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Dave ST

IC: S1:E3 "Homecoming"

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Nadya was unusually silent while the others bickered with Beth and looked over the case files. She remembered Micheal's place, she didn't want to see the same... or worse. Her throat tightened at the thought even as a cold fury began to build. There were all sorts of comments and insults around school about Nadya being indiscriminate in who she targeted for her scams and antics, but it wasn't true. Well... at least, she told herself it wasn't true.

Innocence was a precious thing, even Nadya could see that, and so easy to tarnish. She tried to keep her antics aimed at those who could afford the outcome or as karmic payback for being arrogant, assholes, or being far more indiscriminate in who they preyed on than she was. These were just children. Sure, one, or even more, of them could have been totally entitled little shits, but even they didn't deserved to have their organs harvested and then being eaten.

Probably.

"So, what do we have here, a were-chupacabra or something, keeping the livers for a snack or to sell on the black market?" Nadya idly joked, though her face darkened in anger looked slightly green around the edges. She gave Grace a tight smile. "See, I listen in Spanish Class. Chupacabra is totally a Spanish thing - South American at least."

As Beth leafed through the files, Nadya filched her castoffs and gave them her own focused scrutiny. She tried to avoid looking at what used to be kids - she wasn't a medical examiner - instead aiming her attention at the background, looking for anomalous details. Footprints, overlooked detritus, who knows what. This wasn't the first police report she'd ever seen of course, and despite what CSI: Colour-Code City of the Month would have you believe, they weren't able to notice and catalogue everything on site, especially in a smaller department like Salem had.

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"We really should pick this up later," Laure offered to the group.  The blonde over achiever stood up and scooted her chair in.  "We have classes to finish and calculus is not going to pass itself.  She wasn't a mega brain like a few of the others, but she knew a fair amount about medicine, which was strange considering she'd only really known basic first aid up until her Visi... delivered package from her 'father'.  Like all of them, her divine parentage came with a few perks.  Like Austin could identify the depth of water with a single glance, she had a flair for medicine related things.  "Besides, I don't think it's one creature.  Something took the organ, then dumped the bodies, where they would be eaten by something to dispose of the evidence.  The manner in which the organ was removed perhaps?  Anyway, I have to get to class, I will meet up with all of you after school, at the usual place, I'm assuming."

"And what makes you sure?"  Beth asked.

"My... patron, is the God of Medicine."  Laurie slung her book bag on her shoulder.  "I know no more about autopsy photos than any other high schooler out there, trust me.  Except in this case I just know.  What took the organ is not what ate the victims."  They noticed how she refused to state 'liver' or 'children'.  It was an organ, and those lives cut short, young or old, were victims.  "You all try to have good day, all things considered."

 

All things considered was right.  The rest of the day was difficult for the Scions as they were chomping at the bit to find whatever cut those live short and end its killing spree once and for all.  Their peers could tell something as up with them through out the rest of the day but no one really bothered them too much.  Salem was a weird school, one day popular kids and nerds would hate each other and the next were hanging out like besties... so when a collection of students quietly whispered to themselves while waving about a manila folder, no one really paid it much mind.

After school they all gathered at the stables as usual.  Beth came with Nadya and they tried to enter Wolf jumped up on an old wooden cable spool and growled at Beth, baring fangs.  "Hey, Wolf, she's cool.  Chill with the teeth.  Besides, you don't wanna bite her, trust me.  She is salty."

"That's a...uh... wow," was about all Beth could manage.  Having a St. Bernard sized puppy want to eat your face meat before you even made it to the club house was quite the eye opener.

"He's a sweetheart,"  Rachel said.  She passed the two with her typical long confident strides and grabbed Wolf by the muzzle, giving him a side to side jerk.  He pulled away and playfully bit at her hand, raising his paws up to defend himself clumsily.  "Well, the Sheriff said you could help, so... help."  She waved her arms and ushered her into the large horse stable that used to house ten or more horses.  It was in a total stated of disrepair, but it had an awesome second story loft and a few storage rooms that made for great make-out closets... not that any of them were getting much use.

They had another of the cable spools turned on it's side and were using it as a table, along with a few plastic milk crates for seats.  Except Laurie, who insisted on bringing purchasing her own seat from a creditable retailer.  Beth set down her laptop and began.  "Okay, here's what we have so far..."

Just then the sound of an engine roaring to a stop echoed outside the stable.  Fisher knew that car... Rachel did too.  They looked at each other across the 'table' and were immediately on their feet and heading down to the first floor.  Wolf was growling at the stable door, blocking the entry of three members of their rival Band: Eric, Mercedes and Aaron.

"I swear dog, you make a move and I'll turn you into a pair of Uggs."  Eric growled back at Wolf.

Rachel cracked her knuckles.  "Oh, give me a reason Donner.  Give me a reason."

"Guys, woah, woah... c'mon chill... okay?"  Aaron stepped between the his Band mates and those whose hangout they were intruding upon.  "Call the dog, yeah?  We didn't come looking for a fight.  Mercedes... c'mon man, tell em'.

"Aaron's right," she sighed.  It was hard to keep the mean girl persona turned on all the time.  She took a step forward while Eric slammed down one of his 'Ballz' energy drinks.  "Look, Sheriff Farrow's told everyone about this whole thing.  We certainly not on the same social strata as you losers, but come on, these are kids.  We didn't come to fight, we came to help."

"AAAAH!"  Eric grunted and shook his head like he'd just slammed a beer at a frat party.  The carbonation was setting his throat on fire.  "Damn!  That's some good shit... so yeah... like she said.  We can get back to mopping the floor with you guys in deeds later, for now, though, people's kids are missing.  That shit ain't cool.  So, here we are, you're the bosses, where do you want us to start looking?"

Spoiler

However you guys get this investigation going, here's what you know for your relevant posts:

  • All three victims were discovered in Salem Woods (red dots mark the spots).
  • The liver was the only organ actually missing.  Other organs were chewed or partially eaten, but not missing.
  • Bones were cracked or in some cases eaten as well, but a majority of the skeleton remained (just in pieces)
  • Muscle tissue was mostly missing, eluding that the predator was obviously carnivorous.

ScionBodyLocales_zpsmk2swxex.jpg

Now, I know that you guys are not super sleuths and that PBP is difficult because of how the Question/Answer medium works (wait times suck), so I'm going to try and help you guys out to hopefully alleviate some of the hassle.  Here are some things that might help you guys out...

  • Go to the crime scenes and look for clues.  Some of you have super senses and can see things police can't.
  • Examine the bodies.  You have access to Sheriff Farrow's resources, he could probably sneak you into the morgue.
  • Research legendary monsters that deal with livers and children. (wink, wink)

Keep in mind that victimized children is, yes, pretty messed up.  I know.  I just follow where the legends take me.  Usually I go with a prologue to let you guys sorta get an idea of where the story might head and in this case I chose not to because of the fact the children are involved.  In Scion, and especially my games, adult things happen.  Murder, sex, drugs, rape, domestic violence... it's all possible and none of it should ever be taken lightly but everyone was warned at the beginning of the game what could happen.  I joke a lot, but seriously, we're all adults, and we live in a world where bad things happen to everybody, so if ever a subject matter comes up that you are not comfortable with simply tell me 'I'm sitting out this story'.  PBP is like a book, if ever you don't like what you're reading, simply close it and put away.  No hard feelings.

