With the fires extinguished and the madmen put to rest, a tense stillness crept over London. Accompanied by her butler’s young niece, Sinead chose to use the temporary breather to examine her new predicament, curious whether her Dementation-induced hallucinations would plague her with another person accompanying her throughout the night.
Marcus, having regained consciousness after the previous night’s adventure, went to visit Lilian, hoping to make amends for his horse’s trip to the Buckingham palace. Armed with ink, brushes and an easel, they struggled to force Incitatus to write a proper apology for the Prince. The horse, however, deeply convinced of his royal prerogatives, was reluctant to admit his guilt. Only after several hours of cajoling did he agree to cooperate, and at last a message was written.
As the elders tended to their respective businesses, Emma conducted an inquiry into the strange disappearance of a local property owner, allegedly associated with illegal investments. With the help of Mr. Norton, she managed to establish that due to the owner’s will being out-of-date, the property was split between his family members to avoid taxation. Unfortunately, the discovery was inconclusive and the investigation was suspended.
However, eager to maintain cooperation with a promising contact, Emma decided to hire Mr. Norton for another, more subtle job. He was to investigate the fire which erupted in the city the previous night, and determine whether it was an accident or a deliberate action. Convinced of the mortal’s abilities and aware of the Masquerade breach which occurred at the scene, Emma made up her mind to ghoul the young man and make him her personal retainer.
Norton was wary of the proposal, already harboring suspicions regarding his peculiar employer. When she offered him a drink secretly spiked with blood, he tried to refuse, but to no avail. Despite his strong will, he was unable to resist the power of Presence, and was compelled to fall in love with the vampire. Entranced, he drank from the bottle, sealing his fate as Emma’s ghoul.
Back at her manor, Sinead opted to investigate her flooded basement and spoke with its rat inhabitants, who alerted her to a strange presence in the house. Without the means to further examine the preternatural circumstances by herself, she invited Marcus and Emma to help her learn something more about the premises.
The guests arrived with Christopher and Aaron in tow. Already at the threshold, Marcus sensed the building’s strange, sentient vibe. He contrasted it with Sinead’s personal aura and concluded that it was not the same. While the house radiated with a strong presence, its owner gave off a muted, malicious sensation. Unable to pinpoint the source of the dissonance, he decided to investigate further.
Using the Malkavian’s distraction to her advantage, Sinead tried to interrogate Christopher regarding his implied relationship with Blanche. As always nonchalant, Chris admitted to having known her, but denied any further involvement in the embarrassing spectacle she’d caused. Unconvinced, the Ravnos withdrew, determined to return to the discussion at a more opportune moment.
When the investigation of the ground floor proved inconclusive, Sinead mentioned her grim visions of a woman hanging from a chandelier, and recalled a story she’d heard about somebody dying in the house. She lead the party to the attic, expecting Marcus to spirit touch the potentially haunted object.
While the group admired the armory, listening to Sinead’s tales about her fabulous collection of swords, sabres and firearms, Marcus was overwhelmed with a sense of dread that reminded him of the demonic presence from the century past. Suddenly panicked, he refused to stay in the house even a moment longer, and quickly excused himself, only hinting at the source of his discomfort. After a confused exchange in front of the building, the party agreed to head to the first Elysium to discuss the matter in a safe and neutral environment.
Upon their arrival, Aaron began to laugh hysterically, inevitably drawing everybody’s attention. Despite the group’s efforts to quiet him down, all their threats, pleas and orders seemed to only amuse him further. The change in atmosphere came only when Christopher whispered a veiled threat to the madman’s ear, to which he quizzically replied that he’d have expected Chris, of all people, to have more sympathy in the given situation. Baffled by the remark, Christopher backed away, allowing his sire to take a closer look at Aaron.
Cautious after the events of the previous night, Marcus made another attempt to use his Malkavian insight and learn something about Aaron. Sadly, once again, the visions proved quite overwhelming, and the only one that lingered was an image of the strange kindred laughing at rats.
Unable to have a proper conversation, the party decided to leave the Elysium. As they emerged into the common area, Aaron noticed the Tremere Primogen, and without missing a beat called her “old and ugly.” Appalled by the breach of etiquette, Marcus and Sinead fumbled for words, but Emma saved the situation, chiding Aaron for his behavior – “being dementated out of your mind is not an excuse!” Despite the obvious insult hurled at one of his guests, the Keeper seemed pleased, and the Primogen had no opportunity to retaliate.
Following the embarrassing adventure, Emma made an appointment with Norton to find out what he’d learned regarding the fire. Acting strange and avoiding her gaze, the detective relied that everybody spoke of a man who entered one of the burning houses to save a woman and a child, as well as two women present at the scene, but nobody mentioned the fight that ensued in the courtyard. The source of the fire remained unclear, but local drunkards were suspected of accidental arson.
Meanwhile, having returned to his house, Marcus met with a Roman envoy who was due to visit – a young, good-looking woman accompanied by a photographer. Allegedly, the lady arrived to address a minor issue regarding Incitatus’ membership of the Eternal City’s council, however, something in her pleasant demeanor arose suspicion. Uncertain, Marcus refused to take a photograph with the visitor, but allowed her to take a picture with the horse. Unbeknown to him, the copy of the image gifted to him would soon prove to be an unpleasant surprise for Christopher.
As Christopher was losing his temper over the photograph and Marcus’ pressing questions, Emma found a vaguely threatening note with a sign of a blood oath, left at her haven by Aaron. The suspicious guest was nowhere to be found…