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Geist: Balance of Shadows (Actual Play)

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  • #31
    it's that time again. Gather round for a tale of Ghosts, Vampires, and Faerie!

    Session XXI

    Doc’s Log

    Doc's Log: 1155 Hours, Friday, May 21, 2010

    Well this is what sleeping in feels like apparently. Though after an hour and a half, I just stopped with trying to meditate. I was way too frustrated to make the magic happen. I guess I'm still out of sync with everything.

    I hope that's Cupcake rattling around in the kitchen. I just realized how hungry I am.

    Doc's Log: 1245 Hours, Friday, May 21, 2010

    Well this ain't good. I walked downstairs to find Cupcake and Ronin looking over the envelope and letter. I knew what that was about, but I didn't expect Cupcake to then turn into a police sketch artist right there at the kitchen table. When I came through, she had a sketch book with two images and working on a third. One was of a very fancy business suit that looked like it cost more than I do ... oh and the random dude wearing it. The next was the Nosferatu dude from the Orphanage. Not the ones with the big ears, but the one without a face that seemed to be the hitter. Then there was another Nosferatu (apparently) that we dubbed Wrinkleface. Wrinkleface came by his name honestly. Sadly, this means that the vampires are somehow involved in the deal with Chuck. I can already tell there's going to be some difficult conversations thanks to that.

    Speaking of which, I think we're getting together now to discuss what to do for today. Joy.

    Doc's Log: 1430 Hours, Friday, May 21, 2010

    Cupcake had apparently been working on these sketches all morning, so by the time she finished even Nightshade was up and around. Ronin now had a lead and even though it wasn't a good idea to follow up on it, I knew that it'd be easier to pry open the jaws of a great white than to get her to let it go. Fortunately, Rose was feeling responsible and industrious so she strongly suggested that we deal with the Fear spirit back at the orphanage. This led to a more complex plan, but one that I like a great deal.

    The Nosferatu have their precious alchemy lab in the secret room, but wouldn't it be a shame if the Fear spirit suddenly "broke free" of their binding. Terrible that it should happen during the day when none of their people were around to stop it from rampaging through and destroying everything.

    This will take some preparation and some finesse. Prep work I can handle. The finesse part, I might not be so good with, but I'm not the only one doing this so we should be okay. I just have to keep my head in the game and think about this from all angles. We decided to go scout the Orphanage, this time looking for the kids and ways to make this plan work.

    Since we had Cupcake with us, the locks weren't much of an issue. As a precaution, Snowflake decided to scout ahead from outside. This worked out pretty well. We knew that vampires wouldn't be much of an issue at 1300 hours but we didn't expect the scary looking dude crawling around on the ceiling just inside the foyer with an illusion of being normal around him. Yes, he was on the ceiling and pretending to look normal. No I have no idea why that made sense. Rose took a chance and turned invisible to see if he noticed. Snowflake kept watch while she crept in through the wall. It took her a moment to remember that we could stay in contact because of the ear curls but eventually she broke radio silence to let us know the dude was a Changeling, something about Autumn Court because of the leaves. I pieced together enough to figure out she suspected our Lionel Richie impersonator of being sent by Richard Mongler to ward off people dumb enough to try and get in. Something about using Fear to guard dangerous places.

    Either way, she made it past him without issue and found the kids. Gina and Ted (well Gina talking for Ted) told Rose the items they wanted from their room on the 3rd floor. She found them since she could sneak around without drawing attention and came back to the kids. Becoming visible again, she convinced the kids to come with us because if/when we let the Fear Spirit out, they would be on top of the menu. Cupcake used her lockpicks (wow we have's amazing) to jimmy the lock and had the door read for Rose in case Ceiling Man decided there was an issue. Turns out Rose was right, and the Changeling was Autumn Court. Knew something about Mongler, though I don't think that's who sent him. Didn't seem to have an issue with us, but you can't take that kinda thing for granted. I also noticed when we opened the door, the inside of that place was darker than it should have been. I mean it was still daylight and the room almost seemed like none of the light was coming in. Not sure what that was about, but it was creepy.

    Before Rose led the children out of the darkness, she stopped to talk with the man on the ceiling and learned some vitally useful information. Tommy Knocker, as he gave his name, spied on the Nosferatu before and was even willing to share his findings. Apparently the pointy eared Nosferatu we met during the whole deal with the alchemy lab, Vaclav Konec is the HNIC (Head Nosferatu In Charge). He holds some kind of spooky court in the basement of the Orphanage. Seems to be setup expressly to unnerve outsiders that come to ask for favors. Which is what likely happened with our rich dude in the impeccable suit. He even saw someone they referred to as Prince Maxwell. I knew roughly what that meant and decided not to get into it for the sake of the others. Even more useful to know, the Nosferatu actually caught Tommy spying and while he was able to run away, he found he was being watched everywhere he went for a long time after that. I'm certain this is important, but I don't know how we can use it just yet. I need more time and information that I'm not going to have access to until sometime after sunset.

    Ronin was a little confused when Rose brought out an old hand-stitched doll and a wooden train. I had a few ideas but before we got into all that, Rose told us the rooms on the 3rd floor were permeated with Death energy. The sheer number of children that must have died there is unfortunate. However, she figured out that there were several charms left over and she also learned about a mass grave for the diseased children. This could be useful later on if we find others that want to be properly interred. For now, we're planning to let the kids stay in the Nursery.

    Doc's Log: 1745 Hours, Friday, May 21, 2010

    Snowflake and Nightshade have been setting up the entryway and Great Hall into what will be our dance floor for the Date with a Ghost contest. Ronin and I served as roadies and moved the big things. They were checking acoustics and looking at wiring for a band or a DJ. It was all very neat. Nightshade really does know alot about this kind of thing. While I know this, it's always kinda impressive to see her work. To test their setup, Nightshade went and got a CD with proper Waltzing music on it and then pulled me out on the floor. I thought I could just wing my way through it because I mean, I'm still not terribly flexible, but I'm athletic enough I thought I'd be okay. Snowflake and Tavia joined us and they were doing okay. Oh wow...I started getting out of step and that led to stepping on toes. That embarrassed me so I started looking down to try and keep that from happening. Then Nightshade suggested I pay attention to her lips and the words that were coming out instead of her tits. I'm pretty sure that I lit the room like the old Rudolph claymation specials. Add to this that Ronin and Rose were up on the balcony looking down at the whole thing grinning and giggling. That Rose was giggling means that they were talking about how we looked as a couple. That helped so much.

    Fortunately for me, Nightshade is tremendously gracious and told me to just consider that my first lesson in Gothic Waltzing. Given that we have a little less than a month before the big party, I hope that it won't be my last. I can say with certainty that I will not embarrass myself on the dance floor with her like that in public. I will learn how to do this. Oh god, now I have a Dancing with the Sin-Eaters promo running through my head. I'm going to need help.

    After that, Nightshade and Cupcake went crazy doing the Addams Family dance. I'm not sure what it's actually suppose to be, but Nightshade moved with such speed and precision...if it was wrong, I have my doubts anyone could tell.

    Now it's time to get cleaned up for dinner.

    Doc's Log: 2200 Hours, Friday, May 21, 2010

    After dinner I went about deciding what I'd need to say when I talked to Truman. I hate calling on them like their freaks because that's pretty much what they are fighting to keep from being. I'm sure if I hadn't shown them kindness when they were weakened, I'd not have the kind of relationship with them that I do. So around 2000 Hours, I gave them a call.

    Truman answered and I tried to explain that we needed their expertise about an issue that would be very delicate. Phone conversations with people that publicly should not exist are always awkward. Because we're never completely sure how things will go if Nightshade and Neon get together, Truman and I agreed long ago that informing the other of issues if someone is around is very important. Thus I told him anyone that wanted to attend was welcome. I really only wanted Ronin and Snowflake around for this as Rose would be out of her element entirely, Cupcake would want to bring Chandra (which would be a nuclear bomb of a bad idea), and the aforementioned concern for and about Nightshade. Ronin was involved and Snowflake would be able to assist in a few possible situations. Plus that kept me from having to call a cab. Nightshade caught us as we were heading out and made it known she wanted me back in time to watch Nightmare before Christmas. I agreed but the look I got from Ronin made me thankful it was dark outside to conceal the new color of my cheeks. Really don't understand why they can do that to me.

    Rose was busy after dinner tonight as well. Since we decided to call in the experts once the sun went down she had a bit of time to kill. Before we left she handed Snowflake the newly repainted wooden toy train and I noticed she'd given the dolly a gauzy black dress, added a belt loop, and created a pocket. Apparently my guess about Rose using the toys into make charms was correct. Cool and horrifying all at once.

    I need to ask what you call a group of vampires. A clutch? Nest? Who knows. We met Truman and his group not too long after the phone call at The Coffee Shop. It was a new place but seemed to be quiet enough for what we needed. When we got there, Truman greeted us and I got to introduce he, Neon, Rebecca, and Wynton to part of my Krewe. That Wynton came meant they were concerned by what I was calling delicate. That Neon came meant they weren't too concerned. I brought Cupcake's sketches to see if we could get better information. This was the jackpot.

    Once we had a table, I explained a little more about the situation and asked if they knew Wrinkleface. Knowing that identifying other vampires could be problematic plus the whole True Face thing, I opened the sketch book for just a moment for all of them to see. They knew he was a Nosferatu and that he was something like an underling to Vaclav. Faceless Bob (my name, they didn't know his name) was confirmed as something akin to an enforcer. But it was the last sketch that got the most response. When I showed the dude in the suit, Truman glanced at Rebecca, who was more than a little shocked. They told me the man was Jackson Harvard. It was Rebecca's sire. I have to assume that means her maker. Then the Vampire 101 hit. We learned that both Mr. Harvard and Prince Maxwell are part of a group known as the Invictus. The rough idea they gave was that this group is a real power behind the scenes in city institutions outside the Church, which apparently another group holds sway with. Specifically the Invictus seem to be or have control of leaders or social organizations. All told, that would make most of the decisions made for the city heavily influenced by them. I knew the Stockton Posse couldn't have managed those shots. Chalk that up to the Nosferatu. I also called it that they couldn't plan out something like that. Apparently score that one to the Invictus. Based on Rebecca's exceptionally generous explanation of Ventrue and Invictus politics, Chuck is being shown a courtesy from the shadows by not being killed or mind wiped. That does complicate things a bit more now though. To make Mr. Harvard back off of Chuck, we'll either have to remove the problem that he's having, or make it not worth his time to deal with it. And we still don't know what that connection is. Once we got all that, I asked Snowflake to verify we weren't being watched. I had no desire for Truman or any of his people to get wrapped up in this other than from our consultations. Fortunately, the coast was clear so we broke for the night and headed back to the House.

    I've got to work out a way for us to crack this thing. We'll only be able to keep Chuck off the trail for so long and Ronin will not react rationally if anything happens to him on our watch. No pressure.

    Jasmine’s Diary

    Friday, May 21, 2010, Noon

    Simon came to practice his swimming this morning. I was working with Jean most of the time, but I did keep an eye on Simon to make sure he was doing well. I did have to give him a few pointers on his form, and he still can’t swim for long without becoming completely knackered, but at least he’s giving it a go. Well done, Simon!

    Friday, May 21, 2010, Afternoon

    Well, I now know why Gwen has been so ropeable over the past day or two. Doc, Gwen and Alexia gathered us all up and explained that a her friend, Clevon “Chuck” Norris, is being blackmailed by mysterious persons in order to keep him from investigating a small-time gang. I don’t really know all of the details, but the blackmail has to do with a possible past relationship with Gwen (above and beyond the fact that they were once partners on the police force).

    What makes the situation difficult, however, is that the people who are blackmailing Clevon are vampires. Alexia managed to determine that much from communing with the blackmail letter and photo. Some of those involved are the “Nosferatu” that Doc, Natalie and Alexia discovered in the St. Francis Orphan Asylum, which is apparently their hideout or laboratory. Doc is very worried about angering these Nosferatu, but we need to do something to help Gwen, so after considerable discussion, we settled on a plan.

    We decided to go back to the asylum during the day to look it over and make sure everything was more or less as we left it, with the fear spirit confined to the third floor and the seals that bind it there still in place. Since we need leverage against the Nosferatu to get them to cooperate with us, we plan to break the seals and free the fear spirit, then offer to get rid of it in exchange for the Nosferatu’s help. A dangerous plan, yes, but one that might work. I think we’re all confident that we can destroy the fear spirit without too much trouble.

    The only problem is that we don’t want the spirit to harm the two surviving children’s ghosts, so I resolved to rescue them from the building so they would not be when the thing starts rampaging about.

    The Orphanage is an unpleasant looking place, particularly in its run-down state. When we arrived, Simon zoned out with the Boneyard to have a look inside, and didn’t see anything amiss, except for a rather ghoulish creature creeping about on the ceiling of the main lobby. Simon could only see is true appearance because he had unlocked the Boneyard with the Phantasmal key, and he warned us that the rest of us would see it cloaked in the guise of a human. When I heard that, I was reminded of Richard Mongler and privately wondered if the ghoulish creature might not be a changeling.

    We didn’t want to invite an attack from the thing on the ceiling, so I agreed to go in and have a look about to see if I couldn’t find the children or anything else that might help us. I used the Cold Wind to unlock my Caul and drew the Shroud of Stillness about me, making myself little more than an invisible whisper in the wind, and then passed through the front door without disturbing it or alerting the ghoulish thing to my presence. Once I was inside, Alexia move to the door from outside and began picking the lock in case the others needed to get inside quickly, should I need help.

    I should also note that the ghoulish thing did not look like a human to me. I could see it quite clearly for what it was, which confirmed my suspicion that it was a changeling. Richard did, after all, grant me the power to see changeling things for what they are.

    I took a while to explore the interior of the orphanage, which is largely a sad, decaying shell of the building it once was. I could almost feel the pain and sadness of all those children as I wandered the halls, looking for the ghosts of the two children, Gina and Ted. I eventually found the two ghosts. Gina is a strong-willed little girl, while Ted is shy and frightened. Still, I was able to coax them out of hiding and talk to them. After explaining that I was a friend of Doc, Alexia, and Natalie, I told them that we feared the fear spirit was going to break free soon, and although we were going to destroy it when it did, we needed to make sure they were safe. In order to do that, I needed to know their anchors, and asked them what they felt the greatest connection to in the asylum. Gina wanted her rag doll, and Ted wanted his pillow, both of which were lost in a room on the third floor, off-limits to them because of the spirit.

    I promised to get the doll and pillow for them, and crept upstairs, still invisible. I did not encounter the fear spirit, fortunately, but when I saw just how many dolls and pillows were left in the dust-covered room, I had to go back down and get a more specific description of each from the children. Even so, it wasn’t too much trouble finding their anchors. And on the way, I kept my eyes open for anything lying around up there that might be strongly connected to death and that I might make into a charm. I found a small rag-doll with a felt dress and an old wooden toy train with worn, chipped paint, both of which resonated strongly with the deaths of the children who once played with them. There may, in fact, be more potential charms on the third floor, but we’ll have to look for them later after the fear spirit has been destroyed.

    I also happened upon some paperwork while I was exploring the third floor offices. Apparently about twenty dead orphans are buried in an unmarked mass grave nearby. We need to investigate that. Even if most of the children’s ghosts were consumed by the fear spirit, we should still lay them to rest properly.

    So, with the children’s anchors returned to them, I guided the children out of the Asylum…but I decided to announce myself to the ghoulish thing in the front room, as it would have been difficult to get the children’s things out without opening the door. Besides, Richard had told me enough about what he calls the “Autumn Court” to guess that the ghoul was simply trying to frighten mortals away from the place to keep them safe from the far more dangerous things that lurked there.

    Unfortunately, I think I frightened the changeling more than he frightened us when I peered around the door frame and gently called out to him. He was a bit put out that I didn’t scream or anything when made his face change into something frightneingly grotesque, though I did recoil a bit. Once that was done, we were able to introduce ourselves properly, and I made sure to mention that I was a friend of Richard Mongler.

    The ghoul’s name is Tommy Knocker. And yes, he is there to frighten away mortals. He was quite disappointed that he would not be frightening us. I told him that I was removing the children’s ghosts for their own protection, and he was okay with that. He did warn me, though, about the Nosferatu. They are quite dangerous, and apparently they are good at both sneaking about and at observing those who try to hide from them. That’s definitely something for me to remember.

    Despite Tommy’s unpleasant appearance, he was very nice. I quite liked him, and I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea to make more connections to the Autumn Court, as it seems our interests tend to overlap a bit. I’ll ask Richard about it.

    We got the children into Simon’s car and headed back to Dark Haven Bluffs to set them up in the playroom for the time being. Gwen was very good with them, much better than I was. She has training in dealing with traumatized children, but she’s also just more personable. I fear I wouldn’t be a very good mother.

    Friday, May 21, 2010, Evening

    After returning from the orphanage and making sure the children were comfortable, we all split up to take care of various errands. I got Tavia and Alexia to help me clean up the toy train and rag doll. I had Tavia touch up the paint on the train and add some touches of dark, iridescent blue, and then I performed the ritual to make it into a Phantasmal charm for Simon. A toy train seemed somehow appropriate for him, though I can’t put a finger on why. More whimsy, I suppose. Alexia and I also dyed the rag doll’s dress black and altered the doll to serves as an odd little belt pouch, which I turned into a Stillness charm for myself.

    By the time that was done, we found that Gwen, Doc, Simon and Natalie had spent the rest of the afternoon working getting the mansion’s great hall in shape for Bonnie-Lynn’s ball in a few weeks. They’re turning it into quite a ball room, and Gwen and I chatted for awhile on the balcony that overlooks it all while we watched Simon, Tavia, Doc and Natalie practice waltzing. It was so romantic. Doc and Natalie looked so right together, even if Doc was a terrible dancer and spent most of the it embarrassed. Being so close to Natalie put him quite off his mark.


    Gina and Ted

    Date of Death: Unknown

    Cause of Death: Sickness.

    Haunt: St. Francis Orphan Asylum

    Known Anchors: Gina: Her precious ragdoll. Ted: His pillow. The two might have other anchors as well, but if so, those anchors are inside the orphan asylum; otherwise they would have been able to leave to escape the fear spirit.

    Known Numina: Telekinesis

    - Gina and Ted are the only surviving ghosts that were not consumed by the fear spirit. They spend their time hiding within the halls of the orphan asylum. Gina is the eldest and protects Ted. Ted almost never talks, and relies on Gina to shield and protect him from everything that frightens him.

    We have rescued Gina and Ted from the Orphan Asylum, at least for the time being, and have moved the anchors we know about into Dark Haven Bluffs nursery/playroom, the room where Tavia, Simon, and Alistair used to play as children. The orphans seem excited to have such a fantastic place to play after being alone in the ruins of the orphanage for so long. Once we’ve removed the fear spirit and can find their other anchors, we’ll help them to pass on.

    American Culture & Idioms

    - While Gwen and I were chatting about Bonnie-Lynn and how charming the others looked waltzing, I commented that I had no idea what I’d do at the party. I don’t really know if I’d feel comfortable waltzing, or socializing with all those people, but I wanted to be involved. She told me that I was the yenta. I had no idea what that was, so she explained that it was a Jewish matchmaker. I’m probably most invested in helping Bonnie-Lynn find someone, so I supposed that does make sense. It’s still an odd comparison, though. Cultural differences don’t seem to have any impact on the way Gwen associates one thing with another.

    "Monty Python"
    - This isn’t even American pop-culture, but I’m not surprised that Gwen likes it. I’ve known of Monty Python ever since high school because some of my cousins in New Zealand liked it, but I never saw the appeal. It all seems rather idiotic to me.
    I did observe, when Gwen mentioned Monty Python, that I found it odd that she remembers almost nothing about her past except all of these bizarre pop-culture references. I wonder why that is, and if it can help her find her memories again?

    Natalie’s Tweets

    Friday May 21st

    -Had late night chat with Late Evil. Poor thing is mad as a March Hare. Funny when she stutters too.

    -No, nothing happened. :P

    -Meeting the gang for lunch, plotting.

    -Someone has pissed off Gwen big time.

    -Time for more B & E for the gang.

    -Late Evil is REALLY trying to impress me now. This is what I get for being nice to people.

    -Doing a follow-up check on St. Francis Orphan Asylum. Last check two ghosts (kids) one Fear Spirit.

    -Also, mild Vampire infestation. Mild.

    -I’ll just hang around and look pretty while Jasmine and Simon take care of this.

    -I don’t have to Velma this time, since we have Jasmine and the Jeep swallower.

    -This sun is going to do away with my lovely pallor! Good thing I brought by parasol.

    -Lacy black parasols are always in fashion.

    -Jasmine has helped the kids; I think she plans to take them home.

    -A fairy was hanging around on the ceiling. Jasmine is talking to him now. What?

    -Why don’t we ever meet any pretty girl fairies?

    -Back to Chez Satanique with more ghosts. Because it was not haunted enough.

    -Flowers from Late Evil, and a backhanded compliment.

    -…I think these came from the yard.

    -Working with Simon on acoustics, watching him waltz with Tavia. It’s cute.

    -I may take a spin myself. Lets see if Doc can keep up. >

    -That was fun. Doc did passively well. My feet hurt.

    -Need to show Jasmine Nightmare before Christmas tonight.

    -Gonna hit the library a bit while Doc, Simon, and Gwen go to talk to some friends of Doc.

    -Late Evil keeps smiling at me. Wasn’t she here to do something?

    -Researching an evil ritual. OK, maybe not so evil.

    -That wasn’t such a chore. Let’s see if the others are gonna do Nightmare.

    End Session XXI

    For those playing along at home, Tommy is an Autumn Court Darkling Tunnelgrub/Palewraith with the Scarecrow Ministry.

    Comments and Questions welcome, hope you enjoyed.

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    [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


    • #32
      Apologies for the delay, friends and foes. Did not get Doc's Log until the last moment yesterday.

      Session XXII

      Doc's Log

      Doc’s Log: 0315 Hours, Saturday, May 22, 2010

      I didn’t really get to contemplate The Eastern Question as it were because as soon as we got back, Nightshade dragged me in to watch “one of her favorite romances.” It’s a good movie, but it’s hard to ignore the fact she demanded I be present for the showing of said movie. I can’t let myself put too much into it, I mean it is a cartoon.

      More importantly, Nightshade left afterwards. We all talked about what we thought of the movie briefly with Rose admitting she liked it. Then Nightshade had to go check on something. I caught her slipping out after she went upstairs. And thus I shouldn’t put too much into the demand that I be here for the movie.

      First watch was pretty dull. I mean yes there’s still “an Evil” in the House, but really do we want to be so paranoid about Gretchen? She went to the Library and stayed there almost all night. I was heading down to check on the kids in the Nursery when Rose caught me in the hallway. She apparently thinks I should have backup on my nightly patrols while I’m out and about. I have no idea why this is, but more importantly I have no idea why this annoys me so much. Maybe it’s because she thinks I can’t handle things on my own. Though I know she doesn’t actually think that. Maybe I’m just being jealous of my Solitude. Either way, I know that there’ll be times when I will need help. I’m not macho enough to think otherwise. Maybe I just need to get over it. I thanked her for the offer. I just didn’t know what to do with that. The kids were fine when I finally made it to the Nursery. That was at least relaxing.

      Doc’s Log: 0620 Hours, Saturday, May 22, 2010

      I headed up like normal to wake Ronin for second watch. I hadn’t mentioned taking watch last night but I assumed since we still had Gretchen around that we’d want to make sure. When I knocked on the door, the first thing I heard was Ronin’s muffled growl that “somebody better be dead.” I called in second watch but I didn’t hear an answer, just some shuffling. Then the door swung up and Ronin stood wearing only a Steelers jersey big enough for two of her. Her scowl could curdle milk at 40 paces, she was fuming, and she had her shoulders squared up like she was ready to swing. When she told me to fuck off, I took the hint. Now I’m going to sleep.

      Doc’s Log: 1320 Hours, Saturday, May 22, 2010

      Apparently Cupcake spent the night out or was sleeping in because when I finally made it down after a long meditation session, Rose was still in the kitchen putting the last touches on a breakfast from home. Really it was mostly fruit and scrambled eggs, but it was different from our normal spread so it was a pleasant surprise. We all apparently trickled in as we got there. Even Nightshade beat me up, which generally suggests she was out all night, but she was sober so that’s…better. Somehow by the time I dragged myself in, they were talking about grits. Well Nightshade was talking about grits. Because I served with guys and girls from all over, I both knew of and had had grits. But the fact that beautiful, gothic Nightshade was regaling the Krewe about the virtues of grits was one of those surreal moments for which you can never prepare. After that, somehow, Cupcake and Nightshade got started on the Addams and it was vaguely animated. The conversation turned to the toys that Rose worked with. Cupcake was still groggy since she thought we were talking about “Stuffed Whores” when we were joking about “Stuffed Bears that Roar.” That pretty much broke the table for a while. Then Rose decided that we should go check out the lead we had on the children’s mass grave. That was a major buzzkill and I could tell no one really wanted to jump on that, so I reminded them we found a coffin filled with gold last time we dug up a grave. That got everybody moving. I told Nightshade it was time to break out the zombie. That’s always a good way to get her in a good mood first thing in the …mid afternoon. We’ll see what we find now.

      Doc’s Log: 2002 Hours, Saturday, May 22, 2010

      The location Rose found was actually the old, abandoned firehouse, and by old I mean like way before any of us were around or even alive. Before that this was apparently a church. I honestly don’t remember who knew that or how they found out, but it all seemed to pan out. Around the whole place was a 10 foot fence and the gate was locked with a padlock that was more rust than lock. Cupcake picked it but I’m pretty sure the lock broke just because of age. I decided that we should start keeping our own padlocks in all the cars so we could replace the ones we pick. That would save us time later. Snowflake really seemed to like that idea. Ronin thought we should buy up the land and turn the place into designer condos. She said this in front of
      Nightshade…I’m not sure what I expected. But the look of pained angst that crossed Nightshade’s face for just a second was pure “Sadness of Innocence Lost.” I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or look away. But I did hear Nightshade mumble something about going Urban Exploring. I know what I need to look into on my next slow patrol night.

      There was a small graveyard on the grounds so that’s where Rose, Snowflake, Nightshade, and Clyde (the zombie) went while Ronin, Cupcake, and I all headed inside. As soon as Cupcake picked the lock on the door, we noticed some Twilight Network symbols just above the footboards. I recognized one of them from Nightshade’s list, but I described them just to be sure. She translated that one as the mark for an Avernian Gate but we don’t have a good idea about the other one. I knew enough to realize we needed to be on guard. The ear curls would make sure if we needed backup, the others would at least know about it.

      Ronin found a door that looked like it was leading into the cellar. I knew there were a few bats in the church proper but before I could really say anything, Ronin tried to open the door. This screaming ghostly man that
      looked a little too much like Von Gogh’s Scream flew through Ronin and Cupcake before heading for the roof. Since they were okay, I left them to the cellar so I could go after the ghost. That was fun since I had to climb out to the roof and head up. I got most of the way there when Cupcake screamed through the curl. Then it stopped short when she said, “Oh, they’re fuzzy.” That girl is gonna kill me yet.

      The ghost was sort of pacing on top of the church…firehouse, whatever. After dealing with his asshole attitude and the colony of bats Ronin and Cupcake stirred up, I finally realized that this ghost was slightly lost to the Underworld. So I cut my thumb and threw a few drops on him. After that, Ephraim Yarborough was a lot easier to deal with. He had been sleeping in the basement until the door was opened. He lives under the Library in the Underworld. We’re not sure if this is the same Library from the Gate in AMC but we hope to find out. Apparently Ephraim acts as a guide in the Underworld. This is a big deal since we really don’t know our way around and we can barter with ghosts much easier than other things in the Underworld. I started talking with the others about maybe making some anchors for him so he could move around, as payment for guiding us around this “new” Library. After all, the ghost of a man born in 1791 that remembers 1850 and knows
      how to navigate the Underworld is very useful. Before he left, I managed by chance to get a description of the woman that put the Twilight Network symbols in the church. Then Cupcake did her Oracle thing and said they
      matched. That sent Nightshade into a subdued panic. She had always thought that the previous Krewe in the area either died of old age or moved on to other locales. Well I think some of us thought they might have moved, but she had always thought they grew old and died. Given the description of the woman’s age, this (to Nightshade) theory became impossible. After getting as much information as we could about him, like that his living home is on the current Barnes & Noble lot and he can manifest, he kind of wondered back inside. I couldn’t really blame him given that Nightshade was only a few steps from frantic without much reason. She is now very concerned that something killed the old Krewe. Thankfully, Rose finished digging up the four random bodies Snowflake found with his Grave-Dirt Boneyard. These were obviously bodies that weren’t meant to be found. Ronin decided to learn more about what happened. I was just going to look over the remains to determine gender and any signs of trauma. Unfortunately Ronin had never used that power before. Her reaction to reliving being gunned down by machine gun fire was … well given that she was killed in a firefight (one of the only good details we have on her past), it was highly unsettling to her. I was apparently not kind enough to her when I almost flipped out to her physically reacting as though she were being riddled with bullets for Rose’s liking. I caught myself from telling her off since I’ve seen what that really
      looks like first hand more times than I want to remember. I was proud of myself for that. When Ronin told me what I could do with it, I was less angry about it. Her response I understood.

      After all that excitement, all the children’s bodies and these new victims of what we can only assume are mob hits were accounted for. Rose and Ronin each thought that they should receive a proper burial. So we moved and arranged the bodies as best we could and Nightshade preformed a Catholic funeral rite. I really don’t understand it, but Ronin had some kind of issue with the fact that either Nightshade could or did perform this rite. I could tell that Nightshade was a little irritated that Ronin wasn’t a little more appreciative but I didn’t say anything. Had to dig too damn many graves. It was almost funny when Rose barked at Nightshade to get a shovel and help dig. We headed back to the House just after dusk. We were all pretty tired and dirty from all the grave digging. I did hear Nightshade mumble something about “conducting a Catholic funeral in my stripy socks” when we got back. Even though I was exhausted, that was adorable. Now I’m going to get cleaned up and hope nothing else needs dealing with for a little while.

      Jasmine’s Diary

      Friday, May 21, 2010, Late Night

      We watched The Nightmare Before Christmas tonight. I’ve seen merchandise for it before, but had never seen it. I enjoyed it a lot. The romantic subplot between Jack and Sally was terribly endearing.

      Saturday, May 22, 2010, Morning

      I got up this morning, meditated, and then started getting ready to go train Jean, when I suddenly remembered that it was Saturday. I suppose things have been so hectic lately that I managed to lose track of my days. Well, no harm done.

      Alexia wasn’t up when I went down for breakfast, so I decided to make breakfast myself this time.. Honestly, I’m not the best cook, but I just steamed some rice and prepared some fruits and veggies and eggs. It was a good Taiwanese breakfast, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. It was certainly a change form our standard fare.

      At some point during breakfast, our conversation got quite off-topic and became even stranger than usual. I left when The Addam’s Family came up and Alexia misheard the phrase “stuffed bear that roars” as “stuffed whores.” Honestly, I don’t mind The Addam’s Family at all. I quite like it, really. But by that point the conversation was beyond me and it was clear that Alexia’s mind was elsewhere.

      We’re going to check the mass graves of the dead children from the orphanage in a bit, so I’d better change into my work clothes.

      Saturday, May 22, 2010, Evening

      We spent almost all day investigating the site of the children’s mass grave, digging up the children’s bones and reinterring them properly. Even if most of their spirits were consumed by the fear spirit, this might give whatever is left some peace, and should help Gina and Ted’s ghosts pass on more peacefully once we resolve their anchors, if nothing else.

      The mass grave was located on the edge of an old cemetery attached to a church building that has been overtaken by one of New Haven’s industrial zones. The area is a bit run down, and the church has been abandoned for some years. As far as we can tell, the church and cemetery fell out of use around the end of World War II, but the church was them converted into a fire station for a time. Not it’s just falling into decay. It’s always sad to see a building with such history rot away like that, but even sadder to see it torn down.

      Simon attuned himself to the earth by unlocking the Gravedirt Boneyard, and pinpointed the location of the mass grave. He also noticed four other bodies buried in unmarked graves on the opposite side of the church, and while Doc, Gwen and Alexia went inside to investigate the church interior, I got started digging up these four mysterious bodies with the help of Natalie’s zombie. Simon just sat on a tombstone in a daze; I think he must have been communing with the Boneyard more closely than usual, because he was very reluctant to relinquish it.

      It turned out the four bodies were the victims of gunshot wounds, most likely mob hits that had been dumped at the church. There weren’t any ghosts attached to them, so really there was nothing for us to do except rebury them properly. Poor Gwen used a ritual to learn the last moments of their deaths, and was quite shocked to discover that she would actually relive those moments in her mind. It took her several minute to recover from the shock of being shot again.

      While I was working on that, Doc, Gwen and Alexia found signs of an Avernian Gate in the basement. They also found bats, which caused quite a stir. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Gwen scream like that! I suppose everyone has their weaknesses. I don’t mind spiders or snakes or anything so much, but I despise centipedes. We had quite a lot of them in Taiwan, and they always give me the willies.

      The bats weren’t all they found. A ghost also fled from the basement as they entered. He didn’t know they could see him, and his somewhat ghastly appearance gave Gwen and Alexia quite a fright. He escaped to the roof before they could stop him, so Doc climbed up there to have a chat. I was a little anxious about Doc doing that. He’s not the most spry member of the krewe, given his lingering war wounds, so I offered to climb up instead, but Doc assured us that he could handle it. I fear that may have been his machismo talking, but he handled himself well enough. I should have had confidence in him.

      The ghost’s name is Ephraim Yarborough, and he’s not actually bound to the church or the graveyard. We gathered that he’s a ghost from the Underworld who uses the Avernian Gate to leave the shadows from time to time, and tends to lurk in the church when he does.

      Ephraim knows quite a bit about the Underworld Library that apparently underlies much of New Haven. The library we discovered through Rose Hall’s gate is the same that connects to Ephraim’s church, and Ephraim sometimes serves as a guide through the library and into the deeper Underworld beyond. This could be very useful to us, so we decided to make a deal with Ephraim. I recently learned a ritual to bind a ghost to a new anchor, and we’ve offered to bind Ephraim to an anchor in the church so that he can serve as a sort of watchman there for us and can remain in the world longer. In exchange, he can help us out in the Underworld Library. Ephraim was agreeable to this. Now we just need a bit more information about who he was in life so that I can arrange for an appropriate anchor for him. Ephraim doesn’t really remember much along those lines, as he’s been an unbound creature of the Underworld for many years.

      We also discovered marks made by the mysterious krewe that disappeared some years ago, our predecessors who left signs of their presence in New Haven before disappearing. One of the marks indicated the presence of an Avernian Gate, and we’re not sure what the other means.

      Alexia used her oracular object-reading abilities to get a sense of who had left the marks, and sketched what she saw: a tall, thin old man and a shorter, somewhat plump blonde woman in her thirties. We now have faces to go with what little we know about our predecessors. Natalie became quite anxious about them, though. Although we have often wondered what became of our predecessors, I think we had always assumed that they had disappeared long ago or had simply died of old age, but it seems that at least one of them disappeared in the prime of her life only a few decades ago.

      Natalie is frightened that whatever caused our predecessors to disappear might happen to us as well, but I think her fears are a bit premature. We don’t know enough to jump to any conclusions, and even if something horrible did happen to the previous krewe, we have no way of knowing what it was. We might learn more as we continue our work here, but I honestly think we have enough to worry about without getting worked up about phantom dangers.

      I marked the church with our own krewe mark as well, along with a new one for “Avernian Gate” I’ll need to go and add that one to Rose Hall too. I’ve also created a new symbol to let us differentiate between uninhabited haunts and those that have ghosts dwelling there; I’ll wait and add that one to the church once we’ve given Ephraim and anchor.

      Eventually, we got around to digging up the 20 or so orphan skeletons in the mass grave. It helped that Simon could tell exactly where they were. We then laid them to rest properly. Odd as it may sound, Natalie is sort of our religious leader even though most of our individual beliefs have little to do with hers, so she performed a short ceremony for the dead children. I’m glad she made herself useful somehow, because I had to nag her to get her to stop texting and help us dig, and when I did, she pointed at her zombie and said she was already doing her part. That did not go over well with me at all, and when Natalie finally gave in and helped us dig, she whinged about it the whole time. By the time the work was done, I was quite unhappy with her.

      But I’m not going to let it color my attitude. We’re home and all cleaned up now, and we’ve all had plenty of pizza for dinner. Unfortunately, I need to go out again, to Murder Ballads, of all places, just long enough to siphon off the haunt’s plasm so that more can collect there tomorrow night. I wouldn’t normally go to Murder Ballads, but sneaking around invisibly as much as I have this past week has taken quite a bit out of me.
      I just hope Natalie and the others won’t try to get me to stay any longer than I’d like. It would be nice to let loose for a change, but I’ve been over all of that in this diary before, and I don’t care to repeat myself.


      American Culture & Idioms

      - During the breakfast I made for everyone, Natalie (I think) brought up “grits.” I had no idea what grits were, but apparently they are a type of breakfast food made from cornmeal, and no one really eats them outside of the American South. It sounds odd, but Natalie and Doc both like them, so perhaps I will try them someday.

      Ephraim Yarborough

      Date of Death: Sometime in the 1850’s

      Cause of Death: Unknown

      Haunt: None (he frequently haunts the church where the orphans were buried)

      Known Anchors: None. Yarborough is not bound to the world and resides primarily in the Underworld.

      Known Numina: Unknown

      -Ephraim Yarborough is an unfettered ghost who serves as a guide through the Underworld Library that underlies New Haven. He seems a likeable fellow and we’re attempting to make a deal in which we bind him to a new anchor at the church so that he can remain in the world longer in exchange for his help watching over the church and guiding us through the library.

      Ephraim’s old home has long since been destroyed, and the site is now covered by New Haven’s Barnes & Noble bookstore. We’re not sure what he did in life, so Gwen is going to do some research to find out so that I can arrange a proper anchor for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he worked with books in life, given his attachment to the Underworld Library and the coincidence of the Barnes & Noble being built over the site of his home.

      Natalie’s Tweets

      Friday May 21st

      -Nightmare before Christmas time! It’s one of your Mistresses’ favorite romances.

      -Good viewing. Jasmine liked it. I am just going to slip out for awhile…

      Saturday, May 22nd

      -See this is the good life. Karen knows how to baby me.

      -After I see Trinh she gets all distant. Karen practically proposes.

      -So why do I miss Trinh?

      -How have they not heard of grits?

      -Time to break out the zombie!

      -Raiding a mass grave for fun and profit.

      -oooh, pretty old decaying church.

      -Your Mistress loves decaying old buildings.

      -I need to do more urban exploring.


      -That was a freaky ghost.

      -Alexis and Gwen go in the basement. Next thing I know I hear screaming and see bats.

      -I really really like old buildings. They rock.

      -Doc made friends with the ghost. I think.

      -Digging up dead children.

      -Being the priestess of our Krewe, it falls to me to give these bodies a proper burial.

      -Gwen seems somewhat horrified that I am doing a Catholic Liturgy.

      -Would she prefer I invoked Inanna?

      -Reburying, since they have been cleansed by the wonder working pow’r of Natalie.

      -Why do they want me to dig that’s what the zombie is for.


      -So mean!

      -My arms hurt.

      -Going back now. Why did Doc not stop Jasmine from making me dig? I didn’t like it!

      -My arms still hurt.


      End Session XXII

      Fun and excitement messing around an old church, huzzah. The "breakfast" scene took quite a bit of time, what with discussion of Grits and the whole stuffed whores thing. But it was fun and lots of good roleplaying happened.

      Tune in to the next set of journals where Gwen gets asked out on a date (not by Natalie this time) some folks realize Chandra is smarter then she sometimes lets on, and Doc and Natalie's "relationship" has something of a milestone.

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      • #33
        ew Journal. In before the new game this time.

        There is a spoiler for one of the critters in the back of Antagonists here.

        Session XXIII

        Doc's Log

        Doc’s Log: 2135 Hours, Saturday, May 22, 2010

        Surprisingly we had pizza after everyone got cleaned up and Rose asked about going to Murder Ballads. I’d be worried that it was a Pod Rose, but she was very clear that she had no intentions of actually staying very long, just to get the Plasm and then get out. Of course, this gave Nightshade an excuse so Ronin, Snowflake, Rose, Nightshade and I all got ready for clubbing. Actually so did Cupcake and Chandra but they headed out to Gotham Citi for an actual night out. Given that I was pretty sure Barrett would be there too, I figured that everything would be okay. I mean a place with a werewolf, a Penanggalan, and a Sin-Eater inside all at the same time should be pretty goddamn secure. Let’s see how this goes.

        Doc’s Log: 2255 Hours, Saturday, May 22, 2010

        As soon as we hit Murder Ballads, Snowflake got a weird look on his face, almost like he was using a Boneyard but not quite. Karen appeared seemingly from nowhere and attached herself to Nightshade. Ronin and Rose headed for the bar. I heard Karen ask Nightshade if they were dating now? I choked back the laughter at that one and just tried to relax and enjoy the club for what it was.

        After a little bit, I noticed Snowflake either trying to signal me or having a grand mal seizure. Either way I figured it’d be a good idea to go check on him. When I got to his table he informed me of a problem; always a problem. The Black Shuck thing was now bigger, developed some sort of territorial power that sets off Boneyard, and was paying very close attention to Noriko while she stuffed what was left of a man into the ceiling tiles of the women’s bathroom. Oh and there was also a girl standing in a trance with Noriko. This could only end well.

