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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, plug 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.
Vampire: The Endless Waltz
Episode 6: Dancers in the Shadows – Part 2
Following the issue with missing ghoul Kane headed down to the loading bay of the shopping centre while Dimitri informed Patrick Falken of the issue and that he will try and and get everybody to leave before there are any more problems. Meanwhile Thessaly was still at the hospital for the insane and was breaking into filing cabinets.
In the loading bay Kane and the other vampires and ghouls on security discovered the missing ghoul. He had been burnt to death. Splitting up they went looking for the reason why. But things just got worse as the other vampire soon went missing. Kane and a ghoul found blood stains and then his body, hidden away. He had been staked and beheaded. There was also a van that looked suspicious and Kane was certain he could see containers in there that looked like it was a bomb. Kane then watched as the ghoul on look out was consumed in flames. Kane hid and watched the hunters kill the ghoul with the flamethrower. Kane could barely keep the fear in him down, taking the shape of a raven and flew away before regaining his composure.
Dimitri had just got the guests to leave, and the drugged up Annabel Barbican taken to a taxi. But he was confronted in the club and before the other Kindred still present. Patrick's rival, Julia Reinhart, demanded to know what was going on. However, Dimitri was not taking any crap, and knowing he had the support of those guests still present, just said it was his party and would do what the hell he liked. Julia, seeing how she had no command of the situation, stormed off, leaving Dimitri to go and find Kane.
Thessaly opened the cabinets and found files on medical blood experiments, Astra Zenca drug trials, autopsy reports on Kindred, and also files stolen from the Ordo Dracul, and information taken from the Sanctified and Acolytes. She read through some and grabbed what she could, noting a CD that bore the same code as the piece of arabic manuscript they found in Dr Tobin's abandoned car. It was just in time as she spotted issues with the security cameras. Some one was burning them out with flares. And that some one was Lauren Esten and her Ordo Dracul friends. Thessaly acted quickly and made an escape, knowing the main entrance to the wing was blocked off, she found an old laundry chute and escaped through the boiler room of the hospital.
In the loading bay of the Great Northern shopping centre, Dimitri and his ghoul Karl, watched as the hunters made their escape, they took the vans with them, knowing that the party above was over and they had lost their opportunity. Dimitri then noticed the other ghoul security come out of hiding as the vans left, and a strange raven that flew over their heads, Dimitri's and then went flying off following the van.
Kane arrived at an old metal working factory near the canals and so he approached, his form offering him the element of surprise. Inside the hunters were removing the explosives from the van. But also the leader of the hunters mentioned that their contact had better have some more information on when to hit the bloodsuckers next. Within the factory there was also a cage which held a bloody and battered woman. She was clearly a vampire who had been captured and the leader of the hunters was questioning her, before beating her again.
Kane landed down on the factory floor and shifted back to human form, before shifting to his cat form. Playfully he tried to get the attention of the hunters, before making such a distraction by which he could steal the key to the cage off the table. With the key in his mouth he once more made his way to cover and shifted back to his human form. He had a plan. Kane had earlier contacted the Constable about the hunters, and that a police strike team would be there to apprehend the men on grounds of terrorism. Kane waited.
There was then a commotion as the police stormed the factory. Gas grenades were fired in, giving Kane the cover needed to get to the cage and release the female vampire. But as he did so Kane was shot in the back by one of the hunters. Undeterred by the shotgun slug Kane opened the cage and released the woman he launched herself at the hunter and tore his throat out. Kane Grabbed her and they fled, just in time as the entire factory went up in flames.
On the streets Kane and the woman hid in an alleyway, the police helicopters had not been able to track them. Kane called Dimitri to get picked up as it was an hour before dawn. But as Kane put the phone down he felt the pain of a piece of wood being rammed through his chest. The woman turned on him and sneered. "Thanks for the help". Dimitri arrived to find the body of Kane left behind some rubbish bags. Dimitri removed the stake and fed Kane some of his blood.
Meanwhile Thessaly tried to put the clues together. She was researching in her haven, the cold of winter not affecting her. There she learnt more about the daemon Si'lat, about the book the Kitab Si'lat, the myths of the Tremere, and wondered how all this linked to the Ordo Dracul, the Coil of Blood, stigmata and the Lancea Sanctum.
Vampire: The Endless Waltz
Episode 6: Dancers in the Shadows – Part 1
Following the events at the labs and the junk yard the coterie had revealed what they had discovered to Patrick Falken and Chamberlain Odans, who both advised that with respect to the issues with the Ordo Dracul that they should continue as if they were not aware of them. Instead they should lure them out and their Invictus allies. As for the traitors to the Carthians, Lauren Esten had gone to ground and was currently being sort out by the Myrmidon so that she could be questioned over the events of the Prefect’s death. As for the final death of Jacob Lewis as Kane’s hands, the issue was to be brushed under the carpet by Patrick Falken, Kane having previously revealed this issue to him.
