Born of Blood

SESSION: July 3rd, 2013

CHARACTERS: Alistair, Cyrus, Douglas, Felicity

SETTING: New York City, approximately Christmastime 2027


Beneath the waters, *Alistair*’s vision was clouded by his blood spreading out into the water. He felt consciousness slipping away from him as he wondered where the sea snake, or eel, or whatever it was, was going to strike next.

Above the water, four pirates boarded a launch and began their way to the signal fire at the shore. (The bonfire erected for Douglas and Felicity ’s healing of the time rift was still burning strong.) As they passed through the mass of plant life that floated atop the center of the water, the pirates found themselves under attack as the vines and plants became animate!

Watching this from the shore (Douglas’ enhanced vision giving him a better view than the others, as the ship itself was about half a mile away), the group discussed what they should do. Before anything concrete could be decided, they saw another figure break the surface. For a moment, Felicity hoped it was Alistair (though she could not sense him, whereas he usually was a constant presence in the back of her awareness), but he seemed to be wearing a large-brimmed hat.

Cyrus, the highwayman, had been returning to his camp with some of his fellows, after a successful raid of a merchant train. One moment, he’d been swinging his leg over, in mid-dismount of his horse, the next, he found himself underwater! After struggling with panic for a moment, he gathered his wits and swam to the surface.

Breaking the surface, he saw a pirate ship (not an unfamiliar sight, a ship flying the jolly roger) in one direction, apparently anchored there. Between he and the ship was a mass of vines and plants that seemed to be alive and were attacking a launch with four pirates.

In the opposite direction was what appeared to be some docks, with a group of people (and a dog) who seemed to be watching the proceedings. The pirates seemed to be handling the living plants with little enough difficulty, but he didn’t know if he could trust them… so, he swam towards the people gathered at the docks.

“It’s Cyrus,” Douglas said, turning to Felicity. It had taken the former Army sergeant several moments to place the face and attach a name to it – his memories of his experience as Detective Domino in The Citadel were becoming more and more clouded, dreamlike. Not quite fading, but becoming harder to remember specifics, details.

Sure enough, when Cyrus made it to the docks and Douglas offered his hand to help him out of the water, it was in fact the highwayman that they, or at least their other selves, had met on the night that Felicity’s masquerade ballroom had been transformed… and everyone attending had been transformed as well – Alistair’s costume was that of a highwayman, and he had become one called Cyrus.

Who, somehow, was standing before them, dripping wet. Albeit, missing his large-brimmed hat, which was now sitting on the head of one of the pirates in the launch, as they had fought their way free of the plants and were no rowing towards the group on the dock. (Whose signal fire was still burning strong.)

Cyrus learned that two of the people there had some connection to Detective Domino and the Fallen Angel, that he met once, when visiting The Citadel. (Felicity, still carrying the Fallen Angel’s sword that she had summoned up in the second session of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, had pulled it out to show him) and she intimated that Douglas had a connection to the powder-blue suited detective.

The pirates came close, and Cyrus lamented his hat, which was now upon the head of one of the pirates. Felicity showed her good will to Cyrus by managing to ‘summon’ the hat from the pirate and giving it to the highwayman.

The pirates and the group on the shore parlayed and finally it was agreed to allow the pirates to make land. The boat rowed in, they were tied to the dock and they came ashore.

Introductions were made; one of the pirates turned out to be their captain, one James Hook. Yes, THAT James Hook. Felicity and Douglas couldn’t believe it, and once Seamus was reminded of who ‘James Hook’ was, he was amazed, though found it easier to accept than the other two. (Cyrus, hailing from wherever his land was, had never read JM Barrie’s book.)

And, no, he didn’t have a hook for a hand, but he did have a halfhand – a fact that triggered Douglas’ memory about the letter from the 1940s that Diego had sent… and the instruction to “Trust the halfhand, implicitly.”

The groups decided they all needed a drink and they went to find (with help from Dog, who was sent ahead to scout it out) a bar. One was found, with enough solid bottles that survived the destruction and the plants of the past thirty years, for some proper drinking to happen.

As they drank, they talked. The PCs learned from Cap’n Hook that Never Never Land was gone, destroyed by some “nasty beastie who called hisself the King o’ Nuffink or sommat.” Hook lamented that he’d been so busy in his rivalry with Peter, that the King was able to slip into town and, basically unchallenged, take over.

When they realised there was a greater threat than each other, Hook and Peter set aside their differences (for the time being) and worked together, allying the pirates and the Lost Boys against the King and his “brutish men” – it seemed the King had some Dark Men with him!

Sadly, the tale the pirate captain told was not a happy one. The King and his men rebuffed their attempts to oust him. It seemed the King had come to Never Never Land to drain it of its life, and he did just that. In the grand battle, Peter fell, as did many pirates and Lost Boys.

When asked, Hook says he was not aware of the fate of the rest of the Lost Boys or Tinkerbell. After the final battle, it was obvious that there was no hope, and the pirate captain rounded up his crew and any other survivors he could find, and left Never Never Land. (From the captain’s description, Douglas was inclined to believe that Never Never Land was now the realm where they had encountered the King of Nothing on both occasions.)

Since then, he and his crew had been “sailing on the mists between worlds”, traveling to and fro, having adventures, plundering booty, and getting drunk.

When Felicity and Doug spoke of their desire to return home, to their proper time, Hook made them an offer they could not refuse. Hook’s crew had taken some great losses recently and they were understaffed; he needed a few more hands on deck to be able to run the ship even to travel beyond this world. If they would agree to join the crew and work long enough for him to get to a place he could contract some proper, skilled replacements, he’d be more than happy to take them back to when they belonged.

Seamus brought up the sword, Fragarach, saying it was very important and might be very useful if they took it back to their time. Felicity went to speak to the plants, hoping to coax them into finding the sword and bringing it there. (This eventually necessitated mind-linking with Seamus, much to Felicity’s horror.)

While she was tending to that, Douglas made arrangements with the captain that he and Cyrus would do physical labour on the ship, but Felicity was to be exempt from that. Cyrus, who had no interest or investment in going on the pirate ship, also took offense that he was being spoken for by this “moor”. Words were exchanged and the highwayman suggested that if anyone was suited to doing physical, menial labour, it was the dark-skinned Douglas.

Doug, already tired of Seamus’ (more than) occasional racist remarks, had heard enough and delivered a sucker punch to the highwayman, taking him down. Realising that in a straight up fight, the ‘moor’ would have the best of him, Cyrus decided to bide his time for getting some payback.

Felicity took Lyander aside, and mind-linked him with her and the plant intelligence (that she dubbed ‘Audrey’, after the flower cutting she’d received for her birthday from Seamus.) She hoped by introducing them, they would hopefully start to get along, and she was hoping that, perhaps in time, the plants would stop trying to eat all the human life on the planet.

Not much later, the plants began dragging the sword Fragarach, which had been located where Seamus had indicated, down the street. Felicity ran down to pick it up, but found that her hand passed through the sword as if it were not there.

Mind-linked to Dog still, she sent him to go summon Seamus and Cyrus. The Dog went and barked at them, moving towards the exit, and stopping to look at them. They followed and Felicity showed them the sword but said she couldn’t pick it up. When they questioned this, she demonstrated, again her hand passing through as if the sword was not real.

Seamus moved to pick it up, but then had a thought and asked Cyrus to do him a favour and pick it up. A bit uncertain, Cyrus agreed and the moment he did so, he swapped places with Alistair, who appeared shirtless, displaying many healed scars from where the creature had bitten him underwater.

Alistair was quickly briefed on what had transpired in his absence, and he told them what had happened to him – he’d found himself in Cyrus’ camp, where several of the highwaymen had just returned from a successful robbing of a merchant train.

Collapsing and bleeding, he passed out, but they took him in and, for the past several days, had attended to every need. His wounds were tended to by the healers and their herbs and prayers apparently worked quite well, based on the mostly-healed wounds.

It was decided that there was no need to stay here any longer than they already had, as they had the sword and had used the tablet to heal the rift in time…

Suddenly, they realised, in all the confusion, that the tablet had been left behind by the water! However, since they were heading to the ship, it was on the way.

So, the pirates, and the PCs and the inhabitants of this strange future all loaded up on some crates of alcohol to take to the ship and headed to the docks.

There, they found the tablet where it had been left. It seemed… less. Weaker, somehow. Felicity noted that there were few runes visible, and what ones were there were very faint and did not move for her.

Doug walked over and attempted to pick up the tablet, but he could not pry it from where it lay. Felicity was able to lift it easily, but when she placed it in his backpack, it was almost yanked out of his hand by the force of the tablet falling to the ground.

Felicity realised that the tablet wanted her to carry it, so she did.

Goodbyes were said, and Felicity, Douglas and Alistair joined Hook and his three men on the launch, and rowed to the pirate ship waiting for them…

Next week we begin SAILORS ON THE SEAS OF FATE

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