The Howling Wind
After the previous drama at sea, I gave the characters a bit of time to recover and then began with the opening event: Anastasia woke up from her induced coma in hospital, her sister Ophelia still dutifully at her side. Her first action this session was to immediately burn all of her trust die, due to the particular reasons for her attack in the first place and then hole herself up in the store for some time (with Ophelia). This was about three weeks or so, which I decided added to the downtime the characters had to do other things etc. In the meantime, Anastasia shut off all contact and just stayed in the store.
Eventually upon returning to the world of the social, she got a call from her Oma (Grandmother) that her father had gone missing in Nepal. He hadn’t contacted her on the usual cycle now and they feared that the developing poor situation there (a war between PMC forces) had got out of control. She said that Anastasia wasn’t to worry and that they had people in Nepal looking for him, but naturally Anastasia didn’t buy this and booked her plane to China to head to Nepal as soon as possible.
Without the other investigators.
Of course, Ophelia had other ideas and contacted Keith. Ophelia informed him that Anastasia was going to go looking for her father and that someone had to keep an eye out or Anastasia might end up in serious trouble. She gave Keith a rough idea of the flight schedules and by “coincidence” Maggie and Keith then ended up on the same aircraft from China to Nepal as Anastasia. Coincidence! Honest!
Initially despite the turbulence and some of the disregard for safety that the aircraft engaged in, the investigators had a fairly reasonable trip. Then there was a massive and loud “VVRROOOOOOMMSHOOOWWWW” sound, which caused the electrics of the plane to behave strangely and then sputter for a bit. As Keith was sitting he began to get a feeling like his stomach was starting to lurch up – a classic sign of the plane losing altitude.
Naturally he went up to the flight cabin to investigate and got Anastasia to help (who he knew could fly a plane), even if she wasn’t impressed to see him at all. After forcing the lock of the plane, they got into the pilots cabin only to see both of them had been turned into atomized paste – but no obvious damage to the aircraft (though many of the electrics had been fried). Thankfully Keith had some knowledge of repair and was able to successfully fix some of the systems so the plane could fly…. barely. Maggie also had a look at the parachutes and found them full of silk worms feasting upon the things. So that option was out!
Anastasia took the controls of the plane and guided it towards the airport at Kathmandu, but due to the damage to most of the systems flying it was only the first challenge. The real trick was landing it. Fortunately the repairs that Keith did reduced to the total difficulty of the landing substantially. Even so Anastasia had some difficulty landing the plane and it only barely made it down in the first place. The investigators took some hefty scrapes, bruises and jolts – but they walked away from it. Ultimately that’s all you can ask from a landing right?
Upon leaving the plane they noted the large electrical burn mark, which hit the underside of the nose of the plane and then went straight through the top of it. A powerful jolt of electricity would have been capable of doing that, but there was no storm on the way in and no man-made weapon could do such a thing….
In any event, the first thing to do was avoid the authorities who were both extremely confused and worried about why the plane ended up in this state. They could have hung around and waited until they found someone who could speak English, but the investigators wisely decided now would be a good time to slip away while there was still suitable chaos going on. Of course Anastasia had further ideas, deciding to slip away not just from the authorities but also from Maggie and Keith.
The lack of trust between Anastasia and the other two members of the investigative team was an interesting dynamic. While Anastasia asked around the hard way to find out where to go, notably by showing a certain coin she had acquired, Keith (who could speak Nepalese) and Maggie had an easier time of things. Eventually Keith and Maggie got to a bar where they met the new players character, Eva Lachance. They learned from Eva that the locals weren’t so keen to assist in going up the mountains anymore due to a combination of local folklore monsters (Migou and Yeti) and the outbreak of fighting between heavily armed PMCs. The suggestion that she could finally have some help getting up there was enough for Eva to suggest she go with the investigators to Manpur first, which was a small village to the north.
Anastasia also figured this out, albeit in a sort of round about way by showing some locals the coin she acquired under special circumstances. This coin, which bore the logo of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, helped one of the locals to show Anastasia various things about the war. Photographs of her son, some other things and finally pointing to a mountain called Chu Oyu. This mountain was where the war was and getting there would involve finding Manpur first, which could be accessed by bus.
