Darkened Thresholds - Gemstones

Game Master D_Var_Stars

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Male Human Hard Case | Harm: 0/7 | Luck: 6/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp: 1 | Tough: 2 | Weird: 0 | Experience: 1/5

Zeke nods gratefully as Amelia uses her magic to help the girl's shoulder, glancing behind at the others. Charly's collapsed form makes him wince, and he shifts his weight as though to go help her--but first he works with what he's doing right now, and lends his strength to helping Dovie with the water bucket.

Honestly meant to do this before, but somehow it slipped through the cracks--I thought I'd already done it.

2d6 ⇒ (5, 3) = 8 I could see this being a couple of things so you can apply a modifier as fits.

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

With Charly passing out, the steady rain starts to slow. The blood and lights spread with the muddy puddle. The circle flickers a few more times, a couple of the gaps widen further.

The girl looks again at Amelia with confusion. Holding onto the rope, she gestures with her fingers to Amelia's wounds. "I'm not going to argue, but don't you have enough of yourself to 'strengthen'?" At Amelia's skilled magic, much of the damaged arm muscles repaired - for now at least - though the scar remained.

Pulling at the rope again with much greater ease, the girl was confused and asked, glancing to Zeke, but mainly asking Amelia, "Not complaining, but wouldn't grabbing the bucket or rope have been easier for you? You even hurt like this would be stronger than I've ever been and magicy-whatever seems to make you guys tired... with a glance towards Charly as she pulls the full bucket up onto the wall ledge. The shade on the well toddles over and looks inside curiously, splashing at it a bit with one hand. To Amelia and Zeke, the water looks absolutely vile. Floating rusty bits and an odd filthy tint & smell.

The girl reaches her hands in and brings water out in cupped hands - the water in her hands is sparkling clear. "Not sure about my understanding, but from what I've seen, there used to be an altar there, people... survivors used to make offerings to ones like these to get wisdom or heal. When the circle used to go down before, something would show up there for a little bit - like that shadow but sometimes other shapes as well. Things or people that used to be there. Power that broke or maybe held back or something when that creature was put there. Water libations are all I can do but, maybe, while the beast is down, it will bring some of it back? Maybe clear that away..." she said uncertainly.

She takes a deep breath and takes the water over to the plinth. At the first pouring, more objects appear in shadows on the wide bumpy surface around the pattern that had been lain there. On the second, the small objects turned into candles - a variety of them in different shapes and sizes and colours. On the third, the larger shadow formed a statue - one Amelia and Charly recognized as similar to their vision, and somewhat to how the girl was earlier: a woman sitting on the plinth, looking up for something.

On the fourth, Charly's clouds darkened and started to grow and move over all of where the circle had been and a sparkling cool rain began - and the lights and blood started going up, away from the earth, what remained of the circle of light began to dim except for where what remains of beast still lies. A few curious animals start being visible at the edge of the clearing, and a few more shades as well.

The water the girl has poured and all flown into a low point in front of the statue. A couple of shades appear near the plinth, almost seeming to be mimicking her by bringing the sparkling rain water over in their small hands and pressing it against the sides of the plinth while others seem to be dancing around in the rain. The girl stood paused in front of the statue. She looked like she was trying to find words or answers or something.

Almost finished, just need to clean things up and leave the forest, further information on events is possible, but if characters prefer to move on, that part is really optional.

Male Human Hard Case | Harm: 0/7 | Luck: 6/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp: 1 | Tough: 2 | Weird: 0 | Experience: 1/5

I as a player am certainly interested in hearing more about this place and what happened here. Zeke, however, is more concerned with one of us currently being in a bad way.

Zeke shrugs at Dovie as she comments on hauling the bucket. "I'm sure we could've done it, if we knew we were supposed to. Maybe telling us about that sort of thing would have helped." He seems more resigned than actually bothered, though, and distracted as well. As soon as it's clear the girl has the water in hand, Zeke practically sprints over to Charly, sliding to a stop alongside her and looking over her wounds.

"Damn, you know how to take a beating," he mutters, giving what he hopes is a reassuring grin. Charly might be passed out, but the big man seems to be operating on the assumption she can still hear him. "I know you bloodsuckers are tough, but I've never seen one throw lightning, either. Color me impressed." He strips off his jacket and shirt and deftly cuts the floral Hawaiian print into bandages, pressing them to her wounds and binding where he can.

Once he's finished, he sighs and dons his jacket, sheathing his knife once more. "It'll do for now. Like I said, we've got the good stuff back at the truck. Need a lift?" Unless the woman protests, he scoops her up into a fireman carry, balanced on his shoulder with obvious care and practice. "Jerry, grab my shotgun?"

Sharp +1 | Tough +2 | Luck 6/7 | Exp. 1/5 | Harm 7/7 | Unstable? N

Jerry has been warily hovering around the scar in the ground where the beast was. He snorts in agreement at Zeke's comment about Dovie communicating better.

