Fireborn: FATE

Fireborn: Session 10
Bad Trip

Unable to avoid breathing in the Black Stuff, Ronnie found himself hallucinating and then back in the world that was flying with his brood mates, when suddenly he found himself under attack from another black dragon. It swept out of the sky, and looked dirty, and oily and not entirely natural, but even so managed to take the initial advantage rolling Ronnie in the sky. Ronnie remembered that this dragon had been corrupted and fallen to the enemy, and then another memory flowed into his brain, telling him that they must continue the mission to prevent the same fate falling to others of dragon kind.

Meanwhile, back in London, Ronnie turned to defend himself from the dragon attack, blindly fighting with the person next to him, and that happened to be Darius.

Back in the world that was the brood defeated the fallen dragon, but a price had been paid; the gold dragon, Freyna, had suffered a bite that had corrupted his blood stream. Ronnie knew he needed to get him to a place of safety to allow him to recover from his wound. In London, Ronnie grabbed T-Bone, and dragged him out shouting that he needed to get to safety before he fell to corruption. Sweating profusely Ronnie dashed out of the house, with a protesting T-Bone over his shoulder aiming to get to a nearby safe-house.

Darius called for Aiden to help over the Dragon-net, which she did very reluctantly, as it interrupted a romantic evening with her boyfriend was being interrupted.

Ronnie was attempting to create a circle on the floor of the safe-house to help create the right energy to promote Freyna, he began to build the circle into something more tangible using whatever was loose in the room. His hallucinations grew and reached a crescendo with the death of a flaming dragon, which was replaced by another dragon, screaming in agony. T-Bone attempted to escape from the circle but found himself wrestled back into the circle by Ronnie, who could hear an underlying thumping heartbeat, but then passed out just as Aiden arrived.

Even though Ronnie was unconscious, the group found themselves sharing a memory of Ronnie’s. They were advancing across a North African Desert towards a cluster of tents, which was known as a terrorist training camp. Ronnie was leading the team in when his mission specialist triggered a tripwire, and the silence of the night was shattered by an explosion. Immediately figures began to burst out of the tents and open fire, the team returned fire as Ronnie ordered a withdrawal. The rookie of the team ran forward to cover as Ronnie tried to grab him shouting at him to fall back, Ronnie tried to grab him but failed and looked up in time to see him cut to pieces by enemy fire. He swore to himself, and shouted the order to retreat before throwing explosives on the dead soldier to destroy the body. Ronnie ordered the others to retreat holding back to offer covering fire, but out of the corner of his eye saw a shape move, he snapped his rifle round loosed a couple rounds at the shape, recognising the enemy soldier toting an RPG. His rounds struck home – just too late – as the RPG launched, obliterating his last team-mates and blowing Ronnie off his feet. As Ronnie collected himself he looked up, finding himself surrounded by enemies, before being clubbed unconscious with rifle buts.

In London, there was a stunned silence as everyone in the room realised that the dream they had just shared was memory from Ronnie’s past. Then Ronnie groaned, and started to sit up, shocked by the memory, and was surprised to see auras of sparkling light around the people in the room. Darius approached, but as he crossed the circle Ronnie saw Darius change to a decaying zombie type creature while Aiden attempted to talk him down. Unfortunately this meant Ronnie just resorted to his base instincts and fought back throwing Darius and T-Bone clear as Aiden ran clear. Ronnie advanced on her, then stumbled, slipping into unconsciousness once more.

The others, careful not to touch any of the black powder tied him securely and thoroughly cleaned any trace of the black powder from his body and clothes.

They sat back with a sigh, and then felt an underlying thumping heartbeat again, and found themselves in another shared memory; a seven year old Ronnie was at the graves of his parents, watching them being buried. The speed of the heartbeat increased then suddenly stopped as the hole leapt up to swallow him. From within he could hear a low, drawn out voice… “Heellllp meeeee…!”

Ronnie snapped awake again, the walls of the flat seemed to alternate between black sludge and glittering sparkles. He was able to see a path to the door, but the others were alert, so Ronnie feigned calmness and relaxation, but the others were far too on edge having experienced the last hour or so. Ronnie swayed, and slipped into unconsciousness again, more gently this time. The memory that they all shared this time was a genuine shared memory, as they all recalled the recovery of Freyna from the infected bite. They realised that as long as they worked as a brood family, and maintained the safe places they would be fine.

The walls of the chamber darkened, and bled through into another memory, but not one of the past, into a dark chamber, with a blind and weakened dragon, whose voice begged “Kill me… Please!”

They all snapped back to reality, hearing the thumping heartbeat, and Ronnie fell back into a genuine sleep, completely relaxed for the first time in a long time.

As dawn broke, the others woke up startled to find Ronnie had freed himself and was getting dressed. He seemed surprisingly relaxed, which couldn’t be said of the others who were watching him nervously. Darius retrieved the frying pan from Aiden and proceeded to cook breakfast.

Ronnie suggested that people avoid contact with the Black Stuff, and then the group decided to locate the weakened dragon.

Fireborn: Session 11
The Screaming City

Ronnie attempted to reconnect with the dragon they’d happened upon in the version, and settled down in the room, focussing on the poor, tortured dragon. Seemingly stepping away from modern reality, he stepped back in time prior to the formation of London, finding himself above the area where the city grew. He found himself above one of three hills, but was unable to pinpoint the precise location. He knew however that three classic hills of London were Ludgate Hill, Tower Hill and Cornhill.

The group then researched further, attempting to pinpoint the dragon’s location. They knew that Ludgate Hill could be ruled out as they had already visited the chambers under St Paul’s Cathedral. Ronnie remembered feeling the beat around Tower Hill after encountering the ghosts several days earlier. Further research from Aiden pointed at the practitioners of the Dark Arts had some history in and around the Tower of London. All the information fuelled suspicions that Tower Hill, and potentially the Tower of London was the most likely location for the tortured dragon. Darius and Ronnie were able to add more of the traditional history to the information they were gleaning about the location.

