The Chioces of Gods and Men

We stare in shock as the bombs fall over the Bronx and the mobs rush across the East River. Wiest appears in the sky, raining her fire that is not fire down upon them. Clouds of luminous gas billows out from the dead. Klyce’s shout for us to DO Something! breaks our spell, and Gerhard takes most of us to Police Plaza. I rise immediately into the sky, bringing up a Storm of Vengeance upon the third line of faithful crossing the river. Gerhard and Maribeth join Wiest above the first and second waves. Dalish starts rallying the troops and giving orders below, sending Remy to the north with an army at his heels to take on the fourth wave. Behind us, Nat and Klyce take care of the airship, sending it into the bay before Klyce turns into Dragon and brings Nat in on red wings to join the fight at the river.

My storm keeps raging, far longer than it should, as I remember what it felt like those years ago in the Wrathbone mine, to Be the Green Witch. When it falters, I take control of the winds, to keep Dalish and Police Plaza safe while he commands the troops. Maribeth turns most of the river into a rocky mirage, slowing the troops, but not stopping them as Gerhard runs out of fire, and Wiest abandons the field of battle. Dalish and I head for the riverbed where he raises thousands of the dead and turns them back on the faithful.

Nat says we have to get to the church, we have to get to the source, so we stop fighting in the river and fly across to Brooklyn. Gathering above the temple, mana is redistributed and we take a breath, but not a break. We cannot wait, people are dying in the streets. Golden gas is coming up from the sewers. Only half of Pendleton’s men made it out of the Bronx.

Gerhard teleports us down to the workroom we all remembered so well from the time bubble. Nat could not see in there, but it was not protected against teleport. We land safely, and see that it has been used as some sort of ritual room. An altar in an alcove to the side, and all the benches and lockers gone. Everything s coated in a sickly pink flesh.

Klyce goes to the iron doors, back in his demon form now, to rip them open. Shadows in the corner ripple, and the Black and Red knights step out, with Aranea. The king has decided the city is worth saving. As we walk, Aranea fixes the weakness Nat’s last wish has caused her, allowing her to again wield her new sword. Klyce tells the Black Knight that he will fix his arm if we all survive, but the knight just shrugs. The tunnel is dark, but the brightness ahead grows quickly as we descend into the chamber with the severed head of the giant worm, still trapped in its bubble.

The flesh here covers every inch of floor, wall, ceiling, and machinery. It is also beginning to cover the time bubble in the center of the pit. There are body parts here, too, but far too many. Arms, legs, eyes, mouths, floating in the fleshy goo. The flight I have gifted everyone is still working, so only the knights dare step in it. The Archdeacon Wood is here, and dares ask if we have reconsidered.

No more than you, Archdeacon, it’s time to end this.

Wood rises up into the air, but Gerhard counters whatever it was he wanted to do. I cast out a chain lightning, but it does not reach him. Remy’s bullets, however, do. Aranea tries a different magic, but it is stopped as well. The Black Knight heads for the pit and the Red Knight rockets up to the machinery to begin burning away the flesh. Dalish calls up an illusory dragon to burn the flesh from the time bubble, and Maribeth follows suit. Nat tries to curse Wood, but it just falls away. Klyce begins chanting to his sword about being vengeance, and this many being most worthy of it and flies right up to Wood and throws him to the ground. Wood begins laughing joyously, that Klyce is giving in to his power here, at the source of his god, but we don’t have time to do anything else. Remy shouts for us all to do the same.

Nat, calling upon his godly power, manages to pull a few spells off of Wood, and I call up some holy lightning. The others begin pulling harder on their power to burn the flesh, and Klyce stays on Wood, dragging him down to the ground again and again, as he calls upon the flesh of the room to punish us all. I see pain in the faces of my friends, and some mana escapes from Nat is a blue puff, but they seem mostly alright, and I didn’t feel a thing.

Remy attempts to wish our that this room work like a machine, draining our divinity back into us. The room warps and the machinery changes and we are suddenly all connected in that agonizing way that only a mana machine can do. Wood is exstatic> “Exactly as you foresaw! Yes!” Klyce grabs him and they disappear down into the pit. The Red Knight ditches the fight and the Black Knight is nowhere to be seen. At Remy’s urging, we all try to take back our power while continuing to burn the flesh as we can. Aranea casts spells to assist us, but the fight is hard, for even unthinking, Garion’s will is strong.

