The Hollow Crown

To live deliberately
Things to do in Boston when your dead

As Boston neared Christmas, the weather had turned decidedly nasty. Heavier than usual storms had caused most of the Kine to remain indoors, making it difficult for the kindred to locate their prey.

Thomas Giles Corey and Alison Cartwright seemed to be drained – mentioning when asked around

A vassal court had been called, and little drama followed, in fact since the events of The Sign of Four the Sabbat had been noticeably quiet. De Luca confirmed that whilst Kindred had been coming through town, most had happily presented themselve to the court before moving on, and no Sabbat had been noted. James Kingston noted that in previous years the Sabbat packs would often create new childer in the town, just to cause masquerade breaches and to test preparedness. There was no consensus on what this implied for the city. There was also no improvement in Declan Tyrone and the Ventrue were currently bitterly fighting to seize James Konrad and Michael Quincy-Adams assets.

Members of Imaad Al Qasim including Ally Ross mentioned over a few sessions an increasing pattern of broken sleep and bad dreams. When Imaad sought to intervene with a minor centering exercise, a few of the less committed members didn’t return. Ally and Willow Ashby confidentially suggested that the dreams they had been having suggested pursuit, or danger linked to the classes.

When Imaad fed on his brains-trust , before conducting a ritual to contact Uncle M, he realised that both he and Larry fell quickly victim to far stronger substances than he expected.

Across town Gwendolyn Ashbridge had troublesome dreams, of Imaad falling prey to a Tremere ritual, of the lieges being blamed and of Veronica Burns stepping into the road to attack her and Eleanor Van den Berg.

Both awoke in a world that appeared to have fallen to decay. Buildings only became solid as they fell to destruction or other entropy. An exception seemed to be those buildings, such as Graylings which had elements of Thoreau’s shed embedded, or were focal points for the locals.

Eleanor found Imaad unconscious, and then discovered that Jarvis Lederer had been unable to raise Gwendolyn. Collecting Ralph Tranter they requested assistance from Dyer and James Kingston who aside from confirming that this did not seem to be kindred magic, and that both should have enough blood to awake, could not explain their state.

Slightly at a loss, they tried to contact Thomas Hawthorne and finding his store closed, and the phone diverting to The Ceileidh Place, they tried contacting Dr. John Mankiller.

He suspected by the shadow on their spirit that both had been sent to something he called the dark Tertullian, or shadow realm, but for different reasons. And whilst he couldn’t affect the ritual that had dragged them there, he might be able to send the others to assist. When Ralph asked him if he was sure about that, he grew slightly shifty.

They checked with Corey and Dyer – with Corey confirming that he hadn’t seen the conductors of Boston for sometime, in fact it seemed to be when the activity affecting this Asylum had grown more intense.

With little to lose, well except their souls, both agreed to go through with a ritual at a place of passing. A sweat lodge had been constructed near the site where Domnhail Tremayne had tried his ritual in Failloeach and the Garou had sought to cleanse in Psalm 137.

They found Mankiller in a combination of black and white ash face paint. Sitting around a large fire throwing off a number of smells of herbs and fresh wood.

Its not entirely certain what, if any, of these actions were needed in the ritual but in no particular order:

  • Ralph & Eleanor stripped naked
  • Danced around a fire of wood gathered from around Boston
  • Hit each other with sage and laurel branches
  • The dance looked suspiciously like a cross between the Macerena, Hammer Time, and Madonna’s Vogue
  • The sacred words they had to chant sounded suspiciously like YMCA, only in Cherokee.
  • When challenged, he blew into the fire causing a huge plume of smoke to engulf them and the room.

Meanwhile in the shadow realm, a series of meetings occurred.

Imaad’s sequence to follow (forgot who he met when) – I think

  1. Adam Rickman who advised him to stay away from the dogs and seemed unconvinced that Imaad had sought to atone for his death.
  2. The Hitcher who mentioned he appeared to be in the shadowlands. When Imaad asked him if he was an angel, he responded he had been once, but probably was not now. He referred to himself as more of a Genius Loci inspired to take the forms associated with the place. He also alluded to their being an ancient corruption in Boston, predating the white-man, and a betrayer that had started running and never stopped that started this current cycle.

Gwendolyn initially went to Graylings, where she bumped into the professional cynic that tended bar. After making disparaging comments about the man with the fantastic hair staggering over towards the Asylum.

On the way she met Amy, the girl killed by Marcus Hardcastle during All Souls Day. She warned her that the Hierarchy had gone mad, starting to take all wraith’s in, not just the lost, and that this had started around the time of the The Sign of Four. She mentioned that they were being taken to the Asylum, which she called a citadel, and were now to watch out for the dogs & reapers. She gestured outside at a motley unit of soldiers in the garb of various armies and times who were pursuing a wraith into one of the buildings. The massive hound they seemed to control looked more like a demon than any normal dog.

