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  #46  
Old Jun 27th, 2023, 11:20 PM
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Charles
"Anybody here looking for God on the road?" Artie turned a sly look towards Charles. "How about you, Chuck? Turn down the copper attitude a bit and you're almost respectable."

“I think I can do better than church gossip without becoming respectable,” Charles said while narrowing his eyes at Artie. “I’ll make a call and see if I can get a meeting with the medical examiner arranged. I’m curious to know the specific cause of death, and as is often the case, anything strange might have been left out of the official report.”
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  #47  
Old Jul 2nd, 2023, 01:37 PM
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Tony
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Well, ain’t that a kick in the teeth. Here ole Tony thought he was about to smooth these rocky waters with style, and found himself a bonafide babysitter instead! He shared Hair’s defeated look at the news that he was stuck with them. "Me and my big mouth," groaned Tony before he plopped right back down beside Artie. Which put Artie into a real squeeze since it wasn’t long before Hair took a squat right next to Tony, the trio elbow-to-elbow, hair gel to hair gel. It made Tony all wiggly, trying to find some extra breathing room where there was none. But one sideways look from Artie caused Tony to settle with just keeping his greasy mitts to his corner of the booth.

Talk of churches and potlucks gave Tony a bad case of the heebie-jeebies, the greaser just shuddering at the thought of stepping into that tonight! "I’d rather eat my boot than paint myself up as a ‘saved man,’" Tony shook his hands like an on-air pastor, before he rolled his one good eye, "But I’d argue with you, Charlie, that church gossip does have more heat on it than you’d expect. Them little old ladies get ‘round town. They know everybody’s business. Especially folks who ain’t been acting like they used to, ya dig? Could give us a lead on any suspicious characters."

Nudging Artie, he pointed to his half-melted egg cream, "Be a pal, and pass me the good stuff." As he waited for that heavenly drink to arrive in his hands, he added back to the conversation at hand, eyeballing Charles from across the way, "I do think you outta make that call to your pal– is it a pal? Colleague? Old flame, maybe~? Ah whatever, we’ll find out! Point is that I wanna see how exactly our victim was cut up." With a wily grin and a love for trouble, he half-turned to Hair, and said with a devilish flourish of his finger, "That kind of filet work may just be in my field of ex-per-tise."
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  #48  
Old Jul 23rd, 2023, 07:57 PM
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The Suwap County Coroner's Office
As a certified member of Small Town, USA, the town of Eschel, California, was nested within the greater municipality of Suwap County, which handled most of the town's greater governmental concerns. More specifically, while old Sally and Larry Nelson ran the town's only funeral home and cemetery, neither were licensed medical examiners. Why not? Well, the County took care of that.

Herschel gave a standard terse wave goodbye as the hunters, now plus-one extra Harry, made their way toward the asphalt slab that housed their motorized pride-and-joys. As they drew nearer to their respective vehicles, Harry jogged ahead by a few steps, turned to face the group, and said: "Shotgun!" He did not, however, specify which particular shotgun he was taking.

As the hunters piled into their vehicles, so too did members of the Second Baptist Church start to pile out of theirs and in to the large, steepled space across the street from Herschel's.

* * *

A smooth twenty minutes later, the hunters had left Eschel proper; they pulled onto the neighboring city of Kiefer's Main Street, past the First Baptist Church on the corner, passed by a closed series of restaurants and garages, and eventually into the well-paved parking lot of Suwape County's Coroner's Office. As expected, the lights were on, and there was a solitary vehicle parked up by the entrance: a swamp-green '55 Chevy Imperial.

County money, right?

The place was as bland as a plate of potatoes with no salt or butter. Despite coming up on the county's dime, the office was a office size reflected its singular purpose: the conducting of autopsies and documentation of their findings. It was a square building lined with beige bricks, a solitary window blackened with curtains, and the place's purpose looming overhead in simple Serif font.

Harry let himself in.

"Right on time, I see," a man responded from within. "Please, come in, come in," he added, his tone matching his words. Inside, the hunters could see a small waiting area behind the curtained-window, an empty administrative desk, and a doorway propped open leading further into the office. The man stood at the threshold between the lobby and the office's innards: a balding man with blond hair turned grey and a white coat covering a loosened shirt and slacks. "My name is Dr. Elias Yeller, Suwape County's current medical examiner. A mutual friend of ours--Jack--had notified me of your interest in a local case and, well..." he paused, furled his brow in a sign of exaggerated frustration: [b]"I hate to say it, but I'm stumped! He said that you lot may be of service. Not in the medical analysis--Heaven's no--but in making sure it doesn't happen again." He paused again, this time looking to each of the hunters with pained consternation in his eyes. Dr. Yeller's place was here, in this office, and he knew that, but he was not without empathy. "Come with me. I assume you don't need a reminder on how absolutely confidential this meeting is, yes? In that, I will deny ever having met you should you cause any trouble after this? Very good," he nodded while leading the group past a cordoned-off section of the examination space, unsealed by a clacking white medical veil.

