Providence by Night

Below are session recaps and interludes for Providence by Night, a tabletop Vampire: the Masquerade chronicle. Providence by Night is a ‘street level’ game featuring vampires who are new to being vampires (some of the characters were embraced only weeks before the start of the first session), and/or are new to (our very fictionalized World of Darkness version of) the city of Providence, Rhode Island.

Two of the participants have appeared on the Strange Assembly podcast – Storyteller Craig Kellner and one of the players, Chris Stevenson (aka, the managing editor of this website). Unless otherwise specified, recaps/interludes are written by Craig for use at the game table or to memorialize scenes conducted away from the table, and are edited by Chris for use on the website.

The player characters are:

  • Tony Castiglionni (Nosferatu);
  • Nathan Frost (Brujah);
  • Spencer Mobia (Tremere); and
  • Beth Winston (Malkavian).

This page will be updated when new recaps/interludes are posted each Wednesday. The embedded YouTube video at the start of each session/interlude is suggested listening for that writing.

 

Session 1 – “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” – Late Summer 2014

Rogue Tremere Spencer Mobia arrived in Rhode Island with his entourage of vaporwave buddies from California and set up shop at a beach house in the resort town of Newport.  He arranged a meeting with the Warwick branch of the Rhode Island Chantry and was kept waiting by Tremere Primogen John Reiss. Reiss, weighing the worth of Spencer’s supernatural skill versus his outsider status, had him inspect a pewter cup.  With his power of perception, Spencer was privy to the living history of the cup: its use by the Chantry in rituals, the myriad of Blood Bonds it facilitated, its voyage across sea and land back to the mysterious domains of Austria. Spencer looked down to see the cup filled with blood and drank deeply of it.

Tony Castiglionni had made significant improvements on his haven, most noticeably increasing the thread count of his blackout curtains. He received word that his fellow Nosferatu were meeting in the Warrens beneath the sunken remains of Providence’s The Modern Theatre and made the now-familiar trek out to his new gathering spot, blissfully unaware of the horrors stalking him in the night. “You have done well, Anthony.  Our family will profit greatly from your endeavors. It is time for you to join the greater society of the Camarilla and be your own man in this fraternity of ours.” Mr. Densch’s words were a comfort to Tony. He was finally part of a clique like he always wished to be. In true Italian fashion, Tony was going to be Made.

Two figures muscled their way into Nathan Frost’s apartment. One of them, sporting a heavy Mexican accent, introduced himself as Don Coyote – someone’s deputy-something. The other figure, a dorky guy wearing thick horn-rimmed glasses despite having perfect vision, was Tex. He introduced himself as something called a Brew-ha. The two took Nathan on a ride to the Riverside on a pair of Harley Davidsons, which ended with Nathan draining a sleeping vagrant of his life, prompting the P.I. to be wracked with pangs of guilt. Tex (poorly) explained the rules of being a vampire to Nathan and told him that on Friday night he must present himself before a Prince and ask permission to live in a city where he’s lived his whole life, or forfeit himself.

The night in question arrived. Tony conducted an early reconnoiter of what he learned was called Elysium in Kindred society and was blown away by the opulence of Providence’s historic Biltmore Hotel. Nathan sat at the bar of the adjacent steakhouse and took stock of those who entered the vampire neutral ground. Spencer bumbled past the ghouled doormen and eventually took the elevator to the top floor where a banner hung outside the Grand Ballroom proclaimed, “Happy Graduation, Anthony!”  Tony and his broodmates ascended a ladder through the sewer into the Biltmore’s adjacent parking garage. The family arrived together as Densch’s words echoed in Tony’s mind: “Tonight is all about you.”  Nathan decided to explore the hotel instead of proceeding directly to the Grand Ballroom, and was accosted by a fierce-looking Nordic woman with a sharpened longsword. “You! Who?” she demanded in broken English. Nathan tried to explain, but the Sheriff was having no part of it. She dragged him to court, the ruckus interrupting the night’s torch singer.

In the ballroom, Tony made small talk with a pair of Toreador: Patrick, who wanted nothing to do with him, and Allison, who wouldn’t shut up. Spencer caught the attention of John Reiss, but the warlock scorned Spencers efforts at polite conversation. Nathan was rescued from Tatyana’s wrath by Don Coyote.

Attention turned to a raised dais, upon which were seated Kindred of apparent import: the Nosferatu Seneschal Gregor, a young-looking Scottish woman named Caoimhe, and a dark-skinned vampire seated upon a Gothic throne carved to resemble a gargoyle. The Prince of Providence spoke and a sense of awe washed over the room. “Old business first. A reminder to stay off Benefit Street. And finally, we are here to welcome new Kindred to our fair city….” The three fledglings stepped forward. Tony awkwardly introduced himself. He was followed by Spencer, who failed to keep his inner monologue to himself, broadcasting his thoughts to the assembled court. Once the laughter died down, Nathan approached, but was overtaken by a beautiful woman. Her upstaging of the presentations was outshone by her brash words. “Jerome, whatever have you done with my city?!” The Prince called Gregor and Tatyana to him and the three, along with the newcomer, left for a private discussion. Caoimhe took the floor and Nathan pondered if perhaps he should have gone earlier with his introduction.

 

Session 2 – “Rhode Island is Famous for You” – Late Summer 2014

Beth Winston was getting used to her new freedom. Trying to reconnect with her past, she had phoned her mortal brother Paul. He had chastised her for neglecting both her family and the Catholic church over the past decade, but had mentioned that his daughter Rina would be starting at Brown in the fall semester. On Friday night, with no teaching responsibilities, Beth decided to see the city and was drawn to an impromptu Sophie B. Hawkins concert at The Ruins on Weybosset Street.  The shadow of Providence’s Arcade shaded the masses of swaying humanity as Beth noticed a peculiar predatory redhead with a long canine underbite sitting on the hood of a tan Oldsmobile. Beth approached her and learned that she was Kate, a fellow Kindred. Kate was surprised that a lick such as Beth could survive for nine years without being presented. Kate agrees to take Beth to Elysium that night, if only to see what the Prince does with her.

Ventrue real estate agent Jason Dyrell made his way to Providence after trying his luck in the domain of New York City.  New York hadn’t worked out very well, as his first night had ended with a severe beating after feeding in the wrong place.  Letter of introduction from his sire in Boise already sent, Jason had received an invitation to join the court of Prince Jerome Solomon of Providence. Checking his hair and three-piece pinstripe suit in the mirror, Jason locked eyes with four serious-looking kindred as the elevator car they occupied closed its doors and descended. Gulp.

Tony, Spencer, and Nathan were left in the ballroom after the Prince departed. Feeling social phobia setting in, Tony left the party early for the comfort of more familiar surroundings. Spencer tried to reassure Nathan that things would be alright, but warned him that leaving Elysium without acknowledgement of the Prince was congeneric to Final Death. The pair petitioned Caoimhe for advice on what the Prince would do, but were met with a curt statement about the Prince “doing whatever he bloody well pleases in his own city.” Feeling defeated, they returned to the area near the ballroom entrance and noticed two new faces: one sharply-dressed lick admiring the architecture and a lost soul contemplating a long-stemmed rose handed to her by a poofy-haired man in tweed.

Spencer and Nathan introduced themselves, and it became apparent that tonight was the first night at court for many Kindred.  Noticing that Nathan was on good terms with Don Coyote, Spencer asked him for an introduction. Nathan obliged and the neonates excused their way through the masses to one of the blood-filled punch bowls where Don Coyote was spiking his glass of blood with a clear liquid from a silver pocket flask. Shaking hands with Jason, Coyote nearly crushed the Ventrue’s hand his potent grip. Introducing himself, Spencer revealed his affiliation with Clan Tremere and the mood suddenly changed. Don Coyote, fighting a snarl, instructed Spencer in no uncertain terms, to “Get the %#*& to your side of the room before we have a problem!”

Beth, overwhelmed by the situation, felt her perceptions shift as terrifying past events became apparent to her. She wondered aloud if the Brujah were still angry over the Tremere usurpation. Jason, wearing his customary chainmail shirt, tried to calm Beth by offering her a blood-filled human skull. She refused. Nathan did his best to relocate the group before things could escalate even further.

Beth searched the room for Kate, the closest thing to a familiar face, but before they could interact, a procession of vampires returned to the raised dais. An additional chair was added to the table and Marie-Claire grinned coyly as she sat and surveyed the ballroom from her new vantage point.  The congregation took their seats and the neonates quickly located a table far away from Don Coyote’s wrath. They are stuck in the Toreador section with Allison and a displeased Patrick. The Prince publicly welcomed Marie-Claire back to the city after a 26-year absence and announced that he was naming her to the position of Harpy. Polite applause ensued and party lines were drawn. Caoimhe was visibly fuming. Beth, Nathan, and Jason were quickly acknowledged and the Prince casually commented how rare it was to have five Neonates presented in a single night.

Kindred began to depart the room. Nathan and Jason conspired together about contacts and real estate and Spencer invited the gang over to his Newport beachhouse, including an invitation to drink from his entourage. Caoimhe arrived at the kids’ table to inform the neonates that she expected them in Room 403 in ten minutes’ time. Beth took the time to thank Kate for her help and Kate casually invited Beth to check out one of Providence’s roller derby teams, which Kate was apparently a member of.

The Neonates took the elevator to the fourth floor and were greeted by Philip, whose Nosferatu form startles them. He assigned each of the neonates an early 1990s pager, explained their alphanumeric response system, and recorded the serial numbers before departing. The neonates were briefly left alone until Caoimhe arrived.“Well, I’m going to continue doing this until I’m told not to,” she muttered as she sat on one of the queen-sized beds and smoothed out her revealing black party dress. Caoimhe interrogated the neonates on the locations of their havens and reminded them to not feed downtown, not to meddle in mortal politics, and to stay off of Benefit Street. Lastly, she imparted the information that formal Elysium was usually held on the last Friday of the month, and then dismissed Beth, Nathan, and Spencer. Jason was permitted to stay – apparently the Ventrue looked after their own in Providence.

 

Session 3 – “Hungry Like The Wolf” – Early Autumn 2014

Craig Kellner with Chris Stevenson

Beth’s nose wrinkled at the odor of burnt tobacco and stale liquor that wafted through the detective’s office. Taking in the dated ambiance, her keen eyes skimmed across the details of the fixtures and clutter, before coming to a rest on the Bogart stand-in at the center of the scene. Nathan beckoned Beth to sit at one of the wood and green pleather chairs in front of his desk. She took a seat, smoothing her skit, and passed a manila folder to Nathan. Inside were two pieces of paper: the first was an extensive dossier on a green 2010 Land Rover; the other a picture of a man and a woman at a black-tie event. The picture was from an angle, and neither was looking at the camera, as if the pair did not know they were to be the subject of the shot.  “As you may recall,” Beth explains, “my sire’s whereabouts are currently an unknown and I have a particular interest in locating him.” Nathan agreed to perform Beth’s request, but sought an alliance rather than cash. The pair then discussed at length the events of the last assembly at Elysium and Beth gave Nathan a long discourse on her understanding of the Cainite condition.

A few nights later, Beth received a call from a friendly contact at the Brown University Campus Security Department. The contact reported that Beth’s mortal niece, Rina, had been out on the town after her first week of classes when she was picked up for underage drinking and an unspecified altercation. He also noted that a change of clothes might needed. At the station, Beth filled out the requisite paperwork and Rina was released into Beth’s custody. The two exchanged an awkward embrace, and Beth handed her niece a new outfit. Rina freshened up and put on her aunt’s old Runaways t-shirt. Beth took Rina to a late night juice bar near campus and the two caught up. Beth made sure Rina had her cell phone number, and Rina promised to check in with Beth periodically. Beth warned Rina of the possible consequences of her behavior, but later used her influence with Brown’s admin office to expunge any record of Rina’s incident.

Nathan had been planning for Janine’s return from Hawaii and wanted to be well-fed before seeing her again. Looking for prey that would leave him feeling less guilty, he stalked a sleazy-looking man entering Club Desire. Nathan waited for the man finish a lap dance and head to the restroom.  Nathan followed behind him. After the mark finished his business in the small bathroom stall, Nathan crashed in on the man as he was still fumbling for his belt. Nathan left his victim weakened, confused, and aroused, his perceptions of the feeding mingling with his memories of the strip club. Satiated, Nathan left the club and traveled to his office. Nathan arrived late to find a sunburned Janine closing up. After exchanging pleasantries about Janine’s vacation, Nathan contacted Samuel Wong at his Hong Kong banking office. Mr. Wong expressed his satisfaction with Nathan’s ability to aid his daughter, Mei “Theresa” Wong. Mr. Wong explained that Mei had returned to Hong Kong, but had only stayed for a visit before returning to Providence for the fall semester at the Rhode Island School of Design.  Nathan’s head was filled with questions about Mei’s condition, but he kept his cool and convinced Mr. Wong to put him on retainer to keep an eye on Theresa and keep her out of trouble. After the call concluded, Nathan informed Janine they had an easy babysitting job to pay the bills and keep the office lights on. If only he had the Prince’s leave to stay in his current downtown location …

The night of September 14 heralded the Providence Roller Derby League’s intercity championship game between the Old Money Honeys and the Mob Squad. Spying Kate’s Mob Squad uniform, Beth took her seat near the rest of the team’s fans. It was a close game, ending with an overtime win for the Mob Squad. Beth met with Kate following the match, and the two chatted for a while. Kate invited Beth to go hunting together – but only if Beth could keep up! Kate slung her skating bag over her shoulder and departed Providence Rink at a run. Beth took off after her, barely managing to keep pace, and after a long run, they came to a halt near Roger Williams Park. Kate spotted a man and woman locking lips in the park, and indicated the potential prey. Kate and Beth moved through the woods in different directions. Then, from the other side of the clearing, Beth caught sight of a streak of white fur hurtling towards then bringing down down the man and tearing out his throat in one swift action. Terrified, the woman ran from the scene, straight at Beth. Unable to bring herself to tackle – and condemn – the fleeing woman, Beth let her pass, instead shouting something about a wolf escaping from the zoo. The wolf shook its head in disappointment and went back to lapping the blood seeping from the man. Beth watched as Kate dragged the body into the woods and followed silently. After completely draining the man, Kate shifted back into her natural form and spoke, “I thought I had you all figured out.” Beth lowered her head, explaining that she wasn’t ready for this sort of predatory lifestyle. “This is who I am. This is who we are!” Kate shot back. Neither had anything further to say, and the two parted ways, leaving Beth both slightly sickened, confused, and worried that she might have alienated the only vampire who had shown her real kindness.

 

Session 4 – “You Are The Blood” – January 2015

Tony was finally adjusting to his new unlife and had reaped the rewards in both blood and kinship. Nosferatu influence had re-secured Tony’s IT job at the hospital and he was allowed to remote work most days due to his “medical condition.” He had even taken over Dylan’s supervisory role after his mysterious death. Tony caught up with his mentor, and Densch educated him on prestation and boons in Kindred society. Densch also told tony that the next Elysium would feature an important guest with a special announcement – Nosferatu Justicar Stanford Warwick, Providence’s former Prince. Densch informs Tony that his services have been offered to the Justicar.

Providence in January wasn’t the best hunting, and Beth had been having little success with her usual methods. Hungrier than she has been before, she approached a vagrant who had recently been kicked out of a warm Brown campus building and sank her fangs into the man’s neck. His blood started to flow, and at the taste of it Beth felt something within her rise up, seeking to drain the man completely. Beth panicked at the loss of control, but mustered all of her will to tear herself free and fled into the night, leaving the injured vagrant in the cold. When Beth finally stopped and collected herself, she felt terrible, consumed by guilt. But the worst part was that she was still hungry, and knew that she would need to feed again that night. Beth was eventually able to accomplish this without further incident, but driving back through Coventry, her gaze was drawn to a house off the highway, ablaze in the night.

Spencer spent a quiet night at home mixing new album with talented sound engineer Aditi Singh, while his confidant Artemis Sanders attempted to design some sort of Franken-calzone in the kitchen. Fellow Tremere chantry member Kevin showed up carrying a large duffle bag full of books and implements and quickly explains that his haven has been firebombed. Spencer allowed Kevin to stay and Kevin headed down into the beach house’s basement. The third member of Spencer’s entourage, Contrad, finally arrived, much later than he was supposed to, and Spencer told Conrad he was grounded. Conrad shouted that Spencer wasn’t his mother and that he was perfectly safe from any harm, waving a 9mm Ruger as proof.

The neonates each received handwritten invitations from Marie-Claire to the January Elysium. Attendance was mandatory. Beth reviewed her closet, and went to retrieve the same ensemble she had been wearing in the picture she had shown to Nathan in his office – the one with her and her sire, Rupert Cartwright. When her hand touched the dress, blackness closed in on Beth’s vision, and she felt herself carried down a dark tunnel maze that terminated in a wet stone room with a locked crate. Beth’s dead heart beat. At Elysium, Tony cornered Patrick by the elevators and forced a smile and laugh from the English lick with a corny joke. Beth took the opportunity to speak with Tremere primogen Reiss, who disclosed that he and Rupert had together on some academic projects. Beth and Reiss discussed their mutual appreciation of Mesoamerican blood rituals, and Beth realized that her sire had been passing her work off as his own. Defiant, Beth was able to demonstrate this to Reiss, and the Tremere passed a business card to her.

