The Hollow Crown
A Gathering of Demons
“It is certain now”
“The actions of the Nosferatu would be consistent. Why else take the risk?” Said with the certainty of the investigator.
They look up at the last gathering of the New England chantries, a mystical design appearing in a fountain wall, executed by Tabitha the image moves subtly over the hours, demonstrating the kindred’s skills, showing them in dispute and ritual.
Almost eighty kindred appear in the image, with their associated familiars and favoured apprentices.
Standing to the side, almost out of the picture, distracted by the heavens, are the Concord chantry. The smallest grouping, they cluster round the animated Prescott. He appears fascinated by a cloud formation like an Indian peace pipe.
Moving between two groups, some new apprentices, including Tyrone, mill around. An in-joke from Tabitha over the fact her ‘brother’ had not yet found his niche. He appears to be escorting a guest, a striking woman with sable hair. On closer inspection she is guiding him. The woman is Hardy, Slaine’s first childe.
The next group, standing around Flood, represented the Providence chantry. Whilst they appeared as a group of studious academics, the light around them flickered, the water beat faster or slower, a dim mist circulated around them, appearing to drift from Flood’s cigar.
The Portland chantry stand around their permanently cocky head Aitken. They look on as their newest member, Soames, releases a conjured dove.
The central group, dominated by Wymer, represent the Boston chantry. He stands proud, a man surveying his works. Behind him in the background, a red substance distils through scientific apparatus, a crucible and Bunsen flame beside.
The Manchester contingent are standing by a memorial to those martyred at Salem. A dark comment on her works by the artist. The foliage around them grows verdant.
Moving across, the tall statuesque Nordic woman. Ahlstrom, Tabitha’s first childe. She seems to be disputing with a scarred soldier, Sexby of Burlington, over the importance of a table of numbers, whilst a group of apprentices looks on.
Slaine of Bridgeport, surrounded by his apprentice, looking nothing less than an eastern opium fiend and his harem, and their menagerie of familiars. His crow familiar pecking from his hand. His other childe, Keele, fawns on his every word, swathed in a scarlet cloak.
The last member of the group, Corey, leans a hand on a memorial plaque. By his demeanour and clothing, he has only just arrived, and by the looks of it late. Another subtle joke.
“Which one betrayed us?”
“Wrong question, how many?” The first speaker’s face lost what little colour it retained. “After all, House Goriatrix were never subtle…”
“Damn him for his stubbornness!” Even covered in gore, or perhaps more so because of that, The full force of a brujah in a fury is a stirring sight.
“Lady Dyer, are all of our forces accounted for?”
“No, that Gevolloos Noten of a Scourge is still trying to fight free. " with these words a smouldering figure in shadow falls through the portal, rolling himself on the ground to put out the flame. “He’s the last!”
The two figures attempting to follow are blasted back by the shafts of lightening thundering from his staff. A guttural language, long dead, issues from Flood’s lips as Tyrone scribbles at the face of the portal to dispel it.
Tyrone’s features are seared by the blast of superheated air that comes from the diminishing portal. He stands up, only then realising a Gangrel’s claw had clasped into his collar. The rest of the gangrel must have been caught in the portal.
“A fine trophy Declan! " Flood turns to the others, “Tabitha?”
“The ritual has worked as expected. The chantries at Portland, Burlington, Manchester, Bridgeport and Providence have all been destroyed.”
“We counted over a hundred sabbat at the Providence chantry. Most were cannon fodder, but at least one in ten were experienced” the blonde man looks up at mirrors on all sides.
Dyer stills him with a hand to the arm, “a sensible precaution Lord Flood.”
“Just John Flood now, a Tremere is no lord without a chantry.”
“No more than being a Prince makes one a lady. I will not forget your sacrifice, or your warning my Lord.”
“I would offer you hospitality, but I fear we are being summoned to a council of war. We have only delayed their assault on Boston’”
“The other clans can never know. The pyramid was weakened in the war, we must retain this secret. Were they to find it was one of our own..” It goes unsaid, that the chantries to the north may not have fallen, but instead were corrupted by the Sabbat.
“Or worse, that we can’t be certain the rot was contained…” It goes unsaid, a number of the Tremere placed to Boston were embraced by the heads of those chantries.
“Enough – they will never find out. Stay close to the new Prince, you will be cast from the deliberations of our clan. In this way the pyramid will know you are clear of any corruption. You will ensure that we are the first to hear of any disloyalty. We will take action before the three stooges can…”
“So say we all” he rises from the chair in the sanctum and turns into the cold evening.