Logs:The Wild Hunt Finale
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|Logs:The Wild Hunt Finale|
Dancing in the Shadows of ARU.
The Hisil of the ARU campus at SH09
The group of hunters travelled forward through the crevasse, and the path began to descend. Skip at the lead, with Agatha right behind him, followed by Dresden then Herne, they moved cautiously, after having seen the insanity of a single mote. A shrill, but semi-masculine, laugh echoed through the ruins of the spirit Athenaeum, making it seem as though it were coming from all around them.
Eventually, the foursome spilled into the center chamber of the decrepit building. Piles of books stood against the cracked and caving walls. Through use of Spirit sight, the two mages were aware that most of these books were not spirits themselves, but things stolen from the material realm. At the center of the chamber stood a table, on the table was a large bird cage holding another spirit, this one small and brown, looking very fox like. The essence of the creature was nearly depleted, and it lay still in exhaustion.
Many more motes bounced around the floor, some of them sparking with static electricity, some of them floating through the air like large dust particles. None of them seeming or appearing even remotely sane. Aside from those small beings, there was little else in the room, but the sensation of hatred and insanity radiated through the core of the defunct spirit library.
The keen senses of the werewolf quickly determined the difference between ambient scents and the more recent and sharp details of the magath coming from one of the many doors that led elsewhere. Most of the doors were blocked by rubble and texts, though two of the doors were completely free of any debris before them. Remaining silent, Skip motioned toward the southern most exit from the round chamber.
Agatha paid close attention to all things surrounding her, and the small motes began to bob toward her through the air. The ones bouncing on the floor don’t seem to be moving anywhere near her.
Dresden’s concern for The Quick Brown Fox is evident in his expression, but he doesn’t move closer to the table or the cage. Until the duguthim is destroyed there is nothing that can be done for his former pal from the Halls of Light.
Skip continues to lead through the rounded corridor of a place that resembled something of the former university, but this place was alien and strange to him. There was essence spattered and smeared over everything, as though spirits had been torn apart through the curved corridor, any spirit that might have traversed the hall was long destroyed, but the essence smeared everywhere was a concern, not just for the wolf, but his kin and the mages that cautiously claimed the rear of the party.
The maniacal laughter once more screamed through the halls, and the motes that slowly followed Agatha, unable to keep up with her, shuddered at the laughter that tore through, causing them to vibrate like small fireflies flickering through the air.
Finally, the quartet came to a set of double doors that had the right hanging off its upper hinges. They once looked elegant, some kind of replica from the material realm. But now, here in the spirit of a place that no longer existed in the physical, the spirit of the place was nothing more than a shell that created the labyrinth of insanity that housed the spirits dominated by the duguthim.
Skip lifted his nose to the air, and the smell of decay overwhelmed the more subtle scents of the place. There was also the smell of mildew mingling with the stench of fresh decay.
While Skip scented the air to determine what could be beyond the double doors, several of the jittery motes landed on Agatha’s arms and shoulders. Dresden was quick, however, to chase them off of her. He nodded to Herne without words and Herne took a protective stance behind Agatha, keeping the motes away from her, slapping them to the ground if they got too close.
Dresden moved up to stand next to Skip, his hand on the hilt of his sword, and he too took a sniff at the air, but quickly covered his mouth and nose with his hands as the stench coated his throat. With a shake of his head, he took a step back, giving sign for the Rahu to continue leading as he had been.
Suddenly, the doors shook as Skip moved over the slight amount of rubble to enter the semi-sealed chamber. Several animal spirits ran in a panic, screaming, squealing and squawking for everyone to run away. “Flee, it changes us. Run! Do not stand still!”
With that, Skip took advantage of the commotion of the fleeing spirits to make his way into the chamber. Agatha, Herne still swatting motes away from the walking essence font, and Dresden were quick on his heels.
To say that the room was a vision of disgusting nightmares would be putting it lightly. In the center of the room stood a spirit ravaged corpse of a man, cackling and tying spirits to corpses, many water-logged, many not. It’s evident to those who speak the First Tongue, this… being… was attempting to create “possessed” zombies. In the hands of the decaying humanoid was a lesser gaffling it was siphoning essence from. As it drained the weaker spirit, it spoke in a shrill but gravelly tone, “Eat then work, and eat then work, then eat and work…”
Several of the spirits that were chained down, keeping them from fleeing the room, noticed the four new entities in the room, but none of them made sound while the duguthim continued to eat and rhythmically chant, oblivious to his newly arrived guests.
The very wrongness of the situation put Skip’s hackles on edge. His senses informing him that this creature was both physical and spiritual at the same time, but smelled nothing like a wolf or any other kind of changing breed that he could possibly be aware of.
