Guns for Hire Timeline
- 1 June 2010
- 2 September 2010
- 3 October 2010
- 3.1 Week 2
- 3.2 Week 3
- 3.3 Week 4
- 3.4 Week 5
- 4 November 2010
- 4.1 Week 6
- 4.2 Week 7
- 4.3 Week 8
- 4.4 Week 9
- 4.5 Week 10
- 5 December 2010
- 5.1 Week 10
- 5.2 Week 11
- 5.3 Week 12
- 5.4 Week 13
- 5.5 Week 14
- 6 January 2011
- 6.1 Week 14
- 6.2 Week 15
- 6.3 Week 16
- 6.4 Week 17
- 6.5 Week 18
- 6.6 Week 19
- 7 February 2011
- 8 March 2011
June and July: Armas Laine arrived in Istanbul sometime in June, rented an apartment, and familiarized himself with the city.
August and September: Armas established himself as a gun for hire and performed two jobs (one for a mundane drug dealer, another for a man with ties to the Russian mob).
Monday, 27th: Armas worked for the Triads as a guard, met up with Labombard, and made his first supernatural kills in Istanbul. He killed drug addicts and saw Labombard moving what appeared to be dead US Navy seals.
Tuesday, 28th: Armas met the Russian mob contact. He then returned home and ratted out the Pawnshop Owner to the Triads (the pawnshop owner was offering $8,000 to kill a bum who was a regular Triad informant). Some checking revealed that the Pawnshop Owner had a reputation for being dangerous, possibly supernatural. He bought "Frakenstein", an SKS made out of many different individual guns and a magic Soviet Honor Guard stock from Garbage Pete. He then performed the Russian Job and frightened a professor at Gelrindo Academics, an academy owned by the Wizard Khubilai. Afterwards, Armas put in the order to Arkvad for the "Super SVT-40" and agreed to trade in "Frankenstein" for $10,000 credit. He spoke to Arkvad from non-secure location. [The attack at Gelrindo Academics resulted in a police investigation.]
Wednesday, 29th: Armas met Castelletti, and took the job to kill Barby, O'Connor, Lachlan, and Tyson. He bought flash-bangs from arms dealer Bagatur Yilmaz. [Castelletti became paranoid when the mafia representative (Savoy) convinced him that Armas would behave in bad faith. Savoy did this to manipulate Castelletti into giving Armas a reason to kill him, so that Savoy would have a secret useful for advancing his ambitions (the name of Klaus Barbie's assassin).]
Armas killed Barbie the Nazi
Thursday, 30th: Armas completed Castelletti's job. TRAIT UNLOCKED: AMBUSH EXPERT! He then realized Castelletti gave bad information. He collected the AA-12 and four Matebas. As he made his escape, he killed Andre Gustavo (a guard working for Barbie) and disposed of his corpse after sanitizing it of identifying traits. He collected Gustavo's wallet, car keys, and pistol (Glock 20). During his escape he fought sewer monsters (sahagins). After he escaped, Armas ran up Gustavo's debit card in a legitimate gun shop. He enrolled in the gym Constanz' Crash Course, meet the Iranians (Hafaz and company), and through them was exposed to Krav Maga. Armas got some SAMBO training through Boris Mihailov, gym instructor at the Crash Course. Armas then arranged to trade two of the four Matebas to Arkvad for credit on the "Super SVT-40." He also arranged for Castelletti to wire 75% of the pay for the job into Gustavo's account, and to deliver the remainder in a week. He then begged a favor from the Triads for help in draining Gustavo's account.
Friday, 1st: Armas met Lo Fang in person and gave Gustavo's car keys to him. He then closed Gustavo's accounts using ID that the Triads modified (no cameras in the branch, but the teller may have remembered Armas). Armas arranged to meet Castelletti's representative at Gustavo's house. He planted seeds of suspicion with Barby's followers about Gustavo's loyalties. He then went to the gym and met the Iranaians again (Ahmad, Hafez and Shaya) and the Israelis (Hadar and Yoni).
Saturday, 2nd: Armas met with Arkvad and learned that Smets had decided to swap out the magic parts on the SVT, thus cheating him out of what he paid for. Armas traded in Frankenstein and two of the Matebas to complete the deal and thus be eligible, according to H&H corporate policy, to get Smets's information so that he could seek his own form of redress for being cheated. Armas constructed a credit-card use trail pointing toward Gustavo fleeing the country.
Sunday, 3rd - Thursday, 7th: Armas spent time learning Krav Maga from Ahmad, Hafez, Shaya, Hadar and Yoni. One of Barby's men killed one of Castelletti's men.
Armas killed a Turkish Policeman and frames Castelletii's men
Friday, 8th: Armas got the Mafia Confessor's number from Lo Fang. He then purchased a double-barreled shotgun from Garbage Pete. Barby's men shot up Castelletti's restaurant as their gang war boiled over. Armas framed one of Castelletii's men for murdering a Turkish Policeman with the double-barreled shotgun. Armas then called one of Castelletti's more tractable thugs and implied that a Confessor would be looking into things. He then called the Confessor and used the tractable mafia thug to corroborate. Armas confirmed his identity with the Confessor as the man hired to kill Mr. Barby. [Armas later learned (through a captured report authored by a government-sponsored intelligence clearinghouse) that while the murder itself wasn't recorded, he was spotted and remembered by eyewitnesses and security cameras as being in the area. Adelat, the investigator in charge of the case, noted that the bullet ballistics indicated that the shooter was Armas's height (the Mafia didn't have anyone working for them who was that tall).]
Saturday, 9th: Armas met a mafia representative. He took the job to Kill Castelletti, and to retaliate against Barby's men. [The representative was Galileo Savoy, but only Armas and Shadowbro remember the meeting properly. Presumably even the mafia dons only remember that they sent a representative, not who (though if they had soul shadows or other means of hiding a backup set of memories, they would in that case remember). Savoy was very cavalier about using his power and was not shy about admitting he had gotten to Turkey impossibly quickly for most mundane travel methods.]
Sunday, 10th and Monday, 11th: Armas made preparations for the attack.
Armas killed Castelletti and Allenaethos
Tuesday, 12th: Armas attacked Castelletti's restaurant, met and killed the Summer Elf Allenaethos, and finally killed Castelletti. He claimed Castelletti's Mammon Device, a large bore pistol, and Allenaethos's rapier. Keihäs drank Allenaethos's blood. A mafia representative took temporary control of the Mafia operations in Istanbul. Armas arranged to buy body armor through his Ranger contact Sgt. Edward Riker, after presenting a cover story of needing the armor for guarding an academic who wanted to work in the sewers without being attacked by sagahain. Armas worked out at Constanz's gym with Ahmad, Hafaz and Shaya (the Israelis were out of town). TRAIT UNLOCKED: MILITARISTIC MACHIAVELLIAN MANIPULATOR! [Riker has serious connections with A.O.R.B. as a recruiter, though Armas would not learn that until much later]
Armas and the Triads fought the Doonongaes
Wednesday, 13th: Armas exercised at Constanz's gym with Shaya and learned more Sambo from Mihailov. He spoke to Arkvad about the elf, and got the tip that the elf's blood would synergize with his sword, if used as a long bayonet for Keihäs. Armas got a briefing about supernatural residents of the Bosphorus strait from Lo Fang, including information about a fully grown Akkorokamui. Armas subsequently agreed to take the Lucky Lady Boat Job. He met May Lee, Diao Yuan, Go Ping, and Long Wang. They each shared a secret so that they could be identified if an Encantado tried to replace one of them. Together they boarded "The Lucky Lady" and Armas killed a harpy. They found evidence that a mythic monster, a Doonongaes, was aboard the vessel and learned it sought the totem of Hagondes. The party battled the monster and Keihäs drank the Doonongaes's blood. Armas rode an Emela-Ntouka (magic rhino variant) that got loose. During the course of the fight, the Matebas became magically empowered with demon-influenced quickdraw magic. Armas was injured badly, but was not poisoned. May Lee died from the Doonongaes's potent venom.
Thursday, 14th through Saturday, 16th: Armas, while unconscious, received magical chakra-powered healing from Go Ping (a variant of Chi Gong that uses Taoist I Ching) and then was transferred to Dr. Finnigan's care.
Sunday, 17th through Saturday, 23rd: Armas remained unconscious while under Dr. Finnigan's care.
Sunday, 24th: Armas woke up and met Dr. Finnigan. He got the news about May's death from Go Ping. Arkvad arranged to have Armas meet with other people conned by Smets. Armas arrived home and collected ten days worth of mail from his neighbor, affectionately known as the Cookie Lady (body armor, $45k payment from Lo Fang). Armas checked in with the mafia and solidified his reputation by claiming credit for having battled the Doonongaes. The mafia representative explained that the mafia is now doing business with the Wizard Dorjpalam Khubiliai (the owner of the school in the Russian Job) and that the mafia helped him in a fight against the Akkorokamui (and its aquatic allies). The representative arranged for the Brandt Job to be how Armas dealt his retaliation to Barby's men. Armas arranged to become a preferred customer at Istanbul's Gun World through Arkvad. Armas opened an account at Oyak Securities, on Hafaz's advice. He took it easy at the gym. Hafaz linked Armas's injuries to a question about the Bosphorus. Armas bought additional magical healing from Go Ping after asking him what the prices usually were. Go Ping explained that the charge would depend on the relationship between the healer and patient, anywhere from $5,000 for a good friend to $50,000 for someone disliked. He charged Armas $15,000.
Monday, 25th: Armas arranged for intelligence on Brandt through the mafia representative. He exercised in the gym, and made Hafaz suspicious by his marked improvement in condition. Hafaz revealed he knows the chakra manipulating martial art Gyaketsuote (a style Armas would later learn is heavily reliant on misdirection of the enemy through a tenuous connection of souls). Armas researched Maori and Finnish traditions using purchased books. [While this date was specifically mentioned as being November 1st, Armas had to have gotten it wrong. He probably got his calendar mixed up. See the talk page.]
Tuesday, 26th: Armas received the packet of Mafia intelligence on Brandt. He purchased flash-bangs and dragon's breath shotgun rounds, and cased the park Brandt favored. Armas exercised at the gym and revealed to Hafaz and company that he might be fighting Brandt in a "free-style competition."
Wednesday, 27th: Armas exercised in the gym and took it easy. He mulled hand-loading subsonic 7.62x55mmR but didn't do so. [This was the first day of the Wyld Hunt, an annual event which takes place over the course of thirteen days. All who participate in the Wyld Hunt need to prove they are strong enough to be hunters or be punished by being hunted. This year's Wyld Hunt took place in Mongolia.]
Thursday, 28th: Armas received a map of the German-area sewers (notably there were two sagahain nests there). He decided on the gas plan, and arranged for it with the mafia representative. TRAIT REVEALED: REFLEXIVE RETENTION! Armas spent the night at the site, resting in a cot while he waited.