Eventually, the formal dais was filled, and the Prince introduced Justicar Warwick to the gasps of many of the assembled Kindred. The Justicar addressed the masses and explained that just three nights ago, appointed representatives of the Camarilla and the Sabbat had signed an accord declaring a cessation of open hostilities for seven years. The Prince and Nosferatu are the only ones who seemed unsurprised by the news of the Chicago Blood Accords. Most of the gathered Kindred seemed doubtful of the Sabbat’s sincerity despite reports that a Tremere elder had sealed the pact with blood magic. Just minutes later, an obvious Tzimisce appeared in court to stunned silence and presented themself to the Prince. Heated words were exchanged, but the Prince accepted the Tzimisce’s request for sanctuary. Riess stood to lead the Tremere from from Elysium in protest.  But Spencer, in defiance of his primogen and clan, remained seated.

 

Session 5 – “Peace Frog” – January 23-24, 2015

Primogen Reiss was not pleased with Spencer’s insolence. Reiss gave the still-seated Tremere neonate a dark look before leading the rest of their clan from Elysium. As the remaining Kindred in the room began to buzz about Nosferatu Justicar Warwick’s announcement of the Chicago Blood Accords and the ensuing events, fellow Nosferatu Philip gushed to Beth about Warwick’s tenure as Providence’s Prince. Meanwhile, Spencer was approached by the Toreador Patrick. Patrick was very concerned with the news that Warwick imparted. He made no secret his belief that a Justicar in the city was bad news and made the Spanish Inquisition look like a PTA meeting. Patrick and Spencer discussed whether the announcement was even genuine, whether the Sabbat would ever live up to their end of the deal, and the wildly unlikely “coincidence” that the Tzimisce’s request for sanctuary was proposed within minutes of the announcement?

Beth and Spencer eventually untangled themselves from that evening’s Kindred politics and left Elysium. On the way to the attached parking garage, Spencer revealed his past as a member of the Anarch Free States in California. When he arrived at his car, Spencer found all four of his tires slashed and his cherry-red sports car’s windshield shattered by a brick. While Spencer dealt with the mundane aftermath of the incident, Beth pulled the brick from the glass and examined the yellow paper wrapped around it:

“I want you to know that I have finally found you./You are not safe./I want you to know what it’s like to live in fear./I want you to know how bad I hurt.”

Beth agreed to take Spencer back to his haven in Newport, as the worsening snow conditions meant that Spencer’s car wasn’t getting help anytime soon. Beth pulled her thoroughly sensible all-wheel drive car out of the garage, and was stopped at a nearby red light, next to a black sedan with tinted windows. Sitting at the light, Beth heard motorcycle engines closing quickly on the intersection. Nervously, she started her car forward into the intersection, barely getting ahead second before a black SUV slammed into the side of the black sedan, still stopped at the light, flipping it on its side. As Beth cruised further away, four motorcycles arrived and spat automatic gunfire into the belly of the sedan. Beth and Spencer saw Providence’s law enforcement and emergency services vehicles speeding towards the scene as Beth continued on.

After some tense words between the two Kindred, and with worsening weather conditions, Beth rescinded the offer of a ride further south. She pulled the car into a local gas station while Spencer texted his herd for a ride. Conrad eventually arrived at the gas station. Spencer presented him with a thank-you beverage from the attached convenience store, and they exited the scene.

Still seated in her car at the gas station, Beth sighed at the events of the night. Preparing to leave, she looked into her rear view mirror and saws a familiar face at the gas pumps. The woman was filling a red gas can and shivered despite layered winter clothing. Beth, still wearing only the dress she had on at Elysium, emerged from her vehicle, and walked over, nervously unable to get out more than a simple greeting to Tracy. The two managed to catch up. Tracy remarked that Beth hadn’t aged a day in the last decade before lifting the filled gas can into the trunk of her SUV. Tracy, after failing to get her phone’s touch screen to work in the cold, penned her new number on Beth’s arm, noting how cold Beth’s bare arm was.

Spencer and Conrad drove back to Newport, with Conrad expressing how incredibly relieved he was that Spencer was okay. Hearing about the incident at the intersection, when they returned to Newport, Conrad opened the glove compartment, removed his 9mm, and presented. Spencer was reluctant, but Conrad tells the vampire that he needs to be safe out there. Spencer accepts, and Conrad smiles, offering his wrist to Spencer for a brief moment of pleasure.

 

Session 6 – Hazy Shade of Winter – January 25, 2015

Nathan Frost had been busy actively avoiding Kindred politics during the past few months. Unwilling to owe the Prince a significant boon, and with the help of  Jason Dyrell, he had relocated both his haven and office away from downtown to less contentious parts of Providence. He spent more on cabs, but his milk run job of babysitting Mei Theresa Wong had kept him in the black. Finally replacing the batteries on his Camarilla-issue beeper, Nathan was suddenly greeted with a message – mandatory Elysium tonight. He holstered his .38 and heads out into the snow.

Meanwhile, Tony Castiglioni had cracked his beeper. It had almost been too easy. Each beeper could become a transponder to  locate its carrier to one of three terminals, two located in the Biltmore and a third in the Nosferatu warrens. Curious, Tony asked fellow Nosferatu Philip about tracking the beepers and Philip tells Tony to mind his own business. Tony made his way to Elysium through the familiar sewers, but was accosted by a menacing humanoid shape. Tony froze and dissolved into shadow as the creature passed by and headed into Nick’s bubbling pit of blood and gooey stuff. 

A package was delivered to Beth’s doorstep. She brought it inside and opened it to discover a cache of bagged blood, delivered to the dummy company Beth had created for this purpose. Buying whole blood at market rates wasn’t cheap, but she hoped to be free again of the constant need to hunt among the humans. She bit into one of the bags and hungrily drank the metallic contents, but almost choked at the taste. Before, Beth had lived on these for years, but even after a second bag the Beast was unsatisfied without warm, live blood. And, loathe as she was to admit it to admit it, neither was Beth.

Spencer’s car was still not fixed so he took a cab to the Biltmore. He was responding to the same emergency summons as the other Kindred, and most were running late. Entering the Biltmore, a vision forced its way into Spencer’s mind – he heard a  laugh and saw a body impaled by a longsword. Sheriff Tatyana strode by, dragging a reluctant Kevin and some Tremere clanmates into the Biltmore’s Garden Room. Noticing her blade, Spencer recognized it but was overwhelmed, reduced to a desperate desire for blood. Toreador Marie-Claire noticed Spencer’s distress and the Harpy took aim, ensuring that none overlooked his loss of control. Ridiculed, Spencer gorged himself in pity blood.

Talk in the room was on the explosive action on the previous evening and Beth made a good impression on the Toreador, detailing her personal involvement with the incident as Nathan listened in. Nearby, Tony informed Nick and Philip of the sewer monster. The Nosferatu, startled by the news, excused themselves as the Prince and Court arrived. 

The Prince introduced the visiting Ventrue Justicar Lucinde, who gave a slight nod to Ventrue Harpy Caoimhe. The Prince assured the court that the Justicar had the full authority of the Camarilla and was here with an important announcement. Lucinde began to explain that only four days ago a ceasefire was called between the Camarilla and Sabbat….

Everyone in the room recognized that Lucinde was repeating the announcement made by Nosferatu Justicar Stanford Warwick the day before. One unfortunate Tremere lick was unable to repress laughter, provoking the Justicar’s embarrassment and the Prince’s wrath.  “Sheriff, this stranger to our city refuses to present himself!” the Prince proclaimed.  Tatyana dragged the offender out of Elysium kicking and screaming as the Prince stood menacingly. The room went silent as Tatyana returned, sheathing her longsword. Lucinde continued, warning the court to be on guard – it was possible that some Sabbat Packs may not have heard about the Accords yet and might continue to act as they  always had. Lucinde finishes quickly and departs as the court was left wondering what just happened.“Did we just have a Conclave?”  Allison blurted.

Later that night, Caoimhe gathered the neonates in a small office just outside the Garden Room. Caoimhe explained that, as Kindred, it was their duty to be part of society. It was the judgment of the Primogen Council, and the Prince, that the four vampires be tasked with taking an active part in preserving that society. “After  all, if we don’t have our society, what are we left with?”  Nathan was uneasy and inquired what the new coterie was to do. Seneschal Gregor arrived silently and while Caoimhe explained their basic task: stop breaches of the Masquerade. She also explains that they are to report any unknown or unpresented Kindred to the Sheriff or Deputy.

The coterie was immediately tasked with investigating rumors of spontaneous human combustion and looking into reports of a string of missing pizza delivery boys. They were also asked to learn what they can about the attack on Justicar Warwick, and located Tremere Primogen Reiss, who had not been seen since walking about of Elysium in protest the night before.

Caoimhe provided the new Coterie with the contact information of Charlie, who could allegedly obtain things difficult to come by, but cautioned that he only dealt in blood and that any deals made with him were of the Coterie’s own making. Caoimhe informed Beth that she would be the nominal leader of the coterie and was to report progress directly to Caoimhe. Caoimhe admitted that Beth was a very political choice for the leader, but also hinted that it tickled her to place a Malkavian in charge.

 

Session 7 – Catch – January 25-26, 2015

The coterie took the time to gather additional information from Caoimhe before getting started on the investigations. Nathan subtly mentioned that if the coterie was to work for the Primogen Council on various projects, then it would be easier to do so if the coterie had a neutral place to discuss their concerns. Caoimhe concurred, gave Beth an address, and imparted that an agent would be waiting with the keys and paperwork for a riverside property near Washington Park – the Prince was granting the coterie domain over the area as a way to “keep them on retainer.” Caoimhe then casually mentioned to Beth that she had not forgotten about Beth’s previously-stated desire for her own Domain and revealed that the Prince has been primed with the notion. Caoimhe also warned Spencer that he was the only one in his coterie who had not traded a boon, and explained that in Kindred Society, this was a very bad thing socially.

Following up about the episodes of spontaneous combustion, Nathan received a copy of a local tabloid that featured a story about three instances of people going up in smoke around Providence during the past eight months. Further investigation of the disappearance of the pizza boys revealed that all reported missing on the previous night after responding to a call on Benefit Street. Reading between the lines, Nathan realized that the coterie was in the middle of a political pickle. Nathan figured that they were either investigating breaches of the Masquerade or being used to look in on another Kindred’s Domain. Either way, it was a precarious position to be in.  Even more concerning to him was who the coterie was actually working for. As a way of clarifying, Caoimhe volunteered herself as a go-between for the coterie on behalf of the Primogen Council.

While Justicar Warwick was revealed to have survived the attack, an investigation into the attempt on the unlife of the Nosferatu was determined to be the responsibilities of one of that clan – Tony would have to take the lead, not Nathan. Nathan scowled but relented, recognizing the situation for what it was.

Afterwards, Beth and Nathan discussed their missions and available assets.  Nathan informed Beth that he had a few contacts – including key figures in the Providence police department, coroner’s office, and some less reputable individuals on the streets.

Spencer later tracked down Kevin and attempted to make amends for the grievances the Tremere have against him. After finally calming Kevin down with promises to look into his reportedly firebombed haven, Spencer asked Kevin about recent Tremere political leanings and Tremere splinter groups. Kevin admitted that several such groups had sprung up after the events of 2008, noting that even the Providence Chantry was having trouble reining in their younger members without the blood bond.

Meanwhile, Beth made her own contact with the Tremere, retrieving the card that Primogen Reiss had provided her. She send him a friendly email, letting him know that his location was a subject of concern, and not-so-subtly asking him to let her know where he was. Beth also took the time to follow up with old flame Tracy Fairchild, agreeing to meet again in the immediate future.

Meeting up again, the coterie planned to check out Kevin’s haven after signing paperwork for their new Domain. Despite the increasingly frigid winter weather, a Dyrell Real Estate agent named Evelyn was waiting by the warehouse at the Terminal Street address Caoimhe had provided. Beth signed paperwork that had already been filled out to put the property in her name, while Spencer and Nathan inspected the warehouse. Spencer fell in love with the property and suggested that they convert the defunct building into a nightclub to garner influence and increase feeding ground.  Beth joined them, and the coterie continued to explore the building. Beth wound her way up a switchback staircase to the catwalks high above the warehouse floor. Standing on the catwalk, she had a vision of a dark figure emerging from a wreckage of fire and twisted metal. The figure’s clothing and hair were burnt away and its screams were terrible. Then the figure locked eyes with Beth and bound towards her. The figure struck her and she fell backwards off the catwalk.

For a moment, all was still. Spencer saw Beth tumble but was powerless to stop his friend’s rapid descent to the concrete below.  Then a flash rushed by Spencer and suddenly Nathan was under the catwalk to break Beth’s fall. Her drop was arrested with a loud thud, but when Spencer approached, Beth was still dazed, her eyes looking seemingly focused somewhere else.  Remembering Beth’s musical tastes from the earlier car ride, Spencer sang soothingly:

You know I even think that she smiled like you/ She used to just stand there and smile/ And her eyes would go all sort of far away/  And stay like that for quite a while

Beth eventually came around and thanked them for the assistance. Spencer was amazed at Nathan’s speed.  “Can’t we all move that fast?” Nathan inquired, still in disbelief that his feelings, usually reserved for mortals, could be applied to the undead as well – he had actually cared that Beth had been hurt. Finally, considering her vision to be a welcome source of information, Beth agreed that a club would be a good idea.

 

Session 8 – Fire, Fire My Heart – January 26, 2015

Tony, deciding technology – whether Kindred or kine – could not be trusted, began the process of acquiring a set of smartphones for the coterie that he can jailbreak and encrypt. Leaving his house, Tony was surprised to find a mortal waiting at his doorstep. The man stated that in four nights, Tony’s presence was required at the Promenade Apartments. Puzzled, Tony accepted. Upon his acceptance, the mortal looked up, confused, forgetting where he was. Noticing Tony’s twisted visage, the man absconded quickly.  Some time later, Tony joined the coterie at the warehouse at the heart of their new Domain. From there, the group decided to brave roads made treacherous by the winter storm and venture over to Kevin’s firebombed Coventry haven, once more piling into Beth’s trusty sedan. On the way, Beth stops her vehicle at a familiar stoplight on Washington Street. History repeating, she perceived the sounds of approaching motorcycles, and surged the car into the intersection, only to be struck from the side by a smaller vehicle. Beth’s car spun out, and after the vehicles had come to a rest, an angry women exited and demanded that Beth explain why she had run the red light. Catching the woman’s eyes, Beth bade her to “Forget.” The other driver stilled, trying to make sense of the situation, and Beth explained the the other woman had sideswiped her, but that it was understandable, given the weather. The mortal apologized profusely, offering her insurance information before the coterie departed. 

The coterie eventually arrived at Kevin’s haven and noticed a white 1980s 4×4 parked near the ruins of the house. Spencer spotted four figures patrolling the area, and sought to sneak around them … but was betrayed as the dome light in Beth’s sedan automatically turned on when he opened the door to exit. The four figures converged on the coterie, and Nathan recognized fellow Brujah Tex leading three aging mortals sporting old Army jackets with VWF patches on their shoulders. Tex explained that the property was protected by a painful force field. Spencer was quick to recognize it as a thaumaturgical ward that had been used by a few of his old crew from LA. After his brute force attempt to bypass the ward failed
(leaving some distinctive burns to remind him), Spencer attempted to contact some of his old Tremere contacts using Tony’s phone, but without success. Spencer then called Kevin who, after learning that his wards were still in place and quite active, bid Spencer’s job complete and hung up. Spencer returned Tony’s phone, and the Nosferatu made sure to save the numbers Spencer had dialed.

Nathan inspected the scene further and noticed the husks of a few incendiary grenades nestled in the wreckage of the house. The group converged to share findings when a sudden CRACK! echoed through the night. Recognizing gunfire, Tex and his ghouls hit the deck, then scrambled and fled in their truck. Unable to pinpoint the location of the sniper, the coterie followed suit, and Beth’s already damaged sedan picked up a few bullet holes on way out. Tony asked to be dropped off at a sewer access once the coterie reached Providence again. He made his way to Phillip’s corner of the Nosferatu Warrens and traded a boon for Phillip to confirm that only five Camarilla-issue pagers were present at the scene (the four members of the coterie plus Tex). Tony was no closer to deducing the identity of the shooter.

Nathan was concerned that mortals might be injured wandering into Kevin’s wards, and Spencer was furious that his fellow Tremere had used him to test the continued effectiveness of his magical defenses. When Kevin proved uninterested in responding to Spencer’s contacts, Beth messaged him, noting their role vehme for Prince Jerome. Kevin specified that he would meet her at the Providence Athenaeum. Beth left Nathan and Spencer behind, and found Kevin waiting outside at the top of a long set of stairs. Beth pointed out that her coterie’s time had been wasted but, more importantly, inquired as to whether the wards posed any potential Masquerade issues, should a mortal – especially an investigator – walk into them. Kevin admitted that he never expected others to get roped into the errand he had set for Spencer and indicated that the wards had been in place for decades, but did not affect mortals. Kevin also claimed that mortal authorities had been diverted from investigating the firebombing. Satisfied, Beth turned to leave, but before she left, Kevin commented that he had heard good things about her from Tremere Primogen Reiss, and suggested that she consider joining the Athenaeum.

