The Case of Minnie Turner

Chapter Eleven - TBD
TBD

Chapter Eleven – TBD

Summary

tl;dr…

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Chapter Ten - Reunions and Shootouts
Enemies Become Friends and Vice Versa

Chapter Ten – Reunions and Shootouts

Summary

tl;dr…

Nighteen returns to her library in Harpers Crossing. It’s closed and should be empty, but her mother, Darya Park, is impatiently waiting for her. Night’s familiar cat is watching her mother haughtily. After a strained greeting, her mother says that she’s heard Night is involved in the investigation into Minnie Turner and demands that she stay out of it. She says that Night is strong, but that she’s wasted her talents on “academic” focuses, like her father, and is not equipped for this kind of situation. She says that the Wicce will take it from here, just like they took care of it 20 years ago. Night agrees to go to her father’s house “where she’ll be safe”, but first Night pushes her mother’s buttons a bit and says the name Kourach to see how she’ll react. Her mother clearly recognizes the name. Then Night tells her that she knows she used to be friends with Kevin Meadows, Her mother leaves. Night asks her familiar what he thinks and he says that her mother is unsure how to deal with her.

In the woods nearby, moments after Edwin drives away from Brian and “Agent Johnson”, another figure approaches (Morgan Fredericks, the CSI agent Edwin encountered outside his workshop the first days after Minnie’s disappearance). It’s clear that Morgan is in charge and Agent Johnson defers to him. Morgan asks Brian if he read Edwin. When Brian replies that he isn’t behind Minnie’s attack, Morgan launches into a speech about how awful the secret socierty of magic is and Brian retorts that it’s clear that he misjudged the Combine and they’re an evil secret organization, too. After a moment’s shock, Brian’s Sight gives him warning that Agent Johnson is about to shoot him and Morgan is going to pull something out of his pocket and show it to him. Brian acts first and runs, jumping behind a barrel for cover from the bullets he knows are coming.

Edwin hears the gunshots and turns around, drawing Essence so he’ll be ready. He roars his car in front of Brian and immediately casts a spell to turn them invisible. It fails. (It should have been easy but he rolled terribly.) Brian, feeling suicidal, knocks the paper Morgan pulled from his pocket onto the ground and runs out and grabs it off the ground while being shot at. He’s hit in the leg (it will hurt like a bitch later, but adrenal is still coursing). He gets back behind the car as dozens of other police officers and FBI agents arrive. Edwin has gathered enough Essence to cast invisibility again… and fails again (seriously, 1-in-100 odds here)

Brian, still seeing a few second into the future, sees that Edwin can use the paper to stop the gunfire, so he hands it to Edwin.

Edwin recognizes it as a Seal of Solomon (which only one of the Knights Templar shold have, certainly not a Combine agent). He recognizes that it has a Seraphim trapped within it and he unleashes it and tells it to kill their attackers.

Brian begins to see just how bad the carnage will be, unspooling mere moments ahead of the reality, but it’s too late now.

There are screams as the angel tears them apart.

Edwin commands it to kill them all. No survivors. They are agents of the Combine and compromised.

It takes less than 2 minutes before there is not a single survivor in the task force headquarters. Dozens of FBI, law enforcement, civilian specialists, secretaries, and the like are dead. A numb Brian and a determined Edwin pick through the bodies, destroying any cameras or other recording devices that may have recorded evidence of the seraphim’s attack.

Lina is now back in New Hope. She calls her mentor Gabriel Silva and fills him in. He takes her to the New Hope Spiritual Guidance Center, telling her that she’s in danger and to stay there. After Gabriel leaves, Lina’s cell phone rings. She doesn’t recognize the number. She answers and it’s her father who she hasn’t spoken to in years. He father who abandoned her as an infant because seeing her was “too hard” after the death of his wife (Lina’s mother) Linda Harper. Her father sounds terrified and says that a woman has a gun to his head and if she doesn’t come then she’ll shoot him. The woman identifies herself as Miya Hartman, Dr. Stevens’ lawyer she met earlier. She says that Dr. Stevens wants to talk to her. Lina says she’ll come and hangs up. She calls Gabriel and asks for help.

Meanwhile, Violet decides to act on Arianna’s warning to take care of Dr. Stevens first. She goes to the Cranston County Hospital to try to pick up his trail. There is a cultist from the Cult of Life Eternal in the burnt basement.. Violet, invisible as a ghost, knocks over a picture of Dr. Stevens’ daughter, Amelia. She methodically does a number of other clearly ghostly actions until the cultist is convinced that Amelia’s ghost is there trying to get his attention. He calls Dr. Stevens excitedly to explain. Dr. Stevens is busy (waiting for Lina to come rescue her father), but news of his daughter’s presence draws him out. Everything he’s done has been out of a sick desire to get her back and this is the first indication of “success” reaching her.

Violet contacts Lina and tells her to get to the hospital. Lina is torn, but when Violet says Dr. Stevens is coming to the hospital, that decides her. Lina’s powers as a necromancer have grown dramatically in the last few days and she tells Violet her plan.

Dr. Stephens arrives at the hospital first and excitedly talks to his “daughter.” Violet doesn’t respond directly, but continues the masquerade, including drawing on things she knew from knowing Dr. Stevens for 20 years and the things he had shared about his daughter in confidence. She’s stalling until Lina arrives.

And then Lina does. Lina calls Violet to her, voluntarily opening herself to possession. With her new abilities, she draws on Violet’s strength and skills and with superhuman strength tears the door off its hinge and rushes with it into the room. She charges Dr. Stevens with the door. Dr. Stevens tries to jump out of the way, but Lina swings the door to the side and hits him across the chest.

She is far stronger than she anticipated, though, the slams Dr, Stevens into the wall with the edge of the door, crushing his chest and nearly cutting him in half. Dr. Stevens should have died almost instantly, but Lina also has the ability now to hold death at bay for a few minutes.

She interrogates Dr. Stevens who, in a ghastly voice, explains how he told the pathetic coven of wannabe dark magicians about Kevin Meadows’ murder ritual to summon Kourach. He learned about the ritual from Arianna.

He didn’t want Kourach to be summoned all the way. He had planned to stop the murder coven himself, but he’d been interrupted by the group burning his workshop and forcing them into hiding. He had wanted to half-summon Kourach and trap it. Kourach was the defier of death. In its presence, there was no death. He would have brought his daughter back. And he and his followers would have been immortal. Think of it, to defeat death! But they had ruined everything.

Gabriel and others arrived. They captured the surviving cultist. Others had gone ahead to find Lina’s father, but they hadn’t heard form them yet.

Violet separated from Lina. With the rush of adrenaline and possession/merging gone, Lina vomited violently, horrified by what she had done. Gabriel comforted her as best he could.

