Serpents Fall: Fires in Celtia – Session 1

As part of my effort to move the information on my Fate Accelerated fantasy S&S game Serpents Fall onto a tiddlywiki for ease of reference i’ve finally started typing up the session videos into a written form, presented below for people who are interested but don’t have time to watch the videos (or who just prefer written descriptions).
The original video of the session is split into three part.

As the sun begins to raise of the land of Serpents Fall, Ozuchi Komodo, shaman of a stygian tribe that had fallen to attack by norsican warriors, travelled through the lands of Celtia, at his side walked the muscular figure of Gunnar Kron, one of the very same warriors that had attacked his tribe; but something about the attack had not sat well with Gunnar and at the last minute he had changed his mind and now accompanied Ozuchi who, as a medicine-man could sense the huge norsican’s sincerity and desire to change. Ozuchi knew that Gunnar wanted to make amends for his past in the same way that he knew the khemrian death-priest Horesh Komani who accompanied them and was bent on mastering the mysteries of the bleak lands was estined to help him re-unite the fractured people of both their nations. Rounding off the group was the flamboyant figure of Captain Benito, a once Pirate King from the Sword Isles who had travelled to Stygia seeking respite from a curse that forever denied him the ability to sail upon the seas, although he had not found what he had sought, the pirate had found companionship in the three people he walked besides,
On the southern edge of celtia, just before the land was swallowed up by the Great Forest, Horesh (who had been feeling distinctly uncomfortable away from the dry, death saturated wastes of his home) sensed a familiar energy nearby, calling to his companions to alert them to the presence of death nearby somewhere he suggested that they investigate; Ozuchi summoned his familiar to him, a spirit in the shape of a komodo dragon and directed it to seek out the nearby death. As the spirit slithered away both Horesh and Ozuchi eagerly followed it whilst Gunnar and Benito, a little more skeptical regarding the ways of the spirits, followed along behind them, Benito hacking thin boughs out of the way with his sword. Suddenly Gunna paused as he smelt a familiar odour up ahead, the burning of wood, charred flesh and scorched straw and for a moment his mind flashed back to the many burning villages and homes that he had left in ruin behind him during his past as a bloody handed reaver; darting forward the viking warrior put out a hand to stop Ozuchi and Horesh, warning them that someone was sacking a village nearby and that they should go no further without a plan.
Horesh dispatches his own familiar, an imp in bird form, to fly ahead and investigate, it returns and informs it’s master that there are a number of burning buildings up ahead of them; hearing the news Ozuchi leads the party through the trees towards the increasing smell of smoke. As they enter a large clearing the the smell of blood and scorched flesh hangs heavy in the air, they can see a village of about eight roundhouses, it appears to have been burnt some times ago and now little more than embers remain. Benito hears a groan from one of the burning buildings, he indicates for the others to be quiet before carefully making his way towards the sound, he finds a young, muscular man lying on the floor surrounded by corpses, a flint headed spear impales him through the chest and a whistling of air from the injured man attests to a punctured lung. The man clutches the spear as though trying to pull it free but he has not got the strength and appears to not be long for this world, Benito gives the man a sip of water out of his flask and asks him what happened. Gasping through ruined lungs the man manages to them that they were attacked by some raiders from out of the trees and that they took the women and children before murdering everyone else; barely conscious the man tells them that the attackers were savages from the wood wearing strange black woad and that they fought like demons but that they were not the local celts.
Using his skills as a medicine man and, realising that the man is beyond saving, Ozuchi makes him as comfortable as he can whilst Horesh performs a funery rite over him, siphoning some of the death power into himself to strengthen him for the trials ahead; meanwhile Kron examines the other bodies and finds that the villagers are farmers and migrants from other nations rather than warriors. Benito examines the spear used to kill the man, he remembers legends from his time as king of the scarlet brotherhood (an organisation that has raised bragging and tall tales to an artform) when a drunken sailor told him about the dark corsairs, a terrifying spectral force of raiders clad in black cloth & covered in black tattoos. the mention of the tattoos in the tale seemed similar to the description of the savage attackers who razed the village; the spear is carved with runes rubbed with berry juice to stain them black, Benito takes a copy of them on a piece of parchment.
Kron explores the ruins of the village, reflecting on his past and how before he never had to see the aftermath of his bloody doings; he notices there are no woman and children amongst the dead, but some of the bodies have strange symbols carved into them, looking more closely he can see the bodies appear to have been laid out specifically after death for some reason he can’t divine, he returns to the others & reports his findings. Horesh sends his familiar flying up into the air to get a birdseye view of the bodies whilst the, ever financially motivated Benito, begins searching around for the village supply store; he eventually locates a burnt out hut containing bags of grains and seeds, all apparently untouched by the raiders.
As it begins getting dark, Ozuchi begins checking the perimeter of the village looking for footprints or any sign of the raiders, through his spirit companion he senses fear and trepidation and he glimpses shapes moving amongst the trees; suddenly a spear is hurled out of the darkness, slicing his arm and he lets out a cry in his native language; hearing the cry, Horesh signals to his familiar to find out what is wrong with Ozuchi and a few moments later it returns, flying into him, knocking Horesh off his feet, it looks terrified, the creature tells Horesh that they need to get out quickly. Horesh tells the others something evil occurring and, as he does so, Ozuchi runs back towards the rest of the party, his arm still leaking blood; Benito draws his saber, his eyes scanning the treeline, he can just glimpse pinpoints of red light amongst the trees, attempting to intimidate the people lurking in the trees, he neatly side-steps another thrown spear, chopping it in two with his saber.
Horesh and Kron are cut by spears thrown at them whilst Ozuchi narrowly ducks under the one thrown at him and dives into cover amongst the ruins, the khemrian death-priest Horesh calls on his knowledge of the spirit world and summons up a spectral flock of birds; as he begins to bargain for their aid, Gunnar Kron pulls himself up to his full height, drawing his two hammers and preparing for combat. Shadowy, savage figures begin stalking out of the trees, primitives clad in rough furs and their skin stained with black tattooing and woad, a dull red glow seems to emanate from their eyes; attuned to the spirit world Horesh & Ozuchi can perceive the dim red outline of a strange bat-like entity superimposed over the tribesmen. Benito flamboyantly steps out, his saber flashing, the primitives seem unimpressed and one of them lashes out with a flint dagger, slicing into Captain Benito’s flesh.
Horesh begins to negotiate with the flock spirit, he offers to owe it a favour if it will it will aid him in this battle; Horesh agrees and the flock spirit flutters into the combat area, filling it with flapping wings and distracting the savage primitives, seizing on this Kron seeks a morale advantage by targeting the lead tribesman (currently attacking Benito) and hurling one of his hammers at the savage, it strikes home, shattering the skull of the leader who collapses to the ground dead. Seeing their leader slain the other savages lose heart and begin fleeing back into the trees with the party in pursuit. Kron and Ozuchi catch up with a couple of the savages, Kron attempts to shoulder barge one into a tree but the primitive is too fast and escapes, leaving Kron holding a scrap of symbol inscribed fur. Ozuchi brings down his quarry with his stygian martial arts and, with the help of Kron, is able to restrain the freakishly strong savage.
With the savage tribesman restrained Horesh attempts to examine the red spirit lingering over him whilst the rest of the group attempt to interrogate the cursing savage, after Kron uses his hammer to shatter the kneecaps of the savage, Horesh senses that the red spirit is something strange and cold like nothing he’s ever felt before; breaking the connection Horesh warns the others that the savage is possessed by some kind of old, strange dark spirit. Ozuchi attempts to communicate with the savage, threatening that if he doesn’t take them to where the villagers are, Horesh will tear the spirit from him, sundering his soul; in halting common-tongue the warrior spits at Ozuchi saying that he lies, claiming that only Fidach can summon the spirits and give them their strength. Kron asks if fidach was the (now slain) leader, at which the warrior laughs and says that Fidach would not be slain by a mere hammer, frowning at this description of his mighty weapon, Kron smashes the man’s other kneecap. With a grim sense of resolve Horesh says “someone end his life and I will take the information we need from his escaping soul.”
Nodding, Kron tells the others to release their broken prisoner, who collapses on his broken legs; they watch in mounting horror as there is a series of crunching sounds and the warriors legs begin to snap back into their previous positions, not wanting to risk facing whatever devilry is at work here Kron slays the warrior brutally, upper-cutting him with his hammer. As the savage’s soul escapes to the afterlife, Horesh inhales the essence of the death and sees a series of images showing the rough location of their camp, inside a dark burial mound or tor in a dim part of the forest; he starts following the directions from his vision with the rest of the party behind him.

The Great Skytrain Robbery (again) : Actual Play

This is my second run-through of a one-off scenario that I designed for the Fate Core setting Wild Blue by Brian Engard; this version was run face-to-face with three players, the first run-through was via Google+ Hangouts and featured two players (those interested can see the original playthrough here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSe9tajmWRM). I had hoped to produce an audio recording of this session, but unfortunately equipment problems made this impossible so i’ve produced a written report.
The Wild Blue setting is available in Fate World Book 1: Worlds of Fire.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

Our Characters

  • Agent Ferryman – A scientific explorer who had crafted a remarkably suit that projected an anti-gravity field allowing him to take to the skies when required.
  • Agent Valcro – One of the Wise whose experiments had resulted in him being able to adhere to objects by numerous incredibly strong microfibres that grew from his skin, unfortunately this gave him a monstrous appearance that often shocked and frightened those not used to him.
  • Agent Hawkeye – Raised amongst the Folk following the death of her family, Agent Hawkeye was an expert tracker and, it is rumoured, once she has the smell of a man’s blood, she would track him to the ends of the earth.

The Story
In the hour before noon a group of three individuals rode their horses along the dusty trail to Ressen, one was a gentleman clad in smart clothing whilst a second was a dusky skinned woman wearing beaten and worn clothing that had obviously seen many evenings spent out in the wilderness, whilst the third appeared as a monster in (almost) human form, numerous small spines erupting all over his skin, exaggerated by the fact that his only clothing was a roughly cut set of trousers. The three wardens were in possession of a letter bearing the official royal seal of Queen Aurora V, a letter which gave them their orders; apparently a pure strain of cobalt had been discovered in the mines below Crystal Falls, they were to meet one of the Wise, who was bringing a sample to the capitol for examination by the Queen’s personal cadre of scientists, and to safeguard him during the journey.
Agent Hawkeye went to find somewhere to tie horses up, eventually locating a young urching standing besides a wrought iron ring set into the cobbles of the fishy smelling coastal town; the boy initially seemed glad to take care of their horses (especially when Hawkeye pressed two copper pieces into his hand), however when Agent Valcro approached (seeking to stable his own horse) the man’s monstrous appearance caused the young boy to flee screaming in terror down the street, his cries bringing numerous locals out of their houses. Luckily, Agents Valcro and Ferryman were able to calm down the crowd with their wit (and Agent Ferryman’s liberal application of money) whilst Hawkeye spoke to man who appeared to be in charge of stabling horses, the man apologised for the behaviour of young Herbert (saying that the boy “always was a delicate sort”) before agreeing to look after their horses free of charge by way of recompense.
Agent Valcro visited the docks, where he struck up a conversation with a one-legged, blind sailor called Old Seamus and, in return for a gold piece, Seamus helped him draw out a map showing prevailing wind conditions and plotting recent bandit attack on the Skytrain- using his enquiring mind Valcro worked out that, based on the bandit’s previous pattern, they were likely to be attacked halfway along on the long stretch of track between Ressen and the capitol, Cobalt.
As the time drew near noon the group approach the large tower that stretched high above Ressen, connecting it to the Skytrain high above, a local man gestured for them to climb into an open fronted lift and then began to walk a mule around in a circle, causing a series of pulleys and cogs to rattle as the elevator began to ascend toward the Skytrain platform; stepping out the Agents began to (in hushed tones) chatted on the platform about their mission. They were approached by a young man wearing a worn duster and the Dark Iron star of a Railmarshal, the young man introduced himself (in officious tones) as Marshall Booth and, after a bit of talking, refused to let the Wardens board the train without proof that they were officially sanctionned to conduct business onboard the Skytrain, stating that any persons acting in an official capacity onboard the Skytrain had to make themselves known to the Railmarshals; Agent Valcro became very agitated about this and made numerous (barely veiled) threats towards the Railmarshal, but he refused to be budged and only allowed them onboard once they showed him the seal of Queen Aurora V on the letter they carried. As they boarded the train, Agent Valcro called over some of the other Railmarshals stationed around the platform and had Marshal Booth escorted away (pending arrest) for impeding a Warden in his duties.
On the train Agent Ferryman settled in the Observation Cart, Agent Hawkeye in the rear passenger cart and Agent Valcro in the forward passenger cart; on his way through to the front passenger cart, Agent Valcro made the acquaintance of a blustering businessman called Mr McKraken who he flattered by talking about how the McKraken family were some of the first settlers and that their hard-working honest nature spoke well for their descendants; flattered, the businessman gave him an (unlit) cigar  saying “I don’t see why you can’t enjoy it later” and agreed to watch over a decoy bag for Agent Valcro. Valcro also visited the fuel car and was able to stealthily take some cobalt dust and use them, with kit from his scientific bag of tricks, craft four crude smoke grenades in case a distraction was necessary, he handed one of these to Agent Ferryman before returning to the front passenger car.
Agent Hawkeye established contact with Mr Perriweather (a tall, be-spectacled man with grey tufts of hair escaping from under his top hat, a silver chain stretched from below his sleeve, attaching him to a battered briefcase) in the rear passenger cart and took up a position near him, Ferryman took up a position on the balcony at the back of the train watching for any sign of attack by sky bandits whilst Agent Valcro slipped out of the carriage and. as the train pulled off, used his power to crawl down the side of the train. A group consisting of a young woman wearing a large, white, multi-layered dress and a fancy bonnect, a slick looking fellow with a cane and a dark skinned couple were on the rear oservation platform with Agent Ferryman, as the train started moving they took their seats in the rear passenger cart near where Hawkeye and Perriweather were located.
Agent Valcro peeked in through the windows of the train cars, as he reached the rear passenger cart, the slick looking fellow, although not appearing to have spotted him, touched the woman on her arm and whispered “Something is amiss Ms Clements”, he was overheard by Agent Hawkeye; Mercy immediately left the car and travelled through the front passenger car to the cobalt and water fuel car just behind the engine, followed (on the outside of the train) by Agent Valcro.
On the observation platform Agent Ferryman had spotted a cloud that seemed to be moving faster than the prevailing wind and descending slowly from high above towards the train, re-entering the observation car he asked one of the passengers (a middle-aged gentleman who was travelling with his daughters) to carry a message to Agent Hawkeye in the rear passenger car, although a little nervous the man agreed. The businessman was as good as his word, warning Hawkeye that something was wrong, before returning to his daughters in the observation car.
As soon as the man left, Agent Ferryman pressed the hidden catch on his chest, with a slight rasping sound the metal plates of his hidden armoured suit unfolded, activating the anti-gravity field around him with a soft hum; jumping off the balcony he began to fly upwards towards the cloud, ignoring the shocking gasps of the women in the observation car.
Realising Mercy was up to no good, Agent Valcro threw his smoke grenade at her and then attempted to grapple her, Mercy responded by bursting into flames, although this (seemingly) did not harm her it set light to the (extremely flammable) Agent Valcro; in the front passenger car Mercy’s three remaining colleagues drew guns and the slick looking fellow walked towards Agent Hawkeye and Perriweather, demanding the case. Hawkeye stabbed the slick fellow, her knife penetrating his flesh and drawing blood, there was a flash of purple smoke and she suddenly found herself outside the train car with no way to go but down. Spotting her, Agent Valcro looped his lasso around Mercy’s neck and swung off from the train; as Mercy clung on to the coupling between cars for dear life, Agent Valcro swung out, grabbed Agent Hawkeye and then used his power to adhere them both to the side of the front passenger car. Valcro attempted to reel Mercy in, but she used the heat of her flames to melt his wire lasso.
Mercy fired a jet of flame up into the air as she climbed to the top of the fuel car, Agent Valcro saw the fire and believed it may be a signal to other sky bandits lurking nearby. Up above, Agent Ferryman had drawn close to the cloud, he could clearly see a solid mass inside it, a harpoon flashed out, stabbing through his leg and slowly beginning to reel him in. Inside the cloud was a floating ship, as he was pulled in Ferryman spotted a bald man with a dragon tattoo, who appeared to be using some form of power to guide the floating ship downwards towards the Skytrain; thinking quickly Agent Ferryman threw his flash grenade in the man’s face dazing him, at which point the ship ceased its downward motion and began to float lazily upwards away from the train as the natural buoyancy of the floating skywood used in it’s construction re-asserted itself. Finally pulling the harpoon free from his leg (and despite being shot by a crewman with a pistol), Ferryman flew round to another (unmanned) pintel mounted harpoon and fired it through the chest of the dazed ship’s captain, killing the large tattooed, bald man. Amidst a hail of gunfire from the crew, Ferryman dived overboard and began to fly back down towards the Skytrain.
Valcro swung Agent Hawkeye up onto the coupling and she peered through the door into the front passenger car in time to see the slick looking man grab Perriweather by the scruff of the neck in one hand and the briefcase in the other; there was a flash of purple smoke and Perriweather vanished, a scream that briefly trailed off before disappearing from below the train attested to his fate; Valcro climbed along the underside of the fuel train and, detaching one of the secondary metal supports, leapt up onto the fuel pile, smashing Mercy around the side of the head. Slick and his two gun-toting companions began making their way out of the front passenger car towards Mercy, Agent Hawkeye hid behind the door so they didn’t see her.
Grabbing hold of the dazed Marcy Agent Valcro hurled her at the slick looking man, sending both of them tumbling off the train; as the two gun-toting figures prepared to fire at Agent Valcro, Hawkeye stepped out from behind the door and, using her knife, dispatched both of them, sending their bodies tumbling off the train. Valcro quickly re-tied his lasso, looping it around the train car coupling and swung out into space, as he passed by the falling slick fellow, he used his power to adhere the briefcase to his hand; slick clutched at Agent Valcro, desperate to save himself from a terminal fall, but couldn’t hold on and thus continued his plummet towards messy death below. Agent Ferryman swooped down, hovering by the side of Valcro as the pirate ship continued to rise higher in the sky away from the train, Valcro passed him the case and told him to fly ahead and get the package to safety whilst himself and Agent Hawkeye got back aboard the train.
A few hours laters when they all arrived in the capitol Agent Ferryman was already there, having turned the case over to the Warden authorities, all three of them were commended for their actions in securing the package and preserving the safety of those on board; they were told that they had the royal thanks and to expect commendations for their part in preserving the sample of pure-cobalt.
And then…
Agent Valcro was last seen leaving Cobalt on the Skytrain, planning to investigate the mines at Crystal Falls, he chuckled as he read through a recent telegram about a Railmarshal Booth being bought up on charges for impeding a royally-sanctionned Warden Investigation.
Agent Ferryman booked himself in to a veteran’s hospital to have his severeleg injury dealt with, where he astounding the nurses with his tales of daring-do and reminisced about his exploits with the Wardens.
Agent Hawkeye, not believing that the slick fellow was truly dead (he could teleport after all) was said to have performed a strange Folk ceremony over the slick fellow’s blood that stained her knife and then, with a grim sense of purpose, departed Cobalt on horseback, not to be seen again.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 19: Death & Rebirth?

Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch wakes in the medical bay having been unconsious for a number of days following injuries sustained during a battle against a chaos sorceror in the ruins of a fighter craft on the moons of Strive; the med-techs have struggled with the severe and sorcerous nature of the injuries but finally, with a little help from the Emperor Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch pulls through and regains consciousness. Hearing the red-alert klaxxons sounding through the corridors of the Venerus Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch hauls himself unceremoniously to his (still shakey) feet and totters out of the medical bay, dismissing the med-techs who attempt to persuade him to go back to bed he staggers towards the ships fighter bay.
Meanwhile Admiral Fortunus Black had decided that they need to join Enginseer Prime Pak on the moon below them, a battle rages there following the descent of an armada of escape-pods and small craft planetside, fallout from a decisive battle between the fleet of Rogue Trader Admiral Fortunus Black and the traitor forces lead by the renegade Adeptus Astartes Lorgar Khan; bidding goodbye to his wife Lady Decusis-Black and leaving her in command of the great ship Venerus the Admiral dons his regalia and begins striding towards the shuttle-bays. On his way Admiral Fortunus Black meets the slightly pale figure of Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch who is climbing into his fighter jumpsuit; relieved to see that Borsch has recovered the Admiral explains that they defeated the chaos sorceror although he escaped and that they are still in a state of red-alert following the battle with Lorgar Khan’s forces. Admiral Fortunus Black tells Borsch that although they won, the cost of the battle was severed with the Venerus and Rod Hant being the only surviving vessels, Enginseer Prime Pak is planetside attempting to gather survivors from the fleet and the Admiral intends to help him; unsure of what dangers may lurk down on the moon of Strive the Admiral tells Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch to ensure that himself and the rest of the Void Kraken fighter squad are ready to fly if he needs them.
Admiral Fortunus Black’s shuttle lands near the last known position of Enginseer Prime Pak and he sees that the Enginseer has been gathering the sruvivors to him and attempting to build make-shift fortifications, cannibalising what small vessels and weapons they have to make something more permanent. Admiral Fortunus Black is happy to see that his cousin Polaris Black (ex-Captain of the now destroyed Lunatic Pandora) has survived, but sudden signal on their voxx frequency interrupts any further re-union; flying in the lower atmosphere alongside the other Void Krakens Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch informs Admiral Fortunus Black that his long-range scanners are detecting weapons fire around the central stone building in the largest native settlement.
“Multiple traitor astartes closing on building, am picking up signs that Chief Baldur and a dozen or so other natives are trapped inside” – Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch
“Buy us time to get there” – Admiral Fortunus Black
As Admiral Fortunus Black and Enginseer Prime Pak race towards the building in a commandeered vehicle they are just in time to witness a devastating strafing run by the Void Krakens that slays all of the traitor Astartes closing on the stone building, although the triumph is short lived as they see flashes of gunfire inside the building and recognise the sound of bolter fire.
“Damn it! Looks as though some had already got inside!” – Admiral Fortunus Black
As they enter the ground floor of the building, the heavy thudding of bolter fire can be heard coming directly from the floor above them, Enginseer Prime Pak and his men pour weapons fire into the ceiling causing it to collapse and unceremoniously dump the traitor marine onto the ground floor, before he has chance to rise the Admiral plants a boot on his chest and drives a power sword through one of the eyes of the traitor, who spasms for a few moments then lies still.
Returning from a re-arming run to the Venerus (where the lieutenant requested promethium bombs be fitted to the fighters) Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch and his squadron are circling back round for another run when they see a number of angry looking natives wielding primitive weapons running towards the building; unsure of whose side these natives are on they elect to abort the attack run for now. From inside the building Enginseer Prime Pak spots the primitives and recognises some of their primitive chanting as belonging to one of the Slaktin worshipping tribes that allied itself with Lorgar, ordering his men to follow suit Enginseer Prime Pak opens fire on the approaching primitives and, seeing this, Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch releases his promethium bomb, engulfing the natives in a napalm-like flame that swiftly burns them to death.
“Find me the sorceror!” – Admiral Fortunus Black
Using the fighter squadron as a relay, Admiral Fortunus Black contacts the Venerus and has their Navigator York Benetec use his psychic powers to search for the presence of the sorceror, York Benetec confirms that the sorceror is present in the building; nodding grimly, Admiral Fortunus Black has Enginseer Prime Pak patch him through to the voxx-unit built into the cybernetics they fitted to Chief Baldur and gives a warning for him to get out of the building before contacting the Void Krakens and given another order.
“Destroy that building!” – Admiral Fortunus Black
As they run from the building themselves, hearing the screaming of the approaching fighter craft, Enginseer Prime Pak spots the body of the fallen traitor Astartes and feels a twinge of human longing that he had long thought purged from his body as he spots the large power fist attached to one of the marines arms. Admiral Fortunus Black throws himself behind cover as missiles streak overhead towards the building, he looks around to find that Enginseer Prime Pak is no longer with him. At the very last minute the techpriest hurls himself behind cover, being caught in the last flash of the explosion, several of his metallic components buckled by heat and his flesh blackened, however, he grins at the power-fist gripped in his hands.
Walking back over to the ruins of the building they spot what appears to be some sort of energy globe protecting a small area and, inside it, the chaos sorceror who is injured but appears ot have survived using his unholy sorery to conjure some sort of force-field; as they approach the sorcerors energy gives out and the field collapses, sneering Admiral Fortunus Black responds by pouring fire into the body of the sorceror, as Enginseer Prime Pak joins him the sorceror finally collapses dead, his foul gods apparently deserting him. Admiral Fortunus Black can’t help but wonder though whether Lorgar was actually in the building and whether they’ve seen the last of the traitor marine.
As Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch and the Void Kraken fighter squadron are mopping up the remanants of the hostile forces, Admiral Fortunus Black has the Venerus perform a surface scan to look for the Thunderhawk gunship that the sorceror was last seen boarding; it is swiftly located secreted behind a nearby forest, Admiral Fortunus Black quickly rounds up a group of men to investigate and voxxes Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch to investigate from the air. Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch attempts to swoop in on the position of the Thunderhawk unseen but is unsuccessful and the guns of the craft begin to open fire although the fighters do not sustain any damage. Using this distaction Admiral Fortunus Black, Enginseer Prime Pak and their soldiers have approached the Thunderhawk’s position, but are horrified to see that, fore-warned by the presence of enemy fighters it has begun to take off; acting instinctively they both grab hold of landing struts and are lifted into the air.
The Thunderhawk flies upwards, obviously planning to enter low orbit, whilst Enginseer Prime Pak tries frantically to interface with the machine spirit of the craft and open the door, but several security measures send painful electrical impulses surging through his synapses; in a last desperate attempt as the air begins to thin Admiral Fortunus Black slices the locks from the door with his power sword and they climb onboard to be met by weapons fire from two guards in the cargo bay. Returning fire with their own weapons Admiral Fortunus Black and Enginseer Prime Pak make short work of the guards and hurl their bodies unceremoniously out of the open Thunderhawk door.
Outside the Void Krakens have been attempting to crowd the Thunderhawk and force it to land, but the traitor craft attempts to ram them instead; following the training maneuvres that they had practiced Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch and his squad jink around it an are unharmed. Onboard the Thunderhawk, Enginseer Prime Pak has managed to interface with the machine spirit and opens the door to the cockpit, snarling curses at them the traitor marine pilot hits an eject button and the cockpit window flies off as his seat jet boosts the vile renegade Astartes into the air. There is a brief cavalcade of fire and small pieces of armour rain down as the Void Kraken lock their weapons on the ejecting marine and destroy him utterley.
Now interfaced with the machine spirit Enginseer Prime Pak is able to effect a landing but the landing struts are severely damaged in the process; Admiral Fortunus Black voxxes for a shuttle to take him back to the Venerus, promising to send more tech-adepts down to assist Enginseer Prime Pak salvaging the Thunderhawk. As he leaves the Admiral receives a signal from Polaris telling him that they have met up with Baldur (who survived the explosion due to his bionic imnplants) and that, with the help of the other survivors and the fighter squadrons from the Venerus they are driving back the enemy; Polaris explains that Baldur has asked Admiral Fortunus Black to give his people sanctuary on the Venerus, the Admiral appears to ponder the matter for a minute then agrees before breaking communication.
A few hours later back on the Venerus, Enginseer Prime Pak unveils the damaged recording device entrusted to him by Baldur, he has repaired it so that it should play the full message; as they activate it a shakey projection of a large Astartes with pronounced canines bearing the iconography of the Space Wolves chapter reveals that he was the only surviving marine on a ship carrying Astartes geneseed through this sector when they were attacked and forced to set down on the large moon. Injured beyond human endurance and slowly dying the marine left the surviving thralls and what little technology he could on the moon, hoping that some day they would return to the bosom of the Imperium; knowing that he could not allow the geneseed to fall into enemy hands he climbed aboard his ship and set it on auto-pilot for the systems sun.
“So that was what Lorgar meant by rebirth, the ship must still be out there somewhere.” – Admiral Fortunus Black

God Machine Chronicle – The World According to Maggy Pike : Part Four

IC blog of fourth and final God Machine Chronicle Session
Written by Kelly Grimshaw
Reproduced with permission from the author.

