Deadlands: Hell on Earth

Shadow's Landing
Flailing umbras, no leg to stand on, going all in

Battlegrounds clearing

Lightning cracks all around as Karisha stands menacingly before them. The demon’s dark tendril limbs emerge and rear up. Karisha blinks, and the tendrils launch forward striking out at all three of the posse members. Each of the posse members is struck hard by a shadow fist.

The demon looks at Hammond – “You’re mine”. It’s eyes flash and Hammond feel’s it’s dark grip on his very soul. He becomes detached and is under the command of the Incubus. Fortunately Hammy shakes it off before being able to attack anyone. He rages on the Incubus and manages a small cut to it’s skin. Black ooze billows out from the wound.

Nigel fires at it with his rifle. The bullet heads directly for the incubus’s face, but it seizes the bullet in mid-air with one of it’s tendrils. Karisha throws the bullet back at Nigel. Ben shoots it with a brain blast, smacking it back a step and catching it’s attention.

Karisha lashes out at them all again with it’s tendrils, with 2 at Ben. Hammond runs up and stabs the Incubus once again. The demon rips Hammonds sword away and tosses it across the ground. Nigel shoots it in the head , but the bullet does NOTHING. The party realizes that they MUST use the weapons that Marilyn blessed in order to harm the demon.

Karisha strikes at Hammond with it’s actual hands, as well as a tendril, all while attacking the other with the remaining shadow hands. It lands several of these hits damaging each of the party.

Ben uses his telekinesis to float Hammond’s back to him. This give them another quick chance for a strike. Hammond strikes, then takes another strike to the guts. He dives away. Nigel fires on Karisha with his plasma hand. The blast shakes him, but the demon’s armor prevents significant damage. Nigel will need to overcharge the plasma hand to make it deal damage. In the back of his head he hears Marilyn tell him he can use her blessing to increase the armor penetration of the blast as well.

Karisha rushes forward and lands some massive strikes on Ben, trying to rip his guts out through the armor. Hammond joins in the fray again to get the Incubus off of Ben. Ben backs off a few steps to get clear from the fight.

Nigel circles around to get a decent shot on Karisha. The incubus tries to take over Ben’s mind. Ben is able to mentally wrestle with it and avoid take over. Hammond wrestles with the Incubus’s tendrils to keep it busy.

Nigel then shuts down his infiltration systems to provide additional power to his hand cannon. He charges up a large blast. He draws a bead to get a better shot. Ben shoots Karisha with a powerful brain blast. Hammond strikes it in the head before diving back. Nigel shoots hitting the Incubus. the blast shakes up the demon, catching his attention. However the charge nearly shorts out Nigel’s circuits.

Ben follows up with a major brain blast. That pulls Karisha’s attention back to Ben. Nigel charges up the blaster even more by shutting down one of his other internal systems. He draws a bead on the demon again. Karisha retaliates with a few strikes to Ben. Nigel’s 2nd blast does some significant damage to the Incubus.

The damage sends Karisha into a fit of rage. The demon turns about and comes at Nigel with full force. It strikes at him with all of it’s shadow limbs. Nigel’s free arm goes limp. Karisha slashes Nigel’s chest slicing it open. Nigel feigns being paralyzed. Hammond and Ben recognize this and react as if Nigel is truly going down. Karisha sees Nigel’s immobile body on the ground and turns back to the others.

Ben fires a heavy brain blast on the Incubus face. the force actually bursts one of it’s eyes. Karisha swipes back at him. Hammond and Ben both try hitting at it’s head to take it down, but are unsuccessful. Karisha strikes back at both of them. Their bodies are on the verge of collapse, but they stand their ground.

Karisha – “Failure will be your doom. I will rip your body apart in front of your friends. You will know the pain of going against a god!”

The demon rears back and strikes Ben and Hammond one more time. They barely manage to stand. Their fate looks grim. Karisha sweeps Ben off his feet and is trying to drill through his armor with a tendril. Hammond’s sword is ripped away, then one of the tendrils wraps around his neck, squeezing the life from him.

Nigel musters up all of the rest of his will. He raises his plasma hand towards Karisha. He calls upon The Baron – asking for his favor.

Time freezes for a moment as out of a puff of smoke, Baron Samedi emerges. He and Nigel negotiate a deal. Nigel asks for the Baron’s help. He need to land a shot and for it to kill the Incubus. The Baron just nods. Time begins to move again, only in slow motion.

Nigel raises his hand- out of the air a ghostly skeleton hand grabs his wrist and points the plasma hand at Karisha’s face. Nigel feels an intense and overwhelming power surge from the Baron, through his blaster. The shot fires off connecting with Karisha’s head and exploding half of its body. Nigel’s plasma gun circuit explodes from the power surge. The surge shoots through his body and damages his spirit fetter. Nigel passes out entirely.

The rest of the Incubus’s corpse falls to the ground. Black ichor leaks out as Karisha dissolves away into nothingness. The storm that was above clears revealing a soft sunset.

Ben and Hammond slowly collect themselves. They spend a moment patching each other up, then try and sew Nigel back into one piece. They scrounge around to put together a makeshift stretcher, since they’ll need to carry Nigel. They scout out the land and head northwest, back towards the cemetery/prison.

An hour or so passes and they see a plume of dust off in the distance. A vehicle approaches. Ben looks through his land warrior helmet and sees it is the van (they could tell by the Black Widow on top).

The posse’s van arrives at their location, driven by Jonathan Douglas. He and Charlie exit the vehicle to assist the battered men. It is a bittersweet moment. Jonathan states that Michael and Soria are in the back of the van. They are wounded seriously, but will live. He opens the door. Soria and Michael lay in obvious discomfort. They both look up and all acknowledge each other. Hammond touches Soria’s hand.

The crew looks to Douglas with questioning eyes, he already knows what is on their minds. He nods blankly and gestures to the rear of the van.

Inside the back section wrapped in an old blanket was Marilyn. She lay there motionless.

Then a little cough, and a turn of the head. The Posse sees that she is still alive and well, albeit exhausted.

The three companions let out sighs of relief. Ben and Hammond load Nigel into the back of the van. They head off towards the safety of Fort Bridger.

View
Darkness Closing In
Chipping away, double ko, Crushing uncertainty

Mansion Foyer

The group fights the Obsidian Goliath.

“You will taste my wrath, you will taste my seed. You will taste the absolution of your demise. I was playing with you before. Now the game is over, I will tear your souls apart!” snarls the demon.

Each of the posse members takes aim at the cracks in the armor of the goliath.

The great beast raises its hands and blasts with green energy- an atomic blast.

They break off chunk after chunk of the armor, slowly wearing down it’s defensive layer.

Michael and Hammond edge in closer for melee combat. Ben and Nigel fire from afar. The goliath becomes frustrated by being surrounded and uses the China syndrome power. This heats it’s entire body to temperatures enough to melt through steel. It smacks Hammond with it’s arm, burning him with the intense fire.

Nigel lands a shot on the demon, blasting away another piece of armor. In retaliation it shoots him with an atomic blast. While Nigel takes some damage, this move forced the goliath to stop it’s China Syndrome.

Michael calls out the demon “Demon, by the powers of the Gods on High, I cast you from this body!”.

Michael hurls his spear a the demon once again. The shot ricochets and sticks in the wall next to the beast. The goliath reaches over to grab Micheal’s spear. When it does it received a large electrical shock.

Hammond charges in and attacks up close. Nigel continues firing away. Ben shoots and uses his brain blast to punch off more pieces of the armor.

Hammond leaps behind the beast and attempts to place it in a nelson hold. This leaves it open for easy attacks from the others.

Nigel and Ben both get off successful shots on the beast. The situation angers it, and the goliath lights back up with it’s China Syndrome power- burning Hammond on one side. He promptly lets go.

Ben tries to communicate with Marilyn. He talks with her about trying to change this place, or help them in some way. The Incubus sees Ben trying to talk to her and becomes enraged. It fires at Ben with an atomic blast, once again breaking it’s China Syndrome. Hammond takes the opportunity and grabs the demon’s arm and holds it back.

Michael charges in to fight the beast. It lands a devastating blow on his chest. He is noticeably shaken, but rejoins the fight.

The posse continues the skirmish. Chipping away at the armor on the goliath. It manages to shake free of the Nelson hold and smack Hammond away. Michael tries to sneak in an attack while the monster is focused on Hammy. He lands the blow, but is met with a fist full of claws in return. The goliath’s claws pierce in to Micheal’s chest, leaving him incapacitated.

The rest of the posse carries on, eventually wearing down the armor. However, the Incubus still maintains control over Soria, but it has reverted to it’s Golden Knight form. It begins to attack with greater intensity, seeing that its defenses have weakened.

Ben and Nigel keep circling it, trying to keep it away from Marilyn. Nigel has kept a bead on the Incubus. He takes a shot and lands it in the arm.

