The Vigil

Session 1: Welcome to Boston
In which our heroes meet, a theft occurs, and Gabriel gets his pound of flesh

Summary

Gabriel and Vaughn were contacted by Adrian Verne, who told them that he had information he thought they’d be interested in, and a job that he could use their help with. The two of them were jumped in a parking lot by a pair of thugs, but quickly turned the tables on their attackers. During the fight, Vaughn noticed a strange tattoo on one of the thugs – once the pair was dealt with, Gabriel examined it in more detail, and realized that he’d seen it before, on the mage that killed his sister. Gabriel carved the tattoo off of the thug so that he could show it to Adrian the following day.

GM's note: Why Gabriel didn't just take a picture of the tattoo, I'll never know.

The following morning, Nick arrived at Samuel Crowe House to find the place cordoned off with police tape, and a crowd outside peppered with Boston Police and Harvard campus security. He noticed Adrian standing near the front entrance talking with Bill Davis, a campus security guard and a friend of Adrian’s. Nick approached the pair, and they explained to him that there had been a break-in the night before.

Someone came in through a first-floor window, smashed a glass case where Adrian kept several “sensitive” books locked up, took a single book, and left. The perp was dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and seemed to know where to expect cameras, so the security footage didn’t get much to use to identify him. He also seemed to know exactly what he was looking for, and where to find it. When campus security responded to the break-in, the perp almost put one of them through a cinderblock wall – he was unbelievably strong and fast. The campus security cameras caught him heading into Harvard Square Station after fleeing the campus.

Vaughn and Gabriel arrived at the scene a short time later. Gabriel hung back away from the crowd, since he was carrying a small arsenal (and a chunk out of someone’s neck), while Vaughn approached and greeted Adrian. Adrian made the introductions between Vaughn and Nick, and filled Vaughn in on the situation. Once forensics had finished with the scene, Adrian, Nick and Vaughn went inside, where Vaughn told Adrian about the ambush the night before. Adrian immediately recognized which book was missing: a copy of a centuries-old German text titled Auf Hexen und Ihre Verschiedenen Ritualen (On Witches and Their Various Rituals). He told the PCs that the knowledge contained in that book had the potential to do a lot of damage in the wrong hands.

Gabriel and Vaughn managed to sneak the “package” with the tattoo into Crowe House so that Adrian could examine it. After looking it over, he said that he thought he had, in fact, seen the strange symbol before, but that if he had, it was in the stolen book.

Bill came back to tell Adrian about a missing student, Sam Watson. Adrian and Nick recognized the name – one of Adrian’s students who’d shown an interest in the Crowe House library, and, as it turned out, in the stolen book. Based on the height and build of the thief, they determined that Sam was a likely suspect responsible for the break-in.

The PCs determined that their best shot at finding Sam (and thus hopefully Auf Hexen) was to have Adrian use a tracking spell, but in order for that to work, they’d need a piece of Sam – hair, nail trimmings, or blood, preferably. Adrian pulled some strings at the university and managed to get Sam’s home address, an apartment in a complex near the campus. Nick, Vaughn and Gabriel headed off to see if they could find Sam (or at least part of him).

They found the apartment easily enough, and Gabriel set to work picking the lock – unfortunately just as he was springing it, one of Sam’s neighbors (a college-age girl named Mary) walked out of the apartment across the hall. She accosted them and threatened to call the police, not believing their weak excuses as to what they were doing there. Gabriel sprung into action, threatening her and scaring her so much that she retreated back into her apartment, promising not to call the cops as long as he wouldn’t hurt her.

Turning back to Sam’s apartment, they opened the door to find that the place had already been thoroughly ransacked, with the window by the fire escape standing open (and a hole cut through it near the lock). While Nick searched the bathroom and eventually found some hairs stuck to a comb, Gabriel examined Sam’s computer. He had an easy time of it, and was able to quickly access Sam’s email. He didn’t find anything directly incriminating, but did come across a series of emails with a man named Albert Johnson, the last of which was a request for Sam to meet him immediately, sent several hours before the theft. None of the emails included any information about locations, or any other information that could be used to easily locate the meeting or Albert. Some quick internet searches returned quite a few Albert Johnsons in the Boston area, one of which was a Harvard alumni, from the class of 1960.

