BIbN – Confessions

I’m aiming for something a little different tonight. One of my players couldn’t make it to our British Isles by Night session, so I’ll be covering what that character was up to from the eyes of the Castle’s staff. Edit: As I’m writing this I decided to throw in some (considerable) background about Doncaster castle.

Charles had begun his new orders just before dusk, a welcome break from the monotony of Lord William’s castle. He was tired of the routine of castle garrison life. His Serjeant had cautioned him that castle duty was a bore when he had been selected for rotation through the Lord’s garrison. Baron William was well past his prime and unlikely to ride further than a half day from his cliff top holdings, let alone a Lord who would mount an attack on his northern neighbor. So when the Seneschal had requested an armed and armoured volunteer for special duties, Charles had stepped forward. It didn’t seem strange to him that one of the older garrison members didn’t step forward, they were a clannish lot. They kept to themselves and they didn’t talk to the locals who rotated through the garrison any more than they needed to. The only oddity was when one of them pressed a wooden cross on a leather thong into his hand as he readied his armour. “Christ Bless you Charles” the older man had muttered as he trudged off to his own duties. Being a properly pious man, Charles donned the crucifix and tucked it beneath the Lord’s surcoat.

Now, a quarter of a full day later, he found himself standing guard duty outside of ‘The Lady’s rooms in the ‘lower’ castle. Baron William’s castle had the typical Norman styled Donjon, but having been built into the side of a hilltop, actually had lower levels than one would normally expect. From what Charles knew, the Donjon extended down three additional floors beneath the hilltop, four if you counted the windowless ground floor. Not long after arriving, Charles had mused to one of the older guards that there was almost more castle beneath the ground than there was above. For that he had been cuffed across the jaw and told to ‘mind his own bleedin affairs’.

Not long after dark he had escorted a Priest from a penitent’s cell to the Castellan’s dayroom as he had been instructed. Not that it was a dayroom, Doncaster’s Castellan apparently didn’t command enough respect to have a room above ground. In Charles’ mind this only confirmed what he had decided about Baron William, namely that he was too old to rule, let alone make war. Why else would one of the most important men in a Castle, the one in charge of it’s security, be given rooms below ground. Not that they were poorly furnished rooms, God be true, they were actually more impressive in size and accoutrements than Baron William’s own dayroom. The main difference was by being below ground, they were poorly lit. Few torches or tappers lit these halls and chambers.

The visit to the Castellan’s dayroom did not take long and from there he was instructed to escort the Priest, one Father Francis, to the Lady Alefwyne’s chambers. Which is where he now stood. From everything that Charles had gathered, mainly from the kitchen maids, who gossiped like one would expect, Lady Alefwyne was a dowager relative of the Baron and was disliked by the castle’s staff. She always complained to the Steward and Seneschal of the quality of the food, and sent it back untouched as often as not. Despite the complaints, he gathered that the maids didn’t mind, not given the size of them, each one must have weighed more than three bushels of wheat.

Truth be told, Charles was shocked when he had heard the name of Father Francis. He had taken a half step back before catching himself and offering apologies. As a child his parents had terrorized him with threats of a Father Francis, but that was almost a score of years ago. This priest was no grey-bearded man, if he was more than a hand’s worth of years older than Charles himself he wouldn’t be a day older. They couldn’t be the same man, not even a priest stayed that soft looking and youthful over twenty years.

Now, outside of the Lady’s room, Charles found himself blushing. He was no stranger to a romp in the hay with a maid, and he had heard his parents rutting across the room when he was a child. This was his first time ever hearing a noble woman make noises like this. As he wondered if this was really how noble women heard ‘confession’, he chuckled inwardly, ‘No wonder they always attend mass.’

The darkest part of the night came and went, and still the sound of rapture carried on through the door which he guarded. “Bloody hell”, Charles murmured as the noise stopped and the door finally creaked open. There stood Father Francis, a slight smile on his lips as he stepped forth and pulled the door shut. He spoke to Charles, looking him in the face as an equal, as he clasped him on the shoulder. “My work here is done my Son, but I am weary. I shall need an escort back to my humble room. Lady Alefwyne had much to confess.” Charles caught himself smiling far to widely and tried to force a serious look upon his face “Of course Father, this way.”

