Stories of the Betterverse

For those who have a way with words.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit »

Battles of Britain, Part 4

11 AM, 30th of March, 2017. The day before Griffin starts his Tour.

Griffin arrived at the Barbican Centre to have a word with Angus Dunn, who was showing people how to perform various dances which appeared to be weakening the veil between the dead and the living, causing ghosts to appear even in broad daylight. Cheddar was waiting for him at the entrance.

Cheddar asked "Are you ready, Griffin?"

"Of course," Griffin replied.

The receptionist at the box office said "I was told that some backstage passes were given out yesterday."

Griffin produced his pass, saying "Here you are, my good lady."

Cheddar gave hers, saying "Here's mine."

The woman said "Okay, I'll take you straight to Mr. Dunn, he's expecting you."

When Cheddar and Griffin went backstage, they saw Angus Dunn in the traditional Scottish outfit, kilt and all. Angus said "I'm awfully sorry, but my final performance is cancelled. I've been called back home to Glasgow, family emergency."

Cheddar drew her wand and said "Family emergency, my arse! We know the dances are magical, Mr. Dunn!"

Angus told her "Don't be daft, woman!"

Griffin said "On the contrary, Cheddar's one of the sanest women I know. And I know that Farrow & Sons told you about my visit to their office."

Angus said "Och! This wizard fellow taught me the dances! I know nothin' about his plans!"

Griffin revealed his wings and told him "So you had better start talking. I am Griffin of the Host of Heaven. I've had to drop a few ghosts to get this far, and I'm looking for the warlock who sent them."

Angus pleaded "Och, he’s dreadful! I don't dare! I don't dare! He swore he'd kill me if I grassed on him!"

Griffin unsheathed his sword and pointed it at Angus' throat as he said "Enough. Where is he right now?"

Angus' pupils contracted as he said "L- L- Loch Tay! The wizard lives on Loch Tay, north of Glasgow!"
Griffin decides to Intimidate Angus into talking. Angus has the stats of a Criminal from the Heroes Handbook with Expertise: Dance. Griffin gets 16 on his Intimidation roll. Angus gets 5 on his Will and is Coerced into talking.
Griffin thought to himself 'That's the same place the Laird lives. So there is a connection!'

Griffin said to Angus "What else does McDaniel know about all this?"

Angus went "McDaniel knows nothing! He thinks that Nectanos is an old hermit! You can tell by looking at him that he’s evil…!"

That was when five ghosts appeared, surrounding Angus, Cheddar and Griffin. One looked like a Celtic warrior armed with a spear, the other four were men and women from what looked like the late 1600s, wreathed in spectral fire. Griffin realised that the ghosts were killed by the Great Fire… And could use it themselves.

The Celt said in his ancient tongue "<Those who betray Nectanos must die!>"

Griffin lashed out at the ghosts, shouting "Let there be light!"

Cheddar banished one of the ghosts while Angus managed to stab one.
Brule (the Celt) is a Human Primitive (from Atlas of Earth-Prime) with Strength 3, Fighting 5, Dodge & Parry 6. The ghosts are actually Zombie minions from Gamemaster's Guide with Insubstantial 4 (Affects Corporeal 2, Unreliable), their unarmed attacks have the fire descriptor.

Roll Initiative!

Griffin: 17
1 Blazing Ghost: 13
Brule: 12
Cheddar: 11
Angus: 6
3 Blazing Ghosts: 6, 6, 1.

Griffin does the Flurry of Steel against one Blazing Ghost and Brule. He gets a Natural 1 against the Zombie and 23 against Brule. Brule gets a Natural 20 to resist.

The Blazing Ghost attacks Griffin, getting 9 and missing.

Brule attacks Angus with his Spear, getting 11 and missing.

Cheddar fires a Magical Blast at a Blazing Ghost, getting 18. The Ghost gets 16 and is banished.

Angus attacks a Ghost with his knife, getting 20, Crit scored (he raises the DC by +5)! The Ghost's Insubstantial was off. It gets 12 and is banished.
Griffin landed several telling blows on the Celt, but before he could kill him again, the Celt said "<You'll die for this, winged one!>", before he vanished.
Griffin attacks Brule with the Flurry of Steel, getting 27. Brule gets 10 and is incapacitated.

One Blazing Ghost attacks Angus, getting 8 and missing.

Cheddar fires a Magical Blast, getting 20. The Ghost gets 7 and is banished.

Angus attacks a Ghost with his knife, getting a Natural 1 and missing.

Griffin attacks the remaining ghost with the Flurry of Steel, getting 16. The ghost gets 13 and is banished.
As he sheathed his sword, Griffin said "Now you know how much trouble you're in, Angus."

Angus went "Och! You could've left me to die, but you didn't! Why?!"

As Griffin used the fire extinguisher, he said "You talked, it was my duty to protect you. Whistleblowers must be protected - and rewarded when possible - to further encourage this behaviour."

Angus went "…You mean it, don't you? You really mean it!"

Griffin told him "I'm an angel. It is my nature and my duty to be honest and earnest, and to help the helpless. If I was you, I'd take your luggage and fly to Rome right now for a week. It's the nearest city without Celtic influence Nectanos can kill you with."

"Och, fine. Take these." Angus gave Griffin some tickets. "My Caledonian Sleeper carnet tickets from Euston to Glasgow, including cabin reservations. I was meant to bring someone to sacrifice, but well… They're no good to me now, but you might have a chance. Nectanos is in Loch Tay, the nearest village is Killin. Whatever he's planning, all I know is that he'll do it on Saturday night. Look for a wooden house built on top of the water, you can't miss it at night!"

Cheddar said "It's Thursday now. That means we only have one night to prepare before leaving."

Griffin went "Let's discuss it at your place."

Cheddar's flat…

As Cheddar sat down in the living room, she said "Okay, we have a night and a day to prepare before we set off. When you get home, you'll have to pack."

Griffin said "Already done. I already booked my tickets a few months back, as my tour starts tomorrow night anyway. I've even got my own Sleeper ticket."

"One less thing to worry about, I suppose. So what are we going to do with these spare tickets?"

"Simple. We get someone to come with us. Apart from us, who else has experience with fighting ghosts?"

"The Guardians have done it, no question. They're probably doing their own investigation right now, but there's no way we can afford a train and hotel for the lot of them."

