Nightfall Over Peridus

Game Fourteen

(Coming Soon)

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Game Thirteen

(Almost)

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Game Twelve: Of Politics and Pawns
The Masquerade Ball

Work in Progress

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The Masquerade Ball was to be like none other. It’s sole purpose was to show to the other Fife’s that Peridus had money and status and political standing like any other. It was to show all who were watching that Peridus was ready… ready to reform.

In the coming days before the gathering, the Elders of the Fife arranged a meeting – low key, gentle, in the Elysium to ensure safety for all. They were all present. It was anything but casual in this room as the air was heavy with tension and anticipation for what was about to be said. The light, a meek hum from one corner, allowed the kindred to sit in near-dark, where faces could be hidden from the torturous beam, where secret smiles, lingering stares and hateful glare could be cast without note, without attention. The discussion went long into the night, back and forth, from kindred to kindred. The hour before dawn, the decision was made. There would be an Elder Council, the lawful quintet, a voice from each clan. From there, the other kindred in Peridus would elect their new Prince.

The invitations were sent out: one of every Kindred in Peridus, and each invitation gave the opportunity for a plus one. It was to be a social affair, with the extra space at the court expected to be given to a ghoul belonging to the kindred whom had been sent the invitation. Each invitation came with a mask, so that the clans could be identified, but identities would remain secret. An extravagant affair this would be, with all members of this Fife’s kindred society being expected to attend. Consequences would be given to those who were absent without good reason… and there were no good reasons to be absent.

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The night of the ball approached rapidly, and the preparations were being made behind the scenes. A large country estate was procured for the forth-coming event, out in the middle of rural nowhere. It was preceded by a long gravel driveway, which doubled as a walkway, with large planted areas to the left and right. It was immaculately well kept, not a weed insight. The gravel was a bleached, bone white, and crunchy. The smells that came from the gardens evoked feelings of calm and comfort, with lavender and violets and tulips. Hues of crimson, magenta, maroon, peach swayed silently in the gentle breaths of breeze. It was idyllic at worst. The tranquility of the place was perfect for such an event as this.

Beyond the gates, which were well guarded with burly men in black suits and dark glasses, was a wonder to behold. In the centre of a mosaic courtyard was a stone fountain, bubbling with crystal tears. Large tents were set up, and entertainers wandered in circles, putting the final touches to their acts. Stalls of food, and drink, stood before the stone steps that ascended to the great mansion. Further in the grounds, a coniferous maze loomed ominously, begging for some party guests to wander in, to spend some time away from prying eyes. And finally, the exuberant party games, a draw to anyone. With brilliant prizes and shiny baubles as further enticement for all to play, for all to try their hand at winning.

The scene was, at last, set.


Our familiar kindred of the Fife, Arthur ‘George’ Bexley, Charles Christopher Courtney, Sybil Courtney, and Patrick Cattedown, readied themselves for the evening. Suited and booted, the men dusted off their finery: blazer jackets, crisp white shirts, pressed trousers, polished shiny shoes, appropriate ties and other adornments. Sybil, treated to another new outfit and accessories, took great pleasure in making herself perfect: she put rollers in her hair, finding the right jewellery accessories, using her finest make-up… her final primping took the most time, until she was finally ready.

Anna Marcella Barnham was Arthur’s plus one: he owed her a formal event after the last shambles that they attended together. Not one to waste a good outfit, Anna used the same black dress, red shoes, and jewellery as before, though fixed her hair and make-up into a different style, as to not appear too samey (and of course, in case she had the misfortune to run into Mistress Charlotte).

Patrick on foot, walking from his less-than-appropriate accommodation to the house owned by Layla Goddard – where he made his appearance more acceptable, trimming his facial hair, combing the hair on his head, and putting on a clean suit. He almost looked a totally different man to the one that turned up in The Fallen Prince one week past.

Finally ready, they made their own ways to the address mentioned on the ornate black and gold invitation that was received.

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Game Eleven: The Man in the Box
A night at The Fallen Prince.
Ring-O Ring-O Rosie’s
Flánnan

Upon finding himself lying on the cold stone floor, Flánnan realised that he had been kidnapped. Again. Someone really had it in for him, and even if it killed him, he was going to get to the bottom of what the hell was going on in Peridus. He was supposed to be the big-shot criminal, the one who people feared… he was not supposed to be the one that kept being kidnapped. He brooded, in the darkness for a short while, before it came to his attention that he should probably be looking into finding a way out of this joint, and not smoldering in the darkness.

Looking around, Flánnan took in his surroundings: there was a large boxy shaped item in one corner, the place had no windows, and a very small light source coming from a small hole in the brick wall standing opposite him. With this shadow on the floor, and the light coming from the other side, Flánnan could ascertain that the room his was in was an attachment to this other room. Taking a closer look, he could see long and tall wooden shelves, and a set of stairs on the far side. As his eyes became accustomed to the dank and dingy gloom he evaluated his options. Number One: Escape. It appeared that his captors had already thought of that. Escape. As he walked towards the small aura of light that was being cast onto the floor, he felt the restraint around his ankle. What he did notice, however, was the fact that his ankle had been in much less pain that it had been the last time that he has walked on it… almost if someone had turned some medical attention to it, whilst he was in his forced unconsciousness. Number Two: Untie himself. This was going all well and good – Flánnan traced the rope restraint around his ankle back to the box in the corner. Feeling around, his fingers touched the cool steel links of a long chain, and the rough texture of concrete. This was a box, he could feel the lip of its lid. As he was hunting in the dark for the end of his tether, he was aware of a hand on his shoulder, pulling him to his feet. Untying himself. It was Rosie Wickens, his former lady-friend and acquaintance, and the woman that had saved him in the hospital. He owed her quite a lot, come to think of it. She pulled him to his feet, and began striking up conversation, before another hand was on his shoulder, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Turning around, he saw her again, Rosie, now stood (somewhat impossibly) in two places at once. Another female voice for the corner of the room: Rosie’s voice. Flánnan was worldly wise: he knew that only one was the real Rosie, and the others were just… well he put it down to smoke and mirrors.

Okay, Rosie’s… I am going to ask you a question. It will be a question that only the real Rosie will be able to answer. A few weeks ago, you and I went out to a… to a cultural festival and there was a man there with whom I did not get on. What was his name?

Another voice answered, speaking just one word in deep, dangerous, male tones. “Pete,” said the voice, and Flánnan found himself falling into darkness once again.

Hungry Like the Wolf
Charles, and Sybil

Waking up next to Sybil for the first time in nearly three months was sheer bliss. This cottage finally felt like home again, and Charles realised that it was Sybil that made this place feel like home. After all, a house is made of brick and stone, but only love can make it home. Charles smiled, and nuzzled into Sybil’s shoulder, planting a small kiss on her neck before swinging his legs over the side of the bed and forced himself to sit up. He had the animals to tend to – twenty-one hungry beaks, two little mouths, and Sir Bennett. Getting a mixture of bread crumbs and the last of the oats, Charles scattered the feed onto the stone floor downstairs.

Just enough to keep them hungry, and keep them here, and maybe a few will fight to the death…

It wasn’t that he felt callous towards them, or hated them, but there was an awful lot of them, and they were really rather messy. He feed a much nice meal to Mickey and Minnie – he had grown to enjoy keeping mice, and so prepared them some small pieces of fruit and vegetables, and some of the cheese that he had brought especially for them. He went to greet Sir Bennett, and shared his plans for this evening. Heading back inside, Sybil was up and busying herself around the house, before Charles told her to go and change into her new outfit, ready for the evenings festivities at The Fallen Prince. With eyes full of enjoyment and excitement, she went back upstairs, a spring in her step. Charles, too, goes to change. Choosing a tweed jacket in brown, with a darker silk lining. A crisp white shirt. Red patterned tie. Cuff links. Shiny black shoes… the works. 25 minutes later, Sybil appears and looks simply ravishing.

Charles confesses his hunger, and with Sybil stating that she could eat, the two of them plan a route to the centre of Peridus, where Sir Bennett could take them most of the way, whilst taking a detour through a place where the two of them knew that they could feed before heading to their destination. And they were in luck.

A group of nine homeless men where sat around a fire pit that burned bright and orange against the night. Knowing that nine was too much to handle, Charles put on his best most convincing dog voice, and barked and yapped viciously making seven of them flee as fast as they could. Two remained; two that hand more than a good skin full. They were barely conscious, lazily sipping at a bottle of spirits, concealed in a crumbled, grubby, brown paper bag. With their backs to where Charles and Sybil crouched, concealed in the shrubbery, Charles stole some ground and crept closer. Slowly, quietly, arms poised for destruction, his hands came down hard, and collided the heads together with an audible crack. Springing up in a drunken stupor, one of the tramps went to run forwards but instead stumbled through the fire pit, his threadbare coat catching light at the bottom. Panic-stricken, he tripped on one of the log sections that was being used as a seat and ended up face down in the dirt, out cold… except for his coat which was burning up nicely. The other slumped down, toppling backwards, and landing face up, eyes closed. Both kindred drink their fill from the two men, leaving them enough vitae to remain alive. They do however find that they take on some of the alcoholic effects that this meal has previously been consuming, though both are able to hold it well.

It is a full moon, and the way it lit well. Helping his lady onto their mount, the two continue to ride pillion, staying nice and close to one another on the ride into the town.

Paranoia
Arthur

Arthur awakens, immediately feeling the crushing anxiety of needing a fix. And it was dreadful. Eventually able to drag himself for his bed, he gets up and goes downstairs, putting on a blue-striped dressing gown as he leaves his room. He finished tying the cord as he entered the kitchen, to see his ghouls seated at the dining table, gossiping together, with their final cups of tea for the day. Lavender Elslow, Karen Porter, and Marjory Saxton all close together, around one end of the table in their nightclothes. Anna Marcella Barnham was the only person who was dressed. Her hair was scraped back into a tight pony-tail, plain black cigarette trousers, a black leather jacket… all completely out of style for her usual fashion, as she looked almost masculine. Arms crossed, a lit cigarette in one hand, Anna was stressing, clock watching. Tonight was the night.

Lavender was a little distant, listening to the chatter of the other two women, blowing the steam of her tea. As Arthur entered the room, she jumped. Even though she was trying not to make a thing of it, Arthur had already noticed. Wondering if everything is alright, Arthur’s curiosity got the better of him, and he verbalised his concerns. Confessing everything, Lavender tells him that she had been plagued by the feeling of someone watching her, constantly. Shadows in doorways, and as she took fresh air out in the grounds. The creak of a floor board, the shuffle of a footstep on carpet down the corridor… Noticeably stressed, Arthur holds his hand up to stop her before she had the chance to break down on him. He didn’t have time for that. Once she had regained her calmness, she offered an apology and also admitted that she didn’t come to him with her concerns because he had enough on his plate with his current… condition. She worded everything carefully, not wanting him to unleash his anxiety as an angry beast on her for saying the wrong word.

If I were you, I’d keep a candle with you, just in case this is the work of some kindred who thinks that stalking around my property is an acceptable form of gathering information on others.

After announcing his plans to the room, Arthur retreated back upstairs to change and prepare himself for the nights activities; {he uses blush of life at this time.} Not choosing his usual dress, he decided he was going to play it cool tonight, choosing more casual attire. More trendy musician than rival club owner. A long leather jacket over a white shirt, no tie, top button undone. Heading back down the stairs, jacket swooping as he does do, he sees that Anna had already left. She was to be protection for the relocation of her family, protection for those that now had no idea that she existed. Arthur would have liked to have been there, to help, and yet he was getting ready… to go out to a bar. Unable to shake the anxious feeling, Arthur left the house at 2030, even though the official opening was happening at 2200. Sat in his car, knuckles turning white with the strength that he was gripping onto the steering wheel, giving him cramp in his knuckles.

Parking up in an empty side road, Arthur begins to start a Theban Sorcery ritual. Taking a deep breath and holding onto it, he tries to focus on the vitae coursing around his body. Willing it, Arthur’s depravity of the red stuff means that his focus on it was impeccable. After fifteen minutes, he was ready to continue. Inside, his blood began to congeal and turn stringy. After a further thirty minutes, Arthur could feel the tension inside him, and his vitae was poised like a coiled snake ready for the opportune moment. With forty-five minutes until the doors to The Fallen Prince were officially opened, Arthur pulls out of the side road, and begins cruising around, looking for Harriet Taylor or Patrick Cattedown. There are lots of crowds around, which Arthur presumes are whittling time until the opening. Many many faces, none of which he recognised. Giving up, and not wanting to be late, he parks up and heads towards the address listed on the leaflet that came through his door.

The Man with the Eyes
Patrick

After Patrick decided to murder his ghouls and leave their bodies in the woods the situation with Patrick’s ghouls, he had no need to feed when he woke up, feeling utterly sated. Waking up on the dusty, dirty floor, Patrick realised he was surrounded by corpses, paled and rotting. The face of the lady next to him had a bluish tinge, with sunken eyes, with lips taught into a cruel smile as the decomposition process had tightened the skin. He heard rustling in the far corner and, whilst there was no trace of the scent of blood, two of the bodies were rising off the ground. A hideous sight – skin too tight, nails long, hair unkempt. Eyes black, lips pale, the definition of cheek bones visible so strongly, that they might rip through the papery skin. Standing silently, the two Revenants caught sight of each other and, filled with the innate want to destroy anything and everything that is remotely in their way. Black eyes met with black eyes. Cruel lips smiled at cruel lips. And a savage onslaught of bites and kicks and scratches. Seizing his chance, Patrick ran up the wooden staircase to gain a better view at this death match.

The factory was old, the stairs rickety. Every step on the wooden boards, a risk. Leaning against the banister, the Revenants were just out of sight. Stretching out further, placing all his weight and trust in the rotten, weak wooden beam. Tumbling down, he fell in a empty space on the floor. Around him, the bodies were lain in pattern, though Patrick was too concerned in watching the fight to pay much attention to how the dead had been positioned. One devastating blow to the neck, and a pitiless hand burst through paper skin and chalky bone, a black gullet flying forth from its tubular casing. The victor turned, eyes of obsidian staring around for it’s next target. It was at this point that Patrick clapped his hands, drawing the attention of this monstrosity, this beastly creature not of this earth. It was then, unfrightened, that Patrick spoke in a voice that echoed around the cold air.

You shall follow me.

Eyes locked, the blackness almost faded, arms and head drooped in defeat, and the walking corpse staggered towards Patrick, mesmorised. A new little foot soldier, Patrick was thrilled. The two compadre’s traversed the room, heading towards the exit. More stairs, though better made this time. They didn’t creak as they were walked up, they showed no hint of breaking or giving way. Sending his new friend, Patrick’s Revenant, hereby nicknamed ‘Bloody’, first, it quickly became apparent that they were not alone.

On the staircases above where Patrick and Bloody stood, many sets of eyes loomed down at them. Not dark eyes, not ebony like Bloody’s, but eyes of all different colours. The final pair at the top, belonged to a tall, skinny looking man. They looked a bit… wild. But perhaps the most striking, was the fact that one of them was a gentle blue and crystal waters, like sapphires, the other a harsh shade of vitae crimson, rubies glittering, the jewels of his face. He cackled loudly, drawing the attention of all around him. Then he waved his hand towards the two intruders, and the swarm snapped into action. Further up the stairs, Bloody was first in line for attack. Five of them surrounding him, grabbing arms and legs, and all pulling in opposite directions. Judging by the look on Bloody’s face, if he could scream, he would have. This just made the man with the eyes cackle harder and louder, as he enjoyed the show. And then, as quickly as the cackling started, he stopped. Glowering, he directed his waves towards Patrick, stop up, made as if to run behind his minions… and then disappeared.

Commanding Bloody to take a stand, he won the grapple and broke free, taking a destructive swipe at one of the kindred swarm, a hefty blow. Stealing away, pumping his arms as fast as he could, Bloody ran, following his new leader as they fled the scene. As they get to the exit of the Tolgasia Tin Mine, the walls were plastered with flyers, advertising the opening of a hip and happening eatery… that was having its opening night, on this very night.

Chess is War over the board.
Flánnan

The floor was cold on his cheek as he began to come around. The back of his head was sore, pounding. Sitting up slowly, he noticed that the room was slightly different. For one, there was what looked like a bathtub in the corner of the room, and upon further investigation, Flánnan could see that the chained up box actually had a lid. A lid that had been disturbed in the time that he was out cold. Listening out carefully, he could hear the quiet rumblings of chatter, music and footsteps from somewhere above. Peering out of the small brick opening, there seemed to be no evidence of anyone there. Following the bindings on his foot back to its roots – he was attached to the box! Turning the knot over and over in his hands, he spent a long time teasing at the twisted twine. At last he felt it loosen, spurring him on. Oh so gently, Flánnan followed its contours, flexing it in his hands. Finally, after nearly an hour, the rope gave out in his hands and he was free.

He felt a presence in the secret room. A hooded, roped figure stood there, arms in it’s sleeves. It gave no hint as to it’s gender; it did not speak. Ignoring them, Flánnan went over to where the wall was knocked through. Getting onto his hands and knees, he surveyed the room on the other side: a cellar. The room was full of wooden shelves, stacked with smaller-than-normal wine glasses. Tucked away on the bottom shelf of the wooden structure in immediately in front of him was something made of silver. Crawling out through the hole, he went towards it. From this height, it really stuck out. It was an ornate chalice, etched and molded with precision and perfection. There was a space where something once sat – a ruby jewel to offset the silver. It was put back on the shelf, with no more attention paid to it.

The room really was boring. Shelves and a set of wooden stairs. Taking a glance up the stairwell, Flánnan takes his rage out on the wooden banister struts, knowing that the figure it watching him. He was to use it as a weapon, to break him out of here. Using his feet, and a few well placed destruction maker, he felt a hand on his shoulder again. He wasn’t about to be knocked out again, so rather than whirling around, he continued his assault; the wood was splintering, he was not about to give up now! All of a sudden, he felt compelled to stop and turn around. His hands fell to his sides, his demeanor changed, and his body language conveyed placidity. He could not see the face of his controller, his watcher. And his mind was still aflame with fury. Flánnan lay down a challenge. A game of chess. The object? To crush the opponents mind. The figure walked Flánnan back to his ‘accomodation’. As the robed person left the room, they uttered one word.

Yes.

Meeting the Prince
Arthur

Arthur makes it to Number One, Coldhardbour Lane at near enough 10pm exactly. Coming up to the entrance, he saw a man and a woman standing on the door. The man was holding a small silver tray with one hand, the other tucked neatly behind his back. He was wearing a black tuxedo with tails, a crisp white shirt and had neatly styled hair – all in all, very smart. Looking Arthur up and down, the man on the door held the tray out to Arthur as he approached, offering him a drink.

As a kindred, Arthur deliberates over taking up the over, his hand hovering over one of the glasses. The next thing he remembers, Arthur is inside the threshold of the door, glass in hand, taking a sip of the wine-coloured liquid. With a smug smile, and as a fellow user of this discipline, Arthur realises instantly that he has been dominated and can’t help but have a small amount of admiration for the man. Turning back around, holding his glass up in a mock toast, Arthur drinks to his good health before going back to surveying the room. It is early, and not many people have arrived, though it gives him a chance to really thoroughly look around the place: the decor is modest, minimalist in comparison to his own, with the walls a mixture of duck-egg-blue and wooden cladding. The walls are framed with plaster alcoves, forming little white plaster archways with golden detailing in the alone the middle, about hip-height. The bar, a long curvature piece, looking like the cross section from a particularly old and large tree, rustic and yet stunning to observe. Behind it, sleek black shelving, jarring in comparison to the blues, but totally eye-catching at the same time. The staff all dressed in modest black clothing, small apron pouches, shirts and ties. He thinks he recognises one of the women… and old fling perhaps? But he couldn’t be sure. He’d known a lot of women.

