The mortal crew met up in the university library and discussed what the hell they got into! Game date is November 1 to 2, 2021.
While in the stacks...
Leaving the All Black, each member of this new contingent of mortals returned home and fell hard to sleep. The next morning, they connected and met in the Lied Library of the University of Nevada. With strong coffee and fresh tea, they took a study room and started considering everything they learned. They shared notes and argued over what the hell they got into.
And then Eden held up a smart drive she stole the night before. One file of three was decrypted. Working together, they broke through the other two files and dove in.
The first opened a recording of a man tied to a chair, tortured, laughing. A voice off camera questioned. The face peered up, lineage from the east, mouth in a cruel grin. His flesh shifted until it seemed an Oni mask. A fanged grin, gutteral voice, answered with a spat of blood. With a shrug, it broke through ropes and brought forth a sword of black glass. Leaping at the camera, the demon attacked the torturers.
The next file was a zip of emails and conversations and photos between a group of scholars and researchers. They found evidence of labyrinth stone circles in different parts of the world. Intrigued, they sought more information, seeking and sharing what they found, eager to understand these strange circles. The crafter seemed to be a single person, over centuries, in different countries. The last name they noted in the emails was Zelios.
The last file had a scruffy biker with many tattoos sitting at a picnic table. Checking the background, they determined it was in LA. The file name was hes-alive.jpg.
They needed more help...and set up a meeting with Cuthbert that night.
Notes and Deeds
I find myself settled at a small table of Times Square in Vegas, the horrid glint ruining the potential ambiance. The clink and clatter of false machines of chance, all replaced with digital innards. There are times I miss the great old city, though nearing it would draw the ire of the Five Burroughs. I still hold a book they are interested in reviewing.
I planned to leave after meeting with Professor Andrews. He claims a breakthrough on the Merlyn passage, and asked for an additional night. Not entirely sure what this may mean, especially with the coincidental request by Montrose for a vital discussion. My curiosity got the better of me, and I came face to face with the Giovanni. I knew he was here, not the first or last face I wanted to see. If he receives word from Italy, I may find myself in need of another burned boon else feel the rays of morning.
Yet, nothing of destruction has fallen, instead a most promising piece of blackmail trivia. Rothstein broke the masquerade, dashed the blind eye, and tossed aside family rule. He welcomed mortals into a den of kindred and assembled enemies of soul and bond as equals. I could scarce believe my eyes, yet Montrose nodded. And I was the only one in the backroom bar that could spy his face from obscurity. Monstrose was, for lack of a better word, dead serious.
His eyes roamed the living around him, a fang pricking with disquieted annoyance into his lip. Hunger tugged. His pen scribbled across another thought. I need to tuck this away, not bring it up to Benedic or Rainier. The last anyone needs are justicars and additions to the Red List. I'm in enough ledgers.
Beckett took a long pull from a flask, continuing to scribble in a thick journal. The leather creaked to hold these thoughts, heavy enough to require the blood to lift. Flipping to a scarlet bookmark, he took note of times and schedules from a brochure.
Tomorrow eve I need to delve into the convention center to meet the professor and spy out an exhibit from New York. The crystallis article should be waiting. Finally.
Garden of Midnight
Lights flicked yellow to red. Preston Locke slowed and stopped following the laws he held dear. The sedate sedan of some off navy shade held him in a bubble of solemn thought, the lilting of music spilling from his phone rising and falling as melancholy accompaniment. If he had a spirit animal, it was she...Aurora and her mystifying tones.
I was listenin' to the ocean
I saw a face in the sand
But when I picked it up
Then it vanished away from my hands, down
The world spied nothing more than a tired man in a boring vehicle, like some random man stuck in eternal coach on a flight that never touched down. Yet within the boundaries of glass and worn seats he spied another realm. Eyes of flat porcelain and teal never blinked piercing the distance seeking the home he craved. But the passing of night's events and the flame-haired lad instead consumed his mind's eye.
