Mar. 10, 1867: We arrive in Paris. Aldo and Victoria make their goodbyes, as they have a crate-load of ape-related, military-grade research material to transport. The Cullens are in town and take their place, being rapidly caught up on the events of the previous days.
Watching Cyrus’s eyes light up at the idea of forbidden magi-science is only surpassed by watching Elizabeth practically turn into a lightning bolt at the idea of a biological component to the mechanical-hybrid primate. But, as they both wanted to see the Paris CH, they wave goodbye to the ape remains and stick to us.
We hit the Paris CH. Zoe and Georgia head out to get work done (always good to see them). We chat with various members of the House on what happened in Madrid, and learn that the Paris House was hit as well. Due to their being prepared, the attack was turned away with no real casualties. But the method of attack was interesting; the attackers were made up to look like members of various Paris vampire groups. If the warning had not gone out, the attack may have caused an outright war between the Paris House and the vampires in Paris.
After chatting a bit, Xavier (the CM) confirms all of this as he rushes out for a meeting with the head of one of the main vampire houses in Paris. He had warned them as well, and now both sides enjoy a common enemy for the first time in a LOOOOOONG time.
Welcome to Paris, where it is now Teutonic Hunting Season all year round!
As much as we would like to stay and help them root out these vermin, we have our own giant city to protect. The Paris Weaponmaster, Natalie, has a favor that may help us as well. She has a friend (also a friend of Zoe) named Mary. Mary needs to meet the Vampire of London, specifically to obtain permission to move about his city, but also to warn him of this all-out assault on the various supernatural organization in Eurasia. It is Natalie’s hope that doing this will garner support from the VoL, show the CH as honorable neighbors, and prevent anything like what almost happened in Paris from happening in London.
Mary is oldish-looking; black cloak, cane, and rather spartan attire. She is also cranky like few people I have ever met; she initially wants nothing to do with “a bunch of dandies” (probably talking about Marcus’s new fetish for snappy clothing) and insist she needs no help.
She is ornery, cantankerous, and a bit mean. She is also passionate, hates demons, and not afraid to speak her mind. Marcus and I take an immediate liking to her. Sergei… not so much. He seems a bit agitated the moment he sees her. When we finally figure out that she is a vampire, that makes a bit more sense.
When Marcus asks her if she is a Child of Lilith and she answer vehemently in the negative, she gains points with the Cullens, Marcus, and I. When Marcus mentions giddily that his life specialty is killing demons, we go up in her estimation. She agrees (grudgingly) to travel with us to jolly ole London.
We decide to head out that night, with Cyrus going to secure tickets. Those Cullens… smart, moderately fearless, imminently useful in a jam, and with enough money coupled with curiosity to grease the wheels. What great people I have befriended!
Although Cyrus does decide not to buy Marcus a train. Marcus gets over it.
Mar 11th: We ride on the train. Sergei and Marcus patrol the cars, just in case, and find a fellow in the dining car that looks to have been fed on (non-lethally) by a vampire. No identifiers on the man, and still has his money. Worrisome. We chat a good bit (Mary is a light of happiness in this dark, dreary world!), and then, right before dawn, we get Mary into her comfy-as-possible travel crate.
As we do, I have a quick chat with Mary on emergency exit procedures, group dynamics, and what we deal with as a group. This insight seems to put her at ease a bit. I guess; with her it is hard to tell. Whatever her story is, I bet it is FASCINATING, and probably very sad.
We hit the lovely city of Calais. We take stock of the place as we wait for our ferry, and note three men wheeling six caskets from the same train we are exiting. What an amazing coincidence! Cyrus and Sergei find the shipping label on the caskets, and we telegraph Huxley to let him know there are probable vampires entering London sans permission from the VoL. Better safe than sorry!
We ferry across to England, and are met by Huxley at the dock. We get Mary-in-a-box to Huxley’s office, then Marcus and I go with her to help her get something to eat before her big meeting. That goes better than I expected, all things considered. It is strange seeing a predator in a little old lady’s body. But a gal has to eat, and she is preying on people no less than we see every day. Just a bit more literally.
We head to the VoL’s estate with Huxley. It is in a very nice part of town, but not ostentatious on the outside. The interior, on the other hand, is just under French-level extravagant. Very British, very ‘an important man lives here.’ Everywhere we look we find vampires and human ‘attendants’ in various stage of undress and physical exertion.
Mary is disgusted. Sergei is an inch from rioting. The Cullens walk through like it is a walk in the park. Marcus is exited to be seeing something new. So far, this has been a great evening!