It was at this point, that Arthur realised that there was something… odd about the wine contents of his glass. Which each sip, he was feeling almost nourished, fulfilled. A familiar texture, warmness, the caress inside the neck. This most certainly was not your ordinary vintage.

Meeting the Prince
Charles, and Sybil

Strolling up to the doors of The Fallen Prince, arm in arm, Charles and Sybil were greeted with the two staff members on the door. With one arm tucked behind his back, the Doorman held out a small silver tray dotted with glasses filled with a wine-coloured liquid. A little hesitant to take their glasses at first, Charles and Sybil deliberated to each other in hushed tones. The next thing Charles remembered, he was inside the threshold of the door, glass in hand, taking a sip of the wine-coloured liquid., with Sybil just behind him and doing just the same.

Scanning the room, Charles immediately spots none other than Arthur Bexley, walking woodenly around the room, seemingly on edge. Lolloping towards him, Arthur managed to turn just in time to see his acquaintance as he was entering his personal space. Had Arthur not seen Charles, his anxiety and paranoia would have gotten the better of him, and sent him into a vicious frenzy.

ARTHUR BEXLEY!

From what he could see, Arthur was not best pleased to be in the company of someone he knew. In fact, Charles saw a totally different Arthur immediately from just the way he was dressed – casual, and not one bit the smart and polished man that usually graced the floors of The Hemlock Heights. This man in front of him was on edge, looked uncomfortable in the presence of others, and looked rather ragged.

With some small talk between the three kindred stood in the centre of the room, allowing the opening night to go on around them. Members of staff, ferrying silver trays with more glasses of wine whirl around them, kine and kindred milling together in one room. The air was heavy, heavy with suspense. After some catching up, Charles taking control of the conversation, Arthur giving closed anwsers… Arthur finally breaks the ice between them, by uttering the thing at the forefront of his mind.

Charles, we can drink the wine.

That thought had already occurred to Charles, but he was far more interested in spending the night in the company of the beloved. He was totally in awe of this woman, who had suddenly been so much in such a short amount of time, and had gone missing seemingly without a trace… but now she was back with him, back in his company, and that made him feel alive. It was at this point that he decided that the way Arthur treats women, chiding him. Keeping on the reserved verbal bombardment, Charles brings Mistress Charlotte into the conversation, at which Arthur visibly tenses – he simply wasn’t in the mood to talk about her. Agitated, Arthur is adamant that he did the right thing at Paradise Estate, adamant that by giving Charlotte a subtle telling off by removing one of her pawns from the situation, and that he must surely be allowed to not see the funny side of her trying to marry off his ghouls to some weirdos. For what? Her own personal gain? He couldn’t help but crack a smile on his china countenance. Deciding that this was the time to leave the conversation, Arthur bid his friends farewell with a simple “excuse me,” and a directional gesture with his right hand, and sauntered to the bar, in the hope of getting another drink – this time, one that he wanted.

To his annoyance, the two of them followed. His addiction was drawing him tighter than the skin of a drum. Too tight, and he was going to break.

Shadows in the Woods
Patrick

He broke into a run. Was there someone following Bloody and him, or was that just the rising feeling of paranoia? In the woods, it felt like hundreds of eyes followed your every move, watching your fate unravel. Many a lost wanderer had met their end in Peridus Woods. Casting his eyes behind him fearfully, Patrick could not be certain that he wasn’t being followed by the fledgling kindred that he had mistakenly come across in the abandoned tin mine. The uncertainty bit at his heels, so much so that Patrick diverted his route so that it would take him through the darker parts of the woods, where he could move about the shadows as close to unseen as a kindred could get (without obfuscate of course…). He picks up the pace. By his rough estimations, the positioning of the stars, and the growing light pollution visible on the horizon, town was still a fair way away. And he still had to find the exact location of the place. Grasping in his pocket for the flyer, he pulled out the crumpled, slighted faded paper piece. Number One, Coldharbour Lane, Rough Town. He could make it there in a little over thirty minutes.


He strolled, as casually as he could, up to the front door of The Fallen Prince. He had taken the time to brush the dirt and twigs from his hair, and dusted off his clothes but, the true fact of the matter was that he looked a little bit… scary. This, however, was overshadowed by the truly monstrous appearance of his plus one. Pale, gaunt, evil black beads set deep in the cavities where pearls of white and blue should be. All the same, the lady on the door greeted them with a warm smile, and the gentleman dressed in a tux held out a silver tray dotted with small glasses of a burgundy-wine liquid. Unsure of how Bloody would be, Patrick took two glasses and passed one to his friend. The next thing he knew, the two of them had crossed the threshold to the club and were taking long sips of their drinks. Red. Room temperature. Just as it should be except… something in the drink made Patrick feel… different. Red, thick and body temperature. Pure delight.

Scanning the room, the first person he thinks he recognises is none other than Rosie Wickens, the young kine woman he had frightened on the night that the elder members of the Circle situated within the Devon area met at the Elysium. Striding over to her, Patrick attempts to strike up conversation.

Don’t you recognise me, Rosie?

She politely declines the invite to chatter slightly perturbed that this stranger knew her name, yet she truthfully did not recognise the man but feeling a little intimidated by him all the same. Staring right at her, Patrick attempts to mold her mind to his whims, but there was another more powerful hold over her that he had first imagined, and without the skills needed to overthrow this power he simply has no choice but to let her on her way. Frustrated, Patrick put his eyes to the floor, and indicated that Bloody should follow.

There must be someone in this damn establishment that knew who he was.

Life isn’t Black and White
Flánnan

How long had Flánnan been down there, waiting, listening, he could not tell. His own thoughts for company, he began to plan potential strategies for winning the games of chess, and subsequently his freedom. Was he going to start with Ruy Lopez, or Sicilian Defense? Middlegame strategies came in the forms of Boden’s Mate or the Lasker-Bauer combination? And for endgame? Could he promote a Pawn to the eight rank, or would it end with Zugzwang? He could only dwell on moves, but ultimately, he decided that his tactic was to be fluid. Always planning three or four strategies for each move placements but with a total pokerface, not giving away any of his thoughts through the muscles in his face.

A gentle pad of footsteps on the stairs. The rattling of porcelain pieces knocking against one another. His opponent had finally come.

In through the hole in the wall slid a wooden box, with that same familiar porcelain clink. Next came a foldable table, the metal legs scraping horribly along the rough concrete floor. Then too small stools, and finally a figure dressed in a familiar brown robe. Genderless, faceless, voiceless, noiseless, the table was set up, the box opened, and the figure took his seat.

Not being funny, but I am going to be at a disadvantage… can we move closer to the light? I am playing for my freedom after all.

Turning their head towards Flánnan, the person said nothing. Long moments of silence ticked by, before the figure stood, and shifted the table carefully towards the brick hole. Without a word, the pieces were set out, before outstretched hands offered Flánnan the choice of queens. White or Black, it was almost saying. Pick your poison. Without hesitating, as Flánnan had spent his time alone deliberating over the colour choice, his hand flew to the white queen, gleaming with innocence and the ability to destroy all at once. The robed figure {henceforth referred to as Gabriel Hallion because one gets tired of writing ‘he’, ‘the figure’, ‘the person’, not to mention how shite, jolting and totally not fluent and flowing it makes the writing: Flánnan does not know that it is not the same person, and would not know the robed figure’s name, I just can’t do it anymore…} would take the black, a shining piece of obsidian, it glowered in the half-light with malice and cruelty, with the will to dominate all life should it win and crush it’s opponent in calculated warfare. Gabriel sat at one his side of the table and gestured Flánnan to do the same. Leaning his face on his knuckles, and his elbows on the table, it was his move, the first dip in the waters of freedom.

The room was a cacophony of silence. The steady beat of piece placed on the checkered board keeping time, a low lumbering metronome. The high shrill of metal chair on sandpaper floor cut through the air, the restlessness of the orchestral players becoming obvious. The gentle and constant hum from above, the pluck of a string being left to reverberate in the air. The great crescendo as the black king conquered the white, time slowing as they struck one another, a great clatter as the white fell to its knees, defeated. One game to Gabriel. The board was reset swiftly, and this time Flánnan’s opponent ready to begin. One move after another, innocence and malice danced together on the board, and elaborate tango with twists and turns. One moment, black was leading white, the next white leading black. Flánnan feel his heart beat quickening with the pace of the dance. A warm flush on his neck, creeping onto his face as a smirk as good ruled bad, and ruled triumphant over the broken ebony. One game to Gabriel: one game to Flánnan. With his heart clapping syncopation as the board was reset again, and it really was all to play for. One well placed strike after another black was hammering white like a peg into the ground. Nailing hit after hit, moves not preempted, counter-strikes parring left right centre. The final curtain was drawn, rouge velvet dropping phantom-like with an eerie silence over the room.

Packing up the pieces, closing up the board, and one step away from taking a bow, Gabriel left the room with the same silence that he entered. With a sense of fulfillment, gratitude in finding a worthy chess opponent, Flánnan couldn’t help but calling out as he was being left again, this time at the mercy of his captors folly as per the arrangements for losing, but his mouth ran away from him.
‘When all of this is over,’ he began cautiously, ‘when all of this is over, I would very much like to play again.’ Without so much as a second glace, Flánnan was left alone once again.

Lead us not into temptation
Charles, and Sybil, Arthur, Patrick

Leaning against the bar, with Charles still wittering on behind him, Arthur waves the bartender’s attention. Asking for a whiskey with ice, the lady behind the bar simply laughs, and says back in a floral tone that ‘they only serve one drink here, but with the leaflet you’re entitled to a large refill.’ Unhappy, and with a look of distaste spreading on his face, Arthur simply accepts the glass that is placed in front of him. Charles and Sybil, too, except their large freebie, and begin conversing as a trio again. Arthur, not paying any attention whatsoever, misses Charles mention that the wine does appear to be… on tap, as it were, as there are no bottles behind the counter, or anywhere. Charles, out of the corner of his eye, catches the lady on the bar {now known, out of game, as Calin Ward} having a glass of the red stuff to herself, slyly and around the corner, out of sight… or so she thought. Sybil, giddy and a little tipsy, leans on the bar for support, and whispers in Charles’ ear to bring up Arthur’s offer for taking Anna. She struggles to talk about this, though it is unclear whether it was the alcohol or the difficulty and awkwardness in talking about this subject. Shortly, frankly, and matter of factly, Arthur offers up Patricia, his horse, as fulfillment. Sybil straight away speaks up!

Whilst it is ever so nice riding with you Charles, I would very much love to have my own horse. We could ride out places together, and it could… it could be like the good old days!

Her voice grew distant, somewhat nostalgic. Knowing that the deal was closed, and that the conversation was over, Arthur bid farewell again, more curtly this time, and went and sat on a stool in the corner.


After a few minutes, brooding in the corner, Arthur sees someone who looks how he feels. And someone some thing that looks even worse than that. Scurrying across the dance floor comes none other than Patrick Cattedown himself, followed closely by a god awful wretched looking creature, with midnight eyes and skin that had been kissed by the harsh embrace of death… even Arthur could see that in the pale green-blue hues of his hideous skin. What was possibly the worst part of Arthur’s current situation was that Patrick had seen him, was heading towards him, and had nowhere to go.

You look bloody awful.

Those were the first words that Arthur uttered as Patrick tried to start up conversation. Enthused by his new companion, Arthur is introduced to Bloody, a poor soul tortured by Procella. Unfortunately for Patrick, Arthur sees through this lie straight away and grounds him with some simple witicism, led to the truth come pouring out, like diarrhoea. Patrick confesses that he had not been at home recently, that he had been finding city life hard and looked for solace in Peridus Woods. He also went on to flippantly tell Arthur about his note that he had received. In truth, the note that caused this. Arthur uses this point, to say in a total deadpan tone, ‘Harriet is looking for you,’ just to see Patrick squirm, but he holds it together.

{It’s 2330, the lights get turned down a fraction, and everyone seems a little bit closer, almost like the walls are moving in.}

Freeze
Flánnan

Pacing, pacing, pacing. Around and around, taking in the same scenery over and over again like a goldfish in a bowl. Then, all of a sudden, his feet were frozen to the floor, heavy like they were made of lead. One thing was for certain, they were immovable. Then his whole body began to follow suit, invisible chords keeping him still, binding his mouth tight shut. The only thing free were his eyes, wide and scared as his body entered a type of paralysis akin to rigor mortis… {without the mortis, for now}. Eyes fearful and flicking, an entire troupe of figures in brown robes descended upon the dank room. Removing their hoods, Flánnan saw the faces of his captors for the first time. Two women, four men. All heaving at the lid of the box. One of the women Emmie Moulson taking the lead, Flánnan could see the muscles in her slender arms flex as she heaved the hardest of the group. One man Aldrich ‘Frag’ Rossiter was standing back with arms folded, waiting. Watching. As the lid of the box shifted, Flánnan saw the treasure inside for the first time. It was a man. Upon closer inspection, the man in the box and the man with folded arms looks quite similar: white hair, white facial hair, muscular arms and shoulders. The man in the box had a scar across one eye and a smaller scar along his forehead.

The next events happened is quick succession, one things after another struck fear into Flánnan’s heart as the beat of the muscle set the beat like a metronome. First, the group of six bowed their heads and began to chant words in foreign tongues that he did not understand. Then, the man who previously had his arms folded across his chest, stepped forwards holding a thin sword that had been concealed in a cane. Walking towards the man in the box, he spoke softly to him even though he knew there would not be a response. It was quite obvious to Flánnan that this man was deceased. Placing a hand on the cold chest, the words in foreign tongues grew louder and more hypnotic. Flánnan found that he was unable to look away. Even when the man took his sword and planted deeply through his hand and into the chest of the other. Even when the blood filtered from his hand and sank into the cavity in the chest like wine into carpet. Even when the coppery smell filled his nostrils.

But deliver us from Evil
Arthur

That is when he smelt it. The coppery deliciousness that clawed at his throat. His whole body ached with the temptation that he was trying so hard to ignore. The itch, the burn. He was instantly drawn from his conversation with his associates like a man in hypnosis. Walking slowly, he headed towards one corner of the room, towards one of the alcoves that sunk backwards. He had to get to that vitae, even if it meant tearing through the walls or ripping up the floor. He was a man possessed.

Charles, Patrick

Before the two of them can approach Arthur and find out what on earth was going on with him, they were suddenly aware of the fact that the establishment was absolutely rammed with people, kindred and kine. The room all of a sudden seems tiny, and very over capacity. You could barely see the door through the never ending torrent of people. It was a sea of bodies, pushed together in a small space. All it needed was one hungry kindred and one paper cut, and that would be gunpowder to the spark. With that, they had lost Arthur to the waves.

Arthur

Arthur’s mind was no longer his own. His hands found the small push-button in the gold inlay, and the secret passage opened up before him. His feet found themselves crossing the threshold. With the door shutting behind him, his eyes found him in momentary darkness before they adjusted. He was in a corridor, before him were some wooden stairs. Entranced by his own hunger, the temptation was nearly unbearable. But he kept his calm and followed his sensitive nose. Down the stairs, step by step. They creaked under his weight, even in his hurry he didn’t stumble. He found himself counting the stairs in sevens, maybe it was something to do with the fact that periodically a stair was painted red – every seventh stair in fact. He was being lead towards a a shelving unit and, with a little investigation he discovered that it was acting as a poor barrier to another room. Getting on his hands and knees, Arthur looked into the room. His curiosity, and hunger, got the better of him and he began to scrabble through. Just as he was about to change his mind, a force from behind him made him pressed forwards. As he was through, he was grabbed by the shoulder by a feminine hand, his arm forced behind him. He hand no choice but to let himself be steered forwards. Soon enough, he came face to face with the man in the box, his chest punctured and painted with red. As he was marched past, he caught sight of eyes gleaming in the darkness – the terrified eyes of Flánnan Kelly.

A small man with slicked back black hair and beady eyes approached him, his robes too long in the sleeve, covering his hands. He reached out to Arthur, and the lady holding him forced his hand out to greet the other, against his will. As quick as a flash, Arthur felt the lick of a knife against his finger tip, a bead of ruby collected on the tip. Grabbing Arthur’s finger fervently, the small wicked man put it into his mouth and sucked the ruby away, eyes brightening as he tasted the vitae, rolling it around his mouth like a finely aged red. Glinting and gleaming, with teeth stained crimson, he spoke, relishing on every word as they dripped from him mouth.

I know all your secrets. You are the one we have been looking for.

Arthur then received the awful notion that he may now be part of a ritual.

Patrick, Charles

{0030, and the room is noticeably smaller}

Upon some investigation (namely dropping to his hands and knees to look for a pair of shoes the he might recognise), Charles feels a breeze coming from the wall, and he knows instantly that something is amiss. He is far to far away from the door, and the place is far to crowded for it to be a breeze from the front of the place, and so he comes to the conclusion that it must be coming from elsewhere. Beginning to follow it, still on his hands and knees. It is easy to follow, the trail being marked as the breeze gets stronger. It is at is strongest and coldest as Charles comes face to face with one of the alcoves. He gets to his feet, calls Patrick, Bloody, and Sybil over, and starts giving the door a jolly good pat down. Looking for… something, anything. Initially unable, Sybil steps in and takes the lead in the search, her slender fingers tracing the gold inlay for a concealed handle or button. Patrick knocked on the alcove, and a hollow echo bounced back to them. They were on the right track. Charles instructs for Patrick to feel the breeze too, to ensure that there wasn’t another door, but he only came to the feet of Charles, confirming that this was definitely the place.

With a simple click, the door creaked open.

Arthur

With his hand being forced upon the pallid, clammy chest of another kindred, Arthur didn’t have the strength nor will to fight back or resist. Enamored by the whole situation, and being held in a wanton state craving kindred blood, Arthur too just watched the events unfold. The flash of silver, a stabbing pain, vitae flowing from him and into the chest of the man who lay there still and unmoving. As the last drop of Arthur’s vitae was drawn out, the man’s eyes flickered open, he sat up and grabbed Arthur’s hand. He flung him aside like a cheap whore, with no more need of the vessel as the ritual was over. He had awoken. And it was all because of Arthur. Exchanging brief conversation, the other man with crossed arms even broke a smile at the sight of this man being awoken. They looked almost similar.

The smiles and small talk stopped when they heard footsteps at the top of the stairs.

Charles, Patrick

They found themselves at the top of a flight of wooden stairs, that seemingly descended down into the cellar of the place above. They went down together, scanning for something that might lead to finding Arthur. The room was full of shelves, stacked with glasses, but still there was no sign of the wine that they had supped on all evening. Striding to the shelves, Patrick confidently picked up a wine glass and began inspecting it. It was just simply a wine glass, one which had not yet been used. He decided, at this point, to send Bloody back to the floor above to create a distraction, allowing them plenty of time to investigate the basement.

Arthur

And then just just… disappeared, and Arthur was left in the room with a frozen Flánnan. Grabbing him, Arthur began the difficult maneuvering process of fitting Flánnan out of the hole. Crawling through himself, he was suddenly face to face {well, face to _feet_} with Patrick, as he was examining another set of shelves, looking for something out of place of off with the reems and reems of glasses.

Arthur, Patrick, Charles, Flánnan

With the four together in one room, Arthur irately quizzes Charles and Patrick about the seven kindred that just came past, assuming that as they left the room with Arthur, that they must have crossed paths on the stairs. With blank faces, and no clue about what Arthur is talking about, Arthur sarcastically japes that they must have turned into mist and just floated away. What Arthur fails to mention, however, is the fact that he had just taken part in a weird blood ritual to awaken an elder vampire without his consent. They had no answers, and took him for being mad. Together, they took the stairs back to the floor above.

