Dresden Files: Twin Cities

Clean Slate
Feeding Frenzy, Part I


    New Top Cop Named Head of Major Case Squad. Native Community Approves    Major Hospital Being Updated by Foreign Interests    Wolf Attacks Plaguing Downtown Minneapolis – Minnesota Public Radio News    

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The Story

Somewhere in Downtown Minneapolis, 2:36pm:

Daniel Sparrow was looking to get out of town and make some quick cash. His feet start to itch when he is in one place too long. His plans got cut short when an old friend brought up a ghost from his past. A mysterious monster, who look suspiciously like Heo Ga-yoon, which was responsible for the death of Daniel’s platoon in the jungles of Vietnam. Before Daniel can get more information, Colin interrupts their conversation with a hail of gunfire, seeking revenge against Daniel for kneecapping his boss. Daniel returns fire driving the mobster off. His friend dies from a stray bullet, but not before he is able to mutter Jade Court. Daniel decides to call Alek as he seems to have contacts with everyone.

Who unfortunately is tied up right now, or handcuffed to be more precise. Alek finds himself wearing a hospital gown and secured to a gurney, fresh from a surgery. In his other hand he is holding a bloody pen and on the floor of the room is a dead man in surgical scrubs with a bleeding neck wound. Confused, Alek cannot remember how he got here, but when he hears footsteps coming down the hallway a bad situation just got worse.

Hazard Pay and the Spirit of Minneapolis were hoping to enjoy a nice afternoon in the sun. While walking about Downtown, Hazard overhears the yells of Dr. Xiong from his free clinic, a place that has always been kind of her. The Spirit grows agitated over the Asian men in suits who seem to be clustered about the place and warns Hazard that they are going to harm the patients. Hazard decides to “create a scene” and asks the Spirit to go find Craig.

Craig is easy to find, fortunately for the Spirit but unfortunately for him, as he is gagged, blindfolded and restrained by manacles against a cold brick. Even worse, he has been stripped down to his boxers and has a massive headache when he tries to remember how he got here. Sensing that some has put the magical “whammy” on his memory he tries to slip his hands free of the manacles. The Spirit arrives, urging him to go save Hazard Pay and runs off. (The Spirit still doesn’t like Craig all that much.) Despite the dislike, Craig is able to convince the Spirit to unlock his manacles and help him to the floor. It’s just in time too, because outside the bare room Craig can hear someone talking on his phone.

Spencer Winfield is also not to be outdone in the headache department. He finds himself lying in a pile of human and animal bones in some dank, abandoned underground basement. He has an aching headache and no memory of why he is here. As he stands up in the dark, it doesn’t take him long to get his bearings. Any White Council Wizard knows when they are standing in the heart of a Black Court Vampire’s Lair, or more precise, refuse pit. Above him he can hear the sound of approaching footsteps and decides to make a run for it.

Daniel, worried that he hasn’t heard from Alek, reaches out to Jack Hunter, Alek’s new boss. Jack is also worried that Alek, along with Special Agent Alvarez, hasn’t checked in. They were supposed to be looking into the resurgence of Red Bliss in the Maplewood area and were going to have a conversation with Susuana Valencia at the Myth. Daniel hops in his truck and makes his way to the Night Club. Upon his arrival he notices shipments of organs carved in jade being delivered to the Myth, with coolers being removed from the facility and placed on a truck marked “Heo Medical Group.” He sneaks his way in, pretending to be one of the delivery men, and is able to scoop up Alek’s cell phone in the process.

Alek, still lost and confused, is able to see that a young Hispanic woman is restrained on a medical gurney being pushed by two orderlies. He knows the woman as Special Agent Alvarez, but his headache prevents him from remembering more. He is able to sneak down the hallway towards an operating room she is being wheeled too. Daniel makes his way down a service elevator and ends up in a loading area where he sees Susana speaking with an Asian woman in a black surgical gown. Susana leaves to investigate a commotion, while the Asian woman turns towards a surgery room. Daniel is in time to see Alek, drugged and dazed, burst into the room attempting to free a woman tied to a gurney.

Daniel charges in and before the Asian woman can inject Alek with a sedative, he blasts the syringe from her hand, crippling her in the process. Alek subdues the other two orderlies and they quickly free Amy, only to be surprised to see the doctor recover from seemingly life threatening wounds and attack Daniel with superhuman strength. After a vicious struggle, Alek and Daniel get free, but not before Alek gets a cryptic message that his transformation is not complete and he will die without further medical assistance.

