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Immortal Desires Detritus's GURPS World of Darkness PbP game.

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Old 01-10-2010, 11:34 PM
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Default As old and as true as the sky (pre-dawn Wed. 4/4/07)

((Continued from the end of the "No one to tell you how" thread.))

The shimmering something -- a ward, perhaps? -- that separated the room into two halves changes configuration to conform to the perimeter of the parlor.

"You have your freedom back," Gwynnis says to Jack once the ward has completed its change. "I see now that it was wrong of me to include you among the recipients of my donations." Her gaze lingers on Jack for a moment before she turns towards Rebekka, bows, and says, "The floor is yours, my Prince."

As Rebekka steps forward, her Majesty from the last time she spoke to Jack still obviously in effect, Gwynnis retreats until she is no longer between Jack and The Prince. Meerlinda and the Justicar's childer are clustered a few steps behind Rebekka when she begins speaking. Sarah is closest to Sabine and Camille at this time.

"Now that I have received the Sheriff's report, I must take issue with some of the elements of your charming analogy. In your haste to insult the Justicar, not only did you compare her to the most brutal dictator of my ancestral homelands, but you also cast the Sabbat in the role of the liberating Allied forces at Normandy. One is forced to question how such a comparison came so easily to your lips."

The Prince closes her eyes, and then begins reciting: "Thy domain is thine own concern. All others owe thee respect while in it." Rebekka's eyes open and flash in anger at this sentence, but Jack seems strangely listless, and doesn't really react. "None may challenge thy word while in thy domain.

"Under normal circumstances, such a trivial violation of the Tradition of Domain would warrant no more than a warning, if that. Even a real stickler for the traditions would most likely be unable to justify anything worse than banishment. But these are not ordinary times.

"The Sabbat masses on our doorstep. Their incursion seems imminent, if we cannot take the fight to them. And I hear of words befitting a Sabbat propagandist coming from your mouth. You insolent brat, do you have any idea how truly ridiculous your words are?"

Rebekka closes her eyes once again, this time in recollection, and when they open, they're lit with a cold, righteous fury.

"I was there, when England stood alone against the advance of the Nazi war machine, in the Summer of 1940. I was there when we decided to do what we could to dissuade Hitler from invading, when we guided the mortal occultists in the land to do the same.

"I was there, on that first night of August, Lammas Night, when we gathered at Glastonbury, led by Councilor Meerlinda herself, to perform the ritual that would protect the United Kingdom. I was there when the Councilor strove with the renegade Goratrix in the astral plane. I was there when she learned that the renegade was in Berchtesgaden, in the presence of Hitler himself, to serve as one of the leaders of the dark ritual meant to break the English resolve beyond repair."

The Prince draws a composing breath, her tone somewhat more measured when she continues.

"Neither side was victorious on Lammas Night, but we had given ourselves a chance. Our ritual was left incomplete, though not wholly negated, but there was a price for its completion, one that few of us were willing to see paid at the time. So we decided to watch at first, to see if our initial working had been sufficient. As the weeks wore on, and the Battle of Britain raged in the skies above us, it became clear that we needed to complete the ritual after all."

Rebekka looks back at Gwynnis, at Rosalyn, and at Meerlinda. The Justicar's eyes are closed, and she clutches a hand to her breastbone. The Councilor's face is impassive, but she gives a slight nod, and Rebekka turns to continue her story, her words quieter, more subdued this time.

"We reconvened at Glastonbury, on the night of the full moon in September, to pay the price for the completion of the ritual. The blood of the sacred queen, wed to the land, to be spilled on the ground, by the hands of those that loved her best. So it was that Gwynnis surrendered her sword to the Councilor, that it might be seen that she gave up her defenses willingly, and was a willing sacrifice.

