Some Musically Inclined Thoughts On Leander

Initially inspired by this post over on John's Scion Resources (which is a GREAT site to check out if you're playing Scion).

In thinking about music for Leander (and by extension Malena), I came up with a few things that would fit him pretty well and provide some insights.  One song that came to mind pretty quickly was AC/DC's Hail Caesar.  The lyrics remind me a lot of the potential intrigue happening behind the scenes for Leander with him being distrusted by Zeus.  After all, he's a piece of Athena... A male piece, which was also born of Zeus.  Which just might make him as much Metis' son as Athena's, and that might make him the son prophesied to overthrow Zeus the way Zeus overthrew his father.  Which Zeus is decidedly against.

Another clear choice for Leander is the Hyperion Overture from StarCraft II (well, more appropriately, from the trailers for StarCraft II).  It nods back to his hobbies and his strategic leanings.  It also has a rather triumphal and mythic feel to it, which is definitely more where Leander leans a lot of the time, given he's been on Olympus or acting as an agent of the Gods for a while.  I also think it has some tragic notes, which probably also fit well with Leander.

Madonna's Like A Virgin is also on the list.  If you've read the interaction between Leander and Malena, this is a fairly self-explanatory selection.

Celldweller's Hyperion fits pretty well, I think, with the battle between the Scions and Fafnir, with segments that match up with the different phases of the fight.  Similarly, Celldweller's Jupiter fits pretty well for those situations in which Leander steps up from the back lines and suddenly puts a lot of damage into someone.  It's rare, but the build in the music seems to fit so well with him suddenly blurring into action.

For Malena and Leander's relationship, I'd use Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's White Sandy Beach of Hawaii.  The lyrics speak of soothing dreams of a loved one, which I think is pretty much where Leander is at in that relationship right now.  I think Malena would probably be amused that I think the song that would work for her is Meredith Brooks' Bitch.  While I don't think of her as a stereotypical "bitch," I think her outspoken and forceful nature could easily get interpreted that way.  And she's rarely regretful or ashamed, but she's also very caring and kind when it's appropriate.

The game's theme song has long been the Russian cover of Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas, so both versions need to rate on this list.


Systems I Love: Fate Core

This probably feels like it's been a long time coming, if you've read things here.  I gushed about Fate Core's Kickstarter.  And then the Fate Dice Kickstarter.  I made myself in Fate Core after I got the PDF.  I redesigned a past DnD character for a now upcoming Warcraft Fate Core Hack and updated my previous Fate Supernatural Hack and Fate Rifts Hack characters.  My group played a one-shot Fate Core Pacific Rim Hack.  I raved about my love for my Fate Dice.  I think it's no real secret that Fate is my favorite system right now and that Fate Core's release has been a big deal for me and my group.  But I've been slow to review it.

Yeah, no one has a better cover than this.
That's mostly because I've been waiting until we were actually playing Fate Core on a regular basis to do so.  We haven't gotten there yet, as Scion is still finishing up.  But we've begun work on our Warcraft game, which will be in Fate Core and now everyone is right in the midst of going through the book to build their characters (and Evil Hat started up the Evil Hat Street Team).  Which brings me to my first major point about the Fate Core book:  it is beautifully laid out.

I'm not sure this is a fact that will get enough attention.  Fate Core is perhaps the best laid out RPG book of all time and definitely the best laid out I own (so shoutout to Jeremy Keller for fantastic work).  This is for two main reasons.  First, the book is easy to flip through quickly to find material.  This is because sections of material are logically and simply named as well as laid out in the order in which players and GM's are most likely to need them.  Any number of RPGs miss this simple concept and their books become much more difficult to navigate.  In Fate Core, I know intuitively that character creation should come after game creation and am rewarded with the material I need in the order I would expect.

The second key factor to the layout is the fact that the table of contents and index strike a good balance between being highly informative and not overwhelming.  The table of contents in Fate Core has more information than most RPG books do; having subsections listed under the major chapters of the book.  For example Character Creation has the subsections Character Creation Is Play, Your Character Idea, The Phase Trio, Skills, Stunts and Refresh, Stress and Consequences, You're All Set! and Quick Character Creation.  That's a lot of information, but each subsection title is fairly self-explanatory and it really best serves people who are looking for specific information, which will include most players getting ready for a game.  The index, unlike most RPG books, is fairly light.  It feels to me as if it focuses on terms not already covered in the table of contents, meaning it works well as a quick reference to the more obscure terms and rules of the system.  This balance means that I am provided with a large amount of information in a rather digestible manner, which makes the book quick to navigate.

Secretly the best page in the book.
Another huge score for Fate Core is that it is easy to read.  The language is simple, which all too many RPGs forget is useful.  Because the book is conversational, and so many subsections exist, it's easy to read quickly and find appropriate stopping points.  Sometimes when a book becomes too conversational, it can become easy to have sentences that look like they're informative, but don't give quite enough  information.  Fate Core seems to have avoided this pitfall through strong editing and the rounds of community feedback on the book.  I have yet to come across a point in which I had to re-read a section over and over to be able to tell myself "I think I get this concept."  In fact, it's helped me clarify a few of those points on older editions of Fate, allowing me to "get" some things that I wasn't quite sure of in the Dresden Files RPG.  Similarly, there are loads of game play examples conveniently placed after the most complex or important concepts of the rules, which speeds along the comprehension process.

