Friday, October 21, 2016

Bloodlines ep04 : Blades in the Dark


Episode Four
"Egg story"

Blades in the Dark

The city is wet, gray and drab.  Bells toll in the distance.  A bird takes to the sky, beating its black wings against the air.  The crow circles, searching.   Reginald Drakeboon III stares at the Dimmer Sister that Nyrxx has possessed.  The spirit shares to him the stories of the Bellweather Crematorium and how it had turned all the crows into Deathseeker Crows.  The Crows seek out the dying and unerringly find their mark.

Elsewhere, Gideon Seymour watches the crow in the sky, sensing something is up.  Robert the Piper is studying the egg they had stolen from the other night.  The others are busy indulging in their vices.  But tonight, it can easily be sensed that things will be interesting.

Reginald interrupts Nyrxx, asking why he suddenly possessed the woman he was just talking to.  Nyrxx uses her own hands to reveal the poisoned blade she was planning to use on him once he got close enough.  Nyrxx claims to have saved his life to even out the fact he stole from him before.  The sound of fluttering wings is nearby.   Nyrxx warns him that the Dimmer Sisters hate the group so much the young woman was sent to murder them.  Reginald asks what will happen next if they end up starting a war. Nyrxx insists they don't need to know it was he who killed her.  He does share that even the smaller factions have been whispering of a nameless group gathering turf lately.  Reginald insists he chooses to fight the woman on even terms.  Nyrxx complies and releases his hold on her.

The group sees on the paper a theater group that had been murdered, the whole troupe poisoned for some reason.  Cliff Lawford wonders if its related to them... for a moment.. and just goes back to his vice.  The egg suddenly cracks!  The group realizes the egg might be hatching that very moment. From Robert's research, Leviathan eggs are supposed to be just a metaphor.  Puck Maxwell, however, found possible documents claiming they can exist and are said to contain the essence of Leviathans and can only be born if a suitable vessel is nearby, such as the closest virgin. One last tale speaks of the eggs only hatching when the mother is near, ready to welcome them back to the Ink.  Robert wonders which legend is true right now, not touching it, but observing it as it cracks open a bit more.  He sees the golden eye looking back at him.  Cliff slowly goes nearer, remembering the old tales of Leviathans having been cursed by the Olden Gods - struck with lightning to sever their legs and keep them at sea.  Seymour leaves the room, inexplicably choosing to head for a brothel.  He notices ripples over the bridge as something seemingly moves in the Ink.  Cliff peeks outside to see where the Whisper had gone, but there's no sign of where he went.  Puck grabs a bucket, hoping to keep the egg in it.  Darius Cromwell lurks closer and he and Robert are staring at egg as it makes gurgling sounds and continues to crack open.

Gideon tries to find the closest brothel.  Cliff can't seem to find where Gideon went, so he heads back. When Robert tries urging the thing to come out of the shell, the thing in the egg gives out a bellow so loud the window shatters and the sound resonates all around.  Robert switches in urgency, telling the thing in the egg to be gentler now.

A crow looks in the distance, then flutters away.  Reginald hears the whale song in the distance.  Taking the opportunity, he is able to disable the woman from hurting him, grabbing her shoulder to ask if she heard the sound.  The woman makes a fuss over him touching her though, despite him insisting he is trying to help her.  Where his touch landed on her skin, her skin has shifted black.  "No one touches a Dimmer Sister!"  Reginald reacts in shock by touching her face more.

Gideon hears the scream and hurries back to the head quarters.  There, he sees the group coaxing some thing to emerge from the egg.  Puck places the bucket by the table, suggesting they place the egg inside.  Darius stares at the eye and starts to see images upon its surface.  He begins to see glimpses of his rival, Darmont, who now appears to be standing on a small raft staring at something, but unaware of something rising behind him from the ink. Something with ivory skin.  A Leviathan!  Robert searches for his pipe.  Puck decides to try grabbing the egg, hoping to lower it into the pail.  Cliff returns, asking what had just happened and what made that sound.  His return catches Puck by surprise, whose hands slip and the egg falls into the bucket with a thud, cracking more the shell.  Robert finds his pipe, and with his musical instrument in hand, he leans closer to study the baby monster. It looked like great white whale with six tiny protrusions that remind him of stumps that may have once been legs.  It has three large tails, which curl up around itself to keep it upright.  There are nodes on its body, but they seem to be closed.  Robert's gaze stare at the golden eye, and he begins to see images inside.  That of him and a woman.  Of him making love with her under the open sky, the boat gently being carried by the current.  They had just stolen a lot of coin that night, and had chosen to celebrate on the escape boat.  As they made love, neither of them saw the white form that followed them from beneath the ink.  As their lovemaking consummated, Robert left her on the boat, and the woman dipped herself into the waters in hopes of washing herself.

"Stay away!" the Dimmer Sister screams, forcing Reginald back.  To his surprise, her skin has literally darkened where he had touched her.  She breaks into a run and Reginald tries to chase after her.  They leap from rooftop to rooftop, with Reginald hoping to follow her back to wherever she came from, ignoring as his Coin pouch falls.

The crow flies, searching.  Sensing.  But uncertain.

Gideon tries to call out to Booker, the spirit connection he has, to gain information, but the spirit seems to refuse to answer.  Back at the headquarters, the others are watching in fascination at the baby monster.   Puck finds it fascinating as the thing wraps its tail around Cliff's arm as he tries to pick it up.  "I think it likes you."   The group hear a knock on the door, and answering it, they see a Bluecoat asking them about a reported explosion.  Gideon tries to misdirect the Bluecoat.  Robert steps in to talk to the guards, explaining they heard it too.  Puck uses his shirt as a barrier to try and pry the monster from Cliff's arm.  When a vertical slit opens to reveal a new eye staring at Puck, he drops his hold of the thing and looks at the others.

Robert then tries to claim that the sound came from somewhere behind the bridge.  They see Darmont on the waters, steering the boat with his feet.    Booker shares that there are records that speak of the Leviathans, shared by the former nobleman Scurlock, claiming that he had brought an egg to hatch.  His actions led to the distruction to the southern part of the Dagger Isles.  The mothers supposedly showed up to search for her.  Leviathan Eggs are not like human children with a single mother, but are the culmination of various mothers combining their essences into a new child.  Gideon asks if it is safe to touch them.  Booker explains touching allows the things to recognize the other.  As they touch it, the ones who touch it find themselves mentally assaulted by visions.    A crow flies into the room, watching them.  Robert tells them it is best they move before the thing shrieks again.  They decide to try and head to the docks, while Puck works on the door to jury-rig it to look like it is still fixed.  The others head off.

The Dimmer Sister warns Reginald of things being worse than death, and she freaks out when Reginald tries to be nice to her and help her out.   Without a doubt, he's confused why someone is trying to have her killed.   The woman yells at Reginald to stop following her.  He suggests she goes to his place and they can help settle things or figure something out.  Maybe there's something that can be done to remove the dark marks on the woman's skin.  She tells him that every Dimmer Sister was sworn to purity for the coming of... she halts speaking before she reveals too much.  Reginald asks her to go on.  She relents, and tells him he can come with her, if he really thinks he can help her.  She cannot offer safety, but it might be a chance to show why he is still alive.  The two across from the rooftops.

Puck works on the door, hammering it shut, when he starts to smell something of orchids, roses and salt.   He realizes it is an exotic perfume, and looks up to see there is a visitor outside at the street.   He sees the standing carriage and the waiting people and decides to survey what is happening outside.  The people outside are asking questions to the bluecoats nearby, and the bluecoats are now pointing towards Puck's direction.  The carriage follows.  Puck slides back inside, closing the door, and hoping he fixed the door enough.  The carriage arrives and a man speaks with a voice laden with a thick accent, "Keep rifles at ready.."

Approaching the shoreline, the four see a boat they can use and hurry to get inside.  As the bucket is being placed inside, they catch sight of a fishing boat in the distance, now empty.  Cliff beings to untie the boat, and asks where they should go.  The others aren't certain.  A sound alerts them that the crow has followed them and landed on the nearest lamp post.  The group starts wondering if they should try to make their way to Dagger Isles, or to head for Open Sea.  The others, however, are afraid if the "mom" might be nearby.  Having been a former sailor, Robert knows the best way to get there from where they are now.  The Whisper wonders though if the light house is the better option.  A splash alerts them to something rising from the water.  They turn to see... Darmont rising from the water.  He hoists himself up using hooks that act as his hands, then dragging the chain connected to his waist, he hoists up cages from the ink.  He snarls at them, recognizing the people who were instrumental to his current state.  The group begins to row away from the port, moving down the river.  Robert gambles that there should be a ship to use there tonight.  They exit the channel and pass one of the larger boats.  A man on the boat recognizes Robert and the two exchange pleasantries.  He warns Robert that even as far as Southpoint, the ink has been rough.  "There might be Leviathans moving about."  All of them start shaking their head, talking about how that's not likely.   They pass another ship, with a drunken sailor singing about leviathans, selling souls for a drink, and he stops singing upon seeing the bucket the group have with them.