        I immediately went to the bar to asked Rose and Ronin to go take a look. I knew Nightshade had no way to deal with anything like Noriko and while I didn’t like sending anyone in there other than myself, there really wasn’t anyway to get in there without causing a major issue. Snowflake could keep check on things with his Boneyard and if things got bad, to hell with society, I was going in.

        The girls went in and nothing happened for several minutes. Snowflake twitched a little for a second, but waved me off when I tried to check on him. Just told me to be ready for anything as the Shuck was suddenly very interested in Rose. Eventually Rose came out leading Ronin and another girl I’ve never seen before. They were almost back to our table when Ronin blinked and pulled away. She almost headed back in but Rose grabbed her and convinced her to come back to the table. The other girl just wondered off looking confused. When they make it back to the table, Ronin is pretty confused and pissed off looking. Rose explained (with Snowflake collaborating) that Noriko had killed a rapist and was disposing of the body when the unidentified woman came in. Just like when they entered, she shifted to a more feral feline form and used a power that shuts down the mind if it works. Thus Ronin and the girl were basically made catatonic while Rose was unaffected. That might have been why Snowflake twitched but we didn’t get into all that. Things got pretty tense for a moment as Rose wasn’t sure if Noriko would attack or not. The short version is that they talked it out and everything was cool. Noriko planned to have a spirit clean up the body so it wouldn’t be found and that appeased Ronin who had some bizarre concern about wasted man hours spent by the police. The woman learns that a werecat slaughters a man then hides the pieces in the ceiling and her first concern is for labor management?

        Noriko came out of the bathroom after that and seemed completely unfazed by the whole situation. That bothered Rose more than seeing her hiding the body. My Krewe has issues. I bought Noriko a drink with an unspoken thank you. I made some excuse about getting the taste out of her mouth as Snowflake said she cleaned up the mess herself. While that was a thought, I was also thanking her for resisting what I can only imagine was the natural instinct to kill when presented with a competing predator. With a Krewe our size, a singular shapeshifter would likely always be a challenge to deal with but not a huge threat. One on one with one of Nature’s perfect primal killing machines on the other hand is not something I ever want to think about.
        Anyway, Nightshade got on stage about our Date with a Ghost contest so that we could keep interest and awareness up before we headed into the basement to try and deal with the bigger dog. It seemed to realize Snowflake saw it before and went into hiding. Rose needed to take the Plasm from the Haunt so she dealt with that, while I tried to get the Black Shuck to communicate or even just show itself. It wanted to do neither and left us standing alone in the basement. Nightshade was feeling a little vulnerable since this was territory and now the monster in the basement seems to be trying to stake his claim. That was cute, but she wasn’t amused. I put my arm around here on the way back up and tried to be comforting. Eventually we collected Rose and got the hell out.

        Doc’s Log: 0045 Hours, Sunday, May 23, 2010

        After we got home and I got that last entry finished, Nightshade came and dragged me off to one of the unused rooms of the House. There was a old family piano, stand up type against the wall. She asked if she’d ever told me she could play. I raked my brain.

        I could come up with almost every moment I’ve spent with Nightshade all the way back to the opening night at Murder Ballads when I met her in the wheelchair. This was new. Without any other information or reason, she sat down and started playing the song that plays when you open a little girls’ music box. It was beautiful. She was beautiful. Don’t ask how that’s relevant, it just is.

        When she finished, she came over to me and told me that was her favorite song when she was a little girl. Said that she released a few albums under the name Evelyn Ampersand. Then she just walked out, leaving me to try and figure all that out.

        The moment she left the room, I panicked. You don’t suddenly tell people things about your real past like that unless you’re dying or plan to be killed. I knew she wasn’t dying, as her doctor I can attest to her health. As a man that holds a torch the size of a bonfire for her, I can attest no one is going to kill her. Ever. Those thoughts settled me a little bit. I mean yes, it sounds like I’m on the brink of either being a stalker or unhealthy obsession, but still. I walked to her room. She left the door open and was pretending to be busy at her computer. I started to ask her about what had happened, but before I could get the first question out, she cut me off without looking at me and said she didn’t want to talk about that right then. If you’re reading this and you aren’t me, first of all look behind you. Now if you’re still reading this and you aren’t me then you’re safe for a minute. Anyway, that hurt like rejection…but at the same time I suddenly realized what was happening. I nodded and went back to my room.

        Nightshade does not open up unless or until she’s ready and only then with what she is comfortable with. With her real life, that is almost never. She’s been honestly shaken up today and I tried to comfort her. This actually meant something today. As thanks she gave me something she knows I want. The true girl under the gloom cookie. I went back out to find Snowflake. I needed to find a new phone book. When I asked, Tavia asked if I was going to tear it in half. Tavia has become my defacto little sister. That is actually kinda nice. Anyway, after I promised I didn’t want to tear it in half, Snowflake told me where the most recent one was. I immediately went through it looking for quality dance studios in the area. I got several numbers and left messages. I need to setup an appointment for one that will agree to take me at night and teach me to waltz. Both the normal Ballroom and Nightshade’s Gothic style if at all possible…though I think the latter is just a matter of costume and attitude. I need to do this before the big contest party. It will only be fitting. Now I gotta get ready for patrol.

        Doc’s Log: 0305 Hours, Sunday, May 23, 2010

        Wow…it’s just one of those days.

        I headed out a little later than normal for patrol, but it was an easy night, which was nice. After digging graves all day, I kinda needed not to have to beat anyone down or keep myself from it.

        As I was starting to really notice how tired I was, I noticed Crowley on a bench up ahead of me. Always welcome to find him, and not just for the information. He is good company after all.

        Crowley told me the thing in Murder Ballads was not a Black Shuck like we suspected, but instead something poetically called a Beast of Bethlehem. When I didn’t panic or seem tense, he noted I must not know what that was. He was right. Apparently these things are very not good. They are drawn to people doing terrible things. Evil acts, acts of violence (defensive or otherwise), pain and suffering, etc all seem to strengthen. It can be killed, but as that in itself is a violent attack, it will grant more power to the beast when it reforms. It dawned on me here that someone must have killed it recently. Crowley admitted that the reverse was true as well. Pure and good acts would weaken the monster. Sex, at least in the sense of making love, would weaken it as well. Unfortunately most of the acts in Murder Ballads are either S&M, B&D, or other darkly tinted actions. All these feed it, and I realized then that all the use of actual occult symbols in the club were probably a bad idea now. Crowley just nodded when I presented my hypothesis that those same symbols used for validity were likely helping to channel all the negative energy. I would have been proud of myself for coming up with that if it weren’t so damning for Nightshade’s favorite hangout.

        According to Crowley there was once a Beast of Bethlehem in the church we visited earlier. Actually he told me that it was in the original church. The building we entered was the second church. The first one was burned after the paster was killed for all the horrible things he was doing. He was responsible for the Beast being attracted to the site in the first place. The Beast is not a spirit, but very real. It doesn’t like to attack with witnesses, which means all the CCTV in Murder Ballads is actually a small blessing. After giving me all this rather discouraging information, Crowley took his leave with a smile and tip of the hat, his usual polite exit.

        That was my cue. I’d have enough for one 24 hour period. I came the fuck home. Now I’m going to bed.

        Doc’s Log: 0915 Hours, Sunday, May 23, 2010

        I woke up about normal time this morning and my meditation came much easier than it has been. After finding my calm inner realm, I went online and bought every Evelyn Ampersand mp3 I could find. I listened to them while I worked through my katas. While I was in the shower I realized that I needed to dance the waltz with Nightshade to her own music. That she won’t see coming and it might just be impressive. If I can pull it off, I’ll be impressed. Now I’m going to head over to Dark Haven Bluffs to see what kinda trouble we’re getting into today.

        Doc’s Log: 1500 Hours, Sunday, May 23, 2010

        It took a while for Snowflake and Nightshade to return to the land of the living as per, but once everyone was together (and I watched Chandra nearly flip out because Crowley knows things he shouldn’t know for reasons I can only assume relate to her feeding) I gave my Beast of Bethlehem briefing to the Krewe. We determined that we either need an army of Cupcake-clones or something equivalent to the Care Bear Stare to fight this thing. It also came up that we needed to learn who actually owns and runs Murder Ballads. Nightshade has always believed it to be vampires. That might make sense and unfortunately their activities would also strengthen the Beast. We decided to also call the Yao Guai Pack in case they knew about anything. This was yet another excuse for Rose to gush about me talking to Deirdre and Ronin to grin like a shark. That’s helpful guys, thanks.

        Deirdre answered and I explained a little bit over the phone. Figured it’d be better to meet with the whole pack, but she said given the issue, it’d be better for Eris not to be there. Deirdre says that Eris was the one that killed the Beast most recently, explaining the notable increase in power. They are going to call me later to setup a meeting time. This is not good.

        Jasmine’s Dairy

        May 22, 2010, Late Night

        Most of us went to Murder Ballads tonight. Doc, Gwen, Natalie and Simon went to have fun. I went to siphon off the plasm from the haunt, and drove separately so that I wouldn’t have to stay. That place makes me uncomfortable.

        Gwen convinced me to join her at the bar for a drink, though. She’s such a caring friend. I told her that I don’t drink alcohol (which she should know by now anyway), so she suggested something called a Shirley Temple. I was a bit suspicious, but she assured me that it was just Sprite and cherry syrup, or something like that. Honestly, it was altogether too sweet for my tastes, but I sincerely appreciate Gwen’s efforts to draw me out. I did enjoy sitting at the bar with her, but she insisted on pointing out random men at the club and asking what I thought about them. I suppose she was trying to get a sense of my “type.”

        It was probably because we had discussed dating on the way to the club. I confessed that I wanted to start dating again, but that I still felt guilty about it. A part of me just can’t shake the feeling that I’d be betraying Richard. But Gwen reminded me that it has been over a year since Richard died, and he wouldn’t want me to remain sad and lonely. He would want me to be happy. She’s right.

        The Bride wants me to get involved in a relationship again. It’s the only thing still coming between the two of us. I admitted as much to Gwen, so she quizzed me on who I was interested. I told her about Jean and Karl. I’m not sure I’m willing to become involved with a Fishborne, so I’m not really sure bout Karl, but I think that if either Jean or Karl asked me out date, I would accept.

        I’m actually surprised Jean hasn’t asked me out yet, and confessed as much to Gwen. She thinks he’s trying to stay professional, or maybe that I haven’t really given him the impression that I’m open to a date. She’s probably right. So she suggested that I ask him out. Not really on a date, but for coffee or something, maybe with the excuse to talk about his swimming career or something. I hadn’t even thought of asking him out.

        I guess I’ll do that next week some time. I hope Richard won’t mind…I know it will make the Bride happy,

        Anyway, I was able to soak up the plasm at Murder Ballads, but had to deal with a bit of excitement first. Simon, as usual, sank into a Boneyard meditation, and quickly reported to Doc (who conveyed the information to Gwen and me) that Noriko, the local werecat, was in the ladies’ room cheerfully stuffing a dead body into the ceiling. Another woman was in the bathroom too in some sort of trance.

        Gwen and I agreed to check it out. I was anxious that we would end up fighting Noriko, but she’s been friendly in the past. And I knew from talking to Doc and Mr. Malard that she has to hunt murderers and rapists in order to remain sane. Honestly, I might have had a problem with that sort of vigilante violence before I joined the Bride, but now I understand the necessity, and it doesn’t bother me as much. As long as Noriko truly is only preying on the morally depraved of human society.

        Gwen and I confronted Noriko in the bathroom, and she transformed into a fearsome cat beast shape. I had already shifted into my Tear- Stained Caul and had drawn the Primeval Shroud around me, so I was ready for a fight if it came to that, but when Noriko transformed, I could feel a sort of fugue begin to come over me. I shrugged it off, but Gwen went catatonic, like the other innocent bystander in the bathroom. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism werecats have to keep innocents from remembering when they have seen something horrible.

        Noriko and I had a brief but tense discussion. It was disturbing how cheerful she was about disposing of a mutilated body, but she assured me that he was a rapist, and maybe a murderer, who deserved what he’d gotten. I asked her if the body would be left for the police to find, or if anyone else was going to get the blame for the murder, but she promised that she would take care of it. She’s done this before, and knows how to cover her tracks very cleanly.

        When I was satisfied, I withdrew, pulling Gwen along with me. She was quite ropeable when I explained what had happened, but was placated by the assurance that the murder would not lead to a police investigation (she said something about wasting man hours on an unsolvable crime).

        I should also note that, according to Simon, the black dog thing that lurks around Murder Ballads was still there, and it had grown larger and more menacing. It took a particular interest in me, most likely because it could sense the primeval aura of my shroud. When it realized Simon could see it, it disappeared and hid from us.

        In other news, Natalie announced Bonnie-Lynn’s party at Murder Ballads. Hopefully we’ll have a good attendance with some worthy young men to court dear Bonnie.

        May 23, 2010, Late Morning

        Doc learned troubling news from Crowley, the old man who seems to know everything, last night. The beast in Murder Ballads is something called a Beast of Bethlehem. Apparently, something about Murder Ballads is making it stronger. It might be the darkness and violence inherent in that place (one reason I don’t like it), but it might also be the real occult symbology plastered throughout the decor. We need to find out who is running the club and whether there is anything going on there that we don’t know about, and that might be feeding the beast. Doc is going to see if the vampires have anything to do with the club.


        American Culture and Idioms

        "Care Bears"
        -Over breakfast after the night at Murder Ballads, Care Bears came up. I think Alexia suggested that they would be a good way to defeat the Beast of Bethlehem is they existed, since they could encourage good emotions on others. Of course I had no idea what the Care Bears were, so I asked.

        The Care Bears are a line of teddy bears (and a cartoon). Each one represents a different happy emotion and in the cartoon, they can somehow telepathically force others to feel those emotions with something called the “Care Bear Stare.” Honestly, it all sounds very odd to me, but I can’t really complain. After all, we got a lot of Japanese cartoons in Taiwan, and some of those were very strange too.

        Personally, I find the idea of magically forcing someone else to feel an emotion a bit unethical, but then again, there seems to be quite a bit of that in the supernatural world.

        Beasts of Bethlehem
        The thing in Murder Ballads is called a Beast of Bethlehem. It is bound to the club, most likely because of the Rory James murders, and feeds off violence and similar negative emotions. There is quite a bit of that at Murder Ballads. Even the more pleasant things that might be occurring at that club are tinged with darkness so the Beast there is growing more powerful.

        It can encourage humans to do horrible, violent things to one another to feed itself. We can’t even kill it, because that, being an act of violence, will only make it stronger. The only way to deal with it is to starve it by cutting off its supply of violent, dark emotions. If we could somehow fill the club with people like Alexia, dealing with it would be easy, but unfortunately that’s not possible. And really, I do adore Alexia, but I’m not sure I could deal with more than one of her.

        According to Crowley, there was another Beast in the church we explored yesterday at one time. The evil, depraved deeds of a minister there summoned and maintained it, but he was killed and the original church burned down before being rebuilt. I think the Beast then eventually starved to death or left for “greener pastures” as Gwen would say. I suppose it’s possible the Beast at Murder Ballads is the same one, but I don’t really know enough.

        I’m not sure, but I think the Beast’s name might be a reference to “Second Coming” by Yeats:
        Turning and turning in the widening gyre
        The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
        The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
        The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
        The best lack all conviction, while the worst
        Are full of passionate intensity.

        Surely some revelation is at hand;
        Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
        The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
        When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
        Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
        A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
        A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
        Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
        Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
        The darkness drops again but now I know
        That twenty centuries of stony sleep
        Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
        And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
        Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

        Natalie’s Tweets

        Saturday May 22nd

        -Home. Waaaah I need a shower. xO

        -Gwen has an odd look on her face.

        -Enroute to Murder Ballads.

        -My bus without power story is always a crowd pleaser.

        -Barely inside and a girl is on my arm. Hi Karen.


        -Karen treats me right.

        -Doc just sent Gwen and Jasmine charging headlong into the ladies room. Probably nothing.

        -Ok that weird Japanese catgirl killed someone.

        -Apparently she did it to avoid becoming more crazy, which makes it OK to Jasmine and Gwen. Okay.

        -Whatever I have a gloom cookie attending to my footsies!

        -Hunt the monster!

        -Monster is hiding.

        -Sorry sweetie, not got the energy for lovin’ tonight. Damn people making me work.

        -I am about to do something stupid.

        -What a strange dream I had just now. A dream is all it was.

        -I’m having trouble focusing.

        -I’m having trouble sleeping. I want someone here in bed with me. Not for sex.

        -Well, mostly not for sex.

        -I can’t sleep. I’m lonely.

        -fuck this. I need to medicate.

        Sunday May 23rd

        -Goddess I’m a wreck this morning. I tried to put things on backwards that I did not know I could put on backwards.

        -I am not going to try to sleep alone tonight. And I don’t remotely have the energy to deal with Trinh. I need to recharge my batteries.

        -What the fuck? I come to downstairs and people are talking about care bears and hellhounds.

        -Apparently, the horror we were hunting is not just bad news, but super duper bad news. Great! Four Stars! Would be made to feel hopeless again!

        -Looks like Chandra said or did something weird.

        -We may be dealing with the Yao Guai pack tonight. Great.

        -I need to lie down before this happens…

        End Session XXIII

        One major thing no one touched on was Gwen got asked out on a date by Anders Winthrop. Of course, only she and Jasmine knew. Natalie referenced it obliquely but she really does not know what is going on...Gwen wisely elected not to tell her, which is good given her very fragile mental state at the moment. To contrast that meaningful discussion of what Gwen is ready for on a date and her concern about Jasmine's lack of dating, Natalie was telling a superficial story of drunk people on a bus in the other car.

        Speaking of Natalie's fragile mental state (brought on by the very real fear of whatever happened to the other Krewe happening to her, discovery of the Beast's increasing power followed by facts of it's origin, and her feelings being rejected by Gwen and Trinh and Trinh's using her for sex in her mind, which is not really true or fair but that's Natalie for you) Natalie is latching harder onto Doc and Karen, both of whom when she is more together she is usually inclined to try to remain aloof from. The tune she played for Doc was Music Box Dancer by Frank Mills. Given an Ampersand is a "&" her name making the mp3s is Evelyn & (no one), a projection of her own loneliness. Natalie is still undergoing significant turmoil mentally which will manifest next game as well most likely. Drama Drama Drama

        The critter from Antagonists is the Beast of Bethlehem, obviously.

        Lemme know if you have comments or questions. Hope you enjoyed!

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        • #34
          And now, back to As the Underworld Turns. Commentary after, as per.

          Session XXIV

          Doc's Log

          Doc's Log: 1620 Hours, Sunday, May 23, 2010

          WHAT. THE. FUCK?

          Nightshade came and asked me to come back to the piano room with her. She told me that she was considering "not being a capricious bitch" anymore (which I would not tolerate so she corrected to capricious young woman), and talking with me and Karen about settling down with us. She also added that I had while we were still in the room to ask anything I wanted to know and she would try to answer. I did NOT see that coming and even though I've spent what seems like days thinking over questions, for a few minutes my mind went completely blank. I think that was probably from shock. I noticed that Nightshade was in a very enticing stance against the piano, but her eyes said that things weren't quite like normal. That helped me focus a little more as it gave me something to concentrate on that wasn't the chaos explosion in my head.

          The short version is that yesterday's excitement reminded her of her mortality in a way that she was not comfortable with. Karen and I are two major anchors to her concept of what it means to be alive in the positive, non-cynical sense. I can’t really be upset with that.

          Nightshade told me there were three things she needed me to know. She’s not sure she can have sex with me. I know she’s had some mental scarring with penetration. I know why but she would never tell me who and thus I’ve never stalked and killed anyone in cold blood. Back on topic, I told her I was okay with that as we were just starting to talk about there being an us, so sex was certainly not something I was going to push her for. Next, she wanted me to know that she was not the perfect version of herself. I knew what that meant, but I was happy to let her clarify. Basically, her feelings for me would not make her suddenly vanish in a puff of silky, black smoke and a totally clean and mentally healthy woman that looked like her appear to take her place. I told her that my feelings for her were for her, with all her talents and faults. There are things that I don’t approve off and us being together isn’t going to make me approve of them any more than when we weren’t together. She said that was fair. And last, she said that she was afraid she would ruin me. I know she was trying to be serious, but I had to ask what she meant by that. Apparently sex with her has left permanent damage on some people as they can’t actually enjoy being with anyone else after being with Nightshade. I really didn’t have any way to respond to that. I asked a few token questions but anything directly related to her feelings she couldn’t answer. Don’t get me wrong, I ‘m ecstatic, but I’m not good with completely unexpected situations. Eventually, I kissed her on the forehead and went back to my room…my mind was blown and I didn’t want to stand around and sound like Forrest, Forrest Gump. I laid in bed and stared at the ceiling like when I was back in the VA. It’s amazing how helpful a plain ceiling can be for working through things in your head.

          Doc’s Log: 1640 Hours, Sunday, May 23, 2010

          Deirdre called a few minutes ago. I was still pretty out of it but tried to get a spot together for us. We couldn’t just meet at their house, as we needed Eris not to know what was going on. I tried to talk to Ronin about spots but she was getting ready for something and really just blew me off, especially when I said we were going to meet around 1730. I wasn’t expecting that either so I suggested the coffee shop on that end of town that Rose goes to, Lulu’s. I told Deirdre that I’d let her know if the world would end if we met there or anything and we got off the phone. Now I need to talk to Rose to make sure that nothing terrible will happen if we meet at this shop.

          Doc’s Log: 2215 Hours, Sunday, May 23, 2010

          Tonight has been one of those wild rides that really takes you nowhere but when you stop, you realize how much you’ve done and it makes it all seem…hell I have no idea what I’m saying.

          I found Rose in the Nursery with the kids after I left Ronin’s door. The kids were happily playing with the toys in the floor so I walked in and sat with them while I talked with her. Rose moved around the outskirts of the room putting away every toy she could find that the kids weren’t actively touching.

          She looked so utterly clueless. I felt kinda sad for her. She told me that Lulu’s would work fine, though I get the idea she has some low opinions of the werewolves social abilities. She also told me that Ronin had a date tonight, with Anders. Didn’t see that coming! That does explain her response earlier though.

          Next I went to tell the others about our meeting. Nightshade’s room was next so I knocked at the doorway. Before I really knew what was going on, she had grabbed me, pulled me in, closed the door, and we were kissing…like passionate, animalistic-need, kissing. Some part of my brain noted that these were the best breath exercises ever. Most of the other parts of my brain beat that part with sticks and told it to shut up and not mess up the moment.

          Eventually we got untangled from each other (maybe to come up for air, I don’t honestly remember now) and I remembered we were supposed to be meeting the Yao Guai pack. Nightshade adjusted her clothing and held out a brush with the instruction for me to brush her hair. I was terrified. I mean sure I was just running my fingers through it while we were entwined, but I don’t know how to brush long hair. I told her as much but did what she asked. I think she might have enjoyed the fact that I might as well have been handling ancient artifacts or priceless works of art. She seemed happy with me work when it was through so I guess I did a good job. Then I realized it was already time for us to be leaving and I still needed to get everyone together. A cold shower or a bucket of ice water wouldn’t have been out of the question either if time weren’t already against us. I rushed off to get the others. Rose met me in the hall and asked if I had lipstick on my face? I wiped it off and said nope without stopping.

          Eventually we all got there, and only a few minutes late…so embarrassing, but thankfully Rose hasn’t said anything. She and Snowflake took drink orders, then we got down to business. The point of our meeting was to inform the Yao Guai about the Beast of Bethlehem and to keep Eris in the dark about the whole thing. We also spitballed a few ideas back and forth about things we could do to weaken or remove the Beast. Moving Ecstasy spirits in was one option, as was opening a door into the Underworld or the werewolves’ mystic realm of the spirits then throwing it in. Ultimately we didn’t get anything officially decided but we got the information out and learned a little more about each group. Apparently the Italian girl in the hoodie that we saw at Malard’s can open a portal into this Shadow realm. Tonya is now what they referred to as an Elodath, which has some duty that they called “Good Cop” to Eris’ “Bad Cop” role with the spirits. We discussed how we have the capacity to open doors into the Underworld, but currently we couldn’t do it.

          That wound down and we parted ways without a problem for the shop (Rose’s main concern) and some idea of what we could do if the Yao Guai needed our help. I also figured out that they were happy to let it be since this technically fell into Malard’s jurisdiction. That didn’t make me so happy, but just like the other Krewes, territory isn’t just about who has the most marbles but about how much you can handle and keep together. With us, that area is getting spread pretty thin (and wide) so having outside groups on our side, even if they aren’t actively helping still works in our favor. Before they all left, I caught up to Deirdre to ask if anything had been decided on me learning their language. I think she might have forgotten to ask, but she did say I needed to talk to Ildefonso. I think she was hoping I’d actually slap him on the ass like she asked. I did point out how unfair that fight would be, even over her protests that she could kick his ass. Even with everything else going on, I really am glad I know that girl.

          Ildefonso was visibly relieved when I told him Deirdre wanted me to remind him about “the box.” I honestly thought she was setting me up for a dirty joke, but he pulled a black box with multiple drawers all over out of the van. It looked to be made of onyx and had skeletal faces for locks on each drawer. He also had a set of intricately engraved keys that I knew immediately were all made of bone. Twenty keys, twenty drawers. The whole box had some aura around it that sucked the heat away. Dierdre and Barrett had an argument about the scientific wording, whether it radiated cold or absorbed heat. That’s right, the werewolves in my city were debating properties of thermodynamics in reference to a mystic artifact. Ildefonso said he had found this while looking for the pistols. No luck there still. But he said it was also Adolfe’s and really he was glad to be rid of it. When they found it, Eris determined that there were more than five but less than ten entities already inside, but they weren’t sure which cabinets. The keys were actually engraved in Arabic with the names of some pretty terrible sounding demons and a command for them to come before the holder of the key. This thing isn’t creepy or anything, but at least it has potential to help with some of the more nasty things we might not be able to deal with properly. After all that excitement, we came back to the House.

          When we got back, Rose, Snowflake, and I all hit the Library to research how we could make an Avernian Gate. We all had the same idea and when we talked about it, we decided that Rose and I helping Snowflake put it all together would likely work out best. Still two hours later, we had everything we needed. We came back upstairs to find Ronin sitting on the counter with Nightshade while Cupcake made cookies and Chandra was just there watching. Chandra gets uncomfortable when we suggest she go feed. I mean we know how long she stays with Cupcake, but I also don’t really ever want to have to interrupt her from feeding on Cupcake again. Vampires are not universally evil and I have no delusions of that. But feeding on my Krewe makes my Medic muscles tighten and the Dog start growling. Anyway, we filled everyone in on what we were working on this time. With that talk turned to our plans for now and tomorrow. I get the impression that Rose is tired of not “finishing” something. We looked at a few more in depth ideas for what to do with and to the Fear Spirit. Then the Jackson Havard situation came up. I thought about it some more and deduced that we should reinterview Chuck tomorrow. It stands to reason that he knows something that he’s not aware of…something that doesn’t even register with him. We need something to work on if we are going to negotiate with Mr. Harvard. And I already know pretty much everything there is about the Stockton Posse. That was some hard plans so Rose was satisfied. Ronin was a little riled up again but she kept it together this time. I headed upstairs so I could write this. Now I’m gonna back down and ask Nightshade out on a minidate.

          Doc’s Log: 0700 Hours, Monday, May 24, 2010

          That went well.

          It was just a little after 2200 Hours and I had time to kill before going on patrol. I asked Nightshade if she’d like to go for a walk in the graveyard. I knew she thought that was romantic so I figured what the hell. She agreed so off we went. Holding hands, walking through the family cemetery at night, it really is peaceful and the aspect of the Beauty of Death (something I am rarely able to observe outside of looking at Nightshade) finally wasn’t lost on me. After a bit she stopped and faced me. She told me fairly pointedly that she was either going to talk to Karen tonight or tomorrow. I took the hint that I was the deciding factor in that time frame. After I kissed her, she told me I wasn’t going out on patrol and dragged me back into her room.

          Waking up next to her was like nothing I can describe. But the way she’s sleeping is almost like she’s curling into a ball to shield herself from something. I should really not think about that right now. I gotta get ready for work Maybe she’ll let me ask her about it later. Maybe not. She’s going to be with Karen tonight after all. Yeap. Shower, meditation, and work.

          Jasmine’s Diary

          Sunday, May 23, 2010, Afternoon

          Today has largely revolved around trying to figure out what we’re going to do about our various problems. I must admit that I’m a bit annoyed that we cannot focus on any one problem. First, we’re trying to help, Gwen, then the Beast of Bethlehem comes up, and there are still several ghosts for us to deal with. I can’t help but wonder if we are getting in over our heads. I feel responsible for New Haven, supernaturally speaking, that is. But I also feel overwhelmed. We Sin-Eaters are supposed to deal with ghosts and the Underworld, but we seem to have become jacks-of-all-trades.There’s too much going on for our krewe to handle everything, which is why I think it’s good we’ve befriended the local werewolves.

          I should talk to Richard Mongler; I know his kind are active here. And I’m certain they have their own problems to deal with. But maybe we can help each other out anyway, and share a little of the burden. Quite frankly, the vampire situation strikes me as very ominous, and I’m afraid we will end up on the bad side of the city’s vampire population. The changelings, on the other hand, seem much more approachable to me. At least, Richard and Tommy have been. And they’re supposed to be the scary ones!

          Anyway, we met with Deirdre and her pack at Lulu’s to warn them about the Beast of Bethlehem. I mostly stayed out of the conversation. Indeed, I couldn’t help but feel like they were invading my privacy a little, since Lulu’s is where I go to relax and get away for a little bit. I’m not complaining, though. I was the one who suggested meeting there.

          I must confess that I was a bit distracted watching Doc, Natalie and Deirdre. As I understand it, Doc and Deirdre have a relationship, though I’m not really certain how strong it is. Yet I know Doc is in love with Natalie. More to the point, I caught him wandering away from her room earlier this afternoon, looking a bit dazed and marked with a smear of her lipstick. I must admit that I was pleased to see signs that Natalie might finally be responding to Doc’s patient devotion. Maybe he can help her get over herself and claw free of the self-obsessed spiral of destruction to which she clings. And I also want to see Doc happy.

          I haven’t said anything, nor will I. I sense that it is a very fragile thing between them, and I don’t want to do anything to endanger it. But the Bride and I will watch them carefully and do what we can to help, when we’re able. Unfortunately, Natalie and I don’t exactly get along well, so I’m not sure what I can or should do to help. I suppose that’s why I’ll just sit back and keep an eye on them for now.

          Sunday, May 23, 2010, Night

          So, after spending a good portion of the day discussing the Beast of Bethlehem and the vampires and the fear spirit, we didn’t really manage to come up with any solid plans for anything. Here are some of the things we talked about:

          The Beast of Bethlehem

          - Can we force the club to shut down for a time? If so, how? Can we cause some damage, or get it shut down for health reasons? This will largely involve talking to whoever is in charge, and we won’t know that until Doc or Gwen does the research to find out who owns the place.

          - Can we open a new Avernian gate and drive the beast into the Underworld? If so, will that keep it away from the club, and thus out of our hair? Or can the beast just return to its territory at will? For that matter, could it potentially cause more trouble for us in the local Underworld? I would like to explore the Underworld more. Perhaps it is my mournful nature, my growth as a sin-eater, or my growing synergy with the Bride, but I do feel the pull of the Underworld more than I once did. But we don’t know how the beast or the Underworld would affect one another, so sending it there is risky. Still, just in case, Simon, Doc and I researched a ceremony to create a new gate. If we need one in the future, we should have it covered.

          The Fear Spirit and Vampires at the Orphanage

          - We originally planned to use the fear spirit as leverage against the vampires, but as we were making our final plans for enacting that plan (which involved sending me in hidden to disrupt the seals binding it in place) we realized that once unbound, the spirit would leave the place since there isn’t anyone left there to give it fear to feed upon. So we had to abandon that idea. As a result, we have no idea how to approach the so-called nosferatu vampires.

          - Even so, I feel we should deal with the spirit as soon as possible anyway, because we need to help Ted and Gina pass on peacefully. I have enjoyed playing with them since they’ve arrived in the nursery, and they seem to like my kitten, Fu. But they’ve lingered long enough, and it’s time for them to reenter the karmic cycle. We can’t help them pass on, though, until we’ve been able to examine the orphanage more closely to find and resolve any other anchors they might have there.

          Clevon Norris:

          - We don’t really have much direction in dealing with Gwen and Clevon’s troubles. We simply need to know more. To that end, I think we’re going to try and investigate the gang Clevon was investigating and to try and contact Jackson Harvard, the vampire responsible for the blackmail.

          Anyway, I really don’t have anything else to write for now. I’ll have more later, though, once I’ve interrogated Gwen about her date with Anders. I’m sure it was wonderfully romantic!


          The Box

          Ildefonso (of the Yao Guai werewolf pack) has not tracked down Adolphe DeCastro’s pistols, but he did give us something else of the DeCastros that he found. It’s an onyx box with twenty small drawers, each locked with a different key. The box can be used to capture and hold spirits or outsiders of some sort, and currently holds several, though we don’t know what they are, or how powerful. Each key is inscribed with occult invocations, probably to be used to invoke the being imprisoned in its drawer. It is a frightening item, but my occult interests do make it intriguing to me. I would never dream of unleashing the things inside it, but if we encounter outsiders, like those from Tavia’s paintings, that we cannot otherwise deal with effectively, the box might be a good way to imprison them and keep them from wreaking havoc on the world.

          I believe Simon has called upon a vampire ally of his family to come by and examine the box. He might be able to tell us more aout it. I’ll be glad to know more about it—the more we know, the safer we will be—but I’m anxious about all of these vampires that have become such a part of everything we seem to be doing lately.


          I’ve spent some time playing with Gina and Ted’s ghosts in the mansion’s nursery, where they’re staying for the time being. I like children, but I don’t think I’m good with them. Most of my attempts to play with Ted and Gina have left me feeling awkward, and I end up sitting to the side with Fu, just watching them play. And then, last time, Doc just walked right in to check on us and sat right down with them and started playing like it was the most natural thing in the world. He’ll make a good father, someday.

          I don’t think I’ll be a very good mother, though. I want to be, but I just don’t think I’m cut out for it, even if I do find true love again and have children. I’m just kind of…cold, I guess. I don’t mean to be, but I am. That makes me feel quite lonely. Lonelier than usual, anyway. So I’ll try not to focus on it and focus on happier things instead, like Gwen and Anders or Doc’s blossoming relationship with Natalie.

          Natalie’s Tweets

          Sunday May 23rd

          -I can’t get out of bed.

          -I am having a scary dream.

          -I can’t believe I did this. Help?

          -Candy always helps.

          -I hope I can hold together this well when I speak to Karen.

          -Doc can totally stop by my room like anytime now. :-/

          -Damnit! I turn the heat on and it’s time to go talk to the fuzzies. I was finally starting to relax, too.

          -Strawberry Deathcake is going to talk to the Werewolves.

          -I think Deirdre wants to bag Doc, Alexia, Chandra and myself, possibly at the same time. I respect her ambition.

          -These werewolves are remarkably well behaved for werewolves. None of their hair is perfect, however.

          -We seem to be at an accord. Time to roll out.

          -Vlog is Up!

          -It’s Gwen! She wants to talk to little ol’ me.

          -That went well. Wonder why she sought me out? Probably did not want to disturb Jazzy and the boys in the Library.

          -OK, I think we have some plans for how to deal with things. Was that vague enough? I can be vaguer.

          -Going for a walk. Doc needs to make up his mind about a few things.

          -Doc has made up his mind about a few things. Signing out for the foreseeable evening.

          Monday May 24th

          -Goodnight, Doc. Sleep the sleep of the innocent.

          -please, goddess, let me be able to stop crying by morning

          End Session XXIV

          So there are budding romances with Doc and Natalie and Gwen and Anders. Gwen and Anders did not get much play in journals (she does not have a journal and did not get to talk to Jasmine) but they had a date, it went pretty well, they have some interests in common, along with Anders especially liking Theater and Gwen being quite the sports fan. He picked her up in a limo, as that is the kinda guy he is. (That ruins it for the rest of us, according to an unnamed player) Gwen went to tell Natalie she and Anders were dating (no sense keeping it from her since they decided to have it be a thing) but did not get to tell her as Natalie blurted out her own issues.

          Natalie is working through issues. Realizing the other Krewe did not pass away of old age, and the Beast being in one of her sanctuaries damaged her psyche further, as implied earlier. She is clinging to Doc and Karen a little desperately now. She and Doc still did not have sexual intercourse yet (she has not dealt with her issues enough) but they checked off most of the rest of the list at this point. It was still enough to trigger a nervous breakdown for her, but she is healing. She is somewhat used to nervous breakdowns at this point. We will see how things go with her grand plans for a poly relationship with Doc and Karen.

          Chandra and Alexia are doing OK. Alexia is teaching Chandra to drive right now, they went out practicing during the session.

          They are trying to focus and get things finished now. Gwen's player has to miss this next session, though, so we will see how this works vis a vis their meeting with Clevon.

          Let me know if you have comments or questions

          Onyx Path Moderator
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          This is my mod voice. This is my goth voice.
          [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


          • #35
            Apologies for this being late, going up as fast as I got the last journal. Comments at the end as per. Gwen's player had to miss, thus is absent.

            Session XXV

            Doc's Log

            Doc's Log: 0930 Hours, Monday, May 24, 2010

            I left the House before the others were up and around today. It was a little weird because I almost felt like I was sneaking out. I hope I get over that. I'm sure it's not healthy. Still had that teenage thrill of not getting caught so I'll revel in it briefly. This is a pretty good Monday. I realize that I've now just ruined it. Let's see what I'll have to bear.

            Doc's Log: 1305 Hours, Monday, May 24, 2010

            So today has been pretty productive. I finally got all my stock up and rotated, played with Xerxes for a while and I even heard back from the dance studio. I think they wanted to make sure I wasn't playing some kinda prank. They asked what nights I would be available. I told them any week night except for Friday. They said they'd get back to me once they determined if an instructor could be found. That's understandable. I'd imagine they don't want to just throw anyone at the lunatic that wants to learn to dance pre-dawn.

            I also called the Health Department to ask about expanding into tattooing. They were actually very helpful. Because of my military medical training and in accordance with Statue 19A-92A, subsection 19, I'm in pretty good shape. Now I just have to learn how to draw and get the ceremony to make charms. I suspect that will take a while. But now at least I know what to do, when I want to do it.

            Doc's Log: 1625 Hours, Monday, May 24, 2010

            Just got a text from Nightshade. She says they need me home ASAP after work tonight. Thankfully she did say after work. Looks like no cleaning up for me this time. Good thing I took a shower this morning.

            Doc's Log: 1745 Hours, Monday, May 24, 2010

            Ronin apparently beat me up this morning and ran screaming into the night. At least that was the description I got. Given that I didn't wake up to the sounds of one of my Krewe screaming, I think Nightshade might have been a bit metaphorical.

            Eventually they told me we had decided to take out the Fear Spirit. By we, I think they meant Rose decided and Snowflake provided no resistance. But that was okay, that means Round 2. I ran upstairs with a plan.

            The Fear Spirit seemed to base everything on scaring opponents away. I dressed as intimidatingly as I could, combat boots and all. When I came back down, I got a few looks but that was kind of the point. Nightshade blessed us all and then asked that we bury her in the back. I thought she was joking at first, but then she looked at me. I knew that look. Not quite a dare, but definitely not something that would be wise to challenge. She had a plan. I'm not pleased but I think she knows what she's doing. Grave-Dirt is not my specialty so I'll keep my mouth shut for now.

            Doc's Log: 2150 Hours, Monday, May 24, 2010

            Yeap, I knew I ruined today somehow.

            Don't get me wrong, I mean it wasn't all bad but ... let me just start over.

            We got there and Snowflake immediately setup a perimeter from the car. He told us there was a pug sitting inside the door. Nightshade's idea worked as she was Astrally there waiting for us. Rose suggested everyone going in should possess their Geists. We all geared up in our own ways. Cupcake grew four more arms through her Caul, Rose and I donned our Shrouds, I made myself stronger and tougher, and then I grew invisible claws. I knew before I started all this that the Primeval Key would bring the Fight or Flight reaction much stronger to the front of my mind. I was very much focused on the Fight portion and growled while we waited for Cupcake to pick the lock again. Like I said before, Round 2.

            Before we could charge in snarling and howling, we faced the pug. It just looked like a normal dog to me. Rose blinked and said it had thorny vines growing out of it. Now that I'm calm, I think she just automatically assumed that it was a changeling. It baffles me how much she dislikes all the supernatural involvement of the vampires and the assumed savagery of the werewolves, but weird changeling animals and flies and whatever popping up everywhere is normal and natural. New Zealand is a magical place I guess.

            Anyway, Rose tried to get it to move and managed to convince it until we got to the 3rd floor landing. Then it ran ahead of me and started barking. I knew without all the feral instincts from the Primeval Shroud, Toto wanted to keep us out of there. I didn't want to hurt the guardian but it was getting in my way. Snowflake did something to get the dog confused in a room back down the stairs and we were set. I kicked in the door and growled like when Xerxes has a nightmare. There was an aura to the room, like an almost palatable fear. But I'd already gotten so psyched up by the feral thoughts from the Shroud, Nightshade's personal blessing of courage, and my own unabated need for a fight, fear did not register. It was hiding in Twilight, but Rose's planning made that tactic useless to it. The massive lupine head stared into my soul; all the while terrified children's faces looked out from the body of the nightmare. But my soul has stared into the Abyss, and the Abyss didn't look back, it became a part of me. I snarled and leapt on the spirit, shredding it as my claws plowed through. Nightshade kicked it in what she called her Magic Ghost Body before Rose pounced like a great cat and slashed through as well. Cupcake was all ready to come and really wail on the Fear Spirit, but when it discorporated, all six of her arms fell to her sides in disappointment. Thinking about it now, that was adorable. At the time, it didn't much register. I already realize how lame that whole thing about the Abyss probably sounds too. Too bad.