What remained of Linda Jarvis lay atop a steel examination table, fluorescent lights lighting up her carcass like it was equal parts sterile and divine. Dr. Yeller needed no aid in determining the cause of death here: she had been exsanguinated. More specifically, sections of her flesh had been flayed away, seemingly systematically and--from signs of healing across several muscle groups--over time, as if someone or something had peeled away her flesh, bit by bit, allowed certain sections to heal, and then returned to shave away more. She was a checkerboard of agony, all pallid white and greying red.

And how she yet smiled. Rapturous delight marred her face even in death, with rigor mortis sealing her ghoulish euphoria into eternity.

"As you can expect, we have been trying to keep exact details away from the public's ever-prying eyes. Don't want to cause a ruckus, you see," Dr. Yeller explained with an emotional detachment from years of prying open bodies to find their innermost secrets. "Please, the floor is yours. I'm happy to help where I can," he added with a smile and a sweeping gesture to the body and the examination space beyond.


OOC
Charles, per your previous Investigate a Mystery roll, you may ask two of the following questions:
• What happened here?
• What sort of creature is it?
• What can it do?
• What can hurt it?
• Where did it go?
• What was it going to do?
• What is being concealed here?

I will respond truthfully. Some information may not be directly obvious or the answers somewhat vague; investigating the body itself might not give you exact details on where the monster went, but you might be able to deduce that information as you are all experienced monster hunters. In some games, GMs may restrict what questions you are able to ask based on how you are investigating--again, a body won't have the answers about where the monster went--but I'm keeping things pretty open since this is the first Mystery for this group.
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  #49  
Old Jul 29th, 2023, 10:51 AM
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ArtieStrolling his way to his bike, Artie didn't even turn his head when Harry called "Shotgun." He couldn't imagine a world where Harry would want to cling to his back as he rode the Black Shadow, nor could he imagine a world where he would let him. Now Wyatt, on the other hand... Artie allowed himself a moment to consider that, Wyatt's arms wrapped around him as the Shadow rumbled beneath them, before clearing his head with a toss and a smirk. Probably not gonna happen in this world either, but he can at least indulge in imagining it.

As they pulled into the Coroner's Office, Artie speculated to himself on what sort they'd find here. For his purposes, coroners usually came in one of two types: either they stubbornly refused to consider unnatural causes no matter how strange the corpse in front of them, or they came to an arrangement with whatever hunters came sniffing in the hopes that the nightmares would go away if someone took care of the problem. Judging by how easily Harry got them in, it seemed like Dr. Yeller was the latter. "I'd put serious dough on this guy having some tiger milk in his office," he muttered to Tony. It wasn't a judgement; when knowledge that someone was putting the monsters down wasn't enough, booze was there to lend a hand. Artie took the time to meet the man's eyes as he talked to them.

Before he even set foot in the morgue, Artie could hear, feel almost, the buzz of fluorescent lights. Those god damn lights. What's wrong with good old incandescents anyway? He tensed up, but no amount of bracing ever made it easier, ever made the light anything but a hammer to his skull. He knew he had to avoid mercury, even if he didn't know why, but it always seemed particularly unfair that even just the light gave him grief. He could already see the sparks and zig-zags warning him it was going to get much worse, but he needed to at least take a look at Linda's body to try to understand what they were dealing with.

Artie recognized the look of flayed flesh, as well as the places where it partially healed. He had watched both happen to his own body. The question on his mind was, had something been keeping Linda alive longer than she would have during the torture, the way his body had, or had this been spread out long enough for her body to start to heal naturally. He knew the coroner wouldn't necessarily recognize the difference, but he still needed to ask. "Newspaper said she did this to herself," Artie said through gritted teeth, rubbing his forehead above his eyes with one hand. "Does that sound right to you? How long do you think this was going on before she bit the big one?"
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  #50  
Old Jul 30th, 2023, 02:43 PM
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Charles left the table to borrow Herschel's rotary phone and call the agency. After a relay of telephone operators he was connected.

“Charles Richardson. Off-duty. Investigating an unusual death. Linda Jarvis. Eschel, California,” Charles reported in and listened to the mechanical buzz and clicking of the phone line while he waited to see if the agency’s official pull extended even to small towns. To Charles’ surprise it didn’t take long for OMIN’s (Occult and Monster Investigation and Neutralization) operator to reconnect and confirm full access to both the body and the local medical examiner. He informed the group and they decided to visit the coroner's office before the church.

