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, Part 1

Episode 17: Night Floors, Part 2

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

View
Episode 19
The Knave of Hearts, Part 2

Chronicler: Julie

Episode Synopsis

The second clue arrives exactly when the Joker promised that it would. The group quickly deduces that it describes the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. Everyone piles into Darrek’s Rav and he skillfully speeds through Oakland, Shadyside, and East Liberty and into Highland Park.

After paying for admission at the front gate, the group finds their way to a special dinosaur exhibit and splits up. There are families with children everywhere. Mack sees the Bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese tied behind the massive legs of a T-Rex.

The crowd suddenly erupts into panic as four cheetahs race towards the direction of the T-Rex. Mack pulls out his gun and expertly drops all four of them without injuring any innocent bystanders.

Demonic-looking clowns begin to close in on the group, clearly the Joker’s henchmen. Hilda vaults onto a Stegosaurus and taunts them. Henry covertly casts a spell and freezes one of them. Darrek blasts two of the clowns with Soulfire, including the one Henry is holding, who screams.

Henry commands his air elemental to retrieve the Bishop and get him to safety. He then casts another spell. The ground underneath the clowns erupts violently and they go flying.
Matthew pulls out his sword and runs full tilt into the fray.

One of the clowns closes on Yun-Xun. Darrek throws a blast of Soulfire at it from behind, smoking it. It falls on its face at Yun-Xun’s feet.

After all of the clowns have been dealt with, the group goes to the Highland Park reservoir just up the road to regroup and await their next clue. Darrek feeds the ducks. Yun-Xun pulls out some paints she snagged from the Zoo festivities and paints Henry’s face like a Chinese dragon.

The next clue arrives, pointing to the Andy Warhol museum. The group all piles into Darrek’s Rav and heads to the North Shore. There is a black tie event at the museum. Matthew and Darrek are wearing suits, but Yun-Xun, Henry, Hilda, and Mack do not have time to change, and the guard refuses them entry. Darrek proceeds to convince him using his magics. Entering the building and racing up the many stairs to the time capsule exhibit, Hilda can sense vampires.

Yun-Xun pulls the fire alarm to begin the evacuation of the crowd and minimize casualities. Two vampires drag the county executive into the room. Mack pulls out his Desert Eagle and dusts both of them. Yun-Xun then grabs the county executive. Matthew pulls out his sword and decapitates two vampires. Several more close on him. Hilda dusts another two. Yun-Xun defends herself against vampire attacks using her Chi abilities and resembles Neo from ‘The Matrix.’ Henry throws a spell at the vampires attacking Matthew which manifests as a glitter bomb. Darrek follows this up with a wave of Soulfire and all four crumble to dust.

After getting the county executive to safety, the final clue arrives…and the group realizes in horror it describes the Hive Arcana. Running to the car, Darrek calls Anita and warns her.

The group arrives at the Hive. Unusually, Darrek is able to find a parking space out front, pulling in behind Anita’s car. They rush inside, and everything is normal, and fairly quiet. Darrek and Henry run downstairs to check the library. Henry is shocked to see that the shelves are bare. Darrek does not seem surprised by this, and gets lost in his thoughts.

Dana runs downstairs a few minutes later and says, “He’s here. He’s outside.” Darrek and Henry follow her upstairs. Just outside the Hive, standing on the sidewalk, flanked by Carrie and Kay wearing their harlequin outfits, is the Joker. Looking up, the group can see balloons filling the skies of Oakland overhead.

“Hi…” he says.

He commends the group on saving three of the four aces, and then he grins. “Did I mention that I lied about the fourth?” He comments that he will see the group soon, referencing, ‘opening night,’ and laughs, saying, “And you’re not going to kill me…you’re going to let me go.”

Then he says, “Girls,” and Carrie and Kay pull out detonators and press them. The balloons overhead explode and shards of glass rain down over Oakland. Henry quickly casts a spell to try and minimize the falling glass surrounding the student dormitories. Screams echo down the streets, followed by the sounds of hysterical laughter.

Henry goes to spend the night at Matthew’s. The next morning when he arrives home, he finds Darrek and Emily having a lazy morning together, still in their pajamas and robes. Darrek is making breakfast. Curling up on the couch with Emily, Henry sees on the news that there was a massive explosion at the police station last evening, and a dozen officers, including the chief of police, were killed.

Memorable Quotes and Great Moments

After saving the Mayor, the group gives him money to rent a bicycle to find his way home as they race to the next clue.

“They don’t have dinosaurs at Chuck E. Cheese.”-Darrek
“They should.”-Henry

“The ‘nothing happened here’ Tiananmen Square Festival?”-Mike D.

“Darrek, if we have time, after…can I get my face painted? I wanna be a LIZARD!”-Henry

“Is it Zoo Brew?”-Mack
“No, it’s Family Fun Night. So try not to shoot any children, okay?”-Yun-Xun

Re: paying for admission to the Zoo for the group
“Sure, I’ll pay…I’m just going to expense it to Anita, anyhow!”-Matthew

“I have an idea.”-Henry
“Care to share?”-Darrek
“You’ll see.”-Henry
Mutters under his breath “Oh, bloody Hell…”-Darrek

To Jason “Oh God, that’s Terra Primate.”-Robert

“Your Joker is pussy. Prove me wrong!”-Hilda

“Hey, Hilda! They’re coming your way!”-Mack

Re: the next clue
“Randyland?”-Robert

Re: the guard
“We don’t have time for this crap tonight!”-Darrek

“Darrek is like Honey Badger, because he just don’t care, and Henry is Sweet Brown.”-Robert
“I’m gunna grab myself a cold pop!”-Mike D.
“Ain’t nobody got time for that!”-Robert

“We can..definitely…go back…to the Zoo…sometime…if you want…”-Darrek, to Henry, as they’re racing up the stairs at the Warhol to the time capsule exhibit.

“You go Matthew, you go!”-Mack

“I’m the Slayer, bitches!”-Hilda

View
Episode 18
The Knave of Hearts, Part 1

Chronicler: Julie

Episode Synopsis

It is a few days before Christmas. Emily and Darrek wake and go downstairs to discover that Henry is already up, unusually, and has made coffee and breakfast for them. There are small boxes at both of their places at the dining room table. Sitting down and opening them, they discover custom pendants he had made for them both, which Darrek can tell have a minor magical enchantment cast on them. “Happy anniversary, you guys,” he says sheepishly.

Emily and Darrek are both stunned speechless, but after the shock has worn off they both hug him and thank him for such a thoughtful and sweet gesture. After breakfast, as Darrek and Henry prepare to depart for the Hive, the doorbell rings. A delivery man stands on the doorstep with a large bouquet of long-stemmed roses for Emily. When Darrek kisses her goodbye, he tells her to expect a few more surprises before the day is over. She is delighted.

