What I Am | Vampire: The Masquerade – L.A. By Night | Chapter 5

Hello and good evening. Welcome to our Vampire, the Masquerade Chronicle, LA By Night. Chapter five, What I Am. Let’s meet our vampires, including one we’re very happy to welcome back. Hi, everyone. My name is Alexander Ward, and I play Jasper, and I’m very happy to be back. Hello, I’m Erika Ishi, and I play Annabelle. Hi, I’m Bex Taylor-Klaus, and I play Ramona, and I am so excited to get started. (cheering) B. Dave Walters, the brand new Baron of the Valley. Uh-huh.
(laughing) What could possibly go wrong? You see, you leave, and this is what happens. It’s fine, it’s fine. And, at a dramatically appropriate moment, we will be joined by our friend, special guest vampire, Taliesin Jaffe. (loud exhaling)
(ghost moaning) Vampire daddy. Vampire daddy.
(laughing) Before we start our story, I’d like to thank a few special people. I’d like to thank the master craftspeople at Elderwood Academy for this beautiful spell book style dice tome. For those of you who have been waiting patiently for yours, they are shipping now. We’d also like to thank the master craftspeople at Dog Might, who’ve given us these fantastic dice boxes with the clan crests, and this fantastic storyteller’s screen, which is absolutely beautiful. I love it, thank you. Let’s recap where we left off. For weeks, our coterie has been harassed by the Blaine gang. Last week, with vicious thugs reporting to Bobby Blaine, whoever he may be, hit Victors Club, in Hollywood, with the help of X, Clan Malkavian. The coterie fended off their attackers, not just fended off, kicked them to the curb, even took one prisoner and made him turn. Nick turned on Blaine and revealed that the enemy is consorting with hunters, mortal hunters armed with powerful, strange weaponry, whom we suspect may be members of the dreaded Second Inquisition. Victor made a deal with Isaac Abrams, the Baron of Hollywood, to gain control of the Valley. He claims the Barony, but the question is, can he hold it? And now, let’s tell a vampire story. (dramatic music) Let’s take a moment to remember that all of this started with Annabelle. Just a few weeks ago, she was alive. She was breathing, loving, laughing, and living in the bright sunlight. She was happy, and now she’s not, because she’s dead. (chuckling)
So are all of you. Griffith College at night is where we start our scene. The architecture, if you recall, is a little unusual, a mishmash of the old film studio where it began, and new construction, and the result is a little strange, because it makes you feel like you’re going back and forth in time occasionally, to see the old juxtaposed with the new. Asphalt lanes weave around manicured grass. The central quad isn’t grass, however, it’s a smooth, wide expanse of concrete, punctuated here and there by palm trees and the occasional street musician. You awaken to this evening to find Griffith College, your domain, in the news, the mortal news. Rocked by scandal when anonymous hackers expose documents that suggest that members of the college board have been accepting huge sums of cash from highly questionable sources. Student activists promise a protest and further expose. And now, tonight, several nights after the incidents at Club Maharajah, in a room hidden from prying eyes on the college campus, on the upper floor of one of the school’s newer buildings, the Temple School of Music, the coterie meets tonight. Only three members of the coterie are present, but there is a guest, a large owl. Dark of feather, bright of eye, huge, abnormally large, perched on the back of a chair as though it belongs there. You spoke bird last time, you wanna give it a shot? I spoke bird?
Don’t look at me. Oh. Right! Oh man! God. Hello.
(bird cooing) Sorry. I’m gone for a little while, and you guys get birds. Yeah, where were you? I was worried about you, man. I’ve been texting you the–
I know. Do you speak English? (bird cooing) Dudes came to kill us, and you were nowhere to be found. I had business, I sent X. Yeah, we need to discuss that after we figure out whatever this is. Yes, that is right. I thought he would be very helpful. He’s fine. I mean, I wouldn’t describe it as helpful, but, bird, is this, okay, it’s been a long week, bird. Is this a gangrel thing, because the last time I ran into birds, they kind of, people showed up to murder us right afterwards, so are you a friendly bird, not friendly bird? I’m just gonna put it out there, usually owls aren’t that big. Just saying. Is this a vampire thing? I thought only bats. Oh no, that’s not true.
Okay. Yeah.
Great, I’m gonna mark that one off the list. Wait, is this Ramona? She would think this is funny. Are there rats in here? Hang on. Do you actually check the room? Yes.
Okay. Great.
Are there rats here? Now that you mention it, scurrying along the floorboards at the very edge of the far side of the room, there are two large rodents that should not be here. Who is, who is Ramona? Oh, Ramona is this really cool gangrene? Gangrel.
Gangrene is a disease. Gangrel.
Oh. Remember at the warehouse, the red eyes? Yeah, the red eyes.
Yeah yeah. She came back later, she’s cool. She’s cool. You think this is Ramona?
Oh good, she’s cool. Ramona knows the week we’ve had, so I’m about to shoot the owl, so if you would come out, please do now, because it’s been that sort of a week. Do we have any security here? She gets into places she shouldn’t be. Where there was a large nocturnal bird of prey, its talons ruining the leather of your chair, there is, moments later, Ramona. Hey Victor.
That’s clever. Can I do that? Probably not.
I don’t think so. Oh, okay.
Sorry. Some of me can.
Yes, right. What parts of you?
Not me, specifically, some of me, us, can. Oh.
Not me. I don’t particularly like animals. Ramona, Jasper. Jasper, Ramona. You guys might have met at that factory, or you might have seen him. Tumbled through the glass?
I did and did not see you. On his face.
Yeah. You look a little bit different with clean face. I’m not full of holes anymore. Eh, it sounds like a bad time. As soon as Ramona has transformed into her vampire self, the rats grow bolder. They scurry from the edge of the room, circle around your chair. One of them crawls up into your lap. I pet it.
It likes that. I’m gonna scratch him behind his ear. Could we avoid having the whole plague of Egypt thing on the college campus?
I mean, we could, but no. By the way, where’s Nick? He said he was gonna check some things out for us. Do you know him? I didn’t want to assume that you all know each other. I know him. Yeah, Nick kinda showed me where to find him. That’s exactly why I wanna talk to him. He showed you where the–
Yeah. A lot closer to us than I woulda thought. I think I’ll make a note. Huh, alright. Hey, man, I respect your boundaries, but, Ramona, you also said you were gonna do some checkin’ for us over in the Valley, to see if you could find anything with Billy. That same guy, that same guy that hit us at the Highland. I was a little indisposed. Yeah, yeah, again, where did you? Nevermind, some dudes tried to hit us the Highland, some dudes tried to hit us at the club– I’ve updated him.
Oh, you know? I gathered.
Have you ever thought, maybe they keep trying to hit you ’cause you’re not as cool as you think you are? (chuckling) They keep missing, though, so I don’t know, yeah. Who knows, sorry. I assume you all heard the news? Which part of it? I mean, do we know who this is about? Who is in trouble, who they’re protesting? As far as I understand it, the board has been accepting large amounts of money from some of our local very, very bad dudes, and so far nothing has happened. It’s not like they’re influencing programs, or doing anything except accepting money, so I’m not sure what’s going on, but it’s dirty. I know Nellie wanted to go make some phone calls, but, I mean, they take my money, so I assumed that, I don’t know. Right. Hey, Ramona, excited to see you, but, uh, what brings you here? I was gonna ask you guys the same question. I mean, we kinda control this place. It was kinda our thing is all of this. I use control loosely. We did, but now we have a Valley to take care of. Yeah.
Yeah. What?
Yeah. I entered into some aggressive negotiations with Abrams– You don’t say.
Yeah, he understood, that he didn’t want the Valley, anyway. You knew he didn’t want the Valley. Yeah, who does?
And you do? Of course! There’s nothing wrong with the Valley. I mean, there’s some fires we gotta fight over there, but we’re gonna take care of it. It’s gonna be fine, man. But that actually brings me to a point, you helped us out before, and you’re still helping us out with this Blaine thing. I saw how happy you were at the club, and the parting and everything– Look, I got to DJ, I was happy. Maybe you could keep an eye on this place for us? I mean, you don’t have to be the guardian of it. If you wanna take off, you take off, just let us know you’re gonna take off, but we need somebody on the ground, that can blend in with the kids. You got this beautiful young face. It’s nice, I like this face, yeah. How many kids do you have again? (Victor stuttering)
(loud cackling) Two that we know of.
Two? We don’t talk about that. Yeah, yeah, there’s two– ‘Cause I totally believe you when you tell me things. I didn’t tell ’em I didn’t have kids. He has two now? Yeah, Jasper didn’t know. I’m just as surprised as you are. Maybe even a little more so. There’s some weird correlation between people finding out them existing, and then them nearly getting murdered immediately, so, yeah, that’s why I don’t go diggin’ in your past. I don’t know how many kids you, or brothers, sisters, whatever, that’s not the point. I would love for you to dig. You seem like a solid enough person to know if you wanted to lay low somewhere, you can lay low here. Keep an eye on it for us. Not the rats, though. The rats can’t be out. We have to work out a rat place, but otherwise, you’d have the run of it. Food, parties, boys, girls, whatever you want, it’s all here to have a good time. You see, the Rat Pack, they’re non-negotiable. Are they called the Rat Pack? They are called the Rat Pack. The X did name of them Sammy. Thank you.
That is true. It’s kinda derivative, though. It’s a reference, it’s an homage. If you don’t like the way I name things, then you don’t need my help.
Look, I’m just gonna put this out there. I’m not moving. I live in Hollywood. Yeah.
I’m not moving. You don’t have to move, a lot of people commute in this city. Yeah, sure.
Can’t you fly? Fly? Can you fly?
No. You remember when I said I don’t do what she does? Oh, you said parts of you do? Parts of my clan do.
(laughing) Okay.
Other Nosferatu, to use the proper parlance. You don’t have to move, but this honestly puts us in a position to be able to make things better. Or make things worse, or die. Yeah, that’s a chance.
We’re already dead. We were pretty inconspicuous when we just had to deal with the college. Yeah, but that’s a chance that I’m willing to take. Oh good, I’m glad you are. I’ll protect you, Jasper, it’ll be fine. It’ll be fine.
(groaning) But yeah, that leaves the college open if we can’t really look after it all the time, and there are people we care about here, and I feel like you’d do a pretty good job of taking care of them, maybe. Sure, why not? I only just met you, but sure. Sure, go ahead then. She came through for us when she didn’t have to. She gave us some–
I mean, fine, yeah, I have no, I mean, yeah.
Right. And you don’t have to move, although when do I get to see your place? You don’t. She didn’t see it, she just saw the door. I hope maybe you’d invite me in the next time. You know, that’s not a thing? We can go places without being invited in. Are you serious?
You watch a lot of TV, that’s not a thing, yeah. It’s breaking and entering, it could be illegal. If we were going by the TV thing, I’m dead, so it wouldn’t matter anyways. Yes, it’s true.
Hey, did you get to look into that Bobby Blaine thing for us at all, ’cause you said you were gonna scout? I did, but I didn’t find much. I also didn’t give it too much of my attention. I’ve been dealing with my own stuff. So now who’s not as good as they thought they were? Oh, I’m better than you think I am. Maybe you could come back with some useful information now, ’cause you had one solid. You’re coming off a win, you’re coming off a win, Aren’t you the one asking for my help? I’m the one offering you something in exchange, yeah. See, that’s how my kind does things. But you’re still asking for my help, so insulting me while asking for my help is a very interesting negotiation tactic. To my credit, you insulted me first. I know, because I’m an asshole. So is that, we’re meeting on an equivalent negotiation strategy then? As long as we understand each other, what’s happening here. We’re good, we’re good.
Okay, Baron. It’s got a nice ring to it, you know? You know it does.
Annabelle, tell me your thoughts on all this. It seems like, we want the college looked after by someone we trust, and I, he’s right, we just got to know you, but I trust you. And you want a place that’s, you have free reign of, and you can come and go as you please, it’s great shelter. As I said, it is a pretty good, and from being here as a human, it’s a pretty good party time, so, I mean, it seems a fair trade. You went here? Yeah. I did.
You miss it? Yeah. Yeah, I really miss it. I, (gasps) it’s so stupid when you, when you’re a student, you went to uni? It’s like, those term papers, they feel like they’re the end of the world if you don’t get them in time. You spend all your time thinking about it, and then you don’t have to worry about it anymore, and you miss it. I always thought that that would happen for graduation. You get over missing it. How long has it been since you left? It’s been a while. I went to college, though. What, in 1776? I’ve only been a vampire for five years, calm down. You’re older than all of us, I think. Well, you’re not as old as me, but that’s fine. But again, it works, though. It’s a good look for you. It’ll get better. So what do you want me to look after? Students, just make sure that, I mean. We do have something important, Sour Sugar, that band you like, that band you like, they have something to do with Bobby. There was a band–
Band I like? Yeah, with the mix-ups–
They did the mash-ups. Oh, that band that I absolutely don’t like. That band, so that’s– Not at all how I remember it. It turns out that they’re mixed up with something. We killed–
I knew it. I knew there was something wrong. I mean, it’s, their music is different than your taste. No, I have good gut instincts on things like this, and I was right. My son, that I would prefer we never spoke of ever again, Which one?
