Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
What strikes you, then, as Dagon's blasted, hollowed out corpse wavers in the air for one last moment before collapsing, ponderously, is the smell. Like rotting seafood, the stench of decay only intensifying as the defeated demon begins to break up and degrade, mixed with the sickeningly potent scent of frying flesh.
Even if it is the smell of victory, it's still really quite disgusting.
In spite of this, the mood is reverent as you approach the dissolving sludge of the titan beast, picking your way carefully around the bones and scales that cling, desperately, onto material form. In the midst of a collapsing skull, you see a glint of pure white that could only be the object of your search – the final divine fragment. The sight of it, after what seemed like an eternity of fighting and chasing shadows, is almost enough to take your breath away.
Reaching out for that little piece of polished glass, you freeze in place as your phone chirps, chiming from deep within your pocket. Way to ruin the moment, you think to yourself as you pull it free and glance at the screen. Marco, his name flashing in a way that suggests urgency.
Yes, you ask quickly as you press the device to your ear, what is it?
“We might have a problem,” Marco says carefully, a note of faint tension in his voice, “An ongoing situation, you might say. It looks like the cold had driven some, ah, “people” in search of shelter – rough types, you know the kind. I thought there was going to be a riot for a moment, there was just too many of them to let in, but then they... left. They just broke and ran.”
A cold shiver, unrelated to the snow piling up around you, touches the base of your spine. If it was that easy, there wouldn't be a “problem” to deal with, would there?
“Exactly,” you can imagine Marco nodding here, proud of your insight, “They came back, only... I wouldn't quite say they're the same demons that left. They're deformed, mutated in some way. They don't seem to be attacking, but they're waiting for... hold on.”
After a short, barely audible argument, a new voice picks up the conversation. “Vespucci,” Carnby says after a pause, fumbling for your name, “I've got a theory about this. I think these mutants are waiting for something, seeing how we react. Now, I don't know the specific details yet, but...”
Nyarlathotep. He's got the Hellfire Club surrounded by his infected minions, but why? For leverage, you realise a second later, so that he has something to hold over your head. Hostages, to put it in simple words. While those monsters still have the Hellfire Club under siege, there's no way to be sure of your father's safety. Even if you went ahead with the ritual, placing the divine power held within the fragments back where it belonged, you might not be able to rescue them in time. Yet, the longer you wait here, the worse things could get for this world...
>Head for the Hellfire Club immediately
>Perform the ritual now
>Perform the ritual now
"Carnby have Titania summon reinforcements and hit their back ranks. I'll ask the same of Gabriel and Law. We'll be back as soon as we can."
"Cass, take everybody and start heading back to Hellfire. Me and Petra will get this done."
Time to make use of that alliance. I almost want to ask Lucy, common enemies after all, bit I don't want to push our luck.
Hopefully divinity can get Amelia, Petra, and Mia there fast.
Carnby, you say calmly as you close your eyes and think, have Titania summon as many reinforcements as she can and hit them from behind. You're going to ask Gabriel and her forces to do the same – that should easily be enough to scatter whatever dregs Nyarlathotep has gathered together. Cassandra, you add as you pull the phone from your ear, take everybody else and head back to the Hellfire Club to support them. You'll stay here with Petra and finish things.
“I'll...” Cassandra hesitates, traces of some long-abandoned insecurity flickering back to the surface before she nods sharply, “I can do that. WE can do that. Don't worry, I'll keep everyone safe.”
“Can I ask,” Carnby begins as you put the phone to your ear once more, “What you're, uh, planning?”
You're going to perform this ritual, you explain simply, and you're going to finish this. If all goes well, you'll see them again soon. You don't mention anything about what might happen if things don't go well – he doesn't need to be told that, you imagine. Pinching the bridge of your nose hard for a moment, you wait to see if Carnby has anything else to say, any last words of dubious wisdom. There is nothing, though, and he remains silent.
“Mia,” Marco says as he reclaims the phone, “I believe in you. I'll see you again very soon.”
Yes, you murmur back to him, yes he will. Saying goodbye one last time – and fighting back a wave of grim finality that creeps up on you – you hang up the phone and stare at the blank screen for a moment. There's no time to waste, you say to nobody in particular as the rest of your friends begin to file away into the gloomy streets.
“Mia dear,” Elliot tells you as he's turning to leave, “I'll be very cross if you don't come and see us all again.”
You'll... you'll keep that in mind.
“It's not goodbye,” Petra says softly as she watches them all leave, “Not yet, at least. Ah, but it's a shame, yes? A grand battle, and I shall see none of it.”
You would have thought, you remark, that she'd be sick of fighting by now.
“Not to fight,” Petra corrects you, shaking her head, “To witness. People might never know about this, but it is an important moment. History, yes? Something to be recorded, written into stories and legends. I would have liked to see it with my own eyes.”
If you get this done quickly, you joke, she might still have a chance. Still, she makes a good point – this is an important battle, and you want to tip the odds in your favour as best as you can. Time to see if there's an old friend about. Calling up Succubus, you prepare to ask your questions. As the sensual devil yawns and stretches, emerging from a long slumber, she glances around at the empty wasteland.
“Sad, isn't it?” she asks, “Nobody about, at a time like this. Lonely.”
You need her to get a message out, you say bluntly, to Eligor. There's going to be an important fight – the war to end all wars, perhaps – at the Hellfire Club. He wouldn't want to miss something like that, would he?
“That's what you want me to tell him?” Succubus raises an eyebrow, “Well, it would certainly get his attention. Any other messages you want me to run, while I'm here?”
>There's someone else I want you to contact... (Write in)
>That's it, now hurry along
That's it, you tell Succubus, now hurry along. The sooner she gets the message out, the sooner she can get back here.
