New York : Vampire

Lonely night stories
Or how the coterie of Firebrands was formed

Vampire’s Requiem in New York lately has been one hell of a nightmare. All the hunters on the streets, curfew pretty much all night, hunting borderline impossible with most of the bars and clubs closed with simply traveling to the Manhattan a huge pain.

Misaki was analyzing the situation slowly drifting on the swing in someone’s backyard. She liked Staten Island for that, so many separate houses or even mansions. Thoughts scrambled through her head as lights in the nearby home switched from what she guessed was a dining room to a living room. Definitely way less cramped than the rest of NY and people way more cool or chill or whatever the description hipsters don’t use nowadays. Fucking hate hipsters.

And why did those uneducated haunts from the sewers had to start all this mess she exhaled, remembering first time she came to Staten Island. For quite a while she avoided this place due to all the Invictus propaganda, but curiosity and the values they propagated won over time, especially when the relationships with sire became better and he didn’t mind anymore her choosing for herself.

It was raining cats and dogs that night, she was completely soaked when she got to the bar, infamous Carthian bar, which is still a main meeting spot even now. Well maybe not right now, but whatever She expected to be made fun of for still looking like fourteen, even though she was seventeen when she got embraced, or even not served due to not being legal age she would be a millionaire if she got a cent every time she heard that joke, yet something more terrible happened – people simply didn’t notice her arrival. She did’t have courage to approach anyone in this alien place, so she just sat there, in a corner for a quarter of an hour swearing in her mind for coming.

There was a tear streaming down her face as she stood and reached the door to leave, but Maxim came in at the same time. She doesn’t even remember what kind of a non-sense icebreaker he used, but it didn’t matter. It all happened like a blur. Soon she was sitting there at a barrel, used instead of a table, Maxim and Kent chatting to her over some strange drink she was surprised not to vomit out later in the night.

That night Misaki learned how the duo met, Maxim helping out Kent “Middleman” Conway with some interesting deals to make money, contacts and influence. Over the night they shared the stories of their failures like when they got scammed so badly they got plastic AK47’s instead of real ones after spending their full fortune on them or successes as Kent saved Maxim’s close friend from Russian mafia. How they would usually pull their police strings to avoid problems after more adventurous hunts or fight their way through gangsters when the deal would go south.

Izanami couldn’t stay grumpy with all this comradeship and friendliness they displayed towards each other and strangely towards her. She opened up to them like no one else about all the stupid situations caused by her stupid age. How she would struggle to do anything without her sire’s help when people respond to you like you a fucking moron. Izanami couldn’t smile remembering all the silly things she heard over her undead life “Sorry lady, only adults can rent apartments” or “Fight club is a R-rated movie and you need a parent to accompany you for it.”

With time they started hanging out more often and they introduced her to some other cool fellas and would even take on some jobs with them. Finally, she felt appreciated and valued even with all of her faults. She was immensely proud when all 3 of decided to bunch up as a coterie. Damn coolest and chillest of them all.

Several months ago Oliver Hart, Kent’s contact from police got embraced, so it was only natural that he started hanging out with them after doing them a number of favors in past years. The guy hadn’t really dealt with Izanami though, so once he dared to think himself above others and teach her a lesson. Apparently he though she wasn’t respectful enough of her surrounding and molested her damn ear.
Remembering the story, which by now was part of their funny drink tales, she touched her left ear, releasing quickly after feeling the unnatural dryness of it.

Little did the fella know, as after one beastly look from a little girl he was storming out of the bar. Laughs, which erupted after the door banged, were more than cheerful. Later she even taught him how to do same tricks and control Nightmare. Guy was a natural learner and went through it way more painlessly than herself for which she was both envious and proud. He was officially invited to join the coterie after he saved Kent’s ass in a hell of a shoot-out in his usual too good of a deal, which was too hard to resist.

It was a natural progression as they were already spending so much time together and the guy was a nice fit to their strange, yet comely bunch.

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An eventful week

Taking care of Carthian “business” and balancing a job at the same time was enough to occupy myself for the most time, but this week was especially busy and weird.

