Trail of the Ancient Marks

Start of the Finish

Campaign Start – December 22, 2011

The last five years have marked the most troublesome times in decades across the globe. Between natural disasters, disease, food shortages, war and sharp rise in crime, it is said to be the worst five years globally since World War II…

Atlanta. Time has not been kind to the “jewel of the south”. In fact, it could be said that it got hit as hard as any city with events that have occurred in the last five years. Domestically, outbreaks of Ecoli and Mad Cow Disease have ravaged food supplies to dangerously low levels for the past four years. This was coupled with thousands of deaths that came swiftly on the wings of a virus called ROBBI (Rapid Onset Bacterial Bronchial Infection) that still has been swathing a path through dense populations for almost 24 months. Late 2008 marked the beginning of a recession that ravaged global markets and sent unemployment to the highest it has been since the 1930’s. Further, in order to stimulate the decline of industry, many restrictions on emissions and waste disposal were loosened with the hope of stimulating big business. Perhaps the most alarming events have occurred in the past year: many long dormant volcanoes exploded into fiery activity, multiple Category 4 and 5 hurricanes have ripped through coastlines across the world and many other uncharacteristic weather disasters ravaging all corners of the globe. Surprisingly, some say that the most far-reaching event of 2010 was the bankruptcy and subsequent fall of the megacorporation known as Pentex, Inc…

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Game 1 - Jesse's perspective

The evening started quick enough with plans for a moot. El Cabron, Nicolai, showed up early – which always puts me ill at ease. The damn fool is a fool and a harbinger of pain. Sure enough, within 10 minutes Selena and I are in trouble with El Mero Chignon as we get stuck in a bad situation standing too close to a damnable fera and Speaks with Strangers Rhya seems to have bad things just not stick to him.

So they saddle us with Beauragard. I’ve seen his type before, but he’s never the kinda of guy you want to have to rely on. We’ll see if he turns out better than he smells, but I doubt it. Asi es. The veteranos all talk for a bit and it’s decided that Serena, Beauragard and I will head out on an errand for Speaks with Strangers Rhya. I sense doom, but then, if I’m there it can’t be good – can it?

Apparently Speaks Rhya has gotten himself a little Bruja that he’s tamed and they’ve been playing house – but now the girl is missing. Bad news if it leads back to us. So we now have to go clean up after him by talking to the Bruja big dogs. Speaks Rhya gives us a place and we go.

Mousey little thing opens the door and she seems less than pleased or comfortable to have to deal with us. It’s a growing theme with these folks. They defer to a guy named Dr. Kimball, and we go out to the garden to talk with Kimball, Mousy librarian chica and another one who’s just smokin enough that she has to have killed somebody.

Turns out Elizabeth Johnston has been missing for 2 weeks. Kimball gives us a home address and then we get tagged with the two bruja chicas. Lydia and Serena. It’s quite obvious we freak them the hell out, more so after they know what we are. Rude, really. Fucking holier than thou bitches lookin at us like we’re dangerous trash. No trust there at all. Hopefully this gets better eventually, cause so far, Serena’s the only one of the 4 of em that will look at me normal.

Johnston’s house is a bit of a dead end. She hasn’t been here, there’s no sign of a struggle. We find some clues here and there, but little concrete. I did pick up some tools she had. Serena and I both go through and get her scent. Apparently, evidence that we can shift is frightening or disturbing to los Bruja’s. Chingao?! They do MAGIC and they are messed up with a little fur?

Next stop is a starbucks she shopped at. Pictures confirm that she was here with a tattooed guy. Tattoo is of a snake swallowing it’s tail. Witnesses were creeped out by him. We track this back to a small cult working in south Atlanta. Coming onto their location, we manage to neutralize the one at the door with Beauragard, and then move to the ritual rooms. Downstairs we find a “Sanctum”? Some Bruja thing. The ring leader has a metis strapped to a table, served up for a sacrifice as we barge in.

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Game 2 - Jesse's Perspective

After barging in on the ritual sacrifice of some sort of cult, we manage to shorten the ceremony and dice the leader up pretty quick. Serena is pretty sure that the metis girl is the so-called “Perfect Metis.” I’m not sure I’ve paid enough attention to the rumors and legends at this point, but she does look pretty disaster free at the moment. I lean towards killing her quick and letting the Veil stand, but something says that’s the rash and unwanted discision here. I’m still not sure why.

