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Peter M. Ball
The Gold Coast sits on the East Coast of Australia, a tourist city without a heart. You've probably seen the highlights on postcards: the beaches, the theme parks, the nightclubs, all the people flocking in year after year to enjoy their holidays and get some R&R. It's always been a place where people come to lose themselves, a place to cut loose and have some fun.
Itís easy to lose yourself on the Gold Coast. Itís even easier to be found by things that hide there, in the shifting shadows behind the palm trees and the neon. There are demons hiding out there, and worse entities besides. Dark things allowed to flourish in the shifting tides of a city where most people don't stay much longer than a holiday and the locals move on with surprising regularity.
Ten years ago Keith Murphy left the Gold Coast for good, hitching his way out of town in an effort to escape the nightmares he saw lurking in the shadows.
Ten days ago Keith Murphy botched a hit he shouldn't have, setting loose a death curse that'll take vengeance on more than him.
Fortunately Keith's boss knows a good place to disappear while things are sorted out.
All Keith needs to do is go home and keep quiet.
01 - Paradise City - Keith Murphy didn't want to go home again, but when things went bad on a routine job his boss didn't give him any other choice and Keith's always been good at obeying orders. When he meets an old friend of Danny Roark's in the Gloom, Keith's finally forced to ask himself if that's really a good thing.
02 - Warnings - Keith Murphy needs information about his boss and the seer Bruce Mim is his best bet for getting it. Unfortunately Mim is one of the Other, native to the Gloom, and a deal must be struck before Keith learns what he needs to know.
03 - Local Hero - With the seer's warnings still ringing in his ears, Keith Murphy sets out to further his education about the Other and the Gloom they inhabit. He's not entirely sure why his tutor insists there's a connection between wrestling and magic, but when there's a demon working for the local wrestling company Keith needs to step up and become the hometown hero for the city he despises.
04 - Underpass - Keith's been trying to work out what went wrong in Adelaide, but he's still got no answers. The ghost of the Crow Mage, Michael Wotan, may have the answer - but the deal he's offering isn't one Keith's ready to agree too.
05 - Sabbath - Keith needs an army, and there's only one Other on the Gold Coast who has enough power to stand up to the entities threatening the end of the world. The Casino demon, Sabbath, is more than willing to help Keith wage war against Michael Wotan and his forces, so long as Keith's willing to do a few little favours before the war begins.
06 - Crusade - Keith Murphy isn't having a good time. His safe house is wrecked, his closest ally is pissed at him, and his home town is under a dark cloud of decidedly unnatural origin. Every day he wastes brings Ragnarok ever closer, and making the decisions that could stop the end of the world will end up costing Keith even more than he's already lost.
07 - Deals with the Devil - There's a storm on the horizon and a gang of sorcerer's holed up in a heavily warded penthouse on the Surfers Paradise strip. Keith Murphy has one chance to get in and take care of the problem, but to do it he needs to trust Sabbath, a casino demon with a grudge, to keep his word.
08 - Destinies - Keith Murphy hasn't told Harmony all the details of Bruce Mim's prophecy, but a second encounter with the drunken Seer sets things in motion that makes keeping Harmony's destiny a dangerous secret. With Ragnarok on the horizon and the Fimbulwinter about the start, Keith is left with just one course of action: find Danny Roark and figure out how to save the world and Harmony both.
09 - Coil - Valkyries roam the Gloom, hunting for Keith and his friends. Roark is injured, Harmony is comatose, and Keith desperately needs time to regroup and formulate a plan. He turns to the only entity he can think of that stands a chance against the Valkyrie, an ancient Other that scares him almost as much as the creatures he's running from.
10 - Sunlight - Sabbath delivers some important news and makes Keith Murphy an offer Ė sanctuary in the Casino for Keith and all his allies. All Keith has to do is say the word and trust in the deal he made with the demon, but trusting Sabbath isnít easy and Keithís mentor is far from pleased by the possibility.
11 - Fimbulwinter - The Fimlbulwinter begins and Keith's allies come up with a desperate plan - sacrifice a King or a Hero in winter to ensure spring comes again. There's a handful of volunteers willing to go through with it, but the most effective choice of all is hampered because his soul is promised to a different fate.
12 - Aftermath - They may have stopped the world from ending, but Keith isn't sure he can live with the cost. Roark's leaving and Keith's staying behind, rebuilding a life in the city he always hated, and the one person who could have made it bearable isn't coming back. When the local Other make him an offer, Keith has to decide whether he keeps on fighting or disappears into the flotsam that drifts through the city.
Image by Sally Ball, Copyright 2011