Ok, so now we are totally clear that Dr Who didn’t turn up to save the day. Oddly enough it was Brian and Joe, yep you did read right, Mr my mouth always gets into trouble Best and Mr I would rather knock your teeth out than talk to you Thompson came to our rescue, the most unconventional knights in battered and bloody armor ever.
Like I said before, I am writing this all down to try to make sense of it all but if I am completely honest I think it will take me more than this life time to achieve.
I left my last blog where I was about to answer a call. I really thought that my brains were going to be sucked out through the speaker or something else dreadful but I am also the kind of person that really cannot let a phone ring, you never know how much will cost to ignore in my line of business.
I took a very deep breath and pressed the answer button on my phone.
“Hello” Both I and Brian say together.
I have to pull the phone away from my ear, instead of a voice came a noise. Now, anyone under the age of about twenty five will have no idea what I’m talking about and by rights I shouldn’t know either but my father was not one to keep up with technology.
So, this noise was a banshee like screech of the sound when you pick up the home phone when the internet is plugged into the land line socket.
After the noise dies away I place the speaker next to my ear again and hear nothing but static. In the background a voice like a mouse shouting in a tin can I hear Hello? Hello?
I remembered what was said in the pub about they can hear you when you can hear static so I quickly hang up.
Brian from the sound of it though heard something and tries to engage the voice in conversation.
“Bartek? Is that you? What do you mean?
I guess that Bartek doesn’t answer, besides the fact that Brian said he was dead that is, he hangs up with a puzzled look on his face.
I presume our voices wake Catia because when I turn round she is sitting upright and has her laptop open and her fingers are furiously tapping across the keyboard.
She looks a little frustrated, there is no connection but again we hear the sound of static. This time it is coming from her speakers.
A voice sounding like Stephen Hawking’s mixed with the speaking clock is reciting numbers, the same numbers we came across a few hours earlier.
“Do you have a bible?” Brian casually asks.
“What type of question is that to ask a person? To be honest I have no idea. Go and have a look if you want.”
“Now there isn’t anything to get embarrassed about is there. Um you know, in your draws…” Brian asks, clearly uncomfortable about finding a ladies personal, battery powered devices.
“Nothing to be embarrassed about.” I smirk
“It’s not your embarrassment I am on about” He replies turning away.
“No, go ahead.”  I call to him in the bedroom, I know there are some Buddhist books and books on growing stuff but I am pretty sure there isn’t a Gideon’s in there although you can never be sure. They do seem to be popping up everywhere now.
While I am enjoying this mild form of entertainment Catia, with a look of panic turns off her laptop but the voice continues. She quickly removes the battery and stillit continues. In a desperate attempt to stop something from happening she runs over to my window and fights against the storm to open it. The laptop goes the same way my mirrors did and it turns end over end in the air before it disappears from view.
Our smack head friend looks upset seeing the laptop disappear out the window. You can clearly see I could have sold that flicker across his face before he shrugs and continues eating.
She turns back and goes to grab anything with a speaker.
Telly I am fine with loosing I am also fine with losing the land line, the only person who knows it besides the gas and electric people is my mother and I am totally fine with not hearing from her. However my stereo also has speakers and I am not letting them go. Ever.
“Don’t touch my stereo.” I warn her.
Catia is about to speak when there is a frantic banging on my door. I look through the spy hole to see the resident smack head pounding his fists on the wooden door.
My good nature overrides common sense and I open it.
He barges past me and bangs the door shut behind him, pushing all the locks into place as he goes.
“Do come in.” I say sarcastically
He leans back on the door and exhales.
“Sorry about that.” He replies to my sarcasm “but it has gone to shit out there.”
I am not sure if it is the ah-hem samples that Joe gave to him earlier or adrenalin that is making him shake but this lad is messed up. A second look at him and it is mainly adrenalin. Mainly.
He is terrified.
He sits down and tells me that he saw a group of Polish men kicking the shit out of someone on the stairs. It had all kicked off at the pub and when Joe went in to disperse the crowd it had just carried on all through the block. There was no way he could have helped the man. Although I didn’t say anything I am sure that he could have done something. so he panicked and ran to the only person he knew on this floor. Me. Lucky me.
“We cut your arm off.” Great bit of timing there from Joe informing Brian of the simple solution. The poor lad looks even more horrified.
“Cut whose arm off?” He asks, his pail completion slowly whitening more.
I tell him to make himself at home. There is food about the house and I am sure there is some beer left in the fridge and push the rolling stuff towards him in the hope it will distract him from the conversation that Joe and Brian are having about going back into the mirror world.
He grabs some left over vegetable chaw main off the table and commences shoveling it into his mouth.
“There’s a microwave in the kitchen.” I gesture with my hand. I would feel better if he nuked the hell out of it, I don’t want to add food poisoning to the lads list of problems.
“It’s working?” He asks surprised.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t it be?” I ask, just as surprised.
The power keeps going, I think the generators on its last legs to be honest, it must have been going since, err well, since, erm since the storm began I suppose.”
There it is again, not knowing when the storm hit. Once you know what to look for it seems like the clues to whatever are bloody everywhere.
“No, we haven’t been hit yet.”
“Well you’re lucky then, all the floors lights keep going out.”
He ambles off clutching his leftovers into the kitchen where I hear a can being opened and the microwave bursting to life.
The two lads get up and arming themselves with what sharp cooking equipment is left on the draining board, a fairly serviceable carving knife for Brian and an innocent bread knife that just looks evil in Joe’s skilled hands they check the spy hole and make a brake for it.
I tell Catia that I am going to grab as much stuff as I can as there are possible black outs heading our way and while I am checking the contense of the medical cabinet she informs me that if we both go to her flat then she has a lot more medical supplies there and we can stock pile between us.
I quickly run around the flat grabbing blankets, torches, batters, candles, lighter fuel and a couple of lighters and pile them around the living room before we go over to hers.
“Look at me dude.” I ask our pet druggy. “Now I am trusting you to stay here for a few minutes while we nip over the road, cross me and I’ll hunt you down.” He nods but I think from the way he has downed the takeaway, two pot noodles and is currently necking a third as long as the food keeps coming there won’t be any problems but he shaking like the devil in a nunnery and who knows when the little medicated voices in his head will flip the switch.
We time our moment and run over to her place.
Shoes, clothes, dirty plates are all scattered over the room, bomb site style as she grabs a rucksack and begins grabbing everything she can find for a first aid bag, including a couple of small bottles that she stashes away in her pocket.
Honestly from the picture perfect style of this girl you really wouldn’t think she would let her place get so bogged down but then if she is spending all her time on hair, makeup, clothes and shoes something’s have to slide.
We get back to my flat and secretly surprised that he hasn’t cleaned me out Catia sits beside him and pulls out a couple of pills from her bag.
“Oi smack head!”
“I ain’ no smack head.” He answers slightly hurt
I have to laugh; it looks like the last few days have hardened our lass’s squeamish nature.
“I take base.” He continues under his breath.
“These are a little something that will get you high but will defiantly kill you. Do not take these if you until you are sure you want to die.”
Our resident junkie looks towards me, I shrug I honestly have no idea what they are. He then looks at Catia and gratefully takes them; he has suddenly stopped shaking so much and rediscovers his appetite.
“Come and help me find some sheets for bandages hon.” I ask Catia, well I can’t keep feeding everyone tea can I?
While we route around in the bedroom I ask Catia
“So what were these Devine pills then?”
“Devine?”
“Yeah, you know, get you so high you touch heaven and want to stay there.”
Oh. Yeah. Paracetamol, ‘bout 500mg.”
“Paracetamol?” I ask flatly.
“Yeah, I can see he’s twitchy, if he thinks he has something then he’ll stop worrying. Placebo effect” She smiles.
“Ah, I see. Clever. Here these will do.” I grab an old bed sheet, towel and a pair of sheers and we head back into the front room.
We have been working on or little makeshift hospital for about an hour when, trying very hard to ignore the sounds of gun fire and screams of the riot when someone begins to bang on the door.
“Who is it?” I yell.
“We’re squishy.” Joe’s voice yells back
They force the door open as I am undoing the locks and fall through in a rush to escape all the excitement.
Brian, who I am sure, has his brain wired directly to his jaw. It is either that or his head will explode if he stops talking for five minutes tells me begins to tell me what happened.
Joe sits on a free chair, he is looking thoughtful. That is never a good thing. It usually ends up painful for someone.
“We fight out way into the corridors; everyone was out there, all fighting. In some form of blood lust frenzy. This begins to peter out after the tenth floor and by the time we get to the thirteenth floor there is no one out there. It’s all quiet like. I go to jimmy the lock when I hear footsteps coming towards us. And blow me if Bartek opens the door. Alive, well and healthy looking. In a suit fresh from the cleaners, I say fresh from the cleaners. He invites us in all friendly like, and so’s I ask about the coffee table he sold to me when I was up there last. Bartek then tells me he doesn’t remember but they are welcome to it. I asks him to oblige us with a cuppa and while he is making tea I flips the table over and tries to push me hand through. And you’ll never believe it; it was solid. Just a normal mirror. He comes back a bit quicker than we expected so Jo asks him about some weapons. As they are chatting well blow me if a cat appears from the back room and sits down and stares at us. We make our excuses to leave and when Joe shakes his hand it is the same breezeblock feeling from Miles. So what I’m reckoning is that when we heard his voice on the phone, it was the real one being uploaded into this new copy of him. ”
While Brian is talking at me Catia sits down next to him and pokes the patch of skin on his arm that has been numbed since the mechanical bagpuss bit him. Until she began testing the area around the deadened area he hadn’t noticed that it had been very slowly spreading up his arm. Well logically he wouldn’t would he? It is a numb patch of skin so no, you wouldn’t feel it. But before I manage to get this point across a soft scratching comes from the lower half of my front door. Automatically I look to the door expecting to see Luna wanting a little privet time. Luna is not there.
Now that is strange. She never leaves my side; she is like a canine shadow only much harder to remove. As I go to find her Catia shouts “Have you got a cat?”
“Cat? No. Dog, yes. That is if I can find her.” I say the last part to myself. I am starting to panic. She has not left my sight since she was a pup and that was only because she got stuck in the air ducts. I still have no idea how that happened but I would rather think about that now than the possibility that they have got to her.
Even in the bedroom I can clearly hear two sets of claws frantically scratching the woodwork to get in. I hear Catia say leave it outside to the others.
I crouch down next to the bed and look under it.
A pair of very frightened eyes look back. Luna is spooked and is not leaving the safety of the bed. I pull her out by the scruff of her neck and it is a fight. She wines, twists and tries to squirm out of my grip, she really doesn’t want to come out. I have never sensed so much fear pouring of one animal. I place her on my lap and try to comfort her from whatever is scaring her and let’s be honest I can guess it is coming from my front door. After about five minutes I still can’t calm her down so I let her go and she immediately wriggles back to the safety of the space under my bed.
“If the mirror door to Bartek has closed, what’s to say that any are still open? We need to get down to the first floor flat with the huge wall mirror. But I do suggest that the girls stay here.” I hear Joe explain to the group as I use the bed frame to pull myself up.
“Well how are we to get back outside without letting the cat in?” Brian asks as I return to the front room I feel I have missed part of the conversation but there is no time for them to go over it again.
“Open the door.” Joe commands. I would really like to see what would happen if one brave soul were to ever say no to him. I may have to try it one day, just one where he is not looking so determined.
Brian looks to Joe to see if he is ready and nods. He flings the door open and before anyone can react Joe is booting the cat rugby style and is looking for the try.
As the airborne cat shrieks its argument its instincts kick in and manages to drag one set of claws down his shin before it disappears down the corridor an angry furry flying ball of death and vengeance.
By the look of the clock about two hours go by. I know for a fact that it is not the right time, my job doesn’t have set hours but the minuet hand goes round twice so it’s an educated assumption. Our resident base head has finished his fifth pot noodle and is now dozing, with the help of a blunt that is still resting in his mouth in the bean bag chair.
“Is there anything else we can do?”
The noise out in the hall is now so loud that it sounds like it is literally outside the door. Before the lads left it sounded like any other street fight, all shouts and screams but there are more and more gun shots being heard. It sounds like total bedlam and only thing going to subdue the riot is when they are all dead.
“I can honestly think of nothing more we can do. If the lads come back injured and expecting a M.A.S.H set up and find that we are off gallivanting down the halls then that won’t help anyone.” I answer, rescuing the smoke from falling onto the chair.
Another hour goes by and the ashtray begins to over flow. As the noise of the bloodshed gets closer still, if that is at all possible.  Someone bangs on the door hard enough to knock it down.
“Who is it?” I ask exhaling bluish smoke of a blunt at the same time.
“We’re squishy.” Comes Joe’s reply again, this time though it seems labored.
“And Joe’s bleeding.” Brian continues.
They fall through door open as I am undoing the locks and force it shut, pushing the locks home again in anurgency only seen by people in fear for their lives.
Joe is indeed bleeding. There is a hole through his shoulder.
I get him to lie on the sofa while Catia attends to him.
“Got caught by a stray bullet.” Joe mumbles while being patched up.
“We need to get out. Out of the block and away from the building.” Brian tells me, he looks scared. I have never seen him look so shaken, that and Luna petrified under the bed I am happy to get away from here for a while.
I nod and start packing a bag.
“We need five ounces of your strongest stuff” Joe looks at me. He speaks more clearly now he is bandaged; I presume over ride kicked in, it has to in his line of work.
“Have you got anything to make us happy in that little bag of yours?” He asks Catia.
“Happier? Look I am all for having a session but what the hell is going on?”  As they both look at me then to each other I realize that my internal dialog has shut down and I actually said that out loud.
“We will explain outside, we have to get to the bus stop.” Brian answers. I can now see that he has a rucksack on his back with a tent perched on top.
“You” Joe turns to the junkie. “Come with me.” He is followed to the back room where I hear the door to the growing room being unlocked. I head into my room and grab Luna out from under the bed. I wrap her in a blanket, hide her under my coat as best I can and go back to the living room
“Monkey, meet the plantation.”  I hear Joe say as he pulls the door open
“What, really?”
“Yeah, sure. Knock yourself out.”
“Come on, we haven’t got time for this.” Brian says, checking the hallway through the spy hole.
Timing it carefully we manage to make it through the now almost berserker frenzy madness of the block inhabitants and after what seems like a life time we manage to get to the lobby.
“We are going to have to hold hands to make sure we don’t get lost in the blizzard” Says Brian.
“Fine, but we are going boy girl.” Joe replies.
Really? At a time like this you are worried about holding another blokes hand?
“Fine.”
We manage to struggle to the bus stop where, like before there is a tiny tropical square in the middle of Siberia.
The tent is just big enough to fit in the snow vacant space and just about big enough for the four of us to sit, snuggly inside. Well at least we are warm.
I sit and roll four blunts, so big I feel Jimmy Hendrix would be proud and with the help with, Valium I think Joe and Brian tell us what they found.
Now what you have to remember is that we were really, really high at this point so I am writing this as best as I remember it.
“After we realize that Bartek’s mirror either no longer worked or had been replaced somehow, Joe and I fought our way down to the first floor;  the abandoned flat, where we find the tall mirror, it feels like it was waiting for us; I don’t know how important it is but the door had been replaced. After Joe knock on the door, and when I mean knock I mean boot the thing off its hinges.  I pokes at the mirror and me hand goes through. I enters into the strange reflected world, where a strange iron-like smell fills the air, so thick it fills my nostrils and flows down into my lungs. After finding nothing in the flat Iwalks out into the corridor of the mirror-world. Odd red/black splotches are splattered along the walls, ceiled and floor of the corridor.
I am about to head upwards, as we agreed beforehand,when some movement outside the window catches me attention; looking outside through the flimsy, reflection of a window, they were as flimsy as the rest of the world, kinda like tracing paper. I sees a field of white with the strange black circle floating in it. Tearing the paper thin reflected window I pokes me head out and is confronted with a huge figure towering above the tenement, with pale white skin, colorless eyes, and a perfectly white suit; the hair of the figure is whipped about in the wind, but funnily enough there is none around me. It stares pitilessly down at the tower block.I waves at the humongous statue but there is no reaction and so I pulls my head back in and continues on me journey. “
Brian stops talking and motions with his hand to Joe to carry on with his part of the story.
“Not much to tell to be honest, in our world, well you have just seen how bad it was getting out of there.”
I can see that he is in a lot of pain, May be the Valium will kick in soon and he will feel like talking again.
Brian, sensing that that was all Joe wanted to say for now and continues, “Reaching the mirror world top floor, I sees that here the entire place is coated with the strange red/black substance, hell I can barely see any normal wall; I sees that there is a sky light in the ceiling but I need something to stand on. Irealize that none of the flimsy fake furniture in this mirror world will support my weight. And then I remembers that the furniture in the reflected version of my own place has been becoming progressively more solid since I had been bitten.”
“I make my way to the reflected version of my flat, I sees a shadowed figure sat watching the TV, and all too human for my liking and blow me if I don’t see my very own arm gripping the TV remote! Grabbing my mini-step ladder I attempted to leave without rousing the creature but the freakish scarecrow-like figure, with its horrible button eyes, crumbling straw and all too human arm rises from the chair and comes at me, stumbling like and hits me hard across the forehead with the remote. Thinking quickly I pin the thing to the wall using the ladder, sprays it with lighter fluid and flicks me lighter at it. The straw catches and begins to burn, flaming bits of grass and hessian falling to the ground, however the human arm burns like flesh and I feels the pain as though my own arm were catching fire and burning down to the bone. I grit my teeth against the pain and telling try to tell meself that it is not real, that was a challenge, I can tell you. I holds the scarecrow in place until it has burned completely, leaving just skeletal arm bones which crumble to dust when I touch it. After the adrenalin wears off a bit I poke at my own numb flesh and imagine my relief when it has all disappeared and back to its normal self.
I then go back to the skylight and use the ladder to pull meself up onto the roof. Coming face to face with the gigantic figure I wave and shout but I don’t think it can hear me as it just stands there staring. Care to try again Joe?”
Joe put the smoke to his lips and lit it with his zippo, he took a deep drag and then passed the still lit lighter to Catia who did the same and passed it down the line, “I had reached the top floor of the flats and after a while of talking to the door Mr Carlson eventually let me in. The pudgy man looked extremely scared, which I found rather odd as I had not spoken to him before.” Joe smirked. It wasn’t that funny but we laughed anyway.
“He was leaning on his cane hard as he let me in, as I followed him into the front room I could see he was limping. It took some persuading; after I shook his hand and I saw he was relieved to see it was a normal hand I told him that I was still squishy.” Again we laughed at something not very funny. I think the Valium was doing its thing.
“Carlson told me that he was only a middle manager. He was out of work with a sick mother and all sorts of bills piling up. A business group lead by Mr White approached him and offered to make him rich. The usual promises that would turn any man drowning in debt. They would take care of his mother and give him a place to live if he ran Spectro Vale for them.”
“Who is Mr White?”
“As I am speaking to Mr Carlson his phone rings. I pick it up and a restrained voice says our security is compromised, I would advise you to spend some time with your mother Mr Carlson. Your services will soon no longer be required.” Joe ignored the Mr White question; either that or he didn’t hear it.
“Carlson looked even more frightened on hearing the message and we head to his mother’s flat. The crazy cat lady of floor thirteen.  I have absolutely no idea how it happened as we were the only two out in the corridor but one moment he was fine the next he gave a shriek, clutched his chest and fell forward. At first I thought he had had a heart attack but when the claret started to leak through his figures I could see he had been shot. Seeing as there is nothing I can do for him, what with it being fatal and all I grab his ankles and carry on to his mother’s flat. Next thing I know the door of his dear mother flings open and Brian is standing there.”
Brian takes his queue without missing a beat.
“Ay, After I climbed back down the ladder I pushes open the door of the single top floor flat, the mirror of Mr Carlson’s and I comes face to face with a conglomeration of pipes and tubes emerging from the ceiling and pumping the red liquid into an eerily androgynous figure with a silver shine to its skin. It looked like a Giga version of a metallic angel, knife-like wings spread out behind it and its head hangs as though it was sleeping. I attempts to pull free one of the pipes but with startling speed the metallic angel’s hand, grasp mine in an effort to stop me. I pull my gun and shoot one of the pipes, at random like and, as the pipe flies free and the angel drops me. I dives to one side managing to avoid the spraying fluids. As I watch the pipe, snake like slithers back into the angels chest seemingly of its own accord and the figure goes back to sleep! I grab me can of lighter fluid and empties the tin all over the creature. I walk backwards drawing a trail back out to the corridor, I then flicks my lighter and tosses it onto the trail of fluid, watching as flame lanced out towards the, for want of a better word angel.”
“Then it gets interesting. The metal angel drops from the wall as the pipes burnt away, seemingly unharmed by the fire and began to slowly walk across the floor, towards me. Folding its knife blade wings with a noise like the cutlery draw being dropped. I draw my gun and fired it into the creatures chest; as it moves the creature seemed to be absorbing the stains on the walls and ceiling, feeding on the violence, death and pain I am guessing and apparently unharmed by the bullet. Which, again I am only going by what Joe tells me will be where Mr Carlson keels over.”
“It continues to absorb the stains of death and rage that now permeate the building, as it walks towards me and with each stain it absorbs it becomes progressively more human looking, until eventually I notice that the creature is not walking but hovers slightly above the ground. The angel seems to have no interest in me as it walks straight by me and continues to move down through the floors with me following until it reaches the 13th floor; a wave of its hand opens the flat that Irealize belongs to the crazy cat lady and I follow it inside. In the mirror version of the room, a strange metallic cockroach-like creature with a hugely distended abdomen lies squirming beneath a pile of fetid blankets, it convulses and one of the sack-headed cat things plops out of it with a sickening squelch; the angel waves its hand and the metallic cockroach begins to fall to pieces, I presume that it is no longer needed. The angel moves to the old woman’s mirror and passes through it, I follows it through and finds meself in the real world of the flat; there is no sign of the angel but the crazy cat lady lies dead in the next room, one of her cats perched on her lifeless chest. I guess that the angel had gone through the front door and I pull it open and find Joe dragging the bloody corpse of Mr Carlson. After we had exchanged pleasantries, while dodging the violence around is which at this point has reached epic proportions.”
The group goes quiet for some time. I am completely speechless. I, we had no idea what was going on in the mirror world. I can now see why the boys didn’t want us to go with them.
“I rummage through Carlson’s pocket and finding a mobile I scrolled through the received call list until I found a number marked with Mr White’s name. I pressed the call button and the same voice I spoke to in Carlson’s office answers. He tells me that the experiment is reaching its conclusion and that the violence in the hearts of all men has been awakened. He also tells me that the block will soon be shut down as the experiment ends. He is in charge of making sure that the residents of Spectro remains there, thus creating the storm. Soon however it will not be needed and he will be recycled with details of a new program. So I tell him that I will find him and ram his head up Satan’s arse. He then tells me that Satan is a prehistoric ideal and does not exist. Winner.” Joe beams and holds his thumbs up. Does this Mr White know what telling someone like Joe that there is no retribution will do?
Ok, so now the herbs and prescription drugs have well and truly taken affect and for the next ten minutes we are helpless with laughter. To tell the truth, it was a good job we were high or I don’t think we could process this story that belongs in a horror film.
“After that we begin to figure out that as violence begets violence then how about love, peace and compassion? That was when we came back to your flat and ended up here.” Joe continued, still giggling to himself.
“So what…?” I begin to ask but, as we hoped would happen, after the adrenalin faded and the drug induced sleep took us to the next day
Joe is the first to wake by something rapping on the outside of the tent; he emerges blearily into the warmth of a sunny, snowless day and find himself face to face with a policeman. As the conversation filters through the canvas we all crawl out to see Joe talking to the constable.
“Sorry sir but you cannot squat at the bus stop. People are trying to use the service.”
And yes there are people looking confused and fed up with trying to get on and off the bus while trying to navigate round a bell tent.
“Sorry officer, stag night.” I hear Brian say.
“Oh, I see. Well, I’ll take a walk round the block and if you’re not gone by the time I get back I’ll have to ask you all to follow me to the station for obstruction.”
“Alright lad? Yes I know it’s been a while, three months, really? Looks like I have some catching up to do then. Send me a car to pick up four and a staffy. We’re all going back to mine. ASAP. Cheers.”
Joe hangs up and pulls out his last cigar.
As much as we smoked last night, I really cannot be booked and searched for squatting at a bus stop, that’s how Hoover got found out. It will just open up a whole nest of vipers.
I look round to see where Luna is and I glance over in the direction of the block and all I see is an old, abandoned, burnt out shell of a building.
“Excuse me love but what happened to the block of flats over there?” I ask an old lady who is waiting for the next bus.
She looks at me slightly puzzled.
“What? Oh, Old Spectro Vale, some people went crazy in there and it burnt down when I was a girl, everyone died.”
I look at Brian, Catia and Joe while this timid octogenarian is speaking.
“When was this love?”
“Oh, it must have been fifty years ago…”
“Cars here.” I hear Joe yell and with her words echoing in my head I help Brian roughly pack up his tent and we all climb into the car and leave it all behind us.

