The Storm of the Century was lashing the Pacific Northwest with massive 60+ MPH winds and intense hail and there was even fear of tornadoes touching down in the region! It seemingly came out of nowhere with no warning. Air traffic was shutdown across the entire region. SILVIO KHLORES, being close to the natural world by his very nature, sensed almost immediately that the storm was not natural and not caused by either the Summer or Winter Courts.
ZEBADIAH EINAR, realizing that he could not convince WILLIAM WEST to allow him to remove the CAULDRON OF STONEHAVEN from the Eva West Gallery until he made it back to Seattle from overseas, decided to add an additional layer of security by placing a Veil on the Cauldron that would effect everyone except the building’s security team.
The group decided to break up at this point with Silvio deciding to visit MAGGIE SIMPKIN’S bakery on a Glamour bicycle to check on the storm damage after speaking to her on the phone and OSAMU NISHIMURA joined IVAN IVANOVICH in seeing if they could find out more information about the two thieves who were arrested while trying to steal the Cauldron, while Stacy decided to do some research. Zeb went with Stacy to the library sleeping under a ton of blankets after his soaking in an attempt to forestall any cold that might result.
Silvio arrived at the Sweet Tooth Bakery, which he bankrolled with the last of his resources after he gained his Free Will, and encountered the brownies that worked there. It seemed that Maggie, adhering to the Old World traditions of her grandmother, left milk and cookies out for the Little People and unbeknownst to her they took care of her business. After a hesitant greeting by the brownies’ leader Silvio was shushed out the door so they could get back to their work without any interruptions. Silvio proceeded a few blocks down the street to a garden and transfered himself to his Demense before heading back to Zeb’s house in the U-district to rest.
STACY KEENE joined ADRIAN HUGGINS at the University Library and tried to discover what ties there might be between the CAULDRON OF STONEHAVEN and the BOOK OF THE OUTER DARK. After several rather enjoyable hours of research Stacy came to appreciate Adrian’s keen insight and the two of them develop a awkward but mutual affection for each other. They also discovered some rather terrifying new information:
In the late 1500s SAWNEY BEAN and his wife AGNES DOUGLAS,a witch better known as BLACK AGNES, lived in a sea cave in the Galloway province in Scotland where for 25 years they killed and ate countless travelers that passed through the region. They had many children who grew up in the cannibal lifestyle of their parents, and in turn, incestuously had children of their own, until the Bean tribe grew into a gang of 46. Over the years, thousands of people went missing. Including Geoffrey of Haddington, a wizard of the White Council and guardian of the BOOK OF THE OUTER DARK.
Meanwhile, Ivan led Osamu to bar after bar supposedly in an attempt to get more information on the thieves. Osamu was more than a little convinced he just wanted more vodka but he tagged along anyway. The Karaoke bar nearly made his ears bleed though. They eventually were steered to OLD JOE RIZZO. Joe made them swear not to hurt him before he revealed that ERIC LAUFEY, a used car salesmen at Ballard Motors, hired Carr and Stiles. That was all he knew. Armed with this information the two headed back to the library and were filled in on what Stacy had discovered. The storm continued to rage around them. At this point the group decided to get some rest and then go see Eric Laufey the next day.
The earthquake hit at midnight that evening.
The entire city was shaken as a massive earthquake slammed into it causing the collapse of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and many buildings throughout the area. Hundreds were killed and thousands were missing. Power was out in many areas already because of the storm and that situation was only worsened by the quake. Zeb got a panicked call just after the initial quake telling him he had to come to the Eva West Building immediately. Something terrible had happened! He gathered up the others and they arrived as soon as they were able traveling through the devastated city. At least the storm seemed to blow itself out almost as quickly and mysteriously as it had appeared.
They arrived to find a young terrified Security Guard on the scene. He had been instructed to call Zeb if anything happened. He screamed out that Frank Bukowski was dead. And that something ate him!!! He explained that he had been sent out to pick up some coffee for all the guards and by the time he got back after the quake he found the rest of the guards missing and Frank dead. Ivan took the poor guard outside and tried to calm him down and the rest of the party went inside.
They found DETECTIVE MULLENIX already on the scene. He explained that he was in deep trouble with Internal Affairs after the JIMMY MASON incident and it was only because the police were stretched to the limits in the Aftermath of the storms and the quake that he was on duty. He explained that he couldn’t really get involved in this or he would lose his badge. Zeb explained what was going on as quickly as possible. After a brief confrontation with Silvio Roy let them in.
The CAULDRON OF STONEHAVEN was a melted piece of slag with the runes of Zeb’s ward burned into the walls and floor around it. The plexiglass case had exploded from the inside. Frank Bukowski lay quite dead on the floor his blood splattered across the room.
