Thursday, 29 April 2010
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Vampire: The Endless Waltz
Episode 5: The Price of Blood – Part 3
Kane, Dimitri and Thessaly sat in the shadows watching the Kindred of the Ordo Dracul leave the Wyrm Nest, heading back up to the surface and the junkyard. Some remained with Zahred Zilber in the pit for a moment. He regard one, a man called Oliver, a man dressed in red with a gold stitched emblem of a dragon holding an axe, and addressed him as Companion of the Sworn of the Axe. He asked that he be vigilant. With the possible chaos that the Carthian election will cause they must now prepare for the Invictus to do what they do best, look out for their own and destroy their allies. Kerkoft must not know of his identity and their dragon nests must be protected from those Sanctified and Acolytes. He then addressed Lauren Esten, and though distraught at the loss of Liza, she agreed to do her best to ensure that the nature of the Ordo Dracul remained secret within in the Carthians. She understands that she must go before the tribunal and do her best to make the most of this distraction and point the Invictus out as the true culprits who destroyed the Prefect.
Once the Kindred had left the basement Thessaly, in the dark aided by her heightened senses, went over to the pit and looked about. She studied the strange sigil on the ground, the broken vials, the bowls left about holding fluids. The sides of the pit bore Enochian runes while the sigil on he floor, scratched into the dirt, was a mix of Latin, Greek and Hebrew. To her trained and educated mind the whole things made no, and Thessaly got out of the pit more confused than ever. She then heard movement from above, and the entrance that they had taken in was opened and there was the sound of footsteps.
Dimitri, Kane and Thessaly moved quickly into the dark, finding places to hide. Kane had his rending claws ready, and Thessaly watched the wide figure move in the dark, sniffing at the air. His hair was long and matted and his eyes glowed with an eerie green hue. Thessaly watched the figure in stalk about in the dark. She could hear the whispers of Gregorian chanting from somewhere. She spoke to the dark. She called for Pan, the horned god to come to help her. She slit her hand and made the sign of the horned god.
The entire chamber dropped in temperature, and in the dark was heard a deep sorting. The a loud roar and bellowing. Like jack hammers some thing stamped about in the dark, and Thessaly watched the green eyed Kindred shrink back into cover. Then she saw it. It was a bull, and she could smell meat and rotting flesh. She watched as it’s innards dripped top the floor and the horns were serrated blades. It roared again. There was more movement as more Kindred came down from above and the place was lit up. The green eyed Kindred attacked the beast, his claws gripping the blade horns of the bull. He struggled in the face of the creature, eyes meeting the bone crushing mincing grinders that the bull has for teeth. Kane, Thessaly and Dimitri broke cover and ran. Kane was first, his big cat form bounded up the steps and out of the junk yard. Dimitri and Thessaly were just behind, and Thessaly shocked those ghouls outside, bearing her fangs an unleashing her inner beast, terrifying the on looking mortals.
The next evening the group reconvened and met with one of Nails’ associates. They were told to go to a car park where they were shown to Dr Tobin’s car. With a bit of work the car was opened and they were able to search around inside. In the boot they found a pass card to a carpark at the Cheadle Hulme Hosptial, what was once the Manchester Asylum. They also found crumpled photo copy of a page from a book written in Arabic. The label of the page bore two numbers. One began with MMU, the other with AZ. Another lable gave a page number and the name of the book, Kitab Si’lat. They were ready to go to the asylum but another call forced them to take more immediate action. Dr Hugo called them to say that a silent alarm had been triggered in the UMIST bioresearch labs and that they should get there immediately. As it was closer than the asylum they headed here first. They also learnt that they had been given permission by the Chairman to count this as a bloodhunt and that the third tradition was not in play for those who had broken into labs.
