January 01, 2013 00:00
The Mop-up Crew
July 06, 2010 19:00
The sun sets over the city. Whisps of twilight touch the last western clouds as our coterie wakes to the scents of the living world.
Khalid and Dimitri stir in their shared apartment, and Michael in his, highlighting to all that the time has come to finally resolve the issue of a communal haven for the coterie. One that will serve the needs of the group and lend itself to defense as well as luxury.
After some brief communication, the three of them meet at an In’N’Out Burger along the 10 Freeway to discuss options. They enlist the help of their lawyers and get to work. Within days, they have purchased an unassuming yet spacious older office building Downtown, nestled in between larger, more modern skyscrapers. The Building is located at 518 West 7th Street, and comes complete with a basement, three levels and internal access to a garage in the back.
They decide to invest some serious capital into renovation work, and have the place fitted with modern furnishings, security and all the comforts a vampire could desire. They even have a short tunnel made off the books that gives them direct access to an old side tunnel of the underground transit system.
They manage to accomplish this in a mere 6 days.
As the renovations are taking place, Dimitri has an old loyal friend flown in from Russia, a fellow mobster and wetwork specialist who goes by the rather appealing moniker Zhaba. If at all possible, Zhaba manages to unsettle all assembled even more than Dimitri. A herculean feat to be sure.
Having finally settled in, the group return their attentions upon their neglected thirsts, and enjoy a night of hunting to regain some sorely needed sustenance. Several hookers, gamers and drug pushers donate their precious blood to hungry lips.
By now, it is Monday the 12th of July. As the group wait to hear back from Montero concerning the meeting with the Tremere and Archon DiPadua, the doorbell rings. Security cameras reveal it to be none other than Ariane.
Michael welcomes her into their new home, asking how she found them so easily.
“I could smell you a mile away” she retorts.
She complements the group on the new place, has an awkward greeting with Zhaba, and gets right down to business.
The meeting with the Tremere is still on hold pending a reply, so Montero has asked that they look into a rather blatant breach of the Masquerade being perpetrated in the Prince’s domain.
Apparently, six Caitiff have newly moved into a gang infested neighbourhood and have started lording it over a group of locals, enjoying the benefits of vampirism without the consequences. The Caitiff seem to be oblivious to the rule of Lextalionis and must be eliminated if possible, and one captured for questioning. She also mentions that due to the suspicious nature of this sudden appearance of so many Caitiff, there is a chance it might all be a trap set up by Phillipe de Lyon. Caution is in order.
The Coterie, with Ariane and Zhaba in tow, make their way to the low income suburb of Gardena, deep in MS 13 territory, where the Caitiff are holed up.
After scouting the place, they discover a party in full swing. Loud music, booze, easily 50 people in and around the property, and several armed ghouls bearing MS 13 gang markers. Clearly these people are not helpless. Using Auspex and Khalid’s ingenious surveillance techniques They discover that all six vampires are within. One upstairs having sex, the others below partying.
After some discussion and planning, the coterie acts. Michael and Ariane (shrouded in shadows) guard the back of the house, Dimitri takes aim with his sniper rifle at the front door from his obfuscated position in the car, and Khalid uses his blood magic to cut the power to the entire street, instantly killing the party mood of the revelers.
The party goers seem to reach a consensus to move the festivities to an abandoned warehouse near Longbeach and begin to pile into various cars. Michael and Ariane, seeing the guards in the back leave, take the opportunity to enter the back of the house. They find two girls passed out on the furniture downstairs, and the last of the party goers filing out the front door. They sneak upstairs, where the sounds of sex continue regardless of the power outage.
Michael surprises the naked vampire by Dominating him to kneel before him, and strikes him hard across the head with his shotgun. The vampire doesn’t pass out, so Ariane produces a wooden stake and impales him through the back, causing him to fall limp on the bed. At that moment, Michael is grazed by a bullet as one of the Ghouls ambushes them from the landing. Michael returns fire with his shotgun but fails to kill him. The Ghoul is wounded on the floor and attempts to continue shooting when Ariane kills him with a shot to the chest.
The majority of the revelers revving loud car engines outside, combined with music, fail to notice the gunshots upstairs, and begin driving away. One unfortunate ghoul does attempt to aid his master upstairs but is promptly shot in the head by Dimitri for his troubles, leaving him to bleed his woes out onto the hallway floor.
Michael and Ariane grab the staked vampire just as Michael notices his Obtenebration shadows have suffocated the hapless girl in the bed. Her lifeless eyes stare up at him as he flees the scene with Ariane, etching the scene in his mind for another time.