As Beth walked back to the car, Spencer hustled ahead, having tried and failed to glean anything meaningful by looking in on her conversation with Kevin. Instead, he had to make do with Beth’s report, which left Nathan relieved, and Spencer still angry over Kevin’s trickery and failure to apologize.

 

Interlude 1 – Lovesong – January 27, 2015

The following evening the blizzard continued to cover Providence in snow and ice. Helpfully, it also covered the recent collision and bullet damage to Beth’s sedan.

Beth blushed life into her dead flesh and had almost finished getting ready when the doorbell rang. Beth answered the door, one golden earring on and the other in hand. Her niece, Rina, entered and stood cold in the kitchen, snow melting to puddles around her. The young woman with the bright pink-and-blue hair wore a backpack stuffed with textbooks and an expensive laptop. Rina reported that there were electrical problems on campus, and that her dorm’s heater had gone out.

Noting that Beth was dressed up, Rina insinuated that her aunt had special plans, but promised not to be a bother. She and her friend “T” just had to work on an earth sciences group project, but the dorms were too cold. After confirming with Brown that there were heating problems with the dorms, Beth agreed that Rina and T could stay while Beth was out. Beth asked if the two girls needed anything to eat and Rina reported that T was already picking up Chinese – which was convenient, given the general lack of food that Beth kept around the rowhouse. While waiting for T to arrive, Rina set up her laptop and Beth popped into her basement haven, ingesting two bags of whole blood from her emergency supply to take as much of the edge off as possible – she needed tonight to go well.

Soon, Beth spotted an intrepid ride-sharing car that had braved the ill weather to bring Tracy from her work at the hospital. Beth bid farewell to Rina and slipped out the front door. Beth joined Tracy in the back of the car, which whisked them off to the Cable Car Cinema, where Beth had reserved tickets on one of the theater’s two-seater couches for a showing of Still Alice. Out of her voluminous black winter coat, Tracy looked as stunning to Beth as she always had. Beth pretended to eat popcorn as Tracy cozied up under her arm.

Afterwards, the two ventured through the cold to a closed nearby ice rink, where – with no one on duty – they helped themselves to pairs of skates. The snow-covered rink was almost unusable, but the two had fun attempting a few laps. Tracy fell, then pulled Beth down too when the Kindred tried to help her up. Laughing, the two eventually moved to a bench to change out of the appropriated skates. Tracy noticed something in the distance, but the pair was quick to dismiss it.

Tracy grew quiet for a minute, then started with the big questions. Was Beth still with that British guy? Beth had not been “with” her missing sire in the way Tracy meant, but Beth could hardly explain that to her old flame, and settled for assuring Tracy that he was gone. “Did you love him?” Beth’s answer – “no” – was quick and hard.

“It’s just … we weren’t apart for more than few months and he just moved in with you!” Tracy’s words, displaying her obvious pain, stung Beth. Tracy was right. The most recent iteration of their long-term relationship from Beth’s mortal years had ended because Beth was too focused on her work and hadn’t made enough time for Tracy. Beth knew the way things ended between them had been her fault. Beth also knew that what had come after was not her fault, but she could hardly explain her embrace and the changes that had been forced on her life by her sire. So she said nothing. “It’s not fair!” Tracy continued. “You look exactly like the woman I loved ten years ago. But … different, somehow.” Tracy buried her face in her hands. “What’s wrong with me?” Beth clasped Tracy’s hands, assuring her that there was nothing wrong with her.

Eventually, their time on the bench ended, and Beth walked Tracy home. Beth made her way back to her own home, and hear loud music playing. Approaching the rowhouse, Beth noticed that all of the lights were on and that an extensive collection of footprints led up to the front door. Entering her home, Beth’s lips pressed firmly together as she noticed stacks of cheap beer cans and red plastic cups littering the floor. In her living room, a closet door had been removed from its hinges and rested on a smaller table with triangles of cups on one end and ping-pong balls on the other. Beth unplugged her stereo, finally attracting the attention of the mass of drunken students. Slowly beginning to understand the situation, they began to trickle out of the house, but Rina was not among them. Looking elsewhere on the ground floor, Beth noticed a pile of blankets in the dining room, wrapped around her niece and T (short for Theresa, it turned out) and a college-aged boy. The three began to embarrassingly fumble for clothing, and Beth and Rina were eventually left alone in the room.

Having cleared out the first floor, Beth waited until Rina had finished getting dressed before taking her niece up the stairs to help evict the remaining guests from the house. As Beth and her troublesome niece ascended the stairs, a litany of giggles and moans came from Beth’s bedroom (not that Beth actually slept there anymore). Beth threw open the door to see four figures on her bed in various states of undress – three young men, one with bite marks covering his chest, and one familiar female form in an expensive black corset and pigtails. Rina gasped in shock and retreated, a quick exit Beth was grateful for.

“Beth!” exclaimed Allison, wiping a trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth. “Great party!  Come join us.  I’ve brought plenty to share!” Beth was furious at the Toreador’s intrusion into her home and demanded Allison leave. As if in explanation, Allison revealed that she thought Beth’s lot had their Domain down near Washington Park, and that Toreador Primogen Marie-Claire had said that Brown and its environs were free game since Rupert Cartwright, Beth’s sire, had departed. Beth anger remained her own, but she was irate, and her shouts were eventually enough to convince the Toreador to go. Allison huffed before leading her living snack-pack out of the house, leaving behind a trail of clothing and empty beer cans.

Beth attempted to get the truth of the matter from Rina, who claimed that “things just escalated, and before long, were out of her control” and that she had “hoped to have everyone gone and everything cleaned up before Beth returned from her date”. Beth sees right through her niece’s hogwash and calls her on it, emphasizing the severe violation of trust. Rina responds with a plaintive cry about how she was such a screw-up. And Beth called her on that, too – Rina wasn’t a screw-up, but playing one wasn’t going to get her any sympathy. Rina helped Beth clean the room and reinstall the door in its proper place.

But more pressing that her niece’s mortal indiscretions was Allison’s presence and the information she had divulged. She worried that Allison might know Beth and Rina were related. And Beth had learned that, despite her efforts to enlist Caoimhe’s assistance on the subject, her mortal claim to her home near campus was simply not recognized by Kindred society. Something needed to change.

 

Memoriam 1 – Missing – January 27-28, 2015 and 2007-08

Spencer called for a pickup from one of his entourage and headed to a downtown nightclub to feed, ignoring the Prince’s warnings that neonates are not allowed to feed downtown. A guy’s gotta eat, right? And the storm didn’t leave him many other options. Spencer located two women on the dance floor and quickly won them both over with his charm and looks. Satisfied, Spencer returned to his beach house haven. Once there, Spencer revealed to Aditi his plan for the coterie to renovate the warehouse at the heart of their domain to a club. She was over the moon with excitement at Spencer’s announcement.

The next evening, Spencer turned his kitchen table into a makeshift drafting table and starts planning out the future interior of the coterie’s club, Quintessence. Aditi, watching over his shoulder, pointed out that a lot of the themes on Spencer’s idea board match his descriptions of Club Theta. Spencer’s mind wanders back eight years to his nights in Los Angeles …

It was 2007 and Los Angeles was home to a family of wayward Tremere. They had so far escaped destruction at the hands of the Pyramid, but the threat of discovery was constant. Apollo, a Tremere Anarch, had held the Barony of West Los Angeles for three years after wrestling it from the Camarilla-loving Louis and contending with a crazy Malkavian out in Santa Monica. This night was a celebration for the Chantry at Club Theta. Spencer listened as Apollo explained to the gathered Kindred that he was very close to discovering a way to break the bonds of blood that enslaved all Tremere.  A hush fell over the crowd and murmurs of wild gossip began, to be replaced by a celebratory blood orgy featuring a few mortal “guests.”  Spencer took the opportunity to speak with his sire, Hathor. Hathor explained that she lived in constant fear that Vienna would someday send in an enforcer or perform some ritual to end the little family that Apollo had put together. Spencer acknowledged her concerns and asked for additional details regarding Apollo’s plan. But Hathor stated that such news was like a fine wine and had to be savored. Spencer would have to wait for the big reveal like everyone else.

Spencer then met up with his friend Ochumere, a lovely transplant from a collapsed Barony in Oregon, and the two left the excitement and made their way back to the converted dormitory that the Chantry called home. They fell asleep in each others’ arms, but Spencer woke up alone. He made his way through the dorm and into the courtyard, passing a mystical white marble orb used to practice Auspex. No one was anywhere to be found. Spencer retraced his steps back to Club Theta and tried the door. It yielded easily and Spencer rushe up the staircase, only to find the hall empty. Evidence of the previous night’s festivities was absent, save for blood stains on the carpeting. Spencer soaked the blood up and mixed it with a bit of his own in a silver chalice and drank deeply. But the ritual didn’t work – the blood was mortal after all. Spencer was descending the staircase when he finally noticed. Large piles of ash and chains were strewn across the floor in front the windows. Drapes were torn from their rods, lying piled in the corners of the room. Spencer wept, understanding the implications. His family was gone.

Over the following months Spencer tried to hold onto what was left of his home, but was always alone. One day, the power in the dorm went out – no one had been paying the bills. Another day, a local gang made its way into the dorm and left their tag in the courtyard, just meters from where Spencer had been sleeping. He was furious and ran into the courtyard. He saw the familiar marble orb, but this time it was jet black and covered in flames. Spencer resisted his Beast’s call to flee and forced himself to approach the orb. Suddenly, the flames winked out, leaving only a small obsidian sphere. Spencer gathered it in his jacket and spirited it away.

Over the next few months, Spencer was in a bad place. Living on the streets and hunting the homeless didn’t suit him. Winding down an alley, Spencer collapsed and was overcome with grief and hunger. He started weeping uncontrollable tears, the blood streaking down his face, and blood pooling around newly-formed holes in his palms. The alley door opened. Golden light and magnificent music spill out of the portal.  “Hey man, are you alright?” asked a tall, broad-shouldered young man with track marks running down his arms. The man introduced himself as Artemis and beckoned Spencer to come on up, promising some delivery pizza. 

Spencer complied and the two took an “Employees Only” door in the back of a convenience store, up some stairs and into a cramped studio apartment shared by two other people: a tan woman with a short bob and a well-dressed, pale fellow. The group of three friends explained that they had moved to L.A. to try to make it in the music business, and were actually looking for another roommate. But they were having troubles because they usually slept all day and worked all night. Spencer proclaimed that this arrangement suited him very well.

A year later, Spencer woke with a start, noticing that something was different. Something had snapped and no longer did the curse of the Warlocks chain him to Vienna. He didn’t understand how it was possible, and he didn’t care. Things would be all right for once in his unlife …

Spencer looked up from his newly-completed handiwork. Plans for the coterie’s new Domain litter the kitchen table. Spencer descended the stairs into the basement and removed a small wooden box from underneath his bed. He opened it and stared into the polished obsidian sphere, taking in the streaks of impurities that formed a small triangle. Spencer smiled to himself as he noticed a small crack subtly separating the apex of the shape.

 

Session 9 – Shot at the Night – January 28, 2015

Tony’s phone rang with a 414 area code. He answered and a feminine voice spoke. “Who is this?” Tony replied with a curt joke. The voice was not amused. She stated that Tony had called a dead man’s phone and again demanded answers.  Tony revealed that had been Spencer using Tony’s phone, and received a disconnect for his trouble. Tony, knowing that the original call had been to a mentor of Spencer’s, later offered the phone numbers to his mentor, Nosferatu Primogen Kurt Densch, and the pair discussed strategies for Tony’s upcoming meeting with Justicar Warwick. Densch also offered advice to Tony about his Kindred-issued beeper – as Tony had guessed, the city’s Camarilla leadership used them to track Kindreds’ locations. Tony buried his beeper in the snow several blocks from his haven, Masked himself, and hit up a liquor store. He then headed to Providence Station near Waterplace Park, where he passed bottles around the homeless population, fishing for information about the alleged spontaneous human combustion that happened last spring. Eventually he found two helpful men, Rage and Boone. According to them, “these guys in the park just started on fire for no good reason in the morning right around the time the cops usually kick us out”. After forwarding the information to Beth, Tony calls up his friend Matt Cooks and ends his night playing video games.

Spencer used his status as a well-known artist to find some headlining acts to perform at the new club. Reaching through his network, he contacted a rising star on the west coast who was more than happy to do a few months of easy gigs while he finished his new album. Ecstatic, Spencer informed Beth of his victory. Spencer then proceeded to call Kevin to berate him for the events at his Haven two nights before. Kevin, not interested in wasting his time being yelled at, hung up on Spencer. Spencer responded by calling back and leaving an irate voice message, achieving, if nothing else, some catharsis.

Beth called Caoihme to update her on the coterie’s progress and to inquire about the Toreador incursion into Brown. Like Allison had before, Caoihme reminded Beth that she and the coterie had Domain near the river. Caoihme also noted that Beth already owed her for even broaching the subject with the Prince, and pointendly inquired whether Beth had anything the Harpy needed in exchange for further efforts. Having nothing concrete to offer, Beth politely ended the call. She then turned directly to the source of the prior evening’s disturbance and gave Allison a call, hoping to ensure that the Toreador was not angered by her ejection. Allison answered, and in the background Beth overheard the telling sounds of light jazz and bath water trickling. Beth asked Allison straight up what she meant by Marie-Claire giving her permission to hunt around the Brown campus. Allison pleaded Beth’s forgiveness for feeding in her home, but stated that with Beth’s sire Rupert out of the picture, it would be a shame for such a prime hunting ground to grow fallow. Allison later mentioned that Beth should try to attend one of Patrick’s salons sometime. “He always throws the best parties, and girls like us have to stick together….”

Nathan called up Captain Mahonne to see if there were any leads on the missing pizza boys, but was met with Sergeant Brown’s explanation of Mahonne being in the can. He asked the sergeant to look for missing persons reports filed after January 25th and Brown said that he’d get to it when he could. Nathan then headed to a local sports bar called the Dugout.  The screens in the bar were showing a Boston Bruins hockey game and Nathan’s overweight contact Bruno Russo was at that moment obnoxiously hitting on his waitress while taking bets. Nathan calmed his inner white knight to ask Russo who ran the racket near Washington Park (in the vicinity of the coterie’s new Domain, including the club). Picking up on Nathan’s line of questioning, Russo revealed that Nathan was “headed to the big leagues” and that “Goodlooking Matty is going to want 20% of  the club’s take”. Nathan was surprised by the portion that the mob wants and leaves, casually grabbing and eating a street thug on his way home.

 

Session 10 – A Matter of Trust – January 29-30, 2015

Nathan awoke to find several missed calls and a voicemail from Captain Mahonne telling him to get down to the station. Nathan complied and he was waved into Mahonne’s office by Sergeant Brown. Mahonne apologized to Nathan for the delay, explaining that it had been very busy lately at the station, with the storm and lots of officers called in. Mahonne also admitted that a super-grisly murder case had popped up to the top of the que. Nathan noted a file on the captain’s desk detailing an eviscerated salt-and-pepper-haired man identified as Joseph McDonald. In a photograph, McDonald’s organs and blood adorned the wall of his house and displayed the message “HARPY SALON MARCH 18 AT ‘BOX RSVP”. Turning his attention back to Nathan’s interest, Mahonne mentioned that Sergeant Brown did find a report of a missing pizza delivery employee named Jason Black who left in the middle of his shift with no notice. Mahonne continued that “it’s not an unheard of thing for someone with a McJob to quit in the middle of it, so didn’t bear much of a look until you called in.” Apparently, the delivery driver’s mother had made the report and had been told that “we usually don’t process a missing person report until at least 24 hours have passed (not an official procedure, as you know, but we’ve been swamped!).” Mahonne continued and Nathan absorbed the details. “Anyway, Sergeant Brown has no idea that a wallet was returned to us just now. Someone picked it up from a snowbank on Benefit Street this morning and brought it over. I didn’t think good Samaritans were still a thing, huh? Again, I normally wouldn’t have bothered, but it had some frozen blood on it. Wouldn’t have even noticed but it thawed next to a stack of dead-tree copies of reports and stained them red!  Anyways, I open up the bill fold and what do I find? A pizzeria nametag! I don’t think that this is coincidence, Nate,” Mahonne postulated. 

Nathan examined the wallet, which contained the nametag, about six dollars, and a driver’s license for a William Tucker of Transit Street. The captain asked Nathan how he knew about the pizza boys in the first place. Mahonne editorialized that he didn’t like asking questions that he didn’t know the answer to, but stated that he needed to find out who had been ordering pizzas late last Friday night. Nathan feigned ignorance and informed Mahonne that he’d been busy himself with a job running security at a new nightclub opening soon. This piqued Mahonne’s interest and Nathan asked more about the mob and their involvement in the area.  Mahonne reminded Nathan that knowing when to “play ball” was in his best interest. Nathan convinced Mahonne that the captain didn’t need to look into the identity of the club’s new owners, so long as Nathan kept the Providence PD informed on any blatant criminal activity in the area.

