Death in Portland

A Harrowing Experience
Martin gets down with his bad self

When last we saw Martin, he was confronting Mortimer and a small number of large men in an empty warehouse.

It did not go well for him.

Pummeled into a Harrowing, He seemingly wakes up outside the warehouse and sees a crowd across the street. There is a fancy bar there, with a long line of people waiting to get in. They begin jeering at him and mocking his attire, intellect, and general hygiene.

“That reminds me, I should take out the trash.”

“What are you, retarded?”
“Wait, who’s Todd? Is he Todd? You look like a Todd.”
“Yeah, he looks like a total Todd.”

“You know, he reminds me of my cousin Cathy.”
“The one who […]?”
“That’s so sad!”
“She can sign her name now. Her first name.”

Martin sees a figure coming out, flanked by two beautiful women. It’s him, but better-dressed, more handsome, and so on. He also has on a wedding ring and grandpa Pierce’s gold watch (that the real Marty had stolen and pawned long ago).

This other Martin, called Andrew by his friends, insults him numerous times, and the crowd encourages them to fight. As Andrew’s ’65 Mercedes convertible is brought around, they face off in front of the car.

Marty refuses to throw the first punch, but won’t back down either, especially as his doppelganger begins making physical contact. Harsh words fly until Andrew catches a beer, swigs it down, and takes a swing at him with the bottle.

A fight begins. They trade blows and knee one another in the groin. The crowd grows uglier and loudly supports Andrew. Eventually Martin tries smashing in the windshield of the convertible with his chains. Andrew catches it and unfurls an array of tentacles from behind his back. He smacks Marty across the face with one and hurls him aside.

Martin chooses the better part of valor and Blinks away to his nearby motorcycle.

“Run, Forrest, run!”

“Hey, trash that gets rid of itself!”

He drives through the jeering crowd and into a yawning black abyss.

Marty comes to inside the warehouse, now empty. He sits by himself for a little while, contemplating his unpleasant double, and makes his way unsteadily toward his parents’ house, where he had stashed his motorcycle.

Connie and Vince make their way from the salon to the PDX FBI HQ. They find the place heavily patrolled by Hierarchy troops, outside, in the Tempest, and in the sewers beneath. Connie gives up and heads for the nearest sports bar while Vince tries to figure out an alternative way inside.

An Evening at the Salon
A Meeting, A Parting, Several Threats, And Hacking the Mainframe

- NOTE -
At some point in the recent past Red has spoken with the Guild about getting an apprentice. I don’t remember where that should go.


In the office of Mikey’s bar Vince enters Marty’s brother’s laptop and directs Connie (who is handling the physical parts of the operation). Russo is unable to decrypt the encrypted files that were sent from Troy’s computer, so VInce suggests sending them to law enforcement (who we know had already been in contact with Mikey). Connie rummages through the desk and finds a business card from Special Agent Barbara Duncan of the FBI. They email the message “This was sent from Troy, but I couldn’t open up the file. Can you?” to Connie also enjoys the new and exciting experience of playing “Minesweeper.”

With nothing more to do before the FBI building opens, they slip out of the bar through the sewers again and make their way to Gresham, where the group has a previously-arranged backup safehouse at Amy’s Beauty Salon. They see the gleaming chrome of a familiar motorcycle around the side of the building.

Marty is waiting impatiently in the safehouse. Not expecting to see Connie’s old face, he assumes that both of them must be moliated Hierarchy agents and draws his chains. Vince blocks the doorway and yells at him for just taking off and leaving them in the Tempest days earlier. Connie is furious that he had let them worry about him. Vince assures her that “worry” was the last thing on his mind, and has many strong words for Marty. Marty is dismissive and answers him right back.*

Martin is more surprised that Vince and Connie didn’t hear him shouting a warning to them over the gunfire from the approaching ship than he is surprised that neither of them heard the gunshots over the sound of themselves talking. Probably jerking each other off in Lysandra’s new tempest-hovel.

  • It was a long, tense, dramatic exchange. I didn’t take very good notes, so I can’t do it justice here.

Vince detects someone approaching(?) and alerts the group, then slips out invisibly. Martin walks to the window to see what’s outside and points out a long black relic sedan pulling up outside the salon. Vince comes back in and says Basil is here for the meeting. To Martin it seems like he’s implying only he is meeting with Basil, who promptly ignores it and follows Vince outside. Vince wants to dodge Martin altogether and goes for the first door that opens.

