1. New Beginnings.
"It is not important WHAT they say..."

[Derpina, 22 May 2016]

London, year 1888. Following several decades of boisterous adventuring, Sabbat hunting and journeying, now famous Sinéad chose to settle down in the greatest and most likely the smelliest metropolis in the world. With her fledgling childe Julian in tow, the Ravnos established herself in the city, her eyes set on the vacant position of the sheriff.

Thirsty for fresh gossip and insider knowledge, Sinéad got in touch with Marcus, who invited her to visit him in his gargantuan manor outside of the city. There, she and Julian were treated to a brief tour through the house, before settling down for a relaxed chat in the host’s bizarre library. While the elders exchanged gossip and reminisced about nights long gone, Julian and Christopher engaged in a gentlemanly competition of wits, much to their sires’ content.

After the thirst for news had been quenched, Christopher catered to the guests’ other appetites with free-flowing beverages that lightened the atmosphere and multiplied merriment with every emptied cup. Eventually, an idea to visit the city’s neonate elysium gained general acclaim and, after a moment of preparation involving furry pink coats and extravagant top hats, the party embarked on a journey towards its new destination.

Boasting a naval-themed décor, the establishment combined seafaring imagery with the raunchy ambiance of a port tavern. Its keeper, fiery-haired Brujah Miranda, wasted no time expressing her discontent over Christopher’s sudden appearance. However, hearing that the rowdy bachelor arrived in the company of his sire cooled her temper, allowing the evening to return to its course. Upon the elders’ demand, music was brought in and in no time dancing and singing commenced, with Sinéad taking up the role of the lead entertainer.

While the Ravnos exchanged shanties with the keeper, testing her talent and knowledge, Marcus was accosted by Anabelle, a women rights activists with enough temper to lecture a drunk elder. Following an energetic dance, the two retired to discuss wages, working conditions and necessary improvements, before Marcus excused himself to have a chat with the local gossip, Bethany. Meanwhile, Julian and Christopher became acquainted with Cassandra, a Malkavian neonate with a peculiar ability to spot lies.

The conversations were eventually brought to a partial halt as the atmosphere on the dance floor became more competitive. Partners were swiftly exchanged and dancers swirled across the room, creating an array of mixed and same-sex couples alike.

During a playful prance with Marcus, Sinéad spotted her childe flirting with Bethany. Not thinking long, she chose to interrupt the cavorting and, with her superb reflexes, sent the Malkavian spinning right towards the bar counter where the exchange was taking place.

Surprised but alert, Julian made a spectacular recovery and joined the dance with the confused elder in his arms. A struggle for dominance ensued, with the young Ravnos initially taking the lead. Unfortunately, despite his natural flair, he had to admit defeat once his partner’s experience came into play.

Sinéad took that opportunity to survey the competition and chit-chat with Bethany and other present neonates, while Miranda and Christopher retired to the keeper’s private quarters to resolve their previous disagreement.

When it seemed like the evening could not become any more intense, the Ravnos decided to make a lasting impression by challenging Toreador performer Florence to a contest. In a blink of an eye the floor was cleared and the two ladies moved to the center, immediately surrounded by an unsuspecting crowd of kindred.

The audience then watched in awe as the two bodies undulated, collided and flexed during a sensual dance. Surprised stares and heated gasps were heard when the buttons swiftly came undone and pieces of clothing began to hit the floor.

It was known that the evening would be the talk of the town for a long time…

The following night, Sinéad was to learn that among her spectators was the Toreador Primogen, now hoping to meet her for a private talk in his remote mansion, while Marcus, about to nurse a terrible hangover, would be informed of an unexpected visitor he had forgotten he invited…

2. The Wind from the Sea
"Let's go for a ride!"

[Derpina, 9 July 2016]

While Marcus and Sinead were dealing with the consequences of their excursion to the Third Elysium, a ship berthed at the London port, carrying Lady Bianca and her curious new companion, Ethan. Having arrived earlier than expected, the travellers stepped onto the British shore only to realize that traversing the city at night may prove more challenging than they’d predicted.

Loaded with luggage, the two inquired at the port, unsure how to find Marcus’ manor without causing a ruckus. Luckily, thanks to a favorable coincidence or perhaps a meaningful tingle in the Malkavian network, they bumped into a ghoul who happened to be a servant of one Mr. Talbott, also known as the Malkavian Primogen. The dutiful servant had arrived at the port to receive his master’s guest, and agreed to assist the new visitors with reaching their destination.

During the conversation with the ghoul, Bianca and Ethan learned that the Primogen’s new guest was an inventor hoping to present his most recent contraption to the Prince. The massive new engine was supposed to be powerful enough to lend energy to ships, which could provide a considerable advantage to a nation known for its strong fleet.

Meanwhile, Marcus, unaware of his friend’s early arrival, was entertaining a considerably younger guest. Neonate Bethany, who took a shine to the elder during his visit to the Elysium, was now curiously looking at the ground floor of his manor, hoping to peek beyond the veil of normalcy presented by her immediate surroundings. Subtly teased by the elder, she continued to refer to her unnamed sire with whom she seems to share a strong bond.

At the same time, another lady was just stepping out of a carriage, having accepted an invitation to visit the Toreador Primogen at his seaside manor. With the images of her recent exploit still fresh in her memory, Sinead, accompanied by Julian, approached Mr. Montgomery’s manor with caution.

Following an introduction, the two were offered refreshments, and the host entertained them with brief small talk. He shared that, after inheriting his current position, he was an active member of the local community, but ultimately decided to manage the clan’s affairs from a distance.

As the conversation progressed, the elders moved to gaze at the sea from the mansion’s balcony, while Julian was encouraged to take a walk around the premises and visit the blooming gardens outside. Taking advantage of a private moment with his guest, the host at last began to reveal the real purpose of the meeting – the become acquainted with all the contenders for the sheriff post – and expressed his desire to maintain the status quo in the city.

Curious to hear his reasons, Sinead inquired about his motivation to support the Camarilla, to which the Primogen answered quoting the history of his lineage and the clan’s involvement in establishing the sect. Then, learning Sinead’s story, he scoffed at her implied idealism, unimpressed by the personal incentive.

The meeting concluded with a walk around the Toreador’s art gallery, allegedly assembled by his absent sire. There, among numerous landscapes and portraits, Julian spotted one of Marcus’ paintings, depicting a city abundant with ancient ruins. Asked about the details, Mr. Montgomery revealed that the piece had gone a long way before it joined the collection.

In the meantime, to conversation at the Malkavian Manor was interrupted by the arrival of Lady Bianca and her curious escort. Simultaneously surprised and and joyful to see an old friend, Marcus rushed to greet the new arrivals, supplying his young guest with ample gossip material.