That was when they realised that all was silent. Bloody was just lying there, being used as a comfortable seat for a maniacal looking slender man, well-dressed in a suit. Bloody had a stake through him, and finally looked at piece. As they entered the room in turn, he began to clap, his hands ringing out around the room and his two-tone eyes glistening in delight and insanity. He clapped his hands a final time, and his entourage of twenty-one fledgling kindred split themselves into three groups. In one quick movement, the mekhet moved away, behind his ranks to lead from there, ensuring his safely. Turning to the group, Arthur speaks out.

I need to keep Mr Kelly safe – else I’ll lose my head. He’s a friend of mine.

Running over, Patrick slips on some split liquor and careers into him, knocking him flat. Flánnan glares, but remains unhurt. Standing up to allow Sybil behind him, he blocks the doorway to the cellar. Sybil begins working on Flánnan, trying to break whatever it is that is binding him. In defense of his wife, and not willing to lose her to anyone again, Charles’ claws tore through his skin.

I need to protect my friends. And my wife.

Arthur picks at the hole in his hand, it doesn’t take long for fresh blood to rise to the surface, before a long tendril coiled out of the hole, cracking in the air.

It was obvious that these fledglings had no skill and had not been well versed in the kindred society of skills and disciplines, but they had no finesse. and no real clue what they were doing. They moved in unison, like sheep being herded by a yapping sheep dog. Crushing together, one of them tried to make a break for it as Arthur’s blood whip snapped at their heels. It was at this point that the man with the eyes { Earth Baines } grabbed her Rebecca Lindley. There and then, with everyone watching, he committed the worst sin in kindred politics – Diablerie. A shocking scene to all, especially to Rebecca’s husband Norman Lindley who tried to launch an attack on Earth, which landed him with the same fate. One thing was made quite clear; this man had very little humanity.

In a flurry of claws, parries, blocks, whip cracks each side were taking damage. Getting cocky, Arthur flailed the whip in the air without looking directly at his target and instead the end of of the tendril made contact with Charles ankle, wrapping around with vengeance. With one flick of his wrist, Arthur flung Charles several feet into the air before launching him towards where Earth was seated. Charles did not sausage roll away. Crashing and skidding to a stop, Charles saw evil eyes looming down on him, hand poised ready to strike.

A gun shot from the back of the hall. Ashes falling on Charles’ face. Earth was gone, and it all seemed to be over. The leaderless group fled from the hall, in tatters, and with nowhere to go. Standing up, and brushing himself off, Charles turned to see the killer. Standing in the doorway of The Fallen Prince stood a tall man. He wore a stetson, a long coat. He wore his hair long, and had a patch over his eye. His voice boomed around the hall.

I know what you are, and I know what he was. I have been sent from a Hunter’s Society based in London. This… thing caught our attention. Earth Baines is his name: and he was ousted from the FIfe of Plymouth for necrophagia. He looked to the weakest fife to create an army to retaliate.

It would be wise to rethink your political structure Vampires, or your names might well have contracts on them.

With that, he left. Those left in the room, stunned to silence. Hunter’s knew about Peridus, and that Peridus had no Prince, or law enforcement, that Peridus was weak. The movement of someone entering the club broke the silent spell. People began to disperse as Baroness Isabella Bexley made her way towards Arthur. Speaking briefly, Arthur could see that she was happy with him, as she ensured Flánnan’s safe passage for the next week. She bid him goodbye with a light touch of her hand. And she was gone, taking Mr Kelly with her.

In the combat, one of The Band of Broken Men lay trapped under a piece of bar surface that had come loose. Arthur took him, a man named Raymond Kinney to the cellar, telling his friends not to wait for him. Patrick was having none of it, and followed tenaciously. With the power of the mind, Arthur gave Patrick an simple instruction:

Turn around.

Without the watching eyes of Patrick, Arthur finally got the release he was looking for. Sinking his teeth into the stranger’s fleshy arm and let the hot wet vitae run into his mouth. Feeding had never felt this good. Shaping the mans memories to forget the feed, he closed the wound and gave Patrick the go ahead to turn around. In the meantime, Patrick had fashioned himself a stake out of a splintering piece of banister that seemed to have already taken damage this evening. Upon turning around, he unleashed his fury on this man. The end of the banister reaching its target – just. The man fell into a light torpor, with Patrick feeling shocked at himself that he mustered up the strength to do that to another. He was going to take the man back with him… for questioning. He heads back to the tin factory, where he intends to stay for just another night.

With Patrick gone, Arthur stands a lone vigil at the concrete casket, swearing vengeance upon its ex-occupant and his merry men. He too then takes his leave, and heads home.

Leaving The Fallen Prince arm in arm, Sybil rests her head upon Charles’ shoulder, and sighs a contented sigh. She would return to their cottage with him, and spend the night again.


The Jewels of their Faces

Lurching back to The Fallen Prince, clutching where his arm should have been, he scorned that he was not able to move fast enough {with celerity}. Picking up a pinch of his ashes from the floor, he placed it in a phial. The anti-vampire weapon had done too much damage to him, and without some other-worldly magic the arm would not regenerate. He called forward the member of his group whom he had taken as his lover. A very valuable lover, some collateral should things go awry… again. He laughed out loud, his insanity sparking in sapphires and rubies. He would enjoy toying with the hunter, having him chose between his contract… and his daughter. This woman, was Marsha Yarona daughter to the esteemed hunter Mister Abraham Hern Yarona. Oh how wicked he had been, finding her, tantalising her, embracing her.

He fed on her, right there and then, over his ashes. She had the blood of the hunter in her veins. And his blood: mekhet blood. She would be his weapon. As the bond between them strengthened, as he encouraged her to drink from him, her eyes began to flourish. Passionate red, innocent blue. The perfect combination.

There they were, in all their glory. Together, entwined, united, basking in rubies and sapphires.

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Game 10
Charlotte's Angels & The Webbed Man

The_Webbed_Man_Title.png

A mysterious note, an invite to the wedding of the year, lines of foreboding poetry – each of our heroes have received such a note, inviting them to the ominously innocent Paradise Estate.

The night is one of eager anticipation for many of those invited, with Anna, Arthur and Charles all dressing for the occasion (albeit with Arthur’s other Ghouls left to maintain the residency in their absence). All that is, except Flannan, who has had quite enough of eerie invitations. His note is chucked straight into the fireplace, and he awaits the so-called threat that awaits his absence.

Charles and Sir Bennett gallop off into the distance, with Mickey and Minnie in tow. Following his directions, Charles is sent to the far east of Peridus, over hill’n’dale before reaching an ascent to Peridus’ steeper shores. En route Sir Bennett is overtaken by an Austenesque Black Stallion, who, as Charles attempts to listen in to it and its rider, hears nothing but he can only assume are gruff horse expletives. With a chop-chop and tally-ho, Charles and Sir Bennett track the equine menace in hot pursuit.

In the following hours, Flannan checks around his usual contacts on the streets of Peridus. They generally seem in good business and on the up despite recent chaos, though many are complaining of threats from a gang of young, polemic, pale thugs – hence they opt to their advice to stay indoors (and away from someone called ‘Patrick’). With everything else in check, Flannan heads home.

Not long after this, he gets a nasty thud on the door from someone he wishes he didn’t recognise – one Primogen Jane Westfield, demanding he come outside and talk to her. Unperturbed, he starts to make his exit out back and through the neighbourhood, but Jane is quickly on his heels as she thwacks the hinges off his door and marches after him. Sweeping him up in a bear grip, she carries him back to her car, searches and disarms him before tying him to the backseat with copious amounts of sailing rope. They drive off into the darkness…

In other motoring adventures, Arthur and Anna take the stylish route to the Paradise Estate detailed on their invite… or maybe that should be monitoring their fair city for devastation. As they drive through the evening streets, a rabble of angry Carthians rush past, one sidling up to Arthur’s window. Rolling down the window, Arthur gets an earful from them, as they tell him to stay away from Patrick. Arthur, in proper Invictus style, makes light of their threats and sends them on their way without them suspecting a thing. Their route to the Paradise Estate is henceforth a swift and efficient one.

Primogen Westfield’s car pulls up to a deserted beach on the very edge of Peridus. Flannan sees a tall, dark silhouette in the distance, one that smells and… feels daunting. Once untied, Flannan is asked by Jane for assistance in a mission with her and the mysterious gentleman which will utilize his contacts and be worth his time beyond measure. As Flannan continues to refuse her polite requests, Jane decides to let her gun do the talking. Unphased by being put at gunpoint, Flannan simply strolls back past the car and up to the cliff away from the beach, fed up of the pretence of the occasion. As he runs past Jane’s attempted glancing shots, he notices the sky blacken above him. Jane is protesting, insisting to “Robert” that he “shouldn’t have to get involved in this!” But he’s simply too polite to refuse a chance at cooperation, and uses his alternative form – a 6’ Tarantula – to block Flannan’s path up the cliff!

On Charles’ arrival at Paradise Estate, he finds a sprawling classical complex, complete with covered oil lamps for mood lighting, a grand gravel driveway, pristine foliage and a huge Cathedral-esque replica mansion in which glorious proceedings can be held. There are two pairs of stables at either side of its towering doors; on the far right-hand side the Black Stallion broods, its owner most likely inside. Dismounting Sir Bennett and parking him in a left-hand stable, Charles marches gallantly inside, ready to greet the lucky lady to her marvelous ceremony.
Charles cheers gaily down the huge geometric entrance hallway, to which four eerie Treble voices reply:

“He sounds Rich!”
“He sounds Lonely.”
“He sounds Powerful…”
“He sounds… Thirsty!”

Charles heads with some caution to the closest of the four voices, which resides in an antechamber to his left. The small space is littered with torn fabric, the floor strewn with empty boxes. Among them is a crouched man, staring at Charles expectantly with a wild glare. He introduces himself quickly as Irvin, and reveals many-a ring (eight, in fact) which lighten his otherwise rotting fingers. Twitching, he inquires if Charles knows of any guests joining him, and if they are female – quickly, his requests turns to if an Arthur is joining him, with his ghouls. Charles replies that he is unsure of Arthur’s whereabouts, but says he would presume his ghouls would follow him in tow if they were invited. Irvin, with a grin, then asks Charles if he knows of Arthur’s nightmares. As Charles says no, Irvin decides to help him – Boom! – and suddenly Charles is stricken with a furious drone of comatose, torpor-induced nightmares. His head spins with the torture, and Irvin insists that it will stop in Charles moves outside with him, towards the sound of crunching gravel. In desperate agony from the sensations and visions of impending doom, Charles agrees…

Faced with the prospect of the Primogen or a spider, Flannan decides to take his chances with a stranger and darts past Robert, nearly giving him the slip but being caught after Robert’s rusty reactions kick in. The tussle is a close one – the Tarantula resorts to pinning Flanna down and summoning Westfield’s help, even injecting venom for good measure. Even as the Primogen shoots the ground beneath Flannan’s feet, sending he and the monster into free fall, he is able to spit the venom back into the foul beast’s face and wrench free from its grip shortly before being consumed in a plume of dust and rubble.
Arthur and Anna pull up outside the imposing Estate, sword and shotgun in hand as provision. They are greeted not by the usual disdainful foe but by Charles, who looks somewhat dazed. Though unsettled by his appearance, Arthur can’t help but be a little amused, making it clear to Charles that he has outdone his own persona. When Charles starts mentioning nightmares unsettlingly close to home, however, Arthur acts. Using his own mind, he wrestles in Charles’ head, revealing Irvin skulking behind him.

“You look… Rich!”
And with that Irvin has summoned his three counterparts:
“She looks in need of company,” adds Louis quaintly.
“They look strong,” adds Damon, bringing up the rear.

“Where are our other wives? I’m hungry!” demands Graham, with Charlotte revealing herself next to him. To Arthur’s disgust, it has been her plan to invite all of his house-guests here so they can be happily wed and his household enriched – albeit using the one invite (not many printing presses are open after dark…). When it becomes clear that, No, Arthur does not bring any of his ghouls with him on such occasions, the four men start leering at Anna. It’s not long before the two parties are locked in a grapple! As chaos ensues, Charlotte’s last henchman attempts to be the element of surprise: with supreme celerity, Damon accelerates towards Anna at a force of knots, ready to unleash his animal unto her. Unfortunately for him, a number of battles have readied Anna against the rusty romantic, and she whips out her shotgun and blasts the first of her one-hundred and eighty bullets into his chest. The speed of Damon’s celerity rebounds on him, sending him rocketing to the back of the grand building from whence he came. Charlotte, to everyone’s surprise, turns into an owl, as does Graham, and the pair fly at Arthur and Anna, pecking them relentlessly. Despite the frustration that comes with their swooping attacks, here comes an opportunity for some verbal revenge…

“Shouldn’t you just accept that nobody loves you?” Anna spits with relish. “You’ve gathered all of these husbands here for other people, and yet none of them are interested in you. God, I wonder why…!” Charlotte bites her lip harshly; Anna’s speech hits home harder than a bullet… of which she has many. In a stupid act of chivalrous defence, Graham the Owl swoops down to comfort Charlotte, shouting “I still care about yooooouuu” in disjointed owlish. Tackling her to the floor in the process, Graham realises his blood addiction is kicking in and the two become locked in a desperate, disturbingly sudo-erotic grapple, henceforth making Graham known as, Graham, The Randy Owl.

Free of his hypnotic state, and seeing the battle beginning to unfold before him, Charles decides to use a second of distraction to steal into the Paradise Estate and ready his offence. Sir Bennett cunningly shelters behind the statue, while his master crouches with equal cunning under the pews. The statue seems to be giving off strange vibes for Sir Bennett, but he puts it down to the adrenaline of the moment. While in his hiding place, Charles attempts Theban Sorcery – though he writes the note perfectly, he realises his foes are outside and therefore out of reach for his amateur attempt. Shrugging off the rookie error, Charles checks the coast is clear then summons Sir Bennett for a gallant return to the field of battle!

Locked in battle, Anna and Arthur fend off a pair of pecking owls in the form of Charlotte and Graham, while dealing with the ever-persistent Louis. After a considerable amount of fighting passes, Damon manages to make it back into the fray—only to see the nozzle end of Anna’s gun. Again! The shot sends the two owls into frenzy – Charlotte choosing flight and diving under Arthur’s shirt, digging in deep; Graham falling victim to fight, and more worringly, his underlying thirst for blood. Sensing the need for action, Arthur spots a furious Damon charging towards Anna and gets him locked in a hypnotic gaze – he will not hurt Anna, but help her! Under Arthur’s dominate, Damon gathers a few torches from the Estate for Anna to light, then leaps off into the night, not to be seen again…

Anna lights the torch and sends it in Louis’ direction, causing him to play fetch to put it out. As he attempts to escape, Charles orders Mickey and Minnie up the trouser legs of Louis – despite their best efforts, he kicks them out before they are able to bite his chivalrous underparts. A good stomp from Sir Bennett, however, sends Louis prone, and straight in the firing line of an angry raging randy owl-form Graham, whose thirst for blood gets the better of him. For the second time this night, the owl of mischief is sent into a sprall as he and Louis are locked in a dance of blood and biting. Arthur attempts to plung his sword into the duo, but delivers too much force and gets his sword caught in the ground. Never mind… he just needs to gather enough strength to pull it back out…!

Galloping back, Charles locks the fickle Irvin in his sights, and decides that enough is enough for the mind-warping scoundrel. Prone on the floor, the pirate does his best to claw away at Sir Bennet’s hooves, but duels with Serpents have taught a thing or two about accuracy! Hooves crush into Irvin’s face, shattering pretty boy into pieces of eight. Triumphant, Charles turns his steed towards Charlotte’s velvet beast and commands him to join them. Charlotte’s horse agrees, running alongside them. Sensing them behind, Anna readies herself and swings onto the horses back, firing her shotgun straight into Graham’s wing as she lands (hoping that each of her subsequent 177 bullets fire that damn well). Graham shudders to the floor, struggling to hold his animal form. Soon our three combatants have him pinned to the floor, moaning.

In true Arthurian style, the Bexley blade is unsheathed from the ground beneath. Despite their best efforts, nobody has been able to tear an evasive Graham away from his fix, until the Torpored corpse comes within a sword-length of a fed-up Invictus; a mighty swing of his blade, Arthur reclaims his pride and lets Louis’ head roll into the muddied lawn.
Blood feast gone, Graham makes a flap for it; Charles captures the escaping pest with his lasso, threatening his life for his ridiculous deeds. In a flurry of compassion, Charlotte remanifests into her Kindred form and erupts from Arthur’s shirt, showering button confetti over an audience of raving animals. Caught in Charles’ lasso, Graham relents and becomes Graham, The Randy Sword-wielding No-Longer Owl, face planting to the ground as gravity gives him what for.

With the physical tussle decided, the moral tussle begins. With Damon vanished for the time being, and Louis and Irvin dead, it surely leaves Graham to be finished off to make this a night to remember. Charlotte, however, is having none of it, and stubbornly protests that she will never allow anyone harm the poor gentleman any further – it was her that drew him into this mess after all… Arthur does his best to console the adolescent-spirited grump, eventually relenting to her staying in her own apartment away from nasty Primogen mum with things settle in her mind. Charlotte runs from the scene of her devastation, bitterly vowing never to return should she ever find Graham dead by their hand.

With the night coming to an end, Charles, Anna and Arthur gather themselves, before setting off for the comforting chill of their own homes. Arthur sweeps the indefinable Graham back to his residency, via Primogen Westfield’s door to leave a note regarding her absolutely-not-insufferable daughter. As he does so, he posts a note to her using Charles’ a commandeered parchment and pen. Anna gets a strong sense of déjà vu, and on comparison the note Arthur was left by a stranger was left on the same parchment – and now she looks closer, their handwriting seems unusually similar to his. Could it be… that he wrote it himself? Anna and Charles laugh at the prospect of Arthur’s imaginary friend, much to his tutting, as the three ride to shelter before the sunrise.

*

As sunlight returns, Robert and Primogen Westfield shelter in the dunes deep under Periods beach with Flannan in tow – Robert’s personal catacombs. Flannan was knocked out by a terrible shock as he landed, but as he awakes he hears the pair and a third woman in conversation.
“I’m so sorry about that,” Primogen Westfield sighs. “I imagine you’ve had enough drama as it is.”
“Not to worry,” replies an unfamiliar voice. “It was good to stretch my muscles after so long, I must confess.”
“We like to help out,” Robert agrees. “All makes the unending journey less of a burden.”
“That’s what I enjoyed about coming out of limbo and into a time like this,” adds the voice. “To have one hundred and forty years pass you by…”
“It doesn’t happen to often for us!” Robert interjects merrily.
“Exactly. It’s like time travel, but… forwards.”

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Game 9
In game date: 05/03/1951

Flannan and Anna’s Daytime Antics

Flannan wakes with a clear head, it is soothing after falling to sleep angry and upset. He picks himself up and dresses himself sharply as if it were a normal day. He searches through his remaining contacts and informs them of what has happened and makes clear he is out for blood. Maintaining his façade, Flannan goes to the community centres to check on the hustle and bustle. His workers at the community centre are cheerful, but when the kind souls start asking if there’d be money to invest in a little extra variety of food, Flannan makes clear that he will not be running money like a fountain. There is a worry at the back of his mind, given his financial set back, how much longer could he keep up the pretence. He returns home to change his suit before heading out to the Hemlocke Heights for his meeting with Ms I.

Anna wakes up with far less worries, it is good to finally be sleeping properly again. She goes to the kitchen for some breakfast and catches Karen and Marjory nattering away in there. They are excited about the Spa they’ll be going to but they do their best to make Anna’s evening at the club sound exciting. Karen comes through and bombards Anna with advice for keeping the club together this evening. She asks again and again if Anna can handle it, which comes across almost a little patronising but Lavender seems to also be worried about Arthur being in charge.

When the girls leave at midday, the house is deafly quiet. Arthur doesn’t so much as snore, but perhaps no vampire snores, so one could easily think they are completely alone. Anna takes the opportunity to take a sneaky look around the girls’ rooms. Karen’s room is large with almost all of the space taken up. It is a little messy and Anna follows the mess to an open cupboard door with a sleeve hanging out. In the bottom of the cupboard, she finds a decorative box filled with all kinds of odd bits and pieces but also some really lovely jewellery. The collection is quite impressive and Anna does wonder why Karen never wears any of her bling. Marjory’s room is almost the complete opposite: small but tidy to almost an obsessive level. Inside the draws are pleated and folded underwear and socks. Everything is neat! That bit of mischief inside of Anna cannot resist picking a pencil on Marjory’s desk and nudges it ever so slightly so that it no longer runs parallel with book beside it. Finally, Anna takes a peak into Lavender’s room, which is perhaps the most surprising of all. Tough talking, no nonsense Lavender has her room decorated in pink! Bright pink curtains and hot pink bed covers. Also a pink carpet and a pink chair at a (brown) mahogany desk. Lavender has lots of crafty things: pink stuff and pink glitter that all definitely looks as if it has been used recently. Anna takes a pinch of glitter away for herself, likely tempted to drop it in Marjory’s room but restrains herself and does not.

Conniving Clubbers

Arthur awoke upon at nightfall, eased by the prospect of a night in charge of the club. How fun to take an active lead in the business while Lavender is away. He polished his look and went downstairs. Anna was waiting for him; she was very happy to go to work as always. The two joked about running to club as a dynamic duo but they were interrupted by a knock at the door. They looked each other in the eye and Arthur finally realised that Anna was not going to open the door. He opened the door a crack and Charlotte stormed inside, bare faced, and turned straight to Arthur. He quickly gathered might and prepared for trouble but Charlotte interrupted him with kind words. Charlotte knew that the other ghouls were away for the evening and, saying Jane Westfield, suggested it, volunteered to help out at the club.

“That probably won’t be necessary” Anna interjected falsely. Charlotte looked straight at Anna; just as they were seemingly squaring up for a brawl, Charlotte relented and fiercely apologised to Anna. She proclaimed that Arthur is her friend and to show him respect is to show Anna respect. Anna was surprised but not entirely convinced by Charlotte’s script and continued to, quite callously, deter Charlotte from accompanying her and Arthur to the Hemlocke Heights. Regardless of it being so obvious she was unwanted, Charlotte insisted and the three of them left together. Anna, of course, was quick to bag the front seat.
Patrick wakes with Isabelle Bexley firm in his mind. Layla has picked her out as a target and he must pay his way. Besides a handful of his ghouls, no one is there when Patrick emerges from his room. He has a good place to start: Arthur Bexley is the childe of the one he seeks, so he follows his only lead.

The club was opened up and business very quickly began to boom. Anna took her place at the piano on stage, while Arthur and Charlotte made their homes behind the bar. Charlotte was a hard worker, serving the customers with complete curtsy, even complimenting Anna’s music. She pressed Arthur to hear what he thought of Anna and he agreed that, certainly, her music is exemplary. When Charlotte dug for more of his opinions, Arthur was restrained and only gave away professional opinions of Anna as a worker and a ghoul but not as a person. All the time that Anna was playing her melody, she kept a close eye on Charlotte, more sharply when she spoke to Arthur. Fluttering her eyelashes and approaching Arthur, Charlotte had her keeper cornered. She lent in with puckered lips but only kissed Arthur’s cheek when he swiftly turned his head to the side. Arthur scrambled back to the bar to serve a customer and shunned the grin on the pale face behind him. Keen eyed Anna saw the entire scene and the tempo of her tuned increased with her aggravation, she couldn’t wait to finish her set and go behind the bar herself.
Arthur was uncomfortable but was still relived knowing things could be much worse. His worrisome interests perk when he spies Charlotte dropping a slice of lime into a glass of frosty water and serving it to his old business partner Flannan Kelly. Charlotte gave Flannan a predator like grin as she took his money. The familiar Ms C seemed to mock Flannan but he had little reason to care for her. Flannan watched the door expectedly for Ms I’s arrival but upon her eventual arrival, she paid him little attention. Isabelle instead strode over to the side of the bar Arthur was occupying. This was a gruelling surprise, Arthur darted his eyes to Charlotte but her stare replied that she had no idea.

Guests of Honour

Isabelle beckons Arthur over to her and tells him he has to provide her a little favour. She has some important kindred coming to the club and she has granted them a place to speak in private. Arthur must make sure they are welcome. This is all very well and good, but Arthur still wonders why Isabelle had to make an appearance in person. She curls a conniving eye to Flannan Kelly before standing and welcoming Flannan, thanking him for coming and the two walk over to the furthest booth, Isabelle taking a drink to keep up a pretence.

Ms I and Flannan sit opposite each other and lean over the table as if two lions drooling over their prey. Ms I begins with small talk, asking Flannan how he is and where his little lady friend may be. Abrasive as ever, Flannan disregards the chatter, clarifying that Rosie would not and was never going to be attending this meeting. He wants to discuss the business at hand. Respectful of his valour, Isabelle presents a large black brief case and slams it down onto the table. She wants more shares of the land that Mr Kelly operates. At first Flannan is hesitant to even consider a deal but he remembers how his finances are running thin as of late. After persuasion and haggling, Flannan takes the money in exchange for giving Ms I and Ms J up to 49% of the shares. Isabelle has the power to get more but she is satisfied and produces a contract for the two of them to sign. She jokes over what a pleasure it was to do business with Flannan and comments that he must be very happy with all that money. Flannan misconstrues this and accuses her of trespassing on his property, but she plays dumb insolence. She enquires what he may be talking about and he out right reveals things have been taken from him and firmly exclaims that he will deal with the culprit harshly. Ms I pleas concern but seems to lack sincerity.

When Primogen Fredric and three other figures dressed in long white robes pass into the club, Arthur has a feeling his sire’s guests have arrived. Anna, having just finished her set, also recognises Fredric as she makes her way back to the bar. The Primogen comes to Arthur and mentions he has been promised a place to speak in private; the nature of their discussion may be inappropriate for Lance et Sanctum holy grounds. Arthur assures Fredric a place has been reserved for them. Fredric courteously goes on to introduce the other three kindred with him: Swordspine, Primogen of the Lance et Sanctum in the fief of Plymouth, a tall and wrinkled fellow; Dawn Benevolent of Torquay, a small quivering older looking woman and John, who maintained a displeased face and towering figure, was accompanied by seven stumbling ghouls that all seemed devoid of awareness. Arthur led them round the back and up the stairs to a space they would be able to speak. He leaves them to it but remains in earshot after closing the door. He can hear John shouting straight away and Bishop Swordspine and Fredric trying to calm him. From what Arthur can tell they are talking about a problem within their covenant until he makes out the word Procella.
Anna and Charlotte were left behind the bar as customers were flooding in. One man comes over to Charlotte but Anna steps in to take the man’s order, though Charlotte is able to prepare the man’s drink at a lightning speed. The two rivals were super-efficiently but Anna becomes increasingly frustrated at Charlotte who is able to use some crazy vampire powers to get ahead. Anna really wished she could test her own new power, perhaps even put Charlotte in her place but all she has is Resilience.

Arthur returns down stairs and goes to his sire’s side. She seems quite alarmed that he’d disturb her but he tells her the guests have been escorted to the conference room upstairs. Isabelle replies with little gratitude, telling Arthur that when she tells him to do something for her, she has no doubt that he will complete the task. There is no reason to come and tell her all about it expecting a medal. Flannan smirks at the little scene as Ms I turns back to him without another word to Arthur.

With an aching pride, Arthur takes his place, once again behind the bar but only in time to greet the elusive face of Patrick Cattedown, whom Arthur hadn’t seen for many months but has indeed been wondering about since the night the two Circle of the Crone Primogen’s met. Arthur gears himself to interrogate the man but is deterred by Charlotte whispering in his ear. She comments on funny old Patrick’s arrival is bringing up the kindred numbers and commends Arthur for how hard he is working. Arthur relaxes as her voice fades from his ear but is startled when Charlotte slaps her hand on to his bottom and briefly shakes a cheek as she clenches it like a vice. He only has half a second to compose himself before his reunion with Patrick. The Ventrue’s greet each other kindly and Patrick gives half a wave to Charlotte. Arthur takes a melodramatic tone, stating his concern after hearing about what happened at the Moorland Gardens and enquiring weather or not Patrick had received his letter. Patrick gives a vague explanation for his absence, something about ‘pottering about’, stutterers for a second and claims he has indeed read the letter. He apologises for being so late to reply and explains that’s why he came to the club: in hopes of finding Arthur. Arthur is sceptical however; after all Arthur isn’t usually at the Hemlocke Heights. Patrick then begins to grill Arthur over the nasty fall Arthur took last month. The club owner makes light of it, insulting the Carthian Movement and cursing them for what they did at the Ventrue clan meet. The two continue their suspicious back-and-forth until Isabelle comes to interrupt them. She asks Arthur how their ‘guests’ are doing and Arthur flitters upstairs to check on the Primogen’s. In the corner of his eye, he sees that Patrick and Isabelle are now speaking with one and other.

Patrick greets Isabelle respectfully and she reciprocates the good manner. Patrick is able to steer the conversation in his favour to begin with. He mentions the troubling times there covenant are facing and the two soon turn to Carthian bashing. He aims to learn of anything she has planned to combat the Movement but Isabelle only insults them and seems to disregard them as any kind of threat. Patrick tries to provoke worry by mentioning the attacks at the Ventrue and Gangrel clan meetings, though Isabelle says that measures are being taken. She tells Patrick the focus is not on weakening the Carthians but rather strengthening the Invictus. She darts her eyes back to Flannan, who is slowly making his way through another water and lime, and chuckles that the weak can easily be made into the Invictus’s greatest strength. Patrick takes note of her interest in the man huddled in the corner but swiftly changes the subject when he asks what is going on upstairs? Isabelle laughs and tells him more measures to get the upper hand on other covenants. The Lance et Sanctum are in turmoil, she rants, and I have more chance of hearing all about it if I maintain a friendship. Isabelle states that it would be better to appear the hero to such a naïve covenant and the more they owe the Invictus the better.

Arthur knocks to announce his presence but it’s unlikely it was heard above John’s shouting. Arthur barges in and is suddenly met with silence and the glare of all inside. He offers his services, can anything be done for the Primogens? Fredric politely insists they are fine but John shouts over him, condemning Arthur for his interruption. Arthur finds John to be cantankerous but stays respectful. He notices the ghouls swaying oddly in the corner and, with genuine concern, offers to provide for the ghouls in some way. John scorns at Arthur’s ignorance and expels him from the room. An insulted Arthur turns to leave and doesn’t even notice John chanting to his clenched fist up against his chest.

Arthur begrudgingly tells Isabelle that the guest are just fine, but this hardly seems to distract her from laughing with Patrick. The intensity between Anna and Charlotte is apparent but they are putting their contempt to good use. Charlotte’s face lights up when she sees he has returned to the bar and closes in on Arthur. Arthur finds himself backing away from her but she, like before, persists. She begins speaking about how much she is enjoying bar work. Charlotte says it is a more sensible and subtle way to satisfy her boredom. Finally, she playfully asks Arthur if he is enjoying having her there, to which he replies flippantly: “It’s not so bad”. All of a sudden, a huge swarm of beetles erupt from Arthur’s mouth. Charlotte is covered and she whales in disgust. Isabelle and Patrick are speechless to see Arthur gag and whine. He turns and stumbles to the back room without a word. Charlotte is left shivering and still until Anna ushers her to the back. Anna barely questions the scene for how funny a sight it was and takes great pleasure in telling Charlotte she will hold down the fort. Having finally gotten rid of the vixen, Anna sweeps aside the beetles that seem to die before long and begins to run the bar her way.
Worn down by the commotion and her competition with Charlotte, Anna pauses for a second to catch her breathe. She sees an older looking lady make her way in to the club and over to the bar where Anna was resting. Anna goes to provide a friendly reception but hesitates as she begins to recall the face approaching her.

A Frail Dragon’s Heart

Sybil Courtney was now starring Anna dead in the eye, mustering a scowl. She gives a quick wave to Patrick who is surprised yet happy to see her. Sybil asks Anna if she remembers her and gives little chance for a reply, while Anna registers the shock of the confrontation. “I remember you, Anna Barnham” she begins. She is tough and passive aggressive, Sybil tell Anna that she hasn’t seen her husband in quite a while and asks her how the man is doing. Anna is ridden with guilt and goes to tell Sybil that Charles is in fact not doing very well at all but Sybil falters and confesses that she realises Anna is not to blame. She begins to monologue about how angry she has been and then how sad she has become knowing that Charles hasn’t tried at all to see her. She only came in the club because she was passing and thought there was an off chance that Charles would be there. Anna pities the woman. She tries to explain that Charles is in a terrible state and hopeless without Sybil, but the woman remains skeptical, convinced that because she has not heard from Charles he is content.

“He prefers a younger woman” she growls in despair. Anna is quick to convince her otherwise, telling her that child hasn’t made contact for many weeks. Sybil jumps at the chance to catch her out, wanting to know how exactly she could know Charles is a wreck without seeing him for so long. Anna tells Sybil that Arthur told her and admits she has been feeding on the Ventrue’s vitea. Sybil is surprised but not at all put at ease. She requests to speak with Arthur and Anna graciously shows her through to him. Anna stays in earshot with the ajar.

Arthur is heaving over a sink when Sybil gets to him and she asks whatever is the matter. Picking the shell of a scarab from his teeth, Arthur tells her that he must have offended the Lance et Sanctum. She differs over him and tells Arthur the effects of the Liar’s Plague are extremely temporary and that he shouldn’t worry about a second wind. He’s glad to hear this and gives her a proper welcome, asking what he can do for her. She slumps, very obviously quite sad, and tells Arthur that she really doesn’t know why she is at the club. She describes the whole thing as grasping at straws but asks is him exactly when he saw Charles. Arthur explains it was on Valentine’s Day and tells her that Charles was in an incredibly sorry state. Sybil just replies that Valentine’s Day was certainly not easy for her either and doesn’t seem too sympathetic to Charles. She insists that if Charles really wanted her back, the man she knew what is sprang into action. Sybil laments her insecurities Arthur: her bloodline curse causes her to age continuously and this is quite disheartening when every other vampire and stay eternally youthful. Arthur consoles Sybil, Charles could spring into action to put an end to any other problem but her absence had simply been crippling in every way. It reaffirms the well she does continue to age, Charles ages as well and that can only reinforce the bundle that they both share. A glimmer of a smile spreads on the Sybil’s face to hear such a poetic and romantic rendition of her problems, but that glimmer of hope is crushed when Charlotte strides into the room. Charlotte cause out Arthur for being unfair, saying that he should tell the poor woman the truth; white lies would spare her no pain. She goes on to call Charles a lecherous old man with a heart as cold as the skin he’s wrapped up in. Nastily, she points out how damaged and crooked Sybil has become, saying there is no way that Charles could want or possibly be attracted to her. Charlotte says that she must give up on Charles. Offer is flabbergasted and angry to see Charlotte act so twisted and terribly towards kindred that have never done her any harm or said anything against her. Anna barges through the door to put a stop to Charlotte’s lies but the whole scene is interrupted by a clatter from upstairs.
Arthur grumbles about the Primogens being unable to conduct themselves with dignity and excuses himself from company to go and check on them upstairs. Sybil realises that the bishops are upstairs and follows, leaving Charlotte and Anna alone again. Anna questions why Charlotte has to be so nasty but the vampire only replies with a smug curl of the lip.
Arthur burst into the conference room to see Bishop Dawn lay on the floor with Bishop John standing over her. The others are behind John and trying to calm him but only seen to wind the man up more. Arthur makes it very clear that he will not have such a scene play out on his property and asks that John could calm himself. John doesn’t fact the opposite and orders of the ghouls into action. The seven zombie like foes all drift over to Arthur and begin swinging for him, the they deal minimal damage and have their effectiveness quashed by Resilience. Sybil emerges and though she can’t help but comment on the magnificence of the Gift of Lazarus, she shouts out at the Primogens condemning them all for their irresponsibility and what they have allowed to plague the fiefs. Swordspine, Fredrick and Dawn are disheveled by her comments but John is in enraged. He holds up a small crucifix and begins a prayer, ignoring everything else around him. Anna finally joins the fray to see Arthur and Sybil under attack, she acts instantly and produces a gun. Sybil cries and clenches her heart weakly. With a little other option, Anna relies on the Resilience she learnt from her two Regnants and shoots herself in the shoulder. She grit her teeth and worked away the pain until it was nothing, she had succeeded in gaining the rooms attention but the success was a dangerous one. The echo of the gunshot must’ve rang Dawn’s weary head and the Primogen broke out into a frenzy. The Bishop lunged forward, crashing through many of the zombies and towards Anna like a monster. Panicking, the young pianist fired a shot at her attacker. By impeccable and ridiculous chance the bullet broke through the cartilage of Dawn’s nose, worked its way through soft and squishy insights and straight out the other side to hit Jon in the leg. Dawn fell to the ground. Fredric goes to retain John but the insane Bishop raises hand on from it expands as long red dripping whip, which he casts back and so lashes down at Anna. He hits not only the ghoul but Arthur and many of his zombies as well. Sybil berates the man for being insane but he takes hold of her and Anna before fleeing downstairs. Sybil is only able to use her limited Dominate to free Anna and is carried down the stars, through the club and out the door, alarming both Patrick and Flannan.

An Eye for an Eye

Swordspine and Fredric both hurry out of the club without a word to the neonates, they pass Isabelle on the way downstairs. She is furious to see the state of things upstairs and goes to Dawn’s side. Isabelle examines the Torquey Primogen and ascertains that she’ll be okay but will remain in Torpor for many months. A wounded Anna is suffering and begs for Arthur’s help, he obliges and the bond is made final, though the sincerity of the moment has little time to be savored. Anna flees down the stairs and Isabelle yells at Arthur to “Sort this out!” and he zips down as well. Flannan just watches as Ms C, Anna and Patrick all run from the club with haste. Arthur emerges downstairs and orders that everyone leave, he shoos the band from the stage and ushers annoyed customers away from the bar. It’s quite a bother to empty the club, there doesn’t seem to be any easy way of doing it. Anna is pressed for time as well, she joined Patrick in his humbles little vehicle but it’s not exactly a super car. Annoyingly, an arrogant Charlotte is able to zoom on past with her Celerity but there is no telling what she plans to do when she catches up with John and Sybil.
Arthur has finally ridden the rabble from his business but finds himself in the irksome situation of having Flannan Kelly sat, cocksure, in the corner booth. Arthur is scaly, asking what Flannan things makes him so special that he just sit there. Flannan grimaces and returns with snarky remarks. He concludes that helping others does little to help him. Flippantly, Arthur remarks that that must be a cold realisation for the local philanthropist but Flannan sniggers and tells Arthur that any business can be used for personal gain. For a brief moment they connect until Flannan steadily stands and bids his farewells.

