Scion: Cold War

Thirteenth Session
I'm flying some drones in; huge success. It's hard to overstate our covert surveillance.

It’s early evening. The group is debating the merits of a plan to “beat up some gang members and get some information out of them”. Zhou thinks this is cataclysmically stupid, but finds himself drawn into the tactical and logistical dimensions of the project, which he suggests would involve somehow grabbing a higher-up in the gang hierarchy while he was away from the rest of his crew…

Molly: “Wait, who are we kidnapping?”

Zhou then raises the possibility of using some drones to watch the movements in and out of the shooting gallery. Vulcan has contacts with Boeing, and they arrange for some equipment to be delivered in a couple of days. The nervous people handing out drones are very keen that their hardware should, in their words, “stay off the evening news”. Zhou mutters something about night surveillance and infrareds, and Casey notes, great, thermal cameras might be able to spot the fire giant. Molly gets hold of some thermal imaging cameras and the party packs into the van to search the gang’s turf, looking for a big humanoid blob of heat, ignoring all the ways this is a silly idea.

There’s a lot of activity in the basements in this area; a lot of abandoned buildings have cold upper and hot lower floors, looks like a lot of squatters living belowground. Within ten or fifteen blocks of the shooting gallery, Raahi gets the strong sense that they’re being noticed and that people are talking about their passage in hushed tones. Hearing this, Zhou suggests they abort the mission. Molly agrees to cut this short, but Dayna wants their last stop to be the corner where that kid got shot.

The van does a slow drive by the corner. There’s an abandoned building that was a KFC once, then something else, and is now on its way to being a ruin; there are kids standing around. Raahi uses Instant Investigator to work out how the shooting must have gone; it was done at a surprisingly long distance with a large-caliber handgun. There are some places where the pavement has been torn up, like construction equipment, except that he knows there’s nothing that makes those kinds of jagged tears in asphalt. One of those looks to be right near where the victim was standing. Dayna notes that two of the kids standing around are two of the kid’s friends that she spoke to after his funeral. She gets out and approaches them while the rest of the party warily watches the street with thermal and human eyes.

Dayna fills in the kid’s friends about what the party has learned and asks them for some more information. Needless to say, they know about the “bloo” stuff; she asks if they know where it’s being made. One of the boys looks like he wants to say something; the other gives him a nasty look. She tells them to leave a message for her at the Rainier Beach Community Center, and tells them to stay safe.

They are definitely being followed; there’s a car a few blocks back that stopped when they did. The tail has almost certainly got their plate number; they get the tail’s plate number (it’s an H3, about as conspicuous as they are.) They zoom out of the neighborhood and Molly rather deftly shakes their follower. It’s late and the group decides to call it a night.

The next day, Zhou gets in touch with his contact in the Seattle police force and has the plates on the H3 run. The car is registered to a Razovan Ludovich — from his photo, a shaven-headed guy who looks like he spends a lot of time in gyms. It’s registered to an address in a McMansiony part of Renton.

After a couple days, the drones show up, three of them, about ten pounds heavy each, the size of a card table in wingspan/fuselage length. Some Boeing guys give Molly a quick tutorial through the software you can put on your laptop to run the things; they mention something about an iphone version being in development. It’s pretty simple, very consumer-facing; you basically put waypoints on a Google Maps type deal and the drone does the rest. Molly really wants to know a lot about the drone’s flight routines and the Boeing guys really want her to use the autopilot — but they let slip that there’s an override. They can’t resist boasting about how great the things fly, though. They are very expensive, these scary little machines.

Meanwhile, Raahi has to resolve the question of Lakshmi’s education. He approaches someone in the Admissions department and tries to convince them they really need this person in their school, and manages to get hold of her records. Lakshmi has middling-high SATs and an uninspiring application essay, and it’s clear that the admissions peeps aren’t going to bend easily here. Raahi decides to use his axe here, to clear a metaphorical obstacle from his path… to cut through the red tape? Whatever. He swings the axe alone in his room and it just feels sort of… empty, ineffectual. This isn’t the right situation for the axe to do its work.

Dayna checks her message drop and finds a torn piece of notebook paper: “You mentioned the bloo. They used to deal it where he got dropped.” No signature.

It’s dark now and the party decides to launch two drones, one to cover the shooting gallery and one to cover any suspicious vehicles. They launch from a dark alley about a mile from gang territory. The drones whir vertically up into the darkness. Everyone’s there because noone can resist the coolness of it all. Molly is monitoring the controls, itching to jump in and override if necessary. Zhao, Dayna and Casey are watching the screens and keeping an eye on their immediate environment, and Raahi acts as driver.

It looks like a normal night at the drug den, customers wandering in. Casey notices that near the outside of the building, a couple of guys are getting into a big SUV, preparing to leave, and they look a lot less high than everyone else. They look like Eastern Europeans. The spare drone peels off to follow the SUV. Dayna, for her part, doesn’t see anything much on the screen, but gets an odd feeling, like someone she knows is in danger. Molly decides to pull out the primary drone, and the feeling begins to wane. The camera points backwards as the drone flies off, and there’s a small group of people leaving the shooting gallery; they have the jerky, swaggering look that Zhou had, and Dayna has the odd feeling she knows them from somewhere. Molly reluctantly flies the drone around to get a look at their faces.

The users look prosperous and charismatic and like they do a lot of substances. They are strangers, but somehow she feels that she should know them somehow. They are probably Scions, but none of them is Dan.

Meanwhile, over on the pursuit drone, the SUV has driven over to clubland south of downtown, stopping near a sketchy warehouse. The Eastern Europeans exit the car with a briefcase, enter the building, leave without the briefcase. The SUV continues south along the water towards Tukwila, gets off in a bad neighborhood. They make another drop in another crappy, run-down building. That briefcase is the same kind that Zhou got served bloo out of. Casey tries to get their license, but it’s got one of those optical obscuring devices. Crap, man! The SUV guys make a couple more drop-offs. Casey has the brilliant fucking idea to try and bring the drone down to street level to image their plate, and amazingly pulls this off. He doesn’t even think they saw him! He thinks. Anyway, they get the plate number. The last stop the SUV makes is at another warehouse, this one in an almost totally deserted neighborhood about three and a half miles. There’s a single largish humanoid heat source in the building. One guy stays in the car, three others go over to the heat source in the building, they’re just around it for ten or twenty minutes. The IR tells the party that something’s going on, but there’s not really any detail. The guy in the SUV chain-smokes. After about an hour the three guys come out of the warehouse carrying a big, hot duffel bag.

Drone one has been recalled from covering the drug den. Molly hot-swaps the fading drone two with the third, so-far unused drone, and tails the SUV up 405 to Renton, a neighborhood full of Boeing support businesses. They end up at a low-rent office plaza near Fry’s. Again, three get out, carry in the duffel bag, badge into the building, and one comes out six or seven minutes later carrying a briefcase in each hand. He gets in the car and drives off; the other guy stays behind. This building is too big to follow heat signatures. The SUV gets back on the highway and heads back to the shooting gallery.

The party’s conclusions are that this business serves Scions and is probably run by one or more Scions.