Briefly withholding his enthusiasm, the Malkavian introduced the visitors to one another and invited them in, while Bethany got ready to depart. A hefty meal was served for Ethan who, as Bianca quietly assured, was about as unearthly as his appetite, and the evening was spent on cordial chit-chat.

The Tremere was reunited with her dearest horse, Twilight, and a trip to the Elysium was planned for the next night. The mirth was, however, interrupted by the sudden disappearance of Bianca’s companion. Following a brief search of the premises, it was established that the young man was nowhere to be found, and had he wandered into the city, he was as good as gone.

Thankfully, before a consensus to take action had been reached, Ethan reappeared out of his own volition, carrying a beautiful blue dress for his lady. He was then forced to accept a scolding for theft and hear a lecture about the crime he had allegedly committed. Hoping to avoid any more problems, Marcus introduced the troublesome youth to one of his maids and offered him a day trip to London to keep him occupied during the day.

At last, the party retired, not expecting that the next night would bring yet another adventure…

3. A Study in Scarlet
Monday, the 27th of February, 1888

“Don’t forget to speak scornfully of the Victorian Age; there will be time for meekness when you try to better it. Very soon you will be Victorian or that sort of thing yourselves; next session probably, when the freshman come up.”

1. Visiting 2nd Elysium (what’s its name?)

Sinéad and Julian entered Vanity early in the evening, followed by Bianca and Ethan. Marcus and Christofer took the rear. The confidence, the extravagance, the glamour!

2. Meeting Emma.

3. We play a game of dare.

4. Marcus goes away, we start to gossip.

5. Ethan, Chris, Julian and Bianca explode something in Elysium, three of them disappear instantly

6. They discovered a secret room in the Elysium, of which even the keeper didn’t know

7. Emma goes to 3rd Elysium, meets Miranda and someone else (was it this time when she has got a loan from Atticus?)

8. something something

9. Sinéad goes to Gangrels, meets Wolfie, gets smashed out of her mind.

10. Sinéad goes to Marcus who was annoyed for some reason, so he dementates her out of her mind.

4. Mrs Cunningham's Wardrobe
Tuesday, the 28th of February, 1888

[Lisa, 11. 06. 2016, rewritten 4. 09. 2016]

At the beginning of the night, Marcus finds his childe busying himself with repairing furniture from his manor; curious as to the reason, he inquires and is told that this is due to the “lady visitor”, potentially meaning Sinéad who is sleeping off the previous night’s party with the Gangrel. The two chat for a time about Dementation, mostly its effects and the difficulties inherent in learning or teaching it, before the topic shifts towards one of Christopher’s own “lady visitors”, who suggests he might invite the unnamed woman over for dinner with his sire one of these nights before “encouraging” Marcus to leave his house for the night.

Somewhere in the city proper, Emma receives a message related to her inquiries into the missing persons case of the mortal Harris. One of her contacts advises her to seek out an investigator by the name of Andrew Norton, which she does the very same night. She finds him with a young maidservant, a Judy Styles, who as it turns out works in one of Mr. Harris’ guesthouses and has quite a story to share. With excitement at the attention she receives, she tells Emma about the body of a man, found in the wardrobe of a Mrs. Cunningham, who is an old and otherwise unremarkable widow. Judy continues with claims of having heard the voices of the dead from within the wardrobe, which amuses Emma greatly and prompts her to feed the girl a story about how the wardrobe might actually lead into a different dimension, possibly the underworld, with advice to keep away from it and not mention it to anybody else – something that Emma full well knows a gossipmonger like Judy could never keep quiet about. Just as predicted, Judy eats up this story with wide eyes and polite shock and disbelief, a sure sign that she will spread it to everybody who will listen to her.
Norton seems exasperated at Emma for encouraging the wild tales this wardrobe already spawned, but still agrees to provide her with a full report of his findings in the case after proper payment. As it turns out, the maid’s account was flawed and likely contained lies about several details, which he corrects. He also has some additional information to share about Mr. Harris, which Emma happily accepts, hoping that even basic information could help her solve the puzzle of the people who have gone missing in the city recently.

Marcus, after being gently kicked out of his own home, travels to the second Elysium, where he meets two newcomers: one Alexander McCarthy and a woman who is only introduced as “Milady”, both of whom are playing poker together. They talk for a while, saying that Atticus might be in financial troubles because of his generosity and that the Prince might have disappeared again. This gossip is interrupted by the arrival of Atticus himself, who bickers briefly with Lionel before talking with Marcus about the Sheriff competition and the Sabbat which might be lurking in the city.
As the Brujah primogen excuses himself and the talk turns back to mortal affairs, Marcus finds that he isn’t quite caught up with news, a situation which is remedied by Caroline, who hands him a newspaper in which he finds a very high number of articles about scandals involving mortal aristocracts of the greater London area. As Lionel helpfully explains, these scandals are the result of the city’s Ventrue doing what he calls a “spring cleaning”, pruning their mortal aristocratic contacts of those who have not performed to their expectations.
The conversation between the two of them moves on to the topic of the body found in Mrs. Cunningham’s wardrobe, who apparently was drained of all its blood, dressed up oddly, with the cause of death being strangulation. Lionel mentions that the case has been forwarded to the Tremere primogen so that she can investigate the “people-eating” wardrobe – and shortly after this remark, the primogen herself bursts into the Elysium, chewing out Lionel for wasting her time and slamming the case file onto the table in front of him before leaving again, much to the surprise of those present. The Ventrue claims he never touched the file itself and didn’t forward it personally; he merely received the report when Lady Anne was present, who immediately took an interest and had it forwarded to the primogen for investigation. He then cautiously takes a peek into the files before immediately closing them again and excusing himself from the Elysium, claiming that he had to take care of this matter.

