Wednesday, 27th july,
An uneventful day.
Stix goes panhandling.
Evan transfers some money and continues digging his trench.
I can’t remember what Anthony did.
Saul binged on backyard scientist, cody’s lab and similar youtube channels (gaining first exp in science).
The Tree Grows
That night after some amelioration etc as per normal, the Tree finally grows to its second level. Of course it grew after the characters did their thing so their leveling up of innate powers will have to wait.
Thursday, 28th july
Belinda takes the day off, gets the character’s sizes at breakfast, and goes shopping for clothes with Anthony. They go for smart casual, spending about a grand. Anthony makes sure to get some top hats for folk.
Evan transfers some money and digs his trench, (working down the other neighbors’ fence now, having skipped the back section where the palm tree is.
The characters debate taking weapons to the theater, realising that it will probably be at the performing arts center and therefore Elysium. All except Saul opt to go without. Saul conceals his kitchen knife and handgun, leaving the cleaver at home (I think).
7pm sharp the doorbell rings, Isobella stands politely on the threshold in the darkness. She seems pleased to find the characters dressed up and ready to go.
Evan jokingly asks if she brought a limo, and she did indeed bring a black stretch (“I don’t usually indulge, but since there were so many of us tonight”).
A uniformed driver holds the door to the cabin for them, the characters sense a faint flush of vampiric power within him, similar to how Erin was tainted. A muscular, suited bodyguard (with sunglasses) rides in the front passenger seat, he seems completely human as far as the characters can tell.
Inside the cabin is private. As the car slides through traffic Isobella briefs them. She seems a little nervous, stressing that first impressions are important. That even if they don’t know if the people they are talking to are part of of “high society” or not they must be polite, “The Kindred must mix with the Kine”. She doesn’t know who will be there, saying that it depends on who is curious and that they’ll find out who is willing to be made known to the characters by those who attend.
At the Opera (well… Singing in the Rain actually)
The limo pulls drops them off at the front. The characters flow in with the crowd of well expensively dressed people. Nothing seems to happen about Saul entering armed.
Inside the massive foyer there are bars and dining areas and crowds of people socializing while drinking champagne from plastic glasses. Isobella leads the characters over to where Prince Ruairc is talking with three large set, expensively dressed, and apparently human men, (Tio is nearby chatting up some well dressed ladies). She introduces the characters and the prince in turn introduces them to Jarod (senior at a law firm), Bruce (chairman of the board for a financial company), andSamuel (a member of state parliament). Saying the characters have been “helping Ms Yasley with her studies”.
Bruce and Samual look as if they know what the Prince means, but Jarod asks Isobella about her research. She replies with some guff about blood immunology and giving the characters a break from the grind. Bruce indicates his company might “have an interest in supporting your work” and Isobella politely accepts (they arrange for his people to call hers).
The characters remain politely neutral, and when the Prince smiles dismissal Isobella leads them away, seeming much relieved but still nervous, “Next the gallery I think”.
On the second floor, in a small, quiet gallery of theater props and costumes Isobella introduces the characters to Otto andMargarethe Haslang, a young seeming couple (both strong vampires) with old fashioned mannerisms and upper class english accents. Margarethe seems a little dismissive, “Charmed I’m sure”. But Otto seems enthused, “heard you had a bit of excitement hey? Always good to see a good dust up!” Isobella intervenes before conversation can develop too far, “we must find our seats”.
The character’s seats turn out to be squarely in the middle of the main seating area. The Prince and Tio, in company with a different group of rich folk, are seated in the balcony directly behind and above them (best seats in the house for people with good long vision). The characters also spot Zhou’s redhead taking a seat in one of the balcony boxes to the right. She is in company with a dark haired tan skinned man who looks like a male model. The redhead seems to have more individual personality outside of Zhou’s presence.
As the lights dim Anthony activates Spirit Sight, using the brim of his top hat to conceal the physical changes:
He notices that the man accompanying Zhou’s redhead is also a vampire, not as strong as the redhead (who is weaker than Isobella) but still much stronger than the R-Zee fledglings were. The redhead is watching the characters more than the start of the show.
He spots the Haslangs seated in a balcony on the left. They are also watching the characters. Margarethe seems about the same strength as Isobella while Otto is perhaps weaker.
