December 9th 2007

The session opened as Michael, Eric, Theodore and Hito arrived atop what looked like a stepped pyramid in the middle of the South American jungle; surrounded by worshippers.


As they stood there the high priest gestured towards them, telling them, "The heralds of the new gods have arrived". The crowds prostrated themselves in front of the group, uttering prayers and venerating them. This veneration further increased as the two groups of Einherjar popped into existence slightly further down the pyramid, prompting the priest to proclaim that the armies of the new gods had arrived.

During this exchange Michael began to feel increasingly nervous as he recognised the style of dress the cultists had adopted as that of the Fraternidad de Las Cinco Pieles - the cult of the five skins. His suspicions (and his fears) were confirmed when a large crowd of cultists appeared at the foot of the temple, bearing not only offerings of fruit, flowers and gold; but also a struggling leaf-wrapped package that looked suspiciously like it might turn out to be a sacrificial offering.

Unfortunately he was proved correct as the package deposited on the ground and the high priest cracked one end of the squirming object with a bone club, rendering it still. Having had the offering placed on the ground and subdued it, the high priest walked over to Theodore and handed him a knife fashioned from chipped black stone, telling him that the honour of the sacrifice was his. Theodore took the knife and walked around the unconscious body wrapped in leaves, before turning and taking a step towards the priest. Theodore beckoned the priest over, and bade him stand before the unconscious sacrifice, before himself moving behind the priest. Realising what Theodore was planning to do, Michael used his abilities to render the priest unable to move or protest as Theodore reached up and took ahold of the top of the man’s head, before using the knife to cut his throat. As Theodore held the body up and let the blood spatter over the still unconscious intended sacrifice, Michael turned to them and in a loud voice told them;

"Our return required a noble sacrifice!"

Fortunately this managed to convince crowd that all was well (or at least as well as it could be considering they had just seen their spiritual leader killed in front of them). Eric, on the other hand, was far from happy about this turn of events. Telling Theodore that he considered the killing he had just seen as murder he proceeded to storm off down the pyramid, telling his Einherjar that he wanted nothing to do with the other Scions and that they would complete the mission on their own. Michael called for him to come back, but he ignored him, not even reacting when Theodore cut the cape of human skin from the back of the dead priest and threw it after him, yelling "here's your murder victim!"

Theodore then cut open the leaves and the package unwrapped to reveal the unconscious body of a young man; a man who looked identical to the face painted on the outside of the Greek sarcophagus in the British Museum. Theodore checked for a pulse, and then after finding one, began to shake the man awake. As his eyes opened, he screamed, causing Theodore to laugh. The apparently multilingual Michael then started speaking to the man in ancient Greek – which appeared to do the trick bu calming him down.

As Eric walked into the jungle the other Scions began to question one of the cultists who had stepped forward to claim the position of high priest. He seemed not to recognise the term "jilted mother" but offered to lead them to "the one with the youngest skin", an entity Theodore that reasoned must be at the head of the cult. The Scions accepted and, taking the Greek with them, followed their guide and a number of others into the jungle - going roughly the same direction as Eric had set off in. On the way the Scions saw the body of a man dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt hanging from a tree Theodore and Michael both saw the ghost of the man stood next to his hanging corpse. Theodore wandered over to it and tried to speak to the ghost but was stymied by his lack of Norwegian. Fortunately Michael overheard his attempts to communicate and was able to speak to the ghost, blanking Theodore’s inquiries about what the ghost of the man was saying. The ghost was relieved to be addressed in his mother-tongue, explaining to Michael that he had died a long time ago in a land of ice and snow, and that the clothes his body was wearing now were not his own. Realising that there was nothing he could do to help the spirit Michael inscribed on the ground runes relating to protection and safe passage which, if nothing else, seemed to cheer the spirit slightly. Michael then headed back to the main group and together they set off on their way once more. During this time Michael also took the opportunity to speak to the Greek. He told Michael that his name was Artimidorus and that he was a scion of Zeus, sent by his father to "kill the child". After some further questions Micheal ascertained that it was likely that they had the same objectives and surreptitiously passed the Greek Scion a combat knife to allow him to defend himself if needs be.

