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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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Making a new thread for this since after a week of existence, the original finally got pruned. It was getting kind of long anyways, so it kinda was the perfect time to leave it to the archives.

Nonetheless, we were kinda getting close to the end, so we can't just let it end like that! So we're jumping right back into where we left off!
Specifically, the group almost all panicking inside a helicopter as the apocalypse is happening around us.

Original Thread:
> http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/26990453/

Previously, in Blood And Smoke: Burning: We uncover a plot to make an army of junkies through vitae-infused weed, the Ghoul fakes his own death and brings the criminal underworld under heel while masked as Rorschach, and we fight a 15 foot tall fire demon.
>> http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/26990453/

Picking up from the last post.


So, the chopper flies off and away from the flames as the group is panicking to different degrees due to us possibly causing the end of the world, minus Vortigen who is wrecking his head thinking of ways to stop this and telling people to warn anyone they can, and D.T., who is telling everyone else to calm the fuck down and grow a pair so they can stop the freakin' apocalypse.
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>Rodrigo's thoughts about Vort at the moment

Rodrigo just once again proudly declares that he blames Vortigen.
That earns him a slap in the face from D.T. and a double barreled shotgun pushed against his face.


His voice suddenly sounds very familiar.
The chopper starts shaking, a lot, and the female voice of the pilot calls for some help over there, so D.T. goes over. Meanwhile, all communications are dead.

The shaking starts again, and the vision of everyone in the helicopter starts to waver.
Even the vampires.

They feel dizzy. In a way they haven't since they were alive.
But that's impossible. Vampires don't get dizzy.

Then the scream of someone going berserk suddenly resounds from the pilot's cabin and D.T. is heard struggling and telling a very specific person to stop.


The helicopter spirals out of control and loses altitude rapidly, screeching towards the ground as -

The group sees the burning factory, and the demon's blade driving itself into Vortigen's chest, and everyone's vision SNAPS back.

We are back at the site of the burning factory, and the demon with coals for both eyes is standing there with half of its body melted. It fooled us all so easily, and it looks perfectly aware of the fact and relishing in it.

Fiorenzo resumes the barrage of holy water bottles. When it hits it, steam rises from its body as it hisses and continues to fall apart.

Fiorenzo: "BRING IT ON!"

Miles follows in his example, and the holy water is as effective as the last.
The demons stumbles, and it releases its grip on the sword impaled through Vortigen's burnt and agonized body. Which was still standing strong with a massive blade in it.

Rodrigo's cursed-punctuated bottle toss melts the rest of its armor away and keeps it from regaining its balance. Vortigen takes one of the water bottles in his belt, darts at it, and smashes it right against its chest.

That last spurt of water makes it go still and cold, and the impossibly resilient flames behind it and around us begin to dim, the wreckage of the warehouse and factory refusing to melt further. In the helicopter, D.T. is immobilized by nausea and throws up into the fire below.

But even without his further assistance, the demon's body is falling apart, crumbling before our eyes.
And finally, the monster is blown away by the wind, little more than ashes and embers.

The adrenaline slowly subsides, but the vampires wonder if this isn't another illusion. And what they notice this time, that they were too panicked to before, is that they have no vital signs, as they should.
That was the flaw in it.

Relief starts to set in.

In the hovering helicopter, Alex has finished emptying out his stomach and is dashing to Charlotte, holding the helicopter in place and hyperventilating. He gives her a fierce hug and tells her to calm her breathing. Then pats her head until the rhythm of her breaths returns to normal, while praising her.
"You did great. You did great. You did really great."

Now that the danger is gone and the fire dying down as it should, Fiorenzo mourns Carlos.

Vortigen isn't satisfied to know that the demon is gone without checking it with a Theban ritual first. The results are relaxing enough, telling him that though the taint remains at the factory site, the spirit that caused it is gone.

Not very relaxing for Vortigen is what happens next.

"D.T." comes up to the open door of the helicopter, and calls out to the vampires. And then tells them not to freak out. Especially Vortigen.
And then he removes his mask, revealing Alex.
"Just saying, I'm alive! I thought you should know!"

Rodrigo and Fiorenzo's first reaction is to immediately restrain Vortigen before he flips his shit, and then both yell something in the vein of "WHAT THE HELL?!", alongside Miles.

Vortigen just kind of snaps and starts cackling.
Which doesn't help the Beast stirring much, but he luckily does not frenzy.

Alex is looking down and kinda worried at Vort's reaction due to the reveal and calls out to him.


It is at this point that Vortigen blows up at him.

Vortigen: ".... you... you..."

Alex: "I'M SORRY!? >c<"


Alex Rose: "WHAT!?"




After working through the... umm, very intense emotions in the wake of the reunion, Charlotte sets the helicopter down and Alex touches on the ground and approaches Vort to say hi to him. He is doubtful, to say the least, but a drop of Alex's blood on his mouth confirms it. It really is him.

Vortigen relaxes, and Rodrigo and Fiorenzo let go of him.
He just stares at him for a while, unable to reconcile his divination of Alex's death with what he's seeing, still struggling to form words.

Alex ask to be excused for a moment. And then hugs Vortigen.
It is a manhug. Full of manly bro love and back striking.
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Vortigen just smiles in his reassurance that it is him, and Alex lets go.
Then he asks about the divination.

Alex: "So...you did a divination hu?"

Vortigen: ".... yes."
"You were shot in the head and burnt."

Alex: "...Did you do it twice?"

Vortigen: "..."

Vort grumbles in quiet protest.

Vortigen and Alex finish their emotional reunion with words of reassurance.

Vortigen: "Alex."
Vortigen: "Do not do this again."
Alex: "Aye aye sah!"
Vortigen: "Or I will slap the fool out of you."
Alex: "Not sure that is physically possible. In the least. Like at all."
Vortigen: "... would you like to give it a try?"
Alex: "Don't think there would be any of me left after that slap."

Vortigen just laughs. Like, really laughs. Happy laugh. Not just sarcastic laugh.

Then the group catches up on what everyone has been up to. Alex doesn't bat an eyelash at the mention that we're organizing a party, though the vampires are pretty surprised at the "robbed the Stanislavs blind" thing. Well, not Vortigen, he just mutters to himself "So that's what it was...".

Vortigen: "Wait, what about Charlotte?"
"Is she with you?"
Charlotte: "I'm flying the helicopter!"

A helicopter which she apparently took to flying frighteningly fast. Just by reading the manual. And she thinks it's actually pretty simple!
Everyone else finds that either scary or impressive.

Alex also tells us about buying a helicopter. Which the group can clearly see.
He's planning on mounting a helipad on top of the club and then charging people to take photographs with it.

And then, because we have our priorities straight, we argue about what to name the helicopter.

Fiorenzo "Let's call it the Demon Slayer now."
Rodrigo: "Marine One."
"After all, we did kill a president."
"Sort of."
Vortigen: "...."
Alex: "Nah...I have the perfect name...The Firefly. 8D"
Vortigen: "... is this related to that series?"
Charlotte: "Its name is Raphael, sorry!"
Alex: "...What."
Vortigen: "... pfft."
Alex: "No!"
Vortigen: "Fitting."
Alex: "No no no no!"
Vortigen: "Raphael is an archangel after all."
"I agree with you Charlotte."
Alex: "WHAT!"

Unluckily for him, Alex can't really argue against the person who flew the helicopter and his boss joining forces. Charlotte does not feel sorry at all for forcing the name on the helicopter, and Vortigen relishes the look on Alex's face as he realizes he will in fact not be able to call it the Firefly.

Surprisingly, it is Rodrigo of all people who sets us back on track.

Rodrigo: "...Ahem? We're wasting the night. Shouldn't we be calling the Sheriff or the Lancea?"
Vortigen: ".... right."
"I'm going to have to tell Hein you're not dead now."

Alex is banging his head against the side of the helicopter in desperation when Vort says this.

Vortigen: "Be glad I didn't tell Mary, Alex."

And at the mention of that name, Alex freezes. And then falls to his knees.
Alex: "Oh thank god."

This sparks some interest in the party though.

Fiorenzo Severin: "Is Mary interested in Alex?"
Vortigen: "... It is amusingly complicated."
Rodrigo: "...Details. Please."

Alex wisely decides to run from this talk.

Alex: "AAAHH!!! Charlotte, watch over The Firefly. I'll be looking over the remains of the warehouse, looking for clues."
Charlotte: "It's the Raphael!"
"You cannot win this, Alex!"

You'd think we were done with that subject, but then Charlotte brings it up again and asks Alex about it, sounding a little... uhhh, upset?
"... Who is Mary?! Is she your girlfriend?"

And at that, Vortigen more or less cracks up laughing, while Alex chooses to very loudly ignore her.

Charlotte: "... so that's a yes."
Vortigen: "No."
Alex: "NO! >///<"

I could go into more detail about Mary and Alex's relationship. But for now we'll just stick with 'It's complicated'.

Fiorenzo calls Hein, who is rather relieved at the good news and starts planning the cover up. Before she hangs up, she gives to Fio a few words of comfort over Carlos's death.

After talking to Charlotte a little in regards to what her and Alex were up to and witnessing what Vortigen dubs 'the Smile of the Angel of Death' when Charlotte expresses her feelings on how annoying Alex was when he was drunk, we all take off in the helicopter back towards the club.

Oh, right, and Vort messaged Mary about delivering the supplies back to her.

After some much needed feeding on the Vampires' part, Vortigen, Alex and Charlotte drive in silence to the church of the Lancea with the supply crate in the trunk while the others unwind at the club.

Charlotte is riding shotgun with a shotgun and snoozing rather adorably throughout the trip (she came along because Vort and Alex do not trust the other vamps enough to leave her at the club with them), and though Vortigen's emotional state has cooled off by now, Alex is still being as careful as possible about saying anything in regards to the "pretend to be dead" thing.
And leaving it here for tonight. Tomorrow, we finally reach the climax of this story with the Vampire Hanukkah Party.
Rodrigo was basically this campaigns that guy and it was all entirely fitting with his character. OOC, I tried not to be a dick, but IC? IC Rodrigo was an arrogant asshole and by god I loved playing him.
bumping before bed
Bumpity bump bump
Bumping for the conclusion.
Part 2 is now archived.

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They get to the church, and Alex makes to wake up Charlotte.

... and when Alex looks up from the slowly stirring young girl, he sees Mary's face pressed up against the glass right in front of him.
Just standing there. Staring.

Alex almost has a heart attack from that.

It was at this point that we retconned Mary's appearance to be Leysritt from Fate/Stay Night. Because that stare.
(So we're still anime nerds. Sue us.)

Alex waves weakly in response to her sudden appearance. Vortigen says hello and then moves out to help her move the supplies crate from the trunk.
He points out one of crosses is missing because he used it to divine if the demon was really gone, and one of the fire retardant vests is heavily damaged.

Mary: "Like your face."
Vortigen: ".... yes, much like my face."
>Anime nerds
Well, half of you are. I am a manga nerd thank you very much. Damn plebes and their moving images...
>Half of us
Fuck me it's early in the morning.

While carrying the crate and making a bit of idle talk, Vortigen makes the grave mistake of mentioning to Mary something she could go without hearing.

Vortigen: "I am surprised you had no reaction at seeing Alex returned from His side, as some might put it."
"... Oh wait, I did not tell you about that, did I."

Not like he did it on purpose or anything. Nope.

Mary: "... what."

She drops her end of the heavy crate and then stares up at Vortigen. Demanding explanations.
Charlotte's awake now, and hiding behind Alex as he whistles innocently and tries to go as unnoticed as possible.

Vortigen: "For the last three nights, I believed him dead."
Mary: "...................................."
Vortigen: "Not helped by a vision I obtained of him being shot and burned to death."
Mary: "Did you cast twice?"

Vortigen almost chokes at hearing that question again.
Vortigen: "... no."
Mary: "Sloppy."
Vortigen: "I don't want to hear it."

He shoots a glare at Mary and another at an almost giggling Alex.

