We'll Always Have Paris
Session 2 Log
[16:13] <st> The opera house has been blown to bits, but down in the sewers the noise of the world above is muffled by the constant roar of water rushing past and beasts making their way through the sludge. Two monsters are staring at each other while a corpse bleeds at their feet.
[16:15] <hrolf> Keeping his gun trained on the apparition before him, Jacques edges towards the corpse, the sweet smell of his blood pooling on the floor filling his nostrils. Searching through the body, he pulls out some papers and glances at them – what do they say?
[16:17] <hrolf> The note is incomprehensible to him, or possibly written in a cipher. He waves it futilely in the monster’s direction – “Here, you. You know about this?”
[16:18] <cbn> Gilles stands his ground. “Are your kind not the experts on examining people’s papers?”
[16:21] <hrolf> Jacques scowls in irritation. The note says something about bringing an item, would further rammaging through of the dead guy reveal anything?
[16:21] <cbn> “…but if you would kindly lower your weapon, I may be prevailed upon to assist you, if they are written in a language with which you are not familiar. Or if you would kindly lower your weapon regardless, unless you feel as though you can put lead through mud while looking elsewhere.”
[16:23] <cbn> “After all. I am unarmed.” Here there would be a wry smile. In its place, a crease in rippling detritus.
[16:24] <hrolf> The thing appears more conciliatory, and Jacques reluctantly lowers his pistol in the hopes of cooperation. He drops the note on the floor and steps back warily. “Pick that up and tell me what it means.”
[16:29] <cbn> Gilles takes up the note and reads. “….hm. Well, this dead man did ask me if I was ‘the Walker’”—-quotey-fingers with three-fingered dripping mitts—-“perhaps the lunatics were to congregate?”
[16:31] <hrolf> “You insist you’re not one of them?”
[16:32] <cbn> “I do not make a habit of meeting with people who shoot at me. So no, I am not one of ‘them.’” Here, gesturing to the note.
[16:33] <cbn> “Many initials here. And a Maurice, and Johan. The latter sounds more like someone from your side of the fence, no?”
[16:36] <hrolf> “My side? You don’t know-” Jacques takes a deep breath and calms himself. Being seen as a collaborationist just means he’s doing his job well, but it’s grating sometimes. “I cannot make sense of this. You follow random strangers you don’t know into sewers all the time?”
[16:39] <cbn> “I follow trails of blood out of the Pletzl leading into the sewers, being that they are both uncommon and incredibly suspicious. Adjectives you would consider to likely be a specialty of one such as myself.” He half-bows.
[16:42] <hrolf> “You live near here?”
[16:43] <cbn> “What use is a Golem if not residing near where his community did, and someday shall again?”
[16:46] <cbn> “Nevertheless. That is why I am here, now. So where do we go from here? Your commanding officers will not believe that I exist, and I do not have any to whom I report. Shall we not-shake-hands and never do this again?”
[16:48] <hrolf> Jacques twiddles his fingers nervously. “I have a corpse on my hands to explain.”
[16:48] <cbn> “Do you, now? I do not think there is much foot traffic down here, tonight excepted. And I would hardly be one to report it to the authorities.”
[16:51] <cbn> “I will even hold onto these papers for you, so that you have no suspicious articles to explain later.” Gilles is nothing if not considerate.
[16:52] <hrolf> Jacques licks his lips. This is taking a bit of a risk, confiding in this so called golem, but- “You do not understand. I was ordered here tonight.”
[16:52] <cbn> A head tilt makes it through the hideous disfiguring and the inhuman posture. “…go on…”
[16:55] <hrolf> “There was someone, from an…uncooperative..organization I was instructed to meet. This man’s note, it has a name that is familiar to me, but…that’s it.”
[16:58] <cbn> “So you either explain that you met and killed him, in order to explain his possessions on your person or explain away any questions his organization may have for yours. Or you say he never appeared.” Gilles shrugs. “Were I in your shoes I know which would be preferential to me.”
[17:02] <hrolf> Jacques comes to a decision. There’s not much hope that, even armed, he could take this monster down without backup and there’s little hope of it agreeing to be taken in for questioning. “Fine.”
[17:04] <cbn> Gilles stuffs the papers in a pocket and turns to depart. “May we never do this again.”