"What about Goldwing? Remember how well he threw down at Halloween against the Silver Scream?"

"Okay. Do you have his WhatsApp number?"

"Yeah. Is it alright if I use your router?"

"Go ahead."

After connecting his phone to Cheddar's router, Griffin used WhatsApp to call Goldwing.

Goldwing soon said "Hello?"

Griffin said "Goldwing, it's Griffin. I'm with Cheddar, you're on speakerphone. Listen, me and Cheddar have found out what's causing all these ghosts."

Goldwing said "That's good to know, as I saw a ghostly Native American woman in traditional attire walking around Gravesend earlier! Everyone in town freaked out about it!"

Cheddar asked "Are you serious, Goldwing?"

Goldwing told her "A Native American woman in traditional attire walking around a Kentish town? There's no doubt about it."

Griffin said "That would be the ghost of Pocahontas, the first Native American known to ever come to Europe. She was buried in Gravesend, it's why they have that statue in the churchyard there. But seriously, we have a Caledonian Sleeper ticket here - with a bed for the night - if you want to join us for a mission. We know where the warlock responsible for these ghosts is hiding. I can't say more than that, not even on a secured line. If you're interested, meet us at the Bottle at seven, we can talk more about it then."

Goldwing said "See you then. I've got to go, got some rounds to run."

Griffin said "Bye, then."

When Griffin disconnected, Cheddar said "Okay. Where's Loch Tay?"

Griffin told her "I did my own research, it's about 40 or so miles north of Glasgow. The intel Angus gave meshes with what Farrow and Sons told me yesterday. Now we know where to go for a fact. How fast does your broomstick go again?"

Cheddar replied "120 MPH last time I checked. Why?"

"According to my phone's speed/distance/time calculator, it'll take about 20 minutes for us to fly there from Glasgow. And I believe that 120 is Goldwing's top speed. And I know a hotel in Glasgow that doesn't ask too many questions."

7pm, Goldwing's table, The Bottle…

As he had a mug of Bovril, Goldwing asked "So what's this about the ghosts?"

Griffin said "Our investigation has revealed that these dances that are all the rage are funneling energy from the dancers."

Cheddar explained "We've since discovered that the energy is being diverted to Loch Tay in Scotland, and it's weakening the barrier between the living and the dead, hence the ghosts. I think it could be used to resurrect someone."

Griffin pointed out "The problem is that, to my knowledge, it generally requires a divine intervention to bring someone all the way back to life with a vital body. And I'm the last known documented instance of such an intervention occurring. I get the feeling that whatever comes back from this magic will be too undead to be anything but a mortal threat to everyone in Britain."

Goldwing finished his Bovril and said "Okay, I'm in. When do we leave?"

Griffin told him "Tomorrow night, we'll meet at Euston Station at eight. You'll need to pack tomorrow morning. Hotel's been arranged for two nights, as well as the sleeper train there and back again. In your case, I must suggest sleeping on the top bunk, Goldwing."

"Why?" Goldwing asked.

Griffin said back "I've seen pictures and video footage of the Sleeper's rooms. If you get a twin bunk room, there's a ladder right in the middle, which would make it harder for you to get in and out of the lower bunk."

Goldwing said "Makes sense. I'll see you then. I have to ask... do they use the pound up in Scotland?"

Griffin told him "Yeah, they use the same plugs and money we do. They have their own banknotes, but they take English coins and notes as well. I have to prepare, so I'll see you both tomorrow. Euston, 8 PM., under the big timetable."
Last edited by betterwatchit on Tue Feb 16, 2021 4:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit »

Battles of Britain, Part 5

Griffin's House, 2:30 PM, 31st of March, 2017. The day Griffin starts the Tour.

Griffin was at the dining room, having finished his preparations. This trip has been a couple of years in the making, and he was now ready. He said to his dad "Well, tonight's the night. This will be the biggest thing I've ever done, a round the world trip."

His dad asked him "Are you sure you've packed everything, Si?"

"Train tickets, tablet with e-documents and phone are in my jacket. Clothes, toothbrush, leads and plugs are in the holdall. Laptop, sword and paper documents are in my custom laptop bag."

"Are you sure you can't tell me how you're getting your sword past customs?"

"Dad. The Ministry has actual mind-readers on their staff. I've met one, so I should know. The only way a Ministry interrogation isn't getting the secret out of you is if you honestly don't know. I'm sorry, but how I'm getting the sword past customs must remain a secret."

"I understand."

"Look, I'll text you every day on WhatsApp, and call you once a week. Well, it's time to go. I'll see you later." Griffin hugged his dad, saying "I will come back here, you can bet on it."

Griffin walked down the hill to the railway station. He always felt a certain… tension… when heading off for a foreign country. And here he was, about to perform the most dangerous trip he could conceive: a solo round-the-world journey. The sort of trip that would redefine whoever pulled it off. When he got on the train, he knew that for better and for worse, he was on his own.

The Bottle, 6 PM…

Griffin was finishing a cheese and bacon omelette, when Squire came up to him. She said "You're looking a bit tense, Griffin."

He told her "Usually happens when I'm about to do a foreign trip, Squire. And I'm starting a round-the-world trip tonight."

Then the bell rang at the bar. At any other English pub, it was used to declare last call or closing time. At the Bottle, it was used to inform everyone of an emergency.

Someone in British Transport Police uniform said "Ladies and Gentlemen, your attention please! I am Superintendent Creek of the British Transport Police. We have discovered ghosts infesting Kings Cross and Euston Stations! If anyone here can fight them, would you kindly report to me at once, thank you!

Dr. Green approached, saying "We've got Kings Cross, sir."

Griffin approached, declaring "Griffin reporting in, sir. I'll help you clear up Euston. If anyone wants to join me…"

Cheddar said "I'm with you on this, Griffin."

Goldwing took his gloves off, saying "So am I," while baring his talons.

Cheddar asked "So, how are we going to play this?"

Griffin went "I've got an idea. Superintendent, is it possible to enter Euston via the small car park to the northwest of the station?"

Creek said "It is possible, I'll radio ahead to tell the lads to expect you."