Armas killed Brandt and the Nazi Posse, met Whaitiri, and had his bloodlines fiddled with
Friday, 29th: Brandt arrived with a posse and Armas sprung the trap. Brandt broke out of the gas chamber, and fought Armas. TRAIT REVEALED: GAMBLER'S GRIM GUTS! Armas narrowly won, but was wounded badly. He met the cannibal and thunder goddess Whaitiri of the Summer Court, and she offered a deal: spirit for spirit, she would feast on his soul, and he on her. Armas accepted, and suffered spiritual damage to his Winter aspect when Whaitiri feasted on his soul. Armas's soul was left 'spiritually weak' (with an expected recovery time of at least several months) but he survived and through eating part of Whaitiri's soul gained the ability to regenerate damage by eating human or magical flesh (in effect, his summer bloodline was set through the act to be a Divine Summer Cannibal fleshcrafting line based on Whaitiri's spiritual matter). As a result Armas was classified as "friend" to the Summer Court and as a "priest or champion of Whaitiri." Armas claimed Brant's heart, and his M16 GatMalite. Keihäs drank Brandt's blood. Armas then used a thermobaric grenade to incinerate Brandt's corpse. The Winter Court representative (later revealed to be Ogrimir) responded, and forcibly severed Armas's connection with Whaitiri, leaving him with few options for re-establishing his connection to her. The power of Armas's Winter bloodline was thus restored, but not the respect of the court. After the job, Armas contacted the mafia representative for debriefing, thus officially completing the Brandt Job, and then fell asleep.
Saturday, 30th: Armas slept, possibly the entire day. No mention is made of this day.
Halloween, Armas met Sometimes Merchant
Sunday, 31st: Armas got Johan Straus's contact information from the mafia representative. He purchased imp blood and then elected to go hunting for sagahain instead of hobos, and met the goblin he would title Sometimes Merchant. He learned Sometimes Merchant has no aversion to cannibalism, and that his clan of goblins have lived under the city for over 2500 years. Armas purchased recipes, supernatural meat, and learned the goblins's brownie servants already knew where Armas lived. Sometimes Merchant offered the reusable charm Bladeward, disposable arrow charms, and arcane nullifier charms as trade goods when asked. Armas traded 3 days of non-hazardous mercenary work that would not enrage the courts for 2 disposable arrow amulets. Keihäs drank Sahagin, Sæhrímnir, and Kelpie blood from the meat, creating jerky. Armas studied Maori and Finnish traditions. [This day was only listed as Sunday morning mid-November, 2010. Again, because of the issue with November 1st, it has to have moved up at least a week.]
Armas experienced three NeverNever Gate strikes, and met Ogrimir and Malalaika
Monday, 1st: Armas contacted Professor Jagda, and arranged for him to translate the cook book. He then visited Gun World, made purchases, and paid for delivery. Armas met Adelat (an investigator for the Emniyet Istihbarat Daire) and had a shooting match with her in Gunworld's shooting range. Armas won and talked her into a date. He contacted Arkvad and learned Smets had been discouraging people from meeting about his con work. The first Palindrome Resonance, later learned to be a NeverNever gate strike, hit. The energy was bled off into the environment by a summer fae (apparently a disciple of Mahuika, a Maori fire goddess). Armas arranged for healing from Lo Fang. The second NeverNever gate strike hit while he was walking, and was consumed by the Disciple of Mahuika (later discovered to be named Malalaika). Armas arrived at the Triad compound for healing, and while Lo Fang was tending to him a third gate strike hit, invoking the rule of three. While in a coma, Armas met Ogrimir, who channeled the gate into ice in Lo Fang's magically warded room. Lo Fang was not amused. The Summer and Winter courts agreed to leave Armas alone for now, in large part because Malalaika was being disciplined for taking what she had no right to. [This was the sixth day of the Wyld Hunt in Mongolia. Events were set into motion which culminated in Camella being dragged between worlds.]
Tuesday, 2nd: Armas conducted research on Ogrimir's nature, including a call to Arkvad about it, and learned nothing. He then had some gym time alone.
Wednesday, 3rd: Armas intimidated the tractable mafia goon (see Friday 8th, October) into letting him use a mafia-only storage facility off the books. Armas's face was added to the instant-access list. Armas spoke to, and managed to mildly irritate, Arkvad. He then went on a date with Adelat, and did not enjoy it. He researched her further and discovered she earned a commendation for infiltrating a German extremist cell.
Thursday, 4th: Bought a used GMC Vandura and later named it "The Right Laine." He transferred his body armor and weapons (except Keihäs) to the storage unit. He then met and auditioned with Ito, and did well enough for Ito to declare that he would teach Armas the war form of Jukendo, Jukenjitsu. Armas spoke to Sometimes Merchant and traded the story about Ogrimir for being named a friend to goblinkind within a 75 yard radius of his home, and arranged to trade training in guns for training in useful Goblin survival techniques. TRAITS REVEALED: WON'T TAKE NO and WORD LIKE GOLD!
Friday, 5th through Sunday, 7th: Armas conducted goblin training. He refitted the van (armored it). He also had another date with Adelat, and set up a small target range in the mafia storage facility.
Monday, 8th: Armas rescheduled a date with Adelat. He conducted more practice and training. [13th and final day of the Wyld Hunt. Camella appeared under the city today after being transported between worlds and began her fight to the surface.]
Armas met Big Crazy and Olga Brandt
Tuesday, 9th: Armas had Jukenjitsu practice. He met with "Mr. Locke, and Ms. Havoc" (actually Big Crazy and Olga Brandt) for the first time to discuss the Get Revenge on Smets Job. During this evening's Goblin training session Armas realized a quirk in the wording of the contract mades it harder for the goblins to take to it. [The real Locke and Havoc were killed this morning, presumably because they were going to make themselves known to Armas. This is 15 days before Armas learned of their deaths.]
Wednesday, 10th: Armas had Jukenjitsu practice. He manipulated the date with Adelat to set the stage for plausibly breaking the relationship off. He conducted more Goblin training.
Thursday, 11th: Armas had Jukenjitsu practice. He was introduced to Rocco Armani (muscle-bound man, new leader of the mafia in this region) by the mafia representative.
Friday, 12th: Armas had Jukenjitsu practice. He conducted more Goblin training (three individuals at a time).
Saturday, 13th: Armas paid his bills. He had Jukenjitsu practice. He conducted more Goblin training.
Armas met and helped Camella
Sunday, 14th: Armas went to morning Jukenjitsu practice. He was at home for lunch when the Goblins's brownies warned of Camella's approach. Armas met Camella, and after being told by her that she did not need medical attention, questioned her at gunpoint until she passed out. Armas took her into his home and performed first aid. Sometimes Merchant traded knowledge of Camella's origin point deep under the ruins of Old Byzantium six days ago for her first name. Armas and Camella had a conversation, and she discovered she is not on the duty roster for the Ninth Parachute Assault Regiment. She checked her email and found that none of it related to her, but instead to another person by the same name. Armas realized that this Camella is likely a dimensional slider. Armas called Doctor Finnigan to treat her. Finnigan made a house call and helped Armas clean her up, but ultimately decided he wanted nothing more to do with this mess since Armas took no steps to conceal her identity from him. Armas went to the night's goblin training. Camella told him her story.
Monday, 15th: Armas went to morning Jukenjitsu practice. He spoke to his gym buddies, and talked Hafaz and Shaya into visiting Ito. He then broke up with Adelat over the phone. She was annoyed. Professor Jagda called back and promised to e-mail recipes that he had translated so far. Armas purchased low-profile body armor. He conducted more Goblin training. [That evening Galileo Savoy went rogue and attempted to kill Lo Fang. He was humiliated and nearly killed. He lost an arm in the process, which Lo Fang performed rituals on, and the remnant of which eventually came into Armas's possession. Grigori the Wizard entered Pobadino, Russia. Shortly thereafter it was covered with a strange mist, and went silent.]
Tuesday, 16th: Armas had Jukenjitsu practice. Ito noted that Hafaz will likely be a prodigy. Camella electronically bugged Armas as he left the apartment. Armas met with "Mr. Locke, and Ms. Havoc" and convinced them to go along with killing Smets. Armas purchased ammunition for Mammon's device from Johan (nine shots). Camella confronted Armas about his plan to kill Smets, and Armas explained his reasons, and his previous victories. Armas met with Sometimes Merchant, and found him inebriated. Sometimes Merchant dubbed Armas "Deal Maker" and explained he was celebrating the defeat of a prominent enemy at the hands of Labombard and Lo Fang, and that the enemy had a high value bloodline. Armas purchased training from the goblins in sneaking and magic item detection. He had his usual goblin training session as well. Armas talked Rocco into having a passport forged for Camella. [The goblin method of detecting magic items that Armas learned is slow, and he was unable to use it after his first unbuffered NeverNever strike thanks to spiritual damage. Armas may be able to teach it to someone else though.]
Armas paid a Favor to the Goblins, and likely had a Gate Strike
Wednesday, 17th: The events of this day were wiped from Armas's memory by the goblins. They cashed in one of their favors and had Armas do something with them that they did not want him to remember. Shadowbro later uncovered that Armas spent the entire 23 hour period in the company of one goblin. Sometimes Merchant later revealed that he already new the name and function of the AA-12, either implying he was the goblin Armas spent that time with, or that Sometimes Merchant bought the information from one of the goblins who received the training. [It is likely that Armas was struck by an unbuffered NeverNever strike during this mission.]
Ito's Dojo was transformed
Thursday, 18th: Armas picked a recipe from the translated ones provided by the professor and served Kelpie Krisps for breakfast. Camella accepted an invitation to visit Ito, and while at Ito's dojo Armas was subjected to a NeverNever gate strike. Ito realized Armas's chakras were all opening up, and advised him to ground the power into the earth. Armas did so, and ended up replacing Ito's entire dojo with an ancient Byzantine-era home (a fairly benign, if irritating, result). Hafaz and Shaya walked in, and Hafaz grew upset at Armas trying to duck questions about what happened. He and Shaya pulled sub-machine guns. Camella pulled her Beretta and everyone had a standoff. Armas talked everyone down, and called Arkvad to arrange for the building to be sold. A second standoff happened in the van, and Armas again talked everyone down. Armas resolved to have a long conversation with Hafaz later. "Mr. Locke, and Ms. Havoc" messaged that they secured the services of a communication expert to perform radio jamming. Armas practiced sneaking in the neighborhood. Goblin training rounded out the day. [This unbuffered NeverNever strike did spiritual damage to Armas, and left scars on his soul.]
Armas met Cornelius Zosimus, and taunted the Doonongaes and the Disciple of Mammon
Friday, 19th: Armas's low-profile body armor arrived. Camella got her passport and new identity. Armas spoke to Ito and then Arkvad, and arranged to go get drinks to celebrate Arkvad's hefty commission. Armas and Camella visited the gym, and Camella bonded with the gym bros. Ahmad and Camella had a drinking contest after, and then she and Armas met with Arkvad. Armas couldn't resist trying out his new armor and brought his mere, and Camella packed a pistol on their dinner outing with Arkvad.
Armas noticed the Doonongeas was in the restaurant and observing him intensely. Seeing no other option to prevent being followed and slaughtered, Armas went to his table and insulted him. TRAIT UNLOCKED: DANGEROUS DISCUSSION! Armas goaded the Doonongaes until Cornelius Zosimus (an ancient Roman vampire) intervened and pointed out that threats against Armas and his family could not be followed up on lest the Doonongaes bring the wrath of the restaurant's owner on his head. The Doonongaes left.