God Machine Chronicle – Final Session – What has risen may fall…

Hesitantly raising their phones to their ears and through a hissing and crackling of static Brian can just about make out a panicked voice that sounds a little like to (now deceased) Bartek Prusee crying out “The room numbers, they don’t make any sense… I… I can’t see… is there anyone there?”
Brian attempts to talk back but it’s as though the voice on the other end can’t hear him and soon, it is lost amidst the screeching static. Catia has recovered after her short nap and, pulling out her laptop from her rucksack, begins attempting to access the internet, unfortunately she is unable to establish a connection as the snowstorm continues outside unabated; however after a few moments they notice a hissing static from the speakers and a quite voice reciting a list of numbers, the static resists all attempts to power down the laptop and remove its battery. Finally, worried that whatever lurks in Specto Vale may be listening in, Catia opens the window of Maggie’s flat and, fighting against the wind that rushes in, hurls it into the blizzard outside.
A banging on the door of the flat distracts them, and they open the door to see the young junky that she encountered earlier; they let him in and the panicked young man, who is clearly wired and running on adrenalin, tells them that people have gone crazy in the flats. The violence that was momentarily stopped at the Red Lion has spilled out into the rest of Specto Vale; the youth tells them how he saw a group of polish men kicking someone half to death on the stair, he was worried they were going to turn on him and so fled, he didn’t know where else to go and so knocked on Maggie’s door.
Deciding that they need to get back into the mirror-world to get some answers Brian and Joe force their way into the corridors, now packed with people gripped in throes of some unholy bloodlust; they fight their way up to the 13th floor and Bartek’s flat where Brian begins to work on picking the lock. They are surprised when they hear footsteps on the other side of the door and a far more healthy looking version of Bartek Prusee wearing an immaculate suit opens the door and invites them in. Attempting to seem natural Brian attempts to persuade Bartek that he sold him the mirror recently when he was ill, Bartek claims to have no memory of it but says they’re welcome to the large mirror, he then offers to make them a cup of tea. Brian tries to pass through the large mirror, but finds the surface normal and unyielding glass, he is prevented from going further when Bartek enters and Joe begins to engage him in conversation about purchasing some arms from him.
As they talk a small cat emerges from the back room and sits watching them, Joe shakes hands with Bartek, finding his flesh as firm and unyielding as the surface of the mirror and then, hearing a slight ticking, they bid farewell to Bartek.
Downstairs Catia has just finished giving the junky a couple of paracetamols, hoping that the placebo effect will keep him calm for a while, when Joe and Brian return, having fought their way back down the floors of Specto Vale. Brian explains what just occurred in Bartek’s flat and speculates that perhaps what they heard on the phones was Bartek’s personality being some uploaded in this new copy of him; as he talks Catia checks the patch of numbness on Brian’s arm and finds that it is very slowly spreading across his body. The sound of a cat scratching at the door attracts Maggie’s attention and she finds, to her shock, that her dog is cowering in fear under the bed. Brian flings open the door and Joe boots it across the corridor, although the little beast draws three shallows scratches across his leg.
Realising that Bartek’s mirror either no longer workd or has been replaced, Joe and Brian fight their way down to the first floor and the abandoned flat, where they find the tall mirror waiting for them; Brian enters into the strange reflected world, where a strange iron-like smell fills the air, walking out into the corridor of the mirror-world he sees odd red/black splotches splattered along the walls, ceiled and floor of the corridor. He is about to leave when some movement outside the window catches his attention; looking outside through the flimsy reflection of a window he sees a field of white with the strange black circle floating in it. Tearing the paper thin reflected window Brian pokes his head out and beholds a huge figur towering above the tenement, with pale white skin, colourless eyes, and a perfectly white suit; the hair of the figure is whipped about in an unfelt wind and it stares pitilessly down at the tower block.
In the mirror-world Brian begins moving to the top floor of the building whilst, in the real world Joe begins fighting his way through the rioting crowds to the top floor also.
Reaching the reflection of the top floor, Brian sees that here the entire place is coated with the strange red/black substance, indeed he can barely see any normal wall; he sees that there is a sky light in the ceiling but that he will need something to stand on, but realises that none of the flimsy fake furniture in this mirror world will support his weight. Suddenly he remembers that the furniture in the reflected version of his own flat had been becoming progressively more solid since he had been ‘infected.’
Making his way to the reflected version of his own flat, Brian sees a shadowed figure sat watching the TV, an all too human and familiar arm gripping the TV remote. Grabbing his mini-step ladder Brian attempts to leave without rousing the creature but the freakish scarecrow-like figure, with its button eyes, crumbling straw and all too human arm rises from the chair and advances stumblingly towards him, striking him solidly across the forehead with the remote. Reeling back Brian pins the thing to the wall using the ladder, sprays it with lighter fluid and flicks his lighter; the straw catches and begins to burn, flaming bits of grass and hessian falling to the ground, however the human arm burns like flesh and Brian feels the pain as though his own flesh were catching fire and burning down to the bone. Gritting his teeth against the pain and telling himself that it is not real, Brian holds the scarecrow in place until it hass burned completely, leaving just skeletal arm bones which crumble to dust when touched; Brian is relieved to find that the numbness in his own arm has disappeared.
Climbing up to the roof Brian attempts to attract the attention of the huge, pallid figure, but to no avail.
Joe has reached the top floor where he eventually persuades the owner of Specto Vale Mr Carlson to let him in, the pudgy man looks extremely scared and leans heavily on his walking cane, limping as he lets Joe in. After some persuasion Carlson reveals that he is only a middle-manager, he was once an out of work businessman with a sick mother; a business consortium lead by a Mr White approached him and offered to make him rich, take care of his mother and give him a place to live if he ran Specto Vale for them. As Brian waves at the figure in the mirror world, a red phone on Carlson’s desk begins ringing; Joe picks it up and a moderated voice says “Our security is compromised, I would advise you spend some time with your mother Mr Carlson, your services will soon no longer be required.”
CLimbing back down the ladder, Brian pushes open the door of the single top floor flat and sees a conglomeration of pipes and tubes emerging from the ceiling and pumping the red ichor into an eeriley androgynous figure with a silver shine to it’s skin, resembling a metallic angel, knife-like wings spread out behind it and it’s head hangs as though sleeping. Brian attempts to pull free one of the pipes but with strartingly quickness the metallic angels hand, graps his own; drawing his pistol Brian shoots one of the pipes and, as the pipe flies free and the angel releases him, he dives to one side avoiding the spraying fluids. A few moments later the pipe slithers back into the angels chest seemingly of its own volition and the figure resumes its slumber; removing his can of lighter fluid, Brian sprays the creature liberally and begins to dribble a trail back out to the corridor, he flicks his lighter and tosses it onto the trail of fluid, watching as flame lanced out towards the angel.
Seemingly unharmed by the flames, the metal angel drops from the wall as the pipes burnt away and began to slowly walk across the floor, Brian drew his gun and fired it into the creatures chest; as it moved the creature seemed to be absorbing the stains on the walls and ceiling, feeding on the violence, death and pain and seemingly unharmed by the bullet. In the real world Carlson doubled over in pain, a hole forming in his chest and blood bubbling forth from the wound; Joe grabbed his collar and began to drag him through the crowded corridor.
In the mirror world the angel continues to absorb the stains of death and rage that now permeate the building, with each stain it absorbs it becomes progressively more human looking, until eventually Brian notices that the creature no longer walks but hovers slightly above the ground. The angel seems to have no interest in Brian and continues to move down through the floors (with Brian following behind) until it reaches the 13th floor; a wave of its hand opens the flat that Brian recognises as belonging to the strange cat lady and they go inside. In the reflection version of the room, a strange metallic cockroach-like creature with a hugely distended abdomen lies squirming beneath a pile of fetid blankets, it convulses and one of the sack-headed cat things plops out of it with a sickening squelch; the angel waves its hand and the metallic cockroach begins to fall to pieces, its work now complete. The angel moves to the old woman’s mirror and passes through it, Brian follows and finds himself in the real world version of the flat; there is no sign of the angel but the crazy cat lady lies dead in the next room, one of her cats perched on her lifeless chest.
Brian bursts out of the real world flat to find Joe dragging the bloody form of Mr Carlson past the door; after a brief explanation (dodging the perpetrators of the violence, which seems to be reaching epic proportions) Joe roots around in Carlson’s pocket, finding a mobile phone he scrolls through the phonebook until he finds a number labelled “Mr White: number 111-111-11” and presses the dial button. The calm voice of Mr White answers him and, in response to his questions, tells him that the experiment is reaching its conclusion and that the violence in the hearts of all men has been awakened. Mr White tells Joe that the council block will soon be “shut down” as the experiment ends and that he is empowered to ensure the residents of Specto Vale remain there, but that his storm will soon not be needed.
Joe and Brian fight their way back to Maggie’s flat and, pausing only to grab some recreational drugs, Maggie’s dog, a small tent and some medical supplies they force their way outside to the bus stop where there is still a strange lack of the storm. Holding hands they force their way to the bus stop, set up their tent and settle down, hoping that by medicating themselves to feel no anger or violence they will not feed the thing that rampages through the tenement like a fever; eventually they all drift off to sleep as the adrenalin that has fuelled them over the past few hours fades.
Joe is woken in the morning by something rapping on the outside of the tent, he emerges blearily into the warmth of a sunny, snowless day and find himself face to face with a policeman. The policeman tells them that they can’t squat in the bus stop, people are waiting to use the bus (as a small crowd gathered around seems to verify); the officer tells them that he’ll walk around the block and that, if they’re not gone by the time he returns, then he’ll have to arrest them. Emerging from the tent and looking over in the direction of Specto Vale, Maggie sees only an old burnt out ruin of a building; as Brian and Catia begin to wake, Maggie asks an old woman standing nearby what happened to the building.
The woman looks confused for a second and says “What? Oh, old Specto Vale, some people went crazy in there and burnt it down when I was a girl, everyone died. Must have been about 50 years ago…”
THE END

God Machine Chronicle – The World According to Maggy Pike : Part Three

IC blog of third God Machine Chronicle Session
Written by Kelly Grimshaw
Reproduced with permission from the author.

The best part of being asleep is the half and half just before you wake. My mind wakes up but my eyes don’t want to open,  its cold outside of my many, many blankets, mostly knitted gifts from my mother who doesn’t understand why their only daughter doesn’t give up slumming it as she so delicately calls it and come home. It’s not pride as my father calls it, I am happy with who I am and where I am and currently so is Luna is in her favourite spot on my feet which suits me fine, I don’t have to crawl to the dreaded space called under the bed to find my hot water bottle. I turn over, find a comfy spot and pull the blankets, Luna grumbles slightly as I dislodge her and taking this as her queue she jumps down and wanders off. Something tells me it’s not so she can go for a walk, her dragging her blanket and hiding under the coffee table in the front room after our outing to the bus stop yesterday is giving me a hint and judging from the bright light trying to invade my dark little cocoon from the window tells me there is no let up from the Artic conditions outside so I don’t plan to get out of bed any time soon.

I really should have learned over the past two but eventful days that even lying in bed all day is too much to ask.

A shrill shriek of something I recognise but my brain is refusing to process splits the contented silence. 

Then suddenly I realise that it is not the alarm clock but the fire alarm.

Oh shit!

I disentangle myself from the bed, falling out in the process; grab my clothes off the back of the arm chair-another one of my little gifts from my mum. She hates waste and will gladly donate her useless crap to others knowing she has done her bit and now it falls on the luckless person to take it graciously and either dispose of it themselves or use it. Her conscious is clear.

Trying to pull on my clothes and fight my way to the living room is a gymnastic feet in its self and really I shouldn’t have to worry about cardio for the rest of the week.

Luna tries to hide as I grab her lead, something I hate and she is better off than on and as a rule if no one is around I don’t bother. But as she is a Staffy the other occupants feel safer. She is unceremoniously pulled out and the chain is slipped over her neck as I am still traveling to the door. Out of habit I grab my brolly, again something that I can do without but as the owners of the flats have forgotten how the heating works in the corridors I don’t fancy getting wet and cold just because some turnip tried to relieve the monotony by seeing if the fire system still works. Besides dredds take a lot of time and effort to dry properly.

As I step outside the sprinklers are dying off, must be frozen in the pipes and there is a slight crunch under my faithful old Docs telling me that the pitiful amount of water is icing up nicely on the industrial sized ceramic tiled floor. 

My phone rings. Now usually this is a part of everyday modern life, nothing to write home about I hear you say but since the snow started to fall it signal has been nothing at best and in all honesty I actually stand there for a moment trying to work out what the noise is.

Pulling it out of my pocket I see that Catia is calling. She I have time for.

“Alright love?”

“Actually no.” Catia sounds flustered, but more so than usual, she had to drop out of nursing due to squeamishness and bless her it really doesn’t take much to make her flap.

What does she mean no? Come on woman your English even in the event of a bomb dropping on your home you say can’t complain or muss’nt grumble or the false safe yeah fine, what about you then gently ease into what is really bothering you.

She continues without pausing for me to respond or even breathe.

“there’s a riot at the pub, a kid got stuck in the middle, I got hit so set off the sprinklers to try to calm them down can you get hold of that guy, tall, dark hair, always wears a suit…”

“Yeah, Joe, I can try.” 

Ok so I take back the bit about the turnip, seems that she just panicked and tried anything.

I go back into the flat, let Luna off her lead and while I am hanging up my coat and brolly I check the signal on my phone. One bar. I have to chance it, a lot of good things Catia is, her ability to keep a clear and level head is not one of them. I flick through my last call list and hit Joe’s number.

After what seems the longest five seconds of my life so far a broken ringing tone can be heard.

“Yep” Joe answers, always the conversationalist.

I have no idea how long I have until I loose signal so I try to keep it quick.

“Catia just rang; apparently there is a riot at the residents meeting.”

“Say again?” I can hear his confusion and to be fair I see his point, a few old ladies who usually come for a moan about the youth of today and all the free tea and biscuits they can eat rioting, it does seem a bit overkill.

“Riot at the residents meeting, Kid got stuck in the middle, Catia got hit…” I pause for effect, one of Joes rules is no women no kids so this should be sorted soon.

“Where?”

“Red Lion.”

I hear a click as he hangs up. Well that’s my job done; Catia is now in the care of one of the people I trust so me going down as cavalry won’t do any good. 

I flick the boiler on; with all the adventures we seem to be having I have missed a couple of showers. Having almost a floors worth of plants growing around me doesn’t mean that I have to smell like a gardener’s armpit.

As soon as I flick off the shower the phone rings again. Twice in twenty minutes, must be my lucky day.

Drying off as quick as I can I see Joe wants a word.

“Hiya.”

“All sorted. Bring shovels.” As I hear the click of him hanging up telling me that is all. I stand in the bathroom bring shovels, what the fuck has he done and why do I have to bring the disposal gear? I dig out some clean clothes out of my laundry bag and quickly look round the growing rooms believing I will find at least one shovel I damn know I don’t have and after grabbing a couple of trowels and the entire spoon section of my cutlery draw and stuffing them into a embroidered draw string rucksack that already has my emergency stash of papers, green and other rolling stuff I may not be a clairvoyant but I can see a lot more stress that I can deal with sober in the not so distant future. I check Luna is ok for food, water and comfort I drop the latch and pull the door shut behind me.

Bugger, bugger, buggeration. Ok the pitifully small amount of water spat out of the sprinkler system has now frozen. I believe I need say no more than Bambie on ice. Got the picture? Good, let’s move on then.

I pull out my phone to ring Catia when I walk into her. 

“Strange question, do you own a shovel?”

I can see the swelling and violent colours of a black eye appearing whether they meant to hit her or not they caught her a good one.

“Erm no.”

“Come on then I shall explain on the way.”

“Where are we going?”

“To the pub.” I call over my shoulder.

Queue duet of Bambi on Ice. No its ok I can wait a minute.

Stepping through the remains of the double doors of the Red Lion we meet an obliterated room of kayos.

There is not a complete piece of bar room furniture left in the place. Glass is everywhere, pool cues snapped into matchstick sized shards, bits of cushion litter the floor. Oh no not even stuffed not so funny mascot survived.

Ron the ever fateful landlord is pushing the debris around with a broom. He looks done in. The way he occasionally jabs at the pile with the broom but doesn’t actually move it any wear shows just how defeated he is.

Reg looks up, terrified. He seems to relax when he sees me and Catia and leans on his brush.

“Sorry ladies can’t serve you right at this moment.” He points to the rubbish with a haunted look that only a man watching his livelihood going down the swanny can achieve.

“No worries love, it’s Joe we came to see and I was a bar maid once.” I try to sound cheerful.

“Oh well just serve yourselves and leave the money on the, on the…” he sighs and carries on.

Over to one side, at the end of the bar is Joe. Standing in his once immaculate suit, his not so highly polished shoes and the forever faithful Dell boy sheep skin coat. In his hand is a lit cigar, the first one stubbed out in a lonely ashtray that amazingly survived. On the remains of the bar are an empty bottle of scotch and half a bottle of Bourbon with a glass tumbler two thirds full and a pint of dark beer. Joe’s idea of a relaxing drink. 

