You turn your gaze to Iszolda. Thanks to your own personal skill, everyone around her will see nothing more than a man in his late thirties in a tan jacket and dark grey pants with a hangdog look and a growing stubble in need of a shave. You’d based her appearance off of an old look of yours that you’d not stretched out in a while. Strip that away, however, and you have a rather ravishing young woman, with straight, platinum blonde hair that shines like ice in the sun and a set of smoky greys that would, on another woman, intrigue. You’ve seen nary a spark in them, however, and despite her poise and manner--she’s definitely from a wealthy background, beyond any reasonable doubt--her default expression appears to be a sliver of a smile that doesn’t match the almost palpable aura of frost she exhibits.Truly, she’s an ice mage if ever you’ve met one.She’s also now a part of your team, and even if you think that smile of hers is one of the creepiest things you’ve ever seen, you’ve got to try and get to know her better.So, Iszolda... you send, deciding to keep the discussion private.What is wrong? is the immediate response.Nothing, just trying to make small talk while we wait.Telepathically?I figured I’d ask about you, seeing how all I know about you is what magic you’re capable of.There is not much to know about me, she sounds so matter-of-fact about it, almost like she genuinely believes it.There’s always something to know about anyone, you disagree.Why are you interested?Just trying to be nice.She makes a faint noise that you could potentially interpret as a suppressed bark of laughter. Or a hiccup.I had a manservant was tried to be nice once, another lifetime ago, she muses, When the... she stops, staring ahead at nothing for a whole minute. Two. Three....you were saying? you prompt.The relationship ended poorly, she replies without providing any context for her declaration.Poorly…?He is no longer alive.Ah. Poorly.I intrigue you, I think, she says, changing the subject completely, We are both young. I am not so modest as to believe I am unattractive in the slightest. You yourself are not so bad to look at, I will admit, the compliment surprises you, as much as it also tickles your ego, and you give her an inclination of your head by way of a thank you.But… she continues, I know I also worry you. I am not blind. I have noticed the looks you have give me. They are little different to those I receive from most others. I am not happy and bubbly like the redheaded telepath back at the facility, nor do I wear intrigue like a fine silk scarf as the Frenchwoman does. Equally, I am not confrontational and snarky like the small one.Not sure Naru would appreciate you calling her that, you can’t help but interject.(Cont.)
>>3110580She would not, Iszolda agrees, We are products of our upbringing; our lives. Mine was one of comfort and relative decadence until circumstances beyond my control ripped it away from me.And these circumstances would be…?She doesn’t respond, lapsing into another bout of silence. You think she’s just going to keep quiet and sigh, but she surprises you again.My family is murdered. The handful of us still alive are hunted by those who believe that our very existence threatens them and should the perpetrators learn of my location... she shakes her head, They will send assassin after assassin until I am dead.You take your time processing all of that, not a little flattered she actually decided to share, but also, as she says: worried. In the end, you decide to respond as you usually do; with a smarmy comment.So, what, you’re like a princess on the run, then?She looks dead at you and one half of her face lifts in a sly half-grin. There’s one for the history books: your Ice Queen just smiled her first actual smile.Well, kind of.You are refreshing, I think is the term.More surprise. You blink, I am?I loved my parents, but neither was given to good humour, and this in turn affected the rest of the household. Our servants would always tread carefully around us. You are not, at least not now you aren’t allowing my behaviour to affect your perception of me.You suppose you aren’t. Certainly, you’d never have imagined yourself engaged in this kind of conversation with her upon that very first meeting alongside Rowe, and it suddenly occurs to you that perhaps that whole weird smiley schtick of hers is simply a front--something to stop any stranger getting too close or prying too deeply. Maybe to conceal her hurt at the loss of her family and former life or perhaps even to keep herself from lashing out at others over it.You then wonder if maybe you’d have made a good therapist in another life.>Press her about her old family life.>Inquire as to why her family was killed.>Ask her how she found her way here, under Grim’s even more ill-humoured command.
And links:Tweet: https://twitter.com/FrostyZippoArchive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Paranormal%20Agent%20QuestFirst thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2907129/
>>3110582>Ask her how she found her way here, under Grim’s even more ill-humoured command.We can talk about the family or why her family was killed when we're back at base.
>>3110582>Ask her how she found her way here, under Grim’s even more ill-humoured command.Yeah, the other two questions are a bit too... invasive? It's already surprising she's told us as much she has, let's not press our luck.
>>3110582>Ask her how she found her way here, under Grim’s even more ill-humoured command.
