September 30, 2009
My phone was flashing when I woke up with a message from Gio telling me to meet them at the Crowbar. Apparently we needed to enlist the help of the mage we saved from the clinic, Shay, to steal a piece for Gio's homunculus.
I got up and changed, all the issues from the night before roaring back into my ears. I closeted them away for now. I did my best to stay focused on tonight. Being distracted by things I can't change at that moment was a good way to get myself or other people killed. That wasn't so much something I had learned as a vampire, that was something I had learned stationed overseas.
I left the shop behind, on my way out I noticed that Gio had taken the pandoran out of its glass prison and that there was a new beaker bubbling in the lab.
I tied my black calf length trench coat tightly so it wouldn't flap in the wind. I didn't exactly need it, but people tended to give me funny looks when I walked around in Chicago, in November, without a coat. I didn't like to draw attention to myself. That and the coat helped hide my pasty Irish ass. I hadn't mastered obfuscate enough to hide myself, so I relied on more conventional camouflage.
The Crowbar used to be our base of operations before we defeated Ophios. Mac was the owner, a ghost wolf (which as far as I know, is akin to being unaligned). He was good enough to let us use the bomb shelter he had below the basement. Gio worked here from time to time, though now he spent more time in the shop than at the bar.
Nobody, Gio, and Becca sat at a table in the corner, drinks in hand. I sat, and they filled me in on the daylight activities.
They had had breakfast with Sammy, then had gone to see Bella to ask for her help in getting the coins Gio needed. I had met Bella once, and that was all I needed. Going into the mansion made me nervous. I was the childe of the guy the family didn't even talk about. I had a feeling that if they knew that, I wouldn't be waking up many more nights.
Apparently these coins were magic, used by mages as a focus, and only one guy in town had the right ones. Lucky us- no one likes him.. so she was more than willing to help us steal them. I was annoyed that we had to resort to petty theft.. but we couldn't just pick up magic coins at Wal-Mart. I seemed to be the only one who minded at all. I kept the thought to myself.
They had gone by the library to look up blueprints on the targets house and found Nadi there, passed out on a bench. Volkas was rather vague about what she had been researching. The blueprints would be a starting point, Gio had someone to look over them and do other, more detailed surveillance. He said they had talked to Leland as well, and the mages had come by earlier and fixed the wards as best they could. Other than that, nothing exciting had happened.
Nadi walked in a few minutes later and joined us. Nobody tried to grill her about what she had been researching, but didn't get anywhere. Shay the mage came in, grabbed two drinks, and sat down at our table.
Gio explained the situation.
Shay made a face and took a long drink of one of her beers. "That guy? That guy is such a douche!"
"So we hear. You interested? We were thinking we might need some firepower." Gio asked casually.
Shay gave a shit-eating grin. "You want to know if I will come along to steal coins from this douchebag, and will possibly get to set things on fire. Of course I'm fucking interested! Besides, I owe you guys for busting me out of that clinic."
Gio smiled. "Fantastic!"
We hung around the bar for a little longer, those of us who could still enjoy alcohol had a few, except Nadi. She just had red bull. I sipped a rum and coke, more tasting than drinking, and tried to relax a little and talk to Shay. I was managing okay until I caught site of another kindred staring at me. It wasn't someone I knew by name, but I recognized him from court. But he sure knew who I was. When I caught his gaze his eyes widened, he excused himself from the bar skank he had been hitting on, and he made a hurried exit. His aura was swimming with colors of alarm and nervous fear.
What. The. Fuck.
I put the drink down. I didn't feel like socializing anymore. Nadi was the only other person at the table who noticed. She just looked at me and shrugged. Her poker face is ridiculous. If I couldn't read her aura, I'd never know what she was feeling. I thought I saw a couple flashes of nervous orange, but it was so quick that it could have been nothing. After a few more minutes we stood to go. I think my sudden distance soured the mood at the table, but I could give a fuck. We left, Shay stayed and was already loudly drunk.
We walked back to the shop. It was only about 8pm. No one said a word to me, which was probably better anyway. I would've bitten someones head off.. and for once I actually do mean that figuratively.
The door was ajar when we made it back to the shop.
Gio was.. understandably upset. "WHAT THE FUCK?!"
I had never seen a man with a gimp leg move so fast. We managed to hold him back enough to clear the room. We heard banging coming from the lab. When we walked in, the place was a fucking mess and there was an honest-to-god monkey climbing on one of the cabinets, rummaging through the jars inside.
It was probably the most unexpected thing that could've been inside that lab.
"Uh... hello. Can we help you with something?" Nadi asked hesitantly.
No response from the hairy mammal. I had a fleeting moment where I almost busted out laughing. It was ridiculous. Our lives had gotten so strange that I think we were all surprised that the monkey DIDN'T respond to us. The weird shit had become so common place that it wasn't even weird anymore. Ancient Egyptian gods? faceless fairies? 1000 year old mummies walking around? Vampires willingly skinned and gutted? Sure. We have all that. And I could go on for pages. So talking to a monkey didn't faze any of us.
"The monkey's aura looks human..." I muttered to the others.
The monkey just kept digging in drawers and opening up cabinets, throwing objects to the floor that didn't interest him. I noticed that he had a small jewel practically embedded in his palm, and I didn't think he'd found it in the shop. Nobody pulled out a knife and threw.. and had the worst possible luck in the world. Right as he threw the knife, the monkey threw a chunk of gray stone out of a drawer. It met the knife midair and exploded into dust.. all over Nobody. He started screaming and pawing at his face and arms. He ran to the emergency shower. Overall, I found it fucking hilarious.
"Will you get the fuck down here?" Gio seemed to be more curious about the situation then pissed, at least, that's what I would've thought if I didn't see the intense flashes of red in his aura. The monkey looked at us like we were beneath his notice, flipped us off, and went back to rummaging.
I could add one more thing to my list of weird shit I've seen in my existence.
I raised my gun.
"I really wouldn't do that if I were you.."
We all turned and looked to see Martindale standing in the kitchen, and another unknown man rummaging through Gio's fridge. Martindale actually looked good. Apparently Nobody had given him a tie that actually allowed him a full nights sleep. It did wonders. He even gave us a halfway apologetic look. The other guy stopped rummaging in the fridge. When he stood and glared at us, I examined his aura. I took an involuntary step backwards. His aura wasn't normal. It wasn't a wash of colors that told me his emotions. It was daggers. Daggers swirling around him in a haze of red. Anger, hate, homicidal rage.. he was so pissed that his aura manifested as a physical object, which until now, I didn't even know was possible. I conveyed this information to the rest of the group quietly.
His eyes bore holes into our skulls. He managed to stare angrily at all of us at once. Gio took point.
"So who the fuck are you and what the fuck are you doing here?"
The pissed off guy was the one who answered. "We are here to secure any items of a biochimerical nature that may be present in this shop, especially keter class items."
"What the hell is biochimerical?" Gio said, crossing his arms and scowling at the guy. The man's response was just to stare. He now looked mainly at Gio. The knives spun faster. He gritted his teeth so hard I could hear them grinding and motioned for Gio to follow him into the other room.
I looked at Martindale, who just shrugged. The lab was a mess. At least the beakers hadn't been disturbed. They sat bubbling away. I had a feeling it was probably a good thing that Gio had relocated the pandoran before these fuckers got here. I sharpened my hearing to try and hear Gio's conversation, but was only able to here bits and pieces because of the racket the monkey was making.
"I want to know what... squatting in...shop"
I heard Gio say something then start rummaging through drawers.
