Posted by : David Guyll March 11, 2014
- Pernilla Hemming (Bare-Fisted Brawling Half-Huldra Orphan)
- Aleksander Jorgensen (Would-Be Dragon Slayer)
Pernilla packed up her fishing gear and started back to camp. This week had been pretty bad; she would have to try and pick up some extra hours swindling people at Gnorbitt's. She had been doing that a lot lately, which meant that she would need to work on some new glamours, so as to avoid the other patrons from catching on to her act.
As she began following the stream out of the forest she smelled-well-before-the-saw dead fish along the bank. A lot of dead fish. When she bent to examine them more closely, she realized that they looked like they had been rotting for quite awhile, which was strange because she had been coming here almost every day for the past few weeks and had neither seen nor smelled them before.
Perhaps more ominous was that it looked like that they had been leaping away from the stream, as if vainly trying to flee from...something. Whatever it was did not seem to eat any of them. Concerned, she backtracked up stream to see if she could find an explanation for the phenomenon, and as she walked continued to find more dead fish, all rotting, and no signs of any vermin or scavengers. After about a half hour she found a small pond. Not only were there fish surrounding it, but there was also a reindeer carcass lying nearby. It, like the fish, looked to have been dead for a long time.
She picked up a stick and jabbed it, because she had not been properly educated by enough movies to know better. To her surprise its head propped up. It stared at her with an empty socket, gurgling out the words, "Death is coming" before flopping back down with a sickly plop.
Pernilla froze. After several too-long moments she realized that she had been holding her breath, and for some reason exhaled as slowly and quietly as she could. Something did not feel right. Yes, there were rotting animals everywhere for seemingly no reason, and yes, a dead deer had spoken to her (which was unusual for at least two reasons), but there was something else.
She was being watched.
She looked around: the forest had become still, and despite the sun hanging overhead the shadows had somehow gotten deeper.
Without moving the reindeer again gurgled, "You had better run along, miss."
She was not sure if she was being chased, but fearfully, instinctively obeyed the dead, strangely polite deer corpse (though she would not think about that until much later), not stopping or even daring to look back until she was well beyond the forest's edge. When she did look back she saw that the forest was steeped in darkness, as if the sun refused to enter. She could also see...she was not sure what it was, exactly a darker blot amid the gloom. She was not sure how she could have spotted it, but she was sure of one thing: despite her inability to discern any features, it was looking at her.
Again, she ran.
This time she headed to the lighthouse. Aleksander was on duty and saw her coming from a ways away. He could see that she was in a hurry, and obviously distraught. He also knew that she was unnaturally strong and in her panic was liable to break something, like the door, or a wall. Maybe both. He hurried downstairs to meet her, and once she was inside managed to pick out a few details here and there between labored gasps about rotting fish, dead, talking (polite?) reindeer, shadows, and things-in-the-shadows.
Once she had caught her breath and calmed down he was able to get a more cohesive story. He told her that once his shift was over he would walk her into town and hit the books while she was "working" at the Tipsy Gnome. The Order was not fond of non-members at the lighthouse, and since someone else would be on duty at the lighthouse they would have to meet somewhere else. They agreed to meet at the geodetic arc obelisk once she was done "working".
Night fell, and as Pernilla was getting ready to leave a man entered the bar. He was dressed in black, and wore a broad hat and large, black glasses. His skin seemed to stretch over his skull a bit too tight, and his mouth was contorted into a wide, too-toothy grin. He strode past Pernilla without paying her any mind, approached the bar, and waved over Gnorbitt. She could not hear what they were talking about, so she ducked into the bathroom to assume a more...indistinctive appearance, all the better to eavesdrop, but by the time she returned he had already left.
She bolted out the door, and when she could find no trace of him figured that she might as well go meet Aleksander at the arc obelisk. Aleksander on the other hand was already almost there. As he approached it he saw that the surrounding street lights were unlit for about a block in every direction: given the events that had transpired earlier with Pernilla he was not about to chalk it up to coincidence. He continued past, through the darkened square, hoping to head Pernilla off somewhere well-lit. Populated and inside a building would also be nice.
Something moved. Something big.
It was like a...like a large animal—at least he hoped it was just an animal—was dragging itself across the ground. He looked across the square, and when he could only see the obelisk's silhouette in the streetlights beyond, quickly changed gears to a brisk pace that some could mistake for jogging, possibly even running, and ran into Pernilla several blocks away in a mercifully well-lit street. He decided against telling her about the noise he had heard, divulging only what he had learned at the library: the animals had likely died due to a necromancer or—if they were very unlucky—some kind of demonic entity.
Pernilla mentioned the possibility of a reindeer spirit being involved, what with the dead reindeer warning her and all. Aleksander suggested asking Gnorbitt if he knew a way to get ahold of any spirits, since it was well outside their areas of expertise (which largely amounted to stabbing or punching things apart), so they both returned to the bar. Pernilla approached Gnorbitt, but before she could speak asked her if she had seen the "strange guy with the weird smile".
Oh yeah, she could have asked him what they were talking about. She did, and Gnorbitt replied that he had been looking to rent a boat to visit the nearby island. The island that Aleksander's Order had been charged with watching for centuries.
The one that was made from a dead dragon.
BEHIND THE SCENESFirst off, if you are interested in checking out our city and character sheets (which might be helpful in understanding the characters, story, locations, etc), click here.
This is my second Dresden Files game (and by extension, FATE), and the fourth session overall (the first time being a three-parter that took place in Portland, which we unfortunately never finished). We talked about doing an unorthodox setting, maybe medieval or wild west, before finally somehow settling on Hammerfest. I am not even sure how we got there; at some point Melissa just mentioned it while browsing places on a tablet PC.
Awesome name aside it was a lot of fun lifting material from the actual city—Polar Bear Society, Geodetic Arc Obelisk, and reindeer—putting our own spin on it, and adding some other stuff like the island made from a dead dragon, lighthouse that watches over it, and a kind of Finnish dragon. I think this kind of collaborative world-building (or rather, city building) does a lot to get players invested in the game, since they get some creative input on both the setting and direction of the game, as opposed to just their own character.
LIKE WHAT I AM DOING AND HAVE THE CASH TO BURN?I have been talking/ranting about games for just over five years, and I figure by now there are countless readers that have always wanted to show their support, it has just been too much of a hassle to mail envelopes brimming with cash.
So, to make things easier I started a Patreon account. If you like what I am doing and have the cash to spare, then consider becoming a patron. The beauty of it is that no matter how much exemplary content I post you only get charged once a month, so you will have complete control over how much you spend.