We'll Always Have Paris
Session 4 Log
[16:02] <st> The back of the supply truck makes for a cold and bumpy ride, at least for the kindred hitching a ride in the back.
[16:03] <st> The column of trucks carrying rations into the city wasn’t the safest or most private ways to make it through the cordon of german troops surrounding Paris, but it worked. At least up until now.
[16:05] <st> The fugitive felt the truck slow and turn to the right. The column roared past, but his truck’s engine spluttered and died. All that could be heard was the opening and closing of the driver’s side door. And then, the sound of boots on gravel.
[16:07] <st> The cloth covering the back of the truck is torn away, a flashlight shines into the space, and guns are cocked. A voice in French, calling out: “We know you are in there, Kindred. Come out slowly, with your hands up, or we burn the truck with you inside.”
[16:13] <illrepute> A moment passes in silence, and then the soft sound of shuffling fabric accompanies a quiet despairing voice from the shadows beyond. “I- I’m coming out.”
[16:15] <st> The voice you heard a moment before says something, in German you think, and then addresses you: “Slowly! We won’t hesitate to shoot.”
[16:17] <illrepute> A small man, somehow smaller than the voice seems to imply steps, trembling from the shadows in the back of the truck. He’s quite pale, and swaddled in a long, frayed coat that he grasps tightly around his body. He complies.
[16:19] <illrepute> His face is creased with worry as he blinks at the armed soldiers. An important distinction is to be made: is the speaker a frenchman, or a german speaking french?
[16:21] <st> As you climb out of the truck, you can see ten men, most holding submachine guns. All of them are dressed in the uniform of the Schutzstaffel. One of them, holding a clipboard, nods to the man next to him. “Alright, turn around and place your hands on the fender. Chain him.”
[16:21] <st> One of the men advances towards you, holding thick chains.
[16:22] <illrepute> His features resolve as he slowly shuffles forward from the shadows- his hair is unkempt and seemingly uncontrollable, though clearly thinning at the crown. His pupils shrink to pinpricks as they advance, but he can’t seem to do anything but tremble.
[16:23] <st> The man with the chains hesistates. “Turn around! Now!”
[16:25] <illrepute> He’s biting his lower lip so hard that one would think it’d draw blood- but nothing comes of it. Still he complies.
[16:28] <st> When you turn around, the man lunges forward, winding the chains around your arms and torso, pinning you to the truck. You hear the click of the lock, something covers your head, and then you’re tossed hard into the back of a car. Hours pass and through your blindfold you catch glimpses of light, until you’re again dragged to your feet, taken down a hall, and tossed into a room. The chains come off, and someone removes your blindfold.
[16:30] <st> You are sat down in a chair, and as your dead eyes adjust to the light you can see a man sitting across from you with pen and paper.
[16:30] <st> “What is your name, newcomer?”
[16:32] <illrepute> He blinks against the light and rapidly moves to bring his hand to one of his coat-pockets, but restrains himself. Quietly: “Will you shoot me if I tell you?”
[16:33] <st> The man laughs. “Well, it depends on what name you give us.”
[16:35] <illrepute> A look of mixed despair and conviction crosses his face and the trembling of his hand ceases. “I am Giano.”
[16:36] <st> “What is your last name, Giano?”
[16:39] <illrepute> With blearly eyes he surveys the room. The man before him- is he alone?
[16:41] <st> Yes, it’s just you and the man in the room. There’s a lamp in a corner illuminating the room, and you can make out concrete walls on all four sides.
[16:42] <illrepute> Precious seconds pass and Giano can barely think but for the pounding of his heart. Quiet, quiet you, please, please… “I don’t, I don’t know.”
[16:42] <illrepute> This man, is he..?
[16:43] <st> The man scribbles on his paper. “Mhmm. Does…not…know. Not too uncommon these days, Mr. Giano, don’t worry. From kindred to kindred, though, what is your clan? You are obviously not a nosferatu, and if you were a Gangrel you probably would have tried something resulting in your death, so…”
[16:48] <illrepute> The chair seems to grow larger about him as he shrinks into it. The man taking notes may have to lean forward to hear him through the perpetual sotto voce in which he speaks: “They called me a shadow.” His french is rather poor, and he speaks with a moderate piedmontese accent.
