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Weirder Stuff Episode VI: Rainbow Shadows


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Cassie nodded and took Kat's offered hand. "Just a second. Lets go into this eyes open."

And, paradoxically, she shut her eyes.

The world shattered. Or, more accurately, it unraveled. From a single 'plane' representing the reality around her, Cassandra instead saw ribbons, each one somehow still the world, but also different. Here, Autumn had a different shirt on. There, Kat hadn't extended her hand. The ribbons twined together into cable-like structures, and then there were many more of those. The differences were more pronounced between different 'cables.' Autumn had black hair. Sean was a regular guy, with no obvious genetic conditions. Charlie was with them.

It was worse than Wikipedia and TV Tropes combined. Cass felt herself pulled to woolgather, to peruse the endless pages of Might-Have-Been until she died of dehydration. But no. Not those worlds. These. Clustered around her own, so close they could be tasted, touched, imagined. So close that the occupants of those Might-Have-Beens were almost shadowy figures in her own.

They appeared in the realm of the Dark. ... before them the Horned Throne... ... ...a gutteral howl from above... ... ...a scream, maybe Autumn, maybe Cassie herself... ...the roots!... Cody, encysted in something black and noisome, roaring as the Fellowship choked on fumes of despair...

Cassandra wasn't Devin; she could not step between the Might-Have-Beens...but she could see them, and in them could see how events here changed events there. Decisions still mattered, will was still a thing. Outcomes still followed from causes, and if you wanted a particular outcome, you had to provide the appropriate causes. You weren't stuck in one timeline, Cass could see. You chose your timeline, at least in the context of human existence. You step here, the trap goes off; you step there, it does not. Whether you know the outcome of your choice in advance or not, it's still your choice where to put your foot. And though many things waiting for you were not chosen by you, and not every possible outcome was in your power to bring about..being able to see what lay ahead was as profound a power as there could be. How had she ever been so blind before?

Her eyes opened, and for those who could see, Radiance danced behind her pupils like sunlight on rippling water.

"We can do this, guys. It won't be easy, but we can. When I yell at someone to do something, you gotta do it, even if it doesn't seem like it makes sense. Okay?"

She offered her hand to Autumn then, and when the redhead took it, the three of them passed out of the light and into the Dark...but brought the light with them as well.


Using psionics!

Least Resistance to foresee environmental problems/difficulties, 1 success (had to retry, so it cost 2 Psi total)

Hinder (vs Cody) for 2 successes and 2 Psi

Hinder (vs the Tree) for 4 successes and 2 Psi

Favorable Outcome for 1 success, giving 4 rerolls during the scene, for 4 Psi (used without the mastery dot, so cost extra)

Total Psi cost: 10

Psi Remaining 5/15

Edited by Cassandra Allen
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There was a sensation that the teens were at once stepping through a doorway - much as they had when escaping Crossroads - and, at the same time, traversing a tunnel.  Space and time were screwy in that transitional opening - only their Shine anchored them to reality, grounding them from the distortion of fundamental laws which threatened to make their minds rebel at the conflicting signals.  When some of them were later attempting to describe it, the closest they could come was motion sickness and vertigo, blended together and turned up to eleven.  Devin was the first to realise it, his spatial senses attuned to such things: the Blight was trying to reject the opening he'd made in the walls of the world, the 'skin' of the tumorous corruption zone trying to heal the puncture.  But his resolve was firm, his Shine unwavering.  The portal would not collapse on the Fellowship until they were through.

And then they were through.

The doorway collapsed behind them, leaving them in a landscape only one of them had seen before now.  The sullen, dull bloody red of the sky overhead possessed enough light to see by - and certainly enough light for the cluster of teens to regret being able to see.  Around them was, as Cassie had described, a floor carpeted with bones, the yellowing moldering whiteness of which was broken here and there by dark pools of fetid crimson, some of which looked shallow as puddles and others Gods knew how deep.  The area in which they stood was ringed in a forest of massive rib and thigh bones thrusting up from the ground like a mockery of some sacred grove, skeletal remains from beasts both massive and unrecognisable.  Beyond the ring of boney pillars, they could see a faded, burned-out mockery of Shelly through the gaps, distant howls and screaming sounds carrying on the rank breeze as black flakes like snow or ash rained down from the sky overhead. 

Within the ring, though, in the center of the grove of death and corruption, they could see the Tree.

It was mind-bogglingly massive, easily as thick around as a giant redwood, and it's branches spread out across the dull scarlet sky, covering the grove and the husk-like reflection of Shelly beyond it.  The black flakes came from it, the sickened Fellowship realised as they glanced upwards.  Each flake a little piece of spiritual pollution, pollen of evil that would find fertile ground in the hearts and minds of the people on which it fell.  This, then, was the cycle of the Tree: to lay dormant for a generation, then awaken and put forth its pollen in progressively greater amounts in the few years counting down to the next cycle of explosive violence, fear and hate, to be watered and fed by the extinguishing of the life force of Shelly's citizens, most of all those with vestiges of Shine.  It was not intelligent any more than any spore or fungal growth, but it did possess awareness... and hunger.  

Before the Tree was the Throne.  Little more than a pile of skulls and long bones fashioned in a crude, grisly seat, it reared up at the base of the Tree on a small hillock of bones that placed it commandingly above the surrounding area.  The back of the throne was topped with the skull Cassandra had told them of: larger than a man's by half as much again, grinning ghoulishly at those who stood before the Throne from under a spreading rack of antlers suitable for an elk.  And on the throne...

There was little recognisable in the figure who stood, clawed and extra-jointed hands scoring the armrests of his throne in his rage and surprise.  Over eight feet in height, skeletal remnants of a nose above a lipless mouth filled with teeth like scalpels, his eyes were sunken pits from which red hellfires glared at the Fellowship.  From around the antlers which sprouted from his skull, stringy remnants of blond hair dangled from what was left of Cody's scalp, perhaps the only feature that remained of the boy they had once known.  He was spindly, the rags of his old clothes barely hanging on his frame, but there was a terrible vitality and strength apparent in his motions.  He took a step to the edge of the hillock his throne sat upon, and the teens noted the weird digitigrade shape of his legs and feet.  By his feet lay a naked female form, the dark shade of her hair indicating that it wasn't Tawny, her pale skin scored and marred with bloody scrapes and the filth of this place.  She was motionless.

"You're here!?"  Cody/Not-Cody exclaimed in a voice that was hoarse and thick, as though coming from a throat no longer suited to words.  A sneer lifted one corner of the nightmarish mouth as his shock gave way to derision.  "Of course you're here.  Devin the noble hero and his idiot band, come to rescue the damsels."  He gave a choking imitation of a laugh, then his voice rose in a screech.  "Too late, Deej!  Too late for both!"

He pointed to one side, and the teens could see Tawny, black root-like tendrils wrapped around her body, being drawn slowly towards the gigantic base of the Tree as Cody babbled "I wanted to keep her for myself.  But you know how it is. A deal is a deal.  But look on the bright side!  You're going to be real close to her again when I feed your ass to the Tree too!"  And with a tittering laugh that was strangely reminiscent of Cody before his transformation, the creature he had become leapt forwards.


Okay, Fellowship.  Combat Thread has been updated and locked: momentum and initiative will be tracked in the first post there.  Roll initiative in Discord and make sure to tell me, Dave or Vivi the results.

Hit me up in Discord if you have any questions.

GM notes for individuals:

Cassandra:  The Tree cannot be directly attacked - in fact, throwing any Shine abilities directly at it is like throwing gasoline on a fire to put it out.  It does, however, have an anchor into this reality - the spirit possessing Cody, which itself is anchored to the skull.  You're not precisely sure if there is a specific order in which they need to be taken out, but both Not-Cody and the Skull will need to be destroyed to take out the Tree.

Sean:  Judging by synaptic activity Tawny is alive, so is Sophia - though barely.  Neither is conscious.  Cody's neural activity is chaotic and hard to predict.  It's like there's two consciousnesses in there fighting for the wheel.

Kat:  The area seethes with Corruption.  Your shield is holding, but your Sub-Q sense indicates that Sophia in particular has been heavily affected, though not exactly how.


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Round One

The monstrous creature Cody had become was fast.  Terrifyingly so, in fact, leaping the distance between his throne and the knot of teens with a predatory swiftness that defied the eye, his too-long arms sweeping out in a blur to hook his talons into Devin's flesh.  There was nothing subtle or graceful about the attack - it was brutal and direct, an effort to destroy the one boy he blamed above all others for his misfortunes. 

"I wanted to be you so bad!"  he howled as the teleporter disappeared with a loud inrushing of air.  Spinning to the side, he lashed out again but once again Devin, his mind half a step behind his reflexes, had popped out of existence.  "I went to fucking summer school on your say-so, Devin!  And when I needed you to stand up for me, you did nothing!"  He spun in a full circle as the pop of displaced air once more heralded Devin's reappearance.  "Fuck you!"  Not-Cody shrieked hoarsely, slavering as his eyes , glowing like red coals, fixed on the athletic male Twin.


Autumn, Cade and Cassie - you all go on initiative 2.  Decide which one of you will have Focus first: talk it over in Discord, then declare actions, roll, post, etc.

You can throw dialogue and narrative in there too - a 'action' can comprise a fluid amount of time and narratively can be several 'actions', like Not-Cody swiping twice at Devin: technically one attack action, but I padded it out a bit.  Have fun with it, and as always hit me up if you need help.


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Cassandra erupted into a startled shriek as Cody leapt in to attack, moving with inhuman speed and ferocity. For a heartbeat everything she'd learned and seen quivered on the edge of extinction under a tsunami of panic that would send her scrambling blindly away. But this was Devin, and these were her friends, and somehow the idea of leaving them was even worse than the idea of facing Cody in this garden of terrors.

Her eyes locked on the Throne, and she remembered.

"Guys, the skull on the throne! We need to destroy it!" A flicker of memory from one of the Might-Have-Beens compelled her to add, "Jase, he's tough but he's not fireproof! Burn him!"

Then she lit out...running, yes, but with purpose rather than panic. Running not away, but towards the mound of bones with the Throne atop it like a leering gargoyle. The footing was bad, especially since she had to avoid Cody, but she managed to keep her feet from sinking between the bones and slowing down or tripping. Cody gave out another guttural howl but Cassie couldn't look back. She had to believe her friends would keep him busy, or else she had no chance...


Dex+Athletics to get up the hill without suffering mishap, rolled in Discord with 2 successes.

Psi Remaining 5/15


Edited by Vivi OOC
Added Cassie's Current/Total Psi
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Cassie had said not to ask questions when she told them to do something, to just do it even if it didn't make sense- although in this case it wasn't so much what the plucky blonde said that seemed crazy, but the fact that she screamed it right before running past the monstrosity that would probably eat their faces for attempting it. Although, all things considered, not actively thinking about anything right now might actually be a blessing. "Jesus fuck," Autumn shuddered and swore incredulously, her freckled features contorting in a grimace as she tore off after her friend through the rot and sludge of what once must have been living things- living things beyond comprehension, beyond imagining, but, still. Could anything even...? With a shiver, her hand tightening around the heavy pry bar, the redhead extended her awareness, a part of her mind instinctively seeking actual life in this place of primal terror and death.

It only took a moment to catch up to Cassie, even with the gruesome "architecture" and gory obstacles that lay between them but instead of overtaking the young seer Autumn kept pace with her, heart thudding against the inside of her ribcage as she did her best to stay between the Boy Who Would Be Homecoming King and the girl who wanted to destroy his crown.



Vivi Roll: [9, 9, 9, 8, 7, 7, 5, 3] Result: 4

4 successes on the mixed action (activating Kirlian Eye and committing one point of Psi to keeping it up, Dex + Ath to go after Cassie)

Psi: 14/15



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“No!”  Marissa managed to squeal out as the giant beast launched towards her brother.  Her hands cupped over her mouth as he teleported away and then a second time.  He was safe, but her heart had sunk into the very pit of her stomach at the thought of her brother being harmed.

She felt she needed to do something, but what?  Autumn and Cassie took off for the skull, but she could see the hesitation in Not-Cody as hie eyes panned from a desire to defend the skull and it’s rage for killing Devin…

Dumbest plan ever.  She chastised herself, internally, but didn’t have any time to think up something better.  Whether it was fear or courage that breathed life into her voice she wasn’t sure, but the Queen of Mean raised her voice at the Not-Cody-Beast.

“Hey!”  She shouted at Cody, trying to stand tall and unafraid against the creature.  “Don’t you blame my brother for your stupidity you… shriveled little whining incel.  No one ever made you do a damn thing.  You were pathetic and broken loooong before my brother and I ever got near you.”  She tossed in a stern point of her finger and a goose neck for added punctuation.

“But oooooh, no…” she chastised.  “Poor little Cody.  You’re a fucking sociopath, Cody.  From the things you said to the way you treated people… you wanna be mad at someone?  Be mad at me!” Marissa’s thumbs declared that she should now be the center of attention as her words seemed empower her to take a few sloshing steps in the festering cysts that passed as the firmament in this bizarre place.  “Do you know why Katie Shelton didn’t go out with you?  Because I told her not to.  I warned her you were a fucking creepster.  And after she turned you down, we laughed at how you just brooded in the corner like a mewling little simp.”  She scoffed at him and folded her arms while delivering the most unimpressed look anyone had seen.  “Courtney told us, Cody.  We all know.  What?  Did you think getting a bigger dick in your head would make up for the lack of personality in your pants?”

The great beast’s chest heaved as his eyes left Devin and ignored the runners altogether.  His rotting lips, or what remained, locked tight in a grimace as his brow furrowed, illuminated by the dull red of his soulless eyes.  Like a mighty silverback he threw his arms up and slammed them into the soft ground as he bellowed with rage, splashing liquid and questionable-kibble bits.  He faced the gorgeous brunette, whose perfect beauty and rumors of her promiscuity had left his imagination to wander on more than one sleepless occasion, roared loud enough to match lions on the savannahs of Africa.

His claws sunk deep into the decay and malaise and his muscles tensed.  Autumn and Cassie would have the time they needed, Devin was planning something, and the others too… maybe everything would be okay, she thought, until a flash in her mind spun a tale of all the horrible things she’d ever done to the others and it occurred to her that she wouldn’t blame them if they used the opening, she’d given them to go after the skull, like sensible people should.  Yeah…

Dumbest plan ever.


Attempting to use Goad on Wendi-Cody.

Marissa Roll: [9, 9, 9, 9, 8, 8, 5, 5, 4, 3, 1] Result: 6, +2 auto enhancement.  Total 8 successes.

Wendi-Cody Roll: [9, 7, 6, 4] Result: 1

Cody is Enraged!

SEAN has Focus!


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The sweet and fetid miasma of blood and decay surrounded Sean, cloying, clinging to him. He tried breathing through his mouth, and that was worse, the taste far more putrid than the smell. A hand went to his throat as he felt his gorge rose., even as terror raced up his spine at the sight of Not-Cody. He was more monstrous than Sean imagined, more something from a Monster Manual than from reality, so fast, those arms so long it seemed he could reach halfway across the clearing. And the electrical impulses flowing through him? They were chaotic, conflicting, like trying to watch a 3D movie without the glasses, making him even more nauseous.

The synapses in Tawny and Sophia worried him. He'd never seen someone in a coma. Is that what it looked like, felt like, he thought, or was Sophia in the precipice of death? Was the corruption infesting Not-Cody inside the girls now, too, starting to multiply and grow?

It took an instant for Sean's thoughts to come unstuck, and in even that small moment, Not-Cody had taken several swipes at Devin, Cassie and Autumn were racing for the throne and the crown surmounting it, and Marissa... Bloody Marissa who always had to be the center of attention was trying to be the center of attention even now and Not-Cody was going to tear her face off. At least she was their bitch, this time.

"Whattheshit?!" Sean muttered as he shuffled to the side, trying to spread out the Fellowship so Not-Cody and whatever was inside him couldn't reach them all at once. He crossed over a scabby crust and his foot broke through, almost-black blood, thick, chunky, and warm, flowing over and then into his shoe. It was like stepping into a puddle of hot mucussy snot, and he almost stumbled as well as lost his shoe pulling his foot out it.

"Watch out, guys!" Sean shouted, breathing in short gasps, as he waved his left hand, and the blue and green marbles of light zipped forward, leaving after-images in his sight. The tiny spheres of photons flew pass on either side of Marissa then exploded into a pair of vertical planes of transparent light, fifteen feet to a side, meeting at 120 degree angle just in front of the glamorous girl who came on a jaunt through the Abyss in a pair of 'hiking' heels. If Not-Cody wanted Marissa, he'd either have to burn or take a detour. "You aren't getting her today, bastard, or any of us!"

He waved his other hand, two fingers pointing towards the twisted Cernunnos Cody had become, his left hand on the ground to catching him from falling over. The red marble flashed forward, elongated into a spear of fiery light, piercing the luminous green wall without resistance. Not-Cody raised a hand and the lance of scarlet incandescence went through it as easily as the wall, boring an inch wide hole straight through it, the great, taloned paw scorched black from a miniature solar flare.

Not-Cody flinched back, fanged maw opening wide in something between a squeal and a snarl as he baleful gaze was shared between Sean and Marissa. The ruby beam of light contracted once more into a tight, bright marble, orbiting the great beast, threatening him with more solar pain.

"Burn, motherfucker, burn!" Sean shouted. He heard some of things he had said about Laurie, even before his horrible chrysalis. Sean might have sounded more threatening if he hadn't sounded so breathless with terror.


Using Momentum on Laser attack: + 4 Psi +3 Photokinesis + 8 Momentum + 0 (Difficulty and Favoured Aptitude cancel each other out) = 15d10

Asarasa Roll: [10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9, 7, 7, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 2, 1], [10, 10, 9, 5, 4] Result: 9
-9 - 4 defense is 5 net successes
-5 nets hits +3 enhancement (Photokinesis dots).
-Okay, destructive and piercing don't add anything
-5 successes for Inflict Damage and Critical Stunts (5 successes), Incendiary Tag sets him on fire. Using the Remaining successes (3) for the Pin-Down stunt - adds a +3 Complication to Not-Cody's next attack, which he can ignore for another injury.

Sean's Psi Pool: 8/15

Focus passed to JASE!


Edited by Sean Cassidy
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"Yes."  Jason's voice was quiet, almost unheard beneath the furor of the corrupted glade as the straight-backed youth stepped swiftly but surely to one side of Sean's laser walls.  As Not-Cody snarled his pain and flinched away from the orbiting bead of stinging red light, baring it's teeth in pained menace, Jason's pale emerald stare rested on the creature that had once been Cody and once been a god, and now was neither, as he lifted his arms away from his sides almost as though about to bestow a benediction.  His voice was still soft as the firefly motes of copper and gold in the depths of his gaze danced.  "Burn."

His words had been soft, unnoticed.  What came next was neither.

Brilliant gold so bright as to be almost white, the aura of his power surged into being around his lean form in a pillar of flame, casting every object in the glade into sharp relief, the shadows themselves flinching back as searing pinions of fire leapt from his arms, reaching out and forward in a sweeping crackling wave of destruction.  Shallow pools of rotted blood flash-boiled into the air, the surface layers of bone were reduced to ash as the purifying, terrifying tsunami descended on the howling beast that was their target.  The rags of Cody's clothing and hair disappeared into smoke and ash, his flesh charring and blackening awfully in the wake of the attack, which as it receded left the creature of the Dark thrashing at his burning arm, screaming in pain and fear and rage as he cowered from the blazing figure that was staring at him implacably.

Cody's mind was chaotic.  He wanted to put the fires out, he wanted to punish Cassidy and Bannon and the Jauntsens.  But the rage was tinged with fear now.  He had been hurt, not once but twice, and badly.  A beast at bay, he snarled at them all, a note of confusion now in his defiance.  This was not how it was supposed to go!  They were supposed to be the afraid ones!  Dimly he could hear the older, wiser voice, but it's words seemed unimportant, distant as he glared with smoldering red sunken eyes at his tormentors.



Mixed Action: combining Thermo 2 (Flash) with Thermo 3 (Sheath). 4 Psi + 4 Thermokinesis + 4 Momentum + 3 Enhancement to Thermokinesis from Edges. Flash result will gain additional +6 enhancement and Sheath +1 due to Mode dots. Spending 2 Psi. Rolling 12 dice.(edited)

GD Bannon Roll: [9, 9, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 4, 4, 3, 1, 1] Result: 2

Sean stole Jase's successes.  The triflin' no-good ho-bag.

Flash result:  11 succs:  Purchasing Spread and Aggravated, leaving 9  - 2 for Not-Cody's Defense = 7.  Injury, set on fire (again), and Pinned Down +2.  Not-Cody now takes 2 environmental damage ticks at the start of each round and has a +5 complication to act total or risk another injury level.

Sheath result:  6 succs.  Jase is wreathed in super-hot flame armor. [Complete, Hard 1, Defensive, Environmental 0 (temperature), Soft 5]  Total Soft armor rating of 10

Psi: 10/15

Focus goes to Devin.


Edited by GDP_ST
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His sister was buying him time.  He knew that.  As the monster that had been Cody was assaulted from all sides by the teenagers, every part of him wanted to join in the fray and vent all his anger on the creature that had killed his friend and stolen Tawny from him.


They were doing their part and Marissa had bought him the time he needed to do something that only he could do.  He didn’t always have to be on the front line to be a hero.  Everyone had a part to play, from Cassie and Autumn to Devin, who now needed to make sure those who were taken were safe and kept from further harm.

Taggart wouldn’t have believed it.  These kids whose minds were on everything from sex to video games to food and Homecoming, but never on the now, were doing it.  They were working as a team.  One cohesive unit to form a beacon of light in the roiling darkness of shattered hope and despair.

“Keep the pressure on!”  He shouted.  He turned to dash towards the throne, to where Cassie and Autumn had run.  In mid stride he disappeared and reappeared at Sophia’s side, where he knelt.  He looked up to Tawny, being pulled in towards the giant tree by its animated limbs.

“C’mon,” he mumbled to himself.  “Please work… please…” he reached out his senses and felt the noetic connection between himself and Tawny.  It was faint, but there, the darkness and corruption of the mangled branches working to dim his connection and ability to pull it’s prize away from it.  He pulled with his mind, breeching the boundaries of space and the distances between two or more things… and the Dark was there.  A part of all things and all places, even in the pockets of the in between, and it refused to relinquish it’s hold on the lovely blonde.

He reached up, he didn’t need to, but the somatic gesture helped his focus.  Purplish energy illuminated the veins along his arms, his hands and forearms seemed to glow from within, as he pulled with everything he had to tear his best friend from the grip of the menacing avatar.  And then, she fell into his arms, appearing in an instant to collapse against him, and he swiftly clutched her tightly and breathed heavily with relief and weariness.

He lay her against the side of the throne.  “Tee!”  He yelled, sliding blood-soaked strands of hair off of her already crimson smeared features.  “Tee!  C’mon, girl… c’mon… be okay… Tee!  C'mon you two.  Sophie, Tawny... one of you wake up for me, c'mon girls, this is not how I pictured my first threesome going.”  Tawny was in his arms and his temper was already abating slightly.  She was cold to the touch, but still possessed a blush in her cheeks.  It scared to consider for a moment if the creature had siphoned her Shine from her, leaving her powerless against it.

"Dee-j?"  She managed to rasp, opening her eyes just barely.  He couldn't help her, not here.  Not now, but she was alive and to him that was all that mattered.

Devin managed a faint smile as some measure of hope was restored in his the grim palace of his mind.  "It's me, Tee.  We came for you.  We're all here for you.  I'm here for you."


Mixed Action: Activating Translocation 3 (Flicker), committing to make it permanent (2 Psi) [tactical movement is now short range (no action required), +8 enhancement to attacks].  Activating Transmassion 2 (Relay Person).  Spending 4 momentum.

Devin Roll: [10, 8, 8, 7, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1], [2] Result: 3

Flicker: 1 success, +2 Favored Mode, +2 Enhancement for mastery. = 5 Successes.  Tactical movement to teleport to Sophia's side.

Relay Person: 2 successes, +3 enhancement for mastery. = 5 successes to pull Tawny to Devin.

Devin's action is getting a bit long.  Knowing Tawny is alive, he will commit time next round to checking on Sophia.

Focus goes to CADE.

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"You know that time you had us go through a hellscape?   I think your subconscious was tapping into this place Sean."   Cade said, ad beholding their surroundings, and his grip on the rifle tightening.  The Tree, the Throne, they were grisly and foreboding, and Cade recognized he couldn't do much about them.   He would have to wait for an opening.

When he saw Cody, and what this place, what the Dark had done to him, Cade felt a moment of pity. Briefly he was reminded of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but then he saw Tawny, and the pity became  anger.   

He didn't pretend to know Tawny like Devin did, but they had practiced together, she was like them, and she didn't deserve this, no one did.   He released Marissa's hand, moving to steady the rifle, loaded with the armor piercing rounds, to take a shot.   

Marissa had drawn Cody's ire, then Sean had hit him with a straight of laser from his option,  Jason'd bathed him in flames, searing his flesh,  Devin had vanished, and all of this lined up to leave Cade completely unnoticed, armed with normal weapon, aimed right at Cody.

To Cade, Cody was a rabid dog, and you only did only one thing with those.   Sighting Cody's chest on through the weapon's sights, he stroked the trigger of the battle rifle, knowing that if this took his life, he would have to bear the weight of that the rest of his life.   

The APDS round struck Cody under his right arm, and blew through muscle, bone and soft tissue beneath, before bursting out the back with a geyser of gore.   It was more than enough to draw a roar of pain from Cody, his murderous eyes filled with rage, and confusion, and now the hint of fear. 


attacking Cody with the advanced rifle.
 Shameless Roll: [10, 9, 9, 9, 8, 4, 3, 3, 2], [1] Result: 5 +4enhancement from the rifle 9 successes 5 over defense, so critical purchased as well.
Inflicts 2 Injuries on Cody

Inspiration 6/8

Kat has Focus


Edited by Cade
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Unlike her friends, the petite French girl didn't have much to say. No, between the ghastly spectacle the Dark had made of this place and the rancid, putrefacted corruption insidiously poking at her shield, Kat was pretty alarmed. Although it only had taken the monstrous imitation of the boy Cody once used to be, rushing at them, to shake her stupefaction off, she didn't know what to do. Rather, her brains were too busy assimilating the overload of information thrown at her.

Her hands were empty. The two girls holding them had run off towards the Throne. The limp, naked shape of Sophia was in trouble, as Kat noticed. Her shield couldn't be extended any further and the girl was out of reach, corruption clawing at her minute by minute. How long has she been in there?

Bright flashes of light, followed by a detonation, brought her attention back to the closest of their problems. What am I gonna do?

She took a few steps towards the Throne, towards Sophia, watching as the soft outline of her Shine wrapped itself again around the five distant shapes of her friends. Good enough. She sighed, and focused her senses on Devin's mind.

[Devin! Tawny and Sophia, especially Sophia, are in bad shape. We need Autumn to see what she can do. I moved to get them under my shield, but this place... the air... I don't know! Something is not doing them any good.]

Understatement of the century. Good job, Kat.

[Oh, by the way, it's Kat.]

She was short on breath. In fact, she was short on time, and turned towards the towering, menacing monster screaming its discontent. The swiftness at which it had moved from the throne, to there, was absurd. She realized that if she could kill one thing, it would be its speed. True, Kat didn't like manipulating matter, but it would probably be the most efficient way to do it. Her Shine quickly scanned the ground on which Cody was standing. Bones. Rotten flesh. Blood. The knot in her throat tightened. Great.

She took a laborious breath and began tapping into that reserve, that chest filled with wonders, hidden deep inside of her. Her field of vision narrowed, blood loud in her temples as Cody's feet began sinking into the ground, bones turned liquid mixing in with the flesh and blood. Kat fell to her knees, hardly coping with the mental strain. Holy shit. You can't stop there, girl. Bones can be used as cement, right? Heat it. Just heat it.

She reached once more for her reserve of Shine and extended her hand, propelling a steady stream of blazing heat towards Cody's feet. Sunk ankle deep into a mixture of nightmare, the odd mortar turned solid around them. A victorious grin stretched the girl's lips. Speed killed.

Weary, she wiped the blood off her nostrils and sniffed. Blood?


Activating Mindspeak to communicate with Devin

Activating Molecular Scanning.

Mixed action: Activating Transmutation 2 (Malleability) + Energetics 2 (Production) (total cost: 2 psi - +1 enhancement to each ability [both modes one dot higher than powers used] - using 4 Momentum).
Using lowest dice pool (both are the same <.<) Rolling 10 dice.

'Drid Roll: [8, 7, 6, 6, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1] Result: 1

Cody: -1 initiative and defense until he breaks free

Psi Pool: 4/10


Focus goes to- SQUIRREL!


Edited by Catherine 'Kat' Barras
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As Devin sighed with relief, cradling Tawny against him, he caught faint motion from the corner of his eye.  Sophia was stirring, arms slowly moving as she tried to sit up.  "Guys!"  he called to Cassie and Autumn as they arrived at the Throne, both jogging up the last few feet to the top of the hillock together.  "See if she needs-"

"Get back from her!"  Cassie's voice had an edge of alarm that was undeniable, even as a split-second later Autumn yelled "Fuckin' move!"

Alarmed, Devin glanced back at Sophia as she suddenly shot up into a crouch, her aspect one of bestial menace as she emitted a hissing snarl.  Her previously pretty face was contorted in a leer of hunger and rage, her dark hair hanging in matted tangles around her naked shoulders as her eyes glared at him from a few feet away.  Her teeth had changed, becoming a mouthful of fangs which had cut at her own gums and tongue, creating a nightmare image of frothing blood and saliva, and the hands which currently gripped the ground as she readied herself to leap possessed claws where they had previously had the last finger joint, tearing furrows in the compacted bone of the hillock's 'soil'.  The lines of her figure had been slimmed down, now radiating lean predatory energy.

"Jesus fuck-"  Devin blipped out of sight, re-emerging behind Cassie and Autumn still seated on the ground with Tawny in his arms.  "-ing CHRIST!" he finished as he reappeared.  The three teens stared aghast at Sophia as she threw back her head and yowled in frustrated hunger.


Ladies, gentleman, meet Not-Sophia.  Think of her as a mini-Wendigo, pocket edition, just for you.  Good thing both Cassie and Autumn have Danger Sense.  :D

Cody was trapped, hurt, and burning.  The pain was unbearable, his body being consumed by the ravenous flame, his blackened flesh falling away from his bones in the charring heat. He was not done yet, though.  With a shriek that was equal parts pain and exultation he straightened, the hole blown through his torso by the high power rifle healing before the teens eyes.  As the flames wreathed his suffering form the shriek raised in pitch and volume into a long, wavering call as the lord of the blight called to his subjects.

And as answering howls, shrieks and chitterings came from beyond the ring of bone trees, the teens realised that there were plenty of subjects to call.


Not-Cody has healed the health levels done by non-fire means.  The large chunk of flesh Cade blew out of his torso is closing up rapidly.

On the plus side, he's still burning from both Sean and Jase's incendiary effect.  [Mode dots] levels of Indirect damage (adjusted for Edges),  Stam + Resolve to resist.

He takes 1 damage from Sean's this round.  (Photokinesis 3 plus Favoured aptitude - 3 succs)

He takes 6 damage from Jason's.  (Thermo 4 plus Favoured Apt. plus Strong Mode - 1 succs) (OUCH!)

Starting at the end of the next round, creatures will begin arriving.  Y'know, just in case this wasn't bad enough already.

Roll initiative! :D

Momentum:  Team OhFuck has recovered 6 momentum for successes and roleplaying.  Current total stands at 32


Edited by GDP_ST
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He couldn't stay where he was.  Glowing walls of deadly radiance blocked him from his lovely, venomous quarry.  The titboy's bead of painful hot light was orbiting him, ready to strike again.  Fucking Bannon's flames were devouring him like thermite though butter, and even rifle in Cade's hands (and where the fuck did Mr Baseball get the Terminator's gun?) was painful, especially on top of everything else.  But this was his place.  Araun's place, technically, but he was Araun, was he not?  Or was he Cody with Araun's power and thoughts and memories...  He didn't know for sure, but he did know he had options, here in this place.  He was tied to the Tree, and to the Skull, and could draw power here even as his enemies weakened. 

With a shriek he ripped his feet from the hindering grasp of the reshaped ground that tried in vain to hold him, but succeeded only in slightly slowing him as he leapt with only fractionally less speed for a nearby pool of blood.  As he plunged into the fetid, stinking morass foul-smelling steam heralded the extinguishing of the fires that ravaged his form.  He rose from the mire, blackened curdled clots dripping heavily from his body, and as his red eyes fixed again on Marissa he leered, courage and vitality renewed somewhat by the corrupt bath.

And as he leered, Shelly's Teen Queen o' Mean felt a twisting, enervating pain start in her abdomen, like a clawed hand tearing at her insides, like a coat hangar scraping at her ovaries, like acid eating at her guts...  Intuitively she felt the dark, malevolent energy emanating from Cody's stare and straightened, glaring back at him with every bit of hauteur and imperious willfulness she could muster.  She'd suffered worse than this, and she let him know it with a smirk as the phantom pain fell away, failing to find purchase.

Cody clenched his taloned hands with a scream of pure frustration, face upturned, his throat bulging and distending moments before swarms of tiny, chittering things were endlessly vomited into the air, swirling above his antlered head with a thunderous roar like a dozen angry hives of bees, spreading out like a cloud of poison and all but blotting out the sinister red glow of the sky.


Cody has:

Put out the flames.  Is no longer burning.

Attempted to use an Evil Eye type power on Marissa - failed.  She's tougher than she looks.

Invoked the Eye of the Swarm power.  7 swarms of flying beetle/leech/wasp creepy crawlies are now in play and will act at the round's end.  Fun!

Cody has spent 3 Corruption this round.  Psions can feel him using it, like a greasy sick sensation in their heads.

Cassie has Focus


Edited by GDP_ST
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All Cassandra could think on seeing Sophia was no. It was bad enough the Dark had taken Cody. Bad enough that they'd had to learn their abilities, understand what was happening. They hadn't been able to help Cody. They couldn't let Sophia suffer the same fate. Not this time.

