It has been four months since the siege of Bindings & Sons Warehouse, the base of the Band’s operations.
Thurston Frost had returned to traveling the world as a magician, finally settling into a highly lucrative gig in Las Vegas. His manager was happy with him for once, since he hadn’t disappeared or anything similar for a long time.
Months of magic and partying occurred, fitting of a son of the Asgard gods. Life was good in Las Vegas, at least until four months had passed, and his manager comfortable in a false sense of security.
After one evening’s incredible show, he was leaving through the backstage door with Stan, his manager, where he found a beautiful woman holding open the door to a limousine for him. Telling Stan not to wait up, he noted the running wolf emblazoned on the side of the vehicle before getting in.
Turning back to her after getting a drink from the limo’s bar, he found himself face to face with a Valkyrie. Getting straight down to business, she informed him as they drove that Thurston’s father, Odin, the All-Father, had gone missing. No signs of a struggle, and all of his historic and legendary relics left behind. Asgard was a mess at the moment trying to find him. Informing Thurston that he was also now a Demigod, he was handed a new set of cuff links, a bandoleer, and a cane sword crafted by the dwarves he had met months previous at Disneyland.
Finally pulling over to let him out, the Valkyrie wished him luck. Taking a step out into the daylight, he noticed something strange about the scenery around him. Everything was in Japanese kanji. And…he was staring right at a billboard of Roth Foster himself, crossed arms and looming over a picture of the Earth, with a glowing golden cross behind him.
Takashi had found it difficult to settle back down into some semblance of a normal life after becoming accustomed to the high-velocity life of a Scion. Doing a bit of sightseeing around Illinois, he kept in contact with his three bandmates, looking for signs of trouble that required him to happily swing his sword about some. Finally realizing that he should actually do his day-to-day life, he moved back to San Diego for a time to work at his law firm.
A bonus of that, however, was the fact that he was now incredibly close to where Cynthia and his grandparents were living, protected by the Yakuza. Taking the time to get over his general aversion to public dancing and dance clubs, he took Cynthia out often and found the difference between his right and left foot in the process.
Takashi also did some footwork in finding out more about Roth Foster’s past. Doing some digging, he managed to get the man’s life story. The son of a single, alcoholic abusive father in Texas, he was taken into protective custody in his early teens, and found solace in religion. Doing mission work and attending bible school, he got the opportunity to go overseas on a pilgrimage to the Vatican, where he stayed to study for many years, gaining the priesthood. He returned to Texas and took a position preaching there. One day though, he picked up and left without a word. He went all over the world, to Germany, China, Egypt, and spent a good long time gaining knowledge of the world. Takashi managed to find that after his worldwide sojourn, he returned to the Vatican and had appealed to see the private libraries therein. Once he had found whatever it was he had been looking for, he returned to his home in Texas and established the Jehovah’s Flame, and became the charismatic, conniving man they had grown to know and love.
He also managed to finally put the casework together to take out the BG corporation, the leader finally being without his good luck charm that had been helping him get out of various environmental lawsuits. In an impressive international scandal, Takashi finally managed to break them down, and in the process, also uncover another company that was dumping sludge into the ocean. An interesting layer was revealed to this when he found that they were Titan-spawn controlled, and the creatures that the sludge came into contact with became Nemians. Handily dispatching his enemies, he was gifted with a visit from his father, Hachiman.
In the guise of the old fisherman he’d first met him as, Hachiman passed his hands over Takashi’s sword and armor, deeming them fit for his Demigod son, and told him to keep his values clear in his mind. As he turned to leave, he told Takashi to look to his grandparents, when the time came.
These words came to fruition sometime later when his grandparents called, telling him that they were moving back to Japan to live out the rest of their days. Confused, but supportive, Takashi arranged their flights, and began making arrangements to go with them as well.
Felicity, in the meantime, had elected to stick by Randal in Chicago. Working together to take out the rest of the Jehovah’s Flame holdouts in the city, she and Randal settled into a close rapport. Taking out cultists when they could, on quiet times they’d settle down to some activity together, usually television or similar, and nestle down on the couch.
She received a call from SAGA early on in their time away from Takashi and Thurston; her offer of talking to her father for five minutes in exchange for her prophecies had been approved. Sharing her knowledge of the prophecies of the Storm God, and the one she’d told of her father being captured, as well as the one she’d told for Thurston, she finally got to speak to her father for the first time since his capture. He expressed confusion as to what was going on, and he sounded older. Felicity urged him to not let that place get to him, and assured him that she was doing just fine, but she’d love to see him again. Their five minutes up, she hung up the phone, assured of her father’s continued safety.