[16:49] <st> “I see. What are your reasons for coming to Paris, Mr. Giano?”
[16:49] <illrepute> “I’m in..?”
[16:50] <illrepute> “I don’t-” he blanches.
[16:52] <st> The man sighs and switches to Italian without pause. “Come now, Mr. Giano. You were in the back of a truck headed into Paris when we found you. Were you just passing through, or did you hope to establish a residence here?”
[16:52] <illrepute> “Passing through,” he utters softly. “Just passing on.”
[16:53] <illrepute> “Who are you?”
[16:54] <st> “My name is not important, Mr. Giano. I am merely trying to hurry the process along.”
[16:54] <illrepute> Giano himself switches to italian the moment it is spoken, though if anything his voice only quiets further to compensate for the relative fluidity of his speech.
[16:56] <st> “Vagrancy is a crime, though, even for…people like us. It won’t do to have you running around the countryside, panicking farmers. You will be presented at court at the earliest possible convenience. If a kindred fails to sponsor you, you will be relocated to another city.”
[16:56] <st> “Do you understand?”
[16:57] <illrepute> "Alright, " with quaking chest he verbally plods forward. “That’s very ge- yes, yes.” His voice is almost pleading.
[16:59] <st> The man stands and exits the room, locking the door behind him.
[16:59] <illrepute> “Wait,”
[16:59] <illrepute> He attempts to rise but it’s too late. Despair sets in immediately, and he sits back down.
[17:00] <st> December 4th.
[17:01] <st> In the Chateau de Vincennes, Hans Deichmann is pacing across the room as Jacques Hrolfe watches.
[17:03] <st> “Two entire covenants gone, Jacques, in as many nights. Good lord. I’d be concerned if we weren’t planning on getting rid of them anyway.”
[17:04] <hrolf> Jacques nods agreeably. “Good for us then, eh?”
[17:08] <st> “It is, it is. Tonight, though, Jacques. tonight! I’ve arranged for an opportunity to prove yourself in the Prince’s eyes. Tell me, are you familiar with the Circle of the Crone?”
[17:13] <hrolf> Placing his hands behind his head, Jacques lounges back insolently in his chair. Crossing his legs, he shoots Deichman a quizzical glance. “The mystics? What about them?”
[17:15] <st> “They’ve fled like rats into their hideouts. But there they remain, undoubtedly scheming, trying to spread their Satanic influence through our city. We must be ever vigilant, Jacques! We may remain transformed, but you and I have not allowed ourselves to fall into the kind of moral degeneracy that those beasts embrace.”
[17:16] <st> “Their leader, Gawain, has informed the Prince that he wishes to seek protection. And you will assist him in his repentance.”
[17:18] <st> “Walk with me to the throne room, Jacques. The ceremony will be starting.”
[17:19] <hrolf> Tapping one of his perfectly shined jackboots in the air, Jacques frowns and stands up. “I’ll do as ordered, boss, but bodyguarding isn’t my speciality.”
[17:20] <st> Meanwhile, in a limousine navigating the wooded roads leading to the Chateau, Gawain is with Alexis and Cerise. He is halfway through his third bottle of port.
[17:21] <st> “I cannot expect Cavey or Vogler to make my life easier by simply approving my request, so you two should expect some sort of game, I suppose.”
[17:24] <st> Deichmann: “Oh, surely. But I can see the spark of leadership in those who possess it, Jacques. You’ve proven able enough to advance to the next level in our position.”
[17:25] <mirdath> “I can’t think why they wouldn’t want to do everything in their power for you, Gawain.” Cerise laughs. “Oh well, we’ll see what happens.”
[17:25] <hrolf> “You’re making me blush, boss.”
[17:29] <st> The limousine pulls up to the massive gatehouse and the driver presents his credentials. A few minutes later, Gawain exits the car and motions for Alexis and Cerise to follow.
