Shadow of a Horned God

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

Political issues and the beginning of the journey

The Cainites of Deva are preparing for their journey. In her haven, Vivia talks with her “nephew” Caratacos while her servants ready her wagon and pack necessities. She decides to leave a few men and women in the haven to continue making the house as hospitable as possible until her return from the south. After preparations, she sets about to join with the others in the casern yard before embarking.

Hector stays in his haven while his ghoul servant Brand along with Fherah prepares their journey by readying a wagon and acquiring another horse to accompany the one already present. This proves troublesome at first, as Fherah is quite unsuited to handling animals of any kind. They eventually succeed in this endeavor. Meanwhile, Hector leaves his haven in search of a pregnant woman to include in some bizarre experiment. He found a possible subject, but one who wasn’t due until several weeks. After these preparations, they all set about to meet with the others at midnight.

Prince Octavius begins his night by hunting, gathering up two vessels which he brings to his haven using his Presence Discipline. He decides to make one final attempt at purging his system from the Seed of Lilith, which in fact succeeds. Clean from the foul taint, he decides to visit his former lover, Julia, in her haven. He says his farewells after some moments of passion in the Voluptuary’s care. Upon returning, he meets Vivia, and they talk about some matters of the journey, and Caratacos is consulted for the safest route to Verulamium.

Meanwhile, Janos rises from sleep in the city of Dubris, where he continues to enter the secret area in the old sewers. He finds that the catacombs are old and untouched by anyone for several decades, perhaps more than a century. Deep underground, he finds a sealed room, in which rests a stone sarcophagus, with a lone withered red rose resting atop the lid. It is sealed tight, probably with the intention of only being able to open from the inside. Only feeling slightly uncomfortable for the intrusion, Janos decides to leave the area, instead venturing into the city for clues about Kaeila’s whereabouts. After a few hours, he uncovers the haven of an unknown Cainite in the city, resident in the merchant district. Not being what he is looking for, he continues his search. He eventually hears rumors about the ancient lighthouse east of the city being haunted, and decides to make a visit.

Octavius receives a request from Morita, who wants him to deliver justice upon the torturer keeping Kaeila captive. He accepts her request, promising her that justice will be done. He then has his servant deliver a message to Hector, requesting to bring the staked Abrachoz with him. Hector, after hearing the request, and after bringing a few bodies from his larder, joins with the others at midnight. After some final preparations, and a short visit from Janos (see below), the company embarks from the city, in four wagons and three riding horses, escorted by more than thirty men-at-arms. Their first night goes without interruptions, as they proceed on the abandoned Roman Road towards Verulamium and the old capital city of Londinium.

Janos arrives at the old lighthouse, which proves to be inhabited when he examines it more closely. He breaks in, and enters the basement level, where he finds tools and various other devices, mainly agricultural, and also an entrance to a sub-basement level, containing a haven. The floor consists of a carpet made from human skin. Repulsed by this, Janos continues to examine the tools in the basement, when he is confronted by the inhabitant of the haven, a stranger named Aethiae. Clearly able to read the truth from Janos mind, he quickly assets the intruders identity and current motives. Janos, with his “history” in Dubris, don’t want to jeopardize his existence, and decides to stop Aethiae from contacting Rowena. Aethiae almost succeeds in subduing Janos, who manages to transfer his own Beast into the stranger on the verge of frenzy, and then puts him into Torpor with a fierce show of Chimerstry. After searching the rest of the lighthouse, he writes a message to Octavius, assumes the Protean power of Form of the Bloodswarm and flies the message to Octavius while he takes the now staked Aethiae with him north. He meets with Octavius in Deva a while later, and informs him of his endeavors. Hector and Octavius have a minor disagreement on the issue of the political consequences of this event, and Hector also helps Janos in locating the whereabouts of Kaeila.

As he awakens the next night, Janos arranges for a mule to carry Aethiae further northwest, while he returns to Dubris for further investigations. After callously murdering an innocent young girl and taking her form, he investigates the central district of the city for further clues. He eventually finds a suspect house, guarded by a large man armed with an axe. As he tries to enter, he is discovered and assaulted by the guardian. He tricks the man into believing he (still in the guise of a young girl) is unconscious, and is brought into a cell in the basement. He quickly escapes, and tries to enter the back door, which is locked. After failing, the guardian returns, and a confrontation takes place. The guardian proves to be a strong and fast opponent (a ghoul guardian), and succeeds in wounding Janos a few times before falling before his talons. He then enters the locked room, where he discovers Kaeila, brutalized and staked, hanging from the ceiling in chains and hooks. He takes her down, and escapes with her into the abandoned sewers of the city.

Meanwhile, on the road to Verulamium, Octavius encounters an old acquaintance, the Leper named Yrac, currently in the employ of his ally in the north, Gaius Aegius, the Prince of Gabaractonum. He has successfully delivered the letter to Rowena, and returned with her reply. She denies any allegations towards the holding of Kaeila, and expresses her wish to help him in locating her, if she is missing somewhere in her domain. She also invites him to Dubris, if he wishes to discuss the matter further. He also carries a message from Gaius himself, thanking for the care showed towards his childe, Xerxes, and also informing that he has sent a servant to Deva, to help ease the communication between the cities. He also informs that some kind of enemies are present further down the road, before leaving.

Hector and Vivia engage in a discussion together with Fherah, about cainite matters and Via. Hector, having recently experienced a Moment of Truth, is showing great interest in what he perceives as a paradoxical matter, in Fherah following Via Humanitatis. This conversation helps shedding some light on the complicated matter of Cainite existence, but ends without any conclusion. Meanwhile, Octavius receives a scrying visitation from his old friend, the Oracle of Lindum, who has recently experienced a rather interesting vision, which she shares with him. The vision, dealing with Mithras and a lot of metaphorical occurrences, is received with great interest from Octavius, who begins to think there is even more to the matters at hand than previously believed. Maybe the answers really lie in Londinium…?

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Juniper Juniper

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