The Fragile

Chapter 6
It's all in the details.

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Chapter 5
Important meetings

We are all driven by hunger. Hunger for sustenance, hunger for success, hunger for truth. However there is one hunger that drives us more than any other. It causes us to break down barriers, climb mountains and sacrifice our own values. It is love. We all crave it, as it nourishes a part of us in a way that nothing else can.

The urban sprawl of Los Angeles breathes a sigh of relief as the sun sets once more, as the oppressive summer heat abates.

Dimitri, Khalid and Michael awaken in the communal haven downtown, and Calvin, having gone home, finds himself there.
It’s been about a week since their return from the Grenadines, where they managed to recuperate from injuries and take time to assess their predicament.
Similarly, their last few nights have been spent recharging and hunting.
There is an important meeting looming with several elders of the city the following night, and it preoccupies their thoughts.

For Dimitri, however, there is another matter that needs to be taken care of, and it isn’t long before he receives a phone call from the Yakuza. His meeting with the Oyabun is set for this evening, and an invitation is extended to not only Khalid, but Michael as well.

Khalid and Michael both agree to go, but Michael is uncertain of the Oyabun’s intentions, and doesn’t trust the situation. He places a call to Jonah Hunter, and asks him to offer some backup in case the meeting goes poorly. Jonah agrees to meet them on the way with some backup.
The three of them drive the short distance to the Oyabun’s offices downtown, and are met halfway by a blacked out van and a small posse of bikers who do their best to remain incognito. Michael explain to his companions what is going on, as Reggie discovers they are being followed.

They park in the garage and are escorted by armed Yakuza soldiers to the penthouse offices. It isn’t lost on any of them that these men are all ghouled.
Oyabun Takuya Shiraiwa is a welcoming and hospitable host. He offers his guests refreshments and clarifies his offer and what he hopes to gain from them in exchange. Michael, realizing there is no need for his backup to stay, gives Jonah a call once again and lets him know he can go.

He goes on to say that he suspects his rivals in the city, Salvador Garcia and MS-13 of engaging in inordinate amounts of human trafficking, beyond what he is used to seeing. He suspects that there is something foul afoot, and wants to confirm his suspicions. He needs to hack Garcia’s computers, and find out where he is taking them, and then if needed, to break into whatever facility is holding these kine, and disrupt his operations.

Khalid would be needed to hack Garcia’s system, as his men had been unable to penetrate the firewalls in place despite their best efforts. Michael might be needed in the event that they need to break into any secure facility, as he has experience with that sort of job.
In exchange, Dimitri would be granted territories to found his own Russian syndicate within the city.

The deal is struck and Khalid immediately goes to work on the Oyabun’s computer. It doesn’t take him long to discover that there is some form of Thaumaturgical protection on the target computer, and cannot be breached by regular means. He flexes his hacking skills, and after four hours of work, manages to piggy-back onto another signal to gain access.
Khalid retrieves 4 Terabytes of data from the target and hands it to the Yakuza, including the method by which to access the terminal in the future. He naturally makes himself a copy of the information.

Meanwhile at Calvin’s house in Malibu, Ariane shows up at his door in a state of anxiety. He lets her in, and tries to calm her down so she can explain herself. She tells him she thinks she’s being followed.
Calvin offers to take her to his cabin by Lake Arrowhead in his helicopter, being fairly sure that whomever is following her will likely not be able to follow by air. This seems to calm her down somewhat, and she gladly takes him up on his offer. Calvin starts to think that she might be delusional.
They arrive at the cabin and get settled in. Ariane makes use of the jacuzzi and starts to finally relax, making small talk with Calvin. Calvin isn’t interested in small talk however, and eventually he calls Dimitri to get an idea of the situation. He explains to him where they are and insists they join them, it’s not that far to fly after all.
By the time Khalid has finished his hack, the coterie is reunited once more.
Having concluded their business there, they make their way home.

The night passes without further incident, and they retire.

The following evening arrives, as does the scheduled meeting. The coterie doesn’t waste any time, and and hour after sunset, makes their way to Montero’s office downtown. Once there, they are escorted in to a large sterile looking conference room with a large table surrounded by chairs.
When they arrive, they see Montero, his ghoul assistant, and Arianne in the room. After some brief greetings, they choose their seats and sit down.

