Monday, November 17, 2014

Threads and Fate ep01 : Scion

Threads and Fate
Episode One
"From Above"


After the successful Monsterhearts one-shot and the Mouseworld one-shot I ran for Lanchie, Miguel and Jonathan, Rocky and I were excited to learn they were all itching to try another game.  Perhaps, they said, one that lasts longer than a single session.  So we were more than eager to comply.  Digging through the various books and systems we had to offer, both Rocky and I realized we wanted them to at least try something that used the Storyteller system of White Wolf games.  But given the varying interests, the trick was finding was system would be best.   Mythology seemed to be the easiest niche to match up, and so we went for Scion.

The cast of characters:

Jonathan plays  Morgan Huntington
An Anthropologist whose work explores the cultural echoes existing among the fairy tales of the world, with emphasis on the concept of a Prince Charming.  Morgan's work was one of passion given he was also the heir to a massive real-estate conglomerate.   
Virtues: Duty, Endurance, Intellect, Valor

Miguel plays Max Black
Assistant to the librarian in the university library, Max is a college student studying Literature.  She comes from a foster home and is currently searching for her biological parents.  Sassy and angry at the world, Max approaches things with a no-nonsense attitude and a determined desire to find the truth to why she was abandoned at such a young age.
Virtues: Conviction, Courage, Duty, Loyalty

 Lanchie plays Gareth Malone

Despite being much older than most in the music industry, Gareth continues to express his love for his craft and find others who seek to learn from his experience.  Gareth is an International chorale conductor who is currently doing master classes all around the world. But as public he is a personality when it comes to his love for music, he remains a man of mystery when one considers his attentions towards the more passionate and sensual things in life.   Sexually ambiguous, Gareth hides a lot of mysteries behind an approachable and kind face.
Virtues: Expression, Intellect, Valor, Vengeance

Rocky plays Annika
Tough, perceptive and brave, Annika is a Reality TV show host  with her own brand on survival tactics.  Following the paths tread by shows like Man versus Wild, Annika's show pushes the boundaries of what women can achieve and fearlessly shows that ingenuity and grace can come hand in hand.
Virtues: Conviction, Harmony, Order, Piety

Our story begins with each of the scions going through their lives, unawares of the coming twists of Fate.  

Max was at the library digging up for more dirt about her family and found two possible search results when the same power outage hits.  She hears a shriek somewhere inside the library, telling her someone else is stuck in the darkness with her.  And worse, the sight of something furry moving deeper into the darkness.  She rushes to help the trapped student find her way out when they realize there is something stalking them in the darkness.

Gareth was at the concert hall, conducting a chorale and orchestra to perform a piece he knows by heart.  He sees a woman in the far side of the audience hall, staring at him unflinchingly.  Unlike everyone else, she seems to be staring intensely at him without any care for the music.  As the song hits the highest note, lightning flashes and the power cuts out.  He pushes forward, however, tapping his feet to keep the tempo and bringing the performance to reach a majestic finish.  Lighting flashes and a winged shadow is cast upon the wall.   The audience breaks into applause, perhaps thinking Gareth timed the performance to have that shadow.  However, Gareth excuses himself and heads back to his own dressing room before the last song.  While there, however, he sees a black shape upon the window which incites him to break into a run to leave the room.  He bumps into Sheryl, one of his assistants, who tries to help him in the darkness.  Gareth feels a cold breeze and finds an open window in the adjoining room.

Annika is talking with Gary about the footage showing her wading through the mud as she pushes between the fallen trees and talks about keeping a steady pace and not staying too long.  Gary had fallen backwards, tripping on a fallen tree, that moment.  When the lights go out, Annika (who keeps calling Gary something else: Jerry, Gerald, Greg... etc) even blames him for the power going out.  Gary heads to the other office to check if there's anything he can grab to fix the power outage, given even the UPS had gone out.  Annika looks out the window at the coliseum and sees some kind of shadow on the roof when lightning flashed for a moment.  Something with wings?  When Gary finds a possible light source, Annika catches sight of the hint of some movement at the far end of the corridor.  She runs to that area to check who is there and finds herself face to face with a cloaked figure with glowing eyes. 

Morgan was having an argument with his father about his plans in life and about the need for him to focus on the family business (for the next four months in South East Asia) when a power outage strikes the city.  And just when one would think things could not get any worse, a winged thing crashes through the window.   The thing is a naked woman, but wings protrude from its back and talons replace her feet.  Scales seem to cover its skin.  Strangely, Morgan's father does not seem to see the woman.  While his father complains all about the loss of power and the wasted money, Morgan sees another figure at the broken window.

Giant spiders, each the width of two open palms, are stalking the two girls.  Max and the girl smash books at them, trying to force the creatures back whenever they can.  At times the things vanish in the darkness, only to reemerge with the flashing of lightning.  Max discovers her body impossibly somehow begins to move with unexpected speed and grace, which helps her evade most of the incoming spiders.  But as they find their way to escape, the doorways they find are blocked by spider webs.  The two start tearing pages off the nearest books and lighting them to build a fire to try and ward the things back.  Max easily swats most of the spiders away, even flinging one to smack into others.  But the other girl panics as the threads of web begin to entangle around her body.  She is unable to light the books in time.  That moment, a shriek tears through the night and Max turns towards it to see a winged feathered thing emerging from the corner charging straight towards them!

Gareth sends the assistant to check the open window in the other room.  As Sheryl check the window, the door behind her slams shut leaving Gareth in darkness.  Sheryl returns, wondering why Gareth closed the door, and tells him the window is closed now.  That moment, time seems to move so slowly as Gareth's brain snaps into focus and review the details he had seen.  The shadow at the window... it was a monkey.  A monkey shape?  And Gareth suddenly understands for certain that today is one of the most important days in his life.  And true enough, a chimpanzee walks into the light of Stacey's flash light.  Stacey hurries to call for security, but this pulls the light away from the chimp.  Gareth feels a tugging sensation against his leg, and when Stacey shines the light towards it, they see the chimpanzee there.  To their shock, the thing suddenly asks, "Are we really playing this game, Gareth?"  The two stare at the talking monkey but the chimpanzee teases them and replies, "Well, you're all talking monkeys too!"    When Gareth wonders what's going on, the chimpanzee digs a mite from its hair and offers it to him, telling him that if he eats it everything is going to make sense.  The mite offered turns out to be a stupid joke which makes the chimp laugh its ass off.  The chimp then explains that "she" is looking for him and seems amused that he really does not recall anything.  When Gareth pushes to ask who "she" is, the chimp explains his wife is looking for her.

Annika finds the cloaked figure addressing her as Annika and asking for her help.  The woman explains that if Annika does not do as she says, she will not be able to save "Jareth" from dying.  And if Jareth dies, then Jareth would not be able to save Annika in the future.  A paper levitates out of the cloak to reveal a flier to Brahms Concerto E at the coliseum.   The figure asks Annika to hurry, given there is less than an hour of time left before it is too late.   Gary calls for Annika, and when Annika asks "Jerry" to wait, she turns back to find the cloaked woman gone and the flier falling to the ground.   Annika tells Gary to wait and rushes towards the concerto across the block.  She sees the winged things in the sky, surrounding the Huntington tower above.  An explosive sound erupts from above followed by the tinkling sound of falling glass.  Annika looks up to see a winged horse silhouetted by the lightning.  She rushes forward, sliding across the hoods of cars and leaping over benches as she rushes towards the coliseum.  Oddly, she notices there is a cat running alongside her. Deep down she feels if she does not help this Jareth person, she will regret it for the rest of her life.   She pushes the side door open and slides inside to find the cat there beside her, staring at her.  Questioning her sanity can wait.   Annika quickly moves through the grounds, avoiding security and making her way to what she knows is the backstage area.  Having held a meet and greet event here before, Annika remembers the route easily.

