ChapterHouse

From the Journal of James Watie: April 5th - 16th, 1867

Hunting season starts!

Apr. 5th, 1867: An amazingly stormy morning keeps us indoors. Breakfast is lively, though, with a pretty full house. As the Chapter House customs demand, there is a knock at the door. Lo and behold, it is Matthias Tyson (and crew). He has brought Mother Irenia from Athens, a dark-haired young lady named Lysandra, a well-dressed older German fellow (Michael Haas), and a younger Mediterranean fellow (Ethan Nazario).

Tyson is moving these folks from the now-closed Athens House. He gives us the run-down on what happened in that area during the weeks our organization was attacked:
Athens: Fire-bombed to the ground. The tree there is alive, but everything else is gone. Most everything of value was saved.
Rome: Both Houses were attacked (unsuccessfully). Now on full alert.
Munich: Attacked by necromancers and composite flesh-creatures. Still standing.
Prague: Members attacked in their own homes. House no longer open.
Oslo: Ignored.
Copenhagen: Ignored.
Kiev and St. Petersburg: No word. Mentioned to Tyson that they were considering going dark due to mistrust of Rome.
Aberdeen: Ignored.

We chat about things a bit. He agrees with pretty much our whole lexicon of issues with Rome, and is impressed with our progress in strengthening our area. While we have his attention, we also ask about the symbols we got from the dragon-worshipers. He thinks that they are a cultish offshoot of a group called the Illuminati (Enlightened Ones). These folks are usually not against us, but tend to fracture into cults easily.

Tyson and the refugees he has with him also have several items that they need to be taken somewhere safe. The Librarians offer to go with them to Aberdeen, where they plan to hole up for awhile.

April 6-7th: While Tyson bounces between the two Houses in town talking important things to people with real jobs, we head to visit the Shadow Men. I figured that they would not mind a bit or warning that a bit of their allied firepower is going to be gone for awhile. They wish us happy hunting. They also give us a bit of good counsel; St. James Park is a hot-spot for the weird, and our park patrollers may want to shy away from there for the time being. When we get back, Tyson shows up and agrees with our assessment; London is as protected as it has been in years, and we should be good for a nice safari vacation.

Apr. 8th: Knowing that any safari is doomed to failure without a proper lady to impress with our macho antics, and knowing that Emily has a job to do (she is rapidly becoming the de facto leader of the Park Patrol!), we head over to see if Victoria wants to go hunting with us. It is GREAT that she does, as I had already packed for her the day before. She comes over for breakfast, and, as ALWAYS, we are interrupted by a knock on the door. It is a kindly old blind man (Gudrigr Vahg?) and his dog, Rowdy. Their papers check out, and it becomes readily obvious that they are friends of Prof. Poole. He is super-happy to know that the Prof. is back on his feet, and decides to camp out here and catch up while we are gone.

My bet? Tyson sent for him as extra muscle while we are gone. He is probably some Mesopotamian ex-deity who CAN see, but chooses not to because it makes life WAY too easy/boring. And the dog is the Prussian god of walkies.

Before we head out, we go visit Stanica and the gypsies. They are going on tour soon, and wish us the best. Better yet, she gives us papers that she says SHOULD at least get us in with any Romany troupes we meet. Good enough for me! I hope our paths cross again soon; her family reminds me of my old family, and a good bit of my new one!

Apr. 9-10th: Head out of town and through Paris, towards Munich. No one has attacked us yet, which makes us sad.

Apr. 12th: Reach Munich, keep on heading through to Vienna. Fritz is a wanted man there (he perpetrated shenanigans), but it saves us time and may get us jumped on a train. This sounds good to most of us, though I think Victoria may believe we are mad… MAD, I TELL YOU!

Apr. 13th: Wonderful Vienna! You can almost TASTE the pretentiousness in the air! Because Fate gets a bit antsy if you do not tempt her from time-to-time, we decide to stay the night. We book rooms at a nice hotel, then go out for a nice dinner.

Apr. 14th: During a nice, hearty breakfast, we notice a local constable paying a bit too much attention to us. No problems here, I have always wanted to assist in a jail break! After a bit of eyeballing us, he heads out. As we finish up, a few rather nice chaps come in and, mentioning that they are chums of Fast Eddie la Salle, ask if we would like to meet them at a local bar, the Snow Cafe.

Meet with total strangers professing to be friends of our ex-enemy in an unknown bar in a more-than-a-bit-hostile country? I honestly do not think we could have passed this up, PERIOD.

These mooks obviously work for the effeminate guy that they lead us to at the bar. Sergei guesses it early, the ‘guy’ is Helen, on of the people on Berringer’s (the demon-summoning, child molesting/eating, now enjoying his time being sou- rended ass-cake) list.

Having done her homework, she gets to the point. She wants to try Fast Eddie’s route, professing that she is NOT one of the head honcho’s, is actively staying OUT of the ’doing things that might get her a midnight visit by our London troubleshooting squad, and, as a show of faith, is willing to give us the current location of Randolph and Mortimer.

Little lady, for the time being, you have a reprieve. We do not know what you did to get on that List. Randy and Morty? We owe them. We owe them, bigtime. DEAL.

SIDE TRIP TIME! Next stop, Krakow, Poland!

Apr. 16th: We hit Krakow. Nice town, but we don’t plan to stay. We get a room, mostly for costume changing. I dress up as an Asian subcontinent Indian (Emily’s idea!), and carry a pack with my gear, just in case. Fritz and Vikki head over to R&M’s pad to check if they are there. It does not seem so, and is confirmed when a runner heads out to tell them they have strange visitors. We confront the runner kid and convince him we are trying to help them (which is NOT THE CASE!), and he mentions that they are at a local gentleman’s club.

Crap. That is bad. These kind of fellows would only be a member of an exclusive club, and they probably have all manner of friends/acquaintances there who, if we go in weapons blazing, would be honor-bound to fight us. And, as much as many of them may deserve it, we simply do not have the time or resources on one hand, or, to be honest, to desire to risk lumping everyone in that building in the ‘needs to die’ category.

We do have ONE good piece of knowledge, though… I head around the corner to a nice spot and change back into my regular garb. I have the rest of the gang (Marcus, Vikki, Sergei, and the Wonder Mr. Vanderfaust) post up in the back. And Aldo and I go to the front, knock on the door, and deploy MY SECRET WEAPON.

My Chapter House card shown to the butler. And a message to R&M; they can come out now and die quickly, like men, or they can prepare themselves for a slaughter.

As bluffs go, Aldo and I felt good about this one. Because we all knew we had one piece of crucial knowledge on these guys; they are cowards, through-and-through. THEY WILL RUN.

And run they did! Sending out their guards, then themselves, straight into our waiting ambush. And, according to the Backyard Gang, it felt REALLY GOOD to be on the ambushing side for once! By the time we got back there, it was practically mop-up time. Aldo hit me with his time-booster watch (which is a VERY strange feeling, by the way! and then himself, and we still barely managed to get there in time to help kill this filth.

But kill them we did. To their credit, they fought to the last, realizing that begging and bargaining was totally off the table. And we did it without hurting the horses or stable-folk, which is always a good feeling. Civilians sometimes get hurt, and that is regrettable. But we have progressed to the point that we can spare some inconvenience to let the possible innocent scoot away.

We loot them and I leave arrows in their heads. Since there were witnesses, people now know that folks i their line of business can be expected to be hunted down and killed. A semi-bluff, as we only got these guys today due to some unexpected help. But we will take all the publicity we can get, so long as we can control the message.

We hit the hotel, grab our gear, then head out. The local constabulary and military presence is starting to rouse, so we decide to break into more manageable groups. Fritz has a plan for a con to get him and Vikki clear AND make a diversion for us to get to the train for Prague. It sounds good, so we tell them to meet us there if they can, and leave a trail for us if not. Fritz and Vikki are both solid; they have this covered.

On the train we take stock over a nice bottle of wine. We are still on the trail, albeit with two members (Veronica and Fritz) in the wind. And we have two names off our personal List. Two names who we owed to judgment.

All agree, it was a very, very good day. And a pretty good bottle of wine.

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EverRaven Mandis13

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