The House Of Ill Repute

The Meet

The call, simple as it is, comes in the early hours of the business morning. About 7 AM local time. Samuel Clemens, known to Kassandra as 'Mr. Finn'. The meeting is a simple one. Lunch at a greasy spoon out on I-70 in the UCAS sector near the CAS border called 'Over-Due-Drop-Inn', catering to truckers, bikers and old people. Somehow, elderly men sitting next to bikers isn't out of place here.

Kassandra gets dropped off by a rather swarthy man covered in a multitude of tattoos. What little skin isn't covered by tattoos is covered in black leather and well-polished chrome studs, seemingly a part of his skin. The small elf slips off the oversized Harley, patting the driver on the shoulder. He makes a fist-up salute before ripping off, leaving a cloud of smoke in his wake. The woman makes her way into the greasy spoon, absently patting down her hair.

The lunch counter is abuzz with activity, as old men and truckers flirt with middle aged waitresses locked in to their lives, never a chance to break out of the roll assigned them when they were young. At the back booth, overlooking the parking lot (And the stolen Americar there), sits Samuel, a pocsec in front of him. He's dressed down today, a sort of casual jeans-and a teeshirt look thats almost alien on his normally more staid and formal appearance.

Lilith enters quietly, well wrapped up in a long black coat against the cold, dressed down in a simple outfit. She fits in pretty well, nodding politely to a waitress. She spots Sam and has to bite her lip to hide a smile. She moves in his general direction.

Kassandra stops by a booth, standing on tiptoe to see what a few of the patrons are eating. She tosses an upnod to a pair of dwarven bikers at the counter before heading towards Mr. Finn's booth, pausing a moment to check her hair and make-up via a compact before heading forward once again.

Samuel does not look up when Kassandra and Lilith enter the area. He just shifts his papers in such a way as to make the invitation to sit down clear.

Her primping done, the small elf starts towards Mr. Finn's booth again. She mills around, waiting for Lilith to small-talk the man before grabbing a seat. The elf simply nods at Finn if/when he looks towards her.

Samuel slides his papers away then. "Naw. Seats open." He says, his accent being a clear southern Missouri sort of rural hick. "Yall got some time today? Ah hopeso, cause I got a bit of job for ya." He says, offering a pair of Manila folders over.

Lilith sits down, sliding into the seat. "Yeah, it's cool. Whatcha have?" She easily grabs a folder and begins to flip through it.

Samuel checks his watch, glancing back to the parking lot, waiting for someone, perhaps.

Kassandra snags a seat, one hand going to flip through the folder. The other motions to the waitress, miming a pouring motion. She settles back to wait for her coffee, scanning the information provided.

Just running a little bit late is Aladriel and when she gets inside the place she looks like she just woke up. Even with sunglasses on. Shivering a little bit once she gets inside she looks around through the collection of those gathered and it takes her a good minute to find who she's looking for. Yawning audibly, she maneuvers her way towards Lilith, Kassandra and Samuel and stops at the counter before joining them. Coffee is in her hands before long and armed thusly she gets to the booth, completely dispenses with small talk and plops herself down in the booth where-ever there's space. Again, no greeting…she starts downing the coffee, black.

Lilith arches a brow at the girl, but continues to browse. She murmurs quietly. "So, what are we looking at here?"

Kassandra ooos and accepts her coffee, leaning across to snag the creamer and sugar while the others chitchat or whatever. She swirls in enough sugar to give God a sugar rush as well as a few creamers, swirling the artificial milk into the likely unreal coffee in an attempt to mask the god-awful flavor. She waits for Finn to drop the other shoe, flipping through the file.

The folders (Simple manila, like for schoolwork), are given to each lady, including the late-comer ally. The first page on the inside is blank save for red lettering: Speak nothing aloud. Not a secure location, but you all need tradecraft skills. Consider it an exercise.

The second page is a map of denver with a road highlighted, showing a backroad in the UCAS sector, near the CAS border.

The Third Page is one of the classic tropes of shadowrunning. THe missing child. About 9, fresh faced, rosy cheeked, the girl has brown hair and dark eyes. Meg Anderson, local girl. She appears to have disappeared at the address listed on the backroad. Went in on a 'dare'. Never came out.

The complication is the attached file seems to indicate the house burned down.

In 1894.

Lilith eye twitches. Just a little

Samuel casually orders breakfast from the waitress, eggs, bacon, pancakes, some chicken strips, a T-Bone, a jug of coffee and a carafe of orange juice. He looks to the other girls… "Yall wan't sumthin?"

Kassandra sips her coffee, letting the folder close. She's already seem the pages, no sense in letting anyone else have a gander. The elf shakes her head, indicating her coffee with a finger, "All the lunch I need right here."

Lilith smiles a bit. "Tea and some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches." She glances over the folder again. "I *love* peanut butter and jelly. You just can't get 'em right in town."

THe Waitress raises an eyebrow, but doesn't comment on Lilith's odd order.

Lilith looks up, face slightly surprised as she glances around. "What?"

"Ju's ain't the usual' kinda order round here, sweetheart." Says the woman who probably worked a few too many shifts at WaffleHouse for her own good. "This ain't a place for kids, ya know?"

"More coffee, two cups, and…um….orange juice, and chicken fingers and fries," Ally murmurs, about as tired as anyone at the table is likely to have ever heard her. "And more coffee, please," she finishes. Then she buries her nose in the folder, hunkering over it like a school test before she finally closes it.

Kassandra cuts a look towards Lilith, but leave it at that. The elf sips her coffee, letting the others order and chatter. She simply watches Finn, waiting as the moments tick away.
Lilith manages to work up a faint blush for effect. "Oh. Err. Never assumed *that*. Thought PB&J was pretty common down here."

Samuel gestures out the window when all three folders close. "Hey, yall wanna see mah new car? She's a beeee-you-tay…" He jerks a thumb to the Americar thats his ride-of-the-day. "Come'on, I'll show ay." He says, sliding out of the booth. "And sweetheart." He says to the waitress, palming a hundred in UCAS script in to her hand. "Keep the table warm, We an't dashen."

Lilith chuckles faintly and nods. "Sure. I ain't often get a chance to see the finer rides." This, she says with a straight face.

Kassandra shrugs and scoots out of the booth as well, taking a healthy gulp of coffee as she does so. The elf absently brushes hair from her eyes as she moves to follow Finn.

Ally looks grumpy to be getting up but she does so anyways. The moment Kassandra looks away… Ally takes her coffee and finishes it, setting the cup down gently! A strange look is given to Lilith at what she says and then she's out and following along.

Stepping out the door, Samuel moves across the parking lot. He waits for the women and explains. "Wind is out of the north west at about 12 miles an hour. That's enough to muffle conversational sound from non-technological ears at 10 paces. Inside, the conversation could carry for the entire restaurant. Scuff your feet a little as you walk to create background nose. Pick up smoking, its a good way to further mask your features as you talk."

Lilith grunts as she shuffles her feet. "I'd prefer not to inhale, then."

"Thats a gross habit. Just learn to talk like a ventriliquist. Much healthier," Ally says with a little grumble, needing no encouragement whatsoever to start dragging her feet, her boots scuffin right along.

Kassandra's feet crunch on the ground, her head down as she pulls out her secretary, the screen illuminating her face briefly. She watches the display change, the massive mane of hair obscuring her features from the side as she keeps her eyes on the screen. The elf acknowledges the man's words with a "mmmm", not offering anything else. The little device switches colours and screens, not settling on anything at the moment.

Samuel leads them to the americar, reaching inside to pop the hood. He glance back to the women as he moves over to open then prop the hood up. "Now lean in and occasionally point at stuff." he says quietly. "So. You have the basics, and thats about what I know, but if you have specific questions, nows the time to ask."

Lilith bends over, peering appropriately. "Magic. How is it involved?"

"Ghost or free spirit? Specter?" Ally asks curiously, assuming along Lilith's line of reasoning, and voicing it at Samuel's prompt.

Kassandra leans against the car, tucking away her secretary. She looks around in the engine, pointing here and there as the others speak. The elf interjects towards the end, "Other disappearances?"

"Not sure." Says Samuel honestly, glancing to Kassandra a moment. "I've done a drive by. Looks like a normal house to me. As to other disappearances, not that I'm aware of. It's possible. The land is former Parkland thats been untouched since the treaty of Denver, as per provisions there, with no one building. I find references to it in old mining logs, indicating it was a house used by local prospectors for meetings. It supposedly burned down, but sometime in the last… I don't really know… few years, one supposes, the house reappeared."

Lilith nods slowly, glancing to Ally as she points out the sweet interior. "Any toxic or rumors of those blood mages about? Does the site have a history of haunting or some such nonsense?"

Kassandra grunts, nodding to the comments, the pointing. The elf stays silent for a moment, lids half-closed as she considers a number of variables and situations. She remarks quietly, "Might be a mundane rational for all of this."

"Might be." Says Samuel. "Which is why I'm sending you to investigate."

Lilith thinks. "Was the house maybe just rebuilt?"

Samuel again, sort of shrugs. "S'what you are going to find out, now ain't it?"

Kassandra says "Timeframe?"

Lilith chuckles softly. "Mmm. Any issues about security, or is the place utterly abandoned?"

"Well, the girls been missing a few days, so if she was kidnapped there, she's dead, so it ain't critical this gets done -today- today, but I'd like a report inside 72 hours."

Lilith sighs. "Unfortunate. Very unfortunate." She runs her hands around the window.

Kassandra nods, "Right-o. Same contact channels?"

Samuel nods to Kassandra before he moves around the car, to close the hood. "Now get offa' mah car, I gots places to go, people ta do."

Kassandra keeps her comments terse, still looking at the engine, the interior. Every once in a while she will look around. The woman nods to Finn, moving away from the car. The elf tucks her hands in her pocket, considering the way the wind is blowing, the clouds above.

Lilith snorts and steps back from the car. "Charming. Good day to you too."


Kassandra moves away from Finn's car, flipping out her secretary as she does so. The elf finds an empty parking slot, settling down on one of the concrete bumpers there. The elf scans the horizon, pulling a datacable from inside her jacket and attaching it to the device. The secretary takes on the appearance of an e-pod music machine, with wavy lines dancing in harmony with whatever music may be playing. The real magic goes on inside, transmitting through the small connected transciever and into the datajack she will connect it to.

«Plot» Kassandra is placing a call to Ocean (R2 Fixer contact) for some information.
«Plot» Samuel says, " What information are you seeking?"
«Plot» Kassandra is looking to find out about tunnels/mines/large-scale sewer systems/other underground things in and around the area we have been given. i'll enlarge the area to take in several city blocks to keep from giving away the exact location.
«OOC» Samuel says, "Roll it."
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Etiquette + 1 (R2.Contact) for "Attepting to get information from contact.":
1 2 3 4 4 5 5
«OOC» Kassandra will stand

Ocean responds pretty quickly with the USGS information on the area, which shows an underground lattice of coal mines, square set timber that are expected to be collapsed at this point. Those mines were owned by Hilderbrand Mineralogical until 2017, when they were nationalized and shut down.

Kassandra logs the information on Ocean's return call, eyes searching the data for something that will give a clue. The elf rises, shielding her eyes from the overcast sky to search for the other two women, absently disconnecting from the secretary.

Lilith looks over at Kassandra, thinking things over in her head. "Well?"
Kassandra offers a shrug, keeping her voice down, her head still low. She scratches her cheek as she speaks, further obscuring her mouth, "Now we go have a look."

Lilith nods. "What did you find?"

Kassandra brushes hair from her eyes, flicking her gaze around the parking lot. The elf starts walking, keeping her voice low, scarcely audible over the sound of the cars, the trucks and bikes, her own feet. "I found out that we need to go have a look." The elf looks over to Lilith, a faint upturn of her lips indicating that it may be taken as a bit of a joke. She doesn't add more than that, asking instead, "Where is sleeping beauty?"

Lilith chuckles faintly. "I'll make sure to bring my boots…I don't know." She glances around, frowning. "She's been quiet."

Kassandra grunts her agreement to that point, pulling a different cell out. She dials a number from memory, speaking quietly into the device before dialing another and speaking for less time.

«Plot» Kassandra says, "I'll contact Slot N Go (Vehicle Fixer) for a short-term loan of a car, preferably not so hot that we'll get picked up."

Kassandra clicks the phone closed, glancing to Lilith. "Ride'll be here soon." The elf keeps her words terse, as Finn seemed concern about operational security. She paces until the car arrives, striving to keep from speaking about the mission until then.

It doesn't take long before a vehicle pulls in. Seems that hot Americar's are a common enough item on these roads. The car is white, with road dents and a lot of snow-mud up under the wheel wells. It looks like a car anyoen could see and then forget the next moment.

Lilith lifts her skirt a bit. "Damn. I'm not really dressed appropriately." Voice very low, soft as she shuffles her feet. "Can I take a moment to change?"

Kassandra claps her hands, turning as the car zips up. She flips a mental switch, bringing up a display and selecting the indicated location. She shakes a moment as mind and body are infused with new information. The elf's stride is even different as she approaches the car, nodding absently to Lilith, "We can pick up a change of clothing and working gear on the way."

«Plot» Kassandra says, "Car 4 soft now active."

Lilith nods. "Right."

Free form

Kassandra snags the keys from the drop-off driver, tossing him a small-change credstick, "Get some lunch on me, friend."
Lilith chuckles and moves over to the passenger side of the car. "You drivin', then?"

Kassandra slides in, keying the ignition. A separate part of her brain lovingly caresses the steering wheel, directing her to check the dials, screens, wheels, and other parts of the car. She nods absently to Lilith before asking, mentally a bit further away, "Where to?" Part of her brain that has faint traces of "Wild" Bill McGovern wants to be racing down the road, feeling the pull of the car as it accelerates.

Lilith watches her, smiling. "Downtown. It won't take me a moment." She nods to the vehicle. "Like to drive? I need to show you my own car sometime. Baby Naga rides something sweet."

Kassandra guns the car and takes off, doing only one doughnut in the parking lot before taking to the open road. She fights to keep the car at the speed limit, hands and feet moving with precision. Not a chipped ride, no, just the driver and the vehicle, like it used to be.

Kassandra glances over, "Eh? Driving is .. not too bad, at least not right now." A whisper of a smile traces the woman's lips before she is back at it, flicking the turn signal on to pass a slow-moving Runabout before cutting over and taking the offramp towards Downtown.

Lilith laughs. "You drive classics at all?" Her eyes sparkle as she rest comfortable in her seat. "Not this century, mind. Old school, all muscle and gasoline."

Kassandra's eyes flicker to the mirrors, the road whipping by as the women barrel down the highway towards the glittering skyrakers and insane businessmen that make up Downtown. She offers, "Not really. In my business, most of what I drive are cars like these .. not bad, mind you, but more work horses than show."

Lilith snorts. "Mmm hmm. Sometime then, I'll show you what a real car is."

