Late Evening, The Second Day
On Ann street the characters fight by fire light from a blasted church. Three vampiric gangers have retreated to their skyscraper up the street. The corpses of three more strew the bitumen, but the big, bald, fat, four armed, neo-nazi vampire wielding a sledge hammer fights on.
He’s fully pumped. To Spirit Sight the scarlet core of vampiric power within him seems about the equivalent strength of a release level three awakened, but the brightness of this vampire’s blood has not been diminishing as he’s grown his extra arms, gained size, and healed. The characters remember him calling to his ‘brothers’ just after the explosion.
Saul swaps with Belinda by story teller fiat. He is unreleased, with zero malevolence or aura, “coming in cold”. The ex-vagrant steps around the big vampire to get a clear firing line and lets him have it with both barrels from his sawn off ten gauge shotgun. The blast does horrific damage, dropping the big hairless vampire to wound penalties.
Healing, again without diminishing the brightness of his own blood, baldie screams to the air.
“I don’t care! Send those fucks back out here!”
Grasping his sledge hammer in his original two hands he smashes down at Saul, who trips on a bit of rubble as he tries to dodge. Saul’s shotgun clatters to the bitumen and the iron head of the hammer thumps home. Saul coughs blood, down to wound penalties from a single hit.
Anthony, on the cusp of Ecstatic Abandon, manages to resist the urge to draw more aura. He swings his machete, but the vampire dodges, deflecting the blade’s path a little with his extra hand.
“Well where the fuck is Mr Garouche! Hugo is dead over here!” Baldie yells into thin air.
The swastika tattooed vampire heals some more of his shotgun wounds, again without dimming his own blood. He swings across at Anthony, who interposes his blade. The hammer blow is so heavy that it still smashes through into Anthony’s chest, smashing ribs. Anthony’s eyes roll back. He falls, unconscious.
Saul draws aura. From the Tree, Anthony’s consciousness selects the fragment to break and ‘passes’ the essence to him. Now at release level two, Saul’s aura of roots is spreading out from his feet through the bitumen. Leaving his shotgun for now Saul whips out his 9mm handgun, the one loaded with dodgy, hand packed sodium / phosphorous rounds. Bang! The bullet leaves a burning orange streak through the air as baldie dodges aside. Saul steps back, causing roots from his aura to erupt up out of the bitumen around baldie’s feet. The vampire dodges that as well and Saul’s aura sinks back into the ground.
Saul manages to act again before baldie. Drawing more aura to reach full release (level 3) he regenerates some damage and takes a step toward the shotgun, firing his nine mill as he does so. Baldie dodges. Another flaming bullet streaks the night. Saul’s roots erupt again. This time baldie isn’t quick enough on his feet, the roots wrap around his ankles.
“What the fuck is this!”
He roars, ripping free with brute strength, only slightly hampered as he closes on Saul, swinging his sledge hammer again. Again Saul stumbles as he tries to dodge, taking a heavy hit but soaking most of it to avoid death, dropping into wound penalties range again.
Anthony quickly breaks down three larger fragments while his consciousness is still at the Tree. His unconscious body draws aura, just one point is enough to fill his aura to capacity, putting him right on the verge of Ecstatic Abandon. He regenerates, wakes, rolls to his feet and leaps for Saul. Breaking both of his Seeds of Life to release all three points of aura stored in them he heals a hefty amount of Saul’s wounds, and then some of his own with Scent of Life.
“Saul!” he yells, “We need to go!”
Resisting his own malevolent urge to fight on, Anthony then sprints west, down Ann street toward the cars on the intersection below. With his potence activated and his release levels enhancing his physique old man Anthony moves as fast as an olympic runner!
“I was headed toward that idea myself,” Saul replies.
Pausing only to scoop up his shotgun and cause the rest of his aura to burst forth under baldies feet he retreats down an alley between buildings on the south side of Ann street, firing another nap round as he goes, unfortunately missing.