Imagery is also a big help in making Fate Core easy to read.  There are tons of pictures in the book, giving readers a place to take a break.  And there is excellent use of symbols to help players remember and define the four major types of dice rolling actions.  This means that they can be used to recall that information at any time during examples or later rules discussions.  While it seems like a little thing, this is HUGE and greatly helps to cut down on flipping back and forth between sections of the book.  And if players do need to flip back and forth, the symbols make it easy to spot places in which the information they're looking for might be located.

Seriously, RPG publishers, do this. It's ultra helpful.
Outside of Fate Core, I have never read an RPG book cover-to-cover in order.  Fate Core changed this by providing an easy way in which to find rules and stopping points as I read through the book.  I also think the ease of reading for the book really couples well with the flexibility and openness of the system itself.  This has given my group, and I would suspect others, an added sense of ability to take the system to do whatever setting we might want.  My group has already discussed a fairly large range of game settings in Fate Core (from sci-fi like Rifts, Pacific Rim, or Stargate to fantasy like Warcraft to modern fantasy like Supernatural or the zombie apocalypse).  None of these seem like a stretch because the rules are flexible and it is easy to quickly navigate the book for the tools to put them together.  That's tough to beat.

As for the rules, they're pretty much Fate as it's been for years.  Players get four dice with blank, plus, and minus sides to them.  When players take an action that needs resolution, they roll those dice, count up the plusses and minuses then combine those with their values in various skills.  If the GM or player compels or invokes aspects, there might be shifts in that final number.  If the final number surpasses the target for success, the player succeeds.  Simple stuff really.  The real punch of the system is its ability to do anything and give enough structure to it that there's order to play but flexibility to allow players and GM's to attempt whatever they want.  It's clear that tenet carried over from the rules to the rule book, and coupled with Evil Hat's willingness to get their player community involved, it produced a great way to get both experienced and new players playing.

Truth in advertising.



The forest was quiet beneath the moon.  `Ilio leaned back on the koa wood throne he'd had made and gazed into the darkness, ignoring the whimpers of the girls chained to either side of his armrests.  His nostrils flared and his tongue darted out to lick at his muzzle.  Something was coming.  It stank of the Kin of Tāne...

Malena stalked through the darkened forest, cutting between ancient trees.  Two weeks ago, something had moved into this area, driving out the usual spread of hunters and tourists in the Molokai Forest Reserve.  A number of girls of all ages and young boys had disappeared from the towns on the island.  The two things were obviously related and Malena had decided to put it down with extreme prejudice.  Calls to past allies had yet to be returned, so she had set out on her own.

Her clothes, transformed to dark fatigues with an obsidian belt carved in the form of two eels biting the moon, rustled softly, but she moved slowly, trying to mask it with forest sounds.  It reminded her of the days she had Not that they were many; the birds and beasts had apparently cleared out, making it far more clear that the thing in the forest was not just a trumped up mortal.  Ahead, a twig snapped.  Malena froze.

A dark-haired girl rushed into view, crying breathlessly.  Not waiting a moment to consider, Malena broke her cover and sprinted to the child.  "It's okay, hoaloha, it's okay.  I've got you."

The girl sobbed aloud, then whispered, "But... My friends!  He let me go!  He has them!"

Malena grit her teeth in frustration.  "I'll come back for them.  I promise.  But you need to go home, now."

The girl sniffled and didn't move, so Malena scooped her up before retreating through the forest.  She headed for the hunter check point, where a ranger would be stationed.  He could take the girl and she could come back for the others.

`Ilio watched the Kin of Tāne go.  He delt sure he could take the woman, despite her blood.  She appeared unarmed and unarmored.  Her clumsy stalking in the forest would have given her away had he not been able to smell her from miles off. When she returned, he would take her.  He would eat her and return to the founding of his family.  The family that would rule Molokai and war on the Kin of hated Tāne.

Malena knelt over the spot where she'd found the girl.  The moon had begun its decent towards the west, which changed the shadows, but she was fairly certain she could make out the girl's tracks coming from the northwest.  She rubbed her fingers across them for a moment, trying to sense just what the girl had run from.

Rising, she stalked in that direction.  She shook her wrists, feeling the weight of the koa wood bracelets there hitting against the backs of her hands.  The night air was warm, making her clothes cling, and briefly she considered changing them to something more comfortable.

Ahead there was a clearing, moonlight pouring down on something polished and golden.  It look, for the most part, like a large chair, but two hooks protruded from the fronts of the armrests.  Malena paused a few yards back of the clearing's edge, watching and listening.

The Kin of Tāne pause, clearly afraid of entering the unprotected area of the clearing.  'Ilio snorted at her timidity.  He shifted his weight, creeping forward on the branch.  He hovered over her, waiting for her to look up at the sound of his breathing.  She didn't.