And it all started with a call from Anton to help him receive a weapon shipment from some guy. Apparently, that guy’s name was Walter and as a payment he wanted Anton to get some kindred up from torpor. To Walter’s disbelief, two of the three kindred were no longer getting up in any conventional means. Apart from the weird interactions between Walter and the recently awoken friend of his, transaction, was completed without any issues and a 2nd shipment was supposed to be arriving some time soon.

Having some free time Maxim, Kent and I have decided to get our bellies full with that tasty human vitae. Not everything went according to plan as Kent bitten out a chunk of a girl’s neck when he lost his self-control. Unfortunately, I was unable to save her. Frustrated at both my failure and incompetence of my comrade I went out on a search of a punching bag I could get my anger out on.

Knowing my way around the streets of NY even at a dangerous time like this I was able to find some piece of human trash selling weed to an underage boy. Not waiting for him to explain himself and apologise as he saw his impending doom approaching I gave him a few quick jabs to the face, drank a bit of his blood and brought him to the nearest precinct where my old acquaintance Bob agreed to take care of him.

A day and a bit later I got a call from Kent who has explained that we have another job from our friend Anton. When we arrived at the place we saw the guy Anton has got up from torpor the other day, chained to a chair. After a short exchange of words with Kent I have explained to our friend that Walter is dead which seemed to have touched him in a wrong way as he started ripping the chains one after the other and charging at me. A bullet between the eyes and a straight punch to the face was not enough to stop this train and we got into a three-way grapple with maxim and me trying to immobilise this fucker as he pushed us both away and bitten out a chunk of my neck.

Pain and an immense feeling of thirst made me lose my control as I lunged at the nearest blood bag which unfortunately was Tim.

Shots from assault rifle, bullets in my body and the last thing I remember in those hazy few seconds: the floor approaching my face.. or was it the other way around?

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These last few weeks
This is going for too long

These last few weeks are both blessing and nightmare. The phone is almost never silent with requests for anything – guns, hideyholes, fix’ ups. Yet this also brings out the danger in having to work on the field too, and how would you refuse such a man as Anton? So here we are, Maxim and Oliver standing guard during a gun shipment transfer between him and some other vampire, with me standing there for numbers. That vampire had the weirdest price ever set – he brought a bunch of bodies in a van, asking Anton to raise them, yet the guy didn’t even realize that most of them were cold out. Only one of the bodies got woken up, and it all looked nice and dandy and confused as Kindred reunions can go. Good for them, I thought, then I went with Anton to examine what the guy brought. Would be good later to find out his supplier – never hurts to have more notes in a notebook than there can ever fit. They leave, we leave, and everyone’s sort of happy.

These last few weeks also seem to constantly bring worst in people, and I am not immune to that too, I have to face that. Getting fresh food is harder with many usual places being deserted, yet last night I managed to luck out on an empty bar with just one girl, probably drinking out some sorrows. I call her up, I lead her away from any possible eyes, and then I bite, and it’s so damn tasty… And next moment I am on ground trashin’ with Maxim. Oliver was trying to wrap the wound I left on girl but the guy really doesn’t know where to wrap bandages to hold the pressure. I try to avert what he did but its too late and I have a body on me. Oh well, to the morgue she goes. I hope Rick won’t mind another unfiled corpse.

These last few weeks also brought a lot of external threats for Kindred. Next night I get a call from Anton, apparently one of the guys from that deal is at Tim, chained up, as the Kindred’s place got torched, and he wants us to check out what’s the deal with him. I call up the Coterie and we go for Tim’s place, Tim warns us the guy is a bit frantic and threatening. Nothing unusual, I think. Maxim goes at front, that’s his place anyway, I walk in behind to look if guy got any wounds from that event. We talk for a short while, and the talk falls to that other guy… What was his name?… Walter? Ye, whatever, so he asks about Walter, and Anton didn’t say anything about him so I just say to Oliver that prolly he got torched, and Oliver seems to reaffirm that both in his and the chained guy’s mind. Oh how stupid we were to trust in those chains when a damn Haunt is sitting in front of us. One motion – and bye bye to chain – one motion – and bye bye to other chain. I barely rush out of room while getting others attention as all hell breaks lose in there. The Kine start aiming their newly gained guns, while the muscle gets into brawl, which for some reason goes three-way, with Oliver splitting off and launching at Tim. But some bullets and he drops Tim, while Maxim handles the Nosferatu as he usually does. I call Anton to tell him of bad news, and I suggest I could look for someone to patch them up and he agrees after some thought. Let’s hope I find someone willing to patch up dead bodies – usually the clients are living for those who do such services.

