Death and Necromancy

Mary Mouse and the Big Guy get rid of the skeletons, but then Red nearly kills himself on a ballista bolt trap on the next door. But he gets back up and we run down a bunch more hallways until he stops us. Says there are holes in the walls, and he doesn’t like them. After a while, he sticks a ladder is some of the holes, but then decides we can’t get the Big Guy and Buick across the trap, so we turn back.

Around a bunch of other hallways until we find another big room. This one has a bunch of ugly masks on the walls, and ten skeletons that we have to smash. There are shelves of destroyed books here, so I search the shelves for any that haven’t died yet. Mary Mouse finds a lever to open one of the bookshelves to reveal a big iron-banded door. It takes a couple tries, but the Big Guy and Orange lift it up to get us all through.

We move on down more hallways to a portcullis. The dark room beyond smells like an outhouse full of death. Nevi and Mary Mouse send light in, and we can see piles of bones, dirt, armor, and weapons. Orange and the Big Guy lift this door up, too and we head inside to investigate.

Big dead eye monsters rise up out of the muck. Two of them look like zombies and the other one is made of bones. These are the most awful things I have ever seen. Mary Mouse seems to like the skeletal one, though. It kills Buick and Orange, though, so we destroy it in a rage that would have made him proud. I might have run if I could, but the doors were all closed. I don’t like it here.

Red is furious, and puts Orange in his bag to fix later because the Big Guy can’t fix him right now. We ask if Red wants to leave now, but he insists we go on without Orange. We do divide up some of Orange’s stuff. Catbard lets Gargoyle Lady take control of her, so we give her Orange’s weapons.

We run up and down a lot of hallways then, backtracking and going everywhere but back to that trapped hall. One last dead end, and Red is frustrated. Mary Mouse takes a look, though, and finds a false wall. Red gets it open and we creep in. There is a random armored woman in here, she says she’s from Chult and has been waiting her for a very long time. Her party came in here, but got separated. I don’t trust her. She says her name is Samantha Satessa from near Gold Dwarf Chasm. That sounds fake, I’ll have to ask Catbard later, when she comes back.

There’s no way out of this room, though, so we go all the way back to the beginning. Two pink toads have climbed up the tree. We try to get passed, but Nevi trips and a Redcap and some sort of demon pop out. Red is furious, but we manage to get rid of them. He insists we just shoot them if any more appear, instead of trying to get past them. We all agree and head onward.

We head down some more twisting hallways to a room with strange symbols. We avoid the symbols to get out another door, and down some more hallways. The next door is kind of cold, but we head in. The room is full of cold and spikes and weird swirling decorations.

The Battle for Maribeth’s Soul

We weren’t there for the real battle, happening over in Hell with all the Demon Lords and her Grandfather. But what we did in that hellish mansion tipped the balance and saved my dearest friend, and her family.

We could see the ritual through the door, but when we tried to enter, an invisible force held us at bay. The wizard boys do what they do, and figured out that it was something called a forbiddance, and only Pumbleby blood was allowed to enter or give permission to enter. Okay, Porter, who about you invite us all in? I asked and the others agreed. So, he and Gerhardt set to work figuring out how to get us all inside. Without the two, not actually Maribeth nor Grandfathers on the other end just kicking us back out again.

While they pull together a ritual, two minotaurish demons took up position on either side of the door. The claw demon on the far end started pulling up darkness throughout the room. The cultists danced around an altar containing my brother and a succubus. Klyce, Remy, and Nat took a look at the ritual in progress, deciding that killing the cultists would only slow it down at this point, not stop it. They noted my brother magically chained to the altar, it would be more complicated than teleporting him out of there. I had my bands of balero to Klyce, in case he got close to one of the Maribeths, and Philomena cast protection spells on him. We’re going to have Gerhardt do some walls of force again. The two Maribeths stood laughing. Right up until the point where we walked through the door.

Someone put a globe of force around the cultists and the altar, Gerhardt put a globe around one of the minotaur demons. Remy slips into the center globe, and I take Klyce in after him. The succubus almost immediately surrenders, offering to help save Gerald. Klyce says she can come with us, and then turns Gerald into a cat and picks him up off the altar. I toss up my storm, careful to exclude everyone in the bubble, including the succubus. Spells, bullets, and swords start flying. Remy calls my name, but it sounds odd. I look up and he shoots me down. Again.