Then she heads over to Alex, who stiffens at her approach but croaks out a pleasant greeting nonetheless. And then she lifts him off his feet by his shirt, with no visible effort.
Alex starts to babble in an attempt to excuse himself.

"Never again.", she says, and drops him on his ass. Before starting to carry the crate by herself.

Charlotte looks very much amused by this.

Charlotte: "Are you two having a lover's spat?"
Alex: "...She's not my girlfriend."
Vortigen: "Oh yes. She'd suck him dry if she was."
"In more ways than one. Not that I would allow that."
Alex: "Not helping boss."

That little joke causes Mary to drop the crate. Again. And then tell everyone to be quiet.
Charlotte and Alex mutter between each other anyways.

Alex: "You almost got us killed. >,>"
Charlotte: "... so she's your girlfriend."
Alex Rose: "She's-grk! We'll talk a little more on the way back..."
Charlotte: "Riiight...."
Alex: "Ohhh! Someone's sleeping on the couch tonight! And for once it ain't gonna be me!"
Vortigen: "... married couple. Cough."

The way Mary passes him with the crate at saying that almost makes him want to draw his sword to protect himself.

After entering the church and dropping off the crate, Mary pulls Alex into the back room, apparently not even registering Vortigen's warning to not damage his ghoul. Charlotte sticks close Vortigen while they wait, rather hesitantly.

In the back room, Mary proceeds to back up Alex against a wall and all but sexually harass him with her close proximity, while sulking. Alex gulps down his nervousness to fix that and promises her a ride in his shiny (well not so shiny now) new helicopter when he has the time.

Mary: "Tomorrow."
And then she's back to making demands.

Alex then tells her he has a favor to ask. That favor being helping to look for a very specific person who disappeared a few years back in the wetlands. Mary acknowledges the request and then asks about payment.

Alex: "What do you want?"

Mary thinks for a moment and then approaches Alex, taking his hand.

And little time after, Alex stumbles out of the room hunched over and rather red-faced.

Vortigen and Charlotte have no idea what the hell happened to make Alex like that. Except that Mary's lips and her permanent stony expression are almost turned up in a smile.
Vort leans down to whisper to Charlotte.

Vortigen: "What do you suppose had him so... disturbed?"
Charlotte: "... I think she might be more of a pervert than he is."
Vortigen: "...."
He looks at Alex.
Then he looks at Mary.
Then he looks back at Alex.
Then he looks to the heavens.
"Goodness gracious..."

Vortigen takes his mind off of that by asking Mary if the confessor is around. After a short call (and doing business is the wordiest we ever hear her be), she confirms. And moves closer to Alex where they're sitting.

Charlotte: "Is she always like this?"
Vortigen: ".... Yes, pretty much. And tonight she's being relatively emotive."
Charlotte: "... this is her being... wow."

It takes 15 minutes for the cloaked confessor to arrive, during the which Mary holds on to Alex's arm with a completely straight face and Alex just glares at Charlotte for looking at him with a 'you were saying?' face.

Vort and the confessor move to the confessional.
Vortigen: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been 4 years, 6 months, and 17 days since my last confession."
Confessor: "May God the Father of all mercies help you make a good Confession."

Vortigen recounts the emotion high he was on since Alex's supposed death (heavily abridged), laments how he heed the dark whispers of the Beast, and concludes by asking if it is wrong for him to hold attachments to ones who are not Damned as they.
Confessor: "... it is so that you are conversant in the blessings of Amoniel, is it not?"
Vortigen: "Yes. It is."
Confessor: "For others, yes; I would advise them to relinquish such ties. But for you, nay. The blessings you hold require such things, to a point."
"... however. You must not heed the Beast as you were then again. The blessing requires a higher standard from you, inquisitor. Or you will have squandered it completely. And that would be a far graver sin than any you have brought before me today."

For his penance, the confessor instructs Vortigen to do the proper work of the Damned on a mortal who is teetering on the brink. And they they excuse themselves.

Vort walks out of the confessional to see Mary with Alex thoroughly locked in her arms and in a staring contest with Charlotte. He reminds everyone it's time to go and urges Mary to release Alex.
She understands this as picking up Alex bridal style and depositing him in Vortigen's arms, naturally.

Vortigen: "..."
Alex "Not. A. Word."
Charlotte: "... now we know who the wife is..."

They bid their farewells to Mary and walk out. Vortigen is still carrying Alex bridal style.

Alex: "...Boss...put me down."
Vortigen: "... Does this bother you?"
Alex Rose: "Immensely so."
Vortigen: "Are you, god forbid, embarrassed of me?"
Alex: "Do not start this right now!"

The choice of words makes Charlotte curious, but she doesn't say a word.

Vortigen decides he's had enough fun with making Alex suffer in repayment for faking his death and drops him on his arse. Then they all get into the car and get on their way.

Vortigen asks Alex to stop by a bad neighborhood before returning to the club. And with his sword and now a terribly ugly burn scar running down a side of his face, Vortigen goes hunting for felonies.
Turns out the world of darkness is low on darkness tonight, but he eventually finds something in his search from the rooftops. That being a woman beating up bloody a man lying on the ground.

Vortigen quite literally swoops down from the rooftop like Batman and lands behind the woman kicking the man on the ground.

She is quite surprised by that, and then more than a little angry at Vort even being there and inquiring about what's happening. Oh, but with some persuasion, she tells, and Vort hears the man's explanation as well.

Turns out, he's been missing rent for almost every other month for a long while now, and she's gotten sick and tired of it, and wanted to teach him a lesson as opposed to calling the cops or ejecting him out of her place. He's also been out of a job for as many months now because of immigrants taking all the places.

So, this woman was quite bloodily beating a man only to satisfy herself, ignoring the most peaceful solutions entirely, and not paying any heed to his side of the circumstances.
Vortigen tells her as much without a drop of mirth in his voice, and that makes her recoil in fear. She tries to run, but he clamps down on her wrists.

He is not there to deliver justice, and explains the situation to her.
She has a choice. Continue beating him while bearing in mind the truth of what he said. Or leave it.

He lets go of her. She's shaking in fright from being so easily overpowered and faced with someone that's standing there, scrutinizing her actions.
Vortigen tells her to choose.

She just turns away and tells Vortigen and the guy she was beating up to go. Just go.
The poor chap doesn't need to be told twice, and scurries away.

Vortigen leaves still thinking about it. He's not sure if he changed any behaviors... but at the very least, he prevented a guy from being beaten to death.
Maybe in the end little things like this are the only way to change humans eventually.

Meanwhile, Alex and Charlotte have been talking about Mary. Or more like, Charlotte was curious and still insisting Mary was Alex's girlfriend, and he was explaining exactly why it's complicated.
Namely, that Mary isn't human. And as much as he wants her to be, as much as he wants to believe she's just like one, she's not. She's a vampire, and she's prone to emotions going out of control, and she could probably snap his neck by accident some day.
And he can't tell what she's thinking. So that doubt is always there, and he can't trust a relationship to work.

After this, the group reconvenes at Alex's office (except Charlotte, who runs back to the living quarters). This is the first time he's actually stepping into it since he faked his own death, and the first thing that stands out is the massive crack on the floor.

After imagining his face on the other side of that beating, he wisely stays quiet and puts a carpet over it.

Then he turns on the news.
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Brace yourselves folks.

Most of what's being said on the news is largely unimportant and irrelevant... until the reporter mentions that the top story in the US happens to be a local one.

"After a series of terrible arsons, for which no suspects have yet to be detained for, down in southern Louisiana have just been compounded by yet another tragic find. Just off shore from the city of Augustgrad, a pile of 'shredded meat' was found lingering on a waterlogged boat by fishermen out on the Gulf ..."

The reporter continues to elaborate, and Vortigen and Miles turn to look at Rodrigo, as Alex absentmindedly chews on his sandwich.

"Forensic reports are only preliminary, but the evidence suggest that the 'meat' is in fact human. The victims have not yet been identified, and the means of death are currently unknown."

Remember before how I said Rodrigo disposed of the bodies?

As it turns out, his idea of 'Disposing of the bodies' was to 'Mutilate them beyond recognition and put the minced mean on a floating boat before pushing it and watching it sail away.'

And Rodrigo's only answer to this is "I didn't have a hacksaw".
Stopping story for a bit cause I'm going out to have coffee. I shall finish explaining the results of Roddy's blunder when I return in a bit, and then get to the party already.
I will admit that putting them in the boat was a bad idea but it was either - have them found around the docks or have them found in the gulf - and the chances of discovery out in the gulf were low. Besides, what I meant was to mutilate the faces, not turn them into hamburger. GM took it a different way, and this was a result.
...Shit sorry, Might have killed the story here.

Alex has a very specific opinion about the whole thing.

"You had the Gulf of Mexico next to you. Known for being dirty, murky, and having stuff that eats dead stuff at the bottom, and fishermen...and you put the people you killed on a boat, and let it set sail?"

Alex's got it covered though. He always has! Luckily Rodrigo's already the suit he wore then burned, Vortigen always wears gloves, and Miles has the blade he used to hurt the one guy, which Alex is planning to plant somewhere to incriminate someone easy to blame.
Vort is just so glad Alex is back to deal with all this crap.

Well, the guffaws of getting rid of evidence that might imply us in brutal murder and terrible mutilation of corpses are done, so Fiorenzo calls Hein so they can all talk in detail about the fires and the party and whatnot.

She answer rather chipper once again. That is, until Alex asks if she's seen the news.

Mariah Hein: "Ah yes. Somebody..."
"... happened to slice up bodies and put them on a boat. I wonder who that was? I just can't imagine it was anyone I know~."
"And by that I mean I want to know which of you did it, and I'm going to hurt all of you if you don't rat out whichever one of you it was."

Vortigen just declares without no hesitation whatsoever that it was Rodrigo. She would probably sound amused, if she wasn't so pissed off.

Hein: "Ah, Rodrigo, darling... you owe me yet another favor. So these errands you're running for me, right now?"

Rodrigo: "Two more, once this one is gone."

Hein: "No, you see. This doesn't count anymore. You just made more work for me."

Rodrigo: "I understand. It is my shame to bear."

Hein: "... be glad I did not simply have your fool head removed from your shoulders. Your ghoul would have made a lovely scapegoat to die in prison. Now is there anyone with good news for me?"

Alex chooses that point to intercede by mentioning this big block of evidence against one Federico del Pilar. Oh so very much known for setting fire to opponent's houses and cutting up their families.
"I even hear his business has been suffering, what with the sudden influx of a local brew of pot that, even though it is quite a bit more expensive, people are gobbling up. Leaving him in the dust."

Director Hein pauses for a few seconds before asking the question on everyone's minds.

Hein: "... why is the ghoul more clever than most of you?"

Vortigen: "What can I say. I know how to pick help."

Fiorenzo: "I'm politically savvy, not street wise."

Rodrigo: "My own failings are obvious."

Miles: "I'm more of an informant kind of dude. Also Federico IS an asshole, getting him off the streets will be a favor to both Kine and Kindred alike."
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Sums up the party 100%.

Alex expands by explaining Federico is well connected, influential, high profile, and everyone close to him will be too busy trying to take his place to really care.

Hein returns right away to being happy and chipper, and agrees to helping Alex with his obvious maneuver to increase his own powerbase!
Yes, she points that out. Exactly like so.

"A pleasure doing business Director.", he says with a very wide grin.

Then Fiorenzo goes ahead and asks the Director a request of a more personal nature.

Fiorenzo: "I'd like to ask you to the Hanukkah ball as my date, you'd get a front row seat for the takedown of Olivia that way."
Alex Rose: "...Ballsy."
Hein: "............................ Going to need more deodorant."
"Anyway, buh bye now."

And then she hangs up.

The party is split between congratulating Fio for his brass balls and almost falling out of their seats laughing.

And then Alex declares he's throwing a wild party the next day to celebrate his return and the fact that they killed a freakin' fire demon.


Before you ask, no, this isn't going to end well for anyone.

