The sun sets on New Orleans, casting its red glow over the buildings and streets. The coterie takes it upon themselves to investigate the domain that they now have to care for on behalf of their sires. Their first priority is to secure a shared haven in the domain. Cross and Mayfair both recognise the domain a quite valuable, smack bang in the middle of New Orleans and crossing four districts.
And herein is where Foucault recognises the major disadvantage.
The CBD is ruled by the Prince but is open to all Kindred to cross and feed. The Warehouse District teems with Nosferatu warrens, the Clan is not well liked in the city and this has always traditionally been their ghetto. Treme is Baron Cimitiere’s domain, the poor black community is sequestered here and Vodoun is rife. The French Quarter is controlled by Antoine Savoy, self-styled Lord of the French Quarter and would be Prince in waiting.
Augusto Vidalhates the usurpers Cimitiere and Savoy and the coterie have been placed smack bang in the middle of these factions… No Man’s Land. Their rent is to laughably stop Kindred from crossing the domain or failing that report on them.
Whilst pacing out the domain Foucault immediately suggests that they secure human informants who can spot the signs. Cross gives two options, law enforcement who have the power and the homeless who are invisible. Mayfair suggests organising the Worms in return for feeding rights.
Foucault quickly realises that the Baron is defensive; he isn’t interested in expansion or territory. He controls most of the vodounisants in New Orleans and could shut down the city very quickly. All he cares about is his flock of worshipers.
Savoy is extremely ambitious and Foucault believes that the French Quarter is probably where the danger will lie. Foucault points out that they will need to get on Savoy’s side. Mayfair disagrees, ally more fully with Vidal. That is where the power lies. Cross quietly suggests that perhaps because the Baron is the most defensive, the coterie could ally with him to concentrate on the domain threats of Savoy.
Mayfair remembers his sire mentioning the Nosferatu Priscus, Miss Opal who despite not being given the Warehouse District is strong enough to hold it with her age and the respect from her Clan. The fact that she is a Carthian and is so helpful to neonates in Kindred society has led to her being referred to as ‘Momma’. It is her presence in the Warehouse District that has prevented it being ripped apart by the Sanctified, being technically a part of the CBD.
Foucault muses at the map of their domain, spread out over his car bonnet. His finger idly traces the lines of the road. A growing sense of unease builds. The territory is centred on a crossroads and in the middle of the crossroads is where Storyville used to be… where the Prophecy states that ‘the child of the 7th Generation’ is to find a birthright. In occult lore a crossroads is known for making deals with the Devil but it also is know as gateways to other places.
Focusing on the more physical matter of the domain, Foucault says that regardless they should keep on Vidal’s good side by making sure they pay their rent. It’s pretty hard to maintain tabs on Nosferatu and judging on the area their domain covers there could be one Nosferatu or a coterie. Mayfair’s sire Gabrielle has moved her haven to within the boundaries of the domain staying within Baron Cimitiere’s portion.
Marcus only cares about a warehouse. He has told Foucault to do what he wants, politics is a nice distraction and can serve to sharpen a Kindred’s teeth but there are more important things. He has asked Foucault to organise some security for the abandoned warehouse. Warehouse #9.
Cross knows that a particular Invictus Daeva called Rhett Carver serves Savoy and controls the Northern French Quarter which includes their domain. Carver also happens to be Valentine’s sire. Which ‘could’ be a problem.
Foucault voices an impression that has been building over some time. The coterie’s job is to maintain the status quo, acting as part gamekeeper and part diplomat. There is also the expectation that the sires ’can’t’ fulfill this obligation but the childer aren’t their sires.
Cross points out the French Quarter. It is prime feeding grounds, a tourist mecca it can support a great deal more Kindred than its population suggests. This is where Savoy gets a lot of his power from, trading feeding rights for service.
Given the situation they find themselves in, Cross suggests that they need to send a message, they need to prove their authority, and they need to make an example of someone.
Patting his pockets Foucault realises with a sinking feeling he has lost ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’, a gift from his sire and his route into the mysterious secret society that Marcus belongs to. But his loss is not the only thing missing, Cross has lost his driving license and Mayfair has lost his riding crop.
Yet Foucault does find an old gold coin in his pocket, with no idea how he came by it
Hampton visits his brother Sebastian Mayfair. The door is opened by his father who fails to bat an eyelid at the reappearance of his son and simply walks away, his face a mixture of disgust and disappointment. Mayfair fights against his Beast as it urges him to tear his father apart for the slight. Steeling himself he crosses the threshold and walks up the stairs to find his brother.
The bedroom door is open, Sebastian lies on his four poster bed (Hampton only had a double) reading a book on business. Hampton pushes the door open and Sebastian looks up. He shuffles back, a look of surprise on his face.
“Brother” – Sebastian
“You can still call me Hampton, Babie” – Hampton
“What can I do for you? Did Vinter find you?” – Sebastian
“Ain’t see Vinter in a little while… actually how is the old dawg?” – Hampton
“Very well. His instruction has been quite educational. I wanted to you speak to you actually” – Sebastian
“Really? Formally or… I was hoping we could talk. Clear the air” – Hampton
Sebastian nods, rolls off the bed keeping it between himself and his brother.
Mayfair’s Beast surges again but he clamps his fingers into his palms, locking the cage door to his Beast, forcing it into temporary submission.
Sebastian relaxes a little and comes forward holding one pillar of the four poster bed.