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At the Hive Arcana, Danny receives a phone call from Agent Barnes. She tells him that for now, the FBI is occupied with other cases and isn’t worrying about him, so he can relax for the time being.

Mack comes in with Matthew for his “interview” with Anita. She warns him to think first, shoot second (not the other way around), and offers him a job with Blake Investigations, which he accepts.

Anita then speaks with Matthew in private and informs him that Lorelei has returned to Pittsburgh and is staying in Sandra’s loft upstairs from him. She explains that Lorelei is struggling with adjusting to being back in the world as a very powerful young vampire and has the relative emotional maturity (and lability) of a 16 year girl. She says, “Don’t let Hilda stake her, okay? It would be bad.” Matthew nods, and passes the order on to the young Slayer, who doesn’t ask any questions.

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Matthew, Mack, Danny, and Anita have several rounds of drinks in Anita’s office. Darrek comes upstairs from Anita’s library, looking deeply disturbed.

Joe calls Matthew, and asks the group to meet him at an abandoned movie theater near town, explaining that he needs their expertise. Entering the theater, they can immediately smell the stench of decay. There are multiple bodies, with green hair and rictus grins, their faces bleached. On the wall behind the stage, scrawled in black, it says, “They wouldn’t laugh…now everyone will.”

Lexie Carver is on the scene. After introductions to the members of the team she is not acquainted with, she shares her observation that there appears to be a gradual progression to the bleaching on the corpses. She and Joe discuss sending samples to Delia at Presby. Joe then takes his leave, and asks the group to meet him at the morgue after lunch to assist him with another matter.

After Joe and Lexie have gone and they are alone, Henry turns to everyone and says, “So…how about Delia still being alive? I thought we killed her…” Darrek reminds everyone that Anita told them that the Heralds can apparently resemble anyone, living or dead, and raises the possibility that the herald and Delia are not the same person, much like the Joker and Daniel.

Matthew goes to meet Rebecca for lunch. She is very excited to tell him that things with the play are progressing, and that they are supposed to be getting their scripts soon. She tells him that she may have to be sequestered during the rehearsal process, which is likely going to be very intense. Finally, she gives him a Christmas present…a black lapel pin inlaid with the Yellow Sign. She tells him she found it on the street, and attempted to find its owner, even taking out an ad with Craig’s List, to no avail. She found herself thinking of him every time she looked at it, and she hopes that he’ll think of her when he wears it.

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Darrek treats the rest of the group to lunch at a restaurant in South Oakland that Henry recommends. After lunch, they all head to the morgue to meet Joe, who asks them for an explanation regarding two beheaded bodies which were found in the South Side and Lawrenceville…and who appear identical to Delia and Alistair Borgato, although the DNA does not match. The group attempts to explain to Joe what happened. He stops them from sharing too many details, remarking, “I don’t want to know, and I don’t need to know,” and cautions them against complicating matters further by doing anything that could potentially implicate them legally.

After their meeting with Joe, everyone heads back to the Hive Arcana. A beautiful, red haired woman is sitting with Anita in her office, and they come out of her office together. The woman greets Matthew with an embrace and says, “With everything that’s going on, I thought it was time to check in.” She smiles at and says hello to Darrek and asks after his wife. He tells her that Emily is doing much better and she responds, “Good. I’m so glad.”

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The woman introduces herself as Michele, and explains that several months ago, right around the same time that everything that’s currently happening in Pittsburgh first started, one of her brethren, Raphael, showed up in her apartment apparently having been driven completely insane, ranting pieces of a horrifying story that she felt herself being drawn into, and carving symbols into his skin. She took him to Western Psych, and has been watching over him ever since, explaining that he is extremely powerful…and very dangerous given his current state. She asks the group if they’ve made any headway with their research.

Darrek tells her that earlier today he was finally able to track down a reference to the ritual that was performed to trap Cassilda the last time she surfaced. She says, “Well, that’s very encouraging.” He goes on to say that the ritual is very dark, explaining that it requires multiple blood sacrifices, including the death of an angel and someone beloved of the sorcerer performing the ritual. Michele says that she would rather see Raphael dead than suffering as he has been, and offers to do what she can to be of assistance to them, explaining that she needs to “keep off the radar” as much as she possibly can.

Henry asks Darrek if he can look at the reference that he found, positing that given his natural, intuitive understanding of magic he may be able to find a loophole that they can exploit. To his surprise, Darrek doesn’t argue with him and hands him a journal, saying that he’s working on tracking down the original ritual referenced in the text. As Henry reads over the journal, Darrek asks Michele if she can attempt to find Sam Chanler, his former ward. Henry’s face turns to stone upon hearing the name of his parents’ murderer spoken out loud. She says she will do what she can, and will let him know if she turns anything up. She embraces Matthew again and tells him to be careful. He later acknowledges to everyone that Michele is his mother.

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Shortly after Michele takes her leave, a gentleman wearing a three piece suit and glasses walks in and Anita blinks, rubs her eyes, and says, “Oh my God…Wes? Is that you?” The man introduces himself as Wesley Wyndam Price, and explains that he is a liason between the Pittsburgh branch and the Senior Partners at Wolfram and Hart, due to a clause in his contract which extended beyond his death. He explains that he received a message from Faith and Angel at Angel Investigations in Los Angeles that they had inquired about the Mutari Generator.

Unfortunately, he goes on to say, the generator is currently in Hell, and his ability to directly intervene is limited by the Senior Partners, who see what is currently happening in Pittsburgh as Blake Investigations’ problem, not theirs. Still, he promises to try and do what he can to help. He reveals that Cassilda’s heralds appears to be building up a massive amount of energy for her that will allow her to drop the equivalent of a nuclear bomb on top of Pittsburgh, resulting in Carcosa manifesting in its place in this reality.

After Wesley leaves, Darrek and Henry speak briefly about the journal referencing the ritual. Darrek assures Henry that he is safe and has nothing to fear, as the author of the journal reveals that he had to sacrifice his own son in order to power the ritual to entrap Cassilda. Henry asks Darrek if he’s going to kill Sam. Darrek appears anxious, sad, and uncertain, and tells him that he’s hopeful they can find another way to complete the ritual.

Agent Barnes calls Danny again and asks the entire group to meet her at her office. Once there, she proceeds to show the group a video of the Joker. He tells them that he has four Aces-the mayor, the county executive, the chief of police, and the bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese-and that unless they play his game, he’s going to kill each of them, publicly. He informs them that he’s going to give them clues, which will be delivered by his girls. “Harl? Harl? You ready?” he asks. The camera pans back to reveal Carrie and Kay, wearing skin tight harlequin outfits, and giggling. The Joker says they’ll receive their first clue at 7pm, and will have until 8pm to figure it out and get to the location…or the mayor will be publicly executed. The video cuts out.