"I'll keep that in mind." The elf slips in and out of traffic, easing down as more and more cars are encountered. "Ah, Sunday traffic. Where do you need to be?" The elf starts watching the signs, waiting for Lilith's direction to take the appropriate turn-off.
Lilith nods and points. "Right here." Apartment buildings loom. "McAffrey. You mind waiting downstairs for a moment?"

"Not a problem." The elf fights off the urge to rev the engine; instead, she pulls into a waiting parking spot up front, slowing the car to an easy stop. The elf pops the trunk, motioning to the building, "I'll wait for you here." She slides out, apparently to collect whatever is in the trunk.

«Plot» Samuel says, " +1 style for Kass playing the unspoken side of skillchips; the personality riffs of the people who made them"

Lilith chuckles and slides out, heading upstairs for a few minutes.

Kassandra snags a duffle out of the back, switching off her skillset for the time being. She shudders again, the voices in her head and strange urges leaving her limbs for the moment. She unzips the bag and checks the contents before placing another call, leaning into the car to check the autonav before giving an address to the person on the other end. That done, she'll toss the bag into the back seat and waits for Lilith.

Lilith returns, dressed in far better clothing then before. Long black trenchcoat, some kind of balaclava rolled up on the top of her head, sturdy winter boots, black sunglasses, hair tied back tightly. She smiles at Kass. "Hey there."

Kassandra nods to Lilith, starting up the car. A mindblink brings Wild Bill back on line. The woman closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, speaking softly, controlling the intonations of her voice, "All right. Let me grab a few things and we can head out." The elf keeps the car under control, weaving down a few blocks.

Lilith nods, strapping in. "Mmm. Everything all right?"

Kassandra slips the car neatly in front of a salaryman coffin hotel. She nods to Lilith. "Should be fine, just a little .. occupied." The elf leans over, grabbing the bag out of the back and moves to head into the hotel. "I'll be back in a few." With that, the elf vanishes into the building, presumably to get changed.

Lilith nods and waits.

Ally had joined the group by her own means and so to left it by her own means to go and prepare…maybe take a shot of adrenalin to wake herself up more. Regardless, she ended up back at her home to prepare, and now she puts in a call to Lilith, not having Kassandra's number yet.

Lilith checks her cell. "We're at my place. Hurry up, girl."

Ten minutes, no more, and Kassandra is back down the steps. She has a larger duffle with her now, a matte black ripstop nylon number with multiple pouches. The elf leans in the car and pops the trunk, gently settling the bag inside. She slips back into the car, tossing a long trenchcoat into the back seat as she does so. "We set?" The elf starts up the car, apparenly not having let go of Wild Bill.

Ally grumbles something in what sounds like Japanese, and ends the call with, "Be there as quick as I can."

Lilith nods. "The other girl will be here soon."

Kassandra nods, "All right." The elf tunes in the radio, apparently ready to wait. A nag screen crosses her retina, flashing red. She kills the alert with a mental shrug, pulling a small patch out of her back pocket. The elf peels off the backing and applies it on her forearm, humming quietly with the radio.

A cab drops off Ally, changed and ready-for-adventure, in front of Lilith's apartment building. And it takes her just a moment longer to get waved over to the car in question, and as soon as she's able she's inside. "So um…hi," she greets them, peeking at Lilith for a moment before peeking at Kassandra. "Do you do magic?" she asks, peeking at the elf curiously.

Lilith looks over at her, arching another brow. "Mmm. Nicotine patch?" She looks over at Ally and smiles wryly, her American accent dropping to a natural Brit tone. "I dunno, Ms.Cindel."

Kassandra pops the lock for the back, motioning Aladriel in. She answers Lilith first, "No, vitamin supplaments. B-12 is a little low right now, so I've been trying to double up." Once Aladriel is in the elf moves the car smoothly into traffic, cutting off a gypsy cab as she accelerates smoothly. She waits until they are moving before answering Aladriel, "No, not unless Magic refers to the dancer over at Bungalow Jim's." If it is a joke, she tells it in the most deadpan way.

Lilith gives a soft laugh. "He is a lovely lad, isn't he." She doesn't miss a beat. "And mind the vitamins, doubling up just means you're making expensive urine."

Ally looks at Lilith through opaque sunglasses so her expression is hard to read. "Y'know my name *could* be a secret or something," she says with a little sigh as she sits in the back, buckled in, one hand holding tight to the belt, the other to the door. Nervous traveler? "That kindof sucks I'm the only mage," she says glumly.

Lilith closes her eyes. "Sorry. I'm fairly sure everyone knows each other here anyways." She settles comfortably "Only mage? I have no magic or decker, or rigger gear. I don't have much of any useful skills at all."

Kassandra flicks a glance into the rearview mirror at Aladriel, letting the other two chat. The elf smoothly makes the transition back on to the freeway, one hand tapping on the GPS screen, bringing up their destination. She remarks, "Everyone has useful skills; it is the way in which you use them that makes them that way." She glances to Lilith as the drives, her reflexes and training allowing her to seem somewhat effortless in movement. "I doubt our employer would have contacted you, otherwise."

"You can shock people into stunned silence when you start berating them with a prissy, condescending demeanor," Ally suggests gently, a little smirk playing across her lips.

Lilith chuckles faintly at Kassandra. "Mmm, perhaps." She doesn't open her eyes as Ally speaks, her tone shifting to something slightly cooler. "Miss, that was uncalled for."

Kassandra accelerates once on the freeway, keeping the vehicle at 3 miles over the speed limit. The woman turns down the radio, seeming content to let the other two bicker as she drives. Everyone has their own ways to deal with stress before an op.

Ally giggles softly at Lilith's reaction. "I wasn't trying to be mean, honest. You're not always that way, you just can do it well. And it would probably catch some people off guard…and if you did it at a good time…that could be really useful!"

Lilith mutters. "I am not prissy. I can be condescending. Enough on the matter."

Kassandra flicks another glance in the rear mirror, speaking for the first time in several minutes, "Call signs?" She avoids the verbal potholes from the women's coversation as she does those on the road.

Lilith sighs. "Malus."

"Sorry, Lil," Ally says, the smile still a bit present on her face, but her voice is gentle. "Really wasn't trying to offend you," she murmurs, before considering what to be called today. "Mmm… how about… Phoenix? Sure. Phoenix."
Kassandra nods, committing the call signs to memory. She offers, "Silk. We'll be getting their soon. Any ideas on how you'd like to handle things?"

Lilith shrugs. "Scan the area with any tech and magic we have first, then move in…Ally, you can send a spirit, or do whatever you do?"

«OOC» Kassandra says, "Current time, please?"
«OOC» Samuel says, "2pm"

"I can do both, yes," Ally says quietly, considering for a moment. "A few different ways to look, I think, my way. But that'll be good for people and magical. Not useful at all for anything technological."

Lilith nods. "That's all right. I believe that's Silk's job." She smiles faintly. "I suspect there is a more…spiritual aspect to this, but given the presence of mine shafts it's entirely possible the poor dear fell through a weak floor. Who knows."

Kassandra eyes the sky, checking the cloud cover versus her internal clock. The woman sets the navigational computer to give her a heads up half a mile before they hit their goal. Outwardly, she responds, fighting through Wild Bill's influence to say, "I'm going to pull up at about half a mile out. We can move from there, however we plan to do it."

Lilith nods. "Good idea. Ally, you well wrapped up?"

"All warm and toasty," Ally responds affirmatively. "Can even wrap some fire around myself if I get really chilly," she mentions.

Lilith nods. "Don't do anything that'll attract attention."
Kassandra pulls the vehicle to a stop at the aforementioned distance from the mystery house, killing the engine. The woman mentally clicks off the soft, letting the diagnostics program minimize as she turns to the others. "All right. Ms. Phoenix, if you want to get your mojo started we can get this op on the road." The elf leans over to pop the trunk, eyes casting here and there to take in the neighborhood or terrain.

Lilith pops out of the car, already pulling the balaclava over her face.

Ally gets out of the car and yawns for a moment before glancing around. "Well… nothing that I want to do can I do this far out. So nope, I'll just walk with you now. Might go invisible, if that won't freak you out. But beyond that…got to get closer, at least within eyesight."

On Location

The area around the house is rural. Mostly old farmland thats been overrun with critters and growth. A few places, legacy buildings that have been upkept, sometimes expanded, dot the morass. One might think the area wealthy, but you'd be wrong. Far to far away from the city for the convenience of the urban elite and not far enough way for the reclusive, it's just… poor. Squatters and the middle class in equal proportions.
Lilith squats on her feet, watching over the area. "Mmm.'

Kassandra snags her coat out of the back, a faint frown at the wind as she pulls it on. She expressly did not pull up next to a house. The elf nods to Aladriel's comment, "That'll be fine." She tugs the large duffle out of the back, unzipping and starting to pull various things out, dropping them into pockets or attaching them to her. That done, she pulls the two largest items out of the main body of the duffle, offering one to Lilith, "Here. Magic cloaks." The elf smirks slightly before pulling on the garmet, eyes travelling the area to look for onlookers.

«Plot» Aladriel going to cast F5 Improved Invis
«Plot» Samuel says, " On whom?"
«Plot» Aladriel says, "Self!"
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Sorcery + Sorcery Pool: 8 vs TN 4 (to Samuel) for "F5 Improved Invisibility":
1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 8 9 11 16 = 10 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Willpower + Sorcery Pool: 2 vs TN 3 (to Samuel) for "Resisting 3M Drain":
1 1 1 1 2 3 3 4 4 5 7 = 6 Successes
«Plot» Aladriel wrapped in F5 Improved Invis with 10 successes.

Lilith takes the cloak and eyes it, and drops her trenchcoat, ignoring the cold, pulling the cloak on. "Mmm." She says little, keeping her eyes on the surrounding area, watching carefully.

While Kassandra goes about equipping Lilith and herself with 'magic cloaks', Ally cloaks herself in magic.

Kassandra tugs on the cloak, working to keep the main body of the car between her and the likely locations of prying eyes. That done, the elf runs a datacable up from her comms system, snapping the lead onto the datajack behind her right ear.

«Plot» Kassandra says, "Kassandra and Lilith have Ruthenium Cloaks, 6 sensors."

Kassandra murmurs, "Everyone has a comm, yes?"

Lilith nods to Kass. "Of course."

Ally disappears from sight completely and stands next to them. "Let me know if you see one of those ultraloud sensor things…cause I have a toy I can try out," she tells Kassandra.

And there you are. A half mile from the location, all but invisible to the naked and not so naked eye. Standing on the side of a rural road.

"Oh, just so you know..I don't have a fancy radio thing," Ally murmurs grumpily. "I might have my spirit stay with you both, and you can talk to her if I leave, and she can tell me."
Lilith nods again, standing loose. "As you will."

Kassandra grunts in acknowledgement, digging into the mostly empty bag. She draws out hands-free comm system, one of the new line, offering it to empty space. "Here. Might need to chat when your spririt is in the little spirit's room." The elf tosses the mostly empty duffle back into the trunk and closes it, casting an eye at the sky.

Ally lets out a little squeal of delight as she takes the comm sys from Kassandra's hands and it promptly disappears. There is the sound of fumbling as she attaches it to herself. "I'm good to go, then. When we get closer I'll let you know what I can see. But lets get moving!"

«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Sorcery vs TN 4 (to Samuel) for "Casting F3 Levitate for Flight":
2 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Willpower + Sorcery Pool: 2 vs TN 3 (to Samuel) for "Resisting 3M Drain":
2 2 3 3 4 4 5 7 7 10 10 = 9 Successes

Lilith chuckles a bit and begins to slowly walk forward, eyes always scanning the horizon. "Indeed."

Kassandra nods, the transducer shaving inflection from her mental voice, «Let's move.» The woman keeps low, heading out at a trot. Her hands are free for now, allowing her versatility if needs be. She concentrates on getting to the target and keeping her eyes out.

Lilith is moving slowly, carefully. Not that she's concerned at the moment, that'd be silly, but she can't help thinking of those mineshafts that might be under foot. Eyes always moving, keeping a watch out. It shouldn't be this easy.

Kassandra is approaching the building from the direction of the car (let's say south). The small elf breaths easily, keeping the cloak's parameters in mind as she moves just fast enough to cover the ground, but not so fast as to give up every element of stealth. She pulls on her goggles as she travels, head tilting this way and that for changes in sound, smell, in the little uncertain things that change, the undeveloped sixth sense that lets one know when trouble is afoot.

Ally starts out jogging alongside the other women. At some point though the sounds of her footfalls disappear, which is quite sensible because she lifts off into the air and starts to fly. She goes up to about twelve feet in the air and then starts flying away from the way the other women are approaching, so that she can sweep around to a slightly different angle.

Ally starts out jogging alongside the other women. At some point though the sounds of her footfalls disappear, which is quite sensible because she lifts off into the air and starts to fly. She goes up to about twelve feet in the air and then starts flying away from the way the other women are approaching, so that she can sweep around to a slightly different angle.
Lilith senses the drift of air and sighs over the comm. "Neat trick."

«OOC» Samuel says, "Okay. Perception checks."
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
2 2 4 5 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 13
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Standard elven low-light vision currently.":
1 2 2 4 4 4 4 5

This is for Kassandra and Lilith.

The house sits on its lot, the grounds well maintained, despite the dilapidation of the house itself. Several windows in the upper stories (There are three) are broken or borded up. The house is not lived in, nor does it show signs of life besides the curiously manicured lawn.

Lilith wrinkles her nose, muttering on comm. "Reminds me of the grounds back home. Very neat."

You paged Aladriel with ' It's like looking at an Escher painting of Victorian architecture. The sort of 'it looks right at a glance' that comes with skill, but on closer inspection, a deeper glance… something is just wrong. Angles that don't meet up right, impossible geometries. A feeling of malaise and corruption.'

Commlink-Aladriel> Aladriel says, "So…from your friendly eye in the sky, I just want to throw something out. I don't like the way this place feels. And..I haven't even opened up to assense it yet."

Kassandra will come to a stop outside the immediate ground of the house, lying flat on the ground. The elf reaches up, dialing the different settings on her glasses, switching to thermographics and vision magnification. She will slowly sweep the house, searching for unusual hot spots or signs of tampering with the structure.

Lilith waits beside her, nodding.

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith says, "Oh, you don't have to tell me."

«OOC» Samuel says, "Percept, Kass"
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Thermi, Vision Mag 3":
1 2 3 3 4 4 7 16

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith says, "Be careful, Phoenix. You might want to come down before you go astral, I don't want you to end up hurt." Her voice sounds kind. "You've got a child, remember.""

Commlink-Aladriel> Aladriel says, "I'm going to fly down I think, before I assense. Because… this could be very bad news. If I open up, any spiritual nastiness can attack me. But…I think I've got an idea. Kick up some dirt so I know where you are."
Lilith scuffs the ground

You paged Kassandra with 'The house is bone cold. Cold as ice. And then, its not. It's warm, a house like any other. But then it is again. It's not rythmic, but it is an almost inversion of its thermals. You look closer… and you can see something in the house itself. 10… maybe twenty… no. Closer to 30 bodies. Warm. Then they are gone again.'.