By far most of the thousand or so people around them are ordinary humans. Anthony spots a few brighter, or more human humans among them, similar to, but not as strong as the extra-humanness they saw in Zhou’s psychic. On one balcony he spots two distinguished looking men (one older, one younger) with this extra-humanness property who also have strange shimmering silver around them (to his spirit sight).
Square in the middle of the front row he spots a thin, middle aged looking man (vampire) with wild genius hair who seems to be taking child like delight in the show. This vampire seems to be around the same strength as the man accompanying Zhou’s redhead.
Aaaaand, up in yet another balcony seat, Anthony spots a distinguished, salt and pepper haired gentleman in whom spirit sight reveals the nature of a wolf. Anthony points him out to Donald, I think Donald used auspex to determine the man was the well dressed wolf he’d seen (and been seen by) in hospital, (if not here than later).
The show turns out to be quite long. During intermission there is more hobnobbing. Saul gets bored and wags most of the second half. Wandering round the building he is approached by William Negis. They have a friendly talk while William gives Saul a guided tour. The amicable tone is hardly interrupted at all when, at the end of a quiet corridor Negis takes an opportunity to say “if you come armed into my elysium again I’ll crush your balls.” They continue chatting amicably until the show finally ends.
When the final curtain, finally, falls Isobella, (with a nod from the prince) leads the characters out.
Anthony spots the well dressed wolf talking to the two gentlemen with silver auras, (it may have been here he pointed them out to Donald). I can’t remember if they asked Isobella about the men either sorry, let me know if they did and if so what info she told you about them.
The wild haired vampire who had been sitting in the front row approaches Isobella. Ignoring the characters, and the etiquette of not mentioning kindred affairs in front of mortals, he tries to get her to intercede with the Prince on her behalf to get a show or something he’s written performed. She disentangles herself politely. Fairly sure she mentioned to the characters that his name is Larry Anderson, and said something slighting about him “living all the way out in Redland Bay, and claiming to have been a composer in life” (if she didn’t… you just got some free info).
Finally on their way home in the stretch limo Isobella seems relieved. Complements them on their politeness. Stresses that this is what their life is now, that they’ll be spending the rest of their long, long lives with these people, “politeness is the best way to get through eternity”, (I think Saul groaned).
In their sleep they visit the Tree. By now the characters are becoming more adept at only taking from the top of the reserve so as to maximize growth.
Belinda assimilates to develop the second dot domain power ( Mind’s Reach).
The characters also discover that in growing the Tree now has the capacity to acquire a trait. They hold off on developing it though, intending to think through any such permanent changes carefully before enacting them.
Friday, 29th July
Waking from the Tree Saul has a vision that the fall is gathering speed. He sees the Earth, which he is on, falling toward a black curtain or event horizon which curves away under it, forced away by the pre-impact of a bow wave of pressure or distortion from the earth’s fall. Essence leaks from rents in the planet like atmosphere from a punctured space ship. Ephemeral tendrils reach out and up from tears in the billowing curtain to greet the planet.
Waking from the Tree Belinda has a telepathic glimpse of Erin, shivering and desolate. Injured and alone in the cold, and starving for a taste of vampiric blood. I think Belinda spent the essence required to make further contact, establishing that Erin was several kilometers to the north east of Belinda’s current position (bardon).
Back to the Hospital
Donald calls in sick to his work. He and Anthony go looking for Erin in the RBH again instead.
Using Donald’s familiarity they go up to the infection control ward. Donald poses as an orderly again, pushing Anthony along in a wheel chair, with Anthony posing as a crotchety old man, “I’ve being admitted against my will!”
A different nurse is on station. Donald says Anthony sent up to the ward “from downstairs” and that he’s a syphilitic dementia patient which makes the nurse look at Anthony wall eyed, “that’s… a sexually transmitted disease… why is he in infection control?” – “I not sick, I’ve been kidnapped!” – “Shut up you dirty old bastard!”
The pair quickly discover that Erin is indeed no longer in the ward. The nurse assigns Anthony to the same room she was in. The nurse is not happy about the lack of paperwork however, and Donald uses some blame shifting (“they just sent me up”) and leading questions to establish that there was an ‘incident’ earlier in the week with a patient wrongly admitted to the ward, and that it was Erin’s doctor of record who transferred her out again on Monday. (I seem to remember Donald may have done some surreptitious checking of paperwork / files here too).