In the parking lot Charles waved for Harry to join him in his Studebaker. Using his car’s side mirror and a straight razor. Charles made quick work of his stubble before leaving with the group to meet the medical examiner.

Inside Charles took a close look at the edges of the wounds. Checking for any signs of hesitation or interruptions caused by a reaction to pain. He had seen and treated many grisly wounds but clean self-inflicted cuts were new to him. “What was the cutting implement used?” Charles asked Dr. Yeller without looking up from his examination.

OOCMy last roll was deal with the Agency. Rolled an 8 for Investigate a Mystery. One question. What sort of creature is it?
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  #51  
Old Aug 1st, 2023, 10:45 AM
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Charles was cooler than an ice box. One phone call. All it took was one phone call and the crew were welcomed into the local coroner’s office without a holler or a fuss. The power of a fink was to be respected, Tony could not deny that ‘cuz in the old days, it woulda been Tony trying to find a way to bar open one of the many windows in the office, legs haplessly kicking in the air. But what a scream it was to have the red carpet rolled out for them! No questions asked. No dirty stares. Just an open door and a frazzled doctor eager to get this small town’s mess off his hands. It was [BLEEPING] beautiful!

"I'd put serious dough on this guy having some tiger milk in his office," muttered Artie to Tony who was busy eyeballing one of those extraordinarily smiley posters on the wall.

Tony snorted in return, and added, "Hah! Those are odds I’d trust. The real question is if he keeps it in a coffee cup or a specimen jar." Letting that imagery linger, Tony just laughed, and followed in after Charles and the doc to check in on their star of the evening:

one Linda Jarvis.

The state of Linda Jarvis was heart-breaking. The papers didn’t lie about the damage– she was cut up beyond just a few slashes here and there. No, it was like she was trying to make a dress pattern out of her own skin. And that smile. Oof! Tony weren’t the sort to scare easy, but even he got the heebie-jeebies from the way she smiled at them all. Like somehow she knew they were all just looking over her, admiring the gruesome artistry that turned her body into a canvas of horror.

"[BLEEP] me," exhaled Tony, only to quickly apologize to Susie-Q and Kitty behind him, "Pardon my French, ladies. Just didn’t expect for her to be just out-out. Thought there’d be a little more grace to it, ya feel me?" Wait, was Susie-Q gonna be able to stomach the scene? Tony scratched his brain for how often she laid her eyes on the unthinkable and unfathomable and his breakfast routines before he just gave her a subtle look to let her know he could come up with an excuse if she needed an out if all this became too much for her to handle.

OOCI am gonna sit back and let Charles and the others lead the questions for right now! If I do get the chance, I'd love to use either Investigate a Mystery or Use Magic to figure out if this was a ritual for a big spell or not. But given which roll is more approriate, I still think waiting until the questions with the doc are done before I break out the spell book. XD

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Old Aug 2nd, 2023, 04:11 PM
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Susie
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The coroner's office, no matter how plain and unassuming it very ostentatiously tries to be, is wrong to Susie's senses. All of the regular ones and those extras she possesses.

Too much death. Too much antiseptic burning her nose. Too dry and cool, raising gooseflesh on her exposed arms that she tries but fails to rub away. Footfalls against the linoleum floor echo strangely off the walls. She's barely ten steps inside before she's on edge but she summons the stubbornness she's tried to learn, if only by proximity, from Kitty and soldiers on with the rest of the group.

The coroner's commentary is little more than a distant drone in Susie's ears as she looks at Linda Jarvis's remains with wide, unfocused eyes. Her stomach clenches and her mouth feels as though it's been stuffed with cotton. No matter how tired she'd been, if she had passed on the black coffee back at Herschel's, at least she could plausibly pass this off as a nightmare. But she's too awake now, and also uncomfortably aware of the patty melt she'd just eaten.

Quote:
"[BLEEP] me," exhaled Tony, only to quickly apologize to Susie-Q and Kitty behind him, "Pardon my French, ladies. Just didn’t expect for her to be just out-out. Thought there’d be a little more grace to it, ya feel me?" Wait, was Susie-Q gonna be able to stomach the scene? Tony scratched his brain for how often she laid her eyes on the unthinkable and unfathomable and his breakfast routines before he just gave her a subtle look to let her know he could come up with an excuse if she needed an out if all this became too much for her to handle.
Swallowing her bile, Susie takes a sidelong look at Tony, only the corner of her mouth lifting. "Under other circumstances, I would absolutely scold you for your language, but I think it's justified here," she says, just above a whisper, reaching out to touch Tony's forearm in an expression of thanks for his look of support. She licks her lips with the tip of her tongue, well aware it's likely to mess with her lipstick and simply not caring at this moment. "That poor woman."