I ignore the large heavy set and above all unconscious man laid out near to Joes feet and as I move round to perch myself on the pool table I also fail to mention the bean pole like figure of another who obviously choose to fight the wrong man today.

“I have trowels and spoons.”

Joe looks at me with a distinct lack of patients over the glass of bourbon.

“We don’t own shovels.” I explain as I pull out my emergency rolling kit and begin to build. Catia and Joe have a conversation that I will be honest, was not listening too until I hear Joe say “we can steal the digger.”

“Do you fancy that” Catia says

“What?” hoping that I would get a bit more of an explanation.

“Fancy stealing a digger.” Well that was stupid of me wasn’t it?”

Fuck it why not “Well I don’t have anything else planned today.”

Sweet baby Jesus on roller skates it is cold. I am sure I mentioned in earlier musings that I thought the Arctic was trying to broaden its horizons, we I know now that it has succeeded.

After I really don’t know how long we almost hypodermic three break through the wall of snow and begin to walk westwards. 

I have no idea where our destination is so I follow Catia and Joe as the look as if they know where they are going. This cannot be the case however, after a few minutes we turn the corner and low and behold in front of us is the glamorous entrance of Spectro Vale. 

Catia is convinced that we got somehow lost in the snow, it is a fair point, visibility is practically zero. But Joe doesn’t seem to have the same unshakeable belief.

“Where’s that bus stop.” His voice is almost lost to the moan of the wind.

I shout out instructions and we trudge on.

Hahaha! Yes one to the stoner! We struggle through to the sign poking out just above the snow line into a void of snow.

“SEE, SEE TOLD YOU!” I couldn’t help doing a little happy dance but stopped when I met Joes stare.

He seemed thoughtful for a second then spoke.

“Stay here, it’s safe and warm. Stay here until I come back.”

He builds a ramp to get over the wall and aft about ten steps he disappears into the blizzard like Scott of the Antarctic.

After about ten minutes the sound of snow being crushed underfoot is heard and Joe reappears with a perplexed bordering on angry look on his face.

Getting back to the cold but snow free shelter of the block we seem to be steered there by Joe to flat number thirteen on the first floor. It is easy to get into as the door is still missing and inside is completely unchanged. Off white paint all flats start with, the oval mirror draped in a dust sheet the sparse furniture also covered, hold on; there is something different. It is the flat we walked into yesterday. All furniture is in the proper place, not moved around as we left it. It seems strange that the janitor feels the need to tidy up but leave the door. Maybe they didn’t have one spare, what with no deliveries getting in and all.

As I am pondering the future of self-re-arranging furniture Catia has pulled off the sheet covering the mirror. She stairs into it, trying to find her own refection.

Deciding it will not appear; no matter how hard she looks Catia replaces the dust sheet and mutters “How is it connected?”

“Dunno, the snows not normal though.”

“Where were you going?” Catia asks

“To the building site but came back to the flats then same thing happened at the bus stop. Like it was making me double back.”

Joe explains that although he was tracing his steps so’s as not to cross his own path he seems to have been looped back regardless and cannot leave the safety of the block or the bus stop. 

Ok so we seem to have some form of tampering only so far known in fairy tales so that the huntsman gets lost in his own forest for all time. Oh joy.

“Like a mirror reflection” Catia replies looking at the huge oval outline.

“Yeah.” Joe answers following her gaze.

This is getting far too scary for me so while they are having this conversation I wander into the bedroom to look for more mirrors.

There is a familiar theme to the decor. Bare room and a space where a bed should be. There is one piece of furniture not covered by a sheet. A dressing table. 

Possibly no need for it being on its own in a sentience but don’t forget that a very humble wardrobe contained a whole other world.

On the dressing table was a small old hand mirror. Its mottled surface noticeably dull compared to its much bigger brother in the other room.

I pick it up as if it is about to explode and very carefully peer into the glass.

Nope no white rabbit, just me.

I sigh and with a small amount of confidence I brush the surface with my thumb. No ripple. 

I walk out of the room with it still in my hand and look at Catia.

“Is that one?”

“No, normal, well my hand doesn’t disappear.” I say slightly manically

“Does it reflect?” She asks

“Yeah, look.” I reply holding it up to her.

I go over to the mirror and I cave to the strange compulsion to put up the hand mirror to the other to see infinity.

While we are trying this little experiment Joe is repeatedly picking up the mirror moving it several feet, pushing his hand through and beginning again.

Catia positions it to show Joe. As he puts his hand into the mercury surface he disappears from the hand held mirror. We look at Joe, half expecting him not to be there and watching the actual him pull out his hand he reappears in the looking glass.

“I say we smash it.” He says biting his thumb and indicating to the domineering oval.

“It wouldn’t smash” I reply.

“What about smashing the frame?” He replies.

“I want to put Miles in front of it.”

“What? Go into his house and hold it in front of him like Nosferatu?” 

Before I have time to reply to Joe he takes the mirror out of my hand and pushes it through the silvery doorway followed by his head.

“This doesn’t reflect in the mirror world, it goes black.” 

“How many mirrors are there?” Catia asks with a look of quiet desperation.

“That we know of, four ish.” Joe replies calmly.

“I want to put them into each other.” Catia whispers.

“Welcome to the end of the world.” Joe mutters.

The shrill sound of a ring tone cuts through the silence. Joe pulls out his phone and looks at the screen. He swipes over the answer key.

“Morning Brian”. Believe it or not it is only half past nine in the morning.

“A riot.”

“Err yeah, downstairs.”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah.”

“Mirrors. Hold on.”

With the phone still to his ear Joe sticks his head through the portal. Pulls his head back out and for a moment the cool, calm, murderous exterior slips. He looks extremely flustered.

“Morning.” Brian’s northern tone comes from behind us.

“Come in I’ve got a job for you.”

Brian looks us up and down. For saying it is still early we are all looking a little worse for wear.

“What’s been going on? 

“Tried to leave and came back on ourselves.”

Brian, with a slight look of confusion waits for an explanation that makes sense.

“Try walking to the bus stop.” I add.

“We tried to walk from the block to the building site across the road and ended walking back to the front doors. Then we tried to go from the bus stop to the building site and the same thing happened again.” Joe explains further.

“You’re pulling me leg!” Brian says raising his voice.

“Yeah Brian, its all fun and games.” Joe answers dripping with sarcasm.

I have had enough of this. Why would we be making all this shit up as the boys continue I grab my bag and start rolling?

Catia flops down onto the sofa. She sighs loudly; it appears that all this is getting too much for the poor girl.

I finish rolling something Bob Marley would be proud of, plonk myself next to Catia and offer her first dibs.

“Go back into the mirror; go up to Miles’s flat.” I hear Joe say to Brian. 

“Ooh, phone, take it with him.” I say exhaling while I speak. 

“No, doesn’t work, when I stuck my head through I got a well-spoken voice saying “what has risen may fall and what has fallen will rise again.” Oh so now I know why he looked shaken after pulling his head back out.

“What do you mean, like a PA?” I ask

“No, through the phone as in speaking to you.” Joe explains.

Brian makes some sort of Star Trek reference, I can’t really remember what it was, I am a Dr Who girl meself and steps through.

It took about fifteen minutes for Brian to go his work and as I was stubbing the nub out on the sole of my boot he re-appears.

“Well that’s a bit of a bugger.” He remarks.

“What did you find?” Joe asks.

“Miles room has been swopped over.”

“What?” Joe questions

“Well, you know I said before that in the reflection everything was like props on a set? All cardboard and no substance yeah? Well Miles flat wasn’t like that. It was all real, tins were proper tins and the sofa was well a sofa. And it was the shit tip that we left two nights ago, complete with blueprints. But all the writing was in reverse, like when you hold writing up to a mirror,” Brian pauses for us to speak, or take a breath, he was getting quite flustered over the next bit of information.

“I remembered what you said about your phone not working properly so I tried ringing you. But what I actually got was the sound of static and a faint voice saying:

“1…13…2…48…3…18…4…26…5…35…6…19…7…20…8…32…9…29…10…25…11…15…12…23…13…0…14…25…15…1”

“Go back and find a mirror. Take this, it will turn black.” instructs Joe, handing him the seemingly innocent hand mirror.

“Aint the strangest thing that’s happened.” Brian replies. As he reached out to take the mirror, it must have brushed over where he had been bitten because he began to poke at his hand.

“Doesn’t feel right.”

Catia, with her nurses’ instinct reaches out to Brian and pulls his hand towards her.

“Where the bloody thing bit me.” He continues looking at Joe.

“What bit you?” Catia asks in the calm, careful tone of nurses training.

“Yesterday, clockwork things.” I think Brian has possibly lost a small amount of his power of speech. I noticed that where two puncture wounds should have been but was now just a patch of dry flaky skin but I didn’t say anything, we had enough to worry about.

“Something creepy.” Catia shudders.

“Check your room too.” Joe orders.

“Sacrificial lamb here.” Brian replies before vanishing again.

Joe pulled out a map and began to cross reference the numbers. 1 13 corresponded with the flat we were currently standing in but as that was the only match it was put down to coincidence.

As we had nothing else to do until Brian came back we began to come up with ideas for the numbers. Some of the less elaborate were for how many were either in control or not on each floor. How many mirrors were on each floor? How many people were in the building?

While we were discussing the infinite number of possibilities a horrible feeling began to creep up on me. The kind of feeling that starts as a shock in your stomach and falls down your legs making you cold as it goes.

“Has anyone checked their own mirrors?” I hesitate, I am not totally sure I want to know the answer.

“I don’t have any.” Joe shrugs.

“I am just going home for a moment.” I say as I back out of the door.

As I turn the corner onto my floor I see a hooded figure at my door. I hang back for a moment; I think they may have come to get me.

The hood moves, indicating that the figure has just checked to see if anyone is around, then begins to knock frantically. Personally I don’t see the clockwork men knocking.

“Can I help you luv?” I step out of the shadow of the stair well I can see one of the local ASBO crew.

He pulls down his hood to reveal a sweating, pasty looking, shaking mess of a lad not too much younger than me. I sigh inwardly I really don’t like seeing a body beginning cold turkey; it just shows how sad people let their lives get.

“Yeah. Erm me mate said.” He can hardly get his words out he’s got the shakes so bad. He thrusts his hand into his pocket and pulls out a handful of notes. He would gladly give me everything he owns at this point for a fix.

“Look, can we go inside. I don’t really want to do this out here.” I am surprised, most would gladly swop cash in a police station the state he’s in. I am hesitant though, the last couple of days have made me question everything.

I look him up and down, if the clockwork men can do such a bang up job of copying this wreck then we’re all doomed, we just don’t know it yet.

“Come on in.” I unlock the door and walk in. Luna goes crazy at my return but she quickly goes to her bed after a bit of fuss.

The lad sits down but he can’t sit still. I pull out a shoe box from under the table and look for my medical strength, this lad needs calming down. I roll a blunt and offer it to him. He takes it great fully and after a few drags it seems to help a little. 

“What can you get?”

“Just weed luv.” I reply taking the smoke.

“Don’t you do owt harder?” He looks crestfallen.

“No I just do weed.”

“Look, please, can’t you ask someone. Because of the snow no one has anything. We are getting really desperate. Please.”

“There is someone I can try. Do ya want a brew?”

I go to the kitchen and check my phone. Well will wonders never cease? Still one bar but it keeps disappearing. Ah well you never know.

“Yeah.” I hear Joe say.

“Don’t suppose you have anything stronger than weed on you?” There is no point saying hi its Maggie to this man, he really doesn’t do phone calls and the last time I said it his reply was yeah I know, the display screen told me. I took the hint after that.

“Not much, few sample bags; why?” 

“I’ve got a lad here with the shakes so bad I think he would give anyone with a fix everything he owned right now.”

“I’ll take it.” Joe replies without skipping a beat, a business man to the end.

“Well knowing where you are I can’t really send him to you.”

“Find out his address and I’ll drop by later.”

“Ok cool, listen, he says there are a few of his mates looking around too, there is almost nothing left because of the snow.”

“Yeah, yeah I’ll sort it.” And Joe hangs up.

“What’s your flat number luv? The lad I just spoke to is a bit busy right now but he can come round later.” I shout through to the front room as I finish making the tea.

“Second floor flat eighty one.” He answers relief dripping off his words like syrup.

I grab my phone and quickly text the address to Joe. My memory is worse than a rusty sieve.

“Thank you, thanks. Nice one, thanks.” 

I look up and he is closing the door behind him, well the state he was in at least he said thank you before he left. I pause; I know I came here to do something. I look round Oh yeah, mirrors.

It doesn’t take me long to dig out all the mirrors I own I am not the kind of gall that when asked if she is ready shouts back I said I would be ready in five minutes, stop asking every half hour! And it’s not like you need one to wash your face or brush your teeth.

I fight to push the window open. Eventually after I managed to shift enough snow and ice to home a penguin from around the frame I have a gap large enough to throw through and waste no time in doing so. On the last mirror though I something horrible. As it spun end over end I saw a pair of eyes that were most defiantly not mine staring back at me. No I agree it is not as horrible as some of us have seen (Brian) but when that happens to someone when they are not expecting it, it can throw you off.

It was only a brief glimpse, but to be honest that was enough before it was lost to the fog. I heard the smash then quickly shut the window, just in case. That and I was rapidly losing heat.

I grab the medical strength off the table and role another blunt. It is a bloody good job I am harvesting soon; with all the drama of the last few days I am going to be smoking my profit soon.

Slightly unsteadily I go back down the first floor, fault thirteen; I am not staying on my own for the foreseeable future.

“Oh Fuck! Oh Fuck! Oh Fuck!” Is just about all I can manage about now.

As I explain what happened to Joe, Catia is checking around behind me through her mirror compact. An action which is defiantly not helping my mood right now.

“Was it your reflection?” Joe askes without a trace of humour. Second straw braking.

“Look, I may grow strong shit but apart from today I have never touched it. And that was not me.” I say quietly through gritted teeth.

“I hate this building!” Joe says throwing his arms out wide.

“I want to burn it down? Why don’t we burn it down? In fact fuck it! Let’s burn it down.” Joe’s crusty exterior slips slightly again as he has a conversation all on his own, then suddenly, as if he realised what was going on it was back up.

“It isn’t snowing outside.” He said to me. 

Ooookay it isn’t back up it has totally cracked.

“Yes it is I got a face full of it when I was generating around.” I pause and do some rough maths work with the aid of my fingers. “Twenty eight years bad luck.” Shit, really that much?

“No, I rang the boys up earlier and outside this building as in the streets around the area are all clear. It is not snowing.

“Yes it is.” I say slowly and carefully, as not to excite him.

“Yes, here it is but not everywhere else it is not.”

“Well why not? What with everything else happing around here.” I concede. 

“Now I don’t know what usually happens, I’m not a Sy fi fan.”

Ah ha just my field.

“Well what usually happens is Dr Who turns up and saves the day.” I answer confidently.

“I don’t know who the hell you’re talking about but he had better hurry the fuck up.”

As we study the mirror again, willing it to show us something we hear a cough behind us.

Brian is in the doorway.

“Not disturbing you am I? Have I been through some shit today?”

“Really?” I ask a little manically.

“Really, really.” Brian answers mockingly.

I open my mouth to rip him a new one when he pulls aside his coat to reveal a mass of blood and bandages.

I shut my mouth again.

“You have, he has. Maybe it will make sense if we…”

I shush Joe into silence, a risky manoeuvre I know but it is worth it.

Sqeeek, sqeeek. Slurp splat.

Shit it’s the only understands English when it suits him cleaner.

Without a word we all come to the conclusion to leave the flat in the opposite direction, handily which is towards the Red Lion.

Which now sadly looks like a bad day in Bosnia, Sat at the end of the bar is Reg. Very drunk with a shot glass and an almost empty bottle.

Reg slides the bottle over to us and after fishing out some un-unbroken glasses and join him in a drink to mourn the passing of his livelihood 

“What a day.” Reg says to himself. He pours another drink for the group and in silence we drink our drinks.

Brian chooses this to be the perfect time to show is what he saw in mirror world.

Brian shows us all the picture of inside his flat, his own apartment; it seems, like almost every other reflection version of a place that I have heard him describe, as an imperfect reflection of his apartment. Brian explains he is about to leave when he hears a low snoring sound emanating from his room. Warily venturing in the sound appears to be coming from a pile of covers on the mirror-version of his bed, he pulled them back carefully he exposed a hessian sack made into a horrific likeness of a head with two large round button eyes and thick black stitching making a straight line for a mouth, the snoring appears to be coming from inside the sack and it looked like the scarecrow figure is wearing Brian’s pajamas. Drawing back in horror, he caught the the covers with his foot exposing the arm of the scarecrow, he nnoticed with terror, there was fear in his voice. That there is a small patch of perfect human skin on the right hand of the creature, corresponding with the number patch on his own hand.

There was the same scarecrow copy of Brartek sitting in Barteks flat which was disturbing enough but the video clip of the thing moving only its head when he says his name backwards was worse. 

After he had managed to jimmie the door open and walk inside, he can just make out a barely visible figure sits with its back to him in Bartek’s high backed chair, as he circles round the chair warily he saw another scarecrow like figure, this one clad in the same charcoal grey suit that he last saw Bartek wearing; he attemps to talk to the figure but got no response until he tried speaking backwards. The head begins to move on the screen, following him around the room, soulless black button eyes staring blankly at him. Even though Brian is not in the picture it is easy to hear him trying to breathe slowly clearly uunnerved by it. He writes ‘who are you and what do you want?’ backwards on a piece of paper and tthrew it onto the lap of the scarecrow; it reachedd up slowly with its other arm to retrieve the note. There is a sharp intake of breath and the picture zooms on to its right arm. It is almost entirely human. Again Brian attempts to speak to it backwards saying “Who are you and what is this place?”