[17:29] <voxpvoxd> The doctor is twisting a silk handkerchief in his hands, the only external sign of his anxiety. Court is a trying experience at the best of times, and this – in nights of upheaval, technically a renegade from his own covenant, caught in the wake of a drunk and dispossessed druid – is far from those. There is some solace, however, that the men and monsters of Vogler’s court know Carrel, respect his achievements, and most importantly, trust in his soundness. No matter what game is afoot, they know he can be trusted. “I’m sure it will be fine.”
[17:32] <st> The Chateau’s audience chamber has been converted into a massive throne room. The throne remains empty for the time being, but elders and their minions mingle freely.
[17:34] <st> Gawain turns to his new followers. “Feel free to make small talk. I need to speak to Cavey.” He motions to a tall ventrue wearing breeches and a powdered wig.
[17:37] <voxpvoxd> Alexis scans the crowd. There’s no Sanctified around to tattle on him to the Bishop, are there? This will go so much more smoothly if he has the opportunity to explain himself to her, later, than it will if he gets dragged to her haven to justify his obvious treachery. “Nervous?” he says to Cerise.
[17:38] <st> The crowd seems to consist just of Invictus elders and their lackeys, and kindred wearing BDR uniforms.
[17:39] <voxpvoxd> Oh, thank God.
[17:39] <mirdath> “Who wouldn’t be? It’s not the first time I’ve been here, but with this crowd?”
[17:41] <voxpvoxd> Alexis: “We’re probably fine. There’s no- almost no chance, of getting burned at the stake tonight. Five, ten percent. At most. We’re fine.”
[17:43] <mirdath> “Very reassuring, Alexis.”
[17:43] <voxpvoxd> Alexis: “Bedside manner was never my strong suit.”
[17:43] <mirdath> “You should have been an anesthesiologist.”
[17:44] <voxpvoxd> “I should have been anesthetized,” Alexis mutters.
[17:45] <mirdath> “I could arrange that. Elsewhere. Anyway, I think we’re supposed to be sociable?”
[17:45] <voxpvoxd> “Yes. Let’s… mingle.”
[17:46] <st> The BDR let you stew in your cell for a day before manhandling you into the corridor and marching you up into the building above. Concrete gives way to stone, and electric lighting begins to be replaced by candlelight. Your guards shove you into a chair in a small room. “We stay here until the Prince summons us. Try to escape and you’re dead.”
[17:47] <st> As you begin to mingle, Gawain and Cavey’s conversation begins to sound a little heated, but you can’t make out what they’re saying.
[17:49] <st> Cerise focuses on the two, and suddenly she can hear: “Bernard, I don’t know how many times I have to explain to you, Satan has nothing to do with it…”
[17:50] <mirdath> Cerise gradually drifts over towards the pair…
[17:51] <illrepute> Giano sits, hand stuffed unceremoniously into his breat pocket, massaging some unseen itch just above his heart.
[17:52] <illrepute> “Please,” he begs, “Not much longer, we need to go very soon-” he’s glancing around his captors, eyes pleading.
[17:52] <st> “You really are a cur, Platt, if you expect me to accept you take you off the street. I have enough minions, I don’t need new ones that dabble in the greatest of blasphemies.”
[17:54] <st> Cavey begins to turn away but notices Cerise. “My goodness! Hello, mademoiselle, I do not believe I have had the honor of making your acquaintance.”
[17:55] <mirdath> “Delighted. Gawain, aren’t you going to introduce us?”
[17:57] <st> Gawain glares daggers at Cerise, and at Cavey, before speaking. “Bernard, this is Cerise Bessette. She is, er, in my employ.”
[17:58] <st> Cavey attempts to kiss Cerise’s hand. “Oh my! You are much more beautiful than most of the company dear Harold usually keeps. Dressing in animal skins, not bathing in weeks, you know the type, yes? Aha.”
[18:02] <mirdath> Cerise laughs graciously and allows him. “Some of us do have some standards, Mr Cavey. At least when we’re out and about.”
[18:04] <st> “Oh? You’ll have to tell me about your private life, then. Aha. Ha. Harold! Why didn’t you tell me you had such people working for you?”