Getting Anthony out proves difficult. Despite being rough and crude the nurse proves to take her duties as gatekeeper of infection control very seriously, requiring a doctor’s order to let him out. Of course, Anthony has no paperwork, and there is no patient for the name he gives (Craig Stevens) in the system “I’ve been kidnapped”.
A doctor Ozali from administration is called down. He seems upset to find such a big foul up in infection control again. When Anthony starts dropping terms like “black priest” and “bishop” (I think it was bishop) the doctor seems to become convinced he is dealing with a dementia patient. Anthony meantime seems satisfied that Ozali at least is not in on some sabbat conspiracy to retrieve Erin from the hospital.
Trouble worsens when the doctor asks Donald to apply the restraint straps to Anthony before examining him. Anthony: “I’ve been kidnapped!” (temptation for violence rising). Donald: “I’m sure if I just held him he’ll be no trouble.” Doctor Ozali orders Donald from the room and follows, locking Anthony in. He tears a strip off Donald for not following proper proceedure and disobeying a doctor’s orders and sends him away, calling for other orderlies who will help him examine the patient properly.
As Donald leaves the ward he can hear Ozali tearing a strip off the nurse too, “second time this week!” “abnormal patient handling”. Donald thinks about ringing Anthony to appraise him of the situation, realizes a patient having a phone could be an issue, and rings Belinda at her work. Belinda locks the door of her office and spends essence / raises aura ( petal fall hair) to get to release level 2 so that she can use telepathy to link Donald and Anthony. As part of that she also tries to trace Erin’s location again, finding that she is several kilometer’s north north east of Belinda’s current position, which is the CBD, so Erin is probably in Zillmere or Geebung somewhere.
Meanwhile, Gun Deals in old town Toowong
Back at the house Saul has been helping Evan with his anti-ganger trench, (they’re most of the way down the other side fence now), when Saul’s (actually thom’s) phone goes off. It’s the delivery Saul’s been waiting for. A young sounding man arranges to meet him in the carpark of the cat and fiddle in toowong.
Evan offers to drive Saul over, and now it’s Saul saying they shouldn’t be going in gung ho. They drive down to toowong, meeting a young gym junkie looking man with a ute, several boxes in the tray with a tarp over them.
They shake hands. Saul hands over the envelope of cash, and the man throws back the tarp revealing taped up computer boxes. Even has a bit of a peak, cutting one open to reveal styrofoam packing peanuts with the rim of a sawn off shotgun barrel poking through.
They take delivery. At home they lay out their purchases on the kitchen table revealing:
One: sawn off, break action, double barreled, 10 gauge shotgun.
One: sawn off, break action, single barrel, 12 gauge shotgun.
Two: brand new, full length, bolt action, 6 round inline magazine, single barrel, 12 gauge shotguns.
One: sawn off, pistol grip, pump action, 12 round magazine, single barrel, 12 gauge shotgun.
One box (50 rounds) of 10 gauge shells.
Two boxes (100 rounds) of 12 gauge shells.
One box (50 rounds) of 9mm bullets.
Partial box (13 rounds) of “special” 9mm bullets (they have hand drawn skull and crossbones and “sodium potassium – do not drop!” written on box).
Saul and Evan seem pretty happy with that. Saul snags the double barrel for himself.
Back at the RBH
When doctor Ozali comes back into Anthony’s room with two large orderlies, Donald is lurking nearby using Belinda’s telepathic link to stay ready. Anthony goes along with being restrained and examined. Doctor Ozali becomes even more furious when he find’s no symptoms of syphilitic infection, “what is wrong with this hospital!?” He seem’s more inclined to listen to Anthony’s story of wheelchair hijacking “I just came in for a checkup!”, and threats of legal action, but when, (the rejuvenated), Anthony gives his name as Craig Stevenson and his date of birth as 1948 the doctor goes away again, leaving him locked in but with assurances, “we’ll just get to the bottom of this. I’m sure we’ll have this sorted out soon.”
Much time passes. Donald hangs around by fitting into a work detail one floor below. When Belinda’s hold on her telepathy begins to stretch, (and with the end of her work day drawing closer), Anthony tells Donald to go ahead and leave, he’ll wait it out.