Meanwhile, Eric and his Einherjar had run into some trouble slightly further down the path. His scout, Styrbiorn, was attacked by a griffin which grabbed him and began to take off with him in one of its claws. Eric quickly climbed a tree after it and, after managing to get the creature's attention was subsequently attacked by the giant flying creature. The griffin swooped in and grabbed Eric in one of it’s empty claws, before beating its wings to haul Eric from the tree. Eric held on, but could not prevent the Griffin from ripping his grip from the tree – causing something to give in his arm in the process. He struggled valiantly, using his truncheon to shatter the bones in the claw that held him - and getting dropped for his troubles. Luckily he was aided by Hito who leapt nimbly through the branches, shooting the griffin in an unprotected area (the ass) and distracting it enough that it released the hapless Einherjar. Eric then gathered his fallen comrade and continued onwards as Hito rejoined the group of Scions and they followed on behind.

Both groups continued on until they reached a village deep in the jungle. Eric and his Einherjar set up camp a short distance outside the village whereas Michael, Theodore and Hito allowed themselves to be led into it. Once in the village Michael, Theodore and Hito were greeted and offered a wide variety of foods and drink before being told that they would have to go through a ritual cleansing and be properly attired before they embarked on the next stage of the journey. Theodore objected to this saying that he was already "properly attired" and that he did not need to go through any sort of "ritual purification". He did, however, lighten up considerably as it crossed his mind that there might be virgins involved in the cleansing. He indicated that he would be quite happy to take part in the ritual if this was the case. Theodore then asked if the villagers had anything that he could smoke and, after a brief period of confusion, was given a strange looking cigar that smelt as if it might contain mildly hallucinogenic compounds. Intrigued by the possibility of sampling a new drug, and wondering as to how strong it might be, Theodore lit the cigar and took several tokes, finding that with each one the shadows around him seemed to gain definition and clarity. Amused, he continued to smoke the cigar as Hito and Michael tried subtlely to get him to shut up – the more Theodore spoke, the more their guide grew suspicious at their lack of knowledge of their customs.

Michael, Theodore Hito and Artimedorus then retired to one of the huts in order to discuss the situation and try to establish where they were headed and if they would be able to get there without the aid of cult guides. Artimedorus told Michale that he would be able to lead the Scions part of the way, but that he would be unable to get them all the way there as the landscape became stranger the nearer you got to the temple. He also told Michael that he wished that there was a child of Hermes with them, as having a psychopomp with them would make the journey much easier. Michael mentioned this to Theodore who replied that he had not been lost in some time and would be able to lead the Scions through any problematic landscapes.

While the main group of scions were discussing these problems Eric was in the camp he had set up outside the village tending to Styrbiorn. Suddenly he was interrupted by the sounds of a scuffle at the edge of the camp, swiftly followed by the arrival of Eldgrim who walked over to Eric dragging behind him the dazed body of a dark-haired woman wearing a very modern-looking cocktail dress. As she was thrown down onto the ground in front of Eric she opened her eyes and looked at him, freezing him into place. She went on to explain that she was a Scion of Seshat and that he really, really, should check his email more often - saying that she had been sent to this land by her mother who had told her to tell him to show mercy to the child, that its death would mean the end of the Aesir, and that all prophesy was a lie. Having delivered her message she then turned away, disappearing with a loud "Fumph". Over at the other side of the village Hito, epically perceptive as always, heard the sound, accompanied by an eerie wailing, and he, Michael and Theodore went to investigate. When they arrived at Eric's camp they found him sitting on a log, pointedly refusing to either look at them or acknowledge their existence and, in effect, sulking - his Einherjar standing near him protectively. Further, Hito, with his finely tuned vision, was able to see the woman in the red cocktail dress standing right behind Eric, looking at the group with amusement.

After having failed trying to convince Eric that showing mercy to the child would be in his best interest, the Scion of Seshat tried her luck with Hito, giving him the same story. Hito listened with interest to the women while Theodore, after a brief period of confusion, decided to keep smoking the hallucinogenic cigar he had been given earlier hoping it would help. Strangely, it did, allowing him to see the outline of someone talking to Hito as he smoked. Looking for confirmation of what he was seeing, Theodore then pulled out the captain, who told him that there was no one there and that he should stop smoking his new foreign drug. Heeding the sage advice of his guide Theodore threw the remains of the cigar away and drank a good mouthful of the Baron’s rum. He and Hito, followed by Michael and his men, then decided to set off in search of the source of the wailing noise leaving the villagers behind and Eric watching over his Einherjar. On the way past Michael gave one of Eric's Einherjar a radio tuned to the group frequency, saying that he would like to have Eric along and to contact him if they wished to rejoin the group. After everyone had left Eric was still tending to Styrbiorn when he felt the statue of Geb being removed from inside his jacket and Hito caught a brief sight of the Scion of Seshat disappearing. Eric let loose a scream of rage and started to fell trees with his fists. Haskuldr tried to calm Eric down saying that they do not follow berserkers.

Michael, Theodore, Hito, Artimedorus and Michael’s Einherjar continued on their journey through the jungle. Hito asked Artimedorus if he knew any songs from his time and got a yes in response. Artimedorus sang for them as they travelled, singing song that Michael recognised as a variation on the song of Orpheus in which he recovers his bride and lives happily ever after. Artimedorus was then asked if he had any drinking songs and quite happily lauched into an improvised ballad, telling of the great exploits of the "children of the pagan gods" and lightening everyone's mood. Back at his camp Eric heard the song over the radio link in his head and had his spirits lifted, bringing him out of his sulk. Theodore, while seeing that he could not outdo Artimidorus, decided that he should start singing to show that despite his lack of talent, he would not be outdone by some newcomer. He launched into a dire version of an old creole song, finding that after a few verses Artimidorus was harmonising with him and improving the song. After a while the group arrived at a point in the jungle where it looked as if two images of the landscape in front of them had been superimposed on one another to try and confuse and disorientate the Scions.

Back at his camp Eric was waiting for Styrbiorn to come round from his wounds. When he did Eric helped him to his feet and spoke to him for a bit, asking if Styrbiorn felt up to the trek that would be required if they were to meet up with Michael and the rest. Styrbiorn answered in the affirmative and the group of them set off to meet up with the rest, radioing ahead to Michael and asking him to wait for them. On their march Eric asked Haskuldr what Michael might have meant when he said that he was fucked, and what he could have been talking about when he spoke of "strands" back at the museum. Haskuldr told him that, as the Scion of Odin, it was possible that Michael was able to see the strands of fate. Eric then asked about the legend of Sigurd and Haskuldr managed to lie to Eric about what it was about, spending more time on the detail of the story in order to delay the part that would upset Eric. Eric found the statue of Geb in a tree with a note attached and put it back in his jacket, ignoring the note altogether. As they neared where the rest of the group sat waiting they began to notice a number of strange shapes stalking them through the jungle and, realising that they would soon go into battle, Eric used his Blessing of Bravery to inspire his Einherjar to great feats. As they arrived Michael spotted two creatures that looked like some sort of Weretigers emerging from the jungle to strike Eric and his Einherjar from behind and shouted out a warning before turning his attention to three more of the beasts that had leapt from the jungle to attack the main group. A short battle followed, during which all five of the beasts were taken down with little difficulty. Theodore then decided he was going to skin the corpses of them so he could make a fetching tiger-striped waistcoat and hat band when he got back to New Orleans After washing the skins in a nearby stream, Theodore brazenly asked Michael if he had room in his rucksack for the skins. Expecting the resounding “no”, Theodore then asked Hito. He managed to convince Hito to carry the washed skins in his rucksack.

After the fight Eric asked Michael about why he had described him as "fucked" back in the museum and Michael explained to him that when he looked at him he saw that the bright gold fate stand that linked to Bronwyn was wrapped round his heart. Eric was left speechless for a moment and then, suspecting that Haskuldr had not told him everything, asked Michael if he could tell him the story of Sigurd. Michael obliged and Eric was shocked when he heard the rest of tale, especially where it related to Bronwyn's true name and what happened to Sigurd. Eric then turned to Halskudr and asked why he didn't tell him and was told that it wasn't his place to tell him the truth about Bronwyn.

