Dresden Files: Twin Cities

It's a Good Day to Die

Haunting Grounds, Part 4


    Strange Lights Sighted in Arden Hills    Top Cop Under Investigation     Department of Homeland Security Arrests Nefarious Mob Boss – Minnesota Public Radio News    

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The Story

Abandoned Arden Hill’s Armory, Minneapolis, 11:10pm:

The Investigators hightailed it out of Augie’s after securing Capra and checking on Grace and Bethany. They leaving the smoldering building as sirens and lights fill the streets behind them. Utilizing the tunnel system and sewers beneath Minneapolis, they are able to follow the directions to Magnus left on Loke’s map.

Magnus

They come upon the installation and find that it isn’t as abandoned as it appears to be. Hazard Pay feels the Spirit inside of her straining against a surge of magical energy. Apparently, Magnus is attempting another ritualistic attack and the Spirit is preventing that from happening. Craig opts to wait at the tree line as the rest of the investigators rush to the perimeter fence evading the search lights. They easily make it inside the camp and to the center of the base.

Spirit

Magnus and his Wyvern Cultist have created an impressive ritual circle. It appears that it is taking place in two locations, one anchored in the mortal world, and the other in the Nevernever. A ward of impressive strength surrounds the ritual circle preventing anyone from accessing it from the outside. Inside the ward, several cloaked figures of the Cult are continuing to draw energy to renew their spiritual assault. Magnus stands before the ward, his shirt off, causing his alabaster skin to glow in the purplish hue of the mage light. He leans non-chantly upon his massive maul, waiting for the confrontation he has orchestrated.

The investigators hope for a surprise attack, but the Spirit of Minneapolis, and by extension Hazard Pay, is having none of it. She charges out of the shadows and lands an ineffective right hook across the stunned Magnus’s face. Battle quickly ensues, Magnus unleashes the power of his frost giant blood and grows to a massive size, using it to bully the investigators. Brittnay matches him for raw power and battles in in hand to hand combat. Alek and Daniel commandeer a dismantled anti-tank gun and are able to get it loaded, launching powerful shells the Frost Giant Sorceror’s way.

While chaos reigns inside the base, Craig makes his way quietly to the fence perimeter. Seeing the massive Magnus towering over the base, he knows that Asgardians are weak to the strands of time. He begins to look into the potential dooms that Magnus could face to make him vulnerable. In the shadows he begins to gather energy to complete a massive ritual. His efforts are interrupted, has the Elder Gruff has determined that this location satisfies neutral ground and launches his attack….literally….in the form of an old army truck hurled Craig’s way.

Elder Gruff

Craig manages to avoid getting crushed, but loses control of the ritual. The fallout blasts the camp, forcing everyone to confront the impending possibility of their death. The Summer Fae retreat, unable to cope with the thoughts of losing. Wyvern Cultists end up murdering each other in despair and paranoia as they become overwhelmed with the possibilities of their death. Alek and Daniel find themselves paralyzed with the sense of mortality. Brittnay grows grim faced and resolute with the knowledge her end is close. Craig and Hazard Pay, fortunately, are able to resist the raw and wild magics, unfortunately for them, Magnus laughs, what fear of death he had, the insane frost giant has since loss.

The battle between the Socereror and the investigators reach a fevered pitch. The end comes for Magnus, battered from shells and blinded by pepper spray. Brittney ends Magnus’s reign of terror with a swift chop of her ghost axe, removing his head from his shoulders. Overlooked by the investigators, were the other cultists powering the ritual circle. When they realize that their leader is now dead, they begin to spend their own life, channeling it into the power of the circle to enact their revenge.

Craig realizes that the strength they are pooring into the spell would easily overwhelm him and the other investigators, creates a portal into the Nevernever. He realizes that the ritual circle will be focusing the energies into the mortal world and they will safe. Brittney, has other plans, she knows when she meets her end and decides it is a good death. She knocks Craig through the gate and ushers the other investigators inside.

Wyvern Cultists

The last cultists slits his own throat, causing a miasma of ghosts bellow and flow from the ritual circle towards the investigators. The wave crashes over Magnus’s dead body, drawing his spirit along with them. His energy and fury rises to the top and he leads the charge towards Britteny. The Slayer, calls upon the power of her ghost axe and draws the energy to her as the portal to the Nevernever, to refuge, closes behind her.

Craig comes too in the Nevernever and quickly opens a gate back. When the investigators step back to the mortal world. They find themselves back in Arden Hills. The Ritual Circle obliterated, Magnus’s body lieing undisturbed. They find no damage, no sign of the magical destruction that should have torn the ground apart. They find no sign of Brittnay.
The investigators scour the grounds. Alek comes across Magnus’s maul and hauls it back to camp. Craig finds a small, silk black bag on Magnus’s corpse. He turns the bag over and finds his name stitched in gold lettering about the bag. When he reads it aloud, the bag dissolves, leaving a gleaming, silver coin of the Blackened Denarius in his hand.

The wizard hisses in pain, nearly dropping the coin. He remembers the words of the Man in Embers and groans to himself. Hazard Pay hears the sounds of impending sirens barely over the sound of a grumbling stomach. The Spirit of Minneapolis, a little more restful, shows the street artist a little hot dog cart just opening up for bar rush. With a satisfied smile from Hazard Pay, the two step off to get something to eat.

When they hear the impending sirens, Craig and Alek decide that they will turn themselves in and ask Daniel to take the coin to the church. The mercenary refuses, declaring, “You want me to touch a coin that could possess me with a demon? Are you nuts?” They instead resolve to sneak past the approaching law enforcement vehicles. Irons was apparently ready for such an eventuality and with several avenues cut-off they find themselves taken into custody.

With an evening of intense questioning behind them, they are released in the morning. Alek was able to keep the coin hidden and pass it back to Craig, so it could possibly be contained by the church.

Conclusion

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