            I haven't really spoiled for a big fight in a while. I'm not sure what I was expecting. Three shots wasn't it though. I was still hopped up on adrenaline, testosterone, and raw instinct. But this being the late afternoon, there were no vampires around yet. So I pretty much fumed and stalked around making sure nothing else wanted a piece. Eventually my rational mind regained control and I realized how stupid it was to even consider picking a fight with the Nosferatu in their own lair. While I was busy stomping around looking for another target, Rose, Cupcake, and Nightshade found a music box and an old nutcracker that could be turned into charms for the Stricken or Silent.

            Snowflake called Tavia and asked her to give the kids a message. That Tavia can't actually see Gina and Ted never seemed to slow him down. We weren't sure if they'd be able to get back for sure, but Tavia asked the nursery if they could come back. They both appeared and we were in business. This was the big pay off. We'd cleared out the monster and now we needed to know what else held the kids here. I think it was smart to let them know what was happening. By nature, most ghosts are vaguely traumatized but these kids had been through more than their share of crazy already. When they realized that they could move on, Ted hugged Gina. It wasn't the hug of a boy too afraid to speak. I'd seen this before and I realized this little boy fully understood alot more than we might have given him credit for. It was the kind of hug that people who've been trapped or held captive give each other, but only after it fully dawns on them they are safe and/or free. I understood in that moment that the ghost of a boy never able to enjoy his childhood or allowed to grow up was also unlucky enough to know something so grownup and harsh as imprisonment. I wanted to find that Fear Spirit and do something very much more terrible things to it. Gina asked us what would happen with all the toys? We already knew that the kids' anchors weren't going to be much good for charms, plus when we looked around there were still so many old toys. She asked if we could give them to other children that needed them. I'm not sure any of us could speak for a second after that. We nodded and remained silent.

            Once I felt like I could speak again without my voice cracking, I suggested that we get the kids' anchors back from the House, also clean and make up one the beds at the orphanage. Then we could tuck them in, sit by them, make them feel safe, and let them finally be at peace. Rose was almost too enthusiastic in her agreement, but I realized this was hard on all of us. Nightshade even offered to sing them a lullaby. Everyone was surprised but me, though this was a fairly important moment so we let it pass.

            As the lullaby ended, the children finally found rest and faded into peace. That is exactly when Nightshade completely lost it. Even when she's completely high out of her mind, I can normally understand what's she's saying...but at least in the beginning no one could understand what was going on. She was crying and gesturing wildly and frantically babbling... And then I caught the phrase that sent a wave of cold panic through me. "! My baby!..." Then I caught something about a name I recognized. I carefully pulled her into a hug then Rose and Cupcake joined in. I'm not sure if I was jealous of wanting to be the only one to be there or if I really thought that would make things worse, but whatever the reason, that made me very uncomfortable. Eventually Nightshade calmed and said that she'd meet us back at the house. She asked to have Snowflake tell Tavia to dig her back up, then flew away quickly.

            We had all (except for Ronin since she was mysteriously out) been overcome with the passing of the children, both mystically and personally, but from what little I could understand there was more to this for Nightshade. We gathered the rest of the toys and the future charms in relative silence before returning to the car. Snowflake dutifully made the call to Tavia. Then we headed back to Dark Haven Bluffs.

            When we pulled up outside, Nightshade was waiting for us on the landing. She was obviously not completely okay and I noticed that empty look in her eyes like when we were in the piano room. She stated to all of us that the name she uses is actually the name of her 16 year old daughter, who has been raised as her sister in secret. Nightshade was far from okay with this I could tell but she was trying to hold it together and get through this. The full story went that she got pregnant at 13 consensually with a 15 year old. It was made very clear (likely for my benefit) that she was not raped. She basically looked over everyone and told us that she hoped her daughter believed they were just sisters and not that her mother was actually a slut and a whore. I really wanted to bark at that, but it just wasn't the time. I knew she needed to vent and let this out, and like always it needed to be in her own way. She gave the group the freebie time to ask whatever they wanted since this affected the whole group with her outburst. She didn't think it was fair to try and pretend that didn't happen, especially after one of our more triumphant moments. I didn't say anything but that was a buzzkill. However I also thought it was extremely brave of Nightshade to do this. She's a very private person and given the socially awkward nature of most of those present, this was opening herself to alot of probing. I couldn't bring myself to ask anything; I just wanted to hold her and take her away from everything until it was over and everything was better. But that would have gone poorly...and I have no idea when I became a character in a bad romance novel.

            There really weren't many questions and the others wanted to let her tell things if and when she was ready. I was thrilled, amazed, and relieved all at once. The sounds of drunken revelry came from inside so the others went to see what was happening. Tavia and Gretchen were very drunk and celebrating. Nightshade pulled me back as the rest of the Krewe went in. I was confused so I asked her what happened with them when she came back. Amusingly, Nightshade didn’t need to be dug up. So I had to ask if she just jumped out of the ground while they were digging. It was meant as a light joke, but she looked up at me kinda sheepish and said she forgot. I knew that she had originally planned to stay with Karen tonight and while I thought that was now a terrifically bad idea, I offered to walk her to see Karen or to walk her home. Nightshade shook her head but didn't say anything at first. I wasn't sure if I'd somehow made a mistake. Then she told me that she didn't want to be alone. She said that when she got back the girls were still digging her up and her first thoughts "weren't very good" so she felt it best to stay with me tonight. I was pretty sure she meant suicide but I kept my mouth shut and just held her while she let me.

            Back inside, the girls were drunk in celebration of the first person they buried coming back to life. That was amusing because of who it was but more than a little creepy too. Nightshade took me to her room and pulled up her daughter's Facebook page. She let me see it as well. I could immediately see the resemblance but figured that might not be a great thing to point out right now. She told me how her mother used to say how terrible of a mother Nightshade was, until she believed it and agreed. I felt a wave of frustration at the irony of the statement. Ever since that time, her daughter became her little sister. Then Nightshade moved to California to make it big. That was a decade ago. She talked to me for a little while about what she really thought or planned. Mostly about her little girl and veiled regrets. Then she pulled me up and told me we needed to go back down to be with the others.

            Snowflake had joined Tavia and Gretchen in the drinking by the time we got downstairs. Ronin was still gone but I couldn't leave Nightshade, even though it was getting dark. Somehow Scrabble came up and thus a competition had to take place. Snowflake won the first game and we were all pretty amused. But Rose was determined that we must play again. She won next and no one was surprised.

            Doc's Log: 0745 Hours, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

            Holy shit it's going to be a long day, but I think it was worth it.

            After all the native English speakers were beaten in Scrabble by a Kiwi, we just drifted in our own direction. Nightshade looked like she was getting tired and given her day, it made sense. She led me back to her room and said I needed to see something. She closed the door and then began gathering her various different medicines. Prior to this moment, Nightshade made sure to keep her substances far from me other than alcohol. This took a while but she systematically showed me where each drug went and made sure I realized what she used it for. She also said that she hoped realized by doing this that we were not just some casual thing. I knew that terrified her and she said as much. Some were cosmetic for keeping her pH levels safe and still allow for her citrusy scent, others were legitimate pain meds. I checked all of them to make sure there were no side effects or possible complications from the combination. I was struck by two things...and I admit here to being ashamed for one of them. Fortunately, nothing she had here would cause complications in conjunction with each other. But the part I was ashamed of was that Nightshade had not a single prescription pain medication on the premises. When she would say that she didn’t keep illicit drugs around where we might get caught near it, I thought she just mean the heroine or cocaine. Obviously she would have something else with “a prescription” for the anytime joys. I was ashamed because this proved Nightshade, while not clean, had a much smaller issue with drugs than I believed...and I was the one trying to sing her virtues to the others and push her to clean herself up. While I was still reeling from my incorrect assumptions, she showed me the list of all her doctors, from her dermatologist to her gynecologist, even her plastic surgeon and how to contact them. I was shocked at how she seemed to be throwing open her life and all of her personal matters to me. It was wonderful and terrifying. I also was confused at the plastic surgeon. I had now seen her fully and had never noticed signs of alteration other than her hair. She told me she had some minor repairs done from the process of child birth. Given her self image, this wasn’t very hard to believe. I had to assume that many women who had given birth that early would at least consider something like that. And her surgeon was no hack...I have slept with her now and had no idea. Nightshade then told me another reason she had that work done, involving the opinions of some people she might need in order to get on TV. I was again reminded why she doesn’t give me names and descriptions of people very often, but I very much wanted to hunt some people down. She mentioned a laundry list of other things she “needed” to have done (all of which were completely in her head), but the fear of ruining her body and looking like all the plastic surgery freaks had sufficiently terrified her into inaction. Next Nightshade showed me where she kept her will. Currently it left everything to her daughter, but she said that she planned to work in me and Karen for anything we valued. I couldn’t speak but thankfully she decided we didn’t need to do all that tonight.

            This was an incredible night of discover. The insights she’d given me explained so much more of Nightshade that I’d never been able to properly piece together on my own. And then she told me how she got this way to start with. Some Sin-Eaters believe that we’re actually chosen long before we ever meet Death. Often we have some ability as proof of this selection. Nightshade’s manifested very early on, around 5 or 6. When people were going to die, Nightshade could see the reflection of them after death in any mirrored surface. I’d like to say I couldn’t imagine what that’s like, but I have a small idea. She saw her first car accident death reflection when she was 7. Apparently the person would lose most of their head when the crash happened. This was the first major scar for the little girl that would grow up to be Nightshade. Her parents punished her for speaking of this, calling it Witchcraft. Nightshade made sure I realized they didn’t beat her, but they were very harsh with her about this. I’d say I was surprised that sane people in the 70s would immediately jump to Witchcraft for things like that, but then I remember the Walthstone’s reaction to Clarissa just a few weeks ago. Nightshade recognized that she started to internalize everything she did as bad around that time. I can see at least part of why she left Catholicism now. I mean I guess technically I’m at least lapsed, but I never dealt with anything like that. After hearing how horrifying her ability was, I didn’t feel like sharing mine would be all that comforting. Instead I told her about my nightmares.

            When I was always alone in bed, I never worried about what might happen...I mean Xerxes would never bother me while I’m sleeping. Except that one time when I was so deep in I couldn’t wake up; that night he shoulder blocked the bed to wake me up. That was a bad night, but I was glad to have him. Anyway, I told Nightshade if for some reason I ever seemed to be having a nightmare, not to touch me, but move away and call my name. I’d never forgive myself if I hurt her trying to pull me out of a dream.

            After all that depressing information, we started kissing. I don’t need to give a play by play on the next logical leap here. Though I will say that Nightshade willingly attempted to overcome her hangup with me last night. I won’t say it was a complete success because I could see the tears on her cheek, but I held her and kissed her shoulder until we both fell asleep. Which was really not very long ago. Now I have to get cleaned up and go to work. Tuesday beckons.

            Jasmine’s Diary

            Monday, May 24, 2010, Morning

            During my morning meditations, I resolved to talk to Jean and ask if he would like to join me for coffee, as per Gwen’s suggestion. So after our training session today, I’ll see if he’s interested. I’m actually quite nervous about it. I have a lot of hopes and worries tied up in all of this. Unfortunately, Gwen’s not here this morning to give me moral support. She disappeared on some errand or another again.

            Monday, May 24, 2010, Early Afternoon

            I managed to ask Jean if he’d like to join me this afternoon for coffee at Lulu’s, to discuss his career plans and the professional competition opportunities I’ve dug up for him. He accepted! I can’t even begin to express how hard it was for me to ask him. I still feel a little guilty, but Gwen’s right. Richard would prefer it this way. The memory of him still warms me and I like to think that he’s nearby, encouraging me, even though I know he’s moved on.

            The Drowned Bride is certainly very happy with me right now.

            I spent the time between our training and coffee (which was to be at 2:00) on campus, and went to visit Richard Mongler. I wanted to discuss building more bridges with the local changeling population. Mongler was receptive but a bit hesitant. He is fairly powerful among his fellow changelings, but also territorial. The others don’t intrude on him very often. The changelings as a group are apparently somewhat paranoid and might therefore be resistant to working with outsiders. Furthermore, some of them might be too interested in finding out more about what we sin-eaters are if they knew we existed, and that might be very bad.

            I had hoped that the changelings might be a more inviting supernatural population than the werewolves or the vampires, but apparently that is not to be. Still, Mongler is going to see if he can’t find avenues for me (and perhaps the rest of my krewe) to connect more.

            Oh, and Mongler referred to Natalie as “the other goth girl” in our krewe, which implied that he thinks I’m a goth. This is probably the third or fourth time that’s happened. I need to ask Natalie why people keep mistaking me for a goth.

            Monday, May 24, 2010, Afternoon

            Coffee with Jean went well, I think. I showed up before he did, and then spent a few minutes trying to figure out whether I should wait until he arrived so that we could get our coffees together or get mine now and let him get his on his own once he arrived. I felt it might be more polite to wait for him, but then we would go up to the counter together and we would look like a couple, and that would make me feel like we were a couple, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that, I also thought I might feel awkward if he offered to pay for my coffee, so I got my coffee and then found a table to wait for him to arrive.

            He appeared on time, got his coffee, and the we sat and chatted. The time flew by! An hour and a half had passed before I even realized it, and we never really got down to talking about business: his career and competitions and such. Instead, we talked about the things we like and what we do when we aren’t swimming. Without classes to keep him occupied, he’s having to find more ways to keep himself occupied and active this summer, so we talked about our pastimes and movies.

            He likes older movies too. Apparently they show a lot of them in the Ivory Coast, which is where he’s from, so we were able to talk a bit about some of our favorites. Of course, I prefer romantic films while he likes things like crime films or noir. He’s also pretty active outside of swimming, and though he’s not in the habit of hiking, he’d like to go hike in Sleeping Giant State Park someday soon. He suggested that I might join him, and I told him that I thought that would nice. Now I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t actually been to Sleeping Giant yet, and I like doing things outdoors, even though I don’t find as much opportunity to do so lately.

            We also chatted about being foreigners in America. It was fun to chat about the little things that we find odd about American culture or that make us feel different from everyone else around us. And it was nice to talk about home too. It made me miss Taipei, but in a good, fond way. Strangely, I realized that sort of discussion was something I could never really share with Richard, since he was American and never really understood what it was like to be a foreigner here.

            Anyway, I had fun, and I think Gwen was right. Doing things this way has helped give me a bit more courage, and even though I can’t shake some of the guilt, I’m really starting to realize emotionally what I’ve been telling myself rationally for weeks now: its time to move on.

            Monday, May 24, 2010, Morning

            Alexia and I chatted about Jean this afternoon. Her cheerful enthusiasm is always encouraging. When I returned home, she treated me to some delightful mango pastries she made for Chandra based on an Indian recipe. They were delicious!

            Monday, May 24, 2010, Evening

            We have had a very exciting afternoon. We resolved to deal with the fear spirit at the Orphan Asylum and then try to help Ted and Gina’s ghosts pass on, and accomplished all of that without too much difficulty.

            We made sure to visit the orphanage before sundown so that we wouldn’t have to worry about any vampires. Tommy wasn’t there, but an odd little pug dog was. I could see thorny vines growing from its body, but the others couldn’t, so I knew it was some sort of changeling creature, probably a servant of Tommy’s. It was guarding the place and didn’t want to let us pass, so Doc and I tried to talk to it and explain what we were doing and that we had things well in hand. It relented enough to allow us inside, and followed us around until we tried to go upstairs to fight the fear spirit, at which point it began growling and invoking a supernatural fear to try and frighten us off.

            We didn’t want to fight or harm the poor thing, since it was only trying to protect us from the dangers of the haunt, but we had to get rid of it somehow. Simon came to the rescue and somehow managed to use his control over the building through Boneyard to get the dog lost in the house, leaving us free to venture upstairs.

            We possessed our geists (except for Natalie, who was floating about as a disembodied spirit thanks to one of her manifestations), and Doc led the assault on the spirit. It manifested as a mass of tortured, frightened faces in the misty shape of a monstrous wolf and faced us with the full force of its terrifying presence. Doc, looking more like the Dog of War than his normal self, wanted revenge for the way it frightened him off before. He shrugged off its fear and pounced on it, tearing open deep wounds with the claws of his Primeval Shroud. I was similarly clad in my Primeval Shroud and Caul and maneuvered with cat-like grace around the spirit to strike it from behind and finish what Doc had started. Ever since our fight against the werewolves, we’ve gotten much stronger. Even so, I think the English expression “more bark than bite” certainly applied to the fear spirit.

            Once the spirit was gone, we could bring Ted and Gina back to the orphanage. They helped us figure out what their other anchors were, and we were able to help resolve them. We promised to make sure the toys left in the orphanage would be given to other children, or at least people who would appreciate and treasure them. Then Doc suggested that we should tuck Gina and Ted into their beds with their anchors and sing them a lullaby to send them off to their eternal sleep. It was such a beautiful and touching scene that I almost cried.

            Natalie sang a beautiful lullaby for them, and by the end, she broke down in tears. I was shocked. I think we all were. It was obvious that something about the scene had affected her deeply, and for once, she actually explained to us what it was, though not until we returned home. I think Doc has been a good influence on her, because she has never really shared with the krewe like she did tonight. She needed us.

            Natalie told us that she has a daughter, who was born when she was a very young teen. Natalie is her daughter’s name; the woman we know as Natalie adopted that name in honor of her daughter. She says that she was a bad mother, and so her own mother raised her daughter as Natalie’s sister. As far as Natalie knows, her daughter thinks Natalie is her sibling, and doesn’t know the truth. Natalie has never forgiven herself for being a bad mother or for ultimately abandoning her daughter like she did. She hasn’t seen her daughter in years, and doesn’t even know if she wants to reunite with her daughter, fearing as she does what that would mean or that her daughter might despise her.

            We did our best to support Natalie, and I was thankful that she finally gave us an opening through which we can begin to help her heal. I confess that I don’t know how to go about that at all. I’m still quite out of my depth with Natalie. But fortunately Doc is there for her. If anyone can see her through this, he can.

            I suppose this and the “goth” discussion I had with Natalie earlier has helped to soften my outlook toward her somewhat. I realized that I had become very impatient and dismissive of her selfishness, and while I still don’t approve of her attitudes or the choices she’s made, knowing that she feels remorse for them means that she does care about herself and about what becomes of her, and that means she can heal. Lately she seems to be improving, and I hope we can continue the trend. I don’t think the krewe can handle it if she is pulled down by the undertow of her despair again.

            Monday, May 24, 2010, Late Night

            Once Natalie had calmed down, we decided to lighten the mood by playing a game of Scrabble. We do like ou games, after all. I’m typically terrible at Scrabble since English is my second language, but I actually have a pretty good grasp of vocabulary. Simon won the first game by a large margin, but I won the second game hands-down. I suppose I must be very competitive when it comes to this sort of thing…Simon implied as much anyway.

            After the game, I spent some time making new charms. We discovered a few more items in the orphanage that resonated with death: an old wooden nutcracker and a beautiful music box that plays Swedish Rhapsody. I cleaned up and repainted bits of the nutcracker and turned it into a Phantasmal charm for Alexia. She was quite excited about it. I then replaced the clear mirrored glass inside the lid of the music box with a small piece of frosted glass and made it into a Cold-Wind charm for Natalie, since she is planning to learn that Key soon.



            I privately asked Natalie why people kept mistaking me for being a goth. I’m afraid I probably came across as a bit critical of goths, but I think that’s largely because I thought goths were all like Natalie and lived a similar lifestyle.

            But that’s not the case. Natalie says I come across as a different sort of goth - a classier variety, I suppose, because of the way I tend to dress a bit more nicely but in dark and monochrome colors. Plus, I’m fairly pale and have black hair.

            But I’m also a romantic who comes across as melancholy and morose without really meaning to. Natalie says that sort of philosophy and outlook is an important part of being a goth, and it makes me a “natural” goth, and that the best goths are those that don’t even try to be goth. They just are what they are. Like The Cure, which is one of my favorite bands. I don’t know if I really understand, but at least now I know that “goth” doesn’t mean self-destructive, promiscuous, and drug-addicted, like Natalie, so I’m not quite as perplexed at being associated with the sub-culture.

            atalie's Tweets[/b]

            -Your Mistress feels good this morning, how are you?

            -Vlog is up!

            -Going to deal with the Fear Spirit today! Doc’ll be happy.

            -Talking to Chandra.

            -Goddess I think Chandra may have as serious a sex drive as I do.

            -I am glad Alexia has so much energy.

            -Chandra is a Muslim? Really? That’s…weird.

            -I mean, not bad, just totally unexpected.

            -I don’t know that I have seen a single Mosque in New Haven.

            -Hey there children of the night, do any of you know if there are any Mosques in New Haven? Not for me, but for a good friend?

            -Chandra went from liking boobs to Mosques back to liking boobs. This is a surreal conversation.

            -Doc is here, conversation moved from X to R rated.

            -Jazzy wants to chat!

            -Jazzy does not understand why people think she is a Goth. I can’t imagine!

            -OK, either satisfied her curiosity or confused beyond help. One of those.

            -Time to test out my new superpowers. Shame I can’t bring my Blackberry.


            -Mommy loves you Natalie, and always will. You will always be my baby, whether you know it or not. And I hope for your own sake you never know you are, or how much I love you.

            -i don’t know what to do i think i need help

            -I would not have made it through tonight without my Krewe. I mean that literally.

            -Maybe I should talk to her. What should I do? I don’t know.

            End Session XXV

            Ohboy. Emotional session. Laying the Ghost Children to rest and Natalie's biggest secret came out. There goes my plot to have Natalie Lousler show up out of the blue looking for mom. Felt natural to come out this way though, so I went with it. It was not planned was Doc's idea to tuck the kids and Natalie would have done the lullaby because it made sense for her character.

            Natalie plays merry hell on my emotional state.

            Note to GMs: When a Krewe anticipates regaining all their Plasm thus Plasm dumps before a fight, they are devastating!

            The music box was inspired by the Swedish Rhapsody Numbers Station (video, actual numbers station broadcast begins at 0:55 and ends at 5:10. This may be nightmare fuel for some people ) as I imagine the music box sounds basically like that, without the creepy child counting. As an aside, if this is the first you have heard of Numbers Stations and are running a horror or espionage game, you should download the Conet Project (link goes to free and legal download of all 4 discs, and don't forget the booklet. The download is near the bottom of the list) and give it a listen forthwith, and maybe Google Numbers Stations. They are really really interesting. I am slightly obsessed with them. I can give more related links (with recordings as well as info) on request. Who knows, maybe they will come up in Geist...

            Yes, I am aware Kiwis speak English primarily.

            The dog was a Hobgoblin, but Changeling aficionados probably guessed that. The Orphanage Horror a Fear Spirit who had eaten children's ghosts after eating a Children Spirit.

            ETA: Oh, Simon took some of the desserts Alexia made to Malard to get his POV on the Beast and tell his pack not to attack it. Malard recommended he talk to Crowley, which was covered, obviously.

            Comments and questions welcome. This was a roller-coaster.
            Last edited by Baroness Nerak; 11-22-2013, 04:20 AM.

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            [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


            • #36
              OK this past session Jasmine's Player could not make it. We still get a dairy from Jasmine, however, it just represents Jasmine's activities during that time. It was not actually played out at the table is all. And here we go...

              Session XXVI

              Doc's Log

              Doc’s Log: 1330 Hours, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

              It’s been a good day so far considering how tired I am. I meditated after I got over to the shop. That went pretty well. Was finished long before I had to open this morning. And then I just settled in for the day.

              About 1100 hours, Nightshade sent a text asking if she could tell the Krewe about us, well the Krewe short Rose. She was apparently off scouting tournaments for her Olympic contender. I told Nightshade that I was fine with it. I certainly have no reason or want to hide our relationship. I didn’t mention it to Nightshade but I decided that I would tell Rose about things just to save the odd tension between the girls.

              A little later I got another text, this time from Ronin. I assumed she was sending a code at first. I got K 19? … Special Hell. After I thought about it for a minute I realized she was pointing out I didn’t need to play with a 19 yr old. I’ve been online just enough to know how to answer that but before I could type and send WTF, I got another one that said Nite + Doc = <3. I figured my original reaction would cover both. I did grin when I saw that Ronin was in good spirits about this. But the Day of Texts was not yet over.

              Right about lunch, I got another text from Nightshade this time asking what I wanted to do tonight? I was not about to try and get that detailed in a text. It’d take me now til close to type it out. So I called her. She had us do the laptop thing like when she went out West to sort of teleconference with the Krewe. We decided meeting with Chuck first to find out what he knows without realizing it would be best, then we can go out and talk with Wrinkleface and the boys. Pretty straight forward, it’s just that we’ll have to pay close attention to all of Chuck’s answers and ask questions that will get dangerously close to telling him more than he needs to know. At least we’ll know dinner will be fun.

              Doc’s Log: 2100 Hours, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

              Dinner was a special event tonight. Nightshade brought Karen over and had their talk. I didn’t hear any screaming and when I saw them neither of them seemed traumatized so I figured it went well. Chandra was around of course, which isn’t a problem but it does make use of the big table in the Dining room. And then there was Gretchen. The Late Evil, as Nightshade calls her, has been pretty scarce lately. Not being super-paranoid that she’s here makes it that much more shocking when she comes through and says the terrible things she does. She just mentioned in passing to Cupcake tonight that she was “bleeding like the loser in a bullfight right now,” so she needed protein. At least Karen wasn’t the only one that looked completely at a loss for words at that point.

              As Clevon was coming over later, we kept some food aside for him just in case and while we were cleaning up, I spoke briefly to Karen. Given that we weren’t trying to hide our situation from each other, I felt like we should be smart about this. We exchanged numbers in case one of us needed the other for anything or in case Nightshade…well just in case. Nightshade sent Karen away before Clevon got there and I suspect she sent any recreational substances with her as well. Smart, just wish she could learn to do without them. When Chuck got here, we fed the man as he looked like he just got off and came straight over. After we watched him eat (which I'm sure wasn't weird at all), he detailed the whole story about the Stockton Posse and what he’d done until he got the pictures.

              The original lead took him to investigate a possible link to New Jersey but that turned out to be a dead end. The name suggested something from California but none of the Gang Units could really ID this bunch. All the punks turned out to be local. Ronin admitted that she’d gone alone on a stakeout yesterday so when Chuck mentioned a PO Box, she verified that they were still using a PO and regular mail box. Said they checked both at least three times of day even if no one had gone near it since they last checked. Other than giving Ronin shit for going off without telling anyone where she went in a kill zone, I kept quiet. The whole thing sounded like they were taking orders from a semi-anonymous source and we were already clear on who that was. Chuck said he got a warrant to check the PO but before the 24 hours it took for the warrant, the box was closed. More vampires in the system. I could see where this was going. Next he moved on to finding the source of their crack supply. After talking several of the less committed members out of the gang and pressing for the drug source, Chuck got the pictures. So that’s what he didn’t notice. Something about the drugs has to be the key. Another strange note is that the Posse’s territory runs right against the Red River Gang. That is a serious group and not one anyone wants to take lightly. Chuck says that they ebb and flow with Nation of Islam tendencies based on who's calling the shots and what they want done. Given all that, they were not really the forgiving type but oddly they had never clashed with the Stockton Posse. This sent up flags with everyone...well I'm never quite sure if Chandra is following, but still. We have confirmation of 12-24 active members at any given time. Chuck wasn't sure if they were running guns, which was one possible reason they were on good terms with the Red River Gang, so I said I'd find out later. Pretty much after that, it was just pleasantries until Clevon left.

              Doc's Log: 2315 Hours, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

              After Clevon left, we started the hard part. Brainstorming ideas is alot harder when you don't actually know anything. So first off, we had to get some information.

              I called Jerome as I figured even if he didn't deal with them, he'd know if other groups were running guns in the area. As it happened, Jerome was very high...and thus tremendously hard to understand. But eventually he got across that neither he nor his associate had ever heard of the Stockton Posse. After that they started laughing about something so hard I figured they were going to be sick, so I let them go. I imagine given the right circumstances, we as a Krewe could wipe out the whole Posse, but that won't really get us in the good graces of the Puppet Master. Nightshade thinks it's maybe possible Jackson Harvard is grooming one of the Posse for embrace. I'm guessing that's a fancy term for turning someone into a vampire, but I didn't ask so I didn't sound stupid.

              I don't know how it came up, but we decided that talking with the Nosferatu about this situation was probably not worth it just because we didn't have anything worth trading with them. We did think it might be an option to try and use their information gathering to our own ends, but really that goes back to dealing with vampires we can't implicitly trust to tell us the truth about one of their own.

              So then we needed more information. Eventually the idea came out that maybe we should present ourselves to the Prince. We decided that we'd need to know if this Prince Maxwell was more Bond villain or Evil Dictator. I mean you can always have a polite conversation with a Bond villain even if they plan to kill you. As usual, I then called Truman. We thought that maybe if we appealed to him about trying to protect their masquerade, we could earn some leverage to make the problems against Chuck go away. Truman almost immediately gave the phone to Rebecca. She seems to be the most politically educated, and willing to talk about it. She thought our idea had some merit but she suggested that she go with us to help smooth things over. Truman went crazy in the background so I knew that was not a great idea...mainly due to the apparent attraction Maxwell has for Rebecca. She indulged me and said that Maxwell was more Bond villain than Evil Dictator. She also made it clear that if the Prince thought we might be trouble that he would rewrite our minds to make us not be trouble. It's both fascinating and terrifying that so many vampires seem to have the power of Brain Scramble. The Krewe had alot of discussion that I was trying to juggle between at that point. I finally thanked Rebecca and got off the phone. I figured I owed Truman no matter what we ended up doing just because I upset him so much.

              After all that, we just talked about things between ourselves. Snowflake thought it might be best to give a minor cover story for meeting the Prince. Given that it's not a lie, we were considering calling ourselves a group of occultists so we didn't just give ourselves away. Ultimately, we decided to wait until Snowflake's family friend the Appraiser to come by. Given that he's a vampire, we figured he might be able to give us some tips on how to deal with the vampire power structure. Now I guess we're going to hang out. We'll see how this goes.

              Jasmine’s Dairy

              May 25, 2010, Morning

              I’m getting ready to go to AMC for an early morning swim before I meet Jean for training today. It didn’t sound like the krewe was planning to do anything major today, which is good since I have several appointments out-of-town to meet with some athletic associations in order to arrange qualifying tryouts for Jean so that he can begin swimming professionally.

              I must admit that I’m strangely anxious about our training session this morning. Jean and I had a very nice time chatting over coffee yesterday, and I’d like to do so again. But I think I’m afraid that he will try push things too far too fast now that I have given him an opening. Maybe that’s what I need—or want—but it still makes me anxious. The Bride has been chiding me about that all morning. We’ll synergize better once I’ve had a nice swim.

              May 25, 2010, Evening

              It’s fairly late for me to be returning home. I’m not used to pulling into the driveway of Dark Haven Bluffs at night without the company of the rest of the krewe. The place looks foreboding and forlorn when one approaches on one’s own, but since I also call it home, I couldn’t help but feel a welcome sense of melancholy as I passed through the gate.

              My appointments today went well enough. I was able to schedule Jean for a few qualifying competitions. Now the challenge is to make sure he’s ready for them. I say it’s a challenge, but he’s such a natural that I don’t think he will have any trouble qualifying. Getting him ready to compete and excel in professional competitions will be the real challenge. I know he’s up to it, but I also know from experience how demanding and competitive it can be. Fortunately, Jean is disciplined and dedicated, and that makes all the difference.
              I’ve run into one major problem with getting Jean into professional competitions, though. Since he’s not American, it’s going to be difficult to get him into many professional American swimming organizations, at least once he reaches the top levels, since the top organizations often have their sights set on the Olympic team. Being a national of the Ivory Coast, Jean can’t really join the American Olympic team, not unless he becomes an American citizen.

              I’m not sure how to proceed. I suppose I should see if Jean wishes to remain in America or plans to return to swim professionally in his home country.


              A Stressful Day

              I must confess that I was a little dismayed by the reception I received from the officials with whom I met at my appointments. News of my late husband’s death and my “near death” experience made ripples in local swimming circles, so everyone took pains to offer their condolences on Richard’s death and to ask after my health. I appreciate their concern, but being reminded of it by strangers wore on me as the day went on and left me emotionally drained by the time I got home.

              On top of that, most of the people I met wanted to talk more about my Olympic career than about Jean. I hadn’t expected the focus to fall on me rather than him, and I became a bit distressed by the attention. The focus will change once he’s competing, though, so I’m not too worried.

              Still, I feel worn out and threadbare right now. I suppose I’ll go down and check on the rest of the krewe in a few minutes, but for the time being, I just need to relax in solitude for a bit.

              Natalie’s Tweets

              Tuesday, May 25th

              -It’s not a good morning yet. I am awake and not flipping out though.

              -I never thought I would get out of the shower. That’s…good.

              -no no no no no no no no no

              -Everyone seems to have noticed I am up early. I guess that was inevitable.

              -Hard not to smirk at Chandra after our boobs conversation.

              -OK, the situation with Doc is explained. The situation with Karen is explained. No one flipped out. Of course, Jasmine was not there. That means I have to do this…again.

              -Why do I panic thinking about relationships I am in?

              -It looks like we are going to meet a nice officer this evening then talk to some Vampires.

              -I am on the roof. It is quite a view.

              -Vlog is up. Your Mistress is high. As in high up, of course.

              -Ah, Karen is here good.

              -Karen took Natalie’s existence as well as she possibly could. Now for the good part. I’ve earned it.

              -Oh yea, oh FUCK yea.

              -I feel SO much better.

              -Do I really have to leave my boudoir? Like, again, ever?

              -My SO’s are being civil. That’s good.

              -First dinner with everyone plus my girlfriend was not too awkward. Well, Tavia stared at her and Gretchen came in and made some reference to “bleeding like the loser in a bullfight” before leaving in an act of drive by trauma, but past that nothing too awful. Everyone was nice to her.

              -Sending Karen out with all my candy in case Gwen’s cop friend goes crazy and starts arresting people.

              -Mr. Cop man is nice enough, but uniform or no you can just tell he is a cop.

              -I suspect people are straining to talk intelligently with him while not revealing too much about us.

              -Not yours truly, I don’t talk to cops.

              -OK, now the magical part: What the fuck do we do about it?

              -Doc is talking to his vampire friends. How the hell does he have more vampire friends then I do? I am super-gothic!

              -Well, most of those I have met have been on the west coast

              -Supergothic would be a good song title.

              -I am just having my girlfriend come back here. I don’t think we are gonna be vamp hunting tonight. Actually, maybe we should relax till Simon’s contact arrived. I could go for some R&R after the past couple days trauma.

              -Relaxing in Bermuda does not sound like a bad plan either, long as I am wishing…

              End Session XXVI

              Mostly quieter session, no huge drama. A good bit was spent working out how to handle the Vampires and not tip the Krewe's hand too much about Sin-Eaters to them. I think we have a plan that should work barring something Dantaine says causing a big reshuffling. In other news apparently Maxwell is a popular name for a Prince, according to Jasmine's player who is running a Requiem campaign and is better read on Requiem then I am.

              Not much left out...there was a long chat with Gretchen and Simon that involved her somewhat raw way of putting things as she essentially asked if the Krewe needed her for anything while she was there. I'll miss saying things IC with her that makes the table recoil in horror after she moves on. Lotta chatter while Doc was at work not covered so gut as Natalie's Tweets don't lend themselves to such and Doc was not there, but highlights were hit.

              Hope folks enjoyed!

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              [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


              • #37
                Hello folks. Sorry for the lateness of the entry. It goes up when I get the journals. Darck Child, thank you, as always, for the feedback. It is good to get these reminders people are enjoying. I am very glad you are.

                OK here we go. Questions and comments welcome

                Session XXVII

                Doc's Log

                Doc’s Log: 0035 Hours, Wednesday, May 26, 2010

                Rose came in late tonight and she looked beat. We caught her up over ice cream. She seemed too tired to even be disapproving. Once she was up to speed on the whole Vampire coming out party, we moved on to new business.

                Nightshade did some research into a possible ghost sighting. That wasn’t a big surprise but the important part of the lead was that the ghost was supposed to be one Mr. Stanton Marshall. That Big Sean Gleason’s murderer was back in town was interesting, but that he was rumored to be a Fort Nathan Hale was a little weird.

                Then we jumped deep into the weird when Nightshade decided to tell Rose about us in front of everyone. So much for taking that burden off of her. Rose took it pretty well. Like I said, she was too tired to be disapproving so she just kinda blinked when we got to the part about Karen. I pointed out that we didn’t want her to flip out from seeing us holding hands and then seeing Karen with her later. Ronin whispered something about carrying her books for her too, but I shot her a dirty look so she just giggled and left us alone. She knew I was trying to couch this in terms that wouldn’t be so hard for Rose to accept. I’m also learning that Ronin enjoys picking on me at the most inopportune times.

                Eventually I broke off from the girls when Snowflake and I realized that the green house really didn’t meet our “occult needs.” Cupcake tried to be offended until I said something about herbs and trees fed from death, then she was all for us making our own Death Garden. I told Snowflake that we should consider planting things around the mausoleum. He thought this was a great idea. Nightshade asked if I was trying to turn her on when I mentioned having our own Ash and Rowan trees grown from the power of Death. Gotta remember that one.

                We eventually moved into the piano room. Well we consisted of Snowflake, Tavia, Nightshade and me. This time Nightshade decided on 40’s style songs. After a few songs, she offered to teach people to play if they were interested. I accepted of course. I have no idea how to play, but more time with her and more shared culture is cool with me. Snowflake went out and got his cello and they played Canon in D together.

                It was fun and I could tell that Tavia was delighted to do something with other people and still be able to cling to Snowflake. Nightshade looked oddly content. That was about the time we started hearing Ronin screaming obscenities and something about zombies. Well that got Nightshade and Snowflake’s attention so we rush into the TV room to find Rose on the couch staring at Ronin with a horrified look on her face. Ronin was in the floor playing Left for Dead on an Xbox 360 that no one knew was in the House to start with. Apparently as things got harder, the louder she got until she was surrounded by digital shambling minions of Death and shrieking “DIEDIEDIE!” like a crazed assassin. That sparked a discussion on zombies and how they were people too. Then Tavia appeared in the doorway next to Snowflake, nipped at his skull just as someone was talking about brains, then ran off. I don’t remember anything for at least 5 minutes after that from all the laughing. That was the cutest thing I’d seen all day.

                Doc’s Log: 0345 Hours, Wednesday, May 26, 2010

                Apparently Nightshade’s not the only one with a lead on a new job.

                I went out into West Haven for patrol tonight. The parts that usually need looking after are best to go on foot but even still, I hadn’t been out for too long when I found trouble. I was walking past a cheap motel when a medium toned woman screamed and ran out to hide behind a car. She was dressed like a hooker, but before I could really give that much thought, some white dude ran out with a pistol yelling about his credit cards and fired in her direction. She could’ve been naked with a tattoo that said “I fuck for money” at that point. I was going to stop this.

                I unlocked my Primeval Shroud, felt the Mantle of the Dog rise up over me as I walked forward, and ordered the douche to put the gun down. He turned to look at me and thought about pointing the gun at me. I’m not sure what clued him in that this was a bad idea but luckily for him, he didn’t point or shoot at me. I walked up to him and told him again to put the gun down. I knew this needed to be handled gently but the Dog was already howling for a fight. I have to admit it wold have been easier just to beat him down and take his gun. Problem solved. But that pesky rational part of my brain talked me out of it.

                The guy kept claiming “the whore” stole his cards. I was in no mood to listen to that so I got between him and the car the woman was hiding behind, and looked the dude straight in the eyes. I told him that he needed to put the gun down and act like he had some sense. She swore she didn’t know what he was talking about. I asked him what proof he had that she stole anything from him? That started a whole new “whore” jag which I finally cut off. I asked him where she could hide something on her person, and make sure to keep it polite. Then I told her to come to me. I stayed between them and finally convinced him to set the gun on the table behind him. Then he went and “checked” her purse. When I said check I didn’t mean dump everything on the ground. What a dick. Then he came back and said she must have hidden it in the parking lot. I gave him my flashlight and told him to go look. The woman told me her name was Chilise Johnson, so I decided to find out what this was all about. After a bit of defensive comments, she mentioned something about being cursed. That caught my attention. It seems that Ms. Johnson worked for and with a very bad man. He apparently killed a preacher, point blank to the head, in front of his congregation and got away with it. Some time after that, the bad things started happening. All four of this man’s lieutenants were killed in strange accidents (like a wall falling on one of them), while the man himself had been crippled when he mysteriously fell down a flight of steps before a bookshelf from upstairs also tumbled down the steps to crush his legs. I was afraid when she said preacher that it was the old church, but then she described the area in West Haven and I knew it was something different.

                But that point Mr. Douche came back claiming that she must have hidden them. I figured the next stop (if I didn’t want to kill this asshole) was to call for backup. It was probably 0100 Hours when I called Ronin to come out. She got there in at least 5 minutes less time than it should have taken then walked up. Chilise seemed to recognize Ronin right off and talked about how she was clean and how good it was to see her. Neither of us knew what she was talking about, but that didn’t matter at the time. I explained to Ronin what was happening and that I thought there might be ghostly intervention. She went up to the dude and asked for his wallet. Then she did some truly bogus “checking for prints” thing, but it worked. Covered the asshole’s wallet in powder then gave it back to him. I was still inna mood so I tried to make him apologize to Chilise, but he just brushed pass. When she came back to me, Ronin confirmed that a ghost has bled on the cards and melted them like acid. Likely the same thing that happened to Chilise’s brake lines and the “stuff” she was moving for this bad guy. Ronin said that she’d do some research into this Angel of Wrath tomorrow and went back to the House.