We bundle up and head back to the Cairn after I call Stalks the Wires Rhya for some quick advice. I can already see this will end in some serious trouble, but it’s the way to do it, so off we go. Los Bruja’s seem both excited and frightened by the prospect, and I try to impress upon them the gravity of our situation.

Heading back to the car, it becomes clear that Beau is absolutely out of his depth emotionally. He has no idea how to deal with the fact that he is a giant fucking lizard. He’s quivering in the back of the car, naked, and basically useless. It’s a shame given how useful he was in the fight. I let him lay there for the time being, but I’ve a feeling that this will need some sort of intervention in a few.

Arriving at Franklin Rhya’s, we pull out the metis and the survivor and bring them up to the house. There’s obviously a bunch of folks here. El Mero Chignon issues a call for us all to come to the Cairn. I’m SOO excited about this fact. Before this, I head out to the car and manage to talk Beau out of the car and into some quick clothes of FranklinRhyas. I’ve a feeling Beau feels like he’s being treated poorly by Franklin Rhya, which I don’t fuckin get. The man let him in his house and offered him clothes and an audience with the fucking king. He’s not even a damn werewolf.

Anyway, King Decimus Rhya is not happy. We have the immediate trigger happy reaction of all werewolves as the first action – kill the metis, it’s obviously a danger. Sorta surprisingly, Dianna-rhya is all about slaughtering her as veil breach. I suppose that’s the Warder default, but I kinda expected the kindler gentler CoG to come out. Guess not. That leaves me, Franklin Rhya, and Speaks Rhya and Greer Rhya all saying we should keep her alive. Speaks Rhya pops out with a contact who just happens to specialize in “Perfect metis”. What are the odds. (sigh)

We head out to drop off the metis with Helen of the Sept of the Wayward Star. She’s meeting us up near Chatt and we have a few hours to kill. The Bruja at this point get it in their head to go and touch base with their boss. Apparently they needed to get a new notebook for all the crazy werewolf stuff they’re trying to remember. On the way out, Franklin reminds me that our cult survivor is going to be dead meat. I think he thought I might care. oh well. We got some decent information out of him about the little Nephandi Cabal he’d be in, but really, he was small potatoes and knew next to nothing. blah.

So. Dr. Kimball invites us to his place and we start in some crazy magic mumbo jumbo about being marked by destiny. Duh. Marked for doom. I could have told the crazy Bruja that. Turns out all 5 of us are marked. 6 really, if I count sleeping ugly, the Metis. Doc is a member of some cabal of Dreamspeakers called Sentinels of Fate. Johnston is also a Dreamspeaker, though apparently not a Sentinel. There was also some blah blah talking about some Technocracy and Nephandi type names. They didn’t go into specifics but it’s not hard to suss out techno-baddies and Demonic-baddies.

Anyway, after a quick round of alone time with Ace in the bedroom, we’re off to deliver the Metis. I can’t help but feel like we’re in a bad situation no matter what we do with the metis, but so be it. On the way out there, the kid wakes up and we end up off the road in a quick intervention to explain where she is, who she’s with, etc. Tense, but Serena handles it pretty well. We drop the girl with helen and head back in.

Driving in, Serena’s family starts throwing out distress signs, which are then cut off. I high tail it into town as fast as I can, but I already know we are too late. Serena is about to be visited by the same problem that has hit the Glasswalker Kin and the Fianna Kin. It will not be pretty. She calls BorisRhya and asks him to go look into the situation. She calls the police to go check on it as well. I think this is dumb, but I don’t say much. she is not right yet.

Getting in, the chota is sitting in his car and I’m afraid he is dead where he sits. The door to Serena’s is off the hinge and the world is quiet in the predawn. The carnage inside is heartbreaking to see. They have strung up Serena’s family and made it look like Boris did it. The fact that Boris died in this is enough to give serious pause. All the blood is his and the families. They staged it well.

After we’ve been in for a few moments, it is as if the electronics wake up. There is a flood of texts and emails to Serena. The Alarm starts. It is as if our entrance has restarted time or popped a bubble of electronic warding. In retrospect, it felt like a delayed action. Like an effect hung on the area hnd ended, allowing life to proceed again.

Clean up starts immediately, as the police are on their way quickly. We retreat to my place after the explanations are in place and the police wrapped up. It’s a sad end to an active day and I can’t help but feel that the worst is surely still to come.

