New York : Vampire

The adventures Daniel's leg saw
And felt

This seems to be an excerpt from Daniel’s notebook:

Sometimes it’s a wonder that your body parts don’t develop a conscience of their own with all the adventures and hardship they suffer. If there was so much it did over a couple of weeks, it would have been these two weeks. It all started with me travelling to Cathedral, as Miss Hutchings said she had more information about one of our problems. Maybe her heart softened after Master Basani got Miss Diaz as his Hound. I still don’t understand his decision for Lancean Hound – there was no need to stay happy with every covenant. But well, his funeral.

I still can’t believe the sight I saw down there. I thought Circle was brutal… But this…. What I saw was our famous ‘M’ – Milton Vasquez…….. crucified. Mouth had scarring and was covered, and overall his injuries were terrible – way worse than what I do to test subjects. At least I end them quickly afterwards. In any case, I had a little chat with him in his mind, and clearly he was out of his mind – the torture not helping it anyhow. Not wanting the Lance to reap the benefits of having his mind, I end his life right there. I saw opportunity by grabbing the hammer and smashing him – he most likely would have passed out from a single hit – but that bishop saw through it, and apparently she has Dominate, because afterwards my legs started listening to her. Milton is still there, in the Cathedral.

This has been overheard in Daniel’s conversation with Walter:

“To explain all that well, I need to start at the beginning – after meeting Allan – you remember him, right? – a few weeks ago, we had a bit of an argument on all the different powers and why certain people are locked to certain powers – like why can’t we ever learn Mage secrets directly. The argument itself was fruitless, but Allan offered to get me in contact to what he called “an expert in death and souls” – Alysha – actually just before meeting her, I found out all about the dagger and dice as I was trying to impress her. So anyway, we decided to combine our efforts and try to find a way for me to unlock… I guess I should call it, outside supernatural. Though no, that would sound stupid during presentation." He muttered to himself. "In any case, she hoped to further her knowledge into souls, while I would have chance to learn more into different supernaturals. And after a week and some, we have developed a sort of ritual, which involved captured Ghosts – one of which was contained in this jar. During it, I was infused with said Ghosts contained in my Ectoplasm as a carrier – hence my paleness and general health when I returned that night.

However, what happened afterwards was just AMAZING! All the items in the room started poofing in the air and teleporting around in a disjointed dance. It was just marvelous. <…“”…> However, I would not like to demonstrate yet, as the two times I have tried out, they seemed to fizzle out in an equally spectacular fashion. First time, <…> focused into this jar, <…> so it teleported straight in my leg. At first it was terribly hot, but the heat didn’t seem to have harmed me or my beast too much – thankfully it wasn’t open fire or something enough to cause it. The second time was on the roof – this time <…> tried to make the lock on substation disappear, <…> focusing it away to the side, while I was waiting at the safe distance on the ladder, ready to climb down if needed but… I blinked… and I was in front of the door with lock gone."

Another excerpt from Daniel’s notebook:

Why was it so hard for Walter to understand that Pat and Rick were my friends?..

I return home after the experiment all battered up, and he broke me the news of Lana’s death like she was nobody – a tool to be replaced. He didn’t even bother to at least find the body, even less about offering any moral support. Of course my Beast couldn’t take it. Next moment I know I see myself and Rick trying to fight Walter but being thwarted by his Dominate… I hate that thing… Afterwards he even decides to tarnish my friends to mud like they were some sort of trash. Absolutely disgraceful. I could not take that either. I threatened to leave his place and only that sorted his mind straight. But at least all that went fine afterwards and we’re back to normal. He even gave me his protective suit. To assure him, I didn’t take the final key… Hmph, like I needed it.

And then after that I will get Lana back. I will make Tesoro bring her back.

Most recent excerpt from Daniel’s notebook

So my leg starts walking on its own, becomes witness of terrible destiny for one of Masters Basani, Poe or Alex, then suffered a jar to its innards, which is still there, was stopped yet again against my will, and afterwards shocked heavily and crushed from my fall. If it had any consciousness, I think by now it would have actively revolted against me like the French did in 18th century. Maybe it’s good they’re just part of me.

