It all falls on the shoulders of one man. A heroic effort to save another character and escape this nest of vipers with their lives intact…
Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by British Science Fiction & Dark Fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. It also has three novels set within it: Dog Eat Dog, The Black Lake and The Social Club.
- Winter – built like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger with North American First Nation features. An expert in martial arts and wilderness survival.
- Brendan – slim, awkward in appearance, with dark hair and untrusting blue eyes; he wears black clothing and carries an air of suppressed pain around with him. Scars, like energy burns, to parts of his face hint at his meddling with metaphysical powers. A road mage.
- Bela – tall, bulky, a victim of the 1st wave that left him Changed at the molecular level. Called an ‘Orc’ by those wishing to insult.
- Aaron – 16 years old, tall, willowy, good-looking, quick-witted and intelligent, he was only 6 when Yellow Dawn happened. His survival is a bit of a mystery. Good with his hands and fixing things, his movement is limited by a gammy leg, fixed into a leg-brace.
- Jean – tall, good-looking man, early 30s with classic southern French features; lean and muscular with a long mane of dark hair and blue eyes. Wears a beaten up leather jacket and leather trousers and boots that belong on a fashion parade, not the wilderness.
- Fifi – French girl, 22 years old, dark hair that could do with a comb, teeth a little too big for her mouth and a flat, wide nose, hardly a looker, but with an incredible aura, sense of presence and razor-sharp intellect she is quite the character. Dresses down, an artist, but anyone who gets to know her quickly discovers she comes from money and power.
RESUME 25th May YD+10 @ 1.30 AM
Winter is with body of Bo, and two dropped weapons (whip and radiation gun)
Fifi is 24 metres away with the horrible statue
Jean has found somewhere to hide outside in the sticks.
Aaron is at Samir’s place.
Samir in jail
Brendan on the floor of a bar, drunk.
Bela at Samir’s apartment
This was never going to end well.
Winter finds himself alone, standing over the dead body of Bo, the man he’s just killed… man, or something in the guise of a man.
Winter is scared but he doesn’t let it show. He has to find Fifi and get the hell out of there.
Careful about noise, he crouches down and packs away the strange weapons Bo had been carrying – including the animal skin holster and rig for the brass “ray” weapon.
The next 2 hours are a personal hell for him. Trapped below ground in a set of tunnels and interconnecting rooms, Winter explores…
He quickly finds Fifi. A small distance from where she had been. Now at the bottom of a spiral ramp in a large, arena like chamber deep below ground. The chamber is overlooked by two “viewing?” platforms 10 metres up. No other exits apart from a large portcullis on the far wall, unnatural darkness beyond. She is sprawled on the floor (a 20 metre-wide sand pit), semi-conscious, feverish, delirious… she looks at him vaguely and mutters something about EYES before passing out.
SIDE NOTE: Fifi had been on her own, sneaking back to where she’d left Jean and Winter, when she heard a hissing sound coming from the statue… that was all she recalls, apart from a panicked run and everything turning sluggish and black.
Winter grabs her and pulls her up to carry, when he hears the sound of the portcullis crashing down – it has dropped through the floor – followed by an impossibly loud roar. The wall-vibrating rumble of what looks and sounds like a Tyrannosaurus comes charging out from the hole.
Remember the large tooth that Willian had been clutching!
Winter ducks and weaves, holding onto Fifi as the thing tries to slash at him with claws and grab him in a monstrous bite. He is also disturbed to find his muscle tissue starting to burn as if a constant energy was being directed at his whole body…
He manages to run from the chamber.
He expects to find the ramp blocked but it isn’t, hinting at the chamber’s purpose. Not a trap but a ceremonial place. For training or combat.
Fleeing with Fifi he encounters the woman, Lilith plus several workers… there is a pause, a stand-off. He’s never met her, but her dangerous beauty and haughty demeanor tells him this is the woman that seduced Jean a few days ago.
She regards him with interest, and the unconscious woman clutched in his arms.
She talks about his blood. His ancestral blood – First Nation American – and how his grandfather once paid homage to her kind. She uses words that trigger strange memories in Winter’s head.
She offers him her respect and says, “You have taken from us so we shall take from you. Leave the woman and you may go free.”
Winter considers this for only a moment before shaking his head and backing away. Lilith and the others quickly depart.