Connie cautiously peers out the window and prepares to take off out the back door if it proves necessary. She sees Basil King, Kolya, Lysandra, and Mortimer emerge. Martin stations himself three paces behind Vince. There is a terse standoff. Basil wants to talk about the circle taking out his brother. Vince doesn’t want to share anything at this point and re-iterates that there is no “A-Team” if not everyone can be trusted. Martin, though pretty ticked, also can’t help but smirk that his solidarity move was just completely missed.

King tells the two of them that the A-Team has no place left to run and no other options left besides helping them. They walk into the salon. Connie is sitting in the center barber’s chair, attempting to look nonchalant and in control, instead of like a possum trapped in a bucket. Marty trades stink eyes with Mortimer before they follow the rest inside.
A face-off

Basil King says that he and his brother Jonathan have run Portland together since the late 19th century–Jonathan handling organizational and business matters, Basil dealing with direct confrontation and physical violence. Basil died young, and when his brother finally joined him in the Shadowlands after a long life they continued their previous partnership.

His brother “is not well in the head,” Basil tells the group, and hasn’t been since he returned after a mysterious week-long absence some years ago. He speculates that it was a harrowing of some sort. Things have slowly been getting further and further out of control in Portland ever since. “That maelstrom the other day would never have happened a few years ago.” Jonathan is also obsessed with the Wednesday’s Children prophecy (“Wednesday’s Children Will Pull an Evil Tree Up by the Roots”–adding “and there’s nothing more evil than us Kings”), and has become increasingly obsessed with Connie, Marty, and Vince. Jonathan is “not the type to let things go” Basil says, and the pressure on our protagonists, already considerable, will only increase. They will have to help get rid of him somehow.

If the fate of the entire region isn’t enough to motivate them, King makes it clear that he will brook no refusal. He knows all about Connie’s life, family, her grandmother, and that thing in the 6th grade.
That’s a dirty lie. I never did that, and you can’t prove I did.
He is admittedly fuzzy on Vince’s background, but makes it clear that he knows about his living family in Portland and makes it clear that it is only a matter of time before he finds them. Martin calls Basil out every time he implies a threat toward someone’s living family.

Connie suggests that she knows of a living man who can dispose of ghosts, and has a plan involving him. “The old Italian with the sword?” Basil already knows him and says that he is very bad news. Antonio is his name, and he hates the dead. He is incredibly powerful and well defended, and values his privacy considerably. Trina is his less-skilled apprentice, and probably bears a sizable grudge against Connie now anyway. Some time ago Basil tried interfering in Antonio’s business, and quickly learned better than to cross him.
We’ll call him a “maybe.”

Returning to the matter at hand, they ask Basil about his brother’s habits. Might he be more accessible outside the Citadel? “Does he ever go out,” Connie asks. “Girlfriend? Trips to a hunting lodge?”
“How did you know about the hunting lodge?” is King’s surprising response. That is possibly even more strongly defended than the Citadel, and it will be very unlikely that they will be able to reach him there.
Hunting lodge? What the hell is this hunting lodge? That was a lucky hit.

As to Jonathan’s fetters, Basil only knows of two, but may be able to find out about more. The first one is a ruby ring owned by a long-ago King family grandma. According to family legends, she was a witch who was burned at stake. Vince is familiar with this particular item. It was part of the last heist he ever pulled, just before his untimely demise. He does not reveal this information.

The second item is a ledger book. It is currently located in the Special Collections section of the library, which is guarded by lots of legionaries, since there are a number of significant artifacts, fetters, and such there.

Jonathan hasn’t been keeping his brother in the loop lately, so he is not privy to his exact plans. Whatever they are though, they are going to be extremely big.

Basil can’t help the others, but says that he does have enough leverage to get Connie her job back, so that she can be his “inside man” in the Citadel. Only the other Archons are likely to be able to help destroy, contain, or replace Jonathan King. Connie seems to be the only one of the restless dead close to hand who has both administrative access to the Hierarchy and is somebody he doesn’t really give a shit what happens to.

Connie smiles and shakes his hand. She’s made worse deals with worse people numerous times.

When asked about the specter cult that the gang busted a little while back, King readily admits that he organized the whole thing and is preparing to do so again. It may be possible to get Jonathan down the basement nihil and feed him to a wingéd bear, but it seems unlikely at the moment.

During these proceedings, Vince makes a second swipe about Martin getting separated from the group. Martin thinks, “Real professional, Red.” Later, Basil offers Connie her old job back and Martin’s shadow points out, “So she can screw you over later.” Although Martin is pretty ticked with his shadow side right now, he can’t deny the logic, especially after the cold-shoulder he got (lousy ingrates).