Another night of murder and other exciting adventures

An NYPD police officer murdered in the area of Manhatenville community center….] [… body of officer Paul Tuozzolo was reportedly found inside the sewage..] [.. NYPD are investigating whether this is related to the spate of gang violence ralated murders in the area…]
New York Daily News

The NYPD are investigating a series of murders in Amsterdam Avenue area…][…suspects, still at large, two Caucasian males both of unnaturally pale complexion…] […both wearing similiar leather jackets…] […reportedly beaten a passer by to death on the intersection of Amsterdam Ave and 129th street…]
New York Post

An elderly women gone missing in Manhatenville…] […neighbours claim that she left to star in a horror movie..][..NYPD report that this is not related to the recent spree of murders in the area, linked to gang violence]…
The New York Times

Are excerpts from some of the stories Alex would have read in the crime sections of local New York news sites, had he browsed them this week, which he didn’t. In fact he didn’t read the news that much at all. As you might have guessed our friends, survived a few more interesting nights full of uncalled for violence and misunderstandings.

On the bright side – it turns out the girl, Lana, whom Tesoro dumped into the river last week after mercilessly beating her, in fact survived that ordeal. She was now drinking blood from the neck of an elderly woman lying dead on the floor as Alex & Walter were entering the staircase of apartment building the tiny flat they used to use for their meetings was in. After satisfying her thirst she found herself in rather distraught state, but she calmed down in the warm hands of Walter after he brought her back inside the apartment. Waking up in the middle of the Hudson river as she did must have been hell of an experience. Turns out she ran back to the last place she was at – desperately looking for her dear master Daniel, who she hoped could have explained what was happening to her. She only found Poe’s friend Shawn there, though… Who was rather scared by this nearly undead visitor , but still managed to call Poe. Who ran as fast as he could to the rescue and stopped her before she could finish Shawn off. After a short struggle Poe threw her outside the apartment through the empty doorway (he destroyed the door itself when he was entering the premises). There she encountered the unlucky lady we have already met…

Having spent sometime in the bottom of a river, she was not in a very good shape, so Walter sent Alex to get some new clothes as he took Lena to the shower. Sadly, Alex probably wasn’t the best choice for this task (as we have to admit for most of the other tasks he had attempted before). He was rather hungry that night and when his beast took over him he managed to murder a policeman patrolling in the park outside, after a brief scuffle. He did not want to look like a fool in front of everyone else and more importantly he did not want to upset his dear friend Walter, who seemed to still have this rather peculiar sense of respect for human life, despite of participating a murder cover-up or two every other week. So Alex decided not to tell anyone about this event as he cleaned himself up and went looking for a clothing store. Heck.. another body lying around in the neighbourhood won’t probably do much more harm…

As, yet again, police sirens were passing by the apartment building, the group hurried back to their new home. Poe was rather uneasy about this whole situation, as he considered his duty as one of the Nosferatu to dispose of Lana (she was one of the “accidental” vampires nobody had officially embraced after all) by sacrificing her to the being that dwelt in the depths of Nosferatu sewage-catacomb hideout. But Walter convinced him that they should delay this for a while at least – as our honourable councillor Tesoro should have the right to decide her fate, since it was he who (technically) embraced her.

Back at their new building, where luckily they did not have any neighbours that could be murdered, they meet a new visitor – Cathleen. She hoped to establish a new business in New York and was hoping to meet with Councillor Tesoro. The good she hoping to sell here was a mysterious potion called “Solace”, a vial of which was supposed to turn the undead back to a human, albeit only for one night. She gave those present samples of this mysterious elixir, yet did not elaborate how much additional vials might cost..

The first one to try it out was Poe, who hurried to the home of his common law wife Stella, whom he did not see for years, after gazing at her while she was sleeping through the backyard window he could not suppress his desire to touch and embrace her again, so he drank the potion and knocked at the window…

A rather bewildering conversation followed during which Poe first tried to convince Stella that he is a part of her dream, then that dark forces had prevented him from seeing her for all these year and at the end he confessed that he was in fact a vampire… Stella obviously confused, yet happy that Poe is after all alive decided that he must be on drugs and that they should see a doctor first thing in the morning…

After an even more bizarre day Poe spent with Stella and their grandson Vinnie (at the end of which they decided to delay the doctor’s appointment till the next morning) Poe suddenly died in the backyard after sneaking out of Stella’s bed as she was asleep. Luckily Vinnie (who was already aware of Poe’s current state) was there and dragged him to beck his room. Where they discussed various ways to solve this situation.

Next night after covertly exploring the locked Ordo Dracul’s laboratory on the top floor and the paranormal sub-station on the roof Alex on his way down ran into none other but our new notary mr. Lynch. Alex (being in rather non-confrontational mood that night) decided to show his respect for mr. Lynch with one of these frivolous titles Invictus revered so much. Alas, it turned out that mr Lynch should not be referred to as “Alder, Notary”, since he in fact was “Lord, Notary”. But apparently the tone of Alex’s voice was not respectful enough when he corrected this abominable mistake and mr. Lynch promptly challenged him to a duel to avenge this heinous insult.

