Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
All things considered, this meeting is going about as well as you expected.
True, Petra is slumped, despairing, across the table while Amelia is still reeling, pale with unbelieving confusion. Elliot is fighting back a thin smile, only to break out into a grin as he leans over to whisper something in Leon's ear. Cassandra is leaning back in her seat with her arms folded and her face cast in a carefully neutral mask. At least nobody has tried to kill each other yet, merely leaving their grievances at the level of harsh looks and barbed comments.
Marco seems happy, as well, pleased with the results of his experimentation. You had been expecting something more impressive, to be honest.. An entirely few phone, with all manner of technological stuff poking out, perhaps. Instead, he merely plugged your phone into his cobbled together computer, pushed a few keys and handed it back to you. Boring. At least the results are sound – you can store more demons now, he claimed, as well as summoning two at a time.
>Demon storage increased to 9. Max summons increased to 2.
Murmuring an excuse, you rise from your seat and slip out of the stuffy room. A walk would be nice, something to clear your mind, but you're not foolish enough to tackle the labyrinth of corridors alone. Maybe you can find Mister Red lurking somewhere, to act as a guide. The blank, featureless corridor you emerge into is empty though, at least on first glance. As you're yawning and stretching, you spot a pale face peeking out from around a corner. Alice, her doll-like features topped by a crudely cobbled together crown.
Cobbled together, you realise as you approach, from the various computer parts she stole from Marco. You try to imagine the young girl sitting and soldering together the assortment of parts, but it just doesn't work. Maybe she had help. Giggling softly as you draw closer, Alice turns tail and skips off down the hallway, a long streamer of copper wire trailing behind her. You have no idea where she's heading, but you follow her regardless – the girl is too dangerous to roam alone.
A few twists and turns, and then Alice leads you out into the main room of the club, throwing open the large door with all of her strength. Trying not to think too hard about the journey you just undertook, compared with the one that led you to the meeting room in the first place, you scan the room in search of the girl herself. You pause, then, as you see an unfamiliar figure seated at the bar, a brightly coloured cocktail sitting in front of her. Mister Black is behind the bar, a nervous twitch playing across his face.
“Hi!” the unfamiliar girl announces suddenly, turning on her barstool to glance your way, “I don't think we've ever met. Care to join me?”
She's just... human. A cheerful, lively looking human girl. Even as you walk numbly over, you know that something isn't quite right.
>Who are you?
>This was supposed to be a private party. What do you want?
>You're not human, are you?
>You're not human, are you?
>Who are you?
Mia can already tell something is off. We are supposed to be the only humans left. If there was another in the demon world they wouldn't be so cheerful. Or clean.
Sitting on the stool next to this new arrival, you find yourself asking the first, and most obvious, question that comes to mind – who, exactly, is she?
“Me?” the girl raises her eyebrow playfully, “I'm just a fellow traveller, that's all. I come from a place somewhat... South of here, shall we say? I happened to be in the neighbourhood, so I decided to get myself a little drink.” Laughing softly, she stirs the glass with a long finger. Two liquids, bright red and bright blue but never quite mixing, swirl around as she lifts her finger out and licks it slowly clean. Her eyes don't leave you as she does so, regarding you with a kind of wicked humour.
This was supposed to be a private function, you inform her cautiously, but she just strolled in off the streets. What is she here for, exactly?
“Oh, I've never been one for rules,” she smiles again, her grin displaying bright white teeth, “Ah, but I might have lied a little. I wanted to talk to you, and I knew you'd be here. Besides,” she turns to Mister Black – who looks like he might faint at any minute – and gives him a wink, “They wouldn't just throw a cute girl like me out into the streets, would they?”
She's not human, you declare bluntly, is she?
“So suspicious!” her eyes widen with shock as she cries this, “But correct, in this case. I think, though, it would be more fun if you try to guess who – what – I am. Oh, but I'll give you a hint, I'm not Nyarlathotep!”
That sounds just like something that Nyarlathotep might say, you point out, if they were disguising themselves as a cheerful girl. So, you repeat, what does she want?
“So hostile!” she gasps, “What if I told you I was here to help you? Like I said, I'm a traveller – you hear things, out on the road. Things you won't be able to learn, even in a den of information like this one. Isn't that right, slim?”
“There are things,” Mister Black admits, with a wounded dignity, “That we do not know.”
“Mastema,” the girl pronounces with relish, leaning a little closer to you, “I know where he's hiding. I'll tell you, if you promise me one thing.”
You won't promise anything, you reply tightly as you lean backwards a little, your back wavering dangerously in the air. Not until you know what she wants, at least.
“Oh, nothing you weren't already planning on doing,” she shrugs luxuriously, returning her elbows to the bar, “Just kill him. I won't even ask for you to make it slow, or to bring me a souvenir. Just make him dead, okay? I mean, that's what you were going to do anyway, right?”
Well, she does have a point there.
>You've got a deal. Where is he?
>What do you get out of this?
>Wait, you said you came from the South. Have you heard anything about a new village?
>I'm not your assassin. No deal
>What do you get out of this?
>Wait, you said you came from the South. Have you heard anything about a new village?
Though I wonder when she says 'South' she means under the ground in Hell.
Shh, we're suppose to pretend we don't know it's Lucy.
We're just lucky he's using an actual disguise and not just hiding his wings and calling himself "Louisa Ferre" or "Louis Cypher."
Wait a moment, you ask as you replay the girl's words in your mind, she said she came from the South. Has she heard anything about a new village, or anything new really, that sprung up overnight? Nobody else seems to know anything, but she might be able to help.
“Oh my,” placing a hand over her lips, the girl lets out an indulgent laugh. That's the laugh of someone who knows something, you realise, and knows how valuable that knowledge is. “You know, when I said “South”, I wasn't speaking quite so literally,” the girl purrs, “But luckily enough, I do actually know what you're talking about.”