That said, it's imperative you know, as players, that while two more children might be missing in this story, no more children's lives are in danger.  Your characters could sit idly by and sip latte's and the kids would still get rescued.  This story is not timed, nor is it set up for some tragic ending if the PCs fail at a roll.  These are kids after all, c'mon, I'm not a sick bastard.  This story is about pathos.  It's designed to let you as a writer feel and understand what it might be like to chase after a monster when your character knows or feels like the 'clock is ticking'.  That's someone's son or daughter out there, and you're the only with the powers and abilities to bring them home alive.  That's why the story is called 'Homecoming'... not because of the dance... but because the Heroes are going to get some kid back to their families in one piece.  If you don't like how that make you feel, sit it out.  No hard feelings.

Elsewhere in Salem...

Spoiler

"Dude... I dunno."  Todd raised an eyebrow at the television as he tore through another batch thralls on Destiny.  "We've debated the possibility of such occurrences given our proximity and history with the arcane studies that used to take place here... but actual magic.  Niles, it's scientifically impossible.  We've been over this."

Niles pulled a large book out from his back pack.  He was relaxing on Todd's bed while Todd was taking his Warlock through the Vault of Glass with a group of others online.  "I'm not arguing that, Todd.  What I'm saying is that I may have the means of proving, one and for all, if it's possible.  With the Nekyia I may be able to accomplish the impossible."

"Right, right... your dead book thing."  Todd was engrossed in the game, hardly paying attention.  His character was hosed by a Vex Minotaur and had a 30 second respawn time.  He spun around and faced Niles.  "Are you even listening to yourself?  If it's really some ancient book of the dead, what are you gonna do?  Summon an army of zombies or something?  It's fantasy, Niles... those things don't actually happen, no matter how much we'd like them to.  We're loser at school, dateless at dances, and no book is gonna fix that.  We have to wait until after graduation like all the other nerds and start a 'dot com' business so pricks like Donner and Farrow deliver pizzas to us."

"If I got Nadya to go to the dance with me, using this book, would you believe me?"  He was cradling it against his chest like his precious.  If it works, you could finally have Rachel... instead of Billy Troup getting freaky with her in the halls, c'mon, where the justice in this world?  One shot, what could it hurt?"

"You said it was the book of the dead," Todd's character had re-spawned, but with the mention of Rachel kissing Billy instead of him piqued his angst.  "I'm not hooking up with a zombie Rachel... unless it was like that zombie hottie on iZombie... even then only a strong 'maybe'."

"Todd, it's a book of souls.  Souls are the gate way to emotions and feelings, the Nekyia gives me control over those facets of the human psyche..."

"So, free will, basically," Todd elaborated.  "That's going into some dark territory.  Providing this even works, which it won't."

Niles set the book down upon the bed and opened it.  The shadows in the room seemed to darken a bit... but that may have just been Todd imagination messing with him.  "There's one way to find out, and if it fails, we'll forget about the whole thing.  Besides, it's just a book, dude, what's the worst that could happen?"

 

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"Alright, pony up then," Beth said, turning the laptop so it'd be easier for the others to see. "They were all left in Salem Woods, south of the school a ways. For what it's worth, I think Laure's right. The bodies were savaged, but the livers taken out beforehand. Bone marrow looks to be a red herring in this case. The spots the bodies were found in makes a pretty neat little triangle on the Google map."

"So...definitely need more to work with. Knowing how the...excision took place would be good. Annnnd probably should check out where the fuzz found the bodies. It's been a little while now, but whatever they missed could still be there."

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Grace nodded at the other Band from her seat at the spool and shrugged. "Welcome to the team, then. I think the more help, the better. I also think we should split up." She held up her hands before anyone could start quoting horror movie statistics. "Right now we're just gathering info. Some of us know medicine and might pick something up from...from the morgue. We should research what kind of creature likes livers, and I'm not talking about a trip to the zoo. And a few of us can go to the dump sites and see if we can see something the cops missed or couldn't look for. No one goes alone, but we cover three times the investigation in much less time."

She stood up, nervous energy from anger and disgust keeping her at a constant state of uncomfortable. "What'd'ya guys say? I'd be best at the dump sites, personally. Probably so would Wolf."

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"Yeah, there's something pretty nasty in those woods looks like," Beth confirms. "Definitely want the doge out there, and one or two other heavy hitters. I'm thinking that'd be the best for place me too."

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Once the commotion of their arrival had settled somewhat, Laurie smiled at the more experienced Scions and helpfully pointed out a few vacant milk crates and folding chairs. "More help's always welcome," she added, before her sunny expression dimmed in acknowledgment of why they were needed. A relative newcomer, she had already heard of the events that transpired at the Museum of Witchcraft, and was grateful for the continued presence of the other band. Weighing what she'd been told of their behavior and what she'd observed firsthand, along with what she'd gleaned from other sources, she'd developed her own conclusions. While their attitudes may not be everyone's cup of tea, they had been successful, and that merited consideration.

The would-be Disney princess nodded speculatively as she listened to Grace and Beth, inhaled as if she was going to say something, then frowned, apparently deciding against it as she leaned forward in her camping chair.

"Well, there are ten of us now, and five issues that need attention, if we count each..." There was a noticeable pause as Laurie struggled with the notion of dump sites,  unable to bring herself to actually say the words. "Each investigation site in the woods as its own, self-contained location. Beth, you already seem to have a good grasp on the details, and I don't know you very well yet, sooo.... My thought's that you and Fisher would be a good option to work together, since your combined brainpower gives us the best chance at figuring out what's behind this as quickly as possible. Nadya and Mercedes- wait," she interjected as the two girls both started spluttering outraged denials, "please, hear me out.” Hands spread placatingly, the young blonde continued, “I know that you guys have your differences-”

“Understatement of the century,” Mercedes snarked under her breath, glaring daggers at the child of Apollo.

“-but that's exactly why it's the ideal pairing to investigate one of these places in the woods. The two of you have different priorities, so you'll be looking for different things. Together, you can find what each of you might not individually. And,” she shrugged, glancing sideways at the boys present, “honestly, you're both too pretty. If we paired you up with guys, nothing would get done.”

For her part, Mercedes seemed somewhat mollified by this explanation, her perfect brows arching briefly in agreement as if to say, “True.”

“Rachel...” She hesitated for a moment, then forged on. “You and Austin are both strong, focused, and pretty sharp, so the two of you should be able to find whatever might still be in the second site. Your strengths will complement each other, and like Mercedes and Nadya, your differences will, too. ...So, Grace.” Laurie paused for a moment, not in reluctance, but to offer what she hoped was a reassuring smile to the obviously agitated Scion; based on Grace's reaction to the files she'd seen, the morgue was not a good place for her. “I think you're right. Why don't you and...” she glanced back at the young man who'd come with Eric and Mercedes, the one who'd first tried to make overtures of peace when they'd arrived. “...Aaron, I think? Sorry, we haven't really been introduced. Why don't you two investigate the last spot? I was told you're a genius when it comes to anything mystical, Grace, and honestly, he seems pretty reasonable.” Left unspoken was Laurie's hope that Aaron's reputation as Salem High's pre-eminent partymaker would help distract Grace from the awful, tragic events they were investigating.