On the other side of town, Hazard Pay senses that the situation is going to get tense between Dr. Xiong and the Asian men in suits. She notices that some of them are armed and are loading people onto a Heo Medical Group van, claiming that they are bringing them in for treatment because of an epidemic. Hazard Pay creates a scene involving a public suggestion of a contagious rash and is able to get Dr. Xiong out of harm’s way. She learns from Dr. Xiong that these men are kidnapping the patients from his clinic under the guise of some fraudulent paperwork and he has been unable to contact the authorities.

With the Spirit’s help, Craig breaks free of his manacles and is able to knock out the guard with an air evocation. He steals the guard’s clothes then hides under a veil when the Spirit reports that more people are coming down the stairs. He sends the spirit back to Hazard Pay, requesting that the Spirit tell the urchin where Craig is. Craig finds himself confronted by two groups of people, a young woman who is a white court vampire. She also hides in the shadows from the other group when it becomes apparent that she doesn’t find Craig restrained anymore. The other group is none other than Steve McCellan, who appears to be accompanying an Asian woman in a smart business suit. Unaware of either Craig or the female white court vampire, the Asian Woman begins a ritual spell to locate Craig. Craig is surprised as her incantation pattern is remarkably like his own, but he disrupts the ritual by using evocation to cause a water pipe to burst. The female white court vampire uses the distraction to ambush the two, knocking them unconscious. She sees Craig and gives him back his Big Book of Divination before shouting, “Come on we have to get out of here.”

Spenser darts down a dank passageway, confused and slightly lost he utilizes evocation to generate a faint breeze to help him find the way out. He can make out two Asian women, one with long red hair and the other with short, laughing and taunting him as he runs. He is briefly confronted by the ghost of Big Tom, but he recognizes a Black Court Vampire in disguise and easily dodges him. He collapses the tunnels behind him, only to have some respond with a magical signature, much like his own, and destroy the rock wall. Spenser continues to sprint, seeing daylight at the end of tunnel. He dives to the outside, narrowly avoiding a gout of flame blasting down the corridor. Coming out of his roll he finds himself face to face with a concerned, bookish woman waiting by his motorcycle, who yells out, “Are you ok? We have to get you back to Witch’s Hat Tower!”

When the Spirit rejoins Hazard Pay, she makes her move and distracts the two business suited thugs in the clinic. She dodges gunfire, blinding one of the men with some spray paint. As the truck marked Heo Medical Supplies pulls away, she jumps on the back, swinging from the door. Alek, Daniel and Alvarez manage to steal their own Heo Medical Supply vehicle, when they hear over the radio that a homeless girl is trying to destroy one of their vehicles in Downtown Minneapolis. Alek and Daniel recognize Hazard Pay’s description and start driving there.

Spencer tries to remember who the girl by the bike is, but his headache prevents him. She introduces herself as Bethany Tempest and they were here investigating the Ghost at the Abandoned Hamm’s Brewery. Spencer overhears on his bike’s CB that a truck is being assaulted by a homeless girl. Bethany convinces Spencer to get on the bike and take them to help. The woman with Craig introduces herself as Virginia Raith, she came to the Twin Cities to warn the White Council about the Jade Court’s arrival and its desire to unite the Vampire Courts. They run up the backstairs and out to an alleyway to Craig’s Indian motorcycle parked behind First Avenue.

Hazard Pay, with the aid of the Spirit, holds onto the swaying back door long enough for Spenser and Bethany to arrive. Spenser pulls in front of the vehicle and focuses his magical energies for long enough to Hex the vehicle into a stall. The truck screeches to a halt, slamming into a nearby fire hydrant. The driver and his passenger is knocked out and with the arrival of the rest of the investigators; Alek is able to call emergency responders to help with the care of the patients in the back of the truck.

Witch’s Hat Tower, Minneapolis, 5:28pm:

The investigators make their way to Witch’s Hat Tower where Craig and Spenser are able to engage in ritual magic to remove the blocks on their memories. (All the while Alek is being affected by some fire based ritual magic.) They remembered the following information:

  • Virginia Wraith came to Craig to warn the White Council that the Jade Court is making a move in the Twin Cities. They are reaching out to the other Vampire Courts and seeking the unify them. Craig had decided to visit Steve McCellan to appeal to old friendships and see if he can learn anything more about the Jade Court movements. Instead he gets ambushed by Steve and one of the Jade Court.
  • Spenser had come to Witch’s Hat Library investigating Big Tom, he believe that the spirit is really a Black Court Vampire. He spoke with Craig and Bethany and there was concern that the Jade Court would reach out to him, so he and Bethany went to check out the Abandoned Brewery. While searching inside, Spenser was ambushed by two members of the Jade Court and leapt over a railing to avoid a fireball into the pit.
  • Craig, on his way to First Avenue, called Alek about the Jade Court issue. Alek was investigating Red Bliss and decided to nose around the Myth. When he got there, he ended up confronting one of the Jade Court. Alek remembers that he was in surgery and that they took his liver replacing it with….something else.

