terror in its unnatural eyes... Abyzou's jaw slams shut and her body goes from a bloated bag back to it's normal shape in a blink of an eye.  There is a scream and a crunch; blood leaks from the demon's mouth

Quadra was still twisting the thing's arm backwards! She quickly shifts her arm kata, away from Abyzou's mouth.

"Impressive,” Mollusc notes.

Abyzou, you rapidly absorb the creature's memories.  The being was a Glaistig, Moira, who Angus McGraw summoned from the Otherworld against her will.  She tore out the throat of the first man who tried to touch her, and so the others imprisoned her in chains of cold iron.  She overheard the McGraw clansmen bringing in captives in the adjacent cell, and using the tattoo equipment to "Mark" them.  She overheard some of the cultists planning to sacrifice these captives at the "circle of standing stones."

Abyzou belches then her entire skin begins to squirm as she shifts shapes into what appears to be a teenage goth jacked up on meth.  Abyzou tilts her head and looks over at Quadra.  "What the hell is the circle of standing stones?"

Druids

Evil Eye, while your companions deal with the creature you notice something through the kitchen window - a dog, loping through the mist.  It stops at the farmhouse gate, sniffing intently.

Quadra shrugs. She opens and closes her hand once or twice to verify it's still there, and then opens up the map, looking for a reference to such a place.

The circle is not marked on the map.  Unless that's what the circled marks around Owlet Hill indicate?

Evil Eye quietly opens the window and takes a shot at it with his sniper rifle, loaded with cold iron rounds.

You clip the dog, and it whimpers in pain.  As you sight down the scope you realize the dog is wearing a bullet proof vest adapted for its canine body.

Mollusc swivels its attention towards Evil Eye. "What did you spot?"

Evil Eye lines up his gaze carefully and removes his contact lens. When in doubt, ossify. "Looks to be the hound from the Otherworld the journal spoke of."

The dog begins to lope back into the mist before you can get a proper sight on it.  As it retreats, you realize that you know this animal.  It's not an otherworldly hound at all - it's none other than Daly, one of Devil Dog's two prized trained tracking dogs!

Abyzou looks drowsy; she hiccoughs and goes to sit down in the corner. "Fuck, fey are spicy"

Quadra looks up at the gunshot, and promptly puts the map up in front of her face. "Whoa! Warn me when you're whipping that thing out!"

Ancient druids would perform sacrifices and other rituals at a circle of standing stones.  Such a circle would likely be the center of the temporal fluctuations.  Given the contents of the diary, you surmise that the circle is probably overtop the mine itself, on Owlet Hill.

Abyzou burps again and spits out a cockroach which flips over and skitters under a table

Quadra holds the unfolded map up, keeping it between herself and Evil Eye, as she heads outside. "Hey, I found where we need to go next..."

Evil Eye grimaces and tries to line up one last shot.

The bullet hits kevlar as the dog retreats into the mist.

Evil Eye scowls as he puts his contact lens back in, turning to follow Quadra.

"Any luck, Eye?" Mollusc ask, voice tinted with cold impatience.

Quadra folds the map back up. Sort of. It takes her a couple of tries. Eventually she just shrugs and folds it up neatly in four dimensions.

Evil Eye shakes his head in disgust. "Bastard has his dogs wearing kevlar now."

Mollusc joins its comrades outside, staring joylessly into the fog. "That bastard being your old friend Devil Dog?"

Quadra turns to address Mollusc, and anyone else who might be listening. "So, we're going..." she points on the map. "... here. Owlet Hill, on top of the mine. Supposedly that's where Cromlech is going, too."

Abyzou shrugs and gets uneasily to her feet.  She heads over to Quadra and puts one arm over her shoulder.  "Lead on, toots."

Quadra glances over to Abyzou very slowly. "Remember what I did to your finger?"

"Remember what I did to your intestines? Oh wait, forget that... it hasn't happened yet"

Mollusc looks down at Abyzou. "Lean on the sniper. You'll slow him down less."

"You calling me fat squidbrain?"

Quadra shifts slightly and, leaving Abyzou leaning on air. "Yes, do that."

Abyzou stops leaning on Quadra to look indignant at Mollusc.

"You're obviously bloated from the fey you consumed."
Mandrake follows in the rear.  "It seems likely the helicopter we observed earlier belonged to the D.P.I.," it observes.

