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Curse of the Crimson Throne. Episode 1.

So I've been busy these past few years, running games and such. For your delight and my own amusement, I have opted to show some of what I've been doing. The following is a roleplay I've GM'd for some folks, using the Curse of the Crimson Throne and using a setting more familiar to my players. I'm happy to have such good writer and I hope you enjoy our collective work.

=======

 

It had started out with a little ad on the Paranet. The growing, online network of supernaturals and powers seeking to exchange ideas or ask for help. The jobs listed would range from helping arrange the feng shui of a home, to a desperate plea for hunters to find a missing child. For a select number of folks, they would see none of that...Nothing but an email, direct to them and addressing them by name with the following.

I understand you to be a figure of skill and power. Please-join me for lunch at my place in Brighton Beach, at 12pm where I will explain more of my plight. I am willing to pay for this meeting and accept you all as my guests. But for what I need justice for, I cannot gain it from none but you. It went on to explain more details, including the day and address.

That was then. This is now.

A bus slowly drives off, a boy in the garb of a priest waits uncomfortably as he looks around. There's a deep history to this place, rich and smelling of pine and fresh snow. It is heard in the Slavic and Russian tongues bargaining, discussing the day and the chess games on the street between old men. It is in the smell of Borscht, Solyanka and Ukha that pervades and winds between that of the sea, the slums and Coney Island as a whole. Like all things in this city, the place feels like a little replica of a larger whole, all combining to create the amalgamation men call 'America.'

He smiles, opens the door for an old lady and helps her with her groceries before asking where the place he seeks is. Though she looks at him oddly, he is polite and kind. She directs him and so he goes, until finally he stands before an apartment door that when he knocks, has no one but opens at a touch. Within, the place is quiet and peaceful.

A traditional lunch rests on the table before him in the main apartment area, as pictures of landscapes on the wall draw his eye. Some fantastical, such as the crumbling castle. Others, less so like the cityscape.

All of it, pleasing to the eye as he finds a note and reads it.

Stepped out briefly. Please, help yourself.

There is Pelmeni dumplings, with minced meat. Pirozhki pastries, packed with potatoes, meat and cabbage and gravy. There is Stroganoff, filling and delicious and overall, a dusty bottle of wine-quite nice from the smell, adds to it all. He smiles, lets it air and then goes to get water instead for him from the ice cold pitcher as he waits for the others and wonders who else may come.

~

Someone was already there, picking at the offered food. He had looked up at their second, snorted through his nose, then went back to a dumpling. He was young, a teenager dressed much the same way any kid these days would: jeans, shirt, a jacket covering up tattoos along his arms. His hair was black, cropped short with a dyed streak of blue throughout, natural or artificial was hard to tell.

There was the feel of magic around him, but not in the way it reflected in mages, or fae. He was a creature born of magic, but not in the same way. It was a magic that was twisted, unnatural. From something that by all accounts did not belong in this world, gripped man and beast under its grasp.

His mother and her two consorts were the start of a new generation of dragons, a new brood. Dragons twisted by baria into something different, the energy of chaos warping their inherent magical blood. Other true dragons cast them out for this, saw them corrupt and a scourge upon their proud race.

Mazynth thought otherwise.

This was her firstborn son, the young drakonid Midyr, first of many, in time.

~

"Hi."

It was a polite nothing, Azreal looking at the other as he sat down and ate in silence. As he did, he looked at him with a degree of watchful interest, curious and a little intrigued. A few moments later, he spoke. 

"So you got the message as well then?"

~

The dragon looked up at him again, didn't seem inclined to answer. But realized he might as well, if they were going to be stuck together in the same room for a bit.

"You sure you're in the right place?"

The religious garb had a way of attracting attention from others. It drew to mind thoughts of Executors, even though this kid was obviously too young to be one. Maybe just a holier-than-thou type, then.

"Yeah, I got it. It's why I'm here."

~

"Paranet email, by name and asking us here? Yeah." He finished off a dumpling and swirled his cup, contemplative for a moment before he continued. "I'm Azreal. Hunter in training." He glanced around at the walls, the sense that this place gave him. Idly, he murmured a prayer and listened thoughtfully before his eyes widened in surprise. 

"This place is an oddity. I can feel a sense of the dead...But there's love here. Quiet, powerful but still there." His curiosity was piqued even further.

~

Who exactly did they all send this message out to?

"I came out from Queens. I'm Midyr," he said, the name enough was indicative of a draconic heritage. "What do you think all this is supposed to be about, who sent it?" He had been wary of the message when it was first received, but his mother convinced him it might be worthwhile..

