Saturday, February 21, 2009, at various points throughout the day
Over the course of the preceding week, everyone received some form of correspondence inviting them to the estate of one Daniel Schlender, located in northern California, for a week of relaxation.
The subtext of the pamphlet suggests that hunting is allowed on the property, though what precisely is being hunted is open for debate.
As such, various people make their way to the property. Lola Smythwicke, already on her way to California, starts driving to the vineyards after she receives the email. With all expenses paid, Madeline Jacks gets on an airplane and makes her way to Schlender’s property after receiving an invitation in the mail. Kelvin-61, the engineered assistant, rides the rails to California after a butler approaches him with his invitation.
They find that the ride takes them through an abandoned town, past lush vineyards, and across a lawn to an expansive, and somewhat tacky, mansion.
When all have arrived at the destination early Saturday, they are greeted by Daniel Schlender, who directs them to make themselves comfortable and retire to sleep after the long journey. He indicates that he will explain everything the next day.
Everybody goes to their rooms to unpack and get situated. Lola, however, finds a small mp3 player and speakers sitting atop a small box. She listens to the mp3 player, which reveals the same distorted voice she heard in Las Vegas. This time, it asks her to retrieve samples from the creature she and her associates will be asked to hunt; the equipment necessary to do so is located in the box under the mp3 player. If she does so, she will be sent another message giving her vital information. [Interested parties may download the mp3.]
Everyone awakens the next morning to make their way to breakfast. Once everyone is settled and eating, Daniel Schlender addresses them, indicating that they have been invited here to enjoy themselves at his resort. Additionally, there is a hunt taking place on the property. Some of his associates managed to capture a beast from Yemen, a shapeshifting creature similar to what folklore might call a “ghul,” and he invites them to hunt it. He organizes the groups into two teams — Team One consisting of Danielle Atkins, Dr. Edwin Marcus, and Meatlocker, and Team Two consisting of Madeline Jacks, Kelvin-61, and Lola Smithwycke. He then invites them to plan their expedition as servants provide them with weapons.
The two groups begin planning. As servants pass, Lola and Madeline each take knives. When Kelvin-61 suggests murdering the other group, Doctor Marcus turns around and smiles, prompting Kelvin to throw his shovel at him. Meatlocker takes it and tells Kelvin that if he wants it, he should come over and take it. Kelvin then does so, swiftly enough that Meatlocker does not manage to menace him as he might have liked. Meatlocker mutters and sits back down.
Lola and Madeline decide to attempt to track the thing, keeping in mind that it can change shape. Deciding that it sounds like it is similar to a wild animal, they decide to check the garbage first. Finding nothing there, they decide to investigate any nearby wooded areas. They see some woods on the far side of the property and start to move in that direction. Just inside the woods, Kelvin hears some rustling in the bushes and smacks it several times with his shovel. They find the badly battered remains of two men, evidently locked in an embrace, there. Kelvin then decides to take the bodies, one at a time, back to the mansion for Daniel Schlender. The other two leave him to this activity, instead trying to see if they can find tracks. They do, which leads them to the badly mauled corpse of a security guard. The tracks then double back and leave the woods, which is around the time they are lost.
With Kelvin’s labors complete, the group reassembles. Once he finds the corpse, he begins carrying it with him. Since Madeline’s best bet is that the tracks are headed in the direction of the vineyards, she decides to go that direction. Along the way, Lola asks the guard if he has seen anything unusual, and he replies that he has not. The group continues further into the vineyards until they once again come across the large hoofprints of their quarry. They track it to another badly mauled guard who has lost his clothes and equipment. Examination reveals that the corpse bears the face of the man they just passed. As such, they turn around, hoping to find the guard again. As they do, they see a large, mangy, doglike thing dart into the underbrush. After a bit of discussion, they hear a gunshot, coming from deeper in the vineyards, roughly in the direction of wherever the dog went. They turn that way to find Team One, with Meatlocker having equipped himself with several guns and a knife, and learn that they saw a dog thing running around. Doctor Marcus asks Kelvin if he can have the body, and Kelvin refuses. The groups then part ways.
Team Two heads back toward where they met the guard, only to find his clothes tattered and his equipment dropped. They see tracks appearing like hoofprints followed by a set of tracks that appear to be doglike and heading into the vineyards. Once again, they turn around to attempt to track the creature.
After searching through the vineyards for a while, they hear the brief sounds of a struggle, and sneak toward the sound to find a hairy, humanoid creature crouching over another vanquished guard. It seems surprised to see the group, but stands its ground when Kelvin charges at it. In the fight that follows, he manages to graze Kelvin, but is severely injured and rendered unconscious by the combined assault of Kelvin, Lola, and Madeline — particularly with Madeline’s skilled use of her blade. Lola uses a vial to gather a little of the blood from her own knife, while Kelvin hefts the body and the group begins to make its way back to the mansion.
As they make their way back, they encounter Group One, carrying the body of one of the help staff. Meatlocker asks Kelvin if he wants to finish what they started earlier, and Kelvin jumps into the fray with his shovel. Though Meatlocker manages to discharge a shot into Kelvin, he is quickly dispatched by Kelvin and Madeline. Lola, meanwhile, scrambles to take samples of the ghul-thing’s skin, hair, and so forth. Danielle Atkins and Doctor Marcus quietly slink inside.
Once inside, Daniel Schlender congratulates them on a job well done, and gives them their next task — Team One and Team Two are to fight to the death. Danielle Atkins tries to fight off Kelvin and Madeline with her knife while Doctor Marcus attempts to flee from Lola. Once he starts running, Kelvin runs after the Doctor, leaving Madeline to deal with Danielle. Madeline quickly cuts Danielle down, and starts aggravating her injuries as she loses consciousness. Kelvin and Lola, meanwhile, manage to stab and strike Doctor Marcus until he loses consciousness.
Daniel Schlender congratulates them again, and invites them to make themselves comfortable, as the game is complete for the time being.