Hammond goes toe-to-toe with the demon. He tries striking at the head in order to knock Soria’s body out. The Incubus also strikes out at him simultaneously. Both of them land the hits right on the head. The force of the blows knocks both of them out, their bodies drop to the ground.

The helmet of the Golden Knight falls off, revealing Soria’s face. Black veins of corruption retract from her skin as the darkness drains into the floor.

Ben calls out to Nigel- “We’ve got to get out of here, this whole place is falling apart!”

Large chunks of the scene blast off into the nothingness, revealing the dark void behind it all. Ben and Nigel scramble to gather up their collapsed friends. Massive hands form out of the darkness and begin to loom over the group.

Meanwhile, in the Ritual Chamber

Jonathan Douglas has unshackled the body of Marilyn and is removing her from the altar. Walking in to the room is an equipment-laden Charlie Silverfox.

J.D- “Did you bring it?”

Charlie- " Yeah I’ve got it" She pulls out a strange platform connected to a small generator box. She quickly assembles the device and powers it on. A large white portal opens before her. She steps through.

The Shattered Dream

Inside the crumbling remains of the mansion, a white light appears, then a large circular portal forms. The white edges of the portal actually seem to repel the Shadow Hands, preventing them from swooping in to harm the group. Stepping through the portal is Charlie.

“Hey guys I came to … oh god, I remember this place, no I do not want to be here long, come on lets go! I can only transport one at a time though.”

Ben looks at the surrounding area, the only remaining semblance of the room is that which is held by the light. It becomes clear that the Incubus is trying to wrap around and absorb them.

Charlie grabs Soria and pulls her through the portal. It disappears temporarily, giving the darkness a chance to encroach a bit more.

The portal re-emerges- this time there are small cracks of darkness in the edge. “It’s getting harder to break through. Michael you’re next” Charlie grabs Michael and pulls him in to the portal.

Hammond wakes back up, and sees the enclosing darkness. Ben suggests they try the light spell. They all chime in, and implore Marilyn to join in. “Opet Lumen Disper Gimin” they chant, over and over. All around them a sphere of light appears. It is barely holding back the shadow.

“I will consume you” The Incubus’ voice echoes out. A small sliver of darkness punches through the sphere and grabs hold of Ben. They try to wrestle with the shadow.

Marilyn’s fear begins to get the best of her, and it shows on her face. The group sees this, and notices that the sphere of light begins to shrink.

“We can do this Marilyn, We can get out of here.” “We’ll be alright, we always are.” “We have to fight the dark, you can do this!” The three heroes reassure her.

She recognizes that she no longer has the same hold on the world that she once had, The Incubus has diverted some of it’s power out of her hands and is using it to try and absorb them. Marilyn begins to talk about the Incubus having too much power, that they will be absorbed. “I don’t know what will happen when the light fades, when the darkness consumes us.” Her will is breaking under the pressure and stress.

Nigel – " You are the reason we have fought so hard, the reason why we cannot fail."

Ben – “Maybe you’re the light it can’t extinguish- that’s why it wants to corrupt you.”

Hammond – “Ben and Nigel are right. You have to believe. You represent something that is within all of us, something that is prevalent most of all in you. HOPE, something most people don’t have nowadays. That’s what it wants to put out, and that’s why we can’t give up. YOU need to believe we can beat this, because WE CAN. But only if you believe.”

Their rallying words inspire in her a great confidence. The sphere of light reinforces. The manages to hold back the darkness.

Ben suggests they try to use the portal spell. The three of them carefully chant out the spell. They plan to use the portal to bring the Incubus into their word, but in it’s original form.. There they can defeat it once and for all.

“Sit porta aperatur”

They call out the spell and a portal is created. The the darkness itself seems to be sucked into the portal, like water into a drain. The three look to each other. The power of the portal beings to pull on them. The light of Marilyn’s sphere is also pulled in. All three are pulled in to the portal.

Cracked battlegrounds in the middle of Kansas.

The three men appear in a clearing within the battlefields of Kansas. There does not appear to be any immediate danger. They have a few moments to themselves and use this opportunity to heal themselves in anticipation of the battle to come.

A dark storm is building above them. The unnatural look of the clouds only solidifies their suspicions that it is a sign of the coming of the Incubus.

As the clouds begins to circle, they hear the voice of the Incubus. “All you have done is delayed my reign. I will destroy you and then bring my wrath to this world.”

A soft, refreshing wind blows in from the side. An ethereal, almost angelic, vision of Marilyn appears.

“I can only stay but for a short time- to wish you safety against the coming dark. I wish I could be with you, but I can’t. All I can do for you is pray. You’ve been my guardians, my protectors. I wish wish I could defeat it, but I can’t. However, I can pray for you, and give you my blessing.”

She kisses each of the heroes – Nigel on his plasma Hand., Ben on his head, and Hammond on the hilt of his sword.

“Do what it is in your destiny to do. This is where all roads meet. I love you all, remember this. Goodbye.”

Marilyn’s image fades away, as the storm clouds sink down to the ground, and begin to form into the inky black body of the Incubus. Karisha stands before them in his true form.

View
Lucid Dreaming
Dying Town USA, Rise up, scratch the surface

Throne Room

Ben uses his mental powers to poke into Marilyn’s mind. It is just enough to rouse her from her daze. “Marilyn, you have to believe it’s me.”

The doppelganger tries to sway Marilyn’s favor. “He is not me, his words untrue, he only wants to hurt you.”

Marilyn is confused and frightened. She turns her gaze to the real Ben and focuses on him.

Ben feels a sensation he has not had in a long time. The feeling instantly send him back- the last memory he had of this was when a skinny was trying to psychically rip him apart. The very fiber of his being is being pulled in all directions.

“Please! Marilyn! You have to break out of this. It’s not just hurting me,it’s going to hurt Hammy and Nigel, Soria too!”

“Hammy? Nigel?…” It’s clear she is disoriented, but something about this plea gets through to her. She relents her attack.

Ben climbs the throne and hugs Marilyn- “I’m sorry that we let them take you. I’m sorry we failed you. Never again! I promise, we’ll always protect you!”

Void Plateau

The Obsidian Goliath grabs a chunk of the rock and hurls it at Hammy, striking him in the guts.

The Pumpkin King climbs up from the depths using Nigel’s body as a hold point. “You can’t kill me. I am rot, I am decay. Dead thing, I shall take your head and use your body as my mantle.” It swipes at Nigel’s chest with it’s bloody pulsing vines.

The strike hits Nigel, crippling his body from the neck down. Hammond sees his body drop and sees that the Pumpking King is wrapping it’s tentacles around his neck. It is trying to pop his head clean off and assume control of his body.

“NO!, Nigel!” Hammond growls as he charges across the plateau. He leaps forth and slashes down on the eldritch flame with all his might. The slash hits with such a power that the flame is extinguished. A cloud of magical energy flutters out from the body and absorbs into Hammond’s fists.

He feels a huge surge of energy, a great power coursing through his veins. Instinctually he know he can use this power for something. He could choose to attack the beast, or for other purposes. He diverts the enegery at Nigel’s body. This power, a power of death, manages to actually heal Nigel’s body. “I’m not letting you go like that.”

Nigel’s form rapidly heals and he manages to stand back up. They both turn to face the Obsidian Goliath. Nigel still cowers away, but he manages to send a plasma blast at the demon.

Throne Room

The doppelganger pulls his sub-machine gun out and fires.

“I won’t let you hurt her!” – Ben uses his body to ensure Marilyn is not struck by any stray bullets. He takes several bullets to hist chest.

Ben it hurt, but shakes it off. He also starts to realize who this doppelganger may be. As far as he can tell, they haven’t seen Twitch yet. And the Syker powers / sub-machine gun mixture would fit.

Ben pierces through the haze of the confusion. “I need you to help, you have to be able to break out of this!”

The imposter shouts – “No No, he’s going to take you away. Don’t you realize ever since you’ve met him, him and his people- you’ve seen nothing but death and pain. They took away everything from you, your family, your life..”

Marilyn looks to the real Ben, seeing an honesty in him. She looks back at the false Ben- “No, No!” Suddenly there is a burst of white energy exploding out from Marilyn. The Throne explodes, sending the doppleganger flying off as the whole scene floods with white, blinding light.

Void Plateau

“I know there’s someone still in there. I know the person deep within you is still there, the good person that I know. I know you would never hurt us, you just have to fight that thing.”

There is no response from the hulking beast. It viciously attacks. Hammond gets knocked around a few times.

It then reaches over and grabs Nigel by the legs. It easily lifts him up and wields him, not unlike a man-sized baseball bat.

Hammond jumps up to strike the Goliath across the head, trying to knock it out. The hit lands, and shakes up the beast. “I know you’re still in there. you’ve got to stop this thing from attacking us.”