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Chapter Nine - Gathering Allies
Allies are Needed to Stop the Murder Coven and Kourach

Chapter Nine – Gathering Allies

Summary

tl;dr…

((This was a short session)_

Edwin wants to find out the status of the investigation for the Murder Coven so he drives to the repurposed campground in the forest near Harpers Crossing where the FBI and multiple other law enforcement agencies are coordinating. He finds the camper where Brian and Agent Johnson are working. Edwin and Brian have a tense greeting. They decide to magically and psychically read each other, both signalling their agreement. There’s a tense exchange and they realize that they’ve come to be on opposite sides but are still allies for the time being. Agent Johnson agrees to keep Edwin in the loop and Edwin gets in his car to drive off.

Violet finds Arianna Moncada, the Thanatoi Paladin and explains the situation to her. Arianna looks troubled. She agrees to talk to the other Thanatoi and seek allies. She tells Violet, though, that the Thanatoi are a loose alliance of equals and she cannot demand anyone help. Arianna adds that it’s critical that she find and stop Dr. Stevens. He and his Cult of Life Eternal will try to stop her and if she doesn’t deal with them, they’ll be in the Catacombs to try to stop them from stopping Kourach.

Lina has never been there but knows that the Twilight Order maintains a headquarters in the Necropolis (on the top floor of the reflection of the Empire State Building), so she heads there. Along the way she is first stalked by and then confronted by ghost children (the same who betrayed Violet, though Lina doesn’t know that). They say they are supposed to take Lina captive, so she pushes them back with her necromancy abilities and runs. She escapes. They try to follow her, but when she crosses into another gang’s turf, they reluctantly retreat. She goes to the Twilight Order headquarters and an old lady listens to her story and assures her that they’ll take care of it. Then she tells Lina that she’s done enough and should go home and leave this to those qualified to deal with it. They send her through a portal that lands her back in New Hope.

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Chapter Eight - A Destiny Revealed
The Reason Behind the Murders Revealed

Chapter Eight – A Destiny Revealed

Summary

tl;dr…

After the excitement in the house, the group separates again. Edwin and Nighteen went back to Harpers Crossing. (They weren’t here this session.)

Brian and Agent Johnson’s work closely together on the search to find the murder coven that had attacked Minnie and still has Hazel. Brian asks Agent Johnson why he’s afraid of Edwin and uses a combination of psychic abilities and intimidation to push him to an honest answer. Johnson answers that Edwin has hurt and killed people and is part of a secret magical world that manipulates and uses others. He tells Brian that he is part of a secret organization called the Combine that fights back against magic to keep the world safe from would-be tyrants and magical terrorists. Brian asks if he can join. Johnson asks if he’s willing to do terrible things for the greater good and Brian agrees.

Meanwhile, Violet and Lina went to the Death Realms. Violet asked her ghost cat, Isis to lead them to Grandmother. Now that Violet knows how she died, it’s time to find her again. They find the tall, inhuman spirit in some ruins in the Wilderness. She tells them that Kevin Meadows was committing the murders 20 years ago to summon Kourach, one of the Mad Gods, into the world. He was one victim away when Violet’s murder was interrupted. She is still hooked by Kourach, but not claimed, thanks to her cat, Isis, who is special. Then the coven that attacked Minnie botched things, leaving Minnie also not fully claimed (since she isn’t dead). But if they succeed in sacrificing Hazel, then Kourach will be released.

Violet’s fate is tied to Minnie and Hazel. If Kourach is summoned, then Violet will be sucked into it and destroyed. Two things must happen to stop Kourach from being summoned. First, the coven must be prevented from sacrificing Hazel (or anyone else). But that’s not enough. Kourach is already partially manifested in the Catacombs. Violet and Lina must go to the Catacombs after the coven is stopped, but not long after, in order to confront the partial form of Kourach and banish it. This is dangerous. Grandmother also warns Lina that the previous victims (including her mother) will be there and that she must not try to save them. It is to important to stop Kourach.

Violet and Lina decide they need as many allies as they can get an they head to the Necropolis.

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Chapter Seven - The Murder House
Alliance with the FBI and Rescuing Violet

Chapter Seven – The Murder House

Summary

tl;dr…

Edwin’s drove back to Harpers Crossing. His workshop was vandalized by someone who wanted him to know they knew he was a Templar. Edwin cast a communion spell with the area and he saw the same strange stripping of magic that Night noticed earlier. He also saw that the sheriff was under some magical influence and cleansed him. Then Edwin burns down his workshop. When the townspeople gathered, Edwin harvested the Essence from their fear and worry to cast a spell to make the entire town more hostile and paranoid towards outsiders. Night was also there. Edwin sensed the taint from the paper from the sheriff that she touched and together they cleansed her.

Brian was pulled out of his cell after several hours and interrogated by a disturbing FBI agent who introduced himself only as “Special Agent Johnson”. Agent Johnson knew about Kourach and magic and was hunting down Brian MacRae (Brian McRae’s old nemesis). MacRae had been an informer for Agent Johnson, but then disappeared. Brian convinced Agent Johnson to let him help. He took Brian first to the crack house where Brian had read Hazel’s hat and first saw Kourach. Then he took him to the murder house. Brian was still in custody and on probation. Also, Agent Johnson knew about his ability and made it clear that any attempt to touch him would be met with extreme prejudice.

The ghost Lina had sent to find Violet, came back and told Lina where Violet was trapped. Lina texted Edwin and Night before heading to the house to observe and wait. The house is the ‘’murder house’’ where the last of the Cranston Coven died and where Minnie was attacked. It had a “For Sale” sign and felt haunted. People had died there recently, and badly.

Edwin and Night arrived at the murder house and joined Lina. Then Agent Johnson and Brian arrived. There was a tense moment while Edwin and the FBI agent jockeyed for control, but Edwin gained the upper hand.

The house was warded and Night disarmed the magical booby traps. Inside, the carpet had been pulled back to reveal the pentagram on the floor. There was recent blood. Brian touched the blood and had a vision of both Minnie and Hazel being held there. This was where Minnie was almost killed but escaped. Brian also saw the Murder Coven of seven magicians who held her and botched their ritual. He sketched them to show the others. He recognized Brian MacRae, plus the goth witch from his earlier vision who would kill a dozen cops with fire in the woods in the near future. He saw enough details to narrow down the general area in the woods.

Meanwhile, Lina examined the area and found where Violet was trapped, caught between worlds. She reached out and pulled a shaken Violet seemingly from thin air (to Agent Johnson’s shocked surprise).

