The Mage game wound up taking us to Veracruz with little more delay. We were met at the airport by a couple of guys in suits with those little cards like you see where someone's rented a car or a limo. Except the cards were blank to mortals... but the rest of us could see the Atlantean pentagram on them.
We were directed into a pair of expensive cars (one car for Dewey, Zipporah, and Herakles, and a second car for Infilux and Caduceus, whose players were running late) and driven out to the middle of nowhere. We were taken out to an archetypal 'Mexican Drug Lord' mansion in the middle of the desert. On the way, Caduceus tried to do something in the back of the car he was in (as Andy had shown up during this sequence) and was subsequently gassed while attempting to cast the spell.
We were dragged out there, while Dewey got a good look at the layout, and tried his best to look at the faces of the guards in case he needed to take a quick head count on how many they might have to deal with later. He just went into full tactics mode. We had a talk with the guy who owned the estate, DeSanto, where we all discussed how we were going to deal with Mayor Huxley. He suggested trying to bring unfavorable attention on Huxley to compromise his privacy and secrecy. And then he offered us six million dollars (3 up-front, 3 afterwards) for our part in dealing with him.
He gave us a briefcase presumably set up to get around airport screenings for when we returned to the States, and we went back to the investigation we had planned for when we came down. While Caduceus kept going on and on about the things we could do with the money, Herakles slipped off to the side and did some scrying and discovered the remains of an underwater temple. He came back and revealed it to us, and we more or less figured out what was going on.
Huxley is apparently attempting to get access to the Infernal Realms by getting to the underwater temple in Veracruz, which is connected to the temple in Ramosis by a long tunnel that we'd previously established goes beneath the Gulf in the direction of Veracruz. We made plans to go down there and check it out, risking some dangerous magic in the process.
We made sort of a "Greater good" argument concerning the use of vulgar magic, and Herakles (who's Mysterium so he's less likely to get smacked around by his order for it) opened up a portal between our hotel room and the temple. Along with some scuba gear, we had Caduceus enhance us to better handle things beneath the water-- although mitigating the Paradox wound up knocking him out, leaving Dewey un-enhanced. Just in case something happened to the portal, he gave Herakles a pillow case for the hotel room to provide a sympathetic link back, and the session left off with Dewey watching an unconscious Caduceus while the rest ventured into the portal...
The Fae game started off with a meeting called by the new Baron. During this meeting, the Baron announced that the fighting was to stop, and to settle disputes he was going to establish a tribunal and allow the Shadow Court representation in local politics.
Yes, yes, that was my reaction as well.
A couple of new characters (played by Shomo and Sean, since their Inanimae characters were removed from play in a recent banning), a pair of House Varich Sidhe, came in and introduced themselves towards the end of this meeting.
A little later, Adalida contacted Helmut and he gave her and a few others (deliberately trying to avoid bringing the entire group to keep things from getting out of hand) to Pittsburgh, where they met with Duke Abelard in what was obviously a secret trial of sorts. He had Maurice bring out the Sluagh from before, where he was forced to give testimony. He named a number of nobles and commoners as being in league with the Shadow Court and being part of the political blockade. He also confessed to trying to use the city as the staging ground for a revolutionary attempt to take over Pittsburgh. He was summarily executed right there.
The PC's were given a chance to talk to them while the Duke apologized for the whole mess and assured them that they had not been abandoned (looking right at Adalida the whole time). Robert, Andy's Kinain, asked him if it would be okay to write and publish a children's book based on some of the stuff about Changelings to try and make the Fae easier to accept by the mortals without giving so much away as to help out their enemies by accident. The Duke said, in so many words, that if something like that was to happen he sure as hell didn't want to be the guy who signed off on it.
They went outside and found a Nocker looking suspiciously like one of Helmut's cronies, dressed differently and wearing contacts instead of glasses, standing next to the white van. He explained that he had been asked by the Duke to transport the folks back to Morgantown with the latest in Nocker technology. They tried to quiz him on who Helmut was, and he denied knowing of Helmut's existence. When they threatened him with physical violence, he said that if he did know who Helmut was, he'd probably guess that Helmut had slipped off somewhere quiet and let his assistants return to their 'normal' lives and identities.
They accepted that and let him drive them back to Morgantown to spread the word. And we left off shortly after that. I'd deliberately left some time for reaction scenes and the like, but half the players had taken off because I'd been so involved running the Pittsburgh scene (I was under the impression that everyone who stayed behind had chosen to do so and thus had something to do).
It was a quick one, but that wrapped up one of the biggest annoyances to the players in a while.
It was the last Saturday of the month, so there wasn't a Vampire game (nor will there be this weekend, because the football game with Marshall is going to make merely existing in Morgantown such a pain in the neck).
As a side-note, while typing this I saw a trailer for "School for Scoundrels." Apparently Jon Heder has been selected as the new Adam Sandler. I mean, I can understand Billy Bob Thorton being in the movie; he's gotta make sure the Hollywood niche he carved for himself in 'Bad Santa' doesn't heal up like the pop culture piercing it is. But I didn't think that Jon Heder was new enough to the industry to not realize that he's just been dragged into a shitty remake of "Anger Management" minus the charm.
Another thing I have to add to my list of reasons why Napoleon Dynamite makes me physically ill.
Edit: Fixed a mix-up on a name in the gaming write-up, and added a link to a recent IC post on shbeforethedawn.