Knocks upon the door introduce a man who claims to be present on behalf of the Lady Kellis.  She is searching for "The Entertainers," and Puck is uncertain what to say behind the door.  Puck quickly grabs a concoction that causes drowsiness, and remembering his ability to "sweat" out such things which he drinks, he begins to swallow it down.  Puck addresses the man and he explains Lady Kellis is searching for entertainers for her fete tonight.  Puck asks who the woman is and why the entertainers are needed.  He man admits he was directed by Rigby to head here.  Puck claims the others are out on a gig with some other group.  The scents get stronger as the carriage door opens.  Stepping into view, the Lady Roslyn Kellis steps into view.  She asks if she had come to a useless trip hoping to find entertainers with over fifty guests of high society.  Puck claims his brothers are currently out, but if another opportunity arises, perhaps some other time.  Puck suggests he might have some tricks that they will enjoy.  Kellis gives Puck permission to perform.  Puck approaches one of the guards, then gives him a kiss. The guard, poisoned, begins to move as if intoxicated.  Puck hoped to time it perfectly that the guard drops to the ground the moment he snaps, but he fails.  The guard turns to Kellis and reports, "He has performed, milady."  Kellis is amused and agrees to hire the group.  Puck is not sure what he has just agreed to.  Kellis decides to reschedule her party to when the group would be available.  She insists however it only happen at night.

Reginald is brought to the mausoleum.  Everything is bathed in a greenish-blue light thanks to the electroplasmic generators. The Dimmer Sister leans towards a marble wall and whispers against it.  Reginald cranes his neck to catch it and hears her say, "I open myself and all my sins."  But the door does not open.  Reginald mutters that maybe she's not saying it right.  As she turns to complain, another dimmer sister silently exits and grabs her from behind, accusing her of having brought an outside to their home.  She is referred to as a non-sister, for bringing her mark here and not killing him.  Reginald asks if there is any way to cleanse it and settle things in peace.  The other sister blinds the defiled sister with her nails and pushes her into the doorway.  The other approaches Reginald, calling him extremely brave or stupid for coming here.  They discuss not wanting to die and his sins against the Dimmer sisters.  He asks for an absolution or penance to resolve things and she tells him to follow him.  He steels his resolve as he is lead to a nearby grave.  A flutter in the trees worries him at first, until he sees it is merely an owl.  But the discussion shifts quickly into a fight, with the woman attacking him with the nearby shovel.  Reginald overpowers the Sister and shoves her into the open grave he was earlier pushed into.  The fight gets pretty rough, with Reginald realizing he cannot hold back when she draws a pitch black blade.  The owl flies away as Reginald sees her stab the blade towards him.... the crow lands nearby.

The boat moves past the port and approaches the light house.  The Whispers tells them that they best head to the cove beside the light house.  They see Blue Coats keeping watch outside.  They approach quietly, hoping to avoid notice.  The Leviathan child stares at them with three eyes.  They easily knockout the guards and begin their ascent up the tower.   Upstairs, they bring out the Leviathan Baby and watch as it seems to simply stare back.  The others feel some strange urge to touch it.  The Whisper feels the danger of this thing and pulls back.   A bellow sounds in the distance as another boat approaches.

Puck sees across the street an old friend, a corpse seller who claims to have heard the crow and was searching for the body.  Puck admits there are no bodies here for sale.  He sees the crow though watching them both. Puck asks what he knows of the crow and the man explains the crow did emerge with the bells, leading some credence to the legend.   Puck sees the crow fly off and he decides to follow it.  It leads him to the cemetery.  He quietly slides inside, staying to the shadows, and soon finds the path he has taken leading to Reginald and his fight against the Dimmer Sister!  The fight continues with the Dimmer Sister stabbing the pitch blade in his direction over and over.   Reginald keeps parrying with the shovel.  Puck quickly draws out his blowgun and prepares a concoction.  He trusts in the training that Puck and Reginald trained with before, that when he makes a sound it means Puck is firing a dart in his direction.  Puck makes the duck sound, the very sound Reginald hated from that practice session, and Reginald instinctively drops to the ground.  The dart finds its mark, striking the Sister on her neck.  She falls on top of Reginald and is knocked unconscious. The crow stares at the three of them, and flies off. They begin shoving earth into the grave, to cover it up, and leave.  Puck tosses the corpse thief a tip on where a body awaits in a fresh grave.

The Leviathan appears.  The group watches from the light house and see massive things appearing from the dark waters.  Worse, there are more than one.  The massive things, like pale whales with stump limbs, rise and tear into the port, as they close in towards the light house.  Leviathan hunters emerge from ships, closing in and hoping to draw some from the great beasts unnoticed.   They speak with Gideon's friend at the cove and learn that Leviathan Babies are actually called Lures by others, because they lure the Leviathans to them.  The Lure begins to shriek and glass shatters up five blocks away.  Robert wonders if they can make a deal with the Hunters to make money out of this.  Darius wonders if this is a chance to make more fame if they "save the city" from the monsters.   When the others ask what he means by monsters, they see MORE Leviathans closing in!  Their steps shake the ground and some of them lose their balance, nearly falling from the light house.  Darius uses his ability to ghost up to slip through the wall and hide.

As they hurry down the tower, the group carries the Lure back down and try to find a way to bring it to a place where the Leviathans can reclaim it without destroying the city further.   As the Leviathan Hunters begin clambering atop the Leviathans they can, to steal blood and skin fragments they can harvest.  As many of the group scatters off, Cliff distracts the Leviathans by grabbing the Lure and carrying it with him towards the cliffside.    The Lure starts hugging Cliff's arm tighter, not wanting him to let go.  To his surprise, the Lure injects something into Cliff's skin, and black skin dances under the surface.  Finally, it lets go.

Robert grabs the Lure and begins running ahead, hoping to reach the shoreline.  The second Leviathan rises from that place, however!  Robert places the Lure down on the sand and slowly backs away.  Cliff drops to the group, tripping and realizes he is in the first Leviathan's path.  The first one nearly crashes atop of Cliff, but the ground breaks open and he falls into a cellar.  The second Leviathan opens its mouth and emerging from it are hands, hundreds of tentacle hands that cup and carry the child into its mouth.  The two begin to turn, heading back into the sea.  The Leviathan Hunters slip away, happy to have their wares, escaping back into the ink before the authorities arrive.

Cliff watches as the ink dances under his skin.  The black swirls eventually stops, remaining like a tattoo that dots his arm.  


The Dagger Isles.  

A few days later.  The group arrives at The Salted City, where there is a Leviathan trapped among the rocks and asleep.  Its back is cut open and there are camps, structures and people moving about its body.  Only Leviathan Hunters and Special Guests are allowed.

They are recognized in the ship by some of the hunters there, seen as people who were running along the Leviathans.  Asked who they are, they introduce themselves as the No-Bodies. They are told they have gained some notice and maybe some day in the future, they will be allowed in.


The corpse buyer knocks at their door, complaining that there was no body in the grave.  Reginald and Puck stare at each other, worried that the woman might appear again sometime in the future.

Sleeper ep01 : Part 2 : V20


"Art is Violent, Family is Forever"
Episode One - Part II

Vampire 20th Anniversary

U.S. Botanical Garden

Diana Pierce pulls the wooden pieces out of the chest of the currently torpid former Sheriff, Charlston.   The wood gets stuck for a brief moment, forcing Pierce to brace and pull harder.  The thing rips free finally, revealing at the end it had a metal hook.  Some meat was torn free with it, crumbling to ashes immediately.  Mark "Dor" Roberts and David Sullivan see the red flares of anger swirl in Charlston's aura.   They see the hints of confusion and fear dancing in the swirl of colors.   Mildred Hobbs focuses on any sounds he makes, attempting to catch those moments of hesitation and apprehension that accompany bad lies.    Alex Cross asks the first question, "Do you know why you are here?"   Charlston coughs out vitae, cursing and screaming for explanations on why he was attacked from his own haven.  The aura reveals purple hues dominating now, with light green growing in strength as suspicion grows.  The fear never leaves however.  Mildred hears nothing odd so far.  When Charlston asks Marcus what he did, and why his loyalties are questionable, Marcus never answers.  Mildred catches Charlston's voice waver slightly when he asks what he did.

Alex asks Dor if there's anything interesting, but he does not reply.  Dor sees the David staring too, but not knowing his name, he asks generically, "Warlock?"  Diana tries to help, "That's David."  David however gives no reply either.  Alex sighs, "Apparently it IS something you did. Would you like to enlighten us?"  The group starts to realize though, despite the Sheriff ranting about doing his job, all of them have been in Washington, D.C. for quite some time without having been presented to the Prince.  More so with Dor, who has been active in the city for some years.  David notices the orange glow of fear still lingering.  Dor sees hints of sadness swirling.  Diana starts telling Charlston that he has been a lazy Sheriff, and despite his growls for him to shut up, she continues to berate him for failing to do his job.  Charlston holds back, keeping his Beast from taking over.  "Then why didn't you drag me for presentation when I was here for a week?" Diana hisses.   The Sheriff seems confused when he realizes he has been out for twelve days.  Marcus Vitel however insists they just spoke three days ago.  Mildred notes the uncertainty in his voice.  Dor and David sees the aura erupt into fear, overwhelming almost all the colors.  David glances at Helena, but finds no reaction on her face.    Charlston tries to explain that someone must have taken his spot.  Or pretended to be him.  Marcus, however, is not convinced.  Alex and Diana demand from him the last thing he remembers.  As Charlston tries to remember, David sees within the orange, a small touch of light blue.  A hint of calm.  Then it is gone. Everything becomes orange.    "I don't remember a single thing."

