The Fragile

Chapter 2

Curious conversations

“The night offers sanctuary. In the darkness, the faces of strangers are harder to read, the inside of your club is a mass of shadows lit only by the soft red glow emanating from the stage. The city sprawls around you, seemingly endless. LA has a way of swallowing you up. Tonight that is a good thing.

The events in Red Rock canyon have left you with many questions, a more than a few criptic answers, and a series of events to process. The ghouled teenagers, the bound children. The bonfire in the canyon. The cars. The chaos that followed the arrival of a vampire. The rabid child vampire in the van.

It was a tough situation, but handled well given the circumstances. You have a hostage, the unconscious form of the Ghoul Andrew Farley. Apparently an avid fan of Phillipe de Lyon.
You have the results of Khalid’s investigations, and a duty to report what findings you have to Senechal Montero."

Calvin Queller is lounging in VIP luxury at one of his favourite clubs in LA. At ‘Boulevard 3’, on Sunset, they have bars in the middle of the dance floor where the barkeeper acrobat models hang suspended from the ceiling as they pour your Long Island Iced Tea. You can’t argue with that. Tonight the place is packed, and as usual, he has a slew of attractive models leaning on his every word as he plies them with alcohol and charm. Unlife is good.
Ariane, (a friend, and as far as he knows, the only other one like him in the expanse of the city) approaches his VIP booth. Seeing her, he makes his apologies and tells the models to buy themselves a drink at the bar and make themselves scarce.
Ariane informs him with some urgency that she is there to rescue him. His presence, having gone unnoticed by the city’s Camarilla for nigh on five years (apart from Ariane), has finally come to their attention, and they insist that he be presented with all due speed to those in charge or suffer the consequences, which Ariane assures him would be deadly.

In light of her friendship with him, she recommends to him that he meet some friends of hers (the coterie) and join their group, to offer him protection and acceptance in LA’s kindred society. He reluctantly agrees to her offer, and bids his VIP booth adieu.
Ariane takes Calvin from uptown Sunset Boulevard, to the seedy underbelly of LA, in Inglewood, where Michael’s strip club is located. Calvin sticks out like a sore thumb in his designer suit, but makes the best of the situation.
The coterie is in the midst of discussing the events of the previous night, when they are interrupted by Ariane and her new friend. She explains her story, and offers them a boon if they allow him to join their group. The initial meetings are mildly strained, but Calvin’s easy nature and charm soon win him some points.

They decide to set up a meeting with Seneschal Montero to not only bring him up to speed on the events at Red Rock Canyon, but also to give Calvin an opportunity to make himself known, thus avoiding further offense.

Their meeting takes place at Montero’s office, behind the front of a law firm on the 47th floor of the Figueroa at Wilshire. It is a serious affair. Formal introductions are made, and information is exchanged. Montero suggests to the coterie they make use of Calvin’s talents, having noticed during the interview that he possessed powerful levels of Auspex. He instructs them to continue their investigation into this mysterious vampire, his sire and associates, and report back as soon as they have enough information to warrant his time.

Calvin offers to show the group a good time on the town, on his dime, so they can get to know each other. He suggests that they go to a favourite club of his: Avalon. They go out and have a good time, feeding, talking and plotting.

As icing on the cake, Calvin insists that he show them his home in Malibu, and treats them to a tour of the night time city in his private helicopter which flies them around downtown, and then up the coast to his home. He then has them taken home by his driver in a limo.

The following night, they notice a figure skulking around the outside of the club, doing something to their car. They capture the man, a ghoul.
He is knocked out, and Calvin uses his Auspex on a cigarette case they find on him to reveal that he is Terence Remus, a ghoul. He was attempting to place a tracker (in the form of a cigarette case) on their car for his mistress, Arianne. It becomes clear from the reading that she is staying at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

They imprison the ghoul in the trunk of their car. Eventually they move him to a Motel 6 and have him bound and gagged under the watchful eye of Reggie.

“The scorching desert summer has cooked the City of Angels with unrelenting heat. On the edge of this irrigated urban desert, you awaken to the dying roar of the setting sun.
Her children have endured her punishment, and as darkness falls, they swarm outside to drink in the cool air.

Shadows sit like silken shrouds in the dark recesses of the club , tendrils of the stuff seem to wisp this way and that as the lights move across its various glistening surfaces. As lithe flesh dances and contorts on stage, you brush aside those same dark webs of sleep from your minds, drinking in the music, scents and visual bouquet unfolding before you, as you piece together the events of yesternight."

Having met at the club to discuss how to proceed with the captured Ghoul, Michael, Khalid and Dimitri decide to take action. They proceed to the Motel where the Ghoul is being held, and upon arriving, debate the hapless man’s fate in front of him, causing him to succumb to terror. He gasps and sputters behind his ball-gag as Dimitri sidles over to him to offer him some “comfort” by creepily stroking his face and patting him on the head. Needless to say he only makes matters worse.

In the mean time, Khalid devises a plan. The ghoul’s master has left a number on his phone, and using that information and some sleuthing, he hacks the master’s phone to transmit all sound and camera information to his laptop. The plan works, giving them access, unfortunately the phone is inside something. Ingeniously texting the phone in question reveals the face of the ghoul’s mistress.
It is Arianne, the Herement sire of Phillipe de Lyon. She throws the phone back into her purse, and as the coterie discuss their options, apparently becomes aware of the tap and lifts the camera to her face. She tells them she wants to talk. They call her phone, realizing there is no more point in subterfuge, and arrange a meeting. She insists it is somewhere very public, and they offer to meet at a Dodger’s game in Dodger Stadium.

The coterie get ready for the meeting, steeling themselves with rituals and weapons, and devise a plan to give them an advantage against an elder vampire. They decide that Dimitri will hide on a nearby hill with a view into the stadium and offer cover fire with his sniper rifle, while Khalid and Michael proceed to the meeting.

The baseball game in full swing, the mysterious elder appears and sits down beside Khalid, looking inconspicuous. Khalid offers her a coke and a hotdog, for appearance’s sake. As the conversation unfolds, it becomes clear that she is looking for Phillipe, (whom she claims defected to the Sabbat 40 years ago). She claims to be an Archon working for Madame Guil, the Herement Justicar in Paris, and that she avoided openly announcing herself to the local Camarilla rulers because she did not wish for her search to be bogged down by a bickering Primogen Council in the Prince’s absence. She does say she would be willing to negotiate with another Archon currently in the city by the name of DiPadua, as he would understand her situation.
As they press her for more information, she confesses that she is trying to stop her childe from succeeding in his plan to release certain Sabbat allies from binding curses put in place by members of clan Tremere.
Throughout the conversation, Khalid can’t shake the feeling that she is hiding something.
Feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the information and news, they reach out to their liaison Ariane, and meet not much later at the Griffith Observatory overlooking the city.

She agrees to set up a meeting with Montero the Seneschal to discuss how to proceed.
The coterie take the intervening time to go to a local club to feed. Dimitri in the mean time performs a ritual to reach out to his mentor, who offers him some sound advice.
They proceed to meet Montero at his downtown office, and explain the situation to him. After some questions, he decides to arrange a meeting with DiPadua and the Tremere to see what is to be done about this situation.

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