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith says, "To me, firebird. I want to keep an eye on you."

Kassandra sweeps the building from her position, her head moving slowly, systematically. The small woman frowns, tapping the small buttons on the eyeware. She comments via comm system, «We have a problem. The house seems to be .. there and not there? Warm and not warm, bodies inside and then not.»

From airborn Ally sees where she thinks Lilith is, and so she flies over that way, not hitting the ground though. "Hard to do, when you can't see me," Ally whispers audibly, guessing she's practically atop Lilith. She gently touches down, gently so in case she accidentally steps on the woman, she can relieve the pressure immediately. Then, into the comm, «That…complicates things a little bit for me. And us."

«OOC» Samuel says, "In the future, to locate each other, I'm gonna make you roll stealths and perceptions."

Kassandra muses, letting her hands fall from the eyeware. She keeps the thermo up, watching the home. She keys the math processor in her head to cycle, to count the length of time the hot spots and bodies remain 'here' vs. how long they do not, looking for a pattern.

Lilith sighs as she responds. «Oh bloody bloody hells. Bugger this for a game of bloody soldiers. Keep looking Silk, Phoenix, give her a minute.»

Kassandra's MPU spits out, after a bit of data collection, that the cycle appears to be every 5.5 seconds, a shift from nothing to something, quarter second linger, then it fades, a full one second pause, then a shift back to hear, that lasts a quarter second, and then recycling to 5.5 seconds.

You paged Kassandra with 'Int check'.
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence + Task Pool: 1 (to Samuel) for "Intelligence check, task pool added if not needed ignore":
1 2 2 2 3 4 5 5 10
You paged Kassandra with 'Thud thud.. pause… thud thud… pause… thud thud… pause… It's almost like a heart beat.'.

Ally drops the levitation spell and crouches down on the ground close to where she thinks her companions her. She then speaks quietly into the comm. «I'm weary of perceiving, because if there's anything nasty out here, it can attack me and you won't be able to help me. I do have an idea, though. And it'll be useful in that it'll tell us something. And bad in that if its a bad thing, it might trip whatever alarm there might be.»

Lilith speaks softly. «Silk? What you got?»

Lilith nods «What's your idea, Phoenix?»

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "I have an interesting connundrum. The cycle appears to be about every five and a half seconds, with the times between here and not here very small."

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "The beat is not unsimilar to a heartbeat. Thud thud pause thud thud pause"

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith says, "Ah…aside from being creepy as hell, can we assume it's some sort of illusion tied to a single person? Or thing."

You paged Kassandra with 'The prospects of a thermo-graphic only illusion are a curious, and scary one.'.

«Well, if its 'pulsing' in and out, I'd throw a rock at the building to see if its solid at different times. That aside, going to conjure a spirit, have it manifest and go forward to the building. We can see if anything happens to it, whether it gets attacked or hits a barrier, without perceiving, ideally keeping us safe. If its hair-trigger tho, if it detects a stranger, the house could be alerted. But better by a spirit than us.» said Ally.

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "A thermographic illusion? I'd hope that isn't the case. At this point I am unwilling to assume anything."

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "Is one of your spirits going to want to be a Polish mine detector?"

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith snorts

Commlink-Aladriel> Aladriel says, "They don't get a choice in the matter."

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra grunts quietly, "Well, it will be an interesting test."

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith says, "Phoenix, you ready?"

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "If we're agreed, here we go."

«Plot» Samuel says, " Please clarify the current plan of action for the GM's understanding"
«Plot» Kassandra thinks Ally is going to have one of her spirits go a-knocking.
«Plot» Aladriel says, "Ally is going to summon a low level Watcher spirit and have it manifest. She's then going to have it go forward towards the house. If it gets attacked it will be visible, if it hits a barrier it will be visible. It won't, however, verify the solidity of the house."
«Plot» Samuel says, " ; nods. Watcherspirit is free. ROleplay on"

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith says, "I'm good. Waiting and ready."

Lilith keeps careful eyes on the house.

Ally does the summoning and a watcher spirit just appears in front of them. It is ghostly, its shape a little bit hard to discern, like its there but it shouldn't be. Ally speaks softly but clearly to it. "Please go towards the house, but not too fast, we need to be able to see you. And stay manifested, please," she tells it. And the spirit turns and starts floating towards the house.
Kassandra lets the invisible Aladriel do her thing. For her part, the elf rolls to one side, her hands moving slowly. She removes her pistol from its holster, ejecting the clip by mental command. She just as carefully draws a new clip from a pocket at the small of her back, slipping it in as quietly as she can.

From afar, Kassandra loads up Spiritbusters.

The Spirit turns, to go to the house. It pauses for a moment, confused. Then it proceeds forward. It moves across the grounds, to the edge of the house with no interference.

Investigating the House

«Plot» Aladriel says, "Is there door to the house visible?"
«Plot» Samuel says, " Yes. The large front porch has a veranda on it, and on it, a set of doubel doors."
«Plot» Lilith says, "Completely an aside, but what kind of house is it? Size, etc"
«Plot» Samuel says, " Three story victorian affair, probably 10-15 rooms. Not electrified, by the look of it."

Ally watches carefully and her lips purse thoughtfully. «Okay. No active magical defense thus far to attack at least a foreign spirit on sight. We're going to try the next thing.» "Partially go through the door, but not completely, please," she calls out to the spirit, needing to raise her voice for it to carry.

THe spirit spins around three times, then starts to shift colors rapidly for no apparently reason.
Kassandra slips the weapon away, rolling back over to watch the creature's progress, keeping the thermographic overlay up.
Lilith arches an eyebrow. «Ah, Phoenix?»

Ally's head tilts to the side. «I don't know. Either confused or…something not as good. I'm going to go closer and try again» she tells them, starting to creep forward a few feet in a crouch, before she calls out again. "Go in the door halfway, please…"

Kassandra's are a tight line, keeping an eye on the house. The microcomputer continues to cycle, keeping track of when and if the pattern changes.

«OOC» Samuel says, "How far away from the house are you now, ally?"
«OOC» Samuel says, "be specific"
«OOC» Aladriel says, "Oh jeez I don't know. A few feet closer than wherever Lil and Kass camped out. Thats the base factor"
«OOC» Samuel nods. Please come to a consensus as to how far from the house you are.
«Plot» Kassandra stopped 10 meters outside the immediate grounds of the house.
«Plot» Lilith says, " :guess she did too"
«OOC» Samuel says, "That puts Ally now, 25 meters from the house."
«Auto-Judge[]» Samuel (#799) rolls 3 for "Watcher spirits are not known for their brilliance. Just stubborness.":
1 4 5

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "While it's being weird, one of you throw a stone at the house?"

This time, the spirit seems to hear Ally. It's form snaps back to the little pac-man like ghost it had been when summoned. It turns to the door, buzzing around it for a moment, looking for a way in. It pauses then at the keyhole. It was told to stay materialized. And so, it tries to force its way through the keyhole.

This might take a while.

Lilith bites back a laugh

Kassandra searches the nearby grounds for a rock. She hefts it experimentally before rising to a knee and tossing the bit of ground at the structure. She watches closely to see what happens, offering over the link, «Of course, the place might only respond to living beings. If I made a trap, that is what I would do.»
The rock sails through the air, then bounces off a wall. Thud. Now the rock is on the ground, next to the apparnetly solid house.
Lilith picks up some light pebbles and weighs them, then tosses them towards the building.

They bounce too.

Lilith nods. «Hmmm. Weird.»

Kassandra frowns, eyes scanning the house. «All right. Assuming that Aladriel's ghost doesn't find something interesting, one of us should go up and be friendly. Any volunteers?"

Ally sighs as she watches the watcher spirit, not pleased with what she is seeing. «I'm actually kindof at a loss here. Do you have like a…robot or something that can go up there? What I'm seeing….isn't giving me any answers."

«OOC» Samuel says, "Perception, everyone, TN 6"
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence vs TN 6:
1 1 1 2 2 4 4 5 5 5 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence vs TN 6 for "Perception test. Thermographic currently enabled.":
1 1 1 2 3 4 8 11 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence vs TN 6:
2 2 3 3 5 = 0 Successes
«OOC» Samuel says, "Karma, anyone?"
«OOC» Lilith grunts
«OOC» Lilith says, "ok"
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence vs TN 6 for "kp 1":
1 2 2 4 19 = 1 Success
«OOC» Lilith says, "Huh"
«OOC» Kassandra stands
«OOC» Lilith says, "stand"
«OOC» Aladriel throws one out for fun!
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence vs TN 6:
1 1 2 3 3 3 3 4 5 5 = 0 Successes
«OOC» Aladriel cries

Everyone but Ally:

The little blue ghost, trying so hard to push itself through the keyhole, gets unexpected assistance when the keyhole grows to allow its passage. Oh. Wait. Those are jaws. And the keyhole just -ate- the Watcherspirit.


Your watcherspirit was just consumed. Not dispelled. Gone. Entirely. Forever.
Not that you care.

Lilith jaw drops. "Oh my good lord." She crosses herself, out of reflex. "Blessed Eris watch over us."

Ally doesn't see any jaws. She just sees her spirit disappear into the house. « Um…where'd it go?» she asks, looking over to where she thinks Lilith is at hearing those words from her.

Kassandra pulls her goggles up, eyes narrowing as she looks at the house. The elf frowns, drumming her fingertips on her thighs. The woman transmits, «All right. That was an .. interesting event.» She pauses, then says, «The house just consumed your spirit. I do not think it liked it poking it.»

As if… ominously on cue.. the two double doors swing open slowly on moldering hinges.

Lilith eyes narrow as well. « What's worse, Phoenix? To die or be consumed utterly? I'm not magical and even I can tell there's some bad, bad vibes here.»

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "An invitation."

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith says, "Mmm hmmm"

Ally's eyes widen in interest, and she audibly goes "Huh!" Pursing her lips together, she watches the doors to the house up and gently starts to massage her temple. «As your paranormal expert on hand… if you both saw it eat my spirit, that means its real. If it was purely an astral occurence, you wouldn't see it. None of us would've. So in plain terms… it could do that to us. And I vote for not going in.»

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith says, "No kidding. Do we have any little toys that can fly in there?"

Kassandra grunts again, rising to her feet. «No, I am afraid we are the only little toys out here.» The elf starts forward, heading for the open doors, «So. We have a missing girl. We have what looks like more … things … in there. And all we can do is watch from the outside?» The elf sighs, then continues forward, «So watch the house, and come save my hoop if it swallows me up.»

Lilith takes a step forward. She hesitates, then tosses a black ebony and gold cane over. «Here. It's no weapon, but…poke your way forward.»

Kassandra will snag the cane once it becomes visible, stepping back to do so. The elf clicks off the ruthenium, saving the battery. She mutters into the comm, «Tell Mr. Finn I want double hazard pay if this thing eats me.»

Ally groans and she shakes her head a little bit. «If you're really about to go in there, let me at least assense it first. I've got a better chance of surviving being attacked by a spirit than you have of being surviving being eaten by a house»

«OOC» Samuel says, "Roll your assensing."
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence vs TN 4:
1 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 13 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Aura Reading:
1 4 10 10
Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "True. You also have a better chance of rescuing me if things go bad. If you go in, we're pretty much fucked until we go get more magical help."
You paged Aladriel with 'You open your eyes to the astral world and see…. A house. Exactly as in the physical world. This house exists in both worlds. At once.'.

Commlink-Lilith> Lilith says, "Aye. And I will most certainly give Mr.Finn an earful on your behalf."

Nothing colorful happens when Ally starts assensing. Except that she swears in Spanish, and rather fiercely at that!

Kassandra doesn't stop her approach, nor does she draw a weapon. Negotiating via violence is always a poor start. The elf heads for the open doors, studying the architecture, looking for possible flaws, weaknesses, skeletons, that sort of thing.

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "Not necessarily, its just not a really good thing. Not the best circumstance. It means there's lots of tricks we can be up against, and…I don't know."

Entering the House

«Plot» Samuel says, " Who all is going in to the building?"
«Plot» Lilith says, " Me, with Kass I guess"
«Plot» Kassandra was going, didnt think anyone else was
«Plot» Aladriel sure isn't!
«Plot» Lilith is following very carefully.
«OOC» Samuel nods.

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Silk, wait. I'm coming with."
Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Silk, wait. I'm coming with."
Commlink-Silk> Kassandra's voice is stripped of emotion and inflection via the transducer, "In that much of a hurry to die?"
Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "I wish neither of you would go! This begs to be poked at from afar before going right up to it!"
Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Not paticularily, and Phoenix has a point."
Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "We seem to be at a standpoint"

Kassandra continues approaching, fully visible and likely not far from the doors now. She comms, «So poke. But a good part of reconning requires us to report back more than, "It is a spooky house that ate our spirit." So I'll go in, and come back out. If I don't, you'll come get me."»

Thud thud…

Thud thud…

Thud thud…

«Plot» Kassandra is going to attempt to time the entry to correspond with the pattern I've noticed. I'm trying to enter when the other beings should be 'here'
«Plot» Samuel says, " Okay. Lets call that a quickness test"
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Quickness for "Stepping between time.":
3 3 4 5 11 11

The stairs under Kassandra's, and then Lilith's feet, creak slightly with the weight. They hold up however. A chill breeze blows through, setting off a crow in a tree nearby to squawking.

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "Well what I would do is throw a spell that would only affect and maybe kill a 'living' thing and I can't very well do that with you on its lap!"

Kassandra lets the cycle run once, twice, a third time. As the fourth iteration of the cycle begins, the elf steps forward, trying to slip in, her augmentations granting her exceptional speed and agility. With luck, she will be able to time things just right..

Kassandra steps in to the foyer. She finds herself assaulted by the tang of cigar smoke, the sort of thing one would expect in an old betting parlor or other such gentlemans club. Oillamps light the area in flickering golden light, showing fine wall paper and a pleasantly round mirror. Voices waft from down the hall, boisterous and loud.

Of course, Lilith just sees Kassandra step in to a darkened foyer that's seen far far better days.

Lilith waits outside. «Kass? What you see?»

Kassandra reaches up, pulling off the goggles and dropping them into their pouch. The elf sends a quiet, «Test.» through the transducer. She looks this way and that, taking in the apparent change in reality.


Lilith taps her ear in consternation. «Silk? Silk, reply.» She scowls

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Bloody hells woman. Do you read?"

Ally groans as she hears the cals for Kassandra and not even a bit of a reply.

«Milk, xxxhhhhshhrrrilk shhhirrix When Tony Goes over the top, ah ha hah, keep your eyes on… that fighting wop!»

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "Knew it was a bad idea!"