Nat, using her sword as a focus, manages to pull the Dawnmother’s essence out, but Gerhard falls to the ground. Aranea continues to help and heal, but we struggle. Wood reappears at the top just as Dalish reabsorbs the Stoneman’s essence. Nat stabs the flesh one more time, and the flesh goes limp all around us and her soul-eating sword shatters. Wood tries to call up his own wish, but we counter him. Remy floats down to Gerhard and pulls his soul back into him with his own Wish. I toss lightning down at Wood, and Maribeth sends in a mental attack. Klyce stabs him through the heart and incinerates every inch of his body.

As Klyce turns to us, still seething with rage, Remy calls out to him to stay his vengeance. It is clear that it takes a great force of will, but he releases his power and lands among us. The Black Knight reappears, standing directly behind Klyce and sheathes his sword. Remy passes out from the strain of the fight. I send up to Pendleton that the Garion flesh is dead and the Archdeacon is down. He replies that the mist is gone, and the cultists have come to their senses. Dalish commands his zombie horde to stop fighting. The Black Knight bids us rest and then meet him and the King at The Door. I shout Deal! before anyone else can answer, and he and Aranea disappear into the shadows again.

Dalish offers the rest of us help getting our essences back later, but for now it is time to rest. We head back, Nat taking it slow, to heal anyone she can along the way. Dalish has his zombies round up the dead. Klyce tells Philomena the whole story. I simply collapse into bed and sleep, exhausted by the day’s events, but excited to meet the Prince.

In the morning, we gather for breakfast, sitting by Maribeth and both our brothers come home. I scold mine for having left, and he takes it with a smile at his lady. Porter and Julian look haggard, but well enough. Then the sendings start coming in from every corner, with reports and request for information and orders. Klyce wants everyone to get the bodies taken care of, search and rescue to be mobilized, and fresh water brought into the city in as large of quantities as can be mustered. They all need things to do while we finish cleaning up our own mess.

When everyone has eaten, stowed their magical gear, and replied to their sendings, I teleport us up to the throne room of the old palace. The door behind the throne stands open, and while magic is still suppressed beyond it, the feeling is a familiar one by now, and Dalish is able to descend with us this time. The world goes black and white as we climb, and down in the chamber, the King, the Black Knight, and Aranea are waiting. Dalish asks why Rictus’ son is not with them, and the Black Knight says that this does not concern him. The king apologizes for not trusting us and asks if we have any questions.

Dalish asks how he knew about the door. It’s an old family legend, he tells us. His family are descendants of the Green Witch herself, and their blood is needed to open the way. His great grandfather found it was here when he came to this continent, and built their home above and around it. Dalish asks if he knows what it holds. Yes, he and the Clever Prince shared the last seventeen years in the void together. The Prince helped him keep his sanity in nothingness, and he intends to open the door and free him.

Klyce asks if he knows what will happen then. Freedom. Maribeth asks what that means, and if it will do the things we hoped to fix. The king is not sure, but he knows none of that can be done until it is opened. Dalish asks what he intends to do after, and he says that will be in our hands. We all agree the mageocracy was a failure. He is willing to take back leadership if that is the will of the people, but mostly, he just wants to spend time with his son. That is his priority after missing the last seventeen years with him. Remy offers to take him south, but he does not wish to rule them either.

Klyce asks if we are all in agreement. If anyone objects to opening the door. Nat, Maribeth, Dalish and I immediately agree. Remy is his usual annoying pendantic self. Gerhard is reluctant, but will not vote against it. Klyce agrees and we are unanimous. Then six other voices ring out WE OBJECT, and six luminous figures descend into the cave. The Black Knight and the King freeze in time, as the Gods appear before us.

We all stare for a moment as the Gods look down upon us. They look tired, angry, sad, but determined. Remy, always Remy, breaks the silence by asking why. The Eternal Mind answers for them all, he talked more than Remy, but it went something like: Because it will make things so much worse. You have seen suffering and you think that anything must be better than this. That is how we felt, and the end of this road will take you right back to the beginning and the Clever Prince shall walk as a god, and set his vengeance against this plane of existence. And oh he went on and on and on… Something about our mana being the bones of the fae and havoc and chaos.

