Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
Nobody dares move. Nobody speaks, and nobody dares even move a muscle.
In the resultant silence that descends upon the Hellfire Club, the thundering sound of a fist pounding against the door can be heard very clearly. You couldn't ignore it, even if you wanted to.
And, speaking honestly, you actually do want to ignore it. Nothing good, you can easily guess, is waiting outside. This isn't just a thirsty demon looking for his evening drink – this can only be the Archangel Michael, following either Cassandra's trail or the scent of divinity to this place. Negotiations, you imagine, will be the furthest thing from his mind. A fight then – and one that you've been expecting for some time now. You had a feeling that you might end up butting heads with the Archangel, although you'd wished desperately that it wasn't so.
Still frozen in place, you hear Mister Red murmuring through the door to the unseen arrival. The same demure apology - “private function” - that you had heard earlier. He repeats it a moment later, in a voice that is harder, and yet unfailingly polite. The voice of a perfect butler, you think absurdly.
He doesn't get a chance to give a third warning.
“Maybe,” Petra suggests, in the brief silence that descends, “He took the hint?”
Before you can reply – or even think about replying – there is a crash of shattered wood and stone, followed soon after by the dull crunch of something heavy being cast carelessly aside. Although it's a sound that can only spell bad news, there is one silver lining to it – that ruinous sound broke you out of your paralysis, allowing you to tap out a quick message to Joseph. Get the others, it reads, and get over here. “Here” is a relative term – you give what would have been the address once, in a saner version of London, but that's all you can do. Hopefully one of them knows the way to the club.
Slipping your phone away, out of sight, you look up at the sound of advancing footsteps. The bronze skinned giant that you take for the Archangel Michael approaches your table with a swagger, his steps easy and unhurried. In his mind, you realise, he's already won. What could three humans do against one such as him?
“Well,” he rumbles, his gaze flicking across you, “A heretic, a heathen and a living blasphemy. I should destroy you all, and the world would be a better place for it.”
Rude, you think, very rude. That said, he's not thrown the first punch yet – even if he dearly wants to.
“Instead, I bring you an offer,” Michael sneers, “I want the divine fragments, and for one of you to swear servitude to me. In return, I shall allow the other two to live. A fair trade, is it not?”
Of course, you remind yourself, the Archangels are barred from Elysium. Even now, they won't go against what they see as the word of their Lord. He needs a human to take the fragment up there – a difficult position to bargain from.
>I'll do it. I'll take the fragments to Elysium
>I'm not making any deal with you
>How about we take this discussion outside?
>A question, before we agree on anything... (Write in)
>How about we take this discussion outside?
>A question, before we agree on anything... (Write in)
"Why do you need these fragments Archangel Michael? Considering the state of Law at the moment, mastery of the human world shouldn't really be a priority no?"
Hold on a moment, you announce suddenly, drawing every eye in the room down upon you. Ignoring the thin film of sweat forming on the back of your neck, you press on. Before anyone agrees to anything, you continue, you've got a question for Michael. A simple one, really – why does he NEED these fragments? Is mastering the human world really the best use of his efforts, considering the state his side is in?
“With this stolen divinity presented as tribute, the Lord's sight will return to us,” Michael says, but with a strange note in his voice. Thoughtful, almost, as if he isn't quite convinced of his own plan. “Then I shall show Him that mankind can be taught discipline, to accept his place in the Lord's designs. Only then can there be the peace and prosperity that the Lord offers to his faithful subjects.”
Halfway through his little speech, any trace of doubt vanishes from Michael's words. Whatever rhetoric he's been fed, it has too strong a hold for him to waver very long. Words alone won't get him to back down. Before you can think of a reply – even though you would just be wasting your breath – your phone vibrates. The tiny buzzing sound comes as a surprise to everyone, even startling Michael into a rare silence. So, you ask tentatively, does he mind if you get that? It might be important.
“By all means,” Michael sneers, rallying quickly, “This might be your last chance to put your affairs in order.”
Arrogant bastard. Plucking your phone out, you open the newly arrived message. It's from... Cassandra? You glance across at the girl, but her face is carefully neutral, her hands hidden beneath the table. She must have typed the message while you were questioning Michael.
“Don't use fire,” the message reads, “Physical attacks are okay. Ice might slow him.”
If he's not going to leave you alone, you say slowly as you stand up slowly, then perhaps you should take this discussion outside. You've grown rather fond of this bar, you add, and it would be a shame to see it destroyed in a brawl.
“So be it,” Michael shoots back, his voice hardening, “Every moment I spend in this den of iniquity makes my skin crawl. I welcome the chance to fight under the open sky – perhaps the Lord shall witness our battle, and grant me His blessings.” He turns, then, and marches out towards the destroyed entrance, not even looking back to see if you're following.
“Risky move,” Petra murmurs to you as she stands, flexing out her new, mechanical fingers. They move stiffly, without the natural dexterity of a human hand.
“I had a feeling this would happen,” Cassandra adds, “I've go to admit, I'm a lot happier not fighting on my own. Much better odds with the three of us – plus anyone else who feels like helping out. You sent a message out, right?”
You did, you reply, now you've just got to stall for time. Sighing, checking that Gabriel's white rose is still fixed to your armour, you start towards the entrance. Already, the cold wind is rushing into the club. Outside, Michael is waiting for you – a vast spear clutched in his single hand. The other, along with most of the arm, is gone. A spiteful punishment from his Lord, just like Gabriel's wings. Something you can use to your advantage, you hope.
“Will you persist in this foolish battle?” Michael asks, “Or will you bend the knee and surrender?”
