The party continued its encounter with the pair of ghouls there to kill Krystowicz. The ghouls had both been blasted into the house, and Church had previously laid down an ice slick within.
Church attempted another spell, this time one of decay and rot. Unable to control the spell, however, it ended up hitting the floor, causing the floorboards to quickly rot. The ghouls made to escape, but the now fragile floor combined with the slippery ice prevented them from escaping.
Darren, seeing his opportunity, took aim at a chandelier in the entry way of the house and fired, severing its connection the ceiling. It crashed into the fragile floor, bringing Church and both ghouls crashing into a recreation room in the basement. Church was lucky enough to land on a couch; the ghouls managed to soften their landings with a foosball and a pool table, respectively. They struggled back up the stairs, where Donovan was waiting. He leapt over the huge hole in the floor and visciously attacked one of the ghouls, knocking him back into the basement; the ghoul did not get up this time.
The other made for the back door and attempted to leave, but Darren had made his way into the house and pulled off a lucky shot, putting a gaping wound into the ghoul’s chest. The ghoul collapsed and ceased the struggle.
The party dragged the wounded ghoul into the basement with the other, and Finlay set up a simple barrier to keep the ghouls from escaping. The ghoul lacking the chest wound had a broken leg, so he wasn’t going anywhere, but he could at least hold a conversation.
Why were the ghouls there? Their leader ordered them to kill Krystowicz, otherwise they knew nothing. Their leader? A ghoul by the name of Galakron. How do they find him? This takes some convincing on the part of the party, as the ghoul thinks Galakron will have him killed if he tells them this. He eventually relents and tosses them a wallet; the ID inside would be the address at which they could find Galakron. Satisfied, Finlay cuts the ward and the ghoul grabs a pool stick and hobbles out the back of the house; his companion remains behind.
Krystowicz provides an SUV for the group to return to Runis and retrieve their vehicles. Before meeting at the address provided by the ghoul, they made a few stops first: Finlay to his home to drop off Krystowicz and grab his warden gear, Donovan at his apartment to get a fresh change of clothing, and Darren to his apartment to grab a rather hefty combat shotgun.
The address in question is in a rough neighborhood on the north side of the city. As the group travels, the houses gradually become seedier and sketchier. They arrive at a small, ranch-style home with a decaying “For Sale” sign in front. The windows are all boarded up. Despite the early spring weather, the grass in the yard is completely dead.
The group makes a quick sweep of the house. The main floor is empty, filled mostly with the scent of decay, tattered carpets, and moldy rags. The basement is mostly bare concrete, with a blood-stained drain in the middle of the floor. However, the basement is distinguished by a very large hole in the wall, leading to a tunnel carved into the earth.
The group sets a few magical lights and ventures into the tunnel. They soon find themselves in a complex of natural underground caverns. They had heard rumors of such caverns running beneath St. Louis, but none had yet found any evidence of their existence. Amongst the supernatural community, it was even said that those creatures that couldn’t blend in to human society found refuge down below.
After a few twists and turns, the group comes up to an antechamber of sorts, with a few paths leading off in various directions. Finlay thinks he hears voices coming from one direction. From the other, shadowy figures loom in the distance. Donovan “adjusts” his eyes to see ghouls lingering in the distance, observing them curiously.
Following the tunnel, Finlay leads them into a well-lit chamber; electric lanterns hang on the walls throughout the room, illuminating battered furniture and piles of filthy rags. Ghouls are lounging about or huddle together around the perimeter of the room. Towards the back of the room is a “throne” of sorts: A battered barcalounger sits on a small stone platform, seating an incredibly large ghoul. Clearly, this is the Galakron they were looking for.
Over the course of a long conversation, it becomes clear that Galakron is many things: Pitiless, overconfident, and ambitious. It turns out they aren’t the first strangers to have come from the surface; a while back, another surface dweller (tall, pale, with slicked-back dark hair and a dark suit), arrived and offered to work with them. If they went out and performed errands for him, such as killing Krystowicz, he’d pay them with fresh meat from the surface, as well as higher rewards to come. It was a fine arrangement for a while, but they hadn’t received much in terms of payment recently, and Galakron was feeling bored. The group wanted to know how to find this stranger, but Galakron had to be convinced. Finlay attempted to convince him, but Galakron wasn’t really moved by his words. Church emerged from the shadows, glamoured to appear like the ghoul they’d nearly killed earlier. Donovan pretended to cast a spell at Church, and Church vanished at precisely the right moment. Galakron bought the illusion, and was fairly pleased with the display, though he was hoping for a little more “bang.” Kirkseized the opportunity and gathered energy for a big, showy display of power, releasing it into the ground and shaking the cavern. A stalactite shook loose and nearly crushed several ghouls nearby, but Finlay grabbed it at the last second with some magic of his own. Properly impressed, Galakron relayed information for a “meeting” he was to have with the mysterious stranger that night at The Second Circle, 9pm. The group cautiously left and made preparations for the meeting.
Church and Kirk spent some time examining the watch, attempting to discern its nature. Some research revealed that the runes were fae magic, and related to the element of air, but could not find anything about their purpose. A bit of magical poking and prodding found that the watch was a powered from another source, but currently was cut off from said source.
Darren, meanwhile, found himself fending off his landlady, who was fairly perturbed that he’d come up late on this month’s rent payment. After some yelling back and forth through Darren’s door, he agreed to an “alternative” method of payment. Twenty minutes and several showers later, Darren was ready to meet the group at the club.
Most of them arrived separately. The club was quite packed, not unexpected on a Friday night. As each arrived, a dancer circulating the room offered a “private dance” in the back lounge. Most refused, somehow; the dancers, White Court Vampires all, used their special brand of “inspiration” to lure the men, unsuccessfully in each case. Finlay made a bee-line for the VIP section of the club, a reserved section on the upper level. Though he wasn’t expected, a few hundred dollars in the hands of the bouncer saw his way up.
Donovan entered right before Finlay, attempting to emulate what Galakron might look like in his human guise. Stating that he was “here for Galakron’s man” did not move the bouncer to let him into the VIP section, though. When Donovan started heading back to the private lounge with a dancer, Finlay pushed a few more C-notes on a bouncer to get him to retrieve Donovan before he went behind the curtains; having overheard Donovan’s statements, Finlay guessed at the beefy stranger’s identity.
Church and Kirk lingered at the bar after entering. Darren sat at the foot of the stage and enjoyed the show. After a while, Darren was the only one of the group to hear gunshots in the office area over the music. He snuck into the back and found an office door wide open. He peeked in and found the dark-suited stranger holding a gun over a dead man at a desk. He whispered, “Now” into a cell phone, spied Darren, and turned his gun on him.
As soon as the stranger spoke into his cell phone, the front door of the club burst open, and men with guns came streaming into the club.