Aether and Ashes

From Darkest Beginnings
Season 1, Episode 0

Vignette 1: A Dark and Rainy Night

In a small Swiss Village on a stormy night, Evangeline awakens upon a metal bed located on the upper floor of a villa at the edge of town. With a flash of lightning a singular figure is revealed standing in the window looking out over the town square. This is Adam. He warns Eve of the gathering mob below, and then departs through the open window.

The mob surround the building and begin to break in the doors. As they do so, Eve rushes down the stairs, and is shot by a musket wielded by one of the mob, but watches in surprise as the ball bounces harmlessly off her body. As the crowd begin to gain access to the building, Eve manages to escape through a second exit, and flees the town.

However it doesn’t take long for the townsfolk to realize that she has fled. They immediately summon the hounds and set off in pursuit across the Swiss countryside, along a wooded path during a terrible thunderstorm. Evangeline is running frantically along the path, attempting to escape the mob chasing her. The mob, bearing pitchforks and torches, are spurred onwards by the hunting dogs guiding them towards the frightened woman.

In the distance she sees a raging river, swollen by the downpour. along the shore stands the decaying husk of a dilapidated old windmill. Seeing no other option, she takes shelter inside as the mob moves in for the kill. As she hides on the upper walkways, the mob gathers outside where they set the building alight.

Faced with what appears to be near-certain death, the flames rise quickly, while the angry mob outside prepare to kill her as she attempts to flee. But they do not get the chance, dropping in through the roof of the building, an individual (Sanja) crashes through the walkway, causing Evangeline and him to fall to the ground, where he lands on his feet. Dazed, the character has little chance to reac before he attacks.

The individual starts tossing Eve around effortlessly, slamming her into supports and structures. During this entire fight, he is making comments about her, “being just like a woman”, and also about “being an abomination.” Eventually, he slams her into the ground and begins to choke her. As he is doing so, and she is losing consciousness, a pulse of energy appears nearby, separating the two combatants.

An additional figure appears just then, as her assailant recovers his footing. A swift exchange of blows is traded between the assailant and the newcomer. During this exchange, the mob outside remains ready, the building is still burning and parts of the structure are beginning to collapse. The Character is struck by a falling burning support and loses consciousness.

She awakens later, hundreds of miles away in a horsedrawn carriage, traveling through the streets of Athens. She is seated across from Renette Villefort, who explains that she has the opportunity to join a group dedicated to protecting humanity from evil, much like the evil that attempted to kill her. All she has to do is join the Aegis Society. Eve agrees and becomes a member.

Vignette 2: A Dark Day for the Stage

Aphrodite was approached by Amelia Archer with an offer to steal an expensive Faberge Cigarette Case from a wealthy patron of the show named Augustus Schell. Schell was an important Tammany Hall political financier in New York city. He happened to have a box seat at the showing of that night’s Vaudeville variety show, a show in which Aphrodite is performing.

In actuality, the case was an artifact known as the Imperious Stalwart, an item that protects against certain types of thaumaturgical attacks. The artifact was stolen by a Black Court Vampire named Baron Barstow after a prominent Venatori was assassinated for it.

Aphrodite along with her assistant JE Beau and Husband Archibald Burchild were hired to steal the cigarette case. To make this happen, an indecent proposition was made and Aphrodite was able to gain access to the box under the guise of a prostitute.

After the show ended, Aphrodite made her way up to the box where she managed to filch the case and escape the box without being caught. However as she made her escape the disappearance of the case was discovered and Schell’s two bodyguards, both Vampires, began their pursuit.

They chased Aphrodite and Beau into the alley behind the theater, where Amelia and Evangeline are waiting for them. Forewarned by the Pythia that they would be facing vampires, the pair were able to successfully protect Aphrodite and her people from the attack. Afterwards, Amelia transported them all to Athens where Content Not Found: renette-villfort was able to recruit them into the Aegis Society.

​h2. Vignette 3: As Darkness Descends

A Romani caravan has set up camp for the night in a wooded area north of Athens. That night the caravan’s members begin their normal festive night, dancing, singing and drinking the night away. After many hours, a sinister danger approaches the camp.