"And then, her eldest childe thrust her spear deep into her sire's chest, and wept as she did so. Wept, and yet knew that she did her duty, as did her sire. Then the spear was withdrawn, and the queen made sure her blood spilled on the ground. Thereafter both sword and spear struck, to hasten the queen's passage to her sleep, and we laid her body to rest. For how long, we did not then know, for she must sleep as long as the protection of her blood was needed."

Rebekka pauses one last time, a look of mingled contempt and disgust on her face, before pronouncing sentence.

"As they did their duty then, so shall I now, though I will not weep to do mine. For violating the Tradition of Domain, I invoke the Lex Talionis upon you, Jack Constantine. Your membership in the Camarilla is hereby rescinded, and your existence, forfeit."

Despite the Prince's words, Jack's odd listlessness continues until Rebekka finally lays hands on him. Her left hand conjures something pitch black, and an instant later her right hand draws forth light as bright and warm as the noonday sun. Jack screams in agony, but is unable to withdraw, and in a matter of a few seconds is reduced to nothing but a fine mist of dust.
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:12 AM
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((OK, there's some IMO logically necessary NPC-NPC follow-up that has to happen in the wake of Jack's destruction, and as Rebekka comes off tilt, I'll try getting things moving back to PC participation. You're all free to have whatever reaction to events as they played out; even Rebekka's admitted it was kind of on the touchy side, but sometimes the roulette wheel just comes up 00. You're also free to interject during the ostensibly NPC-only portions of the post, as always, and we'll riff off of whatever comes up.))

As the dust settles in the stunned silence that follows Jack's destruction, Rebekka turns to Erik, who is still held in place by Wynn and Zack.

"Please release him," the Prince says in a near-mumble. Interestingly, her Majesty is no longer in effect, though the power would not have worn off for several hours, had she wished it. The elder Gangrel do as requested, and Erik looks for a moment like he's about to bolt, but then he looks to the still-warded parlor door, and can only swallow awkwardly.

"Were the two of you close?"

"Not really," comes Erik's sullen reply.

"Not really, your Majesty," Zack says. Rebekka holds up a forbearing hand.

"There will be time for that later," she says to Zack. "I take from the tone of your reply that you were closer than you are willing to admit. I assure you, I will not hold it against you."

"We were Embraced together," Erik replies, shrugging, "but we split pretty quick after that. He went to Dallas, I went to Memphis. We didn't keep in touch."

"And what else?"

"And what else?! Do I really have to ask?"

"Yes, you must. I would have you understand the difference between forthrightness and mortal insult. Though the line between them is sometimes finer than a hairsbreadth, one is to be encouraged, and the other avoided." Erik stews over these words for several seconds before blurting out his reply.

"Did you have to fucking kill him?! Over a stupid insult that wasn't even aimed at you?!"

"I did, although not for the insult in and of itself. Our hold, my hold, on the city is a fragile thing. As Prince, I cannot, dare not, let my subjects undermine our cause, however casually it is done. Especially now, when mortal enemies gather just outside our door."

Rebekka looks back at Dee Dee, and her lips compress, before resuming with Erik.

"While I cannot entirely approve of the Sheriff's technique in this matter, it was her duty to ask the questions she did of Jack before allowing him to meet with the Garou. Individually, they are quite formidable, and when united in common cause, they are entirely capable of presenting mortal peril to all the Kindred in virtually any city you'd care to name. She was perfectly correct in her underlying rationale, the attempt to ascertain Jack's reliability as an envoy to the Garou.

"You will have to reconcile yourself to this reality. Furthermore, you must be made to realize that there is no possibility of neutrality in the coming conflict with the Sabbat. If you cannot reconcile yourself to this reality, I am afraid I am in no position to permit exile for anyone, not when it includes the possibility of defection to our enemies. I fear I must cast things in these terms: that you join us, or join Jack."

By the time she finishes, Rebekka has regained much of the steam she seemed to have lost when she began speaking with Erik. For a terrible quarter-minute Erik stands in silence, his gaze locked on to the Prince's, when he finally averts his eyes.