Emma is on her way to the third Elysium to spend the rest of her night when she hears a bloodcurling scream somewhere nearby. She wastes no time investigating its source, crossing the river by a bridge, and notices strange mist appearing on it along with an eerie silence, so absolute that no sound other than her own steps can reach her ears. Worried at what she perceives to be supernatural interference, she hurries to the other side of the river, while the temperatures drop rapidly – so quickly, in fact, that the pouring rain turns into snow flakes settling on puddles-turned-ice. As the mist clears and her vision extends, she breaks into a run, turning corners in search of the source of the scream, and suddenly finds herself face to face with what she thinks to be the ghost of a young and once-beautiful woman, almost translucent, with a decomposing face. Emma narrowly avoids running through the apparition, who lets out the same shriek she heard before, and runs as fast as her feet can carry her until she is completely out of range of the weird weather phenomena.
Majorly uneasy and worried, she is at first glad when she comes across Julian, though this relief dissipates quickly when she finds him arguing with a mortal woman named Emily who insults Emma, calling her a side lover of Julian’s, which provokes her anger. The young Ravnos manages to shut his companion up before Emma can intervene less gently, but proves to be entirely unhelpful and just as unhappy as Emily, so Emma quickly leaves both of them to their own devices, wanting nothing more than to end the night as quickly as possible.
However, luck isn’t on her side: just as she hesitantly approaches one of the city’s bridges on her way to the Elysium, she is jumpscared by a blonde stranger, who mocks her for her fear of bridges, crossing easily himself and preparing a prank on the other side of the river – an attempt to make her trip just as she is about to reach the other side, which Emma dodges skillfully. With her patience wearing thin, she tries to learn the stranger’s name, who isn’t very forthcoming and keeps prodding her. Unwilling to test her waning patience, she leaves him standing at the bridge and finally makes her way to the Elysium, where she starts telling the story of her ghostly encounter. The Kindred present seem to enjoy her skillfull storytelling, buying her drinks and asking her to tell it over and over again.

Before Lionel can leave, Marcus asks him for the address where the body was found and decides to investigate the matter himself. He finds a young, thin man resting nearby the house, and, probing his mind, sees his dream involving the wardrobe with golden light shining from within, a heavenly chorus singing, and then the doors opening to reveal a black, menacing figure with gleaming red eyes. Unsure what to make of this, he gains entrance to the building itself from another lodger, who flat-out tells him that he hopes the stranger is here to murder Mrs. Cunningham. Apparently the old widow does not have a good reputation with her fellow lodgers.
Marcus makes his way into the old woman’s rooms, obfuscated and sneaking to avoid waking her, and analyzes the wardrobe for emotional imprints, finding several impressions: an unknown female Kindred who was not amused, several policemen, Judy Styles and a young man, the latter of whom he identifies as the man sleeping outside, and lastly somebody who is slightly familiar to Marcus but also seems strange and who was actively trying to prevent leaving or hiding their impression of emotions on the wardrobe.
With nothing else to be gleaned from without, he crawls into the huge Victorian wardrobe himself, which smells faintly of the corpse, lavender and a cheap perfume. He finds a hidden compartment containing old letters and valuable documents as well as two wedding rings and a diamond ring, but chooses not to remove any of the contents. Further investigation yields insight that the person who was found dead must have been killed before being put in the wardrobe.
Unfortunately Mrs. Cunningham wakes just as he is leaving the wardrobe – though Marcus is obfuscated, the old widow still shrieks since she thinks the wardrobe opened itself in her sleep, waking up the other lodgers, while the Malkavian makes his escape undetected. This incident, in combination with the wild story fed to Judy, ensures the popularity of a new urban legend – of Mrs. Cunningham’s people-eating wardrobe.

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.”

6. Sacred
Tuesday, the 6th of March 1888

[Derpina, 19/11/2017]

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…

7. Father, oh, Father.
Sunday, the 22nd to Tuesday, the 24th of April, 1888

“Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.”

[Lisa, 19. 08. 2016]

Emma invites Sinéad and Marcus to visit her mentor and Letho’s former brother-in-arms, Everard Hawke, who offered to share his information on the Sabbat raid in 1860 … though what they learn from him doesn’t seem to add up. He points out to them that the purpose of the attack, which only lasted a single night, is still unclear; the Sabbat obviously could not hold London and didn’t intend to lay siege to the city, though since so many of them were sacrificed, some kind of goal must have been behind it all. The targets hit in the raid seem random, with no crucially important Kindred being killed and no follow-up attacks despite the city’s weakened state. Heavy casualties were incurred by the Brujah and a large number of neonates were wiped out during the raid, but this still leaves the question as to the Sabbat’s goal unresolved.

Hawke also points out that the Sheriff vanished without a trace after obsessively investigating the raid and following up on every lead he could find; the fact that he disappeared is less puzzling to him than the fact that nobody found out when exactly it happened, since he was a powerful Gangrel who was hardly ever alone or without some means of communicating with his clanmates through animals nearby. The old crusader marks the locations of the attack on a map drawn by Marcus and answers their questions, though the party leaves him with a feeling that he didn’t say everything he knew or suspected.

The group reunites the next night in Marcus’ mansion, where they brood over the map, trying to find patterns in it and speculating wildly as to the Sabbat’s designs. The places of attack chosen seem perfectly logical, which strikes them as odd, since this implies a tactic straight from a textbook – certainly not something a seasoned strategist would use when attacking one of the strongholds of the Camarilla. Just as their speculation turns toward the Tremere’s participation in the raid and the conclusion emerges that they are missing some piece of information crucial to solving this puzzle, Marcus surprises the ladies by drawing a rose on the corner of the map while in an absent-minded trance. He tells them a story he heard somewhat recently, that a box with a rose just like this one on it was shipped to the city before the Sabbat raid and disappeared without a trace, including all those accompanying it, including a Toreador neonate who had taken interest in it and was killed in the raid. According to Marcus, a different Toreador by the name Henry reported spotting this very box recently. After their discussion resumes for a moment, they agree to investigate this matter further, especially the issue of the mystery box and its contents, and part ways for the night.

Having arranged a meeting prior to this night, Emma travels to the Third Elysium to speak with Molly, another of her clanmates with a striking personality, and they chat amicably for a time. It has been some time since the last official clan meeting, and Molly mentions that Atticus wants to host another one at an unspecificed time during May, in warmer yet still longer nights, and the conversation briefly turns towards Emma’s encounter with the ghostly apparition before they get to business. Emma offers to feature newsworthy stories in her paper that Molly learns about and would like to receive more attention so that justice can be served; they come to an angreement, as Molly promises to pass along interesting tidbits she hears about that she feels need to be brought to the public more directly than they currently are.

It turns out that Molly is participating in the city’s competiton for a new Sheriff, and Emma curiously inquires whether she is making significant progress in her quest to find out what happened to the old Sheriff, interested due to the fact that Letho was friends with the man. While her clanmate doesn’t offer much new information about this, she lets slip that she believes violent crime has dropped off in the city recently – and when Emma digs deeper, asking whether she noticed this drop-off before the raid in 1860 as well, Molly becomes decidedly vague. The impression that she knows more than she lets on doesn’t leave Emma after this meeting, and she decides to take this matter to a reliable private investigator she has had her eye on for some time.