She opened her inner eyes, and immediately regretted it. This was the seat of the Dark's power, and it was beating down on her like...no, not a drum. More like a heartbeat, as experienced by someone currently inside the heart. Muscular contractions, compression from all sides. Constantly trying to snuff them out, crush them, consume them... It was held back by waves of Radiance that pulsed out from the Fellowship, creating a sort of bulwark against it. Cass could clearly see then how the bracelets took that Radiance in and seemed to refract it, or reflect it, amplifying it and using it to connect one to another. Unlike the normal world, there was no 'ambient' Radiance here. No sparks of life in the earth or air.

Sophia did have Radiance in her...the same dim light that most things had. Hers was further muted by a patchwork web of cloying Darkness though, knotting unnaturally through her body. Even as Cassandra watched, it quivered and extended a gelatinous pseudopod, extending a little further into Sophia. This process would continue, she realized. It was an infection.

Cassie experimented, mentally concentrating on her Radiance. It shaped itself to her will, rising up and flaring outwards in armlike structures. Yes. This could work...but there was a problem. The Dark was already entwined with the light of Sophia, clinging tightly. If she blasted it out, ripped it from Sophia...even if she had the strength to do that, what would happen to her? Cassandra's Sight could perceive the many layers of Sophia's person, but she didn't understand it or how not to hurt it.

She needed help.

"Autumn," Cassandra said, and reached out a hand. Wordlessly, the redhead took it in her own, and their perceptions shivered together. With unthinking coordination, Cassie marshaled her Radiance and hurled it at Sophia. The streams of energy split and split again, becoming a billion fractal arms that could reach between molecules by the time they reached the other girl.

To the naked eye, the effect was palpable. The world itself seemed to recoil from Cassandra. A sudden wind stirred, blowing away from her...sending cinders and ash up in plumes from the dry bones at her feet. The roiling black clouds in the sky bent up as if a glass dome had just been pressed into them, and flowed outward. From the center of that dish, a beam of Light speared out. It was impossible to say if it came up from the ground, or down from on high...but it was centered not on Cassandra, but on Sophia.

Sophia screamed. Not the inhuman howl she'd let out before, but something far worse. It was two voices, overlaid...a warbling, almost electronic shriek with a teenage girl's agonized scream under it. She writhed in place, and seemed to try to double over, bunch her legs...perhaps spring away.

Cassandra said "No!" aloud, and reached out her hand. The wind intensified, and Sophia halted in place, bent unnaturally as if pierced by an invisible stake. She clutched at herself and wailed, thrashing but unable to escape. And she was burning...a thick black smoke starting to curl off of her.

"Cass what are you DOING?!" shouted Devin.

"I can FIX her, Devin!" she replied in kind. A halo of visible Radiance encompassed her now, and spread down her arm to race up and around Autumn as well. Her face was focused, concentrating entirely on Sophia and the dread battle that raged within her.

Devin shook his head, sickened at the tortured cries. "You're killing her!"

Cassie shook her head. "It's working," she replied. "Look."

A second glance told a new story. The 'smoke' wasn't smoke. Sophia wasn't on fire. The Dark was leaching out of her like a thick black dust or ash...wrenched from her body and cast back into the fetid air.

Tears started trailing from the corners of Cassandra's eyes. "Just a little bit more, Sophie...just hang in there for a second longer."

Radiance speared her, touching every particle of her body with fingers of fire. The pollution that had been forcibly injected...a torture of hours and hours...was now being ripped from her, all the pain compressed into a tiny fraction of the time. Only Autumn's mind, guiding Cassandra's power, saved Sophia from being physically ruptured...caught between the opposing forces that raged throughout her.

Sophia's screaming turned hoarse...turned to anguished sobbing. The 'smoke' trailing from her thinned finally, and guttered out. The spear of Light, and the wind died away...the bowl in the clouds started to smooth out. And Sophia, with a final shuddering gasp, opened her eyes. For that moment the Fellowship could see that they were clear. Her teeth and fingers normal. Then Sophia collapsed onto the bones, mercifully unconscious.

"Oh my god," Cassie whispered. "Oh my god, Sophie, I didn't know...I'm so sorry..."

Autumn squeezed her hand and shook her head. She had some tears leaking from her eyes as well, but her face had a harder edge. "You had to do it," she told Cassandra softly. "It hurt now, but...it would have been worse." Autumn nodded at Cody then, mutely making the point.

Cassie looked that way and shook her head at what she saw. "There's almost nothing of Cody left now," she said. "I...I can't do that to him. It's had him too long. It would kill him, even with your help."

Autumn frowned at that, and her chin set in a subtly defiant expression. She wasn't quite as ready to give up on Cody, it seemed.



Cassandra spends 7 psi, and Autumn 1 psi to assist. 4 successes rolled, which with Autumn's aid allows us to purge 2 Corruption with Transference. Per GM in Discord, this is enough to remove Sophia's corruption entirely and reverse her mutations.


Focus goes to Devin


Edited by Cassandra Allen
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He held Tawny close, feeling a bit guilty for thinking whatever powers might be listening that what happened to Sophia didn’t happen to his best friend.  Not-Cody was fanned into a state of berserk rage and fire and bullets didn’t seem to be slowing him down, just pissing him off more.

Devin wasn’t powerful enough to stand up to that beast, he knew that, but Marissa needed him, and Tawny needed him, and now… Sophia needed him.  So, intend was the young boy at seeking his redemption and help every keep it together that he barely noticed the way allowed himself to fall apart.  Perhaps it was guilt at not being there for Charlie or blaming himself for what happened to Cody… but he felt deep down that he needed to be there for everyone, be everyone’s hero, and then, maybe then, he’d feel like he’d left his troublesome behavior behind him.

Everything was happening so fast… or was it?  Not by a long shot.  Very few could have understood how Devin perceived the world.  Everything he did was instantaneous, calculating a jump was a complex series of equations accounting for distance, mass, trajectory, velocity… and his calculated it all faster than anyone.  Not because he knew how, but because it was part of his nature now.  After Sophia collapsed, that’s when the thought occurred to him and the world around him slowed down to a halt…

He moved faster than the eye could see.  Faster than science currently had a word for and he decided where he’d be able to do the most good.  He appeared and knelt beside Sophia, looking up to Cassie and Autumn.  “I’ve got her, ready to move if things go poorly.  You two worry about the skull.  Smash that damn thing.”

Autumn looked back to Tawny as Devin appeared near Sophia, and saw that Devin was still holding Tawny tightly, ready to escape with her if anything happened.

Devin grinned at Devin and fist bumped as they approached Not-Cody.  “Bix,” he said to his phone as he pressed his F9 earbuds, activating them.  “Gimme something to dance to…”

Devin looked at himself and smiled wide, nodding enthusiastically as the music started to play.  “Aww, yeah.”

They two broke into a sprint and simultaneously disappeared, reappearing at the same time, one Devin up high to kick Cody in the face, while the other appeared low, smashing his foot into Cody’s ‘knees’.  Then they were gone again, and so it went on at what seemed like light speed, or something out of one of the Japanese cartoons where the monkey-vegetable-people would fight as super speeds.  If only they knew that this was still 'slow' where Devin was concerned.

Cody lashed out in anger, slicing, and flailing at the two Devins but they were simply too fast, disappearing the moment an attack was too close, and even helping the other out by pushing or pulling them away from the flailing assaults.  It occurred to the others very quickly that Devin wasn’t trying to hurt Not-Cody at all… he was distracting him!  He was the proverbial hornets nest being dropped on Cody’s head to lure the assaults away from the others so they would have time to keep the pressure on Cody or seek cover if they needed it.

“Y’done goofed,” Devin shouted.

Other-Devin smirked and kicked off Not-Cody’s leg into a back flip and disappeared, reappearing to land on his shoulders and vaulted off backwards (pushing Cody down and off balance), and disappeared again.  “A-A-Ron!”

“C’mon Cody,” Devin held his arms out wide, T-ing up against mighty daemon.  “You said wanted a piece of this… get you some!”

Back at the throne, Cassie noticed that Devin (who was holding Sophia) wasn’t blinking… all of his concentration was being used to teleport so fast that he was able to literally duplicate himself.  “Devin?”

“I’m okay,” he smiled.  “This is just, really trippy.”

"Understatement of the century," she huffed.


Mixed Action: Translocation 5 (Biolocation), two attacks and a tactical movement (3 actions)

Devin Roll: [10, 10, 9, 8, 6, 6, 5, 4, 1, 1], [3, 1] Result: 4

Biolocation: 1 success, +2 Favored Mode = 3 Successes for activation.  There are now 4 Devin’s in the scene.  They are all technically one Devin, so if one takes damage, they all do.

Devin 1: Holding Tawny, keeping her safe. (No action, ready to reflexively dodge if needed)

Devin 2: Tactical movement to Sophia's side.  Holding Sophia, ready to move if need be. (No action, ready to reflexively dodge if needed)

Devin 3: Attack – 1 success + 8 Enhancement = 9 successes.

Devin 4: Attack – 2 successes + 8 Enhancement = 10 successes.

Both of the attacks are centered on keeping Not Cody off balance, stunned, distracted, anything that will add complications to his ability to attack others or defend himself (split evenly).  Any criticals will be spent to further hinder him.  Devin is attempting to cast a net over the lion so the hunters can safely spear it

07/15 Psi

Focus is on... Jase.


Edited by Dave ST
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The bruises from Devin's attacks were stinging fly bites, made all the more galling by the fact that Cody could. Not. SWAT. HIM.  The transformed teen flailed at his tormentor with curses drooling from his lipless mouth, until a sudden presentiment - or perhaps, the yammering of the older, more experienced voice of Araun - brought him up short, eyes widening as the fire-wreathed figure nearby took another step forward.  Bannon's eyes were blazing slits of green flame, his lips pulled back from his teeth in a rictus grin of pain and effort as blood oozed from his nose in twin streams.  And as the air about Cody suddenly warmed, steam rising from the pool of rot he stood astride, both troubled sociopathic teen and elder consciousness finally realised they they had been played.  By Devin, by Coyote, by their own hubris and pride, by treating these young shards of Radiance as prey to play with and devour rather than true threats to be neutralised.  The two Devins that had distracted him both shot Jason a thumbs-up as they vanished, grim smiles on their lips.

The fiery tornado formed above the cloud of swarming creatures, a swirl of destructive flame that leapt downwards, incinerating the foul mockeries of insect life before smiting down full upon Cody with punishing force, driving him into a crouch as the pool and the layers of bone and soil vaporised in the blast.  Those in the glade felt the heat of it from across it's breadth, as though a furnace door had opened in their faces.   Cody screamed, the wail of pain rising above the roar of the firestorm as claws of sentient flame sought him out and ripped at his body, tearing the last shreds of vitality from him.

The scream cut off.  Dimly, very dimly through the blaze, the spindly figure could be seen to rear up and waver before falling apart into ashes which were whisked up into the funnel of the firenado.  Though only Autumn could sense the life - miserable and corrupted as it was - end, all present felt a lessening in the oppressive corruption around them.  The buzzing, greasy sensation was still there, but it's avatar was no more.

And the Tree felt it.

The ground rumbled, the black nightmarish trunk of the thing which looked like a tree but was not writhing against the sullen red sky.  Those nearest the Throne felt it first, a malevolence, centered on the skull, emanating and growing in strength.  Cody was dead, but something that had possessed and empowered him was very much present, seeming to glare at them through empty sockets.  Behind the Throne, root-like tendrils erupted from the ground, slowly tearing themselves free from the gory earth, and the buzz of Corruption which had faded with Cody's death began to grow once more.

Cassie saw what would happen now, saw it as clearly as if it were written in stone.  The spirit in the skull was unleashing the Tree against them.  It would devour them all - their powers would not stand against it.  And then it would break free into the 'real' world, bringing the Blight into downtown Shelly, turning Shelly into the Blight.  Which would grow, unstoppable, turning everything living into monstrosities who would prey on each other, until the world was a Blight.

The Tree could not be defeated.  Not while the skull existed.  And nothing could damage the skull.  Not fire, not impact.  Nothing could damage it... but it could be unmade.  Unraveled.  She saw a flash then, a memory of a tractor plough at the Bannon farm, old and broken, being made whole again...


Jase unleashing hell(scape)
Spending 4 Psi points (3+1 for Mode dot 1 higher than possessed) 6/15 Psi left  Burning 6 Momentum.  14 dice, +3 Enhancement.

GD Bannon Roll: [9, 9, 9, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 5, 4, 2, 2, 1] Result: 3

+1 diff, so 5 net succs.

Spending 1 succ to cause a firenado centered on Not-Cody and his swarms.  Rating 5 Indirect Environmental damage.
Spending 1 succ to activate Flash against Not-Cody without Psi spend.  Roll to follow.
Banking 3 Hellscape successes for the duration.

8 dice, + 15 enhancement total.

GD Bannon Roll: [9, 7, 7, 4, 4, 3, 3, 1] Result: 1

12 net after Cody's defense

More fire damage, more fires set, more Pinned down effect...  Plus Firenado.  Cody is dead.  He is deceased.  He is an ex-Cody.  But the troubles are not over.

Autumn has Focus


Edited by GDP_ST
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Jesus Fuck. There were four Devins, which- under ordinary circumstances- might've been good for a joke about providing real nightmare fuel, but in this place of death and pain and decay and- oh, look. Fire. -humor for the redhaired vitakinetic was in short supply.

"Smash that damn thing." There wasn't much Autumn Keane and Devin Jauntsen could agree on, but on this point, at least, there was no argument. Turning from the massive column of flame roaring behind her, blanketing them all in its baleful heat and radiance, the redhead scrambled away from the teleporter and the unconscious Sophia toward the Throne. She sensed no life in the grotesque trophy that lay there, but somehow it did seem weirdly alive. Or sentient, at least. Or... something. It knew she was there, and as the hideous roots beyond tore free of the bones and foulness that had hidden them, that realization tightened the cold knot of fear in her belly. She gripped the crow bar and drew her arm back, but Cassie's sharp cry gave her a moment's pause, wavering at the threshold of violence.

"Autumn, wait! We can't just smash it now! I see..." She paused, looking bewildered at the image her power had brought up. She stepped closer and lowered her voice. "A plow...it was broken, then rebuilt. But..." Still looking uncertain, Cassandra looked at Autumn. "There's something in that skull now that's protecting it...but it's still a skull. Can you affect it with your powers? We can't break it, but it used to be alive. Change it. Pull it apart if you can...like only you can."

For a moment, the redhead stood poised there, the heavy pry bar raised aloft. Despite Cassie's insistence, a part of her wanted to try anyway, to just hammer at the awful thing until it shattered into a million pieces, but the blonde's visions had been uncannily accurate so far. With a grunt of frustration as she dropped her arm, Autumn shook her head. "I can't. I mean, I don't know how. It might have been alive once, but it was so long ago it doesn't even register. Maybe if-" She blinked, the eyes that moments ago had been wide with terror now sharper, focusing on her friend's face. "The plow. Shit! That was Kat!... KAATTTT!" she screamed, straining to be heard over the chaos. "We need you here!" Grabbing Cassie's arm, she pulled her back from the Throne, back from the questing tendrils, back toward Devin and Sophia. The girl was barely clinging to life, and for a moment something in her railed bitterly at the unfairness of it, that Cody should find any kind of peace while Charlie was gone and poor Sophia might never- But, no. It didn't matter. He was dead and she was alive, and as long as she was alive she could get better, right? Right. Fuck.

"I'll try to help her. Just... It might take me a little while, okay? Don't let me get eaten, guys." With a nervous smile at the other two teens, Autumn knelt down next to the catatonic brunette, shifting the straps of her pack a little and setting the pry bar aside before stripping off her gloves. Aside from being naked, suffering from exposure, severely dehydrated, and half-starved, Sophia was... The Girl Scout blinked and shook her head, tears springing to her red-rimmed eyes. She had been hurt, and that was all Autumn could bear to think about at the moment. Laying one hand on the girl's abdomen and the other on her forehead, she closed her eyes, felt the restless ocean of energy within that surged and coiled in streams of gold and red, and then loosed it, flooding Sophia with the sunlit scarlet of her will.


Restore Template: Psi (4) + Iatrosis (3)

Vivi Roll: [10, 9, 8, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 4, 4, 3], [9] Result: 4

+1 Enhancement (Favored Aptitude), + 1 Difficulty, +1 Psi. 3 Psi and 4 Momentum spent, 8 successes. (Pushing just a little.)

Will require three rounds to fully resolve all three conditions, beginning with Injured status as the most life-threatening (2 successes), then the two mental status conditions (Catatonia, PTSD, 3 successes each).

Psi: 10/15



Edited by Autumn Keane
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That's nothing. T'is but a drop. See? Nothing to be scared of. Just a tiny drop of blood in the crimson ocean I'm sitting in. Now that's a-

2 hours ago, Autumn Keane said:

KAATTTT!" she screamed, straining to be heard over the chaos. "We need you here!"

"Wha-" She mentally sighed and stood back up, slowly making her way to the Throne through the surreal plains of bones, her eyes wide open. The Tree agitated itself, and the world seemed to buzz like a feverish anthill around her, her brains lighting every red alarm they could find and urging her to speed up. She frowned and followed the order.

[Hey, it's Kat.] The petite French girl poked at Autumn. In truth, she couldn't go much faster, her tentative show of strength a minute ago having left her mildly exhausted. [Yup. Talking in your head. What'd you need me for? Oh, and try to think your answer.]

