A Season of Change

Session Four - Dog's Breakfast

It is early spring in the Exchange District, and unseasonably warm.

Roger, Arni and Lennard encounter a frantic young man who is being pursued by a pack of baying hounds. They overcome him, and it’s quickly apparent that they want the large black candle that the youth is desperately clutching. The group fends off the hounds with a scaffold, a handful of sand and an impolite finger; they pursue the youth as quickly as possible, finding him bleeding and exhausted in a bus stop. Lennard suggests that they take him to his apartment to treat the wounds and find out what caused this.

The youth, one Keith Fraser, turns out to be working with his aunt Abigail to calm the restless spirits at the Vaughn Street Jail. She requires the candle, with a number of caveats: it cannot leave his hand without losing its power, and it must arrive before sundown that day. With less than an hour before evening, Roger and Arni decide to escort Keith to his destination and worry about a return on investment later. Lennard reluctantly agrees.

Fast travel to the jail proves to be difficult, as both Roger and Lennard have their tires slashed by a mysterious, oddly-dressed youth. Pressed for time, an exasperated Lennard suggests that the group go by foot. They quickly make their way there, cutting through Portage Place mall in an effort to avoid the pursuing dogs. A security guard is seen accosting a young man with red, puffy eyes; he is dressed much like the one that had disabled their vehicles. The group realizes that these teenagers may very well be shapeshifters; they were the dogs attacking Keith earlier that day. The group avoids any further trouble and exit onto Vaughn Street, mere blocks from their destination.

Despite their efforts, it’s too late; a pack of dogs approach them at great speed and go directly for Keith. Arni is able to shield the teenager from the brunt of their attacks, taking a number of serious wounds from the snapping jaws. Lennard and Roger attempt to fend the dogs off with little success. Still doubting the validity of Keith’s mission, Lennard attempts to wrest the candle away to get rid of the beasts, but Keith hangs doggedly on to it. Arni hefts the youth and makes a desperate play for the door, running across the near-frictionless street with the dogs in pursuit. His heavy boots provide better traction than paws, and he makes it to the door before the shapeshifters can pick up speed.

Abigail is waiting for them at the doors, and the group makes it inside before the dogs can catch up. The candle is passed on to Abigail, and she successfully completes her ritual.

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Session Two - The Birth of Plan B

The gang flee Megan’s apt and regroups back at Roger’s sanctum. Lennard is a hardcore badass and pours rubbing alcohol into his facial wound. After everyone else quits cringing, they decide to set the hornets free and leave the snake at Roger’s while they head back to the King’s Heel and look up that ectomancer who involuntarily emitted the ghost at the bar.

Fred Bailey makes an appearance at nine, gets spooked by Joe’s ham-handed attempts to be the Voice of Authority and then books it across Market Square. (Cat and Mouse contest) Joe gets hung up by the crowds in the stage area and Lennard is recognized by the band playing and gets separated from the rest of the group (A Compel of his Put on Centre Stage aspect). Arni manages to close the gap but Roger’s attempt to finger Fred as a thief doesn’t even remotely work, and Fred makes it across Main Street and away.

Luckily his friends back at the bar spill the beans about Fred’s new girlfriend Megan, whom they’d assumed was fake. They also have his cell phone number, and a really magnificent Deceit roll on Roger’s part gets Fred worried enough about Megan’s safety to tell Roger about the ghost he put on hold for Megan, and the amulet he gave her to call it up.

Confronting Megan didn’t work out so well for the gang last time, so they decide to scope out the theatre. The place is buzzing with students in rehearsal for the next evening. The poster for Megan’s show indicates she has drums and actors accompanying her show. Lennard’s attempt to infiltrate the musicians goes really badly, but he manages to overhear Megan talking on her cell to some other party about the ritual. She’s found a replacement snake, but needs hornets, and that she thought they had to come from “her side.” The person on the other end reassures her, apparently, and Megan hangs up. Lennard gets out before she sees him.

Joe scores the last two tickets to the show and the gang retires to plan their strategy.

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Session One - A Warm Day in October

It’s late in October in Winnipeg and the weather is unseasonably warm.

Roger Nanton is meeting a prospective client at the King’s Head, a fussy middleaged man who has lost a champion Bengal cat. He’s brought Roger the cat’s collar, found in the road after Ferdinand Fortworth III disappeared. Roger strips off a glove and brings his psychometry to bear, but doesn’t catch much more than a whiff of catnip and lilac perfume.

Joe O’Keith is called into the office of the Head of the Subcommittee on Minor Talent Relations and sent off to the Exchange to look into complaints about supernatural disruptions. “Shake some hands and calm them down,” is the message, but Melissa Goodearth, one of the broompushers whose job it is to tidy up the supernatural messes and keep the mortal populace in the dark, catches up with him as he leaves and tells him there may be more to this than the usual bitching and moaning from the peons – there are traces of some kind of ritual casting in several locations around the Exchange. Joe heads down to the King’s Heel (the ANG bar hidden behind the King’s Head) to talk to the proprietor, Riley, who tells him that the rumors are more than just talk. A pipsqueak ectomancer raised a ghost in the bar the other night, despite the bar’s position between several leylines which turns it into a magical null zone.

Arni Goodmunson wakes up that morning to see an Asian girl with a punk haircut sitting in the tree outside his window, persuading an entire hornet swarm to abandon their nest and fly into the large jar she has tucked under her arm. One of the hornets escapes to land directly on Arni’s hammer pendant, and then off to his front door. This seems like a fairly clear sign from Thor, and Arni follows his guide down to the Exchange.

Lennard Taylor is in the middle of a set at the Cube as the rest of the gang converges. They are all in place when the leyquake happens. Lennard, Joe, and Roger (thanks to some really crap Discipline rolls) lose control of their talents for a moment as the background magical energy surges wildly. The leyline running under their feet jumps the confines of its carefully ritualized route and then falls back down. Things are Not Right.

Investigation of Melissa’s tip reveals that someone has been conducting rituals on rooftops and in alleyways directly over or under the sites of the major rituals that hold the leyline in place and tap its energies. Roger finds a candle stub and gets a brief flash of faces in a circle, mostly bored, one ecstatic – a girl, mid twenties, Asian, punk hairdo.

Lennard recognizes her from some clubs, thinks he might have seen her with some friends of his. Roger heads home to do some research, and the other three follow up on Lennard’s lead. It pans out – she’s Megan Aso, theatre student at the U of W, and she’s scheduled for a performance of traditional Ghanian folkstories at the main stage the next night. Meanwhile, Roger hits the jackpot with research (Superb!) and finds reference to legends of the Ghanian trickster god Anansi, who can be appealed to through a ritual involving a hornet’s nest, a tiger, a snake and an invisible spirit.

Everyone reconvenes and decide to make a pre-emptive strike by breaking into Megan’s apartment and attempting to retrieve the components before she can enact the ritual. Roger and Lennard sweettalk their way past Megan’s landlady and up to her place. They find the hornets, the cat, and a snake all lined up neatly, but before they can make their getaway Megan shows up with three mean looking thugs in tow. Roger and Lennard take a bit of a beating before Joe and Arni can get up the fire escape and step in. They take out the thugs, claim the hornets and the snake, but Megan makes it out the window with the Bengal kitty and vanishes into the night.

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