[17:04] <hrolf> He nods in acquiescence. “I suppose I can let you go.” He pauses. “This may not matter to you, but I don’t agree with what’s being done to your people, whatever you are.”
[17:05] <cbn> Gilles stops for a moment. “Then do something about it.” And resumes his trudge back to the darkness.
[17:11] <cbn> Later on, Gilles will resolve to look up the few people he does interact with in a beneficial sense and ask them if they have any idea what’s up with regards to the mad ramblings
of diary-keeping deadshots.
[17:12] <hrolf> “I am.” Jacques says quietly.
[17:12] <st> The SS captain is left alone in the sewers.
[17:15] <st> December 3rd. The Opera house is now nothing more than a gutted skeleton. Teams are sifting through the rubble trying to find valuables as the sun sets and the city’s kindred population awaken.
[17:16] <st> In Cerise’s brothel, and in Alexis’s apartment five minutes later, the phones ring. Are you there to pick it up?
[17:18] <@VoxPVoxD> Alexis is. He doesn’t intend to set out, after last night’s unpleasantness. He has a quiet evening planned, with Schubert and his diaries. And then the phone rings. With only a brief hesitation, he answers.
[17:19] <mirdath> Cerise reaches through the covers and gropes for the mouth and ear pieces. She’s not ready to face the world yet, still haggard and wild-eyed from the aftermath of the previous night, but sometimes you can’t wait for the right time.
[17:20] <st> “Cerise…”
[17:20] <st> “You there?”
[17:21] <mirdath> “Hello?” Cerise realizes she has the pieces switched and tries again. “Hello?”
[17:23] <st> The sound of glass clinking against glass comes across the other line for a moment. “Cerise? It’s Gawain. You wouldn’t happen to be busy tonight, would you?”
[17:25] <mirdath> “I was actually planning to go into hysterics for a third night running and do my best to drink it off afterwards. No, I’m not that busy. What did you have in mind?”
[17:26] <st> “I need you to come over to my place tonight. I need to speak with you about something.”
[17:27] <mirdath> “No hints?”
[17:28] <st> “It’s not the best time, Cerise. Can you make it or not?”
[17:29] <mirdath> “Sure. Give me half an hour and I’ll be over.”
[17:31] <st> The line goes dead.
[17:32] <st> “Dr. Carrel? This is Gawain. I have a favor to ask.”
[17:33] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel: “Ah! Of course. I’m glad to hear you’re well. How might I be of service?”
[17:34] <st> “Are you busy tonight? I’d like to speak to you in person about…uh…well, tell me, doctor, do you have a job as of this moment?”
[17:36] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel: “To be perfectly frank, Priscus, I have enough money set aside that I don’t need to work. I occupy myself with my studies. But, if I am needed, then you have but to ask.” A pause. “I’m sure we can be of great use to one another.”
[17:38] <st> “Spending your nights in quiet retirement, hm? Money can’t buy you social standing, though. I might be able to help you with that. If you’d like to discuss it further, come over to my estate. You know the address, correct? It’s in the Latin Quarter.”
[17:39] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel: “My thoughts exactly. Shall we say half an hour?”
[17:40] <st> There’s a crash from the other end of the line, and you think you can make out Gawain shouting at someone. “Excuse me. Yes, that would be wonderful. I’ll tell the butler to expect you.”
[17:40] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel plays it off like a pro. “Excellent. Good evening, Priscus.”
[17:42] <st> There’s a streetcar that goes by your apartment that terminates in the Latin Quarter.
[17:42] <@VoxPVoxD> Alexis hangs up the phone, and makes quiet preparations for his visit. Once he’s dressed (the tie he wore to the opera house is folded delicately and stored in an inside jacket pocket) and ready, the doctor takes the streetcar.
[17:45] <st> Gawain’s manor is an old Victorian set back from the street. A cast-iron fence surrounds the property, but the lock is rusted and the gate is open, anyway.
[17:46] <st> Alexis turns the corner and sees Cerise.
[17:46] <mirdath> “Hello again, Alexis. It /is/ Alexis, right?”
[17:50] <@VoxPVoxD> Tch. One wonders why some undead see the need to cultivate such a foreboding atmosphere. A little oil and- hello. Carrel’s brow briefly knits, but then his memory returns a name to match the face. “Ah! Yes. You would be Mlle. Bessette, correct? I’m glad to see you made it out of that disaster unharmed.”