Alex, being prideful in his own idiotic sort of way, went on with this charade which ended with him being stabbed in the hand and having to lie down on the floor to acknowledge Lord Notary Lynch’s supremacy..

The Game of Dice (with the God of Death), Part 1

The night started as most of them had, with most of us gathering in that cramped apartment. Daniel was missing again, as he was for the past week or two – busy with his fancy Invictus research. Suddenly we heard a knot at the door. Poe went to check it, apparently it was some girl – a human. Turned out that she was Daniel’s ghoul named Lana and she brought us a message from him. Seems that Daniel found some random junk at the home of that woman Tesoro and Poe murdered a while ago, because some guy who called himself ‘M’ told us so.. There were 2 dice, a knife and a mirror (he wasn’t sure if we actually needed the mirror or not, but added it anyway – so nice of him). Daniel had decided that the deceased woman – Pat Wolfe, had used these dice to play a game with the God of Death himself every year since the 15th century. And more surprisingly turns out that she somehow she managed to win every single time. This God must really suck at dice… And now the one who killed the last player must take her place or he shall die…

After hearing Lana read this story I wasn’t sure if master-mister Milton wasn’t just making a joke (might be he just believed in every silly old story he read in his old books, though). The other seemed to have taken the story seriously and Poe and Tesoro were arguing about who dealt the last blow to that woman. Walter decided to call Daniel and ask him whether he left out any details. He didn’t. So Walter departed to his library to read more old books… Lana remained with us, not sure having a live human in the same room as Tesoro is good idea, but we’ll see…

As our magnificent researcher left we decided to conduct an experiment of our own. If you use the dice to play with the God of death what happens if you just throw them? It might be just a silly story, but why take the risk.. So we decided to find a -victim a volunteer to test this for us. I, Tesoro and Poe went outside to the street to look for one, while Lana remained in out spacious studio flat.

A couple were passing by, I just went to them and offered $50 to throw this pair ordinary dice I was holding in a bag. The guy agreed, picked them up, lifted his hand and threw them – it was 2 and 3. Surprisingly or not nothing happened and I Started walking back to the apartment, when suddenly Tesoro ran pass me. He jumped in front of the same guy and demanded his wallet. It was hard not to laugh when looking at this scene – if he needed cash so badly he might have just asked… The guy refused so Tesoro hit him, I rushed there and tried stopping him, but he slipped out of my hands and proceed at throwing the poor fellow at the wall – this apparently broke his back and Tesoro proceed at taking his wallet and then drinking what remained of his blood.

I didn’t have much too say, so I went back to the flat, as Poe and Tesoro were dragging to body to the sewer drain. Back in the flat an oversized crow was flapping right at the window, it started squeaking and hitting it with it’s beak, probably it was Tesoro, but it was just too funny watching him trying to get in. Lana didn’t seem t realise that and was a bit afraid, though. After a while I did let him in, he tried hitting me with his beak – he missed and Lana smashed him with a frying pan, she got from somewhere, shouting “I got him! I got him!”. When crow which fell to the floor it started turning to Tesoro with a broken arm – Lana seemed to have been a bit surprised. Tesoro was quite angry and was looking at seemingly preparing to attack. I intercepted him and as we were grappling on the floor and I shouted that she should run. She was surpassingly fast for a human and when Tesoro somehow overpowered me she was already outside of the house. I tried chasing Tesoro, but as Police sirens were already on the street corner, I went back to the flat. From what I heard later Tesoro chased her down to the docks, caught her on a Pier, murdered her and hid her body somewhere under a rock in the Hudson.

Maybe Daniel was right so far every mortal who touched dice ended up dead… I sneaked out of the flat when police came knocking at the door and went home. I decided to ask the Goddess if the story and this game had any meaning to it. Turned out that this wasn’t some silly story, the Crone revealed to me that this game with the god of death was indeed real and you would have to play it in the “land of the dead”.

After a couple of nights Walter called me and asked me to come to the flat. He did some reading and learned more things about this game, he even found the entrance to this “land of the dead” – it was in some cemetery in Manhattan… The player and the god both threw the dice, if the player won he would live another year, if he lost – he died, but if he refused to play bad things would happen. Apparently the black death was caused by one of such events. After learning these new facts I inquired the Goddes on how did this Pat Wolfe manage to win against such odds for more than 500 years in a row. Turns out she was cheating and the dice she had were special, if she sacrificed a person with attached dagger the dice would always roll two sixes.