They follow the revelers to an abandoned warehouse in Longbeach, where they anticipate the proverbial shit will hit the fan.
July 05, 2010 18:00
“The night offers sanctuary. In the darkness, the faces of strangers are harder to read, the inside of your club is a mass of shadows lit only by the soft red glow emanating from the stage. The city sprawls around you, seemingly endless. LA has a way of swallowing you up. Tonight that is a good thing.
The events in Red Rock canyon have left you with many questions, a more than a few criptic answers, and a series of events to process. The ghouled teenagers, the bound children. The bonfire in the canyon. The cars. The chaos that followed the arrival of a vampire. The rabid child vampire in the van.
It was a tough situation, but handled well given the circumstances. You have a hostage, the unconscious form of the Ghoul Andrew Farley. Apparently an avid fan of Phillipe de Lyon.
You have the results of Khalid’s investigations, and a duty to report what findings you have to Senechal Montero."
Calvin Queller is lounging in VIP luxury at one of his favourite clubs in LA. At ‘Boulevard 3’, on Sunset, they have bars in the middle of the dance floor where the barkeeper acrobat models hang suspended from the ceiling as they pour your Long Island Iced Tea. You can’t argue with that. Tonight the place is packed, and as usual, he has a slew of attractive models leaning on his every word as he plies them with alcohol and charm. Unlife is good.
Ariane, (a friend, and as far as he knows, the only other one like him in the expanse of the city) approaches his VIP booth. Seeing her, he makes his apologies and tells the models to buy themselves a drink at the bar and make themselves scarce.
Ariane informs him with some urgency that she is there to rescue him. His presence, having gone unnoticed by the city’s Camarilla for nigh on five years (apart from Ariane), has finally come to their attention, and they insist that he be presented with all due speed to those in charge or suffer the consequences, which Ariane assures him would be deadly.
In light of her friendship with him, she recommends to him that he meet some friends of hers (the coterie) and join their group, to offer him protection and acceptance in LA’s kindred society. He reluctantly agrees to her offer, and bids his VIP booth adieu.
Ariane takes Calvin from uptown Sunset Boulevard, to the seedy underbelly of LA, in Inglewood, where Michael’s strip club is located. Calvin sticks out like a sore thumb in his designer suit, but makes the best of the situation.
The coterie is in the midst of discussing the events of the previous night, when they are interrupted by Ariane and her new friend. She explains her story, and offers them a boon if they allow him to join their group. The initial meetings are mildly strained, but Calvin’s easy nature and charm soon win him some points.
They decide to set up a meeting with Seneschal Montero to not only bring him up to speed on the events at Red Rock Canyon, but also to give Calvin an opportunity to make himself known, thus avoiding further offense.
Their meeting takes place at Montero’s office, behind the front of a law firm on the 47th floor of the Figueroa at Wilshire. It is a serious affair. Formal introductions are made, and information is exchanged. Montero suggests to the coterie they make use of Calvin’s talents, having noticed during the interview that he possessed powerful levels of Auspex. He instructs them to continue their investigation into this mysterious vampire, his sire and associates, and report back as soon as they have enough information to warrant his time.
Calvin offers to show the group a good time on the town, on his dime, so they can get to know each other. He suggests that they go to a favourite club of his: Avalon. They go out and have a good time, feeding, talking and plotting.
As icing on the cake, Calvin insists that he show them his home in Malibu, and treats them to a tour of the night time city in his private helicopter which flies them around downtown, and then up the coast to his home. He then has them taken home by his driver in a limo.
The following night, they notice a figure skulking around the outside of the club, doing something to their car. They capture the man, a ghoul.
He is knocked out, and Calvin uses his Auspex on a cigarette case they find on him to reveal that he is Terence Remus, a ghoul. He was attempting to place a tracker (in the form of a cigarette case) on their car for his mistress, Arianne. It becomes clear from the reading that she is staying at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.
They imprison the ghoul in the trunk of their car. Eventually they move him to a Motel 6 and have him bound and gagged under the watchful eye of Reggie.
“The scorching desert summer has cooked the City of Angels with unrelenting heat. On the edge of this irrigated urban desert, you awaken to the dying roar of the setting sun.
Her children have endured her punishment, and as darkness falls, they swarm outside to drink in the cool air.