At Zeke's request, he grabs the other man's weapon, but stops before walking off.

"Wait, is this what we wanted? I know the kids in town were coming out here on their own, but once they were here, something kept them here for days and weeks. There's nothing out here for them, now, right? The disappearances are going to stop, right?"

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

"I was uncertain as to whether this was a task you alone could do, and thus it seemed simplest to make certain you could do it alone." Amelia explained simply. She didn't mention it had been a good excuse to heal the wounded arm. She doubted the young woman would appreciate the explanation. Amelia wasn't sure if it was permanent - that might require a full ritual - but it wasn't going to hurt to have it work for now.

Amelia sighed. "Alas, getleman, I bring dire tidings. It was the blood of this...thing...that began whatever has happened here. Removing it will ne needed, I think, to stop it from beggining anew." She began to pick up loose sticks and such for firewood. "I think a pyew shall be the simplest end to this, and once it is done I think no more children shall be brought here to be harmed."

Female Vampire/Demigoddess Luck: 5/7 | Harm: 3/7| XP: 2/5 | Holds:

Charly stirs as Zeke applies the bandages and looks up at the man with bleary eyes. She doesn't protest being carried, though she does mumble something that is lost on the wind. After a moment, she tries to speak again, this time more slowly and clearly.

"Th-thanks," she mutters through chattering teeth. "I... I don't think I can walk right now."

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

The girl nodded to Amelia's explanation, not entirely confident of it, but seemed convinced by the logic that it was a possible explanation, before answering Zeke, "I was asking why she used magic since, compared to pulling on a rope, it looks like it has a high cost to it, it just seemed a lot riskier for no reason...do you really think I'm so horrible that I knew everything to do and was just not telling or care if any of you helped with my nonsense water idea with all this going on?" gesturing to Charly with concern before wincing, reaching to touch one of the bloody wounds on her own face.

She examined the blood on her hand and snorted before giving a resigned sigh, looking down as shades ran past playfully. "It's not like that matters. Whatever you think, I've been told worse. I've no idea what will happen now, I've had no certain idea since you guys caused the lights to come into the sanctuary circle. Hopefully, you're all correct and those lights won't come back and no one will have to hide from them again, and the little ones will be happier without those reminders. Seems you're done if the sanctuary circles people hide out in were what you wanted to get rid of, so just follow your route back downhill. Once down far enough there will be more lights before it gets to the steep part...

Rubbing the blood off on her jeans, glancing up the dark red lights and blood rising, the girl returned to the water bucket on the well. The shade that had been splashing it before was taking a drink as the girl approached. She watched the shade with consideration before she starts talking, "She seems to be removing the blood, so just the body left...can't leave it and probably shouldn't bury it so shall we try more water for the altar to see if that makes something happen or should I see if I've still got that lighter for her pyre idea? Will need wood, water and some dirt before trying that...no, I don't need a drink now, thank you. Maybe...maybe later...". She drops her bag next to her and continues talking to the shades like everyone else is all already gone...

Male Human Hard Case | Harm: 0/7 | Luck: 6/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp: 1 | Tough: 2 | Weird: 0 | Experience: 1/5

Zeke shrugs at the young girl. "I don't think you're horrible. Just a bit tight-lipped around grown-ups." He glances around the clearing. "Of course, looking at what you're used to, I don't blame you."

When Charly looks at him, Zeke offers her a broad smile, and pauses to listen to her strained words. "That's alright," he whispers back, heading down the path. "You did plenty back there. I can walk for two."

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

"No need for this lighter device, I have enough light to see with as it is." Amelia said cheerfully as she stacked her firewood by the corpse, making sure the flames should reach the blood - with luck - and stood back to light it with magic. "As Zeke mentions, I doubt any would blame you for doubting us. This place is a tragedy between the young and the old and that thing hunted for more, and thus you. Hopefully that can be resolved more permanently."

Sighing tiredly, and aching, Amelia tried to focus her will to ignite the wood.

Use Magic: 2d6 + 2 ⇒ (2, 3) + 2 = 7

The fire ignited, although it was a little sickly and pathetic to start. "Not a lightning bolt, but that creature knocked seven bells from me. It shall do." She glanced at the girl. "You mentioned a 'she' just now. Do you speak of the statue, or the forest, or another?"

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

As Amelia piles firewood, she finds the remaining light around the corpse still has a bit of stinging burn to it though nothing compared to how it was before. The fire is a bit weak and will take a while to burn the whole monstrosity, but it will do.

