Secondhand Monsters

Holiday Beat Down

Holiday Beat Down!

Mortal fight sequence went down really well. Thanks to some exquisite promoting from Jae, there is a packed house. People are excited and crawling over themselves to get in on the action. The fights go well and Neala comes out as the ringer in a close fight with a surprise challenge from Quintin Hardy. In a long bloody fight, Neala pulls through and wins. Discovering that there is something more to Quintin than there appears to be.

Kindred fights go really well with some pretty vicious exhibition fights. Some pigs are torn apart, a ghoul beats down some ghouled dogs, and several ghouls fought amongst themselves with Pablo’s ghoul Misericordia coming out on top. Three ghouls were beaten down by a blindfolded V-jack. Julia successfully defended her title by defeating Li-Quon in the ring.

Neala, William, and Li-Quon go to a rare books store to investigate Quentin and come across an unusual clerk named Oleander. In the meantime, Jae meets with Lucas to work out some business. Floating on the wave of good cheer, the coterie attends the informational meeting hosted by Cedric Antonio.

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By Any Other Name
Cedric Antonio makes a play

You arrive at the warehouse, and many of the city’s kindred are here. All of them are armed to the teeth, in their own way. Over-arching security seems to have fallen to Leslie Whitaker and some of her muscle, including Neala Graham. Re-purposed Aegis Security Ghouls abound, in fact, given that Leslie and Clyde are both now part-owners. Overall, there may be as many as fifty individuals, quietly (and not-so-quietly) arriving in various ways. Devon Ross has the most impressive entourage, though everyone notes that Justin is not part of it. Even if she didn’t have the most impressive entourage, her mastery of Presence would have provided all the impact she requires on its own. (If there is another master of Presence, they are not using Majesty, so she continually draws awe-struck attention)

A few are present who you are not familiar with. A ‘young’, slight man with feathery long blonde hair dressed in an immaculate black suit with subtle silver stitching occasionaly visible. Next to him is a tall woman with a Mediterranean complexion, seeming around middle-age. The two seem to know each other and not to know many other people. Also set apart from the other jostling groups is a small man who looks a lot like Elijah Wood from the Sin City movie – when he looks directly at you, some odd property of his glasses causes them to taken on the appearance of two circular mirrors. Next to him is an enormous bald man, like a section of grey wall in a trench-coat. His posture is protective.

At the back of the room, farthest from the exits, are five balding men in conservative business suits, not identical but seemingly cut from a similar smallish, round mold. Behind them is Cedric Antonio, tall, handsome and casually well-dressed in the way of a person who was born into considerable wealth and has never known anything else.

Looking around, there are some you might expect to see but who do not seem to be present: Lucas Novak and his ‘coterie’, Justin, Ted Winters, and Suzanne Cohen. (Obfuscate might account for Suzanne, being the Malkavian Primogen, and perhaps Winters is present magically.)

[Other questions can be popped in here retroactively]

Just after midnight, Cedric calls the gathering to order. “Ahem. Very well – those who are coming are no doubt here. I appreciate all of you coming to hear what I have to say. As many of you know, I was once Prince of this city – Prince for a very long time. I would go so far as to say that those decades were a time of stability for the city, and I want to see that same stability return once more.”

“Of course, you are all here for the information that I promised. I won’t bore you with my ideas at this time – not until you know why it is important that you listen.”

“I would not challenge the authority of another Prince lightly. Though the kindred posing as Sarah Anne Wilder is far more lenient than I, were she rightly Prince, I would be bound to honor her authority in this city.”

One of the businesslike men, presumably Ghouls, walks over to a small folding table with a digital projector set up on it, connected to a laptop. It starts up and projects a blue square on the wall behind Cedric.

“Some of you may know that approximately two years ago, the kindred of Portland suffered a Garou incursion. As is always the case, some fled, some hid, and some fought. One who never emerged was the Ventrue Primogen, one Sarah Anne Wilder. (Projected behind him is what looks like a security-footage image of Sarah Anne Wilder in a sumptuous hotel lobby) This is one of the last images of her that I was able to get a hold of, from before the incursion.”