“My initiation is very soon and I was wondering… what’s it like?” – Sebastian
“Oh I gotta tell you Seb, it’s really something. Its… tell you what lets have a drink to celebrate. Let’s go out to the veranda and watch the clouds?” – Hampton
“Like the good ol’ days” – Sebastian, smiling for the first time
“Yeah, like the good ol’ days, you know some things don’t ever change and that’s what you got to look forwards to Seb” – Hampton
“I understand it’s quite a big responsibility” – Sebastian
“Absolutely. An’ that’s what Mayfairs, we’re born for. That’s why we’re chosen for these responsibilities. Normal folk, they can’t be expected to cope with the sacrifices. Its not a bad sacrifice all told, it’s the good sacrifice to ensure that things stay the way they oughta. The folks who are supposed to be in charge, they stay in charge, that kinda thing” – Hampton
Hampton laughs, guiltily holds up a bottle of wine
“Now I got something from the cellar, don’t you go an’ tell Pa now” – Hampton
Hampton has secretly added some ‘claret’ to his claret. They walk out to the veranda.
“Yeah, Pa don’t like your name being bandied round no more. Makes him mighty mad” – Sebastian, nursing his shoulder with a wince
“Here’s to your coming change Seb” – Hampton
They clink glasses
“And here’s the thing, first time in gawd knows how long, two Mayfair brothers have got to go in to it together” – Hampton
“Well, I never thought ’bout it like that. Makes a certain kind of sense” – Sebastian
“Drink up” – Hampton
“To you’re good health, Hampy” – Sebastian
“Well I ain’t got any more of that no more” -Hampton
They drink. Hampton grimacing at the taste. Sebastian’s eyes dilate; his body relaxes as he drains the glass.
“Do you know Hampy, I don’t think I have felt as close to you as I do right now. I don’t care what Vinter says, an’ I don’t care what Pa says… you an’ me we’re blood and just so you know we’re gonna keep talkin’. They told me, you’re a bad apple, you’re a bad seed now an I wasn’t supposed to talk to you but you always got a brother in me” – Sebastian
“Well I’m real pleased to hear that. What say we make these meetings in private henceforth? An’ jus’ in case Vinter gets any bad ideas about what I’m saying to you… now I’m not allowed to tip you off about what’s forthcoming, an’ I won’t do that but I think there’s some things it would be good for you to know. So, maybe we could have a confab every now an’ then, keep ups this discussion. I gotta say it’s nice to hear it, it’s nice to know that there is still some place for me in the family” – Hampton
“Well you know Ma’s real cut up since what happened. She’s got a bit worse. Pa don’t seem to care over much. I’ve been looking after her. There was one thing I meant to tell you, I needed to talk to you about, someone came looking for you. A doctor. I don’t know if you know his name. I got his card here somewhere” – Sebastian searches for the card
He hands it over.
“He said his name was Abner Broadbank. Real weird looking fella. Had a scarf over most of his face. He said you’d invited him round for a bite” – Sebastian
Hampton recognises the name as one of Belial’s Brood that Seth told him about but his sire failed to mention.
“He said something about, if he doesn’t catch up with you, he’ll be back. Kind of gave me the heebie jeebies if you know what I’m saying” – Sebastian
“Don’t you be worrying about yon Abner. I owe him a visit. He’s a real CARD! A real card is Abner. Yeah” – Hampton
There is a moment of silence. Hampton’s mind racing.
“Just a little tip, in case you haven’t already been told. It’s always useful to have a little bit of that petroleum around the place, just in case things get a bit heated, its effective. An’ hey you can forget about you’re huntin’ pistol, better off with Daddy’s cavalry sabre. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, suppose Vinter should have told you already” – Hampton
“Well, Vinter gave me this hip flask” – Sebastian
Sebastian unscrews the silver flask. Hampton can smell gasoline.
“He never mentioned nothing ‘bout Pa’s cavalry sabre…” – Sebastian
“I reckon you should start up your fencing practice again” – Hampton
“I gotta tell ya. I got bruises. Vinter’s really been working me hard. Over the last year it’s been insane” – Sebastian
“Yeah, he’ll do that and you want yourself to be in the best shape you can get. You don’t ever get any bother” – Hampton
“If you get a chance you should talk to Mom” – Sebastian
“Yeah. I’ll see about that, Papa going anywhere near her room these days?” – Hampton
“Every night” – Sebastian
“Shit, how old is Momma now? She ain’t got it in her to have another babby” – Hampton
“I don’t think Pa cares. Someone has to carry on the family name” – Sebastian
“Well… go get a girl pregnant, fast, you dipshit. How old is you?” – Hampton
“Pa says not to now that I been instructed to take the initiation” – Sebastian
The glass cracks in Hampton’s hand.
“That pig. That sonofabitch. Fuck. Fucking shit” – Hampton
After getting a random stranger to deliver a note to Stella Mayfair asking for her to meet him at the Nite Owl Diner, Foucault sets out to track down his former Mafia contact, Alphonse Marcello at Mosca’s Restaurant just outside of New Orleans.
Foucault walks in to the understated traditional Italian decor, set against polished mahogany fixtures.
Al sits alone in a booth near the rear of the restaurant, finishing a large meal and savouring a glass of red wine. He looks up as Foucault approaches.
