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Pisces' European Summer

Piscina Nadya; September 9, 2008

STREET x3:

PERSONAL ACTION:

Prep Staten Island:

Pisces is engaging in three weeks of preparation before heading off to Europe. She is going to:

  • 1. Introduce Marcus to her Health contacts in Manhattan so that he can start working on reforming the public works she discovered while she's in Europe.

  • 2. Try her hand at making for-homeless maps for Staten Island. She really doesn't have any skills applicable to map making, so she'll end up using her contacts to find some sort of modern version of a cartographer and employ him.

  • 3. Pisces will give copies of the map and verbal copies of the lesson plan to the leaders she's been cultivating. She'll observe and train them for the three weeks that she's still in the city, then let them keep going on their own if they want, promising to be back sometime in Fall.

  • 4. Make a weekend trip to Boston to make sure Jay is settling in okay.

  • 5. Plan the route she's going to take across Europe. She's starting in England, looping inland as far as Berlin, then heading back to the coast by way of Switzerland and Paris. She's going to try to plan out the best routes from city to city, researching using her contacts, and try to have at least two alternate routes pre-planned for every step of the journey. Mostly, she's going to rely on trains. Trains are notoriously punctual for public transportation, have nice dark baggage rooms, span most of the country, and are possible to jump off of in a pinch. She's also going to call the clients interested in having her visit and see if she can get any of them to give her secure passage in exchange for the fact she's making house calls for them. She's not planning on hitting Saint Petersburg or Egypt unless anyone there desperately wants her and is willing to transport her in a way that makes her feel safe.

  • 6. Get herself a fake passport with her Bureaucracy influence. Just in case.

  • 7. Compose more inspirational stories and poems and daydream and fantasize about an underground society of competent deviants, living off the decadence of society while making art. She'll also spend a lot of time meditating. Basically, she's letting her mind rest up so she'll be rested and ready to make a lot of great illusions while in Europe. In game terms, she's replenishing her willpower.

  • 8. Talk to Danny the Setitie and arrange safe and swift passage to Europe. Failing that, she'll follow Hespian and Ben's advice and secure passage on a boat in an area that won't be intruded on. She came to the United States on a cargo ship transporting beef in a meat locker, sleeping next to a tub of cow blood. Blood, no cameras, and no one coming down to check. Something like that.

Europe:

The route Pisces takes through Europe depends on the Kindred Contacts the STs okay her to reform. Pisces has 9 loose xp right now. I'll buy Kindred Contacts for areas up to those you're willing to let Pisces access.

  • 1. Pisces is making a garbage blanket. It's an illusion of a blanket, but only one side is soft and fuzzy. The other side is coated in trash. The idea is that you can spread it out and crawl under it and it looks like you're a big lump of particularly filthy, smelly trash. Much more pleasant than actually sleeping in trash. When appropriate, Pisces will use it to hide under during the day, in case anyone every wanders into her bolt holes..

  • 2. While in Europe, Pisces is going to live by moving quietly from city to city. If she has a kindred contact she trusts to put her up, she'll stay with him, and if she doesn't, she'll find a bolt hole on the street, doing her best to ferret out ones that meet her stringent safety requirements, and using illusions like the garbage blanket as another layer of safety. She'll ghoul local animals and set them up as guard dogs (cats, birds, etc...) if she thinks that's appropriate. She'll introduce herself to Princes or Dodges or Anarch head-honchos or whatever if she thinks it's appropriate they won't kill her on sight for being a Ravnos. She will remain constantly obfuscated in back streets in places she doesn't make such introductions. She's only visiting Elysia if her clients want her to and vouch for her..

  • 3. When she does attend public gatherings, or speaks to any kindred who might know, Pisces is going to listen for anyone talking about New York City. In particular, she's interested in people's opinions of the new Prince, how long he's going to last, and what's going to kill him (She's not actually going to ask about this last part, but it seems like the kind of thing other member of the Camarilla might be making bets on). She's also interested in anyone planning to visit New York or start any business ventures in that area..

