The Last Remaining Light

The Vengeful One

In the blackest moment of a dying world...

The More Things Change: Returning to the surface world, the cabal’s triumph against Malkav seemed to ring hollow. Although it was late in the afternoon in early May for Morgaine’s chosen target of Barstow, the skies were dark, cloud-swept, hardly a bother even to their vampire allies. What light they could see was not one gleam but two. Hints of the sun — and the Red Star — were barely visible through the clouds. The Red Star was not gone, but brighter, closer, visible (if only barely) in the daytime, that and more. Streaks of light — comets, meteors?

If Barstow was bad — dark, unseasonably cold, abandoned — Seattle was worse. The chantry, what once was supposed to be Marius’ Arx Hermetica against the end of days, Ground Zero was gone. The structure was peeled open like a flower, and the space around it was warped; dizzying to look at, painful to interact with. The surrounding city was likewise abandoned, dark, and covered with volcanic ash.

Glastonbury Tor was where the pieces began to come together and make some sense. More than just still intact, Glastonbury was just as overcast, but bustling with activity — and some of their old friends from Seattle were there, too. As it turned out, most of the Seattle mages escaped Ground Zero and were invited to England. Unfortunately, they were invited after Terpsichore ruined the Seattle chantry, either in an attempt to escape or to commit suicide. The space-warping may be lingering Paradox from Terpsichore’s demise; it would have been better had it been from a Nephandi attack.

Add to that Geist’s apparent death while saving the others at Ground Zero, and the Euthanatos Rebecca staying behind for as-yet unknown reasons, and Marius is not happy.

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Crew rotation: The Defiant came back to Glastonbury with a few less people on board than when they left. There was Apollo, of course, who stayed behind with the Jadeborn, and most of Dr. Olaafson’s soldiers, who died there. They also lost Simon, the Redcap, who took the Scythe of Winter up from the world-shaking machine, and paid for it with his life.

On the other hand, it would seem that the Hermetic mage Sebastian has decided to stick around, although it isn’t clear what his plans are with the cabal. And their old friends Nadia and Dieter, having survived an encounter with Malkav and Ennoia, were shaken but undeterred by the experience. Like Morgaine and Marius, the vampires are changing; Marius avoids even using terms like Kindred or Cainite now. They don’t seem to fit any longer.

And then there was Ghost-Shadow. Although he unwittingly spooked Marius in the process, the lupus Garou has apparently returned from Erebus, his white pelt healed of Wyrm-scars, back in time for the big finale. Although Mari, their resident Black Fury, isn’t one to be pleased about much of anything, it’s not as if she can argue with someone who has literally been through Hell for Garou and come back to tell the tale.

The Vengeful One
 

The Dark Messiah: While the crew of the Defiant have been away for weeks, perhaps a month or more, the enemy has not been idle.

The Lord Gilmore had planned to unite the Council of Ten behind the Order’s plan. He promised to neutralize the threat of the Red Star, what he considered the more serious threat, compared to Marius and Morgaine’s quest underground. And yet, the Red Star is much closer now, enough to be more than a pinpoint, visible to anyone who looks, with eyes Awakened or otherwise. It’s enough to drive some to suicide.

The earthquakes and vulcanism may have subsided, but they’ve still taken a toll on the world. Unfortunate places like Seattle that were too close to the eruptions have become all but impossible to live in. It begs the question of why Rebecca Bates, the Euthanatos who always looked up to Marius, would choose to stay behind.

Now that the two of them have been ‘chosen’ by some ancient power, will Marius and Morgaine find that the Black Man was always a part of this older war, or is he a pawn in someone else’s game? Either way, the histories of the Jadeborn tell of the Exalted as living weapons against the creators of the world. It would seem that the Black Man, the Nephandi, may be on a mission of vengeance — what used to be Joshua’s old job, his Word, back in the day.

Will Marius and Morgaine play the hand they’ve been dealt, though it puts them on the side of the betrayers? Or will they not just see the reason behind the destructive war of the Nephandi, but sympathize with it? It may be just what the Black Man is counting on.

The Vengeful One
 

The Sky Island: After stops in Barstow and Glastonbury, the cabal flew to the supercollider facility on the border of France and Switzerland, near Geneva. Although the ‘Chosen’ continue to find their old acquaintances to be distressingly forgetful, Marius and Morgaine were able to talk Czarina Vargo into accelerating the Etherites’ plans to weaponize the collider.

In a bold act of Science (and magick), they would take the facility, and the surrounding area, across the Gauntlet and into the Umbral sky. A week passed in preparation, with the Etherites collecting supplies, soldiers and war machines, and the cabal prepping the ship and the land for the momentous ritual.

Although Marius’ experiment in tapping their new power was mostly successful, the Earth’s defenses proved wanting against the subtle incursions of the Nephandi. The Green Lady’s emerald countermagic shattered the powerful ritual magick raising the Sky Island, and nearly killed several of the Defiant’s crew in the backlash.

But the cabal fought back, working to repair the ship and to come to the defense of the collider facility. Morgaine’s choice in this moment to save the life of their mundane chronicler, Siobhan, had serious consequences for the Etherites. While the Black Man and Green Lady ran rampant, riding a massive Umbral monstrosity the size of a whale, the Nephandi inflicted crippling damage and casualties on the collider and on their niece Artemis’ Ethership.

In the end, the Sky Island, comprised of the land surrounding the supercollider, including several small towns, most of Geneva, and the nearby lake, now hangs in the high astral reaches of the Umbra, on the first Horizon. But with the facility damaged far beyond easy repair, was it worth it?

The Vengeful One
tytalus

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