This time we're not giving up
Let's make it last forever
We'll make it last forever
- “Hallelujah” Paramore
Cyrus Westergaard Lyng is 32 human years old. His hair is thick black brown, beginning to show streaks of silver. He stands 5’11” with broad shoulders and thinly - yet solidly - built. The casual observer would think he might be a pushover (figuratively and literally) but a second glance reveals that he carries himself with confidence (based on what, who knows?) and indicates a strength not readily apparent.
Cyrus’ skin is on the dark end of Caucasian, almost as if he has a perpetual tan.
His most striking physical characteristic is his eyes, which are dichromatic: green on the left and grey on the right. He does not try to hide this feature.
Before the Story
WARNING: THIS SECTION CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS
This event triggered the First Rage/First Change in Cyrus, and in a blind fury he drove the attacker away. The tragedy caused a mental breakdown in his father (Clayton), and his mother (Heather) sent Cryrus to America for his training/Rite of Passage in the hopes of providing him enough time to prepare for inevitable future attacks.
Heather herself has devoted her remaining years to hunting down the assailant, spending more and more time in her wolf form. The killer is currently still at large, out there, somewhere.
In America, Cyrus came into his own.
His Rite of Passage was the hunting of [redacted], but the task itself was almost nothing compared to the infighting of the “pack”. This internal strife nearly caused the destruction of the cohort, and it was only thanks to Cyrus’ intervention and advice (which lead to cooperation) that they were not only able to set aside their differences and focus on the common goal but also succeed, returning as recognized adults in the Garou Nation.
Over the years in New Orleans, Cyrus became a respected go-between among the Kindred, Fae, and Garou in New Orleans and the surrounding environs. Though most would stay with their own kind, Cyrus has made use of his gifts of Speech of the World and Citizen of the World to both keep the peace and keep what loose alliances are in place. For this he earned the Deedname “Oathkeeper” and is a trusted advisor in both politics and strategy.
Thanks to his gifts, Cyrus is able to communicate with those not of his language and culture, and though he speaks foreign languages with an obvious accent, it is clear he is being respectful of those he is talking to and means no disrespect or offense.
Some have likened Cyrus to James Bond, but Cyrus is a Bond from the other side of things. He is not a womanizer and prefers diplomacy to violence, though he is skilled in both words and sword.
Like Bond, Cyrus has his own demons. He suffers from terrifying nightmares and as a result has developed a severe phobia to sleep, which he attempts to alleviate with sleep aids to varying success. Cyrus will therefore sleep alone, and after several non-fatal “incidents” he now often restrains himself in an attempt to avoid hurting others. There are times when, due to his phobia, he will forgo sleep, though this has proven an ineffective strategy in the long-term.
As a Galliard, Cyrus has found a solace in music, the theatre, and the arts - and often has a song, lyric, or quote to for the situation, and often makes a connection with foreigners/outsiders by finding common ground in these things. However, there are times that Cyrus’ gifts work against him, and he finds himself the unwitting and unwilling vessel of a Bard’s Tongue.
Cyrus attained Rank 2 and the Deedname “Shouts of Triumph” in the recent coordinated attacks against the Kindred, Fae, and Garou in NOLA. The battle was going poorly for Cyrus and his comrades when, noticing a gap in the attackers, he roused them with a slightly-altered line from Shakespeare:
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more - or fill up the wall with our Garou dead!”In recognition of his skills as both ambassador and strategist, Cyrus was sent by Caden Ash Heart to meet/aid the diverse group of . . . defenders . . . lately assembled in NOLA.
In the Story
At the Hotel Provincial
Cyrus found the group (Ollie, Rosalie, Andi, Aya, and Nyx) in the Hotel Provincial in the French Quarter. Briefly introducing himself to Ollie as the one Caden sent to help, Cyrus offered his services in whatever matters might arise. After listening to Cardinal Valdis and Tobias Wren announce a new partnership between Autumn Health and the Tulane Medical Center, they watched Cardinal Valdis circulate through the crowd with Wiskey Van Rensselaer on one arm and a drink in his free hand. Cyrus was clued in they intended to drug the Cardinal’s drink, and suggested they simply give him a new, spiked one.
As the Cardinal approached, Rosalie met him in her capacity as a reporter and asked a few questions. Ollie’s nerves began to get the better of him, and after a brief exchange of words with the Cardinal (since they both work for the Church), Ollie found Cardinal Valdis reaching for his hands. Cyrus took the roofied drink, and after another short exchange, Ollie offered the drink to Valdis on the pretense Cyrus was allergic to citrus. The plan worked, and within five minutes it was obvious he was feeling its effects.
Unfortunately for the party, several things happened at once: the lights dimmed, vehicles surrounded the hotel, and some guests inside began to have coughing fits – the result of a supernatural infection. Teams in biohazard suits began to cordon off the hotel, and as the party watched through a large window, they saw the rooftop collection tank come crashing down, spilling its contents and landing on three tourists: woman in her twenties as well as a father and his young daughter.