Tony met the Coterie members at the warehouse. He handed each member the phones he had been working on, explaining that the phone themselves were encrypted and ran an encrypted messaging app that should keep the Coterie’s communications more private. Tony attempted to explain his process more technically, but ended up frustrated with the “I.T. 101” questions and instead related the information he had learned from his homeless contacts. Nathan, learning of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club patch Tony described from one of the homeless men’s scavenged clothing, thought back to the gang that had roughed up patrons at the District bar the prior spring.

When the two were talking, Tony ‘casually’ mentioned his supply of bagged blood, which prompted Nathan to ask if that sort of thing actually works. Tony affirmed that it did and Nathan stated that they might have business to discuss if Tony could supply him with a food source. Tony then departed for another appointment.

Nathan and Spencer discussed whether Tony can be trusted. “You know Spence, what do you think about Tony?” Nathan begins.  “I just can’t put my finger on that guy.  He’s just not… human.” Spencer stammers that, until crossed, he always seemed to see the best in people. Or vampires.

Nathan and Spencer decided to follow up on the Nathan’s new pizzeria nametag lead and drove over to Wickenden Street in Spencer’s newly repaired sportscar. They ordered a pie, and engaged the tired-looking cashier about Billy and if he was working tonight. The cashier asked if Spencer and Nathan were friends with Billy, and later revealed that Billy had left in the middle of his shift – something very unlike Billy – and that his last delivery was for 135 Benefit Street. The two Kindred thanked the cashier and Spencer left a memorably large tip. After a quick recon of the pale yellow house, Nathan dropped off the pizza at the police precinct and he and Spencer went their separate ways for the remainder of the night.

Tony arrived at the Promenade apartments at the appointed hour wearing business casual. He was met by a small and silent servitor-thing who beckoned him in. Classical music and tasteful art decorated the open-floor-plan apartment. Tony noticed Nosferatu Justicar Warwick across the hall in a pleasant, masked visage; no sign of Caine’s curse on the clan was visible.  They sat on the couch and the servitor began to mull the blood that Tony had brought with him as a gift for his host (he had read somewhere that people bring wine to house parties). The Justicar said that the Nosferatu were valued because the Camarilla considered them useful, but they could always move higher. Warwick asked Tony what he thought about the Nosferatu taking a leadership role in the Camarilla at large. Tony began to speak about the merits of controlling from the shadows, citing the successes of Seneschal Gregor and Primogen Kurt Densch, but quickly changed his tune after reading Warwick’s reaction. Warwick continues that in his time as Prince of Providence, he had failed, but was pushed higher because of that to his current position. The Justicar went on to describe the tenure of the current Prince, Jerome Soloman, as “adequate.” Warwick explained that in order for the the Nosferatu to move up in the Camarilla, clans had to be laid low and sacrifices had to be made. “Do you think really think that it was a coincidence that the location of the Vienna Chantry was leaked just as the Tremere were beginning to challenge the Ventrue?” Tony supposed not and started to become a bit uncomfortable, getting the get the feeling that the questioning was going two ways. The Justicar asked for Tony’s assistance, but avoided discussing the attempt on his unlife any further. Tony agreed to drop the subject, leaving him without anything to report to the Coterie from his exclusive interview

The following evening, Spencer, Nathan, and Tony arrived outside the pale yellow house at 135 Benefit Street, noticing a foul smell, strange weeds growing in the yard, and, through a window, a tall, seated figure silhouetted against the warm glow of a television set. The trio climbed the stairs and the door swung open before Nathan could finish knocking. A weird, fleshy monster scrambled from behind the door and up the stairs, drawing the Coterie’s gaze to the seated figure watching premium cable. The Tzimisce Casmir Babbit stood, welcomed its guests, and offered them blood from a corpse being propped up by the fleshy horror. Introductions were made and Nathan got to the point, asking about the pizza boys. Casmir made no secret that he used them. It explained that, without invitation, the merchants of cheese approached his domain demanding payment for an unsolicited trencher of grease. “This happened repeatedly, so of course I suspected an attack, but conscious of the Traditions, I was quick and discreet with my actions, for I had my devilish things to plot.” Further discussion revealed that the devilish things to plot included his latest fan theories for a Game of Thrones. Tony’s interests get piqued, but Nathan redirected the conversation back to more pertinent matters. A discussion ensued and Casmir professed that it was a firm believer in the Traditions and offered a boon to find whomever sent attacks on its Domain.

 

Interlude 2 – Digital Witness – Early February 2015

During the next few weeks, Tony received additional visitors to his haven.  Mortals showed up, delivered a message, and then became very confused as to where they were. One such unwitting courier gave Tony a task to check if anything suspicious showed up in surveillance footage of Washington Street on the night of 23-24 January. Tony recalled that weeks earlier, Nosferatu Primogen Mr. Densch mentioned that he was putting Tony at Justicar Warwick’s disposal and so the neonate got to work. Tony researched ATM and traffic cameras near the location of the attempt on Warwick’s unlife, but could not locate any signs of surveillance. To be safe, Tony procured some bottles of hooch and met with his homeless contacts, Rage and Boone.  The vagabonds reported that while there are several ATMs on Washington Street, most are inside of buildings to prevent weather damage. Tony asked them if they had heard anything about some guy getting shot at a while ago and Rage responded that “People get shot all the time.” Tony got more specific with his query and Boone reported that he recalled sounds of automatic fire on the 23rd, but the boys had made scarce when the sirens showed up. Someone got a look at a few motorcycles before they left, but no plates or meaningful descriptions. Tony thanked Rage and Boone and walked off, leaving them to finish off the alcohol. He reported to the Justicar that the hit job was clean: the perpetrators were organized, knew his route and where he would be, and knew where to do it to keep away from prying eyes. Furthermore, they had cleaned up after themselves real well.

 

Interlude 3 – Paint It Black – February 2015

Chris Stevenson with Craig Kellner

There were, Beth had decided, far too many forms involved in opening a nightclub. Who would have thought that you’d need one permit to sell alcohol, and then a separate permit to have people dance in the vicinity of alcohol? She knew the time spent wasn’t a waste. If the club was successful it could provide both social capital and plain old capital. Plus a convenient, reliable source of  lovelies to sate her hunger…. an activity Beth enjoyed more than she was able to admit to herself. But for now, the time she was spending surely felt like a waste. The early part of her evenings were usually occupied with mortals. Teaching class. Trying to forge some connection with her niece Rina that could encourage the girl to be a bit more responsible. And, more recently, the happy process of rekindling things with Tracy, which had so far involved fewer uncomfortable questions than Beth had feared. But the deep night was still her time to work on her studies of vampiric history and society. That was meaningful work. This was tedium.

But it was a necessary tedium, and so Beth turned her mind away from daydreams (or was that nightdreams?) and back to business. Forms, resumes, remodeling contractors, vendors – Beth methodically worked her way through the paperwork with meticulous attention to detail. At least Spencer was dealing with the musical side. The abandoned warehouse where she worked was rapidly coming to embody the musician’s vibrant vision for the club. Beth had only needed to make a few minor adjustments so far to ensure that the design blended with, instead of working against, the existing mystical layout of the space. Perhaps someday Beth would figure out how to manipulate the reality behind the physical, but for now she had to be content with being able to see and work around it. But, as Beth sat in the office, she could still feel the center of the web in what would soon be Quintessence. Out of sight, but not quite out of mind.

As the night wore on, and the stack of unexamined paperwork grew smaller, the feeling developed into a throbbing in the back of Beth’s skull, rising in intensity. She closed her eyes, as if this might dull the sensation. When that didn’t help, Beth opened her eyes and return to the papers, only to find the words unreadable through tight web of micro-fractures that filled her field of view. Alone among the fragmentation, a blue trail of light shone clear. Beth rose and followed the flowing color, down the stairs, out of the office space, and into the cavernous heart of the soon-to-be-club. She knew without looking where the trail would lead, wending around and up and around, but inevitably reaching and then disappearing into the center of the web.Excited, Beth began scrambling up the stairs into the catwalks that spanned the length of the club. It could be described as undecorous, but no one else was here and Beth was in too much of a hurry. With appropriate safety measures installed, the primary use of the catwalks at the club would be to provide access to an upper VIP area.

But this night Beth moved to the center of the web, along one of the walls to the office space, where an unblemished patch of blue so dark it was almost black served as the endpoint for the trail of light, stretching from the level of the catwalk floor up almost as high as Beth could reach, and perhaps four feet wide. Beth knew it was unblemished because it was not a part of the world unaffected by the fragmentation, but rather part when the veil had been peeled back. She did not know what the source of this nexus was, or the significance of the information it imparted, but she would find out.  Despite a brief vision of Spencer’s arm burning in the wards at Kevin’s haven in the back of her mind, Beth reached out to touch the inky-blue patch. It was solid and cool to the touch. Beth laid her hand flat against the surface, and a series of yellow lines began to form a pattern against the blue.

Beth stood, still alone, on the catwalk, beholding a perfectly normal visible world – no cracks, no trails of light. The space was at peace. Beth looked down and realized she held a mostly dry paintbrush in her hand. Blotches of paint in a variety of colors spotted her hands, arms, her three-quarter sleeve blue blouse, her brown twill skirt and, she realized, her seemingly-disheveled hair. Scattered on the catwalk were half empty paint cans, skins forming on the surface of the paint pooled within, along with a roller, brushes of several sizes, and a pan with colors spread and mixed like an overgrown palette.

The result of all this mess had taken the blue patch’s place on the wall. A painted door, simple in appearance at first. But when Beth looked closer a microcosm of detail was visible, minute patterns scrolling across the length. The door handle looked almost real enough to grasp, turn, and pull. She knew that now was not the time, however. The door opened out – she would have to wait on something else. Turning from the door, Beth ungracefully dropped the brush into the pan, the clattering sound reverberating through the empty space. Pains of hunger clawed their way up her chest. How much time had she lost? Light was beginning to pour in and Beth needed to get to cover quick. One last look back at her work.  But now there was something different. The door was cracked open–just a hair–and Beth could hear something. A voice or a soft torrent of voice was screaming in the near audible range. Beth put her ear to the mural and the words were clear:

Hunt the shadow-sleepers /Think not on fear or hate / Hunt them for blood / for Kindred’s sake

 

Session 11 – If I Could – Late February 2015

Beth watched, bored, as the Tzimisce discussed Game of Thrones fan theories with Tony. Tony had been insistent that the two meet before the coterie’s meeting with Caoihme to report on their progress. But, besides its fleshcrafted appearance, Beth had discovered nothing interesting about Casimir. Despite having appeared in Elysium immediately after the announcement of the Chicago Blood Accords between the Camarilla and the Sabbat, the Tzimisce proclaimed that he had always been a member and full supporter of the Camarilla.  Indeed, Casimir claimed to have been a member of Providence’s court longer than the current Prince. For Beth, who had been hoping to study the perspective of a member of the Sabbat, Casimir’s asserted history was highly disappointing.

As they left, Tony pondered on whether there was a way to collect more information on who had sent the ill-fated pizza delivery drivers to Casimir’s residence, and he suggested that they follow up at the pizzeria. When they arrived, Tony waited in the car, while Beth went in to apply some charm to the cashier. Flirting with the dandruff-ridden cashier, Beth told him that a friend had been getting crank deliveries, and that it would be just great if he could let her see who had placed the orders. The cashier complied, providing Beth with the number to a Nevada cell phone, the name on the orders (“Spencer”), and the cashier’s own number. Returning to the car, Beth provided Tony with the Nevada number, kept the name to herself, and tossed the cashier’s digits. Tony called the Nevada number, but got only a generic message and left a voicemail. The Nosferatu updated his to-do list to include tracing the number.

Elysium was slow on the night of February 26. Only one punch bowl of ‘refreshments’ was out and a bored-looking Seneschal Gregor watched over the scattered court from the Prince’s carved throne. The coterie members caught Caoihme’s eye and she led them into the office where they met the prior month. Despite an agreement between Beth and Tony to let the former do most of the talking, Tony jumped right in and assured Caoimhe that Justicar Warwick was fine, although he was not much inclined to share the details of the encounter. Tony also shared his theory that the hit on the Justicar was professionally done because the would-be assassins knew exactly when and where Warwick would be and where they could strike and not be caught on traffic cameras. Beth shared that the reports of “spontaneous human combustion” were probably vampires, emphasizing that the vampires in question were strangers to the city. Beth thought that this point would be significant – given the court’s emphasis on presentation to and, acceptance by, the Prince – but Caoihme only seemed interested in whether the Masquerade had held up. Tony corroborated Beht’s report, stating that the only witnesses were unreliable vagrants.

Caoihme then asked if the missing pizza delivery drivers could be traced back to Kindred activity. Concerned that another vampire was weaponizing the Masquerade by sending the deliveries to Casimir and then reporting on its responses, Beth countered Caoihme’s request for information with a question of here own – the source of the original report of a potential Masquerade breach. After some convincing, the Ventrue Harpy revealed that Casimir had self-reported the potential breach that had sparked in the investigation. Her concerns assuaged, Beth related that the matter had been handled and that there was no threat to the Masquerade. Caoimhe instructed Nathan to use his police contacts to make sure that their report on the subject was buried.

Finally, Beth brought up the matter of the gory party invitation written in Joseph McDonald’s entrails, and Caoihme became visibly shaken by the name of the victim, trying and failing to hide her reaction from the neonates. Caoihme redirected and asked about the Coterie’s new Domain. The neonates revealed that they planned to have a limited opening and that they hoped to invite the court of Providence. Caoihme cautioned them that any location that was to attempt to host so many of the Kindred of the city would require some inspection before the Prince deemed it fit for purpose. Nathan promised to coordinate an inspection with Don Coyote and the meeting was concluded. Caoihme hastened her exit, looking quite overwhelmed.

 

Tony’s Prelude – Down With The Sickness/Shadow – Summer 2014

Tony Castiglionni, a loner working in the IT Department of Rhode Island Hospital, was counting down the final minutes of his shift when his manager, Dylan, asked him to come in over the weekend to finish up a project. Tony begrudgingly agreed, then clocked out and went to an awkward Friday night dinner with his friend Matt. Matt was late and Tony received terrible service before calling it a night. He bought a consolation six-pack on the way home and spent the rest of the evening in his apartment. 

That night, Tony had a weird dream where a strange, dark-haired woman he had encountered at the bar was necking him. She crooned, “Do you think I’m pretty?” He awoke with a fevered start, his skin oily and his hair loose. Terribly hungry, he made himself a large helping of pasta. But the food caused a terrible reaction, and Tony began vomiting blood. Terrified, he ran outside and collapsed in the street. A concerned woman approached and something inside took over Tony. He sprang from the ground and sank his teeth into her, drinking until there was nothing left, then running wildly into the night.

Tony came to his senses feeling better than he ever had before. Trying to recreate the feeling, he snorted bath salts, but they did not seem to have any effect. Finally realizing (or admitting) that the source of his ecstasy was blood, Tony returned to the hospital and used his credentials to gain access to a supply a whole bagged blood. He made off with a bag, consuming it before going to sleep in the server room.

Newly-embraced vampire Tony Castiglionni awoke to an incredible stench permeating the server room of the Rhode Island Hospital. Keeping to the shadows, he snuck out the back, drawing a terrified reaction from a homeless man as he strolled along the river. Tony rested on a park bench until he was unexpectedly greeted by his supervisor, Dylan. Dylan grasped Tony and passionately kissed him before transforming into the strange dark-haired woman from the bar and Tony’s dream the night before. Tony was repulsed, entranced, and confused as the the person’s visage morphed into that of a hideous corpse-like creature.

“Do you still think I’m pretty?” the creature inquired. Tony’s heart did flips as he tried to reason out his strange attraction to the creature. She then passed her makeup compact to Tony so he can behold what he has become. His fingers were bony and of odd lengths. His right eye was large and bulbous while his left was small and squinting. One ear had cauliflowered while the other had grown to a sharp point. His mouth opened to reveal a cavern of crooked teeth and his nose was arched and broken. Tony loses control again, absconding into the night, eventually tearing his way into the vagrant who had fled at the sight of him minutes earlier.

Hours later, Tony lay in a drainage pipe. He was covered in blood, his favorite hoodie and his nice work khaki pants ruined. Wandering deeper into the pipe and then through the sewers, Tony encountered another of the terrible-looking creatures. This one introduced himself as Nick. Tony agreed to follow Nick, and the pair motored away through the murky liquid in a small aluminum fishing boat. Nick made a stop at a gurgling pit to add a bit of his blood to the mix before ushering Tony to a sunken amphitheater lit with stage lights and ringed with old red-fabric theatre seats. A tall, well-dressed figure stiffly loomed toward Tony.

The figure introduced himself as Mr. Densch and Tony recounted his story.  Densch explained that their society had certain rules – rules which the creature named Bianca had broken when she sired him. Tony was scolded for his sloppiness in draining two mortals in frenzy in as many nights. The idea of favors and accountability was impressed upon Tony, Tony was told that he was being given the chance the correct the blunder that Bianca made by trying to leverage Tony’s IT position to assist in gaining control of Rhode Island Hospital. Tony’s mission was two-fold: mirror the Nosferatu computer network on the Hospital’s own server and discover a way to skim blood from the institution without alerting the mortals. With the help of a toothy engineer named Phillip, Tony had to accomplish this feat in two weeks or his unlife was forfeit.  The sins of the father….

