The Concord of Ashes
November 19th, AD 1196
*Assault on the Lair of the Children
The ghoul Agmundir causes problems with Sir Gunther’s plan, as he states that his and Haldorr’s orders are to protect Lady Iulia, not hurl themselves into the fray in the front line. He seems undaunted by the anger of the Gangrel, and stands his ground. Iulia has quiet words with the impertinent mortal away from the group, and it is clear that he seems to be unwilling to “interpret” Lady Katerina’s orders. Nevertheless, he finally relents by saying that when it is clear that the danger to Iulia is minimal, Haldir will be permitted to join the front line.
The coterie assaults the former home of the Seraglio Fraternity, now home to the Children of Calomena. In accordance with the plan, Ratty II scouts ahead, only to be devoured by an alert mastiff inside the walls.
Sir’s Conrad and Gunther approach the Children, intending to parley for their surrender as the Brujah had hoped. Instead the Carrion attack immediately.
A desperate melee follows, as the two knights hold the breach in the wall while the rest of the coterie and their allies catch up. They stand back-to-back, fighting up to nine of the Children at one point, two of whom are Cainites.
One of them is a large, broad-chested Bulgarian with a long braid hanging down his back and a braided beard as well. Both are secured by fine copper bands. He fights with a broad sword and handles himself like a professional soldier and a capable Cainite warrior, using celerity to keep up with the Brujah. He has none of the scruples of the chivalrous knights, backstabbing Sir Gunther at one point and taking Sir Conrad’s hand as well.
The other looks like he might be a Thracian, and also sports a beard and mop of unruly hair. He does not utter a word for the entire fight, even when he falls into frenzy shortly before Sir Conrad finishes him off. He is skilled with the garrote, and may have decapitated a less doughty Cainite than the Lexor Brujah knight. When the element of surprise is gone, he fights skilfully with a sabre.
The massive Rus and the angry, lame old man are also present at the fight. Both are revealed to be ghouls rather than vampires, though the Rus is particular hard to take down, sustaining wounds from 4 arrows and a throwing axe before finally being blinded and dispatched. The old man is less proficient, spewing invective about the coming Time of Judgement and Calomena before inadvertently setting himself alight and fleeing into the night in agonised panic.
The rest of the Children also have the strength and resilience of ghouls, but are far less capable in battle. They are unarmoured for the most part, and their weapons are of poor quality. Many choose to attack with their torches instead. Both of the knights sustain burns in the fight, but hold their nerve in the face of Rottschreck.
As the last of the Children falls, the shower of gore from his mangled body washes over Sir Conrad, and the knight falls into a blood frenzy. On Sir Gunther’s advice the rest of the party clears out of sight, while the Brujah tears into the corpses for their blood. The sight of the Tower of Arsuf reduced to a mindless, ravening monster unsettles all, and they are grateful to see his wits recovered when they venture back into the compound.
In addition to the knights, Haldir, Laszlo and Anna Sgorina distinguish themselves in the fight. Anna in particular, holds off several reinforcements from joining the fray in a pivotal moment. Iulia also shows herself to be an expert archer in the battle. The Baron’s archers perform their appointed tasks well, and even Agmundir runs into the front line when Iulia’s safety is assured.
Aftermath and Investigation
Oddly, the two dogs that are seen to leave before the fight erupts are not seen again, and Anna also states that she saw a man in early middle-age with greying hair and a beard running up the stairs in the house.
Anna transforms into a wolf and starts tracking the scent of the dogs, accompanied by Adriano & Cadmus. Iulia & Agmundir liaise with the Seraglio Fraternity and to find which if any Children escaped, and discover that three of the brothers were slain minutes earlier. Note one of the brothers heard so much as a scuffle or growl.
In keeping with Gabor the Bulgar’s orders (and still short a weapon), Veceslav seizes the Thracian’s sabre as a trophy of war.
Veceslav, Sir Gunther and Sir Conrad head into the house, accompanied by Haldir, Damien and Cosmas. They expect to find further resistance, but instead find an empty building rigged with a number of traps.
These traps include: a stair-case rigged to collapse, plunging the hapless victim down to the basement, where a number of sharp wooden stakes await; three spiked boards designed to break the victims back and disguised to blend in with the decrepit walls, the trigger being a rigged floor board; and an axe on a pendulum in a narrow corridor, triggered when a curtain is disturbed.
The following clues are found:
- the fresh corpse of Anselm, Bishop Alfonzo’s missing guard. His throat had been torn out. Veceslav also found his journal concealed under a bed. The journal is a rambling, guilt-wracked discourse detailing the confessions of his service to the blood-drinking demons.
- a cleverly concealed niche, accessed by removing a panel under an actual bed. The secret haven was immaculately kept, unlike the rest of the house. Inside was a dish holding a rosary and pallet for sleeping.
- a picture of Calomena on the uppermost floor, as well as a large, beautifully carved wooden cross on a makeshift altar covered in candle stubs.
-havens for at least 5 other vampires, all of which showed no signs of recent use.
At Loose Ends
Anna Sgorina returns and regretfully announces that due to all of the interfering odours, she lost the scent of the dogs in the Latin Quarter. She leaves with her men to report to Baron Thomas Feroux.
Raw from his burns, the loss of his hand and his recent frenzy, and cognizant of the danger to the Legacy of Shadows if he were to turn up in his current state, Sir Conrad elects to head home and avoid the Seraglio hideout. He instead heads home to heal, reattach his hand and pray.
Sir Gunther, Iulia and Veceslav return with the grieving Seraglio Fraternity to their hideout, where the promised party is in full swing. They tell stories of the fight, with Sir Gunther making much of the Red Wolf and the Tower of Arsuf standing back-to-back against the hordes. The youngsters and partygoers appear to enjoy the story immensely, but Jason, his men and their families are rather more reserved. The wailing women are comforted, but kept out of sight. Both Gunther and Veceslav feed from the guests, and spend the rest of the evening having a good time.
Iulia leaves after an hour or so with Haldir and Agmundir, saying that she must return to the Saut Aswad and report to Lady Katerina.
Sir Conrad’s son, Baldwin, sees his father covered in blood and seething with anger as he stomps into his house. The knight is reasonably sure that Baldwin doesn’t see the stump of his sword arm, but the shock is enough to drive the boy into histerics. The Brujah has Anna, his housekeeper, brew a calmative tea while he quickly cleans up and confronts the panicked boy. He then puts on his father’s voice and sternly orders his son to go back to sleep as he was having a bad dream. He reasons with his son, knowing that the bookish Baldwin relies on logic to make sense of the world. Lulled by the tea, the boy eventually nods off. Sir Conrad heads to the basement to sleep and heal, but knows that damage has been done which will take some time to repair.
Attendance: Jack (Sir Conrad, 2xp), Greg (Sir Gunther, 3xp), Ben (Veceslav, 3 xp)