During the day, Alex and Charlotte go shopping for clothes for her. There is much bugging from Alex about her wearing girls' clothes now that she doesn't need to go through the trouble of hiding her gender to protect herself. Charlotte coming into a shop and coming out dressed so boyishly and with her chest bound so well it looks like it's gone, that Alex actually doesn't recognize "him" for a minute before freaking out over how she can even breathe with her breasts bound so tight. There is more bugging, to at least buy girls' underwear. She already has. And there is Alex making a joke about any straight woman that tries to date her ending up disappointed, which makes Charlotte get really quiet.

Well, that's the gist of it. And then night comes, and the party starts to rock...

Now. The party is rolling in the club, people are enjoying it like it's their last night on earth, and the music is beating, circling through a variety of different songs that go from the *THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP* you'd expect, to the FFVII victory theme, the Super Meatboy soundtrack, as well as Jpop and other game soundtracks. And everyone is having a good time.

Alex is dressed like Kamina and overseeing the party from the VIP area while occasionally shouting into his mic he is the Goddamn Alex Rose and offering free drinks for who does something sufficiently awesome. Next to him is a blonde kid dressed like Simon. Fiorenzo is dressed up like Battler Ushiromiya. Miles is...somewhere. In the crowd. Completely unnoticed. And Rodrigo has no idea what the fuck is going on and considering leaving.

Vortigen? Woke up dressed like Captain Jack Sparrow, locked in a room full of half-naked men and women all high or drunk enough to reach the moon.

The party goes down... chaotically well. Since I don't want to drag this down too much, I shall summarize the craziness that ensued.

Alex's younger sister Hope showed up unannounced. She's just as crazy as her brother. Alex pushed her towards 'Charles' and got them to start flirting before she tried to make a move on Fiorenzo, who she very clearly thought was the hotness.
Hope also realized Charlotte was a girl. And then said "a trap is fine too".

Mary showed up out of nowhere, scaring Alex out of his wits, to claim the date he promised. And at the aforementioned "a trap is fine too" line, him and Fio went:
Fio: "Your sister is a perv."
Alex: "━Σ(゚Д゚|||)━"

Then he tried to head over to save Charlotte from the evil that is his sister. Mary didn't let him move. So he said screw it and shoved his tongue down her mouth in a fervent kiss, which most certainly got a response other than a flat stare from her!

Frank Sinatra started playing and Mary dragged Alex to the dance floor while Charlotte made her escape from Hope, and the latter decided to go hang out with Fio to troll Alex.

Vortigen managed to get out of the room he was locked in by seducing an only reasonably drunk girl, using her as a distraction, and hypnotizing the guard.

Vortigen challenged Goddamned Alex Rose to the claim of King Of The Night in front of the entire club. And they engaged in a dance-off to the sound of Black Betty 1977, which Fiorenzo also joined in. And with dancing moves beyond the comprehension of sheer mortals to replicate, Vortigen wiped the floor with both of them. The crowd cheered like maniacs to him.

'Charles' slipped into the dance floor looking very much drunk and managed to do the impossible: challenge Vortigen's dancing prowess. She lost because her bindings came undone and whoops! Boobs!
Alex still declared goddamned Charlotte the winner. Because boobs. And then shoved his tongue down her mouth as celebration. Which got him kneed in the family jewels.

And Mary drags Alex away to tell him to promise to never do that again.He explains that he can't promise that and she knows why, meeting her gaze, and she walks away, past the obviously eavesdropping Vortigen, who offers Alex just a few words of consolation on how rough he has it. Hope shows up to that and encourages her big brother as well and tells him to try harder.

The night concludes with Alex dragging everyone back to the dance floor for a few more hours.

I'd like to point out something about our Ghoul. He has a lot of women gathered around him.

The yandere vampire. Occasionally deredere reverse trap. Some type of sadistic dere little sister. A bunch of waitresses.

Yeah, that's pretty much a harem he's got going there, isn't it?

That's right.
At this point. Alex, has become a harem series hero.

Vortigen is the token bro. And the choice of the legendary bro-route.
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Rodrigo here, he's totally right. It's just that Alex is five times more manly then ten Harem Protags put together.

Later, when Vortigen and Alex pass by the rooms, they hear Charlotte yell "Back off! I have a shotgun!"

After the party, the group is left with not much else to do in the following weeks until Hanukkah, except plan the event. So everyone goes around getting stuff that's needed, convincing people, renovating the place, preparing it for the party, etc.

Fiorenzo pitches the Vampire Hanukkah party and promotes himself as the host, and with some help from Hein and her announced participation, manages to get word to the people high up, and assure at least a significant presence there. Hein gets us permission to hold the party in Elysium. Rodrigo also promotes the party to the Invictus.

Alex kinda helps keep everything running smoothly and tries to make Charlotte forgive him for the party night. Vortigen takes a few nights to tutor Charlotte and help her study for her GED.

Miles - uhh... Miles sneaks about, as usual. Yeah.

Oh, right, and Fiorenzo insists on taking the vampires suit shopping, because the wrong combination of tie and shirt can risk making him frenzy.
Yes, I'm completely serious. That's what Fiorenzo said.

So, the night of the party arrives. Our plan is deceptively simple, but if it fails it is really only a formality.

It is as follows: once the party is ongoing and the other Elders have arrived, Fiorenzo will approach Olivia Stanislav, do his best to publicly humiliate her, and bait her to frenzy into breaking the peace of Elysium, allowing Hein to restrain and arrest her on the spot.

If it doesn't go as planned... well, Hein's still got Stanislav's ghoul in custody. Evidence enough.
And that's where I'll have to stop for now. Need sleep.

I will probably only be able to continue next night, so I ask people to please bump it a few times during the day.

If anyone else from the campaign is around and wants to add anything or share what they did during those few weeks of planning, go ahead.

Resuming tomorrow!
Bumping before leaving for my new place. Don't have the time to update now or I would, but I will as soon as I can. That is, after I've gotten there and installed myself.

Ergo, don't expect an update until a couple of hours from now.
Nelapsi Bump.
I'm home! So on with this party. >83


The day is a Friday. The time is 9 PM. The old french style building with tasteful molding and real crystal chandeliers has been pimped up and prepped entirely for the occasion. It has three floors, but only two are open right now - the basement, which has an old kitchen (though the gas is disconnected), a lounge, and a dining room, as well as plenty of space for staff and all; and the main floor, where the ballroom is.

Second floor is closed for renovations, because the previous owner decided that shag carpeting was going to last forever. Who the hell puts shag carpeting on the second floor of an old building like this?
Damn hippie.

Well, as far as the actual party area is concerned. The fake candle menorah is the centerpiece of the entire place and the entire place is festooned in blue, silver and gold. The music is a mix of all musical eras, as to please any taste imaginable. The floors are smooth wood polished to a shine, and the columns are made of marble.
Alex's player here. And it should be noted.

I did not ask for this. ._.

It was just suddenly pointed out at the end of a session by Miles. And everyone was speechless for a while.

I felt a little dirty for a bit after I came to accept the facts. TT_TT


Nobody knew, but I had a plan to kill every vampire at the party. It involved natural gas, locked doors, and a lighter.

Ultimately, I did not do it because I was not in a position to benefit of the ensuing power vacuum.

And then it sunk in and you took advantage of it for all it was worth.

... you mean every vampire 'cept Vort and Mary, right? Right?


The tables in the ballroom are set in a bit of an hexagonal grid. The blood dolls have been spiked with marijuana and booze and are just chillin' at the couches. A few of them look like college students.

Fiorenzo and Rodrigo are at the entrance to greet the guests. Vortigen is playing security and roaming around the lounge and ballroom with his sword-cane (his zweinhander's hidden beneath the bar counter). Alex is running the bar. Charlotte (or should I say, 'Charles') is dressed up like a butler helping where she can and doing butler-y things, as is Ishmael.
Miles.... uh, good question. Miles was being so inconspicuous no one ever even remembered to ask about him.

Also of note is that Vortigen is finally noticing Alex's sleep deprivation which has been going on since them they killed the demon, which Alex made Charlotte promise not to tell Vort about.
Stealthy obsfucate-assited bumb
Miles! You're here! 8D


Everyone's got their wireless secret agent headsets to keep the operation running smoothly, and they're ready to go.

In a bit, the first few guests start arriving. Rodrigo comes off as a bit too eager to welcome them and seems to make them a little uncomfortable, but Fiorenzo is there to pick up the slack.
The 4 vampires and 2 ghouls that came among them start taking in the scenery and mingling a little, just as a very relevant and familiar person arrives.

Director Of Internal Affairs Mariah Hein approaches, coated in perfume, hair done up, and wearing a tasteful and modest modern dress.

Alex rings in on the headset. "Alright everyone. The eviscerating peacock is arriving, look sharp and keep frosty."

People have to contain inappropriate chuckles. Hein pauses at the door to catch Fiorenzo's eye and he greets her with eagerness.

Fio: "Ah, Director, I am so glad that you have come. And what a fetching combination of style and flair."
Hein: "And you... do not look Jewish. But then, a scoundrel like you would be the sort to not advertise little details like that."
Fio: "But of course, I got the good genetic material from my parents."
Hein: "Speak not of the work of Mendel, escort of peacocks."

She points towards Fio's ear. Alex coughs drily on his end of the line.

They hear cars arrive with more guests. When Hein asks if she'll have to wait, Rodrigo tells Fiorenzo to escort the lady, as he can take care of it. Fio takes Hein's arm and does just that, and fortunately this time, Rodrigo behaves himself in a much more approachable way to the guest. Good thing, too, because it's someone from the Inner Circle of the Invitus.

Rodrigo: "Lord Romuald, It is an honor to have the Peacekeeper attend."
He punctuates the greeting with a bow, and the middle-aged looking gentleman nods and proceeds with his date, who does not appear to be a vampire.
Did we agree on what Ms. Hein looks like?

IIRC, one of us brought the idea of Vamp Ann Coulter, just not as much of a bitch as the real one.
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She's basically Touko as she appears in Kara No Kyoukai. Except without glasses or cigarettes.

Security outside the doors is checking if anyone that comes in is armed. Inside, Alex gets a bunch a drinks in a platter and starts walking around serving them (One of the vampires might want one just for the scent. Or a ghoul might be thirsty). While subtly double checking to see if he notices anyone packing heat. Vortigen's looking around for anyone suspicious. Well, more suspicious than vampires usually are. So far this bunch seems honest though. For vampires. Just mingling and gossiping. Hein is hanging off of Fio's arm. And giving people exaggerated looks of paranoia.

A blonde woman in a lovely dress approaches with her entourage of three big burly men, who are not vampires.

Rodrigo: "Director Iris. A pleasure to see you attend."
She just looks at his choice of suit.
Sanya Iris: "I'm sure."
And lets herself in.

And following right behind her is a by now very familiar face.

Mary is wearing a very very conservative white dress, appropriate for the occasion. It looks damn good on her.
Alex is of that opinion, as he shares on comm.

Alex: [I do not know but I have the sudden urge to hide. And dammit that dress looks good on her. =,=]
Vortigen: [... I have to admit, conservative suits her surprisingly well.]
Alex: [I mean just look! Do not even start to describe it.]

Rodrigo tells her that Mr. Rose is around somewhere, and she simply replies she's there as a representative and walks in. No jacket for Charlotte to take, but she still says hi!
Mary just stares in response.

Mary: : ".. chest missing."
Vort: [... it's been bothering me how she does that.]
Mary: "... sin to tell a lie."
forgot charlotte's line

Mary: ".. chest missing."
Charlotte: "I-I have no idea what are you referring to, miss! "
Vortigen: [... it's been bothering me how she does that.]
Mary: "... sin to tell a lie."

So Mary walks in with that unnerving stare of hers. No one meets her eyes for more than a few seconds.

A couple of more 'average' Carthians in slightly... gaudy formal attire arrive. No one of any real importance though.

Except for the man who shows up behind them wearing a nondescript grey suit and hat, radiating the intimidating presence of someone whose Beast is much closer to the surface.