"Yousef.. after he died in the fight with Ophios..copy of the deed....aren't squatting... -long pause- I don't know...to me.. I didn't know he had..."
There was silence for a moment and the man stomped back into the room, Gio was trailing behind him with the deed to the shop in his hand.
"Bright! We're going." The monkey gave him an annoyed look, jumped down and they left the shop. We were left standing there looking pissed and confused. Martindale just looked pissed. Gio was muttering to himself, as usual. He had a habit of talking to himself- saying everything that came to mind. It was a miracle that the man could keep a secret. My hearing was already amped up, so I caught his comment.
"Why wouldn't the oldest man alive leave the shop to his brother..?"
I smirked at him, "So was it Cain or Abel?" My smart ass comment was half joking, but Gio's face remained serious. "My guess? I'd be perpetually pissed too if my brother murdered me."
Well Holy Fuck..
Nobody had finally stopped screaming. His skin was red and raw, looked like a bad rash. Martindale stepped outside and got on the phone. We all followed to listen in. We're pretty fucking nosy.
Martindale would dial a number, scream into the phone, then hang up. He was perfectly calm between dialing numbers.
"What the fuck? Look I know you can't control the monkey, but can you at least give me a heads up next time? Christ!"
"So Martindale. Who the fuck were those guys." Nobody asked as he dried his burned face with a towel.
Martindale sighed and gave us his canned answer. "I can neither confirm or deny the existence of those in the shop today."
Martindale gave us an expectant look. Hell, those answers never stopped us before. We started firing off questions in rapid succession. Everyone pitched in
"So what was up with the monkey?"
"I can neither confirm or deny the existence of the monkey."
"What about the other, pissed off guy?"
"I can neither confirm or deny the existence of the pissed off, immortal, killing machine who has been around for thousands of years."
"Was it Abel?"
"I can neither confirm or deny the existence of the immortal killing machine that was the victim of the first murder."
"Abel called the monkey Bright."
"I can neither confirm or deny the existence of Dr. Jack Bright."
"What about that gem?"
"I can neither confirm or deny the existence of the gem the contains Dr. Jack Bright or any host Dr. Bright is copied too."
This went on for a few minutes. It was funny as hell. I liked Martindale, as much of as ass as he was (or maybe because he was..). He was doing his best to help us out and still technically follow orders. He knew we were trying to do good, even if some of our methods were less than savory. He knew our motivations and reasoning better than anyone. He'd listened to our thoughts, more than he had wanted too.
We went back inside and surveyed the damage. Gio picked up a fallen chair and sat down. "Well they didn't seem to find any of that.. biochimerical shit they were looking for.. I guess I don't have any..."
Martindale gave him a look. "Are you.. absolutely positive..you don't have anything of a biochimerical nature?"
Gio looked around the shop. We hadn't even begun to go through all the Antiquities here. One evening had produced three fascinating artifacts. We really had no clue what was in this shop. The locked drawers that had no visible key holes hadn't been opened, but there were tool marks around them from where someone had tried.
Gio sighed. "We really don't have a fucking clue. We should probably leave....dammit."
"I don't know what your talking about. I just showed up on Friday and the place was cleared out. I've got no idea where the occupants could have gone." Martindale said to no one in particular.
He turned to leave. I gave him a small smile and a nod. He walked out before he could overhear where we were going. I think he wanted to maintain deniability.
Gio looked around the shop and sighed, "Well, guess we need to ask Maury if he's got room for all this shit. Looks like I'll be joining you guys."
We sent the message to Maury. He responded by sending the Collector and his posse to start moving. When the freight elevator arrived at the top, the Collector crawled out across the ceiling (creepy ass Nosferatu..) and three gangbangers stepped out. Ghouls, I think. They started moving shit.
I went to my room and started packing up what little I had. That greasy primate had pawed through my drawers. The mirror that had called Icegalos was laying out on the dresser. I could see paw prints on it like he had looked at it, then discarded it as useless. Thank God.
While everyone was busy I phoned O'Donnell.
He answered on the first ring. "O'Shea. Whatsup."
"How is Denzelo doing?" I asked quietly.
"He's alright, still on suicide watch. Any luck finding that fucker?"
"Not really. But we haven't exhausted all our leads yet." What I didn't say was that we were damn close to coming up with jack shit.
"So what can I do for you tonight?"
I paused. I had called to ask what he knew about Jack Bright.. but it suddenly seemed like a bad idea. I had already involved Denzelo enough to almost get him killed.. I decided to quiz him on another problem off my laundry list.
"Do you know anything about a group that calls themselves The Heresy?"
"Hm.. I don't know a lot off hand, except that they're hunters..and crazy motherfuckers. I'll send you what I've got."
"I appreciate it. Give Denzelo my regards.. when he can handle it."
"Keep your ass covered soldier."
"I've only got so many hands Captain, but I'll do my best."
I wondered how long that relationship would last. I liked O'Donnell, and Denzelo once I'd convinced him I wasn't a monstrous killing machine.. But they were hunters. Government financed hunters. Valkyrie would have no qualms with killing me if they felt I was becoming a threat. But then again, that pretty much summed up my relationship with many of the other supernaturals in Chicago.. I was once again glad that Gio and Guiseppe were the only ones who knew exactly how connected with Taskforce Valkyrie I really was.
It took the next two days to move everything out and down into Maury's part of the city. We left a note for Icegalos, but addressed it to "Jamaicastein" - just in case. No one but us knew who Jamaicastein was. We didn't tell him where we went, but that we'd had to go. I imagined he'd find me if I used the mirror again..
September 29, 2009
I voiced this, and everyone else agreed. Nadi seemed preoccupied, and muttered something about research and left for the library. She left before Becca could even offer to come. Becca looked a bit wounded.. I wasn't sure how I felt about Becca's attachment to Nadi.. I didn't want to command all aspects of Becca's life.. but the love interest could end up causing complications that I wasn't happy with. I decided not to mention anything at the moment..and just see how it progressed. Becca was blood bound to me, so I wasn't really sure how that would conflict with an honest to god emotional attachment.
Gio was going on about how his wards were fucked up. Something about the pandoran going out through the window apparently tore them to pieces. He was understandably upset. Those wards were put there by one of the oldest people on the planet, and we had no fucking clue how to put them back up. He mentioned going to talk to Leland tomorrow. Maybe the wards being fucked was lending to feeling to relocate.. but I hadn't been able to sense wards in the past. I felt edgy.
I removed myself from the group slightly, leaning against a wall in a shadowed part of the shop. I had always been one to seclude myself before, but since I died I found a huge amount of comfort in shadows specifically. It was a Mehket thing apparently. I really wanted to go meditate. I had so much shit to think about and it was driving me nuts. I needed to go actually focus on it if I was going to get anything figured out. I decided to focus on something else until I had time to sift through forgotten memories.
I stepped outside and called Sundown. The issue of the Glass Armonium was still on my mind. It rang twice before his deep honeyed voice answered.
"And what can I do for you this evening Miss O'Shea?"
"I was wondering if you knew anything about an instrument called the glass armonium?" Right to business.
"Ah. An interesting instrument, never gained very much popularity I'm afraid. What makes you think I would have the information you are looking for?"
"There is a specific one we are looking for.. it was purchased in Chicago by Honore."
"I fail to see your connection.."
"Giovanni overheard someone refer to you by that name before.."
Sundown fell silent for a moment. He seemed annoyed.
"I see. It seems some of my associates need to learn the meaning of discretion. I no longer have the instrument. I purchased it for a very interesting young Ventrue."