Shadows sit like silken shrouds in the dark recesses of the club , tendrils of the stuff seem to wisp this way and that as the lights move across its various glistening surfaces. As lithe flesh dances and contorts on stage, you brush aside those same dark webs of sleep from your minds, drinking in the music, scents and visual bouquet unfolding before you, as you piece together the events of yesternight."
Having met at the club to discuss how to proceed with the captured Ghoul, Michael, Khalid and Dimitri decide to take action. They proceed to the Motel where the Ghoul is being held, and upon arriving, debate the hapless man’s fate in front of him, causing him to succumb to terror. He gasps and sputters behind his ball-gag as Dimitri sidles over to him to offer him some “comfort” by creepily stroking his face and patting him on the head. Needless to say he only makes matters worse.
In the mean time, Khalid devises a plan. The ghoul’s master has left a number on his phone, and using that information and some sleuthing, he hacks the master’s phone to transmit all sound and camera information to his laptop. The plan works, giving them access, unfortunately the phone is inside something. Ingeniously texting the phone in question reveals the face of the ghoul’s mistress.
It is Arianne, the Herement sire of Phillipe de Lyon. She throws the phone back into her purse, and as the coterie discuss their options, apparently becomes aware of the tap and lifts the camera to her face. She tells them she wants to talk. They call her phone, realizing there is no more point in subterfuge, and arrange a meeting. She insists it is somewhere very public, and they offer to meet at a Dodger’s game in Dodger Stadium.
The coterie get ready for the meeting, steeling themselves with rituals and weapons, and devise a plan to give them an advantage against an elder vampire. They decide that Dimitri will hide on a nearby hill with a view into the stadium and offer cover fire with his sniper rifle, while Khalid and Michael proceed to the meeting.
The baseball game in full swing, the mysterious elder appears and sits down beside Khalid, looking inconspicuous. Khalid offers her a coke and a hotdog, for appearance’s sake. As the conversation unfolds, it becomes clear that she is looking for Phillipe, (whom she claims defected to the Sabbat 40 years ago). She claims to be an Archon working for Madame Guil, the Herement Justicar in Paris, and that she avoided openly announcing herself to the local Camarilla rulers because she did not wish for her search to be bogged down by a bickering Primogen Council in the Prince’s absence. She does say she would be willing to negotiate with another Archon currently in the city by the name of DiPadua, as he would understand her situation.
As they press her for more information, she confesses that she is trying to stop her childe from succeeding in his plan to release certain Sabbat allies from binding curses put in place by members of clan Tremere.
Throughout the conversation, Khalid can’t shake the feeling that she is hiding something.
Feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the information and news, they reach out to their liaison Ariane, and meet not much later at the Griffith Observatory overlooking the city.
She agrees to set up a meeting with Montero the Seneschal to discuss how to proceed.
The coterie take the intervening time to go to a local club to feed. Dimitri in the mean time performs a ritual to reach out to his mentor, who offers him some sound advice.
They proceed to meet Montero at his downtown office, and explain the situation to him. After some questions, he decides to arrange a meeting with DiPadua and the Tremere to see what is to be done about this situation.
July 02, 2010 18:00
“Los Angeles, City of Angels….
She is a difficult creature to define, A land of sex and violence, of gangs and glamour. At the same time an urban wasteland of ghettoes and a Mecca for the wealthy. Where television and other media blast brands, lies and promises to an ocean of people.
3.8 million of them. All huddled together in a vast sprawl covering 1300 square kilometers that attracts souls from every walk of life, belief, culture and ethnicity.
Many would describe LA as a young city, full of naïveté and lacking in aesthetics. An ugly grid of streets interconnected by arterial freeways that choke with cars at all hours of the day….but it is at night when LA comes into it’s own. When it’s concrete facades and superficiality are glossed over by the twinkling of millions of lights and the shadows that they cast.
Yes, LA at night can truly be said to be beautiful, in many ways a hunter’s paradise. A vast human heartbeat waiting to be snuffed out.
Now that your kind are so rare, the city is yours for the taking….
The Angel offers you it’s neck in supplication and waits."
The coterie, has spent the last five years in each other’s company. Together, they have been assigned to minor tasks by the Seneschal, gradually forming the bonds of cooperation and mutual understanding. They have had to adapt not only to one another, but also to the city’s elusive kindred and their laws, mores and demands. The Camarilla are in control, and they intend to keep things that way. The traditions, now more than ever, are enforced to the letter. The frayed edges of civility are kept in check in some small part by the actions of coteries like this one, working below the radar, to ensure the Prince’s authority is maintained.