Meanwhile, Sinéad notices that the missing valuables she inquired about with the Nosferatu are being delivered to her home. She leaves her home, where her childe Julian and Blanche seem to get along quite well, to meet up with Shrew. However, things don’t turn out quite as planned, as on her way to the Gangrel’s place, a figure catches her attention … her sire, who seems strangely interested in a house nearby, and sneaks around to its back door. Torn between continuing along to the meeting and finding out what her sire could possibly be up to, Sinéad decides to stop and investigate the matter further. She breaks into the house swiftly and while looking for her sire finds a sleeping girl, with red curls flowing onto her pillow and a doll tightly in her arms that looks to be some kind of warrior or pirate. The sight gives her pause, yet with her sire nowhere in the room, she turns to the window – only to find him down on the street, heading into London. Unwilling to lose his trail, the Ravnos throws caution to the wind and jumps out of the girl’s window, but to no avail. She turns a corner and her sire has disappeared, nowhere to be found. Was this really her sire, here in London, and for what purpose? Or was it a hallucination, a vision like the ones she has been seeing for some time now due to a prank by Marcus gone awry? Doubting herself, Sinéad continues on her way, the event and its potential ramifications still lingering at the back of her mind.

Shrew turns out to be helpful to Sinéad, charting the route of the Tremere party during the Sabbat raid as she can remember it, since she accompanied the Tremere primogen and her group. She also points out that only a few people are left who were part of this group, as the other Tremere have left the city some time ago; they have been replaced with others, of course, but except for Harlow, the Tremere who aided in the capture and killing of Sabbat during the raid are unavailable for questioning about it. With this lead coming up relatively unfruitful for her, Sinéad decides to pursue the other party that had survivors – the Sheriff’s – and arranges a meeting with a Ventrue who accompanied them.

Marcus is paid a visit by Belinda, who comes to request he stay his hand in a matter involving his childe Christopher; the lady claims that he violated her domain, and though the two of them have already reached an angreement about this, she feels that he should still be taught a lesson – non-lethal, as she assures his sire. She makes this request to prevent any further escalation, as she would have to involve her clan elders if Marcus decided to take action himself, which she would like to avoid. As a gesture of goodwill, Belinda offers to share information about Christopher that he himself might not be willing to share, which Marcus dismisses; how deep could this knowledge be, after all? Still, the Ventrue surprises him by describing several rooms of his mansion in great detail just from hearsay alone, and opts to share a comedical story she heard while in India about a Ventrue with golden hair who came to visit his clanmates. Apparently, the poor fellow got caught up in quite the culture shock, as he maneuvred himself into a number of embarrassing situations due to miscommunication; although both he and the locals acted with an open mind and friendly manner, their different cultural expectations culminated in the foreign Ventrue running away from an engagement he had unknowingly entered into, offending everyone else in the process. Belinda claims that this story has several different endings, wherein the Ventrue either flees, accepts his fate, or is haunted by the lady he unwittingly insulted who seeks to restore her honor.

After a short pause to think, Marcus answers in kind by sharing a story about his meeting with a Tzimisce lord whose identity he obfuscates before he switches the topic in an attempt to make small talk. Belinda proves to be somewhat unresponsive to this, so he returns to the subject of his childe with a temporary promise to stay his hand and reserve judgment of the lesson she intends to teach Christopher for a time, though he makes it clear that he would be happy to talk to her clan elders should he feel the punishment for Christopher is disproportionate to the offense. Belinda takes her leave shortly afterwards, though not before recommending Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” which is currently being performed in the city, as she finds the actors performing it at night worthy of praise.

Concerned about the matter thus brought to his attention, Marcus talks with Christopher the next night, who seems barely concerned with Belinda’s claims and barely veiled threats. He shows polite disinterest in the matter, obviously distracted by something entirely different – and beneath his facade, even traumatized by whatever occupies his thoughts.

8. The Crow and the Rose
Sunday, the 29th of April and Monday, the 30th of April 1888

“And so you, like the others, would play your brains against mine. You would help these men to hunt me and frustrate me in my designs! You know now, and they know in part already, and will know in full before long, what it is to cross my path. They should have kept their energies for use closer to home. Whilst they played wits against me – against me who commanded nations, and intrigued for them, and fought for them, hundreds of years before they were born – I was countermining them. "

[Lisa, 3. 09. 2016]

The group’s investigations into the box with a rose and Henry Smith bear fruit; it appears that Henry is a young Toreador who hasn’t been in London for long, yet already has a reputation of being a troublemaker and a coterie of his own that is called “Club S”. Marcus meets with him in person to discuss the matter of the box, and Henry gives him a more detailed description of it, but takes his leave rather hastily at Marcus’ not-so-subtle hints at wanting to probe his mind for a picture of the box.
Marcus then spends the remainder of his night trying to figure out the sender of a note he received, using his clan’s particular gift for interpreting patterns which results in a slew of images that range from fascinating, such as a web of silvery threads all interconnecting with each other, or the sight of the city of London from above with fascinating patterns in its dancing lights, to outright disturbing, as is the case with a vision of a darkened labyrinth he is being chased through by shadows.

Meanwhile, Emma meets up with Norton, who appears pale and stressed, to receive a report she commissioned. While Norton does his best to put up a neutral facade, she prods and entrances him, to which he reacts by becoming furious for a moment. She manages to calm him down, and under the guise of fetching him some water, peeks around his office and notices that he has cleaned the place up considerably and removed all personal items and most of his files. Before she can hand him the water she spiked with her blood, he asks her what she is and audibly readies a gun. Emma manages to get the jump on him and disarm him of both the gun and a knife he held in his other hand, though not without using her supernatural powers. When he realizes that he has no way to flee, Norton slumps in her grip and reveals that he planned to close his office this very night and retire to a plot of land outside Brighton with his fiancee. Emma presents him the mixture of blood and water regardless, and he drinks, completing his bond to her. Before she leaves him for the day, she tries as best she can to pull him back from a potential abyss he might be standing on by assuring him that he needn’t worry so long as he doesn’t mention the night’s events to anybody and doesn’t do anything stupid; she gives him several ways to contact her, urging him to come to her should he need to, before helping him destroy the last of his records.

In a different part of town, Sinéad arranged a meeting with the Nosferatu antiquarian Gregory Hemmings, which took place in a library she could spend days or even weeks in just browsing its treasures. Greg, however, led her on a tour through the building’s basement, which contained interesting weapons dating from a variety of time periods, and told her some of the stories associated with them. The two of them make smalltalk about London, with the sewer system and the Nosferatu’s involvement in its inception a focus of their conversation, before they switch to his position of antiquarian and his interest for collecting objects and artifacts in particular. While they continue their tour, Sinéad notices a copy of Dracula in a section with books, which Greg lends her while pointing out that it is an entertaining read, commissioned by Lady Anne herself, which allegedly caused Montgomery’s move out of the city proper due to certain “gifts” he received from the Tzimisce for the book.

