Machina Deo

Session 7?

"Should you look too deep within the darkened mirror"

(GM Note: A lot happened in this session, so it's going to be really long.  Also, I know I missed updates for the previous two or three sessions.  I'll hopefully go back and update those, but it's more important to me to get the most recent sessions down than ones farther in the past.)

The game started off right where we left: with Marcus (The Raven)  and Jay (The Cyborg) in separate adjoining rooms in a cheap motel. The Raven was asleep, while The Cyborg was recharging in the bathtub (he regains his Power trait while being in water). While they were asleep/recharging, Tin-Eyed Tommy placed a music box on the table near the bed — which, through an enchanted song,  put both the players and the homeless man that Tommy brought with him into a state somewhat akin to Sleep Paralysis — and clicked on the light.   He sat in the chair next to the bed, holding Orrin's mask in his hands.



Tommy immediately started monologuing, ranting about killing the man in the mask and the man in the suit and such, and how he thinks he's figured out how they're different-but-the-same, and he had an idea on how he could permanently kill both of them, at the same time.



On the table, next to the music box, there was also a simple pivoting mirror with magic symbols etched into the glass, all around the edge.  Tommy reached behind the mirror, lit a candle — which unnaturally darkened the mirror — and then he lifted the homeless man and slit his throat (using an ornate dagger) in such a way that the homeless man's blood sprayed all over the mirror.

Tommy looked back to Marcus and said Marcus had three days to find Tommy, or Tommy would kill Marcus's sister, Jane, then Tommy made eye contact with himself in the mirror — through the homeless man's blood — and faded from view.

A few minutes after that, the music box wound to a halt and everyone regained control of their bodies.  The homeless man finished dying on the floor, and The Raven and The Cyborg discussed what to do — noting that the mirror would only stay "open" while the candle burned — before Jay bit the bullet and "entered" the mirror, with Marcus following closely behind.

The room they reformed in was a mirror image of the room they left, only there was no furniture, and the walls and floor were cut stone and the ceiling was damp, fertile, earth held together with a web of plant roots.  Rivulets of moisture ran down the walls, forming small puddles along the edges of the room, and everything smelled like a root cellar.

Everything was dark, save the light coming through the mirror — on the floor, not a table — so Jay pulled out his cell phone to use the flashlight as their sole light source for the entire session.

Marcus and Jay didn't waste any time, and moved into the hallway, expecting a mirror image of the hallway outside their hotel room.  Instead, it opened to a stone-and-earth version of the hallway where Orrin and Jay killed three men while defending Jannica.  One direction, the hallway appeared to go on forever, while the other was lit by a dingy yellow "Elevator" light.  There were three human — not Xentyari, as the mobsters were that they had killed — bodies in the hallway.

Marcus looted the corpses — finding only loose change and pocket lint —before he and Jay moved to the elevator.  They brielfy discussed whether to go up or down (in life, the exit was down, but they figured they were under ground so they should go up). They pressed the button, listened to the machinery behind the stone doors, and when the elevator dinged its arrival.

When the doors opened, instead of showing the inside of an elevator, it revealed a graveyard. The ceiling was higher, dotted with the undersides of headstones and caskets, with large bundles of roots making up creepy, gnarled "trees." The ground had crumbling and broken headstones, where they fell from the ceiling, and where caskets fell there were open graves. The graveyard extended in all directions, as far as their limited light could illuminate, and there was a meandering path — with a few drops of fresh blood on it — in front of the mausoleum that they were exiting from.

Not far off, but outside the view of Marcus and Jay, Christopher Stapely (The Blood Mage) watched as the doors tot he mausoleum opened, revealing the first living things — as well as the first true light source — he'd seen in about a week.  Initially wary, he stayed behind the Raven and the Cyborg as they moved through the graveyard, following the droplets of blood found on the path.

It wasn't long before the group came across a scene where a man — a ghost, dressed in only a white shroud — was eating the corpse of an old woman that he had pulled from a casket that had fallen from the ceiling.  As they approached, the ghost of the man looked at them with deer-in-the-headlights eyes and bolted away from them.  The ghost didn't phase anyone — though seeing how little this "cannibal" bothered The Cyborg and The Raven discomforted The Blood Mage, and he continued to stay back.

And they continued on… until they heard the building cacophony of The Howling Dead approaching them. At first, they were like, "What's that?" and stopped to check it out, until they saw that it was made up of over 100 spirits, yelling and screaming and moving like a wave right toward them. So they bolted.

The Blood Mage and The Raven each had some magic they could use to go faster — Celerity and the near human form, respectively — but The Cyborg was slower than The Howling Dead, and as they ran, the wave of spirits was closing in on them.

So, The Raven shifted into a swarm of Ravens, and The Blood Mage — now unhidden from the rest of the group — stayed back to literally run interference and slow the wave of undead by rapidly redirecting them, allowing The Cyborg to make it to the edge of the cemetery and run through an old wrought-iron gate, and directly into cave-like tunnels. The Blood Mage followed suit, and they closed the gate while The Raven — as a swarm — flew between the bars. The Hungering Dead splashed against the gate, and a few of them were interested in the party, but the swarm moved like water, splashed against the walls, and redirected, eventually just leaving the party alone.