“Foucault. It’s been a while.” – Al
“It has. What are you drinking there?” – Foucault
“You know me, a sweet sweet Cabernet Sauvignon” – Al
“Beautiful. Another?” – Foucault
“Well if you’re buying, I’m drinking” – Al, shaking the dregs of his last bottle
Foucault gets another bottle and secretly adds a drop of blood to Al’s glass before pouring and returning to the table.
“How’s business?” – Foucault, placing the glass in front of Al
“Business is good; you know what it’s like in N’Awlins. Tony C going down shook up the pecking order, some bad blood with the rackets but doing well. Bella, he’s ok. Asking after you” – Al
“Interesting you should say that, I heard (sipping wine) a rumour that someone put a hit out on me.” – Foucault
Al drinks, seeming not to hear. He pauses before looking directly at Foucault.
“Nothing that I’ve heard. Why would anyone do that? You’re not part of the family. Everyone appreciates your input… apart from Tony C of course. He ain’t goin’ nowhere, he’s gone down for 40 years” – Al
“I’m concerned Tony C’s friends on the outside might want payback” – Foucault
Al wipes his mouth with his napkin.
“Tell you what I’ll do. I’ll look into it. Seriously, you got no worries. You’re good with me. Good with the boss. Forget about it.” – Al
“Any work at the moment? Something I could help with” – Foucault
Al pauses, studying the ‘legs’ on his wine.
“One thing. Not really you’re line of work, not really. There is one guy, know the Nite Owl? He saw something he shouldn’t have an’ now he’s one of these ‘do the right thing’ kind of people. We want him to do the right thing for us if you know what I mean. If you could sort that out, it’d help.” – Al quietly
“Do you want him to leave town or…?” – Foucault, letting the sentence trail off
“Just tell him to shut the fuck up. I’m not asking for a piece of work here, just a bit of action. Just make sure he don’t testify” – Al
“I can be persuasive” – Foucault
“Always done right by me” – Al
“This guy’s name?” – Foucault
“Frank. Something or other. Don’t know the last name. He’s a real stand up citizen but he needs to sit down for a while.” – Al
“I understand” – Foucault
“He’s got sweat on his brow and calluses on his hands, he doesn’t know how the world works” – Al, holding up his perfectly manicured hands.
“What did he see?” – Foucault
“Don’t need to know” – Al
Foucault nods and gets up to leave. Al produces a card.
“By the way. You know a Broadbank? Dr Abner Broadbank? He’s been hanging round, freaky looking fella, scarf over his face. Only see his eyes. Tell a lot about a man from his eyes and let’s say I’d like our mutual friends with me if I met him again.” – Al
“Ok. I might pay him a visit. (to Al) Tomorrow night?” – Foucault, taking the card from Al’s fingers
“I’m always here. Except when I’m not. Say 6pm. We could have some dinner?” – Al
“Maybe another time? I’ll pop in for a drink about 9pm” – Foucault
Al stands and gives Foucault a big hug, patting him on the back. His eyes are dilated, turning his irises almost black.
As Foucault walks out Al shouts after him “For God’s sake eat something. You look paler than a Bishop’s dick”
Jacob Cross pulls up outside his family home in Mid City. He pushes the Vitae to his flesh, mimicking life. As he walks up the family driveway he concentrates on pushing out his vampiric charm.
Cross opens the door “Honey. I’m home”
A muffled voice travels down the hall.
“I’m in the kitchen, Sweetie” – Rebecca Cross
He pokes his head into the living room and sees his son Thomas sitting too close to the television set.
“Hey buddy” – Cross
“Hey Dad!” – Tommy, a ball of energy and enthusiasm scrambles to his feet alight with childish joy at the sight of his father
“Catch any dune bugs today?” – Cross
“What’s a dune bug?” – Tommy
Cross beams “I have no idea. You doing good in school?”
“Yeah. My teacher gave me an A… in science!” – Tommy
“That’s good son, keep it up. I’m going to talk to your mom” – Cross
Jacob enters the kitchen, his wife Rebecca has just taken an apple pie out of the oven. Her apron has a very modest streak of flour but her makeup, hair and clothes are immaculate. She gives his him a chaste kiss on the cheek.
“How’s things?” – Cross
“Things are good. The church group…” – Rebecca
Cross just nods, smiles and makes encouraging noses at the domestic news.
“Listen honey, I’ve got some news, some good news. The company, they’ve offered me a new job. Here in the city” – Cross
“Oh, wow!” – Rebecca
“I’ll be just around the corner. I was wondering, this place I know is home but maybe we could get somewhere more central” – Cross
“A move? But I’ve decorated” – Rebecca
“Sure honey and you’ve done a bang up job but I was thinking a little more space… Its just I know I haven’t been around much lately, you know I try and make a living for you and Tommy. I want to do right by you, my daddy he never did right by me, so I was thinking maybe I could get somewhere” – Cross
“That… that sounds wonderful” – Rebecca
Rebecca looks around the house, biting her lip.
