At the Edge of All Things

Session 11.5

Last time, your cabal met with a mixed group of Sentinels and Free Council Minutemen as well as the Guardian Interfector, Harpocrates, to plan your nighttime raid on the central library building and the tainted grimoire within.
You learned that the book was the creation of a Scelestus mage, an Abyss worshipper, and is therefore likely very trapped and warded. Prime mages are needed to undo the wards, while Mind mages are needed to protect everyone from the book’s mental assaults. The others are there to help deal with the unexpected.

(<ell> I’m pretty sure Aurelia has a day-long mindshield running)
(<misteranthropy> Sinon will be putting up a mental shield and casting honing the form before arrival.)
(<thomamelas> Preping up some serious armor. Mage armor, forces armor, and armor of the soul. Along with mage sight.first up mental shield with requisite high speech chanting for 2 (I need to roll since each try costs 1 mana))

Aurelia: “So what exactly are we going to be doing?”

Blackjack: “I believe I am on permimeter duty.”

Horatius answers. “The grimoire apparently mentally attacks any Mage who gets too close to it. We need Mind mages close in to try to shield Horatius while he peels off the wards, and then Harpocrates while he exorcises the book. If you believe you’re up to it, we could use your help in the inner circle, Aurelia. Jude has said promising things about you.”

Aurelia: “I can handle it.”

Horatius smiles very slightly. “I’ve met very old, very wise mages who would have quailed at this prospect. Your confidence does you credit.”

Blackjack looks to Sion. “I have some guns in my car if you need any.”

Sinon: “I have some of my own, but I can take a look at the arsenal.”

Blackjack nods and goes out to his car, popping the trunk open and showing several pistols and a pair of Saigia 12 shotguns along with a number of magazines.

(basically, the plan is, shield the two non-mind mages if possible either with mind armor or counterspelling, and hopefully kind of tank the encounter with the idea that the grimoire’s enchantments probably don’t allow it to target tons of people at once)
(so the more targets there are, the less likely that it will hit the dudes who are able to dispel it)

Sinon takes a look at the assortment of weapons and selects a pistol. “I need to get my contact with the local black markets set up, my supply closet is not nearly well-stocked enough.”

Blackjack: “These I smuggled over the border. It just seemed easier then trying to find the black market.”

Aurelia: “God, Americans…”
Blackjack: “Well yes. These,” pointing to the Saigas, “are quite illegal here.”

Aurelia: “You do realize I’m with the CBSA, right? I didn’t see anything.”

Blackjack: “I would be willing to help.”

Sinon: “Good. I’ll get all of you the address after we finish with the library.”
Blackjack just kind gives a kind of engimatic smile at the not seeing anything. Taking the shotgun and placing it in the wooden case along with his calvary sword focus.

As people begin filing out of Chemical Wedding to their cars, Lefors whistles for attention. "Everyone, be sure and park a few blocks away. We really don’t want any police coming around to ask about the twenty cars in the parking lot after hours.

Aurelia will give Eli a ride this time, parking then walking up to the library.

Blackjack is finding an out of the way space, and parking. Entering the libary with his box.
Sinon follows the others inside.

As you leave, you see the Ninja Turtles piling into an Econoline van that’s been painted with racing stripes. Friday drives an old, slightly boxy Mercedes. Carson and Lefors pile into an old Buick Cutlass, Harpocrates sits in the back of a limo driven by his…translator?…, and Horatius folds himself into a tiny smart car.
The Vancouver Public Library is a huge, ultramodern structure squatting like a conch shell in the middle of downtown. The front doors are partway into its spiral arm, which is conveniently out of sight of passing cars. Harpocrates gathers the group together and quickly makes the doors intangible, waving you all into the huge, airy atrium.

Aurelia walks in confidently. “Where is the offender, can anyone sense it?”

Your footsteps echo in the open space and even whispers seem to carry to a distracting degree. With so much glass everywhere, it’s hard not to feel exposed, especially when a police helicopter passes overhead, idly playing its spotlight over the glassed roof.
There are some nods of assent. And then you feel it too, Aurelia, like a thrumming below your feet, just at the edge of consciousness.

The group strides into the spiralling atrium. Harpocrates motions to Lefors, Leonardo, Sinon, and Aurelia to join him in the vanguard, while Horatius steps back to address the others – Donatella, Raphael, Michaelangelo,Carson, Rook, BJ, Friday, and Elithora.
“Blackjack is new here but given his background and skill set I want him in charge of our outer perimeter. Rook, you’re his second. I expect all of you to follow their directions to the letter; they know what they’re doing.”

There are murmurs of assent. Carson grins widely. “No problem, boss man.”

Up ahead, Harpocrates has left his translator in the car so regards each member of the “inner circle” with a silent nod.

Blackjack nods and begins directing people into pairs, ideally ones who have worked together. Tasking them to watch for internal and external threats. Positioning them ideally in even circle but a lumpy one if it means better cover available.

After addressing the perimeter people, Horatius jogs up ahead to catch up with the forward group. “All right. We’re headed toward the archival area, which is this way.” He points toward the left, toward the central structure of the library, and leads you past the stacks and a closed cafe area toward a fire door. You feel something, like a change in air pressure, as you get closer to the source of power beneath your feet.

Aurelia pulls her bronze mirror out and begins warding Horatius. She also screws her courage to the sticking point, casting an augment Resolve spell on herself.

Blackjack sets up fall back positions to collapse the perimeter inwards if need be.

Blackjack gets everyone paired off. Based on work histories, that comes out to Donatella and Friday, Michaelangelo and Raphael, Carson and Rook, and you and Elithora.

The other Sentinels and Minutemen hustle into position around the entrances of the library, peering watchfully into the brightly-lit downtown night. So far all seems well.