The investigators had also done some research on the Jade Court and were able to combine that information with some of Virginia’s knowledge. They know the following:

  • The Jade Court feeds on memories, they are able to steal memories and block memories
  • They can also steal the knowledge and ability of their victims
  • The Heo Medical Group is remodeling HCMC, there are rumors that they are involved in black market organ trade
  • The Heo Clan is a powerful family within the Jade Court
  • There are five prominent members of the Jade Court in the Twin Cities, they are as follows.
To Be Continued…

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Dealings & Dragons II
A Ripley Adventure

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The Story

Continued from [[Dealings & Dragons | Dealings & Dragons]]

The night was wet and unseasonably cool. The crazy wizard keeps making deals with the Winter Court and here we are with a cold spring.

Ripley scratches briefly at her neck before padding forward. She catches the scent she searches for, it is as cold as the night air and remote, full of secrets. Luckily, Ripley comes with a few secrets of her own. She pads down the alleyway keeping to the shadows. The rest of her “pack” lurks in the darkness behind her. Ripley comes eventually to Alice LaRue, leaning against the side of a brick building as she gazes at the flickering light coming from a window from the warehouse across the street.

Ripley pads up besides the mercenary and settles on her haunches. Alice is not wearing her finely cut blazer, pencil skirt, and high heels. Instead, she has on a dark turtle neck with heavy black pants. She has traded her heals in for boots, her one hand holds a cellphone, the other a duffle bag. Alice taps the screen of the cellphone and Windsor Simon Pearce’s cracks out of the speaker.

“Greetings, Freeholding Lady of Sacred Grounds, Pack Leader of the Lost Girls.”

Ripley recognizes the voice and the power behind it. She last heard the voice when Sacred Grounds received a call informing her of Brittany’s untimely death. Ripley got the news before Alek, Craig or Hazard Pay were able to tell her themselves. The presence she knows, the one that makes her wary is that of Chrysophylax. She knows the depth of the Dragon’s power. She felt its fury the night she held the Generosity of a Dragon in her maw.

Pearce continues, “This should conclude our bargain for this evening. This should be the last of the….fools who followed the pretender Magnus. I wish you happy hunting, these morons destroyed a valuable investment…one whose loss…I lament greatly.”

Ripley narrows her eyes and LaRue hangs up the phone. More shadows come down the alley, girls in dark cloaks and robes, moving with the prowl of hunters. LaRue opens up the duffle bag and drops it at their feet. Various pistols and weaponry clatter against the concrete, “There are about a dozen of those Wyvern Cultists holed up in the warehouse. There are a few with some talent,” Alice glances at the window, “I didn’t like Brittany and I don’t like you. You both are chaos and interfere with operations of the Cities. Just one such as these are the greater danger tonight. This is the third time they have tried to reach out for the spirit of Magnus, make it their last.”

Ripley bares her teeth in response. The Valkyrie nods, she turns to the others, “I have taken care of the “Local Authorities” you should have no interference this night.”

She disappears down the alleyway as Jane and Grace step forward. They kneel by the duffle bag and begin to hand out the weaponry to the other girls, arming them. Ripley suddenly lets out a howl full of fury and the promise of bloodshed, the girls let out their own howl and dart across the street. Ripley bares her teeth, feeling the wind and the rain in her fur. Her body warms as the Hunt begins.

My friend will be avenged!

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When Necromancers Attack!
A Max Steele Adventure

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Max senses the presence of a new powerful spirit. He also senses that a necromancer is practicing in the area as well. He chases down the Spirit, fearing it is in league with the necromancer. He comes across the possessed Hazard Pay and mistakes her for the necromancer. With the creative use of spray paint, pepper spray, and car alarms; Hazard Pay is able to render Max senseless and escape….only to leave him vulnerable to the true Necromancer who was tracking them both. Luckily for the two, Hazard Pay returns and helps Max recover, allowing him to defeat the Necromancer.

Max apologizes by the way of a Hamburger and a Beer….and Hazard Pay apologizes by returning his wallet.

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Meeting an Old Friend
A Brittnay Winter's Story

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When it went dark, Brittnay could first hear the anguish howls of Magnus, thwarted in his last act of revenge. The enraged spirits whipped around her with one last violent gasp before fading into the blissful quiet. Brittnay feels her own sense of self stilling, a weight leaving her shoulders. She can feel a sense of peace and calmness that she has never felt begin to wash over her.

