Lasciate Ogne Speranza
|Lasciate Ogne Speranza|
|ShadowHaven||The Depths of the Metahuman Subconscious|
|Casualties and losses|
|Personal Demons (don’t worry, there’s more where they came from)|
In which the Seven accompanies Kera on a metaplanar journey to the Well of Souls as she undergoes vampiric metamorphosis.
An hour before the start of the run, Kera was infected with HMHVV Strain I (see: A Grown Up Fairy Tale). Seven, who was on the job with her and fascinated with the process, knows that there is nothing he can do for her now to save her from this fate, so he resigns himself to stoically observing the process, for science of course.
Seven, on his way back from Loveland with Kera’s still-warm corpse, summons a task spirit to possess her body and sneak it past the clerk in his apartment building while he distracts him (he briefly considers the possibility of being mistaken for a shadim summoner, but dismisses this notion). Up in his apartment, he lays out the body in his lodge and thinks of what to do next. Grabbing a crystal ball, he uses it to center his consciousness before projecting himself onto the astral. Observing Kera’s body, he notices a thin silver filament trailing away and attempts to follow it, pulling him into the astral sea and to a bubble metaplane on the edge of the Well of Souls made up of their shared subconsciousness.
Plan? There’s no plan, just a couple of initiated mages exploring the final frontier of the metaplanes.
Seven appears next to Kera in a shadowy, dream-like version of the Seattle Metroplex composed only of the notable sites from their memories. Kera, for her part, has no idea where she is or how she got there – the last thing she remembers is Charon slap-patching her awake before infecting her with HMHVV… and that starts to put the pieces together. She’s dead, and this is effectively hell, so now she has to pass the Dweller at the Threshold to journey to the Well of Souls. Luckily, she’s got her very own Virgil in Seven to accompany her, and the lights of symbolism-laden Dante’s Inferno beckon in the distance.
Approaching the phantom nightclub (or rather, being pulled along by the astral current/dream-logic of the metaplanes), the two of them see ghost-like spirits drifting past, none seeming to take any notice of them – that is until they make it to the base of the nightclub, where Seven spots a familiar-looking spectre lurking in the shadows. It is Charon (or rather, the metaphysical manifestation of HMHVV infection taking a form which shares their fellow runner’s distinctive style; a sort of shadowy echo left behind in their minds after the events of their last job) – before Seven can alert her to the presence of the shadowy figure, it vanishes into the staff entrance of Dante’s. No matter how hard the two try they cannot force it open, leaving the only option to ascend the spiral staircase to the main entrance on the roof and descend through each floor of the club until they reach Hell.
Inside Limbo, the two of them notice that every one of the club patrons is someone they know who has died. Handing over their “coats” (earthly burdens), they pass into the club proper, descending through Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Greed, Wrath, Envy and Pride, partaking in the symbolic offerings on each floor as they go. Some highlights include, but are not limited to:
- Kera having Raven manifest to her on Greed to pluck out her eye and gamble it away for a shiny glowing bauble, with which it replaces the stolen eye.
- Seven finding the Spike ganger who assaulted him the previous evening on Wrath (the troll having been killed by Ancients later that night), and cutting him apart with his weapon focus sword before attaching his spiritual remains to his flaming wheel-shaped guardian spirit.
- Kera witnessing some faceless KE pawns on Wrath who she is sure are the ones who killed her parents all those years ago. One is seemingly consumed by a bug spirit before her very eyes; turning to attack her in a mad rage, it dissipates into nothing before reaching her, denying her any chance at vengeance.
- The two of them witnessing a panopticon of their memories on Envy, as well as alternate paths their lives could have taken – Seven sees himself with his sight as a mobster in Chicago (but ends up deafened by an explosion instead of blinded in an assault), while Kera sees herself in a world where her parents never died and she became an Ares Global Media goth idol (but ends up addicted to essence drain from the infected at the vampire clubs her alternate self hangs out at).
- Confronting their externalized inner demons in Pride, with Seven talking to his father (who, though he is still alive, as a mortal, will one day die and pass through the Well of Souls in his own time) and Kera seeing her dead parents and all the spirits she’s sent to her death.
- During all of this, Seven taking occasional glances at Kera’s aura and seeing the infection slowly spread and incorporate itself into her until the aura is visibly changed.
Finally reaching Purgatory, they find themselves in the antechamber of Hell facing down the Charon-esque revenant which they sighted outside. Seven tries to attack with his sword, but finds himself wading through astral space as if the air had suddenly thickened, while Kera finds her shotgun at her side and blasts the creature in the chest. It just laughs, and soon all the familiar souls in the room (highlights of their trip through the spectral club) are drawn into the wound as the vampire regenerates, swelling with power as it consumes the essence of the damned.
Kera with unnatural speed, undeterred by the mana-barrier like presence which Seven slowly cuts through with his weapon focus sword. She attempts to essence drain the familiar-looking spectre, but it just cackles and clinches her, stealing her HMHVV-granted strength before enveloping her in a veil of shadows. Undeterred, Kera attacks with her fangs and manages to land a hit, finally drawing away some of the excess power of the creature and feels the euphoric rush of power as the hunger wells up in her.