When he ran out of steam, Dalish asked why they left these bones, the mana, in the earth in the first place, when the separated the worlds.

The Stoneman answered that the bones belong in the earth, and is not for us to remove them. The fae realm was of the earth. Everything continues, they merely fractured it.

The Vengeance cut in then, saying that the Fae wrought horrors upon the earth. He wants to open the door and end the Prince, and the fae, forever!

There is some back and forth then. Remy calling out that vengeance is this god, and not the Prince, he wouldn’t seek vengeance. And The Vengeance calling him a monster. Then Klyce stepping in and saying that Vengeance is just as bad, or worse. That he just wants to destroy everything. The Green Witch enters the fray, with the tale of the frog and the scorpion. The Clever Prince is a scorpion, she says, he can do nothing but strike, poison, and destroy.

Dalish calls out what they have done, that it was wrong, and has wrought destruction in return. Klyce suggests that the fae follow their own rules, and perhaps we could make a deal with the Prince. Remy says the war needed stopping in their time, and they did their best, but men always find new ways to make war, and that the damage they have caused will only quicken our decay as we fight over the mana.

The Stoneman says that removing the mana would rupture the earth. The Tempest says they should have take it all away. The Eternal Mind does not agree, and is concerned that the Tempest does. The Vengeance says that the bones of our enemies belong in the ground. Remy asked if magic existed before the breaking. The Eternal Mind said of course it did, that’s where their power came from, and the fae made it possible. Dalish explains what locking the fae away has caused and the machines that have brought the fae back into our world. The Dawnmother says that the fae cannot be trusted but they must also not be destroyed.

I jump in at this point, having barely recovered from their appearance, but I am frustrated and angry. Your essences coming back into the world have caused this chaos, the deaths of thousands. We have to fix what you have done before more of the world is destroyed. Nat agrees with me, their mistakes caused this, let us open the door and we will deal with the consequences. The Vengeance is eager for this. Klyce steps in, You all failed. You had your chance and you missed. Be done with all of this? Aren’t you lonely and tired? Let it all go. Just let it go, you are only echoes of what you used to be. It is Our World now. You don’t live here, you quit. We’re still here, it’s our decision now.

The Stoneman shows us what had happened in their time. The chaos and destruction caused by the Prince and the fae. When it is over, Dalish nearly laughs. So, he is as big an ass as those we have already fought. The Stoneman relents that he is what he is. The Vengeance puts in another bid to kill him. Maribeth insists that the only way forward is releasing him and restoring the balance. That they had no right to destroy the fae world as they have done.

The Stoneman looks at us all thoughtfully, glancing at Klyce. In your tirade, one thing moved me. I am lonely. We exist from the power we took, born of the earth. It did not stop without us. I have one last wish, to slumber, to return to the earth. He then lays a hand on Dalish, and the last vestiges of his power flowed out and into him. The Stoneman was gone, and the Green Witch wailed in pain.

The Tempest looks at Gerhard. I would almost agree, but you seem to not be having any more fun than me these years. Nat steps in to defend our quiet friend, saying he has his fun in his lab, with his alchemical works.

Klyce steps forward. I doubt this was in your plan, but what is your endgame here? I step up with him, looking at the Green Witch. Your descendent is here, ready to open that door as is his familial duty. Ready to give his blood. It is time. Klyce picks up the line. The world has moved on. Let this be the end of it. You have stuck around long enough. It is over and if you cannot change then there are only scorpions here.

The Tempest, still frowning at Gerhard. I don’t think you are wrong. And gives his last bit of power to Gerhard.

Then Klyce turns to Vengeance. How about you just leave? I want no part of you. The Vengeance replies, You are too week to carry my mantle. Klyce scoffs, That’s some toxic B.S. You never look at your own self. Only everyone else’s sins. How many lives are on your hands? And they fight, and Klyce defeats him handily, but when he takes his essence in, it changes. Even his sword becomes a shining light.

The Dawnmother has been watching quiestly and steps forward, looking hard at me. I set my descendents to watch this door. It is true, that I am tired. If it is truly time, and this is to be the fate of the world. I must not stand in its way. If it is time, then it is time. And she places a hand on Nat’s head and gives herself over.