"Ohgod! How do-?" [Ohgod! How do-? Uh, okay, this is fucking weird. Um, hi? Also, we, uh, can't damage the skull. Cassie had a vision that showed her the plow you rebuilt at the Bannon farm. I think you have to do whatever the opposite of that is, maybe? Probably.]

[I got you.]


There she stood, staring at the grinning skull. She climbed the small hillock of bones on which the Throne was set, her Shine brushing against the grisly figure staring back at her. Goosebumps. Her head visibly recoiled, the 'stench' of the skull unmistakeable to her. The opposite of what I did to the plow, uh? Guess I'll just turn it into dust.

Despite what her other senses told her, the skull was but plain old bone. Since what happened at the Bannons' farm, there was no use in wondering if she could do it. She took a deep breath and tapped once more into that reservoir of hers, sharpening her focus as the tip of a spear. At first sight, nothing happened. But the skull seemed to grow smaller, second by second, as specks of dust started coming off.

Then she fell to her knees, her hands meeting the bones, and a bright flash of pain piercing her brains.

Plick. Plock. Her hazed eyes watched the droplets of blood falling from her nose, their impact on the ground echoing into her ears in a strange, disconnected way. But she couldn't stop. Not now, when her friends needed her. It was working. She was turning the skull into dust. But it was too slow. It demanded too much.

Suddenly, she wasn't alone anymore. A familiar, ice-cold presence stood by her the same way it had but a day ago. It wasn't there, but it was there. Her mind accepted it, leaned on that sturdy wall, and it gave her the edge she needed.

Ignoring the dancing stars in front of her eyes, she closed them, and the skull decayed, falling to pieces from either side of the Throne's back, crumbling till there was nothing left but thin, pale powder. She rested her rear on her heels, face down, moaning plaintively. "Uuuuuuugh, I don't feel so good..."

It felt as if her heart itself was beating inside her own skull. Not the greatest feeling of all.

Somewhere, inside, a distant wailing echoed, as if vibrating through her bones - and outside, much like Kat on the ground, the branches of the Tree curled slowly, its receding tendrils thrashing around in a fit of rage.


Activating Mindspeak ---> Autumn
Activating Molecular Scanning ---> Big Bad Evil Skull

Kat Activating Transmutation 5 (Alchemy) on Big Bad Evil Skull
Total cost: 6 Psi (4 - Kat | 2 - transferred by Jase)
Target: 5 succs minimum
Misc: +4 enhancements (Jase's boost, 1 psi cost for Jase) | +8 dice (8 momentum used)
Rolling 6 + 8 = 14 dice

'Drid Roll: [10, 9, 9, 9, 8, 8, 6, 6, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 1], [10] Result: 7
Total: 11 succs
Big Bad Evil Skull turns into Smol Bad Evil Dust

Psi Pool: 0/10

Focus passed to Marissa

GM Note:  Jase is down 3 Psi.  Current total is 3/15


Edited by Catherine 'Kat' Barras
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One moment she was yelling taunts at Cody and right after the great beast was shot, pummeled, burned lazed and was screaming infernal curses at the crimson sky while the Tree wailed and thrashed on the horizon.  She looked at the group of teens, weapons at the ready with nimbuses of power swirling about them.  “Holy shit…” was all she could muster under a stuck breath.

Gathering her wits, finally, she ran to meet with her brother(s), pausing to look at the Devin holding Tawny.  Her finger waved between the both of them.  “I-I'm not even going to ask what this is…”

“You got her?”  Devin-Holding-Sophia asked Autumn.  When she assured him with a nod, he faded away, or rather slowed down and almost seemed to ‘vibrate’ out of existence.

“Good,” Devin replied to Marissa.  “Because I couldn’t even begin to explain it.”

She knelt beside Tawny, wiping some blood off the young blonde’s cheek but all it really did was smear it more.  While her brother was holding her so tight, the worry in his eyes, she pondered the volumes of books she could fill with the hidden dialogue behind his eyes and prayed that one day she would find that sort of love.  The kind where her someone would look at her the way her brother looked at Tawny.

“Mother fucker.”  She heard Autumn say.  The redhead’s eyes were locked on the distant horizon, where the Meadow of Malaise met the Ivory Forest of Bone.  “Not good.  So un-fucking-good.”

Although Marissa couldn’t detect them the way Autumn or Sean could, once she knew where to look her eyes could faintly make out the charging army of unmentionables.  “Ohmygod.”  Her heart sank.  One Not-Cody was one thing, but there was no way they could battle an army the size of what was storming across the fields.  GUYS!  We need to go!”  She pointed long enough to direct everyone’s attention to the charging monsters.

“Devin!” she knelt again, looking at her brother intently.  “You need to do the thing, with the thing and we all 'boop'.  You know... the thing!  You need to get us the fuck out of here,” she reached for Tawny, to take care of the blonde so Devin could work his magic.

“I got her!” He snapped at her, tightening his grip.  Guilt kept him from letting her go as his eyes pleaded for a thousand, wordless apologies.

Shelly’s Queen tightened her lips and clasped her brother’s cheeks, turning his head to face her and letting their eyes meet.  “This is not your fault Devin.  She’ll be fine, but we need to go.  You need to let her go and open a portal.”  There was no violet shimmer behind her words, only the harsh truth.  “It’s my fault.  You wanted to stop, I didn’t and I pushed and pushed and maybe all of this isn’t our doing, but yeah… we helped.  I helped.  If I had just listened to you...”

“Now help me make it right, Deej,” tears slid down her cheeks.  She leaned in, pressing her forehead to her brothers.  “I’ve never had friends, we’ve never had friends, we've always jsut been each other's Ride or Die,” she looked to Tawny, and pulled back, meeting her brother’s eyes again.  “But she’s my friend too, so let’s get her home.  Let’s get everyone home, I don’t want to lose anymore friends Devin.”  She forced a smile and a laugh.  “We just got them… we haven’t run them through their paces yet.”  They both chuckled a bit.

Shifting Tawny’s weight towards his sister, Devin stood as she cradled the unconscious blonde.  “Watch after her, I’ll see what I can do.”

Marissa struggled.  Between the slick blood, her not being very strong to begin with and having never really trying to cradle an unconscious teen in her lap, she huffed and grunted with her loose, slick grip, trying to get Tawny to hold firmly in place but instead it looked like an awkward in scene from Weekend at Bernie's.  “Ohm’god,” she grunted, trying to hold the knot of arms and torso still.  “I don’t know what he sees in you… you are so fat.  Come on sister, don’t do this to me…”

“Cade!” she finally yelled as the uncontrollable blob that was Tawny slid through the muck and malaise while Marissa clumsily chased after her.  “Baby!  Get her, please!”

It appeared that Death would arrive with a half-smile in its face.


No real action, per se.  Swapping control of Tawny's care from Devin to Marissa (gods help us all) and asking Cade to come help.  He's strong, he can lift things.

Focus goes to SEAN.


Edited by Dave ST
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The heat of the storm of napalm washed over him. Like nails on chalkboard, the impulses of Sophia's madness screamed at him. Sean's vision almost blurred, trying to follow the bioelectric activity of the multiple Devin's, like trying to discern individual frames in a movie. Under his cap, Sean's hair was matted, sweat slid down his cheek. His limbs shook, almost vibrated, under the assault of sensations, fear, and burgeoning relief.

Cody and Not-Cody burned, remnants sucked up into the firenado. Sean couldn't quite make out just what Autumn was doing to Sophia, but he could feel her neural activity relax, ease, become natural s unconsciousness claimed her once more. The Tree was in its death throes already, Kat having unmade the Skull, where fire and force couldn't have touched it. The pervading aura of malevolent corruption began to dissipate, some at least, Radiance and Hope rising.

It wasn't enough. There was a tiny part of Sean that felt... thwarted. He wanted to destroy, to cleanse, to scour this place, to....

"Shiiiiiii-iiiiite!" Sean cursed as he spun around, gaze going beyond the trees of bone.

Be careful what you wish for. The corruption of the Blight might have lessened, but Sean's nerves jangled with the feeling of encroaching, encircling, living bioelectric activity closing in from outside the clearing. Living, but twisted, tainted, monstrous. Creatures that had never been human, but were of this place, coalesced from fear and pain, hate and despair.

Sean felt ill, scared, and elated. Targets. They needed to leave, get out, but they needed time, just a tiny bit of time, for Devin to pull himself together and reopen a hole between dimensions. And he'd give him that time, with a little from his friends. A nudge, a phantom tap on a mental shoulder, intent more than any direct communication, imploring Devin's and Autumn's neotic aid.

Sean was great at math, amazing even. He was dubious about how much Devin understood math, but in a way, he now lived it. He might not be able to show his work, but he could produce the answer. Hell, he was the answer. Sean wasn't sure how Devin managed to be in multiple places at once. Quantum entanglement? Sub-quantum entanglement? Realizing the holographic nature of reality? Sean didn't know, he suspected Devin knew even less, but he could use it.

Energy and mass could be interchangeable, and if energy equaled mass times the speed of light, then way couldn't his three pet lasers be multiplied exponentially under the right circumstances. With a nod, Sean pulled the scarlet pellet of light from where it was still orbiting around the point Not-Cody had been. The walls of emerald and sapphire light collapsed back into incandescent beads and joined they ruby brethren in its circular dance.

Sean planted his feet, ignoring the spattering spray of gelatinous blood, his hands balling into fists. The circling beads of light spun faster and faster, grew brighter and brighter, red, blue, and green forming a ring of blazing white sunlight as wide across as Sean was tall. Its plane of motion shifted, tilted from horizontal to vertical, as the ring came to a stop ten feet in front of Sean, between him and the edge of the clearing. Light spiraled inward, filling the ring until it became a disk of opaque incandescence, a whining and the smell of ozone filling the area of the air became ionized.

"Portal time, Devin!" Sean shouted, "Buying you what time I can!"

Sean could feel the firing synapses of the incoming Abominations. Borrowing Autumn's senses, he was now aware of their neurons directly, the cells that made up nervous systems, muscles, blood, and bone. It was like doubling the resolution and precision of radar, letting Sean pinpoint their locations with incredible clarity.

The whine became a thrumming roar, like the biggest lightsaber ever imagined, as a massive beam of condensed photons, a giant lance of pure sunlight in a realm of darkness, swept across an arc of the clearing, sheering through the trees of bone, atomizing blood and bone and dirt, and engulfed several of the oncoming terrors before they could fully react. Sean's legs trembled as he forced himself to stand his ground and willed the unibeam to hold together, just that bit longer, to reach one more monster, one less monster to worry about before they skedaddled.

The beam of sunlight died, the clearing seeming darker for a moment from its absence, afterimage floating through everyone's sight. Particles of fine, dark ash drifted down like dingy snow. Sean's shoulders slumped, and he wavered trying to keep his feet as he coughed on a mouthful of ash. He couldn't do that much more, not without draining himself and Devin, who needed his energy to get them all out of here.

"Go! Go! Go!" Sean gasped hoarsely as he waved his hands.


Unibeam Team Attack!

Using the Spray Stunt from Sean's laser, boosted by Devin and Autumn, for precision and increase area from Close to Short, range is still Medium. All of them spend 1 Psi. Mixed actions not possible, so he can't close in with the others. Spending 5 Momentum.

+4 Psi + 3 Photokinesis + 5 Momentum + 0 (Favoured Aptitude cancels Difficulty for power higher than mode rating) = 12d10 + 4 Enhancements due to Vitakinetic Boost +3 Enhancement from Dynamic Array Laser

Asarasa Roll: [10, 8, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 4, 4, 3, 2], [6] Result: 2 +7 enhancements = 9 Enhancements - Defense. With Destructive and Piercing Tags, laser reduces Armor Rating by 3, and if there's enough successes to get a critical hit, they on fire too.

Sharing a Psi point back to Devin

Sean's Psi Pool: 6/15
Devin's Psi Pool: 7/15
Autumn's Psi Pool: 9/15

Focus passes to Cade!


Edited by Sean Cassidy
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It was over quickly, Jason and Sean's literal firepower was a spectacle that couldn't be denied.   He didn't relax, it couldn't be that easy.  When the tree began to come after them, he was ready, despite knowing it might prove a futile gesture on his part again.   Still, he told himself everything they did mattered, that there was some real effect to it all.

Marissa called for him to help with Tawny, and he nodded, slinging his rifle over his back on it's strap, even with a horde of creatures headed toward them.   Sean's laser blast was impressive, thinning the coming onslaught, but there were still more.  He smiled, seeing Sean act to buy Devin time.  There was bad blood there, but at least it was slowly being washed away.   Still, they had to leave, now.  

He knelt down, gently deftly taking Tawny from Marissa, heedless of the gore and grime getting on him, his focus was on taking her up securely, to prevent any further injury.   Satisfied that he had her as best he could, Cade rose back up to his full height with Tawny in his arms, princess carry style. "I'm not the one you'd rather do this the first time for you, I know, just bear with it for now."  He knew she was out cold, and couldn't hear him, but he said it anyway in the way that people would talk to a coma patient.

"We should rally by the Throne, and be ready when Devin opens the way home.   Someone else needs to grab Sophia."   He said, even as he head for the Throne, trusting Marissa not to lag behind.  He could have carried both girls, but not comfortably, and there was the potential for injury to one or all of them, if he fell.    He didn't seem fazed by the blood on Tawny, or how it was ruining his own clothing. It was probably the most creepy thing about Cade, just how calm he was, even in this Hellscape, with vile creatures closing in.

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Sean's scything, terrifying beam of focused coherent heat and light sliced through bone and chitin with audible crackling sounds, flash-boiling exposed flesh, cutting through roughly a dozen of the smaller creatures entirely and severely wounding a dozen more of the larger varieties.  The ring of bone trees in the segment where he had directed his fire toppled as sections of the ossified 'trunks' simply exploded from the heat.  As he blinked away the afterimages of the glaring light, the technomancer smiled grimly at the results of his handiwork, even as the analytical side of him acknowledged that more monsters were coming from other directions.  He glanced to the side as he coughed again, noting the still-blazing figure of Jase nearby, the lambent energies he was channeling still coruscating in the blaze of his eyes even as the firenado dissipated, it's purpose served.  Smoke and ash were everywhere as the two friends exchanged a glance, nodding acknowledgement that yes, it was time to go.

Behind the Throne and over their heads, the teens could see the Tree in distress.  It's 'branches' and 'roots' flailed aimlessly like as they withered, and spots of light were appearing on the black nothingness of the trunk, as though some disease was eating away at the macrobe's grotesque imitation of corporeal form.  The death-wail of the spirit which had anchored the Tree faded away, the long-ago pact between a dying god and the forces of Nothingness broken, and this intrusion of the Dark into reality had been drawn like a thorn from a poisoned abscess.  The Blight remained, but would grow no further, and perhaps the poison could be lanced away... later.  The Tree shuddered in a simulacrum of agony, the trunk curling back on itself like no normal tree could, shriveling as it fought to maintain it's foothold against a reality that intrinsically rejected it, and the teens of the Fellowship could feel the overbearing corruption of it's presence withering.

The mindless things which inhabited the Blight, however, either cared little about such things or were simply reacting in accordance with vague instinct, for they came on in a staggered wall of chitin and sinew and bone-spurs and fangs, seeking only to rend, kill and feed.  Nightmarish facsimiles of life, ranging from rubbery-limbed crawlers that the teens recognised from the hospital to huge, tank-sized armor plated engines of fury and destruction and every size and shape in between.


6 momentum restored for RP and actions taken in the round.

Roll for initiative, please!


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"Kat, I know it sucks, but I'm gonna need you to get up, now," Autumn called urgently over the din as she glanced over her shoulder at the petite powerhouse. She looked miserable, but not injured in any way the vitakinetic could readily define- not hurt, but hurting. It'd be fine. Probably. "C'mon," she urged again as the tiny French girl groaned and stirred. "We gotta go." Sophia, on the other hand, hadn't yet recovered, and wouldn't be walking out on her own. The curvy brunette's vital signs were more or less stable, and thank all the unnamed gods she actually looked human again thanks to Cassie's intervention, but none of that would matter in a few moments if they didn't get out of there now. The nightmarish masses were closing fast, and even if she couldn't see them, she could feel their wrongness, the mockery of life they represented- that this whole place represented. Despite the shimmering heat of the air all around, the grimy freckle-faced girl shivered.

"Cassie, in the front pocket of my backpack there's a solar blanket folded up. Can you grab that for Tawny, please?" She needed to focus. Her companions needed her to focus. It was fine to be afraid. Totally fine. Completely normal. She just... had to keep going forward. As a trembling Autumn arranged Sophia's slack limbs on the ground, Cassandra nodded and rushed over, kneeling down to tug a rectangle of lightweight silver material free of the zippered compartment before darting over to meet Cade as he ascended the hill. At least some of the poor girl's modesty should be preserved, the redhead decided, even if the weirdly emotionless athlete didn't seem to mind, and it would help maintain her body heat until they could get somewhere safe. Not so for the girl before her, since she wasn't being carried like a catatonic bride over some horror-movie threshold. It'd be fine.