The vampiric shade bursts and discorporate into mist as Seven is suddenly able to move freely again – he slashes at the mist form while Kera claws at it to drain more essence from it, but it just laughs and slips under the door to Hell. The two are unable to follow, but the club manager – the devil himself, obviously – comes down and gives Seven (who’s astral form resembles a demon) an approving look before opening the door for them, allowing Kera to pass through to the Well of Souls while Seven looks on from the threshold, unable to pass on from the bubble into the metaplane of death proper as he is still alive; he just enjoys the view, taking the time to memorize the astral landscape.
Kera emerges into the starscape and the stonehenge-like monument at the center – catching sight of the stone in the middle, she sees the red and black light spilling out and feels pure primal dread. Not wanting to die just yet, she turns around but sees the door to Purgatory has vanished, leaving her alone in the endless starry void. Undeterred, she just smiles and falls backwards, down and down and down into the night; she can’t escape the Infection that easily though, and the red/black light follows her to consume her and subsume itself into her. The metamorphosis complete, Kera is enveloped in blackness as the bubble metaplane pops, returning Seven back through the ghostly club and into the spectral metroplex where he is pulled back to his apartment, waking back up with the new vampire.
Kera wakes up in her transformed body, and the first thing she notices is the intense, nearly over-whelming hunger which threatens to dissolve everything into a red haze if she does not sate it soon. The second thing she notices is that she can’t stop astrally perceiving. The third thing she notices is that she now knows the unseen art of Masking after going through so many gradual, metaphorical changes during the metaplanar journey, and has the ability to mimic what her aura used to look like (which she’ll need in order to keep her job at Lone Star). The fourth thing she notices is that 27 hours have past since she “died”, and that it’s now 3am the next day. It’s a lot to take, and she needs a minute to process it all.
Seven just stares down Kera, sword across his lap, and she has to visibly restrain herself from trying to rip his neck open and feast on his still-warm blood. Thankfully she makes her composure roll and doesn’t attack the full mage with the weapon focus, instead thanking him for protecting her body during the change and accompanying her on the vision quest. He thanks her in turn for the opportunity, saying it was a fascinating experience, and the two of them promise to share their notes on the matter with one-another before Kera leaves to go and find someone to snack on (see: Kera's Night Out).
- Initiation to Grade 2
- Rank 1 in Astral Combat
- Natural Weapons specialization in Unarmed Combat
- Rank 1 in Infected knowledge
- Rank 1 in Metaplanes knowledge
- Spirit Whisperer quality
- Rank 1 in Magical Theory (Street) knowledge
- Rank 1 in Infected knowledge
- Rank 1 in Metaplanes knowledge
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Start Recording. The following is a loose compilation of my notes and memories from my most recent journey to the subconscious realm of death. For posterity, note that I made this journey by following a co-worker's consciousness as she was being metamorphosed into a vampire, which I suspect resulted in a fairly unique experience. As I may later share these notes with others, I will refrain from identifying this individual.
New Line. Notably, we arrived in a place whose very signature was dead and without essence, perhaps due to place being a manifestation of death. I was surprised, however, to note that it took the appearance of Seattle, most likely as it appears to my coworker given that I have never seen it myself, implying that the place was mostly constructed from our own minds.
New Line. I noticed The Shade first outside of the Inferno, the one who turned my coworker. I suspect I saw her first because my coworker was still nascent in her transformation, implying that The Shade was an externalization of her own understanding of the virus; thus, while I can see it as an outsider looking in, the virus needed to progress before my coworker could acknowledge it consciously.
New Line. It was within the Inferno that I noticed my consciousness beginning to affect things as well, though given my background with Christian icons, the mere existence of the Inferno here may have been of my own manifestation. I noticed some of my own sins on those floors, the ones I manifest in my work. Furthermore, I encountered numerous impressions of people I know, including the troll from yesterday. Note that I killed this shade and affixed him to my Wrath persona, and as I speak the shade is still visible when I manifest Wrath again in the waking world. I disliked the floor of Envy, I think it drew on our latent insecurities and worthless fantasies, as if any other life would be right for me... Though that may just be pride talking.
New Line. I've debated whether or not to mention this, but it should help prove beyond doubt that the plane was drawing from both of our memories. In Pride, I saw my father. I know we communicated, but I don't remember words so much as impressions. He had a certain fear, the kind I'd never seen in him before. Suppose being in Hell does that to a man a like him. At any rate, he asked me for something. To save him, perhaps? Or to come back to him? Something along those lines at any rate. Naturally, I'm aware that it was not really my father, but rather my conception of him being projected into Hell. Even so, I sense that this meeting is significant in some way.
New Line. The club owner, the devil, gave me an odd sensation. He didn't move like the other shades there, he had more purpose. He was there with me at the end, watching my coworker's final transformation. Before I forget, I should talk about that spectacle. The Well of Souls, it's called. I couldn't enter, but I did observe as she flung herself from it. The way the virus leapt after her to catch her... Perhaps I'm imagining it, but it almost seemed panicked. Scared that she would fall away. Suppose if she died, the virus within her would as well. Anyway, that's when i began to feel myself pulled back to my body. Last thing I recall is the devil next to me. A part of me wonders if he's one of mine, my coworker's, or... Someone else's.
New Line. Last note, a difference that I think my coworker will have noticed, when we confronted The Shade, I had difficulty approaching, having to cut through a barrier first. She, however, we unimpeded as she moved directly into combat. This lends credence to my theory that The Shade is a manifestation of the virus, which is further strengthened by the fact that she consumed The Shade in order to defeat it. End Recording.
Save As: Death Realm Notes. Send To Contact: Kara.