After watching the yapper disappear, Arthur was again overcome with urgency. He scurried upstairs and informed Isabelle that the club was empty and he would be following after John. Isabelle was rude, she berated Arthur for wasting her and his own time; she would have been able to figure that out. And so Arthur was in a foul mood as he strapped into his car. The crowd massed outside of the club seemed to signal the commotion had headed south and Arthur angrily put the accelerator to the floor. It wasn’t long after, while Patrick and Anna were trudging along, that Arthur was able to catch up with his allies just as both cars converged on a flattened path through the brush. Patrick jumps from the car and treks on through the wood, Arthur tales and Anna afterwards. Lagging behind the kindred, Anna spies out familiar territory and works out they are close to Charles’s cottage; she detours from the rescue mission. Anna runs round the cottage to find Charles talking down to his pocket while brushing Sir Bennet. He is dressed up properly and seems to have half a spring in his step. She calls to him to stir some action into him. He is surprised but is able to pick up on the state of her mood. She tells him he must get on the horse because he is needed. Obediently, Charles puts his hands down for Anna to step up on Sir Bennet though he asks what all the hullabaloo is. Anna balances herself and tells Charles that she knows she shouldn’t be there but he has to help because Sybil is in danger. Charles sits on his horse but is hesitant, is he the one Sybil wants to rescue her? He has little time to think before Anna kicks Sir Bennet’s flank and orders Charles onwards across the south Peridus plains.

Arthur and Patrick spy something horrific on the horizon. John has erected a wooden cross in the clearing and bound Sybil Courtney to it. Arthur extends a hand to a fearful and already beaten Charlottoe and drags her to her feet; thins are way more serious than her little games now. Patrick calls out the bishop for his perversion of holiness and John answers by springing Blood Scourge from his sleeve. He slashes at the two Ventrue, banishing them for their interference. The whip doesn’t quite reach Patrick, who is further back but Arthur takes a devastating blow. Clutching at a more sensible vitea management, Arthur doesn’t take the chance to absorb the attack with Resilience. Beaten and bruised, Arthur retaliates with a whack from a large stick that lay next to him. John takes minimal damage but is thrown of balance and the cross snaps the cross behind him. Sybil crashes to the ground, helpless as John raises up above her. He plucks the bottom of the crucifix from the ground and holds it skyward to ceremoniously destroy her.

Angrily echoing across the night sky, billows the remarkably serious “stay away from my wife”! Sir Bennett is roaring up on the hill, kicking his legs in the air as he neys, Anna is perched behind a seething Charles. He will Sir Bennett forward and and charges on it was the Bishop, enraged, screaming like a madman. The horse crashes into John and knocks him away from Sybil, but the heretic does not let up and whips back at Charles. Charles has knocked from the horse to the ground while Sir Bennet continues running with Anna taking the reign. Arthur defends Charles with his stick, he attempts to Dominate the bishop but cannot hope to catch I contact. John is able to avoid Arthur assaults and strike back at the neonates. Troloping back, Anna and Sir Bennet take back John’s attention as he narrowly avoids another collision with a horse. They build a great distance from him but his unnatural speed allows him to close in on the two ghouls. Recklessly, she’s rings from the steed, launching herself back at the Bishop and clings onto his back. He stumbles and grows more furious as Anna tugs on his hair. Patrick scrambles to untie Sybil from the cross and help her off the ground while Arthur and Charles rush to Anna’s aid.

John thrashes about, No longer the man of dignity but a fearsome monster, shaking away the insects that defy him. He is fighting a losing battle, suddenly he yelps and jumps. Anna releases the Bishop as he throws himself from side to side. Charles cheers and congratulates his road and friends: Mickey and Minnie, as they emerge from underneath Johns robes. He is embarrassed and psyches himself up to vanquish the neonates that dare attack him, but is almost intimidated to see five heroes and the equestrienne aid before him. The look in his eye takes the appearance of regret before he is consumed with light and his shape transfigures. He takes the stoney form of The Thinker and lays still. Fredric and Swordspine walk forward, patronizing John and making their disappointment clear. Charles stands at the side of a weary Sybil and Anna calms Sir Bennet, all while angrily watching the Primogens. Fredric thanks the group whole-heartedly, he apologies for what they’ve experienced and assures them they’ve earned much affinity with the Lance et Sanctum. The gangs’ cross expressions do not let up. Swordspine explains that his friend Fredric knew they could procure liquid gold from a holy house and that they’d always have been able to avert John’s rampage. They speak proudly of what they call the crowning achievement for the study of Theban Sorcery. Charles angrily reminds the tight lipped Primogens that his wife would be no more if the whole ugly business was left to them. That is when Arthur steps forward and comments how interesting it would be to access the wonders of Theban Sorcery. Under an Invictus’s politically powerful and cunning thumb, the Primogens eventually relent and promise that in return for not spreading rumors regarding these events, those who were harmed drastically could get a taste of the Lance et Sanctum secrets. With their immense strength, they drag away John of Exeter, insulted and grumpy.
Sybil bows to those who helped her tonight, reminding them that the sun will be up and attempt to take her leave. Not before Charles, comes forward and tells her that he is weak and he’ll never be strong without her, he vows that he’ll spend the rest of eternity making things right. She blushes and nods and finally leaves. Patrick announces that he also must depart and runs on after Sybil.

Charles turns to Anna and Arthur, who are horribly beaten and smiles. He holds Anna up and muses that he feels no blood sympathy. Arthur is awkward and tries to fathom a way to explain himself but is interrupted when Charles praises and thanks him. He clarifies that there is no way he can manage another ghoul and that Anna is better of adding to the Bexley brood. Arthur is relived and attempts to stay fair by offering his neglected filly: Patricia is Anna’s place. Charles likes the idea, but asks for Arthur to hold the gift back for a while, so that he can address his own family for now. He then tells Anna that Hugh had no just cause to confront her and confirms that he hopes to maintain friendship with her. Charles and Sir Bennet help to pair back to Arthur’s car, all of them content and valiantly chatting away about the night.

Sybil tells Patrick she has been very worried about him since his disappearance and that she was actually out looking for him tonight before going to the club. She firmly asks if he is safe and okay, to which he nods, putting her mind at ease. She bids him good night but passes a on a letter that came for him. Patrick must return home too, given the hour, he falls to sleep with a little light reading:
Patrick.
It’s Arthur. I need to speak with you. I know something happened the other night, but you don’t have to worry, I sorted it. That woman won’t be telling anyone anything.
I have not heard from you in months, and since what happened to me on that building, I find myself worrying more, and more.
What I mean to say is that it is dangerous these nights, and we have to look out for one another.

If nothing else it would be good to see you again, and I can at least tell you what happened to that woman at the hotel.

Your friend

Arthur.

Finally home, Arthur and Anna find that the trio of ghouls have waited up all night for them but are dressed very cozily in towel robes. Lavender and Karen quickly slink away, leaving Marjory to help Anna to bed. Arthur realises he’ll need time to recover from the brawl tonight and scrambles to prepare his loved ones for his slumber.

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Game 8: Going Round in Circles
Game date: 20th February 1951

Swimming in New Circles

Anna awakes in the room she’s been staying in for the past week. She feels a certain emptiness and lack of direction, is it best to let Amanda and Danny go on thinking she is dead? What kind of life could she have constantly hiding away from the living? It’s a worrying state of affairs: the towels at the end of her bed give more a clinical impression than a welcoming one. Are the three girls getting tired of looking after her? She’s been nothing but pleasant and helped out with house work so it surely couldn’t be a personal burden to look after her but they do all seem pretty busy. Arthur is good to Anna but he has things to do in a whole other world she still cannot fully understand.
She needs time to think but the papers will no doubt have everybody in Peridus looking out for her. Her disappearance may lead the people to discovering kindred, which would be very bad for one or the other. Her investigative nature tells her to scope out the news printers and she prepares herself to venture out into the daylight, rather ambitiously aiming to avoid being identified.
She only sees Marjory on her way out, who acknowledges Anna both kindly and awkwardly. When leaving the estate she spots a car parked outside that seems somehow familiar. There is a man inside that seems excitable as he signals her to get in. She goes towards the car but to the man’s confusion walks around the vehicle to get into the back on the other side. He turns to speak to her straight away and Anna instantly regretted her curiosity; it was Hugh Courtney, the current Earl of Devon and Charles’s son. He introduced himself politely and exclaimed he was excited to meet her. He had deduced after learning of the reason behind his parents argument and that she had met with Dianna that Anna was in fact ghouled. He’d even read the paper and was able to make sense of a lot of the thing Anna had said to Amanda, while no other reader could. Hugh seemed to boast his process, subtly warning that he too has some investigative prowess. Hugh is welcoming however, joking that he and Anna are cousins in a manner of speaking and invites her somewhere more comfortable and private to speak with her. Reluctantly, Anna agrees.
They pull into a small café, out of the way of the thriving Peridus and Hugh buys them both hot drinks. He seems confident strolling around the place, but only as confident as an Earl would be. They sit face to face on a table away from the proprietor. Hugh’s smirk sinks into a serious face and he gets straight to the point, asking where Anna got her vitae fix from, knowing full well she didn’t get it from Charles. She is hesitant but he continues and says he doesn’t really care so long as it’s not from Charles. Hugh goes on to explain various complications in his family; he leads a double life not only to the public but his wife as well, his parents are both twisted and damaged individuals, and they risk everything to keep him topped up on vitae. In short, the family is too complicated and they don’t need Anna making it more complicated.
Hugh does stress that he holds no personal grudge against Anna and invites her to attend a kindred event at the Elisium. He even explains the Elisium and helps Anna to better understand her new powers she can achieve: Resilience and Animalism.
Flannan awakes to the lovely and fair Rosie who has prepared him a bowl of corn flakes and a slice of bread with butter. They have a whole day planned out: make rounds at Flannan’s community developments and later attend the mayors Cultural Diversity festival. Rosie finds the community centres all very admirable and noble. She starts to help the workers doling out the food but Flannan leads her away. He seems to be getting bored of Rosie.

Broadening the Circle

Upon nightfall, Arthur awakes to an empty house. All his ghouls have left to their work and Anna has also gone out. This may be convenient as Arthur has little time to speak with them all; he has been summoned to the presence of Baroness Jane Westfield: Primogen of the Invictus covenant. Cautious of the commotions he’s found himself in recently, he takes a small flick knife with him.
He drives to the Paradise Tables which is bustling with business. Arthur is asked upon entering what name his table is reserved under and after some confusion over the process for meeting with Baroness Westfield at the restaurant, he is taken to the Primogen. Jane Westfield is dressed up for going out and is there with Charlotte, who seems irritable. She welcomes Arthur and explains where they will be going tonight and asks him what he makes of Plymouth’s Elisia. Regrettably, Arthur knows little of the politics in the neighbouring covenants. Westfield is understanding but clarifies that perhaps the politics of the covenants in Devon are indeed relevant. Arthur drives the two Davea to the Moorland Gardens Hotel as he and the Primogen discuss the event. Charlotte however, is bored.
Patrick is also planning to attend the event, if nothing else, he can appear more knowledgeable to Layla. He finds himself stuck between two political giants so it’d be a welcome break to deal with a covenant more concerned with faith and spirituality. He arrives at the Moorland Gardens Hotel and is well met by Sir Tobias of the Invictus. Tobias welcomes him gladly and bigs Patrick up, praising the work he does for the Invictus. Patrick is eager to go up to the Elisium but Tobias is keen to speak with him, saying that as a knight of the Invictus he should really get to know his people better. Tobias says the meeting of the Circle will go on all night so there is time for a wander.
During the drive to the Elisium, Arthur can’t help but look over to the commotion of the Mayor’s cultural diversity festival. He notices some strange and tribal dancing, to which Baroness Westfield comment are coincidently reminiscent of the Circle of the Crone.
Flannan and Rosie arrive at the parade and react very differently to the noise and lights. Flannan is reserved and serious: sceptical to the so called ‘fun’ the festival could be. Rosie on the other hand is loose and relaxed. Initially as they go to enter, two drunken jack-the-lad types show up and ask for an entry fee. Flannan finds this to be a fine excuse to skip the ridiculousness all together, but when he turns away the two men laugh and reveal they were not working there and that there was no entry fee. Of course, Rosie takes this in could humour but Flannan turns to the reprobates and scolds them for such tomfoolery.
The two of them go round and witness a traditional ghost dance originating from Chile and then come to a stand based on Brazil. A tall and muscular man takes centre stage here. Standing by a sheet of heated metal, the man threw small bits of beef and chicken onto the heat and began flipping them all around with two large and curved swords. He is laughing away, enjoying the attention and invigorating the crowd. Rosie is excited and edges through the crowd to get a closer look but Flannan is unamused; he is vegetarian.
The man introduces himself as Pete, his friends call him Big Pete, and he throws a sample Rosie’s way. Pete notes the contrast between Rosie and her miserable looking companion and he offers a sample to Flannan. Flannan meets Pete’s valour with stern and cutting words but Pete laughs it off and taunts him. Insulted, Flannan drags Rosie away and they go over to another stand to learn about the Roman Colosseum.
Arthur’s party piles into the lobby of the Moorland Gardens Hotel and the three of them climb up the east wing of stairs to get to the Elisium. Closely following are Hugh and Anna who begin climbing the stairs on the west wing. The Elisium is bustling with all different clans but mostly Circle of the Crone. Arthur can identify the Lance et Sanctum Primogen: Fredric and the Circle of the Crone Primogen: Aubery, who is sitting up on stage. Hugh and Anna arrive in on the other side of the room just as the Circle of the Crone begin cheering. A ruff looking woman wearing a bow and a quiver full of arrows on her back pulls back a curtain and reveals High Priestess Elisia, Circle of the Crone Primegeon from the fief of Plymouth. She plays up to the crowd and strides up onto stage and along to Aubery’s side. Arthur examines her nature: attempting to suss out her game, while Anna is surprised, amazed even, that the kindred in the room are so rowdy over her appearance.
Elisia and Aubery embrace each other like old friends to a roar of applause before Aubery silences the room with a wave of her hand. Elisia then address her audience, welcoming them to her presence and thanking them for such a warm reception. She explains it is about fostering good will with her brethren. Arthur decides he wants to get closer and ventures through the crowd. He notices Anna and Hugh goes over to see them both, perplexed that they should both be there. Hugh puts on a glad face and sarcastically introduces Anna, as his cousin, to Arthur. Hugh goes on to explain the joke and that he in fact knows Anna has stayed with Arthur and implies he has worked out that Arthur has helped with her addiction. Consumed with Elisia’s spirit of good will, Arthur informs Hugh of his father’s sorry state. Hugh swiftly replies that he is helping his father and that he stayed with him and even cleaned up the cottage. Moving on from talk of his father, Hugh goes on to joke about what an Invictus like Arthur must think of the Circle but Arthur reveals he must maintain a good relationship with the Circle as his estate is close to their land in the fief of Peridus. With the show on stage gathering momentum, Arthur tells the two ghouls he needs to get closer to the stage.

Hugh compliments Arthur to Anna and goes on to speak about the two Primogens. He reveals that Elisia had recently visited the Circle of the Crone Primogen in the fief of Exeter, spouting the same stories. This is something he and his mother have been looking into. He also tells Anna that towards the end of the war when the Prince of Peridus fell, Aubery attempted to consume Dartmoor into the fief of Peridus. Dartmoor is the Circle of the Crone territory in the fief of Plymouth and for the last forty or so years, been governed by Elisia. Aubery has only been Primogen in Peridus since just before the second war. Hugh can tell that Anna absorbs all the information she is given.

Stranger in the Circle of Trust

As the festival simmered down and the performers and stall holders began packing up, Flannan was itching to retire home. A lady, commanding a dominating presence stepped out towards the young couple. Flannan is initially hostile but after the woman introduces herself as his mysterious business partner: Ms I. She is kind and seems to take a very keen interest in Rosie but asks for Flannan to take her to their community centres to show her around. Flannan explains he is in another’s company and that he’d have an easier time showing Ms I around in the day time. Ms I comments, however, that the night time is better for her. Flannan finally relents and tells Rosie she should return home alone as he has business to attend too.
Patrick and Tobias are strolling around Peridus, while one is a much older vampire, they are a similar physical age so they can get on quite well. They joke away but conversation soon turns to the various Carthian attacks on the Clan gatherings weeks ago. Sir Tobias has a lot of nasty things to say about the Carthian movement to which Patrick does his best to play along. It is then they notice a large man strolling up to the Moorland Gardens Hotel and a young girl that runs after him. The young woman apologises to the man and goes on to praise the man’s work. He is understanding though, commenting on how hard it is for people to swallow other cultures these days. Patrick questions the man’s unusual dress code and is informed of the festival earlier that evening. The man introduces himself as Pete and the girl: Rosie. The two Invictus gladly introduce themselves. Ever the repressed, Patrick can’t help but blush in Rosie’s company and he eagerly continues to chat with Pete and Rosie. They all follow into the lobby of the Moorland Gardens hotel where Pete is staying. Patrick is oblivious to how this interruption has been irksome to Tobias.
Tobias soon urges Patrick that they should head up to the lectures upstairs, to which Patrick suddenly agrees. The two gentlemen begin to bid there farewell to the kine but when Rosie says goodnight, Patrick replies “Oh, we shall not be retiring right now, we’re off to the top floor to join a splendid event”. As the words pass through his lips, Patrick notices the widening frown on Tobias’s face and quickly realises he need not speak no more. Pete speaks up angrily, he has paid a lot for his suit at the hotel and after a long and hard day, would love to go down like a log tonight. He charges of, exclaiming that he was going to complain something fierce. Tobias struggles to hold it together but is shocked when Patrick turns to him and awkwardly excuses himself before leaving, as if in a trance.
Upstairs, a rousing Q&A is going full steam. Most questions concerned kissing up to the two Primogens until Lance et Sanctum Primogen Fredric stepped up and mocked the Circle of the Crone beliefs. Elisia seems to find his words humours and compliments Fredric for still managing to indoctrinate people with such flimsy beliefs. The Circle of the Crone roar and cheer as Elisia boasts her wit. Amongst the praise Elisia transforms herself into a monstrous brown bear. Anna is surprised, she knew of Protein but had no idea it could grant such a total transformation. Hugh, who is enjoying watching the power of such a famous Gangrel, comments that neither Charles nor Sybil could achieve such power and clarifies that they probably won’t be able to until 1980. The majority of the kindred in the room also take on their Protein powered forms, including High Priestess Aubery, who takes the form of an eagle. While many can only pop claws; reveal gliding flaps and grow horns on their forehead, a great number take the form of a variety of larger cats and dogs. There is a huge amount of noise, but amongst the commotion Anna can hear ruckus outside the doors to the Elsium. Bursting through the door: Big Pete.
There is a dead silence. The intruder is very clearly surprised and terrified. Anna perks up and begins to tell the man about the newfound ambitions and advances in the sector of moving pictures. He is impressed: there are tigers that look entirely life like and their growl is impeccable. Pete doesn’t know much about the subject but he finds such effects seemingly impossible. He begins to wade through the snarling carnivores towards Anna and Hugh, commenting on the face of a man with huge elephant like tusks. Anna proclaims that the best of costume design and tech is on showcase here. Arthur does his best to lock eyes with the strange man but is a fair distance away. Pete is being careful but he freaks out when he almost stands on a small chihuahua and falls back onto a jaguar behind him. With physical touch, he is consumed with fear and he scrambles to his feet as the animals begin to corner him. Arthur is nearing his target to save the day but High Priestess Aubery rises with a flurry of feathers and perches a talon lightly on Arthur’s head, covering his eyes. She shrieks to Arthur ‘Don’t be such a spoil sport’. With that, Fredric raises his voice and reminds the other kindred of Elisium laws. Elisia roars in agreement but gestures towards her archer henchwoman. The nasty looking Gangrel: Sally, jumps across the room and throws Pete out into the hall, incidentally, out of the Elisium (more or less) and signals that the hunt is on. All the Protein users stampede from the room and tale poor Pete. A distressed Arthur is taken in by the madness and plucks a feather from Aubery’s tail. She caws and returns to her original form and angrily warns Arthur that he is dangerously close to breaking Elisium law. Many others of the Circle run out both sides of the room, informing Elisia and Aubery that they’d contain the rest of the kine staying at the hotel during the hunt. Sally bears her bow and together with big bear Elisia, tails after the other kindred.
Left alone are Aubery, Fredric, Jane, Hugh, Charlotte, Anna and Arthur. A row begins between the three Primogens and Charlotte comes forward: interested in Anna. “I saw you speaking with Bexley Boy earlier” she began. Charlotte took a big sniff in the air. “You are not kindred are you?” She smirks and turns to Arthur: “Another one for your harem? You gave her the Bexley brew?”.
Anna replies that she is not another of Anna’s ghouls and Charlotte then turns to a sniggering Hugh. “How do you know the Earl sweetheart, oh no wait, that’s hilarious; you are a Courtney capture?” She laughs away and opens up her wrist, dangling her vitae in Anna’s face. Anna has not too long satisfied her addiction and so she angrily swats away Charlotte’s hand. Arthur attempts to intervene but Charlotte boldy proclaims she’ll be joining the fun downstairs and, rebelliously, flees into the hallway. Arthur realises he must continue to keep the impatient Davea out of trouble and follows her, with Anna and Hugh following after Aubery dismisses them.

