Rule of Three

World Wide Wrestling - Session 1
Blood and Glitter

Indie promotion Over the Top Wrestling (OTW) is a theatrical wrestling promotion full of fantastic and weird elements like aliens, time travellers and monsters. OTW puts on shows every second Saturday night at the East Brunswick RSL – which would be a great venue if it wasn’t cursed – and has a low-budget TV show on Channel 31.

But change may be coming. One night at training, OTW owner Sadie Sledge confirms the rumours to her team – the Ten Network is interested in signing a deal with OTW for a national TV show. It would mean money and exposure for all of OTW’s talent – but the deal may not go through unless the promotion can prove they can bring in a significant audience. And for that to happen, the wrestlers need to step up and bring in more fans over the next six weeks.

The pressure is on.
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The announcers discuss the Network 10 rumour as the first match starts – El Gastro versus Doktor Kolossus, a time-travelling mad scientist and part of the Future Shock faction. El Gastro puts up a good fight, and gets into the head of his opponent, but Kolossus manages to pin him for the win. After the match, OTW Creative meet with El Gastro and ask him to prove his awesomeness by solving the mystery of the RSL and breaking the curse – and if he can’t do it, then he’ll be fired!

Before her Triple Threat match with Jean Loup-Garou and Break Neck Need, RSPCAce! cuts a promo about her difficult alliance with Jean and their failure to win the Tag Team Championship in the previous show. The promo doesn’t go down well with the audience, and Creative quickly change the booking of the match. During the match, Ace and Jean take out their frustrations on each other, allowing Break Neck to take the win, assisted by interference from his stablemate Glamazon.

After the match, Jean cools off in the locker room until he is approached by the Highwayman – the OTW Ultimate Champion, returning to the promotion after recovering from an injury. The Highwayman commiserates with Jean over his failure to win the Tag Team belt, and suggests trying again or going after Mr Crinkles – the evil clown who carries OTW’s Batmania Belt (for the weirdest wrestler) – as another option. The OTW Ultimate Championship Belt, though… maybe one day. Maybe.

Before his match with the Highwayman, Sucker Punch meets with OTW Creative, who tell him that Channel 10 is unconvinced that he’s prime-time material; unless he can make an impressive showing against the Highwayman, they’re more likely to give Break Neck Need a push. Bitter about this, Sucker Punch prepares to take on the Highwayman, but the match is disrupted by El Gastro, who claims that he’s taking Sucker Punch on as his new protegee, ‘Fidel Gastro’. Sucker Punch angrily rejects El Gastro’s ‘help’, and the angle leaves the audience confused; he goes on to fight the Highwayman, who overpowers him despite El Gastro’s interference.

As Debra trains in the gym, she’s approached by someone from her past – Irene, a former Muay Thai competition teammate. Irene is also joining OTW, as a rival to Debra named ‘Yass Queen’, and says she’s looking forward to beating Debra in the ring – again. Irritated by this, Debra interrupts a promo that Lady Insane is making before their main event match; the two argue and escalate their fight into a Casket match, firing up the audience!

In the main event, Debra and Lady Insane have an all-out, no-disqualifications brawl that can only end when one of them locks the other in the ringside ‘casket’ (actually one of the porta-potties El Gastro uses in his ring entrance). They work a hard match; Debra uses her martial arts skills to beat down Lady Insane, but the Martian always comes back for more. At the end of the match, Lady Insane pulls out one of her insane moves – but she’s so high on glitter that she forgets what’s happening! RSCPAce! runs in to interfere, brawling briefly with Debra to distract the audience, and once Lady Insane gets her head together, Debra buries her in the casket to take the win.

At the end of the show, feuds are heating up and future matches are in the offing – but there was nothing to really electrify the audience and bring up the numbers. Can the team kick it up a notch or five next time?

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Don't Rest Your Head - Session 2
Nothing Rhymes with Orange

As the Black Frequency spills into the Nicholas Building, Burgess and Cribbins run away up a long flight of stairs, pursued by one of the stall-holders, wielding a meat cleaver and screaming that this is all Cribbins’ fault. They emerge from the stairs into the ground-level parking lot of a supermarket; they block the door behind them.