  • 4. Pisces will specifically ask her Berlin based Nosferatu network on the European take on the situation in New York, as far as their contacts are concerned. She'll also ask Bill, Miguel, and Talos, if she can find him..

  • 5. Pisces is going to spend her free time composing more stories to bring back to New York City..

  • 6. Pisces' illusions for the Parisian Toreador will involve creating objects of exquisite beauty guided by the descriptions of her clients, simulated sex in private scenes and more public ones, and illusions of their enemies that they can abuse and humiliate. She'll charge them an exorbitant rate appropriate to their means..

Influence Response:

Preparing Staten Island

  • 1. Marcus is introduced to your people in the Manhattan area before you leave, and is given a list of public works to help channel funds into over the summer. He sets up a public trust fund and tells you he'll work to make certain the organizations are a little financially better off by the time you return, if nothing else. OOC: As a note, Marcus' introduction to your contacts obviously won't include any part of the network that was developed earlier via blackmail, and as a result there is a slim chance that COMBINES between the two of your will occasionally be a bit rocky (Mechanically: Might take a random -1 penalty at ST discretion), due to his incomplete knowledge. This isn't a huge factor at this point, given that your contacts now operate blackmail free. Marcus will not be aware of any hang ups that occur as a result of this, and in turn will also not have any idea that blackmail was ever an issue in your network without lengthy and concerted investigation ? something he currently has no reason to do. I feel this penalty is fair as the normal mechanical parameters of a hostile TRACE against you might well allow somebody to eventually get an idea about Crane and what was going on with the network (although they'd still have to do considerable digging). As Marcus is your ally, I don't feel that this should be an option with him, as I can hardly see Pisces bringing up the less-than-savory aspects of her operation, especially now that they've been culled.

  • 2. You have the Streetwise to know that maps indicating havens for the homeless is an idea that will suffer some major failings. Why? Because the map is a single physical item with information that can be used by police looking to round up vagrants or take out a squat. Your contacts who are knowledgeable about this sort of thing suggest that if you're trying to organize the poor on a wide-spread level as to the location of safe houses, you might want to adopt or adapt the idea of hobo marks to your purposes, which seems the sort of romantic throwback to the past your community would jive with anyway. Hobo marks, when done correctly, are inconspicuous and hard to immediately decipher, and they also have a flexibility that actual maps don't, as they can be updated on site. In a way, it's a lot like making the city into it's own map.

    You stop by the public library, which is a sorry substitute for Eric's shop, and pick up a few books on the hobo culture of the 1930s. Many of them have a full directory of glyphs, and there's plenty of websites you can draw from as well. You invest in some spray paint and start to lay our marks where needed, trying as best you can when possible to blend in your work with pre-existing graffiti and to keep the symbols discreet. You make sure to arm your associates with knowledge of what's what and tell them to keep marking as needed. The task appeals greatly to Hector's sensibilities and he volunteers to help tag things. It's like a totally cool secret code, for the totally cool secret homeless outcast club he's in. It also let's him work alone, which he appreciates.

  • 3. From there, you try to keep everything verbal. You make certain that people know who to go to for help, where to go to for shelter, what to do in an emergency, and where to hide after the emergency hits. You indicate that you have every confidence that the crew will be able to take care of themselves. Zahid tells the group that while he's not open to freeloaders, he's willing to take care of anybody who's one of "Pisces' people" while you're gone and gives out a number (not his usual one) in case anyone need somewhere to stay for a span. Your friends say their goodbyes. Sophie seems a little distant and isn't particularly warm with you. You get the impression she doesn't entirely expect you to return. Lydia, out of the blue and a bit nervously, promises to keep Hector out of too much trouble. Javé gives her a bit of a look.

    You're greatly surprised to find that Hector has made you a going away present. It's a weird little necklace charm in the shape a "glory hand", hodge-podged together from a broken doll and five birthday candles. It's been brightly painted.