Keeping busy in other respects, she pulled one other theft prank on Chicago. Stealing into the Field Museum at night, she wrapped up tail bones from Sue the T-Rex safely and spirited them to a child’s playground sandbox, where the buried them. She set a sign over the site that said, “DINO DIG SITE, KIDS WELCOME!!” and signed it with the cat face she’d used when she moved the Monet.
After taking out what they knew to be the last holdout of cultists, Randal disappeared for the better part of the day. The Danny’s Boys also disappeared an hour or so into Randal being gone, and all reemerged later on. Randal had the slight glow of one who’d just received his Demigod visitation, and impressed, Felicity asked how it went. He said he’d seen his father, but something was terribly wrong. Telling her not to worry about it, he distanced himself for the majority of the rest of their time in Chicago, rebuffing her attempts to try and talk to him about things. Finally loosening up after some time, he began rejoining her on quiet evenings, and during one such evening, they chanced upon a news story breaking in Tokyo.
A reporter was interviewing Roth Foster himself. Telling the reporter that he was wanting to spread the flame of the worship of Jehovah to the rest of the world, he hoped that the Imperial Family would welcome him and his followers to Tokyo, and went on to wax bullshit lyrical about the works of the Flame of Jehovah. Through his diatribe, Randal remarked that it seemed like Foster was inviting them. So, they decided it was time to go.
Takashi, on the plane to Tokyo, was joined by Cynthia. On the plane ride, she told him that the Yakuza had actually petitioned to move Takashi’s grandparents and her to Tokyo for their safety after their usual Yakuza contact went missing and was eventually replaced by someone else. Telling them that they’d be safer overseas, they duly went. Takashi promised to look after her as well as he could, and she smiled and took his hand.
Landing at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Cynthia was led away by a Yakuza operative, along with Takashi’s grandparents. She smiled, accepting that she probably wouldn’t see him for awhile, as he was handed a card by the Yakuza. Reading a card that said “Yuriko” on it, along with a number.
Calling the Yakuza he was originally in contact with first, they expressed displeasure in not knowing anything about a change of the guard on Takashi’s family, hanging up on him. Finally dialing Yuriko, he arranged a meeting in Tokyo’s financial district.
Thurston, getting his bearings, donned his cuff links, slid on his new bandoleer, and started strutting down the streets with his new cane. He’d gone barely a single block when he heard a shriek from not too far away. There was a group of schoolgirls who had actually RECOGNIZED him. The next instant, he was on the run from a slowly growing fan-mob. He didn’t run all-out, enjoying the attention just a little bit, his immediate plans to find someplace to stay out for the time being.
Felicity and Randal, after a near snafu at O’Hare airport involving his misplaced passport, landed in Tokyo after a 16-hour flight. Immediately deciding to check into a hotel, they went to the Haneda Excel nearby and unpacked, checking over things to look at while they were there. Realizing they should contact Thurston and Takashi, Felicity first tried the medallions.
Thurston answered, being chased by his fan mob. Amused that they were in Tokyo (only stating, ‘figures!’), he asked where they were at, and he said to a confused Felicity that he’d be there in a bit.
Turning back to Randal, she saw him settling down for a nap, and decided to join him there before getting to Takashi.
In the meantime, Takashi went to his meeting in the financial district. Meeting Yuriko, the tall man revealed to him that the Yakuza had fragmented. There was the Yakuza now caring for Cynthia and his grandparents, and there was now also the Yakuza that had ordered their kidnapping in the first place; the Red Emperors. The Red Emperors are a Scion-led band of Yakuza who believed in the natural superiority of Scions over mortals, and the Amatsukami over all other pantheons. Wanting to ‘take their places’ in the natural order, they impose their will all over Japan. Asking for Takashi’s help in dealing with them, he agreed, and Yuriko gave him the information to find one of their main hideouts.
Felicity awoke to the violent sound of Randal waking from a nightmare next to her, and Bubastis being flung from her warm perch on him, shouting “No, I WON’T!!”
She asked him if he was alright, and he answered with a non-committal “Jet lag” before he locked himself in the bathroom.
Just then, Thurston knocked on the hotel room’s door, and Felicity (after undoing a multitude of locks) flung herself at him in a massive bearhug. Randal came out to greet Thurston, having composed himself, and finally they called Takashi.
Amused that all of them were actually in Japan, he only answered with a smile and a “I’ll be there as soon as I can.” Felicity gave them their hotel information, and finally he actually asked them to meet him in the financial district where he still was. Happy and surprised, they all set out to find him.
Meeting Takashi, they shared their reasons for being in Japan. Trying to decide which problem to tackle first, they decided off the bat to just relax and do some sightseeing. Randal already had all sorts of ideas of what to see, naming off architectural wonders, so they checked out Tokyo Tower to also get a good look at the skyline of the new city they were in.
