The Hollow Crown

Psalm 137

Story 3, First Chronicle

Pre-game background

The Psalm

TV Tropes (teaser information on story)
Corrupt Church
Through the eyes of madness
Advertised Extra or starting the run of fourth players having the life expectancy of a Spinal Tap Drummer
Knight in Sour Armour

GM Summary

Following the battle at the pond, the group tried to regather their strength. As the garou left taking their own, the Balin and Gaveston arrived to clear away the sabbat dead. Whilst the Prince and Gaveston seemed more interested in the practical aspects of the loss of a major Kindred and how a mass embrace had occurred without their notice, Prescott seemed to be interested in changes that had came over the pond near where Drake had died and Arabella had vanished.

Following some discussion, the Prince indicated that all three lieges were to attend the court being convened the next night. Failure to do so would result in the forfeiture of their position and unlives. A Gangrel named Hook, a Sabbat hunter by reputation was required to ensure their attendance as the price of his being accepted by the court.

This did not go well for Hook, in fact he probably should have stayed in C-Town, as he first lost Gwendolyn (who vanished mysteriously towards the parking area), then Imaad and Eleanor left for the Inkrooms. Hook managed to follow, and concious of the risk to the masquerade, provided Imaad with a replacement shirt once he healed his wounds. The discussion at the Inkrooms did not go well for him, with Johannes Van Den Berg tying him to a chair after calling him a ‘Narc’. Hook trips over and falls trying to leave the bar, allowing Imaad to go hunting and Eleanor to depart with Johannes.

Hook was left in the cold as the other players went on their way.

The following evening Gwendolyn caught up on her logistics, realising she had run low on blood over the past few weeks. Jervis was tasked with locating another source, as he pointed out their previous suppliers were beginning to raise questions on who this was for. Gwendolyn threw Hook a bone, promising to meet him outside the The Winthrop Building where the meeting was to be held.

Imaad & Eleanor went out hunting, Eleanor losing control of herself and killing a former student of hers Lucas O’Shea. In a panic she called Johannes, who arrived at the same time as Hook & Imaad. By then the body had vanished – Johannes realised that Madeline Normand must have been behind this – and ordering Eleanor to strip – he located a spanish doubloon that had been secreted upon her. In attendance were Megan Doyle and James Kingston who called down flame to destroy all of Eleanor’s possessions and break the ritual.

The group of Doyle, Kingston & Johannes seemed to operate as a military group. They departed on other business, leaving the rest to head to the Prince’s meeting, albeit with a slight detour where Imaad had to buy Eleanor some clothes.

The Prince appeared distracted during the meeting, leaving shortly after convening the meeting. Winthrop accuses the Prince of poor judgement in appointing novices to Concord, only to have Gaveston retaliate that his childe had failed to monitor the location appropriately. Extracting a requirement that Winthrop would share summaries of increases in violent crimes and spikes in missing person reports across the city. Winthrop did however extract that all future communication with the Garou must be through an elder, Pocumtec

Gaveston required that Hook remain in Concord to monitor the situation.

Gwendolyn had an unsuccessful discussion with Pocumtuc over discussions with the werewolves and reincarnation. He did suggest that a caitiff, Alison Cartwright, who was known to frequent Silas bar had interests in this area.

Another night passed.

The Lieges met at Eleanor’s house, leaving Hook elsewhere, to discuss matters of import. nce they collected their Gangrel they went to The Red Stocking Mariner a major baseball bar run by the Nosferatu Primogen. They found him watching the 12th game of the 1975 World Series, and discussing the match in detail with Hook who remembered watching it as a teenager.

During the discussion following the match, Imaad works out that Hook had seen more active service than a quartermaster, and Silas comments that wars were far more fun once they brought gunpowder into the mix, commenting he’d fought in the snow at Towton in the War of the Roses, suggesting her was over 500 years old. If true, this suggests he was possibly the oldest kindred left in the city. During this time Gwendolyn played chess with Cartwright, noting she was a learned individual and strong player. She also received some thoughts on the possibility of reincarnation.

The group parted, Eleanor went to meet with Tex Geddes to identify how they should arrange the Islamic fundraiser. He reluctantly suggested that Marcus Hardcastle was the est connected Toreador to bring out the Boston Brahmins who would support the project.

