Matt (innocent_man) wrote in mageawakening,

Mage: Murder in the Pines, Part III

So yesterday I ran the third installment in this Mage game. Here's what happened:

The characters had done some preparation over the downtime (but mostly they did some healing). After they'd put themselves together again, Falstaff and Midnight drove back out to Kentucky to do a little digging into the Buckleys' past. Shabiri, meanwhile, purchased a goodly amount of silver and ground it down to shot, and bought several shotguns of relatively low quality.

In Kentucky, the two mages learned that the Lisa Buckley, the Buckley brother's mother, died when the boys were young. Officially, she died in a car wreck, but it took them several hours of research to find the location. They trekked out there and looked around, but lacking the mage with, y'know, Time magic they couldn't get a good sense of what had happened; too many years had past. They were about to leave when Falstaff sensed a flutter of activity from Twilight, as though the spirits were spooked. Then the werewolf attacked.

It bit Midnight pretty badly, but they managed to trick it into smashing up their car for a few turns while he used his newly learned Psychic Assault rote a few times. It got a bite in on Falstaff, too, and then ran off.

Returning to Cincy, the mages healed as best they could and discussed their options. Midnight used Space magic to scry the werewolf and saw it in human form, driving north towards the city. Now worried, the mages dug in - Hades raised some zombies, the others loaded up their shotguns and renewed their armor spells. Midnight kept watched occasionally via Scrying, but found that the werewolf left the car and trotted off in wolf form while Damon Jr., his brother, kept driving toward the mages' sanctum.

Before he arrived, Shabiri got a call from Jones, a security guard at the warehouse that holds the Collection. Jones was dying, after being attacked by "a wolf." Shabiri, now furious, had Midnight keep watch on Damon Jr., and managed to draw a bead on him as he circled the house. In a moment of bloodlust (not wholly unexpected, but much more fierce than Shabiri had ever felt before), he shot Damon twice with his huge elephant gun and three time with the pistol. Midnight used Mind magic to calm him down, at which point Shabiri was confronted by what he'd done (but made his degeneration roll, so didn't lose Wisdom - justifiable homicide, he felt).

The police came out, but by that time Hades had used Matter to change the spilled blood to water and had the zombies take the body away. Shabiri told the cops that he'd been drinking and had fired his gun in the air, which they bought after they made the call to the warehouse and found that, yes, his friend had just been killed. After the cops left, Midnight scried again and found the werewolf sniffing around a house outside of the city, in a rural area (yes, werewolves are quick little things when they want to be). He saw an old couple sitting on a couch inside, and saw the address before the scrying window closed. Terragon looked up the place (an orchard and pumpkin farm) and called them, but didn't have a chance to do much more than ascertain that they were closed for the season before the man told her that someone had knocked on the door. The line went quiet...and then the werewolf picked up.

He told Terragon that he had seen her public access show, which kinda put the fear of god into her, since the mages hadn't assumed that the werewolf and his brothers knew anything about them. They bantered a bit, the werewolf told her that he liked her show and might actually cook her before he ate her. She asked how his brother was. He responded that he had already buried him (remember, they killed the youngest Buckley during the last session). She said, "No, I meant the other one." He hung up.

Hades called him back and tried to bargain, pretending that Damon Jr. was still alive, but the werewolf (whose named is Neil, BTW) simply said that if Damon was dead, he was in no more danger. The mages realized that this guy wasn't going to play ball, and decided to drive out there and confront him. With silver-loaded shotguns, of course.

On the way, Midnight scryed and saw Neil in the basement, eating the farmer's leg. His wife was on the floor, tied up but still alive and awake. Arriving, they found a barn with a bunch of dead animals (throats torn out), and a pumpkin patch with a weird-looking scarecrow (see cover of Antagonists but, of course, no real pumpkins, it being late November. They piled out and started looking around. Hades used Shape Water to sculpt a can of gasoline into a humanoid figure and had animated Damon Jr.'s body, so they had some weird backup. Midnight tried to scry and find Neil, but couldn't seem to locate him.

Shabiri managed to seperate himself from the group, and Neil appeared behind him and slashed him up, knocking his gun away. One of the others took a shot, and he vanished. The characters approached the pumpkin patch and Falstaff looked into Twilight, and saw a bunch of little pumpkin-creature spirits. They approached him, exhaled frost and he felt his fingers blister from the cold. Hades just sent the gasoline construct over, had it spread itself over the patch, and burned it. So much for the pumpkin spirits (and good thinking on Hades' part; those spirits weren't terribly powerful, but had a definite home-field advantage and don't like people).

Neil appeared again behind Midnight when he wandered off alone for a second, but didn't get a solid hit in before the others found him. He vanished again, but this time the characters were watching and figured out where he went - the Shadow. They went into the barn (except Bolg, who climbed to the top), and looked around to find him. Falstaff and Shabiri saw him in the Shadow, and as they watched a spirit appeared, walked across the ground (covering it with frost as he did), and spoke to Neil. The mages didn't catch the first thing he said, as it was in spirit tongue, but did hear the word "Uratha" (see last session) before Falstaff cast Spirit Tongue. The spirit told the werewolf that the mages (it didn't use that word) were going to kill him, and called him "Thihirtha Numea" and "Zi'ir", neither of which were terms that Falstaff understood. It called itself Endusu, which Falstaff translated as "Winter" or, more poetically, "the Death of Growing Things."

Neil turned to the barn and stepped out of the Shadow, but did so right in front of his brother's walking corpse (which he hadn't seen yet, just due to positioning). He staggered back and Bolg took his shot - followed by Shabiri, Hades, Terragon, and anyone else with a good initiative. That's all it took.

The mages called the police and tried to help the old lady, but she was in pretty bad shock (plus, y'know, Lunacy). They left most of the carnage there, after Hades changed the mage's blood that had been spilled into water, and they went home.

They've contacted the Adamantine Arrow to look into the Buckley's property and maybe do something about the spirit, but the question remains: Why did Shabiri feel that sudden burst of bloodlust? Did the spirit reach out from the pine forest, through Damon? Did he carry it with him? And if so, where is it now?

Those are questions that the chronicle may answer eventually. Next story, though, I think will concern either the Collection or Midnight's missing uncle.
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