Griffin told him "That's good, as I'm planning on distracting them by attacking from whichever entrance is closest. Romans use a shield formation, so if I can make them attack me in one direction, Cheddar and Goldwing here will be able to use the northwest entrance to outflank them. So tell the other officers to expect me to land at the front entrance, while Goldwing and Cheddar land at the northwest."

Cheddar asked "And then what?"

Griffin told her "Wait ten seconds after you hear me start the fight. Then blast them. The plan will be ruined if you attack before I do."

Goldwing asked "Why is that?"

Griffin said "It needs to be in this order so they'll be too busy fighting me to notice you two coming up to backshoot them."

Creek said "That could work. What you need to know is that there are eight of them in each station."

Griffin said "That fits with what I know of Roman tactics. Now, let's get over there and make Boudicca proud."

Euston Station…

As they flew above the police vans surrounding the main entrance, Cheddar said "Okay, me and Gold will go north-west. Once we hear fighting, we wait ten seconds before joining in."

Griffin went "You've got it."

Griffin unsheathed his sword and walked right into the evacuated station, BTP personnel watching him. He saw eight Roman legionaries on foot and the Celt he saw at the Barbican on horseback in the main concourse.

Griffin shouted in Latin "<ROMANS GO HOME!>" as he charged at them. The Romans threw their iron-tipped javelins at Griffin, who dodged them with ease.
Roll Initiative! Three Legionary minions get 19, 18 and 15. Brule gets 11, two Legionaries get 10 and 8. Griffin gets 7. Three Legionaries get 6, 6, and 4. Five legionaries throw their pilum at Griffin, getting 21, 14, 9, 20 and 12. Griffin gets 28 and 24 to resist. Griffin Charged at them, delivering the Flurry of Steel. He gets 16, 24 (crit scored), 24 (crit scored), 19 and 15. The Legionaries get 19, Natural 1, 19, 10 and 18, leaving all of them dead. Three Legionaries Team Attack Griffin with their spears, getting 7, 7 and 8 to miss.

Everyone's using lethal force.
Griffin pushed the Celt's spear aside as his halosteel sword struck the Romans down.
Brule attacks Griffin with his spear, getting a Natural 1 and missing. Griffin attacks the remaining three legionaries with the Flurry of Steel, getting 22, 25 and 24. The legionaries get 12, 14 and 13, and are all killed again.
Cheddar and Goldwing advanced, blasting Brule from behind, killing him all over again.

Brule said "No…" as he faded away to whichever afterlife would take him.
Cheddar and Goldwing join the battle. Cheddar gets 21 on her initiative and Goldwing gets 10. Cheddar fires a Blast from her wand, getting 26. Brule is Surprised, just as Griffin intended. Brule gets 20 and is hit. Goldwing fires a Magical Blast, getting 21. Brule gets 9 and is killed!
Goldwing went "I can't believe that worked."

Griffin sheathed his sword as he said "Was there ever any doubt? Now there's an announcement we need to make…"

He then walked back out of the main entrance with his wings spread out, saying "Have no fear! The ghosts are gone, it's now safe to reopen Euston!"

Superintendent Creek approached him, saying "We've just confirmed that the Guardians threw the ghosts out of Kings Cross. They say that Boudicca fought alongside them!"

Cheddar said "Looks like one urban myth has basis in fact after all."

On their way back to the Bottle, Griffin said "I get the feeling that Nectanos knows how we're getting up north to meet him. Euston and Kings Cross are the only two London stations that serve Scotland direct, and Euston serves the Caledonian Sleeper."

Goldwing asked him "How could Nectanos know that?"

Cheddar said "He worked out how to use books and the internet to his advantage, probably after the Laird showed him how. If he was something like a druid, the most learned of the Celts, his working out what trains do isn't a stretch. All you have do for an old Celt is say that they're a sort of modernised wagon pulled by something stronger than a horse."

Griffin said "Speaking of Celts, the one on horseback was ordering the Romans about. He must have had some way to dominate ghosts raised by Nectanos. I have to go back to the Bottle, as I gave Emma £10 to look after my bags."

Cheddar asked "How did you get her to agree to that?"

Griffin replied "I saved her brother earlier this week. Helping someone who helped her family would be worth the risk."

Euston Station, 9 PM…

After getting his bags from Emma, Griffin was aboard the Caledonian Sleeper train, along with Cheddar and Goldwing. He decided to have an early night.

In his dream, Griffin saw an man sitting by a campfire. Griffin's training in the more esoteric aspects of reality told him that he was in someone's dream space. Probably pulled there by Nectanos.

Griffin sat opposite the man, saying "Nectanos, I presume?"

Nectanos spoke in a unknown language "<Indeed, oh winged one. You and your companions have been truly brave foes to best my bondsman. And clever foes, to find that my dances were bringing my people back. If you were not brave or clever, I would have no words for you at all. This is not your fight. These are my lands, not yours. Leave them now and you may depart unharmed.>"

"<I appreciate that you at least gave an offer, even though I cannot accept it. I have to admit, I cannot help but compliment you, Nectanos.>"

"<Oh? Whatever for?>"

"<As someone from your day simply wouldn't even have heard of the printing press or the internet or anything about the technologies or concepts required to make them viable. But you worked out what they did and used them to advance your plan on a global scale. I respect that you worked out how to use them in record time to further your plan. That respect does not, however, extend to letting you fulfill it. This is my land as well, I was born and raised here, and my family has been here for generations. This. Is. My. Fight. Why are you doing this, Nectanos?>"

Nectanos stood up and shouted "<These are the lands of my people! You know us as the Picts! The Romans, the Angles and the Danes hunted our kind like dogs until there was nothing left but the memories of the invader! Tomorrow night, I will have the power to bring us back home! All of us! We shall rule the highlands and stalk the moors once again! We will tear down the Roman cities and drive their descendants into the sea! You will leave these lands or be swept away with the rest!>"

Griffin stood up, saying "<I am sorry for what happened to your people, but it cannot justify your repeating it, making you no better than your killers. Your time here was done long ago, Nectanos.>"

"<Then you will die with the rest!>"
Last edited by betterwatchit on Tue Feb 16, 2021 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit »

Battles of Britain, Part 6.

1st April, 2017

Caledonian Sleeper, en route to Glasgow…

Griffin woke up to a knock on the door. He heard someone say "Your breakfast, sir?"

"I'll be right there."

