Everything has changed after the Blackout. All the Dead Men were awarded with the highest of honors available to them. Everyone but Hachiko and Sergei received a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sergei gained no “official” honors – but after he destroyed a shoggoth almost by himself, he has gained a bit of notoriety among the supernatural community. Hachiko was given both a Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor for his heroic deeds throughout the blackout. Alex was given additionally given the Chicago Police Award of Valor for his actions.
Angelique (and Jestinius to some degree) has been helping to treat her fellow Dead Men’s psychological issues caused by the various moments of mind-bending horror and unbelief they experienced. Jonathan finally came out of his coma in the early part of November, and though he went through multiple surgeries still has some discomfort with the remaining mystical bone shards in his chest.
After the renovations to the theater took place, the newly remodeled property opens for business, offering low-cost entertainment to the community. Angelique takes the small hoard of treasure (worth almost 4 billion dollars in just raw gold and jewels) that Jonathan stole from the Eyeless, and through several intermediaries and shell companies sets up the “Lantern Light” fund to help those who are in need after the Blackout. Once set up, she divorces herself as its creator and instead names herself as a part of the director’s board and begins enlisting the help of the rich and powerful of Chicago.
After Ruby reveals that she is pregnant with their fifth child and demands a “safe house” for their family, Hachiko moves them into one of newly refurbished apartments above the theater until their new house can be built. Stormy-Lynn and Alex’s relationship is stronger than ever, but the poor woman is still trying to come to grips with her kidnapping and imprisonment in the Mirrorwall. Angelique has formally adopted Marie, Linden (the once-werewolf from the Desoul), and Alvai (the telekinetic toddler they found during the Blackout), though Sergei remains Marie’s silent protector and guardian. In fact, Sergei takes up a very concrete role in the life of the three orphans, by teaching them his own skill set. Though Alvai is too young to understand what’s going on, Sergei disguises his lessons as “play” instead. Sergei even helps Angelique with Jonathan’s physiotherapy.
December 21st 2000, Thursday
3518 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL
Jon, Ruby, and Angelique cook breakfast for the mob of people (Hachiko’s family, Angelique’s wards, etc.) in the penthouse. Alex has stayed over from the night before because Angelique’s place is closer to Stormy’s then his own. Both Jonathan and Angel notice the oddness of two missing teenagers from Lakeside and ask Alex to look into it. Alex then calls a friend of his in records and asks her to pull those two reports and anything similar to it in exchange for some of Jon’s homemade donuts. Jon even “styles” the donuts so they look like various Christmas decorations and symbols. Alex eventually returns with the files, and by the time he does, Sergei has gone out “on the streets” to hear the latest gossip. They figure out that it is some sort of supernatural problem. Something is taking the children and leaving behind chunks of anthracite (one of the purest forms of coal). Since most of the children taken have run off before, caused trouble for their parents, etc. no one thought to look deeper (i.e., they were “naughty”). The Dead Men put their heads together and come up with the next possible target: an underage teenager that killed a family of four while driving drunk and got away with it.
December 22nd 2000, Friday
405 Mayflower Road, Lake Forest, Illinois 60045
Angelique “debuts” herself to the elite of Chicago by holding a fundraising charity for Lantern Light to help those less fortunate than themselves. Pulling out all the stops, she uses her friend’s reputations to work the crowd raising nearly forty million dollars to add to her fund’s principle for the year. The night is an utter success. Since Sergei is not good at such ” scenes, he’s elected instead to watch young Roger Denahe. As the PCs suspected, Denahe is the next target and Sergei watches as somethingman-shaped pops up from the chimney and scuttles down the wall like a spider brutally beats Denahe and then tosses him in a wicker basket on his shoulder before sliding back down the chimney and disappearing – but not before he leaves another chunk of coal. Before it disappears completely, Sergei gets a good look at it and then heads back to the theater and tells the others what happened. After some debate, Sergei uses his master-familiar link with Angelique and shares what he saw who then gets Jonathan to draw it, and then they begin to research it as a group. They eventually discover that they are dealing with one of the Companions of Christmas: Krampus (sometimes called Black Peter), some form of demon or elf with unique abilities and powers. He punishes naughty children by beating them with a birch branch and takes the worst back to his home plane to eat throughout the year. But he made a mistake and took a seemingly good children named Isaac Tunis. The PCs decide that he must be out of control and therefore, must be stopped.
December 24th 2000, Sunday
3518 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL
Deciding the best course of action to stop Krampus is to cast a spell on Jonathan that will enhance the “naughtiness” of the act and then get him to do something bad. Since Jonathan is still technically a “child” (he’s nineteen) the spell works, and Jon gives Alvai a sucker and then takes it. The young child, semi-understanding of what’s going on proceeds to go on a rampage and attracting Krampus. They wait in the living room for the beastly creature to make its appearance, but it instead goes after Alvai in the next room…which turns out to be a bad idea as the scared boy emits a telekinetic blast so powerful it destroys part of the outer wall and window as Krampus is thrust outward. Realizing he’s in a trap, Krampus tries to leave, but finds the area locked down by magic making it impossible for him to cross dimensions. The PCs rush up to the roof and confront him with what they learned – one of the children he took had not done anything wrong, he’d been set up. Unable to believe he made a mistake, Krampus flies into a rage and begins to attack them. With several PCs stunned the battle looks bad for them until, eventually Angelique, Sergei, and Jonathan using their various abilities to let Angel get close enough to attack. Using her own telekinetic powers she begins to crush Krampus’ heart, which immobilizes him. But instead of dispatching him, she renders medical aid and then summons Father Christmas who is aghast at the whole situation and thankful she didn’t kill Krampus. She explains what happened and offers her version of events. Krampus looks disgusted as he realizes he’s been tricked and when Father Christmas asks by whom he replies “Who do you think?” In exchange, he offers her any one thing he can do, and she decides to ask for everyone in Chicago to receive at least one present this year – a wish he easily grants. When the sun begins to rise on Christmas day, Krampus and Father Christmas disappear until they are gone. Back inside and under the tree are dozens of new gifts, and the PCs catch sight of an elf disappearing into the nearby fireplace with a twinkle to his eye…
That day all the children who were missing are returned and young Isaac is reunited with his mother.
December 25th 2000, Monday
3518 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL