July 8th, 2007

Session 6…
Bound and drugged under the seats of the Tijuana bullring, Daniel and Autumn listened and replied groggily as they were interrogated by César.
After the line, “If you hesitate, you lose a finger, if you lie, you lose two,” they were quite happy to talk, although it quickly became apparent that not only did César not recall his alleged actions in Mythic and Houston, but that he was not entirely in control of himself..
Autumn listened as César’s voice changed in intonation between question and conversation and watched as the muscles under his eyes danced. Nevertheless, the two Scions managed to keep their captor talking long enough for Theo to locate Scarab and follow his lead to, and into, the bullring.
Taking out a guard attired in a feathered headdress with the aid of Scarab Theo wound his way through the labyrinth of corridors inside the bullring, ignoring a flash of viridian feathers out of the corner of his eye.
Above his head Daniel and Autumn watched in astonishment as a voice roared “Cesar!” and the stadium was suffused with a golden light, Cesar’s silhouetted body pitched forward under the impact of a bullet before the Scion turned and leapt up and across the arena, shortly followed by four warriors attired as jaguars, suns and eagles – the “escort” César had planned for the Scions out of Tijuana.
Capitalising on the opportunity, Autumn smashed her cuffed wrists against the corner of the nearest wall, removing a sizeable chunk of masonry in the process, but shattering the chains which bound her. Freeing Daniel, the Child of Set turned at the sound of gunshots to see a golden glow explode out from the highest row of seats, hurling a small flailing body out to land crumpled in the centre of the bullring. Autumn herself leapt down to the ring, landing lightly in the sand.
In front of her lay a masked man with two bullet wounds in his chest and his right arm almost severed. As she took the man’s mask off, he screamed ”Ayudame!” and Raine tried, hoisting the man onto her shoulders and wincing slightly as the last ligament holding his arm tore, sending the limb tumbling into the dust. Leaping back up to the stands with the wailing man, Autumn tied a tourniquet around the wound as best she could and dashed back inside to search for Daniel.
The Scion of Hermes had already dashed off through the building searching for his sword, but failing to find it, had begun following Gloria after catching sight of her sprinting through the building.
Retracing the Scion’s steps Autumn quickly found a cloth wrapped bundle tucked behind a stack of banderillas and marked with a sigil she recognised as Aztec in origin. Hastily, tearing the bundle open the Scion was thrown backwards by a gout of fire which scorched her eyes and charred he eyelids.. Gathering the weapons, Autumn branded them both, sketching the symbol off an ankh on the cold steel. Hearing gunshots, Raine staggered outside at the same time as Daniel followed Gloria’s stumbling form up the stadium steps toward the commentary box.
Meanwhile, Theo emerged on the highest level of the ring and saw across from him César standing balanced on a row of chairs, twin spears poised to strike the man below him, Lawrence Harker, with three masked men scrambling up behind him. As Harker discharged his upraised pistol into the Mexican Scion’s face, César dodged to the side, impaling Harker through the shoulder and sending him flying down into the bullring.
Seeing the police officer’s plight Daniel sprinted down the steps and into the ring to help Harker to his feet. Reeling upright and yanking the bloody spear from his shoulder Harker screamed, “Is that all you’ve got César?” At that moment the floodlights of the arena snapped on, silhouetting the two men and César’s voice drawled over the tannoy, “No Harker, it’s not.”
As Daniel began sprinting for cover, two feathered spears arced through the air, splitting into four, then eight, then sixteen. As the hail of spears descended in a hissing squall Daniel wove through the blades and leapt for the cover of the stands. Behind him, Harker screamed as he was nailed to the ground by three spears through his calf, his hip, and his stomach. While Daniel raced up to the commentary box Autumn spun as heard a chair creak behind her, narrowly dodging the club aimed at her head.
With a punch to the chin she flipped the man over the seating sending him to land to rows down with a crunch, and then dashed towards the box as a deep, agonised cream rang out over the tannoy. Seeing Gloria scurry back down the steps and leap into the ring, Theo joined her, watching as she unclasped her cloak and placed it over César’s bleeding form. Kneeling down, Gloria placed her hands on the cloak and a green glow spread from them, accompanied by the sound of chirping cicadas.
