The Blood of Life

Awakening and Pilgrimage
In which the characters meet Prince Vidal, among others, and begin to understand the challenges of unlife.

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.

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Last Night
What? No, I'm not with him.

The last thing Gustav Van Hagen remembers, he was in his mansion on the East Coast. He hadn’t even considered traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

The last thing Daniel Boone remembers, he was heading out to go to the bookstore, hoping to avoid the crush of yet another Mardi Gras celebration.

I know what it sounds like, but this is not the introduction to a love story.

Van Hagen and Boone woke up together in an alleyway in a poor neighborhood of New Orleans, next to two dead bodies. And they woke up hungry.

Since that time, they’ve spent nearly 24 hours together. Gustav and Daniel are not friends.

But they are trapped together inside a stone mausoleum, outside of which someone has just been firing a gun. But let’s go back to the alley.

In between then and now, they’ve nearly been arrested, woken up a Mexican diplomatic aide in the middle of the night for, as it turns out, no good reason, talked a cop out of arresting them, killed said cop, and hidden his car (in fairness, Gustav did those last three all on his own).

They were then picked up, or more accurately in Daniel’s case, run down by an agent of Prince Vidal named Alexander. Alexander took them to meet the Prince, just as he would later take Christian and Bill.

Unfortunately, a black man with a Cajun accent and a small group of masked gunmen shot up the house with automatic weapons and kidnapped the two confused young Kindred. Nary a half hour passed before they were being pulled out of the trunk of a car and shoved roughly into what turned out to be a stone mausoleum.

These ominous words echoed as the door slammed and locked shut: “The Baron says hello!”

After escaping their zipcord ties, they had some thoughts of escape – but these thoughts were quickly dashed when Gustav discovered that Vampires are perhaps not quite as strong as they appear in the movies. Sadly, even undead fists can be stopped by a thick enough door.

So there they sat, and slept, and sit even now, pounding on the door and hoping for rescue. And Daniel, who still hasn’t eaten, can’t help but start to wonder – undead blood is still blood, right?

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Partners in Being Screwed
I don't like any of these people, but at least they're not trying to kill me.

Our chronicle continues as Bill and Christian help Daniel and Gustav to escape the creepy crypt – by literally ripping the door to shreds.

Prior to owning the crypt door, our first two…er…“heroes” opened the blood-stained casket and discovered – rather confusingly – bags full of miscellaneous womens clothing and a chopped up dead girl who Bill recognized as a girl named Tina he had met on the night they were turned.

They snapped some photos, texted them to Alexander, and left him a voicemail explaining what they found. Then, with nowhere else to stash him, they trapped the sole surviving street thug inside the partially closed stone casket.

The undead investigators then worked together to tear down the crypt door.

I’m afraid I’m getting a bit hazy on the details at this point, but here are some highlights, more or less in chronological order:

Daniel Boone gets a strange, somewhat awkward phone call from a mysterious woman named Mary, who tells him that she is sorry, and that she hopes he will not be punished for her sins. So far as I can tell, the coterie is only initially curious about this woman, and then proceeds to forget about her entirely. Go plot, go!

Alexander pulls up just in time to help the coterie escape the graveyard before the police arrive – apparently someone actually called in those gunshots! Memorably, the coterie further desecrates an already violated civil war grave, for some obscure reason deciding that they need to take the bags of clothes, the unconscious gang member, and the bones of the original occupant.

Alexander decides, in the interest of keeping Prince Vidal from punishing him for his lax oversight, to help the coterie by disposing of the evidence. He also gives them a brief rundown of crime and punishment in the city, and advises them to lay low and stay out of trouble.

Back at Boone’s apartment, the group begins interrogating the unfortunate Mikey Schulz, soon-to-be former gangbanger. In an act of unexpected Wrath, Christian realizes that this is the kid who shot him, and puts a bullet through the prisoner’s knee. The others hurry to reassure the neighbors that there was a small accident, and that they will turn the television down. They roll surprisingly well.

Gustav and Bill, apparently without care or concern, head to Gustav’s hotel, leaving the bleeding prisoner in the care a starving vampire and and angry vampire. Needless to say, Boone drains the kid.

Gustav makes arrangements for an unscrupulous private body guard service to pick up an injured man from Boone’s place and drop the man off at a hospital with $1000. Upon discovering the corpse, the body guard will undoubtedly pocket the $1000, not that Gustav will notice or care.

Bill spends hours in the hotel bar, trying to satisfy his Vice without success. When he finally gets lucky, Gustav kicks him and his new “girlfriend” out of the room. Bill then follows the lucky lady back to her room, where he discovers her sleeping husband. Somehow, he makes do.

Gustav makes phone calls and greases palms to gather info on the names they’ve gathered so far, while Christian gets online and starts googling.

They discover the existence of Matheson House, linked to a John Matheson from the Civil War era. Apparently it was a plantation museum for a while, but has recently been closed for renovations.

Our session ends with Gustav Rospiere Van Hagen being voted MVP thanks to his judicious use of ridiculous wealth, and Christian Barrow being voted Best Roleplayer, possibly on the merits of kneecapping a prisoner with a firearm in a tiny, thin-walled apartment building.

Tune in next time for more undead shenanigans!

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