You wait patiently as she sips her drink, a satisfied smile upon her face. When it becomes clear that she isn't going to volunteer the information, you let out a heavy sigh and move on. So she wants you to kill Mastema, you ask, what does she get out of it?
“A smart girl like you should understand the value of a power vacuum,” the girl suggests, “Really, I'd be happy if you killed everyone who bowed before that foolish “Great Will” they keep mewling about, but I know when to play it safe. Besides, I think your angel friend would make quite a good leader, don't you? A kind and gracious Law...” This time when the girl smiles, there is a hint of cruelty in it. “It would be a shame if someone happened to crush it though...”
She's not even trying to be subtle now, is she?
“Not at all,” the girl shrugs, “You see, I'm actually curious. How badly do you want my help? And how badly, really, do you want Mastema dead? Wrath is a terrible sin, you know. Ah, but that hardly matters now. He has a little hideout, a cave of sorts, beneath the frozen river that runs through this wasteland. I'll know when he's dead, don't worry. Come back, and I'll tell you everything I know about this village.”
>Bring this information to the others
>Tell only a few people (Who?)
>Depart, keep this to yourself
>>Bring this information to the others
Also tell them about the source of this information, every detail. Those with prior experience might be able to tell who it is. This is suspicious as hell.
>Bring this information to the others
>From the 'South'
>Mister Black unable to throw her out
>Wants Law all fucked up
We can obviously gather that this is some bigwig Devil at the very least. Once we head back to the meeting have Succubus tell us who 'she' is.
You guys are just being paranoid. Obviously, she's a friendly survivor who just wants to see Mastema unable to cause anymore trouble like we do. I doubt there's any ulterior motive behind it and when we kill Mastema she'll join our group and we'll paint each others nails and save humanity.
You'll have to talk this over with the others, you mention as you get up to leave, and see what they have to say about it.
“Oh, of course,” the girl winks, “I'm sure they'll want to know where you got this information though. So, have you guessed who I am yet? How about a hint?”
You've got a few ideas, you begin, but-
“The name's Lucy,” the girls chirps, hopping off the stool and giving you a friendly slap on the shoulder, “Lucy Fire. I know, clever isn't it?”
That... that's barely an alias, you splutter, that's not even trying to hide anything!
“Big deal,” Lucy shrugs, “You'd learn eventually. Go on then, off you pop. Barkeeper,” she declares as she turns back to the bar, “Another cocktail, please.”
This is ridiculous, you mutter as you head back towards the corridors, she doesn't even look old enough to drink. Alice follows you for a moment as you leave, soon hurrying so that she's ahead of you. Following the girl down the winding hallways, you wonder exactly what role she had to play in this little farce. Leading you straight to Lucy like that, was it just childish curiosity or something darker? You'd ask, but the chances of actually getting a straight answer out of Alice are close enough to zero that you don't bother.
When you get back, it's clear that you won't be disturbing any important work. Elliot is hosting an impromptu game of cards, while Amelia is scowling at the ceiling. Marco flips through a heavy book, absorbed in the arcane text. When you clear your throat, everyone turns to look at you. You've got news, you announce, about Mastema. You know where he might be. The only problem is that the source of this information might be... unreliable. Biased, perhaps, and with their own ulterior motives.
“Someone with ulterior motives?” Amelia asks, with a note of sarcasm in her voice, “I don't believe you.”
Well, if she's going to be like that...
“I'm listening,” Joseph says calmly, throwing down his hand of cards and giving you his undivided attention, “The source might not be perfect, but I'm willing to make up my own mind. Would you mind if Gabriel listens in on this discussion? She has as much invested in this issue as any of us.”
Actually, you reply as you nod, you were going to ask him to call her up. Her input would be valued. Waiting a moment as Joseph summons the wingless Archangel, you run over the important details in your mind. The source of this information, you declare, was someone calling themselves “Lucy Fire.” The reaction to the name is... divided.
Joseph remains silent, his brow creased in a thoughtful frown that Marco is quick to mirror. Elliot chuckles softly, without ever looking up from his hand of cards. Petra only lifts her face from the table to glance blearily your way for a few moments before sighing heavily and returning to her inexplicable sulk. Leon just looks confused, scowling until Elliot leans over and murmurs an explanation into his ear. Amelia groans softly, placing a weary hand over her face as she does so. Cassandra is the one who reacts with the greatest violence, standing and slamming the palm of her hand into the table.
“Unacceptable!” she snaps, drawing every eye in the room away from you, “Are you actually suggesting we make a deal with the devil? With the actual, literal devil?”
“I believe she suggested killing Mastema,” Joseph counters quietly, looking only mildly concerned, “Which is a lofty goal, is it not? I thought you'd be all for it.”
“I am!” Cassandra insists, “But... helping Lucifer? Setting them up to crush the Law I've tried so hard to build?”
“Mia,” Amelia says, still scowling, “You brought us the news. What's your opinion on this?”
>Killing Mastema is worth anything
>I'd rather just avoid Mastema for now
>I'd prefer to work against Lucifer, even if it means working with Mastema
>>Killing Mastema is worth anything
We were planning on Killing Mastema anyways, Lucy just sped up[ the search.
I have this odd feeling whatever we do will end up playing into her hands, we should just keep that in mind.
Honestly, I'm not surprised Lucy is being so helpful. Humanity telling Law to fuck off and punching them in the dick is like his second biggest goal. Right after Chaos with abit of Order to keep humanity from killing itself and asploding everything to punch the Great Will in the dick.
"My main goal for taking down Mastema was keeping him away from you Cass. Now that your partnership is over its a slight less priority for me. That said though, he will continue to be a thorn in our side. Gabriel you are practically the leader of Law now and this concerns you the most. Mastema WILL push against you I assume. How do you want to act on this?"
"I think we should go for it. From what I heard it sounds like he WANTS Gabriel to lead Law, thinking that her compassionate rule would make Law easy pickings for him, but that doesn't have to be the case. If Law's zeal could be focused on the forces that wish it harm like Lucifer instead of every non believer or pagan, it could be a force to be reckoned with."