“I could pack up the house in maybe a couple of days. Would you like to handle the removals? A friend of mine at church group, she said there is this great company…” – Rebecca
“I’m sure you can handle the details honey, I have faith in you.” – Cross
“Where were you thinking of moving too?” – Rebecca
“That would be quaint! I’ve seen some fantastic properties there, we’ll have to probably ask my daddy for some money” – Rebecca
“Don’t worry about that, I’ll take care of it. Haven’t I always taken care of you baby?” – Cross
“There’s just one thing, this new job… I’ve been working with some interesting people. Meeting people. Some of them take it a mite seriously, a little more than they should” – Cross
“Are they ambitious?” – Rebecca
“You have no idea, baby. I was wondering if anyone had come around here looking for me? Just in case” – Cross
“Well, it’s funny you should mention that (pulling two cards from the dresser), there was a police officer, a Lieutenant Russo, said something about a Tania. I said she was probably one of your clients” – Rebecca
“Oh. Yeah? I think I sold her a vacuum cleaner, a long time ago though” – Cross
“Well he said that you should call him. I asked if you were in trouble but he said it was just routine. I believed him” – Rebecca
“Sure honey” – Cross
“And Tommy answered the door to this strange man. Scarf, big hat, big coat. At night. His name was … Dr Abner Broadbank. Said you’d invited him around for dinner, I assumed he was just one of your clients, him being a doctor and all” – Rebecca
“Well moving up in the world honey” – Cross
“He said that if he doesn’t catch up with you he’ll be back” – Rebecca
Cross turns away for a moment, gritting his teeth as his Beast hurls itself at the bars of his mind, urging him to take it out on innocent little Rebecca and Tommy. Cross grapples with his territorial instinct, trembling at the exertion.
“I’ll deal with it honey. I meet lots of interesting folk, some of them quite influential people. I’m looking forward to us going up in the world y’know. Get that place on Cloud 9, just like we always talked about” – Cross
“I know I come from money honey but I love you” – Rebecca
“I love you too darling” – Cross
They embrace and a passionate kiss. Cross’ Beast spikes again with the warmth of Rebecca’s skin. With an effort of will Cross keeps control.
“Honey, you’re trembling!” – Rebecca
“I’m fine, just too many late nights and too much coffee” – Cross
She puts a hand up to Cross’ cheek (So warm)
“You’re sweating” – Rebecca
“I think I might be coming down with something. No rest for the wicked, y’know” – Cross
“I’ve got something for you” – Rebecca, fetching an orange
“Thank you sweetheart, that’s very kind of you. I’m gonna have to eat it on the road; I have an early morning meeting in Nantucket. I’m afraid I won’t be here for dinner” – Cross
“It’s ok. I’ll wrap it for Father Gage at church group” – Rebecca
“You be careful. You’re a kind soul, don’t let them take advantage of you” – Cross, giving her a kiss on the cheek
“I’m going to check on the boy” – Cross
“He does miss you. He drew a picture of you” – Rebecca
She takes down a picture taped up on the refrigerator. It’s a crayon drawing of Jacob with his sample case. However, it’s the back of his head walking away rather than his face.
“Think he’ll mind if I take this with me?” – Cross
Rebecca shakes her head
Cross enters the lounge, sitting with Tommy listening to him talk.
“Daddy?” – Tommy, seriously
“Yes son” – Cross
“Do monsters exist? Mommy says as long as I keep the light on and say my prayers and eat my greens that they can’t hurt me but…” – Tommy
“The good Lord and the light switch will keep you safe some of the time but you know whose really gonna keep you safe?” – Cross
“Who’s that daddy?” – Tommy
“That’d be your mom, ‘cos she’s special. She’s got a good heart, a good soul. She’ll keep bad things away. This house, and any house as long as you’ve got your mother in it, it’ll be safe for you boy. And I know I haven’t been around as much as I should have but you’ve got to understand that when I’m on the road I’m earning money to keep you safe and buy you nice things” – Cross
“I know that daddy, mommy she keeps telling me how hard you work for me and her and us and I just want to say thank you and I love you” – Tommy
“I love you too son but now I got to hit the road” – Cross
Tommy is distracted by the TV.
“Oh! Buck Rogers!” – Tommy
“See you later boy” – Cross
“Bye daddy” – Tommy waves without looking
Cross waits in his car looking at the house for a moment, a bloody tear on his cheek
Foucault enters the Nite Owl and sees Frank, the owner working hard in the kitchen, connected by the serving hatch. He’s an older, stocky man. Well built but running a little towards fat.
Foucault becomes acutely aware of his distorted reflection in the floor to ceiling windows. He heads towards the counter and speaks through the hatch.
“Is it Frank?” – Foucault
“Why yes. It is, and who might I say I be talking to?” – Frank
“My name is unimportant” – Foucault
Frank raises an eyebrow and pushes his white cap further back on his head
“Well, nice to meet you Mr. Unimportant” – Frank
“But, I might be able to help you out. Do you have a break coming up?” – Foucault
“I reckon I was gonna have a cigarette break. You can meet me round back in 5 minutes” – Frank
Foucault finds Frank at the kitchen door in the shadowy back alley at the rear of the Nite Owl. Frank cups his hand and lights a cigarette, blowing a satisfied puff of smoke above his head.
“What can I do for you Mr Unimportant?” – Frank
Foucault can’t help but cautiously eye the ember on his cigarette.
“Frank I am a business man and in my work… I hear things and in my work I’ve heard that you may have seen something? It involves a criminal trial. I’ve heard that you’ve been asked to testify. I’ve also heard that if you do, very bad things will happen. I’d like to help you. In helping you, you can help me. I can give you protection” – Foucault
“I don’t appreciate honest folk being shaken down. I know it goes on but it doesn’t mean I have to like it” – Frank
“You have a beautiful business going, clearly successful. I’m very concerned that you’ll get dragged into something you really don’t want to be involved with” – Foucault
Frank stubs his cigarette out.
