In Hollywood … Gary Golden
As soon as you approach the door, you notice there are cheesy Christmas lights around the perimeter of the doorway. It seems odd and eccentric, almost ironical in some way, and then you see there are a few other doors, seemingly ripped off of varied styles of homes. There are voices, gentle singing but also eerie and unsettling. It sounds like wind is blowing through the tunnel system where this being, “Gary,” was clearly living. Some vampire lives this way, in tunnels or in sewers, and so it could be expected that Gary might be ugly, and obfuscation therefore his primary talent.
Making your way up the tunnel system, the player finally comes across a very fine-looking set of double doors, almost ancient and metallic in appearance, and then stepping through the doorway leads to an open room with a dining table and what appear as manikins seated around the dinner table. There is a candle fixture on the table, and as the player notices the well-dressed parody of dinner guests in front of them, whispers from behind them in a sewer-grating voice: “By the clack, smack, cracking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes…”
“I don’t remember seeing you on the guest list for the dinner party…we’re having a wrap party,” referring to a ‘wrap up’ as in filming during a Hollywood production, “—for the Misfits, about 40 years late. Cast and crew only, Boss.” The way he calls you “Boss” doesn’t make you feel like any kind of boss at all, and you can’t trace where in the room he is. It’s also suddenly clear that, at least so far, the male mannikin is clearly a skeleton, the skull unmistakable now…
“Maybe, I’m in your head..” his voice is so grating on their ears that the more he talks the more unhinged you feel, like you’ve stumbled into a meticulously-planned trap. “Uh oh…you might have picked up one of those psychoses so common to new kindred.”
“I just need to talk to you.”
“We are talking. But you aren’t listening, Boss.” It seems the voice is coming from the ceiling, but that doesn’t seem possible, you look up to the chandelier but without a noise betraying movement the voice seems to have nevertheless changed locations. You’re used to getting what you want, aren’t you, handsome? People just love your charisma, your face. The eat your words up like the rats eat the cheese in the trap. Oh, Boss, where do you think you are?”
“Who are you?”
“Maybe I’m a ghost. Oh c’mon. Don’t tell me you just stumbled down here. What I need to know is, why you’re here.”
“Let’s talk face to face.”
“I’m over here, boss! Wait, maybe I’m over here! Or maybe I’m behind you, with a hatchet in my hand…or did you ever stop to think that your fear, if given a voice, would sound… like… this.”
“What do you want?”
“I want to stick your lovely face in a pirhana tank; I want to apply an acid glaze to your sculptured body; I want to throw your pocket mirror under a thresher and watch you fetch it. But I’m no butcher, boss. Are you?”
“I’m here about the Ankaran Sarcophagus.”
“You don’t say. …
“Forget it boss…it’s Chinatown.”
After finding a captured vampire who you were sent by Gary to locate, where the vampire reveals that the sarcophagus was stolen by the Giovanni clan. The fledgling vampire player breaks into the Giovanni mansion and finds the sarcophagus guarded by the Kuei-Jin.
Apparently the Kuei-Jin of Chinatown have made an alliance with prince LaCroix.
The Scholar Vampire… Becket
On the way back you hear howling, and at the abandoned train station a white wolf runs across the top of the metallic train. Its claws heard unmistakably, tapping paws on hard cold steel. Two worlds, of man and of monster, chillingly reconciled.
The creature leaps out in front of the player and transforms before you eyes from a white wolf into a man. “The warehouse, your handiwork I presume?”
“Yeah, that was me.”
“Hopefully no Sabbat saw you escape. They can be somewhat…antagonistic.”
“Who are you, and why are you following me?”
“I see for once my reputation does not precede me,” … “My name is Beckett. I haven’t been following you, per se, we’ve just coincidentally been in the same places at the same time—for different reasons. So sorry if I unnerved you.” … “Tell me, have you by chance seen or felt anything strange since your embrace?”
“I didn’t really see anything out of the ordinary.”
“Most of my contacts here report sensing something unusual in the night air—like a sense of dread, or pressure—but I’m not a native to these parts, so I can’t tell if it’s irregular, and since you’re still fresh…perhaps you’re not attuned to it. Pleasure meeting your acquaintance, but there are rumblings for me to discredit. We shall, I’m certain, meet again…or never again. Good night, young one, and be careful, you’re likely being hunted by the Sabbat.”
“Someone is certainly going to be surprised when they find out they’ve paid a kingly sum, for a desiccated old corpse. So, how would you feel about earning some good wealth?
