IN THE MARCHES
Blitzen was recalled by Gabriel up to Heaven from Pine Knob, where everyone was standing around talking about what to do. Not too much time is wasted. He's handed a regiment and pointed in the general direction of the Marches. Blitzen takes the intiati ve in his own hands and attempts to retrofit his group with a few heavy hitting Michaelites and an Ofanite of Dreams to help navigate the Marches. He finds an ofanite willing to join him in the mess of tents around Blandine's tower. He tries to get into see Rigziel, but it's nearly impossible at the moment, and he is forced to wait until later. Since Blitzen can't get in, he sends a message of his plans up the ranks to Rigziel, and it doesn't take long for approval to come back down. Blitzen and his g roup find themselves on the front lines with the combat begins, mostly between Michael/Gabriel and Baal/Saminga. Blitzen and his group set up multiple ambushes within the everchanging terrain, and merrily rip a few servitors of Death to shreds. Time is strange, it's impossible to tell how long the combat goes on before both sides stand down again. As the wounded are being pulled off the field, Blitzen gets in to see Rigziel, who is actually pretty decent and respectful toward the Ofanite. After all th e Ofanite has proven himself on the field of battle a few times now, and he's managed to get a distinction and swiftly working on a second. Rigziel tells him a bit about the Laurentines and trying to get reinforcements, and Gabriel's people bounty huntin g Dominicans. Rigziel also expresses fear that, while he has the utmost respect for the Servitors of Fire, their Archangel may do something rash. Blitzen leaves, and talks to his regiment. The Ofanite of Dreams has the Celestial Song of Tongues, and ag rees to contact Blitzen as soon as the situation changes in Heaven. Blitzen takes off to locate the Big Sparkie in the Sky, and she's locatable and mad as a hatter in giant spinning disc form in the Volcano. Blitzen expresses interest in getting into th e Spires and getting Dominican Hearts. While Gabriel seems to groove on this idea, Blitzen is reminded that he'll need a guide. A Dominican, or maybe even a Windy. Blitzen returns to his regiment, and they all take a turn downward for DC. He sends a l ittle celestial note to his Archangel, and the communes with the angels in the tether. It turns out that this particular Gabrielite tether is rather active, and there are celestials everywhere. There is a board covered with newspaper clippings. Yes, th ey've been punishing the cruel. Mostly, they've been blowing up suspected Dominican hideouts. Terrorists? Nah. Just punishing. Blitzen takes off to go locate the rest of the group.
Maxwell, Jered and Star gather together and talk about their plans - what to do about Raphael, how to summon him, Maxwell's goofy plan for solving _everyone's_ problems all at once, etc. Star expresses interest in finding an antiques dealer who will deal in money. They find a phone booth, and sure enough, they can find antique dealers, no problem.
Blitzen finds the group, and calls Jered on his cellphone, from across the street. Then he joins the group, and they have this argument about leaving Blitzen's dog, Tyrone, behind in Michigan. Then they start moving for the rental car, which is on the o ther side of town.
The group finally, between arguing, discussing, planning, and generally walking to the car.
The group makes their way to the first antique dealer, in Georgetown. Star goes in, and gets his name. She attempts to be friendly with the guy, but no such luck. The dealer attempts to give her the minimum amount of worth for the antique money, and Je red informs her that she's being scammed. The group goes to another antique dealer, who is just about to close. Star also becomes friendly with him, asking him about his friends, his family, his kids, and his store. The guy responds in kind, and gives her a much better deal on the antique cash. Malcolm buys two wooden chess bishops, one black and one white, for $.50.
Much happier, Star leads them to a music store just down the street, and buys everyone presents with her newly gotten cash. Then the group finds a Meijer's like superstore (Target, maybe?), and Star and Blitzen buy some basic things, like clothing, so th ey can change somewhere along the line. Star's dress was starting to look the worse for wear. Star also buys some silk flowers and basket making gear, and she makes a nice little basket for Maxwell.