>>3110582You’re awfully tempted to press your luck a little further and pry deeper into Iszolda’s past. It would not, however, be particularly wise after a moment’s consideration. Instead you go for something more recent, and hopefully packing less of a sting.So, how did you find yourself here?We came through a portal on a mission to find a demon, and after some wandering we somehow found ourselves in this restaurant without a means to actually pay for anything we might order, she says.You give her a distinctly unamused look, That’s not what I meant and you know it.I was under assault, she tells you, Some of these assassins I mentioned earlier? They discovered my heritage; my identity. I was cornered in a house I’d liven in for almost an entire year. They were not expecting me to be able to defend myself with ice magic, I am sure, but I had suffered under a severe flu, and was very weak.The old man saved you, I presume.No. An American did save me, but it was not Grim. He was perhaps a little older than you or myself. Very gruff, though.Interesting.He said that he had been sent to offer me a choice. You can guess what one of those was and the end result, I am sure.That you can.Any stipulations? you ask.Just one, there’s such venom in her voice as she says it that it almost causes you to flinch. Gone is the constant poker face; the blank expression and even that spooky little smile of hers. In its place is cold rage, the sort that chills hearts and--honestly?--it’s this kind of anger that scares you most. This isn’t a berserker tantrum or hot-blooded fury. This is a knowing certainty--a promise to inflict terrible, terrible things and to relish the very prospect of it.You suddenly find yourself even more concerned than you were before.Is this what you could have become if things had been even a little different for you and your own family? You frown. Maybe? As far as you or the cops were aware, your father had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time and an opportunistic mugger had…You shake your head as it endeavours to dredge up unpleasant memories. Now isn’t the time. It’s never going to be the time. It happened. It was awful. Lock it back away, Adam, you think to yourself, lock it back away.Lock what away?This time, you do jump. Arnold glances at you askance, “Yer all right there?”“Yeah,” you reassure him, “Yeah, I’m fine. Just… thought I saw a spider.”He cocks an eyebrow down at you, “Never took you fer the type to be afraid of spiders, boss.”“What? Spiders? Who doesn’t hate spiders? Nasty little hairy, spindly bastards,” you grimace.“If yer say so.”No, really. Lock what away? Iszolda asks again, curious.>Fine. She shared more than you expected to get. It’s only fair.>Don’t. It’s too personal and even after all this time, it’s still too raw.
>>3110867>"...Mind if I share later, at the base? I don't trust myself to go through this mid-mission."
>>3110890Supporting because it's clear that we're not going to remain composed and handle mission at the same time if we do talk about it.Same as before, talk about it after the mission if we survive.
>>3110867also supporting >>3110890
Well, that seems rather decisive.Responding to a probe yourself at a later date and time it is.
>>3110867You don’t trust yourself to hold it together enough to keep focused on staying alive and out of trouble if the floodgates open. So you clamp down and you do it hard. After a few moments taken to ensure you don’t have a minor freakout in the middle of the restaurant, you shake your head.Not here. I’ll tell you later when this is over.I will hold you to that, Adam.You give her a nod of silent gratitude, and turn your attention elsewhere. Thankfully, you are spared any more potentially awkward topics by the arrival of the rest of your party, Zafi striding at their head with purpose, flanked by a twitchy Diedrich and a more neutral ex-Seaman Smith (Naru appears unimaginative in her choice of personal glamour, though you guess it’s not like anyone here that isn’t you or your team could possibly recognise the face).Marc the waiter stops dead in his tracks at the sight of the blonde, mouth hanging open in blatant awe. You can’t help but smirk and shake your head. Kids these days don’t seem to have any resistance, though you suppose the Zafi has that effect on some people. Certainly did on you.Zafi smiles and approaches him, and after a brief moment where you think the poor boy might actually try slapping himself to jolt out of his trance, he loosens up and a quick exchange in French is had. You probe Arnold for details, and the Englishman furrows his brow in puzzlement.Sayin’ a load of stuff that makes no sense. Stuff about his boyhood and ‘is grandma an’ a bunch’ve other crap I can’t quite make out. Guess the bint’s ‘is relative.Well, that would certainly explain his extreme reticence in showing you all to her. You can’t imagine you’d take particularly kindly to a bunch of gruff strangers asking to see your grandmother--if she was still around, that is. Still, she’s here now, the kid can see you weren’t lying, and now you can hopefully move on with this stage of your investigation.Marc says that Beatrice--his grandmother--is at their new home. He will lead us there in short order.What about his job? you ask.They will understand.You aren’t entirely convinced, but you suppose that, in the end, it’s not really your problem. You can also surmise that, with curfew approaching, the few chefs still in the kitchen are probably starting to close down already. The three old guys have already picked themselves up from their table, having left what seems to you to be a generous amount of cash. You also spot the couple from earlier making to leave as well.We still can’t wander around in a big group, you note.Gee, you think? snarks Naru. You give her a look and she shrugs.One of o--A Wehrmacht patrol certainly would. I cannot say with any certainty, however, if the Italians will pick us up or leave us be, says Diedrich.(Cont.)
