Hard Times in the Big Easy

Vault Hunters
Valentine, The Dick that he is, Kidnapped 12 kids on a bus. And informed Alandria, Jack, and Nevarres of this, and that if they didn’t do anything to apprehend them, they would most surely be dead, or undead. Valentine kindly told Jack where he was keeping the kids, in a abandoned strip mall, out on the outskirts of town, and Jack relaid the information to Alandria and Nev. Nevarres spent a little time researching the place and narrowed down some key area where they might be keeping the kids. Choice one was a big vault in the U.S.A drug. So Alandria and Jack went to the Nevernever to prepare to raid this place. Well the time rolled around, and Nevarres stealthily infiltrated the perimeter.

And Jack and Alandria Opened up a huge hole from the Nevernever RIGHT in front of the strip mall, and charged in guns blazing. Alandrai made some clones to help spread confusion. Jacks pups also tagged along for training. Well, after some hexing, and bashing, and flash grenades. The party made it to the interior of the strip mall. Jack and Alandria where having a swell time, Nevarres on the other hand, not so much. He got lucky and ran into FOUR Leopard warriors. Nevarres managed to hold there attention for long enough, without getting his ass kicked to hard, until Jacks pups arrived as backup(more like front line).

Jack and Alandria found the Vault, and Alandrai used her magic to burn a hole in the Vault door, only to have a landmine go off on the other side. Luckily she wasn’t to badly hurt, seeing as how the door blocked most of it. No kids on the inside on the upside.

By this time, the Baddies had started to retreat. Nevarres quickly followed them to find where they were going, while Alandria and Jack hung back to try and find the kids.

Well, Jack and Alandria found the kids, unfortunately it was too late for 1 of them.

Nevarres returned shortly after and reported to Jack that he had tracked the remaining Valentine force back to Valentines headquarters right there in New Orleans.
So now the three get ready to go take down Valentine himself, and put a stop to his evil doings.

Ackbar would be most disappointed
It was, in fact, a trap.

Following the attack on Rose Weaver, Alandria, Jack, and Nevarres all had mourning to do. Nevarres had lost someone who had, in her own crazy way, loved him over the centuries. Alandria cared for Jack’s pack nearly as much as he did, and Jack … well, he not only lost something that was much like a son to him, he had to kill it a second time, personally.

But, there is no rest for the wicked. While they mourned, Giovanni was hunting members of the local Paranet to draw them out. So Jack only took a few days to bottle up his problems and pretend they didn’t exist before getting back to work. He and Alandria discussed their next move, and came to the conclusion that Roane would be their next target. He had started the chain of events that got them involved with Giovanni and in turn led to Albert’s death, he had a habit of attracting ridiculous amounts of trouble to town, and he was just generally a tool. Jack also saw an advantage in claiming him alive, and delivering him to Mistralis as a gift to curry favor with her, and by extension (hopefully) the Redcaps at court.

With the decision made, Alandria made the call, arranged a meeting, and off they went.

The meeting was supposed to go down at Lake Ponchartrain, at approximately Ten o’ Clock that same night. Jack and Alandria prepared a bonfire so that they could be found easily, and settled in to wait, with Jack under a veil in case of trouble, on Roane.

He showed up on time, but there was a problem: For starters, he immediately demanded to know who Alandria was, and where his daughter was. Secondly, Jack noticed that he was in horrible condition, beaten, bruised, bloody, and missing fingers. Alandria insisted, repeatedly, that she was his daughter … until suddenly blood blossomed from her. Then a shot rang out, across the lake. Only now did Jack spot Giovanni, hunting rifle in hand, taking aim at them.

When Alandria went down, Roane moved to act as if he caught her, conjuring up a glamour in Alandria’s image that he pretended to protect. Meanwhile, Alandria was struggling toward the water, so Jack did the only ‘reasonable’ thing and tried to hurl her into it. … He didn’t quite get her all the way there.

At that point, Nevarres, who happened to be walking the beach, collecting his thoughts, heard the gunshots, and hurried to the bonfire to investigate. When he saw what was going down, he used his air magic to fling up a plume of water at Giovanni, shorting out his scope, then proceeded to create a small sandstorm around Jack and Roane, while Jack tried to drag Roane away.

Everything was going reasonably peachy, given the circumstances, until Roane started beeping, then shoved Jack away. Jack, correctly assuming the worst, didn’t make any effort to resist and rolled away from Roane, hitting the deck just as the nail bomb hidden on him went off, splattering the beach with pieces of Alandria’s father, and riddling Jack with nails. On the upside, without the wounded fairie dragging him down, Jack managed to get away without getting shot any more, and after a lot of work, managed to hail a cab to his Storage Unit/Armory and hole up until he could contact Alandria, who he was sure had jumped to the Nevernever as soon as she got underwater and was probably recuperating right that very moment.

While all that went on, Alandria managed to get herself the rest of the way into the water, and revert to the seal shape Selkies are known to use, then swim over to Giovanni’s yacht to take him on by herself.

She managed to knock him into the water without getting any more hurt, and after a brief underwater struggle, was forced to simply force him away and retreat to her Demense.

While he waited, Jack contacted Junior, and gave him the full rundown on the Furia still alive and operating in Bumfuckville, Arkansas. He also offered him a deal: In exchange for some of JackSr.‘s silver blades, he would teach Junior how to use the power built into them. They are, in fact, Warden Swords, capable of dispelling magic (or removing heads) with relative ease. Junior eventually agreed to discuss matters further if Jack wasn’t dead by the end of the week.

After hanging up on Junior, Jack received a call from Nevarres, and received the first indication he had that Nevarres had been helping earlier. Jack had assumed Giovanni had a sorcerer attempting to hamper him. Jack laid out what he had decided for the next step in his revenge plan, taking out Constantine, Rose’s boss, and very likely an ally of Valentine’s via Rose. And general problem for the city. He still had nightmares about some of the stuff in that basement. He asked Nevarres to find Gideon, then settled in to wait on Alandria.

Nevarres searched for Gideon, ultimately finding him during daylight hours, back at Lake Ponchartrain, pouring bleach on the blood and bits lying around. He (poorly) explained what Jack wanted, and secured a meeting with the creature.

Eventually, late in the day, Alandria returned Jack’s call, and they agreed to meet at Neutral Grounds so Jack could return to her Demense. Outside his storage unit, Jack could sense … soemthing. Something warm. And he knew, just knew, that if he fed it to the Kemmlerite blade he’d named Secerator, it would do what it could to restore the damage he’d suffered from the nails and steel bullets. The warmth turned out to be the storage units’ manager, who greeted Jack warmly and asked if he was there to pay up.

Maybe it was the stress he was under. Maybe it was further influence from the blade. Maybe it’s that Jack just didn’t have the damn money. Maybe it was all three or none of those. Whatever the reason, Jack fed the blade. He ran it through the man’s back, withering him to a shriveled husk, and tossed him into his storage unit. On the upside, his body was fully healed. On the downside … Jack needed a drink, bad. And despite temptation, he didn’t murder the man at the liquor store either.

After Jack and Alandria met up, Jack asked her, one more time, to join the Autumn Court. As his vassal. … Yeah, she laughed in his face. Jack went on to explain that after this whole Giovanni incident was done, he intended to make New Orleans more officialy the Autumn Court’s stronghold in the mortal world, to bring the dangerous supernatural elements to heel. And he needed someone to watch over the city for him, because he simply couldn’t always be focused on New Orleans. He had a great big Nevernever to worry about, and the Erlking could have him go anywhere, at any time. Ultimately, after he rephrased the offer as ‘Liutenant’, Alandria agreed.

Despite lacking the gift they had hoped for, the pair went to court. Jack had Keeland Sully and the goblin general Ceebok summoned. Keeland arrived first, and Jack asked for his assistance in getting the Autumn Court involved in the Vampire War, as a way of getting sponsored to the Antarctic Treaty. Keeland advised him that the best way was to get the reds to make a high profile attack on a location under the Erlking’s protection. Eventually, Alandria had to explain to Jack that he meant Jack should take up residence at Crescent City Tower and wait on another attack. Jack thanked Keeland politely, and in exchanged for the advice, Alandria agreed to give Keeland some degree of access to her Paranet connections.

When Ceebok arrived, Jack laid out what he wanted from him: Soldiers and spies. He wanted to make a hit on the reds with as much assistance and information as he could get. Ceebok said he could get a dozen or so men for such an attack, and put his son, Peter Jameson to look into Giovanni’s subordinates. Jack gifted him a necklace of gold and silver teeth that Alandria had claimed from Giovanni’s safe deposit box, much to Ceebok’s pleasure. He wasn’t even interested in the potential power of it, he just thought it made a bitchin’ bracelet.

Another one bites the dust.

Giovanni Valentine
Rose Weaver
Roane Assface McDouche-nozzle
Viktor Constantine

Scry and Fry

After the death of Albert Cardinael, Jack and Alandria decided that it was time to take a less reactive stance to trouble in their town. So the two hatched a plan, and began working on its implementation:

Alandria spent the better part of two days studying the magic items that she managed to steal from Giovanni, most notable among them being a book by the Dread Necromancer Kemmler. She also took a brief trip to the mortal world to collect a rain barrel full of holy water from Father Max Massey at St. Louis Cathedral, in preparation for their planned attack.