Grimacing, the redhead set to work hoisting Sophia onto her shoulders. It had been a long time since she'd practiced a fireman's carry, and never in a situation where it actually mattered, never in a place where everything was burning or rotting or screaming or some godsfuckingawful combination of the three, and there was nothing graceful or elegant or smooth about it. She was limp, naked, and slippery with foulness, and although a lifetime of physical activity meant Autumn was theoretically capable of lifting her, it wasn't exactly easy. Autumn's hair was in her face, her heart in her throat, and her stomach somewhere just south of that but rising rapidly as the smell of the girl suddenly caught her full-force, mingling disgust with pity with the adrenaline that drove her heels firmly into the not-soil and the rest of her upward. With one arm hooked around Sophia's right thigh and grasping her right wrist, the blue-eyed teen stood there uncertainly for a moment, gingerly adjusting the unconscious girl's weight and testing her footing.

"Sean!" she yelled, leaning forward cautiously as she pitched her voice to carry. "Jase! Let's go!"


Psi: 9/15. It'll take two more rounds for Sophia's mental conditions to resolve, so she remains mostly unconscious for now.

Focus passes to the Effing One.


Edited by Vivi OOC
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Jason knew what was happening to him.  Teulu did not have a flight reflex: they lacked the capacity for fear, and in it's place was a redoubled inclination to fight, to kill.  Abstractly, the wryly logical portion of his mind, that dry observer that catalogued all with merciless self-awareness, informed him of all of this.

But it was one thing to know what was happening, and another to feel it in a way that was immediate and near-overpowering.  

His veins sang, the music primal and intoxicating as the adrenaline of combat worked it's euphoric magic on his alien neurochemistry. The fire burning in his soul right now was similar to the flame kindled in the kiss of the copper-tressed girl behind him in temperature, it's edge was as savagely joyous, yet the focus and purpose of the flame was entirely different.  Almost without his noting it, Jase's lips peeled back from his teeth in a soundless laugh.  His enemies were in front of him.  It didn't matter to him that they were hideous mockeries of twisted life.  It didn't matter to him that they might overwhelm him.  There was only the pure, wild amoral joy of combat.  He was Flame and Destruction incarnate right now, the roar of the power he was channeling loud in his ears and mind.  He was...

53 minutes ago, Autumn Keane said:

"Sean!" she yelled, leaning forward cautiously as she pitched her voice to carry. "Jase! Let's go!"

Putting his friends at risk.  

He fought down the killing laughter that had been threatening to bubble up from his throat and ring across the blighted battlefield as he glanced back to reaffirm what his kinetic awareness of his surroundings already told him.  Almost everyone was clustered together, Autumn looking at him, Sophia's limp form draped across her shoulders.  Still wreathed in flame, he glanced over at Sean, who was wide-eyed at the approach of the horde, already taking his first steps towards the others.

Time to run.

He turned and ran fleet-footed, a lean wraith limned in flames seeming to skim above the grisly soil of the glade, so lightly did his feet touch down.  He  hurdled a small pool, wove around a larger one, and arrived at the base of the hillock upon which the throne rested.  Skidding to a stop, he gave everyone a quick, searching glance before turning to watch his oldest friend's progress with something akin to concern.  Sean was many fine things, but a foot-racer was not one of them.


Made an Integrity + Resolve roll for Jason to fight down his instincts:  4 net succs.

Athletics + Dex roll to cover the distance without stumbling or slipping.

Sean has Focus


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Sean was not a foot-racer... and nothing the rest of the Fellowship witnessed disabused them of that. Thanks to his physique and simple biomechanics, Sean didn't run like most teenaged boys. Sprinting for his life, hands on his chest to restrain any extraneous motion despite the high-quality, high-impact sportsbra he was wearing, most would say he ran like a 'girl'... except the girls of the Fellowship were generally an athletic lot, running and jogging regularly. Hell, Autumn has Sophia over her shoulders like a pro. Even Marissa had her yoga and gynmastics training to fallback on. Spry he might have been, no one would call Sean graceful, at least in regards to running.

What he was, was motivated. And at least a little lucky. Screaming wordlessly, pale face tinged green with terror and the indignity that he could very well die like the eye-candy before the starting credits even rolled, his mind locked on the adage that the fastest way between two points was a straight line. He ran flat out for the hillock, feet swinging a bit wildly due to his new hiking shoes and inexperience, making no effort to avoid or navigate any obstacles. He splashed through puddles of steaming or coagulating blood, not a one deeper than an inch.

He'd written this encounter before, the party having to escape an unending horde of Giger-esque and Cthulhoid monstrosities from the Far Realm. He never, ever, expected he - they - would be in a situation anything even remotely similar. LARPing, but for real, suuuuucked! Jase pulled further and further ahead despite Sean's best effort, a note of frustrating added to his frightened howl.

Logically, Sean could understand the harsh equations that went through Jase's head. Slowing down to keep in step with Sean risked two lives instead of one, two of the Fellowship who were best equipped to slow down the horde and give Devin the time he needed to get the rest of the Fellowship out of here. Sean totally understood, agreed with the reasoning... and couldn't help feeling a bit of bitterness that Jase didn't even look back to see how he was doing, let alone hang back to help him.

"Oh lawd, he comin'!" Devin said, unable - or rather, unwilling - to stop the comment while trying to focus his will to breach the barrier between this realm and theirs.

Beyond nearly all expectations, especially his own, Sean made it to the hillock with the others without tripping or falling in a tangle of flailing limbs under a wave of claws, tentacles, and less terrestrial protrusions. Heaving and huffing, shuddering with the aftermath of his run, looking like he'd spent a day in a slaughterhouse that had never heard of OSHA, but alive. He'd lost all track of time since they had entered the Blight, they could have been there for seconds, minutes, or even hours as far as he could tell.

"Oh, fuck! Fuckity hell shit!" Sean heaved in panic and relief, scrambling up the hillock. "I think I'm having a heart attack! This has to be what a heart attack feels like!"

"Faaaat!" replied a chorus of voices.

Sean glared at his friends, turquoise and jade eyes wide enough to show white all aroudn, and snorted. "I'm not fat! I'm just unathletic!"

"Faaaat!" A hint of humour in the midst of horror, there were a few chuckles.

"Fuck the lot of you! I'm supposed to be tech support!" Despite his hoarse, harsh rebuttal, the corners of his mouth twitched up. Sean hunched his shoulders and pulled his hands down, at though hiding under an invisible blanket, and his beads of light swirled around them, then spread out in sheets of red, blue, and green, to form a dome of burning radiance over the hillock and the Fellowship. "Get us the hell out of here!"


Sean is breasting boobily as he had never boobily breasted before!

Dexterity + Athletics = 3d10
Asarasa Roll: [9, 5, 1] Result: 1 success

Using all three lasers to form a cohesive dome around the hillock and the Fellowship that hopefully doesn't leave them cramped (p.229). If not, I'll edit and use them to form a triangle 5 meters to a side.

Sean's Psi Pool: 6/15

Focus passed to Cassie!


Edited by Sean Cassidy
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Standing a little apart from the others as he was, they could still feel the flickering heat given off by Jase's flame-shrouded form as he looked up at the dying Tree with an analytic tilt to his head.  "It's reacting almost like a slug exposed to salt and sunlight." he noted to Sean.  And indeed, there was something of mindless reflexive agony in the way the truck coiled and uncoiled, the roots and branches flailing aimlessly as the thing just seemed to... shrivel in on itself.  Given it's immensity, it was hard to tell at first, but the Tree was indeed losing 'mass'.  "It's shrinking." he added.  "I wonder if-"

"Yeah. Fascinating.  How are we doing on the exit strategy?"  Sean, under other circumstances not filled with terror, death and the graveyard charnel stench of the Blight, might have shared his friend's interest in the horrid thing's ecology.  Jason shot him a small smile and nodded, falling silent as he turned to regard Devin.

"Workin' on it."  Devin's face, illuminated by the neon glow of the laser dome fence around them, was locked in concentration as he searched for the path home.  Flickers of purple energy danced in his eyes and around his hands as they probed space around the group.  From the perimeter, there were flashes and screeches of pain as the faster, smaller creatures, heedless of any threat in their hunger, charged through the bright barriers and were partially or completely vaporised, some actually making it several step before falling into blackened, smoking husks.  "Gonna need a bit more time..."

"Fuck."  Autumn swore as she backed up, Sophia over her shoulders and pry bar back in hand.  "They're not stopping."  Beyond the illumination of the fences, larger shapes were moving closer.

"Cadums."  Marissa said authoritatively, betraying none of her inner edge of panic. "I'll take a baseball bat now."  Kat groaned as she forced herself to stand tall, moving to flank with her own bat in hand as Shelly's Queen Bee took the length of weighted wood and swung it experimentally.  Jase moved to the front of the rise on which the Throne sat, standing between the ramp up and Devin.

"Form a ring."  he said calmly, eyes still simmering with green baelfires in the reflection of his own flames.  "We give Devin time.  Nothing touches him."  Cade nodded as he shifted Tawny into a fireman's carry, leaving a hand free and hefting the rifle in his free hand.  The athlete glanced at his friends, then at Devin.  Surely they wouldn't be stuck like this.  To have come so far, achieved so much...

"Got it."  Devin said as suddenly, out of nowhere, his senses latched onto the faint scar of the entrance gateway he'd forged before.  Of course: that was the weak spot now.  The way home!  A sphere of purplish white light grew between his hands, slowly expanding.  Cassie, eyes wide and breathing deeply, took up a position next to Autumn, the two friends exchanging faint smiles of reassurance.  "I'm working here."  Devin said through gritted teeth as he urged the sphere to widen faster.

"Sean.  How tapped are you?"  Jase asked tersely.  The electrokineticist straightened up, stepping forward to plug one of the gaps in the ring around Devin.

"Good for one more quick fight."  he said with a smile he didn't feel, his heart beating double-time in his ample chest.  Jase's lips peeled back from his teeth in a feral grin as he nodded, channeling kinetic strength through his limbs with some of the last ergs of his own power.

The first of the larger creatures to break through was a nightmare of spines and scythelike bone spurs, it's hide covered in plate of chitin that smoked and seared as it plunged through the laser wall.  The size of a draft horse, its six multijointed legs propelled it up the slope.  Other, smaller critters followed in it's wake, having used the bulk of the thing to come through, though none of them was unscathed.  And then a large, bone-plated worm creature, with a lamprey-like mouth filled with concentric rows of slicing blades and ringed with tentacles, broke through on the left, screeching it's pain and hunger as it slithered up towards the Throne.  From the right came an old friend, the 'fishasaurus' - not the exact same creature but one very much like it, long barbed tongue lashing the air as the dozen malformed grasping arms that sprouted from it's torso flailed around, blackened from the heat.

What followed next was chaotic - snapshots of violence and horror and heroism as the band fought shoulder to shoulder.  Cassie was yanked forward as a grasping tentacle latched onto her shoulder, it's barbed suction cups digging into her skin painfully as she fought to detach it and pull away from the maw that awaited her.  With a scream of pure defiance, Autumn reached out and grabbed the horrid slimy thing, feeling the barbs cut her own hand as the scarlet surge of her power flooding into the creature's flesh and causing the worm-thing to recoil, loosing it's prize as it rolled in agony down the hillock, crushing allies under it's squirming bulks, and back into the laser fence.  Pale-faced and bloodied, but otherwise fine, Cassie scrambled back into position with a gasped thanks.  A gurgling roar heralded the fish-creature's charge as it crashed into the teens, sending Kat sprawling and bearing Marissa down under it's hideous stinking bulk.  Kat rolled to her feet, face bleeding from a cut to her jaw, and came back in swinging, plunging the blunt end of her bat into one of the glossy black eyes.  It screamed, thrashing as it's claws tore at Marissa, it's mouth turning towards Kat only for Cade to pump three rounds into the side of it's blubbery flank, blowing chunks of flesh from it.

"Fuck offa me!"  Marissa screamed, feeling claws ripping through her clothes and digging into her flesh, incensed by the filth and stink and fear as she brought her hiking heel-clad feet up under the thing as it struggled to eat her.  With a convulsive heave, the massive bulk was thrust off and up, sailing into the air a few feet before rolling down the hill, thrashing as it went back though the laser barrier.  And then she was on her feet, a dark-haired angel of terrified, grossed-out wrath as she began to lash out at the other creepies within reach.  With every connection of the bat, chitin shattered and bone splintered, ichor spraying into the air and smaller creatures launched bodily down the hill as she dealt out brutal vengeance for the insult to her person as well as her ruined outfit, cursing loudly with every strike.

Jase met the armor-plated horror head-on, grabbing it's head as it lunged for him, the amplified strength of his grasp enough to keep it's crushing jaws from his face as the flames of his aura began to sear through the flesh under his touch.  The thing screamed and lashed out with a bony scythe blade that dug deep into his outer thigh, the protection of the psychokinetic's defenses preventing it from simply cutting his limb off but unable to turn the strike aside entirely.  Jason's teeth gritted as he hung on through the pain, feeling the blade twist in the wound, trying to drive deeper.  Sean gave out a yell of horror at the welling of blood from his friend's leg and lashed out, a beam of brilliant light cutting through the weaponlike limb and causing the creature to scream in renewed pain.  The screech was cut off as Jase, focusing his power through his hands, flash-broiled the creature's skull.  The thing's face exploded into flame and smoking gore, covering both Jason and Sean.  Taking a step back as the horror collapsed, Jase tugged the tip of the bone claw out of his leg and, hissing in pain, checked the cut.  It was bleeding, but no artery or vein seemed to have been nicked.  Looking up, he waved a hand and sent a surge of flame down the slope, incinerating a wave of smaller creatures.  But more were coming, and more large ones with them.

"Devin."  he said with a rare note of urgency in his tone.

"I know."  Devin's face was sweating.  The sphere was almost covering the group.  "Just a second or two more..."

"Devin!"  Cassie swatted down one of the rubbery creepers, watching it flail as it fell back into the throng below.  More horrors were making the ascent now, venomous stingers and grinding mandibles and-

"I know!"

"DEVIN!" they all yelled, from the most stoic to the most excitable, as they drew back closer together.  Jason extinguished his flaming aura - this close, he would be a danger to the others as well as the enemy. The horrors paused as they reached the top of the rise, then lunged.

"Got it!"  Devin yelled triumphantly above the screams as the slavering gnashing wave of flesh fell upon them.  The world went purple and azure and white.

...and then they fell into long, soft grass on a hilltop.  The sun was just set, the stars already coming out and freckling the violet sky with motes of radiance.  There was the scent of wildflowers, and growing things still warm with the last of summer.  Nearby a tree - an actual honest to goodness tree - swayed it's leaves gently in the evening breeze.


"We made it!"

"We did it!"

Confusion gave way to a babble as the teens sat up, the babble giving way to relieved joyous laughter as they reached over and punched each other's arms, pounded each other on the back, hugged one another close, heedless of the muck and blood and smoke and ashes they were coated with as they excitedly began talking about what had just happened.

"Did you see Marissa throw that thing-?"

"Man that laser fence was awesome-"

"...Four Devins?  Ugh!"

"And Kat with the skull-"

"Nice work, new girl!"

"That firenado was EPIC."

"-hit it with a bat."

"...And Cade all Dirty Harry puttin' holes in-"

"Tawny and Sophia, we get them too?"  There was a moment of concern as they looked around.

"They're right here.  I think Sophia will be fine."  Autumn checked on the naked girl, who was starting to stir.  

"Deej?"  Tawny was sitting up, looking around bewildered, smiling a little as she saw her friend.  "What..?" she paused, looking around again.  "Our place?  Did we die? Is this heaven?"

"I wish."  Marissa snorted, gesturing at her ruined and torn outfit and the muck in her hair, and the scrapes and blood and... everything.  "Does this look like my idea of heaven?  I need a spa, and a facial, and a manicure, and-"

"We made it, Tee."  Devin smiled as he went and helped Tawny to her feet.  She smiled a little, face still pale as she remembered.  "It's cool.  We took care of it, all of it." he reassured her.  With a low cry and a sniffle, the blonde threw her arms around him and hugged him close.

"How are you?"  Jase limped over to where Autumn was watching over Sophia.  She looked at him, then at his bloody leg.

"Never mind me.  How are you?"

"Hurts.  Nothing vital, though-"  But the red-headed girl was already breathing some of her power into her hands, placing them over the wound and concentrating, feeling the bleeding stop and the healing begin to accelerate.  It wasn't a complete mending, but it should heal swiftly and without complications.  Then she straightened up and standing on tip-toe gave him a chaste but lingering kiss before wrapping her arms around him and hugging him tight.

"I'm fine. Or will be fine."  she murmured into his chest.  "Probably."  She smiled a little as she felt his arms go around her in turn.  It would be nice to stay like that for awhile, but there was still business to take care of.

They all felt it, all the Radiants, Tawny included.  It emanated from the middle of the distant pool of lights that was Shelly, and they found themselves turning towards it, together or separately.  The oppressive cloud that they had lived with their whole lives, that leering, looming shadow cast by the Tree, was gone now.  It's withdrawal from reality brought with it a ripple of positivity, of life being returned to the air and soil.  The Blight was still there, a dark underbelly, a wound that had yet to be cleansed.  But the source of the spiritual rot was gone, sucked back to wherever such things came from.  Now, at least, healing could take place.


Thus ends the Battle of the Tree.

Combat is finished.  Time to start thinking about wrapping the Episode up.  There's Sophia to take care of, parents to confront, and pizza to be eaten.  Not necessarily in that order.


