A Cautionary Tale of Two Cities

Family Matters: Day 2

That morning Nicholas thoroughly checked up on the dig permits and regulations, and to his chagrin found that everything was perfectly in order.

The team went to the university to view the artifacts. They had a rather long meeting with Dr. Rutlidge where he showed them some of the bones. Oddly enough everything about the bone structure indicated that the bones were those of adolescents, albeit adolescents that were six feet tall. After further questioning the professor admitted that he had been concealing some of the find as it was too fantastic to be believed. He revealed more bones that in structure appeared to be adult but belonged to individuals over nine feet in height. Benny felt nothing on touching the bones but both Nicholas and Enrique were overcome with a sense of peace.

The trio left the university to return to the dig site to meet with Giles Brennus. On arriving at the dig, there was a limousine in front with large private security types standing around menacingly. As the group approached the dig, they were greeted by a rather well dressed older woman who appeared to be some form of administrative assistant. She introduced herself as Elizabeth Baxter and indicated a familiarity with Benny’s family. When Benny shook her hand he received a powerful shock. She was obviously something significantly more than human. After a short friendly chat where she blatantly ignored Enrique the group headed down to the dig.

On their way down, they encountered Giles Brennus and two of his security guards. Benny again received a shock while shaking Giles’ hand. A verbal fencing match ensued where Giles indicated an obvious knowledge of Benny’s true nature, while Benny let slip he thought Giles might be a dragon. Giles assured the trio that he would be stopping a good ten feet short of the Pig’s Eye and thus would not be violating the Accorded Neutral Ground. He also rather pointedly noted that while Benny was protected by the Accords, the same could not be said for Enrique and Nicholas.

After leaving the dig site the team immediately returned to the Pig’s Eye to talk to Pierre. In an edging towards panic state, Pierre finally told the them the truth. He wasn’t worried in the least about the Pig’s Eye. Instead he was worried about Giles and Elizabeth getting to the Urn. He explained that Giles and Elizabeth were both Denarians, and before accepting their coins were known as Giles de Rais and Elizabeth Bathory .

Pierre then explained his true nature. He started with an explanation of the Fallen. He told the team of the three groups of Fallen. The first, and most powerful, were those that rebelled and joined the side of the Morningstar. The second were those lead by Semjaza who took mortal brides and fathered the Nephilim, and were nearly of a strength with the first group. The third, and least powerful of the Fallen were those angels who were set to watch over the tribes of man and refused to return to heaven when they were told their duties were done at the crucifixtion. This third group is known as the Denarians.

Pierre quoted from the Book of Enoch:

And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.’ And Semjaza, who was their leader, said unto them: ‘I fear ye will not indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.’ And they all answered him and said: ‘Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.’ Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it…

He then told the group that the urn contained 19 of the 20 fallen who were fathers to the Nephilim and managed to avoid being cast into the Pit. The missing 20th escaped the urn through the crack in its side following the Deluge. He had repented his sins and resolved to walk a better path. He found Pierre and made him Rephaim and set Pierre to watch over the urn.

As the team continued to question Pierre, the missing Fallen entered the bar. He introduced himself as Josh, and promised to answer as many of their questions as he could. The trio learned four things:

  1. Josh refused to use his power any longer on the mortal plane as he was afraid it would interfere with free will.
  2. To fully repair the urn it would require power equal to or greater than that of a Faerie Queen.
  3. If the urn was moved without the crack being repaired at least some of the Fallen would escape.
  4. Pierre is limited in how far he can be from the urn. If, for example, the urn was cast into the Marianas Trench, Pierre would have to go with it and thus would die.

Following meeting Josh, the group left the Pig’s Eye. Enrique went to Father Tatenda to get his take on the situation, Nicholas went for a faith-guided walk and Benny went home to do some research. Father Tatenda promised to contact the Vatican and find out what he could. Nicholas discovered that the Marauders were providing security for the site. Unfortunately Benny’s reasearch didn’t turn up any new information.

Later that night, the trio regrouped to meet with Chief Ragnvaldr. The Chief was able to give them some advice on the Accords but all-in-all was not much help.