    He tells you with a laugh that it probably won't work, but that he wasn't about to go digging up anyone's bodies. You recall that at some point you must have told him the story of how a murderer's mummified hand, dipped in tallow, would put one person in a house to sleep for every finger lit, so that you could rob them with impunity. You thank him before you go.

  • 4. You manage to roll into Boston just in time for Elysium. Prince King, a quiet Malkavian with a rather intense demeanor, gives you a terse acknowledgment and allows you to stay for a few nights. You get the impression that the Domain isn't as fond of Ravnos as New York is, and that it's generally hoped your visit will be brief. There's also a quiet trepidation to the court that leaves you thinking some sort of unseemly back room Camarilla politics are about to go public, and you figure it will be wise to be clear of Boston before then. The Harpy is notably absent for the duration of your stay.

    You find Jay amongst the rank and file, acting a lot more composed than you recall him acting back in NYC. He's apparently trying very hard to grow up. He's frightfully glad to see you, and tells you that, aside from owing a Major Boon to Sheriff Cum Laude for a stupid incident that was 90% totally not his fault, he's been doing really well. Apparently, the city is largely run by a Malkavian power block, and as such people have a tendency to be understanding of ... eccentricities.

    "Like the Sheriff I owe one to for instance, he... uh... kinda sorta believes he's in an Arthurian romance. Yeah... I'll probably have to pay him off by like... finding a grail or something." He mentions that Boston's sort of funny, as he's heard a lot of Kindred have started here, spent years being quiet and never gotten into any trouble and then they end up in New York and are doing something crazy in a month's time. Apparently a fair number of people around here know Theris and Adam Jones, for example.

    He tells you that he found a new apartment and that he's gotten a little bit of recognition roundabouts for his mad astral projection skills. He tells you the Whip occasionally has used him to check up on things. Apparently there's a lot of Giovanni in the area, and it helps the Camarilla to have somebody who can be a "ghost" for their team. He seems awfully proud that he's making himself useful.

    Other than that he's been working on poetry and saving up to launch off to somewhere else. He hopes to make it out West eventually, as he hears that people are a little less uptight toward the remains of the free state. He's even thinking he'll someday try to visit Europe for a week or so. He misses Kaya and would rather like pay her a visit... you know, the sort that doesn't involve trippy drug-induced brain-visions. He heard her neck of the woods was pretty low key as far as the whole Jyhad thing goes, anyway.

    He asks how you're doing and is glad to see that things haven't blown up horribly in light of the hunters and the Sebau getting raided and such. He tells you he's glad you stopped by, and that he's going to miss you an awful lot.

    On the night you leave, he tells you that he'll try to keep in touch.

  • 5. You memorize several train schedules, and looking things over decide to hit Paris a little earlier on, given the massive convenience that is the chunnel. You eventually have a route set up that will take you from London to Bath back to London again, then down through Paris and into Switzerland, Germany and Austria, before you catch your second boat off of the coast of Spain. You figure it's easiest to visit the Sabbat last of all, as you suspect you might cause trouble should the Camarilla Elders of Europe (through trick or Telepathy) find out about your inter-Sect ties.

    The Setites of Cairo are well able to get their own vices for the time being, and Ottavia isn't willing to go to the effort it would take to bring you out to St. Petersburg, given her concern for reputation and the current woes of the Domain. She sends you a well-wishing correspondence, in any event, and tells you that she might have resources to have you visit after a recent praxis attempt finally fades from memory. Apparently a Nosferatu Elder saw fit to try for an April coup and the Scourge is still off catching members of his decimated brood. People in the meantime, are vary wary of anything that is in any way illusory, and Obfuscation is strictly prohibited in Elysium as a security measure. She gets the impression that this would bode poorly for you and your talents.