List of clues and significant events:

  • Who broke into Edwin’s workshop?
    • What magic did they use to drop his wards?
    • How do they know he’s a Templar?
  • Who is Special Agent Johnson really and how is he involved?
  • Brian knows the general area where the Murder Coven will have their showdown with the police

Edwin Examines His Compromised Workshop

A Second Shot at Convincing the FBI

Lina is First to the Murder House

Harpers Crossing Under Siege

Gathering at the Murder House

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Chapter Six - Troubled Investigations
Half the group ends up in captivity

Chapter Six: Troubled Investigations

Summary

tl;dr…

Violet and her ghost cat Isis went to the tavern in the Death Realms. On the way, she enlisted a gang of ghost urchins to help her locate the house where Minnie was attacked. At the tavern she talked to the ghost of [[[Confederate soldier from Harpers Crossing who mentioned that Blue had gone missing and also that a stranger had used Edwin’s “key” to enter his sanctuary. She waited until the ghost urchins returned. One led her to the house, but it was a trap and she was trapped inside by magical wards.

Meanwhile, Night drove back to Harpers Crossing. The whole town felt strange. Her familiar met her in her library and confirmed that strange things had happened. They walked around town, where Night saw where a strange magic attack had broken Edwin’s wards. Sheriff John Brown was searching Edwin’s workshop and acted strange when he saw Night; he said he had a message for her. He was clammy and pale as he handed her a rolled slip of paper. Night drops the paper on the ground without reading it and called Edwin to fill him in. Then she went to her library to research. Her wrist was itching oddly. She called Edwin to fill him in.

Meanwhile, still outside the hospital, Brian found [[[Brett, a media contact and gave an exclusive interview designed to get the attention of the FBI. Then Brian approached a [[[police officer and asked to be taken to the station. On the way he had a vision of a showdown between cops and a group of dark sorcerers (including his nemesis Brian MacRae). At the station, Brian tried to convince the FBI that he had special knowledge and could help them, but he screwed up and wound up under arrest. He also made an enemy of Agent Elder after accidentally bringing up one of he traumatic memory.

Meanwhile, Lina slipped away and called her mentor Gabriel. He was relieved she was okay. They talked about the monstrosity she had seen in the hospital basement and what the cultist had said. Gabriel recognized the name Kourach as one of the Mad Gods and said the Twilight Order would investigate. Lina summoned a nearby ghost and asked her to find Violet. Then she texted Brian. The ghost found Violet trapped in the house and returned to tell Lina. Brian’s phone was in FBI custody when it goes off and the agents see the name “Lina Harper” on the caller ID.

List of clues and significant events:

  • Violet found the house where Minnie was attacked; it had wards to trap her
  • Some strange type of magic was used to attack Edwin’s wards
  • The old ghost Blue disappeared from Harpers Crossing
  • Brian is in FBI custody

Magic Circles in Harpers Crossing

Looking for Answers in the Death Realms

Courting the FBI

A Message for Night

Help from the Twilight Order

A Botched Appeal

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Chapter Five - The Cult of Life Eternal
Dark Discoveries Beneath the Hospital

Chapter Five: The Cult of Life Eternal

Summary

tl;dr…

Edwin drove towards Harpers Crossing because his wards were attacked. On the way, Night called him with an update and he turned around. Night was interviewed by a reporter, then questioned by the FBI. Lina slipped away and found a way into the basement to look for Brian. Violet went through the hospital, hiding from the Soul Eater. Edwin checked on Night at the police station, then went to the hospital. Brian found a recreation of Dr. Steven’s house in the basement (like a shrine to his daughter, Amelia). He also found a blood-spattered lab with another monster tied to a table. It was aware and begged Brian to free it. The old corpse of Amelia was there. A cultist appeared and Brian coaxed him into revealing that he was part of the Cult of Life Eternal, led by Dr. Stevens. They sought to conquer death with the help of the Neverborn (a Mad God). Surprisingly, the cultist knew nothing of Minnie or Hazel. Edwin arrived at the hospital and entered the hospital with his Key of War activated. Lina and Violet found Brian, the monster attacked everyone, and the cultist was killed. Lina attacked the monster with necromancy, but failed and thorny ghost tendrils tore into her arm. Edwin was confronted by the Soul Eater and defeated it with sword and Key. Violet had another vision and learned more about her death and her previous encounter with the woman in the Death Realms. They all left the basement and Brian told a reporter on live TV that he had video of the confessions of a murderous cult in Cranston.

List of clues and significant events:

  • Dr. Stevens is the head of the Cult of Life Eternal
  • The Cult of Eternal Life doesn’t seem to be behind abducting Minnie or Hazel
    • The last clue to that still points to the house in Brian’s earlier visions
    • There is some link (the white triangle imagery was all over Dr. Steven’s lab and also in the vision Brian had of Hazel)
  • The FBI agents seem to be sincere and exactly what they seem
  • The reporter, Kylee Betz, knows more than she should
  • Edwin is still waiting to hear more about what happened in Harpers Crossing

Back to Harpers Crossing

The Media Circus

A House and a Lab in the Hospital Basement

Interviewed by the FBI

The Cult of Life Eternal

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Chapter Four - Beneath the County Hospital
Monsters in the basement and burning down the house

Chapter Four: Beneath the County Hospital

Summary

tl;dr…

Edwin left suddenly to go back to “check on something” in Harpers Crossing without giving any more reason. Lina and Violet, with the help of Lina’s mentor Gabriel on the phone, woke the “watcher” named Sarah up with Essence. She led them to her body, which was in the morgue beneath the hospital. Night stayed in the waiting room to keep watch but a spell knocked her and everyone else in the waiting room asleep. Brian woke up and followed Lina and Violet into the basement. The basement had clear connections to Brian’s earlier vision. They went into the hospital morgue. The janitor confronted Brian while a tentacled monstrosity attacked Lina. Violet summoned fire, but it grew out of her control while she had a vision of her death, including Kevin Meadows being attacked by a Wicce coven before being able to finish her ritual murder. But her fire was insanely strong and set the hospital on fire. Brian was trapped in a dark room behind the fire. Lina saved Night and Minnie, but the other sleeping hospital employees and patients burned to death. Violet and Lina saw the Soul Eater in the flame and it said it had found Violet and she wouldn’t escape for long.

List of clues and significant events:

  • Sarah’s body was turned into a monstrosity and her spirit trapped as a “watcher”
  • Who “operated” on Sarah and others in the morgue under the hospital to create the watchers and tentacled monstrosities?
  • Someone or something put several people to sleep
  • Brian had a vision of the cop dying by a tentacled monster, but he was in the fire — was there another tentacled monster?
  • Who were the Wicce coven that attacked when Violet was being murdered?
  • What does the Soul Eater have to do with the ritual or the murders?
  • What is the immense power that the victims were given to (and that Violet and Minnie are still connected to somehow)

Waking Sarah

The “watcher” named Sarah faded back to her gray, featureless, vaguely animalistic form about 30 seconds after suddenly coming to life. Edwin, Violet, and Lina were still startled, but further attempts to capture her attention had no obvious effect. Edwin returned to his body and then he and Lina filled Night in on what had just happened since she hadn’t been able to see anything.

