As Dragoneye floats over the rooftops of Steel City’s China Town, he sees an older man beckoning him from the ground. The amiable old fellow hands a kid named Jasper Thompson to return to Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. Assuming little Jasper is lost, Dragoneye accepts, picks up Jasper and floats back into the sky.
Instead of giving Dragoneye directions, Jasper begins to explain how his parents were murdered, which is brutally. This is off-putting but somehow Dragoneye cannot stop listening, which is how the wolf manages to get into a position where it can leap up and latch onto Dragoneye’s leg.
The good news is, Hexenwolf didn’t manage to actually hurt Dragoneye; Dragoneye’s defenses are very good. The bad news is, now Dragoneye has a psychopathic boy in his arms and a wolf clamped onto his leg. And things are going to get worse.
While Jasper starts attaching jumper cables to Dragoneye, Dragoneye drops Jasper (who manages to hold onto Dragoneye on his own) and hits the speed dial for the Sentries. Dragoneye explains the situation to 99 Per Cent despite the notable distraction of improvised electrified nipple clamps and being gnawed on by Hexenwolf, then hangs up his phone to concentrate on his immediate problems.
These particular bad guys can commit exposition during an assault and they do, making it clear someone wants Dragoneye dead.
Bad luck for Dragoneye: Volt and Canadian Lass are both busy so it’s just 99 Per Cent and Huitzil to the rescue.
Hexenwolf turns into bear, hoping the extra weight will haul Dragoneye out of the sky. No luck and his attempt to just claw Dragoneye is equally unsuccessful. Since the bear hasn’t managed to connect and Jasper has, Dragoneye concentrates on Jasper. Neither Dragoneye nor Jasper seems to have any trouble connecting with the other. The problem is, if Dragoneye and Jasper knock each other out, Dragoneye will be easy meat for Hexenwolf.
Dragoneye is still conscious when 99 Per Cent and Huitzil arrive. On the assumption that the great big bear is a much more serious issue than the rather harmless looking kid, Huitzil attacks from out of the sun and not only knocks Hexenwolf off Dragoneye’s leg but out cold entirely. Sadly, Dragoneye is distracted – semiconscious, really – thanks to all the electricity pouring through him from Jasper’s jumper cables and is in no way properly appreciative of what just happened.
Jasper’s mind is no match for 99 Per Cent’s brain-crushy-thingie but as Jasper tumbles to the ground, 99 Per Cent hears chanting and sees drops of blood appear from nowhere to land on Hexenwolf. Who wakes up.
For those keeping score, this is the second time Huitzil one-shotted Hexenwolf and the second time a team-mate then woke him back up. It’s like Hexenwolf gets worfed frequently.
Dragoneye, who usually can heal others but not himself, suddenly realizes how to focus whatever the basis of his magic is on himself (gamespeak: he stunts regeneration from healing) while moving away from Jasper.
Huitzil takes the time to look around and sees what looks like an evil nun, a bear, a horrified old couple who are probably innocent bystanders, a remarkably calm 1 black woman with ereader, a floating skull, and a well-dressed devil (or possible a demon). Huitzil recognizes the bear but they commits the sin of profiling by assuming the evil nun, the floating skull and the devil (or possibly demon) are all definitely baddies and the calm woman probably is one too and shares what they noticed with everyone else, thus averting the usual “Huitzil forgets to share mission critical information” thing.
Since most of the other side cannot fly, Huitzil tells Dragoneye to go high while Huitzil plays distraction. This works except for the part where Huitzil misses the nun and also nobody is distracted.
The Skull turns out to be a mage of some kind and hits Huitzil with “the curse of Icarus”, which demonstrates to Huitzil just why it might be worth paying down the “accessable” part of the wings design. On the way to the pavement, Huiztil aims for the nun. No luck, although it was close.
It turns out the bookish lady has the power to throw people into stories and she can do this on whole groups of people at once. 99 Per Cent and Dragoneye vanish in a sparkle of narrativium but Huitzil manages to resist the effect (I don’t remember how because I cannot recall what that attack targets), which means 99 Per Cent and Dragoneye are off to Castle Dracula while Huitzil has an evil nun, a bear, a horrified old couple who are probably innocent bystanders and who are also a lot farther way than they were a couple of seconds ago, a remarkably calm black woman with ereader, a floating skull, and a well-dressed devil (or possible a demon) all to themselves.
“Welcome to Castle Dra-” and then the Balkan-looking man rolls to one side as 99 Per Cent’s telekinetic hammer pulverizes the paving stones Dracula had been standing on. Dragoneye breathes flame at the vampire, who suddenly decides he needs to be somewhere else, transforms into a bat and flutters off. The flames have no effect on Dracula and Dragoneye wonders if this is all an illusion.
Harker Westenra shows up but in the Sentry’s tradition of never cooperating with the bad guy’s plan, 99 Per Cent just chases him off. As the harried looking lawyer vanishes, wolves howl.
Huitzil begins with a traditional foot hooked in other-person’s-belt-so-the-short-person-can-get-enough-height, knee-to-the-face for the nun, who collapses on the spot. The well-dressed lady does … something to try to keep the nun conscious but it doesn’t work (it was luck power stuff and involved dueling dice rolls). What it does do is convince Huitzil that they have not just committed an egregious assault on an innocent nun who just happens to look kind of sinister. Yay!
Although the ease with which the nun fell over is kind of worrying. And maybe the woman with the ereader is just a good Samaritan. But the nun looks really shifty and since Huitzil is pretty sure the nun is the party cleric, they give the nun another boot to the head, just to keep them down.
The Skull says something about “the Curse of Thor”. Huitzil isn’t sure what that it but they are sure it smarts quite a lot. The Skull is way the heck up out of reach so while Hexenwolf swings and misses, Huitzil either commits another egregious assault on a good Samaritan or whittles the other side down some more with a flurry of knees and elbows to the black woman, who turns out to take a punch as well as the nun did. Or the shapeshifter, so at least there’s reason to think the other side just brought along a lot of people with glass jaws.
99 Per Cent begins demolish Castle Dracula on the reasoning that probably the bad guys’ plan didn’t involve her ripping their real estate to pieces. Never do what the bad guys want! Shoot the hostage if you have to!
Dragoneye can tell the castle itself is magic, although the area around it is not. He begins stripping the magic from the castle. As wet, crunchy, solicitery sounds indicate that Harker found the wolves, Dragoneye realizes he and 99 Per Cent are trapped in a story. Dragoneye also manages to deduce that Dracula’s wives are probably somewhere about and by somewhere about I mean latched onto him like demonic lampreys.
99 Per Cent covers Dragoneye with a force dome to buy him time to recover from being gnawed on. Dracula, being Wrong Genre Savvy, tries to take control of 99 Per Cent’s mind, which is about as effective as tossing marshmallows at the USS Enterprise.
The Skull suggests that everyone who is still awake simply attack Huitzil all at once and to make that easier, he casts the “Igneous Curse”, which turns Huitzil into stone. Not all the way, though, and Huitzil is confident the effects cannot stand up to their regeneration. They still have enough mobility to spin out of the way of the Devil or possibly Demon’s flame breath.
While Dracula’s wives can dole out a fair amount of damage and they do manage to crack the force dome, they’re just minions and they go splut as soon as 99 Per Cent brings their telekinetic tomahawk to bear (although I think one got aerosoled by Dragoneye’s dragonroar).
Huitzil tries to bury a stony foot in the devil’s groin but sadly fails at their exploration of cross-dimensional comparative anatomy. The Skull tries to finish turning Huitzil to stone and asks why, since they weren’t the target and Dragoneye is gone, Huitzil refuses to let the Skull and his friends leave. Huitzil spins out of the way of more devil flame and points out that A: they aren’t doing anything to keep Team Magical Sparkle Creampuff from running away, and B: Huitzil is pretty sure that Huitzil is able to take on the Skull and all his pals all by themselves and offers to provide proof of this. The effect of theboast is somewhat undermined when Hexenwolf manages to slice Huitzil’s side wide open but only a little.
As their flesh flows back into an unblemished whole, Huitzil openly mocks the entire group of baddies for relying on the Skull. The Skull is the only one who presents a real challenge; the others are just bystanders and bleeders. Then since Hexenwolf made the mistake of not exploiting his greater mobility and is next to Huitzil 2, Huitzil pops him one nicely between the eyes with a stone fist.
The Skulls suggests Plan B: rather than keep providing Huitzil with punching bags, just leave. The devil grabs the librariany woman, Hexenworf grabs the nun, some old guy in a teddy bear costume who somehow managed to stay out of sight until now runs off with Jasper and while Huitzil does give chase, being partly made of stone really slows them down.
Once the baddies are out of sight, Huitzil reverts to flesh. There is no condition their regeneration cannot overcome! Or perhaps the Skull just revoked his curse but that does not occur to Huitzil.
Back in storyland, 99 Per Cent and Dragoneye methodically find and destroy all of Dracula’s coffins. The vampire himself is forced by the rising sun to retreat to his sarcophagus, easy meat for the two supers. As soon as the stake goes in, the pair appears in China Town.
All this leaves the question “who wants Dragoneye dead?” Happily, 99 Per Cent’s parents are well connected and they can provide an answer to that: the Sons of Salem, an Anti-Magic hate group. It’s kind of odd that they’d hire one group of mainly magic using types to go after a sorcerer but perhaps they hoped one way or another the magic-user herd would be thinned.
(Another way to look at it is the population of mages would be selected for stronger members, maybe not 100% good from the point of view of the SoS)
The specific name that comes up in connection with the Sons of Salem is “Assurance Mather”. A quick call to the Confederacy of Justice gets more information: Mather is an immortal and a real pain in the ass. He is also apparently not in any way familiar with modern methods of obfuscating either his identity or his home address.
[The GM forgot last time’s cliffhanger so next time we find out what happened]
1: Presumably these sort of superhuman fights are happening often enough some people have become jaded.
2: Characters with a lot of movement and one particular advantage can move, hit and move, which is awesome when Huitzil and Izzy do it and bloody annoying when the other side does.