Our story so far...
Act I: The Apocalypse Box

Chapter One: Pandora’s Box (10/28/10)

Two days before Devil’s Night, Athene buys an ornate little chest from a homeless druggie coming in, hoping for a quick buck. Paying far more than he expects (but far less than what she thinks it’s worth), she ferrets out of him the address of where he “found” it, and gets his agreement to keep an eye out for similar finds, before tucking it away on a shelf.

Later that day Angus swings by, as does Jaik (the latter here on an errand for the film-company). Both notice the strange box on the shelf (but only Jaik gets an uneasy sense of foreboding, as his shoulder – where his marred tattoo rests – aches terribly), and Angus buys it on the spot, no questions asked. After the box “breaks” Athene’s skeleton key, he & Jaik take it off to a proper locksmith (Angus desperate to know what is inside, Jaik wishing he didn’t), while Athene takes off to find out what else might be found at the dilapidated house where it was found.

Athene explores the old Victorian period house, clearly abandoned for years, possibly decades, and notes it too has similar markings to the box. After taking many photos and looking over surviving bits of furniture, she heads back to the Castle Mall just in time for when the Locksmith finally breaks the latch open, and all feel as if a wave of pressure has been released. In the box are an assortment of oddities, including a shriveled heart, a stake, a metal plate (with the words “Castle Dracula” on it), two ornate puzzle-boxes (one a ball, one an egg), a wooden duck, a journal and a photo. The journal is in some cipher, and so set aside, but the photo is what catches the most attention. Apparently taken in the mid-1940s, it seems to be a wedding picture, with two men in uniform. A beautiful woman in a wedding dress sits before them, while another man in an archaic tuxedo, and a lady in waiting stand to one side. Most startling are the men in uniform – one Athene identifies as her father, while the other looks identical to Jaik. While they wonder if this might be his father or even grandfather, Jaik admits to his amnesia, and that this is the first evidence of any history prior to several months ago, when he washed up onto the Lake Michigan shore. Angus takes his prizes home, stopping briefly to give the local gang, the “6-pack,” a little financial incentive to protect the Mall from other gangs come Devil’s Night, while Jaik and Athene get back to work.

That night both Athene and Jaik have the same dream, though Jaik is the active participant (Athene merely observes invisibly). In the dream Jaik stands naked at the edge of an overcast Lake Michigan, everything in shades of gray. Across the waters rests an island, where he can hear crying, and sees a woman in white wandering the opposite shore. On his shoulder his tattoo is complete, and glows brightly (though he still cannot make out what it is). He leaps into the water, and struggles to swim to the island, but as he approaches, many eels, snakes and serpents swim out to block his way. Each time they approach though, the tattoo glows brightly and they retreat, until he has nearly reached the island. But there a huge sea serpent rises from the waves, and with a flick of it’s tongue, his tattoo shatters, and he (and Athene) suddenly awake.

Athene comes to in her shop (where she had again fallen asleep after work), and hears someone outside. The lights in the Mall are out (which they shouldn’t be), and the figure approaches the window suddenly, placing hands on the pain. Each hand has a mouth filled with gnashing teeth, as does the face. She suddenly awakes, again, still in her shop in the Mall, though now the lights are on, and there is a scolding Mall security guard telling her to be on her way.

The next day they talk with Angus and after a little research and memory searching, recall local folk-tales relating to an Indian myth regarding a Snake King who imprisoned his daughter on Belle Island, who may be the same as a ghost of an Indian girl murdered there by the Indian Warrior who courted her and found her having an affair with a colonial soldier, the ghost still seen by lovers who go to make out on the island as “the Lady in white.” Jaik takes Athene out for coffee, and as they are getting to know each other they are interrupted by an axe-wielding homeless man smashing through the window. Babbling about him being a “Duke no more,” and how the “Hundred” are coming and soon the “Unshaken God” will awake, the madman chases them out into the street, giving Jaik several cuts before being hit by oncoming traffic. As Jaik watches, smoke pours out of the man’s mouth and dissipates. After he’s taken to the hospital to have stitches, the pair drop by Angus’ home, where he offers to give them sanctuary during Devil’s Night.

Chapter Two: Devil’s Night (10/30/10)

After only working a half-day, Jaik brings T.J. up to date about the last few day’s trying events. T.J. notes faint embossing on the back of Jaik’s mystery photo that he thinks could be names, so they swing by Athene’s Antiques shop at the Castle Mall to see if she has the necessary supplies to make the words clearer. While there meet regular customer “Count” Leland Murphy, eccentric owner of Hotel Carphax just down the street. He seems intrigued and invites them to his “Devil’s Night” party come sundown. Each is perplexed to realize, as the names on the photo become clear, some relation or new detail they’d missed before: Jaik’s name (according to the picture) is Colin Oakes, while T.J. realises the well dressed gentleman is his grandfather, Rudolfo Brown, and Leland (looking over their shoulder) mistakes it all for a well-done Cosplay prop as the woman in the far right is a regular to his events, Nichole Meade. The woman in the wedding dress is names Gail Farley, while Athene’s father is listed as Byron Weaver.

Before heading off to the party, Anthene, T.J. & Jaik dress up and go bar-crawling for several hours. By the time they hit Hotel Carphax, Athene at least is well-marinated, while T.J. has brought along a large number of the tech and costume crew from work. While at the party Jaik begins having a series of odd encounters, ranging from a ghostly little girl wanting her mommy to a 12 foot tall, fez-wearing cockroach eating vicariously through other party-goers. The Fez-wearing roach seems quit startled to see “the Duke,” and promises to leave come morning if he will leave him be. Strangest of all is his run-in with Nichole Meade, who clearly remembers him (possibly intimately as she reintroduces herself by giving him one heck of a kiss) but is otherwise vague as to how they could both be in a picture from the ’40s.

Further discussion is brought up short when a pack of Werewolves on the hunt burst through the windows, trashing the place in their pursuit of joyriding spirits such as the fez-wearing cockroach who (like every Lunacy-driven party-goer) flees as quickly as possible. Having had some forewarning from the still drunk (and now entranced) Athene’s screams that “the wolves are coming,” Jaik and Nichole try to head the wolves off with words while everyone else stampedes from the room. Confused over what, exactly, Jaik is (except “Old,” according to Nichole), as well as Nichole’s mentioning something about them breaking the “Truce,” they decide to take their wild hunt back outside.

Jaik chases after them, as they head off towards the Castle Mall, where he finds them shortly, and not alone. The Castle Mall has become a warzone, the Werewolves heavily outnumbered by strange Spirits of alien and horrific aspect. He gains the special attention of a powerful Joker-faced spirit who calls him “Duke-no-more” and giggles about the release of “the Hundred” and the coming of “the Unshaken God,” before giving him another gruesome cut across his chest. The leader of the pack leaps between them, however, and the Joker-faced spirit (along with the rest of his little army) retreats, popping like so many soap-bubbles. The alpha turns human, and briefly introduces himself as Van Luven and states they should talk soon, before he and the rest of his pack again become wolves and dash away before firemen and the police arrive.