It dropped out of the trees at Malena, snarling maw descending towards her face.  Instinctively, Malena stepped backwards, letting her bodyweight shift and take her into a reverse tumble that brought her out from beneath the Titanspawn and back up into a crouch.  She smiled at it, toothy and wide.  It growled low in its throat and then spoke, "Kin of Tāne, I am the master of this place.  Leave and I will allow your bones to remain in your flesh for but a little longer."

She laughed in its ugly dog-like face.  "You've been watching too many Brock Landers movies, friend.  Where are the children you've stolen, hound?"

It growled again and darted forward, crouching low.  Malena leapt backwards, wrists coming forward in a snapping motion.  Her bracelets slapped against the backs of her palms and then flowed forward, forming into the familiar shark-toothed weapons she called Ukupanipo's Bite.  She spun, slashing out at the charging Titanspawn, who stopped short as it registered the weapons' appearance.

'Ilio circled, newly wary of the girl who'd come to face him.  He'd thought, given her relative clumsiness in coming through the forest, that she would be an incapable fighter.  Her sudden response to his attack had changed that perception for him.  He changed tactics.  "I've eaten all the children.  They were delicious.  Would you like to weep over their bones before I eat you, too?"

Malena grinned at the Titanspawn.  "Darling, the only way you'll make me weep is by your stench.  I know they're alive.  The girl you lost told me as much."

"Ah yes, the bait."

Malena pivoted as he stalked circles around her, keeping her right hand and the weapon there trained on the center of his chest.  "You're a descendant of Kaupe, no?  I heard your kind have no control, chasing after women like dogs in heat.  Trying to create more of your filthy kind."

"Are you offering to take their place?"  Malena danced right as he feinted towards her left.

"In your dreams."  She returned her own feint, watching as he guarded low as she took a sharp step forward.  And then all her tactical scheming ended as he doubled in size.  She backpedaled, her clothing twisting into a full set of tactical infiltraition gear.

'Ilio grinned, more like a dog's corpse rictus than any semblance of actual pleasure.  He lumbered towards the Kin if Tāne, clawed hands flexing.  I wonder, he thought, what a crossbreed of one of her kind and one if mine would be.  The strength of such a being...

Malena recovered, shaking herself to break fron the fear.  Boundibg forward and under the Titanspawn's outstretched arms.  Lightning quick, she struck at his solar plexus, driving the air from his lungs and ripping his flesh.

But it swatted her away like a fly and flex its midsection, revealing unbroken skin.  Malena's eyes widened in horror.  She scrambled for any inkling of a plan.

'Ilio laughed to himself as the girl turned and ran.  She bounded into the forest like a frightened rabbit and he was all to happy to oblige and play the role of hungry wolf.

Malena could hear the child of Kapue hot on her heels.  She dodged around trees and leaped a fallen trunk, all the while heading north.  A low hanging branch threatened to block her way, but a right cross burst it into a splintery explosion.  She pressed on.

'Ilio could smell the woman's fear.  It was aromatic and delightful, promising him months of enjoyment before her usefulness was expended.  He pounded on, focused, growing closer, ever closer, to his prey.

Malena heard rushing wind and water and pivoted abruptly to her left and sprang forward.  The Titanspawn was mere inches behind her, but with all his bulk, he couldn't turn as nimbly as she could.  He charged into open air, legs still pumping like a cartoon and begun to plummet.  Malena crept to the edge and looked down after him.

'Ilio howled at the Kin of Tāne as she gazed down at him.  He cursed her and her parentage.  And then all was black.

Malena watched the surf for signs of the Titanspawn surfacing, but after twenty minutes there was nothing.  Satisfied, she turned back to the forest to go and find the kidnapped children.


Malena Character Sheet

While Malena isn't likely to be played at the table beyond brief stints as an NPC, the fact that my fiction has likely made her GM plot hook fodder means I'd like her to have stats, so I'm taking a chance to do that and give a bit of a bio for her.

Full Name: Malena Haumea
Aliases: -
Calling: Defender of Children
Nature: Gallant
Pantheon: Atua
Divine Parent: Hina
Strength••••(x)(x) Charisma •••(x)  Perception•••(x)(x)
Dexterity••••(x)(x)(x) Manipulation ••  Intelligence•••
Stamina•••••(x)(x)(x) Appearance ••••(x)  Wits•••••(x)

Academics ••
Animal Ken ••

Art (Dance) ••
Athletics •••

Awareness •••
Brawl ••••

Control (Car) 

Empathy ••
Fortitude ••
Integrity •••

Medicine ••
Melee ••••
Occult ••
Politics ••
Presence •••
Stealth ••

Survival ••

  • English
  • Hawaiian
Ukupanipo's Bite ••• - Paired koa wood beaded bracelets with a shark tooth inlaid on the largest bead.  They transform into Ku'eku'e Lei-o-mano, a sort of round knife which fits over the knuckles of each hand.  These provide access to the War, Water and Guardian purviews and enhance Malena's speed in combat and deal extra damage.