On the train, Dylan meets the leader of the Button Men, Velvet – an animated tailor’s dummy with a metal deer skull for a head. She speaks cryptically about the Court of 3am Eternal, led by the Black Frequency and the Devil, who are wresting control away from Brother Singer; she says that Dylan must act as ‘the bridge’ and carry away regret. It’s all very confusing, and Dylan is relieved when the train stops and lets him off at Flagstaff Station – where he gets a phone call from his distressed father, asking him to come right away to the family home in Brighton.

Burgess speaks to his handler in the Carlton Mob; the lawyer he was sent to kill had other contacts, and now Burgess needs to eliminate someone in Brighton. Meanwhile, Cribbins checks his phone contacts and finds an entry for someone called ‘Young-mi’ who he doesn’t know – it’s the girl in the yellow ballgown he tried to rescue. He calls, but she isn’t happy to hear from him and tells him to leave her alone – he’s done enough to ruin things already. As Burgess and Cribbins compare notes, trying to work out what’s going on, they’re attacked and chased by the furious brothers of the girl Cribbins left behind in Queensland (along with their baby).
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Dylan drives past in a cab, headed to Brighton, and sees the two men being chased – and the bottle of orange liquid Cribbins took from Young-mi’s bag. He stops the cab and picks up Cribbins and Burgess, and they get away from the attack. When the cab driver starts playing the black frequency on the radio, they all pile out of the cab in a Richmond back street and again try to make sense of things. When the brothers catch up, Burgess holds them off at gunpoint, and Cribbins convinces one of them to drink the orange liquid. The substance overwhelms the man with sadness, then turns him into a long-limbed monster; the three insomniacs escape in the brothers’ car.

In the back seat, Cribbins finds a home-made music CD for ‘DJ Devil John’, who looks exactly like Burgess; the final track on the CD is the black frequency. Cribbins calls Young-mi again, and she tells him to meet her at an address in Brighton; it’s the same address as Dylan’s family home, and Burgess secretly realises his target is Dylan’s father. He asks to be let out near the house, and he watches as Dylan and Cribbins meet Dylan’s father in the back-yard bungalow. He confesses that his business is going under, and he’s been financing a speed manufacturing operation to regain the family fortune, but it’s all going wrong and he thinks the Carlton Mob is after him. There’s no sign of Young-mi, but Dylan’s father knows her – she was the chief speed cook of the operation.

Outside, Burgess photographs the house with his phone; the photos show details that aren’t present in the real world, such as a security camera watching Burgess and DJ Devil John emerging from a door and walking through the photos towards him. He turns off his phone and hears a car approaching and playing the black frequency – and Young-mi appears outside the bungalow and sets it on fire! Cribbins and Dylan escape the flames with Dylan’s father in tow, and Burgess runs into the yard with the rave gang on his heels; all three of them chase Young-Mi through a strange door in the family home.

They find themselves in a wax-lined tunnel, with Dylan’s father left behind. They follow Young-mi to a locked metal door; through a viewing panel, they see her slumped in what appears to be the inside of a crashed plane. She says that she’s too sad and too weary to go on, and apologises for hurting Dylan’s father; she just wanted to stop Cribbins before he made things worse. As Cribbins searches the valise for a key, Young-mi drifts off to sleep, and the silhouette of the long-limbed monster appears in the plane; when they finally get the door open, the girl is gone.

The three emerge from the plane onto the roof of the Nicholas Building. They see the skyline of a jumbled, over-stuffed Melbourne, with too many buildings from too many eras; walls and buildings are littered with misplaced windows and the partial fuselages of planes. They go down into the building, following a staircase into a massive room filled by a impossibly huge, old-fashioned industrial sewing machine, which stitches together dream-threads and spits out rolls upon rolls of velvet cloth. Dylan sees Young-mi’s face in the cloth as they realise she’s been fed into the machine; she tells them she’s sorry for what she and Cribbins did as the door shuts and the black frequency begins to play again…

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Don't Rest Your Head - Session 1
In the Beat of the Night

Dylan visits his dealer to buy some speed, only to find him dead, possibly poisoned by some kind of orange substance. He grabs what drugs he can before he’s accosted by a trio of muscular ravers, seemingly high on the orange liquid; he jumps down the stairwell and flees.

