Fate of Steam & Sorcery

Jaded

It is now February 1896. Loshes, Clerice and Arwen have set up their domiciles. Things have been fairly quiet the last 6 months. Chief Carter brings the sad news that their friend Sin’tsun Chien has been found dead, murdered in his own restaurant. It is suspected that it is the work of some local good ol’ boys who don’t want any Chinese in their town. (Anti-Chinese sentiment is very high in the area. Several years prior, all the Chinese citizens had been forcefully evacuated, their properties confiscated. After that, a law had been passed prohibiting any person of Chinese decent to own property or live in Eureka or the surrounding area.) Loshes was a close friend to Sin’tsun and vows to look into his friend’s death.

Our trio visits the restaraunt that Sin’tsun owned (and where the murder occured). Loshes fines a small piece of rice paper with an interesting Chinese symbol upon it. Further conversation with Chief Carter validates that it was definitely the work of a few of the locals who were against having a Chinese person anywhere in the local facinity, specially in town. The Chief has a few prime suspects, but isn’t saying who until he can investigate further.

The trio visits Sin’tsun gravesite. There they find several Chinese ceremonial “prayer flags” (small strips of reice paper with Chinese writing on them. mounted on small sticks stuck in the ground near the grace). Clerice determines that one particular “prayer flag” seems different than the others.

A few days later, the pc’s receive news that the dessicated corpse had been found late last night, in an alley. The Chief shows up and explains that it was one of his suspects. Clerice does some research and finds that the “prayer flag” contained “oaths of revenge”, the ink being the exact same type as found by Loshes in the restaraunt. Further research reveals that the symbol on the piece of paper is that of “The Jade Court”. What exactly “The Jade Court” is no one has a clue right now.

Turns out that Sin’tsun had no immediate family in the area and was rather poor. So who paid for his grave and marker is a mystery. The pc’s begin to look into that and finally end up on the door step of Emily Carson. Turns out that Sin’tsun was once a servant of tha family. After the incident ten years earlier (Chinese residents being forcefully expelled), the Carsons were able to retain Sin’tsun as he was a great servant to their house. As Sin’tsun became older, they finally set him up locally with a restaraunt of his own, inspite of local setiment (and local laws!) against such a thing. It was due to the influence of Karl and Sarai Carson that Sin’tsun was left alone. Until recently. Emily tells the pc’s that it was her family that paid for the gravesite and marker. Further more, she asks the pc’s to look into Sin’tsun’s death and promises to help with what ever she can.

As the ppc’s go about their investigations, they run into some mal-contents one day while in the vacinity of Sin’tsuns restaraunt. Some “good ’ol boys” have taken exception to Loshes, as he is obviously “one of ’dem dang weird faerie critters”. Things grow tense as there are about eight of the thugs and only our three heroes. However, the appearance of Sherrif Clint Gannon along with a new friend (Special Guest Appearance: Kwai Chiang Caine) help even things out. The scene ends more or less peacefully, with the thugs going off after a few verbal taunts.

Back at the store, our trio make quick acquaintences with Caine. Caine is able to inform them that the “Jade Court” is the name given to Chinese Mages who lust for power and immortality has led them to becoming “Chi Vampires”; (think D&D Liches here). They literally sap the Chi Energy (life force) of their victims to maintain their powers and their longevity. What this has to do with Sin’tsun remains to be seen. These Chinese Vampires of the Jade Court are called "Zhiang Bao Shi (pron. zshang bow shee). Loshes shows the piece of paper recovered from the Chien’s restaraunt and grave-site. Caine informs the trio that the pieces of paper are messages saying that Chien will be avenged. Caine goes on to state that silver weapons that have been blessed can effect the Zhiang Bao Shi to some degree and that a Taoist-Blessed Jade “Dart” will instantly kill the Bao Shi.

