Campaign of the Month: March 2017

Nocturnum: Rebirth

Nocturnum: Rebirth Episode Guide
Season One

Viral Webisodes

The lead-up to the series is imagined to be a set of viral webisodes introducing us to the Cast with each sharing a short adventure that leads up to the initial episode. These are the logs for those "prelude" viral webisodes.

  1. Danny Santana
  2. Darrek Tinsley
  3. Henry Anders
  4. Hilda Heintz
  5. Jing Yun-Xun
  6. Hilda and Yun-Xun
  7.  Matthew Canaan

Season One

Episode 1: The Gates to Madness, Part 1

Episode 2: The Gates to Madness, Part 2

Episode 3: The Night Stone, Part 1

Episode 4: The Night Stone, Part 2

Episode 5: Children of Madness

Episode 6: The Art of Madness, Part 1

Episode 7: The Art of Madness, Part 2

Episode 8: Tell Me, Have you Seen the Yellow Sign? Part 1

Episode 9: Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign? Part 2

Episode 10: Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign? Part 3

Episode 11: The Rise of the Green Goddess, Part 1

Episode 12: The Rise of the Green Goddess, Part 2

Episode 13: The Rise of the Green Goddess, Part 3

Episode 14: The Rise of the Green Goddess, Part 4

Episode 15: The Book of the Black

Episode 16: Night Floors

Side Stories

These are an ongoing series of webisode addendums to the series—you know, in the style of, well, just about every genre television series these days. They are tangential to the ongoing storyline but add some insight to background events. Some are player secrets until the players of the characters involved agree to allow me to make them public.

TV Movie

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Episode 16
Night Floors, Part 1

This episode is based upon the scenario “Night Floors,” in the Delta Green: Countdown sourcebook from Pagan Publishing, written by Dennis Detwiller.

(There is no cut scene for this adventure; rather, it rewinds several hours from the end of the prior episode, flashing back to the moments after the characters arrive back in Pittsburgh.)

(Video Link)

Chronicler: Julie

Episode Synopsis

The group finds themselves standing back in Quill’s apartment. As his neighbor is talking, he gasps and points, and when everyone looks they can see a hand poking out from behind a couch. They discover the hand belongs to Quill, who is very dead, and has a rictus grin on his face.

His neighbor’s face suddenly shifts. He gives them a sinister smile, and when his voice rings out again, it is Cassilda’s.

“Clock’s ticking, loves…that is, if you don’t want Delia back again. You’d best figure out where her dear brother is.”

He snaps back to normal and the group immediately begins to discuss their next move. Henry suggests that Darrek use his magics to affect the mind of Quill’s neighbor and that they make themselves scarce before the police arrive. Darrek reflects that the police will find evidence of their presence in the apartment and track them down, and it will not look good for them to have left a crime scene. Matthew calls Joe, and he quickly comes, the group are all questioned, and then given leave.

Darrek suggests going to the Hive Arcana so he can put the book, which is entitled, ‘The Dark and Divine History of the Shade on Hastur,’ into Anita’s vault and they can update her on everything that has happened. Looking at the book, he can see that it is written in an utterly alien language and guesses that it will likely take quite a while to translate it, although the longer he looks at it, the more sense the text seems to make. Descending the stairs to the lower level and walking into Anita’s library, he notices right away that the shelves are looking rather bare. He slides the book into an empty space and it immediately disappears. Looking down, he finds a card in his hand, which reads, ‘Thank you for your donation. When catalogued, it will join the restricted collection!’

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“Well, bollocks,” he curses, taking a picture of the card with his phone and climbing the stairs up to Anita’s office and knocking on her door. She calls for him to enter, and he shows her the photo on his phone. She is as disturbed as he is, and is very concerned about the whereabouts of her books.

The rest of the group joins them, and Darrek tells them what happened when he put the book into the library. He then finds the business card that Alistair gave them when the group first met him and Delia, and suggests casting a locator spell to see if he can track down where Alistair currently is. He asks Anita for use of her office. She stands outside her closed door, arms crossed over her chest, looking rather cranky.

While Darrek is preparing the locator spell, FBI Special Agent Barnes comes into the Hive and upstairs to speak with the group. She asks for their help and goes on to say that there’s no need for them to beat around the bush as she’s very aware of the recent unusual goings-on around the city, and asks for their expertise with a case. She explains that a young artist, Abigail Wright, went missing back in October. Matthew recognizes the name as one of the fringe artists that his girlfriend, Rebecca, has been hanging out with. The police turned up no leads, and then the FBI became involved after her credit card was used six days ago in Maryland to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Barnes says, “There’s some seriously weird shit going on at her apartment.” After giving the group the case file, she hands Danny a large envelope of papers, which she tells him should help in keeping the Feds off of his back for the time being.

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In Anita’s office, Darrek casts the locator spell. A large beam of light hits the map in the center of Oakland, then suddenly splits into two and shoots off in opposite directions, and the map violently bursts into flames. Darrek calls to Anita to get the fire extinguisher. She is very unhappy about the scorch marks his spell made on her desk, and the two begin to loudly argue. Their exchange can be heard throughout the building. Matthew quickly intervenes and diffuses the situation before it escalates further, to everyone’s relief. Matthew asks Darrek what information he was able to gain. Darrek, flustered and embarrassed, explains that the spell was utterly unhelpful in narrowing down Alistair’s location.

Matthew and the rest of the group fill Darrek in about their case. Darrek reflects that since Abigail is an artist, investigating her disappearance may lead them to clues regarding Alistair’s whereabouts, and he suggests they get started. Matthew tells the group that he will meet them there and goes back to his loft to change. He finds a handwritten note from Rebecca on his pillow which reads, “They call to me. I’m sorry. Help me!” He heads over to Lawrenceville, where Abigail’s apartment complex is located.

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He pulls in behind Darrek’s car, which is parked out front. Henry senses a swell of Essence from Darrek before they all exit the vehicle. Darrek gapes up at the building and explains that the building itself appears to be an illusion overtop of the building itself. Confused, the rest of the group asks him to explain, and he tells them that, as far as he can tell, the building both is and isn’t there.

Darrek’s cell phone suddenly rings. His wife informs him that a notecard written in a distinctly feminine hand materialized in their house seemingly out of nowhere. It says that the books he requested are ready for pick up at his convenience.

Reviewing the case file, the group learns that the faux-castle complex is named the McAllister building, and was built in 1924. The building is owned by a non-profit company called ‘Artlife’ who have offices located in the same building where the Honorable Krewe of Swords constructed and housed the floats for their Halloween parade. Darrek uses his Google-fu to get more information and discovers that the manager of the property is a woman named Cynthia LeChance, and the head of their board of trustees is none other than Raymond Fowler.

The group enters and makes their way to the first apartment, belonging to Abigail. The inside of the apartment is a mess of junk, including random papers (some are foreign), several radios of varying technology spanning decades, artificial limbs, dentures, and a 1940’s wheelchair. Many of the pieces have been glued to the walls with hard-set epoxy. Henry discovers a map of the complex with handwritten notes. Danny discovers a receipt from Abigail paying her November rent, which is highly unusual as Agent Barnes told the group that she went missing in October. Matthew finds a page from a play and begins reading it aloud. Listening to the dialogue, the group is collectively disturbed by the scene being described, and as the sun sets they can sense a definite shift of energies. Everyone has the feeling that they are being watched.

Danny goes to examine the tenant directory in the front hallway and writes down the apartments that appear to be occupied. The group makes their way to the next apartment, number 3, occupied by a Roger Caron. They knock, but there is no answer. Entering, they see a computer with a locked screen, and bookshelves with a series of science fiction books authored by Caron entitled the ‘Nightsea’ series. Darrek manages to crack the password on the computer and he and Henry begin going through Caron’s files. They find a series of files with titles that sound like short stories, but when opened contain only a single letter repeated over and over again. Working in the order of the date/time stamps, Henry is able to piece together a message: ‘Smooth is the hand which makes the world, and steady is the mind which grasps it.’ Danny finds another page from the play, which piques Darrek’s attention. Henry continues investigating the computer, and finds another file entitled, ‘Night Floors,’ which appears to be a prose version of the story the play is referencing, and with enough changes to file the serial numbers off of it. He is deeply disturbed by the story.

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As Darrek listens to the next scene from the play, he begins rambling about his theory that the play is being recreated, but the roles of the characters are being filled by the tenants of the apartment and by them (the group). Rebecca (Matthew’s girlfriend) is also referenced in the next scene of the play. Darrek references the Hastur dossier that Ekloff brought them, and points to patterns of this at several points in history since the original copies of the play the King in Yellow were destroyed.

They move on to the next apartment, occupied by a man named Thomas. Darrek tells him he needs to ask him about Abigail. He cracks the door, clearly annoyed, and says that he already told the authorities everything he knows, and that she moved upstairs to the sixth floor with a no-good encyclopedia salesman. Darrek and Matthew remark that there are only three floors according to their map. Thomas refuses to speak to them further and slams his door.

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Henry then goes into one of the vacant apartments and begins drawing a magical circle on the floor. Darrek stops him and urges everyone to be cautious until they have a better understanding of what they are dealing with. “We don’t know what this place even is, or what’s happening here,” he says, squeezing Henry’s shoulder. “We need to keep our heads.” Henry is clearly extremely frustrated, but heeds Darrek’s warning and erases the circle.

As they climb the stairs to the second floor and make their way towards the next occupied apartment, Darrek suddenly covers his ears and backs into a corner, slides down the wall and curls into the fetal position. Shaking, he closes his eyes and breathes deeply, and a few minutes later he uncovers his ears and stands back up. Henry is visibly frightened by this, and texts Anita.

Reaching the next apartment, belonging according to the directory to a tenant named ‘Michelle,’ the doors swing open and reveal an opulent mansion. Sounds of a party can be heard (talking, laughing, glasses clinking, faint notes of music). The group begin to investigate the rooms off of the main hallway and discover a parlor and a library with many old books from the 1600s and 1700s about history, zoology, and science, which Darrek assesses are first editions and probably worth a substantial amount of money. There is also a large decanter of brandy on a table in the parlor which Darrek carefully avoids.

In the library another page of the play is found. The scenes are unconnected, but are clearly all a part of a larger story.Hilda discovers a copy of the play ‘The King in Yellow,’ on one of the shelves, which is identical to the copy she took from Darrek. Fortunately, he is distracted, and she is able to hide it before he sees it. After the group exits the library, Hilda and Henry hang back, douse the book with absinthe from a large glass bottle on a desk, set it on fire, and put it in the fireplace to burn.

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Leaving Michelle’s apartment, they walk to the final occupied apartment per the directory, belonging to Louis Post. They knock, and can hear a voice talking to someone, but no one answers. Darrek speaks up and explains who they are, and Post responds, “I’m busy,” and does not come to the door. Darrek loses his temper, kicks in the door, and throws a wave of Essence at Post, who is sitting in front of a mirror talking to himself. Darrek and Yun-Xun can both see a figure standing behind Post in the reflection, but they can’t hear its responses. Darrek commands Post, “Tell me who you are talking to.” He spins around, clearly insane, and attacks Darrek outright. Matthew proceeds to lay him out with one punch.

On Henry’s map, there is a room marked with a handwritten note, ‘Man with white shoes and a briefcase’. Going to investigate, Darrek and Yun-Xun both see him. He runs across the room and into a closet, and they both chase after him. Entering the closest, it appears to be just a normal closet, empty…and the man is nowhere to be seen.

Henry looks out a window and, looking up, sees that the building seems to extend up infinitely into the sky. He suggests they check out the roof. Everyone agrees, and discovers that the roof in fact leads them to an Edwardian-styled smoking room, which Darrek quickly points out is where one of the scenes of the play that they have been finding pages of takes place…

TO BE CONTINUED

Memorable Quotes and Great Moments

Re: Alistair
“What did he do, again?”-Yun-Xun
“What he did was throw blasts of Lyssicus directly at peoples’ faces.”-Henry

To Anita “It would appear your library now has a librarian. And I’m honestly a little upset that you didn’t consider me for that job.”-Darrek

Re: The locator spell
To Anita “I can’t do it with you watching!”-Darrek

To Henry “Don’t try to bullshit a bullshitter, kid.”-Agent Barnes

“You set my desk on fire! There’s huge scorch marks on it, you bastard!”-Anita
“It was already BLACK, you cow!”-Darrek

Re: Phonics
“And it was har-roar, not whore-er.”-Matthew

Re: Cars
“I have a ’65 GTO that I bought new.”-Matthew
“I had a ’65 Aston Martin. I sold it so I could buy my girlfriend a large, hard, expensive rock.”-Darrek
“I had a Vespa.”-Henry
Darrek and Matthew both give him a look

“The building is and isn’t there.”-Darrek
“Huh?”-Matthew
“Have you ever heard of Schroedinger’s cat?”-Darrek
“I knew Schroedinger!”-Matthew

Re: Schroedinger
“So, were you banging his wife or his mistress?”-Yun-Xun
“Or, were you his mistress?”-Henry

Darrek’s phone rings
“Hello?”-Darrek
“It’s me.”-Emily
“Hi, love. What’s up?”-Darrek
“Are you seeing another woman?”-Emily
“No, of course not! Why do you ask?”-Darrek
“I found a card on the dining room table with very feminine handwriting on it.”-Emily
“What does it say?”-Darrek
“The books you requested are ready and can be picked up at your convenience.”-Emily
“I don’t know what the deal is with those cards, but I can assure you, I’m not having an affair. So, what are we having for dinner?”-Darrek
“I vote for lasagna!”-Henry
“Tell Henry I am not making fucking lasagna again.”-Emily
To Henry “She says we’re having that another night.”-Darrek

“Who keeps roses and butter in their closet?”-Henry
“Artists…”-Yun-Xun

“Oh, fuck!”-Darrek (while Matthew is reading an excerpt from the play)

“What the fuck is this, ‘The Landlord in Yellow’?”-Henry

To Darrek “You really need to re-evaluate your priorities.”-Henry
Raises an eyebrow “You mean like buying you a PS4 for your birthday?”-Darrek

“This map is very misleading.”-Henry

“I’m sick of this shit.”-Henry
“Me, too. It’d be really nice if our enemies would just line up so we could kill them.”-Matthew

Re: The Hastur Files
“Did no one else do the reading?”-Darrek

After Darrek covers his ears and slides down the wall into a corner, Henry texts Anita saying, “I think Darrek is in trouble, stuff is getting to him. Really worried. What do you know about ‘Catharsis’?” He gets a text back which simply reads, “Talk tomorrow.”

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Episode 15
The Book of the Black

Chronicler: Julie

This Episode is based on “Bedlam,” an adventure in the “Liber Vorago” section of The Savage Foes of Solomon Kane by Rucht Lilavivat and John Goff.

Pre-Credits Cut Scene

The bespectacled man screamed as the gurney upon which he was strapped was wheeled down harshly-lit hallways. Echoes and wordless answers to his cries met his ears from countless nameless voices in countless nameless hallways and oubliettes. The place smelled like piss and death, and a sickly, miasmic pall seemed to cover everything like so much pollen from too many flowers in spring.

The orderlies who wheeled him down the endless halls were silent. In his mind they were faceless, emotionless, just automatons fulfilling a function. He stopped screaming abruptly and laughed. Then he tried a different tactic,

“Please,” he said. “I’m not mad. This is all a misunderstanding. Call the doctor. Just call him! He knows me!” The man started weeping. “I’m not mad,” he squeaked. “I swear. I don’t even know where I am. They don’t have places like this anymore. Please, where am I?”

Realization dawned and his eyes widened. “Oh, my God,” he said. “It’s the Libram, isn’t it? Don’t you understand, it cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands?”

A sharp pain erupted from the side of the man’s head, and everything went dark, punctuated by bright flashes of white. When he came to his senses again, he was strapped to a different sort of contraption, a half-table, half-chair, at a 45-degree angle from the floor. The orderlies were there, across the room, one on each side of the door. One of them held a long, thin rod—the device used to knock the man senseless.

