Welcome back! This is the fourth (and last) session in the first story of Eyes Open. Here, after having the story plodding along we solve the murder of Holly Marsh. It’s quite slow to begin with, but then the plot bomb is released and something I had not planned for occurs. More details later…
As a note, one of the reasons Dace is absent from the story in the beginning was the player was late, so we quickly write him into the background and continue! Back to the action…
Whilst Da Vinci starts working immediately on the ritual, and the other leave him. In the morning, Dace’s plan of contacting the Mysterium is foiled by a phone call. He disappears off, saying he just needs to pick someone up from the East Midlands Airport. Pinion, as curious as he is about the Orb really needs to show Sextant around and pay Quark back – so drives over to the Irregulars’ Sanctum. The Sanctum is a renovated factory/workhouse from the 1800’s that Nottingham has scattered about; the inside is a clear, white, glas and concrete ‘pad’ – Venkman fits in inside, Quark most decidely does not. Pinion walks past a surly newcomer outside and inside greetsVenkman, who is playing some sort of video game.
Behind the massive living space is the kitchen (some more open planning) is Quark making coffee and Sextant. A third mug appears and the two old men gesture for Pinion to sit down and join them for some morning coffee. The conversation meanders to a discussion of mentor and students, as well as some questions about Sextants Legacy, which Pinion is somewhat curious about. Quark suggests handing over Teaching responsibility to Sextant for a while as a taster for Pinion. Agreeing to this, Sextant asks to be taken to Tollaton – the Mysterium’s Sanctum and the location for the Athanaeum. The two get in the car, and drive off from the Sanctum.
Meanwhile Gwydion drives over, early, to Project Indigo’s room in the basement of the Police Department in Nottingham City Centre. In this meeting with the gruff, no nonsense head of the Project stating that cases like these, wierd ones, prop up all the time and are dumped into Project Indigo. As of now, the findings of this case are given to him, with Gwydion answering to him. As Gwydion nods, he is also informed the jounralist, Jenny, might want to interview him, being a new successful detective on the scene. With this, Gwydion leaves to Kirk’s office eager to actually doing some detecting.
On the drive to Tollaton, Sextant explains that to Pinion the mysterium cabal, the Read Tome have their Sanctum in Tollaton Hall (Sophia is quite rich, he ellaborates), with the underground tunnels (built in in the 16th century) actually house the Athaneum. “So, no magic above ground – it’s a National Heritage sight above ground apart from the private rooms”, he adds as they get out of the car. Once inside the stately home Sextant hurries to a room off the main galleries casts something onto the wall and with that the nearby cabinet moves to the left, showing a well lit staircase leading down. “After you”, he adds grinning.
As Pinion descends, Gwydion get the estate on campus to let him into Kirks office. After using some casting to get through the locked door he finds himself in a tip of an office, with papaers scattered everywhere, as well in towering piles precariously balanced on desks and chairs. There is one corner however with some order, a wall with various papers and notes stuck onto it and other symbols drawn onto the mystical collage. Gwydion, not making any sense of the order, activates a Mage Sight to get a better look at the thing, and is immediately hit by the… beauty of it, the sublime simplicity of it’s truth. The truth is that the Orb is a brilliant shard of Supernal truth, with it, he could… do anythingin his hearts desire. Mind aflame, he routes around the room, coming up with a small note with an address in Lenton. Filled with purpose he hurries out.
Oh dear, it seems Gwydion has contract some kind of madness from the scribblings. Stare into the Abyss an all… Mechanically he has a tempory derangement – a fixation on finding the Orb. From now on the party have to deal with Gwydion genuinely a bit… unhinged.
As a restrospective note, they seemed to enjoy it – with it being a nice roleplay and learning curve. How this escaltes, I’ll let that keep for a while
Pinion finds himself in a smart, marbled lobby with a reception desk. One smarty dress staff member walks over greets Sextant and asks for them to, “wait for the Curator” as well as to deactivate any spells they have on. At Pinion’s look, Sextant mutters something about exciting the exibits.
After a moment an old, balding man in tweed walks in, peering down his hawk nose through hornrimmed glasses. He wouldn’t look out of place in a University School, ignoring the billowing grey robes with High Runes in them of course. Sextant explains their business, and Pinion adds that he would be grateful if he could look into something of his own while he waited.
A much surprised Seneca mentions there’s no harm as he directs Sextant to where Carter is. Pinion explains the working description of the Orb and Seneca shows him to an area of interest, piled away in the small rooms of shelves and cabinets of.. other things behind the frosted glass. He finds not a lot, much of the same confirmation as before, it is probably is an Artefact of some kind – the rough rune sketches that Da Vinci did seem to be quasi-Atlantean style runes. Fustrated, with not much Pinion moves over to Sextant’s area, passing through a study area with Lilith reading one massive Tome – uncharacteristically she seems utterly engrossed.