Your main grudge against Mastema, you say carefully, was when he was trying to manipulate Cassandra. Now that their partnership is over, Mastema has slipped somewhat down your list of priorities. However, you stress, he's sure to be a thorn in your side for some time to come. You were planning on taking him out eventually – Lucifer has just sped up the process.
Pausing here, you glance about to see how everyone is reacting. The general mood is one of cautious neutrality, with only a few people prepared to hint at their true feelings. There is an understated eagerness in Joseph's eyes, despite his calm tone, that speaks of an urge to hunt Mastema down. Gabriel, by contrast, looks torn – terribly indecisive. Focussing on Gabriel, you speak directly to her next.
She stands to become the next leader of Law, you offer, and that means this concerns her most of all. Mastema, if he is allowed to live, won't just lie down and accept Gabriel's more merciful interpretation of the faith. He needs to be removed, if she stands a chance of taking power. However, Lucifer seems to believe that his merciful faith would be easy pickings – something that he could crush under his heel at any time. It doesn't have to be that way – the armies of the Lord, focussed on fighting devils rather than persecuting non-believers, would be a formidable foe. So, generally speaking, what's her take on this?
“Although your grasp of the situation is indeed an accurate one,” Gabriel begins slowly, “You're still suggesting that I take up arms, on the devil's own advice, against a fellow angel. That is not a small thing.” Silence, for a while, as she thinks.
“We're vulnerable,” Cassandra says suddenly, “The more we bicker and fight amongst ourselves, the weaker we'll be if Lucifer makes a move. Mastema needs to die, it's as simple as that.”
There is a murmur of general agreement around the room, tempered only by a cautious note. The fact that Cassandra was so quick to include herself in the Law faction does not go unnoticed either, with Amelia shooting a darkly unreadable look at the blonde girl. Before you make any other suggestions, you ask the group for any other comments.
“Dear,” Elliot says, “I don't really have a horse in this race. You see, all this “ancient war between good and evil” stuff doesn't really interest me. For what it's worth though, Lucifer has tried to kill us a lot less than Mastema has.”
“Ain't nothin' wrong with Lucifer,” Leon adds, “Least, that's what I've been told, right?”
“Oh come on,” Cassandra rolls her eyes, “Who told you THAT? No wait, was it a certain goat-headed devil? Because they might be pretty biased!”
“I'm just sayin', he wants folks like us to be happy,” Leon insists, “To do what WE want, aye? Guess you forgot that, now you're puttin' on that nun costume again.”
Before another argument begins properly, Petra lifts her head from the table to speak. “We kill Mastema now, yes?” she suggests, “Then Lucifer later, if they threaten us. Something to think about, yes?”
The “kill everyone” option. It seems a little heavy handed to you, but Petra has a point. Just because you're helping Lucy now doesn't mean you have to swear allegiance to them or anything. So, you ask the group, is everyone in favour of taking the fight to Mastema?
A moment of silence as everyone glances around at each other, nobody willing to be the first to speak up. Starting with Joseph – the young man taking the plunge – everyone adds their own confirmation. A unanimous decision – this time.
>Ask Mister Black for more precise directions
>Ask Minotaur to accompany you
>Ask a few other questions first (Write in)
>Ask a few other questions first (Write in)
"Hey Gabriel what do you think of the fairies?"
"This is hypothetical, but if you could make your faction more tolerant of them you could try hashing out a defensive pact with Titania. A sort of alliance where you help each other out if one of you are attacked but don't if one of you is the aggressor. Titania is worried about external security and this could be a way to shore up both of your defenses in this power vacuum. Cass if this has any merit you might be instrumental in this arrangement due to your ties to both parties. Its an idea."
>Ask Mister Black for more precise directions
>Ask Minotaur to accompany you
So Gabriel, you ask as a thought strikes you, what's her opinion on the fairies? She's spent enough time in the kingdom that she can't loathe them, but you understand that there are certain... religious differences to take into account.
“They are entitled, of course, to their pagan beliefs,” Gabriel says, with a faint but unmistakable note of condescension in her voice, “I do not believe conversion at the point of a sword has ever created a true believer. Their notion that their gods walk freely among them is a deeply flawed one, but one born out of a genuine misunderstanding. I can forgive that of them and I recognise that, as a race, they are a force for good.”
Maybe not all a force for good, you think to yourself as you consider Scathach. Speaking hypothetically, you ask aloud, but you believe an alliance could be forged between the fairies and Gabriel's Law faction – so long as neither of them opened hostilities. Titania is concerned about external security – to the point of paranoia, maybe – and an alliance would close up a potential power vacuum.
“We shared many views on scourges such as The Shackle,” Gabriel muses, “So there is already common ground.”
And Cassandra, you add, she might be able to help this arrangement along. After all, she has ties in both Law and the kingdom.
“Ties?” Cassandra laughs a little nervously, “I don't... Uh... Well, I suppose you could call them that. Nothing really official, I mean, but...”
Well, you shrug, it's something to consider at least. You're just putting the idea out there – anyway, it's probably time to head out. You'll need to see Mister Black first, to see if he can put you on the right track. You want to see if Mar- if Minotaur is still hanging around as well. You'd welcome his help.
And remember, you announce with forced cheer as you leave, don't try shooting Mastema – no matter how tempting it might be! He'll just bounce the shot back at you, and that's never good. There are a few awkward laughs at that, and you lead everyone out into the corridor. Alice is waiting there, as if expecting to guide you once more. Leon pales at the sight of her, backing off a step, but the little girl pays him no mind. She just turns and skips off down the hallway, humming a jaunty tune.
Hurrying to catch up with her, you ask Alice about Lucy in the most polite way possible. What does Alice think about the new girl?
“She's quite charming,” Alice answers, her beautifully formed accent echoing strangely in the hallway, “And funny. She laughs a lot, doesn't she? She's like a cool big sister!”
