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World of Darkness: The Academy - Chapter 13: The Master of Darkness

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The Door opened to blackness, but they were expecting that. What they weren’t expecting, once Sean dug out his flashlight, was a lush garden, filled with verdant plants. They didn’t look right, to their eyes; the leaves and stems were an ugly purple-green color, and the flowers were all black. When the light hit them, the blossoms closed abruptly. No stars shone in the night sky, and no moon shone down on them.

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Deep blue paving stones marked the path through the garden; the night was heavy with an oppressive silence. The students were standing there, trying to adjust to the gloom, when Ahvia pointed at the ground. “Sean, look!” He’d left his flashlight shining on one spot for a long minute, and now the grass in that spot was curling up and dying. The thick, purple blades were shriveling and turning a mud-brown color before their eyes.

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Give me an perception check in your reply – bonus to hearing apply.

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"Jeebus!" Sean swore, her voice seemingly absorbed by the darkness surrounding them. The alien foliage defoliating under the incandescence of her flashlight was damn creepy. Not to mention the natives might get pissed about them inadvertently melting their forest, which wouldn't help Lucia, or any of them. "Shit! Guys, gimme a minute."

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Sean braced her battered olive, tactical flashlight she had picked up at an army surplus store between her knees, aiming it down at the paving stones. Her leather creaked as she crouched down and dug through a side pocket for the other coloured lenses for her flashlight. The first one she found was the green one, which she quickly used to replace the clear one in hopes a more mellow colour would have a less adverse affect on the local plant life.

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Sean stood up, holding the red and blue lenses in her hand, slung her pack on her shoulders again, then tentatively aimed the flashlight off the paved path, so see what effect the softer green light had on the 'grass'.

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Ray looked at the flowers then back to the flashlight, running through Valineri's descriptions. "Just turn it off, Sean! This is a world of darkness, right? Light itself is probably anathema to this place. Let's not antagonize anyone with ruined flowers, but keep it in mind if we need a secret weapon. Any sort of light."

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Perception
Jeremy *rolls* 5d10e8: 5,3,9,4,5. Successes = 1

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"We need to be able to find our way, Ray," Lucia pointed out with practicality. "Sean, just try to keep the light on the stone, maybe? And actually, why don't you try the red lens? Isn't that what they use in observatories because it doesn't dilate your pupils or something? Maybe we'll be able to see more off less light that way." She was pretty sure she'd read something like that in a Times Magazine article.

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What she didn't say was that she could see just fine. Everything was rimmed in some sort of purplish phantom light. It was pretty clear no one else was getting the same effect, if they were following the flashlight or fumbling in the darkness. She stepped in front of Sean, taking the lead, "Just follow me. I can...sorta see, and just follow Sean's light if you can't see me. Sean, I'll try to stick close but speak up if I'm moving too fast, okay?"

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She sounded excited and scared at the same time. This place was frightening, even terrifying, but it was also almost indescribably beautiful to her and it felt right. Like she'd just walked into some beautiful garden that had sprung up around her home in Nebraska, instead of some alien world where her mother had been kidnapped to, maybe twice now. Heart beating fast, she started down along the path and doing her best to hold back and go slowly for the others.

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Perception Check
Malachite *rolls* 6d10t8: 9,8,5,5,10,7. Successes = 3.

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"This is gonna suck if there's a fight," Renata mutters. Despite the darkness, she can't help but look nervously around. If she couldn't see, that fancy pinwheel wasn't going to do her any good at all. Her power didn't really give her 'feel.' She had to see whatever she was moving.

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Hm. Could she make fire? Maybe...might be worth keeping as a desperation move.

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She quickly trotted ahead, keeping up with the light, and Lucia, eyes and ears sharp.

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(Perception: 7d10, 3 successes)

SalmonMax *rolls* 7d10: 2+8+4+9+5+4+8: 40
[salmonMax] 11:34 pm: 3...not bad


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Sylvia's eyes tried - and failed - to adjust to the pitch-black of this new world. Pupils that were normally a narrow slit widened to full dilation in an effort to gather any stray light available, and during the brief experiment with Sean's flashlight they shone in the dark, only to vanish in the blackness once more.

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"Even Mr. FitzCoventry and I are going to have problems here unless we have some source of light, however modest. Would you mind trying Ms. Blake's suggestion of the red filter?"

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Red *rolls* 7d10: 7+7+4+2+3+4+10: 37


Red *rolls* 1d10: 6: 6
[Red] 9:46 pm: One success. Testify!
[jameson] 9:46 pm: ouch
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Ravi felt his hackles rise as he padded barefoot down the path after the others, the darkness pressing in about him. This wasn't normal darkness, which was the absence of light, in which he would be perfectly at home. This darkness was unnatural, a living thing - anti-light. The werepanther was uneasy, remembering dimly the cloying, clinging darkness of Lucia's creation that had deadened his senses.

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"I think there's a definite link between Lucia and this place." he remarked softly. "The darkness... feels the same, I suppose one would say." His fingers twitched slightly, his claws unsheathing and resheathing in response to his tension.