Ventrue? Something about that seemed significant.. maybe something about that coffin full of crazy Maxwell had been so hot to get his hands on..
"Miss O'Shea, are you familiar with the theory concerning the relationship between blood and memory?"
He definitely had my attention. He continued.
"There are those who believe it is possible to transmit memories by blood. Vitae, to be more exact. A memory that one must drink, in order to receive. Could you imagine such a thing? Such wild stories people tell."
This game was always entertaining. I never really understood the point, but I knew how to play.
"That certainly is an interesting story. Does the story involve any instruments?"
I could hear him smiling. "Well, I imagine that one could assume that there may be some effect in mixing this vitae with glass making sand, but I couldn't really say. It's a rather outrageous fairy tale."
I affected a tone of mild indifference. "But interesting nonetheless, if only for it's entertainment value. Do you know of anyone who can tell me more of these fables?"
"I think one of your Order brethren here in New Orleans knows a few tales. I can't recall his name though. Though I believe he is from Texas."
I smiled. Carter.
"I appreciate your help, and I will be sure to maintain more discretion than your other associates."
"It is most appreciated, Miss O'Shea. Have a pleasant evening."
Well damn. Tonight was proving to be interesting. Memories in blood? That had some interesting implications. I walked back into the alley next to the shop and dialed Carter's number. There was another voice in the background when he picked up.
"Carter? It's Harper O'Shea," the voice muttered something in the background, "am I interrupting anything?"
"No! Not at all! I wasn't doing anything important. What can I do for you?"
I could practically see him smiling at whomever was with him. Apparently I was going to be the one to help him piss of his current company tonight.
"I've been hearing some rumors, concerning memories and blood. I was wondering if you could spread a little light on that."
"What sort of rumors?" He asked, southern drawl thick enough to spread on toast.
"Encoding vitae with blood, making glass with said vitae.. things of that nature."
He laughed. "Rumors indeed! Complete fiction darlin'. Don't you go worrying yourself over that. Just bedtime stories."
I could hear the other person talking in the background, but he seemed to be ignoring them. I had an idea..
"I see. Well.. I have an interest in these stories, purely academic. If you hear anything else about it, would you mind letting me know? It's a hobby."
"Sure thing Sweetheart. Where you hidin' out these days?"
I smiled and tried not to think about what Carter would think of my new teaching career.
"Ah, well, if you or your sire are ever back in town, gimme a call, we can go get a beer." and he hung up.
What? Goddamn it.
I put the phone back in my pocket and hurried back inside the shop. If Giuseppe wasn't in New Orleans, where the fuck was he? His man of mystery thing could get annoying as fuck sometimes..
When I heard Mona come in the shop my relief was downright palpable. She walked in dressed in her new steam punk style, wearing a gas mask over her face. (She dressed like that partly to make herself seem like a younger vampire. Giuseppe had only embraced her a few weeks ago, but she had been a ghoul for decades before that..) Her ghoul, Thomas, walked in behind her.. with his jaw wired shut? What the hell? He was different than the last time I had seem him. It had only been about a week. He seemed tougher. More self assured. More like Giuseppe. That made me smile. I was getting some idea what Giuseppe had been like when he was younger..
I pushed off the wall and walked over as Mona pulled off the gas mask. I stopped cold. Half of her face was missing, eaten away by what looked like acid burns. I managed to not flip shit, but it was a challenge. My initial reaction was revulsion, then panic, then rage. Rage at whoever did that to her, to my family. Images of what I wanted to do to them flowed behind my eyes, like a gruesome movie only I could see.
I think I've already pretty well established that I have violent tendencies. I wonder if Nobody and Gio would be so quick to encourage callous and violent behavior in me if they really knew the things I kept myself from doing. There was a reason I feared the beast.
I managed to keep all of these from showing on my face, except the rage. Mona watched me closely and seemed satisfied at my reaction. I think she was silently urging me not to show her pity or revulsion. Neither were useful, and certainly didn't make her feel any better. Nobody, Becca and Gio all voiced one version or another of "Holy shit what happened?!"
"Hunters." She said, her voice slurred and difficult to understand with only half a working mouth.
My voice was quiet and full of potential violence. "Are they dead?" Mona gave a shadow of her wicked grin and I visibly calmed. I had no reason to contemplate tortures of dead (truly dead) men.
She told us that she and Thomas had been leaving the home of a new contact when they had been attacked by a group of three men.
"They came at us.. and yelled..something..I can't remember what. If I focus on the words, it gets fuzzy. One of them did something with a vial of blood and I couldn't move. It was like my feet were glued to the ground. Thomas took out one." She seemed smugly proud of him, and Thomas straightened and smirked as best he could.
I gave him a small smile. "Don't worry killer. It'll heal." His muffled response sounded as close to "I hope so." as someone with a wired jaw can get.
"Thomas had the wits to tackle me. Once my feet left the ground, I could move again. They were armed with sulfuric acid and some other nasty surprises. One of them took a club to Thomas' jaw. They knew what they were doing, and what they were up against."
I crossed my arms. "Sounds like some kind of blood magic. Odd that hunter's would use it though.. have you found anything about the Mallas Mallificarum yet?"
"Some. I've made a good number of contacts over the last few days, but no Mallas. I need to meet with the Bishop."
Gio nodded. "I'll call uncle and set it up for you. Should I do it tomorrow?"
"No. Give me a couple days to heal up. I'm not exactly presentable."
"I'll go with you." I said suddenly. She regarded me a moment then nodded. It wasn't very long ago that that would have been a question, not a statement.
I decided to change the subject. "Did you ever figure out how the haven was compromised?"
The serial killer had somehow managed to get his hands on the ethereal rounds that O'Donnell gave me. He had left the magazine in Maury's tunnels after the firebombing. We had to move havens after the incident for safety's sake. I was holed up in a room in the basement of Gio's shop until she could set something else up, but now I felt the need to move again. Underground. (why there, I don't know..)
She looked troubled. And pissed. "That's the weird thing. I can't figure it out. I could never find any sign of intrusion. I have a feeling this is one of those things that we aren't equipped to investigate."
I had figured as much. Spirits probably. As diverse as our group was, spirits were our weak point...that had been Tommy's job.
I shifted uneasily. "Either way, I'm moving again. Underground. The wards here are fucked now, and I don't feel like its safe anymore."
"Probably a good idea." Mona muttered.
I stepped closer and lowered my voice, thankfully I was the only one with enhanced hearing in the room.. "Rowan was here earlier. She's working with us to find the serial killer."
Mona raised one eyebrow and waited for my point. "She offered to teach me cruac.. in exchange for coils.."
I think she would have whistled if she had more than half a mouth. "So what are you going to do?"
I smirked. "I am my sire's childe."
She mirrored my expression a moment, then looked serious. "Be careful."
I nodded and they turned to leave. Mona's reaction had banished any residual doubts I may have had. Giuseppe had brought me on to ask the questions that neither of them would think to ask.. and that's what I was doing.
Thomas walked out a few paces behind Mona, and when he passed me, he paused and muttered something in my ear. "Who is Cain."
It took me a moment to realize he was repeating the question that the hunter's had screamed.. the one Mona couldn't seem to recall. He gave me a look that was trying to say more that I couldn't discern. I nearly jumped into his head to find out, but I was worried of causing more shock to his already abused system. He left a small crumpled piece of paper fall to the floor as he followed Mona out.
When I retrieved it, all I had was an unfamiliar symbol drawn in pencil. I don't know why he wouldn't speak in front of Mona. Or what the symbol was.. More mysterious..
