10/15/15: Rabenholz, Anstis, Scout

Jim: “What type of helicopter is it?”
Jason: “I don’t know. A Bell.”
Me: “What, a Jetranger? Those aren’t very safe.”
Jason: *glares* “It’s the kind you personally hate the most.”
Me: “Ew, a Robinson?”
Jim: “I actually have a hundred and ten hours in Robinsons.”
Me: “The dragonfly ones? Cause those are alright. I mean the more modern ones where it looks like the rotors were slapped on as an afterthou–”
Jason: “I DON’T FUCKING KNOW!”
Chris: “What’s a helicopter an eccentric billionaire would fly?”
Jim: “Let’s say a Eurocopter. There’s some nice ones. I flew in one once.”
Me: “Oo, an A-Star? Those are the bes–”
Jason: “WHY DOES IT MATTER?”
Me: “Because if we’re going to be very specific about the various guns used in various situations then we’re going to be very specific about the helicopters too!”
Jason: “There are no guns on this helicopter!”
Me: “Yet.”

***

I’m doing something a little different with the next few episodes. Kara’s participation was sporadic the next few sessions, making Georgia’s scenes patchy, so in order to have some consistent scene-arcs I pulled all of hers from a couple days and combined them into one post. To balance it out, I also combined all the R/A/S scenes as well. Thus, I’m going to finish up the “Humboldt” chapter all at once here then start the next chapter with Georgia.

Also school has started for the spring so please bear with me if my updates slow again!

***

EUREKA, CALIFORNIA

Rabenholz and Scout watch silently from the shadows as the interdepartmental drama of the police station fire unfolds. After watching the third fistfight break out over the missing BBQ, Rabenholz sighs deeply.

(Jason: “My experience in Vampire in general: What you think Ventrue is going to be like: ‘I am the manipulator who pulls the strings of the party.’ What Ventrue is actually like: ‘You did what and I have to clean it up why?’”)

Rabenholz digs out his phone and calls Rhona. “I require the names, schedules, and whereabouts of the mayor of the city of Eureka, as well as the district attorney for the area,” he instructs her without preamble.” Once he hears her confused assent, he hangs up.

Scout lifts an eyebrow. He turns back to the fire. “The evening has gone poorly. Before we leave, we must smooth some feathers.”

Just then, a parrot drops out of the sky, fluttering to a landing on the tree above them.

Rabenholz doesn’t bother to look up. “Mr. Anstis, I’m surprised you weren’t more careful last night. We have wasted many hours dealing with this, and we will waste several more before we can get going.”

The parrot drops to the ground next to them and morphs back into human form. Anstis brushes at his coat. “What happened?”

“It appears that in the wake of your actions, police combed the town we were in, discovered Ms. Scout and myself, and brought us summarily to the morgue. We have spent the better part of the night recovering our things.” Rabenholz fiddles idly with his cane. “I wonder if you might be able to help. Perhaps you would be so good as to find the fire chief and police chief, I need to speak with them.”

Rhona texts back then with the names and addresses of the mayor and the DA. Rabenholz pulls a small notebook from his coat to carefully jot them down.

“How do I identify the fire chief?” Anstis asks.

Rabenholz glances up from his notebook and looks around. The fire has finally reached a level to stop the arguments in the crowd, the police and firefighters now working together to get hoses unfurled and keep bystanders back. “I assume he will look like the other firefighters, but with more decorations. Same for the police chief.”

“Very well.” Anstis swaggers off.

Rabenholz tucks his notebook away. “Ms. Scout, if you can assist him, the sooner we can cover our tracks.”

She blinks in surprise. “Cover it up? It’s clearly an internal matter.”

“Yes, it obviously is,” Rabenholz says pointedly, “And by the time we are done, it will definitely be so.”

Scout sighs and goes to help Anstis.

They track down both of the department chiefs. Rabenholz comes around to “convince” both men of the need to cover up the incident, stressing how the rivalry between the departments is well known and clearly they don’t need more blotches on their record. The men seem surprised at this revelation, but with a few well-placed Dominates are soon convinced.

Rabenholz next sends Anstis to commandeer a vehicle so they can drive to the mayor’s house, which becomes a brief clusterfuck when the pirate comes back with a news van. They finally secure something with a lower profile and head off.

They arrive at the mayor’s house–a stately structure on the outskirts of town–around ten PM. Rabenholz and Scout leave Anstis with the car and sweep up to the front door. A brass knocker in the shape of a lion snarls at them. Rabenholz tucks his cane under his arm and taps it carefully.

A woman wearing faded flannel opens the door. Rabenholz bows. “Good evening. Would you please take us to the waiting room and inform Mayor Patterson that we wish to speak with him?”

The woman glares and folds her arms. “I’m Mayor Patterson. Can I help you with something?”

Rabenholz hesitates. Scout smirks. “Oh,” he says, then recomposes himself and meets the woman’s eyes. “You will listen to what I have to say.”

Her frown deepens but she doesn’t close the door. “Who are you?”

“We are from the governor’s office. We are here on independent business but noticed a significant problem. It’s not surprisingly, really. The rivalry between the police and fire department in this town is legendary.”

The mayor stares. “What rivalry? There’s no rivalry here.”

Rabenholz casts a look at Scout and pulls out his notebook. “This will look very poorly on the record,” he mutters.

“What record!? Who the hell are you?!”

“If you are not aware of it, the police station has burnt down, no doubt due to this tension between your two departments. If this gets out, your career will be over, as will all your appointments.”

The mayor stares open-mouthed. “Are you suggesting I cover up a fire?”

Rabenholz stares back coolly. “I suggest you use your mayoral abilities to make sure this story doesn’t spin out of control, and make this look like nothing more than an accident, which is precisely what it was.”

The mayor groans, rubbing her face. “What in God’s name are they doing down there?”

“Perhaps you should visit and see for yourself.”

“Goddamit.” Her face turns suspicious again. “What was your name again?”

“I am Mr. Espresse.”

“…Sure.” She looks over their clothes–nicely tailored, but filthy after the nights’ dramas. “You said you were with the governor’s office?”

“Yes, the office of political liaisons.”

“Really.” The mayor drums her fingers against the doorframe. “…Please hold on a minute, I’ll be right back.” She starts to close the door.

Rabenholz stops the door with his cane. “I am in no way suspicious. You will hold everything I say in the highest regard.”

The woman stares back “…Alright, give me five minutes and I’ll head down there.”

Rabenholz smiles and bows. “Very good. And good luck in the coming elections.”

The mayor eyes him oddly as she slowly closes the door.

(Chris: “To the DA’s office!”
Jason: “Shall we assume you do the same thing there?”
Chris: “Yes, but there will be one amendment. Leonard should have all the charges against him dropped.”
Jason: “Who’s Leonard?”
Chris: “The guy whose shed I holed up in.”)

Once done at the DA, Rabenholz leads them back to the car and direct the driver to head to the airfield. “I requested Rhona charter us a helicopter,” he explains to the others.

“Are we headed back to the city?” Scout asks.

Rabenholz stares out at the rushing trees. “No. We’re going after the Abomination.”

#

EUREKA AIRPORT

The helicopter is waiting on the tarmac as they arrive. The pilot meets them at their car, and as Rabenholz shakes his hand, he meets his eye. “Nothing you see tonight will seem at all out of the ordinary.

The pilot nods. “You got it.”

(Jim: “What type of helicopter is it?”
Jason: “I don’t know. A Bell.”
Me: “What, a Jetranger? Those aren’t very safe.”
Jason: *glares* “It’s the kind you personally hate the most.”
Me: “Ew, a Robinson?”
Jim: “I actually have a hundred and ten hours in Robinsons.”
Me: “The dragonfly ones? Cause those are alright. I mean the more modern ones where it looks like the rotors were slapped on as an afterthou–”
Jason: “I DON’T FUCKING KNOW!”
Chris: “What’s a helicopter an eccentric billionaire would fly?”
Jim: “Let’s say a Eurocopter. There’s some nice ones. I flew in one once.”
Me: “Oo, an A-Star? Those are the bes–”
Jason: “WHY DOES IT MATTER?”
Me: “Because if we’re going to be very specific about the various guns used in various situations then we’re going to be very specific about the helicopters too!”
Jason: “There are no guns on this helicopter!”
Me: “Yet.”)

