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  1. Now available in PDF and print from DriveThruRPG: One Foot in the Grave: A Jumpstart for Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition! Remove a keystone, and the arch collapses. It’ll be no different with her. Like every city, Rochester has its ghosts — and like other cities, it has those who prey upon and those who aid the dead. The machinations of a young but powerful Reaper, the Iridescent Maggot, threaten one of the dead patrons of Rochester’s ghost community, and there are none who can stand against it. None, that is, save the Sin-Eaters of Rochester, who will brave even the Underworld to keep their city safe. One Foot in the Grave contains: A full introductory story designed to guide players and Storytellers into the world of Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition. Nine ready-to-play characters.Abbreviated rules, including everything needed to play out the story. Story hooks to extend play into a full Chronicle. Also available: Pirates of Pugmire Community Content Assets! “Out here on the Acid Sea, it doesn’t matter what your house is or what noble family you’re descended from. All you need is a sturdy ship, a plastic hull, and a firm wind behind you. And maybe some guns.“ — “Stumpy” Sabu Chromachilde, gecko captain of the Pig’s Tale Pirates of Pugmire is a chronicle sourcebook for both Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau. It’s usable with either game, or as part of a joint experience. Canis Minor Community Content Program Canis Minor is our imprint that allows you — our Pugmire community — to create and sell self-published material for the Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau roleplaying game. You can offer your work for free, set a price, or make it pay-what-you-want. We’ll give you some resources to help you out, and a marketplace for other Pugmire fans to use. For more information check out the Canis Minor Content Guidelines and the Frequently Asked Questions. This collection includes all the templates and art assets needed to get you started creating your very own adventures and supplements based on Pirates of Pugmire for the Canis Minor community content program. Inside you will find: A selection of artwork from the Pirates of Pugmire book.A basic template to help you create Pirates of Pugmire compatible PDFs.Front and back cover templates for your PDF. Sales DriveThruRPG’s Urban Fantasy & Steampunk sale is on, with up to 30% selected products, and Onyx Path is no stranger to the genre: we’ve got more than 80 items in the sale, both from our own collection as well as community content from the Storypath Nexus! And of course our friends at White Wolf also have 135 of their own products involved. Crowdfunding Update The Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Kickstarter, has one week to go, and we funded in 3.5 hours! With $86,624, we’re currently at 247% of our $35,000 goal, thanks to our 1383 backers! Kickstarter’s new built-in Add On utility is a real help. We’ve hit the following stretch goals: Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Storyguide ScreenTrinity Continuum: Adventure! Jumpstart: With 6 ready-made charactersAdventure! Addendum: Sensational hideouts, Strange New Life, Startling Secrets of the Ninth CircleThrilling Tales!: A scenario PDF featuring playable chapters from the Adventure! audio drama: Deadly Eclipse! and Terror from the Skies!Backer T-ShirtDigital Wallpaper Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scarred Lands: Dead Man’s RustScion: Scion: DemigodScion: Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the MythosThey Came from Beyond the Grave!: They Came from Beyond the Grave!Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Legendlore: LegendloreWorld of Darkness: WoD: Ghost HuntersMage: The Ascension: Technocracy ReloadedMage: The Ascension: M20 Victorian AgeChronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The RenegadesChronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd EditionChronicles of Darkness: Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition Community Spotlight The following community-created content for Scarred Lands has been added to the Slarecian Vault in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Realms of Pugmire has been added to Canis Minor in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Storypath has been added to the Storypath Nexus in the last week: Scion: Pindorama: A Brazilian Setting for ScionScion: Pindorama: Companion UpdateTrinity Continuum: Conditioned Responses 2: Extreme ConditioningYour product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  2. A vast underground ruin, filled with dangers and treasures unlike any seen before! They call it the Grave of the … Where the Machines Wait The post Where the Machines Wait appeared first on Monte Cook Games.
  3. 1240, Shelly High School The school newspaper office was quiet, a perfect place for Cassie to slip away, to sit down and ostensibly go over material from the classes she'd missed this morning - but more truthfully to wrestle with the revelations shown her by her gift. It certainly seemed like Marissa was in with Enterich, who was definitely a Bad Guy in addition to being a sicko who'd convinced another sicko to murder a child. What had the money been for? Was it anything to do with the murder attempt this morning? She wasn't looking forward to the meeting later, for certain. Well, she was and she wasn't. On the one hand, it needed to happen, and her desire to find the truth at the heart of today's events would (hopefully) be satisfied. On the other hand... It was likely to be acrimonious. Both Jason and Autumn had expressed misgivings about the meeting - the other half of Team Pluck somewhat nebulously and her strange boyfriend with characteristic brutally clinical breakdown. Cassandra was moderately satisfied with her powers of persuasion in getting Jase to attend - she just hoped it wouldn't add to the disaster potential. And thoughts of Jason Bannon naturally led to 'Ellie'. The striking similarities in how they acted - but Ellie was an alien and Bannon was a human psychopath. Or was he? He wouldn't lie about it - from what she understood of him - so maybe he thought he was one. Or maybe Ellie was lying. Or maybe... maybe, maybe, maybe. Another problem for the pile. Just let them get through today before working on tangential stuff, please, the blonde girl grumped to herself as she read the textbook page. Or stared at it anyway, her eyes seeing it but her brain elsewhere. She was saved from disappearing down another rabbit hole of musings when the door flew open and Leila Cross stormed into the newspaper office, closing the door firmly behind her before moving to sit at her desk, opposite Cassandra's. "Okay. What the actual fuck, Allen?" Leila's speared her newsroom partner with a glare and went on without waiting for an answer. "First, where did you go this morning? Second, does it have anything to do with rumors I'm hearing about Jason fucking Bannon being shot? Because if it does, I want to know why you're not already talking to me about the story. And speaking of stories, what the hell is this I'm hearing from my sources that you and a very assorted group of Shelly High's... let's call them 'finest' were at the fucking medical center last night after having rescued two kidnapped girls from a serial killer? Said group also containing Jason 'El Chapo' Bannon, Autumn Keane and the Jauntsens, who were also late in today. Why is Marissa Jauntsen dressed like a monochrome girl next door? Are you part of some weird teenage sex cult and can I join? Someone says they spotted Bannon kissing Keane down the road from the school not long ago - which is pretty damn frisky for a dude who reportedly got shot. What's the fucking story, Cassie?!" All that was missing was the toothbrush mustache and Leila thumping the desk demanding photos of Devin.