At the Mill, the biochemistry labs, the coterie headed to the front door and gave the security code to the guard on the night shift. They were let in, given the appropriate security cards and allowed to make their way to the fourth floor on their own. At the fourth floor, before going into the Astra Zeneca labs, Kain once more shifted form to that of a panther and began to search for a scent. Thessaly and Dimitri made their way past the security double doors and could see the lights on. They all walked in just as they caught a large biker type walk out of the labs holding a cool box. Behind the vampire was Robert Woking, the business man lacky of Kerkoft and also coterie member wiuth Annabel Barbican and Jacob Lewis. The biker fled, using preternatural speed, and Kane lept forward giving chase. Meanwhile Robert fired a pistol, hitting Dimitri in the shoulder, and Thessaly lunged forward. Enraged Dimitri charged Robert, his vitae fuelling his blow, and sent Robert flying backwards through the door. Both Thessaly and Dimitri then lunged at Robert, Thessaly taking a gunshot to the shoulder at close range. Both vampire began to grapple and bite at Robert, tearing bloody chunks from his neck and throat until he was drained of vitae and Thessaly devoured his soul.
On the roof Kane, in panther form, chased down the biker, his claws cutting into his arm. There was a scuffle but the biker just fell backwards off the roof. Kane lept after him but realised that he had disappeared, and so midair shape shifted to his raven form.
In a dark tunnel the biker opened the cool box and looked at the vials of blood, and overcome with hunger he gorged on the blood in the vials, feeling his body crack and shift, bone bursting from his body.
Monday, 12 April 2010
Vampire: The Endless Waltz
Episode 5: The Price of Blood – Part 2
Kane, Dimitri and Thessaly had spoken to who they wanted to at the Circle Club and so were now ready to leave and go and find Nails and his gathering within the canals beneath Manchester. Spokesman Rain had a Nosferatu act as their guide, a woman with one side of her face hideously distorted and bulbous. She led the coterie into the staff area of the club, through the kitchens and down into the lower levels where the beer barrels and alcohol was stored. It was darker and damper here, with the slight smell of rat piss. The Haunt led them to a yellow rusting safety cabinet and dragged it from the wall, revealing and old steel door. She unlocked it and beyond was absolute darkness and the sound of water lapping against stone. The Haunt motioned for them to follow, but it was obvious once the door was shut behind them that there was no light and only Thessaly and the Haunt were trained in the blood such that they could see in the dark, but Dimitri and Kane could not. So Thessaly took Dimitri’s hand and Kane shifted form to that of a small mangy cat so that he may see using his animal eyes.
All four walked in the darkness, careful not to fall in the canal. The stench was thick but their dead bodies ignored it. They turned down many routes, and crossed over the canal where they could. But behind them both Nosferatu sensed that they were being followed. Thessaly could see in the dark what looked like a man in a long coat and top hat. The other Haunt made her way forward and spoke to the others. ‘They are the Gentlemen and we must honour them.’ She slit her wrist with the sharp nail of her finger and let a few drops of vitae hit the stone pathway. She then led the group onwards. Thessaly looked back to watch the figure sniff at the blood and she could see that the man’s hat looked like tall ears and the man’s face looked like that of an enormous bat. The shuffled on quickly.
They cam to a part of the canal that had been drained and they stepped down onto the canal bottom. They continued walking and soon there could be heard the sounds of people talking and jeering. A faint light could be seen emanating from the passageway. On the walls were the rotting fragments of posters from years ago.
In a large chamber was a doze or more individuals gathered. One was sat on an office chair. It was Nails. The chamber was illuminated by a pile of glow sticks, orange, green, blue and red hues casting garish shadows on the walls. One wall was decorated with a scene of Venice. But the painting was faded and crumbling.
The guide brought the coterie forward and presented them to the Mayor of the Sewers, Nails, who recognised Thessaly. Kane was still in his cat form and did not shift form. Nails ignored the issue. On Nosferatu present came forward, his face lacking cheeks and so his teeth were completely visible. He ridiculed the guest from above and asked if they enjoyed being with the beasts. Another of the Kindred in the chamber was sat up on the side, looking at the scene of Venice, muttering the lyrics to Madonna’s ‘Holiday’.
Nails knew why they were here. Thessaly explained what Falken wanted to bring to the city, but Nails could not see how that helped since Reinhart had offered a new political system that would mean the Nosferatu would finally have more of a say in the running of the city. Though he did not like Julia and the Daeva, he liked the Nosferatu Priscus, Mother Amanda Heath less. But Thessaly pressed that Patrick was offering more regular voting of Priscus and Covenant seats, and that Julia’s answer would lead to chaos which the Invictus and Lancea Sanctum would take advantage of. She also went on to say that it would seem as if the Ordo Dracul were in league with the Invictus, and Nails asked if this related to the events of the Prefect’s death and the accusations made toward Lauren Esten. However Nails had not come across any Dragons.
From the otherside of the chamber boomed another, a classic looking Nosferatu, his ears pointed, his skin pallid and his hair all gone. He was dressed in fine clothes and a long coat. Nails introduced him as Councillor, Lord Ralph Kendall, Miester of the Guild of Secrets. The Lord asked what proof they had of the Ordo Dracul were within the city, or working for the Invictus or even been involved in the death of Prefect.
With Nails left to ponder his vote, but given reassurances that the voting would be more frequent they stopped for some time longer to converse with the other Kindred there. Some Thessaly recognised as being Acolytes, others were of clan Gangrel and so Kane had seen them when out patrolling his domain, meeting them at the borders. Lord Kendall took them to one side and asked them more about their theories, knowing that they had been to the Court of Kerkoft. He asked what they knew of Julia Reinhart, the Invictus and the Ordo Dracul. Knowing that they did not have firm evidence of any connection Kendall let slip that there had been some suspicious gatherings at a junk yard. In fact the same one that Kane had been to around a month ago. With this mentioned Kane shifted form and presented himself, asking what it was about the junk yard that made it suspicious and why Kendal was telling them? He said that there were others who did not want the Carthians to fall, at least not to Kerkoft.
After being led out of the canals to Ancoats, coming out near a retail park, the giant Toy’R’Us logo illuminating the streets. The noticed that they had received numerous text messages and a voice message. They were to go to the Urbis building immediately to see the Chairman. The caller was Chamberlain Odans.
Arriving at the Urbis centre and being led to the top floor office they met the Chairman the Chamberlain and Dr Hugo Emris Auldwyn. The Chamberlain introduced the doctor and said what the doctor had to say for them was a matter of utmost urgency and kept secret.
In another room the coterie and Hugo sat down. The doctor was dressed in a tweed suit and had a jutting chin, short hair and large glasses. He spoke in a plumy voice. He introduced himself as a doctor with a speciality in physiology from Oxford. He came across as very self important. He required for them to track down a car, and he handed over a license plate number. He required that all of the car’s contents be recovered or destroyed. He also needed the driver to be found, a Dr Tobin, who worked at the Astra Zeneca labs in Alderly Edge. It was 5 hours ago that the car had been taken outside the labs, and on the CCTV the attacker was obviously Kindred.
Hugo left the coterie to discuss what they would do. The car had not been dumped or found by the police yet, and so they had to cast the net wider. Kane contacted Priscus Kollins of the Gangrel and asked if he could find out about the location of the car ad that he would owe him a minor boon if it was found. Thessaly contacted Nails and asked him the same favour. With that done the group then decided to head to the junk yard, hoping that their suspicions would be confirmed, and that the car would be found there, along with the missing Dr Tobin.
Arriving at the junkyard the coterie approached cautiously. Kane took on his raven form and surveyed the area, landing upon a pile of rusting metal before the guard dogs. He summoned up his Beast and spoke to the creatures, calming them and setting them to sleep. Dimitri and Thessaly found a hole in the fence and made their way in. Thessaly took the chance to consult the aether and in a pool of rain water she scryed, looking for signs and portents. She felt the energy of the location surge through her and with her heightened sense of hearing she could hear the murmuring of chanting from below. She led the others to covered sheet of metal that covered an entrance to the underground chamber. There they quietly crept down and could hear a number of voices chanting. Words about God, blood and Dracula could be heard.