“In the wake of the attack, my clan sought to discover what happened to Primogen Wilder. Her haven was destroyed by fire, and it seemed most likely that she was one of the targets of the Garou. Over time, however, the evidence did not seem to support a Garou attack. It took time to gather sufficient favors and influence, but we were able to investigate much further, using abilities that the police obviously do not possess. It was ultimately the clan’s determination that Sarah Anne Wilder was diablerized. Traces of her ashes were found amongst the wreckage of her haven (there are some pictures projecting behind him, police evidence photos and photos of the charred remains of a large building). The impressions left on her remains were – vivid – and indicative of more than merely a second death.”

“Since that time, a second member of the Primogen of Portland, the Malkavian Primogen on the Council, never emerged. The name she sued then was Delphina Sarris. She was relatively new to the city, as we measure such things, and swiftly worked her way up until her predecessor – let us say took leave of his senses and was no longer an effective member of the Council.”

“After the Garou attack, she never emerged from hiding. This in itself is hardly extraordinary – she could avoid notice when she chose to, and was obviously secretive and adept at hiding her ways. However, there is one here who might be able to shed light on the final image I have to show you. Devon and I have been acquainted for a short time, and…ta is clearly, among other gifts, quite perceptive. In addition, Devon does not share a clan with Delphina Sarris. Primogen Ross, you are of course aware that your supposed Prince uses her abilities to hide her appearance?” Devon nods, a careful look on her face. “Very good. Then here is an image of Delphina Sarris – a true image, since her abilities can trick the mind, but usually not machinery, at least not after the fact.”

A new image is projected on the wall, of a young woman with dark eyes, curly dark hair and olive skin. Devon immediately birstles visibly, and the weaker-willed around her flinch before they realize it.

“That – that is her.”

Things go a bit nuts at this point, with lots of talking back and fourth, and some shouting. Devin glares around and says “Silence!”, and the word cuts through other voices like a blade. Even those who seem less cowed – Cedric, Dawn Nakada at the back of the room – do not speak. Devon looks to Cedric again. “Go on.”

His smile seems slightly harsh. “Now I hope you see why I called this meeting. A Ventrue Primogen diablerized, and the secretive Malkavian Primogen disappears, only to reappear in a new city, using the name and visage of that very diablerie victim. I can certainly vouch for this – she is no Ventrue. That I know without any doubt. Some of you may want to ask why her clan-mates, a Malkavian Archon and your Malkavian Sheriff, have gone along with her ruse, since they must have been aware of it. And I do not see the Malkavian Primogen anywhere present…”

Dawn Nakada has pushed forward a bit. “You wouldn’t, of course, if she did not want you to, and whether she is here or not is her own business. You’ve certainly said a great deal, Cedric – accusing an Archon of hiding a diablerist was the last over-reach I will tolerate. You say you have proof, but you cannot produce it. We are to take you on your word that the Ventrue Primogen of Portland was diablerized, that your image was her true form and not tampered with, that Delphina Sarris is who you say she is, and on and on. And all this, from one who clearly wants the city for himself.” There are more outbursts, and it is up to Dawn and Cedric to shout them down – Devon is very quiet. Dawn addresses the whole room, but keeps Cedric – and a seething Leslie – in view. “Everyone in this city has a Prince already.”

“A fraud and a diabolist!” Cedric shouts, visibly angry.

“So you say.”

“I see she is not here to answer for herself!”

“The Prince does not answer to you. If – if! – anything further needs to be investigated, I do not think that a jealous upstart” Cedric sputters, has to work to control himself “is the one to be doing it. Until there is some form of proof” she looks around, “I assume you are well aware of the penalty for rebelling against the Prince of the city.”

“Yes, of course, trust the Lunatics to find the truth of the matter! Here is the situation. Every kindred in this city has one week to decide whether you will defend the diabolist, or you will organize under a true Prince. One week, and that is all. At that time I will assemble a Primogen Council and other functionaries – Leslie has already agreed to serve as Sheriff. Elysium shall be the observation level of Coit Tower. Anyone acknowledged in the city will be admitted through the staff entrance. When the week is done, I will decide how to proceed.”

“To those of you who followed Delphina Sarris out of ignorance, I offer amnesty. Hers is the only word I will never accept. For such a criminal as her, I can only offer two things – a swift death, or a slow one.”

