(previously attributed to W.S. Quinton, June/1993)
September 10th, 2059
I turned off the trid as my pocket secretary started buzzing. A message came through from Angel, "Clean of electronic eyes and ears, check magic?"
"Die mortal vessel, die." It uttered. I felt it's magical might strike me as it tried to shatter my will. My training with the exorcist paid off and I withstood the magical onslaught, though with considerable effort.
"Avante, dark spirit! Begone, spawn of the pit! I cast you out from this world, never to return!" I raised by hands and worked my will and magic against the spirit. "Avente demon, BEGONE!!" My will and magic slammed into the spirit inhabiting Sergeant Branigain's corpse, tearing it from the body it had stolen even while it clawed at empty space in a vain attempt to hold onto this world. The dark spirit screamed a litany of curses, then faded and vanished, driven back into whatever metaplanar hellhole had spawned it. The banishment was difficult, but I weathered it far better than I had in my previous efforts against these creatures.
The vehicle was surrounded by nearly two dozen hungry spirits. They tried to climb up to us only to be blown off by shotgun fire or impaled by Adam's spear. Crank walked fire from the LMG across the swarming monsters, blowing holes through lifeless flesh, and slowing them down. Several fell as they lost legs, then began to drag themselves toward the truck.
My nose gushed blood, as I raised my left hand in a warding gesture. My vision was blurring, Rose was screaming words I can only imagine she heard on the trid (or maybe in the Brick Yard), and Crank came around the corner of the house with his 'good luck charm' in hand.
Crank shouldered the shotgun, took aim, and opened fire. Pieces of the body began flying off. "Rose, destroy the body it's inhabiting, we can beat him baby-girl." I pushed myself to my feet, batting a bolt of mana energy away as the monster sought to kill me. I called out to the astral plane and felt the spirit I needed respond. "You aren't eating anyone else tonight." I snapped at the corpse-thing.
Another spell flashed out at me. It hammered at my mystical defenses, driving me to my knees even though I was ready for it. The monster was more powerful than I was. So, I cheated. "Now!" I thought. An earth elemental manifested, engulfing the corpse and breaking line of sight.
"Rose, I need help." I said. She was suddenly beside me, hands on my arm as she began a healing spell. My nose stopped bleeding, and I instantly felt much better.
"Reloading," Crank called out.
"Spirit will be gone in a moment," I said. "Let's finish this piece of drek!"
"I will lend you my strength," Rose said.
"Thank you. This should only take a moment." I replied.
The earth elemental trembled and shook, grinding at the corpse stolen by the monstrous dark spirit. I raised my arms, readying myself. "Now." I commanded.
The earth elemental disappeared, and Crank opened fire again. Swiftwater's corpse was a mangled ruined mess the dark spirit clung to. I felt Rose's power added to my own as I called out, "AVANTE SPIRIT! AVANTE CREATURE OF THE PIT! I REBUKE YOU! BEGONE FROM THIS WORLD NEVER TO RETURN!" the contest of wills was joined. It felt like I was trying to lift a lake. The spirit's power was terrible, I felt my banishment pushing its energies away only to be replaced by a seemingly infinite tide of power behind it.
"DIE MORTAL VESSEL. DIE AND WELCOME THE HUNGER. WE WILL THRIVE IN YOUR BONES AND DRINK YOUR SOUL." The force of the thing hit me like a solid right, snapping my head back. My nose was bleeding again, even as Rose added her power to my own to keep me standing. The roar of Crank's shotgun continued as the large troll kept blasting bits of the corpse apart.
"BEGONE FELL SPIRIT! BEGONE UNCLEAN THING! I FORBID YOU STAY IN OUR WORLD! I CAST YOU FAR FROM THE SOULS YOU SEEK TO FEAST UPON! I DENY YOU! AVANTE SPIRIT! " I stood as I felt my strength fighting to return. I pulled the small flask from my hip pocket and poured out water over my head and chest. The water from the Blood Falls glowed under the mana from Rose's spell working to heal me.
The spirit struggled to fight against my banishment. Clawing at the flesh that anchored it to the world. "You cannot defeat me! I will eat you all!"