~

"Well...She said her name was Fedosia. And that it would be a matter of importance to us all, as well as for herself. And that our combined skills would possibly be enough to gain what she said would be dangerous otherwise." He gave a little shrug as he added mildly.

"I don't like bullies. So I do what I can to help with that."

~

A middle aged man who looked like he was going through a midlife crisis walked into the room. He stood roughly around the height of 5'11". He wore a faded leather jacket, some torn blue jeans, a faded white long-sleeve shirt under the leather jacket, some black socks hidden by his jeans, and some boring old work shoes. "Random message show up at your doorsteps as well?" 

Dan Torrance looked around the room. "The food looks good at least." And he walked over to the tables and served himself, not questioning the other two's appearance. 

~

"Not gonna lie, was kinda hoping a girl would show up, at this point," he said, with sharp laughter as they were joined by a third.

Midyr picked something out of his teeth with a nail, looking over the newcomer. "So, what's your name then, huh?"

~

"Dan Torrance, apparently I'm the old man of the group so far." And he sat down at the same table as the Drakonid, sitting directly across from him. "Now, may I ask for you two names in return, since it appears you two seem to be already acquitted." The old man took a bite of the lunch he grabbed.

~

"Azreal.' Hunter-in-training, specialist in martial works and what gifts the Lord saw fit to bestow." Replied the boy as he looked on curious despite himself.

~

"Midyr, dragon, if you couldn't tell by the name," he answered, finding a particularly large pierogi and biting into it, quite the appetite and no real concern about things being poisoned, even if they were essentially in a stranger's house.

~

"If we're telling each other what we do for living, I might as well, too." Dan grabbed a chip on his plate and ate one. "I work at a hospice in New Hampshire, I use my abilities to comfort dying patients. But I can do more than help said patients pass on to the afterlife."

~

Entering the room, a bag slung over one shoulder, she'd glance over those present, before she'd allow her bag to rest on the floor, and away from the door, before she'd examine those in the room a bit more closely. Satisfied with what she sensed, she'd allow the disguise self spell on herself to fade, revealing a pair of cat ears, two tails swaying lazily behind her and green, slitted cat eyes

Her attire would be that of a long jacket with fur around the collar and hood, underneath of which was  a grey shirt as she hangs the coat up, a pair of baggy black pants and a pair of black boots, she'd then plop all of her 5'3" height into a chair, taking care not to sit on her tails.

~

"Youkai." Azreal said with surprise, glancing at his group. Between the dragon, the catwoman and the apparent psychic, he seemed to be the only human in the room. He cleared his throat as he looked to everyone before he spoke.

"An interesting party of folks. And some from a long way away." 

"There is a touch of fate on you all. You simply have yet to know it." The speaker was female, English with a touch of Slavic as she entered the room. A handsome, somewhat thick matron in a dress as she smiled and spoke.

"Doctor Uzuka and Torrance. Both connected via the psychic murder of Jesse Sinclair, age five...Young, Master Midyr who's siblings corpse was desecrated by this selfsame figure...And Azreal-ah, you do not wish to share? Very well...Your father missed this one in his day. And he had worked his mischief in evil, petty ways since. He kills for coin, he plunders for profit and while never really at a level where he has come to the attention of the powers-that-be, from where we stand? We know well what sort such figures may wrought unchecked."

She paused and continued. "I am Fedosia. And I have called you all because you all, knowing or not have a debt to settle with the man I am asking you all to slay."

~

"If you are asking me to kill a man, miss, I don't think I could do such a thing. Reasons being that I sit with patients as they pass on and the last dead man I feel at blame for is the death of my father." He had stopped eating his food, now looked more decrepit than before. If she had the same ability as he did, she would be able to sense the hidden feelings caused by the Outlook. "Now if you can find a way to persuade me, I might have second thoughts about leaving after I am done with lunch." Then he continued like she had not said a word.

~

The young dragon didn't bother to stop eating even when they were addressed, but he listened carefully. The assorted connections that drew them together - he didn't know about the others, but his family, small as they still were had their enemies. As far as he knew though, they were above his capabilities.

He didn't blanch at the idea of killing someone though, that was no concern of his.

"Yeah?" he asked, once she had finished speaking. "So who is it you want dead?"

~

Picking up one of the dumplings, Kiyo would take a bite and would chew in silence even as the woman enters the room, her gaze flicking towards Fedosia, she'd then finish the dumpling and use a napkin to clean her fingers 

"Yes, that poor child, and the rest of those affected"

~

She nodded to Dan as she spoke. "A just question...Allow me to explain. There is a man named Gaedren Lamm. A spiteful, sinister figure who hoards whatever scraps of power he can get. It's enough to make him feared around here, especially with how he works. His cruel reprisals are matched only by his evasion of the Laws and it's why I come to you all. You see...He stole a family heirloom from me. My son, wishing to please his mother went to get it back and he died. I have appealed to the police, but they say they cannot act without proof-they fear him! But I do not! I seek vengeance, not on a man but on a beast! A creature who lives only to harm and who's passing will make things better."