Rodrigo: "Director Stanford. Please, enjoy the festivities."
After a moment, he nods.
Stanford: "A pleasure."
Rodrigo: "Likewise Director."

He then proceeds in. And every ghoul inside parts ways from his path.
Charlotte forgot to take his coat.

Having seen the scene, Vortigen asks on comm who he was.
Rodrigo: [Director Stanford, Director of Resource Management.]
The man who decapitated the Invictus Prince during the coup.

The guest of honor has yet to arrive, but it's still relatively early. So the party continues the reception of the guests at a sedate pace for about an hour or so. People find excuses to dance, here and there, and the mingling grows a little more over that time.

Mary finds Alex and just stares at him for a while. Expecting something. Alex sighs, grabs her favorite aromatic drink, goes over, and compliments her. Her gaze grows noticeably less intense from that. She thanks him.
Alex turns off the comm before continuing.

Alex: "I'm glad you're here Mary...its good to see a friendly face. Have fun, gotta get back to weighing and watnot. Feel free to give me a holler if you need anything."
Mary: "Look tired."
Alex: "...Yeah. I'm not as bad as I look though. ^_^"
Mary: "... worse than you look."
Alex Rose: "...I was fairly sure I applied enough makeup. >,>"
Mary: "Can smell it."
Alex Rose: "...Does it mask the kerosene?"
Mary: "... yes."
Alex Rose: "All is good then."

He apologizes for how the date the other day went. She asks him for a dance, and he points out if it would look good for a representative of someone important to be dancing with a butler. She concedes to dance later. The Alex turns his comm back on.

Hein is keeping a very careful eye on her fellow Directors. Innocently pushing Fiorenzo between them and her, just a little. Fio's response is to look rather flatly at her.

Fio: "I know they're scary, but this is Elysium, relax."
Hein: "It was Elysium then, too."
Fio: "Stanford killed the Prince during an Elysium?"

She doesn't answer. Just silences him with a finger to his lips and pulls him to the dance. Changes subjects into what his thoughts were about that paper she published...
Poli-sci nerding time.

Vortigen spends a few moments analyzing at the Directors that arrived, then looking and Alex and Fio and their dates, before going back to paying more general attention to the party. Stanislav still hasn't shown.
He almost feels bored. Almost.

Everyone's being so well behaved! It's almost scary.

Mind you, the Carthians are glaring at the Invictus and the Invictus are glaring at the Carthians and everyone who isn't in that group, few as they might be, are... doing their best to not stand between them. Of course, the Invictus are practicing their contempt. By pretending not to be glaring.

In all due honesty, it's a little bit scary in there. Probably why Charlotte is resting against a wall. So of course that on his way to give Charlotte a fresh drink, Alex intentionally walks right between the two groups busy glaring daggers at each other.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo, by now a bit bored of standing at the door, senses the presence of two more vampires approaching.

Alex hands over an ice-cold coke to Charlotte.
Alex: "Want?"
Charlotte: "Thank you."
Alex: "And to think the night's only just started eh? You're doing great kid. Keep at it."
He decides to stick around a bit to help her with the coats and whatnot, give her a bit of a break.

At the door, little ways from Alex and Charlotte, Rodrigo greets the guest that just arrived.

Rodrigo: "Ah, Duchess of the Screeching Whelps, Lady Stanislav. Welcome."
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Alex and Charlotte look over to the new arrivals.

A woman with light brown hair approaches Rodrigo, in a very conservative, confining black dress. Our target for the night, Olivia Stanislav.

And by her side, a young girl with long white hair, a single red eye, and an eyepatch wearing an equally conservative white dress to contrast.

Charlotte spits out her coke in absolute shock. Right in Alex's face.

He is soon standing between her and the people at the door and wiping her face with a handkerchief while telling her to calm down.

At the door, Olivia extends a hand to Rodrigo as if offering it for him to kiss the back off. He does so, in rightful courtesy.

Rodrigo: "And your guest, Duchess?"

With a regal voice, albeit with a clear German accent, she responds.
Olivia Stanislav: "My childe; Laura Bodewig Stanislav."

Charlotte is choking on her drink, even with Alex sternly telling her to calm down. He tells her to collect herself, and goes to collect their coats, doing his best to shield Charlotte from view all the while.
With true Movie Magic at work, he is completely dry and clean when he gets there to do so.

Vortigen also notices their arrival upon hearing it on the comm. Rodrigo finishes welcoming them and assures them the host will be quite eager to greet them himself. Fiorenzo whispers to Hein that their target's arrived.
And shit gets real from now on.

Laura gives Rodrigo only a singled nod before she and her sire advance. She looks around constantly, as if seeking threats. Vortigen does not miss that guarded gaze.
Olivia's eyes catch the light of the ballroom quite fetchingly as she walks in. Prominently, even. Alex and Rodrigo don't get a closer look before she and Laura walk into the small crowd.

Alex's breathing is being thrown into disarray by the unexpected development.
"Oh shit...oh son of a whore this is not good."

Laura's head snaps in his direction. Just for a second. And then she's pulled along.

Alex grabs Charlotte's arm and starts heading for one the inner rooms with some soundproofing.
Charlotte is not hyperventilating at all. Nope.

Charlotte: "T-That was... she's..."
Alex: "Hush, in a moment."

Vortigen rimes in on the comm.

Vortigen: [Rodrigo. THat's her, right? And her childe?]
Rodrigo: [Stanislav? Yes.]

Hein is whispering her own opinions on Fio's ear.
Hein: "So that is her... offspring."
"What an exotic young girl."
Fiorenzo Severin: "Seems unnervingly beautiful."

Then Alex rings in on the comm himself.

Alex: [Guys. Guys I have something important to say. Get away from prying ears.]
Hein: "Wait ten minutes."
She whispers to Fio's ear piece.
"Don't make it look like we're leaving because of her."
Alex: [Right...right.]

Exactly 10 minutes later (as everyone's already moved away from the crowds), Alex calls them again on the comm.

Alex: [Rollcall, everyone 'private'?]

Vortigen: [Check.]
Fio: [Check]
Rodrigo: [Check]
Alex: [We need to scrap the plan. Or modify the plan. Fuck me sideways I don't know.]
Fio: [Why?]
Vortigen: [Where did this come from?]
Alex: [Plan A is not good. We need plan A 2.0]
Vortigen: [.... Alex. Please explain.]
Alex: [That Childe...I need that Childe alive and unharmed. Its very important.]
Vortigen: [Her?]
Alex: [If we do this, we need that Childe alive and unharmed. Or as close to it as possible.]
Rodrigo: [...Why? I think I could restrain her if it comes to that.]
Vortigen: [................ If it is as important as you say it is.]
Alex: [I know what you wanted boss. But I am BEGGING you. I can't explain right now. Would take too long.]
Vortigen: [Alright. I understand. But you will tell me everything later.]
Alex: [I'll sing like a canary on PCP.]
Vortigen: [Right. You heard him, everyone. New plan. We need to disable or distract Stanislav's childe while we go for the queen manipulator.]

As he says that, Vort realizes.
Mary is standing right behind him.

Vort: "... Hi there, Mary. I didn't see you there."

Everyone on the comm hears that.

Rodrigo: [...God dammit Vort.]
Alex: [...Holy crap put her on the comm.]
Fio: [Have Mary help.]

Not a second afterwards, Mary's snatched the comm from Vort and is in the call. "Talk to me."
Vort sticks close to her to hear what is being said.

Alex is talking so fast words are piling one on top of one another. [Mary. Mary I know you are angry with me and you have every right to be -]
[But I am BEGGING you, I need your help its really really really REALLY important.]
[I know you know something is going down. I know you know that it involves some of our guests. And I know you know you are not part of it. But please...when it goes down...I need Stainslav's Childe. Laura Bodewig. I need to capture her. Alive. Preferably unharmed but that is not an absolute necessity.]
[I know you don't have to and I know you hate me right now and I know that this makes no sense and you have no reason to help me and I know that this is sudden but I really REALLY need to ask you for your help I'll owe you big time.]

He's talking even faster, somehow.

Mary: "Alex."
"Stop talking."
Alex: [I know that you want to know why but please PLEASE trust me on this one I'll tell you why in great detail later when we are all out of mortal danger but I ask you to PLEASE help me out on this one, I know its a lot to ask but I'll owe you big time and it's REALLY important and - ]

Vortigen snatches the comm unit.
"ALEX. Breathe."

We hear him do so very heavily over the comm and Vortigen hands the ear piece back to Mary.

Alex: [...I need a paper bag.]
Mary: "I will help. Tell me when."
Alex: [Thanks Mary...really...I can't thank you enough. I'll pass you a comm in a bit.]
Mary: "Standing by."

She removes the ear piece and hands it back to Vortigen, and returns to the floor.

The group runs by the plan again and modifies it accordingly. Isolate Laura and ridicule Stanislav - provoke her into breaking Elysium, frenzy or no frenzy. If she does, we can count of the other elders around to help us stop her. Hein's fine with whatever.
Alex switches off the comm for a bit. And it is at this time that Vortigen remembers,

Vortigen: [Wait. Where's Miles?]
Rodrigo: [...That's how we know he's doing his job.]
Vortigen: [... it would be helpful if he chimed in on this.]
Fiorenzo: [Miles, respond.]

After a small pause, he does respond.

Miles: [Anything I missed?]
Vortigen: [Change of plans. We need Olivia's childe alive.]
Fiorenzo: [Isolate the grey haired girl.]
Rodrigo: [With the eyepatch.]

Looking out from the middle of the party goers, Miles sees both sire and childe. Olivia is engaging is discussion with another Invictus attendee, while dancing slowly. Laura is just standing slightly off to the side, still looking around, neatly sidestepping dance offers.
Sorta. Sorta neatly.

Alex rings back to the call.
[Alright. I got a plan.]
[Charles will play bait. We'll lure her up to the second floor right when Fio is ready to make the announcement.]

Miles suggests letting him handle distracting her nonetheless, and after some defusing of that idea and assuring Miles that, yes we do doubt his smoothness, we decide to follow Alex's lead.

Alex: [For now play it cool. Tell me when you are getting ready to make the announcement. We'll take care of the snatch and grab. Fio go do your thing.]
Vortigen: [Alright, go.]
Fio: [Ok.]
Miles: [Ok.]
Rodrigo: [Got it.]
My bad, Rodrigo actually said [Good luck. We're all counting on you.]


Strategy meeting over, Vortigen goes back to the crowd and surveys for the targets and other high importance individuals. Rodrigo slips it to join Vortigen. Alex goes look around for Mary and gives her a comms unit...and a paper note telling her where in the second floor to go to. Fiorenzo approaches the ballroom floor and starts dancing with Hein next to Olivia.
Miles remains where he is hidden in plain sight, uneasiness slipping into his expression.

Olivia notices Hein and Fio, nose scrunching up a little. Fio gets closer to Hein and whispers in her ear.
Fio: "She is of little consequence to my opinion of you."
Hein: "Says a man who does not need to breath, save to speak."
Yet the blush of life does it job. Just a little.

Alex notices the scene and instructs Charlotte where to go once she has Laura's attention, then starts heading up there himself.
Alex: [Alright. Mary and I are heading up. Charles...you know what to do. Guys, best of luck.]
Vortigen: [Godspeed.]

Okay, so Charlotte decides to take the flat approaches, just takes a tray of drinks and starts heading towards the dancers.

With Fio and Hein, Olivia doesn't face them when she speaks. "It is quite rude for a host to not introduce himself to a guest."

Laura's eyes are scanning the crowd, but they suddenly stop when they go over someone. She frowns.

Back to the dancing vampires, Fiorenzo introduces himself.
Fiorenzo: "My deepest apologies, I am Fiorenzo Severin, Daeva of the Ordo Dracul, Political Maven."

Olivia's eyes go to the Director, after a moment.
Olivia: "I see your taste in... men... has changed a little."
Hein: "How forward of you."

'Charles' is approaching the dancing quartet with the drink tray.

