Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 20: Visions of Future-Past

The group stared at the flickering holo-recording of the Adeptus Astartes captain as it reached it’s end and froze, the static image of the space marine lingered, hovering over the broadcasting device; Enginseer Prime Pak took away the device, promising that he was going to study it and work out an approximate age based on the metallic particles within it’s surface so that they could more accurately date when the people of these system had first been deposited on the moon of Strive by the doomed Space Wolf Captain. Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch speculated that the geneseed spoken about in the message must be used to grow something; meanwhile Lord Admiral Black had remembered that they had a member of Clan Klok aboard the Rod Hant (Sjomann Amelie) and that Clan Klok supposedly had their clanship base around the inner asteroid cluster of the Endeavour system where potentially the last resting place of the Space Marine vessel was (assuming, given Lorgar’s previous interest, that it had not been destroyed). Sending for the Sjomann he bought her aboard and questioned her regarding the ancient legends of her people, Amelie seemed dismissive, saying that they were just legends and that her people’s clanship was moored near a large asteroid that they called “the Eye of Byggmeister” and viewed as a part of their god.
Enginseer Prime Pak re-entered saying that he had aged the device and that, it seemed to originate within the era known as the Horus Heresy; he suggested that perhaps they could open peaceful negotiations with Clan Klok who had remained aloof from the system conflict thus far and had not declared for Lorgar or against him. When the Sjomann enquired why they were asking so many questions about her peoples legends, Lord Admiral Black said that there may have been a real person behind the legends and that they were seeking for the truth of it; Amelie agreed to open negotiations on their behalf but said that they would have to travel to the centre of the system and make psychic contact since solar flare activity made electronic communication unreliable, Lord Admiral Black sent her back to the Rod Hant.
A few moments later the Rod Hant began to pull away from the Venerus and would not respond to any attempts at communication; making his way to the teleportarium chamber onboard the Venerus Enginseer Prime Pak transported himself into one of the storage lockers adjacent to the engineering department aboard the Rod Hant. Peering out from his hiding place the Mechanicus tech-priest could see that the crew seemed to be under some form of unholy influence, the ship servitor’s eyes glowing with a baleful green light. Meanwhile Oberlieutent Jurgen Borsch launched at the head of his Void Kraken fighter squad and moved into the void of space, spreading out to blockage the Rod Hant and attack should it attempt any hostile action.
Onboard the Venerus, Navigator Benetec was scrutinising the warp and could feel it’s malign presence rife on the Rod Hant; Lord Admiral Black received a communication from his security staff and, upon running out of his chambers, witnessed glowing green runes springing up on the bulkheads around the Venerus where Sjomann Amelie had once drawn blood runes (allegedly to help solve a demon infestation). As Benetec struggled to repel an ancient and evil presence that stared at his psyché through golden eyes he managed to advise Admiral Black that if they conducted a short warp jump to the opposite side of the system it may be enough to disrupt the treacherous Sjomann’s sorceries, seeing little choice Admiral Black agreed and gave the order, first contacting Borsch to apprise him of the situation and to tell him to sit tight.
“If only Cornelius was here” – Lord Admiral Fortunus Black
With a blinding flash the Venerus disappeared to reappear moments later on the opposite side of the system, seemingly free of sorcerous influence; Jurgen’s fighter wing used maneuvring thrusters to approach the Rod Hant unseen and magno-grapple themselves to it’s hull. Inside Pak was attempting to interface the ship and lock out the bridge when he spotted the fighters attaching themselves, he cut off the sensors so that the bridge wouldn’t pick up their presence. Over in the corner of the room was a servitor that Pak had disabled and examined, there seemed to be no problem with the mechanical components so the sorcery must be infecting what little biological processes remained in the servitor.