Returning to the Carphax, where Leland and company are picking up the peaces, he does his best to tell them what happened, while they in turn wonder how badly he’s lost his mind. T.J. drags him off to the Hospital (again), while Leland escorts Athene back to the Mall to see what can be salvaged (and keep her from running in to the burning building to save what she can of her shop). By the wee-hours of the morning they all again return to the Hotel to commiserate (and listen to more of Jaik’s “delusional ravings”).

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Psychic Single-Minded 4 + 4
T.J. Brown Props Manager 3
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Embarrassing Secret 10 + 3
Jaik Mkor Man with a past ? Amnesia 4 + 4
Angus McCaffrey landlord Forgetful 3 + 1
Ch. 3: All Hallows Eve
Act I: The Apocalypse Box

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

The gang wakes at their own pace. T.J. drags Jaik down to the emergency room to have his wounds looked at when he complains of irritation. Intern John Watson examines him and is shocked to see Jaik’s wounds fully healed – the irritation is from the staples & stitches still in the injuries, so he removes them, and the marks where they were are fully healed while his back is turned. Afterwards T.J. lets Jaik talk him into buying him a trench-knife with all the survivalist trimmings in the handle. Meanwhile, Athene goes for a jog, but with the Castle Mall crawling with cops, firemen, arson inspectors, FBI, bomb squads, etc., there’s no way for her to make her way in to check out her storefront, so she heads back. Afternoon comes and Jaik & Athene help Leland with repairs around the hotel, while T.J. stops off at his apartment to pick up hhis dog Kujo & calls on a friend in the camera business and asks for a favor – could he check out the authenticity of a photo if he sends it to him?

That night they agree to go with Athene back to investigate the old Victorian house where the Box was found, and to that end to pick up her van back at the Mall, presuming they can get in. Leland sees the place STILL crawling with Feds and related agencies, so they drive on to Jaiks to pick up a few things (so he can “hunt,” as he puts it), where they find Mr. Watson. Watson is concerned over the healing time and is checking up on things to make sure the paperwork is straight (and whether or not Jaik has the recuperative powers he claims), and they end up convincing him to join them on their Halloween outing of breaking in to a possibly haunted house. T.J. rents a moving van for Athene (who’s principle motive now is to salvage vintage furniture, as opposed to finding clues, which is everyone else’s goal), and they head on over to the 8 Mile strip where the house is located.

While getting out in front of the house they notice a light on upstairs in the house (Watson notes it’s a flashlight, and spots the figure holding it). Jaik also notes, with an impending sense of danger, a weird bug-like vehicular creature coming down the street, and shouts for everyone to seek cover. While T.J. & Athene dodge under the truck, and Watson & Jaik head off to either side of the house, Leland sprints on to take concealment on the porch. Only Jaik can see the thing come down the street, shine it’s light on Leland and move forward, so only he responds, charging it, knife out, leaping and screaming for the others to run. The entity proves intangible, so he falls through it, and it in turn honks loudly (though only he can hear), and shuffles back to merge with the Truck, which turns on and begins to move of its’ own accord. Athene & T.J. manage to roll out from underneath, avoiding its’ tires, while Leland narrowly leaps out of the way before it rams it’s way through the house. Jaik narrowly becomes roadkill when a blur zips out of the house to snatch him up and away. As the monstrosity pulls itself back out a red sports-car zips up, driven by none other than Nichole Meade, with Jaik confusedly in the passenger’s side, yelling for them to get in. The next several minutes revolve around the Thing chasing them across town, until, rather than driving through a line of trick-or-treaters, they spin around and head straight back at it. As Nichole spins her car around it, Leland takes a shot to pop out one of its’ tires, while Jaik leaps from the car to land on the cab, stabbing in with his knife (and thus giving him purchase to hold on). The Thing rears up like a centipede, smashing him into the side of a building (where he hears his ribs crack), and while its’ distracted, Nichole rams it with her car. This proves too much for it, and the mutated van begins to collapse (though Jaik can see the bug-machine spirit leave it’s mechanical host, threatening to return soon with friends now that it knows where he may be found).

As they pull Jaik off and marvel at his injuries, Nichole tells them she can fill in some holes in what Jaik has forgot, but only if he’s willing to meet her price (she’s already done him too many favors as it is). He states it’s up to the others, and as only Leland & Watson agree to her price, she only gives them half of what she knows (her price? they are now “hers”): Jaik is, as far as she knows, immortal – he can’t die (or if he can, she doesn’t know what could do him in). He also made the Box, and put the Hundred in it, and it was his house that was just demolished. He was a member of the Antumbral Association, as was she, possibly its’ founding member, and had a lot of pull on the “other side” – perhaps he still might, as he apparently had a powerful patron in that world. He also was rivals within the Association with Athene’s father. Their best hope is to find out how to unlock his lost memories, but how to do that is not amongst the things she can tell them. The Hundred holds all the members of the Antumbral Association at fault though, and will take their vengeance on not just them, but on their kin as well (which gives Leland a snicker, since he and Watson thus don’t count).

After dropping Jaik & T.J. off at their apartments, she asks of both Watson & Leland “Are you a Soldier, or a Civilian?” Both decide they’re Soldiers, so she takes Watson home with her, leaving Leland for later, dropping him and Athene back at the hotel. Watson she then entrances, cut open her wrist, and makes him drink. Athene sits up a bit longer to send off an e-mail to her old antiquing mentor about clues over Jaik’s origins regarding his clothes in the photo, and wakes up her step-parents to try and get word about how to find her father, though the high point of her late night investigations comes with a vision of the bloody battlefield that is the ruins of the Castle Mall, where the Hundred are butchering every cop, SWAT officer, gangbanger, werewolf, vampire or other foolish enough to get in their way as they leave. She also spots some mysterious folks hanging out by an SUV taking video-footage, but the vision ends when, as spirits approach, one raises his hand, and flames spring from their tips like they were candles…

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Psychic Single-Minded 8 + 3 = 11
T.J. Brown Key Grip 3 + 3 = 6
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Embarrassing Secret 13 + 3 = 16
Jaik Mkor Mystery Man Immortal Amnesia 8 + 4 = 12
Angus McCaffrey Dilettante Paranormal Detective Forgetful 4 + 0 = 4
John Watson Doctor Ghoul - 3
Ch. 4: All Hallows Day
Act I: The Apocalypse Box

