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stnylan

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Huh...ok. What on earth are the vampires playing at? This I suppose it what happens when vampires get bored and live too long, they just bicker over everything including nearly dead corpses. Why? You're asking the wrong question.

And the Lord and Master is not completely undisputed, though apparently only when the Regent thinks they can get away with it. And also, the Master is absent for long stretches of time, even for a vampire.

Questions upon questions.
So yes, in the Nora section I was definitely trying to portray an "stereotyptical" 'older' vampiric manoeuvring.

The wheels, as they say, are turning.
Indeed

o_O The mechanics and reasons behind that play may be mysterious and opaque, but the essence seems simple enough: it is all a power play between creatures for whom power appears to be the only currency and the objective of their existence. (I carefully avoided say life, because it isn’t really, is it?)
Well the question of life is a very philosophical one, on which some vampires would have a lot to say, and othres would dismiss the entire idea as an irrelevance.

It certainly speaks of an incredibly secure society where that sort of faffing about can be tolerated. Also a very formal one, not quite legalistic but of that flavour. Lady Anne is clearly high up but did not have the power to get Nora directly killed, so had to resort to this method which Albert subverted.

I suppose this is another aspect of what TBC said above, if you have too much time on your hands and your society is already rigid and hierarchical then this is the kind of thing you will end up wasting your time on, because you have nothing better to do than petty power games with your fellow vampires. It's a bit sad really.
Definitely. Of course, this is only representing one city and (so far) a very small group of vampires. That said, when you belond to a society where there is no natural "progression" because the folks above you never 'naturally' die...

There is literally no hope for advancement, aside from time and occasional rituals. Your status is directly tied to how old you are and who your sire was. So the society is not just stagnant but utterly stable provided no one really old gets murdered (which is really hard to do) since the elders are so powerful.
Not entirely I would say, but certainly there is a measure of truth to this view.

Not much to say about Eorhic's bit, honestly. I have a few idle thoughts about whether he might be someone we already know, but for the moment I'll keep them to myself pending future revelations.

I can't help but feel that Nora has inadvertently become a pawn in some sort of great game between Albert and Lady Anne -- at least, if she wasn't already. I also have a feeling that the Lady isn't one to take being snubbed like that lightly, but of course she wouldn't have lasted as long as she has if she didn't have some measure of patience and guile herself...
Eorhic is going to be developed.

True, but I was thinking of external threats. No werewolves or gangs of marauding vampire hunters. It's all very settled and decadent with no thought of security. The only real enemies are daylight and boredom.
In certain areas, and for certain creatures, that is no doubt true.

Oh, I suppose that is one area of excitement. Being a vampire who hunts and fights to destroy anyone who poses any physical threat should prove diverting and interesting. By this time though I imagine werewolves have mostly been wiped out and only the smartest human hunters and magic users remain against the vamps. The blood ducker have too many advantages and infinite time to work with compared with humanity.
As mentioned prevoiusly Werewolf is the WoD line that I think meshes least well with all the others, which may be why I dislike it.

Probably true, with the hint at voodoo zombies in the Americas providing another set of potential non-dead adversaries. WW VvZ? Is there going to be an analog between the supernatural groups for the human war getting ready to start? Or is it just the vampires vs humans in their parasitic, power-mining way?
Well, that would be telling :)


All
So as mentioned part of the purpose of this scene was to show a little vampire power-game, and provide some context to the slight barbed gestures between Anne and Albert hitherto. I also wanted to try my hand at writing Albert from an external perspective, thinking about how Albert comes across. Finally this is very much a companion section to Albert's meeting with Fagin.

Also I find third-person present tense an interesting technical challenge to write in, and so I chose that. Which is self-indulgent I admit, but then a goodly part of AAR writing like this is as a writing exercise so I hope an excusable one. I am not exactly sure how best to employ it tbh. Here I felt it made sense since Albert's passages are, of course, written in first-person present, so keeping the present tense seems thematically consistent. If anyone would care to offer I would appreciate any thoughts or critiques of how it worked (or not, as the case may be).