It was December now and the nights were getting very long, the perfect time for any real chaos to occur within the ranks of the Kindred. Kane awoke and met with Constable Ihram in a church grave yard to discuss the issue of the Ordo Dracul and Lauren Esten. Lauren had still not been found and Kane was ordered to keep an eye out. Kane then received a call from an old work college who said that he had just met Kane’s sister and that she was in the city and she had been looking for him as it had been some time since they had last spoken or seen him.
Following this meeting Kane headed to the Great Northern centre where Club Hangman’s was located, and where he would meet Thessaly, Dimitri, Patrick, Spokesman Rain and a few others to discuss last minute preparations for the following night’s party. Happy with the arrangements Patrick congratulated Dimitri and the others before they were interrupted by Dr Hugo Emris Auldwyn. He wanted to meet with Thessaly, and in a curtained off area he asked if she, being a member of the Crone and so with not real ties to the party tomorrow, would go to the asylum and keep watch over a patient and observe him. He needs someone to watch and she will be compensated by the Chairman. But he also wishes for Thessaly to give her insight on the man, her knowledge and skills being of use.
The next evening Thessaly arrived at the Cheadle Hulme Hospital, a psychiatric centre and the former Manchester Asylum. It was a dark and imposing red brick Victorian building, and the rain only made it seem more sinister. She had been given by a ghoul of Hugo’s a uniform and access cards, and a map, that would lead her to the hidden research wing maintained by him. She walked through corridors that at this time of evening were now fairly empty. The odd orderly wheeled a patient to their room, another patient would be walking about, barely noticing her presence. As she got nearer to the west wing she noticed an empty recreation room. It was dark and then the TV blinked on. The screen was just static. It blinked off. Then on again, and from down the corridor Thessaly could hear someone moaning. She went to look, and on a bed, almost forced into the mattress, was a man, his eye wide open looking straight up. He turned to look at Thessaly and spoke.
‘One who stands in the helm of shadows and the cloak of nightmares. He is seeking his name, the fallen angel, the bringer of pandemonium, he shall take your souls and lay them bare to the beast. The crows circle and blood will seep from the land and he shall rise!’
The man then went quiet and Thessaly watched as shadows cast by the tress outside, like fingers, fell across his body and then, by some manner, began to creep closer to her. She stepped back and cast a circle of protection. The shadows backed off and all went quiet once more. Thessaly hurried on to the dining hall.
Back at Club Hangman’s the party was just getting started. Dimitri had got there early and was dressed up in a smart McQueen suit and a Venetian mask. The other Kindred present were also smartly dressed, some more than others, and they too wore masks for Dimitri had said the party was also a masquerade party and also his death day party.
Eventually the club was filled up, and Kane and Dimitri conversed with Priscus Neils of the Daeva, the Myrmidon, Chamberlain Odans, Spokesman Rain, some of the neonates and ancillea of the Carthians. A few punkish Kindred turned up at the doors, but were soon turned away by security. They were anarchs, those Carthians willing to go to extreme measures for a change in power. But then one person arrived who caught the attention of Dimitri, Annabel Barbican. It seems that the Invictus had taken his bait and accepted his invitation. He proceed to talk to her and to the Chamberlain, exchanging biting remarks until the Chamberlain reminded Annabel to be more courteous in the presence of their host. Kane then received a voice message from his sister. She said that she needed to see him and gave him an address that was located in the suburbs. Kane ignored it and continued with the party.
It was now that Dimitri hatched his plan, and offered her one of the nicest of the herd to feed on that night. Unknown to her, Dimitri had drugged the man with morphine. He took Annabel to one of the curtained areas and privately watched as she fed on the drugged man. Soon she too was feeling the effects. But before Dimitri could carry out his insidious plan, Patrick Falken had arrived and Dimitri had to present him to the gathered Carthians.
Meanwhile Thessaly had made her way to the secret underground hospital rooms. Accessed from a false freezer door the underground hospital wing was a dim and dark place. It was damp and cold, and deadly quiet. Gone were the mad ramblings of the patients from above. As she made her way down the corridor Thessaly passed a number of empty rooms and then came to the office from which Dr Hugo worked, his laboratory and a room with a large steel door. Within Thessaly could see a padded room, stained with damp and blood and bile. On the walls were things written in blood. Dr A, Dr R, Dr H, and tallies next to them. There was also the name Williamson, and one word that was new to Thessaly. Tremere.