Neither the Priest nor the Solider noticed the bat that had flitted into the passage as they walked down the passage, to the Penitent’s cells. Jacob was in time.

Quick glimpse – MbN – Yuma, August of 1998

Yet another snippet from the in-game past of our Montreal by Night game.

Rabbit looked about at the carnage. He counted eight to ten mortals in various states of dismemberment. Judging by the piles of ash, two kindred of at least a century had also met final death. He murmured to his childer, “This does not bode well.” He nudged a muscular arm, detached from the body it once belonged to, with his hairy foot. “This happened fast Malachi, look… the arm still holds a pistol.” His childer, Malachi, nodded in agreement and gestured to additional body parts. “Yes Sire, these two as well.”

Rabbit sighed and flapped the collar of his shirt. Even after dark he found this city too warm. Rarely did he wish to work this far south, the Mexican border was less than fifteen minutes away. He looked about the bar once again, it reminded him of a low budget movie set for a Mexican movie. “Malachi, tell me why they were even in a shit hole like this again.” Malachi did his best to straighten up as he referred to the small moleskin notebook that he always carried. “Sire, the reports say that they were backing a power play with one of the local drug cartels, which seems accurate given where we are. It also says that both Kindred were deeply in debt to…” He paused as he flips to the next page “Mr. Kevin Jackson. Who seems to be the one who financed their endeavour. Last night’s enquiries by Bell suggested that Mr Jackson was quite forthcoming. That’s all I have.” With that Malachi closed his notebook.

While listening to Malachi’s discourse on why they were in this abattoir, Rabbit had crouched down to get a better look at the wounds of the mortals. “Look at these cuts, doesn’t it remind you of Atlanta….back in 88? The cuts are so precise, there are no defensive wounds.” Malachi closed the distance to his sire, and cleared his throat as he crouched down to look at the severed arm “Sire…you have me confused with my predecessor.” Rabbit stood up suddenly and frowned “I’m sorry Malachi.” He reached into his pocket and withdrew a pair of aviators sunglasses. “I get your point.” As he slid them onto his snout, he smiled slightly as he gestured to the bodies “But they got the edge instead.”

Quick glimpse – MbN – A Garden, near Rennes-le-Château, 1828

In barely hushed tones, a burly man adorned with the heavy golden braids of an British Officer spoke to the innocent young woman at his side “I never did see the point of a Kindred wedding. Frankly, where is the precedent? If all of the ‘descended from Caine’ hogwash was true, it isn’t as if HE married. Why in my time, if a relationship of convince lasted more than a decade, it was a cause for scandal!”

The young woman blushed at the the General’s words. “Lord Collinsworth, forgive me, but is this not a time for celebration?” The officer smiled slyly, gently, but appropriately rebuked. “Yes, yes, of course Lucinde. I am acting as a poor tutor. Please do not think that I would do your Sire a disservice. Let us focus on the nuptials.” With this said, both guests turned their attention to the wedding party and the rest of the guests spread throughout the garden. The fashion of the female guests seemed to be inspired by the earlier dress of the ancient Greeks, fused with the late regency period. The men on the other hand, wore a mis-mash of styles, with the only theme being the extravagance of their attire.

“Lord Collinworth, if I may ask, why are we here? Do you know…” her words were cut short by both the sound of the concealed Harpist and the General’s caution “Hush girl, it’s about to begin.” With all attention now turning to the trio of figures beneath the garden’s main arbour, it was easy to see the skeletal man clad in the robes of a Cardinal. As he raised both arms into the air, a gesture to maintain attention, the Cardinal spoke in courtly french “Lords and Ladies….Your attention. We gather here, for this joyous night, so that two may declare their love before you all!”