Cornelius then pointed out that Armas's mere (a spiritual weapon) and Camella's modern pistol were out of place, and offered a wager in exchange for not using Armas as a pawn to bring trouble to the Doonongaes. Armas was to kill the Doonongaes in three lunar cycles, or submit to being used as a pawn. If he won, Conelius would provide Armas an introduction to the Vampiric Dynasty and contact information. Regardless of if he wins, Armas gets intelligence on the Doonongaes's doings. Armas accepted, and did a little mental math: February 11th, 2011 was the day the wager would end. The witch of the wereclan (Matron Witch Oggmum) very politely and discretely contacted Armas through a glass of brandy and offered to shield him from Cornelius and help him slip the bonds the Rule of Three agreement imposed should he be willing to help embarrass the vampire clan.
After dinner Arkvad, Armas, and Camella went to the club Babylon, where Camella and Armas were both snared into an otherworldly staircase. There Armas suffered another NeverNever strike, and lacking options, drained it into the environs. SECRET TRAIT UNLOCKED: TO SCOFF AT THREE! They met a Knight of Mammon, who insulted Camella (deliberately or not) by calling her Armas's concubine, and offered Armas a deal. TRAIT EVOLUTION: DANGEROUS DISCUSSION became DANGEROUSLY DAPPER DISCUSSION AND DEBATE! Armas learned that 8 others in Istanbul had contracts with Mammon. He talked the Knight into letting him sample the offered power, and then rejected the deal, insulted the Knight, and used the power to leave. Later he hooked up with an Elf and a Vampire for a night of carnal pleasures. [Apparently the drink Armas ordered in Babylon was spiked, to try to make him more likely to accept a bad deal. The NeverNever strike Armas suffered in the otherworldly staircase was his third unbuffered strike. While Armas was picking up magic chicks, Camella got into an arm wrestling match and won some petty cash and a shotgun.]
Saturday, 20th: Armas treated with Erzsi of Habsburg Dynasty (vampire) and Laetissi (elf). Both acted like magic item groupies, and Armas proposed a deal to show them the Mammon Device being fired. They never agreed to the deal. Camella was irritated that she got ditched for them. Armas got a new cell phone, went shopping, and went to train the goblins (pulling a longer shift to make up for the missed time last night).
Sunday, 21st: A letter from Labombard arrived letting Armas know Lo Fang had calmed down over the damage to his magically warded room three weeks ago. The letter also contained a warning about the mercenary Blackbeard. Yuri Lenkok provided new intelligence on Smets's residence. Camella and Armas go to the gym. Relations with Hafaz normalized. Armas traded information with Sometimes Merchant for more meat, blood, root, and mead-milk. Armas traded the power from future NeverNever strikes for being named a business partner of the goblins of Turkey, anti-regen enchantments on his AA-12 shotgun, comprehensive training on goblin sneaking techniques (performed in the NeverNever, so a lifetime's worth of training was compressed into a night), and information on Florent Smets. Armas thus learned Smets was a vampire of the Zosimus Dynasty.
Monday, 22nd: Armas teased Camella by using his new sneaking skills to pretend to have a phantom chef. Camella was irritated but could not deny the food Armas cooked (and claimed to have not) was delicious. Armas let "Mr. Locke, and Ms. Havoc" know that Smets was a vampire. Armas and Camella visited Ito's new dojo. Ito got a very well built place with space for students to sleep over and eat, per Armas's suggestion (the main training room, two bedrooms with bunkbeds, two rooms with single beds, a kitchen, walk-in freezer, dining area, bathroom, and a steam room). Armas showed off his new Goblinic stealth training to Ito. TRAIT REVEALED: BLIND SPOT BRAWLER! Ito agreed to teach Armas chakra techniques later. Armas learned general vampire vulnerabilities and advantages after his training session with the goblins. [During training, the Goblins captured their first NeverNever gate strike from Armas. In Russia, Pobadino was confirmed to be completely incommunicado and the secret Russian Black Operations Army set up an entrenched cordon around the village.]
Tuesday, 23rd: Armas devised anti-vampire loads for his guns. Camella agreed to watch Armas's back in the fight with Smets. Camella was introduced to "Mr. Locke, and Ms. Havoc." Armas talked to Johan the Demonologist about different potential loads for his guns. Armas made anti-vampire rounds at home (mini-stakes soaked in blessed oil loaded into shotgun shells). Keihäs drank the demon and basilisk blood Armas had been saving. Camella broached the ethical issue of killing Smets again, and Armas said that his reasons for not letting the forces he fights turn him into a monster will ultimately be his friends and family. He strongly implied that he counts Camella among them now. Armas called Arkvad, caught up, and let him know what he learned about Smets (Zosimus Dynasty vampire). Arkvad became aware of a problem in Holland and Holland's information department, and promised to call back once it was solved.
Armas killed Smets, shot Savoy, and acquired Amen
Wednesday, 24th: Armas, Camella, "Ms. Havoc" and "Mr. Locke" go to the church to carry out the Get Revenge on Smets Job. Armas then got a text from Arkvad saying Jason Locke and Gertrude Havoc died two weeks ago. Armas and "Mr. Locke" battle Smets. Armas was attacked by "Ms. Havoc" but his arrow amulet prevented him from being killed by the sniper shot. Camella engaged "Ms. Havoc". Armas evaded both "Mr. Locke" and Smets.
Armas defeated Smets and claimed his blood with Keihäs. Amen appeared and explained that there were two potential masters, since he was still operating under orders from Smets with regard to Savoy, and Armas as the owner of Keihäs was also the owner of the blood Amen was bound to. Armas asked Amen to wear a positively neon-orange pinstripe suit. Savoy stated he told Skorzeny, one of the leaders of the Neo-Nazis in Istanbul, about Armas's involvement in the Brandt Job, and that he personally manipulated Castelletti's Job to ensure Castelletti's death.
"Mr. Locke" (real name: Big Crazy) and Armas both individually shoot to kill Savoy, but Savoy escaped death because of his demon arm, which was capable of catching and shooting back projectiles. All three men were eventually incapacitated. Big Crazy was removed to one of Amen's torture and holding rooms, while Savoy was castrated by one of Armas's shots. With Amen not listening to Savoy, thanks to the earlier order by Armas, Savoy was unable to stop Armas from ordering Amen to feed him Savoy's demon arm. The arm and Amen's blood forcibly accelerated Armas's healing, thus repairing his spinal column. Savoy teleported away to Doctor Finnegan for treatment when Armas blacked out.
Amen was ordered to legally and non-fraudulently transfer Smets's Turkish holdings to Armas. Disguised as a police officer, Armas escaped the mansion and ventured into the church, where he found Olga and twenty ghouls all hacked to death; he surmised Camella was adept with axes. TRAIT REVEALED: RAPID RATIONALIST! Armas drove Camella and her claimed dozen MP5s home, and asked Arkvad to set up an auction to sell off Smets's gun collection. Upon realizing he would have an issue assimilating Amen's blood, he then traded Smets's gun collection, save for those promised to others (Locke's and Havoc's promised weapons, and his own SVT-40), for protection against the backlash of consuming a demon arm and Amen's blood. After over hour, Armas woke and Sometimes Merchant transported him back home. Once there, Armas noticed Camella was working at getting into the sewers, apparently worried for Armas. He popped up behind her, informed her of his safety, and offered to broker the sale of her claimed guns.
Armas then contacted Arkvad, to call off the auction (Arkvad said it would have been problematic anyway, and also said that with one more $100K deal, Armas will have a job with H&H), and Rocco, to inform the Mafia of their former agent's treachery and defection to the Neo-Nazis. He sold Camella's MP5s to the Wyld Goblins, learned the Goblins value used guns previously owned by supernaturals, and gave the 40oz of gold from the goblins to Camella; he also traded 1 hour of credited goblin education to learn the Doonongaes's weakness: cold.
Armas sent a text to Arkvad for help tracking down Havoc's and Locke's heirs. He learned from Amen that four news crews and three individuals (two of which Armas believed he could recognize instantly from Amen's descriptions, and the third being Adelat) came to the mansion after the police left; Armas ordered Amen to give the same cover story Smets had in place for such situations. Armas learned under Ito about trying to perceive his chakras. He managed to feel one and left the dojo one hour after sunset; he then gave three hours of training to the Goblins (Total: 42hrs) and drafted a letter to Labombard, thanking him for placating Lo Fang and the information about Blackbeard, and giving him details on the mafia representative from the Get Revenge on Smets Job. [Big Crazy spent the rest of the evening imprisoned by Amen. The events of the day involving Savoy are misremembered by participants who do not, somehow, have a backup memory system in place. In particular, Big Crazy only remembers the third person as being "some teleporter guy." The Goblins captured a second NeverNever gate strike from Armas while they were negotiating protecting him from the backlash of taking in Amen's blood and the demon's arm. Savoy sought help from Dr. Finnegan and paid Johan to arrange for a Devil to wipe the memories from Finnegan's mind.]
Thursday, 25th: Armas and Camella went to Ito for a workout; Camella brought her axes but was dismayed to learn Ito could not teach her anything in axe fighting. Armas introduced Go Ping to Camella, as he recalled that Go Ping was quite good with axes. Armas dropped off Camella at the docks, and headed to Constanz' Crash Course. He explained his occupation to Hafaz, who in turn explained himself: he, Shaya, Hadar, Ahmad, and Yoni were all bodyguards for hire, though only he dealt with the supernatural (which he survived by focusing on incapacitation). Armas trained with Hafaz and Shaya for most of the day. He picked up Camella after her session with Go Ping. Armas was informed that $29K had been transferred to him from Smets's accounts by Amen. Armas trained the Goblins for 3 hours (Total: 45hrs). [Big Crazy was still imprisoned by Amen. Savoy spends two days looting mafia safe houses, killing 11 mafia members in the process.]
Friday, 26th: Armas woke after Camella, who showed him that the altercation in the church made the front page headlines for both yesterday and today. Armas went to the mansion, asked Amen to give the guns promised to Sometimes Merchant, and to give the remains of the mafia representative's genitals to the Wyld Goblins as well. He further ordered Amen to be courteous, to be non-violent to those who don't offer harm, and plant evidence pointing to the mafia representative being responsible for the events two nights ago. [The Kingly trait from Savoy's bloodline is extracted and copied by wyld goblins, and then sold to several individuals. After the memory redaction, none of the buyers remember that they got a Kingly trait grafted.]
Armas then spoke to and released Big Crazy. Armas contacted Lo Fang, to set the Triad on the former Mafia agent and to inform them of his intention to hunt and kill the Doonongaes, including a possible request for liquid nitrogen. He set up a facsimile of himself directly before his front door using a mannequin in a cheap pimp suit complete with neon orange tie. The mannequin was left holding a non-functioning Mosin Nagant Model 1891/30, and had taunting writing on its face that indicated that Armas went to Tijuana. It also had a note indicating Armas was hiding at Smets's estate.
Camella and Armas went to Ito's, where unstructured sparring between the gym bros and Camella took place; Armas used the time to attempt (successfully, for three chakras down the median line) to perceive his chakras. After five, Armas met with Big Crazy, who then gave Armas the blood-stained Tokerov as an axe-burier. Armas went back to Ito, where Cornelius contacted him to discover what happened to Amen (Armas left a parting snarky comment). Armas trained the Goblins 3 hours (Total: 45hrs), after Ito's lessons concluded; he took the opportunity to ask Sometimes Merchant to set up an auction for Mammon's Device.