The Green Witch looks at me, clearly upset that all her friends are leaving her one by one. Even more upset that we are freeing her erstwhile lover. I would look upon his face one last time. And pass along the memories, and the pain, and the joy. Then she melds into me, but I can still feel here, looking out of my eyes. The Eternal Mind looks at us. He wanted to be the last one. He doesn’t even like his chosen. He says Maribeth never even figured out how to use the library properly. He goes on for a little while, and tells her to enjoy watcing everyone around her be stupid. Then he sighs, almost happily. At least now, I don’t know what’s next.

Time resumes, as the King cuts open his hand and anoints the door. Color creeps back into the room, and the door becomes living wood. He turns back to us. It is done, it is upon you to open the door and deal with the consequences. I will see my friend, and then go.

We all step forward, our minds made up, and open the door. Music pours forth as the Clever Price struts free into the chamber, a slow, sweet jazzy number, full of joy and promise. It’s been a long time, friends. Not for us. It’s good to see you again, he says, looking almost through my eyes. I answer for us both, that I’m not sure I can say the same. What would you have of me? Dalish explains what has happened and that we would like him to fix it.

He thinks it was all a great trick, and then that we would need to bring back his father. Klyce says no, that he is the King now, and it is time for him to grow up. He asks for his powers back, that we took from him. We agree, but Remy insists that the games must stop. Klyce says his distructive ways led to this. And Dalish threatens to separate the worlds permanently if he cannot control himself. Alock begins speaking through Remy to explain the damage to the Fea Realm, and the Prince waves a hand, pulling him out and giving him back his own body. The Prince enjoys his games and is sad we don’t want him to play. Klyce points out that it’s a bigger challenge to play games that don’t kill people. The Prince seems to be catching on, that games are more fun if people can keep playing and if they want to play them. He agrees to our deal.

I ask the Green Witch if she is ready to return to him, to watch over him, and she is, returning to be with him forever. The others all give up their godly essences, though Nat is most reluctant. That feels good again. We have made him whole again, and perhaps our influences on his essence will give him something to think on. He promises to make things as they were, and to have fun games. He will see us all again. Remy asks what of the mana, and he says it will just be dirt now. He is late to a party, so he takes Aranea and Alock and disappears back to his world. Remy tries to eradicate the machines with a wish, but they are irrelevant now. The King takes his leave with Sir Hector, and we warn them to be wary of Wiest, for she may still be on the warpath for her father’s death.

There is much to do, and we head out of the old palace to begin the work. To guide, explore, and discover this new world we are creating.

I must find my parents, and then, I must go back to the Fae. There is so much to learn there, and someone has to keep an eye on The Prince.

Approaching the Apocalypse… Again

In the morning, we all round up to check on Remy and discuss. He’s awake, but moving slow. He says he did gain knowledge of his past lives, including golemancy and how to give Alock a body. Folk go off about constructs for a short bit before getting back on track. He says he lost the memories of his first two lives and how they won the war against the fae. Then we digressed into a discussio of the breaking and the war and how they were related, but we don’t have any answers, so we bounce back. Remy thinks he can also give the Etherion voice a body, but that’s a whole other can of worms that needs Rictus’ input. Remy also says that our connection to the gods is what kept us from dying, not just that one time we went to the fae world.

Nat then tells us that she Dreamed last night. She says the positive outcome of the deliberative is fading fast. The other three options are all pretty bad. She saw the room of the deliberative, with the Prime Evoker and Conjurer’s chairs cracked, and Prime Rictus’ chair completely broken, and all the mages were frozen in mid-discussion. But then there were three options. One the chamber emptied and all the chairs broken. One with half the room destroyed. And the last with only one, larger Prime seat remaining. Worried about Rictus’ broken chair, Dalish sends to him, but he says he’s fine and will see us before the Deliberative.

Remy mentions wanting to scribe some spells into his book, including Ressurection. Maribeth says he should just let her go if she dies. We all disagree, vigorously. She thinks she’s going to Hell no matter what, but we try to convince her she’s not anymore. The contract is gone. But she believes she’s done too much bad in her life. I don’t know what that has to do with it, but she’s pretty convinced. We tell her too bad, we’re saving her no matter whether she wants it or not.

Now, what about the Black Knight? And the Red Knight? Aranea? The Church? What about using the Renaud ring to locate Daniel. Remy wants to go look at the secret room in his house. So, we head over there, and on the way, show him all the things we took from it already. We don’t find anything new, but we do learn that the house has been sold to the Prime Illusionist.