The fluorescent lights overhead hum at a frequency a half-step off from the buzzing in her head, just discordant enough to be irritating but not so much that she can easily tune it out. She knows it's absurd that it would cause pressure to build inside her head, but that's what it feels like. She touches jittery fingers to her right temple, moving them in a slow circle to try and massage it away. She's pretty certain she knows what's causing it, and she's almost as certain she doesn't want to open herself up to whatever forlorn spiritual energy haunts this place, but the longer she stands looking at the corpse, the more she fears there's no other way to rid herself of the discomfort that's well on its way to pain.

She lets her eyes unfocus for real, her chin tilting down as she carefully unlocks the safeguards she keeps around her awareness, and opens herself up to the unseen energy hoping to gain some sort of insight into what destroyed this unfortunate soul.
OOCGot a big ol' 11 on my Sensitive roll. Whee!
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  #53  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 07:00 PM
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The Smiling Dead

What remained of Linda Jarvis was on full display beneath the buzzing, sterile fluorescent examination lamp. She stared up at the light like it marked the end of tunnel to a better place, though she would never truly see eternity with those milky, glassy eyes. She didn't see too bothered, at least not with that wide, greying, rictus grin of hers.

Tony cursed, an understandable expulsion upon seeing such an enraptured carcass. "Pardon my French, ladies. Just didn’t expect for her to be just out-out. Thought there’d be a little more grace to it, ya feel me?" Susie waved away Tony's vulgarity with an empathetic whisper and a mourning glance of her own.

A single, staccato click punctured the growing quiet as the hunters investigated Linda's remains. She didn't move, thankfully, but Dr. Yeller did. He slinked back behind the hunters and, with a flick of his wrist, brought a lit cigarette to his lips. "You get used to this sort of thing in my line of work. Bodies--even ones that no longer look like they're bodies--don't bother me so much these days. It's when they start getting up and getting to no-good that I've got a problem with," he chuckled before taking a long drag of acrid smoke.

"Newspaper said she did this to herself," Artie said through gritted teeth, rubbing his forehead above his eyes with one hand. "Does that sound right to you? How long do you think this was going on before she bit the big one?"

"Ostensibly so, I'd say. From the state of the wounds, it looks like she was cutting on herself for at least a week. Mrs. Jarvis was in good health, the prime of her life: her body was able to start healing itself, as you can see here, here, and here," he paused, pushed back to the body, and placed a gloved finger near several patches of flayed-flesh that had begun to scab over. "Poor woman must have been some kind of hysterical; you'd have to be a certified member of Crazytown to carve yourself up like that--and, it appears that she used different household bladed instruments to do the deed, from shaving razors to kitchen knives, whatever she could get her hands on. The wounds don't have any of the tale-tell indicators of animal attacks or violent struggles. I mean, it was systematic: she would pull off a piece here, a chunk there, and then wait, like she was looking to create new forms of agony for herself. Except, she never really felt it, at least according the blood-toxicology report. Her system was practically flooded with dopamine and andendorphins, while her glutamate levels were practically nonexistent. In laymen's terms: she was buzzing with pleasure even in the torture, like something had practically sucked out her sense of pain."

And there Susie Q. went. She unlocked the pathways into her inner-outer spaces as Dr. Yeller stoically spoke of Linda's apparent suicide, his words like a crimson string guiding her toward the misty spaces where more information could be found. The autopsy chamber faded away like a ship bobbing into an impenetrable storm, and then the others followed until only Linda remained: poor, self-flayed Linda.

Linda sat up. Her body twisted to a symphony of bones popping and cracking, and then she laid those milky eyes on Susie, her smile only seeming to widen. Linda let her head lean back just enough to let the ashen wound across her throat breathe. "Oh Susie, it drank me up," Linda wheezed, her smile unmoving as the sound oozed out of her wound like stale pus. "They can't see it, but you can. You've got those special eyes, Susie Q. It'll want you, too. And honey, you will never feel more..." Linda's wheezing seemed to morph into a moan, her body swaying as if in a dance. "...Ecstatic..." she finished, in more ways than one, as the misty image of Linda Jarvis seemed to flake away like ashes until there was nothing left of her. Nothing but those scarlet, glowing eyes looming just behind her the whole time...

