We'll Always Have Paris
Session 5 Log
[16:03] <s_t> _
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[16:06] <s_t> The limousine returns into the city. The kindred inside remain silent, exiting near their homes and hideouts. Their new feudal lord-to-be does not look at any of his vassals as he climbs out and disappears into his manor. Soon Giano and Alexis are the only ones left in the car. The driver rolls down the window, and cigarette smoke spills into the passenger section. “Where to?”
[16:08] <illrepute> He turns to Alexis, staring, eyes wide.
[16:08] <voxpvoxd> Alexis gives the address. From a monster’s den and home again with a sheepish sickly Shadow in tow. Madness upon madness. The doctor is tired in a way he hasn’t been since he died.
[16:11] <voxpvoxd> “Bad luck for you to get to Paris tonight,” Alexis says to his new charge.
[16:11] <s_t> “You got it.” The window rolls back up, and the limo putters along the cobbled streets.
[16:12] <illrepute> Shrunk against the seat of the automobile: “Why, what has happened?” His voice is hoarse and thin, as though perpetually on the verge of cracking.
[16:15] <voxpvoxd> Alexis: “In a word? Chaos. After the incident at Le Palais Garnier, and the Hierophant’s new madness, everyone’s safety is suspect. If you had a less conscientious sponsor I wouldn’t expect you to live out the week. Pure chaos.”
[16:18] <illrepute> “Belìn,” Whispers Giano. He puts his hand to his heart, letting his fingers crawl across the exterior of his jacket and hook themselves onto the cusp of his chest pocket.
[16:19] <illrepute> “I’m.. sorry,” he mumbles. “..I did not quite catch, your name.”
[16:20] <illrepute> The shadow stares wanly across the automobile interior at Alexis.
[16:21] <voxpvoxd> “Carrel. Doctor Alexis Carrel.” He says it in a way that suggests he expects Giano to have heard the name. “You called yourself Giano. Is that your real name?”
[16:24] <illrepute> Real. “Yes.” His eyebrows droop low as he closes his eyes. “…What happened at Le Palais Garnier?” His pronounciation is off. Not a native speaker.
[16:26] <voxpvoxd> Alexis: “A bomb went off. It was set by the Convener of the Ordo Dracul, during an opera put on for the benefit of the city’s Kin. The Kommandant – you’ll remember him from earlier tonight – was planning to execute the Convener for political defiance.”
[16:27] <voxpvoxd> Unlife rarely offers Carrel the opportunity to be didactic. This is almost fun.
[16:31] <illrepute> His eyes widen. “Was anyone- why was-”
[16:32] <illrepute> Giano grabs his upper lip and looks queasy. “A bomb?”
[16:33] <voxpvoxd> “More than one, I suspect. The palace burned quickly. Are you ill? You look ill.”
[16:34] <illrepute> His eyes flit over toward Carrel. “But the people- what happened to them?”
[16:36] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “I don’t know. I stopped reading the papers.” He gives Giano a searching look. What does he look ill with?
[16:40] <illrepute> His skin has an unusually pall to it, something more than a mere underexposure to sunlight, a sort of.. sheen? What’s more, Giano seems to be balding, his hair receding to his crown and leaving his forehead utterly bare- but he appears to be quite young, perhaps not even in his late twenties. Lines of worry crease the man’s face as Carrel examines him.
[16:41] <illrepute> "What are you- As he speaks, Alexis can see into the man’s mouth. He catches a flash of something odd behind the man’s teeth.
[16:42] <voxpvoxd> Alexis: “There’s something in your mouth.”
[16:45] <illrepute> Fear fills Giano’s eyes and, biting his lip, he shakes his head. “No, there isn’t..” he whispers despairingly as he opens his mouth, revealing the object- his tongue, swollen and discolored.
[16:46] <illrepute> “Isonzo,” he murmurs quietly, turning away from the doctor.
[16:47] <voxpvoxd> “Ah. Here we are.” The limo pulls to a stop outside Carrel’s apartment.
[16:49] <voxpvoxd> Alexis leads Giano into the building and up to the third floor. He climbs the stairs slowly, from thought rather than exertion. He’s seen those symptoms before…
[16:50] <s_t> The apartment building is dead quiet. It is almost 3 am.
[16:51] <illrepute> “Why here?” He halts at the second floor landing, staring pleadingly up at Carrel’s retreating form. “Where are you taking me?”
[16:52] <illrepute> He winces at the creak of the hardwood floor as he takes another step forward.