A winged horse.  The thing by the broken window is a winged horse.  And on the horse, a beautiful pale woman, naked save for a helmet with eagle wings and a spear.  The father starts complaining aloud about the damaged window, again seemingly blind to the newcomers.  Morgan tries to shush his father to go quiet and explain that something weird is going on, and it takes a while before he starts to make sense to his father.  As they crawl towards the door, keeping low, Morgan starts to hear squirming wet sounds as the woman seemingly crushes the head of the winged woman in the other side of the room.  She then asks the horse if it had found the trail of her husband and it neighs in response.

Hoping to distract the woman, Morgan flings a glass shard into the opposite direction.  But the woman detects the movement and flings the spear at the shard with just enough precise strength that it impales the glass shard against the window.    She turns and faces Morgan's direction and asks why he can see her!  Morgan stands up, imposing himself between his father and the woman.   She asks if he is one of those bound to Jareth by Fate as she reaches for the spear.  When Morgan's father stands up, asking what the hell Morgan is yelling about, Morgan rushes to his father in hopes of tackling him to the floor.   The woman shakes her head and launches the spear in their direction!  The metal of the spear seems to twist and shift mid-air, tearing into Morgan's shoulder and unfurling to act like a hook to pull him back towards her!   All Morgan's father, however, can see is his son flying backwards as if pulled by some invisible force.

The winged serpent charges, attacking the spiders that have surrounded Max.   Max watches at it swoops close, gobbling up any spiders that are too close.  The serpent gives Max some breathing room to move closer to the other girl and try to help.  The other girl has been cocooned by the webs of the spiders.  Max starts ripping off the webs that have trapped the girl, worried that she had suffocated inside the prison.  Freeing the girl, Max turns to the winged serpent and thanks it for its help.  She notices its wings flutter extremely quick, like that of a humming bird.  To her surprise, it bows in response.

"So.. you know me?"

The girl starts thanking Max as well for helping her, an odd moment given Max never introduced herself to the girl.  Somehow, the girl knows Max's name and even starts to know things about Max which she has yet to share with her.  The girl doesn't really know why she knows things about her.  It is a voice in the darkness that helps explain the events.  Just like earlier with Annika, a cloaked woman tells Max that the winged serpent is named Left Wing, which she had raised from her last incarnation.  She tells Max that the girl knows her name because she is fate bound to her.  When Max asks who the woman is, the cloaked woman admits she cannot answer who she is yet, but she does know who Max' parents are and that she should rush to the coliseum within the next thirty minutes to save Annika.  And only by saving Annika will she be able to save her own parents.  "Her hair is the color of the sun setting on the first dawn."

Max unlocks his know-it-all Knack and realizes the girl's name is Lucy.  It isn't quite clear to her, however, why Lucy knows Max's name.  They have never met before, after all.   Max tries burning the web to free Lucy but the fire spreads far too quickly!  Worried for Lucy, Max reaches into the flames to touch Lucy and a brilliant rainbow hue of light envelops around her, protecting her from the flames.  Max realizes it would be best to head to the coliseum at once.  Lucy, however, starts wondering if Max is some kind of an angel.

Regaining his breath after a long bout of laughter, the chimp starts explaining to Gareth that his wife, the woman he has sworn to love under the Eternal Tree and carries her children, is searching for her.  A shriek pierces the darkness and Stacey emerges with a fire axe in her hands.  She swings it at the chimp, who dodges to the side and yells at Gareth to keep her pet under control.  Stacey swings the axe again, clearly intent to protect Gareth from what she thinks is a rabid animal that escaped from the zoo.  Gareth asks Stacey to calm down and takes the axe from her.  The chimp admits he never understood why Gareth chose to go back, and starts explaining that Gareth had chosen to try to live a human life again, and dipped himself in some River somewhere to forget things.  Stacey, however, thinks she is merely having a mental breakdown since she is having trouble coping with her boyfriend having cheated on her.  Gareth tries to calmly explain to her that the chimpanzee isn't really talking and that she's the only one who can hear it.  He tells her it would be best for her to relax and calm down and that he will handle taking it to the zoo later.  Gareth unlocks his old powers of Epic Charisma and convinces Stacey to head to the cafeteria and get some water to drink.   He reminds her to take her time.  Alone with the chimpanzee, Gareth asks what is really going on and the chimp asks for a cigar, knowing Gareth always carries one for luck in his pocket.  He agrees to give one if she says who the wife is.  "Helga.  She is one of the Valkyrie."  The chimp however finds it odd that he got married given they would always spend time in private dressing in women's clothing and celebrating dance and art.  Gareth cannot believe this chimp knows about that secret of his!  The chimp says the aren't lies though, cause if they were... Gareth would be the first to notice.

Lightning flashes and something with wings smashes through the glass.

Annika runs past a dazed assistant towards the sound of shattering glass.  A man's voice is now screaming ahead of her.  She turns the corner and sees a professor pinned against the far wall.  There is a winged woman with taloned feet pushed against him.  One of her wings seems broken.  A chimpanzee is leaping from one side to the other, holding a cigar in its hands.  The thing flings Gareth to the far wall, and what would have been a crippling blow snaps a bone in his body but much to the old man's surprise, the fracture almost instantly begins to repair itself!   He feels the broken bone mend itself and while the pain remains intense, the damage practically fades away into nothing but a bruise.   The chimp grabs the nearby axe, and threatens the harpy, distracting it and inadvertently giving Annika an opening she needs to rush forward and strike an open palm against the Harpy's chest.  Annika feels the first touches of her Epic Dexterity allowing her to move faster than expected!  As the chimp checks on Gareth, and asks for a lighter, Annika kicks the harpy one more time in the head and snaps its neck.  The harpy dissolves into golden ashes.

"Are you Jareth?"
"Yes," Gareth responds.
"Okay..." Annika gasps, "And you're supposed to save me?"

A door slides open and Max and Lucy emerge.  Max calls out asking if the woman with the red-hair is Annika.  Annika strikes a pose and confirms her question.  All can see the feathered serpent hovering near them.  Lucy blurts out that they came to save her from something and the moment Annika asks if she looks like she needs saving... the lights go out.

"Who are you people?" Gareth calls out, confused.

The ceiling crashes open.  Glass falls around them as a body falls to the very floor in front of them.   Morgan recalls the naked woman using her headdress as a ricocheting weapon that knocks his father unconscious before bouncing back into her hand.  Morgan remembers how she pulled him to her face and demanded he explain how he could see her.  And he last remembers how, angered by his inability to explain, she threw him out of the broken window to get rid of him.

Morgan opened his eyes to see the strange gathering around him.   An old man with a chimpanzee.  An orange-haired woman with a flash light pinned to her chest.  And two women under the shadow of a feathered serpent that hovered above them.   He could barely understand how he survived the fall, given the distance he had fallen.  Or the impact to the ground.    Everyone is confused how he could have survived the fall.  Or how the animals can speak.  Or why the weather has gone crazy.  The chimpanzee admits he is only here to help Gareth head back home.  Morgan wonders if Gareth is supposed to be someone popular.  Lucy recognizes Annika as the celebrity on television.  Max tells Lucy to shut up.  Annika notices one of them is covered in blood.  Morgan thanks her for noticing, but Gareth interjects that Annika likely meant him.

Gareth shakes his head and stands up.  "I have a concert to finish.  I am not involved in this!" He begins to walk away and the chimpanzee calls out after him, "Oh come on, Jareth!  Don't do that!"


In the sky, a Valkyrie hears the winds carry the name to her ears.  She turns the winged horse towards the building below with the hole in the ceiling.    


"We have to discuss how we will hide you from your wife," the chimpanzee continues.   That moment, an impossibly long spear strikes the ground beside the chimpanzee.  As it shortens back to a normal length, the group watches as the Valkyrie descends to the ground using the spear to guide her slide.   The naked woman yanks the spear free from the floor and asks, "Jareth?  Pretending you don't recognize your own wife won't save you. Let's settle this once and for all."

"This is a domestic dispute?" Annika gasps.


The scene unfolds within swirling water.   A second woman in robes with an older face and a pregnant belly asks the younger one, "Sister.  What have you done?"    A third woman, old and wizened, responds, "This was not my doing!"

The youngest, with the glowing eyes, chooses not to respond.

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