Black Sheep

SESSION TEN
Gabrielle

Dear Diary,

It has actually, literally been the worst day ever. I know I’ve said that before, but this time I’m not dicking around.

Two people have died. My friend and my mentor. I never thought we’d be involved in something so huge, but here we are. They were murdered and we mean to find the killer. But I don’t really know how or what we will do when we find them. This is the most serious thing that’s ever happened to me.

I met the Queen or whatever of this city. She is a Sidhe like me. I suddenly realize why everyone seems to have a bad disposition toward us. I DARED to ask a question and she totally blew up in my face. She wanted to do some binding oath thing with us and I wasn’t too cool with that. Guess that’s not allowed. She cursed me. Now I can’t go in the Freeholds anymore. I hope I’ll still be able to help the others. Apparently she didn’t let them do the oath thing either. I really miss Oscar. He was so good at explaining everything. Now the only person we know who knows about this stuff is both a pookah and in severe mental distress. Not much chance of getting any info out of her.

Anyway, Leelie and I went out to find Oscar’s…mortal shell?

Okay, I take back what I told you about the Nocker last time. She’s actually pretty cool. Just rough around the edges. We found him all right. It was so creepy. I don’t want to talk about it.

I have no idea how we are going to solve this. I think it might be a good idea to call Quincy. I think I’ll do that tomorrow.

For now, Leelie, Jackson, and I are sitting around waiting. Almer is supposed to meet up with us soon. I’m really worried about he and M.

By the way, Mr. Darcy is doing okay. He made a big mess but I just need to start feeding him better stuff. Man, pet ownership is hard. I really wish I could talk to Reagan about this. But I don’t think I can just pretend that this one is just a story I’m writing. And I’m pretty sure Alistair’s gonna kill me if I don’t show up for work soon.

This is all so impossible. If I die and someone finds me, my only regret is never having a real friend who could understand me, and I them. I hope I can find that before some magical thing destroys my soul. Good night

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SESSION NINE
M

An ongoing murder investigation.

As the vassals of the Duchess try to piece together the details of this heinous crime, a new set of eyes attempts to pore over the facts.

They may be hampered by a lack of experience, but they sure make up for it in gumption! Though their plees come of as overenthusiastic, could these new faces be the ones to find our killer? Time will surely tell.

Watch as Basset, the neighborhood detective, plies his craft at the crime scene. He’s got the body of a heavy reader, but the heart of a loyal hound dog. Look at him go! After those clues, Basset!

But it seems our intrepid young wannabe heroes have wandered off, each in their own direction. They’ll have to work together or die alone. Can they pull together with the older crowd, or is the city doomed?! Find out next time, on BLACK SHEEP!

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SESSION EIGHT
Jackson
Battle can be raged on many fronts and those of words can be some of the most fearsome if in the right, or wrong, situation. And just because blood is not spilt does not mean that there are not loses to be taken into account. This is another tale of what my mates had to go through such a fight. One of our number was lost, at least to the consideration of those better than us all, and that would hurt us as we began out true quest. Though, those who have fallen from grace from grace have not fallen from use or companions especially when one is almost a family. We first needed to heal whatever wounds that need to be and circle the wagons to find where the allies and companions actually lie. We made light of the falling out, at least as best that we could, letting the abandoned know they have friends and allies and would be continued to be counted as such. Then… we planned. And the plan was to find who put us in this mess in the first place. Se we divide and conquer, and the fair party members let in search of the information so far lost to us, while the quietest member and I went back to the origin of it all? Even though the time with these people has been so long I still know so little about them. You see my friends, the quiet ones have always been mystery in my time among you and the new band has been no different. This quiet one has a view of our quest as one that concerned me. He is thriving in the hunt and anticipating the finish, almost as an animal would view and upcoming meal of it all. He to the sort of quiet to respected, but a bit of fear and caution would also do some good. Eventually we make our destination, on edge because the hunters (or hunted) may still be present. Caution in such situations was key, but once inside some amount of normalcy was taken but the quest took away from relaxing and clues needed to be found. While the quiet hunter searches for leads with someone better at finding such I fall to support of the distraught. As I began with, words have power and it does not have to be pain or blood that they cause healing may be possible. If someone wants to take it words or the actions that can go with can give a little light in the darkness that is surrounding them. And sometime in the kindness, little bits of missing information can reach the light of day. And in every mystery, you never know what clue could make or break the case… but there are always those who will doubt you. And you will have to stand up to them in order to reach the goal.
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SESSION SEVEN
Leelie