The Goliath smacks Hurls Nigel at Hammond, striking in the arm. The force knocks him back. They continue the dance of battle. Hammond sees that the damage he has done to the monster is completely healed.

They continue to battle. The Goliath tries to toss Nigel over the edge of the plateau, but Hammond manages to “will” a small extension of the ground out. It is small but just enough for Nigel to grab.

desert wasteland town.

Ben awakens, covered in dust from the ground. He looks around to find a distantly familiar place. Before him is “Dead Town” the small settlement near Abeline, Texas. This is the town where they found Marilyn. It takes him a moment to get his bearings, but he is able to figure out which direction Marilyn’s house is.

Off in the distance he hears some type of rumble, like a truck. A cloud of dust kicks off the tires of a speeding tractor trailer. The windows of the vehicle have been covered so that little to no light can enter, except for the driver’s area. Behind the truck are several other smaller delivery trucks. The dark caravan pushes toward the small down at high speed.

Ben quickly scrambles to find the house that they found Marilyn. He finds it and runs up to the door. He reaches to open it and passes right through the door. Ben stumbles forward into the living room.

Inside he sees a middle-aged man peering out the blinds. “What’s wrong?” a woman’s voice calls from the other room.

“Trouble.” states the man in a harsh, plain tone. He turns and looks back at the woman entering the room. Ben sees her now. It is Sylvia Chambers. “Get her down in the safe-hatch, now!”

Cackles are heard from outside the door. “Come out, Come out!” Ben immediately recognizes this voice.

Vlados teases “I can smell ya in there!”

“Smell this.” Mr. Chambers retorts, shooting his Sharps Big 50 straight through the door. The shot blows a large hole in Vlados’s face.

Ben follows Sylvia into the back of the house. She finds Marilyn and takes her to the safe-hatch. “Get down in here. Stay safe, Stay silent. No matter what you hear, don’t come out.”

The vampires begin swarming the house. Sylvia and Mr. Chambers start fighting them off. Sylvia splits a broomstick over one of them. she uses the one half to fight it back down the hall.

Ben sees another vampire lurk into the bedroom. It starts sniffing around and clawing under the bed,near the entrance to the safe-hatch. Ben reaches down and tries to grab the other half of the broom stick. At first it slips through his fingers, but then he is able to grab a hold. He shoves the stick into the side of the vampire. It snarls and looks around, but looks right through Ben. It then looks off into the hall and runs after it’s unseen attacker.

Ben floats down through the floor to find Marilyn. He attempts to cover her eyes and ears so she does not see/hear the horror of what is occurring in her town. He hears scream and shouts. He thinks back to what he remembered of the town. There are sounds of gunfire and bestial roars.

He recalls the face of Mr. Chambers and it suddenly clicks. He has seen that face before. It was the Zombie that they found staked to a wall when they first arrived in the town.

Marilyn looks up and SEES Ben. “I won’t let anything happen to you” he says.

“It’s ok. This is just a memory” she tells him. She blinks, and almost instinctually Ben blinks with her.

Void Plateau

“You seem to think you can control this place. HA! This is MY world” The Incubus shouts. The ground shakes as hands reach out from the surface. They grab at both of the men.

Hammond keeps pleading with the Obsidian Goliath, trying desperately to appeal to Soria hidden deep within. “Hammond, he’s built a prison. I can’t escape. I can’t get out” Soria’s voice emerges from the beast.

The Desert

As Ben opens his eyes, he finds himself standing out in the desert. Nearby there is a busted up econobox. A make-shift tent built up near a small campfire. This is s vision of a safe place.

Marilyn speaks – “I remember nights like this. We were always moving. Always going forward. I remember the stars at night, there’s so many of them. Sometimes I thought, they can’t be gods. The ones that created THIS world. They can’t be gods because all they’ve done is blasted one world. The stars are infinite and they can barely scratch one world. Then i get reminded what they can do. What things like them can do.”

Ben – " What we can do is try to survive. We do our best, and we fight them."

Marilyn – “But I’m not sure. I’m not sure if I can or I can’t. Look at what’s happened. I’m not sure if I can live through this.”

“You have so far. But you also have us, to help. We need you just as much as you need us.”

Marilyn – “but They need you now. You’ll have to help them.”

“Where are they now?” -Ben

“They are here, and not. They are in the hunting grounds, a part of it at least. It’s the afterlife, and the spirit realm. There are parts of it like heaven, and parts of it like hell. You can guess what part HE came from. Ancient, twisted, much like the Four. He was a product of a time of chaos, before order came to this world. Eons passed, it grew in the shadow of things greater than it. Gods came and went. Now it wants it’s turn. Now in the shadow of the Four, it want to rise once more.”

“How do you know all this?” – Ben

“I’m sorry Ben, you are too late” – Marilyn

“that’s not true, if we were too late, we’d be dead” -B

“How can you be hear if you are not dead?” – M

“The pumpkin king has brought us to places like this before. You must still be under it’s control.” He grabs Marilyn in a hug. “We’re gonna save them, We’re gonna stop this. Take us to where they are. Take us to Hammond and Nigel”

Marilyn blinks. They are whisked away.

Void Plateau

Ben and Marilyn arrive on the scene. They

“What is this?” The Incubus shouts in frustration.

“It’s the end! For you!” Ben quips.

He calls out to Soria to have her change.

Hammond and Nigel realize that Ben has arrived, and both see that Marilyn is there. They are relieved to at least see she is still present, even if this is not the safest place.

They all try to get Soria to break out, but she is unable to do so.

“I don’t like this place” Marilyn calmly chirps. “Lets go somewhere else.”

Large Mansion near Tuscon

The group arrives within the foyer of the large mansion that Vlados had been holding up in. “This is a proper lace to end it.”

Meanwhile, in the ritual chamber

Jonathan Douglas and Michael step into the dark ritual chamber. Marilyn is tied to an altar, naked. Sitting across the room stating ahead is a naked , hairless young man. Twitch sits in a daze, his skin carved with demonic runes and symbols.

Suddenly he stands, in a complete zombie-like stare. He begins to walk to the altar. His eyes glow with the dark energy of the Incubus

Douglas and Michael react quickly, pulling there weapons and striking the young man down. The energy of the Incubus fades form his eyes as they return to normal. Confused, Twitch looks up at them- “What?… Just…” his voice trails off as he slumps lifeless to the floor.

“She’s still affected. If it wins.. if it can break them…” – Michael

“I wonder if we can do something about that.” -JD

“I think we can. I need you to do something for me. Something I couldn’t do. I need you to stay here. I need you to make sure she is ok. If someone tries to do anything, you stop them. You kill them. I don’t care if it’s one of them, or if it’s me. Now I have to face the demon that I ran away from the last time.” -Michael

He begins a chanting ritual. His brow sweats. It is not working.

Mansion Foyer

“On my count, I need you to break free Soria!. Opet Lumen Disper Gimini” Ben uses the blast of light. Nigel and Hammond follow suit, all firing the light powers at the Incubus.

“No, this is my world. the girl will be mine” The Incubus’s dark tendrils pierce the ball.

Ritual Chamber

A large ball of light appears illuminating the entire chamber. Michael steps inside it.

Mansion Foyer

The circle of light shatters. Standing in it’s place is Michael.

“You!” – Incubus shouts

“Karisha!” Michael bellows. He hurls his mighty spear at the beast.

The spear crackles into lightning and ricochets off the armor. A bright crack shoots through the obsidian armor. A hunk of it falls to the ground and shatters.

“That is what we must do, break down it’s armor!” Michael yells. The group encircles the Incubus.

View
Strangely Familiar
wrestle one's demons, dark intervention, Ben Collins?

Void Plateau

The Incubus feels the breaking of the illusion that has started in the throne room. Angered, he shouts- “I’ll be back for you”. The wings behind him rear up. Nigel can see that he is about to teleport. Nigel leaps forth and grabs on to the Incubus. They tumble off the side of the plateau.

Nigel is deft enough to hold on to the Incubus as it teleports back to the throne room.

Throne Room

Ben and Hammond quickly rush up to the throne. They try and wrestle Marilyn from it. This wakes her for a brief moment. However, some unknown force holds her the throne.

The Incubus arrives, along with Nigel. He sees what is happening and waves his hands toward the adventurers. The posse disappears into a puff of dark smoke.

Meanwhile – Within the bottom level of the Prison

A group of people enters from the elevators and begins following the paths of the prison. They find the same series of clues and follow the signs of movement left behind by the posse.

This group of people arrives at the Cultist chamber, finding the charred remains of the worshipers. They speak to each other, clearly making reference to the posse members. They continue on into the Obsidian Chamber.

Within the chamber, the other group is revealed to be Jonathan Douglas, Michael, and Charlie Silverfox. They have been tracking down the posse. They discuss what may have happened in this place. Then they push forward to the final threshold. They find the demonic gate opened before them. Each of the members steps forth into the dark.