There was, now, a third man with them, this one wearing a lab coat and stethoscope and an old-fashioned reflector on his forehead. A doctor, then. He was too close for the man to see his face, the Doctor was, but was leaning to examine the bruise on the side of the man’s face where he’d been struck.

“Ah, well,” the doctor said. “You’ll be fine. Thale should not have done that.”

The Doctor stepped back, and the man recognized him.

“It’s you!” he said. “I know you! Please, you know I’m not mad. You have to get me out of here!

“Now, now,” the Doctor said. “I understand you’re frightened. We’ll have this all squared away soon. Just try and relax.” He produced a syringe, half-filled with a sickly, pus-colored fluid, and moved towards the man. “This may pinch just a little.”

The man screamed once more as the needle pierced his neck, just under his right ear, the burning fluid setting his brain on fire…and then all went black again.

Episode Synopsis

In the interim three weeks of downtime the group has, Darrek works with Henry, teaching him two spells (Shielding and Soulfire Bolt). Henry passes his permit test and Darrek starts taking him out a couple of evenings a week for driving practice. Henry notices Darrek making an effort at romantic and sweet gestures towards Emily on a regular basis. The two of them spend an inordinate amount of time in their bedroom, with the door closed. When this happens, Omar frequently comes to find Henry. She plops down next to him, puts her head onto her paws, and makes sounds of clear exasperation.

Things are actually calm for once in the Tinsley household, with the exception of Darrek’s growing preoccupation with ‘Grimoire of the Green Goddess.’ He is definitely displaying obsessive behavior towards the book, and is very defensive and quite short when anyone dares to point this out to him. Otherwise, Christmas decorations have started going up, and there’s a sense of warmth and cheer throughout the house. Emily purchases stockings for Henry and Omar, and hangs them on the mantle next to her and Darrek’s. Darrek spends one of his rare afternoons off putting up lights and hanging greenery inside and outside. Multiple packages start arriving at the house and are quickly and quietly squirreled away for the approaching holidays.

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The date is December 10, 2016, and it is an unseasonably warm and rainy night in Pittsburgh. At Matthew’s loft, around 3am everyone is awakened by the sound of fervent pounding on his front door. He goes to answer it to find Rebecca, soaked to the bone, wearing nothing but her underwear and a nightgown. She asks him if she can stay the night and is clearly terrified. He has a hard time getting very much information out of her. She does say that she woke up around midnight and had the definite sense of someone standing over her, shivering as she recalls the feeling of their hot breath on her face. She ran out of her apartment and walked in the rain from Lawrenceville to the South Side, barefoot.

The next day, after a shower and some coffee, she is willing to share more details with him. She tells him about the dream she was having before she woke up. She says in the dream she saw an old, Victorian-style hearse slowly coming down her street, and she recognized the driver of the hearse, saying he is an old, creepy guy she’s seen hanging around the neighborhood, with a pale, white face that looks dead. She is visibly shaken when she tells Matthew that she then saw him laying in the coffin in the hearse, but he wasn’t dead. Matthew suggests that he accompany her to her apartment to have a look around and offers to let her stay with him until they can determine what is going on.

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Later that morning, as Darrek, Emily, and Henry are getting ready to head out, a letter slides underneath their front door. Darrek opens the door but sees no one there, and then picks up the letter. Turning it over, he sees that it is addressed to Henry, and hands it to him. As Henry opens and reads it, Darrek leans over and kisses Emily underneath the mistletoe hanging above their doorway.

Henry gives the letter to Darrek. It is signed from an unknown gentleman named H. Quill, who claims to have possession of an ancient tome which he thinks may prove useful to Henry in his “current endeavors” and requests to meet with him at his apartment, which is located in the Southside on Carson Street below the Acacia Societatis Bibulus. Darrek and Henry agree that it seems suspicious. Darrek texts Matthew to request the rest of the group’s backup in investigating further. Matthew calls him and explains that he’s currently at Rebecca’s dealing with some issue, but will be back soon. Darrek and Henry head over to Matthew’s loft to wait for him.

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A short time later, Matthew returns with Rebecca, who is carrying a suitcase, and informs his flatmates that she will be staying with them indefinitely. After Rebecca is settled, the group heads to check out the address, which is on Carson Street.

They easily find the apartment, which is underneath the bar. Walking down a step of stairs, Darrek knocks, and the door swings open, unlocked. He calls hello. When there is no response the group enters the apartment, which has obviously been tossed. Looking around, Darrek discovers a journal underneath some papers scattered across the floor. Glancing at the writings, he is disturbed to read a very familiar tale of a man becoming increasingly obsessed with an ancient, alien tome. When Henry asks him to look at the journal, since the letter and one of the entries specifically references him, Darrek is reluctant to give it to him. Henry then proceeds to rip the journal out of Darrek’s hands and examines it.

As the group continues to look around, they hear the creak of the door, and an older gentleman holds up his hands and asks what they are doing there. Darrek truthfully explains why they came, and the man mentions that three men came a few nights ago claiming to be from a hospital and took Quill away. One of them appeared to be a doctor, and the other two were “really big guys,” likely orderlies. The man introduces himself as Barney Jenkins, and explains that he lives across the street from the bar and has a good view of the goings-on in the area. He asks the group to let him know if they find out anything about how Quill is doing.

As the group ascends the stairs from the basement apartment and step out into the city street, the scene drastically changes. They see cobblestones lining the road, and the buildings clearly show Victorian and Edwardian architecture. People walk the streets in period dress, but as hard as the group tries, they cannot seem to see any of their faces. They do see a massive building down the street that is clearly marked with a sign which reads, “Hospital for the Insane.” Everyone agrees that this is likely where Quill was brought by the men his neighbor described.

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The group starts working on a plan to get inside and find Quill. Darrek mentions some related weird happenings he’s experienced recently, and the rest of the group all reveal having similar oddities happen to them in recent weeks. Yun-Xun is very quiet and resists sharing any detailed information about her weird happenings. Darrek hears her saying something under her breath in Cantonese which he recognizes, and asks her very directly what (and who) she’s talking about. She ignores him.

Everyone proceeds to sneak into the hospital courtyard, taking care of avoid the attention of the night watchman who is patrolling the grounds with a lantern. Once inside, they discover a dilapidated chapel and several dormitories with bars on the windows and doors which contain patients wandering around inside of them, clearly disturbed. Looking into one where the patients seem to be more acute in their aggression, they see whom they presume to be Quill, wearing modern clothing and chained to a wall.

Henry proceeds to pick the locks, and Darrek attempts to use his magics to calm the other patients. Unfortunately, his spell utterly fails, and appears to have the complete opposite effect. Hilda suggests they just wait it out, as the patients begin attacking one another. Eventually Matthew directs Yun-Xun and Hilda to enter, and the three of them take care of knocking out the remaining patients. Henry and Darrek move to tend to Quill, Henry picking the locks of the manacles chaining him to the wall. They both notice a puncture wound and a large bruise behind his ear, and conclude that he has been drugged. He drools incoherently and is completely unresponsive.

Looking out the window, they can see the night watchman approaching them. Henry quickly locks Quill back up, and they hide as best as they can as the guard inspects the dorm they are in, sees the patients lying on the floor knocked out, shrugs, and continues his rounds.

Sneaking out and locking the door behind them, the group heads towards the largest of the buildings in the compound, Matthew and Henry suggesting that if the men who took Quill also obtained the ancient tome he mentioned in his letter, they should attempt to reacquire it if they can.

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Walking into one of the “treatment rooms” inside, they see manacles hanging from chains attached to the wall, multiple tables at various angles with different implements attached to them, most of which appear torturous. The scene is truly disturbing. Darrek looks absolutely horrified as his eyes take everything in, his mouth agape in stunned silence. Henry senses that this place is especially triggering to him due to Emily having been recently committed to Western Psychiatric. They wait until the guard enters, and Hilda and Matthew proceed to knock him out and take his lantern.

Making their way deeper into the building, they discover a larger room surrounded by a balcony with several massive orderlies. Matthew attacks and decapitates three of them, outright. Henry grapples one of them and is hit with an axe and almost goes down. Darrek immediately runs over and heals him. Delia Borgato enters the room, wearing a Victorian-era dress and a featureless mask. She is accompanied by a man in a labcoat and scrubs, and the group can all spot that he has a large book tucked underneath of his arm.

Looking up, everyone also sees Cassilda, standing against the railing of the balcony, watching. Her silent presence rocks the sanity of each and every member of the group.

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Delia immediately moves to engage with Matthew. The man in the labcoat takes off towards the door. Hilda hits him three times, and Yun-Xun also hits the man, knocking him out. The book goes flying.

Henry casts a spell, and green flames erupt around Delia. She quickly recovers and hits Matthew with long claws, which drip with pus-colored ichor. He staggers from the poison and is visibly weakened.

Darrek then unleashes a massive wave of Soulfire at Delia, which hits her hard. Henry then follows up by hitting her with a Soulfire dart directly to her mask. She screams and is knocked back.

Yun-Xun attacks Delia and goes down after suffering multiple hits. Darrek scrambles and grabs the book off of the floor. Matthew hits Delia solidly and sweeps her legs out from beneath her. Hilda then moves in and attacks, hitting her repeatedly. Cassilda laces her fingers together and puts her chin in her hands, still watching and seemingly enraptured.

Henry casts another dart of Soulfire at Delia, but manipulates his spell so that it manifests as a white unicorn pooping rainbows and farts directly in her face. Darrek moves over to Yun-Xun and heals her. She regains consciousness and opens her eyes to see him kneeling next to her.

Finally, Matthew decapitates Delia. When her head hits the floor, her mask shatters, and all are disturbed to discover that there is nothing underneath of it.

The sound of slow clapping echoes from the balcony throughout the room.

“You’ve all done so well, you’re almost halfway there,” Cassilda says. Looking directly at Matthew, she continues.

“Aldones, you will always have my love…but don’t come between me and my sister ever again,” she warns.

Her gaze then shifts to Darrek, and she smiles. “And my play is almost complete, thanks to a very talented young playwright I have working on it.” Her smile then turns to a sneer. “You can take your prize. Good luck finding your way home.” She then turns, slowly walks away, and disappears.

The group moves to free Quill and heads back to where they started to begin the process of figuring out how to get home. As they leave the hospital grounds, they are shocked to see a very familiar warehouse a few blocks down the street: Club Apocalypse.

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Entering the club, they see Robert Hubert, holding court as he always is. He spots them immediately and gestures for them to come to him. Hubert comments that they seem to be in need of some help, and offers his assistance, with the understanding that once they’re back home, his debt to them is paid. They all agree. The group enjoys a drink on the house, and when they exit the club they find themselves back in Pittsburgh.

Quotes and Great Moments:

(After reading a note from Jason) “Well, then…time to call Delta Green.”-Robert

Re: More notes
“Pass this to Hilda.”-Jason
“I’m gunna read it! It says, ‘Carcosa!’”-Mike D.
“Probably…”-Tom

During the opening credits, Julie renames each character ‘Crazy Person’: Number 1 (Danny), Number 2 (Darrek), 3 (Henry), 4 (Hilda), 5 (Yun-Xun), ‘The Craziest Crazy that Ever Was,’ (Anita) and… Matthew.

Re: Christmas
“So, did I happen to mention that I’m Jewish?”-Henry
After a long, stunned pause “EM!”-Darrek
“Darrek, relax! I’m just kidding!”-Henry
Glaring “That was so not funny, young man.”-Darrek
“Really? Because I thought it was hilarious.”-Henry

Re: Rebecca’s dream
“So, she’s afraid that you’re going to die, and she also hates white people.”-Henry

“I hate to ask, but do either of you have anything that I could borrow to wear?”-Rebecca
“Oh, yes! Come!”-Hilda

“I don’t always wear black suits. Sometimes they are dark and smoky grey.”-Matthew

To Darrek and Henry “Can I get you anything? Green tea?”-Yun-Xun
“Or perhaps…OVALTINE?!”-Robert

Re: Small talk while waiting for Matthew
“So, what did you usually have for Christmas dinner?”-Darrek
“Normal stuff…ham, turkey, potatoes, stuffing…and that sweet potato thing.”-Henry
“What sweet potato thing?”-Darrek
“It’s like a casserole.”-Henry
“Do you know how it’s made?”-Darrek
“Yeah, it has canned sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, and those little marshmallows on top.”-Henry
“That sounds like diabetes.”-Darrek

“When me and Darrek go to talk to people ourselves, it always ends in me jumping out of a window. 100% of the time, that’s what happens when we do that.”-Henry

Re: Mocking
“Matthew! Please protect me with your big, strong, man arms!”-Henry
“That’s my line.”-Rebecca.
“Every day I think he can’t get any snarkier…and then he opens his mouth.”-Darrek
Yun-Xun nods
Looking at her “This is all my fault, isn’t it?”-Darrek
Yun-Xun nods again

Re: Quill’s Journal
“I want to read it, too. Let me see it.”-Henry
“Ehm…I think best not.”-Darrek
“And Darrek officially becomes Anita.”-Jason

Henry snatches Quill’s journal out of Darrek’s hands and begins reading it. Darrek is visibly angered and walks away from Henry to investigate the rest of Quill’s apartment.

Re: The hospital for the insane
To Darrek “Our long search is over!”-Henry
“In some strange way, it makes sense that we would come here.”-Hilda
“I quit life.”-Henry

Re: After discovering everyone in the group has been experiencing weirdness recently.
“Oh, thank God. I thought I was going mad!”-Darrek
“Oh, you are…we just all are, too.”-Henry

Re: Danny sharing his weird stuff
Joking “He got dissed by cabbage and noodles.”-Matthew
“I’m sorry, what?”-Darrek
“Haluska…you know, butter, noodles, and cabbage. It’s a Polish dish.”-Matthew
“Right, sorry. We have something sort of like that in England called, ‘Bubble and Squeak.’”-Darrek
“The local homeless calls smoking meth while high on nitrous, ‘Bubble and Squeak,’”-Henry
Gives Henry a sideways look “You’re just full of fun factoids, aren’t you?”-Darrek

Re: The hospital for the insane
“That’s probably where they took him.”-Henry
“That’s a reach.”-Matthew

Re: Darrek asking if anyone sees snakes
“What if there are snakes everywhere, and they’re just invisible?”-Henry

Re: Being teased by Henry
“It is two weeks until Christmas. I’m just saying.”-Darrek
“You’re saying I should go to the pet store and ask for my deposit back on the gigantic Burmese python I had them put aside for you?”-Henry
“Don’t be surprised if you find a lump of coal in your stocking this year.”-Darrek
“Aw, man! I wish I had gotten some coal last year, I could have used it to keep warm!”-Henry

As the group moves into the courtyard of the hospital, ‘Sanitarium,’ by Metallica came onto the stereo. It was granted a drama point.

“You can easily pick the locks. Are you going in with the lunatics?”-Jason
“Hell, no!”-Henry

Re: Darrek’s spell fails and the patients go crazier
Turning beet red “Sorry…”-Darrek
“Maybe if you try, like, an agitation spell?”-Henry
Embarrassed “Ehm, I don’t really know an agitation spell.”-Darrek
“He does that naturally.”-Hilda

“If we wait a few minutes, there may be less of them to deal with.”-Hilda
“Hilda…get your German ass in there and subdue them like Merkel subdued Greece!”-Henry
“You’ve been doing your reading for History! Good man!”-Darrek

Re: Voices
“Have you seen the Yellow Sign? Why yes, Mildred, it’s so lovely this time of year!”-Henry

“See, I’m setting up a plan…”-Matthew
“Like an actual Watcher, for once.”-Yun-Xun

“My Slayer is still alive. I’m the best Watcher that’s ever been.”-Matthew
“You know, if you don’t want me to tell Anita you said that, it’s going to cost you.”-Darrek

“Matthew would not decapitate puppies.”-Mike V
“Omar is safe!”-Jason

Re: After sweeping Delia’s legs
“And that is what a good Watcher does to help his Slayer!”-Matthew

Re: Henry’s unicorn
“What the bloody hell was THAT?”-Darrek

Darrek flicks the Vs at Cassilda when she turns and walks away.