“I suppose,” Succubus sighs, “A shame. I wish we could take the time to savour the moment, but it's always “rush straight to the climax” with some people.” Shrugging luxuriously, Succubus folds her wings over herself and vanishes, leaving you and Petra alone in this bleak place. The ends of the world, it almost feels like – even the scattering of cabins you took shelter in have vanished, melting away with the rest of Dagon's influence.
“Open sky,” Petra says to herself, filling the silence, “This will be good enough for the ritual, yes?”
That's what Amelia said, you agree, just bring the fragments together under the open sky and... well, she was pretty vague about what would happen next. Maybe she didn't know any more than you did. It's almost hard to consider the sky as “open” when it's covered in such an unbroken layer of leaden cloud, but that's just a technicality. As long as you don't need to wait a week for the next full moon, you should be fine.
“I'm back!” Succubus chirps as she reappears, “Message delivered. He grumbled a bit, you know, about the Hellfire Club. Still, some people just can't resist a good fight – he said that'd make his way there as soon as possible. That's what you were hoping for, wasn't it?”
The best you could have expected, you confirm before returning Succubus to your storage. Now, all that's left is to perform this ritual thing and... see what happens. Kneeling in the snow, you pull out the five divine fragments and stack them into a neat pile. With the last one in your hand, you pause. There's no going back, you murmur, once you place this down. Taking a deep breath, you close your eyes and add it to the pile.
Nothing happens. Not straight away, at least.
Opening your eyes, you watch as the pile of fragments glow with a warm inner light, their individual shapes breaking down and flowing like water until they are one. No longer jagged pieces of white glass or crystal, but a single egg made from what seems like solid light. Reaching out with reverent hands, you cradle the egg and feel the tingling warmth it radiates. As you touch it, a great web of light burst forth and spreads across the ground. It branches off and tangles, rising up to form a kind of... nest.
Footsteps rustle behind you as Petra moves to your side, kneeling close down and pressing her left hand to the egg as well. When you both touch it, you hear a piercing shriek from above, and a sudden light washes over you. The clouds have parted, a beam of bright light punching a hole straight through to the glorious sky beyond. Silhouetted against that blinding light, a great black shape spreads its wings and descends, growing larger with each passing second. Panic fills your mind for a moment as the great bird falls upon you, talons reaching to claim you.
Flinching back, clutching the egg to your chest, you feel the clawed foot close around you, easily seizing your small body in a tight – yet somehow gentle – grip. You can open your eyes just long enough to spy a bald spot on the bird's flank before it takes off, launching itself into the air with a single powerful beat of those white wings. Too fast for any human mind or body to endure, you are dragged into the sky. Although you fight against it, darkness consumes you as you lose consciousness.
You wake slowly, with the only thing aching worse than your body being your heart. Some things, you think bitterly, were not meant for mortal humans. Shuddering at the cold air that fills your lungs when you breath in, you force your eyes open and look at your alien surroundings. There's a lot of white here, but not the flat, blank void that you've experienced before. This is more like a palace of some kind, with the pillars and columns all cast in the same fluid absence of colour.
There is one blotch of colour here, sitting patiently by your side. Petra, her head slowly shifting as she scans the surreal palace with a kind of awed caution. It reminds you of when you permanently entered the demon world, waking to find her nearby.
“Too bright,” she says calmly, without looking around, “Too empty. I don't think much of the decorations either. You are fine, yes?”
>I'm... fine, yes
>How long have you been awake? Have you seen anything?
>I don't recognise this place. Do you?
>>I'm... fine, yes
>>How long have you been awake? Have you seen anything?
>>I don't recognise this place. Do you?
"Are you okay though?"
I've got a pretty bad feeling about this place.
You're... fine, you whisper, yes. Somehow, raising your voice in this place feels wrong, like you'd be destroying some precious and limited resource. It's a foolish notion, of course – as soon as you stop talking, the silence rushes back in to surround you. It doesn't feel like normal silence either, it's more like something is consuming and destroying any sound you make.
Or maybe it's just the unreality of the situation playing tricks on you. That's always possible.
How long as she been awake, you ask Petra when you've recovered your wits, has she seen anything?
“I've not moved far,” Petra shakes her head, and you can't help but notice her voice is hushed as well, “No idea how long I was awake for. Time means nothing here, yes? Ah, but you slept longer than I did. I wonder...”
You're fine, you repeat as your hand sneaks up to massage your chest, like you said before. Is she okay though?
“Me?” Petra turns, raising an eyebrow, “I am fine, yes? Worried, perhaps – this place unsettles me.”
Does she recognise it at all, you ask, from the last time she did this kind of thing perhaps?
“We did it differently then,” Petra replies, shaking her head slowly, “There was a tower, and a gate that I couldn't pass. What lay beyond that, I don't know. Nothing here, though, is familiar to me. I wish it was, yes?”
Yeah, you murmur back, you wish it was more... human. Nothing here looks like something a human being would build, or even imagine. There's just enough of a subtle wrongness here to make the whole thing utterly inhuman. But, you add with a kind of forced cheer, sitting around won't get you anywhere, will it? You should get moving, and decide what to do when you find something.
“Yes,” Petra stands, grunting slightly as she looks behind you, “Easy to pick a direction, at least.”
Behind you is a blank wall, with the sides equally useless. Straight ahead is the only way.
There are windows, you notice as you pace the corridor, but they serve no purpose. They dip slightly into the walls, but the “glass” itself is made of that same white substance. Not stone, metal or wood, and definitely not plastic or anything of human construction. It's slick like ice, but without any dampness or moisture. The air is totally dry as well, and infused with the kind of cold that makes you think of a space that hasn't seen life in a very long time. Nothing echoes either, no matter what kind of noise you make.
The sooner you're out of here, you decide, the better.
Although the hallway you're walking down seems endless, you don't get the same disorientated feeling that the Hellfire Club induced in you. Rather, you know exactly where you're going – without any twists and turns, you can see exactly where you came from, although it all fades into a white void after a surprisingly small distance. All you can do is walk, putting one foot in front of the other, until you see something worth stopping to look at.