The Big Empty

Each of the posse members appears in an empty black space. They are each alone in their space. Confusion sets in and they scan about looking for some indication of where they are and what is happening.

Then out of the darkness, slowly fading in, comes the surrounding scene. Each hero has their own vision independent of the others.

Outside Castle Rock

Nigel looks around to a sight he’d rather not remember. Strewn about the ground are bodies, both human and anouk. Charred husks of vehicles and collapsed rubble litter the field.

He stands up, and feels a bit of wetness on his head. His hand taps the liquid and it appears to be blood on his fingers. He queries his body systems. Then he realizes, there is no response, not even the normal chatter. He seems to be, alive!

Then, from within a blast crater, a voice bellows. His ears have never heard this voice before, but deep within his soul he knows it’s call. “How long I have waited for this. So many years in that prison, but now I get to rip you apart.”

“This cannot be.” Nigel states in a self-whisper.

Clawing its way up from the crater is his manitou. Separate from Nigel’s body and free of the spirit fetter. It stands before him, a towering brutish monster. Crude wings extend from it’s back, cracks of fiery energy burn all around it’s body. In one hand it wields a flaming whip, in the other a burning sword. The demon rushes in and cracks the whip

Warehouse in JunkYard

Ben finds himself inside of an old dilapidated warehouse. The boxes crates that surround quickly jog his memory. This is the storage area that Jaeger’s men were guarding the ghost rock they had stolen. This is where the coup was squashed.

Emerging from behind a large stack of crates is a pulsating mass. Floating off the ground is a massive brain, crackling with electric energy. It throbs and pulsates as if it is breathing. Though it has no mouth, it speaks to him. “This time I will show you my true power. Prepare to be destroyed!”

Ben hardly skips a beat and quips back that even in this form, “You’re still a weak Earth Syker.”

Vrai responds with a massive brain blast right at Ben.

Templar’s Temple

Hammond sees the familiar sight of the Temple. The main hall is empty, save for some pews. The clomp of heavy feet tells him someone approaches.

Hammy turns to see Brad Modeen walking toward him, with Despair in hand. “Come Templar, I’ll show you the true power the Incubus has given me.”

“You chose the wrong side once before, that didn’t turn out too well.” Hammond points out.

Brad pulls out his massive axe and swings out at Hammond.

Outside Castle Rock

The manitou viciously attacks. Nigel struggles with comprehending what is happeneing. His confusion leaves his defenses down. The demon strikes him several times over, leaving his body ravaged.

Nigel bumbles out loud – “But how can this be? If you were out of my body I’d be a lifeless corpse.”

“You ARE a lifeless corpse!” snaps the Demon.

As the manitou rears back it’s arm for another swing, a flash of energy erupts from nearby. From within the energy storm, the Man in Black emerges. He rushes in front of Nigel and blocks the incoming attack.

The Man in Black calls out to Nigel. They must fight back. “Look at the weapons, the fighting style. This is the Incubus in another one of it’s tricks!”

Nigel does his best to keep pace, but still struggles to fight back. The manitou and the Man in Black exchange blows, gripped in a heated battle.

The Warehouse

Ben recovers from the brain blast Vrai shot. He manages to dive out of the way and fires back with a brain blast of his own.

As the wave of energy hits the ginate brain’s surface, it disipates. The charged energy crackles and spreads across the whole of the brain.

Vrai attacks once more, this time his power seems to be even greater. Ben realizes he will not be able to use his syker abilities to defeat it.

Ben quickly pulls out his gun and charges up over the boxes and crates. He closes the gap to Vrai in a second and unleashes a storm of bullets.

With the help of his Land Warrior suit, he places the bullets in all the right places. Each one tears through the large brain. It falls to the ground lifeless.

Ben watches as Vrai dissolves into nothingness, as does the surrounding scene. Unsure of the fates of the others, he wills himself back to the throne room.

The Temple

Hammond calls upon the spirit of Aaron McConnell to assist him in fighting the Destroyer. McConnell’s blessing dispels all of Modeen’s Anti-Templar Powers, making him much weaker than before.

Modeen angrily tries to strike down Hammond, but in his weakened state he misses. Hammond retorts with 2 massive blows. The final stab into Modeen sends him crumpled to the ground. His body fades away in an ethereal black haze, followed by the surrounding room. Once again Hammond is in the dark nothingness.

Throne Room

Ben looks up the stairs towards Marilyn on the throne. He also sees an unexpected sight. Ben Collins stands in front, guarding the path to Marilyn.

The real Ben calls out to Marilyn, asking her to trust him. The doppelganger also turns and beckons. This false Ben tries to convince Marilyn -“He is not who he appears to be, do not trust him!”

Both of the Bens enter into a struggle. Each clamors for Marylin’s attention, while fighting off the other.

The doppleganger pulls out a flame whip and a sub-machine gun and begins attacking physically. The true Ben Collins notices that the copy is not exact in this- since he does not use those weapons.

The doppleganger continues to plead to Marilyn, but never states that he is Ben, only that Ben is not being true. “You can’t have her! She promised her to me, she’s mine!”

Ben calls upon the power of Simon Mercer to assist him in this dark hour. His spirit is amplified bu the influx of energy. Ben uses this boost to telekinetically lift the throne and hurl it into the doppleganger. It knock into the fake Ben with incredible force, but the copy manages to grab hold of the side and not fall off.

The false Ben then climbs up to the top of the throne.

Dark Void

Hammond yells out for the Incubus to show itself. Then he gets the idea- he will use his will to summon the demon to his location. He concentrates extra hard.

Outside Castle Rock

The Man in Black tries to fight off the manitou. Unfortunately he is overcome and is run through with the flame sword. His body drops to the floor and disintegrates.

Nigel braces himself for the end as the manitou rushes in to strike. Poof The manitou disappears just before the strike lands. Nigel looks around puzzled.

Dark Void

Poof the Incubus appears (in the form of Nigel’s Manitou) immediately in front of Hammond. It’s original swing strikes Hammy, knocking him back a few steps.

“Clever. Very clever, not that it really matters.” The Incubus waves it’s hand. In an instant Nigel appears not far behind them.

All around them the ground begins to open up revealing that they are back on the Void Plateau.

The Incubus stabs the ground with it’s sword. The flam extinguishes and the blade turns to obsidian. “It’s time to make this fight a bit more personal.”

The demon reels and contorts it’s body. It lets forth a bone chilling snarl as it’s body morphs and grows. Hammond recognizes the shape. The Incubus is using Soria’s Viridian Goliath power. It’s transforms into a hulking bestial Obsidian Goliath. Monstrous and terrifying, it is bulky and covered with thick obsidian plates.

Nigel sees the monster , and in his dazed state becomes immediately panicked. He lets out a verbal scream and runs as fast as he can. He is just barely able to stop before hurdling himself off the side of the plateau. He then feels the stinging touch of a smoldering vine grab at his foot.

The familiar creature, the Pumpkin King, emerges from the flames below. It’s body little more than a smokey pile of embers. It’s eldritch flame still burns, however softly.

View
Careful What You Ask For
more than was bargained, trading places, freedom fighter

The Stone Throne Room

The posse implores to speak directly with the queen. “Let her decide our fate.”

The Golden Knight objects. “I am the voice of the crown, and I shall act on her behalf.” He waves a hand, ushering in a multitude of guards and combatants. The hall quickly fills with twisted shadow-versions of people the posse has met.

Hammond steps forward. “Then I issue a challenge. A duel, for the queen’s honor. Just you, and me.” He points, calling out the Incubus to a one-on-one fight.

The Incubus pauses, as if in consideration. "Agreed. " He waves his hand again. A puff of smoke envelopes Hammond, and in an instant he is gone.

“Take care of these two, I will return.” The Incubus states with a hint of hubris, before disappearing into a cloud of smoke himself.

Ben and Nigel turn back to back to face the oncoming swarm. Before them rushes a cast of characters, both friends and foe, all with the look of disdain on their faces. They decide it best to try and scale the stairs, in an effort to reach queen Marilyn.

Void Plateau

Hammond blinks, opening his eyes to a small platform floating within a deep nothingness. The lack of surroundings is disorienting. Seconds later the Incubus arrives before him.

The Golden Knight produces a flaming sword, and a whip. It gestures mockingly at Hammond. They rush at each other and begin their duel.

Throne Room

The barrage of fire coming from the crowd creates a dangerous landscape for Nigel and Ben.

Nigel takes a few shots to the limbs, leaving him rather vulnerable for a few moments. Ben utilizes his force-field to make a dash up the imposing staircase to the throne.

At the top of the steps, from behind the throne, step three more familiar faces. The Incubus’s cohorts- The Crimson Sorceress, The Pumpkin King, and the Man in Black. Ben uses his powers to blast at them.

Nigel fires up at the guards on the stairs, taking down a few. He then turns to find he is being assaulted by a group of fighters, including the intimidating Norman they met near Globe.