The trio return to talk to Emily Carson with the information gained thus far. While they are talking to Emily, Garbhan shows up and is very upset that the trio is there. He is very rude to them and Emily scolds Garbhan for treating guests in such a manner. Emily apologizes. The trio return to the store to make further plans. The contact Warden Josh Brennan and tell him what they have found. Josh promises to go the the main I.C. headquarters (in San Francisco) to see if he can obtain some bless’d silver weapons. In the meantime, Emily comes to the store bearing a gift for the trio; A Jade Dragon. She hopes that the trio will be able to make use of the Jade in fashioning some sort of weapon. Just then, a commotion begins to build in front of the store.
Some locals are starting to protest the presence of Loshes, Clerice and Arwen. As Emily and the trio step outside to see what’s going on, the gathering crowd start getting even more angry.
Clerice and Arwen try to persuade the crowd to calm down. Their reason not pervailing, Clerice subtley tries to use her gifts (Invokes Aspect “Listen to My Counsel” along with a spirit/force evocation to soothe tempers) and is somewhat successful. However, they all sense that some external force is prompting this whole scene. Soon the chief of police Brace Carter and a few of his deputies are on site to help quell the crowd, but the crowd seems to be getting angrier by the moment. Emily then notices that her brothers Garbhan and Bairre are standing in a second story window across the street. She can see that Garbhan is staring intently upon the crowd. Emily shouts out “Stop it! STOP IT!” at Garbhan as she realizes that it is he that is invoking the crowd. In the mean time, Loshes has slipped unnoticed back into the store and has created a circle (Minor Ritual for Invoking Calm). Not sure how much power he would need to draw upon for such a large crowd, he invokes his “Goblin of the Unseelie Court” aspect and uses the Court’s available power (This places a temporary Aspect of “Beholdin’ to the Lady of the Court” on Loshes for a later compel). This takes a few minutes, with the crowd getting worse by the minute. However, Loshes ritual is successful, and with Garbhan realizing that he has been found-out by his sister, quits his attempt to stir up the crowd and leaves. Clerice notices that Brace Carter has also noticed Garbhan and vice-a-versa. She senses that there is no love lost between these two.

Back inside, the trio asks Emily what was going with her brother and the ugly crowd scene. Emily then briefly explains that her family are what known as “White Court Vampires”. About a hundred years earlier, her family made a successful attempt to break with the other White Court clans back on the East Coast. They were able to make their way out West without any of the other clans knowing where they had gone. They slowly and subtly built their home and business here and attained High Society status. Learning to “feed” in various subtle ways that caused no lasting harm to the mortal population (and thus adverting any unwanted attention) all went well. However, her two older brothers, Garbhan and Caedmon had their own interests and agendas. It was they who instigated the original move against the Chinese residents several years earlier. For caedmon it was for business reasons (Main Aspect/Theme “Business is Business” and “Secure and Continue Family’s Empire”). For Garbhan, it is entirely racial (Aspect/Theme “This town’s my playground” & “As bad as I wanna be . . .”). It appears that Garbhan is trying to oust any who he believes is “a foreigner and outsider” (I.E. our pc’s). Emily promises to do something about this. She also asks Loshes, Clerice and Arwen not to mention what she has revealed about her family to anyone.

Warden Josh Brennan returns with a blessed silver sword and 3 bars of blessed silver. Loshes takes the bars and smelts/forges them into a silver grappling hook that also doubles as an elaborate belt-buckle. The remaining silver he grinds into a fine powder to use as a weapon.

Clerice makes use of a silver bowl and performs a minor ritual for scrying. She is able to determine that the Zhiang Bao Shi is staying in a Victorian style house, one that is possibly abandoned. Emily’s parents, Karl and Sarai, coming to pay a visit. They apologize for the behavior of Garbhan and promise that he will no longer bother or interfere with them.

Brace Carter notifies the trio that another desiccated corpse has been found. It turns out that this man was also a friend of the other murder victim and may have been involved with Sin T’suns death. He tells the trio that there may have been one more person involved with Chien’s death. It also turns out that this latest victim was one of the rowdies that confronted the group a few days before. After Carter leaves, Loshes decides to investigate further. He decides to head towards the water front to an Inn that he knows these guys like to hang out at. He has Clerice cast a veil upon him (he and Arwen also join in the ritual) to make himself appear as a small human male, as he knows that he would get major grief if he tried to enter the Inn in his natural goblin form. The casting is successful ( but a minor glitch causes this to last longer than anticipated!). Loshes heads off towards the water front. He mixes in well at the Inn and learns that one of the main instigators in the harrasing of Chien is a foreman who works for Carson’s shipping operations. Loshes decides to go pay a visit at the foreman’s office, which is located near the docks.

It is now early night when Loshes arrives. As he approaches the office, he hears a loud voice and some scuffling. Stealthily scaling the wall, he peers in through the window just in time to see the Zhiang Bao Shi attack and draw the Chi energy from the foreman, turning him into a dry husk!
The Zhiang Bao Shi then turns and looks directly at Loshes through the window and smiles a wicked smile. Loshes senses that this thing can see through his veil. Loshes quickly scampers back down. Just then, the upstairs window shatters and out levitates the Bao Shi. Loshes quickly beats a hasty retreat, with the sound of evil laughter ringing in the night.