Was drafted into Blaine’s service by those guys. I have a little bit of a download on them. The reason, (dramatic sighing) I went to a meeting on campus that is connected with the leak, the hack, the corruption scandal and this group that is very active in politics, they were there. Sour Sugar was at this meeting. So you know them?
Yeah. I know this isn’t, nevermind, I’m mistaken, continue. I went and got Jasper, ’cause he’s way better at being sneaky sneaky, and so we tailed them, and we went to one of their quad concerts, and all the kids there were taking some drug. Here, I have one. What she produces in her hand is a small white twist of paper. Looks like, they call it drops, but it looks like, it looks like blood. Inside the paper is a single large pill. It’s about the size of a large aspirin, maybe Tylenol, and it’s crimson. It’s deep red. It’s exactly the color you would expect blood to be if it were pressed into that shape. I take a picture of the pill, and I text it to Eva, and say, does this mean anything to you? Eva? The Tremere. Let me make a note. There’s something definitely up with them, and it’s not normal. Maybe it’s just drugs on campus and everything, but they’re mixed up with Blaine and your boy, they’re mixed up with weird blood pills on campus. Why are they out there every night? All night? A band? In the quad. That’s not normal. As far as you know, does Mark know these guys? That’s a yes. You receive a return text. Two things, I don’t know, try it, find out, tell me. Two, don’t text me again. What did?
Nothing. Okay. We don’t know what this is. It’s probably blood, and they’re probably using it to control people. Do we need this pill? (sighs) I wouldn’t take it or anything yet, in case we need to show it to someone else. And it wouldn’t affect us the same way anyway. True. I mean, there’s one person, if she wasn’t terribly busy. Seems like she could know something about it. She’s off dealing with the leak. We didn’t know that you knew something about that. It’s in the news. We didn’t know that she knew something. It’s Mark’s group. Wait wait wait wait wait wait, like Mark is a part of the group, or it’s Mark’s group? It’s Mark’s and my group. Why are your children involved in everything? There’s a lot going on here. Mark? Mark? I don’t know Mark, just saying. Apparently, I don’t know Mark either. There’s a–
She’s dating my son. Was dating my son. I take the pill, and I put it in a pocket. Inside your attractive cowl. So we need to figure out what’s up with these Sour Sugar guys, because we don’t need that to be an exposed weak point for when we go into the Valley. So am I getting this straight that two of your progeny are involved with Blaine? One was involved with Blaine, he’s taken care of, another one is Blaine adjacent, and is hopefully going to be safe also. So you do need my help?
Yeah. Apparently, we do. I mean, if you can help?
I can always help. Then consider me asking nicely, Ramona, please. We would like your assistance, because you can do things that we can’t do. I like it when you say that word. It’s a very nice word.
Say it again. Please. And thank you. Well played. Getting a little politeness in, I like it. I have a few requests. What do you want, what do you need? I would like schematics of the school. I would like schematics of the school, I would like–
That’s easy, yeah. Access to feeding for both myself and the Rat Pack. Gotta keep the rats underground. And I’m not just saying that from cleanliness. If it gets out there’s a rat infestation, someone will spread poison and kill them all. Just keep them in the tunnels. That’s why I wanted the schematics. There’s steam?
Yes. Thank you. Perfect.
Awesome. Trust me, there is lot of tunnels here. A lot of tunnels. Then I would like maps of the tunnels, just so that I can (snapping) get on. If you want this to be quick, it’ll go quicker if I have schematics in place. No problem. Let’s see. The underground for the rats, that’s good. Feeding for me?
What do you like? We all have our thing. I don’t.
You do, though. You got a tell. You do, though.
(chuckling) They just gotta be okay with it. That’s my type.
That’s your type. That’s your thing.
Yeah. I have several types, but I think my very favorite is the scum of the earth. They taste good. You know, I gotta tell ya, except maybe these Sour Sugar dudes, there’s pretty good kids here, they are, but if you find some person that’s got it coming, then, sure, have at it. There’s bad things that happen at every college. Ooh, alright, cool. List of people to protect. List of people to watch out for. (Victor chuckling)
Why is he laughing? He doesn’t trust writing things down or other people mostly. Would you trust me more if I were not a person, if I were an animal, ’cause I could be an animal again. No, you’re messing up my chairs, though. No, you know as well as I do that there’s power in not having all of your business everywhere. Unfortunately, people already know way more about me than I’d like– Look, the list doesn’t have to be printed. I just need the list in my head. Fine, you know, hey, you know what, you give her the list of your soft targets. That’ll pretty much cover mine. It’s fine.
Okay, yeah. When a giant owl is hanging outside your woman’s bedroom door, nobody’s gonna notice. That’s fine, cool.
Weirder things. Especially in LA.
Yeah. Do keep your ear to the ground about that Blaine thing. We can’t just go in their face first and get lit up by sunshine-powered claymores, or whatever the fuck those people have now. Yeah, okay, that’s incentive to talk to them. Great. Is there anything else you need? Regular visits. I live nearby. Yeah, we’re still gonna be in and out of here until we get set up in the Valley. And the deal still stands. The warehouse in the Valley, that’s still your land. You did your part, so come and go as you see fit. Just need you to have an eye on this place for us, that’s it. A deal’s a deal. I respect that. Can I throw parties?
100%. I felt it was implied. More than just rats, though. Like some people at the parties, too, also? Some people.
(loud laughing) Some two-legged people. Alright, I will give you that. That was pretty funny. I’ll give you, yeah, he has kinda a sense of humor. It’s true.
We call it dad jokes. We do not call it that.
We do. It’s been a long time since I had a dad. (gasping) Today is your lucky day.
(laughing) I hated my dad.
You know what, we’re burning moonlight here. Why don’t we look into these Sour Sugar people? You know where they might be? Are they performing now?
Yeah. They tend to go pretty late, or we could wait and get them where they live. We know where that is.
Right, we do. We did some reconnaissance. If we go after them while they’re playing, it’s in front of a crowd. But maybe we can get some insight into who’s watching them?
Yeah. Fans are fans for a reason. Yeah.
Yeah. I’m also thinking more maybe some of our kind might be around. Who’s to say they’re not fans? This guy loves them, so if he likes their music, anyone can, really.
Victor? How’s your carpet? Did you tell him about the carpet? (laughing) The carpet, this is why we can’t have nice things. This is why it pays to not have nice things. It’s why you can’t have nice things. Dude, it’s–
Ooh! I have not verbally agreed yet. I still have one more thing. I get to do whatever I want to this chair. That chair?
My chair. Done, yeah, you can have that chair to defile in whatever way you see fit. Awesome. Does that mean we have an accord? (slapping palms) Strong grip, ow, man. Ramona, you’re satisfied? You accept the terms of the bargain? I do. What do you wanna do that chair? (laughing) I haven’t decided yet. Fair enough.
It’s part of a set. Oh, I’ll acquire the set. How do you wanna make your exit? Before you leave, and after, I assume we’re gonna all leave together? Yeah, we’re all still there, yeah yeah. I will meet you all there, and I disappear. You wanna vanish?
But only with Cloak of Shadows.
Ah! Yes? I don’t actually go anywhere. You remain seated.
Wait wait wait, before you go, wait wait wait!
Yes? You still here?
I’m still here. Come back for a second.
I’m back. I do slowly approach you like I want a hug. I really was worried about you, man. That’s great, please don’t touch me. No?
No. Alright, if it’s a no.
Please don’t touch me. This requires work, and touch ruins it. I just want you to know I was concerned. Thanks.
Also, don’t all Nosferatu really know each other? Wait, no, we’ll come back to that. I didn’t want to assume.
Roll for racism. He’s saying he’s the guy.
No, we don’t. Alright.
Let’s go. Let’s move. He did know that one, though. Annabelle, you can go. This is my place now. You’re just keeping an eye on it for us, but fine.
(giggling) And I do leave.
Thank you. Do you wanna meet them downstairs? Yes. Calling anybody?
Yes. I’ll send the text to see if that person’s available. One moment. You okay? I’m sorry, that’s a complicated question, even thought it’s very straightforward. How long did it take you to get used to this? It took a minute, I’m not gonna lie. It’s not easy, it’s not supposed to be easy. We’re dead. We exist half the time the wrong half of the time. We exist to harm others. It takes a minute. Out of everybody else, it seems like you’ve got it the most figured out. You get to come and go as you please, you don’t follow any rules of their stupid politics. These politics are so stupid.
Right? I have to make a tree for everything. I got a stringboard at home.
(laughing) Did you leave anybody behind? Several people. Did you get to stay with them at all, for any amount of time? Now that’s my turn to say that’s kind of a loaded question even though it’s very straightforward. Sorry, I didn’t mean to pry.
No, no. I did, but never for long enough. It’s hard to be unaffiliated. Nobody’s your ally. Everybody’s your enemy. It’s why I’m good at fighting. Yeah, you’re fucking badass. Thank you. But, as you said, it’s the most freeing feeling. You don’t belong to anyone. And like you said, these politics are bullshit. We’re headed for war, and that’s, you wanna do what’s right.
Yeah. You care. Way too much. Victor told you that, right?
Yeah. There’s no such thing. You can’t care too much. The fact that you care at all means that you are special. Don’t lose that, don’t let him beat it out of you. Keep it.
Thank you. It means a lot to hear that, thank you. I hope you know that, even if the rest of the world, and these different sides, and everybody on the stringboard are against you, you got an ally in me, okay? Thank you. You better come visit!
Absolutely! I wanna go hang out in the steam tunnels with you and the rats.
Yes! Oh, the Rat Pack’s gonna love you. Oh man, I love it when you call them that. I’m out.
Take care. Before you leave–
What? What? And after you leave–
Of course he was there. I’m still here. Out of character right now. But when you leave, and before you leave, I have something to tell you. Annabelle, do you excuse yourself? Maybe–
I’m not here. You don’t know I’m here.
Maybe joining Victor on the ground floor?
Yes, I will go. And I sit in the chair and (loud exhaling). Ramona? Oh, for fucks sake, you were here the whole time. Yes? You want names on that list.
I do. I have one. When I’m not here, she needs to be looked after. Okay. I pass you a slip of paper, and it just has the name Chloe on it. Chloe? Any last name, any other information? She’s got red hair. I pass a picture of her. This is her. Nothing happens to her. I couldn’t give less of a shit about anyone else on campus, except for her. As you wish.
Second thing, be careful with Annabelle. She has a lot of ideas that are gonna get her hurt. Be careful what you encourage. And I will do terrible things to you if anything happens to Chloe. And I–
You vanish. The Cloak of Shadows? Unseen.
He is not there. He was, and now he’s not.
And I get hunger. This is the result of the arouse check. You are at two hunger now.
Noted. I feel like you’re probably still in the room, even though I can’t see you, so make sure you get that list from Annabelle for me. Will do.
Thank you. And I head downstairs to where they are. Very well. And you, Ramona? I am going to go back to owl form. You transform into the gigantic bird of prey once more. Have a good rip at the leather of that chair, maybe, with your talons?
Oh yeah. I’m gonna walk all over every inch of it. It feels so good. Sure, stab, create holes, rip the upholstery, feels good. Ruffling the feathers and scratching. Not as good as a kill, but you know– It does okay. It’s nice in the meantime, ’til I get my next kill. So unnecessary.
(laughing) Part of my charm.
Part of your charm. And then what? Out into the night air to inspect your college? Absolutely. I wanna take a lap. Take a lap, it is.
Victory lap. You make your way out into the night air, it’s absolutely silent. Predatory wings. (clapping) Victor, your text is answered while you are waiting on the ground floor lobby. The response is, she will converse with you one hour before sunrise. I just reply, I’m at your disposal. Jasper, when you reach the ground floor, Annabelle and Victor are waiting there for you. All I’m saying is, that he looks like a labradoodle, and I’m sure he thinks that it makes him look real scary and everything, but it’s kind of adorable! You may never want to say that again.
Oh shit! (laughing) Hey! How long were you there? Labradoodle.
Great. Shall we go? One quick thing. That leak, were my name or Nellie’s name on the list? I don’t know, I didn’t check. I didn’t actually attend the whole meeting. I just kinda went to check up on everything. You’re starting to understand. Shall we? What is the pleasure of the coterie? What is the plan? I would like, I suggest we go to the show, maybe look from a higher vantage point to see who’s watching the crowd. Who doesn’t seem like they’re there for the music? I gotta check the playlist again real quick. You’re gonna check your playlist? Real super quick. You see the song you wanted to see. Alright. Alright–
Something you wanna share? You lit all up, which is good. I know it’s been a rough couple of weeks, but you’re all– She likes music. Who doesn’t?
