[CofD] Sir Night Compiles Night Horrors: The Unbidden (In-Character Let's Read)

ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
(Somewhere in the dark web)
Eight: Someone is buying a bunch of old computers. Any leads on who?
Six: It's Zapf. They're piling up in a BV Tech safehouse. He's spending a lot of his spare time installing software on them and spreading them around the city. Suspect he's doing some techno-sorcerer thing with it, though I don't know what his project is.
Two: He's been asking a lot of questions in that 'let's please cut the crap' mode of his, lately. Asking about strange obsessions in mortals, hauntings, and telling people to keep their eyes open. The rabbit's also asking about werewolves, because apparently they're a real thing, as if there wasn't enough to hide from. Just to put things in perspective: Our lagomorphic Magister of Nightmares is looking for some kind of help from wolves dealing with some threat he's scared of. Let's not take this lightly. From the rumor mill, I heard those injuries he got were from being out-wizarded by a mortal. I know there's always something threatening the freehold, but it feels like we're under siege.
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
homonculi_and_consequences.zip

First of all: I wish to apologize, but I need to rant a bit about my life for catharsis. [Skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to hear him unload about his life. He's really not taking this well.]

I loathe New Bethlehem.

First of all, who in their right mind would found a settlement meant to compete as a port town for New Amsterdam, and name it Bethlehem of all things? [Issac Cooper, a wealthy farmer kicked out of the Puritans for being too fanatical-oh wait, right mind. Carry on.] Even beyond that, it's obvious the city only exists due to supernatural interference; if you map the oldest sewers, you'll find a three-dimensional set of Sumerian lettering, centuries before Sumerian was decoded by mundane science. {Though it says nothing coherent. - Cichol} There is no bloody reason for it to keep existing, especially not after the port failed. And today? Today it's a mob town. A poverty-stricken, dying, almost-completely-privatized wreck under the all-but-official control of the literal American Mafia, to a level that would make even the 20s and 30s blush. The police are a contractor for the mob, the gangs are vassal states of self-reinforcing misery, the corporations budget bribes, an associate running a high school... The city is a corpse being made to walk by the crows and the maggots who devour what's left of it even as they ape normal municipal behavior. And the only people with the power to do anything are getting high off the blood of addicts, twiddling their thumbs in the Hedge while getting high off actual drugs, or running parts of the Mafia. And getting high while hoping for mystic visions to justify their addictions. The drug problem there is abysmal.

Not that it's the city's fault, really. I know the names of ten people who are directly responsible for the wreck after lifting records off the drooling historians of the Kindred. If only they were still alive, then I could vent my ire directly. Who summons an urbiphage to pull one over on rival families!?

(During my rough draft read, I realized I forgot to explain what an urbiphage is. In summation, it is a powerful spirit often compared to a Lovecraftian god, also called a "city vampire." When it is drawn to a settlement by occult ritual or an excess of undeath-according to the books I've memorized, in any case-it feeds on the social cohesion of the city for a few years until some catastrophe allows it to drain the vitality of the dimensional barriers between our world and that of the Strix before moving on, turning the predated area into a hollow shell infested with shadows and the most degenerate of more humanoid vampires. Some cities recover. Most do not. The urbiphage drained New Beth more than 30 years ago, and it is still a wreck.)

But I digress. I have finally brought in my next subject, Michael Wechsler, and if there are any Prometheans still listening can you please messags me so I may drop him off? His (likely) Disquiet is not improving my mood, and you would be better at helping him with his encoded kleptomania before I have to chase him to, I don't know, Somalia or some similar hellhole. [I'm not sure if it's Disquiet, Foetia making sure those kids would be ruined, or discovering New Beth is Cadere's latest stomping grounds that's more imbalancing. He's been downcast all month.]

First of all-Michael, and I use his first name deliberately because he changes his last repeatedly (he himself states that Michael is his name, he doesn't understand why someone who wasn't born of a human woman would have a last name, and it helps hide his tracks to change it) is a product of wartime. World War 2, in fact; if you will remember the Ludin Sisters, he's actually directly linked to them-but despite his vaguely Germanic main alias, he's no creation of Gerhard Richter. In fact, he was created partially to kill Richter. If you will, recall Gregor (actually spelled Gyorgy, the Ludin sisters do not speak Russian that well and I misheard the accent) Konstantitov, the Soviet nemesis of the Awakened SS officer-a literal apparatchik who, upon foreseeing the siege of Leningrad, proceeded to flee for the wilderness and created Michael, then called Vorich, as a biological homonculus who would serve as his manservant when seeking food and mystical artifacts to hoard, later as an assassin. [It's really the discovery he hoarded food that us to lose his "conscientious objector" defense for fleeing.] As evinced by myself suspecting Disquiet as a reason for my ill mood, I believe the desperation born of Konstantitov's desire to avenge his home, shame over his cowardice, and focus on survival above all else tapped into the Divine Fire and made Vorich infinitely more than just an organic machine, which would explain why Michael is even capable of recognizing the instincts encoded in him are imposed programs that have lost their purpose, and that he doesn't understand human morality all that well. [He could be something else, but seriously, if he is truly just Supernal Flesh Golem Alpha 20-47, he's the most Promethean golem we've ever met.]