We have to find Hector and/or Daniel. Nat starts scrying. Starting with Hector, who we’re sure is dead. She sees the ruins of the Royal Palace. A hallway in front of a shadowed window. There is no sound in the hall. Then Nat scries on Daniel, but it fails to resolve. So, we decide to head to the palace up in the Bronx. We find the spot, it’s all rubble and ashes in an old receiving room. The boys find transmutation magic. Possible disintegration, and the ashes are Hector. Well, there we go then.

Nat takes a look at the pattern of the weave to look back at what this place was. She says it was glorious and beautiful. She looks around and finds something behind the throne. We move some rubble out of the way for her, and find a tunnel entrance. Nat finds the catch to open the door, it’s pushing a few stones in the right order. Heading downstairs, we find the color starting to drain, and it seems to look strange to our magic boys’ eyes. Anti-magic? We go back up, leave Dalish behind after his toe falls off. We light some torches and head back down.

Everything is black and grey as we head down into a bedroom chamber. There’s a stone archway at one end with a door. No. The Door. Oh Dawnmother! Oh Green Witch! The DOOR! I want to. Oh man! I want to touch it.

Remy moves forward. Remy wasn’t in the fae world. No! Remy Stop! It’s the Door, Remy. It’s dangerous. He just wants to look. But touching it. What if one of us opens it accidentally. We can’t do this now. We have to survive the Deliberative first. We can only have one apocalypse at a time. I really want to touch it, too. Look with your eyes, Remy, not your hands. We have to leave. We have to leave now and come back later. We have to.

So, we go back upstairs and seal the door again, and tell Dalish what we found. Then we head home. It’s weird that my house is home for almost everyone in the group now. It’s a closer family than I ever had. Remy works on scribing spells and how to build bodies. Gerhardt goes back to refining Mana. Nat pays a visit to Poissant. She prepares tea to dream about the door. We both really want to open it and keep our promise and get Alock back home before Remy puts him in some unnatural body. But we can’t, not until after Friday.

I decide to check in on all our friends. Xin Yue does not reply. Cirena says she’s doing alright, she made a deal about the Beast for her safety, but it’s still after us. Hank says we can come down to South America any time we want to. When I try to message my mom, all I get is weird island music. Stephen says everything is fine, but he was busy. I tell Gerald about the odd response from Mom, he says he’ll look into it.

Alchemy, Religion, and Murder

It got quiet after we became heroes of the city. Well, magically speaking, at least. We had time to go back to our studies for a little while. Dalish finished up our paperwork and we could breathe new air every morning. It was refreshing to not explode every hour. That was such a strange experience. And meeting a Goddess? Not that Remy believes it, not yet, anyway. I am learning more each week, going to Sunday services, and watching the sun rise and set each day. It’s peaceful and nice.

The magocracy can’t get enough of us, though. All these political mages come banging at our door. Join our party, no ours, we’ll give you access to power, to spells, we can fix the world, we can fix everything. UGH! I’m just thirteen, and I could care less about all their agendas, or their power, or their stupid spell books that I can’t use. No way I’m going to be a figurehead. Not for my family, not for them.

I did get to work on my alchemy lessons a little. With Gerhardt’s help, I figured out how to make a healing potion! I’m so excited, but they do take a while to make, but at least we can still get supplies at the school, when we have time to go back there. Dalish still has to be there, working with Rictus. Oh man, I’m so glad I can’t do that type of magic!

After a few days, Remy gets over himself enough to ask me for a conversation. He sorta apologizes, but says he still isn’t sure about the Dawnmother’s intentions, or the real cause of the old war. He wants me to try and teach him the fae language, and go with him back to the forest to see if the fae will talk to him. He wants to know what they think about the old war. And he doesn’t want me to tell the others. Not yet. I tell him that we can’t go walking into the forest alone, what if we get killed? We have to tell them we’re going at least. I’m also not so sure about teaching him the language, I don’t even know how I know it, but I’ll give it a go when we have time. After that conversation, though, he fell deep into his magical studies, working on that wierd blade of his.

Klyce wanted to go back to school and find another spell or two. Everyone babbles on about flying, polymorph, fire shield, or hallucinatory terrain as we go. Once there, we decide to take a closer look at the courtyard between the buildings. Maribeth notices that there are different species of grass in certain spots, so I lift her up to get a better look.