Another most odd coincidence in Keith, Maggie, Eva and Anastasia all getting on the same bus service to go to the same place! Fancy that everyone! They were on different buses though, which would prove to be an interesting decision as the route was apparently rather dangerous. To emphasize this, I decided to point out the number of openly armed guards on the bus service and that there were a sizable number of people who looked most concerned.
Turns out they had every right to be as the bus in front got caught in the 30mm cannon fire of a M-24 Hind E Attack Helicopter. This rapidly caused the buses to grind to a halt and a battle erupted between the helicopter and the bus guards. One that the guards were losing badly as they were mowed down by the Hinds impressive cannon rather trivially. Anastasia managed to recover enough in the front bus to get out, as did Keith and Maggie in the second bus (who sensibly got down before the second bus was shredded by cannon fire). They all headed to the last operational bus in the convoy and piled in, with Anastasia taking the wheel.
Maggie desperately searched around for something to actually shoot at the helicopter, while Keith and Eva began to toss anything heavy out of the bus in the hopes of being able to move faster. The helicopter disengaged the few survivors of the initial attack and began to pursue the moving bus. A burst of cannon fire shredded the donkey on the bus, while Maggie turned up with an RPG, which she began busily scratching various magical symbols all over for a subsequent plan. Keith, in a feat of incredible strength picked up the dead donkey single handedly and then chucked it out of the bus.
Maggies magical machinations involving the RPG paid off, with the rocket hitting the Hind right in the side and badly damaging it. With the Hind now spinning out of control and Anastasia’s expert driving (for the second time this investigation) avoiding a rocket sandwich, the investigators were able to get away. Once they arrived in Manpur, the situation became clear: The war between the two cults here in the Order of Dagon and VII had ravaged the countryside. Most importantly, nobody was keen on aiding the investigators in getting up there but they did point them in the general direction.
Here is where the saga of the gigantic yak begins. Firstly, Anastasia was trying to get away without the others knowing but there weren’t any real suitable animals or vehicles around. All there was that she could take was a huge elderly Yak, which she oddly enough refused. So Anastasia looked for another approach, while Keith, Eva and Maggie searched around elsewhere. They soon found a man claiming to have seen the “Lights in the fog”, describing a harrowing encounter with strange alien like creatures. Most importantly, he gave them a broken camera like device he said that one of the beasts had.
Then the saga of the Yak 2.0 began, as the remaining investigators asked the same question of me (Anastasia asked me over private means, aka Facebook chat), so I gave the same answer. “Well” I began, “there is a really big fat Yak back there”. Naturally these investigators reaction was automatically “Time to steal the Yak!” and he quickly earned the name Alphonso or “The Fonz”. So laden with supplies and with Eva leading them to their destination (being an experienced climber) they moved to Chu Oyu, with Anastasia shadowing them from a distance along the way.
Eventually they came across a camp, which had been raided by something strange with a footprint leaving behind 4 closely knit circles in the ground. No bodies or similar were found, with everything oddly untouched from where it had been. Spoiled breakfast and similar were just sitting there in the open. The investigators soon found a map in a crumpled drawer in one of the tents, showing the local region and noting strange sightings of “Migou”, where the front line between VII and the Order of Dagon and a supply base. It was at this point that Anastasia turned up from her tracking and rejoined the others, much to Eva’s confusion.
Several more days of travel later and they came up to the supply base noted on the map, which had been visited by the same creatures who hit the previous base. Here I described something shambling about inside (this time they *did* ask for sense trouble checks!) and that was enough to get them super paranoid. So they carefully stacked up on the door, kicked it in and then found… a single badly injured and terrified soldier from the Order of Dagon. Or at least one of their hired mercenaries. He described the attack by “strange lights”, weird buzzing noises and worse, one of which winged him with their electrical weapons. Even from a minor hit, he was missing much of his left side and it had been completely cauterized at least.
Half mad and obsessed with his beans, he was basically no threat to the investigators at this point. They quickly went about raiding the rest of the supplies to replenish before they headed up the mountain properly. Of course the soldier had some handy information for them, courtesy of the coin that Anastasia showed him in that the eastern ridge of the mountain wasn’t being carefully watched. If they scaled up there – a harder trip than going up more directly – they would be able to avoid both sides.
Of course, doing so wasn’t exactly easy as something else lurked up these mountains. Something ancient and terrible, which even the Migou knew to fear whenever its presence was felt.
And soon it would make itself apparently to the investigators as well.