So Tesoro would not have to just trust just his luck for this one, we would just need to sacrifice someone every year for him to win. But after talking with Poe, Tesoro decided that he did not want to sacrifice anybody and that Walter should find a less cruel way to cheat. Turns out that he is morally opposed to murdering people if their death served some purpose, he’s only fine with murdering people for no reason at all. After I reminded him that the Goddess showed us this path for a reason, and the he should not oppose her will he swiftly changed her mind. Then we went looking for victims…

Endless nights (and days) of research
Or how to cheat death at dice

Walter was sitting over the desk full of papers, articles and books. Most of his notes were usually in his laptop, but now he even grabbed an old school notebook to help him think this through.

He found so many ways of affecting your luck, rabbit’s feet, horseshoes, Four-Leaf clover, even coins or bamboo, but none of them seemed to ensure that luck. Some the straight out fake or pure result of statistical variance. Apparently you could even ask a witch to bless you or make trade with goblin, although the last goblin they met didn’t seem too keen on trading anything or even talking at all.

The dice they already had simply were the most logical and clear answer to him even after all this research. Yet he couldn’t forget a look on Poe’s face when he claimed this wrong and that a single life for greater good was still not acceptable to save the world for a year.
Damn fucking hypocrite, who stood by when Tesoro would kill innocents one after another for stupid reasons, yet saving god damn world by sacrificing one is off the limits. Face in his palms he chuckled at the stupid irony of that.

Daniel’s letter did take them by surprise. Presented by his ghoul, Lana, message that now Tesoro or Poe, who killed Pat Wolfe would now need to play with god of death, or well, one of them, Extrema Cavae Dei.

He researched it vigorously and did indeed find a lot of legends about the game, the chosen to play the game and even some specific tips on how to get to the world of Undead. Silly as it sounded, the theories got confirmed by the ritual Alex did.

Furthermore, Alex did manage to find out that the dagger in their possession made the dice to throw double sixes if one killed a person before hand. Walter always wondered how the hell did their gods exactly show them stuff like that, but he could only envy powers like that. Days of professional research could only do as much as an hour of bloody chanting from that guy.

Thoughts about blood brought him back to Tesoro random rampages which cost them at least 2 more accidental lives and attention of Police in their lands. He did realize at that moment, that he didn’t mind the deaths of those random mortals anymore, he minded the complications on their feedings and their plans and actions in the Manhattanville.

Asking to test the dagger and dice outside their lands was more than logical and the cost of some random hobos, who had no life already didn’t even seem to weight at his conscience that much. He only seemed more motivated and competitive for it.

Already since the death of Dusk at his hands, he did notice himself becoming more practical and accustomed to the under life where deaths of mortals seemed like simple statistical variance in the plans of the machine. He looked over the stack of papers with his notes cramped to the corner for now as he researched other things. He did need to get back onto writing that book soon, his Ordo future depended on it.

In that very moment he heard lock turning in the front door meaning that Daniel came back to the apartment. He definitely won’t be happy he did assign them that task…

Daniel's letter

My dearest Coterie,

I am sorry that I cannot be physically with you today and had to send my ghoul, and I hope you are feeling well, for I will soon ruin your mood. Enveloped in this letter are dice and dagger, and I also added mirror though I do not know if you will need it too. You will also find a small text about which I will explain soon. Also, the ghoul will stay with you – I have told her that she is here to serve you this week, and you might find her talents useful, both natural and supernatural ones.

Foul M, may the world curse his soul, hasn’t been too open about the tasks he was giving us (Dragon Mister Walter can give more details about M’s fate), and we really should not have rushed on that. If you remember our first target, the Blood Bather Pat Wolfe, she had quite a history with her, as it would be expected from ~700 year old person. After you have slain her, I took leisure of grabbing some items from her flat which felt supernatural to me, but for quite a while I could not crack the secrets of them. Today I finally found the purpose – and I am still in dread from it!..

The text is a retelling of a man back in Middle Ages who wanted to murder her – I even managed to match the place and name. However, he soon was driven away from such foul thoughts, as Pat warned him of consequences of her death. Pat Wolfe have played game with those dice and dagger against no other than God of Death himself, or so I believe from seeing all the honorifics. And after winning and, as I understand, digging that God into ground with exclamation “You shall not come to Earth for another year.”, she got protection from it. Whoever killed her would have to play the game too – or die.