>Summon a demon and launch the attack
>Stall for time
>Stall for time
"Pardon the skepticism, but do you really think that offering the fragments as tribute will bring back the Great Will? You guys were losing your connection to Him as Nyarlathotep was leeching power and lost complete contact just as Nyarlathotep took control. Wouldn't your efforts be better spent fighting him and getting rid of the rot that he put into Law? Namely your corrupted brothers Uriel and Raphael?"
I know this won't work, but any time or doubt we can get is better.
Just hold a little bit longer.
Also use Parvati. Immune to Fire and Light, has Ice.
Hmm alright as long as you are using Mizuchi for Fog Breath than switching him out quickly.
Parvati and Cern make better fighters for this fight.
As for Vivian, might as well get what damage we can before she bites it, like Hres did back in the day.
Rolled 44, 41, 57 = 142 (3d120)
Hold on a moment, you say in vague hopes of stalling for time. Pardon the scepticism, you continue as Michael glares down at you, but does he really think offering up the divine fragments is going to bring back the Great Will? It's far more likely, you suggest, that Nyarlathotep has been interfering with things – after all, he's already got his claws into two of Michael's brothers. He'd be better off cleaning house, before he even thinks about getting to work on humanity.
“You might have a point,” Michael admits, pointing his spear at you, “All who have strayed from the Lord's light will be broken – with no exceptions. My fallen brothers are a cancer, yes, but one that can wait. Before me, I see a follower of a pretender god,” Michael's spear points towards Petra, “I see one who perverts the word of the Lord,” the point turns to Cassandra, “And I see a walking insult, a spiteful mark against Heaven.” The weapon returns to you at that last part, wavering as the Archangel trembles with suppressed rage.
So, you deduce, there's no chance of convincing him to walk away?
“I've been more than fair,” the angel sneers, “But still you insist on this childish rebellion. I'll make an offering of your blood to the highest Heaven!”
As the words leave his mouth, you throw out the length of your black scarf, pressing down upon the angel with a wave of debilitating power. Vivian appears beside you as Petra calls up her demon, somehow fiddling with her new arm rather than using her phone. Ose appears before Cassandra, guarding the young woman from Michael's wrath. Finally, you call up Parvati. The gang's all here.
>Please roll 3D100, for Parvati, Vivian and Ose. I'll take the highest of the first three
>Also, a 3D10 dodge roll for the same, aiming to beat 7.
Even though a good distance still separates you, Michael is quick to thrust forwards with his spear. Far from any kind of normal, mundane blow that you were expecting, he shoots a lance of raging fire towards Vivian, seeking to boil away the graceful fairys floating platform. Clenching both your fists hard enough for your nails to prick at the palms of your hands, even through the thick leather, you trigger the bolstering magic within. All your allies and demons seem to stand a little higher as they are empowered, Vivian boldly thrusting out her hands to meet Michael's blazing lance.
The shield of chill air she summons blocks the tongue of fire, although the sheer force of it is enough to drive her backwards slightly. The two demons struggle against each other, the brilliant lance of fire creeping forwards and back as Michael strains to overcome Vivian's strength. Gasping, shouting with effort, the fairy pushes all of her power into the shield, blasting away Michael's attack in a rushing wall of frost. The retaliation knocks Michael backwards a pace, and when Parvati's attack – a hurled dagger of glittering ice – lands, it lands with maiming precision. Blood rushes from Michael's chest as the frozen blade pierces his armour, biting deep into his flesh.
Rolled 135, 79, 10 = 224 (3d150)
Snarling, Michael is quick to rally and his charge takes him right up to your group. He would have met Parvati, blade first, if not for Ose's intervention. The leopard, that perfect fusion of divine and infernal powers, is a wonder to behold. His swords flash as he duels effortlessly with Michael, first slapping the spear towards the ground and then slashing out at the arm that held it. Dropping the weapon, Michael beats a hasty retreat, flying backwards a few desperate paces.
“Oh Lord,” he intones with a glance towards the sky, “Lend me, your humble servant, your aid!” Pounding his fist against his chest, Michael shouts as new power rushes into his body. It's no heavenly boon – it's his own magic, partially undoing the withering effects of your scarf. “Now, mortal, fear my divine power!”
>Please roll 3D120, for Parvati, Vivian and Ose. Best of the first three again
>And a 3D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 6
With a powerful beat of his wings, Michael charges forwards and swings a powerful fist as Parvati. You wince at the fearsome power behind the blow, almost certain that it will hit – and hit hard enough, you imagine, to knock Parvati right back into a past life. As much as you enjoyed Sati's company, you'd rather not have that happen.
Mere seconds before his fist strikes home, Parvati vanishes into a rolling cloud of fire, reforming a few paces away a second later. It's a neat trick, and one that leaves Michael stumbling forwards as his balance fails. Ose is there in an instant to take advantage of the blunder, raking both of his blades across Michael's vulnerable back. Blood gushes, filling the air like a thick mist as one of his wings is shredded, a few white feathers clinging to Ose's bloody swords. Michael cries out in open pain at that blow, the force of it knocking him completely forwards. The wings, you realise, must be especially sensitive. A weak spot, perhaps?
Too late, you realise that Michael's cry of pain was a ruse, something to distract you as his hand slips out to grab his spear. Vivian, however, was not fooled. With an imperious gesture, she casts a pall of frost over the reaching hand, freezing Michael's arm to the ground. With the momentary distraction, you reach up and throw out your scarf again, sapping his power once more. Snarling with unconcealed rage, Michael rips his hand away from the ground, leaving it bloody and raw. He turns, mouth opening to curse you out, when a new voice rings out.
Rolled 16, 111, 12, 49 = 188 (4d120)
“Stop this!” Gabriel cries, “All of you – stop!”
The Archangel hurries over, her skirts whispering as she runs. The stumps of her cruelly shorn wings flutter uselessly as she rushes over, desperately straining for a flight she was once capable of. You wince a little at the sight, your expression softening slightly as you see Joseph arriving behind her.