Burgess watches the Nicholas Building, waiting for his target; when he moves to intercept, he finds the lawyer shot dead in the elevator by a man in a 1930s suit with giant buttons for eyes. He climbs the stairs to investigate.

On Swanston Street, Danger Cribbins peers into the closed-down Golden Palace diner to see a woman in a ballgown retrieve a valise. He immediately feels a connection, and when she is chased by a sledgehammer-wielding raver, he goes through a strange door to give chase.

Dylan escapes the rave thugs, but receives texts from his dead dealer telling him to avoid the black frequency and not to trust his father. He gets an Uber back to his apartment; the driver has a crease down the centre of his face and plays strange ‘music’ by a band called The Black Frequency. When the rave thugs show up, Dylan escapes through a gate in his back fence that he’s never seen before.
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Passing through a gate on the steps, Burgess finds the Nicholas Building is packed with people, buying and selling antiquities from stalls that claim to be little museums. One stall sells music boxes, and he hears a snatch of the melody that’s keeping him awake, but the stall-holder wants memories or wax coins rather than cash. He decides to leave, but finds the stairs and elevator are gone, and the body of the lawyer lying in an alcove.

Danger runs down an impossibly long hallway lined with windows into impossible locations, armed with a fire extinguisher. Finally he finds the woman being menaced by the raver, and he caves the man’s head in with his weapon. Somehow the woman knows him – and somehow the raver revives, weird music spilling from his collapsing head. Danger kicks in a window and climbs through; the woman hands him the valise but is captured by the raver. She screams at him to escape, and he panics and runs away.

Dylan emerges in an underground train station that he doesn’t recognise, the speed in his pockets turning into orange liquid. He catches a train, but somehow the rave thugs pull up alongside in their car and board via grappling hooks! Dylan tries to escape to the next car, but it’s guarded by a button-eyed man. He manages to fend off an attacking raver by offering the orange substance; the button man shoots the raver, then allows Dylan to pass, calling him a ‘friend of Velvet’.

Danger jumps through a window into the museum trading in the Nicholas Building, running through the crowd until colliding with Burgess. Something follows after him – a strange sound that manifests visually as a kind of smoky static, and that possesses those it touches! As the crowd screams about the ‘black frequency’ and tries to flee, Burgess fights his way through to grab the music box – and hears a snippet of the mystery melody in the core of the frequency. Meanwhile, Danger feels something moving inside the valise, and opens it to see a bottle of orange liquid vibrating in time with the terrible sound…

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Freeport - Session 4
The Stars Ain't Right

The crew race for Ape Island, using every bit of Roger’s navigation skill and Erik’s maritime nouse, and manage to reach a hidden inlet before the Murder Circus’ ship. Following Jawbone Jack’s map, they navigate the island, watched all the while by every variety of ape and monkey found there.

Eventually they come to a lake at the foot of a mountain, with a building rising from its side – an ancient observatory carved from black stone. When they venture into the observatory, they trigger a trap, and Farn and Pete are separated from the rest of the crew. Before they can find a way to rejoin the others, Farn rips away his magical disguise to reveal that he’s actually Dr Mirablis- he paralyses Pete with magic and drags him off towards the building’s centre.

The real Farn wakes up, bound and gagged in the hold of the Circus’ ship – he escapes and runs through the jungle, guided by his ghoulish senses to rejoin the rest of the crew as they wander the observatory, fighting off cultists and the terrifying form of Orcus, now with Charlie Chuckles’ severed-yet-still-laughing head stitched crudely to his chest.