On their return to Benny’s mansion, Benny decided to contact his mentor, Klaus the Toymaker. Klaus indicated that he could provide a temporary patching compound if Benny could get a sample of similar pottery.

Benny immediately returned to the university and stole some pottery fragments from the uncataloged samples.

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Family Matters: Day 1

Pierre appeared at the gates of Benny‘s mansion early in the morning in an agitated state. After Benny was roused from bed, Pierre asked if Benny had read the Sunday paper and whether the he noticed the article about the archeological dig in the caves under Minneapolis. Benny acknowledged he had and Pierre said that the dig was getting very close to the Pig’s Eye. Pierre asked Benny to repay Benny’s debt to him by helping shoo away the archeologists.

Benny said he’d look into it and got in touch with Nicholas and Enrique. He then made some calls arranging a meeting with the professor under the guise of being interested in making an endowment. The trio was able to get an appointment at the dig site later that morning.

They arrived on site and met an eager Dr. Rutlidge. The doctor took them through the caves down to a silt-filled chamber that housed the dig. All throughout the meeting the doctor gushed profusely about the artifacts they had been finding. There were a few odd facts brought up. 1) Many of the bones had trauma marks indicating they had been hit by long bladed weapons—-longer, in fact, than flint weapons. 2) The oddly angularly decorated pottery was obviously fired clay, and was 60,000 years older than the earliest previously known example. 3) While the professor and grad students seemed perfectly at ease, Enrique, Nicholas and Benny were quite uneasy and wanted to leave the room.

All these oddities prompted Benny to view the room through his Sight. He opened his third eye and saw a largish chamber with a glowing cracked urn on a raised dais in the center. The urn pulsed with light and within Benny thought he could see white glowing shapes moving and trying to get out. Benny further felt himself drawn to the urn, as if he was being sucked in. While he watched massive shadowy figures appeared and seemed to engage in battle with each other around the urn. It was at this time that Benny chose to close his third eye.

On their way out through the tunnels, the trio questioned Dr. Rutlidge as to his funding source. It turned out the dig is solely funded by Giles Brennus, a European venture capitalist with a strong interest in history. The trio in turn made an appointment for the following afternoon to visit Dr. Rutlidge at the university and see some of the artifacts that he had turned up.

Following the visit the group returned to the Pig’s Eye to assure Pierre they were on the case and to arrange an Aquavit delivery for Olav to forestall an early arrival of Ragnarok.

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Cannibal Rising: Dénouement
21 Days after Samhain

In the middle of the night, Benny was awoken by a visitor at his front gate. It was Eva Fediraya, alive, and now in the body of the uber ghoul.

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Cannibal Rising: Day 8
11 Days until Samhain

Benny‘s ritual allowed him to see through the eyes of the wounded ghoul. In the course of riding the ghoul’s mind, he discovered that Dabumun, the leader of the ghoul clan, was no ordinary uber ghoul. He appeared to be a mortal spellcaster trapped in an uber ghoul body. Benny further discovered that the missing homeless were still alive and imprisoned in the ghoul cave.

Following the ritual and an extended war council the group went to the Pig’s Eye to meet with Olav the Old to see if he had any idea who Dabumun truly was. After plying Olav with alcohol, Olav recalled a wizard who was old when Olav was young and was obsessed with escaping death. The wizard went by the name of Dabumun and had an obsession with ancient Sumeria.

The trio then decided to seek information from the Fellowship of Saint Giles. Enrique contacted his church handler and setup a meeting with Eva Fediraya, the local Fellowship leader.

Eva agreed to help them fight Dabumun, and further suggested that they take the fight to him. She offered her services as well as those of her St. Giles cell. The team agreed to meet with her later that evening for the assault.

The group came up with a plan to have Stinky Joe cast a glamour to make it appear the trio was downtown in order to draw the bulk of the clan out of the caverns. After some cutthroat negotiations, Stinky Joe agreed to help, with Nicholas and Benny owing Stinky Joe two favors, and Enrique owing him one.

Eva and a team of 5 red court infected met the group at the entrance to the caves. Stinky Joe’s part of the plan went off without a hitch. Once inside, Eva blew the door blocking access to the main cavern, drawing six ghouls down on them. A short fight ensued and only one of the ghouls escaped with his life.