And then, just when you're starting to succumb to frustration and desperation, you see something. The hallway widens out into a boxy room beneath a domed room, the floor embedded with a flat square of blackness. Stepping cautiously into the room, you peer up at the room. Stars, tiny points of light, wink in the darkness visible above. At last, a window into some other space. Breathing a sigh of relief, you crouch down and brush a hand against the black square. It ripples like water when you touch it, and starts to glow within. A picture slowly begins to form, of what might be ants or insects scurrying back and forth. Tearing your gaze away, you look back to the room. Ahead of you, the corridors beckon you forwards once more.
>Keep moving forwards
>Stay and wait for the image to resolve itself
If so, goddamn Amelia if you spent millions of years looking down at floor picture your back must be hurting something fierce!
She must have deliberately made where she ruled from the most boring place in existence. We'll have to change that.
It's better than wandering, you think to yourself, and you appreciate the chance to get off your feet for a moment. Sitting at the edge of that stirring pool of darkness, you let your gaze wander down to it. As you watch, the picture becomes clearer and sharper. They're not ants or insects running back and forth, you realise, but demons and a few scattered humans. It's the Hellfire Club, and the battle swirling around it.
Peering into the image, it seems to react to your thoughts, zooming in and panning slowly across the battlefield. It's looking like a rout, with the shambling infected both outnumbered and outmatched by the gathered fairies and angels. Seeing the two races – and really, they couldn't be more different – fighting side by side is a wonderful thing, the treaty between Titania and Gabriel made manifest.
It's not all going their way, though, with every angel the infected devils drag down rising up soon after as a lurching, half-mechanical aberration. These blasphemies are targeted above all overs, with Gabriel herself usually taking the task of granting mercy into her own hands. A bloody executioner of her own kind, the picture becomes clear enough to see the masked grief and anger painted across her face. As a leader, she does the hardest and darkest duties upon herself, never letting her resolve waver.
She'll be a good leader, you decide. Watching the battle unfold, it doesn't take long for the last of the infected to fall – although time, as Petra suggested, has little meaning here. Even so, you linger a while longer as the gathered angels and fairies pile up the bodies and burn them, hastening the natural process of decay so that they won't contaminate the world for any longer than necessary.
When the last of the contamination has been destroyed, a small gathering forms outside the Hellfire Club, three figures eyeing each other with cautious admiration. Titania looks as cool and calm as usual, casting a leisurely eye around the battlefield and her companions. Gabriel allows a trace of grief – strangely calculated grief, you realise with shock – to show as she wipes her needle-thin sword clean. The last member of the meeting, armoured Eligor, holds his lance close at hand as he glares Gabriel's way.
Yet, despite their differing roots and origins, the three slowly find a kind of relaxed peace. There are even handshakes, although Gabriel and Eligor are rather more reluctant to call it a truce. It would be a real photo opportunity, you think with a wry smile, if only you were down there.
Before you can see any more, though, there is a piercing crack and the image reverts to featureless blackness in an instant. No, not featureless – a long crack graces it, splitting the square from one end to the other and reducing it to uselessness. Looks like you've lingered long enough, you mutter, although it's a pretty rude way of hurrying you along. You'll need to have words with Amelia when you see her.
With that in mind, you ease yourself back to your feet and stretch your weary legs, resigning yourself to the next leg of your journey. Perhaps there will be other windows, glimpses into other places, as you go along. Or perhaps not, and this place will remain the achingly boring palace that it seems to be. The only way to know for sure is to move forwards, move onwards. Entering the corridors once more, you make it a few metres before you're confronted with a long – endless, even – staircase.
Sighing heavily, you take the first of many steps.
“Many” turned out to be an overestimate. After the first dozen steps or so, the ground you had already covered faded into a misty expanse, leaving you with no direction but forwards. A handful more steps and you came out into a more familiar void – decorated with three simple chairs and one impatient looking girl, tapping her foot on something that isn't quite a floor.
Swallowing down a sudden fear, you approach and sit opposite her, an eager gleam coming to Amelia's eyes as she leans forwards.
“You're here then,” she says, feigning a kind of casual interest, “I'm glad to see you're both safe.”
And you're glad to see her-
“There will be time for that later,” Amelia interrupts, “You've got the fragments, right? The egg, or whatever you want to call it. Come on, hand them over and we can get this thing started.”
Reaching into your pocket, your fingers brush against the warm egg. Closing your fist around it, you start to pull the divine object free... and then you pause. You hesitate.
>Hand over the fragments
>Keep them for yourself, you've earned them
>Keep them for now, ask a few questions before deciding anything (Write in)
>Hand over the fragments
Pause before you are about to give it to her, look her in the eye.
"Don't forget the humanity you've regained over these past two weeks, even this cosmic power isn't worth that."
Then give it to her.
How can you be sure, you ask slowly, that she is who she claims to be?
“Mia,” Amelia says patiently, her foot stopping the relentless tapping suddenly, “I don't know what you're expecting from me. Your father is Marco, my father was Carnby. We agreed to share the power of the fragments between the three of us. Cassandra is kind of a jerk. I know that last bit isn't really a secret, but it's something we both know very well. Who else would I be?”
Frowning softly to yourself, you take the fragment from your pocket. The gleam in her eye only growing brighter, Amelia leans forwards a little further. She looks... hungry, as if the time spent apart from her divine power has left her slightly unhinged. Wait, you say, what's going to happen if you give her the egg?
“Like I said,” a terse note enters Amelia's voice, “We'll share power, just as we agreed. Split it three ways and give the world the leadership it deserves. Now, can we just... hurry this up?”
Don't forget these past weeks, you tell her as you meet Amelia's eyes, and the humanity she's regained. Even the cosmic power contained with this egg isn't worth losing that, not again. Oh, you add as you're reaching out, and the decoration here is terrible. Ugly, and so repetitive!