As the team was researching a news report appeared on the television news pinpointed some odd events near Tower Hill, the explanation given obviously a cover-up of something more supernatural.

Ronnie, hit by sudden inspiration, dug out some old maps and infrastructure plans, and after some manipulation was able to work out that there was an area under the Tower of London where there were no tunnels, electrical, sewers, water supplies or gas pipes. Almost as if the area was deliberately clear…

At this time Darius received a call from Chief Inspector Rockford; it seemed that the team were getting close as unknown grey-suited men were complaining to Rockford about Darius. He demanded that Darius come into work so they could “handle” the complaint. As Darius caught the underground, at the edge of his hearing he could detect the beat. It seemed to fade as he travelled away from Tower Hill.

As Darius approached New Scotland Yard, he saw Starflower hiding in a bush near the building. The old hippy warned Darius that things were getting worse, and they needed to “…stop the screaming…” warning that the whole world would be screaming soon and that “it would come back wrong because of the screaming”. Darius attempted to reassure him, and send him home, saying that he was handling things. Starflower sadly told Darius that he didn’t get it, and walked away sadly as Darius entered Scotland Yard.

Ember had discovered that over the preceding 8-10 hours a lot of strange, supernatural events had occurred, centred on the historic areas of London, particularly the Tower. She arranged, via her contacts, to gain entry to normally private areas of the Tower, under the pretence of writing a piece for the paper about the history of London and the monuments.

T-Bone reported that the Black Stuff had disappeared from the street, but that the old dealers were back with their normal gear, plus something new; Grey Stuff. Ronnie suggested that T-Bone procure some of the Grey Stuff to pass on to Darius’s tame scientist.

Inspector Rockford was clearly on edge, and indicated to Darius that he should go into an interview room, which a grey suited man was standing outside. A second grey suited man was waiting inside and indicated that Darius take a seat. He started a recording device and proceeded to question Darius with regard to the break in that took place the previous night. Darius challenged him with regard to his credentials, and then listened as he bereted him for his “criminal activities”. It seems that he’d been identified from someone seeing his warrant card.

Darius defended his actions, describing exactly what had happened, but putting his own spin on events, and although the grey suited man thought that Darius was an idiot he believed what he was saying, so relaxed the abuse a little, and advised that Darius that it may be better if he took a step back from his investigation. Rockford sent him home.

Ronnie visited a contact that specialised in producing documents of an unofficial, official standard and procured a pair of Metropolitan Police warrant cards with his and Darius’s images, but very different names. As he returned to his flat he bumped into his ghostly friend, Elizabeth Jones, who spoke to him about the screaming. She told him that the city would tear itself apart unless something was done to stop it. She asked whether he’d spoken to the boys at the tower yet, which Ronnie admitted he hadn’t, and as they parted ways, she warned him that the boys had been there a long time, so were not all they seemed. As she faded from sight she cautioned him; “Be careful, they have fast hands…”

Ronnie called his thanks to Elizabeth, and spoke to the team over the dragon-net, arranging a rendezvous at the Tower.

Fireborn: Session 12
The Tower (Part 1)

The group headed to the Tower, using their cover as a film crew on site to record the archaeological work going on under the White Tower. Bert Hinckley, the Tower’s PR man met them, and guided them to the dig having given them a tour of the site. As they stepped over the threshold however, it was clear that there was power evident in the Tower; they all felt a massive high, a rush of energy blasting through their bodies as they stood on the ancient stones. Ronnie and Ember, particularly felt the effects, almost stumbling, however, the others noticed a difference to the feeling of power; it felt trapped, and had nowhere to go… Aiden could feel the heartbeat of the city, but with something wrong between the beats.

As they group caught up with Bert as he pushed on, Ronnie noticed that his ghostly friend, Elizabeth; she was offering to “look through walls” for him, and joined the group. As she stepped over the threshold, she remained solid and visible before fading back to her ghostly form. Compared to her normal self, she was far more lucid than Ronnie had ever encountered her, saying that it was “easy to think in here”.

Bert took them all to meet the archaeologists, and introductions were made, and spent some time exploring the tower using the pretense of filming some “context setting footage”. They all felt the wellbeing that went with the beat as they explored the tower, but in a vague way. T-Bone, however, could sense something stronger, and seemed to be following a specific path through the tower, up to and into a specific weapons display case, and then reached for the weapon hidden in his waist band. Ronnie saw this and grasped his wrist before he could break the case, and managed to talk him round before he did anything that would draw attention to himself.

The case contained a suit of armour for a warrior and horse and glaive, which held T-Bones’ attention. It was labelled as belonging to a guard of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximillian, dating from 1564. T-Bone knew it was far older than that, originally predating any known history, and that the blade had been remounted several times. It was this blade that held T-Bones attention, and Ronnie found himself drawn to it to, although initially not knowing where from. Suddenly he realised that he was having the same feeling of something awakening as he did when standing on the Southbank a few days previously. T-Bone snapped out of his hypnosis and Ronnie released his wrist.

Fireborn: Session 13
The Tower (Part 2)

With T-Bone calmer, although still focussed on the Glaive, Ronnie spent a little time checking the security around the White Tower, and was able to identify the locations of guards and cameras. The group, with exception of Ronnie, suddenly felt a shuddering chill run up and down their spines, some catching movement out of the corner of their eyes. T-Bone, however, focussed in on a ghostly reflection, and suddenly found himself viewing things as though from his dragon self.

