The rest of the polic station is alright, and the Chief assures us that he’ll just get some mages up to fix his wall. What are we going to DO?
The conversation shifts off the demon attacks momentarily and onto the cultists. They’re the best link we think we have, so Nat suggests trying to get their attention. She wants to graffiti the Dawnmother symbol around town, and then catch someone trying to change it to their symbol. To either question or follow them. The group ponders paying homeless people to do the painting and the monitoring. I think this is ridiculously dangerous and will just get those particular people taken and killed. But I’m overruled, and Remy buys paint and brushes. Then he convinces eight random people to agree to paint and watch the symbols around Manhattan. He tells them a bar to come to if they see anything. But then we don’t tell the bar, nor do we go to said bar. I’m not so sure about this plan.
Next, we go looking for Porter. We all head out to the military base outside of town. Dalish uses his authority to get us inside and we have some dinner in the mess while waiting to be seen. The general has time for us after dinner, so we head off to his office. General Burns used to be in charge of Porter’s unit and says it’s all classified. Dalish says he thinks Porter’s gone AWOL and has become an enemy of the state. Marybeth pipes up that he’s her brother. The general relents. He says that Porter was under his command for three years, but then his unit was reassigned to New Gnosis three month ago by Prime Wiest, for unknown reasons. He has not further information, other than he’s somewhere in the city. With Wiest dead, no way of telling whose orders he is following now. There were 18 men and women in his unit, and all of them were called into the city to serve Wiest. The general gives us a paper so that we can go to Records and get the names of the people in that unit. We are then dismissed.
Remy suggests checking in on the house before we do any more running around, so I send to Gerald. He replies back, repeating the words “Everything’s Fine…” over and over in a dreamy voice. We RUN back home. There’s a black plume of smoke, once again rising from my home. Rushing in, we find it contained to an outer wall, and Philomena is working to put it out. There is a Lot of Blood. Philomena shouts at us, and Klyce sends us all inside while he helps her. The house seems alright, until we get up to the study where everyone was sheltering. The room is covered in blood and demon gore. Marybeth’s mom, Klyce’s mom and sisters, Philomena’s parents are all there and okay. Gerald and Philip are gone. I start shouting for Gerald, when they tell me Philip chased the demons away, but no one had seen my brother. Nonononono!!!
I send to him again. This time I get a female voice back, saying Gerald is otherwise occupied. What? Dalish! How could that happen? How could someone else answer my sending?? It sounds like those succubus ladies we met! Dalish says she could be controlling or possessing him. Remy and Nat check his room, but there is simply the smell of sulfur and perfume. Dalish cleans the study of the blood while Remy checks Marybeth’s mother for signs of Grandfather, and Nat looks around at the remants of the fight. It looks like there were eight demons. The three closest to the family were obliterated, and the other five busted out the wall to get away. I try to send to Philip, to tell him the family is okay and ask where he is. The reply is a strange, chilling tone, saying he’s not done, yet.
We have to go find him. Demons are running loose in the city and he’s chasing them with a butcher knife. Klyce stays with Orrin and Philomena to protect the families, and we race north. HeyHey and Dalish fly above the streets to see if they can spot the wake of demons. They find two more alleys covered in blood. Then we hear a disturbance ahead and rush forward. There is a crowd surrounding another splattered mess.
Police are draped over Philip, trying to arrest him or at least restrain him. I toss up sparks to get their attention, and Dalish tries to use his authority to declare it a mage matter. They say he’s disturbing the peace. Remy tries name-dropping the police, but then Philip throws one of the men into a lamppost, probably breaking his back. We all freeze in shock, long enough for him to throw another man through a wall. Dalish rushes over to save the first man. Nat puts a couple officers to sleep. I fail to levitate Philip out of the mess. Remy convinces the last guy to just let go, then sames some curses and the officer who was pointing a gun at Philip disappears. Nat sends HeyHey through the broken wall to stabalize that cop, and tries to get the crowd to disperse. I rush forward, and tell Philip I just want to get him out of here, and Dimension Door us out of the crowd and ahead. He immediately takes off through an alley, and I rush back to tend to the wounded, praying to the Dawnmother to heal at least a little of the damage he caused. Remy wakes the sleepers and tells them to get medics for their friends, and we’re on the chase again.
By the time most of us catch up with him, he’s standing over a dead succubus and is back to confused, scared Philip. Nat wonders about casting speak with dead on it, but we go back and forth on it. It doesn’t have to tell him the truth if it knows she’s an enemy. Can we trick it? What questions should we ask? What could it answer? Dalish mentions that there’s a nest somewhere, and that takes high priority. We need to know which side it’s on, and if it knows where Grandfather is. What about Rictus? If we say they’re interferring with our investigation, maybe he’ll take us seriously. Maybe he can make it talk? Let’s take it home, at least. We shouldn’t do this here.
We get home, avoiding the police, and explain to Klyce what happened. Okay, we have a lot of pots on the stove. We have to take stock. We could talk to the newpaper/penny dreadful publisher, but he’s in Brooklyn. We need to go to the Hall of Records for the names in Porter’s unit. We could visit Professor Wiest and see what she will tell us of her father’s plans. We could try to get into his office in the Tower of Justice. We could talk to Rictus and the Succubus corpse. We start with this last because we have a body, somehow, still.
Dalish sends to Rictus, and we head downstairs to meet him. In my father’s study, it turns out. We lay the body out on the table for him to examine, and he does, at length. Remy mentions the nest we think is in the city. Dalish says there are many variations of these creatures that are hindering our ability to investigate the Black Knight. Dalish tells him about the trade of souls. Rictus reforms its head and then sets it back to normal, messing with time around it’s skull. He puppets an arm. He stabs it a little and smells the blood. Dalish explains the between place. Remy mentions one kidnapped my brother, and Rictus isn’t all that concerned about Gerald. He asks what we need, and we explain about asking it questions about the next and the cult. He asks where we learned of such a spell, and when we say Satiel, he nods. She made the spell, it turns out. He doesn’t have any better ways to go about it. He can’t force the truth without a soul present.
We then set to creating a list of questions. Where’s your next. Who’s your boss? Where is Mr. Pumbleby? What’s your plan? Where’s Gerald? Nat wonders about using detect thoughts, and if there’s enough of a brain left to do that. Rictus says no, but won’t stop her from trying. Nat settles down to cast. The detect thoughts doesn’t work, but the corpse does start talking.
Where is your lair?
The nest is unreachable by mortal man.
What is your connection to the cult of the anti-Dawnmother?
The Blood of the Dawn will usher in the Dusk.
How is Peter Pumbleby connected to you and yours?
He is the bridge between this world and the next. He will usher in the great dark.
Where is the ritual happening?
Within the nest.
How do you access the nest?
And then she went silent. We ask Rictus if he knows what Wiest was doing with Porter’s unit of 18. He was not aware of what he was doing with them, but they were quite a capable assassin squad in the south west and Central America. Nat asks if we can have his authority to check his home and office. He agrees, but warns that his daughter may not care about his authority. Remy asks for mana so that we can “deal with this like mages, and not Police Officers.” Remy asks for 150 motes when prompted, and Rictus give us 100. Saying we can revisit if needed. Then asks Dalish to stand very still and tosses the corpse through his shadow. He says he expects Dalish to stay in touch and then steps through his shadow himself. We divy up the mana and gather up to take watches and rest for the night.