Commlink-Malus> Lilith swears fluently in Cockney slang. Ally, cover yer ears.

Kassandra kills the volume, dialing down the system to bleed off the static. The elf pulls down her hood, starting towards the sound of noise, the smell of smoke. She murmurs, almost keeping a log, "Interesting. Fully detailed illusion or a different .. place? Something like the Matrix, only magical?"

Lilith grabs her cane and narrows her eyes. "Oh, sod it all to hell." «Phoenix, I'm going in.»

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "I don't suppose *you* care that I really think you shouldn't and I'm half-inclined to not follow you in?"

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Yes, and I'd rather not myself, but SHE went in, and I suppose I ought to as well. *sighs* If I don't come out, give my regards to Alex and tell him he was a bloody good shag."

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "And Phoenix? I swear by all that is holy if you repeat a word of that to anyone else I'll HAUNT you"
Lilith laughs merrily, waits a moment like Kass did, timing…and leaps.

Kassandra keeps a running count in a separate window, marking off the time she has been inside, keeping track of /when/ she went in as well. The elf heads for the boisterous sounds, hoping this can all be resolved with a game of cards.

«OOC» Lilith says, "Nope?"
«OOC» Samuel says, "Quickness, TN 12. You can't ssee what she was timing."
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Quickness vs TN 12 for "I'm fucked":
1 1 2 3 4 = 0 Successe
«OOC» Lilith hangs her head
«OOC» Lilith says, "kp it, if it'll work"
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Quickness vs TN 12 for "kp1":
1 2 4 9 9 = 0 Successes
«OOC» Samuel says, "Don't worry about it, unless you want to spend your few KP on this."
«OOC» Lilith says, "Pose my ass poofing into the ether *sighs*"

Lilith comes in to the room that Kassandra is in, no worse for ware nor eaten by a carnivorous doorknob. When she does so, the 'look' that Kassandra has been seeing, fades. Now, the light fades, the smells mellow and the sound dies… A breeze blows through the open door.

Lilith frowns. "Damn."

Lilith blinks and then places hand to forehead. «Phoenix?»

Kassandra stops as reality changes. The elf's hands curl into fists for a moment, two, then she releases, keeping her voice steady, calm, looking over her shoulder. "Have I been gone long enough that this is a rescue attempt?"

Lilith shakes her head. "No. But your comm was cut."

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Phoenix. Remember what I said about repeating my last words?"

Ally can hear that as per normal.

Kassandra sighs, moving forward towards where she imagined/thought/heard the voices. The elf keeps her thoughts to herself, her normally fluid gait slightly off, tense.

Lilith follows, somewhat sheepishly. "Sorry, ma'am."

The room the voices were coming from, was once a fine parlor, you can tell by looking from the outside. Tables, chairs, an antique looking, but shattered wetbar.

Kassandra calls out as she looks around, "Meg? Can you hear me?" The elf crouches, looking for traces or tracks. She says aloud to Lilith, "Just for a moment, there was … things were different. Perhaps it can only address one person at once…"

Lilith bites her lip. "Oooh." She looks over the room, critical eye scanning. "Late Victorian…" She looks at the other woman, nodding. "Or, I may have broken the spell by stepping through at the wrong time."

Kassandra doesn't answer that, searching the room. Her fingers trace the top of the tables, eyes over the wetbar.

Kassandra steps in to the room, leaving Lil in the entry hall. Upon stepping in, there comes the tumult of voices, smells and the flickering of lamplights. Congregated in the room are a few dozen men, dressed in Sunday best, but still something less than would be considered 'gentlemanly'. Miners, tradesmen perhaps.

"Hilderbrant wants my mine!" One calls out.

"He wants mine too, but he ain't getten it! Let that yankee go the fuck back to New York City!"

That seems to be the dominating opinion on the matter. There comes a moment, a stop in time, when the window breaks, and through it flies a bottle. The bottle shatters at Kassandras feet, spreading sticky oil and flame with it. It starts on her legs, heated and burning, but her wit preserves her; She jumps back, leaving that room… and with it, the flame.

Lilith sighs as she steps carefully through, eyeing the debris, the architecture with both desire and regret. "It was beautiful once…I would've loved to see it…" just missing Kass jumpin back. "Eh, wot? All right?"
Yeah, it was just about that quick, too. For Lilith.

Kassandra drops to her knees, batting at … nothing?! The elf looks around wide-eyed, staring into the room with a look of confusion. She rises, starting forward, "The fire, there was fire.." She glances back to Lilith, "Didn't you see it?"

Lilith blinks and looks down, on the threshold. "No?"

The room is just a ruin of what was once done.

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "Are y'all there?"

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Yes?"

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "Phoenix, can … can a message be left? No, that isn't right…"

Ally, happily outside the house, though nervous about the fate of her companions, gets out her cellphone and starts to dial the number of Mr. S. Clemens. SEND.

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "If you haven't died yet…do you want me to come in with you? The house hasn't like digested you yet!"

Kassandra sinks down, sitting on the ground, still recovering from the seeming reality of the vision. The elf frowns, playing it back in her mind, shaking her head, "It is showing me something."

Samuel answers his phone on the second ring. "Clemens."

Lilith kneels beside Kass, placing her hand on the woman's shoulder. "Aye?" She frowns. "Are you okay, otherwise? You don't think there's a spirit attacking you?"

With one ear to the comm system and the other to the phone, Ally's doing her best to pay attention. "Hihi, its me. So about this housewarming party you sent us on… are you free to hear some things?"

Samuel hrms. "I thought I sent you because you were the expert, Ms. Cindel."

Kassandra shakes her head, "I am as well as ever .. I do not think anything is attacking me, per say. It was .." The elf drifts off at that, rising to her feet, searching the area. She narrows her eyes, considering her options. She speaks aloud, apparently not to Lilith but to the open air. "I am listening .. if you can hear me, I am listening. What is it you are trying to tell me?"

Lilith rises with her, keeping an eye…and an ear out. "For Queen and bloody country…" Lilith mutters to herself.

You paged Kassandra with 'There comes a childlike giggle that seems to reverberate through the house.'.

Ally laughs bitterly into the phone, and is interrupted for a moment while speaking over the comm sys. "Sure, why not. But in case we all end up dead, someone should know whats up. The house is dual natured. The elf said something about it pulsing like a heartbeat. It ate, *ate* my spirit. And communications are going in and out. They didn't listen to me and went inside. They don't seem to have died yet, so I'm thinking of going in to. So y'know, basically just giving you a heads up."

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "Malus, are you both fairing well in there? Don't know if you need me or if I should stay here to try to blast you out if things go sour."

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "So far, things are…clear. I feel nothing, but Silk has had visions."

Kassandra's head snaps up, searching. She tilts her head, exposing one pointed ear as the elf tries to pinpoint a certain sound. She is moving now, searching, "Hello?"

Samuel smirks slightly. "Fieldwork is fraught with personal danger and risk, Ms. Cindel. Were everything simple and safe… I'd have no reason to require your services, now would I?"

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "Well I'll keep watch. Need anything and yell."

Lilith watches sharply. "Eh?" She looks carefully at the woman. "If some…thing…is here, know that this woman is under my protection. I'll not have any silliness."

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "All right. One moment."

Commlink-Malus> Lilith is brisk, business like

The doors at the front of the hallway snap shut, slamming on their hinges like being shoved by the strongest troll. The house seems to shake from the force of it.

And then, to ally… the house is gone.

Lilith eyes narrow. "Stop it!"

Ally mutters inwardly at Samuel and shakes her head. "Yeah, yeah. Well, like I said, just remember, dual-natured house that eats spirits. I'm going to go inside with them and……" Ally's eyes go wide as the house disappears. "Oh.. the house disappeared…now."

Kassandra is still moving, looking for the source of the sound. She starts when the doors slam, dropping momentarily into a defensive crouch. Her heads-up display illuminates, giving a green light to all soft systems. The elf waits, listening for the sound again. "Meg?"

Sam quirks a brow, drawing a finger across the touch screen of a computer. "Disappeared… How?"

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "Um….Malus?"


Lilith hands react oddly, for a moment…for some reason they drop to her right hip in a split second motion, but then outwards in a ready position. "I'm sodding warning you lot, I'm not magical."

Still on the phone, Ally cautiously approaches where the house once was, trying to remember exactly how far the porch stretched out, imagining where it was, trying to approach to where the front door had been to verify that the house is truly gone and not simply hidden from plain sight. "Disappeared, as in, disappeared and gone. They're not responding by radio. But the house is *not* here. Its empty land"

On the Phone: Samuel raises an eyebrow. "Gone. That's curious."

Kassandra stays low, still calling for Meg. The elf scans the area, the skillsoft systems still blinking a comformating green ALL OK in her lower visual range. The woman frowns, tilting her head to listen .. apparently she's heard something.

"Yes, its very curious," Ally says into the phone, her tone sounding a bit annoyed. And she is! The freaking house disappeared and Sam doesn't *sound* concerned about it. At the area where the porch once was….Ally keeps walking forward, one hand held before her, and her footsteps very careful, as though she's expecting to trip over something. And her senses are attuned to the astral. "So..would it be safe to assume you weren't expecting the house to disappear with them inside of it?" she asks.

Lilith stands, crouching slightly, near Kassandra, *scowling* at her surroundings. "This is foolishness."

"It would be safe to say I didn't know what to expect, because if I did, Ms. Cindel, I would not have had need to send three of my better agents out there to investigate. Now. Be a dear. Get off the phone and -go investigate-. Houses do not actually disappear. No matter ceases to exist. It simply shifts form."

Lilith is…on edge. Whatever's been happening here, and to Kass, she hasn't quite seen, heard, or felt. And she does *not* like it.

Kassandra grunts an acknowledgment to Lilith's words, still creeping along. She looks to be moving towards the next unexplored room, still calling the child's name. "Meg? Come out, now, we are here to help you….Meg?"

Lilith tilts her head. "Meg? Is that the spirit here?"

«OOC» Samuel says, "Lil, roll perception"
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 4 11 11

"Okay, fine, I'm going. If I die you have to help take care of Maya and make sure she goes to the best magical school *you* can afford." Ally tells Sam into the phone. And then she hangs up, sliding her phone into a safe pouch in her attire. She gets down to fully focusing on what she's doing then. "House? Houseee.." she calls as she starts walking the perimeter of the house…and then she thinks, what the hell, and starts right into the center of the property.

For lilith only: The smell. It rises up from the floorboards, the sort of sickly sweet stench that for a moment, could be baking… but after that first sweet moment turns palid in your lungs, like death has settled on your lips and tongue. A stench so foul, the stench of rot and decay, that it tries to hijack your digestive track and void itself.

«OOC» Samuel says, "Willpower check. TN 5"
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower vs TN 5:
2 3 4 4 5 = 1 Success
«OOC» Lilith says, "I don't get sick?"
«OOC» Samuel says, "You barely manage NOT to vomit. But you are ill. +1 TN to all rolls for the next few minutes."
«OOC» Lilith says, "ok"
«OOC» Samuel says, "Ally, gimmie a perception check."
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence (to Samuel):
2 3 3 3 4 5 5 5 5 15

Lilith is a strong woman. She's been dealt some pretty bad expiriences, but this…she covers her mouth, her skin paling, repressing a violent gag. "Hrk..!" Lilith gets her breath after a few moments, removing her hand, but looks pale, wan. And pissed. "Oh, now, that was just uncalled for!"

Kassandra glances over to Lilith, "Eh?" The woman pauses in her explorations, checking on the other woman.

Outside, Ally can see the outlines of the houses foundations in the dirt, simple mounds that have been over grown. Here or there, a charred bit of wood, steel or concrete seems to poke up through the dirt and underbrush. It was an exceedingly large house. As Ally does her inspections, she will see that there is a hole in the ground, not far away, where it looks like the basement of the building has not fully collapsed, and a hole has been opened in to the underneath.

Lilith growls, spitting the taste of the stench out of her mouth. "Oh, whatever's here is trying to play with me. I smelt something just plain *nasty*." She scowls at the house again. "Sickly sweet, rotting. Typical ghostly behavior, I suppose."

«OOC» Samuel says, "Kass, Perception"
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Perception check":
1 1 1 1 2 3 5 5
«OOC» Kassandra says, "stand"

And now Kassandra smells something too… only it doesn't rot on her tongue. Apples. Baked apples and cinnamon. The smell of a pie, perhaps, wafting from down the hall. She hears also, foot steps, a set of heavier, larger footsteps, but also a downright stampede of smaller, lighter steps. No voices, just the smell and the footsteps.

Ally almost misses the hole in the ground, but thankfully she doesn't. Backing up a few steps, she approaches the hole and looks carefully down into it, looking to see if she can notice anything within. But as its her only option, she approaches it with the idea of going down inside. She needs to see first how deep it is..

Kassandra nods once, sniffing the air experimentally. She is in 'work' mode, so doesn't do more than cursorily check on Lilith. She rises, tilting her head again, hair falling to one side and exposing a delicately pointed ear. The woman frowns a moment, checking this way and that before following the scents and sounds down the hall.

Lilith settles down, still a bit edgy, moving lightly on her feet. Letting the more expirienced Kassandra lead but watching her back, watching the house.

The hole outside, leading inside, seems to go on for a bit. Being dark inside, with your head blocking off the available light… its sort of hard to tell.

«OOC» Samuel says, "ally:Perception"
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence (to Samuel):
1 1 1 2 2 3 4 5 7 9

The smell of apples and the sounds of footsteps lead Kassandra to the large kitchen that abuts the main parlor that was just left. It's like stepping back in time, as three women work in the kitchen to prepare a meal. Apples, in a basket, are being peeled by children and then sliced by one woman, while a third is making pie crusts. An older woman sits near the back, carefully preparing the strips of dough that go over the top. The smell of cooking food is delicious, in a way you just don't get with modern stoves. Ducks and geese hang on racks over a large cooking pit, rotating slowly as they sizzle. There are perhaps 15 children here, ranging from the youngest toddlers to about 10 years old, mostly female, but some younger males. This scene would fit right in on little house on the Prarie, if Kassandra ever saw that show (though its doubtful, it is a hundred years old).

Of course… that's not what Lilith sees. For Lilith, the scene is altogether more… cryptic.

The kitchen is cold, save for embers burning in the fire place. The food racks are empty and there are no boisterous calls of children, no warm smells of food as it cooks. No feast, no sun. Outside the windows, the landscape is cold and barren. The smell of rot permeates this room, a gangrenous smell that seeps in to the pores and infibulates the wood. One woman stands in the room, a single knife in her hands as she butchers an animal, tossing its skin to the side as she removes it from the meat. She turns, humming quietly to her self, never minding the stench and cold. She removes a large section of the skin, pinkish white in color, tossing it in to a scraps basket near her feet.

Lilith gasps softly. Stops cold, eyes wide, shivering. "What…what…?"