The screen goes blank.

“At this point my phone rings. When I answer it over the crackling staticy noise he hears a voice that sounds like Barteks but only speaking backwards. He says wwhat are you doing in my home? I thought that you would have bought you friends again. Realizing that I am speaking to the scarecrow and that it seems to have Bartek’s memories. I drag the downward facing mirror that was being used a table in the apartment upright and points it at the scarecrow, when he looks into it he sees the real world apartment and the real Bartek sat on his chair, he looks pale and very unwell, he is rubbing his right arm with a pain expression on his face. Which was a bloody shock; I say a bloody shock I can tell you. I then step into the large mirror, and emerges under the table in Barteks apartment, when I crawl out and attempts to speak to Bartek, the old man fires an antique pistol from beneath his blanket, hitting me square in the shoulder, the old gangster then shouts at me Which one are you? I’m the real one I reply, showing the blood from the hole in his shoulder, this seems to mollify Bartek somewhat who then directs me to some appropriate tools to remove the bullet and cauterize the wound, clean meself up like, in his bathroom cabinet. When I returns, having cleaned meself up, Bartek (after some small prompting) explains that he originally used to live on the tenth floor of the building, but after he noticed some strange goings on and that they seemed to focus around the thirteenth floor he bribed his way into possession of his current apartment; it was when he moved in he found the mirror and realized that it was potentially a gate to somewhere else, unwilling to go through but not wanting to dispose of it unless someone else was tempted by it Bartek pointed it at the floor and disguised it as a simple table. Bartek asks me whether he has seen the original blueprints of the Specto Vale block and, when I look at him blankly, he explains that there was no thirteenth floor listed on the original blueprints but there is one on the revised blueprints made available to the public; he also mentions to me that no-one in the flat seems to remember exactly when the storm began or how long they’ve been trapped here, most people don’t seem to want to know. Well you can imagine my surprise when I can’t remember the exact dates or times either; I then attempts to show Bartek some photos on his phone but Bartek tells me not to use a phone saying that people in the block only get a single when ‘they’ want to listen in on us. 

Brian shakily tries to explain to Bartek about the scarecrows and that he believes both himself and Bartek are having their life drained away into their duplicates, as represented by the slowly spreading numbness in his hand and Bartek’s useless right arm. When I wait for him to reply I realise that Bartek has not moved or said anything for several minutes, I leans over to check his pulse and I finds that the old man has died quietly. He took a deep breath and drank from the glass in front of him. Then he dipped into his pocket and dropped the bullet onto the wooden surface with a final thump.  

Brian, if you do ever read my diary then I am truly sorry. I was as high as a Hindu cow and obviously did not know what I was saying.

I am not one to blame the weed for people’s reactions. Usually I would say that whatever was said or done while high was what needed to be said or done anyway. However I may have to re label this particular stem of medical strength marijuana as I have absolutely no idea why I said what I said next.

“Well did you have someone elses reflection staring at you through your own mirror in your own home?”

Clearly Brian took a dim view on my attitude and we spent the next ten minutes arguing about how I could have been hallucinating and him not taking me seriously.

“Enough!” Joe shouts in his dad voice. We stop dead and Brian turns to Reg as if nothing has happened.

“When did it start snowing?”

“What?” Reg slurs.

“When did it start snowing lad?”

“I dunno.”

“Oh c’mon Reg, you must know.”

“I dunno why?” 

“Well Reg, you have to keep the bar and cellar stocked. It must be running low as no deliveries can come in.”

“We’re pretty well stocked. Ha well we were.” Reg 

“So if it’s pretty well stocked, as you say then you should have had a delivery quiet recently. So Reg, when did it start snowing?”

“Look I don’t see how this is going to help get my pub back to the way it was.” Reg starts getting very irritated about this line of questioning. Just like Brian said.

He storms off and possibly raids his personal stash of black label Vodka as he comes back with a full one in one hand and as he walks past the row of pint glasses he plucks one out and in one swift movement has filled it up four fingers from the rim. Skilfully done. As I am not much of a spirit drinker I feel it is time to roll another.

Brian is saying something about not wanting to go back to his flat, I don’t blood blame him. 

“I’d rather sleep in the cab and freeze to death than go back there tonight.” He says to Joe.

“Crash on my sofa and shut up.” I reply licking the paper and running my finger over it. 

He looks at his spaz hands as he called them and carried on the conversation with Joe.

I now give up.

However Joe does not.

“…there are none in her flat; she just chucked them all out the window. Brian that is not a good idea”

“I plan to take out my sack” I cannot help but to snigger slightly at this innocent remark “What was your plan to save my life?” Brian askes.

“Cut your arm off.” Joe says. Did I mention his people skills are epic?

I look to Catia f or a bit of female solidarity but the whole day plus a couple more smokes she is used to had all become too much for her because she is fast asleep curled up on the pool table. Letting the conversation roll over me my brain tries to grab my attention. What I have been hearing is a hissing sound coming from the speakers rigged up on the wall. Proper huge tatty 80’s jobs that probably fell off the back of the lorry but from the state of them weren’t caught in time.

“Reg?” 

“Yeah?”

“Are those speakers on?”

“Yeah, their plugged in but the mic’s off behind the bar.”

“Boys? The speakers just started hissing.”

“I am off to my bed” Brian announces, casually. 

He then writes down on his note pad Bartek said that the more you notice them, the more they notice you.

“Well I aint going with you.” Joe answers nodding his head. “Let’s have a chat outside.”

Joe picks up sleeping beauty and slings her over his shoulder. 

“Take her back to my flat for now.”

“Then I am going to smash the mirror” He calls over Catia.

Suddenly all four of our mobiles. Unknown number is flashing on the screens.

Joe sends it to answer phone while I and Brian press the answer button.

I try to ignore the feeling that I am about be sucked into the phone line.

Dungeon World tester game Session Write-up

In the basement of a grocers in the city of Trademeet, Rundrig warily circled his opponent, the burly shaven headed man grinned as he stared back at him, from around came the cheers of the spectators; Jack smiled as he moved through the crowd, none of them knew his friend the dwarf fighter and so the odds on him has been long, if Rundrig won (and the poison that Jack had slipped the other combatant said his chances were good) then the young thief would clean up, minus his partners percentage of course, not that Rundrig knew anything about the poison, dwarven honour and all that.
Across town Xeno and Priscilla were exploring the bizarres and markets, accompanied by Sistranalle the elven bard who stared with delighted eyes at the bustle and general hubbub around him, whilst to the wizard Xeno this place represented a potential gold mine of arcane ingredients and ritual foci that he could use; his associate Jack had sloped off somewhere with the dwarf Rudrig, no doubt off to another prize fight, and so it looked as though he would have to resort to actually purchasing something for once. The sound of commotion drew them to where a bedraggled looking human figure was emptying various bric-a-brac out of a torn rucksack and attempting to sell it to passersby; Xeno was about to move on when, amidst the rubbish, he spotted a small pyramid like sculpture forged of blue/purple metal and inscribed with strange runes. Immediately recognising the script of his homeland and the arcane metal found thereon (although the language appeared to be in some kind of code), but trying to conceal his eagerness, Xeno offered the rough looking trader two healing potions for the sculpture; unfortunately something about the look in his eyes betrayed him and the shrewd seller claimed that it had been given to him as a gift and he could not think of selling it for such a paltry price.
Priscilla pointed out that the sellers story about receiving it as a gift contradicted what he had been telling another person as they had approached; backed up by her threats, and Xenos offer of a third potion, the old man agreed to sell it and passed it into the waiting arms of the human wizard. A few short streets away Durga, priest of the Dwarf Father had been attempting to preach his creed of honour and glory in battle to any who would listen, unfortunately this was a city of traders and merchants, not of glorious warriors although he did manage to attract a small gathering; as Xeno and Priscilla headed to a nearby tavern ‘The Cockatrice in Cider’, Sistranalle said that he would go and meet Rudrig. Spotting Sistranalle as he left the others, he finished his speech and ran to join them.
Arriving outside the grocers where Rudrig and Jack had told them to meet, Sistranalles elven hearing picked up the sounds of cheering and celebration from somewhere below the shop; walking in they were met by a kindly old woman called Doris who chatted merrily to them about her shop having the finest turnips in the Known World. Distracting the old woman by saying that his companion would like to try her famous turnip gumbo, Sistranalle located a hidden trapdoor down to a cellar and slipped down the stairway; charmed by Durga calling her a young woman, Doris mentioned that she was sure a strong, strapped dwarf like him could make a good living in the city, and asked if he’d ever considered fighting for money? Feigning interest, Durga allowed the woman to lead him down the trapdoor where he was in time to witness Rudrig deliver the finishing blow to his slightly dazed opponent as Jack rubbed his hands in glee and collected his prize money.
Doris escorted Durga over to an armoured human with a stern face who introduced himself as Captain Morgan of the Trademeet city guard and said that he’d willingly introduce Durga to some of his contacts if that was his wish; the Captain had been impressed by the fortitude of the dwarf Rudrig and, as he talked, it became obvious that the city guard were well aware of these “underground” fighting areas and actively encouraged it because it made it far easier for them to monitor and control violence in the city by giving it an outlet. Clapping his hands on the shoulders of his fellows Rudrig said that they should probably get going, after all Jack had volunteered to buy them all a drink from his winnings.
Pushing open the door of the ‘Cockatrice in Cider’ they were greeted by the sight of Priscilla gleefully challenging all and sundry to unarmed combat and arm wrestling for drinks (although the list of potential challengers was becoming shorter with every victory), Xeno was sat in a shaded alcove as he studied intently the sculpture that he had purchased; he could sense some sort of energy emanating from it and occasionally the writing seemed to glint with a warm golden sheen, but he could only make out the word dragon of the writing. Jack ordered some drinks and was soon scoping out a patron who seemed far too well dressed for such a low-class establishment, Rudrig is accompanied by Gregor, one of the others fighters, and the two of them commence getting extremely drunk.
Jack is about to follow his mark outside when suddenly there is a scream from outside, the door flies open and the man staggers inside on fire, falling to the floor; outside panicked crowds of people are running in a huge mob away from a large shadow that falls across the city, peering over Jack’s shoulder Sistranalle looks up and sees the shadow of a huge beast flying over the city, fire gouting from its lizard-like face. Shuddering the elf recognises one of the legendary fire-drakes from the ancient myths of his people, creatures who were deemed little more than fables even in the younger days of his people, long before they left to the west. Shrugging off his drunken haze Rudrig grasps his ancestral weapon and dashes up the stairs to the second floor of the building whilst Durga and Priscilla join Jack and Sistranalle at the door; the barbarian woman shoves the elven bard out of the way as a blast of white hot fire engulfs her, leaping into the air as her hair, flesh and clothes catch fire the warrior woman swings her weapon at the snarling beast.
Realising that the appearance of this beast cannot be coincidental, Xeno realises that he needs an opposing energy or a blood sacrifice to cancel out the energy beacon that his sculpture is broadcasting; refusing to fall back on the bloody religion of his people he eventually is joined by Sistranelle who channels tendrils of icey magic into the mage, who then sheds his own blood, falling as frozen crimson crystals onto the sculpture.
Outside the beast roars as Rudrig leaps from the second floor onto its back and sinks his axe into its flesh, gasping as the creature burning blood sears his skin, the dwarf fighter none-the-less holds on as it tries to shake him off and scrape him against nearby buildings. Xeno continues to shed his frozen blood over the sculpture and gradually the energy emanating from it stutters, slows and stops; with a bewildered roar the fire-drake suddenly loses interest in its rampage of destruction and with great beats of its wings begins to head westwards, Rudrig manages to leap from its back onto a nearby building before it soars too high and is lost in the clouds. Jack meanwhile has been tending to the delirious burned man and attempting to con the man out of his life savings into the bargain.
Days later the adventurers are rewarded for their saving of the city and many local buildings by the Master of the Brewers Guild, Marlow Tombé and each of them is gifted with 100 coins in recognition of their valiant defence of both the city and its citizens, but some questions remain unanswered, how did the sculpture get to the known world? Who was the strange merchant? And more unsettlingly, over the next couple of days, rumours begin to filter in from the dwarves of the western mountains that other drakes have been sighted, if this true what is bringing these creatures to the Known World? 