During the following night, Marcus ventures into the city to feed and pass some time before a meeting with Sinéad. He notices a very oppressive atmosphere in the city itself, coupled with a foreboding feeling about this particular night and the sensation that there is a film of darkness layered above everything he sees. After he returns home quickly, the feeling fades for a while only to worsen considerably at the stroke of midnight before dissipating completely. Before he can wonder what caused this, he hears a scream of terror and rushes towards his front door, where he finds a young servant of Stepano’s, incredibly pale and still in her nightgown, with a wound that coats her left leg crimson in blood. He sends for a doctor and brings the girl inside to patch her up. She tells him that she was attacked by monsters and that Stepano’s ghoul told her to run and get help from Marcus, which he confirms by peering into her mind. Marcus leaves a message for Christopher, telling him to be careful, before riding off for Stepano’s mansion as fast as he can.

Emma and Sinéad spend the first part of the night in an abandoned and carefully prepared building, littered with traps, where they attempt unsuccessfully to summon the Kindred that Aaron was beating on the night that Sinéad first met him. As nobody shows up even after several hours of waiting, both leave for the second Elysium where Sinéad had arranged to meet Marcus. In there, both of them notice that everybody present seems to be slightly depressed, and even Sinéad’s attempts to lift their spirits last only so long as she keeps their attention. When Marcus neither arrives himself nor sends word an hour after the agreed-upon time, Sinéad starts to worry, and both of them leave on horseback to go look for him at his mansion. While they don’t find him, they do gain information from his ghoul, who points them in the direction of Stepano’s mansion, to which they immediately leave with all haste.

The mansion itself turns out to be eerily quiet, with no animals present for miles around. All of the windows have been shattered, as if by a blast from within, peppering the surrounding area with tiny shards of glass. Marcus enters the building unseen and immediately finds a body within that has been partially splattered across a wall, though the face has been left intact – while he makes his way through the labyrinthine corridors, this sight repeats many more times, with a total of 30 corpses that appear to be leading somewhere. The victims were Stepano’s servants plus additional strangers Marcus doesn’t recognize, and they appear to have been killed slowly, painfully, after being rendered immobile. In the central room of the house, he finds what appears to be a body hanging from a chandelier; on closer inspection, it turns out to be Stepano’s ghoul … or rather, merely his skin. All across the walls, in Stepano’s handwriting and scribbled in blood, Marcus finds the words “they are coming”, which were written in a hurry, with a mixture of panic and confusion as well as a certainty about what was going to happen embedded in their emotional resonance. Marcus is overwhelmed by a feeling of wrongness, after which his mind is flooded by memories of Wales, lost for decades and finally returning.

When they finally arrive at the mension, Sinéad notices her ring warming up; she yells for Marcus as she jumps off her horse and races inside, while Emma stays with the horses and keeps an eye on the premise in case anybody else approaches. Marcus doesn’t respond to her calls and continues to make his way upstairs, where the rooms are untouched except for the smell of smoke in one of the corridors which leads him to a hidden door, behind which he descends a flight of stairs leading deep below the house. In these rooms, every single item of furniture that may have been here has been burned into ash, which strikes him as odd since there could never have been enough air to cause such total destruction. He, too, starts calling out now, but for Stepano, to which he receives no reply. Walking through the underground rooms, he only finds ash and scorched walls – until he steps on something metallic, which turns out to be a pendant that has had its chain burned off completely and which is charred black. Sinéad finally catches up to him and recognizes one of the two symbols on the pendant as belong to a caste of clan Assamite, as well as their motto written in Arabic around it.

With nothing else to be found here, the two of them return to the ground floor of the house, hotly debating their course of action when they are finally joined by Emma, who is disgusted by the sight she finds in the house. Marcus wants to barricade the place, though they don’t have the materials necessary for it and need to return to London soon ere the sun rises, and while Emma runs around frantically closing curtains in an attempt to obfuscate the carnage in the house, Marcus realizes that since Stepano bought land for miles around his mansion and thus has no neighbours, nobody is likely to find out what happened during the day, giving them another night to investigate themselves before it becomes public knowledge. Still, with pen and paper from Emma, he pens a several notes: One to Lady Anne, requesting a personal meeting with the Prince as soon as possible, one to Christopher detailing the events of the night and informing him that he won’t return home for the day, and a third to the Tremere primogen that a massacre happened suspectedly at the hands of Assamites. Emma rides ahead back to London to deliver the first two notes, and the three of them spend the day in one of Marcus’ safe havens.

At the beginning of the next night, Marcus and Sinéad meet with Lady Anne in the first Elysium while Emma waits outside in an attempt to avoid meeting the Tremere primogen. Lady Anne informs Marcus that Mithras is unfortunately not in the city at the moment, but she offers to help in his stead. Marcus calls the matter at hand of metropolitan security, since Stepano is missing, his servants are slaughtered and his house demolished; he mentions that he suspects involvement of Assamites and asks her to delay informing the Tremere for a while so he may investigate the matter first, to which Lady Anne agrees.
While waiting for the others, Emma is approached by the Ventrue with whom she went hunting for the Banshee the night she met Aaron again; he wonders about her appearance, as an armed, pant-clad woman in front of a gentleman’s club, and keeps her company with smalltalk until the other two return and the trio leaves for Stepano’s mansion, though not without sending a message to Marcus’ own manor, to check if Chris has come back to it yet.

Upon further investigation of the house, they find that some servants have dirty feet; since Marcus already pointed out that they were more servants than Stepano had, it seemed that they were summoned to the mansion, which is corroborated by the large amount of tracks they find outside the house which all lead towards it directly from the city itself, with the exception of the servant who escaped, whose tracks lead straight to Marcus’ home. The tracks leading towards the house contain impressions of bewilderment and an overwhelming need to run, as if the people had been summoned here. Sinéad also notices that her ring isn’t warm anymore, but when she points out that something about the place feels wrong, she hears a familiar voice laughing in her mind. The group is interrupted in their search by a message from Marcus’, stating that the servant who escaped died during the day and that Christopher hasn’t returned home during the night. Worried for his safety, Marcus asks Emma and Sinéad to summon him right on the spot, which they do with the result that an extremely unhappy but unharmed Christopher shows up a while afterward, much to the relief of Marcus. Christopher’s displeasure at being summoned lessens somewhat when he learns of what happened during the last night, and he takes a look around the mansion as well, doing his best to put on a mask and hide his thoughts about the affair.