“Sorry we're late,” he tells you hastily, “There were some other angels skulking about. We had to take the long way around.”
“Traitor!” Michael roars, brandishing his spear – frost still clinging to the weapon – at Gabriel, “I'll end your miserable existence myself, you filthy harlot!”
“If that is your wish,” Gabriel says sadly, drawing her needle-thin sword, “I've chosen my own path now, brother, and I shall defend it with my life!”
>Please roll 4D120, for Parvati, Vivian, Ose and Gabriel. Best of the first three again.
>Also a 4D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 6 again.
For all his fire and fury, there is something off about Michael's desperate attacks. Either he has sunk so deeply into a rage that he can barely control himself, or some part of his is reluctant to raise his hand against his sister. Even so, there is a tremendous force behind his first blow, swiping his spear upwards so fast that the point shrieks against the ground, sparks and wisps of flame filling the air. He swipes at Vivian, nearly bisecting the fairy, but she jolts backwards at the last minute. The angel's blow leaves her unharmed, but knocks her away. With all her efforts devoted to dodging, she has no hope of launching an attack of her own.
With his attentions focussed on Vivian, Michael is unable to guard against Ose leaping upon his back, feline teeth and claws biting deep into the sensitive flesh left uncovered by the bronze armour he wears. Snarling like the feral beast he resembles, Ose rips and tears at Michael's wings, finally falling backwards in an explosion of gore – one feathered wing still clutched in his claws. With that gruesome injury, you know that the fight is over. Michael can't keep fighting like this, can he?
He gives it a damn good shot, at least. Heavy, his movements sluggish with mounting fatigue, he slashes wildly at Parvati only for the graceful demon to knock his spear away with a burst of frost. As crystals of razor sharp ice form around his hand, shredding the flesh until brilliant white bone is visible, Michael can only drop to his knees.
“I didn't want it to end like this,” Gabriel murmurs, drawing close and taking her brother's head in her hands. Kneeling, she cradles him for a few moments longer, before a sudden twist of her arms – shocking, in the sheer unexpected violence of it – ends Michael's life.
“It is done,” the lone angel says sadly, delicately laying Michael's brother out upon the ground and rising to her feet. “I did not wish for it to be this way,” she adds, almost as if trying to convince herself of the simple statement, “But you left us with no choice, brother.”
“That's right,” Cassandra says, patting Ose on his bloodied muzzle like the proud owner of a prize winning pet, “We tried to talk him out of it.”
You fall silent, quite unsure of what to say in a situation like this, and watch as Michael's body begins to slowly crumble. It takes far longer than you're used to, as if something in his dead flesh still yearns for life. You might still be able to take something from his body, you realise, before it is all lost. Something you could offer Scathach, you think with a sudden bitterness, for her sick “experiments”.
“Please,” Gabriel says softly, without turning around, “Let him have his peace. Do you really need to defile his body, as well?”
>Gabriel's right. Let Michael's body rest
>Ignore Gabriel. You've earned everything you can get
>Gabriel's right. Let Michael's body rest
We owe her that much.
"Gabriel, I'm sure the eyes of every angel were looking at this fight. If you want to say something to them all, now would be the time."
Gabriel's right, you realise, you can let Michael's body rest. He was... well, there's no point being nice about it, he was a massive jerk. Despite that, he was still Gabriel's brother – or something like that, you were never quite sure if it was just a formality or not – and she doesn't need to see you tearing into his body like some kind of jackal. Nodding silently, you just watch as Gabriel arranges her brother's body, crossing his arm over his chest and smoothing out his face.
The eyes of every angel in the city were fixed upon this fight, you tell her softly, is there anything she'd like to say to them? You have little doubt that her words would reach them, and that they would listen carefully. Gabriel frowns slightly at your suggestion, thinking hard for a moment before nodding. Looking up at the sky, she clears her throat.
“I am Gabriel, last of the Archangels,” she announces, in a clear and beautiful voice, “There are many among you, no doubt, that see me as tainted, corrupted by humanity. You are wrong – my time spent among humanity has given me the strength to see their true value. They make mistakes, suffer moments of weakness and lapses of faith – but do they deserve punishment, scorn or oppression because of this? Or do they deserve guidance, forgiveness and understanding?”
A moment of silence passes, as if Gabriel was expecting a response. You glance around at your companions as the moment stretches out. Cassandra is nodding, a thin mist glinting in her eyes. Jospeh is much the same, a proud look on his face. Petra, on the other hand, looks grudgingly impressed, but that's about all she can manage.
“Remember what you have witnessed here,” Gabriel finishes, “And make your decision.”
“Good speech,” Joseph murmurs. You look over, not sure what to tell him.
>You've been a good influence on her
>What happened to the others?
>We'd better get back to the kingdom
He's been a good influence on her, you tell Joseph warmly.
“You think?” Joseph gives you a strangely shy smile as he looks over at Gabriel, the angel offering one last solemn prayer over the crumbling remains of her brother's body. “Well, uh, I'm glad you think that. You know, I think she's more human than angel, once you get down to it.”
Well then, you say awkwardly as Joseph continues to gaze fondly at Gabriel's back, what happened to the others? You were hoping they'd all get here, but...
“Ah,” Joseph frowns, “That delay I mentioned. We ran into a pack of angels – some of Michael's soldiers, I believe – on the way. Leon and... “Elliot” offered to keep them busy while I hurried over. They ran, the angels chased them away. Of course, they were pretty keen to wet their blades on that devil Leon likes to associate with...”
You can imagine. Hey, you add as a sudden thought strikes you, why doesn't he join you? You were having a kind of meeting, actually, before Michael interrupted you. It was mainly with Cassandra, but he's more than welcome to contribute.