I was walking into my room when my cell went off. It was a text from a number I didn't recognize. I started reading and grinned like a damn fool. Carter. The text message was details about how to code memories into vitae.. well.. not too many details.. but a starting place.
I definitely owed that man a beer. The ability to code a memory into vitae.. it could be drank by a mortal then the next kindred to feed on that mortal would receive the memory. I continue to be amazed at the things vampires can come up with. I was eager to try it, from what I could tell it was a combination of concentration and the spirits touch..
I left the others to do whatever it is they do in their free time, and went back to my room. I was about to start my meditation when I saw the empty vial on the dresser. The werewolf blood. I realized that I wasn't nearly as hungry as I had been when I punched Nobody. I had drank it.. but I didn't remember doing it. I didn't remember why I didn't just go out and hunt.. I usually kept the vials for emergencies..My good mood was suddenly spoiled.
I sat down on the bed, phone in hand. I could feel the night slipping away and I had just found a million more questions and no answers. I flipped to my phone history, checking times and calls.. and found probably the most disturbing detail I didn't remember. About 45 minutes after the pandoran escaped.. I called Prince Maxwell's personal number. The call lasted roughly 2 minutes. I started to call it again, but hesitated. I didn't want Maxwell knowing about my memory loss. I didn't want anyone knowing about it.
I had to figure out what was going on.. but the sun was coming up.. and the questions would still be there come nightfall...
September 26, 2009
When I came out, Gio had put the Pandoran in a big glass urn. It had started to regenerate, slowly, but remained contained. Icegalos was explaining that a pandoran was a Promethean gone wrong. Prometheans seek to be living creatures. On the pilgrimage they must "procreate" to find this goal. Promethean fucks it up, pandoran is born and does nothing but try to eat Prometheans. Charming.
Idly, I wondered if that was what the Promethean we met on the way to Mexico was after..
Icegalos never noticed the framed face on the wall. Apparently from a Promethean who had become human...then cut his face off. We found it in the pocket of a murdered ghoul. And for some fucked up reason, Giovanni had decided to frame it. I found it creepy..And yet that is not the weirdest thing to ever happen to us.
Gio wanted Icegalos to show him how to remove the pyros from the pandoran. It was another ingredient he needed for his homunculus. His cat got eaten by the Mask in the asylum, and since then, the demon hasn't had a body. Gio was about half way through gathering the pieces to build it one.
"I will do this for you, but in return, you must make me a vow." Icegalos said to him, in a serious tone.
Gio looked a bit skeptical, but more interested. "What vow?"
"There may come a time when I am not able to protect the Priestess as I want. You must vow to protect her in these times. With your life, if necessary."
Not what I was expecting. Gio looked at me thoughtfully. I leaned on the door frame and smirked at him. He shrugged and smiled, "Shes basically family anyway. I accept." Gio had already saved my life before, but Icegalos didn't know that.
He and Icegalos clasped forearms and Gio's face became a mask of pain, his hand spasmed. He didn't cry out, but when Icegalos release him, I could smell burnt flesh and ozone. I didn't feel like I needed another bodyguard, but no one was asking me.
He and Gio began pulling out beakers and mixing things over Bunsen burners. He was giving Gio instructions the whole time. I watched, perplexed, and mildly interested in the whole process. After awhile of this, Icegalos left to get more supplies.
Everyone was trying to relax and not look as edgy as we felt. Rowan was due to drop by tonight to discuss said dead ghoul and his killer.. that fucking serial killer that's been toying with us. She fuckin' terrifies and fascinates me. I feel like she'd rip out my throat just for fun if she were in the wrong mood.
She asked me if I would be willing to get my hands as dirty as she may need to get hers to find this guy. I surprised myself by agreeing. It doesn't sit well with me. I don't know what Cruac entails, except blood. I makes me worry where that blood may be coming from... I'm not looking forward to the night when I am forced to decide just how much humanity I'm willing to lose to get what I need. I worry because I think I'm willing to give up too much.
Finally, there is a knock on the front door of the shop. Two random guys are standing there, that none of us have seen before. Auras read mages. They brush past us and begin with the mage voodoo. We never would have let them inside if she hadn't been standing behind them. A few moments later Rowan walks in with another mage beside her. It was the first time I had seen her with her pocket mages. From what I had heard, they were ghouls. Damn effective ghouls. It made me even more edgy to be working with someone who could pull strings and make mages dance...
Rowan is just plain scary. She looks scary..like the iconic old hag.. she even sounds scary. Her voice is like gravel across a chalkboard. Everyone sat (except the mages) but no one looked comfortable except for Nobody. I never knew why, but he seemed overly confident and had this smug expression I was aching to wipe off his face. We had almost had a fight getting him to put the spear away before Rowan got here, he was itching for a chance to get into a pissing contest with someone. Usually Rowan makes him just as nervous as she does us. Fucking crazy fairy bastard..
We gave her the vials of Louie's blood that had been drawn from his corpse in the bar and outlined the entire ordeal for her. The others had found Louie Ramone's body in a bathroom stall in a goth club at 11am. He had over a dozen syringes sticking out of his chest, all in all it came out to a metric shit ton of morphine. The fact that it was morphine was disturbing itself... I had been mulling that one over since they told me about it. It seems unlikely that it was a coincidence.. but how in god's name would the killer have known about my previous morphine addiction? Giuseppe was the only one who figured it out, and everyone who was in the car when he spilled it (like I said.. prick) is dead.. and I haven't used in over a year, what with the sudden onset vampirism.
But.. fuck.. Asol maybe? Tommy had said he'd been possessed by one of those rat spirits when he killed him.. a Beschalu.. If those fuckers are involved (it seems likely at this point..) that could be another connection.. goddamn it.
When they found Louie's body, they also chased a suspect, who of course got away. Louie had been the 4th victim, all within a 24 hour period. Not counting the two that didn't die. He wasn't the last either.
We outlined everything for Rowan. The victims, (we mentioned Drake, but not the sword) the asylum, our theory about the killer possibly possessing different bodies or working with spirits.. she listened silently, obviously pissed.. but then, I'd be pissed if someone offed Rebecca.. so I could sympathize. She tended to stare at me, even when other people were talking though.. Unnerving as fuck...
"I will see what I can do. This will be very helpful." She said when we finally finished.
"Just make sure when you find him, its the puppet master, and not another puppet." Giovanni muttered.
I stared at Giovanni, who once again proved his complete and utter lack of the ability to keep his fucking mouth shut. I more than half expected Rowan to calmly rip his throat out for the insult.. but she just smiled and rubbed something red on her palm and watched with an unsettling smile as Gio stood and wandered into the kitchen. I smelled blood.
Rowan stood and her mages made motions like they were leaving. I was about to allow myself to relax when Rowan dropped her bombshell on the middle of my forehead.
"You are Ordo Dracul.. yes? A Dragon?"
My expression became closed. I did not discuss my covenant affiliation with others. It tended to lead to unwelcome questions. Like now. I slowly nodded.
"You are a student of the coils.. yes?" The look on her face was greedy.
To say I was uncomfortable with this line of conversation would be an extreme understatement.
She did not wait for my answer before continuing. "I have a proposition for you. I desire to learn these coils, however, I have not yet had success in finding a willing instructor.. If you agree to teach me what you know of these coils, I will teach you secrets of Cruac.."
I stared at her, at a loss.
Nobody laughed. "Blood magic? Right. Like you have the stomach for that shit. What about those poor people you might hurt Harper?"