9. The Dragonslayers
Tuesday, the 1st of May and Wednesday, the 2nd of May

“Not my best side, I’m afraid.
The artist didn’t give me a chance to
Pose properly, and as you can see,
Poor chap, he had this obsession with
Triangles, so he left off two of my
Feet. I didn’t comment at the time
(What, after all, are two feet
To a monster?) but afterwards
I was sorry for the bad publicity.
Why, I said to myself, should my conqueror
Be so ostentatiously beardless, and ride
A horse with a deformed neck and square hoofs?
Why should my victim be so
Unattractive as to be inedible,
And why should she have me literally
On a string? I don’t mind dying
Ritually, since I always rise again,
But I should have liked a little more blood
To show they were taking me seriously.”

At the beginning of the night, Marcus meets the Regent in the Chantry to talk with her about the scene he found at Stepano’s manor. He mentions that he suspects a demon may be involved and drops some hints about a visit to Wales where he avoided making a deal with an entity that claimed to be a demon, of which he regained some memories during the last night. The Regent decides to investigate the matter immediately with the help of Alexander and sees Marcus out of the Chantry, who returns to his mansion where he has a meeting with Emma.
The Brujah asks him a few questions about ghouls and the properties of Kindred vitae, citing her newly “acquired” ghoul as the reason for her curiosity, and afterwards offers to assist him with the funeral bills for the murdered servants. The conversation turns towards the subject of money and finances, which helps to distract Marcus from the situation at hand for a while. When Emma mentions that she is looking for an accountant for her newspaper and filling in for a mortal herself at the moment, he offers to look over her books and tutor her in the arts of finance if she cares to learn more, which Emma accepts after a moment of hesitation. Shortly afterwards, their conversation is interrupted by Christopher, and Emma excuses herself to give the two enough privacy to talk. After she has left, Chris makes a few snide comments about the summon he received to Stepano’s manor. His sire uses the opportunity to urge him to be especially careful because he might become a target of the demon’s due to his involvement with Marcus, which doesn’t seem to faze him much. He also reminds him that he agreed to leave an envelope with his approximate location when he leaves, and asks him to notify him should he hear anything about the matter or if anything happens. Chris looks unimpressed despite his sire’s serious words and leaves on whatever business he had in mind for the night.

Meanwhile, Emma makes her way to the second Elysium and finds it full to the brim with Kindred; gossip abounds about the Tremere burning down Stepano’s mansion after the investigation and the Regent accusing the Ventrue primogen of putting the city in jeopardy since they knew Stepano was an Assamite scholar, who is suspected to be a spy by her, which led to an immediate meeting of the Primogen council being called. Since reports of the missing servants had made their way to the mortal police, the manor was burned down to protect the Masquerade after the investigation was finished, and the Regent was apparently livid after she found out that she wasn’t told immediately about the massacre. There are also rather precise reports of the manor itself going around that hint at somebody who was there in person spreading the information.
Emma manages to find Lionel, whom she asks for a private chat. She passes along detailed information about what she saw at the manor, excluding the fact that she was there with Marcus and Sinéad, and she takes the opportunity to subtly remind him of the agreement which they had reached. While he points out that this information is not directly related to the search for the old Sheriff and Sabbat involvement seems unlikely, Emma mentions that the Sabbat could still use this opportunity of most Kindred gathering in Elysium instead of being out and about in the city as a distraction for their own plans whether they had a hand in it or not. She doesn’t stick around for long, as she doesn’t want to talk about the matter at hand further, and instead opts to go to the third Elysium for the rest of the night, since many Kindred usually gathered there are currently in the second Elysium.

Sinéad had a chat with her childe Julian at the end of the previous night, where she noticed that he seemed troubled and tells him she regrets coming to London. After a bit of prying on her part, Julian admits to having agreed to a favor for John Malone in exchange for making an unnamed admirer disappear. During the next night, Julian has to perform the duties of a squire for a Malkavian, and though he is reluctant to provide more details, he invites Sinéad to tag along, to which she agrees.
Both of them meet at a clearing in the woods after “borrowing” a mule on their way for Julian’s costume, which consists of peasant clothing, a straw hat, a long chain and a wooden sword. They meet an armored man on a horse after a short wait, who introduces himself as Ser Franklin the Dragonslayer, who calls Julian “Sancho” and allows Sinéad to tag along after some persuasion. He tells them that he goes dragonhunting every year after St. George’s, but he is distressed since he noticed there are currently two black dragons in the woods – and while one dragon is just fine, two are definitely too many, so he has set out to hunt the upstart dragon who is setting himself up as competition to his own dragon. Sinéad poses as bait for the dragon and conjures a realistic illusion of a black dragon when nothing happens at first. They quickly flee deeper into the woods from the mock dragon, at which point Sinéad finds herself surprised by an unknown man who politely asks her if she would mind being abducted, to which she happily agrees.

Marcus keeps himself busy with more paperwork, but he has an odd feeling which prompts him to check his mansion for intruders, though he doesn’t find anything – until his butler interrupts him with a horseshoe that had been left at their doorstep. It’s made of a strange kind of metal, and as Marcus inspects it with his supernatural senses, he notices that whomever left it was very purposeful and thoughtful, whereas the previous handler was bewildered, and its maker seemed annoyed and in a grumpy mood. Marcus notices some herbs and leaves woven throughout the horseshoe, which he recognizes as commonly being used to ward off the evil eye or other evil forces. He decides to leave the item somewhere nobody would pick it up and then leaves his mansion for a ride in the city.

The third Elysium is practically deserted, with only the regulars on the mortal side plus Miranda and three men, two of whom are Kindred Emma doesn’t recognize and the other being her ghoul, Andrew Norton. He is playing chess with one of the Kindred, a Nosferatu, but immediately finishes his game with a checkmate when Emma waves him over. He still appears pale and bitter, and she quickly notices that he seems to be emotionally numb and bored out of his mind. Emma tries to organize her thoughts unsuccessfully and keeps jumping from topic to topic, telling him what she calls some basics including the concept of the Masquerade and that he mustn’t tell anybody anything about her unless expressly permitted. While she talks, she plays a game of cards with him, since Andrew started fidgeting around. She wonders whether he could take up his work as a private investigator again, which he doesn’t think to be a good idea. As he is itching for something to do, she asks him to figure out the names of the servants who were murdered in Stepano’s manor, but tries to impress upon him several times to be extremely careful about it and to not dig too deep lest he get into trouble, and she advises him to start carrying a weapon, preferably a knife, for his own protection from now on. She also probes him for his network of contacts, wondering whether he knows anybody who could do her books, and after he mentions that he did his own financial work, she asks him whether he could help her with the matter, at least until she finds someone else, to which he agrees.
Seeing as how she can’t properly concentrate and the Elysium is too quiet now, she drags Norton into her favourite tavern for a drink, which he accepts purely to make her happy, where she hears stories of a beast in the woods that one of the men hunted and killed, which is described as a dog-boar thing with scales as well as fur and huge, tusk-like teeth. Her mood quickly improves as she spins the wild tales even further, at some point hearing that a dragon is rumoured to be living in the woods around the city. She amuses herself for a while by adding fuel to the fire, and when the crowd turns its attention wholly toward dragon-hunting for the rest of the evening, she leaves to go on a walk with Norton in tow. Since her companion suddenly looks to be rather feverish, she asks to see him off safely, and notices that he is dragging out the way considerably. When she asks for his exact address, he weasels out of giving it, claiming that he is currently looking for a more permanent living quarter while he tries to lay low for a while due to tax reasons. With the sun rising soon, she decides not to push the matter further and leaves him be to get to her own haven safely.