“Ah, certainly,” Joseph decides after a moment's thought, “I don't know just how much I'll be able to offer, but...”
So, you call over to Cassandra as you approach her, perhaps she's like to step back inside and finish what she was telling you earlier?
Cassandra regards you, with a kind of wonder, for a few seconds before laughing aloud. “You're all business, you know that?” she says through a crooked smile, “Sure, let's go. We might as well talk things over in the warm, after all.” Turning to walk back into the Hellfire Club, a thought seems to strike her, and she glances back around at you. Before she can say anything, though, she shakes her head and keeps walking, marching into the darkened club hallway.
“Angels,” Mister Red grunts as you enter, not looking up from the patch of floor he is sweeping, “Terrible really. Awful customers, and they have the worst kind of manners. Eh...” he trails off, then, and glances up at Gabriel, “Pardon me, ma'am, no offence intended.”
“Quite alright,” Gabriel says graciously, “Perfectly understandable, given the circumstances.” Then she steps close to you, bending down to whisper into your ear, “The body,” she murmurs, “Gone. The wind carried his ashes away.”
Out of Nyarlathotep's reach, you think to yourself, good. One less thing to worry about.
“I'd like to thank you,” Mister Black tells you as you all sit around a table, the skeletal gentleman appearing out of a nearby pool of shadow, “For keeping your little fracas outside.” He places a bottle of wine down upon the table, pulling a set of four glasses out from behind his back... somehow. “Compliments of the house, to show my appreciation.” he explains, before bowing and retreating.
“Right,” Cassandra says eventually, pushing a hand through her short hair, “This changes things a little. I'll be open and honest with you – right now, I've got a straight shot to Elysium. I can slip over there without running into any trouble and be back – assuming I DO return – before midnight. The problem is...” she pulls over one of the glasses and sloshes a generous measure of wine into it, “I don't know if I should. So go on then, Mia, what would you do in my position?”
>I'd go for it while I had the chance
>It's still too much of a risk, I wouldn't go
>I'm not answering that, I'm sorry
If you're going to go I'd bring back up. I somehow doubt it'll be as easy as just going there. Odds are even if you don't have Angels intercept you, Nyalarhotep will either have his minions do it, or already have something there.
>I'd go for it while I had the chance
"I'm the kind of girl that breaks into guarded fortresses and Archangel controlled churches to rescue people. So if I am being honest if I were in your shoes I would go since you have an opportunity. However I would not go alone if I had people to back me up."
"Cass what's your goal here? Is it just to expose Mastema or are you seriously considering offering the fragment up as tribute?"
I'll back this.
>I'd go while I still had the chance
But you have to let us know - what's your endgame here? One archangel is dead, two have turned, the last disgraced. What are you going to be able to try?
You sigh, knowing that there's only one answer you can honestly give. You're the kind of girl that breaks into demonic fortresses and angelic churches just to rescue people, you tell Cassandra, but you'd never even think about doing it on your own. If you had someone to go with you, you wouldn't hesitate.
“That's what I thought,” Cassandra nods, smiling at your honest answer, “You can't waste time with these things.”
But, you ask quickly, what's her goal? Is she really doing this for the chance to expose Mastema, or does she really plan on offering the divine fragment up as tribute?
“A bit of both, I suppose,” she admits, reaching into her pocket and pulling out her fragment. She regards it closely for a moment before placing it on the table before you, almost daring you to snatch it away. “Curiosity, mostly. I want to know if there was any truth at all in what Mastema told me. If there's even the slightest chance of being able to realise my vision, to reform the Law...”
If she insists on going, you tell her, you'll back her up. You just wanted to know what her goal was, before you decided on what to do. What can she do, you ask, that the archangels couldn't?
“Excuse me,” Gabriel says suddenly, her voice soft but insistent, “May I interrupt? You say you wish to reform the Law, but why, exactly, do you need a divine fragment to do that?” In the silence that follows this, Cassandra almost replies several times, but fails to speak up each time. “I think,” Gabriel offers, “You're looking for a quick and easy solution.”
Although you're careful to keep your face neutral, inwardly you're grinning. Inviting Joseph in was a damn good decision.
“Man,” Cassandra sighs eventually, hiding her grimace behind a deep drink of wine, “There's not really much I can say to that, is there?”
A silence falls across the table as Cassandra picks up her fragment once more, turning it over in her hands and staring deeply into the brilliant white crystal. “Demons would kill for this,” she remark, “I mean it. I could throw this outside, and any army in the land would fall apart for the chance to own something this powerful.” Placing the shard of white glass down on the table, Cassandra takes another drink of wine and then, with an air of finality, pushes the fragment across the table towards you.
She's just... giving it to you?
“Hell,” Cassandra forces a nonchalant shrug, “Gabriel's right. I was just looking for an easy answer. Though, considering what I went through to get this thing, I'd hardly call it “easy”, but still...”
You look down at the fragment, somehow unwilling to take it just yet. What about Amelia, you ask, what's Cassandra going to do about that thorny issue?
“I'll hear what she has to say,” Cassandra decides, “And I'll make up my mind from there. I think my “childish rebellion” - to borrow Michael's charming term – is over. I'm ready to give her another chance. Listen, though, there's one suggestion I have to make.”
“Mastema,” she says the name bitterly, “I'd kill him, if I were you. I'd go to Elysium and kill him. That's your call, though – I'm leaving the decision in your hands.”
>Take the fragment
>Give the fragment back to Cassandra
>Give the fragment back to Cassandra
"In that case we need to draw him out like you planned. I'll go with you to Elysium and we can make a show out of you second guessing and giving me the fragment. If anything will piss him off and make him take direct action it'd be that."
"I assume, Joseph, you want in on this action?"
>we're all agreed on killing Mastema, right?
I don't think you'll get any argument from anyone around this table about that.