Of Keyes and Lockes and what next would come? Their names bound him as surely as the ancient pacts. How did Donovan not recognize the sidhe? Or did he merely spy the plain aspect of the Clark County District Attorney? His fingers pressed back a single errant strand of grayed hair touched in denium blue hues. The point of ear keeping vigil against the rest.
The light shifted green, a few more blocks attained.
After the discussion, he caught sight of Schlomo, the nemesis with hollow eyes in a fleshed husk. What soul claimed the meager remains deserved a final rest. Yet he seethed with the same uneasy death as the ghostly cohort at his side. Men of the high table pretending to be Modred yet far more the plain shadows of such an age.
And I was runnin' far away
Would I run off the world someday?
They hated each other. The pinnacles of law and lawlessness as two bright motes in a sea of blackness. The heralded Rothstein broke the very accords he gave lip-service cherishment by bringing in these mortals. Ser Locke would be there to see it done, the end of this farce. What great kingdom his baroness thrived within could not continue when balanced on such a derth of death. The Greywalker knew this, how could no other?
For a moment I thought you were here
But then again, it wasn't true
Stardust attempted to speak, her words some calm for the sharpened edges of his nature. She knew if no other what that demand of solace would require. His blade bathed. His stalwart homage tithe paid. He brushed past, fell unto his car, and drove. The whirlwind of thoughts never once eeked into his passage, such cold clarity the Locke lived...perhaps until this Keye was found?
Oft does the flame burn, the torch that leadeth the storm. Harken the hand that raise and call to the highlands. For battle rages, and we must meet it.
His foot slammed upon the brakes. Cars careened around, horns blared, but he heard another. The sky was rent with the clarion of it, and ancient words of the kithain and prodigals.
"So leadeth the storm..."
But it rarely rained in Las Vegas.
The Pale Night
Metal and leather creaked as Butch drove, stopped, and exited their car. A rental piece of shit, but that wheel wouldn't survive another night if he didn't chill out. But his crew wasn't here, just Rosalind and a head full of bad memories. Shadowed eyes watched him, a delicate shoulder shrugged.
"Go, I'll see you tonight." Sometimes Rosalind understood him better than most, this need to pummel through problems, feel the burn of blood and things breaking. Butch gave a nod, taking his leave as the attendents of the Belagio slid into the seat and drove the car into some garage. What did he care.
And what indeed did she care? Rosalind knew someone would die bloody and awful at his hands, drunk dry, tossed in the desert or someone's backyard pool. Ever the faithful man of muscles. She knew Butch for many years, through his ghouling, training, and finally his embrace by Victor. The brother of her heart, his sire.
"Miss?" The gentleman of the Belagio opened the door, holding till she neared, that fabulous curved line and exquisite clothing she perfected always earned an extrance. She tired of it though. A smile that never touched her eyes, whisper of perfume and tendril of smoke as she passed into the brilliant lighting. Every detail burned into the men and women that spied her, even at this late hour the halls and casinos thrummed with the lifeblood of sin.
It held all of the luster of fifty year old rot to Rosalind. A chintsy kingdom of wealth bored her nigh to blood tears, yet she played the game of intrigue and feigned interest. The light lunch at the donut palace wasn't enough for her.
Through the refined marble passages her terrifying heels clicked, a staccato that tilted heads just enough for the shift and sway of hip and shoulder to lure glances to lips stained blood red. Such a buffet to choose from, the rich and bored, nearing their death, drunk or high, youthful and just married, tasty disasters.
A cold hand took her elbow, a face plain yet the voice was anything but for the fascade of a businessman. "Good evening, Miss Rosalind. If you do not have plans for the rest of your evening, I would like to invite you to dinner and a chat."
Montrose. She knew the cadence and tone. Slipping her arm fully with his, she leaned in as if to nibble an ear, the darkness of the casino allowing shadows to carry her reply.
"Just the man I wanted to see. Dinner. A chat."
He gave a low huff. "And?"