Evil Eye nods at Mollusc. "Indeed. Regular party this town is turning into."

Quadra heads off quickly, more interested in investigating this mystery than dealing with Abyzou.

Abyzou shrugs and heads out the door

Quadra is already proceeding directly along old mine road at a good pace, humming the electric slide softly.

Mollusc doesn't want Abyzou out of its sight. Lest it unleash more horrors while they're not looking.  But Quadra also frustrates it the least, so it flutters on after her, gesturing for the rest to follow.

You're heading along the road towards the hill when the landscape blurs, distorts.  Trees shrink, while old stumps rapidly regenerate themselves; moss shortens and lengthens; fungi grows and recedes rapidly from fallen logs.  A pair of trees grown together, intertwined, abruptly disentangle themselves.  The sky sputters with sudden motion.  As the scene snaps back into focus the road disappears entirely.  The wilderness envelops you, pressing close.  It seems like you just stumbled into another temporal echo...

Quadra stops, peering around.

You hear movement off in the bush.  An animal, perhaps?

Evil Eye sighs and scans the area for signs of danger.

As they walk Abyzou starts tinkering with her recently acquired items... she now appears to be carrying an AR-15 with bat wings and a decapitated bunny head for a muzzlebrake.

Mollusc stands back-to-back with Quadra. "Do you detect anything?"

You see a flicker of movement in the trees, Evil Eye – it looks like a humanoid form, clad in a ballistic vest and equipped with night vision goggles.

"I don't see anything..." Abyzou raises her voice. "Hey faggots, show yourselves." Abyzou brandishes her rifle, she doesn't seem to understand the concept as she's holding it backwards.

Evil Eye smirks at Abyzou's antics and surreptitiously removes his contact lens, attempting to ossify the stranger.

Quadra takes one big step backwards.

Quadra, you step backwards, but the echo must be of a reasonable size; you're still well within its boundaries.

Quadra looks around, nose wrinkling a bit in thought.

The figure makes a gargled groan and turns rapidly into a bone statue!  His weapon falls to the ground.

Evil Eye stalks over to investigate, suspecting it was Devil Dog.

Mollusc scuttles towards the freshly-ossified individual as well, snatching the weapon from the ground.

The figure looks like a D.P.I. agent, but it wasn't Devil Dog - just a rank-and-file agent, clad in body armour.  He was carrying what looks like a tranquilizer gun.  The scene flickers again, landscape shimmering and distorting, as the echo collapses.  You return to the "present."

Quadra muses. "If we're inside an echo, you do realize you might not have done anything to the 'real' agent... or at least the reflection of his quantum state native to this universe."

The statue remains.

Quadra ahems. "Or not."

He must have been caught in the echo as well.

Evil Eye scowls and averts his gaze to reinsert the contact lens before knocking the statue to the ground and crushing the now-bone head beneath his heel.

"Aww I was going to have fun with that..." Abyzou props up the headless statue before pulling the bunny head off her gun and mounting it on its neck.

"There, all better"

Evil Eye smirks at her. "Get your own, Abby."

The road has returned, naturally.

 "So now we have a neopagan cult attempting to open a portal to the Otherworld, a rogue bioweapon attempting to enact its own Green Goo scenario, and a now we can confirm that the United States government is involved."

Evil Eye nods. "As always, the situation has gone from bad to worse."

Mandrake nods to Mollusc.  "And don't forget Dr. Blackwood."

Mollusc almost smiles at Mandrake, motioning for it to stick close to it. "Yes, that is correct. This situation is well beyond normal cult activity."

Pareidolia chirps on your headset.  "Was that another temporal blip you guys just experienced?"

Abyzou brushes off her hands and staggers onwards up the road.

Quadra replies, "Quick on the uptake as ever, aren't we? Yes, it was." She continues on her way.

Mollusc answers. "Confirmed."

"I think I've figured out a way, maybe, to manipulate some of these echoes," Pareidolia says.  "Quadra, can I run some math by you real quick?"

Quadra perks at the mention of math.

 Abyzou perks at the mention of meth.  "Wait... did she say meth... or math?"

"The boring one, I think," Evil Eye replies.

"Fuck that..." Abyzou says.

Quadra pointedly ignores Abyzou. "Go ahead."

Evil Eye nods, heading up the road to join Abyzou and leaving Quadra to her cyber-geekfest.