It is then, on a sultry LA summer night, that we find them lounging at a strip club. The “Mr. Moist’s”, owned by one of their number, Michael as a front for one of his many illicit affairs. As they indulge their baser needs, feeding on the locals, enjoying the swimming sensations brought on by satiation and no small amount of laced blood, they are disturbed by the arrival of their liaison, Ariane. A neonate of some years, she has befriended them over the course of the past five years, feeling more kinship with them, than many of the stuffier Ancillae and Elders that populate the city. Since the Eradication, neonates have become somewhat of a rarity, as many of them perished in the conflict. Ariane, it seems was one of the lucky ones.
She greets the group, but doesn’t waste any time getting to the point. Montero has asked them to look into something for him.
According to his reports, a cult has taken root in the city. Scores of young kine have started gravitating to an abandoned house in Venice Beach. This news would not have been worthy of note before the Eradication, but given the nature of the former Sabbat, any news of cults is cause for concern, especially when a ghoul was reportedly sighted by one of his men.
The coterie decides to investigate immediately. Leaving Ariane behind, they drive to Venice Beach, making sure not to be followed.
It doesn’t take them long to find the house in question. A ramshackle house in a quiet side street, apparently abandoned for some time, although clearly inhabited by squatters. Low light can be seen burning in the window on the upper floor. They decide to wait and observe.
After a few hours, they see two young men approaching on the street. It becomes evident within moments that the shorter of the two is a ghoul, and looks to be guiding the taller kine to the house. They enter the building, and emerge not long after with a young woman, also a ghoul and drive off in an old brown ’70s Oldsmobile.
They follow the car for several hours north out of Los Angeles, all the way to Red Rock Canyon, a popular hiking destination. The coterie approach stealthily, driving their car behind cover, to avoid notice. They split up – some climb onto a rise above their targets to get a better view, others taking up flanking positions on the ground out of sight. They spy a large group of roughly twenty young people gathered around a large campfire in the midst of a party. Music plays from a small stereo, alcohol is flowing. The scene would not have seemed out of the ordinary were it not for the three bound and gagged kids lying propped up against the canyon wall. Clearly something odd was going on.
Using their senses, they discover that there are six ghouls amongst the dozen remaining teenagers there. They also spot several cars and a minivan parked nearby.
It is then that Dimitri decides to inspect the Oldsmobile he had been lying next to up on the ridge. He discovers two corpses, in the early stages of decomposition, in the trunk. It becomes clear that something very wrong is afoot here. Khalid hears the mewling whimpers of a weeping child coming from the minivan. In addition, Dimitri notices another lone figure approaching the campfire out of the darkness. It is a vampire. He decides to take action. Not wishing to give up the element of surprise, and having a serious hunch that the newcomer isn’t friendly, he fires his Dragunov sniper rifle and hits the newcomer in the head, blowing a large hole in it, but much to his dismay, he doesn’t go down, instead he disappears from sight.
The coterie spring into action, and Dean leaps amongst the revelers, causing some to scatter in panic and others to stand their ground. Michael joins the fray from his position. The fight is brutal and many ghouls perish under their combined merciless assault.
Khalid decides to rescue the weeping child in the minivan and rapidly regrets his decision as the little girl, not more than a seven year old in appearance, leaps on him and tries to drink from him, but misses. He has discovered a second vampire.
Khalid struggles with his kindred assailant, and throws her off into the van’s interior. He manages to wound her with sorcerous flame, and she flees into the night but runs into Michael, and they fight. He manages to subdue her, but not before being wounded by her aggravated bite.
Dean eliminates the remaining ghouls, and rounds up the fleeing kine. Khalid finds Michael and the girl and they have a disagreement about her fate. Michael drinks from her to sate his gnawing hunger. Khalid scoops up a sample of her blood for later use. They decide to behead her, ending her short unlife. The argument sparks heated tension between the two of them.
In the aftermath of the battle, Khalid approaches the spot where the vampire was shot and disappeared, and manages once again, to obtain a gritty sample of his precious vitae.
Dean returns with a lone teenager, the others having either fled or died, a 16 year old kid called Andrew Farley. They recognize him as the figure they’d seen enter the abandoned house with the ghoul earlier that night. They decide to take him with them.
They burn all the bodies on the fire, adding plenty of accelerant to keep the fires burning hot, and set fire to all the remaining cars and van.
It is then that a helicopter appears in the distant sky, and the coterie take this as their cue to leave.
Upon returning to Los Angeles, after a long drive, they place Andrew in the care of Khalid’s ghoul. The following night, they gather several clues about their adversaries from the previous night’s battle.