Lost in the wonder of it all, Kassandra turns her head this way and that, watching the children run and play, work and clean. The heady smells of cooking food fill her senses, the warmth of the kitchen on her skin, the sound of cooking, talking, playing. The elf looks around, trying to make sense of it all.

Lilith hugs her arms. "Why? Why me?"

Ally Enters the House

So its hard to see inside. Fine, Ally thinks. She goes to cast a spell, Gecko-Crawl, that will allow her to cling to the things just like a spider…, or gecko. And with that spell in place, she slides into the hole and starts climbing down as carefully as she can, sliding along her palms and knees.

«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Sorcery vs TN 4 (to Samuel) for "Gecko Crawl, F3":
1 1 2 3 3 3 4 5 = 2 Successes

Peering inside the hole, Ally can hear a dislodged stone fall in to the hole. It falls for about a second, then hits the ground. Proably a 5-7 foot drop to the ground. It clatters across a hard surface, not like hitting dirt or water

Gecko-crawling in to the hole, Ally finds herself in a different situation entirely, than the one she expected. Clinging to the Ceiling, She looks down on a pair of young lovers as they make their impassioned embraces as quickly as humanly possible in the dark recesses of the basement, between two casks of liquid and lit only by an oil lamp.

Lilith shivers, hugging herself, arms tight around her torso. "I…what do you see…"

Kassandra looks around, explaining, "A bustling kitchen, with several women cooking, children underfoot. There are pies being made, a very homey scene." The elf glances back to Lilith, narrowing her eyes, "You cannot see all of this?"

Lilith shivers and shakes, her eyes still wide. Unusual to see the normally restrained woman so shook up. "It's barren…cold, a woman skinning a dead animal, and there's this awful stench…I don't know why, it seems the home likes you and despises me." A weak laugh, as she tries to draw herself back together.

Ally blinks as down below her she sees two young ones having a tender moment together. What the hell? Not wanting to get a reputation as a voyeur, she fears she's going to have to, though, as she slides very slowly and carefully along the ceiling to take stock of her new environment and search for a way out. If she thinks she can get by without interupting them, she will. If not…well, boy are they going to get startled.

«OOC» Samuel says, "Lil, perception check"

As Lilith moves in the kitchen, she gets a better view of the 'animal' on the table. Animals don't wear buckle shoes. Nor do they have blonde hair and the face of a young girl.

The Scene remains consistent for both women for a moment, then fades. The house remains, but its current, 'real', delapitated state. The Kitchen is cold, the windows broken out, but no stench, no furniture. Just some charring damage along the ceiling where a fire burned for a while.

Kassandra considers the disparity in the scenes, the difference in what the women are viewing. The elf rubs her mouth, hunkering down to think, still watching the preparation of food. "Maybe … maybe what we are seeing is some sort of, I don't know, visual record? A recording of different times?" She seems to be mulling the idea over in her head, trying to put it into terms she can deal with.

The young are focused on the things the young are focused on, and the scamperings of a mage on the ceiling are unnoticed, or uncared for.

Lilith cries out and takes a step back, covering her mouth again. For a moment, a honest look of horror, disgust, and a brief fear crosses her face, before she takes a shaky breath and shakes her head. "Oh…blessed saints preserve us…"

The room Ally is in, is clearly a storeroom, little used, but lit by oil lamps. A large set of stairs lead upward out of the room, which itself encompass a large section of the basement.

Unnoticed and unregarded, Ally crawls as quietly as she can to get past them and then goes deeper into this subterranean level that she has found herself in. Once she is fairly certain to be out of earshot of those two, she will down from the ceiling and proceed on foot in search of what this place holds. The storeroom is given a little consideration, by means of poking around a bit to see what is being stored there, before of course she begins up the stairwell.

"What?" The elf looks at Lilith, clearly not having seen whatever it is that has disturbed the other so greatly. She looks over the now cold, mundane room, raising to her full height, calling out again, "Meg!?"

Lilith takes another breath, calming down. "There was a woman. She was…was…preparing a young girl with blonde hair on the counter."

Ally: Food, cheese, produce, a massive chest locked with 14 separate paddlocks, that sort of thing.

Kassandra nods once, compartmentalizing any feelings on the matter for another time. The scene is several times removed for her, not having the same emotional thrust that it might otherwise. The woman considers, "So … a happy little home with lots of children, and then someone killing and preparing a child." The woman looks around, absently calling for Meg again. She adds to Lilith, "I've heard things like that are bad for mojoworkers. Probably a good thing we left Phoenix outside."

Lilith nods. She's composing herself rapidly, getting over the initial shock. Just an illusion. Right. "Indeed. She's a good girl, I wouldn't want her to see this. Especially not with her baby now."

Kassandra pauses, managing to look mildly shocked, "She is pregnant?"

Ally proceeds up the stairs then, at a good clip, urgent now because she certainly seems to be in the house and she needs to catch up with the others, if at all possible. So she takes the stairs two a time while doing her utmost to listen for anything she might run into.

Lilith blinks and looks over at Kass, a faint look of amusement crossing her face. "She was. Didn't you know? She's got a baby girl."

And thats when Ally comes in to the now cold, dead kitchen containing the two women discussing her reproductive status.

Kassandra closes her eyes in a curse, "We are going to have a problem with that if she comes inside, I think. If this is ….." Silk's left hand clears her jacket, a pistol almost produced. The elf stops at the last second, spotting that it is Aladriel. She lets out a breath, relaxing by a fraction. "Damnit!"

Lilith sighs as she spots the girl. "Good afternoon, Phoenix." She looks…a little pale, like she's recieved a start, but otherwise ok. "Mind your senses, there's some nasty mojo floating around here."

Ally lets out a little cry of surprise when she runs right into Kassandra and Lilith, and of course the gun probably plays a little part in it too! "There you guys are! Of course you're having a time with nasty mojo, you fools ran into a fragging magical house!" She shakes her head fiercely, a little condescending. "Nows what this about me? Babies? Huh?"

Lilith sighs. "Don't snap at us, Ally. Kassandra didn't know about your child, and we're both worried that you might see something that you shan't like."

Kassandra looks at Aladriel, releasing her grip on the pistol. The combat computer overlay dims as she does so, and the elf remarks, "You found a way in, I see? Good, we may need it to get out. I suggest NOT perceiving here. There seems to be some reoccuring events that we are experiencing. I am seeing things in a more .. pleasant .. way than Lilith. Something /bad/ happened here."

Ally furrows her brows a little bit as she hears a bit about what the other two women have seen. She looks between them. "You've seen different things? Briefly…tell me what you saw, please. And details. Did you feel anything? Touch things, etcetera?"

Lilith rotates her neck. "I smelt death. Sickly, sweet rot. When I entered the kitchen…it was death as well. Cold, dark, barren, a woman…preparing a young girl with blonde hair."

Kassandra calls out for Meg again before answering, "I have seen, heard, and smelled things. The last I saw was a kitchen with women cooking, children playing and helping. I could smell the pie cooking, hear the children's footsteps. I haven't tried to touch anything as of yet."

Ally listens intently and gives a small shake of her head. "And you saw the same things. But you were at the same place? Thats…very unusual." To Lilith, Ally asks, "Preparing the girl for what?"

Kassandra says "I also saw the parlor catch fire."

"And who is Meg?" Ally adds for Kassandra…

Lilith gives Ally a look. "The girl was dead. The woman had a knife and a scrap bucket."

Kassandra raises an eyebrow, "The girl we were sent out here to find?"

Ally blinks at Lilith and says no more about it. To Kassandra, Ally smiles weakly, "Sorry, I get bad with names sometimes." Okay, deep breath. Thinking. "All right. I'm going to assense…I have to. Because I need to see if I can sense what is going on. At first it sounded like ghosts… but its confusing. I've never heard of ghosts that are visible to someone in the room…and not the other person. Are you both seeing the same thing, now? Are we all seeing the same thing? Because I need to see…if what either of you saw…is here right now," Ally tries to explain "If I can see them by trying, can try to interact with them. If not… its something else entirely."

Lilith nods slowly. "Be careful, Ally. Is there anything we can do to help you?"

Kassandra nods slowly, shrugging. "We'll do what we can."

Kassandra adds, "Right now we are seeing the room how it is, I believe." She gestures around at the area.

"Good question," Ally admits, thinking on it for a moment. "I suppose if I start to weird out or anything, just try to bring me back to the present. Um…if it gets really terrible, throw a bag or a jacket over my head so I can stop seeing it. I'm hoping its not going to be that bad. But…we'll find out in just a second." It is not often that Aladriel's been afraid to open herself to the astral, but she is now. So she takes a deep breath…and opens that sense to the house.

Lilith smiles and gives the girl a comforting squeeze on the shoulder. She keeps close, ready to support her if necessary.

Kassandra waits, ready to do something to break the mage out if needs be.

«OOC» Samuel says, "Roll the bones.
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 3 4 4 4 5 11 17
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Aura Reading:
1 1 4 4

You paged Aladriel with 'You open your eyes to the Astral world…. and seee….. nothing. A flat plain with a car sitting off to the side, a tree and nothing more. Then you realize something. You're not looking astral. You're looking from the astral… to the physical.'.

Ally's eyes go distant and she starts looking around. And she seems startled as she looks at something as though it was far away. And then something else. "What in the heavens is this?" she asks, clearly caught offguard by something. "Thats not right. I'm seeing…like what you see. The world. Its not the astral space…when I try to see the astral I'm seeing the *physical*. This…" she blinks her eyes and suddenly seems more attentive to the here and now, "This is what the astral is. Shouldn't be…but is."

Kassandra looks at Lilith, "Did that make any sense to you?".

Lilith looks around. "Huh. I've always been curious about that." She looks to Kassandra and nods, quirking a faint smile. "It does. It's like seeing what's really there, ne?"

Ally tries to clarify for Kassandra. "Being a mage, I can perceive the astral plane. Normally, you can't. Its like a switch with your like…uh, cyber-vision or whatever. I switch it on and see the astral, switch it off, see the regular world. But in here…I try to see the astral…and I see the normal world, not astral space. Its like its backwards. Its this house…this house is like a gateway, its own place…for all I know we could be on a metaplane.."

«OOC» Samuel says, "Perceptions, everone."
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Perception check":
2 3 3 3 4 7 10 16
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 2 4 4 4 5 5 5 8
«OOC» Samuel pokes Lilith
«OOC» Lilith says, "yes?"
«OOC» Aladriel says, "Perception!"
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
2 2 3 4 5
«OOC» Lilith says, "sorry, spam ^^"

You paged Kassandra with 'From the top of the house, perhaps, on the upper levels, there comes a scream, a cry like someone in pain, in fear and in terror. A door slams shut, somewhere… and a tremmor runs through the house.'.

The house shakes a slight bit, like a heavy truck driving by… then it fades.

Kassandra /snaps/ a look up, "Upstairs!" The elf takes off at a run, looking for stairs to lead up
Lilith nods and immediately runs after Kass.

Not about to argue, Ally runs after the other two, letting them lead the way.

«OOC» Samuel says, "Gimmie athletics checks"
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Athletics:
2 3 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Athletics for "Super girl!":
3 3 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Athletics:
2 3 4 5
«OOC» Kassandra says, "Welcome to 5ville, population 3"
«OOC» Lilith says, "We're all squishy!"
«OOC» Samuel snickers

The sprint through the house and then up two flights of rickety, broken stairs, leaves each woman breahtless as they come to the third floor landing. Imagine a beautiful victorian home that was burned, then abandoned, then used as a teen-age party hang out, and then burned some more. Thats sort of the environment one passes through on the way up stairs. Then, there, at the top of the third floor landing, is the entrance to the attic.

The sprint through the house and then up two flights of rickety, broken stairs, leaves each woman breahtless as they come to the third floor landing. Imagine a beautiful victorian home that was burned, then abandoned, then used as a teen-age party hang out, and then burned some more. Thats sort of the environment one passes through on the way up stairs. Then, there, at the top of the third floor landing, is the entrance to the attic.

Kassandra will hesitate for a moment to catch her breath and make sure she has back-up before barreling through the entrance, left hand straying beneath her jacket.

Lilith sighs with genuine feeling, an ache in her heart at the treatment the building has received. "So beautiful once…" She rests with Kass to catch her breath.

Ally leans against anything solid to catch her breath, shaking her head some, "Okay..okay, more gym time, definitely needed," she murmurs, mostly to herself, as she works to calm her breathing and then, only then does she take a good look around. "This is awful," she murmurs.

Lilith eyes are mournful as she nods.

The Attic entrance is a very 'normal' looking affair, a hatch in the roof with a pull-tab that presumably will let a ladder slide down to allow access. Kassandra reaches up, grabbing the hanging strap and tugs, but it seems stuck.

«OOC» Samuel says, "Perceptions, and an Str test from kass."
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 3 4 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Perception.":
2 2 2 2 2 3 4 4
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Strength for "Ladder!":
1 4 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 4 5 5 10 11 14
«OOC» Lilith says, "!!!"
«OOC» Lilith says, "win"

It's one of 'those' moments. Where you are sitting in the theater, and you see the person about to open the door you know the big scary monster is behind, and you scream out to the screen for the heroine not to open? One of those moments. Kassandra reaches up, none the wiser, yanking hard on the strap. When it does not give, she puts her shoulder in to it.

At that exact moment, as the seals on the attic 'break', Ally realizes that could be such a bad idea, as in the astral plane, that attic door may not even lead to the attic.

But before Ally can speak, to warn, the door POPS open, swinging down with a rattle of wood and poorly oiled metal. Dust and vapor sweep down over the women…

«OOC» Samuel says, "Body checks, TN 3, each of you."
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Body vs TN 3:
1 3 4 5 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Body:
1 2 2 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Body - 1 vs TN 3 for "Karma reroll":
1 3 5 = 2 Successes
«Plot» Kassandra says, "Stand"
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Body vs TN 3:
1 1 2 3 4 4 8 15 = 5 Successes

The Roof

The mist that swirls down is a NOXIOUS thing that induces fits of coughing in Kass and Lil, but seems to leave Ally fairly alone… And now a rickety step-ladder leads up in to the top levels of the building.

Lilith tries to cover her face, but sucks in nasty air and spends the next few minutes hacking away.

Kassandra falls back, coughing and sputtering, waving her hands to try to drive whatever it is off of her.

Ally cries out a warning too late before Kassandra has pulled open the door. She covers her mouth with her arm as the mist swirls in and she waits to see if anything should come from it…but thankfully, she seems to be mostly unaffected. "Relax, you're going to be all right," sh etells both of the other women, as she dare not proceed while they are in this shape. "We have to go *slowly* here…this, this isn't a normal house. We don't know where everything leads," she cautions.

Lilith sputters and wheezes, letting out a weak grin. "I…hack…defer to your…cough….wisdom."
Kassandra pushes hair back from her face, letting the coughing subside. The elf nods to Aladriel, or at least most of what she can make out, not trusting herself to speak just yet. The woman wipes her mouth with the back of her sleeve, casting a glance at the ladder and what my lie above.