Straightening in her seat, the idealistic sun-child glanced around expectantly, awaiting either agreement or outright rebellion from the other assembled teens.

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Rachel had been fuming, first the Shriff, then getting saddled with some girl noone knew then haveing the other band foisted on them. She wanted action wanted justice for those kids screw investigation she wanted to kill someone.

Whoa, Rachel where is this coming from, she thpought then she heard her name.

9 hours ago, Laurie Brightman said:

“Rachel...” She hesitated for a moment, then forged on. “You and Austin are both strong, focused, and pretty sharp, so the two of you should be able to find whatever might still be in the second site. Your strengths will complement each other, and like Mercedes and Nadya, your differences will, too.

"Ok Laurie," she spoke after goody two shoes spoke, "We can do that, but Wolf comes with me."

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"Ooo, leadership," Beth snorted as she consulted her GPS. "Telling peeps to do what they're already gonna do...slow clap gif here."

She stuffed the phone back into a pocket.

"Whatever. Study buddy, lets go. You can fight, right?"

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"Yes, I've found it's rather necessary when dealing with zombies and other supernatural monsters." Fisher ground out. He should have been more pleasant, but Beth was completely aggravating him and everyone. It's only the first day, the Sheriff's placing her with us for this very reason, don't want her to become like Eric or Mercedes, but she's already a bitch! Does she think by being a bitch people will like her unironically? Gah!

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"Good deal. Come on."

She led the way out, then headed south towards the crime scenes, occasionally checking her phone again to make sure they're on the right track.

They hadn't gotten very far though before she glanced back at him and said, "Go ahead and say it."

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Fisher shook his head as he realized Beth had misinterpreted Laurie's proposal. "She meant we go and hit the school for research, not the crime scenes. She listed Nadya & Mercedes for the first," and that would be a real gamble there, that the two might refrain from tearing strips off each other (verbally or physically), "Austin and Rachel for the second, Grace and Aaron for the last. Besides, it would make more sense, more of them have super senses. I don't, certainly."

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Beth paused then.

"What, she's seriously in charge? Really?"

She rubbed a hand through her hair. "We don't have to go to the school to research anything. I've got that covered. We might not have super-senses, but it's still easier to figure things out when we can see what we're dealing with. Have you ever tried to get data from someone remotely? It's helllllll and it suuuuuuuuuuucks."

"Too many points of failure! They have to understand what you need! They have to get the right information! They have to communicate it back clearly! Much easier, much faster, much less likely to result in mass murder...if we just look ourselves. We can take pics, so it happened, and take notes, and I'll check my resources...and if we still need big scary leather tomes of forbidden lore only found in the library...we can go back and check those out."

She beamed at him and said in a very phony Russian accent, "Is better this way!"

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"Nyet." Fisher fired back. "This isn't our first investigation, trust that the others know what they're doing. Besides, too many groups will end up tripping over each other if we all concentrate on the same task."

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Beth muttered a profanity in Russian. She didn't actually know the language, but had made a point of learning how to swear in as many as she could find.

"Fine. Lead on. Tell me they at least have vending machines. Without the looming threat of imminent demise to keep me awake, I will definitely need caffeine."

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While the brains bickered, the two practically diametrically opposed hotties glowered stubbornly at each other, neither one willing to concede agreement first. But there were dead kids and two still missing and even Nadya and Mercedes wouldn't let their animosity get in the way of doing what they could to stop more from going missing.

"Fine!" they muttered sharply, their eyes snapping to the other in an accusatory glare at they simultaneously spoke and folded their arms beneath their breasts. "But we're taking my car!"

The two of them glared anew, as if the other was doing it on purpose now. Mercedes tossed her head, ready to argue for her ride while Nadya shook her hands in exasperation. "Oh, gawds! Fine, we'll take your car, Mercy, just gimme a minute."

Nadya pulled out her phone and began snapping pics of the other files. She wasn't interested in the crime scenes or the details of the crimes, but rather focused on the profiles of the missing and dead children and when and where they had gone missing.

"What are you doing, gothling?" Mercedes demanded suspiciously.

"I wanna see if I can figure out if the children were targeted and why, or if they were victims of opportunity," Nadya explained with an irritatingly exaggerated tiresome tone to her voice.

"Why?"

"Bait."

"You want to find another kid that fits the profile - if there even is one - to use as bait?" Mercedes exclaimed in a shocked, angry tone.

The look Nadya shot was full of anger and venom. "You really think that little of me, Mercy?" Nadya asked, using the old nickname she had used when they had once been friends, hurt and disgusted. "No, I'm planning on disguising myself as bait - if I can figure out what it's looks for in a victim - and drawing the whatever-pacabra in instead of all of us running around and trying to hunt it down."

"And then what?"

"I'm hoping you all will lurking around and will jump it and kill it before it extracts my liver and chows down on Nadya-steaks. Like, that's the preferred course of events."

Mercedes gave the shorter girl a dubious glance. "You're small, but I'll reluctantly admit you'll hardly be able to pass for a child."

Nadya gave her a broad, Cheshire Cat grin. "Don't worry 'bout it. I have an app for that."

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"Austin and I will go to the last kids house first and get something that belonged to him," said Rachel to no one in particular as she made a note on her phone of the address of the kid and where he was last seen. "With Wolf we might be able to track him. Let's go Austin. Wolf, come!"

 She started toward the door to the outside and her car.

Wolf looked up at his name being called, glanced at the strangers in his house and growled warning them not to dick around with his shit while he was gone, then trotted after Rachel and Austin to hop into his spot in the back of the white convertible only pausing a moment to sniff at Beth and Fisher as he passed them.

 

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[Rachel & Austin]  Rachel called the Sheriff and hit him up with their game plan.  Overall, he was rather pleased with the idea, certainly easier to deal with than Coach Fingers.  Instead of a couple teens going to the home of grieving parents whose son was missing, with a wolf cub the size of a St. Bernard and asking for their missing child's personal effects... he suggested the he'd meet them a ways from the station and supply them with a baseball cap from one of the missing kids and they could use that instead.  Collecting it didn't take long, it was in a sealed evidence bag, but it was unmarked with no time or date or the usual markings.

"That there is from the Brantley boy, if you think that hound of yours can find him, more power to ya,"  He handed the bag over to Austin.  "Careful with it though, he'll probably want it back.  Good luck, and call me if you find anything."

It wasn't long after they arrived at their crime scene.  The police tape was still up, but it looked like local idiot kids had already been through here and seen what fun they could have with it.  Not a total loss... Scion perception was hardly something that was easily beaten by time, weather, and incompetence.  It was just as they pictured it (and had seen in the pictures).  The ground and leaves were still stained, and there wasn't much left to look at.

What hit them both quickly was the stench.  It smelled like someone had left meat out in the noonday sun for days... but if it were decay, it would have... should have left when the body was carried off...