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From blackout to darkness
With moments of blazing fire

And with a flash, a knock, a bump and a startle, having just experienced the thrashing rage of Lynch , Poe was lying upside in the back of a van, tasting blood not of his own variety, unaware of his surroundings or the passage of time that had occurred. This blood was strong, potent. It’s what brought him back.

The man it came from introduced himself only as Anton. Brusque in manner, tough looking, short haired and sporting an intricate dragon tattoo on his arm. He seemed less interested in Poe, than the guns that had arrived. And at this point the old bruiser found another moment to grasp his environment more accurately.

There was a commotion, fellows of large and leisurely stature carrying boxes around while Walter was conversing with Anton. They seemed to be arguing over the other bodies. And as Poe looks back at the van, there lie forms too familiar for comfort. The newly acquainted Perseus, all contorted and dry, and the poor little Melvyn, still fresh enough to permit false hope of vitality. The feeling of dread crawled over Poe’s entire being. The images last seen before falling dark, Lynch coming for Poe, while Perseus tried to intervene.

“Did Lynch kill him? What happened to Melvyn??” – questions running over each-other in Poe’s mind. -_ “Where is he now?? I’ll fucking end him”_

And like a jolt, calming the storm that was brewing inside his head, except for one clear thought.
“Why am I still alive? If Lynch killed Perseus, then why am I still here? What the fuck is going on?”

With newfound vigor Poe approached Walter and threw his questions in a bunch, before noticing something weird. What was once a calm, collected and quite attractive gentleman was now a jittery, tense and ravaged individual, who seems to have encountered the wrong side of a flamethrower. Without saying much Walter just opened his devices and showed a recording from the home security system.
It was hard to make out at first, but it was the lobby of their house. After a few seconds the doors burst open with Perseus and Melvyn walking inside carrying a body.
Walter casually points out that it was Poe they brought back.
“So Perseus defeated Lynch?..” his mind was still trying to connect the dots and fill the gaps in his memory. “But then.. what happened afterwards?”

With questions left unanswered, for Alistair knew no more than Poe himself, they took the bodies back to the house. A drive home in heavy silence, both parties pondering their own regrets and weaknesses against overwhelming disappointment and sadness. The conflict that seemed so meager a moment ago, suddenly crashes into them with a force of a freight train. Only thing left is to figure out what to do next…

Unfortunately, fate had other plans in store. As they both go to sleep in a house, that just a few weeks ago seemed so full of life, now barren and empty, the day breaks and sunlight brings the beasts inside to rest. Except this time the sun seems to have crept inside, flushing through the halls of the first and second floors, blazing it’s way up the stairs until finally it stood witness to Poe and Walter at their most vulnerable. Like two sworn enemies, one elicits the other and the beast, sensing danger, goes against his nature to wake himself. With utmost resilience Poe wakes up in a terrible state, dazed and confused, unsure why it’s so bright in here. Then reality hits him like a baseball bat – black churning smoke fills the room and the heat is getting unbearable – the building is on fire!. Sensing he’s not much for this world, Poe quickly sizes up a plan to grab a chance at survival. A quick dash to the bathroom, a thrash at the pipes, wrap up in a blanket and await the inevitable demise that comes after such a lackluster plan is executed.

Having grabbed the blanket, Poe opens the door to the main room of his apartment as he is suddenly met with a blast of heat and blinding light. Even in such a torpid stupor, the beast flairs up and overrides normal functions inciting his own plan of action. Which.. ended up being in line with the original vapid strategy of running into the bathroom and getting as wet as possible. With one exception being the blanket. With a heroic leap over the flames, Poe finds himself in the bathroom, with tiles and piping separating him from the savory liquids inside. A quick debate was made against the position of the tiles and the integrity of the pipes with arguments darted left and right in quick succession until eventually the opposition gave in.

