Shadows over Appalachia

It's Tough To Play Hero

Dear Journal,

It’s kind of hard to write this, since…well, I’ll get to that. Have I mentioned that Alan is an excellent driver somehow? Anyway, we’re trapped in the car and there’s a helicopter and soldier looking guys are dropping out of it via ropes. In a fit of inspiration, I grab a…bottle? Maybe a soda bottle, not really sure, throw it out the window and say “Fire In The Hole!” About this time, Rookie mutters something under his breath and all this wind whips up around the place! The air is full of sticks and leaves and other junk, and Alan guns the car. Turns out I was right, and that mini-gun DID jam…which was lucky for us. We speed down the road, but that chopper keeps following. We quickly decide to head for a tunnel and then have Annabelle Veil us so we can escape. Sadly, the chopper gets ahead of us, and the soldier guys in it fire on the car! It gets pretty smashed up, but Alan just keeps driving! Rookie pops a couple of shots off at it, but I don’t think it did anything. The soldiers opened fire again, and that’s when it all went dark.

I woke up a while later in an emergency room. I’m pretty sure the others tried to explain to me what happened, but I was on some pretty nice painkillers. Apparently, I got shot in the head, but it just grazed me so I’m not dead. Hooray! I’m not sure how we actually escaped, but I’m given to understand that we ended up in the tunnel, though Alan’s car got totaled, and then blew up. I think Annabelle veiled everyone and somehow we got to the hospital. Anyway, while the Rookie and I were getting patched up, Ironknife and Annabelle worked up a tracking spell to find us where the ritual was going down, and to stop it. Alan rented a van as well. In a fit of brilliance, the Rookie figured out we were headed for the Lost Sea. We went around to the “night visit” entrance, and I got the guard to come back to our van. At that point, Rookie drew down on him, and I acted like I had a gun. Honestly, I figured he’d surrender at that point. I ended up being wrong. He gets all Jet Li on our asses, and even tosses Freedom and Alan around a bit. He punched me in the throat, and boy did that hurt, but I managed to grab his gun away. He then did some crazy move that ended up with him shooting the Rookie in the side. Freedom took a nice bite out of him, and then this HUGE rock hit him in the chest and knocked him out. I think it broke some bones too. I patched him up none too gently, and treated the Rookie too. He was hurt, but he’s tougher than he looks and was almost chipper after a few more Codine. I manage to pocket the spearhead when Ironknife isn’t looking. I mean, I needed a bargaining chip if we got into a tight spot, and hey, what Ironknife doesn’t know can’t be ripped from his skull via mental wuju, right?

We go in, and we get to the place. There’s a gold circle of magic on the ground, with this HUGE golden morter and pestle thing in the center. A few rough looking trooper types and a suit were in there. Rookie says something stupid, and one of the guards checks it out. I tried to tuck myself in a corner and look inconspicuous, but that doesn’t work. That’s when I got shot again. He got me good in the side, and that hurt a lot. It’s not like in the movies, when the hero just shrugs off a flesh wound. No, it really, really hurts. Rookie, Annabelle, and Ironknife all do their wizard thing and the bullets just bounce off their magic shields. I don’t even know where the wolves ended up. Sucks to be me sometimes. I tossed a glow stick in the face of the guy, and then Alan just zips into the room! We couldn’t see what was going on, what with the fight and all, but a couple of gun shots went off soon after, so it couldn’t have been good. Freedom bites the hell out of the guy, and he does some weird thing with his belt and turns into an ugly wolf. Hexanwulf are bad news, but not quite as bad as the Loup-Garou. Still enough to scare the hell out of me. He tussles with Freedom for a while, and Annabelle and the Rookie face it down. I crawl up behind Ironknife so we can see what is going on in the main room.

Oh boy, two more Hexanwolves. That’s all we need. Alan is in the middle of the golden circle, and is sort of holding onto, and hiding behind the big bowl thing. He looks like he walked through a wall of fire, and that’s when I realize that circle is probably a warding circle. That’s when the Hexanwolves jumped on Ironknife and I. I tried to get away, but that thing just tore into me. I have never felt such horrible pain in my life. The damn thing picked me up by my leg and shook and shook. I heard and felt something tear away, and my leg stopped working at all. There was a lot of blood and it was incredibly painful. Ironknife dealt with his wolf, and a big rock hit the one on me…twice. I managed to crawl into the chamber. I figured I could use the spearhead to blow the warding circle. It would probably hurt me pretty bad, but at least we’d be able to get at Alan, and he could get away with the bowl.

Best laid plans, eh? Just as Freedom comes trotting in triumphantly with a Hexanwolf belt in her jaws, the suit draws down on me and threatens to shoot me if no one stands down. Alan, with some last effort, hurls the bowl out of the circle and within reach. It is VERY cold, as I get chilled just being near the thing. Freedom puts the belt down, but hovers near. Then, this big sheet of earth goes over top of me, and I hear a gunshot! Ironknife to the rescue! It doesn’t last long, but Freedom bites the crap out of the suit. Who suddenly isn’t paying attention to me. I grab his ankle, and in a fit of heroic stupidity, I jam that spearhead right into the bowl. Bone-chilling cold flows through me…and into the suit! Ha! I got that bastard! Then, I heard a shot ring out, and it all went black. Again.

I woke up in the hospital, again. This time though, I was in a nice hospital bed. I went back to sleep. Eventually, I woke up again, and Dr. Fitz-Hume was there. I was actually glad to see him, since it meant that I was probably not dead. I then thought maybe he was there to shoot me. This…turned out to not be the case. He left me with some vague threats, but also that most of this would be swept under the rug so that certain governmental agencies (I’m guessing Majestic) wouldn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of having been thwarted by 3 Wizards, 2 Werewolves, and…me. I can only assume we won the day, since I’m not dead and the world didn’t explode.

The doctors say I might regain 80% use in my leg someday…after a lot of physical therapy. Maybe. I’d say it was a fair trade for saving the world. Ironknife came by to visit. His hand is all wrapped up and he said he got bit pretty bad too. He’ll eventually heal all the way…in a few years, it’ll be as good as…well, it will work. He’s a wizard. They just heal you know, eventually. Freedom looks none the worse for wear, as does Annabelle. Except for the weird scars they had on their arms. They don’t talk to me about that. The Rookie stood up surprisingly well. He’s mostly bruised and battered. Alan I heard bought a new car three days ago, and despite a little blistering will be okay. I think I’m going to pick out a cane. Maybe one with some magic tricks in it. After all, I’ll need some more tricks to keep up with the rest of these people. I have to. I mean, who else is gonna keep them from killing themselves?

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