[Both, Awareness, Success] They soon realized why it was assumed an animal attack.  Across the trunks of a few of the trees three claw marks seemed to be a reoccurring theme.  [Austin, only] The pattern of the claws is indicative of a bird, not any animal native to Salem Woods.  The bird in this case would need to be nearly four feet tall and weight about eighty pounds... so... unless the kid was attacked by a baby ostrich... something else was responsible.

Spoiler

Rachel and Austin have Timothy Brantley's baseball cap.  It has his scent and can be used to track him (hopefully).

You may make additional Perception + Investigation rolls to see what you find.  The Awareness wasn't investigation because those were rather obvious features of the scene.

It's also assumed you guys are texting and sending photos back and forth to one another... because if you're not, I'd be disappointed.  So assume you can communicate via mobile means (talk, text, pics).  Keep in mind, you are technically separate at the moment though.

The sites aren't that far from each other, so you can, in theory run from one to the other in a few minutes (about 1/2 mile apart).

[Nadya & Mercedes]  There was an awkward silence in the car as the two ladies drove to the area around Salem Woods.  They decided to park at the Target and walk the rest of the way.  They were a bit late getting to their site, Mercedes had to go home and get her car, but she had her modestly heeled, knee high, 'legend stomping boots' in the back seat.

"Here, Skank," she tossed an old pair of Chucks at Nadya.  She used the capitol 's' for Nadya's proper name in her eyes.  "I know you think cat-like balance is an excuse to wear insanely high stripper heels twenty four seven, but it's not perfect.  It keeps us balanced, it doesn't stop us from breaking a heel and our ankle along with it... trust me.  Ever tried to keep your balance on a broken ankle?  You make it worse."  While Nadya changed her footwear (they were actually her Chucks, back from... before) Mercedes grabbed her things from the back seat that she kept in a large gym bag.  The handle of her sword stuck out from it, but she didn't seem to mind.

They bickered and bitched at one another, but it was nothing new along the way.  No one was quite sure what had come between Nadya and Mercedes, but rumor had they used to be thick as thieves, long before their visitations.  The crime scene was very similar to the one Rachel and Austin were at, and like the other, kids had already trashed it.  The first thing to hit them was the stench.  "Ugh, Gods...," Mercedes choked.  "Smells like the last time I was in your dad's shop... what is that?"

Spoiler

Same as above.  Mercedes is an NPC and here for support, not to over shadow the PCs.  So Nadya may look around and gain +2 dice to her roll.

You are assumed to have the pics of the claw marks on he trees and quickly notice the theme here too.

[Grace & Aaron]  The children of Tezcatlipoca waded through the trees and crunched leaves beneath their feet as they made their way to the site.  Aaron was surprisingly polite and gentlemanly.  She and he had an interesting conversion along the way that ended with a slight chuckle from the both of them.  He never mentioned his Patron, however and Grace knew she was walking along side her half-brother although he never mentioned a word.

When they arrived they took a few moments to take in the scene as Grace looked at her phone, scrolling through pics in the group text.  "Wow, a monster hunts children, eh?"  He spoke in perfect Spanish, thankful Grace could understand him.  He enjoyed his native tongue, it was unfortunate no one in his Band spoke it as well.  "I looked, there's no Spanish myths that would do this.  There's like a billion legends bout monsters taking kids, so... it could be anything.  White folk are crazy though, eh?  This could be that Snooki lady for all we know."  He shot her a sarcastic smile.  "I'll take a look on that side we meet in the middle, cool?"

Spoiler

Grace may roll, Perception + Investigation for clues.  Add +2 dice to the roll for Aaron's presence.  Plus, everything above..

[Fisher & Beth]  Fisher and Beth made it to the school library where, as they suspected, Mr. Syracuse was still there.  They found a table and set up their laptops, waiting for the information to roll in.  In the middle of the set up Mr. Syracuse came by and set a 24oz. Coke in front of each of them.  "On me," he said with a smile.  "Joining the search for the children I assume?  Good, good.  You're doing a fine thing, let me know if I can help at all."

Spoiler

Research is Intelligence + Investigation.  You two need a lot of successes, and you can roll once now.  The clues the other locate will grant you auto successes in narrowing down not only your search at the crime scenes, but your Google-fuing and book reading to find what monster may have caused this fiasco.

For the record, fictional Google and real life Google are vastly different.  If you use RL Google to take the easy road and try to say you've solved the case... I will be very put off... :angry:

[Laurie & Eric]  No one bothered to ask to what Laurie and Eric would be doing after Laurie assigned everyone to a group so as everyone cleared out they did too.  Laurie offered a 'thumbs up' in the group text to show she was receiving messages, but aside from that she didn't really say much else.  She and Eric were half way to somewhere before he finally chimed up.  "So, uh... where are we going?"  He asked, chugging down another Ballz.  "And how'd end up with those losers anyway?"

Spoiler

Everyone is set, if you need help, I'm in chat or PM me.

Don't be afraid to use the resources I've given you, the NPCs are there to help, not over shadow you.  Sure, they're jerks, but for now they're helpful ones.  They don't roll their skills unless you fail and would like them to.  For now they are assisting you by adding dice to your roll.

 

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"Look at these claw marks Rachel, this was no animal from around here.  This was done by a bird's claws, a bear or anything else woulda been 4 or more,    So maybe some sort of Mutant Harpy?"he sent to her along with a picture, also with his hand by it so she could gauge the size.


They had split up to find out more and cover more ground, and in Austin's case, he was less than useful, doing damn little but wasting his time wandering around.
 

rolled 2d10, results 1,4  botch  

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Rachel looked at the marks that Austin had pointed out. "Okay we got two things going for us, those marks and the Brantly boys hat. Hopefully Wolf can track one of them. Come here boy!"

Wolf pranced up and nuzzled Rachel's leg. Rachel crouched down to eye level and held up the hat. "Wolf good boy, This belongs to a missing boy and we need to find him." She held it so he could get any scent still present. "We need to find him quick in case he is still alive. If he isn't we need to find whatever made these marks. " She drew Wolf's attention tot he claw marks. Wolf growled at them.

"Can you find them Wolf? It's up to you boy. Lead us to them."

Rachel stands and watches as Wolf sniffs one then then other then starts sniffing  the ground.

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Beth pumped a fist and slid into the seat facing her laptop before cracking open the bottle and taking a quick swig.

"You," she informed Syracuse, "have earned a bonbon. One of the super fucking sweet ones, like, with dark chocolate. Or like one of those candy...cherries...inside..."

Her normally rapid patter style of speaking slowed down as she leaned closer to her screen and laid her fingers on the keyboard. A sharp eye would notice those fingers didn't move much though. In contrast, the images on the laptop screen moved very fast indeed. A browser window opened, spawned tabs, and each tab window moved independently, simultaneously conducting a series of searches while Beth just sort of...stared fixedly at the screen.

Abruptly all the activity ceased and she took another big swallow of soda. "Gah."

Then back to the grindstone.