"Alright, uploading now."  Checking your phone, you find an attachment the chaos witch has sent you - pages of mathematical notations cross-bred with chaos sigils.  As usual her work is sloppy and atrociously presented, but it seems to check out, once you correct a few little mistakes.  Using these formulae you could potentially manipulate the echoes yourself, albeit in a limited fashion.

Quadra whips out her phone. "Interesting... but you forgot to account for the fact that you're in the fourth quadrant..." she replies, making a few corrections.  Quadra sighs. "And you didn't change the bounds of integration. Ugh. These formulae are useless because of that."

"Yeah yeah yeah, OK I see what you mean.  Look, I'll keep working on this and send you the next draft."

Meanwhile, Evil Eye, you hear someone whimpering up ahead - it sounds like they're gagged.  A harsh voice snarls something in an unfamiliar language, and the voice is silenced.  Footsteps are vaguely audible up ahead, somewhere in the fog, and you think you can make out the sullen glow of a torch or two in the sallow mist.


Mollusc apologizes into its headset as it sets off ahead. "Thank you for your assistance, Pareidolia."

"Hang in there Prawnface."

Quadra keeps messing with the calculations on her phone, not paying much attention to the road ahead.

Evil Eye signals for Abby to wait, quickly grabbing a pinch of herbs from his pockets and performing a shrouding ritual before sneaking off into the mist.

Abyzou heads off after Evil Eye.

Quadra sees Abyzou and Evil Eye in her hyperperipheral vision and follows them, as well, still engrossed in the math.

You've shrouded yourself effectively, Evil Eye.  Shadows wrap around you, obscuring you from sight.

Mollusc floats after the two as well, ear-analogues pricked for any snippets of language.

Stalking ahead with Abyzou close behind and Quadra and the others bringing up the rear, you approach those up ahead.  Eight men wearing a mixture of tattered robes, dirty rags, poorly tanned furs and leathers, and stained kilts escort a young woman with short blond hair through the woods, her hands bound with rope, her mouth gagged.  Even stripped nearly naked, tattooed with intricate Celtic knots all over her body, and covered in blood and mud, Candice Evergreen is still recognizable from the photo in her file.  Some of the men have mild congenital deformities, but a few exhibit traits far stranger, partially concealed by their clothing: one has crooked, over-long limbs, another has skin infested with lichens and fungi, and a third has pronounced talons and tufts of bestial hair.  Some of them are also tattooed, or smeared with blush dye.  The apparent leader of the group has his head concealed by a cowl.  The band are armed with a mixture of clubs, staves, knives, and sickles, and rusty pistols, and one has a double-barrelled shotgun.  Several bear flickering torches.

Wrapped in shadows as you are, you are effectively invisible unless you make your presence known - or your companions get much closer.


Evil Eye watches to see if any are falling behind slightly, removing his contact lens but keeping the gorgon-eye shut.

Abyzou warps and shifts from her gothic getup into a good copy of the fey she ate earlier

Evil Eye, they're staying close, but the fungus-infested one is lingering near the back, apparently avoiding the torch-bearers.

Abyzou attempts to slink up around the flank of the group through the woods.

Quadra looks up as she realizes she's gone off the road. "Oh. Well then," she muses, taking stock of the situation in four dimensions.

Mollusc thinks as hard as it can in Abby's direction. "Abyzou? Keep us appraised of what you can see and hear."

Abyzou, your telepathy picks Mollusc's thought up.

Mollusc adds, begrudgingly. "Please."

Mollusc receives a mental image of two devil goats fucking a bound mime, Abby's version of a confirmation.

Mandrake elongates an arm and touches Quadra on the shoulder, guiding her back to the path.

Quadra nods to Mandrake, but pauses where she is, inching a little closer, to see how this is going to play out.

Evil Eye stalks forward silently, waiting until the fungoid one falls behind before simultaneously striking with bare hands and fixing the cultist with his ossifying gaze.

Abyzou bursts from the cover of the forest roaring in her best impersonation of the creature GIVE YOUR BLOOD TO ME MORTALS!  Abyzou charges the rear of the line.

Evil Eye, you descend on the fungus-infested man, striking out with your hands, but find him surprisingly solid; he holds his ground, unhurt by your attack, and twists in place, fungi writhing across his face as Graveolent manifests fully.  Then your ossifying gaze hits the fungal horror straight-on, turning half of the creature to solid bone in a second.

Abyzou, simultaneously you burst from the forest to surprise the other enemies!


Mollusc yanks the ward from around its neck and swoops towards the circle, a horror out of time, bulging eye fixed on the shotgun-wielding cultist.

You rip off the shotgun wielder's head in a whirlwind of claws and leathery wings, and the other cultists flinch back in horror at the sight of you!

Graveolent, meanwhile, charges towards Evil Eye and attempts to engulf him in a putrescent bear-hug!


Mollusc lunges for the shambling horror, screeching the Eld equivalent of "Not today, Fritz!"

Evil Eye dodges aside just in time as Mollusc barrels into the creature from behind!

Mollusc wraps one set of arms around the thing's throat and another around its arms, head and limbs separating from its fungous trunk as half-ossified flesh implode beneath its blows with sickening crunches.  Mollusc pours a strange eon's worth of alien rage into its blows as it pulverizes Graveolent's host-body into a mound of wet gravel.

Most of the enemies are still alive. Several are addled, but the shotgun-wielder is dead, and Graveolent has been dispatched.  Candice is as shocked and horrified as everyone else but no one is paying attention to her right now.

Quadra suddenly is running back with Candice! Then both vanish, and she appears next to Candice, who is still there. A fraction of a second after that, she disappears and can be seen running towards Candice.

You use your hyperdimensional powers to rescue the battered journalist from the mass of filthy inbred cultists.

Quadra pulls Candice behind the protective 'wall' formed by the Mandrakes, as she returns during the 'proper' sequence of time.

The miniature Mandrake's begin bludgeoning and lacerating their enemies brutally.

Evil Eye moves through the confusion towards the hooded leader and rips off the cowl, cupping the cultist's head between his hands and beginning to apply pressure as he fixes him with an ossifying gaze.  Evil Eye stares down at the cultist and bone begins to ever-so slowly creep up his petrifying cheeks, the newly-forming bone cracking beneath the steady pressure. Evil Eye continues to squeeze until, enough of his face turned to brittle bone that it can't stand the force, the cultist's head explores in a shower of blood, petrified brain, and semi-ossified meat.

Abyzou dives into the midst of the redneck horde.  "SKULLFUCKING FOR EVERYONE!"  She fixes her eyes on one of them and a voicxe resounds in his mind: hey there Jethro, you get a purty mouth. His face goes blank as his vision flashes to numerous scenes of him being violently molested by corpses

The man screams, clawing at himself, shrieking "Get them off!"  He flails on the ground, wailing horribly and writhing, fighting off non-existent zombic rapists.

The Mandrakes fight off their attackers with ease, bending their bodies around the enemies' blows.

Two of the remaining men close in on Mollusc, while a third leaps at Evil Eye.  Mollusc, you bat your wings and disorient your foes, and a bullet goes wide as one of the druidic hillbillies fires and misses.  However, another got the drop on Evil Eye with a heavy club.  Splinters fly everywhere as the wooden club slams into the back of his skull.

Candice, disoriented from being tesseracted across the road, throws up noisily in the bushes.  "Who the fuck are you people?" she asks.

Quadra tries to put her arm around Candice to reassure her, and probably gets splattered again. This is becoming a running gag (literally, in this case).  Quadra wrinkles her nose. "We're... the good guys. Ostensibly."

Mollusc marches towards the first inbred foolish enough to draw its attention like an Outside Context Problem devised in the think tanks of Hell.

You tear the man limb from limb, spattering his friend with blood.  He falls to the ground, writhing in his death throes.

Mollusc punishes the hillbilly's torso with a flurry of ribcage-imploding, organ-rupturing blows. Stepping over him as he sinks to the ground and drowns in his own humors, it unfurls its clutch of stinging scalp-tentacles.

You wind your tentacles around the man's head and limbs, secreting paralytic toxins.  He falls limp.

Quadra turns to Candice. "Wait here," she says, dashing 'through' Mandrake and his attackers in a bit of a flickering blur, emerging next to Evil Eye and his attacker to lend a hand.  Quadra grabs his arm, trying to twist it behind him and break it or something, but she goes a little overboard, and suddenly the guy's entrails sort of... come circling out of his mouth, spraying blood everywhere as he collapses in a heap of something that barely looks human any more. More like a pile of offal.  Quadra winces as she basically does it to herself that time.