>>3111271So we just want t’be avoidin’ the patrols. Seems like that was more or less the plan, anyway, Arnold remarks with a snide jab. You clear your throat and Arnold holds up a hand in a placating gesture.Enough. We’ll head out together at a moderate spacing so we don’t look too obvious, you decide, Hopefully we’ll get there before curfew starts and we can go from there, provided we get the answers we need.And what if we don’t? Iszolda asks.Then I guess we just start following the bodies, you respond with a shrug. Then a thought comes to mind. Hey, Iszolda, isn’t Scrying one of your disciplines?It is, she confirms, but I need to have a clear image of what it is I’m looking for and I’ve never seen an Imp before in my life.And not all Imps look exactly alike, Zafi adds, putting paid to that little idea. Nothing can ever just be easy. It’s always got to be complicated.Let’s just get a move on, you suggest, pursing your lips and picking yourself up. Tell the kid to lead the way.>1d100. Higher is better, but no strict TN
Rolled 29 (1d100)>>3111275
Rolled 60 (1d100)>>3111275
Rolled 6 (1d100)>>3111275
Rolled 18 (1d100)>>3111275Welp.
>>3111275Marc decides he wants to stick with Zafi and her team. Unsurprising, though you can’t help but wonder if it’s because she’s a familiar face or because of her face. And her cu--stop it. Yes, she’s an attractive woman. Now is hardly the time.Now is hustle time.Your two groups file out one after the other, with a few minutes’ spacing and take to opposite sides of the road, the idea to appear--hopefully--like two separate groups of friends just making their way back home after finishing work or getting a late evening meal or anything else people can or are allowed to do in an occupied city.You round a corner and head uphill, reaching the end of the street before taking a left and then a sharp right. It’s then that you happen to bump into your first patrol. Italians, it seems. Five of them. All of them give Zafi very appreciative looks before stopping.Oh boy. You think you know where this is heading.Sure as sure, they converge, gently or not-so-gently pushing the others out of the way as they crowd around her. Zafi, for her part, affects bemusement as she converses with the soldiers, and then vapid amusement, or at least you assume because even to you, that laugh of hers sounded fake as all hell. Marc seems less than impressed but aside from clenching and unclenching his hands at his side, makes no move to get them to leave. Sensible boy.They want me, Zafi says to you.Yeah. Figured that was kind of obvious.I’m afraid I may be a few minutes. This will need to be dealt with quietly.You want any help at all?No. Keep going. I will catch up. When Marc takes you to his grandmother, kindly tell her that Celeste is calling in her favour from Rome.As you say. Good luck.I knew you cared. But I won’t need it, not for something this simple. Go on. I will be fine.You heard her, folks. We move on.Diedrich gently ushers Marc onwards, and despite his clear frustration, it’s obvious that he at least understands that, even if he were to intervene, there’d be little he could do against five armed soldiers, even if the quality of said soldiers appears up for debate. So you proceed, minus one baffling blonde.Thankfully, Marc indicates that his grandmother’s home isn’t much further, and you pass unmolested through another series of unoccupied slim city streets before finding yourselves standing in front of a row of houses so thinly compressed it reminds you of sardines in a can. Though you know otherwise, it really doesn’t look like anywhere a person could comfortably live at first glance.This is it, he says, Arnold informs you as Marc gestures with a hand to the front door. Truth be told, you’d more or less figured it out when you’d come to a halt in front of the place, but you give the large Brit the satisfaction of having told you himself.(Cont.)
