You open your eyes and look around. Your vision takes a moment to clear, but you can hear people and music — the sounds of Mardi Gras. It sounds distant, though; you don’t seem to be in the French Quarter. The night is cool, and you feel a breeze flow over you from the north. It should chill you, but you do not shiver or feel goose bumps rise. The light from the street lamps seems distant and hollow, and your clothes feel cold and rough against your skin. Something is different, something is terribly wrong, but you can’t muster the feeling of fear or outrage. You do feel something, though. You feel hunger.
You glance around and see three other people picking themselves up from the ground. You feel a momentary flash of anger and fear, as though recognizing a threat in each of these people, but the feeling passes after an instant and the gnawing hunger returns.
Our chronicle opens as three very young vampires awaken in the Treme District of New Orleans, in an alleyway just across from Louis Armstrong Park. They are not yet entirely aware of what has happened to them – but that’s going to change very quickly.
Bill Gustafson, Christian Barrow, and Chad Jefferson had nothing in common with each other before tonight – they are three very different people from three very different walks of life. But someone chose them. They were marked, stalked, killed, and given new lives as children of the night.
Bill has spent much of his working life in the adult entertainment industry, where his social habits and fighting physique have served him well – well enough to live a reasonably comfortable life, anyway, hopping from bar to bar and party to party. When he’s not working or schmoozing at clubs, Bill spends his time making quiet donations (and sometimes underhanded nudges) to make sure that certain less than upstanding politicians do stand up for the little guy. Having come from a poor family, he takes the plight of the working class seriously, and uses his contacts to keep up on who’s doing what (or who) behind closed doors.
Speaking of “behind closed doors,” and playing dirty, consider the case of Christian Barrow, itinerant money-grubbing capitalist and generous philanthropist. Christian has long worn two faces – among his “friends” in the business world, he’s known for following the advice of Teddy Roosevelt (“Speak softly and carry a big stick.”) and Al Capone (“You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.”) when pursuing the bottom line. It seems difficult to say if his penchant for making large charitable donations comes out of guilt, a sense of moral obligation, or is just a convenient cover for his less scrupulous activities.
Our third is Chad Jefferson, a 21 year old confirmed introvert who works independently as a webmaster and web designer. He graduated a semester early from MIT and has been spending the week in New Orleans as part of a graduation present from his parents, who hold out a vain hope that he might meet some real people or gain a bit of social confidence. Chad is a bit of a stereotype, and feels most at home sitting in front of a glowing screen, where he is well-connected among the online community, but he can count his “friends in real life” on one hand.
This grab-bag coterie is discovered shortly after their awakening by Father John Marrow, out hunting in the late hours of the night. He comes upon them as Bill and Chad are in the midst of a feeding frenzy – drinking the blood of some drunk party-goers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Christian, disturbed by his location, hazy memory, and low-class companions, attempts to leave the scene, but Father Marrow recognizes the danger these three are in and uses his Majesty to gain their trust.
He takes them to Corpus Christi Catholic Church, where he is the pastor, and imparts what knowledge and help he can to them before Alexander, loyal servant to Prince Vidal, arrives to take them into custody. They are taken to meet Prince Vidal, but first are given the mark of penitence by his Seneschal, Maldonato and left to spend the day in solitude.
The next night they are introduced to Vidal, who effuses old world charm and power. After hearing each of the coterie’s confessions (he asks them to recount the events surrounding their Embraces to the best of their knowledge), he blesses them and asks that they go on a pilgrimage back to the site of their Embrace to seek both closure and the possible return of their memories.
They acquiesce, and Alexander gives them a ride back to the park (along with clean shirts). Along the way he cruises past an old confederate graveyard which the Prince has heard rumors of voodoo rituals being performed in – apparently he knows someone buried there or something, according to Alexander. He tells the trio that they could score some points with both Vidal and himself by taking a closer look – he has other business to attend to, and no time for a full investigation.
Bill, Christian, and Chad first spend an hour or so at the park and alleyway, praying and meditating per Prince Vidal’s suggestion (they found him very intimidating), and then Chad and Christian searched the alleyway for clues – it seems the drunk college kids from the night before survived and made it out of the alley, at least, and there are no signs of police activity.
Afterward, they walked the few blocks to the graveyard and begin to investigate. Christian found evidence of blood being poured out near a casket in a corner of the unnamed graveyard, and Chad was able to confirm signs of vodoun rituals being practiced. The three were about to open up a stone casket with fresh blood splatters on it when they were interrupted by a gang of four street toughs looking for easy marks. The ensuing combat quickly went south for the thugs.
Christian almost immediately dominated one into simply walking away, while Chad hid and used Obfuscate, and Bill used his kung fu know-how to disarm the lead gangbanger and stab him with his own knife. The sight of blood then caused Christian (who had no Vitae in his system and was literally starving) to go into a frenzy and maul one of the thugs. Bill used Celerity to purse his mark and stab the foolhardy tough to death before succumbing to his own frenzy. Meanwhile, Chad repeatedly hid and used Obfuscate to stalk and surprise attack the now lone gun-wielding thug before at last managing to sink his fangs into the man’s neck.
The chronicle resumes Friday, October 22nd, and an update should follow shortly.