Void Plateau

Hammond kick-jumps off of the Incubus, calling forth the blessing of El Gato. They engage in a vicious battle. Hammond lands a hard blow on the armor of the Incubus, sending it staggering back.

Throne room

The waves of assault quicken. More enemies keep emerging from the wings. Ben and Nigel make a mad dash up the stairs, knowing that their only chance is to reach Marilyn.

Ben uses the spell of light to cast at the 3 fiends. The blast severely damages the Pumpkin King. Nigel manages to get a few shots in on the Sorceress.

The Man in Black stands stoic, awaiting their arrival at the top. He was successful in tossing these two around before, so he waits.

Busting through the ground near the stairs, a Mohave rattler emerges. It’s large body casts a shadow down on Ben and Nigel. They realize that they are definitely out-manned and out gunned. They need help.

The two quickly devise that they may be able to will things in to the world, much as the Incubus has done – and not unlike how they willed the Black Widow to them. They have some trouble figuring out who to summon.

Finally Ben wishes for John Prophet. A sparking black portal appears nearby, and when it dissipates, John Prophet stands in its place. He looks to the two heroes, then at the hoards around, then he spots Marilyn. He instantly realizes what is happening and begins fighting along with Nigel and Ben.

Void Plateau

The fight between the Golden Knight and Hammond rages fast and furious, though with little to show from either side. It seems that, at least for now, they are squaring off equally. Each successfully avoiding the attacks of the other.

Throne Room

Having John Prophet on their side does help to hold off the tide. He deftly dispatches many of the underlings while Nigel and Ben handle the 3 cohorts at the top. They manage to make quick work of The Crimson Sorceress and the Pumpkin King.

Nigel uses his will to attempt to pull Soria in to help.

Void Plateau

In the midst of the battle, There is a puff of magical energy. The Incubus stop, grabs at it’s chest, and grunts “No!”. The Golden Knight disappears into the smoke. Hammond is confused.

Throne Room

The angered Incubus appears right next to Nigel. (Thus confirming that Soria’s body is being used as the host.) “I’m going to deal with you personally.” It shouts, and grabs Nigel by the chest. In another poof, Nigel disappears.

Void Plateau

Another flash of magical energy occurs. This time, Nigel appears in front of Hammond. The two glance at each other, bewildered. Seconds later the Incubus also appears. Its gaze fixed on Nigel, until it again recalls that Hammond is there.

It waves a hand and Hammond disappears into the smoke.

Nigel does his best to defend against the Incubus’s attacks.

Throne Room

Hammond appears next to Ben. He quickly surveys the scene “What the hell is goin’ on?”

Ben dos his best 5 second explanation. The Mohave Rattler looms overhead, waiting to strike. Ben also points out to Hammond how they had been able to summon things through will.

Hammond tries to “summon” Marilyn. The psychic pull actually briefly pulls her out of the trance. She is dazed, and discombobulated. But for a brief moment, she sees Ben and Hammond.

They call out to her, they need to break the bond. She is confused, but seems to acknowledge. Crashing through the stained glass ceiling, the Black Widow drops to the center of the room. It’s gun turret opens up, laying waste the a large chunk of the Incubus’s mindless horde.

All around them the world begins to crack and split. The cracks are small, but they can see the empty black void beginning to show through. The illusion is wearing down. Then Marilyn falls back into the trance.

They hardly have a chance to breathe. The Man in Black leaps forward, coming down with a death punch directed at Hammond’s face.

At the last second, John Prophet leaps in front, taking the death blow to his chest. With his dying breath he reveals the truth to the Man in Black. Prophet pushes his energy IN to the MiB. “You are free now.”

The Man in Black’s body morphs and changes to reflect this surge in power. He barely looks recognizable, having shifted to a more powerful spirit. He realizes out loud “yes, I am free.”

He whips his head towards Hammond and extends his hand. “Quickly, we can still defeat it, but we haven’t got much time.” Left with few other options, Hammond grabs the Hand of the Man in Black. MiB hoists him back to his feet.

Hammond and Ben move up toward the Throne. The Man in Black leaps down to the center of the room and smashes his fist to the ground. A massive magical shock wave emanates from his fist. From the point of impact, the entire false reality begins to shatter. The dream is breaking.

View
Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
face to face, ill-conceived, the grand charade

Obsidian Chamber

The posse faces off against the Incubus’s three cohorts. The experience is similar to staring at themselves in a corrupted fun-house mirror, their dark reflections peering back at them.

The eldritch flame of the Pumpkin King spills forth from his face, and blazes from the open hole in his head. Floating behind is the Scarlet Sorceress cloaked in deep crimson with eyes that glow red. The man in black stands stoic, sunglasses on even in the cave.

“Who will play? Who you say?, Come my friends, you’re at the end .. of your rope. Come Coil it round and round. Oh your feet will dangle as they try to touch the ground. Save yourself, Hang, yourself, kill yourself. It’s much better than what we’re going to do to you.” says the Pumpkin King in his evil-tinged rhyme.

Nigel maintains aim on the Sorceress’s head while he speaks.

The Pumpkin head opens his mouth and drops 2 orbs of flaming matter to the ground. The smoldering vine material begins to writhe and bubble, forming into two hideous venous scarecrows.

“I’m gonna give y’all one more chance to get outta the way.” Hammond calls out.

“You know we can’t do that Templar. All of your paths have lead to this moment. This is your destiny.” Says the man in black.

“You got that wrong. Well maybe you got that destiny part right. Looks like you’re just on the wrong side of the blade” Hammond retorts.

“I’ve felt the sting of a blade before. Tell me, do you fear death?” – MiB

“Anything living does.” -Hammy

’Anything living? Interesting…"

“Not just anything living.” Nigel chimes in. “I’ve made his acquaintance so to say.”

“You’ve met a feeble god, who clangs and clatters at a long forgotten glory. He’ll use you as a pawn, just as he uses the one that sent you here.” – MiB

’And are you any different? Are you not a pawn yourself?" – Nigel

“I am a knight.” -MiB

“Looks like a queen to me.” -Ben wittily snaps.

“No, that would be the child. She will be the queen of a new world. Whether or not we like it.” -Mib

“Speak for yourself, I like it fine. Come on dearies, you’re wasting time!” the pumpkin key notes.

“I think thats the one time I’m gonna agree with you. all this time spent yakkin, you got somethin you wanna do, lets get it started.” – Hammond states impatiently

“Or perhaps it’s best to heed the Templar’s Advice and Stand Aside!” Nigel states.

“I’m afraid that is impossible. You have come far enough. Now is the time for retribution. Now is the time to wash away this world. you and the rest of your ilk will die, and my master will live again!” – The scarlet sorceress viciously screeches.

Nigel pulls the trigger and fires right at the head of the sorceress. The bullet just grazes her.

The two groups fight furiously.

Ben quips – “I guess it’s gonna be ugly vs ugly.”

The sorceress claps her hands together and pulls them apart to create a purpleish, smokey haze across the room. The haze blankets the room and makes it difficult to discern forms. The posse has a hard time aiming.

Hammond calls out that he will take the Man in Black. He rushes forward into the smoke. Ben shouts he’ll take the ugly one (Pumpkin King). Nigel goes after the Sorceress.

Ben fires on the Pumpkin King and the fleshy scarecrow figures using his exploding fire ball. Hammond attacks the man in black.

The Man in Black leaps up and over Hammond right after Ben. The MiB waylays Ben with a flurry of lightning fast blows. Then the MiB punches into the air- a wave of energy flies at Nigel hitting him with great force.

The burnt crisps of the scarecrows burst open, as new veins begin to grow out. They are regrowing.

The Pumpkin King fires a blast of eldritch flame at Hammond. Nigel Fires at the Sorceress, damaging her slightly. In response she casts a spell at the ground. Bursting forth from the earth, a group of undead warriors emerges. They are dressed in viking armor.

Hammond rushes to catch up to the MiB. They resume trading blows. Ben places a force field around himself.

The viking warriors attack Nigel. The posse battles to put them down quickly.

Ben uses the latin spell that was found in the prison against the Pumpkin King. He manages to pull off the spell, sending a blast of radiant light at the monster. The two scarecrows are instantly destroyed. The pumpkin King reels back in pain and rushes to attack in melee combat. clearly he has been weakened. Ben uses the spell again to obliterate the Pumpkin King. The explosion throws Ben across the room into a wall.

Nigel manages to strike down the Sorceress in a barrage of bullets.

The Man in Black picks up Nigel and throws him at Ben. Their bodies collide forcefully. They shake it off and join back in the fight.

The MiB cannot dodge attacks from all of them, and finally catches a blade in the chest.

“My debt is paid. Now I return to the place I was born.” MiB

The Vision

As the MiB breathes his last breath, the obsidian walls begin to clear. Swirls of time and space mix with color and distort. Through the walls they can see the hunting grounds.

