Everyone meets and investigated the crime.
Xino has Sophia Aburami, a lawyer in LA come up to Vista Del Mar to represent the mercenaries.
Found that something was taken from the Safe Deposit Boxes.
Found out that was a Kris found in Indonesia by an eccentric archeologist, Terry Montgomery, who lives in Vista Del Mar and decorates his little yard with valuable ancient art. Julian bought a head of his cousin Claudius.
The Kris supposedly holds a curse of madness.
Followed the lead and Ghost Dance to NY City.
NY is currently experiencing a terrible outbreak of serial killers which may be related.
After a dogged trailing of Ghost Dance, including a fight at his apartment where Concussion drove him through a wall into the neighbor’s apartment he finally led Traveler to the Sorceress’s Dark Cathedral.
Final scene: Traveler blinking to the floor to avoid falling from the ceiling directly before the Sorceress herself.
Connor hooks up with a party girl and disappears for the session.
Traveler is captured by the Sorceress but resists her attempts to probe his mind. She foolishly lets him be, believing that her magical shackles will hold him until she is ready to probe him more seriously.
In his cell Traveler discovers Ghost Dance. He learns that Ghost Dance was hired to bring the Kris to the Sorceress.
Traveler is able to escape the mystic shackles he is in and tells Ghost Dance that he will be back for him as soon as he can.
Traveler returns from under the 59th street bridge and returns.
Everyone begins investigation the Sorceress and the serial killings.
The killers, for there are multiple, have all escaped from the Felcrest Mental Institute. Which the characters stake out.
They also make contact with Detective Kelly McBride of the New York Police Department. She’s the lead detective on the serial killings. Julian convinces her to share some information about the killings and suggests to her that the killings were done by a kris.
Vivian digs up some information about the subterranean cathedral. A few years back a geology grad student, Pete Ruiz, did a paper about underground chambers and he included the cathedral. After his defense, his thesis was shelved and he got a great job at an oil company.
After many days of fruitless searching, Julian hires every private detective he can get to search for the Sorceress.
They find him a lead on a woman named Morgan DeVille and Julian arranges to crash a dinner party she is giving.
Morgan DeVille is also a major stock holder in the oil company which employs Pete Ruiz.
While Julian is at the dinner party, Traveler sneaks back into the cathedral to free Ghost Dance and search for the kris.
Julian learns that Morgan’s apartment seems like a front. There are no real personal effects and nothing in the medicine cabinet has been opened.
After the party Julian sneaks back in only to witness Morgan disappear from her living room.
Traveler and Ghost Dance search the Sorceress’s bedroom while simultaneously dodging the obsidian golems.
Final scene: The Sorceress returning to find Traveler and Ghost Dance in her trashed bedroom.
Scene 1 – The Sorceress Returns
Traveler attempts to distract the Sorceress while Ghost Dance escapes and he gets captured again.
Traveler and Ghost Dance have again dodged the ponderous blows of the obsidian golems and upended the contents of the dark wood chest at the foot of the Sorceress’s four poster bed. Red and black satin sheets pour out silently, a few personal effects clatter across the stone floor, but no daggers.
Suddenly the bedroom door flies open revealing the Sorceress in an out-of-place gray cocktail dress fury and black fire radiating from her. “Worms and flies! For this intrusion your tattered spirits shall wave in the unholy winds of Hell!” Her arm lances towards Traveler, “You will not move again!”
Turn 1 – Segment 12 – DEX 18
The Sorceress makes a 5d6 presence attack. She rolls a 23. This is enough to cause Traveler and Ghost Dance to hesitate so that she will go first this phase.
She Commands the golems to attack Ghost Dance and Traveler to freeze, attempting to use Mind Control against Traveler.
Traveler’s mind sinks down into that quiet still place, which proceeds teleportation, but before he can reach it his muscles freeze and he finds himself lying on the floor unable to move with half his face pressed uncomfortably against the cold obsidian of the floor.
Traveler aborts to Blink for Cover in an attempt to break her Line of Sight.
He can assign his Overall SLs to ECV for a total ECV of 6.
His Blink To Cover roll is 12- (DEX roll of 14 minus 1 per 1”. To get out of site requires 2”). He rolls a 17 and fails to Blink in time (Sorry Ben).
