Monday, December 8, 2014

Monsterhearts: The Lighthouse

Last time, you may recall, the characters all went to Psychology class following the news that their teacher had died of a stroke, and met the new teacher, Mr. Baron. But Mr. Baron was...Rook, aged 20 years.

Everyone held steady (except Ash, since he never met Rook). Erica failed and started hyperventilating, and ran out. Mr. Baron asked after her, and Skylar left to go check on her. Cassi, for her part, saw recognition in Mr. Baron's eyes - he apparently knew them. Cassi and Genesis both wound up with terrified condition.

Briar questioned Mr. Baron a bit, but he didn't betray any knowledge of her or the other characters. He talked with some of the other students, all of whom, except perhaps Ash, were suitably creeped out.

Speaking of creeping, Skyler followed Erica into the bathroom to creep on her. She sat there and gazed into the abyss, looking for information on Rook. (I'm completely blanking on the vision she had, but it left her drained.) Skylar talked with her and comforted her, and used hungry ghost to eat her drained condition.

Back in the classroom, Cassi confronted Baron, but if he knew anything, he wasn't admitting it. She shut him down, and gave him the shaken condition...but he gave her hopeful.

Baron gave the class the period free to use as study hall, since, y'know, their teacher for this class had just died. Ash asked him if the syllabus would change, and he gave a reasonable and lucid answer. Class ended, and Baron caught Genesis on the way out and asked if she'd found what she was looking for in the lost and found. She said she hadn't...but that, of course, raised her suspicion (she's missing her pelt, after all).

Lunchtime! The characters talked about this strangeness, and caught Ash up on what had happened over the last couple of years. Ash said that who or whatever Baron really was, he'd never died (Ash can, apparently, recognize death - Skylar asked if he could tell her how she'd died; he said he could, but it would require some effort). The characters talked a bit about previous years, and Austin mentioned that they'd already faced one creature that could wear the faces of people they knew - the Black Tanamous. Briar gazed into the abyss to see if the Black Tamanous was still dead, but she saw the vineyard, with water filling up the holes, and the bodies of her friends around her, and felt a premonition that she would soon be standing next to the body of a dead friend. She left and went for a run.

The characters headed back to class (Lit), where they were discussing A Separate Peace. Cassi, during class, got upset and left, and went back to Baron's room and started poking through his stuff, but didn't find anything. She gazed into the abyss to learn about Baron, but saw nothing (and Baron gained a String on her, though she didn't know it). Erica called Dora and left a message for her; the group hadn't heard from her of late.

Lit class ended, and the characters split; Cassi, Erica, and Genesis went to Anatomy & Physiology, while the rest should have gone to study hall. Briar, though, caught Austin and turned him on, taking him into the girls' locker room for sex. Mr. Patrick, the A&P teacher, chatted with Genesis about the origins of the phrase "catgut" (they were dissecting cats). Mr. Patrick tried to get Cassi to name some organs, and she flipped out a bit, manipulating an NPC and getting sent to the nurse.

Meanwhile, Briar and Austin were coming (heh) out of the locker room, and who should catch them but...Mr. Baron. He was all set to write them up, but Briar manipulated an NPC to get him to let her off the hook. He agreed, but said she owed him one (and took a String on her).

Cassi, meanwhile, headed to the nurse's office, and recalled that Dora's sanctum was in the supply closet. When the nurse left to take a call, Cassi snuck in and found a few votive candles, all that remained of the sanctum. She heard a voice on her left whisper "light one", and she did, gazing into the abyss to see if Rook was still alive. She sees Rook standing in front of a mirror, and his reflection whispered that he could make it so Rook never died. Rook (real Rook) agreed, and the reflection reached into his chest and pulled out a silver/blue ball of light - his life. Cassi felt the presence to her left offer help, but she refused. The presence, by the way, called itself Chantico.

Meanwhile, Genesis had learned that Bryan Munch, one of the basketball players, had stolen the janitor's keys on a bet. She asked him, and he revealed that he and some of the basketball players had opened a few lockers looking for drugs and had seen her pelt, but hadn't moved it. During Phys Ed class, Genesis asked to use the pool (the gym teacher let her; it's a weird day), and she gazed into the abyss to see what happened, and saw Mr. Clark catch the boys and leave the keys on his desk before leaving for the night...the night he died. Mr. Baron, it seemed, had her pelt.

After school ended, Genesis tracked down Mr. Baron and found him in the nurse's office. She entered the office, and found the nurse frozen in place. Baron, dropped at least a little pretense, talked with her and admitted he had the pelt, but said he wouldn't make her do anything worse that anything she'd already done ("That's not comforting."). Genesis shut him down, and he lost a String on her (but he still has one).

Erica, Skylar, Ash, and Cassi went to Rook's house to get something belonging to Rook. Cassi, it seems, was feeling better about things - there's hope. Skylar went inside and grabbed one of Rook's hats. Erica called on her dark power and mimicked the watching hex to look at Rook. She saw from his eyes, floating submerged in cold, dark water, but alive(?). She also got the feeling that something had noticed her.

From there, the four of them headed to Cassi's house - for the first time in a while, Cassi was OK being around people. Ash used his casting the bones Move to help Cassi (gazing into the abyss to advise her). They saw a lighthouse on the water, locked, and surrounded by sharp rocks and frigid waters.

The four of them talked about the weirdness, and Erica asked if Ash was a ghost. He said he wasn't; he was more like a skeleton. He demonstrated by using his skin and bones Move to take the flesh off his hand. Erica held steady and stayed cool, but Cassi held steady and failed. She threw up, and then realized that her mother was standing outside the window.

Her mother walked in, horrified, and Ash manipulated an NPC and claimed it's a clever magic trick. She seemed to accept that, but asked for a home number for him so maybe she can verify who he is. Ash pitched a fit, got offended, and moved to leave. Cassi tried to manipulate an NPC (her mom) and failed, and she sent her to the house. Erica manipulated an NPC (mom again) and showed her a draft of the yearbook with Ash's picture, which calmed her down, but Ash was already leaving. Cassi attempted to turn him on, but only managed to get a String on him. He left, and Erica left with Skylar .

Briar and Austin, meanwhile, decided they should do a little digging on Baron. They couldn't find any record of him at Berkley (his supposed alma mater), so Briar called the others to meet up and research. Skylar, Erica, and Genesis met her, and they went to the books. They wound up finding the name Oberon, and they knew Rook had dealings with the Fae. They put the secret weakness on Baron, and Briar found some cold iron nails for them to carry (Skylar, meanwhile, used mimicry to copy to the books).

Ash got "home" to his cemetery, and found Mr. Baron waiting for him. They talked a bit - Ash pointed out that this was perhaps a bit threatening, and Baron clarified that he didn't mean to threaten; he was just curious. He asked how invested Ash is in all of this, and also Erica, since they didn't know Rook well. Ash said that the others might not want play his game; Baron seemed pleased that Ash regards it as a game at all.

Meanwhile, at home, Cassi took a call from Briar and thanked her for the invite, but she wasn't not able to leave (mom wants her to stay home). She gazed into the abyss and used her newly acquired metamorphosis Move. She saw the lighthouse again, and realized that it was too far away to reach, too dark and cold for the way she was now. But she could change herself.

Back at Briar's house, a storm had started. They stared at the lightning, and talked about what they were seeing - they didn't know if Baron was evil, if he meant them harm, or indeed, what they could do about any of this. "I wish Rook was here," Briar said. Genesis heard a haunting song on the rain, but couldn't place it.

Genesis went to the beach and sat there, staring out at the water, and used ocean's breath.

Next day, at school, the custodian brought in a desk. "Well, we have a new student," said Ms. Freese, "middle of the year, I know, it's weird."

A young man walked in, with a backpack that looked like he'd stuffed a blanket into it. Genesis gasped. "Hi," said Genesis' brother. "I'm Bastion."

End credits music: "Down By the Water," The Decemberists.