While Alandria was doing research, Jack was doing hard work: He was struggling to contain the loose energy from the destroyed Kemmlerite artifact within one of his blades, in hopes of creating a weapon powerful enough to give him a necessary upper hand in their attack. He succeeded, far better than he realized at the time, and the resulting blade fairly hummed (actually, shrieked) with the dark energies contained within. Afterward, he took a brief trip to his home to check his messages (Juniorhad finally gotten back to him), and give Nevarres a call, asking him to do some research into R.C. Holdings and Giovanni.

While he was doing so, however, he was visited by an upleasant surprise: A knock at his door revealed Three elite red court infected, shotguns at the ready, looking for his blood. A vicious fight ensued, the highlights of which include a broken Scapula on Jack’s part (the same arm he had dislocated, too), one of the infected using his downed comrade as a weapon, and Jack setting fire to his home with incendiary shells, then shoving the white-hot barrel of the shotgun into an enemy’s crotch.

Jack opted not to take time to recuperate before heading back out to meet Nevarres and discuss his findings. After a fair bit of internal debate, he opted to bring Nevarres in on his and Alandria’s plan, and invited him to come back to Alandria’s Demesne to discuss it.

The plan was thus: While Giovanni had performed the hit, it was ultimately Rose Weaver who had pushed him to do it with faulty information. She was also grade A trouble, and unlikely to be expecting them to take a shot at her, given their past pattern of handling things. Plus, Jack wanted to kill Giovanni’s allies before hitting him, because his one life simply wasn’t anywhere near worth Albert’s.

With target chosen, the method would be both simple and complicated: Basically, jump into her office through the nevernever and jump her. The complicated part came in the execution: They needed to get a piece of Alandria’s Demense there to act as a beacon for her to do so. While they had a number of ideas in place for how to do this, the simplest way would be to have Nevarres take it to her in the normal course of his duties as a messenger / boy toy.

Despite great reluctance, Nevarres ultimately agreed to help them gain access to Rose’s office, but refused to take any further part. Jack accepted this as good enough, and casually informed Nevarres that were he to betray them, he had best ensure that they never, ever see him again.

Thankfully, that wasn’t an issue. He delivered the beacon, in the form of a coffee receipt, in good faith. Alandria opened her way, and Rose was not caught quite as off-guard as they had hoped. She managed to erect a wall of thorns over the portal that prevented Jack from rushing through, forcing Alandria to clear the way with conjured acid. In the interim, Rose had taken a demonic form that strongly resembled a dryad, covered in a barklike skin and possessed of wicked, branch-like claws.

Alandria wrapped her in holy water, effectively binding her down so that Jack could dash in and run her through with his Kemmlerite blade. The mix of holy and decidedly unholy energy destroyed the holding spell, but Rose was wounded horribly. Alandria’s next attempt to attack, with the remainder of the holy water, was foiled by Rose seizing on Jack’s horribly mangled arm and using him as a human shield.

And then the puppies arrived. Jack’s pack came plowing through Alandria’s portal, having literally chewed their way through the walls of her Demense to get to him, and tore at Rose, their inexpert attacks only serving to distract her. Jack attempted to split his attention between calling them off for their own safety, and attacking Rose, and only barely managed the former before Rose simply erupted, showering the entire room with massive thorns.

Richter, Jack’s biggest, meanest, and favoritest pup, threw himself in front of Jack. A thorn the length of Jack’s arm pinned him to Jack’s chest, directly over his heart … and through the pup’s.

Jack was overcome by a pure, rightous furty such as he had never known before or since. He let out an bestial scream, and hurled himself at the Denarian, caution to the wind, all thought of protecting himself gone, risking everything on a single stroke of the horrible Kemmlerite blade.

He hacked her from hip to shoulder, and left a rapidly disintigrating ruin behind. Halfway through her chest, the blade struck metal, and her coin went flying out, landing inches away from one of his wounded pups. Jack all but flung himself on the coin to protect his pets children from the corruptive influence, and pocketed the coin posthaste.

What followed was something of an anticlimax: Jack and Alandria hurried to haul the wounded pups and Richter’s body through the portal before security could arrive. Beyond the portal, he simply collapsed with his pups, quietly crying and holding Richter. And then the pup stirred, and turned lifeless, undead eyes on its master. Somehow, likely due to the power of the blade he carried, he had raised Richter’s body. To this day, I am still unsure which is worse: The death of Richter or his accidental raising. Jack quietly shut the obedient zombie away until he had the emotional fortitude to deal with it, and went on to comfort his still-living brood.

In the end, most of the pups came out alright, thanks to faerie healing and toughness, but the battle cost Trevor an eye. Despite attempts to convince him, he still will not consent to wearing an eyepatch. Jack delivered Rose’s coin to the Erlking, at long, long last delivering on a promise made before he even became a knight. The Erlking was quite pleased, and praised Jack highly. He restored Jack’s body, healing his wounded arm and horribly embarassing tattoo, and Jack finally earned some measure of respect among his court.

One down, three to go.

Giovanni Valentine
Rose Weaver
Roane Douche-Nozzle
Viktor Constantine

Boom, headshot!
In which shit gets real.

When last we left off, Jack and Jacob were waiting outside a bank while Nevarres and Alandria were inside, posing as a Red Court vampire and his assistant, searching through safe deposit boxes for a Kemmlerite artifact. And the Vampire had just shown up on the scene. In broad daylight.

Jack’s immediate reaction was to smear some faerie ointment on his eyes, giving him a better capacity for seeing through glamours, in hopes of it being Roane in disguise, looking to pull his heist at the same time they did. Jack knew immediately the old ointment was still good, because it left his skin all tingly where it rubbed it in.

Unfortunately, it didn’t matter, because there was no glamour. It was Giovanni Valentine himself. This was bad news for all kinds of reasons, most prominently being that if he could hide from the sun under a flesh mask, he had to be very powerful. That ability was generally only available to Red Court nobility, or people shortly about to become nobility. Roane was a wimp, this guy clearly wouldn’t be.

Jack and Jacob followed behind Giovanni, and after receiving a suspicious greeting from the security guard inside, deflected (some) suspicion by asking where to go in order to open a checking account. He then proceeded to harass a poor teller about every possible little thing about every step of the account-opening process in order to stay near Giovanni without arousing (more) suspicion.

Giovanni spent a brief time arguing with the bank manager, producing identification, and pointing out that he never brought an assistant with him, before finally being taken back to the vault to confront his doppleganger.

Back in the vault, Nevarres and Alandria were unaware of the trouble incoming, and continued to search through boxes. Alandria pocketed a few particularly potent items, and used her magical senses to pick out the strongest source of magic in the still-unopened boxes. Once they got it open, they artifact was found: The staff was nowhere to be seen, but the skull atop it still remained. Alandria had just pocketed this as well when Giovanni appeared to confront them.

Far from being (outwardly) angry, Giovanni seemed mildly, very mildly, impressed with their con, and was willing to let them go alive, and even potentially hire them in the future, if they replaced the items and left peacefully. Instead, they decided to cut and run. Alandria told Nevarres to get Jack, then hurried to open a portal to her demesne, while Nevarres tried to divert his attention by tackling him.

It worked. Giovanni focued his full attention on Nevarres … and backhanded him clear out of the bank, through the front windows, directly into an oncoming vehicle. On the upside, the vehicle hadn’t been going all that fast. Nevarres decided that the best course of action was to steal the car from the old lady driving it.

Inside, Alandria managed to get through her portal, and despite Giovanni’s efforts to haul her back, got it closed behind her. Unfortunately, neither Jack nor Jacob were aware of this. They both showed up almost immediately after she disappeared.

Giovanni, upon spotting them, wondered aloud if one of them would be the ‘Jack’ Alandria had referred to. Being the sort of person he is, Jack immediately assumed a challenging posture and informed him that he was, in fact, Jack, and demanded that he ‘bring it.’

Well, he tried to anyway. Halfway through, Giovanni dealt a crushing blow to the young man that should have wounded even the tough knight terribly. Instead, it met with the stonelike solidity of Jack’s enchanted shirt… which wasn’t at all how he had intended it to work. In fact, while it protected him from the blow, now it left him unable to move properly.

Or, at lest, it would have kept a lesser man from moving properly. While Jacob laid a holy touch on the back of Giovanni’s neck, burning him rather painfully, and caught an offhanded blow for his trouble, Jack cracked the shirt off through sheer upper body strength and dealt Giovanni a blow to the face with all the impact of a mortar round behind it, destroying another of his enchanted items. The blow flung the vampire across the room and shredded the face off of his flesh mask. At this point, the pair decided to bug out, with Jack helping Jacob along, careful of his freshly dislocated shoulder.

Then Giovanni threw a bench at their heads. A large bench. A large steel bench. That Jack opted to throw himself into the path of. The young knight caught a dislocated shoulder of his own for the trouble, and popped a few stitches to boot. The two stumbled outside to find Nevarres pulling around in his stolen car, and they all hobbled in as a safety deposit box came flying out, to be met by Nevarres’ blade, literally split in half with a single stroke.

