The Hollow Crown

The Soul Eater

Chapter 4, First Chronicle

Teasers
The Little Golden Idol that did for Mad Carew

During the down time between Chapter 3 & Chapter 4

  • Concord were advised that there were two events in the court diary:
  • The Beltane Court where a new appointment to the Keeper of Elysium would be decided; and
  • A Vassal Court in late March to discuss the appointment to the vacant seats of
    o Brookline
    o Waltham
    o Dedham
    o Medfield

Story outline
Imaad was collected by Johannes & his crew to assist in tracking down a rumoured Sabbat incursion into the city. They travelled for about an hour with Kingston seeming to use a ritual to achieve this. Imaad noted Kingston had a number of potential ritual implements on him, including a thin blue cord round his neck.

They entered a trendy bar Ales and Tails in a quiet suburb of Boston on the road towards Providence. The owner of the bar seemed unhappy to see Johannes, but any conversation was cut short when two individuals departed the bar in a hurry. Johannes & Kingston followed an Arabic man in his early thirties and Doyle and Imaad followed a girl that looked barely old enough to drink in the bar.

Imaad had trouble hearing Doyle, who quickly blended into the shadows. The girl they were pursuing took a wrong turn and found herself in a blind alleyway. Taking advantage of her misfortune, he struck at her with his magically enhanced blade. The initial attack bit deeply into her – causing Imaad to be covered in a spray of her blood. He was momentarily thrown by her response which was to grow bone quills and then try to rip out his rib-cage.

Stepping backwards, she only managed to graze him, and he utilised his powers of celerity to despatch her with two further strokes. Recognising her as a Tzimisce, Doyle destroyed her corpse utilising an aerosol and a lighter. With the other kindred despatched by Johannes & Kingston, they returned to town with a laconic ‘well done’ from Johannes. (NB at this stage if any of the other players want to suggest Andrew might have checked how many sabbat they were meant to be following I suspect it would be useful).

During this time, a world weary Tremere entered The Crown and Sceptre, looking for the lieges of Concord. After making a sarcastic comment on the bars sign being a shoot here for the Sabbat, he introduced himself as Thomas Corey. He passed on a warning he said he had received from the spirit world that their past would return to haunt them and place them in great danger. He confirmed this came from a spirit he referred to as the ‘Ferryman’ but otherwise he was told nothing more. The lieges were surprised to note that he seemed to be flushed, breathing, and capable of digesting liquid and food. He warned them that the bar was haunted by the shade of what he suspected was either an overdose or suicide from the eighties who sat in one corner of the bar. He also said that the beer was off and he walked from the bar. Eleanor and Gwendolyn noted that some food left behind by a workman also appeared to have rotted where he was sitting. Gwendolyn noted that the location he had indicated in seemed to have a cold sensation when she walked through it. During the opening all of the coterie noticed that mortals seemed to be avoiding that location, as did Lestrade when he came into the bar.

Gwendolyn was kept waiting by Hardcastle. She pointedly ignored Hardcastle’s retainer Amy, until she believed she heard a keening wail from the back of the gallery. No-one else seemed to notice anything, and she received her first commission which appeared to be creating a false provenance for stolen books.

The opening of the bar initially passed without any great note. Johannes turned up, sauntered about, and left. The fun began when Mankiller came in, challenged Gwendolyn over the failure to agree a permanent access to the lake where Arabella vanished, and then informed her the garou were off to perform a ritual. Not realising that she could prevent this, Gwendolyn thought little of it. Until the torrential rain & unseasonal thunder storm began and in quick succession Prescott and Gaveston appeared. Following some blunt questioning as to the mental capacity and the parentage of the Concord Lieges, it was ascertained that silence does imply assent, and that they had effectively allowed the Garou to do any ritual they pleased at the site. Gwendolyn stomped down in the rain, in time to see the Garou complete their ritual, and then with a smirk rip a hole in the air and vanish into a portal.