I wake up to Julian standing over me with an empty potion bottle. I start throwing shocking grasps, and the succubus teleports out with Gerald. Before I can start cursing, Klyce says he’ll explain after we’re through. I look up in time to see Philomena disintigrate the claw demon. Remy dimension doors out of the bubble with me, and we start attacking the Maribeths. They shoot out some black awfulness at Philomena and Nat, but I still have my Healing Word to get them back up. Porter banishes one of the Maribeths and Remy shoots the other one down. But Porter gets knocked unconscious and the first one comes back. Nat puts down the minotaur demon. Unfortunately, the Maribeth lets the other one free, and now have to put them both down. Which we manage with some more magic, bullets, and swords.

The ritual seemed to have gotten far enough, though. There was a big dark shadow growing more solid by the moment. Porter circles us all up to put it back. It’s slippery and strange. We can hear him, too. Trying to convince us that he’s the least of our worries. That we wouldn’t even know he was in our world. Then he tried bribery, offering us anything we could ever want. It would be so easy for us to just let him in and then deal with him. Wouldn’t it? Nat pushes us all harder, and we manage to focus down and seal him back in his Tower.

Time never ends. I am patient.

The mansion starts shaking and we take off, running out and up into the street. Time to head home and tell everyone that the demon threat is over. Maribeth and Dalish meet up with us just a little while later and we have a happy reunion. But Where Is My Brother???

Where Mortal Men Do Fear To Tread

It took a little convincing that the fate of the world was on the line, but Julian eventually consents to waking up his father for us. We still have to wait for half an hour to go talk to him, but it is a fruitful discussion. He greets us politely and asks our names, figuring out who we are quite quickly from our past with the Magia. Remy starts explaining all our efforts to protect the city, but Klyce cuts him off to say he has something we need to wake up Porter. For some reason, Klyce has decided it’s a drug. I think it’s something to do with that business in Italy. Turns out we’re both wrong.

Once he finds out that Porter is in trouble, he is much more forthcoming. Klyce asks what he needs from us in exchange. He mentions that his family is in the mana trade and they’ve heard about these Machines… All our hackles raise, but then he goes on to say he wants us to ensure they never go into production, nor ever made legal. We are More than happy to do just that. We don’t have a lot of political power, but what we do, we will bring full force against these Machines. Deal? Deal.

Then we head downstairs and he takes a look at Porter. He pulls a serpent ring off his finger and puts it on Porter’s hand. It shrinks down to fit, and in short order, Porter awakes, albeit still in some pain. Excellent! Now we have to figure out how to find Grandfather. Porter can’t track them wherever they are with the magic he was using for the sacrifices. But maybe we can track their teleports, now that we know which teleports to track. This time, instead of Porter’s people, we can track the demons who attacked my house, and stole my brother.

I ask about my sling, that I stole from Porter’s hideout. Apparently it does extra damage to demons. Remy starts talking about Phil, in vague terms, and I’m surprised at Klyce’s restraint, when he simply says that man is not available for this mission because he says so. Klyce leads us all to the one succubus that teleported away from Phil in the mad chase from my house. We get a direction from there. Then we head back to my house, and up to my brother’s room, and the room where everyone’s staying.

I get that feeling again. I know what I did wrong the first time. I was trying to go two places at once. I can do it now. I ask if everyone is ready, and count heads to make sure I’ve got enough power. Philomena agrees to come with us this time, since we’re down Marybeth and Dalish. Everyone grabs hands, and I teleport us. Into an empty stone room, without mishap.

There’s a hallway behind us with stairs up to the street. Nat finds an instability in the center of the room. Remy looks closely and can just see the entrance to a Magnificent Mansion. Except, this one’s a little different. It seems to not really be here, on our plane, more like it goes into the void a bit. How do we get inside? What happens if we dispell it? It could eject them, or, if there’s another entrance, we would just be barred from getting in, or it could kill them all, my brother included. Remy and Gerhardt look a bit closer at the magic while Klyce skitters off to make sure we’re alone.

Gerhardt decides that if he overcharges, he can get the door open for us. It’ll take a ritual, so while he’s at it, Nat rituals up a telepathic bond, as well. It works! We step through the door into one of the most disgusting places we’ve ever been. It reminds me of the dead king’s body. Only, these fleshy walls have faces moving through them, and they’re all screaming and wailing. There are twenty small demons waiting for us in this foyer of the damned. but they fall quite quickly to the simplest spells and we move on. The next room has a fountain of blood and buffet tables of body parts in various stages of rot. There are stairs going up, doors to either side, and a hallway under the stairs. Remy and Porter run forward super fast to scout, but Porter finds something first.