They walked towards the Citadel, with Amy seeking to reassure Gwendolyn that it wasn’t her fault that she had died. It was clear that Hardcastle would have killed her eventually, and that she shouldn’t take things to heart.

They met with Imaad, when the discussion turned to how they had gotten there. As she began to fade out Amy heard the term ‘Tremere’ and said she’d heard a similar name Trem…

When Gwendolyn & Ralph crossed over they bumped into the Hitcher, who since someone actually asked his name (Crispus) he assisted them in getting to the Asylum.

They broke into the citadel, noting that some of the weapons and armour seemed different to others – forged from a onyx substance that looked similar to the shadows caused by obtenebration. As they broke into the citadel, they encountered further legionnaires. They seemed surprised that there was no impact upon them when they touched these weapons.

Gwendolyn was able to win a battle of wills over the use of a dog whistle, which set the hounds patrolling the perimeter onto their own handlers. As they entered the building, they found a ledger and group of chained men, including those marked with a roman or greek design on their arms. The foundry in the basement of the citadel appeared to be being used to process the thralls they brought back there.

When freed from shackles and the bands which appeared to blinker two of them, a query was asked as to which legion they belonged. When no answer could be given, the Anacreon ordered those present to regroup at bunker hill and tore a passage into a raging tempest or abyss that the wraiths travelled into.

Gwendolyn quickly looked through a ledger, which indicated a significant difference in the activity of the citadel. It seemed to indicate payments being made to two names, Aitk. and Trem, both of whom seemed to be behind the change in approach.

As the kindred went back to town, they came across the drowned student again- Imaad surrendered the stygian armour and sword they had acquired to him, noting that he had the same markings as those trapped in the citadel. He suggested that they could get back through the sweat lodge.

As the group sought to return to their bodies before dawn, they fought a battle to re-enter the real world.

Upon returning Corey came to talk to them. He confirmed that the Conductors had been in touch – annoyed that a werewolf and a vampire had seemed to breach an accord.

Gwendolyn may then have been economical with the truth about who she suspected was behind the issue. What was clear, was the suggestion of a link to Aitken was of great interest to Corey.

View
The Sicilian Dragon

Bluebooks

Player
Pawns, peril and plots
Chapter Thirteen
Something Fishy

NPC
Opening Gambit
Apocrypha

Middlegame

The group were invited to a formal salon at Merisi’s nightclub. The Prince had stated that the ettiquette of court was to be followed at all times, although the location was not elysium for the night.

Various kindred were discussing matters in their various groups

  • James Konrad and Michael Quincy-Adams seemed to be discussing a matter of some import with Harold Paulsen
  • Winthrop was playing chess with a newcomer to court Nikola Winthrop had taken the white pieces.
  • Declan Tyrone and Dyer seemed to be watching the crowd
  • The full panopoly of Toreador were milling around and Merisi was in a fine fettle
  • The general discussion was around what the Prince planned for Hardcastle, who was now to lead Clan Toreador and a suggestion that Boston appeared to be entering a period of peace from the Sabbat.

There were noted absences

  • The Prince, and his new Childe
  • Silas and Cartwright
  • Most of Clan Tremere

Although in the latter case this may have been down to the spirits at the Mayfield sanitarium being particularly restless.

The evening went without much comment – with the absence of the rowdier element – most of the attendees seemed annoyed that there hadn’t been a repetition of the events at Hardcastle’s party. At least until ….

18 …. Rf3 Black Knight takes White Bishop

Eleanor was tempted to feed by an enthusiastic blood doll. As she moved to the back of the building she was ambushed and staked.

Despite the best efforts of Imaad and others to track the missing Liege, little was discovered, other than that there were mutliple assailants, who had planned their route well. They deliberately went across water sources and through water to dispel magic, and broke in and out across multiple traffic intersections, cctv blindspots and across mutiple CCTV sources, making it difficult to track the non-descript vehicle they were using.

The court was alerted and advised to be on their guard, but as it was unclear what threat they were facing, little other action could be taken.

23 …. Be3 Black Rook takes White Knight

Gwendolyn went to find out if Silas or Alison could be of assistance. Having arranged to meet with Trantor at Silas bar, as she attempted to make her way into the bar she was attacked by a taxi driver. Rapidly staked, even Silas was unable to respond in time to her being captured.

Gwendolyn awoke in a sealed vault storing movie film. Looking at the films a majority of them seemed to have been deliberately left out to draw attention. These included a number of vampire movies, the Great Dictator and a variety of movies about the civil rights movement.