As for the fragment, she pretty much gave up using it for reform and gave it to us.
Looking down at that shard of pristine glass, the stuff of divinity distilled into physical form, you think back on what Cassandra said. Demons would kill for it, would do practically anything to get their hands on the power it represents. Then, with a smile tugging at the corner of your mouth, you push it back across the table towards Cassandra. She'll need bait, you tell her, if she wants to lure Mastema out.
“That's...” Cassandra pauses, the words catching in her throat, “Mia, I don't know what to say.”
Whatever she does with this fragment, you tell her, you're both on the same page when it comes to killing Mastema. Is that right?
“I... yes, that's exactly it,” Cassandra nods once, with sudden resolve, “We draw him out, and then we kill him. He's been pulling our strings for far too long.”
Joseph, you add as you glance across to the quiet young man, does he want to get in on this action?
“Absolutely,” he says with a solemn voice, “This is just as important to me as it is to anyone else here.”
“Maybe more important, yes?” Petra suggests, speaking up at last, “Well, I think this is still a risk, but an acceptable one. Mastema has crimes to answer for, yes?”
Then it's decided. You'll go with Cassandra to Elysium. If, at the last minute, she decides to give you the fragment instead, that's certain to drive Mastema to direct action. At least, if that doesn't do it, nothing will. The only question left, then, is when to do this? There are, after all, several other tasks on your plate – the mutated form of Nidhoggr among them.
>Head to Elysium now
>Scout out the city, see if you can find Nidhoggr
>Venture South, to the final fragment
>Return to the fairy kingdom. Leon and Elliot might have fled back there
>Head to Elysium now
Use the opportunity Michael's death gave us.
Check in with Leon and Elliot. See if they are okay and tell them where we are going. They can head back to the Kingdom or hang around Hellfire, just be prepared to move on short notice if we need reinforcements.
I'll second this. We were just talking about how Michael going down gives a hole in the defenses of Elysium for now.
Also venturing South sounds like a full day kinda thing and its almost the end of this one.
That's a good point. With all 5 divine fragments we'd need to hold off hordes of demons that want to use them, and a full week before Amelia can re-manifest herself. If we can snag it before the full moon falls that's one thing, but otherwise I think we need to get what we can from her.
>>Head to Elysium now
Can't wait to punch Mastema in the face. Call the others on the way though.
Well, Cassandra was right about one thing – now that Michael is out of the way, you've got a straight shot towards Elysium. It would be a shame to waste this opportunity.
“Let's see,” Cassandra murmurs as you explain your idea, pulling a sheet of paper out of her pocket and skimming it, “Uriel should be... on the other side of the slums by the time we arrive. I can't guess where Nidhoggr will be though – we'll be able to see it coming, at least. Now is probably the best time to make our move.”
It's setted then, you decide as Joseph and Petra murmur their own agreements. You'll call Elliot on the way, to see if they've shaken off their angelic pursuers. If so, they can make up their own minds whether or not to join you. Thanking Mister Black and Mister Red once more as you're leaving – although they both stress their thanks as well – you enter the snowy streets and take out your phone. Elliot's phone rings just long enough to start you worrying, and then he picks up.
“Ah, Mia dear, how are you doing?” he asks hastily.
After what Joseph told you, you reply, you're more concerned about how he's doing. Are the two of them okay?
“Us? Oh we're fine, really very fine,” Elliot is quick to reply, “Ah... what did Joseph tell you exactly?”
Huh? He told you that Leon and Elliot had distracted a gang of angels, leading them away so he could come meet you. Is that, you ask as Joseph stares awkwardly at the ground beneath his feet, is that really what happened?
“Oh,” Elliot pauses, “That's exactly right. I'll tell you what, we were bloody heroic! They'll write stories about it one day, let me tell you! Heroic stories, I mean, of our heroic deeds. Yes.”
...Okay, you say slowly, you're heading East. If they feel like some extra heroics, they're welcome to join you.
Joseph you are way too nice covering for them. Coming up with the angel story to pretend they were being useful instead of just boning.
You know this happened too when we fought Chernobog, Elliot stayed behind to 'watch' Leon. Wonder if Petra would still have her arm had Elliot came with...
“Oh, well, you know...” Elliot murmurs something to somebody in the background, the words escaping you, “It was really quite tiring, you know, all that running. Have I mentioned that I hate running? The sweat alone...”
That's fine, you reply quickly, that's perfectly fine! Just... be ready to move if you call again. The next time you ask for their help, it'll be an emergency – a matter of life and death. Until then, they can head back to the kingdom to rest up, and heal if they need to.
“Wonderful idea!” Elliot declares, “In fact, that's exactly what we'll do. Now. Because we're not at the kingdom right now. Uh... stay safe!”
What a curious conversation, you say aloud, to the sound of Petra stifling gales of laughter. The rest of the trip passes in an awkward silence, save for the occasional chuckle that slips from Petra's lips. Even when you pass through the slums, the journey is uncannily silent, without the sounds of crashing destruction that you had come to expect.
“It's possible,” Cassandra offers, “That Nidhoggr – or whatever it has become – has returned to its lair. To lick its wounds, perhaps? In either case, I'm glad we don't have to deal with it right now.”
True, you murmur, although some part of you wants to put it out of its misery. It looked like a gravely wounded animal, caught on the verge of death and yet hideously still alive. Shaking the thoughts away – this isn't the time to be thinking about such things – you look up at a rare patch of sky, gazing up at Elysium's lofty heights. It's close now, nearly filling your view. A few more twists and turns and you arrive at the marble doorway, left casually ajar.
“We're heading straight upstairs,” Cassandra explains as she slips through the doorway. You move to follow, and then pause. Gabriel is gazing up at the tower with trepidation.
