Matt (innocent_man) wrote in mageawakening,

Murder in the Pines Update

We took a month of downtime, allowing the characters to have some vacation and spend some XP. The big change was the Falstaff finally joined a Legacy. Up in Cleveland, there's a cabal (the 6s and 7s met them once, and if you remember that I'd be impressed) which includes an Orphan of Proteus, so Falstaff joined up. As it turned out, that decision probably saved his life.

The characters met up at Skyline Chili again, but Whim didn't show. They were going to discuss their options as far as investigating Helen's cabal went, but when Bolg called Emory to see if he'd seen Whim, he found that her werewolf boyfriend was worried, too - he hadn't seen her all week. A call to Eye of the Storm (her mentor) revealed that her Fate-threads had just...stopped. Asmodeus scryed her, but couldn't find her. Either she was in the spirit world, or dead. Mixing in Death with the scrying spell allowed him to find her body.

It was lying in a ditch, mostly buried, near a park in the city. The characters portal'd there and investigated. Fin learned that she'd died of smoke inhalation and shock, but that she'd been burned pretty badly. He discovered that she hadn't seen much before dying (her eyes had melted) and her brain recalled nothing but pain, as though someone had deliberately tortured her before killing her to prevent this kind of investigation.

The characters also noticed pine needles in her fingers, but figured that the murder-spirit wouldn't just have killed her, he'd have had someone else do it while he watched. Falstaff called the paper and learned that there had been a house fire nearby last Saturday...the day she'd died. The characters found the house and Fin looked back in time (his use of XP over the break was to buy Time 2), and saw Whim there, burning. From the sheen of her skin, she'd already suffered some Paradox. She cast a spell, and the ceiling caved in on her. Fin cast a few more spells, and learned that the other person present, hiding behind the fire, was Quentin Ester, whom the characters met here.

Asmodeus scryed for him and found him making a garrote out of piano wire and wood. He noticed the scrying window and left. The characters contacted Bailiff and told him what was happening, and then Crescendo to come and get Whim's body. And then Asmodeus opened a portal to Quentin, who was already on the highway hitching a ride out of town.

The characters tried to subdue him, but after a few rounds of grappling, a car veered off the road and slammed into the mob, very nearly killing Falstaff, Fin and Bolg (Asmodeus was far enough away that he was able to escape harm). Quentin got hit, too, and attacked Bolg, nearly knocking him out. A woman got out of the car and frantically asked what was happening. Fin told her to get down and attacked Quentin with a Psychic Sword, but then the car lurched to life again and ran him down. Bolg, arm broken, drew his gun and shot Quentin with his off hand, dropping him. The mages grabbed the fallen (including Quentin) and headed back through the portal.

Back at their mansion, they chained up Quentin (Falstaff also stabilized him so he didn't bleed out) and called Bailiff. Bailiff didn't know much about him, other than that he was a competent fighter. Fin started poking around in his head, and learned that he was a Banisher (that word didn't come up, but for brevity's sake) and that he was working under another Banisher called Aaron Murphy. But when he tried to learn more, he hit a Memory Hole. He told the others to make sure nothing possessed him, and then opened it.

A swarm of glass shards (a spirit called Rainsliver, if you've read Predators) manifested and filled the characters full of glass shards. It killed Quentin and very nearly killed the others, but some fast healing from Falstaff saved them. The spirit discorporated, and left the mages bloodied, depressed and with their enemy dead.

Fin looked at his dead brain, and learned that these "Huntsmen" only targeted non-Thyrsus. They had once been out in Arizona, in the same town as which first spirits and then mages had disappeared. The cabal destroyed the body, and then reported to Bailiff. They also called and informed Emory of the news. He didn't take it especially well.

Next time: Further investigation into Aaron Murphy. And does this relate to Helen and her cabal's mysterious death?
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