15. Consanguinity

“Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all the affections, as there is room in heaven for all the stars.”

[Lisa, 20. 02. 17]

Marcus’ meeting with his new Tremere acquaintance Dennis the Demonologist is interrupted when Chris returns to the mansion; he explains to him that the Tremere is here on behalf of Lotharius before going to fetch the pendant he found at Stepano’s after his abduction. Dennis examines it and explains that it was a very powerful protective charm which has been burned out and originates from an eastern school of magic. Marcus excuses himself and Chris for a moment, taking him outside to communicate via Auspex, an opportunity which Chris promptly uses to ask if the new guest is going to “help” in the same vein Riina did, which prompts Marcus to go on a long, rant-like lecture about Riina, amusing Chris to no end. When he finally calms down, Marcus points out the problem with the wards Dennis wanted to put up which would cause significant discomfort to Chris. The latter mentions the possibility of moving out of the house, as he doesn’t want news of his clan to become public knowledge, especially to the Tremere, which Marcus protests though he agrees not to share any information regarding his clan with the newcomer.
Chris also shares his worries about the Sabbat, saying that he’d prefer to simply hand them the box just to get rid of them and avoid a full-scale war with the city’s Camarilla Kindred. Before he leaves, Marcus asks him if he thinks whether Gabriel could figure out if a certain Kindred has met their Final Death, which Chris can’t answer. The Malkavian then returns to Dennis, inquiring for more details about his plans for warding the house and citing certain acquaintances he would prefer were not inconvenienced by the wards. Leo’s apprentice waves off his concerns, stating that he won’t ward the mansion against Kindred themselves but rather against unspecified things, which will be made visible and slowed down once they cross the wards.
Marcus leaves him to his devices after showing him a guest room and pens messages to Montgomery, Gabriel, Annabelle, Jukka and Molly; while writing to Jukka, he has a vision of a house full of death and seems to answer the questions he wants to pose to his clanmate by himself. After this dialogue-letter is finished, Marcus returns to Dennis to ask him if purely hypothetically speaking he could make him suffer great physical pain in controlled circumstances; this question seems to catch the man unprepared, who promptly flubs his work. After a moment of thought, he replies that since pain is experienced purely in the realm of the mind and not technically physical at all, using Auspex for this matter might be the easiest way to achieve the desired effect, which seems to satisfy the Malkavian, who leaves him for the rest of the night.

Meanwhile Sinead requests that Norton stays with her, to which Emma acquiesces, and they carry the snoring man up to a guest room. Sinead leaves a note to Albert about her new guest and requests that he be helped with anything he needs, but not allowed to leave the house for the time being, while Emma goes to put out word for her contacts to look for Julian’s son and whichever ship he may have taken to leave. Startled by noise coming from upstairs, the Ravnos checks her attic only to find that her raccoon had been playing with her weapons. She talks with it, offering to fetch it some fish for the next night, and the raccoon explains that its master, a blonde man even taller than Sinead, has left and is far from the city. In an attempt to bond with the animal, Sinead tries to brush it, which the raccoon is unhappy with; it proceeds to call her fox ugly and useless and tries to bite the hand brushing it. She briefly considers sending it to check the village in which she saw the red-haired girl, but thinks it might not find the place.

After creating leaflets about Julian’s son and spreading them around the city, Emma briefly drops by the third Elysium, where she finds Miranda and Florence cleaning up and closing down the bar. She talks with Miranda about Atticus, who is upstairs and drunk beyond reason but apparently didn’t cause any troubles. Emma asks her to pass along the news that she is looking for Molly about an official matter in her position as Sheriff, and considering the dawn is approaching fast, Miranda offers her a place to sleep in the Elysium if she needs it, which the Brujah thanks her for but declines since she can just make it back to her own haven before dawn.

The next night, Sinead finds that Norton has a bad hangover and can’t keep food down; she decides to leave him be for now, instead opting to hunt and sending a message to Chris, asking for an urgent meeting. He shows up quickly enough, and Sinead asks him if he has any way of contacting Julian, which Chris denies; he claims not to know where he went and suggests contacting Belinda, since he sent the fledgling to her when he asked for a favor. As he considers family important himself, he understands what’s driving Julian. He does point out that the Ouroboros Julian mentioned in a message might either be related to the Old Clan Tzimisce or to a Toreador who thinks herself a prophetess and whom Julian might have met. Chris was approached by Julian for access to contacts, but he cannot share more information than that. Sinead thanks him and leaves for the second Elysium.

In the meantime, Emma arrives at the third Elysium, stopping for a chat with Annabelle once she saw that Molly wasn’t there yet, who asked her about Marcus since he had shown interest in one of her messages. They talk about the Malkavian for a while until Molly enters the bar, upon which Emma excuses herself and leads Molly to a corner of the room where they can talk more or less privately. As her clanmate mentions that apparently Marcus wants to set the city on fire with boxes full of death, she brings up the matter of the rose box and that she has new info on what might be either its location or a trap; however, she insists on meeting with Marcus first after learning that he created copies of the box that contain explosives. They argue for a moment and Molly agrees to meet with Marcus, but leaves for half an hour to have watchers put into position around the location to be notified in case anybody else shows up there. Emma stays at the Elysium, where just a while later Sir Franklin bursts in, wearing full plate armor and yelling loudly about having found the dragon in the sewers. While he is trying to recruit people to his hunt, Emma spots a very confused Molly directly behind him in the door and swoops in, dragging both the hunter and the Sheriff off to the meeting with Marcus. When Emma mentions their destination, Sir Franklin interrupts them saying that Marcus isn’t at his mansion and proceeds to direct the driver of their cab little by little to the second Elysium.