Suddenly Laura is grabbing 'him' by the shoulders. And looking 'him' right in the eyes.

Rodrigo tries to move in, but Vortigen tells him to hold on.

The tray falls, the noise drawing everyone's attention. Charlotte is trembling as she faces Laura.

Charlotte: "L-Long time no se -"

And then Laura is kissing her. In full view of everybody.

Fio: "Oh dear, what is happening with your childe and the ghoul."
Hein: "... I see the forward is hereditary!"

Rodrigo: "...I say."

Charlotte is kinda maybe flailing in Laura's grasp and shouting for help with her eyes.

Vortigen: "Rodrigo. For all that is holy, keep an eye on Fiorenzo and the target."

Vortigen goes over to them, separates them with a hand in each of their shoulders, and smiles.
"Miss. I'd ask that you refrain from kissing our employees in the open."

Laura pauses and looks at him. He turns to Charlotte.
Vortigen: "You know there's somewhere you can take her."
He winks.
"Now, run off. You're attracting attention you know."

But Charlotte is blushing and stunned and honestly not remembering the plan. "H-Hwuh..."

Vortigen speaks again in a firmer voice.

She blinks.
Charlotte: "S-Sorry, sir!"
Vortigen: "No need for that, now go on."

She bows to Vortigen and just goes. Laura follows in pursuit just as quickly.

Vort decides to tell Alex.

Vort: [Alex, there was a.... uhh, hiccup.]
Alex: [...Anybody hurt?]
Miles: [I saw it, that was a nice save there]
Vortigen: [.... their dignity, maybe.]
[Charles might be a little red in the face.Don't mind it.]
Alex Rose: [...Hu...]
Vortigen: [Fio, you're up.]

He does as indicated and initiates a more pleasant conversation with Olivia.
Fio: "Oh, your childe has good taste in aesthetics, Madame Stanislav."

After a moment, she dismisses her current dance partner.
Olivia: "She is still learning... tact."

Hein gives Fio a kiss on the cheek, and gently untangles herself from him.
Leaving him alone with her.

From where he can see this, Miles's uneasiness spikes as he remembers his venture into the Stanislav estate just earlier that evening...
Id love to continue, but I have to go to sleep.

But the climax will definitely be reached tomorrow! So wait for it, and bump once or twice during the day to keep it from dying if you can people.

Me leaving you in a cliffhanger will be worth it, I hope.

Bumping before going out. Unfortunately have stuff to do during the day.
Bump for more storytime
Bump it up.

Also, there's already a WoD genera thread, but if you have any questions about Vampire in specific, feel free to ask. We'll do our best to answer.
Bump of Dread.
Bump of the Dead
I'm baaaaaaack. And kinda beat up. Storytime shall resume in a bit.

Unbeknownst to the rest of the group, who did not notice his absence until he was called in, Miles went missing during the start of the party because he had gone on a solo investigation... to the Stanislav estate.

And so, armed with only his Obfuscate powers and a cardboard box, Miles sneaked his way into the home of our enemy.

With the help of the trusty cardboard box, Miles managed to slip by the security guards and get into Stanislav's inner sanctum.

His initial search of the place revealed nothing of value or that could be used to incriminate her, but further search allowed him to find her office, and the safe hidden within. Inside was a diamond studded Star of David and just a piece of paper marking some package deliveries. One of them was delivered to the estate, but Miles didn't find it in the office, so he decided to move on to the next best place: Stanislav's room.

Even with the aid of the box, Miles barely managed to get into her room without being caught. And the first thing that he noticed when he came in was the smell of blood.

By any standards, the room itself was rather barren. But connected to it by a door, there was a room attached to it, one with a very small cot. Almost like a dungeon.
It smelled like the grave.

Two vampires lived there. One in the comfortable looking, yet barren room. And another in the dungeon. An unwitting whisper made its way out of Miles's mouth.
"... Looks like Stanislav is quite fond of letting even her childe know who's the one in charge"

He noticed another, more unusual smell. Owl feathers.
Odd, considering there didn't seem to be any owls around.

Checking for any locked things in the room led Miles to Stanislav's closet.

Upon picking the lock and beginning his inspection, a first glance showed that indeed the closet only seemed to contain clothes.. Until he slipped his hand into one of the coats.

Inside the coat Miles believes to belong to miss Stanislav, there was a slip of paper written on with red pen in very shaky handwriting. It simply said this.


A whiff of it confirmed the red writing to actually be blood. Miles pocketed the note and then started to silently go through Stanislav's drawers, being careful not to ruffle any clothing or leave anything out of place.

He found some pens and pencils, and papers only dating back to a year and a half before. No more added after that time.
Suspicious, Miles checked again. The only things that struck him as odd were the missing records, which go back a full decade before that sudden stop, and the note.

Thinking about he found, Miles backtracked to the office to get the star of David, messed up the office to make it look like it was a burglary (finding some cash in the process), and then sneaked out.

The weird things he found there still on his mind, Miles made his way back to the party as fast as possible, and arrived just in time for the briefing on the plan change.

Now Fiorenzo is on his stage, and Olivia Stanislav is his adversary.

Fio: "Youth is something that will overcome all teachings, besides, what's a little passion every once in a while?"

Olivia: "Passion indeed. You would know, I suppose."

Meanwhile, Alex is beginning to worry, because Laura and Charlotte have been delayed somewhere.

Alex: "..." [Hey kid. You doing alright?]

Laura pauses in her tracks.
"... who is listening to us?"

Alex Rose: [Someone giving you trouble? Security issue?]
[Would you like me to nicely ask them to leave you alone?]

She relaxes a little and tells Charlotte to say there's no problem.
"Tell him no."

Alex Rose: [Dammit I swear can't leave you alone for more than two minutes without someone trying t-]

Charlotte: [N-No, everything's fine.]
[Just a little delay on the stairs]

Alex Rose: [Oh.]
[Alright. Let me know if you need any help with drinks. My break's almost over anyways.]

They continue on.

Fiorenzo and Olivia continue their conversation.

Fio: "But of course, though you have some knowledge of passion, am I not right?"
Olivia: "From long ago."

Somehow, the two of them have ended up dancing.

Fio: "I'm talking of a more recent vintage of passion though. A fiery affair."

Olivia: "Which one?"
She seems... amused. A little.

Fio: "Oh, one with a certain Circle leader."

Olivia rolls her eyes before responding.
"Ah, yes, Argus."
"You have one wild night together, and suddenly everyone thinks you are a pairing."

Fio: "Passion is also about more than lovers, it's also about business. You Ventrue love your wealth after all."

Olivia: "Now now, I am a dutiful child of Abraham. Usury is a sin."
"So I do not make 'investments'."
Fio: "Lying is also a sin to we children of Abraham."

Oli: "It is good that I am not lying."
She smiles.

Fio: "Hmm, I'm not so sure about that. Your body language says otherwise."

Olivia: "I swear to you, Olivia Stanislav does not lie to you."

The dance speeds up, just a little.

Charlotte finally arrives at the designated room, pulling Laura behind her, and makes sure no one else is visible.
Alex is hiding behind some boxes and so is Mary, as it happens.

Charlotte: "... there."
She sighs.
"This should be out of the way enough."

She turns to face Laura... and can't help herself from saying what's on her mind.
Charlotte: "You haven't aged a day."

There is a moment of awkward silence before Laura averts her eye.
Laura: "You've... grown."

The awkward silence stretches. Like, a lot.


Fiorenzo puts some distance between him and his dance partner.
Vortigen tells Rodrigo to keep an eye out and shout if things go south sooner than expected, and goes to the bar to make sure he has his sword on hand.

Fio: "You and your ghoul had the same exact tells. Odd thing to pass on to your helpers, don't you think?"

Olivia: "Do we? Do tell."

Fio: "Hmmm, you didn't crack the same way as your accountant, there's one difference."

Olivia: "... ahh... so you're the one. How sweet of you."

Some people are watching this, in the middle of their dances. Olivia presses herself a little closer to Fiorenzo.

Rodrigo is moving and inching closer to them, slowly. Miles slowly closes the distance between him and them as well, trying to avoid being noticed by the crowd.

Fio: "Not me, but a mere ghoul."

Olivia's smile disappears.
"Is that so."

Fio: "Yes, he also found out you had sour grapes from the bad business deal you made with Finch."

Olivia: "... you do realize I am an elder, pressed right up against you."

Fio: "You do realize that this is Elysium, right?"

Olivia: "Touche. But... you're missing a fine little detail."
The smile comes back.

Fio: "What, that you can't afford the clothes on your back anymore?"


Charlotte has her arms crossed against her chest, looking to Laura quite nervously... and trembling, just a little.
"What happened, Laura? You just vanished, like you were never there-"

Laura shakes her head firmly.
"I was saved from that place. I... just was not given a choice about it."
There is a small pause.
"I don't regret it."

Charlotte: "So you just left me behind."
That makes Laura hesitate.
"... or you weren't given a choice about it."

She nods very slowly in response, and Charlotte continues, blushing, trembling, and so very very uncomfortable. Bear in mind that she's dressed like a guy still.
"W-Well, it's, um, you see... I know you're a vampire and I want to help you!"

Laura: "... I don't need any help, Charles."
Despite her words, however, a gentle look comes over her face.
"But you can come with me after tonight. It could be like before.I'm sorry that I couldn't come back for you before"

Charlotte: "... then why didn't you?!"

Laura flinches, as Charlotte pulls back.
"It was not my choice to make anymore!"

Alex comes out from behind the boxes, shotgun not aimed, but at the ready.
"What makes you think you'll be allowed to make THIS choice? =.="

Laura immediately interposes herself between Alex and Charlotte.
Her fangs are out.

Alex: "Calm down little tiger."
"This is only to ensure the safety of me and those I've CHOSEN to protect."

Laura sniffs the air before answering.
"This is none of your concern, human."

The words sound kinda wrong coming from a teenaged girl.

Alex: "I threw myself at a ravenous vampire in order to save his life."
"I am MAKING IT my concern."

Laura glances back to Charlotte, uncertain.

Charlotte: "... I got saved, too."

With Olivia and Fiorenzo.

There is this giggle in the back of her throat. And then she whispers back.
"You think you're talking to Olivia Stanislav, still."

She's shaking her head as if disappointed.
"... children these days. I would have thought you'd know better."

Fio: "We still have your ghoul in custody, you have no recourse but to turn yourself in or suffer a blood hunt."
Olivia: "No, see, you're still making this terrible mistake."

She makes the dance whirl, just a little.

Fio: "Oh? DO TELL!"
Olivia: "Okay."

And then her teeth were in his throat.

Fio can't retaliate as she grabs one of his arms and pushes his face away from his neck, biting into it with the violent and feral tearing of a Beast, starting to suck the cursed blood in his veins.

Vortigen: "SHIT!"

There is screaming and shouting erupting. The windows are breaking, as Stanislav's pets arrive through them. Vortigen immediately draws his sword and vaults over the bar counter in the quickest route to Fio and Stanislav.

Mile's thrown knife stabs into her shoulder, but is pushed out of the wound by her blood. Visibly.
Vortigen rushes to them with Celerity and bumrushes into her with his sword aimed at her exposed back. The force he rams her with is such that he does not knock both her and Fio to the ground and dislodges her, she is sent into a nearby table as though she was struck by a pick up truck.

Vortigen: "NO PROBLEM"

She smashes through the table.

Vortigen: "Come at me now, abomination."
Forgot a word

The force he rams her with is such that he does not ONLY knock both her and Fio to the ground and dislodges her, she is sent into a nearby table as though she was struck by a pick up truck.

Rodrigo dashes in her direction, picks up a broken table leg from the remains of the table, and drives it into her chest. Bone cracks beneath it, and something is clearly heard deflate as she howls in agony.
It did not reach her heart.

She lashes at Rodrigo with her fist, and the leg pinning her down keeps the strike from mangling his head like putty, but he still gets knocked back by the resulting knockback and pain.