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Darrek realizes the first clue is coming at the exact same time of his dinner reservation at Le Mont for he and Emily’s anniversary. He calls her and explains that he needs to reschedule and why. She is very understanding about the situation, particularly when Darrek mentions that Kay and Carrie are involved.

At 7pm, as promised, the group receives their first clue and is able to deduce the location of the mayor as being the Babcock room at the Cathedral of Learning. They rush there, and Darrek remembers that they’ll need a key to access the room, which is kept in the Chancellor’s office. Matthew is able to bypass security and obtain the key. Entering the room, they immediately engage in combat with the Joker’s goons.

Highlights of the fight:

Mack acts recklessly and accidently shoots the mayor.

Hilda, Yun-Xun, Danny, and Matthew kick ass and take names.

Darrek, with Danny’s assistance, is able to move over to the mayor and heals him.

Henry throws a massive spell at the goons which manifests as enormous glitter bombs, and finishes them off.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Memorable Quotes and Great Moments

To Henry, during breakfast “So, ehm…how would you feel about having a sleepover at Matthew’s tonight?”-Darrek
“I think it’s a great idea. I was actually planning on talking to him about it when we got to the Hive.”-Henry
“It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s just…”-Darrek
“You just want to take a one way trip to Bang Town. I get it.”-Henry

Re: Henry
To Darrek “I’m so glad you brought him home with you!”-Emily

Re: Discussion about getting Henry a sword
“What about a whip? Whips are cool. I could be like Indiana Jones.”-Henry making a gesture like a dominatrix
“…let me think on that…”-Darrek

Re: Her booze stash
“Make another crack about, ‘Is that all for me?’ and you’re getting the Wild Turkey.”-Anita
“All that and Wild Turkey, too?”-Mack

Re: Upon finding the information he was looking for in Anita’s library
“SON OF A BITCH!”-Darrek

Re: Matthew, Danny, and Mack drinking with Anita in her office
“Bastards…”-Darrek

Re: The police
“They call us in when things look ooky spooky.”-Henry

Re: The police
“So the boys in blue can’t handle their business?”-Mack
“If they’re calling us, no.”-Danny

Re: Decapitated “Alistair”
“He tried to cut off my head, so she killed him.”-Matthew gestures to Hilda

“Can you please explain what’s going on?”-Joe
“Oh, so now you want to listen.”-Darrek
“Mr. Tinsley, if I wasn’t listening from the time this mess first started, Daniel would be in custody right now.”-Joe

Re: Creepy Alistair
“Draw me like one of your French girls.”-Henry
“Seriously?”-Alistair

Re: The ritual
“In case you were wondering, I’m not planning on sacrificing you, so no worries about that.”-Darrek
“Are you going to kill Sam?”-Henry
“No. Yes. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t want to kill anyone. That’s definitely Plan B.”-Darrek

Re: Upon finding out the Joker is holding the Mayor hostage
“Fuck it, then!”-Matthew

Re: Darrek telling Emily he needs to cancel their anniversary plans because of work
“This seems like a phone call rather than a text message sort of situation.”-Henry

Re: The phone call
“Darrek! It’s our anniversary.”-Emily
“I know, love. I’m really sorry…but duty calls. Urgently.”-Darrek
Exasperated sigh “You kill that fucker, you hear me?”-Emily
“I’ll do my best.”-Darrek
“And you be careful, and come home to me. And bring Henry home safely, too.”-Emily
“I will.”-Darrek
“Unless he’s, you know, still going to spend the night at Matthew’s…on second thought, drop him off there, and then come home to me, okay?”-Emily
“Yes, ma’am.”-Darrek

Re: The Mayor
Leans in and whispers to Darrek “I have an air elemental with one service left that it owes me. They can throw him out the window if they want to.”-Henry
Putting his hand over his heart and glancing at Henry “So bloody proud.”-Darrek

Re: The Mayor
“That son of a bitch won’t make any more bike lanes in this city!”-Mack

Re: The Mayor
“That’s what we call ‘collateral damage’!”-Mack

“You underestimated my magic-ness.”-Darrek

View
Episode 17
The Night Floors, Part 2

Chronicler: Julie

Episode Synopsis

The group enters an Edwardian-styled smoking room. Darrek points out that one of the scenes in the pages of the play that they found takes place here, and the group watches in fascinated horror as the scene is acted out in front of their eyes. The actors seem to be able to hear something, which the pages from the play indicate is them (the group). Darrek attempts to get their attention…and one of them walks right through him. He, and everyone else, is thoroughly disturbed.

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Continuing down a hallway, there are a series of framed black and white photographs of men and women wearing 1920s-style dress holding bottles of various shapes and sizes with names at the bottom of the photos. The last photo, however, is just an empty bottle…and the name at the bottom of the photo is ‘Darrek Tinsley.’

Darrek is stunned and picks the picture up. When he does, he hears a voice whisper in his ear, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living god!” He swallows hard and hangs the picture back on the wall.

Meanwhile, Henry finds a solid gold exquisitely-crafted fish and puts it into his pocket.

Suddenly, everyone hears a scream and the sounds of automatic gunfire. As the group rushes towards the direction of the noise, they enter a massive ball room. It is empty, except for fresh bullet casings and a blood trail which leads into a wall and then disappears. As they investigate, they can all see a fat man at the far end of the room, who seems to be able to see them and looks terrified. He fumbles with a set of keys, opens the door, runs through it, and closes it behind him.

Hilda bolts after him, running through the door, and almost pitches head first into an empty elevator shaft that seems to stretch into infinite nothingness both above and below. The man is nowhere to be seen. The sound of singing echoes from behind them. Turning around, they see a young girl, covered in white gauze, singing in an alien tongue. Henry focuses his mystical senses on her and feels…absolutely nothing.

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“She’s not real,” he says. “There’s no one there.”

Danny approaches a set of curtains along one of the walls where the blood trail ends and throws them open, revealing a large crack in the wall. He can feel cool air blowing through it and as he peers through, can see digging equipment on the other side. He suggests that they go through the crack and continue to follow the blood trail. Henry agrees. Having no other concrete leads, the rest of the group follows. Stepping through the crack, it disappears, and the group finds themselves in a corridor, with the blood trail leading in both directions.

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Darrek suddenly realizes that Henry is gone. He completely loses it and begins to scream his name. Henry says, “What?” and is suddenly standing next to him again, looking very confused.

As they proceed down the corridor and turn a corner, they see a group of eight clockwork men with Tommy guns trained on them, who open fire as soon as they spot the group. Yun-Xun gets shot and goes down. Darrek throws a blast of Soulfire at one of them using his sorcery, which everyone senses.

Suddenly, a door is thrown open and a tall black man wearing a leather duster, jeans, and a khaki shirt steps into the room and opens up on the clockwork men with a pair of Desert Eagles. Matthew swings his sword effortlessly and decapitates one of them. Darrek sees the clockwork men aiming their guns at Yun-Xun and throws himself between them and her as they open fire again. Their bullets hit his mystical shield and fall to the ground.