Baldie tears free of the roots wrapping his shins, pounding down the alley after Saul with sledge hammer raised.
“Where are my backup!” he screams to the air, “Tell them to stop gorging themselves and get down here!”
He swings at Saul, who almost dodges it, taking a heavy clip to the shoulder.
Meanwhile Anthony keeps sprinting, he’s almost reached the suv as, back in the alley, Saul draws from the Tree and regenerates, pushing up into the Rash temptation state.
Saul sprints down they alley, cutting right around the back of a building toward King George Square. Having been homeless for years this is not the first time Saul has been chased down an alley. His experience serves him in good stead as he dodges between air conditioners and ducting in the service way behind the building. He manages to extend his lead on the huge vampire behind him even though the other would be faster in a even race.
Emerging from the area behind the building Saul cuts sharply right, avoiding a drop off in the other direction. He runs up the space between the building and the back of a glass paneled shelter on the edge of King George Square. Drawing on the patch of aura he’s left behind on Ann street he activates Mind’s Reach.
“I’m on my way back!” he sends to Anthony.
Baldie is hot on Saul’s heals, blundering through the air-con units, but making the correct turn to avoid the retaining wall drop off. He pounds into the space between shelter and building, gaining ground now.
Saul sprints for it, leaving a patch of roots aura in the walls of the narrow space as he passes.
Back on Roma Anthony leaps into the suv, starting it with a roar and jamming it into reverse he navigates around the crashed cars and over corpses left from their earlier fight, accelerating backward across Ann street towards King George Square.
Baldie charges past Saul’s aura, ducking, barely losing momentum as roots burst forth to grab at him in passing. Saul’s knowledge of the streets serves him well again however. He remembers that there should be a pane of glass missing up ahead and ducks sideways through the gap, cutting across the corner of the Square as Anthony screeches to a halt nearby.
Saul jumps in, Anthony throws the car into gear and peels rubber. The huge, four armed vampire emerges from the alleyway too late. As Anthony accelerates back past the crash scene Saul winds down his window, hanging out to take a parting shot. The sodium round leaves a ribbon of fire between Saul and the vampire, hitting him in the shoulder!
Clutching his burnt flesh, waving his sledge hammer, and giving them the finger with his remaining hands baldie dances and screams in rage as the pair make good their escape.
Anthony guides the car back over known territory, past Kelving Grove (without incident), over Red Hill, and onto the ridge that runs from Paddington to Bardon. They take it careful and slow.
Before Saul’s Release Level drops away completely he concentrates to use Mind’s Reach to split his consciousness between Tree and car, breaking down some fragments to make essence available, just in case.
Ten minutes or so of calm driving is enough for Saul’s malevolence to dwindle, his release level and powers drop. The nature of his aura is such though that the two patches he left behind on Ann street and in the alleyway encyst rather than dissipating immediately. While encysted they don’t add to his release level, but they’ll last all night, allowing him to sense events on Ann street, like when baldie walks back up toward the skyscraper where the vampires were keeping other prisoners, or when gangers go down toward Roma street to retrieve the crashed cars.
Anthony’s malevolence… will take quite a bit longer to calm. It drops five or so points during the first part of the drive, leaving him still quite far down the temptation scale.
Alien Centipede thing
Driving up through the restaurant area of Paddington both of them feel a prickling of their Spirit Sense. Something is nearby, something different to anything they’ve felt before.
Anthony pulls the car to a halt, scanning the buildings with Spirit Sight, which is still up because his high malevolence is maintaining his Release Level.
A four meter long, alien, many legged, vaguely insect looking thing crawls around over the facade of one of the buildings. They look at it. It looks at them. It scuttles away. A dark and twisting power flares as it rounds back out of sight, and the sense of the creature disappears.
Saul rubs his eyes, “Think I’m having visions again!”
Anthony, “no… that was a three meter long centipede.”
Saul, “ok. Should we follow it?”