They carried on further forward, realising they were in some old basement of a building that had once stood here. In a pit stood Liza Smith, the Mekhet child of the Priscus Stewart. She was naked save for a robe and her hands were in a burning brazier as others stood about watching. Another, who they noticed was referred to as Kogaion, was reciting verse from a book. They also spotted Lauren Esten and Zahred Zilber. The truth was now plain to see for the coterie. They were all members of the Ordo Dracul and they were witnessing some form of ritual.
The ritual paused as Zahred got up. He looked at the Kogaion, questioning this method of chrysalis. The Kogaion just sneered back, saying that one as young as Zahred would not understand. But Zahred was not so easily repelled. He announced before all of them that he himself was in fact inducted into the covenant by Lisette herself and that the Kogaion has allowed his own selfish goals to blind both himself and the Dragons of this city. With that Zahred drew from the brazier a white hot poker and plunged it through Liza Smith, the vampire turning to dust before their eyes. The other Dragons about looked on in horror and awe. ‘For too long you have been without a true guide, seeking out enlightenment from exhausted sources. I can show you the knowledge that you seek!’
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Vampire: The Endless Waltz
Episode 5: The Price of Blood – Part 1
Following the break in at the museum much had to be done. Dimitri was organizing his election party for Patrick Falken. Kane was spending time with the Gangrel Priscus, learning more about the ways of the Gangrel blood and the city domains. Kane also took the chance to use his raven form to fly over the Fletcher Moss manor house. But at every opportunity he was being watched as he flew over the manor house. Almost as if they knew he was watching. As for Thessaly she had much to do. Halloween had taken place, requiring much preparation on her part as she attended to the rituals of her grandsire Magus Gregor, and also witnessed the powers of a Mekhet guest to the city, a vampire capable of summoning and manipulating ghosts. Thessaly also took the time to investigate the history of the Ordo Dracul in Manchester, finding out about what little is know about their chapter houses, their roles within the covenant, and the links with Manchester’s infamous Hellfire club. She also looked into the symbolism that had been seen in her own visions and those of Desdemona. There was elements of Mithraic mythology, Assyrian cults, Roman history, fallen angels and the history of Manchester. There was something else at work along with the Invictus and Ordo Dracul.
At the Great Northern shopping centre, the converted warehouse of the Great Northern Railway company, a massive Victorian building, Dimitri was with Max Neils going over the security concerns of the venue. The shopping centre, which was also home to a cinema complex, was mostly empty, not every shop was in use. Max Neils owned the club on the top floor, known as Hangman’s. Outside of the club was a red neon sign in the form of a stick man at the gallows, swaying from side to side. Inside the club was lit with sparing amounts of white and red neo tubes, and what reflective metal surfaces there are had all been scrubbed to stop clear reflections. Happy with the arrangements Dimitri was all ready to leave when Myrmidon Estabelle Duncanson arrived. She asked if Dimitri had time to be questioned and asked Priscus Neils if they may use his office.
In the office Estabelle and Dimitri were sat opposite each other while one of her bailiffs stood watching and another stood outside on guard. She then proceeded to question Dimitri, asking him about the events that led to the death of the Prefect and what Lauren Esten meant when she accused him of being a traitor. Dimitri kept his cool and dodged the difficult questions, but Estabelle informed him that she would be seeking to question Kane and Thessaly now and it the best time for them to come forward with any information before a tribunal is held. Lauren Esten and Liza Smith would also be question before the tribunal, but these two had now been keeping a low profile and so were difficult to pin down.
Following the meeting at the club Dimitri headed to Patrick Falken’s office where Thessaly and Kane were waiting. They had been given a list of people to meet to win over to Falken’s campaign and so promote him to others to ensure his election.
The first person they chose to meet was Vicky Baker, a Mekhet Carthian and a tattoo artist. She operated out of a palor on Oldham Street. There in the studio, with some rock music playing, the sound of a buzzing needle. The guy on the desk fetched them Vicky while a person in one of the rooms screamed in pain.