The Eorhic section is mostly, admittedy more procedural, and as much to remind us of Eorhic at this stage, though as mentioned to @Specialist290 more will soon develop here.

And we come to an end of Chapter 1. This ended up taking a good bit longer in real-time than I had originally hoped. I have viewed these various sections as ways of me as the writer (and all you as readers) getting acquainted with the two primary characters of our tale thus far, plus a view of the people closest around them. My hope is Chapter 2 will be completed in somewhat swifter fashion - but being realistic I have no idea.
 
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Chapter 2.1 - Storytime 4

stnylan

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CHAPTER 2 - A NEW WORLD

Chapter 2.1 - Storytime 4

My friends, my friends. So good to see you again. Is it not delightful that you can sit here placidly, amid the noise and haste that lurks outside, and appreciate the joy of silence? We are all on such good terms now, I can speak my truths so quietly, and we can listen to the stories of even the dullest and most ignorant. We have no need for the tumult or the tempest, vexatious to the spirit. Also no need for you to compare yourselves to one another, and all the bitterness that brings. You are all my audience. Do not worry that you seem less than me, for by coming here you have achievement fulfilment - something to treasure as time flows.

Let us cast our attention to a man, who knows of all the world’s trickery and yet who is thought to stand above it all, a hero of another age. He is always himself, nothing more, nothing less. He is facing the twilight of his years, with a grace many will never muster. And he holds within himself a strength of spirit that even now is his command, at this most vital moment. What dark imaginings, in his lonely fatigue, he must have had - and he remains firm of wholesome discipline. He has a right to be here. And he thinks he knows what he must do.



The sound has faded - echoed into nothingness in this hall. Many eyes face him. None are here by accident. He draws a deep breath. The soldiers on guard are hand-picked, and are no mere ornament. He begins

“In common with many of you I had hopes of this new government, and of how it might restore our nation. Events of the last few months, however, have tarnished these hopes - and even more recently I have received news, that I shall relate, that have trampled them completely. Gentleman, officers of the army, we are the bastion of the state, and we must do everything within our power to preserve it from the greatest threat it has ever faced…”


Well, we don’t need to listen to him too much. Let us move forward a few hours, to a place not very far away.


“How did it go?” Four asks.

“He was cheered - they all were with him. There is much planning going on.”

“And the article?”

“It will be published. The censor will have made an error, dazzled by the eminence of the writer. By the time the fools in Berlin realise what is happening it will be too late.”

“Protection?”

“Servitor-soldiers near him at all times, with reinforcements nearby. Especially at night.” Four knows all this of course, but the risk is making him nervous.

“Jakob - you have done well, but so far this has been an easy job. Henceforth it will get harder. Now go.”

Some minutes after the underling departed there is a swirl of air through the window, and Three steps out from behind the curtain. “It has started,” he exhales.

Four only nods, making no other reaction to Three’s appearance.

“You trust Jakob too much,” the newcomer rasps after a while.

“I trust him not at all, but I rely on his sense of self-preservation. For the moment. Recall, I am expecting you to tell me when it starts to fail.”

“You trust me too much,” Three rasps.

“I need you,” Four corrects, “if I am to orchestrate what we want. Iberia is a powderkeg. In the New World it will not take much prodding for results. Even France, fractured as it is, can be swayed. Here we - which means I - am forced to be direct. Far too direct.”

“I have news from Cipango.” Three says.

Four stops, and turns to voice his companion. “Oh?” he asks, in some surprise.

“The Sun Court appears divided - it is said the Throne is broken - and their strange clans battle nightly.”

“I am not a student of the East,” Four admits after a moment. “Please explain.”

“We only know one other occasion when the Sun Throne was broken, and that happened in 1860.”

Four thinks a moment, and recalls. “I see,” he says, and he thinks some more. “If it proves so that might be somewhat too convenient.”