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"I ain't wanderin' 'round not bein' able to see, Ray." Sean shot him a scowl he cou;dn't see in the darkness, then nodded at Lucia and Ms. Dorn. "One sec. Ms. Dorn." Sean quickly changed the filter on her flashlight, red light painting the dark foliage in deepest burgundy and purple before she aimed it down on the paving stones at Lucia's heels. "Okay, Lucia, I'm right behind you."

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This place was alien and uncomfortable. Sean had felt surprisingly at home in the mountains and snow and cold of the Chiderans, not much different than Whistler or Denver in the winter, really. But here, here, she didn't belong. She wondered how the place even worked, with no sun to grow things. She noticed however, like how she had felt at home among the Chiderans, Lucia was moving easily, assuredly, despite the oppressive darkness closing in around them.

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The filter helped immediately. It illuminated the area in a dull red light and didn’t seem to wilt the plants, or at least, not so fast that it could be seen by the naked eye. Sean might be giving the plants cancer, but at least they wouldn’t leave a trail of brown plant life behind them.

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There were no stars in the night sky—or at least, none that could be seen with normal eyes. But when Lucia looked up, she could see the purple edges of a nebula, hanging over half the sky like a curtain, while pale purple stars winked and blinked at them from on high. The world was one of dark beauty and it made her feel oddly at home.

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Suddenly, Renata and Lucia went on alert, their heads rising. “Shh!” Renata hissed as Lucia held up a hand. Both of them heard the singing, but it was Lucia who whispered, “Mom!”

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It was a lullaby that her mother always sung for her, but instead of a mother’s comfort, it was filled with the heartbreak of loss. The beautiful voice brought tears to both girl’s eyes, though for Lucia it was out of relief, and for Renata it was because she wished her own mother had made her feel as loved as that song did.

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Together, the two led the way toward the noise, coming to a house. It had no known architectural markers; the design was foreign to them beyond ‘four walls, door and windows’. Sean’s red filter painted the pale exterior a lurid color that seemed like blood, and the open windows and door gaped like hungry mouths.

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The sweet song could be heard by all, as it shifted from a sad lullaby to a heartbreaking love song.

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Lucia ran headlong towards the house, heedless of leaving her classmates (and teacher) alone in the unnatural darkness. She would help fight and defeat the Caramine, but her true reason for being out in the worlds beyond the Door was somewhere nearby. She was crying, from relief and fear and the pure emotions of the song washing over her by the time she reached the mouth-like door.

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"Mom!" she called into the building, ruining any chance at stealth at least for herself. "Mom, where are you? Mom?!" she called out again and plunged inside.

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The house was ornate, alien and completely familiar to Lucia. It took her a moment to remember where she’d seen a house like this before, because she hadn’t really seen it. She’d imagined something like this; not this exact house, but those bizarre twists to the columns or the way that the trim had the strange and slightly dizzying flare to it.

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The singing stopped, cut off abruptly as Lucia yelled. At the same time, there was a sense of weight on the student, as if something were pressing against her. But it wasn’t force or magic or anything like that. It was the feeling that she was being watched.

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Lucia paused a moment, looking around, trying to figure out where the sound had come from. The house seemed to have its own whispers and noises. They should have been creepy, but they were oddly comfortable. Even the feeling of being watched felt normal; shouldn’t the things in your house watch you?

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The moment she realized what she was thinking, Lucia blinked and took another look around at the house. The house wasn’t watching her, but she realized that the hutch in the hallway had two knots that looked like eyes—

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They blinked. Lucia recoiled and stepped backwards, knocking into a table. She touched it to catch herself—

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Singing love the singing why is there no singing I don’t feel so bad so sad so lost when the nightingale sings

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Lucia jerked away, even as her eyes locked with the table’s eyes, a pair of inlaid blue mother of pearl flourishes. It was a thinking feeling being. As she stared around the room, she realized everything in this house was alive.

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Renata, momentarily lost in the song, was slow to react when Lucia broke and ran into the house.

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"Lucia, WAIT!" she called after her. "It may be a trap!"

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The truth was that she hoped it was a trap. A bitter, vengeful corner of her...maybe two or three corners even...wanted that voice to be false. No one should get a mom like that, if she couldn't have one! At that moment she hated the house, and Lucia's mom, and even Lucia in the pettiest of ways possible.

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She pelted up the porch and to the door to shoulder her way in, in turmoil between wanting to see her friend happy...and wanting that haunting siren of a perfect mother exposed as the fraud it absolutely must be.

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Ray was caught up in the lullaby for a moment, wondering if it resembled the song his birth parents might have sung - then Lucia, Renata and the whole focus was dashing headlong helter-skelter into the house. Which could be a trap, and not in a good way. Ray started to hurry after them, but retained the presence to warn the others: "We need to catch up to them, but let's not go in until we're all together!"

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"What I was thinkin', exactly," the long-legged were-woman agreed, nodding down at the shorter Ray, then glancing over her shoulder at the others, barely seen in the washed out, crimson light. "Double-time, folks, in case Lucy and Ren are runnin' into trouble."