After quickly getting dressed, Griffin took his oatmeal into his room. As he finished it, the train arrived at Glasgow Central.

As they stepped off the train, Cheddar said "Since you're planning this, Griffin, what's the plan?"

Griffin said "We check in at the hotel, freshen up and plot our route to Killin."

Goldwing asked "Why can't we use the first class suite to freshen up?"

Cheddar went "We only had Classic tickets. You need Club or Deluxe to get in there peacefully."

Goldwing could only say "Bugger."

11 AM, the hotel…

There was a knock on Goldwing and Cheddar's hotel room door.

Griffin said "Can I come in? There's something I have to tell you both."

Cheddar asked "What is it?"

Griffin came in and locked the door. He said "Last night, while we were asleep on the train, Nectanos pulled me into his dreamscape and tried to make me an offer. He said that these were his lands, not mine. He told me that if I left Britain now, he'd make sure I would leave unharmed."

Goldwing went "Please tell us you said no."

Griffin said back "I told him this was my home and therefore my fight. I asked him why he was doing this. He said that these were the lands of his people, the Picts, and he was bringing them back. All of them. Tonight, he'll have the power he needs to do it. And you both know from previous experience that I have clear standing orders about how to deal with the undead."

Cheddar asked "Do you actually know the way to Loch Tay from here?"

Griffin assured her "Yeah, actually. Killin is the nearest town to Loch Tay, 42 miles north of here. About 20 minutes by broomstick or griffin wing. I've already set my HUD to the village, so I'm going to make my move at 2 PM. I'll knock on the door."

Griffin set his phone's alarm to go off at 2 PM. He then spent the next few hours using a Linux OS-on-A-Stick to go online. All he had to do was plug it into his custom-made ruggedised laptop, turn it on, and it would run Linux instead of Windows, keeping everything in the USB drive. This was what he used when he didn't want the contents to show up on his laptop. Including his research into weird stuff happening in NYC on the Urban75 website and forum. He programmed the co-ordinates to Loch Tay into his HUD before shutting the laptop down.

Then he started preparing for real. Griffin broke out his "Tactical" outfit, the one he prefers if he's expecting to get into trouble. This included a grey hoodie, black tactical gloves with carbon fibre knuckle casing (to keep from leaving fingerprints, to protect the knuckles and make the wearer punch harder), grey tactical trousers, combat boots (guaranteed to not fall off in mid-flight) and a bespoke shoulder bag, designed to conceal Griffin's sword.

2 PM…

Griffin knocked on the door. When Goldwing opened it, Griffin asked "Could you wake Cheddar up, Gold? It's time."

Cheddar said "I'm up. And you look like you're ready to go!"

Griffin went "Thanks. I'll be at the roof when you're ready to move, and make sure your phone's on flight mode if you can't leave it here."

At the hotel roof…

Cheddar went up to Griffin and asked "Okay, I'm ready. Do you know the route to the loch?"

Griffin told her "It's programmed into my HUD. Should be about 20-25 minutes."

Killin, 25 minutes later…

As the team landed on the outskirts of town, the local pub was playing live music while the punters were dancing along. Cheddar went "Let's keep away from the pub."

Goldwing went "I agree."

Griffin's phone buzzed. "Hang on. Got a message from my commanding officer."

Code: Select all

From: Annabelle.
Head to the parish church NOW, bring your companions.
Goldwing went "What did they say?"

Griffin told him "We have to go to the parish church at once. Let me do the talking, they'll get a better reaction if I do it."

Killin and Ardeonaig Parish Church…

As the team entered the church, they saw that everyone who wasn't hiding at home or dancing at the pub was praying. The Reverend on duty approached, asking "What are you doing here?"

Griffin said "We're here to stop Nectanos, the man responsible for these damned dances!"

The Reverend said "I had a dream last night where he promised that all my flock would perish this night, and that Our Lord and Heavenly Father had abandoned us!"

Griffin revealed his wings and announced "Do not be afraid, for I bear good news! Our Lord and Heavenly Father has sent me to tell you that He has not abandoned you! I am Griffin of the Host of Heaven, and me and my companions will stop that warlock."

The Reverend went down on both knees. "Griffin! I've heard of you, but I never thought you would visit us in our hour of need! And who are your friends?"

Griffin helped the Reverend up, telling him "On your feet, Reverend. I don't deserve your worship, I'm only a servant. My friends are Cheddar and Goldwing, two good folk who have fought alongside me before. There is one way you can help us. We need directions to Laird McDaniel's castle."

THe Reverend told him "It's directly on the Loch shore. Just go clockwise, you'll soon see it! But there's something else I should tell you."

Griffin asked "What is it, sir?"

The Reverend said "A new crannog has appeared on the loch. Do you know what that is?"

Griffin replied "I do not, sir."

The Reverend told him "They were huts built out into the loch. They were more common in Pictish times but, until recently, the only one I saw was a modern replica. The new one doesn't have a pier connecting it to land, so you'll need a boat to get there. It's a bit further on from the castle."

Griffin went "All three of us can fly, sir. It's how we got here. Thank you for the info, we'll be back soon."

The Reverend went "Of course! Godspeed!"
The team gets a HP for taking the time to reassure the parishioners.

As they left the church, Cheddar asked "I admit, letting you do the talking was a good idea."

The team noticed that a thick fog had quickly developed through the town. Griffin said "If this fog is Nectanos' doing, he's made his last cock-up."

Cheddar asked "How's that? I can barely see a few feet ahead!"

Griffin smiled as he said "He doesn't know that I can see through it just fine. Now mount up and get airborne. We go low and slow, we can get to the castle and crannog without him seeing us. Just follow me and please don't fly lower than me. You might get wet if you do that."

As the team flew over the Loch, they saw a fire.

Goldwing asked "What can you see, Griffin? Looks like a fire!"

Griffin went "Yeah, the Castle's on fire! Also, it looks like the Laird's staff danced to death outside, with the Laird himself in the middle. The sword in his chest says it all. We keep going, nothing we can do for them now but avenge them."

When the team reached the crannog, they saw a beam of light coming out of it, and they could hear chanting.

Griffin went "We're going to sink the crannog from underneath. Let's get down there. We're going to sever the innermost pillars. This should make the stone fall into the water."

Cheddar said "Hang on, this should speed it up. Woodworm!"