“Not Italian are you?” – Frank
“No, I do business with a lot of people but I’m my own man” – Foucault
“I hear what you’re saying. To be honest I was a little concerned myself. I got responsibilities. The girls here rely on this place for their tips. I can’t pay a lot. The only thing I can’t work out is your relationship to this. Why’d you care?” – Frank
“You see, if you testify its going to cause problems for you. But also, there’ll be repercussions. A lot of repercussions. That will affect my interests so if you were to do this you’d be doing me a favour. I’m a man of honour, maybe there’s something I can do for you” – Foucault
“Tell you what, I’ll go and tell that district attorney that I won’t testify” – Frank
“Is there anything that could help you, within reason, do you have any problems in terms of the business?” – Foucault
“My landlord’s been threatening to kick me out. He’s a good man, just under a lot of pressure but he’s saying he’s gonna take the Owl away from me an’ I don’t want that. You seem like a really understanding person an’ if you talk to him the way you talked to me maybe you can do something about it” – Frank
“I can be very persuasive” – Foucault
“I trust you, let me shake you by the hand” – Frank
They shake hands
“On a more personal matter, I’ve got a date with a young lady or hopefully will, I was wondering if I could make a reservation” – Foucault
Frank grins and winks
“You want a flower on the table?” – Frank
“I would. I’d also like it away from the windows, more private” – Foucault
“Understood. Thanks for bringing your sweetheart to the Owl. Appreciate it” – Frank
Hampton leaves a note in a prominent place in the Warehouse District hoping that the Nosferatu find it, saying that Hampton Mayfair III is in charge and anyone wanting to feed information to him will find access to the more succulent areas of his domain, specifying the Roxy Cinema as a meeting place on the late showing in the back row.
He investigates the Grand Palace Hotel, climbing his way to the ruined penthouse. He begins securing the windows from the sun.
The coterie gather to discuss their coterie name and domain marker. After much discussion and flashing of fangs, Foucault manipulates Cross to be the face of the coterie. They decide on “Cross & Associates” for their coterie name and a black cross for their symbol.
Foucault meets with Al, blood binding him further. He passes on the news that Frank has been sorted before reminding Al about news of the hit that Foucault suspects has been put out on him from him his mortal days.
Al shakes his head. “There is a hit out on you, Willem. Don’t know how or why. Its not Family business. But it’s not just you, there’s a Hampton Mayfair and a Jacob Cross on someone’s button list. You pissed someone off in the NOPD? The name on the handle is a Lieutenant Russo, former Internal Affairs detective now working Homicide.”
Foucault takes the news calmly his mind quickly formulating information. He guesses that the coterie has pissed someone off in Kindred society who has connections in the police department.
“Can you get me off the hook Al?” – Foucault
Al shakes his head again, his body language is crushed. He can’t look Foucault in the eye.
“The men are associates of the Family. No direct power to cancel the hit. Money has changed hands. Weapons have been handed over. They’ll have gone to ground before the hit.” -Al
“Get me Russo’s location” – Foucault
“It could take some time Willem” – Al
“What were the weapons?” – Foucault
“Tommy Guns” – Al
Internally Foucault breathes a sigh of relief.
“Fuck. That’s awful” – Foucault
With the news that the hit is to be carried out with automatic weapons Foucault realises it’s not a death threat. It’s a message.
Before meeting his sire, Marcus, Foucault arranges for a watchman to be assigned to [[Warehouse #9]], the abandoned building that Marcus cares more about than the political prestige of winning feeding grounds in New Orleans.
Foucault meets Marcus in the bar where he was Embraced. As ever it is utterly deserted with hints at activity at the periphery of the neonate’s vision. He tells Marcus that he was at the house in the Garden District and asks who the old man was.
Marcus leans back looking at Foucault strangely. His eyes boring into Foucault’s.
“How are you feeling?” – Marcus
“Nervous but…” – Foucault
“Understandable” – Marcus
Foucault explains what happened but aside from the memory loss he doesn’t appear to have had any further ill effects.
“Clear your mind, you’ll need to let me in” – Marcus, removing a patent leather glove
Marcus puts a finger on his childe’s forehead
“There is one more thing before you begin… I think he might have taken your gift” – Foucault
There is a silent pause. Marcus face is impassive, he removes his finger
“That is… unfortunate” – Marcus
“I’ll do my best to find it” – Foucault
“It was ‘only’ a first edition” – Marcus
“Hopefully it will be returned” – Foucault
“If you have lost the book, it might make your initiation into the society that much harder” – Marcus
“I am working very hard to get it back” – Foucault
“Just know that if you seek initiation, you’ll be on your own without the book” – Marcus
Marcus reaches out his finger to touch Foucault’s forehead. Time seems to stop and then rewinds, images, sounds and smells flashing past Foucault’s perception.
He sees the old man with his metal cane. His raised hand, the air disturbing around Foucault, the ghost screaming and disappearing. Stella backing away.
He is in the oubliette. ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ floats before his eyes… and shrinks to the size of a postage stamp. A ghostly version of Aaron Mayfair appears, replaying his last moments, his hand outstretched seems to swallow the book, a riding crop shrinks and appears next to the book, a driving license with Cross’s photo on it shrinks into his hands.
A small beam of light appears in the hand and becomes a full moon, hanging in the sky… above the house in the Garden District
Foucault stands outside; all the lights are on in the house. Stella is at the window.