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As the group hustled to join the girls at uncanny house with it's alien angles that twisted the eye, Sean felt her Soulfire flare and throb. She hadn't heard the ephemeral song when it was a lullaby - not that it would have meant much, she didn't recall her mother ever singing any lullabies, to her or her sisters.

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But the love song they all heard now resonated strongly with her, her Soulfire flickering in time to the unearthly (literally) melody. Sean's mother had almost always been a remote, reserved, icy woman, but she now new it was only an act, a mask. With Soulfire burning inside you, every emotion was magnified - or that it what it felt like to Sean.

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The part-time Amazon glanced down at Swan at her side - the light of her flashlight painted the Caramine's milky skin with vermillion and made the silver edges of the blades of her Dragonclaws flicker like fire. She barely knew Swan, had known her for hardly more than a week, but as the song was sung, her heart sang too. I think I'm fallin' in love with her... As a teenaged boy, Sean had fallen in lust plenty of times, with any number of women, both in real live and seen only on the internet. This time, it felt different, and whether it was her Soulfire or female hormones, it didn't change that. I hope Swan feels something like it too...

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At the threshold to the house, Sean squeezed Swan's hand, then trailed her fingers up her arm. Tilted up her chin, then bent down to kiss her on the lips as the ethereal song reached a crescendo. Swan responded, and Sean didn't feel the slightest bit self-conscious as she felt a hand slide over her leather-clad, feminine curves.

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"Have you heard anything like it before, Swan?" Sean asked her girlfriend in a whisper that might have been a touch huskier than normal, as the two of them peeked in through the doorway of the house.

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Behind them came a low growl. A glance noted that it came from Ms. Dorn, and at first Sean might have thought it was for an "improper display of affection", as the student handbook back at Dalton put it. But a longer look set that explanation aside. The teacher's cat-like eyes were wide, her hackles - in fact, all of her body hair - was standing on end, and she was looking past the young pair into - and at - the house.

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Every instinct Sylvia had - and to her surprise, she was finding that number to be significantly expanded beyond her previous ken - told her that the house was as bad a place as bad could be, and the panther within was reacting accordingly; she shifted, right there on the spot, and took up the classic feline stand - back raised, limbs tense - of "that is not good".

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Renata paused in the doorway, unable to see without the help of Sean’s flashlight. There was an ominous feel to the interior of the building; it was coupled with the feeling of being watched by something evil. That was the word, Renata realized just as the other students caught up to her and brought the light. Evil.

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“Everyone stay together,” Seanette hissed, even as Ahvia pushed past him. Rosa hesitated, clearly terrified, but after a moment, she followed the feather-haired girl. They weren’t exactly waiting for the others, though they did hesitate at the edge of the light. Though Ahvia was clearly on a mission to rescue Lucia, she was afraid, too: her feathers had risen from her scalp. In the poor light, it looked like she’d put her finger in a light socket. Impatiently, she waved for Sean to hurry up and bring the light.

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“Hold your horses!” Sean hissed, giving Swan one last lingering look. She smiled at him, her expression both grateful and comforting, before she turned to face the house. Her expression changed into a cold focused one, and she shifted her stance into one of combat readiness.

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“I think I see her!” Rosa whispered to the others. Turning back to Lucia, she raised her voice to a hissing whisper and called, “Lucia! Wait for us!”

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The malignant, oppressive ambiance of the alien house pressed down on Sean and the clean heat of her SoulFire surged in response, strengthening her toned limbs and fortifying her flesh. She stood tall and straight, quivering with an almost feverish intensity. She held her right arm up to block, holding the flashlight, left arm cocked back to strike, bladed knuckles gleaming wicked under the red light.

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"Rosa, Ahvia, get behind me!" Sean commanded in a fierce contralto as she glided ahead of them, the creak of her leather armor loud in the heavy darkness, Swan at her side with her hand on the hilt of her shortsword. "Everyone, stick together, but don't cling, so we still got room to move. We're all in this together. Lucia - Hold up!"

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Sean glared at the washed out gloom, feeling eyes she couldn't see on her. The darkness seemed to press against the bubble of red light thrown from her flashlight, which didn't travel as far as it should. The shadows were almost tangible, almost had substance, that they had to struggle against, trying to reach Lucia.

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Their classmate hadn’t gone far. Lucia was still in entranceway, her body frozen in rigid shock. She stared at a decorative table frozen in fear, but the others couldn’t see the reason for her horror. “Lucia?” Rosa asked softly as she stepped to her friend’s side and put a hand on her arm.

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Lucia started, her shadows flailing almost comically before they calmed down. “We should get out of here as soon as we find my mother.” The teen exchanged wide-eyed glances with the other students before turning and peering into the darkness. “I see a few doors ahead.”

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“Wait,” Sean cajoled, “let’s get all together.” Once the group was all gathered up in one mass, they crept on down the hall. Sean was beside Lucia, while Sylvia ghosted on the other side as a panther. They were making a lot of noise as they walked forward, but there was a comfort in their numbers.

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Lucia led them to the first door, which was a sitting room, albeit one designed by M.C. Escher. It was empty and Lucia moved on to the next, which appeared to be a room of art or torture devices. It wasn’t clear what the devices in the room were supposed to do but the kids shut the door quickly.