 

Nathan’s Prelude – Murder Me Rachael – Summer 2014

Private investigator Nathan Frost, formerly of Providence Police Department, arrived at the office to news of a missing persons case over at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Through his investigations, Nathan discovered that fine arts student Mei Theresa Wong went missing a few weeks ago, having never checked out of her dorm room at the end of semester. Surreptitiously gaining access to the room, Frost rummaged through her belongings and followed the leads to her last known location: a downtown bar famous for its “authentic” Irish cuisine, mahogany bar tops, and college nights. Nathan learned that Theresa had attended the end-of-semester RISD night and was seen leaving with a tall woman with a shaved head. He also learned that after the night was disrupted by bikers wearing Outlaw Motorcycle Club jackets. Nathan noticed a similarly-clad gang member and followed him out of the bar and down a dark alley. The figure broke into a jog and Nathan pursued, the sounds of Twin Cam 96 engines getting closer.

SMACK!

Nathan awoke. He was suspended upside-down from a silk rope, hands zip-tied to his belt. Nathan’s head was on fire – maybe from the assault in the alley, maybe from subsequent blood loss. Either one, Nathan was in a bad way.  He could see the remains of his cell phone; smithereens dusting the brown-tiled floor. Straining, he overheard two voices arguing.  One a rough female and the other a nasally male:

“This guy’s connected.  Found us easily enough.  If there’s dirt on him, he’ll find it!”

“I know he’s bad, but Don Coyote will never go for it, Rach. Tatyana just made him Deputy and she takes her job real serious. Or have you forgotten the last time?”

“No I remember. I also remember what happened to the Malks. And what about the club in ’03?  We need numbers now more than ever.”

“Well, I’m not having any part of this. You should just drain him and dump him in the river.”

“Yeah, just walk away.  I trusted you, Tex. Coward!”

Seconds later, the woman was upon him. Nathan yelped in pain then moaned as the woman kisses? Sure. She kissed him. Let’s say that. The world grew dim, but a strange metallic taste thrust him back into focus. It was the best taste. Nathan realized what was happening and struggled free from the woman’s embrace. “Just let me go. I won’t tell anyone,” Nathan pleaded. “Oh, I know you won’t,” the woman replied before tearing into her own wrist, showering Nathan’s face in a torrent of blood. Then everything went black again.

Eventually, Nathan’s eyes forced themselves back open. He had never been so hungry. The door opened, and a young Chinese girl in a short black party dress was shoved into the room. Nathan immediately recognized her as the missing RISD student, Theresa. Nathan managed to calm himself and, eventually, Theresa. She tried to help him escape, but the bonds were too expertly tied and Nathan was too weak to hold himself up long enough to test the knots. The lust, his hunger for the girl was overbearing. Nathan extended his fangs and sank them into her arm. The rush was intense, but Nathan was able to pull away in time. Theresa slumped to the ground, unconscious but alive. With the ingestion of her blood, Nathan was able to summon the strength to escape his bonds and carry Theresa out of the abandoned house they were trapped in. Breaking into a neighboring house to steal a cell phone, Nathan secured a ride from an ally at the Providence PD. The squad car took Theresa to the hospital and Nathan to his apartment.

The next night, Nathan woke to two figures at his door, delivering a summons to meet someone calling himself the Prince of Providence.

 

Beth’s Prelude – Smaller God – Early 2014

Chris Stevenson with Craig Kellner

Beth had always risen well before Rupert, awakening when the sun was still above the horizon and its rays limited her to the more secure parts of what had once been her home, but had now been their home for the past nine years. She did not ordinarily find this time lonely, knowing that he rested nearby. But she felt a pang this night, because this was the third night in a row that Rupert was not there, and Beth still didn’t know why.

But she carried on as she always he, as he had instructed her to. It was a Wednesday, which meant that the class she taught this evening was an installment in her Pop! Archaeology seminar series. It was New England, and students could never seem to get enough of the Salem Witch Trials, so tonight’s seminar was titled “The Real Crucible.” Her willingness to personally continue teaching an entry-level course, rather passing it off on graduate students, plus her pull with the administration, enabled Beth to keep her scheduled responsibilities to the one evening seminar, four nights a week, alternating between the pop classes and graduate level offerings focusing on her specialty of Mesoamerican Anthropology.

Once, Beth had been foolishly proud of her career for its own sake, how she had been able to turn her stunning discoveries in the Central American jungle into respect and, eventually, a tenured position at Brown at a remarkably young age, still in her mid-30s. Now, Beth was still proud of her career, because it was of use to Rupert, and nothing gave Beth greater pleasure than being of use to him. Now, everything she did, she gladly did to advance his vitally important research into vampiric history. It was so important to preserve what little information was available, especially with some few of them left in the world.

Later that night, after the classes were done, Beth visited the artifact storage rooms, wanting to look at an original carving again to verify a possible translation. On her way in, she encountered Steven, one of the Anthropology graduate students, who was anxiously searching for a fragment of ancient pottery he had managed to dislodge with an errant sneeze. Ever since her Embrace, Beth had been gifted with the ability to see the reality behind the everyday reality – connections, ominous shadows, fractured shards of personality and motive. It was always there, opening her perceptions a bit wider, she was able to sense the location of the missing fragment, and Steven expressed his undying gratitude. Tenured professor she may be, but let it not be said that Dr. Mary Elizabeth Winston was above actually helping the students.

Days passed, and then weeks. Every night Beth rose. Most night Beth called the blood to fill out her cheeks, pump her heart, and provide the other signs of life needed to go out among the mortals. Every night, the supply of bagged blood dwindled, consumed two at a time. Normally another delivery would have arrived, but Rupert always handled that – Beth didn’t know where to begin to have shipments of bagged, whole blood delivered to one’s house. And for nine years, that had been the only source of blood she needed. Except, of course, for those luscious evenings when Rupert permitted her to drink from him.

Eventually, Beth’s fear of running out of blood overcame her fear of having to find an actual human to drink from. She had even tried to run the license plate of Rupert’s SUV, only to discover that it had been registered to some other dead man. Wishing she had watched more movies about vampires, Beth decided that finding a likely target at some bar or club would be her best bet. She found one that seemed to cater to the thirtysomething professional set that matched Beth’s apparent age – certainly nowhere a student would attend – and picked out a short, but professional-looking skirt, along with a sleeveless cream blouse. The sort of ensemble that could say sexy while also conveying the impression that, like the finance bro patrons of the establishment, she had been hard at work almost up until it was time to go out.

The whole idea made Beth nervous, but it was easier than she had imagined. Sure, she knew that guys could be suckers when pursuing a companion for the night (that was one reason Beth had picked this sort of bar, although it would not otherwise have been her preference). But the supernatural charm that infused her, that helped make her lectures so popular, felt overwhelming when she brought the full force to bear singling out one of the yuppies and luring him back to the men’s room. Beth felt a rush as her fangs sank through the dark skin of his neck, a heady mixture of alcohol-infused blood rushing into her mouth. A few minutes later, she exited the restroom, having left her victim passed out, slumped against the wall. With a quick “your friend couldn’t hold his liquor,” to the man’s companions, Beth strode out into the night, almost exultant.

But still yearning for her Rupert.

 

Session 12 – Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight – March 12-13, 2015

The coterie had been busy in the weeks since wrapping up their initial investigations in late January. Beth’s influence was waxing at Brown and she had been named a finalist for Brown’s Graduate School Faculty Award for Advising & Mentoring. Additionally, her application to Providence’s Athenæum has been approved and Beth looked forward to seeing if anything would come from her new membership. Spencer expended a lot of personal resources to make sure that the club’s entertainers had everything necessary to perform. Nathan searched for more clues on the activities and leadership of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club. Tony … played lots of Skyrim (ok, maybe not the entire coterie was that busy). Furthermore, the Coterie was working hard to ensure the success of their opening night.

Tony and Nathan discussed prioritizing the search for Casimir’s tormentor – Nathan in hopes that the coterie could collect the Tzimisce’s boon, and Tony in hopes that he would only have to split it with Nathan. The two also agreed to a trade: Tony would provide one bag of blood to Nathan each week and Nathan would owe him a favor to be named later. Tony tried unsuccessfully to trade boons with Spencer, but their discussions broke down when Tony declined Spencer’s requests to hack a telecommunications provider or break into the probably well-warded haven of Kevin, and Spencer declined to owe Tony a favor for turning the lights.

The night before Quintessence opened, Sheriff Tatyana, Deputy Don Coyote, and the Prince’s two ghouled doormen turned up to make sure that the coterie had sufficiently planned for what was expected to be a Kindred-infested event. However, despite their insistence that an ‘inspection’ take place, not much inspecting occurred, apart from Tatyana testing her body weight again various doors and Maurice quizzing Beth about the particulars of the club’s various entry and egress points.

Nathan pulled Don Coyote aside and asked him to have his back during opening night. The two Brujah left and met at Nathan’s office for the real discussion. Nathan discovered that his sire Rachael was basically Providence’s most-wanted Kindred and Don Coyote confirmed that the Outlaws were under Rachael’s control. Furthermore, Coyote expected that they’d turn up again soon because “it’s much easier to ride without slush.” The pair made a deal to contact each other if either one encountered Rachael’s gang in the city. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a few more broodmates to deal with. She’s angry and seems to have a knack for creating her own army.”

Back at Quintessence, the club had mostly cleared out before midnight, everything cleared for opening. In the cavernous space, one of Spencer’s entourage, Conrad, approached the Tremere, asserting that he was “ready for the next level.” Conrad explained that he had been on some websites designed for “people like him” and wanted to drink some of Spencer’s blood.  “It’s only fair, right?” Conrad petitioned. “You’ve been drinking from us for years now and the blog said that after only a small amount, he was able to lift a sofa one handed and run a sub-four minute mile!”  Conrad continued to sell the idea, playing on Spencer’s difficulty saying no. Eventually, Spencer relented and ghouled his friend, Conrad’s reverence for the blood contrasting with the cheap bar glass containing it. Spencer felt terrible about possibly making Conrad substance-dependant, something that Artemis (another member of the entourage) had been dealing with before meeting Spencer, but was also curious if Conrad had picked up any talents in the exchange. The new ghoul tried using powers, but noticing no immediate effect, thanked Spencer and left to practice auspex with the aid of a Magic Eye hidden image book.

Opening night came, and the Coterie awoke nervous and hungry. They arrived to get things all set up with Spencer particularly concerned about the merch booth. The first patrons trickled in and among them, Nathan spied Bruno Russo, who turned up and congratulated Nathan on a good turnout. “Now what would you like reported to the Patriarcas?” the bookie asked, referring to Providence’s most well-known organized crime family. Not wanting the coterie to get stuck under anyone’s thumb, Nathan told Bruno that the club’s owners were to be taken seriously and demanded that any deals should be made with the Patriarcas themselves, not intermediaries. The bookie tried to assure the angry Brujah that he was looking out for his best interests, but agreed to send the message. Bruno then decided that his time was better spent trying to win over the lovely woman who now stood at the bar with a commanding presence. He bought her a drink as Nathan pondered exactly how much trust he could put in Bruno.

One of Spencer’s contacts, a guest artist from further west who had recently released his first single, White Iverson, via SoundCloud, opened the evening to the crowd’s great enjoyment. Tony’s herd of cosplayers showed up as well, complimenting the retro vibes of the club, while one of Tony’s Nosferatu allies, Nick, sampled the locals (obfuscated, of course). Tony himself made his way to the VIP area where primogen Marie-Claire and rest of the Toreador crowd sat waiting for the main event to start. Tony confirmed a boon with the harpy, but found himself drawn in by the force of her presence. Somehow, he had never before noticed how lovely she was and was almost embarrassed to learn that she had made herself flushed with life with life just for the occasion of meeting him. Time began to slip away as Tony sat beside the Toreador, basking in her glory.

Beth also had a mind to welcome the Toreador guests. But before she could accomplish that, she spotted her mortal niece Rina (a freshman at Brown) and Rina’s friend Theresa. Beth was not pleased, thinking back to the alcohol-soaked party the two had thrown at Beth’s townhouse, but Rina was quick to point out the black Xs on her hands: proof that she was not drinking. Rina proclaimed her excitement to see Holographic Ocean (Spencer’s stage name) in concert and Beth was amazed to learn that people were being bused in from out of state for the event. Beth dropped into the conversation that she ran the club, but was disappointed to get essentially no reaction, as Rina found the notion so incredible as to be some sort of joke, and went back to dancing with Theresa.

Nathan witnessed the encounter between Beth, Theresa (who he was still being paid to look out for), and another girl he did not know, and approached Theresa after Beth had excused herself. Theresa spotted the oncoming Nathan and, before he could get a word in, goaded him into dancing with them. Theresa explained to Rina that Nathan “worked with her father” to Rina while Nathan bobbed his awkward penguin dance with the two coeds. Nathan asked Rina how she knew Beth and was surprised to learn that Rina was Beth’s mortal niece. Nathan then offered an introduction to the girls with the chance to meet Nathan’s friend, “Holographic… Spencer.”

Then DJ Holographic Ocean took over the room, mounted on a pedestal as it rose from below stage. As he performed, he could feel the pulse of the crowd and as he mixed his art, feeling as if he could even control the crowd at an unconscious level. As the music continued, Spencer looked around the room and was shocked to lock eyes with a face from his past. Finally, after the set had finished, Ochumere approached Spencer and squeezed his hand. She confessed that she was happy to find Spencer alive (figuratively) and promised that they would catch up later after things quieted down.

 

Session 13 – Cannibal – March 13-14, 2015

After Spencer’s set was finished, he and Ochumere finally had the chance to do some catching up in the meditation room above the Quintessence dance floor. The sound-proofing foam on the walls did its best to mitigate the music from below. Ochumere described how she fled Club Theta following the destruction of the Tremere barony eight years ago. She produced Apollo’s cell phone and explained that she left Milwaukee to seek out Spencer when he called Apollo from Tony’s phone in January. Ochumere described how she visited Elysium at the end of February, and from her description it becomes clear that she mistook Seneschal Gregor for the Prince, an error the Nosferatu had apparently been more than willing to continue, stone-walling the visiting Tremere. Spencer and Ochumere began to wonder when she had been properly presented and acknowledged in Providence.

Meanwhile, Beth paid a visit to the VIP booth occupied by the Toreador contingent. Beth opened polite conversation by bringing up a clothing shop in Newport that happens to have the name of a Toreador who ruled Lyon in the Dark Ages. Patrick took copious notes for Marie-Claire’s benefit when Beth spoke of the shop’s exclusivity. Beth then shifted to spinning a positive comparison to the ancient Toreador style of rule – one of the so-called Courts of Love in the then Toreador-dominated southern France. Marie-Claire dismissed her retainers (and Tony) and explained to Beth that if she were Prince, her subjects would want to serve her in a similar way. Marie-Claire then casually asked Beth if she felt if that would be better than the way Prince Jerome currently ran things. Beth smiled, but evaded providing a real answer to such a delicate question, especially in public. Then the real discussion began, as Beth bluntly brought up the subject of Brown, College Hill, and the Toreadors’ interests there. Marie-Claire stated that it “is obviously a prime hunting ground.” The two bartered and ultimately Marie-Claire consented to champion a shared domain with, with the Malkavian neonate having a smaller portion (of course), but one that happened to include certain areas of import to Beth’s mortal connections. If the proposed arrangement came to pass, however, Beth would owe Marie Claire a significant boon.

Nathan observed this meeting from a distance, witnessing Beth and the Toreador Primogen shake hands to seal an unknown deal. He approached Beth and asked about the conversation but Beth demurred, indicating that it was a private matter. Nathan then asked Beth how she knew Theresa Wong and Rina, pointedly dropping in the “Auntie Beth” remark that Rina had used earlier – much to Beth’s displeasure. Beth explained her niece’s friendship with Theresa and the two Kindred agreed that the coeds should not be permitted further involvement in vampire affairs. Nathan then revealed that he volunteered to introduce the girls to “Holographic Spencer.” Beth dryly observed that this was “a funny way of keeping them away from vampires”.  “But Doctor Winston,” Nathan began, “They made me dance! I had to do something!”  Barely containing the urge to roll her eyes at the Brujah’s excuse, Beth ultimately agreed to a quick, supervised introduction.

The four ascendd the private staircase and introductions are made. Theresa was less than enthusiastic, but Rina gushes, profusely thanking “Auntie Beth,” as Beth internally counted the rising number of vampires who now knew of her mortal relative. The mortals were dismissed and Spencer and Ochumere explained what is going on. Ochumere was getting visibly anxious about the prospect of non-acknowledgement and Nathan empathized with her. Spencer suggested that Ochumere hide out at his beach house until the next Elysium, pretending then that she had only just arrived. Beth, on the other hand, suggested addressing the problem promptly and informing Caoimhe right away. Beth and Nathan left the room in order to locate the Harpy. On the way, however, Beth is distracted by a gathering of Kindred, sending Nathan on to retrieve Caoimhe.