The two gangsters bid their adieus and prepare to leave. Marty hands Kolya his black SotL badge, tells Connie and Vince, “You got this,” and takes off. Basil makes it clear that this is likely to have negative effects on Mikey’s long-term health (too bad Martin wasn’t there to hear it because he had previously dared Basil King to threaten someone’s family one more time). They leave the remaining two members of the gang to discuss matters with Kolya and Lysandra (how does anyone trust these two anymore?). Vince makes it clear that he wants nothing more to do with Marty, and considers him to be out of the gang. Kolya says that lately there has been a dramatic increase in all kinds of terrible things that have been happening in the background in the Necropolis of Portland:disappearances (of both the living and the dead), Nephwrack manifestations, and other dire phenomena are trending sharply upward, and the Society of the Light is prepared to work with King for the time being. Lysandra says little (nothing). Connie mentally redecorates her old office.

Vince and Connie prepare to head to the FBI building in hopes of snooping around and finding out more info regarding Ted, Troy, and whatever Agent Duncan and the Bureau know about their goings-on.

…Next time:
What is Vince’s Mysterious Past?
Will we ever see Marty again?
Who gets his bike if he gets whacked? (As if)
Will Connie somehow try to screw everybody over for a promotion and a better office? (and does she have some kind of weird psychosexual compulsion to make risky bargains with dangerous criminals?)

Necromantic Italian Swordsmanship
A Boat Full of Connies and No Place to Go


Vince and Connie skulk about Portland soaking up pathos. Marty tries to “rescue them” from the Cairnsmore at the port. Disguised as a Legionary, he follows the passageways into the hold, hearing “Connie’s” voice again behind a doorway on the way back out. Opening it, he sees a small office with a large red-haired man who is not Connie. He tries to claim that he is new. It doesn’t work. The man calls for guards (marines?) and Marty opens a portal to the Tempest behind him. Papers blow everywhere as the man grabs for him. Marty slips through and spreads his wings wide as he plummets toward the Sea of Shadows.

Marty exits the Tempest near his bike, parked a short distance away from Mikey’s bar. The place is crawling with Legionaries. 4 outside, and a couple more within. Mikey is nowhere to be seen, and he hightails it out of there.

Vince checks out Michael’s bar and blips into the office from the storm sewer below. He hopes to find Mikey and let him know about the files somehow, but he isn’t in. The laptop where all of Troy’s files were emailed is there, but closed. He tries inhabiting it, but can’t access the files.

While Vince is busy on his own, Connie exercises her paranoid streak and looks around for Troy in the Shadowlands. He is nowhere to be found, although she doesn’t actually have any idea what his fetters might be besides her. She checks the many-times-remodeled office building where he murdered her and approaches as close as she dares to the fire-scarred apartment building where he lived and died. It is crawling with Legionaries, but no sign of the late Troy Russell. She hears a voice calling her name and things go a little bit hazy. She attributes this to a lack of sleep and continues poking around.

She checks how carefully watched all of their fetters are. She sees the ones outside Michael’s bar and attempts to discreetly surveil the Fountain Plaza building. Soon she hears the voice calling her name again and feels the world going black and fading away.

She comes to inside of a painted circle, much like the one in Troy’s apartment. Some familiar faces are there. Her former accountant Ted Cappell (who embezzled Bill the drug trafficker’s laundered money) is there, 38 years worse for wear. Trina the Medium is there as well, looking quite upset with Mrs. Wynn. A third figure is new to her. He is an old man brandishing a shiny sword. He warns Connie not to try passing through the circle.
“That’s not her,” Ted says.
“They can change their form” says the old man, showing altogether too much knowledge of the other side. He points the sword and gestures and Connie feels her corpus ripple and reform itself. She’s back to her old self once more.

“Connie Wynn.”
He remembers me. How sweet.
“Ted.” Terrified, she tries to keep cool.
“It’s Paul now.”

Ted seems to think that she had something to do with Troy’s unfortunate plunge. She tries to say something to Trina, but feels herself unintentionally say “What, do you have a thing for Troy? Sorry, had a thing?” Ted and the old man have to restrain her when she tries lunging into the circle at Connie. Connie tests the boundary and feels searing pain as she gets close to the edge. Ted warns her that he can use her tie to the Fountain Plaza to summon her there at any time, and keep her in the circle indefinitely.

The aging accountant asks Connie about Troy and what she knows. She is tight-lipped, and the old man pokes her with the sword. It hurts.