Anthony, “I think it’s tunneled away.” He sets the car rolling forward again.
Saul, “fair enough.”
They continue through upper Paddington. Anthony’s malevolence drops a fraction further, until they spot two zombies lurching across the bottom of a steep side street. He slows, turns the wheel, rolling down until their alongside the heedless creatures.
Saul’s shotgun blast half tears the head off of the closer zombie. Anthony gets out with his machete to finish it. The other zombie turns to grab him, but ends up grabbed instead.
Anthony holds it steady while Saul draws a little aura to activate potence and stabs it in the head with his combat knife. The zombie keeps struggling, but is too well held to bite. Anthony finishes it with an awkward blow from the machete while maintaining his hold.
Anthony devours, while Saul reloads and stand’s guard. The screams of the zombie’s torn souls echo into the night. Anthony finds raw essence and a fragment of human composure in their bellies, while the remnants of their tattered souls yield brawl and strength (I think).
Rewinding a bit, to earlier in the night before the battle of Ann st. Evan had driven away with the bone lance and the sacrificial victims that they’d rescued from the defiled church.
He makes it back to Bardon without incident, having followed the same route Anthony and Saul would take a short time later. Turning into Belinda’s street Evan notices some people, including Curtis, standing sentry on the top of a house roof. He waves and Curtis waves the stump of his elbow back.
After some deliberation Evan decides to dump his rescuees onto the folk in the samaritan house rather than take them to Belinda’s. His passengers are very concerned about the safety of the other prisoners, the ones held in the ganger’s skyscraper who Anthony and Saul were trying to rescue. Evan knows from Mind’s Reach that things went wrong, but he speaks reassuringly.
“We’ll do what we can. Most important thing is your safety. These people will look after you.”
A middle aged woman answers the door, looking tired. Evan explains the situation and she accepts with obvious resignation.
“Well we can’t turn people away… We did receive the two car loads of students you sent over earlier…”
She complains a bit that the house is getting over crowded. Evan agrees, saying they’ll definitely need to go out to find more resources, or move to a better spot (I think the army barracks might have been mentioned?). The woman is quick to say that Garry Choi is keen to organised something. She suggests they meet with him and a few other of the interested folk in the morning. Evan agrees, but asks if they can come over to Belinda’s house.
He suggests an interim measure might be barricading one end of the street with cars. The woman agrees its a good idea but seems a bit taken aback when she realizes Evan means moving cars right now, in the middle of the night. She points out that with people asleep its hard to tell which houses, and therefore cars are abandoned, and that people wouldn’t appreciate him just taking their vehicles.
Evan says his house has plenty of vehicles and goes of the excess ones across the other end of the street.
Saul and Anthony’s Return
They wave to the lookouts and notice Evan’s barricade of cars as they pull up in front of Belinda’s house.
Anthony heads straight to the basement, still too malevolent to want to risk interacting with anyone, especially tasty… I mean vulnerable humans. A palpable aura of blood thirst and violence rolls up from the basement stairs.
Saul unloads the bags, remaining body armour, and uzis from the suv, putting them away in the cupboards. He looks for a second 9mm handgun, but discovers the custom gold plated one is the only one left in the house, (Evan buried the others under the garden shed). Saul takes it, swapping the partially depleted clip of sodium rounds into the gleaming handgun, and a full clip of normal 9mm rounds into the plain gun he has been using. Remind me to remind you that Saul was probably carrying a few loose nap rounds in his satchel or pocket at some point. He also grabs a spare clip of plain 9mm bullets from the cupboard while he’s at it.
An hour before midnight is a great time for carpentry. Evan goes out into the yard to do some work on the fence. It’s dark, but he’s got his spotlight, happily banging and sawing and digging away he manages to prop it back up in a wonky line. It’s still not great.