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The third door led to an interior garden. There was a ceiling and walls, but the plants grew out of the floor. Benches were arranged around a cage, which had a swing in it. Huddled on the swing was a bird woman; where Ahvia just had feathers, this woman had feathers all up and down her body. Instead of Ahvia’s black, they were snow-white and some of them were shaped in long, graceful sweeps. Even with all that, Lucia recognized her mother. Her mother seemed to be looking right through her, however, her expression not even registering recognition.

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Renata found herself clenching and unclenching her fists just steps inside the House...and it was capitalized in her inner monologue for some reason. She'd never considered herself as being particularly sensitive to malevolent presences, perhaps because any such sense she might have had was constantly pinged out by her own proximity to herself. This was different though. The House eclipsed whatever darkness might live in her like the sun passing in front of more distant stars. She didn't even jiggle the needle on this new scale.

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Room after room, her breath got shorter and quicker, and her fists came and went more rapidly, and sweat started slicking her palms. Whatever this House was, they weren't ready for it. Whatever lived in this darkness, along with Lucia's mother...assuming it wasn't Lucia's mother...was just watching them like a giant cat might watch a few baby mice that blundered across its nose while it dozed.

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The second they touched it, or looked like they might get away, and it would simply reach out and stop them.

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Renata had a sick, growing feeling that there was going to be a price for this intrusion, and an even steeper one if anyone was going to leave. She looked at the flashlight, cloaked in red film.

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"Try shining it with the regular light," she whispered. At Lucia's look she winced and amended, "Her. Shine her with the light. Just...get ready. In case it works."

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Ray frowned, facing the weight and unnerving presence of the house, all around them, like an ambush obviously there, waiting to be sprung. And casually holding off, as if some malign intelligence permeating the darkness found evil humor in watching them all shiver and squirm in helpless recognition of their danger.

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The Keepers ruled their worlds, the Devi had warned. Masters of the places down to their essential cores. But, Ray swallowed, trying to keep a cool front, watching if fruitlessly standing guard behind the others, the sentinel trying survey the rear. His hand crept to feel the cool reassurance of his dagger.

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The balm was a scanty one. They needed a surer refuge than speed. Then it came. Ray, though not exactly human in full, his apparent race were 'fate-weavers.' What he could control was more than luck. Could the fate he could so literally make suffice to shield them from the Keeper?

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Better than nothing. Ray 'reached out', finding the links and threads that he could tweak as before when visualizing his luck-powers, but with a new sense of his abilities... The teen sought for what seemed like personal destiny to avoid harm and pull it to himself.

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Then, he began to try and make a sphere of something different... one of safety and security... but his work seemed so light... it had better work, he prayed.

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OOC
Two Fate rotes at work...

Fortune's Protection: 6d10.hitsopen(8,10)=6

Ray gains 2 dots of Armor protecting him against attacks and attempts to grapple him... although with an Exceptional Success I might get more benefits.

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Winds of Chance to protect the group from being attacked while in the house:6d10.hitsopen(8,10)=2

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Sean glanced back and down at Renata, doubtful expression barely seen in the gloom, pale face ruddy and blue eyes almost purple in the low light, and nodded. Though brimming with SoulFire and standing confidently at Lucia's side, the heavy and malignant darkness weighed on her, and a feeling wasn't something you could fight away with your fists.

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"On it. We'll have you out of there in a sec, uh... lady."

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A feathered woman in an oversized birdcage was something tangible to deal with. And in this place, anyone in a cage deserved to be broken out. Sean tilted the flashlight down, the darkness encroaching even closer and everyone subconsciously huddling closer, and switched the lenses once more.

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Having lost the cage in the brief moment when switching the lenses, Sean panned the light around the interior garden, the white light painfully bright after the muted red as it flickered across the walls and alien plants. She wasn't sure if she was imagining the faint tortured keening she heard or not.

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The light fell across the dull, grey iron bars of the cage, which began to darken, adding a bitterness to the air. Then the white light touched the pristine whiteness of the bird-woman. Instantly, the flawless plumage started to blacken and smolder, the acrid scent of burning feathers assaulting their noses.

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"Holy Jesus Fuck!" Sean shouted in a voice much higher than she would be proud to admit, immediately turning off the flashlight and plunging them all - except Lucia - in unrelieved darkness. Hastily, she switched the lenses back. "Sorry, sorry!"

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Turning the flashlight back on, bathing them in red light once more, Sean thrust it Renata, glowering. "Well, that didn't work, Ren. Hold this - we'll get her out my way."

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Stretching and limbering her arms and shoulders, the tall young woman studied the cage. It was bell-shaped, made of thick iron (or some sort of metal at least) bars, closely spaced enough that someone would have to be able to dislocate their skull to fit through. There was no door, but the cage was all of piece and set into a molded groove in the ground. It was a lot of metal, but she was strong, and with her SoulFire burning, was stronger still, and she didn't like seeing women bound or confined. If she could get her hands under the bottom rim of the cage, she should be able to flip the entire cage over...