I’ve always been fascinated with our eastern counterparts but I’ve never had enough time to really look into them. With so many of the Asians here on the west coast, I’d just like to pick their brains, literally.
I’m so busy bursting everyone’s doomsday bubbles that I just don’t have the time, especially after tonight . I always hated scavenger hunts.
Something like that…I’ve heard they have a book in their palace that contains all sorts of tid-bits and wisdom—just the sort of thing I’d like curling up with. If you were to, say, bring it to me I’d make it worth your time.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Great. I wouldn’t recommend exposing yourself to the Qui Jinn , if you pull this off I imagine you might have trouble keeping your head attached
“That sounds lovely. Any advice?”
“Sneaking might help. Also, I never said you had to get the book.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Don’t have too much fun without me.”
Beckett: “How any sane kindred could think these poor unfortunates are an immediate threat to us is absurd. Most were afraid, or at the least uneasy around me. Tragic. Their desperation could very well hold the spark of revolution, however.”
“Tell me about yourself.”
“Hmm…I’ve said quite a lot about myself already. I know even less about you than you do me. Why don’t you tell me about yourself?”
“Like yourself I see myself as somewhat of a scholar.”
“I consider myself a seeker of reluctant information. Scholar sounds like academia. Ugh! How versed are you in the occult?”
“Then you wouldn’t know that Dracula, the fictional vampire of movie fame, was very real. His real name was Vlad Tepes, and he was a Tzimisce, though he was not Sabbat. By some accounts, he still lives into these nights.”
The society of Leopold storyline.
He picked up a note that said ‘Art of the Quick-Draw’ by Ned Nederlander
“Don’t think, just shoot! It’s that simple.”
The creature had come through the back doorway, deactivating the trip-mines and sneaking it’s way while a hunter kneeled and prayed at an altar. The creature had been busy that night, and was wearing the typical in nightclub fashion while infiltrating the society of Leopold’s temporary fortress in the Los Angeles area. The rooms were filled with heavily armed hunters. The creature feared not, and was armed to the teeth himself, on top of his violent mastery of various kindred dark arts for subduing and mind controlling human prey. He had a pistol, sub-machine gun, and a high-caliber revolver with him to boot—but he would do as much as he can by obfuscation and stealth first.
The battle ensued within the halls of their barracks, the creature uncloaked and sieging outrightly the society of Leopold. He was a rising kindred in the area, and Prince LaCroix had been marking him out for distinction recently. He was praised for his ‘effectiveness.’ The creature had even survived a suicide mission LaCroix had sent him on, unwittingly, so the local elder vampires had all their eyes on him. Some of the newly turned kindred displayed tremendous powers, it was a roll of the dice.
There was a gun fight in the halls of the barracks. The creature has unnatural speed, and power over the mind, but he is damaged in the combat, and realizes that the facility goes underground… and now he must kill more… fight its way through whatever hunters are down below, as well as survive any surprises on its way back up and out on its exit. The corpses are armed with blades and other weaponry, and the creature may have to make all manner of improvisations in its work tonight.
Another barracks below, the creature found itself in a worst case scenario, from the mission he had endeavored across had now become a small war. The paramilitary organization of hunters were armed, even on surprise attack they each have sidearms, and they have trained accuracy and are getting hits in. The creature is young, and fast, and not rabid but tempered, smart, and good in fighting. He was likely destined to die soon anyway, played off by all of the local elders, until one of them double-crosses it in the fear of giving over any power… there’s a reason the elders are the elders, and why there aren’t a lot of them…
“Unless you’ve got any further questions, I’d really like to get back to looking at the Sarcophagus.”
Becket was… in the brightly-lit and regal penthouse, … the sarcophagus wasn’t opening and seemed very out of place within LaCroix’s palace.
He said he had located a monastery near a beach in Malibu, where he believed hunters were holding captive the gentleman the creature was looking for.
“You figured all that out, just from sniffing around his room?”
“Actually, there were two hunters on the roof of the building opposite the hotel who were positively delighted to tell me everything they knew.”
“Hunters have this guy? What would hunters want with an archeologist?”
“The hunters abducted Dr. Johansen for his own protection. Or at least, that’s how they’ve justified it. He’s being held by the Society of Leopold and used, quite ingeniously, as bait for Prince LaCroix’s minions.”
“The society of Leopold?”