>>3112181Well, let’s head on in. No reason to stand about looking awkward for anyone that thinks we might be up to no good.The interior is, despite outward appearances, rather cosy. All warm, inviting colours. Plenty of photo frames of faraway places decorate the walls, suggesting the owner is an avid traveller or is at the very least associated with one. Given her association with Zafi and, by extension, Grim, you suspect it’s the former.Marc calls out to his grandmother, presumably to let her know that he’s home and that he’s brought company. Your assumption is proven correct by Arnold’s brief translation scant moments later. Floorboards creak above you and moments later, as you all filter in through the front hallway, you see an old woman appear from a stairwell. Despite her grandson’s warning, she appears distinctly bemused the sight of you all.She appears almost exactly as she did in the image Zafi gave you of her. Short, grey hair pulled back and tied into a small but tidy bun. A pair of tired, fading green eyes regard each of you in turn. There’s a sadness there. Such that only the loss of a deeply loved one can invoke. Her husband, perhaps? She moves lethargically, and you find it difficult to believe that this exhausted old woman could possibly make the journey down to the coastline to visit any of the finer eateries without aid. You get the distinct impression that this poor woman is simply waiting for her time to come to an end.She turns her gaze on her grandson, and the two of them spend a brief few moments chattering at one another, until Zafi’s alter-ego, Celeste, is named. Beatrice inhales through the nose and beckons for you to follow.“Come,” she says in thick, wizened English, showing you through to a tiny sitting area and resting herself in an armchair, “I assume you are here about the devil that stalks Nice?”“The Imp, yes,” you respond, taking another armchair. Arnold and Diedrich gesture for Iszolda and Naru to take the only other sitting space; a two-seater couch with a fur blanket laid atop the seat. You’re quietly amused by the chivalric display, not having anticipated it from either of them, if you’re honest, “We were hoping you could point us to the area it showed up.”“You seek to close the rift,” it’s not a question.“Yeah. Seems like a good way to mitigate any further damage.”Beatrice is silent for a moment, and you wonder if she’s drifted off with her eyes open somehow before she speaks again, “We do not know much about the denizens from the other world. Each time one or more have crossed over it has resulted in bloodshed. I, myself, crossed paths with them more times than I would have liked in my youth. Each time they have, however, there has been a goal in mind, even if that goal is utterly incomprehensible to us. Their minds are so… alien to our own.”(Cont.)
>>3112183A chill grips you momentarily as she continues, and you get the feeling you aren’t going to like where she is going with this.“But each time, it has started with at least some semblance of what we might be so generous as to call subtlety. This, on the other hand, has been anything but. The Imp kills and kills, and while we suspect that they feed on pain and terror, I cannot find a reason--besides the act of sustaining itself--for it to enact such horror.”>What if it’s just trying to create a distraction?>What if it’s a rogue demon? Those can happen, right?>You said it yourself: their minds are wholly alien. Maybe all this carnage IS the plan.
>>3112185>You said it yourself: their minds are wholly alien. Maybe all this carnage IS the plan.Perhaps it was a summoning gone bad from the Thule society and they're trying to pretend that it's not their fault?
>>3112185>You said it yourself: their minds are wholly alien. Maybe all this carnage IS the plan.
>>3112185>What if it’s a rogue demon? Those can happen, right?
>>3112185>>>You said it yourself: their minds are wholly alien. Maybe all this carnage IS the plan.
>>3112185>You said it yourself: their minds are wholly alien. Maybe all this carnage IS the plan.>It pays to be paranoid though, so let's say distraction, or summoning circle.
Not going to lie, the lack of a morning update was entirely down to me getting pretty plastered the night before in response to things IRL. Feeling better now and up to continuing, so the vote is finished and the update will be done shortly.
>>3112185You shrug, “You’ve said it yourself: theirs are entirely alien minds. You ever consider that perhaps all this carnage is the plan?”You can see the old woman ponder on that thought, but you aren’t finished, “Still, I guess it couldn’t hurt to prepare for the worst and assume that it could, in fact, also be some kind of diversion.”She hums, chewing on her lower lip, “I will keep my eyes peeled. I’m not as spry as I once was, but I’m at least capable of fending off such a creature as an Imp, if only for a time.”Marc speaks up in irritable French to his grandmother, who turns to regard him with a cool expression and speaks slowly back to him.Marky-boy ain’t ‘appy. Thinks we’re bringin’ trouble fer ‘im and ‘is gram, Arnold transmits to you. You’re not sure why he’s still using the telepathic link. Too used to it by now? Ah, not like it really matters.The two exchange some more words before the young man gives all of you a baleful glare and stalking upstairs.“Forgive him, please,” Beatrice says, “He is worried for me. Both of us are… the only family either of us have left,” her face falls as she speaks; the lines already marking her age becoming more pronounced.“Oh? I should feel offended, Bea,” comes the ever-smug voice of Zafi as she strides into the room. The rest of you jump--not a one of you heard the front door so much as creak, “After all that we’ve been through together, too.”“Glad you decided to join us,” you say to her, hiding your own shock at the suddenness of her appearance as well as you’re able, “I assume you let those soldiers off lightly?”She scoffs, “Lonely boys weak at the knees for a pretty face in a foreign land--many of them unsure how to even go about wielding the sudden power they have over the locals. They caved even faster than you did,” she says with a wink. You press your lips into a thin line and arch an eyebrow at her as the others turn to face you, Arnold grins.“Was that last remark entirely necessary?” you ask her.“Oh, you love it, really.”“Much as I’d love to argue that point, I’m not sure either of us have the time,” you say, “So, now you’re here, maybe we can...” you trail off as you turn your attention back towards Beatrice, noting her slack jaw and wide eyes as she takes in the sight of Zafi. For an uncomfortable moment, you wonder if she has the same effect on some women as she does men. You are disproven when she picks herself up from her chair--awe lending her a curious vitality--and approaches the much younger woman.“Celeste?” she breathes, “It isn’t-- what…?”(Cont.)