Mandrake continues its assaults.  Its mace-wielding duplicate smashes the skull of one of the cultists, but the second manages to fend it off.

Quadra throws the arm onto the heap and follows.

Evil Eye steps over the offal-pile and gives Quadra a thankful nod before jogging over to Candice and seeing if he can break the magic in the tattoos.

You attempt to dispel the ward, but it is beyond your power, unfortunately.  This was done by a skilled magus.

A dark grin crosses Abyzou's face as she rips the bat-rifle from her back spinning it around faster than the eye can see, as it spins it shifts and elongates into a demonic scythe covered in dark glyphs... as she swings outwards it pulls out into its final shape before she swings it out in a a great arc towards the last surviving hillbilly.

The man's head goes flying, decapitated by the scythe!

One man still writhes on the ground, still convinced he's been molested by reanimated cadavers.


Abyzou continues the strike around into a graceful twirl, the scythe shifting into a pistol as she completes the spin.

Mollusc drags the twitching, paralyzed hillbilly over towards the rest of the group. "Abyzou, do you think you could stomach another?"

"Hillbillies give me gas."

Quadra follows Evil Eye back over towards Candice.

Mollusc lets the man drop to the ground in a heap, planting a hand-foot firmly on his chest.

Candice recovers her wits remarkably quickly.  She avoids looking at Mollusc.

Mollusc reaffixes its amulet, resuming its Steve Buschemi-slash-Tilda Swinton lovechild disguise. Now less horrifying in appearance, it approaches Candice and closely examines her tattoo.

If nobody stops her Abyzou takes the hillbilly mind zombie rapist victim and poses him on the ground with his ass in the air, she then lashes the paralyzed one Mollusc got to him in a risque pose.  "Aww... true love." Abyzou pulls down both of their pants and leaves them tied up in a scene of redneck passion

Quadra gets on the communicator. "Hey, uh, so I fixed your bad math. Now I, uh, need your help." She hates saying it.

"Of course you do, nerd.  Whadya need?"

Quadra frowns. "First of all, here's a version of your equations that actually work." She quickly jots a few things. "Second.. what do you make of these?" She snaps a picture of the tattoos. She sends both to Pareidolia.

Mollusc, these are Ogham runic tattoos.  They consecrate Candice as a sacrificial victim - if she's ritually burned, her death will help to further weaken the boundary between this world and the Otherworld.

Mandrake watches Abyzou with detached curiosity and perhaps mild confusion.

"I might be useful but these particular runes are not my area of speciality.  Mollusc, what do you make of these?"[/b]

"Ogham runes. Early Medieval runic alphabet used in Ireland. Consecrate her as a sacrifice to weaken the membranes separating this world and the Otherworld.  Pareidolia, what're the logistics on an extraction?"

"Hmm... I can pull 'em outta her but I can't do it digitally, it's gotta be here in meatspace.  You'll need to bring her back to the Sepulchre."

"Are there any other Tenebrae available to secure her?" Mollusc asks.  "Or will we have to return her ourselves?"

"Not in the area,” Pareidolida says.  “I can dispatch someone but it'll take them awhile to get there.  Can you get her back to the car?"

"We could send her along with some of Mandrake's duplicates to escort her?" Evil Eye asks.

Mandrake's duplicates nod.  "One of us will go," they say in unison.

"Both of you. You are of more use to us at full strength."

Abyzou twists in grotesque and mind boggling ways (except to quadra who merely notes that her movements were 23.7% inefficient) back into her child form
Mandrake nods again, instinctively deferential.  "It shall be done.  Come with me."

"Whoa, I'm not going with this thing!" Candice says.

"You could go with me if you prefer."Abyzou gives her the creepiest most stalkerish stare possible.

"Did you people find the farm?  Did you get my camcorder?

"What? This?"  Abyzou pulls out camcorder covered in bits of fey.  She spits on the lens and polishes it up with her sleeve

"YES!" she snatches for the mud-and-blood-stained camcorder.

Abyzou holds it back.  "Hey, what's in it for me?"

"Abyzou, being difficult achieves nothing,” Mollusc points out.

"It amuses me... that's something!"

"I need that thing.  This is going to be the story of the fucking decade."

"Oh so it's VALUABLE."  Abyzou grins wickedly.  She puts it back in her pack for now.  "We'll talk details later...what?"