They pursued the ghoul to the caves, discovering the prisoners in the process. While evacuating the captives, the ghoul and Dabumun entered the area. Dabumun let loose a powerful magical attack, felling the prisoners, the wounded ghoul and instilling a deep sense of fear in Benny and the members of the St. Giles cell. The team promptly engaged Dabumun, inflicting massive damage on him. Before he could be killed Dabumun cast a final spell transferring his consciousness with Eva’s. He then, in Eva’s body, lunged at her, now in the uber ghoul’s body and drained her life, causing himself to undergo the transformation to full Red Court status. He then fled the scene.

The team spirited the prisoners out of the caves and safely into police custody.

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Cannibal Rising: Day 7
12 Days until Samhain

The trio departed Benny’s mansion through the Nevernever. As they were leaving the grounds, they were again accosted by ghouls—This time wielding shotguns. A short, brutal fight left two ghouls dead and one badly wounded fleeing the scene. Benny collected blood left behind by the wounded ghoul.

They then traveled through the Nevernever to downtown St. Paul, where they met Stinky Joe. Stinky Joe had setup a network of pixies to watch over the area and look for ghoul activity. After only a short wait they were alerted to a nearby pack of ghouls laying in ambush.

Prior to intercepting the ghouls, Nicholas called the police to alert them of the upcoming fracas. The fight was short and bloody. At the end, all four ghouls lay dead. Benny called up a veil to hide Enrique and himself and they slipped away prior to the arrival of the authorities. Nicholas rejoined them on their way back to the alley where Stinky Joe was hiding.

As they waited in the alley for new word of the ghouls, a pixie hurtled in warning them that the entire clan was converging on them. The three left the alley and saw a large number of pedestrians heading their way from both directions. They hailed a cab and quickly fled.

When they pulled up to Benny’s mansion they saw flashing lights. It turned out that a team of ghouls had decided to assault the place during the team’s absence. Bill Jones had called the police to run them off. The police promised protection overnight.

After the trio went inside Benny began a ritual to see through the eyes of the ghoul whose blood he had collected.

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Cannibal Rising: Day 6
13 Days until Samhain

The next morning, Enrique was awakened by a worried call from his mother. A pair of men were following her around the grocery store. Enrique called Benny and Nicholas and immediately ran to the store. When he got there he asked some of the local vatos he knew back in the day to take his mom home.

During a tension-filled but ultimately uneventful face-off with the two ghouls Nicholas arrived. While Nicholas watched the ghouls, Enrique returned home to check on his mother. He called the church requesting sanctuary for his family, and sent them off with the priest who was dispatched to help. While loading his family into the priest’s car, he noticed a new hispanic gang member taking a keen interest in the proceedings. A short conversation revealed the gangster was actually a ghoul.

Nicholas and Enrique reconvened at Benny’s to plan their next moves.

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Cannibal Rising: Day 5
14 Days until Samhain

In the early morning, under the Stone Arch Bridge, Benny opened a portal to the Nevernever leading to the winter realm of Faerie. An unnatural stillness pervaded the walk to Chief Ragnavaldr’s home. Once there, the Chief indicated that so far as he knew of no group currently gearing up for a confrontation, and he thought the ghouls were in the area for their own purposes. Further discussion brought up the possibility of an ascension ritual.

During the return trip to the portal, the team was accosted by a pack of malks. The pack backed off when Nicolas started praying.

Once back in the mortal realm, Benny did some research on ascension rituals, discovering that there are various types. The team decided to contact Mikkel Tomasson to see if he had any information on what in the area would be conducive to conducting such a ritual. On the way there Nicholas received a phone call informing him that two more missing people had been reported.

The visit with Mikkel was very productive. He informed the team that there was a legend that a minor Sumerian deity, named Ipda Xul and the Eater of the Dead, was defeated and caged under what is now known as the smallest park sometime during the pre-Columbian era. Mikkel believed that all the killings and abductions were to get enough human flesh to provide a housing for the soul of Ipda Xul that could then be consumed. Mikkel recommended the team emulate his actions and leave town.