Snobs. I’m not arguing. Last time we saw these guys, and they were in the quad, you were all up on the roofs, and we were down on the ground. Right.
Did you see if there’s a parking deck or something we can easily see them from? It’s your campus, and you know it well, obviously. The quad is surrounded by a number of buildings, including the very large Student Union building, the medical facility, which is where all of this began so many nights ago, administration buildings, plenty of tall vantage points. Palm trees, of course, in the courtyard. There are enough opportunities to climb things and get a good vantage point. Are you moving along out into the night? Yes. What do you all think if maybe, Jasper, if you have a high vantage point, and then Annabelle and I can separately move through the crowd and maybe see who reacts to us? I think so. There’s a lot of activity on campus tonight. There are many more students out on the walkways, the paths, and the quad than normal, and the mood is palpable. It is tense, and it is unhappy. It’s not just the usual students passing to, from night courses or the library. There are dozens and dozens of students moving through the campus with purpose, striding quickly, moving with determination. I, kind of off to the side, see which way they’re going. They’re headed for the central quad. I’ll follow along, but, again, kind off to the side. I don’t fall in the crowd, another walkway. Jasper, what is you current status of visibility? I am in Unseen Presence, and I’m moving along on non-walkways, i.e. off to the side of the paths, in bushes, on grass, on lawns, to avoid people, but I’m tailing the two of them. You are the rear guard, as you were. I’m gonna go separately from Victor. Not walking together? I’m gonna mix in with the students. Some of them look familiar to you, no one you know well. Enough to say hello to, but that’s about it. A few of them remark that it’s nice to see you, haven’t been around for a while. You haven’t been in class, so let me know if you want me to get the homework due you. When you reach the quad, there are maybe as many as 100 students. Most of them are milling about or standing in small groups, they’re talking, they’re upset, they’re agitated. It doesn’t take any kind of special hearing to learn that they are all talking about the recent accusations against the administration. They’re very, very upset to be attending a school that might be taking money from corrupt officials, corporations that they don’t approve of, criminals, other dubious sources. No one seems to know exactly whose names are on the list, though. Maybe that information hasn’t been released yet, or maybe it’s being held. Sour Sugar is there, the two musicians, the guitarist and the saxophonist are playing. There are approximately two dozen students gathered around them, swaying to the beat of the mash-up, which tonight appears to be a combination of, you think, Bauhaus and possibly Roseanne Cash. You’re not sure where that twang undertone is coming from. I text Jasper, you know you love it. You know you love it. The two musicians. The guitarist is dark-haired, athletic, he wears a Griffith College hoodie and jeans, and he’s quite lost in his acoustic guitar playing. Doesn’t even see the crowd. The saxophonist is tall, and thin to the point where you think maybe he hasn’t had a good meal in a week or two. He is wearing a tee shirt that was probably once white, but is now so discolored with use that it’s an off-gray. He’s a little bit more alert to what is happening. They’ve got an old, battered top hat, looks like it might even be an antique, sitting on the ground in front of them, and students occasionally walk up, throw in a few dollars. While I have my phone out to text Jasper, I take some random pictures of the crowd, just so we can always go back through this later and look at who really was and wasn’t here. Starting to snap photos. But I like smiling stuff, not reconnaissance. I’m all like, hey! (laughing) That type of thing.
I’m gonna head up to the top of the Student Union building. Student Union, your favorite tall perch? You know the way up, you’ve been here many, many times. It’s your favorite vantage point to do the Batman pose, looking out over the college. Let’s see, everyone who’s looking through the crowd give me wits plus awareness, please. Jasper is at two hunger, Annabelle and Victor are at one. I passed.
Why is it always me? Wits plus what, I’m sorry? Wits plus awareness. (dice rattling) Two success.
Two successes. Oh, four.
Four successes. Two successes.
Two successes. Victor, you notice him first, the individual who doesn’t look anything like a student, and he’s not a member of the faculty that you’ve ever seen before. He’s very distinctive looking. He’s standing maybe two dozen paces away from the musicians at the edge of the crowd, but watching them with great interest. Sorta swaying to the beat, maybe against his will perhaps, he doesn’t seem all that into the music. He’s dressed in a dark leather jacket, and he’s got really brightly colored hair, and he looks like maybe an aging counterculture punk of some kind. I text his picture to the two of them– You take his picture?
Yeah, while I’m snapping or whatever, I kinda keep rolling, though. I don’t stop and zoom in on him or anything, but I definitely text it to the two of them. You know him? He doesn’t fit. Can I see him from where I am? Yes, you can see him from where you are, and you had only two successes, however. You texted the picture to both of them? Yeah. You don’t recognize him, Jasper. At all. Annabelle, give me, please, wits and awareness one more time. (rattling dice) Two success. You know him. You’ve seen him before. That purple hair, it’s not the clothes, maybe it’s the attitude. You have a sudden flash of memory, a night a couple of weeks ago. No, no, no, please. The memory is vivid. You remember struggle, you remember the feeling of teeth, fangs against your throat. You remember too much. (Annabelle crying) Okay, okay. Carver, wits and resolve, please. You are at one hunger. I text back to Victor, I see him, I don’t recognize him. (Annabelle hard sobbing) I text back, it’s my vampire daddy. I immediately head down from the building. I move to her in the crowd. You descend?
Yeah. As soon as I get that text, I head to find her. What are we at?
Four successes. You’re being watched. You casually scan the crowd, looking out over the mortals, easy to see who’s breathing and who is not. Across the quad, there is a tall gentleman in a pin-striped suit and a green tie. Do I recognize him? You know who it is. I wanna back out out of the crowd. Sour Sugar ends their set to applause (applauding), more students approach and throw money in. If I see him wave at me, I go straight towards him. You gotta move across–
I don’t bum rush the crowd, but I very much– Gonna make your way toward him. Jasper, you have reached the ground of the quad. What are you doing?
Scanning for Annabelle. Gonna look for her? You’re still in Unseen Presence, I believe. She’s not hard to spot. You know what she looks like and where you spotted her last. She isn’t cleaning up the tears, the blood is running down her face. I head over to her, and I stand next to her and say, it’s alright. It’ll be okay.
It’s not okay. This happens to all of us.
What’d you do? It’ll be okay. You’re not alone. Most of us don’t get that. Come on. Follow Victor.
I can’t. You can. I’m right here. It’ll be fine.
Okay. You’ll be okay. Head towards Victor. You’re moving towards Victor. Annabelle, what are you doing? I am (rattling dice), I dab at my face, and I follow Jasper. You can’t see Jasper, so you proceed in the direction he wants you to go? Yeah. I see. Very well, Victor gets there first. You let him approach. How private are we? You are outdoors at night. The sound of the music, they’ve started their second set, by the way, the mash-up this time is Sting and Concrete Blonde. Ah, Jesus. At least it’s better than the last one. The sound of the music covers casual conversation, so as long as you don’t raise your voices, there’s not much chance of you being overheard. If there are supernatural ears, they could hear you. Ah, for fuck sake, if we’re gonna do this, I would recommend not doing it around here. If we’re gonna do this, it would go poor for you. Oh, we’re not doing that. We’re not doing that at all. Obviously, you’re on the wrong game. If you wanna talk, let’s talk, but I gotta tell you, we got about 30 seconds ’til she gets here, and I don’t think she’s gonna wanna hear what you have to say. (Carver laughing) Yeah, yeah, that’s fair. Annabelle, how close do you get? I don’t, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I wanna rush in. How would you rate her self control? Breathe.
Six to seven. She’s more likely to get emotional than physical, but we don’t need it in front of 200 of them. I sorta motion towards the dark, kind of like a dark corner, the nearest dark corner, and I’m like, it’s just to talk. Let me bring my drink.
Yeah, lets. I do sorta give the big head pivot, ’cause I don’t necessarily know where you are relative to me, and then we move. You have no idea where Jasper is, of course, because he is completely unseen. Annabelle is visible, but she hasn’t approached any closer. At this distance, Annabelle, you can see his features clearly, and there is no mistake. It’s him, it’s him, I know it’s him. Are they going off? Victor and Carver are walking toward a darker corner. But still in the quad. The most conspicuous place possible, if there’s a side hallway between buildings, or something like that? Out of immediate prying eyes. I wanna get away from the band. Of course there is. There is a space between the Student Union building and one of the administration buildings. It’s partly concealed by a stand of palm trees. That wayish. I’m going to slowly move my way over towards them. How do you wanna do this? Do you want to meet her? (sighing) Guess it’s gotta happen sometime. Might as well be tonight. Also, I do push back my coat so that the gun is quite visible. Oh, do you have that gun? Oh, I don’t leave home without that gun these days. I just say, I wanna talk, but if you hurt her, I will execute you. This’ll go fine. When I see her, I stand out of her way, but betweenish them. You’re trying to give them space? Yes, although if she lunges, I do intend to not let her attack him in public. You wanna stop her? If she (growls). That’s all.
Yeah. I’m right next to her. As soon as we’re clear from the crowd, I activate potence and I rush over, launching myself at him.
Dodge her attack. I do try and get in the way. No, stop, help. Here we go. (dice rattling)
Annabelle, strength plus brawl, add your potence. Jasper, getting involved or standing back? I have no reason to stop her. But I do follow her. Victor, you wanna try to interpose yourself? Yeah, I’m not trying to hurt her in any way, but just to–
Dex plus athletics. Yeah, which is not my thing. What about Carver? I’m sitting and watching.
You wanna take the hit? Sure.
I’m not fast enough. Six successes.
Six successes. Zero.
Zero successes, no best yield failure, though? No.
Okay, just a straight up fail? Just two blown dice.
Here’s how it goes down. Annabelle lunges straight for him, fists hammering, punches raining down on his body. Victor, you step forward, and she’s just too fast.
Yeah. She’s not there. Almost, but not quite. And you feel it.
Yeah. They pound into you. (stomping) Okay, I’ve had enough.
You did this to me! Three superficial damage. Three superficial damage? Make slashes through the health boxes. You don’t want attention. Annabelle, you know how hard you hit him. If he were a mortal, he’d be down, he’d be bleeding, things would be broken. You recall how easily you broke that ghoul’s wrist without half trying in the club. He should be on the ground, but he’s not. Yeah, but I know he’s not, and I know he wouldn’t, so I’m not gonna hold back. Full strength. Oh, I’m not taking another hit. You need to stop. There’s a lot of people around here. Yeah, lots of fights on campuses. Not these kinds of fights. You’ve had your hits.
I drop. You become visible.
And I grab you. Annabelle, do you resist?
You need to stop. What would you have done?
Not this in public. Listen to your friends, baby doll. And then I. You vanish again?
Yeah. Rouse check?
I’m fine. Two hunger still.
Yup. I know you’re angry, you’re right to be angry, we’re all angry at the people that did this to us. You need to think, and you need to wait. Be smart. I know how it feels. This is a rare opportunity. What’s your name and who are you? Yeah, who the fuck are you? An opportunity, you killed me. Really, that’s just semantics. From a certain standpoint, I kinda gave you everything you have. Carver, my name’s Carver. Victor, Jasper, I think you know Annabelle. I think I know all three of you. Technically, all four of you. I’m in town doing a little work. For? For none of your business. I think it just became my business, because you came into our domain attacking people. In the interest of fairness, we haven’t seen him attack anyone. Her, I mean her. He turned her in our domain. That’s a conversation I’m willing to have. I think we should. You know what, actually, I take that back. I’ll put my umbridge to the side right now– Yeah, shut up, Dad! Who the fuck are you, and what gave you the right? Why, why me? That is a long conversation. We have some time. I have all the time in the world now. ‘Til sunrise, then I gotta go to bed, but then we can continue that conversation tomorrow night, and the night after that, until who knows when? Let’s get back inside, let’s get back inside. I got somewhere to be, does anyone mind taking a walk? Fine. Sour Sugar has ended their set. There’s a smattering of applause. That is some weak applause. Some weak music. I think we should take a look at that. Is that the business you’re here to do? They are absolutely the business I’m here to do. What a coincidence.
Then yeah, let’s walk that way.
Okay. Right before we go, I hold you by the shoulders, and I’m like, you’re right to be pissed, you are, but you gotta, let’s talk this through. I appreciate you validating my feelings. I do a lot of invalidating your feelings. Also remember, the older we are, the more powerful we are. You don’t know how old he is. Older than your daddy, at least. You know who his dad is?