The Sheriff remembers leaving Elysium, and of sightings of a Toreador, of leaving the building... but that's it.  Alex at least notes that Charlston left the Elysium club called Haven that day.  It is at least... a start.  David and Dor confirm his statements are the most certain statements he can give.  Dor adds the aura colors are very complimentary.  Marcus asks Alex for to call it.  Alex agrees that's all they are getting.  With Marcus' go signal, Diana shoves the wooden bar back into Charlston's chest to send him back into Torpor.  But Charlston's Fortitude prevents the wood from penetrating properly.  Marcus asks Diana if she can do this properly.  Diana grunts and pumps her vitae into her strength, then shoves the bar inside again.  She smirks, shifts the bar to her other hand, and shoves it into Charlston, with the metal hook end breaking through to the other side.  Diana feels the slight pangs of hunger.

Marcus Vitel formalizes Alex Cross' elevation to be the City's Sheriff.  Alex accepts it with a bow.  Marcus reminds Alex that he expects he will not fail him.  Alex promises he will not disappoint.  As an initial order of business, Alex is given the permission to appoint an enforcer to help him.  Diana is chosen to be his Hound. She claims she would love to accept but she has to wait for her sire.  Karina however reminds Diana that the Tradition of Domain allows her to accept independently, and that her Sire will have to respect that decision. Cassandra asks what will happen to the former Sheriff.  Marcus assigns the Regent Helena to continue interrogations of the suspect.  Helena turns to David, asking where he is staying, and suggests the man be kept wherever David is staying.  She refuses to bring a Ventrue, most likely a Ventrue double-agent into the hidden location of the Chantry.  When David however hesitates, Helena rolls her eyes and tells the Prince they are unable to have "house guests" because they are like the Toreador, complicated.  Cassandra speaks up though and claims the Malkavian Clan would be more than willing to handle the disposal and further interrogation of the suspect.  Marcus reminds them all that there shall continue to be no tolerance of the Sabbat's presence in the City.  "They have nearly gained control of the most powerful nation in the world.  Look at what they have done to Mexico, to Vancouver, their hold on those cities show the depravity that can follow if we allow them to gain ground here.  I will find any hidden agent of the Sabbat regardless of whatever traditions or personal apprehensions you may have.  This is my City.  You are all welcomed to Washington, D.C.  Make sure you deserve it."

With that, Marcus leaves with Monica Black in tow.  Helena asks him for one last thing though.  They stare at each other for a silent moment, then Marcus nods and they leave.  Helena turns to face David and when he offers her coat, she tells him he's an idiot and tells him to talk to the others.  As Tremere, she stresses, they should always try to gain more information.  She tells him things are handled differently here compared to Los Angeles, and reminds him they should never feed before a public gathering.  She claims she can smell his breath from where she stands.

Cassandra tells Mildred to get to know the others too.  She will make arrangements for the body.  Mildred introduces herself to the others.  Dor doesn't like shaking anyones hands.  David admits this feels like a bad night.  Mildred plants her arms on Alex and Diana and as she speaks, Alex slips away from Mildred, not liking being touched.  Mildred asks them to help her move the body.   The others make quick introductions to each other.   Helena reminds them that the Prince has given them duties to perform, which doesn't mean he has gained his trust, only that he wishes to see how they will perform.  She asks Alex if he's sure a single Hound is enough.  Alex nods.  Helena realizes the suspect's "next of kin" will need to be informed of his status.  He has a wife who has a kid, both of whom do not know he is a vampire.  With that, Helena wishes them luck and poses before David.  When David merely stares back, she rolls her eyes again.  "The coat! Ugh. Los Angeles.."  Helena leaves in a huff, after using her Movement of the Mind thaumaturgical path to pull it from David's hands.

When Mildred asks again who has a car, Alex sighs exasperatedly and admits he has one.  Dor mumbles to himself that he is happy someone else does as he didn't want to offer his own.  Velvet greets Diana, and admits she recognizes Diana because she looks like someone she beat up back in Los Angeles.  Diana admits she came from there.  A beat.  Then people talk instead about the car that will be used.

To fit him in the car, Diana snaps the legs of the wooden chair to slide the frozen vampire into the car.  They realize the trunk might be the better option.  Thankfully, he fits. Mildred calls shotgun and sits up front.  Diana forces the trunk closed and with a snapping sound, likely from Charlston's knees popping, she shuts the trunk closed.  Dor admits he is feeling famishes.  Velvet bids the others goodbye and goes to join Dor to leave.    David admits he has his own car. Alex sees Mildred knocking on the door, and as he reminds her the car is an expensive car, Diana gets in and slams the door a bit too hard as well.  Alex wonders know if Monica acts bitchy and annoying so her Sire doesn't assign her to do these things.  Alex asks where to go and Mildred just tells him, "Just drive straight. I'll tell you where to go."  Alex sighs, surrendering to the need to head there the way Mildred prefers.

David stars his car, and decides to drive off, heading for the Chantry instead of following them.  As the three cars leave, on the nearest bench, a man becomes distinct against the darkness.  Then he stands up and fades away as he walks off.

Mildred's Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Given its the Toreador day for the Hunting Grounds, Alex suggests to Diana that she can just feed at her haven later after they're done delivering the body to Mildred's Haven. Diana asks for a blanket to cover the body with.  Mildred, having never been here, mumbles that she is sure she should have one.  As Mildred hurries up, Alex is amused at her choice of location for a Haven.  The place is in a residential district with nothing but apartments and condos in the vicinity.  Diana admits this is nicer than her neighborhood.  Mildred finds the sheets and brings one down with her.  They carry the body out and bring him up the steps to Mildred's room.  They reach the second floor where Mildred's haven is and bring her all the way to the bedroom, leaning against the wall.  Mildred thanks the two and tells them she will handle the investigation from this point. Diana reminds Mildred not to even touch the wooden stake at any circumstances.  Alex fishes a card out from his wallet and hands one to Mildred and Diana.  Mildred asks Diana for her number and Diana writes it down on Mildred's palm with a pen. Alex goes back to his car but sits in the back seat.  Diana gets in, slams the door intentionally, and drives the car for Alex, knowing she might as well get used to this role.

Mildred grabs her phone, loads the browser to try calling Scott, but then she hears a voice mutter, "About time they left."  She looks up to see Charlston's head turned towards her, despite being staked.  Mildred takes a step back.  The man admits if he wanted to do something to her, he would have done it already.  Mildred asks why he did it.  Why he is acting like he's not an elder.  Charlston admits he did not really know what was happening, or why the Prince thought he betrayed him.  He honestly has no recollection of what happened in the last 12 days.  He does clarify that one thing looks certain, they are now in charge of finding that out.  Mildred blinks her eyes and realizes Charlston never moved.   She slowly cocks her head and realizes he's right though. It is up to them.   She looks down at her phone and presses the "speed dial" to call Scott Levin. Nothing happens though.  She tries again, waits, and wonders if Levin will show up again.  Ten minutes pass however, but nothing.  Fifteen minutes pass, still nothing.

Cohn Rose, Clan Tremere
(Ryan Gosling)

The Octagon House, Tremere Chanty

David arrives at the Chantry. The place seems relatively empty tonight.  The only other present seems to be a man quietly looking through his notes and glancing at him every now and then.  The man introduces himself as Cohn Rose and asks if David is impressed.  The location is unexpected and yet impressive, given the Gregorian designed house has six-sides, and is known as the Octagon House, barely a block away from the White House itself.  David admits he was told this was the place to go and Cohn grins, realizing he was probably talking about Helena Taylor, his Sire.  Cohn asks if David is attached to his outfit, and when David admits he isn't, Cohn hands him a card and tells him it is the number to a tailor and they will provide an outfit for him to wear.  David remembers Peter Dorfman's kevlar suit, and Cohn simply further impresses this situation when he explains the Tremere are not favorably seen in this city.  The two discuss their recent exploits and Rose soon shows him the way to get into the Tremere Library.

Walking together, the two step past an archway into a dark tunnel.  At the end, he draws a key to unlock the door that leads to a second archway.  There, Cohn tells David all is good.  Turns out, the whole route is filled with wards, which would have incinerated David if he were someone else.  "Can never be too careful nowadays, especially with the Sabbat."  Cohn tells him to just call for him if he needs anything, and not to be too startled by the gargoyles.  David glances around, fascinated, and sees a statue staring at him from the other end of the room.  The Pontifex wanted to handle other matters tonight, which meant Cohn will have to stay and watch over the place.  David asks about the feeding schedule and Cohn explains how the Malkavians get Mondays, Toreador get Tuesdays, so the Tremere have access to the Hunting Grounds on Thursdays.  David invites Cohn to stay and research with him, but Cohn admits he's not in the mood to do research today.

Mildred's Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Mildred steps outside her Haven, hitting the bookmark to Google Scott Levin again, but nothing.  When a car drives by, she gets momentarily excited, but it just drives by.  Nothing.  She sees a group of young men walking down the road, all sweaty with a basketball being tossed between them.  Mildred approaches them, asking if they know Scott Levin. The guys look at her, a bit startled.  When one of the young men asks her for the name again, he follows it with a question asking if it is something they should know.  One suggests looking for the person using Facebook.  Mildred thanks them, confused though that this time Levin wasn't responding.  She opens Facebook using her mobile phone and she tries searching for the name, but before she completes typing the name, she sees Levin standing in front of her.