Lina in particular wanted to figure out what had happened and what Sarah was. To everyone’s surprise, Edwin said abruptly that he needed to head back to Harpers Crossing to take care of something. He was not forthcoming about why, beyond vague references to responsibilities and a gentle reminder that he was the mayor and it was a tumultuous time. Edwin had the only car and there was some discussion about leaving them stranded, but Night reassured them that she could have a car in no time. Edwin left, the automatic glass hospital doors closing behind him.

Violet went looking for the creepy janitor that had stared at the group a few minutes earlier. She found him walking with his mop and cart through a long hallway in an area of the hospital that was deserted during construction.

Like other places where death occurred regularly, the hospital was filled with a residue of death-flavored essence and the faint echoes of ghosts that had never been conscious or had long since faded to wisps. That was nothing unusual, but Violet was disturbed to notice that they seemed suppressed to stillness as the janitor passed, only to resume their flickering half-existence as soon as he passed.

The janitor set his mop and cart against a wall and pushed through a door into a service stairwell. To Violet’s eyes, the stairway was filled with an impenetrable inky blackness that swallowed him without a ripple. The stairway radiated malevolence. After a few moments, she went back to where the others were in the waiting room.

Shortly after Violet wandered off, Lina pulled out her phone and called her mentor, Gabriel. She explained about the gray “watchers” throughout Cranston and about the one who had become animated briefly and said her name was Sarah.

Together they speculated that it might have been the essence from Edwin’s Insight Invocation that had woken Sarah. Lina tried feeding a trickle of essence and Sarah half-woke up, but only for a brief moments.

Violet returned and saw what she was doing. She offered to feed Sarah significantly more essence. Sarah woke up all the way again, even more than the first time, and told them that she remembered being taken somewhere on a gurney. It was somewhere medical, with bright lights and masked figures, though the memory was hazy.

Sarah told them she could feel her body now and started drifting down a hallway. Violet and Lina followed her. Night stayed to keep an eye on Brian’s room.

Down the hallway, Sarah went straight to the stairwell that the janitor went through. Violet warned Lina not to go in, but Lina ignored her and went into the stairwell.

The Deep Sleep

Back in the waiting room, Night was killing time. It was dark outside and the only other people in the room were the nurse receptionist (Quan Li by the name on her badge) and Officer Parish down the hall about 20 feet outside of Minnie’s room.

Night felt a spell forming in the room. She had a Shield Invocation in place that should have protected her, but it collapsed under the spell.

Moments later, everyone in the area was deeply asleep.

Beneath the Hospital

(The next two paragraphs are a repeat of the same scene at the end of last session, but now in context.)

Brian awoke and rubbed his eyes. He stood up, unhooked sensors and pulled out his IV. Monitors began to beep, but he ignored them. He walked into the hall. It was almsot deserted, except for a few people who were sound asleep. Brian walked into Minnie’s room. The cop was still there, but was sleeping. Brian touched Minnie and got a clear flash of the last place she was before whatever happened to her occurred. She was in the center of a pentagram in a room. Beaded curtains hung in a doorway behind her. Wicce themed art and symbols covered the wall. It was the same room in the same house as he’d seen when he’d touched Maya. The same room where she’d stood over a dead woman and said sadly that was the last of them.

Brian couldn’t see them, but half a dozen of the not-quite-ghost watchers were in the room watching him and Minnie.

Brian tried to wake up Night, but she was out cold. Next he called Edwin. Edwin was pleased he was awake and filled him in that he was heading back to Harpers Crossing. Brian gently probed why he had left, but when Edwin was evasive, he didn’t push. Next he called Lina, who answered from the stairwell and said she was heading into the basement. Brian asked where that was, then briskly walked to catch up.

Violet was there when Brian arrived and warned him not to go down, but Brian ignored her, too. Violet hesitated alone in the hallway, then felt some_thing_ coming down the hallway towards her. She couldn’t see anything, but the echoes in the hallways became agitated by something passing. Violet hid, freaked out.

Brian caught up with Lina in the hallway. The hallway was the same as the hallway in the beginning of his vision in the crack house (before the hallway had changed into Catacombs). He was now very scared and pulled out pepper spray for defense. He explained the overlap with his vision and Lina found a heavy wrench to carry as an impromptu weapon.

The hallway was a service corridor and was filled with ladders, tarps, tools, and the other debris of construction workers that had left for the day. At the end of the hallway (where the white glowing triangle had appeared in the vision, then grown into a portal) was a door with a sign reading hospital morgue.

Lina and Brian walked in. The janitor was standing in the middle of the room looking at them without speaking. If he was surprised, he kept it hidden. To the right was a gurney with a body covered with a sheet. Sarah was floating over the gurney and looking down at the body with vague bemusement. Lina went to the body while Brian headed straight to the janitor.

The janitor was not tall, but Brian was shorter. He could read the janitor’s name badge now and saw his name was “Gonsalez.” Gonsalez did not seem intimidated by Brian at all. Brian demanded to know why he was down there, but the janitor didn’t answer.

While Brian was confronting Gonsalez, Lina pulled the sheet slowly off of the body. The body underneath was nothing human, though it was clear that it had once been. It was twisted and warped, covered in mucus-covered carapace in some places, while other places looked like deep open wounds, with white bone, red flesh, and yellowish pus all visible. Lina was frozen for a moment in shock and fear, noting as if in a dream that Sarah seemed confused at what had happened to her body. The twisted mockery lashed out at Lina with tentacles and she barely avoided them, jumping back and knocking a metal bowl filled with medical tools to the ground with a loud clang before falling to her back.

Brian was distracted by the loud crash and turned towards Lina. Fortunately for him, his precognition kicked in and he saw Gonsalez slashing at him with a long curved knife before it happened and was able to dodge out of the way. Brian aimed his pepper spray at Gonsalez’ face and hit him directly in the eyes with the stream. Gonsalez screamed and fell to the ground clutching his eyes. Brian kicked him hard and repeatedly while he was down, then backed away when Gonsalez
got to his knees and slashed his knife in his direction.

Lina scrambled to her feet as the monster slithered to the floor with a wet cracking sound and moved towards her. Lina screamed and ran towards the door.

Upstairs, Violet heard screaming. Her form pulsed with fear, but she forced herself to float down through the floor and towards the sound. She saw the monstrosity through the window in the door. She called fire around her ghostly hands.

Violet had been able to create fire ever since her death. Her body had been burned (though she didn’t know why; none of the other victims had been burned). But this time something was wrong. The fire grew too rapidly, far bigger than she’s intended (or eve been able to before). It grew out of her control until sheets of flame were coating the ceiling, walls, and floor in waves.

Lina crashed through the morgue doors and ran behind Violet. Brian was trapped by the flames so he ran through a door on the opposite side of the morgue, slamming the door behind him. He was in complete darkness. Gonsalez and the monstrosity both screamed as they burned. The monster shrieked and keened while Gonsalez’ screams were disturbingly human.