Of course, then both Konstantitov, and he's certain Richter, died, leaving Michael aimless and trapped by his own mission, unable to release himself from a long-dead mage's demands. He doesn't need normal food, but every few days he is compulsed to steal some for Konstantitov and watch over a cache until it rots. He was never put in a "all-ease" mode, so anything that looks vaguely like a potential threat causes him to turn instinctively hostile. [Vaguely, here, can me "a person curiously looking at his tattoos" or "a high-five."] Whenever he senses an artifact by the Supernal, he must attain it and squirrel it away in a safe place-even if he's the one that sold off the item in the first place! [Yeah, he comes off as more untrustworthy than he deserves.] Since many mystical artifacts are quite valuable, this means Michael is also a fairly infamous, and extremely skilled burglar, and in fact that was why he tried to settle into New Beth-the city is so ridiculously crime-ridden it's easy to hide his compulsions. Not that he wants them-he wishes someone to free him of his programming, and now that he's discovered it (being an almost-certain Extempore who is not instinctively aware it is a thing) go on his own Pilgrimage and assimilate into human society without his compulsions or the sense of alienation he feels from humans.

For those of us who enjoy our mystical tools, I must advise you not injure Michael overmuch, as it isn't his fault, but he is still a thief, and a very competent one at that-he has had more than eighty years to learn by experience. Of course, injuring Michael is fairly difficult; while he is simply very fit for a normal human, comparable to a professional athlete or soldier, either the arcane tattoos or his Bestowment makes his skin extremely tough, comparable to heavy armor-he's shrugged off revolver shots. [And bird talons. Ow.] Should someone manage to injure him, those tattoos also give him the capacity to control his own flesh, healing some fairly major, if far from life-threatening, wounds instantly, though it takes him an hour or so to recharge that ability. He doesn't like violent conflict, though, so he prefers to sneak into one of his targets and simply rob it-and his tattoos help him there as well, as he can absorb Mana to activate an invisibility spell encoded into them. He's also discovered a loophole in the program-there's nothing foribidding him from using the relics he steals, and perhaps as his Bestowment he can use them adroitly as any mage, though we have not tested other forms of mystic item. {He's got a bloody sharp knife he inherited from Konstantitov that makes him or what blokes he can round up even tougher, and one of the Coins of the Ferryman that lets him ward ghosts or inflict some major damage on people he manages to touch with it. Wouldn't be surprised if he's got a real-life bag of holding somewhere too, makes it easier to secure his catch. - Cichol} Curiously, he doesn't exude a Wasteland; some of us think that's a sign he's not a Promethean, but I theorize his compulsions trap him in a Role, a stereotype of human that Prometheans replicate when trying to mimic humanity on the Pilgrimage. When that happens normally, a Promethean losing access to the alchemical operations that are the source of their more unique powers, but also stop creating Wastelands. This would explain why he doesn't use Distillations as well, though he fights against the Role his is trapped in and thus is in a unique position of trying to grow, but not being allowed. [And it's a good thing too-Promethean scuttlebutt says that being trapped in a Role willingly leads to Bad Things (tm).]

Next...ugh, we revisit Cadere, sadly, due to new information I have discovered about his familiar, Pellax. Who may, in fact, be even worse than his supposed master.
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
(OOC: Absolutely anyone can define a feature about New Beth: I'm trying to distinguish it from Bedlam City, ie make it more than "a borderline dead city where the Mafia reigns supreme and a strange darkness underlies all." It's going to be an important part of the series, and I feel that since it involves other people, other people should partially own it. I'll roll with it.)
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
(OOC: I just realized-should I do a game lore-post for New Beth? Nothing much, but Night and his co-hosts view of New Beth and what turned it into the mess it is today.)
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
(OOC: Trigger warning; Cadere's become important again, and that means discussion of rape. Also I feel that I should have been a little less vitriolic when describing drug addiction and made it more clear that it's not a moral failing on the part of addicts-let it be known that I was RPing Sir Night as being fed up and miserable about his failure to save kids, and being a mild asshole because of it. I should have had him calm down in the entry and clarify, as I am doing now. Sorry.)

devil_on_the_shoulder_of_a_devil.zip

Reading my previous entry, I feel the need to apologize for my terseness. I have always had a fairly hot temper, especially when I feel upset by something. [See: involving his own clients in a scheme to trap a quarry.] (And some partially justified dislike on my part being powered by anger and spite. Still, that was massively unprofessional.) [You don't say.]