"That is three meetings within a twenty four hour period.  That's a collected total of thirty four minutes of having spoken with me," the Malkavian doesn't seem too happy.  Mildred tells him she has questions to ask him.  Scott admits it seems he won't accomplish anything today until he helps her.  Stepping into the room, Mildred shows him the Sheriff imapled and leaning against the wall.  Mildred explains the Sheriff doesn't seem to remember things, which seems similar to related to Scott's "modus operandi."  Scott asks her why she really asked him to come over.  Mildred explains the similarity between his way of staying unnoticed and the Sheriff's loss of recall might be related, or at least similar.  Mildred asks if the Sabbat has already infiltrated the City.  Scott answers absolutely. The presence of the Sabbat in the City is the precise reason it is in the state it is in.  Mildred asks how she can tell which is which.  Scott explains there is truly no difference between the two, merely political differences.   But as Levin talks to Mildred about the Sabbat, he actually turns to talk to the staked former Sheriff to ask for his opinion.  Odder still, Charlston replies.   Levin howver does ask what she plans to do with the body, given it seems to be such an excess waste of vitae.  Mildred admits she is still following a hunch and it means needing to keep him around.  Levin however adds that certain tribes believed true power lay in the heart.  That one can embrace the knowledge within, and gain it, to learn from it.  Charlston elaborates that she might gain more knowledge by drinking his blood.  "Diablerie is such an unfortunate word. Societal dictates need it to be seen as such an evil act.  Do not parents in nature devour their children to store the nutrients and proteins for the next generation?" Levin sighs, "The economical desire to save knowledge in such a manner."   Charlston adds, "I wouldn't complain. I'm already staked."

Mildred cracks her knuckles and smiles.  Thirty-nine minutes have passed since Levin has showed up, he makes sure to remind her.  Mildred tells him he can go.  He warns her, though, that they will see her.  They will see the heart of the matter if she pushes through with it.  Warns it will be a black mark that will linger for a number of years.  "If they peek, they will see. And they will know."  Levin looks at his watch and tells her, "Forty minutes. I better go. Any moment, I might arrive."

A doorbell rings.

Mildred heads down and finds Levin outside. "I heard you were calling."  Levin admits this isn't wise, standing at the doorway, given all the blood on her chest.  Mildred escorts him upstairs (again) and shows him the body of Charlston (again).  He asks her if she just did something. Mildred stares at her reflection and sees she's covered in blood.  Levin asks if she just did something.  Mildred asks him to wait as she gets changed, and she heads upstairs to check on Charlston.  She finds the floor splattered with blood, chains on the floor, and the broken chair against the wall.  But the body of the former Sheriff is gone.  His clothes remain among the dust, however.    No, not dust.  Ashes. Mildred admits she may have a problem.

Mildred brings Levin to the ashes and he stares at them without any expression on his face.

"I see what you mean."

Dor's Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Dor brings Velvet to a new place.  A number of people are watching them as they approach. Velvet admits the place looks great, with a lot of space being occupied by artwork.  Dor tells her he has friends here, hence that is why they are here.  They turn out to be Dor's Herd.

The group immediately fawns over Dor as they approach.  They all tell him about how excited they are to see his next work.  Dor asks who among them is "Thursday" and one of them steps forward and announces he is a Thursday.  Dor admits the name Velvet does work, and he feels inspired to purchase fabric for his next piece.  They head to the private studio.   Dor plays some music and guides Thursday to one side.  Velvet, through the wall, asks Dor how long it takes him to make paintings.  Dor plays the music louder.  Velvet shakes her head, "Hang a sock on the doorknob or something..."  The Herd try to entertain Velvet, telling her how transcendental the work is.  She gives them a forced friendly smile.

Dor begins to feed, drinking slowly to avoid hurting his Herd too much.  Dor carries the man out after licking the wound, and walks past the massive painting on the wall entitled, "Lasagna."  Dor tells Velvet it isn't all blood after she complains that it is enough blood to be a goat.  She almost gets tempted to lick the art, but Dor reminds her to stop trying to lick the art and that the piece is ironic.  "It's gluten free."   The Herd starts laughing.  Velvet tells Dor it is getting late and she better head back tomorrow.   Dor asks what changed, why she'd introduce herself now and she admits the venue was too small so she had to get closer.  Dor remembers Velvet's "folded" bike is in his car, so he offers to walk her out.

As they step out, heading down the steps, the screeching of wheels alerts Dor's notice.  A car speeds down the street, window opens, and a semi-automatic weapon is drawn out and trained at them!  It opens fire!   Dor grabs Velvet to try to pull her down -

And Dor realizes it hasn't happened yet!  He hears the car wheel skidding in the distance.  He yanks her down as he yells, "DOWN!"  Dor and Velvet hit the floor as the hail of bullets rip through the door and walls where they were.  Dor looks up and he's alone.  He faces the street and sees Velvet appearing just beside the speeding car, kicking it.  It shakes, but does not lose control.  That moment, Dor uses his Auspex to stare at the car, hoping to catch the plate number.  As the car screeches away, Velvet lets it leave, realizing there may be witnesses nearby.


Velvet is back at Dor's side, having used Celerity to rush to his side, and she drops to one knee to help him up.  She warns him that someone has just targeted him and he has to move.  Dor refuses to, explaining his kids are there.  But they both see the people who start to appear in the street.  Velvet insists they head back inside, worried that the people might have recognized him.  That this is his place.    Dor however admits people do know he lives here.

Alex Cross' Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Diana admits she is feeling famished.  Alex calls for his butler to gather the staff and tells Diana she has been extended all levels of hospitality and welcome.  The staff show up, and Alex explains they double as his Herd.  He tells her to take her pick as they are prepared to serve.

As Diana feeds on the first person, she loses herself to some point and by the time she stops, she realizes she feed a bit too much.  The man needs medical help.  Diana feels her Humanity fade as she simply shrugs and asks for the next one she can feed on.    Alex calls for 9-11 to help with the first one.  Diana feeds from the next two, filling up for the night.  Alex is a bit surprised at Diana having such an appetite.  His butler rushes the other to the hospital.  "Sorry, it takes a lot to satisfy me," Diana admits.  Alex asks where she will sleep.  She tells him she lives near the slums.  Realizing Damien has left, Alex promises Diana she can sleep in the house.  He will just need to wait for his butler to get back.  Alex goes to the kitchen, and out of the desire to feel more human, he grabs a drink from the refrigerator.

The night will be an interesting one to say the least.

By the time Damien returns, he informs Alex that they were asking some questions at the hospital, so he had to slash the guy's forearm to make it look like the blood loss was due to a suicide attempt.   As night nears its end, Alex and Diana heads to bed before the sun rises.

Mildred's Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Mildred talks to Levin about how she got hungry and asks him about the Sabbat influence in the city.  Levin calmly admits there are.  She explains they are looking into that since the Prince asked them to.  Levin offers to bring her to one known Sabbat location tomorrow, at first night.  He asks her to be much more presentable.  Levin reminds her not to make it a habit of calling him just because. "I don't let everyone remember. I don't think you would rather forget."   Mildred shows him out, locks the door with bolts, and heads back to the room.

She gets there and finds the body still propped against the wall.  She blinks a few times and heads to her discarded clothes to check.  They are still bloody.  The floor still has ash.  She pokes the body and finds it there.  "I'll just deal with you in the morning," she tells herself, and plops onto the bed.

"Yeah that might be best," she hears Charlston reply.

Mildred turns to her side, shaking her head, "Evening. I meant evening."  She switches on her cellphone to video mode, leaves it to record and trains it aimed above her at Charlston.  "I am watching you," she mutters and heads to bed.

Dor's Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Dor addresses the Herd, telling them that they have to go for their own safety.  They hold him and weep, not wanting to abandon their master.  Velvet looks out the window and closes the blinds.  She tells herself to wake up at first night and maybe she can find a way to convince him to leave.

David Sullivan's Haven

Back home, David considers which Rituals he will cast to protect the Haven, but he realizes there is no sign of Alexandria in the room.  He visits his Retainer down below and asks if he disposed of the body.  The man confirms he did.  He asks if he saw a woman and he shakes his head.  David wonders where Alexandria has gone off and worries if she would be back before dawn comes.

Dawn comes.   The next night begins.

Alex Cross' Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Alex wakes up to see Damien concerned.  He hands Alex a copy of the morning paper.  The other Herd are still asleep, recovering from the feeding.  Alex stares at the front page and mutters a cuss word.

Drive By Shooting At Heart Of The Nation

Alex sees the article about the Experimental Extreme Artist Dor Attacked At Washington, D.C.  Damien asks to confirm if Dor is one of them.  Alex rushes to the guest room and knocks on the door, and when she doesn't answer, he slams the door open to try to physically wake her.  But she won't awaken.  As Alex draws his cellphone to make a call, he finds it already ringing with a call from the Prince.

Marcus Vitel however is not the voice on the other line.  Alex hears the voice of the other daughter, Cynthia Black.  She explains her father has just seen the news and thus was told to call.  She asks if he is in charge of the situation and reminds him he has to be in charge of it right now.  Alex promises he is on his way.  Putting the phone down, he could almost image Marcus standing as he watches the television.