The pilot jogs out to the craft, climbs in and flips some switches, and high-pitched turbine whine pierces the evening quiet. As the blades spin to life, he gestures through the window for the group to approach. Rabenholz leads the way across the tarmac, but as he reaches the door he turns to see Scout lagging behind. She’s hanging up her phone, looking flustered. “Is everything alright, Ms. Scout?”

“Yes.” She brushes past him to climb in. “Let’s finish this so we can get out of here.”

The pilot motions toward the radio headsets in the back, nods at Rabenholz, and initiates takeoff. The helicopter rises quickly into the night air, swinging east out over the darkness blanketing the endless surrounding forest. They follow the line of the mountain road from the night before, and once they reach the area of the truck crash, Rabenholz quietly casts Illuminate the Trail of the Prey once again. A faint glow instantly appears, a phosphorescent trail glowing through the forest. He directs the pilot to follow.

“Do you plan to engage it tonight?” Anstis asks, the tentacles of his beard tangling with his headset mic.

“If possible,” Rabenholz says, staring at the trail. “The night is still young. But first let us see if we can find it.” Next to him, Scout shifts uneasily and stares out her window.

The pilot presses his hand to his headset a moment, listening to a private radio band. Frowning, he switches over to the main channel. “Sir, we have a problem. There’s a stormfront coming in, just south of us. Should hit us in ten to twenty minutes.

Everyone in the helicopter looks out the right side windows.

(Chris: “Do we see it?”
Jason: “You don’t see anything for now, but ten minutes could be a long damn way.”
Chris: “Jim, would the weather be effectively invisible?”
Jim: “Not necessarily. You’d probably see some sort of storm.”
Me: “We’re in the middle of fucking Humboldt County, over redwood forest. There’s no ambient light.”
Jim: “Oh yeah, it’s night.”
Me: “…YEAH, it’s NIGHT! No, Jim, we’re not vampires at all!”)

Rabenholz frowns. Even with Auspex, he can’t make out anything in the distance. “In what conditions can you fly? Will this put you down?”

“If the radio report is correct, storm this bad just might,”the pilot says.

“Can you tell when we are approaching it?”

“Maybe.” The pilot taps at one of the displays on the dash. “Fronts sometimes have sharp edges to them, I’ll keep checking the barometer.”

(Jim: “It’s not so much the flying that’s the problem, it’s the landing.”
Jason: “What’s the worst storm you’ve ever flown through?”
Jim: “We tended to avoid flying if the wind went over about 15-20 mph, because we were in a Robinson and they’re super light so they’d get blown around.”)

Rabenholz nods. “Keep going.”

They fly on, the only sound the incessant whir of the blades just over their heads. After a few minutes, though, the pilot speaks up. “Uh, sir….” He points to the barometer again. It’s dropping quickly.

Rabenholz checks the position of the trail, still plunging deep into the mountains. “Are we in any danger if we maintain our current altitude?”

“Not at the moment, but if we hit that storm wall….”

Rabenholz nods. “I have faith in your ability. Continue south.”

The pilot cranes around to stare at him. “…Are you sure about that?”

“How many hours of fuel do you have?”

(Jason: *sigh* “How much does a chopper carry?”
Jim: “You probably have a little over two hours remaining.”)

“Couple hours,” pilot says.

“Continue.”

Scout shifts nervously again, staring intently at the dashboard, but doesn’t say anything. Anstis gazes out the window at the featureless darkness.

“So Ms. Scout,” Rabenholz says suddenly. “Is Northern California what you had expected?”

Scout jerks in surprise and blinks at him a moment. “Um…I mean, it’s pretty dark.”

“Yes, but there is a certain majesty to the trees and mountains, is there not?”

“I wouldn’t know,” she says distractedly, eyes drifting to the barometer again, “We haven’t been outside during the day–aren’t you concerned about the weather?”

“Ms. Scout, this is the 21st century. Man has conquered the elements.”