“Terrible, I know,” Amelia says with a wolfish grin, “But I get the feeling things are going to get a lot more interesting around here.” Before you can ask her what she meant by that comment, she reaches out and grabs your arm, seizing the egg and pulling it away from you. In her hand, the egg glows with a brilliant inner light, whiter than anything you've ever seen. Then, as Amelia begins to laugh, the light blackens and falters, growing tainted and corrupted by...
“You're perfect, you know that?” she sneers, “A perfect obedient little doll, and a fawning lovestruck sycophant. The best pair of fools I could have hoped for. I was worried that you'd being Cassandra here – that little bitch would never have accepted this as easily.”
No, you whisper as you stand up, the chair falling away and vanishing as you take a step back. No, this can't be right!
“Accept it, you little shit,” Amelia snaps, her mouth twisting in a savage grin as she clasps the deeply glowing fragment to her breast, “Or don't – you can go to your grave screaming or denying your fate. It really doesn't matter to me. Just die!” She howls that last curse, her voice the only thing to echo within this cursed space, as a great ripple runs through her body. Her form... dissolves, breaking up into fragmented pieces and surging towards you in a great and terrible wave. The remains of her face leer out at you from one looming tendril while hands clasp and clutch at the ends of others. Small gouts of fire pour forth as the monstrosity writhes towards you.
Grabbing Petra's arm – the girl is frozen, staring with horror – you pull her back and drag out your phone. Some vague sense returns to Petra's eyes as she sees this, and she finally starts to move under her own power.
“I am the false idol, Jezebel,” the inhuman figure growls, “I am the crawling chaos with a thousand forms. I am the source of all your despairs, woes and horrors. I am NYARLATHOTEP!”
You've got to fight. You've got no choice.
>Choose your demons and fight
Rolled 11, 96, 130, 42 = 279 (4d150)
Shaking off the horror sweeping through you, one thought drags your mind back into focus.
You've got to kill this thing. You've got to kill it and get those damn fragments back.
Clenching your fists, you activate the bolstering power of your enchanted gloves. Ignoring the sparks and wisps of flame drifting through the air, you throw out the length of your scarf and activate the withering magic. Both gestures that are so familiar to you that they've become second nature, and this might be the last time you have to do them. It might also be the last time you have to summon your demons – so you want to make this good. You call up Nadja and Cernunnos, preparing to fire the first shots.
Snapping out of her daze, Petra flexes the fingers of her prosthetic hand and calls up her own demons – Dullahan and Vivian. They take form before her, shielding her from Jezebel's rampage.
This is going to be bloody, you murmur to yourself, clenching your fists by your side.
>Please roll 4D120, for Nadja, Cernunnos, Dullahan and Vivian. I'll take the best of the first three, and there will be no modifiers
>Also a 4D12 dodge roll, aiming to beat 6, to start with.
Rolled 77, 56, 26, 102 = 261 (4d140)
When Nadja lets out a deep roar of anger – a wordless rumble of defiance and rage – you can't even be unnerved by it. Certainly, you'd find it difficult to be any more worried than you currently are. Weaving her nimble little fingers together, she swings her joined fists through the air, a long cord of lightning lashing out from them. It slashes through the air, twisting and coiling like a living thing as it wraps itself around of of Jezebel's tentacle necks. With a final cry of anger, Nadja jerks her hands back and slams the flashing noose closes, slicing the entire tendril free from Jezebel's body.
Screeching with rage, the demon stamps and thunders towards you, nails scoring deep tracks in the nameless substance of the floor as it scrabbles forwards. Cernunnos, his spear raised to meet the demon's charge, is knocked aside like a toy to crash into the wall behind, his impact leaving deep cracks in... whatever it is that makes up the walls. Rearing around in the middle of her charge, Jezebel slams her body down upon Dullahan – but the armoured demon has already moved, rolling past the attack with perfect timing.
Exposed, having overreached with that last attack, Jezebel cannot defend against the wave of ice spikes that Vivian throws out, rows of them breaking through the ground to spear into Jezebel's flesh. Every wound leaves a trail of flickering fire, the ice immediately flashing into steam. Just like when you fought Uriel, that fire is going to make things difficult.
>Please roll 4D120, for the same demons. I'll take the best of the first three, again.
>Also a 4D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 7 this time
>Jezebel is rolling lower this time, due to losing a head.
Growling, a low note of fury building within his chest, Cernunnos pulls himself free from the cracking ruins of the wall and circles around the prowling beast, hunting it as if it was some feral creature. That's his mistake, you realise – he's underestimating it, and leaving himself open to a counter attack. Before you can shout a warning, though, Jezebel drags its body around in a half circle and kicks out, one bare leg catching Cernunnos and batting him away. The horned god lands heavily, cracking the floor this time.
As Jezebel is laughing cruelly, their mouth twisted up into a sneer, Nadja gathers her power once more and throws a spear of blinding power into the demon's side. At least this spear hits, blowing a hole in the disgusting snake-like hide that cloaks most of Jezebel's body. The wound doesn't spill any blood, but leaks out a boiling tide of fire. Stepping around the trails of flame Jezebel leaves, Dullahan darts inside her guard and thrusts upwards, her sword cutting deep into Jezebel's “face” and leaving half of it flapping free. A disgusting wound to witness, and one that only enrages your enemy further.
Perhaps too much, for her next attack is a murderous one. Vomiting a stream of fire that somehow crawls across the ground, Jezebel's attack homes in on Vivian, snuffing out the hated ice. The air is filled with an awful hiss as that fire boils away much of Vivian's floating lake, spreading burns appearing on Vivian's skin in the same instant.
>Vivian will be at -30 next turn if she chooses to attack
>Continue the fight?
>Change your demons or tactics?
Well, after some 60 archived threads, this marks the first time I catch London Quest live.
