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The three Scions met with Ron Marlowe and Jens Bjornisson back at Oracle Securities Group to discuss their options. After filling Marlowe in on what they had seen at Carlsbad Maternity Care Center, and their interaction with Grenadine Solviegg, Marlowe seemed deeply concerned.
Marlowe looked upset, but finally told the trio his suspicions about Solviegg. It seemed that Oracle had dealt with her in the past and thought she had been eliminated. Solviegg appeared to be Grendel’s Mother herself, directly out of the tale of Beowulf. Her goal throughout the centuries has remained the same: breed an army of her foul offspring.
As the mortal world remains somewhat protected from the presence of the Titans, Solviegg requires the use of special artifacts in order to allow the creation of titanspawn, her children and grandchildren. From what the Scions saw at the Maternity Center, it seemed likely she was already in possession of a minor artifact which would allow her to create Grendelkin, impure hybrids of human and titanspawn. If she were to gain access to a stronger artifact such as the Horn of Hrothgar, she would be able to give birth herself to a purebred strain of creature which would prove to be vastly stronger and more deadly than its Grendelkin cousins.
After some research in the archives, Bjornisson was able to determine that an artifact had gone missing. A set of Norse runes on bone, the Birthing Runes would allow Solviegg to create the twisted hybrids the three had seen. Marlowe requested the band’s help in retrieving or destroying the artifact, and they readily agreed. He informed them that the following night would probably be their best shot, as Solviegg would be off the premises attending a charity event.
Edward Pierce, Alia Nazir and José Guadalupe Patrón headed back to the Maternity Center and approached it under cover of darkness. Deserted in the late hours of night, Nazir was able to do a quick recon and determined that their best point of access was likely to be the roof of the research building.
The team made their way to the top floor of the parking garage, from which they could easily see the roof of the far building. Hopping onto the ledge, Nazir took hold of a rope and jumped effortlessly through the air, flipping like an olympic gymnast before lighting on her tiptoes atop the far roof. After securing the rope, Pierce and Patron were able to clamor across the rope to join her.
Pierce applied his fine hearing and delicate touch to the locked door, and soon the trio was inside. They did a quick recon of the research labs they had seen on their last visit, and were disturbed to discover that all the caged creatures, research materials and other samples had been removed. The labs held only empty cages and gleaming steel tables.
The group checked the security station and were able to access the missing guard’s account, where they discovered a memo that indicated all sensitive materials had been moved to the third subbasement in preparation for the complete evacuation of the facility. Pierce made a note of the codes contained in the email and led the team to the elevator shaft.
Circumventing the car itself, the three Scions used the shaft to make their way to the subbasement. Within, Pierce once again put his safecracking skills to use as he bypassed the security on the vault door that blocked them from whatever the subbasement held.
Once past the vault door, they discovered a vast warehouse sized chamber with long aisles of cages hidden beneath cloth covers. At the far end of the room were two rows of tables, all adorned with body bags, no doubt the women who failed to make it through the birthing process. Against the far wall was stacked all of the research materials that had once been in the laboratories. A glass case sat in one corner, and within was an ancient cloth bag which contained the Birthing Runes. Nazir snatched the bag and the team turned to make their escape when they all realized they were no longer alone.
A small breeze rustled the cloth coverings to reveal that the row upon row of cages all stood empty. A musky, pungent smell filled the air, and something rustled and clattered in the darkness above the hanging warehouse lights. Pierce and Nazir snapped their attention to the space above them as several twisted creatures fell through the air.
Pierce whipped up his shotgun and emptied a barrel into the closest Grendelkin as it fell. The blast ripped through the beast’s groin and its shredded body landed with a squelch. The remaining beasts landed encircling the trio, and with a ragged howl leaped at the Scions.
Nazir was able to throw one of her Fangs of Bastet through the eyesocket of the nearest creature before four more of its bretheren closed on her. The grendelkin screamed with fury as their wicked claws scythed through the air and failed to find their target. Nazir flowed smoothly through the spaces between the twisted beasts, dropping a blade into each hand. With a sudden lunge, she leaped upward between two of her attackers and simultaneously shoved a blade up through each of their jaws and into their brains.
Thunder hammered through the air as Pierce snapped off a shot with the second barrel of his shotgun. Black ichor sprayed from his target. Pierce turned before the body hit the floor and pulled a pair of shells from his jacket. He threw the shells into the air, cracked open the gun and cleared its chambers, then held the weapon open and allowed the airborne shells to fall into each barrel before he snapped it shut again.
Swiveling towards the nearest grendelkin, Pierce discovered that Patron was hard pressed by a pair of the creatures. His obsidian blade flickered through the air, and the gore along its surface showed he had not been idle. With a rolling dodge, he slipped inside a grendelkin’s guard and embedded his dagger in the beast’s viscera. He pulled his weapon free and swung to face his other opponent, but moved a fraction of a second too slow. The grendelkin’s black claws shredded through Patron’s vest and shirt, and dug a shallow gash across his abdomen. Jose snarled as he clamped his spare hand against the wound.
Blades flashed and shotgun blasts roared. Suddenly, the last of the grendelkin fell and the trio stood in a circle of spreading gore. Splattered with ichor and bits of flesh, the Scions immediately headed for the exit. They made it halfway down the aisle before they once again heard the agonized scream of enraged grendelkin. The air filled with knotted flesh, ragged fur and glistening fangs as another wave of the beasts fell from the rafters.
Their faces grim, the Scion’s held their weapons high and leaped to meet them.