Monday, November 1st, 2010

After a night of wandering the streets in his pajamas having fled his home above the chaos of recent events at the Castle Mall, Angus finds himself pursued by weird bums and other strangers offering to do ANYTHING for him to curry favor with the Hundred, themselves very thankful for his part in releasing them. He wakes in something of a confused fugue over what has happened, with a band of homeless caring for him as if he were their king. Fleeing them he sets to wandering the city again, until, about noon, he is picked up by an attractive redhead in a red sports car who introduces herself as Victoria Hillard. Vicky gets him a coffee & takes her back to her apartment, where she feeds him and lets him get cleaned up, before explaining a few things to him (which proves challenging, given how oblivious and incredulous he proves to be to her explanations). The Spirits of the Hundred apparently have contracted her, a medium, to negotiate on their behalf. They want to thank him for their release, and want his help as their agent in releasing their Unshaken God. They own him, and want him happy. Unable to digest this, Angus again takes off (though this time with her card).
p. Meanwhile the rest of the gang has been going about their return to a routine & some semblance of sanity. Jaik finds himself mostly healed, and ends up taking a half-day, while T.J. puts in some overtime, though not before giving his mom a call to ask her to send him grampa Brown’s old steamer-trunk (ostensibly for a film shoot, but honestly still trying to find more clues regarding his involvement in the Antumbra Association), which should hopefully arrive by the end of the week. Athene, having stayed the night at the Carfax Hotel, heads out for a morning jog, in hopes of seeing if she may yet slip back in to check on her shop. She instead finds the barricaded area have moved up to a full block surrounding the Mall, and it has now been manned by National guardsmen.
p. Angus finds some members of the six-pack hanging out, and they fall in to “protect” him. He soon realizes that they too have fallen under the Hundred’s sway, which makes things even dicier when they run into Athene, and the spirit-ridden gangbangers begin chasing her as one of the “Enemy.” She manages to escape them by running up to the barricades and calling on the guards for protection, wherein the 6-pack make themselves scarce, and she waits there until The Count can swing by to pick her up.
p. The rest of the afternoon Jaik & Athene work with Leland and his collective to firm up the defenses of the hotel “Abbey” (the basement becoming their fallback haven). By nightfall Watson has swung around as well, and marvels at how well Jaik has healed. Leland realizes somehow that Nichole “wants” him, so he takes his leave suddenly, though Jaik follows and the pair get in the limo waiting outside. Soon at a high-rise apartment-building downtown, they meet with Nichole, who is only a little put out that Jaik followed along. Jaik ends up waiting for an hour as Nichole takes the Count off and after some love-play, makes him a ghoul. Afterward, Nichole admits she has little understanding of what Jaik is, but tells him the house that was trashed the previous evening used to be his. She then has the limo take them back to Leland’s hotel, as she has other business to attend to -apparently a rival, Sheriff Adan Carr, has been humiliated by recent events, and she hopes to make some advantage of it.
p. They return just as a vaguely familiar batch of bikers are doing a stare-down with Leland’s crew. Things quickly go south however, as they prove to be the Lupe de Cheval, the werewoves from the other night, who have swung by for a little chat with Jaik. Their leader, Van Luven finds out that this may somehow all be Jaik’s fault, and looses his temper, monstering out, scaring off the rest of the gang. By the time they manage to muster the nerve to return, the pack is gone and Jaik is scattered across the street.
p. Jaik finds he’s not quite done for however, waking up in a shadow-world paralleling our own. His first acquaintance proves to be a spirit calling itself Allykat, and after introductions the cat-like specter offers to serve as his page and lead him to someone who can help him pull himself together. He agrees, and it takes him to the Night King, a giant Owl-spirit that lives in a massive Oak in a shadowy woodland some distance away. The Night King remembers him, and agrees to restore him and tell him a bit about himself, presuming he will in turn serve the King (which Jaik readily agrees to do). The King “fixes” his tattoo, replacing the odd broken serpent with an Owl-like mark, and knowledge flows back (though not memories), as he is restored to his power as a Purified, a true Immortal. The King explains that he once served the Serpent King of the Great Lakes, but was banished for trying to run off with the Snake King’s daughter (the “White Lady of Belle Island”). Now that he is restored, he will act as a Knight of the Night Kingdom, and act as his man in the physical world.
p. Back in the physical realm the gang does their best to gather up what’s left of Jaik in garbage bags, when Alleykat appears, and tells them to bring his remains to the park about two miles away. Doing so they dig a ditch and pour out his remains, and are understandably shocked to see those remains knit themselves back together and Jaik return to life. Jaik calms them (though not so much with his explanations of what just happened).
p. Athene also has a bit of news, however, having had a vision earlier that night of Angus having returned to his home above the Castle Mall with Vicky, of him telling the Hundred that what he wants is to “play with the wWerewolves,” and of how the Jester-faced spirit told him he would make him a “Holy Knight” so he could do just that, and the climbed INSIDE him…

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Psychic Single-Minded 11 + 6 = 17
T.J. Brown Key Grip 6 + 5 = 11
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Embarrassing Secret 16 + 6 = 22
Jaik Mkor Mystery Man Immortal Amnesia 12 + 7 = 19
Angus McCaffrey Dilettante Paranormal Detective Forgetful 4 + 6 = 10
John Watson Doctor Ghoul - 3 + 4 = 7
Ch. 5: Unsettled
Act II: The Grandfather Clause

About a week has passed, and though the Castle Mall is still closed, the National Guard has removed it’s roadblocks and moved out. Angus has told Athene over the phone her shop is fine and she can come back any time. Meanwhile the Count has been busy renovating the Carfax, trying to get it ready for upcoming thanksgiving day events in the “barn” (an unused portion of the hotel). Nichole has taken an interest in the place though, and has laid claim to both the penthouse and a section of basement (and has invested in a secret express elevator between the two). She has also introduced the Count to an associate of hers named “Skinny,” a disturbingly tall, thin man who can help with the homeless problem in the “barn.” T.J. & Jaik have been busy with work, but not so busy that Jaik hasn’t been able to discover more about the ghost girl at the hotel (who’s name is “Marci”)) and see to it a room is set aside for her, and that a mini-car is purchased for his friend the fez-wearing cockroach spirit can drive about the place (with the story that it is “remote controlled”).

Saturday, T.J.‘s package from home arrives, containing all of his grandfather’s stuff. The old costumes & clothes are vintage and all, but the object of most curious import proves to be a small chest. Deciding it would be best to open it in the company of friends more aware than he (and avoid a repeat of the previous “Pandora Event”), T.J. gathers with Athene, Jaik, Leland & Watson by the Lake. After determining that it isn’t covered in Twilight weirdness, T.J. explores its’ assortment of drawers and openings, finding the following: a mask, a medallion, a journal, and three vials, each containing a different fluid. The Journal proves to by his grandfathers, but is a rambling affair, seemingly written by a madman, giving all sorts of strange and obscure clues. After discussing what the journal means and what the objects may or may not be, they are motivated to take their leave when they realize Jaik has caught the attention of a flock of snake-possessed ducks.

While the Count stops off at the hotel for a nap, the rest of the gang agree to drive Athene by the Castle Mall to meet with Angus and check on her store. They instead drive on once Jaik notes the place is crawling with spirits, likely the Hundred, and that Angus himself is possessed by the Jester-Knight. As they’re driving and discussing what to do next, Watson shouts suddenly, thinking they’re about to run into another car, causing T.J. to suddenly stop the vehicle. A black SUV drives up, rolls down it’s window, and the mysterious driver gives them his bosses car, before driving off. The card reads “Cliff Medrano, Deputy Director, Cheiron Group.” Having had enough weirdness, the gang stops off at a bar and hang out, discussing this and numerous other events for the next several hours.

Eventually returning to the Carfax to get the Count’s thoughts on things, no one disputes Jaik’s idea that they should speak with the werewolves – such as Van Luvien – in hopes of an aliance, but equally no one is that willing to accompany him when he does, given what happened the last time they met. Athene decided to take a jog around the block, and Jaik & Watson insist on accompanying her, while the COunt attends to directing his household, and T.J. goes back to meddling with items in his grandfathers box. THus no one is on hand or otherwise undistracted to see his odd expression when he puts on the Medallion, picks up the chest and leaves.