Marcus decides to begin the night by dropping by the second Elysium, where he finds a surprising amount of Tremere he doesn’t personally know; however, he also sees Bethany with an unknown man and decides to introduce himself to what turns out to be her sire. They chat for a while, and as the Elysium fills, the Malkavian notices a certain tension lying in the air. He spots the Nosferatu primogen and introduces himself, once again talking amicably with the man for some time until de Worde mentions that there will be an unplanned show soon, the nature of which are the subject of a competition in his clan; they speculate about who will end up with the box, when the Tremere are going to have a fire show, what the fate of the demon is, and why the box itself is so valuable. De Worde himself suspects that the whole matter will be over before the end of the week. The two of them are joined by Joshua, and the topic turns towards Mithras as Marcus asks whether the primogen thinks that the Ventrue has changed during his time in the city, which de Worde denies, saying that Mithras merely adapts very well although he seems rather tired currently.

Their conversation is interrupted, as are all others in the room, when Sir Franklin bursts in, waving his crossbow and once more shouting that he found the dragon in the sewers and attempting to recruit others to join the hunt. Emma immediately tries to disarm him, joined by Caroline, and while they manage to convince the Malkavian to put down his weapon, Sinead slips into the Elysium as well. When Sir Franklin finally agrees to their demands, Emma drags the hesitant Molly over to Marcus and de Worde, introducing the two of them and apologizing for the inconvenience as they need to talk with Marcus in private urgently.
While they leave for a private room, Sinead approaches Lionel to ask him to pass onto a message to Belinda as she wants to meet her, and he suggests Sinead directly visit her establishment instead, as it’s open to all and she could easily find her there. He passes her the address, and Sinead continues to socialize with the Kindred present in the Elysium.

Meanwhile, Emma explains that she has information on what might be the location of the rose box or a trap and asks Marcus to confirm that the address is the place where he stored his decoys, which he does; she then asks whether he could identify his fake boxes to make sure that the real one is indeed at this location. Once again, he confirms that this is possible but excuses himself for a few minutes to do so, which the two Brujah spend chatting about Emma’s newspaper while Marcus astrally travels to the location. He spots the people Molly put in place to watch for any activity but sees nobody else. As he examines the boxes, he finds that he can travel through them without being obstructed and that they look uncannily identical. However, when examined with Dementation, he finds that one box stands out from the others, though he can’t pinpoint why exactly this is the case. When he returns, he says that there is indeed one extra box among them and that one of them is somehow peculiar, but before they leave, he stops Emma and asks her if she talked about this information near her sword, since the Sabbat can observe her through it. Emma says that in this case, the Sabbat would know the address but would have no idea about the ruse Marcus put into place or their plan for getting the box during this night. Molly asks them to wait for her to fetch Gabriel before they leave, and the three head back downstairs to find the Elysium almost deserted. Caroline explains that two groups left recently to hunt the Sabbat and took most of the Kindred present with them, one led by Sir Franklin and one by Gabriel.


Emma: So, Norton is staying with Sinead for now. I hope she takes good care of him. If she treats him the same way she treated Julian, well, I don’t expect the end result to be much different. Whatever beef those two had, they obviously didn’t really solve it before everything exploded somehow. It’s got a taste of irony to be scolded by someone who can’t even take care of her own childe, but I’ll be damned if I let her figure that out. For now, I need to focus on the business with the box, which will hopefully be resolved soon, and then I can try to help Norton. If I don’t get this mess sorted out first, it’s going to do him more harm than good, and that’s not the point of the exercise. Unlike Sinead, who apparently hasn’t matured past the stage of a five-year-old with the same patience for gratification, I can understand that this will take time and a great deal of work. There’s no magical shortcut, not even a literal one, to fixing this man. I wish there was, but that’s not how the world works, and maybe she could stand to learn that lesson. Not that I need to be the one teaching her that, though.

It seems like things are speeding up with the box, though. If Rob really did give me the correct information, there’s a solid chance this will be over by the end of the night, or at the very least the end of the week, if we play our cards right. I can’t wait for this to be resolved, one way or another, so I can have one less thing to worry about. Of course we’ll need a bit of luck, as the demon bitch apparently has been watching through my sword the whole time – which I’m certainly not going to forget or forgive that skank for – but if we’re quick enough about it maybe we can get the real box out of there before anybody has a chance to interfere. I’m not holding my breath for it, but it would be nice if at least one thing turned out not to be a horrible botch these days. Just once things could go according to plan or at least work out in the end. That’s not asking for too much, is it? It’s also a chance to see what Molly really is made of, as I’m curious how she’ll react to whatever happens, and maybe she’ll turn out to be helpful in the end. My clanmates haven’t let me down so far, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Of course, she might turn out to be more of a hindrance, in which case … well. Fingers crossed, I guess.

15. Consanguinity

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