Yun-Xun comes to and sees Darrek is laying on top of her. He blushes, clearly embarrassed, and she pushes him off of her and gets to her feet. Henry throws a spell at one of the clockwork men, which manifests as a glitter bomb. The gunslinger follows up by blowing its head off. After the threat is neutralized, he demands to know who they are.

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The group introduce themselves. The man likewise introduces himself as Mack Arthur, and informs them that they are in Kandahar, Afghanistan, explaining that he is the only surviving member of a Navy Seal team whose orders were to hunt down and kill the Yellow King, the terrorist leader of an ISIS cell. The group tells him that they’re (mostly) certain that they are not in Afghanistan, and explains who they are and where they came from. He seems confused by their story, and suggests that they stick together. The group unanimously agrees.

Continuing down the corridor, each member of the group sees themselves reflected in a large mirror, but wearing fancy 1920s-style clothing. In the background behind them are other people as well, who appear to be enjoying a lavish party. In a doorway within the reflection, they also see a tattered figure wearing yellow robes.

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Darrek points at the figure and begins laughing hysterically, sliding to the floor. Henry sits down next to him and begins to sing one of his favorite songs by David Bowie, attempting to help ground and center his mentor. Darrek lays his head on Henry’s shoulder and begins to sing along. After a few minutes, he remembers that his charge (and the rest of the group) is depending on him, and gets his proverbial shit together. Mack proceeds to smash the mirror.

There are several doors along the corridor. From one, Matthew hears what sounds like actors running lines. From another, Henry can hear the tinkling of a music box. Mack hears people arguing. From the door by where Danny is standing, he can hear the sounds of a man and a woman having raucous sex.

Suddenly, everyone can hear someone shouting, “I’ll kill you, you bitch!” and throw open the door. They see two white alabaster statues sitting on a bed, their expressions frozen, but clearly in an argument. As soon as they close the door, the sounds of their argument continue.

Exploring the room where Danny heard the sounds of loud intercourse, they are horrified to find an empty hotel room, with a bed covered in blood and shards of metal. Scrawled messily on the wall, in black ichor, are the words, “WHERE’S MY BOTTLE?!”

Everyone looks at Darrek, who sheepishly throws up his hands and declares, “I haven’t had a drop to drink today, I swear!”

They open the door to the room where the music box sounds are echoing from. A porcelain clockwork child begins wheeling towards them. Matthew pulls his sword out and quickly cuts its head off. There is an invitation affixed to its back to the ‘Masked Ball of Carcosa.’

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Darrek and Yun-Xun both see the salesman again come out of one door and run through another. They take off after him, the rest of the group following them as closely as they can. Running through the door, they find themselves in another ballroom. A party is in full swing. Couples are dancing, and a handsome Asian waiter weaves around guests with a platter of hors d’oeuvres, stopping to offer some refreshment to the group. Matthew takes one, which upon inspection, contains pieces of a dead snake, to Darrek’s abject horror. Mack declares that he needs a drink and begins to move towards the bar. Darrek grabs him by the back of his collar and stops him, cautioning him against indulging in anything consumable. The group can also see human-sized marionettes moving mechanically amongst the crowd of party guests.

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Exiting the ballroom and continuing down the corridor, Mack finds a piece of paper with a strange symbol on it in black ink. He holds it up, and each member of the group in turn automatically asks him, “Have you seen the Yellow Sign?,” although they appear to have no memory of doing so. Mack asks what the symbol means, and Henry says, “It’s bad. It’s just bad.” Darrek asks Mack if he can see the paper, and when Mack hands it to him, he shreds it into tiny pieces which he then throws and scatters into the air.

Henry asks Darrek if they can go home. Sensing that the boy’s psyche is being worn down by the pure insanity of this place, Darrek puts his arm around Henry as they walk. Mack brusquely tells Henry to shut up, which almost results in an altercation between him and Darrek. Danny quickly intervenes, calms everyone, and smooths the situation over.

Entering the door that Henry heard the music box coming from, the group finds a child’s bedroom. There is a puppet theater in the room with puppets on stage acting out a show. A single, veiled figure sits in a chair in front of the theater, seemingly entranced. Matthew lifts the veil and discovers that it is Rebecca. She does not move or acknowledge him at all, even when he lays a kiss on her lips.

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Hilda strides across the room and rips the puppets out of the theater. They start to attack her. She pulls out her sword and cuts the theater in half, and a massive wave of Lyssicus washes over the room, making everyone feel ill and even more unsettled. Darrek lays his hand on Rebecca’s shoulder and attempts to wake her using his magics. His spell fails, and he senses a pushback of Lyssicus energy reacting to his Essence.

Henry attempts to open the curtains across the room and sees something that rocks his sanity. He closes the curtains and looks completely dazed. Darrek peruses the bookshelves, picking a book up off of a shelf and opening it. He discovers, written in precise and unsettling detail, one of his recent nightmares printed on the pages of the book. He closes the book and re-shelves it.

The group exits the child’s bedroom and continues, coming to a final door at the end of the corridor. Entering, they see hundreds of the human-sized marionettes watching actors dressed in opulent costumes on stage. Suddenly, Rebecca animates and rushes forward towards the stage. She begins interacting with two of the marionettes, clearly reciting lines from a play. Hilda tackles her, and the audience rises en masse and dog piles on top of her and Rebecca.

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The actors on stage filed down and begin to approach the group. The curtains lift and the group can see sculptures of each of them (except for Matthew), and a man wearing a featureless mask. He places his hand on Henry’s sculpture, who doubles over.

Reaching for Darrek’s hand, Henry temporarily transfers his magic to him. Lightning bolts of Essence erupt through the room and channel into Darrek, and Henry and Mack are both blown back by the backlash. Darrek throws a massive wave of Soulfire at the man in the mask. Hilda attempts to muscle her way out of the pile. The man in the mask then touches Darrek’s sculpture. He fights through an wave of excruciating pain and assumes that the man in the mask must be Alistair, having sustained this type of mystical attack from him before.

Mack and Danny suggest attempting to destroy the sculptures. Darrek and Henry both warn against this, not knowing if they are simply a focus or some form of sympathetic magic, like a large-scale voodoo doll. They decide to proceed with smashing the sculptures anyhow. Darrek’s is successfully knocked over and shatters. He frantically grabs his hair and runs his hands over his face and upper arms.

Matthew reaches the stage and engages Alistair in combat. Alistair slices Matthew throat, almost decapitating him. His sword falls from his hand to the stage and he collapses. Hilda then picks up Matthew’s sword and cuts Alistair’s head from his shoulders. The pallid masks falls off of Alistair and shatters, and everyone can see his face beneath it.

