Session Fifteen: Castle of Black Sand

   While the White Necromancer attempted to explain to his mother that he’d been expelled and that he’d be transferring to a school with a pretty minimal graduation rate and doubtful credentials (he panicked a bit and opted to simply disappear when the news that there was apparently a contract out on him caused her to faint), Ranko chased her son and his playmates across the rooftops (he’d apparently learned to transform into cat-form, and found that four legs were much more stable than two and climbed up when her roommate – thinking that they were normal cats – put them out in the yard in the absence of a litterbox). Meanwhile, The Hauntsman had been attempting to deal with the Knights of God who were out protesting “Satan” at Satan Square Gardens. Satan’s current responses included: (“Out for Tea. Satan will be back at 4″30”. Also “Satan likes French Fries” and “Satan Square Garden has poor architecture. Renovations will begin shortly”). Unfortunately, someone out there was calling up Angels of Wrath and turning them loose – and, since The Hauntsman had dispelled the demon out front “Satan” had trapped out front as an ornament, he was the only creature of Darkness in the area. Fortunately, The Hauntsman took refuge in a Church, where the Bishop of New York was discussing the problem of the crazy Satan-impostor down the street and the various (almost equally crazy) protesters he attracted. The Angel – not used to being summoned rather than being sent out with orders – was handily defeated in theological debate with the Bishop and sent along with The Hauntsman (after some fairly sharp questions about his Hounds and activities) to learn a bit of the compromises inherent in the material plane.

   When the White Necromancer arrived back at the Crypt, he found that the lost child-souls were still hanging about – and had to agree with The Hauntsman: they’d waited quite long enough. Unfortunately, about that time Deathurge – who’d apparently hooked up with Dagger again – showed up. Fortunately, the various members of Dagger – while possessed of sufficient raw power to be menacing – were as incompetent as ever, despite the argument with the Angel over Necromancy and Blood Magic. The battle was relatively brief – but they did manage to send their local ghosts out to catch Deathurge and rescue his host before binding him away for awhile. If it had been another diversion, it had cost the Darkmage one of his better pawns. Still, it did inspire the group to reinforce the defenses a bit more.

   Afterwards they went to pick up Ranko – rescuing her from kitchen duty – and went searching for some children’s bodies. They turned out to be in eastern europe, buried underneath a massive fortress, screened with a wide assortment of protective spells, and apparently being run by DEMON. Well, they really shouldn’t have expected to find a power nexus vacant – but normally DEMON was a lot more subtle than this. They were building an army of spirit-animated golems, preparing for some massive attack, and were teaching all of their soldiers demonic flame magic – and some of the more complex warding spells had a very familiar power signature. The damned Darkmage had probably promised to share the rulership of the Earth with them if he hadn’t simply taken over directly. Most likely DEMON was plotting behind his back in any case: groups like that were always ready to abandon any base that was uncovered – and they’d just gotten pretty blatant with their black magic. Even the local government – corrupt and bribed as it was – couldn’t ignore this kind of operation for long.

   They crashed the party directly – and discovered that Jason had hitched a ride in the back seat and promptly went out in jaguar form to bodyguard the White Necromancer. Of course, he went down with the first blast, even before someone hit him with the psychic flames of death and a couple of spells designed to take out werecreatures. Fortunately, not being a true were, he wasn’t vulnerable to those. Still, the Chauffeur had to divert to hauling him back in and extinguishing him before he died. Overall, not much help. Maybe even a hindrance. If he was that strongly compelled to follow his master it was going to be a problem.Still, between the accidental summoning of The Paladin to help out with his Holy Words, the Hauntsman’s purification ritual, the Angel blasting things, the Chauffeur’s vehicle-mounted weapons, and the White Necromancer helping the spirits in the Golem Army resist their handlers, they eventually overwhelmed the DEMON forces – although it looked like some of the people in the depths got away. Still, they left enough information to direct raids against several other bases that were coordinating in an attack on Alaska. It looked like the Darkmage was still focused on getting rid of his magical opponents – but was getting more organized about it. Hopefully they’d be able to cut down on his potential resources enough before he got everything properly coordinated. The world didn’t need another Darkstorm War.

   Sadly, there was nothing they could do for the people who’d been sacrificed to animate the golems but set their spirits free.

 

5 XP all around.

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