Then Nevarres hopped back in his stolen car and drove off. And the police decided to follow.

Jack and Alandria had a barely-coherent phone conversation in the back of Nevarres’ car before, thoroughly frustrated with the irritating Selkie, Jack hung up on her after she suggested letting themselves be arrested so she could break them out of jail. Jacob, with much apology, took one of Jack’s guns and, eyes closed, blew out all of the pursuing police’s tires, giving them a chance to get away.

Once they had gotten a good lead on the cops, it was decided between Nevarres and Jack that they needed to shuffle off the mortal coil for a bit to dodge the police, so Nevarres cut them a way into the Nevernever.

And directly into about two feet of snow. It didn’t take much brainpower (thankfully) to figure out that they had landed in Winter Court territory. The trio trudged along, Jack and Jacob doing their best to support one another while Nevarres led, until confronted by four wolves of winter, big, nasty, dangerous wolves that promptly surrounded the trio. Nevarres attempted to open a way out of the nevernever, only to have it immediately freeze over and close, tipping Jack off to a greater power leading the wolves.

That greater power was [insert name here], Duchess of Louisiana. After a few polite insults, the Sidhe woman offered her hospitality to the weary trio, and, to the great surprise of GM and fellow players alike, Jack graciously, even politely, accepted. And had the temerity to warn Jacob and Nevarres to be polite and non-threatening.

The three were led, without incident, to the Duchess’ home, a lovely plantation-style mansion, complete with servants … all frozen where they stood, in the middle of their chores. That aside though, it really was quite lovely, and surprisingly warm inside. The trio were all shown to a room where they could clean and bandage themselves up, and left entirely unmolested during their stay. Once they had patched themselves up and had a chance to catch their breaths, Jack returned to the Duchess to take his leave, and was granted yet another boon: A guide through the treacherous nevernever, as far as the shores of Lake Ponchartrain.

Unbeknownst to them, Jack and Nevarres had paid quite dearly for their succor, leaving behind a fair bit of blood in the winter Sidhe’s home.

From Lake Ponchartrain, Jack was able to lead the pair to Alandria’s Demense, where they were confronted with yet another challenge: It sat on an island, well away from shore, and none of them were in any condition to be swimming. After yelling and hoping for the best, they instead attracted something a bit less pleasant: The Devourer of All made his appearance, and made them the ‘kind’ offer of escort. In his mouth. Jack and Nevarres hastily declined, and eventually managed to convince him to simply ferry them across on his fins, in exchange for cows from Alandria.

In the meantime, Alandria had taken Jack’s pack, and led them off to seek him out … so they were left standing at the door watching The Devourer of All attempt to convince Higgins to let allow the Fomor to eat him. Upon her return, Jack, Jacob, and Nevarres availed themselves of her facilities and took a little time to recuperate further. Meanwhile, Alandria decided to see if she could destroy the Kemmlerite artifact, and offered it to the Devourer of All, claiming that Jack had said he couldn’t eat it. It took a bit of prodding, but eventually the powerful Fomor decided to prove he was up to the task.

The artifact exploded, and blew his head clean off. The explosion drew everybody present to examine the situation. As they came out, Alandria’s Demesne began to show signs of deterioration, caused by the necromantic energy that the destroyed artifact had loosed. At much the same time, the Devourer’s body began to show signs of regeneration, a trait not common to normal Fomor. Jack immediately suggested they either kill the body properly (and called his pups to fully dispose of the corpse) or kick the body back into the water to regenerate on its own or hopefully die, if its regeneration was fueled by the necromantic energy.

Alandria chose to have Higgins carry him off further into the water, and everyone returned to their recuperations while she worked on fixing up the damage to her Demense. It wasn’t until a while later that she realized that Higgins hadn’t returned, and her initial attempt to call him back was foiled. She tried again a second time, and managed to haul him back … with his hands terribly mangled, as if they had been pulled through too-small shackles. The Devourer had recovered enough to regain consciousness, and he was pissed. He had taken Higgins prisoner to demand an apology from Alandria. And by taking him back wtihout apologizing, she had very likely only angered him worse.

The next day, Nevarres was called to Rose‘s office at work. Once there, he had the misfortune to come face to face with Giovanni Valentine once again, chatting amiably with his unholy lover. When asked about the bank, Nevarres played ignorant, and Rose didn’t rat him out … oh no. Instead, she gave Giovanni information on the two who had attacked him, informing him that the brash youth was almost certainly Jack Belmont, and the holy man was likely … Albert Cardinael. As soon as he was dismissed, Nevarres gave Alandria a call, and gave her the heads up that she and Jack were potentially in danger of retribution from Giovanni. And, seemingly as an afterthought, he mentioned Albert.

Alandria brought the call to a quick end, and immediately called Albert to give him warning. Mid-way through the call, she heard a gunshot, a thump, and silence.

Playing Catchup

Much has happened between the previous post and this one, and that will have to be lost to the mists of time, because we will be picking up much closer to the present:

Shortly after getting the new guy in town, a man of faith by the name of Jacob, to his house for protection, Jack was called to violently called to court by the Erlking, bodily hauled across the room by his collar until he put a dent in his living room wall, right next to the one an oversized voodoo zombie made on his first visit.

At court, Jack was given a letter, the Erlking’s offer for an Kemmlerite artifact that Roane was attempting to sell, and explicit instructions that, should Roane reject their offer, he was still expected to get it from him.

Back in the real world, Nevarres was given a similar letter to deliver to Roane with an offer of her own.

Jack returned home to find Jacob gone, and his dogs hiding under his bed. After questioning them, Jack was given the impression that the pups had tried to defend Jacob, but he had chosen to leave voluntarily. He gave Alandria and Nevarres a heads up on the situation, all of them expressing frustration at the man’s behavior. Attempts to track the car by its leaking power steering fluid led Jack to the freeway, where an ass attempted to swerve into him and the pups. The fool missed, but Jack made note of him. Oh yes, he made note.

While Jack was tracking, Alandria and Nevarres tried to find out information on Jacob and his former congregation, and managed to turn up that he had been accused of child molestation, among other things, not too terribly long after a new pastor appeared. Further digging turned up a name for this man, whom Jacob had said less than kind things about: He was part of a white court family that had been believed wiped out: The Furia. They, rather appropriately, preferred to feed on anger or rage. Alandria alone managed to turn up a particularly key piece of information: The church had recently purchased property in New Orleans.

Jack made arrangements to meet with Roane, and delivered the Erlking’s offer. He made a side deal with him as well, cleverly hidden among a slew of not-so-veiled insults: He traded a lifetime pass to the Playboy Mansion, still in his possession since the Denarius auction, in exchange for information on the other bidders.

Jack met up with Nevarres to discuss things, and happened to spot the truck that attempted to run him and his pups down. He instructed Nevarres to take out its tires, and without hesitation, Nevarres leapt to obey. Jack followed as fast as he could to find a large black man holding at shotgun on Nevarres, demanding to know why he attacked his truck. On seeing Jack, he turned the gun on him and demanded he stop. Jack responded by turning into a giant scary-ass hound and charging him, trusting his own absurd toughness to see him through. Nevarres, however, decided to prevent the situation entirely, and cracked him on the back of the skull with his sheathed blade, knocking the man clean out. Deprived of the chance to harrass the man, Jack settled for tossing the guy with the head injury back into his truck and calling 911. The two bugged out to a coffee shop after that. Once there, he called Alandria and made arrangements to meet, since the young Mr. Belmont was growing tired of phone tag.

Once gathered, the trio investigated the recently purchased building, and primarily through abuse of Alandria’s Glamours, she and Jack managed to infiltrate the building, sneak Jacob out, and leave with very few close calls.

Nevarres, on the other hand, was skateboarding nearby, keeping an eye on things, when one of Alandria’s responses to a close call bit him in the ass: She broke a window to distract people from her own location, and Nevarres got blamed for it, getting hit in the head with a rock and yelled at for his alleged transgression. Nevarres responded by knocking the guy out cold with his skateboard, and taking off.

The group discussed things a bit, and some serious issues came up. Namely: Nevarres and Alandria wanted to destroy the artifact, while Jack was under orders to procure it for the Erlking. After attempting to convince them that there was nothing terribly dangerous about the Erlking possessing such an item, he eventually was willing to compromise: His orders, technically, were to get the item from Roane. If Roane never obtained the item, that was his failure, not Jack’s. He would help them keep it out of Roane’s hands, but if Roane got it … well, orders were orders.

Dicussion turned to ways to destroy the artifact, with none of them coming up with much. Jack had an idea, but chose not to share it just yet, as it was well outside their easy ability to acquire. They ultimately decided to stop screwing around and work on getting the item, and think about destroying it in the meantime. Since their only connection to the item was Roane, the obvious solution was to get the information from Roane. Since the direct approach likely wouldn’t work, they would just need to break into his apartment.

Nevarres made arrangements to meet Roane and deliver Rose’s offer, and while they had an unbearably uncomfortable discussion about Roane and Rose’s likes and dislikes, Jack attempted to smash his way into Roane’s apartment. He was confronted by his seductive neighbor (Siren, perhaps?), who suggested that it might not be a good thing for word to get out that the Erlking’s knight was harassing a wildfae. Jack didn’t quite see why this would be a problem, but erred on the side of caution for a change, and stuck himself with a favor, on the conditions that he wouldn’t be called to harm innocents.