The Sorceress’s attack roll for Mind Control is 24-, she rolls a 12, which hits.
Traveler is highly against standing still at any time, so the Sorceress will require an effect roll of 43 (EGO + 30) to affect him.
She rolls 68 points of effect for Mind Control. Which is an extra 25 points of effect, so Traveler’s Breakout rolls will be at 7-. (EGO roll of 12 minus 1 per 5 points of extra effect).
His first free roll is a 10.
1 Minute roll at 8- is a 13
5 Minute roll at 9- is a 16
20 Minute roll at 10- is an 11
1 Hour roll at 11- is a 13
6 hour roll at 12- is a 6 (Breaks Mind Control)
Ghost Dance whispers to Traveler in a quiet, half-apologetic way, “Thanks man. See you ‘round. ” and darts through the obsidian golems closing in on him and then through the nearest wall. The golems pound on the wall where he disappeared until the Sorceress commands them again, “Cease that! Proceed to the chapel and destroy the serpent staircase and then make sure cathedral collapses when we have left. Now,” she says, turning her feet towards Traveler, “I will learn from you what I failed to the first time we met.” Traveler’s world begins to swirl around and when it settles down, he feels as if he’s a stranger overhearing a conversation in a factory because of the regular pounding of fists against pillar in the background.
The Sorceress attacks with Telepathy. AR 24- vs. ECV 6. She rolls 8 and hits.
She wants to read memories which require EGO + 20. She rolls 48 points of effect which is 15 more than needed so Breakout rolls will be at -3.
Traveler’s Initial Breakout roll at 9- is 14, after 1 turn his roll is 10- and he rolls 17, after 1 minute his Breakout is 11-, he rolls a 12, after 5 minutes his Breakout is at 12-, and he rolls a 5 and he breaks out of the telepathy.
The Sorceress’s voice is sweet and seductive as she questions a flat and distant little voice. “Why did you come to my cathedral?”
“I was looking for the kris and proof that you’re connected with the serial killings.”
“What else do you know, or suspect about me?”
“You’re on the board of an oil company that suppressed information about this cathedral, you have an apartment in town and a face identity as Morgan DeVille, and I suspect you hired Ghost Dance to steal the kris so you could use it to commit murder for some reason.”
“How did you find out about the kris?”
“It was the only thing besides money stolen from the Citizen’s Bank so we talked to the owner of the safe deposit box and he told us about the kris and its curse.”
Distantly Traveler sees a pair of bare skinny legs stride briskly up behind the Sorceress’s and the voice of a teenage girl speak, “What’s going on?!”
“I commanded you to remain in the corridor, child!”
One of the girl’s feet stomps absurdly, “If I’m going to be the High Priestess of Culsu, then I want to know what’s going on!” The Sorceress gives the girl a hard slap which knocks her to the floor. Now Traveler can see she’s a girl of perhaps 16 with naturally curly black hair and brown eyes. She has a fair bit of jewelry which has the sparkle of real diamonds. The Sorceress speaks again with a sweetness that contrasts with her action, “Of course my dear, you will learn quick and soon you will know all that transpires without the need to question, but at this moment you will be silent and obedient.” The girl gets slowly up and moves to an out-of-the-way corner of the bedroom. “Now ,” the Sorceress begins again with less sweetness and patience, “How did you find my cathedral?”
“I followed Ghost Dance to New York because of a restaurant receipt, and I followed Ghost Dance to the cathedral.”
“How did you follow Ghost Dance?”
“I could see the scent trail that Xino’s tracking bug left behind and I could teleport to follow him almost anywhere.”
“And who is Xino and what can he do?”
“He’s a Japanese man with many trained beetles. He can use them to protect himself or to make it impossible to see.”
“Who else are you working with?”
“Julian and Connor, and Detective McBride.”
“Who are they and what can they do?”
“Julian is a wealthy art seller and skilled in martial arts, Connor is a powerful mutant who can use some sort of force energy to deflect bullets and shoot people. Detective McBride is the police woman in charge of the serial killer investigation. ”
“And what else can you do?”
“Do your friends know you are here?”
“Yes, and I have a tracking bug so they can find me anywhere.”
