Noir Nights Session 4

image from ArtBreeder

filed under actual play on 06 Dec 2016
tagged noir, scarlet heroes, cross, and noir nights

So much action – my poor vampire hero’s being bounced around like a ping-pong ball. And his best ally right now is a sun-based mage. And the woman’s he depended on for a life line in this crazy surreal experience is out for the count.

You may notice that every time I think things are getting boring I make something action-y happen. That’s because boring is bad and action-y is good. Now you know.

Does Claire know where to go?

[0: 4 ] Yes.

I don't picture Gray's patron as having a physical location; more like a loose group or ideal.

So that leaves one of the Anakes. Gray's old mentor?

[0: 4 ] Yes.

[Seed] successfully slim

[Seed] relatively still-perfect

She didn't answer, but she was driving like she knew. Gray was breathing, and Claire didn't seem too worried about her. I wasn't doing so hot, though most of the wounds inflicted by the papermen had healed.

It was starting to seem like everything boiled down to hunger for me now.

I brooded on it while we drove. Wasn't too long before we were back in the suburbs.

[Room] stone, stone [Purpose] killing, eating [Size] brief [Shape] square

Is it open?

[0: 2 ] Yes, but...

Claire pulled up in front of a tidy little restaurant, a Greek place advertising gyros. It was closed, but there were still a couple of other cars in the lot. She drummed her fingers on the wheel, then slid out.

I got out, moved around the side of the car. She told me to wait, which I did, grudgingly. She returned a few minutes later with a couple of burly shapes. One of them pushed past me to Gray's side.

"Hold on there," I said, alarmed. Did we trust these guys? Claire put her hand on my arm, gave it a squeeze. She wasn't the touching type. One of the shapes grunted in my direction.

Does Cross know Greek?

[0: 1 ] No, and...

He's not even sure that was Greek in the first place.

Greece hadn't been one of the stops on my grand tour, and I wasn't even sure that was Greek.

The shape that hadn't spoken picked up Gray like she weighed nothing and carried her, gently as fine china, into the restaurant. Claire and I, and the other shape trailed behind. I managed to get a good sideways look at him; a dark-haired man who was a good head taller than I was and maybe twice as wide.

We were ushered past the hostess stand and through the kitchen, a big, bustling place that was winding down at this hour. The man carrying Gray carried her through a side door.

I made to follow them but the big guy blocked me with another grunt. I stared at him as intimidatingly as I could without actually being able to make out more than a rough shadow where his face should be.

Claire put her hand on my shoulder again. "Trust me," she said, and I glanced at her. Couldn't really see her face either. "Gray does," she said, and I nodded.

[Room] new-looking, unfinished, ostentatious [Purpose] studying [Size] alcove [Shape] square

We were led down a flight of stairs, into what looked like a partly finished basement. The hackles on the back of my neck were going up. The construction looked new, the materials top-notch, but it wasn't finished. The big guy left, and I caught the sound of a lock being thrown.

"Was being locked in part of the deal?" I asked, and she shrugged.

"They have trust issues," she said, "At least this way the papermen can't get at us."

Cross is looking for another exit.

[How Difficult?] On par with hero's abilities. [0]

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 7 6 ] 13

Is there an exit?

[somewhat unlikely: 6 6 2 ] Yes, but...

She had a point. A glance around showed the room was likely used as an office; a big wooden desk against one wall, a threadbare old couch on the other, rusty pipes overhead and an old laundry sink in the corner. And a dusty old door.

I prowled around the perimeter of the room, keeping my head turned so I could look out of the corner of my eye. All I accomplished was to give myself a headache. Behind the door was a small storeroom with some old furniture piled in it.

There was a window, open to the sky, maybe, but it was small. Too small for my shoulders, for sure. Claire might be able to fit through, she was a slender little thing, but the iron bars presented a problem.

Are they warded?

[0: 5 ] No, but...

They're thick and very well-set into the concrete around them.

Claire settled onto the couch and put her head back. "You might as well relax," she said. "They'll be back to let us out sooner or later." She sounded fair to middling confident of that.

I had a bigger problem, though. Caught sight of her out of the corner of my eye; her neck was long, and pale, and I could hear the steady thump of blood through the vein in her throat. It was fascinating. I drifted a little closer.