Pinion eventually finds the small room Seneca, Sextant and Carter is in, which is a small room with a large table, projector in the back and a black board on one wall. On the large desk is a collection of maps of various magnifications around the Persian area. Sat in the corner talking to the Silver Ladder and Curator is a battered middle aged man in good health with unkempt stubble – he put in mind of a certain pulp action hero. Suddenly getting an idea, Pinion asks Carter whether he recognised any of the symbols on his sketch Orb, but sadly the sketch isn’t great with the symbols guessed at by Da Vinci. Disappointed, Pinion offers to drive back Sextant when he’s free to which Sextant good naturedly says there’ll be no need, he’ll teleport once finished. Sighing, Pinion leaves with the distinct feeling teachers quite like having students to inconvient.
As a note, this arose not because I want Sextant to be a dick, but more that I forgot he could teleport as per his Attainments, which was clever. So hence a characterful sequence arising from incompetance xD
On the way back Pinion gets a hurried call from Gwyidion blabbering on about a lead and an address, Pinion attempts to calm the manic Arrow down, with a margin of success – Gwydion won’t enter the address without the others. On the way to the Sanctum, bemused by Gwydion’s erractic behaviour, gets a text from Dace saying he’ll meet the Cabal at the Sanctum, he’s now got an ‘associate’ to introduce.
At the Sanctum, Da Vinci get’s grabbed by Pinion and they drive to the address. The house is a, by the looks of it, empty house in the castle end of Nottingham. Outside is a visibly impatient Gwydion, and as the trio work out what to do (and wait for a redirected Dace) – Gwydion finally loses patience and starts toward the house to check it out. It’s at this point that Dace starts to arise, with a well dressed, built companion with a kit bag, as well as Gwydions’s phone starts to ring…
And now for the cringing moment I had planned since I received Da Vinci’s backstory…
It’s Bouda, she tells them that a highly ranked Seer, an Undersecretary, has been spotted in the Nottingham area. She gives them a quick description, telling them to stay the fuck away from this ‘guy’. As she details the danger of the Undersecretary, with a sinking feeling Da Vinci realises why the description is so familiar. It matches his father – speaking as much.
There is a very, awkward pause.
Seriously, OOC as well – I didn’t actually expect Da Vinci’s player to actually get him to admit him. Guess I’m too used to secrets and lies…
There’s a sigh on the other end, then Bouda officially declares Da Vinci under ‘interest of the office of the Warden’ and calls for Da Vinci to await arrest and then hangs up. As the Cabal try to patch over the sudden change in events, Gwydion starts to go inside, moving inside the house.
The fornt door opens to a corridor with a door to the right, the corridor leading to what looks like a dining/kitchen area and some stairs in the corridor leading upwards. The place looks dusty, and not very lived in – with peeling wallpaper and bare floor boards.
As he starts towards the door on the right the remains of a ceramic mug flies down the corridor and bounces off Gwydions Forces Armour. As he watchs the mug shatter the walls begin to bleed viscous red, spelling out the message:
Almost blinded by this metaphysical hunger for the Orb, Gwydion pushes open the right-wards door and finds a bare living room (presumably), which has in the middle a strange salt circle, with three foci, two of which are occupied by dead bodies of a man and woman. They don’t look impovished, and have had their throats cut – they have (by the smell) been dead for some time.
As Gwydion steps up from the body (there’s no Orb in sight) there is an onimous wailing from upstairs…
Outside, the sound of something hitting the door of the property snaps the four outside (including the hhulking man, who’s called Rudy) out of their panicking about Da Vinci, who seems quite calm about the whole thing, then they get to the front door – only to find the thing won’t budge. Trying to force it open, Rudy moves forward and kicks the door down pulling something out of his kit bag.
Inside the house, they see that Gwydion is being attacked by manisfested ghosts, who are screeching something terrible. As Da Vinci, Pinion, Dace and Rudy fight off the ghosts (Rudy using a ‘small’ shotgun) Gwydion continues to try to ransack the house. He is having a tough time of it, with the Cabal additionally having to slow him down with magic before he destroys something in his frenzied search. As Pinion races downstairs for the salt in the circle the final ghost is decorporated. The bodies of the ghost (for they are) are burnt to remove the anchor, but Da Vinci (with some Death magic) is certain that they have another anchor somewhere to the north.
With the ghosts removed, and the evidence of the ritual being scoured, the Cabal move to the master bedroom where an excited Gwydion is barely stopped from almost tornado-ing his way into a desk covered in papers and a corkboard above it similarly adorned with documents. A quick search reveals that the two bodies were Sleeper associates of Kirk’s research – discarded as soon as Kirk was able to work the Orb. In one of the drawers, which Rudy helpfully ‘opens’ are deeds to a small building/brick warehouse off Canning Circus to the north. With the next step in sight the group try to calm down Gwydion. Dace tries to use Mage Sight to see if anything is affecting Gwydion’s mind – and touchs something, recoiling. But not fast enough, as a new ‘understanding’ seetles onto his mind – Dace realises that the Orb could be used for… Anything.