Then she felt the tug, a pull to the depths of her core. A screaming chant fills her ears and the soothing darkness is shattered. Through the din and the sudden sense of pain, a familiar voice pierces through the cacophonous void.

“Yeah, dying like, sucks man.”

Brittnay opens her eyes and sees the ghostly image of Bobby Chan standing above her with a bemused smile on his face. He leans down extending a ghostly hand and Brittnay reaches out and sees that her hand has the same translucence.

As she stands, she glances around the room and finds herself behind the Wards that make up Gleipnir. A soft chanting echoes about the chamber and her gaze finds a cross legged Crow Sings sitting outside the wards. When Brittnay’s gaze rests upon the shaman, his chanting slows and he stands.

“I’m sorry, I can’t let you rest, there is so much work to do.” Crow Sings lets out a guilty sigh.

That’s when Brittnay realizes that she can feel the Wards, the energy pulsing through them. She can feel a push, a strong shove, something dark and unnatural probing the surface. Bobby grabs her hand and together they direct the energy of the wards towards the probe and press it away.

“I’m glad you are here man, because, these attacks, they like keep coming and are getting stronger.”

Brittnay nods and clutches Bobby’s hand tighter, “Then lets get to work.”

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More Ways Than One to be a Hero
A Max Steele Adventure

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When Max returned to the cities after terrorist attacks supposedly had darken Minneapolis. The Venatori knew that terrible magics have been unleashed, leading the city to darkness and ruin. He expected to draw his blade for battle. Instead he found corruption and greed. He forced Reynard Loke off the board of directors when he found out about Steel International’s involvement in shady real estate deals. Then when mysterious information about Let. Det. Jack Vincent’s corruption came his way he used his family’s influence, i.e. bags of money, to have him suspended from the force.

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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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A Time of Unreasonable Men
Haunting Grounds, Part 3


    Hospital Spokesperson states that blackouts are no concern    Gas Explosion Closes Augie’s      Department of Homeland Security Arrests Nefarious Mob Boss – Minnesota Public Radio News    

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The Story

Beneath Saint Mary’s Basilica, Minneapolis, 7:45pm:
Basilica of St. Mary

The investigators make their way through the secret catacombs and sewer entrances that lead to the nearby Saint Thomas University campus. During that time they take a moment to outline the information they know.

  • Ghosts and Spirits are being agitated about the city, they are being directed at the mob and the investigators
  • Peter Capra’s gang is going around and intimidating business owners in Minneapolis to sell their property to real estate magnate Reynard Loke
  • It sounds like a new and powerful Spirit has come to life in Minneapolis because of the Magical Energies released by Hale, Pearce, and Ortega during Changing Faces.
  • This Spirit appears to be used against its will to summon lesser ghosts
  • Jacobs and Magnus appear to be attempting to control the Spirit through Magic, Reynard Loke may also be interested. Owning the majority of Minneapolis would end up tying the Spirt to him.
  • Craig has the remains of a Charm used in creating the Entropy Curse. It is leading them towards HCMC. Craig remembers that Bobby had stated that Jacobs used an abandoned sub-basement of the hospital for some of his ritual magic.
Steve McCellan

While the investigators discussed the information they had uncovered, their conversation was interrupted by several phone calls. Brittney received a call from Steve stating that crooked police officers have taken custody of Grace and Bethany when they went to make a police report about the ransacked Sacred Grounds. Steve thinks that they are going to be held hostage by Capra. He also warns Brittney that they know that Hazard has Colin’s hat and what can be done with it. Alek also receives a call from Jack Hunter. Jack shares that Special Agent Irons has put out an APB for Craig Hale and wants him taken into custody immediately. Craig wants to turn himself in and before he can act on that plan, Alek knocks him out.

Det. Hunter

Det. Lt. Vincent

The investigators decide that they need to start taking control of some of these issues and decide to confront Jacobs at HCMC. On the way, Alek gets a second phone call from the Vincent. He indicates that the Capras have Grace and Bethany hostage and they want Brittany and Craig to eliminate the threats of Jacobs and Magnus. Through gritted teeth they decide to continue towards Jacobs. Brittany gets a recording of the call that Alek forwards on to the man in horned rimmed glasses.

Horned Rimmed Glasses

A combination of Alek’s contacts and Hazard Pay’s ability to break and entering, the investigators find themselves going into the abandoned sub basements of HCMC with an unconscious Craig in tow. Without Craig’s awareness they trigger a ward that causes them all to fall under the influence of an entropy curse, which promptly attempts to drop the stairwell atop of them.