Dor's Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Velvet awakes in a panic, realizing the bright warm light against the blinds!  She worries she had awoken too early and risks a peek when she notices the light does not burn her skin.  What she sees outside makes her curse aloud.  She sees hundreds of people outside, news reporters with cameras and spotlights.  She worries on what she should do.

Alex Cross' Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Alex can't seem to wake Diana by just shaking her back and forth.  Realizing he will need more drastic methods, he shoves her off the guest bed.  Alex yells at her to wake up since they have work to do.  Diana hits the ground, her eyes slowly starting to open.  The heavy call of the death sleep still demands her participation.  Alex growls that she should wake up already and stomps his feet as he leaves the room.  Alex upends two of the expensive vases outside, shattering them to relieve himself of anger.  He walks out of the room as Diana mutters those were expensive.

Dor's Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

Velvet forces her way into the room, shaking Dor to wake up.  Dor looks to check if the rest of the week is still in the room.  They are.  But as Dor mumbles nonsense as he still half-dreams he's talking to them, Velvet grabs him and hoists him to his feet, telling him that the reports have gathered outside his home.  There are even repeating video footage of amateur shots of Dor and Velvet nearly being shot as a car skids nearby.  From what news is being broadcast on the screens, there are unclear reports if Dor was hit by the gunfire.  Policemen arrive, having seen the reporters, and are now here to knock on the door and ask to speak with Dor.

Velvet looks at Dor and asks him if they should answer it.  Dor wonders where Judy, his retainer is.

Mildred's Haven, Upper Northwest Residential District

The news reports reach Mildred, coming through from next door, about how it isn't sure if the artist was hit and whether or not he is still alive.  She opens her eyes to hear that the reporters are waiting for someone to answer the door.

She reaches for her phone and finds it no longer recording.  She opens it and finds seven videos in the gallery.  The first one shows her sleeping, and the time suggests it is one hour long.  Then it is raised as someone picks it up.  Then she sees the video pointed at her, running back and forth at her sleeping body.  Mildred loads the second video, and its showing her feet, then the shot goes up her legs, to stop at an extreme close-up on her face.  A voice can be heard snickering.  One distinct voice.   She can hear something faint... distant.. then suddenly, the voice SCREAMS at her, startling her.   Mildred realizes she knows the voice.  It sounds like her sire.    The video ends.  The third video shows the bed, but the background noises sounds like someone eating.  The fourth video is a shot from the window, watching cars drive by, police cars moving past, and Mildred can hear her sire mimicking the sounds.  The last video shows Mildred asleep again.  The voice starts mockingly saying, "This little piggy went to market.  This little piggy stayed home.  This little piggy committed diablerie.  This little piggy had none.  And this little pi-"  The video is cut. The screen goes all black but there are still sounds barely audible.  Mildred glances at the timer, and it shows thirty more seconds.  Then the scream happens again, but the voice mutters that she probably wasn't listening.  Mildred loads the final video and finds it to be a shot from outside her window.  She is visible in the shot sleeping.  Mildred stands up, and tries to retrace the shot.  The shot goes outside the window, up to the rooftop, to see the purplish sky.  The sun is about to rise.  The video continues to record.  Mildred begins to feel her heart pounding.  The video continues to play.  The sun is about to rise.  Mildred steels herself, trying to maintain her courage.  The first break of sunlight.  The video shifts as the shaking movement is accompanied by the voice of Mildred's sire cursing over and over as the shot is carried down the side of the building.  The shot returns inside the room, the phone positioned back on the original place, and the hand shaking with smoke still rising from it.  The voice mutters, "Okay, that's enough."  The video ends.  Mildred looks down and realizes she has burns on her fingers.    She stands up, searching the whole house but finds everything in place, save for the window beside her bed.  The glass is raised, despite the curtains still being closed.

Mildred looks outside and finds a ledge and the fire exit that matches the route of the video. The fire exit ladder isn't down, though.  A kid is running down the street below, toy car in hand, as he goes, "Brrrmm!" Mildred goes back to the seventh video and notices the burned hand matches where she has burns.  But this time, playing back the video, Mildred sees in the video her bed is empty.  This time, it is.

Mildred considers doing a more expensive video capture in the future.

David Sullivan's Haven

David wakes up to find his childe standing in front of her bed, worry all over her face.  When David asks what happened, she tells them they have to go.  She refuses to explain what she did but insists the sooner they leave the better.  She tells him they have to leave before someone finds her.  David explains he has instructions.  He has to stay.  Alexandria insists they can leave, because they are too busy handling the city.  David demands she explain what she did, what happened, but she insists she didn't do anything and that she left the body at the Metro.  She is bothered more that it is all over the news.

David switches on the television and sees the reports about Dor.  Alexandria still pushes that they have to go.  When David demands and explanation, she explains they have to leave because the person on the news is one of the Kindred.  She explains it is all beyond their hands now.  That sort of attention does not get unnoticed among the Kindred.  David explains he knows the Sheriff so it shouldn't be a problem.   Alexandria insists they have to leave.  She tells him it is a problem beyond the City now.  David tells her to leave if she wants to, cause he is staying.

"You're abandoning me?" she hisses, and when he denies he is doing it, she tells him she has to go because she is the one in danger.  David tells her he has the Rituals they need to keep her safe.  She tells him she is trusting him.  He tells her he loves her.  She tells him the same.  "I wouldn't do anything to endanger you."

Elsewhere in the world

An old phone begins to ring.
It is one of those ancient phones where the receiver is separate from the cradle.  A distinguished looking butler takes it and holds it close to his face.  He nods, stating he understands, and closes the phone. He walks the length of a long dark corridor and stops, surprised to see his Mistress already standing with a packed suitcase.  "I saw the news," she smiles, "Inform the City of Washington, D.C., a Justicar is on the way."

The only question really is which one.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sleeper ep01 : Part I : V20


"Dark Streets and Cold Blood"
Episode One - Part I

Vampire 20th Anniversary

As the final new system I've broken into 2016, we opted to dive in and tread upon a long missed world, the world of darkness.  For this game, we were to have two new friends join me, Rocky, Che and Urim as we explore Washington D.C. by Night.
Vampire 20th Anniversary edition actually has quite a number of changes to the system which I feel makes it different enough for me to count as a new game system to play for the year.  Especially given how much changes have been done to accommodate the difference of technology for the times. I've separated the transcription to two parts due to the length of the awesome session.  While this will most likely only be a once-a-month game session (with Dave's incredibly active Scion game, Che's fantastic schedule-fu, and Urim's responsibilities), I promised to make each session as fulfilling as possible and at the same time educational given it is the first time to explore Vampire the Masquerade fully for some of the players.

Our cast of Kindred were as follows:
David Sullivan, Clan Tremere Occultist.
Embraced back in 1988, David is a perceptive Natural Linguist with Bad Eyesight.  He has a child who sadly is a member of the Tremere anti-tribu. He has a tendency to present himself as an Enigma, despite wanting to be in control of things.
Disciplines: Thaumaturgy 4, Auspex 2
He is played by Urim.

Diana Pierce, Clan Brujah Mercenary
Embraced back in 2006, Diana is a dextrous Rebel with a Reputation.  She is known to be a Bullyboy and is surrounded by a cold breeze.  Her infamous sire, Hernando, calls on her to kill undesireables.
Disciplines: Celerity 2, Potence 1
She is played by Che.

Alex Cross, Clan Ventrue IT Professional.
Embraced recently in 2012, Alex is an attractive man who tries to shows he's in control, but in truth desires to be told what to do.  His ability to Eat Food and his capacity to be an Elysium Regular allow him to move through circles most usually cannot do so.
Disciplines: Presence 3
He is played by Dave.

Mildred Hobbs, Clan Malkavian Armchair scientist.
Embraced in 2010, Mildred is an intelligent Social Chameleon whose true nature finds joy in disturbing others.  She has Acute Hearing, and an Eidetic Memory, despite having bad sight and suffering from occasional flashbacks.  She is a friendly face in Washington.
Disciplines: Dementation 2, Obfuscate 1, Auspex 1
He is played by Nap.

Mark "Dor" Roberts, Clan Toreador Blood Painter
Embraced way back in 1975, Dor is a charismatic Dabbler of many things with a heart set into celebrating life.  He is blessed with Efficient Digestion and always appears with the Blush of Health. His Infertile Vitae and tendency to be a Deep Sleeper support the Harmless facade he portrays.
Disciplines: Auspex 2, Celerity 2, Presence 3
He is played by Rocky.

Karina Dobson, Clan Ventrue and Seneschal
 (Jodie Foster)
Department of Defense, Elysium

The scene opens at an office.  Diana Pierce sits across a woman who dutifully seems to be going through some notes on her computer screen.  The woman is Karina Dobson, the Ventrue assistant and advistor of the Prince of the city.  She interviews the Brujah, asking about her sire, about her presence in Washington, D.C. and  whether or not they will expect trouble.  Diana admits when it comes to Hernando, trouble does tend to follow.  Diana admits the reason she hasn't presented herself to the Prince was because she doesn't "talk good."

Karina cites the many times Diana might have threatened the Masquerade, and her warning implies how many security eyes and cameras are in the city.  She claims to have access to any of them when necessary.  "We live in a modern day. I'm certain you are aware of what people can do with their cellphones nowadays, more so when you are here in the heart of America where the President tends to be."  Diana takes the warning well, used to all the drama most give to any Brujah.