She glares. “Yes, of course, that’s why nobody ever dies of exposure anymore.”

Anstis turns to them. “I have first-hand experience with the dangers storms can represent. Might I advise caution.”

“And when was your experience acquired, Mr. Anstis?” Rabenholz asks.

“In the 18th century, at sea.”

“Indeed.” Rabenholz nods, gripping his cane in his lap. “I too have seen the march of progress, and let me tell you, a wooden vessel powered by the wind is a very different thing than the modern birds of glass and steel.” He pats the door frame.

Scout continues to glare. “If we were in a plane, maybe, but these things tend to be very finicky. Once they go down, they go down hard.”

The pilot turns around. “We should be hitting the storm anytime now, sir. In fact I’m surprised we haven’t already.”

“Indeed.” Rabenholz examines the darkness again. “If this hadn’t been radioed in to you, would you have been aware of the storm-wall at all?

“Well, no–”

(Jim: “Actually yeah, he should have radar.”
Me: “Storm radar on the helicopter?!”
Jim: “Yeah. I mean, it’s a 4 million dollar machine.
Me: http://reactionimage.org/img/gallery/203573270.jpg)

The pilot also squints toward the southern horizon. “But I don’t understand. At this point, the winds should be howling.”

Everyone looks out their windows. The darkness spreads around them like a velvet cloak, but stars glitters through thin clouds overhead.

Rabenholz gestures. “Proceed, but remain cautious.” He corrects the pilots course to follow the trail, then resettles himself in his seat. “Perhaps the storm is a ruse,” he mutters. “I wonder who would be considering a single helicopter a threat. Something does not add up.”

They clear a ridge and suddenly Rabenholz sits up. The end of the illuminated trail lies ahead, but it’s moving steadily forward. “Excellent.” He grins. “We are getting close now.”

(Me: “Yeah, except you’re gonna have to find a place to land the helicopter, in the dark, in the redwood forest.”
Chris: “Is that what you say?”
Me: “No, I, myself, Colleen, say this.”
Jason: “Well you, yourself, Colleen, will see.”)

The trail starts to move faster. “It’s picked up speed,” Rabenholz announces. “It must have heard us. Mr. Anstis, how fast can you move as a parrot?”

“A good clip,” Anstis replies.

“Can you outrun this vehicle?”

“Unlikely.”

Rabenholz nods. “Pilot, continue that direction with all possible haste.” The helicopter pitches forward to accelerate.

Lightning suddenly flashes over the mountains ahead, each strike illuminating bilious clouds. After a moment, thunder rolls through, momentarily drowning out even the engine.

“Can you fly through that?” Rabenholz asks the pilot.

The man’s hands tighten on the controls. “Uh, how much you wanna be alive when I finish?”

Rabenholz frowns and checks the trail again. Even though the creature has accelerated, the end is approaching. A few lights dot the mountains around them, but none of them are in the direction the trail is heading.

Suddenly the trail halts.

“Here, stop,” Rabenholz orders. The helicopter banks steeply, pulling around into a hover. “Can you find anywhere nearby to set down?” Rabenholz asks.

The pilot stares at him. “Here?! I can’t even see the ground!”

“Surely you have some sort of light.”

The man curses, then–with another glance at the distant storm front–carefully lowers the helicopter closer toward the canopy and flips on a floodlight. Skeletal trees leap suddenly from the shadows, tightly packed.

Scout stares nervously between the window and Rabenholz. “What is our strategy? We’re just dropping out into the middle of the forest to attack it, when we have no concept of its strength?”

“Is this helicopter equipped with any cannons?” Anstis suggests helpfully. Rabenholz and Scout look at him, then turn back to each other.

“Scout,” Rabenholz says smoothly, “Tracking this creature was tricky enough already. I do not know the ability of this thing to hide, and it has already survived a day. If we lose it tonight, we may not find it again.”

“So we three Stooges are going to be the ones to take it down?” She throws up her hands. “We couldn’t even take down a regular werewolf, let alone whatever this thing is!”

“It did not kill us last night,” Rabenholz says.

