Vampire: The Endless Waltz
Episode 7: Knight of the Long Knives ??? Part 1
Following the events of the previous night, Kane awoke to find himself in the bathtub. His clothes were still ruined from where he had been staked and he was hungry. Very hungry. There was a knock at the bathroom door and he heard Karl, Dimitri???s ghoul, ask if it was OK to come in. Kane get his Beast in check, and allowed Karl to come in, who told Kane that Dimitri had asked him to feed Kane so that he would be sated until the herd they had called arrived.
Meanwhile Thessaly was once more at her desk in the icy cold of her run down house in Salford. She was trying to make some sense of the documents she had recovered from the asylum. Just what the hell were they researching? What were they testing on the patient there? And why the hell were the Ordo Dracul there? She had many questions.
There was a knock at the door, and Thessaly felt her Beast squirm. Whoever was there was powerful. And right now was not the best time to be spotted with stolen documents. It could even be the Ordo Dracul. Thessaly quickly moved to hide in one of the cupboards and listen out. There was another rapping at the door and she heard a familiar voice as the door open. It was Dr Auldwyn. The one person she really didn???t want to see.
She headed up stairs and greeted the Dr. He was dressed in his typical tweed suit and bow tie, and took out a pocket handkerchief and dusted a chair off before sitting. He asked Thessaly what happened at the asylum, asking why she had left and who had broken in. He also asked about the missing documents. Thessaly lied, saying that she didn???t know where the documents were, and that they more than likely were with those who broke in. She told him of the Ordo Dracul and of Lauren Esten, who Hugo remembered was in fact being hunted for by the Myrmidon. In light of all this he asked Thessaly to keep quiet about the break in, and that he would call on her services again considering she had left her post at the asylum.
Kane, now having fed and healed a little, took a call from the Constable, Ihram. They needed his presence at a house in the suburbs. The address was the same one he had in the message from his sister.
Arriving at the house, with Dimitri who had driven them there in his Porsche, they saw that the house was in fact a police crime scene. At the front door was Ihram, and it was simple to presume that the officers working the case were ghouls.
Going into the house with Ihram, Kane and Dimitri were hit by the stench of blood. The house was a squat. It was filled with junk and rubbish. But worse yet was the kitchen. Sat in a chair, bloodied and bruised and pale and gagged, was the body of Kane???s sister. She had been drained of blood from multiple cuts. But no bite marks. It was a shocking scene to see her like this in such a terrible place. Even Dimitri was disturbed by the scene.
But there was more. Ihram gave Kane a portable DVD player and four tarot cards. The cards were ???The Final Judgement???, ???The Four of Cups???, ???The Devil??? and ???Temperance???. They then watched the DVD. On it they saw Kane???s sister, alive, struggling with her bonds as a knife could be seen in shot. There was a voice and it said;
???You???ve gambled with life now twice. First you gamble as mortals. You were born. Then you gambled again and were reborn. And now you keep on gambling. Every day the world has the odds stacked against you. And now you have gambled against the odds and lost. Give up. Give up your crusade, give up on the election, pull the plug on it, stop gambling with more that you can afford. Admit to all that you have lost. That, or next time you come to the table make sure you have a full house or a royal flush. Or maybe play with a different deck.???
??It was Ihram who was also able to answer Kane???s mystery regarding the vampire who he rescued from the hunters. Apparently she is the first vampire in some time to bear a symbol that has only been seen on members of the Brood. Ihram suggested that the coterie be careful and on the look out for these vampires, as the Brood is an even greater threat to the city and had only just been eliminated from city 5 years ago. Taking the cards, the DVD and one of the knives used to kill his sister, Kane left, shifting form and flew to Thessaly???s house. Dimitri left with little else to left to follow up clues on Zahred Zilber at his Ascension Club. Dimitri was hoping that he may get a chance to speak to Zahred Zilber; however, this did not happen. But in the heaving club Dimitri did spot someone go into the VIP area with a mortal. It was Lauren Esten. Rather than alert her Dimitri called his sire, Spokesman Rain.
Almost two weeks pass, and on Friday the 17th of December the coterie is gathered again by Patrick Falken. In the last two weeks Thessaly had made some progress with researching the history of the Kitab Si???lat. Kane had been looking for more clues to the death of his sister.
Patrick Falken thanked the coterie for their service, and that he only one more thing to ask of them. He asked them all of their opinion of the election and if they believed that he would win the election. He then asked if there is anything that they truly wish to have. Kane of course wanted more influence within the Carthians and a chance to find his sister???s killer. Dimitri asked for more influence within the Carthians and control of the Ascension Club (which had been taken by the Myrmidon) while Thessaly wanted more guarantees for the Circle of the Crone and access to any texts that may be of use to her grandsire.
Patrick Falken explained the election process. He told them of the Rite of the Puppet King. This ritual of blood magic tied would bind the election ballot box to all those who were taking part in the election. If the ballot box is tampered after the ritual and before the count then all of those taking part in the election would feel it. However, there is another lesser known ritual that can be used on the ballot papers, called the Rite of the Thousand Fangs. This ritual would be able to alter the vote on the ballot papers. It would be this ritual that Patrick Falken would have used on the ballot papers. But for this to work he needs the help of Thessaly, and also the entire coteries cooperation.
The coterie deliberated and concluded that they would help fix the election for Patrick, in exchange for the things he promised.
Patrick gave them the
location of the printers where the ballot papers were being prepared. The election would take place on the 21st of December, the longest night. So the coterie had only 4 days to act. However, that night would not be one as they had a prior engagement with the Circle of the Crone. That night was the night of the Winnowing ritual.
Driving up to a farm on the hills about Manchester the coterie could see the flames from numerous torches and a bonfire that illuminated the gathering. The nearby field was filled with vehicles, while the farm yard had been taken over by the Acolytes and turned into a small market. There were numerous wares on sale, animals, herbs and those Acolytes who are selling their services.
Thessaly???s sire, Adam, greets the coterie, and thanks Dimitri and Kane for coming and they are honoured guests. He asks that they wait, and perhaps try the blood that has been provided, while he and Thessaly speak to Magus Gregor.
In the warm of the kitchen of the farm house Magus Gregor spoke to Thessaly with regard to her sacrifice to the gods in penitence for her act of diableri. Thessaly had agreed to embrace another, so that she could understand the cycle of life and death better and bring another into the fold. For this Thessaly had chosen someone to embrace, a young man called Eric who was part of her mortal coven. Thessaly had chosen him as he wasn???t that knowledgeable of actual magic, making him the perfect student and easy to manipulate. Eric had been brought to the farm with the coterie, but under the pretention that it was some form of Wiccan festival.
The main event of the Winnowing was the Four Seasons, a play that demonstrated to the Acolytes the cycle of life and the roles of the Acolytes within it and within the covenant. On stage masked Acolytes performed the play and human sacrifices were brought out. There was blood and fire and screams, and Thessaly had to restrain Eric.