Loshes reports to Clerice and Arwen about what has happened. The trio step up their efforts to locate the exact where-abouts of the Bao Shi’s lair.
Emily pays another visit to the gang with some vital information. She has used her influence and methods to determine the location of the Bao Shi. She also brings with her an exquisitely carved Chinese Dragon . . . made completely out of Jade. Clerice performs a ritual to transform this into a “dart” (stave). Loshes and Arwen assist. The outcome is a spectacular success. The dart is made and retains the semblance a dragon engraving upon it. Kwai change Caine, who is a Taoist Priest, performs a ritual blessing on it. of Armed with the info provided by Emily, the gang does a little pre-emptive recon to determine what it is they are up against. Loshes uses his burglary and investigation skills as well as invoking his “Studied with Edgar Allan Poe” aspect to determine any magical presence. The house is an abandoned two-story Victorian on the North end of town. The lower portion is all boarded up. The upper level’s windows are not boarded-up, but the shades are drawn. Loshes can make out that there is some sort of marking or glyph on the shades. The whole upper floor is lit up with dark magic . . .

With this news, the trio prepare a plan. They will go in just at the crack of dawn with the hopes that the sunshine will prove of use. However, Kwai Chang has had to leave, so they have no one with any expertise in the use of a sword. It is decided that Arwen will wield the sword, Clerice will use the Taoist Jade Dart and Loshes arms himself with the silver dust.

Loshes proposes that they all levitate up to the second floor to a window. (Spirit/Force evocation. Fair difficulty as none of them have tried this before.They all make it).
Loshes attempts to go in through the window but is knocked back by a powerful ward (A “weapon” level 7 repel ward, with a difficulty of Fantastic to detect). Loshes is flung to the ground below. He takes a minor consequence of “dazed and stunned”.

They decide to enter in through the rear of the house, as to not attract suspicion from any passers-by and due to the fact that any upstairs entrance from the outside is probably guarded and/or trapped.

Upon entering, Clerice trips a device that sends poison darts flying at all! Loshes and Arwen are able to avoid these, but one gets Clerice. She invokes her “Power of the Eldar” aspect and takes a minor consequence of “feels woosie”. Other than the dart trap on the lower floor, there is no other presence.

They all make it upstairs without any incident.. Clerice uses her Lore to sense which room the Bao Shi is in. They enter the room. The Zhiang Bao Shi is ready for them . . .

They engage in combat. Loshes uses his grappling hook and manages to snag the Bao Shi’s legs and trip him to the floor. The Bao Shi manages to break free before the others can act. Grabbing the rope, the Bao Shi commences to swing Loshes around and around and then sends him flying!. Loshes invokes his “Missed me you big oaf!” aspect and uses his athletics skill to land un-harmed. Clerice and Arwen advance, but the Bao Shi is amazingly super-swift. The Bao Shi produces a chain-whip with a wicked looking sharp point on the end. Clerice uses spirit/force evocation and manages to mess-up up the chain-whip (a link breaks, making it useless). Arwen attacks with the sword but misses. The Bao Shi uses Kung-Fu and forces Arwen to retreat. Loshes rebounds and flings the silver dust at the Bao Shi who fails to see this coming in time and gets a face full of bless’d silver dust! The Bao Shi screams in agony as it’s face smokes from the acid-like effects of the silver. Our trio re-groups and advances again upon the Bao Shi. The Bao Shi evokes an area Chi blast, that knocks the trio back and down. The Bao Shi takes advantage of this (aspect of “knocked down” tagged for a manuever) and jumps through a window. The trio get up and get to the window just in time to see the Bao Shi running towards town, a trail of smoke streaming from him as he is running out in the sunshine.

Loshes quickly goes out the window and shimmies down the side of the house to follow. He picks up the trail. It leads into a nearby graveyard. Inside the graveyard he looses the trail, but manages to find a bloodied piece of clothing that was snagged on the wrought-iron fence on the other side of the graveyard. It appears to be very similar to the cloth worn by the Bao Shi.

Loshes brings this back to Clerice and Arwen. Clerice is able to use “The Sight” in order to trace the Bao Shi. Somehow, the Bao Shi has made it to Sin T’sun Chien’s restaurant. The trio head out for the restaurant. Once there, they go in fully prepared for combat, now wise to the power and capabilities of their opponent. As the bao Shi comes out from behind a silk screen, Clerice evokes spirit/force to “throw” the jade dart. (Power cost of 4, 1 for her bonus in spirit/force lore. her discipline (control) is +5, plus she spends a Fate point to boost it by another +1. Her roll Good (2) for a total of 7. This generates spin.) Weakened by the effects of the silver powder, the wound from the grappling hook and the effects of the sunshine, the Bao Shi fails to dodge this most excellently placed blow. The Bao Shi shrieks in agony and disintegrates to dust and ash before the eyes of our trio.

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