Campaign of the Month: March 2017

Nocturnum: Rebirth

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

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