Marcus removes his forefinger.
“Ah. I can’t go any further Foucault. There is something in your mind that has been lock boxed in some fashion. The Full Moon seems to be significant however. If I had to hazard a guess, you are under a mental compulsion to return to this house every Full Moon, once a month. The book, the riding crop, the driving license are all intimately connected to you and your coterie. Aaron Mayfair is using you to collect these objects to get connections to other Kindred for purposes… unknown. Lore suggests that these will workers can work their power at distance if they have an object of some significance to their subject” – Marcus
Marcus pulls on his glove before steepling his fingers.
“Remember my childe, any change needs to be thought about. Examine the situation first” – Marcus
“My initial assumption that he was angry with me is not necessarily correct” – Foucault
“If he were angry with you, you’d likely be ashes. I would suggest it’s more likely he thinks you might be… useful” – Marcus
“In that case it is likely to assume that he has seen everything up to that point” – Foucault
“He would have raped your mind” – Marcus
“Right” – Foucault
“Everything you have ever known, everything you have ever done. Everyone you have ever known… he knows” – Marcus
“Stella, could it be something other than a coincidence? Could her allegiance be to him?” – Foucault
“It would certainly fit the facts. However, from your memories she didn’t seem to be a ‘typical’ demon, too human. Perhaps… there are texts that suggest occultists of a certain disposition have been able to make their own vices manifest in order to more effectively deal with them. A Gnostic demon. This is not a demon from the Pit, I would hazard, this is a demon from Aaron Mayfair’s mind” – Marcus
There is a pregnant pause as Foucault soaks in this new information
“That. Is so fucked up” – Foucault
“Did you notice the genealogical similarity in appearance between the two of them and the young man counting coins? Before you went upstairs?” – Marcus
Foucault shakes his head slowly
“Perhaps a younger version of Aaron Mayfair himself? Judging by his obsessive counting of coins you have Greed. The young lady is obviously Lust. Did you meet anyone else?” – Marcus
“There was someone else in the attic but I didn’t get there. This. This is seriously messed up” – Foucault
The coterie work together to set up a joint haven in the Grand Palace Hotel. Hampton focuses on a room in the penthouse creating in all the corridors that surround it a nightmarish labyrinth filled with death traps
Foucault enters the Nite Owl and sees Stella sitting, wating for him, decked out to the nines. She’s wearing a black pencil skirt, slightly transparent white blouse, a black outline of a bra teases, the blouse opens to the curve of her breasts and a black choker with a stud hanging down from her neck.
Stella raises her eyebrow, her eyes sparkling.
Foucault, with an effort of will controls his instinct. He notices other patrons loosening collars, sweat rolling down cheeks and stealing glances at Stella. One man quickly passes, his face flushed, his eyes staring, walking awkwardly as he rushes to the exit.
“Willem. I was so glad to get your note” – Stella
“I’m glad you came” – Foucault
“Oh. I came” – Stella
“The night is yet young, have you eaten?” – Foucault
Stella shakes her head, keeping her eyes on Foucault
“Not yet” – Stella
“Shall we just get some drinks and then head off?” – Foucault
“Just water. It keeps the palette clean” – Stella
Foucault gets a glass of water and a beer acknowledging Frank’s obvious winks and thumbs up from the kitchen.
Foucault pretends to drink.
“I don’t know what happened last time, you know, afterwards. You told me to run, there was an old guy then… I was outside” -Foucault
“That was Aaron. I’m bored of him, no stamina” – Stella, arching her back
“I can understand” – Foucault
“Older gentlemen, they are fun here and there especially when you tickle their fancy but I’m looking for something new” – Stella
“I’m glad you said that…” – Foucault
Foucault notices that the light seems to have shifted, throwing her eyes into darkness, only a glint to be made out shining. The light highlights her cheek bones.
“He took something from me, a book. I need that book. It was in the note” – Foucault
“You mean this one?” – Stella, pulling out ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ from ‘somewhere’.
“You are so fucking awesome” – Foucault, takes the book, warm in his hands
“And what do I get?” – Stella, her grip tightening on the book
“Whatever you want” – Foucault
Stella lets go and turns her head to call into the kitchen
“Hey Frank, pass me the keys to the john” – Stella
Stella lifts Foucault out of his seat, pulling him with supernatural strength to the toilets, throwing Foucault inside. Foucault experiences a sensation of being back in the oubliette before Stella is on him like a wild animal.
Stella and Foucault sit back down, the food stone cold. The other patrons are sneaking glances at them both.
“Lets see what New Orleans has to offer” – Foucault
He pays the bill and gives a generous tip to Frank
As they leave, arms linked together, one of the patrons reaches out and grabs Stella’s behind. She grabs his hand and crushes it with a look of childish glee.
Foucault pats the man on the shoulder.
“That’ll teach you”
Foucault and Stella go on a whirlwind bender through the French Quarter, blending in with the revelers of Carnivale. They screw each all over the Vieux Carre, Foucault barely keeping up with the demon’s pace
He grabs hold of Stella’s arm, in the bustling crowds of the Quarter.