    You find out that Elena and Miguel at least are willing to have you flown into Switzerland (However many years since you've been gone from Europe has proven a long dry spell.) and that the Toreador of Bath are more than happy to get you an escort out of and back into London to their neck of the woods. Duncan tells you he'll have somebody watching the trains in Madrid and that Precious is on business elsewhere.

  • 6. You get yourself a US passport with little trouble. On it, you were born on July 3rd, 1987 in Austin, Texas, where you were born a real life flesh and blood AMERICAN. Your social security number is #21434172398. If somebody does a good background check on you, you figure that you'll be screwed, but other than that it's pretty authentic. You can't imagine needing to rely on it too heavily, given your travel plan.

  • 7. You daydream yourself more fantastical stories, based on the happier outcomes of the world you live in, the sort of world where everything is proper and works the way it does in folklore and fairytale. Not necessarily a bright saccharine sunshine sort of world to live in, but a better one.

    You think about how eventually the world's buildings will someday pile so high and so thick that they'll blot out the sun and cover the earth, and how the rich people will live on the new surface of the planet and how you'll live below, safe and happy with your vagabond family, selling clods of dirt and shiny stones to those above who've forgotten what the earth looks like and find them strange and beautiful artifacts. You think about Zahid calling all of the gangs in the area to a grand meeting and how he'll unite them into a gigantic underground of anti-authoritarian fighters.... with robots maybe. Robots always help. You imagine Richard serving as his lieutenant. You think about how Hector's parents were really foreign royalty on the run and how someday, due to a comedic circumstances and a unique birthmark, he'll be whisked away to become a wealthy European figurehead monarch, who will delight in using his position to get away with all manner of larcenous activity when he disguises himself by night and goes about the cities as a mischievous robber-prince. You laugh as you imagine him giving the tabloids a headache trying to keep track of him and his exploits. The think about how Brody will eventually, someday with your help, find the tree that grows by the end of the world and eat it's fruit, such that no man can pierce his skin, and how he shall rise over his enemies ? and how he'll take the water from the spring that grows beneath that tree and mix it with the ashes of those he wishes alive, and from the resultant dirt repopulate his kingdom with all those who have died and then thank you in the end for showing him the way. You think about how Raina is probably really just some good witch or fairy in disguise, and how she'll remember how you were kind to her one day, and give you real charms that will keep you from real danger, and take you to visit her magic orchard where she's cultivating a hundred new dogwood trees for her firebirds and cockatrices to nest in. You think about how someday Olan Ajora will find the book of all-knowledge and how he'll never be able to sleep or move again as he sits reading it, and how he'll never be able to finish it until somebody shows him a secret that can't bit written in a book (Hint: The answer is a kiss). You think about how someday Seth Samuel will find that he can drink no blood save the blood of gypsies, and how he'll beg and plead you on bended knee to suck a drop of sweet vitae from your finger. You think about that one Toreador in Bath that you have a crush on, and how maybe, just maybe they'd consider becoming a wanderer, and forsaking coterie and class just to roam around with you for a year or thirty.

    You try to keep the creeping McClin-voice in the back of your head silent. It doesn't go into a diatribe about how Hector and Sophie and Lydia and Javé will all have to grow up someday, and that they can't afford the luxury you have of being children forever. It doesn't mention how gang violence has little in common with the glamor of chivalric combat, save that both are ugly and both, no matter how noble their aims, leave somebody hurt. It doesn't remind you that Brody's flesh is far from impenetrable. It doesn't remind you that Raina is insane. It doesn't childe you for you indulgent fantasies or ridicule you for your imagination.

    Still the gruff voice wells up from inside of your brain at least once as you prepare for Europe.

    "Curious lot of people you spend your time thinking about. I notice they're the living ones."

    It leaves you to your own conclusions.

  • 8. I'm currently not up to date as to communications between you and Danny J. Simons, so I'm a little hesitant to include hir in this response. Suffice it to say you get into London, either through swank Transportation Influence-filled accommodations, or in the back of a cargo ship drinking cow's blood. (Normally, cow blood is the sort of thing that leaves a Cainite wanting to wretch, but you're blessed with the ability to make it taste of strawberries malt and sunshine dust if need be. Yum.) Talk to the STs and to Narrator Strauss to see what the actual arrangements ended up being.