It could be childish adoration, you think to yourself as you follow Alice down the hallway, or it could be something more insidious. Then again, you admit, Lucy was actually quite fun to speak with, once you ignore the whole “Prince of Darkness” thing. Maybe “Princess of Darkness” would be more suitable, you think as you enter the club once more, your eye drawn to Lucy herself. Still propping up the bar, although the devil does turn at the sound of your arrival. Mister Red has taken over the bar, looking just as nervous as Mister Black ever did.
“Hello,” he says cautiously as you arrive, “I'm afraid my other half had to take a rest. Stress, I'm sure you understand. The big chap you arrived with is on the doors again. So, can I help you with anything?”
You explain, trying to ignore Lucy's smug smile in the corner of your vision, that you're looking for a cave near the river. Does he know anything about that?
“Think I do, actually,” Mister Red nods, “The entrance should be in an old, smashed up chapel. You'll know it when you see it.”
As you're thanking Mister Red, his “other half” appears from a discrete door. Mister Black returns to the bar, his gaze nervously flicking between you and Lucy. There is an awkward silence before Lucy clears her throat, tapping a long nail against her empty glass. “Another cocktail please,” she says, glancing across to Cassandra with a grin, “And don't go easy on the angel blood this time.” Although you can sense Cassandra tensing up, the situation doesn't descend into violence – a fact that seems to disappoint Lucy.
“Bitch,” Cassandra mutters as she's leaving, “And to think, I was the one that collected that damn stuff. If I'd known it was being used for...” She shakes her head in disgust, pushing open the makeshift door.
Minotaur is waiting outside, glaring at the world with the kind of glare only a skull is capable of. “Greetings,” he rumbles when he sees you, “As much as I enjoy gainful employment, this isn't really what I meant when I said I wanted to see the world.”
Well, you suggest, how about coming with you? Mister Red should be out in a few moments, so he'll be free to journey with you?
“Really now?” Minotaur asks, “Sightseeing again?”
>More like combat, actually
>Actually, this was a bad idea. Maybe you should stay here
Well, you hesitate, technically. The trip could count as sightseeing – since, you imagine, you'll probably end up seeing some sights – but there might be a certain degree of... combat. If that bothers him, you stress, he doesn't need to come along. You won't force him, that's all you're saying.
“Nothing wrong with a bit of fighting,” Minotaur chuckles, “Good exercise, actually. I might be a little rusty – it's been quite some time, you know – but it's like riding a bike. You never really forget. I'll fight by your side, child – I swear upon my life that I shall protect you!” For that last bit, he even drops down to one knee and bows his monstrous head low, like a knight swearing fealty to his lord. Patting him awkwardly on the head, you welcome Minotaur – Marco, as some small part of your mind still sees him – into your party.
So, you ask as you touch your phone fondly, what was that Cassandra said earlier?
“The blood,” she explains, “I borrowed it from some of Michael's angels, back when we were butting heads. I never realised what they were actually using it for.”
Actually, you correct yourself, you were talking about her colourful language. Doesn't she normally avoid such vulgarities?
“Allow me this small lapse in manners,” Cassandra tells you, her mouth set in a thin smile, “For some reason, that Lucy girl just rubs me up the wrong way. In fact, I could quite happily punch her face in – would you really blame me?”
Well, you shrug, maybe not. But this is just wasting time – you've got a chapel to find.
You said you weren't here for sightseeing, but there's no way of denying the sheer impressiveness of the sight before you. The Thames river, frozen into a leaden road, stretches out before you. On the other side, desolation. The buildings on the Southern side are crumbling, falling into disrepair and decay faster than all others. In the gaps between those buildings, you see nothing else but empty wasteland, snow and ice covering drab and dirty fields. Further still, beyond what you can see, must be the Southern village.
As you gaze at the intimidating sight, Petra hurls a chunk of concrete as far as she can, the improvised missile striking the sheet ice with a dull clunk. “Should be thick enough to walk on,” the redhead decides, peering out at the slight dent left behind.
Turning away from the frozen river, you gaze up at the shattered chapel. It looks to be in poor shape, the stained glass broken and smeared with filth. Illegible scrawls of graffiti cover the walls, and what little you can see of the inside is much the same. A sad sight, and no denying it.
“I've seen this place before,” Joseph says suddenly, “In the human world, I mean. It doesn't look much better on that side of things, now I think about it. Someone tried to burn it down, I think, and not for any particular reason. A bunch of idiots looking for something to do, as I recall.”
Huh, you murmur, maybe that's why Mastema is so angry at mankind. The kind of meaningless disrespect that leads some people to burn a church for fun – it doesn't paint a very good picture of mankind, does it?
“Still,” Joseph shrugs, “Mastema doesn't paint a very good picture of angels, either. Shall we get on with this?”
Right, you murmur, as you press on into the blasted chapel.
...I just had a thought. Lucy doesn't really give a shit if Mastema is dead or not, she just wants the power vacuum, the moment of weakness where she can raise Hell (literally, as the case may be) and overthrow Law for good.
So while Mastema is a bitch and we do need to push his shit in, it would do us well to arrange some sort of official succession so that the second he dies, Gabby is very clearly the Voice of Law and can make sure they can't just roll up and curbstomp.
Currently Hell doesn't have their shit together either. It won't be an immediate attack, but Law does need to get their shit together soonish. Lucy is also probably waiting til we leave cause he knows that if he attacks Law now, we'd probably defend it due to Gabby and Cass being our friends.
As for succession I'm pretty sure most angels are just programmed to adhere to the higher ranks, with only Archangel level of angels having any kind of independence. That on top of the speech Gabby made after Michael's death should have Law consolidate under her.
Inside, there isn't much to look at. Not much of the chapel, at least – most of the floor has tumbled away to reveal a dank cave mouth. Casting an uncertain look at the rest of your party, you take the first step down into that foetid cavern. It stinks here, you realise, but not of any one thing. There's just a general reek of decay that permeates the air and turns your stomach. This place is as rotten as Mastema himself.