The Fire

While the fires poured out of her in sheets, Violet had a vision of her death. Kevin Meadows, the New Hope Devil, stood over her. He had jsut completed a ritual and her ghost was suddenly outside of her body. He incanted in some inhuman language, holding his arms out like an offering. Violet felt herself being grabbed and suddenly pulled towards something… mad and horrible and immense. She was still tethered to her body, though, which kept her caught between. Meadows was going to kill her and complete the ritual to give her to… whatever it was on the other end of the pull.

Then a coven of Wicce appeared and confronted Kevin Meadows before he could finish. There was a battle and a magical fire burned Violet’s body. She died, but before she is sucked away, she saw her cat, Isis, standing over her. Isis was a ghost cat. Then the vision ended.

The fire was still spreading. Lina couldn’t get to Brian and Violet had no body (she could form one with great effort, but it was far too slow of a process to help now). They had no choice to hope he was okay and run.

They ran to the lobby. Everyone was still asleep and they couldn’t save everyone. Only Lina could move anyone and she wasn’t large or strong. Lina pulled Night out, then ran back to pull Minnie out, rolling her hospital bed through the door. By then the fire had grown too strong and she couldn’t go back in. Brian hadn’t had a chance to tell anyone about his visions of several employees dying horribly in a fire, but it had just come true.

Then the invisible presence Violet felt in the hallway appeared in the center of the flame in the hospital, framed in the center of the glass sliding doors of the main entrance. It became visible, revealing itself to be the Soul Eater. It looked at Violet and said in a voice inside her head: “I see you now, number seven. You evaded us for awhile, but we will claim you soon.”

Meanwhile, Brian was still trapped in pitch blackness past a door that was hot to the touch and growing hotter. By the smell, Smoke was filling the darkness around him, though he couldn’t see it.

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Chapter Three - Minnie at County Hospital
Escaping the Necropolis, searching the library, and dark portents at County Hospital

Chapter Three: Minnie at County Hospital

Summary

tl;dr…

Violet awakened in the Death Realms and met a cloaked woman who told her that her fate was linked to Minnie’s. Night studied in the library and learned that Kevin Meadows, the original killer, was friends with Night’s mother and Maya, both prominent Wicce and that he used Wicce imagery in his rituals. They all went to Cranston hospital. There was residue of dark magic over much of the hospital and people in it. Violet saw that Minnie’s spirit was gone but a decay-covered silver cord stretched to wherever her spirit was. There were strange watchers all over Cranston and in the hospital. One approached Edwin and said her name was Sarah and asked if he knew where her body was. Later that night, Brian touched Minnie and saw a vision of where she was taken — it was the same house he’d seen Maya Ramsey with the dead woman on the pentagram.

List of clues and significant events:

  • Violet met a cloaked woman in the Death Realms who says they’ve met before but wouldn’t tell her more until “it’s time”
    • Violet’s cat, Isis, apparently helped Violet during the period with the cloaked woman that she doesn’t remember
  • There is something happening in the Catacombs below the City in the Death Realms
  • Kevin Meadows was friends with two prominent Wicce: Night’s mother, Darya Parks, and Maya Ramsey
    • Night’s mother has been in town for a few days
  • Meadows’ murders included Wicce symbolism, mixed with dark magic symbolism
  • Brian saw images of several people in the hospital dying in a fire or being killed by tentacles like he saw in the Catacombs in his earlie rvision
  • Ghost-like watchers are all over Cranston
    • One said her name was Sarah and asked if they knew where her body was
  • The lawyer, Miya Hartman, is mundane but is covered in the residue of dark magic
  • Minnie’s spirit is not in her body, but a silver cord connects to her body
    • The cord is covered in some sort of decay similar to the Catacombs
    • The cord could be followed to find Minnie or to summon her
  • The crime scene where Minnie was victimized is the same house of an unknown Wicce coven where Maya saw a dead woman

The City and the Wilderness

Violet awoke to darkness and whispering. The whispering was the wind. As she listened, the wind rose and fell, changing from whispers to howls then back again. The sky was dark, devoid of stars, but a full moon loomed too close. Violet knew where she was: She was in the Death Realms. Specifically, she was in the Wilderness, a dark mix of forests and jungles and plains that surrounded the City and was surrounded by mountains full of trails to everywhere in the Death Realms.

Violet’s cat, Isis, was perched on a rock. Isis was looking at something on Violet’s other side. Turning her head and sitting up, Violet saw a hooded figure crouched and watching her. The cloaked woman was humanoid, but a little too large to be simply human. When the figure spoke, Violet could hear that it was a woman.

“Well met, Violet Holmes. Your marvelous cat, Isis, brought you here last time, too. You’re lucky to have her. Tell me — what do you remember of the last time that we met here?”

Violet didn’t remember anything, but demanded to know who she was and when they had met before. She also gestured towards Isis, who came to her and nuzzled under her chin in comfort.

“You’re here early,” the woman said regretfully, “It isn’t time to tell you. When you remember, you’ll know everything you need to know.”

Violet asked her several more questions, but each time the woman answered with a touch of regret that it wasn’t time yet. The only thing she would say is that Minnie had been taken, so the time was soon. She also added that the fates of Minnie and Violet were interconnected now. Only Violet could save Minnie and the only way Violet could save herself was to save Minnie.

The woman again deflected Violet’s aggrieved questions and disappeared. Frustrated and worried, Violet took stock of her decision and decided to head towards the City (also called the Necropolis). There were several paces she could leave the Death Realms and get back to her friends, but heading towards the City would let her gather some other information on the way.

The woods of the Wilderness gave way and the spires and walls of the City rose up in front of her. It was an amalgam of every city, past and present. Violet passed through wooden palisades, which opened up to a cobbled road. That became a modern asphalt road, then a concrete highway, then a dirt road. The buildings (all functional, she knew) similarly shifted. She saw the Urchins, a gang of vicious ghost children that claimed the area she was traveling through, watching her. They followed her until their territory ended. They were menacing, but better than the dangers in other areas that she knew enough to travel around. Eventually she reached her destination: One of two Thanatoi Chapter Houses in the City. It was a 17th century tavern run by Josiah Raleigh, a Gatherer and Thanatoi.

Violet entered and saw many faces watching her. here in the Death Realms, a ghost’s inner nature eventually began to shape their appearance, giving the patrons an uncomfortable, twisted appearance. Violet saw Arianna, a powerful immortal Paladin of the Thanatoi who currently dwelt in New Hope. Arianna gestured Violet over to her table.

Arianna was friendly to Violet, which was new. They knew each other, but had never been close or exchanged more than passing pleasantries. Violet asked some questions about what Arianna knew. She didn’t know a lot about Minnie that Violet didn’t already know, but mentioned that the City was abuzz with fear and rumors. Something was happening in the Catacombs below the city. Strange energies and beings were moving in an out. And something was stirring down there. She told Violet to seek her out if she needed help later.

