The Black Spiral

Chapter Two
Defection

Scene One

One month later.

The Krewe awakens on a Saturday night. Valerie is up first, as usual, and hard at work cataloging the results of some experiments she had been running on the Kindred condition. August informs everyone that business has picked up substantially, and they spend the first part of their evening ordering body armor online. They want to be careful after having been attacked by what appeared to be Antoine Savoy’s cronies the month prior.

Scene Two

Soon they set out to feed. Valerie and August find a frat party to crash, and soon enough are well fed in the midst of the drunken festivities. Solomon unsuccessfully tries his luck on lone students stumbling their way home. Sebastian, being more the brute force type, is unable to successfully find anyone to feed on. He shows up to the party late, and August is generous enough with his own catch to share.

Scene Three

Returning to their haven for the night, the Krewe begins discussing what to do next when they hear something small clamoring around in the heating ducts. They ready themselves for some sort of confrontation. Momentarily, a large rat climbs out of the vent and scurries its way towards Solomon. It has a small plastic tube tied to it’s back. Solomon tries to stomp on it, but misses. August closes the vent, giving it no avenue of escape. Running for its life, the rat climbs up Valerie’s leg and into her lab coat.

She carefully unties the tube from the rat’s back and opens it up, revealing a message scrawled on a small piece of paper. The message was simple: an address to a house in Mid-City, a time (Thursday at midnight), and the ornate seal of the Ordo Dracul.

Upon receiving the message, August confesses that he would like to abandon the Lancea Sanctum and join the rest of his Krewe in the Ordo Dracul. After making it very clear that he would have a hard time earning the trust of the covenant, the rest of the Krewe agrees to take him to the meeting.

Scene Four

The meeting takes place in an abandoned house in the urban sprawl that is Mid-City. There are no lights, and the handful of vampires gathered are careful not to make too much noise. In attendance are the Krewe, Kogaion, Lidia Kendall, and two other neonates (a tall light skinned black man with a shaved head, and a shorter red-haired man, both well dressed.) This is the entire known population of Ordo Dracul in New Orleans.

Upon seeing August, the Kogaion demands to know why a known Lancea Sanctum priest is present. The Krewe explains his intent to defect from the Sanctum, and after renouncing God and the Sanctum August is permitted to attend as a probationary member of the Order.

In the middle of the home’s dining room was a sturdy but rotting wooden table. Atop the table was a clear crystal the size of a fist, and glass jar containing a faintly glowing white liquid. The Kogaion asked if anyone present could identify the items. Solomon and Sebastian were the only ones to speak up, identifying them as some sort of focusing crystal and what appeared to be a kind of ghostly or spiritual ectoplasm. The Kogaion commended them for their knowledge.

The Kogaion then explained that if the covenant were to take The Great Work seriously, it would need a place to safely store and study these oddities and others like them. August was able to convince everyone that he could purchase such a place for Ordo Dracul use, and the Kogaion promptly placed Lidia Kendall in charge of the project as the Academy’s castellan and as the Krewe’s official mentor. She was ordered to instruct them in The Great Work and guide them towards learning their first coil. The other two neonates were given the responsibility of safeguarding the artifacts until they could be properly stored.

In closing the meeting, the Kogaion gave everyone a chance to bring matters of import to the covenant’s attention. The Krewe then explained the mysterious murders and attack against them that happened the previous month, the implication of Antoine Savoy, and Caitlin Meadow’s involvement as the prime suspect. The Kogaion advised caution where Caitlin Meadows was concerned, and adjourned the meeting.

Scene Five

Upon returning to their haven, the night watch informed them that someone had been prowling around the premises and on the roof. The security camera footage was blurry, but the Krewe was able to recognize the culprit as Caitlin Meadows.

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Chapter One
The Black Mass

August attends the Lancea Sanctum’s Black Mass. (More info to be revealed when it would no longer spoil the plot for the other players.)

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Prologue
The Dead Travel Fast

Setting

Our nascent Krewe meets a strange new vampire by the name of Mason at the Sasparilla Club. Mason is distressed, and informs the Krewe that his own Krewe, The Dirty Throws, has been poaching in the feeding grounds of other vampires. The Dirty Throws want to place the blame on Mason and turn him in to the Sherrif. Mason tells our protagonists that he intends to turn them in first, but that they caught wind of his plans and are hunting him down. Seeing the opportunity to curry favor, our heroes agree to escort Mason to the Sherrif.

When the team arrives at Louis Armstrong Park, the arranged meeting place, they unexpectedly stumble on two other vampires. One of them a woman with short russet hair (recognized as Caitlin Meadows,) and the other a black man with dreadlocks and a beret. Everyone is surprised by the chance encounter. The woman, reacting violently, slays the man she was with in one fell swoop and vanishes from sight. Mason, in a panic, also vanishes. The Krewe is left alone and confused in the park, with the rotten corpse of a dead vampire before them.