As it drew nearer the asteroid cluster at the centre of the system the Rod Hant began picking up a strange tower-like craft located on the other side of the cluster; at this point Pak de-activated the life-support system to the bridge and re-routed comms to his own console using it to respond mechanically to the requests for communication that were incoming from the tower-ship. A few moments later as the bridge crew gasped out their last breath and Sjomann Amelie died, the green light passed from the eyes of the remaining crew and they slowly began to come to their senses, seizing the opportunity Pak reclaiming the bridge, turning back on the atmosphere and assigning his tech-adepts to clear out the bodies. The tech-adepts began scanning the asteroid and informed Enginseer Pak that they were getting strange readings reminiscent of a warp field from the asteroid cluster; meanwhile Lord Admiral Black boarded the Thunderhawk gunship that they had appropriated from Strive and began to fly towards the Rod Hant, leaving his cousin Tullius Black in command of the Venerus.
With a tearing sound a large craft exited the warp near the Venerus and, to their surprise, a damaged imperial warship identifying itself at the Vigilance appeared; soon Navigator Benetec found himself in a meeting with Captain Tullius Black and the captain of the Vigilance, a man named Armadeus Ajoku. It appeared that, since the Venerus had last visited Port Wander the imperial outpost had come under attack from strange metallic pyramid craft that had all but destroyed the outpost, the Vigilance had been on deep patrol and had been too late to help in the defence; Imperial authorities on the port had ordered them to seek help and the Navigator of the Vigilance (a member of House Feracci) had locked onto the strong psychic presence of Navigator Benetec, the poor Navigator had about burnt out her mind getting the ship here and was currently in their medical bay.
Onboard the Thunderhawk their was a flash and Admiral Black suddenly found himself tied down in a chamber that he recognised as being on his home world on Telec Prime, he was restrained and strapped to some sort of medical bed, a med-tech preparing him for an injection of some sort. Admiral Black was struggling to free himself when the bedraggled and ill looking form of his father Macharius Black who staggered forward saying “If it’s any consolation my boy, i’m genuinely sorry it had to be you, you were always my favourite, but gene-splicing and life extension therapy can only extend my life so far.” Before Lord Admiral Black could react further there was another flash and he found himself sitting back aboard the Thunderhawk, some of his men looking around in bewilderment all apparently experiencing strange visions.
A small ship from the tower-vessel carrying a party that was preparing to go aboard the large asteroid and look for the geneseed began to move through space. Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch saw something flash infront of his eyes and suddenly his fighter sensors were full of enemy craft of an unknown configuration, the blazing hulk of Port Wander zoomed past as he dodged incoming fire from a strange silver craft. There was a scream from the comms as his lieutenant Schultz flew infront of him, pursued by two alien missles; Borsch attempted to shoot them down but only got one, the other impacting with Schultz’s craft and destroying it.
“There’s two of them on my tail! I can’t shake them… I can’t…” – Fighter Lieutenant Schultz
As the flash of the explosion faded Borsch found himself back in the cockpit, his readouts now empty, many of his men (including Lieutenant Schultz) were swearing on the comms apparently their minds haunted by their own phantasms.
On the Rod Hant there was another flash and Enginseer Pak found himself standing in a strange featureless silver corridor, an expressionless silver skeleton stood facing him, it’s voice asking him strange things in his head. Attempting to respond in king Pak was lead to the bridge of the strange ship where he saw a screen that showed an attack by the strange machine men on Port Wander.
“Request – Repeat command stream”
“Query – Main command node malfunction”
“Query – Main command node malfunction”
“Order – Follow warrior unit for repair sequence.” – Warrior of the Ancient Enemy
As Pak watched he saw a disabled Imperial fighter, guns empty and engines failing hit it’s thrusters and gun itself forward on a collison course with the silver alien vessel, he had a moment to recognise the distinctive personalised paint job as belonging to the fighter craft piloted by Jurgen Borsch then an explosion engulfed his vision and Pak found himself back on the Rod Hant.
Navigator Benetec was busily explaining the ability of the Ancient Enemy to merge with other technology and to phase through solid objects whilst Lord Admiral Black landed his Thunderhawk on the asteroid and made ready (with a contingent of soldiers) to follow the Clan Klok exploration party into the Eye of Byggmaister.