The End of Thread One
Saturday, 27th: Camella informed Armas she planned to stay in Istanbul as Ito's assistant instructor; Armas asked her to take care of the Right Laine. He then headed to the storage unit and reclaimed his Judges. He paid Johan to convert the Matebas to be able to safely fire adapted Mammon Device rounds, and paid to have three MD rounds converted into eighteen rounds for the Matebas ($20K for converting the Matebas, $5K to convert all rounds), a job which Johan finished that same day. Armas called Big Crazy, and together they stole Olga's car; Armas noted the car was big enough to hold his minifridge, cutlery and cooking utensils.[THREAD ONE END] [Savoy spends the next ten days recuperating]
Sunday, 28th: Armas and Big Crazy traveled through Bulgaria, Romania, the Ukraine, and Poland. They encountered little trouble, though it is implied that they did do a little shooting.
Armas met the Mad Drunk and General Chugainov
Monday, 29th: Armas and Big Crazy were stopped by the Russian Black Operations Army as they skirted near the city of Pobadino. Pobadino was under a lock down, having been covered by a strange mist and completely out of communication for two weeks (since the 15th). Armas discovered his attention-sensing knack doesn't extend to cars he is riding in, but just himself. Armas and Big Crazy decided they couldn't escape by running from the army, and instead openly declared themselves hunters of supernatural monsters. They were taken to meet Major General Vladimir Chugainov, who offered them deal: Find out more about what plagued Pobadino, and be free to walk away with his recommendation for future work. Armas and Big Crazy were forced to swear a blood oath with Lieutenant Colonel Zinaida Jidkova to keep silent about what they learned in the course of the Pobadino Scouting Job.
Armas then meditated on his chakra while Big Crazy attempted to use Dirt Snake, his spirit animal, to scout the village. Armas inadvertently caught Amen's attention and discovered he could commune telepathically with the Bloodfiend. Armas was then roused by Chugainov and he and Big Crazy were sent into the village. Before they left, Armas managed to antagonize Chugainov by wheedling him for pay in goods. After the mercenaries were out of earshot, Big Crazy and Armas had words about Armas's stupidity in trying to get pay for a mission they had been forced into.
The mercenaries entered the village, wading through the neck-high mist. They entered a gun shop, where the mist did not penetrate. Big Crazy noted that his spirit animals could not even leave his body while they were in the mist. Further exploration found a scene of an apparent suicide, and a room filled with invisible lifeforms. When they were surprised by one of them, Armas and Big Crazy panicked and fought their way out, and ended up leaping from roof to roof to avoid both the invisible creatures and the mist.
They arrived at the most prominent building in the village, a mansion, and detected that the place had been the site of mass murder and butchery. Rather than enter, they moved on to the village clinic. Upon determining that there was someone inside the clinic, Armas loaded his Matebas with the Mammon-derived bullets. When he entered the clinic, he nearly tripped over a drunk old man, and was told by Amen that the man was a mortal. Armas decided to be cautious and not kill the man out-of-hand, which was fortunate as that man was actually Grigori Wowk, a wizard also known as the Mad Drunk. Grigori implanted a knowledge graft of the Russian language into an aspect of Amen's mind that Armas ordered presented in place of his own. Upon determining that the attempted mental intrusion was benign, if a bit clumsy, Armas had Amen integrate the attempted change into his mind.
Armas and Grigori chatted, and Armas learned that the wizard was responsible for the events in Pobadino. He tempted the wizard into leaving with him with the promise of whiskey, and talked him into clearing the mists from the city. Then Big Crazy, Armas, and Grigori were teleported to Olga's car. They drove away, as the car had been left unguarded while the Black Operations Army was occupied with attempting to locate Armas and Big Crazy inside the just-cleared village.
Armas shared the gruesome information that the invisible entities had been civilians with Big Crazy. The information did not sit well with either man, but they were both wise enough to recognize there was little they could do to Grigori. Armas then ditched the Russian army radio they had been given, marking the end of the Pobadino Scouting Job. They escaped into Lithuania without incident.
Tuesday, 30th: The trio departed their lodgings for the night and headed toward Latvia. Armas asked Grigori why he didn't just create or summon up the liquor he desires, and Grigori explained that either he would know exactly what he made, or he would risk tangling with the rightful owners of the liquor if he summoned it at random.
Armas spoke to Camella. She relayed a message from Professor Jagda, and the news about Blackbeard. She mentioned that business at Ito's was picking up, and that she had a teaching position with him. She complained about sexual harassment from some of the students, and mentioned that she was tolerating it for Ito's sake. Armas in turn hinted at his latest misadventure and warned her about Adelat, the Emniyet Istihbarat Daire agent. Afterwards Armas asked Amen for an evaluation of his current spiritual status and learned that on top of the recent spiritual damage he knew of, he also lost all memories associated with a day in the recent past.
Armas borrowed a grill at the Tallin central market and fed Hippocamp and Griffin meat to civilians. The exact quantity consumed by any one person is unknown, but likely it was not enough to be harmful. The party crossed into Latvia and spent the evening there without major incident.
[Amen deliberately omitted the month Armas lost between the end of high school and the start of his basic training in the Army. The missing day was erased by the goblins, see Wednesday, the 17th of November]
Armas met Radu Hagi, created Shadowbro(Kuvey), and rescued the Riihivuoris
Wednesday, 1st: Shortly after entering Viljandi, Estonia, one of the brand new snow tires on the Escalade blew out. While a mechanic's shop changed out the tire, Big Crazy waited with the car. Grigori napped.
On a whim, Armas walked down the street to a bar that opened early, and ordered a beer. Directly after him, Radu Hagi, an assassin hired by Chugainov, entered and ordered a shot. Armas turned the tables on him quickly by engaging him socially, explaining the full story to him (as Radu had been lied to by Chugainov) and stressing that he was traveling with Grigori. Radu decided to cancel the contract, paid for the new tire, and gave the party a bottle of vodka to smooth over any ruffled feathers over the delay.
Radu was covered in tattoos and had a trick for making an opponent's body synch to his own. He earned his moniker, "The Suicider" by using this ability to force opponents to stab themselves in the heart. Radu had no heart himself.
Armas ordered Amen to grant him the knowledge of how to align his chakras with the goblin stealth education he got, and learned the stealth orientation for his chakras. He mused over possible explanations for the missing day, and reasoned that the goblins were the ones to remove the day. He had Amen confirm with Sometimes Merchant. TRAIT EVOLUTION: RAPID RATIONALIZATION became REALISTICALLY RELIABLE RATIONALISM.
Armas then ordered Amen to open all seven of his chakras, and determined that Amen is booby-trapped to cause harm if certain lines of inquiry are pursued (such as what the circumstances of Amen's creation and binding were). Armas decided to abandon the line of inquiry altogether, and proceeded to book passage on a ferry to Finland.
A half hour into the trip the ferry suffered an event that was curiously like a collision, and Armas quickly reasoned that the boat was under attack by Encantado. At this point Armas realized the benefit of his new sensitivity to shadows, and developed the NEW COMBAT TRAIT: SHADOW DELVING. He and Big Crazy sought out the shape shifters, and Armas was able to quietly kill a female encantado with Keihäs. He disposed of the body by letting Keihäs eat it.
Armas could not help himself, and experimented with his Shadow Delving ability, thus catalyzing the formation of a SHADOW SOUL SWAIN. The Shadow Soul Swain was an investment of his soul into the shadows which formed a new being that was connected to, and which shared part of, Armas's soul. The Soul Swain would come to be known as Shadowbro by Armas, by Shadow Boss by Armas's employees, and by the diminutive "Kuvey" by Armas's closest allies. Amen suggested doing nothing strenuous until Armas grew accustomed to having a split soul. Armas then ran off with Big Crazy to find the other encantado.
Armas and Big Crazy found the other encantado while he was in a public area, and followed him. The shape shifter had assumed the guise of the Riihivuori clan head (Armas Riihivuori), and had both of the surviving children in his custody (Hilja and Eirikki Riihivuori). During the course of their shadowing, Armas learned more about Big Crazy's abilities, and in the process managed to antagonize his companion such that he needed a minute to calm down.
Armas then separated from Big Crazy and pursued the children and encantado alone, as he was far more stealthy. Unfortunately, the younger child turned at an inopportune moment on a mindless impulse, and spotted Armas. Armas played it cool and had Shadowbro break into a room on the ferry for him, so that he could appear to be going to his own booked room. He then spent a moment pondering his feelings for Big Crazy and his problems with interpersonal relationships, and the encantado used the time to enter the room to confront him.
With the children outside the room, Armas talked to the encantado (Lord Nazeroth) long enough for Big Crazy to come to his aid and render the children safely unconscious so that they couldn't tear the ship apart in a fit of rage over their apparent father being killed. The encantado was poor at deceptive truthfulness, and Armas interpreted its attempts to spin facts in misleading ways as lies and falsehoods. During the stalling, Armas's MILITARISTIC MACHIAVELLIAN MANIPULATOR trait leveled up to MILITARISTICALLY MAGNIFICENT MACHIAVELLIAN MANIPULATOR.
The children, both aquamancers, attempted to suffocate Big Crazy with water pulled from the ambient moisture. Shadowbro helped Big Crazy, and was injured in the process, while Armas killed the encantado and fed his body to Keihäs. He and Big Crazy then moved the children to the escalade, and Armas asked Grigori to modify Armas Riihivuori's identification so that the picture was of Armas Laine. Grigori agreed, and with the identification and some quick lies, Armas managed to dissuade a crew member of the boat from raising an alarm.
As the night dragged on, Armas talked to the children and attempted to comfort them. Eventually it became obvious that the boat was not going anywhere, and thus the blood manipulator encantado Kazadora decided to dramatically reveal via the ship intercom her plan to turn the entire ferry into slaves and food on the magic markets. Armas, against Grigori's advice, attempted to attack her but was wounded, losing his right arm for his trouble before he ever saw Kazadora. Big Crazy likewise suffered a spiritual wound through an attack on his spirit animal.
Grigori teleported the party (children, escalade, and wounded mercenaries all) to the safe-haven the children had been fleeing to: the Valkonen clan family estate, located in a NeverNever demesne contiguous with most of Finland. Armas and Big Crazy were both restrained and given medical treatment, while Grigori took his leave.
Thursday, 2nd: Armas slept, recuperating under the wary eye and diligent care of Hillevi Valkonen, youngest daughter of the Valkonen clan. Big Crazy attempted to escape and was injured by Helmi Valkonen, the elder sister.
Friday, 3rd: Armas woke, reacted instinctively and attempted to throw Hillevi, and was in turn thrown and injured. He learned how skittish Hillevi can be, received further healing from Markku Valkonen, the clan head, and answered questions about the events on the ferry. Markku made it clear that the house grounds were set up to make telling lies impossible only after the story was told.
Hillevi and Armas chatted while she helped him heal, plying the family healing art Enkelin Kosketus. After, Armas spent time meditating on his chakra, and met Einrik Valkonen, the clan heir (who seemed bemused by Armas), and Helmi Valkonen (who attempted to provoke him).
Armas and Big Crazy were then invited to dinner, and formally named friends of the Valkonens for the service they performed for the Valkonens's blood friends, the Riihivuori. The evening went smoothly, and Armas managed to impress Einrik with his connection to the Wyld Goblins. He offered to teach Einrik what he could of the stealth art they use, and Einrik gladly accepted.
Armas battled the Kamaitachi spirit Sake
Saturday, 4th: Armas and Markku went hunting. Armas did well against the fext and sceadugenga, but met trouble when they encountered a domovoi (one of a number of house spirit captured by the Valkonens in previous fights). He survived his knife fight with the vengeful spirit unscathed, and then proceeded to lose some of his toes and an eye to what was apparently just an ice weasel. In actuality, it was an ice weasel possessed by Sake, the monstrously powerful kamaitachi spirit Einrik defeated in Japan six years prior. Sake lost an eye on his possessed body, and both he and Armas withdrew. Markku got a good laugh at it, and Armas took the humiliating draw with grace.
Sunday, 5th: Armas and Hillevi retrieved Armas's lost toes, and then went hunting. After, Armas had a serious chat with Einrik about the nature of his winter bloodline. Einrik expressed concern that Armas had a nearly-blank, ready to aspect, winter bloodline without a family history of such developing.
Monday, 6th: Armas and Hillevi went hunting again and met some Vedi, the giant semi-nomadic herdspeople that live on the Valkonen lands. Hillevi acquired one of Vedi's mammoth-like cattle for the household's stocks, and slaughtered it when she and Armas returned home. Einrik and Armas had a discussion on magic predators, and magic politics. [Savoy was attacked by a former friend, a Mafia Finger. He escaped and teleported to South America, where he sought Skorzeny's remnant forces and proposed an alliance with the Neo-Nazis. They accepted.]
Tuesday, 7th: Armas accidentally walked in on Hillevi changing. Instead of hunting, they toured the grounds. Einrik and Armas had a discussion about dragons, the four courts of the seasons, and the different sorts of goblins.
Wednesday, 8th: Armas and Hillevi went hunting and killed many kelpies and a shellycoat. Armas and Einrik talked about Einherjar, and how to aspect Armas's blank bloodline to be like an Einher's (kill the Einher and eat his heart, in short). Armas cooked kelpie crisps, and the entire household demanded more.
Thursday, 9th: Armas had a discussion with Hillevi about guns, imparting everything he could think of about them to her. Einrik and Armas discussed Vampire politics and Werewolf conspiracies, and Einrik demonstrated his charm for going out into the mundane world to Armas.
Friday, 10th: Armas and Hillevi went hunting, and Armas demonstrated how to use a pistol to kill wolpertinger. Armas and Einrik discussed goblin stealth all night.
Saturday, 11th: Armas spent the morning talking to Big Crazy, and Armas learned that Helmi told Big Crazy that he had a poison in his system that she was determined to clean out as long as he was recovering from his other injuries anyway. Big Crazy believed she was bullshitting him, but did not want to press the point given that she had demonstrated she could utterly kick his ass. Armas then ventured to the edge of the estate and checked his phone messages. He spoke to Camella, and learned that Blackbeard had destroyed the Right Laine, and that Hafaz had reached an understanding with the students at Ito's Dojo who were harassing Camella.
Armas spoke with Amen and learned that the Zosimus dynasty called for a grand dynasty meeting for all of Turkey, with no specific reason given. He also spoke to Labombard and learned that he needed to get a secure phone to have the conversation Lambombard wanted to have. Then he spoke to Ito and informed him of his recent progress in chakra, frustrating the old man. Armas also spoke to Professor Jagda, and promised to demonstrate one of the recipes from the book. Finally, Armas called Arkvad and arranged for him to track down some of the Laine family members in Finland.
After hiking back to the household, Armas spoke to the Riihivuori children, who requested a dream catcher each, or one for just Eirikki if only one dream catcher could be acquired (dream catchers trap nightmares before their owner experiences them). Einrik and Armas then talked, with Einrik providing a choice pieces of advice: "Trust and Belief always have, and always will be the keys to soul, no matter what path to it you take."
Late in the day, Einrik and Armas talked about Einrik's drive to surpass his father, and Einrik confided in Armas about it, and commented that Armas was "The first person to ask me [about] that, a bit sad, isn't it?" Einrik shared his main motivation was to reinvent the Valkonen style such that it is a force nullifier, not a force amplifier. His desire is for anyone using it, regardless of personal strength, to be able to walk away from a fight with a dragon unscathed. At dinner Einrik told Armas about the Aksoy Family, the Ghanem Clan, and the Aldokushin House, all three bloodline families in Turkey.
Armas wrapped up the evening with a chat with Tuomo, one of the Valkonen twins. Armas decided Tuomo was a cheerful sort of person, prone to mischief. [Big Crazy was right that Helmi was toying with him. Armas would later learn that the Valkonen healing art, Enkelin Kosketus, is incapable of detecting poison.]
Sunday, 12th: Armas spent an hour in the morning stretching and exploring his chakras before he and Hillevi went hunting for shellycoats. Armas continued to tutor Einrik on the details of goblin-style stealth, and then had a conversation about options for Armas's blank bloodline. Einrik believed the idea of getting an Einherjar-based bloodline was a good idea, and also suggested marrying one of his sisters (though he played it off as a jest, Einrik certainly was sounding Armas out on the idea). He touched on curses, and on how most Winter Bloodlines are Practitioner format, and thus normally can only be acquired through inheritance (Armas's cannibalism-based summer fleshcrafting bloodline made it possible to aspect the blank winter node by eating the heart of someone with powers).
Monday, 13th: Hillevi, Markku, and the Riihivuori children went on an outing together. Einrik and Armas went hunting, this time for black dogs. Einrik told Armas about his battle with the Kamaitachi (Sake), and gave the advice of keeping the divine creature laughing and distracted throughout the fight. Kamaitachi are much less effective when they're not focused. In the evening Armas asked Einrik about Ogrimir, and learned that the name was an alias invented to protect Ogrimir and keep Armas's actions deniable.
The First Laine Conclave
Tuesday, 14th: Before waking, Armas found himself in a well appointed room, decorated in black and orange lacquer, and facing his own Shadow. Armas promptly dubbed him Shadowbro, much to his non-corporeal counterpart's consternation. Shadowbro shared the (correct) educated guess that the shard in Einrik's forehead was a grafted Elder God precursor. Armas then asked Shadowbro about the night he shared with Erzsi and Laetissi (see November 20th), and was teased about not being able to remember. Shadowbro refused to share the memories, citing several bullshit reasons, and then pointed out that Armas needed to continue feeding chakra energy to him while their souls were damaged. To stop prematurely would kill Shadowbro.
Shadowbro then suggested that Helmi would be more fun to watch than Hillevi, which is notable only because it is one of the few times he ever expressed interest in any woman. Armas and Shadowbro then spoke about the weasel (Sake), briefly explored the philosophical conundrum of being a split soul, and then addressed the topic of a Name for Shadowbro.
Armas decided on naming him "Kuvasielo Ata-Teina Valkaksonen," a mix of Te Reo and Finnish words meaning "The Soul's Mirror, Shadowsouled Little Brother, Valkonen's Twin/Copy" a name chosen specifically to maximize Kuvasielo's attempts at learning the Valkonen style of ice manipulation. Kuvey (the diminutive form of Kuvasielo) agreed to the name on the condition that Amen not learn it. To facilitate this, all memories of the Name being given were moved to Kuvey's side of the soul, as Amen had free access to Armas's physically accessible memories. Memories stored solely in the soul were safe. Since Armas needed something to address his soulshadow by, he reverted to using the moniker Shadowbro. Armas again attempted to get Shadowbro to give him the memories of the night with Erzsi and Laetissi, and Shadowbro again refused. Armas conceded the point, and changed the topic to Amen. Shadowbro spoke at length, but the most important point was, "I suspect [Amen] is playing a long game with us, waiting to lull us into just enough complacency for it to get free."
They conversed a little more, and then ran out of time. Armas woke and found his elbow joint had regrown. He spoke to Veiko and Tuomo, and learned a little about the recent Wyld Hunt from them. Over breakfast Armas pondered the NeverNever gate events and realized that they could not be a coincidence, and were likely deliberately aimed at him for some reason.
He then went hunting with Veiko and Tuomo, and bagged several wolpertinger. After, he asked Big Crazy about dream catchers for the kids, and learned that dream shamans make dream catchers, not spirit shaman. Big Crazy then said he'd talk to the kids anyway. Armas had a conversation with Einrik about tutelage for Shadowbro, and Einrik showed off a bit with a very comprehensive evaluation of what he had detected about Armas and Shadowbro so far, ending with an offer to provide the requested tutelage. Armas accepted. Einrik set Armas to reading aloud a tome about some of the most influential names for the etiquette of each of the four Courts, both for Armas's benefit and his own (Einrik has difficulty reading books with his shard, since it is primarily a magic and vibration detector).
Wednesday, 15th: Armas, Einrik, and Hillevi hiked out to a site on the estate where there was cell phone reception. Armas got word via voicemail of the Doonongaes's latest escapades, including that Labombard fought it to a draw. He also checked in with Arkvad, and ordered Amen to give Sometimes Merchant a satellite phone, and contacted him with it. Sometimes Merchant traded weekly deliveries of the hearts of mythic regenerating creatures for the rest of Armas's life in return for the story of Armas's trip to Finland, his encounter with Grigori, the events that directly led to Armas being a visitor on the Valkonen estate, and information about Grigori's self-imposed limitations. He also traded a description of Kazadora for her name. Sometimes Merchant threw in a free put-down for Armas stating the obvious, as well.
On the way back to the house, Armas had a moment of paranoia over the blood bind Zinaida Jidkova imposed on him, and gained the PARANOIA negative trait (LV1).
Upon arrival at the house, Armas gave Kazadora's name to Markku, who thanked him and was most pleased. Armas took advantage of his good mood to request help attracting Einherjar. Einrik was somewhat unhappy about this, but Markku did not pick up on Einrik's mood. Armas visited with the Riihivuori children, and realized he was becoming emotionally attached to them. Einrik spent the evening teaching Shadowbro, while Armas continued to read the tome about the Courts aloud.
Thursday, 16th: Einrik outfitted Armas with a complex paper charm, affixed to his chest, which would make Armas seem like a weakened fire giant. The purpose of this deception was to attract Einherjar. When it was complete, Armas and Einrik continued the goblin stealth lessons. Einrik opted to switch to his shard for determining attention, instead of developing and exercising his innate ability. At the end of the day, Armas reflected on how attractive he found Hillevi, and how much she apparently was interested in him.
Einrik and Helmi sealed Armas's eye
Friday, 17th: Big Crazy interrupted Armas's morning stretches to visit, and commented on how the scars over Armas's injured eye were moving on their own. Armas promptly panicked, and fell to the ground in horror. Big Crazy fetched Einrik and Helmi, while Armas ate a phoenix heart (one of the deliveries from Sometimes Merchant the day before). Helmi and Einrik determined that the blood of Amen, a piece of self-replicating divine energy built by Sake, and the essence of the demon arm were all battling for control of Armas in the wounded eye. Einrik and Helmi sealed the eye, to buy time to deal with the problem. The hope was that one of the three forces at play would dominate the other two, and thus Armas would only have to fight one instead of all three by the time the seal on the eye was ready to fail. Einrik commented that Armas's soul seemed about three-fifths of the way to being healed.
Einrik then distracted Armas from his problem by demanding that they continue the stealth training. Armas slept soundly that night. [The wyld goblins intercepted another NeverNever strike.]