[18:05] <st> Gawain stares straight ahead. “Have you met Dr. Alexis Carrel, Bernard? He was very well-known in his mortal life…”
[18:08] <voxpvoxd> Carrel is exchanging idle pleasantries with uniformed monsters that reflexively bear their fangs when they feel his presence. He tries to expand that presence, to make himself more impressive- but it just doesn’t work. It never seems to work. It’s so incredibly difficult, and worse, it’s uncomfortable. There are few things Doctor Carrel has less patience for than difficulties and discomfort.
[18:08] <voxpvoxd> He makes a mental note – and a physical one, in a tiny notepad he keeps at hand always – to try to work on this.
[18:11] <st> Cavey: “Is that the one over there, making faces? I haven’t met him, no…”
[18:12] <st> A trumpet blows and by the throne a crier shrieks: “Attention! Stand and observe the entrance of our liege, Ruprecht Vogler, Prince of Paris!”
[18:14] <voxpvoxd> A trumpet. Someone’s a little bit of a megalomaniac. Carrel stands at attention.
[18:14] <st> Cavey mutters to Gawain: “Harold, if it were up to me, I would of course let you in. But I must defer to our Prince in this matter.” He turns to Cerise and bows before taking his place near the front of the room, surrounded by his minions.
[18:17] <st> A tall, blonde vampire walks past the entrance of the room Giano is in. In the audience chamber, Vogler appears and seats himself on the throne.
[18:17] <st> The lump in Giano’s jacket remains calm.
[18:20] <st> “Thank you, friends, for coming tonight. Some problems have presented themselves before me, and in the interests of transparency I shall rule on them in front of my peers.”
[18:21] <st> “A vagrant has come into the city. Shall any vampire claim to sponsor his stay in the city?”
[18:22] <st> Giano’s guards grab him and haul him into the audience chamber.
[18:22] <illrepute> He doesn’t protest.
[18:24] <st> An Invictus elder speaks up. “What is his name?”
[18:25] <st> Vogler looks at Giano. “What is your name, newcomer?”
[18:26] <illrepute> Short, pale, and visibly shaking, Giano is ushered into the room. Exposed to the light, his face is utterly drained of color, his cheeks gaunt.
[18:26] <illrepute> His eyes burn with a feverish light as he apprehends his surroundings.
[18:27] <illrepute> Weakly, “Giano. I-”
[18:28] <st> The Invictus speaks again. “What tricks do you know, Giano?”
[18:29] <voxpvoxd> Carrel watches the brutish display unfold. This man looks terribly ill. Did the BDR do this to him? The physician in him balks at the simple lack of respect and courtesy shown such a frail man, but the not-an-idiot in him keeps him silent, for the moment.
[18:29] <illrepute> He sags in the grasp of his guards, eyes dimming.
[18:30] <st> The Invictus steps back into his crowd.
[18:30] <st> As silence fills the audience chamber, Vogler waves his hand. “Very well, take him away.”
[18:32] <voxpvoxd> “Wait.”
[18:32] <st> Vogler looks bored. “Speak up.”
[18:34] <voxpvoxd> Carrel sets his face, looking impassive and professorial when every eye in the room swivels onto him. He takes a step forward. “I will sponsor him. I will take responsibility for him. Let him free.”
[18:36] <st> Hans Deichmann steps past Jacques and approaches the throne from behind. He whispers something in Vogler’s ear. “Dr. Carrel? Well, then you should know your responsibilities. If Giano fails to comply with the laws of this city in the next six months, you will be held responsible. Guards, release him into the Doctor’s custody.”
[18:36] <st> Giano’s guards shove him towards Carrel.
[18:37] <illrepute> The Italian’s eyes flicker for an instant, but further investigation shows that Giano remains expressionless.
[18:38] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “Of course, Kommandant. His fate is my fate.” This is the stupidest thing Alexis has ever done. He takes Giano by the shoulder and pulls him back, to merge again with the crowd.
[18:39] <illrepute> Giano cries with surprise at the sudden motion and is then lost among the crowd.
[18:39] <st> “Bring the next one in!” The guards produce a staggering nosferatu from a passageway. “Shall anyone claim this one? He gave no name, so don’t ask me for it.”
[18:41] <st> No one speaks. The Nosferatu moans. Vogler rolls his eyes. “Take him away.” The Nosferatu moans as the guards drag him away.