While this happens, Sinéad suggests to her unknown captor that he should take her to a ruined tower nearby, which he finds a splendid idea, grabbing her and taking her there on the mule while she screams at the top of her lungs for theatrical effect before pretending to be gagged. She chats quietly with the stranger, who claims not to be from the area and to have come here only to oversee a person overseeing a project that he hopes will crash and burn. He introduces himself only as Hail and makes sure that she doesn’t have a chance to see his face while carrying her up on the tower as she is slung over his shoulder – and opportunity that Sinéad uses to its fullest, pretending to be steadying herself and grabbing his butt while doing so. Unfortunately, it turns out to be quite bony and reminds her of scales somehow, but before she can investigate further, Ser Franklin arrives with “Sancho” in tow. Hail throws Sinéad down at the knight, and both go tumbling down the tower while Julian facepalms in the background. The supposed dragon uses the opportunity to escape on Franklin’s horse, which leads to another chase to the river. They notice the temperature drop rapidly as they approach, ice appears on the water and the rain turns to frost – then a hailstorm starts. Franklin finds his horse left at the water, which has had its teeth elongated to tusk-like fangs, much to its owner’s horror. The hail stops after a while, and they notice that it has fallen in a very specific pattern over the city, forming the shape of a white dragon.
Franklin commends Sancho on his good work but departs shortly afterwards to find a dentist for his horse, while Sinéad and Julian make their way back to the city where they split up. Sinéad heads to the second Elysium which is still full to the brim and buzzing with the same gossip that Emma has heard. She is asked directly by one of the Gangrel about her involvement in the matter and admits to having been there and shares some details about what she saw.

Marcus’ ride takes him to his study where he decides to paint something to occupy himself and lets his thoughts roam freely, which results in a rough painting of a mountain with a knight fighting a dragon and a person with a straw hat and a red-haired woman in a white dress. He titles it as “Don’t Ask” by putting a note on the frame before continuing, and he discovers that the dragon seems pretty bony with a rather short tail. At this point he leaves it to dry, unsure what to make of it, and makes his way back into the city to feed. While looking for suitable vessels, he notices two well-dressed women laughing and suspiciously out of place; he follows them out of curiosity after noticing they are mortals, and makes a mental note of the place they enter and the specific knock they use to gain entrance there. He continues, but quickly finds the city’s rain turning into a hailstorm with unpleasantly large hail; after it finishes, he discovers the shape of the dragon over the city by using his clan’s unique discipline and decides to drop by the Chantry once more.
He is immediately shown to Harlow, who tells him that Stepano is still alive and an Assamite, which Marcus denies having had any knowledge of prior to her telling him. She seems incredibly unhappy with how events unfolded, since she claims somebody else was at the mansion before the Tremere could investigate it. Marcus gives her a detailed account of when he himself investigated it, which leaves little room for anybody else to show up there, but the Regent quickly turns the conversation towards the Prince, on whom she puts a large amount of blame as he chose not to inform the Tremere of the presence of an Assamite in the city.
After Marcus inquires about the horseshoe, which Harlow doesn’t have further information on, he tells her about the suspiciously dragon-shaped hailstorm, which leads her to the conclusion that a Tzimisce has arrived in the city. She informs him that the Tremere will be unavailable for the next seven nights due to clan matters and that she unfortunately cannot help him with finding Stepano currently.
With this new knowledge weighing on him, Marcus leaves for his haven where his butler informs him that Chris sent a rose to a lady, whom he called the “fairest of them all”, and he doesn’t return for the night.

10. Endless Night
Thursday, the 3rd of May and Friday, the 4th of May

A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy and Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.

Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight.
Some are Born to sweet delight,
Some are Born to Endless Night.

[Lisa, 08. 10. 16]

Sinéad starts investigating Blanche’s absence, as the neonate hasn’t been at her house for a few nights in a row now; she learns at the second Elysium that Blanche had been there previously, but had left with a man she has been seen with before after a while. The Ravnos then makes her way to the third Elysium and runs into Julian. Her childe proves to be unhelpful as he excuses himself rather hurriedly, claiming he has somewhere to be, and Sinéad starts a conversation with Miranda, who hasn’t seen the Toreador but tells her about her musician friend who has not been seen for a while, either, and is rather unpopular with his own clan – and may be in trouble as well. With few ideas on where to turn to, Sinéad decides to pay a visit to Marcus, who spent the start of the night asking his servants to be especially careful, keep the entrances of the manor secure and fetch some holy water, while he himself writes a message to the Gangrel primogen Lillian and prepares everything needed to perform an exorcism.

When Sinéad arrives, she shares the gossip she heard previously in the second Elysium about the Tremere primogen’s accusations and the rumours surrounding Stepano’s disappearance, as well as the fact that she met a Tzimisce recently. The conversation soon turns towards Dementation, especially its sources of information and power, but is briefly interrupted when Marcus notices a draft and finds one of thewindows opened. After a short investigation with Auspex, he concludes that no other Kindred or mortals are present in his house, and hre returns to Sinéad and tries his best to explain his clan’s unique discipline. He then announces his plans of looking for Stepano and asking for help and information among the city’s Kindred, as he feels partly responsible for what happened. He confirms the locations of the rose box for Sinéad as well as giving her a detailed description of it, then the two part ways for the night.

Sinéad turns to animals in her search for Blanche and is led to the warehouse district by a group of rats who claim to have seen a lonely lady going there. She doesn’t find the neonate, but she decides to snoop around for the rose box while she’s there. Instead of the box, she finds a container full of an Irish herb with magical properties used as an offering to fae and for getting certain things to look at you as well as a box full of earth. Sensing that these could be excellent bargaining chips, she absconds from the warehouse with both of the containers as well as other random boxes she finds nearby and spends the rest of the night spreading them around her additional havens in the city.