"It's an a hypothesized creature of indeterminant origin spoken often about in conspiratorial circles; they say they're reptilian entities that exist outside of material space and feed upon human victims, though what powers and weaknesses they may have will need further investigatingarchon," Charles announced, perfectly matter-of-fact, his voice an anchor dragging Susie back to the waking world.


OOC
Oops, good catch, Chuck. Susie, I've factored your roll into the narrative--good roll! Tony, let me know if you're wanting to still investigate and, if so, how you go about it!
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  #54  
Old Aug 15th, 2023, 12:01 PM
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"You get used to this sort of thing in my line of work. Bodies--even ones that no longer look like they're bodies--don't bother me so much these days. It's when they start getting up and getting to no-good that I've got a problem with."

Tony wasted no time and lit up his own cig alongside Dr. Yeller, saying with a snort, "You and me both, doc. Nobody ever talks ‘bout the woes a man deals with when handed a zombie. You gotta put that bugger out twice, if you are lucky. Damn things gettin’ more complicated every day. Makes you miss the days where all it took was a shovel to the dome to put ‘em back into eternal rest." Wait, was Dr. Yeller in on the weird stuff, or did Tony just spill secrets he shouldn’t have?

It was probably fine. Ain’t like normies took Tony seriously. He was too chill a guy compared to Mr. Straight-as-an-Arrow who could go just about anywhere and be treated like a king, his word law. ‘Wonder if it was the suit that did it,’ pondered Tony as he pushed his cig further between his lips, and breathed in that black tar like it ran through his veins.

The breakdown of Ms. Linda Jarvis and her weekly round of ‘arts and crafts’ was gruesome to say the least. Tony was thinking– hoping– it was a shorter time frame. A one night affair of shaking hands with the devil before she bought the farm. But this poor dame been carving herself up for weeks. Weeks. With all manner of blades and razors, slicing off pieces like she were a turkey dinner. And for what, to get her jollies off? None of it made sense to Tony. Not a lick of it.

"It's an archon," announced Charles in that matter-of-fact tone that made Tony feel like he outta know what the [BLEEP] an archon was and that he was stupid if he didn’t.

Spoiler: he didn’t.

Giving Charles a dead-eyed stare, Tony finally broke down and just flat-out asked. "And? What’s that? A demon? A spirit? You gotta spell it out for me, Charles. I didn’t study for this pop quiz." He then shot a baffled look at Artie. "Did you??"

OOCI am still holding my Investigate roll. I'd like to see what Susie says about her intel before Tony decides if it is worth risking breaking out his spell book. Specifically if Susie lets slip that the archon would want a bite of her, too.


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Old Aug 18th, 2023, 12:15 AM
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Susie
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I will not faint
I will not faint
I will not faint


Oh, but she wants to. She wants to curl up under a table -- not any of these tables, she doesn't want to be here any longer than she has to -- and hide. The vision of Linda Jarvis's corpse sitting up (the bones cracked, why did the bones crack) is burned into her head though. She knows if she closes her eyes, she'll still see that awful smile, the awful way her throat opened.

She breathes in and out once, twice, three times, and then crosses herself. "I don't know what an archon is," says Susie. "But it wants me too. I think..." She swallows heavily. "I think Linda Jarvis may have had the sight."

Susie lifts her chin and looks to the others in turn. "At least now we know what might attract it. We can use that against it." Her eyes settle on Charles. "Right? We'll use it to our advantage."
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Old Aug 23rd, 2023, 06:08 PM
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“I don’t know much about archons,” Charles said before reconsidering and continuing. “What I mean to say is that all the information I have on them is anecdotal and contrary. Lizard People. I know how it sounds, but it’s the best fit I have at the moment. No missing organs other than skin. Exsanguination as a consequence rather than intention. Even if causing pain was the objective. The means, while gruesome, is ritualistic rather than sadistic,” Charles finished defending his conjecture and only looked away from Linda Jarvis to answer Susie with a nod.
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Old Aug 25th, 2023, 06:43 PM
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ArtieArtie gritted his teeth as Dr. Yeller described the progression of wounds, though more from the damned lights than from any squeamishness. "At least she wasn't feeling it when she was carving herself up." He grimaced harder. "But what the hell was Mr. Jarvis doing that he didn't notice this was goin' on?" There was oblivious, and there was willfully blind, but neither of those seemed enough to cover the situation. Linda had to have been leaving blood and scraps of flesh somewhere around the house, and the coverage of the wounds was extensive enough that it would have been hard to hide.

As Charles pronounced that the monster responsible for this was an "archon" Artie shared a glance with Tony, just as lost as the greaser. "I've run into some weird-ass critters, but that's a new one on me. Lizard people?" Okay, there had been some kind of gorgon once, but nothing else about it was remotely similar. They must not have been into rum-running in his days. "How did it get her to do this? Could it have blocked Mr. Jarvis from noticing what was happening, or is he in on it somehow?"