Zhou is thinking hard about how to tip the police, the staties, somebody about all this, and starts compiling a data package that doesn’t point to the party or to the unlicensed operation of drone aircraft over an American city — addresses, license numbers, a dry account of the events they’ve observed, some photographs that aren’t obviously high altitude telephoto stuff. This document package also does not mention fire giants or supernatural entities of any kind. Meanwhile, the rest of the party starts planning to plant a bug on the gang’s ‘stash house’. Molly starts researching and building hardware, including a drone-mountable rat cage. She’s pretty sure that she can direct Raahi’s rat over the drone’s data link.

They do a test flight on a grassy field. The drone is a little shaky in flight, and deviates significantly from the flight parameters — the rat is a poor pilot and takes direction less than perfectly. It’s decided that rattie will be a paratrooper/commando, someone else will fly the drone.

After a day or two of watching the stash house to get a sense of the gang’s comings and goings, they put together the plan to insert the rat aerially, have him plant the bug, and drop a series of repeaters to give many hours of continuous audio coverage. The bug goes live; there’s scuffling and squeaks coming over the audio link. The rat returns to the drone and is picked up, and another drone is dropped on a nearby roof with the first repeater. Nothing much happens except the rat getting some cheese as a reward. There is some question about whether a rat knows where to plant a bug; ffor quite some time all they hear is thumping and breathing, and some not-human noises. Dayna is dead solid certain that this is the entity she was briefly connected with, the one that felt cold.

The gang starts to throw together a plan to go into the building — an intrusion group, a drone operator to give them cover, and a driver…

Everyone gets 3xp. Molly gets 1 extra xp for technical awesomeness. Raahi gets 1xp for sending his familiar on a commando raid. Zhou gets 1 xp for having had the drone idea. Casey gets 1xp for the drone license plate maneuver.

Twelfth Session

February 06, 2012 19:55

Molly, Raahi, and Dayna are invited into the Indian man’s house. He immediately asks what they are there to do for his daughter Lakshmi’s education. Molly & Raahi, not adept at lying, both fumble around and eventually ask to see her in person for training. They entreat Dayna to help take care of the social aspects, and Raahi notices that there is a small shrine to Ganesha in the other room. Perhaps relevant?

Dayna attempts to wheedle her way into getting Lakshmi into revealing why she needs to be educated, assuming she already knows. After awhile of stumbling, Lakshmi’s father produced a letter, wondering if this was what they were there about. It was a rejection letter from the University of Washington, stating that their quotas for non-local students were already full.

So, not knowing how to explain why he was there, Raahi chose to reveal he was there on a divine quest. (Ah, botches.)

Dayna, scrambling to save the situation, entreated them with all her divine-powered heart that, while crazy, he was telling the truth, and they really were there on the holy entreats of Ganesha. (And fate-bound some mortals while she was at it.) The father, somewhat smug towards Lakshmi, thanked them, produced and quartered a peach, and served it in thanks.

Lighting some incense, the father asked “So, I can assume that you have heard our prayers?”
Raahi, replying, returns “No, I can only assume that Ganesha heard your prayers, then texted me.”

The trio determines that it’s computational biology that she wants to study, and had been wanting to enter at the mid-winter break. Raahi, still struggling to figure out why he was called on this mission, asks who Lakshmi’s mother is. After learning she passed away years ago, an uncomfortable ‘are you sure?’ was closely avoided.

Raahi and the father (Pradeep) exchange business cards. Pradeep, still in utter awe, invites the trio for dinner, and otherwise completely fawns over them with good food and imported sweets from India. Raahi does okay, Dayna (a Brooklyner) fakes it, and Molly…tries her best. After a large meal, they are sent off to the Mystery Machine with a lot more information on Lakshmi’s aspirations and a batch of Indian sweets.

Meanwhile, Casey and Zhou are near the UW campus themselves, running away from the frat fight and towards the plume of smoke that they just noticed. On the way there, Casey quick purchases a Husky bandanna and books towards The Ave as sirens start to sound.

A crowd (with fire trucks) surrounds a crappy old pizza joint. It’s burning down, and, while thankfully no one was trapped inside, a large man in a wife beater and jeans is ranting at the police. From his semi-coherent talk, it sounded like 2 customers got into a fight with him, his oven flamed up behind his back, and (while he was trying to prevent it from burning his place down) the perps left. The owner claims that they must have thrown a molotov in, but the police are not so sure.

Casey, concerned, calls out ‘Did anyone see where they went!?’ Casey, of course, has his spear still slung across his back. Thankfully avoiding having to explain to the police about his vigilante justice, the only information that he could get, out of some baked guys, what that they just seemed to disappear. He couldn’t find any scuff marks from running. And, from the angles he observed, they did not have a direct throwing shot into where the owner said they started the fire.

Out of ideas, Casey begins looking for other pizza places on his patrol. Unfortunately, the rest of night passes without incident.

Everyone regrouped and decided upon what to do next. Lakshmi’s problems seem to be rather administrative. Casey’s perps are still at large. The source of the blooo(?) is still unknown.

XP: 3, +1 to Raahi for making things divinely difficult (and funny)

Eleventh Session

When we last saw our adventurers, everyone had gathered for a “blood party” at Zhou’s place on Mercer Island. Zhou had just finished hacking a hole in his arm, catching the distasteful results in a coffee cup, in hopes of figuring out what this “bleu” shit actually is. He’s still tripping balls, incidentally. Molly has a whole box full of lab shit with which to try and analyze the funky molecules vibrating through his body, but she’s not too impressed with the quality of the sample, so it’s decided that they’ll tie Zhou to a chair (Zhou’s idea) and draw a better one from his burning veins full of burning awesome. He’s not completely divorced from reality, looking at the universe from outside anymore, but he’s still in a completely megalomaniacal and potentially violent state.

While Casey and Raahi prepare Zhou for phlebotomy, Molly starts taking apart the blender and the dishwasher to make a much better centrifuge than that lame piece of crap that she brought with her. Raahi doesn’t exactly have a delicate touch with the needle, and Zhou manages through steely will and restraint to avoid nutting him in the face. Once the blood draw is done, Casey experimentally picks up Zhou, chair and all, because, why again?

Zhou: “This is not a palanquin, I bought this at Ikea.”

Meanwhile, Molly’s centrifuge, the unholy child of a dishwasher motor, some blender parts and Tupperware, is just straight up amazing. She’s not sure how, but she thinks she’s invented the counter-friction bearing, which actually returns slightly more energy than is put into it. She is totally taking this thing back to her workshop!

The party gets to centrifuging Zhou’s awesome, awesome blood, full of burning universes and all that shit, but it’s sort of a long process. Dayna does notice that wow, there’s like an extra striation in his plasma or something! Weird! It also has a funny greenish tint to it, like someone mixed blue in with his red. Meanwhile, all that expensive diagnostic shit that Molly brought mostly discloses that Zhou doesn’t have any STDs, but has some genetic predispositions for cancer. Zhou maintains that he is far too awesome to get cancer and what the hell does that stupid pile of junk know. It’s looking like they’ll need to go to a real lab — sorry, Molly — to find out what this “bleu” stuff is, so they decide to run the serum through a spectrometer down at Vulcan.

Zhou asks for and gets some tranquilizers — just so he can prove he’s way too awesome to be affected by such trifling chemicals! He eats a couple of benzodiazepenes. All of a sudden the universe wants to give him a hug, and hey, he’s tied up, Huh, that’s sorta awesome, he can roll with that. Anyway, it’s calming. He has less of a furious, steely look in his eyes and more of a spacey, luded-out mien, like what you’d see on a 70s Kruder and Dorfmeister devotee.