The infected individuals began attacking those around them in a zombie-like fashion, though it was clear they weren’t actually zombies. Whiskey caught up to the group with the knocked-out Cardinal over her shoulder. Thinking quickly, the party started to head to the basement, where they hoped Aya and/or Ollie would be able to purify the water and remove the stain of the worm from those infected. Nyx held the line with her parasol in front of Ollie’s parents, allowing everyone time to get into the stairwell. She was the last one through the door.
In the stairwell, they were met by Serg coming down from the roof. He was with a kid of some kind, who appeared to know the party, but the party didn’t know him. Working together, the party was able to successfully use the fire suppression system to cure all but two individuals of their malady.
Then, from the corner, the Cardinal spoke with his own voice, asking to be tied up before “he returned”. Now, the decision had to be made about how to both leave the hotel – with the cardinal – and repair the masquerade breach.
While newcomer Vassily (unmoored and Hunter of Lucifer) went to find blood for the vampires (and others who needed it), Cyrus, Andi, Nyx, Ollie, and Aya found a conference room with a long table and other accoutrements. [The others stayed in the boiler room.] Ollie and Andi found the laundry and - using sheets and pillowcases - constructed “Fort Kickass” under the table. Nyx and Cyrus found some chicory coffee; Cyrus and Andi established the “shave and a haircut” knock as the password to the conference room.
While Ollie and Aus slept, and then as Nyx and Andy fell into torpor, Cyrus stayed awake thanks to the coffee.
When everyone was once again awake, it was decided to take the cardinal to Elysium.
The lockdown/quarantine now ended, they group made its way to Elysium - and found Prince Hastings engaged in conversation with a group of werewolves that Aya, Ollie, and Cyrus recognized by reputation as The Silver Pack.
The three stood in silence as they introduced themselves and others (and Ollie when spoken to) filled in everyone on what had happened. When Serg told of his killing Banner (in part because he viewed Banner as a threat to the caern), Ekaterina named him an official friend of the Garou Nation. Cyrus made a mental note to remember Serg’s new position to the Garou.
Cyrus finally moved when Mia/Sister told the three to follow her.
Rank and Trial
Cyrus, Ollie, and Aya followed Sister out behind the absinth bar, where, pulling out a mirror, Sister opened a moon bridge to the Umbra. Sister changed into lupus, and the trio followed her to the only hill in all of New Orleans: a thirty-five foot manmade rise in the city zoo. As they settled themselves, Aya received a message via her spectral hound: she was being called away to her mentor. Sister bade her go, acknowledging Aya’s mentor as being more important at the moment.
Sister then set the two Garou their test of rank: choosing to work together, she set them with three riddles. Though they only needed to answer two correctly, the pair was able to pool their knowledge and sweep the set.
White bird, featherless. Flying out of paradise. Flying over sea and land. Dying in my hand. What is it?
I can flutter and take your breath away.
I can take a beating, but do not bruise.
If I stopped you would be sure to lose.
All day and night, I am with you.
What am I?
A: your heart
You can carry it everywhere you go, and it does not get heavy. What is it?
A: your name
Ollie and Cyrus were officially made Fostern and were given additional deed names, including an extra one each for working together on the task and for answering all three riddles. Cyrus’ new deed names were: Sentinel of the Derelict, Sings the Advocate Refrain, The Gentlemen’s Lycan, and Wise as the True Heart.
The task now over, they each shifted into lupus to follow Sister back out of the Umbra, rolling down the hill with delight and changing back to Homid before entering mundane New Orleans.
They only had a few minutes to make themselves presentable before they were approached by Maddi, who now revealed herself to be an archon of one of the justicarscoming to preside over the impending trial. The entire group was taken to a trio of cars (Cyrus rode in the middle car with Serg and Rosalie) and driven for an hour outside the city. They were then led into the backyard of a large southern house where the justicars were seated in a half circle and their archons standing behind them. In front of them was a podium of piled stones, to the left of which stood a large pot filled with white bones. They were seated on three stone benches; Prince Hastings sat Cyrus and Ollie to her left, placing them in a place a protection.
The trial was called to order, and Justicar Anastaz made it known this was a trial of Prince Hastings and not Serg - something Cyrus had suspected and tried to mentally prepare for. Garou testimony being considered lesser in this situation, Cyrus and Ollie were called on first, and though Ollie made to move, Cyrus beat him to the moment and stepped forward. He followed the instructions given him to the letter: approaching the podium and taking a bone in his hand (which would turn black and cause him great harm if he spoke false). Asked for his testimony, he earned looks of shock, surprise, respect (and even humor) when he correctly addressed the justicars:
Your Most Esteemed Excellencies - I am Cyrus Lyng, Fosters of the Garou Nation. If offer myself and my memories as witness.
He willingly gave his memory via telepathic link, but when asked for his words his mind blanked. He said something, but though he couldn’t remember what he said, it must have been honest and respectful as the bone stayed white, the justicarsthanked and dismissed him, and the group looked at him encouragingly.