Midnight at the Tree
A flood of raw essence flows into the Tree. From each active character of course, and the people who know them well like Stix and Clara. Then there is essence from each of the ritual sacrifice prisoners they just rescued, and from the two car loads of students they helped earlier in the night. Then from pretty much every single survivor in the street who are all astounded by the healing of that infected man earlier in the day. All up its over fifty points of inflow. There is some essence from more distant people as well, but the only glimpse anyone (Evan) manages to catch is of the hunchback from Roma street, wondering if they’re alright.
Anthony, Evan, and Saul each ameliorate down three points worth of vampiric instability. Then they have a bit of a feast on soul fragments. Saul gains his fourth dot of composure and his third of obtenebration (Flesh of Darkness ! :). Evan gains his first dot in fortitude. There were some other gains as well but I lost some of my notes.
Anthony tries to create a new Seed of Life, but just can’t focus his concentration enough this night to do so. He heals the wounds of the others while essence is still bountiful.
Then the Tree grows. It is now 15 / 40th of the way to growth stage four.
Early Hours Rummaging
Feeling a little less monstrous (but still quite malevolent) Anthony goes fence hopping away Belinda’s street until he’s moving through the yards of abandoned houses far enough away that he’s starting to feel the prickling awareness of zombies lurking about.
He raids garden sheds and under house areas, returning with a couple of brush hooks (a short and a long), a sickle, another chainsaw, three axes, and a parang. He found more tools but leaves the shovels, picks, and crowbars, etc behind.
He does also bring back a couple of tins of mower fuel.
Evan’s Modification Session
Evan goes down to Belinda’s garden shed to mess with the bone lance, the ritual tool which throbs with vampiric power and a dark will of its own.
First he clamps a shovel handle onto it to improve its reach. He fixes it securely, but unclamps it again when he realizes how cumbersome it’ll be to carry around at that length (this despite the fact that he’s already willing to carry a machete, kukri, uzi, full length shotgun, combat knives, handgun, chainsaw etc).
Then he gets a hacksaw out, intending to cut down the lance’s four foot length to make it more convenient to stab with. Despite putting the saw to bone in several positions he eventually decides not to do this, after realizing how awkward it would be to handle if cut in half.
Then he searches around until he finds an angle grinder, determined that the best thing to do would be to sharpen the spiral shaped lance of bone into a flat blade for use alongside his kukri…
Of course Belinda’s house doesn’t have any power… (although the samaritan house across the road does since goody goody Bob and Laura installed solar panels and a battery wall before the apocalypse).
Evan finally decides to give up trying to remodel the vampiric artifact, for now, after realizing he doesn’t actually know what it even does yet. Briefly he considers stabbing it into his own leg to find out (I’m thinking some of his original insanity is resurfacing?).
Discussing Future Plans
Dawn is getting closer. The characters have a last cup of tea before bed, discussing what they should do next.
Anthony suggests they could relocate everyone out to swanbank power station west of the city, with the idea (I think) of eventually having their own town of followers lured by consistent power.
Saul agrees that their current situation is way too precarious, “defensible as pastrami”, but seems less inclined to think in terms of moving whole groups of followers. He seems more inclined to have them moving on their own and unencumbered.
I think Evan may have suggested they check out the army barracks? He was definitely keen to go back and wipe out the Kelvin Grove blood cult or whatever is happening at the uni campus, as well as focusing on clearing out all remaining vampires before moving on. “We should make a clean sweep, get all the resources from the area…” He might have persuaded Saul to this viewpoint, to the idea of looking at all the vampires as resources to be eaten anyway.
Police stations were also mentioned, I think. Someone suggested the hydro plant at wivenhoe dam for power. Someone else reminded that Isobella’s house, although raided, had a very serviceable six room vault built underneath it (they still haven’t gone back there to get books yet). There was general agreement that such places would need to be scouted first, and that they’d need to reduce their vampiric taint before going anywhere in daylight.
The trio went to their beds to rest, drop their malevolence, regain depleted will, and recover from that last little bit of bruising.
There we ended the session.
Thanks for reading: