Peter Granger (SteveR) - Artist (Painter)
Aislinn Drohan (Tammy) - Auction House Providencer
March 26th, 2014 (Wednesday)
Peter Granger gets home from the police station. He receives a telephone call from Aislinn Drohan, who tells him of her meeting with Derek Stoneheart. He learns from her that Stoneheart is his agent, Jerry Townshend's, art client. Aislinn tells him that he may not get a commission on the art appraisal, since Stoneheart has put a bid in directly with Walkers Auction House. She asks Peter how his art appraisal of the painting is coming. He tells her that according to James Kinawa's brother, Robert, there never was a painting, only a sketch, that he can't verify the artist's signature, but that he's valued the painting at $4,000 based on other works by the artist. Aislinn says they need to get an actual art appraiser, since he's actually a painter - and then has the bright idea: perhaps James Kinawa's brother, Robert, or maybe the artist himself.
Aislinn hears a "click" on the phone, and asks if someone else is on the line. "Leave the investigation alone!" says a husky, male voice with a Native American accent. [The use of Throw Voice, and add a Dark Token to the table.] When Peter asks her who she's talking to, she says that it's another strange occurrence. He tells her about the Slavic man he's had following him, the "break-in" at Woodward Studios, the dead security guard and the other artists found unconscious. When she asks, Peter tells Aislinn that his work area was trashed, and that an art reference book was missing; he tells her that he doesn't recall which art book. Peter tells Aislinn that the painting he'd been working on "for months" has been destroyed, actually ruined, and says that he has no idea why. Aislinn ends the call, and finding the number, calls the Sunderland Gallery. The receptionist who answers tells her that the Gallery will be closed this evening for a private function, but that it will reopen at 9:00 am the next morning.
Aislinn spends the evening doing some research on Derek Stoneheart, and what is publically available. Her search is extensive, taking her to quite a few websites and videos. Derek Stoneheart was born August 19th, 1975 on the Matachewan First Nation in the Timiskaming district of Northern Ontario (the Matachewan 72 Reserve). He studied Art History and Design at Algonquin College in 1992/1993. He began to study Algonquin history in 2000, taking courses at Carleton University and spending some time with Native American medicine men. He's known by far as a First Nations activist, taking an active role in getting some changes made to Canadian laws pertaining to the First Nations, and making things better for the Matachewan First Nation. In addition, he is an art critic who did some scathing reviews of James Kinawa's early works. There was no mention of the "Firehawk at the Falls" painting. While he excels at both art critiquing and First Nations activism, he is more prolific and dominant with the latter. Searching for a connection between the Cult of the Spider and the Matchewan 72 Reserve, she finds a piece stating that it had an "influence" at the Matchewan community back in the late 1800s. Tired from her work, Aislinn finally goes home for the night.
The Thursday (March 27th) begins too early for Aislinn, as she is quite groggy after the morning alarm wakes her. She hears on the morning news that a second home invasion has occurred at the Fowlkes Estate. There is a short interview with Clarence, and she learns the officer in charge is Sergeant Jean Colbert of the Ottawa PD.
Peter calls his agent, Jerry Townshend, but learns that he's in a meeting and will get back to him in 20 minutes or so. Jerry eventually returns his call. Peter tells him about the break-in at the Studio and that the painting he'd been working on being destroyed. He tells Jerry that he needs several months to get another piece ready, but Jerry says there's no time; he promised him a painting this week. Peter learns that he'll be replaced in the Castleton Gallery by Jean Richard, who seems to have a new patron in the form of Claudette Oulette of the National Gallery! Jerry tells Peter that he's got an appointment waiting and has to go, and hangs up on the stunned Peter. He calls the agent back to talk to him about the art appraisal gig, but Jerry's secretary, Jennifer [Marchand], says she knows nothing of this - the agency deals with active artists and those with potential, not art appraisal. She tells him that she has other stuff on the go, and hangs up.
At the offices of Walkers Fine Art & Estate Auctions, Aislinn and Connie discuss the new robbery at the Fowlkes Estate. Aislinn calls the estate to see if they are able to come in and continue their work with the Fowlkes collection, and speaks to Clarence. He tells her that nothing seems to have been stolen (or replaced!). He tells her that thieves left the door to the house open, despite the fact that he knows that he locked the doors the night before when he was ready to retire for the evening. Clarence tells her that the Walkers people can return to continue work on the collection whenver they're ready. He asks her about Peter Granger and his work on the art appraisal, as he's not called the estate at all. After she hangs up, Aislinn is surprised when Connie shows her a small handgun [Serious Injury] in her drawer, and asks if Aislinn wants her to take it with her; she'll put it in her purse. Aislinn discourages her and vetos her taking the gun with them. Aislinn calls Peter, and tells them they can go back to work at the Fowlkes Estate. Peter says that he'll meet her there as soon as he's able.
