Chapter 5: Marin, Part 2

So I need to go up to Marin to track down this Marcus guy and get to the next stage of my chain quest, but there’s a problem: Everyone and their sire has been telling us Marin is full of werewolves. While I took out one werewolf, I know better than to go running into their territory alone, so I stew around the city, trying to figure out a way up there.

Meanwhile, fortunately, one of the other assholes in the coterie–cant remember who–gets a lead on The Englishman that also points to Marin. Once I hear, I decide to make a weekend of it, convincing them to help me kill this Marcus guy while we head up there to follow the other lead. They seem suspicious–Paul probably most so–but eventually agree.

A night or so later we roll out, and luckily we’re dressed to thrill. See, “Elizabeth,” while appearing to be a starry-eyed young girl, is incongruously also something of an arms aficionado. Thus, she decks us out with guns of almost every make and size (Jason wouldn’t let Jim have a grenade machine-gun) and transports us in an armored Suburban (because Jason wouldn’t let Jim parachute in from an airplane.) We arrive at the location, an abandoned-looking farmhouse in Cascade Canyon staffed by a couple armored ghouls, and immediately drop it like it’s hot.

Battle rages, tearing up the house and nearby trees, but we eventually drop the goons and secure the site. We spread out, looking for signs of this Marcus dude, but everyone in the house is dead. However, in the hillside behind the house, we find a heavy door, like a cellar door, leading to a long dank corridor into the ground. Elsa and Paul stay above to continue searching the house, while “Elizabeth” and I enter the bunker.

It’s long, dark and dank, with doors leading off the sides. Some appear to be storerooms, most turn out to be locked. Frustrated and impatient, I force one open….

…Revealing a twisted abomination of flesh. A tzlotcha–or “hellbeast,” as we’ve started calling them–lunges out at us, trapping our escape from the narrow hallway. Luckily I still have my dragonsbreath-loaded shotgun, which continues to work very well against undead flesh of all shapes and sizes. Fuckery ensues, but we eventually take it down.

Now a lot more cautious, we continue searching the rooms, finally finding what seems to be a cell-block. The floor is stained, the bars are rusted, but it seems to be empty…until we hear the whimpering. We cautiously move through and find, in the very last cell…a boy, about nine, with sandy-blonde hair, watching us with wide-eyes. I ask him his name, he carefully whispers, “Matt.”

“Elizabeth,” at this point, is bored. Out of game, Jim tells me to just eat the kid or something so we can continue searching, but I balk, cause that’s obviously not the way Tom rolls. I release Matt from the cell and bring him back to the surface, where Paul steps in to take charge of him and we discuss ways to get him back to the proper authorities.

Then…more fuckery. My details on this–and my notes–are hazy. Something split the party, bringing Elizabeth and I back underground, leaving Paul and Elsa in the house, where they are immediately beset by giant tentacles of darkness that erupt from the trees and grab at Matt. Paul and Elsa battle the tendrils as best they can, but the darkness grabs the boy and drags him to the edge of the woods, then seem to pull him down into the ground.

Meanwhile, “Elizabeth” and I have discovered an office-like room underground, filled with a desk and nice furniture, but the walls are covered with pure, rippling darkness. In this room is a middle-aged man with Mediterranean features, who calmly and very politely inquires what the fuck we are doing. Paul and Elsa join us at some point, and we talk with him, assuming that he is the Marcus we’ve been looking out.

(Now, it is important to note at this point that, out of game, we were reaching the end of the night, and the reason I don’t have good details on a lot of this is because I was tired and bored and tired and just wanted to get the dishes done and go to bed.)

Finally someone asks if this guy is the Marcus everyone’s been talking about. He says no. We say, well then who the fuck is? The guy turns to look at the shadowy walls….

…Which draw back like a curtain, revealing Matt, standing calmly, watching us with a bemused expression on his face.

Matt identifies himself as Marcus Sertorius Posthumus, of clan Sertoria, and strides calmly into the room, suddenly a lot more composed and collected than his apparent-age of nine. At first I’m confused cause Slayer said Marcus was an old vampire, but then I put the pieces together: Marcus is old because he is physically, Classical-aged Roman.

And just like a Roman, he seems to have a lot of dramatic and pompous things to say. He strides around, lecturing us at having broken into his based and murdered his men. Not “killed” his men, mind, murdered his men, a word choice that struck me as odd for a vampire even then. We ask him what the fuck was up with the hellbeast, but he waves if off, saying it was a relic from the last person to occupy this property, which he only acquired recently, and he kept it around in case it had its uses.

Marcus asks us who we are, and we identify ourselves, but I glower at him; frustrated, nervous (and, remember, tired). His pacing eventually brings him around closer toward me. He looks us over slowly and his gaze meets mine.

“So,” he says finally, “Why exactly have you come so far and expended so much effort to find me?”

In real life, there’s silence at the table as we consider this, but before anyone has a chance to speak, I meet Jason’s gaze, smile, and answer first: “I shoot him in the face.”

Jason’s response, his gasp and look of shock and horror, will haunt and entertain me to my dying day.

My grin falters as my gaze tracks from him to everyone else’s faces at the table. “Wait, or…maybe I don’t?”

But it’s too late. In the game, I lift the dragonsbreath shotgun and fire at point-blank range. Jason starts rolling dice, saying that you never know, Vampire is a lethal game, and this could work. “That’s true,” I said, “Random dumb luck worked for the werewolf, afterall.”

Yeah. It doesn’t work here.

In summary, Marcus fucking wipes the floor with us, using every shadowbullshit trick in the book (incidentally, after this incident was the first time I actually read up on Obtenebration in the V20 core book, and I instantly fell hopelessly in love). Marcus disables and stakes all of us. We ended the night then, as Jason had to go home and figure out how the hell to spin all of this, but he said quite seriously that many–if not all–of us would not be waking up again.

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