Once they met back up, Eleanor lured another student into an alleyway for Imaad to feed on them, losing control Imaad drank Adam Rickman dry. Considering their options, they threw the dessicated husk into the back of the car and dispose of the body near Nahant Bay (NB does anyone else here a Who number starting at this point). Eleanor is annoyed to spend the evening with her lava lamp when Imaad returns to his own haven to meditate.

Meanwhile Gwendolyn investigates Hardcastle with Jacob Blum, her contact in Chicago. He confirms he has worked with him in the past, and strongly advises assisting him due to his connections. Gwendolyn confirms that Hardcastle will no longer require her to perform the task he requested at the earlier meeting.

Geddes confirms to Eleanor that the Museum of Fine Arts is both Elysium, and within the domain of Silas who will need to grant permission to hold the event there.

Another night passes – and this time the coterie are not responsible for the death of any NPCs!.

Hook shifts his hunting habits towards the poorer areas, indulging his beast through proper stalking and hunting of prey. Whilst doing this he comes upon a run-down church that his prey are congregating towards.

From the rafters he spies on a service being conducted by Washer Women ( The Washer Women, The Conductor ) who’s singing stills the beast within him. He leaves the building before heading back towards Concord proper.

Eleanor and Imaad have been setting in train the process to save the mosque. Imaad meets with Ally Ross who agrees to talk to her husband.

Sidebar – during the downtime Ally confirms that the Mosque’s planning issues are arising from the local council board. Of the five members of the board, two are neutral but have agreements with two that are strongly against the proposal. Ross also confirmed that a local Priest, Father Durranti, had been heavily lobbying the council on this point. There was also suggestion that some of the other locations being considered by the Mosque had recently come into the ownership of individuals in his congregation.

The coterie met in the The Crown and Sceptre, where following some ‘subtle’ persuasion, Hook mentions that they may have another pack of supernatural creatures randomly in their territory.

Entering the church, all four individuals have a different experience.

Hook sees it as before, and is clearly moved.

Gwendolyn moves through the room as if in rapture, seeing the potential of the church and hearing the singing of psalms. She weeps blood tears of pure joy at the music (Misere Allegri) and is clearly overcome with emotion.

Imaad initially sees nothing but then hears the call to prayer. The call to prayer gives him some focus following the previous night and he leaves money on the alter before heading to the soup kitchen for the Mosque where Imam Fasil preaches. He feels calm following this, better focussed than before. He also finds out that some of the people they regularly help have not been seen. They have heard they are still about and are going to somewhere else at the moment.

Eleanor sees nothing, and is convinced that her associates are beginning to fray around the edges.

The group separates, with Gwendolyn and Hook remaining in the area. They notice the homeless are monitoring the area around the Church, and following one back to a derelict home they watch him expire. Gwendolyn sees an ‘Angel’ ( The Washer Women ) help him pass, being one of the Washer Woman, her singing helped him to pass over without pain. The following evening Gwendolyn returns to the area and finds the man’s dog – Lestrade (Aka Scruff, Destroyer of Cats)]] who she ‘adopts’ Gwendolyn Gets A Dog

Over the next few weeks, the group begin to prepare for the social event, mockingly referred to as a cotillion by Gaveston. The group slightly splits into two, a less than brilliant idea, which subsequently prompts some thinking – see At Last The Liege’s Talk. The two sidebars below take place at the same time.

Eleanor and Imaad begin to make arrangements for the fundraiser. They identify that they need:

  1. to work out if the place is controlled by any Kindred;
  2. to consider if the place is Elysium; and
  3. to work out who to invite.

Around the same time Gwendolyn and Hook (to an extent) began investigations into the Church. Gwendolyn meets with the four kindred operating from the church. They had come to Boston searching for knowledge of Golconda, they had hoped to meet with (MIA) Lady Arabella Stuart who they suspected may have had knowledge of this. Either way they intended to operate a quasi-monastery from the site of the ruined church, providing the local homeless with a place to rebuild their skills and recover their purpose. In return, the women would feed off willing victims and provide food and resources. Their quest, and desire to protect the masquerade, requires them to move on every few year.

They requested a boon from Gwendolyn to introduce them to court, and from Concord to operate in the location. Gwendolyn undertook to do so and began to work with the women in rebuilding the church. She also requested that they perform at the upcoming fundraiser.

