Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Changeling: What Happened Next

The instant Duayane’s head mists, the Statue of Liberty gives one last sweep of her torch, levelling the top three floors of the apartment building.  She contemplates the group before walking back to Liberty Island.  Goom knocks Drake across the back of the head, and he crumples to the floor unconscious.  The three who had gone into the dream—Alia, Gareth, and Morgan—begin seizing where they lay; when the dreamer died, it didn’t hurt them exactly, but it wasn’t good for them either.  Wally and Goom drag them away from Drake and Duayane’s body.  They’re not out long, and when they come to, Wally leaves.  Goom lets them know that Drake shot Duayane, Drake is fine, but they need to go.

As they leave, they notice that the purple haze that has spilled out of the apartments is now affecting the government workers and police on the street—they’ve either fallen asleep or are trying to rouse their fellows. 

Two days after the incident, the power finally comes back on in Manhattan.  The winter is still bitingly cold, but with power, heat, and other utilities restored, it is a bit easier on the city’s less fortunate denizens.

About a week after the incident, Gareth, Morgan, and Wally are visited by the police, who are suddenly very interested in Meagan’s disappearance.  The tone of their questioning has changed, they are more severe, and they seem to show interest in Drake, and are trying to put together a time-line of his whereabouts.

The next few months are a blur. 

Drake has gone radio silent.  Not off the grid, but burying himself in a series of bottles.  He spends his nights going home with whatever piece of ass he can get, no longer holding to whatever standards he may have had before.  Alex and Alia keep an eye on him from afar, and about a month after the Duayane incident, he cleans up, suits up, shaves, and strolls into Madam Butterfly’s place.  He’s now seen, wherever he goes, with an entourage of armed men.  After another two months or so, though, he disappears completely. 

Morgan’s doppelgänger, the Oracle of Wall Street, dies.  She was an old woman, in her 80s, and quite loaded.  Nothing suspicious surrounds her passing, and it is reported that she died of natural causes.  Morgan doesn’t speak much about it.

Also during the time after the incident, a rumour starts going around the city about a monster that has been haunting (for lack of a better word) juvenile facilities and terrorising children.  The group has no other information to go on.

Whatever happened to Gareth in the dream, not to mention the weeks and months previous, whittled away at his resolve.  As much as he makes the effort to fight his old demons, he soon finds himself returning to his old ways shortly after returning home.  Back on the horse, his days are coloured golden-brown.  He tries his best to keep up with his art, but whenever Goom and Morgan come around, his skittish behaviour, sickly appearance, and odd ticks scream that something is wrong.  Morgan eventually gets it out of him, that he’s using again, and offers her support although doesn’t necessarily do anything to drive him to get clean.

Three weeks following the incident, Gareth finds himself stumbling out of his new favoured opium den.  Although it is night, he can’t help but notice a figure writhing on the ground in an alley nearby.  The man isn’t just familiar, he is Gareth.  Or, rather, Gareth’s doppelgänger.  He’s OD’d on something, a needle only partially emptied still stuck in his arm.  Gareth curses, removing the needle and the tourniquet, and tries to get his double to come around, but the older man is in some other place.  Not knowing what else to do, Gareth calls 911 and waits in the shadows until the paramedics arrive and take his double away.  The next day when news breaks that famed artist Gareth Davies has been admitted into hospital on a suspected drug overdose and is now in a coma, the rest of the support group flood Gareth’s phone with messages.  He lets them all know he is fine.  He tries to make contact with his double in dreams, but the other’s head is a blur—there is no one home.

Three days later, his building explodes.  It happens one night towards the end of February.  Gareth’s side of the building isn’t totally annihilated, but the rest of it is rubble collapsed into the sewer.  There are 300 lives lost, as most residents were asleep in their beds.  His friend, Kali, home from her stay in the hospital following her suicide attempt, lives although her arm is broken and she sustains severe burns to her left side.  She will recover, but her face will never look the same again.  Now homeless, and his artwork destroyed, Gareth spends some time at a local shelter, trying to secure some studio space from his acquaintance Adam, who works at the last gallery where Gareth showed.  Adam doesn't promise anything, but will see what he can do.

Once the word gets around to the rest of the group, Alia manages to find Gareth and offers him some space in her apartment, such as it is, until he gets back on his feet, which he gladly accepts.  She’s not a stranger to drug use, and so recognises the signs in him.  She gives him $50 to get some new clothes, maybe some art supplies, but asks him to try not to spend it all on smack.  He doesn’t say yes, but he doesn’t say no, either.  To make a bit of money, he offers to do paintings and murals for the residents of the project building, prettying the place up.

Two days after Gareth’s apartment explodes, so does Morgan’s.  Hers, thankfully, goes during the day when most residents are out, and the death toll is only around 20 or so.  Though it is devastating, Morgan doesn’t seem to be in dire straits as Gareth is.  Both explosions are eventually ruled to be the result of gas leaks, further proof of the poor infrastructure that is plaguing the city.

Morgan even starts the support group meetings again, making sure to personally fetch Gareth before each gathering to make sure that he goes.  Everyone goes, too, except for Drake and Wally, who seems to be distancing himself from the group and the events that go with them.  During the meetings, Alex shares that he is repairing his relationship with his daughter to the point that she has now moved in with him.

Sometime in late March or early April, a news story breaks that the Oracle of Wall Street has left her entire estate to an unknown fortune teller in Manhattan whose building blew up some weeks back…

Following the massive fubar that was the Duayane incident, our GM provided us with some in-game down time.  As this motley is a suspicious and paranoid lot, not all of our individual exploits have been made public (i.e. known) to one another, hence this account being rather Gareth-centric.  More information will, I am sure, come to light in due course.

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