[16:53] <voxpvoxd> The apartment Alexis Carrel uses for his haven is small but comfortable, with fine furniture. The parlor has a wide view of the now-quiet streets below. The walls are lined with shelves filled with leather-bound books, paper monographs, and bound blue diaries. “This is my home, Giano, and it will be yours, until we get you situated.”
[16:55] <illrepute> “Oh,” He quibbles at the threshold before following the doctor inside, appearing both deeply relieved and even more deeply embarrassed.
[16:56] <voxpvoxd> Alexis turns to face his tenant, and notes both sentiments. “What? Were you expecting me to perform experiments on you?”
[16:58] <illrepute> He raises his hands defensively, palms forward. “Non, I’m sorry, I did not mean to offend-” His eyes scan the apartment warily.
[16:59] <illrepute> His left hand returns to his heart, and the look on his face is replaced with one of grave concern. “Do you keep a kitchen?”
[17:01] <voxpvoxd> “Of course,” says Carrel, “One wonders how, exactly, you seem to exhibit all the symptoms of chlorine gas poisoning despite the lack of any chlorine in the environment, and the insusceptibility of your body to poisons of any kind.” He smiles. “Curious.”
[17:03] <illrepute> He makes his way past Carrel into the apartment, finding the kitchenette and hurriedly going through the cupboards. “Milk,” he turns, ignoring the doctor’s statements.
[17:04] <voxpvoxd> “I don’t keep milk,” says Carrel. “Why would I keep milk?”
[17:04] <voxpvoxd> “Why do you need milk?”
[17:05] <voxpvoxd> “What on earth are you?”
[17:05] <illrepute> He turns, lip trembling, and reaches into his pocket and with a tug of resistance produces the object contained within.
[17:06] <voxpvoxd> Giano finds the kitchen cupboards packed full with more blue diaries, ordered chronologically, their spines marked with dates in a neat, square hand.
[17:07] <voxpvoxd> Carrel stares. “Is that a-”
[17:07] <s_t> The cat, half-starved, struggles in Giano’s hands.
[17:08] <s_t> The phone rings.
[17:09] <illrepute> “It’s ok, it’s ok, cara mia-” Giano cups the kitten in both hands and shields it from the ringing of the telephone, again regarding Carrel with equal measures of fear and relief.
[17:10] <voxpvoxd> Carrel picks the phone up. “Yes?”
[17:11] <s_t> A deep, rough voice answers. “This Alexis Carrel?”
[17:11] <voxpvoxd> A recognizable voice? “Speaking.”
[17:11] <s_t> “Stay on the line.”
[17:12] <s_t> Over the line, Alexis can hear something that sounds like metal scraping against stone, and something growling in the background.
[17:12] <s_t> A moment passes in silence, and then someone begins to wheeze wetly into the mouthpiece.
[17:12] <voxpvoxd> Lovely.
[17:12] <illrepute> The italian lifts the kitten to his face and nuzzles it, stroking its scraggly fur with his thumb. Thus calmed, he whispers reassuringly into its ear and places it back into his coat pocket. Strange that nobody seemed to notice the rather impressive lump it made before.
[17:13] <s_t> “Alexis…” It’s a voice Alexis recognizes instantly. It belongs to the man who gave him a second chance at life.
[17:14] <voxpvoxd> “Brother?”
[17:16] <s_t> The voice gasps for air, before shouting “Alexis! The rings! The rings! You have to find the rings!”, and then, just as quickly, the voice falls away and is replaced by screams and the sound of something being torn apart wetly as other voices shout in the background. The line goes dead.
[17:18] <voxpvoxd> Carrel stands stone still. The receiver dangles loosely in his hand.
[17:19] <illrepute> Alexis can feel Giano’s eyes burrowing into the back of his neck. The italian is rubbing the lump in his coat pocket and staring pointedly at the doctor. His eyes are no longer fearful.
[17:20] <illrepute> “Famme. She is hungry.”
[17:29] <s_t> Gawain practically ran into his manor after he exited the limousine. By the time Jacques and Cerise manage to catch up, he’s disappeared upstairs. You can hear things being moved around through the ceiling.
[17:30] <hrolf> Jacques catches Cerise’s eye and inclines head ever so slightly as a greeting.
[17:32] <mirdath> Cerise nods in return. “He’s probably heaving the thames out the window right now. Drink?”
[17:34] <hrolf> Jacques shakes his head. “I’m fine, madame.” He jerks a thumb upwards. “Known him long?”
