Family Matters

While waiting for Dalish to come out of his paralysis, Nat leads Marybeth, Klyce, and myself back down to Old Town. We map it all out and bury the dead, which are now just bodies instead of trying to kill us. When Dalish does get up, he almost immediately has Remy kill him, so he can become fully a lich. So then, we wait for him to reform his new undead body for another six days. He gets back just in time to head home.

We have a debate about his phylactery. Sure, it would be safe here, in the Rathbone castle, assumedly. But if we get sent to the western territories and he dies, he’s going to have a heck of a time getting back to us. We have to take it with us. Dalish decides that I ought to be the one to protect it. Sure, Dalish, Rictus never mind controls me and makes me do things, I’m sure it’ll be safe. But I don’t say that, I just take it. Hopefully Rictus won’t do that again for while we’re all together.

Travel back to New Gnosis is pretty smooth and uneventful. When we arrive, we can see the Petals have been completed in their glory. We also see a large military presence at the gates, search all comers. We join the line and learn from the people around us that two Primes have been killed in the last three days!!! But Rictus sent for us weeks ago…

Lt. Col. Dalish gets us waved through the gates by flashing his rank and Rictus’ name. We drop our spoils from Lord Tepish’s castle in the bank on our way to the Hall of Justice in the Petals. Remy decides to be Alok Rathbone for the time being, and Orrin stays with him while we head up to see Rictus.

He isn’t there. Aleria is, however, a much nicer sight to our eyes and hearts. She tells us that Rictus is off hunting the assassins, but he wanted us close. She offers to answer any questions we have. She tells us that we’re to remain in New Gnosis for the time being, but will have to find our own lodging. School did re-open, but we’re not students anymore, so we can’t go back there. Marybeth asks about her family, and she says that they were caught up in an investment scheme and ruined. She also tells us that as far as she knows, there has been no Fae or Magia trouble in the city lately. Having no more information about what we’re supposed to do, we all head out to check on finances and family.

I head, alone, back to my house. No one but the groundskeeper is there. I wander around a bit, and it feel so empy. I ask, and he says that they never came back from the Caribbean a year ago. I assumed they had just gotten home and were done gloating. Gerald is still here, it looks like, so I leave him a note saying I’ll be home later. Then head for Klyce’s bakery.

Remy has brought food for us all to have a nice dinner, so we sit around and fill each other in. Dalish has apparently rented an entire floor of a hotel in Brooklyn. Remy definitly wants to take Alok to see what had happened to the people there. Klyce wants Alok to look at his little sister, who is still unconscious at the schol infirmary. Dalish asks for his phylactery back to take and show Rictus tonight, so I hand it over. I let folks know that my folks are missing, and everyone is welcome to stay at my house, if they want. Marybeth asks us to go with her to meet up with her mom, and most of us volunteer.

After dinner, I take Nat, Gerhart, and Alok back to my place. Gerald arrives shortly after we do, but he’s so distracted, I have to yell out to him to get him to even notice I’m there. He rushes over apparently very excited to see me. He even gave me a hug! After blinking for a few moments, I ask after Mom and Dad. He says they went on vacation, but the last letter he got was from the Caymans, and he hasn’t heard anything from them since. Didn’t he send to them? No, he doesn’t know that spell.

Then he apologizes! To me! For being a terrible brother! He asks if we can start over. I’m in such a state of shock, I agree. I even defend him, that he didn’t know any better than to treat me the same as our parents did. He says he should have and we go a couple rounds, before I just relent and say sure. We can start over if he’s really going to be nicer. I’ve died a few times, I can bury a childhood hatchet. Seems less important now.

He’s a little put out by that, but I push him past it by asking about school. He says they hired new teachers and things are pretty safe. At least as they ever have been. I try a sending to Mom, but nothing comes back. Remy offers him the sending spell, but he gets a bit creeped out and heads to bed. So, I put everyone else in rooms for the night.

The next morning, Nat tells us she had some crazy dreams. A cult doing a sacrfice to bring about the darkness with an inverted Dawnmother symbol. The red and black knights cutting open sack of bodies, one of which was Remy. They had Areana with them and she was holding a jar with a brain worm in it. Gerhardt says it sounds like the clone pods.

Then we get into a really strange argument with Remy about contacting the Knights or Areana or others and it just goes down hill until he tries to send to her, and gets nothing, so we drop it and head out to see Marybeth and her mother. When we get to the cafe, we see Marybeth already talking to her mother. With Marybeth right beside us, in disguise.