>You don't have to do this
>Come on, we should hurry
>We'll leave you both behind
>What a curious conversation, you say aloud
She doesn't have to do this, you say simply as you slip through the doorway. You're quietly confident that she'll follow you – after going so far against the word of her Lord, this one step shouldn't be that much more difficult – but still you wait upon the other side. Joseph slips through a moment later, but Gabriel still lingers upon the threshold.
“It's your choice, Gabriel,” Joseph says softy, holding out his hand to her, “You always have a choice. Don't forget that.”
Reaching out slowly, the Archangel takes Joseph's hand in a delicate grip, allowing him to guide her gracefully over the threshold. It's a sight that seems out of place here, in a city cast deep into corruption and savagery. More like something ripped from a period novel, the flowery kind where high society women are whisked around ballrooms by dashing gentlemen. It's an illusion that is, unfortunately, shattered as soon as you turn to look around Elysium. The place is... deserted, and it looks as if it has been in this state for a great many years. Dust clings to everything, and only the barest twilight gives you something to see by.
“This way,” Cassandra murmurs, unwilling to raise her voice in this tomb-like place. Even Gehenna, you realise, didn't feel quite so... dead. Following Cassandra, you come to a grand staircase that spirals gracefully up, the steps hewn from veined white marble. Ignoring the luxury around you, your group tackles the stairs in grim silence. The bleak mood that has settled over you all only deepens as you ascend, the dust clinging to the stairs growing thick and greasy, like ash. No, you correct yourself, it IS ash.
Steadying your nerves, you take the last few steps and pause, looking around at the blasted wasteland that you have entered into.
It looks like it was a garden, once, and quite the majestic one. Now though, the few flowers that are left have withered and wilted, while the majority exist only as blackened and crumbling stalks. A few trees rise up in the distance, equally burnt and skeletal, and a thick layer of that same ashy dust swirls around you feet. The sky is open – impossibly, the tower has no roof – but there is no light from above. It's not the night sky above you, but a sky without a sun. A cold, dead sky, without even any stars to offer respite.
Shuddering, you take a few steps forwards and nearly trip over a toppled tombstone, the marble blasted and scarred. This whole place looks like the aftermath of a hideous war, one that left only corpses behind. The largest corpse, in fact, is ahead of you – a metal thing, held up with crude wooden props like a graven idol. Rusted, dented and ancient, it bears the shape of a vast human being.
“I never thought it would be this bad,” Cassandra muses, reaching into her pocket to produce the fragment, “Listen, when HE appears, get ready to... I don't know, to react. Be ready for anything, I mean.”
You're ready, you promise her. It's a promise that Joseph and Petra mirror on their own, although both of them look almost sick with nerves. It's the air here, filling you with a kind of noxious dread. Swallowing her own fear, Cassandra holds the fragment up to the darkened sky, waiting for... anything to happen.
“So,” a familiarly oily voice rings out around you, the speaker himself unseen, “You've come – all of you. Tell me, why are you here?”
Cassandra freezes, her voice failing her. You speak up in her place, shouting into the void.
>We're here to offer tribute to the Great Will
>We're here to show you what you'll never have
>We're just here for some answers
>We're just here for some answers.
Mastema a shit, but at the same time we want to actually get his attention before he starts fucking with us. The longer we act reasonable, the more likely he is to think we can be conned.
>We're here to show you what you'll never have
Draw his ass out.
Though you do have a point. I don't think he'd expect it from Mia though considering what she did last time, but if Cass acted meek...
>>We're just here for some answers
Open with this. Ask if it's really possible to change Law for the better
because I'm curious about that as well.Then:
>We're here to show you what you'll never have
You're just here for some answers, you cry out. Your voice is swallowed up by the abyss of the sky, and while Mastema chuckles darkly at your reply, he still makes no attempt to be seen. Was it ever possible, you ask, to change the Great Will's Laws? Was there ever a chance?
“You mortals,” Mastema sneers, not even bothering to fake honesty of trustworthiness, “Need to learn something. You reject your gods, you pour scorn upon them and deny them, while your lives are good. Living in peace and prosperity, you decide you can live without His Laws. Then, at the first sign of trouble, you come crawling back to His light and plead for mercy, for Him to solve all of your problems.” There is a shockingly harsh laugh here, a bitter bark of contempt. “Things like that,” Mastema snarls, “Make me sick. May you all be struck blind, and walk this land as corpses!”
So... he's not very happy.
Finally, Mastema appears before you. His face is twisted with a ragged scar, and he gestures furiously at you with a withered stump. “But that's not it, is it? You've not come to beg or plead – you've come to demand! To demand that the Great Will bows to YOU, and changes his Law to suit YOU. The arrogance of it all!”
Actually, you say quietly, your voice steady despite the fear gripping your body. Actually, that's not why you're here at all. You just came, you spit back at him, to show him what he'll NEVER have!
“An ambush, then?” Mastema yawns, “How droll. I expected better of you.” There is a flash, bright enough to blind you, and then Mastema is gone, save for a few ink-black feathers. Then, disturbing the sudden peace, is a terrible rumbling sound. The statue, that ancient metal figure, begins to writhe and thrash, breaking free of the ropes holding it upright.
“A little rusty,” Mastema, unseen, sneers, “But it will be enough to crush you.”
>Summon a demon and fight
Rolled 6, 71, 58, 113 = 248 (4d120)
This is... not as you planned. You take a faltering step backwards as the mechanical giant lurches forwards, flakes of ancient rust cracking and drifting away to reveal new metal – brilliant silver – beneath. With every step he forces out, his movements get more and more fluid, the damage to his body seeming to melt and flow back into shape before your very eyes. Within moments – or what seem like moments – the ancient wreckage has become a glittering warrior of God.
A warrior with his eyes fixed upon you, murder gleaming in those emerald flashes of light.
