Matt (innocent_man) wrote in mageawakening,

Murder in the Pines Update

Last time, the cabal found Whim's body and wound up getting hit by a car and slashed by a spirit while taking down Quentin Ester, the Banisher. After all that, they went to sleep.

Asmodeus and Falstaff, not injured, decided to do some research. They both looked into Aaron Murphy, but neither found anything of substance. Falstaff called one of his former co-workers in Page, AZ, and asked him to look up the name.

In the morning, Asmodeus dug into his library. He wanted a way to scry someone that couldn't normally be scryed, and found a ritual that supposedly allowed opening a gateway to the Supernal Realms and summoning down a Demon (in his case, Pandemonium and all). Meantime, Falstaff got a call from Page. The reporter told him that Aaron Murphy had been named as an alibi by a man accused of kidnapping and murder, as had three other men. Murphy had never been found, but the other three had corroborated the guy's alibi. They were William Hagle, Steven Janke, and Quentin Ester.

But still no data on Murphy himself. The cabal decided to dig into the house in Kentucky where Helen's cabal had died. They looked into house fires around that time, and researched until the found the address - and to their shock, it was the same house that they'd faced a crazed werewolf nearly a year ago.

They got in their car and headed out there. The house had been boarded up, and they quickly discovered a Shield of Chronos preventing postcognition. Fin, now the only member of the cabal with Time magic, tried to look back to the fire, but just saw fire and chaos and felt his magic disrupted. About then, the cops showed up and told them to move along. They headed back to the highway and got a room at a motel.

Asmodeus opened a portal into the basement of the house, but walking in, there was black mold everywhere. It quickly became apparent that this was no ordinary black mold - when it dropped on them, it started eating away their flesh. Falstaff cured them and then destroyed it, and Fin remembered hearing about this stuff. Toxicum Mold, it was called, and it apparently shows up when death is accompanied by magic (as well as in Philadelphia). They reckoned it was because a werewolf had eaten two old people down here once.

They went upstairs and scanned around, but it was pretty barren. Fin analyzed the spell on the place, and realized that there was Fate woven into it, that would disrupt any Time magic designed to look at the night of the fire. Falstaff looked out the window into the spirit world, and saw the scarecrow, the "Death of Growing Things" spirit, sleeping. He went to talk to it, roused it, and asked about happenings here, but the spirit wasn't able to tell him much, other than that the murder-spirit liked to come back here sometimes.

At this point, Bolg got a called from Bailiff. Helen had contacted him about the cabal's investigation, and he warned them that if she asked him to get involved on an official level, he'd have to. That would mean revealing that Helen was no longer officially Hierarch, and he didn't want to be put in that position. The characters retreated to through the portal to the hotel, and Fin cast an extended spell to pierce the time-shield (the others performed oblations to get Mana back). They returned through the portal, and Fin looked back.

He saw fire and chaos, and saw mages stumbling from the house, collapsing, dying. He saw one try to contain the fire with magic, but it failed. Then he saw Helen walk around the corner supporting one of her cabal-mates. The woman whispered something to her, and died. Helen stood up, turned around helplessly, and saw something that made her gasp in fear. She teleported away. Fin changed angles to see what she'd seen, and saw deep, heavy boot-prints leading away, apparently from someone who was limping. He also saw a small pine-sapling.

With this information, they went back to the hotel room and started planning their next move. A knock at the door revealed Balder, the Consilium Herald and Helen's son. He told them that Helen wanted to see them right away, and left. They realized that Helen apparently trusted them, else why send her son on this errand?

They headed to her house and sat down with her. She asked why they were investigating the Guiding Hands, and they told her that it apparently had something to do with Whim's death. She told them what she knew - she and her cabal had tracked a creature there, one that seemed human but shrugged off bullets, blades and magic, and just wanted to kill. They burned the place, but Luz, the Obrimos who had died in her arms, had apparently called down a Paradox that had doomed the cabal. The creature had limped away, and Helen, injured and traumatized, hadn't been able to follow it. But she didn't remember seeing the sapling.

She'd had Balder put up the time-shield so that Silas (former Hierarch - here, a refresher) couldn't comb the event looking for dirt. The cabal excused itself and talked things over, and then told Helen the truth about what they'd learned. Red Jester - whom she knew as Sam Deland - was alive and well and living in Chicago. She was distraught that she'd missed that, and wondered why he'd never contacted her. She told them that she'd have to report it to the Consilium, and she'd have to step down as Hierarch, at least for a while. Before she did, though, she invested in them special powers of investigation, powers that enabled them to keep looking into this and couldn't be revoked. The cabal then left for the evening.

They got another night's sleep, and the next day (9/10/05) Asmodeus decided to summon a Demon from Pandemonium. He built up the spell so that he wouldn't attract Abyssal attention, and managed to call up a Demon Bull. It demanded to know who summoned it, and wound up punching him in the face several times before he finally answered with enough confidence (Falstaff healed him up, otherwise he would have dropped). The Bull scryed Aaron Murphy, chuckling at the name but refusing to explain. "Don't want to spoil the joke."

They saw him, and Asmodeus dismissed the Demon. He then scryed for Murphy, but Murphy noticed and turned toward the scrying window. He pulled a gun from his coat and cocked it. "See this?" He nodded toward the wall of the nearby strip club. "Teflon-coated bullets. They'll go right through that wall. You're closing that window in 3...2...". Asmodeus closed it.

So now they know Murphy's in Cincy...but he knows they know. Next game in a month.
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