Diana asks if she can go, but Karina tells her not yet.  Marcus Vitel, the Prince, is still very strict with the Traditions, especially since they are still recovering from a recent Regicide.  The former Prince was murdered and Vitel suspects the Sabbat agents are still in the city.

Monica Black, Clan Ventrue and childe of the Prince
(Krysten Ritter)
Underground Dance Hall, Elysium

Dance music roars in the scene.  Alex Cross watches across the sea of dancing kine the ongoing event of Mark Roberts on the second floor.  One of the more infamous members of the Kindred in the city, Monica Black, hangs with Alex.  They talk about Dor and clearly seem amused that the Toreador seem so obsessed with art and beauty.  When Monica opts to head off to feed, Alex stays where he is to observe the reporters and the people struggling to get Dor's attention.  Monica motions to Alex at the guy she had just seduced, who is now trying to dance and impress her with his sad moves.  Alex notes the man is pretty attractive and decides to go join her for a bite.

The two head outside with the guy, and when the man hesitates to join them, Alex uses his Presence to seduce the man completely.  They take him away in a car.

Scott Levin, Malkavian Primogen
(Michael Emerson)
None of them notice that standing just behind them were Mildred Hobbs and Scott Levin.  Scott tells Mildred about all these children they will have to deal with. "We are the only sane ones in the City."  They discuss whether Mildred plans to stay permanently or not, and Scott admits he is making arrangements for her haven and presentation procedures with the Prince, though it will take 25 minutes to do - which means shaving off a few other items on his list of things to do.    Scott was surprised Mildred asked for him by name. Mildred admitted she just... knew... to look for him.

Scott shares with Mildred the fact that the Prince has two daughters, Monica and Cynthia Black.   He also warns her about Dorian Adams, a Ventrue who lives outside the city that they best avoid.  He does not like talking about the Tremere however, since that attracts their attention, more so given they have a Pontifex in the city.  He suspects it was either Cassandra or Oliva de Bray who gave his name to Mildred.  "Not that many people remember my name considering I ate it a long time ago."  Mildred reaches for Scott Levin's face, and she begins to pull at his lips, tugging open his mouth to pry it wider.. open.. it does not break... she stares into a small office room with a man seated at a stool. Around him, computers are running. The man is furiously typing away.  "You are losing me."

With an eye-blink, Mildred realizes she hasn't moved in a while.  He tells her if she needs of him, to feel free to call him.  When asked how, he just tells her she already knows his name.   Karina Dobson monitors cellular calls. Pigeons on the other hand are with the Nosferatu and Gangrel.  "I recommend you simply Google me. I should notice any searches."  He then explains he has a few minutes to arrive at the corner where he will be picked up, and so he bids her goodbye. Mildred begins to forget whom she was talking to.  But then Scott turns back to face her and tells her, "I will let you remember."

She does.  She turns and sees the poster up front, featuring Dor.  She stars walking away.

Chas Voyager, Toreador Primogen
(McCauley Culkin)
Underground Dance Hall, 2nd Floor, Elysium

Cameras flash. Dor stands in front of his latest painting, a bowl of tomato soup.  The art groupies celebrate his work.  One, though, isn't as happy. Chas Voyager, a Toreador neonate who somehow the city also has as the Toreador Primogen.  He challenges Dor's work, questioning his validity as an artist.

Chas claims to know what Dor is doing, acting all distant to gain more fame.  Dor, however, feigns not recognizing or knowing who Chas is.

When pushed for a comment by the reporters, Dor suggests, "Cerulean" without bothering to explain why.  Dor is told by his assistant that Chas used to be a ghoul under the Toreador Anne Hyatt.  It seems Chas is getting into his business because Dor is getting into this.  Chas pulls out a knife and stabs it at the wall beside Dor's painting.  People gasp. Chas turns to Dor and tells him, "I've spoken."  Dor asks for a drink from his assistant, Judy.  When she holds a drink out for him, he tells her to drop it and looks away.  People stare at Dor upon hearing the shattering sound.

Chas steps out as he mentions, "Blue" to the reporters.

Dor rolls his eyes.  "So mundane.

Washington Monument

Pontifex Peter Dorfman, Clan Tremere
(Mads Mikkelsen)
David Sullivan is told that his arrival comes at an opportune moment.  He is talking to the Pontifex Peter Dorfman, who is in charge of the Tremere Clan's politics of the United States.  There is interest in Marcus Vitel, given the control he holds over Washington, D.C. Peter admits he believes the Tremere deserve Washington, D.C.  He sees the city having a sympathetic link to the entire country and he needs David's help in making this happen.  He is tasked to hunt and locate the Sabbat still hiding in the city.  Peter sees them as possible pawns that can become useful.  David admits he has his connections in mind.   He also notices that Peter Dorfman's suit is actually made of kevlar.    He admits the Tremere in the City are divided as not all believe the loss of the former Prince, Marisa, was a tragedy, and some even whisper that the Tremere may have had a role in her disappearance.  Though Marisa was useful, her death was necessary when she began to show an ability to outmaneuver the Toreador and the Brujah.   David asks if the Tremere disposed of her.

Peter stares back at David, aghast that such a question would come to his mind.  "The death of our Clanmate was not something done by our own hands.  That is what officially will remain our statement."  When David wonders if Marcus Vitel can be manipulated, Peter warns him that he has too many connections to risk such a thing.  He really feels the Sabbat and the man named Jack is the one they should identify and locate.  David thought the infamous Jack was an anarch.  Peter, however, clearly sees no difference between the two.  David is told he will be presented to the Prince soon enough.  Peter does ask if there is anything he should be aware of, and David claims there is nothing that needs his concern.  Peter does remind David, however, to address a young girl that might be seen following her with respect.  The girl is named Melissa and she is an elder of the Gangrel Clan.

David is brought to his haven, a room atop a used bookstore.  Before heading inside, he visits the bookstore and feels the pangs of hunger demanding for vitae.  One of the customers, a young man, asks him for a certain book.  David lies to him, claiming he has the book upstairs and the two head upstairs.  David's haven is a place with even more books.  As the man excitedly looks at the shelves, David grabs hold of him from behind and plunges his fangs into the man's neck.  The Kiss overwhelms the mortal, and David drinks his fill.  Gaining more control, David feeds just enough to sate himself before stopping.  He licks the wound to close it to hide any trace of feeding. David claims the man fell down and hit his neck, and the man doesn't know what to think given the enormous pleasure he just felt.  David implies the man must have taken drugs and watches as he crumples to the floor.  The man falls asleep from exhaustion and the blood loss.  David calls for his retainer to give the man a bottle and leave him outside somewhere, to think he had drunk himself silly.
Alexandria, childe of David Sullivan,
Tremere antitribu (Amanda Bynes)

But then, David realizes he is not alone.  The smell of something burning is in the room, and when he follows the trail of smoke, he finds his childe sitting on his bed.  The woman greets her as she smokes, ignoring his joke about smoking being bad for her health given they're already dead.  She stresses she too is hungry and wonders if the man was brought by David for her to feed on.  David admits there's a bit of development in the city given the Sabbat are being hunted in the city.  She stresses however she isn't Sabbat as she is anti-tribu.   They had left Los Angeles due to the hunt for the anti-tribu there, so they moved here.  David remembers how she was his lover before he had given her the Embrace. David lets her feed a bit from him, drinking some of the vitae he offers with a kiss.  He wonders, however, if he had blood bound her in all the months he's been feeding her directly.  They discuss the need for her to move out given the Pontifex in the city. She teases him though that he should be more afraid that the Pontifex might read his mind and find out the truth.  David assures her that his being a survivor of the Los Angeles riots, the Pontifex trusts him.  She asks to see the Rituals David has in the room, and he promises to one night teach her some.  The two pull into the bed, to make love as they used to.

Department of Defense, Elysium

Diana and Karina complete the interview, with Karina telling her how any vampire who has been in the City for a week without presentation becomes a Kindred she looks into.   Once it has been a month, the Sheriff then steps in. Beyond that month, they consider the vampire a member of the Sabbat.  Karina offers to present her tonight to the Prince, if Diana wants.  Karina admits she likes Diana given she doesn't bullshit around.  Diana thinks she's nice to consider that. Karina admits it is not being nice, it is being efficient.  Karina does mutter however about having problems with her database as it keeps telling her she has one record too many or one record too short.  She shuts it down and when Diana suggests she needs to get it checked, Karina admits she is already working with the best computer experts in the industry.  She just finds it amusing the record issue keeps happening with her records of the Malkavian Clan.  Karina mentions the problem they had once with a Malkavian named Gergor who had a think for children. They later uncovered the vampire has seven children held captive in his haven, which he used as a herd.  His two retainers were two missing children who had grown up to serve him.  The Prince then, Marisa, used her Lure of Flames to burn the vampire from the inside out.  Marisa decided the children knew too much, so she burned them too.  Diana admits that clears any loose ends.  Karina finds that statement to be quite cold, but it is refreshing to hear her honesty. Karina also shares the closest to a Masquerade Breach was a pandemic of HiV that hit the city, when a disease was being spread by a Nosferatu.  People despite not having sex or dangerous practices were getting infected.  Worse, the nossie had inefficient digestion, needing to feed thrice the normal amount.  That forced them to dip their influence deeper into the city to keep things quiet.  "The name of the game is misinformation," Karina admits, and they have agents in the NSA, the FBI and the CIA.  They haven't touched the Senate as they're too active.  They suspect the Sabbat have connected themselves with the terrorist organizations in the world.  "We're facing a whole new kind of Jyhad."