[17:52] <mirdath> “As am I!” Cerise winces. “A rather… undignified exit, wasn’t it?”
[17:54] <@VoxPVoxD> “Considering the circumstances, a little indignity is better than mortal peril,” replies Alexis, who of course had to endure neither. “Many people far our elder acted far more rashly. I thought you handled yourself quite well.”
[17:58] <mirdath> Cerise looks a little doubtful. “If you say so. Did he call you too? Let’s go on in, he should be waiting already.”
[17:58] <@VoxPVoxD> Alexis gestures onward with a sweep of his arm. Ladies first.
[18:01] <mirdath> Cerise knocks on the door. “Gawain?”
[18:02] <st> Thirty seconds pass before you hear anything, and then someone inside shouts “ANSWER THE DOOR, MARTIN.”
[18:02] <st> “MARTIN. SOMEONE JUST KNOCKED”
[18:03] <st> You hear the sound of sandals slapping against tile and then the door yanks open and Gawain is standing in front of you, wearing a bathrobe. “Excuse me. My butler seems to have abandoned me.”
[18:03] <@VoxPVoxD> Ah. This is one of those households. Carrel keeps his expression measured. “These are troubled nights, Priscus.”
[18:04] <mirdath> Cerise raises an eyebrow at Gawain’s attire. “Good evening to you too, Gawain!”
[18:06] <st> “Come in.” Gawain waves you both inside and leads you to a sitting room, where he collapses dramatically into an overstuffed chair.
[18:08] <st> He waves at row of bottles on a shelf. “There’s booze if you want it, help yourselves.”
[18:10] <mirdath> Cerise pours a small snifter of brandy for herself. “Alexis? Gawain?”
[18:10] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel permits himself a very tiny smile as he takes a seat on a long Roman-styled sofa. With no butler to take his hat and walking stick, he lays them across his lap, smooth bald head shining matte and pale in whatever passes for light. “No, thank you.”
[18:11] <st> Gawain reaches down beneath his chair and pulls out a bottle of something dark and takes a swig. “I’m set, love.”
[18:12] <mirdath> “Well.” Cerise replaces the bottle and seats herself. “To what do we owe the pleasure, Priscus?”
[18:12] <st> He sighs. “Harold Platt, Duc du Quartier Latin, reduced to begging. Christ. A year ago this house would have been crawling with bootlickers and servants.”
[18:13] <@VoxPVoxD> “These are troubled nights,” Alexis repeats, in a soothing voice, as if he expected Gawain to lash out.
[18:14] <st> “You both saw Johan’s little stunt at the Opera house. Hopefully no one you knew died. How well did you two know our esteemed Architect, Monsieur Gustafsson?”
[18:15] <mirdath> “Not very well. I believe we’d been introduced once or twice, but that was the extent of it.”
[18:17] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel: “…only by reputation, Priscus. The Sanctum, and the city as a whole, has very little to do with the Order. Truth be told, I don’t even know what they get up to. You hear the most salacious rumors.”
[18:18] <st> “Hear them? I made half of them, back when Johan and I used to get along. Have you heard of the current status of the Paris Ordo Dracul, or have you been cowering underneath the sheets since the 1st?”
[18:21] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel: “I try to avoid trafficking in gossip, where possible, even when I’m not cowering. What state do they find themselves in now?”
[18:24] <st> “Vanished. Ghouls, equipment, everything. Good old Vogler was going to wait until after he seized Johan to make his move on the littler fish. Word must have gotten out. Or they left before Johan even went to the theater. Who knows?”
[18:25] <st> “And…it seems panic is contagious.” He motions at the silent house around you. “Half my staff heard about what happened to them, figured we’d be next as we followed to purge our ranks of haunts and savages, and jumped ship.”
[18:26] <@VoxPVoxD> What did you expect to happen? “How dreadful.”
[18:26] <mirdath> “I can’t really blame them, honestly. Or the others in the Circle.”
[18:28] <st> “I understand their concerns perfectly. I still want them skinned alive, but at least they’ll have the consolation that I empathize.”
[18:29] <st> “As for the two of you…”
[18:30] <st> “This isn’t the first time I’ve rebuilt my personal power base, and I do have certain positions to fill in my entourage, and you two are largely unaffiliated with any of the other players, correct?”