Europe

  • 1. You find that one of the immediate concerns of the garbage blanket is that a chimerical blanket can't keep you safe from the sun, as the sun isn't a thing to be fooled by illusions. Not that you really expect sunlight to be in your bolt-holes, but the point of the matter is that the blanket only comes into play if somebody's disturbing you, and you figure it's better to err on the side of safety. You call Ben for a spot of advice and he tells you that if you're going to rough it, you really need to invest in a good body bag. Something with the zipper rigged to pull down from the inside is best. He cautions you to stay away from public areas and to make sure you check it every night for holes (Duct tape! Always have some duct tape!). You manage between the police and hospital workers you associate with, to obtain such an item and rig it to work as a temporary shelter. You make the illusion in question as a sort of skin around the bag, and do your best to pile the trash up fairly high, so that it will form a larger than Pisces-sized mound. You also make certain to cover it in the sort of trash that no errant scavenger or dumpster diver would find particularly interesting, piling on a lot of melted Styrofoam and soggy cardboard, layered over bags of nondescript rubbish. You then add a few gummy used condoms sticking to surfaces, and a plenitude of broken glass ? just so people get the idea hammered into their heads that this stinking mass ought not be touched. It smells like an animal left to die in a puddle of vinegar and milk.

  • 2. You're wise enough in the ways of the world to know it's probably best to bite the bullet and make a very cursory appearance in most Elder's Elysia, given the Tradition of Hospitality and such. In all cases you make certain you have somebody else speaking for you, and you keep the specifics of your Clan and trade on the down low. You leave if there's no reason to hang around.

    You decide, even as much as the Bath coterie eloquently attempts to convince you otherwise, to stay in one of Ben's dummy-havens while in England and to truck out to Bath on a case by case basis, so as to avoid mischief and kidnapping and such. You also realize that you don't precisely know the Toreador in Paris well enough to set you up and decide you're willing to wing it there. Other than that, you already have more or less a permanent room at Miguel's summer home, Claudius is willing to give you contact information for a safe house, and the Berlin Nosferatu tell you that you can crash in a guarded area outside the main warrens, so long as you're willing to bunk with an abnormally large (but apparently quite docile) ball python named Krampus. Even though you get an invite from Duncan to haven with his pack, you decide to keep to the streets in Spain.

  • 3. Camarilla court gossip around Europe mainly pertains to Europe. You find a remarkable dirth of Elders who really give much thought to the politicking of the "New World". You hear that Anne of London is hiring out a second Scourge, given that the area seems to have a lot of Embrace and run problems which have been getting steadily worse over the past few months, leading people to worry that a Sabbat or Anarch troublemaker is in town. You hear that Prince Villon of Paris is publicly refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Lasombra Antitribu ?traitor-Prince? of Milan, and that any who come from Giangaleazzo's Domain are blanketly refused the right of Hospitality. You hear that high ranking Elders have found it increasingly fashionable to maintain a young thralled Malkavian as a pet "seer" of sorts and that there have been one or two case of Malkavian Elders going out of their way to find a disgraced Ventrue neonate to snap up that they might mock the trend. You hear that Rasputin's last been sighted in Berlin and Stolkholm, that the Elder in control of Luxemborg just Sired a childe and that the Sabbat are losing their hold on Dublin. The most frequently brought up topic that has anything to do with New York is the results of the Halifax Conclave back in May. Mostly people are concerned with the ramifications for Justicar Paschek's career, as they conclude that he's just wasted a considerable amount of effort trying to vent his frustrations on a now-dead neonate, and has come across looking like a buffoon for it. Speculation is that Paschek has a rival somewhere, and that some manner of arcane art or Domination was applied to the poor Lick on trial with the express purpose of showing Paschek up. (You notice that only half of the people you talk to seem to remember that Bojan Petrov even had a name.) A lot of people are taking bets it was somebody in Nicolai Antonescu's camp, as Paschek's associate had pretty much ruined him back in Chicago. A few people are ballsy enough to suggest that it might be di Zagreb. A rare few people, particularly neonates, Ancillae and the handful of Anarchs you encounter here and there, actually believe that Petrov managed to stand out the flame of his own volition. As for Brody, few people really say or think much of Prince Wright. When he comes up, it's mostly somebody trying to remember his name. The only person you meet who says much about him is Neil Morley, a chipper young London Brujah who's actually rather pleased to hear you're from New York. Apparently, his Sire, one Elisa Grey, dropped communications with him back in May, and he's been waiting for word from her or of her since. He's a little chagrined when you don't have anything to tell him, but assures you and himself that she's "probably fine again." He's actually rather loquacious on the topic of New York, as he seems to have done a good amount of research into the Domain when Elisa took off. You find that he actually has a good deal of fresh insight into the city's history for an outsider. He personally theorizes that New York's a sort of barometer for the rest of the world, and that it has a sort of culture all it's own that reflects the way things will be someday.

