37: Sins of the Father

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When It Happened (Chronicle Time): August, 2006 - February 2007

Who Was There: Yukio Ohta(Bob), Bruce (Matt), Mark Donovin (Eric)

What It Was

Three and a half years after the death of his father, Luther Abel returns to New York, but his plans for a big comeback are cut short by a fatal miscalculation.

The Full Horror

Less than a month after the raid on Castle Glamis, word comes back that the Gilmores have reclaimed their heritage and wiped out the Douglas vampires. With the Crystal Skull secure in Mannahatta, the balance of power in Scotland has shifted again.

In Katsoulakis' New York, meanwhile, an uneventful summer gives way to a quiet fall, and the city settles in for a long winter. But then, on February 13 (once celebrated as the first day of the Roman festival Parentalia), the peace is shattered by a sudden and very unexpected return.

Mark and Tamara are in the spacious CnC deep within the Renaissance, enjoying strawberries thanks to Cassandra's recent studies in herbalism, when "special report" notices appear on several local stations, followed by live feeds showing a lane touching down at LaGuardia:

"...The 1990s seem like a long time ago, but tonight the son of one of its most successful businessmen has come back home. Luther Abel-" (Mark chokes on a strawberry) "-is all grown-up and ready to start where his father left off...."

Sure enough, there is Luther walking across the tarmac, surrounded by a tight group of six men and women: "Not a bad entourage for a 19-year-old, especially Abigail Green-Stevens, who sources say may be close to getting his father's fortune out of four years of legal stalemate."

Luther's retinue seem ready to cause trouble, and anyone who remembers his father will recognize that look in his eyes. The press conference is brief, but Luther makes a strong impression. When reporters ask him if he plans to move back into his father's old mansion, he replies: "Naw, man, got to build up to that. Thought I might check out this Lodge I keep hearing about."

Mark is less than pleased to hear that, and even less pleased when he sees the profiles of Luther's team: 1) Tarique Johanssen, son of Adam, who had been a member of Alex Abel's top assassination cell, 2) Vanessa Rhames, one of Alex's top con-people; 3) Gareth Stamp, another old TNI man, one of their best researchers; 4) Abigail Green-Stevens, a top-billing lawyer in New York, with a specialty in high finance; 5) Lawrence Sever, known to Mark by reputation as an up-and-coming hired killer; and 6) Natalya Ivanov, drop-dead gorgeous and very Gifted.

Within hours Mark knows more about the retinue than the press ever do, but he is just as surprised as they are when Luther goes straight from the airport to Stuyvesant Lodge. A stunned Alistair Jameson and Everett Rolston meet the young man and welcome him into the building, and that is the last anyone sees of Luther and his people for over a week.

When Cassandra hears the news, she is beside herself. Bad enough that Luther would come back to New York, but to do so publically is just asking for trouble. She insists they have to do whatever they can to keep Luther from getting into even more trouble than he is already.

Storming Stuyvesant

Mark, Bruce, Yukio, and Cassandra head for the Lodge to see for themselves what is going on, only to hear from Rolston and Jameson that Luther has already entered the Dreamlands. They are not sure what exactly he plans to do there, but he did say he was "seeking wisdom," so they gave him directions to the Great Library in Celephais. Rolston and Jameson fail to see it, but Mark, Bruce, and Yukio are quick to realize the Luther is planning some kind of revenge against Thomas Donnelly, the man who slaughtered his father and destroyed TNI.

The four leave the Lodge and head back to the Marble Arch and the Dreaming Stone, and within the hour they have entered the Dreamlands. Kaman-Thah and Nasht greet them in the Cavern of Flame, and when told their visitors wish to follow "Luther Abel" the gate-keepers direct them to a pitch-dark tunnel that ends—as earlier passages have—at the edge of a vast abyss. As before, stepping out into open air results in a slow descent to the distant ground below, but this time the nightgaunts do not attack. As the ground nears, they see a vast, thriving seaport, one unlike any they have seen before, with countless steam-powered zeppelins docked in the heights above the city. When they reach the nearest gate, they are told they have come to the great city of Hlanith.


The buildings of Hlanith are granite and copper and brass, and great steam-powered factories gush clouds of dense white vapor into the air by day and night. If this spares the city the nightmarish pollution of coal, it nonetheless disturbs other natives of the Dreamlands who fear this unusual city and its 'strange magics'. Great billows of steam and fog fill the streets and alleys, and warm clouds hover over all but the tallest buildings, embracing their fantastically peaked roofs.