The girl seemed a bit surprised anyone else is still there, and just shakes her head with a snort at Zeke and Amelia's comments. Watching Amelia magic up fire, she reaches into a bag. The shade looks over curiously and after a bit of digging, the girl pulls out a very scratched up Zippo lighter. Flicking it on with what was possibly too much-practiced ease for a 15-year-old, the flame a big larger than it probably should have been, "Seems like you might want to get one if you keep getting knocked around looking for the causes of missing people...store at the bottom of the hill sells them - to adults that aren't under the influence of anything, gotta big sign over the display, can't miss it." with a look that her lighter still seemed far more sensible than the magic Amelia kept using before closing the lighter.

Looking over the once-shadow statue, "Well, looks like a woman to me and pouring water on her altar started the blood and lights going up so seems like she's doing it. She appeared sometimes before just after the circle disappeared so I kinda thought she took it down. I don't think forests have a sex...and I can't really tell with them". pointing to the shade who is reaching out for what is in the girls' hand. "Yeah, no, not happening. I only have this one and with my luck, you'll drop it in the well." as she started packing it away.

Still dealing with things in her bag, the girls says, "I can deal with the fire if you want to get her out of here. The shop at the bottom is nearly open all hours and they sell all sorts. Might be loud outside at this time of night, and if you see a white van with a blue stripe might be best to wait until she leaves, but the rest are okay enough to not cause you further trouble..."

Sharp +1 | Tough +2 | Luck 6/7 | Exp. 1/5 | Harm 7/7 | Unstable? N

"What about you? Do you have a place to go? That's not the forest."

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

Amelia stared at the 'lighter' for a moment in fascination. "Alas, my funds are limited." It was annoying not being able to change the gold coins she had for the strange bank bonds that seemed to pass for money in this age, but she suspected that not knowing the exchange rate would...unwise.

"If I can aid you from your situation, then I shall. Although I fear my own legal position is somewhat...unconventional."

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

The girl chuckled awkwardly at Jerry's kind question, "After that nightmare fuel, not even I'm messed up enough to try camping out here. No, my father's house is a bit past the hospital north of here. If I take the canal path then I should be able to get there without anyone else having to see my face like this...don't think he'd be too happy to have to come back from a business trip again because I came out of the same woods bloody and someone called for an ambulance. Might want to help bundle her away if you go beyond the shop at the bottom so no one calls, not sure how hospitals would treat her..." with a glance to Zeke and Charly.

Amelia and Charly:
Having been to the hospital, Amelia and Charly know it's about 4 miles from here on the opposite side of the town. At best guess, it would likely take her over an hour in her current state with the large bag to walk.

Watching the fire from where she squatted next to her bag, she took a moment to respond to Amelia, "I guess finding missing people doesn't pay that well. The only thing that's going to 'aid my situation' is surviving long enough to get my qualifications and be able to get away from here. Don't think even your magic can speed that up..."

The weak fire burned fine. Occasionally a big crackling pop sounded, but nothing out of the usual for this very odd campfire. The flesh slowly burned away, charred bones became more and more visible as the moments passed. The girl crinkled her nose at the less than pleasant smell. The remaining light dimmed and more of the animals have came out. More shades seem to go past as well, dozens ran and danced in and out of the clearing that it was hard to count them...

Giggling was heard on the light breeze going through, with music being played somewhere in the distance. The girl waited by the well near the bucket as the creature finished burning...

Happy to finish up with cleaning up and everyone leaving the forest if there isn't anything else anyone wants to do here...

Female Vampire/Demigoddess Luck: 5/7 | Harm: 3/7| XP: 2/5 | Holds:

"H-hey," Charly calls out to the girl, though she can't get much volume behind the word. "Do you know how to drive a stick shift?"

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

Amelia looked confused again. "I thought you had an automobile, rather than a broom?" Shaking her head at the oddities of this time. "And slaying such things came at a respectable rate. £150 or more a year. Alas, most of my money is from my time. And therefore solid gold or silver." Amelia shrugged. "Paper currency was uncommonly used, and metal more acceptable in foreign parts."

Sharp +1 | Tough +2 | Luck 6/7 | Exp. 1/5 | Harm 7/7 | Unstable? N

"We could probably get some of today's currency by exchanging them at a pawn shop. Maybe find a collector of some sort."

I'm ready to move on, D_Var_Stars.

Male Human Hard Case | Harm: 0/7 | Luck: 6/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp: 1 | Tough: 2 | Weird: 0 | Experience: 1/5

"Just look for the sign that says 'We Buy Gold' and hope you don't get ripped off," Zeke chuckles, already in a fine mood that's getting better as he turns to look back at the others. The corpse is burning, the clearing is looking more normal by the minute, and Charly's condition seems a bit better than he first feared. "Maybe only sell them off a couple at a time, though. Unless you want to try eBay." He shrugs one shoulder, careful not to shake Charly.

"And I can drive stick. How about we give you a lift home, kid?"
Also fine to move on here.