Intelligence + Investigation: 7D10 = [1, 10, 4, 7, 3, 1, 3] = 29


So that's 3 successes, plus the 2 auto from mega-int. 5 on the first roll. Not terrible, but not great compared to the potential rolls. Hoping my study buddy can show me up! :)

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"I don't think it's the Stymphalian birds." Fisher observed, with both the laptop and an array of books around him. "They meet the flesh-eating and Titanic bird qualifications, but the others probably would have found those metal feathers around. There's the tengu, but..." Fisher paused and broke the cap off the bottle of Coke. "Even at their worst, there's no records of them eating people, let alone children."

They needed more information to narrow things down. There were flocks - pun intended - of legendary avian monsters.

Spoiler

Intelligence + Investigation: 8D10 = [1, 3, 1, 10, 1, 5, 10, 6]
4 rolled + 2 Epic Int successes = 6.

I guess having more counts as showing you up.

 

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"Bird may just be something scavenging," Beth observes, her voice slow and halting. "Bodies were attacked after the livers were taken. Maybe narrow field. I'll focus on the liver thing. Can't be many ways to take out organs without making a huge mess. Nothing famous or obvious...maybe local? Something specific to this area... You know how to do Lexis searches?"

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Nadya scowled up at Mercedes after tying the laces on the All-Stars, her All-Stars. What smell? The only thing the pawn shop smelled like to her was home, but Nadya guessed that didn't pass muster with Mercedes and her mother's refined tastes. And while she wasn't so foolish as to not understand that was a time not to wear heels, she'd be lying (hardly a first) if she said she didn't prefer them.

Besides making her legs look longer and awesome, they also boosted her modest height. Before, Mercedes had had barely an inch on her, but that had been before puberty and Visitations. If Mercedes wasn't as tall as Rachel, she still had nearly half a foot on Nadya. Normally, it didn't actually bother her much - it made sneaking around and squeezing through places easier, but standing next to Mercedes, she could help but be irritated.

"Funny, I think it smells like something forgotten on the floor of your car, Merch," Nadya snarked back, playing on Mercedes' love for designer labels, though her face had paled at the stench, remembering Micheal's place. She had been mildly surprised at the detritus on the floor and on the back seat of Mercedes' car. She herself kept her car tidy and spotless inside, junker that it was. "Seriously, it smells... guts. Moldy guts."

Nadya slipped under the police tape, her steps sure and soundless. She had to admit, the Chucks were good for skulking. Broken in and comfortable, even after years, the treads worn smooth, making her traces indistinct. "Watch where you step, Mercy," Nadya warned as Mercedes made her way pass the police tape with a bit more effort due to her greater height and gym bag. She was growing too intent to keep up a good bitching at the moment. "Don't disturb the scene."

Nadya began looking around the crime scene with the eyes of a criminal - just getting into the mindset of course! She totally wouldn't call herself a criminal. It may look superficially like an attack by an animal or creature, but with three dead and two more missing, there was more than just base cunning going on. When she got a text from Austin, it didn't take her long for find similar claw marks. Focusing on her eyesight, she tried looking up to see how high up the trees the claw marks went.

She also tried expanding her sense of smell, in case the grotty stench was something left behind by the attacker instead of left over dead body and viscera reek, and nearly added her last remnants of her last meal to the stench. Bird claws - Big Bird claws. I always knew you couldn't trust the big, happy, yellow bastard. Oscar was always the one who told it how it was.

"Hey, Mercy," Nadya said in a low voice, out of habit when on the scene of dubious legality, "isn't there something out your Divine way about eating bird livers? Or was it birds eating livers?"

Spoiler

Perception + Investigation + Helper = 5d10 +[1] = Perception + Investigation: 5d10x7+1 = 4 Successes

   

 

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Grace nodded at her half-brother, still disturbed by the idea that there were dozens or more half-siblings of hers running around the planet. She'd given up on family so long ago, and her opinion on her heavenly Father was about as low as you could get. Now there was family all over the world, including cousins, and they were all Scions or Gods. So, she concentrated on the task at hand instead. She stepped carefully through the area, looking for clues as to how the child was brought here and any unusual animal markings or anything left behind by something more human. 

Spoiler

Roll(5d10)+0:
9,10,5,10,3,+0
Total:37

5 rolled successes, plus 1 for Epic Int = 6 successes

 

 

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[Rachel & Austin]  The rancid scent of the crime scene aggravated Wolf's sense of smell.  He whimpered and growled at the surrounding air, but nothing in particular it seemed.  When Rachel asked if he could track the boy, he was thankful for the opportunity to leave the area.  His nostrils flared and burned and he tried his best to catch the young boys scent.  Within a few moments, he was running off to the east.

They gave chase as best they could, leaping over fallen trees and sliding under gaps in the trunks.  Had it been under different circumstances the two would have found chasing Wolf to be one Hel of a fun workout.  When Wolf came to sudden stop they were barely able to stop themselves.  They slid in thick mud and looked out at the small lake in Salem Woods.  Great for fishing, if you believed the rumors, but it wasn't very well maintained and more than one death each year was attributed to someone drowning in it's depths, especially when kids took dares to walk the ice in the winter months.

Wolf stared out at the waters, growling.

Spoiler

Nice job using every tool in your arsenal.  Wolf has lead you to the last place the scent is good.

[Nadya & Mercedes]  "As far as I know?  No," Mercedes said, kneeling down she gently sifted through some debris.  "But... ugh, what's her name?  The band girl?"

"Laurie."  Her Romani companion answered.

"Right, her.  She said.  "Anyway, she said that the birds didn't eat the livers, they were removed before the bodies were, um, dumped."  Mercedes was hardly a nice person, but Nadya could certainly tell how hard it was for her to say what she did knowing it was children she was referring to.  Thankfully, it seemed Mercedes wasn't a complete sociopath like she suspected.  "And don't let Eric fool you, we've been at this longer, but we've certainly not done any near as much as he makes it out to be.  Last year was pretty quiet, maybe five or six major battles with titanspawn.  Still not a small number, but there was six of us... it was honestly pretty easy.  Kick down the door, kill the monster sort of stuff.  We didn't do all," she waved her hand.  "This.  It's like they're  getting smarter... and there is a lot more of them this year."

Nadya sifted through some leaves and her vision caught the hint of an off color.  Her fingers pinched the calamus of a deep brown feather.  It seemed out of place.  Its size, shape, all of it didn't seem like it came from a bird around these parts, unless that bird... an eagle or a vulture... massive and weighing several pounds (14-25lbs).  Then the stench hit her nostrils and it almost enough to make her gag.  It was wafting off the feather...

Spoiler

Good roll.  Your successes have been added to Beth and Fisher's rolls in assisting their research.

[Grace & Aaron]  Aaron and Grace sifted through leaves, dirt and upturned stumps and fallen, rotting trees only to come up with nothing.  It was discouraging, but they pressed on.

"So," Aaron said finally, after nearly fifteen minutes of hunting for clues.  "You wanna talk about the elephant in the room, or what?  I'm sure Nadya told you.  Chica can't keep a secret, we both know it..."

As if on cue something caught Grace's eye, a glimmer, a shimmer of something beneath one of the stumps they recently upturned.  She knelt and picked it up.  It was a talon, a bird's talon, long about four inches and curved to rending into flesh.  The most peculiar thing was that it was metal... fashioned from bronze.

"Da hell is that?"  Aaron asked, kneeling down next to her.