Soon after, the doors open, and in walk three figures, Dante Littleton, Rosalyn Jones and the Sherrif of Los Angeles Vanessa Holm. The newcomers take their seats but not before enduring some elicit scrutiny from certain members of the coterie, who wish gain some insight into whom they’re dealing with. A few moments pass before the doors open again. Archon Frederico DiPadua enters quietly, not taking any efforts to disguise his rather disturbing appearance. He sits down near the coterie and seems to scan the room.

The elders in the room begin questioning Arianne about her motives.
Arianne pleads for Phillipe’s life. The coterie give her a hard time, pushing her to provide some concrete answers and offer something in return, given Phillipe’s actions.
Calvin pushes her for answers, and Arianne attempts to use her powerful Presence on him, but he manages to resist for a turn, quashing her hopes of silencing him. Montero, too, seems riled by the Caitiff’s outspoken manner, and breach of the etiquette of the proceedings and orders him to shut up.
The other elders present, however, seem happy to watch a Caitiff ruffle the feathers of the former Archon and in so doing also show the room their lack of respect for Montero and his authority. Clearly there are personal dynamics at play here that the coterie is only witnessing for the first time.
Arianne reluctantly admits she loves her childe, and begs for clemency from DiPadua for Phillipe. She offers to bring him in so he can face justice, even going as far as to offer her life in return for Phillipe’s,

Eventually Dimitri chimes in revealing that he suspects Phillipe of infernal dealings. DiPadua’s ears prick up at this, and he gives a nod to Dante, who immediately enacts a Thaumaturgical ritual to immobilize Arianne instantly. The elder looks on helplessly as her body becomes utterly rigid. She is unable to move or speak. Thus gagged, She is ushered out of the room by the Sheriff.
Montero adjourns the meeting, and the others begin to excuse themselves. The coterie make their exit, but not before being pulled aside by the Nutha Archon. DiPadua requests to meet with the coterie soon to discuss their witness accounts in more detail, especially those concerning infernalism.

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Chapter 4
Events take a turn...

The hour approaches midnight. The coterie are driving south on the 405 highway to Long Beach, following a convoy of Caitiff, their ghouls, gang bangers and assorted party goers as they make their way to a rave in a disused warehouse in the dockland area.
As they approach the building, they can hear the thumping bass of the rave in full swing. Hundreds of people line the outside of the building waiting to get in. The parking lot is full of cars and milling ravers bedecked in glow-sticks and the latest fashions.
The Caitiff and their friends bypass the line rapidly and are ushered in by the bouncer, leaving the coterie outside to contemplate a course of action.

Michael decides to reconnoiter the building’s exterior for alternate routes in or out. He finds several, but all seem securely sealed. He also notices the fence around the warehouse has clearly been broken open, and the CCTV cameras disabled. In the distance he recognizes the port cranes, and remembers a night a few years back where he was injured by a hand grenade.

Calvin, meanwhile, is also at the rave. He and his friend Zack came to score some drugs from a guy Zack had met once, to fully enjoy the pre-dawn skydive they have planned, but not before enjoying themselves a little in the mean time. Calvin takes to the dance floor with some girls.
It doesn’t escape his notice however, when the Caitiff and their ghouls enter the rave. He decides to keep an eye on them.

Outside, Khalid has devised a way to look inside the rave without risking entering themselves. He uses his hacking skills to access the cell phones of people inside to get an idea of who’s inside and where the vampires and their hangers-on are. The plan works. He spots them milling by the bar and on the dance floor nearby. To his amazement he also spots Calvin dancing.
To help narrow the search, and isolate the vampires and their phones, they open the trunk of their car where the staked Caitiff is lying, and take his phone. Khalid uses it to great effect.

While Khalid hacks the phones, Dimitri calls Zhaba, telling him to clean up the mess at the MS13 gang house they just left. Zhaba agrees and heads over there to take care of things.

Inside, it doesn’t take Calvin long to sense the presence of another vampire, who is trying hard to not be noticed in the immediate vicinity. This peeks his interest, and he starts to actively search for this individual, his senses landing on the very man Zack is buying drugs from. The man looks like a big black man in casual street clothes, but he sees there is more to him. He brushes up against him surreptitiously and gets a reading off his jacket using his Auspex. The jacket is disguised. It is in fact a blood stained, dirty tweed coat. He is also suddenly overwhelmed by the sensation of hundreds of voices screaming directly in his brain as if in terror. A cacophony of anguish that sends him reeling.
Calvin decides he needs to get a closer look, so he blends in with the crowd, and gets behind his target. He arrows into his mind telepathically and discovers two morsels of information: Firstly, that he is his intended target, and secondly that his name is Phillipe.

