“Sit still with me in the shade of these green trees, which have no weightier thought than the withering of their leaves when autumn arrives, or the stretching of their many stiff fingers into the cold sky of the passing winter. Sit still with me and meditate on how useless effort is, how alien the will, and on how our very meditation is no more useful than effort, and no more our own than the will. Meditate too on how a life that wants nothing can have no weight in the flux of things, but a life the wants everything can likewise have no weight in the flux of things, since it cannot obtain everything, and to obtain less than everything is not worthy of souls that seek the truth.”
[Lisa, 06. 03. 2018]
When Emma visits the third Elysium in the docks to socialize at the beginning of her night, she is surprised to find it closed down entirely with a notice at the front door reading “out of order”. She knocks, but receives no reply, then leaves to head to the second Elysium of the city, where she is greeted by a rather bored Caroline. As the two make some small talk, Emma brings up the circus visiting the city and recommends the Elysium Keeper visit it. When the Ventrue points out that she needs someone to take care of the Elysium in her absence, Emma offers to hold down the fort in her stead for a night.
While the two women are chatting, a couple enters the venue and heads to the Keeper to greet her. The two introduce themselves as Jukka, the inventor visiting the city, and Megan, who has been assisting him with her expertise of chemistry in his endeavor to build houses full of death for the Malkavian primogen. Jukka happily takes the opportunity to talk about his current project and when he mentions that Atticus has challenged him to put every kind of death into the houses that are suggested to him, Emma offers up the idea of killing a person with Dostoyevsky, which fits neatly with the Nosferatu suggestion of killing a person with knowledge.
Another Kindred soon joins their circle, as Sinead made her way to the second Elysium after also finding Miranda’s tavern closed and after a short fight with Havoc about his habit of searching for what he calls treasure in what Sinead calls trash. She finds the group talking about tyrannical governments operated by squirrels in life-sized mechanical dolls and throws the idea of raccoons being contenders for world domination into the conversation. Shortly afterwards, Jukka drags the four of them except for Caroline outside to see Havoc in person; after a short search, they find the raccoon being dragged by his tail by Amber, who promptly absconds up a tree with the treasure Havoc found in the trash. Jukka takes the opportunity to measure Havoc with a tape measure from head to toe and inquires with Sinead whether she could procure him a hundred more of his kind, as they would make for great test subjects for his current project. Sinead agrees and asks for instructions in one of Jukka’s field of expertise in return, then invites him to visit her to finalize the details of the deal. As she borrows a bucket of water and soap from Caroline to give Havoc a much needed bath, Emma leaves for a meeting with Marcus.
Marcus finds her in the ruin of the tavern she owned as a mortal as she is throwing out the remainders of old, rotting furniture from the second floor windows. When she comes downstairs to greet him, she interrupts a staring contest between him and Amber. Marcus asks why she chose this place for their practice meeting, and she explains that she intends to clean up and renovate the building to turn it into a ghost-themed cafe to expand upon the popularity of her newspaper. While cleaning, she chats with him about her recent visit to the circus and mentions meeting Finch and Lillian there, which seems to pique Marcus’ interest. In turn, he shares a story about one of his friends, who had a bear as an animal companion, though it sadly died during his friend’s time in torpor. The conversation returns to Emma’s plans for her cafe, and Marcus proposes featuring the place in a story or two in her newspaper for advertisement. Emma ponders the idea as her companion starts sketching in his notebook while walking about the place. She interrupts her cleaning to take a peek at his drawings, then asks him whether he’d like to paint the interior of the place in the same style, as she finds it befitting of the atmosphere she had in mind, and he accepts the proposition eagerly, offering illustrations for the accompanying stories in her newspaper and suggesting painting the staff as creatures from her tall tales on the walls.
The two Kindred finish their business with some budgeting for the cafe before once more turning to teaching each other, and Marcus’ efforts finally bear fruit as Emma finds herself captivated by the details she can suddenly detect in the Malkavian’s clothing, then quickly becomes horrified as she sees the myriads of spiders still remaining in the room, waiting to be cleaned out. They are rudely interrupted by a crash outside, where they see Incitatus holding down a bucket with one of his hooves over what turns out to be a trapped Amber. After freeing the squirrel, Emma hurries back inside to bite into an apple she carried in her bag. She is fascinated by the texture of the food, though also slightly repulsed by the lead she can suddenly taste in it. With Marcus’ help, she messes about with her newly enhanced senses for some time before the two of them end their meeting and go their separate ways for the night.
Meanwhile, Sinead has returned to the Elysium after thoroughly cleaning Havoc and finds Caroline in conversation with Stanley, who looks overworked and upon questioning by the Ravnos explains that Owen’s mental state recently worsened and that Bill’s relative recently woke up, prompting the Brujah to request more security for her room; currently, the door sports thirteen locks, though the number is still rising. They chat for a while about the generous donation made by Sinead’s friend, the unique nature of Marcus’ horse, and the recently called Gangrel clan meeting, then Sinead uses the opportunity of a lull in the conversation to ask Caroline if she knows any Kindred who are trading in America. The Ventrue denies, though she mentions she considered moving there due to the lack of interesting opportunities in London. According to her, her clan members mostly participate in trade with the east due to the revolutions, though the Tremere primogen apparently has some stakes in America, as she talked about the matter with Atticus before.
Sinead excuses herself and, after sending a message to the Chantry asking for a meeting and purchasing some candy as a gift for the hospital patients, heads to the mental hospital to talk with Bill. She finds him trying to convince his grandniece to stay in the hospital, though she insists that she is fine and wants to go back to her work as a housekeeper before she loses her job. As she sees it, if she is indeed cursed and god is angry with her, then there is nothing anyone can do about it since god wills everything to happen; as her mistress explained to her, some people have been bad in their previous lives and are thus punished in this life. Sinead takes Bill aside to talk in private, and he explains that he wants his grandniece to stay in the hospital for a year, which he doesn’t find to be a very long period of time, though the Ravnos disagrees. He also mentions that Marcus was unable to help him, though Christopher gave him a good luck amulet that Sinead quickly identifies as a charm that makes it difficult for others to locate the wearer. She wonders whether the curse is passed on through an inheritance being passed through the family, and offers to talk to the Tremere primogen about the matter. After asking the girl a few questions about the line of inheritance in her family and offering to teach the illiterate Brujah to read and write, Sinead bids the pair goodbye to continue her investigation.
Having finished his business in the city, Marcus returns to his mansion and uses a personalized tarot deck in conjunction with his clan’s gift for insight to gain clarity on the situation involving Christopher and his sister. The cards he draws are the six of wands for the present, the knight of swords representing the past, the sun as the confirmation of the woman’s identity as Christopher’s sister, and the nine of chalices as a portent for the future. Interpreting the result, Marcus reads the cards as predicting a positive outcome for the tricky situation, on the condition that Christopher manages to find inner peace and calm his mind.