The Hollow Crown
‘Has he stirred?’ The imperious tone of Wymer thunders through the room, almost seeming to shake the rafters. The mortal apprentices scurry to avoid the Prince’s gaze.
Unperturbed, Tyrone considers what options could cause this effect, he concludes on the Iwohronhescrates ritual developed by Tabitha. He notes to look for evidence of a crow motif in Wymer’s robes. He looks up from his text, gingerly shifting his weight to avoid damaging the healing wounds from the fiends flesh-wrenching. ‘He has not moved from that place in five nights, since the Lasombra brought me back here.’ Tyrone thought it best not to mention the random mutterings in broad Doric, references to a Moab and Deuteronomy.
‘And what of your wounds? The Scourge and the Artiste spoke well of your part in the action. It is said we would have been caught in the fiends trap were it not for you.’ Wymer rests his hand on Tyrone’s shoulder carefully avoiding the wound from which a black pus continues to ooze.
‘They are healing thank you’ inwardly he can’t help but wish these words had come from his sire and regent, ‘May I ask how you spotted there poison?’
‘I spent a long time clearing those bastards out of England, you learn a thing or to’ as if he can read Tyrone’s mind ‘John will come around, he still has a childe of good standing in the pyramid. Let me know if there is a change’
‘I fear your clan has erred’ the simple words are plainly spoken by the raven haired Brujah. ‘I hear troublesome rumours that your clan was behind Pariss appointment to Danvers. The man is both a fool and avaricious, and I swear is tied to Winthrop. I had thought you and Wymer to have more sense?’
‘My prince, I cannot speak for Wymer, but I agree that Parriss is a fool.’ Unspoken, which is why we put him there and had my apprentice act as his serving woman, ‘However, the instability in this region comes, I fear, from mortal superstition worked upon by the Ventrue in Boston and New York. It is they, and not us, that restricted the funds due to your appointment causing him to quit.’
And it was us that caused the harvest to be poor, the records of land ownership confused, and the constant litigation between the townsfolk, all if which sets the charge.
‘After all, a witch hunt will benefit none save them, they have used these in the past to consolidate power, at cost to both our clans.’ He offers this to her, knowing she was hung as a witch.
A witch hunt, of course, is the plan, the brujah and ventrue will fall on each other. The spark will be triggered by tremere pawns, his apprentice in Salem, is already working on the impressionable daughters of the village. The flame will be fanned by Wymer’s apprentice Judge Hathorne who will ensure the purge lasts for as long as needed.
The Ventrue will inevitably use this to cleanse those backing the Brujah first. However, it will then move to the Ventrue as the colony reacts with horror at their actions.
The overall conclusion will be the end of church rule in New England, a thorough break in the Ventrue/ Brujah power base, and greater animosity between the two clans to exploit in the future. Flood is content his plan will enable almost complete autonomy for the Tremere for at least a century to come.
Flood remains impassive, lays down his hand, ‘With the Knave, 29 points I think?’ It’s not really a query, he knew the cards to throw in his box.
‘We have complete control of New England.’ The Edinburgh lilt of the Portland Regent communicates to his fellow chantry heads of their continued success in the region. ‘It seems the last British incursion has been beneficial to us. It seems to have cleared out the remaining Sabbat nests and to have thinned out the Brujah.’
‘Dyer will not be pleased.’ Wymer, Regent of the Boston Chantry, allows himself a wry chuckle. ‘You have done well Thomas, the Pyramid recognises this and grants you leave to bring others into our fold from your town.’ Flood stays silent, he feels Aikenhead has been promoted too rapidly in the century he has been embraced. Whilst some of this is based on his own achievements, it has more to do with Wymer favouring his own children to positions in New England. He finds it irksome that his own childe, Tabitha, has been overlooked repeatedly by Wymer, although whether it is her gender or her race that is the reason for this is uncertain. However, the Pyramid elected to place Wymer as the Lord of this region, and whilst they retain that position he will accede.
‘Indeed she is not. She is looking to replace her childe, and consolidate her power. I understand her eye is falling upon a mortal from your territory, a newspaper editor.’ He pauses, ‘Another veteran, she does seem to have a fondness for them.’ Flood considers his next thoughts carefully, ‘Have you given any thought to Tabitha’s request to establish a chantry in Manchester? Whilst the town is growing, it would be of benefit to us to monitor the actions of the Ventrue merchants.’
‘Wymer, it is clear we are under attack. We cannot reach the regents of Bridgeport, Portland or Burlington. Manchester only escaped by good fortune. I estimate we have lost close on half of the pyramid. With respect, we must regroup, pool our strength and join forces with Brujah and Ventrue to prevent the complete fall of this region.’
Wymer sits his head in his hands, paralysed with indecision, ‘How did we fall so quickly? Thomas is dead?’
‘We must have been betrayed, but by who is uncertain. I fear we must assume all are lost in those chantries.’ Flood can feel his old friend’s pain, almost all of those chantries had been founded by his proteges or childer. Flood also feels pride that his own childer were not caught unawares, had taken his precautions to hand, and were now in a position to fight back. Even his most recent childe, Tyrone, had acquitted himself well in the escape from Manchester, identifying the signals in time to allow almost the entire chantry to flee.
‘John, take the actions you deem necessary to protect the Pyramid. You have full discretion in this matter.’
‘Are we certain Tabitha fell?’ Wymer looks at Tyrone closely.
‘She fell in the storm she called down upon the Tzimisce’s temple. She took several of them with her. Your scourge saw her fall.’ Tyrone leaves out that the trap that took Tabitha was of Tremere in origin. More importantly, he knows from his own research, that these rituals and wards originated in New England. So there are two options, one, that the Sabbat had been able to break protection on the chantries secrets, or more worryingly, that his sire had been right that the Tremere had been betrayed from within.