Father Collier’s eyes rolled back in his head as he screamed, the inhuman sound echoing throughout the empty, still church. As quickly as it began, it stopped. Father Collier stood from the table, his eyes darting left and right in panic as he began to… Bounce.
He simply stood there, staring into the distance blankly and gently bouncing on the balls of his feet. The Coterie stood in silence for a moment before Wei Shen reached out to reclaim one of the gems. Startled by the movement, or perhaps by someone attempting to touch the gems, Lucas, possessed by the spirit of Lu Bu lashed out with incredible superhuman strength, snapping Wei Shen’s arm in two, and hurling him into the pews of Father Collier’s church, impaling him through the heart in the process.
Lu Bu went berserk, but Xing managed to distract him, putting his significant martial skills to use to defend himself while Professor Afallon sprinted towards Lucas’ flat, desperate to find some information on the new threat they faced. Realizing that the Coterie was not trying to contain him, Lu Bu leapt through a stained-glass window, and vanished, hopping into the night.
The Coterie wasted no time in searching for a way to defeat this terror they’d unwittingly and unwillingly unleashed upon the denizens of San Francisco. Pawing through the unkempt stacks of books kept by Lucas Collier, and a number of rare books from San Francisco University, they came upon the name of an ancient Chinese text dealing with all manner of occult phenomenon and creatures, the Chāoyuè Shēngsǐ de Jìngjiè de Mìmì. Putting her Google-Fu to good use, Chen managed to track down the locations of the only two copies known to exist. One was on display in a Chinese museum, on the other side of the earth.
The other was the property of one Candace Boyle. Thankfully for the Coterie, Candace’s driver, Archibald owed them a favor. A quick phone call later, they had some useful information regarding Ms. Boyle’s estate, and the security therein. Candace employs a trio of private security specialists, ex-military, with serious hardware to keep her estate safe. The Coterie needed a distraction to sneak in, and Sam Thatcher knew he was the man for the job.
Driving his ragged ice cream truck up to the gate of the lavish Boyle Estate, Sam buzzed the intercom, beginning a strange exchange with the man on the other side. Claiming to be an ‘Owl Exterminator’, he befuddled, confused, and distracted not one, not two, but all three of Candace’s guards while Chen and Heilyn slipped inside her compound. Working quickly, Chen infiltrated the manor, and located the book. Coordinating with Heilyn, they cut the power to the estate, and absconded with their ill-gotten gains.
Returning to Wei Shen with news of their progress, they set about translating the old tome. With the knowledge of ancient Chinese provided by Wei Shen, and a smattering of Life Sciences provided by Professor Afallon, the Coterie was able to deduce Lu Bu’s — know known to be a Jiangshi — greatest weakness. Peach wood.
Tossing a few ideas back and forth, the Coterie finally decided that they would be best served by sneaking into Harvest Time, a pick-your-own-fruit orchard outside of San Diego. The night was not young enough to safely make the drive, so they rested for another day.
Sam Thatcher awoke the next night to the sweeping glare of flashlights outside his van. Two police officers had tracked him down after the robbery of Ms. Boyle’s estate, and were suspicious. He allayed their suspicions with a stunning display of incomprehensible babble before beginning the long night’s drive down to San Diego…