“My point. We two are busy in Europe. If one of our number had the influence to so alter an Oriental Court, it was undeclared to the rest of us.”

Suddenly, swiftly, Four moves to the side of the window. He looks at his companion. “We should leave.”


Let us go to a final place tonight, a few days’ later.


A fine townhouse, but one that carries its own hidden secrets. A cab pulls up, and out emerges an tall, stern looking gentleman. He squints in the too-bright noon, and pays the driver a tip. He sighs as he considers the steps up the door, and then mounts them with a determined vigour. At the top he pauses, breathing heavily, before beating the door with his stick to announce his presence.

Inside he hands his coat and hat to a new acolyte. The young woman - he frowns at that - looks like a child, but probably should be wedded by now. Another acolyte, older and comfortingly male, conducts him to the outer sanctum.

“Thank you for coming so swiftly, Master Adalbert,” his host announces.

“Yes yes, Gerhard. What is it?”

“You know about von Mackensen’s speech?”

“I do keep abreast of current events.”

“I had an agent present, who had one of my devices. He took this,” and Gerhard handed over a developed film.

Adalbert lifts up the image. He mutters a few words and the air in front of his eyes seems to twist, shifting the light the way a lens might. Gerhard tightens his teeth at this breach of etiquette, but holds his peace.

Adalbert studies the photograph. Despite himself he is impressed - and it is clear why his junior beseeched him to visit. Under the guise of a waiter someone was not exactly what they had appeared to be. Not with that aura, captured by the enchanted camera.

“Do you know what he is?” he asks.

Gerhard shakes his head. “No. I had hoped you might be able to tell me.”

“Your contraptions have come a long way, but this is not clear enough for a fine reading. Not a non-human - a full Fae or wraith or the like. Beyond that I cannot tell.” He passes the picture back, and with a muttered word dispels his construct of air. “What does your agent know?”

“He thinks a journalist paid him for details for an article. He has no understanding of the true nature of his task.”

“Excellent. We must summon a Council. Someone is moving and we must know who, and if it is against us.” Adalbert peers at the younger man. “You have done well. I will tell the Council so.”

Gerhard seems to straighten, “Please, feel free to make use of my sanctum,” he says with a wave of his hand.

Adalbert casts a look around. Too modern for his taste, but safer to do this task here than use his own.


And that’s enough, I think you will agree. More than enough. It is time, my friends, to rest.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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What the heck is going on???
 

El Pip

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Those wheels are turning enough to power a small country at this point.
I know what you mean, but I had instead the impression of an elaborate Heath-Robinson device for opening letters that, after a great deal of time, minor injuries, effort, blood, expense and a few fatalities, finally fails to actually open the letter. But no-one is that bothered because it was at least something to do in order to pass the time.

The static and stilted nature of Vampiric Society leaching through perhaps? Similarly with the group referring to each others as numbers to try and inject a bit of excitement and illicit thrill into a life existence long since devoid of either.
 

DensleyBlair

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I know what you mean, but I had instead the impression of an elaborate Heath-Robinson device for opening letters that, after a great deal of time, minor injuries, effort, blood, expense and a few fatalities, finally fails to actually open the letter. But no-one is that bothered because it was at least something to do in order to pass the time.

The static and stilted nature of Vampiric Society leaching through perhaps? Similarly with the group referring to each others as numbers to try and inject a bit of excitement and illicit thrill into a life existence long since devoid of either.
Aye, I could see this interpretation holding also.
 

stnylan

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The static and stilted nature of Vampiric Society leaching through perhaps? Similarly with the group referring to each others as numbers to try and inject a bit of excitement and illicit thrill into a life existence long since devoid of either.
Just quickly jumping in here. The group do not refer to themselves by number. It is just the order they spoke at the original meeting.
 

Idhrendur

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Oh crikey, you get the sense that it's 'kicking off'.