Miles takes this chance to drive a sword into her face. She is snarling at Miles, and Vortigen does not miss the opening. His sword does its job and cleaves through her torso, but its movement stops as Olivia starts pulling herself together.

In the meantime...

On the next floor up, Alex Rose stands, with a shotgun pointed at the vampire in front of him.
And that same very, very conflicted vampire, Laura Bodewig standing between him and Charlotte.

Alex's eyes are steely as his gaze bores into Laura, and he doesn't bring the shotgun down as he speaks.
"Laura...I would like to ask you a question."

She says nothing, looking for an opening.

Alex: "Tell me...do you know the difference, between a man and a slave?"
"Is it power? Money? Freedom?"
"No...its none of these."
"A man chooses, a slave obeys."

Alex: "So I'll ask you now Laura. Which are you? Because you see. The way I see it? You have two choices."
"You rush forward, kill me, and go help the one who almost killed your best friend. And prove, beyond shadow of a doubt, where your allegiance is. Proving that instead of being kidnapped, what you did was abandon your friend."
"Your other choice? I put down this gun. You put away your fangs."
"And we stay here, waiting for the okay to go out. Therefore ensuring Charles will not be little more than a morsel for whatever the flying fuck is going on out there."
"So I will be taking a leap of faith here. And hope to everything that is and is not holy. That Charles is right about you."

"Choose." he says, engaging the safety and throwing the shotgun aside.

It takes her all of five seconds, but she makes her choice.

Rodrigo's claws tear into Olivia, causing her to shriek in a way that betrays no humanity whatsoever. With the table leg still stuck in her, she rages and her fist once again cracks into Rodrigo's face. The claw marks on her disappear as they were never there as Rodrigo is pushed away by the strength of the punch.

Her body contorts like a twisted puppet to evade a kick from Fiorenzo in a way that should not be possible.
Miles manages to slash at her back, although it is a shallow wound.

Vortigen attacks, and his sword slams into the beast's skull, slicing through bone and brain matter alike at an angle.
It is missing a part of its head now. But still it stands.
Rodrigo manages to sneak in a kick that pushes the makeshit stake deeper into its body, but it doesn't care.

It turns to the one that caused it the greatest agony and lashes out.

The unholy power of vitae surges through her wretched, rage-filled body, as she lashes out with a vicious crack of her leg at Vortigen. If he were alive, it would've snapped his neck.

Fighting is still going on all around them, vampires dealing rampaging larvae, chaos resounding through the air.

Olivia twists sinuously around Fio and Mile's attacks, cracking her back while bending backwards to avoid the latter's.
Vortigen mashes the stake with his sword. It goes through her back. She stumbles, but does not fall, as it misses the heart.

Rodrigo's swipe at her exposed brain is avoided as she twists out of the without even looking at him.
By cracking her neck.

She kicks backwards at him in response.

Miles resorts to tossing a table at her.
It does not dodge, and allows the table to slam into it. And then flings itself sideways, propelling the table at Fiorenzo.

Its wounds are healing again, and part of its head is regrowing.

Fiorenzo heals his own wounds and returns the favor.
Its spine audibly cracks as it's hit by the piece of furniture and it moves along with the movement, unarmed for all intents and purposes.

Vortigen cleaves again at its head.

Now there is only its lower jaw left, yet it still wobbles brokenly.
Before we hear its bones snapping back together.


On the second floor, Alex is trying to keep standing stoically and not hyperventilate.

Laura has fallen to her knees and is clawing at her head, letting out primal sounds of frustration.

Charlotte goes and just wraps her arms around her, and speaks comfortingly to her.

"Shh... it's okay. I'm not going to blame you either way, okay? You just do what you have to do."

Alex gulps before speaking out.

"For what it’s worth kid. I'll admit to not being able to fathom what you are going through. I hate that you have to go through it. I also reckon you do not welcome the sound of my voice right now. But..."

He slowly walks with his hands held up as if approaching a frightened animal.

"I...You can stay at my place if you'd like? I got room."

She starts sniffling.
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>meanwhile, the guest vampires
Just wait. You have no idea how right you are.

The Beast is moving again, ignoring the result of Rodrigo's slashes, regrowing its head and charging at Vortigen. Its eyes gleam like a birds of prey's as they reform.

It manages to avoid a sword stab from Miles that ends up hitting Rodrigo, and twists around another thrown table.
Vortigen lets his fury drive him, his Beast howling inside of him. He Rides the Wave against it, and tears through its torso.

It is starting to be whittled down. The smell of blood makes Fiorenzo, Miles and Rodrigo have to resist Frenzy.
Rodrigo's use of blood to enhance his strength makes him fall into it, hunger compelling him as he leaps.

It dodges the jumping bite with inhuman apathy.

Still at the second floor Laura has shied away from answering Alex and is crying blood all over Charlotte's butler uniform. Alex tosses a red handkerchief at Charlotte, who doesn't remember to use it right away.

Alex: "...Yeah...I thought so..."

He steps back from the scene and goes to pick up his discarded shotgun.

After it has added insult to injury by kicking Rodrigo in the back with unnatural motions, it turns to the rest of the group.

Miles is backing away from the fight, not wanting to be caught between the frenzied monsters.
Fiorenzo is still throwing tables at it, and finally manages to score a solid hit that lands with a satisfying thud. It rips the wood thrown into its face into pieces, to find Vortigen moving against it.

His sword moves faster and more brutally against it than it has before. It slices and rends and rips through its body in lethal strikes.

It stumbles back.
It's barely anything more than shredded meat at this point, held together by a twisted mockery of a skeleton.
It has stopped regenerating.

Before anything else can happen.
Rodrigo is leaping against it again. He grabs on successfuly, and bites down.

It has no more blood to drink. But it has a soul to consume.

The monster that was Olivia Stanislav twitches helplessly in Rodrigo's grasp.
Vortigen stops in his tracks, halting his fury from directing his actions any longer. Fiorenzo looks in, half awed and half stunned, reminded of his diablerie in Finch's church.

As Vortigen manages to hold back his Beast, Rodrigo is still draining the monster. It twitches. Once, twice, progressively getting weaker.

Olivia's eyes are starting to dim in Rodrigo's hold, gaining a pained edge to them.

Regaining his conscience, Vortigen takes a hold of a long and sharp piece of wood, and charges with it against Olivia and Rodrigo.
It pierces right through and goes through her heart. But not Rodrigo's.

Smoke begins to spill out from the torpid body of the Invictus elder.
Her lips move and words struggle to leave her throat.

"L-Lau -"

The last utterance of Olivia Stanislav leaves her body as it turns to ash, and her soul escapes Rodrigo's clumsy, frenzied grasp.

A mass of smoke lingers over the ashes.
There is a loud screech.

Rodrigo's frenzied screams of anger and frustration are drowned out by the terrible, sharp noise.

The entire room just stops, staring at this, and the remaining larvae retreat.

Vortigen: "What..."

From behind Fio, there is a familiar voice in dreaded disbelief.
Hein: "... oh God."
Fio: "You know what this is?"

Gleaming predator eyes shine in the smoke, as it takes a form like... wings.

> ====The Stanislav form is dead, insects====
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Its voice sounds like gravel grinding through a burnt throat. And yet everyone can understand it clearly.

Hein: "Strige!"
Vortigen: "What?!"

It pauses and looks at Rodrigo, who feels his Beast calm and... shy away.

> ====Oh fuck, not one of me? ====
> ====Kekekekekekekekekeke====

It flies, rising up into the ceiling. Vortigen tries in vain to slash it, his sword going through its immaterial form.

> ====Hah! Fiery affairs!====

> ====That was a good one!====

> ====Bravo, dears, bravo!====

> ====But ah... this is th part where you want me to monologue, isn't it?====

Fio: "I'm glad you like my humor..."

> ====OKay. I'll share a little secret.====

> ====Just because I like you all====

> ====Stanislav was as... guilty as a newborn infant====

> ====It was me! All me. All the time. You murdered an innocent woman!====

Everyone is deathly silent as they listen to the words of the Strix.
Almost everyone.

Fio: "If she could not keep you out of her mind, she was no true innocent."

> ====Aww... you'd like to think that.====

> ====Really, it's just the risk you take when you go to sleep====

> ====You are all just so much meat -

A sudden, deafening and terrifying explosion of flames from one man with a shotgun roars out and up.

And consumes the owl of smoke.
It screeches in utter agony that every vampire can sympathize with despite their inherent disgust at it.

> ▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅ !!!!!!!

Alex Rose is standing there. Defiant.

Alex: "That."
"Is what you get for monologuing."

Rodrigo is coming down from frenzy. Vortigen is just staring at Alex.

Vortigen: "You."
"Are late."

Alex: "(⌐■_■)"
"(⌐■c■)<(Maybe a little.)"

Still burning, the cloud of smoke and gleaming eyes refuses to stick around for a second volley and begins escaping through the open window.

Vortigen: "SHOOT IT!"
Alex doesn't need to be told that. Another burst exits his shotgun and showers the thing in flames once more.

It screeches again as it stumbles out of the window.
Not happening.

Alex rapid reloads his shotgun, grabs on to Vort, and shouts.
"Jump out that window RIGHT NOW!"

Vortigen vigor jumps out the window.

That is about the time that Mary begins walking down the stairs with a bundle covered in duct tape.
She can only blink at the scene.
"... I missed something."

Vortigen and Alex fly out of the broken window, hot in pursuit.

The specter is attempting to fly away, trailing fire.
In mid-air and holding on to Vortigen, Alex aims, and pulls the trigger.

The fire envelops it.

And it falls and dissolves.
All that's left is blown away by the wind.

They land on the ground on Vortigen's firm feet. Both his and Alex's face are indescribable.

They go back inside.

Alex Rose does not walk, does not prance, he SWAGGERS back inside.
"(⌐■_■) Sup?"

Vortigen follows his lead.

Rodrigo is inside devouring a bloodpack Ishamel brought him. But everyone else?

Is just gaping.

Fiorenzo is the only one with a fierce grin on his face.

Alex and Vortigen bump their fists.

Fio: "FUCK YES!"

Hein is the first among everyone else to recover from the dumbstruck. She coughs into her hand.

Mariah: "... well."
"That went well, I suppose.The ghoul saved the day."
"... wow."

Fio: "As usual, the ghoul saved the day."
Vort: "As expected of him."

Alex starts walking over to Mary.
"If you can't take the heat."
*looks over his shoulder*
"Stay the hell out of my fucking kitchen. =w="

After a moment of staring, she picks him up too. She has an arm to spare.

Vortigen just has the most ridiculous grin on his face. To everything.

Rodrigo: "...Well. I blacked out half way through, the place is a mess, and my suit is absolutely ruined. Again."
"I suppose this is what the moderns call a 'fucking awesome party'."

Alex Rose: "...Mary...please put me down."
Mary: "No."
Alex Rose: "You know what? No. I just murdered a God knows what."
*strikes pose* "I'll take a deluxe ride. (⌐■_■) "
Mary: "... one liners getting old."
She doesn't drop him though.

Director Mariah Hein just...
"... good thing I have good taste in agents."
And then she grabs Fiorenzo and just kisses him because fuck it. Tonight was insane.

Vortigen tries to ineffectually convince Mary to let go of his Ghoul. Then sighs and concedes.

Rodrigo is starting to complain that someone will need to pay for the fire damage.

And then.
From seemingly nowhere.

The clapping starts. Filling the place.

Fio breaks the kiss, looking proud yet thankful
Fio: "How about we go to my place after this and celebrate further?"
Rodrigo: "...I'm sleeping in the park again aren't I?"
Hein: "Yes you are."

Vortigen just tells Alex to do whatever he wants. He bows deeply to the clapping audience, then joins Alex and Mary in their way out. Charlotte follows the three rather numbly.

And this concludes my tale of the first arc of my Vampire The Requiem chronicle group. Blood And Smoke: Burning.

Turns out, it actually was a Strix Chronicle all along! And as the GM admitted, we killed the goddamn recurring boss.