The Cardinal stepped back, and guided each of the happy, soon to be wed, couple forward for the guests to see. “I present the suitor, Master Warlock, Nicolai Antonescu, and the Honourable Mademoiselle Alicia …” The rapport of the first musket shot rang loudly enough to silence everyone within the garden. The second, was mistaken for an echo of the first, having happened so fast. Both shots having found their mark, the Bride dropped to the ground, a headless and rapidly ageing husk. A sign that she had not been turned so long ago.

Quick glimpse – MbN – Buffalo, February of 1994

Another snippet from the in-game past of our Montreal by Night game.

Buffalo

Just outside of Buffalo; Within the office of a chard auto mechanic’s shop, two hours after sunset.
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As her looked about the scene, the Nosferatu known as Rabbit spoke to his hunched back minion, “Tell the Prince that the cleaners should arrive shortly.” As his childer began to leave, so as to deliver the message, something caught Rabbit’s critical. “Wait!” Rabbit, living up to his name, hopped over to a corner of the burnt out room in which he and his childer stood. Crouching down, his knees tucked next to his ears, much like his name sake, he wiggled his nose and sniffed the air. “Phosphorus” he declared as he slide the half melted shotgun shell from beneath the chard Ottoman. “That would explain the fire.” He turned the shell in his hand, and his pallor faded further than his ‘condition’ normally allowed. “It was Sabbat, likely a war party. They used Dragonsbreath. I’d guess, on the whole Coterie. They hit right after sunset.” Rabbit stood and handed the partially melted shell to his childre. As his hunchbacked childer ambled over to his sire, and reached for the shell, Rabbit grabbed his hand and held it tightly. “Lladislas is bound to have a bee in his bonnet over this, so tell him from a distance.”

At the same time, just outside of Erie, Pennsylvania, in a white panelled van
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From the rear of the van, another Nosferatu, this one very different spoke with confidence, “That’s got to be the easiest hit I’ve ever done. Gypsy, how about you let me drive next time we stop for gas?” From the passenger seat, a leather clad woman sighed very loudly “Not this again… Snake you don’t even know how to drive! Seriously, how the hell do you get into the Hand without knowing how to drive?” Snake snorted, “Come into the back Incense, and I’ll show you what I can do.. oh the things that…” The driver cut Snake off before he could finish his faux come-on, her voice was quiet and slightly accented “The tank is full, we shall not be stopping unless needed. Since I doubt that they are fools, they would have found the remains by now. If I forgot to say it before, you both did well.” A pregnant silence of shock filled the van for a full mile before Snake spoke again, “Do you know why they wanted us to grab this one” as he drove his boot into the stomach of the staked kindred next to him “Or is that confidential?”

Quick glimpse – MbN – New York City, New Years Eve, 1978

Another snippet from the in-game past of our Montreal by Night game.

A certain famous nightclub, in Manhattan during it’s heyday.
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The speakers pumped the disco beat throughout the club. Only in the VIP area could you hold a proper conversation. The rich and famous rubbed elbows with the most beautiful ‘commoners’ that New York had to offer. Outfront, the velvet rope separated the masses from the elite. Tonight, the masses were in for a treat. Bianca, Liza, Farrah, and Grace had already showed up. Mick was inside too, and Truman was expected to arrive shortly. One of the doorman yelled for room to be made as yet another Cadillac pulled up. He reached to open the door, hoping that it wasn’t yet another smart ass kid who had ‘borrowed’ their dad’s car in an effort to make a show. The crowd gasped as the door opened and a blonde bombshell slid from the car. Haoui, the head doorman placed a hand on the velvet rope, unsure of what to do. The look alike walked slowly toward Haoui and the magical rope, her hips rocking back and forth in a hypnotic rhythm. Flash bulbs went off like rockets as she stepped in front of the mighty doorman. “Darling…” she whispered as she slid a finger along the line of his jaw. “…I’m so very cold. Can I come in?”

Haoui unclipped the velvet rope, and hastily lifted it aside. Of course “Miss Monroe, Happy New Year!”