I suppose I must admit that, besides Disquiet, I both uncovered more of Foetia's overall plans, which has proven to only raise more questions and is at least slightly blasphemous from a Judeo-Christian perspective, (I plan to explain in a later entry), and discovering Cadere was menacing New Bethlehem, having realized that the disintegrating social fabric is ideal grounds for his "experimentation." [See: Esohuman community being largely drug addicts.] (And I must apologize to the parts of said community addicted to drugs; I understand that it really is not your fault and a failing of the city that you feel the need to escape in some way. I was tarring the parts of you not involved in organized crime with a wide brush, and I am truly sorry.) [Mystic mobsters can fuck right off, though-as if the normal Mafia wasn't bad enough, especially given how prevalent racism is here-if the civilians are bad, the crooks are worse. Part of me wonders if we should have set up shop in the inner city rather than the suburban condo Neferyah's cult provided, given how much stink-eye my husband and I get for he being a shade lighter than me and with two kids in a stroller.] (That is another reason for my ill mood. I am seriously tempted to hire a few ghosts to haunt my current abode and make whatever inbred offshoots of the wealthy unable to make it into an Ivy League school that decide to vandalize the blow to their blood egos have some nonlethal karma occur to them and I develop a safely threatening reputation.)

But enough of my anger at this city, let us get into another thing I am angry at; Pellax, the familial familiar of the Prosapia, and one of the reasons for their downfall and their last scion being such a disgusting wretch.

First of all, flip back to Cadere's entry for the history of the Prosapia and their slide into extinction and the depravity of their last scion. [Though we don't blame you if you don't.] Pellax, at one point, was proof of how skilled they were; a familiar bound to their genome itself, not just a single mage of the line. {Quick explanation: a familiar is a relatively weak ephemeral being, usually a spirit rather than a ghost or goetic, that has been bound to a practitioner of the mystic arts (which can be something other than a true Awakened) as an assistant and usually a scout. You learn to develop healthy paranoia, especially since familiars usually cannot, and don't wish, to betray you. Usually.-Cichol} Traditionally, the patriarch (and the gendered term is deliberate here-the patriarch was generally male) would inherit the service of Pellax as a sign of his authority in the line-because Cadere is the last known Prosapia, he is the patriarch by default. So far, so expected.

However, from what I can tell, Pellax (whose First Tongue name I do not know-I would not be surprised if he doesn't remember himself) was never a willing familiar-or perhaps, he was at some point, but was tricked into not realizing the full scope of his term as a familiar. [Even at their height, the Prosapia were cabrones, it seems. Spirit solidarity, yo.] (Language, Nita. We are parents now, and do not want to offend male goats by comparing them to Cadere.) Over time, Pellax started to metamorphosize from a mere minor spirit of familial pride into something rather powerful, but he remains bound by the pact; it has become part of his Ban. This does not agree with a spirit of any kind, let alone one of Pride. He, quite simply, wants the Prosapia to die out, and even since his ascension to the ranks of the Ensih, the powerful, individuated spirits. [Spirits get more unique and sentient as they get stronger, simple ectobiology.]

Normally I would be a hypocrite to condemn him for rebellion. Normally, the subject of my condemnation is not a completely sociopathic entity with a greed even beyond the amoral nature of most spirits. Most spirits, after all, are ultimately animals, when it comes down to it. Pellax seems to have assimilated humanity's propensity for faithlessness-to put it bluntly, from his interaction with mages not Cadere I believe he actually enjoys having free Essence thrown his way for service, and thus he is an utterly treacherous manipulator, playing others against themselves to allow him a free lunch. To say nothing of how he eggs Cadere on and helps continue his rape by ensuring he never reaches his goal (which is not excusing Cadere, mind-he is the one who chose to try and continue his lineage on the unwilling of his own free will, but Pellax created the circumstances, at least in part). (OOC:I will say I get the uncomfortable sense that the book is excusing Cadere's behavior with Pellax's existence, though. I sincerely hope not, but if so, I'd completely ignore that-Cadere is a monster with an explanation of how he became as such, but he's still a monster who made the decision to become so).