  4. Roughly three months before the Gala... The Male Room existed within that curious niche between classy nightspot and sleazy den of iniquity. The woman who owned it, a thrice-married Tennessee heiress who, in her own words, wanted to end her days ‘like a female Hugh Hefner’ had spared no expense renovating, decorating and staffing the place. Adapted from a disused post office, as the name suggested, the establishment boasted a conspicuously official aesthetic: the bartenders and drinks servers were dressed in a tight pseudo-postal service uniform of short-sleeved shirt and shorts, the bar itself looked like an old-fashioned post-office counter, with each tender having their own ‘window’ through which they would take orders and serve customers, and the MC frequently made post related jokes when introducing the acts. The place was clean, the service was good, the clientele was loud and enthusiastic but also up-market, and the drinks were amazing. What gave it the air of iniquity was that the aforementioned acts were male strippers - or ‘exotic dancers’ if one preferred the euphemism. Which perhaps explained the sometimes raucous reaction of the customers, predominantly female, ranging from college girls out on a lark to more mature women looking for an opportunity to escape the tedium of their everyday lives, projecting their fantasies onto the various well-built, handsome and athletic men who were wholly unlike their surly, work-and-sports-obsessed husbands (or in some cases, ex-husbands). The waiters, also selected for their attractiveness and easy smiles, caught their fair share of tips and attention as well, now and then having to gently remind the more ardent customers that hands were for tipping, not for grabbing. Private dances could also be booked for single women or small groups, offering interested clientele the option of greater discretion and more personal attention. The rules were the same, of course: groping was kept to a minimum, hands off meant hands off, full nudity was out, and the men were dancers, not prostitutes. The Male Room’s management was very conscious of New York’s laws about such things. However… Certain women, and more rarely men, who were in the know, who were rich and discreet and vetted by the owner herself, might learn that certain of the dancers could be... amenable to other arrangements. Nothing to do with the club. What passed between consenting individuals off club premises was none of the management’s business, to be sure. The ‘First Class’ membership was only offered to a select few, and those few never told a soul without first clearing it with the owner, whereupon said soul might likewise be offered such a membership. Ravi strutted off the stage to the accompaniment of screams and calls for him to come back, a wide grin on his perspiration-drenched features as he caught a towel tossed to him by the MC, who clapped him on the shoulder. “Good job, kiddo. They’re gonna need mops and buckets out there. Best Friday crowd we’ve had in awhile. Keep it up, and I’ll talk to the boss about getting you a headline slot.” He grinned, showing several gold teeth, and headed past Ravi up the steps back onto the stage, lifting the mic to his mouth and straining to be heard over the crowd. “Now did Ravi deliver, or did he dee-liiiv-errrr?” his voice boomed as Ravi moved back towards the dressing rooms, passing the next dancer with a smile and a nod. Headline slot meant more pay, better cut of the tips, and more exposure. Sure, the spot would probably be on a slower night of the week, at least to start with, but the disgraced scion of English nobility found that he enjoyed the job. He liked the hunger he evoked, and the admiration, and the women… yes, indeed, the women. He just generally liked women, always had- and they liked him, or at the very worst hated the fact that they liked him, which was always amusing in itself. One of the staff was waiting for him as he entered the dressing rooms, a middle-aged man named Karl who acted as maitre-de for the club, and as such got to wear a more formal jacket and pants rather than the tight shorts and shirt of the others. As Ravi headed for the shower, the older man barred his path. “Hey, Ravi. Good show tonight.” he said conversationally, eyes flicking round to ensure nobody was listening. “Thanks.” Ravi stopped, realising why Karl was there, and felt a smile growing on his lips. This would either be a private dance request… or a First Class request. Either meant money, and in the latter case, sex. Satisfied they were alone, Karl leaned closer. “Money wants a First Class.” The maitre-de informed him conspiratorially. “How’s she look?” Ravi asked casually, grabbing a fresh towel and tossing the sweat-soaked one into the hamper. “Rich. Hot. Divorced or cheated on, if I’m any judge. First timer.” Karl said with the authority of a man who’d been doing this job for a while. “Could be a golden ticket if you play it right, m’man.” “Tell her I’ll be right there.” Ravi nodded, starting past him. “Said she wanted to meet you before you shower.” Karl’s voice stopped him. Ravi looked back, quizzically. Sure, it could be said possessed a certain... primitive allure as he was, with his hair hanging lank, skin glistening with perspiration, but it was nothing compared to when he’d cleaned up. Karl shrugged, and Ravi did likewise. “Fine, then.” he said, tossing the towel back on the pile. “Which room?” “Sorting Room.” Karl replied, referring to the sign above the door of the space in question. When Ravi entered the Sorting Room a couple of minutes later and closed the door quietly behind him, the booming bustle of the club dropped away and all that remained was a muted, muffled thump from the bass beats of the next act’s music. Inside, the walls and ceiling were mirrored, a low circular stage in the center of the room surrounded by comfortable couch seating that, with the soft lighting and the distant throb of the music, lent the room an atmosphere of sensual intimacy. The ‘Joan’ sat across from the door, a flute of champagne in one manicured hand and an open bottle in an ice bucket next to her. Stepping more fully into the room so she could see him, Ravi studied her, noting the stylishly done-up red hair, the short leaf-green dress with its plunging neckline and matching heels and purse. Her makeup was flawless, her skin naturally pale and needing little in the way of enhancement, her grey eyes luminous in the dim lights. He judged her to be perhaps thirty, though she could be a well-preserved forty; if so the years had been kind to her, for she was still beautiful. It was around the clear grey of her eyes that the first cracks appeared in her veneer of classy calm. The whites were slightly reddened, the mascara faintly smudged, as if she had ruined it with crying, wiped away the mess, then reapplied it over damp skin. Ravi stepped closer still, looking down at her as she let her gaze travel up his body, lingering for a moment at waist level before moving upwards, taking in the long dark hair hanging lank around his chiselled features before, finally, meeting his eyes. She drew in a breath that quivered softly as their eyes met, the glass in her hand trembling faintly as she drank from it, still looking into the green-gold pools of his gaze. Her tongue moistened her lips before she spoke. “Your eyes… are they real?” quavered a soft voice hesitantly, educated, composed despite the tremor it carried. “As real as yours.” Ravi replied softly, noting the almost timid way she looked at him, her eyes darting away from his before being drawn inevitably back into his gaze. She was nervous, that much was obvious. This was not something she had done before. He sat down on the edge of the low stage, facing her, and waited. “I… I saw you dance.” she said in a rush. “Two nights ago, I mean. Not tonight. And I asked if you were available for… for…” “First Class service?” Ravi supplied, smiling a little as a flush rose in the pale cheeks and her eyes dipped demurely. He let his own gaze wander down the faint blush of her throat and the pale cream of her bosom, noting the gold crucifix on a chain around her neck. Idly, he wondered how religious she was, and whether that was behind her reticence as much as anything else. “I need… My friends say I need a... To…” She paused as he raised a hand, then slipped from his seat and went down on one knee before her, leaning forward to look her in the eye as he took her free hand in both of his. “You don’t need to explain yourself to me.” he said softly, his voice smooth and low. “Not if you don’t want to. Just tell me where you would like to meet me.” He gently caressed the back of her hand with his fingertips. “My apartment.” she answered, her eyes shining as they met his, her expression somewhere between grateful, excited and fearful. “It’s downtown. Here.” Reluctantly disentangling her hand from his, she reached into her purse and produced a card. It was floral patterned, a name, number and street address embossed on the card. “Sienna Walker.” Ravi read from the card, looking up to meet her eyes as she shook her head. “No, it’s Hall, now. Uh… My husband - ex husband’s name was Walker. I need to get more cards made.” she was babbling now, and Ravi once more took her hand in his. “Hall is better.” he said with another soft smile. “May I call you Sienna, though?” “Oh, yes.” she breathed, then blushed as she realised her tone of longing. “I mean, it seems fine, given you… I mean I… We will..” “Be spending an evening in each other’s company, with no expectations of anything other than enjoyment.” Ravi finished for her, seeing her relax a little at his words as she looked into his eyes once more. “Whether that is a glass of wine and some conversation, or… other things is entirely up to you, Sienna.” She blushed just the tiniest bit at the mention of other things, but nodded. Ravi smiled, then brought her hand to his lips and gently kissed her knuckles before letting it slide from his fingers as he stood. “Finish your glass of champagne. It is very good here.” he told her as though he were not mostly naked before her, as though they were dining together in a fine restaurant rather than he being a gigolo