Molly has her Mystery Machine with her, and she, Raahi and Casey go zooming off to Vulcan. The guard at the gate basically treats her like the company CEO. Within moments she’s facing a dizzying panoply of incredibly pricey and rather confusing gear. They begin the rather grinding process of running analyses, pipetting stuff, and so on. It gets to be early morning before they have results. (They work out that Zhou is in pretty good health for a fiftysomething dude. They also draw some of each other’s blood as a control; whoa, they’re all in pretty good health.) There are a whole lot of trace elements that you wouldn’t remotely expect to find in blood in their sample of Zhou’s personal body fluids; his plasma seems to have different salts in it than normal. On Casey’s suggestion, they decide to run similar tests on the frost giant’s ichor, and hey, there are a lot of similarities with the weird crap in Zhou’s blood! Not a 100% correlation, but it’s pretty strong.

Zhou emails Dan and their appointment ends up being postponed for a couple weeks. Everyone gets back from the lab and they discuss the fact that someone is selling frost giant ichor, or some other weird monster blood stuff, as a recreational drug — possibly with some other psychoactives mixed in. It seems inevitable that there are Scions mixed up with this trade because who the fuck else has access to the blood of supernatural beings?

Dayna whips out some voodoo on the centrifuged sample, the part that seems to have the most weird chemicals in it. She gets a rushing, strong sensation, like she’s being pulled sharply towards something… a bare mattress in a condemned building, a little light coming in through blackout curtains. Someone big, male, someone who felt cold as they were just waking up — she realizes she’s been noticed somehow. She has the strong sense of a horrible consciousness bearing down on her. She got into the giant’s mind because it was asleep. She shares this experience. Casey notes that people have believed in fire giants; if there are frost giants why not fire giants? Zhou recalls that he felt as if his blood was burning. So maybe “bleu” is fire giant blood, not frost giant blood?

Everyone is trying to think what, if anything, to do about this new inference — Zhou’s idea that they buy into the package being shot down immediately — when Zhou has a hazy memory that it felt like someone tried to attack his mind, and he sort of casually brushed off the attack. But it might have just been that a real person got in his face about something, and he punched the guy. So perhaps the traffic in “bleu” is part of a larger scheme of some kind, and perhaps it’s just some Scion trying to cash in. Zhou does note that the guys selling bleu were basically the type you’d expect to sell drugs, and indeed they were moving the whole panoply of retail chemical joys. Does that mean anything? Nobody knows.

Meanwhile, Casey discovers that there’s no police report of the arson event that burnt his temporary roommate out of his home. However, he notes that there are nights when neighborhoods that normally get noise complaints go strangely quiet. Casey decides he wants to go out looking for bleu activity in those neighborhoods on those nights. Largely to protect him from himself. Zhou and Dayna decide to go with him. Raahi gets a text with the same address that he got before, this time with an urgent flag, and he and Molly go and investigate that.

Casey’s party finds a fight in a frat house — there are basically a number of people crowded around three people, one of whom is kind of slumped on some stairs in a way that suggests they’re badly hurt, one of whom is lying unconscious on the floor, and the last of whom is the guy, still standing, who’s responsible for the state of the two damaged individuals. People are starting to edge away from the fight. Casey is really sure he needs to defend someone, and charges in, shoving people away to make a path through the crowd. He pretty much effortlessly does a nonlethal takedown on the belligerent, and starts to hear sirens in the distance. The PCs leave this inconclusive encounter at all speed, Zhou cursing the whole “patrol” idea under his breath.

Meanwhile, Raahi is on his way to Kirkland; the last time he was there, there was a somewhat deranged Microsoft employee at the address that the text message referenced. This time, there’s nothing much happening that they can see; it’s a boring, high income suburban neighborhood, lights on in the house, boring sedan in the driveway. Their weird-ass, tricked out VW microbus is by far the most alarming thing on the block. Molly fortifies herself with some nasty beverage, walks up to the door and says, “I’m with Vulcan, we’re here about Lakshmi’s education” to the fortyish Indian guy who opens the door and stares at her quizzically. Those magic words afford them entry into the guy’s house.

In the meantime, Casey, Zhou and Raahi see a curl of smoke rising from the other side of the U district, and they have a very bad feeling.

5xp to everyone. 1 extra to Zhou for being awesome, 1 extra to Casey for being Batman, 1 extra to Molly for the centrifuge.

Tenth Session
In which Zhou is handed the Idiot Ball and carries it faithfully, explores better living through chemistry, and has to have his dumb ass saved by Dayna.

Molly calls Raahi about his bike, and he says it’s running great except that it attracts a certain amount of police attention. Raahi also tells Zhou that he’s acquired some pomegranate seeds that have the stench of the godly about them. Zhou emails Dan and asks if he knows of someone who can examine the seeds and figure out what they are and what they might mean.

Molly phones Zhou and learns that he’s heard of this “blow” stuff; it seems very local to Seattle, or at least he hasn’t heard anything about it anywhere else. It’s a new designer drug, an upper that someone cooked up in a lab in south Seattle. There seem to be different batches with differing effects; the process and the chemical are still being refined. There was an early wave of deadly ODs which is now slowing to a trickle. Zhou sends a drug-user employee of his to score some, a former meth-head from the bathhouse scene, with the idea of having it analyzed along with Raahi’s seeds.

Casey is still dealing with a guest, a fellow student who got burned out of their house. It’s kind of awkward sharing a dorm room with this guy.

Molly starts working on the communications suite of her awesome van.

Zhou gets an email from Dan saying that he’ll be in Seattle tomorrow on business. They arrange to meet at the same location. Unfortunately his employee fails to make his drug pickup, so Zhou and one of his security personnel go out in person to cruise the streets for dope. They drive down to Othello and walk in the direction of the gang tags; before long they’re someplace on “that gang”’s tag, but nobody’s selling the stuff on the street. Unfortunately, some burly Slavic dudes are tailing Zhou and his goon, and when they duck into a bodega to try to shake them, the gang’s logo is hanging above the cash register and there’s really no way to escape a confrontation.

“Is there something we can help you with?” Zhou acts stupid, which they seem to buy, but the two Ukrainian flatheads basically separate him from his goon and walk him out the door, across the street toward what looks like a shuttered business. In the basement, there’s a bunch of Russian mafia types and a lot of multiethnic local folks. It seems clear that the Slavs are selling and the locals are buying. There’s loud music playing and people are lounging around high. The dealers act like they have no idea what he’s talking about when he asks for blow, beyond an eight-ball of coke. Eventually they escalate him to a back office, a storeroom, and there’s a big dude behind a desk, obviously the boss. He won’t sell anything but a single dose, which has to be taken in the shooting gallery.

The stuff comes in a briefcase with a set of syringes. A dose seems to be about 3cc, and they’ve got a none too clean set of works. Zhou shoots up.

[This is where my notes ended — postrodent]

Ninth? Session
Dayna goes to a funeral, Molly wrenches on the van, and Zhou gets headhunted.

[the part i missed goes here]

Molly comes in to work one morning and finds an unmarked box on her workbench. Inside there’s a corroded mechanism of some kind, centuries old. Mysterious!