Connie tries asking Ted how he kept Bill from killing him messily, but he doesn’t take the bait. They eventually leave Connie alone with her thoughts. She frantically tries calling Rhonda, who is somewhere much further down in the building. After a while, the old man returns. He mutters in Italian and gestures with his hands and the sword. Connie feels herself pulled away again, winding up on the street outside the building.

Terrified, she flees across town to the prearranged meeting spot with Vince, vowing inwardly to throw Ted off an even higher building when she can. When she finds him she babbles the whole story to him. He doesn’t know anything about the sinister Italian either. He suggests severing her tie to the Fountain Plaza somehow, but she dismisses this.

Vince wants to check out the laptop again with Connie’s assistance. They slip through the floor into the office. He pokes his head through the bottom of the office wall and sees numerous legionaries in the bar. The rattling of soulforged armor is audible even through the office wall. She uses Skingrasp to manifest a single well-manicured hand in the skinlands. She opens up the laptop, but it is password-protected. The two of them search the office until they find the hint “Marty’s dog” on a piece of paper.
Where is that man when you need him?
Vince re-enters the computer and finds that the password is “The_Duke”.

Connie enters the password.

After the Maelstrom
Presented Without any tidying up

Stuck at Connie’s place in the mall:

Marty rocks out in the storm
Red studies the maelstrom
Connie paces and smokes

After the storm dies down they descend into the Tempest on Marty’s bike (Connie in her black leather Hermès briefcase)

Cold, windy, very hard driving. Loud howling wind. Waves from the Sea of Shadows wash over the Byway (appearing as a dirt road)

Marty stays with his bike

Back and forth with rowboat

See Lysandra’s face

Kolya is disappointed in Connie.

Kolya: Jonathan King is Archon of the Iron Legion. Basil is his right-hand man.

Hunting Lodge in the woods – Back In The Day there would be wild, decadent parties there – wraiths hunted for sport, etc.

Lysandra realizes that a ghost ship is approaching: the barque Cairnsmore

Lysandra frantically packs, Connie hides in her briefcase again, Red takes off. Marty is gone.

They reemerge in Portland’s lovely Ladd’s Addition neighborhood.

Marty, meanwhile, is in his brother’s bar. He watches him try unsuccessfully to open the files they sent him from Troy’s computer. Then he heads to Ana the Anaconda’s place. She doesn’t show. He heads to his parents’ place (dad is drinking a beer. Mom is cooking up some spaghetti). He tries to send a message “CALL MICHAEL” but can’t.

He rides back to Mary the Mamba’s place, and she tells him to piss up a rope. He offers money, and she says she’ll help, but he ought to get out of town. He tells her that he saw Ruso and Connie being taken by the Cairnsmore.

Marty goes down to the docks where the Cairnsmore is unloading. He thinks that he sees them being moved below decks and ENSHROUDS himself. He hears Connie calling his name down a hallway deep in the ship. Eventually he flees back to Sara the Snake’s place to regroup before searching the ship again.

XP = 3, 2 for all else

4 more Pathos searches for Connie

Everyone Loves A Parade
Overcast, With A 60% Chance of Maelstroms

Well before noon a sizable crowd has gathered along the procession route to watch the condemned man on his way to the Forge. Legionaries are everywhere, trying to keep order. Marty picks a spot and watches for their approach. Russo finds a position on top of a nearby building and waits to drop Kolya into the Tempest. Looking into it from the Shadowlands, he feels gale-force winds. Connie waits at the corner for the ex-cultists Russo recruited.

Half a dozen of them eventually arrive, and Connie does her best to rile them up.
“Fuck the Heirarchy and fuck that guy too. Who do they think they are?”
By the time the cart approaches they’re ready to attack someone.

Kolya is in an iron cage on a wagon being drawn by moliated “horses,” surrounded by soldiers. The excited crowd roars as he approaches. He looks despondent and resigned to his fate. When they see the cart, everyone just goes nuts. The Legionaries are extremely on edge and are kept quite busy keeping the mob away.

The Maelstrom warning bell begins ringing in the Citadel.

Connie gathers her motley little band and yells “there he is. Get ‘im!” They rush the cart. Legionaries start swinging cudgels and busting heads. Connie tries convincing the nearest pair of them that this is some sort of a trap with a fake Kolya, but to little success. They approach her with violence on their minds. She backs away, attempting to place a passerby between herself and them, but they keep approaching. She tries losing herself in the crowd, but is easily spotted. Her newly tall and striking form does have its disadvantages. One of the soldiers swings at her head and misses, striking his compatriot. She scurries away while they argue and vanishes.