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Tawny tried to wipe away some of the blood on Devin's cheek, but she only smeared into a redish-black blob.  She chuckled, as best she could, trying to find something in all the craziness that felt normal.  "Sorry."

"It's okay," he shook his head dismissively as he gave her a warm smile.

"You went through Hell to save me," her eyes seemed to study him, seeing something in him she'd not seen before.  Perhaps it was the man she always had faith was hiding under his immaturity or something else, but he seemed different, more intense and, she hated to admit it, sexy.  This version of Devin was outside the boundaries of anything she'd experienced with him before, the warrior, the hero... the good guy.  None of those things she'd ever really attributed to him before, she'd just known he was capable of it in the good heart of his.

"In a heartbeat." Devin's tone was far more romantic than he intended it to be, but his eyes were locked on hers as she studied him, biting her lips as struggled to wrestle with her thoughts.  Marissa tapped Cade and nodded in Devin and Tawny's direction as their world bled away and they only saw each other.  Before they knew it the area had grown quiet and the Fellowship were looking on in anticipation.  Would this be the night, after all the heroics and fighting that Devin finally wised up and just settled down with the woman who obviously loved him.

Pulled by their unconscious wills their lips drew closer and closer.  'He's going to kiss me' Tawny thought as only a half an inch remained between them and the Disney ending Tawny had always dreamt of.  Kiss?

He's going kiss me.


She pulled away suddenly, startled by the last memory she had before waking up in that hell.  "Oh my god, Jacob!  Hewaswithmeanditcameoutofnowhere-"

"Jacob is fine," Autumn's hand on the blonde's shoulder calmed her down.  "He'll have a headache tomorrow, but he'll be fine."

Tawny pressed her hands to her heart and sighed with relief.  "Oh, thank God."

"Whelp," Devin grunted as he struggled to stand.  That moment was shot to shit, so no point in sitting there like a puckered up idiot.  It would figure.  About to finally get some romantic time for uber heroics and she's thinking of someone else.  Par the course when it came to his luck, he supposed.  "I think it's time we call the parental units to come a reclaim their misbegotten progeny."  He looked to Sophia and offered her a comforting, warm smile.  "And maybe get her to the medical center."

Sophia wearily looked up to Devin.  "Sorry I tried to kill you." She groaned.

"Sokay," she shrugged.  "You're not the first to want to, or try."  The Fellowdivas all quickly mumbled and shown their agreement on the fact that she would also not be the last.  Despite the hell she'd been through, she managed a very tight but faint smile.

"Hey, mom?"  Marissa, like Jason, was limping pretty bad and her.  Her voice was combination of adrenaline-excited spotted by patches of extreme pain that made her wince.  Her outfit was shredded, at this point it barley protected her modesty and how the spaghetti straps of her halter top were still in one piece was a small miracle to be examined at a later date.  Her legs and arms seemed covered in claw marks, along with her abs and back which were also littered with puncture wounds from teeth.  The diva had never looked so rough and still her unique gifts of desire made her rock the whole look like she was some Valkyrie bad-ass who'd just survived Ragnarok.  Nonetheless, she was in bad shape and it was hard to tell how much of the blood she was drenched in was actually hers.  "Yep, saved the town and stuff," she nodded to the mother she couldn't see.  "Not doing this with you right now."

She slowly tried to sit down, wincing and sucking her teeth as her knee refused to bend.  She decided to stand instead of persuading any of her wounds to open further.  "We need a ride, and bring a lot of towels, but only the ones you don't want anymore, like those nasty green Ralph Lauren ones that Grandma sent us for Christmas?  Hmm?  Oh, because we're all covered in blood."  Marissa glared at her phone, then placed it back next to her ear.  "Mom?"

The barrage of curses and yelling that could be heard as Misti gave Marissa an earful was epic in and of itself as her crimson-coated daughter held the phone away form her ear for a moment as she vented.  She sighed and tried again after the yelling abated.  "Done?   Yes, mom, blood.  Some of it is, yes.  I don't know who all else's blood it might be, they're all dead, Not-Cody didn't exactly keep detailed files of his meals.  I'll explain later.  No.  No.  Yes, he's fine... for his definition of it, anyway."  Devin gave her a middle finger and a smile for which she returned the smile.

"Yes, mom, I know the Sheriff has called a lock down.  He's with us, he's in the know.  Yes, we know Sophia is missing.  Well, was missing.  We have her here with us.  Yes, with us."  Marissa inhaled and sighed loudly.  "Mom!  Would you and Dad just come get us?  Christ!  Fine.  I'm all kinds of amped up on adrenaline and excitement.  If you don't come get us I'm going home with Cade and we are going to get so nasty tha-"  Marissa smiled and pressed the button her phone to end the call.  "They'll be here in ten."

"Y-you're not looking so good, Emjay."  Devin approached his sister, sliding an arm around her to assist with her balance.

"Everything hurts is all, I'm okay."  Her smile did little to comfort him but still she tried to relax and wait for their ride to arrive.  She looked to Autumn and grinned.  "I get the sarcasm now, yeah.  Next hellscape, wedge heels, totally.  Although I think I took something eye out though..."

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Cassandra flopped onto her ass, her legs suddenly feeling too weak to carry her as the adrenaline ebbed from her system. She felt dizzy, chilled, scattered...and her arm hurt a lot where that thing had nailed her with its tongue? Tentacle? It'd looked more like a tongue, but it stung like a jellyfish. Wouldn't it be a shit custard if she turned out to be allergic?

She started laughing at that, though it was a laugh that was skating on very thin ice over a dark lake of tears. Not sorrow, just...reaction. It was too much to take in, too much to handle. And there was a sick kind of humor to it too.

When Autumn came over, looking very concerned, Cassie explained through sniffles and giggles, "It's just...the biggest fucking deal any of us had, bigger than anyone in the whole town's had...and if I try to write about it, it'll look like a stupid sci-fi story. All that, and no one'll ever know what happened, or how or why. Not because anyone's covering it up, but just because it's too big to believe."

With a bit of help from her friend, Cassandra got back to her feet and rejoined everyone as they gathered their wits. When Marissa called home, Cass almost jumped with her haste to grab her phone and do likewise.

"Hey mom it's me..." she broke off for a second, smiling and wincing at the same time. "No, I'm ok. We all are. We did it." After a pause, Cassandra just said, "What we had to do. Look, it's...a lot. Some of us are going to the Medical Cent..." another wince. "No...we're ok. We just found Sophia, and she was kind of bad shape. I want to make sure she gets there all right. She'll be okay too, mom."

Then Cass had a longer moment of silence, of listening. She sniffled and wiped a hand across her eyes and nodded. "I love you too. See you soon."

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"I told you hiking heels weren't a thing," she teased the somehow still-gorgeous brunette. "But, hey, you looked like a total badass anyway, so it's fine."

After checking first on Sophia and Tawny, then on Jason and Cassie, Autumn roamed the hillside to look after the others who'd braved the nightmare alongside her, hints of a luminous sunset reflected in the clear blue depths of her eyes as she burned through the remainder of her energies; no one, it seemed, had emerged wholly unscathed. There were scrapes and bites and weirdly barbed suction scars and deep lacerations, the occasional serious puncture wound, and infections she couldn't even begin to name because the creatures and substances inflicting them didn't (or shouldn't) even exist in their world. She moved around to each of them in turn, purging toxins and staunching bleeding, doing what she could to boost their immune response and natural healing process and alleviate the worst of the pain, leaving the rest to time and actual medical treatment. It wasn't easy, wasn't as instinctual for her as she'd heard it was for Lona, but it kept her busy. Kept her moving. Kept her from slowing down long enough for all the fear and nausea and, and, and everything to catch up. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. It was like a mantra she'd been repeating all day until it was embedded in her subconscious.

She dug her phone out of her pocket and exhaled, pausing to glance up at the broad expanse of violet overhead and drawing in a lungful of what had to be the sweetest, cleanest air she'd ever breathed- and then she was moving again, not yet reflecting on what had been, or what might have been, pacing as she pressed the little green icon and held the slim smartphone to her ear. It rang exactly once.

"Hey, Mom? Listen, I- Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay. Everybody's-" She nodded, the corners of her mouth turning up as if the woman on the other end of the line could see her. "Yeah. No, no, I know, it's- Mom, it's fine. I think the Jauntsens are coming to pick everyone up, if you wanna meet us at the Medical Center." As she pivoted, making another pass behind the assembled teens, her gaze skimmed over the others again, checking for anything she might've missed, anything else that might require attention, but apart from the oddness of Marissa's metabolism and lingering concern for Sophia, things seemed oddly... fine? Like, really, actually fine. "No, nothing serious. ... Mhmm. I mean... you made me promise, right?" Her voice wavered at that, as if something as insignificant as a promise could have had any effect on events, but- "You're right. I'll ask him." The smile widened as she glanced over at the tall, lean form of Jason Effing Bannon. "He did, yeah. Is, um... How's Jay? Did- Oh, okay. Good, good. Don't wake him up, it's cool. Listen, I'll... see you at home, then? ...Yeah. Love you, too, Mom. ...Bye."

Soon, her body warned her with the faint acrid burn of bile in the back of her throat as she put her phone away, the telltale salt-stinging in her eyes. Yes, she conceded silently, and roved back across the fragrant grass to get the blanket Jase had offered for Sophia. But not yet.

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Jase was soberly regarding the ruins of his sole remaining rolled cigarette as she approached, his pale jade eyes flicking to Autumn as he gave her a slight smile before he let out a soft sigh and held up the blood-soaked, crumpled ruin.  "It was in the outer pocket of my combat pants."  he stated matter-of-factly, indicating the leg Autumn had recently tended to.  "Ahh, well."  The roll-up went up in a small puff of incineration, fragrant smoke rising for an instant in the air before being whisked away by the breeze.  He turned to her, still favouring the damaged leg a little, and smiled once more.  "Everyone alright?"

"Mostly.  I'll be happier when Sophia and Tawny get checked out.  I'm not a proper doctor or anything."  Autumn admitted, looking up into the green pools of his gaze.

"How's Dana doing?"  he asked quietly, his eyes still on her face in that intent way he had.  Autumn ignored the prickling at the corners of her eyes and smiled at him.

"She's fine.  Said to remind you that you said you'd bring me home."  she said in a tone that contained a hint of their usual playful banter.  He nodded somberly.  

"That I did.  Once we get everyone to the med center and checked out, I'll do just that." he replied, glancing at the other teens for a moment before looking back into her eyes.  Autumn remembered why she'd approached him, then, shaking off the spell of his nearness.

"Oh, hey.  You've got a survival blanket, right?  Tawny has mine, and Sophia is going to need one-"  she had barely gotten the words out before a zip in the side of Jason's go-bag was opened and the slim packet containing the thermal blanket emerged, floating to hang in the air in front of her.  She grabbed it, flashing him a grin that was less subdued, her freckled nose crinkling adorably.  "You're awesome."  Stepping closer for a moment, the redhead kissed her boyfriend's cheek and turned, hurrying back over to her recumbent patient.

Jason watched her for a moment, observing her tugging the thermal blanket from it's wrapping and kneeling down to fold it around Sophia, before he turned away.  His leg hurt, his head ached from power strain.  The weariness of the post-adrenaline crash was on him and he slowly sank down to sit in the long grass, looking out over Shelly as he tugged his phone from another pocket of his backpack.  The number was dialed.

"Dad.  It's me."  He watched the distant lights, noting the scarcity of moving ones denoting cars as he spoke.  "We won."  A pause, then.  "Just tired, mostly.  Some scrapes, a cut on my leg that is already healing thanks to Autumn."  His nose wrinkled a little.  "And I stink of unmentionable stuff."  There was another pause, Jase's eyes distant as he listened.  "We're all fine.  We kind of came out in the middle of nowhere outside town, but Carl and Misti Jauntsen are coming to pick us up and take us to the med center.  No, you don't need to come down there."  He pictured the chaos that would likely be taking place soon, parents and cops trying to figure out what was going on whilst medics tried to do their jobs.  He shrugged off his go-bag and leaned back in the grass, looking up at the peaceful-seeming stars overhead, part of his mind cataloguing the constellations he could see.  "It's going to be a circus - people yelling and getting excited.  As soon as I can, I'll be home."  Yet another pause, and he reflected on the question this time.  "It could have gone a lot worse.  We all did well.  And no, the Tree isn't going to be a problem in Shelly any more.  Not saying there's no Darkness left, but it's rudderless.  Cleanup can wait a little."  He smiled just a fraction, then.  "I will, yes.  I love you too.  See you soon."

Hanging up and letting the phone sit on his chest, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath of the still-warm evening air, folding his hands behind his head as he relaxed.  It was a lovely evening, after all.

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Kat dropped her go-bag to the ground and lied down on the grass, seastar in an ocean of green, and stared at the stars, as weariness slowly seeped inside her body. Even though she was there, covered in blood mostly not hers, she still could barely realize what had just happened. And there was this headache.

She reached for the side pocket of her bag, pulling her cigarettes out - thankfully, the pack was dry, if not a little battered. She wiped her mouth with her forearm, rather adding to the filth than removing it, then stuck a cigarette between her lips, lighting it up with a flick of will. One could see the heat around the further end, distorting the air surrounding it for a short moment before it started glowing red against the darkening shroud of the sky. She took a draft, closing her eyes and savoring the moment as she felt smoke rushing into her lungs, satisfaction running through her blood.

I need to call Dad. Bet he's worried sick.

She fished her phone out of her bag and dialed the number, staring at the screen for a while. A puff later, she pressed the 'Call' button and brought the device to her ear.

"Hey, Dad. Yes, it me." Puff. "Yes. Threat neutralized and all that." Puff. "No, I'm fine, really. Yes. We-" Puff. "The Jauntsens are gonna bring us to the Medical center. Yes." Puff. Puff. "Love you too. See you there."
She sighed, the phone slipping from her grasp and falling flat next to her head.

She watched as the smoke slowly dissipated in the coming night, along with the surge of adrenaline that had been coursing through her veins for a while.

All she wanted was to rest. Cuddling her pillow, maybe crying a bit. She grabbed her phone once again. Started typing a text.

[To: Courtney] We win!

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They'd won, and they'd all made it back.  Thinking of that, Cade could only smile. They'd saved Tawny and Sophia, and put an end to the Tree itself.   Things could finally start to go back to normal.  The Fellowship didn't escape unscathed, but no one was hurt in a way that would be lasting, at least not physically.

He was a mess, thanks to holding Tawny, and even at that, he'd had to shift her so he could fight, taking out creatures with controlled bursts of fire that would have made his father and grandfather proud.   

As everyone took their phones out, calling their parents, he did the same after wiping his hands on his back.   "Hey Dad..Yeah we're all okay....  Yeah, it's done for now.....  We got Sophia and Tawny back.....the Jauntsens are coming, and I think bringing us to the Medical center...Yeah, we're not unscathed, but we'll be alright...  I need a change of clothes, and probably a shower.  I think the Jauntsens are gonna want to talk to you too....Yeah You're Welcome.  See you there."

He hung up and let out a sigh, but it was a happy one.   With the danger largely passed, he folded the gun back and put it into his backpack, best to not get caught with it openly, though it wasn't gonna be a secret much longer.

That done, he made his way over to Marissa. "You were pretty amazing you know."

She looked at her faux-boyfriend and nodded.   "I have been telling you this."  

He nodded with a smile, while a dozen corny lines ran through his head.  Mindful of how much dirtier he was than her, he only reached down to take her hand with the one of his that was relatively clean.    "I'm glad you're ok." It was simple, earnest, and totally from the heart.    He knew the experience was traumatic, that she'd been hurt, but they'd survived, they'd won.   It would take time to get past everything, but at least they could go forward.

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Sean leaned against the tree, elbows on his thighs, head in his hands, trying to catch his breath as he shivered with the aftereffects of terror and imminent death leaving him. Miraculously, he had somehow managed to be injured - none of the blood painting him was his - reading the impulses traveling down the what passed for nervous systems in the monsters helping him dodge out of the way in time. On the other hand, Sean wasn't used to moving that fast or that suddenly or in the way he sometimes had to to avoid a claw, mandible, tentacle, or less identifiable part, and it felt like he had whiplash throughout his body. Autumn's ministrations, which he had accepted with a nod without raising his head, had made the unexpected aches and strain bearable.

Real sunlight, if fading, real sky with stars, fresh breeze, it was all a balm, a reiteration that they had gone through hell and come out the other side, alive and victorious. The feeling was lessened by the feel of blood and bits drying on his face and hands, and their putrid rank. Fingertips tingling, Sean straightened up and knuckled his back, then slung his go-bag off his shoulders. He took out a bottle of water and took several sips, moistening his throat and getting rid of the taste of ash and stuff less palatable.

Sean knocked off his cap and was about to run his fingers through sweaty hair when he looked at his hands again, saw them streaked with dried and drying blood, and shudder of revulsion ran through him. He needed the blood off. Without a shower, and he didn't want to wait until they got to Marias, his options were limited. But he could cheat a little. One hand began to glow with a soft light as it emitted a warm, just bearable heat. With the blood-splatter dry, he could flake a lot of it off with the edge of his multitool, then use the rest of the water in the bottle and a multipurpose microfiber clothe from his go-bag to wipe most of the rest from his hands and face. Wasn't perfect, but it was far less disgusting.