I just want you guys to know that you finally convinced me to go back and try to beat Nocturne again.
Fuck Matador though, srsly.
Rolled 4, 138, 18, 124 = 284 (4d140)
Vivian is just too injured, too slowed by her wounds, to take part in this fight, and Cernunnos could use a break as well. Returning the horned god of the hunt to storage, you call up Parvati instead. After seeing what Nyarlathotep did to her tower, you figure she could do with some payback. Petra, her thoughts matching your own, waves for Vivian to fall back, leaving Dullahan to pick up the slack.
“It won't help,” Jezebel hisses, one of her groping hands reaching out to point your way. Even through her hideous wound, her eyes bore into you. “Yes, little doll, you. I'm coming for you next. You'll be ashes when I'm through with you.”
Tough luck, you spit back, you're not afraid of those miserable fires of hers.
“Fine,” the demon sneers, unimpressed by your defiance, “I'll crush the life out of you instead. I hope you amuse me though – do try to fight a little, won't you?”
>Mia is now a target
>Please roll 4D120, for Mia, Nadja, Parvai and Dullahan. I'll take the highest of the first three
>Also a 4D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 7. Mia is at +2 for this one though
>Welcome! I hope you enjoy things
Rolled 5, 75, 69, 50 = 199 (4d120)
Fuck him up Mia!
The 1st time Mia fail a dodge roll is maybe the most important time....
Holding your ground as Jezebel charges towards you, you wait as those clutching hands reach out to crush the life from you – just as the vile creature promised – before lashing out with Midnight. The ink black blade cuts easily through the flesh, splitting the hand in half and causing Jezebel to recoil in shocked pain.
“You little shit!” Jezebel shrieks as it rears back, “You insect, I'll tear you apart. I'll rip you limb from-”
But the petulant creature never gets the chance to complete that threat as a single spike of glittering ice slams into its side, knocking it down in an undignified tangle of limbs. Thrashing, all Jezebel can do is lash out wildly at Nadja, the little fairy dancing around the blow. Approaching to take advantage of the exposed underbelly, Dullahan catches a kick in the chest, the blow launching her across the room to slam into the far wall. In the window of opportunity that opens, Jezebel shambles to its feet.
And then it turns and runs, fleeing deeper into the alien building and vanishing behind a wall of mist.
That coward, you curse as Petra approaches hastily.
“Mia!” she cries, “Are you okay?”
>Never mind, we need to get after that thing!
>I'm fine, just give me a moment
Let's dispel this fiction once and for all that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing; he's undergoing a systematic effort to change this country and make America more like the rest of the world. If I'm elected we'll embrace what makes America the greatest country in the world.
Never mind, you say quickly, you need to get after that thing. The longer you leave it, the more chance it might have to recover.
“I understand,” Petra says, nodding. She looks pale, you notice, and her eye is clouded with a toxic mix of doubt and fear. You understand exactly how she feels – is Amelia really here, or have you been chasing shadows all this time?
Trying to lighten up the mood – or at least stop it from descending into total despair – you pull out your pistol and offer it to Petra. She could use it, you suggest, since she's got both hands back. It might not be perfect, but...
“I could use it,” the redhead agrees, taking it carefully from you. She seems to take a moment to get used to holding a weapon once more, but soon a confident smile is spreading across her face. The thought that it might be false confidence doesn't occur to you. “Emergencies only, yes?” Petra adds, as if reading your thoughts, “We need to stay out of that thing's way. No mercy or restraint now – it wants us dead.”
And you want it dead, you snap back. That means you've waited around long enough, time to run that thing down before it can draw any more power from the divine egg. You've already taken off, running for the mist when Petra nods, following in your footsteps. With your eyes fixed ahead of you, you punch through the veil of mist and enter the next room. Immediately, your eyes are drawn to the centre of the crumbling, decaying ruins – and the vast corpse sprawled out there.
It's Jezebel, looking like something ripped its way out from within. As for what, there is no sight or sign of anything. Not at first, at least.
>Not at first, at least.
Rising up from where it was crouched, mostly hidden by Jezebel's blasted carcass a small human figure makes itself known. Although clothed in ragged scraps of fabric and filthy with blood, it's easy to recognise the figure that struts towards you. After all, you've seen that face countless times, staring back at you from any mirror you care to look at.
It's you, but... not quite. A savage version of you, one that has bathed in demon blood and slaughtered their way through whatever life threw in its path. Her eyes are a vivid gold, alive and wild with an exultant power and vitality. That twisted version of you, you realise with a bitter pain, would never be forced to stop and rest because of her heart. She would thrive, fuelled by the death and carnage of her barbaric life.
You're almost... jealous.
“All men could be like this,” Nyarlathotep taunts, strutting around you, “Free and uninhibited, living according to their whims and instincts. A wonderful thing, don't you think? True chaos – not the crude version that Lucifer proposes. No, that's just another system, another hierarchy. The strong ruling over the weak? Who cares about that? I don't give a damn about who rules over what – I just want men to live as they were supposed to. Is that so wrong?”
>Shut up. I don't care if you're wearing my face – we're fighting
>What did you do to Petra, where is she?
>Maybe there is some worth in what you're saying, but...
"And yet you would force this ideology and form on them. Instead of letting them choose what they want on their own, without your influence or others, you would make live in a world of YOUR design. Face it, Nyarly, you are just as bad as Lucifer or the Great Will. Now..."
>Shut up. I don't care if you're wearing my face – we're fighting
Rolled 27 (1d120)
For all this talk of freedom and inhibition, you spit back, he would force this world and this ideology upon mankind. Men can choose to live that way as it stands, but he would force them into this barbaric world of his design. Face it, you snap, he's as bad as all the others. Lucifer, the Great Will, he's no better than any of them – he doesn't get to choose how anyone is “supposed” to live.