                I walked Chilise home. I know how stressful having guns pointed and fired at you can be. I also wanted to give her a warning. What little bit we’d learned suggested that the ghost targeted her because she was “about to sin.” She needed to stay clean for a while. She understood but was afraid of what might happen with her money situation, given she wasn’t very good with real jobs. I told her I’d ask around. She kissed me on the cheek and offered to let me come up for free. It was sweet in a broken kind of way. I told her she had no idea what kind of things my girlfriend would do to me for furthering the plight of a prostitute. I also reminded her about the staying clean issues.

                Now I’m back here. I so totally should have kicked that guy’s ass. Oh well, hindsight. Time for sleep.

                Doc’s Log: 1120 Hours, Wednesday, May 26, 2010

                I crashed hard last night. I guess the adrenaline really took it out of me. Got good sleep out of it though. I did my meditations this morning and feel pretty good about the day. I think I’ll call Snowflake and ask about starting our Death Garden. It is Work Day after all. Now I need to think about what I’m doing for lunch.

                Doc’s Log: 1745 Hours, Wednesday, May 26, 2010

                Snowflake agreed that this would be a good project so I came over right after work. Basically we just plotted out where everything needed to be and then determined we needed to shave Clyde’s head for hair. Plow the hair into the ground to make it more fertile. That it’s zombie hair, plowed into the soil above a haunted mausoleum just makes it more resonant with Death. I’m sure we’ll spill a few drops of blood over the freshly plowed rows too. Fertile Death. That is an interesting concept for me.

                Snowflake determined that we’d need to use Clyde to pull the plow (which is nice since I thought I’d have to do it). He called it Applied Industrial Thaumaturgy. I’m not sure if he made that up or if he learned about it somewhere else…and really I don’t think I want to know. Now we have to get cleaned up for dinner.

                Doc’s Log: 1930 Hours, Wednesday, May 26, 2010

                Ronin used her day to dig up everything she could on our new Angel of Wrath. I can only image how nuts this must make her Angel. Anyway, the ghost’s name is Pastor Dwayne Franklin. He was murdered in plan view of his congregation by Ruben Jacobs for defying the demands of the wicked. No one would testify against Jacobs for obvious reasons so he got off with “no witnesses.” Best we can tell, Pastor Franklin is punishing the sinners centered on Jacobs and moving out to different people he’s connected with. That’s how Chilise got involved. We explained the situation from last night (which earned me a compliment from Nightshade for helping the woman) as to how it related. I mentioned that Chilise was worried about making ends meet if she isn’t walking the streets. Cupcake and Chandra seemed to have been waiting for something like this and said they’d like to meet her. The really scary thing is Ronin believes Pastor Franklin is on his way to becoming an Archetype of Wrath. That kind of Geist would cause some serious problems. Someone even mentioned that maybe he would kill Jacobs and then bring him back as a Sin-Eater to punish the wicked. No one really liked that idea. I mean the Dog of War is about Justice, but he keeps things in perspective most of the time.

                You also realize the need for a cause when you do battle Muharib. Death has no care of who it takes, but it should only be in their own time.

                I sort of get that. I think he means that we don’t just go around killing people because it takes them before they were meant to die. And even though Death is cold and uncaring in who dies, it will snuff out all Life if there is no regulation. Or at least try, like it did when the original Shadows were made from the Light.

                Anyway, enough philosophy for tonight. We’re going to take Bonnie Lynn’s diary (assuming she lets us touch it) out to Fort Nathan Hale to look for Stanton Marshall’s ghost. That should be interesting.

                Doc’s Log: 2130 Hours, Wednesday, May 26, 2010

                I’ve made a discovery. I like people pointing guns at Nightshade even less than I like pointing them at me.

                The Colored Lights were out at the Fort tonight which is always interesting. The Scholar was off in one of the clearings with what looked like a Lightning Rod. There were five of the Lights floating around him. Ronin studied him for a minute and then announced out of nowhere that he was damned hard to kill but refused to go into anymore right then.

                I stated to argue but stopped short when I the feeling. It’d been a long time since I felt that cold tickle. Something I just picked up in combat…”the bad feeling” people get. I get those, but only when something really is about to happen. A step before hitting a tripwire, the second before you run out of ammo, and the sweep of a sniper’s crosshairs over your head. I told the Krewe to be careful. Something was up.

                Just then Marshall called out to put down Bonnie Lynn’s diary. He had a rifle trained on Nightshade, as she was carrying the anchor. What we knew about him suggested that not only would he do it, he was a good enough shot that it would be bad. I knew what my knee jerk reactions would be but I didn’t think I could move fast enough to get her out of the way before he fired. Instead I tried to remain as calm as possible and talk to Marshall. He seemed to believe we had stolen Bonnie Lynn’s belongings and was very unappreciative of such endeavors. We convinced him to move to a bench so we could sit and talk. Eventually we talked him down from keeping the weapon on Nightshade and we had a discussion, once the diary was off the ground.

                Stanton seems to still hold a serious torch for Bonnie Lynn. I can’t really throw stones here, but his big hang up seems to be that he can’t let Big Sean get Bonnie Lynn. That there’s really no way of that happening is completely circumstantial to him. The gold was his and he hid it in her grave. He had some interesting ideas on what should and shouldn’t be, but then that fits so very well with Bonnie Lynn. We ended up inviting him to the “Win a Date with a Ghost” Ball as we realized this could be the break we were looking for. We had to convince Stanton that he was the type of man that Bonnie Lynn could marry, but once we pointed out he was a rich gentleman (gold bars), this settled his mind a little bit. Nightshade had issues with screwing the Goths over but I think there are ways we can manage to make everyone happy. I’m planning to get some clothes for Marshall and using my Funerary Tools ceremony to fix him up for the party. Might do the same for Bonnie Lynn.

                Once that was thankfully finished we moved back to the cars. Ronin finally decided to tell us what she was on about when she saw the Scholar. Apparently he is something called a Promethean. She met on when she ran off to the Outer Banks down south. Anyway, they seem to like lightning and Ronin even made a direction comparison to Frankenstein’s Monster. She said if they weren’t the same, then something very similar. So that tells us the answer to question number one of 647 about the Scholar. Promethean. Check.

                Now we’re back at the House. No clue what we’re going to do from here.

                Jasmine’s Diary

                Tuesday, May 25, 2010, Night

                After I’d relaxed a bit from my day of driving around, making arrangements for Jean to compete, and being reminded of the absence of my late husband, I went downstairs to catch up with the rest of the krewe. They’ve made plans for dealing with the vampires, mostly. It appears that Doc, Simon, and Natalie are actually going to approach the Prince of the Vampires or something. I confess I don’t really understand all of the details, but they are hoping to avoid any unnecessary conflict with the vampires by taking the diplomatic approach. I approve of that, but I’m worried about the vampires investigating us too closely. I do not want them finding out about who and what we are, though I suppose if they learn just enough, it could deepen their respect for us, out of fear if nothing else.

                My goodness, Jasmine. Don’t you sound rather bold?

                Aside from that, there were several other important bits of information. First off, Natalie has dug up a lead on Stanton Marshall’s ghost. Stanton Marshall is the man who killed Big Sean Gleeson, and whom Bonnie-Lynn found quite dashing. He was a mob hitman, and was therefore very dangerous in life. His ghost might be haunting Fort Nathan Hale, so we plan to investigate tomorrow night.

                The other big news is that Natalie and Doc are officially a couple! I was initially quite happy and excited for them until Natalie broke the rest of the news to me: she’s also a couple with Karen. I suppose that means she’s dating both Doc and Karen, which seems like an untenable relationship to me.

                I didn’t really know how to react to that. I still don’t. I wish I could have acted like I was happier for them, but I couldn’t. I really am very happy that Doc and Natalie are together, and yet I don’t understand why she has to take advantage of Doc’s good nature by hanging on to her girlfriend as well. I worry that jealousy will eventually rear its ugly head and destroy the relationship. I don’t think this is at all fair to Doc, even if he has agreed to it. He deserves all of Natalie’s heart, not just the half of it she cares to tear away from her teenage love slave.

                I know I sound cruel. I get the impression that this was a difficult step for Natalie, but honestly it doesn’t seem like much of a step at all, not if she’s still clinging to Karen instead of letting herself fall entirely in love with Doc. Perhaps she’s trying to take things slowly, or work in stages. But I worry that she’s given herself an excuse for her romance with Doc to fall apart, a way out, perhaps because she’s too scared to take that leap of faith. And even if she does eventually intend to devote herself solely to Doc, it’s unkind of her to string Karen along until then. I just don’t see how this can end well.

                Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Morning

                It seems Doc discovered a new ghost for us to worry about last night. Without getting into all the details, during his patrol, he rescued a prostitute from an angry client who accused her of stealing his credit cards. With Gwen’s help, Doc discovered that the girl was being haunted by the ghost of a preacher named Dwayne Franklin. Franklin was speaking out against the gang culture and drugs in his neighborhood, and was shot by a powerful drug dealer named Reuben Jacobs. Since his death, Franklin’s ghost has inflicted an endless succession of accidents on Jacobs and his gang, leaving Jacobs crippled. The prostitute Doc helped is the latest victim of the haunting, and the missing credit cards were the ghost’s fault.

                The biggest problem with Preacher Frankin’s ghost is that he has rapidly become very, very powerful for a ghost, probably fueled by his self-righteous fury. He seems to be operating as though he were the incarnation of the unforgiving wrath of God, punishing people for their sins. At least, that’s how Doc and Gwen interpret it. Gwen’s geist, the Angel of Mercy, is not pleased with Franklin’s activities. To make matters worse, Franklin’s rapidly growing power implies that he is on his way to becoming a geist who represents righteous wrath and punishment. That could make for a very dangerous sin-eater.

                We will need to deal with Franklin’s ghost before that happens…

                Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Noon

                Jean asked me out to dinner on Friday! I don’t know exactly where we’re going yet, but I’m both excited and nervous about it. The Bride is encouraging me perhaps more than she should, but I think we’re becoming even more in tune with each other, which is a good feeling.

                Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Morning

                We are preparing to visit Fort Nathan Hale to investigate Stanton Marshall’s ghost. Natalie believes that Marshall is connected to Bonnie-Lynn somehow and that taking something of Bonnie-Lynn’s to the Fort will help us draw Marshall out, so the two of us went to Bonnie’s room and asked to borrow her diary. We explained why we needed it, and after we promised to take good care of it and not to read any of it (Bonnie kept the key, of course), she reluctantly let us take it.

                There’s no doubt that Bonnie-Lynn is attracted to Marshall, and I’m getting the feeling that Marshall has a thing for her too. If so, this could really help us resolve both of them all at once! It would be so romantic! Two lonely ghosts who have nursed a secret affection for one another finally finding each other at last and passing on peacefully in each others arms!

                Of course, Bonnie has always said that she couldn’t marry Marshall because he isn’t a man of means. Ghosts can be very stubborn about these things, and I was worried that her old-fashioned convictions might prevent her from falling in love with him. I commented as much to Natalie, and she had the audacity to claim that she could talk Bonnie-Lynn into it if need be! I was appalled! You can’t just talk someone into falling in love with someone else! Love has to happen naturally, organically, and the very idea that we might manipulate two people into falling in love offends me. I told Natalie as much, and she retorted with more of her talk about the oppressive patriarchy and how it would do Bonnie-Lynn a lot of good to be rid of her old-fashioned notions of men and money. Honestly, that’s the last thing Bonnie-Lynn needs. It wouldn’t hurt for her to adopt a somewhat more modern perspective, but Natalie’s radically feminist views would ruin her. And Natalie is manipulative enough to warp almost anyone’s mind with her ideas, which are undeniably biased by the bad experiences she’s had in her life. That much is understandable, but it irritates me that Natalie insists on blaming “the oppressive patriarchy” or whatever else she happens to hate for her own poor life choices.

                Needless to say, by the time we rejoined the rest of the krewe, the atmosphere between the two of us had grown quite cold, and everyone else noticed.

                Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Late Night

                We were successful in drawing out Stanton Marshall’s ghost at Fort Nathan Hale. There was a tense moment after he appeared when he leveled a fearsome-looking rifle at Natalie (which quite naturally infuriated Doc), demanding to know
                why she was carrying something that belonged to Bonnie-Lynn. We were able to defuse the situation quickly enough, though, and explained to Marshall exactly how we were trying to help Bonnie.

                It turns out that Marshall is in love with Bonnie-Lynn. He wants nothing more than to protect her. And one reason he stuck around after death is to do just that. He won’t rest until he knows Bonnie’s safe from Big Sean Gleeson. That’s something we can help arrange. More importantly, though, we’ve decided to help Marshall and Bonnie fall in love by inviting Marshall to the “Date with a Ghost” party we’re hosting for Bonnie-Lynn’s benefit. If he shows up at the party, I’m sure that Bonnie-Lynn will fall for him. She’s already attracted to him.

                The only obstacle is that Marshall isn’t a man of means…or at least he wasn’t when he was alive. But that’s no longer a problem, really. It seems that all of the gold we found in Bonnie’s casket was placed there by Marshall. We already discussed the matter with him, and he doesn’t mind us taking possession of it now that he’s dead. But until he and Bonnie pass on, the gold is his, making him one of the wealthiest men Bonnie’s ever met, and certainly, by her culture’s standards, a suitable husband.

                I’m so pleased. The prospect of helping Bonnie and Marshall fulfill their fondest wishes leaves me warm and happy. At times like this, the Bride barely feels like a separate part of me…it feels like we’re one.


                Music and Memories

                I didn’t mention this in my last entry because I didn’t really know what to say about it, but on my way home after the day’s exertions, I listened to some of my favorite pieces of music, thinking happily of Jean. But my memories of Richard began to creep in and the old, familiar music reminded me so much of him that I couldn’t figure out whether to be excited about the possibility of romance with Jean or depressed about how much I miss my late husband. I became very upset, my hopes mingled with my grief, and by the time I got home I was a wreck.

                To her credit, and despite my lackluster response to her earlier announcement, Natalie suggested that I try to find other music that I don’t associate so heavily with Richard. I should reserve the music that’s meaningful to me because of Richard for times when I’m thinking of him, and otherwise listen to different music that doesn’t cling to my memories so tightly. After all, the melancholy music I usually listen to reminds so much of Richard that I can’t possibly think of happier things when I hear it. So I’ve resolved to listen to other music. Music that makes me a bit brighter and happier, or that I don’t specifically associate with Richard, like Collide or Röyksopp or the B-52’s.

                Sadly, this means I’ll have to reserve many of my favorites, like The Cure and Massive Attack for times when I want to wrap myself in the comfortable melancholy of my memories.

                Gwen offered to let me peruse her large music collection to try and find new artists I might like. She claims to have a very diverse collection, but I’m a bit dubious of my chances given the music I’ve heard her playing in the past.

                Speaking of Gwen, I’ve been watching her play a zombie-killing game called Left 4 Dead as I’ve been writing this, and she’s becoming more and more agitated as she plays. And her language is getting worse. Much worse! I should stop writing for now.

                Natalie’s Tweets

                Tuesday, May 25th

                -Talked to Jasmine, that is done. She was dismissive of course, she usually is.

                -Then she wonders why she is not good with people.

                -I decided to help her out anyway. I am nice like that.

                -I feel musical.

                -Gwen and Jasmine were killing zombies on a video game, Simon and I were singing and playing the Cello and Piano respectively, and Doc and Alexia were watching us and enjoying.

                -I suppose some of us are just more…artistic…then others, in talent and appreciation..

                -Playing video games with live music to enjoy or play in, what?

                -Anyway, there is a Gloom Cookie kissing my feet and I really have better things to do then type. Ciao!

                Wednesday, May 26th

                -Vlog is up!

                -Yes those were a young ladies stockinged legs across my bed in the background, why do you ask?

                -I’ve written a song. No you can’t hear it. Yet anyway.

                -Dinner at Chez Satanique. Jasmine seems unhappy that my lady is here.

                -Doc helped a young woman trapped in prostitution. Excellent. Gwen also saw her way clear to help her.

                -I respect their decision very much.

                -Going to Fort Nathan Hale for some UE.

                -Jasmine clearly enjoys the idea of women in a second-class position in society. It becomes ever more clear to me how we got this way.

                -It falls to women like me to protect our rights from women like Jasmine.

                -I mean, she spends her time obsessing on not having a husband, as opposed to, say, Gwen.

                -Of course one needs a husband if they feel the settled order of things is to lack the rights of privileges of a man, and need one to lend theirs to them.

                -Oh my I seem to have been lecturing there.

                -At Nathan Hale. A storm is brewing.

                -Zombie man playing with a lightning rod. Just color, of course.

                -…Sorry about the long time with no posts, a man had a rifle trained on my head.

                -OK, Doc, I get why you don’t like guns pointed at you now. It makes sense.

                -I think people are forgetting that “win a date with a ghost” is for the Goths.

                -Won’t someone, please, think of the Goths?

                -I mean, the ghost too, but the ghost is win/win I fear leaving the Goths in the cold.

                -Maybe I should have left well enough alone.

                End Session XXVII

                Few notes.

                Yes, I have also adapted another yarn from Ghost Stories. You can take that as a plug if you want, that is the second scenario adapted from that book.

                It's worth noting Jasmine and Natalie's clashes are 100% IC. Jasmine's player even noted a different character they play, Erika from Scion, would be sympathetic to Natalie and get along, though she would be trying to end Natalie's self-destructive behavior.

                The songs Natalie played on piano and sang were Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar and Hold Tight by the Andrews Sisters, among others. I'd say some Jo Stafford was there too but not specifically mentioned.

                I am out of time. Please enjoy.

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                [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


                • #38
                  OK, apologies for the delay, here we go. Very small bonus from another Sin-Eater outside the Krewe at the end, in response to Natalie's musings.

                  Session XXVIII

                  Doc's Log

                  Doc’s Log: 0715 Hours, Thursday, May 27, 2010

                  Well I guess answers that question. Nightshade decided I needed to “stay out of trouble” last night, so we retired early. Which does explain why I’m up a little earlier than normal. I may never get use to waking up with this beautiful woman next to me…but damn is it amazing.

                  I hope I never have another moment like I did last night where a gunman has a bead on Nightshade and I can’t do anything about it. If something happens to her, I will find ways to punish those responsible from some of the really old books in the Library.

                  Wow, I need to not think about that. Any of it.

                  Karen came up last night after we were alone. The timing of it probably should have bothered me, but the subject was important enough to keep my head in the right place. Nightshade has asked me to try and help Karen get off heroin. I know that a big problem with this is that Nightshade still does heroin, but still. I know of a few ways to help those who “Chase the Dragon.” I’ve given some of those tips to Nightshade before, but I’m not sure how many times she’s followed through with it. Naturally I agreed to help, but I did point out that until Karen wanted to get clean, there would only be so much I could do.

                  Nightshade also asked me what the Dog of War thought about us being together last night before we tried to sleep. Eventually I realized, she meant when we were having sex. The Dog was as short on words as I was for that one. Apparently the Laughing Lady is thrilled that we are together. The irony of me making the Laughing Lady happy was special to say the least, but it hopefully makes things easier for Nightshade. Eventually we “discussed” it and I let her know he was cool with it.

                  My thoughts on your couplings have little to do with our connection. I understand they are important to you Sadiqi. Your connection with Afaf is a powerful one even as you know her Geist conflicts with your mind. She
                  is perhaps more in tune with the Underworld, but her mental bonds must be carefully broken lest she sink further into al-Zulamat and Abd. Your Krewe are her anchors, but I suspect that you are the key. I believe you will find unlocking her secrets to be terrifying and rewarding.

                  Well thank you for that deeply disturbing prediction. Definitely time to go meditate.

                  Doc’s Log: 1415 Hours, Thursday, May 27, 2010

                  Unsurprisingly it took me a little while to properly meditate after my “conversation” this morning, but eventually I slipped into a peaceful place and realized the Dog of War’s words for what they were. From what we know of Nightshade, the more she opens up to me, the more horrible of a nightmare I’ll have access to, but the closer we’ll grow. That was ultimately a calming thought and I realized that the Dog is willing to give me enough leeway to have a life without interference. That made our situation seem more like brothers in arms. It’s much easier to think of things this way. No fucking idea why I haven’t come up with that before now. I have the same sense of unity and clarity that I did when I woke up in the Sand.

                  Nightshade surprised me by bringing me lunch today. She brought healthy food, which is not surprising but always welcome. We haven’t done lunch like this since … well I think I was still in or just out of the hospital. That was great and really helped cement today being a good day.

                  After she left to go back to the House, I got out the laptop and started looking into some of the plants and requirements for our Death Garden. I think I’m going to draw out some plots on a notepad so Snowflake and I can really consider how to do this.

                  Doc’s Log: 1745 Hours, Thursday, May 27, 2010

                  I got back to the House early again so we could go over my plans for the plots and maybe work on the Death Garden if we had time. Also I remembered that Snowflake’s vampiric friend was coming so I wanted to make sure we had everything together. Ronin had more agonizing details of Dwayne Franklin so we ate dinner and learned all the sad details.

                  Apparently not only is Pastor Franklin punishing sinners surrounding Jacobs, but specifically from his old neighborhood. Seems that Dwayne’s father Dusty is now acting as pastor for the church. Ronin, Snowflake,
                  Alexia, and Rose went to the church sometime after lunch to see what they could learn. From all the information, they had quite an education. Unfortunately, it looks like Dwayne has already made the jump from ghost to Geist, which is bad on every level. That will make it very difficult to help him move on. Fighting him is also not good as he basically has our powers, ghostly powers, with no body and nothing holding him back. To make it more interesting, no matter how good any of us are with our Geists, putting his down is NOT going to go well.

                  Even the Avatars of Death have a collective sense of self preservation, Muharib. Our numbers, like yours, are too low to allow unmitigated destruction. Even as you consider this plan, you feel the truth of my words.

                  That’s a little weird to see written without him speaking to me first. Spooky, even for me. But the Dog’s right. And we are looking first at trying to take the high road by helping Dwayne move on. Barring that, imprisoning the Angel of Wrath may be the only way we can make this work. Ronin has been very subdued on this topic. I mean she told us the information, but in dealing with everything not so much. I suspect that she and her Angel of Mercy are having some serious issues with this development.

                  Not too much I can do for her with that. Snowflake and I have some plans to study in the Library until his Family Friend arrives. Hope this goes well.

                  Doc’s Log: 2345 Hours, Thursday, May 27, 2010

                  Well, that was mentally taxing. But I think we’ve figured it out. If so, then Lady Luck might just start being a friend. Snowflake mentioned that I should maybe get a robe. Something ceremonial like his and Tavia’s. I thought about it and said maybe I could have one with dogs and fire instead of fish and waves. Some times it’s hard to read Snowflake, but this time I was pretty sure he was happy.

                  In the meantime, we emerged from the Library after not quite three hours to get ready for our guest. I went back upstairs to change into something a little nicer so I could be presentable to a family friend of Snowflake’s. Our visitor, one Dantaine Ruhadze, arrived about 2130. I don’t know what I expected or if I did, but Dantaine is a big dude; tall, dark skin, rich Franco-African accent, very dignified. Since Chandra insists on being involved, there was that moment of tension vampires get on first meeting each other. Luckily, everyone took the high ground and everything was okay. Snowflake and I helped him bring his various belongings up to his room. Dantaine is a very classy individual and even though most people could have easily dismissed me as a servant, he understood there was no servitude among us. That always goes a long way with me when evaluating the personality of a vampire. When introductions were made, we in turn addressed neither he nor Chandra’s condition as a matter of that same respect. They did share a knowing glance however in what I guess was a “do they know” moment. After that everything was fine.

                  Dantaine wasted no time. Once all his things were put away, he requested to see the first item. Snowflake nodded and I brought out the Demon box. Rose and Nightshade found other places to be. I know that Nightshade doesn’t like to gawk at supernatural abilities. Rose just doesn’t like vampires. The rest of the Krewe and Chandra, either due to suspicion or curiosity, stayed in the room to watch over the process. I could hear Nightshade in the piano room. That added a surreal layer to the scene.

                  After about half an hour, Dantaine declared the box was Arabian, likely Persian, in origin. The creator’s intention was to trap and store Djinn. There are four spirits trapped inside and we now know which drawers. The entity in the upper right drawer is apparently fairly powerful as it made psychic contact with our vampiric appraiser in an attempt to be freed. Dantaine determined that at least three of the spirits were dangerous, though he said the top drawer should never be opened.

                  The box can hold other creatures other than spirits, ghosts for sure. He said that there would (or should) be a ritual written down somewhere to open each drawer, and that once an entity was trapped, that ritual could be used to release it as well as pull it back in. This was likely used to force the prisoners to serve the master of the box. In addition to the ritual, the keys, and the names, a drop of the blood from a woman is required to open any of the drawers. Dantaine said that he could attempt to reverse engineer the rituals but that he could not guarantee there would be no issues. This man is awesome.

                  So, looks like we need to poke our friendly park ranger to search his disgraced relative’s stuff for a book of ritual entrapment. That’s gonna be a fun phone call. One that I’m not planning to make at this time of night.

                  Wow, my little notebook here is almost out of paper. I don’t think I expected to keep this many notes. I’ll have to look for another one soon. Probably only one or two more entries left in this one. Crazy. Now let’s see what my girlfriend is up to.

                  Jasmine's Diary

                  Thursday, May 27, 2010, Morning

                  This morning, my meditation was very deep, and I felt more centered than usual. It has put me in a very good frame of mind for the rest of the day.

                  Thursday, May 27, 2010, Afternoon

                  After I returned home in the early afternoon, I found Gwen and Alexia and together the three of us went back to the Orphan Asylum. Even though there is little of interest to us there now and we have decided not to leverage the fear spirit’s destruction against the Nosferatu, I felt that it would still be best to encourage positive relations with the vampires by at least being polite. I don’t really like them, and indeed I find them quite frightening, but I suppose that’s all the more reason to try and be civil. So I wanted to leave a note for them, explaining that we have eliminated the fear spirit, giving them one less thing to worry about.
                  We broke into the orphanage and left the note without any trouble. Tommy Knocker’s servant dog, the pug with thorny vines growing from him, was there guarding the place like before, and I made sure to be very friendly to him, scratching his ears and patting his head. He really seemed to take to me, which warmed my spirits a bit. Animals do seem to take to me better than people do, don’t they? Had I been thinking, I would have brought him something to eat. Maybe next time.

                  Thursday, May 27, 2010, Late Afternoon

                  Gwen dug up more information about Dwayne Franklin, the murdered priest whose ghost we thought might become a geist. Her information mostly confirmed what we had already learned, and it became apparent that in order to resolve him, we would need to somehow bring his killer, Reuben Jacobs, to justice, and perhaps convince his congregation to turn the neighborhood around and admit what they know about Dwayne’s killing.
                  Alexia, Simon, Gwen and I visited Dwayne’s church and found his father, Dusty Franklin, there, operating as the new pastor. He was very frightened, and Gwen seemed disgusted with him. He certainly didn’t seem up to the job of being the neighborhood’s religious leader.

                  More importantly, though, we found Dwayne’s ghost there, standing oppressively at the altar and glowering threateningly at us and at his father. While Gwen and Alexia went to speak to Dusty and Simon hung back cautiously, I stood and watched Dwayne, making it very clear that I could see him. I wasn’t trying to be threatening, I just didn’t want him to try anything rash while we were there.

                  After Gwen spoke to Dusty, we spoke briefly and quietly to the Dwayne’s ghost, and Gwen used her oracular abilities to learn more about him. Unfortunately, it would seem that he is already a geist, and a dangerous one at that. Resolving him is not going to be easy now, especially since I have the feeling he will not be cooperative, even if we are trying to help him clean up his neighborhood. If he is to be appeased, the neighborhood needs to change for the better, and we can only do so much to make that happen. Gwen’s friend Clevon (“Chuck”) can probably do a lot more good than we can, but we will need to resolve his other problems first, I suppose.

                  One thing is certain. If our dealings with the geist that was Dwayne Franklin ever erupt into violence, it will not be an easy fight and I fear some of us might be terribly injured or even killed in the process.

                  Thursday, May 27, 2010, Night

                  Simon’s family’s vampire adviser on occult artifacts arrived this evening. He is a large, distinguished-looking African man. Though there seemed to be a bit of tension when he and Chandra met (something having to do with the inherently predatory nature of vampires, according to Doc), he settled into the mansion quite nicely. I didn’t really speak to him directly, and after introductions mostly left him to his work. While my interest in the occult does make be curious about the DeCastros’ obsidian box (which is primarily what he has come to examine), the rest of the krewe seemed intent on hovering about to watch him investigate it, and I worried that he might be crowded, so I retired to my room, where I have been playing with Fu. He is really adorable, but very picky about his toys. He won’t touch some of the cat toys I bought him, but seems endlessly fascinated by a length of twine he managed to find somewhere!

                  Thursday, May 27, 2010, Late Night

                  Gwen shared with me the details of what Dantaine learned about the box. Essentially, it can trap and hold spirits and similar entities, like ghosts. It was originally made to trap djinn. There are four spirits in it right now, and one is apparently very powerful, because it is able to exert some degree of mental control even from within the box, but only upon those with mystical perception, like some vampires, mortal psychics, and possibly sin-eaters manifesting the Oracle.

                  In order to trap a spirit, we would have to use the correct rituals. Each drawer of the box has its own ritual, and while we might be able to reconstruct the rituals with Dantaine’s help, Adolphe almost certainly kept the details somewhere. It’s possible that Ildefonso’s family still has Adolphe’s books explaining the rituals, so we will have to ask about that.


                  Dwayne Franklin

                  Date of Death: 2008?
                  Known Anchors: Blood stain in front of church; also, the refusal of his congregation to speak out against his killer, Reuben Jacobs, seems key to his continued manifestation.
                  Known Numina: Phantasm, Inferno, Banshee Wail, Speed, Compulsion, Terrify
                  Known Keys: Stigmata, Pyre Flame
                  Known Manifestations: Rage, Shroud
                  Dwayne is a ghost who has become a powerful geist over a frighteningly short amount of time. He has come to represent the “fire and brimstone” approach to punishing sins, and seems to see himself as an unforgiving embodiment of the Christian God’s wrath.
                  In order to resolve him, we might have to somehow drag his neighborhood from the depths of crime and fear. Honestly, the task seems overwhelming, but with persistence we might be able to make a difference, with Clevon Norris’s help.
                  Thanks to Gwen’s Oracle, we were able to learn a lot about Dwayne that will be useful in dealing with him in the future.

                  Natalie's Tweets

                  Wednesday, May 26th

                  -Vlog is up.

                  -I suspect I am going to retire early, keep Doc out of trouble.

                  -Hello Twilight Network guys and ghouls; Romance question: Do your SOs get all weird when you try to discuss your Geist’s opinions on sex? I mean they are right there experiencing it with you.

                  Thursday, May 27th

                  -I’m awake.

                  -Is it sad I am actually used to this place now? Decaying evil house on the bluffs…its that place I wake up most of the time.

                  -Lunch with Doc!

                  -Your Mistress is eating healthy for lunch today. I know it is a shock…me eating lunch.

                  -Home again home again jiggity-jogg.

                  -My girlfriend knows when I need a massage.

                  -Goddess. I swear I have had as much sex this week as I usually have in two or three combined.

                  -My legs are still sore.

                  -plus side-I have lost like six pounds in five days.

                  -In other news, the Twilight Network is apparently mostly a little squeamish on the “Geists having sex along with you” subject.

                  -Maybe if the Laughing Lady were a spider with a baby’s face and eight eyes I would be less blasé.

                  -Dinnertime. Jasmine still does not like my girlfriend being here. I need to be careful not to take her behavior out on Doc, since I am pretty sure she is being chilly on his behalf.

                  -I am quite positive he is not encouraging her to be like that.

                  -So we have a Preacher Geist who likes to burn and kill sinners. I am so thrilled.

                  -Vampire coming. Filled with regret, I am sending the gloom cookie to my townhouse.

                  -I have to talk to her brother tomorrow, I think. Maybe Saturday. It’s gonna be awkward.

                  -She respects him a lot and cares a lot about him so I am going to be as nice as I can possibly be to someone trying to get my girlfriend to go straight.

                  -I want to get drunk first, but that won’t help.

                  -Mr. Vampire is here. There is something weird with him and Chandra.

                  -He seems nice enough as Vampires go. He did not bite anyone. Wonder what the weirdness with Chandra was.

                  -Folks are crowding him in the study, so I am retiring to the piano room.

                  -Don’t worry I brought my laptop!

                  -Vlog Piano Edition is up!

                  -I should really not enjoy the song “Amazing Horse” given the subject matter, but I can’t help it.

                  -Apparently he is getting somewhere with the spirit trapping box.

                  -I need Karen to be here with me. I don’t know exactly why.

                  A note from Keth Siegel, Forgotten Gatekeeper, with the Weaver of the Web of Fate

                  I saw your post to the TN. I have to say that if the Weaver of the Web of Fate got involved while I was having sex, ...just no. And she is a woman with the lower half of a spider. About the size of a semi.

                  Good to hear you're well. I'm gonna go try to drink that image out of my head now.

                  End Session XXVIII

                  Not much really to report. Keth is a PC of Doc's Player, his first Geist in the short line game I ran (which had Natalie) and who reappeared in a crossover Halloween one shot.

                  Dantaine Ruhadze's last name is an homage to Hesha Ruhadze, the Followers of Set signature character. Dantaine himself is a Old School Khaibat Mekhet. The weirdness with him and Chandra was obviously their beasts meeting for the first time...he handled it better then she did, oddly enough.

                  I must run. Enjoy. Comments and questions welcome. May add a thought or two here tonight when not short on time.

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                  [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


                  • #39
                    New Session! Not much plot advancement, as it was date night. But some planning and a whole lot of intraparty roleplaying. It was fun. Here we go...

                    Session XXIX

                    Doc's Log

                    Doc’s Log: 1115 Hours, Friday, May 28, 2010

                    I went on patrol again last night but it was really calm. I love it when that happens. Which may have been why it was so easy to meditate this morning. Today is shaping up to be pretty damn good too. Let’s see what we get.

                    Doc’s Log: 1940 Hours, Friday, May 28, 2010

                    Well. Today is differently interesting.

                    I got back to the House about normal time. If I didn’t know I’d entered a Haunt I might have thought I was in the wrong house. It was like Prom night in here. Rose and Ronin each had a date and were all dolled up for that, Chandra and Cupcake were going out like usual, and then Nightshade walked in. Now I don’t know of a way that she can not look good, but this was not a look I was expecting. She had some dinner with Karen’s brother setup, something about trying to make Karen “not gay.” I didn’t know anything about it until right then and Karen didn’t look really thrilled by things either. Nightshade wore what I can only call the most butch pants suit (complete with fingerless gloves) I’ve ever seen. It was like she stole the whole suit from a 1920s lesbian night club. She was vaguely agitated but that may have been nerves. As Karen seemed very sober, I didn’t think it was cocaine this time. I reminded Karen that she had my number in case there was a problem and asked Nightshade to be careful. I knew trying to talk her out of this was not a good idea, but man could I see how wrong things could go.

                    Tavia and Snowflake were staying in (likely planning to enjoy having the house to themselves for once, til it was obvious I wasn’t going out) so they pulled me into conversation to keep me from being overly anxious about the what-if’s of tonight. We talked about maybe getting another dog to have around the house, especially during the party. Tavia was very concerned about this as she feared Xerxes would be jealous and also that another dog would be as sweet to her as he was. I can’t really express how cute Tavia was when talking about Xerxes. I also learned that Xerxes apparently didn’t like Bonnie Lynn at all. Tavia said he bristled anytime they went near Bonnie’s room. She told me that she worried another dog wouldn’t be able to handle being around ghosts even as well as Xerxes. This was all accentuated with reminders (to me) about how he was “such a good boy!” I may have to bring Xerxes back over on a more permanent basis. Tavia is obviously taken with him. I may still look into getting another vet dog or maybe a pit rescue.

                    I imagine I’m more than qualified to train one. Well, only because I can actually talk to them, but still. Anyway, Snowflake and I discussed the security options for the party and what precautions we should realistically consider. That was pretty helpful for me to conceptualize and the tea and toast was relaxing.

                    Then we moved on to discussions of how we could use my ceremony and Snowflake’s carpentry to create quality firearms for use in Twilight. I don’t think he had given this idea much thought before but I could tell after I mentioned it that he was VERY interested. This led into our decision to expand our new found hedge magic to include an alchemy lab. Using alchemy, his carpentry, and some minor fabrication of forms, we suspect we can create enhanced weapons, swords for instance, that could strike unmanifested ghosts. This is an exciting theory for both of us.

                    Nightshade and Karen came back before it was even dark. At first I was worried things went badly, especially based on Karen’s face. But then Nightshade started talking (and beaming) about how well things went. When she mentioned how alike Kevin and Karen were, I was only a little worried that she might want to sleep with him. But I didn’t have to think about that very long thankfully as Chandra and Cupcake burst in giggling madly before abruptly announcing that they were going to retire for the evening. And on that note, I think I need a drink.

                    Doc’s Log: 2250 Hours, Friday, May 27, 2010

                    Dantaine came down right after I left off and let us know he needed to go and “present” himself to someone. We wished him well and told him we might have some more questions for me when he got back.

                    Rose passed him on the way out. She ran up to change and then we all gathered ‘round to hear about her first real date in ages. I looked around at one point and noticed Ronin was still out. I guess Anders is showing her a good time after all. So much for the simple dinner and a movie date. Rose had a good time and that was important.

                    Now Dantaine is back so I’m going to leave off here. Good timing, need to find that new notebook now.

                    Jasmine’s Diary

                    Friday, May 28, 2010, Morning

                    I’m going out with Jean this evening. It’s my first date since Richard died, and I’m anxious. I keep wondering if I’m just doing this because I knew Jean expected it, or because the Drowned Bride wants it. I’m not even sure how I feel about it. Gwen would scold me for overthinking it all.

                    Apparently Alexia and Chanda are going out tonight, and Gwen is taking Anders out for dinner and movie as well. Natalie is visiting Karen’s brother, who has been called in to meet her and talk Karen out of her relationship with another woman. I don’t really care one way or the other about Karen’s sexual orientation, but I do think that keeping her away from Natalie is a good idea. I’m certain she’s a bad influence on Karen. And I feel bad for Doc. Almost everyone else, including his girlfriend, is going out tonight, while he’s left home alone. I think he’ll be working with Simon and Tavia on something or other, but still, I feel bad for him.

                    Over breakfast, Tavia excitedly asked if I was going to buy new clothes for my date. I hadn’t even thought about it, really. My thoughts briefly flickered to the wine-colored evening dress in my closet, the only piece of clothing I even own that isn’t black, white, gray, or pale blue. But no, I can’t wear that. Not for Jean. Not for anyone, I suppose.

                    Friday, May 28, 2010, Afternoon

                    I took a shopping expedition with Alexia, Chandra and Tavia this afternoon. We must have seemed quite the odd group at the mall. It took me awhile to find something that I was comfortable with, but I eventually settled on a simple, slender black evening dress with spaghetti straps cut to about knee length. It’s stylish and sexy, but also fairly conservative, and the others thought it suited me very well. I also picked up some new shoes to match. Jean’s taking me to a fairly nice restaurant, so I felt I should dress up a bit for the date. Somehow, finding just the right clothing to wear helped to alleviate some of my anxiety going in to the date. Now it’s time to get ready.

                    Friday, May 28, 2010, Night

                    My date with Jean was quite nice, and the Bride is certainly happy about it. Ever since I headed home, she’s been filling my head with all manner of romantic thoughts and telling me how wonderful it is that I’m finally falling in love again. I don’t know if she thinks that Jean is “the one” for me, but she has certainly been acting like she does.

                    But I’m not falling in love again. Not yet anyway. Jean and I simply had a nice date. We chatted about our friends, and I told him about my housemates at Dark Haven Bluffs. Of course I said nothing about being sin-eater, living next door to a werewolf, or any of a hundred other things that would convince any rational peron that I’m insane, but I did describe the way the krewe had formed a family of sorts, albeit a dysfunctional one.

                    Jean told me about his friends as well, both those he left in the Ivory Coast and his friends at AMC. He is good friends with Barry Teasdale, a history major who is apparently quite bright. Jean admitted feeling a bit envious of Barry’s intelligence, but I reassured Jean by reminding him that he too is very intelligent, and that everyone has his or her own strengths. I’m sure Barry couldn’t come close to competing with Jean athletically.

                    I was reminded of R.L. and Jimbo when Jean mentioned Barry, though. As I recall, the last time I’d really encountered Barry was when R.L. and Jimbo were giving him a hard time about something. I hope they aren’t causing problems for other students. Maybe I should look into it.

                    As we talked about Jean’s friends, I began to realize how young Jean is. He’s only 20! For some reason I always think of him as being older than he is. He is very mature, and I’m not really much older at 25. But still, I couldn’t help but feel the difference in our ages. I suppose Richard’s death, my grief, and my retirement from professional swimming have made me feel much older than I am.

                    After dinner we visited an art gallery. I like art galleries, and had been wanting to go to the one we chose for awhile now. But for some reason I never felt like going alone. Richard and I used to go to art galleries sometimes, and I suppose I feared it would be unbearably lonely to go by myself. I didn’t mind going with Jean, though, and it was nice to have someone there to enjoy the art with me.