Spoiler

The roll was Perception + Investigation, not Intelligence + Investigation, but I'm goign to give it to you this time. :)  Next time, there will be a wedgie and lashings with a wet noodle involved.  Your successes have been added to Beth and Fisher's roll.

[Laurie & Eric]  "Oh, this is gross..."  Eric winced as Sheriff Farrow granted them access to the morgue.

"I can give you about an hour, after that people will wonder where the footage is disappearing to,"  Sheriff Farrow walked towards the exit and turned to finish his statement.  "The ME's gone home for the night, but try and work fast."

It didn't take long for Laurie to be on the case.  Like a professional, she located the MEs reports and pulled the bodies from their drawers.  Swiftly she comapred the notes to the injuries, measuring, taking notes, doing math.  "Eric, did want to assist?"

Eric was on the opposite end of the room, drinking another of his Ballz.  She knew he wasn't going to come any closer and his lack of courage at the sight decaying bodies was nearly comical.  "Nope, nope.  I'm good.  You look like you got it all under control."  He offered up a caffeine belch as punctuation of that fact.

Several more minutes passed until she finally snapped off her latex gloves and tapped her speed dial for Fisher.  "Fisher, it's Laurie, I have you on speaker."

"What do you have?"  He asked.  The sound of pages flipping and keys being tapped in rapid succession made of the background.

"Whatever killed these victims, stabbed them in the liver.  It was a shiv of sorts, cylindrical, roughly the thickness of an ice pick, but I'm guessing longer.  Possibly eighteen inches.  Were that the case it was either a weapon, or a creature standing some nine to ten feet in height.  The..."  Laurie paused, not quite sure how to phrase the next part.  She took a breath and settled on the truth of the matter.  "Feasting that took place after the victims died.  Whatever creature it was was about three to four feet in height.  Unless my math is incorrect, this confirms that there are two separate monsters at work here."

"You got all that..."  Eric approached her warily, motioning from her notes to the corpses. "From that?  Wow, nice.  So we have two asses to kick.  And Fisher, you little fuck wit, don't think I've forgotten about my home-"

Laurie taped the red button on her screen, disconnecting the call.  "Oh, look at that, reception in here is terrible.  So, help me clean up?  There's a few things I've been wanting to talk to you about..."

[Fisher & Beth]  Photo's kept pouring in, texts, phone calls.  The information was in pure overload and Beth was borderline orgasmic.  The pressure was intense and more they sent her and Fisher the harder they dived into the books and internet to locate their answer.  Then Fisher dropped a book onto the table and Beth smiled wide.  They'd found their answer.

The pages, although old and weathered depicted a female roughly three to four feet tall with avian features and wings on her back, like a demonic chicken-angel-lady.  They generally had brownish feathers, smelled terrible, and strangely enough possessed talons of bronze, because the Greeks back then gave everything bronze everythings.  Salem Woods was a Harpy nest.

That didn't solve the murders though, the harpies were only doing what harpies do.  There was still more to the puzzle...

Spoiler

Rachel and Austin might be close to unraveling the second mystery, but what the creature is or how can be defeated is till up in the air.  At this time if you think you know the Legend OOC you may say so OOC.  There will be prizes if you're right.  You get one guess.

Harpies might be on the way, so prepare.  It's a nest... and you guys are smack dab in the middle of it.  Beth and Fisher might want to let everyone else know what they're up against... and possibly to run like hell (or fight like no tomorrow... take your pick).

 

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And another issue entirely, namely the risk of harpy attacks. Fisher immediately sent a text to all the groups out in the Woods.

Guys, it's harpies that are eating the bodies. That is to say, Salem Woods is pretty much a Harpy nest. Get out of there like Sanji out of the island of okamas.

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"Is that...are you...yeah, of course you are. Tell them...wait, I got a phone, I'll tell them. Or shit, I don't have their info. Fuck!"

She scooted around behind Fisher to see what he was writing.

"Harpies, yeah, but tell them about the other thing too." She wiggled her fingers menacingly at Fisher. "The spear-finger."

Clearing her throat, she went on. "They should watch out for...so it can change shapes, but it's supposed to look like an old lady a lot. She'll try to get them to get close. Tell them not to do that. Get the fuck away. If half of this shit is real, she kicks like, seventeen separate asses. Simultaneously."

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Nadya's dark brows furrowed in puzzlement at she read the texts making her phone vibrate. They had started off making sense, but then devolved into nonsense. It looked like two different people sending texts on the same phone. Mercedes was starting to get impatient as Nadya tried to parse the info. Nadya could almost hear the threat of Mercedes tapping her foot as she looked around through the trees and gloom.

"Well? What is it?" Mercedes snapped, her voice sound loud in the woods even though it wasn't.

"Seems like the things eating... eating the kids are harpies," Nadya said with a catch in her voice. "Bird-hags, bronze claws." The teenaged thief glanced at the feather in her hand and the claw marks on the trees - deeper than she had initially thought. She placed the harpy feather into a plastic baggy that looked suspiciously like an evidence bag that she had pulled from her satchel, then wiped her fingers on some leaves. "And going by that feather, bitches ain't ever heard of body-wash. I thought they'd be... I dunno bigger? Like, us-sized. And um... we seem to be in their nest."

"Us-sized, or you-sized, shrimp?" the taller girl snarked.

"Fuck off! Us-sized, people-sized. I'm not that short!"

"Lovely," Mercedes muttered waspishly, her hand going to the hilt poking out of her gym bag.

"Isn't it, though?" Nadya replied with false lightness as she glanced over at Mercedes. "Harpies are Greek, right? You know how bad they are? Harpies, not Greeks.

One of Mercedes' very blue eyes twitched. "We haven't encountered any yet, though we've heard they may have been some about, if very rare."

"Uh-huh, okay. And there's more..."

There was a long pause.

"Well..." Mercedes drawled with rising irritation.

"Gimme a minute, I'm trying to make sense of this," Nadya groused, her fingers typing rapidly in the group thread as she continued. "The thing eating the livers is some old lesbian with a magic rapey finger. A spear-finger, Fisher or Beth is calling it. They seem to think she's some sort of badass crone and that we should stay away. I'm guessing she wouldn't be gentle with our nubile - slightly used - selves."

<kk. Anything else? Can't x running water? Hurt by silver. Afraid of boners?>

"Weeeee... might want to get back to the car, Mercy, or hook up with the others," Nadya suggested as she pulled out her curved knife and flicked it open, her own veritable talon. Might not be a sword, but it was still razor sharp, and she didn't need to hit Rachel-hard if she could find the right place to stick it.

Nadya began looking around as well for any hint of hostile myths as she slinked through the shadows towards the car. Armed with a smartphone and a knife, she was ready to pull the darkness of the New Moon over her shoulders like a cloak.

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Fisher had to take a check for himself at what Beth had suggested, but he quickly agreed that this very much fit what they knew.

As for Nadya's request for weaknesses, she seemed to not understand the point. From what he was reading from the legends, Spear Finger was probably more than resilient enough to handle a couple of Scions. They needed the full group and a plan to take her down, the way the Cherokees did.

