Brendan O’Shea & Jack Cook arrived in Las Vegas at the behest of their divine fathers on Friday, February 4. They were to serve as the eyes, ears, and muscle for their fathers. On reaching the Wynn Hotel and Casino they made their way down to sub-basement 2 only to receive their directives (“Don’t let us be disturbed!”) and two letters for “other kids like you” The meeting room’s doors were then closed in their faces.
Meanwhile Gunnar Esparza, Laurel Kladakos & Nathan Pritchert convened at Gunnar’s motel. They had just recently again come into possession of the Black Feather Shroud, a dangerously powerful artifact that they were still not completely sure about. All they knew was that Baron Samedi obviously couldn’t hold onto it as well as he had claimed. Their plan, after a bit of discussion was to not let the shroud out of their sights until they could get back to the God’s Summit tomorrow and once there, put it in the hands of Hachiman. Hachiman was selected because he was the least likely to fly into a rage and go looking for Loki’s head.
The next morning arrived, and while Brendan walked off to find breakfast Jack stood vigil in front of the double doors in sub-basement 2. Gunnar, Laurel and Nate arrived to and Gunnar proceeded to make a new friend. The conversation went something like:
“Who the hell are you?”
“Who the hell are you?”
“…I asked you first.”
“I asked you second.”
Which was when Laurel stepped in and introduced herself, before starting back over at “who the hell are you.” Gunnar then proceeded to attempt to knock on the doors, which Jack would not permit. Just about this time Brendan arrived back from breakfast to see 2 individuals that met descriptions his father had given him (for the letters.) Even before he said a word, the other scions pegged Brendan as an Irishman. Maybe his t-shirt was kind of a giveaway…it read “Unrepentant Fenian Bastard”
After finding that the meeting had been stepped up in urgency and realizing he wasn’t going to get past Jack without a fight, Gunnar acquiesced, figuring they could hold onto the cloak a bit longer. Brendan handed over the notes to Gunnar and Nate. Both notes directed their owners to head to the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino; Gunnar to investigate an uneasy feeling that Heimdall got about the place, and Nate to find a new home for the kami of the MGM hotel that he’d been toting around.
Then Nate’s phone rang. His captain demanded that Nate needed to, “get his ass into the department ASAP, shit was hitting the fan…”
That it was. The woman Nate had saved the previous week, Janene O’Neil, had gone missing and the two officers assigned to stake-out her home were found dead. Nate’s captain demanded that since Nate brought this assignment in, he’d better figure out what he’d stirred up and do it quick before any more good men or women went missing or dead.
At the crime scene the CSI had already come and gone, contaminating any idea of the number of assailents. They were able to ascertain a few things though the use of Instant Investigator.
- Whoever took out the cops did it with hit man-like precision, using only two shots which no one in the area had heard.
- The front door was not forced, someone had gained entry through picking the lock.
- There were 5 individuals that left tracks only from the entrance to the bedroom.
- Janene put up a fight, but no one seemed to be seriously injured as no blood was found at the scene.
They also realized that Janene was a bit of a shut-in and fantasizing romantic. They were starting to get the feeling that perhaps she was meant as a virgin sacrifice. With a bit of discussion the team posited that there must have been more going on at Pangyris than they had assumed. Nate hustled up his fellow scions and headed to the one place they were sure they could find answers, the home of Donald Jackson (the man that had tried to sacrifice Janene.)
Nate and Brendan hung back in the police SUV, making sure badges wouldn’t spook Donald. The rest of the crew waited for Nevermore to do a sweep of the house’s exterior looking for a way in. While he didn’t find a way inside, Nevermore did ascertain no one was home, the lights in the kitchen had been off and he’d seen no movement. Assuming he’d not be remembered, Gunnar knocked on the front door (just to be sure no one was at home) then after the door not being answered he made a quick entry in a less than legal manner.
Once inside the house Gunnar turned things upside down but all he found was a rough draft of Pangyris. He lifted the script and got the hell out of Dodge. Outside he handed the script to Brendan who breezed through the manual and discovered only two facts they didn’t have before. Within the framework of the play:
- The “hero” was to descend into the underworld only to find that it was too late to save the damsel (being played by the unwitting Janene) and forced to emerge back into the mundane world alone.
- The second thing was less a fact and more a lead with no direction. On the back were a number of logo designs in no way associated with the play. One seemed more prominent and was circled showing the artist’s main choice, the logo depicted a shield-like shape with a drop of fluid upon it, over the shield peered two menacing snake eyes.
Having hit a dead end, the group decided it must be time to take care of the work that Hachiman and Heimdall had requested they take care of. As the the scions pulled up to The Stratosphere Brendan noticed a storm was moving in over the horizon. Inside the lobby the group began to fan out looking for whatever could have spooked a god into sending his child here to investigate. It wasn’t long before eyes were drawn to a familiar snake-eyed symbol on an advertisement for the casino’s newest attraction, The Chapel in the Clouds.