Nikola told the group they were being held here as a consequence of their sires and elders. Most notably the blood of Gwendolyn being to blame. He hoped that their stay would not be long – as after all he was winning the game. He made other comments to suggest that he was not a supporter of the Camarilla, being suspicious of the elders motivations.

A young girl was thrown into pit. At which point Gwendolyn realised there wasn’t enough air once the door was closed.

24 Be8 White Bishop takes Black Bishop

The following night things went marginally better for the group. An overly ambitious kindred, of either the line of Malkav or Tremere, attempted a blatant grab on a human in the street. By chance Imaad, Ralph and Malcolm were nearby and managed to capture him instead.

Unfortunately despite the best efforts of some of the more senior members of court, the were unable to persuade him to reveal anything other than an oblique reference to Nikolai and a film store. Even this seemed to cause him to break, as if some control had been put in place to prevent this.

The court identified it could only be from three locations in Boston, and the Prince despatched seperate groups to each.

During this period the artist Steven Hughes was thrown into the vault, making an already serious problem worse.

This situation was not helped by the girl being possessed by some creature and seeming to create an air bubble around herself after throwing the group away from her with a gesture of her hand.

With the air supply apparantly dwindling, Gwendolyn agonised over whether to kill the artist peacefully or to allow Eleanor to embrace him.

33 Qe8 White Queen attacks back row

Just as things seemed to be at their darkest, Konrad’s party attacked the film store. In a critical battle which saw most of the Malkavian’s brood fall to De Luca, Tyrone and Konrad, the merging of the girl and the creature seemed to be complete. As she vanished she seemed to refill the room with air.

The damage to Tyrone seemed to be the most severe. He had taken the full force of some capitve spirit, before De Luca had smashed the stonework that contained it. Tyrone was non-responsive, in some form of vegetative state, with De Luca and Konrad both seeming to have had an argument with a gangrel in a bad mood.

Endgame

Qe3 White regroups

Konrad took the group back to the Thunor Institute. He seemed distressed at finding out the reference to chess.

Steven was left at a private clinic.

Flood seemed to be working out a strategy. After listening to the groups tale, he advisded them of the need to seek out Michael. This occurred just before a news item on a car crash came over the radio.

The group noticed that considerably more ritual activity than normal was occurring at the chantry – suggesting defensive buildup.

47 …. hxg4 Black pawn takes White Rook

The group came upon a scene ad carnage. A truck, marked in the firkin livery, had crashed into two cars.

Whilst De Luca and Kingston attended to a clean up – including altering police officers memories – the group found Quincy-Adams close to final death. He hadn’t been helped by feeding on random victims as he frenzied.

55 …. Black King creates stalemate

The vassal court was summoned by Flood. Upon entering the Thunor Institute it became clear that the Tremere were preparing to use force if necessary.

It also became clear the Tremere were arranging matters to isolate the Prince and Winthrop in addition to having at least two Gargoyles in attendance.

Relating their tale, additional evidence was provided by Kingston, which confirmed that the ghoul and the other kindred had been malkavian & of the same line as the Prince.

Winthrop insisted he knew nothing of this, but it was clear the Prince was seeking to attack his line in an attempt to strengthen his position.

This was rather subverted when Konrad entered wheeling in Michael. They aimed two chess pieces at Winthrop accusing him of risking their lives over a game.

Angered at their action, and egged on by Bartleby, Winthrop disowned both of them. For good measure the Prince them stripped them of their vassalship. He reminded Winthrop that it had been him who blocked Alison from the court for being clanless.

Finally Nikolai said his piece. The entire game had been to demonstrate the elders of the Camarilla could not be trusted. He accused Winthrop of being the one to suggest playing with his own blood- as a way to demonstrate their superiority.

With that he made the statement, one last sacrifice before throwing himself bodily against the multiple wards the Tremere had set around him.

With no other option, the Primogen confirmed that a conclave had been called by Thomas Muntzer, sire of Dyer which amongst other activity would consider these charges. The Toreador justicar would also be in attendance as the Camarilla had long grown interested in why this war was in stalemate. Until such time Winthrop and the Prince were removed from power, with Dyer stepping up to the Primogen.

View
The Sign of Four
Chapter 6

Time frame – two months from the Gaveston death and nine months from the loss of Lady Arabella Stuart

Gwendolyn and Eleanor ran some errands.