The streets are laid with great slabs of stone on which odd, wheeled vehicles move swiftly, while other Hlanithans take to the skies in ramshackle contraptions that always seem on the verge of dashing themselves to the ground. The bustling markets are famed throughout the Dreamlands.

Hlanith specializes in the 'science of magic' and to the eyes of the four Dreamers, it seems like nothing less than a steampunk capital, a city entirely unique in the Dreamlands. The people seem friendly, and city guards direct them to the Pentagonum, the foremost school of magic which is dedicated to the five realms of 'magical science.' The dean, Basilius, keeps them waiting for a few hours, but the man eventually meets them in the Great Rotunda of the Hall of Masters.

Basilius freely tells them that Luther and Tarique had met with him three days before. The young man told him that a great monster terrorized his homeland, a creature like unto the dragons of legend, black as pitch against the starry skies under which it attacked, bearing screaming townsmen into the night. He hoped to learn how to summon such a creature for the power to summon also carried the power to banish.

The dean thought this a reasonable request, though an odd placed one, since there were other places, such as Celephais, that had better traditions of magic for such things. The work of summoning and banishing is not really a strength of Hlanith, but Basilius knew of some books on the subject, kept on the dustier, less tended (and, therefore, less guarded) shelves of the library known simply as the Lapis, named for the brilliant lapis lazuli that gleamed in its walls.

The implication is clear: somehow Luther had learned about Hlanith, and came here to gain knowledge that would have been better guarded in other libraries of the Dreamlands. Basilius summons an elderly librarian, who guides them to the shelves where Luther had conducted his research. After some clever detective work, the Dreamers find an ancient volume containing rituals for the summoning and binding of a dragon-like creature called a Hunting Horror. Near it is a copy of a book Yukio recognizes from Katsoulakis' library, De Vermis Mysteriis. Several of its pages have been torn out, but Yukio remembers that they concerned the power contained in the blood of true dragons (such as the Servants of Gaia), including the ability to understand any language.

That suggests the situation may be even worse than they thought. The four beat a fast retreat from Hlanith and cross back to the Waking World near the Lodge—only to hear Luther complete the final words to the spell of binding.

Blood of the Wyrm

Luther is a smart young man, much like his father had been. But it seems they share the same capacity for incredibly poor judgment. For although the object of Luther's hatred is Thomas Donnelly, what the young man actually commands his Hunting Horror to do is "rend and consume the one who is most powerful in this City."


Needless to say, things go rapidly downhill from there. After taking a moment to roar at Luther for his stupidity, Mark leaps into his car and speeds north to Katsoulakis' brownstone, calling ahead on his cellphone to warn him what is coming. But when Mark reaches the residence, there Katsoulakis stands on the roof, right in front of the Horror, and with a casual wave of his hand, he snaps the Binding and commands the monster to leave his presence.

To Mark's shock, the Horror whirls about in the air and begins to rampage its way back to the Lodge. 'Disappointed' that Katsoulakis decided to leave the Horror their problem to solve, Mark spins his car around and goes after the creature, this time calling Yukio to let him know the creature is on its way back.

Mark is able to catch up with the Horror, because it is taking its time to smash buildings and crush every person it sees. A shotgun blast does not hurt it all, but it does get the creature's attention, and Mark if forced to bail out of his car and run for cover in a nearby department store. The Horror pursues him and with an unearthly roar, it swings its massive tail through the front facade of the building, shattering the entire storefront in a shower of stone, glass, and metal.

Mark is preparing to meet his end, when Bruce appears in the street. With a mad laugh, the Mocker launches an attack, but even Bruce is surprised when the his Warpbolt suddenly builds on itself and slams into the Horror with a tremendous concussion that blasts the monster into smoking, wet pieces of meat that bounce and splat on the pavement for blocks around. Stunned and surprised, the Ace and the Joker head back to the Lodge.

Meanwhile, Luther and his entourage are heading for New Jersey and a chance to try again someday. Unfortunately for them, the man in charge of the NYPD's cordon is Alan Wingate, and when Bruce and Mark return, they find a police helicopter waiting to pick them up.

Mark knows that Luther's team is not going to stop for a police blockade, and he convinces a very reluctant Wingate to let him down a short distance ahead of Luther's limo. Mark takes a sniper's position and waits until the limo comes into view. One shot through the driver's side windshield kills Tarique instantly, and a high-speed collision kills everyone on impact. Thus ends the legacy of Alex Abel and TNI.

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