After much walking through the jungle, following Theodore’s directions, they ended up in a large clearing with a pit in the centre, in the middle of which stood a large basalt Monolith which rose up high above the canopy. Around the circumference of the pit, and up the walls of the Monolith, skinned corpses were skewered on spikes with small depressions carved in them to channel the blood that dripped from the bodies down into the pit. When trying to figure a way down to the bottom of the pit Hito saw a possible way down that no one else spotted. On the other side of the pit, there was a possible entrance that may connect to an opening in the wall of the pit that appeared to have steps leading down from it. Everyone then followed Theodore around the edge of the pit, and down the route that was pointed out to them. Theodore descended, followed by Hito, Artimedorus, Michael's Einherjar, Michael. Eric's Einherjar and finally Eric. Having gone down and part way along the tunnel at the bottom they were then attacked again by a larger, more ferocious female “Were-tiger”. Catching Eric by surprise at the rear, it managed to freeze him and his Einherjar in place as they turned round to face the foe – enthralling them to its unique appearance. As its initial attack on Eric failed to injure the Scion of Tyr, it launched itself passed him and his Einherjar, Michael and his Einherjar, and they tried to kill Hito. Unlike Eric, Hito was not so easy to hit – which was as well for him, because when the guardian of the temple did hit him, her claws tore deep. It soon became obvious that the guardian had bitten off more than she could chew, for whilst she was having little luck hitting Hito, Michael had moved up and begun to attack her. She soon gave up on Hito and tried to kill Michael instead. For some time Michael, Hito, Artimedorus and Michael’s Einherjar battled the guardian. Seldom rewarded with hitting, let alone wounding the beast, they were disheartened to see what injuries they did inflict closing up in front of their eyes. Theodore tried to help, with some suggestions as to tactics, but the assembled group were either too busy to listen, or did not place any credence in Theodore’s strategy of “surround the bitch, then skin the fucker”. Theodore stood back and watched for a moment as the group continued to fail to get anywhere in the fight, before loudly bemoaning their refusal to listen to his tactical genius. He then took some more time to try to direct the various individuals involved in the fight, and the guardian was swiftly defeated by the resultant coordinated attack, with Michael getting the killing blow lopping off its head whilst Theodore delivered a suprisingly accurate blow, driving his sword cane into the ankle of the guardian, twisting, and severing her foot. Eric was then finally able to move again, feeling angry that this had happened a second time to him. Michael took the head of the creature, while Eric took the body. Once the walls had given way to the sheer drop inside the pit Eric booted the body of the fallen creature high to the edge of the pit impaling it on a spike.

After making their way down the narrow stairs cut into the side of the pit they arrived at the door of the basalt temple. Each scion noticed a sign pertinent to them in the wall above the door to the monolith – the Baron’s veve, Odin’s rune, Tyr’s rune and a radioactive materials symbol with a single teardrop in the centre (presumably for Hito) – all contained with the bowed triangle that had repeatedly appeared over the past few days. Only Artimedorus was without sign. The Scions then entered the temple where the wailing had been coming from the whole time since they had arrived in this strange place, and found in the centre a pool of blood with a baby in the middle of it crying. Eric said that the child should be killed because that is what he had been told to do and that should prevent what was happening in London. Hito stepped in Eric's way as he advanced eventually drawing his katana to show Eric that he meant to protect the baby. Eric then pulled the baby out of the blood and left it lying on the ground crying. Hito then tried to comfort the baby and it stopped crying and a huge debate started between Hito, Theodore and Michael about what should be done with the baby. Hito claimed that there was no evidence that killing the child would prevent what was happening in London. Theodore countered with a question as to what exactly the scion of Seshet had said – suggesting that “mercy” did not preclude killing the child. Michael called upon runes to seek an answer to the solution, only establishing that killing the child would be to the detriment of the some of the Aesir. The three of them failed to find a satisfactory answer, with even the captain failing to give any good advice to Theodore. Uncertain as to whether simply destroying the source of power – perhaps the monolith – would help, and allow them to spare the child, Michael and Hito decided to try to blow up the Monolith. Eric stayed out of it saying that he believed the baby should be killed and would leave it to the book learned Scions to reach a conclusion. Having said his piece Eric stepped outside and looked at the statue of Geb saying he hated the God for sending him here without clear information. Eric left with his Einherjar, heading back up towards the surface. On arriving at the surface he found that the people who had been there when they first appeared at the temple were waiting. Eric growled at them to get out his way saying he wasn't in the mood. The leader of the people burst out saying that they were False Gods and that their skin should be taken. The people all tried to take down Eric and his Einherjar. Eric and his men fought back, subduing them at first, but when they kept on coming Eric gave the order to kill. Back down in the temple Hito and Michael used the explosives that Hito had brought with him, with help from Micheal and his Einherjar to place them at the right points to bring it down. Once the charges were set, they all headed back up the way they came. As they neared the surface, they heard the final sounds of a battle being fought, arriving to see Eric and his Einherjar surrounded by a the villagers – dead and dying. Theodore moved amongst the bodies distributing the Baron’s rum to claim the souls of the departed. Hito then pressed the trigger for the explosives and brought the temple crashing down. As the dust cleared, Theodore noticed the ghosts of those yet to be touched by the rum torn out of existence. Those who had been touched by the rum were dragged down to Guinee. Theodore then moved around the survivors, finishing them off with his sword cane, and claiming the resultant souls for the Baron.