Suddenly everything is a swirling vortex of energy all around them, seriously disorienting everyone. When they come to, they find themselves back in Abigail’s apartment. Rebecca is with them. She wakes to find Matthew laying at her feet, bleeding from the wound at his throat. After some time passes, the wound closes and he gets to his feet, to her utter shock. Darrek pulls him to the side and quietly offers to help him in modifying Rebecca’s memory.

Mack is also with them, and his memories all come rushing back all at once. He remembers that he just moved into the McAllister building, and expresses that he thinks he’s going to move, and that he needs to find a job. Matthew gives him his card, and directs the man to come to the Hive Arcana the next day for a meeting with their boss, Anita. As they are leaving, Darrek uses his magics to inspect the energy of the building, and is relieved to discover that it is no longer a Schroedinger’s tenement.

Memorable Quotes and Great Moments

“I quit life.”-Henry

“I’m not a butler! I’m a professor, thank you very much.”-Darrek

Re: Darrek reading the lines from one of the pages of the play
“I’m telling Emily that you said the Really Bad Word.”-Henry

Darrek says, “Fuck you, you cunt,” in unison with the character Mark from the play.

Re: Mark walking through him
“WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS THAT?!”-Darrek

“Dex check.”-Jason
“Simple?”-Tom
“No, difficult. You didn’t see this coming.”-Jason
“The Spanish Inquisition?”-Robert

Re: Henry
“Where the boy goes, so goes my nation.”-Darrek

Re: Henry disappearing
“Sanity check, minus six.”-Jason
“I don’t really like Henry that much, can I have a minus four instead?”-Mike V.

Re: Yun-Xun getting shot
“There she goes again…”-Danny

“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”-Henry

“Clockwork dickbags!”-Matthew

Re: Darrek throwing himself in front of Yun-Xun to protect her from a hail of gunfire
In a mega-nerdy voice “He’s a superhero.”-Henry

To Matthew “Cherry-picker!”-Danny

“A Desert Eagle works a lot better than fireworks, boy.”-Mack

“We were assigned to take out the Yellow King.”-Mack
“OH BOY HOWDY!”-Henry

“I mean, it’s a creepy mirror in an Eldritch apartment from beyond space and time…”-Henry

Henry starts singing ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie to Darrek, attempting to calm him. Darrek puts his head on Henry’s shoulder and begins singing along.

“Who’s in charge?”-Mack
Everyone looks at one another, and then everyone points at Matthew in unison.
“It’s a loose democracy.”-Danny

Re: The sounds of a man and woman having raucous sex
“Rodeo, rodeo, rodeo!”-Matthew

“What’s this ‘ball room’? Is it like, loose trousers?”-Matthew

Re: Matthew eating the hors d’oeuvres with dead snake bits in them
“Do it!”-Henry
“Henry!”-Darrek
“What?? It’s not going to hurt him!”-Henry

Re: The Yellow Sign
“Can I see that?”-Darrek.
When Mack hands him the piece of paper with the Yellow Sign on it, Darrek shreds it into a million pieces.

“Darrek, I’m tired of this place. Let’s go home.”-Henry

“We don’t have a set plan. I’d be willing to take point.”-Mack
“Yeah, you do that!”-Henry
“Okay. Sorcerers in the back!”-Darrek

To Henry “Shut up, fire cracker boy.”-Mack
“Hey, now…”-Darrek Gives Mack a look that could shatter glass
“Don’t be mean to me. I have important friends.”-Henry

Re: After kissing Rebecca and getting absolutely no response
“This ain’t Rebecca. This one’s broken!”-Matthew

Darrek opens one of the books and reads, in graphic detail, a vivid description of a nightmare he has recently had. He closes the book and shelves it.

To Darrek “Don’t look at books.”-Mack
“So, Mack, listen up for a sec. I like you. You’re an alright chap…but don’t tell me what to do, alright?”-Darrek

Re: Henry
“Don’t mind the smartass kid.”-Danny

Re: Darrek
“Don’t mind him, either. He’s a good man. He just gets cranky.”-Danny
Visibly irritated “I do not get cranky.”-Darrek
“Look, there he goes! He’s doing it!”-Henry
Looks pointedly at Henry “Shut up.”-Darrek

Re: Rebecca
“I knew this was going to happen.”-Matthew

Re: Hilda
“ ‘Be Like Frau,’ is the power you’re using!”-Mike D.

“I think I’m okay…”-Darrek
“I think you’re okay, too.”-Matthew

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”-Henry
“What have you been reading???”-Darrek

Re: The McAllister Building
“I think I’m going to move…”-Mack
“I have a friend who might be looking to sublet her flat, and as luck would have it, she lives right above Matthew.”-Darrek

View
The Problem of Lorelei, Part 2
Return to Pittsburgh

Note: This Interlude takes place between Episodes 16 and 17

Video Link

Anita hasn’t seen much of her employees over the past few days, but that’s not entirely uncommon when they’re working a case. One night, she’s at the office well into the night, as lately the house has seemed very empty and lonely. She finds herself thinking about Sandra and about Kat, and there’s an emptiness she can’t seem to shake. That’s when she hears a commotion out in the stacks. It starts with a low mumbling and arguing that she can’t make out through the walls. Then she hears a gruff, female voice, loudly say, “I said go away. I want to be left alone!”

A male voice, persistent, answers, still to quiet for her to hear. Then the female voice loudly says, “No, wait. I’m hungry!” Then there’s a scream and the whoosh of Essence that indicates the non-violence spell has triggered. It occurs to her that the voice she heard was somehow familiar. Then she hears screams from outside. Heading to the window in the turret that looks over Forbes, she sees Lorelei across the street, red-orange eyes and fangs, cornering a young girl who is clearly terrified. Lorelei looks completely out of control, and Amara is nowhere to be seen.

sensq_from_forbes.jpg

Anita tears ass downstairs and outside. Putting her head down and her shoulder forward, she runs full tilt into Lorelei, knocking her back, and positions herself between her and the young girl, to whom she says, “Go inside, now,” pointing at the Hive.

Facing Lorelei, she says, “Hi sweetheart. Good to see you again…but this is still my town, and I can’t let you just go around eating folks. If you’re hungry, I can get you some blood. And then we can figure this out.”

Even as Anita says that it occurs to her how foolish a statement it was. Lorelei is a kindred, which means she feeds on essence, not blood. Dead blood won’t do her any good. You can even feel the essence being drawn from the girl as she runs (then staggers) inside, the flow only cutting off when she gets through the doors of the Hive.

Lorelei turns, blood tears streaking her cheeks, and looks at you as if she’s never seen you before. Then, gradually, a spark of recognition returns and she says, “Anita? Is that you? Of course it is. I came to see you.”

