Sibling Rivalry

The Story So Far, Modern Age: Part 2

In which allies are gathered, Maggie's sword causes trouble, and a bear is suplexed.

Covers episodes 7-8.

“My master Ophois sends his regards,” the toothless mage in Ivan’s apartment said, and snapped his fingers to ignite the fumes from the broken gas pipe.

The dragons only had a moment to react – but they made the most of that moment. With their mental link giving everyone equal warning, and with their supernatural heritage boosting their reflexes, they scattered. George leapt out the front window, Maggie and Ivan grabbed Ivan’s kitten Mr. Snuggles and leapt out the back window, and Kimiko – standing directly in front of the mage – grabbed him and tried to throw him out the side window. (Shane was south of the river investigating John’s disappearance at the time.)

The blast blew Ivan and Maggie off the fire escape and down to the alley below, and left the insanely lucky George with only a few bruises from flying rubble. Kimiko, near ground zero, made the happy discovery that her dragon legacy sheltered her from the heat and energy of the explosion – but unfortunately did not protect her from being impaled through the chest by a heavy metal rod from Ivan’s exercise equipment. The group grabbed Kimiko’s body, stole the car of the government agent who had been tailing them, and once safe, entered the flashback that Kimiko had desperately self-induced while fighting for her life. They helped her fight through the memories and wake up, and Maggie channeled karmic energy from her heirloom sword to remove most of the damage.

The group tried to spend some time hiding and healing, but found it wasn’t so easy to escape the demands of their situation. For example, the Gehenna organization continued to escalate their recruitment efforts, first “inviting” them out to lunch (and closing the entire restaurant down for some privacy and as a show of power), then returning Father John to the group, and then freezing the group’s bank accounts as a warning of what they could do if their overtures kept getting rebuffed. The group’s negative assessment of Gehenna was only intensified when a stranger slipped them a note saying only “They are not your friends,” signed with a mark the group recognized as a symbol of dragon allegiance from the end of the Mythic Age.

Then the group got an unexpected visitor at their new, secret hideout: Henry Cornelius Agrippa’s niece Sarah. At her appearance, the group had a flashback to the Mythic Age, where she showed up as Lily – but Sarah didn’t seem to share their memories. She began to introduce herself, recognized the group from the charity ball (where she had been the woman Ivan grabbed), and bolted. After a chase, the group subdued her and corrected her mistaken impression that they were government agents. Sarah said she was there strictly as a messenger for her uncle (who backed up her story by phone), and made an offer for the sword. Maggie refused to sell.

Shortly after she left, Sir Arthur Lockholm contacted the group with a warning: Sarah was in fact internationally renowned thief Lise D’Fleur, and Ivan’s actions at the charity ball had inadvertently foiled her latest robbery. The group double-checked the hotel room – but nothing appeared to be missing, except a tuft of hair that had been pulled from one of Maggie’s hairbrushes.

Fortunately, another unlikely ally arrived to help explain things – Ivan’s kitten. Or, more accurately, a spirit from the Mythic Age that the characters’ previous selves bound into a bell and put onto a collar. The group received the bell as a gift from Kimiko’s ninja clan, who tested her claims of newfound power and accepted the group as the reincarnations of their ancient masters. Once the collar was put on Mr. Snuggles, Anagorais awoke within the kitten’s body, and spent her time alternately dispensing tidbits of magical knowledge and enacting acts of petty revenge for her prior mistreatment. One consequence of the hair theft was that whoever had Maggie’s hair could use it as a sympathetic link for spellcasting – making it easier to target the group from a distance. Concerned about scrying, the group moved again, and set up some wards in the new hotel room to ensure the hair thief couldn’t magically locate them.

Meanwhile, Ivan had a wrestling match scheduled, and wasn’t about to let a trivial little thing like “almost being blown up” keep him out of the ring. He got a concerned call from his promoter saying that bookies were receiving a small number of very high-value bets against him and wondering if something was up. The group took it upon themselves to keep the match free of foul play, and formulated a plan that involved getting backstage as the caterers. After nearly setting off an international incident by sabotaging the (Pakistani) catering company with a drive-by attack from an (Indian) rival firm’s van, they snuck in and replaced the (presumed crooked) referee with George, put Maggie and Shane in front-row seats, and verified that the weigh-ins, drug checks, etc., were all on the level. Nobody was expecting a mage in the audience to turn Ivan’s opponent into a grizzly bear, but a quick-thinking Maggie subdued it with her draconic powers, and Ivan suplexed it to enormous crowd applause.

Kimiko noticed that three Slavic men were in the audience and that they seemed to know the mage. Fearing Russian Mafia involvement, she set out to corner them after the match. She caught up with their leader in the parking lot and warned him against going after Ivan, but his two underlings had already headed backstage. The rest of the group, thus warned, retreated to Ivan’s dressing room and prepared for a fight – but the underlings stopped halfway down the locker-lined hall, sniffed the air, turned into giant werewolf beasts, and smashed through one of the full-length locker doors to pull out a hidden Lise. In the ensuing confrontation, the werewolves were doing some serious damage to the group, so Kimiko ran back inside to cover them as the others grabbed Lise and executed a tactical retreat back to the van. The group got away, and dropped off Lise after grilling her on her presence and the hair theft (which she genuinely seemed to know nothing about). She was thoroughly rattled by all the supernatural weirdness, and sufficiently grateful for the rescue to give back Maggie’s sword, which she had pilfered amid the chaos.

At sundown, Maggie was responding to a medical call a few blocks away – with Kimiko along, since the group had wisely decided in the wake of all the attacks to never leave anyone alone – when she instead drove to a tube station in central London. Kimiko, still unused to London geography, didn’t notice anything was wrong until Maggie met with a man in the station and started handing over her sword. Kimiko was charging in to subdue the clearly mind-controlled Maggie – and the others had jumped in a car and were rushing to assist – when suddenly Maggie felt a mental jolt and the sensation of drops of wetness on her skin, as if it were raining. Then suddenly things got confusing, and she was filled with rage and bloodlust, and only one thing was clear in her mind: The man was taking HER SWORD.

So, in the middle of a rush-hour crowd, she pulled out her pistol and shot him in the chest.

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