she had just solicited. He gave her another dazzling smile. “I will see you later, Sienna.” She was watching him as he left, he could tell. He could feel her eyes, full of that mixture of timidity and hunger, scoring the lines of his form. He wondered if she would go through with the full transaction, or whether she would back out. Either way, she was beautiful and plainly in need of some manner of positive male company. Humming to himself, he went to shower and change. = = = = = = “This was a mistake.” Sienna said, as much to herself as to the handsome young man at the window. Ravi turned from the view over Central Park, studying the woman intently with one eyebrow raised. She still wore her coat, hands clasped as she stood by the lounge’s built-in bar, fingers twining nervously around each other. She wasn’t looking at him - hadn’t looked at him the whole taxi ride here, in fact. Nor had she said more than two words to him, despite him trying to draw her into conversation. They had hurried through the lobby of her expensive apartment building almost as though she was frightened to be seen, and the elevator ride up had been silent and tense - at least on her part. She’d ushered him into the apartment with a murmured “Come in.” - so make that four words - and then turned on some dim overhead lights and headed straight for the small bar in one corner. Whereupon she’d just… frozen as he admired the view - incidentally also watching her reflection in the glass. “Why?” he asked bluntly, wandering away from the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window that offered such a spectacular view and approaching her. “I don’t… I’m not this kind of person.” she said finally, glancing at him fleetingly as he came to lean against the bar, just out of arm's reach. “What kind of person?” Ravi asked in the same straightforward manner, his voice soft, watching rose suffuse her pale cheeks. “The kind that…” she hesitated, anguish twisting her pretty mouth. “Likes men?” Ravi supplied, smiling slightly at the shock that replaced her nervous anguish as she stared at him. “No! I meant-” “So you don’t like sex?” Now the flush turned angry-embarrassed rather than mortified, her grey eyes sharpening as they stared at him. “I mean, we can always play Scrabble.” he went on with an insouciant grin. “It’s your dime, as they say over here.” “I mean I’m not the type of woman who solicits fucking gigolos!” she snapped, eyes flashing now as anger overtook her nervousness. Ravi took a moment to savor the change in her manner, noting how she’d stopped wringing her hands and was straightening up, glaring at him almost imperiously. A formidable woman, when she wasn’t doubting herself. He nodded as though considering something. “So… What other kinds of gigolos are there?” he asked, still leaning casually against the bar. For a moment, she just stared. Then she started to laugh helplessly, her emotions whipsawing from shame to anger to mirth. She rested her hands on the bar, head lowered as she laughed, until her shoulders shook from more than laughter, and sobs mingled with her giggles. At that Ravi stepped forward, sliding his arms around her and pulling her into a hug, feeling her stiffen at first, then relax against him, burying her face against his shirt as she wept for what, he surmised, was likely not the first or even the second time tonight. Her hands clung to his shoulders, trembling a little with her sobbing, as whatever poison was in Sienna’s soul was flushed out with the salt of her tears. “I’m sorry.” she murmured into his shirt, sniffling as her composure started to return. She straightened, futilely attempting to smooth the tear and makeup streaked cotton before looking up to meet his amber gaze. “Don’t be.” he replied, smiling slightly. “It looked like you needed that.” “I did.” she confessed with a small laugh, then another sniff. “And now I need a drink.” she said, mindful of the fact he was still holding her close, and that she had just embarrassed herself. He let his arms slip from around her as she stepped away, nodding as he took a step back himself, resuming leaning against the counter and watching her. She removed her coat, feeling his gaze but not looking at him as she dumped it on one of the stools, before moving around behind the bar’s counter. “I’m having bourbon.” she told him, grabbing the bottle and a glass. “You?” “I shall be guided by the lady.” Ravi replied, causing her to smile as she got another tumbler, pouring a generous measure into each before sliding one towards him. Lifting her own glass, she clinked it against his and wordlessly tossed back half of the contents as Ravi sipped, both of them feeling the warmth of the liquor move through them. Sienna topped up her drink, then relaxed somewhat, leaning against the other side of the counter from Ravi, watching him watch her. “What?” she asked, feeling heat in her cheeks at his stare and hiding it with another sip from her glass. “How long?” At her blank look, he held up the ring finger on his left hand and waggled it, nodding towards her own hand holding the tumbler. Sienna glanced down at the band of pale skin marking where, some might say, the best years of her life had been wasted. She wasn’t so sure. Marriage to Tom Walker hadn’t been terrible - indeed, if it had she’d likely not be so distraught. She’d met him right out of college whilst interning at a merchant bank where he was a junior accounts manager, just a few years older than herself. They’d become work-friends, then friend-friends, then he’d asked her out, and for the first few years everything had been great. His rise in the office hierarchy had been meteoric, his keen head for figures and ability to shake the right hands and close the right deals contributing to that, and when they’d decided to have their first child he’d been very firm that whilst Sienna absolutely could keep working, his preference was for her to look after herself, the baby and the home. After some thought and discussion, she’d agreed, and hadn’t really regretted it. “How long married, or how long divorced?” she asked bluntly, her voice feeling raw in her throat, fingers tightening on the glass in her hand. “Yes.” Ravi shrugged, still watching her. She gave out a snort of laughter. Together, her and Tom had had a lovely daughter, who went to the best schools and was currently at Stanford… and then, almost twenty two years after marrying Tom, Sienna had found out about the affair. Affairs, plural. And after confronting her husband, she discovered that the affairs had started about the time she became a mother. And the why… the why burned in her soul. “Twenty one years, and four months.” She said, refilling her glass and taking another swallow of the fiery liquor. “He cheated.” It wasn’t a question. Sienna nodded, and Ravi echoed the nod more slowly. “I’m sorry.” “Yeah. So am I.” She propped herself against the counter, leaning closer to him, watching the play of light in his yellow-green eyes. “What about you?” “What about me?” he asked, changing the inflection and emphasis of the question slightly. She smiled a little. “Is your name really Ravi?” “Absolutely.” A smile, a sip of his drink. She watched his lips as he tasted the bourbon. “Is the accent real?” She asked challengingly. Focus on him. Focus on something that didn’t hurt. The warmth from the bourbon in her stomach was mingling with a different warmth. He was beautiful without being effeminate. His voice was soft, but resonated with some manner of purring subharmonic. He was watching her, but not dispassionately. Showered and dressed in well-fitting, classy clothes, he looked nothing like a stripper. He looked elegant, but the memory of him covered in perspiration, his hair lank with sweat following the sinuous, stretching dance he’d performed was seared in her mind’s eye. That, she felt intuitively, was the real man. The elegance, the urbanity, was an overlay atop something primal and raw. Something dangerous. “As real as my eyes, and the rest of me.” he answered with a flash of a grin. “You don’t look English. I mean-” she flushed a little but continued. “You look…” she gestured with her fingertips. “Exotic?” Ravi suggested. As she nodded, he shrugged. “I come from a mixed bag.” “You sound educated. Why do you work as a- Well, why do you do this work?” “You sound educated too. Why did you solicit me?” He answered calmly. “I asked first.” she riposted. “Because I like to show off, I like women, and it would utterly shock and disgrace my family if they knew - or cared.” Ravi replied, smirking slightly. “Now you.” She hadn’t been expecting an answer, at least not a real one, and it threw her off balance for a moment. She took a sip of her bourbon, grey eyes watching him over the rim of the glass, then as the glass lowered she shrugged. “All my male friends are Tom’s friends too. And… I don’t want a relationship, not yet. But I do want… or need… to feel-” she hesitated under that gaze, feeling her cheeks crimsoning. “Desired.” she said through suddenly dry lips. He didn’t answer for a moment, and then slowly put down his tumbler. Sienna’s eyes followed it, then flicked back up to his face as he straightened from his repose. She felt her heart thudding against her ribcage like the flutter of a trapped bird under the weight of his gaze. There was gentleness there for sure in his expression, but there was also hunger lurking in the golden pools of his eyes, something entirely carnal. She found herself straightening up also from where she was leaning over the bar counter, very aware of herself, her body, in that moment. Ravi half-turned, holding his hand out towards her as he took a step away from the bar. He said nothing, simply watching her expectantly, patiently. Sienna’s glass made a soft click-clack sound as she set it down with a hand that trembled, and she took a breath before stepping around the counter, smoothing her dress nervously with her palms, before reaching out and taking his hand. He drew her close, and she half-closed her eyes, face tilted upwards in expectation of a kiss, only to look down again as he guided her hand to his shoulder, then took her other hand in his before resting his free hand above her hip. “Are