[18:42] <st> “Tonight’s final matter. I believe an elder has an announcement?”
[18:43] <st> Gawain walks towards the throne. “My Prince, I seek protection and sanctuary in the embrace of the Invictus.”
[18:44] <st> <st> Vogler looks at Cavey. “Bernard?”
[18:44] <st> Cavey looks at Cerise and mutters “I approve, but it is your decision of course, my Prince.”
[18:45] <voxpvoxd> Carrel speaks to Giano, sotto voce, in competent but accented Italian. “Are you ill?”
[18:46] <st> Vogler: “You are aware of the dozen rogue druids hiding in my city, then?”
[18:47] <illrepute> Giano glances despairingly at the hand grasping his shoulder, down along the suited arm attached to it, and up Carrel’s collarbone to his face. “Why, why did you do that.”
[18:47] <st> Gawain nods yes.
[18:47] <st> “And what do you suggest be done with them? Will they also join in the Invictus?” Cavey starts forward, protesting.
[18:48] <st> “My lord, I only approved of Lord Platt’s request. He made no mention of anyone other than his immediate retainers.”
[18:50] <voxpvoxd> Carrel doesn’t answer Giano’s question. “I have a spare room, you can stay there until you get space of your own. How old are you?”
[18:50] <st> "Well, then. It won’t do to have kindred belonging to no-one terrorizing my city with their witchcraft.’ Vogler smiles. “I approve your request, on one condition. Bring me the remains of these rogues and I will let you slink away.”
[18:51] <st> Gawain bows. “Of course, my lod.”
[18:52] <st> Vogler: “And to assist you in this task, one of my men will lend his considerable talents.”
[18:52] <st> Deichmann motions for Jacques to step forward.
[18:54] <illrepute> Giano trembles and reaches for his coat pocket. “I was born in the year of our Lord eighteen-ninety-six.”
[18:54] <hrolf> Jacques confidently strides forward and salutes Vogler.
[18:54] <illrepute> Notably enough, he doesn’t appear to have a beast.
[18:54] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “And when did you die?”
[18:54] <illrepute> “Nineteen Seventeen.” He swallows. “Isonzo.”
[18:55] <st> “This is Jacques Hrolfe. He will assist you and your followers in this task.”
[18:56] <illrepute> He reaches forward quite suddenly, planting his hand on Carrel’s shoulder in an odd mimickry of the Daeva’s own motion. “Listen to me, I need- I need rations, soon.”
[18:57] <st> “Now begone, Platt. Don’t show your face in my court again until you have what I need.”
[18:57] <voxpvoxd> Alexis: “We can arrange that. You’re sure you aren’t ill?”
[18:57] <mirdath> “Let’s get him back to my place as soon as we can make a graceful exit — there’ll be no lack of kine sleeping various things off.”
[18:59] <st> Gawain bows and withdraws into the crowd. The trumpet blows again, Vogler departs, and Deichmann sidles up to Jacques. “You see, Jacques, stick with me and you’ll advance quickly. Now, stay with Platt and his followers until they’ve gotten the job done.”
[19:00] <illrepute> He ignores Carrel’s questioning and continues on this point. “No you don’t- you don’t understand. Rations. How do they do them in Paris? Are there cards, like Genova? Or stamps, or,”
[19:00] <hrolf> “As you say.” He walks up to Gawain and taps him on the shoulder.
[19:00] <illrepute> “No you don’t- you don’t understand. Rations. How do they do them in Paris? Are there cards, like Genova? Or stamps, or,” he trails off, shaking his head. “I am.”
[19:01] <st> Gawain looks at Jacques. “I’m leaving, Captain. You know where I live.”
[19:01] <illrepute> He pats his coat pocket and whispers something quietly in Genoese.
[19:02] <voxpvoxd> Carrel narrows his eyes briefly. “You mean food? Actual food?”
[19:03] <illrepute> He grimaces. “Yes!” He follows the sudden outburst with a much quieter ‘yes.’
[19:03] <mirdath> “What on earth?” Cerise is bewildered. “Oh well, come on back, I’ll get you something.”