Sean was sitting down crossed-legged by the tree, working on dislodging what he could from his pants and hoodie when he felt his phone vibrating, being blown up. He winced, delaying a bit by pulling his phone from his pocket instead of just snatching the texts from the air. Lost in his own thoughts - and had expected Devin to port them the same place they had ported into the Blight, or at worse, just outside Old Town Hall - Sean hadn't noticed the others calling their parents. He had originally planned on driving home, then talking with Laurie and his parents face to face.

That had gone to shit. Sean skimmed through the texts, lines and lines of misspelled, miscapitalized, and auto-corrected curses and commands from Laurie, about finding out he and the rest were alive by the fucking Jauntsens' Mom! Okay, it was on him, but Sean still didn't like it. He grimaced, braced himself, then called his sister. It didn't even ring once, Laurie not missing a beat as transitioned from text to speech, continuing her onslaught.

"... are you done?" Sean finally managed to get in. Then he held his phone as far away as he could, his sister clearly not done, and being loud and verbose with it. He set the phone on the grass and pulled off his hoodie to continue scraping dried gore off it. When the noise from the phone finally descended to unintelligible mutters, he reached over and cautiously held the phone to his ear.

"Sorry....Medical Center. Yes! I know you know that and how you know that - I already said sorry, Laurie! -  I was just confirming... Yeah, well, Teagan isn't here, she isn't going to do shit! I'll see you at Marias and tell you everything! No worries, after, you won't be sleeping tonight either..." Sean took a deep breath, held it for a ten count, then let it out slowly. "Love you too, sis. Oh, can you grab me a change of clothes?... Yeah... No... Yes... Not for a while... Thanks... Right, Tawny and Sophia. We saved them. It was close with Sophia. I think it was Cassie pulling out the win there... Uh-huh. See you and mom and dad, soon... It wasn't my idea about the Jauntsens, okay?!"

Sean glanced down the hill where Autumn with tending to Sophia. Sophia still seemed out of it, and while the space blanket seemed to be helping, it was hardly modest. Sean looked at the hoodie in his hand. Not ideal, but he and Sophia were the closest in build. He fished out the other bottle of water from his go-bag, then tromped down the hill towards Autumn and Sophia. His feet felt swollen in his new and now bloodied hiking shoes, his socks soaked.

"I know it's not great, but it's something," Sean said, holding out his hoodie to Sophia, one side side of his mouth quirked up, "but I thought it would be better than getting picked up by the Jauntsens and going to the hospital in just a blanket."

Sophia looked up at Sean, still finding it hard to keep focus, vision swimming. They had been friends, sort of friends, once, before Sean had screwed it up trying to be more. With what she had just been through, what she could remember of it - and she didn't want to remember it - she could admit now, that she could have let him down less harshly. She gave him a faint, melancholy smile. Maybe the Dark - don't think about that! - had touched her even, then.

"Thanks, Sean," Sophia replied, accepting the hoodie and starting to struggle into without letting the space blanket completely fall.

Sean spun around, shifting to stand into front of her to give her what modesty he could. He reached behind himself, holding out the bottle of water somewhere between Sophia and Autumn. "Um, do you need water?" he asked. What did someone need, recovering from being twisted into a deadly shadow of who you were? He didn't think a couple of extra-strength Advil would do it, but water almost always helped, right? "Does she need water, Autumn? Or you?"

"Yeah, a bottle of water would be great, thanks. I'll trade you a granola bar for one," Autumn said. She saw Sean nod and reached into her pack to get the promised granola bar.

Waiting for a response, Sean couldn't help but stare at Marissa. Clothes shredded and skin scratched as though she had lost a fight with someone with talons even more impressive than her own, the glamazon still looked imposingly gorgeous, tall - with her heels, she had more than half a foot on him - and undeterred, despite blood and tattered clothing. She had fought things with talons more impressive than hers, but she hadn't lost. Sean blinked, picturing the frantic stand while Devin opened the portal. She'd thrown a... a thing that had to have outweighed her at least ten feet through the air. Marissa was holding the bat Cade had given her, perching on it like a pimp cane. The solid Louisville slugger was cracked, more than cracked, it looked like it was about to splinter into pieces. Idly, Sean calculated the forced needed to do that to a bat, and tried to figure out why Marissa wasn't sporting a pair of broken wrists.

"What?" Marissa demanded instinctive loftiness. She sighed, holding out a hand with tired expectancy. "I'll have that water. If you can spruce yourself up some, so can i."

"Sorry, Autumn called dibs." Autumn took the battle from Sean's hand, replacing it with the granola. She waggled the bottle at her 'BFF' with a little taunting smirk before cracking it open.

"Let me have some of that," Marissa said towards her 'Bestie' with less imperial demand than Sean had ever heard her ask for something before. There was a slackness to her usually impeccable posture that shouted how trying the encounter had been more than anything else.

"The bat..." Sean pointed, as though he wasn't entirely sure Marissa knew what one was.

""What about it?" Marissa replied without looking away from her 'Bestie' and the water that was at least partially, rightfully hers, but the transitive property of friendship.

"Cade been taking you to the batting cages or something?"

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"Nope." Cade wandered closer, his interest piqued as Marissa held the cracked bat up for inspection.  "Bats aren't indestructible, but it takes solid hitting to do that."  He examined the dented and fractured wood.  "This is a maple, so...  She must have been swinging and hitting something harder and heavier than a baseball at roughly ninety meters per second."  He smiled at Marissa, his brow furrowing then as he pondered the results.  "That's...  Huh, I'm not sure what sort of pounds per square inch that is-"

"One-sixty-four to one-seventy."  Both Sean and the nearby reclining Jason said, almost in unison.  "Allowing for a hard surface and countering the momentum of the target..."  Jase continued, his eyes still closed and his hands tucked behind his head.

"...possibly even one-eighty in force."  Sean finished, his vivid eyes wide as he looked at Marissa, who looked at the bat she was holding, then at Cade, then at the math nerds.

"That's good, right?"  she asked, taking another drink of water before reluctantly passing the bottle back to Autumn.  "It sounds awesome, I mean."

"It's pro batting numbers."  Cade grinned at her.  "Provided you get the ball to go where you want it to."

"You hit hard enough - with a lever to add momentum - to take a grown man off his feet and get him airborne, at least for a short distance."  Jase filled in helpfully.  "Mazel tov."

"That's crazy."  Marissa examined the bat again.  "I'm not that strong, guys."

"You weren't that strong."  Sean corrected.  "Looks like the fight unclogged some blockages in your chi.  I saw you throw the fishasaurus off you."

"Hu-uh..."  Marissa looked thoughtful, still considering the bat.  "I'm Wonder Woman, now?"

"Testing will figure out how strong you are for certain."  Jason replied calmly from his repose.  "But that can wait till we're all recovered."

"Mmhmm."  Marissa leaned against Cade, smiling a little even as she winced.  "Yeah.  I feel like I went through a meat grinder, even with Ay-Kays magic touch taking the edge off."  She shivered slightly.

"Want me to get you a blanket or something?"  Cade asked her with a note of concern.  She rolled her eyes at him and smirked.

"No.  I want you to put your arms around me, doofus."

"Oh.  Right."  The tall athlete smiled, wrapping both arms around her as they stood together.  Marissa sighed a little, closing her eyes.

"Better." she acknowledged.  "Sorry for wrecking your bat."

"I'll have to get you a more solid one for next time."  Cade answered as, at the road near the base of the hill, two sets of car lights appeared.

=  =  =  =  =  =  =

Carl had the Jeep, so was able to drive up the hill to load the still woozy Sophia and Tawny up so they wouldn't have to walk down the hill.  Marissa and Autumn joined him, the redhead reasoning that all the seemingly worst-wounded should be within easy distance of her in case something happened.  For his part, the Jauntsen's dad was fairly calm, giving the Twins a grateful hug at seeing them alive but otherwise not lingering over emotional displays.  Towels were spread across the seats, and as Cassie called dibs on the last seat in the Jeep, squeezing in, Devin sighed and looked at the others remaining.

"Guess we're riding in the Mom-Mobile."  he said, gesturing down to Misti's SUV.  "Feel free to call shotgun, you guys."  he added with a wry smirk as he led the way down.

There wasn't much question of who would be riding shotgun.  Misti all but tackled Devin in a fierce hug that made him wince when she first saw him, then began asking questions at a million miles a minute.  Even when Devin pointed out that they were all beat and needed to go to hospital, that didn't so much end the inquisition as move it into the SUV, the seats of which were covered in towels, and change the direction of the questioning:  what caused that cut?  Jason is awful quiet, is his leg okay? Why are you all covered in blood? What is that stink?

Sean just stayed quiet, knowing his own parental grilling was coming.  Kat looked out of the window, uncomfortable being privy to other family drama.  And Jase... seemed to just be asleep, his eyes closed as the SUV sped towards the medical center, retreating into the quiet sanctuary of his own mind.

"Mom."  Devin did his best to be placating, despite feeling frayed as fuck around the edges.  "Please? We're just all tired as fu- as hell right now.  We just want to get checked out, shower for a million years, then sleep for another million years."

"You kids better believe we're going to want more detailed answers."  Misti warned as the SUV pulled into the Marias Medical Center parking lot.  "Not every parent is content to let their children run around wild."  she added into the rear view mirror, her eyes narrowed.

"What about young adults with their own agency?"  Jason asked, his eyes opening as the car came to a halt, his tone one of curiousity.  "What's the parental position on those?"  Devin winced and restrained a snicker.  Now was not the time.  Misti's eyes narrowed further as they met the icy green gaze from the back seat, and as she opened her mouth Devin wasn't sure if he should head off what might be an epic clash of wills or make popcorn.

"Hey, we're here.  Let's go get checked out, huh?"  Cade said brightly as he opened the car door.

"Great idea."  Devin didn't quite teleport out of the passenger seat, but his exit was similarly fast.  The others all mumbled agreement and bundled out of the SUV and joined up with the party from Carl's Jeep before heading into the Medical Center.

=  =  =  =  =  =  =

It was a little later.  Chaos was simmering in the medical center.

The sheriff and his deputies were on site.  In the lobby, Sheriff Alister was talking with a plainclothed member of the State Police who was in town because of the kidnapping.  The teens had been mostly cleaned up with swabs and disinfectant wipes, and were sitting around with blankets around their shoulders in a large examination room, cups of water or cans of soda in hand, letting the medics tend to their scrapes and scratches.  It was largely quiet in here, the nurses and doctors talking quietly and the teens now and then exchanging words and smiles.  Sophia had been taken to another room and was with her parents right now.  The story was that she'd been found by the teens, but details were hazy.

Out in the corridor, it was not so quiet.  Those parents who had showed up were conferring, discussing, coming to terms with the fact that they'd all been kept in the dark until today, to varying degrees, by their kids.  Some voices were raised, only to hush abruptly as other parents reminded the excitable ones that the corridors of a medical center was too public a forum for crazy talk of super powers and dark forces.

It wasn't quite a shitstorm of epic proportions, yet.  But it had the potential to become one.


Okay.  All parents are present except Gar Bannon and the Keanes.

They are about to be let in to see their spawnlings - that's you guys.  I think the only parents not even partially in the loop is Cade's mom (who is on the way) and Tawny's folks (also on the way).

The Project and the Sheriff are taking care of the official side of things.  Yay teamwork!

Session is in free-play right now.  Feel free to roleplay family members as well as your PCs.  If you need help, other players or myself can assist with dialogue or ideas.


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Marissa leaned over and bumped her brother lightly.  "You look like shit," she smiled.

Devin smiled back and rolled his shoulders a bit.  Marissa had caught the worst of it between the two, yet she'd never tried calculating a blind dimensional warp either.  His body felt  like it did when I tried to teleport in the Void without his bracelet.  Like his insides were shifting and moving to places under his skin they shouldn't belong.  "Look at you," he directed his attention with a nod of his head.  "Warrior Queen of Shelly, now."

"Pfft," she rolled her eyes, straining to smile.  "Queen of Mean is fine.  You guys are welcome to all the heroics, it's killer on my wardrobe.  So, Mom's going to loose her mind, you know that right?"  Her brother nodded, his gaze locked on the floor.  All he offered her was a 'yep'.  "...and turn a profit off of us."  Again, her brother nodded and replied the same, his gaze still locked on the tiles of the floor like he saw something in their pattern that no one else could.  "I'm not doing that again, Deej.  It was torture the first time and I'm living through 4AM work-outs and practices and eighteen-hour days of..." she sighed and relaxed.  "I'm just not.  I'm not doing it again."

He felt the same way.  While their mother may have meant well, the Twins' upbringing was sheltered and nothing short of regimented education and training and practices that prepared them for auditions that would hopefully lead them to child stardom.  The only reason they hadn't made it, was their mother placing too many demands on the studios that were interested in hiring them.  It wasn't uncommon for parents to ruin their children's careers in Hollywood before they'd ever taken flight.  "Em, we'll be fine.  Mom can't make us do anything.  I don't have to teleport or warp a damn thing, and neither do you.  If worse comes to worse, I blip her to an island to calm down."

"Is that so?"  Came the voice of Misti Jauntsen, their mother, from behind them.  Both the twin's eye widened and glared straight ahead of them at the sound of the matronly tone her greeting carried.

Sean smirked.  He wasn't sitting to far away from them, but he saw her easily as the twins were lost in their conversation, assuming the opening door was just another member of the staff.  "Coulda said something, Light Brite."  Devin shot the intersexed boy a glare.

"You're right," Sean reclined a bit.  His smile didn't fade.  "I could have."  Seeing the Twins' honestly fearful of something not spawned from the Dark was almost cathartic.

Misti stepped around the examination table to face her twin children, placing her weight on one leg as she leaned and crossed her her to glare at them both.  Devin looked up at her, a mischievous grin (as always) on his face.  "For the record, Mom, it woulda been like... a really nice island.  Like, Miami."

"Miami isn't an island, idiot."  Marissa looked at her idiot brother, muster the energy to slap him in the arm.  "You're thinking of Maui, ass-tart."

"Both of you shut up," her voice wasn't a worried mother's panicked tone.  Misti had arrived at the stage in her worry where she was now angry with her children for not only worrying her and their father, but for putting themselves in danger to begin with.  "Now, I know you two think you were doing the right thing, but what you did was stupid and you should have called the Sheriff.  I expect this sort of foolishness from your brother, Marissa-"

"Thanks, mom," Devin nodded sarcastically, but she didn't falter in her speech.

"-But you?"  Her glare set on her daughter.  "Now, I understand that I've seen something pretty strange today, and we're going to get into that when there is more time, but running off after that girl-"

"Sophia, Mom." Marissa cut her off with a whisper.  Neither of the twins were looking at their mother, which told the others that if there was someone in the world they feared, it was her, despite how much bravado they might muster to the contrary.  "That girl," she mouthed off.  "Has a name."

"Do not test me, Marissa Beatrice, or so help me." The single digit pointed threateningly at her daughter finished the threat without anything else needing to be said.  "Going after a murderer and a kidnapper?  What the hell were you two thinking?   You could have been hurt or killed.  Look at you!"

"You think we don't know that?"  Devin said calmly.  "What like the eight of us were just skipping through the woods eating the candy that grew on the trees and we just Hodoor'd our way into a murderer/kidnapper boss fight?"

"You should have called the-"

"He knew, Mom!" Marissa huffed.  "He's known.  Christ, if you'd listen once in awhile."

Their mother just shook their head in disappointment.  "And look at the two of you."  She took Marissa's arm.  Her daughter winced from the pain of numerous cuts and the reddening of the bandages applied all over.  "Jesus, Marissa.  Your personality is garbage, your grades are average... and now this?  Scars?  Was over dosing not enough, you just have to go and ruin your looks also?

In spite of the pain Marissa yanked her arm away from her mother and promptly covered her face in embarrassment as her mother blurted out secrets she'd prefer had remained quiet.  "Jesus Christ, Mom."  She mumbled softly and everyone caught the 'I fucking hate you' that followed as she fought back tears.

"Gee, Mom," Devin slipped in, intentionally placing himself in his mother's crosshairs like a dutiful brother should.  "No pep talk for me?"

"Devin," she looked to him, already bored with where any conversation with her son might take her.  "If your not in prison by the time you're eighteen, it'll be a miracle.  We both know that.  When you two get home, there's going to be some changes.  No phones.  Your cars, and motorcycle, gone.  No more credit cards, nothing.  Your father and I have been far too lenient on you two since we came here and it's done.  You two are out of control and it ends, tonight."

"Hail the conquering heroes." Devin said lazily.  "If we do our homework, will you ground us for it?"

"Misti," Carl stepped into the room.  He'd leaned in the doorway for a moment, after having gone to get some coffee, and listened to his wife destroy their children.  "You're angry.  They're tired and have been through a very traumatic experience.  Now is not the best time for anyone to be making decisions about anyone's future."

"Carl, no-" she glared at her husband, about to raise a finger in protest, when he stepped in and, heedless of the other gathered children, stopped just inched from his wife's face, his eye locked on hers.

"Michelle, enough."  There was obvious anger in his voice.  "You want to lose your shit, you do it at home, but god damnit we will not have you going on one of your holier than thou tirades in the hospital for God's sake.  Get it together."

