Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Seven ep02: Vampire the Masquerade

07/13/2013
The Seven
Episode Two

"The Silver and the Habit"

Vampire the Masquerade
Classic World of Darkness

New York City.

Ambrosio Luis Moncada is a name almost all Kindred and Cainites have heard of.  And those who have met the man will never forget the encounter.  The infamy of this Lasombra Archbishop is equaled only by his religious fervor.  Some Malkavians whisper that something happened in the year 1999 which kept him from gaining the seat of Cardinal.  Whatever the truth is, Moncada remains a name few vampires would want to hear.  Much less find themselves face to face with.

Even if you are Sabbat.

As the Archbishop leads the Auctoritas Ritae, he talks to Corbin Sydney, the Bishop, and inquires if Adam Parker is still in the city.  Katherin Lucheshi, a prominent Toreador anti-tribu Priest, slides away and quickly finds the Tzimisce.  She warns him that the Archbishop seeks his presence and adds, "He will ask for your head."

“It is a good thing then that I am Tzimisce,” Adam Parker replies, confidently.

*

In the New York Chantry of the Five Boroughs, the Tremere Primogen Vaclav speaks with Gomorra and Samantha Fletcher about the strange murders that have been happening in the city.   The discussions circle around the three murders, and very quickly they realize that each of the murders were inspired by the punishment and penance represented by Dante's Divine Comedy.

The Gangrel Silas was branded with the word Superbia on his forehead.  Stone slabes were wired into his back to weigh him down, with the wires being needled through his ribs and around his spine, then dropped from the top of the skyscraper called LightBearer.

The Ventrue Ignacio was branded with the word Invidia on his forehead.  The vampire's eyes were wired shut, and the vampire frenzied in a crowded alleyway.  Surprisingly, the vampire remained outside even as the sun rose, immolating itself to  Final Death. 

The Noferatu Imogus was the next victim with the word Ira branded onto his forehead.  The sewer rat had removed its own fangs, face, then heart.  The walls where he had killed himself were plastered with images of various people - people whom happened to be mortals.

Gomorra proudly shares what she has uncovered in her own research.  The three were clearly victims of their own views.  Or natures.  Each of them were labelled with the names of appropriate demons, Lucifer for Pride, Levianthan for Envy and Amon for Wrath.  "Perhaps the rituals are being used to summon a demon?"  Both Samantha and Vaclav are irritated by her know-it-all attitude.  Vaclav sends her off to the train stations to "investigate" the possibility that Sloth, which would have the sinner dragged through earth, would be accomplished there.     Samantha then learns that the three victims were actually killed in a different order, with Ignacio, the Venture actually be the first victim.  Imogus, the Nosferatu, was actually the second.  With the Gangrel as the third, Vaclav shared his worries that more were to come.  And which of the four would come next.

Samantha considers the murderer to possibly be an older Kindred. One with enough powers of Domination or Presence to cause the victims to choose to kill themselves.  Vaclav advises her to investigate the matter casually since the current Deputy, Viktor Smith will approach things formally.

*

Back at the Elysium, Viktor and Faqas discuss the murders as well and ponder on the possibility that certain victims were also among the Sabbat.  Viktor considers checking with Adam Parker, his Sabbat contact, but the thought is diverted as Argento, a Toreador artiste, arrives to ask for assistance.  Faqas claims to have work to do and assigns the Deputy to handle the complaint for her.  Argento claims to have a "stalker" and from his stories, it first sounds funny.  Until the stalker supposedly has been waiting for him outside the Elysiums of the city.   

Samantha arrives and upong seeing the deputy, approaches Viktor to offer additional information.  Viktor however admits being suspicious of “independent consultants” and does not offer any information in return.  For him, such details are “Best kept within the official capacity of the Sheriff’s office. Of course any information you are willing to share freely will be useful in this investigation.”  

*

Back among the Sabbat, Moncada finally meets with Parker, and the two speak much of the old times, of the war, and of old friends.  He inquires about Viktor Smith, and Parker reluctantly explains that the Brujah no longer recalls the past events.  He explains that Moncada's former student has joined the Camarilla.

“Camarilla? Well that, is a sin,” Moncada quips.

They also discuss about Samantha Fletcher's growing obsession with Noddist lore.  Her determination to (dis)prove the writings of Samuel Beckett are her primary drive now.  To that, the old Lasombra smiles and promises to pay the two a visit.  In his own terms.

*

The two decide to visit the alleyway where the Ventrue, Ignacio, immolated himself.  Samantha suspects the alleyway should have an area where a vehicle had dropped the vampire off.  But as they investigate, things become stranger.   The alleyway, as it turned out, had a cafe.  And the cafe was occupied with people when Ignacio had his incident.  Worse, it seems Ignacio had actually Frenzied in front of the people, and had even attacked some of them.