Once inside Roane’s aparment, a search turned up maps of the New Orleans Metropolitan bank, pictures of a man, and various other things to indicate he was planning on acquiring it from a safe deposit box therein. Jack took pictures of the wall, emailed them to himself, then took off.

Back together, Jack explained what he’d found, they discussed the information, and decided they needed to do some research on what they found, and print out the pictures to examine. Since the only one that owned a computer was currently living in a house with no electricity, they all headed out to the library, where Nevarres distracted the Librarian so Jack could print out his pictures without her spotting it, and Alandria could do some research on what they’d turned up.

Long story short, a man by the name of Giovanni, working for a Red Court puppet company, was buying up anything remotely magical from people who didn’t know what they had, and were desperate for a way to put food on the table in post-Katrina New Orleans. He was the man pictured in on Roane’s wall, as well. Clearly, he had the artifact. A plan was hatched: Alandria would glamour herself and Nevarres to appear as the man and his assistant, and simply walk into the bank and acquire the item from his safe deposit box. Meanwhile, Jack and Jacob would wait outside to assist if (when) trouble arose.

Things went off relatively smoothly at the outset: They were escorted to a group of safe deposit boxes that matched the picture, with nine to choose from, and no key of their own. Alandria opened a couple boxes with her water magic while keeping it hidden from the guard, but so far, only items of minor power and a few more significant things had turned up. No Kemmlerite artifact, however.

Outside, Jack was waiting impatiently with Jacob, when a limo pulled up, and Giovanni himself stepped out.

Aw hell, shit’s about to get real.

Or: Jack recruits some new courtesans

Alandriawas at a karaoke bar at an open mic night, singing with her “band” when she felt a tug at the back of her neck as Higginsrang for her attention. She finished up her rendition of Crazy Train, and then took five, allowing her morose, gothy backup singer to take lead for a few. She found an out of the way spot, and stepped into the Nevernever, arriving in her demesne.

Once home, she spotted Nikkipeering out the window, both paws up on the glass, tail lashing back and forth as she watched Higgins detain a drowned one down by the beach trail. Sensing Alandria’s return, Higgins escorted the drowned one up to the house. His stench was so bad that Alandria suggested they sit outside and talk.

The drowned one had come seeking information and Alandria agreed to trade him information for information. He mentioned something called Fomor who had been killing his people and taking his land, and agreed to tell her about them in exchange. Finding it a fair deal, Alandria told him that his Champion had died at the hands of Ian Branneal. She offered to tell him why Ian had done it, explaining that Ian had done it in a fit of rage, provoked by the Autumn knight,Jack Belmont. They were arguing, and Ian got mad and killed the champion. The Drowned one proclaimed that the “wizard sound like big asshole.”

Meanwhile, Jack had heard about some killings done by alligators. Odd, since the most recent killing was down at the docks and gaters are freshwater critters. Strangely enough, fitting though. The deaths had all been members of the Matranaga crime family, so far, and they were known for taking people out to the swamps and feeding them to the gators.

Jack attempted to investigate the crime scene, but was unable to find any useful information, so he went home to wait till later. When he got home, he found that his puppies, newly granted to him by the Erlking, had destroyed his computer desk while he was gone, and knocked over his TV. He was given half a dozen of the puppies as a reward when he turned some souls in to the Erlking.

Alandria called Jack to attempt to sell him information about a really strong type of Fae in need of a king. The ruler of the Fomor had perished long ago, and their leader was renown as being nearly equal to the Erlking in might. If Jack could bring them into the court, it would be seen as a boon to the Erlking, and further his standing in court. In return.. All Alandria wanted was some cash (10k) and a favor. Jack didn’t have the cash, so Alandria offered him a month to get the money, and then she would offer the info to the Winter Court. She really should have shortened that time to a few hours.

“Oh, and by the way, remember that scene outside Nevarres’ home with the drowned ones? Yeah.. They are looking for revenge against Ian and you for killing their champion.”

Jack went back to investigate late at night, around 2am, when there wouldn’t be so many dockhands around. He shifted to his dog form and was able to pick up an astringent scent trail leading him to a shipping container. He turned back to human and fetched a crowbar from his car, oddly enough, drawing no suspicion from the heightened security on the docks. When he popped the lock on the shipping container, he found an assortment of guns and drugs. Jack, being rather fond of weaponry, was dumbstruck by what lay before him, and was quickly trying to figure out how he could load up as much of that as possible into his car.

Then a boot planted itself firmly on his spine, and the shipping container door slammed shut.

Jack quickly regained his balance and shouldered his way out the door, spotting three nearly identical men. Push came to shove, and the hulking men, somewhat unnatural in form, all revealed long bone like spines that jutted from their wrists. The tips leaked some fluid, and when Jack dodged an attack, the spine scored the metal of the shipping container, leaving a smoking gouge. Jack was able to wound one of the men, but unable to avoid getting gouged by one of the others as he attempted to make his escape. The poison seared at his flesh as he made for his car, but he was able to endure the pain long enough to call Nevarres and ask for help, then drive out there.

Nevarres’ idea of help was to very slowly and steadily, cut the rotting, poisoned flesh, out of Jack’s body after sterilizing it with some liquor. He also informed Nevarres that the drowned ones might try something since they had caught word about who killed their champion.

After this, Jack enlisted in the aid of Alandria and Nevarres to further track down the Fomor. Alandria agreed to help because ultimately, it was best for the city. The three again went down to the docks and to the shipping container, to find it gone. Alandria suggested they ask the dockmaster where it had gone, but Jack waved off the idea, wanting to get in touch with his canine side instead. Alandria however, was curious about where the container of weapons went off to, and made note of the numbered containers around them, and deduced the number that might have been on the container there, to ask about later.

Jack leads them on a scent trail to a large 60 foot boat, full of Fomor. Brave beyond words, Jack asks to be taken to the leader of the Fomor, along with Alandria and Nevarres. They are led through the boat, down to a diver launch hatch in the bottom. Nevarres and Jack are given some Aeriemoss, which Nevarres promptly eats, then jumps in the water and tries to breath.

He gets lungs full of water, and comes up sputtering and coughing up buckets of polluted seawater. Jack actually asks how to use the stuff, an is instructed to chew it. Doing so produces a mouthful of air. Nevarres gets some more of the moss, then the three descend into the depths with the sharkmen.

They get ushered into a waiting room, and are shortly joined by The Devourer of All, a Fomor with a long tongue that dangles down past midneck. A translator is required to understand him, and during the translation, one translator gets killed, and a second one gets assaulted, but they come to understand that the Fomor are attacking New Orleans right now because it is weak and they want land. The land has a lot of good things on it. Jack can’t argue with such logic, and offers them a place in the autumn court. The Devourer of all declines, saying that they cannot accept such an offer without a satisfactory show of force to prove the strength of the Autumn Court.

Alandria offers to host the demonstration in her demesne, and again, The Devourer of All declines, stating that he doesn’t know her well enough to accept her home as the place of contest. Alandria then invited him over for tea, tomorrow, to get to know her better. She assured him there would be delicious tea as well as a casserole made by her butler, Higgins. The Devourer of All accepted the offer, and come lunch time the next day, he showed up for a meal. Alandria cleverly kept his plate full at all times. The glutton ate till his chair broke and his belly was distended. Happy and sated, he agreed to have the duel at her place. Alandria pressed him for a bit of information about why his people were attacking people in New Orleans, and he explained that the land had many things that the ocean did not, like good food and satellite TV. When asked if they would leave New Orleans alone if they were shown an island full of cattle, The Devourer agreed that they would, so long as cattle remained on the island. Alandria decided to give that some thought, as Cattle were quite expensive. Still, it was an option.

The contest of strength was to be held the next day and Jack managed to persuade Alandria to help him out by making it easier for him to move in the water. Wit some reluctance, she agreed. She filled Jack in on the contest rules: Contestants must stay in the water, and if someone gets thrown out of the water, they are allowed to renter the water to continue the fight. The fight will continue till one contender is dead. The winner must eat the heart or liver of the loser, raw.

The day of the contest, Alandria had Higgins make sure there was plenty of food available for the guests so that the Devourer would stay in a good mood. There were chips and wings and potato skins as well as a whole cow roasting out back.

Jack arrived with his litter of puppies, and Alandria assigned Nikki the task of puppy sitting. She obliged by playing chase with the puppies. Well, they chased her around, anyway. One wall of Alandria’s living room was nothing but a TV screen displaying the underwater fight. As the puppies noticed Jack on tv, they all lined up to watch the fight with everyone else. Everyone except The Devourer of All.. Who was devouring all he could see at the moment.

The champion for the Fomor was a giant squid and proved to be more than a handful for Jack. He did his best trying to cripple it, and then finally shifted to his dog form and tore the shit out of it as it grappled him. The fight ended with Puppy Jack in the squid’s tentacles, missing circular patches of fur, clawing and tearing out it’s center mass. It died, and Jack continued to tear at it, devouring it’s innards till he thought he might have got the heart and or liver. The rest of the squid, he drug up on shore for his puppies to eat.