“Stella. What did Aaron DO to my mind?” – Foucault
“You’re just one of his thralls baby, you just do what he wants, its cool baby just go with it” – Stella
“Do you know what he wants with me?” – Foucault
“Its obvious sugah, he wants control of the Kindred court and he’s using you. You got your hooks in others, he’s got his hooks in you” – Stella
“Would he not find it more useful to have someone more willing?” – Foucault
“Why does he need a willing person? When you throw free will into the mix, it gets so complicated” – Stella
“It does but there’s also…” Foucault
“Hey. Do you want to do it with another girl? I can get her for us” – Stella
The mortal member of the menage a trois lies unconscious on the bed, entangled in the sweat and blood stained sheets, her lipstick smeared and mascara running down her cheeks. Her breath comes in strangled gasps.
Foucault sits on the edge of the bed fastening his shirt, he watches Stella slip on her skirt.
“I think that I could be more useful as a willing accomplice given that I have connections that I can exploit better if I was aware of what I was doing. Ask him if he’s interested we could both benefit from this” – Foucault
“I can do that, I can do that… have you ever fucked a man? Lets go do that” – Stella
Another hotel room in the French Quarter, another scene of debauchery. Foucault examines his distorted reflection in the mirror, his eyes move to Stella flanneling herself down. She winks at Foucault when she notices his gaze.
A constant retching sound comes from the bathroom and the seduced tourist Stella lured to the room.
“Could you fuck a man to death?” – Foucault
“Do you mean can I or have I?” – Stella
“Have. Could. Would” – Foucault
“Yes. Yes. Yes” – Stella
“Excellent. There’s a cop whose put a hit out on me and my friends and I want to send a message. I just don’t want to be obvious. I’d like this man’s life ruined” – Foucault
Stella walks over to Foucault who turns to face her. She cups his face in her hands and kisses him on the lips. She smiles tenderly.
“Have you ever fucked someone while strangling them to death?” – Stella
Foucault doesn’t even blink
“No” – Foucault
As Foucault’s hands leave the 16 year old’s throat, her dead eyes reproach him and he feels a pang of remorse. He leans back and looks at Stella whose eyes silently soak in Foucault and the prostitute. She takes another pull of her cigarette, one hand demurely covering her upper chest with the yellowing sheet
“What… what are we going to do with her?” – Foucault
Stella stands, the sheet falling away. She takes another pull of her cigarette and walks to the dresser, crushing the butt out on its surface.. She turns to face Foucault pulling the telephone with her. She dials.
‘Hey. Its me. I’m at Handsome Willy’s in the Warehouse District. Me and a friend have been having a party and there’s a mess. I was hoping you could eat it? Meat mostly. You’re an angel. Yeah, just like old times’ – Stella
She hangs up and smiles sweetly.
“Done” – Stella
The two of them have dressed in silence. Foucault refuses to look at the girl. There is a knock at the door.
Stella answers it to a thin, gaunt elderly man dressed in a black three piece suit with a white shirt and white tie. He sports the Mayfair cheek bones, his cheeks sunken.
Foucault’s Kindred vision picks up that this newcomer is human but there is something off about him. He battles against a pang of severe hunger, worse than he has ever known. For a moment he felt empty and only aware of the desire to fill that hollowness.
“Willem. This is Mr Butler” – Stella
Mr Butler inclines his head towards Stella and Foucault respectively
“Madam. Sir. Would you like me to clear up now?” – Mr Butler
He licks his dry lips
Stella takes Foucault’s hand and leads him out the room
“You don’t want to see this” – Stella, whispering
Stella shuts the door. Foucault tries to block the sound of crunching bone, images rising in his mind unbidden
Foucault walks Stella home, his mind racing. Despite himself he trembles. Stella walks confidently, filling the silence with small talk and intimate, warm hugs
“I presume that was Gluttony?” – Foucault
“Mr Butler. A faithful servant” – Stella
“The young man with the coin collection. Whats his name?” – Foucault
“Aaron Mayfair” – Stella
Foucault stops, Stella impatiently turns to face him
“So that was Aaron himself?” – Foucault
“No. Not quite” – Stella
“So there’s an older Aaron and a younger Aaron? Are they the same person?” – Foucault
“No” – Stella
“That could get awfully confusing” – Foucault
Stella relaxes, leaning against a wall.
“It could be but ‘Junior’ is more interested in money than the older one. Something you should know sugah. I can be tempted but Junior, he can’t” – Stella
Foucault runs both his hands through his hair. He lets out an unnecessary ragged breath
“Have you ever fucked a corpse?” – Stella
Foucault stares at Stella’s innocent, questioning face.
“If you haven’t we could always do that. Saturday night?” – Stella
“Quite possibly” – Foucault
“The weekend is where I really warm up” – Stella
“Have you ever heard of Dr Abner Broadbank?” – Foucault
“I might have” – Stella, coyly
“Could you find out for me? He’s looking for me and I don’t think its for a social visit” – Foucault
“He’s like you. I mean not like you. There’s no one quite like you. But he’s hungry. A lot” – Stella
“Whats with the scarf?” – Foucault
“Well he can’t be pretty. Not like me.” – Stella, twirling
“I need to get rid of him. I don’t want to overburden you.” – Foucault
“I’m not interested. I’ve got one Kindred…” – Stella
“Its been an experience” – Foucault
Stella winks slowly
“The police guy, Lieutenant Russo. How soon do you think you could sort him out?” – Foucault
“Depends on how you wanted me to sort him out?” – Stella
“Dead and disgraced” – Foucault
“What order would you like that?” – Stella
“We want the scandal focused on him. If he’s dead the trail goes cold” – Foucault
“Fine honey. You’ll call me won’t you?” – Stella
She leans forwards and kisses Foucault on each cheek, putting her hand in his pocket.