Several hours later a much more junior doctor comes around. He interviews Anthony again. This time Anthony gives his real name, shows his licence and refers to his stay at the hospital at the southside. He also gives Clara’s number as a reference (I think). The junior doctor seems a little leery of Anthony’s apparent age, but he authorizes Anthony’s release. Donald drives over to pick him up and get him home.
At the Tree
Saul goes for the second dot in domain.
Saturday 30th july
Evan keeps digging, getting closer now from the other side to the palm tree where the bodies are buried.
Donald and Belinda go to a theater workshop on special effects makeup and pyrotechnics, (both looking for their first exp in craft).
Looking for Erin
Anthony and Saul drive over to Zillmere looking for Erin. Between the two of them they locate her remarkably easily. She’s huddled in a doorway, shivering and in withdrawal. The bandages over her wounds are dirty, she’s dressed in ill fitting clothes that she’s obviously stolen and she looks exhausted, too distressed to do more than look up as they approach, “They’re all gone!”
They question her gently and she tells them she escaped the hospital and tried to get back to the R-Zee’s (the rest of the gang who weren’t in the pub that night). But she couldn’t find any of them. The football club was completely bare, looking as though it had been cleaned. No one had been seen at the usual hang outs all week. She says even went to visit people she knew were the family one of her gang mates had run away from, but says they’d forgotten their child even existed.
She hungry for the sacrament. “I had some kind of dream in the hospital that you were all in league with ”/characters/the-black-priest" class=“wiki-content-link”>the black priest, do you know where I can find him?" Anthony convinces her to come back to the house with them, “we can put you in contact with someone else who can make blood wine.” She gets in the car and they take her home to Belinda’s place.
Erin in the house
Evan has stopped digging so as not to expose corpses of Erin’s friends just as she brought in or anything.
Belinda gets Saul to give Stix a $50 and tell him to catch a movie or something. He can obviously see something is going down and is amenable to clearing out, especially when Saul stresses he’s welcome back, “see ya’s tomorrow”.
Erin injuries are still quite bad, and she’s physically in withdrawal. They install her in a room upstairs.
Anthony rings Isobella soon after the sun sets, (about 6pm). He gets a polite young man on the phone who says Isobella not available, and after Anthony establishes that they’re her wards he says that she’s ‘in isolation’ and will ring them back when she comes out.
7:30pm Isobella rings. On hearing the situation she agrees to come over immediately.
Again the hesitation on the threshold. While still downstairs Isobella tells the characters that the Prince “fostered” the surviving R-Zee’s out with another (unnamed) vampire similar to the way he placed the characters under her responsibility. She mentions that the Prince is old fashioned for pursuing the concept.
Evan takes the opportunity to ask Isobella to arrange a new identity and driver’s license etc, for him, (since he’s legally dead). She agrees, if somewhat distractedly, and Evan urges Saul to get at least a fake license too. Saul: “Nah, I’m alright – I can drive.”
Isobella goes up to the room, “Poor child”. She investigates Erin physically and mentally (placing hands to her head) while the characters watch uneasily. Says she can see what has happened, says can help with the cravings immediately mentioning that Erin is a ghoul, a human addicted to and empowered by vampire blood.
She asks for privacy. Most of the awakened leave, but Belinda stays to make sure Erin alright. Isobella cuts her own wrist with a knife and presents it to Erin who resists the raw blood a moment before giving in to her addiction. After some time Isobella forces the frantically drinking ghoul from her wrist, which heals. Erin’s color and demeanor looks immediately improved. When the characters return they can almost see her healing.
Isobella says it best if she takes Erin home for now, until can put the matter before the Prince. The character’s are reluctant, arguing for Erin to stay with them, but Isobella points out that Erin would be uncomfortable. Erin herself indicates, somewhat shyly, that she wants to go with Isobella and so it is decided she’ll go.
Before Isobella takes Erin away she mentions that she won’t be able to put the matter before the Prince tonight, but that it should be soon.
The character’s let the Tree’s reserves build.
Essence flows in from Erin and Stix this night.
Sunday, 31st July
Belinda and Donald go to the second day of their weekend theater arts workshop, each now has their first dot in crafts.
Evan begins sharpening stakes and placing them in his trench, leaving the palm tree section unexcavated.
Sunday evening Isobella calls. She indicates that something happening and she couldn’t arrange to meet with the prince, that it might take longer to sort Erin’s situation out than she anticipated. Mentions that she might not be able to make it to visit them on tuesday night.