He was in the mighty library of Atlantis, and could feel similar spirits passing around him even there. The dragon was in the Library to listen to the mighty intellect that is Professor Lin – the ghost that resided within the Library. He was speaking disparagingly of the possibility that magic was fading from the world, suggesting that should magic be repressed, then the world itself would change irrevocably. T-Bone pressed the discussion and discovered that should magic fade from the world, it may find itself pooling, and occasionally bursting free in response to a trigger, rather than flowing through all things as it currently did. However, as long as there was life magic would exist. The trigger to release a burst a magic would need to be a powerful entity – such as a dragon…

As T-Bone returned to his human reality, he noticed two boys, dressed in period costume, looking at him intently, and was immediately reminded of the warning that Ronnie’s ghost friend had offered, of the two Princes with “fast hands”. Aiden and T-Bone spent some time investigating the history of the two Princes, and were aware of the two ghost boys being present as they researched their story.

Aiden suddenly decided to attract their attention, and called the names of the Princes out loud, much to the consternation of passing tourists who had no idea what was going on; T-Bone realising what she was doing attempted to aid by pushing out positive energies. One of the boys approached T-Bone, and Aiden saw T-Bone glowing; the boy said “I’ve never seen anyone sparkly before”, and reached out to stroke his arm. Suddenly remembering the warning to beware of the fast hands, T-Bone leapt back, much to the annoyance of the boy, who complained that T-Bone shouldn’t “offer some and then take it away”. Aiden attempted to calm the boy telling him to “play nice”. Other tourists began to look confused by the events going on around them, but as Aiden, T-Bone and the Prince were in the shadows, they could see the ghost Prince.

T-Bone began to manipulate the energy around him, and attempt to use it as a shield to protect himself from the ghost Prince who began to cry for his brother. Aiden began to comfort him, as the crowd of tourists gathered and began to take photos, believing it to be some strange street theatre. T-Bone got involved, drawing the young ghost Prince into playing a different game – retrieving the glaive from the display case, along with his brother. The young Prince said that his brother had told him that the glaive was sleeping and wouldn’t wake up. Even if they poked it. T-Bone asked to speak to his brother, and was able to taunt the other Prince into revealing himself from the shadows. The older Prince chided his younger brother for playing with “people”, and T-Bone let some of his dragon-ness show, which put the Princes on their back foot. The tourists applauded the “good effects”.

Aiden ushered the tourists away, as the Princes began whispering about wizards. The older Prince offered to help, but only if T-Bone played, and won, a game. However, if he lost, he would have to share his “glowy magic”. It could only be played after dark, however. The Princes said that they knew that T-Bone and Aiden were looking for things; they would also tell them about the other people who were also looking for things.

Darius attempted to find a route into some of the staff only areas, in an attempt to get below the tower, but was quickly moved on by the security guards, but as Ember was being ultra-professional, she quickly drew onlookers’ interest onto herself so the guards didn’t pay much attention to Darius. She then took a look at the time delay camera that had been setup earlier, and was able to see the gift shop man give coupons to the archaeologists who headed to the coffee shop. As soon as they left, two men in suits arrived, and the three men animatedly discussed the dig, the suited men left prior to the return of the Archaeologists.

Fireborn: Session 14
The Tower (Part 3)

Darius managed to persuade the Tower authorities that they needed to stay into the night to get more footage for their film. They spent the rest of the day pretending to their “jobs” killing time until the Tower closed to the public.

As Ronnie walked around the tower, he was approached by his ghostly friend, Elizabeth, who told him that although the staircase that the archaeologists were working on did indeed go to lower levels, there had been a collapse effectively blocking the way. Strangely, Elizabeth said she was not able to force herself through the floor; it felt too real. Ronnie was minded of the flashback conversation in the Library of Atlantis where it was posited that the more power pooled in area the more real the supernatural became.

As night fell, the Princes appeared and the game began. It was one of riddles; the Princes posed a riddle, and the team had to answer it, identifying the location of the subject of the riddle, and then race the Princes to that location.

The team worked together and won the first four riddles, combining the brain power of those more academic with the physical abilities of the more athletic. After these first four wins, the Princes changed the rules, sulking slightly because they were losing, and decided that they could be invisible while they ran to answer the riddles, and unsurprisingly they won the next riddle, and took their rewards, draining life energy from the team; T-Bone allowing himself to take the hit on Aidens’ behalf.

Ronnie pushed himself, winning the next race, and then the Princes announced that the next riddle would be the last; suddenly however, their demeanour changed from that of children, to something of creatures that had lived 6 centuries. It was clear that the destination was the White Tower. Ronnie summoned his last reserves of energy, and Aiden turned and sprinted, while Darius followed and T-Bone summoned the power again in an attempt to distract the Princes. The two Princes, unable to help themselves, seemed drawn towards T-Bone like moths to a flame.

Taking advantage of the distracted Princes, Aiden sprinted into the tower, and Ronnie followed by Darius, turned back towards T-Bone; suddenly the team noticed many more ghosts and shades appearing from the fabric of the Tower, all fixated on T-Bone. In a strange voice he demanded that the sprits honour their bargain, and suddenly the power he’d fashioned into a shield expanded in a sphere and flung the spirits away. The same energy wave washed over Ronnie, knocking him off his feet, and smashed Darius in the face. Ronnie staggered to his feet to check on Darius, and T-Bone advanced on the two Princes demanding they honour their part of the bargain. They backed off and tried to slip through the walls, but to their shock, couldn’t. They attempted to persuade T-Bone that he would need to reduce the power to let them through the wall. T-Bone declined, telling them they could follow the human path. As they led T-Bone, Ronnie saw the ghostly Elizabeth following T-Bone; Ronnie was surprised to see her leaving physical traces of her passing. She seemed in a daze, being drawn towards T-Bone. Ronnie swept her legs from underneath her, warning her that she shouldn’t go closer, and she was shocked by the physical contact, and then began taking advantage of her sudden solidity, touching the grass, the flagstones, and anything else.

