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Date: August 26, 2010
Game Date: October 7, 2032
Everyone heads to the school in groups of two. Mike says the child is evil, and E- confirms what Shannon saw.
Regina, wearing a sky-colored sari, takes to the air to watch the child of interest during the school lunch break.
After much discussion, Sam gets the sheriff to walk by the school and identify the child as Joanna Pouchio. We learn that her father died when she was 2. Last summer her brother (a popular boy named Carl) died at the local swimming hole. It was assumed to be accidental death by drowning and so no autopsy was performed. The mother, Shirley, works at the school as a cook and grounds-keeper. They live some 10 houses down from the school, relatively near the edge of town.
We are left with a ton of questions.
– How many other drownings have there been in that swimming hole and over what time frame.
– Are there other animal blightings occurring outside this town’s jurisdiction?
– How, exactly, did father Poucchio die?
We need to talk to the sheriff to get more answers. We also divide the night into shifts of two with Mike standing as agent-on-call throughout all the shifts. Shannon has some barrettes she can cast magic into – granting us protection and possibly night vision. E- can cast a spell that will let us see heat. We start planning the night shift, intent on watching JoAnna over the next few nights to see if we can catch her red handed.
Date: June 29, 2010
Game Date: October 6, 2032
We had dinner at the hotel. While there we garnered attention from two guys at the bar. Sam learned they were “Female Body Inspectors” – head agents here in town. Tom Renolds and Joey are both local boys. There was a lively discussion as to how they could be “pressed” into service.
Game Date: October 7, 2032
Up early and at practice.
Markus and Regina visited the local doctor, Doctor Richard England. He promised to send over what birth records he had for the town, but said it would be easier for him to work from the town’s census report and fill in the blanks. He knows of only one person in town with abilities: the individual can make small objects a little bit colder. Otherwise there seems to be no powered inviduals here.
Sam and Shannon visited the local Methodist church to meet Father Hathor. He said his congregation included about 80 regulars. He might see 200 souls at Christmas. There are other churches in Harpers Ferry, and a few smaller congregations hold meetings in nearby homes are barns. He knows of a Baptist and a Lutherin group. The newest folk in town are Mr and Mrs Wahlroos. They have two children – a 4 1/2 and a 6mo old.
After lunch, Sam and Shannon visit the principal’s office at the school. They introduce themselves and warn the principal that they are in town and that they are looking into the strange animal deaths in the area. It’s assumed kids and parents will have questions, so the agents are trying to head this off. The principal is appreciative, but doesn’t really know of anyone who might do such a thing.
On the way out Shannon catches view of a young woman with a powerful signature. Shannon steps back to get a second look and inadvertently gets the whole classes attengion.
Markus visited the post office in an attempt to get a map of the region. The general store’s clerk also works at the post office. Maps are scarce and hard to come by.
We meet up back at the hotel and start to chat about what we’ve found out.
Date: July 17th, 2010
Game Date: October 6, 2032
The Grayson farm is the furthest east from town. It’s a small, family farm that raises mostly sheep and performs a bit of subsistence farming. Mr Grayson, his wife Helen, and his two children: Joanna (9) and Paul (12) live and work at the farm. It is the children’s responsibility to let the animals out of the barn in the morning, and see to it that they have water. Throughout the day the children act as shepherds to the flock. The land has been in Mr. Grayson’s family for 7 generations; having been carved out of the trees some time ago. Neither he, nor his family, could think of anyone who had a grudge against them, or a reason to attack their flock.
On the night of the incident (September 30th), the Graysons saw nothing amiss. Around 1am they heard the dogs yapping, but it did not raise their alarm. They agreed that the dogs sounded like they were playing more than anything else. The next morning the children discovered the animal dead. Their father, having heard of previous incidents of healthy animals dying without exterior visible cause, brought the animal to the local vet. She called him back the next day to admit that she had no idea what caused the death. Theirs was the 4th animal to die.
We spoke with each family member, and none could offer further information; each telling similar variants to this tale. Mr Grayson took us to the spot where the animal died. A detailed search of the area turned up a single silver hair-pin with a flat top. It was found 15′ from the treeline, about 55′ from the site of the incident. None of the family claimed its ownership or could name its owner. We bagged it for evidence.
The next farm (some miles way) belonged to Mr. Dickerson. It is a much bigger spread, with several different types of animals (pigs, sheep, goats and cows), numerous dogs, and farmhands about. A farmhand stopped us as we approached the house and then went to inform Mr. Dickerson of our arrival. We were met and ushered into the house. Mr. Dickerson is in his 50s and in good health. His story was similar to that told by Mr. Grayson; there was nothing amiss the night before and in the morning the animal was found dead inside the outside pen, where the flock was kept. The dogs at this farm are quite … twitchy.
