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Blood & Bourbon

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Caroline III, Epilogue

Just Desserts

GM: A man sets down the phone on his desk. The Washington Monument’s outline looms from the window behind him.

“Get my bags packed, Caleb. Looks like I’m headed home.”

“If this trip is like the last, you’re going to a jazz club,” the dried-up old man notes.

“Yes, that’s true,” answers the younger man. “Get me tickets to a popular club or concert. Turn it into a ‘meet and greet’ where I can interact with constituents.”

The old cottonmouth doesn’t smile so much as bare his fangs.

“I’ll find someone we want a favor over.”

“Yes, do that.”

The senator gives an impatient sigh.

“I may as well get something out of this trip.”

GM: “René Baristheaut is dead, Lord Pierpont. Or as good as.”

The seated Ventrue puffs on his cigar.

“Ah, that’s a shame. Now have ya looked into those vitae-soaked cigars? You know I can’t enjoy the rum-soaked ones, darlin’.”

“Yes, Lord Pierpont, I may have somethin’ lined up. But that fledglin’…”

An effected snort. “What ’bout her?”

“The insults she offered you…!”

The Ventrue laughs. “Darlin’, yer cute as a button when yer angry. But if yer going to be ma childe, you need ta take things less personally. She’s taken ‘er licks. And if scewin’ her over helps us out, her tough luck ta be weak where I’m strong. But we got bigger fish to fry. No need to spend time wranglin’ after shrimp we already done caught.”

“And you believe me, darlin’,” McGinn grins widely as he puffs on the fat Cuban, “in this city we got ourselves one full pond…”

GM: Two figures kneel over the floor in Perdido House. All the thick rubber gloves, containers of bleach, mop buckets, and paint masks in the world won’t make their task any easier.

One of them picks up a blonde ponytail still attached to a clump of cooked flesh and drops it in a trash bag.

“I hate doing this.”

GM: “Luke, what’s wrong?” asks Cécilia from their bed.

Nathan’s next-oldest child sighs as he looks up from his phone.

“It’s my brother. Again.”

“Is he in trouble?”

Luke resists snorting.

“Westley’s always in trouble.”

“This time’s probably not any different.”

GM: A seated figure stares down at the French Quarter from a rooftop garden, lord of all he surveys.

“Well, Nat, I have to say these past few nights have been some especially interesting ones,” Savoy grins from his seat.

“We can destroy the fledgling’s reputation at your word, sir, if that is the course you wish to pursue.” She sneers faintly. “Even what little of it there may be.”

Savoy smiles and waves her off. “I don’t think so right now, Nat. Hold that thought.”

“But I do think,” he continues with another grin, staring down at the French Quarter’s palm trees as they sway beneath the wind and rain, “that it’s high time I met the Big Easy’s newest Kindred.”

“I’ll make the arrangements, sir.”

GM: Camilla Doriocourt strides down Perdido House’s gloomy halls alongside her sire.

“…dragonsbreath rounds were found at the scene of the Masquerade breach. These and the other pieces of evidence lead me to believe this ‘Louis Fontaine’ is a hunter.”

Both of them know the poor penetrative power of dragonsbreath rounds.

The sheriff of New Orleans stares ahead.

“Run the standard tracing procedures.”

“See that this hunter is found.”

GM: Bliss Jackson, Trent Ambrose, Cherry Nines, and Milagrosa Arencibia lie staked together in a concrete room.

That’s all they do.

Lie there.

Time crawls and crawls.

Bliss wants to scream how unfair it is.

She didn’t even do anything!

They attacked her! That Ventrue bitch, who was poaching, and the Storyvilles!

All of them want to scream.

All of them want to turn to one another for comfort.

They can’t.

They can’t move. They can’t speak. They can’t even look at each other, except out of the corners of their eyes.

Time crawls.

Rage slowly gives way to dread.

They have a sinking feeling they aren’t going to get out of this one.

GM: René suppresses an instinctive snarl and stares up as the pool stick is yanked from his chest.

“You’re not who I was expecting.”

A tarp is pulled away, revealing a long assortment of cruel implements whose purpose can only be pain. René’s gaze lingers across the edges of the various brands, pincers, prods, blades, and more esoteric devices.

“Well,” the Ventrue effects with a sardonic smile grotesquely at odds with the bleakness behind his gaze,

“This part I rather was.”

GM: A slender finger traces an ivory chess board’s contours. It slowly travels across the time-worn figurines. None depict humans or animals: merely finger-sized shards of bone carved into faceless circular pieces. A painter’s delicate hand has left faded red and cyan designs over their bodies. There are no blacks and whites in this game.

The finger comes to rest upon one of the smaller figures.

“I shall pray that your wisdom holds true for this game, Rūmī.”


Izzy Feedback Repost

I found the sequence of NPC reactions to Rene’s defeat massively satisfying. I also enjoy it as a very gratifying sign that Caroline’s made some real progress in-world.

And oh, the plot-teasing! Who tortured Rene? Is it even important? How will the elders feel about Caroline’s actions bringing home a senator, and one who delights in public appearances with his family at that? Who the hell is playing chess with the city, and did they take that from the movies or did the movies take it from them?

More to come, but ooh boy, am I glad I joined this game when I did.

Caroline III, Epilogue
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