Marty whistles to catch Connie’s attention and she makes her way to him through the crowd, which is still growing in size and ferocity. Wraiths from both ends of the route are converging in the middle.

Russo’s Harbinger contact seizes the opportunity to open up a nihil beneath the cage, which plummets into the Tempest. Russo goes after it, grabbing the cage and attempting to protect Kolya as well as he can.

The crowd goes absolutely apeshit.

Connie and Marty take off on his motorcycle, headed for a pre-established safe house in an empty warehouse.
That jackass felt me up.

After watching out for anyone following them Connie and Marty arrive at the warehouse. It is quiet. Going through the door, they see a lone figure standing square in the middle. It is Basil King. Marty spots several other figures lurking in the darkness. He pushes Connie out the door as King invites them in to discuss a “business proposition.”

Firstly, King compliments the pair of them on their skill at causing chaos wherever they go. Secondly, he wants his brother Jonathan King “dealt with.” The specific details are private family business, but he says that Jonathan has gone insane and become obsessed with the “Wednesday’s Children shall pull an evil tree up by its roots” prophecy. In return he offers to undo all the harm that the group has suffered, and protect Connie’s family, Marty’s brother and bar, and restore their good names. He also denies having anything to do with Kolya’s exposure and capture.

Connie asks about getting her job back and getting Jessica Parker (the client being threatened by Mortimer) out of town. King mocks her once-vaunted negotiating skills and breezily agrees. He gives them “a couple of days” to think it over and says that there is another member of the group who he needs to speak with as well.

Meanwhile back in the Tempest, Russo is dealing with the hurricane-strength winds of a full Maelstrom. The howling gale whips the flotsam and debris of the underworld all around him. It is a struggle to get Kolya out of the cage and back to the comparative safety of the Shadowlands. After carefully checking and double-checking to make sure that Kolya really is Kolya he tells him to wait there for a while before heading west. He should head to Lysandra’s island shack if there’s trouble.

Covertly arriving at the warehouse, Russo sees Basil King and an entourage of six goons and yes-men leaving. Both Marcus the Specter and Mortimer are among them.

Marty and Russo leave Connie in the alley outside the warehouse and take off on the bike to find Kolya. He is gone, and the Maelstrom is picking up. They all head out to Lloyd Center to wait out the storm in Connie’s comparatively plush and secure digs. It looks to only be a one–bell Maelstrom, but that’s bad enough.

Marty pushes his bike up the escalator, and the Wednesday Gang goes to Connie’s comfortable “suite” in a defunct The Limited. They settle in to tell spooky stories and wait out the storm.

XP: 5

Shadow XP: 2

Wednesday 0800-1000
Kolya's Big Parade

The cell attempts to put together a rush-job rescue plan in the face of massive, heavily-armed opposition.

Russo tried contacting Christine, the erstwhile sacrifice at the hands of the false Society of the Light. He attempted to persuade her into getting her old cultist gang back together as some kind of distraction during the forge parade, but had little success. Messengers were sent to Lysandra, but we hadn’t heard anything back before 10:00 a.m.

Connie’s associates lean towards tax-evaders and bureaucrats, and she was little help in this. She did persuade Marty to drive her to the office of 99.1 FM, where she momentarily seized control of the poor devil doing a traffic update.

“And this is Doctor Jack coming back to you at the top of the nine-o’clock hour with a weather and traffic update. It looks like a truck has overturned on the Morrison Bridge… AND THE SCHEDULED PUBLIC EXECUTION OF KOLYA AT NOON TODAY. SO BE PREPARED FOR DELAYS.” This may not help at all, but at least it will surprise the Hierarchy and keep them off balance.

They can’t forge me twice, now can they? I do hope that poor bastard doesn’t get fired, though.

After this Russo went to talk with members of the Harbingers Local #342 while Marty gathered Pathos and Connie tried not to visibly freak out. No one was terribly interested in a suicidal assault against a brutal fascist military force, but he did find one wraith who was willing to use Oubliette to open up a nihil beneath Kolya at the appropriate juncture. His price: A Favor To Be Determined Later.

Will the Kolya being presented for public mockery, scorn, and pity actually be the real one?

Can we talk anybody else into joining this expedition?

Will Connie turn State’s Evidence if things go pear-shaped?

We shall see!

Fear Death by Water
A Legionnaire Takes a Trip, Connie Gets a Makeover

The Gang all rendezvous at Mikey’s Bar after dodging Legion patrols. Connie comes out of her briefcase long enough to wonder what the hell is going on. Several patrols pass by outside the front windows. It’s Michael’s day off, and he is nowhere to be seen.