In the centre of the ancient ruin, a giant ghostly gorilla guards an altar underneath a basalt orrery. Mirablis places Pete on the altar, and the building rumbles – it’s built on a dormant volcano that’s returning to life! Everything has aligned, Mirablis tells Pete – he lured him here to this island as the stars were coming into their right arrangement, and once he sacrifices Pete, the cult’s dread master will rise from Hell!
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Before the sacrifice can be made, the rest of the crew burst in and a brawl breaks out, even as a lava-filled rift in the earth splits the chamber in half. With Mirablis distracted, Erik frees Pete from the altar and lies down in his place – the mystical star tattoos that Estrella marked him with disrupt the ritual, stopping the dark powers from rising! Before Mirablis can hatch some new plot, Pete tackles him down into the rift, giving his life to take revenge on his grandmother’s murderer. The observatory shakes, but the way out is barred by Orcus – and Jobu too makes the ultimate sacrifice, grappling the unkillable monster and dragging it down into the lava rift.

The remaining crew make it outside just as the observatory breaks apart and collapses into the lake. They return to the inlet to find both The Travelling Lady and the Circus’ ship – now their ship, along with whatever artifacts and treasures it holds. They sail away from Ape Island, giving Pete’s peg-leg and Jobu’s whaling spear a symbolic burial at sea, and head back to Freeport to seek new fortunes.

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Freeport - Session 3
Red Tide at Night

Recovering from their encounter with the ‘Murder Circus’, the crew dedicate themselves to their plan to recover Jawbone Jack’s treasure map from the sunken wreck of The Guiding Star. To do this, they need a diving bell, and Erik knows an old crewmate who now works for the seabed-exploring Society of Lobstermen. The crew visit the Society’s remarkably secure, remarkably well-appointed compound on the Docks, and Erik negotiates to hire a diving bell – with a brief distraction as Estrella breaks into a large wooden lobster-like submersible and almost goes on a mechanical rampage through the Lobstermen’s headquarters.

Almost.

With the bell installed, the crew take The Travelling Lady out right away, sailing through the night rather than risk further incidents. In their dreams, they recall the terrible battle with Jawbone Jack and his ghoul pirates, the battle in which Captain Rudder died and the Star sank. It’s a sad, traumatising series of memories – and a disturbing one, as Estrella suddenly remembers seeing Captain Rudder being stabbed in the back while fighting Jawbone Jack. Did one of the crew betray their captain?

By midday, the Lady reaches the site of the battle, in an area where schools of red algae leave the waters permanently red as blood. Jobu and Pete swim down in the diving bell to find the wreck, while the others keep watch on the ship. Roger sees a ship on the horizon, and sounds the alarm – but there are nearer dangers, as the ship is attacked by merfolk and a giant albino moray eel, the same creatures that have been sinking ships in Freeport! As the crew battle the attackers above, Jobu fights off a monstrous jellyfish in the wreck of the Star, and Pete discovers the map in the skeletal hand of Captain Rudder’s corpse – a corpse that grabs him as he attempts to take it!

In a frantic fight, Farn kills the merfolk leader and savagely tears into the moray with his ghoulish claws, and Roger witnesses the cabin boy’s inhuman power as he dispatches the other attackers. Jobu rips apart the jellyfish, and Rudder’s corpse releases Pete after whispering in his ear, ‘The monkey murdered me.’

The crew reunite on the ship, crack the case and examine the map – etched on cured human skin, it shows some kind of ruins deep within nearby Ape Island. As they prepare to weigh anchor, Roger checks the horizon to see that the other ship is also headed for Ape Island – and it flies the flag of the Murder Circus!

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Freeport - Session 2
A Night at the Circus

In the working-class shanties of Tent Town, the crew find a marquee – the big top of Dr Mirablis’ Carnival of Wonders. The tent flies a black flag sporting a pair of scales, something the superstitious Jobu takes as an evil omen; he heads back to the Docks as the rest of the crew enter the packed tent.