Fire erupted in my guts. I clenched my fists so hard that my nails bit into my palms. I focused on not shaking with rage to keep myself from clawing out his larynx. Maybe I should remove his and Gio's voiceboxes.. maybe that will teach them to SHUT THE FUCK UP. I certainly don't need anyone shouting my goddamn moral dilemmas from the rooftops where every kindred in Chicago can hear and exploit them.
Rowan's ugly face twisted into an unpleasant smirk.
"I will be in touch." And she left. The tension in the shop dissipated as the door clicked shut. Mostly.
Nobody was grinning as I walked over. I pumped as much blood as I could into my muscles and rammed my fist into his solar plexus in a solid sucker punch.. He doubled over and I walked away. It was a poor substitute for what I really wanted to do, but GOD did it feel good.
I crouched down and watched the pandoran in it's glass urn, my attention mostly on Nobody, waiting for the retaliation. I tensed as I heard the whisper of a blade being drawn. He was fucking nuts to draw a knife when all I did was punch him, but I expected the escalation. I tensed to dodge then I heard him curse. He'd fucked up his throw and sliced his hand open. There was a gash a good inch dead in the webbing between his thumb and pointer. I stopped breathing to avoid the smell of blood. I was fucking famished. He can give himself his own damn stitches. I just smirked at him, satisfied, and settled into one of the armchairs.
Which brought my attention back to Rowan's offer. I was at a loss. I didn't know what to do. Contrary to Nobody's opinion, my main concern wasn't other people. That concern was there, but to use Cruac was a choice. My concern was teaching her the Coils. I'd been told that things like that are what get Dragon's dragged out into the sun. Teaching members of other covenants the coils was a heinous crime among the Order.
On the other hand, how many lifetimes would it be before someone as powerful and well connected as Rowan offered me something this good. Cruac, for christsake! God knows what I could do with that sort of knowledge. The thought obtaining that sort of information inspired a deep seated sense of desire I didn't even know I had anymore. But was the cost worth it? Betraying a main precept of the Ordo Dracul?
It took a few minutes of this crippling indecision before it hit me. I came to a realization. It was almost as though I could hear Giuseppe whispering in my ear. I realized I didn't give a shit if I violated the rules. I realized that I hadn't even known that rule until I arrived in Chicago and talked to Norris. It wasn't something Giuseppe had thought important enough to tell me. The only rules that he had been adamant about were the ones concerning diablerie. Which I had never quite understood. I'd looked on his aura countless times. I knew he had done it, but he had never talked about it. Knowing him, he'd manufactured the situation in such a way that he could not be found at fault. God knows how he managed that one...
I felt myself smirking. I thought of Giuseppe's reaction when I came to him and offered to teach him Cruac. He and Mona both. To think of the things we could accomplish with such a resource... the rules be damned. We had been working outside the system for so long, I didn't see much benefit to allowing myself to be restricted by it now..
By eventually my smirk faded, replaced by thoughtful frown. There was still the issue of Norris. Sheriff Norris.. the eyes and ears of the Prince. I had nothing against him personally, quite the opposite.. he'd done nothing but help me out since I got here. It was because of him that I didn't get blamed for the firebombing of Maury's place, despite the (fake) evidence. But he knew everyone and everything that went on in this city. How the fuck would I be able to hide this from him? He'd known where our haven was before we had finished the sunproofing. He was notorious for knowing things he shouldn't know.
This was going to be sticky.. but hell, nothing worth knowing is easy right?
Gio walked out of the kitchen. Ham bone in hand. It looked like he had taken cold cuts and wrapped it around the existing ham. He was eating almost frantically. He was barely stopping to breath. I had a feeling it had something to do with Rowan.
"Whats got you all gloomy?" He said through mouthfuls of cold cuts.
I gave him a look, he rolled his eyes "Fine. GloomiER..Rowan's offer? Norris said he'd kill you if you taught anyone else those things right?"
I nodded. "Yeah. It's illegal.."
Gio grinned at me. "So? I bet uncle wouldn't give a shit."
"Of course he wouldn't. Its Giuseppe.. but that's not the problem. How the fuck am I supposed to keep Norris from finding out?"
Gio looked thoughtful for a moment.. which was rather impressive really. I didn't know one could look thoughtful and intelligent while shoving fistfuls of pig in his face.
"You're going to be learning under Scratch too right? That's how you got him to tell you about the worm, right? Promised to be an 'obedient student?'... From what I hear.. no one likes that guy." And he turned and walked back into the kitchen.
Leave it to the mafioso to come up with a scheme. I stared into that urn without seeing it. Coil training wasn't a quick process. I would be under Scratch's tutelage for the Coils at the same time as I taught Rowan. Why did I chose Scratch as a tutor? Only Dragon in the city who knows anything about the Coil of Beasts.. The coil that will help keep me from becoming a monster.
Maybe.. maybe there was a solution there. Scratch and Rowan hated each other, from what I heard.. but that never stopped vampires from working together before.. Scratch already had a pretty seedy reputation.. I knew he was a diablerist from the moment I set eyes on him (thank god it has been in Elysium). Would it be possible to set him up to take the fall for this? But how the fuck could I manufacture such a situation? Ideally, no one will ever find out..
Realistically.. What could I do to get Norris sniffing in Scratch's direction? And how did I do so without tipping off Scratch? I still needed him for Coils training too. How the fuck does Giuseppe do this shit? Its so fucking complicated.. but at least it was somewhere to start. It probably should have bothered me to be plotting to betray my soon to be teacher.. I decided not to dwell on the fact that it didn't. I had enough to worry about right now.
September 23, 2009
Tonight ended up being fascinating and disturbing. I think I am missing a few hours of time from the middle of the night. I remember the pandoran escaping, and speaking with Rowan and later Mona, but there are gaps in between those events that I can't account for. If I think hard, I remember going to read a book. But why would I decide to read a book and not go after the pandoran? Something isn't right, and that disturbs me. But I'll record what I do remember.
The sun set around 5pm. That is one benefit to being in Chicago over New Orleans.. earlier sunset. I can't ever watch the sun set. I don't enjoy food. But I just don't give a shit. Instead I have the means to do whatever the fuck I want. I wept the night Giuseppe killed me. That's the only word for it. Then I was practically homicidal with rage. Then I got the fuck over it. He was right, I wouldn't have agreed to it if he had asked my permission, but only because I didn't realize the opportunity it was. I owe Giuseppe. The guy I used to hate (he used to such a prick) turned into the closest thing to family I'd ever had. Dysfunctional and fucked up as it may be. I didn't choose this "life", but I damn well don't miss what I had before. The only thing that worries me is the monster. I'm no saint, but I'm fucking terrified of becoming some inhumane vampire killing machine. The temptation to tear out throats and drink people dry is always in the back (and sometimes the front) of my head..
Went out, fed, and headed back to the shop. It was dark now, and I sharpened my senses.. just in case. I've got too much bullshit going on to take a chance and get ambushed. A lot of good it did me.
I walked up the steps and reached for the door knob, and felt someone move behind me. I whirled, then stopped dead in my tracks and just stared. Jamaicastein stood at the base of the stairs. I wasn't used to seeing him look so normal. Usually he looked like a dead guy with a heart exposed in the middle of his chest. Now, out in the open, he just looked normal. It was jarring.
"What do you wish of me, Priestess of the Khaibit?"
I just stared at him like an idiot. I asked the only question I could think of in the situation. "What are you doing here?"
He seemed more than slightly irritated. "You called me. Now what is your command?"
