Oct. 28th, 2012

innocent_man: (geist)
Last night, I ran the end of my Geist: The Sin-Eaters story, Johnny's Banjo. So check it out:

Last time, the characters had a fight in a restaurant, and then fled to meet Carl at the marina, on Nixie's boat. There, safe from any chaos happening in the city, they tried to go over what they knew.

They knew that the One-Who-Gazes wanted Johnny Mac, but had taken Johnny Jackson instead, almost out of spite. Carl revealed that he'd run across the One-Who-Gazes before, in New Orleans, when his wife had been the sacrifice demanded by the demon (specifically, the person had to kill someone in sight of the victim's loved one). The characters tried to consider how they might break a bargain with a demon, but such bargains are too varied to have general breaking conditions. They also tried to suss out the demon's motives - why try to end the world? Unless the song was only meant to end the world in a smaller area? They weren't sure.

Sam Nguyen called Cassie and revealed that Johnny Jackson had vanished from prison, and there were videos of him at the restaurant circulating...but that some government agency starting with a V (which Johnny Mac recognized as "VASCU") was asking questions. Why had Johnny been so over this time? Carl's hypothesis was that the characters had changed something, and since the biggest change they'd made was in the Sound (back here), they decided to head out.

As they did, Nixie noted that her geist was paying attention (never a safe position to be in). the weather started getting choppier. The waves pitched against the Rusty Bucket, and Carl, Cassie and Alistair were swept overboard. Carl teleported back to the deck, and the others threw flotation devices to Cassie and Alistair, but the weather was getting worse. Nixie reached out to her geist and asked it to help them get where they were going...

And then everything went dark, there was a sudden pressure, and they found themselves in the Underworld, the boat floating on the River Lethe. They got the others back in the boat and started heading downstream (but not before Ian took a flask and filled it with the waters of Lethe).

The water grew rougher, and the river split into two tunnels ahead. Nixie threw the boat left, and the waters were white and churning, and in an immense, dark tunnel they heard music. Ian used the Pyre-Flame Shroud to light the place up, and they saw ghosts on the side of the tunnel, standing on a small ledge, singing, each with the tell-tale throat wound marking them as Johnny Jackson's victims.

Except...Johnny Jackson was one of them. And Ian noted that some of these people were obviously much older than the modern era, some by centuries.

Johnny Mac stood at the bow of the boat and asked the demon what was going on. The demon spoke, and requested, smugly, that the characters keep their eyes open on the way down.

Johnny Mac finished off his bottle of Cutty Sark, had Ian pour him a bit from the flask, and drank the "The man who first discovered music, first stretched a piece of leather or gut and strummed it, and heard the first note...I was the man standing next to him, watching him do it." The demon wanted the song to end, wanted the finality and wanted to watch the world drown. But by ending the song, the characters could prevent the damage, stop the world from ending.

Sadly, drinking the Water of Lethe saps a dot of Intelligence...and Johnny Mac only had one. As his memory and personality faded away, he turned to his friends and said, "Stop the song."

A howl went up from somewhere - the demon, outraged that Johnny wouldn't be able to see the demon's victory. One of the ghosts, possessed now by the demon, jumped from the ledge and landed on the boat. It threw Carl off and started for Johnny, but Ian slashed at it with his Memento sword, stunning it. Alistair used Stigmata Marionette to control the ghost. Strands of control shot out from the ghost's neck-wound to all of the other ghosts, and Cassie strummed them, trying to control the song, help the ghosts to pass on.

The note was deafening. The White Dog, still self-aware, took control, turning into the Phantasmal Marionette, ready to leap at the demon. But Nixie asked her geist for help again - could it save them? It could, it responded, keep the core of them intact, but that was all it could do. Nixie agreed, and the Rusty Bucket went over a waterfall, dragging an untold myriad of ghosts behind by the strings playing the song, down into the Ocean of Fragments.

For the characters, everything went white for a moment...and we'll catch up to the them later.

For the ghosts, they immediately lose their most tenuous identifier: "I am possessed by a demon."

The song ended. The rain stopped.

Epilogue: A man pulls his boat into the marina, thanks God he was able to navigate the storm, and then clutches his chest and falls dead. Carl, nearby, pulls himself out of the water, and curses his geist for killing a man so that they can live. He looks back at the calming sea, and starts walking toward the city, the song finally gone from his head.

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January 2013

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