Yeah. I know everybody’s daddy. Sour Sugar? I hurry back, ’cause I wanna make sure they don’t get away while we’re still doing this, ’cause he’s conspicuous. Ask smart questions. The coterie is moving, walking and talking. You are moving faster, I think, at a faster pace? What you can see is Sour Sugar starting to pack up their instruments. Saxophone goes back in its case, the guitar goes back in its case, they collect the big top hat, stuffing the loose change and the bills into their pockets. They’re getting ready to leave campus. And the crowd in the quad that was listening to them is beginning to disperse, but the students who are milling about on the quad don’t seem to be going anywhere. They’re still talking, they’re still agitated. I’m gonna go ahead and move straight towards them to go and talk to Sour Sugar. You are moving straight in their direction? Yeah. What do you wanna know?
Why? (sighs) You and Eleanor and Mark are frankly deeply interesting. I’ve been watching you for quite a while. You have an energy. It was a, (sighing) you know, there’s something about you that, honestly, I think the world shouldn’t do without. Regardless, that night happened, that building, I may have followed you there. That was some amazing arson. I’ve done my own arson in my time, but I know good work when I see it. Sadly, as much as I appreciate blowing up the building belonging to some shitty industrial conglomerate, there was a little bit more to that building. Have you figured out who owned that building yet? Do you know Nick? (laughing) Nick’s an asshole. The Nosferatu?
Yup. Nick?
Nick’s a fucking asshole. I knew I’d like you. Annabelle, may I have a wits plus awareness again, please? (dice rattling) Two.
Two successes. Another flash of memory triggered by these words, the fight in the club, Nick, his long black claws stretching out, lunging for you with that look of hatred on his face, almost as if he knew you. Nick, the Nosferatu?
Nick, the asshole. Great. He owned the building in the Senator’s campaign office? I don’t. Yeah, I’m a little confused about that myself. It’s certainly a bad look, at the least. Quite pleased that you took care of that, that was very good work. I was witnessing that little altercation, there was not a lot of time, I weighed my options. There were three ways I was gonna go down, two of them left you in this world on some level, and one of them left you the way you are. I made a judgment call. I’m not apologizing for it. You’re not gonna hurt Eleanor or Mark? I made you, what more can I fucking do to them? (laughing) Sour Sugar sees you coming. They straighten up. The guitarist, the dark-haired young man with the more athletic build and the Griffith College tee shirt, excuse me, hoodie, steps forward. Hey, how you doing? When I see him come my way, I activate Daunt. I intentionally want to scare them, and I intimidate, stare down, I don’t say a word. You’ll need to roll it. I just stare a hole through the guy. (dice rattling) I would like spend willpower to re-roll three of these. I believe I will do the same. (laughing) Just two.
Three. His shoulders quiver, he flinches, but he stares right back at you, clenches his jaw, and holds his ground. Do you know who I am? So you know what I’m capable of. Long as you speak honestly, I think this might work out alright for you. He glances toward the saxophone player, who’s clutching his saxophone case as though it was the most precious thing in the world to him. He looks afraid. He’s smart. You’re brave, I get it, but stupid. There’s still kids around, right? There are still students all over the quad, maybe as many as a hundred. They aren’t paying too much attention over here, but there are eyes on you, for certain. I say, everyone knows I’m always looking to sign new talent, won’t you step into my office? I’d love to hear your demo. They look at each other. (clearing throat) We’d rather not. I would like to activate Daunt. You are going to become very, very scary. We’re just throwing powers around now. Says Mister Invisible In Normal Conversation Boy. What is this one? You want to active the Presence power?
Yeah. Yes. Daunt is free. You are going to add your Presence to your Intimidation rolls, and you’re going to become repellent to the people around you. There is, as we say, eyes on Victor, but no one is approaching him at this time. He’s scary on a primal level that people don’t wanna deal with, and that will now be true of you. Do they recognize me? Flash of recognition? Nothing there. Maybe they’re so scared of Victor that they’re not sure what’s going on? Maybe they’re good actors? Before I see them coming, ’cause they were talking when I came up to Sour Sugar, and I say, I might have mistakenly led you to believe that I was simply asking, so we can step into my office and have a pleasant conversation, or I can turn up tonight where you live, and then the conversation will be a lot less pleasant. They look at each other again. Like I said, if you speak truthfully, this won’t go so badly for you. What time would you like to come by? Now. You’re coming with us. You’ve walked up to them in person? Now. ‘Kay, roll the Daunt. You will need to beat their roll. Manipulation plus intimidation plus presence. Make an intimidation roll, so, add presence to it, and your hunger dice. I am going to burn willpower. These stalwart kids. You two are bad at being scary. We’re rolling so many dice. It does nothing.
It’s like kittens with the hair straight up (meowing angrily). We’ve had a long week, alright? Three.
Three successes. Haven’t we all. They actually step away from you, take a step backwards. Saxophone player practically cowers in his shoes, almost doubling over with fear, clutching the saxophone case to him. We could’ve just followed them. He’s right, we could just follow you, and go to where you live, or you can come with us now. The guitarist now looks in your direction, and his eyes get a little bit wider. Oh, fuck off, Clay. I didn’t know they were with you. Well, they are. So just fuck off, we’re having a conversation. It doesn’t concern you.
Fucking off. They begin to step away, and they are going to leave. Get better with that thing, Francis. You sound like shit.
They turn, looking over their shoulders, and begin to walk very quickly through the crowd. We’ll find you later. I text Ebe, ’cause she told me where they live. I’m like, stay on these two guys. Yes sir, comes the reply. Now your business has interfered with my business, so I guess we’re gonna step inside and talk to you. That’s fine. Honestly, I think we should maybe keep an eye on them, but, either way, I’m easy. Annabelle, hey.
Oh shit. It’s Juan.
Hey! Is this not awesome? Didn’t I tell you? Isn’t this great? It’s good to have the arts on the campus. You don’t look like you are feeling well at all. Are you sick?
I am so sick. You should definitely keep your distance. But meeting went great, and everything went off, huh? Hey, I’m Juan, how you doing? I love your jacket, man.
Cool. Juan is slim, a little athletic, sinewy. He’s got a little soul patch, and a shock of really unkempt dark hair. His leather jacket is not as cool as yours. Very few are. He offers his hand, and says, you a friend of Annabelle? No.
No. We work together.
Hey, hey, haven’t we met? I switch to awe, and I say, Juan! Remember I told you I was looking to give Annabelle a scholarship? I did, she’s on the stipend now, so it’s great, but we’re out on a business trip right now, so I don’t mean to be rude, brother. Congratulations, I had no idea. Fantastic, yeah. Hey, the lady who was you that night in the library, with the blue hair, she still around? No, no.
She’s not. She’s literally not in the solar system. She doesn’t exist. Could you at least give her my number? Absolutely. 100%. I’ll get it from Annabelle, but we’re doing a thing right now, don’t make it weird. Juan?
Yeah? Don’t make it weird.
Yeah, right. Oh, one other thing.
Yeah? Forget that you saw Annabelle, and I mind wipe. You want to use Cloud Memory? You want to erase last few minutes of his conscious memory so he does not recall the meeting? Yeah, I’ll send you my– Can I take him by the shoulder, so he doesn’t immediately (yelling)? I’ll send you my number, and you’ll give it to her, right? Yeah, I don’t know what you’re talking about, brother. Awesome.
Sure, great. Have a good night. Are you gonna sign the band, ’cause they’re– Yeah, 100%. They’re something alright. Cool.
We’ll see. Juan, without a backward glance at you, Oh god.
Disappears into the crowd. Human interactions are fucking exhausting. I don’t know how you people handle that shit. I don’t.
(laughing) They’re really great. I rather miss them. I don’t. We need to do this not here. More students are arriving, and a lot of them who are coming into the quad now are clutching pieces of paper, and they’re starting to circulate those pieces of paper around each other. I grab one.
You wanna grab one? It’s a list of the suspicious donors. Not the recipients. All corporations that your group has protested in the last year. Every last source of corrupt money comes from a company that you’ve dealt with, including the Senator whose building you burnt down. Does this got something to do, are you here for this? No, although, this is great. This is the opposite of great. Let’s go, let’s move. I don’t know how many more members of your fan club are gonna be here any second. Let’s go be not here. Okay.
That would be preferable. Go follow the money.
Back to our domain. Our area. You wanna go to your sanctum? Yes.
As you leave the quad, you can’t help but notice that more and more students are still arriving. It’s gonna be a pretty good crowd. Really big crowd. Annabelle–
It’s a protest. You notice a few faces that are familiar to you. Maria is here, a few others, as well. A protest is happening. He’s gonna be here. Another reason for us not to be. Play it smart. Jasper, since I don’t know where you are, I take out my phone and I text again, Ebe is on Sour Sugar, you can follow them or stay with us. I’m staying with them.
Okay. Still unseen. Still unseen until we get somewhere where I can be seen. You’re headed for home base?
Yes. The Temple School of Music is in one of the older buildings on campus. It is a converted sound stage from the silent film era that has miraculously survived urban renewal. Allegedly part of the old Chaplin Studios, but just about every building in Hollywood claims to be connected to that fabled institution in some way or another. But it is beautifully preserved. Victor leads the way. There’s an elevator. There’s a button to a floor that requires a card key. The elevator goes up, and exits onto a floor that is hidden from view from the rest of the campus. It’s very well appointed. I assume it’s very comfortable, very executive office-like. Except for a pile of feathers and one ripped up chair, yes. Now that you mention it, now that you mention it, around the dark wood conference table, there are a lot of very comfortable leather chairs. One chair looks as though it’s been through some kind of war or disagreement with very sharp objects. There are slashes and claw marks. It has been gnawed with little tiny teeth, rather thoroughly. This is why we can’t have– She’s carved her name in the wood on the arm. When did she even have time to do that? You know what, none of that matters. Why are you here? And I mean here at the college, I mean here in Los Angeles, why are you here? At the moment, I suppose you could say I’m doing some census work. Taking stock of LA and trying to see where we’re sitting, considering that we’re now under threat. We’re inside our sanctum now, correct? Yes.
Now you’re visible. Which we are you referring to? There’s a lot of players in this game. The anarch state in general. Is it an attack by the Camarilla? I’m here to make sure that that doesn’t happen. Was I a recruit for the war? You were going to be, and it got a little ahead of me. This was not what I wanted. I didn’t know what else to do. You kill a random person, and then expect them to join you in some political battle? I killed a very specific person, and I knew that whatever you did after your death would be spectacular. I have not even been disappointed yet. You are too good for the Earth. I think you’re gonna do great things. I wasn’t gonna let you rot with Nick, or worse, just end up in the earth. What is the point of living forever if you’re not living? You’re so young, there’s no forever. This is time to get work done, this is time to find justice, this is time to bring some freedom to those who would have it. We were working for that in life, and we could also do it during the daytime, too. See where it got you. You weren’t going to be working for it anymore. I found you at the end, that was it. Whether or not I had been there, that would have been the end of that. There was still good work to do. It was very good work, but you are not done, and you know you are not done. There is so much work to do. What if I don’t wanna do it on your terms? There’s a lot of ways off still, although I don’t think you will. And again, you don’t have to do anything that I say. I wasn’t planning on it.
I know. What gives you the right then? Where do you get off? It’s our way. It’s what we are. How can you just accept that? ‘Cause right now, you’re getting more than a lot of us get. At least you get to look him in the eye and get an answer. I’ll tell you anything you wanna know. Mine didn’t even leave me food. There’s a very loud sound from outside. Even here at the top floor of the music building, you can hear it. It’s a loud speaker, someone’s got a bullhorn, and is saying, students should leave the quad, return to your dormitories, return to your residence halls. Yeah, ’cause that’s gonna work well. You’re gonna disperse a protest with a bullhorn, great. Great. I think you guys are gonna have to have a very long heart to heart, but right now, I need to know some important things. You ran afoul of Nick, Nick knows Sour Sugar, Nick knows Blaine, Sour Sugar knows Blaine? Sour Sugar, what a terrible fucking name. Clay and Francis. Those are still terrible names. Yeah, that’s fair.
How do you know them? I’ve been cataloging all the thin bloods that live in Los Angeles. Really?
That’s true, those are real? (laughing) They’re very real. What are thin bloods? Remember we told you that generations thing? That older vampires are stronger, and they get weaker each generation? The last generation, we call them thin bloods. They’re just one step above ghouls. They’re basically humans 1.5, not even 2.0, 1.5. They’re good, and they can do some work sometimes, they can be very helpful, they wanna be helpful. They can be clever.
They can do a lot. So then who are these guys working for? That I don’t know, but they’re doing something, in fact, I don’t even think, they may not be working for anybody at all but themselves. Are they doing these? And I hold up the pill. That is the question. I think they are, and I wanna know what this is, and we need to know if it’s dangerous. I think we have to assume it’s dangerous. Then is it useful? Jasper, what do you do with it? I just put it back in my pocket. Put it right back where it was. Well I fucking hate you.