Because no one of you are dead yet, I expect the game gives you a bit leeway, but I would not expect much. I do not have more information of how are you supposed to actually play it or if mirror is also tied to it, but well, there must be some mystery in the world and time is not a commodity I can spare more.

May the Dragon show You the Path!

Yours faithfully,
Dragon Mister Daniel Milton, a Player of New York, Slave of Ordo

Christmas fever
Or why white monsters hate cats and sledgehammers

Walter woke up sweaty. His heart was pounding like crazy, images from the nightmare still clear in his mind. Damn white furry Krampus. He hoped that sleep would have helped to freshen up from all those reindeer and gingerbread.

Standing in the shower, water streaming all over him he relieved the murder scene. Poor child’s body parts all over the furniture, eyeballs missing, blood soaked everywhere. He still didn’t know what happened to his parents or why Krampus had stayed in that house if he’s supposedly punishing kids all over the world.

It was actually funny when after a several hour investigation they found that bricked out compartment in an empty apartment. Took them another day to actually get tools to get through the stupid wall. Walter didn’t want to think what did that extra day meant to naughty children all over the world.

Damnnn, it even sounded stupid in his mind. A monster, size of a little finger, who stockpiles gingerbread, lives in a fucking pink doll house and mutilates children for fun?!

He imagined that stupid music from Benny Hill show while they were chasing a tiny monster through the apartments and staircase. Him slipping on spilled milk, Tesoro running around like a cat, Alex smashing walls with the sledgehammer and Krampus’ head exploding on a headshot in basement. Second later it inflating like a balloon to a size of an elephant.

Alistair decided he needed more rest. Recent levels of stress and sleepless days were paying their toll on him. As he opened his eyes water spraying and bouncing of his body reminded him of those bloody tears.

Now he wasn’t sure if it was real or not, but he had heard earlier that vampires can bleed like that from their eyes. Getting to see that was a bit different. He turned off water and dried himself.

While dressing he was still thinking if they pushed those ladies too hard. Well, if one can call vampires older than he – ladies. Why couldn’t he be embraced in his twenties or thirties…

Catching himself drifting he went back to analyzing that conversation. It was obvious that Gus had to be dealt with, but their means have been becoming more and more radical. Tesoro driving over Rebecca Diaz, his newly anointed hound like a bulldozer. Walter had to admit he was also disappointed when shadow didn’t actually get her any info as Daniel would usually, but damnnn, throwing that prostitute money at her was completely cruel.
And Heidi… Obviously mind fucked by that sick kid wouldn’t share anything. He had to insist… After that she was gone running and crying too. Probably worried that her family would be murdered for that. It was actually quite fascinating that fear and delusions stayed for dozens of years now. That child was definitely a cruel master of nightmare discipline. They’d need to be careful with that investigation. Powerful and unpredictable was a combination he fervently disliked.

As he finished buttoning his shirt, he went next to the mirror and checked if everything looked good. Satisfied, he put on the jacket and looked at the clock as he grabbed the jacket. He was almost running late. Walter was never late.

Milton nailed to a Cross
Somewhere in New York

Giant cross and a man, nailed to it stood in the middle of the room. There were holy words etched onto the cross. The man’s tongue had a big nail going through it, he couldn’t even properly close his mouth because of it. He was in pain. There was blood going down his body. Next to it Adelia was standing.

“Mister Milton…please."

Trials of Mister Becker and Mister Arden

The stake was pulled out from Garry’s chest. He opened his eyes and saw that he’s in a big fancy room, with marble around. There were some chairs and a bigger table. The room was quite packed with vampires he saw Mister Lamb preparing to speak.

“Welcome back, Mister Becker. We’ve gathered here to trial you for the betrayal of Madame Lawler, Countess of Bronx.”

“Uhh….” Garry looked around slowly, as a mortal approached Garry.

“Please drink up, Mister Becker, we want everyone to be clear of mind.” said the Judex, before continuing, while Garry drank.“In attendance we have:
Mister Garry Becker,
Madame Dori Lawler, Countess of Bronx,
Alder Hale,
Lord Brewer, Speaker and the Notary of the Invictus,
Mister Nathaniel Arden,
Madame Suzanna McCloskey,
Mister Kerry Willis,
Madame Shirley Russel,
And me, Mister Greg Lamb, Judex of the Invictus.
If anyone would like to state anything before we begin, speak up.”

Nathaniel saw Garry’s eyes darting around the room, eyeing the present Kindred. He could practically see how his brain ticked, looking for a way out.

“Mister Becker, you are on trial for implicating Madame Lawler, plotting to usurp her position and murdering Master Wong, Master Barton and Miss Butler. Would you like to say anything before we commence?” he asked before lighting up his cigar.