Karina asks if Diana drives, and she admits she does.  Karina reminds her of traffic cameras and speed cameras and Obfuscate does not help.  "Having another identity helps have a license," Diana admits.

Alex Cross' Haven

The man with Alex and Monica asks them to lean back at first, wanting to show off some moves.  They've gone to Alex' have and are now at the bedroom with most of their clothes left on the ground.  The man is doing push-ups, wanting to show off his well-toned physique.  Alex plants his legs on the back, using him as a leg rest.  Monica plays some music to add to the mood (and likely to conceal any screams that might happen) and the two have a brief debate on wanting different music. Monica insists however she is very hungry and will need to feed soon.  She whips the man with her belt a few times, and when he seems to be fine with it, she whips him with the belt buckle this time, drawing blood.  Monica throws Alex the belt, and she begins to lick the blood, teasing him at first, before plunging her fangs deep to feed on the man.  Not feeling hungry, Alex lets Monica go ahead and later joins the two for the physical joy of feeling mortal.   When the man starts kissing Alex, the man's kisses get forceful, so Alex uses the belt to force him back to keep him from breaking skin.  Alex leaves Monica to feed, and Alex sups a bit from the belt wound Monica marked the man's ass with.

Alex and Monica talk about some wrinkle happening in the city security while the man goes down on Monica.  She keeps her thighs closed against the man's ear to keep him from hearing.  Monica complains about how her sire has gotten so paranoid over the Sabbat that he has been forcing alliances with different clans.  Alex is shocked that he would even try to forge alliances with the Toreador Clan.  Monica admits her Sire has even been trying to win over the Harpies, to the point of asking her to join them.  Alex however realizes that is why she's hanging out with him.  Alex has been such a mover among the Harpies, Monica is hoping to use Alex as a way in.  Alex admits he knows how these people work and he tells her, "For the daughter of the Prince, I will help you."  The man falls to the ground, unconscious.  Monica gasps, "Damn it, I forgot they have to breathe."  Alex slides a finger down the guy's ass and when he grunts, Alex gives Monica a nod - he's still alive.   Monica deals with disposing of the jock, leaving him at a bus stop naked, with used condoms scattered all around him.

Alex thinks about Helena Taylor, one of the Tremere, but she might not be as approachable.  Then there's Cassandra, but she's kind of scary since she's a Malkavian who has visions.  They consider Angelique Stravinsky, who is Toreador and Alex does know.  Monica wonders if they can visit one of them tonight.  Alex opts to check if someone is available.     His call to Angelique, who answers the call and reminds Alex they haven't seen each other in a while.  She admits she's talking with a source about new commerce coming into the city.  Alex hints that he has news about one of the Prince's daughters, and Angelique is definitely curious learning it is about Monica Black and not Cynthia, who is very competitive. Cynthia is too lost in her own world.  "Is she planning to become Prince?" Alex admits she is planning to become something else. Angelique's curiosity is piqued and tells him to see her at the Botanical Garden, close to the Capitol.  "Well, aren't you flowering today," Alex smirks.  "It is the best place for one to bloom. So nice.  I'll be there." Angelique admits she keeps thinking Alex is one of them, despite him being a Ventrue.  They head off, taking Alex' car, and head for the Botanical Garden.

Madame Trussaud's Wax Museum

Mildred has been wandering across the city, looking for something interesting and she soon ends up in front of the wax museum.  Despite the lateness of the hour, there are still a number of tourists about.  Realizing she isn't sure where her haven would be, she pulls out her cellphone and tries googling the name of the man she spoke with earlier.  His name takes some effort to remember, and it eventually does come into focus:  Scott Levin.  She types the name in and clicks Search.  But then she realizes her phone's browser history is empty.  She logs in again and suddenly hears a man ask her if she needs help.  She looks up and sees the security guard asking her if she needs to speak to Scott Levin.  When she says yes, the guard calls someone on his radio to inform Mr. Levin that she is looking for him.  He then asks Mildred not to ask him about Mr. Levin again, blinks a few times, then aimlessly continues on his duties.  Somewhere in the city, the guy in the construction site received the radio call, then dials on his cellphone to tell the other person that Mr. Levin is needed, before blinking and forgetting he made the call.   Elsewhere, at a hospital, a woman answers her phone, hears the message, then dials another number to tell Mr. Levin that he is nedeed at Madame Trussauds.   They all delete histories where appropriate, leaving no trace of their calls.

Ten minutes pass. Mildred sees Mr. Levin comes into view.  He admits he wasn't expecting her to call for him within the same night.  She asks about the Haven, and he admits he thought she would want to go around on her own for a bit first.  He insists information is delicate, "There are some things best not spoken of,"  and he asks her for permission to share with her the information.  When she gives it, he telepathically sends it to her as a barrage of images.  She gains the information and thanks him for his discretion.  He asks if she's a woman of morals and when she admits she is, he shares she might be happy to know she interrupted him from taking a life.  He stresses how they as a race can only function at half the efficiency of a living thing. Thus every second matters.  He gives Mildred some advise to anticipate when she meets Cassandra, as Cassandra probably has already foreseen her arrival.  He warns her Cassandra would probably want Mildred to take the seat of Primogenship from her. And that she would ask Mildred if she met with him and if he plans to take the post from her.  He stresses he has repeatedly assured her, with an amount of time equal to seven days, that he has no plans to ever take such a position.  He tells her she would most likely meet Cassandra at the most prominent Elysium right now.  Mildred remembers the dance bar earlier.  Levin asks Mildred not to mention her name too often as it takes a lot more time to reset the cycle.  "Google is your friend."  Once again, as he leaves, he tells Mildred, "You will remember."
Cassandra, Malkavian Primogen
(Halle Barry)

Mildred heads out of the wax museum after a short exchange with the security guard about the museum. He laments working here, hating how the figures all look dead. "Imagine if I end up talking to someone dead."  Mildred smiles.

She walks and finds her way back to the Elysium.  She nearly gets stopped at the door at first, since she has no ticket to enter, but at the top of the stairs, a thin gaunt woman in what looks like a 1920s flapper outfit heads down and greets her.  Cassandra greets her warmly, stating they were fated to meet.  She admits Washington is a quiet city given most happen in the shadows.  Cassandra assures them they do not have to head up and she offers to take Mildred to see the Prince through her car.  Cassandra reminds Mildred they have to keep themselves busy or the ennui will lead them to madness.   She talks to Mildred how all the other clans punish themselves with madness, like the Toreador with their obsessions, the Ventrue the germaphobes of the Kindred society, the Nosferatu with powers to look like anything yet so traumatized by their looks they don't bother to hide it... "We are the only sane ones in the Camarilla."   She drives Mildred through the city to head for the Botanical Garden where the Prince is currently at.  Mildred asks how the presentation will go and Cassandra gently tells her the Prince will simply have to decide if he would like her to stay in the City or not.  She also tells Mildred that Kindred society is a society built on boons, and thus to never forget whom you owe a boon.  Interestingly, she does state there are only four Primogens in the city.  Helena Taylor, the Tremere Primogen and Regent is one she anticipates will be present.  Dr. Edward Walker is a bore and doesn't seem to like Malkavians in general.  The last Primogen is the youngest, Chas Voyager, a neonate Toreador who has taken the post given the last one was recently destroyed by the Sabbat.  "The role was probably given to him to shut him up."

They see a naked guy by a bus stop.  Cassandra slows the car beside the stop to check him but she realizes the man has already been fed on.  She tells Mildred that while the city does not have that many Kindred, Hunting Grounds are very strained. It is best to feed only what you need, perhaps even through animals instead.  They stop at a veterinarian clinic and Cassandra suggests Mildred go inside to feed.  Being a Thursday, feeding rights in all Hunting Grounds are given to the Toreador.  Mildred receives a key from Cassandra, suggesting this clinic is a Hunting Ground she does visit frequently.  Mildred makes a mental note to get one of the keys for herself.  "Washington follows a good system. If you're not part of the system, you're not welcome to be a cog in this wheel."  Mildred goes to step inside.

Velvet, Clan Brujah
(Angela Bassett)
Underground Dance Hall, 2nd Floor, Elysium

A woman approaches Dor, admitting to her that she won't forget that scene she just saw.  Dor studies the woman, realizing the African-American woman is Kindred as well.   "First time I saw a Primogen get insulted by a Clan member within the first few days of his reign." Dor realizes the woman is Velvet, of Clan Brujah.   The former Primogen was found chained at the railway by her wrists.  Her wrists were all that remained of her body. Dor wonders what he was doing when it happened, and his gaze ends at the painting he made.   She admits she has been following him for the last few nights, since the Prince assigned her to watch over him.  Dor is more bothered that Chas actually gained the seat.  Given Dor's popularity, Prince Vitel decided to assign Velvet to watch over him in case anything happens and the Kine notice their supernatural natures.  Dor wonders if the Primogen is the threat to his life.  Velvet makes fun of Chas' actions to clearly be less an assault than the kind she is paying attention towards.  Dor admits had he known Chas was the Primogen, he would have... have... his thoughts trail away.  Velvet questions Dor being a threat to Chas given she sees him as the most harmless vampire in the city.  Dor however has gotten distracted by Velvet's analog watch, finding it beautiful.

