Sunday, February 26, 2012

SESSION 54 "Oh Mother?"

Their chances don't seem to be improving by waiting, and Paddy and Ashley verify that there's no way to get through the portal with a room full of hostiles there, since the opening requires a recitation in old gaelic. After careful consideration, Daniel decides the best course of action is to burn everything.

Once everyone is prepped, Daniel summons up a doozy of an amount of power and literally pulls fire from the stone, slagging the entire room and all the turtlenecks too. Even Sek-Thul seems to have been caught off guard. When the steam and fire fade, no one is left in the room, and Daniel sinks in exhaustion.

Now it's Malek's turn, and as the group gathers around the well, which seems to have withstood the flames, Malek throws up an impressive shield that expands like a bubble, blocking the entrances and then growing dark and opaque, giving Ashley enough time to enact the ritual that will open the portal. Once the words are spoken and blood is spilled into the well, the stone arch glows bright white and the group walks together through the gate.

There is vertigo and unconsciousness.

When they wake, they seem to be on a very pleasant slope of green hillside, oak trees, flowers, etc. The ocean lies away below them and a belt of deep forest lies upslope, with a cloud shrouded mountain beyond. The sun is bright and the wind is refreshing.They also find that all of them have been bereft of their enchantments, curses and powers. Rhapsody is naked, non-furry, and non-prego, Daniel and Malek have no magic to call, Sherri feels a lack of divine power though of course her faith remains undiminished, and Connel is a corpse. The real, dead, inanimate kind. Ashley and Paddy seem unchanged, though neither had any particular enchantments to begin with. Their weapons and gear all remain, though it seems that any magic they carried is also gone. And the guns don't function.

Of particular importance to Daniel is a "finding" of the lost memories from his time with Adelita in the pocket dimension. He suddenly remembers everything, including his love for Adelita. It's a heavy moment.

With hopes that their enchantments will be returned to them when they leave, the group decides the best thing to do with Connel is build a stone cairn around his body to prevent the animals from getting to it.  With no other course presented, they decide to head toward the forest and mountain beyond, all sensing that their goal might lie in that direction.

When they get to the forest edge, it looks even more dark and daunting up close. There's an overgrown path skirting the edge, and with this albeit lesser sign of others, they decide to follow it, choosing the right path. The walk is a long one. Long enough to notice that the sun seems to be spinning around the isle instead of sinking or rising. When they find a decrepit bridge over a small stream they decide to take a break. While drinking from the stream, Daniel notices a shape at the edge of the forest. It turns out to be a huge tiger. The beast runs back into the undergrowth before he can get a closer look.

Further on, the party is hungry and tired when they find themselves walking through an overgrown farm field. Over some thick hedges they see the roof of a thatched hut. Making their way through the hedge they find a deserted farmhouse of ancient make, along with several stone outbuildings. Though the dwelling looks long abandoned, they do find a plate with fresh fruit inside. Between that, more fruit from a nearby tree, and some eggs provided by a few free-range chickens, they eat. Inexplicably, it seems to be growing dark, so the group decides to sleep in the cottage.

During the night, Malek hears a rustling and thumping coming from the barn. Waking Sheri, he decides to go check it out. Sword in hand he enters the barn and is ambushed by a dark form. The creature tries its best to strangle him with superhuman strength, and very nearly succeeds before a mysterious horseman crashes into the barn and startles the creature off. Before it departs, Malek gets a good look at a shriveled undead horror that somehow reminds him of Connel.

The horseman introduces himself as Thomas. He is quite obviously of Sidhe heritage, with a heroic build and long blonde hair. Once inside the cottage again, eating the dead chicken the undead thing left, the group learns that Thomas has been in the Mother's realm for a year or more by his reckoning, but his archaic speech leads them to ask what year he entered. They are alarmed to learn that he came through the portal in the year 1199. Thomas has been searching for the Mother unsucessfully in all that time.

He tells them the mountain beyond the forest is peaked by a massive white keep, also deserted. Other travellers have come to the isle and all have "set aside their enchantments" upon entering. By this and what they have seen, the group realizes that their magical natures are present on the isle, in separate form. The tiger Daniel saw is most likely Rhapsody's beast, and the shriveled creature is Connel's undead other half. Thomas tells them that sorcerers magic is often embodied in a thing or creature. For instance, Thomas saw his magic once in the form of a silver salmon. He is unsure what happens when you reunite with your magic, but he assumes you are expelled from the isle, and hasn't tried to catch his salmon as a result.

Other travellers have come and gone in the time Thomas has been on the isle. There is only the one entrance that the group used, but there are many exits that appear and disappear on the beaches with the tides. A few other seekers have remained on the isle. One such is a wild woman named Kathryn, who wanders the woods and is responsible for leaving the plate of fruit.