“Dark,” Petra grumbles as she peers into the gloom. She remains above ground, awkwardly shifting her weight from one foot to the other. “Wait, yes?” she asks, “I have something to do. Outside. Don't look.”
“Sure,” Cassandra mutters, her voice reaching you, “We're in no hurry. Go right ahead.”
“You know, I don't much like the look of these tunnels,” Elliot adds, “They look like they might collapse at any minute, especially if we start throwing fireballs around. I advice caution – and not just because I don't want to get buried under a crumbling bloody chapel.”
“Nothing to worry about,” Petra announces, reappearing in her older clothes. A bulging backpack containing her fancy outfit swings from one arm. “We just go down and beat Mastema until he stops moving.”
If only it was that simple, you think a few moments later as you reach the first obstacle. Once you've passed the first few twists and turns in the cave, you come to a branching path. Memories of the Intoxicating One's underground prison surface in your mind. Checking all of these tunnels, as a group, could take hours. On the other hand, you're not sure about splitting up. If it's an ambush...
>Tackle the caves as a single group
>Split up into two groups (Who should be in each group?)
Well other than Mia and Petra, no other human can directly attack since there is no guns allowed. So thats a tad less clusterfucky.
We could also attack in waves. 3 Summoners go, then the other 3 can react after they see how the first three fared.
Better safe than sorry, you decide. It might take longer to search the tunnels as a single group, but you'd rather not have Mastema pick off two isolated groups. He's already got his various kinds of manipulative magic, and he doesn't need you helping him along. You'll do this together, no matter how long it takes.
With that in mind, you start at the tunnel at the left hand side and lead the party down into the dank passage. It doesn't take long before you reach the end – a collapsed pile of rubble and broken rock, with no way of passing. This is the same for the next tunnel you try, and the one after that. Most of them, you realise, end in blockages or natural obstructions – although whether this is by accident or design is unclear. As you're leaving the third tunnel, Elliot softly urges you to stop.
“Don't you hear that?” he asks, pitching his voice low – as low as it ever gets, at least, “I'm sure I just heard chanting. Or something that sounded like chanting, at least.”
Pausing, you strain your ears. Nothing, certainly nothing that could pass for a voice.
“I know what I heard,” Elliot pouts as you return to the search. The next tunnel you try is wider, larger than the rest. It's a lot longer than the others as well, leading you along a winding path that gradually widens. However, the further you walk down, the louder a certain rumbling grows. Not the rumbling of collapsing rock, but something that is closer to the roaring of fire. “I told you I heard something! Elliot insists, his voice shrill.
You don't reply, then, as you enter into a wide chamber. Mastema is there, his hands joined in a pious gesture. “Welcome,” he sneers, “Doing the devil's work now?”
>I'm doing this for myself
>If that's what it takes, yes
>I'm here to ask you something (Write in)
You're doing this for yourself, you shoot back as you draw Midnight, pointing the blade at Mastema. After all, you never got the chance to finish your fight last time.
“Selfish reasons,” Mastema scoffs, “No different to bowing and kissing the devil's feet. Still, it's exactly what I'd expect from you and your ilk. Tell me, do you presume yourselves heroes? Look at yourselves!” Mastema points at you, his accusing finger moving between the various members of your group. “A godless whelp, a cripple, and a deluded fool,” he sneers, listing off insults as if reading them from a shopping list, “A conman – and I use the word “man” loosely – and a thug. Last of all, a sinner who has rejected the Law,” the finger lingers of Joseph for a moment, “Lowest of all scum...”
He's not just trying to provoke you, you realise suddenly, he's stalling for time. All the while you were busy listening to his cruel words, the muffled roar had been getting louder – getting closer. A sudden heat on your back comes as you realise this, and you spin around. Another angel, perched atop a burning throne. You're caught between the two of them, pinned in this tight cavern. Was this his plan all along?
So be it. He can bring all the friends he likes – it won't help.
As you prepare yourself for battle, the blank faced Cherub rises from his throne and draws back the string on a gilded bow.
>How will you organise your party and tactics? (Demons, splitting attacks, etc.)
>Minotaur's stats have been added to Mia's sheet.
Mia - Parvati - Minotaur
Joseph - Salamander - Gabby
Leon - Fuuki - Baphomet
Petra - Dullahan - Berserker
Cass - Ose Hallel - Wingless
Elliot - Fortuna - Kagutsuchi
Have Fortuna do her luck thing on the whole fight
Mia Deblitates both of them and Luster Candy's the group.
Fuu-ki Fog Breaths them both.
Parvati enchants every exposed weapon with Lightning (Midnight, Ose Hallel's swords, ect.)
Rolled 40, 60, 71, 92, 63, 94 = 420 (6d100)
You're going to have to play this one carefully – which isn't to say that this isn't going to an absolute bloodbath. Just, it'll need to be a well organised bloodbath, one that you're in complete control of. That means locking down the pair of angels as best you can, and that calls for Elliot's uncanny ability to manipulate the odds.
“Right then,” he shoots back with a nod, “I'll teach you not to spread insulting rumours!” Fortuna answers his call, with Kagutsuchi backing her up. Petra summons two of her demons as well – Dullahan and Berserker, to stay ahead on the physical front. Joseph, cold and calm despite the fury boiling in his eyes, calls up Gabriel and Salamander. When Cassandra summons her demons, it is with a certain reluctance – Wingless, it seems, carries a certain emotional baggage. Fuu-Ki and Baphomet answer Leon's call, and Mastema barks out a sneering laugh at the sight of the devil.
“Not ever trying to hide it,” he snarls, “I'll send you back to hell!”
No, you spit, he won't. Not if you have anything to do about it. Activating your pair of magical accessories, you call up Parvati and Minotaur, ready to strike against your hated foe.
>For this combat, I'll take turns. Mastema first.
