Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
The ruined mansions of the District of Arcadius
- Using hints provided by a local wraith and Lotario’s hound, the Concord tracked the cult to a ruined villa in the Arcadius district.
- They watch the location carefully, discovering that the cult is quite large. Scores of mortals and a number of vampires, all cowled and cloaked, travel to the villa in small groups.
- The Concord observes that one of these vampires wears lavish robes of burgundy, trimmed in gold and silver thread. However, they do not see his face or waylay the cultist.
- They do, however, manage to subdue several mortals. Stealing their robes, Lotario and Brother Adalbert disguise themselves.
- A plan is formed: Sister Maude Khlesl will use her rituals to slip into the villa (hopefully) undetected, and search out the location of Gregorius Dimities, the kidnapped Muse of Performance. Veceslav Basarab, Francois and Alfonz will take cover behind some rubble near the back gate of the villa’s broken walls, so that they might cover a quick extraction. The two disguised Concord members will infiltrate the throng of worshipful mortal and vampire devotees, while Iulia and Agmundir sneak close enough so that she can create a distraction (using Obtenebration) to aid in Lotario and Adalbert’s flight. To maintain cohesion, Sister Maude Khlesl will use the Ritual of the Spectral Voice (also known as “Shhh, Maude’s talking”).
- Lotario and Adalbert successfully insinuate themselves into the throng while Sister Maude Khlesl enters the structure unseen. The rest hide, ready to support as necessary.
- Two people emerge from the ruined manse. The first is a young, slender woman who looks to be of Anatolian peasant extraction, judging by her manner of dress and carriage. She is armed with a sabre and a dagger, as well as a brace of slender knives across her chest. The second is a bearded Slav; tall and broad shouldered, he carries a spear and has the mien of a fellow used to a good deal of soldiering. Lotario, alert for signs of the identity of the other vampire cultists, overhears that these two are greeted as “Adana” and “Boris”. They merely nod in recognition, clearly proud of their station. They hold their hands aloft to quiet the crowd, which obediently falls into a reverent, expectant hush.
- And then a third figure emerges. A beautiful Slav with fine bones and long, curly black hair and black eyes. His charisma and passive Presence is readily apparent, cloying the senses and drawing appreciative looks from all. The identity of this creature is unmistakeable. He is Stanislav, the Prophet of Calomena. Announced as destroyed by the triumphant Alfonzo of Venice some years ago, he stands before his gathered followers in the flesh. It is clear now that the Bishop lied to save face when it was clear that Stanislav had eluded his justice. This knowledge promises to be useful to the coterie later, but for now they must keep their peace, for none other than 14 almost certainly hostile vampires are in their midst.
- Stanislav begins his sermonising with great passion, and the experienced Cainites of the Concord all become aware of a subtle application of Awe. The crowd is entranced, completely caught up in the Prophet’s words. He promises that Gehenna is nigh, that Dark Calomena will rise with the fires and bring righteous justice to Children of Caine and the sinful world of the flesh. He rails at the idolatous Families that are dedicated to the decadent Dream of Constantinople, especially the Michaelites, then calls forth the “Seven Penitent Ones”. A number of the vampires in the crowd (including the opulently dressed one) step forward and fall to their knees.
- The Prophet tells his Chosen that these courageous Children of Caine have repented of the sins of the Dark Father, and submitted themselves to be tools in Calomena’s plan for redemption. They alone, and those who also submit in future, will be set free of their curse when the night of Gehenna comes.
- Stanislav then speaks of another, one who has existed for centuries in the “Bosom of the Whore of Cities, tasting her delights and blackening his pure spirits with the vices of iniquity.” He goes on for some time regarding the crimes of this elder Cainite, as Lotario and Adalbert listen with growing horror. Could Gregorius, the famed Muse of Performance, really have gone over to the other side?
- Stanislav says that before tonight ends, one sinner shall burn for his crimes, but another will enter Calomena’s grace. He then demands that the “fallen one come forth, and face judgement so that he might rise up”. None other than Gallasyn, known in some quarters as the First Fallen, steps from the ruined building. He has the mien of a man caught up in the emotion of the moment, desperately believing in redemption. He wears sack cloth, and is covered in ashes. Lotario at least, is both relieved that the new penitent is not Gregorius, and simultaneously horrified that such as a potent enemy as Gallasyn has thrown in with the Chosen. The once Muse of Sculpture stands with broken dignity on the small stage, reciting an 800 year litany of sins to all present. This obviously takes some time…
Gallasyn, the First Fallen
- Meanwhile, Sister Maude Khlesl has disabled several ghoul guards in the basement, as well as surreptitiously weakening a vampire cultist too. She finds the muse heavily chained in the basement, but apparently unresisting. Gregorius moans to Sister Maude Khlesl that he is indeed a terrible sinner, guilty of countless, horrible crimes for which he should be put t the Final Death. Having little time or tolerance for his self-indulgent wailing while her friends risk danger on his behalf, Sister Maude Khlesl admonishes the muse that he can “destroy himself on his own time”, but right now he has to come with her." Browbeaten, the elder agrees, and Sister Maude Khlesl expends much blood to snap his chains and they make their way in stealth towards the rear of the ruins.
- Outside, Gallasyn has finished his self-castigation. Stanislav, on behalf of Calomena, announces that his absolution will come on the night of Gehenna but for now, her children will give him their forgiveness. The cultists come forward to embrace the old Toreador, who weeps with gratitude.
- Throughout the course of her efforts, the rest of the coterie has been informed by Sister Maude Khlesl (by virtue of her spectral voice ritual) of her progress. As they emerge from the ruined back gate, the alarm is raised by the 2 vampire cultists sent to retrieve Gregorius. They charge out the back gate, correctly surmising that any flight from the cult must necessarily take that path. As the two cultists, later identified as Lado and Milen, run onto the rubble strewn back street, they are met by Veceslav Basarab in his zulo shape. He is backed up by Francois and Alfonz, who begin circling behind the enemy according to the Tzimisce’s instructions. Lado, a bald, bearded and muscular Slav wielding a battle axe, looks to be a formidable combatant while Milen appears to be less certain of himself with his shield and short, broad bladed sword.
The Cultists identified as Milen and Lado
- The eyes of the gathered cult turn to the east, and Stanislav yells “Blasphemy!” In response, Iulia summons a Nocturne over the throng, plunging the Chosen of Calomena into darkness.
Attendance: Ben (Veceslav, 2 xp), Greg (Lotario, 2 xp), , Daniel (Adalbert, 2 xp)
Absent: Dave (Maude, 0 xp)