The group decides to travel to the keep on the mountain, hoping to find some clue that will allow them to find the Mother even though Thomas couldn't. Thomas agrees to lead them.

Four days of travel are made easier by Thomas's hunting skills. While in the forest, they are visited by the wild woman, Kathryn. When they warn her of the tiger, she decides to accompany them, though she seems skittish and none too sane. Once on the lower slopes of the mountain, the group finally exchanges stories with Thomas. They give him a run down of their quest, and why they are seeking the Mother, to awaken the Atlantean Oracle and defeat the Balial Gods. In return Thomas tells them of his quest to find a cure for his love, who was poisoned by an Unseelie sorcerer and then placed into a magical stasis by his own Seelie lord. Knowing how long he has been away, he has no idea if his love still lives, but is afraid to return without finding the cure.

Kathryn has become very agitated once out of the forest. Several times Sheri sees her playing with a collection of stones and "treasures" from her wanderings. Once she notices a stone that glows at Kathryns touch.

The second day on the mountain, Malek and Rhapsody spy a group of turtlenecks following them. The group appears to be lead by Sek-Thul, who apparently didn't perish in Daniel's fire. Not wanting a "Thank you Dr. Jones." moment at the keep, they plan an ambush to take care of the Fomor. All is set up well, and the turtlenecks would have certainly been crushed in the rockslide the group had prepared, except Kathryn ruins it all by shouting a warning at the last moment. Together they manage to kill two of the Fomor before Sek-thul calls a retreat and the rest run away. Kathryn is severely agitated by the violence, and looks horrified at the group's behavior. It is only with great reluctance that she stays with group.

They haven't seen the Fomor again upon reaching the keep. It is enormous and deserted. Dry and desolate with huge white walls and bare stone. Giant golden doors lie in the road at it's entrance. Though they try to get her to go in, Kathryn refuses. Once inside, the group crosses a bridge over a green pond. In the water, Thomas spies his salmon, but walks on. Inside the great hall, they find nothing but an empty dias and a set of stone stairs leading to rooms above. At the end of the hallway upstairs, the group finds the remains of sleeping chamber. After careful searching, Malek finds a hidden door. With everyone's help, the door is pushed open. Inside, they find a massive black cauldron they all take to be the Dagda's.

Shortly thereafter they hear Sek-Thul's voice from the great hall below. "Come down and face me. I have your woman and will kill her unless you do!"

Friday, February 24, 2012

SESSION 52 "The King of Tory Island"

After another boat ride, with a far better ending, the group docks on the one pier of Tory Island. They immediately see some turtlenecks lounging around the dock. Everybody remains cool and collected as they travel up the path to the biggest building on the little island, the Tory Island Lodge and Public House. The turtlenecks follow.

Inside, the group makes themselves at home at a corner table in the pub. An old man and a younger man are playing some trad music on an accordion and fiddle. Different turtlenecks are at the bar. There’s some suspicion that the old man might be the contact that Madden informed them of, Padraig, but no one is saying anything to overtly with the turtlenecks hanging about.

Some quiet discussion is made about what to do next. The plans range from subtle to bloody, but in the end the group decides to play it cool until they know what kind of force the Fomor have on the island. When the turtlenecks get up and walk out, the party makes it move. Rhaps and Malek veil and follow the turtlenecks while the rest of the group starts up a conversation with Paddy, who after verification from Ashley, reveals himself to be their contact in fact.

While the group goes to Paddy’s house, Rhaps and Malek use a magic stethoscope from Malek’s bag to listen in on the two turtlenecks who went upstairs. A two-way radio conversation reveals that there is a larger group below the cliffs on the north side of the island. Finding the group gone when they return to the pub, Rhaps has little difficulty following their scent back to Paddy’s house.

Paddy informs the group that there is a secret entrance to the caves below the island and the entrance to the Mother’s realm. He also tells them that there are extensive ruins beneath the island, likely of Fomor make. Since his house will no doubt be watched, they come up with an all-night party as a ruse. The young fiddler, Daniel, offers to get some instruments from the pub. With the curtains pulled tight and the radio turned up loud, he will try his best to make it look like everyone is still inside having a good time. Meanwhile the party will veil up and be led to the cliff entrance by Paddy.

After a narrow and difficult descent to the sea caves, the group finds the way guarded by more turtlenecks, including a seven foot monster of a dude who would need a heck of lot more than a high collar to hide his fishyness. With some of Malek’s water magic they are able to slip past the guard and make their way into the bowels of the island.