Violet decided it was time to head back. She tried to appear next to Edwin, but she felt something go wrong and she was pulled somewhere else…

The Library

After Night split away from her friends, she headed towards Hohenheim College where the Colum Library was located. It was on the west side of New Hope and as she traveled across town, she was reminded again how much she disliked the big city. She felt a vague sense of being watched, but most likely that was the result of residual Essence from the massive burst a few days ago, combined with stress.

Hohenheim College was a sprawling campus, full of a mismatch of architectural styles as new buildings went up every year but old buildings were seldom replaced or renovated. over all, the college gave an almost Gothic sense of age and furtive studies. But Colum Library was amazing. It was a beautiful building, often listed as one of the top five most beautiful libraries in the world. It also had a reputation for having rare and unusual books. Night had spent many hours here as a child (those were some of her favorite memories of her father).

Night researched for hours. She’d studied Kevin Meadows (the “New Hope Devil”) and the original murders extensively, becoming a known expert on the topic. Now she was looking for things she’d missed, particularly related to ghosts, magic, or the Soul Eater. She did find some information about the Soul Eater (which seemed to be a class of spirit rather than a specific one), but most of her discoveries were about Kevin Meadows.

She’d already known that he had been a student at Hohenheim College. She’d also known that he had “been into the occult” (something the media had sensationalized without any understanding). What she discovered now is that he had specifically been friends with several people who had been unknown at the time but were now prominent magicians among the Wicce, including Maya Ramsey and Night’s mother, Darya Park. She found several pictures of the three of them together.

Night knew that her mother hated Maya and held her in disdain, so it was a surprise to see them smiling and leaning against each other in pictures. It was even more shocking to see a young, happy Kevin Meadows in those pictures. Her mother had never mentioned knowing him and Night had never heard of a connection between Maya and Kevin before, either.

The link to Wicce prompted Night to look at some of the images found at crime scenes. She hadn’t noticed the Wicce elements before but now they seemed obvious; there was some other dark magic imagery that dominated, but the Wicce influence were clear.

Just then, a familiar voice interrupted Night’s reading. The rich baritone and charming British accent belonged to Dr. Moss, a history professor at Hohenheim College and a friend of her father.

“Why, if it isn’t Nighteen Hoffman! To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit to Colum Library?”

Professor Moss glanced over her shoulder and saw a picture of her mother, Maya Ramsey, and Kevin Meadows.

“Ah, of course. I suppose it’s understandable that Mr. Meadows would be the topic du jour once again, and you are one of the premiere New Hope Devil experts.

“Did I ever tell you that I knew Mr. Meadows as a student? I must have, though I can’t remember. He was a quiet, but friendly young man.”

The two of them talked for a bit, catching up. Night’s father was a big donor to the college as well as a friend. Prof. Moss also talked fondly about memories of Night as a child and then young woman. They also talked briefly about Night’s mother, who Prof. Moss had never particularly liked (a fact he barely hid).

“Have you seen your mother since she’s been in town? Your father mentioned that she came into town a few days ago.” That was news to Night, who hadn’t known she was back in town.

Something about the conversation and Prof. Moss’ behavior made Night uncomfortable. On a whim, she decided to cast an Insight invocation to see what she could learn of his motives. The casting failed and instead of getting a read on the Professor, he saw something in her. His eyes widened and he hastily excused himself. She tried to Dismiss the Essence of the failed Invocation, but it slipped out of her control and books and papers flew off the shelf around her, clattering to the floor. She stacked and tidied quickly, then left.

She called the others.

County Hospital

Edwin, Lina, and Brian were heading to the Cranston County Hospital when they got Night’s call. She was on the way so they picked her up. County wasn’t the closest hospital, but they wanted Brian seen by someone clued in to the supernatural. They also knew Minnie was there, which meant it was killing two birds with one stone.

Brian was in shock; his psychic abilities were running crazy in a sort of fever dream-like cascade of memories and impressions. They drove about 30 minutes to Cranston. Cranston felt odd, muted but also buzzing, with more ambient Essence than normal, as if something happened there recently.

Lina saw several strange, misty figures watching them. They were ghost-like, but not quite ghosts. The figures were stationary, watching from a distance. They had no faces. Their shapes were basically humanoid, but each had something different that was vaguely animalistic about them: one had too many joints, another had a head suggestive of a beak, another had too long limbs, etc. When the car approached where one was, they’d vanish like a mirage, only to reappear in the same spot after they were 50 yards away. Lina was angry at Edwin, but eventually told the car what she saw, though she spoke to Night instead of directly to Edwin.

They arrived at the hospital. It was an ugly, industrial style red brick block. It which was under construction; an entire wing was covered in heavy plastic sheets that rippled in the wind. Dr. Stevens and Nurse Bakker helped Brian out of the car. Brian got no visions off of Dr. Stevens (in fact, even his voice seemed to come from a distance), but he saw Nurse Bakker would die soon in a fire.

Brian was ushered to a room. It was next to another room with a police officer, Officer Parish , sitting outside (clearly where Minnie was staying). While getting hooked up, Brian touched others, though he tried not to. The receptionist, Quan Li, a pretty Chinese girl, would also die by fire. Brian thrashed and Officer Parish helped hold him down (he would be killed by tentacles like the ones in Brian’s vision in the Catacombs). Brian was finally sedated.

The Haunted Church

Violet appeared in an old stone building. There was a sound like distant cannons and wailing. The walls were covered in soot, which was cut with trails of dripping of water. Then those drips became blood, mixing into greasy red and black runnels that pulsed in time with the cannon blasts, which were coming closer. She realized she was in the church where Father Zach dwelt. He was like her during the day, free from anchors and able to travel freely, but at night he was pulled back to this church where he had died when a cannon destroyed the church she was standing in.

Father Zach walked through a wall behind her, startling her. He was holding a child in his arms and his eyes were vacant and terrifying. He walked past her, seemingly not noticing her, then walked through another wall. Violet tried to leave, but there were no doors. The church didn’t want her to leave. She reached out and found a thin echo of her connection with Edwin. It should be enough for her to jump to him. Then she heard a noise behind her and spun around. Father Zach (the unnamed child no longer in his arms) was only feet away. His eyes were still empty, but he radiated malevolence. He swung at her with what looked like a broken candle stand and she barely dodged. She reached out frantically and teleported to Edwin moments before Father Zach would have struck her.

All Together Again

Violet appeared in the hospital. It took her a moment to catch her bearings and figure out where she was, but she’d been to the hospital before. She also recognized Dr. Stevens.

Dr. Stevens took Edwin into his office to talk and Violet followed, invisible to the mundane Dr. Stevens. They talked about the events more openly as Templars. Dr. Stevens confirmed that Minnie was in the room next to Brian. Violet watched Dr. Stevens throughout and his emotional responses were almost boringly normal and honest.