And then Susie mentioned that the thing had been drawn by Linda having the sight, which meant it might come after her, too. To top it all off, she was practically volunteering to act as bait. "Oh 86 that nonsense," Artie snapped, irritable from the oncoming migraine. "I'd rather run this thing down than wait for it to come after you." It would have been one thing if it wanted to come after him. He could take a beating, and then some. Susie was all too human, in contrast.
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Old Sep 7th, 2023, 12:44 PM
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Tony
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Artie was right. Ain’t no way no lizard-brain was gonna land a single claw on ole Susie-Q’s head. Swiping at his nose, Tony shuffled right up to Charles, standing behind his back so nobody would notice that his second drag from his cig was a cover for the clandestine affairs he was weaving with the suit. "Get the doc out. I’m gonna see to it that this ‘archon’ ain’t gonna do jack to Susie. I got a spell in mind but I’ll need the room to myself, and Ms. Linda Jarvis." Tony then flashed his infamous toothy white smile at Charles, and winked. "Be a pal, and trust ole Big Tony on this one, Daddy-O. Promise it won’t be like the other times."

Tony took a real long drag from his cig before he left Charles to do his silver-tongue work. The noise of that conversation was the perfect cover for the one he had in mind for the others to hear. He gestured the rest of the gang over as he kept his head low, cig dangling from the tip of his teeth. "Hate to break any hearts here but think its time we split. I’ll be real. This ‘archon’ business got me all flustered ‘bout how it wants our sweet Susie here– I want to make sure no punk, be they human or monster, lays their mitts on here. I got a protection ward, but it’ll take some time. You lot can stay and watch the show if you want, but figured a few bodies elsewhere wouldn’t hurt neither."

Catching that look on Susie’s face, Tony waved it off like it didn’t pull a string or two on his own bleeding heart, even though it absolutely did. "Don’t start. I ain’t gonna be moved on this, Susie-Q! Iffin you want to play bait later, be my guest. I can dispel my workings. But right now I ain’t gonna have no lizard be sniffing after you while we have nothing to knock it back to wherever the [BLEEP] came from." And to quell in any further argument, Tony pointed at her as he dealt out his final blow. "You know you’d the same in my place."

It was a point he didn’t think she’d argue. Sweet Susie was a soft-heart. Been that way as long as he knew her– which made it all the more imperative that nothing happened to her. Tony didn’t have a lot of folks who could look past his… past, so to speak. And she was one of them. So, he’d do just about anything to make sure she was safe and sound as a babe in its cradle.



Tony didn’t know what magic Charles spun to get the doc out but the morgue was his now. The fluorescent lights were cut off in favor of the black candles Tony smuggled out of his van. All lit with an eerie scentless blue flame. Each set in the farthest points of the room, grouped together in threes in their corners.

It was all for show, of course. The candles. He didn’t tell Susie that when they took time to set each up in their particular patterns and groupings but truth be told, none of that was necessary for his magic. It was really all done for atmosphere. After all, what’s the point of speaking out of a spooky ancient tome written in a dead tongue if you didn’t have appropriate lighting?

Of course it was a necessity that Susie stand close to Linda Jarvis during the whole ritual. Something he pointed out with some hesitation considering he didn’t like her being next to a cold corpse any better than she did! Still, it was what was needed for the connection to work. What would assure that whatever happened to Linda Jarvis wouldn't happen to her.

The book Tony took out of his jacket was a large old tome. Bound in a black leather that was pulled too taut over the book’s spine, you could see the strange alien ribs that held its pages. It didn’t look like it was made of any animal hide you’d recognize. Not even people. But something truly otherworldly. Something that still writhed and moved under the faintest touch.

Tony handled it like it was a beat-up, school textbook from how he callously flipped it open. Wetting his thumb to keep his fingers free from any nasty papercuts as he searched the pages. The horrific illustrations of eldritch entities, ritualistic sacrifice, and headache-inducing sigils passed over with zero theatrics from Tony. It was all old hat for him. Being an ex-cultist and all, this was just another Sunday bible reading for him.

"Ayyy! Found the page! Okay, okay, Susie, doll. Stay put right where you are. I am gonna begin the incantation. Fair warning. It is gonna get weird. But I swears to you, it all come out peachykin afterwards."

Famous last words.

"Terram nigram invoco. Stygia deserta. Stygia Wyrm." Wind burst through the room out of nowhere. The candles flicker in and out, and shadows swirl around the morgue walls, splitting Tony’s and Susie’s shadows in multitudes– into an unseen audience that quivered in excitement from the words spoken.