SHEEP WILL JOIN THE FLOCK. WOLVES WILL BE SLAUGHTERED,” scrawled across the back wall of the stage. Our cast of characters begins to move forward hesitatingly, nervous for their safety after the collapse of the chandelier that has injured two of their number. In the wings, they squeeze through a variety of set pieces and props, and Kitty leads them to a trap door, hidden in the shadows. As they slowly descend, each of the characters realizes in their own time what they are headed toward; the heart of the freehold, the Balefire. Located in a beautiful, artistic furnace, the flame is low, and seems to have little time left. It is quickly decided that the only course of action is to approach the Duchess and appeal for her aid. Minus the lovely, but delicate Demona, they brave the sewers below the Freudian Slip, headed for their nobility, sure to make a sparkling impression in post-sewer-filth-chic.
On the way, conversation turns to the symbol left with the message, the ubiquitous male, or mars symbol, as well as what they can expect from their first visit to the Court. After just a few too many moments spent in the squalor, they emerge into a well-lit, older residential neighborhood, clearly built with money to spare. M, in particular, seems uncomfortable.
They follow Skuld to a Victorian-style manor hidden behind a hedge and a gate with no keyhole. A drop of blood from her thumb opens the lock, and they are greeted by a sluagh by the name of Hemlocke. He lets them in, and they meet Duchess Lisette, a woman whose beauty they can only grasp in bits and pieces. She makes her way through them, hinting at familiarity with each flashing change of color in her eyes. Only minutes pass before they reveal to her the reason they’ve come; Oscar’s murder. They share what they’ve seen and learned; Kitty with Oscar’s horn, the message and the alchemical symbol for iron, the missing textbook and papers, the fact that the perpetrator seems to have been to The Slip before, and the dying balefire.
Duchess Lisette tells them of a rumor she’s heard of a shape-shifting killer who’s been destroying freeholds and kith. She mentions the Dautain. And she makes a surprising suggestion; that this group of young kithain, infants, really, could band together to fight for the freehold, and for the safety of them all. They were given a fairly stark choice; take up the quest or leave the domain. While at first several reacted with fear and disbelief, they soon came to realize that this was too important to walk away. After a swift reminder of their Duchess’ power is lain upon Gabrielle our hopeful heroes sally forth to investigate, and perhaps to do battle.

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Session Five
Jackson
The sounds of combat still reign, the enemy were not the strongest or smartest but its elusiveness makes it something to be cautioned. But as fast as it all started with Almer and I lunging it was over… with a lucky shot none the less. One enemy lying dead at our feet while another waits at mine, very much afraid of what I may come next. But worry not, my compatriots and I knew mercy, and respect for fallen foes shows who are the true warriors and gentleman. I mean after all, if you can make a friend from a foe your life may only get better. How do you make a foe of a friend you ask? Why make sure it’s not gonna die from combat first off, hard to make friends with dead things after all. Then you remove it from the field of battle as that is no way to hold a friend. Take it to somewhere safe and warm and have it learn that you are to be trusted for its survival. Of course, everyone may not agree with that course of action. After all, saving ones foe is hard to stomach for the victors if something was lost. But luckily calmer voices will prevail and then the process of friendship can continue. Trust may be slow to come from the others of course but in time, with care you can find a new friend where it would not be expected. Of course my friends, the victors don’t just walk away with just the honor and the spoils. There is some heaviness that can leave a field of battle with you, remorse for something that was done to win. That does not ever really leave you, it also depends on what he had to do.

But no matter you take away remember friends, remember to keep looking forward and watch yourself, because you never know what battle may be around the corner…

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SESSION FOUR
Gabrielle

Chapter 4, The Heat of Battle

(rated M)

The soon to be heroes went forth for the start of their next test. They would be training in the art of combat.

Upon entering the dim and welcoming establishment of their mentor, the group congregated around a new face. From the comforting shadows of their refuge, she emerged. Long black curls cascaded down her muscled frame, her blue skin a cold contrast to the warm lamp light of the bar. A tattoo of a snake wove itself up her arm and caressed her body beneath her supple leather armor, beyond sight of the curious group. Her name was Stella.

Alfred, our noble and statuesque bard, passes a few playfully sharp remarks with her. He must know her, though the others know not how or why. Their interaction seems friendly though, a relief to the eyes of Jason, who have hungered for the sight of the elfin fellow for days now.

No sign of the mysterious and dark Miles. Unsurprisingly, the group is also absent Leigh, her off color remarks and aggressive behavior leaving a void in the team’s dynamic. There is no doubt they have busied themselves with more…pressing concerns.

Delora is, as always, a bit aloof and dangerously inviting. Her voluptious curves accented by every movement. She is so skilled with the art of her body, none are left unmanipulated. And none can guess at the object of her no doubt molten desires.

Each shake hands with the new vixen, thier fingers tingling as they pass over the snake tattoo, which seems to writhe just beneath her skin.The subtle threat of her two handed blade only bringing a further sense of danger to her already exotic nature.