Out in the reception area, Lina saw another watcher down a hallway watching them. Lina stayed where she could keep an eye on the figure, but didn’t approach. Any hospital was a terrible place for someone with her sensitivity — full of death and suffering. Night went to look for food or drink. While she was gone, a woman in a sharp pant suit walked by and knocked on the door where Edwin, Dr. Stevens (and Violet) were talking.

Dr. Stevens invited her in and introduced her as Miya Hartman, a lawyer who often represented the hospital. Miya recognized Edwin and tried hard to impress him as a potential client. To Violet, her predatory intent was obvious, but in a greedy, business-oriented way rather than seeming more sinister. Miya asked a lot of questions about the status in Harpers Crossing and Edwin was suspicious. He cast an Insight Invocation and saw that she was coated in the residue of dark magic; he couldn’t tell if it was because she’d been directly involved or merely been very close to dark magic when it was released. Either way, his interest was flared. She was involved in dark magic or a victim. (She wasn’t Gifted, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t participate in ritual magic.)

Violet heard Minnie mentioned, and where she was, so she floated over. She saw that Minnie’s spirit was not in her body, but that a silver cord stretched out of her. Violet would be able to follow the cord to wherever Minnie was. It was also likely that they could summon her with the cord. However, Violet also noticed that the cord was covered in black decay, similar to the wet, black, subterranean decay she’d smelled and seen when Minnie appeared at the vigil in Harpers Crossing the night before. The cord itself didn’t seem damaged… yet. Violet drifted back through the walls to tell Edwin what she’d seen.

Back in the waiting room, Night returned with some vending machine fare for Lina and herself. A janitor (Mario Gonsalez) was standing in a hallway staring at them, idly moving a mop without making any real effort to act like he was focused on cleaning. After a few minutes, he wandered away, glancing back at them repeatedly.

Dr. Stevens and the lawyer Miya left the office (though not before Miya gave Edwin her card and another high-watt flirtatious smile). Violet returned and told Edwin she had something to tell him. Edwin pretended to knock over some papers and said he’d straighten them and be right out. Violet told him what she’d seen and Edwin decided to Astral Project and follow her over to see (that way he didn’t have to get past the cop).

Dr. Stevens walked over to Lina while Miya saw Night and hustled over to her with another predatory smile. Dr. Stevens asked Lina how she was with everything. He said that it was rough for him and he’d been thinking of his daughter, Amelia, all the time since the news about another victim. He made the odd comment that everything he did was for her. Lina also noticed that Dr. Steven’s had almost no death on him, which was weird in a hospital. All of the other workers, even the receptionist, had at least a layer of death like soot.

Miya recognized Night because of her rich parents. She tried to ingratiate herself, mentioning that she’d heard Night’s mother was in town. She gives her a card, also, and mentions that she shouldn’t hesitate to reach out and she’d always make a daughter of Adam Hoffman and mother a priority. Night was uncomfortable with the attention, but grinned her way through it rather than causing a scene. That was the second time her mother being in town had been mentioned.

The TV was on a local station and a news segment began. The reporter, Kylee Betz, who had approached Night in the Harpers Crossing Library was interviewing people about the events at the vigil. She interviewed several locals about Lina’s “display.” Most parroted Edwin’s line about having sympathy because she was clearly disturbed. She also interviewed Gabriel Silva, Lina’s mentor, who told a different story: That Lina was innocent and that it had been Minnie’s ghost. He also added that there were many ghosts active and he plugged his Spiritual Guidance Center (which was a mostly fraudulent “psychic” center that raised a lot of money for the Twilight Order with fake psychics, but defended itself by saying that it did refer real issues to actual mediums and psychics in the Order). There was an obligatory cutaway to Lina’s mother, Linda Harper, the beautiful face of the murders two decades ago. The reporter also interviewed the FBI agents, Special Agent Elder and Special Agent Garland, and played some clips from Brian’s public display of humiliating them. It was clear that the agents were not impressed and considered Brian a “person of interest.” She ended with a clip about Mayor Edwin Stowell praying with “pagans” and a mix of reactions ranging from praise to concern about such “Unchristian behavior.” Even Night was mentioned as having been seen with Edwin. Almost in passing, Kylee mentioned that Edwin, Night, Brian, and Lina had all been seen leaving Harpers Crossing together. Only Violet wasn’t mentioned by name and shown.

Just then, Edwin and Violet came through the wall. The watcher that Lina had been watching was in the same hall they had to cross to get to Minnie’s room. Edwin noticed and stopped. He knew casting an Insight Invocation might be risky, since he didn’t know what it was, but he decided to risk it. He saw that it was almost a ghost, but also not a ghost. It had once been a human woman. The figure started floating towards him slowly. He stood his ground, though his heart (in his body slumped in a chair in Dr. Stevens’ office) began to race. The figure put its hand on his face. A burst of intense emotion crashed through him at the same time as a human, but distorted voice:

“I’m Sarah. Do you know where my body is? I’m Sarah? Do you know where my body is? I’m Sarah…” Who was Sarah?

The House Where It Happened

Hours later, in the middle of the night, Brian woke up. In an almost dream-like state, he stood up, unhooking sensors and pulling out his IV. Monitors began to beep, but he ignored them. He walked into the hall, then into Minnie’s room. The same cop was there, but was sleeping. The nurse desk was empty, too. Brian touched Minnie and got a clear flash of the last place she was before whatever happened to her occurred. She was in the center of a pentagram in a room. Beaded curtains hung in a doorway behind her. Wicce themed art and symbols covered the wall. It was the same room in the same house as he’d seen when he’d touched Maya. The same room where she’d stood over a dead woman and said sadly that was the last of them.

Brian couldn’t see them, but half a dozen of the not-quite-ghost watchers were in the room watching him and Minnie.

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Chapter Two - Minnie's Old Friends
Retracing Minnie's last days

Chapter Two: Minnie’s Old Friends

Summary

tl;dr…

Brian McRae had visions of Minnie and another Hazel Weis with a group of street kids. In Harpers Crossing, Violet was in some sort of ghost coma. The Soul Eater appeared. Lina tried to stop it, but the coven banished it with the help of Night, Brian, and Edwin. It was all over the news. They went to New Hope to find Hazel. Night went to the library to investigate while the other three found Jake (one of the street kids), who told them Hazel disappeared the same time Minnie did. Brian uses his ability and had a vision of Hazel as the 8th victim. Some powerful, evil force noticed him and Brian was badly injured. Edwin magically healed him most of the way, but they decided to go to the .Cranston County Hospital (where Minnie is).