Dayna is at the funeral for the young man, Martin, who appears to have mysteriously caught a bullet fired by some DTO members, on the wrong street at the wrong time. Nobody seems to want to talk about why he was on that street at that time. His girlfriend is among the mourners, looking pretty torn up about the whole deal. The funeral is almost entirely populated by women and very old men; Dayna’s attempt to find one of the deceased’s young male friends who might be in a ranty mood is fruitless.

She follows the crowd back to his mother’s house; from various ephemera she learns that the kid was an only child and a fair to good student; Dayna also gets the sense that the girlfriend and the mother aren’t exactly tight; the mother feels her son could have done better, and silently blames the gf to some extent for the son’s death. In turn, the girlfriend is sure that the mother didn’t understand their relationship, the totally true and pure love they shared, etc. It doesn’t help that the kid’s family is West African, whereas the girl is East African, maybe Ethiopian. There’s some material evidence that this family retains a vestige of their people’s pre-colonial religion. Dayna smoothly gives the mother her phone number “in case she can help”, conveying subtly that she is in fact a fairly powerful vodoun priestess.

Dayna leaves as the mourners begin to drift away. On her way back to the light rail, she spots a trio of young black men checking her out, noticing which house she’s just left. She approaches them and discovers they were friends of Martin’s. They wear symbols that are basically a dagger beneath an eye in a triangle. “We don’t know why he went down there. Everybody knows not to go down there, they’re playing stupid games there.” They say he wasn’t in any trouble that they knew of. “His mom not like you?” “Thinks she’s too good for everybody.” Someone observes that “everybody knows who it was” and that “somebody should do something about this”; the three of them seem to be gearing themselves up to do the something.

“There are these guys, big guys, they moved in a couple three months ago. Weren’t any gangs in that part of town before. They moved in, started dealing. A couple guys we know got in with them, kept trying to get us to get in. We’re a gang, but we’re our kind of gang. But those guys, they’re strong…. Still don’t know what Martin was doing back there. He should have told us. He was planning something.”

Dayna: “Did they have something on him?”

“What the hell would they have? There was nothing to have on him.”

Dayna: “Something about his girl?”

“She didn’t like us, we were taking his time, doing guy things.”

The three are part of a gang called the Army. which has a sort of badass Promise Keepers flavor to it — be strong, protect your friends, protect your woman. They’re essentially young black conservative christians at the core; they didn’t really dig that Martin’s girl was relatively independent and self-posessed, or that Martin was fine with that. Nevertheless, these guys really aren’t up for much more than tagging and the occasional minor, nonlethal street fight. Dayna whips some matriarchal wisdom on them and basically talks them down from going for revenge. At that point she figures she’s done all she can do in this rather dicey neighborhood on which night is swiftly falling, and goes home.

Later she hears stories that there’s some new drug being moved on Martin’s old patch, a chemical called blow or blue or something like that. It’s not coke, though. Nobody really seems to know much beyond that, except that the number of shootings and other crimes has spiked up at around the same time the drug showed up.

Molly takes days to clean up the mechanism, but after a couple of al-nighters, she’s gotten all the crap off. She experimentally turns a lever, and finds that the device is like an unbelievably clever and technically sweet transmission that turns torque into speed with great efficiency and smoothness. It’s so sweet, it hardly even seems to need oil. The thought occurs that this isn’t quite like anything on the automotive market right now, and it would definitely be worth money; she documents it extensively, with lots of photos, diagrams and notes. She keeps one copy of her documentation and sends the other copy off to Paul Allen, with a note that she didn’t develop this, but that they might want to investigate it and possibly market the thing. In the meantime, she puts the gearbox in the van. After this, the van has an amazing, perfectly linear transmission that doesn’t need oil, and has a greatly improved field-reparability, but is a little less fuel-efficient.

Zhou is in his apartment’s parking garage when someone buttonholes him on the way to the elevator. The guy is a movie-star handsome non-Han dude from China. Zhou instantly pegs him as a Scion. He says Zhou has “come to his attention” and wants to go talk somewhere. They go for coffee at one of Belltown’s many coffee shops, where the smitten barista making the dude’s ostentatious espresso beverage seems to want to ask for his autograph. He says his name is Dan, and he was impressed by what went down on Mt. Ranier; he is an acquaintance of Homer, somehow. He says he’s a “recruiter of sorts” and he seems a little confused about what the hell Zhou does, how he supports himself in the style he does, and why he isn’t more deeply involved in crazy Scion adventures. Zhou drops a broad hint about what his real business is, and Dan nods as if that explains things. He says he can think of some good opportunities for Zhou to put his “considerable skills” to profitable use, and Zhou makes interested noises, as well as suggesting that they share some information. They exchange cards. Dan’s is absolutely perfect, and reads “talent scout, seattle, los angeles”, along with his english (Daniel Lee) and Chinese names. They part and Zhou decides to call around the group. Nobody else knows this guy at all. Does Dan think Zhou is the leader or some shit?

Eighth Session

So everyone but Zhou has been bodily assumed into some kind of mysticky source-of-the-shadow-on-Plato’s-Cave super-Ireland. The sun is warm and the landscape is full of green rolling hills and it’s all very green and pleasant and just feels so right in all the ways the “real” world is not. There are some beautiful, stately buildings kicking around, built by people who were really good at making beautiful and stately buildings. Yes, they’re in Tir Na Nog. Raahi is taking notes as fast as he can write.

Casey: “Thanks.”
Lugh: “You called!”
Casey: “I’m really glad that worked. That wasn’t too overdone, was it?”
Dayna: “You’re talking to a guy who just descended from the sky on a beam of golden light.”

They enter one of the buildings, some kind of unspeakably lavish yet tasteful ur-Cottage. It’s totally awesome. Casey beams. Dayna is a little annoyed at the unreality of all this and is scowling. Lugh gives them a fifty euro tour, offers them food and/or rest, and draws Casey aside to go talk in private. Everyone else pretty much sits and chills out; Raahi makes more notes and lazily sketches the local architecture; he also samples some of the food and beer, which is predictably just unbelievably delicious, and the beer is equally amazing and alarmingly strong. Molly is remembering that it’s unwise to eat anything in a fairy dwelling and this seems like an analogous situation?

Lugh opens up his conversation with Casey by saying that he can’t always come and help his son; Casey counters that while the extraction was really great, all he’d been asking for was advice or something. Lugh apologizes for letting things get so far out of hand on the mountain; he’s been terribly busy. Unfortunately, he can’t just do something for the kid and not expect anything in return, so after a lot of hemming and hawing, Lugh basically drops it on Casey that there’s some geas action coming up.

Lugh:“Since I have taken you into my home, I lay now the geas upon you that any in need must be taken into yours, and any who ask.”
Casey:“I don’t really have a home, I have a dorm room and then there’s mom’s house in Boston—”
Lugh: “The geas I place upon you is that you take any in need into whatever serves you as a home at that time, and to give them no worse hospitality than you would give yourself.”

Casey asks some awkward questions, and Lugh boils it down to: “By request or by need shall your guests be known.”

Casey: “Damn it, Mormons too?”

So Casey is all geased up. The two of them, father and son, come back into the main room where the remainder of the party is waiting.

Lugh: “Now, what happened out there, and weren’t there five of you?”