“Sebastian mentioned you ran into one of the hunters from the Society of Leopold some time ago. They’re so secret a church organization, I don’t even think they know if they exist…”
“So how do we get him out?”
Becket spoke arrogantly, thought the creature, and on it’s way out to do its bidden task the pampered elder stops it, the elder Becket, who scoffs at terms like scholar, he says, but clearly sees himself as one, prideful, and vain, from the perspective of the creature, says “I wouldn’t recommend walking. Certainly Sebastian’s already provided cab fare—I’m sure he always spares no expense when archeology is at stake.”
Despite Becket’s pampered appearance, they all looked pampered to the creature, he was not weak. The creature would assume, by their looks, that they are all pampered and weak but the creature knew better. In fact, the elder Becket had taught the creature something of his own animal nature, and to better commune with wolves and the various beastial natures involved in their world of darkness, and in a contest of violence Becket was quite strong, savage, and the Prince LaCroix had taught the creature treachery, but also strategy.
That’s why the creature dressed well now too. That was strategy. They were running nightclubs, and the creature had to look right, he had been handsome once, when he was a man, and he didn’t always get enforcer work. He sometimes ran errands, or roused ‘talent.’ But the creature certainly preferred the enforcer work.
At the base of the hill the night air is chilly. The cab driver dropped you off, and you suspect he’s one of LaCroix’s goons—or at least a vampire. Certainly a creature of the night. He would give the creeps to anyone living. The Monastery of the Society of Leopold are up the incline ahead, … the wind whistles in the night, and the pathway is littered with large boulders. Sneaking upward until you can see some light, you see the building, and can hear someone, one or two of the patrolling guards: “Greetings commander.”
“Any news to report?”
“The Gladius Dei has told us to keep a sharp eye!”
The target is out of the creature’s range.
“He thinks we may have some visitors this evening.”
“Of course, sir.”
“Did he mention… ah, what kind of visitors, sir?”
“The only kind that matters, soldier.”
“Yes sir, of course, sir.”
There are guards everywhere. As soon as the guard finishes speaking to his commander he is overcome with exhaustion, asleep instantly, falling right where he had been standing. Other guards on patrol are taken out silently, one by one. The creature stalks around, confirming no loose ends.
The creature knows how to access their computers, and how to bypass their simple encryptions and disarm their traps. He had been in tech, a lifetime ago. The militants have laser trip wires and explosives everywhere. They probably had cameras too, but the creature didn’t care about that. He was looking to make quick work. And as for evidence, it wouldn’t matter coming from these guys, as secretive an organization as the Masquerade itself is.
At the altar, the warrior of the Cross stands from his kneeling position, whispers the ends to his petition before the throne, and for that split second the creature truly felt diabolic, as the creature’s genuine interest is piqued, at whether his sorcery was strong enough… if the mind control charms of the creature would be stronger… than the jihadist zealot mid-prayer… wouldn’t that be a unique corruption?
The human failed to resist it.
Chattering, panicked madness, sometimes aided by the sight of the creature but sometimes not. The hyper alert prey are sensitive to the dark lifeless energies and the horror is furthered by this energy dynamic. The spell causes a panic in the weak willed, and usually in the strong willed too. They are struck with a debilitating madness, petrified in fear, for a day or two…
In the hallway, the creature was expending it’s side arms, it’s 9mm was becoming low, and his revolver never came with much ammunition. He had targeted a few explosives, but it caused mere disarray, and the numbers of hunters weren’t dwindling, and were uncannily rising in numbers to defy the vampire. This particular blood sucker was armed to the teeth too, unfortunately, and these flock were more mercenary than true believer. They didn’t have any of the holy energy the creature had sensed in some others, and this slaughter was fair game. The creature would earn his meal tonight, however…
The balance comes due, for currencies not just of energy but of pain, and suffering, and anyways isn’t that how it always is?
One of the militant goons was charmed into dancing, and amidst the corpses of his comrades he is left by the creature dance in place, utterly charmed by vampiric sorceries, and confused by them…
A survivor in another room is feasted upon by the creature, who’s wounds heal miraculously. It was at this time that the creature first had taken stock at how much damaged he had endured. He had been riddled with human weapons, gunfire, he had a few arrows, a few throwing knives, and grenade shrapnel sticking out of his flesh, but these metals and wood and feathers fall off of him once he has a fed as he stands surging in black and crimson energies. The power of the darkness is strong in this kindred creature. And it hadn’t even discovered the barracks or the underground tunnels yet.
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