The Circle is Complete
Flannan is pottering about his community buildings with Ms I for a while, she talks about the land it covers and the amount of people using the facilities. Flannan does encourage her that they should meet to talk business in a more formal manner and Ms I is delighted. She suggests the two meet at the Hemloche Heights, exactly two weeks from now in the evening. She also suggests that he bring along lovely Rosie but Flannan is distained, saying he never mixes business with pleasure. Ms I soon takes her leave, exclaiming that business is her pleasure.
Patrick comes back to his senses to see Layla and another Carthian lady: Harriet standing before him. They explain they had to get him out of there as they suspect Tobias was suspicious. This makes Patrick feel more uneasy; if there is the slightest chance the Invictus know about his dubious allegiance, then Patrick could never stop looking over his shoulder. Shaking with fright, he follows them back to the hideout.
Arthurs darts down the stairs after Sally as fast as he can move. Anna and Hugh are following him but are halted when several bats fly up the stairs and startle them. Hugh loses his balance and rolls down the stairs just as two figures stumble out into the stairwell. Anna begins to attend to the gash on the side of Hugh’s head and gestures the other two to help her. The man kneels down to help and introduces himself as Tobias. He asks Anna what on Earth was happening up there. A grateful Hugh begins explaining to the Invictus Knight. Tobias soon averts attention to Rosie who is stunned and sickly over what she has been seeing. Tobias explains that kindred came from the top floor to keep people in their rooms but Rosie was out in the hallway and has already seen some shocking things. Tobias wishes for this masquerade risk to be clinched in a lees barbaric way. Anna points him in the direction of downstairs, suggesting a young venture could help. With that Tobias and Hugh tale downstairs with Anna following, whilst consoling Rosie. It came as a bit of a surprise to Anna that the girl would recognise her as “Flannan’s ex-wife or something” but Anna treats Rosie’s outbursts with apathetic sarcasm as they follow on after the Knight and the Earl.
The team reach the bottom of the stairs to see Charlotte using celerity to bound herself over all the cats and dogs crowding the hall. Elisia is by the door and she transfigures back to her bear form to take a running leap over the other Protean users. Arthur, eager to quell Charlotte’s ram page, mounts the foreign Primogen and rides the bear through to the lobby. Big Pete is fighting of the young Davea with his prised machetes but he’s backed into a corner. Arthur jumps of Elisa’s shoulders, flies through the air and lands between the two mid brawl. He attempts to calm Charlotte with his dominate powers but she quickly wrestles him to the ground and strikes him hard. Sir Tobias, Hugh, Anna and a distressed Rosie finally get to the lobby just to see Arthur break out into a frenzy. He lunges, viciously for Charlotte but she deflects his assault and slams him into Pete. Bereft of sense, Arthur bites down hard on Pete and drinks a great gulp of blood. Pete finally throws Arthur off of him like a rag doll and his attention is averted back to Charlotte. Arthur finally returns to his senses after striking Charlotte but she continues relentlessly to torment Pete.
Flannan prepares to return home but finds his car left where he parked it. He takes it, but makes a detour on the way home. He meets with a familiar acquaintance and offers cash up front for a sizable helping of cyanide. He finally returns home to find that Rosie has not returned. Carelessly, he retires to bed, locking away tonight’s spoils and lays in wait.
Sally appears by Arthur’s side and condemns the boring Invictus, claiming they don’t know how to hunt. Arthur replies sharply, saying that all kindred hunt, just some to it with more class and dignity. Angered, Sally Strike releases a thick web from her finger tips and covers the young ventrue’s mouth. The savage woman runs back into the fray while Arthurs pulls out the knife he picked up earlier (what a stroke of luck!) and carefully begins cutting through the webbing. Big Pete makes a dash for the doors but the ghouls working at the hotel have the place under lockdown. As Charlotte darts after him, Elisa intercepts her and catches Charlotte with a bear hug. The davea struggles but Arthur is finally able to cut his mouth free and command her to be still. Elisa retakes her humanoid form and reveals her smiling face, to which Rosie is terrified, despite Anna’s council. Pete is breathing lethargically, his eyes display his fright but her stands motionless while nobody approaches him.
Elisa turns to Arthur and commends his work tonight before asking him what he thought of their intruder. Arthur knows full well what the Primogen is hoping to hear and comments on how strong the man proved himself, while frantically wiping blood and web from his mouth. Elisa is thinking the same thing and asks Arthur for help to ease the process. With Arthur’s stern command, Pete relaxes and leaves with the Primogen. Sally follows and the rest of the circle regain their original from and disperse out the hotel.
Tobias is finally able to introduce himself to Arthur and further praises the boy. Charlotte, once again, begins to taunt Anna, trying to provoke a reaction to an innocent man’s fate she was unable to prevent. Anna is strong in the face of the b*tch and is thankful when Arthur has her shut up. Tobias explains the situation with Rosie and Arthur gladly removes all memories of what the nurse saw that night and fills her head with images of being mugged. He sends her home. With that finished, Tobias bids a goodnight to his new friends and asks Hugh to pass regards on to Charles. And finally Hugh announces that he must return to Charles, clarifying that he’ll return to Powderham in the upcoming evening. He wishes both Arthur and Anna well, assuming Anna can return with Arthur and he once again reminds Anna to stay away from the Courtney’s.
Marjory and the others seem a little surprised when Anna returns to the Bexley estate and they row amongst themselves and with Arthur a little bit, but Anna just returns to her room, sits down and thinks. She has outright been banned from Charles and doesn’t feel entirely welcome at Arthur’s. The greatest plague on her mind is the oncoming craving for vitea and the knowledge of what occurs once she has consumed the third drop of any kindred’s vitea.

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Game Seven: Childer of the revolution!
Anna, Charles Flannan, Patrick, and Arthur's night.

Anna

Anna wakes up having slept through the entire morning; she spent the previous night awake working on a new composition, and had fallen asleep as the sun rose. Anna spends what’s left of her afternoon trying to get her head straight, and tidying up her piano before heading out to work, making sure she gets there whilst the sun is still in the sky.
Arriving at the club Anna is greeted by Lavender, Marjory is also working in the club but seems to be keeping to herself. Lavender is happy to see Anna, and the two talk for a while before starting work. Lavender is clearly more open with Anna, now she has been made aware of everything that goes on in the shadows, this is apparent in how she talks, and her body language. Anna is also given a better perspective on parts of Ghoul society; she is treated as if she was a sister, and called part of the family. Lavender then talks about how it is important that Ghouls keep together , and have each others backs, being new on the scene, Anna just takes everything in. Getting back to work, Lavender tells Anna that Arthur is tending to business, and won’t be coming in to the club tonight, so she would be working alone tonight.
With that, Anna sets about showing the world her new masterpiece, filling the club with darkly dramatic, and exciting music.

Flannan

Waking up early Flannan, goes about his usual routine of checking his accounts, before trying to get in to contact with Jenkins. When Jenkins does not respond, Flannan goes to inspect his community centres to see how they are doing in person. Whilst mingling with the various people in one of his centres, he comes across a table of homeless people enjoying a hot meal. He speaks to them as best he can, and one of them tells him a story about how; they have a camp in the woods, and they think a monster has been preying on them, knocking them out, and leaving them with scars. Flannan calms the men down, telling them that it was no doubt not a monster, whilst inside he is taking down every detail.
Back at his office he gets a call from Jenkins who is calling from a public call box. He tells Flannan that he could not take his call earlier as he was working, but he needs Flannans help. Telling him that he is in trouble, and fears for his life, and that he is meeting a friend at the Hemlock heights that very night. Flannan tries to get answers, but Jenkins won’t tell him over the phone, and only wants to tell him if he knows he can count on him to help. Jenkins ends the call not long after. Flannan mind is methodical, and as he goes to his hidden safe and retrieves his gun he thinks to himself about Jenkins, how he has been compromised, and how he has to make sure he is silenced before he can talk.

Charles

Charles awakens, his cottage is devoid of human life, and his is starving, so much so that he considers eating Mickey and Minnie. Charles instead decides that he will go to a vagrant encampment he found in the woods, that is until he sees a raven perched on the fence near his stables. Without thinking Charles sees the bird as a snack, and uses Animalism to command it to allow itself to be eaten, he is surprised when it ignores him. Even more so when it turns in to a scruffy looking man. The Raven man simply scowls at Charles, and tells him that the Clan is meeting on the large island, on the lake in Peridus City park. He then turns back in to a raven and flies away, he squawk roughly translating to “I hate children”.
After checking in on the still wounded Sir Bennett, and making sure he is on the mend, Charles heads out for a bite to eat. Making his way to the camp, he sees three men around a campfire cooking beans. Although at first he tries a direct approach by trying to scare them, and throw things at them. He finally opts to be more cunning, luring one of them men away with the offer of free drugs. When alone with the man Charles grabs him and feed form him, resulting in the man running for his life and scattering the group. With that out of the way Charles decides it is time to go to the park, but not before using Animalism on an owl, making it go and use Arthur’s home as a toilet.

Anna and Flannan

Whilst playing her set, Anna can keep an eye on nearly all of the club, and Jenkins entering does not slip past her. She sees him go straight over to Lavender, who reacts as if the two know each other, she fixes him a drink then seems to talk to him. Flannan enters the club, but fails to see Jenkins at the bar, he only notices Anna, who is none to impressed to see him again. Flannan goes over to the pianist, and mentions that he is here to meet Jenkins, Anna quickly points him towards the bar, and he departs leaving her to work.
Kelly grills Jenkins on what is going on, who he is trouble with, and why he felt the need to call him out here. Jenkins is shaky and looks to be slightly ill, and does not give Flannan any straight answers. He tells Flannan that the people who are after him are more than they can handle, and that these people won’t hesitate about killing anyone that gets in their way. Kelly is brash about the situation, not really believing all that Jenkins says, he then tells Jenkins he has a plan. He will set up a new life for him somewhere else, all he has to do is go with him, and he would sort out the rest. Flannan refuses to tell Jenkins anything else about the plan, not until the commits. Jenkins refuses, telling Flannan that he does not want a new life. With that and his potential execution plan foiled Flannan goes to leave, that is until Lavender uses Dominate, to make him sit back down and listen.

Lavender them tells Flannan and Jenkins to go and sit down at a booth so they can talk about things in detail, she also calls Anna over, saying that she might want to be part of this. She also quietly tells Anna that Jenkins is a Ghoul as well, and that he is in trouble. With everyone sat down Jenkins starts to open up a little, and although he can’t tell the complete truth he does his best. Saying that he was an addict, and someone took his dealer out of the picture, and now his dealers associates have decided they want Jenkins for themselves, and he is sure that they are coming to get him. Flannan tries everyone that his plan is for the best, but nobody agrees with him, and with that lavender explains that she has a plan. She has the keys to a farm outside of the city, somewhere that nobody would think to look, and that Jenkins would be safe there. Anna stays silent for the most part, but does back Lavender, if not in a slightly sarcastic manner. Flannan is sceptical of the plan, and keen to point out the flaws, but after a while concedes. He does however make one demand, that Jenkins helps him assassinate Charles Christopher Courtney, and all of his family, Jenkins questions this, but is desperate and does not decline. With the plan decided on, the group head to their transport, Lavender will drive Anna and Jenkins, with Flannan following on in his car, Marjory is left to keep an eye on the club.

On leaving the Hemlock, Anna notices a couple of suspicious individuals, and thinking on her feet, tells Lavender she will catch up behind them, as she has something she has to sort out first. Anna chases the people down, confronting them. They try and pretend to me a couple, but Anna knows better, she can read the tells that the woman is a Kindred, after Anna tells them she knows they are up to, and the couple run off. Anna is able to get back to the club just in time to jump in Lavenders car and head of, out of the city.

Charles

Making his way through the park, Charles sees more members of his own clan then he even knew existed. He stops near the lake to look around for Sybil hopeful she would be here; she is not. Failing that he looks for anyone on their own that he could accompany. Whilst doing so he is welcomed by a short man with an old fashioned way about him, this is Sir Tobias, and he thought Charles could do with some company. Charles and Tobias talk for a while, exchanging titles, and talking about what was going on. Tobias then introduces Charles to his Childe, Linton, a fledgling and aspiring knight. Tobias also offers Charles a place in their row boat to get across the lake.
Charles gets on very will with his Clanmates, Tobias seems to be a man of similar class to himself, and Linton is refreshingly non-political, for an Invictus anyway. When across the lake the Gangrel walk through a stand of tree’s; finding themselves in a circular clearing; the only defining feature is a throne made from gnarled and twisted trees.
The throne formed the starting point of a circle; with almost every Gangrel in the city sat, with their animal companions sat behind them. Charles takes his place, next to Tobias and Linton, who chat with him about meeting the Priscus for the first time, and how it is always an experience. Charles can spy a few Kindred he recognises, Benny, a leading member in the Ordo Dracul, and Ruth Waters, an authority figure in the Carthian Movement, but no Sybil. The crowd settles, and when they do, the earth in the middle of the circle opens up, and a figure steps out; a short but intimidating woman, with the horns and feet of a stag, she is truly monstrous; and referred to as “The Horned Goddess”, Charles makes it clear he objects to his particular title.
All who have never met the Priscus are forced to stand in front of her, so she can evaluate their worth. She pops claws, using them to open up the palm of her hand, and then gives each of the Neonates a test. She stares at them, long and hard, and any who recoil, or show any fear, our blood bound to her on the spot, those who do not, have the blood smeared on their forehead in a ritualistic manner. Charles and Linton are the only ones not to fail the test. Tobias is thrilled, and informs them both, how that is a Peridus tradition in the Clan, and every Gangrel goes through it. The Circle of the Crone whoop and holler until she silences them. She then gives the Clan her thought on the matter of the Rat-Men, and her advise on the matter. It is simple enough, remember your instincts, hunt them, kill them, and act like a damn Gangrel. After the Circle exploding in to another bout of cheering, proceedings start to come to a close, with a few Gangrel leaving. Charles notices Ruth Waters leaving almost straight away.
When the time comes to leave Charles and his new Invictus friends, head back to the row boat, but before they can set sail, a voice echoes out through the night. It tells all non Invictus to leave, as they will be treated as collateral damage. This is followed up by screams, and a reddish glow from the other side of the tree’s. Tobias and Linton rush towards the scene of the trouble, whilst Charles decides to leave silently; swimming across the lake to avoid the trouble. Just as he is about to make it to the other side, a frenzied Tobias, and Linton swim past him, before climbing up on to the shore and calming down as he leaves the water. Before any of the men can do much at all, a crow swoops down, and lands not far from them, before revealing itself to be Ruth. Three men then step out of the shadows to flank her, and point guns at the group, Charles notices quickly that they each have flare-guns. Tobias pops claws ready for a fight, and Ruth follows suit. However instead a battle of politics and philosophy begins, Charles confronts Ruth telling her that she is wrong to only care about politics, and questions how good her ideals really are if they lead to so much violence, this gets him a punch in the face, and a firm shouting at. Charles had just been black-marked by the Carthian chief of justice. Young and headstrong, Linton runs at her claws ready yelling at the top of his voice, but he never makes it to her, as all three men open fire on him. Linton catches on fire instantly, and is engulfed in flames. Charles sees the young man’s skin bubble, and fall from his body, and watches him jump in to the lake and disappear from view.

Turning to make sure Tobias is okay, Charles watches as the small man, takes control of his frenzy and rides the wave. Tobias’ claws seem far more lethal whilst he is Frenzied, and he quickly gets close to Ruth, taking the smile of her face with a single slash of his claws. Her face one one of her eyes, are obliterated by the Elders claws, and she falls backwards screaming as she tries to hold the left side of her face in place. Her Ghouls open fire on Tobias, but the flames don’t even seem to touch him, Charles is sure something supernatural is going on, not has no idea what. It is only a matter of moments before the Ghouls fall to the floor in pieces. Ruth vanishes; turning in to a cloud of bats, and flies away in to the night.
Tobias runs to his Childe, and with Charles help pull him out of the lake. Nearly all of his body as been burnt, and large portions of his skeleton are exposed, where his flesh had supernaturally melted away.
Dutiful as ever Tobias, tells Charles that the threat is Fief wide, and that he needed to be by his Primogens side, to stop any disasters. But he has a favour to ask from Charles, to go to the Briar Cliff business centre, and make sure Charlotte is safe, with Linton incapacitated, and the other knight s scattered, she may be in grave danger. Charles accepts, much to Tobias’ relief.

Anna and Flannan

The mortals make their way out of the city, but it soon becomes clear that they are being followed. Before they know it the car following them, rams in to the back of Flannans car, causing it to hit a verge; throwing flannan out of the window and on to the frosty grass. Lavender slams on her breaks at seeing Flannan’s crash, and although she is rammed twice stays on the road. All the commotion gives Flannan the time to jump back in his car and catch up, breaking again, but not before Anna is able to shoot out their right tyre. Seeing that they are losing the aggressors try to speed away, Flannan gives them a taste of their own medicine; ramming in to the cars side and making the woman sat in the passenger seat hit her head against the window. For luck Anna leans out of Lavenders car, and with a well placed shot bursts the back left tyre, forcing them to drive on the rims, and shoot sparks everywhere as they vanish down the road as fast as they can.

Flannan pulls his car back behind Lavender, following her the rest of the way to the safehouse. Soon enough they arrive at the George Family Farm, and lavender ushers them all in to the farm house, and through to the kitchen. She light a few candles, and an oil lantern, before putting a kettle on the stove top, offering everyone a coffee. When serving the coffee’s Lavender asks Flannan if he could go out behind the barn and turn the generator on, so they could use the phones. He thinks it is because he is the man of the house, the Ghouls know it is because he is expendable. Whilst Flannan goes outside, Lavender goes down to the basement, and Anna sits and tries to comfort Jenkins. This is the first time she had ever seen what happens to a Ghoul when they are deprived of Vitae, and its stirs a fear in her. Flannan easily sorts the generator on, and as he flips the switch, all of the houses lights come on, realising the danger he is now in, he rushes back to the house, locking the door behind him, just as Lavender comes up from the Basement. Holding a shotgun.