After some deliberation, the others outside decide that the best course of action is to flush out the vampires. They decide to call the police and inform them of the illegal rave, and watch as the rats scurry. Michael calls his man in the LAPD, Gabe Andrews, and passes on the hot tip.
With the police alerted, they move their car a block away to a dark alley so they can see what happens without attracting attention.

They also call Calvin to warn him of the impending police raid and to let him know where they are. He makes his way out of the rave and joins the others in the car, leaving Zack to go his own way.

To their annoyance, it appears as though the Caitiff are warned by someone that the police are coming. They immediately disable their phones, making it harder to track their movements.
It doesn’t take long for the police to arrive. They swarm the compound with multiple cars and helicopters. The ravers scatter into the night trying to evade capture, and some do so successfully.
As the police arrive, Calvin and the others gifted with Auspex keep tabs on the Caitiff inside. At first there seems to be no change, but it slowly becomes clear that their undead auras are fading. One by one they wink out, making it clear that they have met their final death. It is not clear what has killed them, but they can hazard a guess.

They keep tabs on Phillipe, to track his movements, and as they make their way out of the dock lands, they notice he is following them.
Michael suggests to the group to ambush him in a location of their choosing where they can have the advantage. He suggests somewhere open, like Bixby park in Long Beach.

They make for the park, and once there, get out of the car.
Michael helps Ariane steal a car so she can make her way back to the club to take care of the bodies from the club that were no doubt taken into police custody. She drives off to ensure the Masquerade remains upheld.
They take up positions around the park. Calvin on a fire escape on the western edge of the park to get a high vantage point. Dimitri and Khalid in cover by a park bench.
Michael decides to scout ahead into the park itself to see if the coast is clear, and is suddenly shot by a sniper. The bullet passes clean through his leg, but is a nuisance nonetheless. The implications on the snipers presence still reeling through their minds, they join battle with their unknown assailant.

Phillipe arrives at the park out of sight, and immediately makes a b-line for Calvin on the fire escape.

Calvin helps Dimitri to locate the sniper, relaying his position via their phones. Dimitri shoots and kills him with a clean shot of his Dragunov.

Suddenly Phillipe attacks Calvin on the fire escape, lunging for him.
Calvin responds by vaulting off the fire escape.
Phillipe grabs his coat and it rips, leaving Calvin dangling.
Khalid burns his face with sorcery and causes him to let go.
Calvin falls and lands deftly on his feet on the ground.

Michael, who was running towards the sniper, changes his course to help Calvin seeing that target is eliminated. He takes a running leap up to fight Phillipe on the fire escape.
Dimitri attempts to shoot Phillipe with his Dragunov, but misses.

Michael lands right next to Phillipe and blasts him with his shotgun, doing minor damage. He is rewarded for his efforts with a solid punch to the chest that sends him sailing backwards and off the fire escape. He lands roughly on his back and head, which sends him into torpor.

Meanwhile Dimitri fires at Phillipe again and misses a second time.
Calvin, now on the ground, charges towards the building where the sniper was felled, and finds the prone Ghoul lying next to his sniper’s perch in a growing pool of blood, clinging on to the last threads of life, the kindred vitae in his veins seemingly refusing to let him die. Calvin bites and drains him. He uses his Auspex to discover his purpose there. He discovers the Ghoul’s target is him.

Phillipe leaps off the fire escape and runs after Calvin.
Dimitri fires a third time and finally manages to hit him in the head with a sniper round, but it fails to injure him. Instead the round pancakes on his skull and falls to the floor.
Khalid tries to intercept the speeding Phillipe and misses, but manages to ignite his pants with more sorcery, causing more damage. Phillipe seemingly ignores this attack in favour of pursuing his quarry.
Phillipe dashes into the building where Calvin is still standing.

Calvin decides to exit the room through the window to regroup with Dimitri in the middle of the park, who has more guns.
he times his leap out of the window so that Phillipe doesn’t see him leave, and lands safely on the ground once again.
Dimitri sees Phillipe appear in the window where Calvin just exited and shoots him.
Phillipe in turn vanishes from the window and out of the range of their collective senses, evading the coterie once again.