Jacob Blum requests a favour from Gwendolyn. He is concerned about a former clanmember, India, one of his extended brood. She vanished during the Sabbat occupation of Boston, and was rumoured to know Johannes. He also warned Gwendolyn that something odd had been happening to Nosferatu, as far as he knew all of the Nosferatu that had attempted to settle in Boston had vanished or died. Jacob had concerns that Silas may be behind this, potentially given his age, he may have to feed on younger kindred rather than humans.

Gwendolyn and Eleanor go to the Ink Rooms to seek out Johannes. They find him there, unusually tactiturn with the mono-syllabic Kingston in tow. Over the terse conversation that followed, Eleanor realised a lifesized picture of her nude now adorned the entrance to the women’s toilets courtesy of Megan. Whilst she was distracted with this, she missed that Johannes appeared to be wounded, with a series of bandages soaking up blood under his shirt. Gwendolyn did notice this, but was distracted by Kingston spinning a silver dollar at her. When she caught this, she felt a momentary whiff of cordite from the magician’s shows she had attended as a child. She had some suspicion the coin was a form of trick, but before she could investigate this, she offended Johannes by probing about India, who he described as a woman that had died in the Sabbat war, and he had barred her from the Ink Rooms.

Johannes did at least confirm, for Eleanor, that they would need to speak to Gaveston as to whether the Museum was Elysium, in the absence of Arabella Stuart. The group met with Gaveston, who confirmed that the museum was Elysium, and that no additional steps were needed to seek approval from the Prince to host the event. He also pointed them towards Silas, who he knew to have influence with the museum. Whilst objecting to being the groups social secretary, he also suggested that events requiring mortal support for a cause, tended to rely on Brujah and Toreador support. The person most likely to put them in touch with a significant portion of ‘buying patrons’ would be Hardcastle.

At this time, Gwendolyn asked for permission to introduce the kindred to the court. This was provisionally granted, subject to them being treated as Gwendolyn’s children for the period of one calendar year. When pressed on this treatment, Gaveston pointed out that there had been issues in the past with Sabbat attempting to infiltrate the city by pretending to be newly embraced kindred, or otherwise travelling through town. The recent debacle at the pond had made the Prince consider tightening restrictions on those kindred permitted to enter the city. Gaveston confirmed that for the period of the year, the crimes of the four kindred would be as if Gwendolyn had committed them herself.

Subsequent to this, Imaad and Eleanor meet with the Conductor and the three woman at Hardcastle. The women seem subdued, and whilst they sing well, the skill that Gwendolyn has insisted is there is not as evident. The Conductor does most of the discussion, and confirms that Concord are happy for them to remain in the church. They mention moving around and their work with the homeless. At Imaad’s request they agree to perform at the function. This causes Imaad and Eleanor to question Gwendolyn’s version of events.

Eleanor and Imaad grow concerned by Gwendolyn’s apparently irrational behaviour and apparently delusional state. They discuss this with Johannes who flippantly suggests she is bat-shit crazy. When pressed, he points out the most dangerous point for a kindred is immediately after embrace, as they find out what they are. The second follows toward the end of their first century, when they realise they are no longer a memory to those now living. The weight of this can drive some to insanity.

They contact Jarvis Lederer who is guarded in his comments, but confirms that Gwendolyn has been slightly upset since she acquired the dog. The two ponder on this.

The dynamic duo then travel to Silas’s Bar. Interrupting the A quiet game of chess between Silasand Alison Cartwright. The attempt to gain the primogen’s favour goes poorly, when Imaad inadvertently insults Alison. Only the fact that other elders will be annoyed by the event, especially Winthrop and the Prince, convinces Silas to agree to the proposal. The fact that Gwendolyn seems to genuinely respect Cartwright also does not go amiss. As a consequence he agrees to the use of his influence with the museum to start the event, for which he does not exact a boon, but does require Cartwright to be invited and treated with courtesy at the event. As an aside he also suggests that running an event to support islamic projects when the Prince is more likely to preach a crusade is a novel and courageous act…

Joined by Gwendolyn, they travel to Hardcastle’s gallery. He agrees to encourage his clients to attend the event in return for three favours. First Concord had to actively support him at the vassal court on three votes:

  1. Appointment to a domain;
  2. confirmation as keeper of elysium – a position that would make him defacto head of the Toreador clan in the city; and
  3. one other vote

Eleanor was obliged to ensure Megan Doyle did not run against Hardcastle for these roles.