Winter backtracks, tries to find a way out of this nightmare, but all routes lead back to where he has already been or further down, deeper underground and he doesn’t want to go there…
Snakes begin to swarm the passageway floors, thousands of them – many of them poisonous.
He can’t find a way out.
There is a room littered with gold objects, many of them encrusted with precious gems – some kind of ostentatious office or study. Hints at an ancient cult-like practice behind this place.
He encounters a statue of gold, showing Thomas Merkenson and… something else…. Winter photographs it on his PA.
He injects Fifi with a vial of Black Ice, a dangerous combat drug, hoping it will rouse her. No effect. He injects himself and feels the last of his fear melt away.
So he starts to use flash bang grenades, corridor by corridor, room by room, stunning the snakes and moving quickly, steadily towards the entrance through which he entered this nightmare place.
At the final room, two figures rush him.
He drops Fifi and slashes at them with his katana; lightning fast deadly blows, stabbing one of them repeatedly through the chest – the man should have fallen, dead, but instead merely grunts with pain.
One of them spits into Winter’s face…
Winter feels the venom take effect instantly; his vision blurs, his nerves sing with an icy chill and his muscles begin to lose strength. He grabs Fifi and charges past them. They led him go.
Striding up the last of the steps he comes up into the first chamber, where the two crystals burn with their alien flame… and there is Lilith and two workers… blocking his path. He staggers, drops Fifi, slumps against the wall, gasping, sucking in air, fighting to stay conscious even as the black curtain of oblivion sweeps over him.
“I admire you,” he hears Lilith tell him. “You’re a fighter. A warrior. You remind me of the men who came to kill me on the island…” her voice drifts as his consciousness fades, and yet even in the darkness he senses her step close and whisper in his ear:
“First will I declare your much-vexed wandering, and may you engrave it on the recording tablets of your mind. When you have crossed the stream that bounds the two continents, toward the flaming east, where the sun walks…” her words fade out and then back again, “Crossing the surging sea until you reach the Gorgonean plains of Kisthene, where the Phorkides dwell, ancient maids, three in number, shaped like swans, possessing one eye amongst them and a single tooth; neither does the sun with his beams look down upon them, nor ever the nightly moon. And near them are their three winged sisters…” once again her voice fades, to come back with these final words: “Loathed of mankind, whom no one of mortal kind shall look upon and still draw breath. Such is the peril that you will be unable to guard against. Sleep well my warrior for when you awake, your Fate will surely arrive on slow, clumsy wings.”
An uncertain period of time passes. Winter starts to come round several times but each time he is hit with venom again and goes under. He is aware of being carried. Of being in a vehicle on a bumpy ride.
He blinks, feels cold air on his face, something crawling into his ear. He shakes his head, tries to move his arms…
He has been buried in the ground, upright, up to his neck. He is in the middle-of-nowhere, in wilderness, nothing but high weeds all around him. Sunrise in the clear sky above and the sound of insects. And a large, mean-looking snake slithering along the ground nearby. He is aware that he is at the bottom of a shallow, narrow gully – a natural channel for water running off nearby hills. If it was to rain heavily….
Hiding in the hills near the estate, Jean hears sounds that suggest activity near the garage. He tries to sneak down to investigate but makes too much noise and sees figures stepping into the undergrowth looking for him. He backs off but does see Winter being carried into the back of a jeep… which drives off. He remains where he is, hoping to see Fifi. Dawn breaks. The jeep is back but he doesn’t know when. It has streaks of a dry reddish mud on the wheel guards.
She comes round to find herself in a wide, circular chamber, with high domed ceiling… eerie blue light emanates from the lower parts of the wall. There is no other light. She is aware of a number of figures, dark outlines, standing on the viewing platforms above. They are watching her. Silent. Ominous. Then the sound of something slithering down the ramp that comes spiraling down into the chamber… Fifi’s breath catches in her chest, her heart beats faster. The sound gets closer and then the source of it comes into view. Fifi screams and cannot stop…
Early morning. He is sitting in Samir’s flat, worried. He’s not heard from Winter, Fifi or Jean since they left last night. At some point he fell asleep in the chair. Now his PA is ringing. It is Fifi! He answers, but the voice on the other end is not Fifi. It is silky, seductive and dangerous. “Listen carefully Aaron. If you want to see your friends again, give us the boy and your silence…”
Aaron hangs up on her. He rings Fifi’s mother, who answers…. meanwhile the kidnapper tries calling again, Aaron ignores it and explains EVERYTHING to Fifi’s mother.