Garry slowly looked around, meeting Nathaniel’s eyes. “Yes, Mister Lamb. I would like to confess. I have indeed plotted to take over Madame Lawler’s position, for I believe that she’s incapable of doing her job. As proven by the fact, that she took such dangerous individuals under her care, as Stanley. It was just a matter of time, before something like this happened, before the werewolf assaulted our fellow Kindred. I apologise to Madame Lawler.” he said, going over the lines more than actually being honest. “And I’d like to swear Oath of Penance to her for a year.” he said kneeling on one leg before her. “Right now in front of everyone. As for the other crimes, I’m being accused of – I’m innocent. During the event, I asked Mister Arden to deliver the package, which he’ll confirm, at that point I immediately went to meet with Madame Lawler.”

“How do you explain the fact that you so suspiciously sent Mister Arden with a tool which could face off against a werewolf?”

“Because I suspected that the werewolf will be met by Mister Arden that night. I had a prophetic dream. I could not risk doing nothing, so I made sure that Mister Arden would have something to defend himself with, and asked him to go. I hoped that he’d be there in time, or that perhaps I would be wrong about this.”

“Well, get used to it. The plan relied on you not knowing shit. Of course, you’d be questioned by the hounds – if it looked like anything but a coincidence, the entire thing would blow in our faces. And people will lie and use you all the time. That’s how Kindred society works. But at least this time, we both get to benefit from this.” Garry’s voice could be heard by everyone, coming from a phone in Madame Lawler’s hands. The rest of the conversation then unrolled for everyone to listen to.

Mister Becker looked shocked and surprised to hear it. He stopped for a moment. He took a breath. “Oh, Mister Nathaniel, it pains my heart to admit this. But I lied. I never caused the werewolf to do anything, I just knew that it’s a high probability that he would do that there.”

“Why did you not give warning to Madame Lawler then?”

He lowered his head. “As I already confessed, I have plotted against her, and I saw this as an opportunity. Inaction however, is not the same as doing the crime. I am deeply sorry.”

At that point Mister Willis, Madame Russel were questioned. Mister Willis and Madame Russel did not claim anything new.

“Mister Arden, please tell us everything which might add something to this story. We have quite a full picture here,but perhaps there are details which could change the outcome.” said the Judex.

Nathaniel stood up, glanced at the notebook on his table and answered “Mister Judex, thank you for this chance. As you’ve mentioned you’ve already have quite a full picture, I just wanted to point out some inconsistencies in Mister Becker’s lies and answers.” he picked up his notepad and continued.

“In the same recording Mister Becker claimed that he had to lie to me to make it look believable and look like a coincidence, but if he is now claiming that he lied about lying that creates a number of inconsistencies between his actions and words.” Nat paused to grab some air and continued.

“First, Mister Becker claims that he knew of high probability of the attack happening, yet, he didn’t tell that to me. Moreover, on the opposite, he forced me to go on foot to deliver a package specifically on the that night, during that time.” Nat glanced around when pausing to see reactions of others to his words.

“Secondly, he worked in secret to deliver me that silver tool through a mortal to hide his involvement in the action and a week before the event happening. Furthermore, he choose a casual item to not attract attention. Any proper silver weapon would have been way more useful.” Nate continued reading his notes.

“Thirdly, he described the dead Kindred as unfortunate effect of the plan, explaining that I was planned to be there few minutes earlier, which we took due to my questions about this unusual task.” Nat pressed on hoping that Judex would see plain mischief of his sire

“Furthermore, Mister Becker did not deny the knowledge of how the werewolf went on rampage, on the opposite, he even offered to teach me that when he became a count.” at that moment he even glanced at the judged liege.

“Finally, after hearing of my investigation and questions, Mister Becker wanted to keep me low and quiet for some months, likely by forceful torpor.” Nat finished his speech and put down his notepad.
“That’s it, your honor.” Nathaniel finished.

“Why would I tell you that? I dreamt of it. If I was wrong, I would be making myself a fool in front of my own trusted Childe. As for the car, I didn’t force you, I asked you to, because in my dream your car got smashed up by the werewolf, so I wanted to save it, because I knew how much you liked it.” he was explaining everything rationally, and obviously with some irritation that he even has something to explain.

“If I gave you a silver weapon, how would I explain myself, given that the only werewolf in here was Marsh? Especially if it turned out wrong. Why would I plot to kill somebody? Of course, I had to give you a tool to use in case it is real.”

