That afternoon Michael called the number Benny had provided him for Kimberly Van Buren. Answering the phone Michael introduced himself and explained that he had been given her number by their mutual friend Benny who thought she would be able to help him identify the origin of the symbols he had found. After absently mumbling agreements during the call she quickly agreed to meet with Michael at her home that afternoon. Michael jumped on his good fortune and headed to her place, which wasn’t far from where he was at the moment.
Arriving at Kimberly’s home, which is a second story two bedroom apartment, knocking on the door he was met by Kimberly, a thin, attractive blonde woman dressed in comfortable but miss matched clothes who welcomed him in. Michael found her apartment cluttered with books, which seemed to take up every available space. After entering the front door he followed her down the hallway which ran the length of her place. Passing the first bedroom on his right, a desk was the only obvious furniture, but that too like the rest of the room was covered in stacked books, all of which looked old and well-read to Michael. Continuing down the hallway he passed a small bathroom and the second bedroom, both on this right until finally entering the kitchen/living room shared space. A small round table was in the center of the tiled area that outlined the boarder of the kitchen and while surveying the rooms Kimberly started clearing off the table and two chairs for them to work. The living room shared the same space and was carpeted with a couch pressed up to the wall. All of which continued the trend of cluttered books. The one thing that stood out to Michael was the lack of a television.
Once a space was available for Michael, he and Kimberly spread out the pictures and began looking over the symbols and wards from the houses. Kimberly found a small pad of yellow paper and started taking notes on the things she found in the pictures and while she was doing this Michael explored the space he was in, finding not only the books he first noticed, but old maps, ancient looking paper encased in plastic and set into binders. Looking over the covers of some of the books he found them to be as he first thought, old, with most being bound in plain, durable covers without text. A few had bindings made from leather, wood and one of metal.
Michael’s exploration was halted when Kimberly cleared her throat and set down the pad she was holding. Michael sat back down when her and she told him that he was correct in a way with the writing on the walls, it is Aramaic, but a very old dialect that she believed to be pre-biblical and that it called on a deity that she could not at the moment translate the name of, but she was sure of these few things. Michael starting asking her about who could have done this and who would know this language. Kimberly did not know who could do this but felt that the summoning was sophisticated enough that a normal person could not do this and it could be the work of an immortal or old world g-d. She offered up the name of Franklyn Belmond who owned the Arcadian bookstore. He had helped her in the past and was very knowledgeable. This did not sit well with Michael who thanked her for her time and headed out.
Yin Yue after a long day at the bakery headed to the Tea/Spice shop to talk to Lan Fan. Entering the shop she found the store quiet and Lan reading the paper. Yin Yue wasted no time in asking Lan what she knew about the hunger demon and his interest in her, describing the demons desire to take her. Lan admitted to knowing that Yin Yue was special and that her mentor saw something in her the moment he met Yin Yue as a child, but Lan did not know the details. Yin Yue continued to ask about what options she had in bringing out the demon and destroying it. Lan told her that since they knew it wanted Britney and had ties to her already she could be used as bait or now Yin Yue could be the bait as well. Yin Yue also asked about the demon using beasts as its eyes. Lan did not think that was possible as the hunger demon was not a smart or clever creature and unless it was particularly powerful it wouldn’t have such power, they generally used their raw power to force their way into mortals and did not think to use animals. On that note Yin Yue told Lan about the Mott Street Rascals acting as its agents and how it was working through them, they both came to the same conclusion that it could be reached through the gang.
Ethan followed Chloe out of the dojo, catching up to her he asked how she was able to take down the larger woman and what that look on her face was all about. Chloe admitted at getting frustrated with the woman and using her abilities on her to confuse her long enough to get the upper hand and trip her. Laughing the two continued walking down the alleyways, Ethan told her that he would like know how to do that and offered to teach Chloe his tricks. Looking interested, Chloe found a secluded space for Ethan to show her what he could do. First Ethan made a coin appear in the air telling her that he can make small illusions, the coin twirling in the air of its own will. Chloe, while very impressed did not know how she could use that invocation to her advantage. Undeterred Ethan stopped the coin and disappeared with it, walking a couple of steps away and reappeared astonishing Chloe. Making a quiet whooping sound she agreed to teach him if he would do the same with that invocation, admitting that being able to move unseen would be a huge benefit.
Starting to walk again as they talked, they kept their voices low and discussed how they view their magic versus how “vanilla” people perceive it. They covered many topics on their way back to the French Quarter and set a couple of dates to start teaching each other. Along the way they talked about other mundane topics finally landing on Chloe’s source of income. Which she revealed current was through the selling of prescription pills, mostly painkillers. The two eventually stopped at a dealer’s house and spent a little while there getting high. Leaving the dirty little house they parted ways. Using his magic Ethan continued watching Chloe while she went about selling the pills she had on her to a few tourists and a group of college kids.
Simon spent the rest of the day walking around his usual haunts, talking to locals about the cult working in the area and what neighborhoods to watch out for. He also starting spreading around the word that he was looking for them and would reward information about the cult’s whereabouts.
After leaving Kimberly’s apartment, Michael headed to the bookstore named the Arcadian. Arriving at the old building, he found the corner shop open and first floor full of old books carefully organized on many shelves and rows. The owner greeted him offhandedly as Michael entered, the man’s eyes never left the page of the large volume his was reading. Walking up to the counter, Michael greeted the man with his name and asked the man his. The owner introduced himself as Franklyn Belmond, Michael wasted no time and began to ask him about this knowledge of old texts and languages. Franklyn was open and admitted to knowing his fair share. Michael told him that Kimberly Van Buren had told him to ask about the translations of the crime scene photos. Handing Franklyn the photos he thumbed through them and offered to help with the translations, but noted that it would take some time as the writing wasn’t totally clear and of an older style. Michael told Franklyn about the bodies and the possible cult in the city, Franklyn told Michael to call him the next day and he would rush the initial translations but should be able to provide him with something soon. Michael felling satisfied left the books store and called Kimberly.
Answering the phone, Michael started by thanking her for the contact in Franklyn and asked her about religious human sacrifices. Kimberly, who was knowledgeable about a few such groups told him about the Sumer pantheon and human sacrifice, the Peruvian native tribes sacrificing for harvest and good weather. Without catching a breath she off handed ran through Aztecs and a group in New Mexico still active in their old ways. The rumors of a cult in New York invoking death g-ds and a serial killer in Washington who eats his victims. As she paused to catch her breath Michael told her about the unsettling effects of the rituals used in the city he had encountered so far. Kimberly was unsure of that side effect of human sacrifice, but assured him that she would look into it. Thanking her, Michael got off the phone and headed home, where he drank heavily and fell asleep on his couch.
The next day Yin Yue went to work at the bakery, but was very distracted and often lose herself in thought. By that afternoon the Tian’s told her to take some time off, worried that something was wrong. Getting back to her small apartment she found her phone and texted Michael, Ethan and Simon about meeting up. She had a new idea for dealing with the demon.
Michael that morning was recovering from his hangover and went to his office to work on paperwork in a nice and quiet place. By that afternoon he started to feel like himself again and about the time he was ready for lunch a text came in from Yin Yue. Having a craving for the healing properties of gumbo he offered to meet up with everyone at his favorite place and texted the address.
A short while later when the group had gathered at the restaurant, placed lunch orders and looked to Yin Yue. Taking a deep breath Yin Yue began to explain her idea, first she explained that the Hunger demon was their main problem but she believed they could not use the nutria as they generally did not have the attention span or creative thinking needed to control animals. Yin Yue continued with her theory that the demon was using the Mott Street Rascals as servitors and through them she would tempt it out using herself as bait.
Ethan was the first to speak up asking how they would fight the beast as he was not a fighter by nature. Yin Yue told him that through her training she has ways of hurting the demon and if that is not enough they have their wands. Satisfied with her answer Ethan asked about fighting the human servants she mentioned. Yin Yue did not immediately have an answer for that and was quiet, lost in thought. Michael took the opportunity to say that he wasn’t happy with the idea and fighting the gang or the demon on its terms.
Yin Yue admitted that she did not know any other way to the creature or a better way to destroy it. She told the group that she would kill the hunger demon, break the power of the Mott Street Rascals and protect Britney. Simon for the first time chimed in agreeing that it did need to go, he would help but the logistics of the plan needed work. He would not charge in recklessly but would assist on a thought out plan. Michael’s biggest concern with the idea was that the MSR might just show up on their own and carry Yin Yue off to the demon. Leaving them without any further leads. Yin Yue stated that she was not afraid of the gang and she could ask the Bao brothers for help in fighting them.
Simon thought an ambush would provide them the best chance for success and if they could find a place to lay in wait they could minimize the risk. Ethan liked the line of logic but was very concerned with after the fight and what the gang could do to them. He brought up that if the MSR found out who they were and had any muscle left they would target softer people, namely his mothers, as they are on the streets all night without protection.
Going further down the line, Michael and Ethan started talking about disguises. Michael told Ethan that he had the right height and build to take the place of an informant of his named Jonny Reid, a known street personality who would work any angle or hustle anyone to make a buck. The pair continued to conspire about their own skills in pulling off a proper representation of Mr. Reid.
Leaving the restaurant they continued talking about a timeline for getting the MSR to where they want them. Gathering information and in a safe place Michael and Ethan got deeper into the look and mannerisms of Jonny Reid. While the pair worked on that Simon and Yin Yue talked about using a graveyard as the location for the fight and if they could arrange warding around the place to aid them. Yin Yue asked the group about contacting the Wynter family for support and after the others agreed she called Wallace about a meeting with Roland.
End of session 11.