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

Amelia made a face. "I know of pawn brokers - those who pray on people's fear of the poor house to offer a pittance in return for whatever they have of worth. Are they truly the sort to have tuck with in this day?"

Pausing, she sighed. "Perhaps, once I do have some of this eras money, I should buy a new thesaurus. What is an ebay? Are you suggesting I invest in trade ships?"

Ready when everyone else is.

Female Vampire/Demigoddess Luck: 5/7 | Harm: 3/7| XP: 2/5 | Holds:

"Right pocket, keys are in there," Charly murmurs, "look for the old pickup."

She turns to Dovie and gives the young girl a weak smile.

"Least we could do is give you a ride home. No sense in wearing yourself out if you don't have to."

Same here.

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

The girl struggled to follow some of the conversation. She was used to weird adults she didn't understand, but that was before zappy magic at all, let alone made someone pass out and having someone who seemed to hate pawnbrokers - which was fair enough, not trusting people as far as her left arm could throw them was the girl's way of life - but also thought ebay was about ships. Between that, the shades, the animals, and the slowing fire, it was hard for her to keep track, so she spent a few moments focused on untying the rope from the bucket and glancing over to the shade on the well who was patting a dove that had landed there. The shade seemed to be making tiny toddler-like giggles and coos which the girl corrects a couple of times with her more accurate calls.

At the offers of a ride, the girl looked wary -- and still trying to figure out what had been said and why. "Guess this is next...don't want their forest to burn too, not now..." she said, as she grabbed the bucket and with a few steps and lingering glance up at what little remained of the light, she tossed water onto the fire. The girl jumped back at the loud hissing and popping happened as the fire died out and the remaining charred bone burst apart, the tiny fragments started to rise with what little bit of the blood and lights remained. The girl watched with mixed emotions as the last traces of the beast disappeared and the light finally entirely faded to dark.

After a few moments, in the tiny light by the half moon above, the girl looked into the bucket and scooped out a little remaining water. She took it to the altar and said something, too quietly for any of the tired adults to overhear. Quietly, purposefully, she returned to the well, tied back up the bucket, grabbed her bag, took a deep breath, and walked out through the path in the trees that everyone else had walked through before. She didn't check if anyone was following.

The journey down the forest hill was uneventful for all, though dark and uneven. The farther down the hill, the louder the music got, and the less often anyone spotted an animal or shade. As hill got steeper, just as the girl had earlier described, artificial light helped make the way easier to see for everyone. A few could be seen in the distance to one side on a path, but most were ahead from the road ahead. The road everyone had crossed to get into the forest.

As everyone got closer, it was clearer that the loud music was coming from car stereos though an odd whistle sounded now and then that the girl - who continued being tight-lipped - seemed to look around each time. It was also easier to see through the trees that the road by the canal that had been mostly empty earlier was now filled with old cars and some young adults. The truck was sitting right where it had been, skewed parking and all. It seemed this mostly abandoned lot was a popular hangout at night. None of them paid the forest or canal any notice and don't seem to pay much attention to the cars that are pulling into the parking lot of the small shop at the end of the road either. Getting past them didn't seem very difficult.

The girl hung back along with the shadows of the trees. She peeked out, nodding slowly like she was ticking off faces and vehicles. The whistle sounded out, and the girl looked around for a few moments before she finally took another deep breath and spoke quietly -- she seemed just as much talking to herself or the trees than anyone who remained, "Before, most people crossed the canal or out of the forest lines and...something was left behind. The older they are, the more and faster they forget. Now, who knows. Either way, the little ones remember too, like the forest, in their way." she shrugged and went quiet as she watched the people for a few more moments while listening to anything anyone else had to say...


The whistle came again and the girl once again made the accurate dove call. The whistle right after - from someone sitting on the hood of an SUV sitting parked a bit more neatly behind the pickup. A young man that looked vaguely familiar to Amelia and Charly. The girl walked the treeline until she was standing across from him and made her bird call again and, with a lingering glance up first, she stepped out into edge the canal, one hand still on a tree.

"It's not my business, but I'm not buying that they let you out and then your grandmother let you come out here, Ryan. I think you're parked almost in the same place too..."

"'bout to give up, you know. I owe you, but after checking your dad's place, Kryssa's...what the...what the hell happened to your face, your...? No, let me guess, you're breathing so it's no one's business... Let's get before my nan does figure out I'm not getting copies of homework. Are you sure you're okay?"

The girl chuckled as she stepped away from the tree with a shrug, "I've survived worse, nothing food and a shower won't fix. Maybe a nap. Don't worry about me..." she said as she crossed the canal over to the SUV, turning to stand so her bloody face was towards the forest.

"You make that real hard, Danica Beag."

"Ooooo, good thing you haven't figured out my middle names too, or I'd really be in trouble, Ryan Calden McCorret. Putting this in the back..." she shrugs off the bag onto one shoulder. It was noticeable that Danica still looked around nervously as she had what sounded like a casual conversation.