The Princes led T-Bone to the hidden entrance, concealed near the gift shop, and then he dismissed them, and released the power before collapsing, to be caught and held in Aiden’s arms. This was the sight that greeted Ronnie and Darius as they entered the archway near the shop. Quickly, their attention was taken by the iron ring embedded in the wall, which was almost identical to that they’d seen in St Paul’s Cathedral, a few days previously.

Fireborn: Session 15
The Tower (Part 4)

The team used the metal ring to pull a block of rock from the wall, and revealed a dark tunnel. Ronnie headed back to the equipment cache to collect some light sources, while Darius shone his maglite into the hole backed up by T-Bone using a flashlight app on his mobile phone.

Ronnie, arrived at the equipment cache, but just prior to getting there saw a suited man, flanked by two other men who were obviously bodyguards. He recognised one of the bodyguards from the security footage he’d seen earlier that night, and the suited man was arguing with the gift shop man regarding the speed and covertness of the dig, saying that they needed to move more quickly. They agreed to proceed with greater speed and investigate an “accidental collapse” of the area around the dig.

He headed back towards the team, but diverted to the room with the glaive, looking to see if he could remove it from the display, but was unable to find a way into the case. Suddenly, his ghostly friend, Elizabeth, appeared telling him he needed the weapon for when they went below. She seemed stuck in a loop, so Ronnie gently touched her face, allowing her to absorb some of his energy. She again told him he needed the weapon, but Ronnie explained he couldn’t work out how to retrieve it, so she disappeared from sight, and returned as Ronnie called the team to him. She had the two Princes with her, who agreed to retrieve the glaive, as long as the team promised to protect “the house from the men who were coming to harm it”, and to return the weapon before dawn. The team agreed.

Aiden picked the glaive up, and had a flashback to its’ forging; it was created from part of a dragon, and then the team headed back to the tunnel. The squeezed in and found that it opened into a spiral staircase, which they followed down. They found their way blocked by a rusted gate. Aiden handed the glaive to Ronnie, who shrugged, and attempted to lever the gate with the weapon, but unused to handling such a weapon couldn’t really use it properly. He handed it to T-Bone, asking “Why don’t you give it a go?”

T-Bone handled the glaive like he was born to it, and with a deft flick of the wrist cut through the old metal like a hot knife through butter. T-Bone smiled, and the group continued down the staircase, which opened into a small room, which had two exits. They picked one, and followed a passage into another small room, at one end of which was a spoil pile which was obviously the other end of the cave in which the archaeologists were digging in. The rooms opened into further chambers, and it soon became clear that they were ancient; Aiden was able to identify the archways were in a Roman style, which meant that these structures pre-dated the tower. There were images and pictograms of people and creatures on the walls that seemed to tell a story. The story was one of people, dragons, and mystical creatures at war with another people coloured black; they looked like the oil covered men that the group had been in conflict with.

Some of the pictograms showed the earth being ravaged by the Oil People, or Dark Ones, and people and creatures being dragged away by them, but then as the story progressed it seemed that they had been defeated and a few people were shown emerging onto the earths’ surface again. Further images showed a repopulated earth, but there were also scenes of the Dark Ones killing dragons, and mystical creatures falling from a dark whirl pool in the sky. The team knew that this was a history of the war with the Dark Ones, even though they didn’t know that history at all.

The over arching message seemed to be that when the entire world is riven through with black corruption, and dragons are destroyed then the hooded Oil People will take control of the world.

As Aiden studied the images closely, with an academic interest, but Darius and T-Bone spotted gaps in the carvings that would allow a person to pass through, but Ronnie, looking closely at the scene spotted that the statues and pictograms all had the same symbol; it appeared to be a barb or spike thrust through a knotted cord or rope, and he knew that it was the symbol of the Dark Ones.

The team squeezed through the gaps in the carvings, and found another chamber with a block of stone with an iron ring embedded in it. Working as a team they moved the stone, and dropped down into a circular chamber, identical to the one they found under St Pauls Cathederal.

The huge chamber gave a huge feeling of wellbeing to T-Bone and Darius, while Aiden seemed a little panicked by it, Ronnie was completely unaffected and attempted to comfort Aiden, who paid no attention but took a deep breath and pulled herself together.

As they moved through the chamber they became aware of a massive dark shape in the centre of the cavern. Ronnie recognised the shape as the same dragon he’d seen in his vision of the hills of London, however, it had clearly been there for longer, and was severely damaged. It was chained to the floor, covered in open wounds, bones showing through its skin. The energies in the room seemed to be bouncing from great hope to despair, with each beat of the dragon’s heart.

Looking at the chained dragon, T-Bone felt a sense of déjà-vu, and the group approached the dragon. They detected the quickening of the heartbeat, and a shiver shook through the length of the ancient beast, and the great eyelids opened, revealing one ruined socket, the other housed a cataract covered eye. It gazed at the group, seemingly focussed on T-Bone, and whispered “Friend! Again… Endings, make beginnings…” The pain evident in the whispered words.

T-Bone swore and flashed back to his dragon form, and shared a vision with the group; he was euthanizing an old friend, and old dragon named Exedore, to restore power to the world. This dragon was the closest friend outside of his brood that Dragon T-Bone had.

Back in the present day, T-Bone knew he was going to have to kill his old friend against, but clearly reluctant, attempted to talk to the ruined dragon, persuading him that the group could help him. Exedore, very little strength remaining to him seemed to deny that this was possible, so T-Bone tried to transfer energy to the dragon, but Exedore passed another message; “We will see each other again, old friend, but you must release me once again, and restore the world.”

