We had Geneveive, Adrian, Lydia, and Kinselton. They had just rescued the Director. It was about 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, 2010. They were in the basement of the Mumford Block new construction.
An Inside View
The Director got his wits about him after some vomiting. He admitted to some surprise to see them; he thought Pillars would come get him out. She apparently broke some of the rules of Hell in her long time on Earth, and is increasingly in danger of being found out the longer the Embassy is in operation, so she’s had a bit of brinksmanship in her relationship with the Embassy. She was more or less forced to give up the Director, and she’s in survival mode.
Also, about half the Wilters are hosting Lords of Air. They brought in something they called a baalor (powerful demon made of flame and shadow) and fed it human sacrifices for a couple weeks; apparently they squeezed its energy out through the Embassy and strengthened its connection while it was concealed and safe on Prime. It is hosted in a human shape, but its energy burns through them pretty fast. Then today they moved it out to do its work, so the Director expected a change in circumstances directly.
Better Check In
Genevieve reached out telepathically to Daniel. She found that he was at home, but on alert; something was wrong. Then there was fire and he checked out to deal with it.
She checked with Graves, who had taken Echran and relocated through the gate in Favian Manor’s basement, retreating to Favian Church. Echran observed the house staff coming back and having to hesitate, repelled; they were possessed with Lords of Air. They directed human agents to storm the house, but Graves and Echran retreated rather than standing their ground. (Graves was putting together an elaborate method to reach her, but the telepathy worked fine.)
Next Genevieve reached out to Burninator, finding him badly drugged and kept unconscious, a television playing somewhere in the background. She focused, and determined he was somewhere in Torpedo Bay.
She reached out to the Gray Ghost, and found that a very surprised alter ego had been ushered out of a meeting by Marcher! He had contacted her family, and told everyone to get to safety. She was just deciding whether or not to shut him down when Genevieve contacted her; Genevieve suggested she go somewhere safe, something big was going down. The Ghost grudgingly agreed, but planned to ride out in the jet to assist against whatever was up.
Genevieve touched on Hammerhand to find him in intensive care breathing through a tube, very angry! He thought Adrian attacked him with magic, almost killing him. He was at a work site downtown moving rubble, and the wizard came out in costume, taunting him then shooting him. The wizard cackled for the cameras of the news crew covering Hammerhand’s efforts, then ran off. Genevieve assured him it wasn’t Adrian, and said she’d get back to him.
She searched for Grim telepathically, but could not find him. At all.
Genevieve targeted Emma, and found her breathless and alarmed. Ellis was in bad shape, and Emma was hurt, but they went to the Barnacle Bar and were being hustled to a boat. The Lords of Air used a disorienting attack, then the Claws came for them in the house. The Elder Sign around Emma’s neck repelled possession, but they got into Grim–until he resisted the influence, and held everything off while they escaped.
Genevieve checked on Mugsy; he repelled the Lord of Air possession because of the Elder Sign in the wheelhouse, and was currently totally freaked out and sailing the yacht eastward hard, headed into the open sea at top speed.
Adrian pulled on his connection with his familiar Snowfall, who escaped the house (albeit a little dazed.) She oriented on them, and caught up by the time they reached Fortress Square.
Into the Storm
Storm clouds gathered over the city and thunder growled as they snapped into action. They told the Director to hide in the basement, then Amy stole a church van from a couple blocks over, and they headed Downtown; they could feel the energy building there.
They arrived at Fortress Square and entered the square itself, seeing Marcher standing on a rooftop with so much magic strapped on he looked like a disco wizard. He had a staff made of braided bone, a sword made of lightning, a half-mask of bone, bandoleers of teeth, a reptilian robe, and all sorts of other baubles and trinkets.
Meanwhile the baalor soared through the clouds, insubstantial but closing in on Marcher’s mystical challenge. The mantle’s magma shifted underfoot with the attracting power of the hellish monster that approached.
Marcher briefly talked tactics, then the baalor was upon them; it landed in lightning that passed the lightning rods, rooftops, twenty stories of buildings, and mauled a crater in the courtyard. Its mushroom cloud resolved to wings of smoke and shadow, then its compressed dimensional slit of a sword flared out, and the tendrils of its binding whip that helped anchor it on Prime.
Marcher offered up some fighting words in its foul tongue, then attacked, assisted by Adrian and Kinselton. Genevieve resolved her Orb into its sword form, prepared to burn out some of her own life force to sever this powerful demon’s connection to Prime. Lydia noticed when the baalor caught her scent and lit up; she was the one it was here to kill now that it had spotted her. Marcher was just in the way.
After a brief but horrific battle, Marcher let that deadly whip close around him with lethal force. While it was engaged, Adrian mystically enhanced Genevieve’s movements, and she raced in and slashed at the whip’s cable; she cut through it, impossibly, severing the baalor’s connection to the reality-altering energies that allowed it to exist on Prime.
The demon screamed, and Lydia telekinetically yanked Marcher free of the whip and over to the group, while Adrian dug deep and put up a powerful mystic shield to protect everyone. The Veil crushed closed once more, ejecting them from the pocket dimension it had projected around itself, and destroying the baalor’s pattern on the dimension.