  • The mysterious tarot cards burst into non-dangerous flame when discovered not to originate from their source.
  • Hawthorn and Tyrone both confirmed there were multiple ways to achieve this – including garou, fairies, mages and Tremere. In fact the only group not implicated were wraiths.
    Hawthorn also reacted poorly when dragged from bed by Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn’s pole may have shifted.
  • The new scourge visited Concord. His aura indicated a series of dark blues, purples and browns, whilst muted by his kindred nature, these suggested a highly methodical and meticulous observer.
  • As a courtesy he identified that the glass clearer was skimming funds and that their wine supplier was supplying sub-quality goods. A quick investigation indicated that
  • The busboy had been working with one of the bar staff to mis-charge customers. The impact of this hadn’t been noted as the loss was within expected margins and the barman had been able to ring through changes as customer returns.
  • The wine supply, believed to originate from a holding company of the Ventrue Bartleby had in fact seen European wine substituted for American wines of a lower quality. It wasn’t instantly obvious, with only a wine aficionado picking up on it.
  • When Gwendolyn investigated this with Konrad he suggested that Bartleby was unlikely to be doing this ‘to rip-off’ the kindred, more as a test of how quickly they identified it. Konrad suggested he’d had a similar issue when first opening his bar.
    Gwendolyn was presented with an invitation, noticeably late, to the event to honour the passing of the Lady Arabella and Gaveston. She was also introduced to Julia Ward Howe – a Boston Brahmin snob who made reference to her caitiff heritage. On leaving Gwendolyn noticed someone had defaced the side of Konrad’s bar with spray paint reading ‘ vampire hq’.

Night of the event

  • For once Hardcastle was in a munificent mood. Malcolm confirmed before the event that he was going to defer to him, leave for Chicago and start again. The event was well attended, clearly Hardcastle had used prestige to lure toreador from other towns including Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia. This latter clique showed themselves to be relatively snobbish on breeding. An unfortunate lull in conversation had Howe make a specific point about lack of breeding and class just as the new scourge, Silas and Cartwright arrived.
  • A number of newer kindred to the city were introduced, including Dove a Malkavian associate of De Luca’s who seemed to be a woman of negotiable virtue, able to take on the emotional persona of whoever she talked to.
  • Hardcastle managed to smooth over the poor behaviour, and the party continued to move along – until Jogger turned up with some human bikers. They destroyed the main piece, an exquisite Ice Sculpture honouring the fallen and then a group of them made to move on Dove, triggering De Luca to forcefully eject them. Jogger seemed to consider taking issue with this and backed down when he sized up De Luca. Hardcastle looked surprised they had even turned up – but clearly Jogger had an invite.
  • The evening didn’t get much better from there, at least for Hardcastle and Howe.
    Howe decided to do her set piece, a surprise to Malcolm and Hardcastle who had expected it to be a piece of poetry the former had written. The piece was ‘interesting’ to say the least. It became clear that the clothing Dove and Howe were wearing were intended to stand for the clothing Gaveston & JvB were wearing on the night of their duel. They unveiled a pair of ‘lava lamps’ before proceeding to stage a mock duel which climaxed with them simulating feeding on each other. The response of everyone in the room was varying degrees of revulsion at what was in effect kindred porn. Flood eventually ended this – where Howe stomped out into the night annoyed at no-one understood her art.
  • Hardcastle decided to try and recover the position, with several people questioning the poor taste Gaveston had shown in embracing a quasi anarch. He moved to unveil another major piece, a work he’d had commissioned in honour of his sire. He seemed initially surprised to find the piece was not as he expected the artist to make. The artist, Steven Hughes, normally worked in wood, linking reclaimed wood with nature & spirituality, an apt design for Arabella’s reputed sanctity. The artwork unveiled was in fact a heavy industrial style piece, whilst Hardcastle extolled its symbolism and toreador made passing remarks, other kindred were more suspicious. De Luca in particular asked why a grist mill from a Distillery, referred to as ‘Deanston 12 yr old’ turned on its side was art? When he tapped it and remains of grist fell out, the non-toreador kindred tried hard to avoid smirking. Gwendolyn attempted to mount a defence that this might be ready-made art ala Duchamps or Claes Oldenburg. But it became clear that Hardcastle had totally mis-read the work…
  • He tried one last attempt to rescue the position, by unveiling a new piece he’d discovered from an up and coming artist, Jeanette Peterson. The piece was striking – in a Futurism / Vorticist style. The piece appeared to show a striking still life of a dinner party, with Hardcastle and the other poseur Toreador noting the symbolism of the spades under the apparent table. Merisi and Doyle and both looked at it askance, before realising it was actually a copy of a Malevich work –as demonstrated by the small black square that was meant to be on the bottom left, not top right of the painting. At this point Hardcastle lost it, entering a frenzy, unfortunately a flabby harpy wasn’t really going to start much chance against a Roman street fighter, and Merisi sidestepped and impaled Hardcastle headfirst on his grist mill. Merisi closed proceeding – with the Prince instructing De Luca and the Sheriff to unfix Hardcastle in due course.