With the fight over, people milled down to the shore to congratulate Jack, but The Devourer of All was nowhere to be seen. Finally, they found him laying by the BBQ pit, again stuffed to the gills. He tried to claim he hadn’t known the fight was going on, and how could he know for sure that Jack really won and the puppies didn’t do the work for him? A live pig was enough of a bribe to get him to accept the results and agree to join the Autumn Court.

Jack laid out the ground rules for him, explaining that his people would e allowed to hunt whatever and wherever they liked, unless the Erlking said otherwise. When the Erlking summoned them for a hunt, they had to answer. They couldn’t attack any other Autumn Court. Jack led the Devourer out of Alandria’s demesne to explain how to tell who was Autumn, and despite Alandria’s attempts to listen in, she was spotted.

Jack then escorted the Devourer to see the Erlking, and the Erlking was pleased, stating, “My hound fetches me the most interesting sticks.”

Cold as Ice

The scene picks up with Alandria, Ian, and Jack meeting up at Jack’s storage unit armory. Jack and Alandria receive Ian’s information on Junior and Mary Belmont‘s location. The trio spend time discussing a plan of attack, and ultimately bow to Jack’s superior knowledge of their targets and go with his plan of action: Ian would Veil them with water to hide their heat from any thermal scopes or goggles, Alandria would hide them with Glamours to hide them from visual detection, and Jack would scope out the area with his superior senses and lead the charge.

The first major hitch came when they were ready to leave: Ian’s car was parked at Jack’s apartment. Jack’s Car was parked at Ian’s house, with a bomb on it. Alandria’s motorcycle was also parked at Ian’s, also likely booby trapped. A cab would make it hard for Alandria to hide their loaded for were-bear appearances, due to the sheer amount of iron they wore and contained in the vehicle. She ended up taking them through a path in the Nevernever.

At the hotel, the trio set up their veils, Jack does his investigation, and turns up no signs of explosives … which he takes to mean there are explosives, because paranoia is safety. He decided instead to lead the charge through the Hotel window, where he found Mary cleaning weapons, and heard sounds of his father cleaning up in the bathroom. Jack hauled Mary out of her chair, and the fight was on.

Ian made repeated attempts to knock out Mary with a sleep spell, growing marginally more successful with each attempt, Alandria snuck in under her veil to grab Ian’s stuff, Jack grappled and fought with Mary, and Junior took the time to dry his hands off properly before joining the fight with a gun the size of Texas. He and Mary blasted Ian before he managed to knock Junior out with his sleepy spell. Alandria got Ian his bag of goodies, then drug Junior’s unconscious body through a portal to her demense. Unfortunately, upon opening the bag, Ian set off the bomb placed inside, wounding everybody left in the room, and knocking both himself and Mary unconscious.

Jack hauled both bodies to the portal and chucked them through, and about that time backup arrived. Bullets flew, but Jack barely even noticed them. He grabbed up Ian’s sword and the remains of his cloak, then hauled ass to Alandria’s demense.

Within the Demense, Ian was tended to by Nikki, Alandria saw to the restraint of Junior, and Jack took care of restraining Mary. Junior ended up in the grip of a tentacle monster that Alandria called her ‘pet’, Mary ended up tied up in a small bare room with nothing but herself and Jack. She didn’t wake up until Nikki was done with Ian, and began tending her wounds as well … which earned poor Nikki a vicious bite that cost her a chunk of flesh. Mary and Jack stared at each other in silence for a long time.

When Ian regained consciousness, he and Alandria got into an argument about the disposition of Junior, which resulted in Alandria changing the room multiple times, then changing Junior’s chair repeatedly, until they finally came to a conclusion they could all be somewhat comfortable with. Ian and Alandria attempted to reason with Junior, but ultimately the didn’t get anywhere, partially because Ian and Alandria are horrible negotiators, partially because Junior wanted to talk to Jack, and he was busy staring down his mother.

Back with Jack, he eventually broke the silence by giving his mother an amused grin and saying ‘Woof’. He put his kevlar on her, drew a gun, and just before he emptied it, was informed that he was ‘The worst abortion I never had.’ Then the gun was emptied into her chest, returning his seventh birthday peresent to her, she passed out, and Jack had to wake her up again. The two bitched at each other a bit, but neither one really had much to say to each other beyond ‘fuck you’, they just didn’t bother to say it that way. Eventually, Jack lost his temper and emptied a magazine full of blanks a short distance from Mary’s face, doing who knows how much damage, but not killing her.

Moments later, he joined Ian and Alandria to find Junior asking for him. He told the two to clear the room. After a short argument with Ian on the matter, Jack agreed to hand over his weapons and promise not to kill Junior unless he had to in order to defend himself, and he was left alone with Junior. He had Junior freed from his restraints, and the two had a brief discussion about the nature of monsters, the Belmonts, and Jack’s choice to become a Knight of the Autumn Court. Jack made it clear to Junior that no matter what, he intended to see both him and Mary out of the Nevernever alive, and Junior displayed a willingness to work with Jack to get him off the Belmont Radar.

Junior’s plan to escape required Alandria’s cooperation: She needed to create dopplegangers of Ian and Jack to menace Mary. Jack needed to rough up Junior (which he did with unnecessary gusto), who then busted in on the menacing dopplegangers and killed them, ‘rescued’ Mary, and led them out a door Alandria crafted directly into an industrial district in the next city over from New Orleans. Alandria tailed them under a glamour for a while, Ian left to resume his alcoholic wallowing, and Jack tracked down Nikki to finally deal with his wounds.

A short time passes, and the date of Roane‘s auction draws near. Ian spent his time at the ruins of his home, wallowing in filth and drunkenness. Jack spent his time recovering, and buying some nice clothes. He didn’t know what the date he’d picked up from Alandria was for, butr he intended to show up looking good. Alandria worked her Selkie mojo on a slew of people, until she managed to secure a lifetime pass to the playboy mansion.

Shortly before the Auction date, Ian received a package from his mentor, Simon Petrovich. It contained a ‘If you received this, I’m dead’ letter, basically telling him to kick ass and take names, along with a collection of his vampire research, almost up to date. Ian nuked the rubble of his home to the ground, took his Denarius, and set out to clean himself up and get a new home.

The day before the auction, Jack was called before the Erlking, and given an invitation to Roane’s auction, along with a chest of glowy awesome to place as his bid. Jack made overly optimistic promises as usual, and departed to prepare himself for the auction.

Jack was the first of the trio to arrive at the auction, and dear lord, the company was impressive. Mavra of the Black Court, Lara Raith, a lovely Red Court noble of indeterminate identity that totally wasn’t Bianca, Nicodemus, Shiro Yoshimo. The who’s who of the supernatural community had turned out for this.

Alandria was the next to arrive, and ran into the Winter Knight, Lloyd Slate. He made a few half-veiled threats and passes at her, before Jack showed up to exchange ‘witty’ barbs with him and play couples with Alandria until Lloyd left, since neither he nor Jack were willing to start a fight, and neither one was particularly well equipped for verbal sparring.

Around that time, Ian showed up, and was presented with a problem: He didn’t have an invitation. He claimed to be a guest of the Autumn Knight, and thankfully when questioned, Jack chose to play along. Ian didn’t even bother to come thank him for it, either. Given later events, it’s probably best he didn’t.

While Jack and Alandria plotted to gain a denarius, Ian made small talk with the only other member of the White Council there, the Gatekeeper. Not surprisingly the Gatekeeper let Ian know that he was disappointed that all of this had come to pass in a town with an active warden in it. After a bit Ian was approached by Nicodemus, who came over to console him on the death of Simon. Ian was introduced to every vampire in the room, presumably in order to goad him into starting a fight. In the end, the Gatekeeper returned shooing away the vultures.

Alandria proposed that she and Jack pool their resources to get the coin, and turn it over to the Erlking. In exchange, she wanted the Autumn court to leave her alone, and Jack to help her increase her power. In essence, if he came upon an object of power, she wanted him to turn it over to her. He added the stipulation that the item could not be something that he had been asked to fetch for Court, and for general veto power over what he would or would not hand over to her. She countered by adding on to that that he could only make three total vetoes before he was required to hand over whatever he came across. He accepted this bargain, and they pooled their resources. Jack and Lloyd exchanged a few more barbs as he went to make his bid, but again, nothing could be done to relieve the sexual tension just yet.

Roane called Alandria to the back after all the bids were in, and immediately upon her arrival, he smacked his bitch up, and demanded to know just what the hell was wrong with her. He explained that if he gave the Coin to Jack, he’d get him murdered horribly by all the angry creatures in the room, and she was an idiot, and she came back out irritated and worried.

The winner of the auction was announced, and the Denarius was awarded to none other than resident Warden of the White council, Ian Branneal. Which was … odd, if one considered that he never placed a bid in the first place. The coin (in a protective coin sleeve) was tossed to Ian, and all eyes were on him. Jack and Alandria made their way to him to ‘congratulate’ him … and tell him to shut the hell up when he started to protest that he hadn’t bid.