The crowd included a large contingent gathered around the arcane image of a door that Beth had once created while in a fugue state [see Paint It Black, above]. Pickman stood by proclaiming that the painting showed “So much anger. So much rage!” Neonate Toreador Allison tried to figure out what Pickman saw in the image, but ended up commenting that she was also “a fan of Steven King’s Dark Tower novels.” Brujah Deputy Don Coyote commented that he liked it as he was a big fan of Jim Morrison. While the verbal discussion continued, Pickman began a seemingly telepathic conversation with Beth. The older The entire time, Pickman and Beth have a seemingly telepathic conversation. The older Malkavian confessed that “he too, paints.” He continued, seeming to use the word “painter” in place of “Malkavian” and disclosed that there used to be many more ‘painters’ in the city, before a very unfunny joke. Pickman implies that they were destroyed by fire, and seems to indicate Marie-Claire’s involvement, but his communication is cryptic.

Nathan succeeded in locating Caoimhe, and Beth followed them to Spencer’s room, where the whole situation is again explained to the Harpy. Caoimhe pointed out that the coterie was supposed to tell either the Sherriff or Deputy in these situations, but explained that she understands why they came to her since Tatyana wasn’t the most sociable and Don Coyote had shown great resentment of Tremere. Caoimhe agreed to smooth things over (in exchange for favors from Spencer and Ochumere) and explained that Ochumere could be presented at the next Elysium, but only with the Tremere Primogen’s support. Caoimhe tells Spencer that he’s responsible of Ochumere. She then turned to Beth and indicated that she was responsible for the both of them.

After Nathan and Caoimhe left, but Beth lingered unobtrusively, Ochumere spoke with Spencer of a movement in the Tremere where a woman named Carna had seemingly discovered a way to break the bond that Clan Tremere held over its members. Ochumere introduced Spencer to the concept of House Carna and Spencer is excited. Beth, with her own unpleasant history of being bonded, was rather interested as well.

Down on the dance floor, a fight broke out, with Nathan rushing in to stop it. He encounters a large, bearded man in biker leathers knocking the face off of Mark Little, and a small baggie falls out of the biker’s pocket (to later be retrieved by Beth). Nathan clobbers the biker and heaved him out the front door, where ghoul Maurice handcuffed him to a pole. Nathan searched the biker, recovering baggies, a firearm, and cash. He returned to the bar and talks to Little who is nursing a bruised face and, as it turns out, works for the same mob that had Bruno had been hustling for. Little started the beef with the Outlaw Biker because he was dealing drugs on mob turf. Nathan explained that, at least for now, no one is allowed to deal at Quintessence, but the Brujah does not think that the mob will take this well. Nathan assured the dealer that club ownership would be speaking directly to the mob and gave him the cash from the biker to cover lost revenue. Nathan then informed Don Coyote that their concerns had been well placed as the Outlaws had arrived back in Providence. The two Brujah then head out front to have a “talk” with the biker.

With the action inside the club settling into a dull roar, Beth approached Kate, who was in her usual ‘sitting on the sidelines swinging her legs’ position. To Beth’s chagrin, Kate doesn’t seem particularly impressed with what Beth has put together, but does appreciate the assembled collection of blood and violence. Beth comments that she “had hoped to avoid the violence part,” and Kate reminds of her its inevitability – it is not the first time the two vampires have discussed this topic. Beth tells Kate that, while the club would not always be ‘open to the public’ in the way it was on opening night, Kate could just let Beth know if she wanted to partake some other night. Kate said that if this was the only open night, then they should make good use of it, and headed for the dance floor. Beth followed. Not wanting to falter in front of Kate, Beth gave it her all and cut quite the rug on the dance floor. Kate smiled and unexpectedly pulled Beth closer as the two Kindred danced into the night.

 

Session 14 – Lawyers Guns and Money – March 14-16, 2015

The two Brujah – Nathan and Don Coyote – approached the mortal biker handcuffed to a light pole near the front of Quintessence. Nathan noticed that he had really laid a beating on the Outlaw dealer earlier in the night, and a few patrons were starting to rubberneck at the scene. Don Coyote disappeared for a minute and then returned in a maroon sedan. Nathan and Maurice loaded the prisoner into the back seat before the Deputy and the ghouled doorman spirited the gang member away.

As the party at the club wound down, the coterie met up to dissect the night, including inquiries from their fellow Kindred about access to Quintessence on later nights, and the fight between gang members that Nathan had ended. Tony reported that fellow Nosferatu Nick had approached him about the Nos wanting to frequent the club, but Beth objected to a suggested response from Tony that she thought would have essentially turned Quintessence into a secondary haven for Tony’s entire clan. Tony, still entranced by his earlier encounter with Toreador Marie Claire, insisted that she was so radiant that she should be allowed unlimited access, in the process taking a pointed shot at Providence’s other Harpy, who also served as the coterie’s Shadow. Beth returned the bag of pinkish drugs that she had seen dropped when Nathan entered the earlier fight. The Malkavian seemed none-too-pleased with Nathan, who was then forced to explain what had happened with the fight, including his history with the Outlaws and the possibility that his sire, Rachael, was running the gang. Spencer argued that Rachael should be blackballed from the club because one of her gang was involved in the fight, but the conversation was interrupted when Nathan received a message from Don Coyote.

Following the Deputy’s prompt, Nathan, Tony, and Beth traveled to the VFW post on Winter Street, leaving Spencer behind to finish closing up the club. When they arrived at Post 172, Nathan immediately spotted the stolen sedan from earlier that night. The coterie found the post unlocked, and descended the stairs to find a bar area decorated with faded patriotic ephemera. They also found Maurice and Coyote’s right-hand man, Tex, and several of Tex’s ghouls, who for all the world appeared to be (and, it turns out, were) members of the Post. The vampires and ghouls stood watch over the captured Outlaw, who was now handcuffed to a sturdy wooden chair. Don Coyote emerged from behind a pair of saloon-style doors, wiping blood from his forearms with a dirty dishcloth. “I told you I’d wait for you, Nathan.”

Tony and the Brujah quietly discussed how to handle the biker’s interrogation. Beth wanted to depart, rather than stick around for what seemed destined to turn into a torture session. But Nathan asked that she stay so that she could use her ability to read emotions to help assess any responses provided, and Beth reluctantly agreed.

Tony and Nathan began a good cop/bad cop routine to soften the captive up. Early in the questioning, Nathan realized that the biker was looking a notably better than he had looked a few hours ago, but shook the feeling away. Under Tony’s questioning, the biker revealed that the Outlaw Motorcycle Club was indeed back in town and had chosen Quintessence as a premiere spot to sell drugs. Nathan took his turn in asking where the Outlaws were currently based, but the biker instead berated Nathan, stating that he had “laid him out really good during their last scuffle”. Nathan’s mind reassembled the words a few times before recognizing the biker as the leather-clad man who he had chased down an alley last summer. A chase that had ended with a two-by-four to Nathan’s head.

Nathan’s mind flooded with rage as the consequences of that encounter surged up from his memory – his meeting with Rachael, his transformation into a vampire, the misery of his continued existence. Beth, Tony, and the rest watched in horror as the Beast took hold of Nathan – and Nathan took hold of the still-laughing biker. The Brujah casually lifted up the biker, chair and all, and smashed him into the wall. Repeatedly. The building cleared as the raging Nathan turned his only clue to the whereabouts of his sire into a dark red smear on a wall decorated with the memories of dead heroes.

The following night, the coterie avoided each other and any discussion of what had transpired the night before. At Quintessence, Spencer aided Conrad in setting up for his set. Tony met up with Nick, and at Tony’s suggestion the two vampires broke into the apartment of a member of the mob that had been threatening the coterie’s club. What had started as a simple theft of blood and property turned darker when Tony accepted Nick’s suggestion that they simply kill the mobster in his sleep – and then set fire to the apartment on their way out to cover their tracks.

Beth visited the Providence Athenaeum, and got the newcomer’s tour from an attendant named Dorothy. During the tour, Beth’s sight revealed what appeared to be an infinite staircase descending into an impossibly placed room – a staircase that seemed to be simply ignored by all of the other patrons, as if they didn’t even realize it was there. However, her sight also revealed the working of familiar blood sorcery – the same ward patterns that had surrounded the haven of Kevin, the Tremere whip. The same wards that had badly burned Spencer. It was no surprise, then, when Kevin – who had originally suggested that Beth join the Athenaeum – appeared to engage discuss matters. The vampire spoke openly about how Beth might be able to iad the Tremere in the future, and receive access to hidden knowledge for her efforts.

Nathan had awakened still at the VFW post, which appeared to have been shut down during the day, the gruesome remains of his actions last night still spattered on the walls and floor. Nathan grimly mopped up puddles of coagulated blood. He dropped the Outlaw’s remains in a dumpster, doused them with hard liquor, and set the whole mess ablaze. He went back to his apartment, and collapsed in a depressed stupor.

The following night, Nathan awoke to find a message from his ‘pal’ Bruno, who related that “Lieutenant Johnny” from the Providence mob had agreed to a meeting that night at the Red Fez on Peck Street. Nathan cleaned up and relayed this information to the rest of the coterie. They all arrived at the appointed time, sliding into a large booth that at the back of the restaurant. The lone, middle-aged gentleman with a crisp dress shirt and sharp green eyes welcomed the group. He explained that he spoke on behalf of the current head of the Providence mob, who was unfortunately occupied with a sting in prison. Johnny praised the group’s entrepreneurship, reiterating the mob’s demands for an immense cut of the club’s revenue. Tony, for his part, sought to throw the mobster off his game with some awkward conversation. Beth made a case that the mob sought access to a potentially lucrative drug market at the club, but instead of offering to pay for that access, were seeking a cut of the club’s revenue that would put it out of business, leaving the mob with nothing. Nathan pointed out that the mob’s only take the night before had been given to them by Nathan, who had taken it from the Outlaws – the mob wasn’t even able to keep a rival criminal element out of the club. But the made man was unrelenting in his demands, blowing off what he described as a schoolmarm and a failed cop who should know better than to go against the mob – the coterie would pay or face the consequences. However, Johnny said that, as a courtesy, he would give the group until the end of the month to come up with the cash, and would not apply a penalty for the group’s failure to come to the mob before opening a business in their territory. The mobster then left, kindly informing the waitress that the coterie’s tab for the night was on him.

 

Session 15 – The Beautiful People – March 17-18, 2015

Having been primed for a motorcycle threat, Tony was quick to notice the Ducati Streetfighter as it pulled into Quintessence’s parking lot. Tony alerted the rest of the coterie, who assembled in time to greet the leather-clad figure at the bar. Caoimhe removed her helmet and smiled, and the group retired to the VIP area for a discussion. Caoimhe, the coterie’s Shadow, explained that she had a small matter that needed clearing up and wanted the coterie’s help. Patrick, one of the city’s Toreador, had planned a little get-together for the elite Kindred in the area and Caoimhe wanted a to send him a message –  one that would thoroughly embarrass him but not ruin the fun of the other attending guests. Beth and Spencer, already owing boons to Caoimhe, had no real choice to but agree, and Nathan and Tony agreed with the promise of a favor owed later. Caoimhe produced a small rectangular box wrapped in brown paper and string and asked that her gift be left for Patrick to find. Caoimhe confirmed that the Salon would take place at the Black Box Theatre and that the Coterie would be expected attendees.

Before she left, Caoimhe took a moment to congratulate Beth, cryptically warning her that she was “playing a very dangerous game.”

Tony jumped on SchreckNet and did a little digging on Patrick. Patrick’s dossier on the Nosferatu database, which Tony shared with the coterie, was extensive and detailed his IRA membership, emigration to Providence in 2004, a rumor that he had blood-bonded Allison, and his talent for producing snuff films. Spencer spent some time fishing for stories from Nathan’s past and learned that Nathan’s introduction into the vamp life wasn’t nearly as chill as Spencer’s had been. Less than thrilled to hear of the rumors about a possible blood bond involving her sometimes friend, Beth phoned Allison to pry some advice on what to expect at the Salon, but mostly received unhelpful fashion advice [Allison’s personal style is very Goth; Beth’s is very not], along with the promise of piano music, fun and games, and the visitation of another Camarilla Prince. 

The following night, the coterie met up outside the one room theatre waiting for it to open. A long line stretched down Empire Street and Tiny, one of the Prince’s bouncer-ghouls, handed out slips of colored paper to a few individuals in line, including the coterie and a few recognizable members of Providence’s Kindred. When they arrived at the entrance, Allison instructed the neonates to write their names on the paper slips and place them into a top hat. The coterie complied and entered the confined room, noting jet black brick walls, a tripod with a VHS-C camcorder, a pair of small closets, and an upright piano where a blonde woman played a somber nocturne. Spencer took notice of a corner table where Nosferatu Seneschal Gregor and Malkavian Pickman played an intriguing facsimile of a chess game.  Pickman moved a pawn from its to the center to board, completely disregarding the piece’s legal moves. Gregor took the piece with one of his black knights and Pickman then replaced it with a queen produced out of nowhere. Gregor smiled, shrugged, and continued play as normal. 

Patrick made his way to the center of the room to welcome his guests and announce the evening’s activities. The paper slips in hat turned out to be a mash-up between a Secret Santa game (gifts to be exchanged prior to the next Elysium) and the teenage classic “Seven Minutes of Heaven.” Patrick drew names from the hat and the first couple ushered into the closet was Tony and the visiting Prince. The piano music died down and Prince Elsa Linden of Hartford rose from the bench and pulled the Nosferatu into the closet after Tony was able to figuratively pick his jaw up off of the ground. Blood play commenced with the two vampires mutually edging towards a blood bond. Spencer ended up being paired with an obfuscated Kurt Densch and the two decide on a sharing of blood and disciplines. The entire process froze Beth in place, terrified about even the slightest step towards another blood bond, and so she was immensely relieved to find that she was paired with coterie-mate Nathan. The Malkavian made it very clear that nothing was going to happen and the two waited out their time in the closet, discussing how to surreptitiously drop off Caoimhe’s package. 

The first activity completed, a bloody variation of “Knifey-Spoony” commenced on top of a blue tarp, a blindfolded doctor sitting in the corner to attend to the losing contestants and their knife (or spoon) wounds. The doctor and contestants were each handed wads of cash. Tony nervously shuffled his feet as he recognized one of his few friends – Matthew Cooks was apparently on call as the “no questions asked” medic.

As Matthew and the contestants were ushered out, Patrick turned on his video camera and announced the final party game: a battle royal between mortals with a grand prize being a sip of vitae straight from Patrick’s vein. Spencer recognized ones of the contestant as Conrad, one of the members of his entourage, to whose desperate pleas for ghouldom Spencer had only recently succumbed. The Tremere caused quite a commotion as he interjected himself and began arguing with Patrick. Nathan, noticing an opening while Patrick was distracted, sidled up and powered the camera off. Spencer managed to convince Patrick to allow him to take Conrad’s place in the fight. The brawl ensued, and Spencer was quickly bloodied after the mortals teamed up against him. Their luck did not hold, however, as his Beast came to the front, fueled by the power of the Blood, and Spencer defeated and consumed his foes in a frenzy. The Beast was satisfied by the kill, and Spencer found himself the center of attention among the vampires, exulting his his ability to entertain through the bloodsport.

The coterie left the salon intact and having completed the task set for them by Caoimhe. Beth, however, was despondent, feeling the weight of renewed realization that everyone is the court of Providence was a monster, even the other members of her coterie. And, no matter how she tried to escape it, even her.

 

Session 16 – How To Save A Life/Ready to Go – March 15-19, 2015

(Note: The beginning of this session occurs before the events of Session 15; the second half occurs immediately after. Both feature only Spencer and Beth.)

Spencer decided to take Caoimhe’s warning about the unrecognized status of his friend Ochumere seriously. However, obtaining this would require the blessing of Spencer’s Primogen, Reiss. Spencer was on far from good terms with him – and Reiss was reported to be out of town. But Spencer remembered that one Elysium, many nights ago now, Beth seemed to have gotten along with Mr. Reiss quite well, at least on a professional level. Spencer beseeched the Malkavian for assistance, and she agreed to contract the Tremere Primogen on Spencer’s behalf. The two composed a message and some nights later, Spencer, Ochumere, and Beth received an invitation to attend to the Reagent at the Warwick Chantry.

They arrived at the chatry in Spencer’s sports car, a feeling of unease and being in the wrong place heavy in the air. Auspex-enhanced sight revealed the many wards surrounding the dilapidated Masonic Lodge and also a single open archway through those wards. The three Kindred entered the building and descended a Jacob’s ladder staircase at the end of the hall. Beth realized that it was identical to the warded staircase at the Providence Athenaeum.

Reiss dominated the room below, leaning against a stone alter while swirling a stemless wine glass filled with a dark liquid. Reiss chastised Spencer in front of his friend and fellow Coterie member about his conduct in public. And his feud with Tremere Whip Kevin. Seeking to draw Beth into the conversations, Reis made allusions to being an educator with misbehaving students and invited Beth’s opinion on the matter. Beth commisserated as best as she could, watching as Reiss circled Ochumere like a predator, stopping to stroke her hair.