When the joggers return & find him gone Jaik informs Athene this is her fault for leading them off when they should have stayed together. Athene in turn points out T.J. left behind his dog, Cujo, and likely she can lead them to her master. They find him two blocks away in a bar, drinking a bear and watching sports on the T.V. Quite cordial, it swiftly becomes clear T.J. has been possessed by his grandfather Rudolfo, a much saner individual than his notebook would otherwise imply. Rudolfo implies he doesn’t plan on staying terribly long in is grandson’s body, so they shouldn’t worry. In the ensuing discussion they find out the three vials contain (Nichole’s blood, a deadly toxin that MAY – or may NOT – grant the same immortality Jaik has, and an elixir that is for T.J. & T.J. alone). They in turn fill in some blanks about the modern world, and where T.J. fits in it.

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Psychic Single-Minded 3
T.J. Brown Key Grip 3
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Ghoul Embarrassing Secret 3
Jaik Mkor Mystery Man Immortal Amnesia 3
John Watson Doctor Ghoul - 2
Ch. 6: "It's Complicated..."
Act II: The Grandfather Clause

Saturday Night continues
After their conversation at the cafe, the gang splits up to attend to their evening affairs:

  • Jaik & the Werewolves: After waiting in the snow, staking out the fountain/statue that serves as the material reflection for the Locus he’d seen the Pack raiding the previous week in a dream, his patience is rewarded as Van Luvien and two wolves come past on patrol at about 11 that night. Van Luvien is of course a tad surprised at Jaik’s resurrection, and it gives him enough pause to listen to Jaik’s renewed pitch for an alliance against the Hundred, but he sticks his foot in his mouth – again – and again Van Luvien and his packmates red him to pieces.
  • Athene & T.J./Rudolfo: Athene introduces Rudolfo to Karaoke and they have a fun time. Afterward he drops her off at the Carfax claiming fatigue, but instead goes on a bar-crawl, eventually stumbling into Count Leland and his friends at another club. Athene, back at the Hotel, is overcome with a vision of Jaik’s gory demise, and after snatching up a handful of garbage bags to collect his remains, grabs a cab to the scene of his butchery. But once there she finds only torn clothes, his wallet & his phone.
  • Count Leland & his entourage: Taking the first part of the evening to get himself and several of his girls dolled up, they head out to a notable goth-club to strum up interest in their own “private party” later in the month, a cause to which he adds the force of Majesty to spectacular effect, as he finds he is apparently the Most Interesting Man in the World. He also finds Nichole is there, in the company of her “daughter” Altair. After making introductions, the two join his clutch, as does Rudolfo for a while. over the course of the evening he lets slip a little more about the bad old days with “Colin” (Jaik), before making an early evening of it. Nichole makes the suggestion to Altair that she too may wish to invest in the Count’s little venture over at the Carfax, before the younger Vampire slips off to quietly seduce and feed from a randy boy she picks up. They end the night, collecting a few new playmates, piling into the Count’s car and heading back to the hotel to party until dawn (before which the Vampires quietly see themselves out).

T.J. wakes up in his appartment to his dog Cujo licking his face, with distinct memories of having spent the majority of the time since he had put on the amulet last night trapped in an elderly, paralyzed body in a nursing home somewhere in another timezone. After leaving messages with friends to find out what happened last night, and a quick call to his mom to find out if Great grandpa might still be alive (she claims he’s not), he sets about grooming his pooch.

Meanwhile Athene goes stir-crazy with worry, filling Jaik’s phone up with fake messages assuring her he’s ok & he begs her forgiveness. By mid-afternoon the Count & his companions are up as well, and T.J. drops by to quiz them all on what he said and what he missed (he chooses to keep under his hat the cryptic messages Rudolfo left for him in the journal). By evening the gang is getting ready to again head out, this time for dinner at the Mixed Chinese-Soul food place next door, when Altair drops by to speak with Leland, and the resurrected Jaik stumbles out of his ritual freezer-crypt down in the basement. Rolling the two into their party, they continue on, and over dinner Jaik mutters murder about the werewolves. Altair debates the sanity of such a move, but gives Leland her pitch, asking if she could move in to the Hotel, to which he agrees.

Upon their return to the Hotel they find Nichole awaiting them, having brought a gift. Two more chests – these ones being gun and ammo cases. “For all your werewolf-hunting needs” she states with a smile…

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Psychic Single-Minded 3 + 4 = 7
T.J. Brown Key Grip 3 + 6 = 9
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Ghoul Embarrassing Secret 3 + 6 = 9
Jaik Mkor Mystery Man Immortal (Purified) Amnesia 3 + 5 = 8
John Watson Doctor Ghoul - 2 + 1 = 3
Altair Reserved Academic Vampire (Daeva) - 0 + 4 = 4
Ch. 7: Thanks for Giving
Act III: Dark Side of the Moon

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
We pick up the day before Thanksgiving, with the Carfax Crew getting busy for the Theme party they’ve been gearing up for all month come Friday. Well, that & Thanksgiving dinner the night between then and now. Having spent the better part of self-medicating her visionary powers with what ever over-the-counter drugs she can score in secret, Athene makes her goodbyes & leaves Christmas presents (evil little boxes) to the gang before hopping in a cab to catch a last-minute plane for heading home for the holidays. Given she can’t get back into her store safely (despite repeated invitations by Angus, she just can’t quite bring herself to trust the thing possessing him). Teejay would love to get home for the holidays, but work on the show looks to be running long, so he contents himself with sending many packages home early for Christmas, and planning to host his own dinner for his fellow Crew-mates in the business who are similarly trapped in town. Jaik in turn makes his usual dangerous plans, while seeing to it he meets the commitments of his day job.

Both Jaik, Athene and Altair have taken up residence at the Carfax now; Jaik, for his part, has convinced various spirits capable of manifesting to help keep the place secure. As far as Nichole’s “gift” from two weeks before, the Count has traded guns for good favor with the Voodoo Crew, socking away the rest in a secret catch in the boiler room. Athene, before she leaves, has set up a new place for work (and sleep) in the part of the hotel known as the “barn.” The rest of the Hotel annex has been cleared of marauding homeless infestations, thanks to the persuasive haunting of Skinnyby night and the tromping through of workmen by day.

All have gotten to know the East Side of Detroit better; a place of yellow smog and industrial wreckage, haunted by bears and wild-dog packs. One curious character they have become aware of is Gilly the Toy-man, a sweet, disabled homeless-man who pulls himself about in a wheeled box stuffed with toys. Jaik has noticed the neighborhood is also infested with Black Smoke spirits, which prove more problematic the more he pays attention to them. Altair, despite her attempts at staying fed, has a few near-accidents that leave her hungrier than ever.

Two new temporary residents at the Carfax Hotel are honeymooners looking for a “Bed & Bondage,” Jack& Barbara Logan (a line-backer for the Chicago Bears & his Cheerleader trophy-wife). This adds on to the growing ensemble of concerns Count Leland has to worry about after his “old friend” Detective Shaftswings by to see what Leland and friends might know what happened to one Robert Hammond – a guest that vanished after last month’s event. Two calls come in also requesting audiences: one from a woman by the name of Dancer McCoy & her uncle, who would like to come investigate rumors of ghost-sightings (they are paranormal investigators), and another being a P.I. named Barney O’Halleran, investigating the missing Hammond on behalf of a concerned family. Shaft gets the run-around (“I ain’t no squealer” says Leland) and Dancer is dissuaded by the honest description of what they might run into if they don’t hold off until the weekend. O’Halleran however is welcomed over, and is given not only an interview, but access to gang-contacts and as much information as is of value to his investigation – that was the night of the werewolf incursion, so the story is downgraded that someone spiked the punch with LSD & let in wild dogs to disrupt the party. O’Halleran even manages to finagle an invitation to the coming event.