"I'm not leaving here without that thing."

Mollusc attempts to reassure Candice. "We'll keep it safe. Now tell us what was on it."

"Look for yourself; just hit play!"

Abyzou pulls it out and does so.

Evil Eye turns to Abyzou. "Abby, I'll petrify you something to play with in exchange for you returning the camcorder."

Mollusc would probably be more assuring if she hadn't seen it punch several men literally to pieces.

"Sshh I'm watching the talking screen."

Soundtrack

The viewscreen flickers and you see a view of the farmyard, behind the barn, late at night.  The view pans around, revealing a spot in the fence where someone has cut a hole.  A voice speaks in a hoarse whisper:

"This is Candice Evergreen, reporting from outside Fuath’s Hollow.  My sources have linked this place, the McGraw Farm, with the recent disappearances in and around St. Lazarus.  There’s someone speaking in the barn; I’m going to get closer."

The camera’s operator moves forwards slowly, towards the barn walls.  A board has rotten away, allowing her to glimpse the barn’s interior.  Here, a shadowy figure in dark robes stands with its back to the camera, a pair of enormous antlers emerging from his head.  Before the creature stands one of Graveolent’s victims, fully infested with the fungal horror’s toxic spores.  Candice zooms in on the pair.

"All is going according to plan," a dry, rasping voice says, belonging to the robed figure.  "With each sacrifice you will become stronger and stronger, infused with Otherworldly energy.  You will be able to assert control more rapidly, duplicate yourself more often.  You will become a force of Nature."

"And then I will remake St. Lazarus in my own glorious image," Graveolent says, mushrooms blooming across its host’s body, tendrils lashing the air.  "The city will be mine."

"A fitting monument to your glory, Green Man," the first speaker says.  "With the portal to the Otherworld permanently open I can bring an army of the Fomoire and the vengeful Sluagh into this world and claim it for the great Crom Cruach.  For the time being, you must remain concealed in the mine.  I will bring you hosts – those of these mortals that serve me ill will be sent to you.  And when the sacrifice is completed on Samhain the mine will become permanently linked to the Otherworld.  The energies that ripple through its tunnels will increase your powers a hundredfold."

Candice backs off slightly.  "What the Hell was that thing?" she whispers.  Suddenly a shadow falls across the ground in front of her.  She turns to see a heavy-set man in tattered clothes, one eye hugely swollen and bloodshot.  He carries a heavy sickle in one hand.

"Now what do we have here?" he says, his crooked, yellow teeth glinting in the moonlight.  "We heard you’d be coming up to ol' homestead, city-girl.  Thought you could pull a fast one on us McGraws, didya?"

There’s a blur of motion and you catch a glimpse of Candice’s arm reaching out, a can of mace in her hand.  She sprays the mace into the man’s face and turns, camera held askew, but another three McGraws block her path.  One swings a heavy cudgel, and then the camera falls into the mud.  You catch a glimpse of a struggling Candice being dragged towards the farmhouse before someone picks the camera up and switches it off.


"Cromlech..." Mollusc murmurs.

Abyzou turns it off.  "So wait... if I give this to you, you're going to take it and go release it to the world?"

"Of course!  What did you think I was going to do with it?"

 "I... hmm.  Well who am I to stop the news?" Abyzou hands it to her gently.  "Be sure they see every little detail..." Abyzou smiles evilly.

Mollusc quickly intercepts the hand-off. "Obviously that is not a viable option."

"Hey she said she isn't going back without it... Besides... think of how boring CNN is..."

"IF this information is made public, it will be AFTER we neutralize Cromlech and Gravolent."

"Pfft she isn't going anywhere, send her and Manny back to the car."

"I am not the best judge of human nature, but it is easy to assume..."

As you're debating, a heavy-set, muscular man with a bristling blond beard emerges from the bush; his feral appearance is belied by the immaculate body armour he wears.  He carries a large tranquiliser rifle.  As he sees you he bares his teeth, revealing pronounced canine fangs.  You recognize the man as Max Huger, code-named "Devil Dog" - a D.P.I. agent and lycanthrope.

"If it isn’t Chapel," Devil Dog grunts, looking over at Evil Eye.  "I’ve waited a long time for this.  Put your weapons down now and I might just let you come quietly."
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 12:29:51 AM by Steerpike » Logged


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