“Of course it was unfortunate. My plan was that you are there in time and handle the werewolf. If he killed one or two vampires, it would just be proof that he needed handling. If you came in while all of them were alive, then the whole thing would be pointless.”

“And now the teaching part. More often than not, perceived power is much more important than real power. I trusted you, Mister Arden. If I could have caused this, I would have told you. Instead, I chose to be perceived as more powerful than I really am.”

“Forceful… I never forced you to do anything. Ever. Wouldn’t have done so either. And since you already knew something was suspicious here, you could have shown to everyone that those deaths could have been prevented, totally eradicating my chance for replacing Madame Lawler.” he answered.

Madame Lawler spoke up. “Mister Judex, I’d like to ask you to call in a ventrue or a shadow who could verify the truth.”

“That will not be necessary. I already made my decision. Madame Lawler, will you take Mister Becker’s Oath of Penance?”

She looked angry, furious even. She looked around, met Mister Becker’s eyes. “… Yes, however, I will also banish him from Bronx.”

“Then so be it, Mister Becker will swear the Oath of Penance to Madame Lawler for a year and will leave Bronx. In addition, Mister Becker will not be able to take any position or office, which has been Madame Lawler’s without her permission for fifty years. Does anyone have anything else to add to this?”

Madame Lawler looked angry, but she tried to hide it. Mister Becker was rather calm.

Nat was surprised, even shocked and disgusted that they believed the story of a fucking dream “Prophetic dream is your serious explanation for everything, seriously?”
He looked around as it seemed that other accepted it normally. He whispered “What the fuck…”

“While it’s rare for one of the Kindred to have prophetic dreams, Mister Arden, it’s not unheard of. Of course,if you have a more probable story to what might have happened, I’m all ears.” said the Judex.

After a small pause he continued. “So, since everyone is fine with this, Lord Brewer, would you oversee the Oath?”

He agreed, and then Mister Becker swore the Oath of Penance to Madame Lawler in front of everybody. At that point, Judex wanted to dismiss everybody, but Mister Becker interrupted that.

“Excuse me, Mister Judex. Since we’re already here, there is another matter for you to weight on. Mister Arden has broken his Oath of Fealty to me. For nothing more, but a perceived risk to his relative. I have invited his brother, a mortal, Sebastian over. Mister Arden at that point invaded my Haven, and attacked me, putting me in Torpor. That’s a harsh betrayal of the Oath… and of a Sire.”

“Perceived risk? You threatened him after I decided to turn you over. By the time I got there his mind was already googly, because of your charms on him. Even now he hasn’t yet recovered.” Nat answered obviously barely holding his temper.

“Even if it was a risk. So what, Mister Arden? It’s not a crime to take a mortal under your power. It is a crime however, to break your Oaths and stake a vampire in his haven.”

“He did it, only to hand him over to us,” said Madame Lawler. “For the previous trial.”

“This has nothing to do with the previous trial, Madame Lawler. He could have just walked away, we would have been in the same trial, and Mister Arden would have said the same, and the outcome would be the same. No, it is not about justice and your position. It was solely based on the fact that I had his brother. And as his Liege, I had the full right not only to take them under my power, but torture and kill them as well. Of course, I didn’t do such things. I cared for them, because my childe and my vassal cared for them. He didn’t care, as soon as he felt my influence, positive one if anything, upon his brother, he assaulted me.”

Nathaniel clenching his firsts, he wished at this very moment to end the undead life of that man, yet stupid laws favoured that lying piece of shit, so he stayed quiet, with head still bowed, not in reverence though, but simply to hide the rage on his face.

“Mister Arden does not object, I assume he’s telling the truth. Do you have anything to say for yourself, Mister Arden? Silence will be taken as your agreement to the accusation.” said the Judex.

Judex’s words brought some sense to him while he chilled “I did stake Mister Becker, but I did assume him a dangerous individual at that point as I think he was guilty of those murders. I did not do any other harm to his person, which can be confirmed by Madame Lawler, which came to the flat few minutes after.” he responded to the accusation.

He shook his head. “Your suspicions do not excuse you from the Oath. If you wanted, you could have came before me, asking to free yourself of the Oath. For your breaking of the Oath, I sentence you to two drinks of Mister Becker’s blood.”

Mister Becker spoke up then. “Mister Judex, may I suggest, that instead of one of those two drinks, Mister Arden would be forbidden from seeing his brother or father without my permission? That way, we would not only ensure that he would not strike back at me, but that he would understand the real price.”

“If nobody has anything else to say…”

“What?” Nat exclaimed “How does that not ensure you don’t strike back at me? Giving full control of my family to you, which don’t even have anything to do with this.”