>>3115552You frown, taking in the sight. The expression, the body language, the way her very voice wavers as she speaks, tells you that she is… surprised. More than, in fact. Flabbergasted. Astonished. Shocked. A hand reaches up to touch the blonde woman, and in an instant, you see a change. Gone is the playful smugness, the grin of she who knows all and quite feasibly the biggest tease you’ve known in your life as she takes this startled old woman into her embrace, muttering in soft French as she does. It occurs to you that this is the first instance of genuine warmth you’ve seen her display.Part of you can’t help but feel immensely awkward; you’re spying on a tender moment, but you’re also gaining a glimpse into an aspect of this seductress that you’d never believed you’d ever so much as see a hint of. Today, it seems, is just full of surprises. It also, however, raises a few more questions, all specifically relating to how Beatrice’s surprise at seeing a friend of hers was registered. These, however, you will need to ponder on later.So, feeling like a distinct breed of jackass as you do so, you clear your throat audibly enough to make a point. Zafi releases Beatrice, allowing her to step back, gaze still fixated on the mysterious young woman’s face. Fortunately, she snaps out of her daze before you decide to make another obnoxious noise and she waddles back to her chair before collapsing into it, still looking very, very confused.“I’m glad to see you still remember me, Bea,” Zafi says, a trace of warmth still lingering in her tone of voice as she leans on the arm of the chair you occupy. Sighing, you make to get up so she can take a seat, but she stops you with a hand, “But, as I’m sure you already know, this is not a social call.”“The Imp, yes,” Beatrice breathes after a moment, looking for all the world like she’d forgotten all about it for a short time. “Yes. Yes, of course, I will assist you in whatever way I can.”“Just a direction will do,” Zafi says, “Or rather, an area. This thing did not start killing until after you’d spotted it, oui?”Beatrice nods her head, “Yes. Yes, that is correct. It was a half hour before curfew would be enforced so there were not many people out. Those who saw it assumed it to be some brave soul of the local Resistance on some sort of scouting mission. I, of course, knew better.”(Cont.)
>>3115555“That was how long ago, now?”“Three days ago. At the Tower of St. François. The tower was closed off by the Germans, so it is perfectly possible that the rift it emerged from is within the clock tower itself somewhere. Or perhaps the buildings around it. If I were you, I would start th--”She doesn’t get to finish as a loud, bassy rumble reverberates in the distance. The house itself vibrates and an instant later you hear the repeated crack-bangs of a sound you were hoping never to become overly acquainted with:Weapons fire.>Whatever’s going on out there, it’s not our fight.>We should check it out. It’s possible that someone--either the French Resistance or the Occupation--have been attacked by the Imp.>If this isn’t the Imp’s doing, this could provide a perfect distraction. We’ll check out the clock tower and the surrounding area while the Occupation is distracted.
>>3115559>If this isn’t the Imp’s doing, this could provide a perfect distraction. We’ll check out the clock tower and the surrounding area while the Occupation is distracted.
>>3115559>If this isn’t the Imp’s doing, this could provide a perfect distraction. We’ll check out the clock tower and the surrounding area while the Occupation is distracted.Who knows what the Germans or French will do to the tower if we don't get to it right away.
>>3115604>>3115589>>3115559Wait a second, can we ask her to finish what she was going to say?I mean yeah she's probably said all she needed to say but there's also the chance of her mentioning something we don't know and would be of use.
>>3115559>>If this isn’t the Imp’s doing, this could provide a perfect distraction. We’ll check out the clock tower and the surrounding area while the Occupation is distracted.>>3115628yeah, that's a good point. If we could squeeze that in, that'd be perfect.
Vote done. Update soon.