While Pellax's current state of being makes him more of a resentful minion to Cadere than anything independently dangerous, that will likely change the moment Cadere finally dies. [A day that can't come soon enough.] In his own right, Pellax is an extremely potent combatant with many forms, adding confusion to the difficulties with tracking him; he normally takes the form of the Prosapia's emblem, a large mastiff, but his preferred form is that of a living dark fog with glowing eyes and a massive maw. In either case, if he wants to disguise himself or enter battle, he assumes the form of a great dire wolf (which leads me to theorize he may have been born of werewolf influence on the Shadow, probably Pure-it would certainly explain his selfish, predatory attitude). Besides being an extremely potent spirit in any form, he can inflict diseases on his targets, control animal life, inflict a state of confusion on enemies, and even insert powerful psychic commands, which he uses to awful effect when tag-teaming with Cadere. He also seems to be able to use Cadere as a fetter to the physical world, like most familiars, and he is one of the uncommon spirits who can take direct physical form in the mortal world if need be. His major weakness, however, is his Ban; so long as Cadere exists, then Pellax must follow his orders to the letter. He's excellent at violating the spirit, but Cadere's monomania makes him easier to manipulate than Pellax, I feel. Even better, if you capture Cadere alive, I suspect you might be able to get him to order Pellax to go pick a fight with the spirit of the Sun. That is the best-case scenario.

Next...well, next I have some things to examine, but I will get to the Ravaged before long.

----

Sir Night's Notes

Saw the New Bethlehem City Museum today. Have an exhibit to Stonewall Jackson. On the Eastern Seaboard. Neferyah, I sincerely hope you requested me here for good reason. Can't stand gated communities, only two weeks I already hate these ppl. Worried about usual responders. Hope okay.

Foetia cont'd to not make sense. Manifested again, this time talking w/ Iginio. Iginio = capo of Bertoldi family, but Bertoldi = Silver Ladder front. Seers hate Silver Ladder, and Iginio = Awakened which means it likely Iginio = Silver Ladder. Still nothing on "Makot Mitzariyim" (found w/ infected host of Foetia), but Wikipedia confirms Yiddish for "Plagues of Egypt." Kabbalah rite? Seems weird, given that Foetia known to be worshiper of Greek pantheon, esp. Hestia. Maybe notes help.

Addendum:

Did help. Checked previous entry on patrol (memo: apologize to Nita), remembered Aether leak @ Prentiss Building (skyscraper, perpetually delayed construction since '99-site of only known Infrastructure, unknown purpose). Went to check, found patch. Obvious patch, though, incongruent material, covered in Hindi etchings (upset gangs, looking for new rival). Amateurish, completely unlike any angel. Reading, found ward against discovery by police-in High Speech.

Mage has been working with Temple. Bertoldi do not wish to provoke upheaval in own territory. Almost certain Foetia/ally of Foetia put it there. Only motive-assist Temple, min. resources from Temple.

New Q: Why Foetia working w/ Temple? And what on?

(OOC: Yeah, he doesn't technically need notes, but there's only so much of his memory he can check at once; useful mnemonic, especially for an Inquisitor still adapting to his Agenda after forsaking another.)
 

ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
From: Dingbat@FontsByThePound
To: Group

Been a while. Given the changing of the seasons, I imagine many of you have your own upticks in activity. At a lull in the Autumn Court's Monster Mash right now, so I can type.

Yeah, I kind of glossed over the talk of drug use, having lived a chemically clean life, but I've had some brushes with game compulsion, so I can't fault someone for finding an escape from their bad situation. My freehold puts a lot of its resources in getting new escapees back on their feet quickly for good reason. Games are often compelling because we get to exercise agency over their virtual worlds, which can become a tempting distraction for Changelings, given our lack of agency in our Durances. In any case, I think of addiction and escapist compulsions like that as a symptom/comorbid condition of more fundamental problems.

On the topic of treacherous familiars, it's not without precedent. Think we've got one member of the freehold who got roped in with the promise of being a wizard and wound up in a role reversal. There's a lot that can go wrong with the power dynamic, and you have to take care of it, or it could hold stuff over you if it winds up being at an advantage. [Ha. Ha. Hey, boss, when are you going to get around to playing Delta Rune? I'm sitting on a bazillion spoilers I want to tell you. -Goner.exe] In any case, I think I'll be staying away from spirit familiars, at least until I can limit their growth, which is outside my expertise, and probably a bad idea to experiment on when my hometown is having elevated spirit troubles. I largely think of spirits as runaway feedback loops primarily limited by opposing feedback loops.