It came down to brass tacks. Reiss imparted that if he had wanted Ochumere accepted, it would have been done. Likewise, if he had wanted her gone, the Blood Hunt would have already begun. So, as with so many vampiric arrangements, it came down to how much of a boon Spencer was willing to owe. An agreement was reached, and Spencer quickly left with Ochumere in tow. But Reiss bid Beth to remain and asked her to consult on some early Mesoamerican script that Reiss admitted were beyond his abilities or her sire’s earlier unsatisfactory attempts. Beth agreed to the terms trading access to the text for her annotations on the matter. But, a nerve touched by Reiss’s earlier conduct, asked one additional thing: that Reiss leave Ochumere alone. The Tremere smiled. Of course he would.

Conrad had been a bad boy.  “How could you do this?” Spencer spat at his mortal friend. Conrad stuttered, helping his friend out of his gory outfit and into a purple unicorn t-shirt that he had picked up from a late-night convenience store. Conrad finally admitted that he had been on the darkweb ghoul forum again when member using the alias “Charlie Brown” had tipped him to an event where he stood a good chance of winning a sip of vampire blood. “He said that it should be only older vampires there, so I didn’t think that you would be there to see,” Conrad admitted. Spencer noted the shame in his voice and the two climbed into his car to drive back to their Newport beachhouse.  “What were you hoping to achieve?”  Spencer demanded. “You know that you could have been killed if I haven’t interfered!”

Many minutes of silence passed before Conrad found the courage to speak again. “I want to be like you! You were amazing and I’m ready for the next step!” Spencer considered this, comparing the desires of Conrad with the requirements of Camarilla society. He knew that he was already in deep with local Tremere and getting Ochumere acknowledged was still not a sure thing. But he had already shown his hand by intervening for Conrad during the Salon.

“Okay,” started the Tremere.  “If it is really what you want, we shall begin your internship, effective immediately.” Conrad was ecstatic and listened as Spencer detailed what he knew about Kindred society, pausing slightly on the Third Tradition. Spencer also explained everything that he knew–and probably more than he should have–concerning his Coterie’s unlives. The two arrived at the haven with more than a tinge of anticipation.

* * * 

Beth’s night had been horrific. She was feeling overwhelmed by the lack of humanity on parade at the Salon. Spencer was the only member of her coterie that had not previously displayed overt monstrouness and, after Spencer’s homicidal display, she was now also convinced that even her own coterie were universally terrible people. Still overwhelmed when she got home, Beth called up Tracy (despite the ungodly hour) and asked if she could come over for a talk. The cardiologist agreed and soon arrived at Beth’s home and haven. Beth caught her mortal girlfriend in a tight embrace that caused the worried tension to melt away from Tracy’s shoulders.

“I want to show you something,” Beth explained, leading Tracy down the stairs to her basement. “This is where I actually sleep,” Beth began. “The bed, the room upstairs. It’s just for show. And you.”  Tracy looked around the finished basement, noting the bricked-over windows, a desk covered in copies of ancient-looking papers, a mini-fridge, and a stone slab resembling a hospital table. “We’ve never been able get get lunch since we got back together. And I know you’ve been getting anxious over why I’ve avoided having you spend the night. I am… I believe the colloquial term for what I am is vampire.”

Beth waited as Tracy digested the information. “I accept that you believe you are a vampire, but we’ve been through a lot and this isn’t a deal breaker for me.” Beth sighed and began a detailed explanation of why she was actually a real vampire, but Tracy simply nodded along to placate Beth. Tracy, implying that perhaps this was a previously-undisclosed fetish, asked if Beth drank blood and offered her wrist. Beth, horrified at the thought of feeding from the woman she loved, turned it away. Beth offered more explanations and bits of proof (healing wounds, extending fangs) but, lacking any overt disciplines, was unable to convince the highly rational Tracy. Beth opened up to Tracy about the Beast and Beth’s certainty that she was a monster and would inevitably succumb, but what would have been a difficult topic under any circumstances was made nigh impossible by the barrier of unbelief.  Ultimately, Beth offered up that, when the sun rose, she would die again, and would not return to life until the following evening, but cautioned Tracy not to call an ambulance or contact anyone. 

The two lay together in the basement until the sun stole Beth’s consciousness. But Beth awakend alone. As Beth rose before the setting of the sun, she was able to see its light through the open door out of the basement. As Beth stirred, a trembling Tracy descended the stairs, armed with a frying pan. Upon seeing Beth “alive”, Tracy sprinted into her girlfriend’s arms and they shared another embrace. Beth warned Tracy that there were “people” who would take exception to Tracy knowing about their world of darkness, the same ones who’s actions had caused Beth to despair the night before. Tracy assured Beth that, together, they could fight these metaphorical demons, both internal and external. “And for the record, the fangs are cute.”

 

Session 17 – Oblivion – March 19-20, 2015

The coterie gathered to discuss the elephant in the room: practically every older vampire in New England was now aware of what Conrad would do for even the chance at a sip of vampire blood and the lengths that Spencer would do to protect his ghoul. And who knew how much Conrad knew about the coterie’s activities? It was a security threat. However, upon promises of favors and a assurances that Conrad would be kept under control and would not be further informed about the coterie’s secrets, it was one that they were willing to accept. Shortly after this conversation, Beth cashed in the several favors Spencer now owed her for a supply of the Tremere’s blood, which Beth had been informed no longer possessed the power to form blood bonds [editor’s note – this Chronicle does not use the V5 rule where vitae loses the ability to form bonds shortly after leaving the vampire’s body].

***

Tracy had been curious about Beth’s newest time-consuming project (“Please not another anthropology thing!“) and Beth was anxious to show it off. That Friday night, Beth had asserted exclusive use of Quintessence. The two toured the club and things finally sank in for the mortal as Beth lead her through the door marked “Employees Only.” Beth lead her girlfriend upstairs to the catwalks overlooking the mass of humanity and explained that places like this were highly desired among ‘her people’ as they made for easy hunting grounds. The night went on with Tracy’s questions interspersed with periods of dancing, Beth taking satisfaction in Tracy’s enjoyment – clubs had always been more Tracy’s style than Beth’s when the two were younger. Later, both spotted a slumped figure at one of the booths and a security guard was quickly summoned to extract the man and call an ambulance. Another pink powder bag, like the one Beth had found on the club’s opening night, lay behind the man. Beth handed it to the EMT, who related that there had been several other cases of the stuff. He identified it as cocaine mixed with something new. The MET stated that other users had awakened with a crazy strength and crazy anger. It didn’t take a chemistry degree for a vampire to recognize vitae-infused narcotics.

***

Spencer was already heading out when he saw that a strange figure stood at his door. He recognized an unobfuscated Kurt Densch, who had arrived to start his “cultural exchange” with the Tremere, as arranged at the Salon two nights prior. Densch ‘allowed’ Spencer to open the back door of Spencer’s red sports car for him, climbed in, and the two sped off back to Providence proper. Densch explained that he “would be grateful for a ride back downtown” and the two carried on small talk. Spencer pulled up to Tony’s house and Densch made a small slit in his wrist. Spencer mimicked the action and, crossing arms, the Kindred drank of each other’s blood. With promises of formal training in obfuscation, Densch vanished and departed.

Tony watched as Spencer’s car arrived and was a bit confused as he watched the back door open and close by itself. Spencer exited the front of the car and Tony’s head ached trying to make sense of the scene. The two then gathered at Tony’s kitchen table and pulled out a burner phone and texted the number Beth had obtained at the pizzeria during the coterie’s earlier investigation:

1: “10 pizzas for 135 Benefit Street?”
2: “Who is this?”
1:  “Let’s meet up. Providence Station, tomorrow night?”
2:  “No. Twenty minutes. Elysium. M&S Bar.”
1:  “Done.”

A bit later, Spencer and an obfuscated Tony arrived at the restaurant at the Biltmore and found Kevin waiting at the bar. They took a seat and Kevin, not recognizing Tony through his obfuscation, assumed that there was trickery afoot. Tony and Spencer offered Kevin an out by saying that they would drop the inquiry if Kevin simply apologized to Casimir for sending the pizza boys to his haven. Kevin responded that he “would not belittle himself and grovel before that Tzmisce scum,” and that was that. Tony and Spencer then departed for Benefit Street and informed the subject of Kevin’s pranks. Casimir welcomed the duo into the house and was elated to hear the news. Spencer then asked if Casimir had plans and Casimir stated that he would “be very busy over the next few nights.”

Tony’s phone rang.  It was Philip who explained that he was in trouble and wanted Tony’s help. Philip conveyed that he believed that he was being made a scapegoat for a recent lapse in ShreckNet network security. Tony departed at once for the Warrens, taking the long way to avoid closed sections. A live wire, broken computer equipment, and Philip’s shriveled body greeted Tony at his friend’s usual haunt. A loud roar that was too close for comfort warned the Nosferatu of the presence of the unidentified sewer monster’s that had been plaguing the warrens. Tony messaged his clan, who began to completely lock down the warrens pursuant to their emergence protocols. Tony had only precious minutes to escape.  Hurrying down the passages, Tony found himself in an unfamiliar area and sealed the final door behind him. He was in a foul-smelling room lined with military grade tough boxes. Peering into one, Tony recognized the visage of his sire staring back at him from torpor, a stake rammed into her chest.

 

Session 18 – We’re Leaving – March 27, 2015

A cheap plastic banner (courtesy of Patrick) proclaimed: “Good Show, Debutantes!” (a backhanded compliment on the coterie’s first appearance at a Salon) as the coterie entered the Biltmore’s Grand Ballroom. Spencer’s Tremere visitor from California, Ochumere, approached the Prince and knelt, asking to be acknowledged and for permission to reside in the City. Reiss caught Beth’s eye and then supplied that Ochumere had her Primogen’s blessing and an understanding of the Traditions. The Prince of Providence nodded and Spencer was quick to congratulate his friend.

Meanwhile, Nathan had some bridges to mend. The Brujah crossed paths with Don Coyote, who explained that he had quite the conundrum ahead of him. A raging Brujah was quite the potential Masquerade breach, but Don Coyote understood that Nathan had done his best to clean things up. Still, the Deputy was still angry about Nathan slaughtering heir only link to anarch leader Rachael. Nathan promised that he would find her and make amends with Tex, who was understandably upset about his VFW post getting trashed.

Nathan moved on to speak with Spencer, who had an idea about using Thaumaturgy on the vitae-infused drugs, which Beth had now twice found at the coterie’s club, and hopefully learn their source. 

Beth approached Reiss, who was happy to announce that “their girl did well” before inquiring about the Malkavian’s progress translating the materials he had provided her. Beth explained that it was a pre-Columbian manuscript that contained other-worldly figures and motifs that she recognized as references to various Mesoamerican deities. Beth had determined that the codex was a divinatory manuscript that could be used as a key or lens to decipher another manuscript that the codex constantly referred to. Additionally, Beth described various references to the “Lords of the Night”, a set of nine gods who each ruled over every ninth night forming a calendrical cycle. Each lord was associated with a particular fortune, bad or good, that was an omen for the night that they ruled over. Beth concluded the Lords of the Night could possibly be ancient Kindred. Quite pleased, Reiss noted that he would need to rely on Beth a bit more now and promised that a courier would deliver what Reiss believed to be the companion tome to the Codex. Throughout the conversation, Spencer and Tony observed the interaction carefully, looking for signs that their handiwork with Kevin had been noticed.

Tony located his mentor, the Nosferatu Primogen, and told Densch that he wanted to discuss what they would do about the sewer monster. Densch tentatively agreed, but mentioned that they should find a more secure place to talk. After agreeing to give Densch a ride home, Tony approached Prince Elsa of Hartford, who was attending court as Prince Jerome’s special guest, and presented the gift he owed her from their encounter at the Salon. Not wanting to seem too eager, Prince Elsa produced a parcel of her own and slid it across the table to Tony. Tony opened the box to discover a key bearing the logo of a rather high end British car manufacturer.

Prince Jerome then introduced and welcomed Carla to the city, a personal guest of his, and proclaimed her the court’s ambassador from “The Clan of Death.” Carla rose, produced a card, and in a heavy Italian accent, read that she was very happy to be welcomed. Despite her presentation as being unfamiliar with English, the members of the coterie were able to recognize her from her visit to Quintessence on opening night a couple weeks before, when she had displayed no such difficulties.

The Prince then proclaimed that, at long last, the Domain of Brown would be conferred over to a joint “Toreador and Malkavian interest.” The Prince continued that he was elated that there was “lots of multi-clan support for this” decision and that he was “very glad his subjects can come together and agree in these modern nights.”  Toreador Primogen Marie-Claire took the floor to mostly echoed his thoughts. With the more senior Malkavian, Pickman, not terribly well-suited to public speaking (and not involved in the arrangement anyway), the Prince’s gaze fell upon Beth, and he invited her to address the court on behalf of her Clan. Beth agreed with the already expressed sentiments, and went on to talk of Brown as a great opportunity for Kindred to learn from each other.

Marie-Claire turned to fellow Harpy Caoimhe and shot her an acid victory smile, earning a scoff in return. Under her breathe (but not quiet enough), Caoimhe grumbled about Marie-Claire’s pettiness. “You are the petty one” the Toreador retorted. “Well, if your kind wasn’t spending all their time threatening the Masquerade with their Salons, you’d notice the real danger that we’re all in” Caoimhe shot back. With an alarming level of heat flaring between the coterie’s Shadow and her newly-sealed ‘ally’ in the Toreador, Beth attempted to intervene between the two. She pressed on the Prince’s words of words of unity, but Marie-Claire verbally lunged, proclaiming that her rival was “a mortal lover and too soft for this existence”. Defeated, Caoimhe nodded to the court and departed the scene. Marie-Claire gave a shrug of innocence. Beth, well aware how much Marie-Claire’s ‘insult’ would apply to her as well, remained near the court’s political center. But Spencer took off after Caoimhe, with Nathan not too far behind them. 

Spencer rushed past a maid and caught the Ventrue as she traversed the mezzanine to the parking garage. “Are you okay?” he asked the (former?) Harpy. Caoimhe turned, wiped her face, and said that things “were well in hand.” Further conversing, Caoimhe revealed that her present to Patrick, left by the coterie at the Salon, had been nothing more than a silver letter opener. Spencer mentioned his plan to use blood magic to trace the weird drugs and Caoimhe agreed it was a good plan before riding off on her motorcycle.

As the sound of the engine faded, Spencer heard the unmistakable sound of a gun being loaded. He turned to see a woman dressed as a maid – the same one he had passed on the way to the garage – pull out a .308 rifle and begin to monologue: “Have you felt the fear yet?  Imagine my luck to have found two of you. Your kind took my Juanito from me. Now I will take something from you.  You will know how bad I hurt.”

Recognizing the rhetoric from an earlier note, Spencer shouted, “Hey!  You’re the person who bricked my car!”  His exclamation was answered with gunfire. But Nathan, who had not been far behind Spencer, arrived on the scene and knocked the woman to the ground before she could get off another volley. Together, Nathan and Spencer disabled her and texted the rest of the coterie, who arrived soon after.  The coterie looked around for a convenient place to store the woman when a tall European man in a grey suit and chauffeur cap exited a beautiful vehicle and presented a solution.

“Mr. Castiglionni, the name’s Arthur Bates and I am at your service.  Shall we put her in the boot?” The coterie followed his advice and took the would-be assassin to an abandoned section of sewer to start their interrogation.

 

Session 19 – Heaven Knows – March 27-28, 2015

Tony led Beth and Spencer through the now-abandoned Nosferatu Warrens as Nathan kept watch at street level. The two visiting vampires were surprised at how clean-smelling this part of the sewers was as they dragged their captive mortal hunter to a safe interrogation space. A quick search of the prisoner revealed a innocuous collection of garlic, holy water, and holy symbols … and a not-so-innocuous incendiary grenade. Beth watched while Spencer and Tony asked questions, sussing out that the “maid,” a true Catholic believer named Maria, was the mother of “Juanito” and wanted revenge for him. Spencer thought back the last night at Club Theta when Nereus had accidentally drained a young Hispanic mortal and understood. Spencer tried to commiserate, but only succeeded in angering the woman who projected her hate for her son’s killer onto vampires in general and Spencer’s Tremere group in particular. 

After Tony and Spencer had run out of productive questions, Beth asked for a private conversation the mortal and the other coterie members agreed and left. Tony doubled back and attempted to listen in on the conversation between Beth and Maria, but had no success, and departed rather than further risk discovery. In the interrogation space, Maria denounced Beth as an abomination, but the Malkavian drily observed that the Church had been calling her an abomination long before she became a vampire. When Maria said that she would not listen to a soulless demon, Beth startled the hunter by asserting that vampires did have souls. And, indeed, vampires were not demons, but rather each was tormented by their own personal, inescapable demon. Beth did, however, readily agree with Maria that vampires were monsters, even her. Still, the Malkavian asserted, Maria should not condemn Spencer for the actions of another vampire – and certainly there were better targets for Maria’s ire. Having sown some doubt, Beth offered the hunter an out – Beth couldn’t have Maria hunting vampires in Providence, but Maria was free to go if she’d simply leave Providence. The hunter relented, although she opined that other hunters would not be willing to listen to Beth’s reasoning, and warned of a coming inquisition on all vampires.