[17:35] <mirdath> “Not very. I’ve only been… this way… a year or two now. He’s been a good friend for that time though.”
[17:37] <mirdath> “So did you start out with the BDR, or join up lately?” Cerise tries not to appear too prying as she asks.
[17:39] <s_t> Gawain reappears, taking the stairs two at the time. His eyes are a little wild, and he’s carrying a thin manila envelope.
[17:39] <hrolf> Jacques picks a chair and sinks into it with a sigh, running a hand through his hair. “I’m fairly new. The BDR seems to be the future of kindred society, figured I’d get in on the ground floor.” Jacques shrugs.
[17:40] <s_t> “Here.” He thrusts the envelope at Cerise. “It’s my file on Fernand Mais. He’s your first target. Get it over with. Do it…cleanly.”
[17:41] <mirdath> “I understand.” Cerise takes the envelope with a sad half-smile, almost as if she’s about to add something else, but turns away without saying anything.
[17:41] <hrolf> Jacques raises an eyebrow. “Who’s he, then?”
[17:41] <illrepute> Back at Carrel’s apartment, Giano is still staring at Alexis.
[17:42] <s_t> Gawain wipes his mouth with the back of a sleeve. “A former friend.”
[17:44] <hrolf> Jacques clicks a tongue sympathetically. “Must be hard for you. The Kommandant will appreciate your assistance.”
[17:45] <s_t> The Hierophant’s eyes focus on Jacques. “Don’t lecture me, neonate.”
[17:46] <voxpvoxd> After a moment more Carrel recovers the presence of mind to hang the phone up. He speaks slowly, his mind discarding possibilities faster than his throat can give them voice. “We need… no. Maybe with the- that won’t do. Without- fine. Fine. Come on. Come with me.”
[17:47] <s_t> In the ruins of the synagogue, three shadows have come a’knocking at the house of a fourth. Gilles has visitors.
[17:47] <illrepute> He nods slowly, each swoop of his head clearly deliberated far in advance. “Va bene…” Giano stuffs his hands into his threadbare pockets and follows.
[17:47] <hrolf> Jacques returns the glance without flinching, saying nothing.
[17:50] <voxpvoxd> At this time of night, there’s really no recourse but walking. And considering where they’re headed… Alexis grabs his hat and walking stick as they head out the door. “That explains the milk. It doesn’t touch the chlorine.”
[17:51] <s_t> The elder steps towards Jacques, keeping the gaze. His breath stinks of alcohol. “You are to accompany my agents and observe. If they ask for it, lend them your assistance. If they don’t, stay out of their way. Anything you see or hear on these…tasks, are to remain between you and I.” He leans in. “If I hear a word, a whisper, if the Prince knows something he shouldn’t…I’ll bleed you dry, neonate.”
[17:51] <illrepute> “Isonzo,” Giano re-affirms.
[17:51] <illrepute> “I was there.”
[17:52] <illrepute> He follows Carrel slowly through the winding back-alleys of Paris, moving in a stooped gait that should belong to someone twice the age he appears to be.
[17:52] <hrolf> Jacques stands up, teeth bared and fists clenched. “If you touch so much of a hair on a member of the BDR, a representative of the Kommandant’s authority in this benighted city, you will answer for it.”
[17:53] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “You and half the Italian army. That doesn’t account for your condition. Physical symptoms don’t persist after the Embrace, and chlorine alone doesn’t make you what you – presumably – are. What clan are you?”
[17:55] <illrepute> “Shadow,” He mumbles. “But that is just a word.”
[17:56] <illrepute> He walks close to the walls of the buildings adjacent the alleyway, preferring to stay out of the open where possible. He clings to Carrel like, well, a shadow, as the two make their way through the darkened streets. “…Is there not a curfew?”
[17:57] <s_t> Jacques can see Gawain’s fist begin to move towards his face a second before it makes contact.
[17:59] <hrolf> Jacques ducks the punch, rolling out of the way and taking up a defensive posture behind a chair. “Are you insane? The Kommandant nearly had your head tonight, and you want to provoke him further?”
[18:00] <cbn> Gilles doesn’t get visitors, most times. There’s an intruder-to-guest continuum where all the nuance sort of fell out in a messy puddle in the middle. So if someone’s there, he’s skulking, watching, waiting.
[18:03] <s_t> Gawain’s eyes have begun to go black. The chair is swatted out of the way, crashing into splinters on the other side of the room. He advances on Jacques, bellowing “You don’t think the Prince can find another worm to do his spying? You think he will shed a tear when I throw your spine at his feet?”