"Audi verba mea. Sentio sanguinem meum putridum. Converte me in vas virtutis tuae." The morgue doors where the dead lay began to shake. Pound upon with a rumbling thunder that sounded far too much like fists on metal.

Linda’s eyes opened. Her mouth moved in mimicry of Tony’s. She spoke the words of power but no sound left her blue lips.

Tony lifted his hand in the air, tracing a symbol of twisting serpent… or was it a worm? Sweat beaded on his forehead. His breath blooming into steam in the suddenly icy air. He repeated these all too important words, searching for something beyond Susie’s sight– for something only he’d ever danced with in the lonely dark.

Time passed but it didn’t feel like it moved at all while his magic pulsed through the room. Tony could feel he was close to snatching that last thread of magic. That chord that would tie this ritual all together. All he needed to do was speak the last three magic words.

"Klaatu. Barada. Nik–" Tony squinted at the writing in the book. His greased up hair and leather jacket twisting and twirling in the whirlwind that whipped around him. His nose scrunched up, as he very quietly mouthed that last word. "...nee-koh-too? neh–kah–tee…[bleep]... just wing it… Necktie!"

OOC10 points to anyone who catches the reference here! Anyways. I got a 4 on my Use Weird Magic roll, so this is gonna get good! XD


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Last edited by Strangemund; Sep 7th, 2023 at 12:55 PM.
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  #59  
Old Sep 14th, 2023, 01:41 PM
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The Good Book and the Black Book

A quiet pallor had fallen over the autopsy chamber the hunters investigated Linda Jarvis's self-mutilated corpse. In their convergent lines of work, the hunters had come across more than their fair share human (and some less so) bodies. Many of those had been brutalized in savage and uncanny ways, but Linda's carcass--oh how she smiled--felt new: a sucker punch in some novel part of their collective gut. What sort of thing can make a person torture themselves to death and love every second of it?

Apparently, an archon can. Charles had a superficial knowledge of the entity, at least what the heavily-redacted files--all contradictory anecdotes, by the by--had said about them. Those redacted parts would have been pretty useful.

While the novel nausea of it all lingered, the silence did not, for the group had their very own Big Tony. Tony asked what they were all thinking, though did so with the lightning-fast speed of someone with no filter between thought and action--but that was part of Tony's charm. The group deliberated over the limited knowledge for a moment before Susie struck an insight: "At least now we know what might attract it. We can use that against it. We'll use it to our advantage."

"Oh 86 that nonsense," Artie snapped at the thought. "I'd rather run this thing down than wait for it to come after you."

Tony nodded in agreement, followed immediately by his thoughts on why he agreed with Artie. He wasn't about to prevent a woman--especially not one as keen and kind as Susie Q--from her autonomy, but not without applying a shiny coat of arcane protection if she truly wanted to bait out an invisible, pain-drinking reptile-thing.

Charles tried to explain why they needed the room without Dr. Yeller present, but the goodly doctor scrunched his face and shook his head first: "No complaints from me. That witchcraft stuff gives me the heeby-jeebies. Come get me when you've cleared the room of spirits--I'll need to Lysol the place down afterwards." He nodded, then dragged his cigarette down to the butt, flicked the spent thing into the nearby ashtray, and departed on his own accord.

The hunters were alone with the body of Linda Jarvis, the same Linda Jarvis that had creaked her death-stiff neck toward Susie and beckoned her to join the party through a self-administered slit to the throat. Thankfully, Linda wasn't quite so talkative at the moment, but Susie couldn't help shake the feeling that something was peering at her through those empty holes in Linda's face. All seven of them.

Tony opened up his pack of mystical paraphernalia and gave the hunters each a look. He was brash and impulsive, but he was no fool: Tony knew he would need them all on-board with what was to happen next. Now was the time to stick around or make yourself scarce: he was cooking up a spell.


OOC
Shorter post than I intended, but some variables have changed since I started working on my notes. First and foremost, Aethera has messaged me saying she's taking a break from RPGX for the time being. As such, Kitty's status in the group is...pending. I asked if there was any plans for Kitty, but haven't gotten a response just yet. So, Kitty's going into NPC status for the time being, and I'll likely find a way to make her do her own thing, ideally in a plot-development sort of way. I'm not retiring Kitty at the moment, because I want to give Aethera the option to come back, but that sounds unlikely to happen for the time being. Point of the matter is, while Kitty is still a hunter, think of her as mostly a background resource. You never know when you'll need to engineer a weird science gizmo!