That’s fair. And under almost no circumstances would I be okay with being in a room with you, because, yeah, I don’t know how strong he is, but I’m pretty fucking strong right now, and I can at least do something before he rips my head off, but I need to know about these guys. What do you need to know? Students, return to your dormitories, return to your residences. Leave the quad. I need to know about their connection to Blaine and about their connection to Mark and Eleanor. That I don’t know.
Mark and Eleanor? You know about Mark and Eleanor? I know about everything. Yeah, he said their names earlier. We all were in on the whole, I was part of, Mark and I have this group, the group out there. We fight for what’s right, and we started getting to a point where we didn’t know if just peaceful protest was enough to make a difference, and so we torched a Senator’s office. You fire bombed a government building? It was beautiful. What was all that fucking high and mightiness about, you’re a criminal–
Nobody got hurt! This isn’t fight club, what are you talking about? You torched a Senator’s building. Nobody got hurt, and we’ve, there was nothing. He had money in the police! There was no way anybody was gonna bring this guy down. That’s true.
Did that bring him down? Set him back quite a bit, yes, actually. That is also true. Sent him back quite a bit, you did great work. Fuck you.
Listen. Yeah, no one got hurt, except you. You were going to, if I’m not misunderstanding, you would have died.
Yes, that’s true. You were dead. So Nick was gonna come after me? He did.
He did come after you. But I survived.
You did not. You don’t understand what he’s trying to tell you. You did not survive that. I got you out of there, I turned my back on you for maybe a minute to make sure that we weren’t being followed, and you were gone. You went fast. You didn’t even eat. But yeah, you were over. Annabelle was over. He didn’t kill you, he brought you back. Is it getting through, babydoll? I see.
There is sirens in the night, getting louder, approaching the campus, police sirens, and when we come from a very short break, we’ll find out what’s going on out there. Welcome back to Vampire the Masquerade, LA By Night, Chapter Five, What I Am. Sirens, police sirens in the night, approaching the campus, getting closer. I text the Head of Security ’cause this is our domain. What’s going on out there? Actually, I don’t wanna know what’s going on, just let me know if it becomes my problem. The text comes back almost immediately, police have been called to disperse the protesters, everything is under control. Listen, we can keep talking, but we all have business to take care of, and I will happily accompany you on dealing with these two. One way or another.
Yeah. There’ll be time for everything. Yeah.
Are you good to go? Sure. Okay. I guess I should thank you. You can, but you don’t have to. But at the same time, maybe you should’ve just let me die? (sighing) I think you’re gonna figure out that’s not how the world really works, kiddo, at some point. We don’t let things happen. We take a stand, and you deal with it. You know that better than anybody. If something needs changing, you change it, and if a building protects something evil, you burn it to the fucking ground. So we going after these guys? I text Ebe that it’s like, where are they? She texts back an address. You recognize it, the vicinity at least. It’s several long blocks off campus. It’s in a place where the neighborhood starts to get bad. I message her, please keep an eye on them, we’re on the way. She returns the text and indicates that they are still in the building. I know where they are. Does the money have a car? Several. You know, everybody knocks it until you need what I got. Yes, I have one of my cars is available here, one of them is trailing Sour Sugar right now. Yeah, we can go. We should probably go out through the tunnels. There’s a lot happening outside right now. That sounds like a great idea. Text Mark, tell him there’s cops here and not to come. Attention students, this is your final warning. No, don’t tell him that there’s cops, he probably would come to get arrested to make a point or something. You handle it, I don’t know. Okay. Are you here? Yeah, I’m here, where are you? Fuck. I’m sorry, baby, I can’t make it. I’ll explain later. Are you kidding me? Trust me. I love you, be safe. Exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark. Love you too. Smiley face, heart. I’ll make you proud of me. I’m always proud of you. Hi to Eleanor too. He texts you back a picture, a photograph, taken from his phone. You can see flashing lights of the police cars, the police standing in line getting ready to advance on the protesters, tear gas guns being prepared. We can’t, we can’t. You’re just gonna let them… You… What would you have us do? Make a phone call, call ’em off, tell them, I mean, tell them not to use force on the students. How do you think, has anyone brought up what people who find out about us do when a lot of people find out about us? No. I unholster that super pistol. They kill us, and when we do things like you suggested, that makes people notice us. When we change the way the mortal world works in obvious ways, things go bad for us. What is the point of having superpowers? That’s the spirit. Please, be careful. Please promise me that you will leave if things get too rough. I promise to be careful. XOXOXOXOXOXOX.
Thank you. He’s nice, he’s not that bright. Fuck you. Wait a minute, you spend centuries being an angry teenager, and you’re gonna criticize my kid for taking a stand? Fuck you.
(laughing) Let’s go, and I go get in the elevator. Leaving the meeting room? I really am.
Yeah. Is anyone not going? I’ll go.
I’m going. Altogether now.
Into the sub-sub-basement. (laughing) Which connects to the parking garage? I’m like, she’s gonna have those rats down here, too. Jesus Christ.
Down to the Batcave. Now it’s a rat cave. The sub-basement connects through a doorway to the parking garage, where you have several vehicles. Are you driving? (sighing) I guess I have to. It is your SUV. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Makes me feel dirty. Fine, yes, but when I drive, I do it cool, though, ’cause I realize there’s a lot of cops, and everybody’s being weird. Wanna drive cool, not sure what kind of roll that is, but we’ll assume that you were driving cool. Cool. No, 10 and two, seatbelt on. Cool.
(laughing) Law abiding. All stop signs, all signals. Nothing to see here, yes. As you emerge from the parking garage, you can see easily that there are half a dozen police vehicles pulled up on the edge of the campus, lights flashing, police moving outside at the edge of the crowd, several of them are in riot gear. They do have what look like tear gas weapons ready, but they haven’t fired yet. It seems to be a stand off of some kind. In the vehicle, you can’t hear what’s going, but as you pull away, there’s a flash of light, and you think some of the weapons have been fired. At least, can you text in your capacity as high muckity muck at the college? Please! Listen to Jasper. Those cops, they’re gonna hit ’em with tear gas, they might get roughed up, they might spend a night in jail. Billy Blaine, Sour Sugar, apparently Nick, they’re gonna end up killing them all. I have some influence, I assume, in this city, especially with some fucking street muscle. You do, in fact. I’m gonna have them see if they can find Eleanor and Mark in the crowd, let them know what they look like, and, basically, pull them out of there, rough ’em up, but they get to have a bad night, but they don’t get to have a bad night in this. No jail time.
Nah. Just a bruised ego, maybe a couple bruised ribs. Let me make a note. I do drive away, like I go? You follow the directions that Ebe gave you. I try to pull up in the back, though, so that if I pass where she is, come around if there’s a back alley or something. The City of Angels is a city in stark contrast. The fabulous wealth of the media elite, and the superficial beauty of celebrities clashes with poverty, and the crime, and the violence in the streets in some of the neighborhoods. Annabelle reminded us that the city of Los Angeles is literally a city of dreams, a gateway to success, and fame for hopeful souls, with the ambition, and the luck, to achieve it, and it’s also a place where souls are lost, or worse, bought and sold. Not far from the very wealthy campus of Griffith College is such a neighborhood, considered unsafe at best. Dilapidated houses, vacant lots, overgrown streets. If anybody is around at this time of night, they are minding their own business, because to do otherwise is terribly unsafe. A drive by shows you what the property is. Annabelle and Jasper, you have been here the night before. It’s the same two story house that looks ready to cave in on itself. Windows are boarded over on the ground floor, graffiti is creeping like ivy all over the walls. You’re surprised it hasn’t been condemned yet. Sitting right next to a vacant lot, surrounded by a chain link fence, there’s an alley behind it that separates it from the next row of houses. The houses here are relatively close together, shouting distance, at least. You mentioned you didn’t want to park right in front, you wanted to go around. There are lights on. Is there one story or two story? It’s two. There are lights on in both stories. The ground floor lights, of course, shine weakly through the boarded up windows. They’re brighter upstairs where there’s still glass. Just gaging things, if I climbed up on the SUV, could I make a jump to get up there? Could I Soaring Leap to the second story? If you parked the SUV near the house, climbed the roof of the SUV? I’m not saying I will. I’m just see if, does it seem like something? You think it’s reachable with a leap. They already know we’re coming, so we could use the front door. I could go in the back if you want. Be in there when you guys knock. We gotta get somebody to open the door for that to work, though, right? I can open the door. Is there a backdoor behind the house? It’s a creepy, creepy place. The night’s quiet, none of the lights are on in the neighbor’s homes. This is the only house that’s lit. You move around to the back unseen? Yes. There is a back door that reaches on to the alley, but it’s also boarded over. You’re not sure if it actually opens or not. It probably does. I would like to make a point that I have one of those tasers on my person. So not only do you have one of the government issued secret weapons, that would instantly land you in a federal prison were you discovered with it, but you also have a taser? I do murder and stuff that would also get me in a federal prison. This is what we hear, we hear these things. Yes.
Dually noted. (laughing) Is there evidence of a basement on this house? Scanning the lower ground floor, yes. There is a telltale foot or so of cement protruding from the overgrown grass that indicates that there is a subfloor. Would you look at that? Nobody has a basement in LA. That’s weird. Isn’t it? Wanna check it out? Yeah, yeah, I do.
So what’s stoppin’ ya? Are we simultaneously breaching? I’m going in the top window, you’re going in the back door, and you guys are going in the basement? Is the backdoor, does it look like it’s locked in any manner or anything? You’re parking the car in the alley behind. Lights off as we come up. And getting to the top of the SUV to leap up? If it looks feasible.
It does. You are inspecting the backdoor, the one that’s boarded over, trying to figure out– If it’s chained or something, or locked. You don’t see any visible mechanisms that would lock it up. Annabelle? Are there windows for the basement? Two, one on either side of the house. I’d like to pop whichever one seems most accessible. Are you prepared to force it if you need to? Yes.
I’ll join you on that. Strength plus athletics. Are you helping out?
Yeah, I am. Add three dice to your roll, Annabelle, for his help. Does her Potence figure into this? What’s that?
Does her Potence figure into this?
If she wants it to. I don’t think it needs it. Yeah, I don’t think, I think I’m okay. I’m gonna burn willpower, I think. You gonna re-roll?
Three more. I have three successes.
See? Oh, six.
Six successes. You tear the window right off it’s casement. I actually only meant to open it. Comes away completely, so does some of the cement, and some wood. Against the house? It’s a bit much. Everything when you’re dead is a bit much. That is so true.
You have a window. Do I hear that?
You can hear something. You’re not sure exactly what it was. I’ll go first. In the basement window? To the top of the roof?
Yeah. Yup.
It’s well within reach. You’re gonna land on the roof. Do I feel like I go could square through a window? Are you asking, could you smash through a window? Yes.
If you can guide your direction, yes, you can. It will be dexterity and athletics. Learn from my mistakes. I’ll go up to the roof. You could increase your dexterity at the risk of hunger. Can I see any windows that are accessible from the roof? If you were to land on the roof, you believe that you could lean over and reach a window. It would be awkward. You don’t have Nellie’s abilities. I’ll try that first, because, again, I did see this go poorly for a much more dextrous friend of mine. Up to the roof?
Yeah. Thud. You’re not a small vampire, you make a sound. I’m actually okay being a bit distracting. Pretty solid.
If they’re thinking of me, they’re not thinking of them. I look around. I assume the door’s over here, and then, around a corner’s where they tore the window off? I’m gonna look around the corner, and see they tore the window off. You see the window lying on the ground. Bad habits, and I’m gonna follow them through the window. Okay, you’re first. First thing I’m gonna do is heighten senses. What do I see, where am I? You’re eyesight, so you leave mortal sense of sight behind, and look around with preternatural eyes in the basement. You are in a big, empty cement cube, that has a lot of plastic storage containers in it. How big are the storage containers? The largest is no more than three feet square. There is one doorway leading out of here. What’s in the plastic storage containers? Are they see-through?
You gonna take a look? They’re semi-transparent. What does it look like?
What’s in ’em? (sighing) Medical tubing, glass beakers, bottles, empty bottles, coils of wire, rope. No paper? Nothing like that.
Okay. Chemistry equipment.
Chemistry equipment. Annabelle, you’re next. You land on your feet. Activate Cat’s Grace.