Passing by the Tokyo Stock Exchange just as the bells were ringing for the day, Takashi advised standing back to avoid the crush of people. Clustered together, they began noticing something strange. As the people passed them…they made eerie eye contact. Every last one of them. Just as they began to piece things together, they heard a shout, just out of sight.
“I’ve got more for ya right here, ya undead gits!”
Three Scions burst into sight, swinging at the people around them, two men and a woman. Randal startled, and the woman made stark eye contact with him just as all hell broke loose around them.
Swinging, shooting, and snapping the necks of the people, which turned out to be a huge crowd of undead feeding off of avarice, they made short work of the creatures and turned to their allies.
Felicity was immediately put on guard by a blur of a small Hispanic woman tackling Randal to the ground. He stood, a little sheepish, and they got a whiff of the three of them. Scions of the Dodekatheon, the Azlanti, and the Aesir. Going on a hunch, Felicity walked to Randal’s side, pointedly took his arm, and asked him if he had introductions to make. Randal smiled and said he did.
The woman was Sammie, daughter of Tezcatlipoca, and one of the men was Vick, son of Frigg. He admitted to not knowing their third. Vick helpfully revealed that the third man was Edwin, son of Hephaestus. He was much, much scrawnier than Randal, and shorter, appearing to live the more mental aspects of their mutual father’s specialties. He seemed to always be smiling about something, like a joke he was constantly telling himself.
Thurston introduced the rest of them to the three, and it was stated that Vick and Sammie were once Randal’s bandmates, back well before he’d met Takashi, Felicity, and Thurston. Admitting to actually knowing about them, Felicity kept close to Randal, she and Sammie sizing each other up.
Calling the Danny’s Boys to clean up the bodies around them, Vick reacted with some horror to their transformations since he’d last seen Randal. “Where’s Billy!? I LIKED Billy! And does Tommy still play cards?” Randal could only shrug in return. They reconvened at a sushi restaurant nearby, managing to skirt any unwanted attention, and talked a bit about how Randal’s old band plus Edwin had found themselves in Tokyo.
Apparently, they had (Randal, Sammie, and Vick) killed a spider in the sewers of Chicago and taken its silk to Frances, who had woven a tapestry to see their fates. He was disconcerted, however, to notice a snag in the weave, and was concerned about its meaning. He told them to head to Germany to investigate the meaning behind the snag, at which point Randal had parted ways with them, unwilling to leave Chicago. Vick and Sammie had gone alone, finding an old hag in the swamps who said she’d read the tapestry if they would guard a touchstone for her, a place she had been appointed to keep safe by the Aesir years ago. Agreeing to this, they went there only to discover a discarded golden spyglass, which they kept.
When their allotted time guarding the touchstone was up, the hag stated that she, in fact, could not sense the snarl, although she felt that its presence had been in Germany. It would take a powerful nexus of Fate indeed to hide the snarl from her. All she could tell them was that in five moons, the snarl would reveal itself in the Far East.
In the meantime, they had helped with a giant problem in a small village, picking up Edwin there, who proved to be a huge help in fighting the giants. They, in return, let him in on their quest, and he agreed to accompany them. Deciding to head to Tokyo, since that was as Far East as they could think to go, there they were now. Only one moon left until that snarl made itself known.
They moved on to asking what Randal and the gang were doing in Tokyo, which they initially waffled about on. Thurston asked about the spyglass, thinking it could be the same spyglass he’d retrieved for his father on Mount Olympus from Apollo months previous. Vick informed him that it was one of the items they’d lost on their trip to Tokyo, having to sneak through customs and other things due to many outstanding warrants for his arrest. The life of a Scion isn’t always easy to explain. Thurston grit his teeth and dropped the matter, instead giving them an epic retelling of the Chance’s End fiasco, which they had caught some wind of. Stunned quiet, they waited to hear the rest of the reason they were in Tokyo.
After another moment of Thurston trying to cover up by telling them about the Demigod band of Ronald, Issac, and Isabella, Felicity finally blurted (justifying it by saying that they’d find out sooner or later) that they were hunting Roth Foster. Edwin, amused, pointed to a television where a commercial featuring Roth Foster had begun to air. It was an embarrassing, typically Japanese commercial that featured the dreaded Reverend giving an enthusiastic “thumbs-up” to the sky on a pink background, with a hand coming from the clouds to give him an “OK.” Thurston, disgusted, tossed a chopstick at the television and hit the channel button.
A few moments of awkward conversation followed, with Randal and Edwin sharing a tiny exchange about their mutual father, and Takashi and Thurston exchanging money under the table regarding possible future cat-fights. Eventually, the two bands parted ways after exchanging phone numbers.