T-Bone looked at the group desperate for help, and Ronnie approached him, “Do not force your friend to live as a shadow of himself, that would be cruel. We have all had to offer the release to friends before, it is never easy, but is necessary.”

Desperate to do otherwise, but feeling the gratitude of Exedore, with a graceful sweep of the glaive, T-Bone released his friend. The body of the dragon glowed, and as the heartbeat stopped an image of Exedore in his prime could be seen, and then the light faded away. A rumble filled the chamber, and slabs began to fall from the ceiling.

“Time to leave” Ronnie shouted, but even with Darius attempting to drag him clear, T-Bone stood still. Ronnie tried to persuade him to get clear, promising to help T-Bone make those responsible for Exedore’s captivity pay, but T-Bone just told him to “Get the others out”.

Ronnie paused, and met T-Bones cold gaze; “Do not reduce the sacrifice of your friend. I will get them out, but do not waste your life here.”

This seemed to shake T-Bone clear of his despair, and the group ran clear of the buildings, reaching the open air, bloodied and bruised, but otherwise unharmed. As they got outside they could see the light show in the sky, like aurora borealis but hundreds of times more intense. Lightning flashed and struck the ground around the tower repeatedly, and with a resounding crack, one side of the White Tower slid as the foundations slipped as the cavern below collapsed. Then the group saw the ghosts scattering out of the buildings. Ronnie’s ghostly friend, Elizabeth, shouted warnings that everyone had to get clear, before being blasted by lightening. The group began to usher the humans clear of the tower, when suddenly there was silence, and the sky was clear, the ghosts gone, but the group could feel the difference.

Magic was back.

Fireborn: Session 16
180 Days Later

Six months had passed since magic had returned, and although T-Bone had forgotten to return the glaive, so far nothing had been said about its disappearance due to the damage to the White Tower. The world had seemed to settle into the old routines, although religion had seen something of a resurgence as a result of the unexplained “London Aurora”.

T-Bone had returned to his neighbourhood, and organised his posse into a more effective “Neighbourhood Watch”. His Aunt Patty had become more involved with a new preacher at the civic centre, who claimed to be able to channel the Holy Spirit. T-Bone was somewhat suspicious of the man, and resolved to keep a wary eye on the man.

His crew, in turn kept an eye on the local dealers, and managed to obtain a sample of a new drug, the Gray Stuff, a mix of the Black Stuff and cocaine. T-Bone was unhappy that the Black Stuff, effectively cremated dragon meat, was still available, and those that sold it received his regular scrutiny.

Ronnie disappeared from view for a while, and although he occasionally dropped in on T-Bone, he spent most of his time in the shadows keeping an eye on the team. Ember was able to let him know that she was going off the grid to follow a story. They arranged a trigger word to be broadcast over the Dragon Net in case she got into difficulty. Unfortunately, he was caught on camera while “working” in London. It took him several weeks to track the film down and ensure that there was no record of him in the area, just in case.

Aiden’s father was having a few money troubles, and she spent most of her time talking things over with her family, she also decided that her boyfriend no longer understood her, and dumped him.

Darius had been permanently transferred into Rockford’s unit, the Special Investigations Unit. He closed a number of strange cases, but also spotted the two men who’d tried to shut him up during the events of the previous year, identified as bodyguards to Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West. Darius made careful notes of them and their movements; however, his attention was soon taken away from them by a series of cases passed to the SIU.

An unusual number of incidents, and deaths, were occurring along the riverside in the Pool of London area. Of the survivors, Darius was able to track one person to a hospital ward, awaiting a psychiatric evaluation. As he arrived at the hospital, Starflower jumped out, declaring that he had a message from his friend, who’s waiting at Starflower’s house to deliver it. Darius shook his head slowly, and told Starflower he’d see him later and continued into the hospital.

Doctor Rojen, the patient’s Doctor was paged by the receptionist, but did not show, so Darius, impatient went to the Doctors office to see what he could find there. As he arrived, the door opened, and a very harassed looking Doctor exited. It was Rojen. After a rushed conversation, Darius was able to discover some background to the patient. The woman, had suffered from mental stress, and was described as “the crazy one” by Rojen who handed a patient file to Darius. It was also revealed that she had been discharged that morning and left to make her own way home as she needed to tell people about the river, and how it was talking to her. Darius got her home address and details. She was called Elizabeth Jones, and after a brief pause Darius recognised the name as the same one as Ronnie’s ghostly friend, and the address she had given hadn’t existed since 1942. Darius contacted Ronnie to let him know, and then went to the security office to look at the CCTV footage to see if the woman was indeed the Elizabeth Jones they’d previously encountered. He also saw someone bump into her – she was solid!

T-Bone got his posse involved in the search for Miss Jones, and the word went out to keep an eye open for her as her old home had been in his neighbourhood, while Ronnie visited the area where she’d ended up in the river, and then moved on to the areas where he’d previously encountered her. It took him an hour of searching, but as he looped around near St Pauls, he got the feeling that he was being followed, and after some careful manoeuvring spotted that Miss Jones was following him. He hid himself in a small alleyway, and waited for her to follow him. She did so, and when Ronnie spoke, she complained of being hungry, and then fainted. Ronnie caught her before she hit the floor, and put a call out on the dragon net. Aiden came to collect the two of them, and drove them back to her flat, where the others joined her.

After parking in the underground car park, Ronnie carried Miss Jones upstairs, and put her in Aiden’s bed. He checked her for injuries, and found a healed burn that may have come from lightning. More worryingly, her pulse was fluttering in a weird manner; it was as though she was in a state somewhere between life and death. Ronnie made something to eat, and left it with a drink at the side of the bed and settled back in a chair and waited for her wake up.

Darius received a phone call from Rockford; Starflower was waiting at the police station for him, still waiting to deliver the message, and annoying Rockford intensely. Darius apologised and arranged to collect Starflower from the station and take him home. Unfortunately when they got there, it appeared that the man with the message, Sebastian, also had a penchant for herbal cigarettes. He managed to pull himself together enough to pass on the message, something he’d scribbled on a piece of paper;

“He will only treat with those announced by his chosen servant.”

There were a number of geometric symbols, swirling shapes, and runes evident on the piece of paper too. Darius studied the paper, and the shapes and symbols began to look familiar. They were occult symbols that matched some of the symbols that were being worn by Sebastian, and Darius had seen elsewhere. Overall, even though Darius felt he was on the edge of understanding something, the message was still too cryptic for him to properly decipher… Sebastian passed on a card with a shop specialising in the occult to Darius, “Practical Magick”.

Back at Aiden’s flat, Aiden had had to leave to delay the builders that were refurbishing sections of the building and Miss Jones was still sleeping. T-Bone spent the time searching the house as a way of filling time. He found a number of interesting objects, including some past due bills. Eventually he wondered into the bedroom, and as Miss Jones moved, he noticed that as she moved it seemed that she almost seemed to sink into the bed before bouncing back. There was an energy around her, that seemed to change as she sank, and then reappear as she bounced back. Suddenly, the pair of them remembered that ghosts feed off magic, not food.

T-Bone began to channel power, and Ronnie aided, focussing the magic on Miss Jones. They shared a flash back to a similar memory where the pair of them, in dragon form, protected a city. As the seconds passed Miss Jones, began to wake, and suddenly sat bolt upright gasping, as if for air. She seemed confused, and then calmed as Ronnie spoke to her.

Initially she was reluctant to speak of the events that had led her to the hospital and then to her flat, but as the conversation wore on Ronnie gained her trust, and it seemed that Miss Jones had become the “chosen servant” of Old Man Thames who was angry at being chained. She agreed to announce the group to Old Man Thames, but to do that they would need to enter the water to commune with him…

Fireborn: Session 17
McFiggerty of the Ministry

Ronnie waited for a few hours, and arrived at dusk at St Catherines Pier near Tower Bridge, with wetsuits for everyone and scuba gear for himself. The group looked towards Elizabeth for direction, and she indicated where they needed to be, and then shocked everyone by stepping into the river. Ronnie quickly followed her as did T-Bone and Aiden. She seemed a little flung around by the currents, but Ronnie closed up and steadied her; he noticed she didn’t need to breathe. Suddenly he noticed some struggling behind him, and saw Aiden beginning to take in water, T-Bone tried to help, but she was beginning to drown. Ronnie quickly checked that Elizabeth was OK, and when she nodded, he kicked back and offered the scuba mouthpiece into Aiden’s mouth.

As Aiden gasped down the oxygen there seemed to be a burst of light in the water beneath them and the group found themselves in a hemispherical bubble, about ten metres in diameter. The face of Old Man Thames was visible and he spoke to the group. He was unhappy that his flow was restrained by the effects of humanity. Ronnie spoke for the group and Old Man Thames indicated that he spoke for his brothers and sisters. They finally agreed that Old Man Thames would give the group a chance to prove good faith by allowing contact with the sea, promising that he would protect the city if the group managed to open the Thames barrier. There was some watery laughter, and then the bubble collapsed, and the group were ejected from the river onto the bank.

Ronnie arranged for some fake documentation that would allow him a certain level of authority over the staff at the Thames barrier, and the group headed over to the barrier and gained access to the administration building. After a brief conversation with a startled receptionist the Duty Operations Manager, Mr Bennett, came to meet them in reception and took them to his office. After some ridiculous tall tale telling Ronnie, acting as Arturos McFiggerty, Head Special Projects of the Environment Agency, managed to convince Mr Bennett that the barrier needed to stay open.

High tide, came and went, and even though the waters should have been a metre over the banks the river did not flood London; Old Man Thames had kept his word. The group left leaving the barrier staff completely bemused by the situation, and returned to visit Old Man Thames; they were greeted by Elizabeth who leapt on Ronnie, really pleased that the team had succeeded, and that Old Man Thames was happy. He was willing to give them several decades, possibly even a century to put things right, and Elizabeth said that she thought that he would be willing to compromise, and perhaps even help control the tidal flow himself.

Elizabeth then asked a question about rent and staying somewhere, as although Old Man Thames was a good employer who helped her stay focussed as herself, he could not really conceive of human needs so hadn’t put much consideration into that, sp an embarrassed Ronnie offered his flat, which she accepted.

As the group travelled away from the Thames, and piercing shriek, followed by sudden silence, was heard over the dragon net; it was clear that Ember was in trouble.

Fireborn: Session 18
A Tale of Two Butties

The group were shocked by the sudden end to the scream, and it felt as though part of the group consciousness had been removed. Ronnie recognised the scream as one of fear, but the end of it felt more cut off rather than terminal. Ronnie attempted to contact Ember’s bosses at the newspaper, but as it was 3am did not get an answer, so Darius headed to the Police station to see what he could find out.

T-Bone and Aiden left together to “search Ember’s flat”, and Ronnie asked Elizabeth to speak to Old Man Thames to see if he was aware of any strange goings on along the river; he sat on a bench to await her return. At the Police station Darius was able to track Ember’s mobile phone to a car park on the river bank near Greenwich Pier and the O2 Arena; he sent the message over the dragon net, and headed out again.