Re: The unicorn
“You have to make your own entertainment in this line of work.”-Henry
“I’ve seen some interesting magic in my time, but that takes the cake.”-Darrek

Re: Club Apocalypse
“Seems like you all could use some help.”-Hubert
“And you owe us a favor, if my memory serves.”-Darrek
“That’s why I came.”-Hubert

Hubert tells the group to have a drink before they go, on the house. Matthew orders a very fine, extra peaty scotch. Darrek orders a Shirley Temple (with extra cherries) and sits as far away from him as possible.

View
Episode 14
Rise of the Green Goddess (Part Four)

Chronicler: Julie

The group meets up Downtown and heads to the Fort Duquesne bridge. They find a community of approximately 20-30 homeless living underneath the bridge, including Klaus and Megan.

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Upon seeing Megan, Henry hugs her fiercely, relief written all over his face. Darrek steps aside to talk with Klaus, who tells him they have been trying for days to convince them to leave, without success. The leader of the homeless, a blind veteran known as ‘Sarge’ asks Darrek what business they have with his community. Darrek explains that their community is in danger and they have been sent by the King to assist with getting them all somewhere safe. Sarge is insistent that they are not leaving, becoming more belligerent as Darrek attempts to reason with him, and eventually shutting down altogether.

A young redheaded girl joins Klaus and Megan as they talk with the group. Her name is Tammy Jenkins, and the group learns that she is Sarge’s daughter, who visits him sometimes on the weekends-her mother is unaware that he is homeless and mentally ill, and Tammy often lies to her about her visits with her father and what they do together. She is very excited to see another teenager, and is clearly attracted to Henry.

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Darrek goes outside and begins casting protective wards. Henry and Tammy watch him. Tammy then begins casting a spell of her own which Darrek immediately senses is fueled by Taint. He attempts to stop her, and she defiantly counters that she found the spell in a book and knows it works. They argue, and Henry intervenes. Darrek walks away and continues working on his wards.

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Tammy thanks Henry and the two talk and get to know one another better. Henry asks Tammy if she has tried getting through to her father about the imminent danger coming for them. She confides in him that the doctors say that there’s nothing wrong with her father and he’s not actually blind-it seems to be a psychological issue related to his trauma.

After talking with Tammy, Henry begins making inscriptions of magical circles in the ground with a stick. Watching as he does it, Darrek realizes that he is casting a magical circle for storing additional power that can be accessed later to boost his spells.

Inside, Danny talks with Sarge, attempting to get through to him. Darrek comes in after finishing his wards and joins them. When he specifically mentions Tammy and keeping her safe, Sarge appears to have a moment of clarity; however, as soon as Darrek suggests a safe location where the community can temporarily relocate, he immediately shuts down again and continues to refuse to leave. The group decides to focus their energy on making preparations for the impending fight. As they work, out of the blue, Darrek asks Henry for his thoughts about which gaming system is the best, explaining that his best friend, Daniel, wants to purchase one.

As midnight approaches, Matthew leaves and steals a car. The group watches as a limousine and several SUVs pull up, and a large group of men with firearms get out and begin approaching them, carrying the same energy signature resembling Lyssicus the group has encountered before. As they do, Matthew drives directly into them, a flaming rag tucked into the gas tank of the car. He jumps out and rolls. It hits them and explodes, and much chaos ensues as the battle begins.

BIG EPIC FIGHT ENSUES. Highlights:

Darrek casts a shield on himself and Henry, protecting them from physical attacks.

Hilda is shot knocking a homeless hobo down as a cultist takes aim.

Yun-Xun attempts to catch a bullet being aimed at a homeless veteran and fails. Matthew jumps in to knock them both out of the way.

The homeless community are very inspired by the group’s heroism and begin tearing into cultists. Julie rolls up x4 for Sarge. He picks up one of the cultist’s AR-15s and begins sweeping cultists.

Danny gets shot.

Megan gets shot.

Darrek casts a spell (Cathbad’s Guidance) on Danny, boosting his attack and strength. He tears into the cultist who shot him, ending his career.

Everyone senses a massive swell of Lyssicus and watch as another limousine stops above on the bridge itself. The door opens and an enormous serpent with a hood slithers out and comes down over the side of the bridge towards the group. Screams echo as bystanders see the creature, whom the group assumes is the Green Goddess.

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Matthew, Darrek, Henry, and Yun-Xun are shot at. Yun-Xun successfully catches one of the bullets!

Sarge corrals his remaining community and directs them back into the tunnels under the bridge. Tammy again casts her Mythos wards as the homeless run into the tunnels, and bullets appear to slow down as they pass through the enchantments.

The group faces down with the giant snake. Darreks throws a massive wave of Soulfire at it. Henry also casts a spell, causing the snake to burn with a mystical fire, which injures it severely. It screams. Hilda then closes in on it, finishing it off.

The sounds of police sirens fill the air, and after ensuring that the remaining homeless are safe within the tunnels under the bridge, the group quickly disappears, heading to their respective abodes.

Arriving home, an exhausted Henry goes straight to bed. Darrek and Emily proceed to have some much-needed sexy time together, at long last. As they lie in each other’s arms after making love, they discuss Henry’s upcoming seventeenth birthday and plan a surprise party for him at the Hive Arcana.

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Danny, Henry, and Darrek are awakened in the middle of the night to giant snakes in their respective beds. Danny manages to dodge out of the way of its attack and rips its head off. Henry and Darrek are both bitten. Darrek shoves Emily out of their bed and throws himself between it and her. Using their magics, the two both manage to eviscerate their assailants. Darrek then pulls on some pants and runs to Henry’s room to check on him, having sensed his use of Essence. Omar, finally finding her voice, begins barking loudly in rapid succession.

Realizing that her husband and foster son have both been poisoned, Emily also quickly throws on clothes and drives them to the nearest emergency room. They are given standard anti-venom, which seems to hold the poison quickly moving through them at bay, but does not destroy it entirely. Both of them, deathly ill and extremely weak, are admitted to the ICU.

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Their doctor brings in a biochemist to consult, who is none other than Delia Borgato, whom the group assumed was dead. Danny thinks to bring the head of the snake he killed to the hospital, and she is able to use it to develop another anti-venom to successfully combat the poison, saving Darrek and Henry’s lives. They remain hospitalized for another day before being released. While Henry is napping that afternoon, Darrek informs the rest of the group of the celebration being planned for Henry’s birthday, and invites them all to come.

After Darrek and Henry are discharged from the hospital, that evening the group goes to follow up on their lead at the publishing company Downtown on Smithfield Street. Darrek uses his magics to put the desk guard into a deep mystical sleep, taking his keys and ID, and the group goes to investigate Darkblood Publishing, which is listed as occupying the sixteenth and eighteenth floors. Hilda suggests checking out floor seventeen as well, and they discover that it appears to be under construction. As they explore, they find a “pleasure room” of sorts, with a bound woman being consumed by a massive slug, her screams muffled by swaths of duct tape as two men in tuxedos smoking hookahs watch. One of the men, whom the group can sense is deeply tainted with Lyssicus, looks very familiar to Matthew and Darrek, though they are unable to place him.

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The group moves to rescue the woman. As Matthew attacks the slug, it screams, sounding quite human, which deeply disturbs several members of the group. Hilda runs in, grabbing the slug by the mouth and ripping it off of the woman, who manages to get free. It then bites Hilda and begins consuming her, its mouth wrapping around her arm up to the elbow.

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One of the men pulls a gun and shoots Danny three times. Amazingly, the damage is not as severe as it initially appears. Darrek runs over and casts a shield around him and Danny, protecting him from further physical attacks.

Yun-Xun blasts the slug with Chi. It lets out another human-sounding scream and shrivels.

Henry makes some subtle gestures with his hands, his spell hitting the Tainted man’s shield.

The other man also pulls a gun and shoots at Matthew. Matthew proceeds to cut him down without breaking a sweat.

Danny shifts and tears into the other man, killing him. Darrek and Matthew recall that he was a fringe Goth who used to hang out at the Hive Arcana who went by the pseudonym Stephanas Darkblood. As they search his body, they find his wallet with an ID that lists his actual name, Stephen Feldman. Darrek also discovers that he is wearing a talisman under his shirt.

Darrek recognizes the slug as being a Fate Spawn of N’Kai, a Mythos entity, and deduces that the talisman is meant to assist in summoning and controlling the creature. He tells the rest of the group that they consume humans and take can then take on their form.

Searching Darkblood Publishing, the group finds three invitations by one Elmore Job Hastings to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Egyptian exhibit for a black tie masquerade event later that evening. They also find a rubber pig mask, a rubber Nixon mask, and a spell written in a notebook.

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As Henry attempts to investigate the spell more closely, Darrek intervenes and takes the notebook from him. Glancing at it,he can tell right away that it is a Mythos spell. As the group heads outside, Darrek borrows Danny’s lighter and ignites the notebook, tossing it into a metal garbage can on the street.

Everyone quickly changes into more appropriate attire. Hilda and Yun-Xun wear their dresses from the Conclave, and Danny, Darrek, Henry, and Matthew put on tuxes. Invitations in hand, they then head to the museum. Guests crowd the Egyptian exhibit, and the group attempts to get their bearings.

About ten minutes before midnight, a hooded woman limps up to Danny. Her eyes are yellow slits in the dark beneath her hood, and she hisses, “Leave while you still can.” Servers carrying trays of flutes begin passing out champagne to all of the guests. The group collectively decline the offered drinks.

A short, stout man dressed as Robin the Boy Wonder comes out and stands at the podium. Removing his mask, he is revealed to be EJ Hastings. He taps the microphone and says, “Is this thing on?” There is a wave of feedback, and as he begins his speech, he is rushed by several snake-headed creatures identical to the ones Danny, Matthew, Hilda, and Yun-Xun fought in the sewers. The monsters also begin attacking some of the guests.

The lights suddenly go out. Guests start screaming and gunfire erupts, blinding the group as they attempt to orient themselves. Outside, a yellow moon rises in the sky, casting its light through the windows of the hall.

Matthew wades in and swings his sword, killing one of the snake monsters. He notices that several of the guests being attacked pull out guns. Several more guests drop over dead, with broken champagne glasses in their hands. Darrek and Henry recall that the ritual Hastings was planning required a massive sacrifice, and deduce that the champagne drinks are poisoned. Darrek notices that the creatures appear to be attacking specific guests. He throws Soulfire at one of them. Henry also casts a spell, causing columns of green fire to engulf one of the monsters. Yun-Xun positions herself between the snake creatures and the guests, and Henry begins to coordinate an evacuation of the remaining guests.

The group all sense a large swell of Tainted energy, and the woman Danny spoke to earlier is blown across the room. She picks herself up and stalks through the crowd towards the source of the attack. Several of the other snake creatures join her and also move in that direction.

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Darrek throws another wave of Soulfire at the creature he previously attacked. Danny runs up the wall and over the chaotic crowds and can see EJ Hastings crouched in a corner, bristling with Taint. The snake woman and her entourage are clearly approaching him. Danny strikes Hastings across the face as he comes down from the wall. Henry again manifests a massive column of magical green fire, and several of the snake creatures catch fire and drop to the floor.

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Hastings stands up and casts a spell fueled by Taint at the woman. She goes down to one knee, shakes her head, and then rises and resumes her pursuit. Talons dripping with venom erupt from her hands as she viciously descends upon him. The other snake creatures with her also attack Hastings.

Darrek sees Matthew and Danny across the room and runs through the crowd towards them, casting a physical shield on himself as the guests with guns begin opening fire on the group. Danny and Matthew focus their attacks on Hastings, managing to disable him. The snake woman hisses, “He is ours,” and proceeds to end his career. The group sees a large puddle of blood spreading out across the marble floor underneath Hastings’ body. Seeing that Hastings is dead, the guests with guns put their weapons back into their coats and quietly meld into the crowds. Hearing the sound of approaching sirens as they exit the museum, the group also disappears.

The next day as they are wrapping the case up, Henry suggests to Darrek that they go check out Hastings’ address. During their search of his abode, Henry finds the Grimoire of the Green Goddess. Darrek then drives them to the Hive Arcana to put it and the missing half page from Oddmuth into Anita’s vault.

Going upstairs after dropping the items off in the vault, Henry is stunned to discover a large gathering of people waiting for him including the rest of the group, Emily, Anita, Klaus, Dana, Jamie, and Daniel. They shout, “Surprise! Happy birthday, Henry!” in unison when he walks into the room. Megan hugs him and ruffles his hair, grinning. Streamers and balloons decorate the upstairs of the Hive Arcana, and there is a massive candy buffet with every variety of Swedish fish known to mankind and a chocolate cake with mocha filling and French buttercream frosting decorated to look like a rainbow flag from Bethel Bakery, complete with seventeen candles. Henry receives several gifts, including a Playstation 4 from Darrek and Emily, a multitude of cards and gift cards, and a red envelope full of cash from Yun-Xun.

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As Henry’s party winds down, Anita calls the group into her office and congratulates them on a job well done with their most recent case. She proceeds to tell them that she’s learned a bit more about the Heralds of Cassilda, explaining that they are a possessing force of sorts and not human, so they cannot truly be killed, but they can be sent back to wherever it is that they come from. She also tells them that the Heralds are apparently able to assume the forms of people who have died. She avoids very specific questions from the group, particularly regarding how she obtained this information, and promptly changes the subject by asking Darrek where he purchased Henry’s insanely delicious cake.

As the group files out of her office, she stops Darrek before he leaves and says, “I, uh…I have something I want to share with you about this…but not yet…not today, anyway. Come by some afternoon when Henry’s working on school stuff and you don’t have class, okay?” He nods, asking her if everything is alright.

He is surprised to see her genuinely smile at him for the first time in a very long time. “Yeah, actually, all things considered, I’m doing pretty good,” she says. “We’ll talk soon.”