Andrew’s phone contains several text messages pertaining to the meeting that night with a girl called Lydia Jones. Another girl called Cynthia is also mentioned.
Khalid performs a Blood Walk ritual on the two samples of vitae he retrieved from the battle.
The girl’s vitae revealed that she was sired by a vampire called Maciej Zarnovich, a Tzimisce, and thus likely former member of the Sabbat.
The man’s revealed his name to be Phillipe de Lyon, a Herement, childe of Arianne, childe of Oliver.
They decide that they must inform the Seneschal of their findings and get further instructions before proceeding.
A brief flashback
August 02, 2008 19:00
During a flashback scene, we witness the events of a night that happened two years prior.
Dean receives a call from his friend and kindred mentor, Salvador Garcia, the leader of the largest Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13 gang in Los Angeles, asking for a favour from his protege. Dean invites Michael and Khalid go to meet him in his heavily fortified enclave in the Pico-Union area of the city.
Garcia welcomes them in with open arms, making a show of hospitality, even surrounded by several dozen armed gang members, most of them ghouled to him.
He asks them if they could use their unique skills to help him intercept a shipment of arms arriving that morning at the Port of Long Beach. A shipment belonging to his Yakuza rivals. He explains that they had wronged him in a similar fashion a while ago, and this was his way of settling a score.
The coterie agree to the plan and make their way to the port, where the containers are being unloaded in the early morning hours onto trucks bound for destinations inland.
They arrive at the to see the marked container being unloaded from the cargo vessel, while several men with concealed weapons
delegate and guide it onto an unassuming looking truck. They also spot several Yakuza guards taking up perimeter positions, clearly expecting trouble.
The coterie make their move, managing to eliminate several human Yakuza with efficient gunfire. The remaining men are led by fanatical ghoul to redouble their efforts, and manage a counter offensive. Realizing, however that they are outmatched, they begin to retreat. Michael manages to corner one of them and fells him with relative ease. Unfortunately for him, the man decides to release a fragmentation grenade at Michael’s feet. The explosion incapacitates Michael, but kills the hapless Yakuza.
They manage to defeat the Yakuza and kill the ghoul, and Khalid manages to obtain a sample of his blood.
They secure the shipment and return it to Garcia, who offers a boon as payment to the coterie.
Once back at the club, Khalid performs a Blood Walk ritual on the ghoul’s blood, a long shot, as it’s only meant to work on kindred vitae. Fortune smiles upon him though, as he manages to glean the ghoul’s name and that of his dormitor.
The troubled past.
January 01, 2005 00:00
Since the Eradication, the world of the kindred has been thrown into chaos. As much as the Camarilla would like to claim that the plan went off without a hitch, it clearly didn’t.
Los Angeles, formerly an Anarch stronghold, succumbed quite rapidly to the Camarilla takeover. Without centralized leadership or any real form of coordination, the Anarchs stood little chance against a carefully planned Camarilla assault. This is not to say that the aggressors didn’t suffer any losses, but in the end, cooler heads prevailed.
Of the Anarch factions active in LA at the time of the Eradication, there were those that fought, and there were those that realized that to survive, they must throw in their lot with the Camarilla, or perish. Of the latter, two Anarch elders emerged to take their seat at the table with the newly appointed Amari Prince Talbot: Jeremy MacNeil, and Christoper Houghton. Talbot offered them a seat at the table under Camarilla rule, his rule. They accepted, agreeing to keep their people in check.
Since then, the city’s kindred have aligned themselves to one of the three factions in the city. Talbot’s powerful Camarilla newcomers, MacNeil’s former Anarchs or Houghton’s Traditionalists.
In a move that cemented his power in LA, Prince Talbot created a council of Primogen from the elders of all three factions, ensuring that his advisors would represent the span of all corners of his domain, and create a balance of power.
This is how the city now stands. But a quarter of the world’s vampires now remain. Wading through the ashes of their self-wrought war, picking over the spoils. Since then the kindred of LA have been cleaning up and attempting to return to a sense of order.
When the PCs were presented to the Primogen Council, it became clear to them that they had a use. As outsiders and strays, they would be an ideal team for the tasks that needed doing off the books. The tasks that would otherwise draw attention to them and the Prince.
Instructing them to answer directly to Christos Montero, the Seneschal, they would be given ‘missions’ as needed. Montero being too busy with his nightly affairs, has assigned Ariane, a neonate, to act as a liaison between himself and the coterie.