The question on everyone’s lips was who was responsible with the suspicion falling squarely on Concord.

The following night

Imaad Al Qasim donned the cloak of shadows to hide from sight.

The group proceeded to investigate the two artists. Steven’s gallery was slightly disorganised with an open studio at the back of the gallery. Each piece had been considered, time spent on it and clearly had a personal and spiritual connection to the work. It became clear when he discussed the piece at the Hardcastle event that he lacked the same connection. Gwendolyn and Eleanor were convinved that the artist had been dominated to produce the work. A check of the visitors book suggested that both Arabella and Hardcastle had visited the diary under an alias in the past two years. It also showed that a company named Firkin Logistics had moved the piece into & out of Hughes gallery.

Gwendolyn acquired some pieces from the artist, and the group noted that Doyle & Kingston had also tracked down the artist. They entered the studio using the alias of Ernest and Martha Hopper, a newly married couple, to the coteries amusement. It wasn’t clear how seriously they were trying to investigate the events. His style of work looks like the Bath Abbey Diptychs=_ and similar ones here=_

The second artist was radically different. Her agent met with the group, and had clearly had a falling out with Jeanette. The reason for this became clear, the artwork was largely soulless, prepared with the retail value in mind. Unlike the first artist, the location and studio was professional and clear. Whilst intelligent work, the pieces were more clinical than heartfelt.

The artist had created an image to go with the media and ran the risk of ruining the gig with the piece at the gallery. Michael Quincy-Adams arrived, apparantly for a pre-arranged viewing, he was considering acquiring some works across his portfolio of companies. He discussed matters cordially with the group, considering who had a goal to strike against the Toreador and Konrad in one movement. Gwendolyn asked who might have let an old grudge slip, and he looked thoughtful, concluding that Hardcastle had been of benefit to a number of other Kindred and only seemed to have issues with Langrishe. He did however confirm that the artist had been dominated and that the painting wasn’t her idea. As an aside it seemed Michael did have some culture, recognising that the artwork was commercial.

The group still had not worked out who was behind this. Suspicions ranged from the Sabbat, Johannes, the Prince and then the Tremere. The group then moved off to Skulamus to meet with De Luca and Dove.

On entering the establishment they notied Natasha Devereaux with a pale aura behind the cooking area. Her aura looked similar to De Luca’s. The discussion with De Luca and Dove did not yield much.

De Luca and the Prince’s Childe discarded the consideration that the Sabbat were behind this, it lacked the subtlety of their normal intervention. De Luca was also suspicius of the fact that the Sabbat sent in relatively weak packs to probe defences and to date had not taken serious actions. When asked why the Prince was doing nothing, De Luca indicated he had continued to maintain the borders, with Messier indicating the Prince had once again fallen into a lassitude. During this De Luca had left an origami crown on the table.

Dove was calm, slightly curious and neutral when meeting with the group. She confirmed that she had no interest in the ‘art’ and was simply interested in the pay-off. Howe had apparantly come up with the idea herself. Dove was relatively dismissive of Howe – and how easily she coud be flattered.

Following this the group dropped into Silas bar, hoping to gain information from the Nosferatu. Unfortunately it was the closing games of the 2001 Baseball pre-season, and Silas was far more interested in the outcome of the pre-season match and whether or not the new signing was of value.

Alison Cartwright was discussing a chess position with Ralph Tranter mentioning she had been playing a game over the last year with Nikola. The position is the 30th move in this game.

Tranter confirmed that he had been expecting the group, although was surprised not to see the dog. Otherwise the details of a message he had received three years before were exact. Imaad surmised he was a soldier, and probably not from one of the nice regiments, which he confirmed saying he had been a commando in WW2. He was open as to his background, saying he remembered nothing after talking to a blonde american on the station platform at Tyndrum shortly before he was demobbed. He handed over the two cards he had, one showing the fool tarot card and another with the world’s fair, and Nicole written in sharpy pen with a time an hours hence.

The group moved quickly to the ruins of a world’s fair. Moving quickly and steathily through the overgrown site, they realised that others had come through – most likely in two groups. They also noted sigils, most likely sabbat pack markings through the area.

the world’s least useful tschmisce Someone pretending to be Nicoletried to lure the group in. The disguise had been done hurredly, and fooled no one. Eleanor raised tendrils from multiple patch of shadow, which prompted her childe and his associates to break cover.

The battle was fierce marked by botches all over the shop with Imaad being able to strike a clan mate quickly in the first few blows, before entering into mortal combat with a Gangrel. On the other side of the central ampitheater, the rest were able to despatch the two other kindred.