Vicky was short, had close cropped hair, wore combats and had a leopard print on her hair. She looked at the three of them and led them to the staff room and locked the door. She was expecting them to arrive and knew they worked for Falken, but wanted to know what was in it for her? Kane explained the differences between Julia’s and Patrick’s goals, but Vicky was not bothered. She explained a little about her work and how it helped many Acolytes in the city, but they had never budged to trust her. But based upon this Thessaly, stating she in fact worked for Magus Gregor, could change the situation, get her more work and prestige and maybe even some form of membership in the Crone as well.
With Vicky satisfied the group then headed to the Circle Club in town. The Circle Club was run by Spokesman Rain, and it was situated under the Victorian shopping mall, the Barton Arcade. Here they were let in through the tight security, and made their way down into the club. The club was dimly light and was like something from 1920’s film. Many of the cities Carthian Kindred were there.
Spokesman Rain approached taking the chance to speak to Dimitri in order to find out how the party and campaign were taking shape. He also directed them to the fact that one of the Kindred that Patrick wished for them to see was present, and that after they could use the entrance to the canals, there in the back of the club, to go and find Nails. The Carthian on their list that was in the club was Brad Pale, a Daeva, a party kid and a brash neonate, not much older that the coterie.
Thessaly, Dimitri and Kane sat down with the Daeva, who was also accompanied by a couple other young Kindred and their own ghouled women who giggled at each sentence that Brad uttered. Brad was dressed much like many of the emo/new rave kids seen in town, wear a pair of shades and a loud t-shirt. He was also happily snorting coke and feeding on his ghouls. He greeted the coeterie with his usual brand of ego and proceeded to listen to Kane, but butted in when he disagreed, suggesting that Falken had no plans to make things better for the neonates of this city and that they were just lap dogs. The argument soon caused Kane to rise to his full stature and proceed to shout down the foolish and arrogant vampire whelp, suggesting that if Julia did get her way then the city would be ripe for the Invictus and other Kindred.
With Brad cowed into submission the coterie left him to contemplate his decision. Kane was then approached by Sister Rebecca Castle, a power suit clad woman who applauded him for his strength of convictions and asked if he was going to take up the offer of coming to a Sanctified mass sometime soon. Kane however was not interested. They had other things to do.
Vampire: The Endless Waltz
Episode 4: Live by the Sword – Part 3
Now aware that Natalia Kerkoft had her ghouls break into the office at the museum to steal the briefcase (and whatever was within it), Dimitri and Thessaly were ordered by Patrick Falken to go and meet with the Invictus Lady so that might discover the identity of the ghoul so that they can better understand Natalia’s interest in the Chairman and the Astra Zeneca laboratories. Patrick instructed the two to go to the manor house of Fletcher Moss in Didsbury, a region of Manchester that falls into the domain of Natalia Kerkoft, the so called Duchy of Kerkoft. Patrick instructed them to go to the court of Kerkoft with a gift, under the guise that they are seeking the acceptance from the Court of Kerkoft for Patrick Falken’s election campaign. The gift that Patrick has been holding onto for just the right moment is a small music box dating from the time of Louis the 13th.
Meanwhile, still in the form of a small black cat, Kane made his way into the Buddhist temple. First he leapt up to the fir escape, clambering up to find a way inside via an open window. Once in and timing his movement, Kane was able to make his way back down within the building. At times he had to wait for a person to go by and open a door, but eventually he reached the temple. Incense and chanting emanating from the temple, monks sat cross legged before images and statues contemplating. Kane slinked in, his cat form keeping close to the walls and sniffing the air. The Beast, so close to the surface, made Kane growl. There was a vampire close by.
Kane made his way towards the back of the temple. The smell of burning herbs and spices were unable to mask the faint smell of death that his feline nose could detect. He found a door, it was closed, but after a number of jumps his cat paws were able to twist the door handle and he discovered a staircase leading downwards. The smell was now slightly stronger. Kane headed down into the dark.