With the lights on it is only a matter of time before, Jenkins’ would be kidnappers arrived. So everyone springs in to action, Lavender makes sure downstairs is all locked down, Jenkins tries his best to loads his revolved, whilst Flannan does his best to calm him down, telling him how to make the perfect cup of coffee. Anna goes upstairs to close all the curtains, and windows, she does this but can’t help but get distracted by something; a little boys bedroom. The room itself is slightly old fashioned, the room has an academic feel to it; books, a desk, and small telescope seem to be the most interesting things in the room. Investigating the desk, Anns finds a set of letter’s dated from 1933 to 1938, and are either marked Son, or Family, she also finds a pencil with the initial A.G scratched in to them.
Before she can have a good look she hears someone coming up the stairs, it is Lavender, minus the shotgun. Lavender wanted to talk to Anna away from the men, and has a confession to make; she knows who Jenkins’ Regnant is, and what happened to them. His name is Jacobi, the man that kidnapped Anna, and Arthur has happened to him. She goes on to explain how Arthur had no idea that Jacobi had a Ghoul, and still doesn’t know, so she is going to deal with it so everything runs smoothly .

Anna questions why Lavender feels such an intense need to help, and she replies that, sometimes it’s best for a Ghoul to solve problems for their Regnant, and that she felt it was her fault for not telling Arthur that Jenkins was a Ghoul. Lavender then starts to talk about the house, telling Anna that it was the house Arthur grew up in, that all if his family are buried in a plot of land just east of the farm, and that Arthur hates being anywhere near the house. Continuing, she tells Anna that all of Arthur’s Ghouls have a key to the house and use it as a safe house, or as a holiday home if they want to get away from the city. The sound of a car distracts her and she rushes downstairs, Anna uses this as an excuse to grab the letters and pencil, hiding them in her handbag, and in her clothing, before following Lavender downstairs.
The car engine stops, and all of the group steel themselves for what is to come, and with their guns drawn, they all leave the house. Flannan leads, with Jenkins staying just in the doorway of the house.

In front of them an attractive, but conservatively dressed woman is sat on the bonnet of the car, in front of her is a bold and stocky man with a shotgun. The lady is rather commanding, and demands they hand Jenkins over, as he belongs to her, and that, this will all be forgotten if he is simply handed over. That is until Flannan starts mocking her manservant for being commanded by a woman, and not having his own voice. After this communication breaks down swiftly, with the woman using Celerity to punch Flannan in the stomach, so fast nobody sees her move from the car bonnet.
Unfortunately this mystery pain does not dissuade Flannan, who continues to make sexist remarks, and aggravate the woman. Who in turn orders her manservant, Huckleberry to shoot Flannan in the leg for his audacity. The shotgun shreds Flannans leg, knocking him down on to one knee and starting a shootout. Lavender turns her shotgun on Huckleberry; blasting him and knocking him down. Anna pauses for a moment, letting the scene unfold before she acts. The mystery woman, launches a kick at Flannan but he is able to evade it, before opening fire with his revolver, shooting the downed Huckleberry and killing him. With this everyone points there guns straight at he woman, who relents from her assault. Flannan flies in to a huge speech, on war, peace, and the impact of her actions, (See the Zygon Inversion for more detail) his monologue is so dramatic and impactful that it makes the woman stop to think. She relents, telling Flannan and the gang that she will leave, but Jenkins is hers by right, and she will return for him, she then turns on her heels and goes to leave.
She gets about a step before Lavender puts a shotgun shell in her back, and before she can even react to that another gunshot leaves a hole in the back of her head, and she falls to the ground. Everyone turns to see Jenkins holding his revolver, the barrel still smoking. Seeing the dark red blood pool at the woman’s wounds, Jenkins starts to sweat. Flannan goes straight up to him, telling him that he did the right thing standing up to her, but should have had the courage to look her in the eyes and pull the trigger.

After this the gang scramble in to action, Anna drives Flannan to the hospital to see to his leg, whilst Lavender will sort out the bodies, and Jenkins. Anna enjoys the chance to drive Flannans fancy BMW, and the two of them put on the husband and wife act for the sake of consistency. Flannan wants Anna to take the car and bring it back at a later point, but Anna refuses, as she knows it would bring suspicion, and implicate her in Flannans business.
Mr Kelly ends his night once again in a hospital bed being tended to by his favourite nurse, whilst Anna makes her way home, eager to look through the letters she borrowed.

Charles

Charles finds his way to the Briar-Cliff, and gets in without an issue. At the glance the building is empty, most of the place is utterly trashed. Desks are smashed, files have been burned, and the CCTV cameras have all been broken. The only thing that breaks up the silence, of this apparent warzone, is a conversation that Charles happens across. Charlotte’s voice can be heard across the buildings speaker system, and she seems to be bickering with a male voice, threatening to throw him out of a window if he has not finished up his part of the job. Charles can’t identify the male voice, but he shushes Charlotte, telling her to be polite, as they have a guest. The male speaker then tells both Charlotte and Charles to come to the fifth floor’s executive office.

Charles rushes up to the top floor, and kicks open the door expecting a fight. Charlotte is sat with her feet up on the offices desk, and greets Charles casually, as if nothing is wrong. Behind Charlotte a man is stood looking out over the cities skyline, he is leaning on a crowbar, and does not turn around, until Charles demands to know who he is. To be expected it is Charlotte’s seemingly constant babysitter; Arthur, who is just as surprised to see Charles, as he is to see Arthur. It becomes very clear that neither Charlotte or Arthur have had any trouble, and had no idea anything had even happened. They had been using the gathering of the Clans as a way to strike at a vulnerable Carthian asset, ironic really. The three don’t have time to talk for long, as Arthur can hear something
that Charles and Charlotte can’t; three sets of hearbeats. It takes a few minutes before Charles and Charlotte can hear them, this naturally causes the Kindred to panic. Whilst in that panic Charles presents a plan, they use the window to escape. The only issue is that the window is about 18 meters above the street. Arthur breaks a window, before sarcastically telling Charles to go first, much to Arthurs shock, he does. Charles pops claws, and scales down the side of the building the best he can, unfortunately part way down he looses his grip; falling six meters. From his position on the pavement, Charles sees a blur of motion leap from one building to the other before landing gracefully in-front of him, Charlotte seems to be rather skilled with Vigor and Celerity. There is a wait, and then something falling. Arthur free falls, colliding with the pavement; mangling his body and cracking the concrete. It is not even clear if he has survived the fall. But he opens his eyes, and he sits he ruined body up. Naturally Charles is boastful of his plan being a success, but all this earns him is a crowbar to the head.
Charlotte helps both men up, offering them a hand each. They then very quickly make their way to Arthur’s car before any more trouble starts. Naturally because almost every bone in his body was broken in the fall, Arthur asks Charlotte to drive them to their Havens. Charles spend most of the drive back to his cottage talking to Arthur. The conversation ranges from Anna (who Arthur lies about), to the events of the night, and on to Sybil. And a rare event, Arthur apologies to Charles for not going to help him when he went to save Sybil, he also lets Charles know that Hugh had been in contact with him, but only as old friends. And then as Charles goes to leave the car, Arthur thanks him for coming to their aid, and promises that the next time he needs him, he will make sure he can help. With that, Charles goes back to the cottage, and falls in to a much needed sleep.

Patrick

Patrick wakes up to find two letters waiting for his eyes. One bears the sigil clan Venture, and is from the Ventrue Priscus William Anjou, and is an invitation for him to join the rest of the Clan for a formal meeting to decide what to do about the Procella business.
The second letter is from Layla, and is much more clandestine. It warns Patrick that the Carthian Primogen is doing something extreme tonight, and it will end with casualties. The letter instructs Patrick to keep his cover, as Brevost does not know he is her spy, and just to do his best to get through the night alive. The letter ends with Layla guaranteeing Patrick that his continued assistance and cooperation is helping the movement, and she it grateful.

Patrick has time before the meeting begins, so begins to try and find the bodies of his two Ghoul’s, do he can arrange a funeral. However he finds that there have been no reports of bodies washing up on the coast, so he decides to look for himself. Patrolling the river in his car, and then walking down to the ocean on foot, Patrick can see no signs of his Ghouls bodies. Disheartened Patrick makes his way to the meeting place, Priscus Anjou’s Haven; a large walled home with a coastal view.

William is a gracious host, and welcomes Patrick in to his home with warmth and kindness. He looks to be in his mid forties, but is known to be the oldest Ventrue in the Fief. Patrick is brought in to a large room with a rectangular table; seated around the table are more Ventrue than he has ever seen, he can tell they are all sat in age order.

William
Valeria Isabella
Archibald Joseph
Marigold Patrick
Penelope Empty

Patrick is introduced to Williams Childe; Penelope, a leather Jacket wearing biker, with dark red lipstick, and a nose piercing. She is not much for talking, and constantly complains that “Baby Bexley” is late, and that because of that she has nobody to kick under the table. Apart from that everyone is civil, for the most part. Archibald constantly makes comments about things but none of the other Elders seem to listen to him, only upsetting him more. Arthur never arrives, and when questioned Isabella simply states that. “Arthur is confronting the menace head on, and elected to resign his authority directly to me. I shall speak, and listen for him”.
Archibald makes a comment about; Arthur being embraced to young to understand the importance of patience. With Joseph Brevost retorting that, Archibald’s own Sire clearly never taught him to respect his peers, this silences him.
At Williams request, each Venture is given time to speak about what they felt should be done about the matter, without the issue of Covenant getting in the way. The general consensus is that the other Clan’s may have the best intentions, but needed the guidance and leadership of the Ventrue when dealing with this Procella. Territory should be kept clear of any taint, and if given the chance Venture should lead or inspire their fellow Kindred to deal with the threat. It is also advised that the Mekhet would no doubt have knowledge about the fiends, and Nosferatu would be able to find their lairs, and their advise should be sought out. Finally Brevost speaks.

He stands to address the room.
“What this Fief needs, is unity. And the only Covenant that can give the Fief the structure it needs; is the Carthian Movement. Unity, equality, political revolution. You members of the spiritual Covenants will be able to go about your practices and beliefs, protected by a leadership that cares, a leadership that does not manipulate and belittle you, but makes them part of the Movement. This goes beyond Clan, our Clan is chosen for us, it is a Covenant issue, something we directly have a choice in. And so I give you all, regardless of age, a choice. You can stand with me, with order, and with the Carthian movement, or you can stand alone in the chaos to come”.The Elders will not take Brevost seriously, Archibald will openly laugh at him, and William will say
“Joseph, the only thing in this world that can be measured against your, ambition, is your complete lack of understanding or care for the work of others.” Brevost will be obviously offended, and without another word leave the meeting.

Penelope feels that something is amiss, and with her Sires approval goes after Brevost, but she can’t open the door. It won’t budge. Before anyone can go to help her, all hell breaks loose. Archibald and Isabella are thrown from their seats by rifle shots. Penelope flips the table. William seems to turn in to blood, and vanish in to the floor. Whilst both Valeria and Marigold duck behind the table and start murmuring something under there breath. Patrick is taken by surprise by everything; but Penelope drags him behinds the table, just as a crossbow bolt hits the spot he was standing in. When the first volley of gunfire stops, Brevost can be heard on a megaphone, and through the silence he gives his clan an ultimatum.
“As you can see the Revolution only wishes to bring tyrants to their knee’s, bring them to us and this will be over swiftly, and you will be regarded as heroes within the new system. All over this Fief brave warriors are purging the Invictus, this is the night of the long knives, the night things finally start to change”.
It is the Lacea Ventrue that are first to react; rising from their hiding places, both of them with whips of blood trailing from their hands. Approaching the smashed windows they shout out to Brevost.
“The Lance et Sanctum, stand with the Invictus, as they did with us”. Both Valeria and Marigold then step out of the window and set about making Brevost and his minions pay. With the Carthian attackers distracted, Penelope goes back to trying to force the door open, throwing her shoulder against the door over and over again, until it is in undoubtedly broken. Isabella lets her exhaust herself, before stepping in to help.
“It looks like you need an Elders touch”, is all she says before giving the door a firm strike with the palm of her hand. The door shatters, and causes the large bookshelf that had been blocking the door, to fall to pieces. Archibald runs out of the door in a near frenzied state, pushing past both women, and Patrick, and making his way to the front door. Everyone is able to keep up with Archibald as he power walks towards the door. Unfortunately everyone stops and stares, as he is dragged out of the door by a pack of Ghouls. Before Patrick can react (or pretend to react), he feels a hand on his shoulder, undoubtedly stopping him from doing anything rash. She waits a moment, seeing if Patrick will do anything, before speaking.
“Don’t worry about your Sire, we shall make sure he is safe. In return you will go to the fifth floor of the Briar-Cliff Centre for Commerce. There you will find my Childe, I believe you are acquainted with him. He has no idea of the danger he is in, make sure he is fit to return to me”. Isabella does not as much ask, but tell Patrick and Penelope what to do, she is authoritative, but charismatic enough, that it seems like the right course of action. The women don’t even wait for Patrick to respond, they just burst out the door and set about helping the besieged Archibald. Penelope does so by pummelling any Ghouls that get in her way, whilst Isabella uses her skill in Dominate, to force the Ghouls to fight each other.

This gives Patrick the distraction he needs to escape, he runs down the garden, and out to his car without any harm coming to him. With gunshots ringing out, and chaos all around him, Patrick knows the police will be on the way soon, so promptly leaves. With the loss of his Ghouls in mind, Patrick decides to go and check on Arthur, losing someone else he knew what not something, Patrick was keen on. He also was smart enough to know that, denying Isabella’s request , would have awful consequences. With that thought in mind, Patrick heads to Briar-Cliff.

The front door to the office is unlocked, and a cursory inspections shows that nearly every floor has been ransacked; the cameras are all broken, and the security control room has been torn apart. Rushing up to the fifth floor, Patrick picks his way through the mess, and empty offices, until he comes to one that’s door is of the hinges. Unsure what to expect, Patrick braces himself before entering the room. As soon as he steps over the threshold he can smell blood, but can’t see where the smell is coming from. A woman with red hair stands with her back to him; she is a Kindred; Patrick can feel it.
“Did you find…”
She half turns, stopping mid sentence when she sees Patrick. It’s Layla, and she was obliviously expecting someone else. She does not even need to stop to compose herself; redirecting the conversation before it even starts.
“Patrick you are lucky it’s me you ran in to, if it was any other Carthian then you would be in danger. I am sorry for any harm that the Movement has caused tonight, we were all fooled. It was Primogen Brevost, he wanted to show the Invictus that the Carthians had teeth, he wants to start a revolution. He thought if he could show that the Invictus was weak, then the other Covenants would join the revolution. The man still thinks he is a Bolshevik; the made us all think that this would work, that a violent revolution was the way forwards.
She looks back out of the window but continues to speak, her voice begins to crack ever so slightly.
“I tried Patrick, I tried to keep your friends safe. I was going to use Majesty to persuade them to join the Movement, and then work on them from there…But I did not get hear fast enough. As I got up to this office, it was already to late for Arthur and Charlotte. They where thrown out of the window Patrick. Nobody could survive that”.
As Layla speaks, Patrick can’t help but believe every word, she wouldn’t lie, not about this, he is certain of that. She tells Patrick to go home, keep his head down, and try and forget about all the horrible things that had happened that night. Her words are soothing, and he feels that by doing as she says, he is helping. So with that he drives home, hoping that all of the violence and mess will blow over.

Lavender and Jenkins

After Anna and Flannan leave for the city, Jenkins immediately begins to lick the blood out of Maureen’s wounds. Lavender ignores him, and goes about loading Huckleberries car in the back of Maureen’s car. When Jenkins has done debasing himself, they load Maureen in to the back of Lavenders car. Huckleberry’s body, and the car are taken far in to the moor, and then Jenkins sets the car ablaze.
p. The farm is then securely locked up, and any potential crime scenes contaminated, before the Ghouls head back to the city. Lavender takes Jenkins to a nondescript house in a village just outside of Peridus. She tells him to go in to the house, and take Maureen with him. But to never seek help from her again, and that he now owes her a great deal, and to always remember that he is a rogue Ghoul now.

Jenkins makes his way to the house, and is let in by two men, they seem shaky, and are extremely happy to see a Torpid Kindred being brought to them.

Lavender drives away before Jenkins even gets to the door, she composes herself before heading back home.

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COMETH PORCELLA
Game Six Overview - Set 7th Jan.

COMETH PORCELLA

DON’T FORGET TO BRING THE GRAPES!

Flannan awakes, slightly less clawed than when he drifted into the hospital a week ago. Regardless of his multiple wounds, his sense of gentlemanly purpose does not escape him as his first gesture is to invite his recently acquainted nurse friend to a coffee when he comes out of hospital. With a pursed lip she agrees, then continues to work on her duties (despite being a quiet day, this is a hospital under the new system of the NHS, so much to catch up with…). Suddenly the receptionist burst through the doors with exciting news – Flannan’s wife has called and is ready to pick him up and take him home this afternoon! Flannan’s unveiled response: ‘Piss off’. He has no wife, and the new nurse in his life is right there in the corner, able to hear every word of the lie! Flannan insists he has no wife, and sends the receptionist back downstairs. Let’s hope that nurse took his denial as the genuine truth…

Her husband still seems to be affected by the new anaesthetics nurses are using, Anna hears, so she should be warned that he may be a little rude. Anna understands, but maintains that she will be on her way.

The Aubreys check in on Flannan, rather eager that he lives. As his acting ‘family’, they have remained faithful in seeing him every day, though increasingly cautious with each day that passes – there’s something not quite right, they warn him. There’s an odd stench of mice outside the window, but that’s unlikely to perturb him – it’s not a bloody smell, after all…!
Content in his independence, Flannan assures them that he can make it home on his own, and they are not to worry and to leave since they feel uncomfortable. Flannan Aubrey follows candidly behind his family as they hurry out of the building, only to be accosted by a familiar woman in reception – Anna Kelly has arrived! After a hushed discussion, during which the Aubreys leave, Anna puts it straight to Flannan – he doesn’t have to walk any distance with her, but it would at least be an idea to walk out the hospital together, keeping with the illusion. Flannan agrees and leaves, and as he does Anna U-Turns back into the hospital – she’s forgotten his medical documents in all the excitement! The nurses return to work with Flannan’s files safely in Anna’s hands…

SAVE THE WIFE!

Arthur walks downstairs to be greeted by Charlotte’s disgruntled moan of boredom. He explains to her that they are to meet an old friend of his, Hugh, today, but this does little to brighten the mood of a sulky neonate who prefers to mingle with the hip-and-happening, or sword fighting with Majory. However, he has an older Courtney to deal with first, as Charles has accosted him in asking for assistance on his quest to ‘get to the bottom of all this Rat business (Hmmphyes)!’ Arthur reluctantly informs him that he is otherwise occupied, but Charles seems insistent, even for him. In fact, Charles is so insistent that he hijacks Patricia and rides her off into the wilderness, Sir Bennet in aroused pursuit. Arthur, frustration aside, uses the opportunity to get Charlotte in the car and set off for Powderham Castle.
Arriving at a grimy cliff-face, as per his mice’ guidance, Charles realises that Arthur won’t follow… but no matter, he has his horse for later deeds with steeds. Sending his miniature mammals on their reconnaissance reveals that there is something within the cliff itself, though how to get in is uncertain. Charles launches himself into the wall shoulder-first, hoping that brute strength will break its weakness – sadly the only things that break are the skin on his arm and the silence around him.