The posse grabs their weapons of choice, a sword and knife for the mistress of desire, brass knuckles for the lean but powerful Alfred, and for the muscular and rugged Jason, his usual wooden quarterstaff. They take the sling and bullets for the rough edged Leigh. She will meet them in the dark of night, ready to sling rocks like she slings insults, meant to kill.

Stella also seems to know the elusive Miles, a few tantalizing details about him spilling from her lips. But not enough for our heroes to guess at his motives. Other than his weakness for the sharp tongued Leigh, they remain in the dark.

Meeting up Leigh, her sardonic smile blending well with the night, Stella informs them they will hunting a Snipe. After some explanation, as the rag tag team seems to be somewhat ignorant of their own magical world, they set off into the shadows of the nearby forest.

Alfred feels the icy grip of fear dance across his skin. He tries to hide it from the others, mainly not wanting Jason to know, but he is drawn to that protective nature. A strange noise alerts him to something in the underbrush. Crouching low, his breath coming in short gasps, his eyes meet Jason’s across the treed area. Jason has heard it too, and his first instinct is to see to Alfred’s safety. As their eyes lock, heat between them is palpable. Their lust for each other has been so far unrevealed, but in this moment, they cannot hide their naked desire from each other.

Despite their magnetic attraction, the sense of danger overwhelmes their need for each other. As they engage the unknown threat, the dynamic between them shifts. Alfred feels his training kick in and rather than longing for protections,he becomes the protector. He begins to lead in a flank and Jason follows him, a perfect shift between dominant and submissive between them both. They flow together, like water, their bodies in harmony as they close the distance and bare down upon the horror that lies in wait in the bushes.

The fiendish thing has a long curved beak and razor talons. It shrieks from the brush and claws at Jason’s exposed neck. A dark line of blood appears across his chiseled jawline. Alfred’s breath catches in his throat and a surge of raw adrenaline courses through him. The image of that perfect face being marred with violence…his body tenses and he leaps forward, his fist connecting with the creature. It screams as it releases Jason from the impact. Delora falls in with her blades but the two men barely notice. They are so close, they can feel the heat of each other’s bodies. Blood mixed with sweat rolls down Jason’s throat and collar bone, disappearing tantalizingly beneath his shirt collar. Alfred’s breath is so ragged from fear and violence and desire, he almost forgets. But now is not the time or the place. And the battle is not over…

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SESSION THREE
LEELIE

What can you do when you’re surrounded by crazy?

Well, with people running away from, apparently, someone (or someones) with guns, we still decided to get our souvenirs before we left, because Fuck It, right? Well, with a little bit of luck, and a little bit of Fey magic, pieces of their night were in their grasp and they attempted to head back to Oscar without arousing the suspicion of the local PD.

Although most made it back to Oscar quickly in the parking lot, they were missing a few classmates, and decided to head back in on a brave *cough*frackingstupid*cough* rescue mission. Although they did not find the missing adventurers, who had rejoined Oscar all on their own, they did acquire some new friends and make it back without any injuries or serious involvement with banality.

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SESSION TWO
M

Fortune and fun at the Barnes and Barnum’s Looney Town Amusement Park!

Step right up for the amazing feats of magic! Look to the lovely ladies of the Wheel, the mysterious travelers both large and small, and the meddling miscreants of the midway!

Our intrepid heroes have been given a quest by the affable and illustrious Mr. Riled: come back with a suitable gift using your arts, or suffer the consequences. What might those be? Death? Expellment?! A tarnishment on the silver stars of servitude thrust upon them?!?

So we follow the tale of two fair folks, one quiet and broody, one grubby and irate, to the games of chance and skill. Here, they will try to purloin a treasure to bring back to the group. But hark, following a faulty attempt at rigging the game of darts, a new approach must be necessary.

They turn their sights on a game of strength. Using their wits and a bit of jiggling, they wait and see if they can get the whole thing to come crashing down. Before they can enact their daring plan, however, the crier comes out with news most foul: a gunman loose in the park! This new tragedy brings a wash of terror throughout the mild mannered carnival goers, but it won’t stop our heroes, no siree!

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At Summer's End
(between Sessions One and Two)

After the first “Book Club” meeting, time seems to pass by quickly. Two hours every Tuesday and Thursday night. Six hours every Sunday afternoon. The schedule is rigorous, and the class is a little bit unorthodox. Oscar enjoys a more relax setting, and often pours drinks and gathers the group together at the Slip around the bar, a cluster of booths, the balcony…where ever he seems to feel the setting is most fitting on a particular day. Because of the nature of the groups small size, Oscar often attempts to make class more of a conversation than a lecture. He’s not always successful, but talks enough that he distracts from the awkward silences the group seems to attend to each other for the most part. You’ve heard him tell Kitty several times after class that ‘they’ll warm up to each other soon enough, when they’re ready’. After the first few sessions, a woman begins appearing frequently during class. Oscar introduces her as ‘Nia’, or “Auntie” as she prefers to be called. She’s and older woman, with flashes of silver wrapped in her thick, dark braids. She wears colorful wraps in exotic patters, and black tattoos the wrap around her fingers like rings. She usually says nothing while Oscar teaches, but smiles and serves tea during Book Club, fetching cups as soon as you finish one, and peeking in on it’s contents. Oscar says that Nia will help the class prepare for their first field trip, but never really says how.