Lucas fled the scene when he realised all was lost, trying to cover his tracks with flame. It seemed the pack had expected some other assistance in the area. De Luca, accompanyed by the Declan Tyrone confirmed that the area looked to have been used by the Sabbat for creation rites, and that most likely the markings had been there to indicate where sabbat had been buried. However whatever bodies had once been there, only empty graves remained. It appeared that a trap, most likely left for Johannes, had been sprung by someone else.

The group continued to investigate – minus Malcolm who seemed to be more focussed on rebuilding his theatre and putting on a new interpretation of Macbeth. He confirmed he had nothing to do with this, but didn’t particularily care if everyone else thought he had taken vengence on the Hardcastle. As the Prince had kept Hardcastle away from court, Malcolm was taking advantage to raise the attention in his works now that the critics were not being influenced. He therefore saw no benefit in actually uncovering who was behind it.

When the group returned to the artist studio it became clear that someone had expertly covered the tracks. All reference to the previous companies had been removed and the local cameras appeared to have been examined suggesting that someone had even considered that aspect.

With this Eleanor suggested that this pointed to the Ventrue. Pictou related to the ultimate destination of the Hector, the ship that had dropped Bartleby in Boston. She mentioned a rumour that Hardcastle had cost Bartleby money over an artwork some years ago giving him motive.

Whilst initially dismissive, Gwendolyn was brought round to the idea. She remembered a rumour that shortly after his embrace Konrad had been almost destroyed financially by Tobias and Bartleby, with Konrad taking his revenge almost half a century later.

The chain of companies suggested that the person planning this had not only created the initial attack, leaving an initial trail that would implicate Concord on first glance, no helped by the fact they would have been appearing to cover their tracks after the event. Anyone who was suspicious of this story, or in fact Concord themselves, would then find a second trail that linked to the Ventrue and Konrad.

Gwendolyn was persuaded by the others to at least explore this option with Konrad, but was waylaid on the way there twice.

The first time she came across the very much alive Gaveston who’d been hiding out with Johannes in the Italian embassy. The fact that a papal nucio had been in residence also meant any supernatural check would detect that they were taking sanctuary near vatican soil. With quick domination, Gwendolyn was sent on her way.

At which point she was waylaid for the second time by Michael. Whilst being charming and matter of fact, he ‘politely asked’ that the search was called off. He saw no benefit in continuing to air their dirty linen in public and asked her to let sleeping dogs lie, in fact he would subtly ensure that Concord were considered to be responsible for the action. As an incentive, he mentioned he would ensure counterweight was added against the plans for the mosque, that suitable incentives would be provided to stop further investigation into Eleanor’s role at the University and that he would seek to intervene on Gwendolyn’s behalf with his sire. The subtlety that he’d identified mutliple waysto strike at Concord, but hadn’t used them, wasn’t lost on Gwendolyn. She perusaded the others to accept the deal.

View
All Souls Day
Chapter 5, First Chroncile

Time period : April – May 2001

Court Events

  • Beltane Court

Wiki links
All souls’ day

TV Tropes
Daddy?
Born from war
A little view into the Abyss
This is the really, real world

Summary events
Scene 1 – Winthrop Building

  • JVB banished
  • Megan given vassalship
  • Kingston given vassalship
  • Hardcastle
  • Corey
  • Flood prohibits check of coat
  • Prince ended court abruptly

Scene 2 – Duelling location

  • Trip to duelling location
  • blood trail / auspex/ water confirming both there
  • Shadow play
  • Missing sword

Scene 3 – Roadside Cafe

  • Kingston phonecall from Eleanor
  • Dyer comments on position
    - who suggested way out of stalemate
    - how could he get back
    - why was court collapsing
  • Monitoring by crow, owl and stray dog

Scene 4 – Flood summons
- message in rain
- Flood explanation of politics – one of four people involved
A) Winthrop (as he got primogen fixed)
B) Silas (as he seemed to lose but actually got everything he wanted and subtly screwed over Winthrop)
C) Konrad (by apparantly breaking ranks was working for one of them)
D) Dyer (to restart war by reuniting primogen and forcing Prince to take action to show dominance)

- Flood suspected Silas of being behind deadlock ending

Scene 5 – Seven Stars

  • Gwendolyn feeling of being eaten
  • Johannes discussion

Scene 6 – Hawthorn meeting

  • Nodes sites of power
  • Flavours of magick
  • Disunity of mages
  • Phone call to Mankiller re tape

Scene 7 – Graylings

  • Chilled vibe
  • Plank
  • Scene of bar
  • Outline map from where Thoreaus cabin had been
    3 locations – Old Dutch Cemetery, Minute Man Statue and Walden Pond around bits
  • Uncle M suggestion it could be tapped into

Scene 8 – Auspex on painting

  • Murder of Amy
  • Hardcastle
View
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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Psalm 137
Story 3, First Chronicle

Pre-game background

The Psalm

TV Tropes (teaser information on story)
Corrupt Church
Through the eyes of madness
Bluebeard
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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Failloeach
Story 2, First Chronicle

The coterie were invited to meet with the Lady Arabella Stuart at the “Inn on the Lake” a family run bar restaurant in Concord. A fidgety man, clearly out of place in the bar, the novelist Michael Drake, acknowledged them as they entered.