At Ember’s flat, an upstairs flat in a converted house in a typical suburban street, T-Bone attempted to effect entry, but the lock on the front door defeated him. He muttered something about 5 barrel locks, and looked for alternative point of entry, and spotted a small window on a latch that looked like it led into the bathroom. He turned to Aiden, and giving her no option attempted to boost her into the flat. Unfortunately, as Aiden got part way in the drainpipe that was giving her purchase cracked, and fell away, leaving her stuck part way through the window. Eventually, she managed to wriggle through the gap, but not before T-Bone had snapped a photo on his camera phone.

In the flat, Aiden moved quietly around and quickly found the office area, finding a synopsis for her current story, investigating the working conditions of the staff and crew of the river boats, checking on the legality of it all. T-Bone was left outside, and quickly realised he was looking a little shifty so he did his best to hide; he stepped into the shadows, avoiding the gaze of a nosey neighbour. Aiden demanded that T-Bone delete the photograph he took from his phone before she would let T-Bone in. He agreed, and deleted the photograph (ignoring the fact he’d already uploaded a copy to flickr), and stepped over the threshold to help Aiden with her search. Between them they identified the boats Ember was investigating, and the fact that all of them were owned by three specific companies. T-Bone also found some tube tickets for one way journeys to Pimlico. They found little else of interest, so slipped out of the flat and headed to the O2 car park to meet the others.

Elizabeth returned to the waiting Ronnie, and told him that Old Man Thames confirmed that there were “no mortals within his embrace”, so Ronnie thanked her for asking and guided her back to the safe house, telling her to make herself at home and gave her a spare key, before heading out to join the group at the O2 car parks.

Knowing that it’d be difficult to find a small mobile phone, Ronnie cast his mind back and attempted to remember what it was like to hunt as a dragon. His consciousness blurred with the current reality, and Ronnie felt himself soaring over the O2, and homed in on the glint of something that could be a mobile phone on the ground. He called his consciousness back to his body, and stumbled slightly. He did not know himself, but the others had seen him floating, roughly three inches above the surface of the floor. He looked at the group, puzzled by the looks they were giving him, and led them to the pier where he thought he had seen the phone, and they found a broken handset.

Ronnie suggested they attempted to cross check the names of the boats that used the pier with the names of the boats in Embers notes. He sneaked onto the pier and removed a mooring list, and the group headed towards the markets to find a cafe to have breakfast and check the information. Darius, with a practiced eye, was quickly able to tie in several boats to three specific companies that seemed to match the companies Ember had been investigating. The three companies were River Cruise UK, Party Boatz, and the Grey Meres Dining Experience. It seemed that there were a large number of illegal immigrants were employed on these company’s boats. Aiden noticed a small note on one page of Embers notebook. Darius quickly identified a post code which referred to a poorer area of London with a high proportion of Bed and Breakfast accommodation.

Darius left the group to go to use a McDonalds to take advantage of the free wi-fi and connected to the work computers to investigate the three companies. The others headed to the postcode and settled down to keep watch. At around 0630 a minibus pulled up to number 52, and around a dozen people were ushered into the vehicle which drove off. Ten minutes later the process was repeated at number 54.

T-Bone moved round to the back door, and Ronnie and Aiden knocked on the front door. A middle-eastern man answered the door and after Ronnie and Aiden talked their way in, and let T-Bone through the back door, and the three were guided around the house by their host. Although he was reluctant to show them round, he didn’t hide anything, and there was no sign of Ember. Ronnie asked him to introduce the group to the man who looked after number 54. When Aiden questioned him regarding some empty permits he panicked and ushered them next door.

The host from 52 introduced the group to his equivalent at 54, and had a frantic conversation in Farsi, which Aiden understood, and translated via the dragon net; the two men were frightened of “them”, and worried that they would be killed…

In number 54 the situation was much the same as in 52, however there was one empty bed, and the two hosts ushered Ronnie and Aiden around. Forgotten, T-Bone searched through number 52, and bumped into a man in the kitchen. He shared his bacon buttie with T-Bone, and as the two talked it soon became clear that the worker were effectively slaves, being forced to work to clear their debts and gain papers. Troublemakers, it seemed disappeared. T-Bone tentatively asked the man about the English woman asking questions, and the man quickly clammed up, before telling T-Bone that is was bad to “ask questions such as that.” He did however, let slip that some English people were employed alongside the indentured workers, and some tried to help. T-Bone made his excuses and left, to be quickly joined by Ronnie and Aiden who had completed their inspection of number 54. The group then left the street and moved to join Darius.

Darius’s research went very well, and he discovered that two of the companies were owned by the same company and had a labyrinthine relationship with another company that owned the third boat company, several small hotels and properties including numbers 52 and 54, and a mini-bus company. Overall, these were owned by Kensington Investments Plc, the majority shareholder of which was William Kensington–Smythe, who owned four houses in Pimlico, which were being converted into a single mansion. The mini-buses had been leased to a small unnamed temping agency, and Darius was able to get the address, which was fake, but Darius recognised that and was able to uncover the real address.

Fireborn: Session 19
My Little T-Bone

The group went for a second breakfast and discussed what to do next; T-Bone suggested that a rich man like Kensington-Smythe would probably have others to do his dirty work. He suddenly realised that he was starting to think of Ember in the past tense, even though he knew she wasn’t dead… He decided to go and investigate Kensington-Smythe’s house, while Darius attempted to run a forensic accountancy investigation on the man’s money.

Darius found that Kensington-Smythe’s finances seemed above board, however were suspiciously lacking in any form of investigation. He dug deeper and found that some of the senior execs and shareholders had had some tax issues, but they’d all been dealt with. When he gained access to the details of Kensington-Smythe’s accounts, they were very similar to his company’s; above board, but still somewhat suspicious. He was also a major donor to the Labour party.