Thanksgiving preparations go relatively smoothly, with the Count planning to host a mid-afternoon meal, giving everyone who has family elsewhere ample opportunity to swing off and have dinner with them as well. It being an open thing for anyone already involved with the Carfax, the Watson brothers along with Teejay both make plans to swing through.

After work Jaik follows through with his threat to grab a big tub of chicken and spend the day hanging around the Werewolves’ locus at the pond, hoping, again, to talk with the lupines without getting himself killed (but giving folks fair warning he may be indisposed for the next several days). Late that night Jaik again has an encounter with the Black Smoke Pack, but this time they are led by a different man. A scruffy, hairy-man in a trench coat comes up and asks if he is indeed the man who can’t die. They get to talking (while the hairy man eats all the chicken), and the hairy man (who calls himself Marrow Wolf) tells him they’ll likely kill him anyway, but was curious what Jaik wanted. Jaik finally gets across the hope they might ally against the Hundred, and the hairy man gives him the skinny on how things work here – this is the Black Smoke Pack‘s territory, and that Mare’s Tail is the real Pack leader, not Van Luvien. After ruffing him up a little (and being disappointed that he won’t fight back), the pack drag him off to meet the boss.

Meanwhile Watsonintroduces the gang to his military consultant brother James, to a mix of impressions. Teejay spends some time working out the technical details to do a conference call with his family the next day, before swinging by the Carfax, before a night of bar-hopping. Altair, being very hungry, proves unusually hungry, and attaches herself to Teejay’s planned bar-crawl. Teejay mistakes her intensity for flirtation, and takes her on a “date,” only to become disillusioned when she keeps slipping off to take strange men off to be “intimate” in dark corners or the rest-room. Altair, for her part, doesn’t quite get why he’s unhappy, but IS well fed by the end of the night. Her loss – Teejay spots a lonely, tired (but otherwise well-toned, and drop-dead hot) woman at the bar, so he sidles up and makes her acquaintance. They hit it off, but he can’t quite shake the feeling he’s seen her before: a few more drinks and he’s got it, along with her name. Minerva Townsend, lead FBI Agent for the investigations into the Castle Mall bomb-scare last month! He takes her home to meet Cujo, and she ends up spending an intimate night that may or may not involve handcuffs.

Poor Jaik finds himself at an abandoned industrial chemical plant, filthy with decay and rust. In the Twilight lurks another Black Smoke spirit, and in this world he has almost a dozen wolves and wolf-men staring him down, Marrow Wolf & Van Luvien amongst them. But the one who speaks with him is Mare’s Tail, alpha for the Black Smoke Pack. She laughs at his offer, telling him bluntly the Pack needs no alliance with him, as they recognize this offer as nothing more than an excuse for the bloodsuckers to muscle in on her pack’s territory! With that she has him thrown into one of the mixing cisterns – since killing him doesn’t seem to do the trick, perhaps keeping him locked up can keep him out of their hair while they take the fight to his friends. After all, they can’t ALL be immortal, can they?

The next morning Mina’s screams wake the house. Moments later Leland and the others spill out to the back ally to find her shaking, pointing at the dumpster, an arm sticking out. One of the Voodoo Crew is dead, chewed and ripped to shreds!

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Psychic Single-Minded 2
T.J. Brown Key Grip 3
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Ghoul Embarrassing Secret 4
Jaik Mkor Mystery Man Immortal (Purified) Amnesia 4
John Watson Doctor Ghoul - 2
Altair Reserved Academic Vampire (Daeva) - 3
Ch. 8: Missed Steps
Act III: Dark Side of the Moon

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
Having gotten as far as the airport, Athene gets a call from a woman introducing herself as Vicky Hillard, a middleman of sorts, who heard she’s leaving town for the holidays and wishes to give her something of her fathers’ before she leaves. Athene agrees that would be nice, but then gets back in line and catches her flight back to California. As night falls she gets this growing, desperate need to return to Detroit, and to Nichole. Using her clairvoyant gifts, she has a vision of her getting dressed for the evening, talking to a blurry figure Athene can’t quite see, promising to give her (Athene) up as repayment for some past transgression. Once she’s on the ground at a transit point, she leaves messages for Leland, Jaik & Teejay (none of whom answer at this late hour), finally settling for a queer conversation with Jacobi.

Thursday, November 25th, 2010
Once back in Detroit, Athene manages to get word to Leland and he agrees to give her a ride to Nichole (he in turn lets Nichole know they’re coming). Once at her high-rise apartment in the Downtown area, they head up (Jacobi too, along for backup & company) and he does his best to impress his lady. She thanks him in turn, but has him & Jacobi wait outside in the front-room (not a complete tragedy as Vicky is there as well, so he has someone to bide the time flirting with). Athene, no longer under Nichole’s compulsion, demands recompense for the trip and an explanation, but Nichole proves evasive, only saying everyone would miss her at Leland’s party tomorrow night. To that end she gives her a pendant to wear and recommends she wear something suitable, perhaps in a dusky red. Confused and annoyed, Athene rejoins Leland & Jacobi, at which point Victoria delivers her her father’s parcel, another spooky, occult-symbol-covered box (this one made of lead). Athene inquires if she was attending Leland’s “event,” to which she replies she might if she’d been invited – a factor Leland swiftly remedies. On the drive back Leland looks over the chest and in rare insight makes several observations about her father’s box, and what it may signify.

Back at the Carfax, while Jacobi & Leland get some much needed sleep, Athene probes the contents of the box – a ritual knife, a strange humanoid in a jar sealed with arcane glyphs, a talisman, a vial with a die within, a tarot deck, a small bottle, a candelabra (and black candles), a mystical-looking ring, and a key. After examining them for a bit (and not having anything horrible happen to her) she tucks them away and finally gets a call back from Teejay at about 7am. It is just around then that everyone begins hearing Mina’s screams upon discovering a dead body in the dumpster out back. Leland sleepily stumbles out in his tuxedo pajamas, gun in hand, as does Athene, and they do their best to calm the girl (while surreptitiously examining the body and not contaminate the crime-scene). Leland recognizes the victim as a gangsta flying Voodoo Crew colors, but given the mauling death seems to be an animal attack, he decides to give his good “friend” detective Shaft a call about it (after giving his contact in the Voodoo Crew a heads up first), thus necessitating a visit from his friendly nemesis that eats up much of their morning answering questions, but gets more swift action than if they’d called 911, given the neighborhood their in.