The crannog started disintegrating, with Pictish ghosts falling into the loch. When the man-sized stone in the centre of the crannog touched the water, Nectanos screamed as he was being forced to move on, the water short-circuiting his spell.
Nectanos is a Sorcerer from Gamemaster's Guide. Griffin does an Expertise: Tactics check and gets 23. He knows where to cut. Cheddar spends a HP to stunt her Magic into Woodworm: Continuous Cone Area Transform 5, Wood into Oxygen (Broad > 1 Thing). Continuous makes it have a permanent effect. There are 10 pillars that need to be cut or to disappear in order to drop the stone, all are in the spell's blast radius. The pillars each get 9, 11, 11, 10, 8, 6, 5, Natural 1, 8 and 8. This destroys the whole crannog, taking Nectanos down!
Griffin went "Thanks, Cheddar! I owe you one! I just have one thing I need to do." He then flew to the stone and defaced a few mystic symbols carved upon it with his sword. Even he could see the stolen life energy start to flow out and return to those it had been taken from. Then he said "Let's get back to town. The Reverend needs to hear about this."

Back at Killin…

As the fog finally cleared, the team saw that there wasn't any more music coming out of the pub, and anyone who could still walk out was heading home.

Griffin knocked on the church door, saying "It's Griffin! We've stopped Nectanos, it's safe to come on out now! You can go in peace."

The Reverend opened the door, saying "What happened to-?"

Griffin said "The Laird is dead. He tried to kill Nectanos and was killed with his own claymore. His staff were all made to literally dance themselves to death. Nectanos is now banished from the living world, he will not trouble you any more."

The Reverend went "I see. I'll notify the police once you're gone."

Griffin "Thank you, Reverend. Farewell."

Then the team flew back to Glasgow…
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit »

Battles of Britain, Conclusion

As the team flew back to Glasgow…

Griffin said "Looks like lunch is on me!"

Cheddar said "Oh, you know it is!"

Griffin said "And I know just the place. Have to go back to the hotel first, left my money there."

At the Lamb and Flag, an hour later…

As the team took a table, Goldwing asked "Where is this again?"

Griffin said "This is the Lamb and Flag. In London, we hit the Bottle. Here in Glasgow, they wave the Flag."

While they were having dinner, Cheddar, who had a bridie, said "You know, we've been in a few rather British fights lately, Gold."

Goldwing, who had haggis, asked "What happened?"

Cheddar told him "Earlier this week, me and Griffin flew to Cornwall to prevent Excalibur from being stolen. The warlock responsible found a way to dominate the Lady of the Lake into giving him Excalibur. Griffin, tell Gold how you stopped him."

Griffin, who had an Angus burger, said "I cut the thieving little warlock's arm off, that's how I did it. Said arm used to belong to Mordred, but the warlock somehow found a doctor who was willing to graft it on. I didn't get the doctor's name from him, though. When the arm hit the ground, I got airborne as I saw that the Lady of the Lake was going to kill him, and I didn't want to get swept away as well. A tsunami came out of the lake, dragging the warlock and the zombies he had for backup to the lake's bottom."

Cheddar went "The Lady of the Lake herself thanked us for the help before she went back down again."

Griffin continued "Cheddar went to the Jamaica Inn to get us some Cornish pasties, while I made sure the warlock's remaining minions had a choice of fleeing or fighting me after I got their master killed. They chose to flee. A week after that, I got an assignment to stop the European as he arrived in London. I nailed him by sneaking up on him after he left St. Pancras and then attacked him from behind. I then told him in his native tongue of Polish that he was going to surrender or die. I then called Officer Benbow of the Ministry. She was in the area and she used her phone to scan him and confirm his identity. After she arrested and cuffed him, I flew home."

Cheddar went "I didn't know you beat the European!"

Griffin smiled as he went "Caught the f**khead with a looted SHADOW rifle, so the Ministry had to arrest him at last. I even told him before the arrest that if he actually tried anything during the referendum campaign, the result in favour of leaving wouldn't have been controversial."

Goldwing said "Good thing you caught him then. Which leads us to the ghosts."

Griffin told him "First thing I saw when I woke up a few days ago was my commanding officer. She told me that the barrier between the lands of the dead and the living was starting to weaken. I was told to get out there and find the warlock. The only clue I got was that he was in a house of wood on top of water. So I hit the Regent's Canal, going west to east."

Goldwing said "The houseboats. You went to check the houseboats."

Griffin went "You got it. I ended up dropping a Roman patrol during my search while they were holding up traffic. I walked as far as the Bottle before confirming that the houseboats were a bust. I had another lead, though. I noticed some unusual dances being done by buskers at Waterloo and St. Pancras. I asked one of them where they learned them. It turned out to be from a recently published book, Laird McDaniel's Ancient Dances of the British Isles. Looking at the dances made me feel odd, so I found a PDF of the book and some videos of the dances. I sent an email to Cheddar."

Cheddar went "I studied the dances and realised that they were rituals of a sort, draining small amounts of lifeforce away from the dancers. They went to a stone somewhere to the north, but that was all I could get out of it."

Griffin added "While Cheddar was studying the dances, I went to Farrow and Sons, a local print shop and bookshop who specialise in printing on demand. I went in with my wings out so Mr. Farrow knew I was there on business. I told him that my research indicated that the book came out just before the ghosts started appearing. That was when three ghosts attacked to try and shut us up! I managed to fight them off and told Farrow that he needed to co-operate if he was to stay alive. He talked. He mentioned that Laird McDaniel, the book's author, lived at Loch Tay. But he had a dance teacher he knew from when they were both kids come to London to show everyone how to do the dances. Farrow also gave me backstage tickets to the last day of the dance teacher's lecture."

Cheddar said "We leaned on the dance teacher and got the name of the warlock who created the dances. That was when the warlock's ghostly minions tried to kill us."

Griffin said "Emphasis on tried. After saving him, the teacher finally told us that the warlock was at Loch Tay, and gave us the train tickets we needed to reach Glasgow. After booking a hotel, we called you. At that point, you know as much as we do."

Goldwing went "Okay. Now… how are you getting us back to London?"