[18:03] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “And an inadequate one. Do you know anything about your condition? Your symptoms. Surely someone of your age will realize how atypical you are.” He brushes off the curfew question.
[18:07] <hrolf> Jacques backs away, snarling. He racks his brains, trying to think of something to get out of this. Panicking, he settles on the moust outrageous lie he can think of – “I think the Kommandant would care if you killed his Childe, yes.”
[18:10] <s_t> The word seems to penetrate the red haze, and the Hierophant stops his advance. “You? The Childe of Ruprecht Vogler?”
[18:14] <illrepute> He continues, stepping into the moonlight and glaring at Alexis. “I don’t.”
[18:14] <illrepute> Giano’s shoulders sag. “Atypical.” He halts, brieftly, and puts a hand to the brick wall next to him. His upper half is bathed in the building’s shadow, while his lower half is exposed to the pale moonlight filtering down from on high. “Show me a typical dead man who walks and talks.”
[18:16] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “We are dead only clinically. Consider: we reproduce, we require sustenance, we respond to stimuli, adapt and change over time. By any sensible criterion, we are alive. The fact that our hearts don’t beat unless we want them to is purely academic.”
[18:17] <hrolf> The momentary respite gives Jacques the oppurtunity to take cover again. Leaping away, he slides across the floor and hops over the bar. “All footsoldiers of the BDR as as Children to the Kommandant.”
[18:19] <illrepute> Giano simply stares. “A bonfire too requires sustenance, can reproduce, and has one thing more over us- it can grow.”
[18:20] <s_t> Gawain seems to be cooling down a bit. He glares at Jacques. “Get out. Do as I have told you. Insult me again and I won’t bother with my fists.”
[18:20] <illrepute> His eyes narrow slowly. “Academic.”
[18:21] <s_t> The three shadows become men, or at least something resembling men. They look at Gilles, and the figure in the middle raises his hand. “Shalom, brother.”
[18:21] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “The bonfire has no intelligence, and it has no instinct. It does not adapt or change either from moment to moment or over successive iterations. It is always itself. Even the most stunted of Kin possess more potential to learn than that.”
[18:24] <cbn> Well, no point shying away from that. “Shalom.” Gilles glances about nervously. Regardless of the neighborhood or time of day, still isn’t safe to say really…anything, out like this.
[18:24] <cbn> He keeps his voice low. “What brings you gentlemen to me?”
[18:24] <hrolf> Jacques cautiously edges out from behind the bar, and slinks away towards the exit. He gains more confidence the farther away he is from Gawain, straightening his posture and adjusting his ruffled uniform as he’s at the door. “I-I will report this incident”, he stutters before hurriedly stepping out and slamming the door behind him.
[18:25] <illrepute> Giano simply glowers.
[18:25] <illrepute> “The fire does not have instict, but it has kinesis. It expands and burns all it touches. It is the same.”
[18:25] <illrepute> instinct*
[18:26] <s_t> As they approach, their hulking forms and loping gait betray their nature. The three nosferatu approach Gilles, who notices that the one in the middle is wearing the garb of an orthodox rabbi.
[18:26] <illrepute> “I have yet to see a living man be anything other than itself. For the dead I have no reason to believe the task is easier.”
[18:27] <illrepute> The words flow quicker now, greased as they are by anger.
[18:28] <s_t> “You are Gilles Lunel, yes? I am Rabbi Shmuel.”
[18:28] <illrepute> “As for me.” Giano’s voice rises above a whisper for the first time of the night, as he steps forward to clap his hand against Carrel’s exposed wrist.
[18:28] <illrepute> “I am poison.”
[18:28] <voxpvoxd> Carrel: “Utter twaddle. Why in the few months since my Embrace I have already- let me show you.” Carrel grabs Giano’s hand here.
[18:30] <cbn> Gilles nods, hesitantly at first. “I am, yes, Rav. So few of us are left…” Feh on sentimentality, now. If he’s a rabbi, and Gilles is Gilles, that means one thing. “What need do you have of me, Rav?”
[18:32] <s_t> “You are known as a brave and strong member of the community, Gilles. I wanted to tell you that. We,” he spreads his hands to indicate his companions. “Have been watching you. You are our brother twice over. Once through faith, and once through…” He indicates his misshapen face.