Teejay drives over and gets there early on to give what support & insight he can, arriving before the police do. He also has a good chat with Athene about the pros & cons of magical boxes inherited by one’s for-fathers, and the two begin worrying about Jaik, who still has not returned (everyone heaving a sigh of relief that it’s not his corpse – again – that has to be cleaned up). Teejay eventually has to take off to manage a Thanksgiving luncheon for those in his crew who couldn’t otherwise make arrangements with family or friends, then teleconference with his own family for hellos, before returning for Leland’s planned get-together that evening. Leland gets grilled by Shaft, and floats the idea to him that maybe a new gang is muscling in to the neighborhood, especially after his rival lets slip that this is only the latest animal-mauling to have happened in the area in the last several months. Perhaps this may also explain the missing Mr. Hammond? Athene, worried about Jaik, tries to have a vision of him, but while she cannot “see” him (it being dark, where ever he is), she hears him demanding to be let out, and a gruff voice laughing, threatening to come in if he doesn’t pipe down. THe only other clues she can sense is the heavy smell of chemicals and a distant humming of machinery.

That evening, after a nice (if slightly overcooked) turkey dinner, Teejay & Athene are invited to watch as Leland reaffirms his bonds of family and covenant with his other housemates in a ritual of blood-sharing and drinking. Newcomer Altair eagerly participates, giving Leland a little swell of pride (and something else, as he manages to draw the vitae she provides to the rite into himself). Afterwards the girls help Athene pick out something nice for the party, before Athene slips back to her rooms in the “barn” with Teejay to see if they can’t track down more information on Jaik, and Altair revels in the Carfax Crew’s renewed interest in her. Leland leaves a friendly note for Skinny above the fireplace, and is pleased shortly thereafter to find him at his elbow, warning of “Wolves at the Door,” causing him to send out an immediate text to everyone else in the Hotel to baton down for an imminent gangster drive-by warning (except for Athene, Altair & Teejay – to which he adds “werewolves!”). Teejay & Athene already know however, as they can hear them sniffing and scratching at the door to the outside, and are busy heading further back in. Meeting up, they slip to an out-looking window to watch the wolves (or are they merely big dogs?) sniffing about the Cafax’s confines, before a distant howl calls them away.

Altair makes calls to both sire and mentor, though she only manages to reach Nichole, and Nichole seems less than helpful (“try not to die before the party tomorrow, darling!”), while Leland debates whither these may in fact be the same pack, or a different pack scouting out the territory – either way he decides he’d best give the Voodoo Crew a heads up that it looks like another gang is stepping up to move in on their territory (likely those 6-pack bastards). Athene tries to get a clearer vision of where Jaik might be, this time with coaching for clarity by Teejay (the first of her friends she’s admitted to having these gifts to) and focusing not on Jaik himself, but on the voice of the one she heard holding him. Suddenly she sees a large, hairy man running on all fours through a graveyard (one not too far off, between the Carfax and the old GM plant), up to a grave-site where a number of other wait for him. A woman with a scared and balding scalp chews him out before sending him into the open grave to pull out a coffin. She and the others then open it and empty it of its’ contents, a large number of little plastic bags filled with tablets. Their task done, they then put the coffin back and re-burry it before scattering. A few facts she makes out include:

  • The woman’s name is Mare’s Tail. The hairy man’s called Marrow Wolf.
  • Though the section of the graveyard seems old and overgrown, there is a fresh, unmarked grave nearby.
    After the gang is gone fore a few minutes, she observes a pair sneak up to poke about. An attractive woman turns to a man holding a camera and says “Can you believe it! Werewolf Drug-dealers in Detroit!” she announces to the cameraman, adding “you heard it here first! This is ”/campaigns/antumbra/characters/dancer" class=“wiki-content-link”>Dancer McCoy reporting live for the Midnight Sun…"

The vision ends, and Teejay is already looking it up on his iPhone. Dancer’s report is already going viral on the Midnight Sun‘s web-blog. He also finds her prior post, from a week before, where she and her uncle Ambrose Greer, along with parapsychologist Ralf Butler attend a Seance in Chicago with famed medium Amy Seton, wherein she warns that a terrible evil will arise in Detroit right around Thanksgiving! They bring this information to Leland, who puts two-and-two together and realizes they must be the same people who where trying to conduct an investigation at the Carfax the same night as his upcoming "Pilgrim’s Progress." While he leaves a message following the number they left, Athene & Teejay send and email to touch bases, the upshot of which is to try to meet up with them the following day, hinting they may know something useful to their investigation.

All other avenues spent, they finally toddle off to bed for some much needed rest.

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Psychic Single-Minded 2+3=5
T.J. Brown Key Grip 3+3=6
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Ghoul Embarrassing Secret 4+4=8
Jaik Mkor Mystery Man Immortal (Purified) Amnesia 4+0=4
John Watson Doctor Ghoul - 2+0=2
Altair Reserved Academic Vampire (Daeva) - 3+3=6
Ch. 9: Pilgrim's Progress
Act III: Dark Side of the Moon

Friday, November 25th, 2010
3am – After everyone else is practically in bed, Altair gets a call from her Mentor amongst the Ordo Dracul, Conrad Vilt, that a distinguished member of the Order is arriving shortly at the train station at the behest of her Sire, and so it falls to her to pick him up and tend to his needs. With much grumbling she acquiesces, and after failing to persuade Leland to give her a ride and help her pick him up, she finally calls a cab. Athene gets her interest piqued and attaches herself, promising to help with cab-fair, and uses the time on the drive to dig a little deeper into the Carfax’s mysterious librarian. At the station they both make the acquaintance of Mr. Deerborn, who seems cool but gentlemanly, and takes Athene’s pestering questions with good grace, despite otherwise feeling rather “peckish,” and Athene apparently not on the menu. Altair first tries to dump him off at her Mentor’s Haven, a fact which seems to annoy him no end. He agrees to stash Deerborn’s possessions until he finds other accommodations, but insists Altair see him fed and housed before dawn. Altair drops him off at a sleazy bar with directions to a motel and abandons him, something Athene finds insulting, but allows as Deerborn insists it is ok. Once the two are off, he sets about hiring a pair of hookers for the remaining hours, sakes his thirst (leaving them both dangerously depleted) and kicks them out with enough time to sun-proof his motel room.
10am – Leland gets up to show his landscaper Donto what work he’d like to see around the Carfax, and Danto gets to see some of the odd inhabitants as they’re getting their first cup of coffee. Once he has Danto aimed at the shrubbery, he then meets with fellow enthusiast Professor Erikson, who’s passion for science, and capes, has led the Count to offer him one of the larger spare rooms for a Laboratory. The good Professor immediately decides the room must be rewired… and have Tesla coils!
Noon – Everyone pools together for lunch, and greet Teejay as he comes in, well dressed and ready to help get things up and running for tonight’s party. Leland finally gets a call back from Dancer McCoy, who would love to swing by later that afternoon for an interview and to discuss her story on the drug-dealing Werewolves of Detroit.
3pm – Donta, in going about his work, has noticed a variety of wierdos about the neighborhood, from the creepy legless Toyman Gilly who’s been panhandling in front of the Carfax all morning, to the black Van with suits keeping an eye on things, to the annoying wolf hounds running about, making every car in sight (including his own). When Dancer and the Paranormalists arrive to talk with Leland, Athene & Teejay attach themselves to the meeting to promote their own concerns over the werewolves abduction of Jaik. Leland chooses to invoke the Awe in everyone that was Nichole’s gift to him by blood, so the Paranormalists let much of their own information slide in favor of interviewing the Count, as what he has to say seems far more interesting than what they know. That being said, Dancer produces the drugs found in the graveyard, and her uncle asserts though he’s discerned it is LSD, he can’t tell what it’s cut with. Leland calls up Erikson, and the two Professors head off to the University to see what they can find out. In the meantime, Leland allows the Paranormalists to take over an empty room upstairs, as long as they stay out of the way of the party & don’t harass or film his guests at tonight’s party.
8pm – As folks begin arriving for the party, so too arise and arrive their hidden Kindred parasites. Deerborn arrives, impecably dressed, if archaically (not that anyone is likely to notice, given the nature of the party). The Professors return, having finished their analysis – the LSD is laced with an unusual, and unidentified, biological compound. While the makeup of the drug itself defies identification, the source does not – laced microscopically is the signature of local biopharmaceutical company Smith-Novus, who’s labs are curiously enough also in East Side Detroit. Dancer causes something of a stir when she storms up to her uncle with a note – apparently her cameraman slipped out to do some follow-up shooting back at the graveyard some hours ago and has yet to return! Concerned that the Werewolves may have got him, Dancer takes off, and Leland, Deerborn, Altair, Donta, Erikson & the Paranormalists follow to make sure they don’t get her too. Packing guns (and a small amount of silver shot), they zip over in Leland’s stretch-hum-vie, arriving at the graveyard just in time to hear blood-curdling screams! As they close in however the screams die out, and as they reach their source, they find a scene of carnage that make several ill. The grotesqueness and bloodiness of the cameraman’s demise proves too much for Donta, who runs off screaming into the wooded portion of the graveyard, while cooler heads study the scene. Ever bastions of stability in the face of the supernatural, the Paranormalists note evidence of wolf-spore and wolf-tracks, indicating the Loup Garou as the culprits. Meanwhile Donta attempts to hide, but is ambushed by Marrow Wolf. As the gang hears his screams and readies themselves to go charging after, his head comes flying back at them. By the time they reach his remains, the werewolf is long gone!

