August 17th 2008

Ravencroft’s opponent leapt up and over Ravencroft, driving his burning sword straight into the Scion of Odin’s heart. As he passed, Ravencroft delivered an equally fatal blow. Not quite fatal enough for Aggro, however, as the smartly dressed man’s body continued on its trajectory and its muscles executed their last planned move. Aggro didn’t quite get out of the way in time, and even as he smarted from the wound he’d just received, he brought his foot up and slammed it down into the head of the man lying at his feet – crushing it like any random fruit you’d care to describe. Assuming that the man was dead, but not having time to check, Aggro ran over to Ravencroft's fallen body and called out for a medic. Wile offered his services, and dropped to his knees next to Ravencroft’s body. Wile’s gifts allowed him to see that Ravencroft was already dead, but the emotion of the situation got the better of him and he started to perform CPR. Aggro stood by, tense, for over a minute until it was clear to everyone that Ravencroft was dead. He called for Wile to stop. Chambers stated that he would take care of Ravencroft’s body. The three then headed over to the metal sarcophagus from which the fire giant had risen. Wile confirmed that it was dead. Aggro questioned this, as he’d thought that Wile had only knocked it out with his last attack. Wile tried to explain that whilst it had been alive, it wasn’t now. This didn’t quite satisfy Aggro, but the lack of time to discuss the matter prevented him from questioning Wile further. Aggro’s offer to seal the sarcophagus was accepted, although some further runes were spotted on the inside of the lid. No one understood the runes, and no one had a camera phone, so it looked like the seal was only going to be temporary. They also noticed, just before they were about to seal the sarcophagus, that the fire giant – now more cooled magma than anything else – had a disc clenched in one of his stone hands. Aggro leaned in and, softening the stone, pulled the disc free. Unable to translate it himself, he showed it to the others. It was identified as a symbol of change – and even as he tried to remove it from his hand, Aggro felt it sticking to his skin. He tossed it back into the sarcophagus and sealed the holes and the lid. The three agreed to head back up to try and deal with the sleeping hydra in the lift shaft that Hito had headed for – noticing as they left that the body of Ravencroft’s killer has started to smoulder.

Hito meanwhile had carefully edged his way down the lift shaft to the now sleeping hydra. At the last moment, Hito’s divine power deserted him and he slipped, waking the hydra. A head uncoiled from the shadowy form and shot towards Hito, narrowly missing him – but throwing off Hito’s aim to the point that the charges he was carrying were more dropped than thrown. Hito reversed quickly and started back up the lift shaft as the charges fell through the shadowy coils of the hydra and onto the floor below. Once far enough up the shaft, and before all the heads had awoken, Hito detonated the charges.

The three Scions in the subbasement were just reaching the basement when the explosion from Hito’s charges ripped through the lift shaft and engulfed them. Fate conspired, with the help of Wile’s magic, to make Aggro sneeze and drop Wile back into the subbasement, out of the blast range. Aggro himself took the brunt of the blast and ignored the searing flames. Chambers, perhaps hearing the click of the charges before they exploded, leapt up and out, through the wall of the abandoned building. The blast woke the now injured hydra’s remaining heads. Chambers tried to run back into the building, but instead bounced off a ward on the front doors – presumably put there by the black ops unit guarding the building. Still, who needs a door when you can jump onto the roof of the building and straight down the lift shaft? Aggro dropped to the subbasement and pulled metal and concrete from around Wile, picked him up, and headed back up to the basement – then on to the now ragged hole into the lift shaft. The attack against the hydra now came on three fronts – Hito drew the attention of one of the heads as he pulled out the rifle his father had given him and snapped off a shot, not taking enough time to aim, instead ensuring that the kick from the weapon would push him back through a set of lift doors and out of the immediate fracas; descending from above Chiyoko, alighted next to Hito to ask if he needed assistance, but was told that matters were under control, so faded quietly into the background. Chambers hurtled down the lift shaft and Aggro came from below. Letting go of Wile for a moment, Aggro smashed his 3-wood into the coils of hydra at the bottom, temporarily killing it – causing it to slump unconscious to the bottom of the lift shaft – Hito snapping off another shot and kicking up the broken lift door to act as a shield as the hydra head he was fighting lunged for a last attack. As it crashed down, its blood sprayed out over Aggro and Wile. The poison sizzled as it evaporated off an invisible shield surrounding Aggro. Wile was less lucky and the blood splattered against him, hissing against his skin. Wile, close to unconsciousness, pulled out of the fight and headed for the stairs. Aggro shouted out his (or Wile’s depending on how good your memory was) theory that the lesser heads needed to be taken out before the main head could. Hito slammed incendiary grenades into one stump and took a bead on one of the two heads growing from a former stump. Chambers and Aggro leapt up and took off both heads before Hito could shoot, forcing him to shift his aim to the main head, which he blew off without further ado.