When the cloak was withdrawn Harker’s wound had closed, although he remained pinned. Ignoring Theo, Gloria turned to leave, unaware that Harker had raised his pistol to aim at her back. Aiming for a warning shot, Theo fired but the gun dipped and the bullet tore across Harker’s legs. Screaming in rage Harker turned the gun on Theo and fired, hitting him square in the chest and bowling him over.
From his vantage point staring at the starry sky, Theo heard Gloria’s footsteps return and heard her murmur, “That was most ungrateful, Mr. Harker. Sleep now.”
Staggering to his feet Theo studied Gloria as she approached, noting that there was a thin layer of blood between her emerald feathered cloak and her skin. Stepping forward, Gloria offered to heal Theo, and never one to look a gift horse in the mouth Theo accepted, feeling his shredded muscles knit together as Gloria placed a hand on his chest, before withdrawing it with a bullet clutched in the palm of her hand.
As another scream followed by a series of racking sobs tore over the tannoy Gloria looked at Theo.
“I have to help my husband. Help me.
As the pair raced back up the steps, Autumn and Daniel entered the commentary box from opposite sides to see César kneeling on the floor, racked by sobs, with one hand clutching at the tannoy microphone and the other wrapped around the haft of a feathered spear driven into the floor. As Autumn watched, Cesar let loose a lurching, giggling laugh and turned, spear upraised in his right hand before grabbing it with his left dragging the point back towards the floor.
Distracted by the struggle, both Scions were ambushed by masked men, Daniel staggering forward under a heavy blow as Autumn turned to see a man dressed as a sungod swing an obsidian studded club at her head. Dodging, she swung a punch at the man, unbalancing him before lobbing Daniel’s sword back over her head, impaling the jaguar masked warrior assaulting him. As Daniel turned and yelled at the impaled man to drop his weapon or die Autumn pulled her knife from her Doc Martens and sliced her assailant from shoulder to hip in one smooth movement.
As the man’s legs stumbled forward spilling intestines Autumn turned to see Cesar struggling with himself again, the left hand attempting to restrain the right which was driving his spear towards his throat. As they watched the bones of the Scions right wrist ground and snapped, pivoting the spear close enough to his jugular to draw blood.. Autumn, and Daniel after administering medical care to the injured man attempted to beat the spear from the Scion’s hands, eventually shattering it as Theo and Gloria arrived at the box.
Momentarily confused, Cesar looked down at this empty hand, flexed, and a second spear popped into existence as Gloria stepped in front of him and said, “César, please you have to fight this.”
César laughed and extended a beckoning hand towards his wife who gingerly stepped in closer. Sensing danger, but unsure what to do, Daniel was powerless to react as Cesar pulled his wife in close and struck like a cobra, driving the spear up through the woman’s diaphragm to punch through her lungs and out her back , Withdrawing the spear, César spun, spattering blood across the watching Scions before collapsing in consternation, wracked by sobs. As Theo frantically began lung compressions and called for an ambulance, Daniel and Autumn leapt on top of César, the Greek Scion trying to suffocate César with a trash bag warped around his head. Struggling with the incredibly strong Scion, Daniel was caught unawareas when he threw Autumn off and backpedalled back through the plate glass of the commentary box, and grimy clund on for the ride. As they spun through the air, César pivoted and punched Daniel in the jaw sending him flying back into the stalls. The Aztec Scion then landed lightly in the arena before leaping out and off into the night sky.
Hearing sirens arrive, Raine gently lifted Gloria and leapt off the roof of the bullring, floating gently to the ground in front of an astonished paramedic crew. Thankfully, a combination of pure shock and a little taste of Set’s legacy prevented the stunned medics from asking any awkward questions, and Raine didn’t stick around, quickly regrouping with the rest of the band.