Memorable Quotes and Great Moments:

Re: Henry’s birthday gift from Yun-Xun
“So Henry would probably get a red envelope with money in it from Yun-Xun, I think…”-Mike D.
“Are you seriously Googling how to be Chinese? Like, on your phone?”-Julie

Re: Upon seeing Darrek and Henry
“Had day.”-Hilda

Re: Henry
“You’ve had day, too.”-Hilda
“He’s fine. He did this to himself.”-Darrek

Re: Bridges
“The King said his people are under a bridge Downtown, and our friends may be with them.”-Yun-Xun
“Yun-Xun…there’s, like, many bridges…which one?”-Darrek
Yun-Xun points

Re: Fort Duquesne
“I spent a lot of time under this bridge.”-Henry
“Oh, yeah? Seems like a really great bridge.”-Darrek

Re: Tammy
To Robert “She’s definitely attracted to Henry, and very happy to see another teenager.”-Jason
Grinning “Well, he is a heartbreaker. How sad for her that he’s also very gay.”-Darrek

Re: Darrek and Tammy
“And who the fuck are you, old man?”-Tammy
“…”-Darrek
“Uh oh.”-Henry

Re: Darrek’s arrogance towards Tammy
“Darrek…you’re doing that thing again.”-Henry
“What thing?”-Darrek
“That thing where you think you know better than everyone else.”-Henry
“When it comes to teenagers using Tainted magic, it just so happens that I DO know better than everyone else!”-Darrek

Re: Henry’s magic circle
“That’s so bloody smart. Why didn’t I think of that?”-Darrek
Henry waves his mother’s journal above his head

“Remember, at midnight we get a +1 to our spellcasting rolls.”-Robert
“That’s what happens when I stay up past my bedtime!”-Julie

Re: Sammy
“You remember his name…”-Darrek
Grinning sheepishly “Well, obviously. Everyone likes a bad boy.”-Henry

“Now we know it’s a Nocturnum game! Someone blew up Point State Park!”-Jason

Re: Team Ultraviolence
“This was supposed to be a milk run…just murder a bunch of hobos!”-Robert

Re: The Green Goddess
“It’s enormous.”-Jason
“Like, large and/or fantastic?”-Mike D.
“Drama point!”-Jason

Re: Flames of purification spell
“It only works on supernatural creatures, which I’m assuming a gigantic snake monster is.”-Robert
“No, it’s a completely normal gigantic snake monster.”-Jason

Re: After Henry attacks the Green Goddess
“So, there’s a big, flaming snake.”-Tom
In a bad German accent “The last time a giant, flaming snake came at me, he didn’t walk for three weeks!:”-Mike D

Re: The players rally
“I just want you to know that the snake is still attacking you even though it’s on fire.”-Jason
“But you said it’s blind…”-Julie
“SON OF A BITCH!”-Jason
“I don’t get to Kiefer the GM very often!”-Julie

Re: Kiefering the GM
“…I love you…”-Julie

“Hilda, make a dodge roll.”-Jason
“Twenty.”-Tom
“SON OF A BITCH!”-Jason

Re: Darrek and Henry arriving home
“What the Hell happened to you two? Nevermind, I don’t want to know.”-Emily

To Henry “Off to bed, you.”-Darrek
“Goodnight, Henry." Grabs Darrek by his tie and pulls him towards their bedroom "It’s definitely bedtime for you, too, professor.”-Emily
“Really? Brilliant!” To Henry, as he’s being dragged away “Hen…you, ehm, might want to put some music on. Like, really loud music.”-Darrek

Re: Pillow talk
“So, how much does a Playstation 4 cost, anyway?”-Darrek
“New or used?”-Emily
“New.”-Darrek
“Like four hundred dollars, I think. Why?”-Emily
“That’s what we’re getting the boy for his birthday.”-Darrek

“My natural defensive response to a giant snake attacking me in bed is green fire.”-Robert

“Okay, so…Blood and Guts Catering?”-Don

“There was a giant snake, Darrek. In our bed. I don’t care what it takes, you find the fucker that did this and make him pay.”-Emily
“Yes, ma’am.”-Darrek

Re: The snake
“Well, at least it didn’t show up when we were in the middle of having sex. Because that’s a thing that would totally happen to me.”-Darrek

Re: Vague talk
“So, Love, about that thing…”-Darrek
“What thing?”-Emily
“The thing…you know, from the other night…”-Darrek
“Darrek! Do you really think that’s appropriate to be discussing in front of our foster son?”-Emily
“Bloody Christ, woman, not that thing. The other thing. The thing that’s going on my credit card.”-Darrek
“Oh, that thing. No, not yet. I haven’t really had time to get that thing yet, with you and Henry nearly dying and being hospitalized, so…”-Emily

Re: Bitterness
“Can I get a drama point? I’ve been funny as shit all night and haven’t gotten a single one!”-Julie

Re: The woman being consumed by a massive slug-thing
“Oh, Hell no.”-Hilda

Re: Matthew’s criticism of Hilda and Yun-Xun’s approach
“You know what? We’re going in. You feel free to flank around us.”-Mike D.
“When a woman’s not being eaten, we can think about flanking.”-Tom

Re: Hilda and Yun-Xun’s defiance of Matthew
“It’s not very much fun when it’s happening to you, is it?!”-Julie (in Darrek’s British accent)

Re: The two men in tuxedos smoking hookahs
“Oh, I’m knocking them the Hell out. Because who the Hell watches that shit for recreation?”-Julie

“He’s dead.”-Jason
“So, I guess he’s not special?”-Mike V.

“I’ve seen you put a whole bunch of Essence into people before.”-Matthew
“That was supposed to be private!”-Darrek

Re: Stephen Feldman
“I should have stabbed that kid way back when.”-Matthew

Re: Henry looking at the Mythos spell
Taking the notebook out of his hands “I’ll have that, thank you very much.”-Darrek
“What’s the big deal? It’s not like I can use magic like that, anyway.”-Henry
“There will no going crazy on the eve of your birthday.”-Darrek
“But it’s perfectly okay for you to read it and go crazy?”-Matthew
WILL EVERYONE STOP QUESTIONING MY PARENTING DECISIONS?!”-Darrek

Re: The masquerade ball at the Carnegie
“I’m wearing a Buddy Christ mask.”-Matthew
“The next day your mother visits you and says, ‘That was in very poor taste,’”-Jason

Re: Henry’s birthday
“So, how old is he turning?”-Matthew
“Seventeen.”-Darrek
“I was going to buy him a nice bottle of booze.”-Matthew
“Since CYF drops by my house unexpectedly quite often, and since I very recently got sober myself, I’d really rather that you didn’t. A gift card will be just fine, thanks.”-Darrek

Re: Hastings
“I guess he wasn’t a very good snake cultist.”-Henry
“Let this be a lesson to you.”-Darrek

Re: Danny running up the wall and over the crowd
“Jaguar man, jaguar man…does whatever a jaguar can…”-Robert

Re: Danny
“Parkour!”-Henry

Re: Danny hitting Hastings
“Spirit claws?”-Mike D.
“No, just a regular bitch slap.”-Don

Re: Flames of Purification
“The last time I manifested columns of green fire in public, you yelled at me.”-Henry
“That was in broad daylight at a Starbucks. And I did not yell at you.”-Darrek

Re: The snake lady and Hastings
“She’s mad at him.”-Yun-Xun
“Yeah, get in line.”-Darrek

Re: Henry’s birthday
“I could get him a hooker.” – Matthew
“Do not purchase a hooker for my son.” – Darrek
“Yeah, it’s probably hard to find a good male hooker around here anyway.” – Danny
“We are not getting a hooker for Henry!” – Darrek
“Fine, I’ll just download Grindr on my phone.” – Henry
“What’s Grindr?” – Darrek
“…a gay hookup app…” – Henry
“I will so ground you…” – Darrek

View
Episode 13
Rise of the Green Goddess, Part 3

The team debates what to do while waiting to hear back from Oddmuth regarding meeting with her. They decide to head to the library where E.J. Hasting once worked, and Letia Marsh was a volunteer. Once they arrive, the head to the rare books collection where Marsh worked, only to be told by the desk clerk that it is closed to the public.

Darrek asks the clerk about meeting with Varage. She gives him a call and is told to send the group up to his office. Varage is a middle-aged man in a rumpled suit. He gestures the group in, and closes the door behind them. With the door closed, he immediately begins to accuse the group of being sent by “him” as a scare tactic.

The group manages to calm Varage down, and learn that a number of people have been stopping by trying to find a particular grimoire that was in the collection. He says that he loaned the book to Professor Atterman, and he thinks that Hastings killed Atterman to get the book. Varage also mentions the missing half page, but insists that he doesn’t know where it is or what is on it. Henry asks Varage for the name of the grimoire, and is told that it is called The Grimoire of the Green Goddess.

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Darrek brings up Letia Marsh, and Varage says that she stopped coming in recently. This doesn’t concern him, as library volunteers do that frequently. Darrek also asks who else has been coming in asking about the book. Varage says that the police, Oddmuth, and a number of others have come in. He also mentions that he thinks Oddmuth has the missing half page.

Varage then asks the group for protection. He says that there is something in the stacks of the rare books room that hunts him when he goes in, He says that he hasn’s seen it clearly, but it is short and hunched, and it makes some kind of terrible flapping noise. Darrek offers to send Varage to the Hive Arcana to lay low, but Varage refuses. Darrek says thatthe group will take care of the creature if Varage allows the group into the stacks. Varage readily agrees.

In the stacks, Matthew notices the creature almost immediately. He doesn’t get a clear look at it but sees that it looks exactly as Varage described. It scurries into a ventilation shaft and the entire group can hear a sickening flapping sound.

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With the creature gone, Henry suggests to Varage that Matthew, Yun-Xun, Hilda, and Danny return to hunt the creature after closing time when there will be no patrons in the line of fire. Varage says that they can’t do that on such short notice, but he will speak with the library director and try to get permission for them to be in the library after close another day.

With that taken care of, Darrek’s phone rings. Answering it, he is greeted by Professor Oddmuth’s assistance, who informs him that she would like to meet with him at her penthouse downtown this evening at Darrek’s convenience. The assistant also mentions that he can bring Henry if he so desires.

Leaving the library, the group catches a whiff of acrid body odor as a homeless man grabs Hilda and tells her that the King wants to see her. The group splits, with Henry and Darrek going to meet with Oddmuth, and Hilda, Matthew, Yun-Xun, and Danny reluctantly following the homeless man.

The homeless man, who introduces himself as Barge, leads them deep into the sewers and to an abandoned subway platform. From there he jumps onto the tracks and motions them to follow. Eventually, he leads them through a crack in the tunnel wall, and the group realizes that they are hopelessly lost. Barge suddenly spins around to face them and smiles into the beam of his flashlight before turning it off, leaving them in pitch black darkness.

Light slowly begins to fill the area, revealing that they are in a junction of five tunnels. Numerous homeless people stand at the periphery. The is a chandelier here. A heavyset man wearing rags and bearing a striking resemblance to Elvis approaches them and throws a bundle of filthy newspapers at their feet.

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The King tells them that he needs their help. He says that some of his people refuse to come underground where it is safe and that he will share information with the group if they bring his people home. He claims to know something about the investigation, and that the people who are after his followers are involved with the chicken massacre.

Matthew agrees to lend his assistance. The King informs them that there are two people at the heart of the issue – a librarian and a con-man. He says that have a base of operations on Smithfield Street. He claims that Oddmuth is already dead and that the men have the missing half page. He also claims that something “from beneath the waves” is here. He then tells the group that the people who need their help are under the Fort Duquesne Bridge and mentions that they will find friends of theirs there as well.

Suddenly, there is a blood-curdling scream as a homeless person is yanked violently into the darkness of a tunnel. Odd looking humanoid frog and snake hybrid monsters emerge from the darkness and start attacking the homeless people. The King suddenly vanishes, taking the light with him.

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Danny shifts into his lycanthropic form, and sees that the monsters are everywhere. He shouts that they need to get out. Matthew and Yun-Xun quickly go to work trying to evacuate and defend the innocent homeless people from the monsters. Yun-Xun realizes that graffiti they saw on there way in is actually directions to return to the surface, and tries to lead the group out. As they reach a trolly station, the creatures retreat.

Commuters in the trolly station take notice of the battered and bloody people emerging from a tunnel. As Matthew changes into a clean suit, Yun-Xun, Danny, and Hilda are noticed by the police. Matthew pulls a fire alarm, and they slip away in the confusion before the police can stop them.

Meanwhile, Darrek and Henry arrive at Professor Oddmuth’s building. The porter and the doorman seem to be a bit too interested in them. Darrek asks them if they have a problem, and things get awkward. Oddmuth’s 20th story penthouse is elegantly appointed with antiques and fine artwork and finer furniture. She greets Darrek and Henry, and offers Darrek a tumbler of whiskey. Darrek declines the offer and suggests that they get down to business.

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Oddmuth mentions that she has been meaning to contact Blake Investigations for some time now. She says that some “ridiculous types” are in way over their head and have drawn some attention, but she has managed to keep them off of her case for the moment. She admits that she possesses the missing half page from the grimoire and shows it to the two. Henry recognizes it as some obscure Coptic dialect, but cannot read it. Darrek recognizes it as an alchemical formula.

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Oddmuth says that it is the means to activate a substance known as “Yothic resin.” The resin, when activated, can focus the light of the shadow world, granting power and charisma beyond measure. Legends claim that Hitler was the last to successfully use the resin. She also informs them that the resin will kill whoever has consumed it if it is not activated within a certain time frame. She wants to give the page to the group for safe-keeping and as a show of good faith. Henry stows the page in the hidden compartment of his messenger bag where he keeps his mother’s journal.

At this moment, three large men barge in through the door and two swing in through the window, leveling guns at Oddmuth, Darrek, and Henry. Darrek quickly casts a shielding spell on Henry. Henry grabs Oddmuth by the arm, and tells her to trust him. He rushes to the window and leaps out. Using a combination of his magic, physical prowess, and sheer luck, he and Oddmuth manage to survive the fall with no serious injury, though Oddmuth is unconscious. Henry immediately calls 911.

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Darrek is searched and questioned by the men about the missing page. Unsatisfied with his answers they escort him out of the building at gun point. In the street, Darrek uses his magic to “convince” the men to leave him be and go home. Henry flags down Darrek, who uses magic to heal Oddmuth. She’s battered, but thankful for the assistance. The first responders to the 911 call arrive and are given a story about a home invasion and informed that Oddmuth needs protection.

The team reassembles and exchanges what they have learned. They decide to head to the Fort Duquesne Bridge to assist the King’s people.

To be continued…

Memorable Quotes

“Oh my god! You are so rude! Let me finish, you terrible, terrible man!” – Henry

“Using an innocent mundane as bait kind of goes against that whole Protector thing I’m supposed to be.” – Henry
“Right. I was just testing you.” – Darrek

“Great, we found Elvis.” – Hilda

“Sorry, that seemed like a better idea at the time than it does in retrospect.” – Henry, re: jumping out of a 20th story window
“No, it’s okay. It was ballsy, I owe you.” – Oddmuth

“I guess I have to. I don’t want to beat up a cop.” – Danny

“Don’t go in the subway. There are vicious monsters.” – Matthew
“I wasn’t planning on it.” – Darrek
“You can’t now, anyway. There’s a fire alarm.” – Matthew

“But the King was wrong. Oddmuth is alive, and we have the page.” – Henry
“Yeah, she’s in the hospital, but alive.” – Darrek
“How’d that happen?” – Danny
“I jumped out of a 20th story window.” – Henry
“How did that affect her?” – Matthew
“She was with me at the time.” – Henry
Grinning “Brilliant, right?” – Darrek

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Episode 12
Rise of the Green Goddess, Part 2

Chronicler: Robert

The group decides to adjourn to a pizza parlor for dinner, and are surprised when they arrive to see Danny having dinner with Harlan. Harlan informs the group that Danny was starting to get a bit of cabin fever, and he needed to get out. Since the FBI seems to have moved on (at least for the time being), Danny picks back up with the group.

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Darrek shakes hands with Harlan and takes the opportunity to catch up with his old friend. They discuss the books that have recently been going missing from Anita’s library, and Darrek asks Harlan if he knows of anyone who could potentially get through the wards placed on the Hive Arcana by Silas. Harlan says that he cannot think of anyone off the top of his head, but promises to look into it.

Having had their fill of pizza and filled Danny in on the events that he missed, the group heads over to Frick Park to investigate the scenes of the chicken massacre and the murder of John’s former army friend. As they are heading into the park, they see a homeless man perched on the stone wall, ranting and raving about death and other nonsense. The group elects to ignore him and go about their business.

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Darrek remembers the location of the chicken massacre from reading the news reports, and guides the rest of the group to the location. The group proceeds to give the area a thorough search. Darrek and Matthew quickly find signs that the site is a ritual circle designed to summon Essence. Darrek also notes that the ground is fully saturated with old blood. The rest of the group turns up a desiccated chicken head, as well as three boxes with duct tape, dog hair, and a packing slip bearing the name and address of an animal shelter, covered with male ejaculate stains.

As they are finishing up their search, Hilda notices two men approaching. One of them the group recognizes as Old Man Kuba from the photographs in Professor Atterman’s office. Old Man Kuba is smiling and waving, and chittering in an obscure Spanish dialect to the man next to him. The younger man who is accompanying Old Man Kuba informs the group that he is telling the group to “get the fuck out of here.”

Henry mentions that they are looking into the strange occurrences surround the death of Professor Atterman, and Kuba immediately switches to English. He tells the group that this place is sacred, but dangerous. He doesn’t want more blood on his hands.

More people arrive at the site, looking like they are searching for trouble. It is a young pretty boy and three tattooed thugs. They approach Kuba and his companion, Tito, and they begin to have a heated debate. They discover that the new comer is Sammy. Kuba accuses Sammy of delving into the Dark Arts, and Sammy replies, “I got rid of the bitch, didn’t I?”