    "Things seem to happen rapidly in New York. It's because it's one of the only cities that knows it has to change. There's been so much war and turmoil that Elders want to wait for it to cool off before touching it, which means the neonates have free run for once. It also just seems to be a nexus for people who want to do something a little bit crazy. Probably why it's had so many successful Malkavians..."

    "Yes ...hmmm... and that's the thing with the Princes there. The Malkavian ones flourish. The Ventrue pack up. The Brujah burn out. I suppose it's to be expected in that environment. It forces people to be dynamic, which is something an awful lot of us forget how to do."

    He smiles privately at that remark before continuing.

    "It's a sort of stage in which the next generation -the one that will eventually inherit once the rest of us get too old to stay awake- gets to trot out it's ideas. Certainly calamity seems to strike more frequently, and the Domain seems to have a penchant for drama, but it's the same sort of drama that's slowly unfolding itself everywhere else. I hear the place is choke full of miracles and inexplicable phenomena to boot, which is really same as everywhere else again if you look, just... different. Slower. Time seems to run fast there."

    "Anyhow, it's not inconceivable Prince Wright might be the one to get the hang of it. I don't know. From what I've heard of West and Verditus, their problem lay in getting too hung up on vision. I think they hoped New York would make their dreams a reality, and so they pushed things a bit to hard - that why one ended up dead and one ended up defecting. Then there's bloody awful conundrums like Petrov, who -granted- was never Prince, but was certainly more famous than half of them that were. From everything I've been told wasn't out to prove anything at all when he came to the city. Blame the Clan of the Moon on that one, from what I've pieced together."

    He sighs.

    "Wright's biggest problem will be keeping a cool and level head. If he can do that, keep his eye on the prize and keep his advisers sane, functional and loyal, he'll stand a good shot. Heh... Sane, functional and loyal... that's probably the thing of it. I've never met a Prince who had anyone in his employ who matched all three."

    After talking your ear off about his opinions of your hometown and how it pertains to his Clan, Neil gives you his number and tells you to call him if you can ever get word of his wayward Sire. He also gives you ?1,000 and and commissions you to make a simulacrum of a red-haired woman pictured in an old locket. He explains that her name was Fanchon, and that you don't have to make her speak or move much. Just have her be able to glare and simulate breathing slightly, as if agitated but thoughtful. He wants to be able to comb her hair.

    You don't get anyone else with the same interest in the New York as Morley, but you meet a fair number of fascinating characters along the way, which should probably be noted.