“Because it was wrangled by its…”she shudders a moment, “…Keepers!”

“It escaped from them.”

“So things will be better now that there’s no one controlling it?”

Rabenholz checks the position of the trail. “I don’t know how they were controlling it–”

“And you think you’re going to figure it out in the middle of the woods at midnight!?”

Anstis leans back to join the conversation. “He was able to ride in the truck with it without being killed,” he says pointedly to Scout.

Scout glares back. “Again, with its keepers around!”

Rabenholz turns to stare at the pirate thoughtfully. “…Captain, you have some means of protecting yourself during the day, do you not?”

Anstis nods. “Aye, but only myself.”

Rabenholz glances at the lightning strikes still periodically dotting the horizon, then nods. “Then I believe our best course of action is for you to head down and attempt to reason with the beast. One the weather is better, we will come back tomorrow and pick you both up.

(Jim: “I laugh in your face.”
Chris: “You trust me. Fourteen successes say you trust me.”
Jim: “…”)

Rabenholz lifts a hand. “Bear with me. You have the ability to endure during the day, likely that same talent will protect you from anything that’s down there. We made it here once, you can certainly fly back from the ground, could you not?”

Anstis’s eye narrows. “I could, but I don’t know the abilities that things has.”

“It seems to have shown remarkable restraint. If it has control over the storm, it could have killed us many times over, but it seems to be merely deterring us. Which makes me believe a dialogue is possible.” Rabenholz checks the time. “If you are worried about facing the day, perhaps if you fly down now and return quickly, we can return to civilization with you.”

Anstis stares a long moment, then opens his door, shifts into bird-form, and drops out into the night. The wash from the blades batters the parrot but he quickly descends to the trees and down into the darkness.

#

Anstis flies silently between the massive redwood trunks. A dark shape is skulking along the forest floor below, either oblivious to the roar of the helicopter above, or uncaring. Anstis swoops closer. The hulking shape resolves into the Abomination, muscles undulating over scarred, rotting flesh as it paces.

Anstis lands on a bare branch above it, close enough to speak but far enough out of reach of its arms. The Abomination stops and rolls its blind eyes up to stare at him. “Can you speak?” Anstis squawks.

The creature growls, a subsonic rumble felt more than heard. Anstis shifts on his branch nervously, then realizes: the things eyes are milky, but by the slant of its muzzle, it’s staring somewhere just past Anstis….

Seconds later, something hits the pirate with the force of a cannonball, and everything goes black.

#

Rabenholz and Scout wait for Anstis to come back. Ten minutes pass, then fifteen, but there’s still no sign of a parrot rising from the trees below them.

“We don’t have much longer before we have to go!” the pilot announces, tapping at the fuel gauge.

Rabenholz’s fingers drum on his cane, then he carefully sets it aside and starts unbuckling his seatbelt. “Wait here another twenty minutes. If I don’t return in that time, refuel and come back before morning.”

Before Scout or the pilot can react, Rabenholz opens his door and steps out, levitating himself into a slow fall through the darkness.

Scout stares.

(Me: “Whelp, I don’t have a way down, so….”)

She leans over to jerk the door closed, then sits back–glancing nervously at the dash–and waits.

#

Rabenholz lands elegantly and silently on the forest floor, cape billowing around him. He surveys the shadows as the helicopter turns off the spotlight and ascends to a safer hovering altitude. Trail of the Prey glows strongly in front of him, winding through the trees. He gathers his cloak up from the loam and follows it.

The trail snakes its way into a ring of redwoods, a daughter circle formed when new growths spring up from the roots of a fallen mother tree. They’ve seen many such circles since arriving in the northern forests, but something about this one is strange. This circle is perfect, each daughter tree exactly the same size and spaced evenly, with no gap where the mother trunk would have lain. Rabenholz approaches cautiously. The interior of the circle is a smooth dirt bowl, cleared of the omnipresent needles and other detritus from the redwood trees. Clumps of mushrooms also circle the space, clustered among the trees. The trail leads into this little grove, ending at a dark lump lying in the middle, sprawled on its back.

Not a werewolf; a parrot.