There’s someone hiding in the study. Klyce skitters forward and can sense three beings in there. Remy comes back down and Gerhardt goes up to look as well. Remy sees one hiding by the liquor cabinet and calls out to him. He threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t show himself, so a slightly larger than the entryway demons comes out to talk. Remy asks where the prisoners are? Down the hall, there’s only one left. Who else in our way? Bull demons, Galabrazu, and a large fear shadow fire demon. A what now? Nevermind, how do we get in without passing all these demons? No way he knows around them. How do we stop the ritual? Kill the two masters. Grandfather must have more puppets or clones. Then it tries to get Remy to take it on as a familiar and Ceres is not amused. What help can you be so we don’t just kill you? Don’t go in the succubus room upstairs, never there. Maybe the demons have weapons you could use against the master? He doesn’t like being stabbed. The shadow, fire, fear monster though, he has no weaknesses. Not even magic. Okay, if we have to leave, what’s the password to get back into this mansion? He tells us, but I wouldn’t even begin to know how to spell the infernal word.

We head down the hallway, wondering if we should have just killed those demons, too, but we need all our magic for what comes next. We make plans about what spells to use, and how to use our Iron Bands on Grandfather’s duplicates. We push through the first set of doors to find an ante chamber full of smoke and darkness at the far end. The Balor peers out at us from the smoke.

Then it grabs Gerhardt with it’s whip and drags him across the room to stab him a couple times. I storm up and spells start flying. It pulls me in next, but manages to somehow not drop me in one round. We mange to keep running away from him, and Gerhardt heals me enough that we put him down without dying ourselves, but as he falls, things go a little sideways. You’re too late! I have slowed you down enough! DIE! Then he explodes and I wake up to Gerhardt treating some pretty nasty burns on my arms.

We head forward again, and open them on the massive fleshy ritual chamber. In the center, Gerald is chained down with a succubus keeping him occupied. Cultists dance around in a circle. Two images of Marybeth, Grandfather’s work, are on the far end of the room, incanting the ritual. And I will fall over again if a soft breeze touches me.

Right Where We Started, Almost

The fight breaks loose almost immediately. Remy rushed forward and dimension doored Porter out of Grandfather’s grasp to the top of the stairs. I try to slow the demons, but only manage to catch one of the froggy ones. Marybeth tosses a fireball down into the mix, and then there’s lightning, and sunbeams, and necrotic spells flying everywhere. One of Porter’s boys pushes up past us and disappears with Porter, another pops out, as well. The demons are slaughtering the rest, as we try to take down Grandfather. He puts on a silence collar, just as Remy blows his head off. It takes a bunch more spells to get rid of the demons, but when the dust clears, it turns out that Grandfather was just made of ice and snow. The demons have made off with several more prisoners, but Remy’s father is still here. Small victories.

One of Porter’s team remains, and he tries to explain that they were just trying to stop the old man. They had to kill those carrying the Dawnmother’s blood before he could get to them for his ritual. He’s the one trying to unseal a banished monster with her descendants. When we ask where Porter went, he doesn’t know, but suggest the fishery up above us and then who knows where. I can’t take us straight up, though, I don’t actually know what’s there. So, I take us all back to my house.

Remy puts Franklin in with the other families, and I stop to pray for the Dawnmother’s healing for everyone. Maribeth, Klyce, and Remy talk to their parents while the rest of us try to figure out this whole Dawnmother’s blood thing. We don’t have enough information though, we have to find Porter. I try to send a message to Porter, but he doesn’t reply. Nat sits down and scries on the man who teleported out with him, Julian Kosta. He finds Julian performing surgery on a nebulous form. The room is decorated with family portraits and paintings, it’s probably his house. They don’t live far from here, so we decide to go. Nervous, Maribeth casts non-detection on herself before we leave the house.

Arriving with a knock on the front door, we are greeted by a butler. He tell him that we’re here to help the man bleeding in his dining room. He shuts the door gently, and when he returns, politely escorts us to Porter and Julian. Remy and Gerhardt immediately step forward to look him over and get to work, and I sit down to start praying. Julian steps back to let us work, wincing every time I invoke the Dawnmother’s name.