Saturday, 18th: Armas woke to find his arm had regrown to the wrist. He spent the morning meditating under a tree planted in a room with a skylight, re-acquainting himself with his chakras. His neck and skull chakra were affected by the energies in his sealed eye, and he spent more than half the day in meditation.
Einrik's goblin training consisted of him attempting to sneak up on Armas and Hillevi sparring. In private, Armas asked Einrik why he had been unhappy about building the einherjar lure, and Einrik explained that doing so had been expensive enough in magic energy to pose a risk to his ability to control and contain the shard in his forehead. Einrik asked that Armas not tell Markku about the issue, and Armas agreed. Armas told stories to the Riihivuori children, and then read from the court tome to Einrik during Shadowbro's training session.
Sunday, 19th: Armas went hunting with Hillevi, but instead of catching animals, he spent most of his time asking her flattering questions. He learned a great deal about the Valkonen family, including Hillevi's mother's name (Kukko Valkonen, deceased), the current mandate by the Markku that none of the Valkonens (besides Einrik) be allowed to leave house grounds, that the normal procedures for marriage were being disrupted by a lack of branch family members to wed (and in fact, that the only remaining branch family was the mundane branch), that the house has no political ambitions under Markku's rule, and that the house lost friends over the past two decades (only Tartalo and the Riihivuori children are now counted as such). By the end of the morning Armas was certain that Hillevi had a crush on him.
Armas practiced evasion in sparring with Tuomo and Veiko, learned recipes for Vampire and Werewolf hearts, and read more of the court tome aloud. He ended the day by sparring with Hillevi, and consumed most of his available hearts to help regenerate the damage he took in the spar.
Monday, 20th: Marrku approved Armas's request to speak to Ogrimir with the condition that Tartalo had to be present, as a safety net in the event Ogrimir turned out to be hostile. Einrik and Hillevi ran an errand, leaving Big Crazy and Armas to go hunting by themselves. They encountered a sceadugenga, but it was clever enough to realize that guns were formidable weapons, and they were not able to incapacitate it. The majority of their kills were black dogs and wolpertinger, and they bagged an impressive amount of the latter.
Einrik continued to practice the goblin stealth fundamentals, and Armas finally finished reading the court tome.
The Second Laine Conclave and the Deal with Ogrimir
Tuesday, 21st: Armas found himself again in his shadow's realm. Shadowbro reported that he could now move items through the dark, shadowporting items from his own shadow to shadows within a 50 foot range. They did not reach satisfactory solutions to Ogrimir's nature, nor the problem of the battle between the various forces in Armas's eye (see Firday 17th, December). Shadowbro told Armas what he believed he would gain from Einrik's training (primarily the purely magical parts of the Valkonen style, as opposed to the hydraulic ice reinforcement techniques they ply in their own bodies), as well as the power disparity between the Valkonen line and Armas's best-case scenario for aspecting his blank winter node to the einherjar power set. Armas affirmed that Shadowbro could provide a boost to his movement speed in a fight, and broached the idea of moving Armas, soul and body, through the Dark via a shadowport. Shadowbro explained Armas would need to have a brilliant soul for that to work. Shadowbro shared that he would be fully healed thanks to the lunar eclipse later, and that normally it would have taken him another ten days to heal.
Armas then attempted to engage Shadowbro's interest in talking about Hillevi, but Shadowbro pointed out that he was no longer interested in sex at all, and that Hillevi's magic power was what he found most interesting about her, not her physical looks or personality. Shadowbro also mentioned that from the few bits of memory fragments he was able to recover of the night the favor was repaid to the goblins (see November 17th), Armas spent the entire 23 hour period in the company of a single goblin. Shadowbro then announced that Armas's hand was finished regenerating, and he had to wake.
When Armas woke, Hillevi was waiting by his bedside, as he had slept well into the afternoon. She gave him a hug and then fetched Einrik, who simply explained to her that the long rest was a side effect of having a split soul. The stealth lesson ran later than normal, with Armas calling an end to it only shortly before the expected lunar eclipse.
As the eclipse began Armas sacrificed half a troll heart to Ogrimir, and gained an audience with the Winter Spirit. Big Crazy, Einrik, and Tartalo observed. Ogrimir used an animated ice sculpture of a face as his method of communication, and specifically said, "I can hardly ignore a call by Trollish Offer, by Winter's blood and land..." indicating that the chosen offering and setting were wholly appropriate. Armas then offered to renew the back and forth between the Winter and Summer courts for his service (see Monday 1st, November), and Ogrimir flatly told him that the things which made him worth bargaining for had already passed. Armas swiftly pointed out that using him would irritate Whaitiri (something desirable for Ogrimir) and segued to an offer of personal service in exchange for Winterish power for himself and Shadowbro. During the dickering, Armas's MILITARISTICALLY MAGNIFICENT MACHIAVELLIAN MANIPULATOR trait leveled up to MASTERFULLY MILITARISTIC MACHIAVELLIAN MANIPULATIVE METHUSELAH.
The Deal Ogrimir and Armas struck, as presented by Ogrimir: "For the 'lofty reward' of a soon-to-be-immortal's service one week per season for three and ten years, and for Soul-Swearing to slay any Einherjar you encounter for the same period, I shall restore your winter Node, I shall empower both your body and your Soul Shadow's Winter attributes until they are five times the standalone Mortal capacity limit, gift you the passive ability to sense any Einherjar within a league of your position, imbue you with supernatural resistance to cold to go with your perceptual resistance, briefly enter your Soul-Shadow and converse with your other self at a time of your choosing and invoking to share my thoughts on his Wintrish works, and to reward you with any information you desire from the fields of the Winter or Summer Court, The Dark, The Nevernever as a whole, and in general anything but myself each time you slay an Einherjar."
In the aftermath of the negotiations and empowering, Tartalo was greatly annoyed and Big Crazy was concerned. Armas calmed them both down, and then promptly sparred with the twins Veiko and Tuomo to test out his new power. Unfortunately, his new power was in the form of an over-large winter node, and an unaspected one at that. As Armas had no new physical power to draw on, the twins handed his butt to him in the spar, and Einrik got a good laugh. Armas discovered he could hear his Shadow communicating with him directly, as well, thus resulting in his soul brother having a far more verbose role in future matters.
Einrik informed Armas that Markku was not very happy about the sheer power of Ogrimir, which Einrik and Tartalo both estimated to be in the same category as the very most powerful gods. Einrik suggested an apology and an offer of a single service to the Valkonen clan head as a means of making good on the mistake of not properly emphasizing the sheer power of Ogrimir when asking permission, and further stated that if the favor was not used when he inherited the position of clan head, he would likely ask Armas for a pizza and consider the service fulfilled. Armas reflected and agreed such a course was the best action. Markku forgave Armas without accepting the offer of service, and Armas apologized without placing any blame on Einrik, for which Einrik was very appreciative. He formally called Armas a Friend and asked what favor he could perform to show his appreciation.
Armas initially joked that he would consider delivery of a pizza sufficient, but Einrik pressed, and Armas eventually asked him to serve as a second in the fight against the Doonongeas and prevent its escape. Einrik further offered to gift Armas with a memory graft of the complete mundane teachings of the Jää Koura Kas Pin school of martial arts designed for mundane Valkonen family members, a gift which was possible because of Armas's regeneration ability. Armas accepted, and the debt Einrik felt he owed was considered balanced.
Armas bound the Kamaitachi Sake as his spiritual Brother
Armas and Big Crazy went hunting by themselves. Hillevi gave Armas an ever-ice Spear to help. During the hunting trip they successfully harvested Sceadugenga, avoided a Domovoi, and found themselves pursued by an Ika Turso (a house-sized, tentacle bearded bull/octopus monster). They fled for nearly two hours before the ice weasel possessed by the Kamaitachi spirit Sake ambushed them and tripped Big Crazy by maiming his leg. Rather than abandon Big Crazy, Armas distracted the Ika Turso, and Shadowbro excavated the earth beneath Big Crazy to move him out of sight of the monster. Tartalo, presumably alerted by Shadowbro, caught up with the two and engaged Sake while Armas fought the Ika Turso.
Armas ended the fight with the Ika Turso by slamming Keihäs into its back. Keihäs ate deeply from the creature, and then settled into an equilibrium where Keihäs physically possessed the Ika Turso's corpse, and took direction from Armas. Armas immediately joined the fight against Sake.
Recalling some advice Einrik offered about engaging the Kamaitachi, Armas used puns to keep Sake distracted and ineffective throughout the fight. With the ever-ice spear, Armas was able to neatly split the possessed ice weasel body in two, and Shadowbro was able to capture Sake's spirit in a Loop of Dark composed of his own soul. He warned Armas that the cage would not last long, and if Sake escaped he would tear their soul into two in the process of escaping.
Armas asked for any information on binding spirits which Big Crazy could gift him, and Big Crazy provided it through Dirt Snake to Shadowbro. He then ate a sceadugenga heart and allowed Shadowbro to draw him into the spiritual realm, so that he could contribute his own spiritual power to the attempt to contain or combat Sake.
Armas and Shadowbro offered Sake the choice of escape back into his original body's bones (and eventual destruction at the hands of the Valkonens for being a pest), or a chance to try to fight his way out of the Loop of Dark, or an invitation to join their soul in a Pact of Brotherhood with him as the subordinate "youngest" brother. Sake ultimately picked to be joined to the Laines in a bond of brotherhood, and swore to not prank or harm Arnas, those designated by Armas, and to follow Armas's soul's commands where it does not conflict with the needs of Sake's nature. In return, Armas promised that no demand would be made to make Sake what he is not, and that Sake would get to be part of a rather magically interesting confluence (that being, Armas and Shadowbro's split soul). Sake agreed so long as the deal was sealed with a drinking session between the new brothers. They had Weasel Wine, one of the most potent sorts of spiritual alcohols.
It was during this drinking session that Armas revealed to Sake that he was responsible for accidentally killing his entire squad with an RPG while with the marines deployed in Iraq. The burden of shame weighs heavily on him, and is in large part responsible for Armas's personal aversion to rocket propelled grenades and comparable weapons.
In the real world, shortly after Armas entered into the spirit world, the Ika Turso's corpse (physically possessed by Keihäs) shriveled into a dense cocoon of bone around the gun. It was retrieved and held safe by the Valkonens. Armas's body was restrained by Tartalo as a precaution suggested by Shadowbro, but shortly after drinking the Weasel Wine enough power flowed through to Armas's body that it was able to escape. As the body was not ensouled, it could use shadowporting at will, and had full command of Sake's wind manipulating powers. The body went on a trolling spree, while Armas, Sake, and Shadowbro remained ignorant in their spiritual communion.
Thursday, 23rd: Armas does not recall this entire day at all. From third parties he learned his body behaved very badly without him. He spent some time off of the Valkonen estate during his insensate period. Hillevi ended up disrobed, numerous civilians ended up with broken limbs (but no deaths), a large number of people were pelted with condoms filled with birdseed and KY Jelly, and Armas earned status as an urban legend known as Kyrpä Peikko, which translates to "Penis Troll."
Friday, 24th: During the trolling spree, Armas's body purchased or stole a large number of toys for the Riihivuori children. He delivered the toys wearing nothing but a layer of KY Jelly, and a jar on his dick. The kids took the strangeness well, and Helmi nearly died trying to not laugh.