“As I thought,” the perverted image of you sneers, revealing broad fangs, “You don't understand. How could you, a sheltered little princess like-”
Shut up, you spit, your words cutting Nyarlathotep off before he can launch into another spiel. You don't care if he's wearing your face – you're fighting. Only one of you is going to be walking out of here.
“Fine with me,” Nyarlathotep sneers, “I said I'd rip you limb from limb, didn't I? Now I'll get my chance – go on, call up whatever pathetic demons you like.” He pauses, looking utterly smug as you pull out your phone and move to tap at the screen – the screen that is utterly blank and dead. “Oh, having trouble? I wondered if that might work,” Nyarlathotep roars with laughter, the sound torn from its version of your body, “This divine power... I have no limits now!”
...Fine. You'll do this yourself, if you have to.
>Please roll 1D120, for Mia and Mia alone. I'll take the highest of the first three
>Also a 1D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 7. Mia is still at +2 to this though!
So did fucking noone remember that Amelia was going to use a specific phrase when asking for the shards? Really?
>I am a GOD
>still gets shanked like a bitch by a little girl
I wonder if Mia could talktrash him while doing so.
>You must be the unluckiest demon to start, and lose, a dick waving contest with a GIRL
He's... slow. That's the first thing you notice as Nyarlathotep parades his mocking image of you around. He seems unused to a body like yours, occasionally dragging a foot or stumbling slightly. Do you always look that tired and defeated when you walk about?
Or maybe, you think with grim realisation as Nyarlathotep lunges at you, he was saving his energy for when it mattered most. With his hands – long and bloodied nails reaching out from the fingers – outstretched to rend your flesh, he leaps. Time slows to a crawl as you dart forwards, slipping under his wild attack. As Nyarlathotep lands behind you, his landing cracking the floor beneath you both, you turn and slash out with Midnight's blade. It's not the best strike you've ever landed, but it parts the flesh deep enough that bone glistens through. The mocking image stumbles forwards for a few paces, and then stops.
Then it laughs, long and loud. “Good, good!” he roars, “Now we're really getting started! I don't need to hold back any more, do I?” Without waiting for an answer, he reaches behind him and plunges his sharp fingers into that wound, digging deep and tearing it wider still. The sounds he makes as he rips the flesh from his own back is sickening, enough to make you retch. Even so, you can't bring yourself to look away – not until the already rotting suit of meat that he had worn has been discarded completely, lying at his feet in bloody rags.
Now he stands tall, in that horrifyingly familiar form, his attempt at humanity discarded completely. You take a step back when your phone, still held in one numb hand, chimes, life returning to the little device. Now you're in business!
>Choose your demons and fight!
>Mia will be a target throughout this fight. Choose your demons accordingly
A bit miffed I wasn't here at the time to bring it up but w/e. Maybe we will get the True Ending by giving him the shards and still kicking his ass, kinda like in the first cycle or something.
+Powerful physical attacks and defences
+Good grasp of Fire magic
+Immune to Light and Dark (Instant kill) magic
-Weak to Ice magic
-Overprotective, tends towards defensive combat
Anon what are you talking about.
Rolled 138, 133, 109 = 380 (3d150)
As Nyarlathotep draws a pair of those wicked iron stakes from the bleeding heart emblazoned across his chest, you tap wildly at your phone and call up your demons. Parvati – if this monster has any weaknesses at all, she should be able to hit them – and Minotaur. Snorting and growling, the towering demon – another version of your father, you still can't help but think – moves to stand between you and Nyarlathotep, ready to defend you with his life.
“A family reunion!” Nyarlathotep's voice, simultaneously erudite and contemptuous, rings out in your mind, “But I wonder which would be more tragic. Killing a father before his daughter, or killing his daughter in front on him? Ah, but he's seen you die once before...”
As the learned voice pours poison into your ear, the leering devil before you hisses out an idiot laugh, spittle shining on his exposed teeth. So now he can talk shit at you from two different directions? This just isn't damn fair...
>Please roll 3D120, for Mia, Minotaur and Parvati. I'll take the highest of the first three, and there are no modifiers
>Also a 3D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 8. Mia will be at +2 for this
Rolled 6, 8, 6 = 20 (3d10)
Pray with me everyone.
Rolled 91, 101, 48 = 240 (3d150)
It's not quite possible to describe how quickly the monster before you moves, his steps shuddering as if he's not part of the natural flow of time. His motions are boneless, vile and sinister, as he closes the distance between your demons and him in the blink of an eye. Literally – you close your eyes for a fraction of a second and then he is there, leaning down so that repulsive face is mere inches from yours. Up close, he has a kind of... chemical smell, like burning plastic.
Time slows, as the familiar magic of your ring takes effect. Even so, your feet remain rooted to the ground for the first few split seconds, helplessly watching as Nyarlathotep opens his jaws wide and begins to close that tiny distance between you. Only the sight of those glistening fangs gives you the strength to push away, hurling yourself backwards as time resumes its usual flow. Snarling with disappointment, Nyarlathotep spins and tries to plant one of those iron stakes in Minotaur's chest. Only a last minute shuffle to the side can save the burly demon.
Furious now, desperate to taste blood, Nyarlathotep pivots on the spot and throws his weapon, the iron implement shooting like a dart into Parvati's chest. Gasping delicately, the gentle demon takes a single step backwards. In the time it takes her to do that, Nyarlathotep has reached her and... opened her up. There's no other way of putting it – but at least she dies quickly, without much noise.
>Summon which demon to replace Parvati?
>Regardless, please roll 3D120 for Mia, Minotaur and Parvati's replacement. I'll take the highest of the first three
>Also a 3D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 8 with Mia retaining her modifier
>That's quite unsettling actually!
And you got something nigga. Nice work.
