NEVER SAY NEVERNEVER AGAIN
ZEBADIAH EINAR, realizing that he needed all the help he could get before plunging into a passageway to the Nevernever, summoned SILVIO KHLORES using his True Name interrupting his date with his Lady Love, MAGGIE SIMPKINS. SILVIO, traversing the passages of the Nevernever, arrived in a nearby park and made his way to the cemetery joining STACY KEENE and OSAMU NISHIMURA in entering the mausoleum passage. IVAN IVANOVICH curled up with his bottle of vodka in the van.
As they entered the twisting and winding passages they quickly deduced that they were in the SEATTLE UNDERGROUND and set off in pursuit of ROY SIMS and his female companion. The tunnels themselves changed as they traveled at turns being the foundations of old buildings, old mine tunnels, modern sewers, natural cavern walls and ancient ornate walls carved by inhuman hands. To aid the party in following their quarry OSAMU channeled his Ki into heightening his senses allowing him to track them more easily.
They continued on for at least a mile or two with the temperature dropping well below freezing. Finally, they emerged in a huge natural cavern with ceilings several hundred feet overhead and a huge waterfall flowing into an underground river. Two hills dotted the landscape of the massive chamber. One was empty while the other held a standing circle of stones that bore more than a passing resemblance to Stonehenge. Many figures were spotted by the standing stones with several of them layed out on slabs of ancient stone. OSAMU, blending in the shadows and climbing with the agility of a spider, made his way along the cliff wall that overlooked the hill to scout out the situation. Sadly he was spotted by a RED CAP sentry who threw his pike and nearly pinned the monk to the stone wall alerting his compatriots.
OSAMU dispatched the sentry and moving along the wall jumped down among the dozens of them that stood guard on the hill while an OLD HAG was performing a ritual over the bodies on the stone biers. Meanwhile, his companions charged around the corner to support him. Ducking and dodging to the best of his ability OSAMU was savagely injured, taking a nasty slash across his left thigh and spraining his ankle as he tried to compensate for the wound. He was able to escape the assault of over twenty opponents which is a testament to his great skill.
15 RED CAPS charged down the hill toward SILVIO, ZEB and STACY while the remainder stood guard on the hill. SILVIO recognized them as part of the TARUGH CLAN known for being cunning and savage. Luckily they are not known as good fighters like the infamous warriors of the OG’ HAROD and mostly intimidated others through superior numbers.
The two Wardens quickly went to work using powerful magics which decimated the charging Fae leaving only two of them standing. SILVIO dispatched the remaining monsters with a flourish and a song in his heart. ZEB and STACY again decided to use powerful spells on the hill but were startled when they were countered by the OLD HAG using her own magics. Another rank of RED CAPS charged down the hill towards SILVIO and ZEB as the HAG then ripped open a passageway into the Nevernever summoning scores of angry RED CAPS. Despite all seeming lost SILVIO fought with a zest for life that reminded ZEB of his youth allowing the two of them to dispatch swathes of opponents with their superior sword skills and expert strategies. SILVIO used his mystical senses on the HAG and sensed that she was human but there was definitely something…more to her.
STACY veiled herself and moved around the hill but a group of RED CAPS saw through her magics and charged her. She realized that the Fae got much of their power from the bloody caps that adorned their heads. Blood that must be constantly renewed and kept fresh. She used fire magics to instantly dry the caps of the charging monsters robbing them of their great strength and speed.
ZEB and SILVIO made it to the standing stones where ZEB broke the HAG’s magic shield. She opened a passage to the Nevernever and planned on escaping through it while sending her troops to delay CYRUS and his ghouls. All of the RED CAPS were killed including the two who wore the bodies of ROGER SIMS and the unknown woman. ZEB used magic to whip up a whirlwind delaying her departure but the remaining Fae at the top of the hill grabbed her and threw her into the portal. On the other side of the hill, out of the view of the party the savage fighting reached a crescendo before abruptly ending. In the ominous silence that followed a single figure crested the hill and took in the companions standing before him.