>Please roll 6D120, for Minotaur, Salamander, Gabriel, Fuu-Ki, Baphomet and Kagutsuchi. Highest of the first three, and the scores will have Fortuna's +10/-10 modifier.
>Also, a 6D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 5
With his deformed, monstrous head lolling back and belching out a thick cloud of smoke, Fuu-Ki lurches forwards and swings his curving blade at Mastema. The black winged angel can't evade the blow in time, instead forced to take the slash across one of those ink black wings. Blood spurts, and a few of those feathers cling to the now sticky blade. Flapping desperately away, Mastema sets his sights on Kagutsuchi.
Of course, the flaming giant is an easy target, even through the thick mist. Gesturing imperiously with his one remaining hand, Mastema blasts out a cone of deadly wind, striking Kagutsuchi and driving him backwards against the cave wall. Moving quickly to capitalise on his strike, Mastema shouts a brief prayer. The words are alien to you, but the fanatic devotion in his voice is unmistakable. A barrier, glistening like a cage of golden crucifixes, rises up around Baphomet. Before the spell can be completed, there is the hollow rattle of Fortuna's wheel and the magic barrier falters, rusting away and collapsing. Yawning with mocking easy, Baphomet throws a ball of fire at his angelic enemy. Much of the power is gone by impact, but Mastema's billowing robes still catch fire.
Drawn by those flames, Salamander belches a stream of his own fire at Mastema and adds to the sickly stench of cooking flesh. Then Mastema is gone, the flames crushed as he flaps his mighty wings and lunges, diseased power gathering around his hands as he reaches for Minotaur. It's a failed blow, as Gabriel swoops in from behind – appearing from the very air itself, it seems – and drives her rapier's point into Mastema's thigh. Staggered by that blow, Mastema can't dodge the powerful punch that Minotaur drives into his face.
Rolled 6, 119, 105, 56, 50 = 336 (5d120)
Thrown back by the force of that titanic impact – you find yourself grinning at the inelegant sight of Mastema's flying body – the angel crashes to the ground a few feet away. A few ragged cheers rise up from the group, accompanied by Baphomet's braying laugh.
“Down in fuckin' one!” Leon yells, punching Elliot on the shoulder in what you assume to be a friendly way. Before you can join them in their celebrations – although you're certain that they are premature – you turn to join the fight against the Cherub. Parvati obeys your orders, wreathing your party's weapons in flickering lightning.
However, you're not the only one preparing for a fight. The Cherub raises his bow in silent prayer, and shatters one third of the withering magic you had laid upon the pair of angels. They'll be more powerful now, striking at their full might. Then, with his power bolstered, the Cherub takes aim at your party, his keen eye finding you through the enchanted mist.
>Please roll 5D120, for Parvati, Berzerker, Ose, Wingless and Dullahan. Best of the first three, including Fortuna's bonus
>Also a dodge roll, aiming to beat 6.
>Cherub and Mastema will now be rolling D120.
Rolled 82, 60, 85, 12, 86, 31 = 356 (6d120)
Even as chains of her flickering lightning play across various swords clutched in various fists, Parvati twists her power into a cracking whip that scourges the Cherub, casting arcs of blinding white power across the gilded angel. Even now, it doesn't scream or cry out – it writhes, in perfect silence, atop that throne. Quick and light on his feet – without anything more than a wolf's pelt to slow it down – Berserker is the first into the attack, swinging the crude hulk of metal that he calls a sword into the Cherub, knocking the angel sideways.
Even so, the Cherub is able to draw back the string of his bow and let a shot fly at Ose. The majestic demon simply swats the arrow out of the air with one of his swords, the other flashing out as he sweeps into the Cherub's personal space and hacks deep into the metal throne. The fire belching from the bottom dulls slightly, and the angel's movements slow slightly. Pairing up, one attacking from each angle, Wingless and Dullahan converge upon the Cherub and lash out, cutting and slashing at the stunned angel. Faced with such a remorseless barrage of attacks, the Cherub is already close to death. That's when Mastema shouts, his voice drawing your attention.
“Proud servant of the Great Will!” Mastema cries, “Have you forgotten the virtue of sacrifice? Ignore these base creatures, and sell yourself dearly – show them the Lord's punishment!”
Nodding gravely, the Cherub plunges one hand into his slashed chest and pulls something out – a fantastically ornate arrow. Ponderously, with all the terrible strength of a dying monster, he draws back his bow and fires towards the ceiling. A certain miss – so why, then, do you feel a sudden dread, as though you were being hunted by some awful beast?
>Please roll 6D120, for Mia, Cass, Petra, Elliot, Joseph and Leon. I'll take the best of the first three.
>And a 6D10 dodge roll, with Mia at +2.
Rolled 44, 21, 118, 27, 26, 24 = 260 (6d120)
And that's when you see them, six glittering imitations of that original arrow plunging down from the ceiling and twisting in mid air, unerringly guiding themselves towards your heart, and the hearts of your allies. What follows next is one of the most desperate moments of dodging in your life, spend hurling yourselves around like panicking children. It's especially nauseating for you, as the world shudders in and out of slow motion with every leap.
Gradually, the arrows either hit a solid surface and crack, dissolving into dust, or simply wink out of existence as their power is spent. With each passing moment that they flew, chasing after you, the Cherub had been getting thinner and thinner. By the end, there was nothing but a skeleton seated atop a golden throne. As if recognising the futility of keeping itself alive, the Cherub finally lets out a sound – a slow, rattling gasp as it crumbles into dust.
No time to rest – Mastema himself, the angel you came here to kill, is still alive. Looking somewhat worried by recent events, but definitely still alive.
You'll just have to wait and see how long that lasts, then.
>I'm going to stick with the current teams, but they'll both get to attack in each round. This is just to cut down on the number of dice rolling at once.
>Please roll 6D120 for Minotaur, Salamander, Gabriel, Fuu-Ki, Baphomet and Kagutsuchi. Fortuna's modifier applies, but Kagutsuchi is at -10 due to injury.
>And a 6D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 5.