Casey gives his father a quick, confusing version of the story so far: the box, Virgil and Homer, Molly’s kidnapping, Ken, the Titan’s prison, the frost giant, Molly’s escape. Lugh had no idea that Virgil, Ken and Homer were out there, and asks them who they serve. Virgil is a scion of Artemis, so he was adopted; Homer is the scion of Apollo. Lugh also comments that none of the gods will be in the city of Seattle at the moment. “It was hard enough being in one place for a few days. So, the lock of Tlaloc and the lock of Vulcan were all intact?” The party tells them that the locks are, in fact, intact, and that the key to the cabin is back in Seattle, in Zhou’s possession.

Lugh: “This sounds difficult. I should return you before too long, there are conversations I need to have.”

Casey asks if Lugh can tell them anything about Ken, and Lugh declines, whether from ignorance or not. “Casey, go to my desk, the upper left drawer will be open. There’s an object in it, you should take it.” Casey does as he’s told and finds a small jewelry box, containing a simple, cheap ring of Celtic knotwork. It’s pleasantly warm to the touch.

Lugh: “Keep that, wear it. I will be in difficult places for the next little while, you won’t be able to reach me the way you did, but if you wear the ring, I’ll be able to reach you. […] You have a long walk ahead of you, and I… have things I should be doing. Walk until you reach the bank of a river, turn right, and walk to the bend. At the bend, drive your spear butt down into the ground and follow the path back to Seattle. For now, I take my leave of you.”

He steps into the same room where he spoke to Casey.

Everyone basically rests and eats for awhile; Homer is busily chowing down, Virgil isn’t eating much of anything. Molly samples some of the fruit. After awhile, they ready themselves and leave Lugh’s house, walking through the heavenly landscape, to the bend in the heavenly river. When Casey puts his spear into the ground, the world just sort of opens up weirdly, and there’s a golden staircase descending into a faintly glowing nothingness. Everyone descends, Casey and Dayna arguing over the merits of heavens as the stairs turn into stained concrete lit by bad fluorescents. They’re in a utility stairway at the hotel they were staying in back in Seattle. Casey calls Zhou and there’s another confused conversation, but the important information is conveyed. As it turns out, they’re all less than a hundred meters away from each other.

Zhou decides to just begin his day; everyone else sleeps until noon or so; Homer and Virgil bed down in Casey’s room. Zhou calls his driver up on the mountain and just tells him to go home. At noon everyone gets together and compares notes; Casey doesn’t tell the party about his geas, but otherwise everyone is filled in.

Zhou points out that the party has basically carried out its original job, and now what? Molly decides to call the number that Hephaestus gave her; Paul Allen answers. Paul hasn’t seen Hephaestus for a couple of weeks, but promises to have his people send a phone number to Molly, and says that he’ll actually be in Seattle shortly.

Homer and Virgil decide they need to take off and report back to their own people. Zhou asks them to give the party a call and let them know how the reporting went. Everyone swaps phone numbers and email addresses.

At this point Dayna realizes the MESSAGE light on the phone is blinking, and the front desk tells her the room has a package. Zhou and Casey collect it; it’s a small cardboard box about the size of a paperback. It has their room number on it, no postal labels, it was just left at the desk. Inside, there’s a set of tacky souvenirs, protected by tissue paper:

  • a pin with a stylized koi-like fish on it
  • a stereotypical BFF heart pendant with a crack in it
  • a faux-ivory keychain
  • a charm in the shape of an anvil

They look like they could have been bought in any souvenir store in Seattle. Raahi turns his archaeological eye on the box of trinkets and finds them, unsurprisingly, extremely ordinary. Dayna tries some Radda’s Eyes on the box, but fails; it feels like something is just shutting her out. When Casey holds up the crappy ring his father gave him, it suddenly seems obvious that these objects are gifts from Lugh — each one feels sort of warm and special in the hand of its intended recipient — Molly the anvil, Raahi the ivory, Dayna the heart, and Zhou the koi.

Molly does in fact get a whole bunch of phone numbers emailed to her smartphone — including some numbers she can call if she needs, eg, some workspace. She calls the latter number and is promised a car will pick her up in the morning; in the meantime, she starts working on turning her camp cot into a fold-up hang glider. Raahi starts writing up some kind of reasonable, not insane sounding set of notes of his experiences in the PNW. Zhou does a bunch of business shit.

In the morning, Dayna goes to church and makes some excellent contacts. Zhou does more business shit, burning up the lines between Seattle, Hong Kong and LA to keep things moving along smoothly. Molly finds herself with sole access to a large machine shop, awesome! Casey goes and does some martial arts practice. Raahi visits a college campus, makes some contacts and wangles some space in one of the grad student offices. The next day or two is spent in this way; life shows some signs of actually returning to normal, with nothing untoward.

Raahi gets an email, or rather, he’s brought into an ongoing email exchange; Professor Sato has arranged for him to transfer to UW and do some work there; all the bureaucracy has been taken care of already. Molly gets a similar email from her school, congratulating her that Vulcan seems to want her to help them out in Seattle and assuring her that everything is taken care of back at home, someone will be filling in for her, etc. Casey gets accepted to UW. His email, along with Raahi and Molly’s, have the same somewhat alarming quality of revealing that their lives have been artfully managed for them behind their backs, pushing them along a course that leaves them studying and/or working in Seattle.

Molly goes and buys an old rusted-out VW microbus and fixes it up to a completely reasonable vehicle. She also finishes the hang-gliding cot; it’s very cool but a liiittle short of what she really had in her head.. Raahi buys a motorbike. Zhou buys a Norinco AK at a gun shop in Bellevue.

Virgil calls back. He and Homer are still trying to find the people they work for; he lets slip that they’ve been traveling and are currently in Texas.

Dayna is well tied in to the local church, and she makes herself available to help out with the ceremonies of the Day of Our Lady of Peace. She notices a stranger hanging around the celebration, and approaches her. The woman knows her name. She says things are rather complicated and confused at the moment, but Dayna could do something for her.

“There’s this boy got killed. Stupid, drugs. He wasn’t even carrying. And he was with this girl, real faithful, real serious. And I just don’t want to let it stand like that. The funeral is tomorrow… we’ll be talking soon.” She gives Dayna a card and steps away.

4xp by default, Casey and Zhou get an xp each for the 5 AM phone call. Dayna gets an xp for scowling. Molly gets an xp for the hang-gliding cot. Raahi gets an xp for God Beer. Then everybody gets 5xp more for end of story and resets their Willpower and Legend.

Seventh Session

Molly wakes up. She’s stiff and sore and her head hurts like a fucking bastard, enough that she wonders about brain injury. She’s in a cave, and it’s cold, so she figures she’s up the mountain. Unfortunately she’s trussed up to a camp cot, and Ken is sitting nearby on a folding chair wearing his Arctic Ninja shit, and there’s a frost giant standing in the cave entrance. “Sorry, it’s strictly business.” Ken introduces himself and says that he and the party didn’t come to a satisfactory arrangement for her release; they have something he needs, and they didn’t give it up. “I expected them to want you back more.”

“So what is it that you really want?”

“I want to give you something. Just keep it with you, and I’ll let you go rejoin them.”

“So what is this thing?”

Ken pulls out a carved piece of stone, about the size of a small Altoids tin, with a leering Mesoamerican face on it.

Molly tells him she’ll sleep on this generous offer, but in fact she just turns away and quietly tries to figure out what the fuck to do next.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party still has no idea where Molly is, and even if they knew, they don’t feel good about their chances against six frost giants. Casey raises the point that Ken probably could have taken the party, so why didn’t he? Is he unwilling or unable to kill them? Does he think the party is more powerful than they are? Nobody comes up with any brilliant insight that would give the party an angle here, so the decision is made just to trek until the fucking satellite phones start working again, and then make some calls and hopefully get some backup or at least clearer instructions.