“You don’t need this” – Stella, whispering in his ear
Stella walks away with a sly grin and a pouting kiss
Foucault checks his pockets. The strange gold coin has gone.
The coterie gather at the Grand Palace Hotel Ballroom.
Hampton steps out of the darkness, wiping blood from his mouth with an embroidered handkerchief. He moves to the rotting piano and beings playing, the sound wet and distorted
“Willem. Hampton” – Cross
Hampton keeps playing, eyes closed.
“Don’t let us disturb you” – Cross
“Its calming” – Hampton
“News?” – Cross
“We can probably stay here. I’m pretty sure no one will be coming any closer to the sump sores of this building anytime soon” – Hampton
“Anything we should know about?” – Cross
“No” – Hampton, closing the piano with a discordant thud
“My brother’s to be Embraced” – Hampton
“I’ve found out that a NOPD cop has put a contract out on me. I’ve arranged for him to be dealt with” – Foucault
“A police officer? What was his name?” – Cross
“Russo” – Foucault
“Russo. And… he’s been dealt with?” – Cross
“Comprehensively” – Foucault
“Willem, you’ve done me a great service” – Cross
Foucault smiles with his mouth
“There is one other thing that bothering me. Either of you heard of Dr Abner Broadbank?” – Cross
Foucault pulls out his card, placing it on the piano
“Abner Broadbank is a member of Belial’s Brood. One of those that our sires failed to mention” – Hampton, adding his card to the piano lid
“He needs to be dealt with” – Cross
A final card is added to the pile
“I agree” – Foucault
“But how? Do you know anything about this Kindred?” – Cross
“I suspect he’s Nosferatu, he hides his face with a scarf. I’ve been told that he has a terrible hunger” – Foucault
“If he’s a member of the Brood, he might still be a member of Kindred society. Perhaps we’ll have a chance to meet him in public at Elysium tonight” – Hampton
“And others see us conversing with his (shakes head) perhaps we should deal with him before then” – Cross
“If he’s a member of Belial’s Brood, perhaps we should denounce him?” – Foucault
“We lack evidence. Seth’s dead” – Hampton
“Elysium’s neutral ground. We might not be able to effect any action, perhaps…” – Cross
“… a tip off” – Foucault
“Willem. You’re our eyes and ears” – Cross
“Do we want to involve the Sheriff?” – Hampton
“He didn’t seem well disposed to us the last time we met. Too risky” – Cross
“Abner Broadbank doesn’t seem to be taking immediate action. Perhaps he has a proposition for us?” – Hampton
“He’s threatened something precious to me. I would like him removed” – Cross
“Yes but perhaps we should play the long game? Its not like we are short on time” – Hampton
“No offence Mayfair, but I don’t give a fuck. I don’t care for your long game. I need this Kindred dealt with. Either you’re going to help me or bad things are going to happen. You get me? I’m a patient man but this needs to be dealt with now. He needs to meet the sun” – Cross
“I suggest we go to him as a group, we find out what he is offering” – Foucault
‘Fuck it. We call in the Sheriff. Do what has to be done but we need some assurance that HE’LL do what needs to be done. Maybe he’s crossing borders, maybe he’s come into our territory. Maybe he’s been breaking the Prince’s commandments. You follow me?’ – Cross
‘I don’t know if we want to lay it on too thickly. Because if he is a member of Belial’s Brood he’s going to be killed. You saw what happened to Seth’ – Foucault
“Yeah. You’re right” – Cross
‘I think we say that he seems to have found out what happened to Seth, he’s been trying to contact us, he’s a member of the Brood, we suspect he’s in Donovan‘s domain. If we wanted to, we could track him down in terms of locating where he is for the Sheriff and then hand it across’ – Foucault
“I’d like to know who he’s been talking to about what he’s seen” – Cross
“And how it be that he knows where all of our respective roots are” – Hampton
“He found you at one of your family homes?” – Cross
“I’m presuming the same, that whatever connections you have I won’t pry. I don’t care” – Hampton
“That’s good Mayfair. That’s good. Lets keep it that way. We each have a reason to see this creature destroyed. Maybe we should… I think we might have to get our hands dirty. We can’t trust Donovan. He’s already expressed a degree of hostility towards us” – Cross
“I think it behooves us to find where this Kindred standing is in Kindred society. We don’t want to knock over someone who is well thought of, a thriving member of the community who happens to be a child sodomising devil worshiper or whatever he is” – Hampton
“Ok. We’ll talk to the Sheriff but we need to know what this man knows because he is far too close to each of us. We’re hardly above the radar here people. Maybe we get ”/campaigns/dead-of-night/characters/donovan" class=“wiki-content-link”>Donovan to bring him to us, nice and pliant. We’ll owe him a favour for this but it might be worth it" – Cross
“Of course not” – Cross
“Is there any way we could ascertain if we could take him, the three of us?” – Foucault
“I think we need to work out what the consequences of taking him out would be. We can’t just move against him” – Hampton
“Ok. We ask around, see who he is” – Foucault
“And we do it on the hush hush” – Hampton
“I need to speak to Carver. He’s Invictus. He has some stake in our domain anyway. We need to parley with him, we need him onside” – Cross
“I’ll speak to the Worms, see what they know” – Hampton
“Dig up any grievances” – Cross
“Seems like if you want anything done in this city, you need to dive into a sewage pit” – Hampton