Healing, Research and Betrayal

While Dalish and Gerhardt research the stone, Remy and I take a look at Mrs. Young. He can see the physical ailments caused by the curse, but to me, she just feels Green. Green like that awful place where we found her. The fae have a strong hold, still. Nat takes a deeper dive into her head. She says that the trauma is buried deep down, and the potion is only layering bandages over it, higher and higher. It might collapse at any moment. Dalish comes up from research to say it all seems very much like Garion’s research, but with people instead of the fae creatures, and a lot messier. Nat dives deeper and finds a green miasma all woven in with the trauma – the curse. Exhausted, we all go to sleep, most of us in the warded room with the Youngs, but Remy takes Aranea to a private room, as does Klyce with Philomena.

We wake in the night, wrapped in bands of iron. Chirina running out of the room holding the research and the stone. I send in various directions until I find Remy, to let him now. Nat breaks her bonds and teleports out the window Chirina used to chase her. Gerhardt, Dalish, and I struggle with our bond to no avail. Gerhardt does manage to dispell his, eventually, and ends up with a small metal ball. By the time Nat and Remy get back, Klyce has arrived and is able to break Dalish free. I want to keep mine, so I convince them to let me be until someone has a dispell in the morning. We all go back to sleep after a quick check on the household, which has a few dead from a multi-front attack.

In the morning, after Gerhardt dispells the bands on me, we have a deeper conversation. Who were the other attackers? Why did Chirina mention an international incident? What do we do now? Do we chase her or just go home? We have to fix Mrs. Young, and we have to get home. They did manage to capture on of the attackers, so if we talk to him, maybe we’ll figure out if the chase is worth the trouble. We decide to start there and get our host to translate for us.

The guy’s name is Antonio, and last night, he was drinking in Palermo. Five shadowy guys hired him and his buddies to come and make a ruckus with them. He doesn’t know who they were, or who they represented, they just gave them money to do a job. Didn’t even tell them it was the Magia they were attacking. This guy is useless, so we let the Magia take him away.

Okay, we have no leads, let’s see if we can remove the curse from Mrs. Young. Nat offers her some of the special tea, and they drink while I begin praying to the Dawnmother. As they slip into the mind-sharing trance, Gerhardt casts Remove Curse. Nat guides the magic down into her mind. As I watch, green goo starts dripping out of her ear, just like the worms. I guess it actually worked, but she doesn’t wake up with Nat does.

With that done, we take up the arguement again. Go after Chirina, or just go home.

Dinner With the Enemy

A bit later, eight guards show up and ask if we’ll come quietly. Gerhardt nods, so we are ushered out of our fancy prison and down to dinner with the rest of our group. It’s a bit long table full of food, and we are offered wine and water. Not allowed to turn down anyone’s hospitality, I dig in a bit, while most of the group awaits our host. We don’t have long to wait until a older gentleman arrives, dressed for the fancy dinner and introduces himself as Ernesto DiRudio. He welcomes us to his home, and the joins us in tucking in to the meal.

After we have eaten, he acknowledges our situation. American mages come to pursue the very same people as himself. They were his guests and stole his research. He says that research is dangerous and incomplete, and he has a deal to offer us, instead of finding and killing them. He suggests that if we get his research back for him, return all that they have stolen, he will let us all leave Italy. Never to return. We try to ask about the research but he brushes us off, best not to ask. We decide this is what we came for, so it works for us. Chirina doesn’t want to object is such powerful company, so we all agree and sign a contract with him.

Once we are bound to him, he provides more information. There are five groups in pursuit of Philomena’s family. The Sardinia Military, the Magia, the Church, himself, and there might even be more. He cannot protect us from any of them, and urges caution, given the feelings in Sardinia. The military itself binds mages with magic, and they have mage hunters in their ranks. He suggests that the lasst information he had was that our quarry was in the southern tip of Italy. He offers us horses and supplies to speed us on our journey and we head south.

There are more and more troops as we get further away from Rome. Chirina learns that Sicily is in open rebellion, and we are going to have a bit of trouble getting to where we need to go. We get by Napels on our tourist status, and on down to Solerno. Here, we stop to get rooms for the night, tired of sleeping on the ground out in the open. The city is very quiet, not a lot of people, and there are rumors of folk disappearing.

That night, we are attacked in our sleep. Four strange humanoid beings sneak into our rooms and two of them are wielding magic! It is quite the fight for our lives in the otherwise silent inn, but we manage to kill two of them while the other two escape. Their bodies are strange, and Aranea is terrified of them. She says they are filled with death. When Chirina goes downstairs, she finds everyone else in the place has been killed. We have to go, now! So, she smuggles us out of town through whatever contacts she has in the dark and we get away before camping again, this time under the dome.

Once rested, we head on, but we have to go slower, avoiding troops of soldiers, even going off the road. Still, we are spotted and told to turn back. The soldiers shadow us for a little while to make sure we do, so we decide to travel at night. Strange noises give us pause. A large man approaches, with a smaller, collared man.

“Fall on your knees, the beast is upon you. Quake and Tremble, the Beast has come.” Oh man, this guy is huge.