[18:32] <illrepute> As Giano’s skin meets Carrel’s, Alexis can see the odd sheen covering the man’s pores glisten slightly in the faint moonlight. Contact is made. For a brief moment, there is nothing but the thundering silence of the two in the Paris alleyway. And then there is a faint hiss
[18:32] <illrepute> …as a thin vapor rises from the site of contact.
[18:33] <s_t> “But I’m afraid that you have become involved in something dangerous. Something that might test our ability to protect our own.”
[18:33] <illrepute> Carrel’s hand begins to burn. Within moments the stinging has leaped up his arm and wrapped itself around his throat, and plunged into his eyes.
[18:34] <cbn> Gilles would smile or frown if his face would let him, or if it would come across in any event. “This business of late with the resistance, and the notes, and such, is it?”
[18:35] <s_t> The Rabbi shakes his head. “We know how to fight the germans, and how to hide when they come looking. But I’m talking about the ring you found. I assume you still have it.”
[18:36] <s_t> “Don’t be surprised. I said we were watching you, remember?”
[18:37] <cbn> “The ri—-oh yes.” Gilles holds up a mitt. “A moment, if you’ll excuse me.” He pops below, retrieves the hidden case-et-al from the cozy storage space he shared with it, and returns above, willing it to reappear before bringing it up to proffer. “It is this, yes?”
[18:38] <cbn> “I am less surprised than…I do not know what I am, precisely.” Bemused. “So do you know to whom or how that poor fellow died, and whyfor?”
[18:38] <voxpvoxd> Carrel coughs, the stench of chlorine flooding his eyes and nose. His throat constricts despite itself. It burns. The hand that touched Giano reaches for the doctor’s neck. He takes a moment, forcing cool night air through constricted passages. After a few seconds, it fades.
[18:38] <voxpvoxd> “…poison.”
[18:40] <illrepute> Giano walks the rest of the way in silence.
[18:41] <s_t> The Rabbi places a hand on Gilles’s shoulder. “You are like us, Gilles. A kindred. Of the Nosferatu clan. We are cursed with these deformities like you see. We must drink the blood of the truly living. If you come and live with us, we can teach you who you are.”
[18:43] <s_t> “But first things first. There are strange things being said about that ring. I want you to see if you can get some information from someone who might have helped in its creation, or knows the person…it belonged to.”
[18:44] <cbn> “I.” He pauses, shakes his head a little, not that it translates well anyway. Resumes. “I am ever a student, Rabbi. Where would you have me begin, in the first?”
[18:46] <cbn> “Forgive me a question, though—-its creation? Is this a piece of art, needing its metalwork traced for reasons of sale, or is this someone’s possession, taken lately by the predations of the so-called elite?”
[18:46] <s_t> “Go see a man called Fernand Mais. He is like us. Not of the clan, but kindred. He worked with the man who made the ring, from what we can tell. Find out what you can. He will be waiting in a club called The Trumpeter.”
[18:47] <s_t> “I don’t know what it is. But the people looking for it are enemies.”
[18:47] <cbn> “A…club. Hrm.” Gilles looks down at himself and lets the unspoken observation hang there.
[18:49] <s_t> The Rabbi sees Gilles’s hesitation. “It’s owned by a friend of the clan. Wear a coat and a scarf, and no one will bother you.”
[18:50] <cbn> Gilles nods with enough emphasis that it carries through layers and deformation. “So noted. Where would you have me find you, when I’ve consulted with this Mais?”
[18:50] <s_t> “Someone will meet you here when you get back. They’ll bring you back safely.”
[18:52] <s_t> Gawain takes a moment to compose himself and turns to Cerise. “I’m counting on you, Cerise. Mais needs to be either dead or gone from the city by tomorrow night. If he’s willing to talk, talk. I don’t want this to get out of hand. But if he’s not willing to talk…you know what to do.”
[18:53] <cbn> Gilles nods again. “I will do as asked, Rabbi.” He mutters to himself, straightening up. “…Trumpeter, eh.”
[18:53] <mirdath> “I do.” Cerise turns to leave. “You’ll be alright?”
[18:54] <s_t> One of the Rabbi’s men hands Gilles a scrap of paper with an address scrawled on it. “Godspeed, son.” The three figures turn and vanish into the night.
[18:54] <s_t> “I’ll be fine. I may or may not be in the city when you get back. I have some business to attend to.”
[18:55] <cbn> Gilles takes the note, nods to the men as they go. Looks at the address, tucks the note away, and sets out to Adventure.
[18:56] <mirdath> “I won’t be nosy. I’ll see you sometime then.”