Ooh! Stick the landing. No problem. It’s like watching an undead cat. Jasper, you’re last. Bonelessly sliding your way in. Yeah. On the roof, Victor, you can hear things up here, and smell things. What you hear is the sound of movement from the rooms immediately under the roof. You can hear somebody moving around, very faint footsteps. Roof must be partially rotten for you to be able to hear through it. (sniffing) What you smell, it’s acrid, like a thousand matches all blown out at once, and cigarette smoke and blood. Human blood. The smell is delicious. You can almost remember what it felt like to have your mouth water. I activate Daunt, so I’ll be frightening to the first person that sees me. I would like to increase my dexterity. That would be arouse check. I succeed, I’m good. Your hunger remains stable at one. You improve your dexterity. And I do want to try and ease through the window. So you’re gonna lean over the roof, try to open the window? Windows aren’t made to be open from the outside, are you prepared to force it?
Always. Strength plus athletics.
Okay. In the basement, you make your way around all these plastic, there are dozens of these crates, and they don’t all hold the same things. Two successes?
Yes, sir. Takes a moment, but you finally pop it off, and it goes spinning through the air to land in the alley, missing your SUV, fortunately, but the window does shatter. There’s a crash, and a voice from inside says, what the fuck? I start moving up towards the noise. Stench rolls out of the window, and it’s almost miasmic, overpowering. No one can do anything quietly. Opening the door, and booking it up the stairs? I’m gonna try and stop her. You’re gonna try to stop her? And you don’t wanna be stopped, right? If you make a move towards me. Quiet. You wanna try to sneak upstairs? I sneak upstairs, moving quickly. Dex plus stealth.
(dice rattling) (dramatic music) Roll to activate mood music.
(laughing) (dice rattling) Also, Cat’s Grace automatically succeeds for– Automatic, yeah. Any dexterity-related challenges, you still got Cat’s Grace. I’m invisible, doesn’t matter. Yeah. Quick check here. Glide right on up the stairs without making a sound, keeping your balance, moving swiftly and silently to the top where there is a door, and you can hear voices, hey, did you hear that? I don’t know, it came from upstairs. What’s going on? What do I see around me? In the basement? I’m out, I’m following her slowly. You’re following her up? There’s light coming from beneath the door, and, occasionally, shadows move across it. People are moving back and forth in the rooms upstairs. You hear this sound of something heavy being shifted. A table, maybe? Do I see any of the things I’m looking for? You see equipment, you see medical equipment, syringes in boxes, more tubing, more glass beakers, bunsen burners, and a lot of weird stuff that doesn’t make any sense. There’s a box full of metal shavings. There is a huge flat of Gatorade. This is just getting weird. You getting it? Funnels, cleaning rags, a stethoscope. This basement’s full of weird stuff. Fuck. Are we–
You’re at the top. How many people do I hear? At least three voices. Up on the roof, you’ve ripped off the window, which has gone crashing to the ground below. You’ve heard a voice shout, what the fuck is that? I send a text to Ebe, saying– So you’re gonna scuttle back on the roof? Remember, you’re hanging out over the edge. Oh, then I go through the window. Going through the window?
Go through the window. Dexterity and athletics. It’s not an easy thing to do. Remember that you increased your dexterity. I did.
(whistling) A three.
Three successes? I thought maybe I had a messy critical, but it’s just three. Over and under, right through the window. It’s a bit of a tight squeeze, you have broad shoulders, but you land more or less on your feet, and what you see here, it’s well lit, the lights are all on. Many of the walls on the second floor of this house have been knocked away to make a bigger space. Only a few walls are left standing, probably those that bear the weight of the roof, so it’s a much larger space than you would expect. Lot of peeling wallpaper, lot of warped floorboards, and there’s that strange stench. Now that you’re in it, you can tell that it’s several different chemicals and a heavy burning smell, and all underlaid with the stench of human blood. (sniffing) There are two work tables, and all around the walls, rickety aluminum shelving full of more plastic containers, of all sizes, and wooden crates, and shopping bags. They all seem to be full of stuff. There’s a jumble of equipment on the floor that looks like it might have come from a hospital or maybe a medical waste facility, rubber gloves, cleaning rags, more syringes, stethoscopes, test tubes, beakers. There’s a small plastic ice chest in the corner, and as I mentioned, two work tables next to each other. Standing behind one of them is Clay. Does he see me?
Oh, he sees you, alright. He’s ready. On the work table, he’s got three camping stoves, all going. Flames burning hot. Pots, pans, a Crock Pot, a really old fashioned pressure cooker, and an array of tubing and thermometers. It’s more like a boiler room than a house, and that’s where the smell is coming from. On the other table is a person. Something’s wrong with them, though. They’re not moving, they’re not breathing, and their skin has turned a dingy ashen gray, and there is a tube from the person’s arm to the pressure cooker, and another tube from the pressure cooker to what looks like a mason jar, and dripping from the end of the tube is a thick, dark red liquid. Clay is behind the table, and in his hand, he’s got a coffee cup, just a white, ceramic coffee cup like you buy from any department store, and he stares at you across the table. Mesmerism? Lay down on the floor and don’t move. You’ll have to roll for it. (dice rattling) Ready? (sucking in air) Critical success. I’m gonna use a willpower to– Re-roll?
Re-roll the three. Three non-critical successes, so yeah, he beats me. He does.
Okay. He drinks from the cup. Back in the basement. I’m up.
You’re up. Open the door. Or do you go through the door? Do I hear the voices? Do I hear him? You can’t hear Victor.
I’m way upstairs. He’s way up on the second floor. You’ve reached from the basement to the ground floor. You still hear people talking and moving back and forth up there. I kick the door open.
Kick the door open. No strength roll required. Bam! Shit! Oh my god, cops! Everybody run! A lot of peeling wallpaper here, too, and a moldy carpet, and a lot of trash. The floor is strewn with empty pizza boxes and soda cans and beer bottles. Everything is dirty and covered with graffiti. It smells like, I don’t know, mold. You hear the sound of running feet nearby. Jasper? Can I run towards the front door? Given from where you believe the front door to be from your reconnaissance of the house? Yes, of course. I want to be there to intercept anybody who tries to get out the front door. You wanna get between the people and the door? Yeah.
And you are Unseen, I believe.
I’m Unseen. I go after where I hear somebody running. Splitting up! You go left, Jasper goes right. Surveying for what I need. Do I catch up with anybody? There are three people in the kitchen, and they are really hurriedly trying to put away, or hide, whatever it is that they’ve been doing in here. The kitchen is filthy, every surface is covered with dirt, the stove doesn’t look like it’s been used in years maybe, it’s all rusted out, and it’s got rat droppings all over it. There are two men and three women here. They’re all in their early 20’s, probably students, you think, or about that age. They are really frantically trying to put a bunch of small paper packets by the handful into Tupperware containers. I activate Presence, or Awe.
Awe. I activate Awe. Say, hey! They all turn towards you at once. Hey!
Party time, right? Whatcha guys making?
Oh, shit. Nothing, nothing, nothing here. Not making anything. We’re closed, we’re closed. Great, well, I really wanna get my hand on some drops, so who’s in charge here? Is it you?
The young woman, with thin blonde hair cut very very short, and a wiry build, makes you think that she maybe runs track, or maybe even marathons. She’s wearing a dirty tee shirt, cut off jeans, and flip-flops steps forward. I guess I’m in charge, who the hell are you? Just a student.
Behind her, the two men keep frantically stuffing little paper packets into Tupperware containers and closing the lids. Just a student, like you, I guess. She looks like you like your out of your mind. You’re not in charge of this operation. You want to convince her that you’re here to buy drugs, despite the fact that they think they’re house is being raided, so that will be–
Oh! Charisma, or do you wanna, yeah, let’s make it charisma plus, whichever’s higher for you, persuasion or subterfuge, but add your Presence to it. Add dice for your presence. I know you’re being attacked, but I wanna buy something from you. It’s more that I just want to talk to the person in charge. One, two, three, four, five, six, and then presence. Jesus.
(dice rattling) One, two, three, four, five. Despite her gut instincts not to trust you, she relaxes.
Hey, I’m sorry about the door.
She even smiles. Hey, look, now is a really bad time. You seem super nice, and we’d love to help you out, but it’s a really bad time. Couldn’t you, look, wait, here. She reaches into her jeans pocket, the cut off jeans, and she pulls out three of the little paper packets and holds them out to you. Why don’t you take these as a free sample, and we can go do business later, because right now, we really gotta go. Great, thanks!
She hands them over. I take them. Who else is in charge here? You gotta talk to Clay upstairs, but he’s really busy, too. We’re kinda like in trouble here. One of the men behind her says, hey, we gotta go, we’re done. Tommy’s waiting, and you don’t keep the T waiting, so let’s go.
Who’s Tommy? Tommy T., he’s kinda hooked us up. Tommy T.
Yeah. Interesting.
Jasper, you find the front door.
Who is Tommy T.? The front room, the living room, is a maze of pizza boxes. You don’t think that they have cleaned out their food boxes in a year. But you are safely between anyone and the door. At the exit, I’m standing directly in front of the door, Okay.
Waiting to intercept. Got it. You have made a thorough search of the ground floor and do not find what you came for. Heading upstairs. Footsteps on the sagging, creaking stairs. Victor? I’m sorry? I’m making speed up there. You wanna do it fast? How quickly does it seem like the house is being evacuated? The commotion in the kitchen has stopped, and you can hear Annabelle’s voice conversationly talking to someone. Cool, alright. Not super fast.
Not super fast. Maybe not leisurely, either.
No. You reach the top of the stairs, and in the moment, you will see the scene that I have described, the strange apparatus, the body on the table, the tubing, the red liquid. Clay drinks. I point the gun at him. From the coffee cup, he stretches out his hand, and it is time to roll. Strength plus athletics, Victor. (dice rattling) Also not my thing.
(dice rattling) Three successes. That is a beastial failure.
(sucking in air) Why is it always with you?
God, god. You’re going to suffer a compulsion. Several things happen at once. An invisible force pulls at the gun as Clay stretches out his hand, concentrates, you feel the weapon torn from your grasp. It goes flying through the air in a clatter on the far side of the room, smashing into one of the glass beakers and breaking into a thousand pieces and clatters out of sight. You know which general direction it went, but you’re not sure exactly where it is, but that doesn’t matter, because the Beast is here. The Beast is you. You must be in charge, you must be in command. You are the Baron. Until he does what he is told, the Beast has full sway, and I will tell you what you do. You lunge forward, grip him by the lapels before he can react, bare your fangs, stare into his eyes. What do you tell him to do? Tell me what I fucking want to know, or I’m gonna rip your head off, and I’m gonna drink everything that’s inside of you like you’re drinking out of this sad fuck on the table. (dice rattling) He’s so scared, he’s shaking, uncontrollably. His eyes inches from yours, your fangs mere centimeters from his throat. Carver, as you reach the top of the stairs, that is what you see, and you do what? I’m gonna activate Blink. Where do you wanna be? You can be anywhere you want. I wanna search the room.
(sharp inhaling) You make a circuit of the room faster than the human eye can follow you, and on the work bench, near the Crock Pot that’s simmering away with things you’d probably rather not know about, you find it. I’m gonna grab it and knock the Crock Pots over. You’re gonna tip it over? I’m just gonna tip the whole thing over. The Crock Pot or the table? The table.
The whole table? As I grab the book, and I’m gonna leave the room. The whole table goes over. There’s a flash of light, there’s a smell of smoke, and there’s fire, and the Beast is already out. Meanwhile, downstairs, you hear a terrible crash from the upper story. The two guys grab the Tupperware containers, and they bolt for the back door. I–
She’s still talking to you. Are they going past me? They have to go past you to get to the door. I slap the containers out of their hands. Dex plus athletics. They don’t want that to happen, they’re gonna try to dodge. (groaning)
(dice rattling) One success. Ah shoot. Fail. How much willpower do you have? I’m gonna burn another willpower. I’m gonna re-roll ’em.
Make a slash. Two success.
Two successes. You reach out, and at least manage to catch the first student, smacking the containers out of his hand– I smack the containers out of his hand, but I let him go.
Tumbling to the ground, one of them splits open, the lid comes off, little paper packets go flying all over the kitchen floor, but he is gone. The other one dodges out of the way while you were busy and heads for the back door. Jasper has a thought as he’s standing by the front door. That he’s picked the wrong door? It’s possible.
(laughing) I’m gonna head towards the back door that I found earlier. Are you leaving the house to go around outside, or are you coming through the house? I’ll leave the house and go wait outside. You interact with the front door and circle the house. Are you moving quickly?
As quickly as I can. And invisibly?
Yes. Hey.
Hey, look, my friends are gone, you’ve got your samples, and it’s been really nice, but, I don’t know what happened upstairs, but– You guys should get out of here. You probably shouldn’t pass out any more of these. The person I do business with wouldn’t like it. Who do you work for?
Not important right now. I gotta go.
Okay. Yeah.
Go ahead. Okay, bye, good night.