Armas returned to his senses late in the day, cornered by Einrik and Markku. He learned that Einrik had argued in his favor, and had convinced Markku to attempt to capture Armas instead of destroy him. The two Valkonens informed Armas of the bare details of what he had done. Markku compared Armas to his deceased cousin Iiro, and then they then walked back to the house. During the walk, the soul brothers discussed a new body for Sake and settled on the idea of acquiring a Ramidreju host body.
After Armas cleaned up he spoke to Hillevi and emphasized his respect for her while explaining the nature of his insanity. He then offered to do whatever she wished to make it up to her. She accepted Armas's apology and asked him request that she be allowed to leave the house grounds with him as her chaperone. Armas spoke to Einrik about the request, and together they schemed to make sure the request could be presented to Markku in such a way that he would accept it. Between adherence to tradition, Armas's status as a Family Friend, and the fact that Einrik would be accompanying Armas to Istanbul to deal with the Doonongeas, Markku ultimately decided to allow the request. Hillevi was named Armas's responsibility for a yearlong boarding, complete with guardianship and instruction on modern elements.
Armas and Shadowbro then freed Keihäs from the bone cocoon, taking care to not break the rifle while whittling down the bone, and finally using a shadowport to simply extract it without further ado. During the course of the extraction, Armas asked Sake for a run-down of the sorts of bloodline powers he had seen in Japan and learned that a Borders family lives there, along with a sect of Greek-influenced Stoic Taoist monks adept at negation and nullification, a number of manipulators of reflection within ice, and countless sword imbuing bloodlines.
Saturday, 25th: Keihäs was freed at the stroke of midnight, and when Armas examined it he recognized precursor structures on the stock analogous to ribs, a pelvis, and vertebrae. The brothers concluded that the story about the magic of the weapon being based on a peasant girl's soul must have some truth, and that while she had fallen into a coma, she still must have subconsciously desired to be alive again in a host body. The transformation of Keihäs had to be linked to that. Shadowbro advocated finding a way to bind Keihäs as a spirit animal.
Armas slept, and then discussed spirit animal binding with Big Crazy (and learned, among other things, that spirit binding is one of the slowest fields to see new developments thanks to how dangerous developing new rituals is), and discussed Keihäs specifically with Einrik. Einrik had discerned that the soul inside the rifle was named Silja, and in his own way encouraged Armas to seriously reconsider binding Silja. They then resumed Einrik's training in the Wyld Goblin stealth style, with a break for Armas to make a phone call to his parents and wish them a merry Christmas.
Sunday, 26th: Armas spoke with Sake about the nature of weasel wine, spent time with the Riihivuori children (who were going to stay with the Valkonens), suggested things to Hillevi which would be prudent to pack, and had a lengthy spar with Tuomo and Veiko to further integrate Kas Pin with his own self-titled Ghost of the Spear fighting style. Armas fought cautiously, abusing evasion and stamina to draw the fight out for hours. [Veiko later learned specific techniques to counter the Wyld Goblin footwork tricks Armas had used just so he could try sparring with him again.]
Monday, 27th: Armas got hugged by Hillevi. She was so happy that she did not correctly gauge the strength of her hug, and she broke both of Armas's collarbones and five of his ribs. He spent the day convalescing and answering Hillevi's questions about the outside world.
The End of Thread Two
Tuesday, 28th: Armas spent his morning playing with the Riihivuori children. He asked Einrik to examine the Buntline Special revolver he claimed from Savoy. Einrik spent an hour on it and then declared, "...the magic matrices within this gun are recursively layered as well as contingent on multiple variables and involved the use of infinite values and fractal-based equations. I can see it, sure-and what I see is too much. I can't separate one thing from another..."
Armas and Big Crazy had a chat, where B.C. told Armas that he had asked for, and been granted, permission to remain on the Valkonen estate as an extended guest. Markku had promised to help him secure a Magic Spirit Animal, and Big Crazy recognized he would need to keep growing if he wanted to be able to keep up with Armas. Big Crazy told Armas that seeing him in action had reminded him that he had lost track of some of his dreams and had grown complacent. [THREAD TWO END]
Armas reaffirmed that he considered B.C. a good man to work with and told him to call when he was back in Istanbul. Armas then ran some errands, replaced his phone with an encrypted cell phone, and called Camella's phone. Hafaz answered it, and explained that Camella had been injured in a running gun battle against Black Beard, and had lost most of her left leg. She was being treated through the Triads.
Armas continued to mull the implications and morality of binding Silja. He got a lesson in pistol shooting from Big Crazy, and bonded further with him, cementing their friendship. [While Armas did not learn it until later, Lo Fang arranged for Dorjpalam to replace Camella's leg. Dorjpalam insisted on a contract that made Lo Fang and Camella beholden to each other. Specifically, should one of them die before the 5 million dollar debt incurred for Dorjpalam's services was paid in full, the deceased's soul would belong to the survivor.]
Wednesday, 29th: Armas placed a call to Sometimes Merchant offering to act as an agent between the goblin and Ogrimir. Sometimes Merchant flatly refused to get involved, stating "Why would I put myself directly into the focus of a being so potent as to stand at the summit? Rarely do those they deal with fare well, when viewed on a temporally... broader... scale."
Though the wind was knocked out of his sails, Armas soldiered on and arranged for his phone service to automatically change carriers when he arrived in Turkey. He then spent the remainder of the day training Einrik further in Wyld Goblin stealth, and in reading a book about Einherjar aloud.
Thursday, 30th: Armas spent a sleepless night pondering Silja's eventual fate, and the morality of binding her compared to the question of what Amen would do if he slipped out of her control.
In the course of the day he sparred with the twins and Helmi, got a promise from Einrik for an introduction to the chakra master he learned from, and practiced more pistol shooting with Big Crazy. Armas conducted the usual training session with Einrik that evening. Throughout the day he was bothered both by the question of what to do about Silja, and a constant buzzing in his head. Armas later concluded that the buzzing sensation was the Einherjar sense that Ogrimir gifted him. Apparently he had wandered near an Einher in town, and the Einher had tracked him to the Valkonen estate. [Elsewhere in Finland, the Divine Prophet of the god Laib Olmai died, and the tribe of Sami who worship Laib Olmai sent a group of their shaman (including Armas's future employee Dávgon) out to seize the sieidis Stallon inhabited.]
Armas Slew Gunner Almquist
Friday, 31th: Armas was woken up by Markku announcing that an Einher had arrived, drawn by the paper charm that made Armas seem like an injured fire giant (see December 16th), and issued a mortal challenge for Armas. The Einher had no problem with killing either an injured fire giant or someone pretending to be one. Markku announced that as host, he would serve the role as arbiter of the fight. Armas accepted, and made preparations for the fight.
The fight took place in the forest. Armas battled the einher with his pistols, the ever-ice spear Hillevi gave him, and Tartalo's maul (a potent magic weapon he borrowed at the last minute). The einher used a magic bow cursed to remain near his flesh and solid metal arrows (more like darts than usual arrows).
Armas did not use the borrowed maul as a weapon, and instead threw it at the einher, who took it up and moved to melee range with it. Armas was able to finish off the einher with the buntline special. The einher's spirit then possessed his own corpse and stated that he intended to continue to fight until he was taken to Valhalla. Armas talked him into exchanging names instead of fighting, and learned that the einher was Gunner Almquist.
Armas learned that valkyries can read minds, and convinced it to send a message to Odin: a reminder that Armas's services as a mercenary were available if he ever had a job he did not want to put his einherjar on. The valkyrie took the message, and Gunner's soul (now one of the spirit einherjhar), to Valhalla. Before he left, Gunner requested that Armas bury his bow with his corpse. Armas ultimately decided to comply with Gunner's last request. He took Gunner's heart, and asked Einrik to freeze it for him for later.
As soon as the valkyrie had left, Ogrimir called to Armas, congratulated him on his victory, and made it plain he would take a question. Armas ultimately decided to ask "...How would I safely keep Amen bound to myself (insofar as the being can be 'safely' bound to a free-willed mortal) without enslaving the soul in my rifle, the host of the blood Amen must serve?"
Ogrimir commented that the only path which Armas could use on his own to do what he wanted would require him to risk madness. Rather than tell Armas how to cripple himself, Ogrimir simply performed the required work, moving the blood into a part of Armas's eye and enhancing the existing seals.
Armas walked back to the household after burying Gunner, and told the story of the fight to the Valkonens and Big Crazy. He called Arkvad and learned that the factory where Keihäs had been built had been sold, and that the communal cemetery associated with the area at the time Keihäs was built was located in the town of Marttila. No other information about Keihäs had been found, as relics and paperwork associated with the factory were all long gone.
Armas made an itinerary with Einrik, and decided on a route that would take him through Scandinavia and Spain before arriving in Istanbul.
They then left on the Valkonen family jet, Hillevi officially under Armas's care. Markku's parting words were, "A good journey to you-and may you find a peaceful refuge at your home. And if anything happens to my daughter-you'd best hope you died trying to prevent it."
Armas encountered Note Writer, helped Silja awaken, slew Rástoš, and Einrik fought the god Stallon
Saturday, 1st: Armas, Einrik, and Hillevi planned to visit several locations before leaving Finland. They started by going to the cemetery in the village of Martilla, to see what could be learned about Silja. There they found a grave that resonated with the rifle, making it throb and hum. Though the gravestone was badly degraded, Armas decided to dig up the grave and found a box which stripped away magic from ice workings Einrik made, but which did not touch Armas or his left eye (which had the wards Ogrimir set up). Armas decided to open the box in spite of Einrik's advice not to. Inside he found the hand of Finnish devil, as well as a note from Note Writer.
Note Writer's note mocked Armas for opening the box when he could have waited, and for ignoring Einrik's advice. The note then advised Armas to feed the hand to Silja, so that she would return to some state of wakefulness, though she would only be able to spiritually commune with Armas at first. Note Writer finally stressed that Einrik not be allowed to see the note, warning of dire results if he should. Armas decided to follow all of the note's advice, after feeding Silja two halves of regenerator hearts, and Gunner's heart. In the process, he got blood on his hands and Silja started to eat him. He managed to pull his soul back in time, and in the process his AMBUSH EXPERT trait advanced into the level 3 combat trait: AETHERIC AMBUSH EXPERT.
Upon feeding the Devil hand to Silja, a tremendous clap of energy left Armas sidelined as Silja was buried in the middle of a crater filled with frozen earth. Silja then became conscious and began talking spiritually. When, in her disoriented state she asked for "Armas" and apologized for never making it to their wedding night, Armas realized that Silja's husband-to-be was Armas Valkonen, a member of the mundane branch family of the Valkonens (clans are traditionally divided into a main family, branch families to cover more territory or economic niches, and at least one mundane branch family where non-magic members are banished for their own safety). Armas reassured her, and Einrik helped recover her from the bottom of the crater fill.
Armas and Einrik then stuck to the plan, and next drove to Ruokolahti, to visit the grave of the legendary mortal soldier Simo Häyhä. Upon reaching the grave, Einrik reported that Simo's soul wanted to talk to Silja, but needed permission from Armas to do so (as Silja was in a rifle that was Armas's property). Armas resisted at first, but allowed the dialogue to occur. Silja reported that Simo wanted to give her his memories of his days as a soldier, so that he could be at peace. At first Armas tried to offer alternate solutions, but Simo thought him simpleminded for it and refuted each in turn. With what Armas learned, Einrik figured out that Simo intended to attempt to ascend to become an angel, and that to do so he needed to shed his most important memories. Armas asked Simo to promise to grant Silja a blessing if he was successful in his ascension, and Simo agreed, though he was very cross Armas and Einrik had figured out what he was doing. Einrik helped ward the memories, so that they would not be directly accessible by Silja (as she would find the content distressing).