We were brought to the site of the incident, and spent time examining the area. The pen itself is 70′ square. The animal died about 10′ in from the edge. The nearest treeline or cover is some 120′ away. While nothing physical was discovered, Shannon and Markus mused that the assailant would either be a very powerful and accurate marksman, or using magic to make the dogs like them. The assailant may even have made themselves invisible to be better able to approach their chosen victim.
We said our goodbyes and went back to town. We found Mike in the hotel. Regina and XX had gone off to talk to the vet. With neither team having found sufficient evidence, we are still guessing and have neither means nor motive for the events. We began planning our next move: a way in which the entire town population could be scanned for magical or shard capacity.
Date: June 17th, 2010
Game Date: October 6, 2032
We spent a quiet night in the local hotel near the highway.
Up with the dawn, Markus, Mike, and I worked out while the others slept. By the time we came back to the hotel, Shannon, Regina and XX were up and heading out to practice. Over breakfast, we made plans.
We would all go to the sheriff’s office and see if another event had been reported through the night. If it had not, Markus, Shannon and I would visit the veterinarian, then start visiting the farms where the incidents took place. The others would start visiting the farms right away, working their way towards the Dickerson’s farm (north of town). We’d meet up back in town by mid-to-late afternoon.
A quick visit to the Sheriff’s office proved nothing had been reported through the night, so we split up.
The Veterinary was the one who reported the incidents to the police. She could not discern the cause behind the injuries that caused the animals death. With her help we reviewed the corpses of the four beasts she had present (2 goats, a sheep, and parts of a cow). In all cases, blighting of the heart and part of the lungs was present. In one case (a sheep) the spleen and liver were also affected, but not as severely. An animal born with an unnaturally shrunken and decrepit heart would not have survived to maturity. There is no discernible evidence that this was caused by a wound or touch exterior to the body.
Preliminary toxicology tests came back negative for known diseases or virus, but perhaps more important, the local vet had never seen or heard of anything like it. I found it reminiscent of the wounds caused by the blight crow; but without an exterior path. The animals otherwise appeared to be in good health.
It took some time to review all the animals. The cow had been divided to better fit in the vet’s freezers, but there was no damage to the skull or hindquarters, except where the divisions took place.
Game date: Friday, July 23, 2032
Real date: May 23/07
Location: Starksville, Mississippi
Upon waking, Shannon goes off to find Robert. She’s wearing only a t-shirt. She tells him that she had a visitor last night–an elderly oriental gentleman. Her dream also included the original founder of the church (he was very interested in her); “Charles” was a very charming speaker. It looked like she was in the church, but there were no windows. He stepped out of a beam of white light from the alter.
Charles asked her name and she gave it. The entire time her necklace was getting hotter and hotter. When she reached to shake his hand the necklace got really hot and he recoiled a bit. He found that “interesting” and said they’d talk again.
She thought she woke up, but I wasn’t there. She rose and opened the door and there was an elderly oriental man standing there. She’s never seen him a lot, but he acted a lot like Mr Shufolue. He was helpful, but secretive. He was sent by cub. He warned her that the necklace is protective. When she tries to take it off she feels ill at ease afterwards. He says we’re in danger and should leave as soon as we can. The old man’s specialty is dream walking. He gave no name and didn’t really answer anything. He told her to not take off the necklace, and not to worry about the church as it will be dealt with eventually.
After reporting, she and Robert went down to breakfast. After breakfast Robert returned to his office to report. We go off to pack. When we next see Robert (around 10:30AM) he’s shaken and quite pale.
We visit the jail and say good bye to the sheriff and David. Robert gives him his business card and tells him to tell his lawyer to contact Robert or, at least, the local FBI office as they may have information relating to the case. We leave soon after and Robert takes the opportunity to nap.
Game date: Friday, July 23, 2032 – Wednesday, July 28, 2032
Nothing much to report. It’s hot, buggy and humid. We pass through a few small towns and find the folk to be as hostile as any we’ve ever met on average. We get odd looks and the cold shoulder unless we address someone directly.
We cross into Arkansas and this place isn’t much friendlier. The population’s temperament is a bit worse and … rather odd. Isolationism I guess; we do meet a few friendly travelers – and they stand out like diamonds amidst salt.
We did run into money problems. In one small town we didn’t want to take American money, preferring gold. I ended up trading a few hours of dentistry for what we wanted and we moved on.
The further south we went, the warmer and dryer it got. We take more effort and care in where we sleep due to scorpions, spiders, and snakes. I’m not too worried, but I am also taking every bit of advice the drivers are giving us to heart.