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

Well, names did have power - and it was nice to finally learn 'Dovies' real one. Amelia was reasonably sure she had mentioned her name.

It was a shame the boy didn't seem to be someone she could trust, but then she didn't seem to trust much. "I am glad you have your own methods to traverse the town, Miss Baeg." Amelia nodded slightly and smiled to her. "Since you are able to fend for yourself, I shall take my leave. Although perhaps I shall return anon, once my own situation is more stable."

She looked over at the others. "How are farewells done in this day and age?" she asked softly.

Sharp +1 | Tough +2 | Luck 6/7 | Exp. 1/5 | Harm 7/7 | Unstable? N

"I think you did all right," Jerry juts his chin at Dovie's back once the Hunters were out of earshot of the young adults. He turns back to address Amelia and Dot, indicating Charly. "But we need to find a place for her to heal up. And before the three of you say goodbye, I think we should talk, all of us."

Jerry suggests that Zeke drive Charly in her vehicle, and Amelia and Dot or both can ride with him.

Or is Dot not coming back?

Female Vampire/Demigoddess Luck: 5/7 | Harm: 3/7| XP: 2/5 | Holds:

I think it's until further notice, maybe? I'd have to go back and look.

Charly manages to walk on her own from the edge of the forest to the vehicles. She honestly just wants to go to sleep, but Jerry's words reminder her that she probably wasn't going to be getting any rest for a little while, at least not until they were back on the road.

"I rented a room at the motel. Should have a little privacy there," she tells the others.

Male Human Hard Case | Harm: 0/7 | Luck: 6/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp: 1 | Tough: 2 | Weird: 0 | Experience: 1/5

Zeke nods as Amelia says her farewell, and gives his own by clapping a hand--gingerly--on Dovie's shoulder. "Try and get into other trouble." He grins and gives her a thumbs-up before heading with the others toward their cars.

"Resting up a bit is good. And I agree, we should chat. But you sure you don't want to see a real doctor? I'm told my bedside isn't the best." He shrugs and jingles the keys Charly directed him to earlier. "Your call either way."

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

Ryan was confused as Amelia and Zeke came out of the forest to talk but didn't ask questions. Curious, but either didn't want to with strange unknown adults or didn't expect Danica to answer.

At Zeke's remark, Danica snickered with a nod, before nodding to Amelia, Jerry, and Charly. Ryan just responded with already resigned sigh, "She doesn't need more encouragement on that..." as he opened the door. Danica gave a shrug and then a small wave with one last lingering look to the forest before walking around and hopped into the passenger seat. Within moments, the pair were gone.

Zeke and Jerry remember the hotels that they had seen near the highway entrance to the town. Maybe information on reliable out of hours help could be found on the way...

And that concludes the first Gemstones story! Thank you all, that took a few twists I hadn't planned when we started. Before starting the next one, GMJon and I are intending to move one or two people between tables if anyone would like to volunteer to be tribute/considered. The next story on Gemstones will be more typical shooty-monster story searching abandoned ruins, GMJon I think is also doing less ruined historical building investigations.

Female Vampire/Demigoddess Luck: 5/7 | Harm: 3/7| XP: 2/5 | Holds:

I'm game for staying or moving. Looking forward to more either way.

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

The hydro-electric dam project had been in the typical news reports on and off for months. Dry-and-dull progress reports, typical delays and protests, politicians dodging talk of overspends and damage and enjoying the limelight soundbites.

The latest story wasn't the kind that was going to end up in that kind of news report.

The music on the late night station faded as Karen Louise's voice came on, "Hope you are enjoying these recent dry breezes after those weeks of rain. It seemed that on-going drizzle was not enough to help one of the river paths near the town of Aboite has been altered for the on-going dam project. Reports from one is that the falling water levels has revealed some old buildings including a rather impressive but rather worse for wear large structure some are saying looks like temple. From this "temple" are where many of the concerning stories of groaning and sightings of wandering ghosts marked with odd marks. As the warnings against exploring the area while the dam works are underway have obviously been ignored to get these reports with a few questions of the wellbeing of some who went out there, it does raise the questions what benefits and risks such properties and the stories coming from them will bring and if enough is being done to keep the area safe. Hopefully good news will come soon like a clear night sky and this lovely song..."

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

Amelia stared at the little box and its speaking were always strange. She had been told the general idea, that it was effective a telegram that allowed words to be transmitted, but it still felt like something akin to magic.

Still, she could deal with magic.

Hauntings were rather more difficult to deal with. An angry spirit would do a lot of harm, if left be, and she could think of no better reason to be angry that have your home flooded for a dam. Assuming that was why these strange old buildings had appeared now, of course.

It was too easy to imagine someone simply too stubborn to leave there family home, full of memories, and an uncaring company diverting the water anyway...