Ian beat a hasty retreat outside, tailed by Jack and Alandria, only to ditch them through a portal to the nevernever and hurry away from the spot. This worked out wonderfully. For Lloyd Slate. He got the drop on Ian, and demanded the coin from him. When Ian refused, Lloyd pointed out his terrible condition, and gave him one more chance to reconsider before he got his ass whooped. Ian pointed out that all he had to do was take up the coin and he wouldn’t be the one getting the ass whooping, but Llyod faced off with the warden calling his bluff.

Alandria ripped a fresh portal to the Nevernever right where Ian had, and with the aid of hound Jack’s keen nose, they tracked Ian down just in time to catch Lloyd blasting Ian full of icy shards that by all rights should have destroyed the wizard. Ian rushed Lloyd in a surprising decision to assault him physically instead of with magic and in the exchange proved that Lloyd could be in for more of a fight than he thought, severing Lloyds hand and sword in a single strike. Jack rushed in and managed to knock Lloyd further off-balance, but he didn’t manage to wound him. Alandria attempted to bargain with Ian then and there for the coin, but that didn’t work out. Lloyd fled, and nobody but Jack was even tempted to chase him. Jack stayed to watch Ian’s back, and urged them to hurry the hell up and get somewhere else as quickly as possible.

Once again, Ian ditched them through a portal. Once again, Alandria reopened his rift, but this time it went straight into Ian’s home. Jack refused to go through, because he respects the sanctity of people’s homes … so long as they respect his. She instead brought them out near Ian’s home, and Jack got himself in the old fashioned way: He knocked, and asked. The trio stood guard over Ian, and Jack made the same offer to Ian that he had bid to Roane: A chest of something wonderful, valuable, and probably powerful, plus a lifetime pass to the Playboy Mansion, for one of the coins. The two discussed the power of the coins and the Erlking, and Ian ultimately refused. Jack didn’t push the issue, partly because of their blood oath of nonagression, partly because he just wasn’t willing to.

Shiro and Ian discussed the coins and his convictions, and ultimately Ian handed over one coin. He hesitated over the other, and was hit with an uncontrolled Divination, a vision of himself, wreathed in hellfire, utterly destroying the great beast at the head of the red court, atop some Aztec temple. He managed to resist the temptation, and handed over the second coin as well, with the request that Shiro help teach him better bladework. Shiro agreed, and took the coins away to be disposed of.

Family Matters
Definition: 'Love' is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope.

In the intervening weeks since the previous session, things took a turn for the worse for just about everybody:

  • Ian’s mentor, Simon Petrovich, was murdered at Archangel, leaving Ian a sorry, broken wreck of a man, desperately seeking comfort at the bottom of every bottle he could find.
  • Nevarres overheard Rose making deals with the LeChaise ghouls, arranging the delivery of various supernatural creatures, either alive or in good condition.
  • Alandria confronted Roane about an apparent lie, when he claimed not to have seen Ian stealing Jariel’s coin from Jack. After securing a promise not to tell anybody about what he said, Roan admitted that in truth (or so he claimed), he had the coin all along, and Ian stole a glamoured fake. Not only this, but he had plans to auction it off soon.
  • And last but not least, Jack spent the majority of his time in the Nevernever, bonding with his court, hunting Red Court attack squads using the Ways, and murdering their Winter Court guides. In short, Jack spent his time deliberately antagonizing two much larger and more powerful courts than his own. For fun.

Everything began to go wrong when Jack came home from one of his hunts to find a message from his father on his answering machine, looking to get in contact with him. Jack called him back, and discovered, to his distress, that his father, and worse, his mother , were in town, and his father wanted to meet and talk. A meeting was quickly arranged, and they met at the Cafe du Monde.

Heading in, Jack spotted a van of the sort generally favored by Belmont attack squads, which didn’t do much to improve his assessment of the situation. Just his two parents wouldn’t have brought a van. To his relief, Jack only had to meet with his father, Jack Belmont Jr (hereafter referred to as ‘Junior’), and his mother was nowhere in sight.

Junior didn’t waste any time laying out the situation: While torturing a Redcap, it had come up that Jack had become the new Autumn Knight. When pressed about it, Jack decided that, being nearly as bad at telling lies as his father was at catching them, he would be honest with him, and laid out a very, very abbreviated explanation of how he ended up initially tangled with the fae: After killing Gregor Yoslanovich, the witch in their party opened a way to the Nevernever, and Jack made a deal to get them out. Junior offered him a week to cast aside his power and return to the fold, Jack made some mild threats, and they both parted ways. Jack immediately tried to warn Ian, Nevarres, and Alandria. Ian was drunk out of his mind, Nevarres was concerned, and Alandria wasn’t home.

Alandria eventually received her message and tried to contact Jack, first by phone, then at home, then finally in the Nevernever, where she had to wait on him to return from another hunt he’d embarked on (to calm his nerves). She got a rundown of the situation, and let slip a piece of paper she had written the date and time of Roane’s auction on, along with Roane’s name, without any explanation of what they meant.

Back in the real world, Ian got jumped by three assassins, hopefully not Belmonts, because they sucked. After opening fire on Ian with automatic weapons and utterly failing to hit him, they lobbed firebombs into his house while Ian worked hard at trashing his own home for them. The end result was Ian’s house wrecked and on fire, and the obscenely drunk Wizard managing to successfully drive into town and to a bar without killing himself, anybody else, or being pulled over.

Jack encountered Ian at the bar, where attempts to figure out what his problem was and what had happened to him met with something marginally resembling a sliver of success, as Jack determined there was a chance that Ian’s home, or perhaps just the roof, the roof, the roof was on fire. Clearly Ian hadn’t felt the need for water, so he let the motherfucker burn. Burn motherfucker burn.

Jack hauled Ian to his car, looted the Cholo-mobile, and took him back to his place to sleep on his couch. And soil it horribly. Attempts to discuss things with him in the morning failed miserably, and Ian stumbled off to find his way back home, leaving everything in Jack’s car except his liquor.

Ian, shockingly, managed to make it to one of his stores, and put out the word that whoever had taken a shot at him was welcome to another, same place and time, then miraculously managed to make it to the smoldering ruins of his home. Alandria was the first to hear about this challenge, and went to try to talk some sense into him.

Meanwhile, Jack and Nevarres discussed the situation, resolved to put out the word among the locals to go to ground as best they could, and meet up to plan further. Nevarres was the second to hear about Ian’s challenge, and informed Jack. The two made their separate ways to Ian’s house.

Back at Ian’s, Alandria and Ian argued over his condition, the situation, and a variety of other things, until Ian, in a fit of annoyance, told Alandria he wouldn’t be going anywhere, and would, in fact, be staying right there to wait on an assassination squad. Then his chest exploded.

Alandria barely managed to drag a semi-conscious Ian down some uncovered stairs to his house’s still intact basement, taking hits through it all despite her attempts to veil them with glamours. Ian managed to distract and expose the shooter briefly by creating a massive sinkhole in the area where the sniper was perched, and Alandria (barely) managed to drag him through a portal to her Demense, where she let a catgirl lick him for a while.

Nevarres and Jack arrived at Ian’s place after the fun had ended. Nevarres arrived first, and scoped the place out, but didn’t notice the sniper or get shot. When Jack arrived, the two talked briefly before Nevarres noticed a red dot on the back of Jack’s head, and shoved him out of the way.

What followed was a tense, painful attempt to rush the sniper by Jack, while Nevarres circled around after her. Jack took hound form, spotted the shooter’s location fairly quickly, and initially attempted to sneak his way there. His newness to the form coupled with his own less than subtle nature blew that wide open, however, and he was immedately grazed by a bullet. A bullet that carried the sting of iron. Jack abandoned stealth at that point and tried to rush it with sheer speed and stubbornness, zig-zagging among trees in an attempt to throw off the sniper’s shots.

For his trouble, Jack took a bullet in one side of his chest and right out the other, thankfully missing his heart but not one of his lungs. Around this point, Nevarres had closed in, found a displaced land mine the Sniper had set up for protection, repositioned it, and set it off to dislodge them from their position. This went off without a hitch, and Nevarres managed, with difficulty, to drag Jack (thankfully back to human form and a lot less heavy) to Ian’s basement. On the way there, he was shot in the back by the sniper, and the two had a painful tumble down the stairs.

Downstairs, the two discussed the situation while Nevarres gave Jack a bit of quick first aid. Jack sussed out that there had been a portal to the Nevernever opened there recently, and encouraged Nevarres to try opening one himself. This worked out well, and then a phosphorous grenade came tumbling down the stairs, and they both struggled their way through the portal before it went off.

They arrived at Alandria’s Demense, were tended to as Ian had been, and argued about the situation a bit. Jack concluded, based on the bit of description Nevarres had, that it had been his mother shooting at him. Ian eventually left to check on some things, found out Jack’s car had been rigged with a bomb (naturally), found that Alandria’s doorway out had opened to tomorrow, and had a vision: Jack’s parents arguing. Junior was upset that his mother, Mary, had attempted to kill him early. Mary was upset about her son being a monster, and her husband giving her shit about trying to kill a monster. The situation resolved itself, barely, but it was made clear that they weren’t a united front of the ‘kill Jack’ front. More importantly, he managed to glean their location from this.