That fucking piece of glass! At least then I knew what I had started. It was decidedly less life threatening than I had expected. At this point I wasn't at a loss for words, but my head was flooded with so many questions that I didn't know where to start. That was when Gio poked his head out the door.
"What the hell is going on out.. oh.. hi!"
Jamaicastien nodded to him, but kept staring at me.
Gio looked at me, pushing the door open wider. "Whats he doing here?"
"I called him.. apparently." I muttered.
Jamaicastein started to look impatient. "You are wasting time."
I turned and walked into the shop, telling the Promethean to come inside. His visage changed briefly as he walked through the wards of the shop. For a split second I could see the mummy, the bulge in his clothing that covered the heart we had put there.. it was almost comforting in a way. I texted Giuseppe and Mona and told them what was going on. All Giuseppe sent back was a cryptic, "Learn", Mona responded that she was on her way over. That worked to calm my nerves a bit. I hadn't heard from her in a few days and was uselessly worried.
We all settled in the living room and I immediately started pelting him with questions. Giuseppe had told me almost nothing about the Khaibit and I was determined to dig up everything I could about my bloodline. Jamaicastein had known Yousef, he was a servant of the Khaibit, and he gave me what information he could. He also looked at me as though I were a slide under a microscope. He asked me about the battle with Ophios, asked me if I had been afraid of dying. I told him the truth.. that fighting Ophios was the first time I'd ever felt like I'd found a purpose.. I'd been terrified.. but it was secondary to wanting to kick the shit out of the opener of ways.
He asked me what it felt like to have purpose.. but how the fuck am I supposed to answer that? Its what I'd been waiting for my entire fucking life and ironically I had to die to find it, but I didn't know what to say to him. He seemed bitter and angry, but not at me. He was willing enough to answer what questions he could, but he didn't know as many details as I would have hoped.
Though Gio was happy- Jamaicastein knew things about the Cult of the Phoenix, elixirs and other useful shit. He also told us to call him Icegalos. Sounds better than "Jamacaistein".
We were sitting around talking for a good hour before I smelled something burning. A lot of fire and burning going on lately. I'm not a fan.
I jumped up and nearly knocked my chair over. "I smell fire."
Everyone was confused. Apparently the only one who doesn't breathe was the only one who could smell it.
"Oh... oh FUCK. That thing! the lizard thing!" Gio ran (as fast as a guy with a gimp leg can run) into the front of the store, yelling something about the statue.
It was a guess, but he was right. The sheet that we had draped over the lizard statue was lying on the floor, all that was left of the wooden carving were a few smoldering pieces of wood.
"What are you talking about?" Icegalos watched after Giovanni, suspiciously. It was about then that something flashed across the ceiling. Whatever it was, it was nearly impossible to see. I was the only one who could keep eyes on it, and even then, barely. It looked like it had cloaking like the fucking Predator.
Before any one could react, it struck out at Icegalos, tearing deep gashes in his shoulder blades... So I shot the motherfucker. We heard it yelp, and dust erupted from it. It looked like stripper glitter and it stung like a bitch. As if the thing wasn't hard enough to see already. Nobody got a face full and it nearly caked his eyes shut. He swung at the thing a few times, but never came close to hitting it. Nadi did her hand waving and the wounds on Icegalos shrank substantially, but judging by her face, that's not what was supposed to happen.
Gio went for the sawed off shotgun and blew holes in the ceiling. He missed the thing by 8 feet. "What the fuck is that thing?" He growled.
Icegalos winced, but kept his eyes on the cieling. "Pandoran.. Promethean gone wrong."
I was getting pissed. "Goddamn it Gio. Do something useful. Find something to mark it with!"
I spared a glance as I heard him cursing as he opened and shut drawers, looking for ink. He found oil and yellow pigment and started furiously mixing the two.
I lost sight of it until it went for Nobody. It lashed out with what I think was a claw. To Nobody's credit, he knows how to handle himself. I think he sensed the attack more than saw it. I watched the air shimmer, like heat rising off pavement and Nobody twisted himself in some ridiculously impossible maneuver and avoided the attack. The damn thing was fast.
It crouched behind Nobody and while everyone else had lost visual, I made out enough of a face to make eye contact. The eyes were reptilian and the pupils contracted as its slithering, oily voice made its way inside my head.
"I have no quarrelsss with you. Leave me the abomination. It musssst be dessstroyed."
I was barely able to choke down the rage. Icegalos was mine. Abomination or not, he only ever helped us out. I had called him, he was my responsibility.
"Fuck you." I shot it between its yellow eyes.
More dust exploded into the air and thing jumped back onto the ceiling. Bullets weren't cutting it, and no one else could see it.
"Harper!" Gio threw a beaker full of the yellow paint he had been furiously making. The throw was painfully short. Without even thinking, I forced blood into my muscles, lept for the descending beaker, caught it and used my momentum to swing the glass crashing into the ceiling. I heard a hiss as the paint nailed the thing in the shoulder. I felt like a fucking badass, even as I slammed into the floor, shoulder first.
Almost as soon as the paint had landed, Nobody was moving. He had a cruel looking spear in hand, brought it out from god knows where. He slashed at the thing. The creature screamed and bolted towards the basement door, one leg now useless. Icegalos panicked, screaming something about the fuse box.
For future reference, Promethean + Electricity = The worst day of your life.
I unleashed that rage I'd been holding onto, all towards that lizard bastard. I took the beast, focused it, and let it run loose.. my vision went red.
I don't remember a lot after that. Bits and pieces. The beast can be useful, and my frenzy was controlled, but cognitive thought went out the window. I know I tried to tackle it off the ceiling..and missed. Nobody rammed his spear into its belly and the weapon extended until it hit the floor, pinning it to the ceiling like a tension rod. It's neck stretched into next week and clamped onto Icegalos' shoulder (I don't know remember how Icegalos got ahead of it). They told me later that it had been sucking his life essence out of him.
Becca ran in and clobbered it with a tire iron. You could hear the bones in its neck snap loudly and it finally fell limp. It was very, VERY dead.
The beast roared in my ears. It wanted to rip the thing to shreds and bathe in its blood. I started to reel it back in when the creature started to twitch. The beast nearly howled in glee. We watched as the lizard man tore itself in half.. and jumped out the window, leaving its back legs to dangle uselessly from the ceiling.
And then I went to read a book.
And that's what disturbs me. Something isn't right. The beast doesn't just curl back up in its hole so I can go read. Nobody remembers doing the same thing, and Becca and Gio don't remember us being there for the next 20 minutes.. but don't recall where we went. Nadi conveniently disappeared to the library before I could ask her any questions.
This doesn't bode well..
September 22, 2009
When I came back out from the shower, Nadi and the others (but mostly Nadi..)had made some headway on this "Tunguska" thing. From what they could tell it was a piece of the meteorite that had caused the Tunguska event in Russia in 1908. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event)
It had been a long night. I spent the rest of the night in my room, meditating. I was determined to advance in the Coils without Giuseppe there to hold my hand.
The next day they went to the library to look for more and somehow managed to find a pattern of deaths that occurred two weeks after the event. Almost the entire sensitive (witches, psychics, ect.) community in Russia either died or committed suicide. The only ones who did not had been attending a concert. A concert for a Glass Harmonium. They found the song, but not the performer. It's certainly something else to look into. One of those instruments was purchased in an auction by a "(insert name player can't recall here)". Gio heard another vampire call Sundown by that name before. I'm pretty disturbed by the whole thing. I really think we need to look into it more. I'm planning on calling Sundown soon.