"I suppose the Sheriff did have a point about how Jack could have gotten other people in trouble by shooting his mouth off. My Prince," he adds belatedly, after Zack clears his throat, but Rebekka seems not to care about being addressed so for now.

((OK, so this post was all NPC-NPC. To be continued...))
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:42 AM
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((Sorry, one more NPC-NPC ramble, and then the PCs can start getting back in the game...))

"And you, Sheriff, you should not have kept this from me. Certainly not just for using it as a cudgel. This needn't have happened the way it did."

"I didn't think it was that big of a deal," Dee Dee replies, a bit defensively. "He was just blowing off steam. Her Majesty my Sire can be a touch difficult to get along with at times." An indignant sound escapes Gwynnis's throat, but her expression is only half-serious.

"Yet you recognized that we had to be sure that Jack understood that such blowing off of steam would be highly undesirable in the presence of the Garou. That alone would have been a risk for a Domain violation, even without the prior violation, or his insubordination here." After a split-second pause, Rebekka continues, "I should not have to remind you, the Sheriff stands second only to the Prince in the enforcement of the Traditions."

"So, what, I should have struck him down on the spot here? Or in the field?" The Sheriff is unable to hide the incredulity in her voice.

"No, you should have enforced the Traditions, Sheriff. There were many possible courses of action that would not have ended in the destruction of one of our number. It is a duty that requires judgment in real time on occasion. If you are unable to do so, then your duty is clear. Do you wish to resign the post of Sheriff?"

"What? Sire," Dee Dee turns to Gwynnis, who has taken up a study of her feet with her one good eye.

"Answer me, Sheriff," Rebekka says, a dangerous light in her eyes. "Do you wish to resign?"

The Sheriff recoils from the intensity of the Prince's gaze and stands dumbstruck, momentarily, before the Justicar sidles up to her, speaking words that are honey spread on a dagger.

"If it helps to clarify your thinking, you should understand that exile is an option open to the Prince in your case. For if you are not in her service, you will go exactly where I assign you, even if I am not there, will you not?" Dee Dee recoils again upon seeing her Sire's one-eyed stare, and then lowers her head.

"If it pleases your Majesty to grant me clemency in this matter, I would prefer remaining in my current office." Rebekka waits a full count to 10 before answering.

"It would please us, and we would be pleased further still with renewed vigilance on your part when discharging the duties of your office."

"I understand, Majesty, and I thank you." Rebekka nods, now gracious and composed, and moves to the head of the parlor.

((And thus ends another presentation of Toreador Drama Hour Productions!))
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:02 AM
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"Where are we?" Rebekka asks of the room. She makes a quick gesture, and the wards around the parlor are finally released.

"We're starting to narrow down the engagement sites," answers Dee Dee. "We've sent Roman to contact the local Garou, as there's at least one choice site that could fall under territory they think of as their own." Giving her sire a trepidatious look, she says, "I'm not sure we'll be able to swing a meeting before sunrise."

"Time is fleeting," Gwynnis says.

"We understand that, Justicar," says Wynn, "and how dear Sidana once was to you, but pragmatism compels me to say that there is little to gain, and much to lose, by presenting the Garou with impatient demands." Gwynnis opens her mouth to retort, when Meerlinda breaks in with a single word.

"Gwen."

The Justicar turns and scowls at the Councilor, but smoothes her face after a moment and lifts her arms in acquiescence. "Very well," she says, "but when you've passed four hundred thousand nights and more, four nights are but the blink of an eye."

"Make arrangements as expediently as possible," says the Prince, "but Wynn is correct that rushing things will not end well for us. Who are we sending?"

"Well, now it's Roman, Wynn, Leo, and François," the Sheriff says.

"Can you help get them up to speed on Garou customs?" Rebekka asks Wynn.

"What little I know of them," he replies, "yet I would say simply treating the problem as our being an embassy on foreign soil, but one possibly lacking in diplomatic immunity, would be a good place to begin."