The group passed a pleasant evening, as Arabella gave them some of the political background on Boston. She asked their permission for her childe to reside in Concord as he finished his new work, and invited them to exhibition of her new childe’s Megan Doyle work at another of her progeny’s galleries Marcus Hardcastle. Gwendolyn Ashbridge queried who in Boston would be best placed to answer queries on the star alignment (having noticed that the stars were getting close to the image she had seen in the codex). Arabella suggested a Tremere, Freya Ahlstrom, might be best placed and left.

The evening passed normally. The group attended the gallery opening. The graffiti art was not to everyone’s taste. Gwendolyn in particular fled he bar in some disarray. A rapprochement of some sort was had between Imaad Al Qasim and Declan Tyrone. Declan advised Imaad that a local mosque was in danger of being closed, but that Balin had banned him from intervening directly.

Eleanor Van den Berg had a discussion with an adventurer, Tex Geddes, another childe of Arabella. He wryly commented that not everyone belonged in the clan they were born to – before moving off.

Side bar with Gwndolyn being offered a deal

Gwendolyn fled the gallery quickly – after failing to elicit anything save for contempt from the Tremere she asked for assistance from.

Sidebar on why Gwendolyn doesn’t do All Bar One

The next evening got off to a poorer start than normal. Imaad was deep in conversation with the distraught husband of one of his students, when he heard Willow Ashby scream. Rushing outside, Imaad was easily swatted away by Domnhail Tremayne. He saw Madeline Normand bundle Willow into a black limousine before they fled the scene.

Eleanor barely had time to check Imaad was arrived before she was pulled into shadows.

Side bar on why Eleanor always collects her frequent shadow miles with Obtenebration express

Imaad broke into Eleanor’s house – trying to find her. She called him from Gloucester, around a 100 miles away, returning by train.

After being attacked, the group were summoned to the Inn on the Lake, whereTobias Ames, Stockton and Gaveston were waiting for them to discuss what happened to the keeper of elysium who had vanished shortly after leaving them. Imaad – in a barely controlled frenzy vowed vengeance.

The group sought out Prof. Michael Fallonat the Celeidh place, which they quickly discovered was a major garou hangout. On mentioning that Tremayne was one of the people they were after the group rose as one to hunt him down. Using Drake’s blood – the garou did a ritual to track Lady Arabella.

They found her in the midst of a ritual sacrifice – a massive battle ensued between the Garou and a mass embraced pack of sabbat. Gwendolyn was dominated to run, before being beaten to a pulp by tendrils of shadow.

Imaad entered into a mortal combat with a Sabbat Gangrel that came close to ending his unlife. Of the group Eleanor fared best, using her own powers of dominate on the newly embraced kindred to distract them whilst Garou cut them down.

All the while a portal was being opened in the lake – with what appeared to be ancient scottish warriors coming through.

Realising the battle was turning against them – Normand and Treemaine fled the scene. However – as their last action they cast Arabella into the portal.

Eleanor pulled Gwendolyn from the scene – into the trees.

why friends don’t let friends get garou blood m’kay

Imaad was left bearly holding himself together (literally) as the ghouls under gaveston tried to contain the carnage…

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Balin's Quest
Story 1, First Chronicle

Act 1: The Samhain Court
Wednesday 1st November 2000

Prince Balin assembled the full court of Boston to attend his Samhain Court at the Boston Aquarium The Samhain Court

On entering the court, Gwendolyn Ashbridge noted that Balin was deep in discussion with an impassioned Winthrop. The subject of their discussion would become clear shortly. Winthrop was clearly enraged at the refusal of the Prince to listen to his pleading.

Eleanor Van den Berg entered the aquarium, accompanied by her sire, Johannes Van Den Berg who was dressed in biker leathers. Imaad Al Qasim noted that neither she or her sire cast a reflection in the glass. They moved towards a group gathering around Dyer.

Whilst kindred moved around the area, it was clear that at least two groups existed. One gravitated towards the youthful Gaveston and Samuel Prescott, the other gathered around the noticeable older John Flood and Winthrop..