After Tony left the sewers, Arthur Banks drove him back to the Biltmore where they picked up the Densch and Gregor, the Nosferatu Primogen and Seneschal, respectively. The two Kindred entered the car and Gregor muffled the sound in the vehicle as Tony asked what was to be done about the monster stalking the Warrens. “What to do indeed,” Densch muttered. He then directly asked what Tony and Spencer had been doing with Kevin at Elysium the night that he disappeared. Tony shifted in his seat and lied that he was attempting to ease the friction between the Tremere. The two elder Nosferatu met each other’s gazes, and seemed accept Tony’s explanation. Densch explained that the Nosferatu needed allies now more than ever and, with great effort, Gregor had convinced the Prince that that thing in the Warrens was an external threat that the Nosferatu had sacrificed their own home to entrap it. Densch then announced that he would be cashing in the collective boons owed by Tony to “get rid of the abomination!” Densch suggested that Tony should be able to get his coterie to assist him in this, thus providing that the neonate was capable of maintaining allies. 

Worried, but nodding his consent, Tony exited the car after his superiors and went back into Elysium to speak with Nick about scouting out the Warrens using his rodent friends. Nick agreed to provide intelligence via Animalism for the good of the clan, while Tony ordered a small drone. Many rats would die over the following week, but allowed Tony to pinpoint the creature’s usual sleeping location, even snapping a photo before the drone was destroyed. 

Having let the hunter go, Beth also headed back to Elysium, where she was approached by Kate, the Gangrel who had first introduced Beth to Kindred society, who confessed to ‘looking in on’ Beth at Quintessence. Taking Beth’s Hand, Kate explained that vampire/mortal pairing were never like books and always ended poorly for both. Beth thanked her for the thought, but frankly disclosed that she simply could not get by without Tracy.

Unlike his coterie-mates, Spencer did not go back to Elysium, but instead returned to Quintessence, where he began a ritual to discover the truth of the vitae-infused drugs that kept turning up at the club. He parsed out a sample of the narcotics, mixed it with his own blood in a silver chalice, and drank deeply. A vision quest lead his consciousness through the veil and he was in an old bathroom of a decrepit building. Hearing a distant moan, Spencer called out, “Trent?!” and walked through the walls towards another room before hearing a response. “Rachael, is that you?” Spencer continued, gliding through the building and through the door marked “Dolls.”  A man hung upside-down in the bathroom, suspended from his feet with meat hooks driven through his back and tiny fangs poking through his gums. Blood dripped slowly down the chain and into a plastic five-gallon pail near a table covered with unmistakable white powder. Spencer felt himself falling back into the real world, but had the sense of mind to look out the front window of the building and note the nearby street signs. 

Spencer informed the coterie of what he had learned before hiring someone to drive him home, as enough narcotics remained in his undead corpse to make him wary of driving himself. Spencer arrived at his beach house haven to open windows and a stinky kitchen. Passing Artemis on the couch, Spencer investigated the mess to discover that a thermite grenade had burned through his refrigerator. Enraged, Spencer berated his mortal friend for the carnage. Artemis explained that he had found a “beer can” on the front porch and put it into the fridge after successfully removing the fishing line. Apparently someone had been busy in case Spencer survived Elysium.

 

Session 20 – Ballroom Blitz – April 1, 2015

Spencer explained his visions to the coterie and Nathan became quite eager for the chance to confront his Anarch sire. Remembering his promise, the Nathan called on his fellow Brujah Don Coyote with news of Rachael’s hideout. But Nathan convinced Don Coyote not to invite his subordinate Tex, fearing that Tex’s loyalty would be shaken when confronted with their shared sire. Anticipating a fight, and recognizing that the coterie were far from seasoned combatants, Beth called in allies as well. Kate knew of Rachael from her gang’s reputation in Hartford and agreed to help, stating that Beth “sure knows how to show a girl a good time.” Beth called Caoimhe as well, hoping to kill two birds with one stone by getting more assistance and giving the Ventrue an opportunity to recover from recent setbacks. Caoimhe agreed that their fight was a just one, but made no promises to be there in time.

The coterie decided to wait for their strike force to assemble at Quintessence. While they were waiting, Nathan called up his junkie contact Mark Little and asked for a favor: preferably a high-caliber, unregistered favor. Little delivered a nine-mil pistol and a thirty-eight special. Nathan handed Tony the revolver, keeping the semi-automatic handgun for himself. Kate and Don Coyote arrived soon after. The Kindred were deciding whether to give Caoimhe a few extra minutes when another vampire entered the club. The coterie immediately recognized Prince Elsa of Hartford from her recent appearances in Providence. Tony swooned. The visiting Prince, already privy to the coming assault on Rachael, wished them luck and petitioned that the coterie finish the job that night, rather than giving Rachael the option to live. Elsa noted that she had heard positive things about Beth’s reliability, seeming to suggest that it would behoove the Malkavian to continue being so that night, then left the coterie to their work.

The band made what turned out to only a short walk over to the Outlaw hideout: a derelict restaurant just a few blocks south of their Domain. They noticed two motorcycles parked out back and pale light escaping from behind boarded up windows. Kate transformed into her white wolf form, snuck around, took up lookout from a concealing hedge. Then another motorcycle approached carrying a figure wearing a black helmet and a large backpack. The newcomer proved to be friend rather than foe and, as the figure emerged from the shadows and lifted its visor, Beth was glad to greet Caoimhe. Not content with the more mundane weaponry carried by the coterie, Caoimhe had thought it prudent to retrieve her paired sub-machine guns before assaulting a dangerous Anarch.

Under Nathan’s direction, Tony snuck up, disabled the motorbikes, and unlocked the rear door. The coterie burst in, Nathan overwhelming one gang member in the kitchen while Don Coyote eviscerated another in the men’s restroom. The other bathroom contained Spencer’s vision: an Asian man suspended on chains by meat hooks through his back with a wooden stake in his heart. Don Coyote dragged one of the Outlaw corpses into the bathroom as Nathan lowered the man and Beth readied to remove the stake.

Trent awoke with a long gasp desperately mumbling that he was “so hungry” before descending onto the biker’s corpse. The Kindred watched in pity as the fledgling drained the Outlaw and asked about someone named Carrie. No one knew who Carrie was, but all had lots of questions for the man. Trent revealed the horror of how Rachael took him away with her inescapable presence and held him captive at the hideout for months. She would force him to devour people before overwhelming him, staking him, and hanging him from the meat hooks where his blood would be collected in plastic buckets. Even though he was asleep and unable to move, Trent had seen and felt everything that happened. His blood was later mixed with a mysterious white powder which was then portioned, removed, and the whole process would begin again. Rachael would leave for days at a time, “but she always comes back here” Trent said as more bike engines could be heard in the distance. The coterie hid themselves.

They were not disappointed. Rachael entered with a few of her goons and called out to the bikers who were supposed to be holding down the fort. When no one answered, Rachael drew her pistol and cocked the hammer back. Then the shooting started. Caoimhe covered the doors, spraying hot lead into the Outlaws as Kate ripped into Rachael’s backup from behind. Tony ineffectively shot his revolver dry before panicking and throwing the weapon at one of the goons. Don Coyote went toe-to-toe with Rachael, landing a solid blow before the Anarch began to get the better of him. However, Rachael’s focus on the two Camarilla Brujah engaged in melee with her allowed a steely-eyed Beth to empty round after round into the gang leader who had threatened the coterie. Rachael dropped, and Nathan plunged a stake of sharpened oak into his sire’s heart. Around the coterie and their allies, the mortal gang members lay dead or dying. Beth, ravenous from using the blood to enhance her abilities, latched onto one of the dying bikers and drank until his heart stopped.

As the night ended, the group dragged the bodies into the sewer, took Rachael, and made a call to the police from one of the biker’s phones to ensure that they situation was handled properly. Don Coyote called the leadership of the city of Providence, reported the night’s events, then snapped his flip phone shut. “The Prince will meet us at the Yacht Club in 30 minutes. He said to bring the Anarch.”

 

Interlude 4 – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) – March 18-27, 2015

Leaving the Salon with Prince Elsa was a magical capstone to Tony’s night. They spent the evening in each other’s company blissfully ignorant of worries of the rest of the coterie. Tony thought about what would make an appropriate gift for a Prince of the Camarilla and considered what he knew about the Toreador Regent of Hartford. Tony recalled news about a museum in Boston that had been ransacked a while ago and a quick online search turned up the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum – which had a first edition Chopin manuscript in its collection. Maybe their security was still pretty atrocious?

Tony called in some favors getting Kurt Densch to use his influence to ensure a low security presence on a specific night and used his boon from Caoihme’s to have the late train from Providence to Boston make a direct run. Tony obfuscated himself and donned a generic grey jumpsuit to blend in as a maintenance worker and used the ride to remote access the security footage at the museum and loop the feed. After failing to break into the museum, Tony knocked on a service door presumably used by maintenance staff and introduced himself to security as a new night-shift janitor. Security eventually let him in, complaining that “no one ever tells them anything”.  

Tony picked up a custodial cart and cleaned his way through the museum until he happened upon his prize behind a glass cabinet. His nerves started to creep in. Had he heard something or was that just his imagination? CRACK! A nightstick dashed against Tony’s forearm and a pair of masked burglars were suddenly up him. Tony grabbed his mop to fend off his attackers and backed into the cabinet which shattered under his weight. “Is everything okay in there?” a voice echoed up from the security desk. Tony barely had the wherewithal to secure the sheet music in a protective case before leaving his imagined attackers to take care of an actual threat. Tony made his way to the exit when his hunger hit. Tony eviscerated the first guard he came across and reveled in the ecstasy of the blood. Unfortunately, the second guard was too curious and caught a glimpse of the unmasked Nosferatu. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” Tony thought and dispatched his witness to preserve the Masquerade.

 

Session 21 – City of the Dead – April 1, 2015 

Spencer arrived on the scene  of the coterie’s victory in a white cargo van and the coterie piled into the back, which had been emptied of its normal cargo of speakers and DJ equipment. The Gangrel Kate, who had aided the coterie at Beth’s invitation, joined the group heading to the Yacht Club and was quite nervous at being be in a confined space when almost all of the other occupants were virtually strangers. Nathan was solemn, eyes darting back and forth between the equally nervous fledgling Trent and the inert body of his sire, the Brujah Anarch Rachael, on the floor. Spencer, being his typically socially insistent self, used the commute to formally introduce himself to Kate and immediately brought up his clan ties while Beth assured her that Spencer wasn’t a typical Tremere specimen. Nathan listened as Trent continuously questioned the particulars of his new existence as well as the location of Carrie.

The van arrived at the waterfront followed closely by Ventrue Caoimhe’s motorcyle and Brujah Deputy Don Coyote’s now beat-up two-door. The Kindred assembled with the Deputy tossing Rachael’s body over his shoulder while they moved towards the Prince’s yacht. Beth, having recognized Kate’s anxiety, paused with her as the others moved off, mentioning that she had thought she would feel bad at having killed someone, but that instead her mind felt more clear than it had in the last decade. Kate was surpriesd to learn that draining the biker after the firefight that night was Beth’s first time, and indicated that the two needed to have a talk – but not now.

As the group approached a 100-foot luxury yacht crewed by sailors in white hats, short shorts, and kerchiefs, the city’s Sheriff, Tatyana, impeded their progress on the gangplank when she noticed Trent, the unknown element in the group. Tony and Spencer were able to convince the Sheriff that she should stay her desire for the fledgling’s summary execution since he did technically help them to recover Providence’s most wanted. As the procession wound up the staircase to the main deck, Spencer and Tony glimpsed a figure applying makeup in side room.

Upon the top deck, the Coterie encountered majesty. The Prince of Providence Jerome Solomon stood with his court and offered hospitality to his guests while Nosferatu Seneschel Gregor loomed over the Neonates. Pleased with the Coterie’s adherence to his Right of Destruction, the Prince asked what the Coterie had brought him. Don Coyote lowered Rachael’s torpid body to the deck and stepped aside.  Jerome considered the Anarch at his feet and waxed poetic about the benefits of the Camarilla’s rule. Rules were what kept the Kindred safe from the torches of Inquisition. “In fact,” the Prince stated, “I believe that you have already met with some of the fabled Second Inquisition.”

The Prince asked the Coterie to consider the Chicago Blood Accords decreed earlier that year. The Accords were established to protect the species from outside threats to all Kindred and was (surprisingly) proposed by a Sabbat Archbishop. The Prince then polled the members of the coterie for guesses for how long they believed it would last. Five years? Three years? The full seven-year term? The Prince seemed mildly amused by their responses. “I see we have quite the group of optimists” the Prince remarked to Caoimhe before giving his own assessment: The Camarilla will abide by the Accords and would until they had sufficient reason not to, while fully expecting the Sabbat to discard the Accords at any moment.  The Anarchs, however, blatantly fought their own best interests to keep hidden, could not be trusted. 

The Prince then got down to business and startled the group by immediately demanding to hear what sort of boon each sought for their work that night. Don Coyote asked that the Brujah be recognized in Providence with a seat on the city’s Primogen. Spencer supplied that the Deputy would make an excellent member of the Primogen, but was informed in no uncertain terms that the Prince would make up his own mind about who would sit on his counsel. Caoimhe petitioned for permission to “renovate” part of downtown and the Harpy shared a moment with Beth as they both knew that the Black Box, currently under the thumb of the Toreador Patrick, would soon under new management. Spencer recognized his moment to ask for the Right of Progeny. But before Caoimhe’s silent protest could be noticed, the Prince consented “as long as the Tremere Primogen accepts your candidate”. Tony, seeing value in being visible in some aspects while invisible in others, submitted himself for a court position. The Prince, Seneschal, and Sheriff exchanged glances and Jerome welcomed his new Keeper of Elysium. 

Kate, who had long lived as a snowbird, asked for Domain in Washington Park. The coterie recognized that the Gangrel’s new demesne was immediately adjaent to their own shared hunting grounds – although different members of the coterie probably had different opinions about that. Beth, realizing that a longstanding problem for the coterie remained unaddressed, petitioned for the Prince’s aid in revitalizing the coterie’s Domain – which, of course, would have to start with the quashing of the mobsters exerting power there. The Prince assured the Malkavian that this was also in Clan Ventrue’s best interest and that one of his retainers would soon contact her with ideas and, more importantly, a line of credit. Trent just wanted to live. The fledgling had no idea what was going on other than his fate was on the line. Nathan, who was visibly disturbed by the proceedings, omitted that he “had to think about it” when asked about his boon. The PI was subsequently tasked with showing the ropes to Trent and helping the fledgling understand the night to night intricacies of unlife.

And with a slight nod from Prince Solomon, Tatyana drew her sword and decapitated Rachael. The Anarch’s head rolled off the side of the yacht and plunked into the Providence River and her body slumped on the deck. Nathan looked even paler than usual as the Kindred were dismissed.

As the group made its way off of the boat, Spencer was able to slip away to investigate the stateroom that he had noticed earlier. Beyond the door, a man was heard screaming “No!  Not again!  Please, someone help me!” Spencer opened the door to find a man cowering in a corner and the Carla, mouth dripping with blood, looming over him. The Tremere stood dumbfounded as the Giovanni approached him. “Have a pleasant evening,” Carla stated plainly in broken English as she slowly closed the door. Screams penetrated the otherwise still night. Spencer left, helpless to intervene.

***

Several months later, Tony posed as a janitor in the Biltmore, tracking the comings and goings of Kindred in his new position of Keeper of Elysium. The Nosferatu noted his chauffeur as he left a letter for him with the concierge containing tickets to the “Hartford Orchestral Performance.” Tony attended the performance in his private box seat and towards the end the orchestra departed the stage leaving a single individual playing Chopin on the piano. The performance ended and a long time after the audience had left, the performer remained on stage lost in a musical reverie. Tony approached the figure and Prince Elsa of Hartford smiled. Tony eyed the manuscript on the stand. Someone of Elsa’s talent usually memorized a piece. She didn’t need the music, but it was there. Tony sat next to her on the bench and learned his first scale.

***

Beth explained to Tracy that she had discovered a way for Tracy to remain ageless like Beth without becoming a vampire and without the risk of the blood bond diluting true emotions. Tracy exclaimed that it was wonderful and offered Beth a gift of a necklace containing a vile of Tracy’s own blood. Beth was repulsed by the gift and Tracy recognized her error a moment too late. Before the two could reconcile, Beth’s doorbell rang. Beth answered the door to find an old woman. The professor looked closer and recognized the greatly aged form of Dorothy from the Athenaeum. “Master Kevin has left us before our work could be finished. Will you help us to understand the great mysteries of the universe?”  Twice shocked, Beth made no promises about continuing to ghoul the members of Kevin’s inner order, but only stated that she would look into helping the mortals.

***

Spencer assigned Conrad an essay on Auspex and did his best to prepare his friend for the next step.  Spencer later opened a small package to find a cassette tape and thinking it might be a demo album, he popped it into the deck to be greeted by a familiar voice.  “My darling Spencer. You have so much more in your future than you could ever realize.  I see a home, a family. Gains and also some loss. But always the music is strong. You have a destiny in which you will lead our family into freedom. I saw this all and that’s why I chose you.  Others have worked to break our chains but you must pour the foundation of a new home.”  Tears of blood ran down Spencer’s cheek as his sire’s voice echoed through the halls of Quintessence.

End Season 1