Lorelei_crying.jpg

She falls to her knees and descends into hysterics. “I’m so hungry, Anita. So cold. And so alone. Everyone’s left me again. I don’t know what to do. Help me…please, help me.” She looks around wildly, eyes wide, and says, “Where’s Kat? She’s not going to kill me, is she?”

“Oh, honey,” Anita’s eyes fill with water despite herself. “There’s a lot we have to catch you up on. No, she’s not going to kill you, and neither am I. Come on inside.” She gestures to the door to the Hive.

She pulls back. “No, no, no…can’t go in. Too many people. I’ll hurt someone. I need…I just need to get out of here!”

“It’s just us, sweetheart. Well, us and that girl, but I’ll tell her to leave. Plus there’s a spell…you can’t hurt anyone in there.” She searches her face. “Where is Amara?”

She very tentatively lets Anita guide her into the building and up the turrent stairs to Anita’s office.

“I…I don’t know,” she says. “She was teaching me about the rules, how things work, how to feed and use my abilities. Then, one night I woke up and she was just…gone. I couldn’t even feel her. I waited for three nights, and she never came back. I went looking for her but I had no idea where to start. So I went looking for Sandra. That was a bad idea.”

Her face twists in bitterness. “She has a boyfriend, Anita! She’s met some stupid hick boy in some town in New Mexico. I came back from the dead for her, and she’s seeing some long-haired hillbilly. God, I wanted to kill him. It would’ve been so easy.” The tears are flowing again. “Sandra wouldn’t let it happen. I left. I had nowhere else to go, so I…I came here. I came home. Except I don’t have a home anymore, do I? I can’t go to my parents. They think I’m dead. Where’s Carrie, and Kat? Everything is changed. Why did everything change?”

Anita cautiously smooths Lorelei’s hair away from her face. “This will always be your home, sweetheart. We will talk to your parents.” Her brow furrows. "Amara would not have just left you like that. Something must be wrong. And I am sure that whatever you saw with Sandra…it must have been a big misunderstanding. She never stopped loving you, Lorelei. " She pauses. “But first things first…we need to get you feeling better. How have you been feeding?”

Anita_at_desk.jpg

She looks apprehensive. “I shouldn’t say. You won’t like it. I mean, there’s blood, obviously, but the other ways…”

“There’s so many things about this entire situation that I don’t like, but that’s really besides the point.” She sighs. “Can you feed from me without killing me? Because that would be like, an epic inconvenience. Also, who were you talking to, before? It sounded like a guy…”

She frowns. “Honestly…I don’t know. I’m so new at all this. My control isn’t what it should be.” At your second question, she makes a sour face. “Oh, that guy. I don’t know. Just some guy who thought hitting on me would be a good idea. I lost control. I bit him. Then I got this massive migraine and found myself outside, across the street.”

She chews on her lower lip for a second. “It’s not ideal,” she says, “But…I can do animals if I have to.” She holds up her hand, which is slightly trembling, and looks at it for a second. “I think I’m okay for a little bit,” she says. “That girl gave me enough to get by.” You’re not sure, but you could swear she sneers a little as she says, “That was nice of her.”

Then she gets a look of fear on her face and looks at Anita. “My parents! You said we’d talk to them. No, please, don’t. They don’t need to know this. What are you going to tell them? Hi, your daughter you creammated fifteen years ago was magically reconstituted as a vampire? They’ve mourned. They’ve moved on. It was one of the first things Amara told me. That life is over. I have to find a way to move on. I just…I don’t know how to.”

She cocks her head to the side. “You keep avoiding my questions about Kat and Carrie.”

It strikes Anita like a fist as she looks at Lorelei, that despite the fact that physically, she’s now a beautiful young woman in her thirties, she died when she was sixteen years old. She doesn’t have the benefit of those past fifteen-plus years experience to temper everything that’s going on. For all intents and purposes and from an emotional standpoint, she’s an unbelievably powerful (and very dangerous) teenager who’s been left utterly cold and alone in a world that’s completely alien to her.

She’s definitely still Lorelei, but there’s also a new aspect to her, something you knew had to be there, but which it’s hard to see. It’s animalistic, bestial. She’s a hunter, now, and she’s still learning to control that. She’s at a crossroads, and the choices she makes here are going to determine the course of the next couple centuries…or even whether she lives that long. One thing’s for certain; she can’t stay in your office forever and it’s not safe to have her wandering the streets.

Anita holds up her hand. “Okay. We won’t talk to your parents. Your call.”

She pauses. “You can stay with me until we find Amara if you can agree not to kill people. You can feed from me, or we’ll find you animals or other willing donors. You can have Kat’s room.” She swallows hard. “She’s gone, Lorelei. She died years ago.”

Lorelei looks horrified. “Oh. Oh, my God, I’m so sorry! I didn’t think—I should’ve…I’m sorry!” Then she looks saddened again. “Just one more thing lost. What about Carrie? Is she dead. too?”

She gets sheepish. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be pushing like this. I just want to know where I stand. Thank you…for the offer. I could use somewhere to crash. And for feeding, I don’t think I’d be comfortable feeding from you. Animals we can do. For now, anyway. Do you happen to know where there’s Elysium in this city? Amara said every city has at least one. They’re, places where Kindred hang out. I guess…I’m supposed to announce myself to the Prince? Like you said, people who are willing are better. At least that’s what Amara taught me. I need to get to know the subculture here again. Places I wouldn’t have been able to go when I was sixteen.”

Anita chuckles. “Well, I’m obviously not Kindred, but I’m pretty sure I know where you’re talking about. I’ve also met the Prince. He seems…princely. And no apologies needed, honey…you didn’t know, you’ve been gone, too. And Carrie’s not dead, though I’m not sure where she is at the moment. We’ll find her.” She pauses. “Just give me a sec to do a thing and we’ll head to my house so you can get settled.”

She pulls out her cell phone and sends two text messages-one to Amara, ‘Lorelei is in Pittsburgh. Please advise.’ She sends a second to Sandra, ‘Lorelei is here and seems to think that you’ve dumped her for some long-haired boy, what the Hell are you doing???? Text me ASAP.’

Text from Sandra: U hv worst timing. Can’t talk. Ftg. Tk care of L. Call L8r.

Lorelei watches Anita and when she’s done texting, asks, “So you know the Prince? Do you think you could help me, you know, announce?”

Anita texts Sandra back, ‘You better. Also, she’s 30 going on 16. Be careful, kick ass, and take names like you’re all out of bubblegum. Love you’

She tucks her phone in her pocket and pulls open a drawer of her desk. “Yeah, sure can. I know he gave me a card or something…”

Finding it, she also tucks it into her pocket and grabs her car keys off her desk. "Let’s get you home. "

Anita_s_Living_Room.jpg

Later, after Anita gets Lorelei home and settled into Kat’s room, she gets an email from Sandra:

Hey, Mom,

Sorry, I know I said I’d call and I will but I’m in the middle of an investigation right now and it’s nasty. There’s these snake-men-vampire-things they call “culebras,” and they’re overrunning this town. Supposedly it’s built on the same site as some old boom town from the 1880s called…wait for it…Apocalypse.