They end up in the lowest parts of the sub-basement. Hazard Pay opts to sneak forward, while Daniel scavenges some medical supplies and weaponry. His own armaments were damaged in the fall down the collapsing stairwell. Hazard Pay comes upon an old morgue where she sees Jacobs in his military uniform sitting in the middle of a ritual circle. The entropy curse causes her to be sucked into the Jacob’s ritual spell.

Jacobs

Bobby Chan

Inside the circle she sees a spectral version of Jacobs trying to shackle the Spirit of Minneapolis. Hazard also sees a dark hand attempting to ensnare her too. About the circle, angered ghosts are pounding at the wards attempting to attack Jacobs. Hazard can make out in a quiet part of the basement the ghost of Bobby standing bewildered. He briefly flickers inside the circle when Hazard Pay shows Bobby her satchel.

Spirit of Minneapolis

Craig finally becomes conscious and identifies the circle as a summoning circle to trap a spirit. He thinks he can garner control of it. Alek, Brittany and Daniel are able to convince Jacobs to relinquish control, but not before finding out that he was attempting to use the Spirit of Minneapolis to frighten off the Capra gang who were intimidating business owners. Jacobs also reveals that he is in a battle to control the Spirit with Magnus. The distraction causes Jacobs to pass out.

Magnus

Brittany, using the power of the axe, is able to see and speak to Bobby amongst the miasma of ghosts. She encourages Bobby to help Hazard Pay. Once Jacobs passes out, the ghosts attempting to gain entry of the circle turn and attack the other investigators, primarily attempting to get to Craig. Brittany, Alek, and Daniel are able to keep the ghosts away from Craig. Each ghost that Brittany’s axe slays whispers an anguish sigh of thanks.
Inside the circle, Hazard grabs the Spirit and attempts to pull her away from the spiritual grasp of Magnus. Bobby is able to gain entrance to the circle because of the strong personal connection the medicine bag that Hazard Pay now has. Bobby ends off being flicked into the ether by Magnus’s energy, but the distraction allows Hazard to draw the Spirit of Minneapolis inside of her. The Spirit, now anchored in the mortal world, is harbored from Magnus’s assault and the frost giant withdraws. Hazard’s doesn’t escape the possession unscathed as her eyes turn to a deep blue and her hair goes white.

The investigators realize that they can’t continue running from the police, sorcerers and the mob. They contact Vincent to make a deal and instead reach Special Agent Irons who indicates that Vincent has been relieved from duty because of an anominous tip off he received regarding the detective’s corruption. They are able to convince Irons to give them some time to resolve several of the issues, with Irons indicating that he would not actively seek them out, but making no guarantees if he crosses their path.

Special Agent Irons

Using the power of the Spirit, who appears to be somewhat hostile towards Craig, the investigators are able to ascertain that Grace and Bethany are being held at Augie’s. Craig and Brittany nearly butt heads when Craig realizes that Jacobs is a Lawbreaker. She ends up granting Jacobs sanctuary at Sacred Grounds. Craig relents and the investigators leave him at Sacred Grounds as they proceed to Augie’s.

Augie’s Lounge, Minneapolis, 8:43pm:

They arrive to the Gentleman’s club to find it, surprisingly closed down with the lights off. It becomes quickly apparent that someone has created a fairly strong ward. Brittany attempts to use brute force to bash her way through, however the ward proves stronger than they realize. Hazard Pay has a knack for being where you least expected and was able to prowl along the roof of the building. Here she finds an Asgardian Shrine atop the building. Empowered by the Spirit she shatters the shrine with a quick kick.

Augie’s

On the ground below, the other investigators see a dark swirl of clouds as a supernaturally strong gust of wind bellows past them. The wards about the building fail. Alek, Brittany and Daniel charge into the building. They notice in the darkness that some of Capra’s thugs are using night vision goggles and hiding in the shadows. Daniel and Alek use that moment to set the bar afire, blinding them. Brittany is able to cut a significant number down with her ghost axe. Craig veils himself and heads to the back stairwell.

Peter Capra

Hazard Pay finds herself sucked into dark vortex and suddenly appears on the top floor of Augie’s. There she confronts a solitaire playing Peter and a tea sipping Loke. She attempts to joke her way free, but both Peter and Loke remain unfazed by her efforts. Fortunately Peter finds himself drawn away by the confrontation downstairs.

