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Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!



Chapter 1: Far Away

11/16/17, 4:57 AM


Danny, Joe and Jason meet before dawn in the wide and empty lot of a Home Depot just north of Denver, the dry cold biting at their cheeks and fingers. This is the first time they've actually met in person. Danny insisted on a run for emergency supplies for winter driving, and so they stock on bottled water, trail mix, peanut butter, and cheap blankets, stashing them in their cars for the drive up.

Danny and Joe have two dots of resources between them. They may each choose to purchase one of the following supplies: Heavy-duty portable flashlight, tire chains, extreme cold blanket + tent, portable car battery jumper, car floodlight, or satellite GPS.

They are out of the city by the time the glow of the sun starts to rise. They turn off the interstate north of Denver and pass the foothills into the mountains, following printed maps, going slow and steady due to the pre-dawn freeze. Snow clings to the trees and coats the ground lightly.



The group makes good time until they reach deeper into the mountains, and the leg of the journey where they have to turn off the highways. The roads become steeper, more winding, and the snow on the paths is uncleared. Joe and Jason, more seasoned drivers, lead the way and help Danny to avoid getting trapped in the snow.

The group tracks north through the mountains, through sheer canyons and over frozen streams. As they advance, the view becomes greener - less sheer rock, more evergreen trees. Off the road, small herds of mule deer forage and snort clouds into the cold air while mountain goats cling to sheer rock. Cell signals dwindle into nothing. After what feels like hours since they last saw signage to Estes or the Rocky Mountain National Park, the group scales one last steep and twisting road, the tires crunching over the packed snow, through a brief patch of fog around a high turn. From around a ridge, they see the valley.



8:57 AM

It appears the maps understated the size of the valley around River Mill, and severely. A blanket of fog, from what Joe surmises must be a thawing river, obscures patches of the valley, which is so dense with trees it appears nearly untouched. At the far end, the forest is pruned away, and the group can see buildings nestled against the base of a peak from which the river flows down. Once at the base of the ridge they came around the roads are plowed roughly but effectively. You drive down the first paved road you've seen in what feels like an eternity, and soon you pass a hanging sign carved into pine wood - "River Mill CO, pop. 598".



9:26 AM

The town, nestled along a misty river, is noticeably different than the last few mountain hamlets you've passed. The buildings seem large and steady, stone and thick wood unlike the traditional modest log cabins of other mountain communities. The main street is surprisingly kept up and clean, nothing deteriorating or breaking down. People in heavy clothing turn toward you as you drive down the well-appointed streets. Finally you see it - the Golden Hare Motel and Gift Shop. The building is two stories of sunny yellow stucco on heavy, mortared stone foundation. The hand-painted sign (complete with a yellow cartoon bunny, with a big toothy grin) indicates that there are vacancies.

As you pull into the lot, you see a small red-brown sedan parked near the office, and a tan, 90's-model ford bronco with a Jackson County Police decal on the sides. When you park, a man steps out of the motel's office, rubbing his arms in the cold.

*******

Welcome to The Trial! OOC / Recruitment thread is here, and feel free to hit me up on Discord if needed.

Posting Conventions as follows:


code:
[b]Character name[/b]

Things your character is thinking or deducing

[b]Things your character does or says to interact with everyone else.[/b]

[i]Relevant rolls or skills or things you want to try. Questions you may have for the ST[/i]
(I find it helpful to fill out the template, including bbcode, and keep it in a notepad for easy copy/paste, but you do you)

Basic Chunnel fucked around with this message at Feb 5, 2018 around 02:39

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PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

Oof, that’s a drive. Pretty sure the road out to my cabin has better graveling, though I guess I tend to take it a bit slower when it gets bad. At least the guys are ok enough. Jason is well enough all things considered, and this Joe cares even if he’s a bit Chatty Cathy. Really glad they agreed to stock up before we left, its even colder this high up. Been meaning to pick up that portable jumper thingy anyways, the cold really sucks the juice from your battery. I grunt as I hop out of my truck, my knees thanking me for the long drive and the chill. I nod to the fellow out in the cold, and wince a little in sympathy as the truck’s heat is whisked away by the outside air.

Oof, mornin’ has got a bit of a bite to it up here.

This is said to my general surroundings. If the man wants to strike up a conversation that’s fine, but I’ve been up in the mountains most of my life and know a soft touch is best.

I pick up the portable battery jumper

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Joe Schizmer

What a drive! I couldn't get any sleep riding shotgun in Danny's truck. It was just so fascinating to meet these people in person and share my theories. So much new data with this town and the rabbit pendant. Could this be some kind of child-sacrifice cult at work? Was that the missing piece? They would need to be careful.

What's the purpose of this small town? Was it economically viable to even have a motel and gift shop without the accompanying travel infrastructure? Sure, there could be seasonal hikers and cross country skiers or something, but why would they stay at this place when the road was so poorly maintained? And then the town itself seems to have an incredibly strong tax base and income for a small logging community.

Joe cranes his neck around once they get into town, trying to take in as much data as possible. He tries to makes sense of this remote place economically and historically as part of the whole system. When they arrive he gets out of the truck after Danny and peers suspiciously at the hotel and the proprietor.

I want to try to get a general impression of how this town might "work" (or suspiciously not work). Seems weirdly nice compared to the other towns around it.

How does this town fit? (Int + Investigation + spc.): 7d10o9h8 1
Count was 1 short: 1d10o9h7 1
2 hits

Also I'll buy the GPS. Exact locations matter if he's ever going to figure out how everything fits together.

Double also I'll burn Omens: Is Toby alive?
Omens (Wits + Occult +Spc. + Willpower): 8d10h8 1

Mr. Prokosch fucked around with this message at Feb 6, 2018 around 01:10

John Dyne
Jul 3, 2005

Well, fuck. Seriously?




Jason Vandermeer

Jason had waited in the car while the other two did their shopping; there was a lot going on right now, and he needed the time to think away from the chatterbug watch repairman and Grizzly Adams. Deep down he knew it wasn't right to be mean to them because of things like that, but the jokes kept his spirits up, and it wasn't like he was going to call them that to their faces or anything. They had been the most helpful two on the forum outside of Toby, and to think they'd drive all the way out there for his niece was something he was having trouble comprehending.