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"Get behind me," Sean commanded, stepping right up to the cage, and bending at the knees, carefully placed her hands to get a good grip on the lowest crossbeam. Then with steady exertion, she began lifting, grunting low and long through her gritted teeth. Even under the leather of her armour, the rippling of hard, toned muscle in her legs, back, and shoulders could be seen.

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Game Mechanics
Activating Vigor 2, raising her Strength to 6, and Sean has the Strong Back merit, which gives +1 Strength, for the purposes of lifting and carrying.

If that is still not enough to tip over the cage, Sean will enter Soul Fury, in an effort to free the captured bird-woman, increasing her strength even more. ,,

Essence: 11/12

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Lucia let out a strangled scream of panic when the light began to smolder her mother's feathers, the scream nearly ending in a hysterical laugh. My mother's feathers.... She held back tears by sheer force of will and focused on rescuing her mother. Figuring out why everything was so messed up could wait until they were back somewhere safe...wherever that was now. She pushed the fear and other emotions roiling over her so often in the past month back down into someplace in her mind where she didn't have to deal with them right now and focused on the cage. She could feel her eyes blacken this time and it was easy to pull the darkness inside her to the surface. She added her own arms and two more inky tendrils to aid Sean's efforts to tip the cage.

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"Mother, hold on to something, we're getting you out of here." Her voice sounded steadier than she felt, but her years at Dalton had given her plenty of lessons in saying one thing while feeling something completely different.

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Please let this work. Please let her be okay.

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Tendrils
Spending Willpower for a total die pool of 6d10:

Malachite *rolls* 6d10: 6+8+8+6+4+6: 38

2 suxx. ,,

Two tendrils and two arms all at Strength 3 to add to the tipping.

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Sylvia saw what Sean and Lucia were trying to do, even as smoke from the scorched feathers stung her sensitive nose. And all considered, she figured it to be the best idea around.

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Positioning herself as far behind the two students as possible, the were-panther gauged the distance and height, hunkering down like a compressed spring. The still-human part of her brain thought to itself - Archimedes, don't let me down - then she bounded forward, leaping above the students and hurling herself at the top edge of the cage, hoping that a panther's bulk applied where the leverage was greatest would, in combination with the amazonian Sean's sheer strength and Lucia's own eerie efforts, finally rip the bars free from the floor.

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Absolutely no idea what mechanics would be involved in this move; I leave it to Dawn.

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Renata's forehead creased a little as she concentrated, about to add her force to the others'...but she held off for a second.

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That thing looks tough. When it goes, it'll go HARD.

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She didn't know terms like 'catastrophic failure,' but she did know that the harder you had to work to break something, the bigger the 'jolt' you got when it finally broke.

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So rather than help push the cage, instead Renata focused on the floor behind the spot they were pushing towards. The cage would fall THERE when it fell, and she'd be ready to grab it and soften its fall when it did. If it did. If not, she could throw in to help in a few seconds.

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Assuming it COULD be broken. Which seemed like a stretch. Would any amount of shoving or straining crack 'shadow bars?'

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The cage hadn't yet moved when the sense of dread doubled and doubled again. Darkness seemed to take solid form on the other side of the cage; the red light dimmed noticeably against its menace. The shape it seemed to be forming was that of a man’s, his shoulders wide and square. Tall and straight, the figure was looming and was the source of the malign feeling in the air. The house seemed almost to moan around them, and Lucia’s mom shivered and covered her face like a small child.

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“Who comes to steal and take from me?” The voice was soft and brittle. “Who seeks to sneak away with my Nightingale?”

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While the civilized part of Renata's brain withered away in dread, the little ball-bearing at the center of her that refused to give in, ever, was left with a dilemma.

They were here to get Lucia's mom. This thing wanted to stop them. The only weapon that seemed powerful here would kill Lucia's mom as well as this thing, thus negating the whole reason to be here, and making a pretty girl upset with her.

But this thing badly needed a beating.

So Renata did the first thing that popped into her head. She stepped forward and said, "Nightengale, eh? She looks a little singed around the feathers, but she might be worth something to us. The real question is...what's she worth to you?"

Oh my god she realized as she grinned. This is going to suck SO MUCH.

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Lucia watched her mother cower from the dark figure and could feel her eyes turn pitch black in rage. She finally had a singular person, a discrete someone, to blame for her mother's disappearance and Yasu's cruel denial and everything else that had terrified her in the past few weeks. The shadow-tendrils uncoiled from the cage with an almost audible snap, shooting out at the person with the temerity to say that Lucia's mother was his.

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"She's not yours!" the girl shouted in her fury. "I'm going to let you hurt her or keep her in a damn cage, you asshole!"

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The figure flickered, dark threads of shadow peeling off from him in a malignant mirror of Dalton Academy's student body president. Where they met, Lucia felt a cold shock race through, stunning her body with the chill of a true void. The two sets of shadows intertwined, the figure's own wrapping tightly around hers and then yanking hard on them. She stumbled forward, feeling like he was trying to pull her heart from out of her chest; she gritted her teeth and braced her legs, trying to free herself from the supernatural grip. "Let go of me!"

