Ascending Hampton Roads

Meetings
A Cry for Help

Day: 1
Time: Late night
Location: Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA

The young mages have been drawn to the park by a mental cry for help. Upon arriving they found the body of a young lady on the ground, a large amount of blood darkening the earth beneath her. On closer observation, it was revealed that her throat had been ripped out, violently.

Kneeling over her is a man, his hand and clothing stained with blood. Whether he was the one who attacked her or not was unclear. As the mages approached the man and the body, he turned, a gun appearing in his hand as if by magic. As he looked over the strangers the tension dropped from his body and he lowered the weapon, sliding it into a holster at the small of his back. He then looked back down at the body.
“I tried to save her, but I was too late. I managed to scare it away though. I think I hit it. We should leave before the others how up to clean up this mess.’

Without any further words he started walking towards the group, his hand empty at his side and head tilted down. In the distance the sound of sirens could be heard. Whether the sirens were for the group and the park, or something unrelated was unclear. However, there was a quickly cooling body of a young girl on the ground and something savage had clearly attacked her.

After some quick questioning the man introduced himself as Chase Cooke and gave them a quick overview of what happened. He arrived to find the girl being attacked. She was prone on the ground, the attacker straddling her stomach , his face pressed against the side of her neck. He pulled his gun, yelled and fired two rounds at the attacker. The attacker brought a hand across the woman’s neck, tearing out her throat as he leapt to his feet and fled. Chase ran to the woman and tried to save her, but she bled out quickly. At this point Chase pressed the issue that they all needed to get out of there before more of ‘them’ arrive. He promised them answers if they would follow him.

With that he started walking to the nearby parking lot where there was a car left running. The party split up, some of them riding with Chase, others in the truck with Mike. A short, uneventful drive later they arrived at a large two-story red brick building in Virginia Beach. There was a for sale sign visible out front and the condition of the landscaping indicated it wasn’t actively inhabited. After parking, Chase lead them inside through a back door, revealing a rather extensive security system including cameras and RFID scanners. Definitely not what was expected from something that appeared to be abandoned and for sale.

The inside of the place seemed to live down to the expectations better though. There were obvious holes in the dry wall, exposed rebar and studs as well as numerous signs that it was in some stage of construction, deconstruction or rebuilding. Which was accurate was anyone’s guess. As he motioned around him he turned to the group with a sad smile.
‘Welcome to the Librium Arcana Chantry. Or what’s left of it.’

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Meetings
The Secret World

After coming to the Chantry the group is treated to a brief introduction to another inhabitant, James ‘Phyber’ Poe. A quiet, serious person with a holographic display setup, Phyber would prove instrumental in tracking down the identity of the dead girl. The girl was revealed to be a student at the nearby medical school who had had the poor luck to be walking through the park on the wrong night. The mental call for help revealed her to be at least partially awakened.

Chase lead the group into the kitchen for some coffee and a few things slightly stronger and sat them down for some answers. The big one on everyone’s mind was what exactly had killed the girl. The answer, much to their confusion, was simple, yet incredibly hard to believe. Vampires. Chase calmly explained to them the basics of Kindred society. He explained the basic concepts of the two major warring factions and the various clans that made up those factions.

While hard to believe and difficult to swallow on its face, the fact that they were capable of manipulating the world around them through magic and force of will was evidence in itself that the things they thought to be fake may have basis in reality after all. The news was slightly more difficult to swallow for some than others. Mike resorted to dulling his senses with a bottle of booze before retiring to sleep it off in his truck parked outside. The others settled in for a long night of processing what they had learned.

Of importance was the fact that the vampires kept their existence secret and took great pains to protect what was known as the Masquerade. The vampire who killed the girl had broken the tradition and would be punished for it. Most likely very harshly. But the Kindred survived by being thorough and it would be doubtful they would leave witnesses. This meant that the group was potentially in danger from the vampires and they may need to take steps to keep themselves safe.

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Meetings
Tracking Prey

The next morning after their long night of learning the truth about the darker, weirder reality around them, the group joined Chase and Phyber in some investigative research through the copious usage of magic.

Chase’s clothes had been covered in the poor girl’s blood the night before. Using it as a focal point for sympathetic magic, the group identified a few areas where there were large amounts of her blood. One was, of course, Chase’s clothes. Another the park. The remaining two were the city morgue where the body had probably been taken, and a small warehouse in the area. Putting their minds together they came up with a plan to find this vampire. What they planned to do with it afterwards was still up in the air. Part of the group was vocal in their desire to kill the thing outright and let the chips fall where they may. The other half supported a more cautionary idea of possibly using the vampire as a bargaining chip with whoever inside the Kindred society may be hunting them. They put forward the idea that by tracking down the vampire and turning it over to the others they may be able to bargain for their safety in return. After much arguing over which was the right way, the group decided to push forward and take the vampire while he was sleeping during the day and most likely less dangerous to them.