And then I’m gonna head up towards– She beats feet for the back door. I’m gonna head up towards where– You’re gonna head for the stairs? Yes.
And upstairs. Meanwhile, you’ve got what you came for and made a mess, and you’re headed down the stairs. You’re gonna run right into Annabelle. I’m speeding down. I haven’t slowed down– You haven’t slowed down at all? You are still moving at speed. It doesn’t make you permeable, though?
No. I’m gonna stop when I–
You’re gonna stop? He appears out of nowhere. You are halfway up the stairs, there was no one on the stairs, and he is just there. Victor’s in trouble. Yeah, and you’re running the other way. I was going for help. Uh-huh, whatcha got there?
Don’t have anything. Nothing visible. Is everybody out? Yeah.
Head up, I’ll meet you in a minute, I’m gonna keep running. Running back down the bottom floor? Victor. He’s quaking, he’s shaking, he’s sure you’re gonna kill him. Have I regained some composure? He has not yet obeyed a command that you have given him. The Beast is still raging in you. You need him to do as he is told. He needs to acknowledge your supremity. You can do nothing else until he obeys you. Can I intimidate at least, or no? You haven’t asked him a question that he can answer. Right. Who made you like this? I have no idea! I don’t know! What do you care? His right hand, the one that held the coffee cup, twitches and you feel a force trying to push you away. Strength plus brawl. (dice rattling) With a lot less dice. (laughing) One success. Let me spend willpower to re-roll. Oh, Jesus. Make sure you mark it off on your sheet. Yeah, I know.
Two successes? Two, yeah.
Okay. You feel something push hard against your chest, but your legs brace, and you stand your ground. His eyes get wide, please don’t kill me! Bite him.
Please don’t kill me. Bite him.
Please don’t kill me. You’re gonna bite him? Your fangs sink into his throat. (sharp inhaling) He cries out, and then, he goes limp in your arms as power of the kiss takes over, and he loses himself in the ecstasy of it, the pleasure. It’s the most fantastic and beautiful sensation he’s ever known. Do you drink? Yes, while I feed, I grab the taser and shock the shit out of him, while I got my fangs in. Actually, I take my fangs out. I was about to say. The Beast is in charge. You don’t have that kind of presence of mind to grab any mechanics or watches or anything like that. You’re gonna drink. How many hunger are you at? I was just at one, but I particularly don’t care what happens to this kid. Fuck him. He put my son in danger, I’m fine with draining him. You’re fine to drain him dry. Fight.
You’re drinking, you’re reaching the top of the stairs to see Victor holding Clay up by his lapels, fangs in his throat, drinking deep deep– Victor, stop! The Beast doesn’t care about Annabelle or anything else. The Beast cares about being in charge. I still have Daunt up, also. That’s true.
I move to, if I can, I move to try and separate them. You want to try to move in and separate them? Yes.
Let’s see here. I believe you will have to make a roll to do that. What do I do specifically, run over and grab at full run. You need to roll resolve and composure. Victor’s scary, you’ve never seen him like this. He’s frightening. Even the night that he bit Chris, he was not as scary as this. He’s out of control, and he is going to kill this guy. He’s almost too scary to approach. Four.
Four successes? Not scary to you, however. You wanna try to rip ’em apart? I wanna make him stop. You trying to address him, or you trying to? I separate them, I will bull rush him. You don’t want that to happen. Strength plus brawl versus strength plus brawl. Meanwhile, you on the ground floor. High speed run down the stairs to the kitchen, scoop as much material as I can on the oven, turn it on, I’m starting a fire. You’re gonna burn this place to the ground. The minute that’s going, I am full blink upstairs again. Back upstairs. Jasper, you’ve run around to the back of the building. You see the three individuals that Annabelle encountered in the kitchen. They are trying to get their car started. They are in an old Volkswagen Beetle. It looks like it might be a genuine antique. I’m going to, how far away from the car am I? How far do you want to be? You’re on the scene. Am I within leaping distance? Easily.
I’m gonna take a leap and land on the hood of the car, and become visible. They’re not that strong, these old Beetles. They’re held together by building twine and spit. You land on the hood of the car, you dent it pretty good. Fortunately, the engine’s in the back on these things, instead of under the hood, so you land right on it,
Yup. Staring into the windshield? And I go.
The young man behind the wheel lets out a shriek of terror as he sees your face, and he fumbles with the gearshift, and tries to turn the key over. He manages to turn the windshield wipers on. I’d like to…
(laughing) Using my Soaring Leap strength that I have, I would like to kick the front window out. Smash it in?
Yeah. (laughing)
Foot goes right through it. It shatters into a million little pieces. He shouts again, and tries to dive out of the car. I wanna try and grab him before– Through the windshield?
Through the windshield. Strength plus brawl. He hasn’t got many places to go. (dice rattling) One success. One success is enough to beat him. Reaching through the broken windshield, you grab him by the grimy tee shirt and yank him halfway out on top of the hood. Where do you do think you’re going? (shouts) Nowhere, nowhere. That’s what I thought.
Oh, fuck me! Annabelle? Four successes.
Four successes? Three successes. You manage to wedge yourself between the two of them and push hard, summoning every ounce of your undead strength. Your fangs come out of his neck, but it is too late. Remove your hunger die. I go over and get my gun. No, you’re still pinned by me. You’ve got him, your fangs are out? He is dead, he goes completely limp, his head lulls to the side. She is right in front of you, trying to pull you apart. She succeeded in pulling me apart, so I guess I’ll just drop the body. And I go get my gun.
The Beast is sated. He has done what he has told, you have fed. You are in charge and back in control. You are Victor once again. You’re gonna go search for your gun. Yes.
Okay. I don’t say a word to her. I literally–
This would be about the time that you reach the top of the stairs. And again, he appears as if from nowhere. We’ve gotta get out now. Everybody out now. I should tell you what happened when you tipped it over. All those pots, those pans, the Crock Pot, pressure cooker, of course, all spilled open, and liquids, different colors, sickly yellows, vile greens, and, of course, something that looks like it might be cooking blood, all spill out onto the floor. Is it getting weird? It’s getting very very weird. I’m grabbing both of them, and I’m trying to drag them full speed. A weird yellowish haze is beginning to form over the work tables. I’m gone.
You’re out of here? I’m grabbing both of ’em. Is there anybody else? Do we hear any other voices in? You stop to listen?
Yeah. I soaring leap to get away from him if I have to. I need my gun. You’re searching on the ground, I’m not gonna fight you on that. Looking for your weapon underneath the, hey, there it is, it’s under one of those crappy aluminum shelves. Is there anybody else?
You don’t think so. Pull pull pull. You feel hands on your shoulders. Now, now, go.
Where’s the other one? Go, now! Okay. Meanwhile, on the hood of the car. The guy I’ve got, head on the hood of the car, try and knock him out. You smash his head down, brawl plus strength. Meanwhile, the other fellow in the car and the young woman, are running away down the alley, trying to get into the neighborhood. No successes.
One success. One success? You slam his head right on the car. Immediately clock that there’s two more people in the car, right? They have exited the car, and they are headed down the alleyway. I’m charging off after ’em.
They see Victor. Do I, oh sorry.
Do you? Do I hear screaming outside? No, there’s no screaming. The dude screamed when he landed on the hood. He shouted, oh fuck me.
Right. Yeah.
No other screaming? You’re a little bit busy up here. Okay, then I’m just gonna leave. Gonna depart with your gun? I was gonna fly out the window if I heard any of it, but if I don’t, then I’ll go down stairs. Understand. We’re in the alley, correct?
Yes. They’re still in the alley?
Yes. They are making their way very hurriedly down the other end. Can I Soaring Leap forwards, this sends me five meters, would that put me with them? Probably put you right behind them. Immediately behind them.
Boom. Grab.
You wanna try and grab ’em? Yeah.
Okay. (whistling) Strength and athletics. It’s a pretty high difficulty to grab two fleeing people. Alright.
Annabelle. I am pulling at preternatural speed out of the house. Are you putting up any resistance, or are ya gonna let him yank ya? I’m gonna go.
You’re gonna go? I’m gonna go with him.
Alright, headed for the door.
If can hear anything. In the blink of an eye, you are there. You have never moved this fast in your life. Maybe when you drove an automobile as fast as possible speed have you moved this fast. It’s a good thing you don’t breathe anymore, because your lungs, for sure, would be out of breath. You cover the distance between that weird hideous laboratory and its disgusting contents and the front door in no time at all, and suddenly, you are out in the front yard. I’m gonna even see if I can get– You wanna get a little further? Even a little further. You could probably get all the way to the other side of the street. Yep.
Victor, you are leaving. I didn’t spill anything this time, though. Not a drop. When they decide–
Five successes? (laughing) On your way out, as you descend down the stairs, you smell the unmistakable scent of fire, and smoke. Something is burning, and yes, there is smoke coming from the kitchen, and the Beast feels fear. The other direction.
Yeah. Away from that.
Out the door? Yeah.
Okay. Does that put me out the front door or the back door? That would put you out the front door, would be closest. Jasper, five successes. You lay a clawed hand on two shoulders. They shout, they shriek, they drop their drugs. They freeze.
We’re not finished. (smacking) (laughing)
You could kill them. Alright. I would prefer not to, but in the moment, we’ll see what happens. (dice rattling) Shit. (laughing) Six successes.
(laughing) I’m gonna do critical. You remember the part about not killing them? Yep. You think you might have overshot the mark a little bit. Their skulls come together with a sickening crunch. There is blood and bone. You’re not sure if they’re dead, but they both collapse noiselessly to the ground. Oops. And I drag them back towards the car. Across the street. When they disappoint you, when their answers disappoint you, just find me. Find me and– Hey! Sorry, babydoll, and I’m so proud of you. Give her a hug, and I’m out. You’re headed out?
I’m blink gone. Back to campus? Back somewhere. Hold that thought. Victor, you emerge from the front door. You think Carver was standing there for a moment, talking to Annabelle, but now she’s alone, and a voice has shouted, hey! Do I see the car that, was Ebe out front? You don’t see Ebe anywhere. Who said hey is definitely a question. Indeed.
The person who said hey is Francis, the other member of Sour Sugar, who is approaching up the street, backpack over one shoulder, stopped about three or four dozen yards away from where Annabelle is, pointing at you, hey! I’m on my way out. If I heard that hey, I would just clock them on the way out. You want to move in his direction? Yep.
Okay. You can move at incredible speed and take an action. Yep.
Faster than he can see you. I’m gonna count this as a surprise attack. Brawl and strength.
Brawl and strength. Are you hitting as hard as you can? I know what he is, right?
Yes. Sure.
Make a rouse check. That’s the red one, right?
One hunger die. Fail. Add one to your hunger. You’re at two now.
We cool. I feel great right now. That’s not a real die.
Yeah, it’s not. Here, I’ll just drop it in for you there. Hey, one, two, three, four, five successes. Five successes. There’s a very satisfying feeling as your fist connects with his jaw on the way. Annabelle, you don’t see him move. What you see is Francis snap backwards and go down on his butt, right on the sidewalk. His backpack falls off his shoulder, he shakes his head. There’s a huge bruise, his jaw might even be broken. You’re not sure. I run over to him.
You race over to him. What, what, what hit me? Car, car, some bus, truck?
An asshole, okay. Clay, are you there?
No, shh! Clay is gone.
What do you mean he’s gone? He’s gotta wait for me, I got the stuff. He’s dead, okay, so count yourself lucky that you just got a broken jaw. Jasper, you have three bodies. You check to see if the two you crushed were alive. I’m gonna check to see if they’re alive. Now, let us recall your convictions. I do not believe that you have violated any of them. I have not. I’m not happy about it, though. You don’t consider them to be innocent? They were definitely not doing something good for the general populous. Interesting interpretation. Do you feel that they deserved to die? No. I think there’s a stain on your humanity, so make a slash mark through it, and you’ll have to work to scrub that out, Copy.
Before it catches up to you. Victor.
I look at him, mesmerism. Shut up and don’t move.
Clay. You have Francis.
Francis. You have walked over to approach. No, no, shut up! No, you’ve done enough!
I don’t even wait for her. Shut up and don’t move. Interesting situation. She can’t stop me from talking. She cannot stop you from talking, but she can make it a lot harder for you to succeed by interfering. You’ll have a much easier success rate, actually, the thing to do is add dice to it. Go ahead and roll. I still have all.
Plan B’s just to kill him. Are you trying to use Awe and persuade him not to do it? I have Daunt.
An interesting conundrum. Awe versus Daunt. Let’s settle it this way. Let’s first check the Mesmerism here. What did you get?
Only one. Only one success, hardly matters then. Annabelle, what are you trying to get Victor to do? Just shut up, just shut up! You don’t get to talk. That’s more intimidating. That’s true. Do you want to try to persuade him? Just stop, you’ve done enough. Please! Go ahead and roll charisma and persuasion. Something is happening here, and you feel it in your gut, and the Beast feels it, and you’re not sure what it is. You haven’t felt this before. With awe?