[18:31] <mirdath> “To the best of my ability, yes.” Cerise sniffs. “I suppose I don’t have a whole lot of choice in this matter… Priscus. Not that I especially mind, of course…”
[18:32] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel smooths out his jacket, which tugs on his collar ever so slightly. “I’m not certain Bishop Morneaux would see it that way, but in truth I do feel a bit… at arm’s reach, among the Spears. I am, of course, at your disposal.”
[18:34] <st> Gawain smiles. “Oh, cheer up, you two. It’s not like I’m forcing into anything. I admit that this was a last resort, but I’ll do well if you refuse. I’ve always felt that a lord’s relationship with his vassals should be consensual. Well, most of the time.”
[18:35] <st> “There’s safety in numbers…and the nights are getting longer. There are things worse than Vogler and his minions waiting out there for those who stay out on their own for too long.”
[18:35] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel: “What do you mean?”
[18:37] <st> “Oh, I’m starting to sound like Johan. Excuse me, I didn’t mean to frighten you. Vogler’s goons kicking your door in and filling you with lead should remain your number one concern if you don’t join me, of course.”
[18:38] <@VoxPVoxD> “Has the Kommandant grown more erratic recently? He always struck me as a reasonable man, considering his difficulties.”
[18:40] <st> “Vogler remains as bull-headed as ever. I could have told him Johan wouldn’t come quietly, if he had asked. Which he did not.”
[18:42] <@VoxPVoxD> Alexis glances at Cerise here. How does she seem to be taking all this?
[18:43] <mirdath> “‘Reasonable’ is perhaps not the word I’d use. Cruac rites are restricted, the Sanctum’s blood magic not. Reasonable?”
[18:45] <st> “Speaking of which…”
[18:45] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel: “A political play, rather than a religious one, I think. Punishment for not toeing the party line. Given the way he came to power, it’s understandable, if not condonable.”
[18:46] <st> Gawain stares into his now half-empty bottle.
[18:49] <st> “There will be certain…news…spreading in the next few days. The sort of news that I’d only share with kindred in my own organization.” He looks at you two.
[18:49] <st> expectantly
[18:49] <mirdath> “Well, in for a penny…” Cerise turns to Alexis.
[18:50] <@VoxPVoxD> The doctor feels decidedly out of place here. This is a large risk, but, as he said, these are troubled nights. “You can count on my discretion, of course…”
[18:52] <st> "Ha! Excellent. This house is open to you now, of course. Your things can be delivered here, and I’m sure we can find someone to run your establishment in the meantime, Cerise, for we must stick close in the next few weeks. "
[18:54] <mirdath> “Marie will be more than capable of running it for a while. I can run back there and arrange things tonight, and be back here shortly.”
[18:54] <@VoxPVoxD> What. That wasn’t what- Ugggggh. “If I might, Priscus, be so bold as to inquire- you still haven’t told us what exactly we’re expected to do.”
[18:55] <st> “Do as I say, protect my person if you see a man charge at me with a stake, throw yourself in front of me if you see a lupine coming at me, you know…”
[18:56] <st> “I have a few things to sort out before I can let you in on all the details, doctor, but rest assured you’ll have all the boring medical textbooks you can read.”
[18:56] <@VoxPVoxD> Carrel: “I— forgive me, Priscus I’m not- well, I’m not qualified to serve as a bodyguard—”
[18:57] <st> “Oh! Yes, the news. This should be quite exciting…” Gawain rummages around in his pockets.
[18:57] <mirdath> “I’m sure there’s more to it than that, Alexis.”
[18:58] <st> “No…yes, here it is.” Gawain takes out what looks like to be a bird’s skull and a straight razor. In a flash, he cuts his wrist and rubs the skull with blood.
[18:58] <st> He mutters something underneath his breath, throws the skull on the ground, and shouts “DISBANDED!”
[18:59] <@VoxPVoxD> Ah, now this holds Alexis’s attention. His expression is closed off, but his eyes are hungry. It takes an act of will not to reach for his notebook.
[18:59] <st> He looks at Alexis and Cerise happily. “We’re going Invictus!”
[19:00] <@VoxPVoxD> Alexis: “Ah,”
[19:02] <mirdath> “We what?”