There is an epilogue to this story, a rather important and relatively lengthy one, but for now I leave you all with the conclusion of this story. And will now go to bed.

Hope everyone enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed telling it!
Good show people.
It was a joy to read. Thank you for posting it, and my compliments to your group on an adventure well done.
I was only 1 success away from an exceptional. This happened multiple times throughout the campaign. I never managed an exceptional, despite how many dice I threw around.
Bumping for the epilogue.
Bumping for justice.
Bumping to let people know I will tell the epilogue today still, but I have a bit of a road trip before I get home.

So, expect it only some hours from now.
Uh? Oh right, epilogue.... sorry, I'm kinda tired, might not finish telling it today.


So, we stopped a devilish plot to make an army of thralls using vitae-infused weed, banished a fire demon, discovered who was behind what led us to investigate the entire incident, tore apart a vampire elder being used as a mouthpiece by the true puppet master, and the ghoul killed a strix (who was that puppet master).

Praise be to all of us by the recognition of our achievements and our fame and status in the parish going up as a result of it. In fact, the last stretch of our efforts in this struck the vampire society of the area so strongly, they showed recognition to a GHOUL. The guy who did the most awesome thing in the world and actually contributed the most to the incident at large, but, a ghoul nonetheless.
He actually has status, as far as the vampires are concerned now.

Buuuuuuuut, even though we did all of that, we still had one petite, yet obviously troublesome loose end to tie up.

Ok, I'm actually too tired to focus on this tonight, sorry peeps.

Tomorrow when I'm fresher I'll go ahead and finish it.
Second Bump

So, following the party, Alex basically had an orphan teenage vampire girl that he kidnapped locked in his basement. The only actual problem with this being the exceptionally delicate situation Laura was left in.

A situation that Rodrigo immediately exploited by claiming he would take custody of her as a fellow Invictus, with the mindset of expanding his power base and number of subordinates. He was held at Mary-point while Alex locked Laura in the 'Guest Room'.

Alex explained matters to Vortigen, who questioned why he didn't tell him earlier. Alex's response:
"*c*<(You never asked.)"

Vortigen rolled his eyes at that. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the situation. And in his magnanimity and sense of justice, he could not possibly let this fledgeling stripped of her inheritance (who his partner and their protege also want to help), just be handed over for the Invictus to tear apart.
And so he's going to gun against Rodrigo for custody of Laura Bodewig as surrogate sire.

The night after the party the group was gathered at Alex's office, except for Rodrigo, who was absent doing something or other, and Miles shared what he found at the Stanislav mansion, which.... made us all a bit uncomfortable, and somewhat altered our opinions on Olivia Stanislav.

We talked about the Strix and Alex made sure none of our eyes were gleaming in the dark like an owl's would.

Charlotte also came in the office when we were talking demanding to know why the guards weren't letting her see Laura. And Alex reminded her of the cold hard facts of exactly Laura is and what she's capable of, and told her he is not letting one of his own close to her without being absolutely sure she can roam free or that he can trust her. And that's final.

That ended up earning him a shiner on one of his eyes from Charlotte, before she left rather sulkily.

Before that, Fiorenzo also got an... interesting call.
bump for epilogue
Bumping for my phone call~
epilogue bump

The voice Fiorenzo heard on the other end when he picked up the phone was both one he was familiar with, and one he did not wish to hear again.

[Hello, my son. It has been too long.]

Fiorenzo stiffened like as soon as he recognized it.

[... is this thing working? Infernal contraption...]

Fiorenzo: "Predak, to what do I owe this... pleasant surprise? And yes, the 'contraption' is working just fine."

[Ah, good, good.]
[I have heard about the events of last night, Fiorenzo.]

[You have acquitted yourself well; it is time for you to come home.]

Fio did not take well to that request.
"News travels quickly, and I refuse that offer. You nearly committed AMARANTH on me."

Vortigen, who was kind of listening in with his enhanced senses out of curiosity, suddenly stiffened in his seat and started looking very murderous at the phone.

Fio: "I no longer feel that you qualify as a proper Predak, Bartek."

[... I see your memory is faulty, childe.]
He retorted, with a chilly tone.

Fio: "I keep a JOURNAL to counteract the possible ravages of torpor, YOUR memory is faulty."

[You are too young to even have experienced such a thing. Now cease this foolishness; I will have a bus ticket ready for you tomorrow evening.]

The display of emotion triggered a bit of a stunned reaction around the room, but no one said anything.

[You will return to New Orleans, and you will recant your foolish heresies before I smack them out of you!]

Fio: "I do not have TIME for your petty self importance BARTEK, as one of the SANCTUM, you should know better than to frenzy on an Operit."

And at that, Vortigen jumped from his chair and glare at the phone If before it was a personal issue, as soon as the Lancea et Sanctum was brought up, it became doubly so. If looks could kill, that phone would've vaporized, and whomever was speaking on the other side would've been smitten.

Except well, the other end of the line died right after.

Alex: "So...I know a good mercenary for hire that can do car bombs."
Vortigen: ".... Fiorenzo, pardon my rudeness. Was that your sire?"
Fiorenzo: "Yes, yes that was. He is a pompous ass that does not know when to stop meddling."

Vortigen was more than just a little upset, and asked Fio to tell him the name and rank of his sire in the Lancea in order to conduct an investigation. Bartek Gjoni is the name of the asshole sire of Fiorenzo. And Vortigen, is going to go on a warpath against him.

So, after that happened, Alex went to have a little interview with his newest (hopeful) tenant, with Vortigen standing outside the door and listening in with no idea that it had a magnetic lock and Alex locked himself inside with Laura.

Since both sides need to speak to be able to have a discussion, Alex had to go and loose the manacle on her neck and undo the bindings over her mouth before starting said interview in earnest.

Alex: "So, Miss Laura Bodewig Stainslav. Of German descent, moved into this here parish, Katrina happened, became a vampire. So, why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself? 8D"

Laura: "Where is Charles?"

Alex: "Safe."

Laura: "That did not answer my question."

Alex: "Sorry little tiger. You don't get to know more than that till I know you can be trusted. Knowledge as I am sure you know, is power."

Laura asked aloud if Alex's companion outside knew the door was sealed. Alex admited he doesn't, cause he tends to worry.
There was a pretty loud thud heard against the door from the outside before they continued.

Alex's jokes, half-trying to test Laura's nerves aside, almost angrily clarifying that 'Charles' is one of his and he is entirely on 'his' side, and completely unchaining Laura at her insistence, he informed her of what happened and the situation she is in.

Alex: "Stainslav has suffered the final death at the hands of my vampire friends. Your inheritance has, by this time, been gutted, eaten, torn apart, and repossessed. There are quite a few vultures circling you, some of them very embarrassed and looking for a few heads to roll in order to save face. And whether you can stay here or are thrown out into your cute little rump five minutes before sunrise is entirely up to me."
"Also, an owl flew out of Stainslav's ashes, claimed to be the Beast. Monologued that it had controlled her for quite some time, orchestrating a good many of the atrocities that have been happening lately. I killed it before it flew out the window."

Laura: "... ah."

Alex: "Now. I suggest you impress upon me why its a good idea not to throw you the hell out of my property. =n="

Laura: "You destroyed Irvus, then."

Alex: "That depends. What's an Irvus and what do you eat it with?"

Laura: "Souls."

Alex : "Would it go well with a salad? DO I have any salad wines?"
"Wait...you're serious?"
"If by Irvus you mean the thing that popped out Olivia. Then yes, yes I did. Turns out it REALLY didn't like fire."

After that explanation, Laura bowed deeply. And thanked him.

"Thank you for freeing Miss Stanislav from her torment."
"... I was not at liberty to do so."

Outside, Vortigen murmured a small prayer for Olivia, at hearing events up till then.

Alex gave Laura a bloodpack, which she messily devoured. And then he tested her self-control. How did he do this, you ask? Well, first he sliced open his palm and put pressure to pump the blood out, which made Vortigen kick the door from the outside with growing anxiety. Laura told him to stop and let him out.
Alex noted with satisfaction her self-control. Vortigen mentally noted the same thing, outside.

And then Alex wrote in his notepad by now full of awful bunny-like drabbles and annotations on Laura he has been writing since they started, "Feed from me, and show restraint".
And so she did.

And when Alex, feeling a bit dizzy, opened the door, he was Marshall Ericson-slapped across the face by Vortigen.
Vortigen: "If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also."

Alex took a deeeeep breath and turned the other cheek to Vort. Who raised his hand.... and then simply dropped it.

Vortigen:"I thought we had talked about this. =_="
Alex: "Did we? You know me, memory problems. :3"
Vortigen: "... you have eidetic memory."

And then Vortigen told him his punishment would be to be left at Mary's whims for a day. Alex almost choked hearing that. And then Laura says the darnest line.

Laura: "... why would leaving him with his husband be considered a punishment?"

Confusion and laughter ensued from Vortigen and Miles (who got there at about the middle point of the interview), and Alex humorlessly tried to correct Laura.

And then Fio got back from the phone call to his Grandsire he was busy with, and was pushed aside by a blonde with a lockpick as she rushed into the room and called out to Laura, who also rushed to her, and the two started talking.

Vortigen: "Well, this reunion seems to have happened earlier than you wanted, Alex."
Alex: "At least Laura is fed. One less thing to worry about. >,>"
Vortigen: "...."
Alex: "What? How ELSE was I supposed to know that it was safe to let her feed from them club? =,="
Vortigen: "... I did not ask you anything. But thank you for confirming by doubts."
Alex: "You were thinking it."

To Vort's questioning of Laura's trustworthiness, he confirmed that Laura has at least self-restraint.

Charlotte overheard the bit about her feeding though.

Charlotte: "... Mister Vortigen, um."
Charlotte: "How did you say being bitten by a vampire feels?"
Vortigen: "Ahh... well.."
Alex: "Feels like sex. Only better. =c="
Vortigen: "I would not describe it in such terms, but I cannot exactly disagree."

And then she walked towards Alex wearing the smile of the angel of death. She was kind of upset at him, and following Laura revealing he looked like he was holding in his enjoyment, Charlotte tried to give him another shiner. He dodged. And then Vortigen got between them. And Alex... slipped.

Alex: "Charlotte. Calm yourself. =,="
Laura Bodewig: "... Charlotte?"
Blink blink blink.
Vortigen: "Ah..."
Laura Bodewig: "... I believe you are mistaken."

Alex tried to pass it off as a joke. And failed.

Laura Bodewig: "... Charles..... I was not aware you sought gender reassignment surgery."

The room just... stopped. And the reactions went from almost tripping, to blinking, to going "wait what", or falling on the floor almost choking on laughter. Like Alex.

Vortigen: "... now you went and broke him. Well done."
Alex: "Oh Laura you have NO IDEA! xD"
Fiorenzo: "She's so innocent..."
Laura: "... I-In what way were my words humorous?!"
Vortigen: ".... You have no idea. Ignorance is bliss, young lady."

Laura: "I would have supported you in this; it was not necessary for you to conceal such a thing from me all of these-"
Charlotte: "I'm not a transsexual!"

Alex was still dying from laughter.
Alex: "Oh ma gawd! She!...And then!...Can you believe! XD"
Laura: "... is he... quite sane?"
Vortigen: "... No."
Charlotte: "No."
Vortigen: "Never has been."

The laughter went on by a bit still, interposed by Laura calling Charlotte her wife and going on about a childhood marriage promise from when Charlotte was 9, and how it was a solemn promise of devotion, and then Fiorenzo tried to use Nightmare to shut Alex's laughing up. First it didn't work. Then he made Alex see a frightful vision.

Alex tried to shoot him. Tried, because Vort reacted before the trigger could be pulled and snatched the gun out of his hands with Celerity. An uncomfortable silence and distance between everyone followed until Alex calmed down and Vortigen handed him back his weapon.

Vortigen: "Are you alright?"
Alex: "...Yeah...yeah I'm good." I say as I take the gun, re-engage the safety, and holster it.
Vortigen: ".... Are you sure? My pardons. I did not imagine he would spook you that hard."
Fiorenzo: "Nor did I... though my power DID seem to spike there at the end."
Alex: "Its never nice to see a monster you put down a decade ago glare at you from across the room."