By the time he’s finished talking, you realize that you have entirely lost track of Dawn, as well as a few others including Rott. Things break into individual conversations. Devon goes over to Cedric and they speak together for some time. Most others slink out of the warehouse warily. A few who stay are the four you don’t recognize, Leslie, Vanessa, V-Jack and Gordon.

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The People's Court

October 5, 2012 (game time)
Prince Sarah Anne holds a trial to go over the evidence concerning the death of Father Verity. During the trial, some of the coterie (Jae and Neala) were remarkably, unable to implicate Amanda in any way. Prince Anne decides to punish the coterie with a single step Blood Oath from Jae and Julia, with a two step Blood Oath for Li Quon, Neala, and William. Li Quon indicates that he cannot be blood bound and commits to an alternative arrangement with Prince Sarah Anne. Directly following that, there is an altercation wherein Leslie announces that she is a Ventrue archon and makes some accusations towards the Prince.

Preparations for the Halloween Fight are made. The drugs are acquired, the pigs are acquired, the notices are put out and two different events are planned. One for the mortals and a later event for the Kindred.

Prince Sarah Anne is accused of being an imposter and that the true Sarah Anne was killed in Portland. The former Prince, Cedric, is using this opportunity to make a bid for leadership and is trying to garner support among the Kindred of the city. At the close of the game, Cedric has invited the coterie to an informational meeting where he will present his claim to the title of Prince of the City on the second of November.

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The snake hits the fan

Li Quon is awoken from his two weeks of punishment. He seems none the worse for wear. Everyone kisses and makes up. Jae arranges for a meeting with Xiao Jie one of the lieutenants of Xiao Ma to discuss the details both groups have on the hunter Ming Hok. The gang attends in mass. Following a formal introduction, we make nice with Xiao Jie and discover that the “hunter” actually has a very limited area she is sworn to protect. We decide it is best to avoid that area.

One problem solved, Jae and Neala go and try to work on Father Verity to get Neala’s sire back and to arrange a meeting between Xorba and Verity. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang tries to follow Lucas and stake out for the missing Gangrel. The chase of Lucas leads to some interesting discoveries, but no errant Gangrel. Back with the snakes, following some prolonged banter and more than a few choice barbs, Verity tires of the game and decides to give Neala her sire, apparently, just to get her to leave him alone. However, one slight too many and Neala embraces her warrior spirit and leaps to the attack. Verity is wounded but forces Neala away with Presence. Jae escapes and they return tot he Pit.

While deciding our next move, Amanda prods Neala with the revelation that she has Neala’s heart and that of Neala’s sire and suggesting they might as well finish what they started. Sensing blood in the water, Neala, Li Quon, and William return to the fray. Jae and Julia head off to try and smooth things out with the Prince. Following a harrowing battle, Verity meets Final Death and Benjamin is rescued! Julia and Jae however are incarcerated with the Prince after spilling the tale and await the result of the fallout.

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The bird in hand?

Following an exciting reveal at Elysium, several new Kindred join the populace, most notably Xorba, Jae’s supposedly dead sire (dramatic sound effects), and Pablo Garcia, the new Brujah primogen from San Jose. Leslie approaches Neala with a task to find Ellie Jameson, a Gangrel who supposedly been kidnapping mortals and releasing them to hunt for sport in the Presidio. During the stake out, it is revealed that Lucas of Deathguild is also on the hunt for Ellie. The coterie agrees to call off the hunt in order to allow Lucas time to meet and talk with Ellie first for his mysterious goals. This doesn’t stop William and Jae from living it up in the strip joints “staking out the joints” just in case on a second night of searching. Nothing turns up and Leslie is more than a little disappointed in Neala at the failure.

After stealing her fantastic sword, from the sword sharpener, a trap is lain for the mysterious hunter. The sword is supposedly sentient and calls to its master. After locating a suitable ambush site, the sword is left with Li-Quon who refuses to part with it. Disrupting the ambush and allowing Ming Hook to get the sword back LITERALLY right out of his hands in a daytime conflict. When confronted with his failure, Li-Quon claims that he was under compulsion to betray the coteries wishes, but only Neala believes him. It is decided that he will be staked (with both a wooden and a metal stake) for the next two weeks as punishment.