Interview with a (half) Vampire (IC summary of Dresden Files game)

Disclaimer: This is an in-character write-up/summary of a short Dresden Files RPG that I played in recently and is entirely fictional.
“You look disappointed that I look like a normal guy, what were you expecting? Brad Pitt or something? Sorry but the real world don’t play that way, tell you what, you want I should make my tattoos glow red, no? Well perhaps it’s not such a good idea anyway, they’re not there to be pretty.
Okay, so, where to start.
Is this thing on?
Right, well my name is Luciano Santiago; you’ve heard saying ‘unlucky in love, lucky at cards’? Well I was never very good with either, so my family saddled me with the nickname Lucky, funny thing is, i’m here now and they’re not – so whose the lucky one at the end of things eh?

The Santiago family used to run the criminal world in this city, wasn’t a shady deal or underhand enterprise went down without them knowing about it and taking their cut; it was a good time, things got done professionally, not saying that we were nice people, far from it, but we took pride in our work and kept the collateral damage to a minimum – no real sentiment involved, it just wasn’t efficient. Well that all changed when some chump named Straiker grabbed me and my brother Giani when we were heading back from a job, I don’t even remember how he got us to get in the car, but (even knowing nothing about the supernatural as I did) i’d seen enough movies to know what he was when fangs slid out of his mouth and he started snacking on my brother.

You ever know what it’s like to try and move and not be able to? Well yeah it sucks balls, but I couldn’t move a muscle, and I was straining so hard I was worried I was gonna pop something; but Straiker lets my brother go and puts the bite down on me, I started to feel myself drift away when from nowhere there was a loud crunch as another car hit us.
Lucky at cards right?
Straiker took a hit to the back of the head and I found that I could move again, so I scrambled out of the car, I thought that my brother must’ve been dead, it was only later when I tried to go back that I found out he was walking about; only he wasn’t my brother any more, he was like Straiker some bat-faced blood sucker. Once Straiker got a taste of the criminal world, he decided he wanted to take a big bite out of it and began munching his way through my family.
All the while I could feel this churning hunger burning me up inside, I had to get away, the family would be looking for me either to kill me or to put the bite on me (I wasn’t sure which one was worse); it was then I saw a young kid running out infront of a car, it wasn’t going to stop. Before I knew what I was doing I felt a surge of strength flow through me and ran across the road faster than the car was moving, grabbing the child and putting her safely down on the other side; I was about to speak to her when suddenly the hunger pain returned, twisting like a knife in my gut, so bad that I collapsed at the side of road, groaning in pain.
The next thing I knew was that some guy (I later found out he was a senior detective) was picking me up, he’d seen me save the kid and introduced me to this weird group called the Order of St. Giles, after setting me a few trials they gave me these tattoos; yes I know, you can’t normally see them, but when I get the hunger on me they start glowing, both to warn people and to help hold the hunger back.
So how does this relate to the supernatural war and the re-dressing of the balance?
Well I ended up hooking up with this american-indian woman called Wayaya who was pretty clued in to the world of the supernatural, had some kind of fierce sorcerous mojo going on that I wouldn’t want to mess with, not least of which was that she seriously messed up any technology that she got near (well anything post-1950s); my other ally around this time was a Detective Howell, a young woman who (despite my best efforts) got dragged into the whole messy affair when she broke up a drug deal I was doing. Trying to hide from my family, i’d been forced to use outside help, they got sloppy and the police were tipped off – i’d written the whole thing off and was about to make myself scarce when one of the police officers fell of the boat they were on and hit his head. I’ve seen a lot of people die in my time but no-one deserves to go out like that so I dived in and rescued him, Detective Howell was his superior and was on the boat, turns out she had been with the old man who’d taken me to the Order but she didn’t know jack all about the supernatural.
See the Santiago family were going to war with another criminal family over who owned the docking and shipping business, this would have all been fairly normal but this time they were getting sloppy, their street battles were spilling out and started to involve the public; I don’t know if this was because the vampires were involved in it or not, but they certainly weren’t making things any better. At about the same time we received a message from some kind of world spirit (Wayaya called it ‘Gaia’) during some trippy ceremony at an indian lodge where we were told that the balance was being tipped over and that unless it was restored the world would fall into darkness. Well, f**k that noise, so I sent a message to the family the only way I could, some would call writing on a severed arm in marker pen brutal but, when there’s a lotta noise going on, sometimes you gotta shout to make yourself heard.
I knew they’d be coming for me and I didn’t want to drag Wayaya and Howell into it so I headed for the one piece of neutral ground in the city, the one place where no supernatural would risk messing with me; the Crimson Moon looked like a normal club but it was run by some big power, called himself Van, who enforced the peace. Well Wayaya rocked up, she’d been doing some research on this symbol i’d discovered in my room at the club, turned out it was the resting place of some ancient spirit warrior or some such (I don’t claim to understand that stuff, leave it for the wizards, I got enough shit on my plate as it is) called Kele or “the Fallen Man.” Well after some talking with Van we were able to get him to take us to a hidden chamber under the club where there was this stone coffin thing; apparently only native-american indians could enter the secret area, even Van hadn’t been able to get in, but since we had Wayaya with us we were sound apparently.
Well our indian friend had been hitting the books and had worked out that to awaken the Fallen Man we had to do all many of crazy stuff (don’t even ask me about how we got a dragon to breathe fire on the stone) and Kele rose from his rest; unfortunately that kinda power sent alarm bells out the White Council (some society of occult big-wigs who like to think themselves judge, jury and executioner for the the supernatural world) and they launched a full assault on the Crimson Moon. It was pandemonium out there, people fighting and guns firing, the Fallen Man offered to evacuate us using the spirit world, but I couldn’t take the risk there might be innocent people getting caught up in this war so I went upstairs to help evacuate the normal people before plunging back into the mass brawl that now occupied the dancefloor; next thing I know a huge tear opened up in mid-air and i was pulled through into the spirit world.
We gathered up some local materials (rocks, clay and the like) and Kele made them into paint which he used to draw some animals on us, he then asked if we would sacrifice some of our time in order to help re-dress the balance; we said that of course we would and he left us. The first to disappear was Wayaya, just fading from view and then Howell, leaving just me sat in the spirit world holding Wayaya’s peace-pipe; there was a flash and I was back sitting in the club, pipe in hand with Van looking at me strangely, I rang Wayaya, apparently I had been gone for three months, Wayaya had appeared a few days after we had gone into the spirit world and Howell had appeared a month ago. Kele had used our time to manifest himself in the real world and selectively target and remove certain supernatural elements from the city, redressing the balance.
And that was that, you presumably know what happened next or you wouldn’t be here talking to me?