They are shown a vision of the past. A man walks in a dirty cloak. He looks like a disheveled hermit. He is surrounded by a variety of entities, blobs and twisted forms of spirits. The man is none other than John Prophet.

Before him is a painfully beautiful women. She beckons him seductively. He comes to her embrace. They entangle for a moment, but he is able to break away. He generates a bloom of energy and blasts the Succubus with the energy. It’s form explodes.

John Prophet begins to walk away. He summons the image of a cobblestone path before him hill he walks off into the distance.

The remaining energy of the Succubus begins to reform. It’s shape begins to appear. It is united back intuit the form of a man. He is newly birthed, but fully grown. This is the birth of the MiB. The vision fades and the walls return to black.

Obsidian Chamber

Back in the chamber they advance to the back of the cave. There is yet another gate. This door is much more recently crafted.

The bars are crafted of a dark metallic material, one which is not familiar. It is engraved with the strange demonic writing.

The posse braces themselves for a strange vision, but nothing happens when they touch the gate. The whole piece moves with extreme ease. A cold shiver runs up their spines. The Incubus has left this open for them. They step through the threshold.

The Enchanted Forest

The posse emerges to find themselves in a picturesque wooded area. They hear the chirping of birds and the buzz of insects. There is dew on the grass and a sweet smell of wildflowers and other flora.

They glance at each other and find their appearance has changed drastically. Nigel is dressed as a nobel-man of old. Ben is draped in the cloth and leathers of a roguish brigand. Hammond is an armored knight of legend.

They ponder what kind of trickery this is. Are they in an illusion,like the ones they experienced in the Salem Apartment Towers?

They hear bells jingling nearby, approaching ever closer. An impish creature with a familiar face appears from the bushes. It looks like the gremlin from the underground area outside of Kingman, except he is dressed as a jester.

The jester greets them and speaks to them in a tongue of old english- a mishmash of language approximating an English accent.

Still not fully convinced this is real, Ben raises his weapon (a crossbow) and shoots the imp in the face. It falls to the ground dead instantly.

They surmise this is not a mere illusion, but perhaps a dream world created by the Incubus. It is unknown what effect their actions may have on the real world, so they will have to exercise a bit more caution.

Hammond climbs a tree to get a better view. There is a path that leads through the forest to a field. Past the pined he can just make out the top of a great castle.

Ben speculates that this dream world might be able to be bent to their will. He states that if they are heroes, then they should have mighty steeds.

Within seconds they hear another rustling in the bushes. Much to their surprise, it is not horses that emerge, but a large mechanized spider. The spider seems to follow their will.

They conclude that this must be cross between their van and the black widow. It seems this dream world is a re-imaged version of the real one. Each of the posse members is cloaked in a costume of what they represent idealistically. The things around them are the approximations of real things, seen through the filter of a fantasy / make-believe world.

They climb aboard the spider and head off towards the castle. As they approach they see it is a great white building, draped in banners bearing the Templar cross.

The guards outside are actually Haldeman and Dixon. They question the posse. Hammond responds in a terrible acting move, claiming to be Sir Hammond of Cleiboldton. The guards state they were expected, and allow them entrance.

Inside the castle is a large throne room. A large flight of stairs leads to the actual throne, upon which Queen Marilyn sits. Standing before her is a shimmering golden knight.

The golden one tunes around, revealing the helmet- oversized and bearing 3 sets of eye holes. This must be the Incubus.

The Golden knight professes his allegiance to the Queen, and begins to slander the posse members. He insults them personally, and makes claims that they are murderers and brigands.

He cites the incident of the imp in the forest as example of Ben’s disregard for life. He also makes mention of the time when Hammond killed a group of “guards” at the royal hotel (a reference to the abduction attempt at the Yard Arms in Junkyard).

The posse murmurs to each other, trying to develop a plan for how to proceed.

View
The Den of Evil
burning zeal, the great hunt, a skewed mirror image

The Cultist Chamber

The cultists reveal their weapons and begin to close in on the posse. One of the cult members steps back from the rest of the group and begins to recite some demonic incantation. His hands start glowing with an etheric light as he waves them about. With a quick gesture and an unknown phrase, he casts a cloud or red about the cult members.

The red cloud seems to empower the cultists, enraging them and giving their eyes a thristy red glow. The cultists begin to attack with a wild ferocity. They manage to land a few blows on Hammond and Ben- The sight of the blood seems exhilirate them up, making them attack ever more aggresively.

The posse members do their best to avoid being harmed. However, with so many knives and clubs flailing at them, and bullets being fired haphazzardly, they find it impossible.

Ben and Nigel fire on with their rifles while Hammond slashes out with his sword. The cultist are only wearing their robes, which do little to protect them. While they sustain a lot of damage, the cultists continue to lash out like rabid animals.

Knowling that they likely have much more fighting to do after finishing with the cultists, the posse shouts to each other about how to put them down quickly. This strategy will help them avoid being heavily damaged by the ravenous cultists.

Ben takes note of the cloth robes the cultist bare, and compares it to the swat armor worn by the rest of the posse. In a snap decision, he calls forth a mighty blaze, lighing up the entire room with flame.

Fire engulfs everyone in the room, heroes included. The cultist’s robes ignite. Cloaked in burning death, they scream out before falling to the floor. The posse members shake off the fire and quicly tend to ech other’s minor wounds.

They look about the room and find a large portcullis blocking an entrance to the next chamber. The beams of the portcullis are thick, ancient wood. Each surface of the gate is inscribed with mystical writing. Some is runic, other parts appear to be pictoglyphs. It is a curious mixture indeed.

Recognizing they have little time, they get right to the point- trying to open the door. Hammond grabs at the gate to open it. As his hand touches the wood, the posse’s vision blacks out. Their eyes adjust to the darkness and they begin to see leaves waving in the mild wind, all bathed in the dim of moonlight.

A Dark Forest

From within the brush, a group of warriors appears. Draped in skins and leather armor, wielding iron weapons, decorated with bone; these warriors look to be the Vikings of ancient times. They are anxious, darting their gaze back and forth in an intense search. This is a hunt, but who is the prey?

Suddenly a rustle from nearby startles the Vikings. They run to encounter the source of the sound. The Vikings emerge to find a battle in progress.

Before them stands a hodge-podge of fighters, both Viking and native Americans. However, the two groups are not fighting one another. Their foe is the same. A large black humanoid figure stands in the center, surrounded by swirling tendrils which flail and stab at its opposition.

The Vikings attack with their brutal weapons. The natives fire with bows and hurl spears and sharpened rocks. The fighting seems merely alight diversion for the dark beast. It swipes across a large patch of the fighters, sending them flying back.

Close by, a group of shaman, both Viking and native, perform a ritual. They direct their magical chants and energies at rocky outcropping. The mystical energy is pulling in rocks from nearby, forming a small cave-like structure.

The Incubus continues to play with the fighters, slashing and destroying them left and right. As each one falls, another comes to take the place. It is clear they are only buying the shaman time.

When the cave is completed, several of the shaman break off and divert their attention to the Incubus. They project a force to push it back, toward the cave. Their light magic seems to actually harm it, or at the very least push it around.

The tactic works! They manage to push the Incubus into the constructed magical cave. While they hold it there, another group of fighters grabs the final piece. They hoist a large wooden portcullis, engraved with magic, into place at the mouth of the cave. Using an additional bit of magic, the shaman seal the portcullis to the rock.

The Cultist Chamber

The posse wakes from the vision in a violent flash. This place was a prison to the Incubus. A sad bit of irony that a supernatural-prison was built atop it, and that they somehow managed to free something so dangerous. They also realize, the magic that once lived in this gate is long gone. They work as a group to remove the mighty gate and set it aside. The opening in the next chamber is void, only darkness, but this is practically expected. The crew steps through into the next chamber.

Obsidian Chamber

On the other side of the dark is another chamber. This one is laid out in an almost starburst pattern. The walls look to be made of infinitely black obsidian which shimmers, despite the fact that there appears to be no source for the light in the room.

Before the posse stand the three underlings of the Incubus: The Man in Black, the Crimson Sorceress, and the Pumpkin King.

View
Through the Darkness of Future Past
Memories or visions?, a broken boy, left with the impression

Level 5 of the prison

The posse exits from the elevator area. This level is dimly lit. They know the kind of mind games that the Incubus and his cohorts may try to play. Ben establishes a mind link with Hammond, and they turn on their walkie-talkies to keep contact. They venture forward into the main hallway of the prison.

With the lights so dim, it is difficult to make out shapes and details. Nigel switches on his low light vision. Ben uses the optics of his Land Warrior helmet to assist in seeing the way. Hammond activates his vampire vision.

As Hammond’s eyes shift into he blood red spectrum of the vampire vision, he begins to hear the sound of someone running down the hall. He turns quickly and sees several guards running toward them. The guards seem to be running from something. Hammond tells the others to look out. Ben hears the same sounds through the mental link with Hammond. He turns but sees Hammond staring blankly down the empty.