The immediate crisis over, Aggro, Chambers and Hito headed down to the subbasement. Ravencroft’s body lay where it fell, as did his killer’s; the sarcophagus remained closed. The body of Ravencroft’s killer was searched, and an identity established. It was agreed, after a certain degree of too and fro that the sarcophagus should be removed and opened to further check the runes on the inside. Aggro carried the sarcophagus out of the building, and Chambers put in a call to Norse allies to discuss Ravencroft’s death. Aggro took the opportunity to talk to Hito about the manner of Ravencroft’s death – specifically that Chambers had stood back and allowed Ravencroft to die. Hito mentioned some of both Ravencroft and Chamber’s past indiscretions both in dealing with Hito and with each other. Aggro indicated that Chambers was claiming that it had been a duel – although Aggro believed that given that Ravencroft did not know his opponent, either his name, or his strengths, it would be hard to consider it a fair duel. Hito suggested that the Norse had some strange ideals. Wile reappeared with a newcomer that Wile introduced as James Corvin – his friend of apparently 6 minutes. Corvin identified himself as a Scion of Odin when Chambers mentioned Ravencroft’s lineage – Chambers indicating that he was arranging to honour Ravencroft’s body according to Norse tradition. Wile stated that he had heard that there was an emergency on an oilrig in the San Francisco bay. He indicated that the fire may be connected to the battle that had just raged beneath their feet. The four agreed to go to the oilrig, Aggro suggesting that they dispose of the sarcophagus at sea after opening it on the way. The other appeared confused until Aggro asked Hito is he could requisition a flat-backed truck.

Hito and Wile drove to a car lot that the FBI had access to in San Francisco. Aggro took off with the sarcophagus, and Chambers and Corvin got to know each other better and discussed what was to happen to Ravencroft’s body – before themselves heading to the car lot. Aggro arrived, deposited the sarcophagus, and then returned for the body of Ravencroft’s killer. Finally the five of them convened, loaded the sarcophagus onto the back of the truck and headed out to a good “launch” point under the Golden Gate Bridge. Aggro questioned the presence of an oil rig in the San Francisco bay, and Hito did some checking – establishing that records showed it had been there for a good 20 years, even if no one thought that it had been there that morning. Aggro lifted the truck over his head and carried it out into the bay. Stopping half way between the bridge and the rig, he suggested that they get the business with the sarcophagus out of the way. Chambers opened the sarcophagus and showed Hito and Wile the brass disc. The disc was considered a serious concern and wrapped in cloth and put in the glove compartment. Aggro suggested that they perform and autopsy on Ravencroft’s killer, specifically indicating that they should check the heart. It proved a good idea, as the killer’s heart appeared to be marked with three runes – runes marking the killer as a possession of Surtr. Corvin suggested that he ask the fates what the significance of the brass disc might be – the answers suggesting that breaking it might be a good, and safe, option. The disc was duly broken by Chambers. The fire giant’s body was thrown into the sea, dissolving, and leaving a skeleton as it sank into the sea. Aggro noticed, and alerted the others to a dark shadowy shape travelling away from the oilrig out into the open sea. As they watched it split and dissolved into the darkness of the ocean. It was decided that they should make haste to the oil rig, for although the emergency appeared to be over – based on the fact that the fire had gone out and it was now only smoking – it was also clear that something had just left, and the group wanted to check the site quickly. Aggro put the truck down on the oilrig’s helipad, and the five of them proceeded into the oilrig. In one of the control rooms, the more perceptive Scions noticed some brass fragments that suggested a runed disc similar to that found in the hand of the fire giant, alongside two metal bolts which appeared to be made of twisted iron, charred scorchmarks spiralling out from their tips. As they searched for more pieces, there was a lurch, and the floor shifted. The rig was collapsing – leaving the group just enough time to get out of the rig and back into the truck. Aggro returned them to the shore – and suggested that they meet for dinner to discuss their next move. They all agreed to meet in 45 minutes for seafood, variously heading back to their hotel rooms first to get changed.

At the restaurant, they ordered wine and food – with only Wile choosing non-seafood. Aggro stopped them as the wine arrived and offered a toast to Ravencroft. Chambers and Hito followed suit – then they started the meal – with Aggro suggesting that they have a serious talk about the direction that they were all taking. Specifically, he told them that he’d come to San Francisco at the behest of his father to find a group of other Scions who he could help, but that it was clear that they needed to talk about their roles and needs within such a group. The talk was interrupted by Wile changing colour rapidly, the veins on his face popping out briefly. He said that he felt ill – and Hito suggested that they leave and head to his apartment to finish the talk. Aggro arranged to get the food to go, along wit some more wine and some rum. They got outside, and Wile was violently sick – vomiting up a black shadowy mass that started to writhe on the sidewalk. Aggro put down the carryout and dropped to the floor, rapidly softening the paving slabs and wrapping the black mass in concrete. Hito directed the shocked onlookers, suggesting that they should come to the concert the following night to see the full show. The shadowy mass secured, the group headed to Hito’s apartment, where they settled into finishing their dinner. Wile was still not feeling great, and Hito suggested that he clean up in the shower. A couple of minutes after Wile entered the shower, those outside heard a thump as Wile hit the wall of the shower, and then the floor. Hito and Corvin moved to the bathroom door, and getting no reply from Wile, entered to find him unconscious on the floor, cracks in the wall tiles that Wile was not strong enough to make own his own. They helped him up and brought him through to the rest of the group. As they managed to bring him round, the lights in the room went out. Chambers suddenly snapped round and grabbed at something that had appeared in the shadow behind him. There was confusion in the dark, as the shadows seemed to be attacking, writing Japanese words on the walls, the doors, and even Aggro’s back. Hito managed to get a shot off at one of the creatures – a shadow wearing a white mask. The shot took off the creature’s head, leaving the body of a small child behind. The Scions were drawn into the corridor as the body of Chiyoko tumbled down the stairs, her arms broken. They carried the unconscious woman into the aprtment, lying her on the sofa.

