Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dystopic: Hisil Trip to the Library

The team of four Fallen stepped out through the front door into a cramped version of Miami's old front yard. The sidewalks were all cement.  The roads were covered in a shiny black asphalt.  Telephone lines, which have been replaced years ago, are twisted trees with upward pointing branches from whose tips dangle telephone lines which writhe and thrash in an unseen wind.  The sky churns with dark storm clouds though no rain falls and the air is hot and heavy with humidity.

Miami decides that their best bet for information is a trip to the library so they head out, following his remembered route.  Here are some of the sights they see and hear along the way:

The growl of a muscle car in the distance.

A shambling figure, twitching and trembling and scratching the insides of its forearms.

Starved looking dogs that plant their paws and growl at them as they pass, their growls getting more insistent if the fallen get any closer to them, forcing the fallen to give them a wider berth.

Spirits dragging themselves along by their feet out of a known brothel.

One of the spirits seen 'walking' out of a brothel.
(Michigan Report From Hell)
Finally the Fallen come across the library which is a large granite affair with two granite female statues flanking the pathway (not part of the real library) holding granite scrolls that have come unfurled.  While both scrolls have gibberish written on them, one scroll is reminiscent of English and the other reminiscent of Spanish.  As the four approach the doors, the two statues turn their heads to regard them but otherwise don't react.  When Leningrad goes to open the steel doors, dozens of shards of metal erupt like spikes and impale his hand (for a whopping four damage!)  As he pulls his hand free, Nomad 6 asks: "Did you need a hand?"  So Leningrad asks for a Faith-touched hand and Nomad 6 reluctantly passes him a point of Faith through the contact - which Leningrad immediately uses to heal a little.

At this point, a little girl looking spirit with her hands looped around the straps of her backpack comes jauntily up the path, though she eyes the four of them warily enough, and the steel doors slide back.  She hurries inside and both London and Nomad 6 make the higher Dexterity + Athletics rolls to steal inside before the doors slam shut.

Miami turns to the two statues and tries to talk to them, but all they keep saying is: "Intruders."  They fall silent when Miami points out that he has a library card and instead a little chute opens on the door and Miami gives the library his card.  The library takes it and the doors slide open.

Meanwhile, London and Nomad 6 are up to mischief inside.  There are more of those children spirits (most of whom have rectangular eyes like Stock Market ticker tape) and two very long and lanky librarians with pure black bodies and seemingly normal white faces with black hair perched atop their necks.  The librarians start to slowly approach them so the two start bullying the little child-spirit for her library pass.  As they can't speak her language, they start wrenching open her backpack (which is like her back mouth) and start rooting around.  There's a lot of receipts in there that all connected at one end to the pack itself, which grosses Nomad 6 out.

Wisely, the little spirit chooses not to attack.

When the doors open and Miami and Leningrad stroll in, the little spirit approaches the known shaman (Miami) to complain about her mistreatment.  She demands that the two who assaulted her be forced into detention each night to teach homework to children on the other side (thus gaining her Essence). 

In London's own words, "I refuse to negotiate with terrorists," as spirits are known only as marauders and monsters in the United Kingdom.  While that's not far off the truth, it also means he sees all forms of negotiations as negative even when it's necessary.

Poor Miami was in a quandary.  He needed to keep his reputation high for future negotiations and he knew he might have need of this library again.  After all, it wasn't too far from the only verge he knew.  He managed to talk down the spirit to six hours on the weekend and Miami himself would do the deed.

During this conversation, Leningrad had approached another spirit-child and asked for books written in English.  He managed to convey his point by showing her a card containing English writing (after going through his pockets and finding a receipt from Tokyo, cards from Russia, etc.).  The spirit-child took him to every English written book in the library and though none were what they were after, Leningrad was suitably grateful and the two hit it off relatively well.  In the end, Leningrad took a seat while Miami wrapped up negotiations and let the spirit-child put his hair into dozens of little braids.

Miami asked the spirit-children about the type of spirit they sought as well as anyone who traded human world books here.  He found out that the entity they sought lived in a place with a brass angel.  The spirit-child didn't actually know herself but had communed with the other spirits of her choir, which was why she was pretty vague.

Miami and Leningrad both knew what she was talking about, however, as Miami had taken Leningrad to the Design District for some random sightseeing.  While Leningrad found very little of interest in most of the galleries, he did find the big, brass angel evocative on numerous levels.  Not only was it an angel, and he a demon, but it has a rather Russian communist statue vibe to it that spoke to the Russian history of his host.