Hammy flinches as the soldiers run right up to, and through the rest of the posse. Ben sees Hammonds reaction, and hears the soldiers shouting out warnings to each other. Hammond watches the the soldiers turn around to fire on an unknown enemy. He rotates around to view what they may have seen.

Down the hall he sees a swirling cloud of darkness. It looks less like an object, more like billowing shadows overlapping and flowing through one another. Barely visible within the swirling mass is a figure. It’s motion like a walk, but more fluid, and its form similar to a man, but yet not. The black figure moves forward, the only contrasting elements are its eyes, yellow and red , fixed Jon the soldiers ahead.

The guards open fire, but their fight is futile. Extending out from the black mass are several dark tendrils. They move like shadowy fist, and strike the guards pummeling them to death while ripping their bodies apart. The black figure turns and looks at Hammond. It sees him, even though this seems to be an echo of past events. “I will destroy you” the creature states. It this moment that both Hammond and Ben’s suspicions are confirmed, this black creature is the Incubus- albeit in a much more powerful form than they have encountered.

The incubus reaches out its hand, grasping Hammy by the throat. He feels the corrupted touch of the demon grasp around his neck, strangling the life from him. He flails and fights the demon, but to no avail. In the midst of it, he switches out of his vampire vision, and in that instant the vision is gone.

Shaken by the vent, he describes what he saw to Ben and Nigel. They come to an agreement that this must have been a vision of the Incubus from long before. They see that it had once been quite powerful, with a body all it’s own rather than needing a host. Perhaps it was kept as a prisoner here and broke out. They will need to search for more clues while they explore the level.

The posse ventures forth at a slow pace, being careful to note their path. Ben thinks back tot he memory of what had happened to Twitch. He runs his hand across the wall, feeling a groove that sets him into a flashback.

He IS Twitch, or at least within his mind looking out. The young boy is being dragged down the hallway by a disheveled man. Frantically trying to get away, he grasps at the corner of the wall feeling the same groove Ben had touched. The man turns his head, revealing the same yellow / red eyes as the Incubus. He yanks the boy away from the wall and continues down and around the corner. Ben instructs the other which way to go.

The crew continues down the bend and comes to a side room that has had the wall busted through. Inside the room are a at least a dozen bodies of the guards, as well as countless bits and pieces of flesh. The bodies are so twisted and mutilated that they are only recognizable by the scraps of uniform.

Ben checks his memory once again. This time the vision reveals that Twitch was carried down a neighboring hallway to their right.

Solitary confinement area

Nigel, Ben and Hammond move down the hall. Each side is lined with tiny cells, each with barely enough room for a bed and toilet. Most have a sealed door with only a small eye hole to view in, others are open, revealing the confining conditions. As they continue down the hall, Ben feels a rising anxiety within himself, an imprint left behind from his melding with Twitch, perhaps. The group walks further, until Ben feels his heart spike with a jolt of adrenaline. He turns to find the room, in all its horrific awe.

A single pendant bare bulb light hangs from above. It sways slight with some unknown force. Below is a melange of splattered stains, some blood, others waste, others unknown. The cell’s mattress has been folded up agains the wall, fixed with crude shackles. The tortures that took place in this room have left a weight to the air within.

To their dismay, they realize that this is not the location Marilyn is being held. Quickly they turn back and head to the perimeter corridor.

Perimeter section, near the room of bodies

Returning to the main hall they stop as Ben goes into another trance. Twitch is once again being escorted down the hall by a man. It’s time, the man is dressed in a long black duster. His head turns back to speak to the boy. It is someone else. He states his name is Jason Graham, he is hear to help… But they just move quickly.

Jason pulls Twitch around the turn, past the room full of bodies. From the other end of the hall a voice yells out. The man possessed by the incubus shouts at them to stop. He runs forward to attack them.

Jason pulls a strip of paper from sprocket and reads from it aloud. " Oppete lumen et dispergimini" he states with focus and conviction. A brilliant light shines from his hand at the Incubus. The demon cringes and shields it’s face from the light. A few of its tendrils emerge from its back and smack Jason, knocking the paper awaya no disrupting the spell- however the beast is still blinded from the initial blast.

Twitch has been watching this in a daze. Jason shouts at him to head down the hall. “There is an emergency elevator. Push the button on the electrical box and pull he lever to reveal the door. Go on kid, get out of here!”

Twitch gets to the electrical box at the end of the hall and does as he was instructed. The wall opens up to reveal the small service elevator. He takes a look back to check for Jason.

Jason stands back up to square off with the Demon. He appears to be concentrating hard. “Sit porta aperatur”

As he completes the phrase, a portal beings to open. Looking within, Twitch sees something unbelievable. He sees what looks to be hell, or something like it (in fact he sees into the Hunting Grounds). In his fragile mental state, the vision of such a thing is more than his sanity can stand. In that instant his mind is broken.

Jason yells again for Twitch to escape. The portal grows, pulling the Incubus to the other side. However, Jason had made a mistake. he called the portal too close to himself. As it grew, it began to pull his body in as well. The portal twists his body into unhealthy shapes, and the spell is broken. The portal beings to close.

Jason lay on the ground, in terrible pain and barely alive. Just before the portal closes a small black tendril forces its way through. The portal disappears, severing the tendril from its root. The inky black mass flops to the ground, and wriggles off.

Twitch, nearly unaware of his actions, climbs aboard the elevator and pushes the button. The gate closes and he begins to ascend.

Back in real time

Ben emerges from the vision and quickly explains it while rummaging around in the trash on the floor. Through some stroke of incredible luck he finds the crumpled paper dropped by Jason Graham. However the writing has long since faded.

Nigel suggests they try and do a rubbing to see if they can pull the words from the page. Unfortunately, they are short on pencils, and haven’t the time to track one down. Hammond suggests they use ash instead of the graphite. They burn a scrap piece of closets and use the ashes to get a rubbing with the light spell.

They come down tot the corner and find the service elevator. Unfortunate it looks as though it has long since been destroyed. They turn down the last corner and find a hole has been cut out of the wall. It leads to a cave, which descends even further. Regretfully, they all suspect this is the correct way to go and climb into the cave.

The Cave

They follow the cave down to another level. All they while they hear an eerie but enchanting song coming from the depths ahead of them.

Eerie song

Come little children
I’ll take thee away, into a land
of Enchantment

Come little children
the time’s come to play
here in my garden
of Shadows

Follow sweet children
I’ll show thee the way
through all the pain and
the Sorrows

Weep not poor childlen
for life is this way
murdering beauty and
Passions

Hush now dear children
it must be this way
to weary of life and
Deceptions

Rest now my children
for soon we’ll away
into the calm and
the Quiet

Come little children
I’ll take thee away, into a land
of Enchantment

Come little children
the time’s come to play
here in my garden
of Shadows

The chamber

They find the source of the singing and chanting in a chamber at the end of the path. Inside is a group of cultists, cloaked in deep red robes. They stand in a circle, spaced out by candelabras , encircling a large glyph in the floor. It’s seal seems to have some archaic meaning, not unlike the seal of the metatron, but darker and more sinister.

The see a crimson haired women at the center of the circle leading the chanting. She looks up and sees the posse. With a quick wave, she disappears In a puff of smoke. The other cultists turn and acknowledge the posse members. From within their robes they pull various hand weapons and pistols. It looks like the crew has found the right place.

View
Into the Demon's Den
cornered, in for some lab work, elevator going down

Warehouse area of Level 1

The living mannequins shuffle in around the posse. Their claw-shaped fingers swipe out as they flail around. Some of them are wielding actual weapons. The crew is quickly surrounded.

Hammond pulls out his sword and starts doing a figure 8 to keep them at bay. Ben fires around with his assault rifle. Nigel uses his over-charged plasma hand to break up some of the crowd.

Their attacks are successful, but the grotesque horde fills in the empty spaces quickly. The freakish mannequins lash back with a flurry of blows. The weapons and claws come in from all sides making it difficult for the posse members to avoid them. All three of the heros take a few scrapes.

Nigel deftly maneuvers through the crowd towards the lab door. He finds the door is sealed with another keypad. He yells this out to the other while resuming fire.

Ben and Hammond start inching their way towards the corner of the room to avoid from being surrounded. The twisted forms manage to strike them both a few times. Nigel attempts another plasma blast. He fires the shot, but the power draw shorts out one of his internal systems. He hobbles his way into the corner with the others.

Slowly the posse whittles down the numbers of the mannequins until all have been dispatched. They then turn their attention the to door of the lab.

Nanite Lab area

The keypad lock system to the lab is still partially functional. Nigel and Ben work together to jimmy the door open. Nigel enters first. Te lab itself has been completely trashed. Equipment has been picked apart or taken completely. Much of the contents of the area has been destroyed or looted.

But there is something else. The air in the lab is not breathable. There is not sufficient oxygen and it contains high levels of other inert gasses. Ben and Nigel confirm the lab must have been in clean room conditions. In order for the others to enter they will need to get some air flow. Hammond points out the windows, though they are most likely blast proof. Ben says its worth a shot. Hammy slacks the glass with his hammer. The glass does not break but the force is enough to pop the window right out of place.

While waiting for the air in the lab to become breathable, they check the other areas of the warehouse. The door they come through has been barred by a thick steel blast door, far too thick for them to get through in time. They also check out the elevator. They suspect it may be rigged with some type of boogie trap, but don’t find any evidence of it.

Nigel continues searching around the lab and finds some small metal filings on the floor near some busted test tubes. Ben and Nigel inspect them with various optics. They find that there is a very compact structure to the filings, and are nearly certain that these are the nanites they are seeking. Hammond finds a relatively clean test tube and scoops the filings into it very carefully. The posse heads down the only way they can, using the freight elevator.

Level 3 storage area

Much to the posse’s surprise, the elevator is both functional, and free of death-traps. They ride the lift down to the third level. The 3rd floor storage area has an array of boxes and crates. Some are still intact, others have been rummaged through. They venture out tot the main door, but upon opening Ben states that he knows this is not the level.

Hammond and Nigel question this. Ben states he knows because the color is wrong. Twitch’s memory that Ben had tapped into showed the floor color as being a distinct deep red, almost like old blood. They head back to the freight elevator and descend once again.

Level 4

The storage area of the 4th level is much smaller, but the sight when they open the doors has a much bigger impact. Immediately they see a barricade constructed from heavy crates. Curiously, the barricade was set up facing the elevator. Scattered behind the crates are a dozen or so of the prison guards. It appears they were trying to keep something from coming IN.

The bodies are quite old and decayed. Still, the posse can see that they were badly mangled and torn. Whatever made its way in, it made quick work of these guards.

They check the door to the main area. While the color of this floor is red, it is much more vibrant than what Ben had seen. They head back to the elevator and go down once more.

Level 5

The posse reaches the fifth level, last stop occurring to the map Hammond found.

The storage area of this floor is little more than the size of a medium closet. They open the door to the main section.

Ben catches sight of the floor. In an instant he is back in the memory, seeing the floor through Twitch’s eyes as he is pulled through the hall.

Realizing this is the place, Ben states it with an unmistakable phrase in total deadpan – “Ah, shit..”

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Breaking IN to Prison
face to the glass, an act of mercy, crashing the party

Staircase into the dark

The posse descends the steps, leading into a slanted corridor. The walls are constructed of cinderblocks, many of which have cracked over time. The lights which line the ceiling have gone dark and look to be well beyond repair.

The walkway continues on, deeper and deeper, until the group reaches a reflective wall. It looks like a mirror, but the edges of the glass extend well into the walls on each side.

Nigel checks the temperature on the glass. It is not as cold as expected, indicating it is probably some type of reflective plastic. Ben chimes in, stating it is most likely blast-proof security glass. Hammond points a flashlight into the glass, checking to see if it is a one-way mirror. While trying to look through the glass he sees something moving “in” the image.

Ben sees nothing in the glass. On a hunch, Nigel peers into the mirror and tries to reach through and grab his own hand. As he begins to move his hand, he sees his own image reach up to his head and blast with the plasma hand. Shaken by the image he steps back and mumbles out what happened.

Ben checks around the edges, but can’t find a way to pry the glass. Hammond attempts to push the glass or slide it out of the way, but it does not budge.

They talk about possible options. Ben points out how the door in the corn field was just an illusion. Perhaps this is as well. He stands up straight and walks full tilt at the mirror. SMACK The front of his helmet connects with the surface of the mirror. The impact actually dazes him for a split second.

Hammond expresses his belief that the Incubus is projecting itself from the inside. He calls out the demon, staring down the image on the thier side. Ben and Nigel see no change. Hammond sees his reflection shift into that of a young man. The man stands, in a leering, over-bearing stance staring forward with yellow other-worldly eyes. The world burns behind him.

The Incubus speaks to Hammy through the glass. It offers him a deal. Since it’s victory is a certainty, it offers them the change to save Marilyn from total mutilation by walking away.

Hammond quips back- “I’m not a bettin man, but My guess is you’re bluffin. Besides, if you were really certain you’d win- you wouldn’t be asking us to give up.”

The man in the mirror reaches through with icy claws and pierces Hammonds chest. The pain shoots up through his heart and he stumbles backwards. Nigel and Ben heard only Hammonds side of the conversation, so they are a bit confused.

After several more minutes of deliberation, they start checking back down the hall. Ben spots a patch of moss on the left side wall. He presses the moss. Rumble The wall near the glass retracts into the floor. Inside they find a small vestibule leading to a well lit hallway.

“The Maze” level 1

The Hallways leads down straight ahead and out to the right. Doors line the inner portions of each hallway. Immediately to the right they see another door.

The posse opens the door immediately to the right and finds a small security room. One wall of the room is a window out to the corridor (the other side of the mirror). In front of the window is a desk with an old computer terminal. Ben asks Nigel to fix it up or try and access it. Nigel assesses the damage and realizes it will take far too long to repair.

They move on to the first door in the hallway. Inside they find a small office, which looks to have been for the top level administration and security. The rummage around for anything useful. Hammond finds a laminated floor map on one of the walls. He pulls it of and they use it to navigate their way through the halls.

Ben does not recognize any of this area from the memory he accessed in Twitch’s mind. They will need to push on.

The posse finds a stair case, but the ceiling has collapse in on it. The elevator shaft next to the stairs is open, but there is no car, and the drop to the next floor is too far to safely drop.

They work their way around the back side and find door to the warehouse area. There is a sign pointing out the freight elevator, but they decide to check the other side of the facility first. In the other end of the hallway they find another elevator shaft. This one has a car ready and waiting – and the door to the stairs next to it is welded shut. Ben points out that a path has been laid out for them, and is most likely a trap.

Hammond pulls out his hammer and smashes the door. The force is strong enough to breach the sub-par welds on the door. They manage to carefully make their way down tot he next floor.

Level 2

The posse enters the 2nd level. The walls and floor of this level are a bit more grey than those of the 1st floor. Otherwise the layout is, at first glance, the same. However as they begin to traverse the hall, they find the doors to be heavy, with only a small slit at about eye level. Several of the rooms have bodies, or, what is left of them. In one, they see a mound of dried oozy-goop.

The next door holds back a smokey presence. The smoke floats in the vague shape of a man. The figure seems to perk up, noticing it is not alone. It breaks into a stream and flows up to the door before reforming into the man shape.

“Release me.” The smokey figure’s eerie disembodied voice half commands, half pleads.

Recognizing that this being may be quite dangerous, the posse questions it first. It is not able to escape on it’s own as it’s powers are being dampened. Some type of technology is keeping it’s powers from working to their full potential.

Smokey does know of the Incubus, but indicates it does not side with him. (In retropect, obvious from the fact that it is still sealed in the cell.) The being simply wants to be freed, it will neither help nor hinder them. The posse deliberates about it, and decides to free the being. They smash a hole in the view slot and Smokey slips out through the spot – speeding off to exit the prison.

As they explore they find that the hallway is blocked just around the corner. A large barred gate blocks the way. They check the other end of the hall and find another gate. This gate was blow out however. There is an old repair job in place, someone had welded several layers of steel plates together to block the way.

They decide to blow the gate on the first side to get through. Ben loads some plastic explosives and detonates. BLAM the blast completely destroys the gate. “If they didn’t already know we were here, they do now” says Nigel.

They pass through the gate and find another security terminal in a nearby office. This one is active. They tap in to the system and find records pointing to some “incident”. This event cause a lockdown situation sealing up most of the rest of the jail. It becomes clear that they will not be able to continue on this route and hope to make it in time.

They check the records to find info about the power controlling tech. They find that there were multiple types, some injectable, some machine based. The injectible nanites sound like the most viable solution- and will be very useful if they need to incapacitate Soria. The log files show that there was a nanite lab located in the 1st floor warehouse area.

Level 1

The posse heads back up to the first level towards the warehouse. As they enter, the blast doors slam shut behind them. As their eyes adjust to the lower light level in the warehouse, they see figures filling all of the space.

The entire room is full of “mannequin” figures, all arranges in grotesque, macabre positions. Some dominant, some submissive- other engaged in lewd acts, still others being tortured/torturing. The site bears a grim resemblance to the bodies that were arrange by Vlados under the Incubus’s direction.

The group slowly creeps their way towards the door in the back end of the warehouse that leads to the nano factory. Suddenly they notice that the eyes of the mannequins are following them. Several of the figures turn their heads and begin to move, creaking and squishing, inching in closer to the posse.

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