At Samir’s flat until Aaron wakes him [OR] There is a chance he was able to observe what took place at the estate. This needs to be determined.
RESUME 25th May YD+10 @ 8 AM
Winter is missing: buried up to his neck in the middle-of-nowhere
Fifi is missing: in a ceremonial chamber
Jean has found somewhere to hide outside in the sticks.
Aaron is at Samir’s place… come 8 A.M he is on the phone to Reno. He learns that Fifi’s mother has called ex-cop Reno Brigadano to put together a task force of trusted men and women – a task force. He learns from Reno that she went straight to Thomas Merkenson’s hotel with several offices and woke him up. The plan was to bring him into custody, quickly, quietly. But instead, after a brief conversation with Merkenson, she orders the men to leave. Right now, Lilith, the private secretary of Thomas Merkenson has flown in by aerodyne, landed at the hotel, and both her and the Chief of Police (Fifi’s mum) have departed by aerodyne together. Meanwhile, Thomas Merkenson has just checked out.. and was overhead by staff talking to lawyers, saying that the situation can be wrapped up between them and Lilith and that he needs to get back to the dig – the project is at a critical stage.
Samir in jail
Brendan is waking up beneath the bartop of where he collapsed drunk the night before; he has been handcuffed to the footrail; his head feels like a goat took a shit inside his mouth.
Bela <????> was at Samir’s apartment! :::: but this character’s role during the next few hours could be crucial and is yet to be determined
<> Winter suffered 2 HP burn damage from “ray gun” to arm. He has also suffered 7 points of total body burn damage – burns that are beneath the skin!
<> Winter + Fifi to check for side-effects of the Black Ice drug they took on 25th May YD+10 at 2.am
<> Winter to get a Rank Roll for 11th Nov with +1 bonus for going to find save Fifi and +1 bonus for not giving her up when offered a way out for her life.
<> Money will need to be resolved once Rhonda concludes payment (note, the team are being paid 1,000 credits per day from 22nd May. Winter has already received advance cash for one day but that is all)
<> Fifi has been taking extensive photographs of the temple beneath the estate. These are stored on her PA.
<> Winter took a photograph of a golden statue showing Thomas Merkenson – one half human, the other half with skin peeled back showing a scaly, snake-faced, fork-tongued monster… the photo is on his PA.
<> (Aaron need to select a hero bonus).
<> Aaron has been blogging about recent events, since the demise of Hardstrom. GM should run through demise of Hardstrom; Gambling in Aigues-Mortes and The Blade; and experience of a Dead Zone.
<> Samir has the apartment, paid for by Deraloux, until end of May YD+10
<> DJR papers include notes on +to Brendan’s COOL for killing Hardstrom and +to FIRST CONTACT with Deraloux.
<> Baron Toten Reich has talked to Bela about his “progress” after seeing him coming in (flying) recent night. There was also a small gift.
<> Brendan has the gore-smeared cerebral codexes for Tengo Gin and Magnus Hardstrom in his pocket.
<> In Celeste: Bela has some raw components and specialised components he scavenged on the way to Prudence.
<> Bela has a special ops gel suit, although armour is wrecked over heart and right thigh.
<> Brendan has an assault rife with 24 rounds remaining.
<> Winter and Samir have acquired a large number of firearms and ammunition, plus heavy weaponry, from Mohammed’s camp and the gasses mercs at Bino Bit compound (these are written on DJR paper notes).
IN THE MORGUE:
<> Chris Langford (Dominic), killed by a creature From Beyond at Cereford Grandir near Soubere, 20 miles from Aigues-Mortes. 13th May YD+10.
Want to know more about Dead Zones and Dead Cities?
If you want to read more about Dead Zones and the Infection, I would strongly suggest you read Dog Eat Dog. Alternatively, if you’re interested in the cosmic horror that has followed the event known as Yellow Dawn, read The Black Lake – which the Guardian called “Atmospheric & Creepy”. Or, if you like the idea of the claustrophobia of living inside of a post-apocalyptic version of London surrounded by Infection, then read The Social Club.
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CREDIT: Featured Hero Image – Snake God by Secound Seal