The others gave their testimony in similar fashion, though there was some hustle and bustle around Cock Robin’s prior association with Ollie, and Justicar Pascek’s familial relationship with Andi. According to law and tradition, Prince Hastings gave their testimony to the justicars in private, the group being led back into the house. Her testimony lasted fifteen minutes; the justicars debated another thirty.
In the end, Justicars Robin and Pascek were forced to abstain, Justicars Marzanna and Lucinde voted “not guilty”, and Justicars Anastasz and Guil voting guilty. The verdict declared a tie, Justicar Anastasz invoked his right as head of the council to break the tie and voted guilty. However, Justicar Marzanna reminded him of Clan Malkavian’s right to declare the punishment, and declared that Prince Hastings would be removed as Prince of New Orleans for one month, at which time Justicar Marzanna would revisit the issue. Justicar Guil deemed this punishment too lenient, opining that Prince Hastings should – in their opinion – burn.
The justicars nearly came to blows with each other as the situation escalated and were only stopped by the intervention of their archons. Several of the archons and Justicar Cock Robin whisked the group away and back into the city to the Hotel Hilton.
As the group discussed what had happened and what to do now, Archon Jean-Marc d’Harfleur revealed that the archons themselves were in favor of finding Prince Hastings not guilty, and that Justicar Guil’s vote of guilty was just the latest in a series of out-of-character actions they had taken in recent months. Rosalie deemed it safe and prudent to share all the events that had led to this moment, but when she shared the information telepathically with Jean-Marc, he fell to the ground - - bearing stigmata of Lucifer.
Pack It Up
As the vampires continued to talk about what had happened, Ollie approached Cyrus about forming a pack with him and Aya and Asher. As the two wondered where Aya could be, she stumbled out of the bathroom – deposited there by her mentor via moon bridge. And then Asher spoke up from underneath Ollie’s chair, and said he’d been there for about five minutes - - showing just how observant the two werewolves had been.
They talked briefly about the intended pack, with Aya needing some convincing.
Rejoining the conversation with the vampires, it was decided that – all things considered – the group would repair to the cairn, where Caden would offer them safety. Asher sweetened the deal by offering a cork board with red thread and pushpins, as well as paper and pens, so that they could plot and plan their next steps.
Ollie opened a moon bridge for the first time using the mirror Sister had given him, and the core group traveled from the hotel to the cairn with ease. The Silver Pack was there, and Caden himself was cooking as if for a large group of firefighters.
Cyrus grabbed the weapons he had left behind, namely his firearm and Helios’ Blessed Blade, and then rejoined the others in the basement. While the others brainstormed their concerns, he took it all in; this was mostly new information for him. However, he was able to offer two of his own: The “Fake Tobias Wren” and Vassily (who he pointed out wasn’t necessarily a problem, but neither did they know how he fit in).
Listening to the others talk, he was able to use his gift of hidden meaning to connect some unseen threads, arriving at the name of Helena d’Argeneaux in connection with the statement “find the Baron” and Serg’s left hand.
Of all the concerns, two stood out: finding the Baron and helping Aya’s mentor in Japan.
It was decided to aid Serg first, and the group found themselves on the way to a very proper tea room on the very edge of the French Quarter, with Cyrus helping outfit the group and talking their way inside with his etiquette.
Seated in the library, the party found themselves an audience with Madame Helena, who to Cyrus appeared as a Nosferatu, but was decidedly not Nosferatu. She had a connection with Baron Samedi, but when, through Cyrus and Serg, she came to understand what the party needed, she explained that the Baron would not meet with them.
However, Serg and Rosalie were able to give more information that narrowed down the search for the site of the last of the Saint Murders and earn the gratitude of Madame d’Argeneaux and the respective Barons and earned each party member an answered question or a small boon.
Pacts, Presents, and Perils
Leaving Madam d’Argeneaux, Ollie and Aya and Cyrus began discussing the possibility of forming a pack. The three all saw the benefits of a union, with Aya and Cyrus strongly suggesting that Ollie act as Alpha. While the three were discussing what the pack totem should be and Ollie was making his case to choose Hades or Persephone, Aya received urgent word that she was needed back in Japan. With a quick goodbye to the two, Aya disappeared into the Umbra, leaving Ollie and Cyrus staring into space.
The next morning, Ollie and Cyrus met up with Nyx and Andi at the Hotel Provincial. Andi was excited as she’d received packages during the night. Like a kind of Santa Claus, Charlie had visited during the night and left gifts from Serafina – and there was something for everyone. Jackets and jewelry for Andi and Nyx, expensive suits with tie clips and cufflinks for Ollie and Cyrus, and even a note for Serge.
As the group marveled at their presents, something happened. Maybe it was the buzz of the fluorescent lights or the gurgling of water in pipes or the distant sounds of construction – but something triggered a . . . vision? nightmare? daymare?
Cyrus found himself in water – deep water – and could feel the heaviness of his clothes dragging him under the waves. He struggled to the surface to find things – bodies – floating in the water. And then suddenly, an image flashed on the underside of Cyrus’ eyelids:
You do not recognize the bodies in the water.