Marty remembers he left his bike at the apartment and ditches us to go find it. Shortly after that Vince’s buddy Sketch pops his head in and yells “what are you doing you idiots – run!”

Vince takes the hint and creates a fresh nihil. He checks the weather on the other side. Today’s forecast for the Tempest: the wind is picking up and the barometer is falling–storm’s a-comin’!

Vince’s wings fail to deploy, and he and Connie plummet like stones into the Sea of Shadows. It’s salty and bitter (like children’s tears).

Vince admires the local flora and fauna. Kelp like long fleshy fingers grabs him by the legs, but he wrenches free. Connie just tries to dog-paddle. A boat in the distance heads for them. As it grows closer they see that it is a roomy reed boat being poled by a solitary figure: a Ferryman.

The Ferryman tells them in a thick brogue that they’re just on time and to hurry up and get in his boat. He also says that it has already been paid for.

What Mysterious Benefactor supplied this Fortuitous Ferryman?

He is no help at all, and we make our journey in silence. Vince marvels at the new and bizarre phantasmal creatures of the Sea of Shadows. Connie pours the ghostly water out of her briefcase.

Eventually he takes them to a tiny rocky island with a small shack on it. They disembark and circle the shack before knocking on the door. It’s Lysandra!

She’s really pissed!

She is profoundly disappointed in Connie, who has happily walked right into a setup orchestrated by the King brothers in pursuit of the sort of murderous revenge that the Society of the Light is really supposed to be better than.

She also tells them that there will be a big announcement by the never-seen-in-public Archon of the Iron Legion tomorrow morning at 0800. We ought to be there (in disguise). She offers us a place to spend the night. Red studied Connie’s ties to her shadow while she sat in the doorway watching the stormy, twilit sea and Lysandra silently whittled little figurines.

Meanwhile, Marty went (invisibly) in search of his bike. Fortunately it was where he had left it near the late Troy Russell’s apartment. Unfortunately, 5 Iron Legionaries are waiting there, taking turns sitting on it making “vroom-vroom” noises. Watching them from an alley, Marty spread his wings and flew high up, then dived down fast enough to knock a legionary right off the seat. Sitting on it, he opened up a nihil directly beneath. He and the motorcycle falls straight through into the tempest. Unfortunately for him, the soldier comes along with him for the ride.

Martin and the Iron Legionary tussle in mid-air while they fall. Marty does barrel rolls to try shaking the soldier off while he climbed up the bike towards him. Before landing he blipped onto a rocky outcropping in the sea. Marty offered to settle things with manly fisticuffs and Legionary drew his sword and challenged him. Marty took off for someplace more fun and found himself close by Mikey’s Bar. A pair of Iron Legionaries were guarding the door, chatting to one another. He turned invisible once more and slipped near them to eavesdrop. He overheard one of them in a newsboy cap telling the other that “we just need to wait. They come here all the time.” Marty was able to make that one fixate on a raver kid’s enormous flared pants and follow, but the other remained steadfast at his post. Marty went through the wall into the bar, but couldn’t see the others anywhere. After this he goes back into the Tempest once more in search of Vince and Connie.

In the Sea of Shadows he found a familiar reed boat. The Ferryman took him to the rocky island and all were reunited once more. Marty insults his friends and hostess and agreed to moliate Connie before the Archon’s Big Speech. With much trepidation she conceded the necessity.

Mourning the impending loss of her Karl Lagerfeld Chanel original (as well as the rest of her body) Connie was surprised by two things. First, that Marty had lied to her and the process hurt like a bitch; second, that he had possibly the softest hands she had ever felt. After the unpleasant process was finished, she found herself with the face and body of a statuesque hispanic woman.
That big drunken lug has the hands and soul of an artist. I’m speechless.
(He did a good job on my butt too)

The next morning they made their separate ways to the Citadel, where the nearly departed of Portland were assembled in a large crowd to hear the Archon’s address. It was short and to the point. The Heirarchy had become far too lenient as of late, and a covert terrorist organization known as the Society of Light had destroyed an apartment building and murdered a man in a brazen violation of the Dictum Mortum. Any and all followers of this organization would be forged without mercy—starting with his old friend Alexander(?). A struggling prisoner was brought forward onto the balcony. Although they had never seen him without his gas mask on, the group recognized Kolya.

Kolya’s triumphant forging was scheduled for noon that day. A ceremonial procession would take him from the Citadel to the Forges a short distance away.

