Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Supercape

Run! The Gauntlet! (IC)

Recommended Posts

15th July

Parkurst Hotel

...Marcus and Rene appeared in the main hall of Parkhurst Hotel, courtesy of Rene's magic. He tucked away both his magic paintbrush, and the picture of the Hotel, both of which had been required for the feat.

"Here we are, ze Parkhurst Hotel!" smiled Rene "You know it almost as well as I, oui? need I direct you to ze showers?" Rene's nose still itched from the smell of Marcus' trek around the sewers. He was just thankful that Marcus was not in his bear form. The smell of fur sodden with sewer filth would have been ten times worse.

"In ze meantime, I will get some wine from ze cellar and some ham and bread from ze larder. And then, I think, we need to go to ze library to have see if we can shed any light on this cult of the Beast Rune...."

Share this post


Link to post

"I think I can find it, thanks..." He offered a slight smile and nod, the entire ordeal still weighing heavily on his mind. "There's... definitely a lot we need to talk about."

He felt better, though he attributed most of that to the fact that he could trust Rene. Marcus found it strange that he'd gotten so much more help here than at school, but he'd learned months ago that when it came to magic, those that were capable of it looked after their own. His father was lucky enough that his mother had stripped him of the Beast Rune's influence... He couldn't help but wonder if he'd need saving himself one day.

Marcus spent a little longer in the shower than necessary, letting the warm water clear his mind a little bit. He was still angry--angry at the cultists, angry at himself... angry for reasons he probably didn't even consider or realize yet. The Beast Rune was still silent... Marcus was certain by now that it was letting him come to terms with what was happening to him internally all on his own.

I'm more than just this rune. Maybe... I've been relying on it too much. But what can I do without it? Or am I just thinking too hard? ...argh. Stupid cultist... Stupid Gauntlet... Marcus thumped his bare fist against the wall--certainly not the stone-shattering, rage-filled blow from the sewers, but hard enough. He wasn't sure who would even understand if he tried to talk to them about what was going on...

Share this post


Link to post

Later, in the Parkhurst Library

Rene set down the claret and two glass beakers, alongside some bread and ham, and promptly poured Marcus a glass.

"Claret, a fair vintage. I hope you enjoy it. And some decent smoked ham. I would have rustled up something more in ze kitchen given some time, but perhaps another day, eh?" he said, warmly "in any case, it is nice to see you clean and dry again, my friend" he added, pulling up a chair.

"It is of course, not permitted to eat and drink in ze library. But that only adds to the pleasure, eh?" he said with a wink. There was no indication anywhere of such a ban - and after all, Parkhurst Hotel at least partly belonged to Rene.

"Now then, may I ask what happened down there? and what exactly should we be looking for amongst these dusty, but invaluable tomes?"

Share this post


Link to post

Marcus was glad to be out of his costume, wearing his Freedom Sabers jersey and a pair of loose-fitting cargo pants instead. The library was a very familiar place to him; he spent quite a bit of time in it, and used its larger tables as a makeshift art studio for his runecrafting. Certainly nothing dangerous... and definitely nothing as large as the Gauntlet.

"We're looking for information on golems," he said matter-of-factly, momentarily avoiding the question of what happened earlier that day. He realized, though, that he would have to explain it eventually, then took a deep breath as he tried to summarize.

"There's a cult that's apparently looking to use the Beast Rune for... some nefarious purpose. I'm not even sure what other than they think it's some kind of ultimate power. Problem is, humans don't typically take to it. I was born with it, so I've had plenty of time to adjust. So their leader decided 'hey, I'll bind the rune to a suit of armor. What's the worst that can happen?' And 'worst' turns out to be a 14-foot tall iron menace that serves the cult."

Before he knew it, Marcus was pacing back and forth. When he caught himself, he sat down, rubbing at the bridge of his nose with his forefinger and thumb. "I'm not equipped to deal with this."

Share this post


Link to post

"I'm not equipped to deal with this."

"Nonsense, nonsense!" replied Rene, full of encouragement. "You are perfectly equipped to deal with this. Who else do you know with more experience with ze Beast Rune, hmm? Not me, I can assure you"

He stuffed a ham sandwich in Marcus hand.

"Eat, you need to eat. And sit down, take a moment..." he was beginning to worry. If Marcus began to doubt himself, then he probably would not be in the best frame of mind to deal with whatever lay ahead. Of course, not doubting himself at all was even worse.

"To worry about this is only human. To doubt yourself, it just shows you are still yourself, rather than a suit of armour with a rune bound to it, eh?" he prompted, encouraging Marcus to think about it for a moment.

Share this post


Link to post

"I'm... not really hungry," he lied, his stomach rumbling rather audibly at just the sight of the sandwich. Forced to take it, he frowned and shook his head, deciding to just go on and take a bite rather than cause any more unnecessary conflict. Rene was only trying to help, after all... more than he could realistically say for most people who had come into his life in the past year.

"My dad has more experience with this. My mom has way more experience. She wrote a book on it, in fact." He used to carry the book with him everywhere, but lately, he'd been focused on different aspects of magic, trying to figure out the Beast Rune through other legends and source material.

"I mean, I don't even know how it kept finding me in the sewers. I lost it in the tunnels at one point and it STILL managed to spot me before I left."

Share this post


Link to post

"My dad has more experience with this. My mom has way more experience. She wrote a book on it, in fact."

"Excellent, excellent, this book sounds exactly what we need" said Rene, excitedly. He swallowed his ham rather quickly and washed it down with a generous mouthful of wine. "Please bring it out! I am sure we can divine something useful from its contents, eh?"

"I mean, I don't even know how it kept finding me in the sewers. I lost it in the tunnels at one point and it STILL managed to spot me before I left."

"That is a bit concerning. Is ze Beast rune... attuned to you in some way? it makes you, brothers, in some way, does it not? perhaps you too can sense the Rune? did you feel anything down there? could you sense the presence of this iron creature...what did you say it was called?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Mm. Be right back."

Marcus stood up, sandwich in hand as he left the library. Minutes later, he returned, carrying the large, leather-bound tome his mother left him. He set it on the table between them, frowning a little bit at what Rene said after.

"...brothers. I wouldn't go that far. But the Beast Rune is a part of me, as far as I know... I've never really tried to sense others before. I didn't know there were others before Gauntlet. That's what it calls itself. All I felt down there was cold and wet and gross."

Marcus opened the book to the pages concerning the Beast Rune. It was in a rather large section, beginning with a long white bookmark Marcus had been scribbling on. The handwriting on the book's pages was distinct and definitely not Marcus's, and the section began detailing the function and danger of the runic magic behind it:

Like all magic, the Beast Rune possesses a will and spirit of its own. At its basest form, it is the primal nature in all things: the spirit of survival and adaptation. However, the human element often warps this purity and the Beast Rune tends to draw on aggression and rage, and its will becomes exponentially difficult to control. To use this rune is to attempt to tap into primal magic at its most savage, and attempting to imbue its power onto anything is, at best, an inherent risk. Prolonged use of the Beast Rune is recommended only for those with tremendous willpower and focus, and the ability to find an inner balance that is rare among any mortal being.

"I guess I could try to make something to sense it, but that could take days..."

Share this post


Link to post

"Days?" replied Rene. "From what you tell me, I am not entirely sure we have days...or even hours. Although Parkhurst is well enough defended I suppose. Sufficiently defended? That might be another question..."

Rene studied the book closely, his finger following the lines, with his glasses perched carefully on his nose. He had to squint a little. His eyesight was not what it used to be.

"Nothing here about binding it into a suit of metal. Well, you have to admire their inventiveness. Now, ze other matter of interest is ze cult of ze rune.. have you heard anything of them? or did your mother, perhaps?"

Share this post


Link to post

"I don't... really know a lot about her. She was away on a 'business trip'," he said, with a fully gestured set of air quotes and all, "when this whole... Beast Rune thing started for me. Haven't seen her since. But my dad told me it was her that stripped the Beast Rune's power from him and made him human again. Now that I think about it, though, an iron body would be safer. The Beast Rune shouldn't be able to grow beyond the armor it was bound to. Of course, it'll figure that out eventually..."

Marcus quickly shifted the conversation away from his family as he flipped through his mother's research book. The uncomfortable look on his face suggested that it wasn't a subject discussed often, and he didn't seem particularly ready to do so now.

"I think it's safe to assume they're after me because of the Beast Rune. Half the time I can't tell who's controlling who."

And I'm scared to death I'll turn into a monster like my dad was...

Marcus's frown deepened. He really, really didn't want to deal with this today. "Don't we have some sort of... I dunno. Magical bazooka or something?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Don't we have some sort of... I dunno. Magical bazooka or something?"

"Hitler tried them in World War II" mumbled Rene, absently mindedly "ze results were not too pretty, as I recall" he added, as he pressed finger and thumb to his forehead.

He had of course done his bit for the French Resistance during the war. Die Philister had been a thorn in their side for many years, but nobody had been able to track down the helpless old man.

"Besides which, do you happen to have one? Unless you fancy a visit to some particularly unpleasant German vaults, I am not sure where to get such a thing... maybe we would have more luck with your mother, if she has some experience of how to deal with ze Rune gone wild?"

"Otherwise, I suspect it will fall to your own hands to tear apart the Gauntlet. Although what you will find inside...."

Share this post


Link to post

"Believe it or not, I've actually read a few things about golems..." Marcus flipped through a few pages, closer to the back of the book. "It takes a lot to make one. Ultimately, they've all got one weakness--the placement of the rune itself. For a golem that big, the rune must be enormous..."

The subject of his mother was approached again, and his annoyance at even thinking about her made him tense in a fairly visible way. His eyes flashed red--much in the same way his bear form's did--as he glared at Rene, slamming the book closed. "I don't know where she is. When I needed her, she wasn't around, so why should I go hunting for her now?!"

He caught himself, several moments too late. "...sorry." Marcus really wasn't sure what else he could say, thoroughly embarrassed by his angry outburst. It literally came out of nowhere, and even now, the voice that he'd always associated with the Beast Rune remained silent on the entire matter. The entire thing was starting to make his head hurt...

Share this post


Link to post

"A dangerous thing, this beast rune" nodded Rene, sagely.

It was not entirely clear whether he was referring to Marcus or Gauntlet.

"Removing it then, how do we go about that? If your mother is...ah...not available" he said as gently as possible.

He scanned through Marcus' mothers book a bit longer, hoping to find any clues in there. "...I know this is a sensitive subject, my friend, but there are lives at stake here. The beast rune is a dangerous power. If you can recall anything about your mother that might help?"

Share this post


Link to post

"I didn't find out about everything until after the whole... incident. I don't know if I ever told you the whole story, but AEGIS agents showed up for my dad one day almost two years ago and I... overreacted a little bit." In reality, Marcus had more than overreacted; tossed aside by one of the agents, it triggered his magic for the first time and he fractured said agent's collarbone trying to come to his father's aid. At that point, he had no idea what his father had done...

"My dad told me everything after I saw Mr. Summers in the hospital--about how he was given the Beast Rune in some experiment, and then something went really, REALLY wrong... It was my mom who took it from him. He never said how; I'm not sure he even knows how she did it. Unless you really want to pay him a visit in Blackstone..."

It occurred to him that he hadn't visited his father that month, either. At least once a month, he'd go, just so that his father knew he was still alive and not goofing off. Even his last visit was short because of his job at the Hanover Zoo. This hardly seemed like the time for a social visit, however.

"Anyway... I haven't seen her in two years. No clue where she could be. Mr. Summers said she's done some not-so-moral things, too, so I really don't know if we want her help anyway."

Share this post


Link to post

Rene cracked his knuckles. At his ages, they really cracked.

"Well, there is one option..." he said, with a note of caution in his voice. "Not easy, not easy at all. But it might help us find out a little about Gauntlet, from whence he is came. Of course" he added, his face down turned "it may not, too..."

"All we need is a sample. Even a tiny sample. Ze smallest sliver of metal, from under your nails, your clothes, or something like that. With that, I can make an ink. With that, I can make a picture. And with that, I can paint you into ze picture..."

He was nervous.

"Not for long. I know how to do it. But I confess I have never done it. It is a way of seeing the past of something. But more than that, it is being the past of something. So, it may be dangerous. But, it may also help us understand what Gauntlet is made of, hmmm?"

Share this post


Link to post

Marcus paused for a moment; it took him a while to catch up to what Rene was trying to explain. "Ah, well... I only hit him once, but..."

He remembered hitting Gauntlet hard enough to knock him into a wall. The fight hadn't been very long, but he could remember the sound of his claws striking and tearing metal. It was strangely satisfying, and even now, it made Marcus grin a little bit. He looked at his right hand in thought, then shook his head. "I've taken a shower since then though. I mean... I kinda had to. My clothes haven't been washed yet though. Was tempted to burn 'em to save us all the trouble of dealing with them. Might be some fragments or something in there, if the sewer water didn't wash them away when I swam out of there..."

It occurred to him that Rene didn't know about his more aquatic form... He wasn't entirely sure it was relevant, but the fact that his power had expanded and simultaneously rid him of the Beast Rune's voice in his mind hadn't been lost on him.

Share this post


Link to post

"Well then, your clothes!" said Rene enthusiastically, and stood up to get to work, his face smiling with anticipation.

A few minutes later...

"Well then...your clothes..." said Rene, holding his nose, and poking through the sewer-sodden articles with a fireplace poker. They smelt no worse than the sewers themselves. That is to say, they smelt terrible.

After heading to the kitchen and shuffling around for a few minutes, he returned with two raw garlic cloves stuffed up each nostril and a pair of rubber kichen gloves.

"Viola!" came his nasal voice.

Searching through the clothes was no easy feat, but between them they carefully sifted through Marcus clothes. The fight in the sewers had been a brutal feral affair between two beats - one flesh, one iron. And neither had come off completely unscathed. Low and behold, a thin sliver of metal had got caught up with some congealed blood in a torn fragment of cloth.

"This will do nicely!" nodded Rene, carefully putting it into a pot. "In fact, with your blood in there, ze ritual may be even more...potent..."

Is that a good thing? he asked himself.

The arcane laboratory of Parkhurst was more than up to the task. Alchemical silver, bone dust, various petrified organs, and most amusingly, a wind up watch, all went into the creation of a thick, purple ink which Rene dutifully applied to his paintbrush.

"Ready?" he asked Marcus.

Share this post


Link to post

Marcus looked genuinely confused when he saw the blood, and he checked himself over. He hadn't felt anything... or at least, not enough to suggest he'd been bleeding. It worried him because he knew it couldn't have been anyone else's blood; he wondered if whatever wounds he'd suffered had been healed because of that gator form... It would make sense. It didn't feel the same as his bear form; it felt natural, but still entirely foreign.

"Potent, huh? Alright... if you say so."

The honest truth was that Rene's magic freaked him out. Even Nick's necromancy didn't unnerve him this much, because he was never quite sure what to expect with Rene. Still, he trusted the old man--up until the point where he started his 'brittle old man' routine.

He had everything he needed--a change of clothes, a costume underneath, and a few pieces of chalk in his pocket just in case he had to do some actual magic of his own. "As ready as I'll ever be," he muttered with distinct uncertainty in his voice, giving a slight nod in response.

Share this post


Link to post

Rene got to work putting ink to canvas. He painted without really looking, the ink forming a picture almost independent of his brushwork. As the mixture swirled and swam on the canvas, a picture emerged.

First, Marcus himself appeared, and as he did so, Marcus himself could feel the painting tugging at him to enter. It was something that he could resist - it was an invitation, not a coercion.

Then, the painting grew in definition.

"Here we are, prepare yourself..." said Rene, applying the final strokes, and nodding towards the canvas.

"It is ze coast, you see the ships? sail ships? old, very old. Older than me... the age of sail..."

He looked at Marcus.

"Do you feel it? let yourself go, and enter, go seek from what Gauntlet was forged... for he is there, and you will feel it..."

Share this post


Link to post

He took a deep breath and nodded. "Alright. I'm... as ready as I'm ever gonna be." Marcus recognized the pull. It wasn't forceful or anything dangerous, but he recalled it from his first misadventure with Rene in the park. He couldn't even begin to speculate the origins of the armor, and he tried not to think too hard about it--at least for the moment. Instead, he allowed himself to relax, letting Rene's painting draw him closer and closer.

There was really no telling what he'd find, but something was always better than nothing.

Share this post


Link to post

GM

With a shift in perception, Marcus drifted into the painting, succumbing to its gentle tug.

It was hot, but there was sea air. Forests all around, thick as anything he had seen, and untamed too. THe sound of waves crashing against the beach.

A shout, in Spanish.

A longboat had pulled up unto the beach. 4 Men in armour jumped out of the longboat, carrying muskets and with rapiers slung to their waist. One had pointed at Marcus and shouted something in Spanish.

Marcus was no expert in history, but these guys looked familiar.

Conquistadors!

Share this post


Link to post

What the hell?!

Marcus found that, more often than not, that was the general reaction after doing something Rene suggested. It was a reaction that was amusing in hindsight, but given that he couldn't speak a word of Spanish, it was a little bit distressing. Never mind that there was a gun pointed at him. Instinctively, his hands went up. Truth be told, it was secondary to the instinct that told him to change forms and kick their behinds, but that wasn't why he was here.

He couldn't help but wonder where and when in time Rene's magic had dumped him. Maybe I should've paid more attention in history class.

Share this post


Link to post

GM

Even as he orientated himself, chaos erupted. From the forest came a score of natives, clutching Macana and Tepotzopilli and shouting furiously. The penny dropped...

Marcus was in the middle of a skirmish between Spanish Conquestadors and Aztec warriors!

And both viewed him as the enemy!

One Aztec thrust with his obsidian bladed spear and cut deep into the neck of a Conquestador, felling him. As he dropped in a spurt of blood, time seemed to slow slightly, and Marcus took in the highlighted form of the fallen Spaniard.

And his oh so familiar armour...

Share this post


Link to post

This wasn't the first time he'd been dumped into a battlefield, but Marcus had never had both sides of an encounter wanting to kill him. Seeing the rather graphic death of the Spaniard gave him pause, long enough for him to get an incredibly good glimpse at the armor the soldier was wearing. It was smaller, but there really was no mistaking it. He still had absolutely no clue what time period he could have been in or where; it was probably something he should've known. Aztecs? Spanish conquistadors? It seemed really familiar, but under the pressure, he was drawing a complete and utter blank.

For now, though, saving his neck from a grizzly fate similar to that of the soldier seemed WAY more important.

Share this post


Link to post

GM

With Spanish and Aztec war cries on either side, a furious battle erupted. Both the Aztecs and Spaniards seemed to consider Marcus an enemy, although not the highest priority one. A musketball flew past Marcus' head as five Aztec warriors jumped at him, swinging their obsidian weapons at him.

Meanwhile, two other Aztecs were hit by musketfire, one apparently fatally. The other Conquestadors drew their rapiers and started to engage in a furious battle. They were out numbered, but their steel weapons and breastplates afforded them a significant advantage.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×