"AVANTE SPIRIT! BEGONE FROM THIS PLACE, NEVER TO RETURN. YOU HAVE NO POWER HERE!" I screamed at the unholy thing before me, our battle raging as we pit our wills against each other. "BACK! BACK FROM WHENCE YOU CAME!"
The spirit struggled, slipping from the body it had stolen which lay as a mangled and bloodied mess in the grass. It spat at me as it faded, sending a bolt of sizzling magical energy headlong into me. There wasn't enough time for me to raise a defense. The spell hit me, blasting at my life-force. I screamed and collapsed even as I heard the monster howl as it vanished from Earth.
Rose sterilized every drop of my blood I left in Peck.
Crank and I flew back to the hotel under cover of invisibility, while Angel updated us on the horror story that unfolded with the remaining monsters that pursued the police. Lewiston police officer Naomi Pischell ran over the walking dead with the roadmaster crushing the corpses and weakening the spirits' hold on our world. The Lewiston officers who showed up included two swat trained combat mages who made short work of the weakened spirits. I'm given to understand that weapon foci were involved.
We had to get the hell out of Dodge, and fast. We each checked out and headed back to the airport in Orofino. The road to Peck was closed to all traffic as we passed. At the airport, security was noticeably enhanced. I saw Pischell watching people enter, her face was full of fatigue but she kept her eyes open and watching the dozen or so travelers who came through. She saw us. Of that I have no doubt. If she recognized us she didn't let on that she did, and we were allowed to board our plane and fly home.
On September 21st, 2059 the Lewiston and Orofino police departments announced that several officers were killed in the line of duty when toxic spirits, summoned by persons unknown, had attacked the small town of Peck. The officers were buried with full honors and their tombs warded in recognition of their service. Officer Naomi Pischell was credited for saving several lives with her fast and unconventional thinking, promoted to sergeant, and awarded the golden eagle citation.
Back in Seattle, I paid everyone and spent the rest of September recovering from mana burns and the after effects of a spell that would have killed me if Rose hadn't been working so hard to keep me alive. I took her out for ice cream every day for the rest of the month.
Mr. Johnson made good on the money. I could confirm that the spirits were of the same type, and I gave him a full data dump on the spirit that stole Swiftwater's body. I told him in person, and handed him a printed copy of my recollections of the evening (names of shadowrunners involved were redacted, of course).
Angel sent the data she harvested from the detective's effort to retrace Swiftwater's work. What she found made my blood run cold. There was a hunter's cabin in the woods north of Peck called "Carver's Roost". It seems that Swiftwater used bits of clothing from one of the vandalized graves in a detection ritual that lead him to Carver's Roost, which was just a mile from the vehicle he, Snow, and Grey Fox abandoned. Whatever they found at Carver's Roost left Swiftwater and Grey Fox dead and their bodies possessed. However detective Snow managed to escape was lost forever. Angel pulled a satellite image of the cabin, and found that it had burned down as had most of the mountain is rested upon.
I shapechanged back to my pale elf persona, though Aria says I made some changes. I didn't, I swear. The job in Peck made me a lot of money, but I think my real treasure from that experience was knowing that I had helped save a lot of lives. I wish I could say it was the last time I fought such spirits, or that they were the most powerful I would every confront. But I can't, and they weren't. There are fearsome things in the shadows, chummers.
From the Author:
I hope you have enjoyed this latest entry in the stories about Tommy. As mentioned above I do not own Shadowrun. These stories are derived from game play and do not infringe on copyright.
I am very grateful to you for taking the time to read my fiction. I hope you will share this story with others, and I hope you'll share your thoughts about this and other stories here in the comments below.
I develop, write, and publish role-playing game materials (for other rpg systems) and release them under my company Sinopa Publishing LLC. You can find my work on drivethrurpg.com.
In the coming months I'll be releasing a number of projects on KickStarter. I invite you to follow me there, and on my social media channels to stay up to date on these projects. You can also check out my blog "My New Adventure" where I talk about my experiences as a new publisher. I share my mistakes (there have been several), my ideas (good and bad), and generally try to make it an honest and useful documentation of my experiences. I hope you enjoy it.
W.S. "Sam" Quinton