The group was now certain of only four things
1) This is obviously a trap
2) We should probably go get Lysandra
3) We’re going to need a lot more help with this
4) Changing out of pantyhose after 37 years is such a relief

Vince and Marty Meet a Never-Bear
“The bear is slightly impressed by your flying skills.”

Everyone lands on an island in the tempest. It is swampy and oddly cold. The landscape seems to have slightly shifted since the last time that Vince was there. The others are anxious to get back to the Shadowlands, but Vince wants to explore the swamp.

It is muddy and I’m wearing high-heeled pumps.

They are walking through the brush when they hear a clear voice in the distance calling “Help!” There are also rustling noises coming from all around. Vince sneaks off to observe covertly, while Marty and Connie climb up a tree. They see a shadow creature leaping from treetop to treetop in their direction. As it nears, Connie gets down from the tree while Marty prepares to fight whatever it is with his chains.

Connie attempts to strategically withdraw to a more tenable position and, trips in the mud
Two runs in my pantyhose and dirt everywhere.
A horrifying specter composed entirely of shadows lands in the clearing at the base of the tree, looking straight at Connie and moving in her general direction.

Enter: A Bear With Wings

The Bear tears into the specter, whose claws have no apparent effect. It tears it into bits with a sickening crunch, while Marty turns invisible and prepares to leap down on its back, Vince runs back towards them, and Connie hides behind a tree. The Bear sniffs around for Connie.
Marty leaps out of the tree, invisible, and down onto The Bear’s back–-wrapping his chain around its neck. He tries to choke it into submission and make it into his pet (at the suggestion of his shadow). The Bear does not take kindly to this idea and slams him up against a tree.

Vince arrives, takes stock of the situation, and opens up a nihil. He whisks Connie back to an alley in Portland and returns back through.

Back on the island, Vince jumps onto The Bear’s back to assist Marty, who is climbing down to face the bear. Marty speaks reassuringly to it, while slowly releasing the chains. The Bear growls “FUCK YOU” at him.

Marty releases the chains and Vince gets off the bear’s back. They have a frank and productive discussion vis-à-vis being a bear, the people who used to throw specters down the hole for him to eat (but do so no longer), and the two of them getting the hell off his island right now.

Vince: “Do those wings really work?”
Bear: does some sick-ass flying
Marty: Does even sicker flying stunts
Vince: does a barrel roll
Connie: stands in an alley and watches the entire city’s legions going out in force questioning people in the streets.

The other two finally form nihils and leave. Deciding that this would be a splendid time to not be arrested, Connie inhabits her own briefcase, Marty moliates himself to look like a legionary going the other direction, and Vince turns invisible. All of them make their way to Marty’s Brother’s Bar to check on whether he got the files that were sent and how screwed up everything is. On the way there, we gather that the Legions are rounding people up under the Archon’s orders in response to a wraith-set fire that forced a living human to commit suicide. Living patrons at the MBB remark on the arson downtown. Ben is very tired, and we adjourn.

The Fall of Troy

Russo has discovered that Trina (the spirit medium) is under constant observation by skilled lurkers. The Legions are keeping a close eye on her. He has gotten no farther in his investigation of her (he does have her phone number, though).

The cell has had no luck getting into Troy’s fortress. No one we have spoken to has been able to tell us how to get past the wards. Connie tried to get in by inhabiting an UberEats delivery bag, but she just bounced off the doorway quite painfully when it went inside.

Marty had previously offered Anna (“the Anaconda”) an obol to find out how to break a ward. She had no luck at all though and gave him his Obol back.
Gave him my obol back

The two of them went out to party in the Pearl district instead and vicariously imbibe various illicit substances.

After a hard day’s work, Connie encountered Mortimer waiting for her outside the Citadel. He made an offer to get Troy out of his apartment at exactly 5:00 p.m. tomorrow in exchange for A Favor To Be Determined on her part.

Connie said yes.

The next evening Red and Connie were early, waiting by Troy’s door Marty was not.
Of course.
The apartment was still warded from all sides, but at 5:00 p.m. exactly fire alarms began going off. The smell of smoke indicated that this was in fact a genuine fire. Say what you like about terrifying, sadistic criminals, but they certainly can get results.

Other residents began leaving the building, including Troy in his bathrobe and boxers. As soon as he left the protective ward Connie jumped in and skinrode him. “Rhonda” makes her an offer to teach her 3 levels of Inhabit and let her drive Troy around like a jalopy.