The long hours that Cyrus had spent avoiding sleep around his newfound friends and compatriots finally caught up to him, and something in his mind snapped.
When he came to, he found himself in a defensive position with his sword drawn and thrust in front of him. Ollie was speaking to him. “Cyrus? Cyrus. Stay with me. Breathe. You are Oathkeeperand Shouts of Triumph, Wise as the True Heart and Sentinel of the Derelict. The Gentleman’s Lycan, you Sing the Advocate Refrain. Breathe.” Listening to Ollie helped; he could have been reading from a phonebook rather than reciting deed names, and Cyrus would have listened.
Andi brought him a glass of water; it was the best Cyrus had tasted in a long time, if ever.
Ollie assured him he hadn’t harmed anyone, and Cyrus found himself explaining his often violent reactions to nightmares. He was somewhat relieved to find that others suffered from them as well, in that he was not alone, but grew concerned when it became apparent they had all had the same terrifying mental image.
Cyrus and Andi both recognized the water as a spot on Lake Pontchartrain, and as they described it to Ollie and Nyx, the two confirmed it seemed to be the same spot where they’d been cast through time while investigating the Saint Murders.
The four wanted to do more research before making their next move, but all the public libraries were closed and visiting a university wouldn’t be the best choice at the moment, considering two of their party were vampires. They decided to order in food (in their own way) while they came up with a plan.
It was after they had eaten that Andi remembered there was a library she had access to: Serafina’s. With a quick phone call, Andi arranged for them to have access to the library. Cyrus thought it would be ill-advised to show up in such circumstances ill-prepared, and so donned his new clothing and suggested picking up a bottle of wine on the way. Ollie said he’d look for an oddity of some kind, while Andi bought blood-chocolates and Nyx found a print of her photograph of the sunken mausoleum Cyrus had heard about.
Arriving at Serafina’s modern mansion, they were greeted by her brother Sebastian and other members of her “family” there to play cards and conduct certain business. Cyrus recognized a few from his political contacts and made sure to note that he certainly did not see them here. They gave their gifts to Sebastian, who seemed very pleased they had brought anything at all – particularly the werewolves.
Their research seemed to come up short at first, with Cyrus finding several reasons they could have experienced a mass nightmare – but nothing concrete for their situation. Andi and Nyx tried finding out more about the Saint Murders, but came up with little more than they already knew.
Ollie, though, was in his element. Accessing a few back doors of the internet using a computer in a Faraday Cage, Ollie soon came out with a message:
The following ███████████ contains ███████████ that are carriers for anomalous cognitohazardous influences.███████████. Due to this, it is imperative that all personnel accessing this file be certified as having a Cognitive Resistance Value (CRV) of no less than ███████████ ████ ████████ ████
Under no circumstances are members of our Foundation personnel to approach ███████. Observation of ████ ████ must only be carried out by remote dummy probes utilizing ████ ███.
As they were discussing what it might mean, the computer rebooted, brought the pages Ollie had been looking at back up, and started playing a video. The video was their nightmare, and this time it was worse, as Cyrus could now recognize the bodies in the water as those of himself and his friends.
He exchanged looks with Ollie, who seemed to have seen the same thing. While Andi and Nyx were startled, they did not share the same concern as Ollie and Cyrus. As they explained what they had seen, Cyrus realized that while they had seen something similar, maybe it wasn’t the same thing – maybe whatever they’d seen could tailor its message to their individual subconscious.
They decided their next course of action should be to investigate Lake Pontchartrain – the second or third time Ollie and Nyx had been there – and Cyrus advised caution, asking Ollie and Nyx how they might prepare themselves. Cyrus made sure to change out of his expensive clothing and into something more suitable for the outdoors.
Using moon bridges and Abrams’ trolley, they made their way to the lake. On the way, Cyrus tried to help Ollie out of being on the outs with his mother.
Once on the shoreline, they found an abandoned campfire and what appeared to be several articles of clothing from four individuals: a purse, a pair of shoes, and the like: the kind of things people set aside when they’re going to dip their toes in the water. Looking out into the waves, Cyrus was certain he saw bodies, but the others said it was only a trick of the light.
As the stood there, they each stated getting a migraine, feeling as if their head were too small or their brain too large or both at the same time.
“I’d like to leave,” Cyrus said “or at least go back to the road.”
Andi agreed with him, as did Ollie and Nyx, but when they tried to leave the found themselves in the water. Holding hands, they tried again, with the same result. No matter which direction they tried, the water pulled them in. Nyx started slipping, and Cyrus ignored her shouts to just let her go and instead held on. He began to be pulled in as well. Adi, holding on to Cyrus, refused to let him go either, and she too began sliding in deeper.
In a last-ditch effort, Ollie opened a passageway and punched a hole in reality as he attempted to drag the group out of the water and into some kind of safety. The pressure stretched like a rubber band, and just when it felt like something would have to give, it snapped – and the group lost consciousness.