When the message came across the radio about the place, Amelia called in some favours - that is, she went and knocked on doors, still too unfamiliar with the 'phone' she had bought even if she followed the ritual of 'charging' - to get a lift to the location so she could begin to look into the matter.

Now she stood by the river bank, looking at the recessing waters and wondering if this was what the river should have been before humanities interference with nature. "I do fear that we may Wellington boots for this case," she said with a sigh.

Male Human Hard Case | Harm: 0/7 | Luck: 6/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp: 1 | Tough: 2 | Weird: 0 | Experience: 1/5

Zeke doesn't hear the radio transmission when it airs--instead, he hears the tinny chimes of pop drifting through the convenience store, and the hum of fluorescent lights and a weenie oven. After what most might consider far too long a time to choose your CheezyDog™, he uses the provided tongs, plops it in a container, and heads to the coolers for a bottled water. He hears the chime of the door opening, and a startled yelp from the teen who was working the register.

Stepping around the corner, he sees a man in a bandana and sunglasses, pointing a gun sideways at the clerk. With a sigh, Zeke walks up and the man turns to him, waving the pistol. "Hey, how's 'bout you stand back unless you want some, huh?"

"Your safety's on," Zeke says, nodding at the gun. The man grunts and looks at it, and in that moment the water bottle drops to the floor. A moment later, there's a satisfying crunch as the robber's nose breaks under Zeke's fist. He shouts and drops the pistol, and Zeke sets his sausage on the counter. With a muffled "Hup," he lifts the man by collar and belt, raising him to shoulder level before dropping him heavily back to the linoleum floor. Kicking the gun away, he snags his water bottle back and grabs his weenie from the counter, with a lopsided grin to the clerk. "You should have it from here, kid, I don't think he's getting up too soon. Grab the gun, call the cops, be a hero for a day." He steps over the semi-conscious bandit and pauses as the door chimes on his way out. "I think my food's on him."

That excitement over, the real surprise comes when Zeke rounds the corner to his rented motel room and sees Amelia knocking on his door. "Hey, magic lady!" he says, stuffing the last of the hot dog in his mouth. A brief catch-up later, he nods and hands her the water bottle, about half-empty, as he pulls his phone from a pocket. "We've really got to get you up to the times. I don't suppose saying 'I'll get us an Uber' means anything to you?"


At the riverbank, Zeke laughs and shakes the driver's hand before jogging over to Amelia, staring down at the dry bed and shrugging. "Could also go barefoot, I guess. I didn't bring my trunks, though, did you?"

Charm -1 Cool +1 Sharp 0 Tough +2 Weird +1 Harm ●○○|○○○○ Unstable ○

After the business with the nest of ghouls and the hotel fire, Androleteira -- slash -- Jessica Andrews had gone back to Gina's Diner, the first place she'd been in Mutton County. She didn't want to risk falling into an employment situation with Captain Rose and her organization, since there were rules against her kind engaging in those sorts of contracts. She couldn't explain it, but somehow she just knew.

Instead, she let Gina's situation dictate her next action. She'd sensed it the first moment she met -- the waitress had scrimped and saved an amount of money to fund her dreams of life on the coast. But she fell for a smooth-talking man who swept her off her feet and cleaned out her accounts. The pain, hurt and betrayal sang to Androleteira, stirring an overwhelming desire to repay the man in kind. It terrified Jessica, but she couldn't deny the sense of completeness she feels when acting upon those desires.

She had struck up a conversation with Gina, after she showed up at the diner. Though she tried to stay away from the subject, like some sort of inexorable whirlpool, the conversation circled around and eventually arrived at the topic that Jessica had instinctively known about. Gina shared the story of her boyfriend who took her life savings and skipped town, and Jessica had a name: Manifred ("call me 'Manny'") Grissom.

Jessica hung around the diner for a day, not buying anything (she didn't have any money, but it was fine since she hadn't needed to eat since she became what she was). She mainly wandered around outside in the parking lot avoiding the stares of the truckers and promising Gina that she had someplace to go (she did; she just didn t know where it was yet).

The sun had set when she finally gets her break. A trucker had left his cell phone on his table when he got up to use the restroom. She surreptitiously snatched it up and used it to access his social media accounts. Given her ability to shunt objects off into the same otherspace where her sword goes, she would be a master shoplifters but for one major problem: she can only displace objects she owns. Not stolen, not borrowed, not loaned. Owned. And without the ability to work for money, her number of possessions were startlingly few.

Fortunately, however, she didn't need to own this trucker's phone in order to use it. Her prior life's skills at navigating social media sites hadn't atrophied, so she quickly found a Manny Grissom here in Mutton County in a town called Aboite. She started walking.

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

Amelia looked down at her boots, and the river. "Muddy feet are easier to clean the soiled boots are to replace, it is true." Not what one would consider an ideal, but...