Yun-Xun tries to interject and ask if “the bitch” is Shelly Atterman, but is ignored. The argument between Sammy and Kuba continues to get more heated until finally Sammy pulls out a rebar and physically threatens Kuba, The group moves in to defend the old man.

During the confromtation, Danny shifts into his lycanthropic form, which shakes the morale of the three goons. Yun-Xun takes up a defensive position in front of Tito and Kuba, and Hilda encourages the rest to run. The thugs take off, while Sammy walks away with a threat, promising Kuba that their business is far from over.

Having protected them, Kuba and Tito warm up to the group a bit, and agree to share some information. Kuba mentions a book and missing page once again, mirroring something that Shelly said in her ramblings. He also mentions a Professor Oddmuth. Tito says that he thinks Atterman had stolen a rare book from Oddmuth, but it was missing a page. He tells the group that he thinks Atterman was trying to purchase half of that page from some source when he was murdered. They also discuss Shelly Atterman. Tito seems to be less than friendly towards the woman, though Kuba mentions that he likes and respects her.

Henry and Darrek offer to assist Kuba with cleansing the sacred space of the corruption here, but Kuba refuses. Yun-Xun realizes that the murder of John’s army buddy happened near this area, and asks Tito about human sacrifice in Santeria. Tito gets very defensive and offended, and tells her that they don’t do that. Kuba says that the victim probably wandered into something he should not have, and paid with his life. Darrek makes a comment about taking care of the various problems plaguing the Santeria community if they don’t manage it themselves, in true Rosicrucian White Savior Complex fashion, which undoes some of the efforts the group has put into winning over Tito and Kuba. They insist that the group takes their leave, and their request is honored.

As the group heads to the site of the decapitation, Henry asks about snakes and snake skins, saying that he found strange snake skins in the animal shelter, as well as Shelly’s apartment, and he wonders if they could be related to how Sammy operates and if they might be involved in the sudden insanity of the people with which Sammy has had problems. In a small flash of insight, he realizes that the skins resonate with a similar energy signature to Sammy. He also realizes that while Sammy feels like he is infected with Lyssicus to the rest of the group, to Henry it feels subtly different. His heightened awareness of mystical energies afforded to him by his status as Protector allows him to see that it is like the power is not quite the same as the Lyssicus they have previously encountered, and it is coming from another entity, it is not actually Sammy’s power. When he explains this to Darrek, Darrek realizes that the difference could be explained by Sammy having made a pact with some Shade entity that the group has not yet encountered. At the site of the decapitation, they find nothing of interest, and debate what their next move should be.

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They elect to return to the Hive Arcana to try to figure out who Professor Oddmuth is, and review the security footage they recovered from the animal shelter. As they leave, the homeless man they saw on their way in is still ranting and raving on the wall. Darrek pulls some bills out of his wallet, gives them to the man, and tries to engage him, asking if he has seen anything unusual, but he just incoherently rambles about “fisher king,” and the, “king of the world.”

Back at the Hive, the group goes into Anita’s library and pulls up the security footage they recovered. It shows the man they found killing animals in the shelter entering with E.J. Hastings, as well as a tall thin man with a ponytail and a woman with wild hair and a stack of books being lead on a rope lead. They enter the kennel and draw a chalk circle on the floor. The woman is let loose and begins tossing animals into boxes, as well as to the puppy killer. The group is disturbed by the images.

At one point, Darrek looks down to see that there is a notecard in front of him that says “This is very restricted information. Dangerous!!” He pockets the card and goes to ask Jamie about it, as it has a faint trace of magic about it. However, when he goes to retrieve it from his pocket to show it to her, it’s gone.

Darrek begins researching Oddmuth, while Henry tries to see if there is any way to fix magically induced insanity. Darrek turns up next to nothing, and thinks to contact Harlan to see if he has more information. Henry finds only scattered references to something called “Catharsis,” but nothing more. It also occurs to Henry that there was an arrest made in regards to the chicken massacre: a man by the name of Sam Guerva. However, he is unable to find anything more on Guerva.

Darrek takes out his phone to begin the process of getting in touch with Harlan, only to see the face of E.J. Hastings reflected in the black screen. Hastings tells Darrek to back off or that he will send one of his “pets” to deal with him. Darrek responds with sass, as he is wont to do. Realizing that his phone won’t help him contact Harlan anyway, since Harlan doesn’t have a phone, he puts it away. Emily is anxious to go home and re-acclimate, so he drives her and Henry home before heading to Club Apocalypse to find Harlan.

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Darrek finds Harlan with relative ease, and asks him about Oddmuth. Harlan says that she is a collector of occult antiquities. He has never met her, but knows her by reputation. She tends to avoid trouble, though sometimes she sells things she should not. He gives Darrek an address on Stanwix street where she is known to operate. Darrek thanks him, giving him back the fifty dollar bill Harlan repaid him earlier, and then heads home, hopeful that he and Emily can finally have some intimate time together after their long separation during her hospitalization. He is disappointed to find her dead asleep, utterly exhausted by her recent ordeal.

Meanwhile, Yun-Xun researches Hastings. She finds some information that they already knew, such as his replacement of Shelly Atterman on the community board. She discovers that the community board meets once a month in different locations, and that they have no established office. The website for the community board lists contact information for the president of the board, but no other contact information. She also learns that Hastings used to work at a Carnegie Library branch in East Liberty under a man named Alfred Varage. He was basically a nobody before, never appearing in the news or making any noticeable waves.

The group reconvenes to discuss their next move, and come to the decision that they should check out Action Housing, where Letia Marsh lives. Henry requests Swedish Fish along the way, so they make a quick pit stop at S&S Candies in Mount Oliver, where Darrek purchases enough sugar to put a moderately sized African Elephant into a diabetic coma.

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Action Housing is an eighteen-story apartment complex with an attached clinic. The clinic is currently under construction, and there are two security guards. Matthew and Henry notice that they are armed, indicating that they are likely off-duty police officers. The entrance to the clinic is to the left, with the residential wing entrance on the right. The residential wing is locked, and has a large call box with numerous apartment buttons on it. Matthew sees that Marsh lives on the 14th floor, and tries to buzz her, but there is no response. Conveniently, another resident happens to be going inside at that moment, so the group piggybacks on their entry.

Everyone but Yun-Xun takes the elevator. Yun-Xun insists on climbing the stairs. They arrive roughly simultaneously, though Yun-Xun is clearly fatigued and winded. They quickly assess the layout of the floor, and notice that the door to Marsh’s apartment is open. There is a cheery yellow light inside, and the sounds of smooth jazz fill the hallway. A woman peeks out of another door and kisses something about a king. Yun-Xun catches someone watching her through a hole in a door. A woman makes unpleasant and creepy sexual advances towards Henry.

Marsh’s apartment is clean and well lit, tastefully decorated, and filled with books. There is a faint smell of rot permeating the apartment, however. Darrek calls in, but there is no response. The apartment is small, only one bedroom and one bathroom. Yun-Xun heads into the bedroom while Darrek checks the bathroom. Yun-Xun finds a purse containing the normal items you would expect to find in a purse, including a work ID for the Carnegie Library Rare Books Division is East Liberty. Darrek finds nothing of note in the bathroom.

Hilda looks through the collection of books and finds one entitled The Darkblood Revelations. The dust jacket has a local address for the publisher. Matthew searches the kitchen and finds chicken feathers under the refrigerator, as well as a rotting chicken in the trash can. There is a band on the chicken’s leg that reads “Pittsburgh Chicken Depot.” There is also a business card on the refrigerator for Professor Oddmuth, complete with an email address and phone number.

As the group is reconvening in the living room to share what they have found, a disheveled woman enters the apartment. She tells them that no one comes into Marsh’s apartment anymore. Not since the “tall man” left it unlocked. Darrek turns on the charm and asks the woman about Letia. She says that Letia likes to read and that the “tall man” took her away on a rope. She says that the “tall man” has taken many women from here. She also says that the “joy girl” visits, and she loves the, “joy girl.” When asked who the, “joy girl,” is, she indicates the unusual track marks on her arms, which the group deduces look like snake bites. She doesn’t know Hastings or the name of the tall man.

Henry suggests to Darrek that they might attempt a locator spell to find Letia. The only locator spell that Darrek knows is a sorcery spell, but he agrees to attempt it. He takes one of Letia’s personal affects to the bedroom, closes the door, and casts the spell. The magics raised seem make the strange lady very uncomfortable, and she assumes the fetal position and rocks back and forth. The spell works, but seems to indicate that Letia is nowhere – she is not on Earth or any plane of existence. She is simple nowhere.

As the group leaves, they hear slapping noises in the walls, echoing their steps. They get in the elevator. The elevator stops between floors and the emergency lights come on. The call button doesn’t function. Yun-Xun climbs up and opens the top emergency access grate, and a pair of wet amber serpentine eyes greet them. Henry suggests forcing the door and crawling through the gap, but just then the eyes disappear and the elevator starts moving again. They happily exit in the lobby and head on their way.

Having contact information for Oddmuth now, Darrek calls her answering service and leaves a message requesting a return call to set up an appointment to meet with her.

To be continued…

Memorable Quotes and Great Moments

Re: Harlan
“Nice to see you, mate! How the hell have you been? And where’s the fifty quid you owe me?” – Darrek

Re: Hilda wiping grave dust off her hands
“Not on the bloody pizza! Go wash your hands!” – Darrek

“I think he was trying to protect you.” – Mike D. (Yun-Xun’s player)
“But it’s my job to protect him!” – Robert (Henry’s player)

Re: Sammy
“I just knew when he showed that picture that Henry would think he’s cute.” – Julie (Darrek’s player)

“Snakes…why does it always have to be snakes?!” – Darrek (Quoting Indiana Jones)

Re: Considering the potential of snakes attacking their home
“Do you think Omar would eat a snake?” – Darrek
“I don’t think we should let Omar eat any magical crazy-making snakes.” – Henry
“I agree with Henry.” – Emily

Re: When snakes attack
“It’ll happen at the most inconvenient time possible…like, when Darrek is in the middle of having sex with his wife.” – Julie (Darrek’s player)
“You really should know better than to say something like that in front of me.” – Jason (GM)

Re: Darrek
“Um…don’t Google ‘pup play.’” – Henry

“I’m like a Pringle. Once you pop, you can’t stop.” – Darrek

“Darrek, what’s Catharsis?” – Henry
“Ask Anita, she can explain it better than I can. Pauses And, what have you been reading?” – Darrek

“I did not know that you can boil candy.” – Hilda, re: British candy

Darrek introduces the group to his favorite confection from the land of his birth, Jelly Babies.

“There’s a lot of crazy in there.” – Mike D. (Yun-Xun’s player)

“It’s a very special episode.” – Robert (Henry’s player), re: Henry getting propositioned by an insane woman

“So, it’s not snakes at all. It’s been heroin the whole time!” – Mike D. (Yun-Xun’s player), re: the “joy girl”

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Episode 11
Rise of the Green Goddess, Part 1

Chronicler: Robert
Based on the Call of Cthulhu _scenario entitled, “The Snows of an Early Winter,” by Louis Agresta and published by Super Genius Games.

Cut Scene

The two men stood face-to-face, one fuming, the other trying very hard to keep his calm.

“Where is it?” The first man demanded. “I know you have it, or at least, you know where it is.”

“I think you should calm down,” the second one said. “I’ve already done you a huge favor loaning the book to you in the first place. You’ll need to bring it back, or else…”

“Or else, what?” The first man demanded. “You’ll fire me? I’ll tell them. You know I’ll tell them what you do.” His eyes narrowed. “They’re already onto you, aren’t they? You know I could end you.”

“Walk away,” the second man said. “Just walk away. Give me the book back, and I don’t tell anyone. In fact, keep the book. I don’t care. Just walk away, and leave me alone.”

""I’ve got a counter proposal," the first man said. “Turn over to me what you took, or tell me where to find it, and I’ll leave you alone.”

The second man’s face drew thin, his lips a straight line. “You know I won’t do that.”

“Fine.” The first man said. “I’ll have to find it myself.”

The knife blade glinted brightly in the yellow glow of the lamp. There was a gurgle, a spray of blood, and the second man collapsed, twitching, across his desk.

Episode Synopsis

Two weeks have passed since the group’s failed attempt to stop Papa Screech and his blasphemous ritual. Things have mostly returned to business as usual.

When he’s not working, Darrek spends as much time as he can with Henry and attempts to further bond with him via various activities including going to the movies, Dave and Buster’s, and go-kart racing. One morning over breakfast, he gives Henry a lanyard with several small keys on it and informs him that he no longer needs to ask permission to access the library. Henry gets Darrek a belated birthday gift as promised: an adorable teddy bear dressed like a bobby (British police officer), which Darrek is careful to keep out of Omar’s reach. Yun-Xun spends a day over at the Tinsleys’ house with them teaching Henry to make dumplings.

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Henry goes to check on the girl he took to the hospital, but discovers that she has vanished. This doesn’t concern him too much, as that is pretty much par for the course when street kids end up in the hospital.

Matthew spends a lot of time with his new fling, Rebecca. Her resemblance to the mysterious Camilla is unsettling for the rest of the group, but for her part, Rebecca seems to be a pleasant and kind person. He finds himself constantly thinking about her, even when he isn’t trying to.

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Books have continued to go missing from Anita’s library, much to the chagrin of both her and Darrek. Neither of them, nor Silas, can figure out how or why this is occurring.

After gaining what he can from Anita’s library, Darrek goes to the Masonic Temple to research how to deal with the problem of Cassilda and attempts to reconnect with his Rosicrucian brothers. He discovers that they have split into different factions and some of them attempt to speak with him in some sort of code that he cannot comprehend. There is a miasma of distrust hanging over the chapter house. Darrek is deeply unsettled when Aimee Harris is particularly nice to him, despite his efforts to avoid her.

Klaus is still off the radar. No one has heard from or seen him since he went to investigate Megan’s disappearance. Anita is very worried about him, as it is not like him to maintain radio silence for so long. Even when he was in the monastery in Tibet, he still maintained regular contact with her.

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Darrek receives a phone call from WPIC to inform him that his wife, Emily, is being released from the hospital. He suspects that this is more due of a shortage of beds than her being legitimately ready for discharge, but decides not to look a gift horse in the mouth. He goes the next morning to pick her up, and she tells him that she has been having a very strange dream, over and over. She knows her powers well enough to understand that it is a vision. She says that there is a woman in pain, somewhere in the East End of Pittsburgh. She can see snakes and bloody chicken heads in the vision as well. Darrek urges her to focus, and when she does she is able to remember some more details. She can recall a partial address, which Darrek googles and discover is a dilapidated tenement in Larimer. She begs him to help the woman, and he promises her that he will look into it.

Convening back at the Hive Arcana, Anita informs the group that she has a new case for them. The woman who contacted her would not identify herself, but insisted that she needed outside help and said that the police are being unhelpful. Professor Atterman, the curator of the South American Indigenous Peoples Exhibit at the Carnegie Museum, has been murdered. She wants the group to look into the murder.

Almost as soon as Anita finishes her briefing, there is a knock on her office door. A young woman comes in and introduces herself as Margot. She says that her cat, who was being boarded at the East Side Shelter in East Liberty, has been killed. In fact, all of the animals in the kennel were slaughtered. She is very upset, and wants the group to find out who killed her beloved cat and why.

Hesitant to leave her alone so soon after being released from the hospital, Darrek brings Emily to the Hive for some socialization and relaxation. After their arrival, Anita receives a phone call from her old friend, John. He tells her that one of his old army buddies was found dead in Frick Park, decapitated. He asks Anita if she can look into it, but asks that she remain discrete.