Connie says yes. Rhonda is such a good friend.

For the time being, Connie just hung around inside Troy to see where he would go.

Marty finally arrived at about 5:30. He saw a crowd of people milling about, including Troy, but couldn’t see Connie anywhere. He instilled a potent desire in Troy to go back into his apartment. He slipped back in through a side door and returned to his apartment, rapidly filling with smoke.

Just before Troy reentered the apartment, Connie exerted her newfound powers to seize control of his body, leaving him a helpless passenger.

The first thing that she did inside was to wipe the charcoal sigils off the walls with a kitchen towel. The others came in as soon as the barrier dropped. A quick search of the place revealed nothing incriminating except for a laptop. Red (the only one of us to have lived in this century) carefully talked Connie through basic laptop use and entered the computer himself to assist (speaking out of its internal speaker). They managed to find several intriguing locked files and emailed them to Marty’s brother Michael.

Firefighters could be heard going door-to-door checking each apartment.

Connie then left a suicide note on the machine, apologizing for his acts of deceit towards Mikey and expressing deep guilt for Connie’s brutal murder.

Nothing else of interest seemed to be in the apartment (or medicine cabinet) and everything was filling with smoke.

Mrs. Wynn then walked Troy out onto his balcony and climbed up onto the railing.

“Are you awake in there, Troy? You’re going to be a daddy.”

With a scream he forced her out. Of his body.

Incorporeal once more, Connie leaned in close to her former assistant so that he could feel the chill of her ghostly presence.

Troy lost his balance and slowly toppled over the edge, screaming as he fell.

Looking down over the edge, he was clearly dead.

Where did he go? Did he go straight on to the Other Place?
Will he materialize somewhere important to him?
(The office where he murdered Connie? His old cell? Right next to his baby-mama-to-be?)

On their way out the building they spotted 6 legionaries approaching through the crowd. Uh oh. The group ducked back into the building before they were spotted. Red and Marty opened up a portal to the Tempest and leapt in, stretching out their Phantom Wings while holding Connie between them. Unfortunately, Red’s wings failed instantly and both he and Wynn wound up hanging on to Marty, slowly descending into the Sea of Shadows. They could take a portal back into the Shadowlands, but that would leave them right back where they had just been

Russo’s shadow dared him to take them to the island he had seen earlier in the nihil at the bottom of the old church. This seemed like as good a place to go as any, and Red guided them there.

Our last view of our “heroes” is as they slowly approach the island…


Troy, Trina, and Trouble
In Which Much Is Learned

Meeting up at Casa del Troy, we learn that it is still firmly warded.

Connie waited outside the apartment to see if there was a way in, but with no success at all.

Red went to the Fountain Plaza to look for Ted Cappell and was caught snooping by the Iron Legion guards, who sent him on his way. The legionnaires were even in the fire stairs. An awfully heavy presence for an ostensibly wraith-less building. Red poked around the building, and eventually snuck into the small concierge office. Ted was not listed as a tenant.

Connie finally saw the door open and an attractive woman step out – Troy’s partner Colleen. A squiggly pattern in black charcoal was visible on the ceiling and floor, and lines of salt could be seen. Troy was anxiously typing away on a laptop. Connie attempted to skinride her, but was somehow rebuffed.

Colleen went to meet Trina at a coffee shop in the Pearl District. Trina soon arrived and began doing a tarot reading for her, with uncannily accurate information. Legionaries soon arrived and came right into the shop, while Connie scurried out the back. Afterward they followed Trina to Old Town. Connie tried following them, but wanted to stay well clear of Mortimer and backed off.

Returning to the apartment she overheard an argument between the couple. Troy is overprotective, and Colleen is pregnant (!)
Fuck you Troy.

Marty met with a mysterious contact and learned about a new woman in town who has been “making ripples.” She’s been followed by the Hierarchy, despite being alive.

Marty then headed to his brother’s bar, where he caught some of the World Series, and overheard Mikey having an angry phone conversation. He had been collecting evidence against Troy for someone, but they weren’t satisfied enough to provide any protection for him.

After this, he communicated with Mikey by fogging up the glass over a picture and writing MAP (his initials), Mikey asked “Marty? What do you want?” in disbelief.
Marty responded with “HELP”
“Help you? How can I help you?”
His final message, as he was growing very tired from the difficult work of reaching across the veil on a sunny afternoon: “FONE”

Marty tried to catch a few Zs in one of his fetters (a baseball mitt at the bar), but had a nightmare in which his brother rejected his offer of help, mocked him, then physically overpowered him.