Blackjack takes his shotgun out and loads a drum magazine in it. Eyes scanning for threats around and periodically above.

Aurelia and Sinon, you two follow Harpocrates and Horatius through the disabled fire door and down a series of concrete steps with rubberized treads and a bright yellow metal railing. This is obviously an official, backstage area, lit harshly with bright fluorescents. Descending two flights, you emerge through another heavy double door into a concrete basement, the air close but cool and almost absolutely dry in that way you get in heavily climate-controlled environments.

The pressure on you mentally has grown a bit. It’s a bit like fingers tapping the sides of your temples. Lefors frowns. “Hmm. That’s some strong mojo.”

Aurelia mutters a short mantra she picked up from Jude. “My mind is a fortress I shall not waver…”

Harpocrates holds up a hand for a pause, and appears to concentrate. Then he points at an open office area – it’s a bunch of desks intermixed with long, heavy metal tables under bright lamps and with magnifying glasses on swinging arms. Probably where restoral work happens. At the edge of a long table is a stack of old leathern volumes, and one of them is, to your second sight, absolutely humming with energy. Like a heat shimmer off a desert road, lines of perspective around it seem to warp and distort in ways you can’t quite put your finger on.

Sinon follows the rest of the inner circle through the double doors and feels the pressure intensify. “Just remember to visualize a brick wall.” he replies to Aurelia as he readies his borrowed pistol, just in case a physical threat manifests.

Lefors whistles.
Horatius studies the lines of force around the book for five minutes, staring at it intently, then turns to face the inner circle. “I am ready.” He approaches the book, followed by Harpocrates.

Aurelia faces inwards, concentrating on the threat.

Blackjack, your Prime sight can tell that something is happening downstairs. You feel a cold pulse of tainted Abyssal energy building up in the basement. Not enough to hurt anyone up here, you think, but you know that it’s begun.

Blackjack: “They have gotten started downstairs. Keep an eye out for things summoned by the book and for anything else that might think now is a good time to drop in unannounced.”

There’s a rattling noise as the black grimoire begins to shake of its own accord as Horatius and Harpocrates step nearer, with Lefors trailing several paces behind.
The lights flicker, once, and then stabilize a bit dimmer than before.

Leonardo, who has been very quiet up to this point, spins on his heel. “WHO SAID THAT?” Then he clutches his head. “Aaagh!”
A trickle of blood runs from his nose.

Aurelia, suddenly you get the most intense migraine of your life.

Harpocrates stops moving forward and grabs his own head.

Horatius produces a golden key and begins chanting in the High Speech.

The book’s vibrations get even more intense. The entire table rattles and some of the stacks piled on it topple off.

Thom, the other patrols have not reported anything unusual yet, but Elithora touches your arm. “BJ. I saw something coming this way. A lot of somethings, on the ground. They’ll be here any second now.”

(Back in the basement)

Blackjack, pitching his voice to be heard. “We may have incoming things coming in low. Keep a watch out.”

You hear someone, maybe Michaelangelo, go “Man, I hope it’s not heads with bat wings again. Those things fucking sucked.”

Horatius continues his chant over the book.
He stops murmuring just for a moment, shakes his head and resumes.

(Aurelia gets zapped for 2 lethal, and Sinon for 3!)

Aurelia grits her teeth hard, blood coming out of her ears. “This thing is killing us! We need to work faster!”

The psychic assault feels like a headache but also, for a split second, you see the world as it looks like filtered through the Abyss. Angles don’t join up the right way. The letters on the books around you squirm. Your own fingers seem to be tipped with tiny, grasping mouths.

Sinon grits his teeth and begins chanting a healing mantra. He reaches out to touch Aurelia’s shoulder. (casting healing heart with a wp spend)

Blackjack, you see something moving outside the library. It looks like people.

(BJ: Like people who have creepy tencle bits or like actual people?)

No wagging tentacles that you see. They’re bent forward, though, hunched down, arms dangling down to their knees and staring at the ground in front of them. They’re dressed in patchwork clothes and their skin is covered in dark blotches.

You hear shouts from the other groups that suggest that they see some as well at their positions.
A few of the people press their hands against the glass, peering inside at you and Elithora, although you’re behind cover. Then there’s a shimmer, like a wave of heat roiling the air, and the ones that were outside against the glass are now inside without having covered the intervening distance.
Another shimmer and they’re ten feet closer.

Elithora gasps. “There’s a lot of them, BJ…”

Blackjack: “Joy. Teleporting zombies.” Pitching his voice to be heard. “Groups are free to engage.” To Elithora. “Yep. We need to thin them out a bit.”

(Blackjack: Popping up and firing at the lead zombie, using will power.)

The shot tags the zombie in the shoulder, and it takes a step back hands scrabbling at the air.

Elithora takes the pistol she’s brought with her from the car, closes her eyes, and tries to squeeze off a shot. With a bit of beginner’s luck, her closed-eye shot ends up getting a zombie right in the head. Black smoke pours from the wound as the creature burns up like a film reel, leaving behind a tarry ash.

Blackjack: “Nice shot.”

“Than – aaah!” The remaining unhurt zombie teleports forward again, trying to grab Elithora by the throat.

(Downstairs!)

Horatius continues the dispellation.
Harpocrates holds a raised index finger to your group – “just a moment more,” you think it means – and produces a heavy golden dagger from the folds of his robe.
The Interfector has blood dripping from the corners of his eyes, and as it trails down his face some of his skull makeup is washed off, leaving behind chalky white skin.

Sinon takes another hit. This time the Abyssal vision doesn’t fade. His companions’ faces look like the heads of insects or deep water fish. Sounds seem to come from far away.
And then Horatius crumples to the ground.

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