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Now having several cases to work on simultaneously, the group confers and decides to start with the Carnegie Museum first, as it is just down the road from the Hive. Darrek attempts to charm his way into the back offices, telling the receptionist that he needs to speak with the curator regarding a class he is teaching. The receptionist informs him that Atterman is dead, and the new curator is named Professor Surro. She calls Surro, but receives no answer. She tells Darrek to call and make an appointment with Surro at a later date.

While the receptionist is distracted, Matthew decides to sneak past the guards and find Atterman’s office on his own. After picking the lock, he searches the office. He finds a number of items and books relating to voodoo and Santeria. Some of the books on Santeria were written by Atterman himself. He also sees a photograph of a pug dog, and a picture of Atterman with an old man that one of his books’ dust jacket identifies as “Old Man Cuba.”

During his search of the office, Matthew is interrupted by a young woman. After some conversation, he learns that her name is Cheryl Cody, and she was Atterman’s secretary. She is also the person that hired Blake Investigations to look into his death. She rambles on a bit, talking about how Pogo the pug was in the office but the police took him to a shelter, and how there was mud and “weird stuff” on Atterman’s body. She also indicates that she does not like Professor Surro. Matthew gives her business card and tells her to call him should she think of anything that might be relevant to the investigation.

At this moment, an Asian man comes into the room and begins yelling at Cheryl and Matthew in broken English. He is Professor Surro. He tells Matthew to leave, or he will call security. Matthew complies, but blatantly snaps a picture of him with his phone on his way out.

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Having done all they can at the museum, the group heads to the East End Shelter. The kennel is currently closed, and there is an alarm system active. Henry tries his best to disable the alarm before picking the lock on the door. He’s fairly confident that he is successful, and they enter the shelter. The lights come on as they enter into the office area. They see a sign indicating that the kennel is downstairs, so they head that way. There is a large man in scrubs hacking dogs and cats into pieces with a fire ax. He charges the group when he notices them, eyes wild. A fight ensues, and the man is eventually knocked unconscious.

With the man disabled, the group quickly searches the kennel. They find a stack of library books and a library card with the name Leisha Marsh on it, and a drawer filled with thick gray snake skins. The skins are unsettling. Darrek discovers a hospital coat and an address for Marsh. Matthew spots a security camera, and quickly takes the hard drive from the security terminal.

Realizing that the man might have set off the alarm before Henry disabled it, they take his unconscious body to a nearby storage facility to interrogate him. He rants and raves about blood, saying that his gods will be the death of the group. Darrek attempts to use his magic to influence the man’s cooperation. He refuses to say anything else, and then chews off his own tongue. The group search his pockets, and find an ID. The man’s name is Reilly Jackson. They decide to take him to the hospital, as he’s losing a lot of blood.

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After dropping him off at West Penn, they decide to head to Larimer to investigate Emily’s vision. Arriving at the address Emily provided, it seems to be an abandoned apartment building. However, the intercom is on and one of the buttons has the name “Shelly Atterman” on it.

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Darrek presses it, and a woman’s voice comes on. The woman seems crazed, ranting about helicopters and people following her. When Matthew mentions that they are investigating Professor Atterman’s death, she buzzes the group in, but insists that everyone removes all of their jewelry and put it in the mailbox so that “they” can’t use it to spy on her. The only one of the group who is wearing any jewelry is Darrek, who refuses to remove his wedding band, and opts to stay downstairs in the lobby while the others go up to talk to Shelly. Hilda decides to wait with him.

When they arrive, there are newspapers and rotting food everywhere. An older woman paws at a stationary television. There is a younger African American woman with a pair of fabric shears. She begins to cry about her brother.

Henry spots something writhing under the newspapers, and hears the clucking of chickens in another room. The woman raves about slithering, and starts gyrating. When Henry approaches the door with the clucking, the woman becomes aggressive, and starts yelling at him to leave the door alone.

The woman rants about how her brother was murdered over a book and a missing page. She mentions a Professor Oddmuth, and claims they chased Pogo away. She says that “it” is in the shelter with Pogo, and “it” will be safe there. She rants about how she needed to protect Frick Park, and that “they” were killing animals there. Matthew notices some newspaper clippings, and offers to get her a glass of water. He palms the clippings in the process, and sees that they are articles about her community organization work, and that when she retired she was replaced by a librarian named E.J. Hastings.

Reconvening in the lobby, Darrek, Henry, and Yun-Xun remember that they read something about a series of animal killings in Frick Park a while back. Darrek call the article up on his phone, and reads the story aloud to the group about a Santeria cult slaughtering a lot of chickens. Shelly Atterman pushed for the practice to be outlawed, stating health code violations and public safety. A fiesty debate about freedom of religion ensued, and Professor Atterman and Old Man Cuba were tapped for their expertise in the matter. Cuba insisted that when done properly, Santeria animal sacrifices were performed as humanely as possible and adhered to health code regulations. He also said that the event in the park was performed incorrectly, and did not reflect true Santeria practices. A man named Sam Guerva was arrested for the slaughter.

The group decides to break for dinner, and then head into Frick Park to investigate the site of the murder of John’s friend, as well as the site of the chicken massacre.

To Be Continued

Memorable Quotes and Great Moments

(Bitterly, to Matthew) “Say hi to your girlfriend for me.” – Anita

“So, we go to the museum first, since that’s closest, and then the scene of the horrible kitten murders. Because that guy needs to be brought to justice!” – Henry
“Can we not with the kitten murders?” – Darrek

(To the security guard at the museum) “Ain’t my fault you ain’t no good.” – Matthew

“Darrek, do you think we were like, all Hitlers in a past life, and that’s why this stuff happens to us every day?” – Henry
“No!! What?! No!!” – Darrek

Re: a long talk about Buddhism and reincarnation
“And that is why demons are not Buddhist.” – Yun-Xun

Darrek sheepishly apologizes to Yun-Xun after assuming expertise about the beliefs and philosophy of Buddhism…in front of a practicing Buddhist.

(To Darrek) “Check yo’ privilege.” – Henry

“You’re being remarkably snarky today.” – Darrek
“I LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOU!” – Henry, with big old crocodile tears

“I will let him live because we might need information, but he will not live comfortably.” – Hilda

“He doesn’t look normal, he’s chopping up puppies.” – Mike V. (Matthew’s player)

Re: The man chopping up shelter animals
“Darrek, this is a mean person.” – Henry

Re: The puppy killer
“We could just let him loose, phone 911, and call it a day.” – Darrek
DARREK!” – Yun-Xun

Re: Hilda groin punching the puppy killer repeatedly
“She slayed those nuts!” – Mike D. (Yun-Xun’s player)

“Why is she even living here? This place is abandoned.” – Henry
(Sarcastically) “Oh, I don’t know, maybe it’s because of the helicopters.” – Darrek

The group is directed to remove all of their jewelry and leave it in a mailbox. They all stare at Darrek, who is the only one of them who is wearing jewelry.
(Looking down at his wedding ring and then up at the group, he shakes his head) “Nope, sorry. This is a test.” – Darrek

Re: Shelly starting to gyrate
“…I need an adult.” – Henry

“Are your pretties the snakes under the newspapers, or the chickens in the bedroom?” – Henry
“What? I don’t hear anything.” – Shelly Atterman
“Really? Because you’ve got chickens in your bedroom and snakes under your newspapers. I just want to impress upon you how surreal your living situation is.” – Henry

After reading the news article about the chicken massacre, Darrek is completely disgusted by Henry’s suggestion of getting a barbecue chicken pizza.

“That is just not right.” – Darrek
“Darrek, this is America. If it is a thing you can eat, we will put it on a pizza.” – Henry

View
Yes, but...why is the rum gone?

A few days after the Halloween party at the Hive Arcana, Darrek knocks on Henry’s bedroom door one evening and asks if he’ll help take out the trash for pickup the next morning.

“We have a lot of recycling this week,” he remarks.

Henry starts picking up blue bags and follows Darrek to the end of the driveway. Setting them down at the curb, he realizes that there are multiple empty liquor bottles in the bags. Coming back into the house and going into the living room, he sees that the bar has been completely cleared out, and there’s not a single bottle of alcohol left.

He looks at Darrek, shocked. “Did you just throw out all your booze? Like, all of it? Because I’m pretty sure that was expensive.”

Darrek nods. “Yes, it was…but losing the trust and respect I have fought to earn from you would cost me far more.” He looks at Henry. “You and Em are more important to me than anything. And you’re both right…I have been drinking too much lately. So I thought I’d better do something about it.”

“This isn’t because I drank your scotch, is it?”

He smiles, “Sort of, yes. I realized that I’m not exactly setting the best example for you of how to cope in a healthy way, am I?”

“I’m not convinced that there IS a healthy way to cope with what’s been going on. I think the fact that none of us have started smoking crack or shooting up is a small miracle.”

Darrek reaches out and puts his arm around Henry’s shoulders. “We do the best we can, always, and we always try to do better. And we stick together, and we look out for one another.” He pauses. “Thank you for looking out for me.”

Henry smiles. “Just don’t start smoking crack instead. I’m pretty sure CYF is already difficult enough without you failing a drug test.”

Darrek laughs. “I’ll take that under advisement…although it sort of brings up something else I’ve been wanting to talk to you about.”

“What’s that?”

A long, silent moment passes before he begins to speak. “Well…Em and I were talking about the whole CYF situation, and how it stresses all of us out…and we thought if we adopted you, that they wouldn’t be an issue anymore. No more intrusive caseworkers showing up unexpectedly, no more court hearings…” He pauses.

“Look, Henry, this isn’t something you have to decide today. It’s a lot to think about, and I want you to understand that whatever you decide, you’ll still be welcome to keep living here with us, and we will continue to support you in anyway we can. Emily and I…we both care about you, very much…and we would be proud beyond measure to be able to call you our son.” Darrek looks at Henry hesitantly, trying to gauge his reaction.

After another long silence, Henry responds. “It’s definitely something to think about… later, after all this is over, and we know that we’ll even still be alive.” He pauses. “I think my mom and dad…I think they would have wanted that.”

Darrek nods. "Take all the time that you need to think it over. This isn’t a time limited offer…and this also isn’t about what your parents would have wanted, or what I want, or Em, or anyone else. It’s about what you want…and you will have our full and unconditional support, whatever you decide. "

Henry hugs Darrek. “Thanks. Now, I should probably grab something to eat, take Omar for her walk, finish my homework, and then do some magical research. The past few days have proven to me that mini-earthquakes and jets of water are not, in fact, one size fits all solutions to all of our problems.” He starts to head towards the kitchen.

“You feel like Indian food?” Darrek looks slightly embarrassed. “Today’s actually my birthday, and I’m having this insane craving for some vindaloo. I could call in an order for pickup and go get it while you finish your homework.”

Henry nods and smiles. “Indian food sounds great. And happy birthday. I’ll have to go out tomorrow and pick up a present for you.”

Darrek flushes. “You really don’t have to do that.”

“I know. That’s why it’s a present. If I had to, it would be a tax. Or a tribute. Whatever, pick one.”

“A tribute sounds narcissistic, and a tax is just depressing, so I guess I choose the present.”

“Present it is.” Henry checks his phone. “Also, there’s a place on OrderUp that will deliver an ice-cream cake. Ice-cream cake goes well with Indian, right? Too late, I ordered it. It’ll be here in 45 minutes. Hope chocolate’s okay.”

“Hen…ice cream cake goes with everything. Well…except lactose intolerance, veganism, and gluten allergies, none of which exist in this house, thank God.” Darrek grins. “And I love chocolate.”

“Awesome. I’m going to go finish my homework. Let me know when dinner’s here?”

“Absolutely.”

As Henry runs upstairs, Darrek casts a long sideways glance at the empty bar before pulling his phone out to call and order their dinner. A few moments after hanging up with Mintt, his phone rings. He looks at the incoming number and a smile crosses his lips as he swipes his finger across the screen to answer.

“Hello, darling. How are you?”

“Happy birthday!” Emily exclaims. “How’s your day been? I want to hear all about it. What did you do?”

“Got a year older, had tea, read a bit of Aristotle and thought about the meaning of life, prepped for my classes this week, took out the trash, had a nice chat with the boy, and just ordered us some take out vindaloo from Mintt for dinner.”

“How is Henry?”

“He’s fine, he’s upstairs finishing his homework.” Darrek pauses. “When he found out about my birthday, he ordered me an ice cream cake with some app on his phone and is having it delivered to the house. Will the miracles of modern technology never cease?”

“That’s so sweet. I’m glad he got you a cake.” Her voice chokes slightly. “Can you come and see me tomorrow?”

“Of course. How was your day? How are you feeling?”

“I’ve been up and down a lot today. I think it’s because it’s your birthday. I’ve been…really emotional…” Her voice trails off.

“What is it, love?”

She starts to cry. “I want to come home. I miss you so much.”

He swallows hard, pushing back the lump rising in his throat. “I miss you, too. I talked to your doctor this morning and she said you’re making a lot of progress. She thinks you’ll be discharged soon.”

Emily sniffles. “I hope so.”

“You will.” He pauses. “So, I did do something pretty, ehm, radical today.”

“What did you do?” Emily blows her nose. “Are we talking ‘radical’ like some kind of pre-mid-life crisis stunt?”

“Not…exactly.”

Her voice sharpens. “What did you do, Darrek?”

“Nothing divorce-worthy, hopefully….I just poured all the alcohol in the house down the kitchen drain.”

There is a long pause. “Even the 25-year Glenmorangie?”

“Yes, even the 25 year Glen.” He lets out a long sigh.

“I’ve been really worried about your drinking,” she says softly.

“I know. And we have more than enough to worry about right now, so…it seemed prudent.”

There is a murmur of a voice in the background. “No, I’m not done with my call yet,” Emily protests. “I’ll go when I’m done.” More murmuring, and her voice breaks. “My husband. I’ve been waiting all day to be able to talk to him. Please…” A pause, and more murmuring. “Yes, I promise, as soon as I’m done.”

“Who’s that? Everything alright?” Darrek asks.

“Yeah, one of the staff just came to get me for group.” Emily clears her throat. “How’s Omar? Is she eating enough?”

“I think that dog’s eaten three times her body weight in kibble today, so I’d say so.”

“Did she bark yet?”

Darrek smiles. “No, not yet. This morning we were having a cuddle and she jumped up all of a sudden and opened her mouth really wide and I thought one was coming…and then she farted.” He chuckles.

Emily bursts out laughing. “That’s so adorable.” She sighs. “And my phone call time is up. I have to go.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow.”


“Do you really think he’ll like it?” Her eyes look uncertain, anxious.

Darrek nods. “He’ll love it.”

“Hopefully I’ll be home by Christmas to give it to him.”

“You’ll be home long before then.” Darrek moves Emily’s hair away from her face and kisses her forehead.

“What did he say, when you brought it up?”

“He said that he would think about it.”

“I hope he says yes,” she murmurs, resting her head on his chest.

“So do I,” Darrek agrees.

There is a knock at the doorway. Emily jumps, startled. The staff member looks apologetic.

“Visiting hours are over for today, honey.”

Emily wraps her arms around Darrek’s neck, fighting back tears. “God, I hate this so much.”

“Me too. You’ll be home soon, though, and this will all be behind us,” he says softly. “I’ll be by tomorrow before my class.”

Emily nods, then pulls back and kisses him. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” He squeezes her hands before letting go of her. She closes her eyes as he leaves.

As he walks down the hallway of the ward towards the main doors, Darrek hears ranting coming from inside of one of the quiet rooms. He stops, glances in the window, and sees the red-haired man with the strange tattoos he has encountered several times before.

He jumps when a female voice suddenly says in his ear, “Greetings, Darrek Tinsley.”

He spins around and sees a beautiful, red-haired woman standing next to him.

“Have we met? Sorry, but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten your name…”

She smiles. “So polite. No apology is necessary. You didn’t forget anything.”

Darrek stares at the woman and can sense that she is not remotely human…and is brimming with power. He takes a small step away from her.

“Who are you?” he asks softly.

She continues to smile at him. “There is no need for you to worry about your wife while she is here. She is under my protection. No harm shall come to her.”