we dancing?” She blinked, looking up at his face. “We are.” he smiled, moving closer so their bodies were nearly touching and swaying gently. She could faintly smell his cologne, something woody, expensive if she was any judge, and could feel the heat of his body as an almost physical force pressing against her. “There’s no music.” she protested, laughing softly, a little drunk on bourbon and him as she met his eyes again, but her feet and waist picked up the rhythm of his swaying as she spoke. "Is there not?” came the reply as the hand on her waist slid around to the small of her back, drawing her even closer. She sighed, breathing out and trying to calm that fluttering in her heart and relax against him. Sienna rested her head against his collarbone and closed her eyes, feeling a steady drumbeat in her ears, and realised that her feet and his were moving in time with that steady cadence. She wasn’t sure how much time was passing, only aware of how her heart was settling down - beating faster but not the panicky tremors of before. She felt… safe? Safe to be herself. Opening her eyes once more, she glanced at the reflection of the two of them in the glass of the mirrored wall behind the bar. Who was that woman, dancing with the tall elegant young man? She didn’t look like a mature woman of over forty years, a mother and a jilted wife. She didn’t look like the woman who, grim-faced and resolute, had gotten ready to go out tonight as though preparing for battle. This woman had natural colour in her cheeks, her eyes sparkled in the dim lighting of the lounge. She looked younger, less careworn somehow. She looked... Desirable. A rush of heat accompanied that realisation, the nervousness of earlier replaced by an entirely different tension as she turned her face back up to regard Ravi. The shame of earlier was gone. She didn’t note his youth relative to her own in that moment. She didn’t feel old at all. She felt alive, eager… a hunger of her own rising to complement the glimmer of carnality in his own gaze. She stopped swaying to the unheard music, her hands sliding up and over his shoulders, feeling the tumble of his long dark hair over her fingers as they traced up the back of his neck, pulling him down slightly. Rising on her toes a fraction in her heels, her lips sought his. The kiss was gentle at the outset, despite being underlaid with that same eager hunger each partner felt. Lips moved against one another, tongues gently teased, and Sienna was deliciously aware of the hardness of the body under the clothes, of his hands roaming down the slice of bare back exposed by her dress, the fingertips toying up and down her spine, going lower each time. With a muffled murmur she pressed herself even closer, mouth asking - no, demanding more from his, her small white teeth nibbling at his lip before she opened her lips wide against his in mute invitation. His answering kiss drew the breath from her lungs and ignited fresh heat in her belly, something long dormant inside her uncoiling like lazy feline energy, becoming taut and predatory as it awakened. With a gasp she broke the kiss almost roughly, her hands locked in his hair as she stared up at him, catching her breath. Her mind spun, and she knew that this was her moment of decision. Was it enough? Was the interest, and the conversation, and the kindness of the handsome man enough? Was the kiss that still tingled on her reddened lips enough? Again she caught sight of her reflection. No. No it was not. Not even nearly enough. She stepped away, taking his hands in hers and tugging him along with her. He resisted, just a little, forcing her to stop and look at him, to answer the question in his gaze. “Yes.” she murmured, nodding. “Yes, I’m sure.” Holding her gaze a moment longer, Ravi inclined his head and let her lead him to the bedroom.
  5. Join us as we delve (see what I did there?) into the process of Ptolus being printed and assembled, with … Cypher Chronicles, vol. 14-2021 The post Cypher Chronicles, vol. 14-2021 appeared first on Monte Cook Games.
  6. 1240, Marias Medical Center "Really, I'm fine." Tawny protested, sitting up in the hospital bed and smiling at the tall, handsome young man who'd come bearing flowers. "They're lovely, though." the golden-haired girl admitted, looking at the vase next to her bed and then at Jacob. "They're sort of an apology." Jacob sat down in the chair by the bedside, smiling at his Homecoming date despite the nasty-looking faded bruise that covered one side of his face. He fiddled with his hands, looking down at them, then at her. "I'm sorry I couldn't-" Tawny leaned over and placed her hand on top of his. "Jacob, there's nothing you could have done." she told him in an earnest, yet gentle tone. "It was... Well, he was out of your weight class." she said, remembering some boxing jargon she'd heard an uncle use once. "I know." The warden's son smiled ruefully, then sighed. "That doesn't make it easier, somehow. I'm not really used to feeling..." he shrugged, looking away. "Helpless." Tawny finished for him, nodding in understanding as he looked back to meet her eyes. "Join the club." Jacob smiled a little at her. "I'm glad that... You know." he said, indicating her. "You're alright. That they were able to save you." The 'they' hung between the two, each trying to decide what the other might know. After all, Tawny was Devin's friend, and Jacob was Autumn's ex, right? Surely, each reasoned, the other was in on 'the Secret'? Jake had been listening last night when Bannon had brought Autumn home, when his dad and the Keanes had sat down with the strange kid and discussed horrors and miracles. It hadn't really been explained why the creature that had been Cody had taken Tawny or Sophia, though. Or killed Charlie Cole. There were answers the stoic young man needed, and he wasn't even sure what the questions were yet. Or who to ask. For Tawny, it was similarly confusing. She knew why Cody had taken her, of course. He'd ranted about it, grinning that mirthless razor-filled grin at her. She'd tried to focus, to use her Shine against him, but her terror had scattered her concentration like leaves before a wind. She knew that Devin and his friends, the Fellowship as they called themselves, had come for her. Deej and Emjay had visited earlier today, Devin being as sweet as always and Marissa... almost kind. "I'm glad too." she said softly. "It was..." she remembered the cold grasp of the Tree on her, not just her flesh but her soul, and shivered. "It's over now, anyway." "Yeah." Jacob nodded, frowning a little. "I guess." = = = = = = = Deep in thought as he left Tawny's room, hands in the pockets of his jacket, Jacob almost missed another tall, though much sparser shape as it strode down a side corridor and turned out of view. Had that been... He hurried to the junction of the two hallways and glanced left, seeing his quarry as it turned another corner, this time into the main lobby. Tall, slender, shaggy hair... "Bannon!" The other stopped, glancing over his shoulder as Jake Crocker caught up with him, not missing the scar that traversed the ice-eyed youth's cheek. That was new - it must have been from the battle last night, Jake reasoned, his gaze focusing on it for a moment before meeting Bannon's eyes. "Crocker." Jason inclined his head, eyes narrowing as he considered. "Visiting Tawny?" "Yeah." Jacob said, falling into step as the two teens continued on their way out of the hospital. "You?" "Had to speak with some people." Jason said by way of reply. Either he didn't want to talk about it, or it wasn't Jacob's business, or both. The warden's son eyed him as they moved into the parking lot. "Some people, huh?" "Yes." Bannon's reply was as informative as the previous one, and his expression was... well, Jacob never wanted to play poker against him. It was like trying to read a wall. He stepped ahead and turned, raising a hand without touching Jason to bring them both to a halt. "Okay... so. Look, I know there's stuff going on." he said. "And I know it's weird stuff. And I want to help. So what can I do?" "I don't know. What can you do?" Jason inquired, fixing the taller boy with a level gaze that was neither hostile nor friendly. In the face of the question, though, Jake paused, his shoulders sagging slightly. "I... dunno." he admitted, thinking, throwing a glance at the twin icy emeralds currently appraising him and finding no succor there. "I mean... I don't even know what's going on, really. Just stories and snippets, and what I overheard. Which sounds... crazy." Bannon didn't say anything, merely looked at him. "Look, Autumn thinks the world of you, that's... uh... pretty obvious. And it's not just a girl-boy thing." he went on hastily. "I just want..." "To understand." Jason said quietly. "You are lost right now, and you're not sure what is real and where you fit into things. Understanding would help you." He paused, considering. "But it is not my place to just dump everything on you. We have a sort of... unofficial rule, I suppose. You are Autumn's oldest friend. As with her family, it would be a trespass for me to tell you what was going on without her consent." "I guess that makes sense." Jacob frowned, considering the angular features of the other youth. "I don't like it though." "Nor did Dana." Jason shrugged slightly, lips twitching in a smile. "She asked me yesterday, before everything happened, to tell her what was going on. I told her the same thing I am telling you - you should speak to Autumn. Possibly on another day." he added, eyes narrowing in thought. "Today is not likely to be a good day." "Right." Jacob wondered at that, but stored it away for later examination. Bannon was still staring at him, and Jake remembered himself. "Oh, right." he said, stepping out of the way. "Hey... Thanks. For talking to me. Or... not talking to me? Listening to me? Whatever that was." "A gift of time." Again, that weird glimmer of humor in those depthless eyes. "You are Autumn's friend. It is the least I can do. See you later." "Right." Jacob shook his head as he watched Bannon head over to the gleaming muscle car he drove. "Shit." he said softly, grumbling as he turned and headed for his own car.