Marcher’s Ongoing Tutoring
Marcher survived the attack by giving up the powerful staff; it was crushed to fragments protecting his body and life force from the whip’s effects (since arcanist shield magic was useless against it.) Marcher asked the others to go on, so he could talk to Adrian in private.
He explained that in Paris, scores of wizards died. Right around the time Adrian got back from the Glim Rift, Onaga appeared in person and slew piles of wizards. Marcher got to Edgarton using magical ways and means, figuring the provocation must have started here.
Marcher also took Adrian to where the baalor was destroyed, and dunked him in the ambiguous dimensional juices left behind in the Periphery; a touch of Hell slid along Adrian’s bones. The dark wizard gave Adrian a stone to meditate upon, that contained within it a lesson Marcher left him; now he could attempt transformational magic, for it required the touch of Hell to work.
Marcher limped off to disappear for a good long while, and Adrian rejoined the others.
Genevieve checked in with Daniel to find him wrecked and fading. The demons cornered him, captured him, but rather than submit to capture he blew up his own house (because of course he did.) He barely survived to get down into the hidden cave under the house, but his flesh was all burned off and his limbs badly damaged.
So, Amy dropped them off by the secret cave entrance, ditched the church van, stole an ambulance from the first responders trying to put out what acted like a chemical fire on the house, and rejoined them. Genevieve and Adrian lugged Daniel out, with Adrian magically lightening him so they could do it.
It was time to part ways. Lydia and Amy would go to Adrian’s yacht and reassure Mugsy, more or less safe at sea. Kinsleton had his own agenda to follow. But Genevieve and Adrian had to take care of Daniel.
They went to the yacht club to ditch the ambulance, and move through a mirror. Genevieve took Daniel to the Gray Ghost’s Mausoleum, to the cybernetics lab Evans had built for a previous project. They hooked Daniel up to life support.
On the Yacht
They stepped out of the teleport, and Mugsy threatened to shoot them, a bit incoherent in his paranoia. Lydia an Amy talked him down, and he was almost hysterically grateful to not be alone and hunted by demons on the yacht. They slowed things down, Lydia went downstairs to recover while Amy looked after the yacht, and Mugsy took on mastiff form to stand guard and calm down.
The Battle of the Barnacle Bar
Kenselton did not spot a boat that might have Emma on it in the waters around Edgarton, so he refocused on the Barnacle Bar (where Emma had found help to get out to sea.) He saw the pirates had sniper nests set up to defend the bar, and it was barred, but with a number of tough guys inside. Looping his investigation further, he spotted a demon several blocks away monitoring the site; a closer look confirmed it was one of the Claws of Marribus.
Suspecting if he engaged a pile of them would pop out and jump him, he retreated to a sniper position and transformed in front of the startled pirate. He explained the situation, and the sniper called in a tactical team that flushed the demon to the street, where an armored truck ran over it and slowed it enough for lots of tasing and stuffing into the back of the truck.
Then two more Claws erupted from cover. One was gunned down, giving the other one (and the one in the truck) a massive surge of power. While the one in the truck battled free, the other one slaughtered pirates until brought down by snipers.
Kinselton confronted the one that burst out of the truck, slamming it with the Dread Curse and disorienting it long enough for snipers to pour excessive firepower into the ragged corpse. Job well done.
Touching Base With the Ghost
The Gray Ghost returned to the Mausoleum with the Ghost Plane and talked updates and strategy with Genevieve and Adrian. The Ghost agreed to look after Daniel, and Genevieve and Adrian had renewed determination to close the Brass Embassy and eject the powers of Hell.
The Ghost had been “Bermuda Triangled” in the wake of the baalor’s flight path, and missed out on the battle. However, the Ghost checked to see the yacht was intact, and Favian Manor not on fire, before returning.
Adrian and Genevieve stepped through the mirror, emerging in the hospital that protected Hammerhand.
Adrian used magic to cloak himself in Daniel’s appearance, deeply unnerving Genevieve. The pair closed in on Hammerhand’s room, but it was guarded by half a dozen Wilters (and 3 of them were possessed by Lords of Air.)
The Lords of Air sassed them, hoping to provoke an attack on the Wilters they inhabited. While the Wilters that were NOT possessed got increasingly nervous at their brash peers, the Lords of Air denied them access to Hammerhand.
Furious, Genevieve and Adrian/Daniel left. They contacted Lydia, who teleported to them and moved them to the yacht, then jumped straight into Hammerhand’s room and retrieved him to the yacht.
Genevieve healed his grievous wounds as he struggled with the sudden dislocation. Hammerhand talked about how Mister Mystery had attacked him in front of the camera crews; Adrian had a chance (as Daniel) to see the wounds, and note that the broken runes in them were Arcanist work, but not his “handwriting.” And of course he would have wiped the confident nova out from concealment, with no witnesses. Of course, the point was to smear Adrian and make it difficult for him to operate publicly. The impostor had a staff and owl and decent impersonation.
Genevieve checked Hammerhand’s mind, saw the grainy images of his memory of the incident; he wasn’t lying, only misled.
Hammerhand agreed to trust Genevieve, who insisted Adrian was off-plane and innocent. He would just stay away from the press on the matter. He was visibly shaken to learn that many Wilters were demon possessed.
He flew back to Edgarton, leaving the others on the yacht.