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Keep Your Friends Close: and Your Enemies Closer

Posted on March 28, 2010 by Billzilla

As the evening’s action opens, Blake and Lavender have a discussion about moving the recovered treasures out of Stickney. While we trust Regent Czarnecki – our mentor – implicitly, he is not the only Nosferatu there, and certainly not the only one with access to the stuff. The Regent has suggested that while he’s fine with keeping it safe for us, he would ultimately like the stuff moved, and the sooner the better.

We debate the fate of the Canopic jars; they are a powerful, ancient artifact, but also dangerous. We know several Mekhet – a clan with ties to ancient Egypt – who could possibly help us find someone who knows what to do with this stuff. We agree that someone we know – Jed Holyoak, master of Blood Magic and high-ranking member of the Circle of the Crone – seems a likely candidate. We drive out to Stickney to look over the loot, possibly discuss things with our mentor and decide how to proceed and what – if anything – we should take away with us tonight. On the way, a Black SUV tries to run us off the road; we are suspicious, but draw no specific conclusions.

Big news: Dust-ups happening all over town the previous night. Edgar Treadwell – a Daeva and Harpy wanna-be – got into a fight with another Daeva – Walt Barowski, leader of the Carthians and the disloyal opposition to the established order. Rumors are circulating of a Gangrel/Gangrel or Gangrel/Lupine dust-up too, and that one includes word of one or two fatalities. Neil Tyler, Ventrue and junior Keeper of Elysium, has been missing for at least a week.

Regent Czarnecki, it seems, is in consultation with Kindred form the Undercity; Tiffany explains that she was command not to be there, as some of those Kindred are less restrained than those of us who live above ground. While we are talking to Tiffany, Regent Czarnecki’s ghoul and right hand, we notice a ghost looking over her shoulder; it’s the ghost of a young, red-headed girl we “acquired” and offered to the Regent on our first meeting. We asked around and found out what the Regent liked, and agreed to owe a large favor in exchange for Edgar Treadwell finding us a suitable young lady. She was devoured unceremoniously (and messily) by the Regent at that first meeting, and her ghost chides us by waggling a transparent finger at us. Both of us ask Tiffany a question or two about ghosts; Tiffany clearly is not aware of the presence of the young lady’s spirit. We are slightly unnerved.

More weirdness; the protective seal on Oscar Steward’s coffin has failed. This is the same type of seal – written in Hieroglyphics, no less – that was protecting the canopic jars; that could spell big trouble. When we open it to check, we discover it’s true. As we watch the hieroglyphs fade, we realize the contents of the jars are no longer protected from magical search/discovery. Some of the stuff is missing or has been tampered with; the intact skeleton from the box of bones is missing, and the pre-1970s stash of US currency has clearly been tampered with, though it seems to be otherwise intact. It occurs to us also that the Ghost Rocks were exposed to air- having been removed briefly from the salt for inspection – several weeks ago. Since they are rumored to act as GPS locators for ghosts, we realize that the location of the hidden shed may not be so hidden. Because of all this, we indicate to the Regent’s secretary, Tiffany, that the secret shed may have been compromised. A few computer key strokes from her and a group of Nosferatu come boiling up from underground and begin rapidly dismantling the no longer Obfuscated shed, leaving our motley collection of goods sitting out in the open. We unexpectedly must scramble to load all of our loot into Lavender’s Mini-Cooper and Filthfoot’s Ford Taurus. F. was fortunately nearby in Stickney himself, and agreed to meet us there. We learn that Kyle sent a disturbing text message to Filthfoot moments ago; “Don’t go to Court.” Since he didn’t send such a message to us, we are confused.

We meet Kyle at the Shedd, well before Court is to convene for the evening. Filthfoot drives past and parks in a different section of the lot. Kyle texts me before we arrive and tells me to meet him in the more remote parking lot; it’s a trap. Sasha and at least four of his gang pull up in the same black SUV that tried to sideswipe us before; they all get out and begin to toss the contents of Filthfoot’s car. Kyle informs us that he joined up with them to save his skin, turning his fellow neonate over to them as a good-will offering. He tells us they demand most of the treasures we’ve recovered. Kyle has sold us out. Worse yet, the Prince is in danger too; they plan to free Kate and someone else, and kill the Prince. They have a traitor working for them inside the Prince’s organization; now we understand how they were able to remain hidden for so long -they had inside help.

Kyle tells us that, because we were good to him, he’s made the fugitives agree not to kill us. Lavender takes a moment to say “I told you so!” to Blake. We give up; this is a fight we can’t win. We walk away, leaving behind the Ghost Rocks and the Crusader Journals; they apparently also wanted the body of the Old Man, Oscar Steward, so they could diablerize him too; Oscar’s still back in Stickney, resting safely, so no luck for them on that score. Filthfoot, as a parting gesture, “accidentally” breaks one or more of the canopic jars, and consequently suggests we all get the hell out of there now. They drive off with the stuff they wanted. We run back to Lavender’s car and drive madly towards the Palmer House Hotel, residence of Prince Maxwell Clarke. Along the way, we pass the black SUV, sitting at a crazy angle in a ditch; a body lies nearby, bloody and ragged – not someone we recognize, so it must be one of their ghouls. The SUV itself is doing a credible impression of an accordian, but traitorous Kyle’s vehicle is nowhere in sight. Could the owner of the jars have caused this damage seeking vengeance? We pull up outside Palmer House just as Kyle’s car pulls into the parking lot. Filthfoot stays behind to slow them down, and borrows Blake’s pistol.