Griffin told him "I've planned for that, Gold. The Caledonian Sleeper doesn't run on Saturday nights, so the room you're sharing with Cheddar is paid for tonight, and it includes breakfast. Cheddar has a pair of sleeper tickets you two can use to get back to London tomorrow night. The hotel's check out time is 12 noon. The Sleeper will open for passengers at Glasgow at 10 PM and it departs at 11:15 PM. It arrives at Euston around 7 AM, and you have to leave the train by 7:30 AM. I won't be needing a ticket."

Goldwing went "Where are you heading?"

Griffin told him "Tomorrow, I'm going to Rail & Sail my way to Dublin. On Tuesday, I'm going to New York."

Goldwing asked "Rail and Sail?"

Griffin said "It's an offer that railway and ferry companies have in Britain, Gold. All four UK nations have them. Basically, you get a discount when you book train and ferry tickets together in the same direction from the ferry line's website."

Cheddar asked "Why don't you just fly from here? I'm sure there are direct flights from Glasgow to New York!"

Griffin said "There are. But Dublin Airport has something that simply isn't available in any airport on the UK mainland."

Cheddar asked "What's that, pray tell?"

Griffin said "Dublin and Shannon Airports have United States Customs and Border Protection Preclearance Stations. The only ones in all of Europe. All passengers from Dublin and Shannon to the US get checked by American customs officers by American standards. If they see nothing wrong with letting me board, the flight is treated as a domestic flight when it reaches American airspace. This makes it much easier to get out of the airport afterwards, as Homeland Security will know that the passengers on board have already been checked out by people they trust. If they deny boarding, it's easier to get back to London from Dublin than it is from New York."

Cheddar said "That's one way to do it. But how are you getting your sword past them? They will shoot you down if they find it in your luggage!"

Griffin told her "Don't worry, I've already worked that one out. Can't tell you how in case the Ministry overhear, but I do have a plan that'll get it past them without a fight or even a related argument! He then finished off his burger and his drink, saying "I'll be at the hotel if you need me. I'll likely check out before you do, so I'll see you later."

Goldwing said "See you later! And, as we avians say, may the wind always be at your back!"

Back at the hotel…

Once Griffin locked the door to his room, he called his dad on WhatsApp.

His dad said "Hello?"

Griffin went "Hey, dad."

"Simon! The ghosts are finally gone!"

"Word travels fast! This is me checking in and saying I'm okay. And yeah, we did stop those ghosts."

"We? Who came with you?"

"They're known in London as Cheddar and Goldwing. Cheddar and I went halves on getting a room with twin beds for her and Goldwing for the night."


"I needed help with getting rid of that warlock, and they're good at this sort of mission. Don't worry, they also have tickets to get back to London."

"Did you pay for that as well?"

"Nope. When we saved someone who outlived his usefulness to the warlock responsible for all those ghosts, he got very cooperative. He told me where to find the bastard. He also had two return tickets for the Caledonian Sleeper to Glasgow, complete with cabin reservations. No use for someone who's going to Rome for a week like I suggested."

"Okay. So, when are you going to Ireland?"

"Tomorrow morning. I'll take the train to Stranraer, then I'll take the ferry to Belfast. Once I make land, I'll board the Enterprise train to Dublin. I'll spend Monday having a day out in Dublin. I'll contact my New York hostess then, I have her WhatsApp number. Tuesday morning, I'll fly to NYC. And yes, I've got the issue concerning that specific object handled. Do not say it out loud."

"I understand. Look, I've gotta go, call me when you've made it to Ireland."

"I will. See you later."

"See ya!"

Then Griffin hung up.
Griffin gets 1 PP. Goldwing and Cheddar each get 2 PP.
Last edited by betterwatchit on Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit »

Planning, Preparing and Progress, Part 1

Griffin's Hotel Room, Glasgow…

Straight after phoning his dad, Griffin went to the en-suite bathroom and said in front of the mirror "Annabelle, we stopped the warlock! The barrier between the living and the dead shouldn't be getting worse any more."

Griffin caught Annabelle as she jumped out of the mirror! Annabelle said "I've noticed, well done!" She then licked his face. "Nectanos has been stopped, and the veil is healing as we speak."

Griffin said "I can't really take all the credit, though. I had help from Cheddar and Goldwing. Do you remember them? Cheddar helped me during Operation Inundation, and Goldwing helped me after I dealt with that warlock at the Imperial War Museum. And they both helped me kick undead arse at Halloween. Cheddar destroyed the crannog on Loch Tay, the wooden house on top of water. Once that stone hit the water, it just… short-circuited is the closest to my understanding. I defaced each of the symbols on the stone to make sure it couldn't be re-used."

Annabelle went "You should know that the stolen lifeforce is now going back to those who it was taken from. The lifeforce from those who died is going to their families, making their life expectancy a bit longer."

Griffin realised what she meant. "Blood calls to blood," he said.

Annabelle told him "Exactly, Simon. Are you going to New York soon?"

He told her "On Tuesday. Tomorrow, I'm taking the ferry to Belfast and the train over to Dublin. I'll have to cross a customs checkpoint to reach the ferry, so I'll have to hand Justice over to you in the morning to pass their inspection."

Annabelle sniffed the air as she said "It always feels strange when I have to come to Earth. I have to ask…"

Griffin curiously asked "Yes, Annabelle?"

She asked him "Why did you use the bathroom to call me?"

He told her "Hotel bathrooms are en-suite and don't have windows, Annabelle. They give the privacy we need for this sort of thing. I have to be as much a spy as a soldier to do this sort of work, you know."

She said "That's… understandable."

Griffin opened the door and sat on the hotel bed with Annabelle on his lap. He said "I think I have an idea why it feels odd to you when you're on Earth, Annabelle."

Annabelle asked "What is your idea, Simon?"

Griffin asked "Do I have permission to speak freely?"

Annabelle told him "Of course!"

Griffin told her "You live somewhere where the passage of time, the changing of the seasons, day and night, simply don't exist. Where things only happen, change and last because the Lady Herself says they should. You're now somewhere where time passes, where lives, cities and nations rise and fall, regardless of what anyone has to say. That can feel jarring to someone."

Annabelle said "That actually makes sense. And you went the other way around."

Griffin replied "It was only the Lady's grace that kept the experience from being literally mind-blowing. Right, why did you come over then?"

Annabelle told him "You have an assignment to perform here in Glasgow. And you should have enough time to finish it before you leave Britain."

