The Concord of Ashes
November 17th, AD 1196
The Baron’s Gangrel
Sir Gunther returns to Neree’s Rest only to find that Bernard, Stephen and Klaus have gone into the Greek Districts to “look for fun”. Klaus and Bernard appeared to be having an argument as they left.
Following their trail, he quickly finds himself in a district under the shadow of the Hippodrome and the Great Palace. Asking amongst the inns as to the whereabouts of his people near the Harbour of Sophia, he appears to draw the attention of some of the Byzantine Gangrel, who seemed to take his presence out of the bounds of the Latin Quarter quite seriously.
He is cornered in a lane by a youth with the looks of a street tough, openly displaying his claws and fangs, as well as a bandy-legged Bulgar warrior armed with a sabre. Violence is forestalled at the mention of Lucien’s name but they demand his weapons and escort him back to the Latin Quarter. Several ghouls armed with bows join them from a roof and a third carrying a long spear with a fire-hardened, sharpened wooden tip exits a nearby doorway as they leave the lane.
Sir Gunther tries to organise an interview with the youth’s master, Baron Thomas Feroux, but his Greek cousins are in no mood to be friendly after his transgression. The youth does mention that he might be willing to talk to the Baron on Sir Gunther’s behalf in return for payment, saying, “I’m not proud, Frank, I’ll take your coin”. Sir Gunther gives him a few coins and the youth turns his back and walks off without making any promises. The Bulgar returns his weapons and leaves with the ghouls too.
Sir Gunther returns to the inn, only to find it in uproar. The argument between Klaus and Bernard appears to have escalated in the wake of a beating the three of them have taken in the Greek district. Stephen in particular looks the worse for wear.
Neree insists that the party leave the inn because of the disruption to her other guests. On Sir Gunther’s request for alternative lodgings, she recommends her acrimonious competition, Balto’s Boarding House.
While they pack their effects, Sir Gunther gets the details of the fight- Bernard appeared to have made a few imprudent jokes at the expense of the Greeks at a nearby table, who took offence and pushed him. Stephen then leapt to his defence, and had a bottle smashed over his head for his trouble. A brawl erupted and the three of them were given a sound hiding by the larger numbers of Greeks, divested of their coin and thrown out.
Sir Gunther approves of Bernard going in hard, saying that it is a knightly quality.
The four of them pack their goods, and the knight then has a word with Klaus, who claims that the boy is a fool who won’t listen to instructions.
Arriving at Balto’s Boarding House, they find it to be a larger inn than Neree’s Rest. It is of higher quality than Neree’s also, but rather less homely. The four then turn in, with Sir Gunther’s instruction that he is tired and not to be disturbed the next day.
At the Saut Aswad
After a long night’s pleasant discussion about matters academic, religious and the occult, Fejr finally takes his leave.
Sir Conrad returns home to see to his personal business- checking on the duties of his staff and preparing a report for his sire and the Lexor Brujah.
Iulia heads upstairs to report to Lady Katerina, and receive further instructions.
Veceslav also turns in, considering the repercussions of owing boons to Symeon and whether it is worth Gabor’s bloodline owing still further favours to the Obertus Tzimisce.
November 18th, AD 1196
At the Saut Aswad
Sir Conrad briefly appears at the Saut Aswad, telling Iulia and Veceslav that he must report to his sire and Family as well as attain the letters of introduction that Symeon had promised. He does not return for the rest of the night.
Veceslav witnesses Natalya Syvatoslav of the Lexor Brujah and Theodorus Kolettus of the Antonian Ventrue meeting with Lady Katerina. The implications intrigue him. The Lexor Brujah Autokrator and the Antonian Quaesitor Secretarius meeting with the envoy from Adrianople in the Latin Quarter rather than the city proper? Most intriguing.
Iulia emerges late, in company with not just her own hulking Rus bodyguard but with Lady Katerina’s also. She comments to Veceslav that they might be needed…
Andrew and Laszlo both turn up, the former with good news and the latter because he is bored. Andrew has tracked down his old friend Jason, who wishes to meet Veceslav and his associates at the edge of the Amalfitan Quarter later in the evening. Apparently, Jason and his gang, the Seraglio Fraternity, have been driven out of their territory by a rival gang that seems particularly tough…
At Balto’s Boarding House
Sir Gunther emerges to find Balto’s bustling with merchants. His three companions eating dinner with an arthritic old Greek. Bernard and Stephen are trying to hide their smirks at the old man’s titanic struggle with his spoon, while Klaus quietly glowers at them.
The old man is revealed to be Isaac, a retired master carpenter with some influence in the guild. He explains that work is plentiful in the city, and Sir Gunther would find no master willing to travel to Kronstadt. He also expressed doubts about whether the Saxon Guilds would allow Greek tradesmen into their city. However, if assurances were made perhaps a journeyman or two would be willing to make the trip.
After Isaac departs and dinner is over, Sir Gunther and Klaus teach Bernard some moves. This ameliorates the guard’s ill-feeling towards Bernard somewhat but it is clear that the boy and the guard despise each other. The knight then makes his way to the Saut Aswad, but hearing drums and flutes he decides to investigate the music instead.