As soon as the room got sprayed with glorious steamy flux, the beast collapsed and returned a servant into darkness, having nothing else to do except pray.

Where was once lying, now was sitting and Poe opens his eyes to find himself in a room. A room a lot less hot than he was just in. A good sign. A room with two beating hearts. A good sign. A chair with constraints on his arms and legs. A… bad sign..

After a brief exchange of polite niceties and the name Anton thrown about, the couple of beating hearts left the room and Poe, satisfied that the situation would soon be resolved, seemed content to wait it out. He is in good hands.. Or at least, not so bad.. “I mean.. He was the one who brought me back..”

A few elongated moments later 3 gentlemen of different builds step in. They seemed like men who can take care of themselves, men of learning, men without a pulse. A quick chat commenced, the name Walter unrecognized, at which point one of them let slip a tidbit of talk, a tiny smidgen of truth escaped his mouth which might have sounded like “The other guy? Didn’t they say he croaked?”

Then, a smaller gentleman looked Poe straight in the eye and uttered the most vile phrase that could have entered his ears.

“I guess Walter’s dead now”

I guess Walter’s dead now

Walter’s dead
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Nice view of Manhattan
The night he came back

He heard a knock on the door and a pause as he felt annoyance shoot through him “I did specifically tell them to enter”, but it quickly switched to satisfaction as the door opened and closed and soft footsteps followed.

Feminine voice weakly asked “Hello?” as she moved to the lamp on the table to bring the room from its gloom.

“Don’t turn it on, ruins the view” he answered from the armchair he was in, looking through a glass wall onto the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

Girl stopped, probably trying to discern the shape sitting in the chair, turned sideways from her. At the first sound of her coat zipper he added “No need for that. Your due is on the table, so don’t worry. Just make yourself comfortable” as he pointed his left palm at another armchair next to his.

She hesitated, but took down her coat and threw it on the bed. He heard uncertain step towards the table, but when a turn as she walked next to the window. “It is indeed beautiful if you have a chance to appreciate it”

Hmm, professional. I can work with that” were his thoughts yet instead he said “Indeed, would you be so kind to tell me about yourself?” as he finally dared to look at her. In this gloom, her profile was more than similar to Liz. He was both fascinated and scared at his choice.

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The girl shortly introduced herself and turned around to him as if measuring if she should approach already, but he simply opened his left plan towards the second armchair. Seeing his face she shed away and happily sat down further from him and waited trying to understand him, but as the silence stretched she gave in “So what would you like to know?”


She was telling him about current culture and society as he opened his mouth first time in a good hour. She was surprised to see tears streaming down his face
“You know I was highly vindictive person in my younger years.” the phrase took her aback, but he didn’t seem to notice. “All of that changed when Liz was born. Her kind eyes and later her whole being made be a nicer person… but they took her from me. One and only thing which kept me…” he stopped abruptly not daring to say the last word.

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Perseus's vision

Perseus had everything set for the ritual to help Poe when Melvyn came with the dead bird in his hand. The guy did more than what was asked from him, so Perseus smiled. He carved out the bones as best as he could, making as much mess as he could in the bowl he had set before him, then he and Melvyn spilt their blood to fill it, as Perseus started chanting. The ritual went slowly, with the blood struggling to move. The giant also wasn’t at best of his moods, constantly peeking if Melvyn wasn’t displeasing the Goddess or the entities in the Pool. One time he almost completely stopped chant, but he managed to continue and eventually blood and bones started swirling on their own, at first slowly, then faster, and more faster.

The vision started with a large group of bones in the middle and two single bones approaching them from the sides. The center twitched slightly and shifted towards one of the nearing bones. The lonely bones continued their approach, almost joining the group – but just before, a large ripple appeared in the middle of everything, and several bones flew quite high into the air before dropping back down in the bowl, seemingly keeping at same spot instead of scattering. One of the remaining bones paled slightly, as the loners finally joined the group, and all the blood and bones started swirling again, more chaotically than before, yet staying grouped, smashing at each other, few of them even breaking, before eventually stopping and settling down completely.