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The shadow-form spared a glance for Renata before a shadow-tendril snaked out of the mass of the monster and slammed into her. The teen was tossed back into a wall—which split open, swallowed her and closed again. Renata found herself in another room, without light and the soft slithering sound of something in the darkness.

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Meanwhile, at the other fight, Lucia found herself being pulled relentlessly forward. “I’m not holding you,” the malicious voice informed Lucia as she slid forward another two feet. “I’m holding the shadows. And yet… somehow, my shadows are part of you. Tell me…” Another sharp yank pulled Lucia closer still. “How can that be?”

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“Lucia…” It was the first time her mother had spoken and both of the shadow-beings glanced at her. “Please let her go… I’ll stay… just let her go…”

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"Uhf!"

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Renata let go of her stomach, where the thing had hit her, and swayed a little as she caught her breath. It'd been a good hit, but not exactly supernatural force, so the second she had a good lungful the first thing she did was shout, "Oh you did NOT just do that!"

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Her hand dropped to her side and yanked her oversized shuriken off of its little tether. Normally being stuck in a room with a slithering thing making noise and not being able to see would be a pants-wetting thing, but right now?

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She was too pissed off to be scared.

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Her hand clenched around the 'safe' part of the throwing wheel, where you held it, and the air in the room immediately began to rise. It felt good to her though, a glorious catharsis as all that anger dumped out into the space around her instead of ripping her up inside.

,,

While that happened, Ren brought her weapon out in front of her, turned to face the direction she was reasonably sure she got thrown in here from, and backed up until she bumped into the wall.

,,

"Alright, junior, lets get you out of the way fast. I've got business with Daddy."

,,

(Basically, waiting for it to pounce...then I will take action once I know it's location by touch)

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"Nobody's stayin'!" Sean snarled, infuriated the cage hadn't been dealt with before the warden showed up, pissed that Renata had been thrown deeper into the monstrous house before she'd done anything.

,,

The supernatural dread emanating from the shadowy figure beat futilely against the incandescent rage of her SoulFire. The young Amazon straightened from trying to flip cage and rolled her broad shoulders, the planes of her sculpted face harsh under the ruddy light tossed up from the flashlight laying on the ground were Renata dropped it when she was knocked back.

,,

"Someone, get the flashlight - take off the lens! But keep it away from Lucy's mom!" Sean commanded, darting smoothly around the cage to close with the menacing figure, her hands up in a mobile boxer's stance, silver-bladed Dragon Claws painted crimson under the light. With the SoulFire burning beneath her breasts, Sean had no presence of mind to deal or banter with the shadow-being like Renata had. Anyone who keeps women in a cage deserved a pounding.

,,

Swan backed up Sean, circling cage from the other side, short sword in hand, though she was far from confident as to its efficacy compared to the dweomer-crafted blade Sean had freed her from. Still, she would stand by Sean's side.

,,

The shadows have substance...

,,

Barely refraining from launching her first punch at the Keeper, Sean threw at strong jab at the solid mass of shadows reeling Lucia in. "Let!" She followed the jab with a left hook. "Lucia!" Finishing the combo with an over-hand rabbit punch, Swan complimenting her bladed fists with quick slashes of her sword. "Go!"

,,

Sean struggled to interpose herself between Lucia and the Keeper, thoughts of self-preservation drowned out under her Chideran birthright. "And let her mother go, and we'll leave and never come back. Otherwise, we're gonna bring the light and the hurt, you bastard!"

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That was Ray's cue, as far as he was concerned. Given that his fate powers flunked it - not unreasonable, given the total power of the Keeper, it might have well been able to ignore his manipulations. He rolled to one knee on the ground as he snatched up the flashlight, but did not pull off the lens yet.

,,

Getting up and behind the Keeper as Sean and Swan fought it, Ray raised the flashlight to an upraised angle where the beam would go through the Keeper's head and the ceiling. He pulled the lens off.

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Sylvia had managed to scramble onto the top of the cage after her ill-fated attempt at breaking it free from its moorings. Now she saw a living shadow that simply reeked of malevolence attacking Lucia. What happened next was more instinct than thought. With a roar, she leaped at the thing, claws leading the way.

,,

Attacking w/ claws; no idea of this things defense, or if it may just plain be intangible.

9d10 → [9,4,6,5,8,7,7,9,8] = (63)
Four successed, but drop dice starting from the end for any applicable defense.

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Renata blinked in the darkness, not that it made any difference. She saw the same whether her eyes were open or shut. She seemed to stand forever in that terrible darkness, listening to that loathsome slithering advance toward her. It was almost a relief when something touched her ankle, even though she started and yelped at the shock of coldness to it.

,,

* * * * *

,,

Sean found herself pressed between the Keeper and Lucia’s struggling form; her dark-skinned schoolmate was even pushing on Sean’s back for a bit more leverage. Swan was fighting with a mass of shadows on the other side of the monster, her white face appearing red in the filtered light. “I am not holding… Lucia.” The Keeper said her name like it was an unfamiliar word, despite speaking English perfectly. “She must release the shadows she has taken from me.”