· During the first week Oscar announces that, due to the clear presence of dangerously unhealthy skepticism, his first educational priority is ‘existential fundamentals’. During this week, Oscar goes more in depth into what changelings essentially are, and their dual natures in society. He explains that, most humans are blind by banality, and thus cannot see the fantastically as you do. Mostly frustrated by some of the questions the have arisen in conversation- Oscar spends a fair amount of time lecturing about the danger of banality and it’s poisonous quality. You learn that imagined creatures and objects are known as ‘chimera’, and were at some point or another dreamed up into existence where they sometimes linger, or fade into non-existence. He talks about the dreaming only briefly, in that it is in the homeland and he’ll get back to it next month. He also talks about something he calls ‘the Chrysalis’, and states that this is the formal terminology for discovering your changeling nature. According to tradition, once a changeling awakens, they are fostered into the local changeling community and eventually leads to ‘Saining’, or your formal introduction to the court by being named. Sunday’s class ends with an overview of The Escheat (the laws)
Dreamblood Chapters of Note:
Chapter One- Kithain Culture and the Nature of Feyfolk
The Escheat
Kithain Vocabulary

During the second week, Oscar talks very briefly about court politics. Changeling society, he explains, in based off of medieval principles and has continued on this way for many years. He gives a brief synopsis of changeling history, specifically the Shattering and its importance. St. Vincent, apparently, is under the rule of Dutchess Lisette. Oscar for the most part, is extremely factual about this, and talks very little of poltics, besides glossing over different philosophies of various courts. You discuss freeholds (safe havens to your kind) and are told there are three in the city, which Oscar ensures you will visit in good time: The Freudian Slip, The Moonstone Manor, and Moth’s Den. Lastly, Oscar discusses kith and their common identifiable traits, much to Kitty’s chagrin. It is explained that Almer is an Eshu, like Nia. M is a Sluagh. Leelie, a Nocker. And finally, and most interestingly, Jackson and Gabrielle are of the noble sidhe bloodline. Kitty seems thoroughly amused by this. It is on this last day, that a new student arrives: another sidhe by the name of Demona de la Morte. She receives Oscar’s last book.
Dreamblood Entries of Note:
Chapter One- Kithain Culture and the Nature of Feyfolk
History of Concordia
A Bumpkin’s Guide to the Court System
Characters: Demona de la Morte

This last week, Oscar has focused entirely on Arts (changeling magic) and practical applications of glamour. Classes this week have discussed how to collect glamour to fuel your magic, and the basic principles of casting. Specifically, the importance of finding a ‘bunk’ that fits your cantrip. It seems that Nia has spent the past few weeks trying to figure out where exactly your talents lie, and Oscar has tasked you with practicing when you are out of class to prepare. It’s the last week of August, and your first ‘Field Trip’ is scheduled for Saturday. Oscar hasn’t mentioned where you’re going, but has said that the first test will explore your knowledge of your new found powers.
Dreamblood Entries of Note:
Chapter Six- Mechanical Processes
Whitewolf Wordings
Studies in the Arts

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SESSION ONE

Dear Jackson,

There is so much that I want to share with you. Why I am in this city, why life and limb were upheaved and upended to scrape and scrap the way to this strange, ethereal city. Why your very name is to me, like a whisper from a far off land. You may be the primary reason I press on through this awoken life, striving to provide you with a stable life. There are so many things that must be done, now that this city has become home. So many paths to be explored, and comforts to be found. I saw Oscar’s offer as an opportunity to start building those paths. I was not entirely ready for the environment that was lain before me when I arrived. I needed to have a drink. I know. Not the best way to start or make a first impression. But, it is difficult. There were others there, others who have found their way into our lives. But I cared little for them all. I was on edge, very much so, the entire time. When Oscar spoke your name, I felt close to a panic attack, but I held it together. There is strength and safety to be sought through this place, and time should be allowed to discover it. At least, for the time being. I’m rambling now. I just wanted you to know a little about who your father was.

Alphonse Almerich


I stare at the words placed upon the page. It feels right to have it in pen. I stand, with my letter, grab my bag, and step out into the cool night air. My eyes spot my target immediately, and I move cautiously forward, like syrup spilled across a table. But by the time I reach my destination, my confidence if back where it lives. I take one last look at the letter, shred it, and toss it in to the trash. I’m sorry, Jackson. Not yet.

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