Session 23 — Escaping the Heart of Darkness …

Cast of Characters

  • Eternal
  • Walker
  • Acorn
  • Ace
  • Duchess
  • Sledge

After a second night’s rest in the woods, the team wakes up with confidence of the general area that the TerraFirst! group is likely making camp based on the pattern of attacks and the tracks Walker has been able to find at each site. As they debate their approach, Duchess decides to try something and throws a mana barrier around her before going into the astral.

Able to cover distance at the speed of thought, and well familiar with the corrupted mana at each of the attack sites, she’s quickly able to spot a few spots of corrupted mana, one that seems to line up with the Johnson’s research station and one closer to the team’s current location. The closer one is also the strongest background count seen yet, as she moves into investigate further, she spots a powerful toxic spirit coming towards and immediately races to her body in the mana barrier.

At the TerraFirst! camp, Melvin Cohen, a former PhD candidate at Berkeley, is alerted by his toxic abomination spirit of the intrusion. And he begins rousing the camp, yelling, “Interlopers come! They wish to stop our great transformation but nothing can stop our work! We will create a Terra that can be free of the poisonous megacorporations and treacherous governments.”

He orders all eight of his cell to lay an ambush on the direct approach from where the spirit saw Duchess retreat and then heads back into his tent to continue planning subsequent attacks while two spirits look over him and the camp.

Duchess readies two spirits, and Ace gets a serious headache failing to summon a spirit, and the team heads in the direction of the suspected camp. As they get close, the woods get very quiet and a couple of the runners hear some faint rustling ahead. Duchess orders one of the raccoon spirits to conceal the party, and without realizing it the team slips right by the ambush.

The team comes up on the campsite and as Eternal takes up a sniper position, Duchess’ manifested raccoon spirit suddenly begins screaming and thrashing next to her, as it is ambushed in the astral by one of the two abomination spirits in the form of a grotesque mockery of a wolf. The other manifests ahead of the team.

The raccoon spirits engage the astral abomination, and the team unleashes a volley of manabolts and the ineffectual swings of a sledgehammer on the manifested toxic spirit. The toxic shaman comes screaming out of his tent as the commotion, calling for his cell to come back while taking up a place in cover.

As Eternal plugs away with his rifle trying to take out the mage, the team continues to fight the spirits, with Duchess’ first raccoon spirit ultimately falling under the savaging. Duchess also feels the other raccoon spirit, still Astral, be ripped away from her as a horrible corrupting feeling comes across her mental link with the spirit. Soon after the other wolf abomination manifests, accompanied by a mutated and distended raccoon spirit, now corrupted by the toxic shaman.

Eternal is able to land a kill shot on the toxic shaman after flushing him out with a flashbang and then turn and blow a huge chunk out of the first wolf abomination mauling Sledge. Despite Walker’s rush to help, Duchess falls from the spirits attacking her but the team is able to ultimately put down the remaining spirits.

The team quickly moves into secure the camp, doing a quick search, before hearing signs that the rest of the cell is returning. The team quickly sets up an ambush position, and with a combination of a high ex courtesy of Eternal and a physical barrier to ricochet the blast around, a third of the returning group is wiped out instantly. Half of the remaining break and run, the other dropping prone, and those that remain are quickly taken out by the runners.

Between notes found at the site and a call with the Johnson, the team ultimately is able to put together that the researcher was doing work for Wuxing to test how various pollutants affect the mana of a natural area. Melvin was in the area planning some environmental protests against the logging operations but the increased toxicity in the astral opened the door for a toxic spirit to reach out to the frustrated environmentalist and corrupt him to a toxic path, which he was ultimately able to convince his group to fall in line with as they saw “results”.

Pay secured, along with the bonus of a jeep thanks to the team grilling the Johnson on what really went down, the team made their way back to the city. However shortly after crossing over the city line, the first vehicle with Duchess, Ace, Walker, and Acorn is pulled over. Eternal and Sledge drive on without incident.

The SFPD takes Walker and Ace in, although not under arrest, to speak with a Lt. Trish Rueben and allows Acorn and Duchess to go on their way.


3 thoughts on “Session 23 — Escaping the Heart of Darkness …

  1. Im glad to be leaving these woods. With the start of the day being another night without a bed under my butt I was ready for another bad day. but turned out not so bad. I did my best to speed things up by drawing lines to try and pin point the source of the attacks. turns out that was right. we went in. everyone kicked butt. my magic was rather warped though. felt uncomfy to be there. Still dislike going into any wilderness without some kinda sport activity to get the blood pumping.

    Well at least duchess swindled us an extra vehicle. heres looking forward to a smooth trip back and then a nice bed and maybe some drinks to celebrate being home.

  2. At last! Finally found the drekhead that had been spreading the toxic all over the place. Ended him with some fireworks and a round in the brainpan. Damned dirtlover even called a corrupted spirit, but we evenually geeked that too. Ended up making off with a score of mining explosives and talked that weirdo Johnson into giving the crew one of the loaner jeeps. I’d say that’s a pretty profitable run. I let Sledge keep the booms… he seemed to think he could do something with it, and I prefer my bombs to be a bit more… user-friendly.

    After dealing with this mission, I think it’s time I start looking into some new gear… and Steph has been mentioning something to me about “strengthing the aetherical bond” or something like that. Power boosts are always worth looking into, so what could go wrong?

  3. The back of the squad car didn’t exactly feel like the most joyous of places that Walker had been in. At this rate, he was wishing he was at one of Duchess’ or Acorn’s clubs, thumping with horrific dance music and covered in glow painted idiots. He hoped those two were alright. He didn’t see the cops arrest them, but he hoped they made a good decision as they left.

    The Wolf Magician couldn’t actually believe the events that lead up to this. Back in his outfit, he had fought several mages throughout his travels. Yet, this toxic shit, how it corrupted those spirits and turned them into sickening demons. He had to keep himself from losing it and putting his entire being into wiping them off the realm of existence. Even then, it felt like Wolf guided him to ensure their demise.

    At least Duchess and Acorn were alright. It scared him a bit when Duchess went down. To a spirit of a Wolf, no less. He was so happy when girl made a recovery on the way back to the jeep, even if she was a little wobbly.

    Those girls were going to get him killed at some point if the rest of his team didn’t do it first. He needed to stop seeing so much of… her.

    Walker sighed as the car hit a bump in the road, grimacing as he had to tense to keep himself from hitting his head. Ace sat beside him, chatty as ever it seemed. He could only hope that he came out of all of this in one piece.

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