,,

That was all the shadow-being managed to get out before Ray thrust the flashlight in its face. For a second, Lucia, Ray and Sean all saw its face. Bone-white skin competed with Swan for paleness, but where her skin looked normal for her, this face bore a chalk-white appearance. Wrinkled, dry flesh twisted in rage or pain as it jerked away, its grimacing mouth full of darkness, as if there was nothing behind the skin. Only Lucia and Sean were close enough to see the brown eyes that looked almost human before the Keeper reacted to the attack.

,,

Darkness rose from his body like a wave from the ocean, slamming into the students like water. It washed them back and pushed them into the cage and walls. Only Lucia, her shadows still held, and Sean were unaffected. Perched on top of the cage, Sylvia was above the wave when it hit and now she leapt, her white claws and fangs drawing the eyes like stars bearing death from the night sky. The Keeper bowed under the weight of the massive cat on him, and Sylvia screamed joy as her claws caught and tore something on the monster.

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In the dark, when the thing stalking her finally got the balls to do more than make noise, Ren flinched at its touch...and then pounced! Invisible force snagged whatever it had touched her with, then coursed up that appendage and up and around whatever it had for a body. Renata couldn't feel the shape of it, but she could draw those forces tight around it. The thing struggled...it was strong, but not THAT strong. Though she had to fight, she managed to keep her grip on it and cinch it up, at least for the moment.

,,

"This," she told her invisible attacker, "Is surprisingly theraputic.Your boss ought to charge for this shit."

,,

She hefted her cutting wheel...then paused and thought about it for a second. Maybe she had a better idea.

,,

[salmonMax] 5:41 pm: Okay, telegrapple check for Ren, Stam + Resolve is 6, -3 for target strength, gonna spend a willpower to bring it back to 6.


SalmonMax *rolls* 6d10: 5+3+10+2+7+5: 32
[Jeremy] 5:41 pm: Maybe he is.
[salmonMax] 5:41 pm: Dang. Well, 1 succcess.
[Ensign Minneapolis] 5:42 pm: I like the name for that... "Telegrapple"
[salmonMax] 5:42 pm: So! Critter is grappled and immobilized. I spent a power point and a willpower point, and next turn he can try to break out with his Stamina + Resolve at -3
for my TK power level.
[salmonMax] 5:43 pm: He can't move, but he can use any supernatural dickery he may have.

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Ray was flung onto his butt, head bumping painfully against the wall - but it was only a minor sort of 'ow' feeling, and his grasp on the flashlight did not loosen in the slightest. Good, since from the looks of the first reaction from the Keeper, light was a potent weapon.

,,

Ray rose up, and oriented the beam back onto the Keeper's location: "Release the Songbird then, or we'll end you!" To follow it up, he tried to yank more strings of fortune around him - but they slipped from his 'hands' like a clown. Oh, that was bad.

,,
OOC
Strength + Athletics to hold onto the flashlight: Jeremy *rolls* 4d10e8: 10,10,8,4. Successes = 3
Jeremy *rolls* 2d10e8: 4,5. Successes = 0 ,,

Ok, that was Staples Big Easy Button easy.

,,

Activating Superlative Luck for Ray (Resolve + Occult + Fate):Jeremy *rolls* 6d10e8: 6,3,7,6,3,7. Successes = 0
[Jeremy] 7:34 pm: Oh.... FUCK REALLY?

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Renata

For a moment, she was in control; despite being in the dark, Renata was the one winning. Then the cold crept in, the paralyzing cold that comes in the total absence of the sun. In seconds, the room went from night-cool to freezing and she had a feeling it would get worse.

,,

Sorry about the short post but his dickery is pretty straightforward.

;)
,,

Sylvia had a moment to relish in her victory; then she was flung off by a shadow even darker than her pelt. She tumbled through the air, twisting to come up on her feet. For a second, she thought she’d succeeded; then the ‘ground’ under her feet twisted and bucked her into the air again. But this time, instead of flipping through the air, she slammed into more darkness—a darkness that began to wrap around her and constrain her against her will.

,,

Ray swung his flashlight back toward the shadow-wreathed monster, momentarily revealing the too-white face of the Keeper. That reveal was only seconds-long because Ray had to jerk away from the spear of shadow that lashed out at him. He dodged to the side only to have his rush away jerked short when the spear pinned his coat to the wall. Thankfully, it didn’t pin him, but he was still trapped by a shaft of darkness.

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Two birds, one stone. Renata concentrated, clamping down anew on the strange, struggling little monster. It was cold, but she barely felt it. Heat was uncurling in the base of her stomach, flowing outward and through her like octopus arms. The tiny hairs on her arms were standing out, her breath invisibly fogging up the darkness in front of her, but nothing went past the skin.

,,

"Ngh!" She swung her arm as if throwing a baseball, and the creature sailed back away from her and slammed into the far wall...the wall she'd come bursting in through, in fact. She heard the thump, the squeal, the struggle as it scraped at the barrier it was smushed up again.

,,

There it was.

,,

All it took was focus...focus, and a whole LOTTA mad. She had plenty to spare.

