Tenth Movement: Cantata Risoluto

After winning the recognition of Bondage-A-Go-Go as his territory from the duel with Miles Barton, Sascha was offered a position of vassal within the Invictus; his oath meant that he would protect and uphold the Masquerade within that domain, while providing a small amount of Vitae—’red rent’ as the convention called it—to the Prince in exchange for the ability to more ably defend that territory; the ceremony was witnessed and signed by Sascha’s mentor, Ricky O’Neill, along with his favored ghoul, Jolene, who continued her flirtatious interaction with Sascha. During the same meeting, Sascha also discovered that the former head Harpy had been brought out of torpor by the Prince and was now bound to him in a partial Vinculum, as both punishment for his misbehavior and a way to reinforce future loyalty. No further evidence of the previous visions was apparent, however, and no other signs of the owl-things’ presence was to be found either.

Meanwhile, Mila, for her hard work in gathering resources and influence for the Invictus, was also granted an opportunity to meet with Vy Nguyen, a local representative of the Lynx bloodline, who resided in the San Jose area. This diminutive, young-looking asian Kindred inducted Mila into the bloodline after a brief test, but the induction also meant having to take a minor Vinculum by taking a measure of her Vitae.

Jan’s own research into a new Scale of the Dragon continued apace, although it was hindered by his own research into the phenomenon of the bird-spirits that he was performing on his own and with Mila’s ghouled husband Joseph. To complicate matters further, Doctor Kaintz made an appearance at Violet’s new apartment building, claiming the favor he had requested of her to take blood samples from all the occupants. During his visit he inquired after her health and that of Jan’s, and if Violet knew anything about the state of the young Dragon’s research, along with asking about their visit to the Kogaion in Chinatown. Kaintz seemed to be toying with her about all of these matters, but Violet was unable to reasonably confront him and could only play along.

After the Doctor’s visit, Violet was motivated to take the time to plead with Madame Kerensky for any other help she was willing to give. The Nosferatu elder was reticent, given her highly avoidant history with the Striges, but finally admitted that there might be another of her journals somewhere in the city that might have something useful in them: An old Victorian home was up for an open house sale in the near future, and Kerensky vaguely remembered residing there for awhile before abandoning the place; there might have been something left behind, however.

Later, to further add to the potential of his new territory, Sascha requested favors from Violet and Mila, to acquire useful financial information from the former and a useful contact from the latter, in the hope of attracting angel investors to buy the territory from Pacific Leasing LLC (who still held the contract that Miles Barton had attempted to control through his ghoul). Jan was also able to add some useful tips, requesting Joseph’s help with finishing his research for the Ordo Dracul, albeit without a clear explanation of what he wanted. Nevertheless, all parties were able to come up with useful resources, and a meeting was arranged with the financiers, to be presented in the near future.

In the meantime, some of the financial and real-estate information the coterie turned up proved to be of some potential use to the werewolves who claimed Tilden Park and its environs as their territory. Mila and Sascha took the time to visit the park late at night; after splitting up to search for the ‘ranger’ who led the pack, they met with a total of four of the werewolves there, who boxed in the pair. The confrontation nearly came to violence before the pack leader arrived, and backed down one of the most aggressive representatives of the pack, a rangy, wild-maned black wolf the size of a large pony.

After the challenge of dominance was settled, the pack leader accepted their offering, and in exchange, provided the pair with something in return: an oversized dreamcatcher, one woven not only with wood and sinew in nested spirals, but shards of mirrored glass, fine wire weavings, and other oddments, along with a small, corked, spherical glass phial in the center. They were warned that it would work only once to draw in a single spirit, and would have to be primed with something that was anathema to their prey; the trap would pull their target in but would have to contain something it feared as well. Additionally, the pack leader told them that he still smelled something on Sascha: the same cold, dead-smoke smell that he had borne the last time they met.

The two Kindred departed Tilden Park with their new prize, unsure exactly how to get the attention of one of the smoky, bird-like entities, especially since the Sixth had warned them that the one sibling of its that they had captured was the weakest of the flock, and that the next time it would not be so simple.

Tenth Movement: Cantata Risoluto

Owls & Ashes Zsander