  7. Now available in print from DriveThruRPG: Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad Collected Volume for Scarred Lands! Pay Heed to the Wisdom of Yugman the Sage A century and a half after the Divine War, the titans lay defeated and scattered across Scarn and beyond. As the people of Ghelspad work to build a new world on the war-torn remnants of a fallen paradise, new heroes rise, and new threats emerge. Yugman the Sage brings an overview of these new heroes and villains, as well as the tools they use to rise to power. Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad contains: 21 new Social Backgrounds expanding the sects & societies introduced in the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide23 new subclasses, with each base class represented6 new Races and a revised Hollow LegionnaireNew Spells, True Rituals, Magic Items and more! Also available in PDF: Storypath System Preview (2021)! The evolution of the Storypath system is tied to our work on the Trinity Continuum, a world of hope, heroism, and peril, and Scion, a world where the children of the old gods walk the earth. Early on, we found that both new editions of these games had similar system needs, because their characters are larger-than-life and fight in epic battles on a grand scale. We knew we needed a system that could accommodate everyday citizens on the street, superheroes soaring above skyscrapers, and gods of the sun and sky, but we also wanted rules to help facilitate the connection between the player-characters, their organizations (Allegiances for Trinity Continuum and Pantheons for Scion), and their values. To move forward, however, we needed to take a step back, because the first editions of the Trinity Continuum and Scion used custom variants of the Storyteller System which powered Vampire: The Masquerade and other classic White Wolf games. Despite the differences between those variants, however, at its core the Storyteller System was designed chiefly as a horror game for creatures that could be effectively fought by human opponents. In other words, the Storyteller System is great for vampires, but it didn’t excel at portraying superheroes…or gods! To us, this meant that the stories of these action-adventure games were hindered by their original systems. The Storypath System was designed as a new set of rules, inspired by the legacy of the Storyteller and Storytelling Systems, in addition to other story-centric rules. The Storypath System keeps the focus on narrative, story-built play, and action-adventure. It also draws inspiration from a number of other influences that focus on a cinematic high-octane action and storytelling, as well, to create a streamlined experience for epic stories. Within these pages, you’ll find a preview of the rules and examples for both Scion and the Trinity Continuum. We hope you enjoy the new Storypath System and are inspired to roll the dice and tell great stories! Sales Cavaliers of Mars rulebooks and screens are on sale across IPR, Studio2, and DriveThruRPG until April 14th! Cavaliers of Mars (Indie Press Revolution, Studio 2, DriveThruRPG)Cavaliers of Mars GM Screen (Indie Press Revolution, Studio 2, DriveThruRPG) A Festival of Blades: A Cavaliers of Mars Jumpstart (DriveThruRPG) Crowdfunding Update Two weeks ago we launched the Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Kickstarter, and we funded in 3.5 hours! We’re currently at 239% of our $35,000 goal, thanks to our 1322 backers! Kickstarter’s new built-in Add On utility is a real help. We’ve hit the following stretch goals: Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Storyguide ScreenTrinity Continuum: Adventure! Jumpstart: With 6 ready-made charactersAdventure! Addendum: Sensational hideouts, Strange New LifeThrilling Tales!: A scenario PDF featuring playable chapters from the Adventure! audio drama: Deadly Eclipse! and Terror from the Skies!Backer T-ShirtDigital Wallpaper Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scarred Lands: Dead Man’s RustScion: Scion: DemigodScion: Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the MythosThey Came from Beyond the Grave!: They Came from Beyond the Grave!Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Legendlore: LegendloreWorld of Darkness: WoD: Ghost HuntersMage: The Ascension: Technocracy ReloadedMage: The Ascension: M20 Victorian AgeChronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The RenegadesChronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd EditionChronicles of Darkness: Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition Community Spotlight The following community-created content for Scarred Lands has been added to the Slarecian Vault in the last week: Ghelspad: Ghelspad Ensemble: Soldiers and MercenariesYour product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Realms of Pugmire has been added to Canis Minor in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Storypath has been added to the Storypath Nexus in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  8. How’s your March been? Crossroads Continent: Peoples of the Crossroads Continent (print)Scarred Lands: Vigil Watch (advance PDF)Scarred Lands: Spell Cards II: Yugman’s Guide (print)Scarred Lands: Item Cards IV: Yugman’s Guide (print)They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Monsters of the Deep (PDF/print)They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Storypath Tasty Bit: They Came from Outer Space! (PDF)Trinity Continuum: Adventure!: Tales of the Æon Society 5: A Deadly Trap! (audio)Trinity Continuum: Adventure!: Tales of the Æon Society 6: Zorbo’s Evil Plan! (audio)Trinity Continuum: Adventure!: The Collected Tales of the Æon Society (audio)Chronicles of Darkness: Time is Come Round: The Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (advance PDF) Oh yeah, and we announced a Scion TV series is in development. Merch Dark Eras art: Beneath the Skin (journals)Dark Eras art: Requiem for Regina (journals)Dark Eras art: Fallen Blossoms (journals)Dark Eras art: Lily, Sabre, and Thorn (journals)Dark Eras art: Doubting Souls (journals)Dark Eras art: A Grimm Dark Era (journals)Dark Eras art: The Ruins of Empire (journals)Dark Eras art: A Handful of Dust (journals)Dark Eras art: God’s Own Country (journals)Dark Eras art: Into the Cold (journals)Dark Eras art: The Bowery Dogs (journals) Sales It’s March Mystery Month on DriveThruFiction! Save 25% on a number of Onyx Path fiction titles until the end of the month! We’ve also got some titles in the Classic Digital to Tabletop RPGs Event, although technically in this case it went the other way around. If you enjoyed classic games like Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption, you’re currently playing Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, or you’re looking forward to the upcoming Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife, there are some titles here for you! Crowdfunding Update Last week was rough: we launched our Kickstarter for Trinity Continuum: Adventure!, with about a 12-hour overlap before our Indiegogo for Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition: Victorian Age ended! Victorian Mage funded in just under 21 hours, and ended with almost exactly 300% with $104,045 of our original $35,000 goal, thanks to our 1294 backers! We’ve reached the following stretch goals thus far: Backer T-ShirtVictorian Mage Jumpstart: Jumpstart scenario, plus Instant Mages x2Penny Dreadful fiction (2004) added to backer rewardsVictorian Mage digital wallpaperBizarre Tales and Unusual Characters: Expanded Bizarre Tales, Expanded Unusual Characters x2Victorian Age: Vampire trilogyVTT Tokens and Assets: ExpandedArt budget increase!Weird Wonders & Revolutionary Magick Is that not enough? Well, we have good news: When the BackerKit goes live, in an Onyx Path first, we’ll continue to count BackerKit preorders towards the Indiegogo pledge totals for 60 days so we might be hitting even more stretch goals! On the Trinity Continuum: Adventure! front, we funded in 3.5 hours, and are currently at 213% of our $35,000 goal, thanks to our 1191 backers! Kickstarter’s new built-in Add On utility is a real help. We’ve hit the following stretch goals: Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Storyguide ScreenTrinity Continuum: Adventure! Jumpstart: With 6 ready-made charactersAdventure! Addendum: Sensational hideoutsThrilling Tales!: A scenario PDF featuring a playable chapter from the Adventure! audio drama, Deadly Eclipse! Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scarred Lands: Dead Man’s RustScion: Scion: DemigodScion: Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the MythosThey Came from Beyond the Grave!: They Came from Beyond the Grave!Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Legendlore: LegendloreWorld of Darkness: WoD: Ghost HuntersVampire: The Masquerade: Cults of the Blood GodsMage: The Ascension: Technocracy ReloadedChronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The RenegadesChronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd EditionChronicles of Darkness: Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition Community Spotlight The following community-created content for Scarred Lands has been added to the Slarecian Vault in the last month: Ghelspad: Aerial CavalierGhelspad: Troubadors & Tenders of the Grove, Pugilists and Pact-MakersYour product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Realms of Pugmire has been added to Canis Minor in the last month: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Storypath has been added to the Storypath Nexus in the last month: Scion: Easter BunnyYour product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  9. Okay, XP awards for the Project are below, along with commentary. Remember, the range is from 3 to 6. Autumn: 6 XP - Cogent explanations of what motivates the character, good examples of each Core Value in play, and the 'synergy' addition was a nice touch. Nicely done! Bannon: 6 XP - In-depth explanation of each Core Value as it relates to the character, along with 'dark' flipsides to most of them, plus examples. I'd give you more XP, but my hands are tied, dude. Cassandra 6 XP - The bulleted 'pros and cons' show that the exercise was understood, and the examination of each Value was coherent, showing us what drives Cass. Good job. Cade 4 XP - I liked the obvious thought you put into this, and the explanations were coherent, and the 'Conflict' bullets was a nice layout decision. My issue comes from some of the listed conflicts not being recognisable as deriving from the Value they accompany. 'Cade likes a challenge, but likes things to be easy now and then' is an example of this - it doesn't hang together and causes the reader to scratch their head a little. Now, if you'd chosen to put which Values conflict with other Values ("Cade's valuing of Leisure conflicts with his Valuing of Achievement" as an example) as well as how each Value causes problems by itself, I'd have no issue awarding 5 or even 6 XP. Nevertheless, good effort, and I feel you understood the core premise. Well done. Jaunt 5 XP - Liked the interview theme, and there was a good insight into Jaunt's makeup there. It wasn't as easy to parse as the others so far - largely because when I'm reading Jaunt's 'voice' I can never be certain if he's telling the truth or not, just like the interviewer. There's a massive instinct for me to just take it with a pinch of salt. How much is him blowing smoke, and how much is genuine? But the interviewer's notes helped there, so eventually I shrugged and decided to take it all at face value. I'm dropping a point because the non-Core Values weren't really explored at all. You listed them, but didn't examine them (even briefly) from the POV of the character. Despite that, a good read. Nicely done. Kat 6 XP - Very good. I enjoyed the insights, sometimes rambling, into the character. It was like Kat was giving us a tour around Kat's head as a third party. Good job. Sean 5 XP - This was a tricky one. I liked your explanations of each item on the list, and you plainly thought about Sean's Values. I think I'd have liked to see a bit more exploration in-depth with the Core Values, perhaps with examples given of them coming into play. It just seemed a bit rushed and brief. Still, very nearly a 6, so well done. Marissa 5 XP - Similar format to Jaunt's, which makes sense and was a good read. I had the same initial problem as with Jaunt - my reader's instinct that if Marissa's lips are moving she can't be trusted - but again, I just set that aside and took everything as if she was telling the truth. You lost a point when it came to the non-Core Values, though. No list or exploration of them. The Project did call for each of the ten Values to be included, however briefly. As with Jaunt, despite all that it was good.
  10. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jenkins and Tate Entertainment Announce development deal for live-action tv series based on the Scion role-playing game by Onyx Path Publishing Rich Thomas, founder and creative director of Onyx Path Publishing, in conjunction with Jenkins and Tate Entertainment announced a new partnership today. Jenkins and Tate Entertainment will be developing a live-action tv series based on the Scion role-playing game by Onyx Path. “We’re truly excited to be developing this adventure series for TV in collaboration with Onyx Path.” said Brian Jenkins. “We are looking forward to working closely with them in order to bring the world of Scion to life.” Scion is a game about Gods and humanity, and everything in between. It’s a game about mythic Deeds and the reasons people talk about those mythic Deeds. Its first edition was published in 2007, and it quickly gained an enthusiastic following, winning the ENnies Game of the Year award. Now available in a new edition using Onyx Path’s Storypath System, Scion 2nd Edition offers a modern mythical setting to tell heroic tales. “Find your destiny and embrace the myth… on your TV screen! We at Onyx Path are thrilled to announce that our friends at Jenkins and Tate Entertainment are officially developing a live-action TV series of Scion!” said Rich Thomas. “From logo design to questions about props, these folks are huge Scion fans who want to get the important elements of Scion right. We can’t wait to tell you more about when you can see living, breathing children of the gods in your living room!” The creative teams at Onyx Path Publishing and Jenkins and Tate Entertainment are hard at work collaborating on the series pitch and will have more details to reveal in the coming months. About Onyx Path Publishing: Founded in 2012, Onyx Path Publishing is a Pennsylvania-based company dedicated to the development of exemplary, immersive worlds. Working with a group of amazingly talented creators, we explore print, electronic and other forms of media distribution to produce games and fiction based on the Scarred Lands, Pugmire, Scion, Trinity, Exalted, World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness properties. With over 20 years of publishing experience from which to draw, we are industry professionals who love the art of the game and plan to continue making meaningful, innovative contributions in the years to come. On the web: http://theonyxpath.com Twitter: @theonyxpath Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheOnyxPath About Jenkins and Tate Entertainment: Here at Jenkins and Tate our aim is simple, to create TV shows that are based on popular games and gaming culture. We aim to define the future of entertainment, turning our favourite pop culture-based content into compelling and narrative led entertainment shows based on intellectual property that a mass audience have grown up with and have enjoyed the social aspect it gives their audience. We will aim to combine creative storytelling and innovative technologies to bring these epic stories to life. We are all fans, with an aim of pushing far beyond the historical boundaries of conventional TV, to bring these globally popular stories to mass audiences both old & new. On the web: https://www.jenkinsandtate.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenkinsAndTate/ More information coming soon at: Scion TV.comScion TV Facebook PageScion TV Facebook discussion group
  11. "Hi." The tall blonde glanced at the hand for an instant before seeming to remember something and taking it, her grey eyes coming back up to meet Cassie's gaze with a stare that, yes, was all too familiar. "I do not know you either - but I have heard of you. I am called Ellie." She considered the more petite blonde as their hands parted, her head tilting slightly to one side. "I see now why Devin wants to go to this Homecoming with you. You are very beautiful." she added as Sean entered the room, hustling over to speak with Jason after hastily nodding in greeting to the others. For Cassie, quite aside from the sincere compliment to process there was also the word choices Ellie had employed, something the curious girl's journalistic instincts picked up on. 'I am called Ellie' not 'I am Ellie'. 'This Homecoming'? And of course, there was the composed stance and the eyes, an intense gaze in an impassive face. It was a look of interest, but neither welcoming nor hostile. A predator's stare, missing little. Again, she was struck by how very much that stare reminded her of the lean young man currently sat up in the bed, relaying what had happened to Sean in a quiet voice as his pale eyes watched the rest of the room's occupants. Even though Bannon now and then showed flashes of warmth or wry humor, back before they'd become friends - and that was a weird thought to process also, wasn't it? - he'd looked at her in a very similar way. Just... watchful. Measuring.