Looks like rafters.

No use assensing. But what Aladriel does do is start actively shielding herself, considering that to be the best course of action when it seems like magical wonkiness is about. She goes up the ladder first, slowly but carefully. Once she reaches the top she'll wait for the other two…so when they are in her line of sight, she can shield them as well.

Lilith creeps slowly after Ally when she can breathe easier, moving softly.

Ally proceeds up stairs. To those behind her, she seems to disappear, fading from view as if sliding through realities.

Kassandra checks the load in her weapon with a quick touch to the butt of the gun, the smartlink processor relaying the information. She moves to follow Lilith, pausing as Aladriel vanishes from sight.

Lilith shrugs and then creeps forward again, closing her eyes as she continues to follow where Ally…was…

Kassandra will follow Lilith, expecting her to vanish as well.

Ally doesn't seem to know that she's disappeared from anyone's sight as she continues up the ladder to as far as it will take her.

Ally, then Lilith, then Kass, find themselves in the upper attic of the house now. There's no real roof, with bare rafters exposed to the wind, charred by flame. Here and there, large sections appear to be intact, but they do nothing to hold out the, cold and rain.

Lilith shivers slightly, holding her trenchcoat close around her, looking around. "Awful stuff…"

Kassandra looks around, hair whipping in the wind, the cold rain pelting her. The elf swears, saying, "I heard a scream from up here, someone was hurt, scared. A door closed…."

Ally pulls her hood tightly over her head to try and block out the rain and she shivers a little bit, but it doesn't have anything to do with the cold. "We'll fan out a little bit and look. Just be *careful*. Don't open doors without telling us…don't pass through anything that looks like a passage. Just be about as cautious as you've ever been," she suggests, and she moves forward, looking for any sign of someone who would have screamed…

«OOC» Samuel says, "Perceptions"
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 4 4 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Perception":
2 2 3 4 4 4 5 8
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence:
2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 5 17

This time, everyone hears it. From just ahead, then to the left behind a section of still extant wall, a frightened cry. Not even a scream, just a cry that sort of trails off, a sobbing.

Lilith shivers and turns towards the sound. "Who's there? What sayeth you, spirit?" A nervous habit, she tends to slip a bit into archaic tongues when she's stressed. "Wat seidest thow?"

Kassandra turns at the sound of the cry, the sobbing. She looks questioningly at the others to see if they heard it, moving slowly that direction.

Suketheth, he between tears

Ally looks the way that the others do to. She nods her head at seeing Kassandra's look and then she too starts that way. And she subvocalizes into the mic as they creep.

Commlink-Phoenix> Aladriel says, "Do *not* rush to anything you see. Spirits have many forms and I don't know if I can see through it here. So don't assume what we see or hear…is real."

"… is real. … is real. … is real. … is real. " Echos the communit.

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra sends through the transducer, "With that in mind, how do we know that all of us here are really who we say we are?"

"… are? … are? … are? … are? "

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Again, what be real isn't what we see sometimes. You have to know how to see what's really there."
"… there. … there…. there…. there."

Kassandra frowns, looking around and refitting the connection on her datalink.

Lilith sighs. "This is very silly."

"… there. … is … are? real. … there…. … are? there…. real? there. is… there are know?"

"Know is are real?" comes the disembodied reflective composit voice on the commlink then.

Ally takes a deep, calming breath and lets it out, her expression hardening. "I don't think its normal for those things to echo, is it?" she asks, though she really feels like she knows the answer.

Kassandra looks around, shaking her head silently to Aladriel. The woman considers, thinking into the radio through the transducer, "What is your name?"

"…. Suuketheth-he-between-tears-…" comes the response, though it is constructed in the syllables and sounds of the words already spoken by the women in the house, using their own voices.

"Where are you? Suuketheth-he-between-tears.." Ally asks quietly of the spirit, repeating the name and still moving, not content to just listen to the words that are being spoken. She wants to try and see the source of the cries that they heard can be located behind that section of wall.

"… Between-tears…" comes the answer, this time in Kassandra's voice…'.

Kassandra follows Aladriel, eyes searching the attic-like area as they move. What is real? What isn't real? It makes it hard to make a decision if you do not have a firm grasp on that. The elf swings out, giving herself room to maneuver should the mage get into trouble

Lilith closes her eyes, letting her hands drift out around her. If she can't trust her eyes, then what's the point…she drifts, silently, moving slowly and carefully around the attic. Little steps.

«OOC» Samuel says, "Ally, you can roll perception if you like."
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 3 3 5 5 7 10 40
«OOC» Aladriel says, "40!!!!!"
«OOC» Samuel says, "…"
«OOC» Samuel says, "Thats the highest die roll I have -ever- seen"

You paged Aladriel with 'Not quite.

You blink, straining for a view around the corner. When your eyes open again, you find yourself under ground. You are in pain. Serious pain, the sort of pain that is unending, unreasonable and drives one to the brink of madness. The light is flickering, provided magically, a sort of pulsing flicker of blueish glow. You look down at your hands, thorns sprout up from inside your skin, peircing your flesh and making you bleed. The thorns move, retracting in to your skin and then resprouting else where to cause pain. Unending pain.

And then, there, in front of you, is your son… You've hidden him away, from the pain that does not end, that has taken you and your people as the walls started to crumble. You could not subject your child to that torture. No, better to hide him. At least, at first. And then as the years went on, as the pain drove you closer and closer to madness… perhaps… perhaps it would be better… Yes… you could barter your son, so defenseless, so free of pain and fear…. but to who? Who?

You could not fathom one of the skin-flayers… no… this is your son and you love him… you could not fathom one of the mind-eaters.. no. But who? Suketheth… He between tears. He who licks the faces of a crying child and draws strength from them… Yes… He can give you protection from the Enemey…

ANd so you draw the summoning circle, bringing the Enemy to the very core of your home… and giving your son up to him. Your son will live. You will live and your pain lessened.. but your pain transfers to your son as Suketeth brings forth the tears he craves so desperately…'.

Ally, in the lead of the group, walks the furthest so she can get a look around the corner. It's uncertain if she actually sees anything there, or what exactly happens to her. But she stiffens, her body going rigid, and she screams sharply, looking down at her hands. There's nothing different there for the other women to see, but the mage doesn't react that way again. Her hands convulse, balling into fists and her whole body shakes.

Then she spins 180 degrees and she looks down, hands shaking…looking at debris, but not like anyone else would look at rubble. Considering it, her face softening, pain mixed with confusion there, oblivious to everything else that she's seeing. She spins again, dropping to her knees, and she drags at the ground, like she is drawing something, shaking fists moving in a circle across the floor, a choked sob escaped her lips as she tries to complete something…again, there's nothing there, the circle really nothing, perhaps a drip of blood from a cut on her hands that she didn't even notice getting.

And just like that she stops, freezing in place. She looks around a little bit, her blue eyes blinking in the air. She starts to get off of her knees… and crumbles to her side.

Lilith cries out. "Ally!" She leaps over to the girl, quickly taking her in her arms. "Ally…ally….Wake up. C'mon. It's ok. Come on.

Kassandra watches Aladriel with confusion at the woman's actions. She lets Lilith attend to the downed mage, left hand gripping her weapon. The elf frowns darkly, moving to step around the corner.

"…. Between-tears…. Suketheth…" echos across the commlink.

When Lilith gets to Ally, for all intents and purposes she looks dead. Her skin has lost almost all of its color and her eyes aren't even closed all the way, but they certainly aren't seeing anything. But she's breathing.

Kassandra asks through the commlink, "What do you want, Suketheth-he-between-tears? Where is Meg?"

Lilith snarls out angrily. "I swear upon my blood and before God and the spirits and saints, that if this girl is not returned whole there will be nothing, NOTHING, that will protect you from me. If she is harmed I WILL find you."

That brings, as a counterpoint to the occasional sobbing, a rolling creak from the house that sounds like nothing so much as a long, drawn out chuckle.

"… Meg-g-g-g-g isssss… between-tears…"

Lilith growls in return. "And I am the fire from the sky. I am the woman of the blood. Do not toy with me. This woman will be returned, this child will be shown. Or do you wish to spar with someone who will not bow to your whims and evil intentions?"

Kassandra considers the downed mage, Lilith's ultimatum, and the possibly lost Meg. The elf motions to Lilith, "Get her hour of here." The elf starts backing up, covering for Lilith. "We'd like her back, Suketheth." The woman glances to Lilith questioningly.

"… ba-k-k-k-kah…. Tr-ade…. Suketheth… trade….."

Lilith grunts and lifts Ally, slinging the girl over her shoulder. "Trade for what, spirit?" She growls. "Do not think a daughter of the first wife will trust a deceiver."

Trade? Ah, now we are on more firm ground. Silk nods, asking quietly, "What would you have us trade?"

"… firssssst wife… young liesssss. Suketheth… traaaaade… small one… long ear… younger… issss be-tt-tt-tter…."

And just like that, Ally's blue eyes blink and she sucks in breath. She pushes off of Lilith's shoulder and lands in a heap on the ground, but she's very much awake now. She looks around and her eyes see Lilith but she doesn't focus on her. They look around, everywhere, and her whole body trembles powerfully and she hugs herself, shaking like she'd just been dipped in ice water.

Kassandra nods to that, letting out a long breath, almost a sigh. The elf glances to Lilith, "Get. Her. Out." She enunciates each word carefully before saying, "A trade then? Myself for Meg, and these will take the child and leave?"

"… too… old… younger… issss be-tt-tt-tter….""

Lilith holds Ally tight, heading to the door. She nods, coldly, but speaks once more. "You want a young, elven child?"

"… Suketheth-he-between-tears… craves…."

Kassandra walks backwards, ushering Lilith and Aladriel to the hatch. She listens to the house/being/whatever, still negotiating. "You crave this, eh? Can we see Meg? Can she talk to us? There is no trade if she isn't alive."

Young, elven child? Ally hears that and she stiffens like a jolt of electricity just went through her. She's not the strongest there is, but she pushes against Lilith very roughly, because she's incensed, and she has very, very good reason to be. "You can't have her!" she screams… the scream that is filled with fear, anger, and rage. Her hands ball into fists and she starts to look…look for something. Something to attack…but there doesn't seem to be anything. Something… "No, no, we're NOT leaving. We can stop this," she tells the other two fiercely.

Lilith snarls and nods. "I agree…you better back the fuck off, spirit. You have no power over *me* or her or her child. You will back *off*."

Kassandra murmurs, "If you have a plan, Phoenix, I am all ears." The elf watches the room, her hand still on her pistol. She hasn't drawn, yet, but the feel of the plain, mundane objects is a comfort when confronted with the unknown.

From afar, Aladriel is now looking around, trying to see where she is, trying to compare with the vision she saw. A summoning circle was made and a summoning circle might be able to be undone, so she wants to see if it was here that it was created
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 1 1 2 3 3 4 7 9

Now that Ally is looking for them, seeking them, there is a certain… pattern to the charring, the marking of the house. Symbols carved in to the wood before it was burnt, but no hermetic summoning circle like Ally might be used to, or actively looking for.

Now that Ally is looking for them, seeking them, there is a certain… pattern to the charring, the marking of the house. Symbols carved in to the wood before it was burnt, but no hermetic summoning circle like Ally might be used to, or actively looking for.

"… Meg-g-g-g-g… lives… Bring.. Suketheth… long-ears… girl-child… flesh-things… see meg-g-g-g…""

Lilith lets out another growl, long and rumbling. "Go back to hell, creature."

Ally drops to her knees and starts crawling along the floor, feeling at things, looking intensely for something. "It was summoned, this thing. Its…there was a ritual, its why its here. I need to find it…maybe I can undo it but I don't know, this isn't my magic," she says, her voice angry, *so* angry and a bit desperate. "A mother.. she was in so much pain she sacrificed her son to this thing, to stop her pain."

"… Send-d-d-d-d…. one… Send… the -seer-… she… goes… others… stay…"

Lilith bares her teeth. "You want to be alone with me, spirit?"

".. To… old… already… tainted… younger… isssss bet-tt-tt-tter…"

Compared to Aladriel and Lilith, Kassandra is appearing neither worried nor angry. She shakes her head, "No. If you want your tasty treat, you have to let us go get it." The woman watches the mage root around, silently willing her to find something soon.

«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Conjuring (to Samuel):
4 8 11
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Magic Background (to Samuel) for "Insights":
3 11 11

Lilith is finally silent, letting Kassandra speak, but she's all but thrumming with repressed tension.

Ally, with her -lucky fucking dice-, does infact, start to understand if not the meaning, the intent and power of the strange symbols carved in to the wall. Looking something like a combination of claw-marks and pictograms, they tell a strange story, of a line between two worlds, the line being pushed back, then a small tear-drop shape being pulled through.

«OOC» Samuel says, "Kass, give me… hell, a negotiation check."
«Auto-Judge[]» Samuel (#799) rolls 1 (to no one):
«OOC» Samuel says, "TN is 5"
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Negotiation vs TN 5 for "You really wanna do what I said.":
1 1 2 5 5 5 = 3 Successes

"Yes…..yes, okay, okay this is starting to make sense," Ally says fiercely as she scrambles across the floor, examining marks, pictograms, symbols that have been carved there. "Maybe I can undo it….destroy the circle, or counter it…" she says, mostly to herself. But its clear she's finding something.

Suketheth's voice, really, the conglomerated voice of the women here… speaks out… "Leave… one… two go… no less… no more. Bring Suketheth.. long ears girlchild…"

Kassandra nods to the empty air, glancing at Lilith. "Take her outta here, let Clemens know. Bring back a kid." The elf seems to have selected herself to stay and play cards with the demonic house.

Lilith shivers and growls, hesitating. "Ally?"

"No, no…this doesn't make sense," Ally says with a shake of her head. She goes very still, thinking…thinking. Its not pleasant what she's thinking. But she needs to, to remember. Slowly she pushes herself to her feet and looks at Kassandra and Lilith. "No…we can't leave you here. There's….this doesn't make sense. This wasn't what I my head. It was a vision. But it wasn't of this. Its the same…but different. Suketheth…it was summoned in the vision I saw. But not *here*. That was long ago. This is…more modern. Its like its repeating. But its not HERE." She has no idea if that makes sense, but its the best she's got. "Tell it we are not bringing anyone for it unless we *see* Meg." To Lilith, "Look for the girl. We heard crying…we all heard it."

"… Suuuketheth-he-between-tears… is nottttt-tt.. deaf…."

«OOC» Kassandra spits coke
«OOC» Samuel tacks one up on the 'Samuel' score card.

Lilith nods. "Spirit. Reveal the girl, or nothing is done. Prove to us you have her, in absolute truth, no lies, no visions…if that is in your power." A faint sneer in her voice.

