Chapter 1: Ante Bellum
Session 3: The High Cost Of Living
This session begins with four of the five characters at the Elysium on the evening of 8/10, with 13 days to the next murder. Wil is the last to arrive, and information about the riots breaks through on the radio. They wait for a number of hours for the call from the Sheriff, which comes with considerable noise in the background. The Sheriff advises the group that his attention is consumed by the rioting, and that Barlow is similarly indisposed.
The group chose to move forward with narrowing down the list of suspects, even without the help of the Detective. The coterie began scrolling through the profiles and performing searches of public records. They spent the following 3 nights scouring the internet for any information about the profiles (10 days to the next murder.) After compiling the available information and sifting through the multitude of pages Avi made significant progress in picking out the 5 most likely profiles. 1 Administrator and 4 IT Analysts.
The group researched and found it highly unlikely that any of the 5 were Kindred. Nikolai suggested that instead of a vampire, it could be a retainer or thrall. Charlie then spoke up, suggesting that it could in fact be a ghoul. The coterie spoke for some time on what ghouls are and the limited information that Charlie had about them. Wil called the Sheriff and requested his presence… the Sheriff showed in person late that night and provided more information about ghouls and how the blood effects them.
The coterie was able to eliminated the two that hadn’t worked there since the time that the murders began. The remaining three lived in CWE, Ladue and Holly Hills. (9 days remaining.) The crew decided to go the same evening and try to find the suspect. They ventured to the CWE and attempted to break into the home of the employee there. Avi parked the car in an area better lit than was wise. The other three snuck to the rear of the house… Charlie making quick quiet work of it, Wil more slowly and Nikolai stepping on every leaf and branch along the way. As Charlie turned the corner Nikolai whispered “slow down!” loudly.
Charlie attempted to pick the lock, and after several attempts managed to trip the silent alarm. NIkolai noticed the bright green light on the keypad across the kitchen turn red and the group dispersed. Charlie and Nikolai sprinted towards the waiting car while Wil moved two yards down and watched. Lights started in the bedroom and eventually went on throughout the house. Two figures appeared and looked about the house, turned off the alarm and were on the phone. The lights remained, and Wil fled the scene, meeting the other coterie members blocks away.
The group decided, despite the late hour, that they would attempt the next closest home, which was located in Ladue. They sped to the home of Howard Weiler. Wil lifted Charlie to slip in the kitchen window, from there she went to the basement and flipped off the breaker. She opened the door and let Nikolai and Wil into the home. Nikolai and Charlie snuck through the house and Nik went into Howard’s bedroom. Charlie argued with Nik and Howard stirred… Nikolai stayed still beside his bed for ten minutes until he hadn’t stirred for a long minute.
Nikolai bit into Howard and used his Path of Blood to read it. He was able to sense it was different, that it was more than human. The blood tasted faint, stale, but certainly as Kindred. Once he had confirmation that the blood was inhuman, he gave the sleep command to the terrified Howard and the coterie fled back to Elysium with him.
They tied him up, locked him in the storage closet, and called the Sheriff to request someone look after their bodies while they crashed in Elysium. When they awoke, it was to Jane sitting in the desk chair with a suppressed 12 gauge shotgun (7 days to the next murder.) She broke the shotgun down, put the pieces into a duffel bag, and departed once they all stirred. The group then proceeded to start interrogating the suspect. Through exceptional success in Dominate Nikolai was able to pry Howard’s story from him. Howard has terminal cancer, kept in check by the pact he made with his master. In exchange for the name of a recently born infant he drinks the blood of the large, red-eyed demon and his disease is kept in check. He has provided these names every month for the last 28 lunar cycles, always a day prior to the new moon.
Nikolai and Avi returned to his house and investigated for anything out of the ordinary. Avi looked at Howard’s book collection and found nothing unexpected from an IT administrator with terminal cancer. After coming up short in the house Avi decided to bring Howard’s cat to the Elysium, and upon arrival released it into the office. The interrogation continued late into the evening and the Sheriff arrived to discuss the details of what had been discovered. Wil asked the Sheriff for resources to pick through the debris that is Howard’s memories of his master, and the Sheriff agreed to seek out someone capable. Upon his departure the coterie asked for someone to look after the Elysium, and once more Jane arrived just as Avi, the last one conscious, was falling asleep.
After a brief exchange upon arising from their slumber, Jane once again departed from Elysium. The group gleaned that the phone was in the rafters of Howard’s basement and that it would ring in 5 nights with instructions to meet his master for the exchange. As the group awaited further instructions and contact from Barlow they set about catching up on their own lives, with only Wil staying in the Elysium to keep an eye on the captive.