Location: Starkville, Mississippi
Real date: April 25, 2007
The ogre is ranting that all this (?) has got to stop. If no one was going to do anything a bout this then they will. The population is starting to panic, a few folk look like they know what he’s talking about, but I sure don’t. Someone shouts out to David (the ogre) to let her go; but he doesn’t. The sheriff of the town steps forward (late 20s, lanky, male, sword on hip with an oddly attractive walk). The ogre calls him Michael.
Robert tries to negotiate with David (the ogre) and the man standing near him (Nellee – a mage). But combat quickly ensues as one of David’s friends gets twitchy. David drops the girl when Peter puts his sword through the muscles of his forearm; David’s friends try to attack us, but we either subdue and arrest or knock them out. Robert turned the ground to mud, quickly trapping most of them.
Robert then takes the sheriff aside to talk. We call for the cart and load and bind all the prisonners and take them to the Sheriff’s office.
Shannon talks to the victim. The folk surrounding the girl are bakers of the incredible smelling bread. They are all dressed similarly and are all members of the same religious movement. They were perturbed by Shannon’s healing as they try not to deal with magic much. They were not offended. The group claimed to have no knowledge of the cause of the incident. They are all members of the Church of the fallen man. The man who speaks for the group is named Christian, the victim is named Essence.
Matt steps forward and thanks Shannon. He offers us bread for our assistance. Our questions are politely deflected as Matt is worried about Essence. They start packing up. They are mildly concerned and perplexed, but far calmer than the situation warrants. Matt also didn’t ogle Shannon.
Eventually we learn from Nellee that people who join the Church of the Fallen Man change in subtle ways. David and his friends think the church is somehow controlling them; and they want it stopped.
The team meets back up outside of the Sheriff’s office and organizes. We get the supplies (our original intent for stopping here) to the Inn and meet back at the hotel for dinner. Ray takes first watch at the sheriff’s office while the rest of us head down to the church.
Shannon doesn’t see much magic on the way there. There’s some minor magic in the field; but she’s not sure what’s causing it. The church is in a nice area; it’s a two-story building with glass int he windows. It’s solid but not particularly ornate. There’s a cross on the steeple and a small bell.
Inside are a fair number of folk. The room is lit by torches along the side and candles in the middle. Matt meets us. The place smells strongly of freshly baked bread. There are lots of images of Christ on the cross in the main room. A group os socializing at hte raised dias near the pews. We get bread for free from them.
Shannon starts to feel odd – her necklace is bothering her. I’m also uncomfortable as I’m surrounded by very calm and accommodating people who keep trying to engage me in small-talk. We talk to them for about 45 minutes and get a tour of the kitchens and common rooms. Robert “felt” something coming from downstairs but the tour did not include the “private sleeping areas” and we saw nothing that would give us reason to investigate further. Mike says there’s something wrong with these people; considering that he doesn’t see the same way we do — it’s made me curious, but he can’t explain it further.
We learn that Matt founded this branch of the church. He’s considered the smartest in his family. He brought in a speaker during one visit and it was founded shortly after. No one lives in the church, but three people take turns staying here. All the members are locals of Starksville.
Later, after the sun’s gone down and most of the team is in the hotel, Shannon, Markus and I take a walk around town. Shannon detects nothing about the church but Markus can hear a hymn being sung by a female voice.
Thursday, July 22, 2032
Real date: March 28, 2007
Starkville is a relatively small town. There’s some outlying farms on the way in and a fair number of inhabited but very poor looking shacks. The population sign claims there’s 520 people here. The center of town looks to be a town hall. There’s a couple of variety stores, and some merchants selling produce from stalls in the street.
Our group of 14 people attracts a fair amount of attention. Markus and Mike go to the local inn to see if they have room for us. They have 10 rooms (2 of which have double beds). Markus starts negotiating a price for room and board for the night.
Shannon and Ray head out to buy sausages. Robert goes to the bread stall (they have bread that smells absolutely amazing), Sam and the handlers go to buy feed and produce.
Amidst our shopping we hear a loud booming voice say; “We’ve had enough of you! Enough!”. The voice is followed by a couple of screams. Going out to check on the noise we see an Ogre is holding a woman up off the ground by the throat. She’s struggling to breath and clawing at the Ogre’s arms, but he seems oblivious to her actions.
Robert is the first to reach the Ogre and he tries talking to him. The Ogre’s response (Talk? You can’t talk to a Snake) just poses even more questions. The woman is dressed in some kind of uniform that looks vaguely catholic. There are six others similarly dressed standing nearby. Shannon says all of them have some kind of magic.
Closer to the Ogre stands four people dressed casually. One man wields a sword, one a rapier, one a short sword and one a cross bow. Shannon says the Rapier guy is also powered. These guys all look upset, angry, determined, and the cross bow wielding guy looks scared. The Ogre is just ticked.