Arriving in the wedding-consultation room, the group was greeted by a jovial black woman who wanted to know who was “the lucky fella’” Gunnar and Nate both spoke up at once, “Me!” then looked at each other. “Him!” Gunnar and Nate said again in unison. Jack made a joke about being the unlucky fella. The woman behind the desk took Laurel in hand and mentioned something about how Las Vegas brought out all the drunks and degenerates. As Laurel sat down and went over the packages available with the planner the guys began investigating the chapels for any link to Donald. As they perused the set-up many of them started to realize that there were a lot of snake-themed items available for purchase in a wedding package; a snake-skin picture frame, snake-skin table runners, and on the cake table sat a particularly nasty looking knife with an amber globed hilt. On all the pews was engraved that same snake-eyed symbol. When asked what it all meant, the planner professed to know nothing, only that the management had put it all this way, only to subleas the area to a wedding planning company. Meanwhile, Nate had sneakily gotten his hands on the reservation calendar to see what kind of meeting had been logged in. He saw that between the hours of 2 am and 4 am the same party always had one of the chapels reserved, a person by the name of Sandan Jockold; an anagram for Donald Jackson!
Thanking the planner, the group headed away to compare notes. In no short time at all the scions were back in the chapel lobby putting down a reservation for a 2 am wedding with the Elvis-preacher package.
That night, decked out as a wedding party with bullet-proofed vests the group reconvened to put the hurt on Donald. Gunnar disguised himself as a drunkard with a bottle of whiskey, and did some recon by “having to pee.” He kept hearing one word repeated, and was going to check it out before the King dragged him back to the altar. As Laurel and Gunnar stood before The King himself, Jack listened in on the chapel next door which had closed its doors. The people inside were chanting something, something Jack didn’t understand, but he heard one name repeated, “Canopus.” Nate walked out on The King saying he’d go find Jack. After Jack explained what he had heard the two men agreed that they had to get in there before anything bad happened.
With a squarely placed kick Jack removed the flimsy doors of the chapel as a hindrance, in fact he removed them completely from their hinges. Nate rushed in pulling his gun as he saw a group of robed figured who were bowing to Donald. There he stood, hand raised with a chalice of blood, before him lay the body of Janene, abdomen and torso sliced open to reveal her innards.
“Freeze!” Nate yelled while pulling the trigger and burying a slug firmly into Donald’s right shoulder causing the man to reel back and slosh blood from the chalice.
“Fools, stop them! None can halt the coming glory of Canopus!” Donald ranted. As the figures began to rise they unsheathed their knives. Behind them their leader made a hasty exit into a side hallway.
Hearing a gunshot the other scions reacted. Elvis doubled over in fear covering his head as the group pulled weapons and ran toward the same side hallway Donald had disappeared into. Gunnar arrived just in time to see the elevator doors close on Donald smearing his own blood unintentionally against the back wood paneling. DING! the up arrow illuminated.
“Up? Why is he going up?” Gunnar wondered.
Jack ran forward, laying flat two of the cultists as they were continuing to rise. Nate fired off another round and down went a third. As Laurel and Brendan entered the room Gunnar began to pry open the elevator doors. In the blink of an eye he was gone, rising into the shaft after the elevator he buried his skeggox into the base of the tiny metal lift.
“I’m coming to get you Donald! I’m going to make you wish you were never born!” Gunnar yelled.
Jack swung wide burying his iron-clad fists into the unsuspecting face of his third cultist. Swing. Smash. Breathe. Swing Smash. Breathe. He was like clockwork as the cultists fell to the ground. Nate took in the horror of what the cultists had done to Janene and realized Donald had to pay, standing here taking out his flunkies wasn’t solving anything.
Nate looked up and saw Laurel and Brendan running into the room taking down a cultist each.
“Where’s Gunnar?” Nate inquired.
“He’s heading topside,” Brendan answered in a thick Irish accent, pointing upward.
DING! Gunnar could just see through the base of the elevator as Donald ran off onto the roof. Then the elevator began to descend again. “No! Damn it!”
The last cultist collapsed onto his knees begging for mercy, “Please, don’t hurt me! Why didn’t our lord save us? Where is my lord Canopus!?”
Brendan produced a pair of handcuffs and forced the man’s arm’s back into the iron shackles. “You’re under arrest. Talk to the Bird.”, Brendan informed the man, whereupon Nevermore began his interrogation. The cultist couldn’t decide what was stranger—being arrested by an Irish INTERPOL cop in Vegas or being questioned by a talking raven. Fear and loathing in Las Vegas indeed!
