5. Haven

Wednesday, the 29th of February, 1888

"But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us—to know
Whence our lives come and where they go. "

[Derpina, 29/10/2016]

Having recovered from her excursion to the Gangrel, Sinead woke up to a brand new tide of distress swiping over her unlife. Her cozy apartment surprised her with unseemly apparitions, stealthily creeping into her peripheral vision. First, alarmed by an image of an unknown dead woman reflecting in her window pane, the Ravnos decided to investigate further. The inquiry, however, was interrupted by Incitatus – Marcus’s noble steed – creeping around the premises with the gentle stealth only a Malkavian horse could possess.

Luckily for the elder, her resourceful childe arrived just in time to inform her that he had acquired a new house. The dwelling had seen better times, and could use a bit of maintenance work, but the price had been indeed attractive. Unfortunately, the new abode, a spacious manor located in a middle-class, suburban area, did not make the best first impression. With one broken lock and another ghostly apparition hanging from the chandelier, Sinead began to realize that perhaps her problems were not tied to the apartment, but her, personally. Considering the possibility of foul play, she began to suspect her sire, Riina or Lucy.

Meanwhile, Emma continued her inquiries into the strange disappearances. Having left a message for the private investigator Andrew Norton, she headed to the third Elysium to look for Annabelle. To her discontent, it turned out that the Brujah had left the city for a trip to Oxford, and would not be back for a couple of nights.

With her plans temporarily stalled or thwarted, Emma took a trip to the second Elysium to pass the time. Seeing the venue bustle with activity, the ancilla decided to share the story of her supernatural encounter from a few nights ago with a broader audience. Her chilling narrative swooned the visitors, gaining her almost undivided attention of all the thrill-seeking kindred.

However, after several tellings and retellings, each more terrifying than the one before, the tale’s novelty started to fade, and a new guest managed to gain the society’s interest. With the use of bones, the newcomer promised to tell the fortunes of those who were brave enough to hear them. Skeptical but curious, Emma volunteered, asking if she would meet the banshee again. Looking at the pattern, the seer confirmed that yes, she would, although this time, she would accompanied by a man with a guardian angel by his side, and a woman with a guardian devil. The rest of her fate, unfortunately, lied in the dark.

The night at the Malkavian manor began on a playful note, as Marcus discovered that Christopher was composing a libel about the Prince of Amber, with the aim to discredit one of the local Toreadors. Amused by his childe’s attempt at bad poetry, the elder promised to leave the youth to his own devices, as long as he could hear the final version of the lampoon.

The mirth was interrupted when it turned out that Incitatus managed to break out of the stables. After briefly surveying the tracks, Marcus concluded that his horse must have gone towards the city. Alerted, he borrowed Dusk from his childe and set off to locate the unruly beast.

Little did he know that, in his illusion of grandeur, the brief stallion would go straight for the Buckingham Palace. Relying on the naivety of the guards, Incitatus managed to infiltrate the grounds and soon made a run for the building itself. A chase ensued, with poor servants getting trampled and precious vases being broken to spell “peasants.” Convinced that he deserved to rule the country, the horse ascended to the upper floors to seize the throne.

While Marcus was slowly following the trail of his ghoul, Sinead, fed up with the vision, attempted to salvage the day by transporting her valuables to her new haven. Pushing her gold-filled carts through the cobbled roads, she bumped into a quirky man suffering from an inexplicable fear of rats. Through a brief conversation, she managed to establish that the stray’s name was Aaron, and that he had been dementated by a Malkavian during his visit to the New World.

In the interim, Emma became acquainted with a Ventrue Garrett, who offered to help her look for the banshee. The two took a carriage and were moving towards the bridge where the initial encounter occurred, when their passage was interrupted by Sinead chasing after Aaron. As they learned, the unhinged man, triggered by a random remark, decided to find “Sabbat” and fight them. Abandoning their initial quest, Emma and Garrett agreed to help the Ravnos in her pursuit. Unfortunately, as it quickly turned out, the lunatic appeared invulnerable to Chimerstry, and continued his haphazard chase despite a ball and a chain materializing around his ankle.

The chase continued, while Obfuscated Marcus crept across the Buckingham Palace, following the many and varied signs of destruction Incitatus had left in his wake. Failing to get the horse’s attention, the Malkavian was forced to follow the creature to the upper-floors. Now disguised as one of the servants, he was accosted by the guards and ordered to clean after the beast.

Unconcerned about his master’s frustration, the Equestrian Emperor bumped into the Queen’s daughter, who invited him to her room and treated him to a slice cake, much to the guards’ despair. Incitatus, satisfied to be acknowledge as a royal steed, did not even consider heeding Marcus’s call.

Exasperated by the ridiculous adventure, the Malkavian at last managed to persuade the guards to either wake the Queen or fetch the horse themselves. Reluctant to upset her Majesty, the men convinced the Princess that the horse should go to sleep, and allowed Marcus to escort the beast back into the stables, unaware that they would not see the servant or the steed ever again.

Back in one of the poverty stricken district of London, the party at last caught up with Aaron, who’d engaged in a brawl with an unknown man. Surrounded by a row of burning buildings, the three split, with the Ravnos and the Brujah trying to break up the fight, and the Ventrue disappearing in one of the apartments.

Finally disentangled, Aaron was seized by Sinead, while his victim, recognized by Emma to be kindred, attempted to flee the scene. Failing to stop him with the powers of Presence, the ancilla rushed after the mysterious man, but was forced to give up the pursuit once she realized she was being lead into a trap.

While the two struggled to get the madman under control, Garrett emerged from one of the burning houses, saving a mother and a child. With his cloak on fire, he was overwhelmed by the beast and subsequently frenzied in the courtyard, adding to the commotion. Aware of the streak of Masquerade infractions caused at the scene, the two women work quickly to extinguish the flames and soothe their companion in time to escape.

The matters get complicated once the Ravnos realizes that her precious cart had vanished. Enraged, she climbs one of the rooftops and notices Incitatus pulling her valuables away. Abandoning the burning block, she runs after the horse, only to realize she was chasing an illusion, and whoever took her gold must have already disappeared…

Furious, she decided to confront Marcus about his ghoul’s shenanigans, and stormed his house with Emma and Aaron in tow. Surprised by the visit, the Malkavian assumed a defensive pose, demanding respect in his own haven. Already at her wits end and further annoyed by his arrogance, Sinead pinned him to a wall with a sword.

Knowing better than to get involved in an elders’ fight, Emma was left to look after the madman, who found his way into the kitchen. Just as he started rummaging for something flammable to set the house on fire, he was stopped by Christopher and advised to cease and desist. To prevent him from causing further trouble, the Brujah escorted him out of the room, and used her supernatural charm to entrance him.

The fight at the door reached a stalemate, and the elders agreed to talk. Marcus confessed to pranking Sinead with his clan’s discipline and promised that the effects would wear off after a while, and if not, that he would look for a solution himself. The two arranged to meet again four nights later to discuss the matter further if the delusions had not subsided.

Before the visitors could be on their way, the Malkavian decided to use his gift of recognizing patterns to take a look at Aaron. Suddenly flooded by countless visions of what may have been the past, present and future, he dropped unconscious to the ground, unable to process the complex message. He was carried to his bedroom by Christopher, who then thanked the ladies for their visit, bluntly reminding Sindead that her problems were not exactly unforeseeable.

“That’s what you get for being friends with Malkavians.”



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