With awe. Your willpower, how much unspent willpower do you have? Roll two regular dice. Rolling your willpower pool, Jesus. Seven.
Crit. Four, seven. She’s right, she’s right. It’s okay to be calm for now. You can always murder later. You feel that Annabelle is right. It’s time to take a breath, if you still breathed, to take a moment and assess the situation. Stop, he’s just a kid. I call Ebe, and while it’s dialing, I say, the kid upstairs is eating people. And I caught her.
You eat people. You don’t get to judge like that. You call Ebe, and you let her know that the kid upstairs is eating people. No, I say to her while the phone’s ringing, I’m like, the kid upstairs was eating people, and when Ebe answers, I’m like, we need a pickup at the address. On my way, sir. Look, Francis–
What do you mean, he’s dead? Shh! I take his head in my hands. Tenderly, that bruise on the jaw is really bad. It’s amazing it’s not busted. Francis, with Awe still on, who are you working for, what were you doing there? Please, just talk to me. Look, look, it’s all this big thing. You guys are in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s not personal, it’s just business. It’s just business. Blaine wants what you got. He wants the college.
What is drops? He wants Hollywood. Drops is, that was Clay’s idea. Clay’s a genius, are you sure he’s gone? He’s an absolute genius.
He was. He could cook anything. You wouldn’t believe what he could make. What does it do? It makes ’em feel good, and it makes what we can do work easier on them. It makes them susceptible. Look. I’m sorry, but nobody wants us.
Who’s us? You know, thin bloods. Nobody wants us.
What are you talking about? Why would anybody not want you? Hey, look, why don’t you ask your friend there? Isn’t that right, nobody wants us, Victor? We didn’t ask to be this, you know? Didn’t ask for it. Well, boo fucking hoo, bro.
See? See? They don’t, nobody wants us. The unbound don’t want us, the tower doesn’t want us, and if we don’t make friends, the hunters’ll get us. You don’t have to do this, though. Yeah, yeah, we do. There’s no other way for us. But–
Just let me go, I’ll leave town, you’ll never see me again– Absolutely not. Don’t let him. Behind you, flames begin to lick at the boarded up windows, starting to smoke. This’ll be noticed soon. Can I come around the corner from where I am? What have you done with your victims? The two that are dead? Put back in the house. The house that’s on fire?
The house that’s on fire. When you open the back door– I stand out of the way in case there’s a back draft. You feel the wave of heat, you can see the glow of the flames. I need you to make a frenzy check here. Resolve plus composure?
Both, yeah, together. No hunger dice.
No hunger dice, got it. That’s what I was going to do. Three successes.
Three successes, okay. You can hold the door open long enough to put the bodies in,
And shut the door. But what about the boy who’s just unconscious? I leave him where he is. You leave him on the hood of the car, unconscious? Unconscious, and then I wanna head back around where I hear them shouting. To the sidewalk across the street. I would like to show up right at the end of their conversation there. You wanna hang back until you think they’re finished talking? Whenever I’m there, I wanna be there. Any stops along the way, Carver? I’m just out of shot of all this, and I’m watching from a distance. I’m not listening to anything, I’m just watching. Do you check what you took?
Oh yeah. It’s what you thought it would be. It’s a spiral-bound notebook, just like college students would use, and page after page is formula. Alchemical symbols, mathematical symbols, recipes, shit you have never heard of. Some of the ingredients are frankly disgusting, but there’s no question that it’s authentic. This leaves one last little problem then. Make a wits plus occult roll, please. Do I have to do a hunger dice with, too, or no? (crosstalk) Two red. Yes, you do.
No, plus occult. (dice rattling) That’s four successes.
Four? You flip to the last page. That’s not an alchemical formula at all, that’s writing. It’s a note, and it reads, I need this back when you’re done, and it’s signed with a letter B. Fuck. Fuck. Victor and Annabelle, Jasper. What? Oh god, you’re one of them! You’re like Nick! Holy shit! I’ll deal with him.
No! No, don’t let him deal with me, Annabelle! You be quiet. And I bring him back– He starts shouting bloody murder, help, he’s gonna kill me!
Put my hand over his mouth. (muffled speaking) Jasper, what are you gonna do? (muffled speaking)
Trust me. Has Ebe arrived yet?
And I leave. You see headlights coming up the street. The neighbors here, in this part of town, know better than to look out of their windows. Yeah, 911 response time should be low out here. I’m gonna bring him back to the car where his friend is? You gonna drag him around the house? He’s kicking and screaming, but you’re much stronger than he is. His eyes, as he’s being dragged away, are pitiful. He’s looking at you. I’m gonna… Trust me. Calm down, and then I leave back around the house. What do you when you get there? And Annabelle, do you follow? I trust him. What happens when you arrive? I put him up against the car. Quiet.
(muffled speaking) Take your friend in this car and leave. No one else here is alive. It’s just the two of you, you leave town, you don’t talk about any of this, or what happened to the three of them happens to you. Got it?
I got it, I got it, I got it. Don’t take the car, it’s conspicuous. Leave on foot. You carry him like he’s a drunk and help him walk. I got it, I got it.
Go. And then, I’m gonna get into the SUV that’s back there that you guys left and drive away. Do you stay to make sure he does as he’s told? I do, I get in the SUV, and I sit and wait. You sit and wait. You enter the SUV, you sit. I don’t think the keys are in it, they’re probably with you. I probably would’ve left ’em. Left ’em in there. He does as he’s told. Pulls up his friend by the shoulder, puts an arm around himself. He’s not very strong, but he can do this, and slowly makes his way down the alley. You watch until they disappear from sight? And they drive.
Then you turn the ignition and drive around. Once I get out of the alley, I take the opposite way from where I need to go, which is campus, and I make a long route back around to– Taking the scenic route?
Yes. Ebe arrives. She is dressed in a very sleek black utility suit, with work boots, and she’s wearing the red earrings. I hop in the front seat, and I let the window down, and I say, are you coming? Yeah. I am.
Behind you, I climb in the backseat. The windows upstairs burst outward in fire. Flame,
Shit. Begins to heat the house. I look around, and see if I can see anybody. Jasper, or Carver, or anybody, before I get in. Definitely don’t see Carver. He’s somewhere in the night, and Jasper has driven away. I assume you saw the SUV leave, ’cause it came out front. Take one last look at the raging inferno of the house. This house is gonna go. The fire department isn’t gonna be here nearly in time. I, as soon as we’re driving, I text Abrams everything, except I don’t mention Carver, but I mention thin bloods, drugs, the people, the address. I tell ’em everything, ’cause this is his land, right? This is Abrams’ domain? It is still part of Hollywood. I was like, you should know. What exactly do you tell him? I exactly tell him, what were their names, Clay and what? Francis. I say Clay and Francis, a couple of thin bloods, were doing some kind of fucked up experiments on humans on your land, but they’re out of business now. And I describe to the best of my ability what I saw. Like I said, I don’t mention anything about Carver, but besides that, I pretty much tell him. So we’re omitting the existence of Carver? Yes. But I tell him the rest of the truth about what happened. That’s quite a long text message, so that’ll take a couple of minutes perhaps to get all the details down. Where do you wish Ebe to drive? (sighing) The club, actually, because the campus is probably still overrun with riot cops, and I don’t want Annabelle to do anything stupid. Should we drive by it, sir?
No. Very well, sir. It has been on the news. The police dispersed student protesters, tear gas was used. There were injuries and several arrests. Can I text Mark?
Absolutely. I’ll say, have the attorney check in the morning to see if he was arrested. And her Eleanor, also, and I use Eleanor’s full name, which you may or may not have known I know, to see if either of them were arrested. Very well, sir. Where have you been?
Busy, sir. Jasper, where do you go? I’m heading back to park his car where it belongs, ’cause I don’t know what to do with it. So I’m going back to our place on campus. Approaching campus, you can see that there has, in fact, been a pretty serious clash between students and the police. There are ambulances here now, treating students for tear gas injuries. You’re not sure exactly how many students were hurt, or how badly. There are a lot of police around. There is a police car blocking the entrance to the parking garage. They are stopping vehicles going in and out to check. Then I’ll just make a right or a left, whichever way I can, and move on. Whichever way.
I’m gonna drive back near the street that we were on, keeping my eyes out to see if he’s anywhere. Carver is a conspicuous individual. Are you anywhere? Are you near the campus at all? Once I felt that I was a safe distance from everything, I got on my cell phone and started seeing how my little unbirthday present was working out. Your preparations? It confirmed that it was taken care of as you instructed. Mark does text you back, Annabelle. Texts you a photograph of himself. He’s been beaten up. He’s got a split lip and a black eye, and he’s smiling. (Annabelle crying)
He looks pleased. The text reads, I gave as good as I got. Chicks dig scars.
(Annabelle crying) Text back, that’s what I hear. Eleanor? She got hurt. You should see her. I want to.
You should. Hey, I gotta go, there’s reporters here. I gotta give an interview.
(laughing) Okay, Mister Hero. Love you, babe. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOX. Give ’em hell. Out of character, do I know what happened to Eleanor? Eleanor put up a really good fight, according to your associates. She took a tire iron to one of them, and he’s going to need some repair work. Is Eleanor alright?
She will be. Did she go to the hospital to get checked out? She went to the student infirmary on campus. I’m gonna send some flowers to the student infirmary if she’s there. Any note or card?
Yes. It’s gonna say, happy un-birthday, babydoll. Beware of B. Beware of B. I have made a note. Check the playlist. Playlist has a surprising song listed on it. Home. (heavy breathing) I don’t happen to see him while I’m driving, do I? You do not. Do you dump the car? I find street parking near the school. Do you park where it’s gonna get towed in the morning? No. Very well.
This time. And then I activate Unseen Presence before I leave the car, and I’m fine.
Ebe reminds you that an hour before dawn, sir, you have a phone conversation on your schedule. Roughly how long is that from now? We have sufficient time, sir. ‘Cause I need to take it somewhere where she won’t hear me. Miss Annabelle, where would like me to take you? I’ll go home. At once. I’m gonna head towards Annabelle’s. You know where that is.
I do. I reply, I put on the playlist, Will I Find My Home, the acoustic version. The playlist has a feature that allows you to know when it’s been seen, and it has been. Ebe skillfully maneuvers the vehicle through the streets, headed toward the destination that was indicated to her by Annabelle. Jasper gets there first, however, having been closer, a short walk from where you left the car. I’m waiting outside the door. Are you visible?
Not yet. Annabelle lets herself out, and you don’t follow, I take it. You stay with Ebe. Where to, sir? Just drive, I don’t wanna go too far, in case things get sticky for them. Scenic route, sir?
Yes, and when the time is right, I make my call. Jasper and Annabelle. When you get to your front door, you just hear, they’re not dead.
Oh, Jesus Christ. They’re alive. Two of them, Francis and one other, are alive. What happened to the other ones? Mistakes. My mistakes. Not like what you saw the first night. Different mistakes. I can’t say I approve, but everybody makes mistakes. I didn’t expect you to approve. Are you alright? Physically, yeah.
Carver leave? He did. What happened in the house? I went upstairs, and Victor– Did something bad. Right?
He killed, he killed the kid.
Clay. He’s the only one I didn’t see. How? He drank, and he’s gone. That happens when you drink all of it, and they go. And then he gets to be free for a little bit. It’s not really fair. I didn’t mean to kill them, if that helps? It’s not something I like to do. I don’t think you’re a bad person. (laughing happily) People make mistakes.
That’s nice. Yeah, I’m extremely upset, but I imagine you had did the best you could, right? We need to do better as a team. We can’t keep running in and breaking everything we find. We’re gonna get killed because of it. We need to be better. You know that I’m going too-
That was my next question. You are– Gone.
Gone. It’s not long before the sun rises, long enough for a private phone call with a special individual, long enough to find a place to sleep for the night and read what you’ve taken, long enough to be reunited before the day’s sleep claims you again, and long enough to get home. Before we end tonight’s story, we’d like to thank our very special guest vampires, Bex Taylor-Kraus as Ramona,
(applauding) Taliesin Jaffe as Carver. (applauding) We’d also like to shout out to Cynthia Marie, who couldn’t be here with us tonight, because she’s feeling very very ill. Get better soon. We need our Nellie. I owe you a vampire game. I’m very pleased to tell you that next week we’ll be joined by another special guest vampire, Miss Satine Phoenix.
(gasping) What could possibly go wrong? No negative repercussions.
None. Thank you very much for joining us for our chronicle. Vampire the Masquerade, LA By Night, Chapter Five, What I Am. Bye, everyone.
Good night. (upbeat music)

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