ZEB recognized GREY having worked with him in the past and knew that he served as a guardian of the SEATTLE UNDERGROUND passages in a role that was not dissimilar from the White Council’s own GATEKEEPER. With a gesture portals appeared under the feet of the companions and they suddenly found themselves standing outside the mausoleum where their journey began. The two bodies from the stone slab, wrapped in gauze appeared as well as a ragged piece of paper.
VITALY KULIKOVA was waiting near a tree smoking a Russian cigarette. He said that his master has shown mercy only because the PCs were enemies of the vermin that had sullied his tunnels. He also has some regard for the White Council and the Seelie Court. However, it would not be wise to enter unannounced again. ZEB suggested that he would be in CYRUS GREY’S debt if the OLD HAG were to end up dead and proof was given to him. VITALY said he would relay the message and then vanished into the shadows.
At this point ZEB and STACY examined the bodies. There were quartz crystals placed on both of the body’s foreheads with ritual cuts and runes carved into their flesh. Their hearts, tongues and eyes had been removed. ZEB realized that the NECROMANTIC RUNES would allow a being to completely imitate a person right down to their DNA, fingerprints and even their memory to a limited extent. It would require the person being changed to eat the missing body parts. It is a difficult ritual and would likely require a great deal of refinement to fine tune it to make exact copies.
The woman was wearing a nice business suit and was once very attractive but STACY points out that they have been dead for weeks. They search her and find an old reciept from a spa with her name on it. Her name is HELEN VAN HUSTEN.
They also found the crudely drawn plans for a building with camera systems and alarms noted down. ZEB, based on the notation “EWB” realizes it is for the EVA WEST BUILDING in the UNIVERSITY DISTRICT owned by billionaire WILLIAM WEST. He had put up wards there to protect the small art gallery that is on the ground floor as a favor to his occasional ally. After waking IVAN up they get him to drive them to a payphone where ZEB calls WEST but is forced to leave an urgent message for him given the late hour. After much indecision about what to do with the two bodies the party decides to leave them in the cemetery to be discovered. They then wearily leave the cemetery to get some rest.
PART TWO: (Transcribed by Bradford)
In Game Date: September 24, 2006
Everyone retired to their respective homes; Zeb to his house; Ivan to his van; Silvio to wherever the hell he wanted and Stacy decided in her state of Shaken Self-image to go with the injured Osamu back to the Holy Ground of his temple.
The next morning, the heroes awoke from their slumbers reinvigorated. Zeb finally managed to get through to WILLIAM WEST, who was in London on business, breaking the sad news of the deaths of two of his employees. Helen Van Huston it turned out, was the curator of West’s Rare Art Collection located suspiciously in the Eva West Building, which Zeb had previously Warded for West.
The heroes went to the EWB to do some gumshoeing. The HEAD OF SECURITY, Frank Bukowski, had a long talk with Silvio and within minutes they were Like Old Friends. There had been evidence that both Van Huston and Simms had been with the exhibits after hours and SHOULD have had total access to everything. If they could fool all the high tech security that protected the building. The Head of Security also revealed that there had been a series of attempted break-ins the past few weeks. The last batch of would be burglars, JOHN CARR and RAY STILES, ended up in police custody after being frozen in place by ZEB’S Wards and are currently being questioned. All that is known at this point is that they both have extensive rap sheets as work-for-hire thieves. The question is who hired them?
Meanwhile, Zeb and Stacy examined the exhibits themselves and found among them THE CAULDRON OF STONEHAVEN a 12th century artifact from the Galloway province of Scotland. There was once a sister cauldron but the other one was purportedly lost during the Battle of London during WW2. Zeb felt some bad juju on the big bowl immediately, so he decided to press his luck and Look upon the Cauldron with his Sight. Zeb was nearly driven insane in that moment when he gazed upon the sealed presence of a Being of Outer Darkness. But Zeb, displaying an iron will, was able to close his Sight.
The situation is thus: If the Cauldron is destroyed, that Darkness will be released and that would be catastrophic. The logical solution would be to take the Cauldron and take it back to Edinburgh. However, Zeb knew that William West would never part with this piece of Art…