(Chris: “Hmm. The parrot is unconscious?”
Jason: “It appears to be. Or, it’s pining for the fjords, really.”
Chris: “Is it an ex-parrot?”
Jason: “Actually it looks like it is!”)

Careful not to step across the circle, Rabenholz picks up a stick pokes at the parrot. “Captain?”

The bird stirs gently. Rabenholz squats to investigate the mushrooms more closely.

(Chris: “Can I determine anything about the mushrooms?”
Jason: “Intelligence + Occult, difficulty nine.”
Chris: *rolls* “Does a specialty in rituals count for this?”
Jason: “Yeah, it might actually.”
Chris: “Then five successes.”
Jason: *glares* “…Yes, you have heard of such things, in folklore and occult researches. This is some form of Fae circle. What it’s doing here, god only knows. You can tell from the arrangement of the mushrooms that it’s designed to effectively warp magical energies, not produce them. Your estimation–given five successes–is that someone put him in the circle and transferred your pursuit-spell onto him. Highly sophisticated magical work.”)

Rabenholz stares at the trail, unquestionably tied to the twitching parrot. “It’s odd they would take such an interest in a beast like that….” he mutters, then stands. “Captain, are you awake?”

Parrot-Anstis twitches a few more times, then flops onto his belly and scrambles blearily upright.

“Captain, the helicopter will not be here much longer. What happened?”

Parrot-Anstis rolls his beady eyes up at him. “Watching Abomination,” he squawks. “Hit from behind.”

“Was the Abomination aware of your presence?”

“Aye,” Anstis flutters his wings, “But watching something else.”

A creeping sensation claws at the edge of Rabenholz’s perception. He stares around, trying to locate the source. A new sound has appeared in the forest, a low sound like a locomotive engine, but erratic. It’s almost drowned out by the droning of the helicopter, but getting steadily louder.

#

Scout braces herself as the helicopter starts to shudder and buck in the air.

“Wind is picking up,” the pilot shouts over the radio. “I think we’re getting to the wall.”

Scout frowns and peers out the window. As dark as it already was, the sky is getting darker, the few visible stars slowly winking out.

More lightning flashes in the near-distance, illuminating the clouds. They’ve formed a wall, but there’s a strange visual distortion across it, almost as if it’s swirling….

Another lightning flash confirms it. The clouds have formed into a funnel, and are coming right for the helicopter.

#

Rabenholz paces the circumference of the grove while Anstis waddles around inside, Trail of the Prey still tethered to him. “Recognize circle?” he squawks.

“Not particularly. My best guess, based on simply folklore, is perhaps fairy.” He twists his stick in his hands. “I don’t know if those are real.”

Anstis cocks his head to tilt his gaze down at the mushrooms. “Dangerous to leave?”

“I’m not sure.” Rabenholz pokes at one of the mushroom clumps with his stick. They break and collapse softly. The instant they do, the illuminated trail leading to Anstis disappears.

From above, the helicopter spotlight suddenly blares to life, scanning the forest. It stops as it spots them in their clearing. Rabenholz and Anstis peer up into the light. The strange engine sound is getting louder, and the wind is picking up as well.

“Captain, go on ahead,” Rabenholz gestures vaguely. “I’ll return in a moment, I wish to study this more.”

Anstis bobs his head in assent and launches into the air. The wind batters him the moment he clears the canopy. He stabilizes, then wobbles again in shock as he sees the clouds approaching from the south. The funnel is now a third of a mile wide, and with his Auspex-sight he can see debris tossed into the air at its base.

He swoops back toward the clearing, where Rabenholz is still poking thoughtfully at the mushrooms. “TIME TO LEAVE!!!!” he squawks in panic, then beats his way back up into the air.

Rabenholz stares after the parrot, hesitating–

(Chris: “Hmm. Do I have five minutes?”
Everyone: “NO!!!”
Chris: “Hmmmm. See, I’m at that threshold of blood that if I Movement of the Mind myself, it could end badly for everyone. Normally I rely on the level 1 ritual that quenches the thirst. I can do it quickly because of my talisman, but I don’t think I can do it instantaneously.”
Jason: “Noooo.”
Jim: “What are you down to, three? Three’s not that bad.”
Jason: “Uhh, three out of fifteen is pretty bad.”
Me: “If only we had a human hanging out in the chopper.”
Jason: “Oh, yeah, eat the pilot, that’s a good idea. Let me put it this way, if you stay here five minutes to perform this ritual, all this will be irrelevant.”)