They awoke on an upper level of a nearby oil rig – the same oil rig connected with the recent oil spill in the Gulf. Ollie’s gnosis was severely depleted, and though Nyx and Andi offered him their phones to regain a point or two, he declined. After they determined they were alone on this level – which appeared to have been abandoned in the 1950’s – they decided to make their way to lower levels and attempt to find their way off the rig and into safety.
Nyx used her heightened senses to see if they were completely alone and picked up on a few interesting details. First, while the level they were on appeared old and deserted, lower levels seemed to have had recent upgrades and were running top-of-the-line equipment. Second, those levels appeared to be self-contained habitations, and there were people there – quite a few people, in fact. Third, a hurricane was coming in off the gulf and would likely be upon them in an hour/hour and a half.
There was only one thing to do: go down. Cyrus took point while Andi backed him up, followed by Ollie and Nyx. The next room of note they came to was a radio room. Though it too looked like it hadn’t been touched in years, there was still electricity flowing to the equipment. Figuring they had nothing to lose, Cyrus and Ollie began turning dials and flipping switches and managed to find a number station. Nyx had slightly more success, as she managed to find a dedicated distress system.
Nyx suggested saying there was a fire on the rig in hopes of speeding up their recovery. Cyrus expressed a small concern about lying about the nature of their distress, but Ollie agreed with Nyx. Cyrus asked Ollie if it was okay to bend the truth when it suited their needs. When Ollie said yes, Cyrus smiled and said okay – this exchange seemed to confuse Ollie a little bit.
Andi found some hooded Pentexjackets, which gave Cyrus an idea. If he used some of his gifts and pulled the hood over his face, he could perhaps convincingly imitate Tobias Wren (the one who had been at the Hotel Provincial). He wasn’t sure if everyone had picked up what he was suggesting, but maybe it would be enough to bluff their way past anyone who might be asking questions.
Continuing downward, the next room was an empty airlock with a few biohazard suits next to the lower door. They skipped the suits and opened the door and found themselves in an alley. Looking out, they saw many people (definitely not mundane) in what appeared to be 1970s-era dress or earlier.
They discussed what they wanted to do, and rather loudly. It was surprising they didn’t attract any attention. At point, Cyrus’ main concern was with getting out, while the others wanted to see what was going on with the people down here.
Cyrus became abrupt for perhaps the first time with the party. He asked Ollie if he thought they should try to get out or see what was going on, to which Ollie said “both”. Cyrus then asked which he should prioritize, because if left to him he would prioritize getting out. Ollie seemed a bit taken aback by Cyrus’ attitude. Cyrus explained that if Ollie was going to be Alpha he needed to give some direction; Ollie insisted he wasn’t Alpha and they weren’t a pack yet. Cyrus shrugged and said “You keep saying that. I guess that makes you the Not Alpha.”
This seemed to break the tension between the two, and it was then they noticed Andi and Nyx trying not to laugh at them. They supposed they must have looked somewhat ridiculous. And still, no one had noticed them.
A bell rang, and now a mass of kids started filing past the alley. Now Cyrus offered Ollie a gnosis, but Ollie insisted he not take it, causing Cyrus to arch aeyebrow. It was becoming clear that taking care of his Not Alpha would be a rather interesting challenge. Nyx finally prevailed on Ollie to use her phone to regain a gnosis, and Cyrus relaxed his eyebrow.
Now with a few more gnosis, Ollie used one of his fetishes to allow the group to consult with the Pythia. Using their three questions, they determined that helping the people here should be their first priority. They also began to suspect that they may have found the missing Court of Wisteria. They ditched their Pentexcoats, and just in time, for they were finally spotted by a small girl who introduced herself as Mercy Zettler.
Mercy recognized that the group didn’t belong, and seemed more concerned that they might be contaminated that with their “outsider” status. One of her friends, a boy named Clemency Sallow, also joined them and seemed certain they would get into trouble.
They were led to a shower room where, with great difficulty due to their size, the two children hosed down the group and applied a decontaminating powder. They had to strip, and while they all modestly averted their gazes from either other’s intimate regions, it was clear that Ollie changed into his lupus form so that it looked like the kids were washing a dog. Andi grumbled a bit about not having that option, and Cyrus took the spraying down in his human form in solidarity with his vampire friends, earning him a raised fist in appreciation from Andi.
The powder was not unpleasant smelling and seemed to be clay-based. As they dried off and put on their clothes, the two informed the party of the layout and leadership of their society. There were four sections: Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omega, with Omega being considered the “nobodies” of society, though this was clearly an idea perpetuated by the adults and not yet ingrained in the kids they were talking to.
The community seemed to look to their religious leader (Mama Verity) for guidance on most matters, though Mercy’s mother Magdalena also seemed to have some influence due to her genealogy, her grandfather being the one who founded the “community”.
Comfort & Confrontation
Taken by Mercy to her family’s living space, the trio unexpectedly found her parents - Magdalena and Liberty Zettler - who were understandably shocked and somewhat frightened to see outsiders. From a pocket, Magdalena produced a scalpel which she held semi-aggressively until the kids were away from the group.