“I see.” The Sorceress combs through Traveler’s hair until she finds the tracking beetle and puts it in small wicker cage, though not without several small stings. “Come Sasha, we have little time left.”
Silently they leave and Traveler is left alone to listen to the golems pounding their fists again and again without fatigue or variation.
After 212 poundings of fist against pillar Traveler hears Ghost Dance whisper behind him. “Hey man, looks like dey gone now, what you still hang’n around for?”
“I can’t move, or teleport.”
Traveler rolls 3d6 Luck and scores 2 sixes.
Ghost Dance pauses for a moment, “I can’t get you out as a ghost, and I can’t stop those crazy stone men, and you say there’s no way out a here on foot. But I can do something.” Ghost Dance slides Traveler’s inert form under a thick obsidian table which grows out of the wall and the floor, forming a little compartment. “Maybe here you don’t die when dis place come crash’n down. Later man.”
About four hours, or 8432 poundings later, the thin trickle of dirt pouring through the cracks in the ceiling and forming little mounds on the floor becomes a gushing fountain of dirt and noise that makes everything go black and still.
After a good long time Traveler does not return.
Julian speaks with Detective McBride again about the situation. He also bails out Connor who was picked up for possession.
Detective McBride confronts Julian about his PI outlay and after some convincing he tells her all he knows about Morgan DeVille and the kris.
The cathedral collapses leaving a large sink hole in Queen’s Bridge Park and collapsing the east end of the 59th street bridge.
Vivian receives a call from the Sorceress who tells her to tell Julian that he can find Traveler on top of Preakness Mountain.
After investigating the obvious trap and discover the beetle that was tracking Traveler in a little cage on a tree.
Two winged demons spring their trap, focusing their attacks on Julian, but after a turn or two the demons retreat to the northwest.
Final scene: Following the demons.
Xino, Julian, Connor follow the two demons to stop them from attacking an innocent family nearby.
The demons show they can engulf their bodies in demonic flames. They corner the Williams family in a long hallway of their house.
Connor uses his Force Blast to drive one of the demons through a wall and into a spare bedroom, allowing Xino to shepherd the family out of the house. Connor continues to blast the demon out of the house and into unconsciousness.
Julian grapples with the other demon and wrestles it into the pool outside of the house. That demon drives itself into unconsciousness trying to escape from Julian’s grip.
Neighbors begin to appear but none of them recognize Julian as he is now completely devoid of hair and dressed in a borrowed poolside robe.
Final Scene: Before the fire department and police appear, Julian, Xino, and Connor slip away and return to their hotel in Manhattan.
Scene 2 – Traveler Returns
WALK. A determined figure in a worn leather jacket strides through the morning crowd of New Yorkers. Walk. The bright lemony sun twinkles on the strange gray dust that covers him as if it were a drift of snow. Walk. Though he outpaces them all, unlike them, he has no destination in mind only a desperation to keep moving. Just walk. For all its outward chaos, there are waves that rise and fall inside the morning rush and if you concentrate hard enough you can ride them. Concentrate hard enough to keep back the memory of being unable to move for hours and hours. To forget the feeling of being slowly crushed by who knows how many tons of rock and dirt and suffocated by powdered volcanic glass. WALK.
Around two in the afternoon Connor wakes and slouches out in into the living room to find a lighter so he can proceed with the bake phase of his morning routine. He finds Julian and Xino in large chairs, the coffee table between them littered with a dozen empty Sake bottles, and Traveler pacing in a wide circle around the living room.
Traveler is replying to a question, “Culsu. I’m sure that’s what she said. Assuming she was actually told the truth. Culsu…It means ‘She Who Coils’ but I don’t know what language it is.”
“It’s Etruscan,” Julian says, “They were a people partially contemporary to the Romans. Culsu was a serpent goddess of theirs. There is a city…”
Julian knows of the Etruscan cult of Culsu and of Civita, an unoccupied city where the cult supposedly had a major temple.
On arriving at the city they find that the bridge is being blocked by Italian police, refusing to let a crowd of tourists into the city. When Julian approaches the usher him and his friends into the center of the city and into a trap where 5 well trained mercenaries with assault rifles and stun grenades attempt to kill them.
