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Episode 2.28 Showdown

In which Selena returns again, Braun is tempted, and vampirates!
Scene 1: Reunion

Picking up right after the previous adventure, Claire, Marco, Charles, and Zek the shapeshifting fairy messenger, are racing home because Claire has just learned that Pip is in trouble. As they turn up the long, mountain road leading to Braun’s estate, they find their way blocked by a small grey sportscar. And leaning against the trunk, facing them in the darkness, is Selena Kyle.

The PCs aren’t too happy about this because the [[2.24 | last time they saw Selena]], she betrayed them to Budek’s vampires, inviting the creatures into Braun’s house in the middle of a pitched battle against them.

As Claire and Marco leap out of the barely stopped Land Rover, Selena begs for time to explain and buys that time by saying that Braun is in grave danger. In a very tense encounter, Selena explains why she betrayed her friends.

After being rejected as an apprentice by both Jack and Marco, Selena was desperate. She went to Budek looking for power. Budek offered to teach her how to use magic, IF she would be his spy in Braun’s organization. She felt she had no choice, especially since if she disagreed there was nothing stopping the vampire from killing or turning her. Further, her close association with the vampire made it easy for him to enthrall her over time. When the night of the battle came, Budek reached out to her mind and compelled her to invite his vampiric minions into the house.

Not happy with her excuse, the PCs urge her to tell them about this new danger. She says that Budek is making his final move for the Blood Stone…tonight. Once his spies told him that the heroes were out of town, Budek used his vampire powers to compel Braun to bring the Blood Stone to Budek’s lair. Since Braun was infected with Budek’s own bloodline, he was unable to resist. Upon receiving the artifact, Budek intends to kill Braun. And Braun is already on his way to Budek!

Now Claire finds herself pulled between her two loyalties: Budek and Pip. Which one will she rescue? With but a moment’s pause, she makes her choice. Pip is her closest companion and has been with her since she arrived in this time. And Claire is the only person who might be able to save her. So Claire, Charles, and Zek head up the mountain to the fairy circle, while Marco and Selena speed off to rescue Braun.

Scene 2: Fairy Court

Claire, Charles, and Zek pass through the Way and emerge into that corner of the Nevernever given over to the fairies. They find Fuller the satyr awaiting their arrival. When they arrive, he is so anxious to see them that he faints dead away. He recovers quickly and leads Claire to the legal ceremony while getting her up to speed.

It seems that the political side of the fairy people is just as bad as the courts of Summer and Winter themselves. Someone has decided that Pip’s vampixie curse is unnatural and that she should be put to death. A pixie Stalker squad was sent to retrieve her so that she could tried and convicted. Esmerelda, the Fairy Queen, sent for Claire to come to Pip’s aid. Esmerelda cannot intercede in the proceedings without losing face, so she hopes that Claire can help. Thanks to her good standing as a “fairy friend”, Claire will be allowed to speak in the proceedings.

Claire arrives to find a court room drama scene being played out in a forest clearing. Up front sits a tribunal of three pixies, complete with dark robes and powdered wigs, though the wigs are far from the majestic European design. To their right sits Queen Esmerelda and to their left stands an executioner wearing the signature hood and wielding an oversized, and over-sharp scimitar. Pip is imprisoned in a bird cage suspended from a tree limb, and can do nothing but observe. A prosecuting pixie is wrapping up his case, pronouncing Pip “unclean” and a “monster,” and requesting that she be put to death.

Esmerelda vouches for Claire and petitions that the tribunal let her speak. The queen’s plea is but a formality; if the queen wishes it, of course Claire will be allowed to defend her companion.

The prosecution holds that Pip is cursed and that her soul is forever tainted with evil. Claire counters by explaining that her condition is in no way magical. It was caused by an infection which was created by a mortal scientist and administered with an injection. It is viral and it can be cured. Both sides make their cases, then the tribunal confers briefly.

Their verdict is that a fairy life is precious. If Claire believes there is a mortal cure for this mortal infection, she has a year and a day to find it. Further, Pip is exiled from the realms of fairy until she has been cured and then performed a rite of purification. At that point, she must present herself to the tribunal again for another interview. If she is judged clean, then she will be recognized by the People (how the pixies refer to themselves) once again. If she is not, then her execution will be performed immediately.

It is with mixed feelings that Clair, Charles, and Pip leave the Nevernever. Pip is free, but in exile and with a death sentence at arm’s length. And pixie arms are short. Claire is confident and upbeat until Pip reveals that, while they technically have a year to find the cure, the Rite of Purification must be performed no later than the spring equinox. Given that it is now mid October, that means that Claire actually has only five months to find the cure she has already been searching for for nearly a year.

Claire shares a final thought as they prepare to leave the fairy realm: “Fairies are jerks.”

Scene 3: Moonlight Rendezvous

Selena races across town to old prison where Budek has his lair. The site is slowly being renovated into new, high-dollar condos, and Budek is squatting in the basement of one the buildings that will be last to be remodeled. As they head from the parking lot toward the building, they catch the sound of voices nearby.

Investigating, they find their quarry atop a nearby hill. The moon is full, so the hilltop is well lit and threaded with long shadows from surrounding trees. Alex Megar is trying to convince Braun to hand over the Bloodstone. Braun, meanwhile, has a glassy stare but is defensively clutching the Bloodstone to his chest and shaking his head from side to side.
Marco and Selena move to intervene, but are stopped by his old pirate foes, Raul and Donaldo, who are now vampires. Marco says he’ll take care of the trash if Selena will aid Braun. Marco and the vampirates begin what will be a very bloody showdown.

Selena puts herself between Braun and Megar, telling Megar to back off. He tries to compel her with his vampire-like mental powers, but she is now able to resist his push. The two of them face off, giving Braun time to catch his breath and overcome that same mental assault.

As things get more heated, Claire, Charles, and Pip arrive on scene, having returned from the Nevernever. Before they can join their friends, they are attacked by a huge, wolf-like beast that leaps from the shadows – Budek in his beast form.

The battle is harsh for both sides. Charles gets practically torn apart by the wolf. Marco is wounded by the vampirates’ vicious assault, but he’s giving as good as he gets, using both his magic and his swordsmanship to hold his ground and manages to eviscerate Donaldo. The other vampirate, Raul, flees into the night, which enables a staggering Marco to turn his attention to the wolf-beast.

Braun breaks free from Megar’s mental domination, but loses the Bloodstone in a scuffle. It goes flying through the air and lands in the brush. Pip grabs it from the weeds and hides in a tree.

The wolf is slain by the combined might of Claire and Marco, and the beast transforms back into Budek’s normal nosferatu form. Megar, on the other hand, refuses to let himself be taken out by these people. One of the PCs is about to kill him, so he defends himself with the wizard’s final strike – his death curse! He uses it to release every iota of his power in a giant fiery energy blast. He is destroyed by the blast and most of the others are heavily wounded. Budek’s body is incinerated.

As the smoke clears, Claire heals as many of their injuries as she can, but there’s only so much she can do. They’ll all be nursing some wounds for a while. Budek and Megar are dead, and now it’s not certain who was the actual master and who the servant. Braun still has the protection of the Bloodstone and Selena has had her revenge on her evil tormentors.

Return to the short version of this episode.

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