>>3115559Your mind works quickly, pushing the knowledge that gunfire means combat and combat means potential harm aside, you spy an opportunity.“This is our ticket in,” you declare, “While everyone’s distracted, we’ll sneak right on by and check out this clock tower and the surrounding area. If we’re lucky, the rift is there and we’ll be able to at least get that shut.”“Shouldn’t we hear the rest of what she has to say first?” Diedrich queries, adding, “Maybe there was more she was about to add which maybe we’d find useful?”You concede the point and turn your gaze back to Beatrice, still sitting in her chair, who nods in gratitude to Diedrich with a matronly smile, “What a polite young man. Thank you.”She clears her throat and continues, “I was saying that I would suggest that you start at the clock tower, though it seems as though you are already set upon this course of action. Should you find, however, that the rift is not there, I know that the Cimetiere du Chateau has been the site of some less than savoury rumours these days.””’Cimetiere’?” a vague sense of unease buzzes about your gut as you repeat the word.“Cemetery,” Zafi and Arnold translate for you simultaneously.“...right. Of course. Why not,” you grumble, “Clock tower and creepy abandoned buildings or creepy cemetery. It couldn’t have shown up in a casino or a beach.”“It is close enough to the place you first saw the creature...” Zafi muses, “Well, I suppose there is nothing for it. If it is not there, then that is our next best lead.”“I ain’t touchin’ no bones,” Arnold declares, folding his arms across his chest, “Bad luck t’disturb the rest o’the long dead.”“Bad luck and all kinds of gross,” Naru mutters in assent. Diedrich appears to drain of colour at the mere idea of going. You can’t help but think that whoever marked the poor guy as suitable for this kind of work had not a damn clue what he was doing. Hopefully Naru will continue to keep her eye on him .“It’s not like we are going into any of the crypts themselves,” Iszolda remarks, “We are hunting for a rent in reality, yes? This should be easy to spot, I would think.”“They tend to be rather distinct in appearance, yes,” Zafi confirms with a nod of her head, then turns her attention back to the old woman sitting opposite, “Was there anything else, Bea?”“Not that I can recall at this moment,” she says, shaking her head.“Then we should get a move on,” you say. In light of this new info provided, you decide…>You’ll stick with the original plan: check out the clock tower and surrounding area first.>Maybe it’d be a better idea to check the cemetery out before it gets dark.
>>3116849>You’ll stick with the original plan: check out the clock tower and surrounding area first.
>>3116849>>You’ll stick with the original plan: check out the clock tower and surrounding area first.
>>3116849>>>You’ll stick with the original plan: check out the clock tower and surrounding area first.
Sorry for the radio silence. Writing the update now.
>>3116849You decide that rumours and hearsay probably aren’t enough of a reason to alter your original plan. If it turns out there’s nothing in or around the clock tower, you’ll go on and check it out as well, though you’d prefer if you didn’t have to. Hunting around a cemetery in the dark is not your idea of a good time.“We’ll head out to the Clock Tower first and--if it’s there--close the rift. Then we’ll work on tracking down the Imp.”“And if it’s not there, we go wandering through a load of old dust and bones. Yay…” Naru moans.“Unless there are any better clues, yeah,” you tell her. “Come on, suck it up, Navy. We need to get going before things quieten down and the patrols resume.”She squints dangerously at you but says nothing as she picks herself up from her sitting position and gives you a mocking salute, “Ready to get underway, Captain.”You roll your eyes by way of a response, getting up from your own seat and ushering everyone towards the front door. You can still hear the distant rattle of combat going on. Whoever is going at it out there is giving each other hell.“Be safe, all of you,” Beatrice calls after your group as you depart, “And Celeste?”Zafi pauses, turning to face the old woman. Beatrice looks for all the world like she wants to say something, but can’t find the right words. So instead, Zafi smiles at her, nods, and says, “Be well, Beatrice. And keep that grandson of yours out of trouble.”And with that said, she turns on her heel and saunters past you.“Celeste, huh?” you probe as you exit together.“An old alias as I’m sure you had already surmised.”You say nothing. For all you know of her, she’s as likely to be lying as she could be telling the truth. There’s no reason for it; maybe she’s been doing this international woman of mystery thing so long it’s irreversibly rubbed off on her.“Is there a particular reason you are staring?” she asks, without turning her head.You blink, feeling a tinge of embarrassment as you glance away.“I wasn’t staring,” you say, almost like a defensive child, “I was thinking.”She makes no further remark as you rejoin the others. Arnold greets you with a question.“So, what’s the play from ‘ere, boss? This clock tower of ours isn’t too far but it’s still a ways off.”>If there’s one thing you’ve learned from your life in NYC, it’s that you never put all your eggs in one basket. You move as before in two separate teams of three.>Curfew’s in effect now. It won’t matter if you’re in two groups or one if you’re spotted. You all go together while you Glam everyone up to look like a squad of occupying soldiers.