Marcus visits the second Elysium, where he makes the acquaintance of the Ventrue Leopold and his clanmate Mia O’Connor and joins their conversation about business. Mia has a vested interest in trade deals in India about tea in particular, since she has a liking for it, and Leopold knows a lot about the geography of the country. After he mentions that Belinda is supposed to prepare for the return of her sire who is currently still in India, where unrest is stirring recently, Leopold excuses himself from the conversation when it turns towards fashion for a while. Mia also claims that her inspiration on ways to conduct business has been taken from Marcus, who extends an invitation to his home in case she ever wants to talk about business with him in the future. He leaves a message for the Nosferatu asking them to contact him, as well as for his primogen to schedule an appointment and drops by the first Elysium to pass a message to the Elysium Keeper for Lady Anne, which she is supposed to hand to Mithras; it contains information that Stepano has disappeared but is not dead yet.

Meanwhile, Emma pays a visit to Hawke, whom she finds building a wooden fence around his house which is decorated with occult symbols and among which he has planted new saplings of plants foreign to her. They chat for a while and as it turns out, Hawke is aware of the situation with the demon and invites Emma to stay with him for a while if she feels unsafe in her city, which can hardly be as well-prepared as his own home in the woods. She declines, but asks him a few questions about demons, and he shares a story of Letho and himself fighting against the Tzimisce in Transylvania who were able to conjure nature spirits, as well as a rather unfortunate meeting with a spirit or demon who was possessing mortals anew every time he was cut down, which is why Hawke cautions her against fighting spirits directly and recommends outrunning them instead. The conversation turns towards the Sabbat, who Hawke claims have set up shop in a town to the south, and he uses the occasion to complain about the Prince, who used to be a warrior in the past which was why he settled near London in the first place, but both the Prince and his lands have changed from the tales he had heard before coming here. The two of them spend the majority of the night sparring with each other, after which Emma drops by the third Elysium for another hour and sees Molly dragging the Nosferatu Elias with her after emotionally blackmailing him into helping. Florence, who was present for the whole scene, then shares that Molly has apparently found a group of children which have been ghouled by the Sabbat and used as spies, and needed help with the matter as her Tremere helper is unavailable at the moment.

At the beginning of the next night, Marcus sprinkles holy water on all windows and thresholds of his house, and he uses the opportunity to examine the window which had been opened during the last day with his supernatural senses. He finds the same thoughtfulness as on the horseshoe he examined. His servants complain that multiple windows kept opening on their own for the past day or two, and when he hears this, he asks them to pay conscious attention to when and where this happens. Chris left him a message that reads “Met with a priest, went to save a lady” which Marcus examines with Auspex, upon which he notices that Chris was distracted and left the message as an afterthought, though he also felt opportunistic … and a slight pang of conscience, as if he were at fault for something. He remembers hearing about a Kindred priest and leaves for the second Elysium to ask around.

Sinéad starts off her night by gleefully telling Julian about the stuff she stole, who in turn tells her that Blanche got into trouble and has two knights in shining armor looking for her, one of whom hopes to become Sheriff by finding her. She correctly guesses that the pair includes Christopher, who is helping a new friend of his, and Julian puts the blame on Chris since it is due to his actions that nobody else would care to look for Blanche. Sinéad leaves the city and ventures to the ruined tower where she last saw Hail and tries to summon him unsuccessfully before heading back to the city and the third Elysium in particular.

In the second Elysium, Marcus receives an invitation from the Nosferatu and manages to catch his primogen for a short conversation. He informs him that he will be looking for Stepano and asks to be passed any info about this that reaches Talbott’s ears, who thinks this plan a doomed endeavour since finding the Assamite does not mean saving him. However, he recognizes that the situation itself is very convenient for his clan due to their knowledge being in high demand and seems rather unconcerned, though he does warn Marcus to be wary of water before he leaves. Marcus then turns to Caroline for information about the priest he is seeking and makes his way to the church he inhabits.

Emma heads straight for the third Elysium at the start of the night and meets Norton there, who gives her a detailed report on the missing servants and the information he was able to find about them. He also points out that one man survived the urge to race towards Stepano’s manor, as he was hit with a frying pan by his wife and subsequently knocked unconscious. In the newspaper that he has with him are a few articles of note as well, especially one on strikes in the are and a child going missing recently. The two of them are joined by Sinéad not long after Emma finishes giving Norton something else to investigate, and the two Kindred promptly strike up a conversation about the recent events, especially Molly’s outburst last night, the information Norton passed on to her, and the fact that Blanche has been missing for some time. Sinéad also delights in mentioning her theft and plans to strike a deal with the Tzimisce she met recently, much to Emma’s bafflement and disbelief. Some time after, the two separate, with Sinéad intending to search the docks and Emma deciding to follow her after arming herself.

The information from Caroline leads Marcus to St. George’s cathedral, where he meets Lambert and asks him about Christopher’s visit. The priest shares that Chris and his companion who introduced himself as Gabriel were looking for Francis, who had been a regular visitor to the church until he suddenly stopped coming. The Toreador complained about disturbing dreams, which Marcus suspects is due to aftereffects of memory erasure through Dominate, but Lambert cannot share any more details as the Kindred’s secrets are protected by confession. However, his childe had already established that Blanche noticed something about her companion, confronted him about it and subsequently disappeared. Lambert asks Marcus to pass along a heavy envelope to Francis should he find him, which he agrees to before attempting to track his childe through Dementation. The visions he receives as a result are incredibly cryptic, so with time running out, Marcus decides to visit the Nosferatu first. He is greeted by Joshua who apoligizes for de Worde’s absence since his primogen is currently investigating Stepano’s disappearance. The Malkavian gains some information about his childe and Blanche, who had last been seen around the docks, and who the Nosferatu are sure will be found with Francis, a Kindred of a different clan than he introduced himself as, though his precise bloodline is unknown to them at the moment. Marcus immediately makes his way to the docks after he finishes his conversation.

Sinéad, who is the first to arrive, checks the warehouse from which she took the earth and herbs and promptly triggers a very painful trap that had been set there. She manages to escape the warehouse before a second trap is activated and summons a cat to ask for information on Blanche who had apparently last been seen entering the warehouse with the trap, at which point the obfuscated Marcus finds her. Emma arrives shortly afterwards and notices the door Sinéad left open. She decides to hide nearby and watch the warehouse for any suspicious activity, but is promptly discovered and flees deeper into the district, stumbling into Marcus and Sinéad just before a fireball hits the door she closed. After a short fight with what turns out to be three Sabbat Kindred, one of whom summons a flaming salamander and one of whom frenzies and nearly decapitates Emma, both her and Sinéad are captured. Marcus manages to escape and explains to the Kindred that Emma summoned – Atticus, Hawke and Lionel as well as the latter’s companions – before they were taken away what happened.


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