Reynard Loke

Unbeknownst to the other investigators, Colin was watching them unobserved. He takes the opportunity to ambush them from behind and fills the room with bullets as he unloads with a heavy machinegun. He mows down the remaining mobsters and wounds both Brittany and Daniel. Alek was able to duck behind a heavy wooden table. Craig crosses paths with a trigger happy Peter, who takes a shot, nearly hollowing out the Wizard’s head. Craig ends up breaking the stairwell and dropping Peter into the basement. The Wizard continues upwards.

Colin Patterson

Colin, realizing that he has lost the element of surprise, disappears into the smoke and shadows. Brittany heads downstairs and finds an unconscious Grace and Bethany tied to a chair. She also finds herself face to face with an angry Peter Capra. She is quickly joined by Daniel and Alek. Peter attempts to threaten the lives of Grace and Bethany, but is quickly overpowered by the combined effort of the investigators. Peter, wounded, surrenders, but not before Daniel takes the opportunity to fire a round into Peter’s kneecap, driving the mobster to his knees. Alek calls Irons and lets him know about the Capra gang and their escapades.

Upstairs Craig joins Hazard as they confront Loke. The real estate mogul quickly realizes that the mobsters have failed and reveals himself to be the Asgardian God of Trickery, Loki. Loki acknowledges their efforts, but warns Craig that nothing will stop him from freeing his child. Loki then vanishes, leaving behind a map of the city showing the location of Magnus.

To Be Continued….

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A Tale of Murder, Mayhem and Ghosts
Haunting Grounds, Part 2


    Mayor David Anderson Speaks out Against Organized Crime    Violence in Downtown Minneapolis, is Anyone Safe?     Department of Homeland Security Takes Control of City Law Enforcement – Minnesota Public Radio News    

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The Story

Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis 5:30pm:
Basilica of St. Mary

With the Wyvern Cultists defeated and the sound of impending sirens, the investigators take the time to search Bobby’s RV. Craig is able to locate the remains of some kind of charm that triggered the Entropy Curse. Hazard Pay stumbles across a scared construction worker who was hiding during the armed conflict. Brittany and Alek are able to convince the man to give an honest and heroic accounts of their activities when the police arrive.

Bobby’s RV

Craig then veils everyone, except for Alex who chooses to saunter out of the Alley, because of an impending arrival of a police chopper. They decide to seek sanctuary in the nearby Basilica. Unfortunately, Special Agent Gregory Irons and Detective Jack Hunter are waiting at the entrance. Craig notices that Irons is holding a cold iron talisman which can let the wielder peer through veils and realizes that they are noticed. Fortunately, the other police officers are in the construction site and it appears they are locked in detailed communication with the traumatized worker.

Special Agent Irons

Irons confronts the investigators about the earlier gunfight. The conversation culminates in Craig agreeing to go to the Major Case Squad headquarters in Saint Paul and be questioned further by Irons. Luckily for him when Alek meets up with them, he and Hunter convince Irons to let Alek drive Craig to the nearby Minneapolis station and avoid any complications with Bridges….and Fairies. Brittany is greeted by Sister Dark and ushered into the church, avoiding Irons altogether. Hazard Pay panics during the conversation with Irons when faced with law enforcement and her own illegal activities. She runs off into the dark city alone leaving the others behind.

Enroute to the Minneapolis Police Station, Minneapolis, 6:15pm:

The stormy skies darken the remaining evening light, causing the street lamps to turn on early. Alek and Craig’s trip are interrupted by broken down pizza delivery truck blocking the road and two men arguing. Before they can act they both turn to look at a nearby roof where they see Colin Peterson armed with a high-powered rifle assailed by Hazard Pay with a can of yellow spray paint.

Colin Peterson

When Hazard Pay ran from the authorities, she encountered the Spirit of Minneapolis. The Spirit directed Hazard to a nearby rooftop. Hazard then saw that Colin Peterson was hiding in the shadows and aiming his rifle at the car that Alek and Craig were in. She thought quickly and broke open two spray paint cans, hurling them at Colin. Despite being blinded by yellow paint, Colin still had the two dead in his sights. He squeezes the trigger, his rifle scope centered on Craig’s forehead and then experiences his second interruption for the night.

Spirit

Earlier in the evening Daniel Sparrow landed at the Minneapolis International Airport and met with the Man in the Horned Rimmed Glasses. He was hired by HRG to put an end to the ghostly murders that are plaguing the city using any means necessary. HRG indicated that he would have hired Brittany Winters to look into this business, but she appears to already be looking into the matter and his other agent, Thomas Owens, is now “compromised.” HRG provides Daniel with some basic information about the other investigators, a vehicle, and a radio tuned into EMS and Commercial traffic.