So right now I’m binding people’s wounds (not mine; I’m okay) and trying to root out this nasty cult and it’s anything but fun. All I have to work with are some good-hearted and determined townsfolk, and I spend as much time trying to keep them out of danger as they spend helping.

Speaking of which, so…the guy Lorelei mentioned. His name is Josh and HE IS NOT MY BOYFRIEND. She didn’t want to hear that. She tried to kill him. I had to hold her off, and she left in a rage. Josh is a very nice, very normal guy. Although I think his life is changing irrevocably, now, and I hate that. I guess you’ve probably been there. Could he be my boyfriend? Another time, another life, maybe. I’m too fucked up in the head for anything like that right now. And maybe I’m a dick for saying it, but I’m not in any shape to be dealing with a crazed vampire girlfriend, either.

My God, did I actually just say “crazed vampire girlfriend,” in relation to me? That’s my life, now.

I wanted to talk to Lorelei, try to hash things out, but she wouldn’t hear me. I guess on some level I can’t blame her. I do still love her and I always will. She has to know that. But she’s been dead for nigh onto twenty years! This isn’t something I can just jump back into like nothing ever stopped. We have so much to talk about and work out, and there’s Darrek (not that that’s even possible on any planet) and just…I don’t know. I feel like I don’t need to be this confused at this point in my life.

Please tell her I love her so much, and that I’ll be in touch as soon as I can, and we will talk. And tell her that JOSH IS NOT MY BOYFRIEND (make sure you say I put it all in caps). She can have my loft for the time being if she needs a place to lay low. Just don’t let Hilda stake her.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted. You both have all my love,

Sandra

Anita hits reply.

‘Thanks for your message, even though I was looking forward to hearing your voice. Hopefully things will settle down with your investigation soon and I will. It’s funny, I was just thinking about you and Kat earlier, and how quiet the house has been lately…and then Lorelei showed up, seemingly out of nowhere. So once again, the universe gives me a girl to take care of…although I daresay she’s the most dangerous one yet.

She’s staying with me for now. I told her she could have Kat’s room. Amara is AWOL. Trying to get in touch with her. I’m going to contact the Prince here in Pittsburgh and get her connected with her…people?…hopefully. I think they’ll be able to help her…more than I probably can, anyhow.

I told her that you never stopped loving her, and that I figured there had to be some sort of misunderstanding. She’s behaving just like a jealous 16 year old in love…which is about where she’s at, emotionally. My best advice is to give it time, but also don’t be afraid to set boundaries. Love, as Pat Benatar wisely sang, is truly a battlefield.

Speaking of which, our mutual British friend would probably benefit from hearing from you, although I know he’s part of your current confusion. He’s been working really hard on the problem here in Pittsburgh, maybe too hard…Henry sent me a message a few days ago and is very concerned that he’s slipping. He does seem more frazzled than usual. You always did have a way with him. No pressure…but if you’re feeling up to it, drop him a line with some encouraging words. It surely couldn’t hurt. He’s missing you. Asks after you constantly. I gave him a copy of the key for your loft, and he’s been helping me look after things there while you’re away. Hope that was okay. Obviously, if Lorelei ends up living there, I’ll get it back from him so we avoid any more jealous blowups.

I’ve been to Apocalypse…don’t ask. Just do be careful.

So, do you think baby vampires like Highlander: Endgame? We’re about to find out. And I’ll pass THE MESSAGE along.

TTFN. Love you, honey,

~A’

The Next Day

There was a soft knock on her office door. Anita looked up from what she was doing and said, “Come in.”

The door swung open. Darrek stood in the frame.

“You wanted to see me?” he asked.

Darrek_Perplexed.jpg

“Yeah.” She paused. “Have a seat. And close the door behind you.”

He did as she instructed, taking his dark grey coat off, and sat down across from her after draping it over the back of the chair. The steel blue shirt he wore seemed to intensify the green of his eyes as he gazed at her.

She inhaled sharply. “Right. So, I need your key to Sandra’s loft back. It’s…going to be occupied.”

He reached into the pocket of his coat and pulled his keys out. Flipping through them, he found Sandra’s, pulled it off of his keychain, set it on Anita’s desk in front of her, and returned his keys to his coat pocket.

“Is she coming home?” he asked.

Anita shook her head. “No.”

“Oh. Then, who’s going to be staying there?”

“Someone.” She paused. “Someone who probably shouldn’t be unsupervised, at least not around you.”

His brow furrowed in confusion, but only for a brief moment. He folded his hands in his lap.

“Lorelei?”

Anita smirked. “Damn, you really are clever. I was smart when I hired you.”

“I thought Sandra left to…to be with her.” He paused. “So, why isn’t she?”

“That’s Sandra’s business,” Anita responded in matter-of-fact fashion, looking at him.

He held her gaze. His face was neutral, but she knew him well enough to recognize that he was irritated. “Alright, then. Am I allowed to know why I suddenly require a chaperone around Sandra’s girlfriend?”

Anita sighed, then continued. “Lorelei’s a brand new, very powerful Moroi with the emotional maturity of a sixteen year old. And she seems to be particularly volatile where Sandra is concerned.” She paused again. “I don’t think she knows, yet, but I’m thinking it’s probably only a matter of time before she finds out.”

“Finds out what?” He cocked an eyebrow at her.

Anita gave him a hard look. “About how you two feel about each other.”

Darrek broke her gaze and stared down at his hands. A deep blush rose up his neck and spread across his face.

After a long pause, he finally spoke. “There’s no reason for Lorelei to be jealous of me." He paused. “I doubt I could stand between her and Sandra even if…things were different than they are…which they aren’t.”

He reached up, his fingers worrying the edge of the cross that hung from a chain around his neck and rested again his chest. “I made a vow, before God and a lot of other people, to love, honor, and cherish my wife, and to put her and our children first and foremost in all things. I’m far from perfect, and I make loads of mistakes…but I love my family, as unconventional as we are…and I intend to give them the husband and father that they deserve.” His eyes and voice softened. “I also love Sandra, and I will always be there for her, but she and I are agreed that in this life, we are just friends…albeit anam cara.”

Anita picked up the key and began turning it over with her fingers. “I know you do. And I know that Sandra loves both of you very much, and if something happened to either one of you, it would devastate her. So, seeing as I’m the closest thing to a mother that girl has, I’m asking you…please play nice with Lorelei, and be careful. I don’t want to see Sandra get hurt again. She has suffered way more than her fair share.”

He nodded, meeting her eyes again. “Yes she has. Look, you don’t have to worry about me, Anita. I promised Sandra that I would be good, and I’m not planning on breaking that promise, either. She deserves nothing less but every happiness…and that’s all that I want for her."