Several times in their progress they have to avoid patrols of turtlenecks with lights, ropes and exploration gear. The ruins are obviously ancient, and once must have been grand, if otherworldly. Daniel’s veil holds. A commotion in the tunnels ahead reveals the center of Fomor activity, a large vaulted chamber with a carved well at its center, and an arch carved into the stone at one end. Not only are there over thirty Fomor present, with another dozen coming or going at any given time, but the Fomor sorcerer, Sek-Thul is overseeing the search from the chamber. Of course a nod from Paddy reveals that this is the entrance to the Dagda’s Chamber….

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Session 51 "A Three Hour Tour"

Ashley had taken two bullets during the shoot out with the redcaps and is down.  Connell takes over ‘driving’ the ship.  Rhapsody works on bailing out water and sees the albatross to have Connell steer that way.  Connell sees a steady flashing light.  He turns the boat towards the light and the engine sputters out.

Sheri ties a rope to Rhapsody who goes out to the front of the boat to check out the compartments and finds 2 gallons of oil.  She takes it back towards the engine.  Sheri, with a charged prayer to the maker(s) gets the oil in and manages to get the engine started again.  They ride the waves onto a beach.  Gathering everyone, they go to the light and find a house with a shed.  The group goes into the shed and look around.

Malak, Rhapsody and Connell contribute blood for a ritual to heal up Madden.  Daniel works on getting the bullet in Ashley’s hip out.  It’s not the prettiest of extractions, but Daniel is sure he got all the pieces of metal.

Rhapsody heads towards the house, after getting dressed.  Daniel suggests that Sheri go with Rhapsody.  They knock on the door.  An older gentleman by the name of John Mallister greets them with a shotgun.  He invites them in and looks at everyone curiously.  Mallister goes to bed after allowing the group to get to his pantry.

Sheri Sights the girl, who has gone to sleep after all the excitement.  She can see that the girl is gifted.   The girl has been inscribed with ritual markings.  Malak and Daniel look over the markings.  Malak calls up Chandler, his mentor (known by another particular wizard as "Steed") and explains  a bit of the situation.  Chandler will see what he can do.

Daniel decides to try and make a blanket veil to put on Madden so they keep him magically hidden.   Madden  is sewn up as if in a bundling sack.

The girl, Courtney, wakes up and Malak gives her a teddy bear.  She last remembers being in Dublin.  They pile into John’s Land Rover and head to the southern part of the island towards Peel Castle.  It takes 2 hours and they are dropped off at the castle.

Malak opens up a portal to the Never-never.  The surroundings aren’t that different.  They see a landing craft and someone waving at them.  The group heads over and meets with Captain Bardin, a sidhe pirate-looking bloke.   It’s a three hour trip on a classic age of sail ship through Nevernever waters and they get to the Isle of Eire.  They are let off in a village and step back through , winding up in a small village pub.

They go to a decent hotel and spend time tending to Madden till he awakens.  Madden directs them to Tory Island and to a cave on the west side.  They are to speak to a man named Padraig, the King of Tory Island.

The group arrives in the little town of Bunbeg, the harbor to get to Tory Island.  They take a fishing boat to the Island.

Session 50 "A Ferry full of Faeries"

Everyone gets on the boat. An albatross takes to the air and acts as the guide. Malak works on a spell to make the stormy seas a bit calmer, but it only works around their craft. A half hour out, the albatross glides back towards the ship, lands, and after some teasing about Madden being in a well, the peeved bird flies off and vanishes. The boat goes through a veil and the ferry suddenly appears in front of the group.

They study the boat and pull their craft around to the back end of the boat. There are pads and some ladders near an automobile ramp.

Rhapsody goes kitty form and, with a rope, leaps out and climbs up the bumpers. She ties off the line and Daniel goes next up the rope. Sheri also manages to get up the boat. Connell leaps and almost misses, but struggles his way back up, pulling something in his arm in the process, not that it matters within the next few moments due to his healing abilities.

Rhapsody climbs up the ladder and peeks at the parking lot, seeing that it holds a few cars. The others join her and Daniel creates a veil to cloak everyone for 15 minutes.

They move up into the covered area, along the paths marked by arrows into a hallway. They see a figure standing there; a guy in a leather jacket, jeans, boots and carrying a shotgun and he does have a red hat on his head. Rhapsody points out that if time is an issue. They sneak by across the hall from the redcap. He doesn’t even notice a thing.

They look at the emergency exit plan map, study it, and then head up a set of stairs and see sliding doors, leading to a lounge. There are three figures hanging at the bar, with red hats and weaponry. They slip through the manual doors, not noticed by the redcaps.