                    Anyway, the date was nice. It was mildly romantic, but not enough to make me uncomfortable, and Jean was a perfect gentleman. I worry that I may have come across as a bit cold. I can’t really help it.

                    When I got home, Doc, Tavia, and Simon were there. Alexia and Chandra had already retired for the night, and Gwen was not home yet. She still isn’t, which I suppose means she’s decided to be rather aggressive with her relationship to Anders. I’m not at all worried about Anders taking advantage of her, so I supposed she knows what she’s doing, even if I do think she might be rushing into things a bit quickly.

                    Everyone wanted to know how my date went, and so I told them about it. I reported having a good time, but also let slip some of my worries. I mean, aren’t I supposed to come home feeling happy after a nice date? Instead, my melancholy remained firmly intact despite the Bride’s elated whispers. I hope it didn’t show during the date. I don’t want Jean to think I didn’t enjoy myself; I did.

                    Doc, of course, prudently reminded me of Gwen’s advice: don’t overthink things. It’s amazing how resolute I can be about so many things, yet so uncertain when it comes to what really matters!


                    The Decastro Pistols

                    Alexia contacted Ildefonso Decastro to find out if he knew where Adolphe’s ritual notebooks are. Ildefonso did not know, and confessed that it is a bit difficult for him to look for such things as freely as he would like without arousing suspicion from his family.

                    Alexia also asked if he had made any progress on finding the pistols. He fears they are not among Adolphe’s things. He told us that another family, the Wilsons (previously the Eichmanns before they changed their name during WWII), were responsible for moving the things from the Decastro’s house after Adolphe died. They might have the pistols still, or might have records revealing where they are, at least.

                    Just Like Heaven

                    When I got home from training this morning, before going shopping, I was surprised to hear someone playing The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” on the piano. It is one of my favorite songs, and it always helps lift my spirits when I hear it. I knew it must be Natalie playing, and I went to the piano room and stood quietly in the doorway listening to her finish the song. It was nice, and touching. She noticed me before I could slip away once she was finished, and I complimented her on it. For a moment, we shared a bit of warmth. It was nice to find some common ground and not just argue with one another.


                    Natalie recently made a vanitas for herself. It reminded me that I can make one as well. In fact, I began to work on one months ago. I am not a skilled poet, even if I do constantly read the Romantics, but I began composing a poem lamenting my lost love. At the time, Richard’s death was still too fresh, and finishing the poem was too painful. But perhaps now I’m in a better state of mind now.

                    Natalie's Tweets

                    Friday, May 28th

                    -Can I be someone other then me today? I’ll be good to be me again tomorrow.

                    -Maybe I can have Simon disguise as me and go. No that won’t work.

                    -Maybe I can pay Tavia to sit and stare in judgment at them.

                    -Maybe I can have Chandra’s head float over my right shoulder, fade in and out, and tell them to “just ignore it and don’t give it the satisfaction of acknowledging it’s there”

                    -“Talking about it will just encourage it.”

                    -Maybe put Doc in a 50s housewife wig and otherwise have him dress normally. Nah bigots will just be pissed their daughter is doing a Mexican.

                    -Hell my parents probably would be too. See, by not contacting them I am doing them a favor! I am so considerate.

                    -OK, Simon wants to speak to me, Gloom Cookie says.

                    -Maybe have Simon make an illusion of me.

                    -Ha Simon used magic to give me luck. Awesome. Thanks Simon!

                    -Tavia seemed most impressed.

                    -What other “I Love Lucy”-esque hijinx can I think of to avoid this?

                    -Eh, will play the piano and clear my head.

                    -Apparently Jasmine decided to come in and hear me playing “Just like Heaven” on the piano.

                    -It’s played by ear but good enough I think. She seemed to like it. Was nice.

                    -Well that centered me a bit.

                    -Maybe I can have Karen wheel me in in Doc’s old chair. It would be crass to try to get her to break up with someone not capable of walking normally.

                    -Vlog is up!

                    -Jasmine, Chandra, Alexia, and Tavia have gone shopping to help Jasmine with her date tonight. I suppose it’s best I don’t go along, I don’t think Jasmine would agree with much of my feedback.

                    -Maybe they can talk her into wearing a little red dress or something.

                    -Maybe we can say I was drafted.

                    -I should get ready.

                    -I’d lose more weight if I didn’t eat so goddamn much.

                    -Meow. I do look good if I do say so myself. I would totally do me.

                    -Karen appears to be torn between slapping me for dressing so Dyke-y and wanting to fuck me right here on the floor. Note to self: Girlfriend likes women in suits.

                    -Here I go!

                    -I’ve still got it.

                    -That could have gone worse. Fortunately brother and sister are not so different. Though I think Karen’s eyes may have turned a little green.

                    -I never flirted or anything.

                    -Didn’t have to.

                    -Back home, hanging with Doc, Simon, and Tavia. Sent Karen upstairs to prepare herself for the ravishing.

                    -Well. Alexia and Chandra are back.

                    -Jasmine’s date seemed to go well (well, as well as it could have and have her walking normally)

                    -Speaking of dates going well, I don’t believe Gwen is coming back. I doubt Anders would have kept her out this late if he were bringing her back.

                    -Mr. Vampire is back. I think we are going to interrogate, er, chat with him now. Then, our heroine gets to blow off some stress…

                    End Session XXIX

                    Session was fun. Not much to cover that was not covered here. Gwen spent the night with Anders, obviously. Natalie's dinner was not roleplayed through though several rolls were made to determine how she did. Social Maneuvers Fighting style is sick, by the way. As a reminder note (referring to discussion in Doc's Log) I allow supernatural folks in my games (just Geist and changeling, currently) to learn Low Magic (and the blood bather ritual, just in case people did not need all that Mortality stat levels). The Changeling team has not had anyone learn it in 3 years of play, but Doc and Simon picked up basic Ceremonial Magic last session. I enforce the att+abil cap for number of rolls, so it is not too powerful, but does offer tricks.

                    I think that is everything. Will update this if I think of anything else to add. Hope you enjoyed, feedback welcome.

                    Onyx Path Moderator
                    Forum Rules
                    This is my mod voice. This is my goth voice.
                    [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


                    • #40
                      OK I have a few comments here but nothing earth shattering.

                      Session XXX

                      Doc's Log

                      Doc’s Log: 1215 Hours, Sunday, May 30, 2010

                      I finally managed to go shopping and found this book. Yes I put that sticker there. It seemed to be fitting for me to have a smug grin on my skull and crossbones.

                      This new book is bigger and a whole lot thicker so I doubt I’ll need to worry about getting another one any time soon. But if I do, I know just where to find them. This thing was pretty cheap too. And that’s never a bad thing. Anyway, so let me get back to the important stuff now.

                      Dantaine got back a little before midnight so we asked him to join us for a few questions. He apparently remembered we mentioned this so he didn’t seem worried. Snowflake started off by asking if we could feasibly speak with this Prince Maxwell? Dantaine felt confident that we could though we would need a reason that related to the vampiric community. He suggested we simply accompany Chandra and state our request that way. No one thought we should mention Chandra had no contact with the other Kindred of the city, as Dantaine called them. I think this mildly confused him though he didn’t spend much time on the point.

                      Once we gave him the extremely abbreviated version of the problem involving Chuck, Dantaine told us Maxwell would be highly unlikely to take our side against another Kindred of the city. He also pointed out if we moved against the Kindred, we would be crushed with overwhelming odds. Barring us going to Maxwell through Chandra, Dantaine thought we should have some information or ability that would be extremely helpful to the Kindred at large. Currently, the Owls (the Strix) are posing the biggest threat to the city. Dantaine seemed very surprised when I mentioned that I spoke with one. He was also glad that it found me uninteresting. The research we did on the Strix proved frighteningly lacking compared to what Dantaine knew and with which he enlightened us. That they could possess humans and Kindred alike and also pretend to be those individuals for a time has apparently already caused a huge problem. The main concerns at this point seem to be learning how to deal with them both individually and in large scale. Dantaine mentioned that there is even some attempts being made to determine if they possess a sort of Hive Mind. Right now he says that most Kindred in the city can’t really affect the Strix at all, though he can; something about being in complete darkness and being able to attack them without issue. He also threw out what amounted to telling us he knew what we were by saying we could affect the Strix using our ability to attack targets in Twilight. That seems to be the only reliable way to harm them, short of Dantaine’s shadow strikes.

                      After that lengthy discussion, Dantaine took his leave to go and research his materials for any more information on Snowflake’s items. I looked around at the others and noted that we needed to do more research on the Strix in a library the “Kindred” couldn’t access. Rose thought we should go ahead and make the anchor for Ephraim in exchange for him guiding us through the Underworld Library. I’m definitely okay with that. We knew what had to be done. Then I looked around. Ronin still hadn’t made it back, Nightshade had Karen over tonight, and the others wandered off to bed. So I went out for patrol.

                      While I was out, I called the Orphan Grinders. I kinda expected them to be “out of service range” so when I had to leave a message, it wasn’t a surprise. That I have contact with a group of Hell Divers that aren’t completely insane at all is a blessing as far as I’m concerned. I just told them I’d like to see if they had any maps that would help us and to call me when they got back Pink Side. After that, I finished up my rounds and headed home.

                      Saturday started out smoothly. I got up and meditated for about an hour, then I got Xerxes out and about. I wanted to bring him back over to Dark Haven Bluffs so I called Snowflake and let them know he was coming. He let me know that Ronin was still out with Anders. Must be the athletic type. Good for both of them. I’m hoping this will take the edge off Ronin for a while. But to mess with her I texted her to ask if she was “coming up for air?” I got one back that just said, “later.” Fun is fun, but I had no intention of really interrupting so I just called a cab and headed over to the House.

                      Saturday is Socializing Day in the Fishborne planner and we spent a good part of the day in healthy debate and discussion about what we needed to do and by when. By the time Ronin finally made it back (sometime around 1400 Hours), we had a full time table of events.

                      Of immediate importance, Snowflake needs to dig through the family records to learn why Dantaine works for him and what, if any, payment is required or expected. Getting an in with the vampires will open the door to both helping Chuck and dealing with the Beast of Bethlehem in Murder Ballads. We have to do something with Big Sean Gleason before the “Win a Date with a Ghost” party, which was exactly two weeks from yesterday. The next night is our monthly duel of wills with the Outsiders in Tavia’s paintings. Assuming we live through that, the week after we’re crashing the Solstice Flesh Fair Cruise in New Orleans. And thanks to a brief moment of panic from Nightshade, we learned that the DeCastros have to be dealt with before the students return for the fall semester at AMC, as Karen will be living in Sainsbury Hall.

                      With Ronin back and fully caught up on all our due dates, we discussed various different things. I remember specifically telling Tavia I loved her for pointing out that if the Strix do have a Hive Mind, then we could drive one mad, which in turn would drive all the others mad as well…or possibly enslave them. Now how we could capture one and hold it long enough to do this was not part of her point, and in truth I didn’t think about that until just now either. But the others shot the idea down anyway because honestly the Strix are pretty much insane already so further mental instability could be bad. Like crossing the streams bad.

                      So with more time on our hands and Rose pressing for us to be efficient, we decided to hit Murder Ballads so Ronin could get some Plasm and to check on the Beast. Then sometime today we could meet Big Sean Gleason to start that whole deal and find a book for which to bind to Ephraim. We already knew his house stood where the B&N is now, so we’re almost there. Rose drove over to Nylan Hall to get the Plasm from there while the rest of us got ready to go clubbing.

                      When we got to Murder Ballads last night, we spotted Elsie and Angelique De La Passiglia among others. Snowflake got his drink and found his usual table and began watching everything through his Boneyard. Nightshade and I were dancing by the table when he warned us of the Scary Man invisibly searching people randomly in the crowd. This was the skull faced Nosferatu that worked for Vaclav as muscle. He was looking rather intently so my guess is that he may have found a way to recognize a Strix possession, though I have no idea what he thought he would do if he found one. We moved over to where Snowflake said he was and I tried to get his attention, but it was too loud. Also the Beast was up on the cat walk watching the couples do what we truly hope will help drain his power.

                      Ronin headed down to get her Plasm with Rose and Cupcake in tow just in case. About the same time Anders came and headed over to us. We made small talk and I tried desperately not to make jokes about things involving Ronin, but I still owed her a few. Snowflake gave us the heads up through the ear curl that we had company. Looking up, Moiré was in the club and apparently looking for Anders. That was about the same time the girls came back up from the basement and thankfully over to our table. I slipped my arm around Nightshade’s waist and Ronin pulled in close to Anders about the same time. We both were making a statement in our own way to Moiré, and Sonia too for that matter. Then Ronin gave the order to hit the dance floor since everyone was so tense.

                      Nightshade and I danced over to Angelique to make proper introductions and to hopefully give her some useful information on the Beast and the Scary Man. Also to drive away a drunk but persistent girl that really didn’t take the hint that Angelique wasn’t interested. It was amusing to listen to her make sure we knew she was Angelique NOT Angie. I think we startled her at first, but she warmed up to us. Warmed up enough in fact that I could feel Nightshade giving her the once over. No matter how hot the thought of being with both of those two is, there is no way that would be fair to Karen. I thought about mentioning that but Nightshade seemed to remember and stopped being so “charming.”

                      For the Krewe, the night was winding down so Nightshade took me back to her townhouse for the night. It’s a very nice townhouse and she keeps it immaculate. I learned about the room no one may enter and basically the assumed etiquette of the house. I suspect these “rules” are absolute and I didn’t really have the time or interest to test them. Nightshade had other plans for me anyway.

                      I didn’t start moving again until around 0930 Hours this morning. Since then, I’ve gotten cleaned up, did my shopping, and come back with lunch. Given I suspect Nightshade will be up soon, I wanted to be prepared. Should be another interesting day.

                      Jasmine’s Diary

                      Saturday, May 29, 2010, Morning

                      Late last night, Doc, Natalie and Simon chatted with the vampire scholar, Dantaine, about New Haven’s vampires and the best way to approach them. After all, they are a source of some frustration for us right now, as they seem to be involved in several problems we are facing. I didn’t want to get in the way.

                      While I am intensely interested in occult matters, the vampire issue is more political than occult, and I don’t really like interacting with the vampires, Chandra excepted. There’s something unsettling about them, and it doesn’t sit well with me. In part, I suppose, it’s just the fact that they are so subtly inhuman. But there’s more to it than that. Ever since I awakened my connection to the Primeval Key, I’ve felt an odd tension even with Chandra, something almost territorial.

                      Over breakfast the krewe discussed what we had learned from Dantaine. Apparently our best bet for approaching the vampire on friendly terms is for us to bring them information that can help them in their struggle against the strix. The strix are some form of primeval spirit that is hostile to the vampires. We encountered a strix near Fort Nathan Hale some weeks ago, and found them quite unsettling then. Apparently it is a good thing that they have not taken an interest in us. The have a hive mind and can possess people and vampires, and the vampires have few ways to combat them.

                      If we can provide the vampires with useful information about the strix, they should be more than happy to cooperate with us in resolving some of our other problems, like Clevon’s blackmail or, possibly, the Beast of Bethlehem situation at Murder Ballads.

                      Of course, the question was where to get information on the strix, but we quickly decided that the best place to find such information would be in the Underworld library, which we can access from several nearby locations. I know that we have all been eager to explore the library, and this gives us the perfect excuse.

                      However, when I realized that the rest of the krewe was dead set on rushing off to the Underworld library at the earliest opportunity, I could tell that all of our other, previous problems might have fallen forgotten alongside the new and more interesting plan, so I firmly cautioned the krewe to remember the other things we have to do as well. After all, the strix are the vampires’ problem for now, and while helping the vampires will, in turn, help resolve some of our other problems, we cannot afford to forget about other more pressing issues.

                      So, after a little discussion, we managed to group our problems into four categories, which I’m calling “Projects” because it’s a very constructive way to think about them, which I’ve listed in the margins of this entry.

                      We all agreed that visiting the library is important, and needs to be done soon. But first, we need to find and bind a new anchor for Ephraim, the ghost at the firehouse church. That was the deal we made with him in exchange for his help in navigating the Underworld library, and we may need his services to find any information on the strix, assuming such information is there at all. So tomorrow, we are going to try and take care of that.

                      Also, we need to make sure that Big Sean Gleason will not be a problem for resolving Bonnie-Lynn and Stanton Marshall. That is actually our highest priority, since Bonnie’s party is only about two weeks off. So we also plan to visit Gleason tomorrow.

                      Saturday, May 29, 2010, Late Night

                      Gwen spent much of the day with Anders. I’m very happy for her, that she’s finding love again. I know her memory loss is hard on her, and though she doesn’t let on, I know it must be lonely for her at times. I do worry about how carelessly she has thrown herself into this relationship, but I suppose if she’s happy…

                      I spent much of the morning with Alexia and Chandra, aside from a short trip to the AMC campus to absorb the plasm from Nilan Hall. When Gwen returned home, we updated her on our discussion, and she asked if we could go by Murder Ballads in the evening so that she could absorb the plasm there, as she’s become a bit drained in all the investigating she’s done lately.

                      I really did not want to go to Murder Ballads. But I wasn’t going to let my krewe go alone, not with the Beast of Bethlehem on the prowl, so I accompanied them. We didn’t run into any trouble, though. the Beast was there, but seemed to behave. Also, I noticed Angelique, Mr. Malard’s pack mate, and Elsie, the girl whom Bonnie-Lynn was haunting prior to the end of last semester. I decided not to go speak to Elsie as I thought it would be awkward. In fact, I hope she missed my presence entirely. It wouldn’t do for her to think of one of the AMC instructors as someone who would frequent a place like Murder Ballads.

                      Doc also mentioned that a Nosferatu was present, hidden, and apparently searching for someone. And by the time the night was over, Anders, Sonia, and Moire from the Skull and Bones Society had all arrived as well. I think Gwen made some comment about it being a “busy night.” Moiré in particular seemed annoyed. I think it has to do with Gwen and Anders’ relationship.

                      Anyway, I spent most of the evening chatting with Alexia and Gwen. They are so very encouraging; I don’t know what I would do without the two of them. They also taught me that ordering something “virgin” at the bar means “no alcohol,” which is good since I don’t drink.

                      Even without the alcohol, I ended up losing some of my inhibitions, though, when Gwen dragged me out onto the dance floor to dance. I actually felt myself letting go and having fun…but afterward I felt foolish and shy and just wanted to go home…so that’s what I did.


                      The Lost Love Poem

                      I stayed awake into the wee hours of the morning finishing my love poem to Richard. It was a very hard thing for me to do, but I needed to finish it, if only to achieve some sort of closure. But now that it’s done, the poem is a vanitas, and I can draw strength from the sorrow it embodies. I am a Mourner, after all, and sadness seems most comfortable to me. I do hope I can become warmer and happier around Jean. But if I cannot, I suppose it means our relationship will wither and die.

                      I cried myself to sleep last night after finishing the vanitas poem. How miserable is that? I had a very nice date last night, only to come home and sob into my pillow. The Bride was comforting, but she doesn’t really understand, although she tries to. She’s jut too excited about the possibilities of a new relationship…

                      American Culture and Idioms

                      "The Borg"

                      Gwen made another pop-culture reference. She said the strix were like “The Borg,” which are apparently a “hive mind” from the Star Trek programme. I now know what a “hive mind” is; I was familiar with the concept, but didn’t know the English for it before now.


                      Project 1: Bonnie-Lynn

                      Resolve Bonnie-Lynn and Stanton Marshall at Bonnie-Lynn’s “debutante” ball. Must be completed within the next two weeks.

                      - Find and possibly resolve Big Sean Gleason so he is not longer a threat to Bonnie, thus allowing Marshall to pass on.

                      -Finish preparing for the ball.

                      Project 2: The Decastros

                      Locate Adolphe’s pistols and use them and the other anchors to help resolve him and Alonia. Must be completed by the end of summer so that the students residing in Sansbury Hall will be safe.

                      - Find the pistols, perhaps by contacting the Wilson family (previously the Eichmanns).

                      - Use one or more anchors to separate Alonia and Adolphe so that we can deal with each individually.

                      - Establish dominion over Sansbury hall in order to resolve Adolphe.

                      Project 3: The Vampires

                      Approach the vampires on peaceful terms to gain their cooperation in resolving other issues. No set time limit, but the sooner we help Clevon and deal with the Beast of Bethlehem, the better.

                      - Bind Ephraim to a new anchor so he will serve as a guide in the Underworld library.

                      - Research the strix and take the information to the vampire Prince.

                      - Find out if the vampires have anything to do with Murder Ballads, and if so, see if they can’t help deal with the Beast of Bethlehem.

                      - Pressure the vampires to stop blackmailing Clevon and possibly find out more about why they are doing so.

                      Project 4: Dwayne Franklin

                      Find a way to resolve Dwayne Franklin. there is no set time limit on this, but the longer he persists, the greater his chances of becoming someone’s geist.

                      -Find ways to help clean up the neighborhood and get the people there to acknowledge Dwayne’s murder.

                      Natalie’s Tweets

                      Friday, July 28th

                      -Vampire chat over. Those shadow Owls are the biggest concern of the local Vampires. We may can step in, but Dantaine advises caution.

                      -Still, the Vamps would owe us big if we solve it for them.

                      -Enough stalling. It’s funtime.

                      Saturday, May 29th

                      -Good Afternoon. Your Mistress feels much better today.

                      -Vlog is up. Sorry there was none last night.

                      -Is once a day not enough for you people?

                      -Damn I am like a pound heavier.

                      -Things are going well I do not need to start getting fat now.

                      -Getting together with the gang to tackle the big questions

                      -The “three boxes” seem to be Vampires, DeCastros, and Bonnie Lynn. Oh, plus Rev. Hellfire…uh…Murder Ballads, how many boxes we have again?

                      -Beast is in with Vampire box. Got it.

                      -OK, this DeCastro thing needs to be solved. Karen is going to be staying in that dorm.

                      -No one has BDSM sex with my girlfriend but me!

                      -Answer: Not sure when (hopefully a when) I will be on MTV again. Been keeping myself busy here though.

                      -Gang’s all here…

                      -EW! GROSS! GODDESS! GROSS! EW!!!!!!!! You don’t want to know what my girlfriend saw!

                      -OK, looks like most of us are going to Murder Ballads, check up on the Beast and get Gwen some ghost-candy.

                      -Karen is staying here to rest, and hang out with Tavia, who can probably get alcohol poisoning from hitting someone else with a bottle. The rest of us are hitting Murder Ballads short of Chandra who has…other business.

                      -Ridin’ up with Doc!

                      -Doc is wise not to comment on my driving.

                      -Sonia is here, but seems to be keeping her distance. Maybe because Doc looks like he wants to kill her. I need to tell him to play nice with my exes who deserve it.

                      -I mean, Sonia is a psycho, but I don’t hate her. That’s more then I can say for…more people then I care to count.

                      -Talking to Anders here, of all people. Here to see Gwen.

                      -Now Moiré is here. The hell?

                      -If Rolf were here I think the whole Skull and Bones would be.

                      -Gwen has her ghost-candy, time to roll out before things with the SBS gets weirder then it already is. I am headed to my townhouse.

                      End Session XXX

                      Let's see...

                      Apparently Natalie getting a Vanitas was inspiring, Jasmine made one this time and Doc and Simon are making noises about it.

                      Doc got a little creative spelling Nilan Hall and Sansbury Hall. Don't let that confuse you. Gwen got the whole sordid history from Anders about why he and Moire broke up and how Natalie was involved and why Moire hates Natalie...I will try to reproduce that later.

                      There was a funny moment where Tavia suggested trying to set the Strix on Harvard to deal with the problem. Jasmine disapproved. Note the Strix having a hive mind is just a theory...Jasmine sorta stated it as fact.

                      The "rules" of Natalie's townhouse, for those interested, is her personal bedroom (as opposed to the "fun" bedroom) is off limits to everyone but her. She painted it, she put together the bed in it, she laid the carpet in it. Effectively no one else has been in it aside from the building being built. She does not even wear clothes into it she wore outside it (she has certain clothes she just wears into and out of it). She made it clear if even Doc or Karen went in she would feel the need to sell the townhouse to have a new "clean" room for her sanctum.

                      Oh yes, and speaking of insanity Karen saw Gretchen licking dust off the floor back at Dark Haven Bluffs. Natalie did not take it well.

                      As usual I may add something if I think of it. Let me know if you have comments or questions.

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                      [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


                      • #41

                        It's about that time. Time for more with the Middle Shadows Krewe.

                        Session XXXI

                        Doc's Log

                        Doc’s Log: 1130 Hours, Sunday, May 30, 2010

                        Last night apparently took more out of me than I expected. I didn’t get up until about 0930 Hours and between that and being in a new place without my music, it took awhile to get centered.

                        After that I called the House. I’m not sure what was going on, but Rose finally answered after about 15 rings. I guess every one is a little out of it today. Rose said that Cupcake was doing something in the kitchen, which means she’s arguing with the Cracked Cook. Whatever. So after getting a few details of the day and having Rose tell me how to chastise Nightshade for not being up already, I got the information I was looking for. Meet back at the House around noon so we could figure out the book we want then go get it. Now I just need to find a gentle way to get Nightshade out of bed without incurring the Wrath. It is still technically morning. Nightshade and Morning still aren’t speaking to each other as I understand it. Let’s see how well this goes.

                        Doc’s Log: 1530 Hours, Sunday, May 30, 2010

                        I think I found the way to wake her up without getting beaten. Getting her out of bed was another story. We finally made it over to the House just a little after 1200 Hours.

                        The ride over to Barnes and Noble was interesting. Ronin and Snowflake drove since we were all going. Cupcake, Nightshade, and I rode with Ronin while Rose rode with Snowflake. I’m not sure what they did in the other car, but my girlfriend managed to charm juicy details about Ronin’s night with Anders before Ronin knew what she was saying. That Cupcake was listening with glassy-eyed rapture only made this a little more odd for me. I mean, I admit hearing Ronin talk about some of that was really hot, but like I figured, she was embarrassed when she realized what she’d said. Ronin made Nightshade agree to buy her coffee in penance, which seemed fair to me, even though she whined about it. But then I remembered that Nightshade is footing the bill for Karen’s school. I’m still boggling over that. But I realized “trying to help” Nightshade with her own money was a great way to drive her loony, so instead I just quietly slipped her a $10 and walked away. Somehow Cupcake wrangled a coffee out of the deal too, but everything was cool after that. We found one of the Hawthorn books that was originally bound in the area. It stood to reason that Ephraim could very well have bound a book just like this one in his breathing days. That this Barnes and Noble stood on the site of Ephraim’s home just made the whole thing more symbolic.

                        Once we bought the book, we headed over the what we now call the Firehouse Church. Snowflake and Rose dug up a few old letter blocks from some kind of manual printing press. I didn’t do the research but apparently until a much more modern time, printing presses were the same everywhere. Thus these tools should be the same as those used by Ephraim and help us to complete the binding. After everything was brought in and arranged, Snowflake used a ceremony and contacted Ephraim in the Underworld. About 15 minutes later, he came through the Avernian Gate to greet us. Rose enacted the binding ceremony and we agreed to hide the book someplace safe. I’m not even sure where they put it. I figure that’s safe enough.

                        Now we’re back home and Rose is dead set that we keep working on our “boxes.” I think she means our day planner list of things she feels like we should be doing until they are all done. It must drive her nuts to have to wait for us to do anything. Anyway, I hear them talking about dying Cupcake’s hair red, so I think it’s time to go see what’s going on.

                        Doc’s Log: 2115 Hours, Sunday, May 30, 2010

                        Holy shit, I hope Rose sees why we don’t try to tackle everything we know about all at one time now. This has been the day that never ends.

                        When I went back to find the others, they were talking about going to find Big Sean Gleason. That explained why Cupcake was talking about dying her hair, but we decided to hit a few costume shops and got a nice wig instead. Then Snowflake surprised us all but working on Cupcake’s disguise. She looked nothing like her normal self. I mean she didn’t look like a little girl, but she did look like a much younger woman with pale skin and he made the wig look very convincing as well. When it was all over, she could easily pass for Irish.

                        We drove over and Nightshade scouted the bar for ghosts with her own Boneyard. She found Gleason upstairs in the office section of the building, two ghostly twins, both red heads, with him. Nightshade immediately assumed that he was somehow holding them captive and entered an angry panic mode. I tried to calm her down but pointing out that we don’t know he’s enslaving women yet, really didn’t help. Eventually we got her calm enough to do what we came for.

                        Snowflake and Nightshade went in to talk with the barkeep as a distraction while Cupcake and an invisible Rose wandered upstairs. Ronin ended up just sneaking past anyone important and getting upstairs as well. Through the ear curls I could hear Snowflake tell the bartender that they were parapsychologists. And somehow he turned it into the joke about being a pair ‘a psychologists. I was just there as backup so I sit to one side nursing a rum and coke.

                        Meanwhile, Cupcake O’Malley made some outrageously dramatic plea for help from Big Sean. He appeared to her, took the bait, and asked what he could get for her? This was more than we hoped we could do, but no one tried to move in. She told him she wanted to open an ice cream shop. I wish I’d been there to see the look on his face. He told her to come back in two weeks and he’d be ready. While Big Sean was setting what he thought was a soul trap, his girls were sizing Cupcake up. They followed Cupcake back downstairs and Ronin warned us that they made Cupcake one of their anchors. She learned about their and Gleason’s anchors (the whole point in her sneaking up there) before sliding back out before anyone found her. Rose stuck around upstairs for a little longer and saw a third red head appear in front of Gleason. She was tall and dressed the same, but she looked different, I didn’t see her so I’m not sure what kinda same but different we’re talking about here. She didn’t speak to Big Sean but Rose said she gestured with three fingers and looked like she was asking. Sean said maybe, and then she gestured again. This time her face didn’t ask anything, but demanded. Gleason apparently knew he didn’t have a choice and just agreed to try. We all left at that point as getting the hell out really was the way to go; walking right through the twins standing in the doorway, staring at Cupcake in a way that seemed to me to be more predatory than slinky. Once we were outside and driving again, Nightshade said she thought the 3 Fingered Red Head either was or was altered by a Kerberoi. That suggested that Big Sean was working for this entity and likely procuring souls for its Dead Dominion. Before I thought about how stupid this was, I started pointing out how this proved that Big Sean wasn’t willfully enslaving women but was trapped himself, and then I got the look.

                        There are times when being right should be enough. It usually doesn’t matter to me but for her, it seems to feel like I’m trying to say I’m better. She knows that’s not the case but her knee jerk reaction is still to rail against the oppressor...even when there isn’t one. I know she’s gone through some bad shit, some of it her own fault, other parts no one should have to go through. She knows that I think of her as an equal and she knows I’ve seen and done things that other people could never deal with. Neither of us are better than the other. We both survived using whatever methods we could. I guess we need to find that common ground more often. I mean just being Sin-Eaters is a good start, and both of us having an affinity for Stigmata is another link, but we both use our powers over the Blood so differently. Beyond everything else, we care about each other. She’s taking herself out of her safe zone for me. I know that Rose doesn’t think that’s neither enough, but I realize how hard that is for her. I just need to find another safe zone that we can both be in at once.

                        Okay, now that I’m completely off topic, let’s try this again.

                        Ronin learned that one of Gleason’s main anchors is Stanton Marshall’s rifle. This makes sense. The Doom Twins have an altar in a church. No part of that sounds wholesome. Once Ronin told us about the rifle, we decided to have talk with Stanton. Snowflake used another ceremony to find Marshall at Fort Nathan Hale. When he showed up, we explained what was happening and that we wanted his rifle. Given his previous disposition toward people in possession of objects he felt strongly about, we thought it best to talk to him about it first. Also we were hoping he knew where it was. Surprisingly, he wanted to make a deal with us. The rifle was buried with him in an unmarked grave near the Fort. If we would agree to take his body some place more appropriate and give him a proper burial, we could have the rifle free and clear. That was a no brainer. We went back to Dark Haven Bluffs to get Clyde then came back for Stanton. He led us to the grave. We found his rifle, two pistols, and a stetson. The rifle and stetson were both potential charms. According to Rose, the rifle could be a Passion or Stigmata charm, while the Stetson could only be a Stigmata charm. The rifle and both pistols needed work and cleaning, but this gave me an idea for a new project. A cherry or mahogany stock with a natural red stain and finish to give it a Blood Varnish, polish the metal, field strip the weapon, clean it and replace anything damaged with original parts. The pistols need the same treatment, though I’d probably not do the same kind of stock. Ronin seemed to like the Stetson, though I did mention that Nightshade might find use for it as well. The sudden thoughts of Nightshade wearing nothing but a dead man’s hat jumped into my mind for just a moment. I don’t think anyone saw my grin.

                        We drove back out the Firehouse Church while we still had enough light to dig. There we dug a new grave (with Clyde leading the digging party) and performed a proper funeral for Stanton Marshall, a man whose honor was never fully revealed to the world.

                        By the time we finished burying Marshall’s body after the service, it was well past dusk. Snowflake and Rose were ahead of us on the drive back when they suddenly swerved to miss something in the road. I was riding with Ronin in the back with Nightshade so I never got a look at anything. We called to Snowflake through the ear curls and he said that Pup Pid ran out in front of them. Just then a murder of crows flew out the passenger side of his car. Nightshade’s eyes got really big and she made some kind of desirous mewing sound. It gotta say that was cool. And the crows were neat too. We pulled up behind where Snowflake parked on the shoulder to see what Rose could find...and to watch after Snowflake. If Pup Pid was running loose, who knows what else might be out.

                        Rose lost the pirate not long after it made it out of sight, but then she started talking to what we eventually figured out was the real Black Shuck. He seemed to understand her just fine but Rose is not as good with animals and predatory entities as I seem to be. She called me on the phone and asked that I come down to the beach. I didn’t waste any time getting to where she say go and there it was. A huge black dog the size of a bear. It was immediately obvious that this was nothing like the Beast of Bethlehem. I unlocked my Primeval Marionette so I could have a real conversation with the Shuck. We’d heard various rumors about this creature but I got to learn about it from the horse’s mouth so to speak. The Shuck curses those that encounter it, but not by choice. It told me that it can only harm those that do not belong. It knew I was supposed to be dead, but still I lived. It told me that it could not harm Snowflake or anything at Dark Haven Bluffs; that Snowflake specifically was supposed to be here. Then it told me about chasing Pup Pid. He had been trying to talk with the Strix. We don’t know how well that might have gone but the Black Shuck said that Pup Pid was not supposed to be here. And neither were the Strix! The Shuck said it can attack them and has apparently killed several. It said the Strix were always surprised by it which leads me to believe they do not have a hive mind, which is awesome. It also informed me that it has never found an interloper it couldn’t hurt. It said that though I should be dead, I was still supposed to be here. That made me feel better. We convinced it to allow us to take a tuft of its hair so we could find it again if necessary. The Shuck was reluctant as it said it had already cursed us, but that it would allow it. I think it enjoyed or at least didn’t dislike that we were trying to help. Since I’m likely to be the one talking to it in the future, I told the Shuck that I knew Luck Magic so perhaps the curse would not affect me as badly. It seemed to consider that and though it did not want to curse others, it agreed that it would be best for me to contact it. After that, it ran back into the woods.

                        Rose and I walked back to the car, deciding that Pup Pid must have ran back to the ocean. Then we just came back to the House and now here we are.

                        Fun night.

                        Jasmine’s Diary

                        Sunday, May 30, 2010, Morning

                        I spent this morning somehow stuck between a particularly loud argument between Alexia and the Cracked Cook, and discovering that Gwen was positively giddy over having Anders naked in her room. Apparently she wasn’t content to keep the carnal abandon of her relationship discreetly confined to Anders’ home, and decided to drag it into Dark Haven Bluffs. As a result, I’m now facing the uncomfortable situation of being surrounded by libido-driven house mates who manage to enjoy wild sex every night with no consideration for their neighbors.

                        I don’t really know why I’m so annoyed by Gwen bringing Anders back here. I shouldn’t be. She’s a grown woman and can do what she wishes, even if I disapprove of the wild abandon with which she is approaching this relationship. But I am annoyed by it, and I’m certain that the others noticed, though Gwen doesn’t seem bothered.

                        Sunday, May 30, 2010, Afternoon

                        We visited the Barnes & Noble that currently stands upon what was once Ephraim Yarborough’s home, and purchased an edition of a Nathanial Hawthorne novel that was first printed in the area at about the same time Ephraim was alive and employed as a bookbinder. It’s likely he bound copies of the original edition, so we hope that the hardcover edition we bought would provide a good anchor for him.

                        We then went to the firehouse church and Simon used a Distant Voices ceremony to contact Ephraim’s ghost, asking him meet us. He arrived without too much of a delay, and was quite excited to be gaining an anchor. I performed the ceremony to bind him to his new anchor, for which he was very grateful, and then we discussed the possibility of recruiting him to act as a guide in the Underworld Library to search for information on the Strix.

                        Sunday, May 30, 2010, Late Afternoon

                        We went to visit the bar haunted by Big Sean Gleason’s ghost this afternoon. Alexia wore a redheaded wig so that we could more easily draw his attention. He is known for appearing to redheads, and it is said that if you make a wish to him, he will grant it, but will then take you as his bride. It’s a compelling story, and one that does not really sit well with me or the Bride.

                        Alexia went up to draw out Big Sean, while I followed her invisibly in case she needed help. Meanwhile, Gwen snuck up after us just in case we needed support. Simon watched the whole place with Boneyard, while Natalie and Doc talked the barkeeper into letting us have a look upstairs, claiming that we were paranormal investigators.

                        Big Sean was wakened by Alexia’s appearance, but he wasn’t alone. He was accompanied by two uncannily similar redheaded women. Natalie decided that they had been enslaved by Sean and she furiously elaborated on all the horrible things she would do to Sean and the bar to take revenge for them. The Drowned Bride and I were also horrified by the idea that Sean was gathering bride-slaves, but I was nevertheless irritated by Natalie’s bitching.

                        Yes, I actually wrote that word, even though I don’t like it, because it’s the best word to describe the way Natalie always makes a big show of complaining about things, and it annoys me, especially since a good portion of her complaining comes after she has misinterpreted someone else’s intentions or jumped to conclusions. I understand that she has had a great many bad experiences that have colored her outlook, but quite frankly I’m getting sick and tired of hearing about it, not in the least because she often seems to place much of the blame for those experiences on others and not on her own poor choices.

                        But those gripes aside, where Big Sean Gleason is concerned, it turns out that truth of the matter is altogether more complicated than we thought.

                        Once Sean appeared to her, Alexia pretended to make a wish (she said she wanted to open an ice cream shop),. Sean told her to return in two weeks and he would grant her wish. Of course, once he dematerialized and though Alexia could no longer see him, his exasperation made it obvious he had little idea how he was going to help her get an ice cream shop.

                        The truly disturbing part of all this, however, were Sean’s disturbingly similar redhead “bride” ghosts who stood around Alexia, staring closely at her with wide, toothy smiles. They followed her until she left the bar, and somehow they attached themselves to her, making her into something like a minor anchor.

                        After Alexia left, I stayed momentarily to watch Sean and see what he would do, and another ghostly being appeared. She was an inhumanly tall redheaded woman whose very presence was somehow terrifying, and Natalie and Simon thought she might be a Kerberoi or some similar creature. She did not speak, but made it clear with her gestures that she wanted Sean to capture Alexia like he had captured his other two “brides.” Sean was unhappy with her demands, but had little choice but to acquiesce. So it appears that Sean is the one being used and enslaved here. The redheaded ghosts seems to be some sort of copy of the Kerberoi, or whatever she is, like she is taking ghosts and turning them into extensions of herself. It’s all very frightening.

                        Gwen used her oracular powers to learn more about the redheaded “brides,” and discovered only that they shared the same anchor: the altar of the one of New Haven’s catholic churches. That may very well be where they were “wed” to Sean in order to fulfill their pact with him.

                        It’s all very disturbing. The bride and I are both very unhappy with this discovery. These women are being drawn into a mockery of marriage simply so that they can serve as pawns of a powerful Underworld being. It defies the very core of the Drowned Bride’s beliefs, and as far as she is concerned, dealing with this issue is our top priority, not just because the situation itself is disturbing, but also because resolving it will allow us to help Bonnie-Lynn and Stanton Marshall find true love in each other’s arms more easily.

                        Still, we have to take things a step at a time. We’re going to Fort Nathan Hale now in order to find Marshall’s rifle, which was buried with him there.

                        Sunday, May 30, 2010, Late Afternoon

                        We had no trouble finding Marshall or acquiring his rifle. At some point, I’ll turn it into a Charm for Doc. We also found his Stetson cowboy hat, which also resonates with the energies of death. I’ll have to turn it into a charm for Gwen; she seemed to like it.

                        On a more interesting note, however, we had an unexpected encounter on the way home. I was riding with Simon (the others were with Gwen), when Pup Pid, the ghost pirate, dashed across the road, obviously in a great hurry as though being pursued. I allowed my curiosity to get the best of me and decided to act on my instincts. I donned the Primeval Caul and burst into a murder of crows. Pouring forth from Simon’s car, I flew after the pirate ghost, but lost him in the tangled woods. However, I did discover his pursuer: Black Shuck, the dark hound said to haunt these parts. I followed Black Shuck for several minutes, but he noticed the birds tailing him and glared at me with murderous intent.

                        Black Shuck is supposed to be a benevolent portent of bad luck, and I sensed a kindred spirit, so I fluttered to the ground and returned to my human form. We spoke briefly. He could understand me just fine, but I had some difficulty making out his growls and gestures, so I phoned Doc, who can speak to animals directly, and he joined me to converse with the bear-sized black hound.