Perseus waited for a minute, but it was clear that the vision ended, yet he was completely confounded by it. He was looking for others who could help out in returning Poe, yet what he saw was nothing even remotely close to that. More strangely, when he was cleaning the bowl and bones, he noticed that two broken bones were completely dry and clean when taken out, without showing any evidence they were just in a bloody bowl. Yet Perseus had no idea what to make of all this.

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A new home
Of broken bones and bloodied spears

Perseus was sitting thinking on his last augury ritual. He sat in Central Park that time and watched the birds, facing southward. At first the sky was empty, but he knew that it never happened quickly. After some time, he spotted two ravens flying together. ‘That must have been me and Garry Becker’, he thought. One of the ravens landed in a tree where few other ravens already were, while the second one flew on. He already expected something similar at the time of augury – after all, the Circle was broken and they had to go somewhere. One of the ravens was very loud – it must have symbolized Walter, he thought afterwards – and constantly glaring at all the others, but it didn’t do anything, only brooded, sometimes changing branches. The Perseus raven then got pecked by another raven, that much he remembered, after which it must have lashed out back. The blow his raven took was a harsh one and even then Perseus was a little bit afraid of what would come next. But the ravens didn’t kill each other off, finishing after a couple of pecks as Perseus raven fled yet quickly returned, relieving him that it was only another challenge in his path.

They cawed for some time and then a pigeon flew in, yet quickly left. Perseus was utterly confused by this sign during the reading and was at odds whether to even read it as an omen. But now, in the hindsight, he realized that must have been Tiffany. It only stayed for a short while but it left with two other ravens, leaving only Perseus and Poe’s ravens. Soon, a large, old crow with a scar by its beak joined the two, cawing at Poe. It must have been that scarred guy who Poe knew. Perseus had seen him too on few occasions, but the name fled his mind for that moment, as it did when he actually met him in warehouse. After a minute or two the three crows suddenly jumped at each other, flapping and striking and screeching, and Perseus had difficulty following where was whose raven. Eventually, only one remained, as the other two fell to ground, with the victor continuing to peck at them both. With that, it fled the place, and Perseus realized he had seen all that night.

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Cacophony of Blood and Writings #15 ?

Everyone get’s a -1 penalty to Cacophony rolls for this occasion, due to all the chaos and uncertainess, and message removals and all that.

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Chp 18: Don't trust a Mangano
Just now to find out who is the pricklier rose

The return of Master Dellaware went completely uneventfully – Mister Milton was grateful that his coteriemates were not angry as he expected his return to go awry really fast, but others saw how wise he was while carrying out Council’s duty and didn’t comment much. Even Master Dellaware did not express much about having lost Master Basani.

However, the evening did go awry for a completely different reason – Miss Mangano became what Mister Milton feared the most – alike the late Miss Mangano. He couldn’t do anything that evening, but the next night he realized how violated he was by her. Forcing him to carry out his friends into a damp cellar, not even helping to make that cellar accomodatable. This was something completely disgraceful. He wished she was already in Invictus – then he could have simply brought her against the Judex. But now he had to find another way to punish the wily Daeva.

The next night, Mister McClanahan showed Mister Milton a notebook he took from the late Alysha Kline. Even with the help of Mister Rivers, who apparently has a knack for breaking ciphers, they could not get any closer to understanding the content of the book. Then Mister Milton had an idea – he recently found he could push the bodies he raises more than he could before, so he guessed that maybe it could also help to restimulate their brain activity. This was a partial success – while she regained her memory and could speak, each question sapped her, and she no longer could read the notebook, which only revealed itself to other Mages – the Awakened. As the last question, Mister Milton found out that Alysha found the runes by consulting “Darker Plains” ((or something like that, can’t remember the name)), but after it she succumbed from deterioration, and she was locked up with Mister McClanahan.

And then yet another disaster struck the Coterie – Mister Milton’s friends were kidnapped. And as Miss Mangano testified, by no other than just rescued Master Dellaware. This brought the fury he tried to push away in himself, and he stomped down towards his room, awaiting when either of the Nosferatu came back, fuming in himself, readying the most vile words which could brew in his pot.

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Cacophony #14

Week of Tesoro’s trial

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