Episode 3.4 - Crime Scenes
10 December 2008
Later, at the manor, tea and discussion. Meadows soon excuses himself, saying he should return home. He does his end quietly, in the background. He gives Rip a calling card of a doctor, who apparently specialises in strange cases. 'The decision is yours,' he says, 'I won't interfere. But the safest place for your heart is where it belongs.' Rip decides to put off the decision for now.
The following night Rip dreams of a faerie army marching into battle. He awakes just before he can see who they are fighting. He spends the morning brushing up on Celtic folklore, and reads of the war between the Seelie and Unseelie courts. Early in the afternoon the doorbell rings. It is a middle aged man in a brown trench coat. He introduces himself as George Swallow, detective sergeant from the Nowerham CID. He has come to seek their help in a murder case. 'Did you think the Gatekeepers could have done their work all these years without the police knowing?' he says when pressed about why he assumes they could help.
They agree to take a look at the crime scene. It is not very far: a garage on Border Road, east of the town centre. They find the body slumped in dark corner. It is instantly obvious why the police came to them. The clothes on the figure are like something from a fantasy movie. Its features are very delicate and pale, and its ears are pointed... There are several slash and stab wounds on its body, and the once luxurious clothes are torn in many places. They turn the body around and recognise the face. It is Dergol, the elf they rescued from a mad magicians dimension and sent home, back to the Faerie Realm.
Swallow asks them to get rid of the body. He'd rather pretend incidents like this didn't happen. The owner had found the elf earlier that morning. Apparently he had been alive still, barely. He'd uttered just one alien word, which sounded not unlike 'Kel'ar'... A trail of blood leads to the north. They follow it along the road to the borders of the Archwood, and further in, all the way to Hunter's Arch. They check the footage from the surveillance gear they've set up at the portals, and see that the portal had opened in the dead of night to allow the wounded elf to stagger through, alone.
Nothing more to find in the wood, they return home. The following day they decide that they should try to contact the spirit of the elf, mostly to find out what the Kel'ar reference was about. They know next to nothing of Terry's ancestry, apart from the name. Rip finds a suitable ritual in one of his books, and performs it. A misty figure appears...
'They came from another dimension, through an ancient portal, one we didn't even know about. There were countless of them. The Courts joined forces to fight them, but we were overrun... Those who could not hide, were killed or put into slavery. I made it to the portal, but I was loosing blood...' The elf knows no more about the origin of the demons than they do. It seems, though, that there is no immediate threat Nowerham. They release the spirit.
Later, well after sunset, the doorbell rings again. This time it's a young woman with platinum blonde hair. She appears to have a little white flag in her hand. Terry opens the door. The girl is Lokette, Coyote's second in command and the leader of Nowerham's vampire population since his death. At least she was until D'Arbon's return, which is why she seeks their aid.
She explains that D'Arbon's aim is to open up an ancient portal. Coyote was attempting to carry on her work when they fought him a year earlier. Where the portal leads, Lokette does not know. But she knows that if the portal into another place is opened, another portal leading out of a different dimension is also opened: a portal from the Faerie Realm. And these are not small portals like the three ancient landmarks around Nowerham. This would be great enough for an army to march through. Lokette is happy with Nowerham the way it is. She's not wishing to see it overrun by the Fay. (Of course she does not know that the Faerie Realm itself is now overrun by the Kel'ars.)
'The enemy of my enemy is my friend, they say,' she says. They agree upon a truce to fight the common foe. She does not know where D'Arbon has made her lair, but she knows the ancient vampire was weakened because of her exposure to the sun. The vampires that have switched over to her camp are planning to steal blood supplies from the local hospital. Tonight.
Chris fakes a fever with herbs that Rip prepares to get admitted in the hospital. Meanwhile Terry and Rip stake out (pun intended) the hospitals front and rear exits. Chris gets out of bed as soon as the doctor has left. There are few people about at this hour. He sees a cleaner behaving suspiciously, walking towards the rear exit. The cleaner sees him, and hurriedly walks away. Meanwhile Terry sees three figures in black approach the rear exit. They wait there a while impatiently, then apparently decide to head for the front entrance.
Terry follows them, and on the way he calls Chris, who's waiting for the vamps in the lobby as they enter. They're stuck between Chris and Terry now. Rip follows the events from the car, and calls to Chris to tell him to take one of them alive. The fight is over almost as soon as it begins. Chris stakes one, Terry another. Terry clobbers the last with a fire extinguisher. It is tied up and tossed into the back of the car. Only silence remains in the hospital, and a shocked receptionist.
After railroading events into a big plot twist last time, I wanted to give the players more freedom in this session. I didn't really have a very coherent, ready structure for the game, just a series of events and ideas I could use as needed. The fight scene could have been more challenging, but it was getting late.
This finally brings us back to the plot at the very beginning of the campaign, which was cut short by Coyote's untimely demise. A lot of detail has changed along the way, of course. I don't even remember all my original plans very well anymore.