Na`au holokū ••• - This garment, assumed to originally be a holokū style dress given its name, can change  its form to become any normal style of clothing.  However, there is a catch.  Somewhere on these clothes must be a representation of the moon and eels.  Malena frequently makes these prominent, but has been known to wear a long black dress with eels gripping the moon as the clasp at her neck.  This dress provides the stats of heavy clothing and access to the Moon, Animal (Eel), Illusion, and Prophecy perviews. 

Anuenue puka • - An anklet of puka shells providing access to the Fertility and Health perviews, each shell in the anklet appears white on first glance, but each shimmers faintly with a different color of the rainbow.

Hōkū Honu Isle ••• - This Terra Icognita was gifted to Malena by her mother upon Malena's ascension to demigodhood. It sits on the site of the Detroit Seamount and comprises the area that island comprised before it collapsed and sank into the sea.  Malena has a large compound just inland from the eastern shore of the island.  The compound never existed on the island when it was above the waves, but is built in the style of a 1940's military base and hospital.  Sea turtles frequently arrive on this beach to lay eggs.  Unbeknownst to Malena, the volcano on the eastern half of the island has a fallen star at its core.  The island is inhabited.

Honukane •
• - When sea turtle eggs on Hōkū honu hatch, they generally birth mundane sea turtles, but on the night of the full moon, they birth ethnically Hawaiian humans with green hair.  These individuals stay on the island to tend to its vegetation and protect the volcano.  While most operate independently, a group of them have adopted Malena as their leader and serve to maintain and protect her compound on the island.

  • Ku'eku'e Lei-o-mano - as hadseax ACC:1 DMG: 2L DEF: 0 Speed: 4
Know Tapu
Warrior's Mana
Animal Communication
Animal Command
The Subtle Knife

Assess Health
Blessing of health?
Water Breathing
Water Control
Changing States

Warrior Ideal
Green Thumb
Toxic Thorn
Hero's Mana

Declare Minor Tapu
Unseen Shield
Silver Blessing
Mana •

Health ••
Water ••
Water •••

War •••
Fertility ••

Health •••
Moon ••

Willpower •••••••


  • Holy Rampage (Str)
  • Untouchable Opponent (Dex)
  • Body Armor (Stam)
  • Benefit of the Doubt (Cha)
  • Subliminal Warning (Per)
  • Armor Crusher (Str) (bonus points)
  • Perfect Partner (Dex)
  • Holy Fortitude (Stam)
  • Omnidexterity (Dex)
  • Under Pressure (Stam)
  • Social Chameleon (Wits)
  • Environmental Awareness (Per)
  • Knockback Attack (Str)
  • My Eyes Are Up Here (App)
  • Spatial Attunement (Per) (bonus points)
  • Widespread Appeal (Cha) (bonus points)
  • DV: 20
  • Join Battle: 8
9 Bashing
7 Lethal 3 Aggravated 
3B1 L
Legend •••••
Legend Points: 25/25
  • Total: 80
  • Spent: 77
  • Remaining: 3
Malena was born in the town of Kaunakakai, Molokai, Hawaii.  Her father, Ano, was among the last workers at the Kalaupapa colony working with sufferers of Hansen's Disease.  As a young man, he taught the children of the colony, and his own parents were doctors serving the colony.  So perhaps it was no major surprise that the goddess Hina was drawn to Malena's father.

She left not long after her daughter's birth, but a few days later a young woman called Nalani arrived at Ano's home.  She claimed to be Malena's half-sister, born a number of years earlier than the child and sent by Hina to care for the girl.  Despite his initial resistance, Ano consented and treated the girl like a daughter.  Nalani told Malena stories every night, recounting the history of the Atua and telling the child her mother was the goddess Hina and that she was chosen.

This gave Malena a rather driven personality, with the young girl never afraid to speak her mind and pushing boundaries.  She was a bit of a tomboy at times, but still managed to have many of the local boys wrapped around her finger.  None of them stood much of a chance, though.  Malena knew none of them was her equal.

At 15, Malena was Visited by her mother and tasked to do as Nalani had done for her.  She went to live with a man named Palani and his newborn child, Grace.  Nalani, feeling unprepared to move on, stayed to care for her adoptive father.  Malena cared for her sister as she had been cared for, teaching her to dance and to tell the old stories.  And on some nights when Grace was cared for by his father, a mysterious girl would be seen on the streets, saving children from those who would prey on them.  As she grew, Malena took on bigger and badder targets, breaking up child labor and catching predatory adults.  And 15 years later, Hina Visited once more.

Grace went to care for the next sister, continuing the cycle.  Ready to at last enter the next phase of her life, Malena threw herself into the war with the Titans. Wherever children were threatened with slavery, injury or death at the hands of Titanspawn, an avenging angel descended.  In whispers, they told their families of their fierce savior, like a Polynesian warrior woman of old.  And so Malena's legend grew.  She dated other Scions, finding them closer to her peers, but she never felt they quite measured up.  She ascended to demigodhood after defeating a descendant of Kaupe who had attempted to set up a barony in the forests of Molokai.