At the bottom of the stairs Kane found a corridor that led into the dark. His cat eyes were able to discern his surroundings from what little light there was. He made his way down into the bowls of the building, passing rooms filled with crates of cheap imports. But there was one room that was different. He crept into the room, the door being ajar, and he found a small chamber where a strange figure stood over a cauldron. The room was cast in a red glow and the figure, slender, skeletal and dark skinned, loomed over the cauldron. Blood was bubbling and all about were hung scrolls of some oriental dialect. Behind the figure was the sword and fan that had been taken that night. Kane looked upwards and on the ceiling could see three figures moving, strange dead beings that appeared stitched together, clinging to the ceiling.
Dimitri and Thessaly, in Dimitri’s Porsche 911, approached the fenced estate of Fletcher Moss. At the gates they pressed the buzzer and were admitted in. The Porsche crunched up the gravel road to the Georgian manor house. A number of cars were parked outside and at the front of the house a valet parked the car for Dimitri. The ghoul butler of the house asked for their names and blood lineage and then proceeded to lead them into the main entrance hall of the house. There in the hall a number of Kindred were gathered chatting, including some recognisable faces, Lady Tabbitha Gao, Robert Woking and of course Annabel Barbican.
Before Thessaly, Annabel asked if Dimitri was here to finally confess what happened to Jacob Lewis and finally join the Invictus and prove his worth. Dimitri denied any knowledge of what she was talking about. Then Annabel turned on Thessaly. Thessaly had been given more striking and impressive clothes by Dimitri to wear for this meeting. Annabel just looked the Nosferatu up and down and sneered, unimpressed by this change in presentation. But then, to their surprise it was Lady Gao who came to their rescue. As the harpy in the city with the highest status she immediately humiliated Annabel, pressing the fact that until she had the honour of hold the title of Lady of the Dynastic House of Kerkoft that she should remember her place and treat guests appropriately or else the very honour of the Invictus would be sullied. Annabel hissed at the Dimitri and walked off but not before Dimitri had the chance to pat her on the ass, leading to Robert having to restrain her and dominate her mind to prevent a very costly breach of courtly etiquette.
Thessaly, Dimitri and Gao sat on a sofa awaiting for their turn to be called to see Kerkoft. Gao, now acutely aware of Thessaly’s ability of foresight, mentions that she is not the only seer present in the house of Kerkoft. There is another, a Rachel Witten, apparently a member of the Circle of the Crone. Thessaly said she did not know her, nor was she aware that there were Acolytes offering services to the Invictus. The butler then returned and we led further into the manor house.
Before the dark figure in the basement Kane kept rigidly still, watching it’s every move, listening to each syllable of the invocation. But then it stopped moving, the figure with its arms outstretched. It loomed forward and gracefully pointed towards where Kane was stood in the dark. It asked for him to come forward and reveal his true form. Kane obliged and shifted form and met the cold dead eyes of the vampire. It stood up, shorter than Kane, and presented itself as Tetsuro, of Clan Nosferatu and of the Burakumin bloodline. Tetsuro went on to explain that he was simply recovering the items that were rightfully his family’s, items stolen over a hundred years ago by Kerkoft. However their recovery has only occurred now after determining the most auspicious time to do so. Kane revealed that by some means Kerkoft had also known of this moment to break into the museum. Tetsuro asked Kane to tell his superiors that the items were now lost and in return Tetsuro would allow Kane to leave, alive, so long as they were both committed to bringing Kerkoft down. To seal the pact the Burakumin extended a long talon into the cauldron of blood and using it inscribed a tattoo onto Kane’s arm.
At the manor house, in the dining room, Thessaly and Kane were presented to Lady Natalia Kerkoft. With Natalia were a number of ghouls and behind her was sat a woman wearing a pendant in the shape of a bull’s head. This was Rachel Witten. The butler presented the gift to Natalia who then went on to explain that she would support whomever won the Carthian election, but that she would look kindly upon Falken as he has given her a wonderful gift.
Leaving the dining room Dimitri and Thessaly remained at the house, taking the time to speak to those Invictus who care to talk to them. Dimitri then spotted the ghoul, and after a few minutes was able to find a moment to speak to him. His name was Gyle, and worked for one of Kerkoft’s construction companies, Dimitri’s powers of the blood loosening his tongue.