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There's Still a Lot to Forgive

Samuel Johnson; March - April, 2010

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Samuel Johnson; March 18, 2010

PERSONAL ACTION:

Sam is of course busy this week but he will use what free time he has Scrying Smith. He will make a special effort to try and Scry him before sleeping each morning to try and keep tabs on where he's sleeping. If Sam happens to catch him talking to someone or doing anything really interesting he will of course spend the traits to maintain the Scry. He will commit everything he sees to his special memory as well as taking notes.

He will try to vary the times he scrys each day so as to get a more complete picture of Smith's life. If he catches him breaching the masquerade he may speed off in his jag to forgetful mind it all away (or do whatever he can to stop breach) if this seems particularly feasible.

Influence Response:

You are in the midst of a very busy set of weeks (what with setting up a new Elysium, manipulating journalists, finally breaking the sexual tension with your Retainer, sobbing uncontrollably and finding out you can't get owls). However, you do manage to scrape together enough time (what with no longer taking 17 taxis everywhere while dressed as a hobo/mime/hippie/whatever) to use your new ritual.

The first time you invoke the ritual near dawn, you see a shadowy figure, which you assume is Constantine Smith, sitting in the darkened corner of what appears to be somebody's basement. The pale glow of the street-lights outside illuminate his face through a dingy half-sized window, and as the image in the pool sharpens, you realize that he is naked, and is slowly folding what you think is his clothing, before tucking it underneath a stack of milk crates. Once this is done, he curls himself into a fetal position, and slowly you watch as his body warps in on itself, dissolves and slips underneath the floor boards.

You try again a few nights later, attempting the ritual closer to the middle of the evening. You see Constantine walking down some unknown street, in what you think is a warehouse district. The streets are brick paved and no other pedestrians appear to be present. His face is clearer in this invocation of the ritual, and you can plainly make out his expression. He looks tired, even though its the middle of the night and his body language betrays a sense of constant tension. After wandering with no seeming purpose or direction for near to half an hour, he stops by a payphone, and fumbles around in his badly rumpled pants for change. He inserts two coins, picks up the receiver and then after several seconds pass, he defeatedly hangs it back up with no number dialed. He slumps his body against the side of the phone booth, holding his head in his hands.

As the nights pass, you catch him going through pretty much the same modus operandi for sleeping arrangements, although you learn to begin earlier, such as that you can catch street names and rough locations of houses. You also check upon him at other times, and find him to spend most of his nights engaged in aimless, listless walking or sitting silently in dark corners of places you can't quite make out.

On one occasion, around 2:00 AM you see him approaching a somewhat aged and palsied panhandler. He offers to buy him up some food from a local 24 hour McDonald's if he'll walk the block or two to get there. The man thanks him, and Constantine awkwardly leads the way for a few minutes, before he nervously extends a hand as if to help his aged companion to step down from a curb. From there, he glances rapidly around him for a moment before he swiftly and unexpectedly grabs the old man's body close to him and begins to feed. There is little struggle before his victim collapses in his arms. Constantine positions him gently on the pavement and, with a look of mixed disgust and fear, immediately kneels down along-side him to check for a pulse. You aren't certain if he finds one, but his body visibly shudders as he begins to run away from the scene.

On the night before court, you check early in the evening, anticipating a second reading as the dawn approaches to pinpoint his haven. You find Constantine loitering about near a dock, looking nervously around and checking a small half-broken watch which he holds between his thumb and forefinger repeatedly. At about 11:20, he closes his eyes and ducks under a boardwalk.

Several tense minutes pass before you hear the footsteps of somebody walking above him on the wet, half-rotten wood. An unseen male voice speaks, its word's clipped with irritation.

"We're not beginning negotiations until we can see you, Smith."

Constantine closes his eyes and clenches his fists for a moment before he surfaces. You are able to make out three figures standing on the docks along with him, once he does. One is a man dressed in a familiar looking black suit and shades. He stands off to the side and doesn't emote very much. It seems apparent that he's not central to any sort of negotiations to be had. The other two consist of a tall, dark-haired man wearing a somewhat dirty brown trench-coat, and an eerilly familiar woman with a shaven head, dressed in a loose brightly colored linen dress.

Everyone glances at one another before the second man begins to speak. His voice is deep and authoritative, and bears a heavy accent that you believe is Eastern European.

"Aleph says he's willing to consider your offer. He's glad you've agreed to at least open channels of communication."

He pauses.

"There's still a lot to forgive. That's why --"

You hear the sudden crack of a gunshot from outside the scene. There's a confused flash of images as the man talking collapses. Everyone standing has a look of panic on their faces. You *think* you see the girl begin to speak as your field of vision goes immediately to a blaze of white and blue. After a few minutes it fades from view, and you are able to see nothing but a murky expanse of water with a black figure lying prone somewhere in the midst of it.

You check your pool one last time that night, near to dawn, and find that Constantine is, in fact, still alive and moving. His clothing is a muddy singed mess clinging to his skin. You aren't entirely certain where he is, but he seems to be in a densely wooded area, digging furiously into the dirt with his bare hands. His body is shaking every moment as he does so, and he stops in frustration at one point and begins to sob. He eventually forces himself back to his task and creates a deep enough hole to bury himself in before the light of the sun catches him.

You figure you have enough owl blood left for at least one more invocation... if you need it.

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Samuel Johnson; April 6, 2010

PERSONAL ACTION:

I would like to Scry on smith around the time I think he will likely be headed home, based on my previous Scrying. I will do my best to find street signs and landmarks and house numbers.

Influence Response:

The night before court you wait until an hour or so before dawn and drop the last of your precious owl's blood into the Chantry's bathtub. The image of Constantine begins to swirl to the surface of the waters. He's looking much as you'd expect - haggard, worn and resigned. He's in some manner of public restroom, and not a very well kept up one at that. You can hear the omnipresent buzz of a fluorescent light that's begun to malfunction.

Smith is looking in the mirror uneasily, his hands resting under his eyes. His features seem somehow... softer than you remember. It takes you a few moments to realize that he's attempting to alter his face. He doesn't seem to be doing a very good job of it.

After a tense and frustrating twenty minutes of poking about his skin, it seems that Smith's managed to do little more than recede his beard a few millimeters and lend his face a sort of unpleasant doughy look. His fingers slip at one point, leaving a dull indented scar across his left cheek. In frustration he puts his fist to the mirror, which shatters rather spectacularly.

Cursing, Constantine wraps his bloodied hand with part of his shirt and walks (not runs) out of the room. He exits into the parking lot of a BP gas station and begins the long trek down a road filled on either side with dilapidated housing units, several which bear multiple boarded up windows and doors. You think you make out a sign reading something akin to M____wood Dr. as he hits a crossroads and approaches what seems to be an abandoned house. Blue peeling paint. Left side of the street. Overgrown mass of hedges in the front yard.

It's about half an hour to dawn as he climbs through the broken window and makes his way towards the basement. The cellar is cement floored and empty save for the skeletal remains of several shelving units. The solitary window in the room he ends up in is boarded over, but he takes the precaution of stuffing his clothing over it as he disrobes, after carefully shaking out one of his pockets onto a corner of the floor, leaving a handful or two of dusty earth scatter over what seems to be his intended sleeping place.

As the approach of the sun becomes imminent, he rubs the earth over his skin and curls himself into a ball. Tired yourself, you let the Scry end after two minutes of watching him lie motionless.

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