She says the grasses form runes all across the courtyard. She copies them down and then highlights them with little sparkling lights so the boys can see. Klyce climbs up the main hall to take a look, and notices they’re from the transformation school and seem to have something to do with acceleration. So, he climbs down and walks them in order and a spell called Plant Growth appeared for him to write down.

Once they all get it down, they continue to look around. The sidewalks seem oddly uniform, but they can’t get anything from them. There’s a big tree in the corner, and when they start investigating, they find abjuration, necormancy, and a very odd geometric design to the limbs. Eventually, Dalish casts Identify, and discovers it is the Keystone for the school’s protective magics.

Walking around the area, they notice the benches have equations, or parts of equations, that seem similar to the tree’s design. They walk out the patterns and find a glyph on the theatre’s wall. It seems to be a glyph of warding against unauthorized folk. We try to find other ones around the other buildings, but this seems to be the only one that matches the pattern. Frustrated, we pack it in for the day.

A couple weeks later, Remy calls us all together to have a party. Gerhardt finished his potion of longevity, and Remy is back down another ten years. He looks like Maribeth’s age, now, and we go out to celebrate in the Petals. It was a lovely evening, and we all got to relax and talk about nonsense.

The next morning, however, things got back to our normal. The floating pool up at the 30-something floor was bright crimson in the dawn light.

Maribeth tells the doorman, who notifies a constable. We volunteer, as official investigators, to go take a look while he waits for them. Once he recognizes us, he gives us a key and Maribeth and Remy head up while I go fetch everyone else. By the time we all get up there, Maribeth is going through the dead man’s mail and Remy is studying the body with a knife in its back. Dalish uses magic to turn the corpse over, but there are no other wounds. The knife has weird magic, an octagonal handguard, intricate wrappings, and a small tag attached to the pommel. Dalish tries to understand the writing on it, but it’s some sort of code.

Maribeth says that, according to his mail, the dead man is a researcher, and someone he worked with was very concerned about what they were researching. Saying they had gone too far, and it was affecting lives. He was planning on coming forward and hoped Artemious would, too. That one was signed Killcannon. She said there was also a butcher receipt for beef, pig, pig’s blood, and organ meat. Way more than a man living alone would need.

Just as Remy is suggesting that maybe this isn’t our concern, Inspector Poissant arrives, and suggests we take point. The writing on the tag is Chinese, and they live in the south end of Brooklyn. The butcher shop is also down there. We suggest that he takes over the scene, as his people are much better at crime scene investigation, and we would head off on the leads. He agrees and we head to work.

When we ask at reception for Killcannon, the receptionist says he’s not on record there, and neither is Artemious Finch. There are two other Finch men here, though: Daniel in Records, and Uriah in the Hall of War. She directs us to those departments and we head up. Maribeth, Dalish, and Klyce head for the Hall of Records and Remy, Gerhardt, and I head to the War Department.

Into the Fire…

This is crazy! We’re going to go fight these fae who have been devouring men alive?? Well, sure, why not, we do seem to be the only ones who believe all the crazy stories. Certainly the only ones doing anything about it. Ugh! Why are adults so useless!!!

We sit Remy down to get more details. We need to know what we’re facing. He tells us that the sacrificed men all ripped their own eyes out. He says he felt a pull towards them, but was able to resist it, and then didn’t feel particularly obligated to help them, nor to remove his own eyes. Okay, got it, men shouldn’t look at them.

We decide to in during the day. The crowds of adoring men shouldn’t be there, and we might only have to deal with a few guards. Klyce reminds us not to kill the people. Not guards, nobody. Use spells that won’t kill people, murder is not an option. We are going there to stop the fae. These men are enthralled, it’s not their fault.

Two things to do first. We have to scout out the club and decide how best to get inside. We also are going to leave notes for the Knights, to see if they’ll come help us. Long shot, but hey. We’ll get rid of the fae, and then have the cops deal with the people.

Since I understand the pattern of the leavings, I’m on Note duty. Klyce and Gerhardt go with me, to keep would-be kidnappers/random fae at bay. I figure out four possibilities and we head out to leave the message for the red and black knights.