After observing the warehouse from a distance they figured out a plan of attack. Pinky, using some forward thinking mentally assessed the inhabitants inside. He found mostly dogs in various mental states of pain, fear, hunger and exhaustion, along with two that were rather different than the other dogs. And most importantly, he touched the edges of the mind of the vampire, dead for the day. Coming up with a plan, the group obtained some hot dogs from a nearby store and with a touch of Life magic and some medical knowledge managed to alter the meat to knock out whoever ate it. Teleporting the hot dogs inside to the guard dogs and those confined to cages proved to be a smart move as within minutes the two guard dogs were out cold along with many of the normal ones.

Removing the door lock, the group gained entrance. Inside the found an entire wall of the warehouse was gated off and filled with crates full of dogs in various states of health. The wounds on some of the dogs indicated that they were being used in a dog fighting ring. Disgusted, the mages once more gave serious consideration to simply killing the vampire where he slept and being done with it. Cooler heads prevailed though, when they found the vampire. Making sure to take the important things like his wallet and cellphone they crated the vampire up and shoved him in a truck. A quick glance in the wallet revealed the vampire’s name as DeMarcus Johnson

Riding the high of their successful kidnapping, they came up with a plan to hide the vampire to ensure they could bargain without putting all their chips on the table at once. Mike, a jack of all trades, started welding a metal box around the body. Once completed they took it to a remote area and with the aid of magic, successfully buried it underground.

As night began to fall, they went back to Chase to see if he had made progress making contact with someone in the Kindred ranks that could bargain with them. He informed them that the meet was set up and gave them the address.

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Meetings
Wheeling and Dealing

The group arrived at the address, revealed to be the Westin condominiums. The front doors unlocked as they approached. Behind a security desk at the far end of the entry was a thin, older gentlemen with thinning hair. He stood and motioned towards the elevator bank. He swiped a card over the scanner and the elevator opened. He reached in, swiped the card again and pressed the button for the penthouse floor. The group entered and the man stepped away, allowing the doors to shut and the elevator to take them up.

The elevator arrived a moment later at the penthouse floor, opening into a large room where they were met by a pair of armed bodyguards in suits. The bodyguards escorted them into the next room where there was a long conference table. A moment later another man walked in, dressed in a suit that cost more than the group’s combined annual income, and took a seat at the head of the table. He motioned the others to likewise sit. He introduced himself as Mr. Sovereign. The group are lead to believe that he is in fact the Prince of the city.

The conversation was a strange one to be sure, as the group learned that while they were rather unfamiliar with the vampires, the same could not be said for the reverse of the situation. The group attempted to dodge around his direct questions and bargains, which drew no end of amusement from the vampire. He seemed to take a sadistic measure of glee in verbally batting them around as cat toys. They offered him their vampire captive in exchange for the vampires calling off their dogs.
‘And where is this hostage of yours? Is he here? I don’t see him. Is this one of those games that you will workers play? I do so love games…’

The conversation ended with a promise from the group to deliver the captive vampire to Mr. Sovereign, though they receive no guarantees to their safety afterwards. Taking what they can get, they opt to see that discretion is the better part of valor and make a hasty retreat from the vampire’s lair. After a brief discussion, they decide to go through with the plan and go to retrieve the buried vampire and deliver him at promised.

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Meetings
What do you want? Information.

The mages return to where they buried the vampire earlier and reverse the process. Unfamiliar with the full extent of their powers they manage to raise the box a little too well and end up launching it skyward a ways before it crashed back to the ground, knocking the prisoner around and royally pissing him off. Angry shouts could be heard along with the metal vibrating as he beat on the interior. It was feared that if they didn’t act quickly he may even break out.

Loading him into a truck they headed for the address that Sovereign had provided them. They arrived at another warehouse on an out of the way back street. When they pulled up there was a black town car parked in front and the pair of guards from earlier were outside in waiting. After the box was unloaded in the warehouse the mages let out the vampire. It looked around at its surroundings and immediately tried to attack the group. As it sprung to its feet and charged a shotgun roared as one of the bodyguards fired. The vampire’s leg below the knee disappeared in a bloody spray as it fell back to the ground, screaming in agony as it clutched at the stump. The mages, stunned, looked at Sovereign and his body guards.
‘Come now, Will Workers. We require answers to who his sire is and why he decided to break the masquerade. So ask your questions and fulfill the bargain.’

Seeing no way out, the players began interrogating the injured vampire. His answers were mostly vitriolic and punctuated with profanity and racial epithets. Mike used some persuasion enhancement by way of a piece of rebar to get some real answers. Most of what they were told proved to be useless as the young vampire really knew very little of what was going on.

The group then turned over the vampire to Sovereign as he altered the bargain to have them find out who was protecting the young vampire and running the dog fighting ring. Their interrogation had revealed that the vampire was suppose to deliver some dogs to the ring that night, but didn’t have the address and was waiting for the phone call. They decided the next course of action was to wait for the call and trace it to wherever the person on the other end was.

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