The team went to find Olav to see if he had any information on the rogue deity. After plying Olav with drinks at the Pig’s Eye, Olav let slip that in fact he did know of the godling, and had “stuffed it back in its hole” back in the 1920’s when it was raised by a warlock. He mentioned that he had some help from the “Hillbilly” and the Merlin in reinforcing the wards keeping it imprisoned. Unfortunately, while Ipda Xul cannot escape on it’s own power, the cage is rather fragile from the outside.

The group decided to, in the short term, concentrate on stopping the ghouls abductions in an effort to prevent the ritual. They bribed Stinky Joe with cigars, rotgut and donuts to keep watch for any ghoul activity. That evening, they were able to ambush and wipe out a pair of ghouls with little effort and no injuries.

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Cannibal Rising: Day 4
15 days until Samhain

The team regrouped the next day following their meeting with Habgu. Benny Martin called Edinburgh to let them know the situation and was wished good luck in his forthcoming efforts to deal with it. Nicholas and Enrique both used their respective avenues of investigation to see if they could find out if there has been any uptick in arms dealing indicating that someone was gearing up to a major confrontation. The theory being that perhaps the Lukinnatum Clan have been employed as a part of a larger force. Everything has been quiet, however, so the team decided to turn to other means of investigation.

Benny summoned his fae contact, Stinky Joe. Stinky Joe agreed to find the ghouls’ home base in exchange for two cartons of Kools. In short order he discovered their location in the caves under St. Paul. He was further able to tell the team that the ghouls had at least one uber ghoul and they were watching “the location”.

That evening the team left to meet with Chief Ragnvaldr to see if they could gather any further information.

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Cannibal Rising: Day 3
16 Days until Samhain

The team met with Duke Gaspar in a private room at the Pig’s Eye. The meeting went very smoothly. His grace indicated in the strongest possible terms that his compatriots were not responsible for the disappearances and encouraged the trio to continue their investigation.

While walking through the park after leaving the tavern the investigators were startled by a blood-curdling shriek. They immediately broke into a run.

Enrique took the lead and saw two figures carrying a third. When he shouted to get their attention, they dropped their burden and circled back to face him.

A short, brutal fight ensued. It quickly became apparent that the figures were inhuman as they kept evading Fidelacchius while lashing out with vicious claws. Enrique sustained some minor cuts before being dropped with a broken arm. With Enrique down, the assailants turned their full attention on Benny and Nicholas.

Benny was able to identify them as Ghouls and proceeded to assault them with his power. Unfortunately one of the ghouls got too close and Benny was dropped with cracked ribs. Nicholas continued to fire at the ghouls but they shrugged off the wounds. Just as it appeared all was lost, divine providence provided salvation in the form of a passing cruiser. The ghouls fled the scene.

Officer Fintan, a fellow member of Nicholas’s church, was one of the two policemen in the vehicle. They secured the area and discovered that the person carried by the ghouls was already deceased. Enrique was taken to the hospital for further treatment and Benny returned home. Nicholas found a box on his doorstep when he arrived home. It had a card saying “Happy Hunting. -AG” and inside it contained a Smith & Wesson Model 500 .

After some sleep and recuperation the team gathered at Benny’s mansion. While discussing possible ramifications, Benny received a call from the Hammer. He pointed out that if there’s a large group of ghouls only the leadership would be dining on human flesh, the remainder would be confined to more normal sources. The Hammer recommended checking the supermarkets.

The investigators identified numerous markets in the area who were experiencing meat shortages. They staked one out to arrange a meeting with the ghouls. When the ghouls came to pick up their order, Benny approached them and requested a meeting. In the course of the conversation the name Dabumun came out as their leader. The ghouls agreed to setup a meeting for that evening at the Pig’s Eye.

Several ghouls appeared to case the Pig’s Eye before one approached Benny. After giving his name as Habgu the ghoul indicated that he was authorized to negotiate on behalf of the clan. When Benny asked for the cost of engaging the entire clan Habgu quoted a fee of $1 million per week. Habgu further elaborated that this included the services of all 65 clan members. When Benny asked about the possibility of their going to Chicago, Habgu expressed some fear and replied that under no conditions would the clan engage in activities around that city. The meeting closed when Benny indicated he needed to think further on the arrangement.

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