Maribeth pulled him aside to get him talking about what they’ve been doing. I was concentrating on my prayers, but in between, I caught some of the conversation. Six months ago, Porter heard about what Grandfather was doing, so they had to get back here to stop him. Wiest was just a means to that end. Porter didn’t talk about the contracts much, but he did know, somehow, when Grandfather followed Maribeth back from death. Julian says he loves Porter, he’s a good man, and saved his life. He had explained to them a bit about the devils and demons and corrupted fae. They tried for months to find Grandfather, but eventually, had to settle for hunting his prey instead.

Then Julian went on about some thirteen towers of ruin with these big bad demons sealed away by the gods, to keep them from the human world. The lesser ones still can, but the seals hold the real evil at bay. He said that Grandfather wants to open one of them, and catch the whole world on fire. Since Grandfather can’t go after the Dawnmother herself to unseal the tower, he’s been after her descendants instead. Porter figured out a way to track bloodlines through a ritual, so they’ve been able to find their targets. They had killed eight so far, with five more in the cells. The demons took four of those, so with my brother, Grandfather is right on track to finish his ritual.

Eventually, Porter is stabalized. I send to Philomena to tell her we’re spending the night, and we all bed down around the bloody table to sleep.

In the morning, Maribeth tells us that Grandfather has moved up the negotiations with his Demon Prince threats. They’re coming to take her to Hell and she needs us to find and stop him while she’s gone. If he wins, he gets all the mana he could want, and other powers he could use and abuse. She wants one of us to go with her, to help, and eventually, we settle on Dalish, as the most knowledgable of the group. Then there’s a strange digression about Orrin and who is actually in control of him, but I don’t think it matters so much right now.

We try to wake up Porter, but he’s still to injured, so Remy suggests a Mind Palace, and Nat oblidges, leaving Remy and Klyce outside to guard us all. It works! Maribeth takes charge of the meeting and explain to Porter what is going on. She offers her conversations with him before the war as proof that she’s really herself. She explains what she tried to do with the contract, and says that she has to go to Hell soon for the renegotiation. He tries to interrupt, but she shouts him down. He has to stay here, he has to help us find Grandfather and stop his ritual so that he doesn’t get the contract back. They go back and forth for a bit, he doesn’t want her to go to hell, but she insists that it is necessary. She even tells him to listen to Klyce, and to stop murdering innocent people. He finally agrees to listen to us, but we have to get Julian to help him. The Magia have something that could help him, and Julian has to get it from them.

Maribeth steps back and now it’s our turn for questions. Nat asks if she can look into his brain when this is done, for clues he may have missed, and he agrees. We ask how many more Grandfather needs. Just the four he took. How do we stop the ritual? Kill the sacrifices, kill his followers, disrupt the ritual. Then we ask what he knows of Hell. When the separating of the worlds happened, fae were trapped on earth, starving. They require magic to live, like an addiction. Thirteen very powerful fae, in attempting to get home, achieved communion with the void in between. The void changed them and they began to feed on souls, and created Hell between the worlds. The Dawnmother imprisoned them in the towers there. There is then a short tangent into demon and devil procreation, but we don’t have time for that. We say goodbye and wake up.

Maribeth asks me to make sure Julian gets what is needed, and to keep Rictus from Porter, at least until the matter is settled. She wants us to fill Rictus in, but I’m not so sure about that. With Dalish gone to Hell, I will have to ask the others. There is a knock on the door, Maribeth and Dalish go to answer. We follow from a distance to see them off, Two thin, lithe lawyery gentlement escort them out the door, and through a portal to Hell.

Into The Nest

Brack fell to the ground, blood gushing from his neck, and I ran up to Spare him from Dying. Remy starts shooting at something above my head and I duck to cover Brack’s body. Next thing I know, I’m getting stabbed, too, and there are crossbow bolts coming out of windows around us. Klyce runs up beside me and chokes out a guy that I didn’t even see, and Remy keeps shooting. Glancing up, I see a ghostly shadow leaving the body in front of me, and I scramble back, but it flees. I join the fray, Catapulting some rocks up at the men in the windows, but every time one falls, a grey shadow flees the scene. Nat manages to get a Mindspike on one before it gets too far, just as the battle ends.

Gerhardt patches me up, and then wakes Brack up. He has had enough of our dangerous life, and heads back to his shadowy one. Nat quickly searches the dead, they still look slippery, like all those years ago in the Bronx sewers. They have no identifying features, no prints, no blemishes, nothing, except a brand at the base of their neck from the Mageocracy. Assassins! What? Why? I, self-consciously, check the back of my neck, but there’s no sudden appearance of a brand there, thank the Dawnmother.