He spins around to find a woman with piercing eyes glaring into him. This lady turns out to be Miream, and after dialogue in which she decides she detests Charles like the plague, she summons her own upon him. Patricia bolts as a crash from above the cliff summons a cascade, with Serpent Kindred rushing towards Charles! He is able to throw and sling them off as they try and snap at him, managing to catapult one into the other in the struggle as Miream herself mutates into one of the sharklike beasts. This doesn’t stop one, however, taking a chunk out of Sir Bennet’s leg, at which point he gallops (or hobbles. Or gallobbling?) away with all the speed he can muster (which, graciously, is enough to outrun the waterborne rascals). Charles similarly dashes off, and off towards the riverside in his continuing mission to reclaim his beloved Sybil.

TO POWDERHAM CASTLE ~

On his grating commute to Powderham Castle, Arthur finds some respite from Charlotte’s groaning by spotting an oddly recognisable bystander at the side of the road – except not in the position he would have expected. Father Jacobi, once menacing, is himself seeming menaced, bent double, hands on temples, agonising over jibberish. Arthur does his best to talk some reason out of him, but Jacobi quickly turns into a screeching mess and throws a bottle of bizarre liquid across the road, smashing it on the pavement. Despite his instincts warning him otherwise, Arthur decides that the only way to uncover the horror in the Father’s mind is to venture deep inside it…

While there, Arthur sees gruesome details of Ordo Dracul members being tortured and, most disgustingly, fed the blood of their dead ancestors and family in acts of Diablorie. As the vision wrestles to ensnare him, Arthur sees more – that the torturers are thuggish members of the Belials Brood, and that fallen Lancia Sanctum members walk among them with medieval equipment and toxic concoctions. The stench of death and redeath begin to choke Arthur, and he desperately tries to break free of the vision’s entangling web. With a tug and a gasp, Arthur frees himself, but with no doubt that what he has seen will haunt him forever.

Charlotte, on the other hand, has been very useful in picking up the pieces of glass off the road, the odd bottle seeming to fascinate her. Father Jacobi falls to the floor, and, anxious that he may rise a broken Kindred, Arthur ushers Charlotte into the car and off to see Hugh.

KITCHEN NIGHTMARES

Anna’s on her way home when she hears the ever-foreboding sound of gruff, masculine cheering emanating from a local pub – the Ludendorff Inn. As she stalks around the back to get a better look, she notices yet another of the awful barrels that have been giving her nightmares from New Year’s Eve. Except, this time, they are filled with the butchered bodies of the Ratmen, evidently having outlived their purpose. Grimacing at the sight, Anna nonetheless pushes on and finds the kitchen. The landlady and chef of the Ludendorff, Betsie, gladly accepts Anna’s claim to have applied for the job of cook in the pub, looking extremely stressed… no less by the amount of cheering and roaring men in the pub beyond. Peering through, Anna recognises a few whiskers too many amongst the rabble, and suggests to Bestie that she finds her way home to rest. Betsie doesn’t hesitate, and neither does Anna, making sure anything gaseous is on and spraying cooking oil over the floors. She gets the motley crew’s attention by shooting her gun into the pub before readying a match – and BLAM. Anna flies back from the kitchen and out onto the street, burning remains chasing her in futility.

Not too far away, Flannan hears the explosion and decides to take a different route home…! But he’s only gone some of the way when an unfortunately familiar face comes his way. A very bruised, beaten Matt – the man who tried to sell Flannan ‘fun water’ not long ago – is now desperately asking him for a hand. Flannan ignores him, which riles Matt up just a bit, so Flannan’s walk soon turns into a run. It is just as he gets in the door that Flannan’s pursuer fully transforms. Flannan scrambles through his supplies, finds a knife in his bedside drawer and launches it into the chest of the Rat Beast as it leaps to grab him from the stairs! As Matt the Rat tumbles back down the stairs, Flannan finds himself out of breath, in a daze from this unrelenting chase and with a mutated corpse to deal with.

ONE CAN BUT TRY

Anna is able to slip away after creating a bit of havoc in the city, and returns home shellshocked but unscathed. Her files on Flannan are added to her collection of evidence, adding too to the hope that there’ll be no more bullshit sooner rather than later. To that end, Anna returns to the outdoors, knowing things go bump in the night. Sure enough, there seems to be some sort of commotion from Peridus’ central river…

Hugh greets Arthur with a sterile warmth within his grand abode. His request, though initially hard to tease out, is relatively simple: protect Sybil as neither she herself nor Charles are doing a good enough job. The fact that this is not within Arthur’s remit in the slightest does not seem to deter Hugh, who likewise refuses not to put his foot in things if Arthur refuses. Livid, Arthur dominates him into… wetting himself and reminding him that selfish little characters like him should know their place! As part of Hugh’s former command, it had to be done.

Charles reaches the riverside with the aid of Mickey and Minnie, who have remained resourceful in Sir Bennet’s absence. Ahead of them is a light, and eventually the shape of a boat – and Sybil’s voice! After a refreshingly spiky exchange, Charles is joined by Anna, who notices dark shapes surrounded Sybil’s vessel. With cries of warning beasts emerge from the deep – more savage Serpents, no less! Sybil furiously fends off one squad with her makeshift harpoon, while Charles and Anna scrap with those who wade onto land. The amphibious horrors likewise become the target of a long-time-not-seen Patrick, who after embarrassingly mentioning something about Layla, summons and army of his ghouls across the river. Though two sadly drown in the process, the rest of the gang do a great job of dealing with the Porcella Monsters alongside Charles and Anna, while Patrick… eventually gives up trying to cross the river and slops home, damp and dirty-mouthed. With teamwork, Sybil, Charles and Anna get the boat to shore, and stake the Serpents to the ground with a range of sharp weapons.

SCREW THE WIFE!

The drama, however, is not yet over for Charles. Sybil, on seeing that Charles has brought an unknown female with him and appears to be requesting that she come back to the residence, believes to her dismay that Charles was ready to move on the moment she had disappeared. Charles, on the other hand, is disgruntled that the lady he has done so much to save suddenly claims that he is disloyal! In a snarling exchange of insults and accusations, Sybil comes to a shocking conclusion in her mind: she is going to walk away from this. And to further shatter her heart, when she does, Charles does not protest. He can see he is not valued – and Anna, should his plan succeed, will provide him with far greater opportunities than the now tarred vision of an Ordo master Sybil duped him into striving towards.

Satisfied that neither of them can be bothered with the other, Sybil storms off into the night, never to look back.

Though stunned by the revelations, Charles reminds himself of his focus – he invites Anna back to his residence to explain the mess that has taken place around him. Believing that she will finally get some answers, and a stiff drink to help ease the horrors of the night away, Anna accepts his invitation.

Anna is ready to take on Peridus tomorrow morning – though by then, she may not be human…

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AHOY, SAILORS...
Game Five Overview [Set 31/12]

Ahoy, Sailors…

SCENE ONE: Of Monsters and Moves

Arthur’s club is positively busy tonight: New Year’s Eve is in full swing, and swing is the in-thing. Charles and Sybil are already doing what they do best among the throbbing crowd, while Flannan has just walked in. He’s soon accosted by a smug, somewhat mischievous man (called Matt, though he never introduces himself), looking to sell some ‘high water’.

Matt tries to persuade Flannan to try his enthralling new substance, but Flannan’s having none of it: his is the best, and there’s no way he trusts a stranger’s wares. After an intense clash of wills, Matt finally threatens Flannan that he should join him in business, to which Flannan refuses. Matt walks off, fuming but with something of a crooked smile on his face.

Anna is jamming away on the piano when she sees an oddly familiar face dart through the crowd. Ending her current piece on a crowd-pleasing improvisational flourish, she wades through the club to find Rusty the Tramp. He seems anxious about something, and in a spontaneous decision he takes Anna to Father Jacobi, who tries to warn her of a chaos about to break loose, something regrettable which the Lancia Sanctum have attempted to stop but failed. However, the Vicar’s approach to the subject is frustratingly elusive, as usual, and Anna has had enough – she’s tired of truths being hidden from her, particularly with Charles and Sybil apparently walking the streets dead. Father Jacobi acknowledges his failing, and he, Rusty and guard Ostiary take residence inside the club, ready to counterstrike. There’s a barrel out the back, too…

Speaking of Charles and Sybil, the pair have just sidled in when the real trouble appears to begin. As they socialise and enjoy themselves, there seems to be a tussle here and there – what you’d expect from this time of night on this very night – except those involved look eerily similar. Anna notices, too, as she walks back in – whiskery faces, some haggard, most suspicious. Outside Flannan can see them gulping from a barrel left outside the premises, making their drool a sickly, dried-blood black.

As Flannan approaches them with warning about water and wit, the men drinking from the barrel turn to face him. In the club, too, a trio of moustached men surround Charles and Sybil, Father Jacobi anxiously marking their every move. Anna and Flannan each see a hideous transformation: dark watery eyes, sharpened buck teeth, dagger claws unsheathed, grey-white fur turning as tar as the liquid dripping from their mouths. In a matter of seconds, a gang of ratlike gargantuans are looming over Sybil and hissing at the crowd around. They swipe!

Father Jacobi drags Charles out of the scene as a transforming ratman squares up to him; low on vitae and separated from Sybil, Charles just narrowly avoids frenzying as the Vicar lurches him out of harm’s way. Sybil is not so lucky, though still quick on her feet: taking a few token hits, the ratmen cannot stop her busting her way out of the club and dashing into the night. Ostiary and Rusty commence the fight against the ratmen as Anna is caught in the cacophony of screams rises into the club ceiling.

SCENE TWO: Meanwhile, in the Bexley Residence…

Karen awakens Arthur to deliver a late Christmas gift and news of a suspicious site – groups of Lance footsoldiers and dignitaries have surrounded his Haven. Oddly, they are not looking to the house, but looking out, nervously. Arthur heads downstairs and out the door, Majory waiting eagerly behind with weapon in hand, to confront the orderly rabble. They greet him, almost apologetically, and tell him that they have their eye on some potential Gangrel hiding in the fields nearby. Two higher ranking Lance introduce themselves as Valeria and Marcel; a Gangrel himself, Marcel asks Arthur if he may speak to his horse, which Arthur permits. In a display of spectacularly honed skill, Marcel has a full, meaningful conversation with Patricia, who apparently has seen more than she cares to know. Thanking Arthur for his time, Marcel directs the Lance off towards the docklands, leaving Arthur with a warning of planned chaos in the city. After informing his servants of the situation, Arthur decides it best to head out into the night and the potential dread awaiting.

SCENE THREE: Patrick’s mishaps (Secret – Not In Game)

Patrick, a little sore of late after losing one of his ghouls and receiving a death threat, has assembled his remaining herd by Peridus dockyards. His slain ghoul had been splattered in what he could only think was squid ink, and after sending one of his less favourable ghouls out to scour the Fish & Chip shops of Peridus, they reported back no suspicious fisherman of note, but a handful of barrels with said awful liquid scattered across the city, the largest being by the docks. The threat told him to stay inside of New Year’s Eve, so Patrick decides to take inspiration from his new… interesting acquaintance, Layla, and be bold in the circumstances. As he and his cronies lay in wait with whatever weapons they have to hand (mostly large kitchen utensils), they find themselves accosted before the fatal hour: at 23:00, a horde of serpents slither out of the water, mutating into giant drenched ratmen as they hit the water’s edge. Climbing into the dockyard, they lung for Patrick and his ghouls, who put up a valiant fight but nonetheless have to retreat rapidly. Their night is spent hacking and slashing at the rats in a defensive fight; one of Patrick’s cleverer ghouls notes how the wetter rats are slowed by their damp fur, which leads the whole gang to descend into the Peridus river. A night of madness unfolds as Patrick, his ghouls and the ratmen deal blows while swimming along the river, while occasional skirmishes wading along the riverbank as the ghouls try to save their swimming muscles.

SCENE THREE: Flannan’s Escape

Outside, the transforming ratmen are skulking up to Flannan, prowling, menacing. Eyeing his car parked just by the entrance, Flannan does his best to outrun the pursuing ratmen, as they transform clumsily behind them. However, one of the elder ratmen has far superior experience in achieving transformation and is able to keep up with Flannan, even withstanding the shock as Flannan reverses over it! The ratman jolts forward and crashes into the backseat as Flannan loses the rest of the pack, furiously pelting pedal to the metal down the backstreets of Peridus. Dodging the ratman’s vicious swipes and seeing no quick way of dislodging the brute from his vehicle, Flannan swerves and smashes his wheels into the side of a suburban house, stumbling out as the ratman lurches into the front seat. Shaken up and snarling, the ratman claws at Flannan madly as he retaliates. In the exchange the ratman seizes Flannan and the two are locked in an epic tussle; Flannan sustains brutal tears to his wrists and arms, soaking the ratman in blood as he grapples to take hold of it. At last he forces the ratman back onto the blade left in the passenger seat from their drive-through battle; the ratman slams against the door and out of the car, bleeding out of the floor. To find a way to salve his own loss of bodily fluid, Flannan staggers around the neighbourhood to find a convenience or grocers where he might seek emergency first aid, but finding nothing he finally knocks on an unsuspecting family, who seeing him take him in straight away. The family are a gaunt, tall mother, a rough-and-tumble boy of about seven and a father with an unevenly shaven beard and wry smile, always holding his pipe in whichever hand is spare: they introduce themselves as the Aubrey’s. Flannan tells them that his wounds are from a thug-led, co-ordinated attack targeted against his community work, and though the family initially find it hard to believe thugs could dig so deep into the skin, they nonetheless understand the fearful nature of teenagers these days and waste no time in calling an ambulance and doing their best to have Flannan in a stable condition.

SCENE FOUR: Arthur and Anna sort the Men from the Mice

Arthur arrives to a scene of utter panic from the Lancia Sanctum, which Father Jacobi wringing his hands with what to do with a near-frenzied Charles and an ever-questioning Anna. Inside his Lance assistants duel it out with the ratmen, but it won’t be long until he has to confront the horrors himself…! Helpfully, Arthur sits Charles down in his car and calms him, after much exclaiming of “ARTHUR BEXLEY!”. Father Jacobi acknowledges Arthur in quiet discomfort, nonetheless telling Arthur of the beasts inside, and that the Lancia Sanctum had been trying to prevent the situation before it arose by quietening the modernisation of the city, but had utterly failed to suppress anything of this rebellion against the new age.

Maureen also arrives on the scene, informing Father Jacobi that smaller pockets of violence have erupted in other clubs around the city. Learning the news from Arthur that Marcel has headed the docklands, Maureen rushes to join him to try and stem the source of the problem. Readying gun and sword alike, Anna and Arthur decide it’s time to sort out the fight inside.

Arthur wisely guides them through the private staff section, which has yet to be disturbed. They approach the door and hear screaming right behind it; they open the door but thankfully don’t attack, as a woman has been pinned to the door by a ratman and falls through into the corridor! She dashes through the corridor and out the exit; Arthur and Anna then deal a few blows to the intruding ratman, sending it reeling out into the bar and into the striking line of Father Jacobi and a few of his Lance men.

Lavender is at the bar, being courageous in the melee and doing her best to clear the crowds towards the exits. There are three large ratmen left in the vicinity; one is being duelled by Ostiary, one is the occupation of Jacobi and his men, and Anna and Arthur are left in confrontation with a fresher, gurgling beast. Anna fires into the ratman’s legs, leading it to fall flat on its face. Arthur prepares his sword and slices at the ratman in his way; he manages to get a few good slices on the beast but it lurches forward and knocks him to the ground, drooling over him. As it hinges its jaws open before his eyes, Anna spins around and shoots it in the forehead, knocking it off its feet and out of consciousness. Arthur is able to roll out from underneath the beast, dealing it a final blow and sending its blood spilling over the tables. The blood makes a skin-crawling hiss as it touches the wood surface and even appears to corrode it…

SCENE FIVE: “She will fight them on the beaches…” (Secret/ Not In Game)

Despite a hefty thwack from a ratman in the club, Sybil makes a quick escape from Arthur’s club. Outside she darts through the streets and into an alleyway heading towards the seafront, with three younger rats in hot pursuit. Ducking and diving through Peridus in an attempt to wear her assailants out results in a three hour chase for Sybil; as the altitude steepens as they approach the water’s edge, the ratmen gain some momentum and catch Sybil. They engage in a vicious grapple, Sybil taking more deep scratches but eventually wielding her scalpel to slice at the face of one ratman, sending him into blind frenzy during which she breaks free of the grapple, unleashes her own Ordo abilities and strikes the fiend down. Her expertise in the subject allows her to use the ratmen’s Ordo status to her advantage, slowing them down greatly as she reaches the docks.

The fight between the ratmen and Patrick’s ghouls, swiftly followed by Maureen and Marcel in something of a pincer movement, has left the docks deadly quiet. Sybil is quickly able to find a fishing boat with loose mooring, shreds the rope loose with a vicious snap of her teeth and floats out into the open water. Taking her observations of Charles’ lasso practise, she then makes a new knot and throws the rope out into the harbour, successfully re-mooring herself a longer distance away from the two remaining ratmen skulking the waterline. Unperturbed, they transform into serpents and swim towards her. Panicked and cursing, Sybil scours the boat and finds, to her joy, an old fishing rod. She uses the frayed strands of rope left over from her bite to tie her scalpel to the rod, forming a makeshift harpoon. As the serpents rush up out of the water, she stabs one serpent head on, torporing the ratman instantly; she kicks the other with her heel while it remains in shock and it lands on the boat, where she finishes it off with a harpoon to the heart.

Buzzing on adrenaline but feeling exhaustion (and sunrise) nigh, Sybil pulls her boat in and searches the docks for a more upmarket vessel; finding an algae-smeared yacht, she launches herself deep inside, checks for signs of life (of which there are none), and hides herself in a storage box for the night.

SCENE SIX: The Bigger Plague

Ostiary hammers into the ratman accosting him with brute force; Father Jacobi takes a little longer dealing with his adversary but eventually gets the job done. The floor has vanished under bodies, cowering guests and the shrivelled torpored, Lavender with fists on hips as she surveys the aftermath. Jacobi is at his wit’s end, unable to think of how to tell the Lancia Sanctum of his failure to contain the mess and how on earth they conceal something of this scale to the Kine world. Arthur volunteers to contact his Primogen regarding the horrific scale of this masquerade breach, with his few hundred customers exposed to the nature of the beasts’ horror and more still who fled just as things got a bit weird. Father Jacobi dallies over the idea of ghouling the whole lot into silence, as a mass dominate on this scale is near impossible, but Arthur swiftly dismisses the morality of it.

Back outside, Arthur checks on Charles; he seems to have stabilised but is nonetheless excitable when he sees Arthur. With Anna in his presence, Jacobi feels the weight of his errors peeling at his skin, and nearly reveals the masquerade to her, considering there to be nothing left to conceal from her, having seen their abilities in combat. However, with a glare, Arthur brings Jacobi back to some sense, though Jacobi pleads for Anna to help them in the future, which does not mix well with his previous web of lies. Though exhausted, they decide to begin the cleanup of Arthur’s club. Woefully Father Jacobi utters a name in Arthur and Anna’s earshot: the Procella are back.

~

ADDITIONAL CONTENT: Rolls for Sybil (Conducted in-game)

FIGHT IN CLUB
S: 1 // R: 3 ~ Incurs 2 Lethal Damage
ESCAPE/GRAPPLE
S: 2 // R: 7 ~ It takes Sybil nearly three hours to shake off the Ratmen; extra 2 lethal during Grapple
HIDING
S: 4 // R: 4 ~ Ratmen know where Sybil is but can’t reach her immediately (boat off seafront)
COMEBACK
S: 4 // R: 1 ~ Creates Harpoon and strategically picks off Ratmen by steering the boat when needed
~

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