Now I suggest you get out, i’m sure you’ve noticed the dull glow emanating from my tattoos, that means i’m getting hungry and, whilst I might not like seeing innocents suffer, I aint no saint.”

Mornings with Max Price (IC writeup of 1st Seattle Demon: the Fallen session)

Disclaimer: This is a fictional in-character write-up of an RPG game.

“We’d just wrapped up another show, people wouldn’t believe the amount of work and preparation that goes into producing and recording a two hour morning show, normally I wrapped up a show and was straight onto researching and reading up on the next subject for discussion; it was a lonely life with not much room for anything else, family or friends, i’d found this out the hard way when my wife of five years rang me to tell me that she couldn’t put up with this life anymore and that she was taking our daughter, I tried to reason with her but she told me that i’d left them both years ago, every since i’d starting working for the station. I’d been out drinking with a friend at the time, one of my rare breaks from the show, trying to comfort him and tell him that he didn’t have to worry about the big presentation he was giving (I was lying, anyone could see he was nervous as hell) when my wife rang me; an hour later I was convulsing in one of the lavatory cubicles as a noxious mixture of recreational drugs and alcohol killing my body as surely as the news of my wife’s departure had killed my heart.

Five minutes after that, I was Sitri, the once Demon Prince of hell, he who makes men love women and women love men; my friend was shaking me and asking me if I was alright.

Ten minutes later we were both leaving the club, my friend had seen a little of my new self (although it was a vague and flickering candle flame compared to the celestial being I had once been) and had the confidence that he needed to pull of his presentation and have his business partners hanging on his every word, and I had what I needed, his faith and belief.

The voice of Eric, a promising young gruaduate from Seattle-U who was getting some work experience on the station as a researcher, caused me to start out of my reverie, “Mr Price, Sue says that we’re running with the Duwarmish story tomorrow, i’ve taken the liberty of putting all the material I could pull from the net onto this CD and have catalogued it for you so that you can do some background research, but you’ll need some music for the segment as well.”

“One of the elders of the tribe, a Mr Noah has been booked to speak on the show, apparently he had some new evidence or information that’s gonna force the government to recognise the Duwarmish claim to their lands” continued Eric.

