Wednesday, 3rd August
3am, Rent in the Spirit World, One Tree Hill
We open with the characters, Isobella, and Abigail sitting in Isobella’s four wheel drive at idle with the petrenaturally dimmed headlights gleaming off a ghost gum lying across the gravel track in front of them.
Evan is asleep so Anthony grabs his chainsaw. The, once feeble, old man gets out of the car and crunches through the darkness. Saul gets out after him, unslinging his uzi he follows the old man, watching the hills around them.
The Tree looks solid enough, even in this spirit world. There are fresh clods of soil clinging to its roots as if it has only just been pushed down across the road. Anthony also spots some fresh tire tracks in the gravel on the other side of the trunk. He starts his chainsaw, the racket echoing over the slope, and cautiously attempts his first cut.
Anthony is well into his second cut through when Saul spots movement to the right, well up slope of their position. Spirit Sight shows him a monstrous two headed beast, a merging of the flesh of two separate dogs, the vagabond calls and points bringing his uzi to bear.
The dog howls discordantly and charges down toward Anthony. Donald slips out of the car and races to use the fallen log as a gun rest. The uzi’s kickback catches Saul by surprise and he sends ten bullets up into the sky, while Belinda, whose gotten out and gone wide to aim a single shot at the oncoming beast acidently locks her uzi on full auto (the characters are new to sub machine guns after all). A full magazine of bullets goes flying. Miraculously no one at the log is seriously hurt, although Saul catches a slug in the shoulder that would probably have taken an ordinary human out of the fight.
A second dog appears over the ridge, a horrible mix of shitzu and some small kind of lap dog. Donald, “It’s a great shit!”. Anthony, (still eyeing the oncoming first beast), “I shit you not”. Belinda, (to Isobella), “hurry up and help us!” But Isobella remains behind the wheel stareing as if stunned at the unnatural beasts, horrified speculation plain on her face.
The first dog closes on Anthony as Abigail gets out of the car. She unloads a full clip into it without affecting its course. It leaps over the obstacle, two sets of slavering jaws strain toward Anthony but the old man is ready. He ducks further behind the upturned roots that shelter him and brings the chainsaw round hard. Meat flies. The beast falls to the ground bisected.
Belinda, Saul, and Donald pump bullets into the second beast, dropping it as it charges. It never even reaches its goal. Calmly Anthony goes back to his work while the others stand guard and drag clear the sections of log he cuts.
Back in the car
Isobella still seems shaken. Belinda asks her what the hounds are, she answers, “Szlachta, but I have her bound, she should not be able to work flesh.” Donald, “She must be branching out…”
They start down the road again, spiralling into the spirit world valley of the rent. When the characters ask Isobella who she is talking about she tells them the ancient one, Ulyana Olah, a very old vampire who used to rule the city. She claims the Camarilla over threw her and ritually staked down to seal a vent which had opened “at the site of a massacre”. Isobella claims her duty to the prince was to maintain the wards and keep the ancient one bound in torpor, that the ancient one is chained down and should not be able to craft flesh, and that lesser tzimisce should not be able to have gotten past the wards without her knowledge, “it takes time to craft flesh…”
Meanwhile the valley down into which they drove was growing narrower and steeper. The ghost gums leaned from the slope above them and screened the road ahead while the edge of the road dropped away sharply to their left. The characters spot red tail lights dimly through the branches, they point them out to Isobella who promptly plants her foot down on the accelerator to give chase. The landscape blurs past weak headlights in pressing darkness with tires sliding on gravelled curves. They get close enough to the car ahead to see it is a battered old sedan, but then Isobella under steers a downwards tilt and the four wheel drive nudges into the right hand bank.
By the time they’ve recovered and Isobella has reversed and straightened up the car ahead has dwindled down the spiral out of sight. Isobella proceeds, and is just gathering pace again when a twelve foot monstrosity races up into the headlights.
“Vozhd!” Isobella yells, and plants her foot again. The characters have enough time to glimpse that the humongous monstrosity is made from a twisted amalgamation of many human bodies. It has squat wide legs, several huge arms, and a beaked maw where its head would be. Everywhere around its naked, leathery body human faces twisted in torment peer from the blubbery flesh.
Then the fourby slams into it, it grasps the hood with its multiple arms, wrestling with the vehicle, obviously trying to throw it over the road’s edge. The whole vehicle tilts and slides to the side but the vozhd does not quite manage this feat of strength.
Donald leaps from the window firing his shotgun from sideways in mid air. Twelve guage pellets splatter into blubber armour as the medic rolls away across the gravel road. Anthony piles out the door behind him, pulling the chainsaw’s starter cord. Abigail behind him unloads a full clip from her uzi into the huge monster, while Belinda scrambles across Isobella’s and out the driver side door to do so as well. In the rear left, hanging over the cliff’s edge Saul kicks open his door and clambers up onto the roof before letting the vozhd have both barrels from ten gauge.
Miraculously it goes down. The characters have barely a moment to relax before a second monstrosity, just as large as the first, bursts from the scrub up hill of the road. It rams the vehicle, almost throwing Saul clear and knocking the front left wheel over the edge. Reloading to fire Abigail gets snatched up by its many arms. It passes her upwards into the maw and her scream is cut short as the beak closes biting her near in half.
