Note that this event used up your cigarette case. Should it happen again the version of Katherine Chandler you've been playing so far this game will be gone.

While visiting an estate in the country late this season, Katherine Chandler is surprised on the road by a fox suddenly leaping out of the bushes and darting across the path in front of her. Her horse, startled by the apparition, bucks and rears; Katherine Chandler struggles to keep control of the creature, and as she frantically tries to keep a seat on the beast's back, the sound of several flaming hounds locked in vicious, snarling combat with something that makes noises much larger than a fox rings out from the bushes.

The horse, spooked beyond measure by this cacophany, bolts in short order. Katherine Chandler is thrown, and lands painfully in the road; just as she's struggling to her feet, she feels a sharp blow to the head, and remembers no more.

The hours and days following your assault and kidnap pass in brief flashes. The sound of water, the splash of oars. The taste of salt, the smell of brimstone; odd, ethereal chanting at the edge of hearing. You struggle to remain awake and cogent, but you have been fed some sort of sleeping-draught. Most galling of all, the mortal shell you inhabit rebels against this treatment, and you can almost feel some vestige, some echo of poor damned Kate at the edge of your consciousness, trying to reclaim the body she once called her own. Your Hellhounds subdued or scattered, your options limited, you fight to remain awake and alert; but your captors - for there are at least two, perhaps three or four - are too attentive.

Flashes of moonlight; sun on yellow curtains. A sip of water to dry lips. The sound of screaming (you? Kate? The chorus of the Damned?). Hebrew and Latin chanting - memory, dream or vision?

Clarity comes as you are being carried carefully by a slight woman with dark eyes, whose face inexplicably, in your delerium, reminds you of the fox who caused your horse to bolt and started this entire damnable adventure. In the corner of your eye, you catch the shape of the Seal of Solomon - glitters on the ground, like diamond-dust, a familiar, choking miasma of incense in the air - a binding-circle. You struggle, and cannot control the scream that rips from (your? Kate's?) throat as you are lifted bodily into the circle.

Bound and biddable. The mystic wards of the Circle - a powerful one, powerful enough to bind you, perhaps to cause pain to your spirit, to compel you, should the Sorcerer so wish - close around your essence. You struggle and snarl against the magical bonds, stronger than chains, harsher than sorrow, but there is nothing that you can do against such powerful Sorcery. Again and again the dark-cloaked figure at the edge of the Circle chants its damnable incantations, tolling a bell to punctuate every hateful cantrip and catechism, tearing your spirit from the mortal body you have come to call your own, ripping you slowly, inevitably, piece-by-piece from Kate's heart and consciousness. You can feel yourself ebbing away, and the tormentuous cacophany of the Inferno rises in your hearing as the room begins to fade before you, watched always by the knowing, dark eyes of the Sorcerer's companion, the fox-woman-demon-thing who stares on with a smile hidden behind angry eyes.

You cannot say for sure whether the last words of the ceremony are spoken in Daemonic or English, Latin or Greek or Hebrew. The sense of them rings in your very soul and shatters you to pieces.

“I abjure thee, I abjure thee, thrice and thrice I abjure thee! Begone, demon!”

You are sitting on a balcony, sipping tea.

It takes you some time to orient yourself, and in the time it takes you to do so, several things make themselves known to you. One is the screaming. It is an old, familiar sound; with instincts rusty from lack of use, you distinguish the particular sighs and wails of Malebolge.

Another is the sound of fighting. Far away, but <i>loud</i>. Armies clashing, with such terror and fury as you have not heard since the days when Kariel took up behind the banner of the Morningstar and made to storm the Throne itself.

The final one is a scent. Blood, hyacinths and rotting flesh. You recognise the scent intimately. Archduchess Kasadya.

The conversation that passes, in the Daemonic Tongues, cannot easily be translated into mortal thought, mortal emotion, the sort of memory that can be kept in Kate's fragile brain. Kasadya is angry. Then again, it seems, these days, that Kasadya is always angry. A worm of jealousy which eats at her heart and slithers over her tongue, licking at the corners of every phrase she utters in that terrible, ear-rending voice.

Things have not gone well. Banished back to the Circles, devoid of mortal body, and injured in spirit besides - Kasadya's favoured courtier is looking distinctly unwell. (The tea tastes of tears and lost-hope.) Yet all is not lost. As it happens, Kasadya finds herself distinctly… unoccupied at the moment.

(Across the plains, the armies of Dalembertus and Baal clash and scream across the plains before Pandaemonium. The defenders are fighting bravely, but they are hopelessly outnumbered. The great Engines of War, relics not seen since the Fall, are turned on the towers and crenellations, and stone upon stone falls to crush every sortie which dares venture through the gates.)

As it happens, Kasadya is rather inclined to help her favoured servant. And since the soul of dear Kate has apparently been returned to that body by the damnable Sorcerer, there is already a link which you might use to return to her mortal body. A link which will almost certainly not survive a second Exorcism, mind - no more will Kate's soul, broken and battered by the vagaries of magic as it is - but, for the moment, a link which Kasadya is willing to employ.

You finish your tea. Across the plains comes a great roar of victory, as the mile-high gates of Pandaemonium slowly, ponderously fall inwards. The army surges, black-and-red ants across the field, and the standard of Baal is torn and rent by arrows fired from the ground.

Kasadya smiles at you, a bloody mockery of a mortal smile, a red gash that opens in her face with a sickening sound. She reaches across the table to touch a finger to your lips…

Pain. Sorrow. The sound of screaming, far away. The voice of your mother (what mother?). A deafening blast of ruddy flame-light that sends you spinning soul-over-heels…

Some weeks later, Katherine Chandler awakes in a peaceful room in an abandoned house in Somerset. The house is well-stocked with food and water, her horse is in the stables outside - but there is no sign of habitation, human or otherwise (though someone has clearly been there recently). She has a small, healing lump on the back of her head, her throat is raw as if she's had a nasty cough, but otherwise she is perfectly, totally normal.

On the dresser of the comfortable bedroom she has been left in, she finds an anonymous note in heavily disguised handwriting. It reads:

“My dear Dame Chandler,

I apologise for the inconvenience.


A Friend”

bonus.exorcism.txt · Last modified: 2008/03/06 17:08 by helen