[19:03] <hrolf> Jacques raises an eyebrow. “No need to be so brusque, I’m here to help. I’d hop to what the Prince wants done right quick if I were you – is there anything you’d like me to do?”
[19:03] <illrepute> “
Hasn’t had anything in more than a day and I don’t I don’t know if he’ll make it.”
[19:04] <mirdath> “Who hasn’t?” Cerise is careful to lower her voice until it is almost inaudible.
[19:04] <st> Gawain gives his full attention to Jacques. “Don’t ever presume to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do, neonate.” His eyes are growing darker.
[19:06] <st> “Cerise, Alexis, we’re leaving. Bring your new pet.”
[19:07] <st> Gawain walks out of the chamber, taking the stairs two at a time.
[19:07] <voxpvoxd> Carrel gives Cerise a look. “He will be coming with me. I can see to his needs. Take care of your kine.”
[19:07] <illrepute> He glances from Alexis, to Cerise, and back. He mimes the facial expression of someone deeply embarrassed, though without the blush he remains unconvincing. “Ah, I’m sorry- I haven’t been introduced.”
[19:08] <mirdath> Cerise stares right back. “Up to you — I thought I’d offer. But he’s your charge after all.”
[19:08] <hrolf> Jacques stares coldly at his retreating back, and turns to face his retinue. “Hi there.”
[19:09] <mirdath> Cerise keeps it short, gesturing at each of them. “Alexis. Cerise.” She turns to the newcomer. “Jacques, I think?”
[19:10] <illrepute> “Giano,” he corrects, softly. Looking at his feet: ‘Giano.’
[19:11] <illrepute> “Please, this is not a good place to be?”
[19:11] <hrolf> Jacques gives a little bow. “Captain Hrolfe, at your service. I’ve been assigned to assist you in any way possible.”
[19:13] <voxpvoxd> Carrel gives Hrolfe a curt nod. “Captain.” He produces a card from his pocket. “This is my address, and telephone number. You can contact me here if you have any need of my assistance. We should talk, soon, but at the moment there is a more pressing concern. Come, Giano.”
[19:14] <hrolf> Jacques moves to block his Alexis’ way. “I will accompany you.”
[19:16] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “Please, that won’t be necessary.”
[19:16] <illrepute> He nods curtly and shoves his hands into his pockets, before stalling as the captain bars their path.
[19:17] <hrolf> “I’m afraid it will. Your master is not in the best of graces with the Prince at the moment, and cooperation with me will go a long way.”
[19:20] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “Please, Captain, do not mistake me. He is not my master. I am a devoted servant of the Lance and Chapel, and the Kommandant holds our church is the highest esteem. I was caught in his wake as his circle crumbled around him. The only other actual Acolyte I’ve met, in the city, is Cerise. You want to talk to her.”
[19:21] <voxpvoxd> “If you wish to detain me, that is your right, but I will have to explain my truancy to the Bishop.”
[19:21] <voxpvoxd> “Your name will come up.”
[19:24] <hrolf> Jacques shrugs. “That doesn’t concern me. You are part of his retinue, and therefore under my jurisdiction. My orders are to watch over you all, and that begins now; with you. There’s no need to make it more unpleasant than it needs to be. I will accompany you.”
[19:29] <voxpvoxd> Alexis stares at Jacques for almost a full minute. Then he sighs. “Come along, then.”
[19:29] <hrolf> Jacques motions ahead of him. “After you.”
[19:30] <illrepute> The wispy italian who has been cowering behind Carrel as though the Daeva were a bulwark only now stirs into motion, following the other sheepishly.
[19:32] <st> Gawain is waiting in the limousine.
[19:34] <voxpvoxd> Carrel enters the limo after Giano, but before Jacques. “Priscus? Are you well?”
[19:35] <hrolf> Jacques bundles in after him, settling in comfortably and stretching his legs. He winks at Gawain. “Greetings.”
[19:36] <st> Gawain starts drinking from a bottle and stays silent.
[19:38] <illrepute> Giano stares down at his chest and folds his hands in his lap as he slips into the vehicle.
[19:41] <st> Gawain taps on the glass and the limo pulls away into the woods.