Scene One

At the sight and smell of blood, Sebastian and August are thrown into the throes of Wassail and descend upon the corpse, draining it dry. Bad timing, as a group of militant black men, led by a rather attractive Kindred (recognized as Josue Vendredi,) stroll into the scene. Assessing the situation, the newcomer insist under threat of violence that the Krewe should see Baron Cimitierre. Having little choice, they agree.

Scene Two

Blindfolded, the Krewe is escorted to a shabby two-story building somewhere in the Treme district. The building has no floor or foundation, and is apparently some sort of vodoun place of worship. The blindfolds are removed just in time for the Krewe to see the body of the slain vampire place before them. On the other side, in a high-backed chair, sits Baron Cimitierre.

The Baron calmly askes how his man met a final death, and August, taking the lead, answers honestly. The Baron is incensed that Prince Vidal’s rogue hound would have the audacity to attack and slay one of his loyal vassals right in public, and in his own backyard. He advises the Krewe not to talk to anyone important about the matter until they can clear their own names of any suspicion. He asks that, if they should discover who arranged the whole set up, they would inform him. He would be most grateful.

Scene Three

The Krewe is dismissed from the Baron’s presence and escorted (blindfolded) back to Louis Armstrong Park. Frightened by the night’s events, they elect to return to their haven and wait out the remainder of the night.

Scene Four

The very first order on the next evening’s agenda is to purchase a weapon. Together, the Krewe contacts a local “black market” weapon dealer and purchases a revolver. As they are leaving the scene, they are met by the driver of a horse-drawn carriage (the kind that tourists can ride to and from the French Quarter) who cordially invites them to meet with one Antoine Savoy, the French Quarter Lord. Unsure what’s going on, the Krewe accepts in hopes of finding some answers.

Savoy’s manor is opulent, and strangely full of mortals who are enjoying themselves to the tunes of 1930’s New Orleans jazz. He and his “seneschal,” Natasha Preston greet them warmly and bid them sit and share in some special bottled “wine.” After breaking the ice, Savoy begins trying to glean what information about the previous night’s goings on that he can from the characters. Valerie and Solomon let slip that they were trying to help a young kindred by the name of Mason, and that Caitlin Meadows had killed a different kindred. After advising the Krewe to be very careful of Caitlin, they part ways and are politely escorted off the property.

Scene Five

After leaving Savoy’s place, the Krewe decides to go and investigate the parish of Father John Marrow, who lives near Louis Armstrong Park. Before they even make it out of the French Quarter, however, they are ambushed by two young black thugs armed with pistols. The Krewe easily defeats the thugs, but accidentally kill both of them. Sebastian falls victim to hunger frenzy again, having not had time to properly feed enough. The Krewe takes the gangbanger’s cheap car, along with the bodies, back to their haven before any authorities arrive on the scene.

Looting the bodies, they discover a cell phone. The only information of interest in the phone is the recent calls list. August dials the number of the most recent incoming call and a confused woman answers the phone after several rings, informing him that he has just called a payphone on Chestnut St. Everyone recognizes the street as the place of residence of Gabriel Hurst. They are also able to trace the number of the last outgoing call made by the cell phone to Gabriel Hurst’s office.

Scene Six

After some deliberation, the Krewe decides to pay Hurst a visit. They know that Sherrif Donovan has a grudge of some kind against Hurst, and are visiting under the pretense that the Sherrif is attempted to frame Hurst for the attack against them. They want to see how Hurst responds, and come ready for combat.

Hurst welcomes them to his impressive and extravagant home (with armed guards everywhere, of course.) He hears them out as they explain their situation and theory. Upon hearing that a call was placed from the nearby phone booth to the cell phone, Hurst has his security chief look up video footage from his manor’s security cameras. He is able to pinpoint the time and location, and it is revealed that the man who placed the call was a Kindred who seems to be a good descriptive match of Mason. With his knowledge of local Kindred, Hurst is able to use deductive reasoning to identify “Mason” as one Arthur Duchamps. He has his security staff give the Krewe Duchamp’s address, and wishes them good luck.

Scene Seven

The Krewe decides to first get backup. They go to Sherrif Donovan and explain the situation, and he agrees to go with them and arrest Duchamps. When they arrive, there is no answer at the door. Donovan breaks the door down, and they discover the burnt remains of what appears to be Arthur Duchamps in his bedroom. The corpse is clutching at it’s throat, as if attempting to tear it out. There is a fire blanket draped over the couch. A memo pad is found with a few notes written in it, one of which reads, “SW at LAP, 11p.m. Come prepared.” They also notice a dust-free spot on a desk which indicates that there had been a laptop sitting there. It is gone now.

Donovan, proclaiming them clear of suspicion, declares the matter closed. He thanks the Krewe for their responsibility, and as a token of appreciation from a grateful Prince he offers them a choice of (reasonable) feeding grounds anywhere in the city. He makes it very clear that this grant of territory comes at the price of the coterie’s silence in the matter of these murders. They are not to talk about them to anyone, and to leave the situation up to him. They agree, and elect the universities scattered throughout New Orleans as their own feeding territory.

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