Imaad was required to perform his clan’s service (or arrange for this to be done) against one kindred of at most his current remove from Caine.

Gwendolyn was required to produce a number of works for him, the complexity to be determined. In effect this work was to prepare fake provenance for art works that will enable stolen works to be resold, or alternatively, substantially increase the valuation of other works as they will appear to be minor pieces by more significant artists. Such provenance could also make, or break, a curator’s reputation suggesting that Hardcastle may well be substantially increasing his influence in the art world. (For genuine examples of the impact of provenance/ interpretation of art see Arnolfi painting purpose here… or Madonna of the Pinks

The night of the event comes around, during an unusually cold Boston winter which had made feeding difficult and tempers short. The coterie disperse to talk to other kindred in the crowd.

Imaad has a minor altercation with Crouch an idealistic Brujah who has been taking unusual steps to try and understand his condition and remove his need to feed as often. Unfortunately this left him low on vitae and close to the beast. See Musings He interpreted Imaad’s intervention during his attempt to feed on Ally Ross as an aggressive move by another predator and driven close to frenzy left the event.

Upon seeing Hook at the event, Johannes proceeded to throw a rubber ball in his direction. An entirely unamused Hook failed to rise to the bait of being told to ‘Fetch’. Low on blood himself, he stalked over to Gwendolyn. He publicly muttered threats against Johannes, suggesting that they would have a reckoning on a more suitable ground. He left the event in a foul mood, deciding to hunt, before returning to slumber. Aside from Dyer, the other Kindred present saw Gwendolyn have a brief discussion with Hook before he exited with grim determination.

The Washer Women perform brilliantly, whilst the various lots are being displayed. Eleanor chokes back her fury when she realises that ahMarcus Hardcastle had been planting suggestions that Johannes item (and others) were fake. Johannes leaves the event for a short period of time, returning with Dr. John Mankiller, an expert from the museum, who seems to utilise some werewolf voodoo to counteract Hardcastle. Mankiller then conducts the auction, before confirming with Johannes that the matter was settled. The event raised significant funds and provided the group with connections that are followed up to form contacts and allies.

Eleanor meets an old associate Dr. Philip Macleod who had returned from a stint at Oxford.

Imaad is able to portray himself as a serious local benefactor and charms Laura Gould a curator at the museum.

Gwendolyn bonds with an artist David Paterson over a mutual interest in antiquarian books.

Following the performance by the Washer Women, Gwendolyn hears odd music that draws her towards the exit. Before she can leave, Prescott captures her and does a mini-waltz to return her to the room causing the music to come to an end.

Whilst out hunting Hook stumbles across Crouch mid-feeding. The two have a brief fight, with Crouch dying. See Phronesis. Hook is brought back to the court by Kingston & Doyle, who had been sent by Dyer to look for Crouch. Upon being returned to the court, Hook is informed that the Prince will sit in judgement over him for his breach of the sixth tradition.

The others talk with Cartwright and Dyer to understand the options open to Hook. Dyer indicates that Crouch was low on blood and from the witnesses may have attacked Hook first, she suggests that he pleads self defence. Cartwright was less certain, worrying that the Prince was overly fond of spectacle. She suggested that it was likely the Prince would offer trial by ordeal against a champion.

Gwendolyn and Eleanor desperately try to convince Hook that they will speak in his defence. They believe they have succeeded when they return to the hall.

The Prince looked directly into Hook’s eye when he is brought in, and offers him trial by jury or ordeal. Hook simply said ‘Ordeal’. With a single word he sealed his fate. The Prince requires that the Scourge repays a debt to him by fighting as his champion.

To the surprise of Concord, Johannes steps forward. Practising with an officer’s sword, he simply nods to Hook to begin. Hook makes a desperate feint and lunge for Johannes with his claws, a move easily dodged by Johannes, who decapitates him with a single stroke.

The Prince dismisses the court with the phrase “Iustitiae servitum est”

The harpies in court begin to question whether Concord organised this entire event to clear Johannes of his debt from creating a child without permission and to eliminate the Prince’s mole in their court. Either way they are now known amongst the wider court.



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