Inside they find the circus in full, creepy swing. Dr Mirablis – the same ringmaster Pete saw in his dream – introduces acts including knife thrower Sirena, wheezing clown Charlie Chuckles and Orcus, the strongest orc in the world. Pete and Farn enter the ring to be part of Orcus’ act while the others creep out behind the tent to investigate the Circus. Erik shows off his star tattoos to an overly-interested Sirena, Estrella recites her terrifying poetry, and Roger is abducted when he wanders off to look at a pygmy hippopotamus.
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As the show winds up, Dr Mirablis invites Pete back to his caravan for a drink, where he reveals that yes, he was behind the disappearance of Pete’s great-grandmother decades ago. The stars are coming right, he says, and Pete has a part to play. As they talk, Roger is locked in a box, Estrella fends off a packs of crawling mummified hands, Sirena attempts to strangle Erik and Farn is stalked by the stealthy, razor-wielding Charlie Chuckles.

Pete tries to leave but Orcus stands in his way; he sprays flaming rum on the strongman, who doesn’t react despite being on fire. Mirablis lets him go, but Pete’s dander is up and he attacks the ringmaster, only to be stopped by Orcus, who throws him right across to the other side of the circus enclosure, where Erik has knocked Sirena out, Roger has escaped the box and Estrella has destroyed the hands. As the Circus’ crew – revealed as more of the cultists they encountered last night – close in, the crew beat a retreat, stopping to collect Farn just as he savagely kills Charlie Chuckles and devours some of his flesh. They head back to the Docks, Dr Mirablis’ laughter ringing in their ears…

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Freeport - Session 1
Drama Down the Docks

Following the death of Captain Rudder, the crew of The Guiding Star have been locked up in the Tombs, Freeport’s prison, awaiting trial for piracy. Suddenly they are all released – a mysterious benefactor has paid their fines! The crew heads off to a dive bar on the Docks, hoping to get drunk on the little money they have left. As they pass through town, Peg-Leg Pete spots a poster for a circus – Dr Mirablis’ Carnival of Wonders – and it stirs hazy memories long since buried.

At the Rusty Anchor, the crew try to come up with a new plan to get rich. Farn and Erik recall that Rudder was killed by Jawbone Jack after he’d stolen the ghoul pirate’s treasure map – and that the map, sealed in a waterproof case, might still be salvageable from the wreck of The Guiding Star. To reach it they’ll need a diving bell or similar- and a ship to get them to the wreck. They’re approached by Harcourt Horkel, a drunkard with a ship that’s seen better days but still floats; he strikes a deal with them to use his ship, The Travelling Lady, in exchange for a share of the treasure.
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After Pete goes outside to relieve himself, a cloaked man comes looking for him; the pirates fob him off, while Farn also goes out to the alley. The two pirates hear strange music coming from the Docks and decide to investigate. Estrella comes looking for them, notes that the stars in the sky are in a peculiar alignment – ‘The Devils’ Scales’ – and is then entranced by the music. When she wanders away, the rest of the crew follow her, and everyone winds up on the Docks when a small gang, led by the cloaked man, come searching for Pete. A fight breaks out, and the pirates manage to defeat the gang, who turn out to be cultists of some kind – and during the fight, the strange music peaks as a creature of some kind rears from the water and smashes into a nearby ship, damaging it!

With the fight over and the creature gone, the pirates scatter before they can be arrested again. They go with Horker to The Travelling Lady, which turns out to be a travelling carnival ship – albeit one that’s seen far better days. They turn in for the night, and Pete is plagued by dreams of a dark, twisted carnival, where he is captured and tormented by its sinister ringmaster, who tells him that ‘the stars are aligned, and your time has come’.

The next day, nursing bruises and hangovers, the crew put some effort into repairing the Lady, and hear that a number of ships have been rammed and damaged over the past weeks. Once the sun goes down, Pete persuades them to investigate the mysterious Carnival of Wonders, and they set off to Tent Town to check it out…

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Urban Shadows - Session 4
A Family Affair

In the blood-drenched parking lot of St Vincent’s Hospital, the police scream at Maximilian to freeze! Before he can react, Ashcroft commandeers Solomon’s van and careens out onto Victoria Parade. Drawing magical power from Albion’s blood, Maximilian turns into a wolf and tries to escape, but the police cut him off; he’s forced to squeeze into the same storm drain that the rats fled down moments earlier.