“It doesn’t” answered Becker. “But that’s the thing, you don’t get them, so I don’t have to do something nasty to them. And in the end, I’m not the one who wronged you.”

The Judex nodded. “So be it. Mister Arden, a drink, and you’ll need Mister Becker’s permission to see them. And that’s only because you’ve helped uncover Mister Becker’s crimes. Consider that you got of easy. If you break this, your family shall be executed.”

“What’s the period of this punishment?” he asked for the first time cursing himself for following through with this.

“Until Mister Becker says otherwise.”

“But… but he’ll never say otherwise.” Nat’s anger was strating to be exchanged with panic and loathing.

“I’m not some cruel monster. Don’t worry, if you behave well, I don’t see no reason why you shouldn’t be able to see them from time. I can promise, that I will arrange some meetings between you and your brother. That, is for certain.” he said with a smile. “Now, let’s not waste Judex’s time.” he said extending his hand.

Beastrix trap blueprint schematics
Yep, that's the one

Leg-hold triggered explosive combustion (or Beastrix) trap:

  • An off-set high momentum steel jaw trap chained to ground (something like a common Bear trap should do)
  • Timed, spring-loaded activation valve with an ignition system; depressed trigger opens the valve, allowing inert propellant gas (like nitrogen) to propel the liquid pressurized kerosine to pass over the electrically-heated wire coil and establish combustion. Limited amount of Oxidants should allow only for a short-timed exothermic redox.
  • Hermetic seal material combined with square wire netting

Image explanation for less educated or imaginative:

Chp 15: Fire, Leg Shot and Lightning
An extensive physical study by Dragon Mister Daniel Milton

Tonight, Master Poe Dellaware informed the coterie that this night was the time for them to finally exact justice from the Strix. Master Alex Coleman spent some of his time in the bathroom, bleeding for his gods, while Dragon Misters Daniel Milton and Walter Alistair McClanahan were planning traps and how would they make sure the Strix is dead. Eventually, the Flaming Inventor turned his invention gears spinning and crafted a deviant trap involving a bear trap, small oxygen canister, a lighter and an air-tight bag. ((Note to self: The blueprints of this should be stored for future generations, whether with Invictus or Ordo Dracul)) The only problem was putting Miss Marry “Dusk” Lee into a bag in Carthian territory. That meant a risky task for the two Shadows – Master Coleman and Mister Milton – of charging in with their speed and enveloping it in the bag. They also spent some time together to devise a proper plan and make sure that everyone works coordinated we each another.

Eventually enough time passed and the Coterie ventured off to Staten Island, inviting Sheriff Ruby King and Alder Aspen Hale to join the hunt. There, they set up the traps and then hid themselves, while Master Dellaware waited for Miss Lee and Master Darrel Hart, who organized this. They showed up, some talks happened and the trap was sprung successfully by the Strix. The Mekhets brought down the bag, and after several long seconds and reassuring blast of fire from Mister McClanahan, both Strix and Miss Lee were killed. Master Hart showed himself as a true idiot, like most Carthians tend to be – he ignored the authority’s request to stand down and charged Mister Milton (there are witness reports that the target was different, but they all come from Carthians, so they are deemed inconclusive), injuring him greatly. That was repaid “Eye for an Eye” by the Sheriff. Mister Milton ran away from fires madly, but eventually regained senses and returned, finding that the Coterie already cleaned up the place and had Miss Lee’s body in his car, of which he was appreciative. He drove off the Coterie back home while bringing his sister’s body to their Sire, Madame Suzanna Mccloskey, for proper funerary rites.

After that, a bit of still ran over the Coterie as they were planning their next move. Gus “Gus” Redmond was a problem, but they needed proof for that, and an easy way to Miss Heidi Mccoy was not found. Mister Milton had some confusing investigation on his hands, but found some time to finish up his latest research on a nearby Wyrm’s Nest together with Mister McClanahan. Inviting Master Coleman, the trio ventured off to test it – which appeared to be a haunted electrical sub-station on a roof of one of many Manhattanville’s blockhouses. It was cut off from Kine access due to it killing them even after it was cut off from city’s network, but that didn’t make the Kindred fearful. The locks were an easy obstacle, but the sub-station proved to be a harder thing to bend, as it knocked out Mister Milton on his experimentation into interfaces attempt, while Mister McClanahan was also severely burned, even if he claims he’s fine. The trio – Mister Milton in Master Coleman’s hands – departed to return another time, after they have seen enough.


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