I smiled at Eric, the kid was a great researcher, young and full of enthusiasm for his job, “Eric, you’re an angel, i’ll get this read this evenign and will swing by Seattle-U to see if their library has anything on it; as for the music, tell you what, since you’ve been such a big help around here recently why don’t you put together a playlist i’ll have a look at it and make some selections, maybe even slip you a credit in the show, how’s that?”

Eric beamed at the thought of getting mentioned in the show, his role had been strictly backstage so far, but hell (yes I know that I use the word ‘hell’ a lot but once you’ve been to the Abyss, it’s like a part of you never leaves) he’d done such a good job it was about time he saw some sort of reward, and it cost me nothing to give him a hand. This was one of the things I like about being Max, he genuinely believed that mankind could be better than it was, they only needed to be told the whole truth and shown the way, and I was Max now, even since i’d climbed into this body and his hopes and dreams had baptised me, washing my soul clean of the hatred and anger that had engulfed me during my time in the Abyss.

An hour later I was sat in my small office reviewing the information that Eric had given me on the Duwarmish tribe, turns out that were a native-american indian tribe who historically had settled land now occupied by a huge chunk of downtown Seattle; despite the Duwarmish signing the Treaty of Point Elliot with the US Government in 1855 they were not recognised as an official tribe and it seemed as though they’d been pretty much conned out of their land, ever since then the leaders of the Duwarmish tribe had been looking to ratify their claim to their historical land. I flicked through a couple of pages on the document, seemed to me that the Duwarmish had been playing entirely by the rules, going through all the appropriate legal channels and such-like, but everytime their claim got to court it was thrown out because of some bullshit legalise or loophole; I could see a picture forming in my mind, it looked like someone with knowledge and influence within the political system of Seattle would find it very inconvenient if the Duwarmish were to reclaim their land and was doing their damndest to make sure that it didn’t happen.

I frowned and felt a vague flicker of the old anger and darkness, but it was quickly drowned in sadness, the world was so big, this country was so big and all humans were originally of one tribe (I should know), there should be room for all the tribes of man; I couldn’t remember what had happened to divide them, was it something they had done, or was it our defiance that caused them to still be punished to this day. Still, being Max had it’s advantages, using my renewed confidence and the social talents of Sitri I had been able to pull my show out of the tailspin that it was locked into and had made it popular enough that I had become something of a local celebratory, and more importantly I was able to tell people the truth; for a couple of hours while they were listening at home or in their car on the way to work, the human population of the city listened to me, it was just what Max (and Sitri) has always wanted.

Folding my laptop up and tucking it under my arm I waved goodbye to Eric and the show’s scheduler Sue before jumping in my car, i’d read on the CD that the original Treaty of Point Elliot was on display at Seattle-U, they also had a great library when it came to native mythology and history, seemed like a good opportunity to get some more research so I sped over there and quickly found myself looking at the historical document (behind glass of course). Whenever I go anywhere or look at anything, as well as taking notes, I like to snap a couple of photos with my smartphone, most of the time they don’t come out particularly well (hell, i’m no photographer) but they work as little memory aides; well I was taking some photos when a young girl (probably no more than 16 or 17) who was sat reading nearby snorted, telling me that I wouldn’t get any decent pictures because of the glass. I’d been going over my plan for the radio broadcast in my head and hadn’t noticed the young girl, she looked to be of native-american indian descent but her clothing was distinctly modern, goth I think they call it, all brooding blacks and velvet, that sort of thing; thanking her for the advice I explained that I was going to be doing a radio show with one of the tribal elder of the Duwarmish, at which point she began to reveal her thoughts that a conspiracy of freemasonic nature lurked behind the continuous denial of the Duwarmish claim to their lands. Now a couple of years ago Max probably would have scoffed at that notion, but I have to admit that it did seem odd how these legal loopholes always appeared to block their claims in court and, having been given a chance to walk amongst manking again, I had swore to myself that I would always take them seriously (no matter how ridiculous the claims sounded).