Dresden’s memories of Book from before overlapped with the creature he was seeing now. It appeared Book had stayed too long in the Shadow, and the spirit had been ripping and tearing at the physical entity, but the memory of his fight against this spirit from before his arrival in Safe Haven came to the forefront. His near death and the loss of his immortality, all came rushing to the forefront of his mind.
Herne stayed close to Agatha, seemingly lost in his own memories of the past in dealing with this entity. However, his great love of the spirits of The Shadow overwhelmed him, and seeing them treated so terribly, tormented to the point of insanity, and now being stuffed into dead human bodies… it took him more than a few moments to regain his composure from the rage that nearly boiled over in him.
For Agatha, this was all new, exciting and terrifying at the same time. And it was her that caught the wasted away being’s attention, with a cackle his voice called out to her, “Essence flows freely in this one. Enough to eat and work, and eat and work…” He holds out a bony hand, dry, essence starved skin stretched over withered muscle and knotted bone. One finger points at Agatha, “So much food… enough… I think… it could be enough…”
Two things happened simultaneously after Book’s words. First, Skip launched an attack, and Book hissed a command that rolled over Agatha, compelling her to go to him. Thankfully, the spells placed on Agatha by the mages prior to coming to this odd place helped her shake off the command, allowing her to realize what was going on, and that she was the new target of this being.
Skip’s jaws snapped down onto the duguthim’s arm, bone snapping and taking the attention of the spirit being from Agatha. It didn’t react with any pain, but its eyes fell on Skip, and for a moment, there was a flash of fear as Book acknowledged that this wolf was greater than he was in the eyes of the lunes. The marks showing his strength were clearly marked.
Dresden drew strange symbols in the air, muttering under his breath, and essence was drawn off of the duguthim. The essence that flowed from the mummified looking Book was then pushed into Warrior-That-Breaches-Walls, the essence merging fluidly with the spirit side of the werewolf.
Herne also muttered under his breath, and Agatha was surrounded for a moment in a strange silvery light that covered her entire body. With her protected for the moment, his spell shield protecting her from anything feeding on her, or attacking her with any form of magic, he turned his eyes to the battle just in time to see several dozen spirits come flooding in from behind them and across the room from another small, unimpressive door.
The spirits that came in from both sides swarm around the quartet, not a single one of them seemingly able to form a coherent thought or speak an intelligible sentence. The insanity in the broken spirits aided them as they attacked, not one of them noticing or seeming to care they were fighting a battle that would only end in their demise.
Book focused his attention on the wolf, though the words were certainly meant for Dresden, “I destroyed you once, Decaying Warden, and I will do so again.” At the same time as he spoke, his power lessened a bit, and he glared with mad eyes into the eyes of the werewolf Alpha. “I will add you to my collection!” Book shrieked and a whip of energy struck Skip in the right flank, searing pain ripped down through his knee and ankle. His red fur flew and a welt appeared on the grey skin beneath the thick fur protecting his body.
With the duguthim’s arm still in his mouth, Skip gave the creature a hard shake in retaliation, tearing the frail arm away from the shredded body of the spirit. His jaws crunching down on Book’s bones, snapping sounds echo through the strange halls of the spirit building they stand in.
Three spirits immediately surround Agatha. Agitated, they attack the young wolfblooded. Their attacks are wild and unfocused. It’s evident to Herne that they are starved, and Agatha has become food. However, Agatha pulls a surprise. She fights back, and between her aggressive defense and the shield, the spirits on her are unable to cause her any kind of damage.
Dresden moves through the insane spirits, cutting them down with his sword as he passes them. A grim expression is settled over his fine features. His eyes focused on his long time nemesis, Mr. Book, the destroyer of The Halls of Light. While Book is focused on Skip, Dresden moves into position behind Book, clearing away stray starving and insane spirits.
Herne keeps close to Agatha so he can keep an eye on the girl, but he begins to draw strange symbols in the air again, and with that, suddenly, the environment itself comes to life and begins to help defend his compatriots. He takes a breath and begins preparations again.
Meanwhile, Book is not amused, and the sensation of terror begins to press down on the four and their new allies. However, it does not keep his own court from fleeing from him as well. Unfortunately for Book, though, the sensation rolls over and off the wolf that lets off a powerful howl that causes the very walls to shudder around the fleeing spirits.
Skip shakes off the fear sensation easily, and sets off his howl. Soon, the four feel a bolstering feeling. Their sense of purpose is renewed, and heat of the battle becomes more intense. Roar-of-the-Crowd’s energies override the fear cast out by Book, and the spirit allies that were summoned to fight against the tyranny of the duguthim stop fleeing, and return to give their strength and purpose to the fight.