Saturday, July 17, 2032
Real date: March 14, 2007
As we come into the outskirts of Birmingham, we see an FBI cart head out with a team going towards Anniston. We do not identify ourselves to them. Robert wants to try and keep a low profile.
Birmingham is a large, bustling town that’s spread out and fairly clean. We’re made to feel more comfortable as a group here than in Atlanta. Everyone notices us (which is a feeling we’re starting to get use to). The place feels very segregated.
Real date: March 28, 2007
Robert doesn’t want to check in here, but we have information from Atlanta that has to be delivered. So, I volunteer and change shape into a packet rider. I become a young male (between 16-18 yrs of age), brown hair, brown eyes, slightly lanky build, about 5’7″, average weight. I dress in borrowed clothes (Mike’s cape, Peter’s satchel, etc) and take a horse. I split from the group as we get to the edge of Birmingham proper and ride out to the FBI offices on the other side of town.
There I deliver a package of paper to a rather bored but attentive guard. Another guard leads me inside while the gate guard watches my horse. An agent takes the package from me and he and I sign a receipt for its delivery. A runner takes it from the agent and then I’m led away. The office i spredominantly white (90-95% from what I see).
I get a recomendation on breakfast from the guards (which turns into a 5 minute conversation) but end up at a restaurant that does a big breakfast for $4.00.
While I was away Shannon and Ray bought whiskey (I had asked Ray for a bottle). What I got from Ray was an OK variety not to be shared with close friends (in other words he doesn’t really need to drink any more than that). Others focused on resupplying the caravan.
Sunday, July 18-Friday, July 22
The next five days are pretty quiet. We crossed the border into Mississippi without incident. Robert decides we should pull into Starkville to resupply and clean up as we’ll not see many towns for a while afterwards.
Friday, July 16, 2032
Real Date: March 14, 2007
Travelling along the road, Ray suddenly called for a halt. The carts had barely stopped when he jumped off and started running towards the edge of the road. Shannon followed on horseback.
About 250 yards off we could just barely make out someone hanging from a tree. Peter and Sam jumped off the cart and followed at a trot. Robert orders the others to guard the carts.
Ray snaps the rope with his bare hands and the body falls a short distance to the ground. Ray is cursing quietly. I figure the man’s been dead for about a day and a half or so.
Shannon and Ray think we’ve run over some of the tracks, but the crime seems to have been caused by a group that came from teh road and went back. Shannon finds some light blood splatter in the grass between the road and the crime scene. It would appear the victim was dragged from the road, already bleeding from a probable beating. There was no sign on the road, so we suspect the victim was transported by horse or cart to this location.
The victim died by slow strangulation. There was something under his fingernails. We scraped them clean and bagged the evidence. The victim was 5’9″, black and in his late 20’s. He weighted approximate 175 lbs and was of a relatively muscular build.
We wrap the body in a tarp and gently take him back to the cart. The nearest town is Anaston Alabama. The trip there was pretty tense. Everyone was quiet and the stress was prevalent. We’d been warned about this, that lynchings were becoming more common as the strength of the KKK grew; but warnings aren’t the same as actually seeing it. Frankly, I’d rather deal with exploding cows again than this.
The town’s got a population of about 10,000. It appears to be a mostly white town. The people have adjusted. The roads are taken care of, the buildings are clean and there’s a few empty lots but not a lot of derilict buildings in sight and certainly no delapidated buildigns. There’s a fiar amount of foot traffic and we get most of its attention.
Robert asks for directions to the police office and we head there directly. The handlers are left with the carts, but the rest of us go in. Robert identifies himself as an FBI agent and talks briefly to the desk sargent.
“Harry” takes us down to the morgue where we set the victim up for autopsy. We also log our evidence and store it with Harry (we get a reciept). The Sheriff is in his late 30’s, heavy set and stand 6’2″. His name is Earl and there’s lots of juristicional questions. Robert’s case (that it’s a hate crime, that it occured near a border and there’s a possibility it was done by people crossing said border) pretty much prooves that it should be an FBI case. Unfortunately we can’t stop our current mission to investigate it.
We fill the Sheriff in on what we found, give him our statements and tell him all the details over a few mugs of coffee. He’ll try to identify the victim’s body. He didn’t recognize the man, but there’s a chance someone might have known him locally.
We stop at a local restaurant for lunch, but most of are no longer that hungry. The local waitress is a real hoot. The food is good and almost spicy enough for Ray. Back on the road Robert calls ahead and get a team to come from Birmingham to deal with this.
Georgia in the Summer time
Wednesday, July 14, 2032 (Game date March 14, 2007)
There’s a fair amount of traffic on the roads and the weather’s been good so we’ve made good time. We should be into Alabama in a day and a half.