His eyes are confused, but grateful. “Thank you.”

She nods, and then her expression grows sad. “I also want to say that I am very sorry…I wasn’t here when they took Sam.” She looks through the window into the quiet room.

“Do you know him?” Darrek asks.

“You could say that. He’s…distant family.” She sighs. “Anyways, please send my best regards to Anita and Matthew.”

“Who should I say the regards are from?” he asks.

“Oh, they’ll know.” She smiles again. “Goodbye, Darrek Tinsley…and good luck.”

Darrek blinks, and the woman is gone. He shakes his head in disbelief, and heads for the exit.

View
Episode Ten
Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign? Part Three

Chronicler: Julie

Episode Synopsis

The Dullahan loudly demands the Protector. Hilda, Yun-Xun, Henry, and Darrek go outside to deal with it. The Dullahan sees Henry, looks confused, and proceeds to unleash its horrific chains which wrap around Henry and weaken him even further. He screams. Yun-Xun attempts to divert the attack, but fails. Hilda then attacks, slashing the creature several times. Darrek unleashes a blast of pure essence to break the chains holding Henry, which appears to travel up the chains and into the Dullahan, and then watches as the wounds Hilda just caused it suddenly close. Henry looks at Darrek, defeated, and says, “It eats magic.”

Henry manages to escape from the chains and gets a spell off successfully, which causes the earth underneath their feet to violently erupt. Yun-Xun is thrown into the side of the Hive Arcana and knocked unconscious. Darrek runs over and heals her. She sits up, and after Darrek helps her to her feet, brutally attacks the Dullahan, kicking it repeatedly. The group can all hear that the Dullahan seems to be saying the same thing repeatedly in some ancient demonic language. Darrek is able to recognize that it is saying, “Drain the Protector for the Mistress,” and, “The Mistress wants the power,” over and over again.

Henry suddenly has an overwhelming urge to kill everyone. The Yellow Signs on the parade fliers stapled to the telephone poles outside appear to glow.

After gauging the situation and determining that they are seriously outmatched by this creature, Darrek gets fed up and banishes the Dullahan back to its home dimension. Tracing several intricate mystical symbols in the air with his hand, the group hears him intone a prayer of some kind to Sophia, and a massive swell of Essence follows. The Dullahan suddenly disappears in an explosion of ash and dust.

Going back into the Hive Arcana, Darrek heals Yun-Xun and Henry, who are both grateful. Darrek and Henry then head to Anita’s library to research the gateway and see if they can determine where it leads. Darrek calls Daniel and puts him on speakerphone. He explains that the only way to determine where the gateway leads would be to go through it. Henry suggests that they purchase a burner cell phone, put a tracking app on it, go back to Fowler’s house, sneak in, and throw it through the gateway so they can track where it goes.

After Darrek purchases the phone and Henry puts the app on it, Darrek drives the group back to Fowler’s mansion in Peters Township. Yun-Xun and Henry wait in the car while Hilda and Darrek sneak in. They find that the window to the kitchen has been left open, and get inside without triggering the alarm, which Darrek can tell is armed. Hilda heads to the room where Henry saw the gateway, picks the lock, and slides the phone on the floor. It passes across the symbols painted on the floor and hits the opposite wall. Confused, Hilda turns around to ask Darrek what went wrong, and discovers he is not behind her. Hilda then pulls out her own cell phone and texts the rest of the group, asking why it isn’t working. Darrek responds that the gateway must be activated, and tells Hilda to come upstairs.

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She finds him standing outside of a bedroom. There is a strong sense of Lyssicus coming from the room. He indicates the door, and she picks the lock. Entering, they discover a massive shrine to Fowler’s dead wife and daughter. On the edge of a dresser which appears to be doubling as an altar of sorts, there are two books. One of is a copy of the play, ‘The King in Yellow,’ and the other appears to be a journal. Glancing at them both, Darrek sees that the journal has the current date and the time 11pm inscribed in handwriting at the bottom of the last page. Darrek glances at his watch to check the time, and sees it is about 10:30pm. Quickly skimming the journal, he realizes that there are outlines for a summoning ritual of some kind, and deduces that Fowler (and Papa Screech, presumably) must be planning to perform the ritual at that time. He tucks the play and the journal in a large pocket inside his trench coat, and follow Hilda downstairs.

Entering the room and looking at the symbols, Darrek realizes that he must open himself up to its energy in order to power up the gateway. When he does, the gateway surges with power, and Hilda throws the phone, which disappears. Darrek suddenly starts laughing hysterically, sits down in the middle of the symbols, and starts rocking back and forth. He pulls the play out from inside of his coat and begins reading it. Sensing that something is not right, Hilda attempts to grab the play from Darrek, who starts attacking her. He punches and kicks her repeatedly and pulls her by the hair. Hilda knocks him out cold, grabs the play, and throwing Darrek over her shoulder, runs out of the house and back to the car. Opening the back of his Rav, she lays him out in the back, slams the door, gets into the driver’s seat, and starts driving. Henry pulls out his cell phone and uses the app to track where the phone is. He determines it is in Panther Hollow in Schenley Park, and Hilda starts to head towards Oakland.

Discussing what happened in the house, the group realizes that there is no way that they can get to Panther Hollow in time to stop the ritual, and head back to Fowler’s to save time by going through the gateway. Darrek wakes up, and is visibly embarrassed as he remembers what happened, offering a sheepish but heartfelt apology to Hilda. The group get back into Fowler’s house and proceed through the gateway, which brings them out into a dilapidated shack. There is a human skull hanging from the ceiling with the Yellow Sign painted on it, and the feeling of Lyssicus is overwhelming.

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Darrek hears the sounds of chanting, and the group takes off running in its direction. Coming down a hillside towards the lake in Panther Hollow, they can see an image of Carcosa reflected off of the water…and a group of 20 robed cultists in circle of standing stones. There are two dead bodies laid over one of the menhir in a V-shape, and a large black man with long dreadlocks standing in front of them, arms raised, whom the group assumes must be Papa Screech. Fowler then steps out from the cultists and joins him, wearing a white ceremonial robe with the Yellow Sign embroidered on it. The group sees 4 winged horrors above them, and can hear something very large lumbering behind them in the woods.

DSCF2065.JPG

When Henry begins to channel Essence to disrupt the ritual, Papa Screech’s head snaps around. He again raises his hands to the sky, and the 4 winged horrors swoop down to attack the group. Darrek manages to banish two of them, and Hilda and Yun-Xun magnificently defeat the other two. Hilda recognizes that the creatures are attempting to pick them up to drop them from a height, and realizes that this is likely what killed Gavin.

Henry unleashes a spell and the earth underneath the stones and the cultists erupts spectacularly. As the stones begin to crack, he can sense a disruption in the Lyssicus energy, and calls to Darrek to focus his attacks on the stones if he can. Suddenly, a massive white amorphous blob of Lyssicus energy comes crashing out of the woods behind them and descends, bowling over everyone. Several of the cultists appear to be absorbed into the energy when it strikes them. Henry is hit by it and goes down, to Darrek’s abject horror. He runs over and uses his healing magics on the boy, saving Henry’s life. As he does, the blob hits Fowler, who glows brightly. The energy then appears to disappear into him, and he collapses.

Papa Screech then throws Fowler over his shoulder and takes off into the woods. Darrek runs full tilt after him, and the group follows. They find Screech some distance later, dead, his face a desiccated, shrunken husk. Fowler is gone, but the group tracks him back to the portal, theorizing he has returned to his home.

Walking back to the ritual site, Darrek pulls out his cell phone and calls Dr. Armedt, Daniel, and Silas to assist him and Henry in shutting down the gateway in the Hollow. Darrek introduces Henry to Daniel, telling him that if anything ever happens to him to contact Daniel, and he will ensure that Henry is taken care of.

Dr. Armedt then tells Darrek that the Rosicrucians are in full blown crisis, explaining that there is a faction, led by Aimee, who is calling for retribution for the attacks leveled on the Order by the Cabal of Psyche, and has effectively managed to split the Pittsburgh chapter house in two. She wants to use the diviners within the Rosicrucians to hunt down and wipe out the rest of the psychics in the city. Dr. Armedt remarks that he has discovered that she has very powerful supporters within the ranks of the New York chapter who fully support her efforts to “clean house.” Darrek fears that Aimee will attempt to hurt his wife, Emily. Armedt nods grimly, and tells Darrek that he’s attempting to gather a group of mages together that he knows he can trust to plan a response.

Darrek thanks Silas for his assistance, and tells him to consider himself owed a favor. Silas nods and remarks, “This danger threatens all of us. I like this world.”

Aurelio_Voltaire.jpg

Arriving back at the Hive Arcana, Dana is working furiously to prepare everything for the Halloween party planned for Saturday and tells the group that she has booked Voltaire to play a concert that night in the theater.

The next day is the Honorable Krewe of Swords’ Halloween parade. The event is truly spectacular, just like a classic New Orleans celebration but in Pittsburgh. The group does not see Fowler anywhere. The group hears a lot of buzz in the crowd about the masquerade ball during the parade.

KreweofBoo.jpg

After the parade, the group attends the ball at Fowler’s mansion. They can all sense Lyssicus energy upstairs. Darrek begins to climb the stairs to investigate, and Henry grabs him by the wrist and cautions him against acting brashly. Darrek comes back downstairs and turns on an extremely charming and charismatic persona, mingling with the other attendees. He sees several other Rosicrucians, who comment that something is seriously not right. Darrek nods, but says little to them, remembering his conversation with Armedt and uncertain of whom he can trust within the Order.

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A little after 11pm, Fowler appears standing on the balcony at the top of the stairs, looking down onto everyone. He is still wearing the ceremonial robes from the previous night and stinks of Lyssicus. With a knowing smirk, he asks the crowd, “Tell me, have you seen the Yellow Sign?” All of those present, including the entire group, respond in unison, “Yes, we have seen the Yellow Sign.” He then disappears again, then later joins the party downstairs, wearing a tuxedo and a white, featureless mask. He grins at the group and says simply, “Thank you.”

Darrek finds that he cannot stop thinking about the play, and does his best to entice Hilda into telling him what she did with it. She firmly refuses to tell him.

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The next day, the Hive Arcana’s Halloween party goes on without a single hitch. Voltaire knocks one out of the park with his performance, and everyone absolutely loves seeing him play. At the merchandise table, Darrek purchases a code to download a live recording of the concert the next day. He then proceeds to seriously tie one on and gets, to use his own words, utterly pissed. Henry calls Uber and schedules a driver to pick them up after the party is over, as Darrek is clearly too intoxicated to drive them home safely. He exchanges concerned glances with everyone else present.

That night, after Henry goes to bed, Darrek stays up into the early hours of the morning writing a response to Sandra’s letter. He comes into the Hive the next day, extremely hung over, and hands a cd and a sealed envelope to Anita and asks her to make sure they get delivered to Sandra. He then proceeds to apologize to everyone for his embarrassing behavior the previous evening. Henry accepts his apology, but tells Darrek in private that he is concerned about how much he has been drinking lately.

While the group is checking in with Anita, she remarks that she has not seen or heard from Klaus in several days and is becoming concerned. She also insists that, while she knows it is impossible, that there are books missing from her library. Darrek offers to assist her in doing an inventory…and is horrified to discover that she is correct, and indeed, there are several books missing. Silas is contacted and comes in to check things out. He assures Darrek that from what he can tell, his spells that protect the library and the Hive itself are still very much active and appear to be working as they always have.

A few days later, while doing some personal research, Darrek realizes that he needs one of the missing books and curses under his breath…and then he sees it sitting on the shelf, exactly where it should be…

Memorable Quotes:

“BRING ME THE PROTECTOR!”-Dullahan
“Oh, bollocks.”-Darrek
Looks over at Hilda “You got this?”-Matthew
Cracks her knuckles “Oh, I most definitely have this.”-Hilda

Re: Darrek banishing the Dullahan
“When he decides that he’s had enough…he’s really had enough.”-Henry

Re: Conversation about the Dullahan disappearing back from whence it came
“Speaking of things disappearing, Henry, there’s the not-insignificant matter of my missing scotch.”-Darrek
Eyes widen “Look, Darrek, sometimes liquor goes missing and it’s not anyone’s fault.”-Henry

“Henry…I’d like to think I am a reasonably tolerant man…but I will not tolerate being lied to by you, especially where my favorite $250 bottle of scotch is involved.”-Darrek

Re: The Dullahan
“Let’s see…I could just start kicking.”-Mike D. (Yun-Xun’s player)

Re: Darrek and Henry
“Sorcerers…you do not make it easy.”-Hilda

Re: Women
Quietly, to Henry “They certainly can be fickle.”-Darrek
“So what you’re saying is, ‘bitches be cray-cray’?”-Henry
“No…that is absolutely not what I said.”-Darrek

Re: Henry’s idea about buying the burner phone and sending it through the gateway
“…so that’s Henry…”-Darrek
smiles “Looks like you got a good one this time.”-Daniel

Re: Discovering ‘The King in Yellow’ play has the Yellow Sign on both the front and back covers
“Oh, fuck.”-Darrek

Re: Waiting in the car at Fowler’s
“Yun-Xun…do you know how to make dumplings?”-Henry

Re: Running to the car with an unconscious Darrek slung over her shoulder
“Henry, quick, open the glove box!”-Hilda
“That’s not nearly big enough!”-Henry
exasperated “Not for him, for this!” holds up the copy of the ‘King in Yellow’ play-Hilda

Re: Alternate nicknames for Panther Hollow
“The exhaust vent for the Hellmouth”
“The excess evil overflow gate”
“The back door”

Re: The gateway
“Yun-Xun…will you hold my hand?”-Henry
“Your father’s hand would be better.”-Yun-Xun
“He’s not my real father…my real father is dead.”-Henry

Re: Seeing Papa Screech leading the eldritch ritual in the woods
“It’s about to get real racist up in here.”-Robert (Henry’s player)

“Darrek…should I interrupt the ritual spectacularly?”-Henry
nods emphatically-Darrek

Re: Aimee
“I’d really prefer not to have to kill her, so…”-Darrek

Re: Henry with a copy of ‘The Anarchist’s Cookbook’
“What the bloody hell are you reading?”-Darrek
“The Anarchist’s Cookbook." off Darrek’s look "What? Don’t tell me that when you were my age that you weren’t into building homemade explosives…”-Henry
“Not so much, no!”-Darrek
“AND WHO IS LYING, NOW?!”-Henry

Re: The masquerade ball at Fowler’s
“So, how’s that whole electrical fire that looks like an accident plan faring?”-Henry
“…I need a drink…”-Darrek

“So, like, if we’re not doing arson…I’m at a loss.”-Henry

Re: Darrek asking Hilda what she did with the play
“So, if I can parse this all together…”-Henry
“Quiet. I’m not speaking to you, I’m speaking to her.” indicates Hilda-Darrek

Re: Darrek
“Okay…so apparently we’re in full blown sass mouth mode.”-Henry

Re: Hilda refusing to reveal to Darrek what she did with the play
“That’s alright. I have ways of finding out where you put it…and I will remember that you refused to help me. I need that play for…my research. ”-Darrek

Re: Darrek’s walk of shame the day after the Halloween Party at the Hive Arcana
“Look, Anita, I’m really sorry-”-Darrek
“Don’t apologize. I never do.”-Anita

Re: Discovering Anita’s library is missing several books, Darrek calls Silas
“Houston…we have a big problem.”-Darrek

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Episode Nine
Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign? Part Two

Chronicler: Julie

Episode Synopsis

As Darrek opens the front door and steps into the house preceding Henry, Emily comes charging at him, screaming and brandishing a butcher knife. Darrek manages to dodge out of the way of her wild attacks. Henry is overcome by a brutal psychic assault, collapses onto the floor, and starts to scream. His mind is utterly trapped in a horrible vision where he is forced to watch helplessly (again) as his parents are murdered before his eyes by Sam. He futilely attempts to use his magics against Sam in the vision, to no avail.