September 21, 2009
I decided to start writing this to keep track of all the crazy shit going on. Not that I'm not used to crazy shit by now, but its getting more and more complicated, and more and more difficult to keep straight. I could start at the beginning, but the story of how I became wrapped up in all this, of how I died, and what came after feels like a lifetime ago, and I am more concerned with the here and now. Maybe one day. So I will start with yesterday, when Giovanni got the stellar idea to poke around the artifacts in his shop, and I continued to be too curious for my own damn good.
So many things had been happening in such a sort amount of time. Rebecca, Mona, Thomas and I returned to Chicago to try and track down those Mallaus Malificarum fuckers, and the shit just didn't stop coming. The short of it? Mona and I were welcomed as heroes of the city. Everyone witnessed the battle against Ophios.. everyone witnessed me feasting on the blood of the keeper of ways.. so I was well known.. I suppose it had its perks, but it was more attention than I was really interested in having. That's when the murders started.
I have never been more angry. This fucker was taunting us, murdering people and framing each one of us in turn. He fucking tried to firebomb Maury's haven and let me take the fall. I still don't know how he managed to find the haven and steal the ammo he used to cast suspicion my way. He used us, mocked us, and led us on the biggest goddamn wild goose chase of our existence. And then the trail went cold. At least for us.
So I guess is was understandable that everyone would rather take a night to do (what we thought would be) more mundane things. We'd be fools to think what we were doing was safe, however. The last time anyone had poked around the shop it was Nobody, and he just about had his no-face eaten by some scary faerie asshole. But we were curious, and there was no doubt that Al-Makur's shop would hold some interesting and useful treasures.
After a few hours of rummaging through dusty boxes and pulling sheets off larger items, we found three things that seemed to hold some kind of significance. A wooden statue of some sort of lizard creature carved out of some hardwood, and distinctly uncomfortable to look at, a locked iron box with a geode inside, and a mirror made from volcanic glass. I noticed it smelled faintly of blood.. and rose petals.
I have a love hate relationship with the abilities the Blood gives me. It allows me to glean amazing amounts of information from... practically thin air... but I always seem to end up bleeding afterwards. Maybe a sign I shouldn't go around touching so many potentially dangerous things. This time was no exception. Outwardly, these artifacts seemed innocuous.. but God knows what these things were really capable of. My sense of self preservation is frequently overthrown by an aching need to know things that I shouldn't.
Nadi could see threads of fate and death encircling the lizard statue. I still don't really understand her mage-speak, but she seems to know what she's talking about. But she couldn't tell why that was important, just that they were there. I touched the statue. The thing was fucking creepy. It made my skin crawl just looking at it. Touching it was worse. It felt almost oily.. but there wasn't any residue on it at all. I concentrated, and did what I do that usually involves unconsciousness and blood pouring out of my face by the time I'm finished.
I was suddenly in an old Victorian house. In a parlor, the statue sitting in the corner. Oh, and the house was on fire. I had a moment. Thankfully I didn't scare so much that I lost control. I realized the flames weren't real. I wasn't really there, after all. As the house burned, the wooden lizard statue sweated sap, but never caught fire. I watched as the wood darkened from the flames.
I moved through the house slowly, room to room. There was a baby and mother in one room, scorched nearly unrecognizable. Oddly though, the way they lay was strange. Not like she'd been running or cowering from flames...
In the next room I began to understand what was going on. Two men lay slumped at opposite ends of a dining table. It looked like the first bullet had taken the man through the heart. He managed to fire before he died, landing a round through the other mans eye. The remains of a candle, mostly just a puddle of wax, lay on the floor below the burning curtains. There was one candle missing from the candelabra on the table.
The kitchen was a bloodbath. At least 5 people beaten and stabbed to death with various kitchen items. Even the kennels were fucked. Every dog dead, except one, that just snapped and snarled as though it could sense me. A corpse lay a few feet away with his fucking throat torn out.
Promethean. Its the only thing I'd ever seen able to cause an entire house full of people go mad with rage and murder one another. It had been even worse in Mexico.. an entire village turned against itself... I wondered how long he'd been here, to cause so many casualties.
The moment I thought this, a man walked into the house. He was 6 feet tall and dressed in a patchwork coat. He ignored the gore, walked straight into the parlor, and took the statue. The house was falling to pieces around him, but he didn't seem to notice. He just grabbed the statue, and walked out. I tried to follow him, but lost him in the crowd that had gathered outside.
I did notice before I woke up from the vision.. that as he walked through the crowd, people started to fight. Fists and all. Gawkers into brawlers. And not surprising, the man had patchwork stitching running across the back of his skull..
When I came back to myself, I found the others staring at me expectantly. Its annoying as fuck to have them pry into every secret I manage to dig up... but it will just make things more difficult if I hold out on them. It is Gio's shit, after all. So I told them. Except I didn't recall what the man looked like. It was only the next night, when I actually met the Promethean, that the entire vision came crashing back to me...
Since I didn't wake up bleeding on the floor this time, I could move on to the next item. The glass. It held my interest the most.. and finding this made what happened with the geode later completely worth it.
Thankfully there was no house fire involved this time. I watched as a dark skinned woman dressed as some kind of priestess picked up the glass and moved over to the other side of the cavernous room. Torches flickered on the walls. There was some kind of stone altar that had held the glass. It reminded me of the photos of the interiors of pyramids... which is where it probably was. I had the sense this happened a really fucking long time ago...but regardless of the centuries, I recognized her. She was one of the two Khaibit that helped Giuseppe separate his "soul" on the docks. She's got to be fucking ancient.
It seemed to be some kind of ceremony. I heard low chanting, but I couldn't tell from where. Men were carefully unwrapping a mummy on the other side of the room. The mummy looked relatively fresh, and oddly familiar. That really nagged at me. Why the hell does an ancient Egyptian mummy look familiar?
The priestess knelt beside the corpse and unfolded its arms. Carefully, she put the glass over its chest before moving the arms back. The mummy looked as though it was clutching the glass close. Without so much as a word, she stood and moved away as the eunuchs began to re-wrap the body.
I blinked, the dim lights in the shop seemed bright compared to the torch-lit chamber. Gio looked at me expectantly, Nobody gave an impatient "well?" (fucker), and Nadi went about her business, presumably allowing me to talk when I damn well wanted too. Without a word to any of them I pulled out my knife and sliced open my palm, not giving me enough to talk myself out of it. I made myself bleed on the glass.
The damn think drank it. As soon as the steady stream of vitae hit the surface, it went into the glass. I felt the thing tugging at me. Not physically.. the best way I can describe it was that it pulled on my soul. It was trying to pull part of me into it. Fear wrapped icy tendrils around my guts, but what could I do? I took the risk and now I thought I was about to get fucked over.
But nothing else happened. The tugging faded away.. but there was still a sense of..something. I'd started something. I just had no idea what. The glass was now tinged red.. and Nadi said that the threads of fate and death that had been around it had gone from looking old and faded, to brand new, and were now wrapped around me. Damn mages..
"What the fuck are you doing?" Giovanni squawked, trying to snatch the glass from my hands. I held it out of the gimps reach just shrugged. He glowered at me, leaning heavily on his cane. "You can't claim shit in my shop just by bleeding on it you know. "
Nobody was giving me an incredulous look. "You're a moron, you don't even know what that thing does."
I barked a scornful laugh. "This coming from the guy who thought it would be a good idea to pick up random shit in the shop and use your weird faery magic on it? Forgive me if i don't feel properly chastised. Now are you two going to shut the fuck up and let me talk? Or do you really have no interest in this thing?"