The Serpent’s Den
Sir Gunther is welcomed by a pair of large Turks, who say that one of those of the “Dark Water” is welcome at the Silk Road. They seem to be extremely competent.
He is disarmed as a condition of entry, but is assured that his weapons will be returned upon his exit.
The Silk Road is full of a haze of smoke, and many dancers and scantily clad concubines move among the patrons, offering drinks, more exotic substances, and themselves. Many of the patrons wear the fine robes of Byzantine nobles and Latin merchants both, and quite a few also appear to be artisans of one sort or another.
Sir Gunther then meets Sarrasine, who offers to take him upstairs to talk further. The elder appears to run the establishment for his own sire, Khay’tall, First among the Children of Judas. Sarrasine also reiterates Sir Jules’ earlier offer that the services of the Children are at the coterie’s service, for the right price…
As he leaves Sarrasine’s quarters on the third floor, Sir Gunther spies another Cainite standing on a balcony overlooking the main floor. He appears to be powerful Nubian, and wears fine Damask woven with serpentine patterns. The Cainite silently glowers at the crowd below, judging them all, before turning his burning gaze upon the knight. The Cainite’s glare is unsettling, even for the seasoned warrior.
Iulia elects to spend the night looking into the hospitals, hoping to find a lead on the assailants whom were injured by Juliano. She reasons that the best healers in the city would be Jewish or Arabian, so she will head to the Jewish Quarter.
Veceslav and Sir Gunther decide to head back to the Bishop’s mansion, this time to examine the surrounding area. They discover that the streets around the manse are heavily patrolled by the Bishop’s men.
After a search, Sir Gunther discover a rope attached to a chimney near Alfonso’s wall. He climbs the chimney to recover the rope, and discovers a hiding place large enough for a lookout. The niche was abandoned, but had clearly seen a good deal of use lately.
Signalling to Veceslav, he investigates further and discovers an attic window ajar. He swings into the room and discovers an abandoned lair. Judging from the food scraps and blankets he guesses that up to eight people spent as long as a week here.
Using his Feral Speech, he questions a small rat and gives him some vitae, promising more and lots of food for answers. The rat tells him that lots of “warm ones” and few “cold ones like himself” were here, but they have been gone for a while. The rat then uses his new-found strength to attack some of the larger rats in the room.
Veceslav also climbs the chimney with Sir Gunther’s help but both come undone when the the knight slips on a loose tile while trying to negotiate his way back into the attic room. He takes Veceslav with him and they fall to a bone-jarring landing to the cobblestones below.
Repeating the climb, they successfully head into the room and search it. Veceslav discovers a whittling knife that had fallen behind a cupboard, as well as a few wood chips in the blanket next to it. Finding some old boxes, they assemble the blankets and some food scraps and prepare to leave.
Veceslev slips on his way out, then fails to catch a box that Sir Gunther drops down to him. The resulting noise draws condemnations from neighbours complaining about the noise, and a patrol hurries over.
Sir Gunther climbs down, and the two are forced to treat with some of the Bishop’s men. They quickly establish their bonafides and are allowed to leave in peace with the ir boxes.
The Master of the Seraglio Fraternity
At eleven bells, Andrew takes Veceslav and Sir Gunther to the edge of the Amalfitan Quarter. There they meet Jason, the old thief. And he is old indeed, perhaps over seventy years of age compared to Andrew’s thirty five. Apparently Andrew has been a ghoul for a while…
Jason explains that he and his boys, called the Seraglio Fraternity, have fallen on hard times. About thirteen months ago a new group moved into their neighbourhood and violently displaced them. They even took over their house!
The master thief describes the interlopers as unkillable, as they were dealt wounds that should have been mortal. He says that three or four of them were particularly dangerous. One of them, a Rus, was extremely large and another was old and lame but quite spry.
The Seraglio Fraternity (at least, what’s left of them), is spoiling for revenge, but Jason stresses that he and his boys are thugs, not warriors. He is prepared to draw Andrew’s friends a map and show them where the house is, but the Fraternity has no interest in leading a charge into battle.
Sir Gunther asks Jason if he can get Greek Fire. Jason says that he might be able, as the old Byzantine Navy warehouses are in Mangana, of which Seraglio is a suburb. However, he has reservations about using it because the Fraternity wants its house back, not burned down. Sir Gunther replies that a burned house to get their neighbourhood back is a fair trade, is it not? Jason reluctantly agrees.
The coterie is to return with their men to the same corner tomorrow evening at the same time. They are to look for a boy with red hair and green eyes who answers to the name Adrian. The boy will show them the way to the Fraternity’s temporary home. Jason then takes his leave.
The hour growing late, the coterie head back to the Saut Aswad in hopes of meeting up with Fajr again. There they find Iulia, who says that she has investigated the hospitals in the Jewish District and spoke to a woman called Miriam, whom appeared to understand Iulia’s true nature. Miriam indicated that there were other hospitals in the city, but no others in the Latin Quarter. There was no indication that any of the Jewish healers had treated anyone fitting the desciption of the attackers. The lead is a dead end.
Attendance: Ben (Veceslav, 3), Greg (Sir Gunther, 3)