Now fully in the tunnels, without the fear of The Hungering Dead behind them, they continued to follow the ever-more-sparse blood trail forward.  The caves were warm, with the walls warm to the touch, and grew continually warmer until the air was uncomfortable to breath and the walls were too hot to touch.

Right when the group was convinced they were moving into a volcano, they came across a branching point in the tunnel.  Three possible exits: to the right, a large bloodstain on the floor seemed to mark the direction Tommy likely went; to the front, the air felt notably cooler; and, to the left, an arrow was scratched into the wall.

After some quick knowledge checks (the arrow was carved into the wall within the last week, while the blood on the floor was older than that) they first opted to move left.  As they moved forward, the air cooled, and a mist began to accumulate on the floor until they came to a stair case. Looking up the stairs, the light from the cell phone (now lower than 50%) seemed to illuminate a person standing at the top of the stairs.  They cautiously moved up the stairs, guns drawn, until they came across an ornately-armored knight, who stared past them, down the stairs.  No amount of interaction could change his view, and they continued forward, up another set of stairs, and… to a dead end.

They then moved back to the branch in in the tunnel — noting that the knight was absent on their way back — and when they returned to the branch, the path which lead back to the cemetery was also missing.  This time, they took the path to the right, with the blood stain.

(About this time, they all felt like they were being followed, but were unable to see what was following them.)

Again, the air cooled, and they soon saw a dim green light in the distance, and they were excited to find something different.  Suddenly, with a crash, the floor beneath them collapsed!  Each of them was able to jump back, avoiding the fall, but they couldn't make it across to the light at the end of the tunnel.

They spent some time discussing a way across — with The Raven suggesting a bridge of clothing that they could just walk across, and that he was going to have to start caring a ladder everywhere they went because no one else could fly — before they agreed that The Raven should fly across and scout ahead.

At the end of the tunnel, the origin of the green light was the sign for the Three Horned Goat — the bar where were-rats attacked a mob family's daughter's bachelorette party — placed right next to a doorway.   The Raven went inside, and found the bar in exactly the same state of disarray that his brother had found the bar in, only a few days prior.  At the bar, an old man looked up and remarked that, he "didn't expect to see [Marcus, who he had mistaken for Orrin] on this side, so soon" and offered him a drink in condolence.  Marcus talked with him briefly, but didn't take the drink, before looking around the bar and deciding to head back to the group, as they couldn't cross the gap to use the bar's back exit, anyway.

As they returned to the fork in the road, they all felt like they were being followed — again — and this time, Marcus was able to catch a glimpse of a creature that appeared to be a flock of ravens, in the general shape of a man, wrapped in tattered robes.  The thing following them made no move to close the gap, and instead just appeared to be observing them, so they carried on.

Once back at the fork in the tunnels, the path with the arrow was missing — along with the path back to the graveyard — and they were left to take the path to the center, where the air was the coolest.

This path lead forward, up another set if stairs, and then turned sharply.  On the other side of the turn, they came across a woman — naked, emaciated, and covered in scabs — who was yanking out and counting all the hair on her body, but would forever be doing so as her hair was growing back faster than she could count.  Like the knight, they moved past this woman without slowing, climbing up another set of stairs.

At the top of the stairs, the tunnel began to narrow and slope downward, eventually closing to a tunnel so tight that they had to crawl.  Trilobite-like bugs crawled over their bodies, and claustrophobia was getting to them.

Soon, they came to a submarine hatch, complete with the metal wheel in the middle, which they opened and discovered that it revealed subway tracks about 15 feet below them.  Their only option was down, and they all fell (except Marcus, who flew), taking some damage.

Jay tested the 3rd rail of this new subway and discovered that there was current running through hit, so he healed the damage, and they all continued on, eventually coming across a mirror image of the train crash — in the Port of Sunset — that started everything.  They continued through the train, noting there were more bodies on the train than there were during the actual crash, until the train exited the tunnel, which was also the face of the City of Mirae casino which they first saw Tin-Eyed Tommy.

And, low and behold, directly out from the casino — making himself at home at an abandoned taco cart, right next to a slowly burbling river — was Tommy, himself.

He monologued, again, stating that he wasn't going to kill them, and he was leaving.  Unfortunately for Tommy, the only way out was through the group, and they attacked, killing Tommy.

While Jay hacked Tommy into pieces, Christopher moved to the river and took a drink — asking the River of Memory where he could find The River of Blood, but telling the group he was going to ask about a way out — and, when they asked how to get out of The Underworld, Christopher told them that they had to cross the river, leading them deeper into The Underworld instead of out.

Noting that they couldn't cross the river, themselves — as it was far too wide — they continued up the Mirae Strip / River of Memory until they came across a ferryman — gondola-man? — who required coins to bring them across, which Jay was able to provide from the bodies in the hallway.

(GM Note: Goddamn, that's a lot of stuff.  Sorry it got rambly…)

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