Armas, Einrik, and Hillevi then left for the home of Armas's cousins in Oulo, where both Armas and Einrik detected a brand new einherjar in the house. This presented a problem for Armas, as he had sworn to Ogrimir to slay all einherjar he meets. After much deliberation, Armas decided to call his cousins and claim that he had to skip a visit with them due to a friend in Turkey losing her leg. Since there was truth to the claim, it was nearly not deception at all.
Einrik outlined what he knew about the Sami spirit shaman tribes. Two of them, the followers of Stallon, and the followers of Laib Olmai, are nomadic and Armas decided to try seeking them out where two groups' ranges overlapped. Einrik rented a helicopter, and the party traveled by air to the region. Einrik detected that the Laib Omlmai followers were preparing to ambush the Stallon worshipers and Stallon's sieidis. When Armas declared that he was going to 'wing it' for his first contact, Einrik was seized by a fey moment and leaped out of the helicopter, directly engaging Stallon in hand to hand combat. As soon as Stallon noticed Einrik and the helicopter, Sisuthros' blood roiled with new power, and Sake and Shadowbro both were completely occupied fighting a losing battle in Armas's eye to prevent Amen's blood from escaping with Sisuthros' blood.
In the course of the fight, Armas prevented a Laib Olmai shaman named Rástoš from abusing non-combatants. Once the majority of the fighting was over, Rástoš challenged Armas to a duel, and with a little manipulation by both Armas and Dávgon (who hated Rástoš), was able to set the terms to be for a magicless duel and a wager riding on the outcome. Armas quickly slew Rástoš, and won a future favor from all the Laib Olmai present, as well as rights to all the spoils of the battlefield save for Stallon's sieidis.
At this point Einrik finished fighting Stallon, and rejoined the party. He picked shards of magic-infused stone with the appearance of emerald (pieces of Stallon's eye) from his body as he talked, and Armas covetously picked them up, acquiring a new trait: GREEDY GRABBER.
One of the Laib Olmai shaman then asked for help modifying their memories, so that they would seem to have believed that Rástoš could have won the duel. Einrik volunteered that he could do so, and Armas argued to the Laib Olmai to not have their minds tampered with if only because they had not committed any actual crime. They ultimately decided that they could not argue well enough in their own favor to their chief to make him see it that way, and so allowed Einrik to rework their memories of the event. Einrik viewed the favor as contributing to his plans to unite the Finnish magical community under the Valkonen banner someday.
Armas called Sometimes Merchant and had him store the bodies of the dead Stallon combatants, and then spoke at length with Silja about what she detected when he fired her in the course of the fight. While she did not like the idea of being a killing tool, she agreed that it was necessary at times to fight.
Armas then was helped into his own eye by Einrik, to give his soul brothers aid in the battle against Amen's blood. There he formed mental constructs of his AA-12 (which proved ineffective and which fell apart shortly after he stopped paying it mind) and his mere (which, based on years of memories and his connection to Whaitiri, was a solid piece of mental crafting). The quality of the mental mere's construction was sufficient that Armas was able to invoke Whaitiri through it, and found her in a good mood. He put a slight damper on it by proposing that she leave a sliver of herself in his eye, to better consume offerings, an idea she found offensive for violating cultural taboos regarding how people of status are fed. Instead, she imbued the mere, both the mental and physical versions of it, with a bit of her hunger, forming a window to her that Armas could feed her through.
While Armas and his brothers were victorious in the fight against Amen's blood, the details of the fight were removed from Armas's memory by Shadowbro to prevent Amen from learning them once Armas was back in his body. Shadowbro informed Armas that Sisuthros' blood was as fully claimed by Armas's soul as it could be. He further elaborated on an old spiritual wound he detected. At some point in the past, Armas suffered a great deal of exposure to magic, spiritual trauma comparable to when Whaitiri overfed on Armas's soul (see the 29th of October), and as much as a month of memories missing and replaced with false memories. The disturbing implication was that Armas had been rebuilt at some point into a disposable pawn and had a magic kill switch built into his soul. Shadowbro and Sake both agreed that the best course of action would be to figure out who did it without outside help, since if Armas's status as a pawn was not revealed to the public, the manipulator could still use him as a pawn. Only then would it be safe to defuse the kill switch.
Armas agreed, and woke up to find it was twelve minutes to midnight. Einrik had arranged for a pilot, Antonije, to fly Armas and Hillevi around to hunt for einherjar while he attended to other business. [Though Armas did not learn of it himself, Simo's ascension to angel was successful sometime in early February.]
Armas fought Armin the Crafstman, fought a Rage Fragment, met Abloec, and spoke to Iron Trick
Sunday, 2nd: Armas removed the paper charm that made him seem to be a wounded fire giant (destroying it in the process), and after seeing Einrik off got some rest. Armas, Antonije, and Hillevi spent most of the day searching for Einher to kill by helicopter. Late in the afternoon, just as Armas detected one or two Einher (he was unclear on how many), the helicopter was attacked by Armin the Craftsman. He attacked with explosive loaded hammers. Armas also realized he had placed sticky bombs placed on the hull of the craft, and the trait REALISTICALLY RELIABLE RATIONALISM became REALISTICALLY RAPID RELIABLY RECURSIVE RATIONALIZATION. Impressed with Armas's ability to keep the craft aloft, Armin offered a wager: should the helicopter land intact, he would give Armas all the information he had on the Italian ex-Mafia teleporter. He then fired a ground-to-air missile at the helicopter, which Armas and company failed to stop, but which was somehow blown up mid-air anyway. Armas remembered firing two shots with Silja, while physical evidence (a count of bullets in her magazine) and the memories of everyone but Armas showed that he had only fired once. Armas and Hillevi were able to keep the helicopter relatively intact, and were able to buy time for Antonije to land it.
Abloec, in spirit form, commented on Armas's actions just before Armin interrupted via speakers scattered through the forest and admitted to having poisoned the Úlfhéðinn. He then offered another trade of information: Chugainov's reasons for wanting Armas dead, for secrets or news. Abloec requested through Sake that Armas keep Armin talking as long as possible, so Armas insisted that Armin provide the promised information about the teleporter, and Armin reported that he had made alliances with the Neo-Nazis through Goabbels and the Yakuza through Fukuyama. Armas delayed Armin further with dickering over what specific news or secrets would be bargained for, until Abloec found Armin and Armin fled the field.
Armas asked Iron Trick for his true name, and was given a wager: if he could correctly guess the four rules of using Iron Trick's special functions, Iron Trick would divulge his true name. Armas summarized the four rules for the first-time activation of the gun's special powers, and while that was not what Iron Trick intended, he allowed it and gave his name as Jitnage'gnei Gesgmaplgigwa'teget. Armas further spoke to Silja and the soul brothers, and then called Sometimes Merchant and sold information.
Armas told the goblin of having taken the youngest Valkonen as Ward for a year, of the Laib Olmai staging an attack on the Stallon followers that the Valkonens interfered with and that resulted in the power transition that drew the Finnish Dragon to witness that Laib Olmai now manifests where Stallon once did. The Merchant was aware of the transition, but the Valkonen's involvement was news to him. Armas also told Sometimes Merchant that not only was an unwanted element of the Laib Olmai tribe removed in a fashion that indebted them to Armas and the Valkonens, but that they requested and had their memories of the event hidden. Armas comprehensively described what he observed of Armin the Crafter: his arsenal, methods and mannerisms, and that he just now decided to terminate his contract on Armas's head. He sold the Sometimes Merchant Abloec's name, carefully spelling it out rather than verbalizing it, and finally he balanced the deal with the blood spilled from the bodies of the Sami shaman which Sometimes Merchant was storing. In exchange Armas got a three dimensional compass which would point to the most extraordinary Ramidreju which Sometimes Merchant knew of, a glamour charm for Hillevi, and a delivery of Armas's AA-12 and ammunition for it.
Given his suspicion that Antonije had either willingly or unwittingly leaked the information of the flight plan to hunt for Einherjar and the recent attack by Armin, Armas decided to ask Hillevi to share a cabin with him for the night so that they could both enjoy the protection of ice-based wards and walls reinforcing the cabin. Hillevi agreed, and they retired to separate beds in the same cabin that night.
Armas and Hillevi defeated the Russian Soldiers, Armas fought Gleb Romanov
Monday, 3rd: Armas woke to an attack on the cabin by soldiers from General Chugainov's branch branch of the Black Army. Shadowbro was not able to respond at all. Armas quickly roused Hillevi, and she threw an anti-armor grenade the soldiers had attempted to use to breach the cabin's ice walls back at the soldiers. The grenade detonated, killing four men and injuring over a dozen more, including Praporshchik Moda, the shadow practicioner who had kept Shadowbro locked down. Armas slew Moda, and Shadowbro (now free of Moda's spell) asked for and received the body to analyze. Hillevi bound the prisoners, and Armas interrogated Matvey Baich, the NCO in charge of the soldiers.
Armas learned from Matvey that General Chugainov was a pedophile, and that evidence of it existed on the phone of one of his personal guards. Matvey also reported that the attack had been ordered by Lt. Colonel Jidkova, and learned a little about the two mercenaries who had been sent earlier (Radu Hagi and Armin the Crafstman). The suicide squad had not worked together as a unit before, and had been selected by criteria that were unknown but seemed to be biased toward selecting soldiers who had seen too much or who had been in trouble within the Black Army. Armas had difficulty accepting that Chugainov was willing to throw useful soldiers to a bad end, and as he considered that he could just be playing into a trap, his PARANOIA negative trait (LV1) trait evolved into PERVASIVE PARANOIA negative trait (LV2).
Sake and Iron Trick both talked Armas into setting aside his over-estimation of Chugainov's ability as a master manipulator, and Armas abruptly decided to extend a job offer to the soldiers. While Hillevi healed and stabilized the wounded, Armas found Antonije (who had run off during the fight) passed out in the snow. Armas roused the old man and noticed he had a glowing blood rune on his chest. Armas surmised that Jidkova had used the rune to gather information and to move Antonije out of the way before the fighting started. Antonije later confirmed he had once been in the Black Army, and the rune's inscription was part of his terms of being allowed to retire.
With the soldiers stabilized and Antonije recovered, Armas made his job pitch to Matvey. The soldiers considered it carefully and agreed that they would travel with Armas and at least see if he could deliver on his promises. Armas decided that was as good as he could hope for and he and Matvey took the four dead soldiers by helicopter to a location far from Antonije's cabin for burial. While they were away, the deliveries from Sometimes Merchant arrived (see Sunday 2nd, January).
Not too far from Copenhagen, Armas detected another einher, Gleb Romanov. Shadowbro and Sake asked for Armas to delay while they attempted to decode the magic in the Divine Contract armor that Gleb wore.
Armas performed a bloodline ritual, Einrik fought a Dragon, Sake got a body
Tuesday, 4th: [THREAD THREE END]
Monday, 24th: [THREAD FOUR END]
Sunday, 27th: [THREAD FIVE END]
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