Taking stock, they inspect Michael’s torpored form. Khalid attempts to use his Sorcery to force Michael to spend vitae in the hopes that this will heal him and induce consciousness. He does succeed in healing the wounds, draining him of all his blood in the process, but his state remains unchanged.
They decide to play it safe, and ditch their car in favour of a new one which they steal from the street. They transfer the staked Caitiff, and Michael’s torpored body into the new car and flee the scene.

They drive to the communal haven Downtown without further incident, although Calvin, who is feeling a little paranoid, decides to check into a random hotel. Zhaba also returns.

The following evening they regroup and discuss options.
The staked Caitiff they brought back from the raid represents a loose end, and they decide that eliminating him is the only viable solution. They share his blood and then Calvin diablerizes him. The ensuing waves of ecstasy Calvin experiences as the final vitae fills him are beyond any rush he has experienced thus far, and he enthusiastically shares his experience with the others, regaling them endlessly with the sensations he is experiencing.
Khalid, meanwhile, attempts to contact his sire Mustafa by leaving him a message. He does not hear back from him.

Michael’s torpored state makes them vulnerable. They decide to await Michael’s reawakening from torpor in the relative comfort and isolation of a private island in the Caribbean. Calvin ensures the place fulfills their needs.
They spend a month on the Grenadines, relaxing, learning Sorcerous rituals, and generally engaging in some lighthearted fun at Michael’s expense. Several compromising photographs are taken, that in the wrong hands, could probably do some damage to his standing within the Camarilla.

After a month, Michael finally emerges from his wound-induced slumber. The coterie, knowing full well that he will wake drained of all blood, take precautions to avoid any problems. Calvin has been stocking up small amounts of his vitae all month, and now provides a flask of it for Michael to consume. Khalid is also ready. He prepares a ritual to calm Michael’s beast.
Michael rouses violently, his face distorted with bestial frenzy, his eyes blazing with rage and blood lust. Khalid immediately envokes his spell, piercing his own hand with a needle to drive the power home. Michael’s beast subsides, his face returns to normal. He sees and smells the flask of vitae, and guzzles it down, sating his appetite.
The coterie whole once again, plans are rapidly made to return to LA and their business there.
They fly home on the Lear Jet provided by Clavin, and land safely in LA.

Ariane calls to inform them that in their absence the meeting with the Tremere and Archon DiPadua has finally been given a date, and is set to take place the following week.

In addition to this, Dimitri receives a phone call from Oyabun Takuya Shiraywa, who invites him and Khalid to join him for dinner to further discuss their mysterious arrangement.

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Chapter 3
The Mop-up Crew

The sun sets over the city. Whisps of twilight touch the last western clouds as our coterie wakes to the scents of the living world.
Khalid and Dimitri stir in their shared apartment, and Michael in his, highlighting to all that the time has come to finally resolve the issue of a communal haven for the coterie. One that will serve the needs of the group and lend itself to defense as well as luxury.

After some brief communication, the three of them meet at an In’N’Out Burger along the 10 Freeway to discuss options. They enlist the help of their lawyers and get to work. Within days, they have purchased an unassuming yet spacious older office building Downtown, nestled in between larger, more modern skyscrapers. The Building is located at 518 West 7th Street, and comes complete with a basement, three levels and internal access to a garage in the back.
They decide to invest some serious capital into renovation work, and have the place fitted with modern furnishings, security and all the comforts a vampire could desire. They even have a short tunnel made off the books that gives them direct access to an old side tunnel of the underground transit system.
They manage to accomplish this in a mere 6 days.
As the renovations are taking place, Dimitri has an old loyal friend flown in from Russia, a fellow mobster and wetwork specialist who goes by the rather appealing moniker Zhaba. If at all possible, Zhaba manages to unsettle all assembled even more than Dimitri. A herculean feat to be sure.

Having finally settled in, the group return their attentions upon their neglected thirsts, and enjoy a night of hunting to regain some sorely needed sustenance. Several hookers, gamers and drug pushers donate their precious blood to hungry lips.

By now, it is Monday the 12th of July. As the group wait to hear back from Montero concerning the meeting with the Tremere and Archon DiPadua, the doorbell rings. Security cameras reveal it to be none other than Ariane.
Michael welcomes her into their new home, asking how she found them so easily.
“I could smell you a mile away” she retorts.
She complements the group on the new place, has an awkward greeting with Zhaba, and gets right down to business.

The meeting with the Tremere is still on hold pending a reply, so Montero has asked that they look into a rather blatant breach of the Masquerade being perpetrated in the Prince’s domain.

