|Casualties and losses|
In which Whichblade finds and confronts a shade, and is in turn found by the Goddess.
The Redmond Barrens have been having a rough go of it for the past, oh, 60 years or so, but recently things have gotten measurably worse. Specifically speaking, a powerful Nightmare has set itself up in Sophocles and is terrorizing the neighborhood to feed on people's terror (see: Hail to the Pumpking for more information). The bad mojo has been spreading out into surrounding neighborhoods, and the palpable aura of despair and hopelessness has attracted other shadow spirits to feed on the negative emotions that it has created, including a particularly strong Shade which has found itself drawn to the area and forced one resident to seek shelter in a nearby haven.
Witchblade is finishing giving a lecture at Mana on basic astral security to a group of bored/incompetent students when she is visited by Argus, the headmaster of "Barrens Hogwarts" - after giving Witchblade her regular payment for her Day Job, he mentions that some of the spirits that hang around the place have been getting nervous about some fluctuations in the local mana levels, and that there have been some strange sounds coming from the basement storage area. She says that she'll check it out, but decides to return to her lodge at home in order to project safely and find out just what's going on.
Hopping in her car, Witchblade allows the autopilot to take her home - en-route she passes through the area of bad vibes, so she projects out of her body to look around for anything suspicious. Opening her third eye and through the miasma on the astral, she is able to discern that the source of the disruption is most likely a shadow spirit, having heard rumors of the goings-on in nearby Sophocles. A bit frightened (due to a phobia of shadow spirits), she resolves to find the source of the problem and deal with it, but wants to get home as quickly as possible so that her body is not in danger while she does so. Unfortunately, she is spotted out by Pump King Jack himself, who mistakes her for a mundane on shade thanks to her masking and uses his fear power on her - this causes her to see a vision of her mother at home dying of a drug overdose. Witchblade freaks out for a moment and nearly abandons her body to rush back home, but realizes that she can simply return to her body instead and check on the DocWagon subscription she got for her mother instead. Thankfully her vital signs are all normal, however the anxiety remains and she quickly hoofs it the rest of the way back to find her mom safe and sound.
After ensuring that her mother is okay and ordering some food for supper, Witchblade tells her that she has something to take care of and projects back to Redmond from the safety of her lodge (after some words of concern/encouragement from her mom, who is ready to provide medical attention if necessary). Managing to steady her nerves, she makes her composure roll to face her fear and return to the scene of the previous encounter, finding Jack's astral signature and tracing it through the steadily-rising background count southeast towards the boarder of Bargain Basement and Sophocles. The background count start to rise high enough for her weapon focus to begin to lose its effectiveness, and she is already anxious, so she has little desire to proceed alone - however nearby she spots out the distinct aura of gloom accompanying a feasting Shade, and decides that she cannot let this stand. Calling out to the spirit, she challenges it to face her openly, and it responds by compelling her to focus on her feelings of despair and hopelessness; Witchblade is distraught but calls upon her inner reserves of strength to resist, instead charging directly at the shadow spirit to slice at it with her sword. Injured, the spirit responds by engaging her in astral combat, nearly consuming the explorer before her second wind overtakes her and she disrupts it.
Having managed to take down one spirit and sustaining serious injuries, Witchblade does not press her luck further. Instead she returns to Mana to check out the disturbance there, making her way through an intricate maze of wards and barriers only to find that some hapless student left the astral backdoor open. Not only has a bird gotten inside, but a dog has as well - one which quickly turns into a young girl. Witchblade identifies it as a canine shifter and calms her down, finding out that she took refuge here to get away from the Shade. After taking her to Argus to get settled, Witchblade returns to find the bird leading her outside, where it communes with her to reveal its identity as an aspect of the Goddess before merging with a nearby crow and following her home. The strange day ends with Witchblade and her mother eating Krill King and watching Odd Coven.
- One Crow (to be bonded with as a familiar - must purchase the Animal Familiar quality separately)
- 2 karma
- 6 CDP
- Can purchase Mentor Spirit at Chargen price
- Downgrade Phobia (Shadow Spirits) from Moderate to Mild