Shadow of a Horned God

Shadow of a Horned God, Part III, Act II, Session II & III

Politics, revelations and decisions

After having discovered the identity of the Leper, Hector returned to his haven for further investigations. Meanwhile, a sound of commotion was heard from another room in the Prince’s Quarters. After investigations, it was discovered that it was Morita, who had awoken from Torpor. After a short frenzy, she regained sanity and proclaimed she needed to feed. She was assisted by Fherah, who remained blatantly ignorant of her degeneration on her Via. Afterward, Morita was brought up to date in current events and set out to clean herself up before engaging in the nightly affairs.

Meanwhile, Octavius decided to search Marcon’s possessions for the other half of the contract between him and Minerva. He was assisted by Janos, who accidentally set off a Skull of Alarming, which caused Vivia (still present in the court room) to suffer sensory overload, becoming deaf for the time being. In his haven, Octavius and Janos found two hidden compartments, containing a pouch of dried herbs and a hermetically sealed jar with some kind of potent Mortis-crafted weapon (created by Minerva several centuries ago). The herbs was probably provided by Ashura (the Banu Haqim assassin sent after Hector).

Hector embarked on an Anima Walk, to seek out his sire, Minerva. After a while he found her spiritual projection in the city of Dubris, where she conferred with someone unknown. When she was finished with her meeting, they traveled together to the site of her physical body where they had a conversation. She explained that the contract was originally crafted between herself and Marcon, and then divided, each holding the power to modify their parts if need be. The contract wouldn’t be legally (or magically?) enforced before once again brought together. Because of the nature of the contract, Minerva couldn’t explain any details of it’s contents. She was quite confident that Marcon had indeed modified his part of the contract, perhaps even including others into it. She discreetly warned Hector of prying to deep into this matter, but also told him that the answers lie in Londinium, and that their companion Shaqifa might know more about this when the time is right. After their meeting, he once again returned to his haven, forced to battle a rogue spirit on his way back.

Janos set out from Deva on his own to investigate a group of riders arriving from the east, and received a message from someone named Rhydderick who intended to visit the Prince of Deva. He informed this to the prince, before leaving the city again, arriving at a small farm cottage on the outskirts of a small village southwest from the city. He encountered Anna, the lonely widow living in the cottage with her small son. After failing to convince her of his benign intentions, he entered her house to prove he didn’t mean her no harm. They talked for a few hours, and he finally revealed his condition to her with a display of his Chimerstry Discipline, and she was left stunned by the “show”. He left her shortly thereafter, letting her “digest” the revelations of this night. He returned to the court room, shortly before the arrival of Rhydderick.

Meanwhile, Vivia had been introduced to Morita and also helped Octavius by probing the mind of the staked Nosferatu still present at the court. She found out that Abrachoz hadn’t received his orders directly from Rowena, but instead from one of her subordinates, Aethiae, which was quite normal. She also discovered that his secondary objective was to prevent the Warlord Servilius the Younger to reach Deva. Among the other secrets she also discovered that a secret entrance into Dubris existed through the sewers in the harbor area. Octavius also had a visit from Julia, expressing her wishes to cultivate a host of “blood slaves” in Deva, which he approved.

Everyone except Julia, Hector and Lucian Minorus was present in the court room when Rhydderick arrived. He presented himself as a Ventrue Elder, currently holding the office of “ruler” of the Kingdom of Mercia. He explained that his kingdom was expanding, and that he wished the city of Deva to be included, if possible by friendly means. He didn’t express any threats, but informed the court that he has the means to protect the city from King Aethelfrith and his returning hordes of warriors if need be. He also voiced a disclaimer to the nightly affairs of Deva, and assured that he wouldn’t enforce his own rule there by any means, except for daylight matters. He left after proclaiming that he will be waiting for the answer until the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Hector made another scrying upon Kaeila, who was awake at this moment. They had a long conversation, where Hector discovered that it was her loyalty towards Mithras which had shielded her from the worst aspects of torture inflicted by her warden, Aethiae. She had advanced on her Road, becoming a Paragon of Via Humanitatis. She was flattered when told about Octavius wishes of having her at his court, but explained that she didn’t have the means to leave her captivity. If she would be freed by peaceful means, she would be happy to join Octavius at his side. They discussed their Roads, and talking to this strong-willed Cainite, Hector experienced a Moment of Truth about his own Road, and was left with deep insights into the mysteries of Death.

Octavius, Vivia, Bodgar and Morita had a short discussion about the “offer” of Rhydderick, arriving at the conclusion that it was a wise course of action to consider this possibility. Morita would take it upon herself to deliver the answer when an appropriate time had passed. Octavius also talked with Vivia about the possibility to install her to the office of Seneschal in the future, and leave Hector to his research and the office of Scourge. This would probably be a better arrangement for all parties, considering Hectors reluctance to let trivial nightly affairs disturb his studies.