Rolled 117, 55, 16, 87, 3, 15 = 293 (6d120)
Thats okay. You nailed it for her.
Anger burning in his eyes, Mastema takes to the air – as much as he can, at least, in this dismal cavern – and plunges down upon you. Fog parts before him like wispy sheets, but he is met with a harsh reception. Kagutsuchi, that blazing giant that makes such a tempting target, is simply not where Mastema, where you all, expected him to be. Frantically trying to break out of his dive, Mastema plunges through that decoy, an image created from flickering flames, and catches alight.
Shrieking – the sound of it enough to hurt your ears – Mastema hits the ground hard, only just scrabbling his feet as Fuu-Ki's blade comes down. If he had been a moment slower, or the Oni a moment faster, his angelic head could have been parted from the body. As it is, the blow leaves a long and ragged wound down his back, the white of bone visible through the streamers of blood. It is with a deliberate cruelty that Baphomet looms up from behind Mastema, unseen as the angel struggles to escape. Eschewing magic entirely, Baphomet simply reaches in and tears at Mastema's flesh, ripping out great clumps of feather and torn skin. You're almost glad when the angel breaks away, Salamander's fires biting at his ankles.
He runs into Minotaur, slap bang into the demon's muscular chest. Perhaps it's resignation that lead to Mastema merely taking a single step backwards, barely enough to be considered an attempt at escape. Taking his time, Minotaur's fingers weave together into a single fist, brought down hard upon Mastema's head. Enough to kill him, surely?
But no, he still clings to life. In fact, he can even force out a pained laugh. “So be it,” he rasps, lifting his bloodied face to Gabriel, “Is this to be the face of your new order, sister? Is this what lies in store for the Great Will's children? With my blood on your hands, you're no better than a human...”
Approaching in one single, fluid step, Gabriel thrusts her rapier up, through the bottom of Mastema's mouth and spearing his poisonous tongue. She does so with a faint grimace, as though completing some unwelcome but necessary task. “Your mistake,” she says softly, not without gentleness, “Was thinking that you were better than humans. That was always your mistake, Mastema. Perhaps this time, you'll learn something from this.”
Of course, Mastema can only gurgle in response, spitting out a few faltering gouts of blood before he dies. You all watch, gathered around in a grim circle as he collapses into dark, greasy ash. Wiping her blade clean on the handkerchief that Joseph offers her, Gabriel turns to face you all. “This was not something I wished for,” she stresses, guilt playing about in her eyes, “Not if there was any other way. But there wasn't, was there?”
Is she asking you in particular?
“I don't know,” the last Archangel admits, “Truth be told, I don't know where to go from here. I have so much angelic blood on my hands, I don't know if I deserve to count myself among their number.”
You don't know what to say.
>You've shown more mercy and compassion than any other angel. Maybe they don't deserve the title
>It was always going to end this way
>Allow Joseph to handle this one
Gabriel, you alone have shown more mercy, compassion and grace than all the rest of your kind combined. You are good and continually strive to be better. If any deserves to be called angel, it'd be you.
Gabriel, you say softly, has shown more mercy, compassion and grace than all of her kind put together. She IS good, and she is always trying to be better – if anyone deserves to be called an angel, you add, it's her.
“You're strong,” Joseph adds, and you place the issue in his hopefully capable hands, “You've shown the strength to stand up for what's right, when every one of your kin tried to prop up a system that no longer works. I believe that you can guide the angels – ALL of them – into a new and prosperous existence. They'll follow you, not because you're strong but because you're right.” He smiles patting her pristine arm, “I think we've shown them all that, by now.”
“I'm grateful to both of you,” Gabriel says, the dull grief in her eyes fading somewhat, “I couldn't have done it without you, any of you. I am truly grateful.”
“But let's not linger on that,” Joseph suggests, “We should get back to the Hellfire Club and... I don't know, see what happens. See if Lucy is going to hold up her end of the deal.”
She'll give you the information you wanted, you say with a slight hint of doubt in your voice, why would she double cross you now?
“I wonder,” Cassandra asks, rolling her eyes. You notice, as she approaches you, that she's limping badly. One of her trouser legs is soaked in blood, a deep gash visible through the torn fabric. Healed now, but some of the damage still remains. “But come on, we might as well see for ourselves. I've got a few things I want to tell “her” as well.”
“More foul language, yes?” Petra jokes, offering Cassandra a shoulder to lean on. There is a moment of reluctance on Cassandra's part, but then she accepts the offer of help.
“Can we just... go?” the injured girl asks, frowning to herself as you start to file out of the dank cavern.
“Well look at this,” Lucy says, leaning back on her barstool as she looks you all over, “The conquering heroes return – all of you, in fact! I had my doubts, didn't I slim?”
“She had... reservations,” Mister Black says reluctance, “I believe there was speculation about who might not return. Speaking of such things is vulgar, however, and I do not wish to indulge in such things.”
“No fun at all,” Lucy sighs, rolling her eyes and blowing some hair out of her eyes, “Alright, Mastema is dust – that should keep him out of my hair for a while. How lovely!” Taking an indulgent sip of her drink, she allows her eyes to pan across you all. “Say, would any of you be willing to do a little more work for me? I've not got anything at the moment, but there will come a time when I need someone willing to do a little legwork. How about it?”
“Go to hell,” Cassandra says simply, turning and limping away before the dispute can escalate. Shrugging, Lucy turns to Petra and offers the redhead a suggestive wink.
“Spoken for,” Petra says quietly, shaking her head slowly.
“Jeez,” Lucy rolls her eyes, “Give it up already, it's never going to happen. Ah, whatever – anyone else? Hey Leon, what about you? You like violence, right?” She chuckles, casting a sideways glance at a seething Elliot, “Violence and other things aside...”
>I might be interested
>Knock it off Lucy. Just tell me what you know about the South
>Leave us alone. Just leave us all alone
Knock it off Lucy, you sigh, you just want to know the information she has about the South. You're not in the job market at the moment, anyway.