The group takes a trip to the first of the two defiled churches on the list, St. Jane Frances de Chantal. It's a small community church, and there is a smallish church administration and classroom building next door. The group checks the church out, and it's closed up and locked for the night. The administration building is similarly locked up, although there are a few lights on in windows. Maxwell scales the side of the building, and gets into a partially open 3rd floor window in the administration b uilding, ready to stake out the church for the night should something happen. Blitzen and Star find a playground behind the church, and end up there. Jered watches from his own outpost.
Somone leaves the Church administration building. Maxwell takes note of the lisence plate number, the make and year of the car.
Blitzen hears on his police radio [I can't remember where he heard this, but he certainly did] that the cops are scrambling. It seems another law firm building has been hit by terrorist attack. He knows it's his own people.
Nothing happens to the church throughout the night. At 6 in the morning, the Priest comes to open it up and begin to prepare a morning sermon. Star gets his name via resonance, Father Peter Finch. Maxwell, when the coast is clear, climbs out of his win dow and joins Star and Blitzen behind the church. They talk about what to do next, and Blitzen suggests that they check out the other church, while Maxwell and Jered wait here. They had considered staying for the 9 AM sermon. Star and Blitzen take off in Blitzen's car, and Blitzen changes back into his suit and bow tie.
Blitzen and Star reach Good Shephard Catholic Church, and there is still yellow police line tape across the front doors of the church. There are two cars parked in the parking lot. The two angels duck the police line and go into the church, and locate t he older priest. The priest welcomes them, and leads them into the chapel. The bloodstains are still soaked into the carpetting. "Awful," the old priest says. "Just terrible." The old priest describes what happened. One of the parishoners, Mrs. Johns on, came in two days ago, and found a severed head on the altar, with the decapitated body laying right behind it. The poor woman almost had a heart attack, and had to be sedated. The head was even mutilated, with the eyes and mouth sewn shut. The prie st even takes them around to show the blood stains. A large blood stain in front of the altar is where the actual killing might have taken place. The priest gives Blitzen the name of the detective on the case, a Sgt. David Keeler of the DC Police. Appa rently the priest knew the guy who was murdered, a Father John Merrill, a local Catholic Priest who taught occasionally at a local university and also came in as a guest preacher on some sundays. Also, the police caught a man wandering around raving behi nd the church when they came to investigate the murder, and it was their only lead. Blitzen and Star thank him for his time, and leave.
Any signs of disturbance in the Symphony are long gone.
The group gathers back together at the first church, and then Blitzen and Star go to talk to the priest. The priest talks to them after they identify themselves. Yes, they had the same thing, a head on the altar, eyes and mouth sewn shut. He himself ha d discovered the body, four days ago. The priest had been making a heroic effort to be able to reopen the church for Sunday Sermon. No, he didn't know the dead man, but the police identified him as Fr. Paul Grovich, a Jesuit from Georgetown University.
The group rejoins and shares information. They start discussing theories, and then they decide to go and get donuts. There, at the donut shop, Blitzen whips out his wooden Bishops, and discusses what he thinks is going on. There are two cops in the don ut shop, so the group keeps their voices down. Right before they leave, Jered and Maxwell both notice a rather catchy tune being piped over the donut shop's loudspeaker. It has something to do with a 'Holy War', but they don't recognize the band.
The group makes their way to the main DC Police Station. When Star and Blitzen go in, Maxwell finds a pay phone and pages Machmay. Maxwell and Machmay share notes, as Machmay has been running down police reports. Unfortunately, his contacts got pulled away to deal with a terrorist bombing up on Capitol Hill. Maxwell shares some information about the churches. Inside, Star gets on friendly terms with the desk clerk, who gets them in to see Sgt. David Keeler. Star, Jered, and Blitzen get led to the de tective's office. Blitzen whips out his bounty hunter ID, and tells some lies that make Jered's head hurt. They get friendly enough to start sharing information, and Keeler whips out a manilla envelope with all of the information on the case. Inside ar e photographs of the murder scenes. Jered names them, but it's difficult to get extensive information from photographs, and he only gets their true names.