We call upstairs on a courtesy phone, but the Prince has left his apartments. A badly mangled Filthfoot comes flying through a plate glass window, followed closely by the Gangrel and former River Rat Wet Willie, claws extended and out for blood. Lavender attacks Willie; they trade blows. Blake attacks Willie for minimal damage, and manages to Dominate him into passivity for a turn with the command “Stop!”, buying Lavender some time. Dumptruck Ned – one of Willie and Sasha’s confederates – enters the scene, Bowie knife in hand and looking ready for a fight. Blake Dominates Willie again, this time commanding him to “Sit!” Willie does so, sitting his way through the open window, tumbling onto the sidewalk outside. Both Lavender and Blake stab Ned, seemingly to little effect. Filthfoot, from his vantage point on the floor, jams Blake’s pistol into Ned’s nether regions and pulls the trigger; Ned gets a goosing he’s unlikely to forget soon. Facing unexpectedly strong opposition, Ned and Willie leave. Blake and Lavender head for the basement, leaving Filthfoot behind. After two abortive attempts to find the right way down to the basement, they stumble into a ghoul they recognize. He converses via his headset with the Prince’s media master Greg Norton; they enter the inner sanctum and are waived in. Blake orders the ghoul to barricade the door and they barge into the room where the Prince keeps his Torpored prisoners.

The massive form of our nemesis, Earth Baines, lays on the floor in front of us in stasis, stake through his heart. The Prince has his back to the wall, stake through his stomach, with a gun pointed at his head by Neil Tyler. (This fight got so intense Zak the cat started batting at Matt’s dice.) Also present is Evan who was among the group that attacked us previously. Kate, captured last week, has been brought out of torpor and is standing, and another Kindred is sitting up on a slab, watching as the stake hole in his chest heals itself. The ghoul with us opens fire on Neil Tyler; Lavender and Blake both activate their Resilience. Lavender then activates her Celerity and Attacks Evan, while Blake activates his Celerity and removes the stake from Baines. On his next turn, Blake attacks the unknown Gangrel. The Ghoul attacking Neil Tyler fails to do significant damage and dies in the exchange of gunfire. The Prince, now unattended, removes the stake and stabs Mr. Tyler straight in the heart with it, immediately putting him into torpor. Blake’s Celerity-enhanced defense proves too much for the Gangrel; his roll fails critically, and he slips on the now blood-slick floor, falling flat on his back falls to the floor. Blake takes advantage of the situation and slams a table leg into the Gangrel’s heart, putting him into torpor. A freshly revived Baines slams into Evan, pulverizing him.

We learn from the Prince that the fugitives are members of the Brood – demon-worshiping Kindred who are a threat to not only the Masquerade, but to non-Brood Kindred as well. We take a deep breath; bad news has just grown worse. It seems they wanted the Journals of the Lancaea Sanctum Inquisitor, M. Nadeau – because she was active in the fight against the Brood previously. They must suspect that her journals may lead them to the location of other Brood members. The Ghost Rocks we discover, are also of significance; the lone reddish Ghost Rock apparently aids in summoning demons – something everyone outside of the Brood would just as soon avoid. Filthfoot has made his way downstairs, and is leaning against a wall in the hall outside, nursing his injuries and guarding our backs.

The Prince fails to outwardly show any real gratitude for our rescue of him, but indicates that Ms. Justine Lasky, Daeva and Keeper of Elysium, wishes to speak with us. We ride in the Prince’s Limousine back to the Shedd Aquarium, where we notice that Filthfoot was left behind somehow, but managed to keep up anyway and sarcastically thanks us and the Prince for the lift.

Once inside, Lavender and Blake are escorted to a side room for a private meeting with Ms. Lasky. A Roman gladius rests on the desk between us. They are invited to join the Legion of the Dead, a para-military, secret organization made up of Invictus and Lancaea Sanctum Kindred. Ms. Lasky is a regional commander of the Legion, and Lavender and Blake are offered the opportunity to get a little payback from Sasha, Willie and company. Ms. Lasky is particularly bitter; Neil Tyler was her assistant, and a snake in the grass at Elysium. The venom with which she spit out his name when she speaks it tells us she wants some revenge herself. We ask for a few moments to discuss this offer, and step outside. Filthfoot is there, looking slightly better, and he informs us that he was never under Viniculum to us at all, but rather to the Prince; the show of him drinking our blood was done entirely for ceremonial purposes, and, we assume, to fool the neos into thinking they had a handle on things. We mention to F. the offer that’s just been made; he suggests he might like to tag along with us on these missions from time to time, but for right now, he needs to stay behind and heal. He agrees to keep an eye on our domain while we’re gone. We go back in and accept the offer.

Lavender and Blake are being sent to Detroit to act as scouts; we are to call for back-up if needed, and a strike team of Legionnaires will be dispatched to assist us. Best intel says this Brood cell is headed to the once-proud Motor City, and with the surplus of abandoned homes in the Detroit Metro area as people and jobs hemorrhage their way out of Michigan, the Brood will have plenty of places to hide so time is of the essence if we are to intercept them before they have a chance to go to ground. The objective of this mission is to reacquire the Crusader Journals and the Ghost Rocks in particular to return them to Invictus control; any casualties we incur along the way among the fugitives is deeded acceptable. We end the first chapter of our story after nine months of play, with Lavender and Blake on their way to Detroit, and with the game going on hiatus for the next several weeks.

If you’re interested in catching up on previous sessions, read:

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