Aislinn and Connie arrive at the Fowlkes Estate, and are met by Clarence, who's delighted to see them again. Aislinn tells him that Peter Granger will join them soon. Entering the estate once more, she and Connie find that nothing appears to be out of place. Aislinn tells Connie and Clarence that they'll start with the attic (as she wants to see the spider skin vest), and Clarence leads them there. He lowers the ladder to the attic, and Aislinn spots what appears to be red, yellow, and white paint residue on the ladder's sides [she rolled a High Success]. Connie speculates about this paint, and the reddish substance that was found on the file cabinet folder drawer in their office. Clarence points out that the attic light is on, and Aislinn volunteers and cautiously goes up, but is glad to find that no one is there. Clarence and Connie join her in the attic.
The three characters find the attic not so much disturbed, as several items have been moved around. They talk about calling the police, but decide they want to check things out for themselves first. When they search the area, they find no sign of the spider skin vest. Aislinn uses her Sense the Unknown ability [turns a Token Dark for a High Success], and catches earthy scents, sees wisps of phantasmal (cob)webs, and sees what seems to be oozing, translucent slime on one of the sections of wall. She comes out of her trance, and goes for a closer look at the section of wall where she saw the slime, and finds what appear to be tufts of fur/hair. Before she can react, she is slammed into the wall by an unseen force [Unknown Hand, turn 2 Tokens Light], and is hurt almost seriously, but takes only a Minor Injury [turns 3 Tokens Dark, and checks the Light Drive box for a +40 to the TN of her Resistance Check, and only takes -10 STA]. While Connie moves over to make sure that Aislinn is all right, Clarence spots Peter arriving through the attic window. He goes down to meet Peter and bring him up to the attic, as well as to get an ice pack for Aislinn's cheek. Connie asks if Aislinn all right, and when she says that she is, Connie asks her about the trances that she's noticed Aislinn has at times. Aislinn tells her that she can sense things, and the conversation takes a Star Wars Force analogy turn.
Peter arrives and is met at the door by Clarence, carrying an ice pack. He tells Peter what has happened, and then takes him to the "Firehawk at the Falls" painting at Peter's request. Clarence then returns to the attic, and Aislinn and Connie. Peter looks closely at the painting, specifically the stick figures, using a magnifying glass, and could swear that the stick figures are dressed as Native Americans, complete with feathers [rolls a Colossal Success, turns a Token Light] - and then is shocked when the figures move! [Horror Resolve check, suffers a Minor Trauma, and takes -20 WPR.] He tries to determine what the firehawk in the portrait is doing but fails, and then takes another general look at the painting [and rolls a Botch, turn a Token Dark]; he realises that it is a watercolour painting, with what might be a fiery hawk attacking the village, and he can't make out the signature of the painter in the right hand corner. Peter removes his glasses, and blinks - and could swear that a humanoid figure appeared, grabbed the painting, and then vanished! [Teleport EWS, turn 3 Tokens Light] Peter screams.
In the attic, Aislinn could swear that she heard a scream. When Clarence tells her of Peter's arrival and his being down in the Exhibit Hall with the painting, the three quickly head downstairs. They reach the Exhibit Hall to find Peter in a state of shock, and the "Firehawk at the Falls" painting has vanished. Peter babbles at them about what happened, and gives them a vague description of what he saw - a humanoid, purple blurry figure with feathers. Aislinn remembers that Derek Stoneheart wore a similar shade of purple (suit) when he visited her, and had a feathered necklace. Peter asks why he would take the painting, and Aislinn determines [with her Myth and Legends ability] that he must have all the components to conduct the ritual. Clarence points out that the Spring Equinox will be in two days' time (on March 29th). He tells Aislinn that there are two sacred (burial) grounds to the Native Americans in the Ottawa area - one on Chaudiere Island, near the Falls, the other some 2 miles west of Bells Corners. Remembering what she knows of the area and Native American myth [she turns 3 Tokens Dark, for a +30 to the TN, and remembers about what is affectionately referred to as the "Beast of Bytown" incident from back in the 1850s. Aislinn realises she needs to see the painting. Clarence goes and gets the photo of the painting from the time-release vault, and shows it to her. Using Peter's magnifying glass, Aislinn examines the painting photo [gets a Colossal Success, turns a Token Light]. The painting is a large, portrait done in oils that shows a large phoenix-like bird (perhaps Thunderbird of Algonquin myth?) cleansing a valley with stick figures wearing red, yellow, and white clothing with either fire or lightning. There appears to be a dark red, spider-like being in the painting near the signature, that is the focus of the bird creature's attack. It is not the fire/lightning that appears to be affecting the spider-like creature, but rather the steam or water raised from the falls. Aislinn turns to the others and exclaims, "I think we know what we have to do!!"
Sunday afternoon's game session of the Chill 3rd Edition campaign went pretty well, the session revealing all manner of new information, and the situation starting to come to a head. Both spross and Tammy seemed to enjoy themselves for the most part, though the former seemed somewhat distracted a bit.
Overall, a good game session with some fun stuff, and the players are looking forward to next weekend's game session. So am I! :)