The Secret Garden
Attributes: Str 2, Dex 3, Sta 2, Cha 3, Man 2, App 3, Per 3, Int 3, Wit 3
Abilities: Alertness 1, Awareness 1, Computer 4 (distributed storage), Cosmology 2, Culture 1, Dodge 2, Drive 2, Enigmas 3, Etiquette 1, Firearms 1, Intuition 1, Intimidation 1, Investigation 1, Law 1, Leadership 1, Linguistics 1 (Dutch), Meditation 1, Occult 2, Research 1, Science 2, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Subterfuge 1, Technology 3
Backgrounds: Avatar 2, Destiny 2, Dream 2, Influence 1
Spheres: Correspondence 2, Forces 2, Life 2, Mind 2, Prime 1, Spirit 2, Time 2
Specialty Foci: unknown
Unique Foci: none
Merits: Computer Aptitude, Mechanical Aptitude, Black Market Ties (software)
Flaws: Addiction (alcohol, nicotene), Phobia (mutation), Ward (brother)
Attack: Brawl 3/2B, Keys 3/2L, Beretta 4/4L
Defense: Dodge 5, Soak 2B
Move: Walk: 7 yds, Jog: 15 yds, Run: 29 yds/14 yds
WiSK’s Awakening begins with a cigarette. A meandering slacker, he and his brother are visiting a friend in Manchester. After a drugged-out evening, they head out to Manchester’s legendary Hacienda nightclub. With his brother in a drug-trance, WiSK drifts through the club and strikes up a conversation with one of the dancers, Moonbeam. They agree to meet tomorrow at the Nuclear Family protest festival on Platt Fields. Moonbeam can see what WiSK cannot – that he is on the brink of Awakening, drawn here by some strange web of fate. But WiSK glimpses something of the wonders to come when he wills his cigarette to ignite – and it does.
The appearance of a sinister stranger called Malachai sours this moment of mystery. Along with his bruiser (a local Gooch Close thug called Declan), Malachai threatens WiSK’s brother for no apparent reason, driving WiSK into a panic. Wishing that he hadn’t taken so many drugs, WiSK tries to intervene to protect his brother, but finds that his very mind betrays him in Malachai’s presence.
The arrival of Balthazar of Thebes evens matters out somewhat. This enigmatic newcomer clearly knows Malachai of old – and their relationship is not a friendly one. But Balthazar is also strangely familiar to WiSK, in ways that neither can fathom. The Thebian unweaves Malachai’s mental hold and ushers WiSK and his brother away through the crowd.
Balthazar tells WiSK that he and Malachai are old enemies – the Thebian has been hunting Malachai for some time, and has pursued him here. Why Malachai would be seeking WiSK is unknown to Balthazar. The Thebian expected Malachai to be seeking someone else – a witch called Persephone Rhys, living in Heyhead. WiSK tries not to laugh at the word “witch”.
Malachai’s reappearance brings their discussion to an end. Balthazar tells WiSK to seek him out at the Portland Hotel, then he vanishes into the crowd to intercept Malachai. WiSK and his brother flee out a back exit – only to run into Declan.
WiSK throws himself at Declan, shouting at his brother to run. His brother stands in a daze. Declan floors WiSK with an uppercut, then pulls a gun. WiSK, in a moment of desperation, wills the bullet to misfire. It does. WiSK grabs a broken bottle and slashes at Declan’s leg. Declan falls, clutching a spurting artery. WiSK grabs his brother and vanishes into the night.
And despite WiSK’s terror, it all feels right, as if somewhere inside him, a dream rises to the surface, its colours flashing like the myriad patches of the harlequin’s motley.