About 45 minutes out from the cabin, the phones suddenly start working. Casey calls his dad, but gets voicemail. Raahi calls Professor Sato, but finds that he’s no longer even at the university; his group has returned to Japan and Sato’s not teaching there anymore. Zhou calls Kua, and gets no answer. At least his driver is still safe and bored at the base station.

Molly tries to figure out how to escape and doesn’t come up with anything particularly workable. She tries to scam Ken into untying at least some of her bonds, and he actually
undoes her arms. A number of variably plausible escape plans occur to her but none of them look quite likely enough to try out.

“Have you thought more about my offer? Don’t think too long, we do have limited supplies.”

Molly stonewalls Ken, and he threatens to strand her on the mountain while he goes down the mountain. When she demurs, he starts to get pissed off. “If you were actually considering this at all, you’d ask me what I wanted to give you.” He tells her that the object is a locator, and that "if you were to dispose of it, you might not survive. But, I give it to you, I locate you at a later time, you give it to me, the obligation is broken. " The thingy is actually a carving of Tlaloc holding a cellphone.


Dayna: “What the fuck, Tlaloc.”

Raahi: “It’s like you can’t trust the guy who drowns children.”

Raahi uses his echolocation, looking for Ken’s cave, and makes the interesting discovery that there’s a huge tunnel network underneath the mountain and that it’s fucking full of frost giants. Dozens of the bastards.

Zhou is cold and tired of all this crap. He decides to rustle up a helicopter, under the pretext of a medical evacuation. It’s decided that he’ll take the key back to Seattle and work on the situation from there. The group builds a signal fire at a plausible landing space, and sets up a system of watches.

Ken is incredibly pissed off and frustrated by now. His mood is not improved when she tells him she needs to pee. With ill grace he stalks off out of the cave, and a naked seven-foot blue woman — a frost giant — shows up to guard Molly while she uses the local facilities. On her way, she learns that the cave goes deep into the mountain, farther than she can see; there are also some expensive-looking supply caches here and there in the cave, and the passage leading back into the mountain has some stairs cut into the rock.

Meanwhile, Casey decides to call Tom, the kid who broke into his hotel room. “I admit now, some of the gods are stupid annoying shitface guys.” “No shit.” Tom and Zhou arrange to meet when Zhou gets back to Seattle. “We’re playing this club. Nemo on Pine. I’ll be there after 9pm.”

The helicopter descends. “Who’s got the broken leg?” Zhou stalks up to them with a c-note in each hand, clearly walking effortlessly and painlessly. He gives one to each and drops the God’s Honest on them: “It’s a Type 3 break. Perfectly functional for three days, then it turns to broken glass.” The pilots are utterly bemused by this line of low-effort horseshit. “They didn’t teach us about this in med school. We could take you to the children’s hospital, they handle all kinds of weird shit.” “Sure, fine, whatever. Let’s go.” They do.

Raahi: “I feel like Zhou has completely pulled one over on us.”

Casey: “That inscrutable Asian asshole.”

Meanwhile, Molly has decided on one desperate escape plan. While Ken goes to the cave mouth to check what the helicopter noise is about, she grits her teeth and flips the cot over, breaks her bonds — doing some serious damage to her arms in the process — grabs her stuff, and jumps on it like a luge, charging between Ken’s legs and the two frost giants and off into the darkness. She clears the mouth of the cave and finds herself hanging onto a cot in midair over a seventy-foot chasm.

“I will make this work, I will make this work, I will make this work…” She holds the cot up, bending the framework into a crude parachute. The flimsy construction grabs the air and lands on the snow-covered slope like a leaf. And weirdly, there’s a bright phosphorescent glow a couple of miles away; someone has jammed glowsticks into the snow, and a helicopter seems to be flying away from the location.

“Is morphine indicated for the care of a… Type 3 fracture?”

“No, but the patient should be given a beer at the earliest opportunity.”

Dayna, looking through Molly’s eyes, realizes that the younger woman is on the other side of a ridge that she can see from their improvised camp. She pops out of the trance and yells, “Molly!” Meanwhile, Casey notices that there’s a goddam miniature frost giant approaching the camp! He’s actually thrown his spear and has to summon it back when he realizes it’s Molly.

Molly: “Hi guys. Ken is incredibly pissed off at me and has four or five frost giants. We should leave.”

Raahi: “Actually it’s more like thirty or forty, within about a two mile radius of here.”

With that in mind, they leave immediately, heading back down the hill and exchanging stories along the way, introducing her to Homer and Virgil. Along the way, Raahi calls Zhou and lets him know that Molly’s back, and that they’ll certainly need his driver’s services to get back down off the mountain. “Well, now I feel fucking stupid. Let me make that incredibly important call now. Do drop me a line if anything else of note happens.” He calls the driver and explains the situation, making sure that they’ll have a ride from the base station.

Zhou lands at the children’s hospital and swiftly eludes his erstwhile caregivers, stealing someone’s flowers and passing himself off as a visitor. Outside the hospital, he grabs the South Lake Union streetcar downtown, where he puts the key to the cabin in a lockbox at the post office. Then he grabs the bus up to Nemo’s.

At the club, there’s a band belting out loud screamo-metal; the virtuoso singer-lead guitarist is belting out a bunch of songs about how great his mom was and how much of a shitheel his father was. “We’re Dead Wednesday Dead! Buy some t-shirts so that we can get some time in the studio to make an album!”

The remainder of the party, up the mountain, is trudging down the mountain in the dark, almost falling off Mt. Rainier, and finding a spot to camp for the night.

After the show, Tom grabs Zhou and takes him down the street to a bar to talk. Zhou gives him the story, and Tom basically says that he wants nothing to do with the gods ever ever, and has no means of contacting anyone who’s remotely close to the gods. He hasn’t even seen his father since the guy showed up at one of his concerts and gave him a capo. A fucking capo, that you don’t even need for an electric bass! Ignorant fuck! Zhou sighs and gives Tom his phone number just on the off chance. They agree that the gods are dicks and part awkwardly.

Casey is on first watch, and he notes that a) there are some large things approaching the camp, and b) there’s a bastard of a storm blowing up. He rouses the party and yells out, “WE DON’T HAVE THE KEY!” towards the shambling shapes in the distance. His phone bleeps and he reads the message “sorry didn’t get msg until now” just before the storm arrives and visibility becomes near-zero. The sky lights up as Lugh descends on a beam of light. “That’s my dad!”

“I heard you need some help!”

Casey apprises his dad of the tactical situation, eg, they’re surrounded by frost giants.

“Oh well, it doesn’t seem fair to massacre them all right now. YOU LIVE ON OUR SUFFERANCE! Now, you folks, come, walk with me.”

Lugh takes the group up with him into the beautiful, radiant sky on his beam of light.

Zhou collects the key from the post office and gets a hotel room for the night, someplace with free wifi.

4xp to everyone who was present; 2 extra to Molly for her incredible escape; 1 extra to Zhao for his broken leg sustained in the line of duty; 1 extra to Casey for various awesome moments; 1 to Dayna for strategic and observational comments out of trance. Raahi gets one extra for dry humor.