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Psychic Single-Minded 2+3+3=8
Teejay Brown Key Grip 3+3+3=9
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Ghoul Embarrassing Secret 4+4+3=11
Jaik Mkor Mystery Man Immortal (Purified) Amnesia 4+0+0=4
John Watson Doctor Ghoul - 2+0+0=2
Altair Reserved Academic Vampire (Daeva) - 3+3+2=8
Donto Brickhouse - RIP
Deerborn Gunslinger Vampire 0+0+3=3
Professor Erikson Mad Scientist Slasher 0+0+3=3
Ch. 10: Wolves at the Door
Act III: Dark Side of the Moon

9pm: Leaving Deerborn behind to stalk the Werewolf at the graveyard, Leland rushes the distraught Dancer back to the party, along with Erikson & the Paranormalists. They return to find Altair & the Brides have everything at the party well under control and in full swing. Teejay is still keeping Athene company (and out of trouble), though she is getting ever more stressed-out over this mysterious figure to whom Nichole has promised her. Nichole herself seems to have situated herself in the Red Room with the Honeymooners, where she seems to have placed herself at the heart of an orgy. Newcomer Masau manages to pull himself out of the pleasure to stumble downstairs to the bar for a drink, but finds himself sans clothes (he’s been loosing things all day – his wallet, the friend who invited him, and now his pants!) – he runs into Leland, who takes pity on him and lends him leather pants and one of his tuxedo tee-shirts. He, Leland, Athene, Erikson & Teejay all get acquainted at the bar while the Paranormalists retreat to the basement to do more research (and get their heads on strait and call the authorities), while Erikson disappears into the Lab to fetch his outfit and get distracted by willing volunteers. Vicky appears, thanking Athene for the invitation, and asks where Jaik is. Athene bargains a bit with her over what she’s been able to discern, and Vicky in turn tells her the “mystery woman” is in the Hotel and plans on making her move tonight. Victoria then takes her leave.
10pm: Masau encounters the strange Shriner car zipping about the party and hops inside while eating. After stuffing himself for a while he gets out and chats with Leland, who tells him of how it’s really remote controlled by Jacoby. Teejay and Athene retreat to barricade themselves upstairs for a while, but Athene finds it difficult to stay holed up for long. Meanwhile Jaik, still locked up in the Chemical Plant, and still leaving his body in a coma while he works on a way to escape in the Shadowlands, sees an approaching light. Victoria approaches, accompanied by a will-o-wisp of light, and she offers to help him get free, and even reveal to him certain truths, if he can keep the source of them a secret. He does, and she soon manifests within the mortal world, inside the cell, and reveals more than he had ever suspected: he is, apparently a descendant of Atlantis. After Atlantis sank thousands of years ago, survivors scattered across the world, and some settled here. In the region eventually to be known as Detroit they encountered the Unshaken God, a monster they bound deep in the earth. It was after that they discovered the Elixir of Immortality, and created rites with it that created the first Purified amongst them. Much later war broke out between them and local Indian tribes, resulting in the slaughter and destruction of their colony. So they retreated for hundreds of years into hidden towers in the Shadowlands, and did not return until the arrival of the europeans and the supernaturals that came with them. It was Jaik M’kor, the “Duke of Detroit,” who forged the Accord that created the peace between Vampires and Werewolves, Mages and Spirits, and it was the Purified who served as the middlemen that kept that peace. But a conspiracy grew, the Antumbra Association, which discovered their secrets, and betrayed them, seizing power over 50 years ago, setting Jaik up against the Snake King to destroy him, and when that failed, Nichole somehow had someone steal his memories. She and the others amongst the Triumvirate took control of their various factions, ruling themselves for decades in a loose peace, a peace that has been crumbling ever since. Now that Nichole has lost her post as “Prince” amongst the vampires and the support of her allies amongst the Triumvirate, some sort of civil war is brewing, one that is likely to end what is left of the Accord.
11pm: Leland, having slipped off to enjoy the orgy, finds himself the subject of Nichole’s Embrace, and he is not the only one. His Brides, along with the honeymooning Logans, have all been turned as well, and within the confines of the Red Room the blood flows freely and all are rosy and full. Slipping out to tend to the party and exalt in his new state, he is immediately accosted by Athene and struggles to assure her, though against what and how so he is not sure. Jaik and Vicky return through strange ways, arriving in an abandoned room upstairs, and come down to the joy and relief of his friends. After he grabs a bite to eat and a shower (and persuades the Paranormalists to leave the basement for a better vantage point to protect the Hotel from what ever disaster they seem sure is coming), he joins Athene and Erikson in trying to find ways to defend her, but eventually gets so annoyed that she won’t accept his heavy handed help (which would involve leaving her handcuffed to something, possibly himself, possibly to the structure, and homemade napalm – a compound Erikson seems to think he can just whip up in the kitchen in short order), that he announces she’s on her own and leaves, taking Leland’s shotgun with him. Teejay, having taken a break from Athena-watching, is getting to know Vincent and Vicky at the bar, when Altair finally takes her cue to make her own childe, having spotted her sires new childer stalking the party. Lazily approaching the bar, she grabs Teejay when he turns to greet her and plants a mighty kiss on him as an “apology” for how she’d been treating him of late, before dragging him off upstairs. He fails to put up much resistance as she goes all out to show him a good time, then at peak grants him the Embrace. The pillow talk after leaves him less than thrilled, as the full weight of what she’s done to him sinks in. Vincent has a curious conversation with Vicky, and bemused, Vicky shares with him the secret about the shriner car and his earlier hunger (Arthur the giant spirit cockroach). Outside the Hotel, an upset Jaik begins walking towards the park where the Night King resides, and when he notices a gangbanger snatched into the darkness of a nearby ally, he shouts out the werewolves can have the vampires of the Cafax – as far as he’s concerned, their the ones who broke the Accord, so the Pack is welcome to them!
Midnight: The lights go out, and howls go up outside the Hotel. Panic ensues! Vicky thanks the Count for a wonderful party, steps into a shadow and vanishes. Masau asks Leland if he has a sword handy (mentioning something about being a Kendo instructor in his spare time), and is directed to the Library. While he’s there, searching for the sword, he is surprised by Skinny who, after a brief conversation, persuades him to accept his “gift” to better fight (or flee) the werewolves. With Masau’s agreement, Skinny takes him up, and gives him his own, frightening Embrace.