The drive up was serene, and something Jason didn't know he had needed. The slow crunch of ice and snow under the tires of his Buick and just the gentle glint of the rising sun from the surrounding vistas did a lot for his spirit, to a point he almost regretted not letting Jay ride with him. Glancing in his rearview mirror and seeing the absolute exhaustion in his eyes, he stresses the 'almost' mentally.

Pulling up to the little motel, Jason digs his phone out to check the signal, grimacing at the horrible connection. He tucks the phone back into his jacket and kills the car, watching Jay and Danny emerge from the pick up. The psychologist chuckles to himself, pulling on a pair of gloves and flexing his fingers in them before climbing out. He glances over to the cop car out of curiosity, before smiling broadly at the man coming out.

"Good morning!"


Just greeting the guy politely. Linked to my sheet with my character name.

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!





The man from the motel is thin and weatherbeaten. He rubs his eyes to better see the group.

"Yeah, mornin'." he nods at Danny. "Air's not quite as dry as out city way. You lookin' for lodging? Come to the right place. why don't you folks come on in to the office. I'll put on some coffee."

He moves to the door and props it open, ushering the group in. The floors are smooth mortared stone, but the walls are wood paneling. A lamp flickers over the CRT monitor on the desk behind a counter. There are some flimsy green plastic chairs for people waiting, and a small gift shop nestled deeper in, with shelves of brickabrack and a glowing coke machine. The man puts the coffee on and extends his hand to the group. "Joel Stekel. Welcome to River Mill. What brings you out to our neck?"

**
CHARACTER ACTIONS

Mr. Prokosch posted:

Joe Schizmer
I want to try to get a general impression of how this town might "work" (or suspiciously not work). Seems weirdly nice compared to the other towns around it.

How does this town fit? (Int + Investigation + spc.): 7d10o9h8 1
Count was 1 short: 1d10o9h7 1
2 hits
From the looks of the forest in the valley, your assumption about the role of logging in the the village's economy seems shaky. There did appear to be some clearings that could have been pasture land, though. As you came into the town you noticed few cars parked on the main road, and from your window you think you put together a picture of a very centralized town, one optimized for foot (perhaps bike) travel more like Fort Collins or Boulder than any mountain town you've ever been to. Your best guess is that a large, nondescript 3-story white and tan building along the river is in the center of things, given road and footpath layout. Steam spills from stacks atop it. You guess that power to the village might be hydroelectric.

Mr. Prokosch posted:

Double also I'll burn Omens: Is Toby alive?
Omens (Wits + Occult +Spc. + Willpower): 8d10h8 1

As Joel talks, your attention seems pulled toward the window facing outward to the parking lot. Water condenses on it from the heat of the office, and as you watch a single rivulet of water begins trickling down from the top of the window. As it gets to your eye level, the rivulet stops creeping for a moment, then splits into two thinner drops inching away from one another. One stops and the other trickles down to the bottom of the window. Toby Shaw is alive. And yet, no matter how many times you open yourself to this uncanny well of certainty, it always leaves you feeling like you've just a dodged a bullet, somehow, some way. Take the Shakened condition.

****

PG go ahead and add the jumper to yr sheet, M Pro add the GPS.

Basic Chunnel fucked around with this message at Feb 6, 2018 around 07:52

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

I nod back to the man. “A cup of joe would be grand, thanks.” I follow him into the motel, looking around the place

Playing the tourist is a good excuse to give somewhere the once-over. Looks like an old sleep-n-go, but God knows looks can be deceiving. S’not like the town outside looks like a place a cop would have disappeared at.

I turn back to Joel when he introduces himself and shake his hand. “S’Danny. Nice to meet ya Joel. Me’n the boys were looking to take in a bit of the up-country before really winter set in, Though…” I look back out through the front window, then give him a rueful smile. “Looks like we might’ve cut it a little fine.”

Taking a look around Preception: 5d10o9h8 0

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Joe Schizmer

I'm barely listening to what they're saying - stupid - I need to listen, I need to pay attention to everything. Everything matters. Toby is alive, I know it. But I can't explain how I know it, too many variables, too many workings of the subconscious. We can't waste time, if he's a prisoner who knows how long before he's sacrificed or mutilated or sold into sex slavery. I take comfort in the hard pressure of the high caliber pistol under my coat. I have no idea how to use the thing, but the man at the gun store recommended it along with the shoulder strap. Just point and click. A child could do it. No time. No time to waste. We need to investigate now. But I can't show it to this man, he's a suspect.

Joe approaches the man, sweating and staring at him nervously. "Yeah, we need one room with two beds and a cot. And where does this town keep its records? Is there a local police station? I'm a, uh, hobbyist small town historian.

Auto-failing my attempt to get information from this man without seeming suspicious. Joe is Shaken so his composure is visibly gone for no good reason.

Also as per discord I have a high caliber pistol because we knew this place was potentially dangerous going in. Not that I know how to use it.

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!



PoultryGeist posted:

Taking a look around Preception: 5d10o9h8 0
Nothing catches your eye or your other senses, save for how good the coffee is.

***



"Yep, sky's fickle this part of the range," Joel says to Danny. "Man on the radio says it could get even worse, block the passes."

Joel pours coffee, which is far better than you expected, into Styrofoam cups.

"The up country's really something, trust me, but with that forecast... might be a good idea to turn back, go home." A light smile breaks out on the man's face.

Then Joe speaks, and Joel seems caught off by Joe's blunt and urgent manner. He stammers for a second, then turns toward the interior of the shop.

A man walks around from one of the islands - tall with a lean frame, dressed somewhat lightly for the cold in a jacket and scarf, boots clacking on the stone floor. A brass star is stuck to the breast of his jacket. As he steps toward the group, Joel clears his throat.

"Ah, hey sheriff, forgot you were there for a second."



The man smiles and holds up a hand at Joel. "Quite alright, Joel." He turns to the group. "Mornin' folks. Welcome to River Mill. Now you don't look like troublemakers to me but all the same, you ought to know that I'm the sheriff round here. Charles Young, pleased to make your acquaintance."

He takes a deep breath and cracks a big smile, turning to Joel again. "Even the weather bein' what it is, it sure does sound like our new friends intend to stay. That Toby guy still checked into his room, yeah?" Joel nods. "Well why don't you go ahead and give 'em the one over, eh Joel?" Joel nods again. Young chuckles and smiles at the group. "Funny thing, we got a guy blows into town, takes up a full 2-queen room here at the Hare all by himself. Some men got holes in their pockets, just goes to show you. Lucky for you all we still got lodging for a group even so. Joel can show you around."