Isobella bursts from the car in wrath, firing a full clip from her uzi. The other characters circle and shoot off their remaining uzi ammo or blast shotguns into it respectivly while Anthony darts in from behind with the chainsaw swinging. The lumbering beast ducks and dodges and parries, deflecting lead on its hide while it bats Anthonys blow aside and scoops him up, feeding him into its maw for another horrific bite.
Isobella gestures at the captured Anthony, tendons straining in her neck, and telekinetic force plucks him free from the creature’s upper arms. He and the chainsaw go tumbling while Evan (who just woke up) leaps in swinging the kukri he took from Maen Bok.
Anthony sees that Abigail is dead, too far gone for Scent of Life to bring back. He retreats to the corpse of the first vozhd at the front of the four wheel drive and begins to Devour it before its soul can slip away, regenerating each round while he does so. Powerful physical fragments begin flowing into the Tree.
The rest of the party keeps cutting and blasting away but the vozhd dodges and shrugs off damage like the monster it is, grabbing at a random person each round and feeding them into its maw. Isobella keeps burning her blood to fuel telekinetic rescues and the characters keep fighting and regenerating. The Tree runs out of raw essence, and random fragments begin breaking down. Anthony leaves off his devour halfway through (with an effort of will) to start activly healing the others.
Malevolence rises across the party and still the vozhd keeps smashing away at them. “It’s like a whole different creature!” Donald exclaims, while Saul once more enters the state of Serene Violence and through into Perfect Introspection. Grabbed up he spends his last erg of will to escape the monster’s clutches and avoid being knocked unconscious after Isobella (who is now running low on blood) fails to rip him fully free telekinetically, ending up on his arse against the vehicle firing both barrels of the ten gauge while the creature makes one last effort to smash him and the vehicle off the edge of the road.
For the vozhd is finally wearing down. It’s spent all the blood it can on healing by this stage, and the wounds are starting to tell. After its final effort to knock down the four wheel drive it snatches up the last person to hurt it (Evan) and runs for the scrub. Isobella gestures, grasping with telekinesis but failing to pull the ex tradie free. “Shoot it!” yells Anthony, “It’s getting away!” And he opens fire with his handgun, more to distract it than in hope of doing serious damage.
The others blast with their shotguns, peppering both Evan and the monster, but it does not fall. Evan manages to squirm free as it plunges into the scrub on the uphill side of the road. A couple of last shots and it vanashes into the ghost gums and petrenatural darkness of the rent. Seeing its speed and realising that pursuit is futile the characters turn to Devour the fallen monstrosity.
The partially devoured soul of the first monstrosity has not yet slipped away. It yields more rich vampiric soul fragments and many of the characters indulge in absorption of attribute fragments as they come forth. “It’s ok,” Donald assures the others, his vampiric taint rocketing up to the third level, “The sun has gone away anyway!”
Isobella falls across Abigail’s corpse, cradling her broken body the vampire weeps. The vozhd’s soul splinters and disipates, torn asunder by the malevolent devouring awakened. Will depleted and temptation state off the chart Saul looks up. Isobella looks tasty.
“Isobella,” Anthony calls out, seeing the direction of his gaze. “You need to get out of here now!” He crashtackles Saul before the vagabond can spring.
Isobella looks up at Saul, (and the other malevolent awakened). Her eyes widen in comprehension. Snatching up Abigail’s body she runs back the way they’d come, burning blood for strength and speed as she goes.
The other characters pile on to Anthony’s grappling of Saul. Saul palms Belinda away and shrugs free of Anthony, but Evan and Donald manage to keep hold long enough for Isobella to get away up the gravel road. When his desire to kill turns to a desire to slink of and digest the other awakened release Saul.
We leave them stranded most of the way to the bottom of a rent in the spiritual fabric of the world. Their vehicle has one wheel off a cliff. There are enemies doing unknown things below, and their injured mentor flees from them above. While the world itself continues to fall.
Anthony is Intense, wounded, on 5 of 8 will, with 14 malevolence, spirit sight and potence 2 active, and with total instability 16 (level 1 zombie, 2 human, , and level 4 vampire vulnerability, he’ll fry quite quickly if the sun rises after all).
Belinda is Rash, unwounded, full will, with 6 malevolence, 1 aura, celerity 1 active, and total i instability 11 (level 1 human, 2 animal, 3 vampiric vulnerabilities, she’ll burn if the sun rises after all).
Donald is Indulgent, scuffed, full will, with 3 malevolence, 2 aura, spirit sight active, and total instability 10 (level 1 human, 1 zombie, 1 animal, and 3 vampiric vulnerabilities, he’ll burn if the sun rises after all).
Evan is Indulgent, near death, at full will??, with 4 malevolence, 2 aura, potence 1 active, and total instability 14 (level 2 zombie, 2 vampiric, and 3 human instability, he’ll blister his skin if the sun rises after all).
Saul is in a state of Perfect Introspection with no will remaining. His primary drive now that there are no immediate kill / devour candidates is to curl up somewhere dark, go to the Tree and digest / reform his psyche.
Thanks for reading :)