So, normally, of course, I put the update under a cut so that all you folks out in LJ land don't have to read it unless you want to. Today, however, I'm putting the update before the cut, because I'm putting some notes on What's Going On after the cut. What that means is: For those of my players who are reading this, don't click the cut. Last time
, a couple of guys got killed right next to Tory, who fled and got together with the other folks. They met up at the church (this is late Saturday night, 4/14/07) and tried figuring out what was going on. There was a really nice, involved conversation with all six players contributing for a while, which is fun for me because I get to sit back and listen to dialog.
They did some science, too - they know that Mike can "feel" magic sometimes, but he wondered if he could feel it after the fact, rather than as it was happening. So he went outside and Samuel cast a spell (Mage Sight) on Lydia and Justine, and then Mike came back in to see if he could feel residual effects. He couldn't, initially, but when he touched Lydia (not Justine, where the spell didn't last because of Disbelief) he felt magic (that sounds dirty, dunnit?). Bottom line: Yes, he can feel ongoing or residual magic, but it's more of an effort and not as reliable.
And interesting side discussion here: Mike went to try and feel magic on Samuel (geez, there is just no way to say that without it sounding naughty!). He asked if Samuel had any spells up at present; he did (like any smart mage, Samuel keeps an armor spell on). Samuel was reluctant to drop it, as it takes effort for him to replace it. Tory mentioned that if he dropped it, he'd be without armor...just like the rest of them are all the time
From there, they decided to go crash at Tory's place. She lives in half of an old warehouse, and she, Lydia and Samuel went there. Samuel felt magic on the door and somewhat in the place, but couldn't pinpoint what it was - a trap? A warning system? All it did was make them paranoid.
Mike and Max went to the Warner Theater to grab some supplies from Mike's stash. And he felt magic, there, too, but fleeting and weak.
Justine went home alone to grab an overnight back. As she was walking down the stairs (she lives on the top floor of a duplex), someone grabbed her ankle and tripped her. She does parkour, of course, so she landed without incident, but there were two guys there...and one of them had the ax.
The guy without the ax punched her, but not badly, and she blocked the shot from the ax with her baton. She put the guy with the ax in a chokehold and disarmed him, whereupon the first guy ran. She picked up the ax and felt an immediate urge to kill
...which she suppressed. The other guy ran, and she dropped the ax, and called Samuel. Samuel, Lydia and Tory called Mike and Max and started heading for Justine's place.
But just then, she felt a searing pain and dropped to her knees, apparently electrocuted. She stayed up, somehow (Health track full of bashing damage, but man, chick would just not
go down). Everything went black, and someone grabbed her in a choke hold...but she grabbed the ax and swung back. Whatever it was let her go, and she swung blind, again, hoping to hit...and the ax seemed to help. And then she passed out from the pain, finally.
When the other got there, Justine was in her house, on the couch, still groggy and hurt, but not seriously injured. The characters arrived and saw to her, and the cops showed up a moment later. Turns out two guys had been found with her bag and wallet down the street, but they were both dead from what looked like ax wounds. Justine put a page in to Detective Brennan, and then the ambulance came to take her away. The other characters looked around, and the CS guys had found the blood outside, but it was tainted - ammonia? Someone was here who knew crime scene procedures.
While they waited for the ambulance, Samuel called Cypher, and admitted he was well and truly out of his depth, here. He needed assistance. Cypher told him that the time had been erased already, but just for the area. She looked back in time on the two dead guys down the street, and saw them taking the ax from a garbage can outside Martin's apartment earlier that day (Martin being the friend of Tory's who'd been murdered earlier). What was it doing there? Those two assailants were homeless guys - why did they take the ax, and then stalk and attack Justine? Cypher wasn't sure, and those guys were dead.
The characters followed Justine to the hospital. She was admitted, and Sean came in to see her. He told her that, as things stood, the report would read that these guys attacked Justine and tazed her, and she fought back and killed them with their own weapon. They managed to get down the street before bleeding out. It was a story that was obviously bullshit to anyone who looked deeply, but no one would. Sean said that he left New York because his captain had told him, flat out, that this was the way the world worked and it was never changing. He left Boston because he'd refused to go back to sleep and it turned bad. He agreed to talk with her friends, and said that he'd provide information and access that they might not otherwise get, but cautioned that he had to be careful how much he got involved in an official capacity. And then the doctor came in to give her sedatives, and he left.
The others came in as the drugs were taking hold and she told them Sean had been there. Tory went looking for him, but didn't see him, and two cops at the door said that they hadn't seen him all night. She called him, and he answered. He agreed to meet them the next day, but said he couldn't get away from work that night. Tory relayed the message, and the characters agreed to meet in the afternoon at a coffee shop.
Next morning, Samuel got up early (he and Lydia stayed at the hospital) to go do his sermon. The others met up the coffee shop; Justine was still in the process of being discharged. Sean met them, and Samuel asked him flat-out: "Are you a mage?"
This came with a lot of bickering between Lydia, Mike and Max, and Sean advised them to get that shit under control before they went meeting people. To Samuel's question, he said, "I don't think of myself that way."
He said that he'd done the same thing in Boston that they were doing here - hunting down what he called "shadows." He said that it had come crashing down in Boston, and five of his friends had died. He left the city and came here, and thought maybe he could go back to sleep, but hadn't been able to. This made some sense to the characters, who were all in a similar position.
Maxine, of course, was more interested in what Sean had been doing last night. He said that he hadn't had the ax yesterday and didn't put it in the garbage can. He remembered working the case when Stuart Laughlin was shot (the pawn shop owner), and it was right after that he started having nightmares. He got put on some heavy-duty sleeping pill, and that helped. But his script ran out and he hadn't had time to go to the doctor to get it refilled...and the dreams had started again.
He denied killing Fallow (or anyone, really), but he admitted to finding himself in strange places and losing time. It was possible, he conceded, that he'd killed five people this week. He said he'd been there last night when Justine was attacked, but that he hadn't cast a spell to electrify her (Lydia, however, noted that sometimes spells go wrong and do things you didn't mean them to).
The characters felt that the ax was nudging him to kill people; it just seemed to make the most sense, based on what they'd seen. They agreed that Sean shouldn't be alone at night, and Lydia (whose player will be out next session) said that she would stay with him. The other characters found other avenues of approach. The stepson of Stuart Laughlin, for instance - Gregory Ludwig. Where's he? He was the one that brought the ax into the store to begin with. Samuel said that he hoped that Ludwig was in town, wielding the ax or being used by it...but a use of Grim Sight confirmed that Sean had killed, and recently. Didn't look good. (Sean also confirmed that he'd been in Tory's house and the theatre, but just used magic to open the locks. He said that, from the outside, it was hard to tell a hunter from a shadow and he just wanted to confirm that these folks are who they say they are.)
Donnie Cubbins, the man that shot Stuart Laughlin, might have something to say, too, but he certainly wouldn't talk to a cop without laywering up. Mike and Max decided to take a ride to Frackville, PA (it's about 5 hours from Erie) to talk with him. Mike also said he might be able to get hold of some of the pills that had helped Sean sleep, to which Sean said he'd have no problem with that.
Epilogue: Justine checking out of the hospital. She shakes the doctor's hand. Afterwards, the doctor remarks to the nurse how cold the lady's hands were.
OK, now for What's Going On: Don't read if you don't want ( spoilers. )