Alex walked away before anyone could say anything and we all moved to Alex's office.

After that, we all moved to the office and the other vampires formally introduced themselves to Laura. Vortigen explained his intent to take her under his wing, and him and Alex went more deeply into the intricacies of her situation.

Vortigen also told her Olivia's last words. She locked herself in the bathroom for a while.

Later, she was given the "welcome to the Rose household" speech by Alex. He was also all big-brotherly with Charlotte and encouraged her to just be frank with Laura about things, and checked if Laura's eyes weren't owl-y (they weren't, but she also checked his just to make sure) before giving her a room separate from Charlotte.

Vortigen spoke privately with Fiorenzo to ask him a favor. And had the following exchange with Alex about what he said earlier.

Vortigen: "... do you wish to talk about it?"

Alex: "No. The past is where that should remain."

Vortigen: "I am sorry if that brought on bitter memories."

Alex: "Heh. You have no idea boss. Lets just say...I was shooting at what I hope with all my might I never become. May I be excused?"

Vortigen: ".... as you will.
"For what it's worth... If it will help, you can tell me and ask anything of me."

Alex: "...Yeah...thanks boss."
Is story over?
Nope, we have a bit more coming up.
Bump for save.

So, after all that, the debate was held a few from then. The location chosen for it was the site of Elysium in Nantes. Most of the people who were at the party, about 20 kindred, were in attendance aside from our party members. The room where it happened was a makeshift board room, which clearly the Carthians had been preparing as a reinstatement of old traditions from fragmentary history records, for events such as these.

Hein and Mary were in the crowd among the vampires attending. The former was supposed to be moderating the debate, but she had declined, clearly due to a conflict of interests.
Instead, the discussion was presided by an unfamiliar Carthian, wearing a white wig and brandishing a gavel.

Facing off for Laura's custody were two members of our coterie. On one corner, Rodrigo. On the other, Fiorenzo, speaking on behalf of Vortigen as his representative.

> Fiorenzo in a social debate

You might be thinking to yourselves 'whelp, Rodrigo's screwed'.
You'd be surprised.

The debate began with Fiorenzo making his opening statement first. He summed up the situation with "you break it, you buy it", or in other words, as we were partially responsible for Laura's situation it is only correct we compensate her and take responsibility for her, and he called to attention her uncertain allegiance due to her sire having been under the control of a Strix.

Rodrigo's opening statement offered a different point: that in the wake of such a situation, what is needed is stability, tradition, and a reintroduction into kindred society of the late Duchess Stanislav's childe. He expressed his doubts that a vampire under heavy influence of a Strige would be as coherent or appear as relatively well adjusted as Laura. And concluded expressing that he wished to give her more than empty words of 'taking responsibility'.

Fiorenzo proceeded to the meat of his argument and addressed Rodrigo's points as the crowd slowly began to murmur. Pointing out that Vortigen would keep responsibilities to Laura, and it's not just an empty promise, and he has the two loyal Ghouls (really only Alex is one but there never was any reason to contest the fact) to prove his commitment to others. Furthermore, he would make sure she is instructed in the traditions and provide her with strong feeding grounds.
He also pointed out that Rodrigo need not have any politically inclined worries, as Vortigen would not bias her decision to align herself to one Covenant or the other, as he has no interest in politics.

The argument and Fiorenzo's presentation swayed the audience quite strongly and provoked approving murmurings among them. Hein gave him a nod of approval from her seat.

In order to not fall behind the argument, Rodrigo raised the stakes on his side with an affirmation of wishing only the best for her as a fellow Kindred.

His wager was the ownership of five night clubs and their associated finances, as well as hunting ground, which he claimed he intended to give to Laura to cement her position.

If nothing else, it greatly bolstered his credibility.

Fiorenzo, however, took the chance for an offensive comeback. He brought to question the point of stability, reinforced Vortigen's position to help Laura resist the whisperings of the Beast that plague all kindred in their unlife due to him having two ghouls, one of which is her childhood friend and a precious link to humanity, and personally attacked Rodrigo by referring to the multiple times in which he nearly frenzied. Should HE really be one to speak of stability?

The argument cut deeply, and made the Invictus on the room severely disgruntled, while the Carthians had to hold back laughter. And to add to it, Hein stood up to support Fiorenzo's claims and offer another safe haven for Laura herself if needed.

Rodrigo tried to counter by accusing Fiorenzo of taking the moral high ground by using a danger that is omnipresent in the Requiems of every vampire, one that not even he or Vortigen are safe from. He defused the frenzy argument by saying the only time it actually happened was when facing a fire demon eye to eye, and attacked Fiorenzo's claims of stability by stating he offers a home and resources for Laura to make her own place in Kindred society, unlike what Fio offers.

It didn't really get him a lot of cheer, but bouncing back from the personal attack looked at least a little impressive.
It should be noted that before the debate, Alex had taken the liberty of having vandalism performed on Rodrigo's properties and spread such rumors, while Vortigen had advertised his blood bond with the strix killer ghoul.


And then things got serious.

Fiorenzo rekindled Rodrigo's memory by reminding him that he fled from a lighter's flame, while Vortigen tasted the demon's fire head on and did not frenzy. And pointed out that he went on a hunger frenzy during the battle with Stanislav and tried to commit Amaranth on her possessed body. Before calmly finishing his argument by promoting the territory around the Bomb Shelter and the place itself as prime locations for her to start making it on her own.

Fiorenzo's strategy had switched to an emotion-based offensive one. And to make it better, he also activated the Face Of The Beast power.

The argument and the sheer fear washed over Rodrigo, who resisted it only with sheer willpower, but was nonetheless reminded. Of the weight of humiliation, losing face, the fear of the consequences, and the terrible possibility that once was about his sire.

Rodrigo steeled himself to talk back, burning inside from the accusations.

"You dare. Accuse me. Of that. That I cannot care for a vampire better than a man lead around by his ghoul on a leash for the most part. That I cannot control myself, when you yourself have attempted to rip out my throat with less provocation than you gave me. To stoop to the level you have shames your sire, your sire's sire, and his sire before him. Now, are we going to debate or are you going to stand there and continue to insult me without addressing the main issue?"

He said while trembling and through clattering teeth.

Around this time, the crowd was gasping and whispering very loudly. And both Vortigen and Alex were more than just a little altered, glaring intensely at Rodrigo.
>all these ad hominems

I'm surprised punches weren't thrown
my players may have a bit of an anger management issue

Fiorenzo had all but lost his cool, and did not take well to Rodrigo's answer. He responded in kind.

"Dealing with the frenzy on YOU, I was CLEARLY out of my normal state.of mind. You should have KNOWN better. I had thought my Ghoul lost and was MOURNING that loss. And that Ghoul you are denigrating is the man who KILLED THE STRIX! If there were any better ghoul to have, it would be HIM of all people. These attacks aren't just dodging the main issue, they are done to show YOUR lack of control over yourself, and thereby show that you cannot control another vampire properly. I have not included the multiple times you were NEAR frenzy. I know your clan is closer to the beast than most, but that is no excuse to leave the chain so loose. It does not befit a surrogate sire to be like that."

Fiorenzo tried to talk closer to Rodrigo as he talked, but was angrily ordered by the judge to halt, and returned to his initial position.

The audience was... well, stunned to say the least, at these revelations. And although the room was crawling with madness from Fiorenzo also activating Dread Presence and fear was threatening to crush him, Rodrigo smiled just a little inside at the opening presented.

And he took it.

"Oh, that's right. That same Ghoul that became the host of the fire demon. That you made a ghoul after breaking his arms. That hadn't even been a ghoul for a week before you failed him in every way possible. And you have the gall to invoke his name despite being responsible for his death in every possible way."

Disregarding the supernatural mental oppression upon him, Rodrigo turned to the judge to finish his argument and told him the debate had become a farce.

The Beast clawed away inside of Fiorenzo at those words. Alex and Vortigen's cheers and encouragements were among the few things heard among the pregnant silence.

Fiorenzo managed to restrain himself for the moment. But the Beast yet roiled inside his chest at the almost unforgivable insult.

The pressure over the room remained. Even the judge had removed his wig in his uncomfortableness. For a few moments, nothing happened except that tense silence.

But Rodrigo's mental resilience was reaching its end, unable to hold for much longer under the terror poking at his own Beast.
Rather than be stubborn, and end up humiliated by a default loss because of frenzying, Rodrigo decided to bow out in the dignity he had left.

"I've had enough of this. To continue this debate demeans both us and our respective covenants. I withdraw."

He then hurriedly slipped away from the room, obviously disgusted, but relieved to get away from Fio.

Fiorenzo turned off Nightmare. And asked to defend himself against the latest accusations, if he would be heard.

The moderator held a hand up, and declared that the stakes would remain, forfeited to the winner of the debate by Rodrigo's withdrawal, and their distribution would be discussed after Fiorenzo's defense.

Fiorenzo admitted his failings before the unsettled crowd (among the which were several whispering Invictus).

"I admit my failings with my first ghoul, I am still new to that aspect of things. But I was doing something as a reward for the information he provided us. He was kidnapped shortly after. This is why he was the vessel for the demon. It was not my best moment no, but I will take the responsibility of failing him so much. That is the least I can do."
"I was the one who put him out of the misery of being demon possessed, I was the one who found Amy's weakness, I mourned at the black spot where his body was disintegrated, I have shown remorse for my failings, the torture that I feel is more than enough of a burden for my very undead soul. This is the burden of my Requiem, and I shall carry it all my Unlife."

His explanation managed to settle the crowd and the moderator, and the latter concluded the case.

"This body acknowledges your argument, mister Severin. Your opposition has conceded."

The gavel was smacked down.

"Resolved! The case of custody as to one Laura Bodewig is ruled in favor of the remaining claimant. This meeting is adjourned."
You and your opponent are to return tomorrow night to oversee the transfer of assets as agreed upon. As to the rest of you... good evening."

And so, the debate which had us all at the edge of our seats finally concluded in Fio's (and by proxy Vortigen's) favor.

Afterwards, the assets bet on the debate were divided by Vortigen like so: Laura was given ownership of the clubs Rodrigo wagered, which she agreed to let Alex manage, Fiorenzo was given the hunting grounds as compensation, and Alex put to good use the resources to increase his amassing fortune, and started to give Laura and Charlotte a reasonable amount of monthly spending cash.

Laura was finally welcomed to start her permanent living at the Rose household.

Rodrigo got kicked out of Fiorenzo's apartment, and the two vampires parted bearing grudges. Not like he needed to stay there, given the money he still has.

Upon finding out the sabotage on the clubs, Rodrigo deduced Alex was involved and began to nurse a grudge and planning against him.

Alex managed to get back to Zaeed and get the old man under his employment. And started to make plans for expanding the structures of the club with his increased funds.

And Vortigen had an honest talk with Laura about wanting to support her as an ally that ended on something of a note of approval despite Laura's aloof attitude.
He also requested Alex to do a few things...

And that was how our first arc, Blood And Smoke: Burning, concluded.

When the debate was hanging and things were actually looking bad for Fio?

Alex was not looking forward to singlehandedly wiping out the entirety of the Invictus, just to get Laura back under his wing.

He would have done it too. Had started to draw up plans with the GM even before the debate, only half-joking.

But that was the first campaign of our Vampire chronicle, in a nutshell! Hope you guys liked following it as much as I liked telling it!
Any questions or opinions, go ahead and share them.
And a very entertaining story it was. Thank you for sharing it with us.
The incurable romantic in me is just glad that Charlotte gets to be with her waifu.

Yeah, I know, it's great, innit? 8D


Also, Miles.... well, you know what, I have no idea what Miles was doing around the time we reached the end of this particular campaign.

The sneaky little dingus.

Let's just say that's for me to know and for you to find out. :3
You son of a bitch... wait, you were an orphan, nevermind.

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