As Nyarlathotep turns his loathsome face upon you, your fingers dance across the surface of your phone. He charges, both blades raised to strike you down, as you call up Nadja. It's time, you decide, to give him a taste of the little fairy's divine power. She appears in the traditional flash of light, a breath of fresh air surrounding her like a cloak. It's a blessing in this stagnant air, bringing a bright hope back into your chest. She throws her hands out, sparks playing around them as Nyarlathotep lunges towards you.
Striking some invisible wall of force, the hateful demon jerks and twitches like something caught on an electric fence. Pinned in the air, his tar-like flesh cooking slowly, there is nothing the disgusting villain can do to block Minotaur's punch. The blow lands like a meteorite, smashing into Nyarlathotep's face and knocking out just about every single one of those leering teeth. Staggering back, blinded and bleeding, Nyarlathotep is an easy target. Pushing one last burst of strength into your limbs, you rush to him and plunge Midnight's blade into his throat.
Gasping with the need for air, you dig the blade in a little deeper and let yourself collapse backwards, the force of your wilting body dragging the knife down the length of Nyarlathotep's body. His dark blood floods out over you – as if you were trying to imitate that savage vision of yourself – and clings greasily to your skin. As you hit the ground, Nyarlathotep collapsing seconds later, you notice something lying atop your chest. Even through the layer of dark blood, the divine egg shines brilliantly.
“You think you've won, I suppose,” Nyarlathotep says calmly as you struggle to rise, “I mean, yes, you fought well for a human – I'm actually very impressed – but you miss the point. You said it yourself earlier – men can choose to live my way, unbound by any laws or morality. As long as one man does so, I shall never truly die. Take this hollow victory if you want, mankind WILL be mine eventually. All I need is a little patience.”
Shut up, you gasp as you take the hand Minotaur offers you, you'll fight him again and again if that's what it takes.
“Oh good,” your nemesis purrs, “I'll look forwards to it. Well, since you've kept me amused this long, I'll give you a little parting gift. Savour it, won't you? And remember this – I'll be keeping a close eye on you, Mia Vespucci...”
As that slimy voice fades from your mind, so too does the room around you. It vanishes like an illusion, leaving you slumped in the emptiness of a pure white void. Petra is lying a few feet away, looking just as confused as you feel. But she's not the only one here – there is another girl, crumpled up in a defeated slump. As you try to choke out her name, she finally looks up.
“Mia?” Amelia rasps, pushing her tangled hair away from her face, “Have... have you brought me tribute?”
It's her. It's really her.
>I think that's a reasonable place to end things for today! Next and final thread on Friday, I think, and I'll stick around in case of any questions.
>It's been a hell of a ride, so thanks for sticking with things!
>“Mia?” Amelia rasps, pushing her tangled hair away from her face, “Have... have you brought me tribute?”
Right that was the phrase. Didn't even remember it. I suppose it was more interesting this way though. You gotta have a boss fight after all.
Thanks for running Moloch.
I've got to admit, I really wavered on having someone remind Mia about the password at the last minute, or even having Mia mention it herself, but I wasn't sure if that would make it TOO obvious. Either way, I enjoyed how things worked out!
All's well as ends well, although we really got a fright there.
Still, from an in-story perspective, perhaps it's better that Mia got through with that. Leaving the past behind and all that.
Well, when Mia ran through the fog gate, Nyarly turned it into a solid wall before Petra could run through. So she was stuck on the other side, unable to do anything to help. Once again, Petra gets the raw end of the deal!
How is everyone else doing? How long has it been since Mia and Petra got beamed up?
Heartless was always frail. Says so right on the character sheet.
Remember when we were Amelia Heartless always had back up, people that could distract his opponents to get that stab in, and his full range of mobility - his best strength.
He didn't have back up this time and when Nadja caught him he lost his biggest boon.
I drew all the fights, Jezebel, False Mia and Heartless himself from the same pool of health. I'll admit though, he wasn't quite as dangerous as I'd intended. He got a few damn good rolls though!
She's already corrupted!
That's a joke, don't worry.
The others are recovering at the Hellfire Club, resting after their fight and eagerly awaiting news from Mia and the others. As a general rule, they're worried but not terrified. I couldn't put an exact time on how long Mia and Petra were away for though. A couple of hours I'd say!
The bleak temple was something Nyarly came up with. The idea being that when Mia finally found "Amelia", she'd be so happy that she'd agree as soon as possible.
No, Amelia's den was a lot more cozy. It was more like a little cottage than anything.
>No, Amelia's den was a lot more cozy. It was more like a little cottage than anything.
Oh that's a lot nicer then.
Was Lucifer annoyed that he didn't get invited to the big Hellfire fight? Though I suppose Eligor could technically be his stand in.
So, sudden mystery end boss Brawl? Are we doing an all human triumvirate? Could we split our consciousness were we exist as God's but also as a sealed of portion of ourselves IRL? That can't go wrong, right?
The three will split Cosmic Power between themselves.
They can go corporeal and walk among humans whenever they want to as long as someone is watching the world. No sealing necessary.
Its pretty straightforward actually.
No, I imagine Lucifer is quite used to being left out of these kind of things. Eligor is more of a free agent these days, even if he retains a certain dislike of angels.
That said, Lucifer was keeping a very close eye on the battle - after all, the angels took some losses, that might be something to take advantage of!
That little smile in your pic is entirely too suggestive
The current mood seems to be a set of three human gods, yes. They'd be able to separate and return to both the human and demon worlds as well.
I have a few ideas about a mystery boss. No promises on that count though!
This is a good evaluation of the current mood.
>That little smile in your pic is entirely too suggestive
You know Amelia and Mia are totally going to do that one day. Mia will probably magic her scar away too and put on a scowl.
He's a killer, not a doctor!
Really though, Heartless was always very specialized. That was his main weakness as much as his strength.
I won't rule it out! Then again, I'm sure everyone would agree that Lucy could use a good slap as well...
I couldn't possibly comment!
>I couldn't possibly comment!
Petra spends the day trying to figure out who is who while Mia and Amelia read each other's surface thoughts to say things at exactly the same time and accusing the other of being Mia.