With that, sheriff Young makes for the exit. He stops briefly at the door, and half-turns. "You know I gotta say, you all look familiar. Been around this way before?"

Basic Chunnel fucked around with this message at Feb 9, 2018 around 07:36

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Joe Schizmer

Strange, very strange. Toby has been out of contact for some time but he just has a room here? Does this town have no internet? Phone lines? Still, I can feel some of the tension in my soldiers fade away. It seems unlikely that Toby has been abducted by a cannibal cult if he's still checked in. Or if he was, and these guys were in on it, they would have cleared out the room instead of mentioning him, right?

What's this about seeing me before? I don't like it. I'm a very distinctive person, not the sort to be confused with every tourist. Could this be a time-loop semi-open groundhog scenario? No, no, stay grounded. That's crazy talk, I'm not crazy unless I let myself be crazy. Maybe he's just hitting on me?

"I don't believe I've ever been here before, officer. What did my doppleganger do? Did he have a watch like mine? How long ago would this be, and how long did he stay? Did you speak to him?"

As he considers the (insane) possibility of time distortion Joe logs the exact coordinates of the inn with his GPS, along with a timestamp. He checks the timestamp with his antique mechanical watch. But as that craziness passes he makes eye contact with the Sheriff, trying to read what was really behind his comment.


Reading Intentions (Composure + Empathy): 5d10o10h8 3

John Dyne
Jul 3, 2005

Well, fuck. Seriously?



Jason Vandermeer

Internally, Jason winces at how absolutely awkward Joe is making things. Externally, he keeps his cool, chuckling as he steps forward and shaking his head. "I think he means me, Joe. I'm Jason Vandermeer; I'm the uncle of the little girl that went missing a few years back. Our family's faces were all over the place." He extends his hand warmly towards the sherrif. "A pleasure to meet you, Sheriff Young. You'll have to forgive Joe, the roads were a bit vicious on the way up here and he's not used to riding with someone so accustomed to them, so the adrenaline is affecting his already unique sense of humor."

"But good lord, a room with two queen sized bed? That's a family suite. How much does that usually set someone back?" He shakes his head again, smiling wryly. "Oh! And separate rooms would be preferable, if you have the space." He gives Joe and Danny a shrug. "No offense, gentlemen."

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

Damned fine coffee. Might have to see what kind the man gets, gonna be drinking alot of coffee over the winter. Drinking coffee is an excellent way to keep your mouth busy so it can’t get you in trouble. But I probably should say something at least.

”Yeah I don’t mind bunking up, but a little bit of breathing room would be nice.” I nod to the Sheriff, touching the brim of an imaginary hat. “S’good to meetcha Sheriff. I mainly guide weekend hikes down Apache Peak way, I’ve not made it up this far north before. But I’m looking forward to seeing something new.”

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!





The sheriff purses his lips at Joe. Then he gives a beatific smile. "Just a feeling, didn't mean to imply anything. That is a beautiful watch, though." He turns toward Jason. "Ah yeah, I remember the flyers." Beneath his cheek, he licks his lower teeth, staring off for a moment. "Funny, I think that Toby guy came here asking about that girl. Isn't that right, Joel?" Joel nods, looking down. The sheriff continues in a contemplative tone. "Yes. Said she might have wandered into this area, something like that. Wished I could have had good news for him, but that idea, it's just..." He shakes his head and breathes in, "It's simply not possible."




Joel speaks up at the mention of the rooms. "Two queens is eighty a night. Good deal, nothing fancy, just your basics... but you'll sleep good. And you get all the coffee you like. Single rooms are fifty five. 'Course I gave our last guest a discount. We appreciate a public servant around here. I can show you around whenever you're ready to check in."




Sheriff Young addresses Danny. "We are a long way from Apache. But it's always good to meet a man who knows how to handle himself on a trail. We don't have too many, officially anyway. But hunters have their own paths cut through the forest around here. When it's not lamb for dinner, folks here prefer their own game."

The sheriff pulls the left arm of his coat and consults his watch. "Speaking of which, I'd best get going. Got a late breakfast waiting for me at the roadhouse. I prefer to preside over business there,
'stead of the station. Come on over if you need anything or just get hungry. The shepherd's pie is something else."
He taps his forehead with gloved fingers. "Gentlemen."

With that, he exits the building.

Mr. Prokosch posted:

Joe Schizmer
As he considers the (insane) possibility of time distortion Joe logs the exact coordinates of the inn with his GPS, along with a timestamp. He checks the timestamp with his antique mechanical watch. But as that craziness passes he makes eye contact with the Sheriff, trying to read what was really behind his comment.

Reading Intentions (Composure + Empathy): 5d10o10h8 3
The GPS takes a few seconds to ping the satellite, and flashes a few different numbers in quick succession before settling on 40.529351, -105.890202. The time is just under six minutes off your watch setting.
The sheriff is amusing himself.

Basic Chunnel fucked around with this message at Feb 9, 2018 around 23:41

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

I turn back to Joel when the Sheriff leaves. “Friendly fellow, your Sheriff. And drat fine coffee friend, do you go for the fancy stuff?” I gesture with my arm, indicating my companions. “Joe and I will take one of your doubles, Jason will have a room to himself.” I smile at the group, trying to defuse a little of the tension. “Of course that means he gets to keep most of the gear with him, fair’s fair.”

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!





Joel laughs quietly to himself. "A double and a single, no problem. But no, I get my coffee from a guy I know at the slaughterhouse. Not sure where he gets it from, but the stuff keeps me going. gently caress Folgers, am I right?" He catches himself swearing, looking mortified. "Uh, excuse my french." He puts down his coffee and consults a cabinet behind the desk, pulling out three keys. "Here we are. Let me show you up."



Joel walks the group out onto the property - the sheriff and his truck gone - and leads them up the creaky wooden stairs to the third floor and stops before a green door, painted thick. He distributes a set of keys to each in the group. "Joe and Danny, your double queen is here. Jason, you're down one floor and one over. I'd give you the other double, but our other guest hasn't checked out. You know how it is. I'm headed down to the office, let me know if you guys need anything." He walks away.
Character Action:
(Danny succeeds on a reflexive perception check, noticing that through the half-drawn blinds, the double queen room next to his and Joe's has its lights on.)