                        Black Shuck had been trying to drive Pup Pid from the territory, but lost him when the pirate fled into the ocean. He wasn’t able to tell us much about the pirate ghost expect that Pup Pid was trying to communicate with the Strix. Black Shuck has fought the Strix before, even killed a few, and from that we learned that the Strix do not seem to have a “hive mind.” Black Shuck has managed to kill a few Strix, and the others do not seem to know that he can attack spirits That is a big relief, and will make dealing with them later slightly easier. In fact, that knowledge alone will be valuable to the vampires, assuming they do not already know it.

                        In the end, I convinced Black Shuck to let me have a tuft of his fur so that we can find him later with the Finding ceremony if we need his assistance. However, we have to be careful approaching him. Those he meets are cursed with bad luck. Doc was able to stave off the bad luck with his ceremonial magic, but I fear that I’ll meet some sort of misfortune soon. However, I’m willing to accept the consequences in return for the information we gained and the crude alliance we’ve made with Black Shuck.


                        Need a Translator

                        Ephraim did not know of anything in the library about the Strix, but that’s hardly surprising since their existence is supposedly quite obscure. He warned that most of the dead tomes lost in in the library came from the post-colonial period or were imported from Europe. However, there are a great many pictogram records left by the Native American tribes in the library, and they presumably date back many thousands of years. It’s possible those records might tell more about ancient beings like the Strix. However, we have little way to read such records, and may need to call in an expert to help us. I’ll check at AMC to see if anyone there can help us interpret the native pictograms, should we find any.

                        Big Sean Gleason

                        Date of Death: Sometime in the 1890’s

                        Cause of Death: Shot by Stanton Marshall

                        Haunt: An Irish Bar in New Haven

                        Known Anchors: His Bar haunt and the rifle that Stanton Marshall used to shoot him

                        Known Numina: Harrow, One Step Behind, Phantasm

                        Big Sean is an Irish mobster ghost; I have notes on him somewhere else in this diary as well. However, we learned that he is being used as a puppet for another ghost or something worse. We have a lot of work to do to figure what is controlling him and how to deal with her so that we can resolve Sean in order to appease Stanton Marshall so that he and Bonnie-Lynn can be resolved at our ghost ball.

                        Natalie’s Tweets

                        Sunday May 30th

                        -I had to get up while it was still AM. On a Sunday. Can you imagine!

                        -There is a dragon I need to chase. But Doc won’t allow it.

                        -Honestly, that kind of pisses me off.

                        -I’ve not gained any more but still got the pound. It said two pounds more but I got off and got on again a few times.

                        -I have a neat idea for a club. More info to come.

                        -The 27 Club, kinda a CBGB type club with pictures of 27 Club members on the wall.

                        -Doc seems to have mixed feelings about it.

                        -Well, Anders is in a good mood. He should be, having been in bed with Gwen.

                        -No good deed goes unpunished unfortunately.

                        -Just because you are dating someone does not mean you need to disclose you finances to them.

                        -Gwen seems pretty on board with the whole 27 Club thing.

                        -On the way to Barns and Nobles. Chatting with Gwen about her sack time.

                        -Somehow I am winding up buying Gwen and Alexia coffees. I thought I was the manipulative one?

                        -It was worth it to see Alexia’s face when I said I had been chatting with Chandra.

                        -I swear I am not sure I have ever met a woman who was quite that big a fan of breasts. And I say that as quite a fan of breasts.

                        -Got book, got materials, heading for firehouse church.

                        -I will get laid in this church.

                        -Ritual done. Jazzy anchored our ghost friend.

                        -My college German may help us in the Autochthonous Depths. Rock.

                        -Big Sean is next on the agenda.

                        -I need to not panic about Doc wanting to know my financial stuff. I don’t think he means to take it over but oh goddess I want to run away thinking about it.

                        -If he took over my finances I think I would find the money I was setting aside for candy mysteriously gone.

                        -Doc is sharing his bullet Stigmata Charm with me then Gwen. Sharing means caring.

                        -I really don’t like this redheaded bride thing. This fuckstick has two of them.

                        -Ack! smiling joker women KILL IT WITH FIRE

                        -OK this whole thing has gotten too creepy. Have to nuke it from orbit…it’s the only way to be sure.

                        -Poor Alexia. The Cheshire Girls think she is all kinds of interesting.

                        -OK we can’t do anything without a bit of prep. I really think this is a Kerberoi or, failing that, the minion of one.

                        -I hope it is not a Cthonian. They don’t collect souls as far as we know, but we don’t know much.

                        -TN: What can you tell me about Kerberoi operatives on earth?

                        -Stop. Zombietime.

                        -Answer: My super duper plan is bigger than a breadbox. That is all I will say for now.

                        -I am not sure that I have ever seen a breadbox. :-/

                        -Clyde can dig it.

                        -Ha! Was able to escape without digging this time. Lets hope my luck lasts to the firehouse.

                        -Everyone is getting Stigmata Charms but me! (Who has the key that is)

                        -I need more bling!

                        -Simon nearly hit an Burned Skeletal Undead Pirate on the way home. AWESOME.

                        -I can’t think of a bad day that involves nearly hitting a Burned Skeletal Undead Pirate.

                        -So, Jasmine just turned into a whole murder of crows and set off after him. SO COOL.

                        -TN: What do you know about Burned Skeletal Undead Pirates?

                        -TN: This is unrelated to my earlier question. I think.

                        -Jazzy followed it, lost it, but found the Black Shuck. As it apparently hexes people who see it Doc is going to talk to it alone (besides Jasmine). Great. :-/

                        -Well, everything seems to be OK, as OK as it can be with 1/3 of the Krewe hexed.

                        -Vlog is up!

                        -Karen is a bit mopey so need to look after her now.

                        Gwen's Journal

                        May 30, 2010

                        I used to keep a journal.

                        In fact my journal is the only thing that I had to help me remember my life from before. Not that I remember it, but I can at least refer back to the volumes of journals I have to see just what I should be remembering. My Krewe and I have been together for a little while now and it seems like we’ve got our noses stuck in everyone’s business. Seems to me like I should make sure I should have some kind of record to look back on just in case. I mean, c’mon, I forgot everything once, what’s to say I won’t do it again? There’s still no good explanation for the memory loss anyway - I got shot in the chest, not the head. But from what I hear I wasn’t a nice person before, kind of a hard ass actually so maybe the Angel did it in order to help me with my redemption. Not sure it’s working as the entire Krewe seems to think I hate every ghost we come in contact with.

                        It’s not true, you know. I don’t hate them. I want to help them. It’s not my fault Bonnie Lynn’s a brainless idiot who thinks she has to have a man in order to be happy. She’s hanging on, making girls miserable because of her ridiculous notions and I have a hard time handling that kind of stupidity. Wanting to see your murderer brought to justice? I’m down with that. Want to look out for your family? Good with that too. Want to find yourself a man that will hold your ghostly hand and skip through the tulips on your way to heaven? That one just pisses me off. But at least that situation should be resolved soon and we can move on to the truly important things.

                        The Angel thinks I still have too much hate in my heart - funny, I thought I was just passionate or something - never really though hate came into play. I have fun, I laugh, I pick with my Krewe - hell, I can badger Doc all day long just like he was my brother or something. But I have a short fuse I guess, oh well, still - it doesn’t suck to be me and hell, have I rambled enough yet? No, I guess I haven’t. I still haven’t written down the deets of this crap-tastic situation we’re dealing with right now. Still - don’t expect me to be organized. I’m out of practice with this journaling stuff.

                        OK, here goes.

                        Four major situations to deal with:

                        #1 - Bonnie Lynn

                        A party held here the night before...after? I forget...the new moon in order to resolve her situation and let her pass on. We started with the whole Win a Date with a Ghost crap that Nat’s all a flutter over. It’s kind of cute in a way, but please? I just don’t get the appeal of trying to “win” a dead chick. I guess it’s just a case of the goths being weird.

                        Still - we went and talked to Stanton Marshal, one of the guys we’d come across in our investigation into Bonnie Lynn’s life & death. Marshal haunts Ft. Nathan Hale and he is a bit protective over Little Miss Bonnie. According to Jazz, Bonnie Lynn has a fondness for him, so hooking them up seems like the perfect way to resolve both of them. Nat’s thinking we’re forgetting the goths, but what the hell man? It’s not like a goth would’ve been able to fulfill Bonnie’s needs anyway unless he died, and that wasn’t going to happen.

                        What needs to happen is Simon make some crazy illusion to let the Goths party their hearts out with a ghost or two and we get Bonnie Lynn and Marshall together, then everyone goes home happy. But before that can happen Stanton needs us to make sure Bonnie Lynn’s safe. Pretty sure she is, but he’s not resting until he’s certain of that. And he won’t be certain until Big Sean Gleason’s completely out of the picture. Which brings us to problem #2 which should actually be Major Problem #1.

                        #2 Sean Gleason & his trippy creepy brides

                        Big Sean’s been a local ghost story for years. According to the lore, he’s got a thing for red heads and will grant them wishes if they become his bride. I’m really simplifying things but I don’t need the details right? Just the general idea.

                        We went to see Sean today, and Alexia (I swear she’s the living embodiment of Little Miss Sunshine) decided she was going to be our bait. Simon and Nat dolled her up with some make up and temporary hair dye to turn her into a rocking red head. When we got to the bar Big Sean haunts Nat sort of went off the deep end. Through a boneyard (Simon’s or Nat’s I don’t remember which) they saw Sean upstairs with two red heads. Nat assumed he’d enslaved the two ghosts and she went off on how we needed to torch the whole damn place. I was pretty sure that wouldn’t help anything and we managed to talk her down a little but she was so far beyond cool with things it wasn’t even funny.

                        Simon and Nat talked to the bartender and got us permission to go upstairs - not sure what they said exactly, but hey, it worked. Alexia went up with Jazz doing her invisible thing to be her body guard. I snuck up after them just in case they needed a little extra help, plus that way I could see just how Sean was anchored and start getting an idea of his power level.

                        While Alexia did her bubbly bouncy routine I got a good look at Sean and he’s not so bad. I’m not talking about looks here - I’ve yet to see a hot ghost - I mean his power level. Sure, he had some skills, illusionary mostly but nothing we couldn’t handle. He was anchored by the bar and by the rifle Marshall used to kill him.

                        The problem came in with the two red heads. They looked pretty fascinated by Alexia so I turned my attention to them. Their main power’s the fact they can alter female ghosts to look like them, and they only had one anchor - the altar of a nearby Catholic Church. Probably where they were “wed” to Sean. When Alexia was finished with her wish (to open an ice cream parlor, what’s that about?) Sean told her to come back in two weeks and she pretty much skipped down the stairs and the brides followed her. I saw them anchor themselves to her, so now she’s keeping them around too. Not good.

                        What’s worse is after she and the brides were gone I turned back to Sean and saw him puzzling out exactly what he was supposed to do with the ice cream parlor wish when another red head showed up. She just sort of materialized and he looked a little concerned about her being there. She was taller than him, kind of skinny, even for a ghost and she didn’t say a word. She held up three fingers and Sean agreed. I couldn’t get anything off her though so I haven’t got a clue if she’s a geist, a ghost, or something worse. The Angel was no help in figuring it out either. We all left and Jazz and I shared what we saw. Nat said it might be a kerb-something, sounded like carburetor to me, a little digging (wikipedia for the win) & she thinks it’s a kerberoi - one of the underworld baddies. Not good not good not good.

                        We went straight to Ft. Nathan Hale and talked to Marshal who agreed to give us his rifle if we’d bury him in a proper grave. Easy enough. So we’re now in possession of one of Sean’s anchors. Not sure exactly how it’ll help, but we’ve got it.

                        On the way home Simon almost hit Pup Pid with his land yacht - a weird pirate ghost that’s never far from the coast. Not sure why he was in the woods instead of being on the beach like usual but still. Jazz flew out the window of the car to follow him - she turned into a freakin’ flock of crows (Nat called it a murder of crows) and just sort of exploded out the window. Was like something out of a movie. Anyway, there wasn’t any way to really follow them so we went on home. Later she asked Doc to join her as she’d run into Black Shuck, a big black dog that’s usually an omen for death and he might be able to help us with the Strix. Yeah, that leads into problem #3.

                        #3 Chuck

                        A couple of weeks ago Chuck told me about the two of us. I’d never written about it in my journals before, apparently I promised him I wouldn’t. It was a one time thing, but still...pretty high on the sin chart considering he’s happily married. And really - not my type (but that’s not the point). Anyway, some punk ass vampire’s using me against Chuck to get him to back off a sad little gang that’s hardly worth looking at. I’m still pretty pissed about this whole thing, but the Krewe’s been great about it. They’re helping me with the problem, but it’s slow going since we’re not exactly tight with the vampires (except for Doc, he’s friends with a few).

                        Anyway, Simon’s family keeps a vamp known as Dantaine on retainer somehow and he came to town and told us if we wanted to get the vampires to do something without tipping our hand as to what we are then we needed to have something to offer in trade. (I have to wonder if I’m not the only one bothered by the thought of the vamps - any of them - knowing we’re anything other than regular people.) Simon and Doc are planning to go the whole - we’re serious, creepy occultists or something - so Dantaine said if we could provide information relating to the Strix, those weird shadow owls Doc’s talked to and Tavia’s painted, then we’d probably get what we needed.

                        So - info on the Strix, especially how to kill them, and the blackmail against Chuck goes away. It puts us in a bit of a bind as then we’re on the vamps’ radar but Chuck’s my friend. He was there for me after the shooting and according to my journals before then too. I’m willing to get in bed with the vamps if it keeps his life running the way it needs to. Luckily my Krewe backs me up on this.

                        Now, thanks to Black Shuck we know the Strix don’t have any type of Hive Mind like we were thinking they might. And we know they can be killed. Shuck’s killed them, so it can be done. Think Doc said Dantaine’s killed them before too, but I could be wrong about that.

                        We’re planning on hitting the library in the underworld to see if we can find more information there. We’ve gone over the Fishborne library with a fine tooth comb already and the vamps knew everything we’d learned from there. SO - field trip to the underworld, but we need a guide. Luckily we have one. Ephraim the ghost from the firehouse church agreed to help us out if we get him an anchor. That was our first order of business today actually. Now that we’ve got our guide the hope is to go into the underworld and hit the library - find information about the Strix that the vamps don’t have yet and hopefully also find out how to deal with the Beast of Bethlehem that's taken Murder Ballads as it's territory. I'd really like it if we figured out what was going on there. That thing feeds off violence and darker urges - that club has that in spades.

                        So there's the big 3 on our to-do list right now. There's a ton of other issues that need to be dealt with but I'm not thinking about them right now. The next two weeks are for figuring out how to get the creepy brides' attention off Alexia & hunting down info on the Strix. Chuck agreed to stay out of the Stockton Posse's business for now but I can't keep him away forever. Not when I'm already telling him to stay away from other areas of town too.

                        Tempted to call Anders and try and hook up again, but it's getting late and three nights in a row would be a bit too clingy. I'm not a clingy woman and damn if I'm going to let the first relation since being shot turn me into one. I'm only interested in having some fun with a guy who's surprisingly interesting. I know that bothers Jazz a bit, but I can't help it. All that true love garbage is her deal not mine. Things are good the way they are, no need to mess with it. Yeah – think I need to just back off a bit. And I've written long enough, maybe I can catch Sports Center and see if the Pirates stomped the Braves like I hoped they would.

                        End Session XXXI

                        Apparently Natalie was moody. Such outrageous slings and arrows flung at her. Her whole "27 Club" popped into my head while doing research for another game. It was in no way preplanned, just something I thought she would latch onto. As an aside...her weight obsession is not foreshadowing the character being pregnant or anything, it is just a weight obsession.

                        On the languages thing...I started everyone off knowing one extra language at 2 rather then 3. Doc actually knows Spanish and Arabic (which be bought) as well as English, Gwen knows Spanish and English, Simon knows Latin and English, Alexia knows French and English, Natalie knows German and English, and Jasmine actually knows English and Chinese (Mandarin I think but don't quote me) with English being the one she knows less well.

                        Was a good session. Shook things up a bit and I was looking forward to the Big Sean aspect of the plotline.

                        I originally was going to post her TN questions on Digital Raven's Twilight Network he set up but by the time the game was going in earnest it was frozen and could not be unfrozen by us. If you have a Sin-Eater who uses the network and might give her some sort of answer, post or PM it to me. I won't guarantee I will use it, especially if they boast of the 30 Kereboi they killed, but you never know!

                        Note: Gwen did get one detail wrong; Alexia wound up using a wig, not dying her hair, as the other journals noted.

                        Questions and Comments welcome.

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                        [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


                        • #42
                          Ever had a session go in a different direction then anticipated? This happened last time. A sort of background timeline event was thrust more into the fore then I expected...not that I minded of course. Now without further ado...

                          Session XXXII

                          Doc's Log

                          Doc’s Log: 1315 Hours, Monday, May 31, 2010

                          With Pup Pid and the Black Shuck running around, patrol last night was understandably quiet.

                          I got up this morning a little earlier, I guess because last night was so smooth. Meditated for about an hour like normal. Then, because I still had time, I worked out a little bit and played with Xerxes before I had to open. It really has been awhile since I was calm and ready for the day like that.

                          Nightshade came over and brought me lunch again. That is one of the greatest parts of my day now. We just get to talk and spend time together like normal people. Now granted after we ate, she handed me a brush and stood in front me waiting for me to brush out her hair again, but I’m sure that’s nothing. Really. Actually I think it’s a way the warm, loving, and sane portion of her psyche manages to allow an open form of contact that doesn’t make her seize up or fight off a panic attack. I’ve watched her visibly relax each time I’ve done it. So being able to share that with her is a little bit freeing. If I could give her a massage, it would likely do the same thing...except for that whole tensing up due to the sexualizing of male contact in her brain.

                          It’s Study Day for Snowflake. I’ve been thinking lately that maybe we should all learn each other’s languages. Between us we have Latin, Arabic, Spanish, German, English, French, and Mandarin Chinese covered pretty well. I suspect there will be times when knowing something other than English will be very useful.

                          Oh well. That’ll have to be a conversation for later between me and Snowflake. It’s been a really nice, relaxing day today. Wonder what we’re doing tonight?

                          Doc’s Log: 1730 Hours, Monday, May 31, 2010

                          Jesus! I need to learn to keep my mouth shut!

                          About 1520 Hours, Ronin called me using her cop voice. Tavia got a pistol (where the fuck did she get that?!?) and was walking around with it because apparently there was “a Dragon eating a bear in the Library.” Ronin then informed me that we needed to take Tavia to a firing range to teach her gun safety. I got really concerned until she finally told me that there wasn’t actually a Dragon. But then I learned that Gretchen found a book about the Lower Realms below the Abyss down in the Library. This resulted in some form of a mental attack. Snowflake drug her into the “Evil Magic Circle room (EMC Room)” or the warded room in the basement before they could make anything better. Apparently this had something to do with Tzipporah never being human. Ronin didn’t know how long this was happening or how well Gretchen was. FUCK!

                          I put a sign up that said “Closed for Emergency” and gathered up my supplies while calling a cab. I told the cabby that I’d tip her an extra $20 if she could pick me up and get me to the Bluffs like now. The whole process took 5 minutes. At least that worked out.

                          Nightshade was still poking around when I got there. I said hi as I rushed downstairs, preparing myself to see something horrible. When I got there, Snowflake and Tavia were standing around watching Gretchen sleep on a small pile of pillows inside the EMC room. That was a very unusual thing to see in this room, but not the kind of horrible I was expecting. Snowflake explained quietly while I checked Gretchen’s vital signs. She woke up during this and immediately tried to hit on me as only she could. I knew Nightshade was near the top of the stairs so for the safety of everyone involved I just kinda brushed it off. Then I asked Gretchen what happened. I’m pretty sure what she said was, “Someone ma ‘ve tried to yank me soul out, ‘m na shur.” Understood that well enough...okay I understood that that was a very bad thing. Gretchen learned somehow that Tzipporah might be “something” awakened from beneath ancient Scottish burial grounds. No part of that sounded good. However, the good news was her vitals were normal...for a Fishborne anyway.

                          With that out of the way and no one taking her up on the flirting, Gretchen got kinda shy and moved off to be alone. I got the feeling she was feeling a little embarrassed by having all the attention and nothing she could do with it. I was also secretly horrified to think that Tzipporah was behind whatever traumatic experience she just went through AND had recently stayed in the House. Apparently I wasn’t the only one that realized how short on time we were. Rose, who had been fairly quiet throughout the exam and followup questions, decided that now was a good time to remind those of us here (all but Cupcake) of all the “boxes” we have left to check off. I’m not sure who told her everything fit into it’s own category or box, but I need to get them really drunk and not help with the hangover. Anyway, Ronin learned about someone in Yale that might be able to help with translating any Native pictagrams we find in the Great Library. We also figured out that we’d probably need to take an old style camera in when we hit the Old Books. I’ve been all for going through the Underworld Library ever since we figured out that it really does run pretty much all over the city. Now it’s kinda pressing in on all sides that we start learning things quick. First and foremost, we need to find something concrete on the Strix. Then the dominoes will start to fall (if we can play it right) so we can work on clearing out Murder Ballads and to get the Vampires off of Clevon Norris, which will give us more help in cleaning up Dwayne Franklin’s neighborhood, thereby possibly avoiding a fight with the Angel of Wrath...and the list goes on. But learning as much as we can about the Strix for the knowledge alone is still worth going Grayside.

                          Doc’s Log: 2015 Hours, Monday, May 31, 2010

                          Cupcake came bouncing in just after 1800 Hours and announced her plans to introduce “Doom Cookies (TM)” to Murder Ballads. She’s even worked out getting an appointment setup with the owner next week. We all just kinda blinked at her, given the day’s events, until I realized she said she had a meeting with the owner. That was some pretty good use of networking there.

                          We caught her up on the crazy for the day and that was about the time Gretchen completely lost her shit. Most of us had figured out or been told directly that Gretchen had some problems similar to Snowflake and Tavia socially. She masked it better, with her forward, sexually charged language and her loud demeanor, but still she didn’t belong. This had apparently come to a head tonight and erupted all over everything. Cupcake, Snowflake, Tavia, and I followed her back into the Library to calm her down. I tried to have a similar discussion with her as I had with Tavia, but the major difference was Gretchen’s attraction to me, so I didn’t exactly put her at ease as much as make her feel worse I think. Eventually we got her to stop hating herself and realize that she was a wonderful person as is. Ronin and Rose were of course absent for this, as they went to pick up take out. And thank God for small favors. Neither of them would have done well in the comforting department considering they both really can’t stand Gretchen, among other obvious reasons. I asked Nightshade to ward the Library as best she could against Tzipporah. Snowflake and I will try to dig up a way to do the same with our other mystical ways and means. But before that, I could tell we’d be on the go alot since it seems we were going Grayside tonight. So I need to go brew up some more Elixir.

                          I can’t wait to see what comes next.

                          Jasmine’s Diary

                          Monday, May 31, 2010, Morning

                          I had trouble meditating this morning. I think it’s because I know I’m going to see Jean in less than an hour for our swim training. My uncertainty about our fledgling relationship is wearing on me a bit, and I’m not entirely sure why. I’m often fairly resolute about things, but the prospect of romance with Jean fills me with uncertainty. Perhaps it’s only natural, though. It’s hard for me to remember whether I felt like this when Richard and I first began seeing one another.

                          Monday, May 31, 2010, Morning

                          Training with Jean went well this morning. He was more familiar with me, which I did not mind at all, though I’m afraid I remained somewhat distant and professional, which probably disappointed him.

                          I did not feel like going back to Dark Haven Bluffs after training, so I visited Richard Mongler in his office and we chatted for a bit. I learned that the other Changelings call him “Grin” for obvious reasons. It’s quite endearing, though I’m not sure its meant that way. Sadly, I also got the impression that Richard is a bit lonely. He hasn’t had much luck romantically, being the odd bird that he is. I felt pangs of sympathy for him. I’ll have to keep an eye open for anyone who might fancy him.

                          I asked Richard if he knew anyone, professionally or through his Changeling contacts, who was familiar with old Native American languages of the area, but he did not seem confident that he could find anyone. We discussed the Strix briefly, but he did not know anything about them.

                          After chatting with Richard, I came to Lulu’s cafe, which is where I’m writing this. I suppose I’ll head home in a bit, but right now I just need to sit and relax with a cup of mocha latte. I wish Lulu’s served bubble tea, but it’s hard to find that in America.

                          Monday, May 31, 2010, Evening

                          While I was out today there was a bit of a scare with Gretchen. Alexia has updated me on most of the details. Simon found Gretchen unconscious in the library. She seemed to be dreaming, and eventually he realized that her spirit was somehow projecting itself elsewhere thanks to her studies of a book on the metaphysical geography of reality.

                          Her spirit was lost in some sort of spiritual burial mound, and it was being pursued by some terrible thing that Gretchen thinks was Tzipporah De La Poer as she really is. Gretchen does not believe that Tzipporah was ever human, but if so, we have no idea what she is aside from the fact that she is very powerful. Gretchen may be in danger now, so we are insisting that she remain with us for the time being. It is fortunate that Simon, Doc and Natalie were able to rescue her from her spiritual wanderings before she was lost for good.

                          Natalie warded the library to help discourage something like this from happening again, though from what I gather the wards are by no means certain to keep Tzipporah, or whatever was pursuing Gretchen, away. Nevertheless, they can’t hurt.

                          By the time all of this was revealed, I’d returned home. And after a krewe discussion on the matter, Gretchen had a bit of breakdown. She fled downstairs in tears and I was going to follow her to see what I could do to help, but Simon, Tavia, Alexia, Doc and Natalie all hurried downstairs as well, so I thought it would be best to remain upstairs so as not to crowd the poor girl any more than she already was. Besides, I’m not really very good with people compared to the others, so I doubt I would have been much help.

                          Alexia tells me that part of Gretchen’s breakdown was stress from her ordeal, but the greater issue is loneliness. She is upset that no one seems to like her very much because of the way she talks and behaves. Moreover, she’s upset over her lack of romantic prospects. I’ll admit that I prefer not to spend much time around her because of the rancid things she so casually blurts out, but I’m very sympathetic to her romantic troubles, and wonder if I can’t do anything to help her. It occurs to me that she and Mongler might get on well, but I’m not sure I want to get Richard tangled up in Fishborne affairs. On the other hand, he’s better equipped to deal with it than any normal mortal would be.


                          Underworld Excursion

                          Our next plans are to visit the Underworld library in order to find what information we can about the Strix and, if possible, learn what there is to learn about the Redheaded Woman who is controlling Big Sean Gleason. That seems to be the best option for us right now, since we cannot resolve Sean until we learn more about his situation, and the danger to Alexia, as well as the approaching date of Bonnie-Lynn’s ball, makes that a big priority. Ephraim’s ghost will help to guide us in the Underworld, and we’ve decided to enter from the Avernian Gate beneath the firehouse church.

                          Natalie’s Tweets

                          Monday, May 31st

                          -Breakfast in bed. Lucky me!

                          -Shiny, Shiny, Shiny Boots of Leather…

                          -Vlog is up!

                          -What’s going on in the House today?

                          -Lunch with Doc!

                          -More then just about anything else, I value the quiet moments while my sweetheart brushes my hair.

                          -I am tired, I am weary. I could sleep for a thousand years…

                          -So Tavia walked into the room Karen and I were sitting in, pointing a gun at me talking to me about a dragon eating a bear. This is not good gun safety. I don’t even know where to start.

                          -Do not point a gun at anyone you are not perfectly willing to shoot. How is that?

                          -And if you are perfectly willing to shoot anyone named Natalie, reconsider.

                          -She could have messed up me painting my toenails!

                          -OK the “Dragon eating a Bear” is just Gretchen snoring.

                          -And suddenly everyone is going crazy, WTF?

                          -What is with Tavia and my ears?

                          -Gretchen got attacked somehow and it’s time for our heroine to ward the library.

                          -I am going to assume Gretchen running into the library crying is a bad thing.

                          -OK first she was psychically assaulted then she had a nervous breakdown.

                          -Lady what you say is not as repellent as you EATING DUST. Your tongue is not getting anywhere near me, thanks.

                          -OK so Doc, Tavia, Simon, Alexia and I are trying to pull Gretchen out of the black funk she is in. Jasmine and Gwen passed, it seems, but they are not exactly the general listening ears of the group.

                          -Good thing for Tavia she is more adorable then creepy.

                          -Looks like we are hitting the Autochthones Depths tonight. Good thing I did not have plans.

                          -Did Tavia just talk about killing people?

                          -What exactly are we looking for again? Meh I have rituals to do, and then I have to plan what to wear, then I have to get a short speech for the group blessing…busy bee me.

                          -Maybe they would like a little homily? Nah…

                          Gwen’s Journal

                          May 31

                          I don’t want to write in here today. But it’s not like I can get into a habit of keeping up with what the hell’s going on in my life if I don’t write every day. I’m gonna screw it up sometimes and forget but the second day? No way man, I’m not that much of a loser.

                          And yet, that’s kind of how I feel. Like a fucking loser because some of my krewe seem to think I’m some illiterate mook. What the hell man, I’m the one who designed and installed the freaking security system we have here! I’ve done a huge amount of research even if it isn’t in the Fishborne library filled with all things dark, spooky, and evil. I’m not stupid for fuck’s sake!

                          It was a stupid throw away comment. Doc was picking with me, he didn’t mean it as anything other than a bit of snark, I know that. Hell I am the queen of snark - but it hit me wrong. Maybe it was because it came after learning that Simon let Gretchen spend an untold amount of time battling demons in her sleep, or that Tavia has a gun and no fucking idea how to use it. Maybe it was the book Simon had upstairs that showed the design of the cosmos including the area the outsiders probably come from, but after all that shit I wasn’t paying attention to what I said. I called the kerberoi a carburetor and Jasmine and Doc “I’m-so-damn-smart” Thorns didn’t know what I was talking about.

                          I explained how I did research today while I was at the office - I mean what else am I going to do? I have no clients, the whole thing is a front for our krewe anyway - might as well use it for something right? Anyway I researched the kerberoi all morning and regular internet and academic search engines didn’t give me much. Mainly that it was a Greek word and oh boy - wasn’t that news to us? They knew that already. Even had a decent idea of what the kerberoi was. I think it was Jasmine that pointed out we had a library in the house where we could look for more information - I could be wrong about that though, she doesn’t usually have much to say about how I research. But then Doc pipes up with the fact that I don’t read so it doesn’t really matter.

                          The fuck I don’t read! I read every damn day, and not just on occult shit. I’m keeping up with what’s going on in this town, how we can work the laws to keep us from having issues over the number of weapons we have in the Bluffs, not to mention how to help out the communities and deal with ghosts like the Angel of Wrath. I may not be down with all that magic crap Doc and Simon are all into but I pay attention to other things and I READ ABOUT IT!

                          I shut down after that a little bit. Rationally I know, I know he didn’t mean anything by it and I bet he forgot it the minute he said it, but his comment really got my back up. Kind of wanted to hit him and that’s not cool. Doc’s my friend, brother even, and there’s no reason to ever raise a hand to a friend. I’m not that violent a person - shut up Angel - I’m not. My reaction worries me a little bit. When Nat came in wondering what we’d done to Gretchen to make her fall to pieces Simon, Tavia, Alexia, and Doc went back down to the library with her to see what was wrong.

                          We found the woman fighting off a mental attack less than a hour before then - that was what was wrong! Well, that and the fact she can’t really act on the major crush she’s got on Doc. She’s crazy, but she’s also not going to poach another woman’s man.

                          Jasmine and I stayed behind while the rest of them went to take care of her. I was in no mood to comfort anyone and my version of comforting would not be welcome anyway. Jasmine seemed to think her assistance wouldn’t be welcome - hell, Gretchen makes her cringe every time she opens her mouth so I can see where she’d get that. But still. At least she wanted to help. I just wanted to get to work. We’re going into the underworld tonight to see what we can find out about the Strix and the kerberoi. Depending on what we find we’ll have to take pictures with an old style film camera then take the pictures to a pictograph expert I found at Yale. Yeah, I found her. With all that reading I don’t do.

                          Not sure when we’re heading out but I’m gonna take what time I can to workout and hopefully get the mad burned out of my system. I’m not going to let this anger take over, especially when my krewe’s done nothing to truly deserve it.

                          End Session XXXII

                          The Gretchen issue made more waves then expected, but that's cool. Now they are preparing for an underworld trip.

                          Not noted here, but there was...a tense time between Alexia and Chandra over Trinh, who Chandra admitted she had been feeding on for some time. She pretty much said she had been planning to turn her for some time. Alexia demanded she stop and Chandra very grudgingly agreed, but was visibly upset the entire session.

                          Two other things related to the Fishbornes came up also note really noted: Tavia made an offhand reference to when she kills people she does it with her hands or a kitchen knife that lead to people sort of looking at each other and pretending they did not hear that. Also, Dantiane is apparently very, very old and some sort of hunter of creatures that cross between worlds. He and the Fishborne family were apparently enemies for a couple centuries and have made some sort of accord the particulars of which are currently lost on Simon.

                          For those interested, there was some chatter on about character sheets, and Jasmine's player does ours so I put up a couple. Note these are the clean unmarked versions, but still good to see, here are Natalie and Jasmine's Natalie Front, Natalie Back, Jasmine Front, Jasmine Back, just for the curious.

                          Hope folks enjoy. Comments and questions welcome.

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                          • #43
                            OK, the first big foray into the Underworld. I wanted it to be physically and mentally challenging (a lot of rolls) but not simply be walk walk roll walk walk roll so I had to balance it with description. I think it had a slow start but wound up working. Here are the fine journals. Note Natalie's is very short as she could not tweet down there.

                            Session XXXIII

                            Doc's Log

                            Doc’s Log: 2345 Hours, Monday, May 31, 2010

                            I ended up not making the elixir after all. A little more discussion with the Krewe and we decided to wait until tomorrow to enter the Underworld. We also got Underworld 101 from Nightshade. While we’re Grayside, our vices are much more appealing and even addictive. Everything is scarier, no matter how bad ass we are. Sometimes, electronics go haywire or just don’t work, which immediately pissed Ronin off. I’m not entirely sure of the vices for everyone, but Nightshade, Cupcake, and Ronin, I’ve got a pretty good handle on. Nightshade indulges her Lusts as she can on this side, so I can only imagine how strong the urge will be for her over there. Cupcake is all about the food, we’ve even joked about how small she is given how much she eats. Then there’s Ronin. I think most people think Ronin is just always angry. In some ways, they’re right but I know what the call of Wrath is like. That’s not it for Ronin. With her, it’s absolutely GOT to be done her way. And if she can’t do it that way, then it’s anger. That’s not Wrath, that’s Pride. The ugly version. Knowing all that’s bad enough, but I at least don’t know what dark urges thrash around inside Snowflake or Rose. They are both, in different ways, very quiet about themselves. That is only mildly terrifying with what’s coming. But there’s no way I’m going to just walk up and ask what their horribly personal urges are so we know how do deal with them. Thankfully I didn’t have long to think on that, as Snowflake asked if I could help him. Apparently he was concerned with leaving the house unattended and given where we were going, wanted to provide a little more security to our stash of gold. I never like going through the Tomb of the Fishborns, but when accompanied by one, it’s less Death on a Stick. So Snowflake and I moved the gold out of his tomb in the mausoleum and down into one of the unused rooms in the basement. Snowflake was pretty wiped out once we finished, so I left him to rest. One day I really need to see just how many rooms there are down there, and if there are any without the old manacles bolted to the walls.

                            Back up in my room, I got together what few items I could for the ritual, then gave myself good luck for map making in the Underworld. After that, really there was nothing left but to get some rest before tomorrow. And obviously write this.

                            Doc’s Log: 1115 Hours, Tuesday, June 1, 2010

                            Meditating in the House is always a little odd for me, but since I got up around 0700 Hours, that wasn’t a problem. Once I got cleaned up and realized I had most of the morning before Snowflake and Nightshade would be up, I headed out to REI. I hear their commercials on the radio all the time at the shop so I figured I’d give them a shot. My god, it’s like a surplus store without the munitions. I told the saleswoman that I needed good, sturdy, and reliable equipment for “cave mapping.” And the less digital it was, the better. Technically, that’s to help with being in the Underworld, but really I suck with computers and being in the Underworld is very unlikely to change that. Since I’ll be fighting against the Red Haze more than usual, I figured it would be better for everyone that way. We got everything together and she (I think her name was Sarah) walked me through how to use all of it and when to use this but not that. All very helpful. It cost me but I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on how to use the equipment and hopefully we won’t immediately need to use it to get out. I also picked up what looked like the Army packs we called a MOLLE while I was in, but less shitty. I hear they are looking to scrap the ones we had to carry for something better now too. Good to hear, those damn ILBEs were a pain. I hope they field test it and actually use the feedback this time.
                            Wow...I must be more nervous about going to the Great Library Below than I thought. Reading back over this, I’m all over the place. Now I hear people moving around downstairs so I’m gonna go see what’s up.

                            Doc’s Log: 1415 Hours, Tuesday, June 1, 2010

                            Snowflake was the first one up of the two late sleepers. Looked like everyone else was up and out early like me. We talked about casting our magics and I said something about it probably not being a good idea to use the EMC room. He blinked at me for a moment and asked if I’d help him setup a Good Magic Circle room. Some place just for us to use our Ceremonial Magic. I had no idea what to do but this sounded like a great idea to me. We again went to the basement, into yet another unused room. But we set this one up much differently. I have to admit it gave me hope that Snowflake was so optimistic about our future. If things go badly, setting up a room for us to use and grow magically will be a pointless endeavor. But it was just what I needed to clear my head. We had a GMC room and I felt much better about our chances in the Underworld.

                            When we came back upstairs, Nightshade was up and took me to the side. She needed to let me know she has some known smoking issues in the Underworld. She wanted me to know so I wouldn’t flip out when I saw her chain smoking. This had something to do with the whole vices are addictive issue she mentioned last night. That was a little annoying but I realized this wasn’t something she actively wanted so I just said okay and filed it away.
                            Then it was time to get everyone geared up, packed, and ready to go. Cupcake had been to the store this morning too as she had rope, climbing gear, and a pink miner’s helmet with the light. Ronin seemed kinda pissed at me while we were getting things together, but she didn’t act on it. I have no idea what I did but apparently it was wrong. I loaded my pack with my shot gun, survival knife, mapping equipment, bandages, and a Maglite. Rose asked that everyone bring at least one charm, so I made sure I had the Blood Diamond Bullet with me as well. Now we’re about to head over to meet Ephraim at the Firehouse Church. I’m scared but I’m really excited too. Here we go.

                            Doc’s Log: 1920 Hours, Tuesday, June 1, 2010

                            I know now why some people call that Hell Diving. I should probably put this in order so that it makes any sense at all.

                            When we got to the Firehouse Church, we all gathered in the basement in front of the Avernian Gate. Rose asked for a blade and Ronin and I both pulled ours out. It was kind of funny to watch Rose jump back like that. But then both of our knives aren’t really meant for precise or delicate work. Then Nightshade offered one of her ritual daggers. I didn’t say anything but that was a huge deal. Blood is a thing for Nightshade, but having a body clean inside and out (yes you have to ignore the drugs for this to make sense) is a major deal for her. That she just casually offered to let Rose cut herself and intentionally spill blood told me that Nightshade is alot more comfortable and accepting of Rose than I thought. I am fully aware that Rose had no clue of the significance, she was just happy she wouldn’t need to use a bowie knife to cut her hand.

                            We all gave Rose a charm, then she cut her palm and enacted the ritual to open the Gate. I have to say... seeing Rose with all the Death Bling, raising her bloody hand, and speaking words of power to create a portal to the Underworld was possibly cooler than anything I’ve ever seen in a movie. That part of the Death Bling was a cowboy hat that Ronin had been wearing before she plunked it down on Rose’s head just made the whole thing that much more surreal. I got out the supplies and bandaged Rose’s hand so she wouldn’t be getting unknown toxins in a fresh wound. Yes it’s paranoid but I didn’t want to take any chances. With that, we all entered the Underworld.
                            Inside we stood in a dark cave that opened into tunnels. Cupcake switched on her miner’s light and led the way forward. Not too far in, we met Ephraim and noticed that there were dim torches lining the cave-like walls. I got out my mapping equipment and tried to pay close attention to detail. The route between the Firehouse and the edge of Town, moving at our cautious pace took about half an hour with me mapping all the way. I was very pleasantly surprised at how good of a map I produced. It seemed drawn to scale, showed other branches in the tunnels, and overall made good sense. I also noticed that it took Nightshade about 5 minutes after arriving to start smoking like a chimney. Even though she had warned me this was likely, I realized I had a death grip on my stylus every time I heard her lighter strike.

                            We stopped as Ephraim and Cupcake found a shorter route that involved climbing up the side of the tunnel through a hole in the rocky ceiling. Rose, being the most athletic, free climbed the 40 feet while carrying the rope to the top. Once secure, she reported that she saw some kind of light like a neon sign down the tunnel in the opposite direction. Ephraim said it was suppose to be there, something about it being a diner type place where ghosts eat ofrendas. I organized the climbing order to make it easier and safer for the Krewe. Cupcake would go first and secure the rope with her pitons, then Nightshade, Snowflake, Ronin, and me. After about 10 feet, Nightshade got stuck which held up the line. Once she got moving again, I thought we’d be set but then Ronin slipped and sent dust and grit falling in my face. I made some joking remark about rocks falling on my head, but I had to really fight down getting angry. Once she got her footing again, we both shot up the rope and cleared the opening. Snowflake damned us all by noting right then that things certainly seemed to be going well. I’m now very glad we see each other as brothers. Given my rattled hold on my temper, I was somewhat impressed when I didn’t punch him for saying that out loud.

