September 21, 2009

The night the shit hit the fan- Relics

November 23rd, 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.

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