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Two Weeks in Hell
The monsters' slow waltz

While Li-Quon languishes in his double-staked state, unlife in the city continues. The night briefly reports on a missing police officer, presumed dead, and an elderly couple in the Sunset District are later found dead in their home, but both stories quickly make way for the latest gaffe or quip from the President and his opponent.

There is one more Grand Elysium during this time, and two newly recognized kindred in the city. Omar Santiago is a Gangrel mercenary who was brought in to fight against the Anarchs, but he has decided to stay in San Francisco, saying he has unfinished business. He confers briefly with the Primogen Council, and is subsequently acknowledged in the city and granted hunting grounds in the Presidio and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The second newcomer is actually a local who has been in the city for some time, a Japanese-American Caitiff named Zoey. There is some confusion at her arrival, in that Rott‘s dogs whimper excitedly and lick her hands when she approaches the Museum’s rear entrance, and she is temporarily held at gunpoint until Clyde can verify that she is in fact kindred. She apologizes profusely, saying that it is likely because of the thinness of her blood. She did not know her Sire, but has since discovered that she is very distant from Caine.

Zoey presents herself, politely asks for a small patch of territory near the Berkeley Zen Center. She is granted the territory temporarily, and is recognized as a probationary sect member. Dawn Nakada offers to look out for her, but she very politely declines. She does not stay in Elysium for any length of time, but once she is acknowledged at a probationary level, she takes her leave. Amanda Miles takes an immediate dislike to her, and glares at her as she goes. If she notices, she doesn’t show it.

The last order of business is the announcement that limited rights to Embrace are going to be granted in the near future. There is an immediate burst of quiet conversation, and in the coming weeks Elders and Ancilla are vying for whatever favor they can get for themselves.

Leslie angrily says that Ellie Jameson has likely fled the city. If she is seen, Leslie wants to know immediately. As she makes this announcement, she glares at Neala Graham, who humorously doesn’t notice.

Others present at Elysium: the Harpy, Leilah, Norman Mathis, V-Jack, and Xorba who spends a brief amount of time bending Vanessa Vale’s ear, despite her misgivings.

Amanda Miles spends most of her time talking with Leslie Whitaker.

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The Situation Is Tense
Flowery word-magic

The long awaited introduction to the Camarilla takes place! Neala gets a nod from V-Jack the Brujah; Julia gets a nod from Gordon the Ventrue Harpy, and Jae gets a nod from Devon, Toreador Primogen. Two new characters made an entrance; Li-Quon and William. Li Quon introduced himself as a Kuei-jin and warned of an impending attack from the Kindred of the East. He made it clear that he wasn’t interested in the annihilation of his Western cousins and that he left in somewhat of a disgrace, but got a pseudo-nod from one of the Malkavians, Dawn Nakata. William is a transport from Las Vegas. He had some conflicts which were getting out of hand. He got a nod from Flea, the Nosferatu Primogen. Neala, Jae, and Julia gained some status, but were charged with keeping an eye out for the two newcomers. The coterie was assigned some crappy hunting grounds in the suburbs.

A kindred only fight night was announced wherein Neala got the beat down by V-Jack following a very stalwart performance. Later in the evening, Julia beat down Li-Quon. There were several luminaries in attendance, including Vanessa the Toreador Harpy. Li-Quon initiated a social faux-pas by using one of his arcane powers on her and getting caught. She was talked down by some flowery word-magic by Jae, but Li-Quon took a firm stance about using his powers the way he chooses. Jae made it clear that Li-Quon would play the game by the Camarilla social rules or that Jae wouldn’t vouch for Li-Quon. The situation is tense.

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Elysium
Ch-ch-changes

During the month of downtime, there is a ‘Grand Elysium’, to which all are openly invited, once per week on Saturday nights. There are a number of changes that occur at these, and we can sketch out how you guys interact with everyone else.

Otherwise, Elysium is open every night, but it is a crap-shoot as to who is actually there. Elysium regulars include Amanda Miles, Dawn Nakada, Devon Ross, Gordon Gray, Norman Mathis, Rott, Suzanne Cohen, and Vanessa Vale, as well as between one and five Ghouls for each of them and sometimes other hangers-on like members of their Herd, Entranced or Dominated mortals, and so on.