Royalist Knights,

The killers are magical creatures. Stronger and bigger than those gathering the body parts. They are at The Gentleman’s Political Society of the Ruby Chalice. We are going there to stop them. We are on the same side in this fight.

Mage Detective Squad

By the time we get back to the others, they’re in a back alley pondering transmuting a rusty old door so we can get through. It will take too long though, so, as usual, we end up back in the sewers. To no one’s surprise, the sewers below this building are filled with green thorny vines. The others pop their magical protections, and ten Remy slices away a nearby vine. It slices him right back.

As we start casting various spells at the vines, it starts making an awful keening noise. Eventually, we clear a path into a tube that goes to the building. It stinks of old blood and rot. I start feelin cramped, achey, and swollen. Yep, we’re on the right path. Gods, I almost preferred the hunger for flesh.

We head up through a grate into a storage room, filled with soil and compost. There is moss and fungus growing all over the room. We keep moving, but Nat hangs back to look for anything interesting. She finds a bunch of gold beneath a loose floorboard. The next room is empty but for a fat old wizard, or is that five fat old wizards. I’m not sure, as we’re suddenly surrounded by fire. There’s a lot of spell slinging after that. He even counters my slow spells, but that allows the boys to silence the areas where he is to keep him from really messing us up. Eventually, we manage to knock him out. We tie him up and force a sleeping pill from Raltus down his gullet to keep him from bothering us as we move on.

We head upstairs, down a hallway and up some more stairs. There are some doors up here. We find a coat room, with six coats, but nothing else, so we head up yet another set of stairs. There are two doors here. One of them, Nat says, is where he saw the wizard when he spied from outside. There are soft sounds from the other door, so Klyce breaks it down.

It’s an apartment, but it’s covered in vines coming down from the ceiling, to entangle six men. They are finely dressed, and are not resisting the vines growing in and out of every hole and socket in their bodies. They, nor the vines, respond to our presence, so we close that door for now. We break into the Wizard’s apartment, and Nat pockets his spellbook. There is a lot of mana here – philters, and a Jug from the theft ring. He has another door, that hides a cold room with a dozen skinned bodies. Oh man, this guy was probably a psycho before the fae!

We have to get up to where the roots are coming from, but this isn’t the way. We go back downstairs and through the coat room to the main party space. We head up through the dance hall on the second floor, Remy guiding us now. There’s a slight humming in the air, and we head up a third flight of stairs.

The space up here is like a greenhouse. Hot and steemy, with dark earth and vines all around. The boys are keeping their eyes on the ground now, so Maribeth, Nat, and I look around. There are 6 women up here, beautiful women. Three of them are sleeping and pregnant, the other three look very angry to have been disturbed. Nat gives a shout that she’s been blinded and I grab her shoulders. The three immediately begin casting spells at us, starting with ensnaring vines. A lot of fire gets thrown around, while I try to keep the women slowed. Klyce, at some point, begins defending them. What is it with him and compulsion magic?? Spells fly and people scream, and when all is said and done, four no longer beautiful bodies are melting away into the floor, and two beautiful little babies lay on the ground.

Nat and I go pick up the babies, they have no bellybuttons, but they seem healthy enough. Unfortunately, kill the fae didn’t cure Nat’s blindness, so I still have to guide her everywher. We all head downstairs to find the men no longer hooked up to vines, but catatonic instead. Remy goes to roust the police, and I cajole Maribeth into going out to bring us milk for the babies. She seems to want to just kill them, but they’re so cute and innocent. I don’t tell her, but what if this was how I was born, and my parents were duped into raising me…

Once milk has been procured, Nat and I head back to the school with the babies, leaving everyone else to clean up with the police. We take the to Raltus, having no real idea what to do with babies. As usual for our arrival to the infirmary, Raltus is flabbergasted. We try to explain about them being magical orphans, without explaining all the death and distruction. He takes custody of the children, as we beg him not to give them over to Rictus or some other horrible experiments. He assures us that he is not a monster, and then takes a look at Nat’s eyes. He’s not sure there’s any way to fix them, they might heal, they might not. Nat spaces out for a moment, then says she just had the vision of the desert again, and is sure someone has died.

Frustrated, we head down and meet the rest of the group heading up. Remy continues past us to talk to Raltus, and we all head to Aleria’s office. Her desk holds a book on learning Braille for Nat, and a note for us to read to her. “Yes, it’s fine, keep it.” Nat dictates a note back, offering to take care of the two babies. I add in that she’s now having visions while awake.