Inside the folder is a report from the coroner, and both corpses had been killed the same way:
Star is sickened, to say the least. The detective says they have no suspects, save the guy they picked up. But the guy is completely incoherent, and no good information can be extracted from him. He's being held at John Hopkin's psychiatric ward. Othe r then that, they combed the place for fingerprints, hairs, anything, and the police found nothing. The angels agree to share information with the police, in return for getting a copy of the police report and a way to get into see the guy at John Hopkins .
With the help of the DC Police, the PCs get into the psychiatric ward with only some hassle from the desk clerk. The place is filled, because so many people have been coming in, victims of The Dreaming. A doctor leads them to see "John Doe", who is stra pped to a bed, raving, completely incoherent, in a padded cell. He looks to be a late adolescent. While Jered and Blitzen talk to the doctor, who insists that the guy inside is too far gone for help, Star gets in and performs a Song of Healing (Ethereal ) on the guy. This snaps his mind back to reality, and the guy starts screaming. A nurse hurries in, pushes past Star, and fills the guy full of sedative. The guy starts raving about tenticles taking over his mind. He becomes slightly coherent, and Bl itzen pushes him for what happened. The guy coughs up, in spurts, the tale of some young street punks who decided that they wanted to call down 'the power of Satan' all for themselves, and they did this by killing a couple of old homeless guys in a wareh ouse in the very run down poor part of town. Apparently they got their wish. All the kid could describe were tenticles, eyes, mouths, and puss. And all he could think of is when it invaded his body and took over his mind.
Blitzen would have punished him, but on reflection, he realized that Star snapping him out of his psychotic dreamworld was far more punishment then anything he could do. [GM note: this was probably the coolest in character decision made in the game so fa r.]
The group gets into the car, and wanders to the bad side of town, looking for the warehouse. They do eventually find it. It's a two story job, run down, smelling of urine, with the windows broken and blown out. While Blitzen, Jered and Star go inside t o investigate, Maxwell stays outside and talks to one of the homeless guys on the street. To the tune of $5, the homeless guy tells Maxwell that the kids who hang out inside the warehouse like to kill some of the people out on the street. The homeless m an tells Maxwell the gang's hangout, a bar down the street.
The other three enter the warehouse, and they are treated to a sort of Black Mass setup. On inspection, it's very stereotypical sort of pop culturish 'black mass', with candles and pentagrams and the like. Unlike the last demonic ritual site they found, in Alpena, this one has none of the hallmarks of real sorcery or ritual. No helltongue script, no hebrew, no sanskrit, no aramaic, in fact, no writing at all. Hmmm. The three carefully search the warehouse, and they find a few signs of habitation, but the place is empty.
They come out and rejoin Maxwell. Outside, Blitzen gives a quick phone call to Sgt. David Keeler, tipping off the cops to the warehouse. Keeler thanks them, and begins arranging for a stake-out of the warehouse tonight, to catch the rest of them.
The group start talking about future targets. Star remembers she has the list of Dominicans in the city, or at least who was in the City about a month ago. They discuss things over, and decide they need to find one with the role of a Priest, he's the mo st likely to get hit next.
They find a Justice of the Peace with a complete registry of priests in the town, easily located in DC. After about two and a half hours of searching the computer (and Star playing lots of Solitaire), there is one match cross referenced with Star's list. Blitzen highlights it, as that's their next stop.
GM Notes: I missed some things in the log somewhere. I know that the Jesuit was known to be an educator, and on very friendly terms with nearly everyone. And "John Doe" from the psychiatric hospital said that he and his 'friends' had grabbed the guy fro m Georgetown, dragged him to the church, broke in, and murdered him there. He didn't know the reason for the target.
I also corrected some inaccuracies. I was very tired, and some details got mooshy.
Next session should be 'interesting', to say the least.