“Metatron,” Cassandra recalls, calling up Ose as she fights back her own wave of nervous fear, “The voice of God.”
Not a title that fills you with confidence, you shoot back as you summon Mizuchi. The floppy snake tumbles and rolls in the air, circling you for a moment before belching out a thick plume of smoke. It's a curious mist, flickering between obscuring your vision and not hindering it in the slightest. You can see fine, but Metatron's movements grow more cautious. Your demons are joined by Gabriel and Vivian, both preparing their own ice magic.
Time to finish this quickly, you murmur as you cast our your scarf and clench your fists, activating the magic held within your items.
>Please roll 4D120, for Mizuchi, Vivian, Ose and Gabriel. I'll take the highest of the first 3
>Also a 4D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 5
>Next turn, Mia will switch to Cernunnos.
Rolled 126, 48, 17, 136 = 327 (4d150)
Gliding through the air with sinuous grace, Mizuchi shoots towards Metatron, weaving beneath one of the giant's wildly swung punches and punching right though the armoured plate of his chest. The serpent's charge leaves no physical mark, and he bursts from Metatron's back with an equal result, but a thick skin of frost forms around the entrance point. Metatron shudders at the damage, his limbs growing a little bit stiffer.
Shuddering once more, Metatron's eyes begin to glow with a powerful light, the power boiling over and howling forth as two golden beams. The energy rips through the ground, a trail of explosions following the path it leads, but all of your demons manage to evade. Vivian glides backwards, throwing up her hands in sudden terror, while Gabriel takes a single graceful leap away. Ose, on the other hand, charges forwards. Dashing low, with his blades extended, Ose strikes a pair of quick blows on Metatron's body, his swords leaving deep and bloodless gashes on the metal angel. With his blow struck, the leopard demon dashes on, away from the counter attack.
That'll do, you mutter to Mizuchi, returning the small god to your phone. Time for Cernunnos to shine. As you summon the hunter, though, Metatron presses his hands together in prayer. There is the sound of something shattering, and the scarf around your neck grows hot for a moment. The mist, you realise, has lifted.
>Another 4D120, please, for Cern, Vivian, Ose and Gabriel. I'll take the highest of the first three.
>Also a 4D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 7 this time.
>Mia will be able to use debilitate again next turn
Cernunnos, howling to the moonless sky, raises his spear and charges, ready to pierce Metatron's armour with a deadly thrust. His charge, however, ends in failure. Metatron's hand flies up, faster than you had ever expected, to meet Cernunnos, fingers closing around the barbarian's throat and then... he stops, head tilting slightly as he examines Cernunnos.
“Pagan,” Metatron rumbles, the voice cutting in and out like a faulty radio, “I have... seen you before. This has all happened before.” There is no curiosity in that flat, machine voice. A simple statement of fact, and then he twists his body, slamming Cernunnos down into the dusty ground. As a cloud of greasy ash swirls into the air, two flashes of light appear from behind. Ose's blades, spitting Metatron like a bug on a pin. For any human – anything with organs – it would be a mortal blow. Metatron, on the other hand, barely seems to notice it. He turns and swings a punch at Ose, but the leopard demon has already darted away.
Striding forwards, Metatron allows his head to pan across you, his eyes disarmingly similar to cameras. His gaze, then, locks on Gabriel. “No,” he screeches, “This is... not as it should be. This is irregular. Remove.”
Even as he says this, Garbiel's sword is flying up towards Metatron's chest. Again, though, that metal fist comes down to catch Gabriel's hand, tightening until the sound of shattered bone fills the air. Two screams ring out, then – Gabriel's cry of pain, and Joseph's shout of denial. Before Metatron can finish his attack, though, a sword of flashing ice crashes into him and knocks him backwards. Vivian cackles with delight, readying another glowing blade to throw.
Your scarf finally cool enough to touch, you waste no time in using it, sapping Metatron's strength.
>Please roll 3D100, for Cernunnos, Vivian and Ose. Gabriel is devoted to healing
>Also a 4D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 6
If he beats the score he doesn't take damage, just something causes him to not need to dodge, like Vivian's attack or something.
Not sure if Gabby is in the clear, she didn't get an attack roll and didn't make the dodge. Probably about to lose all the healing progress she just made.
Gabriel, clasping her shattered hand to her breast, calls up a warm light that bathes your entire party, healing their injuries. Cernunnos springs to his feet, the cloud of dark bruises vanishing from around his throat. As Gabriel's hand is grinding into place, she lets out a soft sigh of relief – and she lets her guard down. Just for a moment, true, but that's long enough.
The metal wings adorning his back unfold, separating into gleaming blades, and propel Metatron across the crumbling ground at incredible speed. He charges, as fast as you've ever seen a demon move, and punches up into Gabriel's stomach. Letting out an anguished cry, the Archangel folds up and collapses, her form flickering as she struggles to hold onto physical shape. Joseph, shouting blind denial, fires shot after shot from his pistol at Metatron, the mundane bullets sparking off without leaving so much as a mark.
Vivian hurls the glowing sword she had summoned, the magical blade striking Metatron to far greater impact. It knocks the mechanical being sideways, a rare stumble overtaking the giant's movements as the accumulated damage begins to take hold. Cernunnos is there to capitalise on the moment of weakness, launching into a flurry of attacks. Mixing spear thrusts with wild, uncontrolled punches, he lands blow after blow on Metatron's metal hide. The sound, you think wildly, is like listening to someone assaulting a bell.
Ose, too, is able to land his blows. He strikes low, slashing out across Metatron's knees and sending the giant tumbling forwards. He's stunned, for now – you've got a brief window of opportunity.