But is it blind? Ally motions to Lilith and points in a direction to have her search. As Kassandra approaches, Ally motions with her foot to what she has identified as a symbol. And then she takes a step, and motions to another. And another. Then she starts moving off in a different direction, being very careful where she steps, but trying to think where she'd hide if she was a little girl.

Lilith nods to Ally, searching where she pointed out, keeping her eyes low, scanning.

Say YES, Ray

The words Lilith speaks, they disrespect and they demand. They command and require. Fleshthings… they are food. They do not demand anything of Suukethet-he-between-tears. When Lilith speaks again, his patience breaks. Lashing out with the force of his mind, crossing the space between their respective worlds, Suukethet snaps a massive piece of charred, burnt timber from the rafters. The rippling crack of wood resounds in the room as the timber, pointed end first, hurls through the air.


Lilith eyes widen and she reacts in a flash, moving in a spin….and the timber doesn't impale her, but catches her across the body, knocking her back through the air. Part of the broken, burnt wood pierces through her armour and coat, but she doesn't scream, instead giving a sharp gasp, back arching on the old floor as she tries to breathe. "Cunt!" She grits her teeth. "Kinky, but not my game…fine. I'll shut my trap." Pain doesn't bother *her*, nor does intimidation, but this….fear rockets through her, she can't fight a spirit. "I will not bother you again."

Kassandra considers the symbols that Aladriel has pointed out, absently comparing them to ones she has seen in Antarctica. Her math subprocessor works overtime as she tries to determine how big a circle there might be or have been, given the placement of the symbols on the floor. The elf thinks, pi r squared minus .. she lets the process finish in the background as a chunk of timber slashes through the air towards Lilith, her left hand grabbing but not drawing the pistol from beneath her jacket. The woman's eyes narrow, looking for any crack or flaw in the design of the reality they are sharing. Anger tends to make one sloppy.

She asks towards Aladriel, tapping her toe where the woman showed her, "Is this a vital spot?"
Lilith is impaled somewhere on her torso. Not fatal, but…worriesome. NASTY wound.

Tetanus. It's a hell of a disease.

Oh, bugger this for a game of soldiers.

Ally hears the crack and snaps her attention to the side. Horror goes through her for a moment, because she's not going to be able to stop it….and then, thank the heavens, Lilith moves. It doesn't skewer her. And she's still alive…and swearing, and…alive. Ally doesn't go right to her, though, she has to search first, not just for the girl, now, but to see if there's anything she can track of the magical energy that just did that. Normally that would require assensing…but this seems like its the astral, already. To Kassandra, Ally looks where she is, and nods. "I don't know but I'd love to find out."

Lilith gasps and shudders on the ground, the pain both clearing her head, the adrenalin racing through her mind. Her jaaw clenches, she fingers the bit of wood stuck in her. "Ally…keep…going. I'll…be alive…for now…"

Silk grunts to Aladriel, scuffing her foot out of the way. Her left hand draws in a blur, the Ares Predator III in her hand. The smartsystem flashes to life, sending a ton of rather specific information flooding across her visual range. When she points the barrel of the weapon at the symbol, she is alerted with a yellow caution across her field of fire. She dismisses it with a mindblink, engaging the weapon with a mental twist, sending the fire command. The elf mutters as the gun discharges, sending the round at the floor, "I hate magic." Ironically, the magic bullet in her gun travels towards the aforementioned symbol.

The bullet impacts the symbol, shattering it as wood splinters in different directions. A tremor goes through the house and the wind whips up. A broken chair in the corner lifts off the ground, whipping twords Kassandra with deadly intent!

The elven woman known as Silk spins as the chair slashes through the air towards her, gracefully dropping and rolling to the side, letting the chair go where it may. Her pistol is still out, active, and ready to go. The woman chances a smile, looking down for the next symbol Aladriel alerted her to.

Ally is looking around the room, which is really disorienting. It's an attic but its also got alcoves and hallways that seem to go on in directions that should not be. And yet, There, two 'doors' down, Ally does find young Meg Anderton. Or what is left of her. She's not dead, but she's not here anymore. Her eyes are vacant, her skin torn and ripped, cut and bleeding. Patches of it are abraded away, almost methodically, while other areas have been cut out. Someone has taken time to inflict as much pain and suffering on the girl as possible. Three teeth, a finger, a nipple and half her hair are missing. But she's not dead.

There is no garuntee that she is alive, however.

Ally searches as intensely as she can, with the fact that Lilith is bleeding out and a very angry… thing is throwing dangerous items at her friends. And then she sees her. The girl. Jesus Christ. She sees her and then looks away, not giving any signs that she's seen her yet. She looks at Kassandra, then at Lilith, then at the floor. And then she calls her elementals.

Kassandra looks for, and finds, the next symbol in the circle. The elf takes aim at the mystic writing, the pistol swinging around. The yellow warning doesn't even have time to process, vanishing almost immediately. The woman toggles the warning indicator off, minimizing every non-essential window in her visual range. She spares a glance towards Aladriel, or where she thought she was, before firing another magical bullet into the magical house.

Lilith is on the floor, and well, still hurting. She grunts, poking at the stick, wincing. "I…think I can walk. But…bleeding a little. Enh, it'll be fine." She grunts, taking out a hip flask…might not be the best time, but she'd rather not get it infected more then it is. And pours whiskey over the wound. Good Irish stuff too. "Fuuuuuuck….." A hiss of pain, and she groans as some of the blood is watered out, staining her shirt…then opens her eyes, looking around. Trying to be useful and find another symbol.

Ally starts thinking of a plan. And it seems like it could work. "Ladies, get ready for something," she says, taking a deep breath. Nothing flashy happens. There's nothing to what Ally does….she touches that other-worldly connection to the spirits that she has summoned, and calls one forth. The signal to the great, hulking earth elemental that enjoys its time on its own metaplane until its summoner comes calling.

Lilith staggers to her feet. Seems the wound wasn't quite as bad….but still, it hurts like fuck to pull the stick out and wash the wound with a little more whiskey. "Hell fuckin' bells…all roight 'en." Gutteral Cockney, and she waits, clutching her side.
BOOOOM! The firearm barks again, sending another 1,000 =Y= bit of magical nonsense into the mystical writing. The elf glances up as Aladriel calls a warning, looking around for something strange to happen.

Three of the Anchoring wards fall, sapping away at Suukethet's strength! FOr so long, he has worked with the young ones, for so long he has marked those who are his own and guided them to adult hood, grooming them to provide for him those which he needs! And now, these women come to undo the careful work! So close to being able ot Manifest in the material plane, coming through a manifested astral construct, building a home based in horror, pain and suffering! Carefully selecting his victims for endurance and pain sensitivity!

And Kassandra, with her wretched foci-gun… threatens everything. He almost materializes in the middle of the room, but the power is still too weak, leaving only a ghostly image of him, a man who looks for all the world like Jude Law, were Jude Law's face half replaced by the crawling of spiders, his skin with sandpaper and his eyes with burning coals. Okay, so really, very little like Jude Law.

His hands come up, snakes coiling around his wrists and Kassandra can -feel- a wave of death pass over her, breaking on her willpower and intercepted by a shimmering field of magic that surrounds her.

Ally said to get ready for something, and she wasn't kidding. She just didn't know what ALL that would be. Thank the good lord she is shielding. She starts to sweat as the higher levels of magic she's learned come into great use…protecting Kassandra and holding strong in the elf's defense. Now its time for the retribution.

Part of the house seems to shake again…as a huge, hulking elemental seems to pull straight out of the rubble of the wreckage…forming a vaguely humanoid shape.

Lilith eyes widen. "Holy fucking hells!"

Kassandra steps back as the thing almost manifests, the wave of death striking at her. The woman shakes her head, fighting off the magic as best she can, Aladriel's shields shimmering and deflecting the worst of it. The woman spins on a heel, the gun snapping off another round of mystical metal, "I deny you, Suukethet!" (Sperethiel)

Lilith roars in agreement, raising a bloodstained fist. Keeping her eyes out for her friends, since she can't do much else but show support. "For bloody England, you cock!"

Suukethet whirls on Alladriel, sensing the source of the magic that has fouled his desires. Visible now, if only as a ghostly apparition of low power, one can get the sense that were he -here- and not -there-, his powers not dimmed by the divide… he might be as formidable as any living mage today. That includes the broke ass PC's on Denver.

His hands reach out, rending the air and leaving glowing trails, claws raking down the sky. These tears open, like seals bursting and through them, step two spider-like creatures, of eight legs… As they come fully in to view, they are perhaps 10 feet wide by seven feet long… and have vaguely human heads. Heads like children. They are, infact, crying..

"Going to need help! When the hole comes, jump in it!" Ally yells into the subvocal mic…which, well, she probably didn't need the mic since she's yelling. The mage has a plan, and damnit she's going to see it through. Seeing her elemental at hand, she directs it very simply.
Now its time for her…then the Horror shows itself and Ally has a moment where she can look it face to face. She snarls at it, as much out of fear as anger. Let the anger take over. But before she can throw down with it… it brings forth…terrible creations, with the faces of children. To prove she's not just a pretty package, Ally whips out a move that would make her mother proud. Lightning-fast she grabs the pistol hanging at her thigh, brings it up and fires a loud burst at one of the terrible creatures before her.

Silk swings the gun with graceful precision, sidestepping as she does so. The gun blasts again, the ammo indicator clicking another notch in her peripheral vision. The round expended, the woman is already looking for the next, betting her life, betting THEIR life, that this is more important than the creatures just summoned. She spares a thought for a scream of command, "Malus! Get in the /game!/" The elf grimly looks for the next target, hoping that she is that much faster than Death.

As Jehuthra Nilox is attacked by the cannon in Ally's hand, its forward legs splintering as rounds shatter them, Jehuthra Silox lunges forward, springing on its eight spike-clad legs. It's little mouth opens in an inhuman scream of rage, bloodlust and carnal fury, leaping for Aladriel in a single minded quest to rip the human spellslinger limb from limb.

Ally is not given a moment of respite, as she's attacked two-on-one and she's at least fortunate enough to shoot down one of the creatures! The second one, she's not so lucky, and it jumps at her. Ally knows Tai Chi so she does the thing that comes with some of that training, trying to redirect some of the energy of her attacker and use it against it. However… Tai Chi wasn't designed to combat spider-creatures. She tries, makes a good effort, raising her arms before bringing elbow down sharply to try to knock it down from her. The impact from the creature, though, is enough to flatten her. She hits the ground with a thud.

Lilith grins ferally at Kass, then whips out her pistol is a quick, fluid move. Standing gracefully as ever on the rooftop, the wind blowing her black trenchcoat around her, she points the weapon at the monster hulking over Ally and…smiles. "Oi, FUCKO." A pause, a click, and a double tap, one tinging off the creature's carapice, the other biting flesh. Lil growls. "That's MY mage. MINE." Very strong emphasis on what is *hers*.

The first round impacts with a dull thud on the rear carapice of the Jurthura, but the second brings a CRACKING sound from the Spider. It doesn't rear up… but it does look pissed.

Suuketheth turns his attention to Lilith now, mighty displeased with her. His eyes glow, letting a red mist soak in to the air. His hair comes alive as his lower jaw unhinges to let out a mighty scream.. His hands rend the air once more, but this time, lightening flies forth!

Lilith braces herself, and without…a trace of…fear…stares right back at the creature, letting the shield deflect the spell, feeling the tingle and wave of power flowing over her. It's *exciting*. She grins, smiling at the horror. "We are both beasts of suffering, great one…"

Ally's elemental takes a moment to get going, but once it does, its worth it. Because they need a freakin exit. And she gives it quite the specific direction….crash through the floor, take as much of the ward symbols with it is can on the way, and get them a straight shot down to the cellar. Cause they need to get the hell out of Dodge. And thats just what the elemental does. It sort of leaps… and then crashes through the floor with a thunderous crash…crash…crash…

Ally feels the ground shake as her elemental crashes through the floor, and she has to scramble to not get sucked down with it. She rolls across her back, finding something to latch onto until the shuddering stops and she has a hold of something. Part one…done. Time to adjust her shielding…get the girl….and get the hell out. Easier said than done.

Lilith nods to Suukethet. "However, my pain has a price." An odd sort of salute, and then….she drops, drops, into the blackness as the elemental opens the floor beneath her. Spinning…and landing perfectly, or at least without hurting herself, she hits the floor with a rolling curl, stands, crouches, and jumps out of the way with gun in hand as the injured beast falls with her.

Silk is still spinning, only fractions of a second passing to her perception. The elf sees the elemental rising and beginning to fall towards the floor and can quickly discern what is likely to happen: rickity house, 2 tons of rock, you do the math. She does the math.

Silk launches herself to one side as the floor collapses, sending rotten timber, British hookers, the occasional elder horror, and whatever else is in the attic to the ground below. She rights herself, her pistol still in hand seeking a target.

Ally needs to get the freaking…creepy thing off of her, and she goes with what might work, a lightning bolt. The spell is cast, which is a pretty spectacular effect, considering that..lightning just appears.

Silk catches her balance as the floor settles and bucks, eyes skimming over the structural beams. Christ on a crutch, there are a lot of them. The woman shakes her head, her attention snagged by one of the .. things .. trying to carve up the mage. The elf doesn't bother with a pithy comment, adopting a two-handed grip on the firearm and shooting the creature in the back of its babyhead.

The elf doesn't slow, doesn't watch where the round goes, rotating smoothly to fire a shot at the Elder Thing that has them trapped here.

Suukethet turns, snarling in the voices of the women, using their words as his medium for conveyance. He floats through the air, his transparent spectral form engulfing Kassandra…

Kassandra screams as the spell tries to rob her of life. The woman fights back, Aladriel's spell augmenting her fortitude, allowing her to fend off the curse.

Jurutha Silox seems to kip-up back to its feet, all 8 of them. It skitters to the side, then the other side, then leaps, all 8 feet, pointed like daggers, for Lilith. Lilith is able to slide between them, launching an attack of her own…

Lilith raises her claws for another fell swipe, but….damn. The top's a damn sight tougher then the soft under belly. Her razors trail sparks as she ineffectually scrapes her claws down it's back. "FECK AN' MAY ERIS BUGGER ME!"

End of the Line

"I'm going for the girl, Silk get down that hole!" comes over the commlink as Aladriel scrambles across the floor towards where the girl, Meg, is chained to the wall. As soon as she's close she brings up her pistol and the gun barks as she aims at the chain and fires.

The burst is aimed well and the first two bullets strikes the manacle perfectly. But the impact of the first two, shift the manacle and the final bullet ricochets. Theres a dull meaty thud, as the bullet lodges in the girl, just above the breastline.

Theres a moment of shock that registers on Meg's features, and for the first time she -looks- at ally… maybe, a ghost of a smile… and then her eyes glaze over.

Silk snaps off two more shots, blowing chunks of supporting beams away, the symbols shattering as the rounds strike. The woman transduces as she moves, cooly shooting at the various mystical devices, "We have to break the symbols you said!" She spares only a fraction of a glance towards the mage, trying to manuever to hit more of the symbols.