Sometime later the Concord lieges requested that Washer Women, Gwendolyn’s charges, visit them at the The Crown and Sceptre. The group attended. Discussions over their background ranged over a number of subjects but the group did identify the following odd behaviours:

  • The group moved about every 20 years in the past century had previously been in Chicago, New Orleans and Denver.
  • The group stated they were seeking Golconda, which they described as being a nirvana like state.
  • The group ranged in age from 50 to 300 years old. A new washerwoman was selected by her predecessor when that individual believed they had reached the end of their road. They indicated that this was when the individual either abandoned their quest for Golconda or moved to the next stage. This worried Gwendolyn, as she believed her sire had feared Kindred called the Salubri who operated in a similar fashion.
  • The group were circumspect when queried about their clan and their ability with music.
  • They confirmed that they could not affect spirits that had passed, they could however assist a dying soul in its passing.
  • Imaad asked if he was ‘doing the right thing’ much to Eleanor’s annoyance and received a gnomic response.

Some time passed, the group were invited to visit the Cathedral, a nightclub operated by an old acquaintence of Johannes, a Toreador named Merisi. He was utilising this as his formal introduction to the city, having moved the nightclub around a few locations over the last twenty years.

The evening passed uneventfully, and Gwendolyn was minded to leave when she heard the strains of the song she had listened to on the last evening with her finance before he boarded the troop train to the front. She followed the music, only to be quickly ambished and subdued by The conductor. He left with her, but not before it was caught on camera.

Imaad and Eleanor gave pursuit, with other kindred seeking to locate the rest of the washer women. When they tracked down the conductor he was looming over a prostrate Gwendolyn looking as if he intend to diablorise her. He let rip with a screech of raw fury as the others intervened, deafening Imaad. When it became clear that he couldn’t overpower the other two, he merged into the shadows and fled.

The group returned to the Washer Woman church, to find they had fled. Gwendolyn was summoned to court to explain the actions of her childer. Assembling in the The Crown and Sceptre , Eleanor was shocked to see a smirking Lucas O’Shea who sarcastically called her ‘mummy’ before leaving quickly.

The group went in front of Gaveston, with the Prince quasi-catatonic. A series of harsh punishments was handed down to them, restricting their ability to create ghouls or childer. Gwendolyn was barely able to plead for the bloodhunt to be halted on the washer woman, such was Gaveston’s wrath.

The following evening one of the washerwoman, Nicole, was spotted near the church by Gwendolyn. After a brief discussion, where Nicole related that the groups perception of Gwendolyn were skewed because of her sire, and the information of the conductor, Gwendolyn was able to ascertain that the conductor had convinced them all to scatter with an intention to meet with them individualy later. Gwendolyn was able to persuade Nicole to turn herself in to the Seneshcnal, but could not convince her to return with her.

Following a discussion between Gwendolyn and Eleanor, it became clear that some of the erratic behaviour of Gwendolyn came from the actions of the Conductor, who must have been subtly grooming her over time. Equally, it became clear that Eleanor had a gap in her memory around when she had been taken by Normand, suggesting the use of dominate to cloud her memories.

Upon returning home, Gwendolyn discovered Jervis had been kidnapped, most likely surprised by an assailant he couldn’t see as the security system hadn’t been tripped. Calling on debts to Kingston and Johannes, they tracked Jervis to a warehouse in the industrial side of town. There they encountered Malcolm Langrishe and after an intense struggle, they succesfully eliminated a sabbat pack. Albeit comiitting diablorie twice in the process.

Close to death, further debts were incurred and traded quickly between the group, as Kingston fed blood to Jervis to save him. The others were taken in fron of the court to answer for the crime of diablorie.

It was then they caught a break, on hearing the description of the Sabbat pack destroyed, the Prince issued a pardon to both Imaad and Malcolm. Although Imaad was left under no illusions that a third instance of Diablorie would trigger a blood hunt. Malcolm for his part was rewarded with a share of the vassalship of Concord.

For reasons that no-one can quite remember, Malcolm decided to massively insult the Nosferatu Primogen and Alison. Summarily hurled from his bar, he was told not to return until he made amends.