When asked if events are likely to spill over onto the characters she remarks that she doesn’t think so, “you’re already painted as darkly with the people involved as you could be…”
Reserves build. Tree grows.
Monday, 1st August
Donald and Belinda go to work.
Evan finishes lining his (incomplete) trench with stakes.
Donald and Saul book a puzzle room for the next day, (wanting to train their first exp in investigate).
Evening – A Drink with the Bailiff
Soon after sundown Anthony from Mikael Vernati, the prince’s bailiff, who asks if Anthony can meet him “for a drink” in a bar in springhill “without any fuss or bother”. After some clarification, “I’m assuming you don’t mean that kind of drink…” Anthony borrows a car and heads out.
He finds the bailiff is waiting with a whiskey in front of him, the level of which does not decrease. Mikael inquires about how things have been going, if the characters are getting along with Isobella, if they’ve been in her house yet. Anthony tells him things going fine, but that Isobella always comes to them. Mikael: “huh, does she still do that annoying thing about standing on your threshold?”
Anthony asks what’s going on. Mikael seems torn whether to say anything at all, then admits he was hoping the characters might be able to give him some information about Isobella’s household. It seems Zhou’s psychic has gone missing and Zhou is accusing Isobella. Isobella has gone non-communicative, and, since her work is so important tothe Prince, Mikael is reluctant to force his way into the house under the Prince’s open authority.
He says since the character’s are not close enough it better for them to stand clear. But Anthony indicates they might be able to check out Isobella’s house after all. He tells Mikael how they came across a surviving R-Zee ghoul which Isobella has taken into her house, that they might be able to arrange entrance from this. Mikael is surprised there are any R-Zee’s left, “I tracked all those gangers down”, but becomes understanding, (and rueful) when Anthony says it a survivor of the pub massacre rather than of the other gang members.
Mikael considers it and says he’d be grateful if the characters could arrange to discretely check inside Isobella’s house over the next few days and contact him if they see the psychic inside. Anthony agrees. Mikael gives him Isobella’s adress, and Anthony heads back to tell the others.
He also asks if Anthony could pass a message to Evan to lay off the financial fraud. Mikael says his life is already busy enough without having to fend off interstate police inquiries.
In Belinda’s house the character’s discuss this turn of events through the rest of the evening.
Donald: “It’s stupid, she’ll know we’re coming.”
Belinda: “While we were at the opera she was nervous around the Prince and everyone.”
Evan: “The dark priest has strong compulsion powers.”
Saul: “What are you saying, the bailiff is working for the dark priest?”
Anthony: “It’s just that to them we’re expendable pawns that he can risk.”
When conversation turns to how to gain entry Donald suggests, “Why don’t we just contact Erin telepathically? She’s already inside the house.” But concensus falls in favour of the characters physically taking a look see, maybe tomorrow though, while the sun is up…
Evan’s double checking
After the planning is settled, Evan borrows a car and whips down to south bank and the performing arts center. By now its near midnight and the last patrons are leaving. Evan goes round the back to the secure door and rings the bell.
A guard there greets him, recognizing him from the other night. He asks if anything wrong and Evan says nothing, just wondered if the Prince was around. The guard explains the Prince doesn’t come to elysium every night. Evan asks when he was last there and the guard tells him last thursday, (the opera). When Evan asks after the bailiff the guard tells him saw him on saturday.
Somewhat happier Evan returns to Belinda’s house.
Grows again, must of been a little amelioration in there somewhere.
Tuesday, 2nd August
Donald goes to work, “I make bad decisions around Erin”.
Belinda grabs the pump action sawn off.
Saul offers half the special 9mm sodium potasium rounds to Donald. Evan recommends against carrying them on the basis that homemade explosive stuff is a bad idea. Donald, after first “don’t insalt them” declines. So Saul loads his spare clip with specials (10 bullets), leaving three loose in his pockets.
Saul gets a bit lost, going to the wrong house at first. He catches up with the car just as they slide on by Isobella’s address. It’s a two story brick structure set into a hill, with a brick garden wall facing the street. There is no pedestrian enterence just a intercome next to an automated gate meant for cars. The characters spot security cameras under the eaves of the house.
There we leave it for the week.
Thanks for reading :)