The Hollow Crown
Portland – April 1866
“Regent, the courier has arrived with the tomes you requested from Chicago. Regent Nikolai sends his warm regards and asks after your sire. " Aitken’s facttotum places theis along with the mortal’s daily newspaper ‘The Portland Press Herald’ on the large partner’s desk. Aitken almost smiles to himself as he looks out into the port area, seeing the ships come into the bay. Soon, soon this town will be his, the foolish Brujah won’t be able to hold it for long, especially when most of the town will burn to the ground. Unlike most of Portland, his haven is safely in the higher area of town, made of solid brick and warded, as is the chantry. So to with most, but not all, of his chantry. After all, some must suffer for the pyramid to flourish. Their punishment has been sanctioned from Boston, even their death, due to minor indiscretions.
It was useful to think the idea had came to him from a wandering gangrel, who had refused to remain in the city itself saying that the mix of “stone and wood was wrong”, when asked to remain by the Brujah. At once it struck him that the Prince’s holdings were mainly in the port area and older parts of town, and had not yet moved to stone. Silly really that he hadn’t thought on that before.
He scans the paper, noting that Tibuta will be happy that Congress voted to emanciate the slaves, and then allows his eye to wander at the later sections. A letter to the editor grabs his attention. The correspondent claims to be a visitor to the town from Manchester, New Hampshire and refers to an old manuscript they had perused in an ancestral estate. This itself would not interest him, its the code within the text, and the reference to a ‘old doll’, the personal cypher of Tibuta that is of interest. Smiling, he concludes that Tibuta is seeking to start another mystery for him.
Portland – 1872
The newly recognised Prince of the city steps off from his boat to make the rendesvous with his fellow clan mate. His mouth has a wry smile, nodding to himself that Portland is indeed Resugnam, rising from the flames. To be fair, he was surprised that Tibuta had come in person, as opposed to simply scrying this time, but the path of knoowledge she had communicated through the correspondence pages had proven vital to his recent researches. Whilst some might qualm at his methods, the results were notable, and what were a few kine here or there.
He moves though the marshy swamp land towards an run-down estate house. Tibuta always did have a flair for the dramatic. He allows himself the luxury of a ghostlight, using the marsh gas as cover for it.
He enters the drawing route, the assigned point for ther meeting. Instead of his african/ indian clan mate, he sees a striking sable haired Creole, “Who the fuck are you”, he goes to draw his wards around him, but too late, as black bile oozes from her and every shadow. “Sabbat witc…”
“No Mr Aitken, I think you are the Witch. I am Madeline Norman, leader of the Sabbat in this area. I was most impressed by your rise to power. Especially impressed by the way you arranged to cleanse the court…. Although it has to be said, there are benefits to not always relying on only one clan to help you.” she nods to the Nosferatu who drops the obfuscate, to a Tscmische who stops his koldunic mutterings and the alert poses of the other assorted pack mates seem to drop. “I think you could be very useful to us.”
Providence – time of current game
“Madeline. I found this interesting” Aitken tosses a Portland Union paper on the desk.
“Why are you bothered with the Kine’s rag? It is barely worth the tree its pulped from?”
“Because someone claiming to be a visitor from Boston just left me a message in the letter to the editor. It was what led me to this.” he gestures around the room, meaning the Sabbat. “And if I interpret their meaning correctly, the Camarilla plan to hold a conclave shortly, with more than one of their Justicars in that city.”
“That is interesting, I was given the means to contact you by a Nosferatu, long since destroyed by the Morrigan. He never said where he had learned of you & your cousins cypher game. We must consider this further in council.”
Normand waits for her Priest to leave the room, then considers her own old message using an old communication route. This was either an elaborate trap, or an old source reawakening. She contemplates her next move, rereading the papers mesage.