We all head to our rooms, exhausted from our latest adventure in fae hunting.

Cannibal Murder Cults… I mean… Gentlemen’s Clubs

I woke up when the fighting was all over. I remember being grabbed by the Black Knight. I remember Klyce climbing up the building nearby. Then, Nothing. I woke up to Nat standing over us all, fresh as the day she got to school. We’re in Remy’s hotel room, even. Not lying on the street in pools of our own blood. So glad Nat found us, that could have been really, really bad. What if the red-capped creepers had found us first??

We immediately start asking her about the drawings. She didn’t see them in her hurry to leave the infirmary and find us, but they were all part of her dreams. She asked which ones had happened, and we told her all about the man in the sewer who tried to kill us all. We ask for more details on what she saw, but it’s all a bit hazy and she’s not sure which have happened and which are going to happen. She really wants to go after her brother in the south again, but we have to take care of the murders going on first.

Nat mentions that the women who were eating the man were surrounded by men in masks, like from her other drawing. I think real hard, and have a vague memory of my own father wearing a mask like it. Late at night, when he would come home loudly drunk. I never asked him where he’d been, you just don’t ask things like that.

But, if he’s been wherever this is happening, we have to find out where it is. The others talk about asking him, or following him. But we have no idea if he’s even going anymore, and I have zero desire to talk to him. Hey Dad, are you involved in a cannibal murder cult? Could you tell me where? Um…. NO, Thank You. Maribeth mentions her grandfather had a similar mask, too, and maybe we could search his office. Klyce mentions that we could also ask Philomena about her father’s activities, seeing as how they had weird creatures living below them.

We all end up back at school in the morning, and we let Klyce do the talking. Philomena isn’t terribly happy about our implications about her father, but she lets it go on account of all the dead. She says there are lots of gentlemens clubs, and they all tend to wear masks for anonymity. She’s sure her dad is a member of one of them. She tells us that they are in the better parts of town, generally not advertised, but they tend to have a mark on the building somewhere.

We go round in circles talking about our plan and their plans. Why now? Are they building up to something? Nat says the darkness is increasing. They were trying to open gates in the rituals we stopped. The symbol is a fertility rite, are they trying to make more? We decide to look at the other sites from the night before. Remy decides to get all dressed up in his adult body and see if he can score an invite to a club or two in the nice areas adjacent to the dumping grounds.

Heading out to talk to our cop allies, they tell us there were four body dumps last night. One was not on our list of possibles. The cops say they don’t have trouble with fancy gentlemen in this part of town. All the sites are bloody messes, as we expected. At the freshest site, we head down into the sewers to look for the redcaps. They turn out to be quite a ways down and away from the bodies, but I can feel their hunger again.

With some light tossing and slow spells, we draw two of them out and end them. I can sense more nearby and call out to them. They talk to me, for once, actually answering, unlike the rest we have fought. They are hungry, but not working with the humans. They just want food. I ask why they don’t leave, and they say they can’t, it’s not time yet. They won’t tell me what that means, or about the war. I ask how to make peace with their people, and they say they must be fed. Klyce won’t attack them if they aren’t attacking us, so I tell them we’ll leave. If they start killing people, though, I tell them, we’ll be back.

We head back to sleep, and in the morning, when Remy arrives, he looks like death. Before he can fill us in, Dalish arrives as well. He tells us about his lessons with Rictus the night before. The tub of Garian goo, when fed to a non-mage, gives them the ability to cast magic. He’s not sure if it’s permanent or temporary. We discuss whether Rictus is looking to make Loyal Soldiers, or Suicide Squads.

Remy gets up the nerve to tell us about his night. There was drinking, partying, and then a circle of of men, where three fae women devoured several men before their eyes. Dalish wonders if there are multiple clubs like this, all feeding people to the fae. Dear gods, if they exist, I hope not!

Okay, so the horror show of our lives continues, but what do we do now??? Maybe we can get the knights to help us, they like fighting against magic. Maybe we can find the creatures before the next ritual? Should we try protection spells? Someone thinks there’s a banishment spell? Oh man, this is going to be terrible!

(authors note: sorry, I ran out of time last week to get this typed up.)