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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.
Still in Atlanta
Tuesday, July 13, 2032 (Game date March 14, 2007)
(This occurs before the meeting with the SAC in Hello Atlanta.)
We’re gathered in the hotel’s restaurant for breakfast when Shannon tells us about her “dream” last night. It seems that Cub visited her and told her that we should expect help along the way from an expert. Cub also told her that the “hunter” who finished the cleanup at Dublin can be trusted. If Cub had to choose someone to find and kill a person, this “hunter” is the guy he’d pick.
(After the meeting.)
We get out of the meeting with SAC Riddenhower in the mid-morning and then we head out to resupply on everything from food and basic necessities to clothes.
Welcome to Atlanta
Wednesday, July 13, 2032 (Game Date: February 14, 2007)
We’ve bathed, slept and dressed in clean clothes. Most of us are starting to feel human. We arrive at the office early and meet with SAC Adam Riddenhower in a conference room.
SAC Riddenhower has received regular reports from the SAC in Baltimore (Bruce Anthor, our boss). The SAC thanks us for our involvement and Robert hands over a copy of his report of Dublin.
The Atlanta FBI has been gathering information for us about the KKK. We learn that the KKK are on the upswing over the last 2 years as they agressively expand. They are currently the second most powerful organization in Texas, with the first (arguably) being the Army. Lynchings and race-related riots are on the rise, predominantly outside major cities. Exceptions have occurred in Louisianana, Mississippi, and maybe even Austin (although communications with Austin are questionable).
SAC Riddenhower believes the KKK has inroads into the southern FBI offices.
The FBI doesn’t have a lot of hard data on the Dragons. From the reports it’s a creature between 18 and 45′ (more likely 18-25′) in length and red in color.
Neither Earl Ballenger nor the Dragon have sighted in the last four months. Earl has a 19 year old son named Thomas. Thomas is also a member of the KKK but he’s not necessarily in the hierarchy of the group. There were unconfirmed reports that he has abilities. He fought with 5 people his age at a bar – and the injuries of those 5 are horrific.
Thomas is speaking more often to groups and he is both charismatic and a good speaker. He’s also a goods tudent with good grades. His speeches are all about the clan and his father. There’s a strong cult of personalty around the dragon, and by extension Mr Ballenger as well.
Tuesday, July 12, 2032
We pack it up. The horses are still a little skittish, and I can’t blame them. We pull out onto the road to Atlanta. Shannon is the first to notice a fairly large magical spot up ahead. She draws Robert’s attention to it.
The area is close to the spot where Mr John McCallen, a young unknown male and unknown female died on July 9th, 2032. Lying there in the grass are four human bodies, one squirrel and one horse. All are decapitated and slightly decomposed.
Shannon informs us that the corpses are in some kind of magically protected circle. The magic seems to gently repell approaching life. This explains the lack of flies and marks of other scavengers on the corpses.
Our initial best guess is that these are the four humans who were already infected and attacked and killed Mr McCallen. They ran off after the fleeing horse. The squirrel was probably someone’s snack. The heads were removed with someone thing very sharp and most likely very hot. They were killed with one blow to the neck adn the blow cauteriezed the wound.
Under a rock also in the circle we find a note that reads “this should be the last of them. Great job. – A friend.”
A closer examination of the corpses finds rough wood splinters in their hands, further linking them to the attack on Mr McCallen’s cart, and subsequently his murder.
Shannon and Peter head into the woods, trying to find signs of “our friend”. About 30 feet back from the corpses Shannon finds tracks that lead in from the edge of the bush towards the road, but she finds nothing in that 30 feet between the last tracks and the corpses, not even signs that the tracks were somehow covered over. The ground cover is light bush over grass and should show some sign of someone’s passing; especially if they’re moving a dead horse. She finds very heavy size 14EE boot prints that come from further into the woods.
She and Peter follow the tracks back a further 15 minutes to find teh first signs of a fight. From what she can tell a body (or two) fell here. Ther are no signs of blood or splatter, and the prints come in and go out from a couple of different directions through the clearing. Their best guess is that mystery man hunted and killed the four humans, squirrel and horse, somehow transported them through the brush and deposited them in a magical circle along our path where he knew we’d find them. Shannon believes that the hunter burned the heads either immediately upon severing them or shortly there after as she found roundish depressions and a fair bit of ash.
Robert believes the magical circle is a form of “spirit magic” and believes the bodys were laying there for about 1 1/2 – 2 days. The bodies are not quite decomposed enough for that timeframe under normal circumstances, but without insects and supressed bacterial growth, it’s probable.
We sew the squirrel up in sail canvas and take it with us. The rest are burried under stone.
Afte that we head off to Atlanta. We get there by nightfall and check in at the local FBI office. There’s not a lot of folks there at 7PM. We visit briefly with an agent and he promises to getus an appointment with the SAC. We drop off evidence and sign it in then head towards a nearby hotel for the night.