Danny and Joe enter their room. It's modestly furnished - two decent queen-sized beds, a wicker chair, some framed art on the walls. There's a bathroom with a standing shower. There's also another door at the back of the room whose purpose is not obvious.

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Joe Schizmer

I calm down a bit once I realize the Sheriff is just loving with me. They might not be in on it, or maybe they are but we're already trapped! I'm surprised that Toby is still checked in and he has so much space? What's the reasoning there? He's alive, but is he safe? Could he just be staying in the hotel, still following a lead?

When I see the room I dump off some stuff, but I've got no interest in sleeping yet.

"Good that we're in one room, I was hoping we'd all stay together. This place could be dangerous and if we're isolated and sleeping we're vulnerable. I might just be being paranoid... If Toby's still checked in here we should talk to him ASAP. If he's not at his room I think we should just break in. Do you know how to pick locks?"

I'll give the room a once-over and try to figure out what that door does, then head out to find Toby's room upstairs.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

I give the room a critical eye. I’ve stayed in much worse, but I’m never fond of staying in unknown places. But nothing immediately jumps out at me as being particularly suspicious. Of course, Toby probably thought the same thing so…

I jerk my thumb towards the back door. “Should connect to the next-door room. I saw the light was on when we walked past. But before we do much more than unpack” I rock my head around slightly, indicating our room. “we should make sure there aren’t any surprises waiting for us here.”

I’m not a wiz with the gizmos nowadays, but I’ve watched shows and I’ve had to repair my radio enough that I’ve got an idea of what to look for if there are cameras or other security things tucked away. I poke around in the closet and take a look behind the lights and paintings and such. Better safe than sorry.

Investigating the motel room: 3d10o10h8 0

John Dyne
Jul 3, 2005

Well, fuck. Seriously?



Jason Vandermeer

Jason nods appreciatively to the clerk and takes his key, giving the guy a handshake. "Thanks again. Once we get settled in, I might need to pick your brain on the good places to eat around here." He gives Joel a grin and tucks the key to his room into his pocket, following Joe and Danny into their shared room. For a moment, he watches the two of them poke around the room with mild bemusement, leaning in the doorway as they peer behind paintings and the like.

"I'm going to go and knock on Toby's door and see what we stir up; this place seems pretty backwater so maybe he just ran out of data or the weather and location is messing with his ability to keep a stable connection. Hopefully we're lucky." With that, Jason chuckles and straightens, heading over to Toby's door and knocking on it.

taking the path of least resistance

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Joe Schizmer

Is Danny looking for bugs? Of course! There could be any number of secret devices, chemicals, or boobytraps in this room! Any number of nefarious uses for a hidden camera in a hotel, from security to black market films. Even if it's clean for devices, there could be clues in how the room was used in the past! Housekeepers don't clean everything. Watch repair is often an investigative enterprise of recreating the crafter's intention from broken remnants. Find the remnants.

Joe takes out his portable tool kit. It's not the full set he has at home, but it should do. He starts by using his smartphone to check for electromagnetic fields and camera glint. Then he gets out his blacklight and reactive sprays and starts combing through the carpet and furniture. He scrutinizes any detail with his Loupe glasses, his intense, obsessive focus driving him to pick everything apart like it's a crime scene. Who knows, it might be one.

Looking around the room: 7d10o9h8 5

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!



Character Actions
Danny checks all the obvious places, but finds nothing of note.


John Dyne posted:

Jason Vandermeer
"I'm going to go and knock on Toby's door and see what we stir up; this place seems pretty backwater so maybe he just ran out of data or the weather and location is messing with his ability to keep a stable connection. Hopefully we're lucky." With that, Jason chuckles and straightens, heading over to Toby's door and knocking on it.

taking the path of least resistance
No one answers, and there are no sounds or signs of movement that you can perceive from within the room.

Mr. Prokosch posted:

Joe Schizmer

Joe takes out his portable tool kit. It's not the full set he has at home, but it should do. He starts by using his smartphone to check for electromagnetic fields and camera glint. Then he gets out his blacklight and reactive sprays and starts combing through the carpet and furniture. He scrutinizes any detail with his Loupe glasses, his intense, obsessive focus driving him to pick everything apart like it's a crime scene. Who knows, it might be one.

Looking around the room: 7d10o9h8 5
Joe finds something!

******

Joe immediately gets to work, sweeping the room with feverished intensity. First he notes something strange - on close examination, the headboards of both feature fine, nearly imperceptible etchings in the wood, what he immediately recognizes as Lichtenberg figures, radiating out from the bottom-center of the headboards. But instead of the normally diffuse / fractal patterns, these are split from the base into two large branches, which then radiate as normal. Nothing else seems strange about them - or at least they're not giving off any readings that Joe can detect.

Joe notes this and continues with the sweep, finding nothing until he shines his smartphone light along the flush surface of the wall. Behind one of the beds is a small vent, roughly 12x6 inches, which Joe surmises spans the gap between their room and Toby's. When Joe passes the light along the vent, he notices there's something pushed up against the slats.

Using his fine tools, Joe unfastens the vent and pulls out its hidden contents. It's a thick book, almost too thick to fit in its hiding spot, bound in weathered but surprisingly supple black leather. Tied to it with a rubber band is a slim and cheap spiral notebook, vertically oriented, like the kind meter maids used to carry back before they got handhelds.

As Joe pulls the book up and out, something appears to slip out of it - soundlessly, a small white-gold pendant falls soundlessly to the ground, so immaculate and reflective that it almost can't be seen.

The only words anywhere on the book's cover are emblazoned on the front in white serif font so pristine and bright that when the group's eyes fall on it, it almost seems glowing. "Whispers In The Night Of Teeth", it reads.

Below those words is a symbol, carved delicately in the leather, not white like the title, but golden.

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Joe Schizmer

A book! A real creepy book filled with pages of writing! I'd been working from tablescraps before, this was the motherlode! The fractal patterning no doubt had some kind of occult significance but it was nonsense without a key, and the book might be that key. Then there's the pendant, was it related to the pendants Toby was investigating? The Golden Rabbit? Could it be a way to ritually mark the next victim? Too many possibilities, I need more data.

"Found something!" Joe shouts to the others and shows them the pendant first, then the book, and then gestures at the fractal pattern. He can't keep his eyes off the book though. He begins immediately, obsessively, reading it. He'd probably be more help picking that lock and getting to Toby, but he can't let the book go.