"Still, perhaps things will be drier nearer the source of the problems." She started trudging along towards the exposed area.

Charm -1 Cool +1 Sharp 0 Tough +2 Weird +1 Harm ●○○|○○○○ Unstable ○

It's not him.

The Manny Grissom here in Aboite was a scrawny twenty-something who worked in a convenience store. Too young to sweep a waitress pushing forty off her feet, and likely not one to clean someone out then take a dead-end job in a small town on the other side of the county.

Jessica had chatted with him briefly, striking up a conversation about the assortment of energy drinks in the store, then allowed him to awkwardly flirt with her. She pulled out the information she needed to conclude he wasn't the Manny Grissom she was looking for while they chatted. She let him tend the counter when a couple more customers entered and hung in the back.

She was just about to leave when one of the new arrivals tried to rob the store, only to be violently stopped by the other. It was over in seconds, and she didn't think either had noticed that she was even there.

She decides to leave the store right after the hero.

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

From where they had been dropped off, a road next to what was the riverside path, it was quite muddy from the recent rain but the drop in water levels were noticeable and the river looked more like a sligtly large stream at this point.

The road continued on away from the river into a small cluster of houses and a smaller row of shops. It was a fairly new build looking area, people looking to get out of the city and near nature, but liked having a solid road going through for commuting and most basic amenities close to hand. The muddy river path went the other direction, the slow-moving remains of the river moving down the rocky hillside.

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

Nodding to her companion, Amelia gestured to the path the headed for town. "It would seem a wise idea to speak to the local people about the problems they are having. More information cannot be underestimated when facing the oddities out there."

Male Human Hard Case | Harm: 0/7 | Luck: 6/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp: 1 | Tough: 2 | Weird: 0 | Experience: 1/5

Zeke nods and falls into step alongside Amelia, still surveying the riverbed and the path. "Yeah, asking the locals is usually a good start. Rumors and hearsay, and from there you figure out the rest. At least, that's what I usually do." Zeke shrugs and walks toward one of the shops. "What's your usual method? You've got, what, a couple hundred years' experience on me, if we get technical."

Sharp +1 | Tough +2 | Luck 6/7 | Exp. 1/5 | Harm 7/7 | Unstable? N

Jerry has spent the past few days being very hard on himself. He had a vamp in his sights, one that was obviously out of control, but he'd been talked into not taking her down. Or maybe he'd talked himself into it. He's not sure.

He knows that monsters are monsters, but sometimes people that turn into monsters are still also people. You should cut those latter kind some slack when you can. But still. Vampire.

"I'm sorry, pal," he found himself mumbling every time he turned this worry over in his head.

Bourbon and beer didn't help him solve this problem either.

He was grateful when he heard Zeke's voicemail cluing him into what was going on with the river and the dam. Out here, in a rural area like this, he'd be upset if his home were flooded, also. It's no wonder that he hasn't seen--Oh. Of course. There she is.

Jerry's unremarkable pick-up slowed down to match Jessica's gait as she walked alongside the road. He came to a stop when she did.

"Been a while," is all he says and then invites her to get into the cab with a nod at the passenger side door.

Charm -1 Cool +1 Sharp 0 Tough +2 Weird +1 Harm ●○○|○○○○ Unstable ○

The convenience store hero had walked to a motel across the street, causing Jessica to pause before following him any further. He spoke with some woman outside, clearly the two having some sort of relationship.

Nothing particularly called to her in that man or the woman except a general sense of unease. With a sigh, she turned around and started walking the other way, back towards the diner. Maybe she'll pick up Manny's trail, to quiet that side of her that is still screaming for retribution.

An old pickup truck rolls up, matching her pace. In her old life, such instances would have had her hurrying her pace and pretending to talk on the phone while secretly dialing 911 with her thumb over the "send" button. Now, the fury in her quivered in anticipation -- the closest thing it knew to joy.

She turns her head, hoping that this truck driver was truly a good Samaritan for his sake. Her eyes widen when she recognizes him.

"Yes, Summoner. I mean, Jerry." It was him. The man who had pulled her back into this world.

She opens the door and gets in.

Sharp +1 | Tough +2 | Luck 6/7 | Exp. 1/5 | Harm 7/7 | Unstable? N

They ride along in silence for a minute until Jerry takes a deep breath and focuses himself on the job ahead. He explains about the diverted river and the revealed town.

"...so there's been rumor's of ghosts or something for anyone who goes exploring. Not much more detail than that."

He falls back into silence. Awkward silence.

"So. Uh, revenge anybody, lately?"

Charm -1 Cool +1 Sharp 0 Tough +2 Weird +1 Harm ●○○|○○○○ Unstable ○

Jessica stays silent, staring straight ahead while Jerry tells her about the uncovered ruins. It seemed interesting; something that would have piqued her curiosity in her old life, though she wouldn't have had the gumption to go exploring in them.