  12. Unnoticed, some of the eyes watching the new quarterback putting the wide receivers through their paces were not so much impressed as sullen with resentment. On the benches by the side of the field, Chet, Kieran and a gaggle of the other seniors, all of them three year veterans of the team, were regarding the tall handsome Adonis with something very close to hate. "Guy sticks his dick in Marissa Jauntsen and suddenly he's tearing up the field and walkin' round like his shit don't stink." Chet muttered. "Big deal - like that's an achievement." "Got a good arm, though." Kieran grudgingly admitted, then as Chet glowered at him hastily went on. "I thought he was a baseball fag. What's he doing straying from his lane?" "Guess he figured he's more likely to get scouted round here playing football." Chet replied, watching as Cade sent another impossibly high, fast and accurate pass straight into Dylan's arms. "Doesn't matter why. We just got rid of the fucking glamazon and now we've got this poster boy. QB is supposed to lead the team off the field as well. Can you imagine him at a tailgate party?" There were some smirks at that. "'Hey, guys. This punch tastes funny and someone should tell the girls to cover up. My dad would be mad if he found out.'" Kieran said in a passable Droopy Dog voice. Chuckles broke out. "It's funny, but it ain't funny." Chet said sharply, a scowl replacing his laugh. "We've got a chance in front of us to take the school - Cade playing at being quarterback could fuck it up, especially since we know who's pulling his strings." "The ones attached to his cock, anyway." Another wit put in. "Right." Chet nodded agreement. "The Jauntsens are on the outs. There's just the two of them, and we've got Courtney and her clique backing us up. Wait and see - we'll have Titboy adjusting our grades and Bannon giving us weed to leave him and his ladyboy friend alone." The nods greeting this pronouncement were... less than enthusiastic, not least amongst those who'd been with Chet yesterday in the woods when he'd confronted Shelly High's drug kingpin. Privately, at least a couple of the seniors were convinced that Cody had disappeared over the summer because of Jason Fucking Bannon, and that the rumors of him having drug cartel connections were true. And they'd heard from Chet himself about the hayhook incident. And Chet himself had been laid out by Devin in Bunnee's over some argument or other. Not to mention Marissa was a stone cold razor-sharp bitch who none of them secretly wanted to cross, even if Chet was confident she'd lost her grip on the school. Privately, some of them believed that their fearless leader was simply talking a big game when it came to putting the Jauntsens and Bannon in their place. Some levels of crazy were best left undisturbed. "Yeah, right." Kieran said, not wanting to have that argument with Chet right now. "So what do we do about Alister?" Chet's brow furrowed in thought as he watched Cade throw another pass, then it came to him. "I've got it." he said with a grin, motioning the others to lean close. "It'll take some practice to pull it off right, but here's the plan..."
  13. Shelly's Teen Queen o' Mean left the mercifully unconscious marshals (though not without some fantasies involving a baseball bat and ten minutes alone with each of them) and hustled over to the trunk of her Mercedes, reaching in and fishing out some bottles of water from her gym bag. Long dark hair swaying, she hurried past the still-bemused Ian Keane, who was wearing the expression she'd come to closely associate with parents and adults generally who found themselves thrust into the world of the Weird. It was the look Gar Bannon had worn at the Marias Medical Center when monsters and lasers had been flying around everywhere, best translated as 'What the hell is this, exactly?!' Count yourself lucky, buddy. This is 'just' a shooting - no monsters are trying to eat your face. This is easy mode in Shelly. Marissa snarked to herself as she moved over to where her brother and Autumn knelt by the prone Jason. Devin was staring at the blood-smeared chunk of metal he'd pulled out of his friend, and despite herself Marissa found her gaze following her twin's. Yup, that was a bullet. Yup, that had been in Ja-... in Jas-... in his chest. Almost brusquely, she thrust a bottle of water into her brother's hands, forcing her voice to remain crisp, bordering on sharp. "Here, clean your hands off." she said to both teens, turning and offering her bestie a bottle as well. Autumn's freckled features were pale, her ocean-hued eyes fixed on the reclining boy's face, and the expression of mingled hope/grief/shock in those eyes was almost enough to make Marissa lose it as the redhead knelt there, mutely accepting the bottled water with a nod. Marissa ruthlessly steeled herself as she untucked the last blanket from under her arm and stepped around Autumn, knowing that she was going to see- He looked dead at first glance. The blood was caking the side of his head, soaked into his t-shirt and Devin's hoodie where it was cushioning the back of Jase's skull. The perpetually shaggy hair, which had grown over the summer to almost neck length, that he annoyingly only bothered to comb and otherwise left alone, was matted with dark wet stickiness. Marissa forced herself to look at his chest, to note the rise and fall of his breathing, ignoring the freshly scarred patch over his heart. He wasn't dead, see? she told herself. Nothing to worry about. He was fine. Just fine. Yay for Team Fellowship. She fought down the urge to go back over and tapdance on Dale's throat. She wanted to be wearing proper reinforced heels for that. "Let's clean away some of this blood." she muttered to Autumn, crouching by Jason's head and taking the last bottle of water, un-stoppering it and pouring some over his face. As some of the half-dried blood was rinsed away, the scar across his cheek came into view. It wasn't much - a faint line paler than the surrounding skin by a few shades. No real sign that it had been done by a bullet - it even looked sort of rakish with Jason's cheekbones; still, Marissa was glad she hadn't looked at the 'Before' picture. Her imagination of what it must have been was going to be bad enough. The steady stream of water caused Jase to stir, his eyelids flickering, and Marissa immediately halted, setting the bottle aside and, flapping the blanket open, draped it over the lean shape lying on the ground before standing back up, dusting off her hands and looking around. "Okay." she said with the air of one checking off a list. "Crazies one and two over there are as comfortable as they need to be until the paramedics get here. Big Chief Crazy here looks like he's going to be fine - yet again." she added with a tone that suggested she found that to be an annoyance, as the Sheriff's car rounded the bend, his siren blaring. = = = = = = = There had been no discussion on the matter - Autumn wasn't leaving Jason's side, at least for now. So it was that she rode in the ambulance with the paramedics and her unconscious boyfriend, her father following along behind as the Sheriff set deputies to safeguard the vehicles by the side of the road. By unspoken agreement, Devin rode with Marissa, a spare blanket wrapped around him both for warmth and to protect the Mercedes upholstery. The two marshals were likewise shipped to Marias - Dale on a gurney, still unconscious, her hands twisted charred claws, and the recovering Marshall cuffed in the back of the Sheriff's Range Rover once the paramedics had checked him at the scene. "Hey, I want a phone call." Marshall mumbled from the back seat. "I'm a federal agent - you'd better have a good reason for cuffing me-" "Mister." Sheriff Alister's blue eyes were cold enough to give Jason Bannon's glare a run for its money as the former Marine