Moving on, I wanted to clarify whether Artie and Charles are sticking around for Tony's spell. I know the plan is to eventually get to the potluck, but I didn't know if they had left yet. That will have an impact on the next part of my post. You can just shoot a quick update in the OOC thread, and then I'll get another update in ASAP!"
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Old Sep 20th, 2023, 08:32 PM
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The Encounter
The rest of the crew wasn't about to ditch their ex-cultist compatriot now, especially not when his esoteric weirdness had the capacity for all sorts of calamity if not performed by the careful hand of a professional.

Naturally, Tony flung open his leatherbound personal grimoire like it was a hand-me-down schoolbook. "Ayyy! Found the page!" He damn near shouted, then instructed Susie to stay in place, right there, with the most casual of warnings: "It is gonna get weird."

And weird it did get.

"Terram nigram invoco. Stygia deserta. Stygia Wyrm," Tony began the invocation, his typical bravado bleeding away to reveal what lurked beneath: a spell-slinger, and one who had earned the title. His words vibrated through the autopsy room banishing the mundane stillness of the place. Now, the silence was screaming, and with the conjuring of the Stygian Wyrm, a vile wind burst into the room from no discernible source, its howling presence bellowing to and fro, bobbing and weaving through terrain like some sort of wild, unseen beast. In its wake, the ritual candles were snuffed out, and the shadows took hold of the place.

"Audi verba mea. Sentio sanguinem meum putridum. Converte me in vas virtutis tuae." The morgue doors where the (evil) dead lay began to shake. Pound upon with a rumbling thunder that sounded far too much like fists on metal.

Linda’s eyes opened. Her mouth moved in mimicry of Tony’s. She spoke the words of power but no sound left her blue lips.

In the howling dark, Tony wove his hands into the sign of a serpent--or wyrm, as it were. The dead, many of whom had not been physically present in their cold, metal sarcophagi for years, added their voice to the cacophony. In the maelstrom of shadow and shrieking spirit, Tony gathered himself for the final push of the spell, knowing that Susie Q's safety was on the line. And at the horrific crescendo of it all, he spoke:

"Klaatu. Barada. Nik...nee-koh-too? neh–kah–tee…[bleep]... just wing it… Necktie!" Tony sputtered, the final incantation slipping from his mind like the names of so many different broads over the years.

The dead screamed. In the darkness, Linda's carcass crept upwards, the popping and cracking of her dead bones and joints cutting through the vox macabre. Susie's eyes--just like the others'--failed her, but she could see in other ways.

And she saw Linda sitting upright, her throat open and howling, her dead teeth--still in that rictus grin--illuminated by a harsh, red light.

The light was coming from her eyes: all red and bright and wrong.

And familiar. It was that thing's eyes, that archon, that was now seeing through what remained of Linda Jarvis. Tony hadn't warded Susie from it at all: he had called it here.

In the darkness, now all the hunters could see Linda's glowing, red eyes. This wasn't some arcane hallucination, some mesmeric conjuring of the Sight: this was real, and it was with them. And the evil dead hid, for they were afraid of what else was with them now.

All went silent.

All was silent, until Linda Jarvis opened up and the archon pulled itself into the material world.

 



OOC
I don't want to delay the action any more, so I'm assuming Artie is going to be sticking around as well.

Alright! So, encounter scenes in Monster of the Week--like pretty much all Powered by the Apocalypse games--aren't based on initiative scores. This is a fiction-first approach, so whomstever jumps in first gets narrative control. Depending on what you wish to do, the narrative will change accordingly: sometimes I'll reply to each individual post, and sometimes I'll wait and reply to a "round" of posting.

Similarly, as the GM of the game, I have my own host of moves that I can make that are broken up into Soft Moves and Hard Moves. Soft Moves are fictional positioning; they're letting you know that something will happen if nothing is done to prevent it or alter the narrative in some way. In this case, the Soft Move was bringing the archon into the room knowing what sort of badness it will likely follow. If nothing is done to react to that, I'll use a Hard Move, which can be anything from taking your stuff, to having it escape, to straight up causing you Harm.

Basically, a Soft Move is the set-up, the Hard Move is the hit.

As such, encounters are pretty narrative. If you have a question, definitely pop over into the OOC thread. MotW combat is still accomplished via rolls, but exactly what rolls are determined through cooperative discussion. So, your job is finding out what you want your Hunter to do and telling me, either in an OOC post by itself or via your own post with Soft Moves (detailing what you want to do but leaving enough space for the dice to do their thing). When it doubt, telling me what you're trying to accomplish, and the dice and I will tell you how well you do. Happy hunting!

Oh, and I totally copy/pasted a bit of the previous post, verbatim. It was too good to try and rewrite.
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