Apparently, six Caitiff have newly moved into a gang infested neighbourhood and have started lording it over a group of locals, enjoying the benefits of vampirism without the consequences. The Caitiff seem to be oblivious to the rule of Lextalionis and must be eliminated if possible, and one captured for questioning. She also mentions that due to the suspicious nature of this sudden appearance of so many Caitiff, there is a chance it might all be a trap set up by Phillipe de Lyon. Caution is in order.

The Coterie, with Ariane and Zhaba in tow, make their way to the low income suburb of Gardena, deep in MS 13 territory, where the Caitiff are holed up.

After scouting the place, they discover a party in full swing. Loud music, booze, easily 50 people in and around the property, and several armed ghouls bearing MS 13 gang markers. Clearly these people are not helpless. Using Auspex and Khalid’s ingenious surveillance techniques They discover that all six vampires are within. One upstairs having sex, the others below partying.

After some discussion and planning, the coterie acts. Michael and Ariane (shrouded in shadows) guard the back of the house, Dimitri takes aim with his sniper rifle at the front door from his obfuscated position in the car, and Khalid uses his blood magic to cut the power to the entire street, instantly killing the party mood of the revelers.

The party goers seem to reach a consensus to move the festivities to an abandoned warehouse near Longbeach and begin to pile into various cars. Michael and Ariane, seeing the guards in the back leave, take the opportunity to enter the back of the house. They find two girls passed out on the furniture downstairs, and the last of the party goers filing out the front door. They sneak upstairs, where the sounds of sex continue regardless of the power outage.

Michael surprises the naked vampire by Dominating him to kneel before him, and strikes him hard across the head with his shotgun. The vampire doesn’t pass out, so Ariane produces a wooden stake and impales him through the back, causing him to fall limp on the bed. At that moment, Michael is grazed by a bullet as one of the Ghouls ambushes them from the landing. Michael returns fire with his shotgun but fails to kill him. The Ghoul is wounded on the floor and attempts to continue shooting when Ariane kills him with a shot to the chest.

The majority of the revelers revving loud car engines outside, combined with music, fail to notice the gunshots upstairs, and begin driving away. One unfortunate ghoul does attempt to aid his master upstairs but is promptly shot in the head by Dimitri for his troubles, leaving him to bleed his woes out onto the hallway floor.

Michael and Ariane grab the staked vampire just as Michael notices his Obtenebration shadows have suffocated the hapless girl in the bed. Her lifeless eyes stare up at him as he flees the scene with Ariane, etching the scene in his mind for another time.

They follow the revelers to an abandoned warehouse in Longbeach, where they anticipate the proverbial shit will hit the fan.

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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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Chapter 1
Beginnings

“Los Angeles, City of Angels….

She is a difficult creature to define, A land of sex and violence, of gangs and glamour. At the same time an urban wasteland of ghettoes and a Mecca for the wealthy. Where television and other media blast brands, lies and promises to an ocean of people.
3.8 million of them. All huddled together in a vast sprawl covering 1300 square kilometers that attracts souls from every walk of life, belief, culture and ethnicity.

Many would describe LA as a young city, full of naïveté and lacking in aesthetics. An ugly grid of streets interconnected by arterial freeways that choke with cars at all hours of the day….but it is at night when LA comes into it’s own. When it’s concrete facades and superficiality are glossed over by the twinkling of millions of lights and the shadows that they cast.

Yes, LA at night can truly be said to be beautiful, in many ways a hunter’s paradise. A vast human heartbeat waiting to be snuffed out.
Now that your kind are so rare, the city is yours for the taking….
The Angel offers you it’s neck in supplication and waits."

The coterie, has spent the last five years in each other’s company. Together, they have been assigned to minor tasks by the Seneschal, gradually forming the bonds of cooperation and mutual understanding. They have had to adapt not only to one another, but also to the city’s elusive kindred and their laws, mores and demands. The Camarilla are in control, and they intend to keep things that way. The traditions, now more than ever, are enforced to the letter. The frayed edges of civility are kept in check in some small part by the actions of coteries like this one, working below the radar, to ensure the Prince’s authority is maintained.