Jerry Harris Jr. wrote:
"So. Uh, revenge anybody, lately?"

Jessica winces. "Uh, I'm kinda on a mission now. It's, um, stupid, really. And I don't know what I'll do when I find him." She turns her head away from him and stares out the window, avoiding his eyes. She didn't want to look at him, to see his expression as he wonders if he'd made a mistake unbinding her. He took a huge risk letting an angel of vengeance loose upon the world, trusting that she'd... what? Use her powers for good?

"Maybe... I could come with? Check out those ghosts with you?" She turns back toward him partway, peeking through her bangs. "I mean, it's got to be better than chasing down some two-bit con artist who swindled a waitress out of her life savings, right?"

Sharp +1 | Tough +2 | Luck 6/7 | Exp. 1/5 | Harm 7/7 | Unstable? N

"I thought the river was why you were here."

Jerry falls silent until they reach where Zeke told him he and Amelia would be.

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

The row of shop had a wide sidewalk that had several people walking past this afternoon. There was a general clothes store, a coffee shop, an ice cream parlour, a tech shop selling new and second-hand goods, an eco-goods store, and a restaurant advertising hot wings.

The coffee shop has a few tables outside, one is currently empty though piled high with the remains of the last guests.

Sharp +1 | Tough +2 | Luck 6/7 | Exp. 1/5 | Harm 7/7 | Unstable? N

A tech shop? How long ago was this town flooded? I thought we were along the riverbed.

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

This town is new build alongside what was once the river. The area that was flooded and now draining is downhill from here alongside the now trickle-of-a-river, and that area was flooded well before any modern inhabitants.

Charm -1 Cool +1 Sharp 0 Tough +2 Weird +1 Harm ●○○|○○○○ Unstable ○

Jessica frowns at the thought of being called to the river ruins. She hadn't even known about it. But out of all the Manny Grissoms in the world, she chose to come after the one in Aboite. Which incidentally put her in close proximity to this mystery.

She shudders at the thought of the possible forces that could be manipulating her. She would've scoffed at such thoughts before, but now she's thrust into this crazy world, bound by rules she barely knows much less understands.

"I... wasn't originally. But hey, it's either a crazy coincidence that I'm here... or it's not. Either way, can I come?"

Male Human Hard Case | Harm: 0/7 | Luck: 6/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp: 1 | Tough: 2 | Weird: 0 | Experience: 1/5

Zeke glances up and down the row of shops and nods at them, turning to Amelia. "Which one you want to try first? Coffee shops are usually good for chatter, at least some types of people."

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

Amelia nodded, but made a face at the mention of coffee. "Then let us try. I suppose it is not that different from the public houses or opiate houses in my time."

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

The coffee shop was much like many Zeke would be familiar with - mostly tables and chairs with a few couches, gentle music, staff in aprons. Most of the menu of hot drinks and light sandwiches was on large boards over the counters, though there were full paper versions that were easy to spot. A small selection of baked goods and small bottles of chilled drinks, including a few alcoholic beverages from what appeared to be small independent breweries could be seen in the display as a sign advertising a new range of flavoured syrups to add to drinks.

Amelia noticed it was far cleaner than most in her time, with no signs of smoke, opiates, people on the floor, or loud bawdy "discussions". Most people were keeping to themselves, most on electronic devices and wearing headphones, though there were a few pairs or small groups in conversations and a small group that appeared to be playing cards on one of the bigger tables near the back by the sign for restrooms.

The Exile | Harm: 5/7 | Luck: 7/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp:1 | Tough: 1 | Weird: 2| Armour: 2 | Experience: 0/5 |

Amelia focused on the food. It was one of the great improvements on her age - food worth eating, available in dozens of locations even in a small town. And food that would at least fill the stomach in many more.

And surely they would stand out if they didn't make a purchase, right?

Heading over, she read down the list for a moment before selecting a slice of black forest gateaux and a lemonade. At least she had some idea what they were.

Male Human Hard Case | Harm: 0/7 | Luck: 6/7 | Status: OK | Charm: -1 | Cool: 1 | Sharp: 1 | Tough: 2 | Weird: 0 | Experience: 1/5

Zeke gets in line with Amelia, and orders a coffee with cream. As he hands over a few bills, he nods over his shoulder, vaguely in the direction of the outside world and the riverbed. "Noticed your water's drying up. Not much rain lately, huh? Heard anything about what they found in the river?"

Manipulate Someone: 2d6 - 1 ⇒ (1, 6) - 1 = 6

Mixed Humanoid Commoner 34y GM-Player-Writer-Babbler.

Yay experience

The young employee looked a bit tired and seemed not to try very hard to hide his lack of interest in what Zeke had said while preparing the drinks and cake, "It's been drizzling on and off for weeks."

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