I was starting to sense a vague feeling of otherworldly energies at work in the library, seemingly centred around a waste paper bin but I didn’t want to alarm the young woman, so I attempted to make conversation about her theories and asked whether she had a personal interest in the Duwarmish; she revealed that she was searching for the grave of Isaac Stevens, the person originally responsible for compelling the american-indians to sign the Treaty of Point Elliot (along with some others), I had always wanted to help humanity I think, even at the start, so I offered to have some of my contacts look into it, the young woman seemed initially suspicious but relented and gave me a mobile phone number before leaving. Let alone I scooped up a couple of books on local mythology and history before wandering over to the waste paper bin, inside was a book, crumbling to dust as though the weight of hundreds of years bore down on it, but the binding looked new – perhaps the energy I had sensed had acted on this book, unfortunately the smallest disturbance caused it to collapse into illegible dust; I raised an eyebrow, was the girl like me? It seemed unlikely but possible, I resolved to try and keep her close.

Whilst standing at the checkout desk waiting for the librarian to scan my books out a tall dark skinned man came in asked for a book on Duwarmish mythology, it just so happened that it was the only copy in the library and I had just booked it out, I apologised to the man (who introduced himself as Mr Christmas) but said that I would have the book back tomorrow; he seemed to accept this and expressed a knowledge of the Duwarmish, thinking that he might be useful should we get any more shows out of this subject I gave the man a business card and bid him farewell.

Back in the office I was surprised to hear from Sue that apparently the news had just come in that our guest for tomorrow’s show Noah had been murdered at his home (a small village outside of Seattle proper); I didn’t want to cancel the show, after all the injustice done to the Duwarmish wasn’t any less due to this unfortunate event, and I felt sure that the tribal elder would want his people’s voice to be heard. Thinking that perhaps this show could be done as a memorial to the memory of Noah I decided that a bit of firsthand research was in order and, taking one of the vehicle from the car pool drove out to where my research notes indicated that Noah had lived; there seemed to be no-one about besides a couple of neighbours twitching their curtains and a very large man who was welding some sort of metal sculpture in his garage. I called out to the heavy-set man who told me that his name was Frank Chapelacre and that he’d been a neighbour and friend of Noah’s for years, I took the opportunity to get a bit of a feel for the deceased man’s character and was about to ask Frank whether or not he’d consider recording a few respectful sound-bites for us, giving us a bit of local interest in the matter, when we were interrupted by a young woman shouting at us. The woman was wearing baggy clothes and, it was soon revealed, was Frank’s wife, her breath smelled of cheap lager and her glazed expression screamed “alcoholic” at me in this same way her manner towards Frank shouted “abusive relationship”; it always struck home when I saw the gift that humanity had been given squandered in this way but I turned on the charm and (along with the promise of money to re-imburse Frank for his time) soon had her eating out of the palm of my hand.

Following Frank’s mention of a TV repairman from Connor’s Rentals and Repairs visited the house earlier and the police bafflement at Noah being found dead in his locked house with no sign of forced entry we decided to explore the house, with the profit-minded wife of Frank’s waiting on look-out outside; it was easy to force the door (after all the police had already broke it down once to get into the house), nothing seemed unusual at first besides for a pile of magazines that were extremely damp. A chalk outline of a body was drawn on the floor near to a crack telephone that appeared to have been pulled from the wall, we had a look at the new TV aerial and Frank seemed quite interested in it; as we continued to explore I started getting the feeling that some sort of celestial energy had been used and decided to explore the roof, I was surprised to find that the old aerial cable had been cut deliberately. Back inside I following the new cable and found a piece of silken fabric bearing celestial symbols tucked behind it, Frank touched parchment and I felt a flare of demonic energy from him, that explained the sensation that I had been feeling whilst exploring, after a few tense moments I decides to take the risk and asked Frank who he had been before he had been Frank, his real-name Gadriel was not familiar to me, but he seemed to have heard of Sitri.

Two (possibly more of us) getting drawn into this affair could not be coincidence but I had precious little time to ponder it before I got ready for my show; re-iterating my promise of monetary compensation to Frank’s wife and pressing some money into her hand (it was easier and quicker than a long conversation) myself and Frank sped back to Seattle-proper, given our ‘mutual interests’ I offered Frank my couch for the evening.”