After fighting their way free of the trap, Julian threatens the company that the mercenaries work for with ruin unless they cancel this contract. The Sorceress counters by bringing charges of art theft against Julian’s art auction house. Traveler follows the trail of two additional mercenaries to a house in the center of the city that appears occupied.
A cat sites in a window sill.
In the basement of the cottage they find and subdue the two remaining mercs and find the hidden entrance to the temple.
They make quick work of the two serpent guardians.
Traveler rescues the girl from the altar over which the Sorceress is performing some kind of evil ritual. Her incantations approximate, “Oh, great Culsu! Impregnate this pure child with your wrathful spirit.”
Final Scene: The Sorceress uses her magic to disappear.
After rescuing Sasha from the Sorceress the group returns to the surface to find the Italian police searching the city for them and helicopters searching for them from the sky.
They evade the search parties and escape by crawling through the large serpent tunnels that pervade the plateau.
They find the road to Rome nearby as well as a rest area. Julian and Connor stowaway on a truck heading north to the Alps, while Traveler, Xino, and Sasha hide in a truck heading south to Rome.
Julian and Connor hide out in Julian’s private chalet near Zermatt Switzerland while Julian orchestrates his legal campaign against the Sorceress.
In Rome, Xino makes contact with a young Jesuit of the clan, Masaru Aburami who gains them access to the lesser libraries of Vatican City and helps them to research the cult of Culsu.
The find evidence that the ritual the Sorceress was attempting could be attempted only day every thousand years according some obscure astrological conjunction.
Learning this, they plan to leave Italy in secret to keep Sasha out of the Sorceress’s hands while the ritual could be performed, but unfortunately the Italian police find them first and attempt to arrest them for kidnapping Sasha.
The police take Traveler into custody but Xino uses his magic to disappear and to follow the police sergeant who takes Sasha separately from police who take Traveler.
Xino disables the Sergeant’s car near where Traveler Blinks out of the custody of the other police.
They escape to a nearby rural airport where they meet Julian’s jet and return Sasha to her family in Manhattan.
Scene 3 – Julian and Connor in Raetia
In the back of a trunk, jouncing its way north through Lombardy into the Rhaetian Alps, Julian watches without comment as Connor’s studied fingers roll up a joint without losing a single grain. Julian’s cell phone rings, echoing strangely in the empty truck container.
“Julian,” it’s the voice of Vivian his personal assistant, his aide-de-camp in orchestrating a slow but massive legal campaign. “I just got a call from Detective McBride in New York. She said they have a warrant for you on kidnapping charges so…you probably don’t want to go back there anytime soon.”
“Sounds like Morgan De Ville’s revenge. Call EOH Investigations, that’s that firm in New York that gave us the best leads on Morgan. Offer them whatever it takes to get them exclusively working on tracking her down. Make sure they know about the Blackguard contract and that she might have some connection to a teenage named Sasha. Now that this is a legal battle we have a better chance of tracking her down.”
“Got it. Where are you? You sound like you’re in a refrigerator box.”
“I’m in the back of a truck. Doesn’t matter where just now. Move the jet to an out of the way spot, say Marina Di Campo EBA and see if you can get someone to get my Ferrari out of the garage and leave it on the Via Riccardo Zandonai in Firenze – sorry – in Florence. Quietly. Also, start looking for a well-connected lawyer we can bring on staff to deal with this kind of thing. That’s all for now.”
“Ok. Be safe.”
“Julian, I can’t see you when you just grin at the phone. You have to say something.”
“Ah, right, I’ll try.”
In a cozy little alpine chalet a friendly fire burbles in a hearth built of pale roughly quarried stones. Nearby there’s a heavy mission style chair in which Julian is decidedly not lounging. His fingers tap out the beat of the marching song he commanded to be played one fine summer day as his legions proudly swept through these very mountains on their way to conquest and glory. Deep in thought, he ignores the gently enticing fragrance of a fine glass of brandy waiting for him on one arm of the chair. On the other arm, an expensively decorative telephone, stylish, but simple in its design. Somewhere off behind him Connor, in his sleep, breaths a deep and slow rhythm that meshes somehow with the more frenetic pace of the fire. Julian touches the single visible button on the elegant phone and speaks.
“Call detective McBride.” The phone chirps an affirmation of the command and in a few moments the voice of detective McBride is on the phone.