Ian headed back to the storage unit/armory Jack had led them to during a previous situation, and told the others to meet him there.

And there, it ended.

Blast to the Past
In which the crew hits '88.

February 24, 2006

Everything began simply enough. Ian heard one of his magic shops was robbed. Alandria got word through the Paranet that someone had a book stolen. Jack and Nevarres heard about disappearances, Ian’s robbery, and rumors of something going down at the St. Louis Cathedral.

Then it all got complicated.

The theft at Ian’s store amounted to a good six figures of magical components that would be virtually worthless on the mundane market. The thieves showed incomplete signs of understanding the threat a magic user could pose, and took precautions against it: They Zip-stripped the clerk’s hands together, stuffed them into mittens, and bagged his head, not realizing what while this could make magic more troublesome, it wouldn’t entirely protect them. After his own cursory investigation, Ian contacted Jack about the matter, then decided to hang out at one of his other stores and see if it got hit next.

Alandria spoke to the man with the stolen book, and discovered that it was one of the Große Buch der Zeit Magie, a german book on the very illegal subject of Time Magic. This book is notorious enough to have made it on the White Council’s banned books list, and the man was very concerned that Alandria not let her Warden Associate know about it, for fear that he would either lose his head, or his grandfather’s entire collection of dangerous forbidden texts that he claims to be unable to use.

Jack took Nevarres with him to check out Ian’s store, and found out a few things, none of it overly useful to him: First, Ian is either a terrible artist or he’s terrible at remembering faces, because the sketch of Nevarres he put up telling people not to serve him was off enough to avoid causing trouble. Second, The men who robbed the store weren’t professionals, per se, but they were definitely disciplined and knew exactly what they were doing: They didn’t take any extraneous stuff, everything they took pointed toward a common purpose, the money was left in the till, and nobody was hurt. Third, they were looking at thugs on a budget: All of the stuff used to restrain the clerk was cheap Family Dollar crap. Fourth, the common purpose of the materials was amplification. The components could be used to amplify a spell well beyond its original scope. Or make a really tasty gumbo that would leave you glued to the toilet for a week.

Jack and Ian shared information, and found out they had already come to the same conclusions about the components. Jack suspected Jon Mais and his crew in East New Orleans of the theft, but wasn’t willing to challenge them on it without clearer evidence, so he kept that to himself.

Lacking anywhere further to go with that, Jack dropped Nevarres off to do some further research on the spell components, then scoped out the St. Louis Cathedral, mingling with the crowds while he examined the place, turning up only a closed-off section that he resolved to visit later that night.

And indeed he tried. Jack sought out a side door, only to find a pair of vans already parked there and some young people heading in the door. On quick inspection, one van turned out to be a rental, while the other appeared to be owned by the weaselly pack of dark wizard wannabes that stole Rephaim from Nevarres. How could Jack tell? Slytherin bumper sticker. Jack put in a quick call to Nevarres to come out and make sure they didn’t get away while he was investigating the church proper, then tried the door himself. When Jack tried the door, he got shocked silly and blown back into one of the vans. When Jack tried to smash the door, he got the same result. When jack got ‘clever’, and decided to insulate himself by hacking the Slytherin Van’s tire apart and using the rubber for insulation … he still got the same result. So he called in Ian.

While all this was going on, Alandria was checking around for information on the stolen book. She came to the conclusion that any large time-based ritual would have to be done at some place that had a sort of resonance with the type of time magic in question. For going forward in time, you would need something ‘futuristic’, for travel backward, one would need something historic. So she did a tour of the major historic locations in New Orleans, which ultimately brought her to the St. Louis Cathedral.

At about the same time Ian arrived. Nevarres had made himself scarce, and taken to watching from a distance, Jack did his best to ignore the treacherous wench as he explained the situation to Ian, and fed him a line of bull that wasn’t quite untrue, that he believed there might be a chance the Slytherin twits were responsible for the theft. Then Alandria explained what she was up to, and the two got into an argument about the book where she refused to give the name of the man who lost it, and demanded credit (and payment) for turning it in if it was recovered, while Ian refused to give credit (or anything else, for that matter) unless she yielded up the name.

About the time Jack was ready to shove them both into the door, the roof exploded, Ian was struck by a chunk of falling gargoyle, and everything went black.

March 21 1788

Everyone woke up seperately. Ian awoke in old-fashioned bedclothes, in a well-appointed bedroom. After some poking around his room, he was approached by a servant, who gave him a newspaper and breakfast, then was sent away to fetch Jack and Alandria.

Jack awoke the same way he always did: Stark naked with the sheets half on the floor. The new part was that he seemed to be in an upscale hotel room decorated with archaic firearms, which was simply ludicrious. Jack liked archaic melee weapons, not firearms! After a bit of investigation and dressing, a bellboy arrived to give Jack Ian’s invitation. He was sent off with a two dollar tip, giddy at his newfound riches, and presumably quit on the spot and bought himself a house with one dollar and lived off the rest.

Alandria awoke in a tiny attic room, and wasted no time taking off to check out what was going on. She was the first to see the blue and silver streaked sky. She wandered the streets, keeping an eye out for the Slytherin twits, but after failing to spot them for a while, she decided to return to where everything began: The St. Louis Cathedral.

Nevarres woke up in a cheap flophouse, stripped off his shirt, rubbed mud on himself, and eventually wandered to the church as well, where he met up with Alandria. The two of them found the church surrounded by a silver and blue field. Rephaim recognized it as being made of Soulfire, Hellfire’s opposite number, and pointed out that Soulfire was literally powered by the soul: The massive field around the church and the city was burning soul from someone, and probably many someones. Alandria convinced someone to walk through the field, and the immediately aged to bones and crumbled to dust. Alandria refused to accept the blame for this callous murder, on the grounds that this was the past and the person was clearly already dead.

Jack arranged for a carriage to visit Ian, when it struck him that he knew where Ian lived, and it wasn’t where he lived on the present. Jack immediately concluded that this meant someone had gotten into his head, and began to quietly freak out. The world as he knew it gone and replaced by the past? Whatever. Someone put information in his head? Freak out time.

Jack eventually arrived at Ian’s lovely plantation mansion, partook his amazing scotch, and got into a conversation about what was happening while their players totally talked over the rest of the group and ignored them entirely. Ultimately, they came to the conclusion that they should visit the church as well.

While Ian and Jack were en route, Alandria and Nevarres spent time testing the weird field. Alandria discovered that it was safe to cross if you went through the Nevernevnever. A look around the church showed that the vans were still there, so clearly the church was still in the modern day. On the reasoning that a few hundred years wouldn’t hurt him any, Nevarres stepped through the field. His clothes promptly disintegrated, his hair grew out to completely cover his body, his nails grew to revolting lengths … but otherwise he was fine. All of this reversed itself when he came back through … except the clothes. Alandria had just finished getting him dressed again when Jack and Ian arrived.

After a bit of pedantic arguing between Ian and Alandria, and some catchup between Nevarres and Jack, the crew proceeded to take a quick hop through the Nevernever to get into the church proper, where Ian used his handy-dandy Warden Sword to cut through the ward that had thrown Jack around earlier. Inside, the building was full of collapsed people. Ian used The Sight to trace the source of the magic downward, and everyone trooped on down to find a man floating in another Soulfire Circle with the stolen book, surrounded by the stolen spell components and passed out Slythern twits.

Jack attempted to question the man, and was informed that the time displacement had taken place due to an accident that he was trying to reverse. Ian confirmed that the guy in question was the one who caused the accident … then he shot him. The man fell half through the circle, and the half that fell through turned to dust. Fortunately, the book was not lost, and after a bit of finagling, Alandria managed to remove it from the circle. Ian settled in to make a potion that would allow him to comprehend old german, Jack looted the sacramental wine, Nevarres walked around uncomfortably … and eventually Ian finished his potion, figured out what was necessary to fix things, and set out to do it alone.

Alandria shuttled everybody into the Nevernever, into her own private demense. Back in the real world, Ian tore down the spell, but couldn’t fully control the power unleashed, and had to make a split-second choice: Let the backlash hit the past or the present. Thus, the first great fire of New Orleans was begun.

Back in Alandria’s demense, Jack was approached by a Neried named Nissa who had heard about his situation. She offered him the innocence of one maiden in a container that could potentially hold more … in exchange for his endurance. Jack would just have to settle for having the endurance of a normal human of his age. Jack told her he’d get back to her. … If he was desperate. He wasn’t entirely sure losing a forearm was worse than losing his stamina. Prosthetics are a lot nicer these days.

Once everybody had returned to the present day real world, Jack got angry because his jacket was gone, lost to the mists of time somewhere, and then everybody went their separate ways. Nevarres and Alandria both offered to help Jack find containers for holding innocence, and Ian went to report the situation and put his head on a chopping block.

After a meeting with the incomplete Senior Council, Ian was saved from the sword by a vote from Ancient Mai, after subjecting him to a soulgaze that damn near killed him anyway.