Suukethet turns to look down the hole at Lilith. He raises his hands to lash out at her, but then…. his mouth opens and a scream of horror comes out. Real frustration, real fear… as he simply ceases to be. The spider below, with Lilith, likewise… fades from existance.

The sky overhead, a sickly reddish brown, turns cold clear blue and the wind, constantly blowing, returns to the normal scents of winter…

Kassandra rotates, picking her next target. She pauses, her right hand already bringing a red-banded clip up, her left (with the pistol) tracking towards the next symbol. The elf snatches a look at the sky as things shift and change. She holds her shot, looking around wildly for the creatures…

The plan was a good one. Aladriel actually comes up with a fair amount of good ones. It started well, things going more or less exactly the way she would've had them. The next parts were already playing out in her head. Free the girl, grab the girl, throw herself down the hole and get out of the house. Everyone alive, it'd be all done.
And it starts. Ally grabs the girl and starts to pull her. She doesn't see the bullet hit the girl…she looks down and sees the hole in her chest, and the blood welling up there. Part of her realizes what happens, but that part doesn't communicate with the rest of her. Aladriel looks down at Meg, she sees the smile, she sees her die. The plan was good, but the execution came up short. Like many times before.
The rest is ignored. Ally doesn't even notice that Suukethet was now gone, that the danger seemed to be past. She puts her hand over the wound to stop the blood…but there's nothing to do. She doesn't even need to assense the girl, to cast a spell, to feel for a pulse. She's seen death and she knows death. She just sort of collapses onto her butt, pulling the small girl's body into her lap. And she cries, very softly, the sound just barely there, but her body's trembling makes up for the lack of volume.

Lilith looks up to the hole in the ceiling. "Silk…Ally…"

Kassandra ejects the almost empty clip, snapping in a new. The elf recovers the clip from the ground, eyes narrowing as she peers around. The elf moves a few feet, looking to be sure that the symbols are still on the supports and other areas. She calls to Aladriel and Lilith on the comms, "Sound off. Everyone alright?" The elf begins to methodically shoot the remaining symbols.

Lilith calls back up. "Aye, I be fine. Ally?"

No sound from Aladriel, beyond her quiet sobbing. Her radio's still in her ear, her radio is still on, its all there for her to do. But she just cries, rocking Meg's body gently on her lap. She doesn't even react to the gunshots as Kassandra does the smart, efficient thing.

Lilith voice is soft, careful as she calls over the comm. "Ally? My dear, please answer. I cannot see you."

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The elf keeps shooting, moving where needs be. The woman lets Lilith try and get through to the mage. She cannot see the cause of the distress, or even the distress itself, and so she simply does what she needs to do.

Lilith heads up the stairs!

Lilith looks around, spots Ally, sees Kass…ok, that's all taken care of…but Ally…oh dear. She approaches the woman, stepping quietly. "Oh, Ally…" And then sings.

Kassandra cycles through an entire clip of ammunition, making sure the symbols are shattered beyond reproach. She spares a glance towards Lilith, nodding as she moves to see what is wrong with the mage. The elf snaps in a new clip before reaching for her cell, dialing Samuel's number from memory.

Commlink-(Geist): Clemens.
Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "The house is .. back to normal."
Commlink-(Geist): Normal is relative. Ms. Cindel called. She said you disappeared. I assume you have reappeared?"

Lilith has all the time in the world to get upstairs because Ally is no rush to get anywhere. Tears flow freely, flow plentifully, as she cradles the child's body in her lap. Singing? She looks up a little, her face hidden in the hood but not completely. Devastation. About as distraught as one can be.

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "Yes. A spiritual being seems to have been in control of the house. There was a fight. He is no longer with us."
Kassandra is nothing if not succincnt

Lilith squats beside Ally, still crooning the old, old song, gently placing her hand on the woman's shoulder. Not speaking, there's nothing you can say, but being there. Comforting as best she can, just being with the girl.

Commlink-(Geist): Casualties?
Samuel gets right to the point, himself

Kassandra pauses a moment, moving to where she can see Lilith and Aladriel. She can see that Aladriel is holding something small, and given the way she is behaving ….

Lilith looks over at Kass and shakes her head. No need to say more.

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "The team is alive. The principle is not."
Commlink-(Geist): Win some. Lose some. Withdraw from the location. I'll send in a sanitation team.

Commlink-Silk> Kassandra says, "Aye aye."

Lilith squeezes Ally's shoulder. "Ally. I need to perform the rites on the child." Lilith is dead serious.

Kassandra clicks the phone closed, moving towards the other two women. The elf looks to the two women, the dead child. She says nothing, hearing what Lilith has said. Rites are important to many people, and in these situations makes them feel better. The woman steps back, giving the pair privacy.

There's nothing that can be said, there's no point in trying. Ally will be done crying when she is, and there's nothing that's going to change that. It takes her some time to focus on what Lilith just said… but she does hear it. And eventually she nods, and as gently as she can she lays the body on the ground and slides back a little, going to her knees. To watch. To listen.

Lilith kneels on one leg beside the child, wincing at the pain in her side…but, she gently makes the sign of the cross over the girl, and herself, and begins to murmur the right prayers, the right words. She gets out the flask of whiskey….odd…murmuring, "This will have to suit…aqua vitae, water of life, may the Lord bless thee in place of the waters of the church…" making the sign of the cross on the child's forehead, whispering the Latin words with a perfectly calm, blank expression. The Lord's Prayer when she is done, and then she rises to her feet.

Kassandra excuses herself from the area, moving through the house looking for various mystical symbols. When alone, she will slump against the wall, closing her eyes with a sigh. The elf sinks down on the floor, letting the after-fight shudders come, the flood of adrenaline finally leaving her body. She sits there, trying to put the horror of the last hour out of her mind.

At the end of the blessing that Lilith leads, Aladriel manages to stop herself from crying. In a few moments she'll be able to get up and walk around, putting her gun back in its holster…return circulation to her legs. "We need to bring her with us," she finally forces out, her voice heavy with the weight of what has happened and what she's done.

Lilith nods, and then gives the girl a tight, brief hug. Releasing her, she steps back. "Yes. Ally, go downstairs. I will attend to the child, God rest her." Her tone is deeply wearied, but cool, in control. As much as thinks she is. She gives Ally a wan, sympathetic look. "Go. I can take care of this."

Kassandra will appear from one of the side rooms, a stout table leg or something else heavy in hand. The woman seems to have collected herself, moving methodically through the house looking for things magical looking to break.

Ally starts to turn to go, and then shakes her head a little and walks back to Meg's body, removing her jacket as she does so. "No… I should," she says simply. Kneeling beside her, Ally very carefully wraps the girls body in her jacket, covering everything but her her lower legs and feet. And then Ally herself picks up the small body in her arms and will then take her downstairs…to find Silk, and to go.

Lilith nods, and follows. As they wander down and out, she finally looks down at her wound, a bit surprised, as the pain starts to kick in more once the adrenalin fades. Shrugs, keeps a hand on it, and a careful eye on Ally.

Kassandra glances to the two women as they come downstairs. She casually shatters a tile that doesn't look quite right to her, mentioning, "The sanitation squad will be here very soon." The woman glances at the bundle in Aladriel's arms, sighing a faint sigh. "You are going to have to leave her here."

Ally has a temper. People know this. Its been seen before. But when she looks at Silk, and then she speaks, its not there. Her voice is still carrying the heaviness that one would expect, but she speaks slow in order to get each word out. "She was in contact with it. Tortured by it.. I don't know what else. We *need* to examine her and see if there is anything… left."

Kassandra offers a shrug that means as much as the others are willing to find in it. She turns, heading out towards the car, commenting only, "Clemens will be here soon." She leaves that at that as well, perhaps as "You can take that up with Daddy," or "Not my problem."


Outside, two white vans and a black Sedan pull to a stop. SAmuel steps out of the Sedan, a black sport-coat draped over his features. He lights a cigar, looking up at the house while it looks like 8 men in silver flame suits pile out of the vans. "Going to be a hot time in the old town tonight…"

And here it comes. Because Ally comes out of the house with Meg's body in her arms and she looks at whats preparing to be done, and sees Samuel. She's who she goes towards.
Samuel has a penis.
It has dermal sheathing.

Kassandra tosses her heavy whatever as she walks out of the house, tossing the item onto the porch. The woman heads towards Samuel as well, tho staying to one side in case he and Aladriel decide to have a battle of wills or somesuch.

Whipping the match side to side to extinguish it, Sam then crushes the match under foot while he puffs out a plume of blueishwhite smoke. "Normally." he says, taking and then gesturing with the cigar. "I'd ask how your day went. But when my girls come back with a dead pre-teen who's seen the wrong end of a columbian cartel and a gunshot wound to the left ventricle…" A pause. "I think the day went pretty dreky."

Yup. Battle of the wills. Kassandra finds a place out of the way, drawing out her secretary, pulling the stylus from the side compartment and pulling up an open image window. The woman starts trying to sketch the now broken symbols from memory, because, well, it might be important.

That pretty much says it all. Because…Ally doesn't rise up to it. And she should. Samuel's smart enough to know that she should. And it says something that she doesn't. Her eye twitches a little bit and it could be just as much from the smoke as anything else. "She… needs to be examined. See what happened to her."

Samuel nods to Ally, gesturing to the side. "Set her down. I'll see she gets a full examination. Is she the only casualty?"

Kassandra mentions from the side, staring at the symbol she just drew, "Suukethet, he between the tears, is not doing well. Nor are his baby-headed spider things."

Samuel's raises an eyebrow, looking to Kassandra. He seems actually, genuinely surprised at what Kassandra says… Perhaps the first time anyone seem him -surprised-.

Kassandra says "Hm? I think I pronounced that right. Scary guy, looks somewhat like Jude Law except for the coal-like burning eyes, maggots, snakes, that sort of thing?" The woman seems deadly serious."

Ally looks at Samuel for a few moments and then kneels down to gently lay Meg down. And then she fiddles..trying to cover the girl more with her body, and she can't quite cover her completely. She stays kneeling beside her. "He…it did this. Wanted more. Had done it before, in the vision…before, and now," she says with a little shake.

Samuel doesn't say a word, but the men with the flame suits -freeze-… then start moving back to the vans. "I am going to need to ask you ladies to move back to the front of the house until we can get… further examination personnel on hand." he un buttons his sport coat, giving him a clear and free hand to his gun should he need it. "I need you to do this -now-."

Kassandra eyes the flamethrower armed men, Samuel clearing his way to his weapon, and the shit they just went through. The elf nods, moving from where she was towards the front of the house. She still tries to get the designs right, however

Ally misses out on a lot. She doesn't see Samuel surprised (damn!), doesn't notice the about-fake on the flamesuits, and doesn't see a gun being cleared. She just stays knelt beside Meg, looking down at her thankfully-covered face.

"Miss Cindel." his voice is as clear, as crisp and as direct as death itself. "You will move back to the front of the house, where you will remain until you have been astrally scanned and cleared. If you do not comply, I will render the threat you may represent -null-. ARe we exceedingly clear?"

Kassandra looks up from the datapad, attention now on the back of Aladriel, the look on Samuel's face. The elf keeps very still, her hands still clearly holding nothing exceedingly dangerous.

Ally slowly looks up at Samuel and blinks at him. Studies his face. And she doesn't move at first, like she's deciding if he's real. Then she picks up Meg and goes back towards the house, up to the porch, where she sits on the stairs, once more the girl in her lap. And waits for whatever may come next.

It takes about fifteen minutes. In that time, more Draco Personnel arrive and surround the property. A few curious cars of locals are intercepted and diverted back the way they came. Samuel goes through a half pack of cigarettes in that time. He watches the women, keeping an eye on them. There comes a moment, about 20 minutes later, when the entire camp seems to relax and Sam makes his way closer to them, buttoning his sport coat back. "YOu're clear. She." a point to the body. "Is not. Please place her back in the house."

Kassandra nods, using the time to her advantage. She'd worry about being shot in the head and burned, but what can you do? She just saw an eight-legged horror with a baby head. Being shot would be a mercy. The elf moves over to some of the DF people (magical looking ones), speaking to them in a quiet voice and sending the data over to them, explaining the organization of the symbols she saw and in general trying to explain the extraordinary.

Kassandra has the attention of -several- people, some with little badges that say DIMR. They listen to -everything- she has to say.

The time is well spent for Aladriel, in that she seems marginally more alert and aware when Samuel returns. Though one might get the idea that she never have truly appreciated the danger that they were just in. "She needs to be looked at. A psychometrist should see. It…I don't know if Suukethet could have done this to her," she tells him quietly.

Samuel shakes his head. "No horror has yet broken in to our world directly. Always human agents. Some-one-, not some-thing… did this." he glances around the crowd. "And they know we've uncovered them."

Kassandra mentions over the gaggle of questions from the DIMR folks, "I broke every mystical symbol I could see. Suukethet (no, I don't know how to spell it! He didn't say!) and his minions vanished in the middle of the fight."
They want to know more about at what point, and how, he disappeared. This question will be asked in 9 different ways, 13 different times.

A moment after hearing that, Aladriel nods her head slowly. That seems to make sense, explain just a little bit about what happened. Not a whole hell of a lot, but some. Looking down at Meg, Ally almost chokes up again. She stands up with the child and she disappears back into the house. And she's in there for several minutes. When she comes out her eyes are wet again, but she's alone. "I should tell someone about the vision," she tells Samuel, not expanding much on it. And she also asks him, "Will someone tell her parents?"

Kassandra will explain everything she can in detail, even offering to show them the motions the team went through, the placement of the shots, the caliber of rounds used, and more. Details? I got details!

Samuel nods to Ally. "I will.. handle her parents. Go over where Kassandra is… talk to those people. They will want a full debref from you."

Just what she wants to do. Debrief people. Ally does her part and brings a mage's perspective to it. Details the vision in exacting detail…which is enough to make her look sick by the time its done. She adds the detail about when Suukethet disappeared, and what tragic turn it seemed to coincide wiht.
It's during this time that both will hear the term 'bloodwood' used, though only once, and in passing.

Kassandra will take note of the new word, cataloging it in the file cabinet in her mind, one of a dozen new phrases she has picked up recently.

A dark haired elf seems interested in the link between the girl and Suukethet.. "So when you -shot- her… and she died… he was banished? Thats very curious… I don't think I've ever encountered a human being being used as a fetter…"

Fetter. Great. Another word. Kassandra listens as much as she explains to the magical men and women, nodding as Aladriel tells her side of the story.

A twitch. A tightening of the eyes. Ally doesn't do well with anyone who says that she shot the girl…making it seem like she did it on purpose. But she doesn't get upset, she just helps. "She was catatonic until the moment before she died," is the only helpful thing she can add to that.

"Well." Says one of the men. "Your killing the girl may have saved your friends lives. Well done."

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