Gunnar arrived back where he had leaped from and he and Jack got into the mangled elevator to pursue Donald. Nate, seeing that Laurel and Brendan had things handled, grabbed the other elevator and headed up. Laurel stopped to look at Janene’s body, to her surprise everything was still in its place within the body’s cavity. Then it all hit her at once.
“She was dessicated? That’s sick—even for cultists!! Let’s get this maniac, Brendan!”
Lightning flashed and the rain beat down on the Stratosphere’s roof. The wind howled and tugged at Gunnar and Jack as they stepped off the elevator. A split-second later nate stepped onto the shadows of the roof. About 40 yards towards the yawning precipice, standing upon the skeleton of a dismantled roller coaster stood Donald, chanting something into the night sky. Two cracks of thunder echoed in the night. The first spoke over Donald’s chanting shaking the building. The second, from Nate’s gun, silenced him for good threading a bullet straight through the madman’s throat.
As Donald fell back his grip loosened on the chalice he held and fell to the ground. As the blood splashed upon the wet cement the titan-spawn leaped forth from the roller coaster’s covered housing devouring Donald whole.
The monstrosity that was Canopus stood before the three men, its body an aberration to the natural world. Part of its hide melded into the cars of the roller coaster with which it was now entwined. From its eyes issued forth a hypnotic light from where the roller coaster used to possess headlights and its fangs seemed to drip with hydraulic fluid.
Something in Gunnar’s Aesir ichor sparked and he charged towards the beast leaping onto its back. He landed squarely planting his feet between it’s scales so as not to fall the 900 feet to the Las Vegas strip below. He swung his skeggox, it glanced off the hide of the snake pulling back scales. Then, if only for a moment, he saw ink on the beast’s skin, hidden beneath the scales. Some kind of writing?
Jack, not to be shown up, dashed into the roller coaster’s gatehouse, up onto the rail and grabbed the tail of the beast in an attempt to crush it. Nate walked boldly forward firing shot after shot at the snake, mind absent from the rain soaking him to the bone. The snake, un-phased by any of these events, began to encircle Gunnar with the intent to coil around him.
It was to this scene that Laurel and Brendan arrived. Another bolt of lightning chained across the night sky, back-lighting the scene. Brendan pulled his billy club and ran to assist Jack. His mundane club transformed into a tall and wicked spear as he arrived.
“That’s cool!!!” exhaled Jack between grunts while still wrestling with the snake’s tail.
Laurel joined Nate in firing on Canopus, doing little but irritate the snake with her gun.
Gunnar could see this battle going nowhere fast. He lowered his guard and pulled out his gun bellowing, “Eat me if you dare fiend!”
Canopus reared back and hissed, “Assss you wissssh godling…”
The snake lunged forward burying its fangs into Gunnar’s back issuing forth a chemical cocktail sure to bring the scion to his knees, but as the fangs drew out of his back Gunnar placed a single well aimed shot into the snake’s mouth. It was hurt, Gunnar had drawn blood.
Meanwhile, Brendan buried his spear, the mythic Gáe Bulg, deep into the snake’s hide deploying the weapon’s hidden barbs. Jack released the snake and delivered an unimpressive fury of blows.
“This isn’t working!” Jack yelled, “We need another plan.”
“What do you want to bet that snakes can’t fly?” Gunnar yelled back as he jumped down. Canopus was trying to slither away.
“Sounds like a plan!” Jack yelled back over the storm as he lifted the snake’s back end. His muscles strained with the weight of such a massive object.
Brendan shouted as he began to pull at the Gáe Bulg, “Wait, I need to get my spear!” The spear came free with a sickeningly wet explosion pulling free exposed flesh on the titan-spawn’s side.
Gunnar planted his feet and grabbed the snake just below its jaw. With a joint heave the men hurled the thing off the roof.
“Anyone remember what terminal velocity is?” Gunnar mused, rubbing his shoulder where he’d been bitten. The roof spun a bit but from what he could tell the snake’s venom was something he could work through.
Nate, unable to admit defeat, ran to the car and retrieved the Black Feather Shroud. He remembered what Baron Samedi had said: “It do ’da dark majik, it bringa da dead back to life.” Entering the chapel once more he wrapped Janene’s body in it, hoping he wasn’t too late.
From under the shroud there arose a moan. Then, shambling out of the dark embrace of the cloak, a zombified Janene made her way towards Nate.
Nate, filling remorse over the inability to uphold hs officer’s duty to protect the innocent, couldn’t bear to see this wretched thing stand before him mocking both he and the victim. With one well aimed shot, he took Janene’s head off.
Nate then stayed behind to try and explain things to his captain when he arrived.
A short time later the group was on their way back to Gunnar’s motel room while Laurel read over the pieces of the beast’s skin she had harvested.
“Oh…” Laurel exhaled.
“Oh?” Gunnar inquired.
“Yeah, we need to keep the feathered cloak hidden until we can get it to our dads… it kinda well… It kills gods…” she answered.