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 16: Falling Stars

Deacon Kiril leads Admiral Black and his party up to a large stone building in the centre of the Clan Drod settlement, two burly barbaric looking guards clad in furs standing blocking progress to this building, each has an archaic sawn-off shotgun hanging from his belt and numerous broken bits of circuitry and technology hanging from metal thonging around the blade of their spears. In the hall an extremely tall and muscular blonde hair man with pronounced canines sits in the long hall on a wooden and hide throne at the head of a lengthy wooden table, shrunken heads of defated foes and beasts hanging from the throne; Deacon Kiril introduced Admiral Black and his party to Baldur the Chief of Clan Drod.
“We are here on Imperial business and they are not yet Imperial citizens, they may be hostile to our empire.” – Lord Admiral Fortunus Black
The hugely statuesque chieftain stands up and greets Admiral Black in the manner of his people, offering out a huge joint of mammoth meat to the Lord Admiral; thinking that this must be some form of primitive breaking of bread ritual, Admiral Black takes a bite of the meat and hands it back, smiling the chieftain takes a bit himself and puts the meat back on the table seemingly satisfied. In fairly good Imperial Gothic the chieftain asks them to sit down and speak with him, although they are forced to bring an extra seat in to accomodate the massive bulk of Navigator York Benetec. Lord Admiral Black explains that he wishes to set up trade negotiations with Chief Baldur’s people, Baldur appears interested and says that he has great need of weapons to defend his people; as a demonstration of what they can provide Navigator Benetec demonstrates his hellgun, punching a hole through a haunch of meat, the tissue around the hole sizzled and cooking, following this Oberlieutenant Borsch fires his bolt pistol at a rock, it bucks wildly, a huge shell casing ejected over his shoulder as the rock explodes into fragments. As a final show force York Benetec pulls out Cornelius’ thunder hammer and, charging it, he smashes it down onto one of the remaining slabs of meat, it explodes with a roar of thunder that also shatters the table.
The clansmen seem incredibly impressed with the violent power of the thunder hammer and Chief Baldur asks whether Admiral Black can acquire more of the thunder hammers and what he would want in return; Fortunus explains that he wishes to trade for minerals in the area and workers/thralls to serve on Imperial vessels. Baldur seems amenable to this idea, saying that he needs such weapons to defend himself against a possibly aggressive alliance of the other clans that have rallied under a religious figure that has risen over the past couple of years. At this point York Benetec closes his eyes as he feels a psychic astropathic message incoming, he sees twin symbols, the eight point star of chaos or the warp and a skull symbol for danger; Benetec leans in close to the Admiral and informs him what he has seen.
Admiral Black apologises but says that they must leave, Baldur expresses his regret but as they leave Enginseer Pak performs a mental scan for tech in the are and picks up a small malfunctioning machine spirit from inside a hide bag hanging from the throne.
“When you return I may have something for your man of iron to look at.” – Chief Baldur of Clan Drod
Using a long-range vox link they summon their gun cutter to their location and climb aboard; they also contact the second gun cutter (the one that originally bought Borsch and Pak to the planet) telling it’s pilot to pick up their Rhino APC and return to the Venerus. Joergan Borsch takes the helm and they lift off into the lower atmosphere; suddenly Borsch shouts out that he has picked up two fighter craft entering the atmosphere from space, they are approaching the settlement on attack vector. Enginseer Pak conducts a brief scan and identifies the fighters as machines of an ancient Imperial design; realising that the settlement is undefended against such a attack Borsch flies past them and then cuts the engines briefly, using the gravity of the planet to slingshot the gun cutter back towards the fighters, his guns bark and one of the enemy vessels explodes in a fireball, the guncutter flying through the rain of debris. Immediately Enginseer Pak begins broadcasting a jamming signal to prevent the remaining fighter summoning help, however the enemy returns fire and hits one of their thrusters, looking at his display Borsch realises that they are losing altitude and have no chance of getting back to the Venerus with that amount of damage.
As the enemy vessel swings around for another pass, Borsch cuts all power to the engines, causing them to drop several feet and the bolts from the attacking fighter to sail harmlessly over them; shouting for Pak to restore the power he strafes the underbelly of the fighter and, although he does not do enough damage to cripple it, the enemy obviously thinks better of continuing it’s attack and flees back into the upper atmosphere where the damaged gun cutter cannot follow. Admiral Black briefly considers having Benetec send a psychic message to the Venerus to tell them to deal with the fighter and protect the planet but instead decides to have Pak use his in-built vox array to contact the secondary gun cutter and order it to take a message to the Venerus.
“I’m a navigator, not an astropath.” – Navigator York Benetec
Pak transmits the message that the planet is under attack and that the Venerus should establish a protective orbit and intercept the enemy fighter if possible; at this point Benetec winces in pain as he receives a second astropathic signal, two images, the symbol for chaos and the symbol for a warship, gritting his teeth in pain he explains that the chaos vessel they fought previously may have arrived in the system.
Trailing smoke from their damaged thrusted, Borsch has no choice but to land back on the planet and, leaving Pak to repair the damage, Benetec and Borsch head back to the settlement, whilst Lord Admiral black determines to visit Deacon Kiril; before they leave Oberlieutenant Borsch, seeking to fortify himself against the trials ahead grabs a bottle of surgical spirit from the gun cutters emergency medical kit. Arriving at Deacon Kiril’s hut, Admiral Black finds the old priest tutoring some of the native children in the holy Imperial psalms and stories; asking for a private word with the old priest, Black requests that he reveals all he knows about chaos. Kiril tells the Admiral that he has been trained by the Ecclesiarchy to resist the lying promises of the Ruinous Powers but that he is concerned two of the most barbaric clans, Blod and Klok, may have given themselves into heathen patron deities that may be nothing more than a guise for the gods of chaos. He also mentions that Clan Klok are a Sjomann/Navigator clan and that he has heard rumours they have a ship hidden by magic around something called the Eye of Byggmeister near the systems sun.
At the hall of Baldur, Borsch strides into the hall like he owns the place, only to find that he has interrupted a private meeting between Baldur and his generals, one of whom takes exception to this familiarity and smacks Borsch around the side of the head; it seems as though blood is about to be shed when Baldur stands and, with a forceful tone in his voice says simply “Enough.” His voice brooks no arguement and the warrior sits back down as Baldur apologises to Joergan Borsch; Benetec explains about recent events and says that he has heard the Drod clan maintain some sacred writings from their ancestors that lead to them rejecting the new-Sky Warrior. Nodding Baldur rummages in the bag hanging from his throne and produces a metallic cube that he places on the table, he calls it a speaking stone and says that it used to tell many tales of the Sky Warrior but that over the years it has fallen more quieter; running his hands over the box and murmuring a prayer in his native tongue the box hums for a couple of moments and then a flickering green fanged figure clan in the armour of the Adeptus Astartes appears in miniature above the box, projected from an apperture that opens in the top of it.
“…not survive my wounds, I will soon perish, but the thralls of my ship may yet live on this planet that I have bought them to for it is capable of bearing life. It is my wish that the blessed technology on my vessel not fall into enemy hands, I will set course for the sun of this system and it will become my tomb. It is my hope someone will find this and bring my people back to the Imperium. In the Emperor’s name!” – Unnamed Space Wolf Commander
York Benetec says that Admiral Black has come to return the chieftains people to the light of the Emperor as the Sky Warrior prophesised, he even says that their other ship has a Sjomann who has dealings with the brotherhood of the Sky Warrior and that they would be happy to see their lost kin returned.
Chief Baldur explains that his tribe have been approached by a person with a similar aspect to the Sky Warrior seeking their allegiance to the Sky Warrior Returned, however, where the ancient writings said that a serenity and peacefulness were felt in the presence of one born to fight for justice, Baldur felt only rage and darkness in the presence of this emissary. Attempting to stall (knowing that the Sky Warrior Returned had already rallied several of the other clans and that his own could not stand against them) Baldur asked for time to consider the request, as he speaks to Benetec, he has half a year remaining before he has to give his decision, although he has no plan to join this new Sky Warrior’s alliance. 
“You seem nearer in aspect to the Sky Warrior of old than this new false prophet” – Navigator York Benetec
“You do me much honour Sjomann” – Baldur, Chief of the Drod Clan
Benetec tells Baldur that he believes this false prophet is called Lorgar, a twisted corruption of the true Sky Warrior’s ideals, and that they have encountered him previously. Chief Baldur explains that they have been expecting attack for a while and that he has been moving the women and young to caves in the mountains whilst his warriors have been making preparations to fight a last stand; the remaining clanships of Clan Drod have been pulled back and hide in the atmosphere of the nearby gas giant, Baldur tells them that his clan see this world as a sacred place because the Sky Warrior bought them here before they split into clans.
“And if it be our fate to fight and die here, then we will not flee from it, we will fight and we will die, making such a tale that our glory will live on forever.” – Baldur, Chief of the Drod Clan
Admiral Black arrives at this point and catched the end of the conversation; Baldur says that he will understand if they do not wish to get involved, it is not their fight and they if they leave now seeking to avoid being perceived, he will understand and not think less of them; Admiral Black shrugs this off and says that they will stay and make their stand with the clansmen. At this point Admiral Blacks personal vox unit beeps and, through it, Pak tells him that the gun cutter is repaired but that the repair is only temporary, he can’t say how long it will last if the cutter runs into trouble; the Admiral thanks him and tells him to join them at the chieftains hut.
Baldur tells the group that one of his scouts reported seeing a fire in the sky and something falling from it, Borsch thinks from the description, that the fire may have been the exploding fighter that he shot down; Pak arrives at this point and says that if he can salvage parts from the fighter it may help improve his repairs on the gun cutter. The chief of the Drod clan leads them outside and shows that his men are preparing some strange two-legged saurian riding beasts to go and investigate the fallen item, he invites his new friends to join him and Admiral Black accepts despite Benetec looking entirely unthrilled about riding such a beast.
As they leave Admiral Black asks if Baldur has any Sjomann on the planet that he could speak to and the chief tells him that there is a Sjomann, Shulfar of Clan Krieg in the settlement and he will arrange and introduction on their return. The party (accompanying by Baldur and several of his warriors) begin to head through the valleys of the planet, the riding beasts taking strange springing steps; as they travel Benetec and the Admiral fall back to talk more privately, although the Admiral sees a grand opportunity for trade, York tells him that the opportunity is far greater, if they help deal with the chaos threat can potentially bring those clans not truly lost back into the light of the Emperor and that the Space Wolves would surely be grateful to the House of Black for the return of their lost people.
They emerge from the treeline on the lip of a huge crater, the sides of it being studded with twisted fragments of metal debris from the shattered fighter craft; locating a tree that had collapsed into the crater Pak begins picking his way down, followed by the others, leaving a couple of warriors with the riding beasts. Focussing the power of his third eye, York Benetec was able to perceive to his psychic vision a set of glowing footprints heading from the centre of the impact where he could see a monstrously large human shape outline, to the far edge of the crater, climbing up and heading into the tree line beyond.
“What on earth could have survived a fall like this?” – Lord Admiral Black
Piercing through the illusion of time, he witnessed a phantom of a power armoured huge figure with long black hair, black souless eyes and fangs climbing out of the crater, it removes a cracked Astartes helmet and, in frustration throws it to the far side of the crater where it sinks into the muck. Scrambling over to the spot in the present day Benetec digs out the Astartes helmet and finds that it looks like a snarling, cracked demonic visage; he tells Chief Baldur that this is the helmet of one of the false prophets.
“It may have been a helmet but it’s now my personal piss-pot” – Lord Admiral Black
Climbing up the far eye of the crater, against the rising moon and treeline Borsch sees a huge silhouetted figure, it turns red glowing eyes towards him and roars.

God Machine Chronicle – Man in the Mirror

Catia is sat in the Red Lion, a rough looking pub built in the lobby of the apartment block, although it’s not been trading much recently given that fresh deliveries have been entirely cut off by the snowstorm, the manager Redge has a long standing arrangement that he allows the Resident’s Association to use his backroom for meetings; normally the meetings consist of a few busy-bodies who meet up, rattle on for a few minutes and drink the odd shandy or lager, not today though, today the meeting is full of riles up residents who have been trapped in the apartment block together since the beginning of the storm, food is starting to run low and tempers are running high. Despite repeated calls for calm from the few cooler heads in the room (including Catia herself) and chance collision between a youth and a polish gentleman turns first into a shoving match and then into a full scale brawl with parties on both sides wading in, the English blaming the new wave of immigrants for stealing their friends houses, and the immigrants complaining at how they are being treated like dirt and spat upon; during the chaos Catia attempts to duck through the crowd and get clear, she pauses to snatch up a bewildered child on her way out, getting bumped and jostled in the progress, and delivers the young boy safely to his worried mother before advising the woman to take her son back to her own appartment and stay there. Thinking that some sort of distraction might stop the fighting Catia presses the emergency fire alarm, remembering too late that it will also set off the sprinklers in the corridors, they spray a brief gout of water onto the floors of the corridors throughout the building before the frozen pipes seize up and the water flow stops.
In her own room Maggie wakes up from an uneasy sleep to sound of a fire alarm ringing, she looks out the spyhole on her door and notices the slick wet floor of the corridor that has already started to freeze in the cold temperatures, before she can do anything more her mobile phone rings, it’s Catia who tells her what’s going on with riot and asks whether she’d be able to get Joe to help calm it down; Maggie says that she’ll see what she can do, rings Joe and tells him what’s going on in the Red Lion. Wasting no time Joe storms down to the pub where he finds the riot in full swing, spilling out of the pub into the foyer of the building, pushing his way through the crowd, staring down anyone who dares challenge him, Joe finds Redge crouched behind the bar; grabbed a pool cue he smashes it across the chest of the first person who gets too close to him and sends the man crashing to the floor, as a youth spins around with a flick knife Joe picks up a second pool cue and breaks it around the youths head, causing him to crumple in an unconscious heap. As a moments hush falls over the room and the riot pauses momentarily Joe says simply “Enough. Go home.”
Seeing the known to be ruthless criminal standing there holding half a bloody pool cue with two broken bodies lying at his feet the riots think discretion is the better part of valor and begin to disperse, although it is clear from the angry looks being exchanged that the matter is not over, it has just been paused momentarily, the main storm of protest is still to break. Joe checks his phone and is surprised to see that for the first time since the storm started he has a single bar of signal on his phone; ringing one of his boys he receives a garbled response before hanging up:
“Jo…ere ou…een…oads are…in…kay?”
Joe phones Maggie and asks her to bring Catia and meet him in the Red Lion and to bring a shovel, Maggie is only able to locate a small shovel that she uses for potting on her plants but she meets up with Catia and heads down to the pub, by the time they arrive Joe is drinking at the bar with Redge; initially the barman/owner looks a little worried that the rioters might have returned but he relaxes when he sees the two women and goes back to sweeping up the splintered furniture and smashed glass that the rioters have left in their wake. As Joe explains what has happened and that he thinks they should get out of the building (although he has not been able to get in touch with Brian yet), Catia recalls seeing a JCB on a building site to the west of the Specto Vale block just before the storm really kicked in, she suggests that they head to the site, take the digger and use it to make a break through the snowstorm. The three of them dig their way out of the front door of the tower block (which is now massively snowed in) and begin walking to the west, however, after a few minutes they find themselves approaching the Specto Vale entrance again; Catia thinks they must have got turned around since visibility is practically zero, Joe is not so sure though. Deciding to head to the bus stop they arrive and find that there is a still an area around it not touched by the snow, as Maggie described to them previously, Joe tells the girls to stay in the shelter and keep safe whilst he heads of to the building site; however, sure enough, a few minutes after he has left Joe finds himself heading back towards the bus stop, certain that something unusual is going he suggest that they return to the block.
Once they get back inside Joe directs them to the unoccupied flat 113 that they visited previously, the door still hangs in tatters where Joe kicked it off its hinges and the oval mirror is still inside; once the dust sheet is removed from the mirror Catia can see that the room is reflected in it but that they aren’t. Exploring the apartment Maggie finds a small hand mirror abandoned on a dresser in the bedroom, she takes it with her and hands it over to Joe who, acting on a hunch, puts his hand through the liquid-like surface of the large mirror whilst Maggie and Catia look at his reflection in the little mirror, they are surprised to see that his reflection in the little mirror disappears the moment his hand breaches the surface of the large mirror, and re-appears when he withdraws it. Taking the small mirror Joe plunges his head and arm through the surface of the large mirror, on the other side he sees the strange reflection realm, but the surface of the small mirror has turned black and non-reflective, although it returns to normal when he emerges from the large mirror back into our world.
Meanwhile Brian has woken up in his apartment, the sound of the fire bells having roused him from a nightmare about cogs, whirring gears and a strange ticking noise, looking outside his door he sees a frozen skin of water coating the floor of the corridor, confusing he picks up his phone and punches in Joe’s number; Joe explains to him about the riot and, on impulse, puts his phone holding hand and head through the large mirror whilst talking to Brian. Immediately Brian’s voice is replace by a crackling of static and just below it, a business-like voice repeats the phrase “What has risen may fall, what has fallen may rise again.”
As he heads down to meet the rest of them Brian notices that the wounds on his hand appear to have disappeared but there is a small patch of skin near his thumb where he appears to have lost all feeling and sensation.
Having trouble dealing with the concept of these strange mirrors and feeling beaten up after her experiences of the riot Catia flops down in a chair, a shocked look on her face, trying to be comforting Maggie pats her on the back and passes a large joint across to her, whilst this is going Joe has emerged from the large mirror just as Brian meets them in the flat. Joe suggest to Brian that he enter the mirror-verse and go to Mile’s room, nodding Brian enters the large mirror and makes his way through the twisted reflection version of Specto Vale to Miles room where he finds not the tidied up sanitary version of the room from their last visit but the messy, cluttered survivalists hidey hole of their first visit, however everything in there feels real and solid, not like the flimsy fake furniture and items in the rest of the mirror world, he pockets the blueprints he finds on the walls there and, thinking about what Joe has told him about phones in the mirror-verse attempts to make a call on his mobile. He is rewarded with the sound of static and a faint voice saying:
“1…13…2…48…3…18…4…26…5…35…6…19…7…20…8…32…9…29…10…25…11…15…12…23…13…0…14…25…15…1”
Unable to make sense of the number sequence Brian hangs up and heads to his own apartment; it seems (like almost every other reflection version of a place) as an imperfect reflection of his apartment and he is about to leave when he hears a low snoring sound emanating from his room. Warily venturing in the sound appears to be coming from a pile of covers on the mirror-version of his bed, gingerly pulling them back he exposes a hessian sack made into a horrific likeness of a head with two large round button eyes and thick black stitching making a straight line for a mouth, the snoring appears to be coming from inside the sack and it would appear the scarecrow like figure is wearing Brian’s pajamas. Drawing back in horror, Brian knocks the covers exposing the arm of the scarecrow, he notices with terror that there is a small patch of perfect human skin on the right hand of the creature, corresponding with the number patch on his own hand.
In our world Maggie has returned to her own flat, she is determined to throw all of her mirrors away but is distracted by the appearance of a jittery youth who is obviously some sort of addict experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, he claims to be from one of the second floor flats and says that there aren’t any drugs coming in and that things are going to start getting ugly if people don’t get their fix, he’s heard that perhaps Maggie could hook him up. Maggie only carries weed and so she rings Joe who has a few small samples of harder stuff and agrees to sell the guy some if Maggie gets his apartment number; satisfied the grateful addict leaves and Maggie begins to systematically hurl all of her mirrors out of her apartment window where they shatter on the snowy floor below, however as she throws the last one Maggie swears that she sees eyes not her own staring back at her and then the mirror tumbles into the whiteness and crashes to the ground below.
Brian has traveled through the mirror-block of flats to the reflection of Bartek Prusee’s flat on the 13th floor, he jimmies the door open and walks inside, a barely visible figure sits with its back to him in Bartek’s high backed chair, as Brian circles round the chair warily he sees another scarecrow like figure, this one clad in the same charcoal grey suit that he last saw Bartek wearing; Brian attempts to talk to the figure but gets no response until he tries speaking backwards at which point the head begins to move, following him around the room, soulless black button eyes staring blankly at him. Unnerved Brian writes ‘who are you and what do you want?’ backwards on a piece of paper and throws it onto the lap of the scarecrow; it reaches up slowly with its other arm to retrieve the note and Brian is horrified to see that its right arm is almost entirely human. Again Brian attempts to speak to it backwards saying “Who are you and what is this place?”
Suddenly his phone rings and, when he answer it, over the crackling he hears a voice that sounds like Bartek speaking backwards saying “What are you doing in my home? I thought that you would have bought you friends again.” Realising that he is speaking to the scarecrow and that it seems to have Bartek’s memories, Brian drags the downward facing mirror that was being used a table in the apartment upright and points it at the scarecrow, when he looks into it he sees the real world apartment and the real Bartek sat on his chair, he looks pale and very unwell, he is rubbing his right arm with a pain expression on his face. Brian steps into the large mirror, and emerges under the table in Barteks apartment, when he crawls out and attempts to speak to Bartek the old man fires an antique pistol from beneath his blanket, hitting Brian square in the shoulder, the old gangster shouts “Which one are you?”
“I’m the real one” replies Brian showing the blood from his fresh injury, this seems to mollify Bartek somewhat who directs Brian to some appropriate tools to remove the bullet and cauterise the wound, that he has in his bathroom cabinet. When Brian returns, having cleaned himself up, Bartek (after some small prompting) explains that he originally used to live on the tenth floor of the building, but after he noticed some strange goings on and that they seemed to focus around the thirteenth floor he bribed his way into possession of his current apartment; it was when he moved in he found the mirror and realised that it was potentially a gate to somewhere else, unwilling to go through but not wanting to dispose of it unless someone else was tempted by it Bartek pointed it at the floor and disguised it as a simple table. Bartek asks Brian whether he has seen the original blueprints of the Specto Vale block and, when Brian looks at him blankly, explains that there was no thirteenth floor listed on the original blueprints but there is one on the revised blueprints made available to the public; he also mentions that no-one in the flat seems to remember exactly when the storm began or how long they’ve been trapped here, most people don’t seem to want to know. To Brian’s surprise he finds that he can’t remember the exact dates or times either; Brian attempts to show Bartek some photos on his phone but Bartek tells him not to use a phone saying that people in the block only get a single when ‘they’ want to listen in on you.
Brian attempts to explain about the scarecrows and that he believes both himself and Bartek are having their life drained away into their duplicates, as represented by the slowly spreading numbness in his hand and Bartek’s useless right arm, at the end of the conversation he notes that Bartek has not moved or said anything for several minutes, checking his pulse he finds that the old man has died quietly. 
Walking back down the first floor, the others are surprised when Brian walks in through the door rather than emerging out of the mirror but they don’t have much time to talk as Brian and Maggie (who has been explaining about the face in her mirror) hear the sound of a janitors wheeled cart approaching; still unsure of what is going on with the odd monosyllabic janitors they duck out of the apartment and head to the Red Lion where Redge has swept all the debris from the riot in a single pile and is now getting drunk. Brian shows the photos and video clips he has been taking in the mirror world on his smart phone and also the bullet that he removed from his shoulder, a brief argument breaks out when Maggie brings up the subject of the face in her mirror about whether she or Brian has had the worst day, this ends when Brian asks Redge about how his stock levels are doing and if he can remember what date the storm started; Redge seems to ponder it for a second before getting very irate and changing the subject, Brian holds this up as proof of what he has been saying to the others, they are not where they think that they are.
As Redge heads into the back room to get some more drinks Maggie notices a low hissing from two speakers fastened to the walls beside the bar, although Redge dismisses it as feedback from cheap speakers when asked, the group decide to ajourn their conversation to Maggie’s flat where Brian outlines his plan to re-enter the mirror world; Catia, obviously tired from her exertions during the riot falls asleep on one of the comfy chairs in the flat. At this point everyone’s mobile phone begins ringing simultaneously, Joe switches off both his and Catia’s phones whilst Maggie and Brian reach for theirs and press the answer button.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 15: To Strive and not to Yield