Being obsessive about this book, Joe is useless until he finishes reading it in its entirety. Then he will very likely pick it apart, look for symbolism and patterns like it's the bible.

Occult Reading Roll (Intelligence + Occult): 5d10h8 3

Mr. Prokosch fucked around with this message at Feb 16, 2018 around 23:15

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

I’ve just about given the room a clean bill of heath when Joe’s shout startles me. I’m about to scold him when I see what he’s pulled out of the wall. ”Oh, good find my boy.” I make a lowering motion with one hand, and speak a little quieter. “But we may want to not alert the whole building.” I’m smiling enthusiastically, which hopefully takes any sting out of the words.

Joe seems engrossed in the fancier of the books, but the little notebook looks like something a detective might carry to take case notes in. At least on the police shows. I grab a few tissues off the nightstand and use them to maneuver and flip through the notebook. Hopefully Toby was meticulous about writing things down…

Let me know if there’s a roll involved for this

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!



Character Actions

Mr. Prokosch posted:

Joe Schizmer

Being obsessive about this book, Joe is useless until he finishes reading it in its entirety. Then he will very likely pick it apart, look for symbolism and patterns like it's the bible.

Occult Reading Roll (Intelligence + Occult): 5d10h8 3

You try to open the book, but as you do so it seems to... resist you. It is as though most of the book's pages are glued together, despite no outward evidence to indicate that they have been, and you doubt you'd be able to pry those portions open if you tried with all your might. However there is a brief section toward the back of the book that opens as a book normally would. It's maybe 15 pages, but the pages of delicate and thin paper are absolutely packed with text, symbols and lines that curve and twist in ways that buck your concentration in an indescribable way.

You have to go slow, rereading carefully, to keep your place and the train of thought that's forming from what you can read. Reading "Whispers In the Night of Teeth" will require 8 successes on an extended action. You have three more rolls remaining, and each roll is half an hour of study.

You do glean one thing nearly immediately, however - you're canny enough regarding the occult to recognize the golden symbol on the front of the book. It's an old figure sometimes seen in alchemical texts from the 12th century onward. It's meant to represent transmutative extraction or splitting, depending on context.


PoultryGeist posted:

Danny Cooper

Joe seems engrossed in the fancier of the books, but the little notebook looks like something a detective might carry to take case notes in. At least on the police shows. I grab a few tissues off the nightstand and use them to maneuver and flip through the notebook. Hopefully Toby was meticulous about writing things down…

Let me know if there’s a roll involved for this
No rolls needed.

Danny examines the steno pad, which seems mundane. It appears to be Toby Shaw's case notes and musings. The first half dozen pages regard robbery cases Danny has no context for, and pointless spitballing on the Vandermeer case, nothing you haven't seen before.

Past that, however, the handwriting (spare and simple with lots of shorthand, no cursive) becomes denser and the sentences longer, as one of Toby's musings takes root. It concerns a minor detail, heretofore chalked up to faulty witness memories and assumed lack of salience: Teacher and student interviews were inconsistent with regard to the number of books Dakota had on the date of her disappearance. One reported her having three textbooks for the three classes on that friday, but two others reported her carrying four books.

Through some sleuthing, Toby found a clerical error - the date reported by the witness claiming to see three books was not the date of her disappearance but the preceding Monday. For unclear reasons, Toby leapt on this, and somehow gained access to the long-defunct private school's library records. On the day before her disappearance, Dakota had checked out two books from her elementary school library, a Nancy Drew paperback and a book that was unnamed but identified by decimal and classification ("history"). The latter text was checked back into the system by school staff about a week afterward - follow-up indicated that it was likely a book found abandoned on school grounds and returned, along with other books left by students rushing to get home for summer.

The steno pad identifies "Whispers In the Night of Teeth" as the book in question. It notes that the text was donated to the school anonymously after its opening, and had apparently been in circulation at the school for some years. Dakota was the only student to have checked it out in that time. The notes seem pointedly vague in how Toby acquired the tome, especially since the library had been liquidated and sold upon the school's closure.

After this point, the notes become increasingly erratic, introducing dream logs and free associative "spiritual reflections", including a recurring dream in which he witnesses Dakota chasing a glowing yellow rabbit through a forest clearing, and the glowing golden necklace she wore. Danny surmises that there may not have actually been any mention of a necklace in the Vandermeer case files, as Toby had claimed to the group - the notes are lyrical and oblique at this point, with repeated references to an "Epiphanic Demiurge of Profound Knowledge" that he had "manifested" through the creation of an object, a necklace. He seemed to believe this, whatever it is, would lead him to Dakota. Danny also surmises that Toby had not taken leave to come here. He had been suspended from the force.

Basic Chunnel fucked around with this message at Feb 18, 2018 around 08:58

John Dyne
Jul 3, 2005

Well, fuck. Seriously?



Jason Vandermeer

Jason waits outside the room for a hair longer than would be rational before giving up, heaving a massive sigh as he does and running a hand through his hair. Of course, it'd have been too easy for Toby to just be in his room. When were things ever easy?

He steps back to the room Joe and Danny plan to share and is about to knock on the doorframe to get their attention when he notices they'd found something. Raising his eyebrows, he steps into the room and shuts the door behind him. "Whoa, did you guys actually find something?"

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

My heart falls as I skim through Toby’s notes. Like, I *know* there’s something weird about this case. But this isn’t the notebook of someone stumbling across a conspiracy or a weird freak too good at covering their tracks. These notes are from a man completely losing it, and we very well may have been brought here by nothing more than his delusions. poo poo.

I look up as Jason speaks, my dismay clear on my face. “Yep, Joe found some stuff in the vent between the two rooms.” I pause, not wanting to the bearer of bad new. But gently caress it, the man deserved to know. I hand Jason the little notebook. “I- it looks like Toby might not have been upfront with us, and definitely not clear headed.”

But some of the crap had been oddly specific, and maybe they would help understand where Toby was coming from or his state of mind. And maybe it could at least lead it to him, he’s technically missing as well.

Rolling Occult to recognize the Proper Nouns Toby used (+Willpower) Rolling Occult to recognize the Proper Nouns Toby used (+Willpower): 6d10o10h8 2

John Dyne
Jul 3, 2005

Well, fuck. Seriously?