<DON'T FIGHT, just run and get back to us. We'll explain everything then.>

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Beth peered over Fisher's shoulder and nodded, even gave him a pat on the back. Then she sat down at her laptop again and started writing notes for the creature's abilities and how to kill it.

"I hope you guys are packing some heavy hitters," she mutters. "The stories say it took like a whole tribe to take one of these down. And that was after it was stuck in a pit. A trick I wouldn't expect to work twice..."

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Rachel read the texts and shared a look with Austin. "Stay alert wolf there may be harpies and something else here," she said as she gave the big  pup and quick ear scratch. She set down her gym bag and crouched opening it and taking out her gloves and sword. "Austin your dads a water godd isn't he? Can you tell if there's a cave or anything down there some sort of lair maybe? We need to find this things hide out."

After putting on the gloves she makes a fast text to the gang.

*No Time, If these kids are still alive we need to find them NOW. We are at the lake in Salem Woods. Get what you need get everyone together and get here. FAST!!!!!*

Rachel stands up slipping the phone into her back pocket "Let's find those kids."

 

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Austin shook his head.  No, Not without actually going down to take a look, which I can do.  If it's a harpy of some sort, it isn't going to be down there though.   No bird would go in that lake short of a very desperate penguin."  He reached into one of the pockets on his left leg and withdrew a small ziploc bag, containing what looked to be a milkdud-sized pearl.  "I can even it so if you want, you can come down there with me.   Just don't swallow it.  Getting it back is Very unpleasant.  He had his trident baton still in its compact form, and was looking at the lake.  "Guess there's no real helping it."   He placed his phone in his backpack and and waited for her answer.  If she wasn't coming, he'd have her hold his things.  if she was well they'd have to trust Wolf not to tear them up.

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"Well shit." She said as she grabed the little pearl.  "Hold on." She kicked off her shoes and with a look which said 'I will murder you', stripped off her jeans followed by her shirt leaving her clad only in he sports bar and panties. "the harpies just eat the bodies what ever has the kids might be like Grendel mom and and live in the lake, so the kids may still be alive here I hope." She doesn't add the or i am going to be world war three pissed at someone.  Holding her hand to her mouth she blows on where her ring pokes up under the glove then whispers the name of her Shield maiden who in flash of rainbow light is now standing beside them.

Annbjorg raises an eyebrow at the sight of the two teen godlings but says nothing. Wolf lays down with his head between his paws.

" Annbjorg, we need you to wait here for our friends..." Rachel quickly explains things to the shield maiden. When she is done she bends down and pets Wolf. "Now you mind Annbjorg  and wait for the others good boy. You ready?" She asks Austin as she stands and moves to the edge of the water.

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Austin also stripped down, to just his boxers, and set his clothing atop his pack and shoes.   Armed and ready, and doing his absolute best to not make this even more awkward he nodded.   "Let's go."   With that he began heading into the water. and silently wondered what exactly they were facing down here.

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Nadya scowled at her phone, not liking the way Fisher was being commanding her, nor saying he would only share the 4-1-1 when they were together. Rae-Rae was being demanding too, to be fair, but at least her demand felt active rather than running away with her tail tucked between her legs. They had the ichor of gods inside them. She could bench a pair of football players now and leap a building - okay, a bungalow - in a single bound. She wasn't afraid of an old Indian woman, no matter how scary her finger was.

*otw to lake r-r*

"New direction, Merce," Nadya said in a low voice, "Old Bitch sounds like a Bad Bitch and seems like Rae-Rae and Aquaboy found something at the lake. Strength in numbers and all that, we're joining 'em. This way!"

Mercedes stared at the thieving Gypsy for a moment then coughed audibly. "The lake is this way you dunce."

"I know, I was just going a roundabout... flanking... " Nadya's shoulders slumped, then she turned around and started jogging after Mercedes. "Right, I knew it was this way. I was just testing you - you are blonde, after all."

The two girls began jogging swiftly through the dark woods towards the lake. But this was no teen slasher fic. They weren't wearing heels - though Nadya totally could have, even if it was better in running shoes and she would never admit that to Mercedes - and they were armed with their own sharp things that went into squishy things that screamed and bled.

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Rae-Rae and Austin walked into the waters of the lake.  The cold lake.  The in-the-middle-of-fall-in-Massachusetts, cold lake.  Rachel was defiantly going to kick Austin's ass for this... she sucked in a deep breath and clenched her fists against the sub zero temperature.  Austin didn't seem to be affected by it and when she popped the pearl into her mouth the icy chill slowly seemed to fade.

'Don't swallow' he said.  Easier said than done.  She shifted the pearl in about a dozen different ways, settling on tucking it along the side of her cheek, like a gerbil.  She assumed what would happen if she swallowed it... and yeah, no... that wasn't gonna happen.

They made their way into the murk depths and Rachel was surprised to discover how clear the water became for her.  Her vision wasn't blurred like when she opened her eyes in a pool.  It didn't help her see much beyond the murk and mire of the lake, but it was cool nonetheless.  There was no awkwardness of needing to hold her breath, instinctively she just inhaled through her nose and the water flowed in... freezing her lungs, but the sensation passed swiftly.

Oddly enough what was supposed to be a shallow lake seemed to open into a vast abyss.  They didn't swim that far, but they both knew they should have reached the bottom.  A soft glow, like candlelight caught their eye and they swam towards it.  They didn't recall entering it but suddenly they were on solid ground, having walked through portal akin to a doorway.  Behind them was a swirling portal of water but before them was a dry cavern, well lit by... nothing.  In fact, there didn't seem to be any visible light but the whole room was illuminated by a soft warm glow.  The cavern was circular and hung from the ceiling were several cages and in two of them were the missing children, cold, hungry, and scared...

At the sight of the Scions one of the children, a young boy, grabbed the bars of his cage and began whimpering in a panic, shaking his head frantically.

Spoiler

For the moment, Rachel and Austin have the floor.  Everyone else wait until I re-include you into things.

 

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Rachal puts a finger to her lips in a shushing motion, then she motions for Austin to stay as she moves forward into the cave sword at the ready.

 

Spoiler

Rachel is checking out the cave carefully the kid shaking his head like that makes her think that the monster is hidden or invisible so she is trying to pierce shadows and basically looking for any giveaways. her per is 3 suvival is 1 and she has epic per 1 with predatory focus per3+survival1: 4d10o10h7 0

 

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The weirdness of the Portal/gateway didn't bother him overmuch.    Seeing the kids like they were was enough for him to reflexively extend his weapon to it's full Trident form, and he nodded once.  He'd keep a silent Vigil at the exit and make sure nothing came from behind them as a surprise, Trusting in Rachel to call out if she needed his help.  I have the sneaking suspicion this is definitely a trap...

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Austin stood guard at the portal, his eyes scanned the room but the shadows and the dim glow of light didn't do much to help his senses.  Rachel scanned the room, swearing that if she caught Austin peeking at her in her small clothes.  They clutched their weapons tightly and scanned the environs all while the children in their cages whimpered and looked absolutely petrified.