“Thank you.” Anita murmured. “You’re a good man, Darrek Tinsley.” A smile danced across her lips. “You know, if things had ended up differently, you might have had me as a mother-in-law.”

“Good gods, that’s a terrifying thought.” He pushed his hand through his dark hair, and let out a laugh. "By the way, can I give you some Christmas gifts to send along to her?”

“Sure, of course. I have some stuff I need to mail to her, too.” Anita put the key in the top drawer of her desk.

“Was that all you wanted to talk with me about?”

“Yeah, I guess…for now.” She watched him stand up and pull his coat back on. “Is there anything else you need to tell me?”

“No,” he said, breaking her gaze again and glancing at his watch.

Liar, liar, pants on fire, she thought. “Happy anniversary, by the way. It’s coming up soon, right?”

He looked back up at her, surprised, and smiled. “Yes, it is. Thank you.”

“You and Emily doing anything special to celebrate?”

“I made reservations at the Le Mont for dinner, and I’m going to talk to Hen about spending the night at Matthew’s place so the wife and I can have the house to ourselves for the evening. Hopefully he’ll understand.”

“I’m sure he will. Enjoy,” Anita smiled and winked at him.

“Oh, believe me, I intend to.” He smiled back, his eyes sparkling. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“I’ll be here.”

Later that Night

Anita gets home and opens the door just in time to hear an exasperated, “OH WHAT THE HELL!?”

_She rushes into the living room where she finds Lorelei, seething. There are two televisions set up (she’s brought one down from Kat’s room), and one has True Blood playing while the other has The Twilight Series_. She turns to Anita and gestures wildly.

_"That one," she says, pointing at True Blood, “I just…I can’t even. But this one?” She points at Twilight, “What the ever-loving fuck, Anita?”_

Anita sighs. “You really should have gone for Forever Knight or Blade the Series.” She smiles. “But you have to admit, Lafayette is fucking fabulous, right?”

She takes the remotes and turns them both off. “That’s about enough of that. So, I talked-well, texted-with Sandra, and she asked me to tell you that she loves you so much, and that the boy you saw her with is NOT HER BOYFRIEND.”

Lorelei’s eyes grow wide as Anita raises her voice.

“Sorry, it was in all caps, and she said to make sure you knew that. She also said that she will be touch soon and that if you want, you can stay at her loft. She lives in the South Side, above Matthew’s-he’s the Number One to my Captain Picard. Not that I’m kicking you out. You’re welcome here as long as you want.” She paused. “Probably a good idea to introduce you to him and the rest of my crew, though. Also, I got in touch with the Prince, and set up your meeting with him. It’s in an hour. I’m not allowed to attend, unfortunately. Do you need a ride? While you’re chatting I can get some Chinese takeout for dinner.”

“Hm,” Lorelei says. “I’ve never had Chinese. Do you know where they hang out?”

Lorelei.jpg

She lets Anita sweat for a minute, watching her gape, then says, “Just kidding! Geez. I like Goth girls anyway. Yes, I’ll take a ride. I guess, maybe, I should learn to drive at some point. I mean, I was starting to take lessons when…” her hand goes to her neck convulsively. Then she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and steadies herself. “It feels like it just happened.”

A single blood tear rolls down her cheek. “I have all this power,” she says, “and these…desires. And I don’t want to become…I don’t want to misuse it. And I don’t know where my Sire is. I can’t even feel her, and I feel like I should be able to.”

She gets up and goes to the window, standing off to the side to stay out of the evening setting sun. Slowly, she extends her hand and holds it there. Two seconds pass. Then five. Then ten. Then, finally, the sizzling sound begins and the smoke, and it begins to turn gray and blacken. She grimaces and pulls it back, then looks at it absently

“She told me it would take time, but someday I might be able to walk in the sun. I’m not supposed to tell the other Kindred about it, though. I’m not supposed to tell them what generation I am. I’m not sure what I’m going to say to the Prince.”

She looks back at Anita. “I’d love to stay in Sandra’s place. I think it’ll be comforting while I figure out who I’m supposed to be. So who is ‘the gang’ you want me to meet? Who’s this Matthew guy? Oh, my GOD, Is he totally your boyfriend? I’m guessing John and Cyan and Drake aren’t still around Pittsburgh? I mean, they were with you when I came back, so…”

She takes a breath to steady herself, and it creeps Anita out a little as it hits her that it’s just an affectation. This girl standing before her, one of her dead Slayer’s best friends, is just as dead as Kat, but she’s here, in front of Anita, pretending to breathe out of sheer habit. Then she gets that lightbulb-above-my-head look and says, “Hey…d’you think maybe we could go to the Upstage later? I didn’t realize it till just now, but I miss Goth nights there.”

Anita_frustrated.jpg

Anita rubs the space between her eyes with her fingers and chuckles. “No, Matthew’s not my boyfriend. John lives in Ohio, Drake and Cyan are in England, Klaus is off in Tibet somewhere-oh, sorry, you didn’t know him. Anyway, I have a new crew, now. There’s Matthew, obviously, Hilda, our current Slayer, Yun-Xun, master of getting knocked down and getting up again, Danny, he’s a were…something, Henry, he’s a Protector, which is like the magical equivalent of a Slayer, and Darrek, he’s a sorcerer. and the brains of my operation. Oh, and there’s a new guy, too, but I haven’t met him yet. With our powers combined, we make Captain Planet.” She grins, then her face falls. “The Upstage closed years ago, sweetie. There’s another club now…Club Apocalypse…but I make it a point not to go there. The owner makes me want to repeatedly smash his face in.”

She pulls her phone out of her back pocket and checks her messages. [Any word from Amara?]

Nothing from Amara.

Lorelei wipes the blood tears from her face and holds up her hand. “This part here?” she says. “It’s disgusting. No wonder vampires don’t cry. So the Upstage is gone, too. Everything’s gone. Next thing you know the Hive will be a cell phone store or something. This whole world is completely different and I don’t know where I fit in anymore. Do I even have a place? Maybe you should’ve just let me unravel.”

She looks out the window. “Sun’s going down. Guess we should go. I don’t want to keep the Prince waiting.”

Anita says in a quiet voice. “I feel like that all the time, honey. And you do have a place here…you just have to give yourself time to discover it again…to discover yourself again.” She reaches for Lorelei. “If God didn’t want you here, what Amara and I did wouldn’t have even been possible. And You’ve been with God and in God for a long time. I can’t imagine how disoriented you must feel being back here again…but for what it’s worth, I am so glad that you are.” She takes Lorelei’s hand, squeezes it, and smiles.

She lets go and grabs the keys for the Jag off the counter. They jingle in her hand. “Alright. Let’s boogie, sweet cheeks.”

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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 whoever did this and make them 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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