Daniel, listening to the radio, heard the chaos, caused by the gunfight headed towards the basilica. He then heard radio traffic over a commercial channel. His experience as a mercenary allowed him to realize it was a coded transmission to set-up an ambush to kill two people.

It was this information that led Daniel to have his vehicle parked and his rifle trained on Colin Peterson from a darkened street. Before Colin was able to squeeze off the bullet that would have ended Craig’s life. Daniel fires his own rifle. Colin, dazed from yellowed spray paint, has his rifle blasted from his hands. Unfortunately, other Mobsters were waiting in ambush. The two men arguing by the pizza truck reach into the vehicle and draw heavy machineguns, training them on Alek and Craig’s vehicle. Two other cars containing more armed thugs swerve out of the Alleyway.

Mobster

Craig extends his spiritual armor over the vehicle, causing the headlights a moment flutter. Alek slams on the accelerator ramming the truck and the two men between them, not before one is able to pepper his vehicle with shots. The two other vehicles are in fast pursuit and Daniel fires off another round, hitting the fuel tank in one of the vehicles and starting a leak.

Above the actions Hazard Pay and Colin both notice that the street lights are suddenly burning out and shattering, along with a sudden decrease in air temperature. Colin glares at the street artist and disappears into the night, but not before Hazard snatches the cap from his head. She, seeing the car chase, takes a running leap off the building and onto the roof of one of the pursuing vehicles.

Daniel’s second shot kills a thug in the backseat, preventing the sniper from taking out the driver on one the vehicles. Craig’s spiritual armor nearly shatters as another vehicle rams into theirs. Alek’s quick driving though, causes the vehicle with the leaking gas tank and Hazard Pay on-top to pass by and into the intersection before them. Only to be suddenly t-boned by Brittany Winters driving Bobby’s RV, the thugs careen out of control and Hazard Pay is hurled from the top of the vehicle. She, through almost superhuman dexterity, is able to grab onto a nearby tree branch and swing safely onto the street.

The thugs’ vehicle explodes in a surprising inferno of heat, the fire flares as a high a crackling voice chants, “Ashes, Ashes, we all fall DOOOOWWWWWNNNN!”

Tendrils of fire lash out at the remaining mobsters and investigators. Alek and Craig are protected by the spiritual armor, unfortunately the car gives away with the engine dropping out from the body and forcing a sudden stop. The remaining thugs are not as lucky as the flame envelops some of them, laughing at their screams as they burn to death. Brittany, singed from the flame, uses her supernatural strength and rips open a fire hydrant. While Craig and Alek were driving to the station, Sister Dark had blessed Brittany. The Slayer transfers that blessing to the quickly pooling water from the hydrant. The Ghost of Flame and Despair screams in rage before being dissipated by the power of the now holy hydrant.

The remaining mobsters back quickly away and drive off. Daniel drives over to the other investigators and introduces himself, mentioning the contract that he was hired for by HRG. Craig investigates the remains the fire ghost, he looks towards the others, “These Ghosts have only seemed to be striking at us or these or members of the Genovese Family. It can’t be a coincidence, with night coming these attacks are only going to get worse. I have this charm, I can track it, but I need to get to a safe place.”

After a quick conference the investigators decide to return to the Basilica of Saint Mary.

Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis, 6:43pm:

Alek talks them past some of the officers at the crime scene. At the church door they are greeted by a tense Sister Dark, who ushers them inside. “Get in here quickly, something or someone has been killing the police officers. When I saw you approach the church they began raiding the SWAT van nearby and gearing up to assault the building. Whatever business you have you must get about it quickly, I will hold them off as best as I can.”

Sister Dark

Not wanting to abandon the Nun the investigators decide to help defend the church. They raid Sister Dark’s armory, while Craig and Hazard begin to prepare a space by the alter for the tracking ritual. Alek takes position at the entry and monitors the security cameras. Focusing some of the in, he is able to identify the people masquerading as police officers as more Wyvern Cultists. He then calls out movements and information to Sister Dark, Daniel, and Brittney. Sister Dark and Daniel take position atop the church and begin to snipe at the separate entry teams.

Brittany, armed in Riot Gear, moves out to the back area of the church and engages the entry team there in hand to hand combat. She charges through them, surprising the cultists, dropping a flash bang behind her blinding them. Daniel covers Brittany, gunning down Cultists who had taken vantage points in the construction yard. Alek notices that one back by the van is pulling out an RPG and aiming at the church. Brittney times a quick throw of the Ghost Axe and hits the head of the missile as it is firing. The cultist, RPG, and Van erupt in a ball of flame.