It is then, on a sultry LA summer night, that we find them lounging at a strip club. The “Mr. Moist’s”, owned by one of their number, Michael as a front for one of his many illicit affairs. As they indulge their baser needs, feeding on the locals, enjoying the swimming sensations brought on by satiation and no small amount of laced blood, they are disturbed by the arrival of their liaison, Ariane. A neonate of some years, she has befriended them over the course of the past five years, feeling more kinship with them, than many of the stuffier Ancillae and Elders that populate the city. Since the Eradication, neonates have become somewhat of a rarity, as many of them perished in the conflict. Ariane, it seems was one of the lucky ones.

She greets the group, but doesn’t waste any time getting to the point. Montero has asked them to look into something for him.
According to his reports, a cult has taken root in the city. Scores of young kine have started gravitating to an abandoned house in Venice Beach. This news would not have been worthy of note before the Eradication, but given the nature of the former Sabbat, any news of cults is cause for concern, especially when a ghoul was reportedly sighted by one of his men.

The coterie decides to investigate immediately. Leaving Ariane behind, they drive to Venice Beach, making sure not to be followed.
It doesn’t take them long to find the house in question. A ramshackle house in a quiet side street, apparently abandoned for some time, although clearly inhabited by squatters. Low light can be seen burning in the window on the upper floor. They decide to wait and observe.
After a few hours, they see two young men approaching on the street. It becomes evident within moments that the shorter of the two is a ghoul, and looks to be guiding the taller kine to the house. They enter the building, and emerge not long after with a young woman, also a ghoul and drive off in an old brown ’70s Oldsmobile.

They follow the car for several hours north out of Los Angeles, all the way to Red Rock Canyon, a popular hiking destination. The coterie approach stealthily, driving their car behind cover, to avoid notice. They split up – some climb onto a rise above their targets to get a better view, others taking up flanking positions on the ground out of sight. They spy a large group of roughly twenty young people gathered around a large campfire in the midst of a party. Music plays from a small stereo, alcohol is flowing. The scene would not have seemed out of the ordinary were it not for the three bound and gagged kids lying propped up against the canyon wall. Clearly something odd was going on.
Using their senses, they discover that there are six ghouls amongst the dozen remaining teenagers there. They also spot several cars and a minivan parked nearby.

It is then that Dimitri decides to inspect the Oldsmobile he had been lying next to up on the ridge. He discovers two corpses, in the early stages of decomposition, in the trunk. It becomes clear that something very wrong is afoot here. Khalid hears the mewling whimpers of a weeping child coming from the minivan. In addition, Dimitri notices another lone figure approaching the campfire out of the darkness. It is a vampire. He decides to take action. Not wishing to give up the element of surprise, and having a serious hunch that the newcomer isn’t friendly, he fires his Dragunov sniper rifle and hits the newcomer in the head, blowing a large hole in it, but much to his dismay, he doesn’t go down, instead he disappears from sight.

The coterie spring into action, and Dean leaps amongst the revelers, causing some to scatter in panic and others to stand their ground. Michael joins the fray from his position. The fight is brutal and many ghouls perish under their combined merciless assault.
Khalid decides to rescue the weeping child in the minivan and rapidly regrets his decision as the little girl, not more than a seven year old in appearance, leaps on him and tries to drink from him, but misses. He has discovered a second vampire.

Khalid struggles with his kindred assailant, and throws her off into the van’s interior. He manages to wound her with sorcerous flame, and she flees into the night but runs into Michael, and they fight. He manages to subdue her, but not before being wounded by her aggravated bite.
Dean eliminates the remaining ghouls, and rounds up the fleeing kine. Khalid finds Michael and the girl and they have a disagreement about her fate. Michael drinks from her to sate his gnawing hunger. Khalid scoops up a sample of her blood for later use. They decide to behead her, ending her short unlife. The argument sparks heated tension between the two of them.
In the aftermath of the battle, Khalid approaches the spot where the vampire was shot and disappeared, and manages once again, to obtain a gritty sample of his precious vitae.

Dean returns with a lone teenager, the others having either fled or died, a 16 year old kid called Andrew Farley. They recognize him as the figure they’d seen enter the abandoned house with the ghoul earlier that night. They decide to take him with them.

They burn all the bodies on the fire, adding plenty of accelerant to keep the fires burning hot, and set fire to all the remaining cars and van.
It is then that a helicopter appears in the distant sky, and the coterie take this as their cue to leave.