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Psychic Single-Minded 2+3+3+4=12
Teejay Brown Key Grip Vampire (Daeva) 3+3+3+3=12
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Vampire (Daeva) Embarrassing Secret 4+4+3+3=14
Jaik Mkor Mystery Man Immortal (Purified) Amnesia 4+0+0+4=8
John Watson Doctor Ghoul - 2+0+0+0=2
Altair Reserved Academic Vampire (Daeva) - 3+3+2+3=11
Donto Brickhouse - - RIP
Deerborn Gunslinger Vampire (Mekhet) - 0+0+3+0=3
Professor Erikson Mad Scientist Slasher (Maniac) - 0+0+3+3=6
Masau Esoteric Dabbler Vampire (Nosferatu) - 3=3
Ch. 11: Howls at Midnight
Act III: Dark Side of the Moon

The Midnight Hour
As the power goes out and the howls start up, all hell breaks loose.

  • As Leland, Athene, Erikson & the Paranormalists come up into the lobby, three werewolves burst in through the front door. Within seconds one disappears though, as Nichole vanishes from her orgy in the Red Room in a blur of speed through the shadows to drag it outside. Leland does his best to distract the crowd with his newfound powers to impress, and succeeds in distracting the mob from the dangerous beasts for a moment. This does not last when the two remaining lycanthropes start chewing their way through the crowd, turning the mortal party-goers into a stampede. An unfamiliar girl appears by Athene’s elbow and offers to get her to safety – an offer she accepts.
  • Teejay, Altair, & Masau (shadowed by Skinny) all rush downstairs to help, only to be caught in the mob of terrified people rushing up. In the confusion they bump into Athene & their new friend, whom Altair recognizes as Dionnie, a ranking Ancillae amongst the Ordo Dracul, and the sire she would have had, had not Nichole poached her first. Concerned that this woman may be the mysterious person Athene has been so worried about comming to “claim” her, Teejay slips the gold & green vials he found in his grandfather’s chest, before the chaos pulls them apart.
  • The Logans & Mina also get slowed as they rush from the Red Room to their consecutive rooms for their shotguns. Ecaterina seeks out the Count, and doesn’t let the throng of people in her way slow her as much.
  • Behind the bar by the Lobby, the Count gets his own shotgun (already loaded with silver bullets) and struggles to take aim, while Jaccobi & Barney hustle into the office to get more firearms. Howls ring out in the kitchen, along with more screams, followed by the sound of gunfire. While Jaccobi simply locks himself in a closet, Barney manages to open the door connecting the two rooms, and gets caught in a desperate throng of fleeing people, only catching a gimps of two werewolves being shot up by a team of well armed, well armored men, one of whom seems to have set his fingers on fire.
  • The Count notices the Paranormalists trying to get to the bar to help him, then notices Ecaterina appear behind Ralf and drag him down to feed. Ambrose struggles to get her off of his associate, as does Dancer, though she slips and gets trampled by the desperate mob fleeing the Lobby. One of the werewolves proves far more effective in distracting Ecaterina from her feeding, however, so she shoves Ambrose between the them and leaps behind the bar. Teejay & Vincent arrive just in time to distract the lycanthropes as Mina shows up, shotgun in hand, and the two monsters fall under a hail of gunfire from Ambrose, Leland & Mina.
  • Having reached the safety of the loft beyond the library, Athene desperately drinks the gold vial before Dionnie can say (or do) anything. As she exults in the rush of power, Dionnie tells her she’s made her choice, and smiles – “I will claim you when you die” she states, before disappearing from sight, and memory.
  • Outside the hotel Raven arrives just in time to find Nichole being menaced by two more werewolves. He slips up and draws the blood of one with his claws, making him the new center of their attention, so they in turn turn on him and rip and tear until he slips into torpor. Before they can end him however, Nichole drives them off.

With the siege broken, the gang takes stock of the damage:

  • Two werewolves dead in the lobby, two more vanished from the kitchen (apparently dragged away by the mysterious gunmen). More than thirty party attendees dead or injured between the slaughter in the kitchen, lobby & “barn” (over a dozen were butchered there alone, trapped with no exit with a lone werewolf), and the feeding frenzy in the Red Room, though many more have taken superficial injuries from the mad rushes to escape the more violent confrontations. The police eventually arrive early that morning, but accept the arguments that this was, yet again, more gang violence.
  • Athene finds herself feeling more alive than ever before, with a gift for excellence and grace that is a step beyond the norm. It doesn’t stop Nichole from wiping her memory of vampires and werewolves when she catches Teejay telling her all about his own changes however. For that breach in the Masquerade, Nichole takes the time to tell him of the traditions, and warns him that such breaches could land him in hot water – but he is protected for the moment as the third tradition – that of Progeny – states that until his release it is his sire who is to be punished. And for that she forces Altair to drink from her, increasing the bond between them.
  • When Nichole is told by Leland of Ambrose’s “balls of steel” while standing inches from an angry werewolf, she decides to add all three of the Paranormalists to the young brood, pushing the number she’s embraced that evening to a dizzying nine – a fact that both sickens and terrifies Altair.
  • No one seems to take stock of Barney or Erikson in all this confusion, or of what they saw or heard as they scrambled through the chaos of the night. Each is contacted the following day by one Cliff Medrano and given very interesting, and lucrative, new employment.

Characters Concept Template Flaws XP
Athene Antiquarian Scavenger Atlantian Psychic Dark Hero Single-Minded 19
Teejay Brown Key Grip Vampire (Daeva) 19
“Count” Leland Murphy Cosplay Dracula-wannabe Vampire (Daeva) Embarrassing Secret 22
Jaik Mkor Mystery Man Immortal (Purified) Amnesia 10
John Watson Doctor Ghoul - 3
Altair Reserved Academic Vampire (Daeva) - 15
Donto Brickhouse - - RIP
Deerborn Gunslinger Vampire (Mekhet) - 5
Professor Erikson Mad Scientist Slasher (Maniac) - 10
Masau Esoteric Dabbler Vampire (Nosferatu) - 7
Raven Lug Vampire (Gangrel) Mute 7

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