Hector had a final conversation by scrying means, this time with his former “colleague”, Giyora, who was accompanying Aethelfrith on his path of conquest. They talked about the possible future threat towards Deva, and Giyora agreed to notify Hector if the King decided to return there. After that, Hector returned to the court room, where he at first was informed about the visit of Rhydderick and his offer, and the other discoveries made in his absence. He then told Octavius he had important news about the “contract”, and Octavius expressed his wishes to talk with Hector alone. Janos left the court, flying westward, and discovered some remnants of the bandits he helped evict the previous night. After a few further torments centered on greed, he left them after the situation had grown threatening. He sank into the earth at another point to sleep for the coming day. The others left the court room to their respective havens, to prepare for the coming of dawn.

Hector told Octavius about his meeting with Kaeila, which affirmed his intentions of confronting Rowena. He then told him about his meeting with Minerva, and also of his reluctance to make choices which would make him confront his sire. Octavius realized the situation was more complicated than previously known, but still intended not to let it pass. He also told Hector of his plans of reorganizing his court in the future. Hector then expressed his wishes to “take care” of the staked Leper, and returned to his haven with him. Meanwhile, Fherah had discovered the nature of the dried herbs found amongst Marcon’s possessions. It seems it is known as Sanguinaria, also called “Bloodroot”, one of the only natural poisons directly harmful to vampires. This shed some light in the mysterious happenings on the night Octavius ascended the throne of Deva.

Shortly before dawn, two riders arrived in Deva. They were escorted to the court room to meet with the prince by Bodgar. It proved to be Octavius old brother-in-arms, Servilius, and his childe, Caratacos. He informed Octavius about the strife in the south, and told him the news about Rowena’s people occupying the whole of Londinium, with her warmaster, the Toreador Elder Eldric at the fore. His sire, Servilius the Elder, seeks new allies and thus sent his childe to Deva to confer with Valerius Marcon. In his absence, the “young” Ventrue expressed this offer to Octavius, who was intrigued by the opportunity to forge alliances, deal with Rowena and excite vengeance for the Final Death of his old ally, Caius Tadius Lupus (who perished at the hands of Eldric almost 40 years ago). Servilius told him that he would await his answer the next night, and left to meet his “sister”, Vivia.

Vivia had a visit from Julia, and they talked about the concept of “Elysium”, a Toreador custom from Rome, which had been quite successful in Lindum Colonia, run by Julia’s sire, Shaqifa. They talked for a while, agreeing to cooperate while trying the same concept in Deva in the future. After Julia had left, Servilius arrived at Vivia’s haven. He told her about the wishes of their sire to have all his allies with him at the moment, which she of course agreed to. He received a temporary haven in her house and went to sleep.

At the next dusk, Janos returned to the cottage of Anna, to talk further and presented her with a gift; a considerable amount of gold (received from Octavius). She was shocked by the wealth, incapable of comprehending the kindness. He left her again, venturing into Deva and began searching for a wealthy house. He broke into the house of a quite wealthy merchant and stole a chest full of expensive trade goods (fine silks, spices and wine), before returning to Anna with the additional gift and giving her advice how to use the gold to better her station, perhaps moving into the city or expanding the farm.

Hector talked with Minorus about the expansion of their haven, and the older Cainite offered his help by providing animated corpses as a workforce. Hector pursued further research into the death-magic of Mortis, and engaged in some experiments. He also tried probing into the mind of Abrachoz to gain further information, with limited success. Meanwhile, Octavius awakened, and found that his ghoul servant, Caddoc, had recovered from the “mental affliction” suffered for a month. He let his new servant, Ymwraihl, assist him and inform him of the current affairs. He then received a visit from Bodgar, who informed him about his investigations into the “cult” he had discovered. It appears that the cult is in fact Marcon’s personal “Herd”, consisting of about 20-30 individuals, all of which master the language of Latin. Octavius left the matter into Bodgars hands, to deal with without raising suspicions.

Vivia and Servilius talked for a few hours after dusk about politics and the situation in southern Britannia, before going to visit the Prince again. Octavius told Servilius that he would support his sire and that he would be leaving for the south in a matter of nights. Servilius gave his thanks, informed that he would leave Caratacos behind to guide them through the safest ways, and then promptly left Deva. Octavius then summoned his entire court, and told them of his plans. Hector agreed to join them on the journey, as well as Fherah. Octavius then appointed Morita as the “protector” of Deva until his return, and she swore an oath in her own blood to do as she vowed. For the remainder of the night, the Cainites of Deva prepared for the upcoming journey.

Janos begun a journey to Dubris, arriving a few hours before dawn. He used the secret entrance to enter the abandoned sewers. Remembering his position as Rowena’s “cat’s paw” more than a century ago, he found that the entrance into the city’s ancient dungeon had been sealed with stone. Filled with curiosity, he began tearing the wall down. He was disturbed by the appearance of a strange man who investigated the sound, but Janos was able to remain hidden. Believing the stranger to be a Cainite, Janos waited until dawn, pushing aside his need for rest for an hour. He discovered that the stranger hadn’t gone to sleep at dawn, and chose to assault him. The stranger appeared to be a ghoul servant to a Leper, by his looks. Janos murdered him, ignoring his descent into degeneration. After failing to escape the sewers through daylight, Janos went to sleep behind an illusionary wall, hiding the ghoul’s body there too.

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Juniper Octavius

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