Ollie tried to explain what was going on, and faltering, finally looked to Cyrus for help. “You can delegate the talking,” Cyrus reminded him before answering Liberty’s questions directly about who they were with (not Premium Oil) and how they got there (trouble - landed on oil rig - climbed down). Liberty seemed to understand, yet also in knowledgeable about what was outside their community.
Liberty and Magdalena talked to Cyrus about how both time and memory seemed to be . . . off, as of late. Magdalena also indicated the three had come at an in opportune time: she and Liberty had been planning an unsanctioned trip to Delta to help the people there and try to find a friend that had recently been sent there.
Cyrus and Nyx nearly simultaneously offered to help, and after brief objections it was decided that Liberty, Credence, and Mercy would go to the sick bay (as an alibi for missing prayer) while Magdalena and the others would go to Delta.
In preparation, Ollie opened his bag just in time to see Asher and Serge come out of his mirror - Asher having received a mental call for help from Ollie and opening a moon bridge for the two (with difficulty).
when Ollie protested he hadn’t sent such a call, Asher said “Huh, must be an alpha thing.”
”Told you so,” said Cyrus
“but I’m not alpha - there are rituals!”
Asher and Cyrus just looked at each other and shrugged.
They all set out led by Magdalena and crossed from Alpha into Beta via a corner airlock and the air changed from the smell of apple pie to warm vanilla and the color scheme became pale blues and cool grays with less signage and more classrooms.
They entered Omega the same way. Omega was in poor shape with old radiation, rust, emergency lighting, and rickety grated walkways traversing the five-story hole that made up Omega. Machinery sounds covered their footsteps. Magdalena cracked a glow stick.
Gingerly, the party made their way across Omega. Ollie almost fell, but was saved at the last minute by Serge placing a well-timed hand on Ollie’s head. Serge and Cyrus then bookended the party to help them out, with Magdalena on point. A sound of scuttling drew their attention, and she threw something loud and metallic to distract it and told them to hurry. They shut the airlock to Delta just as a nine-fingered, four-knuckled hand grabbed at them.
Delta - the air thick with a greasy smell - was illuminated by a flickering, sickly light. The people there were all afflicted with something, but each in different ways. Rashes, spots, and what looked like burns covered the skin of some; others had grown an extra eyelid or digit; still others appeared to suffer from a mental break rather than a visible, physical ailment. If Cyrus didn’t know any better, he’d have sworn they reminded him of Black Spiral Dancers. Near him, he heard Serge say “bitten with frenzy” under his breath, almost as if he was thinking it to himself but it came out as a whisper instead.
As they looked for Credence, Cyrus got the impression that some of these people were . . . familiar somehow, as if he’d seen them before. Lost in his thoughts, he missed most of what the others were talking about for several moments, only catching snippets of conversation.
“Malcolm’s nurse . . .” [Nyx]
“Doppelgangers . . .” [Ollie]
“looks like Maddie . . .” [Andi]
And then it finally clicked: these were people he hadn’t necessarily seen in person (although he couldn’t be sure), but he had seen them on Asher’s corkboard with the red string.
While he came to that realization, the others began talking of testing and research and what, exactly might be going on down here. Andi moved to help Magdalena administer relief to those lined up before her. In a nearby room they found who they were looking for: Credence.
Ollie and Nyx were startled to see him, and they both said “where’s Malcolm’s phone?” at the same time. Serge had it, and in scrolling through it was undeniable: The Man with the Hunting Bow at Lake Pontchartrain looked exactly like Credence. However, it became clear Credence lacked the rage and homicidal drive exhibited by The Man with the Hunting Bow.
Magdalena cared for his wounds, some of which were open, and Ollie got a look on his face and pulled out a bottle of water. “Who did this to you?”
“Can you tell us more about her?”
“She’s always in charge. Always beenin charge. She never goes anywhere without her cane – or a couple of bodyguards, which she describes as personal assistants, but . . . she’s the one who sent me here. She sent us all here.”
And, much like Liberty before, he indicated that time and memory didn’t seem to flow right down here . . .
Ollie offered to cleanse Credence, which led to a discussion between Magdalena and Ollie about the nature of the blessed water. Magdalena dismissed it as merely saline, while Ollie admitted that, while this was technically true, it also had a bit more. In the end, Ollie won out and not only cleansed Credence’s wounds but also blessed a few bottles of Magdalena’s saline.
The group now decided it was time to confront Mama Verity (which Cyrus had wanted to do since he first heard of her position in the society, and they made their way to the prayer area back in Alpha via the kitchens. The room was large and open and a hundred or more worship-goers knelt on genuflection benches. At the center was Mama Verity, flanked by her bodyguards. In such a place it was impossible to hide, and they immediately drew the attention of Mama Verity, who looked at them and smiling a stomach-turning smile said,
“At last, the Forsaken have arrived. Are you ready to repent?” Of course, by “repent”, she meant “die”.
The Battle for Prime
The fight began with Cyrus wielding Helios’ Blessed Blade. When the Black Spiral Dancers had attacked the caern, the sword had given off a light similar to a yellow sodium light trying to pierce a thick green fog. Now, the blade looked polished and oiled and gleamed with an almost-white golden sheen. A well-oiled leather wrap wound around the hilt, on which muddled carvings could begin to be seen – as if obscured or distorted by water.