Jason Vandermeer

Jason blinks, taking the notepad and skimming it for a moment as he listens to Danny speak. What he reads is troubling, indeed, and Jason's face sinks slightly for it all. He flips the page, his eyes tracing over the handwriting as he takes his time taking in what the man has written.

The psychologist sighs, rubbing his chin before sitting down hard on the bed. "Yeah, this.. this doesn't look too good." He glances back at Joe, who seems to be engrossed in a book of his own; Jason considers speaking directly to Joe but sees the determination and focus in the man's eyes.

"Maybe.. maybe I can glean something from this. Maybe, I dunno. Get an idea for his frame of mind and what the dreams might mean." He closes the steno pad and starts back at the beginning, taking to Toby's musings with a more clinical mind. He'd done dream interpretations before. He'd listened to men like Toby rant and rave and he had helped put them on a path before by helping identify what they meant and where they needed to go.

It was possible he could do the same for Toby here and now, and maybe figure out where he went with it all.


Trying to interpret Toby's dreams and maybe figure out where he went based on his ravings.

Int+Academics (Psychology Specialty): 6d10o9h8 3

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Joe Schizmer

I grunt noncommittally at whatever it was they're saying, not really paying attention to anything but the book. A symbol for extraction? Splitting? Taking something out of someone, is that what happened to the girl? Did kidnap her to, what, try some insane ritual to steal her youth and live forever? Not enough pieces, not enough clues, but with these new clues I can almost feel the shape of something. The book is sticky, ew, and opening it without the proper tools could damage the old paper, but it could be the key I'm looking for.

Continue to read: 5d10h8 3

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!



Character Actions:

PoultryGeist posted:

Danny Cooper

Rolling Occult to recognize the Proper Nouns Toby used (+Willpower) Rolling Occult to recognize the Proper Nouns Toby used (+Willpower): 6d10o10h8 2
Looking through in context, you don't recognize the language as part of any formal school of thought, but you get some grasp of what Toby meant. He seems to draw vaguely from Plato, the notion that any given thing in the world we know is an imperfect reflection of something that exists in perfect form on some other plane of existence. The "Epiphanic Demiurge of Profound Knowledge" seems to be a process by which the revelation of secret, divine knowledge (Gnostic or alchemical, by the sound of it) allows someone to pull the perfect object out of its plane, through or from its imperfect representation in the real world. Some form of summoning magic, using the mundane version of the thing you're summoning as a locus.

Toby seems to have gotten all this from the book. Moreover he claims that the necklace is something that he drew from the perfect plane, though how he did this is unclear.


John Dyne posted:

Jason Vandermeer
"Maybe.. maybe I can glean something from this. Maybe, I dunno. Get an idea for his frame of mind and what the dreams might mean." He closes the steno pad and starts back at the beginning, taking to Toby's musings with a more clinical mind. He'd done dream interpretations before. He'd listened to men like Toby rant and rave and he had helped put them on a path before by helping identify what they meant and where they needed to go.

It was possible he could do the same for Toby here and now, and maybe figure out where he went with it all.

Trying to interpret Toby's dreams and maybe figure out where he went based on his ravings.

Int+Academics (Psychology Specialty): 6d10o9h8 3
You've definitely seen similar mishmashes of obscure and esoteric terminology manifested in schizophrenic patients, but that conclusion doesn't sit right with you. You would expect this sort of word salad to manifest late in the course of a progressive illness, but the progression that's evident in the weeks of prior notes and diaries, such as it is, is extremely accelerated. The sort of sudden break you're seeing typically occurs in late teens / early 20s patients and Toby was in his early forties. It's possible that this is the recurrence of an existing illness, but if so he'd have successfully hidden it for a long time, and he makes no mention of such in personal notes.

Mr. Prokosch posted:

Joe Schizmer

I grunt noncommittally at whatever it was they're saying, not really paying attention to anything but the book. A symbol for extraction? Splitting? Taking something out of someone, is that what happened to the girl? Did kidnap her to, what, try some insane ritual to steal her youth and live forever? Not enough pieces, not enough clues, but with these new clues I can almost feel the shape of something. The book is sticky, ew, and opening it without the proper tools could damage the old paper, but it could be the key I'm looking for.

Continue to read: 5d10h8 3
By the time you will have read for an hour, you will feel as though you are taming the wild flow of text and images from the pages of the book, and on the cusp of a breakthrough. 2 rolls remaining.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

Huh. That’s some pretty heavy stuff for a police detective, even if he’s dealing with a fancy book. Its certainly alot for me to digest, especially since my stomach’s reminding me breakfast was a while ago. ”poo poo, Gnosticism and B-n-E is too heavy to deal with on an empty stomach. How about you two? Break to grab some grub first, maybe get the lay of the land?” I catch Jason’s attention, but Joe seems lost in thought. I give him a nudge or two. Ah, I’ve seen folks like that in the library, get lost in their books.

I sigh and regard Jason. “Maybe bring’im back a doggy bag?”

John Dyne
Jul 3, 2005

Well, fuck. Seriously?



Jason Vandermeer

"Well.." Jason flips the stenopad closed, shaking his head. "If you wanted my professional opinion on this, I'd say Toby is a schizophrenic who got off his meds. But I'd also have to tell you the progression was far too incredibly fast; there was absolutely no sign of it before and then.. boom." He looks at the pad in his hand for a moment before looking past Danny towards Joe; after a moment, he tucks the stenopad into an interior coat pocket before giving Danny a wry grin. "Joe can work on his book a little longer. Plus it'd help to have someone here in case Toby did come back to his room. Lunch sounds great. and we'll take my car. Grab your coat; some food on our stomachs might help us think about what's going on here. We've still got a lot of daylight to poke around before we need to actually crash for the night, and I figure we can check the local Walmart or whatever they have and ask about Toby."

"Plus, I can pick up a book or two while we're there so I don't lose my mind tonight with basic cable in the middle of nowhere."
Jason chuckles, pulling his keys from his pocket. "What're you in the mood for?"

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

“A burger would hit the spot I’d think, or at least something hefty. It was an early morning and I ain’t had anything solid since last night.” I grab my coat and nod to Jason to leave. “Oh, and if you don’t find any reading material that you like, I got a couple of spotting guides and a Potter book in the truck. Swung by the library last night.”

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!