met his prisoner's eyes in the rear view mirror. "I had a day yesterday, today looks like it's going to be similarly shitty thanks to you, and right now the best right you can exercise would be the right to remain silent, hear me?" "Look," Marshall tried again, pressing his face to the safety grille. "You don't know what he is, what he can do. I saw it. He stopped bullets, man. He set my partner on fire!" "That so?" the Sheriff said, turning off the main road and heading down a side street as they neared the hospital. "That'd be a helluva thing to see, now wouldn't it just?" Marshall realised they were no longer following the ambulance, instead heading down a sloping slip road that circled around behind the hospital. "Hey, where are we going?" "Ever hear of a service entrance?" Alister replied, pulling into the underground parking garage and rolling his car towards the loading dock with the freight elevator at one end. "This is like that, only for dirtbags." The freight elevator doors rolled up, and the wide-eyed Marshal Marshall saw five serious looking dudes wearing military fatigues and carrying guns. The sheriff half-turned in his seat, looking at him whilst jerking a thumb at the soldiers. "These boys want a word with you, son. You're their problem now. Might be that your partner got off light after all." he told the astonished man as the Project security personnel approached...
  14. "I understand, Marissa." Annette's voice was a mixture of reassurance and crisp efficiency as she held her personal phone to her ear, waving at her assistant to get their attention. "We're making preparations now - the attackers will be under our eyes... and so will Jason as soon as he arrives here. We'll make sure only Project staff are attending him - he'll have the best care, and we'll liase with the Sheriff to keep things under control." She paused a second, thinking. "In fact, the redoubtable Sheriff Alister is probably already on his way to you. Work with him, dear. We'll help in any way we can." As she hung up, she looked at Taggart grimly. "I want the attackers I.D'd and their entire life story on my desk as soon as you have them under guard, Major. We need to find out if the other young people are at risk." Taggart nodded, then looked over at the slender blonde young woman calmly sitting in one of the comfortable chairs in Annette's office, watching the bustling Project staff coming and going with detached interest. Though the eyes were grey rather than green, the Major was keenly reminded of Jason Bannon as Ellie - if that was really her name - turned her gaze on him, one brow arching slightly as she (possibly) attempted to discern the reason for his looking at her. Or perhaps she was figuring out how to kill him with the nameplate on Annette's desk - Taggart was reasonably certain either was likely. "The genome sequence test we're running on Jason Bannon's DNA is almost complete." Taggart told Annette, looking at the tablet in his hand. "If the results are as we suspect, what do you want to-?" "He's not to be treated any differently than he was before." Annette said firmly. "At least until we have a quiet moment to speak to him about it." "Right." Taggart nodded, before turning and heading back to the command center.
  15. He never dreamed. Perhaps it was a function of his mind, the way he'd trained and expanded on his already-prodigious mental gifts to harness even his subconscious, that area of the hominid mind where every experience, every sight, sound and smell was stored in one large databank, seldom accessed by most, those impressions and the unprocessed emotions they sparked only emerging in chaotic dreams that spoke of depths under the surface. For him, there were no emotions unprocessed, no memories that he could not access consciously. He could walk through a room and, ten years later, close his eyes and be back there once more, recalling the smell of the floor wash and the cologne and old cigarette smoke, looking around and recalling the spines of every book on the shelf he had glanced at. So Jason Bannon didn't dream. He remembered, with his mind in a curious state of REM sleep, lucidly wandering the halls of his mind palace, reliving experiences as his body rested. But not now. The damage to his body and mind demanded more than that and so he floated in black nothingness, a faltering heartbeat from oblivion, unaware and removed from his friends struggle to save his life. And then... the blackness he'd sank into faded away, leaving him in the Atrium, the central chamber of his mental realm, the garden of icons which represented those closest to him. The sunlight from overhead, normally clear, warm and bright, flickered and darkened now and then, red and black streaks permeating the radiance as the darkness which sought to claim him fully fought against the warm flood of power that inexorably pulled him out of its grasp. He couldn't move from here, could barely even look around right now, his minds eye turning as if through tar to take in the garden. The edges of everything looked fuzzy, and then too sharp, and then resolved themselves, the landscape quivering underfoot as things began to settle. And as his consciousness and sense of self began to resume normal service he became dimly aware of pain, though not aware enough to wake up just yet. = = = = = = = Sheriff Ian Alister had literally just settled into his chair in his office when the 911 call had come in. Jason Bannon, shot and wounded, with two unidentified shooters, both also down. As he raced from the sheriff department building and jumped into his Range Rover he wondered if this was perhaps some payback for the teens raid on the Crossroads hidden facility? Should he warn Cade? The Cassidy boy said he'd wiped all the security footage, though, so it was unlikely anyone could have zeroed in on one of the teens who'd attacked that facility this fast. Maybe his drug dealing caught up with him. Perhaps he's pissed off the wrong people. God knew it was more than possible - Bannon was acerbic and dismissive of authority. Still, Alister reasoned, he was Cade's comrade in arms, and the Sheriff had taken an oath to protect and serve. As he gunned the engine of his car and peeled off down the street, flipping the siren on, he was aware of the radio chatter indicating that ambulances and paramedics were on the way from Marias. = = = = = = = "Who was it?" Annette's voice was crisp and authoritative, not betraying her shock or anger at the new the watch officer had just dropped across her desk whilst she'd been drinking her morning tea and getting caught up on things. Her dark eyes, however, were narrowed dangerously as she looked up at the Air Force lieutenant. "Unknown as yet." the officer responded. "Two shooters, both down. Looks like the kid likely disabled them. We intercepted the 911 call two minutes ago, and given the mention of a Person of Interest I thought-" "Yes, thank you." Annette nodded, tapping her fingers for a moment. It was irritating to not know more, but that was hardly the fault of the man in front of her. "Get Major Taggart in here as soon as he can, please. And notify our personnel in the hospital. I want all eyes and hands on deck." As the watch officer saluted and left, Annette repressed the urge to swear like a Malay pirate. Though she'd only known them briefly, the Aeon representative felt a strong sense of personal accountability and almost big-sisterly protectiveness for the unusual and astonishing teens. Someone was going to have a bad day as a result of this, she grimly resolved as she lifted her phone and started to make some calls. Enough was enough. Branch 9 and her own people needed to stop with the territorial pissing match and start looking into how they could best work together with the Fellowship.
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