Sixth Session

The door blows open and a blizzard of snow seems to firehose into the room. Everyone wakes up very abruptly. Zhou loudly suggests that everyone move back downstairs. Since most of the party (not Zhou) can see some kind of humanoid shape at the heart of the storm, walking slowly towards the cabin; Casey closes the hatch behind us. At the bottom of the stairs, there’s some speculation about whether there’s a frost giant attacking us, looking for the Box. As the hatch starts to open, Casey stabs his spear through the opening. There’s a roar from above, and then, indeed, a frost giant is standing there, naked and ten feet tall.

Casey stabs his spear into the giant’s abdoment, cracking his ice, but the cracks begin to heal almost instantly. He realizes the spear approach isn’t going to work and vaults acrobatically back down the stairs, over everyone’s heads. Zhou and Raahi open fire on the giant, but the ice pretty much resists their bullets; Virgil fires and misses. The giant emits a terrifying war cry and everyone cringes like children. Dayna manages to fix the giant with her piercing, Compelling glare, distracting and confusing it, and the party blazes away with handguns and rifles, Casey hurling his spear with a fearsome Gaelic war cry. Homer actually runs up the stairs and uppercuts the giant in the junk, in a rousing Charge of the Light Brigade maneuver; he bruises his fist. Reeling from pain and staggered by the bullets and a very nasty spear wound, the giant nevertheless breaks the hatch in half like a wafer and bashes Homer down the stairs. Casey leaps to heroically catches Homer, absorbing most of the damage. The giant backs off slightly, much of its front covered with crazed and broken ice, trying to avoid the hail of projectiles. Homer once again dashes up the stairs and tries, again ineffectively, to sock the giant in one of his wounded areas. Raahi empties his magazine into the frost giant’s reproductive apparatus while Zhou peppers the giant randomly with lead, and Virgil follows Homer upstairs, firing his rifle John Woo gangsta style. Casey follows, vaulting with his spear and bringing his whole weight down on the giant behind his spearpoint. Dayna meanwhile has run into the kitchen and run some hot water into a bowl, which she hurls into the gaping wounds on the giant’s chest. There’s a cloud of steam, but unfortunately most of the stuff freezes in his wounds. Virgil, meanwhile, drops from his John Woo pose to a reasonable infantry crouch and shoots a huge crack in the center of the giant’s chest. The rest of the party shouts many constructive suggestions that don’t involve punching a huge angry block of living ice, but Homer goes with what he knows and hurts his hand some more. Dayna gives the giant the Spooky Gaze through the sights of her pistol and shaves cocktail ice off the dome of its head. Casey jabs away with his spear; Raahi sprints up the stairs with his axe in hand and cleaves the giant mightily. The axe glows in flight and cuts through the giant’s ice as if it was water, beginning to actively shatter and melt, as does the snow on the cabin floor. In fact, the giant pretty much melts swiftly, all except for a wet blue heart that falls on the floor.

Virgil picks up the heart and squeezes, and some nasty blue crap comes out. “Do we have a vessel? This is giant’s blood.” He pours out the water from a canteen and starts trying to put the blood into the canteen. “It gives strength.” “I’ll stick with ginseng, thanks,” Zhou replies sourly. The party adds six doses of blue ichor to its inventory in bottles and ziploc bags. “Some of the titanspawn do this, they have trophies, whatever else you want to call it. For giants, it’s their blood. They really didn’t tell you anything, did they? Be careful when you use it, it’ll make you strong, but a little dumb. And you have to keep it in something airtight.” Meanwhile, the giant and its heart melt and flow all over the floor.

The party spends a few moments tidying up the cabin, and then leaves, duct taping both of the doors back together. Casey leaves an awkward note for the next visitors, and everyone tromps down the mountain. We’ve been hiking for a little while when we notice that one of the silhouettes of the peaks seems a little… wrong. There’s a dude sitting there in a full face mask and serious winter gear, silhouetted against the rocks. Dayna asks Virgil if that’s Ken, and Virgil just says, bleakly, “Yeah.”

He rises to his feet, and he’s holding Molly in his arms, wrapped in the same cold weather gear. “You have something I want. I have something you want.” “The box?” Casey asks. “Don’t play dumb.” There are six frost giants flanking him, big ones.

Zhou basically opens a negotiation. “What are you going to do with the box? Let loose a Titan on the world?" “That would be like using nuclear material as a bomb. I want to use it in a reactor.” “What do you want the power for?” “To save the world. From global warming and all kinds of other evils.” “By exterminating the disease of humanity?” “That’s a comic villain reason. That’s not my goal.” “What if you came back down to Seattle with us with the box, hypothetically?” “Then the gods would all start fighting over the box. You notice that when the gods fight, humans usually suffer.” “What if we wanted to come with you and watch how you use the box?” “I foresee logistical problems, but that seems… more doable.”

Dayna, meanwhile, has gotten incredibly angry that this guy has kidnapped her friend in order to get his hands on a fucking McGuffin, and has put on a truly vicious Game Face. Ken starts to get a little freaked the fuck out, and pretty much decides to continue this negotiation at a later date. The frost giants stay behind, stolidly watching us. Zhou suggests locking the box back in the cabin, and even Homer and Virgil are okay with this by now. So that’s what happens: the box is returned to its place on the table, and the splintered, duct-taped door is locked to protect it.

Everyone gets 4xp. Zhou gets 1 for best use of a Vietnamese Mak, and Dayna gets 1 for resolving the whole Ken problem. Casey gets a point for catching Homer, and Raahi gets a point for discovering the Power of the Axe.

(Dayna’s Compelling Presence power needs some nerfing, something about contesting when of equal legend)

Casey: “We went shopping at REI and you didn’t buy any napalm?”
Zhou: “Sorry, kid, America is a lot less free than you’d think.”

Fifth Session

Homer and Virgil decide to join the party, at least provisionally. The loose plan is to head back down to Seattle, bring the brothers’ higher-ups in contact with our higher-ups, and Figure Shit Out somehow from the results. We have no idea where Molly is, so our best bet is to use Dayna to continue trying to sniff out information.

Zhou, Dayna and Virgil scout the area and find a slightly better path down the mountain. Meanwhile, Raahi, Casey and Homer do a more detailed search of the cabin, and Raahi finds a trapdoor in the floor of the cabin. Raahi finds that there’s a long tunnel leading diagonally downward behind the door, and a couple of chambers at its end; the whole deal is bigger than the cabin but no larger than a house. Casey uses his spear to open the door while various people nervously point guns. Behind the door are six storeys of stairs leading down; steep, good craftsmanship, no detectable traps. The risers are very tall. Raahi realizes these steps look like the ones made by ancient Mesoamericans; they even have some carvings to match. At the bottom, there’s a strangely ancient yet perfectly preserved room in the same pre-Columbian style; it seems as if it’s been here untouched for centuries. It feels like a natural cave, only the floor is tiled and completely flat. There are blocks of stone whose presence is mysterious, since there’s no sign they were quarried from the cave. There’s a raised platform and two doors. The platform is about the height of a card table, and has, basically, blood grooves and a slight concavity, but it’s clean. The whole place screams Tlaloc, what with the nasty-ass carvings and so on.