Darkness Warm and Sweet

(Warning: Adult, but not strongly so, situations to follow)

Leander sat near one of the torches impaled in the sand every few yards on the beach.  Before him tropical waves darted in and out of the edge of the firelight, twinkling.

He sighed, hearing the soft crunch of the fine sand beneath a light step.  For a moment, his hand went to his belt, to the buckle there that could be a spear with but a thought.  His other things were stowed in the provided bungalo the Atua had provided him; here, in the heart of Au-ruroa, there should be no need of them.  Without turning, he said, "No use trying to hide Malena.  I know you've been sent be Pele to bring me back."

"She's done no such thing, Lee.  I'm here for me," retorted the Atua demigoddess as she crossed into the Son of Athena's view.  A child of Hina, Malena was lovely.  She was tan and dark of eye and hair, and built along athletic lines moreso than buxom like some of her half-sisters.  Both graceful and forceful described her as she moved down the beach.  If Leander was honest, he thought he might be more than casually infatuated with her.

He smiled at her.  "Oh really.  I haven't seen you all night, but if I do, I'll let you know that you're looking for you."

She laughed, standing in front of him, hands on hips and head back.  Involuntarily, his gaze traveled up her bare legs, to the short sundress decorated with a stylized picture of the moon above a sea full of eels.  Leander wasn't quite sure, but he felt like it moved each time he didn't focus on it.  And then, suddenly, it was all he could see as she moved in close.  After a dizzying moment of the moon inches before his eyes, she dropped onto his lap, straddling his legs and face close to his.

"Now do you understand, you foolish Greek?" she asked, locking eyes with him.

"I'm really more of an American," Leander responded, not looking away.

She laughed again and leaned in, kissing him furiously.

When he was freed and had caught his breath, he asked, "What exactly are you looking for out of this night?"

She ran a hand through his hair.  "Well... you're leaving tomorrow.  I thought I'd give you something to remember your new family by..."

Leander smile, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close.  "Oh really."

She nipped at his nose.  "Stop playing hard to get, foolish boy.  I know you're as interested as I am."

She wriggled atop him and he had no recourse to deny her words.  He sighed again, having known this moment was coming.  "You're right.  Absolutely right.  But I can't."

She frowned at him, leaning back.  "Why not?  We're both adults.  You've been adopted by my pantheon, so there's no political issue."

He looked at her, waiting until her eyes met his to continue.  "I've never told anyone this, before.  I've gotten to this very moment...  Well, more than once.  But I've never gone past.  I can't.  Because I'm leaving.  I'm always leaving.  Sometimes something comes in the way when I think I'm about to move past this moment; fate's way of reminding me, I suppose, that this isn't for me, yet.  I have responsibilities to more than myself.  I can't allow myself to form the attachments that would prevent me from fulfilling them."

"Leander Adrastos...  That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard."  She leaned in against him.  "And, in some ways, it just makes me more determined.  Let fate stop us!  Let it try!  We'll have our fun over its objections."

He breath was hot on his neck as she moved against him, clothes still separating them.  His hands clenched in her dress, pulling her closer, ever closer.  He buried his face in her hair, drinking in the scent of her, like seafoam and coconut.

And so he didn't see the wave coming until it washed over them.  The force of it pushed them apart and washed the torch away, quenching its flame.  She tumbled away, writhing and turning to rise up in a crouch, moon playing off her skin and hair.  He looked at her as if to say See?

She laughed again.  He loved the sound.  It was, perhaps, one of the largest parts of his affection for her.  She looked the skies above, calling, "Okay, fates.  You may claim him a little longer.  But soon or late, I'll be able to walk his path with him, and you won't stop my claim then!  He will be mine!"

She stalked back towards him, eyeing the waves as if she expected them to push them apart again. Leander laughed.  "And you mine."

She smiled, and knelt to kiss his forehead.  "Of course."

He smiled and kissed her hand.  "But tonight, we can at least sit together."

Other posts on Scion and Leander.  Related recap.


Demigods in the Underworld

Other posts on Scion and Leander.  Last recap.

A little retconning to follow up on last session...  Lha-mo has the ring and Nick didn't disappear,as his player was able to come back.  He hit on some Atua, which is as it should be.

When last we saw the Demigods now known as the Hestia, they had been asked to go into two different underworlds at the behest of two very different individuals owed favors by various members of the band.  Nick and  Brock filled in a few more of the details of the task set to them by Kane and the rest of the team discussed how they might need to delay their trip to rescue Agwe's daughter Genevieve.  Leander pointed out that it was likely that they could travel from Yomi to Guinee by finding a large body of water and diving straight down into it.