“Julian.” Her drive and determination are palpable even blunted by sleepiness and transatlantic communications.
“Paula I have a potential witness for you, but I need a favor.”
“We’ve stopped Morgan De Ville from performing some kind of ritual on a girl from New York named Sasha. Sasha was told by Morgan she was being trained as some kind of high priestess and she willing went with Morgan to Italy by magic. Now that we have Sasha, Morgan has stirred up kidnapping charges knowing we can’t publically accuse her of kidnapping by witchcraft.”
“How much does Sasha know?”
“We haven’t questioned her too much but she wasn’t exactly a prisoner so there’s no telling what she’s seen. If you can sit on those charges for 12 hours, I’ll get her to you as soon as I can.”
“…ok. I don’t think anyone has notified her parents yet. I’ll see what I can do.”
As Julian mounts the steps to the main floor of the lodge he reflects, there is a particular quality of sound common to these exclusive Swiss ski resorts. No matter how populated, the collective noise is never above a murmur and it’s fiendishly difficult to overhear a conversation without getting far too close. Some quality of being surrounded by so much well aged wood, perhaps. After a quick sweep of the lodge, Julian approaches an attractive Asian woman sitting alone, surrounded by folders, and typing rapidly on a slim laptop.
“Most people come to the alps to ski, not to work.”
“Heh, I’m here with my boyfriend. He came for a photoshoot. I came so I could focus. I have a big case coming up.” She responds to Julian without looking up from her screen.
“I’m sorry to interrupt you.” Julian starts to leave, crossing in front of her. Her eyes flicker up to watch him go and get lost in the majesty of his profile, like a lamb lost in the deep and beautiful valleys of the Alps. Without a second thought she slaps the lid of her computer down and bolts up before he can escape.
“Oh! That’s ok, I need a break.” She says, ignoring the papers that slide off her lap and extends her hand to him. “My name’s Anh.”
He returns her introduction with a blazing smile and a long gripe of her slender hand. “Ahn. A pleasure. My name is Julian. So…you’re a lawyer.”
In an apartment in Los Angeles, decorated with an emotional rainbow of abstract paintings from dark and brooding to ethereal watercolors, Vivian is undressing, having just returned home from a day of phone calls and arguments and endless discussions in multiple languages with people all over the world.
Julian sure has stirred up something this time. Vivian’s thoughts are stopped by a sudden sound from the living room, like a dire lamentation carried a long distance on the wind.
Maybe my sister turned the TV on…but I didn’t hear her come in. “Is that you, Alexis?”
“No, my dear.” The sibilate voice of the Sorceress froze Vivian’s feet to the floor but she turned her head and stared for a long moment before she recognized the woman who so suddenly appeared in her apartment.
“Morgan de Ville! How-”
“Cease!” the Sorceress interrupted, raising a slender arm towards Vivian. The gesture was an invitation, and even though Vivian quailed at the rage in the woman’s eyes, she found herself drifting towards the out stretched hand. It’s just a nightmare and I’m going to wake up any second! Wake up! Wake up!
Both of their heads turned as another sound, like the gentle rustling of wind in tree tops surrounded them and a third woman appeared. She was middle aged, small and thin and wrapped in plain gray silk, one loop of the fabric over her head like a hood.
“Mother Sephora!” Morgan’s surprise was polite but unmistakable. Like a subordinate receiving an unexpected visit in the middle of their work.
“Maid Morgan, I bring a message from the Crones. ‘The auguries portend destruction if you would pursue this feud.’ Mother Celine and I are in agreement. The time is not right to risk public exposure. You will leave this man be.”
“But he has done us all great injustice!”
“Fear not, when the time comes we will dance upon his headless corpse, but that time is not now, Morgan.”
“…of course, as the Coven speaks.”
“Very good. Remove the memory of this from his woman and we will join Mother Akili.”
Vivian woke suddenly when the front door opened. She was in bed but still only half out of her office cloths. Ugh, I don’t even remember laying down. What a hell of a day.
“Is that you Alexis?” Vivian called out.
“Yup! I brought Thai.” her sister called back from the kitchen.
Sasha is returned to her parents before she is missed and the kidnapping charges are dismissed.
Julian arranges for the art looting charges to be resolved.
For more please go to The Story So Far…