Outside a figure stood in the street below. Tall, robed, and wearing a white porcelain mask, the Shinigami – apparently death itself – carried a large sword. Hito saw that it had come for him and proceeded down the stairs. Never one to abandon his team, and already having watched one Scion die today, Aggro followed. Corvin vanished into the shadows, leaving Chambers and Wile in Hito’s apartment. Awaking, Chiyoko warned the Scions with her that the figure in the street, which Hito had assumed to be Whisper was in fact, something much worse, wrapped in Whisper's body. Wile, perhaps feeling the same way Aggro did, decided that today was not going to see the futile deaths of two Scions and spoke to Chambers, encouraging him to join the battle – that these enemies were the enemies of all Scions – that what they did to one pantheon, they did to all. Chambers nodded and jumped out the window.

On the street, Hito faced the Shinigami. Aggro and Chambers stood behind him, weapons drawn. The air was thick with the tension of the moment, and witty one-liners flew from Hito’s mouth like shurikens biting into the flesh of his enemy. Corvin took aim with his gun, hitting the Shinigami’s sword, and causing it to fly out of the creature’s hand. As the Scions moved forward, shadow creatures materialised out of the darkness behind them. Aggro performed a standing back flip, swinging his 3-wood at the shadow creature’s head at the top of his rise and slamming it across the road. Chambers smashed the creature attacking him with his nightstick and leapt forward. Hito and the Shinigami closed in on each other, Hito now carrying the creature’s sword. They struck at each other, the Shinigami seriously injured by its own weapon. Aggro and Chambers continued to battle their respective targets, but weaken by the severing of the axis mundi, they briefly felt their divine power abandon them. Wile meanwhile had found that removing the masks from the shadow creatures returned them to their former state – innocent children. He called out to the others as he exited Hito’s apartment block to let them know. Corvin responded and shot the mask from the face of the creature attacking him. Aggro grabbed the shadow and ripped the mask off. Chambers, too caught up in the battle, perhaps as a result of Wile’s earlier inspirational words, slammed the head of the creature attacking him into a nearby wall, killing it.

There was further recourse to witty repartee, as Hito and the Shinigami each tried to get the upper hand in their fight. Hito drove the sword into the chest of the Shinigami, and it pulled itself further onto the sword in a bid to bring Hito closer, before biting a ragged chunk of flesh form his face. In the end, the wit of the child of Hatchiman, combined with his supremely graceful, almost fluid, dexterity, were too great even for death itself, and he delivered the killing blow.

The five stood in silence briefly as the Shinigami collapsed in its own death throws. Then Hito was gone, stepping through a portal into Yomi, alongside Chiyoko. Summoned to a greater battle by his father as the Amatsukami called on all their forces to defend against kami against them – and to hope above all that this was not their last battle. Back to back on the crumbling conrete wall of Yomi, HIto and his father battled the numberless hordes assaulting them. Hachiman place the pale Shinigami's mask on his child's faced, murmuring, "This will be most approporiate for what is to come," before adding, somewhat stiffly, "I could not be prouder of you, my son." The creatures surged forth once more, and the fight was rejoined with unmatched ferocity.

Now there were four. Aggro called out for a medic – and once again Wile came running. The surviving children’s wounds were tended to. Then Chambers walked over to Wile, stood behind him and warned him never to question his honour again – and never to goad him into a fight that he already intended to join. Chambers stated quite clearly that if Wile ever did such again, he would kill him. Then he pulled back the stump of his right hand and moved to drive the point home. Wile barely got out of the way as Aggro and Corvin started towards the sudden fight. Wile flashed a grin at Chambers and he stopped in his tracks. With little time to think, Aggro asked Corvin to ensure that the children were all taken to hospital, indicating that he would take Wile out of the area once the children were safe. They agreed to meet for breakfast the following day to finish the conversation that had been started at dinner, and to take in everything else that had happened that day. Aggro lifted Wile up and took him home.

Through the window of Wile’s hotel room, they saw a man, old, yet powerful looking – a king. Haemus – not just a white peacock apparently – assured Aggro that Wile would be safe if Chambers was still sufficiently pissed to come looking for him when he recovered. Aggro accepted this and left.

And so sleep came to those that wanted it. Finally.