Ultimately, the band decided they needed to push on to Yomi first and informed Skulldug and the crew of Genevieve's ship that they'd have to stop there first.  They set out, following a compass that would lead them to Guinee until the ship suddenly turned and dove into the water (it's amazing Brock didn't talk about almost being in Pirates of the Caribbean) and emerged into Yomi.  On the horizon, there were several villages, some looking like ancient Japanese fishing towns and others like their more modern counterparts.  The Demigods directed the crew to bring them to one of the more modern ones, in particular looking for one that would have been built near the time that the atomic bombs would have been dropped on Japan.

When the Scions arrived at the village, they were a spectacle, not likely helped by the fact that once they were off the ship it transformed into sand which flowed into a pouch which had appeared on Leander's belt.  Quickly, they were confronted by a dignified ghost which began to yell at them in Japanese.  At first, none of the Hestia could understand them, but their divine heritage helped both William and Nick to learn the language quickly.  They discovered he was telling them that the Demigods don't belong.  Eventually, he stormed off.

Soon thereafter, the band was approached by another individual, younger and more modern.  He spoke to them in English and stated that he was a big fan of Brock's work.  He warned of the Shikome and invited the band to a place where they could discuss how thinks work in Yomi.  Unfortunately, he led us to a shady warehouse and after the band entered, they discovered the people inside were worshipers of Mikaboshi.

They discussed how the traditions of the ghosts of Yomi were keeping them from having a happy afterlife and how the Shikome would ravage them at any provocation, saying that Mikaboshi had promised them release from their pain.  Rivkah, speaking for most of her friends, told them they were fools and the fight was on.  Supernatural darkness flooded the warehouse and the Hestia went to work.  Unfortunately for the Titan-worshipping ghosts, they were rather weak and the Demigods were filled with divine righteousness.  They fell in droves as, outside, a high keening began.

As the Titansworn were routed, the  symbol of Mikaboshi was cracked in two and the darkness faded.  Then it became clear that the Shikome were coming to put down the fight with extreme prejudice.  Thinking quickly, Nick transformed himself into a visage very similar to his own, but with Japanese features.  He directed the Shikome towards the fleeing Titansworn and they passed by the Hestia without incident.

From there, the Demigods scouted the surrounding landscape, spotting the various villages and a large market city, as well as the Poison Sun Ward and Yellow Spring Mountain.  After considering for a moment, the Demigods decided to head to the Yellow Spring Mountain to attempt to gain permission for their mission to the Poison Sun Ward from Inzanami.

After a relatively short journey, the band arrived at the foot of the mountain, to find a great line arrayed before a striking woman, like a giant Shikome of both terrible visage and immense grace.  This, then was the Dark Matron of the Shikome.  Clearly, the line was avoiding approaching her, but when the Hestia voiced their intent to do so, those in the line, muttering about "her mood," pushed them to the front.

Leander hurriedly dredged up all he could recall of Japanese etiquette and briefed the team.  The Hestia decided to make a gift to the Dark Matron and Inzanami a gift of one of the fire-resistance charms they'd had made by Athena.  Nick prepared a speech to convince the Dark Matron of the team's need to head into the Poison Sun Ward.

The discussion went well, overall, because the Dark Matron did not decide to unleash her Shikome upon the Hestia and promises to "forget" that the band had approached her to ask permission.  The Ward was offlimits to all, including the soldiers of Yomi.  Inzanami remained distant.  As the Demigods left, the Dark Matron ordered her Shikome to slaughter the assembled crowd, so as to prevent there being witnesses to her "forgotten" discussion.  It took an act of will for Leander to turn his back on the slaughter.

The Demigods began, from there, the long walk towards the wall around the Poison Sun Ward.  After quite a few hours, including Leander riding Tak-me, they began to approach a large area with an airfield surrounded by military buildings and Edo period fortresses.  The Hestia hunkered down for a moment, to discuss their plan.  It seemed like the military would be unlikely to support their attempts to cross the wall, so instead, the strategy was to steal a WWII era bomber and fly over the wall to face off against the infantile Titan.

As the band discussed, a jeep with several Japanese soldiers emerged from the base travelling down the road toward the markets.  The Demigods emerged from hiding and Nick managed to bluff them into giving him their jeep, which the team turned around and headed towards the airfield.  Rivkah, driving, used her divine speed to breach the perimeter in the blink of an eye and then the Hestia hustled onto the bomber they'd sighted.  Rivkah got it airborne and provided it with the same divine speed enhancement as the jeep.

It was slow taking off, and the alarms of the base went off.  Anti-aircraft fire went off, tearing a hole in the plane as Leander gathered parachutes and switched his glasses to detecting radiation.  And then the team was over the wall and gazing down onto the poisoned streets of the Ward.


Terminus 9.29.13

In the morning, the No Pants Brigade and the Nekhanj prepared to set out, with the Nekhanj speaking of clearing the entrance to the tunnels that would lead them south and the fact that it would take them a couple of weeks.  While the discussion was going on, the group received an SOS call from Gronton, whom they hadn't seen in quite some time.

The stalwart Minotaur sailor had been scouting along the coast of Celton along with other concerned captains from the nearby area and had seen the undead make attempted crossings to Brenna.  Most of these had been foiled by the coastal towns on the mainland, with the added aid of captains who managed to end sea travel to the island nation, depriving the undead of their source of ships.  But things had changed.