    In Berne, you find a chilling young Ventrue calling herself Mnemosyne, who apparently has long since abandoned politics in the pursuit of what she considers "true immortality", a topic about which she incoherently rambles for a good while. It's later explained to you, in part by her and in part by others, that she uses her skills as a hypnotist to overwrite the dreams of mortals with exact replicas of her memories, as such that a large portion of her mortal life is now essentially ?downloaded? to several thousand people. Elena explains that she drifted in after her Sire disowned her and has been an odd fixture at court off and on since. While she's not always entirely lucid, she seems genuinely interested in you when you explain that you're a ?dream monger? yourself.

    In Berlin, you find a woman known only as Persia who stands in Elysium motionless for hours on end without blinking. The Nosferatu tell you she's obviously a Malkavian, and whisper that she's not moved since the wall fell. They explain that there's a coterie of Toreador who, finding themselves taken by her beauty and pitying her state bring her blood and take her to shelter at the end of each night. You find as you mill about the meeting hall that Persia will occasionally talk about whatever you're discussing at the time, but only when you aren't paying her the slightest attention. Any attempt to speak to her directly fails, and she remains silent and statue-like.

    In Austria, Daniel introduces you to his friend Eli Norton, one of the few Tremere who "got away" and actually managed to stay safely embedded amongst Anarch cells for a few decades. Eli is a self-professed Discordian pope, a semi-successful garage inventor, a clumsy but diligent flirt, and is not in any visible way a magician ? unless you count cheating Daniel at poker as a magic trick. He speaks in a mixture of beat slang and terms ripped from underground zines, and asks quite a few questions after Lucas/Montgomery/Lucasta, as he's tried to get a clue on what went down with that, given how he doubts the "Big T" will treat him much better if they getting their wandering eye on him.

    In Paris, you have a brief but memorable encounter when your carefully laid defenses seem to muck up the day before you go about making introductions. You awaken at 9:00 PM one night to find your most recent ghoul dog ? an emaciated greyhound you call Phoenix- is jaws deep into the wrist of somebody poking into your bolt hole, and that they are shouting rather loudly as a result. After a great deal of confusion, no minimum of noise, and a lot of hasty explanations, you realize that you're face to face with the Scourge of Paris, a clumsily lanky young Russian named Misha. He wears a blindfold with a single stylized eye painted on it and claims to be sightless, which is one of the reasons among other's that your dog's sudden assault caused him so much distress.

    After you do your best to heal Phoenix of a few broken ribs and some chemical burns (for some reason Misha's blood seems to be acidic) and after Misha calls a gaggle of Toreador harpies as to whether or not he's supposed to kill you, you begin to get off to a friendlier start.

    "Apparently, killing you is off the menu," Misha sighs, "And I'm to apologize greatly for any offense I've caused, mademoiselle."

    He eventually tells you that he's been assigned as your escort for the evening, and guides you to where you'll eventually have to plan out an orgy for your acquaintances. He seems an awkward and vaguely chivalric sort of man with a propensity for getting things just a bit wrong. You lean on him heavily in terms of accommodations for the next week or so, finding much to your delight that he's the titular head of a large network of con-men, urchins and panhandlers throughout the city. The joke goes around that he's the only beggar who's really blind and you eventually find out that his nickname is "The One-Eyed King." Given all this, he's more than able to tell you which bolt-holes won't be poked into regularly.

    The whole arrangement reminds you very much of things back home, although you don't really have that much time to get well acquainted with his mortal cohorts. When you leave the city, he isn't able say his goodbyes, and you hear from sources that he was injured fairly badly when a Vespa hit him down near the Louvre.

  • 4. The Nosferatu of Berlin tell you that New York is an impatient sort of region, and that most of the trouble roundabouts comes from people taking power too fast. They mention offhand that the first Prince of the Domain after the Sabbat fell was a Nosferatu who abdicated, and that the city eats up their Clanmates like popcorn.

    They tell you that they suspect that the Sabbat will eventually win it back over, given that it seems to be one of the few regions where the Sword of Caine has better long-term planning skills than the Cammies. As for Brody, they give him three months, with the top three bets for his downfall being abdication, assassination and valiant death in battle. They suspect after that, if their long-term planing skills are up to snuff, that a Ventrue will take over and get sick of it in a year or three, or that the city will go back to being Malkavian run and that the trains will probably run on time again for awhile before the whole place goes to pot.