With one last look into the darkness around him, Rabenholz levitates himself back into the air and toward the chopper.

The tornado is close now, the winds battering the craft. Scout forces the door open as Rabenholz and Anstis approach. Rabenholz sets himself onto his seat gracefully, while Anstis flops onto his. The pilot is already banking to leave as she leans over Rabenholz to pull the door closed. They stare out at the swirling clouds, engulfing the entire horizon.

But then the storm recedes into the distance as they roar away.

#

REDDING

They’re too far into the mountains to return to Eureka before the fuel runs out, so instead they continue to the other side of the coastal range, toward a small airfield in Redding, the pilot says, is close.

“Something very peculiar is afoot,” Rabenholz says, staring out the window.

“Yes….” Scout mutters, staring out hers. “Did you find any information about the creature?”

Anstis, still in parrot-form, waddles across his seat. “Wasn’t after me!” Suddenly realizing he doesn’t have to be a parrot anymore, he pops back up into human form. “The creature seemed to stare beyond me at something else, right before I was hit,” he clarifies with a full complement of the English language.

Rabenholz nods silently. His face, always rather worn, is looking more haggard than usual. Anstis eyes him. “Are you alright?

Rabenholz nods again and glances around, pointedly looking anywhere else but at the pilot. “Yes. As soon as we get back to town I shall have to take care of…personal matters.”

“Do you need blood?

“That will be my next stop–” Rabenholz hesitates, noticing that Anstis is gesturing significantly with his wrist.

(Chris: “…Did you have an older brother? Any older siblings?”
Jim: “Vampires don’t count for that.”
Chris: “I mean, technically it’s a flaw that didn’t buy me anything, so maybe it’s not as harsh, but I don’t think I’m going to push my luck on that one tonight.”
Jason: “Wise decision.’
Me: “Also, just taking random vampire’s blood, seems like never a good decision.”
Chris: “Rabenholz already has a third level blood-bond to some…one…thing….”
Me: “Oh, like Tom’s Marcus protection!”
Chris: “Sort of. Also he was informed recently by someone that various diseases could be spreading through vampiric blood.”
Me: *glares* “…Yes.”)

Rabenholz gestures a polite decline and the cabin lapses back into silence.

The helicopter arrives at the airfield with minutes to spare, landing easily in the calm night air. The airfield is small, with only a few hangers and a trailer for the main office. They all climb out and Rabenholz sweeps directly toward the trailer. He ducks out of sight to perform his blood-regenerating ritual, then–taking advantage of the privacy–calls Bell.

“Justicar,” Rabenholz greets him as he answers.

“Pfalzgraf,” Bell replies coolly. “I expect you have a report?”

“We attempted to pursue the Abomination tonight. It was not allowed to go to Sacramento but it is somewhere in the Humboldt wilderness. It has eluded us most troublingly. I suspect there is…Fae involvement.”

Whatever Bell was expecting, it wasn’t that. “…Fae?”

“I’m operating on very little information but that is my guess. In any event, I don’t know if the creature will stay there, or for how long, or if something else will try and guide it like the cult has.”

Bell grumbles. “There’s no use trying to track it through Humboldt, you’ll just run into a pack of lupines and get ripped to pieces. Come back to the city. Sacramento…went alright.”

“I am glad to hear it. We should arrive in a few hours.” Rabenholz hangs up and heads back toward the group.

(Me: “Can we even get a car here?”
Jim: “We have the helicopter. It can fuel here.”
Me: “Oh, yeah, let’s do that.”
Jim: “Oh, and while it’s fueling, there might be snacks around!”
Chris and me: *deathglare*)

While the helicopter refuels, everyone scours the town around the airfield looking for likely hunting targets.