>>3119195>>If there’s one thing you’ve learned from your life in NYC, it’s that you never put all your eggs in one basket. You move as before in two separate teams of three.
>>3119195>Curfew’s in effect now. It won’t matter if you’re in two groups or one if you’re spotted. You all go together while you Glam everyone up to look like a squad of occupying soldiers.
>>3119195>>Curfew’s in effect now. It won’t matter if you’re in two groups or one if you’re spotted. You all go together while you Glam everyone up to look like a squad of occupying soldiers.
Writing the update now. I'll be working a fair bit over the Christmas and New Year period so I'm not sure how much I'll be able to crank out then. As ever, we'll play it by ear.
>>3119195“Well, if we’re caught, it’s not going to matter if we’re in one group or two now that curfew’s in effect. We’ll all go together, and I’ll Glam us all up to look like soldiers.”“That really the best idea? I mean, what if we’re challenged on it?” asks Naru.“Well, in that instance, we have a genuine former soldier here,” you clap a hand on Diedrich’s shoulder, “But hopefully that won’t happen if the firefight carries on.”The man in question looks a little less than happy, but ultimately says nothing.“Well, ain’t no reason t’put it off. Let’s get on with it,” Arnold says, rolling his shoulders.You agree, and so with a snap of your fingers and a channelling of power, you put your particular talent to work. Clothing morphs into sharp, crisp uniforms and the women--save Naru, who is still adopting the appearance of ‘Smith’--shift from their own appearances to tall young men with as generic a face as you think you can get away with. You then apply the same treatment to yourself and the other two men.“So, be honest,” you say, giving the lapel of your entirely fake uniform a little tug, feeling a rare twinge of playfulness, “How do I look?”“Like a bleedin’ Jerry,” Arnold grunts.“Spoilsport.”“Kind of the idea, though,” Naru says to Arnold, who shrugs in response.The distant din of combat still echoes through the empty city as you make your way eastward. As you’d hoped, patrols are practically non-existent--only two do you come across and each time you hear them coming in enough time to conceal yourselves from view. Sure, you look like soldiers now, but you’d still rather not explain to any others why you’re heading away from the fighting.As you approach the clock tower a light fog rolls in. The light is starting to dim, and you know at this time of year it’s going to go quick, so if you don’t want to be stumbling about in the dark, you need to get this done sooner rather than later. Fortunately, as you work your way through another maze-like series of backstreets and sidealleys, you stand before the clock tower, which looms over you like a grim sentinel, foreboding and wholly disapproving of your mere presence.Yeah, if this isn’t the right place, you’ll eat one of your nicer shirts.Of course, you’d have to get back to your home in New York first…“Door’s shut, boss,” Arnold says, keenly observing a closed set of large, undoubtedly thick, wooden double doors set at the base of the tower. Diedrich opens his mouth to snark in German, but a quick look from you preemptively silences it.“Good thing we have a multi-talented specialist to hand,” you muse aloud, turning to Zafi.“A ‘please’ would have been nice,” is her smarmy response as she steps forward, and though you know it’s only an illusion, you still can’t help but feel weirded out at hearing her voice from the mouth of a man.(Cont.)
>>3124132“You’ll get a ‘thank you’ when it’s done.”“Aren’t I a lucky girl?”“Must you flirt like this?” asks Iszolda in a dry voice.“No one’s flirting,” you say, sounding more than a little defensive even to yourself.“Yer sure about that, boss?” Arnold quizzes, a toothy grin spreading across his face.“Sounded like flirting to me,” Christ, even Diedrich is getting in on the action.Distinctly uncomfortable with where this line of talk originated and where it may end up going, you elect to take the moral high ground by clamming the hell up.“Deeefinitely flirting,” Naru murmurs, glancing about to make sure no one happens upon your happy little troupe as you engage in the time-honoured tradition of breaking and entering.You work your jaw about and turn away from everyone, reaching under your coat and feeling the stock of the carbine you’d brought along. Damned if you can remember what it’s called, but what you do remember is that it’s supposed to be about as silent as it’s possible for a firearm to get. You keep hoping you won’t have to use it. Not because you’re one of those ‘conscientious objectors’ the papers made fun of when Uncle Sam decided to roll up his sleeves and jump into the muck with the rest of the world, but because you’re not a killer.You’re not going to fool anyone--you aren’t a great or even a good person by a long stretch of the imagination. Your very living is made by depriving your fellow man of either their money or their belongings, but you’ve never had to resort to force or the threat of it to do so and that in itself was an odd point of pride for you. No common street thug were you, thank you very much. Now here you stand, sword in hand--so to speak--and the idea that you may have to point this weapon of yours at another living person and be forced to squeeze the trigger...You aren’t sure if you’ll ever feel comfortable with yourself...A tap on your shoulders jolts you out of your dour thoughts. You all but spin around and find Diedrich jerking his head in the direction of the open door to the interior of the clock tower.“It’s open,” he states, not a little redundantly. Zafi stands by the open portal with her usual self-satisfied half-smirk.“Where’s my ‘thank you’?” she asks, but you aren’t in the mood.“Thanks,” you mutter as you stalk on past her and into the dank gloom of the tower itself.>1d100. Higher is better once more.