    They also mention, since you're on the topic of New York, that they know a thing or two about former Primogen Ash Gently and what little he was doing to get his fingers into more... ahem... global politcking ? and they're willing to tattletale on him if you waive the normal fees for Heidi and such. They figure it can't hurt anybody now, given that he's not running anything these days, but that they'd be lax Nosferatu if they sold info on a Clanmate without charging.

    Miguel isn't terribly up-to-date with Camarilla politics, particularly those in North America, He can give you his analysis of the situation when you describe it to him, and seems very surprised when you mention the particulars of Rogerson's departure. He tells you that you might want to look into any connections that Wright has to local Ventrue, and tells you that he'd bet the man is somebody's catspaw. He says that he sincerely doubts that New York is as independently operated as it appears to be and suspects that there are a few young Elders stirring the pot. He says that your primary concern should be that events in Halifax might shake Brody up enough that he proves unruly toward whomever is pulling his strings.

    You meet Talos but once, and by coincidence. He's in an airport in Belgrade where you're waiting for a day before connecting with a flight into Berne. You are surprised to see him, and have to check a few times to make certain he's still the mad prophet you know and love.

    You talk largely about things unrelated to politics for most of your time together, which is largely spent with him siphoning Wi-Fi out of a 24 hour Starbucks while the two of you pretend to enjoy over-priced coffee. When you bother to ask about New York, he smiles a bit, and tells you that the important thing to remember about your city is that it's one of the few places on earth that seems to like a good tragedy. People burn out bright and fast in New York because they can, because it's the stage Kindred seem to have selected to play out what they wanted to do as humans ? to be able to have romances, damsels in distress, arch-villains, eleventh hour repentances, revenge, torture, redemption, revelations and all that jazz.

    The problem is that real life doesn't approve of drama as often as it most people profess it does, which makes the government of "Tragedytown" a bit of a handful. He suspects that if whomever's in charge these days is willing to play the sort of games that the Petrovs and Bennetts and Lucasatas of this world play, they'll do marvelously before they die. If not, they'll probably live. He's not certain which is worse.

  • 5. You are free to make whatever stories you wish to bring back to New York with you. You've heard enough told from me by this point. :)

  • 6. As alluded to earlier, the Parisian Toreador have long awaited your arrival, and have made lavish preparations for a three day bacchanal in the style of Nero. The de facto leader of the group, a slender blonde named Giselle, has spent a reported excess of 50,000 euros on her costume as Poppea alone. The group has also already done their part in furnishing the real exotic beasts, the ghoul servitors, and a great number of pricey artifacts needed to flesh out the revel.

    The largest order of business is actually preparing the food, which they wish to always have an element of the fantastical to it. You go through a number of historical accounts of Roman foods and are able to simulate:

    • An ox roast filled with rainbow dyed sparrows which fly about the room when it is cut open and sing in unison a variety of tunes at their master's requests.
    • A dozen plates of gold gilded ostrich brains stuffed with nuts, dates and rubies
    • Nests of realistic looking eggs which are made out of layers of meat and fish, from which hatch an army of briefly animated roast quail.
    • Several peacocks each stuffed with the wine-drenched hearts of seven dolphins and laced with gems and silver.
    • A twelve layer honey pastry that causes whomever eats of it to hear the distant sounds of singing maidens.

    From there, you are also asked to put the sun and the moon in the fretted dome of the building; to disguise all of the walls such as that they resemble the architecture of old; to turn the night time world of Paris outside into the rolling idyllic fields of a pastoral; to create one authentic looking satyr to play the lyre and tempt the women; and to, of course, to be on call to answer the various whims of individuals seeking after lust or revenge. You get away with charging an exorbitant amount for all of this (to be determined by the other STS), and the party is apparently a smashing success.

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