Wasting no time, the Scions decided that there best lead was to investigate Gloria’s house and headed out to Lomas Taurinas, passing through the vibrant garden, heady with the nightscents of pelargonium and honeysuckle, and quickly break into Gloria’s house. While Autumn lay on the sofa, Theo and Daniel quickly searched the house, finding a set of sketches which looked at first glance like bullfights steps in a room which appeared to be César’s and more disturbingly, a set of labelled jars containing what appeared to be human organs in the fridge. Seeing the handmade labels that read “Guiterrez 14/7” Theo searched for further labels and jars, finding a stack of clean jars, slightly sticky with glue and a several sheets of labels in a kitchen drawer. Studying the sheets for imprints of older writing, Theo saw a host of other names and dates, some followed by the bracketed word (Unassisted.) However, a chance interruption from a concerned neighbour put the Scions slightly on edge, and they cleared out shortly thereafter. Short on leads, both Theo and Daniel attempted to trace César, each according to their talents. Daniel began chasing the threads of fate wound around César, while Theo watched in confusion as Rada’s Eyes showed him simultaneously both Arguello Square, and a vast plain of grass filled with wheeling buffalo. Both avenues of inquiry led the Scion to Arguello Plaza where they saw César crouched on the rooftop of city hall staring intently at the statute in the idle, before vanishing into the night.
Approaching the spirits which were once again clustered round the statue, Theo held a short conversation with them, and was eventually tasked to fid where their “Green Macaw” had gone, which he duly did, finding Gloria had been sent to the Tijuana General, and returning with the news while Autumn attended the drop-in clinic for treatment.
Daniel meanwhile chased the threads of fate as far as he dared, following César’s strand to the edge of the city and its border with the desert, where one purple strand ran off to the east, and a second, red tinged and twisting to the north-east. César’s own thread continued deep into the border dunes, but Daniel wisely decided to wait for morning.
People slept.
Early the next morning, the trio, plus Noah, and Marcus Phil headed off into the desert in a rented landrover, following César’s thread which eventually arrived at a deserted village, the ruined stumps of whitewashed walls sticking up from the windswept dunes like old teeth. The thread descended down a well, and the Scions duly followed, after sending Phil down first to scout the area. At the bottom of the well, a rough hewn passage opened up into a flagstone lined passageway carved with ancient symbols which the Scions recognised as being Aztec in origin. Theo spotted a repeated motif of a figure with a feathered left foot, and felt his stomach sink as he released they were following César into a temple of Huitzilopochtli. The chitinous scuttling sound from behind the walls did nothing to set his mind at ease.
Eventually the widening tunnel brought the Scion to the entrance of a vast chamber in which César knelt at the foot of a huge statue, praying ceaselessly under his breath. Columns inset with skulls supported the immense cavern ,while César and the statue of his father, Huitzilopochtli were set deep into the floor. Bravely approaching César the Scions began gently questioning him and quickly found out that his mind, and body was being usurped by a force beyond his control, and which, César gestured to a series of scratches, was returning with greater and greater frequency.
César explained that as his father had withdrawn from the world he had felt his power fading, and had been unable to defend the city and people he loved. While Gloria had assisted him, feeding blood to the Kumeyaay it had drained her, and it had broken his heart to see it happen. César explained that he had been shown how to perform new steps in the bullfight during a dream, that he had thought his father was speaking to him, and by the time he found out any different it was too late. He had no recollection of things he had done while not in control, and no idea how to save himself. César grew frantic, and pointed at the marks, “Two minutes. Two minutes ‘til it comes again.”
It was then that Theo heard a voice from the cat skull in his pocket, his guide Debas. “Do exactly as I say Theo, and we can save him.” Cutting his palm, the Loa Scion stepped forward and persuaded the frantic man to let him smear blood on his eyes. As he did so, he heard joyous laughter from Debas, and the world stretched and snapped, spinning and hurling all of the Scions through time, space and belief, out onto a vast plain of flowing grass where buffalo ran and swept in the distance.