Fodhla wakes in pain from her healing sleep to find Marlowe in her hospital room, defending her from the conductor-spectre; he explains what has happened as she pulls the drip from her arm. They hear gunshots and see the van skid across tram tracks -and glimpse the Conductor in reflections and flashes of lightning. Leaving the hospital, Marlowe calls Ashcroft, who tells him to look after the portal at Flagstaff Gardens – it’s connected to the Tellurian Circuit.

At his sanctum in Flinders Street Station, Ashcroft opens the briefcase Albion was taking from Solomon’s van – and discovers it’s full of copies of his plans for the Arcadia Apartments, with rough geomantic power sigils sketched in! Only Solomon could have obtained those plans! He also finds a post-it with a mobile phone number; Ashcroft calls and Iannos answers. The winter fae reveals that Solomon was going to help him open a gate to the fae realms through the Arcadia Apartments. When Ashcroft tries to pump him for more information, Iannos walks into the sanctum backed up by one of his skate-cultists, offering Ashcroft a deal – cooperation or death.

At Flagstaff Gardens, Ashcroft and Fodhla examine the flagpole at the centre of the hidden portal to the netherworld, which can be glimpsed and accessed through a utility shed. Unsure of what he should do, Marlowe calls Ashcroft, which causes Iannos to lose his temper with the architect – and Fodhla calls her cousin Dylan, calling in a debt to insist he find and bring her the Goblet of the Moon that Albion possessed. The Conductor cuts the call short, draining the life from Fodhla – Marlowe must open the portal a crack to free the spectre as he promised. Meanwhile, a furious Iannos insists that Ashcroft take him to Flagstaff Gardens so he can collect what belongs to him before they open the gate to Arcadia.
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Maximilian squeezes his way through storm drains that become old train access tunnels, finally reaching Erehwon Station, the abandoned stop in the mystic centre of the City Loop, where rats swarm in a dry fountain, a silver goblet in their midst. Before he can take the goblet, Dylan shows up and tries to take it himself, calling in an old debt Maximilian owes to the Queen of the Moon Court. Maximilian agrees to help the fae- but the rats swarm from the station, taking the Goblet with them! The vampire and fae chase after them; Maximilian manages to get the Goblet and throws it to Dylan while he feeds on the rats. Dylan runs through the tunnels to Flagstaff Gardens, pursued by the rats and the energised Maximilian.

Marlowe opens the nether portal long enough for the Conductor to manifest in the real world as a horrific monster, accompanied by a foaming morass of ectoplasm. It stops Marlowe and Fodhla from closing the portal, and Ashcroft and Iannos arrive as more ghosts are oozing through. The three battle the Conductor with magic, fae spells and bullets, destroying it just as Dylan and Maximilian arrive with the Goblet, which Iannos tries to claim. Maximilian interferes and Fodhla, sensing emotional vulnerability in her father, strikes him down with enchanted moonlight. She claims the Goblet and reveals her secret- with it, she can claim the throne of the Moon Queen from her mother! Iannos seeks her forgiveness, telling her he only wanted to bring him back to her, and the fae travel through the Flagstaff portal back to their home plane.

In the aftermath, Flagstaff Gardens is filthy with ectoplasm and melting ice, and the police are on their way. Maximilian, furious at being dragged into a fae family squabble, recruits Iannos’ forgotten cultist as a servant, while Marlowe and Ashcroft return to the safety of Flinders Street and plans that must be re-examined.

The rains clear. Cold September shifts into warm October. And Melbourne is back to normal again.

For a while.

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Urban Shadows - Session 3
Closed Circuit

Marlowe guards the unconscious Fodhla in St Vincent’s Hospital as she recovers from being hit by a tram. He’s joined by Maximilian, who has persuaded fellow vampire Lilian to cease backing Iannos in his play for the Arcadia Apartments. The two men don’t get along well, but Marlowe agrees to help Maximilian stop Iannos. Maximilian leaves to purchase Mandragora, as Marlowe has used up his supply warding Fodhla’s hospital room.

At the Flinders Street Ballroom, Ashcroft works on the wards that will bar Iannos from the Arcadia Apartments, while his hunter ally Solomon investigates ghost sightings around the tram network. Maximilian and Marlowe arrive, and with their help the mystic architect creates the wards. Before they can take the wards to the site, Iannos and two of his armed followers arrive, but Maximilian intimidates them and they leave. When Ashcroft tries to phone Solomon (who has a van), they learn he’s under attack by rats – at St Vincent’s Hospital!
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The three race to the hospital, and Marlowe can see ghostly forces gathering in the tram lines as they pass. They arrive and search the hospital to find Solomon fending off a swarm of foot-long rats in the basement. Maximilian scatters the vermin, and he and Ashcroft take Solomon to the emergency room while Marlowe checks on Fodhla.

Marlowe finds Fodhla vulnerable, her mandragora wards removed by cleaners, and the fae is menaced by a giant spectre dressed in a tattered tram conductor’s uniform – the same one that drove the tram into her. He tries to fend it off with magic, but it can’t be harmed – instead, he bargains with it, agreeing to free it from the Tellurian Circuit in the tramlines in exchange for Fodhla’s life.

With Solomon being attended by a doctor, Ashcroft and Maximilian go to the parking lot to get his van – and find Albion emerging from it, carrying a briefcase and a silver goblet. The wizard tries to tell them that he’s a friend of Solomon’s – when they don’t fall for it, he attacks them with his magics! Ashcroft snags the briefcase while a wounded Maximilian loses control and tears open Albion’s throat. As Ashcroft hides in the van, rats swarm from a storm drain to carry off the goblet – and a police car pulls into the lot, headlights picking out Maximilian feeding from Albion’s corpse…

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Urban Shadows - Session 2
The Underground Sound

The next morning, Ashcroft works on wards that will protect the Arcadia Apartments from Iannos and the winter fae. He contacts Solomon, a young paranormal investigator/hunter and his occasional apprentice, and tasks him with investigating Iannos’ activities. After further work, Ashcroft realises that the wards will require cold iron (which he has) treated with mandragora (which he doesn’t have), and that they’ll need to be charged by a wizard, so he sets out to find Marlowe.

Still reeling from the murder of his friend Allan, Marlowe agrees to find Fodhla’s cousin Dylan and get him out of whatever trouble he’s in. Through a fae contact he learns that Dylan is going to the old Mint in William Street; he gets there as the fae heads into Flagstaff Station, carrying a metal box, followed by Albion, a upperclass local wizard. Ashcroft catches up with Marlowe, and the two of them head into the station in pursuit.

Just before this, Fodhla met Albion at a tea house in Carlton to ask whether he had the Goblet of the Moon, a fae artifact that she has been searching for. His emotions and better judgement swayed by fae magic, Albion admits he has the Goblet; he tells her he’ll exchange it for access to the nether realms, then leaves for a meeting. Before she can follow him she’s interrupted by her father – Iannos, who wants her to join the Winter Court and help him with his plans. She refuses, and he leaves in a rage after letting slip that he is up to something.
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Marlowe and Ashcroft see Dylan and Albion get onto an out-of-date train that no-one else is boarding, and they sneak on board before it leaves. The train stops at an unknown underground station, with all exits barred and overgrown with weeds. Dylan argues with Albion about payment for the contents of the box – the secret map of the Tellurian Circuit within the tram network. Ashcroft interrupts (Marlowe lurks invisibly) and argues with Albion, but to little end; the wizard and fae leave the secret station, and the others have to run to catch the train so they are not stranded.

Fodhla follows Iannos to the State Library; a woman in a wheelchair comes out and hands him a thick set of papers and folders. Fodhla conjures up a wind to tear the papers from him, and manages to catch several of them – but in the process stumbles in front of a tram. She briefly sees the image of a twisted skeletal figure driving the tram, before she is knocked down and badly injured.

Leaving Flagstaff, Ashcroft goes to the Arcadia Apartments to discover that work has ceased due to bogus OH&S concerns. Marlowe heads to the State Library when he sees an ambulance cutting through traffic, and arrives in time to see Fodhla being taken to hospital. He follows her there, hoping to aid or protect her, and is watching over when the sun goes down and Maximilian emerges from hiding to get answers…

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