Swat

Two of the breaching parties reach the church door. One of them manages break a window and throw a grenade through the opening. Hazard Pay reacts with speed and knocks it away from her and Craig, but towards the front hall of the church and Alek. Alek jumps into the main area of the church, avoiding the worse of the explosion as it blasts the front door. Sanya makes a surprise appearance and helps the investigators battle the remaining cultists.

Sanya

Craig is able to maintain his concentration and completes the tracking spell. He gets a vision of the HCMC building and remembers Bobby mentioning that at one time Jacobs had used the old morgue in the basement. Sanya urges the investigators on and they decide to escape into the sewers.

To be continued…

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Turning the Tables
Haunting Grounds, Chapter 11

Featured Investigators

Chapter 11

Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, 4:43pm:
Basilica of St. Mary

Craig sensed the incoming buildup of entropic energy before he saw the giant air conditioning unit fall from the heavens. It gave him enough time to dive out of the way while shouting a word of warning to the others. Alek also skipped back, the air conditioning unit narrowly clipping him. Brittany wasn’t so lucky, the unit slammed against her and Bobby’s RV. The cab of the RV crumbed and rocked under the falling unit. The unit clips Brittany’s shoulder, spinning her around and losing her footing.

Bobby’s RV

The AC unit sparked as it laid dead on the ground. From atop the construction site sounds of yelling and scuffling could be heard. Brittany, with a growl of frustration, springs from the ground and then launches into air; climbing up the scaffolding with ease. Atop the site she sees three men with the tattoo of the Wyvern Cult on their hands. All of them are holding automatic weapons as they turn towards her.

Wyvern Cult

“Wyvern Cultists!” Brittany yells to the other two, “and they’re armed!”

She springs forward, slamming one into another. The sharp blow from her shoulder knocking one of them unconscious. Alek draws his pistol and darts down the alleyway, seeking another way up. Craig, meanwhile, centers his focus upon himself and gets a sense of the future, making himself aware of all the possible dangers. Craig extends his focus and senses his death from a variety of sources, but through that he still senses a faint tingle of the entropic energy.

The two cultist fire upon Brittany. She twists and dives beneath the hail of bullets, hissing with a moment of pain as fire burns up the length of her arm. On the other end of the Alley, Alek comes upon Hazard Pay staring down the barrel of gun being held by another Wyvern Cultist. Alek levels his gun upon the cultist and yells, “Drop the weapon and put your hands up!”

The Wyvern Cultist sneers, turning his pistol back on Alek. Before he can fire, Hazard dives forward, sliding between his legs and knocking him off balance. The shot he takes fires wide of Alek, chipping off some of the brick on the building behind him. Alek sighs and carefully aims, blowing out the knee of the cultist. He falls to the ground howling in pain before slipping into unconsciousness.

Atop the building, Brittney rolls smoothly out of her dive. Her momentum and supernatural strength powers her punch as she slams her face into the other cultist. The force of the blow sends him staggering back into the other and they both fall over the edge. Craig winces as he has a brief vision of the two falling bodies landing upon him with a crunch, instead they slam into the ground with a bone crushing thud.

The investigators turn to look towards the street as they hear the sound of approaching sirens.

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Sidetracked
Haunting Grounds, Chapter 10

Featured Investigators

Chapter 10

Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, 4:13pm:

More questions, who would’ve thought this supernatural stuff would be soooo boring.

Hazard Pay slipped out of the car after Alek parked and ducked past Sister Dark to get into the soup kitchen.

Basilica of St. Mary

Saint Mary’s always has the best grub.

She works her way through the crowds of people, when four men catch her eye. They look different from the usual customers and one has a strange marking tattooed on his hand.

Hmmm, I think I remember those scary dudes who were walking around, I think they were Wyvern Cultists.

She made her way to the restroom and found a quiet toilet. She removed one of the rolls of toilet paper and began making a little drawing, writing with a flourish, “Hazard Pay was Here.” She smiles to herself, when a sudden loud crash echoes out from behind the building.

Wyvern Cultist

Hazard darts out of the bathroom and into the crowd. She notices right away that the four cultists she saw earlier are just leaving the building. She pushes her way through the press of people and back outside. She can see the four men entering the construction site. Hazard Pay is desperate to get their attention and distract them, so she runs after them shouting, “Hey! You stop!”

Three of the men continue, unfazed by the yelling teenager. The fourth turns, drawing an automatic pistol from his vest and puts the barrel square into Hazard’s face. His voice, steady and firm, “Go away,” punctuated only with the cocking of the hammer.

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