October 18th, 2013
On a brisk fall afternoon, three people have gathered before a Back Bay apartment. They are Brandon McGrath, here as a private investigator, LR Stein, here as a ghost-hunter, and John Cabot Lodge, here as a minister. They are here at the behest of the woman walking down the stairs, whom they turn to greet. Her name is Suzanne Crowninshield, recent widow of Harold Crowninshield. More to the point, she believes her house to be haunted.
Ms. Crowninshield departs after explaining her recent experiences and making plans to meet with the investigators the next day. Those investigators waste no time in exploring the apartment, and are immediately greeted with the uncanny. A cold spot pierces the middle of the foyer; a portrait of Harold’s grandfather begins to bleed from the right eye; a cat eludes them, darting further through the house, though it continues to spit and howl; fine china is flung through the kitchen window by an invisible force.
They follow the cat upstairs, and then to Harold’s study, but the cat is nowhere to be found. What they do find is a hidden switch behind another painting – flicking it causes the nearby bookshelf to recede into the wall, opening the way to a stone spiral staircase and the mournful, echoing feline call from below.
Of course, they descend. They do so with the aid of the lantern hung at the top of the stairs, and with its pale light they find an… office? Study? There is a wooden desk covered with bizarre paraphernalia – an ocelot skull, finger bones, thick dark fluids in thick glass jars, dusts aplenty and ancient symbols of brass. The cat stands in the middle of the room, but there is something… wrong. Its left eye bulges out again the skin, and the pupil is human, not cat. It hisses, and begins to expand. In an instant, the skin splits and tears and explodes into a mass of thin black tendrils and gray, jagged bone. The large eye emerges from the mass atop its own thick stalk, and it launches itself toward LR.
In the ensuing confusion, John was struck in the collarbone by a barbed tentacle, but LR was able to pin it with a knife while Brandon blasted the thing’s eye with an exceptional shot, and so it shriveled to a black husk while the investigators caught their breath. While John walked back upstairs to find a first-aid kit for his puncture wounds, LR and Brandon started searching the secret room. Unfortunately, they didn’t have much time; John heard voices from down below. They weren’t alone. That wasn’t the weirdest thing, though – the study phone started to ring, and John picked it up. On the other end was a man who told them they needed to run, and get out as quickly as possible; he said he was waiting out back in a convertible.
Brandon and LR were pulled away from the study (and a ritual text promising to nullify liquid poisons) as one of the intruders walked upstairs. He was a massive man in a yellow rain-coat and a surgical mask, and he had a small, silenced pistol in hand. Brandon took the initiative, bursting from the room and putting the man at gunpoint. The negotiations were tense, but essentially came down to this: if the investigators left everything that they had found and left as quickly as possible, they would be spared. Unsurprisingly, the three didn’t believe him, and began to back out the fire escape. Didn’t stop the thug from drawing another pistol on them, unfortunately, but luckily the shot went wide. Brandon’s didn’t, and so the thug took a slug in the torso and stumbled into a room, shouting for back-up. That’s when everything went to hell.
They managed to elude the thugs for long enough to get to the car out back, which currently held a pimply skater punk and a young black woman. They weren’t home free yet, though; they led the hit-squad on a car chase down Boylston, and though the investigators were sure they’d be picking asphalt out of their mouths, they were unusually lucky. Almost home free, their driver said he needed just a little more power to finish things up… which meant that his co-pilot hauled out the “Decimator” (a ten-shot revolver with a single bullet), held it up to the driver’s head, and pulled the trigger. Screaming and general panic aside, that apparently bought the driver just enough luck to send a delivery truck plowing into their pursuers and to let him skate out of danger.
They left the car (it was stolen anyway, apparently) and took the train up to Cambridge. After settling in at the local McDonald’s, the driver, Harvey Duopolous, explained that he and his companion were part of an occult conspiracy called Max Attax. Harvey, specifically, is an Entropomancer. It was a lot to take in, but the key points were that magick was real, and that the investigators had accidentally stumbled into pissing off the occult underground’s newest big player. The New Inquisition (TNI for short) has been active on the East coast for only a couple years, and were really new to Boston. Nobody is really sure what’s up with them, but they’ve gotten a reputation as hardcases for killing some of the occult scene’s big nasties. The investigators had met one of their feared “Hit Squads” in the Crowninshield house. The investigators agreed to lay low at one of Harvey’s pals apartments for the night.
And so they wound up in the apartment of Mitchell Voorhees, also a member of Max Attax (and a HUGE Star Trek fan), and began to process their new understanding of the world.