                            In this new area, there were scrolls in the walls all the way to the peaked ceiling. The tunnels here were more like ancient shelved hallways, still with torches but I could tell we were in town proper now. I went back to mapping our progress as we moved towards Yale. That map wasn’t quite as good as the first, but still better than I expected on my first trip into the Underworld. It was almost to scale...hell I can’t really complain about it, just not as cool as the awesome first one. I think the mystic stroke of Luck I gave myself really paid off and that little bit of fortune helped ease the tension and extinguish my temper. We passed a room that kind of opened off the hallway we were moving through. It looked like a church with lots of stained glass and candles lighting the whole place. We started to notice other ghosts about that time too. They saw us but stayed cloistered together in small groups whispering. None of them tried to talk to us or really even moved. Few reacted at all other than to note the newcomers as we walked through. I thought that was a little weird but figured they had a reason for it. Just after the church we decided to check some of the scrolls. Somebody found a list of various store fronts in the area from ages past. They were all gone now, but it did list the addresses and who owned them. We all stopped for a minute with different ideas. I thought of Murder Ballads but Rose spoke up first and asked about Sean’s pub. We helped Snowflake, the most skilled researcher among us, look up more on the pub. We couldn’t find a scroll with that on it but he did find one that pointed in the direction for the next section of the list. Between our experiments and Ephraim’s helpful explanations, we figured out that this place has a sort of intuitive search based on what you need and what you’re looking for. It was a given that we all wanted to learn exactly how to use this.

                            The next scroll had a list of owners, listed by date of death. The current owner wasn’t on the list as we assume them to be alive. Snowflake mentioned with a rather fascinated expression that alot of the information wasn’t actually written on the scrolls. He just became aware of these bits of knowledge as he read through the documents. One of the scrolls we looked at relating to Sean’s pub inferred someone known as the Rose Bride. We all knew who that was talking about. I thanked the Library out loud at that point. Ephraim noted that sometimes people make sacrifices to the Library to make It more likely to help in those ways. We figured out that really the Library wants knowledge as a sacrifice. That does make sense, a fair trade in a way. Knowledge for knowledge. I said we should transcribe one of the books from the Library in Dark Haven Bluffs in our own blood to give as sacrifice. Not the happiest idea, but I knew it would be very personal and take some time so it would mean more. Rose suggested we sacrifice one of our personal journals, but Ronin shot that idea down for obvious reasons. I had to admit I didn’t want to get rid of one of my links to the world like that either. We asked Ephraim how we could sacrifice something but he wasn’t completely sure. He did mention seeing what turned out to be Vaclav and a few other Nosferatu as well as two men with long hair. All of them sacrificed things to the Library. The men with long hair caught our attention. After we spoke about it, we realized that the white haired man was Crowley. This explained how he seemed to know everything and also how he moved all over town without being seen. The other man dressed in black and had long black hair. None of us could place him and that made us nervous.

                            Rose decided we should keep following the line on the Rose Bride. I didn’t dispute that it was important, but we came in looking for intel on the Strix. And truth be told, I am regretting the whole “Date with a Ghost” contest. Sure everyone was all excited about it and I know it’s going to be fun, but somehow it didn’t register with me until recently that we’d actively be encouraging everyone to interact with entities on the wrong side of Twilight. Yes, it should have been apparent but I think I got too caught up in the sparkly hype of having a Goth Party to realize the specifics. I know we need to help Bonnie Lynn and I’m not against that at all. But just like Big Sean and the Rose Bride, I don’t think the dead should be manipulating the living. Anyway, because the Rose Bride dominoes into our ultimate plans for Bonnie Lynn and that has the shortest time frame, the others agreed with Rose.

                            We kept moving and I returned to mapping. The next hour produced a nice map and map that looks like it was drawn by a 5 year old while playing pirates; well in comparison to the others anyway. It will suffice but it won’t be extremely helpful. In better news, references to the Rose Bride came up in relation to an entity known as Our Lady. Rose believes Our Lady is a Kerberoi and really none of us can think of a good reason not to agree. Looks like the Rose Bride answers to the whims of another as well. An otherwise unrelated scroll listed the names of 60 men and women, all taken by the Rose Bride. This list was new to us as none of the names were familiar. Then we figured out that not all of them were even from New Haven or American as this list dates back to the 1400s. The Rose Bride has been a busy little bee. We moved on again so I went back to mapping.

                            About half an hour and another pirate map later, Ronin found a real map of New Haven. This was a more modern map that displayed roughly the southern half of the city. There was a mark very near the House at Dark Haven Bluffs which we approximated to be Snowflake’s mausoleum. Another X was on Bonny Lynn’s grave. A third was an unknown grave within the graveyard at the Church on the Green. There were a few other marks in other cemeteries as well. Ronin got out the old style camera she bought and took a few pictures. This was definitely something we needed to look into. But when I turned around I noticed Nightshade standing frozen as she gazed at another scroll. No one else seemed to notice so I quietly moved up behind her to look over her shoulder. The document had the mark of the old Krewe and from what little bit I read, it was meant to be a warning for others. They wrote it to keep future Sin-Eaters from harm before going out to fight the good fight, but all the spots where they actually said what they were doing or dealing with had been ripped from the page. This was obviously a deliberate cover up by whoever or whatever they were facing...and it confirmed Nightshade’s worst fears.

                            Something killed them. And that Something was still around.

                            After that, I stayed closer to her. I knew that on some level that probably pissed her off, but on another level I wanted her to know I was there for her if she needed me. She turned to me and was as white as a sheet. She started babbling then and I knew she was not going to take this well. I held her for a moment and told her that we couldn’t think about that right now. She calmed down after a second and got a little bit of color back, but she was still visibly shaken. That was NOT what we needed down here. After another section of map that didn’t have Playmobil stamped on it, we found a copy of the Rose Bride’s contract. If anyone enters into a deal with her then they keep the brides or grooms (she doesn’t discriminate in the souls she steals at least), but if they fail her, then she gets them and all the brides/grooms they have as well. The Rose Bride apparently also does some other things for the contracted soul but that varies. There was no mention of the people being killed right away if they signed the contract, but it’s still a guess that they aren’t. Ronin made some mention that it was too bad we didn’t have Sean’s contract. After she said it, the Krewe glanced at each other and then all scrambled at the same time to help Snowflake. That really didn’t take very long either.

                            Big Sean Gleason got quite a lot for his soul...and I have to say that for a murderous Irish mobster, he certainly had at least one redeeming quality. He truly loved Bonny Lynn. Granted he hated Stanton Marshall with the same intensity and apparently felt like David Jennings should be left completely out of the picture.

                            His contract states that for serving the Rose Bride:
                            1. Stanton Marshall would be gunned down (Check)
                            2. David Jennings would never get any of Bonnie Lynn’s money (Check; she died before they married)
                            3. The Rose Bride could never make a deal with Bonnie Lynn (Check)

                            Putting our heads together and using information we were getting with the help of the Library, we worked out a way to force the Rose Bride to break the contract. We know that Sean’s current brides are anchored to an altar in town. If we were to trap them within the anchor, then damage it enough not to destroy it but to force the church to replace it, then the brides are taken away. If the Rose Bride can’t keep the rewards promised in the contract from being stolen from Big Sean, then the contract is broken. This will free Sean, enabling us to help him pass on. That will free up some of the baggage with Stanton Marshall so he will be ready to pass on after we fix him up with Bonnie Lynn. Who will then be gracelessly overjoyed at finally getting a man of her very own. And possibly spontaneously combust.

                            Right after getting this wonderful plan together, we heard something that I will never forget. It was like the growl of a panther mixed with a stampeding herd of cattle and a huge pack of jackals baying underneath. Ephraim looked panicked and told us that we had to move quickly, the Howling Dead were coming. I heard the others mention something about these spirits before. The very short version was that anything that falls to the horde joins the horde. This was why the other ghosts weren’t very interested in us. They might get caught too far away from their hiding places. At first I thought we’d all just climb the shelved walls and stay out of the way, but then I realized that Rose, Ronin, and me were the only ones that could quickly climb at all. Take away the rope and the stabilizing gear that Cupcake brought and there was no way. We found a hole leading down into darkness in one of the corridors but it was a long drop. Rose took the rope and climbed the shelves while the rest of us jumped into the darkness. We were prepared to bulwark the wounds as soon as we hit, but it was still not fun. Scrambling in the blackness, I found Nightshade and held her close. Above us, we heard the thunderous horror of the Howling Dead as they tore through like an Underworld force of nature. I guess in a way they are just that. A Spectral Tornado with no rhyme or reason for where it goes or what it destroys. I felt like I was back in Iraq, but I tried to push those thoughts out of my head. This was so very different.

                            Once it was quiet again, Rose dropped the rope and I held it tight from the bottom. I assembled the climbing order again for best safety. Cupcake, Snowflake, Ronin, Nightshade, then me. Having Ronin in the middle would help in cause the other two fell and after that encounter, I needed to keep Nightshade as close to me as possible. This time I stayed at the bottom holding the rope until Nightshade got to the top then I pretty much just ran up the wall and popped up behind her. We decided that that was as good a time as any to head home. We took a slightly different way back, which I did not take the time to map. It was a longer but safer route. We repelled down the wall we originally climbed, leaving the pitons there to make return trips easier and faster. We made it back to the House around 1800 Hours.

                            Rose confessed that it was confusing to her that she enjoyed the trip so much. That almost made me laugh. She’s been so uptight about so many things, really liking something was almost foreign to her. Ronin mentioned a climbing wall in town and I think that’d be a great way for us to train for things like this. I know the Skull and Bones run drills but really I think that’s just to keep Moiré in control.

                            Nightshade came to me not long after we got back and told me I’d be staying with her tonight but that she had something to do with Karen first. I was pretty sure that something had to do with drugs and/or other activities that were really bad for your health. That was really the last straw for me. I came back here to the shop so I could beat out my frustrations on the bag. I haven’t really worked a bag over like that since...well probably since I was still on base at LeJeune. The bag is looking tired, but I feel a little better. I really did beat the hell out of that thing. I guess I’ll need to start finding ways to vent my anger if we’re going to be heading in the Great Library Below very often. And I plan to.

                            he Krewe called me back for Game Night so I got back to the House a little before 2000 Hours. The game of the night was Trivial Pursuit. Now I knew this would be interesting because I “ran the tables” back on base, but I decided to keep that to myself. We split up in teams with Snowflake and Tavia with the Green Wheel, Rose and Ronin with the Orange Wheel, Cupcake and Chandra with the Yellow Wheel, and Nightshade and me with the Brown Wheel. We started out strong and pretty much continued throughout. I was handling the Science & Nature, most of the Geography, and some of the History questions. Nightshade powered through the People & Places and Arts & Entertainment questions. Ronin gave me a run on the Sports & Leisure stuff and of course Snowflake almost crushed me on the History. Unlike the usual domination by Rose, I think we all had alot of fun without wondering why we were there. Cupcake and Chandra were there, but they were more interested in each other. Nightshade was flirting very heavily the whole game too. After the game, Cupcake served up some of her Doom Cookies.

                            Nightshade came and tried to pull me away after we cleaned up the game table, but I was still just edgy enough that I pulled back, swept her off her feet, and carried her back up here. Needless to say, I’m going to sleep well tonight.

                            Jasmine’s Diary

                            June 1, 2010, Morning

                            We’re going to the Underworld today in the afternoon, after I get back from training Jean. Alexia and Doc have been getting equipment together for the excursion: ropes, flashlights, mapping gear and the like. We don’t plan to be down there for more than several hours, so I haven’t heard anyone mention anything about food or water. But I’ll pack some bottled water and granola snacks in my satchel along with a torch and my diary just in case.

                            June 1, 2010, Afternoon

                            We are in the Underworld now. I’ve only been to the Underworld briefly before, and I’m finding it to be a fascinating experience! Alexia has unerringly guided us to the library sections with Ephraim’s help, and Doc is mapping our progress for future reference. We entered through the Avernian gate in the firehouse church. I volunteered to open the gate, and to ensure that I would open a strong connection to the Underworld, I cut a deep gash on my arm and splashed some of my blood on the ground at the gate. The ritual worked, and I felt a sort of attunement to the Autochthonous Depths that I did not feel when we entered the Underworld beneath Rose Hall some weeks ago.

                            Getting to the library sections was a bit rigorous for the less athletic members of our crew. Navigating the caves and passages that make up the geography here was no too difficult, though a bit tight in places. The most challenging bit was scaling a 12-meter high shaft in the rock. I went first, and was able to scale it fairly easily and attach a rope for the others. Despite the rope, Natalie had a bit of difficulty with the climb. She’s not the most physically active member of the krewe, and I think she became anxious about falling halfway up and froze. She eventually made it to the top, and I did my best to encourage and calm her. I think it helped.

                            Some of the architecture here is very interesting. We passed through one section that resembled a Catholic church, and many of the passages are stacked with old books and scrolls in nooks and alcoves stretching haphazardly to the ceiling in many places. We had to climb to reach quite a lot of them.

                            The most astounding thing, though, is what we have discovered about the library. Even though the books themselves don’t seem to be organized in any reasonable fashion, we discovered that the library helps to guide researches toward the information they seek. When Simon ran across a scroll listing the ownership and brief histories of many of the shops through New Haven, dating back a few centuries, I suggested that we look to see what it said about Sean Gleason’s pub. After all, we are here to research the Strix, but also to find out more about Gleason and the red-headed entity he serves. The pub wasn’t listed on the scroll, but Doc and Simon, who were reading it, got a sort of insight as to where another, related scroll might be. We soon discovered that by investigating bits of information in the library, these insights would lead us to more sources of related information.

                            According to Ephraim, this quality of the library becomes stronger if you sacrifice something to the library. It especially likes rare or unique books, so we’ve resolved to find books that would make suitable offerings to assist us in future research. Ephraim also told us that the Nosferatu vampires and a man who sounded a lot like Crowley visited the library with some regularity.

                            We’ve agreed to follow up on the leads we’ve discovered on the pub and the thing controlling Sean Gleason. Doc, Simon, and Natalie seem quite excited about what they are learning; I simply hope it’s useful to us in resolving Sean in time for Bonnie’s ball.

                            June 1, 2010, Night

                            We have left the Underworld. We didn’t discover any information on the Strix, but we will return for that with offerings for the library. As my notes show, we did learn quite a bit about Sean Gleason and his red-headed mistress, though.

                            Before leaving, two rather upsetting events occurred. First, Natalie found a message from one of the sin-eaters who resided in New Haven some time ago—one of the prior krewe that went missing. They referred to entering the Underworld to deal with something (its name had been marked our or torn away), and left instructions in case they did not return. Unfortunately, the instructions were also missing.

                            Natalie is uncharacteristically paranoid about the fate of that krewe and the lingering threat it might represent for us, so she sank into anxious distraction for the remainder of the excursion. I suppose we could try to investigate the disappearance of the previous krewe more, but we can hardly spare the time or energy with everything else on our plates. We should certainly do so eventually, I suppose, but Natalie’s reaction is rather strong, and the rest of us don’t seem to know quite how to take it. Doc was there for her, though, and Gwen did her best to present a strong and encouraging front.

                            The second event was the coming of the Howling Dead, the same maddened collection of gibbering spirits that was roaming the library near Rose Hall last time we entered the Underworld. It came upon us rather quickly and we did not have much time to react. The others fled to a nearly vertical chute in the cave-like tunnels and threw themselves down it, risking injury rather than face being absorbed by the Howling Dead. I chose to remain above so as to help them back up with the rope once the thing had passed, and climbed some 6 or 7 meters up the walls of library, pressing myself into a shelved alcove near the ceiling.

                            I saw the Howling Dead pass beneath, and the sight of the thing is something I would rather not see again. It was terrifying, with countless ghostly bodies warped together, their faces lolling and twisting in and out of the mass as they screamed in endless agony. I was able to keep my wits about me, but I’m thankful the others didn’t have to witness what I did. I’m not sure Alexia could have handled it, and Natalie might have broken down completely, given her state of mind at the time.

                            In any event, all ended well, and we retreated from the Underworld safely once the Howling Dead had moved on. We’re back at Dark Haven Bluffs, safe and sound now, and have just had dinner. It’s game night, and we’ll be playing Trivial Pursuit. It should be a nice way to unwind after the tense day. I wish we hadn’t chosen that game, though. I don’t know nearly as much as the others, so I’m terrible at it!

                            June 1, 2010, Late Night

                            Perhaps I’m not so terrible at Trivial Pursuit as I thought. We played in teams: Doc and Natalie, Alexia and Chandra, Simon and Tavia, and Gwen and me. Doc and Natalie won. Doc is very intelligent, and very knowledgeable. But…Gwen and I still came in second, which I consider quite impressive given our competition.

                            Both Gwen and I enjoyed the climbing parts of our Underworld trip, so we’ve decided to go practice more at a local rock-climbing facility in New Haven. I look forward to it, and wonder if I should invite Jean.


                            Notes: The Rose Bride

                            Our research in the Underworld has revealed the following information regarding Gleason and his red-headed keeper.

                            - The Red-headed entity controlling Sean is known as the Rose Bride. She works for a kerberoi named Our Lady (a Catholic reference).

                            - The Rose Bride makes contracts with people, both men and women, in which she promises to grant certain of their wishes. In exchange, they must arrange to get brides or grooms, who, once dead, become bound to the Rose Bride like those we saw at Gleason’s pub. Ultimately, these bride/grooms are ultimately passed on the Our Lady, so the Rose Bride is presumably employed to gather souls for her master. We do not know to what end, though. If the contract-maker fails to provide brides/grooms, he/she is taken instead.

                            - There were some 60 names related to the Rose Bride, either as brides or grooms or as the people who had made a contract with her.

                            - We managed to locate a copy of Sean Gleason’s contract with the Rose Bride.

                            - We found a map of New Haven with several locations marked: Simon’s Mausoleum behind the house, Bonnie-Lynn’s Grave (or somewhere near it), two spots in other graveyards, one on the Church on the Green. We don’t know what this means, or even what relationship it bears to the Rose Bride, if any, but we should certainly investigate.

                            -Personally, I find this entire situation abhorrent. It defies everything I believe in! These poor women are forced into a parody of love and marriage, and turned into mere shadows of the Rose Bride, only to be given to a kerberoi. The Drowned Bride and I cannot stand the thought of love—or the promise of it—being used to enslave people like that!. Something must be done.

                            Big Sean Gleason’s Contract

                            Sean’s contract with the Rose Bride listed the things she promised him in exchange for his help acquiring brides for her:

                            - Stanton Marshall would be gunned down like Sean was.

                            - David Jennings (Bonnie-Lynn’s fiancee) would not get any of Bonnie-Lynn’s money.

                            - The Rose Bride would not try to make a bargain with Bonnie-Lynn.

                            The Rose Bride has successfully accomplished all of those, and there is little we can do about that. However, we might be able to remove Sean’s end of the bargain if we can capture the ghosts of his brides. This would doom him to be dragged back to Our Lady, but it may be no more than he deserves.

                            Doing so, however, would require us to seal them in their anchor, which is a Catholic church altar, and that will not be easy to do.

                            We are still working out what we will do to resolve this issue.

                            Natalie’s Tweets

                            Tuesday June 1st

                            -Chatting with people about the Seekrit Project, then I will be a woman on a mission.

                            -Vlog is up!

                            -Taking our Krewe on their first Underworld crawl. I hope everyone is prepared.

                            -Well…Alexia is prepared, that is a lot of caving gear.

                            -Heading out to the Firehouse Church.

                            -It’s a lovely old building here.

                            -Going in, thus radio silence.

                            -I am back.

                            -I am going to be quiet for a bit.

                            -Am I ever going to stop loving the taste of blood? Probably not…

                            -No Vlog tonight, sorry. You had one today, you will survive.

                            -I am emotionally all out of whack. I need to get ahold of myself.

                            -Going to bed with Doc isn’t going to help me get better but it will help him, which is good I guess. I wish he was not so prudish about certain things though.

                            -Hopefully I won’t be emotionally in pieces when I wake up.

                            Gwen’s Journal

                            June 1, 2011 - Morning

                            We didn't head out last night after all, instead I wound up working out to burn off some of the mad and then talked to Simon about putting in an exercise room. He didn't seem to mind so yay – side project. My lease is up in October and since it doesn't look like we're gonna kill each other, I'll probably give it up just so I don't have that waste of money going out. Simon doesn't seem to mind us taking over portions of the house and honestly there's more than enough rooms in this place. Hell I don't even know all the rooms we've got. Taking one to give me a place for a punching bag and some other equipment seems like a pretty good idea. Less chance I'll give in and smash Doc's face in when he gets on my nerves.

                            I've gotta get over that – I tease the hell out of him, no reason for it to piss me off when he does it right back. It's only jackasses & douchebags that can dish it out but not take it. I don't consider myself to be either of those even if I can be a bit of a bitch at times.

                            At breakfast this morning Simon mentioned moving the gold we had stashed in his crypt into one of the rooms in the basement. Apparently he's tired of it taking up space in his coffin. He was sweet about it as he always is, I seriously don't think I've seen Simon get mad yet. That tells me it's gonna be a big deal when he does. But anyway. Creepy as wanting access to your own coffin is, none of us objected to the move. I told him I'd get one of the electronic locks for the door and he seemed OK with that. I have to get those locks for a lot of doors in this place – there's too many hidey-holes and crap we need to keep an eye on around here. By the time I'm done the simple security system I started with will be state of the art. Seriously beginning to think I should've gone for security at the office rather than P.I. But hey, nothing says I can't diversify right?

                            Since we weren't in the Underworld yet Jasmine wanted to go train Jean like she does every morning. Sometimes I gotta wonder if training this kid is more important than all the other stuff we've got going on. Doc closes his store when it's needed and the office is closed more than it's open so we can be around and accessible but nothing interferes with Jean's training. I hope it's worth it in the long run. Still Jazz seems kind of uncomfortable with the dude still. She hasn't really mentioned a second date with him. I know she feels like the Bride's pushing her to get into a relationship and I wouldn't even think of telling her to take the Bride's advice – that's one crazy ghost – but I also can't help thinking that Jazz might relax a little if she got laid. Yeah. I know. Not gonna happen. She should be back by now. Based on what I can see on the cameras Nat's up so I bet we'll be heading out soon. Should get my camera and head down. I wonder if my gun will work in the Underworld? I'll ask Nat.

                            June 1, 2011 – Evening

                            Never want to go back there! Seriously, that is a fucking creepy ass place! Depressing, cave like, and filled with dead people! Duh – it's the Underworld, of courses there's a bunch of dead people, but that place is beyond creepy!

                            Nat warned us about a lot of things before we started out trip through hell and it just got me more keyed up. She said it'd be more tempting to give in to our more negative traits – our vices – while we were in the underworld. Alexia immediately told Jazz to keep the snacks she had away from her. One thing's for sure, Alexia loves her food. She thought she'd give in to her gluttony if given the opportunity down there so she didn't want the temptation. Figured that was smart. I knew I would need to watch it down there – while I'm damn good at what I do, I didn't need to accentuate that confidence and let it get me into trouble. Ever heard the one about pride going before the fall? Yeah, the Angel seemed to think telling me that over and over again would be helpful. All it did was make me want to duck tape his mouth closed – not that I can do it, but damn did I want to.

                            I wound up keeping my mouth shut for most of the trip. I figured that'd be the best way to keep things on an even keel for me. Still there were a few times when I couldn't help it.

                            Jazz opened the gate to get us in when we got to the Firehouse Church. We could've gone in at the Bluffs but it would've been a longer hike to get into the library. She used all our charms to help open the gate – seemed kind of symbolic like we were all assisting somehow. Ephraim met us on the other side to guide us, but Alexia with all her caving equipment was really the navigator of the group. Doc made maps of our journey along the way and some of them were pretty good. It'd be a little easier to get back if we wanted to – not that I want to. We had to do a bit of rock climbing and Nat had a slight issue there, but she made her way up the wall eventually. I followed her up but I need new boots or something, had trouble finding purchase a few times and Doc made jokes about getting rained on. I know he was coping with his own issues, but that came close to setting me off again.

                            We had to slip through a pretty narrow crevasse – niche – hallway? Not sure what you'd call it, but my utility belt got scratched up pretty good. Doc offered to buff it up with something he keeps in his shop. I could see it as the olive branch it was – hell he really doesn't understand why I've been pissy with him since last night, not like I've confronted him (because it's stupid) so I said thanks and kept going. I'll take him up on the offer. I know my feelings in this case are stupid as hell, no need to make a big production out of anything.

                            We kept going and went through what looked like a cathedral. There was no altar but lots of ghosts that sort of watched us but didn't try to interact with us. Didn't care for that place, there was no sense of peace or acceptance there like there is in an actual sanctuary. When we left that area the walls were filled floor to ceiling with cubby holes housing scrolls. There was absolutely NO organizational system, but we pulled random scrolls trying to figure out what was what. Doc found a scroll listing the address and owners of different shops in town. Jazz had a good idea and we started hunting to see if we could find the scroll for Big Sean's pub. When we did find it the current owner wasn't listed – I guess because he or she isn't dead – but the place has been there for a long time.

                            Something weird, but interesting happened while Simon looked at that scroll. Even though it wasn't written on the scroll Simon said the name The Rose Bride went through his head. He said it was like the library was filtering information straight into him or something. Ephraim mentioned that others who used the library made sacrifices to get more information. When we asked for some examples we learned Crowley uses the library sometimes, even if it's just as a way to get from one side of town to another without dealing with rush hour traffic, and the Nosferatu Valkov has used it. Even more troubling, Tzipporah’s used it though not recently.

                            We kept spot checking scrolls to see what else we could find out about the Rose Bride (yeah, we'd gone down there for info on the strix but got side tracked with Sean and the Rose Bride) it took a while but eventually we found out that the Rose Bride works for someone called Our Lady. Nat suggested that was the actual Kerberoi and the Rose Bride was probably a Giest. She's been working gathering sets of men and women since at least the 1400s based on what we found. We also found Big Sean's contract with the Rose Bride and have been working on how we can void the contract or break it ever since. We're on a tight timetable with that, but I think Alexia's random “I want an ice cream shop!” bargain will actually help us there. We'll just have to see.

                            There's also this map of New Haven with a few places marked including the Bluffs and Bonnie Lynn's grave. I snapped several pictures of the map since we couldn't take it with us. We'll need to go over that at some point.

                            So apparently there was another Krewe in New Haven at one point. We've seen their marks around, but I've never really thought about them all that much. Nat however has, and she found a message from then in the scrolls only the pertinent info wasn't there due to the scroll being ripped and torn in places. She immediately went all cold and distantly panicked saying whatever got them was coming after her too.

                            Doc did the whole physical comfort deal – as he should've – but I thought she needed something more. When you think your life's in danger it's usually a comfort to know you have people watching your back. Folks who will put their life on the line to make sure you're safe, right? So I made Nat give me her full attention and promised her that nothing would happen to her, that we were there and we'd look out for her. That nothing would get to her as long as I was around. (I meant to say we as in all of us, but that's not what came out). She didn't seem all that reassured – she didn't want anyone getting hurt because of her. Took everything I had not to say she shouldn't have joined a krewe then, but I was good, I kept my mouth shut and let Doc take over with the support and all. I'd done what I could and seemed kind of like I made things worse.

                            The trip came to a pretty abrupt end when the Howling Dead came through. I didn't see them as we were warned to get the hell out of their path. But it's said that if you fall to the horde you become a part of it. That wasn't something any of us wanted to risk. Jazz climbed upwards well out of their way and kept the climbing equipment while the rest of us jumped down into another cavern. Was a 30ft drop so that hurt a bit, but we all managed it. Those guys got the name Howling Dead for good reason. The wailing, screaming, howling we heard really was the stuff of nightmares. Just thinking about it makes the hair on my arms stand up.

                            Once they were gone Jazz dropped a rope to us and we got the hell out of Dodge. We all needed some time to decompress so everyone went their separate ways for a while. We came back together later for pizza and Trivial Pursuit. It's Tuesday after all, so game day. Doc & Nat won the game then took off for some couple time. Thought about calling Anders but decided I really wasn't in the mood. Instead I started writing this and talking with Jazz. Really not looking forward to going back to the Underworld but I know we're going to have to. There's too much we still need to learn to deal with all the issues in New Haven. Now I think I'm gonna try and get some sleep. Just hope I don't dream.

                            End Session XXXIII

                            Well that was exciting, wasn't it?

                            The group did an excellent job of playing their vice issues (that was was mentioned and the book addiction system was mentioned OOC) but they went above and beyond especially Doc and Gwen's players but everyone in general. As an aside for a horror game the new WoD is INCREDIBLY forgiving of falling damage. Normal people can fall multiple stories and be OK two hours later, from what we read. I made it more then a bit harsher, but only came up when they were dodging the Howling Dead (and they just Bulwarked that, which was fine but it was still perilous enough to make them Bulwark it)

                            Stay tuned true believers until next time (which already happened, due to vacation related scheduling with people) in which stuff is discussed, houses are broken into, dead bodies are found, and Our Heroes find more information on Our Lady.

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                            • #44
                              We are late, but tis better then never eh?

                              Session XXXIV

                              Doc's Log

                              Doc’s Log: 0915 Hours, Wednesday, June 2, 2010

                              Meditation this morning went very well. Given that I stayed at the House to do it that’s pretty amazing. I felt even more in control and at peace than usual.

                              Since I was able to meditate fairly quickly, I went downstairs for breakfast with the Krewe. I don’t normally get the chance to eat with them except for dinner. We really are one big, dysfunctional family at this point. I walked into a conversation which amounted to Rose lining up the crosshairs on the Rose Bride. I knew when we started learning about this would-be Geist that its methods were really going to put Rose off. What I didn’t count on was her being so very adamantly and, for Rose, violently opposed. If there was a performance piece done to act out the intent of Rose’s verbage, at one point someone would have their spine ripped out. By hand. Through the stomach.

                              In other news, somehow Ronin didn’t understand there is a Fish God sleeping under the House. Snowflake and I kinda looked at each other as I know we all talked about this in front of her before. Apparently she thought we were … I don’t know, being facetious or something. I’m not sure how this came up over breakfast and Rose’s near statement of murderous intent, but it did. Granted immediately after that, Tavia announced that her period would end in the next four days so she’d have to see if she will have to make another painting or not. Because we need something else major to deal with right now.

                              Cupcake, in a rare moment of focus, decided that we should split up today to do research and try to find those ritual notebooks of DeCastro’s. She started picking teams then, setting out me, Ronin, and Snowflake for Library duty, while her and Rose would go deal with “acquiring” the notebooks. Ronin decided that the larcenous ones needed a Wheel(wo)man more than we needed more help researching. So I guess that settles my day.

                              Rose decided that she wanted to help Gretchen after all. Now the fact that she’s now planning to set her up with a Changeling who is really a T-Rex does bring into question exactly how she’s going to help but I guess it’s a start. Ronin approved of this idea, which really only makes it more scary.

                              Doc’s Log: 1245 Hours, Wednesday, June 2, 2010

                              I left a note on Nightshade’s door saying that we were researching in the Library. Last thing I needed was for her to go out to the shop with her picnic basket and not find me there. Tavia came along and we all got started. The immediate thing we found reference to was that Our Lady was/is an Underworld God. It (she) is represented as an armless, headless, female angel in white robes. Nightshade came down with the picnic basket just as we learned about the adaptation of Our Lady from Our Mother, the pagan feminine symbol. I found that to be very ironic in a disturbing and still exciting way. Back to the doom, the further back and darker we got, the closer Our Mother came to mirroring an entity known as “Died before the First Dawn,” a bloated, extremely elongated corpse woman. This symbol of rotting death was predominately worshiped in Thailand, Pakistan, and varies Incan groups. The silver lining to this was that Our Lady is very distinctly not tied directly to Our Mother or Died before the First Down. However Our Mother and Died are very much tied together. Apparently there were issues with one of the cults in Thailand back in the day. Issues in the “human sacrifices to please the master” kind of way. I didn’t get all the details but the gist of the cult cosmology is that the followers need to kill lots of people to “build a perfect partner” for Died before the First Dawn. Then the two dead and rotting corpses can have an unholy roll in the hay and Died before the First Dawn will stillbirth the apocalypse, bringing in the new age of the world for the cult. Apparently no one had enough foresight to realize an entity like that isn’t likely to just pat them on the head for doing a good job after ending the world. Nightshade noted that Died before the First Dawn sounded more like a title than a name, which suggested she was actually a Cthlonian. That really ain’t good.

                              Then we found an even worse point, as there are living members of this cult still around. An entire island chain in the Indian Ocean known as the Andaman Islands sport an indigenous tribe which still worships Died before the First Dawn. These island tribesmen seemed driven to kill anyone other than themselves on sight. I was about to flip out but Snowflake informed me that they number in the twenties total now. When the British did their Eastern Expansion, there were things other than tigers being shot. Then during World War II, the Japanese had a talk with them as well. Thus there are less than 30 known to still exist on the islands that no one else wants to deal with. Though we were able to find out they really like to kill men so they can keep working on building the new body. I can honestly say I’ve never before wanted to commit genocide until learning about these people. I’m sure that that makes me a terrible person, but we could then turn the whole island chain into a monument of Death and somehow make something more

                              Even though your intentions are pure Sadeeq, your path would become clouded and the results disastrous, both to you and the world.

                              Okay, well that idea is out. Now I think it’s time to venture back upstairs for lunch.

                              Doc’s Log: 1950 Hours, Wednesday, June 2, 2010

                              During lunch we discussed our best guesses on Our Lady. Given what she does with the Rose Bride and maybe others, she probably has the Passion Key. It also makes sense that she has Oracle and Marionette. That particular combination of Key and Manifestation really bothers Nightshade. She has trust issues anyway, but when the Passion Key is involved, the terms mind control and slavery come up alot more than they normally would. I’m vaguely aware of what she’s afraid of, but then that assumes that anyone with the ability follows the “I can so I will” mentality. I realize many Sin-Eaters would, but by the same token I can raise zombies. I don’t because I don’t want to. Anyway, we’ve decided to head back into the Great Library Below tomorrow afternoon to find out more about Our Lady, since we’ve tapped our Library out.

                              In an interesting and slightly terrifying twist, Ronin decided to make a copy of one of her childhood diaries and use the original as a sacrifice for the Great Library. She then stated her intention to go to Staples and walked out. Cupcake went out to work in the garden while Snowflake went to go work on something, but he really didn’t mention what. Rose brightened when she realized she could go and talk to Gretchen, which was more than a little disturbing. Nightshade had her vlog or some other online thing to do so I decided I would spend some much needed time in the Death Garden.

                              Coming from a medical background, it’s always been amazing to me that some of the hardiest plants are the ones that look the most fragile, like the Weeping Willow or the Rowan tree. I was thinking on that when I heard Karen’s stompy boots. Karen is not 100% on this whole sharing Nightshade thing for obvious reasons, fortunately she isn’t dumb enough to think she should push it either. But she isn’t the most conversational when I’m around. This afternoon was a little different. I greeted her when she came out and she made some attempt at dark humor given our situation. I could tell she was uncomfortable but assumed it was just because she was talking to me. Apparently, Karen is more adept at the Internet than say, I am, which means she’s not useless outside of Google and email. She told me she found Nightshade’s daughter on Facebook using a fake account. This immediately explained the joke about me causing her harm or whatever and the discomfort. The harsh reality struck me that Karen knew or had decent enough ideas about what I was. And by rights she knew that if I were the right kind of man, I could destroy her utterly without it ever being traced, yet she still felt compelled to let me know about this secret which would impact Nightshade greatly. For all the jokes made about Nightshade robbing the cradle, Karen is a hell of a woman More brave than alot of grown men I know anyway. About that time, Snowflake came out and walked past into the Tomb of the Fishborn. I tuned back in at that point so Karen continued. Nightshade’s daughter already knows who her mother is but she thinks Nightshade is in California working as a Suicide Girl. I remembered Nightshade telling me about those days. I’m not sure her daughter knowing or even thinking she knows this will be good for Nightshade to find out. At least from what Karen says, the girl looks up to her mother. Take that for what it’s worth, though I know Nightshade will go to the darkest places of her mind for at least a second when she hears it. Karen wanted me to know and also wanted to know if I thought she should tell Nightshade. That’s the tricky part. Of course Nightshade needs to know, but given her recent breakdown about the girl and more recent trauma regarding the old Krewe, I don’t think now is the best time. Snowflake walked back to the House and came back carrying more very random things as Karen and I talked about this. After the third trip, I finally asked what the hell he was doing. He was very cheery when he told me he was working on his vanitas. I was glad Karen didn’t understand. Being that happy about making something to reflect on your death is very weird. I mean I’m thinking of ways to make one, but I’m not excitedly grinning about it. Anyway, Karen and I finished talking and then I came in to get cleaned up.

                              It was almost sunset and I wanted to be at least a little rested before the others left. That worked out pretty nicely as Rose, Cupcake, and Ronin waited until nightfall then headed out for what Nightshade called B & E Adventures. The hope is that they can find the ritual notebooks hidden among the various DeCastro memorabilia. I’ll leave off here as they just left. I want to be ready in case they run into trouble and need any help.

                              Jasmine’s Diary

                              Wednesday, June 2, 2010, Morning

                              Having slept on what we learned about the Rose Bride only made it worse. My dreams were troubled by the Bride’s whispers, which echoed my own discomfort over what the Rose Bride is doing. Promising romantic bliss but delivering spiritual slavery is absolutely vile, and flies in the face of everything we stand for. The Rose Bride is perverting the concept of love, twisting it to her own ends, and we will not stand for that. The krewe has to discuss this and figure out what to do.

                              Wednesday, June 2, 2010, Afternoon

                              Over breakfast, I insisted that we deal with the Rose Bride as soon as we could. I’m afraid I was quite adamant about it, but aside from my own need to deal with something I feel is an affront to me and my geist, we also have to deal with her to ensure Bonnie-Lynn’s ball goes off successfully and to keep Alexia safe. Fortunately, the others agreed.

                              I have to whinge a bit about Tavia, though. I love Tavia, I really do, but I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with the way she just says whatever is on her mind during our krewe discussions. Certainly some of what she says is relevant, but just as much is not, and she always seems to speak up in just the right way to distract the rest of the krewe from the focus of our discussions, forcing me to pull us all back on target. I do want her to share her ideas, like when she reminded us that she might feel the urge to paint another outsider painting soon, but she needs to find a less disruptive and distracting way to contribute to our discussions. I’m afraid I was rather short with her this morning. I suppose I should talk to her about it, but I know she takes my opinion of her very seriously and I don’t want to upset her or make her think I dislike her, and I’m afraid I will come across that way.

                              Our discussion was fruitful, though. We decided that the best plan would be to trap and seal the Rose Bride in the DeCastro’s onyx box. Simply defeating her would just force her to move on and prey on hopeful lovers elsewhere, and that is unacceptable. Unfortunately, we still don’t have the rituals to use the box, so Alexia, Gwen and I agreed that we would go and try to find them where the rest of the DeCastro’s things are stored in the Wilson family’s attic. That is where Ildefonso believes Adolphe’s notes are tucked away, and we may be able to find some other items of interest there. I doubt we’ll find the pistols, but we can always hope.

                              Meanwhile, Natalie, Doc and Simon agreed to spend the day researching the Rose Bride and Our Lady. The more we know, the better we will be able to deal with the Rose Bride.

                              The rest of my morning was spent training Jean. I then went to visit Richard Mongler in his office to enact my plan of setting him up on a date with Gretchen. The rest of the krewe seemed to agree that it was worth a shot, so I asked Mongler if he would be interested in a blind date with a rather odd friend of mine. I explained that she was somewhat aware the supernatural, and was quite fetching, even if she was a bit eccentric.

                              Mongler was very nervous about the prospect, but he was willing to give it a shot. He hasn’t done very well with women in the past. Actually, I was caught off-guard to learn that he hasn’t even tried dating any women recently, but has gone out with a few guys. I had no idea he was bisexual, and was momentarily flustered by the revelation. I suppose I should get used to that sort of thing, as it seems almost everyone I know is open to same-sex relationships.

                              When I arrived home, I found Gretchen in the library and asked her if she wouldn’t be interested in a blind date with my eccentric friend Richard. She was also a bit nervous about it, but she did agree to give it a go, so now I just have to schedule a time and place for their date. I do hope it goes well, though I really have no idea whether their personalities will mesh or not. My guess is they will either click perfectly or self-destruct under the pressure of their idiosyncrasies.

                              Wednesday, June 2, 2010, Late Afternoon

                              I’m going to set Mongler and Gretchen up on a date for Friday night. I’m thinking about setting up a reservation for them at Bespoke, which is a very nice restaurant. I’m a bit worried it might be little too classy for them, though, and I don’t want them to be uncomfortable, so maybe I should send them to Anna Liffey’s Irish Pub instead. It might be more their speed, though I’ve never been there myself, so I don’t really know what it’s like. The reviews online seem fairly positive.

                              We’re going to visit the Underworld library again tomorrow to search for more information on the Rose Bride or the Strix. Gwen has made copies of one of her childhood diaries and plans to sacrifice it to the library to assist in our research. She’s understandably very eager to protect Alexia. I keep wondering what I could sacrifice, and my mind keeps coming back to Richard’s love letters to me. But I don’t know if I even want to copy or share those…

                              Wednesday, June 2, 2010, Late Night

                              Alexia, Gwen and I went to search the Wilsons’ attic. Gwen stayed in the car while Alexia and I crept into the third-story attic while the family below slept. The attic was crammed full of all manner of things, so much so that it was difficult to move around or search effectively, especially as we were trying to be very quiet. We must have spent nearly three hours searching the place, but fortunately we were able to do so without waking anyone.

                              Eventually, we found what we believe are DeCastro’s notes on the Box, including the rituals to use it. We won’t know for sure until Simon and Doc have a chance to look it over and translate it.