The dragon Krathnaraz had joined the fight, bringing flying undead and their Beholder allies to attack the coastal defenses from the air.  This had decimated these defenses, leaving the coast more open for an attack.  Meanwhile, scouting ships had discovered that there was a new invasion fleet, massive and full of undead, prepping,  The undead had built crude but large rafts which were being towed by Beholders and loaded them with hundreds of undead soldiers.  Soon, it seemed, these undead would sail to the mainland, which was now unready to repel them.

One of the last bastions of defense was the town of Polenta, which is where Gronton was asking for aid to come.  The party decided that they'd have to separate from the Nekhanj to get their in time and made preparations to do so.  Once the threat at Polenta was solved, their intention would be to push onto Celton and make for the Forge, to close the gateway which allowed the Beholders to cross into their world.

Vallo summoned flying boars and the party set out, flying rather uneventfully to Polenta.  But that changed once they neared the town.  Quickly it was apparent that the town was under attack.  An immense white dragon had landed on the docks and was rampaging through the town's defenders. Using the boars, the party got in fairly close before launching their assault.

Meggido moved in first, pulling the dragon towards himself and then Adah-kah unloaded with divine wrath, rocking the dragon.  Sardis and Sabriel followed up with theirown powerful attacks, getting the No Pants Brigade off to a good start.  Adah-kah hammered the dragon again with a critical strike, but that's when things started to go downhill.

Krathnaraz began to use his draconic power to stun the party, then dealing massive amounts of damage.  The party was able to get a few more hits in this period, but eventually the dragon put Adah-kah on death's door.  Vallo delivered timely healing, though, and got the Nekhanj back on his feet.  Once more, the party began to trade even blows with the dragon, though Krathnaraz was able to hurt Meggido more than the Warforged had been hurt in quite some time.

Still, the party appeared to have the upper hand and Krathnaraz made ready to escape.  Unfortunately, for him, the No Pants Brigade had other plans, and put him down before he could get airborne.  Upon a quick inspection, though, they discovered that one of his heel spurs was missing, likely taken by Samuria so that she could resurrect her ally should he fall.

The party moved on to another town, hoping to at least delay Samuria's discovery that they'd re-entered the fight against her and her undead forces.  Once there, the party notified Gronton of their location and asked him to come and meet us.  He came, and learned of recent events, including the plans of the Nekhanj.  In return, he gave the party the information he'd gathered in his time scouting, including the fact that undead have begun to count fallen Beholders amongst their number.  That gave the party something to think on as they prepared for their journey to Celton to find the Forge.


Scions in the Dragons Den!

Other posts on Scion and Leander.  Last recap.

In his rage at Reggie having "turned traitor" by coming to his senses and talking to his half-sister and the band, Fafnir dove at Reggie.  As he did, his body contorted, transforming into an enormous sabertooth tiger.  Reggie tried to pin him down, but Fafnir transformed into a hawk, soaring upwards and then further transformed into a large ape which began plummeting back towards the team.

Brock, acting with divine swiftness, put a shot into the Fafnir-ape, but it was apparently unharmed and smashed down into the ledge on which Rivkah and Reggie were perched.  Rivkah shoved her half-brother out of the way and the obsidian platform splintered under Fafnir's impact.

Quickly, Leander directed his team in their assault, but Fafnir was ready for that, summoning up damned souls to harry the Scion of Athena, as well as Nick.  The spirits attacking Leander coordinated their own attack, closing in on Leander, but he leapt up, doing a flip and landing on the wall, sticking there in a trick his divine essence had picked up from spider-bitch upon his apotheosis.

Below, enraged by the assault on his new companions and the torment he'd suffered at the hands of the Titans, Reggie spasmed, his body ripping and changing until he was a hulking beast of rage.  His focus, his white hot fury, fell on Fafnir.  Fafnir shrugged off the first assault, and transformed into an immense scorpion, threatening Reggie with a wicked stinger.

Brock, having watched Leander's new trick, did his own leaping flip and at it's apex shot Fafnir with pure sunlight.  Which is when the team discovered something about the dark elf-dragon-shapeshifter: he has an intense weakness to sunlight!

Leander followed up on Brock's assault, ignoring the spirits and darting along the wall to attack Fafnir.  With an electrified spear, he stabbed into the scorpion-dragon and in a moment of divine provenance, staggered the beast.  Lha-mo crashed in behind him, stabbing Fafnir with icy claws and further rocking the servant of the Titans.  Fafnir transformed again, seeking to rise above the swarming Demigods, but the new Roc-form of Fafnir was latched onto by William, who dragged at it, giving Rivkah an opening to smash her hand through the lava and into Fafnir's face.

Once more the spirits sought to put an assault onto Leander, but he evaded them by jumping onto the back of the plummeting Roc-Fafnir.  As he descended on the grappled beast, he saluted the ghosts with his spear, spurring their howls of fury.  The added weight pushed Fafnir down faster, allowing Raging Reggie to leap up and smash into Fafnir.  Leander hurtled out of the way and William rode out the blow.

