Around the Table
On Wednesday night Mrs. Mack greets you at the door.
“I hope you like a little spice in your food. I decided to make us some gumbo, and then remembered that I didn’t ask if any of you had a tender stomach. I didn’t make it too spicy though, so you ought to be okay. Go ahead and dig in. I don’t like to channel on an empty stomach. Having a little something in my belly makes me feel a little more … grounded. You know? Bowls and spoons are right there.”
The gumbo is delicious, but Debora’s idea of ‘not too spicy’ still turns out to have a bite to it. Later in the evening, some of you may consider calling on Alex for heartburn relief.
Mr. Mack focuses on the contents of his bowl, but his wife pauses frequently between spoonfuls to question her guests. “So, we know about Mr. Patrick here, but what do the rest of you do for a living?” “Do you have any family?” “Have you thought of starting one? My mother taught me a fertility spell…” “Are you Patriots fans? I was so sad that they didn’t make it this year.” The list goes on, and by the time Mr. Mack has finished his 2nd bowl, Deborah is only half-way through her first.
When dinner & coffee are over, Mr. Mack excuses himself. “My show is comin’ on, so I’ll let you folks get to your business.” It’s the longest string of words he’s spoken all night. Back bent slightly, he shuffles into the living room. You hear the click of the TV shortly afterwards, followed by the opening theme of CSI. Deborah follows him to close the door, and turns back to the table with a smile.
“Now, I’ve got to know, because this will effect things tonight, so I’ve got to know – do you all believe, truly believe, in the spirit world?” [Given your history, the ST assumes here that you all affirm your belief.] “Good, good thing. The loa can tell what’s in your heart, and a faithless heart has a bitter taste to them. Not believing makes it hard. Now, let me get my things…”
From a cupboard behind her Deborah Mack pulls a large carved wooden humidor. “I hope you don’t mind a bit of smoke. The Lion of Leonard enjoys a good smoke.” She also fetches a small, pairing knife from a drawer, inspects it, and gives it an extra scrubb at the sink. “A knife can’t be too clean for the loa. None of you are hemophiliac, are you? Or afraid of a little cut? Just a tiny one, mind you. The Lion comes at the whif of just a few drops.”
Once she’s done scrubbing the knife to her satisfaction she sets it on the table and opens the humidor. The interior is divided in two. One side holds a half dozen cigars. The other contains a folded white handkerchief, some wrinkled brown napkins, a purple and gold drawstring bag, and a lighter. Deborah withdraws some of the napkins and passes them out. “You have to have a bit of brown on you. Put if in your pocket if you like, but keep it on yourself.” She then pulls out the handkerchief and sets it next to the knife. Finally, she offers cigars to anyone who’ll take it, lights one for herself, and closes the humidor.
“So” she starts, as curls of smoke are rolling off her cigar, “because you are going to be living here, I am going to make a ritual that will bind you to the Lion, if he will have you. Normally, this ritual is like a marriage, but I am not going to marry all of you to him. Instead, I am going to make it like a pact, so that you’ll promise to guard and tend to this side of the world for him, and he’ll guard and tend to this place in the other world for you, like he’s done for me. And, if you have something else that you’re looking for from the Spirit World, maybe we can work that in too. Sound good?”
And a Little Feedback
• How openly do you respond to Mrs. Mack’s questions?
• Does anyone have a problem with the ritual that Deborah is proposing?
o Who’s (un)willing to shed a little blood for it?
o Does anyone ask Deborah to add ‘something else’ to the ritual?
• What spells are you casting, if any? (I assume that a few of you will have Mage Sight up at least.)