Griffin asked "Fair enough. So what's the assignment?"

Annabelle said "In Springburn, there is a house. The address is in the envelope in my paws. I was told it was what you would call a drug den? For whatever reason, the authorities won't search it."

Griffin took the envelope and said "I know what you mean. Someone's selling drugs out of there and probably paying off or blackmailing the local constables to ignore the place. I'm expecting armed if not powered resistance, and Springburn is bandit country."

Annabelle asked "What do you mean by 'bandit country'?"

Griffin answered "It's what we call a high-crime area. That'll slow police response down, which works for me as well. But if the police do go in on a drug den, they'll bring Armed Response, and those blokes can't mess about!"

Annabelle, concerned, asked "Does this mean you won't do it?"

Griffin declared "I'm doing it. And getting rid of a drug den would definitely help clean the town up."

Annabelle asked "Also, I believe that you might have more of an understanding of this than I do, so I have to ask… Do you know why I'm having problems using television sets as portals? I could do it without anything unusual occurring before."

Griffin said "Oh, I have an idea about what happened, and the issue has an Earthly origin. You know how you need a reflective surface on both sides to form a portal?"

Annabelle nodded.

Griffin explained "The old bulky TV screens were cathode ray tubes or CRTs. They used glass at the end that faces out towards the viewer, who I presume you'd be talking to. But as far back as the turn of the millennium, flat-panel displays started becoming more affordable and accessible. The fact that they're lighter, cheaper and relatively easier to manufacture and move compared to a CRT - and easier to watch for extended periods - certainly helped. The materials for the forward-facing surface in flatscreens are simply not as reflective as the lead glass used in CRTs. When the HDMI standards were released in the early to mid 2000s, it was the end for CRT as a major technology. By 2014, no one was making new CRT screens any more. That's why you're finding it difficult to find a TV portal."

Annabelle said "That explains a lot."

Griffin continued "Today, you generally only find CRTs in arcades and museums, as these are the only places left that still have reasons to keep them around. And TV-manufacturing companies are always trying to get flatscreens as close to 'true black' as possible to improve the picture clarity. So it looks like you won't have easy access to everyone's living room any more."

Annabelle went "I see. Well, I have to go. Can you take me to the bathroom?"

"Of course," Griffin told her.

When Annabelle leaped into the mirror, Griffin thought 'Right, Annabelle's put me on the bloody spot! I have to do the raid right now if I want a night's sleep and still be able to get to the ferry tomorrow! I'm going to need some help…'
Griffin gets a HP for his Honour complication. (Archangel Annabelle gave him a valid order under Clause One of the Agreement, and he hasn't got much time to do it in.)
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit »

Planning, Preparing and Progress, Part 2

Griffin opened the envelope containing the address he had to hit. He searched it on Google Maps and had a look at the Wikipedia article for the town. The house was only two blocks from Springburn railway station, so people from nicer districts can claim to be living dangerously. He performed a quick check on the area with his laptop, and found something very useful about the house: The Estate Agent's plan for the place. He transferred the picture to his ruggedised smartphone, took the SIM card out of the phone and set it to flight mode to disable the transmitters. He then put the SIM in the room safe.

He recalled that certain drug dens were often found with a pile of money. Even with the donation to charity that serves as his Lady's cut, Griffin wasn't going broke after a successful raid. The problem was with Police Scotland. Any gunfire and even they have to send Armed Police. If he wanted to loot the place, Griffin would have to floor all hostiles inside, before any of them get a shot off.
Griffin does a Technology check and gets 20. He gets a particularly useful piece of intel on the drug den. He does an Expertise: Current Affairs check and gets 19. He's aware of the possibility of the reward being worth the risk. He does an Expertise: Tactics check, getting 20. He has a good idea what the police will do, making him realise that he has to do the raid quickly.
He knocked on the door to Cheddar and Goldwing's room.

Goldwing said "Yeah, Griffin?"

Griffin asked "Can I come in, Gold?"

Goldwing nodded "Alright."

After shutting the door, Griffin said "I just got another assignment from my commanding officer. She wants me to hit a drug den here in Glasgow. If either of you want a bit more excitement today…"

Goldwing asked "Do we have to do it?"

Griffin told him "No, I'm the only one under any obligation for this one."

Goldwing said "Then I'm staying here."

Griffin asked "And you, Cheddar?"

Cheddar said "No, thanks. I don't want to risk getting too addicted to teach."

Griffin said "Fair enough. I'll be leaving in five, just knock on my door if you change your mind."

The moment Griffin went to his room, he changed back into his tactical outfit, putting his sword into his bag. Five minutes later, he left the hotel on his own.

He walked through the bustling streets of Glasgow and took the train from Queen Street to Springburn. During the train ride, he memorised the layout on his phone. He was going to hit every room and everyone he found there.
Last edited by betterwatchit on Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit »

Planning, Preparing and Progress, Part 3

Springburn Railway Station…

When he arrived, Griffin got off the train and had a look at the station's local map. All railway stations in Britain have one, to better help travellers find their way around the immediate area and to find which bus stops served their destination.

As Griffin approached the house, he thought to himself 'There's someone out front as a sentry/bouncer, ready to beat the crap out of crackheads who won't behave. I know the basic layout and about the back-alley garage. I'll use the garage and back garden as my method of entry.'

As Griffin entered the alley, he saw someone else guarding the garage directly behind the drug den, sitting on an abandoned sofa. Probably the dealer for those not respectable enough to be allowed in the house. Griffin just leaped at him and knocked him out with still-sheathed Justice.
Roll Initiative! Griffin gets 10, the Thug Minion gets 4. Griffin attacks the Thug Minion with the Flurry of Steel with an All-Out Attack, getting 19. The Thug Minion gets 15 and is Incapacitated.
Griffin checked the man's pockets. He found a knife, a phone, £250, some weed, some ecstasy and some LSD. Griffin took the cash and knife. The rest wasn't any good to him. He then put the man in the recovery position on the sofa to make him look like he was asleep. After that, he quickly flitted over to the back garden door.