T-Bone went to Pimlico via an Oxfam having bought some clothes, and then persuaded one of the local homeless to swap clothes so he could get an “authentic” homeless look and smell. He settled down in nearby parkland and watched Kensington-Smythe’s house. He saw the usual callers at the house; the postman, parcel deliveries, a grocery van. It soon became clear that the vans were directed to a different entrance. T-Bone staggered to his feet, and moved in a gentle circuit around the house to try to get a view of this additional entry point. He noticed a man, just inside the open door of the house watching everything carefully. T-Bone decided he needed a better vantage point, and looked at the row of houses behind, quickly finding a likely looking drain pipe before shimmying up it to the roof of the building, stopping briefly to have an awkward conversation with a little girl who asked a lot of annoying questions and was leaning out of a window. He told her he was looking for his pony on the roof. Once she agreed to let him continue his journey, he made his way to the roof and along the adjoining buildings to get a better angle on the target house, spotting that a large amount of food was being delivered; clearly some sort of social gathering would be taking place soon.

Ronnie decided to backtrack Ember’s path and called her Newspaper (the West and Central Standard), and after some gentle persuasion was connected her Editor, Andrew Paisley. He was somewhat shocked by Ember’s disappearance, and readily agreed to meet Ronnie later that day. Ronnie spent a few minutes altering his appearance, before heading to the newspaper offices. The editor was clearly flustered, and worried about the implications of a missing member of staff, and called the “IT engineer”, Carl, into his office. Ronnie suggested that Aiden check the documentation that Ember had left in the office, with the help of Mr Paisley, and then followed him to the cupboard that served as the computer room. After a brief conversation Ronnie, instructed by Darius over the dragon net, set up the server to accept remote connections. Darius connected and searched the server and found some interesting documentation, including a file listing four dates, all Saturday nights, four weeks apart; three had passed, and the fourth was tomorrow. Interestingly, the file was only a week old.

Aiden checked through the paperwork, and after she’d come to terms with Ember’s scatterbrained working methodology recognised certain patterns and having delved a bit deeper discovered a clipping from a social page from a rival newspaper reviewing a personal party held for, and by London’s social elite. Interestingly the date of the party matched the first date in the file that Darius had found. It quickly emerged that Kensington-Smythe held these parties on a monthly basis, and this jogged a memory with Darius, and he remembered that Ember’s assignment had been as a waitress.

Ronnie got talking to Carl, trying to find whether anything unusual at the office had happened recently, but other than a new cleaner he couldn’t think of anything. Ronnie asked Darius to check employee records and payroll thinking that the new cleaner may have links with one of Kensington’s companies, but it seemed that she was exactly as she seemed. Darius did find from the security footage and logs that another person was using the time when the cleaner was in the office and the alarms were off, to gain entry. As he was searching, Darius also spotted a tripwire in the computer system, set to be triggered in case someone began to search the system. It was clear that someone was watching the newspaper.

Sitting on the rooftop watching the target house, T-Bone found his exertions of the previous thirty-six hours catching up with him, and despite fighting the fatigue, fell asleep.

Ronnie decided to stay at the newspaper offices at the time when the cleaner was in, but as he had a couple of hours to kill, took the opportunity for a few minutes sleep, Darius moved from his office, and set himself up outside the office in case the unknown intruder attempted to run. Aiden left, and tracked down the exclusive caterers that catered for Kensington-Smythe’s parties; once she’d fended off the attempts to persuade her to throw a graduation party for herself she got to business. She attempted to persuade the owner of the company that she wanted to see how her business worked as she was so impressed by previous parties that they had catered, and asked if she could work for her for a while; the woman agreed to give her a trial, and if it went well, Aiden could accompany her to the function the next night. Suddenly, Aiden found herself having to work!

Ronnie woke, prior to the cleaner arriving, and set himself up watching the security screens. Darius saw the strange man arriving, snapped a couple of photos and warned Ronnie over the dragon net. The stranger connected to the server, and Darius was able to track what he was doing, and saw that the man was searching through Ember’s files. Darius was also able to search the stranger’s computer, and found it completely impersonal; nothing on the machine suggested that it was used for anything other than for hacking. He did, however decide that he wanted the computer!

As Ronnie made his way from his hiding place Darius was able to detect that the stranger was deleting files from the server. Ronnie walked silently behind him and challenged the man. He froze in shock, and then attempted to run. Ronnie restrained him, and then guided him out of the office. The man, confronted by both Ronnie, and the waiting Darius noticeably deflated, and then protested that he’d done everything that had been asked of him. Ronnie suggested that once they got back to the “interview room” they would see whether that was enough.

T-Bone woke, to see the little girl who had spoken to him on the way up the drain pipe standing over him. Suddenly T-Bone regretted telling her earlier that he was searching for his pony on the roof, as she looked at him accusingly telling him she couldn’t find it. He managed to steer the conversation towards the party that was going to be held at Kensington-Smythe’s house; she was excited by the pretty dresses, but still disappointed that there was no pony. Exasperated, T-Bone looked at the small toy unicorn she was holding, and drew on the power of the dragon within him and created a ball of energy that surround her toy; it glowed and the unicorn floated into the air in front of her. She got very excited, but eventually agreed to return to her room, but only with T-Bone’s help. He guided her to the fire escape of her house, and ushered her safely inside, before extracting himself from the roof, and moving off to join the group at Ronnie’s safe house.

Darius sat at a table and searched through the laptop, the stranger was sitting on a chair, looking very nervous as tramp like T-Bone arrived, watching my little pony on You Tube on his mobile phone. Aiden, who had taken herself off to a quiet corner and was having a discussion over the phone with the party planners. Ronnie was sitting on another chair staring at the stranger, and not helping him maintain his equilibrium. The stranger nervously spoke;

“You’re not with them, are you?”

Ronnie smiled. “No. I’m something worse.”


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