Stacy examined his body and it was obvious to her that he struggled quite a bit before he died. As near as she could tell there were five assailants with four holding him down while the last tore into him. Whatever killed him ripped his entire chest cavity and belly open and devoured all of his internal organs. It almost looked like a shark attack to her. What was weird though was that there were several other smaller human sized bite wounds. The other 4 security guards are missing. Zeb gathered some of Frank’s blood as well as a dagger like piece of the Cauldron. Through Thaumaturgy he determined that the only blood at the scene belonged to Frank.
Stacy, thinking quickly used Divination and Frank’s blood to fashion a tracking spell and used Silvio’s unique vibrant blood to help her. They began to follow the spell and it immediately led them to the flooding sewers. The spell sputtered and died as the flowing waters dissipated the magic. They went down into the sewer briefly before realizing that it would be incredibly dangerous to try to navigate the tunnels. And they had no idea where they should go without the guidance of the tracking spell.
At this point Roy’s beeper went off followed quickly by the beepers of the other first responders on the scene. The group overheard Roy trying to calm down a hysterical officer who had found some bodies a few blocks away at Windemere Park.
The group headed to the park and it was apparent to all of them that there was something wrong here. There was a sense of Evil that permeated the skeletal remains of the trees around them. All the trees and wildlife in the area were dead as if something abruptly sucked the life right out of them. Zeb sensed something was watching them and sent Osamu into the undergrowth to find him. He was unsuccessful. Meanwhile Roy sent the forensics people away from the scene saying that he was consulting with experts who needed privacy to do their job.
At the center of the park they found 13 bodies hanging from trees their entrails cut out. In the middle of the grove was the melted remains of the other CAULDRON OF STONEHAVEN. It was immediately apparent to Stacy and Zeb that a powerful ritual was performed using the two Cauldrons as the symbolic link. Zeb’s wards were simply overpowered by the ritual sacrifices and the storms and earthquake were likely caused by a huge amount of backlash caused by the spell. The spell that released Sawney Bean from his prison.
Silvio sensed a hulking presence behind him and whirled to find MR. SQUIRE lurking patiently behind him. Squire, whom Silvio realized immediately was an Ogre, explained that LADY ODIANNA OF WINTER tasked him with finding out what the RED CAPS were doing in her city. He followed some leads and ended up here. He explained that his Lady might have some information that could prove useful and then vanished.
Detective Mullinex approached Zeb and told him that he had just gotten a call from the jail saying that Ray Stiles and John Carr had just been found dead. The cameras in the cell block went black and the two of them were found strangled to death with strange caustic burns around their necks. Realizing that Eric Laufey, the group’s only lead at this point, was in danger they got his address from Roy and rushed to Ballard to talk to him.
After a difficult drive across the ravaged city they arrived at Eric’s apartment just in time to hear a high pitched girlish scream. All the windows of his apartment were dark as if a black wall had been raised in front of them. Ivan charged forward immediately and slammed his sledgehammer into the door shattering it to the ground while Osamu leaped across the threshold into the impenetrable darkness. They heared cursing in some Germanic language as the sound of a TV being smashed reached their ears followed by a screech of agony as the creature grabbed Eric by the neck. Thinking quickly Eric deceived his assailant with a minor glamour causing him to drop him. Zeb and Stacy fired off spells into the gloom attempting to illuminate the fight but were unsuccessful as the creature snuffed them out.
However, THE SHADOWMAN was briefly revealed. Eric ran out of the door his back a shredded mess of blood as tentacles erupt from the assassin’s chest and slashed him. Osamu attempted to strike the gaunt menace to no avail and realized that it would be suicide to remain in the darkened apartment. He quickly exited the building and was almost smashed in the face by the waiting Ivan. The Shadowman was close on his heals and Silvio splashed him with his unique light bearing blood and for a moment his form seemed to solidify slightly. Still lying in wait Ivan slammed his sledgehammer into his chest and the creature was rocked by the attack. He made no noise however.
Zeb and Stacy again attempted to strike the shadowy assassin with spells but he easily dodged their attacks as Osamu imbued his Tambo of Authority with his Ki. Silvio smeared more of his blood on Ivan’s hammer in the hopes that it would allow him to strike their foe. The shadow renewed his attack on Eric but was again deceived by a glamour that made Ivan look like him. Ivan was grievously wounded by the savage assault his belly ripped open and his shoulder torn. In desperation he threw the hammer at his opponent missing him easily.
It was then that Osamu struck with his Tambo. As he shoved the powerful artifact into the shadow’s chest his Ki warred with the assassin’s essence briefly in a swirl of shadow and light. All the sound in the area was momentarily sucked into the shadow and everyone in the area felt an uncomfortable pressure in the backs of their skulls that might have been a scream before The Shadowman silently exploded in a flash of light leaving nothing left. Exhausted and terrified the party stood triumphant in the front yard of Eric Laufey’s nearly destroyed apartment…