“Shame,” Lucy shrugs, “You know, I thought you might have been interested. After all that knife stuff you've done – impressive really, I'm quite the fan – I thought you'd be up for a little more bloodshed. Well, no harm done. If you ever change your mind though, just give the word to the old beanpole here. I'll hear about it, and I'll come running.”
You'll keep that in mind, you say in a deadpan voice, now... about that village?
“Jeez, okay!” Lucy brushes the issue off with a laugh and a smirk, “So I hear that something pretty nasty washed ashore down there. Something just... came out of the sea and claimed this little godly morsel. By the way, can I take a quick look at one of those, just a little peek? No? Shame, but anyway – so this thing comes out the sea, you'd want to kill it with lightning, right?”
So, is that all she's going to tell you? Just “kill it with lightning”?
“You were really very rude,” Lucy muses, kicking her heels against the barstool, “So you should, like, be grateful. What else do you need to know, anyway? How to kill something, that's all you need to know in a world like this!”
Again, you tell her in a stony voice, you'll keep that in mind.
“Well, whatever,” Lucy hops off the stool, reaching out and messing up your hair, “It's a small world, we'll see each other again, blah blah blah. Ciao!” Then she leaves, simply strolling out of the club as she whistles a jaunty tune. It's only when you hear the door slam behind her that you let yourself relax
“I don't think she paid for that drink,” Elliot says softly, once she's left the building.
>I'll end things here for tonight. Next thread on Friday, I hope, and I'll stick around for any questions there might be.
Lucy was far too fun to write. I almost wish I'd introduced them earlier.
>How stressed are Mister Black and Red?
If they were human, it would have taken years off their lives! I don't think I've ever written Mister Black as expressing distress or worry before, so that's a sign of how serious it was.
I think everyone's happy. Nobody really liked Mastema. Gabriel is obliged to mourn him a little, but she's pretty much the only one. That said, most of the characters are a little wary about how it happened - working with Lucifer, even briefly, might come back to bite them.
>working with Lucifer, even briefly, might come back to bite them.
Really? In the form of reputation then? We didn't really form any pacts or contracts. Just got information that helped us do what we were going to do anyways.
Reputation could come into it, but I see the main concern is that Lucy might show up and ask for a "favour". It might never happen, of course, but making a deal with the devil is never something that should be done lightly.
Although I do wonder. If word got around that Law was only able to come together because of Lucifer's help, that wouldn't help their credibility any. Then again, it might make Lucy look bad as well!
>but I see the main concern is that Lucy might show up and ask for a "favour"
But then we could just say 'No'. We don't owe him anything. He gave us information, we killed Mastema for him (and ourselves). Slate is clean ain't it? Obviously he could threaten us, but thats not a good working relationship.
I think the idea is a pretty good one. Additionally, I don't see any particular reason why Titania wouldn't go for it. There's very little disadvantage to her, assuming the Law forces didn't try to impose their faith or lifestyle on the fairies. The advantages of shared defence and cooperation are pretty massive.
It would depend. If Gabriel remains a lone idealist, with a handful at most of supporters than YHVH would crush their progress and being back the old Laws. On the other hand, if there is a genuine revolution within the divine "race" - among angels in general in other words - YHVH would probably shift towards a more moderate stance.
It won't be easy, but it's not impossible!
Of course, that assumes that YHVH would come back. If the majority of angels have a different faith, it might be something "else" that returns in YHVH's place - a new Great Will, perhaps?
I can't guarantee anything, but I hope so!
Gabriel can delegate from her current position. Joseph might end up pretty useless if she had to leave!
Next thread is probably going to open with the choice of where to focus next. I will say that tying up loose ends is a good idea though, and sooner rather than later.
We got our work cut out for us then.
>Next thread is probably going to open with the choice of where to focus next.
Doesn't Cass still need to pick our shared rule plan apart? I thought she wasn't convinced or something.
>Doesn't Cass still need to pick our shared rule plan apart?
That's correct, she's not quite sure about things yet. That said, talking her round will probably be easier than killing a giant worm, so it might be possible to do both in one day.
Regardless, the option will be on the list. It'll be interesting to see where people choose to focus!
I say we take down Nidd and Uriel, then spend the rest of the day debating and taking a load off while Amelia is here.
Then we can spend an entire day refreshed and ready to take a trip down South.
Hey I don't remember if this true or not, but did Gabby want to ask Amelia about potentially restoring her divinity? I thought that was one of the motivations when she joined up with us.
Also did Amelia get guilty when she saw Gabby or was she still reeling from Petra's confession?
One of the early ideas of how to sway Gabriel over to our side was the possibility of restoring her divinity. A lot of things have changed since then, Gabriel turning without needing bribery for instance, but the issue is still there. Of course, if the aforementioned "other" YHVH returns, it might heal Gabriel anyway. It's an ongoing issue, in either case.
And Amelia did get pretty guilty. It's one of the things she never really got over. They should really work things out while they have the chance!
So hypothetically if Amelia (and other Gods if the shared rule plans goes through) gave Gabriel divinity, would she change a little into something like Wingless? Or would she be restored normally?
And would a human God giving her divinity be looked down upon by Law or as a sign of cooperation that works in this new idealistic, compassionate Law?
I feel Gabriel would become something closer to Wingless than a "normal" angel. She would probably occupy a kind of middle ground between the two, though.
I think it might also be an ongoing issue, in terms of whether or not it would harm her position. Depending on how much independence the angels beneath her command were afforded, some might see her as not a legitimate leader. That said, there would be other angels that hold her up as an example of cooperation between human and angel.
Probably not mad enough to try and kill Amelia, but they'd certainly have a few sneering comments to make about the state of the world.
Overall, I'd say Lucy is being careful - they've already tested the waters a little with seeing who was interested in work. Leon is a little more boring this time, but Joseph is more interesting. For the most part though, the group is a little too settled to be easily manipulated, bad news for Lucy.