First Elysium

Daniel Verity is publicly stripped of his position as Keeper of Elysium by the Prince at Leslie Whitaker’s strong urging. A power struggle for who will replace ensues, with the front-runners seeming to be Amanda Miles, Rott and Vanessa Vale.

Second Elysium

Amanda Miles is declared the new Keeper of Elysium. Father Verity is nowhere to be seen, and no one seems to particularly miss him except Norman Mathis who is there for the announcement to support Amanda.

Pablo Garcia comes to Elysium to announce himself. He is coming up from San Jose to take up residence in Oakland in order to strengthen and organize Brujah standing there. He is flanked by three hot female Ghouls, a bit like a more dangerous version of Charlie’s Angels.

Third Elysium

Flea’s position as Nosferatu Primogen is solidified, though his status does not change so quickly, and he is clearly a “junior member”.

In a surprise to some in attendance, the empty seat of Ventrue Primogen is filled by Gordon Gray, who will be resigning as Harpy, leaving Vanessa Vale as the sole Harpy. She seems pretty pissed about the move.

Fourth Elysium

Pablo Garcia is installed as another “junior member” of the Primogen Council, representing Clan Brujah. At last, all six seats are filled on the Council. The Prince declares this a sign that a new time of order and prosperity for the Camarilla is beginning.

Xorba, a Setite Elder, makes an appearance at Elysium. He eloquently explains that he did not resist the Camarilla’s arrival in the city as Benjamin Graham, his Clan-mate, did. He hopes to rebuild his position in the city, and looks forward to working with other kindred to maintain peace, security and the Traditions.

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Hoiety-Toiety
A comedy of errors and accidents

Jae throws a fantabulous party. The hoiety toiety of Kindred society make an appearance including Devon Ross the Toreador Primogen, both Harpies, the Sheriff, and the Scourge. Lucas invites us to the opening of his Goth club, Deathguild, which is presented as open feeding grounds for all Kindred in the city. Therein, Neala makes quite the impression as well as several friends in the blood letting crowd and picks up a couple of new followers. Not to be outdone, Thaddeus also picks up a few friends and openly feeds on a vessel, much to their dismay. The coterie is presented with schweet, safe-line smart phones. The antique shop that we believe Ming Hook frequents is under surveillance to monitor her activities. Thaddeus’ building is under surveillance so he and Jake go to investigate. Following a comedy of errors and accidents, Thaddeus is destroyed and Jake is put into torpor while a confused Neala calls the rest of the coterie to pick up the pieces on this mess.

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A good fight night

Jae offered his help to each of his companions in order to offer them his social skills in order to smooth over their meetings with their prospective Camarilla representatives. Jae and Julia took a visit to club Vessel to hob knob with the Toreadors. Jae offered to accompany Thaddeus to his meeting with the Brujah and help Jake with his meeting with Suzanne Cohen. The meeting with Rash (the Brujah contact) did not go quite as planned. Arriving in force, we scared Rash into thinking that he was under attack. Rash fled and got into an altercation with Jake. Jake was nearly decapitated by Rash, who succumbed to frenzy, killed a woman, and tried to flee. Rash returned to retrieve his bike and beat Thaddeus into torpor. Jake responded poorly to his regnant’s wounds and beat down Rash who he then diablerized. Jae called in some favors to cover up both Rash’s killing and the breach resulting from the fight at the bar by firebombing the bar. Jae requests a major boon from both Jake and Thaddeus for his help.

While Thaddeus took the long dirt nap, Neala met with Father Verity who directed her to the Tremere, Amanda Miles. Miles returned Thaddeus from torpor after several failed attempts at feeding blood by Jae, Neala, and Jake. Neala trades a blood boon to Miles for her assistance. Miles makes it know that she is not fond of Father Verity.

A good fight night went off with out a hitch and Harry is the current kickboxing champion. Everyone benefited well. There was another beheading in Chinatown, this time with a witness who went home with Jae. The vigilante is a young girl with an antique katana.

Arrangements to meet with V-jack have been made. Suzanne Cohen declined our request for assistance with vouching for Jake, but has revealed that she is not fond of Leslie (the Scourge).

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