Agatha is protected from the fear, but when the excitement from Roar-of-the-Crowd floods the area, it’s almost as though she’s watching a rugby match again back at ARU. Her fighting spirit is renewed, and while the three spirits that attacked her have since fled, there’s more to help get rid of, and her attention and fight falls on another spirit enemy that didn’t flee the scene with Book’s foolish flood of fear. She manages to cause it some significant damage with her blade before it can even register what’s happening to it.
Dresden’s grim expression turns to an evil grin as he attacks Book from behind, his sword swinging down on the duguthim, slicing open the mummified corpse’s back, exposing bone to the open Shadow. No fluid comes from the wound, and only thin strands of muscle remain attached to the vertebrae under the dried, paper-like membrane that was once fleshy and living.
Herne’s own protections kept him safe from the numen cast by Book, as he continues to draw symbols and chant under his breath. Several spirits surround Herne, protecting him as he builds the spell against Book.
Book screams in frustration and begins to fire repetitive barbs of essence against the werewolf. His aim is no longer as focused, as his attention is divided between Skip and Dresden. Most of the blasts miss Skip, and those that do hit, bounce off the shield he has on him.
Warrior-that-Breeches-Walls doesn’t hesitate at all after summoning the strength of his pack totem. He launches a barrage of attacks against Book. Beneath the skin of the duguthim hides the true spirit of Mr. Book. He continually shreds the weak, but very physical barrier that protects the spirit from true harm.
The spirit Agatha attacked makes an attempt to defend itself, whirling on her, striking out and discorporating, however Agatha’s blade comes much to quickly for it to land an attack on her. Her blade slices through the corpus and the spirit simply vanishes from existence. Her eyes scan for another that might cause harm to her compatriots only to discover that there are none left, save for those protecting Herne, Book and the ones that have watched helplessly from their tethered positions near or on the corpses carefully placed in a circle around the room.
After the attack and she witnessed how to force a spirit out of existence, she makes the conclusion that the blade she wields can free the fifteen odd spirits Book intended to possess the decaying corpses. Quickly she begins to cut the tethers between the spirits and the items they are bound to.
Dresden draws the Atlantean symbols in the air again, and more energy is siphoned off of Book and folded into Skip’s spirit material, again feeding him the energy he’s expending to fight against the duguthim.
Finally, Herne finishes his spell and Book goes still. Herne moves out of the circle of spirits and calls out, “Leave that body, and come here.” Without hesitation, the dried remains of Book’s husk drops into a heap on the floor. The distorted, amorphous form of what is now Mr. Book moves to stand in a subservient position before Herne. The magath is completely under the Thyrsus’ control.
Herne looks at Dresden, “Do what you need to do. Remember, unless it is consumed, it cannot truly ‘die.’ But we need to move this spirit out of the way of being able to do anymore harm.”
“Agreed,” Dresden responds. He pulls a small jar with strange symbols all over it. He holds the jar out toward Book and with the uttering of a strange language, at least to Skip and Agatha, Book is torn from the Shadow itself and flies, like a wind, into the jar. Dresden seals it. “I’ll take this to the Curator. She can put him somewhere where he can’t do any harm to anyone or anything, ever again.” He looks at Skip, “The Curator is Alexandra.”
With the knowledge of where to go to talk about the “spirit” jar, it’s time to head out of The Shadow. As they weave their way out of the destroyed labyrinth, they cleanse, purge and purify the spirits as they go back the way they came.
At long last, Dresden has closure on this chapter of his life, Skip has led a successful hunt and pleased his pack totem, Agatha has seen The Shadow, its dangers and its possibilities. And for Herne, he was able to enter the Shadow, deal with a mess and get his small band of compatriots out of the combat situation without any serious damages. The small welt given by Book to Skip at the beginning of the fight is healed before they cross back through the gauntlet into the physical realm.
Waiting in Twilight, Cloud Singer greets the four, flying happily around the four, touching each of them playfully to ensure they’re all safe and unharmed. When that is finished, she giggles at Skip and slips obediently back through the gauntlet where she belongs.
As requested, Dresden turns in his report to the Mysterium along with the soul jar. With that, he’s inducted fully into the Mysterium as a Neokoros Superior. His next assignment as an acquisitor is in Sweden…
To all of the participants, I am sorry it took so long to complete this section of the scene. I honestly didn’t want to touch it for a long time, and then my RL got in the way. – This scene was written the way it was for Ken, Herne/Marcus’ player. I hope I did some kind of justice for him. I hope that somewhere in the future, everyone will learn that Lee and Marcus lived long and healthy lives. – For Ken, Lee’s player, and their family, it was a pleasure playing with Lee and Marcus. Both characters will be missed, but mostly, Ken will be missed. I am fairly certain that I speak for all of us on the staff of Safe Haven Harbor when I say that Ken/Marcus was loved, and that we will miss him. May he rest in peace, and may his family find solace in knowing that we were and are with you in your time of grief.