When Casey steps through the door on the right, he’s blinded by a bright flash of light. Zhou pulls Casey back, and the light dims. The room turns out to be a gargantuan geode; any light cast into it is reflected dazzlingly back on its source. Polarized goggles help, as does this realization. Many of the large, faceted quartz crystals have been carved with geometric patterns; the same ones as on the floor in the previous room. The cast of the crystal is somewhat bluish. Dayna infers that it’s magically preserved ice. The geode room seems to be a dead end.

Zhou checks the left room, and finds a tiny room where the floor domes up and the ceiling is low, less than five and a half feet. There are jade chains running along the surface of the dome, ending in open links. It seems like they should fall down, but they don’t. Dayna and Raahi realize that Tahoma is imprisoned in this room. Dayna thinks that if the object in the box is placed on the mound, it would release Tahoma. As she puts it, if we do this, terrible things may happen, but if we don’t, we are leaving someone in chains. There is much argument and no conclusion. Meanwhile, Dayna, singing to the spirit, walks into the room and falls unconscious across the stone, groaning and making inhuman, whale-like noises. She is incommunicative otherwise during this period. Zhou tries to check her pulse, and she stops moaning, like someone stopping a tape. Dayna regains some consciousness and starts vomiting; her lungs are full of saltwater. Zhou drags her out into the main room and Raahi gives her medical assistance; it’s basically as if she’s nearly drowned. Dayna says that she is unable to talk to it; she had no sense of any emotions or ideas during her contact. Raahi speculates that Tahoma may be more like a blind force of nature than a personality, and Casey chimes in that the confinement may be more dam than prison. The whole experience seems to tilt the group against the iaadea of using the object in the box.

The group spends awhile just examining the area before they leave. Raahi notes that there are a lot of Greek notes in the architecture of the place; besides the leering frog things, there are Ionic columns and things lying around, suggesting a confederation between Tlaloc and some Greek gods.

We spend the night at the cabin, posting watches. Homer and Zhou take first watch, Raahi and Virgil the second, and Casey and Dayna the third. Halfway through second watch, Raahi and Dayna both realize that something’s thumping in the wind, except there’s nothing to thump. As they decide to wake the others, the door is blown open by a thunderous crash.

We all get 4xp, and Dayna gets a point for briefly letting Tahoma posess her. Zhou gets a point for diplomacy and coordination. Raahi gets a point for academics. Casey gets a point for providing a loyal opposition and helping to convince us all not to let loose Tahoma.

Fourth Session

The group has just ascended past the treeline on Mount Rainier. We all trundle along towards their objective between the two peaks, stopping to take breaks and search for evidence of human presence. At first it’s a relatively easy trek across deep snow, then the party runs into a slope that has to be ascended mountaineering-style. Raahi senses something vaguely “wrong”, feeling that the mountain is too quiet, but can’t explain why. Late in the afternoon, Casey spots an unstable section of mountain ahead of the group and pokes the ground with his spear. This creates a huge sinkhole in front of us, leading into a crevice, and Dayna starts to fall into it. Casey tosses his spear – blunt end first – to Dayna and uses his spear-recall to drag her to safety, which works beautifully but costs her some bruises and dings along the way. That solves the problem of Dayna falling into a crevice, but now there’s a huge fucking crevice in front of us and the ground we’re standing on is not so stable. We concoct a plan to run a zipline across the chasm, where the path resumes, but our best mountaineer, Raahi, says that he can’t be sure of making it to the other side to anchor the line. Instead he uses the power of his axe and some serious Legend to simply create a light bridge across the crevice. We all walk across; the light bridge vanishes in our wake, leaving only an indentation in the ice to mark where it was. We set up camp for the night, setting up watches.

People start waking up before dawn, January 4, 2012. We all eat a hot, hearty breakfast with lots of carbs and lashings of coffee and embark on another day of mountaineering. Nothing of note happens for awhile as we climb laboriously up the mountain. Around 9 AM Dayna vaguely senses something “wrong”, a generalized, creepy sense of being watched, and mentions this feeling to the rest of the party. Raahi admits that he felt something similar the previous day. We get creeped out and spend about half an hour fruitlessly searching the immediate area. Raahi has a sense that there is something else alive nearby, some entity is messing with the environment, but he can’t say anything more. The group warily moves on. About 600 yards from the target, Casey spots a small house, a one-room cabin standing in a field of snow. It seems to be dark and Raahi notes that the snow around it is undisturbed.

Zhou pauses to use Smoking Mirror to examine the area but finds nothing of much interest. The party checks out the cabin, and it seems to be parked on an odd mound of dirt in the middle of the snow field. There’s a big carved padlock over the door, made of a single piece of stone, inscribed with Meso-American symbols and a sort of face. Raahi fits the key in the lock; it opens easily. Everyone except Molly steps inside. What’s inside seems to be a basic one-room cabin, like someone’s hunting lodge only in quite the wrong place. The Box is on the kitchen table, a plain wooden affair with a very heavy hinge. It’s not locked. Casey shakes the box; he senses something heavy moving around slowly inside. He opens it; inside there’s a silk cushion, and on top of that, three carved jade chain links surrounding a perfectly disc-shaped river stone. Casey photographs the artifact and closes the box.

At about this time, there’s a loud thump on the roof and two figures in super-advanced military commando gear appear. One of them basically kicks Zhou out of the doorway and across the room, but Zhou manages to land on his feet; the second enemy dives into the room. Zhou Orders one enemy to shoot the one who kicked him, and the enemy complies but misses. Dayna uses Commanding Presence on the two enemies and then casts Coordinated Assault. In the meantime, Casey vaults over his spear and stabs the man who jumped into the room, but the point of his spear gets stuck in the man’s body armor. The second enemy runs across the room and tries to grab the box, but Zhou flips the table into his face and the box goes flying. At this point the action ceases as both enemies are transfixed by Dayna’s presence. Raahi gets hold of the box. Zhou takes their weapons. The party is rather nonplussed to hear their immobilized foes say that they are trying to save the world and that they needed the box. They mention Apollo, Artemis and Poseidon as those that sent them. They say that the box contains “the Power of the Waters”, which at least jibes with what we were told. They were going to take it to… somewhere? “We hadn’t gotten that far.”

The two captives are both very handsome men, chiseled, blond movie star types. It’s difficult to tell them apart. They say their names are Homer and Virgil. “Mom liked the classics,” says Virgil. They are obviously both Scions. They God’s Honest that they absolutely really no kidding need the box to save the world. They’ve been following us for some time, since we had the key. They have a third partner, Ken, who makes us all realize that we haven’t thought about Molly in awhile, and in fact, she’s vanished, and Ken is nowhere to be seen. Casey uses his book to contact his mentor, but that guy is basically useless.

Homer, or maybe Virgil, discloses that the man who was believed to have killed the park ranger did in fact kill the park ranger, and that Ken probably killed him. They can’t reach Ken, don’t know him very well, were only working with him on this job. Dayna uses some vodoun to establish that Molly has been knocked out and is unconscious, but still alive. She decides to place Vigil brands on Zhou, Raahi and Casey. Zhou and Raahi go out to search more extensively for Molly. They find some caches of supplies, MREs and so on, to last a team of three about five or six days — probably Homer and Virgil’s — and take them all back to the cabin.

We all get 4 XP. Dayna, Casey, and Raahi get one each extra, Dayna for resolving a combat with her Grandma Powers, Raahi for the light bridge and Casey for his spearsmanship. Molly also gets an extra XP for being graceful about getting knocked the fuck out right before the action happens.


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