Rolled 54 (1d100)>>3124134
Rolled 92 (1d100)>>3124134
Rolled 8 (1d100)>>3124134
Rolled 98 (1d100)Rolling to summon qm
Sorry gents, I was hoping I'd be able to sneak in an update yesterday but I've just been slaughtered the last few days. I'll try to get an update done this evening and then I'm afraid that may be it until the new year as work's just kept piling up and up. Sorry again.
>>3129202Dw bud, just give a date to check back in.
>>3124134The interior of the clock tower is… quite significantly more spacious than you’d imagined it would be. The layout, however, is not exactly imaginative. The great mechanism keeping the great fingers moving creaks and grinds along and you can feel your bones vibrate beneath your skin as you approach a flight of stairs.“Be careful,” Zafi cautions, “If the rift is indeed here, it could have spawned more horrors,” she holds a tiny looking pistol that seems like it would be more at home in the hands of a child rather than those of an adult. You doubt that the Frenchwoman would have picked out a weapon that would be of no use, so you resolve to try and keep out of her line of fire.You unsling your carbine from your shoulder and work the bolt to chamber a bullet. It’s an awkward task and Naru has to correct you on your technique once she finishes giving her own firearm a check. Diedrich stands grim-faced with his own weapon pointed upwards, his jaw clenched and sweat starting to bead on his face. Arnold holds his own gun in much more languid fashion, the barrel resting against his thick shoulder with a hand tucked under the stock. He keeps his gaze upward, however, and his own expression is set and unwavering.Suitably armed, you close the door behind you, Zafi giving a subtle incantation to keep it shut in case anyone comes a’knocking. It’s as you take the very first step that you realise two things.One is that you are going first.The second is that you are potentially sharing an enclosed space with one or more transdimensional beings with a nasty penchant for slaughter. Not murder. Slaughter. Your hands holding the carbine start to shake as the reality of your situation once more asserts itself.“Holy fuck!” Naru hisses, and just like that, your onset of panic is halted as your well-honed survival instincts take over and you drop in a half-crouch, ready to sprint or dive aside from an attack.Such isn’t necessary, however, because it’s not a demon that Naru’s spotted.It’s the Rift.Being your first time seeing one in person, you aren’t quite sure what Naru is pointing at until you catch the way the upper level of the clock tower splits like a reflection on a shattered mirror. One segment appears magnified, while another smaller shard of reality has exactly the opposite treatment. Next to it, several tiny splinters look almost like they’re reflecting your own gawking expression back at you.“Right, that’s…” you aren’t able to finish. Giant, frothing Lycans and slavering Merfolk are one thing. This, however, is a literal hole in reality through which creatures of unfathomable bloodthirst can step.“This is where I come in,” Zafi finishes for you, stepping past and striding up the stairs with purpose, “I’ll need some time to close it. You need to keep your eyes and ears peeled.”(Cont.)
>>3130351“Why?” Diedrich asks warily, “the beast is terrorising the locals elsewhere, yes?” you note the way his gaze flits about the cracks and crevices and the little spaces in the machinery keeping the clock tower running as if he half expects the beast to appear from the shadows at a moment’s notice.“The closing of a rift is…” Zafi cocks her head as she endeavours to explain, “I think ‘like catnip’ is how someone once used to describe the act. The creatures will feel it, or hear it; we still aren’t sure how they know, but they do. They always do, and they always come.”Silence reigns for a few moments as the knowledge sinks in, ending only when Arnold sniffs and shrugs.“Well,” he says, hefting his sawn-off, “At least this’ll be over’n done with soon.”One way or another, a snide little voice whispers in the back of your mind.>And here's where we'll leave things off for the time being. I wanted to get through a lot, lot more but as ever, life finds a way to make mockery of the best laid plans. If the thread is somehow still up come the 1st or 2nd we'll carry on here. If not, it'll be a new thread. Thanks again for stopping by, all, and I'm sorry that it was as plagued by infrequent updates as it was.