Suddenly at the view hatch her eyes met those of another. His eyes were yellow, his pupils fully dilated. She could see little of his face and so a conversation began. The man spoke of strange things, of experiments, elixirs, his father (who he did not name), and of the things waiting in the shadows. Thessaly could see from his aura that he was quite mad, but also truthful.
Back at the party Dimitri introduced Patrick, first thanking everyone for coming and attending the party, his death day party, and of for showing their support for Patrick. With the pleasantries over Dimitri return to the curtained booth to find Annabel still intoxicated. It was now that he committed his perverse act.
Meanwhile Kane was in the club and over the radio he had heard that one of the ghouls on security in the loading bay below was not responding. Something was not going to plan.
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.
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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.
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Posted via web from Doctor Ether's posterous
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.
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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.
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So! We didn't have Lindsey, since her player broke her neck in Buffalo or something (might've been a foot, or a toe, I don't know). Padma was going to go clubbing, but decided to go join Marconi and go and visit Andre. Heath went to see Tolliver.
Andre met Padma and Marconi outside the Grand, and walked with them to the Flamingo to meet Sir Louis Frank. Frank was a little quirky (Ventrue), but was helpful. He told the characters that creating a mental trap isn't exactly difficult, but he wasn't sure who in this city did that kind of thing. He mentioned Betrand Biel, the former Lancea Sanctum bishop of the city, who had been pretty tight with the Prince until he went into torpor. Now, the bishop is a dude named Don Iltano - who's Protestant (there's friction there).
Biel had two childer who are or were in Vegas: Isabeau and Marcel. Isabeau was here for a purpose, but Frank wasn't sure what that was. He also mentioned that Cynthia Farnsworth, Lindsey's mentor, was a Ventrue of some skill at Dominate - she might be able to do it. The characters decided they should go have a chat with Maeve Blackwell and see how badly the Luxor was screwed, so they headed for the Grand (Andre was putting the Crone vampires up for a while).
Meantime, Heath went to Tolliver's club. Tolliver asked Heath to accompany him on an errand and use his money for his benefit. En route out into the desert, Tolliver explained: An acquaintance of his, on the way out of Vegas, had spotted a car that he thought belonged to Tolliver's "aunt" (that is, a vampire Embraced by the same vampire who'd Embraced Jamie Opps, Tolliver's sire - confused yet?). She'd been missing for a while, and Jamie thought that something bad might have happened to her.
They got out into the desert and there was a guardpost. Heath paid the guy off, and he raised the gate. The car was there - California plates, apparently abandoned. Heath jimmied the lock and got a face full of ashes for his trouble. In the driver's seat, they found ashes and clothes, and a wooden stake jammed into the shirt and into the upholstery. They weren't sure exactly what had happened, but they decided to drive both cars back and investigate further.
En route back, Tolliver slammed on the breaks. Heath tried to stop, and didn't - something got stuck under his brake pedal. He slammed into Tolliver's car, totaling both, and flying through the windshield. Being a vampire and everything, he wasn't badly hurt, but embarrassed. While waiting for the tow truck and the limo, they searched the car. What was blocking the brake pedal? A copy of The Vampire Lestat
. Suddenly, this was sounding annoyingly familiar.
Checking the trunk, they found a plethora of
vampire novels and movies. Apparently this woman was as much a goob as Jay and Lily and their people. Heath also found a diary, but fighting through her handwriting was tough. Some references to "Count Yanosh" who was an "Avus" (while Tolliver explained to Heath), and then later in the book, discussions about meeting "Firefly."
Meantime, Marconi and Padma had met with Maeve. They talked about ghosts and what Amy might want, and Maeve said that she probably didn't
want to destroy all vampires - that wasn't personal enough. She offered to perform a ritual to channel the ghost, but wanted a boon. Marconi balked (this really wasn't his issue), but Andre said that he'd consider the whole "you're staying in my hotel" thing even if Maeve would perform the ritual (which is, of course, because it was Andre who fed on Amy and drove her crazy to begin with, not that Maeve knows that - confused yet?).
About then, Heath called Marconi and told him about the diary. He mentioned Yanosh, and Marconi remembered that a Daeva named William Smythe had passed through town and talked about some dork in Los Angeles named Yanosh - or, really, "John Melford." Apparently Yanosh lived up to every vampire trope ever; Smythe had expected him to start sparkling soon.
Heath also had an associate run the dead vampire's plates. Her name came up as "Mina Harker." Oy. Likewise, someone remembered a movie called Serenity
that involved a "Firefly" - and the characters included Zoe, Kaylee, Inara, and Jane (spelled "Jayne"). Recall that these names show up on the message board for "the Brethren."
So what was happening? Was the dead vampire ("Mina") the Patroness? And who was "Firefly?"
Next time - rooftop seance, and some more answers, hopefully.