Upon returning to Los Angeles, after a long drive, they place Andrew in the care of Khalid’s ghoul. The following night, they gather several clues about their adversaries from the previous night’s battle.
Andrew’s phone contains several text messages pertaining to the meeting that night with a girl called Lydia Jones. Another girl called Cynthia is also mentioned.
Khalid performs a Blood Walk ritual on the two samples of vitae he retrieved from the battle.
The girl’s vitae revealed that she was sired by a vampire called Maciej Zarnovich, a Tzimisce, and thus likely former member of the Sabbat.
The man’s revealed his name to be Phillipe de Lyon, a Herement, childe of Arianne, childe of Oliver.

They decide that they must inform the Seneschal of their findings and get further instructions before proceeding.

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Interlude
A brief flashback

During a flashback scene, we witness the events of a night that happened two years prior.

Dean receives a call from his friend and kindred mentor, Salvador Garcia, the leader of the largest Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13 gang in Los Angeles, asking for a favour from his protege. Dean invites Michael and Khalid go to meet him in his heavily fortified enclave in the Pico-Union area of the city.
Garcia welcomes them in with open arms, making a show of hospitality, even surrounded by several dozen armed gang members, most of them ghouled to him.

He asks them if they could use their unique skills to help him intercept a shipment of arms arriving that morning at the Port of Long Beach. A shipment belonging to his Yakuza rivals. He explains that they had wronged him in a similar fashion a while ago, and this was his way of settling a score.

The coterie agree to the plan and make their way to the port, where the containers are being unloaded in the early morning hours onto trucks bound for destinations inland.

They arrive at the to see the marked container being unloaded from the cargo vessel, while several men with concealed weapons
delegate and guide it onto an unassuming looking truck. They also spot several Yakuza guards taking up perimeter positions, clearly expecting trouble.
The coterie make their move, managing to eliminate several human Yakuza with efficient gunfire. The remaining men are led by fanatical ghoul to redouble their efforts, and manage a counter offensive. Realizing, however that they are outmatched, they begin to retreat. Michael manages to corner one of them and fells him with relative ease. Unfortunately for him, the man decides to release a fragmentation grenade at Michael’s feet. The explosion incapacitates Michael, but kills the hapless Yakuza.
They manage to defeat the Yakuza and kill the ghoul, and Khalid manages to obtain a sample of his blood.

They secure the shipment and return it to Garcia, who offers a boon as payment to the coterie.
Once back at the club, Khalid performs a Blood Walk ritual on the ghoul’s blood, a long shot, as it’s only meant to work on kindred vitae. Fortune smiles upon him though, as he manages to glean the ghoul’s name and that of his dormitor.

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Prologue
The troubled past.

Since the Eradication, the world of the kindred has been thrown into chaos. As much as the Camarilla would like to claim that the plan went off without a hitch, it clearly didn’t.
Los Angeles, formerly an Anarch stronghold, succumbed quite rapidly to the Camarilla takeover. Without centralized leadership or any real form of coordination, the Anarchs stood little chance against a carefully planned Camarilla assault. This is not to say that the aggressors didn’t suffer any losses, but in the end, cooler heads prevailed.

Of the Anarch factions active in LA at the time of the Eradication, there were those that fought, and there were those that realized that to survive, they must throw in their lot with the Camarilla, or perish. Of the latter, two Anarch elders emerged to take their seat at the table with the newly appointed Amari Prince Talbot: Jeremy MacNeil, and Christoper Houghton. Talbot offered them a seat at the table under Camarilla rule, his rule. They accepted, agreeing to keep their people in check.
Since then, the city’s kindred have aligned themselves to one of the three factions in the city. Talbot’s powerful Camarilla newcomers, MacNeil’s former Anarchs or Houghton’s Traditionalists.
In a move that cemented his power in LA, Prince Talbot created a council of Primogen from the elders of all three factions, ensuring that his advisors would represent the span of all corners of his domain, and create a balance of power.

This is how the city now stands. But a quarter of the world’s vampires now remain. Wading through the ashes of their self-wrought war, picking over the spoils. Since then the kindred of LA have been cleaning up and attempting to return to a sense of order.

When the PCs were presented to the Primogen Council, it became clear to them that they had a use. As outsiders and strays, they would be an ideal team for the tasks that needed doing off the books. The tasks that would otherwise draw attention to them and the Prince.

Instructing them to answer directly to Christos Montero, the Seneschal, they would be given ‘missions’ as needed. Montero being too busy with his nightly affairs, has assigned Ariane, a neonate, to act as a liaison between himself and the coterie.

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