Gaveston called the group to order -using an ancient staff carved in strange runic symbols. The Prince first called for the new Kindred in town to publicly introduce themselves.

The first to do so was Eleanor Van Den Berg, shocked to discover that her sire had not obtained permission before her embrace. Her sire was forced to offer a life boon to the prince, and Eleanor offended Dyer’s contingent by vowing to follow the Prince as his vassel. The Prince seemed swayed by the argument that she had been attacked and the embrace was done out of family loyalty. It seemed that Prescott may have intervened on Eleanor or her sire’s behalf as well.

Making just as interesting a first impression wasImaad Al Qasim, his description of himself as ‘Childe of Haqim’ caused the assembled Tremere to group behind their Primogen, except for one, Declan Tyrone

The last to introduce herself was Gwendolyn Ashbridge, her announcement as a Caitiff, formerly of Clan Ventrue, seemed to interest the Prince. Gaveston seemed to note the Prince’s response for future use.

The session moved onto the dispensation of the Prince’s judgement. Stockton and Tobias Ames brought in the bound and dishevelled Ventrue, Tobias Flood, childe of Winthrop and Liege of Concord. For breaches of the First, Second, Third and Fourth traditions. Ames slit his throat and threw him into the shark tank, whilst the Prince calmly announced that the Domain of Concord was now open.

Gaveston made it clear that the boon extracted from the characters for being accepted to the City was being called in by the Prince. The group needed to travel to Gloucester to acquire the Narangansett Codex. Through various contacts, Gwendolyn and Eleanor were able to identify that the book had been stolen and the suspected thief had died in suspicious circumstances.

Imaad Al Qasim discussed the codex with Pocumtec, who identified that his tribe had long associations with the Gangrel and the Werewolves of the area. He had previously discredited the codex to ensure that its potential impact on the masquerade was minimal.

Prescott muttered gnomic references to “The shadow of the wolf, on a silver birch” before becoming focussed on a turtle in the ocean pool. Gwendolyn made the error of trying to look into his soul, and suffered a blinding migraine as a consequence. The group retired for the evening agreeing to travel to Gloucester the following evening.

Act 2: Gloucester and the Codex
Thursday 2nd November 2000

The group travelled to the fishing town of Innsmouth Gloucester MA about an hour’s drive from Boston – noting an eldritch fog settling over the town. They had a meeting with Donoghue – who was looking to sell the codex. The group identified that:

  1. The book was clearly of the time;
  2. The book had clear descriptions of vampire feeding and rituals;
  3. The book would appear to be the original codex;
  4. There were at least three serious bidders;
  5. The cost was in excess of $1m; and
  6. It was unclear who had arranged the fee to examine the book.

The group was unsuccessful in trying to obtain the book ahead of the auction, and even the wealthy Eleanor and Gwendolyn realised this would stretch their resources to the limit. They retreated to a local hostelry, “The Stone’s Pub”. Their conversation was interrupted by Prof. Michael Fallon who announced he was one of the bidders and agreed to back out of the auction provided that the book was destroyed and replaced with a less revealing equivalent.

Any further banter was delayed when there was an arson attack on the bar. Content Not Found: andrewsImaad Al Qasim]] grabbed Eleanor and launched himself through a window. Gwendolyn followed the werewolf shaped hole in wall left by the departing Michael Fallon. Unfortunately the humans had planned their attack, a group of three men unleashed a hail of bullets down the alleyway, before fleeing the scene. Eleanor was unable to avoide being struck repeatedly and fell in a bloody heap. Imaad pulled her to the safety of the far side of the alleyway.

Eleanor attempted to resuscitate Eleanor whilst Imaad dripped blood over her muttering soothingly in Arabic. Unfortunately Eleanor leapt for Gwendolyn’s throat feasting on her blood. Imaad successfully subdued Eleanor. The group got back to the hotel suites that Gwendolyn’s retainer Jarvis Lederer had procured, from where Imaad scoured the streets to procure stray animals to obtain blood. The group wearily trailed back to Boston – seeking to realise funds to procure the book.

The following night, Jarvis advised them that Donoghue had been found dead in Gloucester. The group returned to the city – as they entered the town they received a call from Prescott advising them they needed to travel to Boxford. This baffled Gwendolyn as she didn’t know how the mobile worked. They broke into the poorly guarded location, with Gwendolyn killing the guard, whilst the Eleanor and Imaad sought out the codex. On returning to Boston, Jervis called to advise Gwedolyn that a carrier pigeon had arrived at her home with a note from Prescott. They handed over the codex and retired to Boston to recover.

Subsequently they were informed by a messenger from the prince that they had been granted the domain of the town of Concord MA

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