Rocking out with Max Price (IC background to Seattle Demon: the Fallen game)

Disclaimer: Please not this is a fictional write-up of a fictional character’s background in an RPG game.
“It’s an odd thing to be two people, well, not really, you see there are these layers to existence that… oh never mind, I can see i’m getting ahead of myself, besides that bit’s not really important for now.
I don’t really remember a lot of what happened before I was Maximillian Price (or Max to go by the name I use on my early morning ready slot), I do remember one thing though, wherever we were it was dark and cold, colder than you can imagine; when poets and writers talk of hell they always picture it as lakes of fire and brimstone, it’s not like that. Hell is being left on your own in the dark with only your own thoughts and failures, your only company being others lost in their own darkness; like I said, it’s cold down there. I remember waiting for what seemed like forever, at first blaming Him, then blaming myself and finally blaming everyone else for my incarceration; it’s easy to start lying to yourself in the cold and black, what else can you do for comfort? Then one day there was a crack of light and I remember surging upwards, looking for something to anchor myself to, anything I could hold onto to prevent the abyss pulling me back.
Something called out to me, a soul leaving the mortal world, but one that spoke to me in particular; a human who genuinely believed that his kind could make the right choices and could do what was best if only they were told what was really going on, if only they had the right information, a man who had struggled to get as much of this information out to public as he could. As I moved closer the mortal soul opened up to me like a book, he has sacrificed everything, his wife, his health, all for his career and this idea that he could help make the world better; looking at this man some of my own darkness fell from me, I remembered a time when I had felt the same, when I believed that the world could be changed and I reached out towards the body, feeling myself sink into the strangely comforting flesh as the original occupant left for whatever waits beyond.
And then I was Maximillian Price, I must admit that the feeling was odd, although I wasn’t him, I sort of was; if you’ve ever been to an old house and it feels like some part of the owner is still there then you might have some idea of what i’m talking about, that’s what taking a body feels like to us. Although I had never known Max before his body became my vessel, all his memories and feelings mixed in with my own, his optimism and belief diluting my own bitterness and anger in a way that I would not have believed possible. For a brief moment I remembered the way I had been, a shining figure of light welcoming the dawn, and then the vision was gone and I felt a warm tear run down my cheek; for a few lingering minutes I was no longer Sitri, the demon prince who makes men and women lust and love, tearing their flesh in their desires, I was merely a man, and that was enough.
Someone was shaking me and shouting Max’s, no my, name and asking me if I was alright; I opened bloodshot eyes and immediately the input of my new sense rushed in and I smelled the vomit staining my shirt, I almost laughed (trust me, if you’ve been deprived of everything but anger and hate for untold years, anything is welcome). Slowly memory filled in the blanks, of course, the man shaking me was my friend, he was nervous about giving a best man speech and a big presentation, I could almost see the black thread of his nerves twisting inside him like a serpent; Max, no i’d, received a call during the evening, it has been my wife, she was leaving me and taking our daughter, said I spent all my time at the radio station and that I wasn’t the man i’d married.
I closed my eyes again, I could see the whirling tableaux of new memories in front of me, countless nights and days sacrificed to try and make something of the show (“Morning with Max Price” jingled a quick soundbite in my head), days spent researching for a couple of hours air time; I also saw what the show had meant to me, for those precious couple of hours, I could talk to people, tell them what was really going and part the veil of lies and misinformation that lay over the world like a shroud. The world was a divided hostile place, but it didn’t have to be, with the powers of Sitri, I could open people’s eyes, I could make them listen, if we could not regain heaven then this world could be a new heaven for all of us.

My friend was still talking, I opened my eyes and shakely rose to my feet, still unused to the heaviness of my own body; he was asking questions about my health. From my memories I had taken the news of my wife’s departure badly (although now it seemed just like one more sacrifice in the pursuit of a greater goal, what was one or two people’s lives against the salvation of an entire race?) and had overdone a number of recreational drugs; reaching back into my mind I could feel Max’s panic as the drugs mixed with the booze in his system, turning quickly to poison and snapping the thread that held his soul to his mortal body. But thanks to me, Max’s dream didn’t have to die, and I would start with my pride and joy, the radio show, I would make it into everything that i’d ever dreamed it would be – a vessel for the truth.

I smiled warmly and re-assured my friend that I was okay “Probably too much to drink, no need to worry, tell me are you still worried about that big presentation? I think that I might be able to help you with that, but i’m going to need something from you first.”

As we walked out of the bathroom I glanced at my reflection in the mirror and noticed that my once baby blue eyes were now a burnished red colour, there was a lot of work to do.”