Returning to Crowe House, Nick gave the hairs he had collected to Adrian, and Adrian went to his basement lab to prepare his tracking spell. Meanwhile Gabriel followed up on trying to locate Albert Johnson by calling the numbers of each person by that name in the Boston area. On his third try, he found one who sounded roughly the right age – the address listed was in the north end, near Old North Cathedral. Once Adrian had prepared the spell, he returned with a small crystal on a short leather thong, which he gave to Nick. Instead of hanging normally, the crystal was angling to the southeast. Adrian told them that they’d have forty minutes to an hour before the spell wore off, and that the crystal would point the straight-line direction to Sam.

The three of them piled into Nick’s car and headed off towards the north end, following the crystal. Once over the river, however, it became clear that Sam was somewhere more to the west, and they eventually tracked him to a neighborhood just southeast of the Pru. This close, it became clear that Sam was somewhere underground. Vaughn realized that they were near the old Orange Line tunnel, which the Church never brought back into service. The closed-down Boston Back Bay station was a short walk away, and they decided that would be the quickest route to Sam.

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Session 2 - Into the Darkness
In which our heroes meet a potential ally, make a new enemy, and receive a pair of strange gifts
GM's note: Mike's character still doesn't have a name.
I'll update this with the appropriate info when he sends me the name he wants to use.

Mike’s character heard a knock at the door of his apartment while sitting at home by himself one evening. Initially cautious, he eventually opened the door to find a small wrapped package sitting on his doorstep. Seeing no one in the hallway, he brought the package inside and opened it to find a note from Father Barnes, his mentor during his time in the Church, along with a palm-sized black stone flecked with red, with a strage symbol inlaid on it in silver. The note asked him to keep the stone safe for Father Barnes and to contact him in a few days, “once things have died down”.

The next day while taking the Red Line to the market, he found himself standing near the end of the platform, mostly alone, when he heard a strange whispering and was suddenly shrouded in darkness.

Back at the subway entrance, Vaughn got a call from Adrian on his cell asking him to come and help him with something urgent. Vaughn left Gabriel and Nick to finish tracking down Sam, and headed off to help Adrian.

Gabriel and Nick spent a moment examining the graffiti covering the station entrance. They identified several gang tags and decided to be extra cautious. The bars covering the station entrance had been cut away on one side to leave a narrow entrance. Once inside, they began to hear crying and screaming from somewhere below. Heading down to the station platform, they found several groups of homeless people milling around, some wailing, crying and screaming.

As they entered the platform, they were immediately approached by a large man in a long hooded coat, who seemed unperturbed by Gabriel’s rifle pointed at his face. At his side was a young girl with hollow eyes, who seemed equally unconcerned. Gabriel noticed that the man was carrying several large pistols under his coat, as well as a large sharpened stake. After a short but tense standoff it became clear that the man thought they were backup for “the group that came through here just now”. After finding out that they weren’t, and after Nick assured him that they weren’t a threat to the homeless people gathered there, things calmed down. The man introduced himself as Darnell, and the girl with him as Jinx, before asking if they were carring the candle. Gabriel looked confused, but Nick recognized the phrase as Hunter slang for those people who are “on the Vigil” – aware of the supernatural and devoted to protecting the innocent from it. Nick responded that they were, and Darnell calmed down noticably and told them that three ghouls had come through in the last few minutes, killing a few people and dragging one girl off down the tunnels to the southwest.

Gabriel and Nick headed off into the tunnel after concluding their conversation with Darnell. Once out of sight of the station platform it was pitch black in the tunnel, so Gabriel slotted a flashlight to his rifle. Snapping the light on revealed a boy of 8 or 10 standing about 20 feet in front of them. The boy said that they were expected, and that “his lady” wanted to meet with them. After determining that the child was not connected with the ghouls, they explained that they had urgent business father up the tunnel. The child seemed to know about the ghouls, and was happy enough for the PCs to deal with them, saying that it would save his lady the trouble of doing it herself. They agreed that they would meet this lady once they had finished with the ghouls, and the child seemed satisfied, stepping into an access corridor to the side of the tunnel.