For his part, Brock took aim again and with a quick "I'm going to pluck your feathers" but another blast of sunlight into the dark elf lord.  A moment later, Leander called out new orders, including a distraction for the spirits chasing him.  Rivkah obliged the attack by smashing Fafnir into the nearest wall.  Lha-mo followed by sinking her claws into his guts and causing ice to erupt from inside him.  Finally overwhelmed, Fafnir collapses.  From his corpse drop several items, including a ring.

Rivkah, drawn by the ring went to scoop it up, but Leander's warning cry stopped her in her tracks.  And then everyone remembered the other problem.  Still in the grips of Riastradh, Reggie had new targets to smash.  He advanced on the Demigods, who scattered.

William, though, had a good plan and smashed Pele's prison, which had fallen from Fafnir.  Fully powered and aware again, Pele stopped Reggie in his tracks and thanked the band for their efforts.  As she spoke with the team, and mentioned the dangers of the ring, she and everyone else realized that the ring had vanished... And so had Nick!

It would have to be a problem for another time, though, as no one had a way to track him that seemed effective.  Instead, Pele invited the new Demigods to a party in the Atua godrealm.  Along the way, the band divvied up the loot they'd gained from Fafnir.  Leander took a lock of white hair that allowed him to see through illusions and braided it around the rims of the glasses he'd obtained earlier.

At the luau, the band were granted mana beads which made them honorary members of the Atua pantheon.  The feasting, dancing, and general partying went on for several days, with a few members of the band making intimate friends with godlings of the Atua.  But all things must end in time, and when the band returned to the mortal realm, they were met by a messenger from Agwe, who asked them to retrieve his daughter from the underworld.  Which was interrupted by Kane charging Brock to go and kill a nascent-Titan of radioactivity that was forming in the Titanrealms which mirrored Japan.  There was no more time to waste...


Scions in a Brawl

Other posts on Scion and Leander.  Last recap. (This has been a little while coming. Work's been crazy and I've got another project, so apologies on the recent silence.)

Crashing down through the caldera, Reggie landed, locking eyes with Rivkah and trying to glare her into submission.  After a moment, he pounded down on the obsidian platform he was on, sending a huge chunk at the party.

Fortunately, it was mostly a distraction and failed to phase the band in the least.  They mostly rolled around it, resuming their ready positions.  Reggie, undaunted, charge at Rivkah, who readied herself for the attack but was slammed backwards.

High above, something about the nexk of the arachnae spawn glittered.  It appeared to be a golden torc, of a norse style, which probably protected her from the flames.

Brock was the first to join the fight for the band and took a shot at Reggie, who shrugged it off easily.  From there things began to happen with intense suddenness.

The spider-bitch tried to web Leander's protective amulet, but he brought the Shield of El Cid to bear and thwarted her. She dropped the web before he could try to use it against her.  
Lha-mo roared and pounded into the golem, dealing it a vicious blow that tore it in two, but it called upon it's Titanic blood to stitch itself back together.

William and Leander, defending Pele, readied themselves for combat, exerting their divine ichor to ready their minds and bodies.  Meanwhile, Reggie grappeled with Rivkah, who chose to try and talk him down rather than fight him.  For a moment, he seemed to hear her, but continued in his assault.  Brock, not far away, prepared to shoot spider-bitch.

The golem leaped toward Lha-mo, smashing into the yeti and pushing her back, but not dealing solid damage.  The spider-chick did her own leap, arcing down at Leander as Brock shot the fire-protection torc from her neck.  She caught it and slammed down into what she thought would be Leander, but Brock had used his divine reflexes and speed to shove his teammate out of the way and they smashed through their platform and into the lava below.

Leander, though worried for Brock, forced his focus onto the golem and directed Lha-mo, Tak-me, and William to hit it together.  Lha-mo closed in, driving icy claws deep into the golem's head and search for the relic which protected it from the fire.  The yak pinned the golem down so it couldn't escape the attack.  Leander lept overtop of them and put his spear into the golem, but not pushing it away or dealing severe damage.  William, though, was the big winner.  He tore a leg from the golem, and the  golem's relic tumbled free.  In an instant it hardened and died from the intense heat of the volcano.

Elsewhere, Brock did his own tearing, ripping the torc from the hands of spider-bitch and shoving her further into the lava.  She died flailing.  Rivkah, for her part, continued desperately trying to calm Reggie and break him from his brainwashing.  He slowed, talking to the band and revealing that he didn't have Pele's spirit, but "my master does."

Before the group could ask who that was, a powerful dark elf appeared, with long silver hair and a disdainful gaze.  He seems ready to move in on Reggie and the band, but another figure appears.  It's quickly revealed that it is Hestia, come to slow the onslaught of Muspelheim.  As Fafnir pushes past her, she stabs a dagger deep into herself, dying to empower the band.  As Fafnir looks on, their power is pushed to new heights and they ascend to Demigodhood!

And then it's dragon time...