They go around to the right and see a set of stairs that go up into a large cafeteria. As they go past the kitchen area, they hear voices speaking in American English, though they couldn’t hear exactly what was being said. They find the arcade and the theatre with an audience of redcaps, but no Madden. There is a close call with a redcap returning to the movie after using the bathroom. They head back to the kitchen.

A figure, carrying a tray comes through, making the group back up. He is wearing a black turtleneck sweater and has a shoulder rig with pistols, and BDU pants. Rhapsody smells the ocean and a scent that’s heavily fishy on him as he walks by. As they follow towards the upper decks.
Daniel says that his veil is about to go down.

Rhapsody follows fishy guy as the others hide in a nearby closet. He goes up another set of stairs and goes though another door into a rather utilitarian cabin section. He goes to a door with redcap guard. Rhapsody goes half way up the corridor to see if she can hear anything.

The guy comes out and mentions something about she will not eat.
Rhapsody goes back to the others to let them know what she saw. Daniel, having rested some, does his veil again. The group goes outside to look for stairs for the bridge. Rhapsody smells above the storm and the ozone, a rotting stench like a carcass. She looks around and spots a figure, a bird of some sort, perched on eaves above the deck, 30 feet up, the size of a small person.

It seems like it’s crouching and has an air of watchfulness about it. It hops towards the group a wee bit and seems to be looking towards them.
The group heads back and the thing heads down and lands on the railing.
It has the head and shoulders of a human woman... a harpy.

The group fans out a little, Rhapsody away from them to flank the harpy.
Rhapsody attacks with the sword she grabbed from Loknash and hits. Sheri follows up with a slash with her kukri. The harpy takes to the air and because of its punctured lung among the large slash wounds, it falls over the side of the deck, plummeting into the ocean.

A second harpy swoops in and attacks Connell. She slams into him, knocking him over the railing. Rhapsody catches Connell’s coat and Connell manages to reach out and grab hold of the tigress’ arm. She swings the detective back onto the ship. Daniel tries to zap the harpy, tagging it and breaking its wing. With the fractured wing, it slams into the ferry, scrabbles and falls into the ocean.

Rhapsody starts to go to the stairs that presumably to go the bridge, pauses as Daniel resets his veil. They hear people coming and spread out as turtlenecks go up. Rhapsody overhears a conversation between a woman and a male. They have what they want from Madden and the woman owes favor to whomever the man is representing. The group spreads out again as they hear people coming towards they door. They see a tall man exit,
7 feet in height, sunken features, long face and solid black eyes.. He and his entourage walk on by the veiled group.

The group follows and peek as the group leaves the lounge. There is a thud and the harpy has returned. It opens the door and screeches in alarm, but doesn’t appear to have seen the veiled party. The party heads towards a door and they follow the hall and then go down the stairs. As they move along the hall, they hear a faint groan. They follow the hall, check doors and as the hall turns, Rhapsody smells Madden. Rhapsody opens the locked door, Buffy-style, and they see Madden strapped to a table, urchins at his biceps and his torso covered in cuts.

Daniel works on freeing him, noting the sigils on the straps are for some thaumaturgic ritual. Connell picks him up and Madden passes out in pain. Where the urchins were, they can see there is no skin and the muscles and veins are exposed. Madden is wrapped up in a tarp to keep from creating a blood trail that can be used to follow the party and they carry him towards the aft section. Rhapsody hears the approach of a patrol from the elevator they had bypassed near the stairs. There is a cry of alarm as the group enters a different section of the ship.

Making their way back towards their entry point, the group goes into the other lounge. About halfway through, there is loud boom and the lights go out. Rhapsody is the only one that can see. Daniel makes a light to keep under the veil and Rhapsody leads the way. They find their way to where the girl was being held and hear screams.

One of the guys in the turtlenecks comes out with a girl, about 8 years old, squirming and thrashing in his arms. He is flanked by two redcaps.
They turn and head away from the group. Connell hands off Madden to Daniel, who readies arcane power in case he needs to use it. Otherwise, the wizard maintains the veil. Rhapsody comes up behind the turtleneck, grabs his head and snaps his neck. Sheri comes behind a redcap and takes it out. Connell kills the other one.

The little girl screams and tries to run away from the big tiger. Sheri picks up the girl and calms her down a little as Connell picks up the Madden-burrito again. They head back and Sheri tries to contact Ashley via telepathy, as does Daniel via magic.

As they head towards their boat, they hear gunfire. Near the ladder they came up, 5 redcaps are firing at Ashley. Rhapsody summons 4 tigers to go and distract the fae as they run to leap out, Daniel to work his mojo to guide the group to the boat using magic to have the buffeting winds cushion their fall.