Moving further down the tunnel, Gabriel spotted a flare of yellow light from a small maintenance platform to the left. They couldn’t see the source of the light, but they could see three figures standing in the tunnel by the platform, one of which was dragging a limp figure. The three noticed Nick and Gabriel at about the same time, and the one dragging the girl, apparently their leader, sent the other two to deal with them while he hauled the girl up to use as a human shield. The two sent to attack the PCs moved with incredible speed, but Gabriel’s expert marksmanship held them back. In the ensuing fight, Gabriel dropped two of the ghouls while Nick provided covering fire. Despite a few close calls, Gabriel and Nick managed to come through without getting shot, although the leader of the ghouls used his human shield to good effect and managed to escape, throwing the girl into the gravel before running off down the tunnel, saying that “Annabelle will have to learn to live with disappointment”.

Gabriel helped the girl to her feet while Nick hopped up to the maintenance platform, finding Sam lying in a pool of his own blood with two bullet wounds in the gut. Next to him was the still-burning remains of Auf Hexen. Though weak, Sam tersely explained that he’d destroyed the book to keep it away from the ghouls, and then passed out.

A few minutes later, Nick and Gabriel arrived back at the Back Bay station platform with the girl, Gabriel dragging Sam behind him on a makeshift litter made from his coat. Seeing them, Darnell moved to help while the girl they’d rescued was surrounded by concerned friends. They brought Sam up to the street, where Nick revealed that he knew someone that could help Sam and keep it quiet. They loaded Sam into Nick’s car and headed to the Docks, where the Vettreli “Family Doctor”, Vic Santo, had a basic operating room set up in the office of a warehouse. Vic said that he could take care of Sam, but that it would be several hours before he was recovered enough to talk to them. Gabriel went to a nearby cleaner that Vic recommended to get the blood out of his coat while Nick watched over Sam.

That evening Sam finally woke up, and although he was clearly in pain he was able to give Nick some important information. He said that he’d stolen the book at the request of his friend Albert Johnson, who said that it was in danger – that someone had found out where it was, and wanted the information inside. He had Sam take the book in order to keep that knowledge safe. Sam told Nick to email Albert and set up a meeting on the Common if they wanted more information, and then he passed out again.

Returning to Back Bay station to keep their appointment, Gabriel took a moment to hand Darnell the guns he’d taken from the ghouls, and to ask him where he’d gotten his guns. Darnell wouldn’t tell him who his contact was, but did agree to try and trade the guns Gabriel had for a Desert Eagle, which he said would probably take a few days.

Heading back down the tunnel they met the boy that had accosted them the first time, and agreed to go with him to meet his lady, at which point the darkness closed in around them despite Gabriel’s flashlight. Some time later they found themselves standing in the middle of a large group of odd-looking people in a dead-end tunnel. In front of them was a stack of shipping pallets with a folding chair set on top of them, and sitting in the chair was a girl somewhere in her late teens or early twenties, dressed in a mismatched collection of fishnets, leather, silk, and a denim jacket, with stunning electric blue hair combed precisely to the left side of her head.

The girl introduced herself as Nyx, and asked what they were doing in her tunnels. Nick explained about the ghouls, and she thanked them for taking care of that for her. She then said that she had a gift for Nick, and handed him a palm-sized black stone flecked with red with a strage symbol inlaid on it in silver. He asked her where it had come from, to which she replied “I took it from a Churchman who was in my tunnels – which reminds me, I had another gift for you as well!” She gestured, and they turned to find Mike’s character standing beside them, looking very confused. She explained that this was “the Churchman”, and looked at them expectantly. Nick carefully thanked her for her generous gifts, to which she declared that she was bored and that they should leave.

After turning the corner from Nyx’s “throne room”, they found themselves near Back Bay station again. They headed back to the surface, where Gabriel interrogated Mike’s character about who he was and what he was doing there. Finally discovering that he was actually on the run from the Church, Gabriel seemed to like him a lot more. They decided that they’d all head back to Crowe House and meet with Adrian, to hopefully get more insight into what was going on.

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