Captain Pak gathers the men that he bought with him from the Rod Hant, sturdy space warriors all, whilst Admiral Black musters a group of his men including Oberlieutenant Joergen Borsch of the 1st fighter squadron (nicknamed the ‘Void Krakens’) who wears a flight suit, bolt pistol and power sword; the sound of warning klaxxons blares throughout on ship, as the noise continues the crew begin to head to their posts with practiced efficiency whilst the Captain Pak and Admiral Black’s partys head towards where the alert has been triggered, the central mess room of the ship, stopping only briefly for Pak to leave some of his trusted tech-adepts in the teleportarium, ordering them to keep a lock on the senior officers so that, if they needed to, they could attempt to ‘port the officers out.
“Maybe the demon will eat the food and die?” – Oberlieutenat Joergen Borsch


As they draw closer the smell of blood fills the corridors and a strange humid, oppresive heat hangs over the area, in the distance there is a sound like a cross between a bull lowing and a man screaming; Pak suggests sending in the servo-skull but Admiral Black brushes his suggestion aside, hefts his power sword and charges into the main mess hall. The walls and floors of the mess room are splattered with blood, causing the Admiral to doubt his footing as he enters the chamber; in the centre of the room a large, crimson skinned demonic figure stands astride a pile of bodies and upturned furniture, it grips an obsidian weapon in one of its gore splattered claws. Admiral Black and Navigator Benetec both have a strange sensation that the blade itself is a seperate, hungry entity that cries out for the lives and souls of its victims; whilst the demon is intent on butchering the dying crew at it’s feet Black storms in, vaulting across the table and swinging his power sword through the air, however the tough, demonic hide turns aside most of the blows force, sending sparks cascading through the air. York Benetec runs in after the Admiral, trying not to slide on the blood drenched floor, striking it squarely with his crackling thunder hammer and causing the beast to give rent to an ear-splitting roar.
Still slightly injured from his previous exploits Captain Pak marshals his men around him and leads a coordinated support effort, the clan warriors flooding around the demon and stabbing at it with crude weapons, with the support of Pak’s mechandrite arm lashing out, they swamp the creature hack and stabbing at it. Oberlieutenant Borsch slides into the room and with a deafening boom discharges his bolt pistol, unfortunately missing the head of the beast and blowing a small crater in the floor of the chamber; roaring the demon throws off its attackers and stabs at Captain Pak with it’s hissing hellblade, his men grab their captain and pull him back trying to avoid the strike but the hilt of the blade strikes Pak on the side of his head, shattering the cappilaries in his eye and causing a large contusion to begin forming. The demon swings it’s blade towards Admiral Black who takes the blow on his own power sword sending flaming sparks spiraling through the air (setting fire to some of the furniture), the force of the blow throws the Admiral to the floor, winding him; picking himself up the Admiral gulps a lungfull of recycled air and charges back into the combat, determined not to let this evil creature triumph, swinging his sword he scores a shallow cut down the side of the creature, vile, hissing ichor sprays from the wound.
York Benetec pushes through the debris towards the creature, screaming his defiance of it and bringing down the thunder hammer he inherited from Confessor Cornelius, caving in the rib-cage of the creature, it struggles to stand for a moment, warp fire and bloody ichor leaking from its wound, before exploding in a shower of blood and gore, its deathcry fading in the air.
“FOR THE EMPEROR!” – Navigator York Benetec
Pak checks that there is no further combat or incursions taking place on the Venerus before organising for the mess hall to be quarantined and cleaned up, 
Benetec notices that the creatures sword remains, its blade embedded in the floor of the chamber, and sees that another crewman has also spotted it and is reached his hand out for it; mindful of the dangers of such warp tainted objects and with little time to react Benetec fires his pistol, shooting the crew member dead before his hand has chance to close around the handle of the tainted weapon. Admiral Black and York Benetec sense a distortian of the air around the blade as blood from the slain crew member splatters on the weapon, realising that it could still pose a significant threat Benetec says that he needs the area cleared so that he can banish the foul sword back into the immaterium.
Once the chamber is clear Benetec begins to drain the warp energies from the weapon, syphoning them through his warp eye and allowing them to disperse into the immaterium, as it flickers and fades the deformed Navigator feels a faint echo of the rage and thirst for blood once imbued in the blade; meanwhile Lady Decusis Black has contacted the Admiral from the bridge, she is relieved to hear that her husband is safe and tells him that she never doubted that he would triumph over the chaos creature, she also reports that Tulius is well on the road to recovery.
Oberlieutenant Borsch and Pak begin making plans to visit the, as yet unnamed clan ship, Pak suggests that perhaps Borsch could assume command, in the same manner that he himeself did on the Rod Hant.
“Are you kidding? Have you seen the turning circle of those things? It’s the size of a planet!” – Oberlieutenant Joergen Borsch
Sjomann Amelie is stood on the bridge as Admiral Black arrives there, guarded by an officer (presumably on the instructions of Lady Decusis-Black), he gives orders for the Sjomann to be taken to one of the vacant officers quarters. Two shuttles are prepared to approach the unnamed clan ship, the shuttle piloted by Objerlieutenant Borsch easily reaches the ship first and begins inspecting it for potential weaknesses; they both dock and use their vox systems to contact the ship and arrange to go aboard. The layout of the ship is very similar to the Rod Hant, one of the flanks of the ship is badly damaged but the crew has started to repair it; one of the Imperial troops that was left on the ship approaches looking concerned, he takes them through the ship to one of the weapons bays and they see that all of the crew are kneeling down as though in prayer all facing in the same direction, clasping a weapon to their breasts.
Borsch realises that the primitive clansmen appear to be facing towards where the Venerus is located; Sjomann Amelie says that although not part of this crew and thus not familiar with their rituals it is obviously one of their clan’s religious rites, the trooper points out that all crew members on the ship are doing the same thing, he has no idea what triggered it but it started with the Sjomann of the ship. Slightly worried, Pak contacts one of his servitors aboard the Rod Hant, the servitor in its monotone voice reports no change in activity aboard the vessel; Sjomann Amelie explains that, although her people try and remain above the clan warfare and their traditions, there are numerous deities that they worship and it may be any one of these that the crew are paying homage to. Pak contacts Admiral Black, as he is talking however the crew begin to return to their positions, the ceremony apparently concluded.
On the Venerus, York Benetec senses that the unnamed clan ship is attempting to enter the warp and stumbles into his sensorium chamber just in time to see a bright flash as the clan ship disappears into the warp, he immediately contacts Lord Admiral Black to inform him, the Admiral leaves Lady Decusis-Black, his wife, in charge of the Venerus before heading across to the Rod Hant with a contingent of tech-adepts, he plans to have both ships attempt to track and follow the unnamed ship (that still has Pak and Joergan onboard). Benetec warns that having a group of ships arriving simultaneously via the warp is unlikely, and he doubts the skill of the witch woman.
“There is a problem with this however, its already difficult enough for one navigator to follow a signal correctly, two is extremely difficult and I have no knowledge of the skills of this witch woman” – Navigator York Benetec
“Well, we’ll soon find out, wish me luck” – Lord Admiral Black
“I may see you in a few years Admiral” – York Benetec
Now on the Rod Hant, Admiral Black asks Sjomann Amelie whether she can follow the other ship through the warp, she says that with the appropriate rituals she will be able to follow the Solv Tann (apparently the name of the other ship) through what she calls the realm of the gods; watching the Sjomann begin her rituals, Admiral Black is struck by a strange, almost hypnotic pattern of bones and markings that she lays out around her as part of her ritual. Attempting to puzzle out the pattern the Admiral starts to see some sort of otherworldy pattern or connection between the objects, part of his mind seems to shy away from it, he can feel that the pattern is affecting his psyche and senses the opportunity for great power or destruction in the pattern. Steeling himself against all doubt and hungry for power, Admiral Black attempts to grasp the mind bending pattern laid out in front of him; unseen by the him his body begins a subtle serpentine change, retractable fangs and poison glands beginning to take shape below the skin of his jaw.
Admiral Black wakes up some moments later lying on the floor of the Sjomann’s chamber, from the humming of the engines around him it is obvious that during his convalescence the Rod Hant has entered the warp; both ships head for the Endeavour System but meet with resistance, a form of warp stasis around the system making it more hazardous to navigate there and lengthening the journey time; the Rod Hant and Venerus arrive almost simultaneously in the Endeavour System and quickly conduct scans, they don’t pick up any ships (besides themselves) in the vicinity, they assume that due to the vagaries of the warp that they have arrived before the other clan ship. Sjomann Amelie informs them that although many of the clans live on fleets of roving clan ships some of them live a more traditional planet-bound life on the large moon of Strive, she also explains that when the Sky Warrior returned, Clan Mord left their home amongst the asteroid belts (which they mined for minerals, competing with a clan of scavengers called Clan Kjempe) and went to join him; she explains that the main inhabitants of Strive are called Clan Drod and have a ship in orbit around the moon. Clan Drod are the only clan who refused to side outright with the Sky Warrior (although they didn’t openly rebel), she doesn’t know why but it was something to do with ancient writings preserved from their ancestors. The Sjomann cautions against approaching in ships belonging to another clan but says that they should be able to get hospitallity from them.
Admiral Black decides to visit the planet in a shuttle, taking the Sjomann and a small party with him, ordering the ships to wait for them, concealed in the asteroid fields of the system.
Oberlieutenant Borsch arrives on the bridge of the Solv Tann, he sees a hulking figure in the command chair barking orders in a growled primitive language; Borsch addresses him and is horrifed to see that the captain seems to have a twisted houndlike head, instinctively he fires his bolt pistol, punching a hole through the captain who is dead before his body hits the floor.
“Is there anyone else having a problem with surrendering?” – Oberlieutent Borsch
Borsch spots one other obvious mutant, a figure with ragged bat wings standing at one of the consoles, he kicks the Captains corpse out of the chair and sits down beckoning the winged figure over and asking him about their destination, the ragged figure replies “We return to our home system. Sjomann say it takes 35 Sjtel-links.” Captain Pak arrives on the bridge just as this is going on and, due to his greater knowledge of the clansmen, is able to estimate that 35 Sjtel-links is about 50 Imperial Days; frustrated Borsch puts another round in the old captains head for good measure.
On the moon of Strive, Admiral Blacks guncutter breaks through the slightly thin atmosphere of the massive moon; they locate a small valley amongst the monstly mountainous terrain, shielded by coniferous trees, about twenty miles away from a fairly large settlement. Landing they camouflage the guncutter whilst Admiral Black has the tech-adepts uncouple the Rhino APC from the ship and, with a churning of dirt, they begin heading toward the settlement.
“I wonder if this is where that Imperial Missionary went?” – Admiral Black
“Cornelius knew about that sort of thing and he’s dead, perhaps I should ask his thunder hammer?” – Navigator York Benetec
There is a permanent wooden city surrounded by a sea of hide tents, and the odd loose stonework building forming a strange melange of different building styles in the distance; as the APC approached one of the tech-adepts picks up an imperial power signature 50km to the west, Admiral Black orders them to head towards it and eventually they approach an old fashioned Imperial Shuttle, the outside of it bears the iconography of the Ecclesiarchy. Next to the shuttle are a couple of lean-tos that have been fabricated with materials of Imperial manufacture, as they approach a number of the primitive clans-folk start pointing excitedly and warily at the Rhino APC; as the Rhino pulls to a halt, an excited young native girl leads on old man wearing Imperial priest robes from one of the lean-tos, he’s a little doddery on his feet but he has a serene look to his face, he leans heavily on a gnarled walking stick with an iron skull and Imperial Aquila mounted atop it. The man introduces himself as Deacon Kiril.
“It’s good to see honest Imperial citizens in our little system” – Deacon Kiril
Admiral Black mentions Confessor Cornelius and Deacon Kiril is saddened to hear that Cornelius has died, the news hitting him heavily and forcing him to sit down on a cargo crate; in response to the Deacons queries the Admiral omits some of the details of Cornelius’ death but says that he died during a mutiny caused by the evil of a demon that penetrated the Venerus’ Gellar field. Deacon Kiril talks about the start that both he and his junior priests have begun bringing the clansmen back into the Emperor’s light, he says that it may even be possible that they are descendants of lost Imperial explorers.
“At my age, I believe it is possible I may never leave this world and our work may not be completed in my lifetime, but it is enough to know that we have started these people down the road to their own redemption” – Deacon Kiril
Kiril offers hospitallity to Admiral Black’s party, the Admiral accepts and explains that they are waiting for a ship that absconded into the warp with two of his crew, Sjomann Amelie explains that it was Clan Mord who absconded with the crew; the Deacon looks trouble and says that he’s heard some false religious figure has recently risen and has corrupted some of the tribes furthest from the Emperor. Although he hasn’t been off world to find out more of this, apparently a representative from this ‘Sky Warrior’ attempted to persuade the chief of Clan Drod to rally to their banner although the clan chief does not seem interested; apparently the more barbarous clans have flocked to the Sky Warriors banner.
Deacon Kiril shares a thick, hearty broth with the Admiral’s party, simple but nourishing fare and tells them that the planet is roamed by large mammoths that are hunted by the clansmen for their pelts, tusks and meat; there were once some great predators on the planet (including the dreaded Nak-tar) but the early clansmen hunted them to extinction either for food or as part of their barbaric coming of age rituals. Over the course of the next 20 days the Deacon explains that the clansmen build a lot of their ships in space, mostly in the asteroid belts and clusters throughout the system and that the chief of Clan Drod currently rules the planet, his clan being one of the few to maintain a permanent planetary presence; he believes that the religion of the clansmen is a primitive form of Emperor worship and agrees to arrange a meeting within the month between the clan chief and the Admiral.
Clan Drod have not come out in open opposition to the Sky Warrior (apparently because of some ancient writings that they have preserved from their ancestors) since if the other clans were to unite against Clan Drod (even though they are a large clan) they wouldn’t stand a chance; but he has made it clear that he is not interested.
“That Clan Drod has rejected this heresy speaks well of their reformation” – Navigator York Benetec
“It is my hopes that from the tiny acorns of this act the mighty oaks of righteousness my grow and that these people can be shepherded back to the Emperor, I fear the same may not be said of the other clans” – Deacon Kiril
One the Solv Tann, Borsch has discovered that Mikhil the winged is the first mate; Captain Pak asks him about the ceremony that they conducted shortly before entering the warp and the mutated crew member explains that the Sjomann had sensed the will of their patron deity Slaktin being made known in the world and they were offering him homage, he says that they faced the direction of where their God had entered the world and that his own wings were a blessing from the warrior God Slaktin, few aboard are worthy enough to carry such blessings. Oberlieutenant Borsch convinces Mikhil that he would like to assess the mightiest warriors and plans to gather all of those bearing the gifts of Slaktin in the cargo bay (actually he plans to slay the mutated crew).
Captain Pak begins to attempt to gain trust amongst the Clansmen onboard the Solv Tann, using his position as new Captain of the Rod Hant as leverage with the primitive crew; unlike the crew of the Rod Hant who accepted the leadership of Pak, the Oberlieutenant is forced to fight off challengers for his position as new Captain almost dailt, he is forced to kill about 15 members of the crew during the course of the challenges. As a method of trying to discourage this Borsch has the severed heads of his kills mounted on the back of the command chair. 
During the journey his sleep is troubled by dreams of conquest and blood, but he turns away from the dreams since he feels himself in danger of corruption as he takes the power of these others; he needs no-one else’s power or approval, only his own.
Many days later, on the moon of Strive, York Benetec wakes with a start when he receives an astropathic vision of the Solv Tann from the psychics aboard the Venerus.
“The other vessel has arrived.” – York Benetec
Under orders from Admiral Black Benetec transmits a vision to the astropaths on the Venerus showing their Imperial soldiers storming the Solv Tann and detaining the crew; in response to this the Venerus moves towards the Solv Tann, reinforcing the position of Borsch and Pak. Borsch orders the Sjomann to be bought to the bridge so that he cannot attempt to take the ship into the warp again, when he arrives the Sjomann is revealed to be a hulking brute of a man covered in blue tattoos with a top-knot, he aggressively demands to know why he has been bought to the bridge. Mikhil introduces the huge figure as Sjomann Nikolai; allowing Nikolai to see the severed heads of the captaincy challengers Oberlieutenant Borsch orders the Sjomann not to take the ship back into the warp without his instructions and then dismisses him.
Pak and Borsch are contacted by Lady Decusis-Black (aboard the Venerus) who asks them to join her onboard the larger vessel where she tells them about the Admiral’s current whereabouts, the two men take a shuttle and a compliment of crew down to the moon of Strive to join Admiral Black and his party.