Jaw felt funny; I rubbed a hand across my mouth and felt fangs. Damnit. I sat down right there, on the cold concrete. Remembered Lucia'd had fangs, too, after we-- best not to think of that right now. It surprised me that I hadn't recalled that until just now.

Was Lucia the one who got him thrown in prison?

[0: 3 ] No.

Could she have gotten him out?

[0: 2 ] Yes, but...

Somehow, I'd lost her face in the two years I'd been in prison. It had been a couple of weeks before I realized she wasn't coming to get me out. A couple more before I realized nobody was.

"You look pretty bleak," Claire said, here and now. Her voice just had curiousity in it. I shrugged.

"I'm fine," I said, trying to keep my mouth closed. No need to telegraph the issue.

Does she notice anyway?

[possibly: 3 4 ] Yes.

"Oh," she said. It was a surprised, dawning-realization kind of sound. I wasn't sure if I was embarrassed or not.

"If you want more blood, you can have it," she said.

I stiffened a little. Was tempted, but I was not interested in pity. "I appreciate the offer, miss, but no thanks," I said stiffly.

She fell silent. "I've offended you," she said at last.

I sighed, unbending a little. "I didn't ask to be like this," I said, a little bitterly. "Two days ago I was a guy women wanted to be around. Now I'm a chore."

She seemed surprised. "Wait, two days? So you just... uh..."

I nodded. "Died. Day before yesterday."


Let's see what he recalls, using a couple horror seeds.

[Seed] insulate relaxation

[Seed] admire storage

"I don't know." I'd been thinking about it; it was like a blank spot in my head. "You know when you have a word you want to say, but you can't quite remember it? Feels like that." She nodded.

I looked inward, back at that last moment. "I remember the elevator. Getting out in the lobby. A phone call at the desk." I could see the doorman, Bill, in his crimson and gold striped uniform, giving me a cheerful grin as he passed the phone over, the sunlight gleaming across the polished wooden desk. "And then nothing."

Interesting thought. She's a mage, at least of sorts. Does she have any way to work with memories?

[0: 5 ] No, but...

Her totem/focus can shine a light, and his memories are locked behind darkness.

She hugged her knees up to her chest, looking thoughtful. "My graal is light," she said. "I could try to shine a light on your memories." The dripping from the pipes got a little louder as someone turned a tap on somewhere in the building.

[Reaction] Love [ignorable], interest [nearly consuming] tinged with boredom

[Overwhelming] spiteful
[Focus] sex [primary], danger [secondary]

Those were accidental while working on the font/styling refresh, but seem actually pretty interesting!

I don't think the wheel is Claire's. Maybe whichever of the Anakes is running the place, maybe the villain. But the reaction seems like it might apply to her.

"Have you done anything like that before?"

[0: 4 ] Yes.

"Have you done anything like that before?" I tried not to sound suspicious, but she seemed awfully interested in the idea. I wasn't keen on being anyone's guinea pig.

She nodded. "Once, yes."

How did it go?

[Drama] Good.

I gave her as much of a look as I could muster and she laughed. "It went well," she said. "The patient lived and was in much improved spirits."

"Well. If you feel up to it," I said slowly. "But I don't think I can stand up to another round of being toasted."

So I could see doing this as a skill check, or as a simple oracle, but I think I'll ask my imaginary GM friend using CAGE.

I want her to successfully unlock his memories, with the intent of remembering who was involved and why and what he did in the process.

[0: 4 ] Yes.

[Drama] Yes, but...

Interesting; the iGM wants to throw in a gm-y wrinkle, complication, or something that subverts the intent of my action.

But what is that person doing over there?

She climbed down off the couch and knelt down in front of me, almost but not quite close enough to touch.

She raised her hand, the same one she'd used to call forth searing light, and I tried not to flinch. Even through the fuzzy darkness in the center of my vision I could see the faint line of searing light twisting around her fingers like a ring of molten sunshine.

[Trigger (Trigger (8BVC9SJG))] Random Event, Social

[Random Event] Context: Social! An unexpected ally makes a move. This is bad with some good.

She reached out and touched my cheek, as gentle as a feather, and I remembered --

So, Cross is lost in his flashback. Going to explore that as a whole new scene. The unexpected ally is likely Olivia Hunter, who I rolled up in an earlier scene but we haven't seen on stage yet.

Maybe the Anakes is working with NIcolas?

[0: 3 ] No.

Ok, something else then! Pressing enough that Olivia thinks blowing them free is the best option.

But we'll come back to that.

So Cross is alive in this scene, since it's two days ago. Means no vampire trait, no blood tokens, no blindness, and no phobia related to how he died.

So... how did Nicolas rope him in?

[Seed] constrict band

[Seed] mean survey

"It's a lady, sir," Bill said sotto voce, his hand over the mouthpiece.

[Trigger (Trigger (WM9KTBDC))] Specialist Test, difficulty, average

I grinned. Wasn't it always? The sun was warm on my skin, I'd had a spectacular night, and all was right with the world. "Ethan, help me," a desperate, accented female voice said, and I shot upright, all casualness gone.

[Trigger (Trigger (MIFQUXHQ))] Random Event, Random

Well, the specialist test seems pretty likely to be a sense motive on the woman on the phone, who is either Lucia or trying to sound like it. I'll make my roll, then set my trigger -- something there means it wasn't really her.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 1 4 ] 5

Average is DC11. With the -2 for "sucker for a pretty face", I can't make it with a 5. Not even close.

I'll set it as a fail, long term, so it'll come to light much later.

And the random event.

[Seed] enormously microscopic

[Seed] tattered circle

Seeds hate me.

I recognized the voice on the other end. Lucia. She let out a cry of pain, and a heavy male voice came on the line. Mind churning, I only half-heard him demand the Fallon necklace as ransom. I agreed instantly. I had until dusk. Six hours, maybe seven.

[Random Event] Context: Action! Someone looking for a fight appears. This is disastrously bad.

Going to address that in a second.

Getting the necklace on such short notice wasn't trivial, but it was no legendary feat either. The owners were careless and bold, and I'd already marked them at a soiree as easy pickings -- if I ever un-retired, and if I ever wanted to be saddled with something so distinctive no fence in the city would touch it. Which seemed to be a large part of their security strategy.

I want Cross to succeed in getting the necklace.

[Drama] No, but...

Oh, and subverted!

[List Options] DC13, DC15,

[Choice] DC15

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 7 2 ] 9

Whew. Plis 6, made it.

So he succeeds, but is injured in a confrontation with a do-gooder -- the random event. I'll handle that later.

Are there duplicates, maybe for security purposes, that he could snag?

[0: 1 ] No, and...

It's too distinctive for that.

[New Actor] Do-gooder, attempts to thwart Nicolas by stoppng Cross from stealing the Fallon necklace.

Is that where the arm wound came from?

[0: 3 ] No.

I knew my business, even if I had retired, and I was only a little worse for the wear as I strolled into the abandoned warehouse like I owned the place, carrying a cool 100K in someone else's property in the shape of a fairly gaudy necklace like a waterfall of tiny white diamonds encircling a blue diamond the size of my thumb.

The sun was setting, the warehouse dark and cool and silent save for a yellow light in the office I'd been instructed to meet them at. I knew it was a gamble, but I had faith if I could just get to her, we'd be able to get out together. Some part of me knew she was much more than she seemed, even if I couldn't quite remember...

[Seed] here expressive

[Age - Mature] Mid-twenties.

[Visible Quirk] exceptional in an obvious way

Is Nicolas meeting him?

[How Much?] More than expected.

[likely: 5 5 1 ] No, but... ...and 1 extra 'ands'!

No, it's a hired thug, but Nicolas will show up soon, and he's operating under direct orders from Nicolas. And there are more of them than expected, which was two, so four.

The thug manning the desk looked smug as I walked in. Gestured to two of his goons to take the satchel. "Where's Lucia?" I demanded, and he laughed. I had a bad feeling about this. But I had no options; I couldn't leave her to twist in the wind like she'd left me.

[Visible Quirk] prominent scar

[Visible Quirk] many tattoos or marks

The woman they used, must have been an actress. Is she still present?

[0: 6 ] Yes, and...

She's working for them knowingly.

[Visible Quirk] muscular

[Visible Quirk] distant stare

"Sorry, Ethan, darling," the woman beside him said, and I instantly realized I'd been suckered. She was a real knockout, a bombshell, but she had a distant, bitter stare that said life had disappointed her, and she wasn't going to forgive any of us for it.

The thug had a scar across his face, a big one. Probably had a nickname from it. "Look," I said, "Keep the necklace. I'll walk. You know my reputation. You know I won't talk."

He shrugged. "If it were up to me, sure, but the boss wants us to make an example outta you."

No answer when I asked why. No questions after they had me tied to a chair, just pain. The big thug enjoyed it a whole lot more than I did. His girl seemed to too, egging him on. Wasn't much I could do about it except hope they decided to leave me unattended eventually. Seemed pretty likely, given how worked up she was getting over hearing me suffer.

I was pretty out of it by the time the guy in the dapper suit showed up. He looked furious about something. Couldn't make out what through the haze; I was fading in and out and only catching bits and pieces.

He casually grabbed my shoulder and twisted -- agony, worse than anything I'd felt up til then, knew I was dying, wanted to to get away from it, tasted blood as I bit my tongue --

Half woke up in a coffin, ice cold, tiny, oh, god, they'd locked me in a refrigerator, they must have thought I was already dead -- freezing cold, still in agony from my shoulder and I couldn't move --

Ok, that covers the person spoiling for a fight random event, a bunch of the big questions. We know Cross stole a very expensive necklace, and Nicolas killed him directly, and there's a couple more people for Cross to add to his hit list. Plus now I know what his phobia is -- enclosed, dark, cold spaces. Should just require a quick addition to waking up at the farmhouse, if that.

[New Actor] Thug, working for Nicolas, lots of tattoos, pock-marked face, sadist.

[New Actor] Bombshell, actress, bitter and vengeful about life's disappointments, dating the thug and a matched set with him.

So, how long did this flashback take? A few minutes?

[0: 2 ] Yes, but...

It felt like it took as much time as it did originally to him.

Did Claire share in his flashback?

[0: 4 ] Yes.

Should I give him a penalty for being exhausted from the vision?

[0: 2 ] Yes, but...

A mild one, sounds good.

And, finally. I'm pretty sure the unexpected ally is Olivia Hunter, the vampire I rolled up earlier. She's probably only a one point vampire, since she's young. Why would she be working against the Anakes, or at least this particular one?

We already figured out this Anakes isn't working with Nicolas. Unopposing, maybe?

[0: 5 ] No, but...

The leader is related to Nicolas, has been convinced that Gray is misguided and Cross is the cause of it all. He or she is right now meeting with his or her council, trying to decide what to do with the inconvenient Cross, who is already dead as far as they're concerned. The consensus is heading towards "clean up the loose ends and sort it out between the real people". Olivia is eavesdropping and will try to break them out.

She's not very subtle, though. Distract them with some sort of bomb, then get the door open and the prisoners out.

My eyes flew open. Still couldn't see. Was lying on cold concrete -- it took me a moment to register that I wasn't hurting and I wasn't pinned, except by the negligible weight of what felt like --

"Ugh," Claire said. "What a horrible way to die." I agreed with her. Wasn't sure how she knew, but -- before I could finish the thought the whole building shook, as if a bomb had gone off. Reflexively, I rolled over, shielding Claire from the deluge of debris and water from busted overhead pipes.

It was mercifully brief, but the water just kept pouring down on us even after the debris stopped. "What's going on?" Claire asked, spluttering as she pushed at my chest. I moved aside, helping her to her feet in the rapidly deepening water.

"We have to get out of here," I said grimly. Could smell gas, probably a ruptured line. Caught her around the middle and set her on top of the desk, then sloshed over to the door and gave it a yank. It was pretty firmly locked.

So, he's got a -1, no real strength bonuses except +3 for vampire. Going to do it as a straight check.

[List Options] DC11, DC13, DC15,

[Choice] DC13

So they didn't spare any expense with the door, at least. And it's securely locked. If he had tools he could pick it, maybe, but let's try a strength check first.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 3 7 ] 10

Oh, so close! But the -1 penalty makes it a no. No blood tokens to spend, either.

Also, is he going to have trouble with running water?

[0: 4 ] Yes.

I pulled on it, as hard as I could, but it didn't budge. The hinges creaked a little. If I had my tools it'd already be open. The water was up to my knees, muddy, freezing cold. My teeth were starting to chatter, more than you'd expect from -- running water. Wasn't that one of the things Gray had said might be a problem?

I pounded on the door, shouted for them to come down and unlock it. Nothing.

In desperation, I tried yanking it open again.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 1 8 ] 9

My fingers were going numb, couldn't even get a grip on it. Put my shoulder into it, and my feet went out from under me, as my knees buckled. Couldn't feel anything except cold as I hit the icy water, went under. Somehow Claire was next to me, pulling me up, soaking wet, yelling at me to stay on my feet, to focus. She sounded terrified. I couldn't let her down--

The door swung open. Water -- and us -- tumbled out, into the stairwell. My legs felt frozen. Arm hurt, eyes hurt, every goddamn part of me hurt, and I was this close to losing control. Felt my face twist in a snarl and fought with it.

Strong hands dragged me up the stairs, and out into the parking lot, where a car waited. I half-fell into the backseat, my legs refusing to bend, heard Claire's breathless thanks as she buckled herself into the front seat and our benefactor peeled out of the lot, leaving rubber behind.

Yes, I know I gave him a pass on the blood-madness check. Just seemd a little punitive at this juncture, plus it was time for the scene to be over.

So the next scene will be meeting Olivia, who is a blank slate, pretty much.

[Visible Quirk] looks shocked

[Visible Quirk] cool and collected

[Non-Visible Quirk] lecherous despite risks

[Weak] greedy, [strong] pride
[Focus] pain

I'll interpret both of those as towards her ability to dish out pain; she's proud of her abilities as a fighter.

Does she use guns?

[0: 1 ] No, and...

She doesn't bother with them; one of her supernatural gifts is the ability to manifest razor like blades.

She would have been in her twenties at the turn of the century, if she's been a vampire for only around forty years. Probably very ladylike, on the surface.

I wasn't sure how long it had been when I finally pulled it together enough to sit up. Most of me was thawing out, and I felt grubby and cold and damp. "So you're saying you heard them talking about disposing of us?" Claire was talking to the driver. Female, from the outline and the voice, a husky drawl that had Southerner written all over it.

[Trigger (Trigger (HXAYGZFP))] Random Event, Social

[Random Event] Context: Social! An unexpected ally makes a move. This is good with some bad.

"I see you're back among the living, so to speak," she drawled, presumably at me. I growled back under my breath. Wasn't in the mood to talk.

So, Prohibition is over, haven't quite hit the second World War yet. It's around 1933 or so.

She pulled the car over in front of what I made out looked like a nightclub. Closed, of course, it was well after midnight. I slid out of the backseat of the car and hunched my shoulders, jamming my hands in my jacket pockets. Didn't want to hear Claire's heart beating like she was nervous. Couldn't hear the driver's at all.

We trailed after her. I followed mostly by sound. Just gave up on my eyes entirely. If this was my new normal I'd better get used to it. The thought didn't improve my mood any.

Nobody said much until we were safely inside. "This place is ours," she said, simply, coolly. Led us down into a basement, this one fully furnished as an apartment suite.

"So, what's your angle?" I asked abruptly. Didn't care if it was rude. I was starving, and I was freezing, and I had been tortured and then magicked to death before being left to die in a cooler after being put through my paces and then set up. And I still didn't know why.

[Trigger (Trigger (5PE611W2))] Random Event, Plot

[Random Event] Context: Plot! New actor. This is disastrously bad.

"You're one of us," she started, and a male voice, sardonic, cut in.

"Bringing home more strays, Olivia?" he asked. I couldn't see him, but my hackles went up. Danger, my instincts said.

[Visible Quirk] stocky

[Visible Quirk] faint scar

[Non-Visible Quirk] feels a particular skill or task is beyond them

[Powerful] pride, [driving] indifference, [mere whim] ambition
[Focus] adventure [secondary], wealth [primary]

[Demanding] to repair a great wrong [my kin]
[Flirting with] to achieve success [my ally]

I could dimly make out a stocky male shape. Looked powerfully built, and was standing in a way that said he was looking for a fight. And then he turned towards Claire. "And what do we have here?" he said slowly. "I thought you weren't into bringing dinner home, Olivia."

He reached a hand out to toy with Claire's hair. Her heartbeat soared and she flinched away. Lightning fast, his hand moved out to catch her face.

I was faster. Slammed into him with all the supernatural speed I could muster. Heard something glass smash as we careened into the table. Felt a fierce and savage joy in the chance to finally hit back at someone even if it wasn't one of the bastards who'd killed me.

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 17 ] 17

Even with the -3 penalties, he makes it on the roll alone.

So 1 point of damage.

Rolling 1d8 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

Make that two points, a pretty good chunk of the interloper's 6 HD.

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 8 ] 8

He has a plus 8 on two attacks, Cross's AC is currently a 5, so he needs a 6 or better to hit.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 2 3 ] 5

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 20 ] 20

Ouch. Good thing there's no critical hits and all the vampires are immune to slaughter dice.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 2 ] 2

3 points of damage, ouch.

We rolled around on the floor, doing some damage to each other but nothing decisive. And then there were others in the mix, separating us, pulling us apart.

"You two, stay here," our driver snapped. She and the others swept the enraged male vampire who'd threatened Claire out of the room, and the door slammed shut behind them. As soon as it was closed I collapsed onto the nearest chair, which turned out to be a well-padded couch.

Wiped a hand across the back of my mouth. I was bleeding. Didn't really have enough to spare, either. But I'd have to be a lot more than just technically dead to let some goon paw a girl in front of me. Claire didn't move for a second, then sat down next to me. Her heart rate was still high but settling.

"You're nuts," she said. "What were you thinking?" She sounded a little distressed.

"Hey," I said, "I was giving as good as I got." She turned her head in my direction and I was pretty sure I was getting a Look.

"You're already beat up and worn down," she said, brutally honest. "He wasn't. No way you were going to win that fight. You didn't even have a chance."

I didn't see it as quite that certain, but didn't feel like arguing about it. My newly tender ribs and cut lip suggested I'd be at a disadvantage in proving my case anyway. "If you fed, you'd be a lot better off," she said, as if proving a point. I glanced over at her even though I couldn't see anything. Thought we'd settled that earlier.

"Do you think there's a shower?" I asked, changing the subject.

She let out a long-suffering sigh. Climbed to her feet and went to look, or at least I thought she did. I heard glass crunching under her feet, and then she came back to stand in front of me.

"Are you sure you won't let me give you some blood?" she asked. Her chin was up. I wished I could see her eyes. Her heart was beating fast, even faster than it had when that goon had invaded her space.

"I said I'm fine," I said shortly. Every time she offered I wanted to say no less. But I wasn't anybody's obligation or chore. She sighed, and I caught a glint of something -- glass -- in her hand as she drew it over her wrist, and then the room filled with the smell of blood, electric, right to the heart of what I was now.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 6 7 ] 13

Nice, target DC of 9, 13 -3 for his "sucker for a pretty face" trait and his exhaustion is still 10. Note I'm not counting his vampire trait as a penalty, but I might if he's in the negatives for blood tokens.

I gritted my teeth, shoved off the couch, and fled for the bathroom. She followed, holding her arm. "You know, when you feed, it closes the wound up," she said. She sounded a little unsteady.

Had she cut herself too deeply? I caught her wrist, inspecting gently with my fingers, concern pushing away hunger. Her heart rate soared. "That was foolish," I said, around the fangs. "Not sure how much longer--" I took a deep breath, a mistake. The bathroom was tiny and she was very close.

It was driving me nuts that I couldn't see her face. Could just make out the mass of strawberry blonde hair, the pointed chin, and the hunched shoulders as if she would really rather be anywhere else. Which was like a bucket of cold water. A chore.

"Go lock yourself in the bedroom," I suggested. "I'll sleep in here."

She straightened her shoulders and I swear she was scowling. "You and your stupid pride," she said, and stepped in close, right up against me. I backed up and tripped over the edge of the tub, sitting down hard, and she followed me down.

Things got altogether more interesting after that.

Since I didn't clarify during play, I'll explain why I had things play out like this. Claire knows she's in dangerous territory, that she needs Cross on her side and able to fight, and that the Anakes might be sending people after them. It doesn't hurt that's he's attractive in a dangerous, wounded kind of way. She's lonely and weary, up in that farmhouse fighting against those paper-men.

If he'd failed his save, he could have killed her. Instead, they slept together. How this affects her feelings, I don't know yet. She's kind of a blank slate still -- I need to be more active about asking the oracle about her motives and actions.

Cross, on the other hand, is emotionally vulnerable, wounded by Lucia in ways he doesn't even realize yet (she mindwiped him), and hasn't even started to come to terms with his new reality yet.

At least he's not blinded anymore. That was getting a little tedious.

[New Thread] What are the paper-men?