He and Nobody finally stopped giving me hell when I told them what I had seen, especially the familiar mummy. Nobody actually figured it out (we should throw a party for him). He asked if it looked like any of the Prometheans we knew of and it hit me. It was fucking Jamaicastein. I think Theo came up with that name when we put his heart back in him in Mexico.. I think because of the dreads.. I never knew his actual name. I never thought to ask him. So Jamaicastein in some sort of ancient Khaibit ritual. At the time I made note to ask him about it next time I saw him.. if ever.
I texted Giuseppe and asked for the Khaibit's contact info. He sent back two UK email addresses and asked if it was an emergency. I was tempted to tell him yes, but I didn't want to take him from whatever he was doing (which was god knows what..). I emailed the two Khaibit a photo of the glass.
We moved on to the iron box. It said "Tunguska" on the box. Gio (wisely) grabbed heavy work gloves and pulled the geode out. I wouldn't have been surprised if the thing had been fucking radioactive. Ice started forming on his gloves. He said his hands almost instantly started going numb. I should've known better. I put fingertips on it, and it leeched whatever warmth was left in those fingers. I'm pretty sure I started getting frostbite the second I touched the thing. When I tried to read it things got even more fun.
All I could hear was screaming. Thousands of voices, all pissed as hell, screaming. It felt like someone was forcing an ice pick into my ear. I woke up on the floor, with Rebecca peering at me. My hearing returned slowly. I think she asked if I was okay. I just looked at her. Blood was pouring out of my eyes, nose, and ears. My entire palm was blackened. They told me later that I had wrapped my hand around the thing and started having some sort of seizure. Eyes rolled back, fangs extended, the whole 9 yards.
Like I said. Love and hate.
This journal will begin in the current chapter of the campaign, meaning people and events from the past may be referenced. If I fail to explain anything, please feel free to ask for details! Keep in mind that often several game sessions will occur in the same night IN GAME, so there may be multiple entries per one night of game time. Just pay attention to the dates that I enter on the post, not the dates the blog automatically assigns!
Many of the characters are detailed in the World of Darkness Chicago book. The characters listed below are player characters, and storyteller created NPC's
Gregori "Ori" IronFeather
Werewolf, Bone Shadow, Cahalith
Ori is the most recent addition to the group. Son of a native American Father and Russian mother, Ori is cousin to Stepping Feather, and was sent to Chicago by a vision of his now dead cousin. When he arrived, he was hunting Giuseppe's ghost and came across the actual Giuseppe, who proceeded to beat the shit out of him and threatened to kill his family if Ori didn't help the group. He helped save the group from Pain of Animals in the Meat Packing District, and now he hangs out and helps out, even though Giuseppe has since admitted that he has no intention of harming Ori's family. He was recently offered a place in the Santore pack by Vitorio himself, after the battle with Citysmith, and is the first non-Italian member of the family/pack. Age: 23
Mage: Mastigos, Space and Mind
Theo is former Special Forces and joined up with the original group in Mexico before the temple fiasco. He disappeared for awhile and awakened, and shortly after that was drafted into Project Valkyrie as an agent. He reappeared suddenly to aid Harper as a PV point of contact for her while the group was trying to obtain the scarabs to battle ophios. He is only around occasionally, as PV constantly has him on assignment (which is code for 'his player lives in another state and only visits occasionally.'). He pops in from time to time to help the group, usually as a PV liaison, but sometimes for his own personal reasons. He works for Project Valkyrie as long as it serves his agenda. He also has a potentially fatal fascination with The Unholy.
Mage: Moros. Karl was another member of the original group. The oldest player character, he is a shrimp boat captain in his 40s. He sometimes embodies Baron Samedi, and is a sexist fucker and alcoholic. His dog, Danzig, is a large rottweiler who is much more powerful and intelligant than a normal dog has any right to be. Karl is with Tommy in the New Orleans/Mexico side of the chronicle.
Kindred: Gangrel, Brujah bloodline. Unaligned. Jaleel was another member of the original group. He was at one point a Crip in New Orleans, and is now a Brujah.He has problems controlling the beast, often getting carried away and murdering innocent people he. But he's working on it. He is with Tommy and Karl in the New Orleans/Mexico side of the chronicle. Age: 24
Tommy's new packmate. The Chicago group has never met Nick, and knows only that he is Uratha and has joined the New Orleans/Mexico group in their travels. Age: ?
Mehket(hollow)/Khaibit/Dragon/Harper's Sire. Giuseppe is the main NPC in the game. He is an ingenious schemer. He was s ghoul for several decades before becoming embraced while the group was in Mexico by person unknown. Several of the members of the old group hate him because of his perceived betrayal on the temple top in Mexico when he sliced everyone up and forcibly embraced Harper. She got over it. He is also Giovanni's great uncle, but he was excommunicated from the family a very long time ago for reasons no one will talk about. Giuseppe's name is never mentioned except by a very select few Santori's, and always in private. Apparent age: 21, Age: 70s
Mehket(hollow)/Unaligned/Giuseppe's other half and other childe. Mona was a ghoul and detective on the New Orleans police force for several years before being embraced by Giuseppe just before the fight with Ophios. She and Giuseppe have been together since before they became ghouls. She and Giuseppe became Harper's adoptive, disturbed, and dysfunctional family after Giuseppe embraced Harper. Mona is a badass who will beat you silly given half an excuse. Apparent age: Mid 30s Actual Age: 80s
Previous owner of Giovanni's shop. Member of the Cult of the Phoenix. Discovered to have Set bound to him during the fight with Ophios. Died when the group used the Celestial Flange to unbind Set in order to avoid Chicago being turned into a wasteland by ancient Egyptian gods fighting. Left Gio his shop and everything in it when he died. Other names: Seth, youngest of three brothers. You get to guess what his two brother's names were.
Promethean/Osiran/Khaibit servant. The old group were responsible for returning his heart to him in Mexico, he helped the group accomplish its mission on the temple in Mexico, then showed up again later in Chicago and gave aid for the encounter with Ophios.
Can refer to either the Galateid Promethean or any of the 13 girls named Natalie murdered to create her. One Natalie murder and her ghost was the original event that brought the original group together in New Orleans
Member of the Hunter group Aegis Kai Doru, Friend of werewolves, Giuseppe and Drake had many violent encounters through the years. Drake was murdered outside of a Jazz club by person unknown
Michael Denzelo and Captain O'Donnell
Hunters- Project Valkyrie. A Contact of Harper's, tried to assassinate Harper and Giuseppe before battle with Ophios. Partner was killed and he was captured, but instead of torturing him for information, Harper convinced him she wasn't a monster like the kindred that murdered his family and let him go. Afterwards, his superiors decided to use Harper as a point of contact to keep tabs on her group. Denzelo was targeted by the serial killer who nearly caused him to kill himself. Rescued by a phone call from Harper to Captain O'Donnell who has become her new point of contact within Valkyrie as Denzelo is now on suicide watch.
Dr. Jack Bright
(I usually will not list characters here if they were first encountered in a journal entry, but I felt it necessary to give the inspiration for the character)
Research Scientist- SCP Foundation
Dr. Jack Bright is an occasional character who's main objective seems to be securing supernatural objects and taking them into the custody of the mysteriousness "Foundation". Similar to the Aegis Kai Doru, only younger, better funded, and more research and development based, The Foundation and Dr. Jack Bright are derived from the organization and character created on this website: http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/dr-bright-s-personnel-file
It should be noted that the Bright in our game may not conform exactly to the character on that site.