,,

Right around the creature, where it was pressed against the wall, the temperature began to swiftly rise, making a sudden breeze as it met cold air around the edges of the new warm front.

,,

Rolled in chat in Carver's presence. Spent willpower to help keep a grip on it. Spent a power point to telekinetically throw the thing against the far wall. Just to set the stage for next turn, I started to narrate what she was going to do, which is use Thermokinesis to begin raising the temperature in a small area that overlaps the critter and part of the wall together. Plan: See which one catches on fire first.

:) Thermokinesis also makes Ren immune to temperature altering attacks, which does not require an action on her part. If it drops the ambient temp below zero, she'll start to feel it, if I read the description right, but direct attacks don't work.

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Sean was pissed. Her SoulFire burned hotter and hotter as the Keeper used the shadows to throw Renata through a wall, bind Ms. Dorn, and to menace Swan while it was all she could do to stop him from reeling Lucia in. One thought managed to seep through the growing need to lash out in full assault.

,,

"Lucia! If it's his shadows yer usin', stop 'im from usin' 'em on us!" Sean snarled, Chideran rage making her husky voice sharp and hard. She shifted position to better confront the Keeper rather than hold Lucia, flashing him an aggressive grin. "Now, asshole, if you wanna pick on girls, pick on me!"

,,

Sean let her SoulFire blaze into full on SoulFury, feeling a release as intense and visceral as orgasm as her focus narrowed to the opponent in front of her and the need to win, to conquer, to triumph. With a wordless battle-cry, the unexpected Amazon launched fist after metal-bladed fist at the Keeper, powered by a strength that was greater than human.

,,
Notes

Entered Soul Fury as a Reflexive Action (-1 Essense) and attacking the Keeper, through still trying to keep between Lucia and him.

,,

Current Physical Attributes: Str 8, Dex 6, Sta 5, Defense 6, Armor 1 (+1 vs Bashing attacks)

,,

Essence: 10/12

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Lucia grimaced at Sean's suggestion. S/he had no idea just how weird this felt and how much stronger the shadow-man-thing was than her. Holding him down, inky tentacles or no, just wasn't going to happen. She cast around for something useful to do and her eyes caught on the flashlight, flung into the corner from Ray's hand. One snaking tendril of blacker than black flashed over to it, lifting it up and worming around Sean to hold the light on the Keeper's face again.

,,

The creature hissed and ducked away again, trying to keep his face out of the light. If Lucia had been holding the flashlight with flesh-blood-arms, that might have helped: elbows and shoulders could only rotate so far, but as it was, the shadow-arm had no such restrictions. It followed him relentlessly, Lucia's simmering-to-boiling rage over what had been done to her mother and the damage he was doing to her friends made her heartless herself to the Keeper's obvious pain at the light. He let out an infuriated howl and wrapped his own shadow-arms around the girl, flinging her away from him with inhuman strength.

,,

Lucia flew through the air, panic breaking her concentration and dissipating her tendrils. The flashlight clattered to the floor again, the light blinking out for a moment, then weakly dimming back on. Lucia hit the cage like a rag-doll, the breath knocked out of her; dark stars filled her vision as pain lanced through her body from slamming into the metal bars. The bars bent inward, screaming in protest as the cage door was shoved inward and open under the impact. Lucia slid down the mangled mesh of metal, falling limply to the ground inside the cage at her mother's feet.

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Ray swore with Chideran relish, some choice phrases elicited from bed partners like Lianja, albeit this situation was not that kind of fun. The coat was going to be ripped - potentially to shreds if he wrenched his way to freedom, so Ray took the moments to bluntly get his arms out.

,,

All or nothing, at this frantic rate. Ray scrambled to scoop up the flashlight, and while he gave it a shake to try and coax more light, his right hand pulled free his knife, sharpness glinting as it might with what illumination was present. Then, he charged, thrusting out the flashlight like the head of a spear to get it into the face of the Keeper.

,,

The lower level reduced the sting, and the otherworldly being was more able to turn it's head away, but that merely confirmed the feint for Ray's knife, as he thrust and thrust again in a furor.

,,

"Yield, you son of a bitch, yield!"

,,
OOC
A volley of things coming, if it's not an issue.

Activating Superlative Luck for Ray (Resolve + Occult + Fate): Jeremy *rolls* 6d10e8: 1,9,9,8,3,9. Successes = 4

Oooh. Excellent to have 4 8-agains available for the rest of the scene.

,, ,,

And now the attack: Knife attack + Willpower spend for 3 dice, and the once per two turns Fighting Style ability to reduce the Keeper's defense by 1 and the 8-again.

,,

The dice pool would be Dex 3 + Weaponry 2 + Specialty 1 + Knife Bonus 1 + Willpower 3 = 10 dice.

I don't know what the modified Defense would be... so subtract dice from the right to left.

Jeremy *rolls* 10d10e8: 7,8,9,2,6,2,7,2,7,2. Successes = 2
Jeremy *rolls* 2d10e8: 6,1. Successes = 0

Ick. Only 2L damage.

,,

Power Points: 10/12

Willpower: 3/4

8-Again Rerolls: 3/4

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