Awkward didn't begin to describe the silence that followed.  The Twins kept their heads down, apparently used to their parents confronting one another like this and learned long ago that it was best to simply stay small and let the whole thing, hopefully, blow over them.  Misti inhaled and tightened her jaw while Carl looked on, practically begging her to challenge him.  She instead chose to excuse herself and inform her husband and children that she'd be going out for some air and would meet them at the vehicles after Carl had checked them out.

He inhaled and let it our slowly as he offered an apologetic smile to the other's still in the room.  "I'm sorry you had to see that."

"I figured it out," Devin said softly.  "Why I can do what I can do.  It's so we can get away from her, from both of you."

"Devin, she didn't mean those things.  She's stressed and angry, and she's been anxious with worry all evening."  He was trying and it was obvious, but there were only so many ways to defend a woman like Misti when she was angry and got to spewing vitriol.  It was painfully obvious, however, where Marissa got it from.  "I know she's difficult just, give her some time.  No one is taking your toys away, don't worry."

"We don't care about the toys, Dad," Marissa leaned over and held her brother, preferring the tears she couldn't keep in anymore to be hidden by him then be seen by her new friends.  He wrapped his arm around her and used his blanket to not so subtly hide his sister from the others.  "If we wanted toys Dad, I would have just bamfed into a bank vault by now, or better yet, just bamfed the whole the damn thing to me."

"Wait," his father's posture completely changed and his head tilted curiously at an angle.  "You can do that?"

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"Devin's ability re-writes conventional understanding of spatial physics."  Jason said quietly from nearby.  The lean, angular genius was sitting on the edge of an examination bed, his cool green eyes on Carl as he spoke.  "In fact, as far as I can tell it's also unique to him.  We all tap into a theoretical sub-quantum strata of energy, but Devin is the only one that travels down into and through that layer.  Or can send or retrieve objects and people through it."

"Sub-quantum strata, huh?"  Carl's expression was of a man who didn't quite understand the words being used, but understood their import.  He glanced from Jase to Devin, who shrugged slightly.

"That's our working theory."  Jase nodded.  "A layer of reality where time, space, and thought are as tangible and subject to manipulation as matter and energy are on our layer, connecting everything that exists together.  We-" he indicated the Fellowship  "-are all connected to it, and through it, and draw on it to do what we can do."  He paused.  "That's as far as I've gotten with the theory.  I've not really had the time or the equipment to test the particulars, so it's only a hypothetical right now.  But the concept is solid, and also provides the Grand Unifying Force that conventional physics is missing."

"Right."  Carl blinked several times, nodding slowly.  Not a stupid man by any measure, his areas of expertise were finance and people rather than hard sciences, but he was a man of the world and had seen enough Discovery Channel specials to at least grasp the basics.  He turned back to his progeny, smiling a little bemusedly, his expression clearly asking 'is this guy real?'

"Don't engage him, dad."  Marissa said from the comfort of Devin's hug.  "Give him an inch and he'll ruin string cheese, cancel Christmas, and spoil all the Harry Potter books in one go."

"Dumbledore dies."  Jase deadpanned to the snickering of several of the other teens as Marissa affected a horrified gasp of betrayal and hurt.  Smiling very faintly, the shaggy-haired youth leaned back and watched the room.  People's parents were filtering into the room now that the docs were letting them, and the people-watching opportunity was too great to pass up.  This was a new situation, after all.  He'd never seen Misti act in any other way than the pleasant, smiling substitute teacher and part-time administrator, and to see the Twins actually cowed as she raged at them was... unusual.  It didn't fit right, in his self-admittedly slight understanding of human behaviour.  Misti was being completely unreasonable and domineering, though Carl's explanation that she was under stress and frightened certainly explained that.  Was the Twins reaction simply one of ingrained filial duty?  A result of being too tired to openly fight right now?  It couldn't be genuine fear, surely: after what he had seen Devin and Marissa both endure and face down, an angry middle aged woman hardly measured up.

He considered that.  If Gar became angry at him, or sought to punish him for some perceived misdeed that was in fact not a misdeed, how would he react?  Would he endure the punishment out of respect?  Would he tolerate unfairly placed and emotionally driven restrictions on his comings and goings, or for Gar to take away his car?

Probably not, he surmised.  Not if he hadn't committed some genuine transgression against previously understood rules.  For example, Gar was strict about smoking in the house.  If Jason smoked inside and had been caught, he would accept that Gar had a place to punish him.  He reflected then that his father placed very few restrictions or expectations on him, compared to the parents of his fellows.  Keep clean, tidy your things away, don't smoke in the house, don't get into trouble at school.  Other than that, as Misti had implied in the car, Jason had been more or less allowed to grow wild.

At least some of that was Gar's sense of depression and alcoholism, but even so Jason had always been a low-maintenance child.  Largely self-sufficient - show him how to do something and he would do it for himself without complaint or hesitation.  It was never necessary to check he had tidied his room, or cleaned up after eating.  If he'd needed anything like clothes or food in the refrigerator he would say so.  He never needed comfort or reassurance or encouragement.  He briefly wondered if that bothered his father at all.  Autumn's dad, earlier, obviously trying to protect his daughter, had seemed desperate to be relevant, to matter in the scheme of things in a practical sense.  Her mother had perhaps been quicker to accept the situation, but still had felt that urge from what Jase had observed.  Did his father also need to be needed?

He filed that away.  He was coming to understand that the emotional needs of those he cared about were important, and his father was certainly one of those.

Compare and contrast Gar to Misti, who demanded perfection in all manner of particulars, who put her children through grueling exercise and performance routines, set standards of personal appearance and comportment, for whom it seemed little was good enough.  And the results... Devin, ever-defiant to a fault, who rebelled simply for the act of rebellion itself.  And Marissa, outwardly strong, yet at times fragile and had suffered an overdose according to what he'd overheard.  There was no judgement in Jase's thoughts regarding the Jauntsen twins.  They were products of their environment, much as he was.  He did understand a little more why Devin had spoken well of Gar, last Thursday at the farm.  After the hectic demanding enforced perfection of the Jauntsen household, the laid-back still waters of the Bannon Farm must have seemed a sanctuary.

And then, somewhere between the extremes, there were the others.  Autumn's mom, Sean's family, warmly nurturing and yes, also with certain levels of rules and expectations.  Involved in their children's lives to a level that Jason, used as he was to self-direction, might have found stifling, yet they seemed happy and loving even when irate with their kids.  He wondered how the other's parents would behave.  So he sat back and watched, his cool calm gaze assessing what was going on from his dirt and soot-smudged features.

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Listening to the twins' mother rant and rage at the two of them, Cade felt no satisfaction, and when she got going on Marissa, he lost it, just abit.  he'd been sitting in one of the wooden waiting room chairs that had been brought in, and it was an unspoken rule it seemed that no one would interfere with the individual family talks, there was no missing the loud crack as Cade's hand tightened on the armrest enough to break it free.   The shock of having done that was enough for him to calm down just enough to avoid going over there.  When their father intervened, Cade smiled.  He didn't know him, but at least he saw that this wasn't really the time or place to tear a strip out of any of the kids.  He was surprised Jason thought to interject, but what he said fit so well.    He caught Marissa's gaze, asking without words if she wanted him to say anything, and she shook her head.  It was clear he was mad, and ready to jump to their defense.  He nodded, and remained seated, ready to get up should he need to.

He had alot on his mind already, and explaining to his Mother, that no, he really hadn't been lying before, that was going to be hard. It meant that he and his father had both lied to her, at a time when she was already very suspicious of Ian's behavior.   That tore at him, and his mood grew darker because of it.

As if summoned by his darker mood, the door opened and Miyakko Alistair, accompanied by her daughter Haruka, entered, and Cade's eyes narrowed.  He could read the concern in his mother's eyes, and no small amount of confusion.   Normally a very kind and amiable woman, she would have stopped to check on each of the other members of the Fellowship, but instead she strode straight to her stepson, who rose from the chair, the armrest he'd broken off laying on the ground.  

Haruka walked behind her mother, quietly taking in the Fellowship, how they were injured, and some of the newer members.  She stopped for a moment by Marissa and mouthed "You ok?"  It was touching, in its own way that she would stop to check on her.   Cade noticed, and smiled.   He didn't mind, He did actually want the two of them to get along.

Miyakko, over a foot shorter and perhaps only half as heavy as her towering stepson looked up at him, and lowered her eyes.   "Sit Down, Cade. I won't do this with you towering over me."

Obediently, Cade lowered himself back into the chair.  Her gaze was hard as she looked at him, and she reached out  placing a hand to his cheek.  She couldn't stop the tears, Cade was bloodier than the others, his pants and shirt were torn, and he seemed to have alot of blood on him, but  he just seemed so calm.  "Are you really okay?   How did this happen?"   

"I'm okay mom, mostly just some scratches, I got off alot lighter than some of the others."   It was hard to believe, given how much blood there was.  "Most of the blood isn't even mine."

"I'm going to examine you."  She said, her tone saying this wasn't a request.

"You know they already have, Mom."  He said, dryly.

"That's fine.  I am your mother, and I am not satisfied."  Cade frowned, but didn't resist, as she began to examine him, it was true, he wasn't badly hurt, within a week there'd be little sign of his injuries barring a few scars.   Still this was even more perplexing. 

"They told us you and your friends found the girl who'd been kidnapped, Sophia, and that you'd been in some sort of scrape, what exactly, did you do Cade, who did you fight, that you'd all be so injured like this."

"We did mom, and she's being tended to.   We brought back both girls who were taken."  Cade answered her softly.

She looked at him.   "What happened?"

 He  looked at her, even as she continued her examination.  "Understand mom, I'm not having a moment, I'm not playing a joke on you, I'm being perfectly honest when I say this."  he paused, steeling himself.   "We went to another dimension, fought an ancient evil that was hell-bent on consuming us and destroying the town, and the many creatures it spawned in pursuit of this goal."

"Twice in a day,  Cade, really? I won't fall for it."   She sounde very annoyed.

"I wasn't lying just now, and I wasn't before either mom."   

"That's foolishness Cade, you and your friends are just  a bunch of kids,  exceptional in some ways, but just normal kids.   There's no such things as super powers.   I really thought you knew better than to believe all the manga you read and the shows you watch."

Cade grunted at that.   Sure, most there knew about it, but he knew Marissa and Devin didn't.   Seemed like nobody's secrets were safe.

"They heard someone at the adjacent bed clear their throat, pointedly.  Looking over, Cade saw Jase extend a hand out to the side of the bed he was currently reclining on, the lean youth's eyes still closed.  Flame sprang to life from his palm, causing Miyako to gasp audibly as it danced for a few moments before winking out, an empty clear plastic cup then floating from a nearby table to Jason's hand.  As Miyako swayed alarmingly enough for Cade to reach out and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, icy particles formed in the air above the cup, water condensing from the air and filling it.  Still with his eyes closed, Jase took a drink.  Miyako made the small stifled noise of a woman who had felt her sanity slip a gear but couldn't deny what she'd seen.  Cade shot Jase a look.

"Thanks for that." he said with a touch of irony.  It had cut through a lot of red tape, but still...

"De nada."  Jase calmly took another sip of water, his lips twitching in the faintest of smiles.

Haruka's eyes were as wide as saucers as, a moment later, she got over her own shock.  "That. Was. Awesome!"

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Autumn took a long drink from the plastic cup of water in her hand and watched the interaction between the Jauntsens and their parents, the heels of her hiking boots thudding dully against the metal base of the exam table as she swung her feet. She felt... Not tired, she decided, and not hurt. Restless, maybe? With everyone milling around, the room felt too small by half, and she found herself glancing, now and then, at the observation window in the door. What's going on out there? she wondered, finishing the last of her water. How are the girls doing? Are they gonna try to hold us for questioning, or make us come give statements, or what? It wasn't a pleasant thought, but the Project had managed to keep them all day before, so the redhead wasn't putting it past them this time. Fucking hell. She scowled, the paper cover on the table crinkling as she leaned over to drop the empty cup in the waste bin nearby.

She wanted a shower to wash away the smell of death and worse, to just sit under the water and cry until it was physically impossible to cry anymore. Then she wanted a second shower, just to make sure no tangible remnant of that other place lingered on her skin. She wanted clean clothes. She wanted to be at home, wrapped up in her own blanket, in her own treehouse, smoking a well-packed pipe and pretending for a few hours that the world hadn't gone insane in the last couple of weeks and taken her along for the ride. It hadn't even bothered asking if she'd wanted to go, but the world was presumptuous that way.

She watched as Misti cunted off in a telenovela huff, as Marissa shrank miserably into her brother's embrace, as Cade said nothing to his girlfriend at all and then cowered like a child in front of his stepmother, as Jason demonstrated for another incredulous adult that either their kids were crazy, or they were crazy themselves.

"Okay," she sighed aloud, shifting her weight forward and shrugging the blanket from her shoulders as she slid off the edge of the examination table. "Devin, I'm borrowing your sister for a sec. C'mon, Marissa. I need to find some coffee." The elder twin regarded her wearily, warily over his sister's trembling shoulder, but after a moment Devin nodded and gently nudged the distraught brunette in her alleged bestie's direction. Autumn slid an arm around the blanket-shrouded beauty, guiding her toward the door. As they passed Carl, she paused for just a moment. You know what, fuck it. After today, I honestly don't even care. "And Mr. Jauntsen? Maybe next time apologize for what happened, instead of just saying you wished we hadn't seen it."

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Mr. Jauntsen nodded and offered Autumn a smirk she immediately identified as a hereditary trait.  "Please, call me Carl."

Marissa scoffed and wiped under her eyes, smearing her makeup even more as she got her bestie as far from her father as she could.  "C'mon, coffee sounds great.  I need out of here."  She'd never quite heard Marissa's voice so low and devoid of its imperious tone.  Even at her kindest Marissa always seemed to carry herself as the person in charge, yet now she sounded morose, shattered even, like a woman who'd retired her feelings hours ago and just stopped caring.

Her hair was knotted together with sticky, dried blood and some of it had been wiped away from her face, her makeup had smeared and washed down her cheeks in blackened streaks that mingled with the patches of dried crimson and rust-brown.  Combined with the shredded leather of her outfit she looked like she could be the front woman for a metal band.  She certainly had some height on her bestie, especially with her heels on, echoing in the passageway as the two ladies searched for a coffee station.

They warranted a few looks from others as they made their way.  The hospital wasn't unfamiliar with the occasional traumatizing injury, but it wasn't everyday a wild-haired ginger girl scout covered in blood was paired in the halls with a raven-haired prostitute, also covered in blood, were seen wandering the halls on a quest for magic bean water.  Finally, Marissa broke the silence between the two with a sigh.  "So, you've met my family, now.  See where I get it from?  Ugh," she huffed and rolled her eyes.  "My mom is such a bitch.  My brother and I are so fucking useless in their eyes, I mean, why even have kids if you're not going to give a shit about them?"

Autumn wasn't quite sure if she was address the redhead, or just speaking to hear her own thoughts.

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"Mmm." Autumn nodded, glancing up at the taller girl who, lacking anything else to do as they paused in the hallway, fidgeted with the ruddied blanket around her leather-clad shoulders. She'd figured that getting up and moving around might make both of them feel better, and looking for coffee gave that movement purpose; Marissa was visibly not okay, and after what her mom had said, loudly and in front of everyone, the red-haired teen wasn't surprised. Both of the girls looked like extras in some low-budget horror film, but whereas Autumn was as animated as ever, driven by some nigh-inexhaustible energy, the svelte brunette just seemed...tired. Over it. Done. It was bad enough they could've died, or worse, and even if what Mr. "Call me Carl" Jauntsen had said was true, and Misti was just upset, that was still no excuse for acting like- Well, she admitted to herself with a twinge of guilt. Like Marissa. So I guess, yeah. I do see where she gets it from. The admission didn't make Mari's own awfulness any easier to deal with, but at least she could understand a little better, which... helped. That was the idea, right? Learning to understand someone or something, so you could co-exist? And the twins could've bailed on everyone when things went from terrifying to oh-god-we're-all-gonna-die, or just have not shown up at all, but... they didn't.

"So... Are they always like that?" she wondered aloud, peering up at her friend long enough to see the question register before inclining her head toward a lounge area near the nurse's station.

Marissa huffed, a tiny measure of her usual hauteur resurfacing as they continued on their quest for caffeine. "Only on days that end in 'y.' It used to be a lot better, before we moved here. Mom was still impossible, but she and dad were," she offered her bestie a suggestive look. "You know, on the regular. Since we moved here they've hated each other. He drinks all the time, and she's so fucking high I'm surprised she knew which pair of her twins to address. Devin and I were pretty much left to do as we pleased... and here we are. Super powered and popular hanging out with the nerds because hell is empty and all the devils are here."

"Yep," the Girl Scout agreed companionably. "All two of them. But at least one of them's my friend, so... I guess that's something?" Autumn's features scrunched up slightly in what might have been a sincere attempt at a grin, the effect of which was ruined somewhat by the flecks of dried rust-red that covered her cheeks in a grim parody of natural freckles. "Seriously, though," she added, her gaze zeroing in on a table replete with bio-degradable cups and a pair of coffee carafes. "That must've been rough. I mean, I know we talked about your parents a little bit when I came over, but..." The redhead's voice trailed off as she directed another of those earnest almost-smiles at the nurse on duty at the desk, determinedly ignoring the older woman's wide-eyed stare and expression of vague horror.

Edited by Vivi OOC