>Press the attack
>Take the time to rearrange your party
>Retreat while he can't chase you
Rolled 66, 120 = 186 (2d120)
You don't waste any of the brief amount of time you've been given. Rattling off orders as fast as you can, you put a somewhat hastily assembled plan into action. First step – damage control. Vivian leaps to obey Petra's snarled order, a glow of healing magic surrounding one of her hands and a shimmering veil of ice wreathing the other. The healing light pours over Gabriel, her form returning to normality. The ice, on the other hand, coils around Cernunnos' and Ose's weapons, wrapping them in a killing frost.
Unsteady, Metatron lurches to his feet. His knees are shaking, the damage Ose dealt threatening to spill the giant down onto the filthy earth at any minute. Yet somehow you know that for all the damage he has taken, Metatron will be just as dangerous. Even if it destroyed his body, he would die in the process of crushing the life from your body.
You won't let that happen.
>Please roll 2D120, for Cernunnos and Ose. I'll take the highest of the first three, and this is at +20 due to Metatron's injured state.
>A 2D10 dodge roll as well, aiming to beat 6
Rolled 6, 2 = 8 (2d10)
Modifiers save the day.
Surging fully to his feet with one last burst of strength, Metatron swings a flurry of punches at the attacking demons. Cernunnos ducks under them, while Ose meets the blows head on. He doesn't attempt to block them – instead, he parts Metatron's hands from the wrists with a pair of flashing swipes. As the hands topple to the ground – there are a lot of hands going missing at the moment, you think to yourself – Ose pivots and slashes across Metatron's legs. This second round of attacks parts one of the metal giant's legs from his body, dropping him to the ground.
Cernunnos is there to deliver the finishing blow. His spear wreathed in frost, he plunges it into Metatron's throat. Grey, brittle with spreading frost, the metal neck offers little resistance as Cernunnos – with his bare hands, no less – reaches out and tears Metatron's head from his body. The light goes out of those emerald eyes as Cernunnos throws the severed head aside like a piece of trash, vacantly kicking the body over.
So it's over, then.
“Mastema got away,” Cassandra mutters darkly, lashing out suddenly and kicking Metatron's body. Her foot caves through the crumbling metal, the armour flaking away to join the ashen dust.
There will be other chances, you begin to say, and then you fall silent. There's something else here – something that faded perfectly into the grey backdrop. A statue, or what you take to be a statue at first, of a... a monster. The world seems to drop away as you approach the monstrous, but somehow familiar form and place your hand upon its leering skull face. It feels like stone, but...
>I'll have to end the thread here for tonight. Next thread on Sunday, and I'll stick around in case of any questions!
Gabriel's had a hell of a day. Other than getting gut punched, though, she's holding on in there. She's still riding high on the idea that she's on the right side at last - and Mastema's little rant only helped that.
Cass and Petra will probably laugh about this later, once they've had time to rest up a little. History really does repeat itself, I suppose!
Mastema occupies quite a strange position within the forces of Law. Technically, he holds quite a high rank - more or less the same as Michael, in fact - but he's much less well known or respected among the lower ranks. He doesn't have much pull at all, which is partially his motivation - to work himself into a position of REAL power.
At the moment though, it's looking like Gabriel might inherit command over the forces of Law.
He's got private rooms back in that labyrinth of corridors. Considering that we kept the damage to the club to a minimum, I imagine he'd be more than willing to let everyone crash for a bit.
Marco was being kept busy, yes. When the loud noises started, he was sensible enough to stay put. There's not much he could to, in a situation like that!
When the dust had settled, Mister Black discussed the issue over tea. Everyone was quite impressed with how the situation was dealt with.
Been awhile since I posted this, we really cleared it out.
>Recover Cosmic Fragments
-Center fragment acquired by Scathach - Studying it.
-South fragment captured and used to make some town on the southern outskirts of the city
Discuss the fate of the world with Amelia.
Any surprises in today's thread you didn't anticipate?
I hadn't ruled out heading to Elysium quite so soon, but it wasn't my expected option either. I was a little surprised at the unanimous decision to give the fragment back to Cass as well, I thought that might be a little contentious.
Also, it's just occurred to me that Mia potentially has two dads. This amuses me far too much.
I imagine that, after countless years spent in a lifeless abyss, old Marco will just be happy to have someone to talk to. He's probably cooled off about the whole "killing" thing. Besides, Mia is cool with Amelia, so that should offer some common ground if Carnby and old Marco ever meet.
I'm trying to work out who is going to be more confused by this ordeal. Mia, who gets to meet an old version of her father, or Marco, who gets to meet a new
and aliveversion of his daughter. Marco IS a monster though, so that might swing it.
>Now Mia, you're my daughter and I'll always accept you, but that attire....is there something you need to tell me?
>you're one to talk, you're a minotaur!
>i see, you're in one of THOSE phases
>it's not a phase, dad!
She survived, but at what cost?
I have the mental image of Marco wearing the traditional fatherly pipe and slippers, even as a minotaur. If I had any artistic skill, I would draw that.
>She survived, but at what cost?
Sure she's been exposed to a lot of violence that most adults never see in their entire lives, but as a person she's grown a lot and in a good way.
That's not wrong. She's learned to be assertive, she's finally out getting exercise/fresh air and she's even managed to make some friends!
Just a shame it took the end of the world for it to happen.
Mia did have the ability to summon demons in the last cycle - Marco smuggled out the technology to do so - but she never actually learned how to do it. Most of her time was indeed spent sheltering with the other humans and so she never needed demons. When she was on her own, Marco was looking after her.
Well, I'd wager it's certainly better than the alternative!
And I'll need to bow out for now - it's getting pretty late over here. Good night, and thanks to everyone who's read this far!
>I have the mental image of Marco wearing the traditional fatherly pipe and slippers, even as a minotaur. If I had any artistic skill, I would draw that.
Any drawfags following this quest?