Once he opened the door, it sounded the personal attack alarm that was hooked up to it, which emitted a 140 decibel alarm inside the house. Even though he managed to smash it quiet, it was too late. Everyone in the house knew they had a problem! One of the thugs shouted "IT'S GRIFFIN! BATTER HIM!" as he ran up the stairs.
Griffin does a DC15 Perception check, getting 13. He doesn't see the personal attack alarm attached to the back door. It's on now! Roll Initiative! Griffin gets 16, two thug minions get 16 and 13, the House Boss gets 12, another Thug Minion gets 9, the Thug House Lieutenant gets 6, the last two Thug Minions get 4 and 2. Griffin is going non-lethal, everyone else is using lethal force. The Thugs have Krav Maga from Gamemaster's Guide. Griffin gets 1 HP for entering combat.
As Griffin entered the living room, two of the NEDs guarding the place charged at him. He levelled them both in one swing of his sword, then he turned the hi-fi off.

There was a silenced gunshot that hit Griffin in the head from upstairs, but he was still standing. As he went upstairs, someone went "Och, he's a solid feller!"

A woman's voice yelled "He's not that strong or he wouldn't need the sword! HOLD HIM DOWN, I have to reload!" Griffin knew she was going for some AP rounds, those could work on him.
Griffin attacks two Thug Minions with the Flurry of Steel, getting 29 (Crit scored!) and 19. They get 12 and 18, and are both Incapacitated. The House Boss is a Government Agent/Gang Leader from my Combined Archetypes post, with Krav Maga from the Gamemaster's Guide, Attractive, Connected, Contacts and Quick Draw, a Bulletproof Vest and Heavy Pistol with a Laser Sight and Suppressor. She fires at Griffin while he's Surprised, getting 19. His Impervious is high enough for him to not get hurt by it.
Two of the guards tried to grab Griffin, one from upstairs, the other from downstairs, but he managed to fend them off.
One Thug Minion and the House Lieutenant attempt to Grab Griffin. The Thug Minion gets 10 and misses. the House Lieutenant gets 21. Griffin gets 17 (using his Dodge to resist) and avoids the grapple. Two other Thug Minions have to skip their actions, as they don't have guns and can't reach Griffin.
Griffin KO'd the bloke downstairs, clouting him in the head and sending him downstairs again. One of the other guards went "He just cowped Fergus!"
Griffin does a Power Attack with the Flurry of Steel against the House Lieutenant, getting 24. The House Lieutenant gets 8 and is Incapacitated.
As Griffin turned to face upstairs, he heard the woman shout "MOVE BACK OR GET LOW!" Most of the men ran into one of the upstairs rooms, while the man on the stairs ducked to give the woman a clear shot at Griffin. The gun jammed.

While the men were throwing bottles and glasses at Griffin, he revealed his wings and declared "In the name of the Almighty God, this drug den's shutting down tonight! If you surrender, you will surely live! Even your mate downstairs will get better!"

He heard one of them go "Okay, I give! Don't let Fergus die!" and another went "Calm doon, mate! I surrender!" while they put their hands up. The third went "Simmer doon, mate!"
The three Thug Minions Threw various objects at Griffin, getting 4, 18 and 19. His Impervious means he's not even bruised. Griffin attempts to Coerce the remaining Thug Minions into surrendering, getting 18 in his Intimidation roll. The Thugs get 5, 11 and 17, which gets all of them to back down. The House Boss fires with the Heavy Pistol listed above loaded with solid-cast brass rounds (to give it Penetrating 3), getting 14 and missing.
The woman went "Cowards, the lot of you!" as she fired another bullet at Griffin.
Griffin Charged at the House Boss, attacking her with the Flurry of Steel and getting 15. She gets 19 and is hit.

House Boss: 1 Injury. The House Boss fires at Griffin with an All-out Attack, getting 12 and missing.

Griffin battered the House Boss until she was knocked out with several teeth missing.
Griffin attacked the House Boss with the Flurry Of Steel, getting 29 for three degrees of success and a scored crit! Griffin raises the DC by +5. The House Boss gets 11 and is incapacitated. Fight's Over!
Griffin turned to the remaining Thugs. One of them went "You said you let us live!"

Griffin told them, "I did, and I will. You don't need to be conscious to be alive, though. Don't worry, the police will wake you up. And Fergus will live, you have my word."

After knocking them out, he did a quick check of each room. He found a pair of bondage handcuffs and a ball gag in the downstairs room being used as a BDSM room. After cuffing Fergus' hands behind his back, Griffin used his Gift of Healing to heal Fergus' neck and skull. As he woke, Griffin quickly gagged him, saying "Shut up and listen up. I gave my word to your friends upstairs that if they surrendered, I would ensure you lived. Let's go into that kinky room."

After Griffin bound Fergus' feet to the rack in the BDSM room, he said "Don't worry, the police will be here soon enough, they'll free you." Angus was getting louder as Griffin shut the door.

While searching the house, Griffin made sure to leave doors open that concealed possible drug packages. He checked the pockets of each guard and the House Boss, finding some Bank of Scotland notes and some Euros, but most of the money was in Bank of England notes. He'd give the Scottish notes to Cheddar and Goldwing as they had more need for it than he did. He then found keys in the Boss' pocket.

When he entered the home office, Griffin opened the desk and dresser with the keys he found. He hit the jackpot! He discovered a whole pile of Bank of England notes! More cash in one place than he'd ever seen before, even after sparking up! He put all of the money in his bag and went outside, feeling pleased as punch with himself. Griffin flew out of the back garden, landing in the back alley. He then hid his wings and walked over to the nearest payphone and dialled 999…

A woman answered, saying "999, how can I help?"

Griffin went "Call the police, I've just seen someone shoot a handgun!"

The woman asked "A handgun? Are you sure? Where was this?"

Griffin said "It was at this address…" Then he gave the address he just hit. "The broken window means it was real and not a filming session or a game with the telly too loud! You'd better get Armed Response here!"

"Police are on their way, sir. Are you still in the area?"

"No, I'm a couple of streets down at a phonebox! I think I saw Griffin there, from London! I think they were shooting at him!"

"Did you say that Griffin was there?"

"Saw him go in with his white wings out and his sword drawn but sheathed. If he isn't dead by now, they're going to wish he killed them! I have to go, I don't want to be here if anyone else shows up!" Then he hung up.

Griffin used some of the Scottish notes to pay for a minicab back to Glasgow Queen Street. He then bought some Scotch whisky with glasses for his dad before going back to the hotel.
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