As ever so much to enjoy here @stnylan - I enjoyed the use of the numbers (to aid the reader) and the conversation was very snappy in places. Your scene-setting paragraphs are as ever evocative and a joy to behold, but for me it is the old-world, traditional courtesies and rituals that seep through; you really do convey that this is not, quite, our mere mortal world. Very well done.
 

stnylan

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So to start a new chapter I wanted to take a step out in the wider world a bit, and see some of the things that are going to be shaping the game world. As I think I have mentioned before (if I haven't, I have certainly intended to) there are some NF paths which seem beyond drastic if one things they 'started' in January 1936. My own view is that the wherewithals to these things hasn't started in January 1936, but some time earlier. In the "Storytime" element we have, of course, focused on the conspirators from the original meeting, and we see them now getting stuck into their plot - but I also wanted to represent that they do not exist in a vacuum. Of course, we will leave the high plotting for the concerns of Albert and Martin soon enough.

Of course I was also, in the initial couple of paragraphs, incredibly self-indulgent. I had quite a bit of fun writing them, which I hope is plain, but it is a bit 'on the nose' as it were. A hackneyed effort but, as I say, quite fun.

What the heck is going on???
One cannot intervene without a ripple making, and a ripple made may be a ripple seen, and thus more ripples.

Those wheels are turning enough to power a small country at this point.
Hehe. Though I note that all polities at all times are powered by such plotting (or is that too cynical?)

I know what you mean, but I had instead the impression of an elaborate Heath-Robinson device for opening letters that, after a great deal of time, minor injuries, effort, blood, expense and a few fatalities, finally fails to actually open the letter. But no-one is that bothered because it was at least something to do in order to pass the time.

The static and stilted nature of Vampiric Society leaching through perhaps? Similarly with the group referring to each others as numbers to try and inject a bit of excitement and illicit thrill into a life existence long since devoid of either.
Aye, I could see this interpretation holding also.
I think there would be a tendency to over-think and over-elaborate. Complexity is a cloak to hide intention, but of course it also inhibits action.

Sounds like someone's about to be on the wrong side of a military coup.
Quite.

I dunno, but I'm too drowsy to worry about it. Just gonna rest my eyes for a moment.
But of course. The chair is very comfy.

Then John was a zombie.
I must confess this reference rather sailed above my head. I feel that it perhaps shouldn't have done.

Oh crikey, you get the sense that it's 'kicking off'.

As ever so much to enjoy here @stnylan - I enjoyed the use of the numbers (to aid the reader) and the conversation was very snappy in places. Your scene-setting paragraphs are as ever evocative and a joy to behold, but for me it is the old-world, traditional courtesies and rituals that seep through; you really do convey that this is not, quite, our mere mortal world. Very well done.
Thank you. This is high praise. And yes, in the wider world, things are being prodded along.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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There I was, ready to comment, when I sank into the comfy chair, so soothing, so relaxing ... then it was morning. What happened? Or is about to happen? A mystery that will I trust gradually be revealed.
 

Nikolai

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So....comfy. Must....rest.

Excellent as always my friend. Although I understand little and less, not knowing the inspiration. World of Darkness I only heard of when Paradox bought it.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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The comfy chair was comfortable.

It was also made of skin and shivered when not in front of a fire.
 
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stnylan

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I am sure what is happening and I admit a little confused at the moment. But I do want to know so I will eagerly wait for the next chapter.
I hope not to disappoint.

There I was, ready to comment, when I sank into the comfy chair, so soothing, so relaxing ... then it was morning. What happened? Or is about to happen? A mystery that will I trust gradually be revealed.
Your trust is most commendable :)

So....comfy. Must....rest.

Excellent as always my friend. Although I understand little and less, not knowing the inspiration. World of Darkness I only heard of when Paradox bought it.
It is very important to be well-rested :)

The comfy chair was comfortable.

It was also made of skin and shivered when not in front of a fire.
Given the Tzimisce in-game there is not an entirely impossible situation.

I don't know what's going on but at least I'm feeling very well rested
Good :)