Cyrus swung at Mama Verity with all his might, cleaving through her collarbone and down to her sternum, pulling it out with force and nearly bifurcating her. Any mundane would have been killed, and even most supernatural beings would have been brought low. But Mama Verity blinked slowly as black tendrils of Verisimilitude knit her body back together, leaving little more than a faint scar as evidence of Cyrus’ attack. She smiled at Cyrus, and he stepped back. “Well fuck me . . .”
Asher attacked one of Mama Verity’s bodyguards, and despite the ferocity of his bite, the henchman seemed to grow tougher, almost as if he could withstand more than he had been able just a moment before.
Mama Verity now spoke – “may the one true angel aid me” – and with those words began to transform into a large, chitinous horror. Lines flickered over her carapace, and from the right angle they appeared to be eyes . . . She swung at Cyrus with a large claw, but he ducked and dodged and danced his way around and under and through her attack. At the very last, her claw snagged a bit of his overalls and tore the shoulder strap.
Serge attempted a bare-handed attack on one of the henchmen, and found himself struggling against a grapple.
Then, the door behind Mama Verity opened. Against all odds, Rosalie came through with guns blazing – the cavalry had arrived. At the same time, Cyrus felt a mental knock on his head; Nyx was using telepathy, and in his head, he heard her say “she’s a prophet of ***”. Good to know.
Ollie went into crinos form and howled a howl of confidence while Andi looked at one of the bodyguards and turned him with dread gaze. As he fled, she turned and punched another nearby baddie with potence. Ollie’s howl now took effect and he flung his rib fetish at the henchman nearest Asher, striking a blow to the man’s head.
The henchman, acting as one, now looked at each other, then at those attacking them, and back at each other. They promptly fell apart in bloody blobs; even the fleeing bodyguard came back in the door to join his comrades. The blobs joined together to form an icky, blobby mess of goo Cyrus could only describe as “Legion”. Legion struck out at Ollie, landing a mighty blow and sending him flying across the room.
Nyx attempted to entrance the blob, to convince it to attack Mama Verity, and while she was unsuccessful in turning the whole thing, she did get through to one of its four brains, causing something of an existential crisis. While it wouldn’t attack Mama Verity, neither was it now actively trying to attack them. She then began talking to her umbrella, and after a short (seemingly one-sided) conversation, attacked the thing with acid spray.
Rosalie ran to give Serge his knife, and while she did so Cyrus transformed into his 8’4” crinos form, but his left hand did not change like the rest of him. Instead, it became a razor-sharp blade itself. Now dual-wielding swords, Cyrus again attacked Mama Verity, his attacks landing squarely and once more severely hurting his wyrm-tainted foe.
Asher gave a howl of aid to Ollie and Nyx before clawing at the bloody blob Legion.
With his knife now in hand, Serge stabbed at the nearest blobby bit and struck true; one-fourth of its mass fell away, leaving behind an ashen crater.
Mama Verity reached out with her claws, grabbed four nearby worshippers (all of whom appeared to be in an unmoving, trance-like state), and consumed them entirely, healing herself again in the process. The sight of this caused Cyrus to falter a bit, while Ollie went into a frenzy.
Rosalie shot at Legion while Ollie took out his rage on Mama Verity. Using some mental attack he put her at a disadvantage to his next attack, and with that advantage on his side he took her down to ash.
Somehow, Andi launched herself on top of Legion and stabbed at it, cutting it down to size as another man-sized chunk turned to ash. It tried to throw her off, but to no avail.
Nyx once more talked to her umbrella-sword before stabbing Legion squarely in center mass.
With two blades in hand and the object of his attacks gone, Cyrus now turned to Legion, simultaneously stabbing with his hand blade and slicing the blob like a Christmas pudding with Helios’ Blessed Blade.
Legion turned to ash, and Andi dismounted gracefully to the floor. Cyrus transformed back into homid, and Andi took him excitedly by the shoulders. “That. was. AMAZING!” she said emphatically and exuberantly.
“I’d say let’s do it again, but I’d really rather not,” he replied.
“Oooh. Let’s do it again with different enemies.” Asher chimed in.
“I’d like that,” Andi and Cyrus and Serge agreed.
Rosalie found Ollie as he, too, went back to homid, and as the group caught their breath they noticed changes in the assembly around them. They seemed to drop a borrowed glamour, and though some still bore resemblances to those they party remembered, they were now only vaguely similar as opposed to true doppelgangers. The one who once looked like Elizabeth, who had been seated next to one of the unfortunates consumed by Mama Verity, was in fact Molly – and they all rejoiced at finding her.
While Cyrus contemplated the return of the Court of Wisteria, Molly and Ollie and Nyx talked about the wibbly-wobbliness of time. To Molly, nearly thirty years had passed. To Ollie and Nyx, it had only been about three linear days.