David Sullivan's Haven
Alexandria admits to David, after their bout of vigorous love-making, that someone had noticed her in the city.  She groans that the witness had Auspex, a young boy who had blonde hair and kept staring at her.  Alexandria tried to scare the boy by baring her fangs a bit.  But the boy snarls back and Alexandria found herself a victim of the Dread Gaze.  So she attacked back by tearing the blood out of him and bashing him through a window.  David reminds her to never do that again if she really wants to lay low.  David remembers he needs to present himself to the Prince tonight, but Alexandria suggests he present her with him at the same time, as Caitiff.  It would be far easier that way than to hide her.  David decides that might be an idea, but not now.  He prepares to head for the Prince while Alexandria pouts and buries herself in trying to learn the Rituals David has.  David tasks his retainer to deal with the body, then makes a call to the Chantry.  Someone answers and upon hearing about the need for presentation, suggests they head to the U.S. Botanical Garden.  David decides to go alone.

Nondescript car, mobile

Karina asks Diana if she ever faced any of the Sabbat. As far as Diana is concerned, despite the stories of the Sabbat being bogeymen among vampires and the like, they bleed just like anyone else.  Karina wonders what Diana's Sire will do if she was given a task that took her away from Hernando's influence.  Diana laughs, "I'd love to see you all try."

U.S. Botanical Garden
Monica and Alex begin to walk in, with Monica admitting that her father once mentioned that had Alex been Toreador, he would have been chosen to be the Primogen.  After a quick check against a mirror for any blood droplets on his clothes or skin, Alex feels confident the Masquerade is maintaine and the two head inside, with arms locked together.

Happy Pets Veterinarian Clinic
Olivia, Trapped Mortal
(Hale Barry)

Mildred feeds on a cat, feeling sustained but sadly learning cats contains so little blood.  She accidentally kills the cat.  Closing the wound, she slides the cat back into its cage and decides it might be best to step out. Straining her hearing, she realizes she can hear muffled sounds from the car outside.  Stepping out, Mildred slowly approaches the car and finds a panicked young woman inside.  Mildred worries, and tries to shatter the glass with her elbow.  The woman she finds inside turns out to be... Cassandra!  However, the woman is breathing heavily, fear overwhelming her, as she talks about having been kidnapped.  She wonders if Mildred has a phone and is terrified about only having so much time to ask for help.  "Did you see who knocked me out? Who took me?"  She identifies herself as Olivia, claims to be a victim who has been kidnapped, and upon using the phone Mildred lends her to make a call, Mildren listens in.

U.S. Botanical Garden

Alex and Monica breeze through the security at the Garden, as the people keeping watch seem to recognize her.  As they step into the nicely maintained verdant chamber, they immediately hear a ringtone.  Monica teases that is her "daddy's ringtone".    They follow the sound and as they get deeper into the "forest," they see Marcus Vitel on a cellular phone.  A man sits in a chair, wrapped in chains with a gag in his mouth.  There are a few other figures present.

On one of the marble benches, Diana and Karina sit, having arrived a few minutes earlier.  Diana sees the two newcomers and remembers Karina telling her about Vitel's daughters as well as the rising star among the Ventrue who seems to be mistaken often as Toreador.    Alex sees Diana and the two give each other a silent nod of recognition.   On the call, Marcus tells the woman he is talking to, an Olivia, that he needs to speak to Cassandra.

Happy Pets Veterinarian Clinic

Mildred sees the woman change in stance and posture.  "Thank you, Marcus," Cassandra's voice comes forth and Mildred realizes the crying woman has now been replaced with Cassandra.  She shuts the phone, hands it back to Mildred, and thanks her for her smart thinking. "I hope you didn't damage the car."  Mildred admits she had, however, broken the window to "rescue" who she thought was someone in panic.

Cassandra explains to Mildred that Olivia, the other personality, thinks she is mortal and believes she is kidnapped by some strangers.  Mildred is thankful that she at least knows now how to handle any future appearances by that personality.  She asks if there are others, and Cassandra shares there's Cassie, a younger personality who has given them ties to the Gangrel clan.  "I don't let her out long."

Cassandra tells her the Prince is already at the Garden. They should go to see him.  Mildred makes a side comment about liking Cassie better and wondering when their feeding day is.  "Mondays, of course," the Primogen tells her.

U.S. Botanical Garden

Marcus Vitel, Prince of the City
Clan Ventrue
(Rudolph Valentino)
Marcus Vitel informs them that the Malkavian Primogen will be slightly delayed.  Diana's presentation goes smoothly.  Marcus even states Diana's Sire's name, recognizing them and their exploits in Los Angeles.  He was impressed with how they handled things then, and is glad to have her here.  Karina admits Diana showed high marks and is very level-headed.  "Good," Marcus admits, "Considering we are in need of a Sheriff."  Marcus addresses Cross then asks him to help handle a situation.  Alex' eyes narrow and he recognizes the chained man: Charlston, the current Sheriff of the city.  Marcus tells them the Sheriff was caught playing both sides.

Marcus calls Helena Taylor, who admits she has someone to present.  Marcus asks if he would be surprised by the presentation, noticing Helena's hesitation in her statements.  She admits he shouldn't be.  Marcus closes his phone then turns to Monica, asking for her sister and she admits she hasn't seen Cynthia in a while.  Marcus tells Monica Cynthia needs to be here.  Monica calls her using Alex' phone and tells her that their daddy needs her here.

As does Mildred and Cassandra.  Marcus isn't too happy to see them, having expected to see the Primogen in the room.  Monica states she already called him. Scanning the room, Alex remembers Dr. Edward, the Ventrue Primogen should be in the room.  He finds the good doctor just quietly seated and waiting.  Alex, however, chooses not to speak to him.  Monica admits she liked it when Marcus starts getting all angry.   Karina suggests that they check if the Sheriff's thoughts it would be better someone other them handles it.  Marcus asks Diana if she ever learned it, which she admits she has not.  Marcus then asks Mildred if she can.  Mildred admits she cannot either.  Marcus starts getting angry that no one seems to be useful and growls that he is surrounded by useless people.

Dor and Velvet soon arrive, thinking this is an opportunity to try to apologize to his Primogen as well.  Dor is still shocked at the implication that the Toreador Primogen was insulted, and that Velvet only realized recently his works are actually painted with vampiric blood.  Most shocking, however, is that Velvet actually uses a bicycle, not a motorbike.  She stressed it was because she is legally dead and can't afford a license.  

Helena Taylor arrives outside, more or less the same time when David Sullivan arrives.  As she arrives, she sees David and just rolls her eyes, "Really? Not right now."  She barrels into the room, telling David to just follow behind her as she does not have time for this.

Helena Taylor, Tremere Primogen
(Emily Blunt)
The door shoves open as they enter, and the others turn to see Helena using Movement of the Mind to remove her coat and leave it hanging in front of David, until David realizes he should take it.  He was too shocked that she just used the same Thaumaturgical Path to shove the doors open.  Helena gives a very rude remark about hoping this meeting was worth her time given she was focusing her attention on more important events that were supernatural in nature.  When she asked what the Sheriff did, Marcus throws the question back at her, hoping she can tell them.  Helena turns to David, who explains he was sent here to present himself.  Helena spitefully makes the presentation of her "pitiful member of her Clan" to the City. Marcus calmly explains it is tradition that has them do these things and wishes she did not have to deliver the lines sounding like she hates the fact she has to do it.  Marcus asks David of his Sire and standing, and David confirms his Sire is still in Los Angeles.  Marcus gives the approval, but Helena hisses to just get on with it.

Monica whispers to Alex that the two used to date, hence the drama.   Mildred catches the words and smiles, amused by it too.  Dor slips in a chance to be presented as well, and Marcus welcomes him given he has seen his work in the past.  Helena glares at Dor, mouthing, "I don't like you" given his lack of need to do the protocol.  With no one able to gleam the thoughts of the suspect, Helena realizes a Ritual might be needed.  She asks David if he prepared a Ritual that allows one to sense truth, and learning neither of them prepared it, they will have to do the less accurate method: Aura Perception.  Helena does add she CAN read minds but she WON'T do it because he had made her promise to never again use the power in his presence.  Alex asks Monica how long and she admits it was ever since she used it to find out he was entertaining someone else while they were together.  Dor is asked to do it, but he confesses he's feeling a tad peckish.  Mildred is asked to do the task and she admits it would be an honor.  Marcus then asks Alex to come forward, tells him he is offered the position of Sheriff, and challenges him to get answers out.  But he reminds Alex there should be no blood.  Diana is then cast to assist Alex.  Helena tells David to prepare to use Domination to help the questioning but David admits he cannot Dominate either.  Helena scowls and tells the Prince this is clearly another night the Tremere will disappoint him.

Alex and Diana approach the former Sheriff.  They find a shard of wood embedded in his chest, locking him in Torpor.  Diana grabs hold of the wooden shard and begins to pull.  Mildred closes her eyes as she allows her hearing to be enhanced by her Auspex.  David and Dor on the other hand, peer at the Sheriff's Aura for any hints of lying.  Alex prepares to interrogate the man, thinking of the best questions that would lead the former Sheriff in admitting his role and affiliations with the Sabbat.

- End of Part I -

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