Rachel didn't see it, nor did Ausitn.  In the dim light of the cavern she never noticed the creature whose form camouflaged itself perfectly with her environment.  It was massive but practically invisible like a street performer who'd done the perfect body paint job to blend in with it's surroundings.  There was a slight sound, an awkward shift of stone grinding on stone.  Rachel spun to look, in fact she looked directly at the powerful spirit but even with her divine perception her eyes seemed to gloss right over it.

The grinding of stone was sudden, and the shift of its weight gave away it's presence and Rachel swore under her breath as the monster came into view right under her nose.  It was perfectly blended and then... there, in the matter of an eye blink.  She appeared as a withered old crone, a hag of eight feet tall, thin and emaciated with withered flesh of solid stone.  Were she not hunched over she would easily stand ten feet tall.  Her hands were massive with thin, long fingers with swollen joints and each finger ended in sharp talons.  Her right hand she kept close to her, clenched in a fist and pressed tightly against her side, like a runner might do with a cramp in their side.  Even with her fist clenched, both Rachel and Austin could see that on her right hand was the spirit's namesake... her middle finger, in place of a talon had a twelve inch long needle like claw.

Austin took a defensive step forward but Spear-Finger had the surprise.  She lashed out, punching him with the force of a battering ram.  He flew backwards through the portal and disappeared with an unimpressive 'bloop' as he broke the surface.  Rachel wasn't so lucky.  In defense, as the hag reached out, Rachel slammed her sword into the spirit's arm.  The blade refused to bite, sparks showered, strobing the cavern with a bright flash but it all it did was slide harmlessly off to the side, leaving her stony flesh unmarred.  She reached out, gripping Rachel tightly.  The Scion punched her hand, smashing her magical gloved hand and gripping her thumb in an attempt to pry her grip open.  With hard pound Rachel's back hit the ground and the spirit pressed its granite weight down upon her.  She screamed in pain, crying out as she felt her ribs buckle under the stress and her organs threaten to liquefy just to make the pain stop.

Everyone arrived at the water's edge.  Wolf was whimpering and growling at the lake pausing only momentarily to look back at the others as they approached.  The surface of the water exploded and Austin flew from the depths tumbling to the shore where he slid in the cold mud.  His trident spiraled through the air, landing forks down into the soil not far from him.

"Austin!"  Nadya ran to him, momentarily thankful for the sneakers in all the mud.  "Gods, Austin... are you okay..."  She helped him sit up, the red mark from the spirits fist was already beginning to bruise.  He managed to point a weakened finger at the lake.  "Yeah, yeah, I think we got that part..."

Rachel was the next of the Salem Scions to achieve flight that day.  Just like Austin, she flew from the water in an arc that Olympic judges would have scored her incredibly well on.  She slammed into the soft soil.  She pushed herself up, coughing up blood as she tried to rise to her feet.  She didn't manage it on her own, like Austin, she was being helped to her feet, this time by Fisher.  "Brilliant work, Rachel... brilliant.  How about next time, we just stay at home and you do everything on your own... how's that working out for you, so far?"

"I'm only half dead," she spat out a mouthful of blood.  "That means half alive enough to still kick your ass, Fisher..."

Aaron snickered to Grace, motioning in Rachel's direction.  "Now... that bitch is bad ass."

The assembled Scion's collected themselves...

Spoiler

Mr. Syracuse ran through the halls of the school.  He gripped the edge of a corner using it to help him turn with his own momentum.  The nerdy old god of math and invention slid, trying to gain traction he took several awkward steps before taking off down the next hallway.  He shot past the chemistry lab,  a row of lockers and he school's trophy case.

His shoes echoed through the hall as she slid to a halt, slamming into the jamb of the doorway to the teacher's lounge.  Coach Fingers, Sly Guiller and Orlanda Elliot were the only ones present.  He panted and caught his breath.  "We... we... Spear..."  He coughed.

"Take it slow, old man," Sly approached the recovering god, patting him on the back.  "You really should consider some cardio, maybe yoga or something?"

Mr. Syracuse batted his hand aside.  He breathed heavily several more times, resting on his hands on his knees and he bent over.  He stood straight.  "We... the kids... the kids are in danger.  They'll all be killed!"

"Archie, what kids?"  Orlanda asked.  "The Scions?"  When Archimedes nodded his head the demigods stood up, looking at each other with a new found concern and resolve.  "Archie, which kids?"

"All of them... they're battling her... she'll destroy them."

Coach Fingers approached Archimedes and rested his strong hand on the god's shoulder.  "Who?  Who is going to destroy them?"

He breathed heavily a few more times. then looked at the demigods with fear in his eyes.  "Spear-Finger.  She's here."

The demigods looked at one another as dread set in heavily in the air.

The surface of the water bubbled.  Slowly Spear-Finger rose from the depths, water dripping from her rocky body.  There was a gem-like gleam in her eyes as the nest of twigs and grass that made up her hair fell over her face almost to the end of her jagged, pointed chin.  Her talons scraped as she wiggled her long, gangly fingers on her left hand.  Her right hand, the hand that possessed the dreaded spear finger, remained clutched to her side.

She reached the shoreline, the Scions stood in in the presence of one of the eldest, strongest and most powerful Native American spirits.  Now her power was palpable, she radiated power, fear and an elder majesty that made her seem hundreds of feet tall and brimming with strength.  She roared and it shook the trees, the water in the lake rippled.

The Scions of Salem faced something they knew was well out of their depths... but they had the advantage of numbers.

Spoiler

All Scions are present, with the exception of Laurie and Eric (who are a bit farther away).  Austin and Rachel took a heavy hit, but it was more dramatic than anything else, no actual damage was dealt.

You face Spear-Finger.  Your post is your join battle.  Spear-Finger is old, slow and heavy so she will only go after all of you have had the opportunity to post.

This battle is more for dramatic prose, not rolls and damage boxes.  Make it epic.

 

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Beth didn't want to be here. Only, okay, maybe a little because this WAS kind of amazing, but also incredibly dangerous. She was NEW to this godding thing! Sink or swim though, right baby? And there were ways to help that didn't involve jumping RIGHT into the meat grinder. Now, how to let them know what they needed to know without Fingerlady knowing that they knew?

"Guys! Go for the...starboard manipulatory appendage!" she called, banking that even if Spear-finger knew English, she might not know geeky English. "She hides it for a reason!"

Meanwhile, she had half her mind buried in her smartphone, desperately looking up pronunciation guides for Cherokee. She didn't have to know the language...just needed to know what a handful of words sounded like.

Maybe she could give her peeps an opening.

Fuck it, jump in the deep end and find out.

"Uwe'la na'tsïkû'. Su' sä' sai...'", Beth sang out in an improvised melody. Her pronunciation was probably pretty bad...but just as likely the old bag hadn't heard these words in a long, long time. Maybe she wouldn't be too picky about the aspirated vowels.

C'mon...if there's anything all old people do, it's get lost in their memories. Remember the song...forget what's going on right now...

"Liver...I eat it..." she added, trying to distract the ancient spirit. Like just two notes of a chord played, singing just part of a song made it hard not to want to finish...for someone who knew the rest.

(OOC - Treat as a 'Blurt it Out' attempt, if rules are needed. Beth is trying to goad Spear-Finger into letting her guard down a bit, giving people who have a prayer of hurting her a chance to do so :))

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