A few nights passed, and Gwendolyn approached Corey to discuss the spirit in the bar. He agreed to assist in return for her acquiring books from certain stores in town. Gwendolyn suspected a trick, and was right to do so as each shop was owned by a mage. They included Thomas Hawthorne, James Bishop and Shunsuku ‘Scott’ Kerr. Whilst the books themselves seem to be innocous and eclectic, it was clear Corey could not go these locations himself.

Malcolm and Eleanor also hatched a plan to build on Malcolm’s new notoreity, and to apologise to Cartwright. Identifying a lesser known abolitionist Julia Ward Howe, Malcolm created a new play to be hosted during an upcoming festival. It helped that Johannes had subtly pointed Eleanor on a route to increasing Malcolm’s prestige to challenge Hardcastle.

Keen to derive additional research material, the group agreed to help Gwendolyn in her search. The first location the group went to was Buddha on a Bike, a book store mainly focussing on religious and philosophical texts. The owner seemed to consider everyone in the party aside from Gwendolyn with some suspicion.

After a brief discussion with Imaad, where he was handed a copy of the meditations of Marcus Aurelius and the Hagakure, the group left only to run into Domnhail Tremayne. It seemed that at one point in time he had been a welcome visitor, as Shunsuku ‘Scott’ Kerr initially seemed welcoming. However when Tremayne seemed to react ot Gwendolyn, the magus made the entire courtyard begin to glow with silver fires, until everyone left

It was at this point that Malcolm attempted to read Tremayne’s aura. Its still notclear what happened, but he began to bleed from his eyes, and started mumbling in a series of languages that were tentatively identified as Norse, Gaelic, ancient latin and something else uncertain. A brief recording was taken of his ramblings, and with the assistance of Corey and Geddes, Malcolm was cast into the sea.

Whilst searching for Malcolm, Imaad became aware of Tobias Ames intention to quit Boston. Temporarily he was given Ames proxy at the vassal court. Gwendolyn and Eleanor visited the Van den Berg compund to collect sea maps of the area, and became suspicious that someone was influencing one of the old family retainers

Clearing up the mess Malcolm left behind, he was recovered by Freya Ahlstrom and returned to Boston.

As preperation continued for the play, Gwendolyn began to consider if they could turn the tables on Hardcastle and gain some political clout of their own. Following conversations with James Konrad and Dyer led her to conclude that proposing an acceptable candidate secretly to Silas might break the deadlock over Medway. It also neatly helped her to clear the debt she was accumulating with Corey. She also encountered Thomas Hawthorne, who seemed a most unsual individual. Whilst flirting with her, he wrote a number down in a book he gave her for free, which Gwendolyn suspects is some how a means to communicate with him.

The play was a surprising success, despite scepticisim and Hardcastle’s atempts to ruin it. he group drew on the contacts they had established at the fundraiser to turn the play into a major part of the festival, and in some way elevate Ward Howe to being an area of notable study.

Unfortunately in their researches, they hadn’t considered that Ward Howe may have become a kindred, and the cause of some distress for her sire Gaveston. It became clear during the show that some old issue between Johannes Van Den Berg and Gaveston was brought to light again, with a formal duel being declared.

It seemed that Gaveston was under the impression that Johannes had manipulated Eleanor, and Concord, into insulting him. When Gwendolyn assured him of her sincerity that they knew nothing of this, he softened, but muttered that the die was cast.

Prescott muttered the lines from a poem under his breath as he wached the drama unfold. he also muttered references to a dance coming to an end.

Johannes handed his proxy to Eleanor and left the theater.

During this week, the theater suffered an arson attack. With his play unable to continue, Langrishe grudgingly had to accept Hardcastle’s magnamous offer to host the play at a warehouse he owned. (this bluebook is relevant By the Rashomon Gate

At the vassal court, before all of the posts were awarded, Johannes strode in and hurled the bloodied coat of Gaveston onto the table. Before the Prince could finish his pronouncement of banishment, Johannes had left the building. John Flood confrmed that the coat was Gaveston’s and out of respect for the departed prohibited anyone else from going near it.

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