But things took an odder turn when it soon became apparent that all the witnesses of that evening were made to forget the incident and instead recall some madman attacking them with a knife.  Whoever was behind this wanted the Masquerade to remain intact!  Samantha finds a good drop off point, and the who learn that the couple owning the cafe did indeed have a van which drives up there for deliveries.  However, ever since that night, they have not had their van returned from the shop for repairs.  "Some crazy loon drove into that alley that night.  Hit our rear fender too."  The two decide to head for the shop to learn more.

The shop is managed by a single mortal, and Viktor wastes no time and uses his Presence to Entrance the poor sod.  While the Brujah gains information from the emotionally snared mortal, the Tremere uses her Spirit's Touch to glean more information from the truck itself.  Viktor confirms the truck was hit by a red BMW, and it must have hit the truck head on as it drove into the alleyway, so it would have a damaged headlight.  He realizes he's a bit hungry, so under the guise of sexual flirtation, he bites into his neck. Samantha sees glimpses of the accident, and watches as Ignacio is brought down from the truck in a conscious state.

"What are you doing?"

Samantha breaks from the Auspex to see a young punk girl in a scooter staring at her.  She shoos the girl away and makes her way to the street to wait for the Brujah.  But she doesn't realize Viktor gets a tad carried away in his feeding and drinks a bit more than he should.  Leaving the poor guy seduced and woozy from blood loss, the two decide to follow their leads separately, with Samantha heading back to the Chantry to see if anyone has connections that can locate a red BMW with a busted headlight, while Viktor secretly considers reaching out to contact Adam Parker.

Two days pass.
Then it happens.

Samantha and Viktor are both alerted to another event that endangers the Masquerade.  A body had been immolated on the streets of New York once again.  But this time, in front of one of the places of Elysium - the Succubus Club!    The two hurry to the location to investigate.

Viktor, thanks to his alternate identity as Detective Victor Steiner of the NYPD, is easily permitted into the crime scene.  The policemen stare at him, uncertain of what to say of what they had witnessed.  The events, Viktor learn, transpired just at the tail end of the afternoon before the sun set.    The cops inform him that there was only one victim, and he was still under the tarp on the street in front of the Succubus Club.  But it is the next line of information that surprises him:  "The fifteen witnesses... possible suspects.. are over there."

A small makeshift tent has been erected at the side alley.  Fifteen people, with seven of them being men, seven women and a young boy, are all seated inside, staring blankly ahead, with first and second degree burns on their hands, arms, chest and faces.  Viktor realizes the victim was the Toreador Argento.  And these fifteen were his ghouls.  Forensics find something odd in the corpse.  They call Viktor and show him the small charred wooden piece that is still embedded in the victim's chest.

Samantha learns from Vaclav that Gamorra hasn't been seen in a while either.  The elder is annoyed that the woman might be slacking somewhere.  Samantha tries making a few calls, but she does not answer.  She sends instead an SMS to ask her to hurry back soon.  Gamorra replies, "K."  When she arrives at the murder scene, Viktor tells the rest to let her in.  "She's with me."

They discern that Argento was brought to the area by a large yellow school bus.  A woman dressed in a nun's habit lead the group of ghouls out of the vehicle.  They then carried out with them a large object covered in a tarp.  They positioned themselves in front of the Succubus Club, and most who saw them assumed they were just some kind of viral performance that hoped to get more online acclaim.

Then the tarp was pulled back.

And the Cainite held down by the fifteen pairs of arms began to burn.  The youngest ghoul, a young boy, pulled something from the body's chest.  And it was only then the body started convulsing.  But the vampire never screamed.

The ghouls held him down til his charred remains ceased to move.

"She said it was for the best.  For his own good," the young boy explained.  And all the ghouls start screaming and howling as they realize what they have done.  The vampires do what they can to control the growing hysteria.  Samantha start's commanding each one to fall asleep.

The body's hands and teeth have been removed. Once again, the ones behind this have acted to still maintain the Masquerade.    Viktor finds a brand on the forehead of the dead Cainite.  "Avari"

A reporter asks if these are related to the earlier murders.   Even as Viktor and Samantha ignore him, the man calls out, “The people have a right to know! It is for their own good.”  Samantha mutters worriedly if this is the handiwork of a certain woman.  Someone whom he has heard can do these things.  "Controlling so many at a single time..." She hesitates to say her name.  Viktor sadly admits he does not know who she is talking about.


The two visit the Succubus Club, intent to hear from Patricia Westwayer, the Toreador Primogen, what they have to share.    She is found slow dancing by herself to Berlin's Take My Breath Away.  Viktor breaks the reverie and Patricia snarls at them from interrupting her.  She actually Dread Gazes them in her anger.  But Samantha and Viktor hold their ground and the Primogen apologizes for her temper.  She admits her servants had witnessed the events since she was asleep when they happened.  They confirm the findings.  The bus.  The nun.  The child pulling out the stake.

Patricia confirms it was Argento.

"He was a shining light in the darkness," she sighs and plays the music again.

Take my breath away....


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