We chase after the spiked shadow demon, all the way down to Little Italy. It is about 150 feet below us, so we head back into the familiar sewers of New Gnosis. This is nowhere near the location of the Nest, but we have to check it out. When we finally get close, it appears to be a Magia hideout. No! Nonono! We do not have time for That entanglement. So, we head back up and out. Once outside, Nat does sit down to take a look inside, but only finds an old dusty room.

We head off to find a map and do some triangulation of all the abduction sites. They find a spot in Brooklyn, near some dockside warehouses, and about 200 feet downward. Okay, I can do this. I know where we’re going, I have some demon bones and the cultist’s necklace. I gather everyone around me, and close my eyes. Transportation magic hurts a heck of a lot more than I thought it would. Getting shot didn’t even hurt that much. I hold on tight to the lightning, and we make it through to the ritual room Nat has described to us several times.

There are footsteps in the hall outside, and the girls hide behind the altar, while the boys stand to meet whoever comes. Two robed figures carrying torches enter. Someone says, We just want to talk, but they start shouting instead. We’ve been found! To Arms! Bullets and spells begin flying, as they summon two bone devils to help. I manage to get a Storm Sphere off, thanks to some countering of a countr by Remy. The room fills with spells, bullets, claws, and lightning.

One of the men disappears, and Remy starts shooting down the hall. Dalish flies after the invisible man, but he gets attacked by a charging man in armor. Once the devils are down, we all move toward the hallway, and eventually take down the fake knight after Gerhardt dispells all his charms. Dalish captures his soul, while Maribeth defaces the symbols around the altar. A wall of fire erupts at the end of the hall, and Remy starts swatting at invisible things all around him.

We all retreat back to the room, while Dalish uses the captured soul to look ahead. There are six mages waiting for us in a room at the far end of the hall. Remy is trapped in a mental prison, and we have to wait a minute for him to be free. The mages do not advance during that minute, so we settle in for a ten minute Prayer of Healing to get people pumped back up a little bit. Dalish is watching them, so they send an Arcane Eye down to watch us, too. Nat puts up a Telepathic Bond so we can communicate more easily, and we make a plan. We’re going to go up to the turn in the hall. Gerhardt is going to cast his Sphere, and we’re going to use it as cover to attack the mages. Klyce will head in and take them on physically, while the rest of us stay back and lob spells.

When we’re all ready, Klyce, still in crocodile form, did I forget to mention that? He’s found a new favorite. Anyway, Klyce, carries Gerhardt and Nat down the hall, with the rest of us following behind. Dalish stays a ways back from the group because he’s keepig an eye on the room still. Before we can get there, they pop out and cast two fireballs on the whole group of us. I fall immediately.

I wake up in a different hallway, in Dalish’s arms. Unconscious girls can’t be choosers, I guess. The group is investigating a set of double doors at the far end of this hall. These doors lead into a mess hall. Remy and Nat head in to check the doors at the far end of this room, and find a kitchen, cold room, and bathroom. Doors on the right side of this room lead to an empty barracks, where we find a couple more phials of mana, as well as some magical items, which we promptly steal: A dagger, a sling, a ring, and a shield. Nat claims the dagger, I claim the sling, Klyce grabs the shield, and we put the ring away until we can identify it.

Heading through the doors on the left side of the mess hall, we find a training room, complete with straw dummies. As Nat and Dalish search around this room, four devils teleport in. Two covered in chains, and two armored females that remind me a little too much of the succcubi. The fight begins, and I pull up my Storm Sphere. One of the ladies doesn’t like this, and immediately puts me down. This time I wake up in the freezer with everyone sitting around identifying the magic items. Except mine. That’s okay though, it’s just a sling.

When we’re ready, we head back through the training room quickly, and Remy can see some extra layers of protect ahead. We pass through them, as though through a veil, and are confronted by ten more mages in the prison wing. Porter is there, and he calls out to Maribeth, as though she was her Grandfather, saying he won’t let him win. We shout back that she’s not Grandfather, we’re here because he’s been kidnapping and murdering people, including our family members. He says that’s Grandfather’s doing, and he can explain everything, but not down here. He’s trying to stop Grandfather summoning the horrible, huge, evil thing.

Then a sword appears through his chest, and Grandfather is standing right behind him, looking like Maribeth. He thanks us for finding this place for him, he was having all sorts of trouble with that. Then a bunch of demons teleport in among us all!