List of clues and significant events:

  • Minnie hung out with a group of homeless teens in New Hope
  • Those teens hung out with a figure that was clouded in Brian’s visions
  • Hazel will be victim #8 (it’s unclear if she’s already dead or will be soon)
  • Violet is in some sort of ghost coma — what did she experience?
  • There is something vast and powerful (like an ancient god) tied to the murders
  • The symbol of a white triangle might be significant
  • The Catacombs and subterranean graves are becoming a recurring theme
  • Brian has scared and probably pissed off the FBI
  • Some of the PCs have drawn the attention of the media

Visions of Minnie

Brian McRae had an overpowering vision at the moment of the massive Essence surge the night before Minnie was found. In it, he saw Minnie talking to another girl in an alleyway. He recognized it and knew it was in the Hoyt and Cross financial district of downtown New Hope. He went there and found several cigarette butts and other trash that he could read. He was still raw from the massive vision and lost control, getting a flood of visions instead of being able to hone on what he wants. Minnie was part of a shifting group of street kids who often met here. Brian would be able to recognize many of them later. He also saw a blurred, shadowy figure (male and adult, but otherwise unclear). The kids interacted with him and didn’t seem scared or worried, but no matter what Brian tried, he couldn’t see him clearly. Brian decided to go to the vigil in Harpers Crossing in case any of the kids (who were Minnie’s friends) showed up.

The End of the Vigil

When Minnie’s ghost disappeared, it pulled at Edwin and Violet like a sucking void. Edwin’s Essence Shield spell blocked the worst of the effect, though it almost broke his shield. He snapped back to his body. Violet was less lucky and was knocked into some sort of ghost coma.

Then the Soul Eater appeared.It was a nine-foot tall shadowed figure. It was humanoid, with a wide-brimmed hat, inhumanly wide shoulders and too-long arms that ended in talons. It appeared to be made completely of shadows, except for its eyes, which burned the same red as the numbers the victims.

Lina tried to banish the Soul Eater to protect the unconscious Violet (against the advice of her mentor, Gabriel), but she wasn’t strong enough. Luckily, Father Zachary grabbed her and teleported her away somewhere. The Soul Eater turned it’s attention to Lina and began advancing towards her. Gabriel pushed through the crowd, grabbed her by the shoulders, and forcibly shut down her death sight.

The coven of Wicce, lead by Maya pulled Night, Brian, and Edwin into their circle and with 7 members they banished the Soul Eater. With the three PCs added to the circle, the remaining three Wicce formed a second circle to hide the large amount of Essence the circle of 7 gathered to lessen attention both locally and lessen how far away it could be sensed. Several mundane bystanders witnessed and afterwards Edwin made a show of thanking the “wiccans” for including him in their prayer for Minnie.

Meanwhile, Lina was being blamed for sabotaging the picture. She tried to slip away and the crowd closed to keep her there. She tried talking to them and convincing them to let her past, but she failed badly and they became more suspicious. She was near tears.

Edwin, Brian, and Night heard the commotion and pulled away from the coven. As they were leaving, Brian touched Maya, the high priestess, and got a vision from her past:

Maya enters a small, but tidy house. Incense burns, the shelves is full of books on feminism and witchcraft. Pictures of the moon and priestesses and cats and occult symbols decorate the wall. Maya pushes through a bead curtain, then walks through the kitchen (soup boils on the stove). Through another door, this one carved with an ornate pentagram, into a Wicce sanctum. A pentagram in a circle is drawn on the floor. Familiar ritual tools are placed around at the corners. It’s a typical magical scene, except for the woman sprawled across the pentagram. Her breath catches in a stifled sob.

“That’s the last of them. They’re all gone,” Maya’s voice fills the room, thick with grief. Brian can’t see the dead woman’s face.

Edwin reached the front of the crowd and had much better luck calming them, talking to several of them individually by name. However, he didn’t try to remove suspicion from Lina; instead he put the blame squarely on Lina in order to provide a clear mundane explanation, but convinced everyone to have sympathy. Lina was not thrilled. Then Brian did a “Sherlock Holmes” and showed off knowing a lot about the FBI agents (from his psychometry) and intimidated and stunned them into silence before they got involved. He succeeded with a dramatic flair and videos of his show soon went viral. Meanwhile, stories of Lina and her emotional disturbance would be front page news (though the coverage was sympathetic, with many of the witnesses interviewed quoting Edwin’s comments about being understanding).

Looking for the Other Kids

Edwin, Night, Lina, and Brian (all of the PCs, except Violet) gathered in a meeting room in the Town Hall to compare notes. Based on Brian’s vision and drawings, Night recognized the other girl as Hazel Weiss, another run-away (though she was 18 and so not reported).

Edwin ensured that Violet was okay, then the rest of them went to New Hope to find her. As they drove out of town (in Edwin’s car), Lina saw that many of the ghosts gathered at the periphery of Harpers Crossing were gone now — they’d been eaten by the Soul Eater.

It was late, so they began searching the following morning (Monday, Sep 4, 2017). Night went to the library to investigate, while the other three talked to homeless until in Grand Junction, the rundown bus terminal were many of the poor entered the city, they found a kid Brian recognized from his visions. The kid gave his name as Jake. He told them that Hazel and Minnie were close, but that Hazel disappeared the same time Minnie did.

At Brian’s request, he lead them to where Hazel slept last. It was an abandoned three story brick warehouse also in the Grand Junction neighborhood. The street kids had squatted there for a couple weeks until rougher elements drove them out. It was a crack den now. Jake found an old hat that Hazel had used and gave it to Brian.

Hazel had lost the hat before she disappeared, so Brian couldn’t simply read the past. Instead he had to read the future, which was harder and also more dramatic to witness. There was a block and he couldn’t see anything from the time the hat was lost until the present. He pushed further into the future, past the block and felt an ominous sense of danger and that something was beginning to notice him. He refused to stop and pressed on, knowing the danger. He found himself in what at first seemed like hallways, then he realized they were the tunnels of a catacomb, complete with corpses laid into tombs and slots in the walls. There was a glowing triangle in the distance. He approached until the triangle had grown into a large portal. On the other side he saw Hazel with a number “8” on her. She was dead. Then she convulsed and screamed silently like Minnie had. Behind him, something wet and tainted and wrong gurgled. When he turned, it slashed his face with dripping appendages somewhere between fingers and tentacles.

Brian snapped out of the vision, but the deep cuts were carved into his physical face. Bone showed through the deep cuts and black and green ichor was mixed in with the blood. All of the crack heads had started moaning and thrashing during his visions and many had screamed at the same time he was slashed.

Edwin rushed Brian, Lina, and the kid out of the crack house. The Essence in the crack hosue was terrible to begin with and worsened by the fallout of the vision and Edwin didn’t want to try to heal him there. The kid ran off. At his car, Edwin began regular first aid while he channeled enough Essence to heal Brian magically. Edwin felt all of the pain while healing and stifled his own screams. The wound closed most of the way, but even with magic it remained raw and loosely scabbed, ready to break back open. The infection seemed to be abated.

Brian needed further medical attention. They decided to take him to the Cranston County Hospital. First, the head doctor, Dr. Thaddeus Stevens, was known to all of them but more importantly at least partially clued-in. Second, it just so happened that they knew Minnie Turner was being kept there, so maybe they could pay her a visit and kill two birds with one stone.

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