Alandria spoke with her father about containers, and was directed to a creature in the bayou that appeared as an old lady. The two exchanged a bit of banter, and ultimately came to an agreement: If Jack was willing to get the woman with child, she’d give him a container to capture innocence. If he didn’t do a good job, well … she’d eat him.

Meanwhile, Nevarres spoke with Rose about the subject, and secured a much sweeter deal … in a manner of speaking. She would give him four vials that could be used to capture the innocence of a maiden, provided one of them was returned to her full. Jack opted to go this path despite it giving a fallen angel what was surely something that could be used to fairly potent and unpleasant ends.

After only a few nights, Jack had managed to collect everything he needed and more. His strategy of circling the high school herds and preying on the weak, the outcast nerds, ugly girls, and fat chicks, served him well.

Jack paid Alandria five hundred dollars to arrange transport to and from the Erlking’s court, where he paid up his debt, and called out the Erlking’s Speaker, a Satyr that had never failed to harass him every time he appeared at court. He called her a coward, citing her reluctance to meet him, a ‘mere mortal’ on even ground last time they met. Left with little choice (and believing she had nothing to fear), the Satyr let herself be lured into a fight with Jack, armed with a set of Cast Iron knuckles and a brace of knives. All the Satyr had was a shield and a spear. Really, how is that fair?

Jack proceeded to make things more unfair by shatting her shield with his iron knuckles, took a minor gash from the spear while taunting her, then cut off her hoof with his knife mid-kick, she was finished. He offered her a chance to yield, was informed that there would be no yielding, and cut her throat. He then proceeded to slowly, and messily, hack and twist her head off its shoulders and drop it before the Erlking.

A set of bracers were brought to Jack, and laid out before him. The Erlking spoke, asking Jack if he was ready to accept his destiny. There was no hesitation. Jack clasped the bracers to his arms, digging spikes inside them into his skin until they drew blood. The Erlking declared Jack the Knight of the Autumn court, and the scene faded to black with Jack’s bloody arms upraised, laughing maniacally.

A few days later, the whole crew arranged to meet at Neutral Grounds, the Accorded Neutral Coffee Shop. Ian, Jack, and Nevarres argued about whether Nevarres could be trusted after his behavior at the Asylum. This mutated into a discussion about trust between everybody, and they all agreed to sign and seal a blood oath not to harm, or arrange for third parties to harm, each other, unless someone else broke the oath first and instigated the attack. Everything was laid out on the table between them: Nevarres’ full reasons for his dealing with rose and his favor to Nicodemus, Alandria becoming full fey, Ian stealing a goddamn denarius from Jack, and a quick explanation of the White Council’s general collective goals. And Jack let everyone in on his new position, and vaguely explained that there was more to his family, but they didn’t get into it.

Mommy Issues

Alandria came to in a bathroom shower, suspended upside down from the ceiling by ropes that held her body at a slight incline. Water was coursing down her body and falling to swirl down a drain in the floor. Her body was encased in a straight jacket that hit about mid-thigh on her, making it hard to squirm away from the steady dripping of water on her forehead.

She noticed a few things right off, aside from the running water; One, she was naked except for the straight jacket. Even her coral ring that enhanced her water control was gone. Two, there was a TV monitor hooked up where she could see it, currently showing a figure ramming against a door.

Alandria looked closer at the display and saw that it was her father, Roane, in a straight jacket. He was furiously pounding his shoulder against the door, trying to bust it open. Behind him lay a figure with long hair, sprawled on the floor. Haley didn’t seem to be moving yet and Roan was desperately trying to get out before she came to.

Alandria made an effort to get out of her restraints, writhing and squirming. The more she struggled, the tighter her bonds seemed to be. When she looked up at the monitor again,she saw Roan huddled in a corner hunched up into a little ball. She assumed he was trying to veil himself. Haley’s hair had begun to move. The crazy woman was waking.

Again, Alandria struggled again, this time trying to call up magic to get free, but just about the time she had enough magic gathered to do anything, the water would drip down onto her forehead, disrupting her concentration.

Another desperate look at the monitor showed Haley’s fingers and toes starting to twitch. Alandria was out of time. Whatever the Denarian had done to keep Roane from opening a way to the nevernever and escaping, it was working. All her father could do now was hold a glamor and hope it worked.

Alandria hesitated for just a moment before closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. It took every ounce of concentration to do it, but she focused her will on the camera recording her every movement and before the next drop of water could fall, the camera sparked and crackled, dying. She didn’t want the Denarian watching her to have any idea of what she was about to do.

As the camera died, Alandria let her breath out slowly. After a moment, her body changed. One moment the lanky girl was there, dangling from the ceiling, the next moment a sleek harbor seal slid easily from the wet fabric to thump against the floor. She struggled to right herself, twisting from her back onto her belly in a fluid motion. The time it took for her to get onto her stomach was all the time needed for her to shift back to a human form, now on all fours, naked on the floor.

Alandria stood and gave the dangling straight jacket a look of consideration before untangling it and donning it once more. The TV listed the room number her father was in. If she hurried, she would be able to find him and save him.

Jack and Ianweren’t sure what to do. The changeling had disappeared, Nevarres had run off with the Denarians, and Alandria was nowhere to be found either. Luckily, Ian had the bright idea to stop by Gideon’s place to see if he would be willing to help them kill a few Denarians. Jack’s smooth talking landed them the help they needed and the trio stormed off in Ian’s loaner car to hunt some demons.

They arrived at Lake Pontchartrain Mental Institution to find magical shrubberies creeping across the parking lot. They made it inside without much hassle, and found a guard at the front desk with unnatural green eyes. After asking to visit with Rose and Haley and being turned down, the guard agreed to let them see Nevarres and escorted them to a waiting room.

A soulgaze with the guard showed Ian a man being sucked into the trunk of a tree coated in green moss, the same shade of green as his glowing green eyes.

The three waited for ten minutes before Jack got impatient and went to leave the room, only to be surprised by someone on the other side of the door when he opened it. He fired a shot at the figure with his holy water modded tranq gun, but missed.

Nevarres got the call to meet with Jack and Ian, but before he did, he snooped around in Rose’s office. He found the camera display showing Roane and Alandria, and was writing down room numbers when Alandria fried the camera showing her room.

Nevarres then went down to talk to Jack and Ian, narrowly dodging the gun when Jack shot at him out of surprise. He gave Jack the room numbers and then ran away again.

Jack, Ian, and Gideon then started down the hallway to try and find Roane’s room first. Gideon had to rip the doors off the walls in order to get past a security checkpoint, and then they were stopped by a lot of orderlies and security guards. Ian used a spell to put the lot of them to sleep, and then Alandria found the group of them.

She was still soaking wet and clad in only the straight jacket, but she didn’t let that bother her. She got them to follow her back towards an area she had noticed with heavy security doors where she thought Roane might be kept, and sure enough he was there.

Ian drew back the panel covering the window to Roan’s cell, and the group could see Haley standing, staring at an empty corner where Alandria knew Roane would be. In a rush to distract her from finding Roane, Alandria spoke into the intercom, calling Haley to get her attention. Of course, Haley looked up at the speaker instead of at the door.

Alandria ought to have communicated her intentions better.. But she put up a glamor over the door of a closed door, then she opened the real door outwards. Just as she was opening it, Jack had to speak up “Well, we gonna open the door?” Of course, Haley was out the door in a flash and the fight was on.

To make a long fight short, Alandria disintegrated Haley’s hair, Gideon held her so she couldn’t move, and got impaled for his troubles. Ian used his sight to locate the coin, and Jack used his gladius to hack Haley’s arm off. When Ian tried to pull the coin out of the fingers, the hand flung it at his face. Jack intercepted it, catching it and pocketing it.

As soon as Haley was down, Alandria had went to her father, crouching down to gently lay a hand on his shoulder. “It’s all right. It’s over.”

Roane looked up at her, then looked at her closely before smiling. “I knew you’d come around” He gave her a hug and Alandria returned it with a warm smile.

“You know I couldn’t just leave you like this.” Ian had stabilized Haley in the background and was trying to revive Gideon. Jack came up to Alandria and Roane, intent on collecting payment again.

The guys bickered for a little bit, with Roane insisting he had paid his debt. Alandria suggested that if he had really paid,just go to the Erlking and tell him that he delivered his payment into the hands of his debt collector, and Jack had lost it.

With that settled, Alandria knew something had to be done about Haley. From what Father Masseyhad told her, Denarians could teach their host how to summon the coin back to them whenever they wanted.

Alandria saw a way to perhaps achieve the death of Haley without getting her hands dirty. She asked Jack to borrow a sword, and as expected, he refused. She had to explain why she wanted it and when she told him that as long as Haley was alive, she could possibly summon the coin back to her, Jack acted without thinking. He promptly stuck his gladius in Haley’s neck, killing her.

At some point, Ian pick pocketed Jack and stole the Denarian coin. Roane told Jack that Ian didn’t do it. He had his eyes on Ian the whole time and never saw him take it. Then he proceeded to illusion things like scorpions into Denarian coins along the way to the Erlking’s. Jack tried to pick up every single one.

Jack, Alandria, and Roane go to see the Erlking and Jack gets tasked with getting the payment he destroyed: The innocence of three maidens. Alandria took Jack home, then went home herself.


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