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Game 3 - Jessi's Absence Activity

Daylight seems unrelenting today. This morning, I watch Selena break down and fall apart as her family and life is torn asunder. No clue how she’ll deal with that over the next few days and weeks. Trauma.

Franklin’s got me running ragged. The pack is out pursuing out regular agenda. “Regular”. yeah. No clue what they’re into today. It’s like a small hole gnawing inside. How strange that even a day or two can bring me together with such disparate people. I don’t even know that I like em all, but fate seems to say they are pack. So they are. But today, I’m on my own.

The work goes quick, a few bribes here, a word of chaos there. We’re keeping the herd from looking too deeply into this whole affair, but it’s messy. On the bright side, I’ve been given a fair amount of leeway to work on this, and feedback so far is good.

Sleep comes fast when I manage to find my bed at the end of it. I can still smell the pack in my home. It’s disturbingly reassuring.

The next day Franklin sets me up to meet the pack. Apparently they have headed to India of all places. Never been out of the country, so I’m not sure how this works, but a private jet makes alot of things easier. It’s a nice jet. I look forward to reunion.

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Game 5 - Jesse's Perspective

Meek Hunter brings us across the gauntlet into the Penumbra while we’re all holding hands and working in tandem. The presence of non-Garou makes life difficult in some really strange ways. They can’t just worlds. They need to be led by the nose. For all their knowledge and power, in some ways they are as blind as the herd.

Meek Hunter takes off at a good pace across the angry landscape. It’s obvious that we’re being watched by the local spirit life, and I don’t think they want us here that much. We’re being studied. Tracked.

Our guide stutters out his desire to try the Flux Realm before trying the Abyss. It’s like saying you’d like to pull my fingernails out of my right instead of my left. It all hurts like hell, and none of it’ll make any sense to me, most likely. It’s just pain cause you felt like inflicting pain. With any luck this’ll end in actually meeting Nembisa, but who knows.

Poor Serena has pretty well stopped asking questions. She’s just following along after Meek Hunter numbly. I think the family deaths totally fucked her up.

As we approach the hole into the deeper realms, we’re jumped by the spirits that had been tracking us. We fight our way into the Flux Realm and manage to escape with relatively little in the way of damage.

We do a quick triage on wounds for the bruja and then set off again following Meek Hunter’s lead. The Flux Realm is a nightmare. There’s no structure. No routine. My headspace isn’t really that good for this. Maybe I’m still too institutionalized for this. I hadn’t thought of myself that way, but evidence isn’t good.

Nimbisa ends up being a sphynx looking chick, crazier than most I’ve met. She’s obviously a creature of Wyld. Conversation goes slowly with the circular logic and patterns of a creature of Wyld. Maddening, really. We manage to get from her a few tidbits, and in the process she takes Beau off on a dream voyage for a little while and when they come back, we’re informed that the whole of us need to partake of a sweatlodge. Lydia’s got the usual prudish responses to this, but too fuckin bad. Ritual has to happen sometimes.

We kick the thing off and find ourselves waking up in a garden of eden looking place, with dinosaurs and other threats obviously around the area still. There we stumble upon a group of Shifters who call to us as brothers and sisters. They speak of the One Tribe and teach us hidden gifts for use in the End of Days. There is joy and trust amoungst them, and I can not trust it for even a moment. It saddens me to see the degree to which I do not believe in the lie of cooperation anymore. As the veneer of saftey is stripped away by the roar of danger approaching, it is clear that these here do not see or hear the danger. They can live in saftey and cooperation because the fears and dangers we face are not real to them. Cooperation and community are possible when the world is Perfect.

I don’t live in Perfect.

It pisses me off. We asked for a way to avoid the fight to come and we were given fighting knives. Maybe the others have brought home more useful things, but it seems to me that these things are not what I asked for. I wanted the ways to avoid the fight! To stop an Apocalypse, not to fight it. But it seems that Things conspiring against me in this. I am fated to live the life of a Garou – a warrior of Gaia. To fight the End of Days. Ragnarok is coming and I am a warrior in it’s days.

Fucking hell.

Nimbisa offers to “Change” Ace and Lydia. I watch in horror as they take the bait and ask for change from one of the Incarna of Change. I pray that it’ll only be the implied change, that they become Naga and Cat Folk, respectively.

We’re going to end up slaved to this thing. There’s reasons I shy away from dealings with spirits of these powers. Damn Incarna can mess with us like puppets in their stage. My day keeps getting worse.

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