I'll be offline for a bit after this, sleeping off the party, I say, expecting new problems to show up.

--Ziggy Zapf
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
From: Dingbat@FontsByThePound
To: Group

Been a while. Given the changing of the seasons, I imagine many of you have your own upticks in activity. At a lull in the Autumn Court's Monster Mash right now, so I can type.

Yeah, I kind of glossed over the talk of drug use, having lived a chemically clean life, but I've had some brushes with game compulsion, so I can't fault someone for finding an escape from their bad situation. My freehold puts a lot of its resources in getting new escapees back on their feet quickly for good reason. Games are often compelling because we get to exercise agency over their virtual worlds, which can become a tempting distraction for Changelings, given our lack of agency in our Durances. In any case, I think of addiction and escapist compulsions like that as a symptom/comorbid condition of more fundamental problems.

On the topic of treacherous familiars, it's not without precedent. Think we've got one member of the freehold who got roped in with the promise of being a wizard and wound up in a role reversal. There's a lot that can go wrong with the power dynamic, and you have to take care of it, or it could hold stuff over you if it winds up being at an advantage. [Ha. Ha. Hey, boss, when are you going to get around to playing Delta Rune? I'm sitting on a bazillion spoilers I want to tell you. -Goner.exe] In any case, I think I'll be staying away from spirit familiars, at least until I can limit their growth, which is outside my expertise, and probably a bad idea to experiment on when my hometown is having elevated spirit troubles. I largely think of spirits as runaway feedback loops primarily limited by opposing feedback loops.

I'll be offline for a bit after this, sleeping off the party, I say, expecting new problems to show up.

--Ziggy Zapf
a_good_point.zip

The Shadow is not my expertise, but that seems to describe spirits perfectly well, in my experience.

Also, increasingly I am getting the sense that New Beth is going to be something long-term. The condo agrees with me, but Pineville doesn't. Thinking about renting an apartment in New York, but sadly the tolerable New Bethlehem homes have something New York doesn't; a small price tag. And the tolerable homes are in this conformity-obsessed prison of a suburb and the attendant gated community. My abilities give me ample resources to dwell here, but the culture? The culture is beyond toxic. I fear for my children.

But, I remain. There is something here of interest to the Temple-something that seems darkly familiar to me. Remember these photos?

I think I could write a sequel to that story: Five GPS Maps of New Bethlehem.

The city changes shape. Entire districts appear and disappear depending on where you are.

I haven't been to those districts, but I have met one being that claimed to be from one. At least, between the screaming from the random sensory organs on his hands overloading his mind. I will post more later, when I figure out how to shut down his sensory overload long enough to form coherent thought.
 

Master Planner

Registered User
Validated User
(From a Letter sent to Mr. Night)

Hello there Mr. Night I am what calls an alchemist. I have being inspired by your fascinating physiology and would like to have correspondince to you through email. You are a absolutely fascinating species of unfleshed. You should not be afraid of me. I only harvest rogue Prometheans. My email is JamesCalloway@gmail.com
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
(From a Letter sent to Mr. Night)

Hello there Mr. Night I am what calls an alchemist. I have being inspired by your fascinating physiology and would like to have correspondince to you through email. You are a absolutely fascinating species of unfleshed. You should not be afraid of me. I only harvest rogue Prometheans. My email is JamesCalloway@gmail.com
(OOC: Forgive the IC suspicion, Night's just a little nervous around a profession that is notorious for its dissection of living beings; he's heard horror stories about Unchained who fall into the scientific grasp of the Deva Corporation.)

From: SirKnight@Unbounded.net
To: JamesCalloway@gmail.com
Re: More Things in Heaven And Earth.

Dear. Dr Calloway (assuming proper mode of address)

I am not a Promethean, but I have enough kindred towards them to appreciate the conciliatory sentiment. Before we begin any interview, however, do you mind telling me your thoughts on Weschler? He might be able to use your assistance in ridding himself of his programming.

Sincerely.

Sir Night

----

Nita rose an eyebrow. "No you stand before a fallen angel, kneel! crap today, Tim?"

"Feeling him out," Night answered. "I wish to know what constitutes a 'rogue' Promethean before I relax a bit. Besides, Weschler needs the help-he was desperate enough to agree to going to an alchemist who admits he hunts Prometheans for help. That I am playing guardian angel is only a kicker to the deal."
 

Master Planner

Registered User
Validated User
As long as the Promethean isn't a threat to the average person. I would gladly examine him however I do need to know what to expect from this "Weschler" and by programming are you saying that he has being mentally affected by hacking, because I am more of biologist than a hacker.
 
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