Meanwhile, Darrek attempts to influence Emily’s emotions to get control of her, but his spell does not work. He is suddenly wracked with excruciating pain. Emily then also begins to scream, and it occurs to him that she is being controlled by something or someone and is not acting of her own free will. Darrek manages to overcome the pain, grabs ahold of Emily, and with a Herculean effort manages to dispel the Lyssicus he can sense around and in her. His wife snaps out of her insanity and begins to sob hysterically, falling into his arms and begging him through her tears, “Help me!” Henry, likewise, also snaps out of the traumatic nightmare vision he was trapped inside of when the Lyssicus dissipates. Emily drops the knife, and Darreks quickly kicks it across the floor away from her.

Then, Emily suddenly goes completely catatonic, with Darrek fighting not to go into shock himself. Henry pulls his cell phone out of his pocket, calls 911, and gives their address, reporting that there is a psychiatric crisis and asking for EMS to come to the house.

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The paramedics arrive a few minutes later and after a brief assessment, inform Darrek of their recommendation to transport Emily to Western Psychiatric for an evaluation as she remains unresponsive. He nods wordlessly, and prepares to follow the ambulance in his car. Before he leaves he asks Henry if he’d like to stay the night with someone else so he’s not alone. Henry shakes his head and insists, “I’ll be fine here, really. Go.”

As Darrek pulls out of the driveway to follow the ambulance, Henry immediately makes his way over to the liquor cabinet and helps himself to an extra large serving of Darrek’s favorite scotch, leaving the bottle out and obviously less full than it was previously.

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Darrek goes to the emergency room at Western Psychiatric to wait with Emily for her to be assessed. The attending psychiatrist recommends that she be admitted for observation, and the process of her admission takes several more hours. As her husband, Darrek is asked to sign all of the consents for her treatment, as Emily remains catatonic. He finally leaves once she is taken to her unit, changed into a hospital gown, and put into bed. By this time, it is the middle of the night.

Arriving home, Darrek sees Henry is stretched out on the living room couch in his pajamas watching television. Darrek goes to fix himself a scotch and sees that the bottle is out and considerably lighter, but says nothing. He joins Henry on the couch, reaches over and pulls him into a hug, and asks him if he is alright. As Henry is telling him about the vision he had and asking if they should contact “Emily’s people” (the Cabal of Psyche) to warn them, Darrek’s cell phone rings.

It is Dr. Armedt. He sounds panicked, and asks Darrek if he is alright. Darrek informs him that he just got home from signing Emily into WPIC, and explains what happened. Armedt sighs and says, “I’m so relieved that you’re alright, but sorry to hear that things are even worse than we thought. I spoke with Daniel a little while ago and he is also safe.” He then tells Darrek that the Cabal of Psyche leveled an all-out attack on the Rosicrucian chapter house in the Masonic Temple. Shocked, Darrek asks if anyone was hurt and Armedt responds, “Yes. It was…very bad, and there was damage done by both sides.” Armedt says that it is imperative that Darrek continues to lay low, “Now more than ever.”

Neither Darrek nor Henry are able to sleep for the rest of the night, and pass the time watching late night television and cuddling with Omar, who joins them on the couch.

During the night, Hilda has Slayer dreams about an all-out supernatural war between the Covenants, and sees Cassilda floating over it all.

In the morning, Anita calls Matthew at the Hive and asks him if the police have been there yet. She sounds shaken and informs him that Carrie attacked Kay last night and is currently in custody. Kay is in the hospital in critical condition. Matthew calls Henry and tells him and Darrek to come in.

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After showering and getting dressed, Henry asks to use Darrek and Emily’s espresso machine and makes himself and Darrek two shots-in-the-dark while Darrek quickly fixes them some blueberry pancakes for breakfast. The two then leave for the Hive Arcana. When they arrive, visibly exhausted, Henry informs Matthew, Yun-Xun, and Hilda about what happened with Emily the previous night, as well as the attack on the Rosicrucians by the Cabal of Psyche.

Matthew immediately calls Anita to inform her of this, and she says, “Jesus Christ. This feels just like the Covenant War all over again.” Darrek looks very forlorn and is silent until Matthew comments that Emily being at Western Psychiatric is probably the best place for her right now given the outbreak of insanity and violence by psychics across the city. He remarks sarcastically that he has little confidence of her safety there given recent events, and he is anxious to get her out of that place and home as soon as possible.

Henry and the rest of the group depart to the hospital to check on the girl he found in the alleyway yesterday, as well as inquire about Kay’s condition. The girl is in serious but stable condition. She has little memory about the attack. Kay remains in critical condition, and no visitors are being permitted in her room, which has an armed policeman stationed there.

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After stopping at the hospital, the group then decides to follow up on the Dr. Turner lead. During their walk from the hospital, Henry calls Randall Fowler’s brokerage office downtown. He attempts to request an appointment specifically with Fowler, and is informed by the office manager that he is not taking any new clients at this time. He agrees to meet with one of the other brokers regarding his inheritance, and makes an appointment for the next day.

Arriving at the University of Pittsburgh, Darrek, who clearly knows his way around campus, leads them straight to the professor’s office. Darrek introduces himself and the rest of the group to Dr. Turner, who appears to be grading papers when they stop by to see him. Darrek explains who they are and why they are there, and he readily offers to assist them in any way he can. He confirms that there is no way that Gavin could have jumped off of the roof and hit the ground where his body was found. Dr. Turner states that he and his wife assisted the police with their initial investigation and found a 6” impression in the earth, which would have required that Mr. Gavin fell from a height where his body hit terminal velocity before reaching the ground. He also says that his wife, a medical doctor and also a professor for the University of Pittsburgh, examined Gavin’s body and found evidence of physical trauma far too severe for a four story fall. He mentions that his wife saw claw marks on the body, but said when they mentioned it to the police, they were silenced.

Darrek thanks him for his time and leaves his business card in case he or his wife remembers anything else. Dr. Turner glances at it and says, “Oh! You’re a professor at Duquense! It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance!” and inquires what department he works in and if Darrek is tenured. Darrek explains that he’s currently going through the process. Dr. Turner comments that it has been awhile since he himself went through that, but that if he can be of any assistance to Darrek, he’d be glad to help. Darrek thanks him.

The group heads back to the Hive Arcana. When they arrive, Dana informs them that the police stopped by while they were out to ask about Carrie and Kay. Matthew calls Anita to follow up on the Papa Screech lead and see if she has heard of him (she has not). Darrek calls Klaus and gets his voicemail, and leaves a message requesting that he contact him when he is able. Some time late he gets a text message from the man which says, “All is well. Investigating something.”

Seeing that Jamie has arrived at work, Darrek asks to speak in private with her. The two go into the theater, and he informs her that Emily is in Western Psychiatric and briefs her about the events of the previous evening. Jamie is horrified and asks if anyone was hurt. Darrek asks her to assist him in keeping a close eye on Emily while she is there, explaining that he’s in the middle of working a case and is unable to devote the level of attention to her care that he’d like. She assures him that she will visit her, and also that things within the Wicce seem to be stable, other than a few “very disturbing” dreams. She promises to keep him updated.

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Darrek suggests that the group come up with a game plan regarding their other leads. They decide to go and talk to Dennis Bouchard at his home, and discuss using Matthew’s antique and very special sword as bait to gain an audience with him. Bouchard lives in Fox Chapel in a large and lavish property that resembles one of the homes in the Garden District of New Orleans. Surrounding the property there is an eight-foot-high wall covered with ivy vines, and a thick rod iron gate at the front entrance. They are able to get through the gate by mentioning the sword, and as they approach the house, they see that there is a placard with the Yellow Sign tacked on the front door. A butler meets them at the door and leads them into a lavish parlor. Almost everything contained within is antique, from the furniture, to the decanter and glasses sitting on an end table. Bouchard enters, and Matthew displays his sword, explaining that he is in search of the scabbard that accompanies it (and which is currently hidden underneath his long duster). Bouchard is intrigued and agrees to use his connections to assist Matthew for a 20% finder’s fee. Matthew agrees and shakes the man’s hand. The group can sense that Bouchard is not Gifted, and while he is well connected, has little actual knowledge or understanding about the antiques that he possesses.

As they talk, Darrek moves behind Bouchard and uses, “Affect the Psyche,” on him. Bouchard suddenly becomes very chatty, and mentions Fowler and Papa Screech, whom he calls a “bokor.” Henry’s eyes go wide. Darrek asks if Screech would be willing to talk to him and possibly guest speak for his comparative religions course, explaining that he works in the Religious Studies department at Duquesne. Bouchard says that he can call Fowler, and if he is agreeable to seeing them they can approach him directly with this question, as he works with Papa Screech as a spiritual guide of sorts. Finally, Darrek mentions the Yellow Sign on the door and asks about it, commenting that he’s been seeing that symbol all over town recently. Bouchard explains that Papa Screech told them about it, saying that it is a, “good luck symbol,” and briefly discusses his connection to the upcoming Halloween parade as one of the financiers and chairman of the Krewe. He promises to call Matthew when he gets the go ahead from Fowler for them to speak with him.

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Leaving Bouchard’s, Darrek suggests that they take a break and get some lunch. Matthew directs him to drive to the North Side of the city and treats the group to lunch at Nicky’s Thai Kitchen. During their lunch, Bouchard calls Matthew as promised and says that Fowler has agreed to see them, and gives him the address (which the group already has thanks to Gavin’s files). After finishing their meal they get back into Darrek’s Rav and drive to Peters Township where Fowler lives. His property is not as lavish as Bouchard’s, and the grounds have clearly been neglected for a few months. Fowler answers the door himself, looking very tired. He invites them in and offers them something to drink. The group can sense Lyssicus energy inside of the house. Darrek asks Fowler if he can use his restroom and excuses himself to investigate. He follows the feeling of the Lyssicus energy, which splits and trails both upstairs and into a room conveniently directly across the hall from the bathroom. Deciding that going upstairs by himself would be too risky, Darrek attempts to investigate the room the trail leads to on the first floor. The door is locked. He goes into Fowler’s bathroom, washes his hands, and returns to the parlor.

While Darrek is “in the bathroom” Matthew explains why the group wanted to speak with Fowler. Fowler confirms that Papa Screech is his spiritual guide but explains that it is very unlikely that he would be willing to guest speak for Darrek’s class, or even speak to the group at all. When asked how he found Screech, Fowler responds, “I didn’t. He found me.” Darrek returns as Fowler is talking about his dead wife and daughter, and how Screech has helped him to know that they are in a better place. Darrek gives Henry a hard look, who also excuses himself to use the bathroom, and once out of the room texts Darrek to get further instruction. Darrek texts him back and directs him to pick the lock on the door of the room across from the bathroom. He offers Fowler his condolences on his loss, and mentions the loss of Henry’s parents and how difficult this has been for him.

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Henry picks the lock on the door and investigates the room. Entering, he sees a multitude of lines and symbols inscribed on the wall, senses an intense concentration of Lyssicus energy, and feels deathly ill and extremely weak. He has an intuition that the symbols and lines make up a Gateway of some kind, takes a picture of it with his cell phone which he sends to Darrek and then deletes from his phone. He then leaves the room and relocks the door. Coming back into the parlor, both Fowler and Darrek notice immediately that he looks absolutely awful. Fowler thanks the group for visiting him and asks them about their plans for Friday evening, explaining that he is hosting a masquerade ball at his home after the Halloween parade and inviting them all to attend. After thanking him for his time and assistance, the group departs and Darrek drives everyone back to the Hive Arcana.

Matthew goes to have his date with “Rebecca.” He finds her extremely charming and intriguing, and they share a wonderful evening together. She is very excited about the upcoming production of her mystery play, though she can’t exactly articulate the reason for this, other than mentioning that she knows she will be playing one of the two lead roles, and is hopeful that if the show is successful that this could be a major breakthrough for her career.

Henry settles in to hang out with Yun-Xun and Hilda at the Hive.

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Darrek heads to WPIC to visit his wife. She is awake and out of the fugue state. Seeing him, the memories of what happened between them the previous evening come rushing back and she is wracked with guilt and starts to cry. Darrek attempts to comfort her, explaining that it appears that all of the psychics in the Cabal were affected in similar ways, and assuring her that he bears no grudge against her, as she was clearly not acting of her own accord.

Suddenly, a massive wave of Lyssicus washes over everything and everyone. At the Hive Arcana, Henry collapses and upon waking, realizes that he has lost his Protector abilities.

On their date, Matthew and Rebecca watch as violence breaks out between other patrons at the restaurant where they are having dinner.

At WPIC, the other patients go nuts and begin to riot. Emily runs into the corner of her room and begins rocking back and forth and muttering repeatedly, ‘Get it out of me! Get it out of me!” Darrek gets down on the floor with her, wraps his arms around her and pulls her into a passionate kiss which seems to calm (or at least distract) her. He tells her that he loves her and promises to do everything in his power to put an end to what is happening so that she can come home and they can be a family again, with Henry and Omar. He tells her he needs her to be strong, fight, and not give in to despair and madness. Suddenly, his phone goes off, and the two share a much needed laugh at the ridiculously appropriate message of his ringtone from the Powers That Be (‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy,’ by Bobby McFerrin).

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After saying goodnight to his wife and promising to come back to see her again as soon as he can, as Darrek is leaving he hears a man ranting in an alien but vaguely familiar language, which after a few moments he realizes is Prime, the language of angelic beings. Checking to find the source of the ranting, he sees the strange tattooed man that he previously spotted in the ethereal mansion at the ruins of Mayview State Hospital and again when he visited Sam at WPIC a few weeks ago. Seeing that all of the staff are occupied trying to manage other patients, he pulls out his cell phone and hits record. He then receives a text message from Henry about losing his Protector abilities and runs back to the Hive Arcana. After he arrives, Darrek sends Anita a message to update her on what they were able to learn about Papa Screech being a bokor, and most likely involved with the Cult of Hastur. She responds that she is currently occupied with a minor crisis at the Twilight Order but will put out feelers with her contacts as soon as she is able.

Henry comments that he is certain that the wave of Lyssicus that washed over everything earlier is connected to the Gateway he saw at Fowler’s and asks Darrek if there’s any way that they can reverse-engineer the spell to determine where it leads. Darrek explains that it is a long shot, but agrees that it can’t hurt to try, commenting that while he himself does not know the Gateway invocation, his partner, Daniel, does. Henry asks Darrek if he can assist with the research, saying, “Please. I need to do something besides sit here feeling weak and powerless.” Darrek agrees, and as the two stand up to head into Anita’s library, they are startled by a booming voice from outside bellowing, “BRING ME THE PROTECTOR!”

TO BE CONTINUED…(AGAIN!)

Memorable Quotes:

Re: Cassilda
“She’s just levitating. It’s not that impressive.”-Robert

“There’s something weird going on.”-Matthew
“Just one thing?”-Henry

Re: Emily being hospitalized at WPIC
“It’s probably the best place for her right now.”-Matthew
“Yeah…you know, the place where two people recently got kidnapped by some unknown metaphysical powerhouse, complete with blood all over the walls and doors ripped off of their hinges. I’m feeling just great about her being there. Really.”-Darrek

Re: Discussion about Matthew burglarizing Fowler’s house
“I have no problem with that plan…I just want to confirm that is indeed the plan.”-Henry

Re: Darrek and Henry’s tiny bladders
“Apparently I should have asked my friends if they had to tinkle before they left the restaurant.”-Matthew
“Sorry, mate. My foster son and I completely gorged ourselves on Thai iced tea at lunch today. Have you ever had it? That stuff is so bloody fantastic.”-Darrek
“Yeah, I have, and it really is.”-Fowler

Re: Henry’s worsening illness
“Hen? Are you alright?”-Darrek
“My goodness, he does not look well.”-Fowler
“I told him not to order a 7.”-Matthew

Re: Henry losing his Protector abilities
“And that’s why you got those three drama points last week!”-Mike

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