Rosalie pulled out a radio and called someone. It was Kit. The two of them had followed Asher and Serge to Lake Pontchartrain and saw them disappear into the moon bridge opened by Asher. Using her own abilities, Kit was able to form or fashion a jet ski, and they had slowly and cautiously made their way to the oil rig. Where Ollie, Nyx, Andi, and Cyrus and climbed down, they had climbed up and into Prime. Kit stood by the door “just in case” while Rosalie tracked the others to the chapel.
Leading those that had been freed up and out, Cyrus and the others saw not a jet-ski but a ferry large enough to hold them all. Breaking into pairs they helped get everyone on board safely and orderly, then considered what to do about the bay.
It was Asher and Ollie that came to the idea of performing a ritual, with Asher pointing out that using Pact Tactics they could technically use help from everyone in the party. With such a great pool of gnosis and willpower, the group – acting as one – was able to cleanse the entire bay of worm taint and driving out the totem of the green dragon that had been used to taint the waters. This would go a long way to pushing back the dark forces bent on bringing about the apocalypses.
“The next moot is going to be so exciting!” Asher exclaimed.
“Yeah, we’ll let Cyrus do all the talking,” Ollie said with a grin.
“I hate to break up the festivities,” Rosalie said, “but we have a problem.”
“What’s wrong?” Serge asked, as Rosalie pulled out his laptop. “Why do you have that?”
“It seems the new Prince of New Orleans – whoever that may be – wants to speak with me. I know I’ve made some enemies on the Justicar Council, and I think it’s safe to assume that anyone with me or near me or protecting me may be in danger.”
“So is this like a moot? Cause they can call you, but there might be ways of delaying actually getting there . . .” Asher began.
“Unfortunately, no,” Serge said. “It’s a bit more demanding than that.”
“Well, we’ve got your back,” Asher declared. “You’re Serge’s friend and Ollie’s friend and that makes you pack.”
“I appreciate it, but I’ve already made my decision.”
“And we’ll support you in that decision no matter what,” Ollie said. “If you want us there, we’ll be there. If you want us to stay out of it, we’ll do that as well. This is a decision only you can make,” he finished, explaining a bit for the benefit of Asher.
“Well, at this point I’m just about ready to say ‘Fuck it’ and stroll right in. But there are certain of you it might not be safe for,” she said, glancing at the Garou. “And for you, Nyx, it wouldn’t be good for you to be seen taking a side, even if you haven’t actually declared one.”
“They already know where I’m at,” Serge said.
“And they can’t do anything to me that won’t have major consequences,” Andi said. “They might know that I’ll follow my father, but that’s about it.”
“And we can watch from the Umbra,” Ollie said. We can see and hear what goes on without being seen, and if things fall apart we can get you out. Although from what I know, you should be granted safe passage to and from Elysium.”
“I’d taken that with a grain of salt,” Serge said matter-of-factly.
“There’s more,” Rosalie said, holding out her ungloved hand. “I’ve had a vision.”
They huddled together (Asher snuck underneath the tangle of hand and pushed his nose upwards) and carefully put their hands on Rosalie’s. This is what Cyrus saw:
“Okay, then, I think that covers it.” Rosalie said when it was over.
Cyrus recognized a few things from the vision: the symbol of antihelios, the red star; Maria Ascuncionand the 1680 Spanish Inquisition; the name Ambrogino Giovanni. It seemed others also picked up on a few things as well, as each of them looked concerned to varying degrees.
“I suppose we should see where this takes us,” someone said. “to Elysium?”
Ollie opened a moon bridge to a bathroom across the street from Elysium. Andi and Serge and Rosalie stepped out and crossed over to the bar while Cyrus and Ollie and Nxy stayed in the Umbra (but also made their way over to the meeting place). Inside seemed relatively unchanged: the bouncer and barman were both there, and familiar faces filled the rooms. In fact, only four five new faces stood out. Maybe it was due to his connections, but Cyrus thought he recognized them, albeit only by previous description and reputation:
- Colleen Cormack: clan unknown, embraced in the 1700s
- Elias Lazar: assamite, friends with the Prince of Tucson
- Josiah Ashcroft: turned in 1999
- Theresa ???: a Malkavianon good terms with the Pasceks
- Tristan LaClaire: a ventrue
“I believe you’re looking for me?” Rosalie asked.
The Harpy walked over to her. “Unfortunately, yes, dear. But everything will be all right.”
“So, what is it you want?”
Gifts & Fetishes
- Falcon’s Grasp
- Hidden Meaning
- Master of Fire
- Global Citizen
- Perfect Recall
- Speech of the World
- Cowing the Bullet
- Word of Honor
- Hand Blade
- Helios’ Blessed Blade - The history of this fetish, and how Cyrus came to possess it, is currently unknown. What is known is that the weapon is currently corrupted, and that Cyrus is working to cleanse it. When first seen, it gave off a faint yellow light, as if sodium lights were trying to pierce a think, green fog. Now, it gleams with an almost white gold sheen, perfectly polished and oiled leather wrap, all tended with care and pride. Faint yet muddled carvings can be seen on the hilt.