After getting their money changed and getting phones that would function better in Tokyo without massive long distance problems, they began making their way back to the hotel. It wasn’t long before they realized they were being followed.
Turning a corner to lure the man out, Randal nabbed him and slammed him against a wall, Takashi asking in Japanese what he was doing following them. The man answered angrily in English, demanding to be put down before he got ‘angry and took back the offer.’ Curious, they set him down to hear him out.
Hearing that Takashi was in the country, this man, a representative of the Red Emperors, had come to extend the hand of welcome. He asserted snidely what Takashi already knew of them; he considered Felicity, Randal, and Thurston to be Takashi’s ‘servants,’ not being Scions of the Amatsukami. They would be allowed to follow, in service to him, of course. Takashi curbed their anger through medallion discourse, not wanting to muck up the opportunity to see these people at work.
Getting into a limo that had been called for their use, they were taken to the very graveyard Takashi had been told about during his meeting earlier in the day. Ancient bamboo grave posts filled the graveyard, and a massive shrine to all the Amatsukami stood near the back. Ascending the steps of the dark shrine, they witnessed a strange, horrifying ritual.
A man stripped bare to the chest was on his knees between two other men in suits. All smelled of cherry blossoms, Scions of the Amatsukami. Standing over him was a dark woman with a mask bolted to her face, a knife cutting her hand over the man’s head. He absorbed the blood she dripped onto him, chanting twisted-sounding words. He transformed into a hunched, red demon with a horn protruding from his head, howling in the night. She looked him over, pleased, and cut a hole in the very fabric of space with her impressive sword, slipping through it and disappearing.
Their escort told them the woman’s story. She was once, ages ago, a Scion of Susano-o who had attained greatness during the war against the Titans at their original sealing. Susano-o told his daughter to distract Mikaboshi, Avatar of Darkness, as they sealed up Tartarus. He sacrificed his daughter’s life without even asking her, telling her that this was a suicide mission. She would have gladly, but her last view of her father before Tartarus sealed behind her was of him turning his back on her. She endured Mikaboshi’s torment for centuries, where he “showed her the error of her ways” in trusting the Gods. The Gods, he told them, were going to abandon them all like Susano-o had abandoned her, and had indeed already done so. Their only hope and salvation now lied in the perfect darkness that Mikaboshi offered…and eventually in the nothingness…because once they were elevated beyond all other men and Scions and even Gods, there would be nothing, no war, no disease, no poverty, because the world would not exist anymore.
He told Takashi that dismissing their offer of ‘friendship’ would be unwise, as he would be deemed an ‘unrecognized Scion.’ Takashi spoke with the man, lulling him into a false sense of security by going on about how he did not have any love for his father’s justice, and closing the distance between them.
Finally, he said, “The justice I enact…is my own.” With that, he drew his sword and slashed at their guide, cutting him in half and killing him instantly. At that same moment, Thurston sliced with this sword and Felicity disappeared to better get a vantage point. The tainted Scion Thurston slashed was cut straight across the throat, killing him instantly as well, and Felicity fired on the third corrupted man from her cover, nailing him in between the eyes.
Only that red demon was left, and before Randal could close the distance between it and him, it locked eyes onto Takashi. The telepathic being willed him to turn on Thurston, and in a quick, horrifying instant, Thurston was cut clean across the chest and bleeding out on the ground.
Before any of their friends could react, the beast tackled Takashi, taking advantage of the control it had over his mind. They tumbled head over heels down the steps of the shrine, and when they finally got a look, the beast had taken Takashi’s form. Perfectly. They walked back up the steps together and faced Felicity and Randal. Randal, gobsmacked, had no idea what to do.
Felicity started questioning the two Takashi/Oni, and it could answer anything she considered confidential, like Cynthia’s name and their trip to Disneyland. They sometimes spoke in perfect unison. Felicity, desperate, finally asked Takashi to heal Thurston, who was looking badly and in danger of death. The monster/Takashi pair replied that he would, if the beast wouldn’t take the opportunity to just finish him off. Telling her to leave Takashi and take Thurston and Randal and run, she finally became frustrated enough to punch both of them clean across the face.
One of the two healed their own bloody mouth. Triumphant, she pointed out the one still bleeding to Randal, swearing that was the beast. He wasted no time in grabbing the monster up and crushing the carbon-copy of Takashi to pieces. Its body reverted to its natural form in a crumpled mess, and the real Takashi quickly scrambled to Thurston to heal him.
Shaken, but victorious, the Band descended the steps and made to leave, right after harvesting the horn from the mind-controlling beast for useful purposes later. As they left, they looked up to view a huge billboard of Roth Foster looming down over the graveyard.