As the Scions reeled in astonishment, noting their lack of relics, armour and weapons, they felt a subtle change in their strengths. Unsure what exactly was happening they watched curiously as a small figure ran towards them, fleeing from the thunderous herd of buffalo. As the figure neared they saw it was César, as he ran he screamed at the top of his lungs “Help me!” Behind, the herd of buffalo split, wheeling to the right and left, then back in on itself, their bodies colliding with the crash of splintering bone and the slap of wet meat. As the bodies met they coalesced, each beast adding to a growing mound of flesh, blood, muscle and bone. Autumn attempted to speak to the buffalo, and was rewarded only with the shuddered, “Foreigner. We must kill you foreigner. The Emperor commands it. We are sorry.” Horrified, the Scions watched as am arm tore itself free from the seething morass, spattering tissue and sinew across the grass. A giant mouth appeared in the bloody mass, and a horned head tore itself free with an anguished bellow shortly followed by a second arm. Panicking the Scions looked around for any weapons. Debas looked up at Theo and smiled, “Words ya only weapon here. Nothin’ but stories an’ whispers the old places. Find some good words”
Sifting through phrases such as sharp, blade, vengeance, the Scions felt power grow around them and then dissipate into nothing. As a giant hoofed foot tore itself free, Theo finally realised the trick. Recalling the heritage of his ancestors, their prowess in their hunt, their respect for the hunter’s power and the grace and skill of his ancestors, Theo felt power grow around him, shaping itself into an ancient assegai, covered in tribal carvings and an African shield, stiff with ox hide. Daniel took a similar approach, invoking the spirit of Theseus and the Greek cult of the hero, the protection of Athena and the power of Zeus, A shimmering gold aspis, like sunlight on water appeared on his left arm, and a sharp silvered xiphos rested in his right hand. Autumn, stuck for words for once in her life and unable to think of any inspiring lines from antiquity, took courage from Daniel’s words and looking to the sky simply whispered, “Daddy, I want a boltgun.” Heavy, dull and almost as long as she was, it duly appeared.
As the beast formed from the bloody buffalo carcasses staggered forward, a giant sword in one hand and thick steel covering its chest it bellowed in rage and hatred. The Scions were undaunted though. Revelling in his new found strength, Theo sprinted up his shield, launching himself into the air and driving his spear down into the Minotaur’s the creature staggered, foul blood spraying the air, as Autumn leapt onto its head, swinging on one of its great horns and firing the bolt gun at pointblank range into its skull. As the beast reeled again it let out a great bellow that shook the Scion’s to the core. Diving between the beasts legs, Daniel hacked at its sinews as the minotaur grabbed Theo in one massive hand and hurled him across the prairie. As the beast reeled under the assault, Autumn swung down onto its nosering, firing once up into its nose and then again, pint blank into its eye. As vitreous humour spilled down the creatures fate it staggered and fell, as Daniel removed a foot with a second mighty blow of his sword. As the beast collapsed in its death-throes, a spasm ran along it spine and a figure tore itself forth from the creatures back. Dressed in ancient Roman armour, and with a narrow, patrician face the figure laughed as fire coruscated across its form, sneering at the Scions as children of dead gods, corpserobbers and pestilent outcasts. Introducing itself as Aurelius, the figure lamented César’s uselessness as a tool, and promised that he would look forward to destroying each of them, soon, before vanishing in a roar of flame and mocking laughter. With Aurelius gone, Theo approached and daubed his face with its blood in one last gesture of respect to his ancestors. Daniel sawed the tip from one great horn, and Autumn wrenched the beast’s copper ring from its nose. As they took their trophies, the blood drained from the massive corpse, sinking into the grain soil. The flesh of the minotaur desiccated and cracked, and its bones split and the marrow slithered forth into the hungry ground. A rumbling began, intensifying to a frenzied pitch until the earth underneath the Scion’s exploded, spitting forth a colossal dark-skinned man, maned in plumage of carmine and cold, his left leg feathered and his body slick with fresh blood. Looking down at the Scions Huitzilopochtli spoke in a voice overlaid with the screeching of eagles. Smiling through sharpened teeth, the god thanked them for the great sacrifice, for the sweet blood and for freeing his child, and offered each of the Scions a boon. Only Daniel dared to accept and was gifted with a gold feather, and the promise that when Huitzilopochtli sent his warriors forth, as he would do soon the feather would allow them to recognise Daniel as someone favoured by the God.
With that, the God threw back his head and screamed, sending a fine mist of blood into the air which rained down on the plains and his own Scion who smiled and laughed with glee. Looking down at César the god smiles and said, “Go now. I have other neglected children to take care off.” The world tore and stretched once again, and the Scions came to in the cold dark of Huitzilopochtli’s temple.