(Chris: “How can I tell if someone has AIDS?”
Jason: “You don’t.”
Me: “Wait, so, since it’s come up, let’s discuss the rules of Tom’s vampiric AIDS. Vampires can get the virus if they drink a vampire who has it, and vampires can obviously spread it to humans, but can a vampire pick it up from a human they feed on?”
Jason: “Vampires can’t pick it up in terms of they catch AIDS, but their blood pool can get infected with HIV. Blood-borne diseases, it’s very clear, can be carried by vampires the way they can be carried by mosquitos.”
Me: “Crap. Okay, so it’s a complete vector-triangle?”
Jason: “Yes. Now, it’s less likely to infect a human just from biting them, even if you just drank from someone else who has the virus, but it can happen.
Jim: “Does it go away when you’ve burned the blood?”
Jason: “Yes, but you have to cycle the entire blood pool.”
Jim: “At once?”
Jason: “Yeah. It’s real fun. Blood-borne diseases suck.”
Everyone: *thoughtful pause*
Me: *bursts out laughing* “Suddenly the whole party is stuck with my same feeding restriction! See how you like it, fuckers!”)

Amazingly, everyone manages to find enough blood to scrape by without killing anyone. Once the helicopter is fueled, they load up and head back to the city.

END OF NIGHT

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7 Responses to 10/15/15: Rabenholz, Anstis, Scout

  1. MorienneMontenegro says:

    I hope things do not escalate to outright fighting with the Abomination. (Lets say that just two days ago our sabbat party may or may not have been wiped out by a Black Spiral Dancer). Though I must admit how Fae are connected to this. Fae and Fae-touched tend to stay as far away as possible from Cainites.

    Also I love how Scott is the voice of reason within the coterie.
    “We are, possibbly, gonna fight with an Abomination?”

    “Nope, not me.”

    • Colleen says:

      “Lets say that just two days ago our sabbat party may or may not have been wiped out by a Black Spiral Dancer”

      LOL, oh noooooo, what happened?

      • MorienneMontenegro says:

        Well we were a brand-new sabbat pack. Game is in 1960s. Sabbat is trying to make a move on the anarch free state. Our pack was given a list of several duties that needed to be done. We chose capturing (not even killing) a werewolf.

        After several unlucky rolls that werewolf turned out to be a black spiral dancer of considerable power. If I were to tell whole story here it would neeed a post of its own but there is thsi funny highlight I can share with you.

        I was a blood brother of 8th gen, a complete combat character. I was the main tank and damage dealer of the team, literally my job was to be the meat wall in front of my pack. After dodging and soaking a whole a lot of damage I ended up with 1 lethal and 7 Aggravated (I had an extra health box due to a merit which was the only reason I was still “alive” at that point).

        Here is the twist.Our Lasombra ductus finally pulls out a gun with silver bullet in it, fires it at the werewolf he 7-botches it (what’s the proper term for it? I know its not penta botch, hepta-botch maybe?), ST decides that it hits me who is being used by the werewolf as a shield while I am impaled on his left claw, I roll with 9 dice to soak, our ST, god bless is soul, decides to be merciful and says I only need to soak 1 damage to not die.

        Needless to say I penta-botched (yup no success) with ) 9 dice to soak. Rest of my pack followed soon after.

        Lessons learned, dont fuck with Werewolfs especiallas BSD with a beginner pack.

        Roll your dice like a normal human being. I mean I was always known in my RPG-circle for my horribly rolls (people actually get surprised if I dont roll at least a single “1”) but now they are convinced that I am cursed by some archmage whom I have somehow pissed off in real life.

  2. Seth says:

    Completely unrelated to this post or the comments (and I’m curious what happened with the BSD too) but given past travel options I just wanted to share.

    https://i.chzbgr.com/full/8601425408/h264762ED/

  3. Brooensandvich says:

    Doesn’t dominate have a time limit on it, or something? Or is Anstis’s ‘I trust you’ thing gonna go on forever?

    • Colleen says:

      It’s probably going to go on as long as its funny, which may well be forever. 😉 But no, seriously, Chris got like 12 successes on that roll, which I think even canonically means it may be a permanent thing.

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