Yhvh comes from the north, luci frm the south, for a grudge match of the millennia, the human's crash the party.
Or it could be someone like Mem Alrph throwing a bitch fit our way
I'd probably rule out Mem Aleph, just because I'm not sure of a way to work her into the story on such short notice. With Nyarly undone, though, that might present an opening for YHVH to sneak back in - or some pale remnant of him, at least!
Don't bully Petra like that!
How I imagine a day in their work goes like:
Amelia is 'on duty' so to speak, keeping an eye on the hologlobe/monitor/whatever they use for tracking the world while drinking coffee or something.
Then she gives a flat look over to her right where Mia and Petra are in their pajamas playing an intense game of Street Fighter against each other on a couch.
Then she scowls, sighs,
and then smiles.
Well, at least he'd be able to arm wrestle people! Really though, I've got a few ideas to use - I'll keep quiet about what I come up with though, to keep it as a surprise. After all, I might not use this particular idea!
As much as I adore the mental image of a gold plated, pimped out Metatron - and really, it amuses me far too much - I've got to deny that one. I'll post my final decision if I don't end up using it next thread!
I don't think he'd call his game a success, but it did keep him amused for a while. He's got the mindset that he can play the long game and take another shot at the prize later on, so he's not too upset by things.
As for expectation, I'd say it's an outcome he took into account, but he didn't necessary expect it happening.
Well, it was an entirely justifiable disembowelment but he was still pretty startled by it. This version of Mia, after all, is very different to the one he knew! That said, he's old and pragmatic enough to know that she might be better off this way, knowing how to handle herself in a fight - even if he wished it didn't have to be that way.
A combination of breaking the illusions and barriers he had created - although they would have broken down anyway, so this was cheating a little - and leaving Amelia somewhere easily found.
Not much of a gift, is it? I like to think that the suggestion of his return was part of it as well, for a less sincere definition of "gift".
Exactly. He used the time she was away to set a trap and Amelia, thinking things were starting to go her way, fell right into it. She just wasn't aware that Nyarly could do something like that.
If I'd kept a second pastebin for in-character notes, which is something I'm considering doing in future, I probably would have done so.
>emphasize the password
>mention it on twitter
>mention it at the start of the thread
>Amelia says the password
Her head is impaled by Nyarly's spike, and his hands spew out from Amelia's chest to make a grab at the egg
In their own ways, they're both rebels. That kind of independence is a good way to foster a bond, and it's something they can both respect in each other. I could see it as well, I reckon.
That would have been pretty surprising, that's for sure!
I kind feel like Moloch isn't the type of QM to permanently kill off a well liked, "good" character. Last cycle Leon died but he was kinda dumb and evil and so did Mia but we never met her so she was basically scenery. It would be pretty shocking if it happened though like you said though.
I was intending to base the final session around tying up loose ends like that, and some other various decisions. A bit of divine insight might give Mia the motivation to sort things out!
Amelia, in her current form, would have been able to "reform" after an injury like that. Still quite an inconvenience though!
While Mia is going to get a lot of information dumped on her once she becomes a god, I imagine much of it would filter through slowly. Human or god, it would be a bit much to take all at once. The relevant stuff, though, would be the first to take root in her mind!
So you remember way back when we were assigning Arcana's to the London cast and we didn't know which one Mia would be?
If we are going by Persona likeness I think she'd probably be Fool. She was very diplomatic and reached out to a lot of people, more so than Amelia who most def Magician. Hell Mia made good friends with Leon!
>Hell Mia made good friends with Leon!
I don't think Leon is such a bad guy, really. He makes a lot of terrible decisions when left on his own. But I'd have to agree - Mia is the kind of person that reaches out to those around her, and she tends to get good reactions.
From my admittedly shallow knowledge of tarot cards, I'd say that all sounds pretty accurate. I didn't keep tarot cards in mind when designing the characters - except Elliot and Fortune - but it's interesting how closely some of them fit.
>Carnby as the Emperor
Titania could probably confirm that!
>Titania could probably confirm that!
I bet. And now he isn't bound by those silly human limitations like sleep or endurance.
I should probably keep this vague, but let's just say that it's usually the ones you least expect that are the best equipped. Add in a good bit of knowledge and experience, and you've got a pretty respectable package!
These things take time, so it can't be immediate!
Although, quite frankly, a time skip just so we could see Amelia's reaction would be entirely hilarious.
Well, now that Carnby isn't quite human any more, the rules may no longer apply!
>Mia comes back from checking out demon world, seeing how everyone is doing.
>"Amelia you got like 8 brothers and sisters over there waiting to meet you."
>Amelia internally screams.
And all of a sudden, Amelia finds herself very busy in the human world, with absolutely no time to go visiting family. What a terrible coincidence!
I'm not even sure what Scathach's "thing" in this case would be. I think I'm better off that way.
I've never been quite able to make up my mind on whether Amelia genuinely dislikes Titania or just grumpily plays along. She probably starts to like Titania after a while and then something happens that reminds her of how weird the queen can be. I do think she'd adjust eventually, but I can't see her admitting it very easily. Some people like being cranky about stuff, I suppose!
Was it ever a possibility that if Marco wasn't bound to Hellfire and was at the Kingdom would he have pulled a Carnby and taken an interest in Scathach? Fellow scientists after all.
I'll admit, sometimes when I was writing Scathach I'd constantly wonder how far to push her. She mostly ended up getting uncomfortably close to people whenever she was performing her various rituals and experiments.
It's possible. He was quite interested in meeting her on a personal level after learning she was a scientist - what passes for one in the fairy kingdom, at least - but there's no way of knowing for sure how involved they'd get.
I imagine she's learned the concept of personal space after a few centuries. (Something Titania hasn't.) I also imagine she could kick a rock in two, or crush stone between those thigh she loves showing off.