We head into the VoL’s meeting room. It has, and I kid you not, a centrally-located big-ass chair, aka a throne. He is perched on it, lounging, with his brood carrying on rather lasciviously around him. Perfect atmosphere of casual power; the fellow is a pro, I will give him that. Mary starts her conversation and, he, sensing the unease that some of our group feels, offers to take this to a private meeting room. What a classy guy!
Mary chats him up a bit, making her introductions and receiving permission to be in his city. She goes over the happenings in Paris in some detail, and makes sure he understands that, while not a CH member herself, she represents them in this meeting as a concerned independent (NOTE: if ‘Independent’ were Mary’s middle name, I would be surprised not-in-the-least!). He begins his spiel about neutrality and keeping out of such affairs and whatnot when, as usual, all hell breaks loose.
One of his brood come in with her head nearly severed to alert us to uninvited guests. Sergei gets moving quickly, but not quickly enough; the room is flooded with white-robed, silver masked assailants. Marcus greets the first man in with a beheading; the second guy in runs over and stabs Elizabeth (which is just really, really rude. She is a LADY, man!) The room fills up, with all newcomers missing their targets; but then the last attacker comes into play. He heads to a far corner and drops a ball of burning radiance into the center of the room. Not fire, which is scary enough. No, this is searing sunlight, and it does a number on everyone in the room. I shrug off the blast, but no one else is so lucky; it ignores our attackers, and scorches everyone else. That plus attacks from the mooks almost kills Sergei (a bit of bad luck on where he was standing did not help him at all). Cyrus, knowing which side of the bread is buttered, heals up his wife, Lady MurderDress.
Our turn, assholes.
Mary shows a propensity for mind-altering magics right at the start. She addles the minds of most of the attackers, letting Marcus, Elizabeth, and I do what we do best; make soup. The VoL and Huxley prove remarkably ineffective, but, to be fair, both had taken big hits in the initial blast. We clear our room (making sure our host is safe), then move on to the throne room.
More chaos. Casters, sword-wielders, and hellhounds abound. Well, for about 30 seconds; we get to cleaning house. More confusion sown by Mary gets us openings for attacks, and we capitalize on this. As always, we prioritize saving the… uh… ‘innocents?’, and are largely successful. An enemy flanking maneuver to come around on the VoL and Huxley’s position is turned back by Mary making a VERY scary face at them, turning them right back into the fray, anchored by, and I am not kidding, a 10’ tall, sword-wielding giant summoned by Cyrus. ‘Reginald,’ as we call him, seems to have the sword skills of a teacake, but he is resilient. Marcus beheads, Elizabeth caves in skulls, and I disembowel.
Huxley comes tearing around the corner a bit more than worried. Some kind of creature has been released in the rear of the house. This ‘fire elemental,’ as he calls it, is a 12’ tall, semi-sentient column of flame. And it is busy licking the walls, setting them a-blaze. The VoL orders a retreat of his people, and Huxley does the same with us. But, being that he is not 100% caught up on what we bring to the table (and our general lack of anything resembling common sense), we decide that killing this elemental before it gets done here and rampages through the neighborhood is worth the risk.
Well… what risk? Mary confuses it, Sergei (who has spent this whole donnybrook bleeding in various corners) serves it up a helping of ice lances, and Marcus finishes it with a stab to the… uh, gut? Who knows, but it works; it winks from existence. Hooray, we win! Oh, and decide to flee the now merrily-out-of-control house fire.
From there, we help the VoL (real name is Earl Robert deVeer) organize his evacuation to his favored daughter’s abode (Lady Jane Grey). She is glad they are alive, but less-than-thrilled at the sudden intrusion. Vampires take hospitality VERY seriously! He holds court, such as it is, and offers Mary a personal boon (read as, “That’s MY boon!”) for her bringing us to his door at that perfect moment, as well as her assisting him personally in the fight.
He offers to ally with the London CHs, because whomever attempted to do this had false CH cards and enough firepower to have killed him and every one of his brood present that night. He owes her, and us, his life, and that has to bother him; his hospitality was overwhelmed by selfless heroism from people who, before that evening, he was probably sure would have preferred him dead. Sergei probably still does, but that is beside the point.
For all the failure the Teutonics have met with, I fear for their successes closer to Austria. We have Western Europe pretty well intact (even Madrid’s losses were minimal, personnel-wise), but we have heard nothing from the other cities. I hope Tyson can find out more there, because I fear we have our hands full here.
(Footnote: Mary is going to stay a bit in London, or at least set up a home there. Patty has another bungalow near ours she is going to rent her VERY cheaply, and we are going to help her move in. She is now our favorite neighbor, and would request that Marcus stay off of her lawn as much as possible)