Back to the Borderlands we go, with another cast reshuffling. Vinny and Victoria sat this one out, while Fitz returned from his errand, and a new PC joins the group…or does he?
As the curtain parts, Our Heroes have just re-entered Chucky's theater (does that place have a name?), back from…wherever they were last time. Inside, they found a shadowy, trench coat-clad figure — Fitz! He explained that he had to do a tricky consulting job in Thailand, which was a pain, but he has to keep up his bank account somehow. Fitz even brought a gift for Obediah: A quarterstaff, shod in cold iron on the ends, and inscribed with the name “Mop.”
Tamsin quickly used her powers of Exposition to fill Fitz in on recent events, since he can't read this blog. (Recap-within-a-recap: The party visited Miss Hiss, in an attempt to track down the Central Park werewolf. The World's Most Specific Oracle directed them to a hotel room, where they met the leader [2nd in command] of the Great Lakes Werewolf Pack. He probably has a name, but you should know better than to expect me to remember it. [Luke Garrow] He was very interested in the party's discovery of a cure for lycanthropy, and pledged to assist them in [protecting Chucky's theater in return for ] tracking down the Central Park Werewolf
access to the Party Pole.) Fitz was all for rushing out to kick some fluffy tail, but at that moment the scene shifted….
Next door to Chucky's theater stands a flophouse we'll call the Frugal Arms. In an upstairs room, Ray (Mike) (whose last name I didn't catch [Oakes]) was gazing forlornly out the window, wondering (once again) how his life had gotten so messed up. Ray's reverie was interrupted, though, when he saw a demonic creature scrambling around the roof of the theater. (I'm sure Josh had a great flavor-text description of the critter, but it escapes me just now. [A shadowy figure–man, I was in top form]) Ever the man of action, Ray lept from his window, landing nimbly on the roof. Before he could draw his gun and get a shot off at the creature, though, it scrambled through a skylight. Ray attempted to follow, and found that the skylight was not only locked, it was painted shut as well. Puzzled, but undeterred, Ray found a door, quickly picked the lock, and entered.
Unfortunately, Ray found himself in a hallway with no visible skylights. He settled for the tried-and-true technique of opening doors at random, and found…the projection room. He could see all the ghosts in the audience, but filed that bit of information for later. He also stumbled upon the Closet of the Vortex, now covered with a sheet of plywood after Lucerne took the last train to Vortex-ville. He filed that for later too.
Eventually, he made his way down to the lobby, where Tamsin was wrapping up her Expositioning. The party was surprised to see someone coming down from upstairs, and Chucky immediately launched into his Engrish schtick to shoo him off (as is standard procedure for all new PCs). Tamsin was curious about how Ray could have come in through the roof (since the roof leads to the Borderlands, after all), but he was unable to explain. The party was also quite skeptical regarding Ray's story of a monster upstairs. Chucky and Fitz went to check it out, but found only a cluttered storage room with no sign of forced entry.
After much more discussion and doubting of Ray's story, Chucky went back up again with Obediah to see if his unusual senses could detect anything. Obediah did detect a “sending” of some kind, a demonic tracker/assassin with no real life of its own. However, the creature was no longer around, and its trail ended at the Closet of the Vortex.
Chucky evidently considered the matter closed, and resumed trying to get rid of Ray. At this point, Ray revealed that he had been in the service, in Cambodia, and had been involuntarily injected with large quantities of an herb called “Dragon's Blood.” In the three years since, Ray had been seeing things that shouldn't be there…monsters, demons, and fairies like Obediah. The rest of the party exchanged puzzled glances at that last, but pressed on. Chucky knew about Dragon's Blood…it's normally burned with incense to give a mundane temporary access to the Borderlands. But injecting it, and that much of it…Chucky had no idea what that would do. Learning Ray's backstory made the party somewhat more sympathetic to him, and on that note, we broke for the evening.