She relaxed and huffed out as she spoke.  "But I cannot do this alone. Will you help me?"

~

He looked at her as he ate, how can he just stand by and watch as a woman suffers from losing her son and knows that it wasn't an accident. Well he couldn't, not after everything that he has experienced. "Maybe, but I won't aim to kill him, I'll aim to turn him into the authorities. But if I get stuck in a situation where I have to kill, then so be it." He had finished his lunch at the time he spoke again. Something could be seen that was bothering him, and he wasn't trying to hide it this time.

~

Killing somebody without concrete proof was what it sounded like? Honestly, Midyr was down for that, he considered with a self-satisfied grin. Maybe this was enough to convince his mother they were ready to move against their enemies, become freeholding lords in their own right.

As it sounded, if Danny-boy got cold feet, he could pick up the slack and finish the job.

"So where is it we can find this guy, huh? Bet I can have it done by nightfall."

~

"And what else can you share with us about him?"

She nodded thankfully to everyone as she spoke. "I have some small, skills in Divination magic.  I also am incredibly driven and thus have the information you will need to find him. As of now, he lurks in his current base of operations. A warehouse by the sea, with a spiral mark on its doors. Once an abode of cultists who specializes in traps, it is now his and there he sits. Ruling and terrorizing this neighborhood as he will."

She gave the rest of the information they needed to find it before asking. "Are there any questions?"

"What dangers need we beware?" Azreal spoke up as she nodded at him.

"The traps may yet be in use. It is an old fishery-they take the refuse from the fish market typically and convert it into a slurry for cheap dumplings. You will have to contend with his followers if any, and he himself. He is a monster.  Of what sort, I do not know for sure."

~

"Also, what would you have us do should we find proof he's not the one responsible for the incident at the hospital? Do you still wish him dead?" Kiyo asked.

~

She looked at Kiyo as she said simply. "He killed my son for no reason. He was no threat, he was not dangerous. He was just a child. Yes. I want him dead."

Her emotions to Dan were grief-stricken and painful as she added, looking him in the eye.

"I'm sure one of your number knows that for a certainty."

~

"Sorry Ma'am, I just had to make sure that we weren't being scammed. And, I'm so sorry for your loss." Dan held up his hands as if he got caught in the act of something illegal.

~

Much didn't really seem to have any questions, perhaps too impulsive to bother asking. But then as they all spoke up he reconsidered.

"Yeah. Why us, is it really just a revenge thing, getting people who would care? Why not just hire you actual assassins."

~

She laughed at the very idea. "I spent my savings to feed you all. You think I have money for that? Aside from that....I could not use them. It has to be all of you." She looked somber now as she glanced to them all before she spoke.

"You will understand why, when you see him face to face."

~

Kiyo pondered and replied. "Very well, I'll help you...I have no need to turn someone away who's in need."

~

So she wanted people who would do it for free, because of some seated desire for revenge. Midyr could get behind that idea.

"Yeah, I'm in."

~

"I will do this for the girl, Jesse Sinclair, who I helped pass on to the afterlife, and for your son, who couldn't experience a fulfilled life." The noble part of Dan was coming out, it just need some prodding. He took his cup of Root Beer and raised it to her, before taking a drink out of it. "Let me go out to my car and grab some things." And then he exited the room and the building to get to his car. 

======

With that said, the group would have no other reason to stay and would leave the apartment, heading to the warehouse in question.

The reek of brine and the stink of week-dead fish hang thickly in the air here. The old double doors in the side of this weathered building are tightly closed, with a drooping signpost hanging above. The sign it once displayed is long gone, leaving behind only a single short length of rusted chain. As Fedosia had mentioned, the faded spiral tag sign on the door was prominent despite things as on the left side, a crumbling walkway led around and below the whole thing.

Azreal frowned, looking at it all before he finally spoke.

"What an absolute dump."

=====

End of episode 1.  And a list of our cast of characters.

-Dan Torrence. Psychic doctor and sorcerer.

-Doctor Kiyo. Youkai Immigrant, owns her own clinic. Rogue.

-Midyr. Drakonid heir to Mazynth, a powerful Draconic matriarch. Barbarian(homebrew). Sixteen years old.

-Azreal. Monster Hunter in training, trainee of Iscariot XIII. Should not be sneaking out. Paladin, sixteen years old.



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