Chapter 2: Discovery



11/16/17, 12:11 PM


Danny and Jason leave their peculiar companion at the motel and begin their drive into the village center, in search of food and means of inquiry. River Mill is no less spotless as they make the short drive to main street. There are very few businesses of note on the way - gravel roads branch off from the highway into wooded residential sidestreets - and there's only a modest two-pump gas station between the motel and the center of town.

From the start of main street, the group can see clear through to the ascending slopes of the peak that River Mill is nestled against. If the group hoped to have a choice of lunch, they're disappointed. There are a small handful of businesses, most operating two-to-a-building. A two-story building seeming to serve as the town hall / post office / police station. There's an old-style diner with a sign boasting of its famous cinnamon rolls, even a Readymade sandwich shop. But the restaurants all appear closed.

The only establishments that appear open are a large general store (more like a small market) and the Roadhouse that the sheriff mentioned, both of which the group's driven past. He'd mentioned that they made good lamb. Some older model trucks and jeeps brace against the sides of the road (plus a clutch in the Roadhouse parking lot) and a few people stroll down the shoveled lanes, turning to the car as it drives. Snow has begun to fall from a bright grey sky streaked with pale blue.

Jason notices that while the snowfall is light and not too sticky at the moment, the cloud cover and wind indicates that it will worsen.

The restaurants have listed hours alongside their "temporarily closed" signs, but Danny can't shake the feeling that most if not all of them have not actually been open for awhile.

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Joe

Finally some peace to really dig in to this book. Could it be referring to an ideational theory of physics that our own mathmatics can only approximate because mathmatical language is inherently inadequate?

Joe reads his book

Reading: 6d10o10h8 1

Spending my xp for +1 occult as the book expands his mind, maaan

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

Huh, weird. Even seasonal places woulda been open until recently, its not like Colorado tourists are afraid of snow. Of course, its not like the economy’s been booming either. Its still weird, ‘specially with all the townsfolk watching us. I sigh and mutter something under my breath. Then I point out the Sheriff’s truck in the Roadhouse parking lot to Jason. “Looks like the Sheriff is still at it. We’d probably make a better impression without Joe, but if you want to avoid a second round the general store would have sandwich fixins and pop.”

Gonna bank my XP for the time being

John Dyne
Jul 3, 2005

Well, fuck. Seriously?



Jason Vandermeer

"Nah. He seems like a good enough guy. We can poke around in the general store later, I rather have something hot in my stomach right now." Jason carefully maneuvers through the streets to head back to the Roadhouse, and pulls in wherever he can find a non-handicapped spot. Turning the car off, he stretches his back in the seat with a grunt and gives Danny a sideways glance.

"Little odd how everything around here is shut down. It might be a sore point for the town or it might just be off-season, but we might want to be tactful if we decide to press on it. Weather looks like it's gonna turn bad, though, so I think we're gonna be back at the hotel before too long. I don't want to have to walk or drive through a blizzard."

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!



Character Actions

Mr. Prokosch posted:

Joe

Finally some peace to really dig in to this book. Could it be referring to an ideational theory of physics that our own mathmatics can only approximate because mathmatical language is inherently inadequate?

Joe reads his book

Reading: 6d10o10h8 1
After 1.5 hours, the Book, the voice of it, is bending toward you, the ends of the lines straining their way toward one another as though seeking to be whole in your gaze. Then you are on the cusp.

Before you realize it, you've broken through. You've learned some things, and maybe at one point you fought them but that memory slips from your mind like a dream. Reduce your Integrity by 1.

Most evident are two sets of coordinates - 40.514398, -105.856943 and 40.502040, -105.889955. The second of the two seems to change slightly as you read. You realize it's moving closer to the coordinate you measured earlier, the coordinate of the motel.

Do you go left or right?


Meanwhile...



Jason and Danny park outside the roadhouse, braced against the river winding through town. When viewed in relation to the rest of River Mill, the joint is positively bustling. The interior is all wood, some of it in traditional planks and boarding, but most of the resting surfaces appear to be whole sections of wood, lacquered and polished to a sheen - beyond the bar, at which some portly and weathered residents sit and drink, the three tables are long slabs of enormous, vertically-cut tree, arranged as common spaces in nordic style. An old and craggy man stays busy behind the bar. A swinging door behind him presumably leads back to the kitchen. The air is filled with the somewhat muted sounds of a rollicking bar blues number played through speakers.



A few people are eating their lunch, but Sheriff Young has one of the tables all to himself, sitting at the far end. A laptop and a stack of folders lie on one side of him, a steaming bowl of stew and a cup of coffee on the other. He regards Jason and Danny as they approach but doesn't rise. "Well hello friends!" He smiles wide, then pitches his head over toward the bar, "Hey Gil! Get us two bowls of that pie, put 'em on my tab." He turns back to the two visitors. "Mutton here's best in the land. Some say New Zealand's got top billing the world over but you ask anyone around here and they'll tell you we can't be beat. Raised in the valley, processed centrally just across the river. Cheap and plentiful, compared to anywhere else you care to go."

The sheriff takes a sip of his coffee, savoring it for a moment. "Can I get you boys anything to drink? Coffee? Beer? Selection here is good." He's not lying, the rack behind the bar is pretty impressive. "I imagine y'all must be thirsty." He cocks his head to the side. "Trailblazing, as I recall? How's that going for you?"

Behind him, through the two-story picture windows in the back of the place, a stark and blocky concrete building can be seen across the river. The sheriff's figure cuts from the grey of it in stark contrast.

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Ah, so that's what happened to Dakota Vandermeer, and what happened to Toby. That's how the world was ruined. Dakota had a purpose, and this thing from outside the system, outside even the duality, this thing carelessly broke a piece.Yet it seeks to judge me. Once again, seeing the part but not the system. What is the point in praising or damning the orchard based on a single apple?

I think of the Clock and hold its image in my mind. Yes, it would be perfect. But the true value of clocks is in their diversity, in the thousands of paths they take to reach the same result, the beauty of history, improvement, the unique artistry of each watchmaker. That place is not better than this one. There is only loss in bridging the gap.

"gently caress your path." Joe takes out his lighter and puts the book to flame, tossing it in the little hotel trash can along with whatever else will burn to speed it along. He addresses the hungry, watching, darkness, "I will be your last victim, monster, so you better get it right this time."

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Danny Cooper

I nod to the Sheriff and the presumed Gil. “That’s mighty kind of you Sheriff, mighty kind.” I eye the stock, then give up when I only recognize a handful. ”A beer would be grand, one of your stouts would expand my horizons a bit.” I take a seat at the longtable, close enough to not have to shout but far enough we not in each other’s business.