They found Oxford outside although the Fallen couldn't remember how he got here he did recall that he had been in his workshop at the bookstore before being summoned by robed figures carrying SS knives ... Nazis ... and that they'd seemed confused that they had summoned him.  He fled the circle during their confusion (gaining a glance at the location which included a large locomotive outside a factory) and found himself bodily wrenched into the sewer of this spirit world.  He'd pulled himself out of the sewer only to find the group coming out of the doors.

The idea of Nazis being around had come up before (the Ravener 'princess' had mentioned it) but only now did the Fallen start believing that it might actually be true.  Still none of them really wanted to deal with that at the moment so they put it out of mind.

So with that information, the four set off on a very long walk to the Design District.  Along the way they encountered a Vehicular Manslaughter spirit that roared its engine at them (Terrifying Howl) and which they destroyed in two turns before it could attack them.  Oxford's grenade, everyone else's bullets, and the final strike being a single arrow from Nomad 6's bow that took it out as it tried to flee.

They saw a few more sights along the journey:

Conformity spirits who stared at the Fallen as they passed whenever the Fallen laughed or acted individualistic.  This snapped the Fallen into acting ordinary as they were massively outnumbered.

A street with gang violence between two different types of spirits wearing gang colours - blue on one side, red on the other.
In the future, you can't judge a spirit by their eyes...
Damn cybernetics.
Finally they all noticed a girl crouching in an alley with bright blue lines within her eyes.  They ignore her for a spirit until she grabs Oxford's arm and says in English: "Who are you?  Why are you here?"

"We're going for a stroll," said Leningrad.

"Are you mad?" she sputters, before deciding that, indeed, they are mad.  So she turns and legs it away.

Since there's a bit of confusion about whether she's a spirit or a trapped human, Leningrad is convinced to chase her down.  Nomad 6 tries to shoot his grappling arrows at her but keeps missing.  Still Leningrad's Speed is 33 in apocalyptic form so he runs her down well enough.  He charges into her, knocking her into the wall, but she slips out of his grasp and turns to regard him (and an approaching London) warily.  At this point they're in a long alleyway that folds in on itself and the others approach.

They determine that she's safe enough here and knows her own way out.  She determines that they entered via a verge and aren't human.  After all, Leningrad's revelatory form at this stage (with one ability) may look subtle but still has that overwhelming sensation behind it.  Also one of them mentioned chasing her down because she was 'human' and they wanted to check if she was safe.

They didn't manage to learn much more before the ground shattered beneath their feet to a radius of 16 feet. London immediately put on his full revelatory form, grabbing the girl and using his wings to fly to safety.  Nomad 6 uses a grappling arrow to haul himself to safety.  Leningrad uses Fundament to jump to safety.  Oxford doesn't get a chance to react (Initiative too low) and Miami has no way of escaping.  Those two plummet into the whole and London drops the girl off with the other two before plunging in after them.

Oxford, London and Miami find themselves in a bedroom filled with knick-knacks.  Oxford uses his revelatory ability to discover when some of these objects were made and by whom.  While none of the names ring a bell, the objects were often found to be historical.  The headsman's axe was made in the late 1700s.  The ritual dagger was made in 523BC.  The glass bottles ornately decorated in gold were from 1857.

While Oxford was figuring out an age for these things, Miami and London started looking through a wide-bottomed case containing a revolver, automatic pistol, blank notepad, little book talking about European countries with a list of Fallen names and mentions of vampires called Sabbat and an Inter-Office envelope with crossed off names down the list and a wad of hundred dollar bills.  As they picked through this, the bricks blockading the wall crumbled and they got to leave.  Oxford tried to smuggle the bottles and knife out but the only things that came through were what came from the suitcase.

They found themselves in the alleyway which seemed to have dropped forty feet below where it had been and the doorway they had left was nowhere to be seen.  London found in his hand a note: "You may ask one question."  After great deliberation, he tried: "Where is Lucifer?" but the letters unwrote themselves.  
Obviously that was well above the entity's pay grade.  So instead they wrote: "Where are Miami's books?"  Luckily it didn't a pull a genie and state they were in his bookshop and instead correctly interpreted the question and gave them an address.  Now they just need to get out of the Hisil to continue on their journey and track down who stole the books and whether the thief is connected to the murders.

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