"I'm sure the message will not be lost on the others. What else?"

"We've sent Kallista and Ramiel to hunt for surveillance-type contacts of Mr. Johnson," says Dee Dee. "It might be a way to get some photographic proof of a common enemy. Neither of them seemed too sure that they'd turn anything up, though, and even if we did, we'd still need to get them to look for the footage or documents we want."

"If I can get an approximate description and a location, I might be able to do something," Gwynnis says, "but not before."

"If I may," Sarah says timidly, "before the commotion, I was just about to say that I found a computer upstairs in a study on the second floor. It's password-protected, though, and I couldn't get in. It might make that haystack a lot smaller if we can have a look at it."

Rebekka looks at Dee Dee, who shakes her head.

"I may be young, but that's not the sort of hacking I'm good at."

((Hint, hint... ))
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:09 AM
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Jake is visibly shaken by what he's seen, but he manages to get a grip on himself and speak up.

"I may be of some assistance in that regard. May I take a look at the computer in question?"
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:56 PM
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J"I may be of some assistance in that regard. May I take a look at the computer in question?"
"Sure, follow me," says Sarah. There's a study on the second floor, just as she said.

((We'll pick this up in its own thread.))

"Has anyone heard from Col. Beaumont?" Rebekka asks, but there are only negative answers to the query. "Keep me apprised," she says to Muaziz and Sabine. "Marshal, Seneschal, Sheriff, you're with me."

The women named follow the Prince out of the parlor, and upstairs. Gwynnis and Meerlinda turn to follow as well, when the Justicar says, "Ah, yes, we can't forget you, Rosalyn. Please join us."

((This'll get its own thread, too.))

((Kindred remaining in the parlor at this point -- François, Leo, Zack, Wynn, Camille, Erik, Muaziz, Sabine, and possibly Antoinette, I'll have to check on that.))
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:48 AM
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As the prince leaves, a tension that had built in Francois is released. He seems ready to comment on what just occured, but thinks better of it.

"What then shall be the plan? As embassador in unfriendly terratory, it is customary to bring a gift to show peaceful intent. Also, in so far as we can, we must go unarmed."

Turning to Wynn, "What woudl be an appropriate gift to give a Garou war leader...for I think that's who they will send."
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:20 PM
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"Attending the meeting unarmed is certainly a good idea," Wynn says. "From what little I know of Garou social structure, I can say that they are divided into clans, each of which has its own totem. If we knew the clan of the Garou emissary, a gift themed in the appropriate totem might be well-received."

"That sounds like it will require some local knowledge," says Zack.

"Yes, and Roman may also have more specific ideas when he returns."

"So that's it," Erik says, "we're just going to go on like nothing happened, like the Prince didn't just go ape shit and ice Jack for no apparent reason?"

"Not 'no apparent reason'," Wynn says. "Insufficient reason is certainly debatable, however."

"We can take it up with the Gangrel Justicar," Zack says, eliciting a raised eyebrow from Muaziz. "I don't believe Angus was planning on attending the Conclave here, but perhaps when he learns of recent events, he'll change his mind."

"That's it? A letter to the Justicar? That fucking sucks."

"You wouldn't be thinking of acting out on your own, would you?" Muaziz asks of Erik. Sabine moves to Muaziz's side. Zack preempts Erik's reply.

"We'll go through proper channels. What you need to realize, lad, is that in a given city, proper channels end with the Prince. Is that clear?"

Erik gives a sullen nod after a moment's reflection, then turns to leave the parlor. Muaziz makes to follow, but Zack cuts her pursuit short with a look, and follows Erik himself.
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:00 PM
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"Discretion is certainly a virtue", Francois says as they walk away. "Very well, when do we expect the meeting to take place?"
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:36 PM
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"I'd guess shortly after sunset tomorrow evening," Camille says. "I'm not sure how close Roman is with his Garou contacts, but I'd be amazed if they'd meet with any of us on the drop of a hat."
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