Oh yes, it spreads!
Walking out with two of the Cabal giving each other suspicious sideways glances, they are met by an additional car outside. Bouda, both Sentinels (a smugSilence and an impassive Galeas) as well as, ominously, Mare – the Intefector. With a, slightly strained, nod – Da Vinci is escorted into the Car and driven off into the night.
He is given a blindfold and told to remain silent.
The way this session turned out, Da Vinci’s player only played for about a third of it – annoyingly. In the game the following sequence was interspersed with bits of Da Vinci. However for the sake of an interesting narration (I hope) I will ommit them and add them as an intermission between Story One (Eyes Open) and Story Two (How To Be Dead).
After watching the car disappear around a corner the remaining tetrad quickly get into Pinion’s car and to Canning Circus they drive. They arrive at a dilapidated building, with a chain and sign proclaiming a “Dangerous Structure”. However neither sign nor chain provide much trouble for three angry mages and a Rudy.
The inside of the warehouse is a long retangle area, with a side office to the far right of the street entrance. In the middle, on a table is the Orb – gleaning in the moonlight from a gap in the corrogated iron roof. At this point both Gwydion and Dace disregard any subtlety and peg it for the Orb with Gwydion just getting there before Dace and triumphantly he holds it aloft!
But in the moonlight suddenly both of them ‘sober up’, wondering what the fuck possessed them to just sprint into dangerous, unknown territory. Also, in the light this ‘Orb’ clearly isn’t – being made of plastic. In fact the real Orb was hidden behind a pile of debris, gleaming gold in the rock. It’s this point where Kirk opens the far door to the warehouse, crackling with entropic power.
As Kirk stares at Gwydion and Dace holding the Fake!Orb, then at the Real!Orb – Pinion quietly congratulates himself on some quick thinking.
_In reality, Pinion cast some spells that makes the real Orb look fake (the Fake!Orb) and a discarded stone look like the real orb (Real!Orb). Everyone fails their resisitnace rolls and everyone but Pinion falls for it hook line and sinker… Effectively nerfing this fight to ‘just’ capturing Kirk – which the group intends.
Kirk starts to scream about the “Architects of History”, who he plainly beleieves the Cabal are, and their “conspiracy” and tries to cast a powerful Death practice. However, it fails and lets the group get there bearings and start retreating and coming up with a plan. Seeing an ‘opening’ Kirk rushes to the Real!Orb and starts to throw Death Unravelling Practises at the group – which are Dispelled by a lucid Gwydion, trying to contain Kirk as much as possible.
It’s getting harder, thanks to just over half a dozen ghosts manifesting around the Orb attacking, with not much luck, the rest of the Cabal – even Rudy, who procedes to start shooting these new threats. Eager to experiment, Pinion starts chucking salt at the larger of the ghosts, which proceeds to really rip through their corpi. Against the larger and more.. Chthonic ghosts, he quickly builds a warding circle of salt.
Meanwhile, Kirk is hit by a sympathic spell, and a powerful one at that and it rips through his pattern, as well as dispelling his entopic armour; enraged he charges Dace in fury. Dace tries to defend himself but in horrendous irony, Kirk falls onto Dace’s knife – and kills him stone dead. Shaking, (he hasn’t exactly killed a lot) Dace tells himself he didn’t mean it to happen.
With Kriks death, the ghost dematerialise and Pinion ends the illusionary spell he cast. Standing over the body, Pinion takes charge and phones the highest ranking person on his phone – the Councillor for the Seat of Pandemonium – Quark.
Quark quickly portals to the location and stares at the Orb, the body and to the group (minus a Da Vinci – who he seems to have heard about, and is clearly annoyed with) – and simply asks for an explanation. Gwydion starts, and starts to lay out the bare bones – but is quickly told to “shut up” by Pinion. Pinion tell Gwydion he has been acting under the influence of ‘something’ all day, has been reckless and is time to be quiet and do nothing. Turning from a shouted down Gwydion, Pinion quickly fills Quark in on the details, as well as the Orb.
Whilst this is occuring, Dace searches the rest of the the building, and moves into the small office to side and finds a body (not corpse, thanks to a Knowing Life spell) ‘shackled’ to the wall, shackled by a molded wall – beaten and tortured. Dace calls the other over, trying to check up on the male – a middle aged and arabic looking mage. Quark starts slightly seeing the mans face.
“That’s… That’s ”/campaigns/eyes-open/characters/john-dee" class=“wiki-content-link”>Dee.
And that’s Story One done, phew. Next time; another torture scene, but this is with Da Vici, so it’s fine, someone dies – as well as a Duel Arcane as Gwydion continues to put his foot in it!