Slowly the darkness of the woods begin to take on a sort of life all its own. The shadows begin to stretch into the camp, seeming to defy the various lamps and campfires until they eventually go out completely. When this happens a troop of creatures emerge from the darkness and attack the Romani encampment. At this time, Nadya Simza, now alerted to the danger befalling her people attempts to fight the creatures. She is assisted by the sudden arrival of Amelia, Evangeline and Aphrodite on the field of battle.

As people panic, the Erebosii begin to murder members of the camp. As these events unfold, Nadya Simza is convinced by the newcomers to seek refuge inside her wagon , which she must “dark-proof.” While this is happening, the women notice a mysterious “cloaked figure” (Mortigern) enter the camp. This figure goes directly to the caravans belonging to the matron of the clan, and rips the door open. despite a desire to seek revenge, the women remain safe inside the wagon. through a small slit in the door they witness the figure exit the matron’s wagon carrying a sacred item known as the Acriobus.

Sensing their opportunity for escape, Amelia transports the group and the wagon to the Dafni where Nadya is recruited to join the Aegis Society by Villefort.

Vignette 4: The Dark Side of Show Business

George Papageorge was an escape artist and stage magician performing in Prague, in a Bohemian neighborhood, near the Vltava River. He has gathered a small crowd in the at a local festival where he performed a series of tricks to entertain his audience., alongside his assistant Naomi Johnson.

As the show progresses, the feats become more elaborate and dangerous. At the pinnacle of the performance, Papageorge performed a water tank escape trick, which was well received by the audience. All that is, except for a single woman. She instead heckled the performer claiming that he has done nothing particularly amazing. In fact, she claimed, she can do it herself, it so easy to perform.

At this point, several men in the audience take up her cause, insisting that Papageorge allow her to attempt the trick, despite the dangers. Reluctantly, but somewhat unexpectedly, he agrees and they chain up the woman and lower her in to the tank.

At first all goes well even as the woman struggles to escape her bonds. But then suddenly there was a problem, she began to convulse, and it appeared she may be drowning. Using a sledgehammer, George rushed forward to slam it into the glass tank, which cracks. Repeated blows weakened the glass until it shattered.

At that very moment, the woman (a Blood Siren) transformed to her grotesque form and thrashed across the stage, terrifying patrons. Simultaneously, Amelia, Evangeline, Aphrodite and Nadya arrive to aid Papageorge. The creature began to use its ability to influence men to create additional chaos, but Aphrodite was able to draw away the majority of the influence trouble makers by enticing them to chase her. Working to control the crowd and minimize injury, the team could do little as the creature made its was make makes it’s way to the small trailer that Papageorge and Naomi used for their residence while on the road. The creature destroyed the trailer, only abandoning the area, escaping into the river once it had found an artifact known as the Alethiometer hidden amongst Papageorge’s belongings.

With the creature’s influence rapidly diminishing, Amelia transported the team, Papageorge and Naomi to Athens, where Mrs. Villefort recruited Papageorge into the Society.

Vignette 5: The Darkest Heart

At the Oxford University lecture hall, John Tidewater was concluding a lecture entitled, “Evidence for a Lost Tribe of European Settlers in the Heart of Africa.” began to take questions. As he does so, he notices a group of four or five individuals entering the lecture hall. These are Cyprus Archer, Evangeline, Aphrodite, Nadya and Papageorge. they have been sent to convince Tidewater to join the Society. The initial contact and attempt at recruitment progresses with difficulty. As the discussion continued, a group of “rough looking” identical looking men, entered the lecture hall, blocking off all the exits. The individuals begin to approach the podium and begin to demand one of the artifacts on display, the Windstrider Mask.

Suddenly the group of men escalate the situation and attack in an attempt to take the mask by force. They are a single creature, known as a Salbieine. They have the ability to duplicate their numbers significantly, quickly outnumbering their enemies and overpowering them to exhaustion. A fight ensues, in which the group attempts to protect the mask and John. However, as it becomes more difficult and victory seems unlikely, Papageorge uses his strength to throw the mask through a skylight, distracting the creature long enough to allow Archer to transport the group and Tidewater back to the Dafni in Athens. Villefort then recruits John to join the Aegis Society.

Vignette 6: In a Deep Dark Place

Late at night, a small group of cultists moved into the company town of Metanopoli to acquire a buried artifact. In order to do so without dealing with the inhabitants of the town, a powerful thaumaturgical spell was used to lull the townsfolk into a deep slumber. However, the owner of the company town, Scrooge MacLeod, and some of his men were somehow immune to the affects of the spell.

Alerted to the presence of some trespassers, Scrooge and his men ride toward the center of town where they encounter the Saaleene Cultists. The Cultists have captured some of the toensfolk and upon seeing the men, order an attack. Scrooge managed to notice that they are digging something up. It is later identified as the Pyxidium, a powerful artifact. Scrooge takes shelter inside one of his factories, to wait for the Cultists to finish him off.

Before that can happen however, The Aegis Society members arrive at the factory to rescue Scrooge. They were sent by the Pythia specifically to save him, and they advise him that he residents at the dig site have been murdered and that the artifact has been stolen. After they depart with him safely, the factory is attacked by cultists, but the men remaining there manage to fight them off.

Villefort recruits Scrooge into the Aegis Society.

Vignette 7: Darkest before the Morning’s Light

Over the last few years, the British have been driving farther and farther into Ashanti territory, stripping the land of it’s treasures. Recently there has been a new thrust back into the Ashanti territories, specifically by excavators, engineers and miners trying to get at the rich reserves of gold, silver and precious gems.

In the last few weeks, there have been three separate incursions by the British into Ashanti territory. These groups consist of geologists accompanied by soldiers. These groups have little friendly contact with the villagers they encounter. In fact, more often than not, the villagers are taken as slaves to work on the new railroad pushing inland towards the mineral rich territories controlled by the Ashanti.

When the reports of another raiding party reach Yao a small war party is dispatched to deal with the intruders. They make their way a moderate distance away where an English encampment has been established. The small group consists of an engineer, a geologist, several black slaves, and a group of 10 soldiers lead by a Lieutenant.

A Battle ensues, and the English group is vanquished. As the raiding party is digging through the loot remaining after the destruction of the English camp a lone warrior arrives to tell Yao that there has been an attack upon his village. Yao leads his war party back to the village where they spot a column of smoke rising from its burning remains.

Concerned, Yao, leads the war party back into to their home village, expecting an ambush. When they arrive, they encounter what appears to be a group of soldiers raiding the village. An English “gentleman” seems to be overseeing the events. The soldiers were rounding up members of the tribe, and a fight ensues. It ends quickly however, when the Englishman threatens to have all the women and children captured executed if the Ashanti do not surrender. Yao orders his men to surrender, and once they have been restrained, the British execute Yao’s warriors.

The Englishman are finally face to face. The British man forces Yao to willingly enter a cage as a captive. Onkwani, an enemy of Yao has assisted the british in taking the Cup of Okeilea, a sacred relic.Cromwell uses his cane to knock Yao unconscious.

When he comes to, he is locked in a pair or iron shackles attached to massive posts driven into a beach. Present is Onkwani, the Englishman and a number of Saaleene Cultists. additionally a number of natives from Yao’s village are also chained to posts. It appears that they are to become sacrifices.

They are on a small island, off the coast of Greece. As night falls, it becomes apparent that an artifact (the Pyxidium) recovered from Metanopoli is the centerpiece of the ritual. it has been placed in the middle of the circle, and a ring of flame is placed around the entirety, and another ring encircles the main individuals performing the ritual. As the ritual gets underway Cromwell and Onkwani stand nearby, as the cultists begin to execute the slaves one-by one.

About halfway through the event, it is interrupted, by the concerted efforts of the newly arrived Aegis Society. They were sent to rescue Yao and stop the ritual. The cultists begin to rush, trying to murder all the sacrifices as quickly as possible. Just as they are reaching the final sacrifice, Yao; Tidewater manages to shoot the bonds holding him in place.

Joined together, the team manages to stop the ritual and capture the Pyxidium. However, the Englishman and Onkwani managed to escape. Villefort recruits Yao into the Aegis Society.

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