                              In addition, we found a bloodstained blue dress from the 20’s or 30’s. There was a bullet hole in it, and it resonated with death. I’ll be crafting a charm out of it, but I haven’t decided whether to connect it to the Stigmata or Passion keys. We also found a pair of large green loop earrings that I’ll be making into either a Stillness or Cold Wind charm. I don’t really wear such outlandish earrings, so I think I’ll fashion them into a necklace or a belt charm or something.

                              As we searched, we couldn’t help but notice a very strong, sickly sweet vegetable smell of some sort, and eventually tracked it to a large trunk. Inside was the skeleton of dead woman, bits of mummified flesh still plastered to her bones. We don’t know who she is or why she was hidden there, but the dress and earrings we found are probably hers. The lingering vegetable smell came from something used to conceal the smell of her decay. We decided to take the corpse with us so that we could investigate her murder when we have time. After all, she likely died in the 20’s or 30’s, and whoever killed her is probably deceased by now. The contemporary members of the Wilson family may not even be aware that the corpse of a murdered woman was in their attic.


                              Our Lady

                              Doc, Simon, and Natalie didn’t learn much else about the Rose Bride, but they did learn quite a bit about Our Lady. She sounds like a nasty piece of work.

                              - Our Lady is something of an Underworld god. She appears as a headless angel clad in flowing white robes.

                              - We believe she is a new incarnation of a much older being known as Our Mother, who took the form of the round-bellied female fertility images revered in many primitive cultures. Our Mother was also an Underworld god representing fertility. Women would petition her cults to get them the men they wanted to marry, regardless of the men’s’ wishes in the matter. It really does sound a lot like the Rose Bride.

                              - Worship of Our Mother was connected to worship of another being known as “Died Before the First Dawn,” who allegedly resembles a gigantic, bloated, elongated female corpse The fact that this being is referred to by a title rather than a name implies that she is a Chthonian, which is quite daunting. She was worshiped by some Incan cults as well as cults in Thailand and Pakistan, but since these cults practiced human sacrifice, they have largely been wiped out. In particular, they sacrificed men to “Died Before the First Dawn,” believing that if they sacrificed enough, the corpses of the sacrifices would create a mate for their Chthonian goddess, who would then rise and destroy the world to make way for a new one, or some such nonsense.

                              - Only one cult dedicated to “Died Before the First Dawn” still exists. It is a small group of less than thirty individual native islanders on the Andaman Islands off the coast in India.

                              - Fortunately, Our Lady doesn’t seem to be so connected to “Died Before the First Dawn.” But being a newer incarnation, there isn’t as much information about her.

                              Defeating the Rose Bride

                              Our current plan for dealing with the Rose Bride is to seal her into the DeCastro Box. I would personally like to destroy her, but doing so would be akin to killing a geist, and despite how much the Drowned Bride despises the Rose Bride, even she does not wish to destroy another geist. But the Rose Bride must be eliminated so that she cannot continue preying upon the hopes of would-be lovers.

                              Confronting the Rose Bride will likely be a challenge, as she certainly possesses the Key of Passion which can be very, very dangerous to us. Natalie is especially anxious about that. In fact, when I mentioned trying to grasp that key myself, principally because of the mental defenses it would grant in conjunction with my Caul and Shroud, Natalie looked at me like I was her worst enemy. I suppose she fears that I might mess with her mind, but she should have more trust in me than that by this point. Well, I’m hardly going to base my decisions on her insecurities.

                              In any event, I think we’re currently planning to draw out the Rose Bride using her slave-ghosts’ anchor, the church altar. And once we’ve drawn her out, we will try to seal her in the DeCastro Box.

                              Natalie’s Tweets

                              Wednesday, June 2nd

                              -I awake.

                              -Karen I need you. Please, please call me.

                              -Vlog up!

                              -I still don’t dig this “AM” concept. AM should be when you go to bed.

                              -Wot wot no picnic?

                              -Reading, reading

                              -Our Lady is connected to the Pagan Our Mother, of course.

                              -That old time religion is good enough for me.

                              -Our Mother seems to be attached to Died Before the First Dawn, a Cthonian. I know a little of such things…they are horrific and glorious.

                              -I’ve never heard of Died Before the First Dawn before, but I have encountered references to That Which is the Door.

                              -This is all very exciting. Creepy, but exciting.

                              -Someone does not like cannibalistic murder gnomes of forgotten islands because they worship evil gods. So judgmental!

                              -No joke, if you use the word ‘guyliner” around me you are getting kicked. If you are online I will find you, I will kick you.

                              -I don’t understand how anyone can ever trust someone with the Passion Marionette or Caul. I never ever will. They can rape your mind up and down and you never know, and is anyone a good enough and unselfish enough person not to use it?

                              -Every Sin-Eater on earth is someone too selfish to accept the natural order. They cannot be trusted with that power because they have already shown their needs override even sacred laws.

                              -I mean, yes that includes me. If I had the passion key I’d lay around in my jammies being fed grapes and getting a pedicure by exquisite gloom cookies, and every celebrity who is anyone would be embracing the goth look.

                              -My only defense is direct as much hate as possible at them anything positive may be their doing.

                              -B & E 4 U and Mi. Ok, not me, but half the Krewe.


                              -Goth needs scotch badly.

                              -Where I live, there’s this lady who walks everywhere on her hands. She don’t trust where her feet want to take her…

                              -I am not sure if I can live without Karen anymore, and that really bothers me. I let her in. I should not have let her in.

                              -Of course she is very…attentive right now.

                              -mm nevermind swwa

                              -Your Mistress is languid.

                              -Karen almost always shows up eager to please when my issues with her come up. Should I be worried?

                              -Low hangs the moon inside this room…

                              -New Vlog up! Should a giant dragon statue with everburning fire breath be set up to honor Dio? Yes or Hell Yes?

                              -They are back. With a dead body. What?

                              Gwen's Journal

                              Wednesday, June 2

                              I got up this morning bright and early to go for a run. Jazz and Doc meditate the old fashioned way, sitting on their butts staring at a candle or something like that. Me, I reach for that inner peace by pounding pavement. The rhythmic slap of my shoes against the road, the steady thrum of a run making my blood pulse in my veins. Nothing works better for me. Got back and grabbed a quick shower before breakfast. Surprisingly Doc joined us for breakfast, unsurprisingly Nat didn’t. She was still dead to the world while Doc looked pretty well rested. With the majority of us there Jazz felt like it was a good time to discuss how we were going to take out the Rose Bride and we were gonna do it like pronto.

                              Y’know, I really don’t think I’ve seen her this agitated before. The Rose Bride really pisses her off and I guess I can see why. After all she said flat out, she’s like the Anti-Bride. It’s all about deals and service rather than true love with Rosie. In the middle of this discussion Tavia announced that her period would end by the weekend. At first I couldn’t help but think TMI! But then she continued with the explanation that she’d know if she had to do another painting by then or not.

                              See, Tavia’s like this conduit for badness. The Others which we’re supposed to guard against compel Tavia to paint horrifying pictures that could potentially act as doorways from the outer realms to here. She’s painted two of them and we’ve got them under lock and key as we having figured out how to destroy them safely yet. If we’re lucky we won’t have a third on our hands at the end of the week.

                              While it’s good to know about the potential bad we may face from Tavia’s paintings Jazz was really not interested at the mo. She was kind of snippy actually and wanted us back on task dealing with Rosie. Now hey. I get it. Rosie needs to be taken down toot-sweet (what the hell does that mean anyway? And why do I remember phrases like that but not, oh who I was friends with in high school? The brain is a screwed up place but I’m digressing.) Anyway - she needs to be taken down so Alexia isn’t in danger. There’s a lot of reasons she needs to go down but Alexia’s safety is the most important reason as far as I’m concerned. After a lot of talking - I think I tuned out at one point - we decided to use the demon-trapping box, but in order to use it we need the rituals that come with it. Jazz and Alexia planned to search Ildefanso’s relatives’ place to see if they could find them. They’d need a look out and wheelman for the job so I volunteered to go with them. Simon and Doc decided to scour the library and see what they could find out about Our Lady during the day. Between them and Nat when she woke up they wouldn’t need any help so I sat back to figure out what I wanted to do with the day.

                              Jazz decided to match make her friend Mongler with Gretchen. He’s a bit awkward, she’s really awkward - maybe they’ll hit it off. Heck, it might get Gretchen’s attention off Doc and that can only be a good thing right? Nat doesn’t seem like the jealous type, but at the same time - Doc’s the only guy she’s been cool with so maybe it’d happen with him. Seems to me like if Jazz can hook Gretchen up and stop any jealousy issues before they begin all the better.

                              Worked a few hours on the security system, nothing special to talk about with that. I’m making adjustments and tweaks here and there, starting to add in the keypad locks, adding more cameras, adjusting the ones we have that sort of thing. Business as usual.

                              During lunch we learned all about Our Lady the underworld god. Doesn’t that inspire warm and fuzzy feelings? She’s usually represented by a headless angel in white robes, but she’s connected somehow to Our Mother, a pagan type mother goddess. And Our Mother is connected to a Clthonian called “Dead Before First Dawn”. Our Lady isn’t connected with Dead Before First Dawn, so that’s sort of good news. DBFD and Our Mother were usually worshiped in the same places, usually by women that wanted to marry dudes that weren’t interested. The hell?

                              Luckily Nat doesn’t believe DBFD, Our Mother, and Our Lady are all one creature so yay for some good news?

                              Apparently there’s still a remote island chain out in the Indian Ocean that still worships DBFD but there’s less than 30 worshipers and they can’t leave the island. Far as I’m concerned NOT OUR PROBLEM! And we got back to discussing the things that were our problem. Seems like our library’s data on Our Lady’s tapped out so we’re heading back to the Underworld tomorrow. Not looking forward to that, but we need more information. Still it didn’t seem like we’d be able to get much unless we offered up a sacrifice. The whole copying a book in blood we kicked around ain’t happening before we go so I decided to quit being selfish (not that anyone’s even hinted I might be but still). I told the others I’d give up my earliest journal. I went to Staples after we finished talking and got it copied and bound, the copy’s nice but I feel strange knowing I’m giving that journal up. It’s pages are yellowed, the pleather’s peeling and the pink’s faded to a dingy kind of cream but according to what I wrote in it my mother gave me that journal. Should I really be so quick to part with it? I mean, I can’t remember my mom, how can I just give up something that was a direct connection to her?

                              I guess that’s why they call it a sacrifice. My krewe’s worth it though, right? These guys are like my family now. They get of course helping them is more important than some gift a stranger gave me right? It’s just some crayon scribblings, more pictures than words and really not all that informative. So why do I want to cry at the thought of getting rid of it?

                              Some tough girl I am - crying over a book. Glad no one’s around for this little pity party. Hell I’m screwing up my image left and right today. While waiting at Staples for the damn book I sent Anders a text and told him we were heading back into the Underworld. He didn’t text back or call me so I guess I was right in the first place - time to give some space and if he calls he calls. If he doesn’t well then no harm no foul right? Time to head out to watch out for Alexia and Jazz’s larceny, here’s hoping we don’t get arrested.

                              June 3 - Early Morning

                              Just got back. They found the rituals and they found a dead body. Body’s in the basement now, Jazz has some more charms she can make from the relics found with the body. Gonna have to figure out what’s up there but for now? Sleep. Need to be alert and ready for our return trip to hell.

                              End Session XXXIV

                              Not as hands on but still exciting.

                              As a couple notes, That Which Is The Door Natalie mentioned is a sample Cthonian in Summoners for Mage.

                              The old figurine symbol Our Mother looks like and Our Lady rifts on is discussed here.

                              Some may recognize what song lyrics Natalie was working in this time. If you are unaware, Belly had the song Judas My Heart which had a great deal of abstract imagery. The "Lady who walks everywhere on her hands" was mentioned a couple times before it was essentially revealed she was the speaker, who was afraid to fall in love again after being hurt. "Low hangs the moon inside this room" was from the same song. It can't be Venus in Furs every time. Remember Natalie's style is goth but her music knowledge is encyclopedic and her tastes are wide. I mean she referenced Music Box Dancer awhile back.

                              I think that covers everything. Hope you enjoyed, comments and questions welcome.

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                              [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


                              • #45
                                It's that time. OK, it's past that time. Sorry for the delay, putting up soon as I have all Journals.

                                Note: This contains spoilers for the Men In Black from Summoners.

                                Also hey look! something extra!

                                Session XXXV

                                Doc’s Log

                                Doc’s Log: 0415 Hours, Thursday, June 3, 2010

                                I left out like normal last night, but I didn’t go on patrol. I finally got a call back about after hours dance practice so I went to get started. I really didn’t know what to expect but considering they found someone willing to train me after midnight during the week, I had no room to complain. The studio was locked but I could see lights on in the back. I knocked on the door and saw someone moving in what I realized was a mirror. A very large man in what I can only describe as a leotard came to the door. I introduced myself then he nodded and let me in. It was a little surreal since he just led me back to the lit practice room without speaking. One whole wall was a solid mirror but the rest of the room was bare hardwood floors and stark walls. For a second it was like being in the VA again.

                                The first thing this dude said to me was that my shoes weren’t going to work. I grinned because I was still wearing my boots. I did have the foresight to bring my old sneakers, which I pulled out of my bag. The large man in the leotard finally decided to make introductions. Sebastian Klint would be my instructor. His slight German accent seemed to make him look even bigger. I told him my situation. He laughed at me when I said we had 9 days for me to learn to waltz. He stopped laughing when I knelt to change shoes and hadn’t laughed with him. I told him that there was a party in conjunction with Murder Ballads in which I needed to be able to surprise my girlfriend by being able to led her in a waltz, without looking like a complete idiot in the ballroom. I also told him that she knew none of this, so it was very important to me that I get this right.

                                He looked me up and down for a moment and I won’t lie and say I was completely comfortable with that. I mean I think he might be gay, but that wasn’t the point. It felt like he was sizing me up, judging me. And that wasn’t very pleasant. Sebastian shook his head and asked what I was trying to prove? That pissed me off but I kept things together and told him it wasn’t so much about proving myself as improving and opening myself to activities outside of my comfort zone. He said it sounded like I was trying to impress a girl. I just gave him a look...but I knew he was right. I leveled with him that I wanted to be able to share something with Nightshade that currently I couldn’t, due to previously limited mobility and lack of instruction. The limited mobility comment confused him. I explained about the explosion and showed him my scars. He turned a little pale and it looked like his knees might buckle. I put my shirt back together and grabbed his shoulders just as he started to tip. I helped him to the floor, he blushed and apologized. I’m use to people getting squeamish so no big deal there.

                                We talked a little more til he felt better, then we started stretching. Sebastian decided we should start right away, which works for me. Then the torment began. I mean I can dance well enough to get by in the club but this was more like drill instruction. I might have worked that hard when I was first starting in the MCMAP, but if so I don’t remember it. Sweat was pouring, my body ached, my scars were on fire, and I felt like I was a clumsy teenager again. But I would not let Nightshade down, so I kept pushing. I couldn’t tell if I was learning anything or not, I just know that a big dude barking at you in German when he’s frustrated is a little unnerving. We worked for about 4 hours last night before Sebastian held up his hand. That was all for one night. Given my bizarre schedule, we agreed to meet as often as possible during the next 9 days. Then I called a cab. No way I could walk very far after that without gunfire behind me. I came back to the shop and got Xerxes before getting dropped off at the House.

                                I feel bad for not waiting for the girls to get back but I did keep my phone turned on in case they needed me. Ronin’s Jeep is back so I know they are here and okay. Now I’m going to crash.

                                Doc’s Log: 1130 Hours, Thursday, June 3, 2010

                                Well today is shaping up to be wonderful.

                                I woke up around 0900 Hours and felt like a train hit me. It took me an hour and a half to finally find my center while meditating this morning. I guess my inner peace is still sore today too.

                                I started walking through to see what was going on in the House when I spotted Snowflake up and on the phone. That was early for him but when I heard him say the words, “insane” and “Outsiders,” I was immediately on full alert. He started getting excited by the conversation, which was apparently with Rose. That usually isn’t a good thing but it’s so hard to tell with Snowflake sometimes. He got off the phone and filled me in with the latest horror.

                                Something happened last night at AMC involving a woman’s ghost, weeping and fleeing south. I don’t know all the details about that, but there were multiple witnesses on campus. Today Outsiders, we’ll call them Men in Black, showed up and started stressing that “in fact nothing happened on campus last night” to any and everyone they could find. Ronin and Rose both interacted with the two beings before they suddenly “melted.” Snowflake informed me that these entities were at least partly responsible for the Mothman disappearances. They have a limited time on Earth but that time is reset if someone kills them. Also they then become a real world version of the Terminator for the one that puts one down. Never stops coming. Never gives up. Never slows down. Until you are dead. Definitely not what we need.

                                Ronin, Cupcake, and Rose came back but Ronin immediately ran into the back yard carrying a bag. When I got around there, she had set it on fire and was watching it burn like she almost expected whatever it was to move. Given what I knew about this, I was afraid that these MiBs might consider the destruction of any part of them, even the stuff they leave behind as an attack. Ronin had their clothes which Rose told me obviously weren’t made from anything she’s ever seen before. Ronin was in no mood to discuss it so Rose told the rest of us what she knew. Apparently, they were accosting Jean before the normal training session this morning so Rose tried to find out what they wanted. This became confusing and fruitless. One of them fell into the pool, which caused its hair to disappear. Snowflake informed the whole Krewe (as even Nightshade was up and around after all the commotion) that the MiBs were Outsiders but not necessarily evil. They appear when normal people (mortals, humans, whatever...making the distinction is still odd for me) see something blatantly supernatural. The ghost last night appeared when she was struck by moonlight and disappeared once she ran out of it. The witnesses from that seem to be what triggered the MiBs appearance. Snowflake says there’s a ritual we can learn to make them more likely to come. By extension, that means to me that we should be able to create a way to make them less likely to show up.

                                But that wasn’t the only strange bit of information from last night. The girls found a hidden body in the Wilson’s DeCastro storage as well as some writing that might be the rituals to use the Onyx Chest, or it might be a cook book. We haven’t tried to examine it yet so we don’t really know. They did bring the body and an old dress back though. Interestingly enough the Wilson’s house was north of campus, the ghost was running south from the same general direction as their house. Now we have yet another restless spirit to worry about.

                                I need to call Truman and warn them about the MiBs, just in case. Voicemail will have to do.

                                Doc’s Log: 1540 Hours, Thursday, June 3, 2010

                                Once the big story of the MiBs was over, we decided that we had to get more information on the Rose Bride. Cupcake being a target, however unlikely it is for us allowing anything to happen to her, is motivating us as a Krewe to focus all our attention on finishing this. We got packed up again and headed over to Rose Hall. It would take less time to get into the Great Library Below when we start off inside it. Rose cut herself to open the Avernian Gate again and off we went.

                                As soon as we were all in and back out into the shelf-lined hallways, Ronin pulled out an old, beat up kid’s book and set it on one of the shelves. Then she said out loud that she was sacrificing her oldest journal to the Great Library for information on the Rose Bride, so we could save Cupcake. The well used diary fell into place on the shelf as though it had always been there and suddenly she started going all over the place for different books and scrolls.

                                We learned alot while we were Below. The Rose Bride was originally Spanish. Sounds like she started out as a mortal priestess of Our Lady. She was killed for orchestrating unknown numbers of deaths to serve her Mistress. When she died, she was altered by Our Lady to become the Rose Bride. As the Rose Bride, she combined with a Love Spirit and drank from one of the rivers in the Underworld to become a Geist. Ronin figured it was roughly three or four centuries ago. Which puts the Rose Bride running around just about the same time as the Angel according to Ronin’s best guess. Yeah that’s still creepy to think about.

                                As a Geist, the Rose Bride can see who people will fall in love with and teleport to anyone she’s linked with. She will lose all powers for five days if you cause two people to stop loving each other in front of her before she can stop you. Periodically, she has to return to whatever Underworld river it was and drink again to keep her ability to see people’s true love. The Rose Bride will be no push over to face either. She has the Passion and Pyre-Flame Keys along with the Marionette, Oracle, and Rage Manifestations. Those are not great combinations to go up against. And to make it more fun, she also has ghostly Numina powers as well. Dissembling Guise will make us not want to have any friends, Manifest won’t really matter in the Underworld, Possession might be a problem but not as much for us directly, Claim is bad juju for anyone, and Clasp could slow us down in a fight. Fortunately, we also have to consider Our Lady in our plans as if we mess with the Rose Bride, we WILL gain her attention. Doesn’t that sound like fun? To break Our Lady’s connection to her, we’ll have to marry the Rose Bride to a man without either of them stopping us. Our Lady is actually the Kerberoi of her own Dead Dominion. She has a heart-shaped palace in the center of the Dominion. Since I expect that we’ll also have to deal with Our Lady on her own turf at some point, we looked into the Old Laws of the realm.

                                Dead Dominion of False Love & Emotional Slavery Hell (FLESH) - my title
                                - Kerberoi: Our Lady
                                · Old Law: All men must be married or immediately marry upon entry
                                · Old Law: Men cannot strike women
                                · Old Law: Cannot lie to anyone you love
                                · Old Law: Cannot remove a soul without marrying them
                                Because so much is twisted in this situation, I made sure to ask what married was being defined as for this realm. Our Lady is a traditionalist. Only heterosexual, monogamous relationships will do for her definition of marriage. And if my head wasn’t spinning enough already, Our Lady has her own version of a moat monster...Died Before the First Dawn sleeps beneath the palace. Magical.

                                With all that rainbow happiness, I suggested and helped to research the Strix while we were still in the Great Library. But we realized pretty quickly to get more information we’d have to go to another Dead Dominion. So we looked up the important details about yet another Underworld library.

                                Dead Dominion of The Atheneum
                                - Kerberoi: Enoch the Librarian
                                · Old Law: To gain entry, all must offer knowledge
                                · Old Law: Speak only Truth
                                · Old Law: Do not feed the Owlings
                                · Old Law: No violence
                                · Old Law: Do not feed the Dark Hunger
                                · Old Law: No Willworking within the Halls
                                · Old Law: Make no noise
                                We also found reference to something called the Word Eater. It’s a beast in the stacks that consumes information or people as it finds them. The Owlings are apparently servants of the Dominion which help organize and maintain the stacks. I’m not sure how you can speak Truth and still make no noise, but that’s the rules. Nightshade suggested that the Word Eater may be a Cthonian. How many of those damn things are there?

                                We came back via Rose Hall after that. We had all the information we could get right then and we’d need to really prepare to travel to and find the Atheneum. That also changes the game with the Vampires. If we do this for them, they will be in our debt on a higher plane than anything we were previously suggesting. Once we drove back to the House and unloaded, it was after 1500 Hours. Now that we’ve gotten everything put away, I think I’m going to take a nap. Ronin says we are going to watch the original Longest Yard for TV Night tonight. I kind hope I’m around for that.

                                Doc’s Log: 0115 Hours, Friday, June 4, 2010

                                Lies! Ronin said we’d watch the original Longest Yard. I guess she couldn’t find it. Oh well, the new one wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it might be. Nightshade skipped out on the “jock movie” and disappeared. I suspect she’s with Karen.

                                After the movie, I headed for the Library. I was looking for information on easing our travel times and I think I found just the thing. It took almost an hour and a half but I have something to go on now.

                                Now I need to drag my ass back to train with Sebastian unless something else terrible happens tonight.

                                Jasmine’s Diary

                                Thursday, June 3, 2010, Afternoon

                                The morning been quite eventful. We planned to revisit the Underworld today, later in the afternoon, to see what else we could learn about the Rose Bride or the Strix.

                                I went to train Jean as normal, but he was talking to two very odd men dressed in black suits. They looked like FBI agents or something, but they seemed very strange. Inhuman somehow. And I could see instantly that they weren’t alive, but they weren’t dead either.

                                They seemed quite intent on making sure that Jean was not suspicious about any odd goings-on and assured him that nothing strange had happened. Jean had no idea what they were talking about, of course. I stepped in to try and resolve the situation, and they became quite pushy. Their behavior was somehow inhuman, and one seemed fascinated by the pool water. He managed to fall in and didn’t know how to swim. Eventually, they left, but I decided to call Mongler and see if he knew what was going on.

                                He didn’t know much more than I did, but warned me that he thought the men in black suits were very dangerous. He also told me that a sobbing ghost had run through campus the night before, and several people had seen her. The ghost was that of a young woman dressed in a 30’s era blue dress. It sounds like the ghost of the woman whose remains we found in the Wilson’s attic last night, and certainly bears investigating. Poor thing. I hate to think we might have upset her, but maybe this way we can help her pass on peacefully.

                                In any event, despite Mongler’s warnings, I decided to follow the suit-clad strangers, leaving Jean to train on his own. He was worried for me, which was really very sweet.

                                Mongler also said the strange men had arrived in an odd car that looked more like a clever copy of a car than a real one, so I called Gwen and asked her to come along and help investigate. Then I found an isolated spot to draw the Shroud and Caul of Stillness over me and went to tail the strange men invisibly.

                                I caught up to them confronting two policemen, both friends of Gwen’s whom I’d seen before. One, an officer McCreedy, became quite belligerent with the strangers as he argued matters of jurisdiction and authority, and I could tell that the likelihood of his death was becoming greater and greater by the minute. I didn’t want to reveal myself, because I thought that might cause more trouble, so I texted Gwen to get her on the scene as quickly as possible. Fortunately, she arrived soon and was able to defuse the situation with her easy-going charm. The strangers moved on then to finish their tour around campus, and I continued to follow them.

                                They stopped on the north end of campus, and then just disintegrated into a pile of clothes and a puddle of fleshy goo. It was quite disturbing. I texted Gwen again and told them what had become of them and where. She in turn called Alexia to have a gander at the remains. We thought Alexia’s object reading ability might give us some insight into what the strangers were, but she recoiled when she tried to read a pair of their sunglasses. She claimed that whatever secrets the glasses held were beyond the mortal mind’s ability to comprehend, and that if she tried to read them, she would likely go insane. That’s when we called Simon to see what he knew. Meanwhile, Gwen gathered up the remains in large evidence bags, and we burned them once we got back to the manor.

                                Thursday, June 3, 2010, Night

                                We went back to the Underworld this afternoon. Before leaving, we said good byes, and Tavia suggested that she might take Karen to see something rather scary. My suspicions were immediately aroused, so I drew Tavia aside and learned that she intended to take Karen into the caves beneath the manor and show her the monstrous entity sleeping there. Sometimes Tavia has no sense whatsoever.

                                I insisted that she abandon the idea, and told her that Karen’s mind probably wouldn’t be able to handle itl. I wouldn’t be surprised if it drove Karen to madness, quite frankly, and told Tavia as much, which seemed to sober her up a bit and convince her that it was a bad idea.

                                I do think Tavia is upset that I’ve chided her on her behavior several times lately. She’s remarkably fond of me and doesn’t like it when I’m upset with her, and said we should do something fun together soon, to patch things up. I’m not really upset with her, of course, but she’s very sensitive, and I think doing something fun together will do us both a bit of good.

                                The trip to the Underworld was very productive. We entered through the Avernian Gate in Rose Hall this time, and I opened the gate for us again, so I’ll be nursing another cut on my arm for a day or two. Jean will certainly wonder what’s happened. I haven’t a notion what I’ll tell him!

                                We managed to connect the Rose Hall gate to the maps we made on our previous trip, and learned more about the Rose Bride, and considerably more about Our Lady and her dead dominion. Gwen sacrificed her childhood diary, or a copy of it at least, to the library, which made it much easier for us to dig up the information we needed.

                                We did not, however, learn much about the Strix. But we did learn where to go to find out more about them. The gain that knowledge, we will have to venture much deeper into the Underworld to find a place known as the Athenaeum, a dead domain that is a vast library ruled by a Kerberoi known as Enoch the Librarian. I imagine we will be traveling there once we’ve dealt with some of our other problems, like resolving things with the Rose Bride.


                                The Men in Black

                                The strangers who appeared on campus are, according to Simon, known as “Men in Black.” They sometimes show up when odd supernatural goings-on have occurred and attempt to keep the strange events under wraps, though in my experience they do more to arouse suspicion than quell it.

                                They can be quite dangerous, and people frequently go missing when they show up, especially people who become too interested in them. Simon also claims that they cannot be killed while they are on task. If they are, they’ll just return an hour later, and those who attack them usually end up disappearing. It sounds to me like the best way to deal with them is to avoid them.

                                Unfortunately, Simon believes they are Outsiders, which sort of makes them our problem. Still, I don’t think it’s a good idea to go stirring up a hornet’s nest. Not right now, anyway. Don’t we have enough on our plates for the time being? Moreover, Simon seemed awfully excited about the possibility of interacting with the men in black more. Honestly, his obsession with outsiders worries me to no end.

                                English Vocabulary & Grammar

                                Harass vs. Molest

                                Simon corrected me on my use of the word “molest” today. I said that the men in black were “molesting” people on campus, and he informed me that “harass” was the more correct term, as “molest” implied some sort of physical assault rather than simply bothering someone verbally. It’s good to know. I’d hate to imply something more than what I mean.

                                The Rose Bride

                                Date of Death: Unknown, but she’s likely between 300 and 400 years old.

                                Known Keys: Passion, Pyre-Flame

                                Known Manifestations: Oracle, Marionette, Rage

                                Known Numina: Dissembling Guise, Clasp, Claim, Possession, Manifestation

                                Our Underworld research turned up more information on the Rose Bride. She was originally a Spanish priestess of Our Lady, who was killed by the Inquisition because she was orchestrating the deaths of others in order to help her cult’s petitioners obtain the lovers they wanted. Sinister business. The more I learn of her, the more I despise her.

                                She is now essentially a powerful Geist. Her spirit was altered by Our Lady and combined with a love spirit, and she also drank from one of the Underworld rivers to gain power and knowledge. She can tell by looking at a person whom they are likely to fall in love with. When she is linked to someone, as she is with Sean, she can transport herself to him on a whim.

                                She can be weakened, causing her to lose all of her powers, if two people cease to love each other while in her presence, but I am not in favor of that approach, and neither is the Drowned Bride.

                                It is possible to break Our Lady’s influence over the Rose Bride if a man marries her. He would then command her. That too is not really an acceptable option. Doing so would only condemn her to slavery in a false pact of love, and for once I agree with Natalie that such a thing would be a terrible injustice. I suppose it’s arguable that sealing her away in the DeCastro box is just as bad, but I suppose it’s the difference between imprisonment or slavery.

                                As the Rose Bride uses the Passion key, I feel that I should acquire it as well to defend myself against her influence with my Caul and Shroud. But to do so I would need to experience real passion again, which seems very remote.

                                Our Lady

                                Our Lady resides in a dead dominion deep in the Underworld. The center of her domain is a heart-shaped palace, beneath which sleeps Died Before the First Dawn. We were able to dig up information on the Old Laws of the domain. As with any dominion, Our Lady will know where we are and what we’ve done if we break any of these laws.

                                Old Laws of Our Lady’s Dominion:

                                Any man who enters must be married or must marry • immediately upon entering. If not, their presence is revealed, and likely to draw the ire and attention of Our Lady.

                                Men cannot strike a woman in the domain. •

                                Lovers cannot lie to each other in the domain. •

                                In order to take an inhabitant of the domain out of it, • someone must marry that inhabitant.

                                The Athenaeum

                                The Athenaeum is a vast library where lost information can be found. It is ruled by the Kerberoi Enoch the Librarian. It is guarded by a beast known as The Word Eater, which shows up to punish those who break the Old Laws.

                                Spending long periods of time in the Athenaeum causes a confusion to set in, so the longer one searches for knowledge there, the harder it becomes to find what you’re looking for or even a way out. I imagine some lost souls have become trapped there forever thanks to their greed for knowledge.

                                Creatures known as “owlings” keep the library in order, constantly replacing books and making sure everything is in its right place.

                                Old Laws of the Athenaeum:

                                One must offer knowledge to gain entry.•

                                One must only speak the truth in the domain.•

                                One must not feed the owlings.•

                                One must bring no violence to the domain.•

                                One must make no sound. Soft movements are okay, but • even a whisper might be too much.

                                One must take nothing from the library, though copying • the information is allowed.

                                One must not feed any dark hunger within the • Athenaeum. Vampires cannot feed on blood there, for instance, and we sin-eaters cannot absorb plasm.

                                Hedge magic, ceremonies, and other lesser magics are not • allowed in the domain.

                                Natalie’s Tweets

                                Thursday June 3rd

                                -Why did I ever agree to get up in the AM? Natalie is a child of the night.

                                -It’s hard to have time for a good tub bath when you get up in the AM.

                                -Let’s see…Black, Black or…Black. I’ll go with Black, it’s slimming.

                                -Are they burning a body or something? They better not be burning up a potential Zombie!

                                -My girlfriend is right on hand. Where she should be.

                                -Karen has been a good girl and been looking into some potential club locales.

                                -Alexia and Tavia are walking in the house rambling about ice cream.

                                -OK my friends met something weird. For us, this is not news.

                                -These Men In Black sound like Angels to me. Like real ones not that hippie dippy shit.

                                -OK break for Simon to hex Alexia, folks to get ready, and moi to prepare a sending off ceremony.

                                -Vlog is up!

                                -OK Owlish Housemate wants to show my girlfriend something “really scary” while we are gone. I am not sure I like where that is going.

                                -Cars would be more convenient if they were designed to hold 6 people.

                                -Back into the Underworld we go. Time for one long nic fit.

                                -Listening to Jasmine coming up with rationalizations for why she needs the Passion Key is annoying. Maybe we can all get it and mindrape each other won’t that be swell!

                                -Because given how stubborn she is if she “needs” it for “protection” the rest of us are straight up fucked.

                                -Oh, and we found some stuff too. Some members of the Krewe were stunned to discover Old Laws sometimes kinda suck.

                                -In good news, we know where a Cthonian (in theory) I can talk to try to learn the Stygian Key.

                                -Ronin has decided we should watch a sports movie. She is such a jock.

                                -Doc and I are researching eeeeeeeevil rituals. Or maybe not too evil.

                                -Vlog is up!

                                -My lady wants to “repaint my toenails” or something involving my feet anyway so I am gonna disappear before I send more embarrassing texts like yesterday.

                                Gwen’s Journal

                                June 3 - Afternoon

                                Maybe the more we go into the underworld the easier it will get. I doubt it - but I can hope right? Learned a lot down there today, mostly about things like Old Laws and how each of the dead dominions (levels of hell might be a better way to describe them, but that might be my Catholic showing) have different old laws that need to be followed. Pretty sure Doc wrote the ones that we were interested down - I wasn’t taking notes like that, more just trying to find the information we needed after giving up my journal. The actual giving up of the journal wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I just set it on a shelf and asked for more information about the Rose Bride and Our Lady and boom! Instant guidance on where to find the info.

                                Big thing about Our Lady is she’s all about getting married and men not hitting women. OK - someone want to tell me what’s so damn important about hitching yourself to someone else - specifically a man? Jazz thinks it’s the end all be all - of course she was in love and that’s a special, worthy emotion and I know she just wants others to feel it too so maybe it’s not the marriage itself she’s big on. Then you’ve got whacked out Bonnie Lynn who could easily be a minion of Our Lady if they were to ever meet. She’d be down with that whole shtick I’m sure.

                                Looks like the Rose Bride started out as a priestess for Our Lady back in Spain around the same time the Angel was making his way through the Inquisition. I doubt they knew each other when they were alive but wouldn’t that be a kick in the ass?

                                Doc tried to get some info on the Strix while we were there but pretty much got stonewalled. Another library in a different dominion is needed and it doesn’t really sound like it’ll be all that easy to get to, but I guess we’ll see at some point. You know, when we’re done gathering info on the strix, the vamps are gonna owe us a lot more than just backing off and leaving Chuck alone.

                                Oh yeah - before we ever left for the library Jazz ran into some freakizoid men in black out at AMC. Seems that last night when she and Alexia opened up the trunk with the mysterious corpse in it they might’ve triggered something that let the corpse’s spirit take off. The thing went running through the middle of AMC’s campus with a lot of witnesses. These MiBs showed up to make people believe (badly) that nothing happened. According to Simon these guys are sort of a cosmic - not from this plane - way to try and keep the natural and supernatural world separate. They suck at blending in and their excuses are lame as hell, but they have an agenda. They’ll also go Terminator on you if you try and destroy them. Luckily they’ve got a time limit so they can only be on our plane of existence unless of course they’re killed - then the time resets.

                                Tart & McCready ran into them. They were making the staff and students at AMC uncomfortable so NHPD was called. Tart was genial enough - I mean when isn’t he? McCready of course had a bone to pick and according to Jazz came pretty close to getting killed which is why she called me, but we managed to distract them enough to chill. When the MiBs time was up they just sort of melted into a pile of goo and clothes. We called Alexia to come look at the remains and maybe give us more of an idea for where they came from. She found out that the clothes weren’t made from any substance on Earth and also they weren’t associated with life or death - she also saw if she tried to look any deeper she’d probably go insane. Instead we scooped the remains into a bag and took it back to the Bluffs. Rather than let the stuff stick around and potentially cause issues I burned it. Doc seemed to think that might be a dumb move, but hey - if the MiBs were offended they could come after me instead of anyone else. I’m OK with that.

                                Knowing that these things could show up for the weird and wacky I broke my rule about contacting Anders again. No way we couldn’t give his krewe a heads up about these things so I sent him an email. He was apparently online because I got back a response pretty quick and he asked me out for this weekend. Cool - it wasn’t a one weekend fling.

                                Well it’s TV night so I declared we’d watch the Longest Yard - great movie, the krewe needs to broaden their horizons - more comedies, not just the gothic romances or space operas. We’ll see if any of them show up - I have a feeling Nat and Jazz might pass.

                                Simon’s Musings[/b]

                                Thursday, June 3

                                Today I am not following the schedule. Tonight I am writing this, in the library, away from the television's lukewarm glow, because things need to be said, because I need to exorcise this haze. Where do I begin?

                                It is with no small effort that I have attempted to cast a new shadow. One that did not rest in that of my late father Norman, but perhaps I am wrong to do so. He was a magnificent bastard, and I his bastard son. He is my only link to humanity – the one I blamed when I feel hurt or rejected, but he... he understood me in a way I did not know in his life. When he lifted me up as I child so that I might plunge the kris into the heart of that goat, with his bespectacled charm, square jaw, and smile that warmed like a manor-house hearth in winter, I wanted to be him – And he wanted me to become him. He was liked by everyone around him, something my demon-blood robbed from me; How did he do it? I try desperately not to be the evil he was theorized to be, but I am chided for it more.

                                The Prince has taught me many things. Since I woke up that day, the screams of lost souls dashed from my unliving ears, he has seemingly existed to remind me that power itself has no moral alignment. A fact of the universe cannot be evil, and tautologically not good either. I have dedicated my life to the study of outsiders. Summon, bind, banish – understand. I believe that there are greater evils that walk the Earth than any number of creatures from beyond. You cannot bring balance without touching the scales. I digress – What is evil?

                                Murder is all about justification. Our hands are all bloody. Thankfully, I suppose, my Krewe shares this view as far as I can tell. Mental manipulation is highest sin, however, at least according to Natalie. What difference is Passion and one sway of her hips? The ends are the same, but then it is all the means? I would have killed to be with her, much like Providence, but the tricks, the head-games, the misdirection – Is that somehow better? I don't know anymore.

                                Gwen is Catholic, and I so hate when I am so reminded. Our progenitor stole knowledge, and we should never forget how evil that was. I have no place in her heaven, and never will. My demon-blood assures this – all I can be is a better monster on this Earth than some of the alternatives. She judges me, but it is simply her way. I just can't shake it sometimes... Should I just resume hiding in my house forever? I just... I .

                                WHO AM I AND WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING?

                                Are all Abyssal creatures inherently evil? Because then I am evil.

                                I just feel there is good I can do in this world. I cannot be a shepherd, but as a wolf, at least I can stymie other wolves, and be sparing in my consumption of sheep. It's just fucking polite. I'll wear Norman's smile and hide my fangs.

                                I miss making everyone happy. It felt good, but I have no sanctuary to steep in my mistakes and madnesses. Mankind is so difficult.

                                I need to be shitfaced and having fun. I've been good today – I deserve it.

                                End Session XXXV

                                Yay Simon Journal. Though as his player noted, Simon's mindspace is not a very nice place to be. I've noted he and Natalie are the darker souled members of the Krewe, but I think he has her beat. We'll get journals from him as he has time.

                                So a run in with the Men In Black. In the absence of using Mages in my setting really, I have mostly applied them to major masquerade breaches. For those who lack the book, they are not Abyssal entities, but come from somewhere outside Cosmology completely. They are basically from the "weird shit" section of that book, which was really good. I first heard of it when asking around about Numbers Stations (which are awesome, and you should Google and download The Conet Project free and legal for fun listening) but I got it for that and the Cthonians information, along with some Abyssal entities. Of course, the MIBs main job is less to reassure people then go after whoever caused the disturbance, but it was my goal to introduce them before the PCs did something to have them going after them.

                                Similarly, I adjusted one of the Old Laws of the Athenaeum to affect Magic (Defined here as Ceremonies, Rites, Low Magic, stuff like Cruac, etc)

                                Finally, one thing I'll note is while I did not go for impossible challenges or anything, a lot of what the PCs must face I did not design with an easy answer. The PCs discover strange and frightening things and must decide how they will adjust to them. Some they can beat down with raw power (Sin-Eaters have that) others, well, others will be hazards of their location...

                                Speaking of which, game tonight, look forward to reporting in in hopefully less then 2 weeks. In the meantime comments and questions welcome.

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