”Well, maybe not ‘blazing’. But yeah, seeing the sights and getting some of these high country trails in. Was a long drive so we figured we’d grab a bite before heading out for the day.”

(FYI, if the beer here is in fact good, that will be another fulfilled Aspiration)

John Dyne
Jul 3, 2005

Well, fuck. Seriously?



Jason Vandermeer

Jason takes the seat offered him across from the sheriff and sits, giving a contented sigh as he relaxes a bit. "Well, sheriff, hearing you talk this place up, we had to give it a shot. Thank you kindly for the stew, if we're here long enough, remind me to buy you lunch as a real thanks/" Jason grins, resting his elbows on the table and leaning forward a bit. "And it seems like you're enjoying your cup there, so I'll definitely have the coffee. Might warm these bones and wake me up a bit."

"So, that the lamb stew here? Looks mighty good to me." Jason makes small talk for a moment with the sheriff as he glances around, taking in the decor of the Roadhouse and listening to the music a bit. "This your usual haunt for lunchtime work?" He nods towards the laptop and folder, chuckling. "As peaceful as this town seems, I have to imagine most of that must be county work."

Basic Chunnel
Sep 21, 2010

Jesus! Jesus Christ! Say his name! Jesus! Jesus! Come down now!



Mr. Prokosch posted:

"gently caress your path." Joe takes out his lighter and puts the book to flame, tossing it in the little hotel trash can along with whatever else will burn to speed it along. He addresses the hungry, watching, darkness, "I will be your last victim, monster, so you better get it right this time."



Joe's action is spirited, moving with the weight of purpose, as he sets the book alight and throws it in the mesh trash can with paper napkins and an old copy of TV Guide. But the excitement falters soon after - the book has caught flame, but... it's not burning. The flames rise up from some invisible membrane, like a wax coating Joe can't see, and neither the leather (is it leather?) of the binding nor the paper (is it paper?) are at all perturbed by this provocation. Joe has the distinct feeling of being mocked.

And then not only does the book continue to burn without burning, the paper around it seems to spark, the flames going from orange to hot blue and surging ever so slightly, licking just beyond the confines of the wastebasket. Then Joe feels not mocked, but threatened.

Do you go left or right?

John Dyne posted:

Jason Vandermeer

Jason takes the seat offered him across from the sheriff and sits, giving a contented sigh as he relaxes a bit. "Well, sheriff, hearing you talk this place up, we had to give it a shot. Thank you kindly for the stew, if we're here long enough, remind me to buy you lunch as a real thanks/" Jason grins, resting his elbows on the table and leaning forward a bit. "And it seems like you're enjoying your cup there, so I'll definitely have the coffee. Might warm these bones and wake me up a bit."

"So, that the lamb stew here? Looks mighty good to me." Jason makes small talk for a moment with the sheriff as he glances around, taking in the decor of the Roadhouse and listening to the music a bit. "This your usual haunt for lunchtime work?" He nods towards the laptop and folder, chuckling. "As peaceful as this town seems, I have to imagine most of that must be county work."
The sheriff laughs, low and slow and strange. "That's neighborly of you, my young friend, but there's no need to talk of price. Whatever you want, that's for you, not me. From River Mill to her guests. I call it hospitality." He grins wide (a different grin, Jason surmises, than the others - there is sincerity and something else).

"As for the work, you are correct. I find I mostly corral folks, not just in town, out in the unincorporated places. Lot of trespassing, lost hikers, towing arrangements, had a sheep rustler once but we think he might have been looking for somethin' else, you know." He winks, and leans back in his chair. "Everybody's looking for something, always tickles me when folks think they can find it here."

The craggy man disappears into the kitchen for a moment and emerges with two small cast iron pans, gripped with thick cloth pot holders, laying them on the bar for Danny and Jason. They are piled modestly high with carefully sculpted, smooth and browned mashed potatoes. Silver forks stick from the pies, the holes they pry in the surface of the pie bringing the clean, sweet scent of lamb and roasted winter vegetables. It's shepherd's pie and it looks good.

PoultryGeist posted:

Danny Cooper

I nod to the Sheriff and the presumed Gil. “That’s mighty kind of you Sheriff, mighty kind.” I eye the stock, then give up when I only recognize a handful. ”A beer would be grand, one of your stouts would expand my horizons a bit.” I take a seat at the longtable, close enough to not have to shout but far enough we not in each other’s business.

”Well, maybe not ‘blazing’. But yeah, seeing the sights and getting some of these high country trails in. Was a long drive so we figured we’d grab a bite before heading out for the day.”

(FYI, if the beer here is in fact good, that will be another fulfilled Aspiration)
The man known as Gil pops the cap off a brown bottle then slides it dramatically down the bar, where it comes to rest against a pristine glass next to the shepherd's pie. "We pour our own here, help yourself." the sheriff says.

Sheriff Young seems to size Danny up. "Well I like a man who can handle himself on a trail. Do believe I've said that previous." He takes a sip from his own mug. "Did you find what you were looking for?" He gestures broadly, mug in hand, "In River Mill, I mean."

Aspiration fulfilled, the stout might be the best you've ever tasted, deep and bitter but not overly so. And there's something to the way the taste unfolds that you've never experienced before - it seems to get *colder* for a moment on your tongue before going down smooth, like a quickly melting ice cube.

Just as the sheriff finishes speaking there is a moment, just a moment, where he seems startled, and his coffee sploshes onto his hand and his pantleg. He swears, putting the coffee down and wiping up with napkins.

Basic Chunnel fucked around with this message at Mar 22, 2018 around 05:44

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Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Joe

I stare at the flames as rage, fear, humiliation, and self loathing war within me. I'm a loving ape and I don't understand this thing. But I understand what it is. It's evil, all of it, and all of it should burn, even if it loving refuses to catch from normal fire. What about unormal fire? Was the book to deeply connected to the town itself?

I look at the thing approaching on the GPS. The other guys took the car, and fleeing on foot in a snowstorm? Popsicle Joe. It wants to Judge me. So, fight, flee, hide, or submit? No right answer. I just want to do whatever will hurt this thing the most.

Omens (with willpower): 8d10o10h8 2

Can I use the book to destroy the book?
Can I hurt the entity by putting the town to flame?

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